Five Ways to Travel To Asia on a Budget

Asia is a great country to visit full of culture, delicious food and friendly people. In case you already have an Asian country in mind to visit in the future, you will have to save up your money and learn as much as you can about the culture. There are plenty of cheap ways of booking your holiday, and – unless you want five-star treatment all the way – we recommend you avoid high street agents. Whether you want to see the ancient temples and cities of India or stay in Vietnam for a few weeks, you have several budget-friendly options. Find out more about them below.

CUSTOM ITINERARY
Instead of going with the flow and listening to travel agents’ recommendations, you might want to stay out of the tourist resorts (which the travel agents will most likely suggest). This will help you save money and learn more about the customs and culture than any other way. You might want to check out blogs and travel guides and create your custom itinerary, so you can see more and go off the beaten path so you can explore the country without having to put up with the crowd.

LOCAL TOUR OPERATORS
If you need to book trips and tours, it is better to find a local operator instead of doing the same thing; looking online. Large companies are generally selling the services of local family firms, so you can secure a huge discount and build a great relationship with the company, so they listen to your needs and preferences, tailoring the tour to your budget.

ON THE WATER
A great way of exploring any country is on the water we love this way of seeing a new place and as mentioned before a holiday isn’t a holiday without a trip on water! You can book private scenic river cruises in most countries. Whether you would like to explore the Ganges or the shoreline of Indonesia, you will find plenty of offers if you look around. All you have to do is check where the main ports of the country are, and you can get a deal with a local operator there and then, instead of committing to buy before you arrive and see the place.

VOLUNTEERING
In case you have extremely limited funds, but would like to visit the country of your dreams in Asia, such as Saigon or Mumbai, you can find volunteering positions. You will have free time to explore the area, and free accommodation and food. All you will have to think about is learning the language so you can communicate with locals and get recommendations on cheap ways of getting around and attractions to visit.

BACKPACKING
Those brave enough to start off without a set itinerary will be able to save money by backpacking. You can get around cheaply by train and public transport, and explore a new city every day. Learn the language before you set off, so you can communicate with locals, and get personalized advice.

Asia is a cheap destination for backpackers and budget travelers. You can save money if you stay away from main tourist hubs and stay with the locals. Make sure that you explore your options before you set off, and learn the language, so you can benefit from locals’ advice and guidance on your trip.

The Key To Avoiding Delhi Belly On Holiday

Travel is one of the most edifying and fulfilling things a person can do. Travel broadens our horizons, and exposes us to new people, places and cultures. It introduces us to a wealth of new sights, sounds, scents and tastes and these help to create the memories that we’ll carry with us wherever we go for the rest of our lives. One of the beautiful things about living in a multicultural society like the UK is how the range of different cultural and culinary influences engender an appetite for variety. But while we may be able to walk down any high street and enjoy everything from burritos to baked potatoes, from seafood to schwarma, there’s no substitute for trying new foods made authentically in their native countries.

But while an appetite for culinary adventurism is all well and good, it can inadvertently end up ruining our trip. A bad case of delhi belly or food poisoning will see you spending the rest of your holiday getting to know a whole lot about your hotel bathroom, and very little else as you spend your days filling in a holiday illness claim form rather than enjoying your chosen destination. If you’re a consummate foodie, you need to be able to enjoy your food without grappling with horrible stomach cramps. Here are a few ways in which you can avoid a dreaded case of Delhi belly…

DONT DRINK THE WATER
Needless to say, whenever you travel abroad it’s not advisable to drink the water, especially when travelling throughout Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and South America where they have a less robust plumbing infrastructure. Not only should you avoid drinking the water, you should avoid eating fresh fruit and veggies that have been washed in it. By all means buy fresh fruits and veggies (it’s one of the best things about travelling overseas) but wash them in bottled water first. This guide to drinking tap water will help if you’re unsure about whether the drinking water in your destination is safe.

DONT GO CRAZY WITH THE RICH FOODS
When travelling around places like India and southern Asia many Westerners find themselves experiencing what they think are food poisoning symptoms which are actually mild IBS from adjusting to the different diets. You are exposing your body to a totally new cuisine full of amazing flavours so no wonder your body is feeling funny! An Indian diet in particular is rich in fats, sugars and spices which is a shock to the system for those accustomed to a bland Western diet. By all means help yourself to that delicious looking curry, but we suggest you pace yourself and build up your tolerance for the spicy and fatty foods.

