Saturday, 30 September 2017

Seven Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Japan


After spending just 10 days in Japan I learnt more than I did in all of my guide book and blog research. A few of the things I learnt were incidental, but others would have been seriously handy to know beforehand. So without further ado, these are seven things I wish I'd known before going to Japan.

Fushimi Inari Temple in Kyoto

1 - A distinct lack of street names
While planning I couldn't figure out why google maps didn't show street names, no matter how much I zoomed in. Upon arriving in Japan I realised the horrifying truth - almost no streets have names. Big shopping streets and main roads will generally be named, but everything else is a mystery. I can imagine that this doesn't pose much of a problem to the locals, but for tourists trying to find a particular recommended restaurant it makes life difficult. Your best bet is to get a decent, accurate map (more on that later) and count the streets to the place you're looking for, but always plan ahead and give yourself an extra half an hour to get anywhere. I frequently would plan my route on google maps using the hotel wifi and then screenshot it, so I would at least have a vague idea of where I was going.

2 - Train fares vs JR pass
Before heading to Japan every single website recommended the JR Rail Pass. There are national and regional variations, and since I was staying in the Kansai area the Kansai pass sounded like the best bet for me. However, the pass only covered three days, and I was going to be there for ten. Despite the travel agent, both guide books and every website I came across saying what a good deal the JR Pass was, I decided against it. If you're travelling around Japan and are going to be taking lots of bullet trains then it is definitely worth it, but for me it just wasn't. Trains in Japan are seriously cheap in comparison in to the UK; the longest journey I took was to Kyoto, it took an hour by the cheapest train and cost a measly ¥560 which is about £3.70. BARGAIN.  

Osaka Castle

3 - Food is expensive
While trains were cheaper than I expected, food was definitely more expensive. In Dotonbori two bowls of ramen can easily cost you £20, and that's the cheaper end of the spectrum. Food was where the majority of my spending money went for the holiday, and even while trying to do it on the cheap I found I was running out of spending money by the end. 

4 - Fruit is hard to find
I love fruit. I always have apples in the house and will attempt to squeeze fruit into every meal if I can. I didn't really give second thought to my diet for while I was in Japan, aside from dreaming of ramen and sushi most days. However, it turns out that in Japan fruit it considered a luxury, with fancy fruit baskets highly prized as gifts. While I've since been assured by a friend that you can find reasonably priced fruit at the larger supermarkets, if you're a tourist and just craving an apple, you're not going to have much luck at your local 7-Eleven. All I ever really saw were bananas and ridiculously overpriced peaches (like ¥2000 for two peaches expensive). By the time I was leaving Japan I would dive on any piece of fruit I saw; I had a practically religious experience at a food stall outside Fushimi Inari temple in Kyoto where a guy was selling ice cold pineapple on sticks for ¥100 a pop. I think I spent about ¥500 and he was watched me devouring pineapple like a lunatic. 

5 - Safety
Japan is ridiculously safe. I'm fairly safety conscious in the UK, especially regarding things like my bag and belongings, but that's amped up times a hundred whenever I go abroad. However, by the end of my time in Japan my safety conscious self had seriously relaxed. While I still wouldn't recommend walking down any dark alleyways alone (I did this by accident a lot and it was creepy) but for the awkward travelling alone and trying to reserve a table dilemma, Japan is amazing. I noticed early on people leacing bags and valuables on tables when they went to the loo or to reserve their seat, and they were never even touched. This video by Life Where I'm From really makes it clear just how safe Japan is.

Hozen-ji Osaka

6 - Don't trust the guidebooks
In Kobe I discovered the problem with guidebooks - their maps are not always accurate. My brother and I spent the best part of an hour desperately wandering around a small area of Kobe where the guidebook told us Wanto Burger should be, only to discover thanks to a helpful local that it was about ten minutes walk down the road and had always been there. With the serious lack of road names, an accurate map is essential, and while the Wanto Burger incident was the worst there were several instances where our Lonely Planet guidebook let us down.

