Round up of 2017

This year has been absolutely amazing and one that won’t be easily beaten. The final branch has been swept away from our road and its officially time to say goodbye to 2017.

In 2017, I travelled to the other side of the world – Australia and New Zealand, stayed with best friends, met new friends and felt happy exploring by myself (there was a lot of alone time when you travel solo). Then, just before I got sick of living out of a rucksack and smelling like one too for that matter. I flew home with about 4 stops en route to London (a backpacker’s budget is stretched to the last few pennies after three months so I couldn’t be picky with my flight/s home). It was worth every painful minute, hour and day (yes it took way over 24hrs to travel home).  And the jet-lag was REAL!! So were the holiday blues, especially when you have to see everyone you’ve met along the way continue their journey without you – although the holiday tips come in handy for planing future escapes.


I always planned to travel in advance of starting my training contract and I am so pleased now having started that I had a chance to do it. One thing this post has made me realise was just how lucky I was to do it. I love all my memories, photographs and I really must update the travel section of LLM to reflect the places I visited soon (I kept a daily travel journal while I was away to write down tips, do/ do nots of backpacking).

Australia: including staying with one of my oldest friends in Sydney (the best tour guide in town FYI) skydiving in Byron Bay, climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge (one of the most breathtaking views), Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Great Ocean Road, Cairns, Fraser Island and sailing the Whitsundays.


Friends like these don’t grow on trees. img_2047img_1591-1img_1991

New Zealand: Both islands – the most amazing, naturally beautiful holiday destination. Queenstown and Franz Josef Helicopter hike both stand out as ultimate bucketlist places ticked off.



Travel also took me to Abu Dhabi, Copenhagen, France (including Paris), Monaco, Italy (San Remo),  Kos, Croatia and Lanzarote to name a few.

Next instalment, and in preparation for starting my training contract was to move into a gorgeous flat with my boyfriend, such a fun experience buying new bits and pieces to make it look more “ours” and less “rented/ temporary”. It was a mad few weeks of viewing properties all over London. But we eventually found our gem and started to plant some roots. This is the first place in London that has really felt like home and what makes it even better is it is shared with someone really special.

Other highlights have to be:

Four friends had beautiful weddings. These were each individually special for me and memories I will always remember. Thank you for letting me be part of your day.

Three  trips to Ikea to new household essentials (plus half the plant section!)

Two of my friends got engaged! Congratulations!

One of my friends announced they had a baby on the way. So much to look forward to in 2018 and new introductions to meet (cannot wait!)

I started my training contract, met new colleagues, friends and challenges.

Here is to more excitement in 2018.



New Year’s Resolution 2018

New Year is here and I have for the first time in over a year been for a run, ok a sort of run. It was mostly a jog and a very red faced one at that.

Have you set yourself a new years resolution?

You have probably guessed I have (like thousands of others) decided to be healthier in 2018 and use my gym membership more (it wont be hard as I only used it a handful of times in 2017). But my overriding resolution is to do more things that bring me joy. That being said I will invest a big effort into getting healthier. I used to really enjoy running as a hobby but since stopping i’ve struggled to pick up my trainers to start again – this changed this morning. And, once you force yourself to set off it really is not that bad. I also really want to continue to travel and see more of the world around me. Any suggestions for long weekends away are very welcome!! I try to maximise the best usage of my annual leave this way.

A new years resolution can be giving something up but also starting something new (find the courage to pick up a pen and draw, or pen a diary entry, or learn to knit or learn a language or try cooking a new dish – we tried Beef Wellington this New Year’s Eve etc).

Recently, I think its become more and more apparent that I like to plan but not too rigidly (a plan with some movement is perfect in my eyes), this might be seem to be an oxymoron to some. But let me explain, I think goals are great but that we should not allow ourselves to fall apart if we cannot immediately conquer our new challenge; therefore a little degree of flexibility is a good arena to be in. Always be open to change. That way you wont be disappointed or frustrated if things need tweaking along the way.