AVOID MEAT
There are many reasons why eating less meat and eating more veggies beneficial for your health and the environment, but when travelling abroad eating meat can increase your risk of falling ill as a result of your diet far more than its plant based counterpart. Dead animals are (unsurprisingly) excellent incubators for bacteria and as not every country’s health codes are comparable it’s possible that the meat you eat could be kept in unsanitary conditions which makes them the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. In some countries a veggie filled stomach may be a happier stomach – when visiting far away counties we often go veggie for travelling!

Cuckoo’s Bakery Edinburgh

We love finding independent coffee shops when visiting new cities, we refuse to purchase a chain coffee when there are so many other choices! This was exactly the same during out time in Edinburgh and one of the coffee shops on our hit list was Cuckoos Bakery.

There are two Cuckoo’s Bakery coffee shops in Edinburgh one is located on Dundas Street which is just a short walk away from the centre of Edinburgh, we chose to visit this bakery as it was on our way back to our hotel which was located in Leith. The other bakery is located in Bruntsfield which we had planned on visiting after our hike up Arthurs Seat.

We had spied their ice coffees on Instagram and as soon as the sun started to shine our iced coffee craving kicked in and we headed straight to cuckoos bakery.

When we arrived there was a table available outside in the sun so we sat down before going inside and ordering our coffee, Rachel opted for a soya milk latte and Annie had an Iced Americano with a dash of soya milk (if you follow us on IG you will know already this is always our go to order).

We were admiring the cupcakes Cuckoo’s Bakery sell and if we hadn’t of been full from our brunch we would have definitely purchased a couple. The cupcakes looked absolutely delicious and they were iced to perfection.

The two girls who were working at the Dundas Street branch were incredibly friendly, polite and obviously enjoy their job a lot (why wouldn’t they when they get to work here).

It was definitely worth the visit and we would highly recommend it if you are visiting or live in Edinburgh!

Bills Secret Garden Opening & Meeting Bill

So you may remember our blog post from a couple of months ago where we were lucky enough to be invited to see the newly renovated Bills in St Albans and to also sample the new menu (which by the way is incredible)!

We were fortunate to be invited back to see their new secret garden which is situated at the back of the restaurant in St Albans.

We did not know what to expect but it was a beautiful Thursday evening and the sun was (thankfully) shining! We arrived and were told to make our way to the back where we were greeted with delicious summer cocktails.

The garden/courtyard is the perfect size that fits about 5 tables and a couple of umbrellas. Surprisingly the whole courtyard is surrounded by residential flats (which means the garden has to shut by 9). There is the most lovely rustic feel in the garden and because they are not allowed to hang anything on the walls instead they had big mirrors, fairy lights and foliage lent against the walls.

The secret garden seats up to 24 guests and we were both discussing how popular weekend brunch is going to be in the secret garden on a beautiful sunny morning. We know we will definitely be visiting, not only to enjoy the beautiful secret garden but to eat the delicious brunch Bills has on the menu.

We spent the evening mingling and first met the Chief Operating Officer of Bills, he was great and we all shared a love for the brownies and sticky toffee pudding which is on the new dessert menu! then we met Bill himself. The restaurant chain is named after him and he is still so involved in the restaurants and it’s so amazing to see. Despite having 83 restaurants Bill still wants to get stuck in and even had his own vision for the secret garden at the St Albans brand and helped with the gardening too!

For us this makes going to Bills an even more enjoyable experience as we could see how much Bill still cares about his restaurants and the staff too, which is very very important to us.

We had a lovely evening enjoying canapés and peach iced tea and also met some lovely bloggers too.

We didn’t leave empty handed either as they were very kindly handing out goody bags which had some of Bills products in; Pink Lemonade, Lemon Curd, Cookies and Tea.

We are so excited to see the Bills restaurants around the country slowly change and are hoping it will be the Watford branch next!

If you want to visit one of these new Bills they are in St Albans, Covent Garden and Westfield White City!

The Best Travel Hacks Out There

We love a good hack especially when it saves us money! We go on lots of weekends away and therefore never really need to pay for a suitcase in the hols! Read our travel hacks below and see if they help save you a little extra cash! That money you were spending could even be put towards another weekend break!