7 - Japanese
Okay, this would have been really handy to know beforehand, but in all honesty, as long as you're in the main cities you can get by without knowing much, if any, Japanese. Restaurants with an English menu tend to advertise that fact, and even with a Japanese menu it's not too hard to manage as many have photographs of the food. It's worth learning some key phrases such as please and thank you, and how to ask for the bill, but generally most Japanese people will be patient with you as you both struggle through the language barrier. However, if you know any Japanese at all and head out of the big cities, people will often be delighted that you've taken the time to learn something of their language. I'd love to have been fluent in Japanese and it definitely would have made the trip easier, but it's certainly not a prerequisite. 

Dotombori Canal Osaka


If you enjoyed this post, have a gander at some of my other blog posts about my time in Japan!



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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

NARS Anita | My New True Lipstick Love

Just a quickie for you today, as I wanted to share the lipstick that has hardly left my lips since I bought it as a birthday present to myself back in August. As much as I love my Charlotte Tilbury Very Victoria, lately I've been craving a nude with a bit more pink in it. 


NARS Audacious Anita Review


A few days after my birthday, with cash burning a hole in my pocket, I popped in Selfridges in Manchester. I know that I love the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution formula so I swatched a few of those but none were quite the right mixture of a warm-toned pink and brown. I definitely err more towards warmer lipsticks as I definitely suit them better on a daily basis. I save my cool tones for more dramatic looks or days when I can be bothered with blush.


NARS Audacious Anita Review Swatch


I then headed over to the NARS counter as I've been meaning to try them out for a while, and fell in love as soon as I swatched Anita. It's a perfect blend of rose and nude and looks great on my fairly pigmented lips. I'm chuffed to bits with it and it's all I've been wearing since I bought it. Definitely my new favourite day-time lip colour.

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Monday, 25 September 2017

Monday Medley #9

This is actually the second time I've written this post. After spending an entire evening working on it, I woke up the next morning to discover that Blogger had inexplicably decided to delete the post from my drafts. I was rather less than pleased, so here's hoping my second attempt actually manages to be published!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber Mini Review

READING

PRINT

I purchased Caraval by Stephanie Garber waaaay back in March for my Spring Reading List, and I've only just got round to reading it. I do find that I get into phases of reading loads and then reading hardly at all, and I'm getting back into the swing of things with this. I'm absolutely loving this so far and have almost finished and can't wait to find out how it will end. It follows Scarlett and Tella, two sisters caught up in a dangerous game where, I promise, absolutely nothing is what you think. There have already been so many twists to the tale that I didn't expect and that doesn't happen very often these days.  

DIGITAL

First up is a great post from Martha Jane Edwards all about the ethics of buying dupes of designer products. It's a controversial subject but she covers all bases and it makes for a great read. Find it here.

Katy's travel posts are always amazing and it was with a slight sigh that I immediately added Syros to my travel bucket list immediately after reading this post. Click for stunning photographs and instant wanderlust.

Another travel post here from Media Marmalade, all about a few things you need to know before going to San Francisco. San Francisco is definitely on my list of places to go and the information about flights and getting around is invaluable for any tourist. Read it here.

My fave is back, yep, it's Gwennan! This week she's talking about the value of living in the moment and a few moments lately that have reminded her to appreciate where she is. Clickety-boo.

Jemma needs no introduction in the blogging community, and I absolutely loved her recent post about self-care. As someone who, on bad days, tends to neglect the absolute basics of looking after myself, this was a post I could relate to. Well worth a read.

Beverley's post about how she became a solo traveller is a bit of a rollercoaster read but her journey definitely qualifies as inspiring. Reading this convinced me to reconsider travelling alone and try to make it work for myself since I've had mixed experiences. Find Beverley here.

Finally, Paula of Thirteen Thoughts wrote about how to enjoy time alone and use it productively. I've spent a good portion of the last few years living alone and have definitely implemented some of these tips myself. I'm moving in with my boyfriend in a few weeks so it's less relevant for myself, but hopefully, someone else who struggles with time alone will find some value in it. One to bookmark.
 

