TURNING 30 | BARCELONA PHOTO DIARY

TURNING 30 | BARCELONA PHOTO DIARY

The end of May saw my 30th Birthday. I decided rather than staying at home and crying into my Macbook, that I would go away instead to take the edge off! I had heard many good things about Barcelona before but had never been, so when it came to booking a sunny city break, Barcelona was at the top of my list. What better way to celebrate than with some sun and a few drinks? The big 3-0 didn’t seem so bad after all.

When I think back to my twenties I always thought I would have everything figured out by now. I thought I would be further along in my career, be a home owner and have this adult thing down to a T.

Things might not have happened as I thought, but that’s okay.

I don’t know why I had high expectations and needed to accomplish so much by 30. It really is just a number. So many unexpected, great things have happened over the last ten years that might not have happened if I had been completely focused on ‘life goals’ so this is a reminder to hold my plans much more loosely because there’s a whole lot of life still to come and who knows what twists and turns are up ahead.

I hope you enjoy my photos of my Birthday trip, I loved Barcelona! Have you ever been?

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Chök | Brunch & Cake | Margarita Blues | Vioko | Bar Lobo

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Getting Tattooed in Thailand

If you follow me on instagram you may have noticed I have spent the last couple of weeks travelling around Thailand with Contiki. Whilst I was away I had a bamboo tattoo on Koh Phangan which resulted in loads of questions about the experience so I thought I would put it into writing for anyone else who is interested in having a bamboo tattoo.

Ever since I had my first bit of ink over 12 years ago, I have slowly been adding to my collection of tattoos over the years. Although a lot of thought has gone into some of my tattoo designs and placements, I am also quite partial to the odd spontaneous tattoo. You’re only young once, hey!

Most of my tattoos don’t have particular meanings, certain pieces remind me of  points in my life, experiences with friends or certain times and places. Tattoos mean different things to different people but for me, if I like the design then that’s a good enough reason to get it tattooed on my body.

Having a tattoo whilst travelling is a permanent reminder of that trip. I have tattoos from my year out in the USA which constantly bring back great memories. So when I booked my most recent trip to Thailand, getting a bamboo tattoo was one of the key things I wanted to experience whilst I was there having always been intrigued by the process. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted or where, just that I wanted one.

So, what is a bamboo tattoo and how does it differ to a regular tattoo?

Bamboo tattoos initially originated among tribes some 2,000 years. Tattoos believed to offer protection and other benefits for the bearer and closely became tied to the Hindu-Buddhist concept of Yantra. Yantra refers to mystical diagrams which are used as an aid during meditation. Buddhist monks would traditionally tattoo these designs to offer power, protection, fortune, charisma and other fortunes for the bearer. Although not carried out by monks today, the practise of bamboo or Yantra tattooing is still widely available throughout Thailand.

The process involves attaching a fine needle to the end of a thin piece of bamboo and tightly wrapping a length of cotton around the two to hold it in place. The needle is then dipped into the ink and gently tapped into the skin.

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Unlike machine tattoos, with bamboo tattooing, the skin is punctured and not torn. This means there is a lot less blood. As the tattoo doesn’t scab, the healing process is a lot faster – usually 3 to 4 days.  Also, as there is little bleeding the ink settles quite deeply and very little colour is lost. resulting in a bright, strong tattoo.

One of the first questions I get asked is ‘what does it mean?’

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The Hah Taew (5 sacred lines) is one of the most popular Sak Yant Thai tattoos with each line having a different sacred blessings for success and good luck. Although the Yants have taken on different meanings over the years, typically the five lines represent:

  1. The first row prevents unjust punishment and leans in your favour when the area is grey, cleans out unwanted spirits and protects the place you live in.
  2. The second row reverses and protects against bad horoscope constellations and bad fortune.
  3. The third row protects you from the use of black magic and anyone who tries to put a curse on you.
  4. The fourth row energizes your good luck, success and fortune in your future ambitions and life style.
  5. The fifth row is to gain charisma and attraction to the opposite sex. It also is a boost to the fourth row.

The next question I get asked is ‘did it hurt?’ or ‘how does it compare to a normal tattoo?’

Having a fair bit of ink work I can honestly say I found the experience to be quite enjoyable. The tattoo itself was just as painful as having a normal tattoo – but tattoos hurt, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Bamboo tattoos take longer than machine tattoos and tend to be quite expensive because of this, but you are left with an intricate design which has been created by hand with a needle and some ink, and that’s quite impressive.

You also don’t have to worry about the aftercare as much either as explained above, which is perfect if you’re travelling around.

If you are thinking of getting some work done during your travels in Asia I wouldn’t blame you. As with all tattoos there are various things to consider beforehand to make sure you get exactly what you want. You don’t want to regret a poor decision so take the time to

  • Decide on a design
  • Decide on the placement of the tattoo
  • Shop around for price, don’t be scared to barter. I got mine 1000THB cheaper than originally quoted.
  • Pay attention to portfolios and previous designs.
  • Make sure everything is sanitary.

and…

Be prepared to want more. Tattoos are addictive.

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5 Things | Travel Planning

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So it’s officially Spring, and with three trips already booked for this year it’s time to come out of hibernation and start planning those impending trips away. I like to try and be as organised as I can to avoid that helpless tourist look and so that I don’t waste anytime whilst I am there. With that in mind I thought I would share with you some of my best travel tips for when booking and planning a trip.

1. Check your passport. 

It’s important to check the expiry date on your passport as some country’s require a certain period of time left on your passport to enter the country. Requiring a new passport can also be a lengthy process so take this into consideration when booking a trip. The same goes for visa restrictions and vaccinations. The more remote the destination, the more chances you will need some sort of vaccination.

2. Set yourself a budget. 

I admit it, this is one of my downfalls. I used to have a buy now, worry later attitude when it came to planning a trip, however I have set myself clear, realistic budgets this year in hoping to squeeze in as many breaks away as I can. In short, budget and stick to it.

3. Shop around.

Package holidays are always an option if you’re looking for a quick break but if you are looking to create your own unique trip its a good idea to shop around. Airline prices can dramatically fluctuate. Sign up to airline and hotel mailing lists, or follow on social media. When an airline announces its summer or winter timetable, the quicker you book, the cheaper the seats tend to be. You could also book accommodation through AirBnB, it tends to be a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel .

4. Research. 

It’s important to do your research before you arrive. Tailor your trip to suit you. Create a destination inspiration board over on Pinterest, like my one below, to pin all the things you want to see and do, and for places to eat or stay. Use it as your personal travel guide!

If you prefer a travel guide in book form, I would recommend the Wallpaper City Guides by Phaidon. They are full of useful information, are beautifully presented and are a great reference for discovering new places.

5. Insurance, Travel Money & Phone.

– You should always travel with insurance. It’s that simple.

– When changing currency don’t order on a whim, wait until you can find the best rate.The exchange rate changes daily and it also varies on where you purchase it from. Or if you don’t like the idea of carrying a lot of money I would recommend speaking to your bank about the cheapest and safest way to use a credit or debit card abroad. Halifax offer the fixed rate ‘Clarity Card’ which will not incur those transaction fees on any international purchases. Also make sure your bank is aware that you will be leaving the country as they tend to put a hold on your card for any suspicious transactions.

– If you plan on using your mobile (cell) phone abroad, make sure you know what charges you will incur. It’s never fun realising you have been charged £20 to upload one photo to instagram.

Travel can be stressful, the key is organisation. What are your key travel tips?


Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest to see more travel boards.