It doesn’t matter where in the world you heading off to, these travel hacks are total game changers (well they have been for us).

FORGET ABOUT FOLDING
Did you know that folding your clothes actually takes up far more space than rolling your clothes, oh and it also reduces crease marks! You can thank us later. Were possible we always carry our bags with us instead of putting them in the hold, you can actually take on a relatively big bag as well so there is no need to spend the extra money. So the next time you go away try and roll-up your clothes or if you are feeling particularly snazzy vacuum-pack them.

READ ON KINDLES
Gone are the days where you have to choose only two books to take on holiday! We read SO much on holiday two books just aren’t enough and we end up not know what to do when we are on holiday! Well you don’t have to Kindles (other e-readers are available) are a great way of saving space, saving on weight and, best of all, reading while on a lilo without a worry in the world. Yup.. the latest models also tend to be waterproof (so cool)!

FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS
Sites like Skyscanner have so many cheap flights and there are also subscription services out there which will find cheap flights for you. Sure, going down this route doesn’t allow you to search for your bucket list destinations, from Brisbane to LA, but it will convince you to go-go-go when your destinations come up.

CITY CAR RENTALS ONLY
We’ve all been to airports and seen that row of car rental booths and there is no denying that car rentals are a great way to see the country you are visiting but just don’t hire from the airport as they up the prices so wait until you reach your destination instead.

DUTY FREE BAG
This is a hack we only recently discovered and we LOVE it! We hate that all the different airlines have different rules on hand baggage some you can only take one bag others you can take 2 bags (1 small wheelie suitcase and a hand bag). This make travelling much more complicated, especially if you fly somewhere with one airline and back with another. However we have a sneaky solution, all airlines also allow a duty free bag. So why not head to duty free buy something small and ask for a large carrier bag, you can then put your hand bag in here and not have to worry about stuffing it into you suitcase….. genius!

Jazz Apples Overnight Oats

We love oats they are our go to breakfast almost every day, they keep us fuller for longer and they are so versatile so we never get bored.

In the winter we love a warming bowl of porridge whereas in the summer we always reach for overnight oats.

We love overnight oats they are delicious and super convenient as you can make them the night before in a jam jar and take them with you to work you the next day. We especially love adding fruit into our oats during the summer months and Jazz apples seemed like the perfect choice.

Jazz Apples were our Apples of choice, if you haven’t heard of Jazz apples before they are a funky fusion of a Braeburn and a Royal Gala, they are tangy-sweet and refreshingly crunchy. The great thing about Jazz apples is that they have a fruit bowl life of up to four weeks.

Jazz Apples are grown all year round in the UK, New Zealand, France, Italy, USA, Chile, Switzerland, Austria and Australia. You can purchase Jazz apples in all major supermarkets in the UK; Aldi, Asda, Co-op. Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose.

You can find our delicious overnight oats recipe below which we have enjoyed on several occasions either outside in the sunshine whilst having a summer breakfast picnic or when we need a quick and easy breakfast during the week which we can enjoy dining al desko.

Ingredients (serves 2)
80g oats
100ml milk (we used soya milk)
150g Greek Yoghurt
1.5 tsp Cinnamon
1tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Grated Apple
1 Sliced Apple

Method

Grate the apple into a medium sized mixing bowl

Add the oats, milk, yoghurt, Cinnamon & Maple Syrup and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined

Leave to sit on the side and slice the 2nd Apple

Place 2 slices at the bottom of each Jam jar and top with a table spoon of oats- continue to do this until your jam jar is full.

Chop two of the slices up and use as a topping as well as a sprinkle of cinnamon

Put the lid on the jam jar and put them in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours

When you are ready to eat remove from the fridge and enjoy!

This was a sponsored post, all views are our own.

MIA Chocolate Review

We had never heard of MIA chocolate but oh my are we glad we have been introduced to the brand because we have fallen in love with the majority of the flavours (the candid orange one is to die for and so is the hazelnut and cranberry)!

One of the things we particular like about the brand MIA is their name. The name MIA is quite cool for a chocolate brand but it actually stands for Made In Africa; everything the company produces is sourced and made in Africa. In addition the company believes in making delicious, unique and premium food fairly.