WATCHING

I was recently introduced to Rick and Morty, and while initially being a bit unimpressed by all the burping, you kind of stop noticing it after a while and just become absorbed in the outlandish stories. The bonkers sci-fi themes are right up my street, but I love the character realism that goes along with it. 

That's your lot for this week, here's hoping Blogger doesn't delete it all again before it goes live...

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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Top 5 Things To Do in Osaka

I spent a grand total of a week in Osaka, but I managed to pack a lot in. As a city, Osaka is vibrant and buzzing, with the wildly contrasting districts of Minami and Kita standing out from the crowd. While you would need a lot longer than a week to truly see this city; if you're pressed for time these are the five things I would recommend adding to your list.

Dotombori Dotonbori Canal at Night
Dotombori Canal
 
Hozenji Yokocho
Hozenji Yokocho

Dotonbori and Hozen-Ji Shrine

You'll see it spelled with an 'm' as well but in case of confusion, but it's the same place. Dotonbori is where the locals go out to play; in the day it's a little bleak and boring, but at night the area around the Dotonbori Canal is a neon wonderland, filled with restaurants, street food stalls, nightclubs and bars, and absolutely heaving with people of all ages. This is the place to go for good food (more on this later), and to really experience Osaka's nightlife. You can escape the bustle by taking a turn and heading for the canal, where you can sit in a slightly more relaxed atmosphere and watch the party boats pass by. 

While wending your way through the crowds on Dotonbori Street, take a turn into the arcade with the giant animatronic crab opposite and the big green dragon on the corner. Carry on down for a little while then take a right into the alleyway Hozenji Yokocho for a taste of Osaka a hundred years ago. The cobbled alleyway is lined by quieter, more traditional restaurants, and leads to the Hozen-ji shrine with a moss-covered statue from the frequent dousings with water by worshipers. Paper lanterns abound in this quiet pocket of old Osaka, and it's well worth a visit.


Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle
Gout Boulangerie Osaka Review
Goût pastries

Osaka Castle and Goût

Osaka Castle is definitely worth a visit, for all that it's technically a modern restoration. Even if you have no interest in Japanese history it's worth it for the scenery; set within 15 acres of grounds including a moat it makes for a beautiful early morning walk. Early morning is also the best time to visit in order to beat the crowds. The castle itself was far larger than I imagined, towering intimidatingly above visitors; you can easily see how it was a formidable fortress in the past.

While you're in the area, if you happen to be craving Western food at this point in your holiday I would definitely recommend visiting Goût, a French bakery and cafe as good as any I've eaten at in Europe. It's just around the corner from the main entrance and Tanimachi-yon-chome subway station, which is the easiest way of getting to Osaka Castle by public transport. 

Yakitori Dotombori Dotonbori Canal
Yakitori
Takoyaki Osaka
Takoyaki

Kuiadore

Osaka is renowned within Japan for its food, with kuiadore or "eat until you drop" an unofficial motto. There are a few dishes in particular you should keep an eye out for which I've listed below. I didn't manage to track down all of them but can confirm that the ones I managed to find were amazing.

Takoyaki - Deep fried octopus balls (balls of octopus, octopi do not have testicles - I checked). These are amazing and served on a stick; you'll often find them served at roadside stalls. The best ones I tried were from a stall down by the canal at Ebisu-bashi bridge in Dotombori. Look for the octopus balloon and you're basically there.

Okonomiyaki - Savoury pancakes filled with meat and vegetables and Japanese mayonnaise. In Osaka the fillings are mixed with the pancakes before cooking whereas other regions cook it separately. I had really good okonomiyaki at Chibo in Dotombori.



Yakitori and kushikatsu - More food on sticks! Yakitori is grilled chicken on sticks (tori meaning bird) but also refers to grilled seafood and veg. Kushikatsu involves crumbing and deep frying the meat/veg instead of grilling it, which is an Osaka speciality. 