To achieve my goals, I have roped in my boyfriend and best friend to help me.  He motivates me when I feel disheartened. I suggest roping in your better half and/or friends to help put your best foot forward. Make your resolutions public (like I am doing here in this blog or by phoning  a friend/ family member and that way it becomes REAL) . This way you will be more likely to stick to them and will add to your resolve.

I challenge you to share your own New Year’s resolution in the comments so that we can all rally each other on.

Wishing you the happiest and healthiest year in 2018!



ps. My breakfast this morning (armed with my lemon and apple cider vinegar shot – I will do a post on this to follow…hold that thought/judgement until then please….)

Breakfast NYE

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is tiny but totally stunning.

mag4Townsville is the greyhound bus stop and then you get on a short twenty minute ferry over to the island. It is not worth spending much time in Townsville and I would utilise your time exploring magnetic island, its sensible to get a hire car between friends.

The Base hostel was also one of my favourites and well worth its price tag!

We hired a car and ticked off a lot of what the island has to offer in one day: Horseshoe Bay, Arcadia Bay, Nelly Bay, Picnic Bay and West Point.



We fed rock wallabies (tip- they LOVE the leafy celery sticks).


The island has some incredible walks, beaches and history.







Only read this if you want to hear about two days and one night of bliss…
We departed from Airlie beach early in the morning to make the most of our first day out at sea.

Our trusty stead was called Siska, a red hulled sailing boat (although we hardly had enough wind to ever put the main sail to use). 

The three crew were fantastic and made our trip even more incredible; then there was room for twenty-three adventurers! The weather for or trip was forecast to be horrible but it was great the whole time I was in the Whitsundays! In fact people got burnt! 

The first day was phenomenal, as soon as we set sail someone spotted dolphins alongside the boat. My friend hannah and I were by chance on the same Whitsundays tour which was lovely, we sat with our feet over the edge of the boat dangling into the turquoise sea beneath. The views of the nearby islands were stunningly beautiful. 

For lunch, Gabby (one of the fab crew) whipped up a tasty treat- I take my hat off to her for cooking for all of us in a shoebox of a kitchen! We had quiche and salad (had to hold on to the salad so it didn’t blow overboard), afterwards we had teas/coffees. 

Our first stop was Whitehaven beach- huge sea turtles pop up to say hello as we get transported from the boat to land-we had to wear incredibly figure hugging stinger suits so don’t expect any bikini shots! We sweated up to to the Hill inlet lookout point. The views here were the best thing I have ever seen, it was only turquoise water and swirled pure white sand. The photographs do not do this spot justice. It is incredible to see first hand. 

For bed, I tried to sleep in my cubby hole of a bunk but the body heat of that many people downstairs inside a boat was too much to handle so I grabbed lots of comfy clothes, my pillow and provisions then headed up to top deck. 

My plan was to sleep underneath the stars and that’s exactly what ended up happening (I was a bit achy in the morning but this was definitely a tick off the bucketlist).

The second day meant more stinger suiting and booting as snorkel and dive trips were taking place. My favourite spot was Blue Pearl Bay (caveat- I did see a huge Reef shark and nearly cried into my mask, I’m not so sure about the whole “they are more scared of you than you are of it story!”) when I regained composure we went to another snorkel spot. 

I was so gutted to finish this trip it really was fantastic! 

Also the after party in Down Under bar was pretty great too. Lesson of the night a tall glass in Aus is called a Schooner. 




Noosa is 130km north of Brisbane and it was my chosen stop before travelling out to Fraser Island (alternative choices would be rainbow beach or Hervey Bay). 

Reccomend the breakfast at Canteen 

Beautiful shops

The main beach was pretty much what it says on the tin- I have started to feel spoilt by the beautiful Australian beaches.

However, a five minute walk from Noosa main beach takes you to Little Cove beach- this is breathtakingly pretty and a great spot for a picnic lunch or to swim/ read your book. 

From Little Cove walk around to Noosa national park- there are lots of different routes you can take (easier to more challenging paths), reccomend wearing trainers and walking around to dolphin point (to see… dolphins surprisingly!!).