Did you know that 65% of the world cocoa is produced in Africa, but only 1% is actually made in Africa? That is so crazy!

Each and every product that is made by MIA is entirely crafted by communities in Africa. They want to create more jobs on a continent where a single income can support an entire family.

One of the many things we love about MIA is the packaging. It’s so beautiful and really makes the chocolate stand out from other bars.

100% COCOA
We had never tried chocolate with a percentage of 100% so we were particularly excited to try this. This was the first of the flavours we tried and it sure is bitter! We have really enjoyed mixing it into our porridge in the morning and also making hot chocolate with it. Personally for us 100% is a bit on the bitter side we can cope with 90% but that extra 10% really does make a difference.

75% DARK CHOCOLATE
75% was the perfect % of cocoa for us and we thoroughly enjoyed this bar, it was the perfect post dinner snack. It was sweet enough to satisfy our sweet cravings but didn’t result in us eating the entire bar which was good as we wanted to savour it and enjoy it on several occasions and not just in one go. We can also imagine this would taste delicious in home baked cookies or muffins.

65% ALMOND & COCONUT
In every mouthful you could taste the savoury almond and sweet coconut flavours coming through which were are great combination and really work well together as flavours. The coconut makes the chocolate taste creamy and delicious as well which we thoroughly enjoyed. We would definitely recommend this flavour it was the perfect snack.

65% CANDID ORANGE
This flavour tasted amazing, the smooth 65% dark chocolate with candid orange was the perfect mix. We love anything orange flavoured especially chocolate so we had a feeling we were going to love this bar before we had even tried it. If we weren’t careful we could’ve eaten the whole bar! This the perfect sweet treat to enjoy in the evening whilst chilling on the sofa! We would also be more than happy to give these as presents to people as the packaging looks pretty and not to mention how delicious it is.

65% CRANBERRY & HAZELNUT
Chocolate and Hazelnut has got to be one of our favourite combinations EVER! We are obsessed so we were really excited to try the cranberry and hazelnut MIA bar. We certainly were not disappointed with the bar we especially loved the sprinkling of roasted hazelnuts that covered the bar giving it that extra crunch. There was a good amount of dried cranberries as well giving the bar a sweet yet slightly sour taste.

65% COCONUT
we loveeeee coconut and always forgot how amazing it tastes when added to chocolate. MIA use caramalised coconut shavings in this bar which adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the 65% cocoa bar.

You can purchase MIA chocolate online on their website, the chocolate is £4.00 per 75g bar or you can purchase a 6 bar multipack for £20.40. MIA chocolate would make the perfect gift for any chocolate lover.

You can also purchase the chocolate over on http://www.cocoarunners.com/ and http://www.boroughbox.com/

Hello Spring

We absolutely love the four English Seasons, but it just seems like winter lasts forever and always over stays it’s welcome. It’s safe to say we are excited about the warmer temperatures and we are well and truly welcoming spring with open arms. We have been wishing for warmer weather since February but the more we wished the colder it gets.

Easter has been and gone and there STILL wasn’t any sign that spring is on the way accept the fact the clocks changed and it’s lighter in the evenings YAY!

This week though eeeek! We have been in our element loving the hot summer like days (hotter than Ibiza). We feel like we have got our mojo back and a spring in our step! It really is crazy what a bit of vitamin D can do to your mood!

There are so many things we have been missing about spring so we thought we would write a little list about all the things we are looking forward to and have been enjoying this week:

LONGER DAYS
Longer days means we will actually get to see daylight. Driving to work in the dark and leaving work in the dark really starts to take its toll after a while.

ICED COFFEE
We love an iced coffee and it isn’t something we would choose to have in the winter so by the time spring comes around we are well and truly ready to be re united with our one true love.

WARMER WEATHER
Warmer weather means we can wear t-shirts without having to weather a jumper over the top YAY for all the slogan t-shirts we have in our lives. We will no longer have to pack 17 layers in our bags when we leave the house YAY!

DRIVING IN THE SUNSHINE
Okay so this one might sound a bit strange but we love driving in the sunshine with our sunglasses on, windows down, music on and singing at the top of our voices we LOVE it.

BEER GARDEN
Sitting in a beer garden on a Saturday afternoon is just pure perfection, day drinking in the summer is so much fun.