Kaiten-sushi - This will be familiar to most Westerners thanks to companies like YO! Sushi. Conveyer belt sushi was invented in Osaka and is worth checking out if you get the chance.

Kitsune udon - A noodle soup flavoured with aburaage, which is made from soy and is slightly sweet. Aburaage is supposed to be the favourite food of the mythological kitsune foxes and the god Inari, so it's appropriate that I first tried aburaage at the Inari temple in Kyoto. Honestly, I wasn't keen, but it's one of the Kansai delicacies so is worth trying!

Kappo-ryori - This is the Osaka version of kaiseki, which is a fancy meal with loads of courses of traditional Japanese food. I wish I could tell you what it's like but I was on a budget and it's very expensive. 


Weird things I found in shopping centres part 1
Weird things I found in shopping centres part 2

Explore big department stores

This is when you want to head up to the Kita, or Northern, part of town. This is the area near Umeda Station and the Sky Tower, which is well worth a visit itself if you like city views. For me though, the real attraction was the gargantuan shopping centres. Daimaru, Hankyu, Hanshin and Tokyu Hands are all crazy and worth wandering around. The big stations are also packed with shops and cafes, and you could spend a good few hours just wandering around those. I wrote a post on all the amazing beauty bits I picked up from Tokyu Hands; we're talking sheet masks galore! Click here if you fancy a read of that.


Nunobiki Falls, Kobe
Nunobiki Falls, Kobe
Wanto Burger, Kobe
Wanto Burger, Kobe

Leave Osaka

That's right! One of the best things you can do while in Osaka is leave. It's a perfect base for day trips to the incredible cities of Nara, Kobe and Himeji. Nara is the place with the cute deer that bow to you in exchange for food that you might have seen on the internet, but it's also worth visiting to see the incredible Daibutsu or Great Buddha, within the temple of Todai-ji. 

Kobe is worth a visit; there will be a whole separate blog post going up about how to spend 24 hours in Kobe so I won't spoil too much, but safe to say that it's worth visiting just to try the famous Kobe beef.

Himeji is the home of Himeji Castle, the best remaining example of a traditional Japanese castle. It's pretty spectacular, and I'm gutted that I didn't manage to squeeze a visit in; the wisteria grove and gardens sound stunning, and the castle itself is huge and so important in Japanese history.

Very jetlagged, no makeup and very happy

That's everything for today, but safe to say that I had a fantastic time in Osaka and can't wait to go back! I definitely need to tick a few more off my list.


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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Japanese Beauty Haul

I couldn't go all the way to Japan and not come back with something beauty related. On my very last day, trying in vain to get rid of all my foreign change (damn 1 yen coins!) I was wandering the Dotombori shopping streets of Ebisu-bashi and Sennichimae-suji, eyeing up the skin care in some of the shops lining the busy arcade. 3000 (about £20) for a pack of LuLuLun sheet masks seemed a bit pricey, so I decided to keep wandering and see if I could find something a bit cheaper. 


I ended up in the Tokyu Hands department store, which I had heard good things about and wanted to check out anyway. You should definitely go there if you're ever in Japan! They're dotted all over the country and easy enough to find. I'm very glad that I stumbled across the place as they had an entire floor dedicated to beauty, and I found the exact same pack of LuLuLun face masks for 800. Bargain. I bought two different packs of the LuLuLun sheet masks, the blue and the pink. Some research after the fact told me that they're the best-selling sheet masks in Japan and that the blue is described as "high moisture" and the pink as "balance moisture". I found this review of the pink sheet masks which goes into more depth about the ingredients. I found them to both be very moisturising and left my skin quite glowy, but I couldn't see much of a difference between the two.


I saw this Bulbasaur sheet mask and obviously had to buy it. They also had Squirtle and Pikachu, but I plumped for Bulbasaur simply because he was my first ever Pokemon in the game. They probably all do different things but my ability to read Japanese is non-existent even though I can (just about) manage a conversation. 