Dinner at the Irish bar 

Next adventure–> Fraser Island 




My fantastic Brisbane buddies – loved catching up with an old university friend who now has a gorgeous home and family in Brissy (with a new addition on the way!) can’t thank Jess, Reid and Quin more for welcoming me for the weekend. 

Brisbane southbank 

Currumbin wildlife sanctuary 

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and there is so much more I wanted to do here but I admit I just enjoyed unwinding and catching up with Jess, seeing where she lived etc – but this city has so much to offer and is on my list to go back to see next time. 



Fraser Island 

The night before setting off for Fraser Island we had a group safety briefing teaching us how to drive on sand and what not to do if the jeeps got “bogged”. We watched three videos and met everyone coming on the tour. This was followed by a free BBQ at the hostel in the pouring rain.

The group departed from Noosa very early on the slowest minibus drive from Noosa to Rainbow beach. I was really excited to visit the world’s largest sand island. We left behind our big rucksacks and just packed a small bag for the couple of days away. (I was so happy to not have to cary my massive bag – my shoulders were already aching by this point!)

Our tour was three days and two nights on the island but different tours run different length and style island tours. For example we had a big group split into four jeeps and I stayed in a dorm; however, others were camping or there were one day/two day coach tours (not self-drive).

At Rainbow beach, we split into four 4×4 jeeps. I was the first to drive (travel companions are now: Franci, Alex, Heather, Georgia and Lauren P). Our tour guide was called Paul and he was extremely knowledgeable during our few days away.

A quick lunch stop in Rainbow beach for some sandwiches and then we drove straight to the ferry crossing-this was my first time driving on sand.  Where we drove also doubled up as a landing strip for planes (not scary at all!).

Our group had the only manual jeep and this meant we had to keep changing from 2 wheel drive to 4 wheel drive. After successfully getting the car on to the ferry we all jumped out in the hope of spotting some dolphins (unluckily we didn’t on the way there).

The crossing is really short so before we knew it; we loaded everyone back on. Disembarking the ferry was easier than I thought and driving on the hard sand was a lot better than i expected (quickly learnt to dodge the softer bits of sand).

I loved driving along the beach- our convoy’s lead vehicle instructed us to dodge the saltwater, but to drive where the wave had just come up the beach.

The others were DJ and plugged in our iPhones with an aux lead so we could blast the summer tunes. I drove us to our first stop. The views were amazing and very calming (apart from the huge dead turtle we saw being collected by the island rangers). All the windows were down and the sea air filled the car- completely blew away the cobwebs! You really felt this was different to mainland Australia- breathtakingly beautiful views. The sea looked as though it was glittering gold as the waves churned the brilliant white sand.

A lot of our tour depended on the tide, we started out by going to Lake Mackenzie, famous for its clear blue freshwater and sandy beach, covering more than 150 hectares.


lakemac(yes… ok, I bought a dodgy pair of traveller baggy trousers!! From the “Rainbow shop” in Byron Bay incase anyone wanted a pair – I don’t suppose I will have much use for these in London)

On our second morning, I woke up early to try and catch the “must-see” sunrise; however, it was very cloudy and not the best view- positive to this – we did not get eaten by dingos (I was armed with a stick mum- don’t worry…).

We visited Eli Creek, the largest freshwater creek on the Eastern Coast of the Island, it carves its way through to the beach and pours 80 million litres of water a day into the Pacific Ocean!  We did our best to drive there but the salt water had become too deep so we had to park up the cars and walk up to the creek, where we perfected our otter impressions and floated on our backs down to the beginning. Jump-Swim- Float- Repeat. The water was chilly but very refreshing. We saw a monster spider underneath the steps (probably bigger than my hand- did slightly put me off jumping in the next time).

After spending some time here, we drove over to the famous Maheno Shipwreck. We could hear popping when we were driving- these were lots of jellyfish under the wheels of the jeep! EW! The Maheno was driven ashore on Fraser Island during a cyclone in 1935.



Next we headed to the champagne pools after climbing up to a beautiful cliff top walkway. Be prepared for crashing waves and a seaweed invasion in your bikini.