SUN GLASSES
Who doesn’t love going into Primark and purchasing every single pair of sunglasses? We never spend money on expensive pairs of sunglasses as we always find they break! We live in sunglasses in the summer!

PICNICS
Just an excuse to eat your body weight in food and drink all the Pimms! We love a pick a mix style lunch for picnics are perfect for just that.

LONG EVENING WALKS
Evening walks when the sun is beginning to set are literally one of our favourite things about spring and summer. We love walking through the woods and fields breathing in the fresh country side air!

Reasons You Need to Move to London

For many people, taking the plunge and moving out of the family home isn’t an easy decision as its not necessarily essential. For others a job may mean you have to move out of your family home and into your own accommodation.

Summer of last year I moved to London and it was the best decision I ever made, so I thought I would share reasons why you too need to take the plunge and come to London too.

1) London is such a fab city
2) You can cook whatever you want for dinner
3) After work drinks are much easier to get home from and doesn’t take 2 hours!
4) You can host dinner parties and catch up with your pals over delicious food
5) The night tube runs to your area
6) The chance to explore a totally new area
7) You make a whole new bunch of friends
8) Its not frowned upon to have a girlie evening on the sofa eating chocolate and watching rubbish TV
9) The amount of places for brunch in London gets bigger and bigger and on the weekend there brunch is just on your doorstep
10) Summer is just around the corner, and summer in London is amazing, evening drinks on roof terraces, cycling bikes around one of the many parks, or sunbathing in the park, London is glorious in the summer sun, so what are you waiting for…… get your bum to London!

And if your worrying about doing your own cleaning, don’t worry Fantastic Services have got you covered. They are your one stop shop for all home services.

We use Fantastic Services to ensure our flat is kept super clean and we love the ease and convenience of this service.

STAXX Protein Bars Review

We had never heard of STAXX Bars before we were very kindly sent them to review as they have recently launched three new flavour- Peanut & Caramel, Cookies & Cream & Dark Chocolate Mint. STAXX previously only had the Chocolate Caramel flavour. We couldn’t wait to try all of the flavours when they arrived as they all sounded delicious.

You can currently purchase STAXX bars on the website or across many other independent and online retailers including Amazon and Muscle food.

We can honestly say that STAXX bars are the nicest protein bars we have EVER tried, and we have tired a lot. We LOVE the fact you cannot taste the protein in the bars which is something we have struggled to find.

When we eat a STAXX Bar it feels like you are eating a chocolate bar, it really hits the spot and doesn’t leave us craving more sugary foods. The sugar content is low with most of them having about 2g of sugar per bar which is also another bonus. They also contain 20g Protein and are also low in net carbs.

We love how chewy the STAXX Bars are as well, they all have a caramel consistency to them which you will also love if you like a chewy protein bar. All the bars have a chocolate rice crispy coating on the outside layer which is something we really enjoyed.

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL
This was the first flavour we tried and immediately fell in love with the brand and the bars they had on offer. Chocolate caramel was also the first STAXX Bar launched and the only one you can currently purchase on their website. I felt like I was eating a toffee crisp which was a massive throw back as I have not had a toffee crisp in SO long, those chocolate bars are so under rated!

PEANUT & CARAMEL
This one was quite similar to the chocolate caramel flavour just with peanuts. We love peanuts and anything nutty  so this bar was right up our street. We loved the caramel in the bar mostly because we are fast eaters and it slowed us down so we could saviour it for longer.

DARK CHOCOLATE MINT
Dark Chocolate Mint was definitely one of my favourites which I was really surprised about but that is just purely down to the fact I always forget how much I actually enjoy mint flavoured chocolate. It reminded me of a mint Aero but with a crispy outer layer.

COOKIES & CREAM
I left this flavour until last as I am not usually a fan of cookies and cream flavoured products but when I did eventually try it I actually really enjoyed it.  It wasn’t my favourite out of the four as it didn’t give me that WOW factor and the flavours were not as intense.

We enjoyed the bars so much we headed straight to the website and ordered a box. There is a taster box available where you can purchase a box of all the flavours for £8.99. We ordered 12 of the Chocolate Caramel Flavour because it was our favourite but we will be ordering some of the Dark Chocolate Mint ones as well.

We hope to see STAXX bars in supermarkets in 2018 because that would be amazing!