I'll admit that I bought these bath salts purely for the packaging. It's just really cute and I love foxes! I'm not really a bath salt kind of girl, but I thought I'd make an exception for these. 


Rather less glamorous are these facial razors; my fuzzy moustache is blonde and would be barely noticeable except that there are about three hairs that insist on growing really long. While I could wax them off that's an awful lot of faff for a few tiny hairs. Instead, every few weeks I just shave them off, going with the grain so I don't end up with stubble, and this works just fine for me. I'd been meaning to buy some proper teeny facial razors for ages (I've been using my normal razor, please don't kill me) and just picked these up on impulse. These are pretty good but not the sharpest, so while they do the job I probably wouldn't buy them again.


Bulbasaur for life, fight me in the comments.



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Monday, 18 September 2017

Monday Medley #8

After a break last week while I was in Japan, I'm with a list of everything I've loved reading and watching for the last week.


Ancoats Graffiti Bee


READING

I absolutely loved Beth's post on her experience of wild camping; it's something I only did once as a child in Scotland, and this has convinced me that I want to do it again some time soon. Click for beautiful photos of the Scottish wilderness!

Millie's post on the one that got away is one of the absolute stand-outs on this list. She writes with great depth of feeling about a past relationship that didn't turn out as she expected. While I don't have a similar experience, the emotions behind the post are extremely relatable. Read it here.

Sam's travel posts have featured in Monday Medleys before, but they're just great so this is another one. In this one she's talking about 48 hours in Paris, and the amount that she and Katy managed to squeeze into that time is astounding. Paris is very high on my list of short city breaks for some time soon, so this post was immediately bookmarked for future reference. Find it here!

Personal style is something I've always struggled with, and while I have a better idea of what I like nowadays, it's still something I'm working towards. Rebecca's post on the joys of finding your personal style is what I'm striving for and just makes for a really good read. Click for major style inspiration.

It's not often that a blog makes me laugh out loud, but Rosy's consistently manages it. This post about thoughts she's had since moving to London is hilariously accurate and reminds me a thousand times over why I don't want to live in London. Definitely worth a read!


WATCHING

I finaaaally managed to watch Wonder Woman, having missed it while it was in the cinema, and yeah, it's really great. The action scenes are a bit over enthusiastic with the slow-mo, and the twist was obvious from the beginning, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It's hands down the best DC movie since the Nolan Batman movies.

EATING

My diet has been very unhealthy of late, and this recipe for peanut butter brownie oatmeal is no exception to that. I'm giving myself a kick up the bum for the week ahead and get back into healthy eating, but for now I'm going to gorge on chocolate.




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Sunday, 17 September 2017

One Night In A Japanese Capsule Hotel

You may well have seen on Twitter/all over this blog that I've been in Japan lately. I'm going to be ramming the Japan content down your throats over the next few weeks (soz for violent imagery) but I thought I'd start off with something that garnered a bit of interest on Twitter. For my very last night in Japan, I stayed in one of their infamous capsule (also known as pod) hotels. If you're not familiar with the concept, it's basically a hotel where you sleep in a tube/box/coffin, depending on how morbid or claustrophobic you're feeling when describing it. The picture below will explain a lot, but that's the gist.

Nine Hours Kyoto Sleeping Room

I stayed at Nine Hours, a chain of capsule hotels with branches in Sendai, Shinjuku, Narita, Kanda and Kyoto, where I was. You can stay for a night, for a few hours as a nap or even stop by for just a shower. The rates are pretty cheap, but then it is basically a dormitory. Upon check-in (shoes off as soon as you're through the door), you'll be given a key to a shoe locker in which you keep your outdoor shoes and the provided slippers when you're not at the hotel. You're also given a key card with a QR code, which unlocks a much larger locker in the shower and changing room area. For large suitcases that won't fit in the locker, the 24-hour reception is happy to keep an eye on them.