On our final day, we walked though the rainforest (the island is the only known place where rainforest grows on sand) and across sand dunes before arriving at Lake Wabby, the deepest lake on the Island (11.4 m).  Unlike Lake McKenzie and the other Fraser Island lakes which contain high acidity levels, Lake Wabby’s is much lower, normally this would not be something that I would blog about but it means this lake is home to some massive fish, including catfish and rainbow fish (also the fish that nibble away dead skin).

sanddunelakewabbylakewabby1FRASER thank you for being FANTASTIC!! The locals call the island “K’Gari” meaning paradise – and apparently they have got it spot on!




This is basically one road of hippy-ville. Imagine free love exploding along a small street and then you can picture Nimbin. It is 70km west of Byron bay. 

A bus shuttle service from Byron drives you there and back in one day. It has a huge cannabis culture- openly bought, sold and consumed. It has a Nimbin hemp embassy. Most famously known for the “grannies that sell cookies”. 

Let’s get back to Byron bay… 



Byron Bay

Byron bay is how I imagined Australia to be. Before I booked my flights this is what I dreamt up in my imagination for my travels- Byron you didn’t disappoint. It’s blue skies, sunshine, beaches and no one wears shoes (it’s super relaxed and easy going). 

After arriving, I walked up to Byron’s lighthouse, about an hour from my hostel via the Cape Byron walking track. It is the eastern most point of mainland Australia. We saw wallabies on the walk up (little kangaroos). The views are also incredible at sunrise and sunset (if you can brave the early start after cheeky monekeys, Byron hotel or woodys surf shack). 

Main beach in Byron

Bay leaf cafe – it’s always great when you meet up with friends when you are away and they are in the same place on holiday! 

Cheeky monkeys 

This is forever more my happy place. Byron bay I’m really happy that I chose to spend my birthday with you. I met a great group of friends and had the best five days here. 

Ps. Skydive photos (what everyone should do for their 26th birthday present btw will follow this post when I can access photos from my USB).



Coffs Harbour

Stop One: Coffs Harbour, approximately 10hours from Sydney by bus ( I chose to do the overnight bus to save money on accommodation and wanted to try and leave maximum time for exploring).

Only stayed here for one night (I turned out to be quite relieved about this). Located half way between Sydney and Brisbane. 

This was my introduction to backpacker life having been looked after in Sydney staying with one of my oldest and dearest friends. This was a little bump into reality (having to lock up my valuables, a rickety old noisy fan and top bunk bed etc). The first mistake I made was to not book accommodation and arriving at 7am it’s a little tricky to guess where to head to. Second mistake was to see a backpacker minibus dropping off people at the bus stop and not enquire about a lift to a hostel – so… I ended up walking to the hostel that had a free minibus shuttle service! This was not a fun 20minute trek with a heavy backpack and bag! 

The hostel I chose was very popular with travellers looking to get their farm work ticked off  for second year visas and as such there were not many friendly faces for new travellers or short stay travellers. I had a six person female dorm and shared with a heavy snorer- as a result I lost my headphones because I had to sleep in them to drown her out and it was dark in the morning when I packed to catch my early greyhound. This is still irritating as I’m typing this. There’s also no point calling lost property at the hostel because people were such dark horses – someone left a phone charger unit in the main reception and I witnessed three people take the power plug, the lead and the adapter separately!!!

Once checked in I met two girls from the UK, Jasmin and Kirsty- they became instant friends as they shared their coffee with me. I hadn’t thought to bring my own (mistake number three).

I had a day to fit in as much as possible, so after my coffee I headed down to the main harbour and beach area. 

I wandered around the local market. Cold fresh Australian watermelon is beautiful in the heat! 

Lots of fresh produce on offer for reasonable prices. Very popular with the hostel guests. 

A short walk away is Muttonbird Island, a really luscious green Island poking out from the marina. It’s definately worth the rocky walk to the lookouts. 

Muttonbird nests 

Seaside town- had to get a fish n chips for lunch. Shark is an option! 

Best part for me about Coffs Harbour was the hostel 5dollar BBQ in the evening. 

So far I’m not sure the backpacking Lifestyle is for me. I won’t be rushing back to Coffs.