Nine Hours is separated into male and female areas, with whole floors dedicated to each gender. The first thing I did after checking in was shuffle upstairs to check out my locker. Inside was a pair of complimentary pyjamas and a toothbrush, as well a few towels. I dumped my bag in the locker and then went to check out my pod. The sleeping room is large and dimly lit, with a hushed atmosphere like a library even when empty. I observed later in the night that the room is soundproof, as you can't hear a thing from the toilets or corridor nearby. 

Nine Hours Kyoto Sleeping Capsule

Some of the pods are on top of the others and require you to climb up a sort of ladder to get to them, but they're still below head height and easily reachable for the able. FYI, this is definitely not a hotel for the less physically able, as even the lower pods like mine required you to be able to bend and crawl into them. The actual pods were surprisingly spacious; if you were feeling cuddly you could easily fit two people in one, although of course that isn't allowed. There are two shallow shelves on either side of the pod; they're not massive, but they were big enough for my glasses and few tissues for my cold. I took a bottle of water in with me for if I got thirsty in the night (technically this wasn't allowed but shhh) and my phone and charger. There's a digital display above the pillow which controls the in-pod lighting system and a clock; I think there's a way to set the clock as an alarm but I couldn't be bothered figuring it out as I had my phone anyway. There's also a standard Japanese plug, which I used to charge my phone overnight.

I slept pretty well, but I'm not gonna lie to you, the pillow was like a block of cement. They were also selling the pillows at reception, so clearly some people love them. The pods are very dark when in sleep mode (there's a button with a moon on it that you can press to dim the lights), but not pitch black. I think this is definitely a good thing, as I can imagine that waking in complete darkness ina glorified tube would be a bit disturbing; the dim light from provides some comfort. You also can't legally lock a capsule for safety reasons, so you pull down a blind to cover the entrance to the pod before sleep. The pods themselves aren't soundproofed, so you're at the mercy of your fellow pod-mates regarding nighttime noises. A group of girls came in quite late and giggling, but they quieted down pretty quickly so I didn't have to have words. 

Nine Hours Kyoto Pyjamas
Snazzy pyjamas included!

In the morning I headed down to the shower area and let me tell you, that shower was the highlight of my stay. I LOVE showers with decent water pressure, and this was amazing. I quickly dried my hair and got dressed before checking out. It's worth noting that even if you're staying consecutive nights you have to check out every day as you're assigned a different pod each night.

The rates were pretty great, with an overnight stay costing ¥4900 or £32.50. That doesn't include breakfast, but if you do opt for it they basically just give you a ¥1000 Starbucks card. If you're passing through and fancy a nap, you can stop over for a few hours between noon and 9pm, which will cost you ¥1000 or about £6.60. If you just fancy a shower, you can stop by anytime and it'll cost you ¥800 or about £5.30.

Nine Hours Kyoto Capsule Interior

I would definitely stay at Nine Hours again and would recommend it to anyone who fancies trying out the whole pod hotel concept. 
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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Guess Who's Back?

Back again.

Metrolink rain
Ah, the Manchester rain on my commute work, as per.

Sorry, couldn't resist. There's been a dearth of content so far in September, with me posting just once with Monday Medley #7. I even missed the date for Medley #8, so that will be coming a week late on the 18th. I've been in Japan since the 31st of August, finally landing back home in Manchester on the 11th. The day after was spent recovering from jet lag and general fatigue while working from home, but I'm now fully recovered and back at my desk. 

I thought it was pretty likely that the first two weeks of September would be empty content-wise, which was why I did All-in August, where I posted every day for the whole of August, which pretty much destroyed me tbh. The trip to Japan was planned to help smooth my brother's transition as he has now moved there for a year, despite never having visited before and not speaking a word of Japanese. Despite these fairly major hurdles, by the time we separated after a week, him to move into his accommodation and me to spend a few days alone in Kyoto, we were both pretty confident that we could navigate Japan and Japanese culture well enough to get by, which I'm quite proud of.

I have no doubt in my mind that he'll have a fantastic time; he's sharing a house with other international students: one American, one Greek and one Chinese, and they all seem pretty chilled out. They've bought a football and already had a kickabout, so I think they'll be fine. 

The trip itself required us to spend some time doing less of the touristy stuff than I would have liked, instead making sure that we understood general restaurant and pub etiquette, knowing how to take the train, subway and bus, and figuring out some cheap and easy meals for him to make. It was also somewhat marred by constant illness on my part, and a cold my brother caught from me halfway through. I was coughing when I went away and coughing when I came back. No matter how wonderful Japanese medicine claims to be it was no match for whatever bug I have. 

As a result, we didn't always make the most of our time in Japan. There will be a whole load of blog posts coming your way very soon, but some of the fondest memories I have of the trip are of the two of us sniffling in pyjamas, eating instant noodles of a unidentifiable flavour while attempting to comprehend Japanese game shows. My brother and I are close, texting every day and talking often; he's my best friend and I won't see him for a year. That's going to be tough, so I'm really glad that illness forced us to stay in sometimes and just have fun like when we were children. We had deep conversations about where we see our lives going, our respective partners, and spent one night when neither of us could sleep rapping and singing the old pop songs (think 2010 FloRida and 5ive Keep On Movin') that we used to sing in the car on long journeys. 

Sure, I may not have had the perfect travel blogger holiday; he doesn't even know I have a blog (and he would never let me live it down if I told him) so I can't exactly ask him to take thousands of photos of me standing in front of a waterfall. He already judges me whenever I take a photo of my food. It may not have been perfect, but I got to spend time with my brother and explore an entirely different environment - and that was pretty great.


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Monday, 4 September 2017

Monday Medley #7

At the time of writing, I'm in Osaka, Japan. I have no idea what the internet/blogging situation is, so this post was written slightly ahead of time. It's the usual run-down of the things I've loved reading and watching in the last week, or in this case until the 31st of August!


Ancoats Posters Bees


READING

DIGITAL

As someone who always seems to end up living far away from friends and family, Hannah's post on the topic really hit home for me. There are definite disadvantages, but it makes actually seeing your friends again for the first time in months that much better. Definitely worth a read.

I'm pretty bad at eating healthily even while at home, so Charlie's post on how to do it while travelling is goals. She's got some tips that would have never even occurred to me and I'll definitely be implementing some of them if I ever work up to backpacking again! Read it here.

I am loving Paris' blog at the moment, but this post on individual elephants throughout history really caught my eye. As someone who wrote an entire dissertation about bulls in the ancient world, this was right up my street. Here she looks at the French Revolution, the conquests of Charlemagne and the Sheffield steel industry, and the strange ways in which elephants played a part in each. Find Paris here!

I have major wanderlust, and Kayleigh's post on European towns and cities she wants to visit just fueled this further. Everywhere on this list looks stunning and went straight onto my ever-growing to-visit list. Click for wanderlust.

Alice has just started a new series called Girls Support Girls and I in love with it. In this instalment, five women share their stories about body confidence and self-image, and it makes for inspiring reading. Read it now!

Gwennan pops up on my blog a lot (sorry not sorry) but I just love her content! Her post on things she's grown out of went up on my birthday and I loved it. It was so relatable and I'm 100% stealing this idea at some point (still not sorry). Clickety-boo.




WATCHING

All I've really watched this week was the new Bake Off, about which I have mixed but overall positive feelings, and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace because my boyfriend was fairly horrified that I hadn't seen it. The Phantom Menace just generally made me hate Jar Jar, but after reading a theory about how Jar Jar was actually meant to be the ultimate Sith I'm now terrified of him. It sounds ridiculous but seriously, watch this video. It makes the whole film horrifying in hindsight.



And finally,


All I have left to share with you this week are these teeny-tiny doors being installed all over Atlanta, and these Terry Pratchett-esque turtles carrying entire ecosystems on their backs.




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