Wednesday 21 January 2015

for my 10 favourite pics from Vietnam

It was hard, but I did it.
Here are my 10 favourite photos from Vietnam.

Local fisherman - Halong Bay

Halong Bay

This little cutie stole the hat off the older lady sitting beside her. Moments earlier she was standing on a large mound of dirt singing and waving to us all.

At one of the stops along the drive between stops.

Bikes are used to carry just about everything in Vietnam

Presidential Palace in Hanoi

The beach at Hoi An

Roving sales lady

A couple having photos after being married - stumbled across this visiting one of the pagodas.

A Tuk Tuk tour around Hue - felt like the Queen this night. 

Am linking this post up all over the place this week!
My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday.
Ms Mystery Case for Worth Casing Wednesday.
Walking on Travels for Friday Postcards
A Brit and a Southener for Weekend Wanderlust

Monday 19 January 2015

to reveal my plans

A friend messaged me the other day asking about my plans for next year or did she have to wait until my blog post.

It was then I realized it has probably seemed like some big state secret that I was withholding! Not intentional I promise.

To share where I am going I will show you what I have been reading lately, which is the confession prompt this Monday over at My Home Truths.

First I have been reading this.....

My online course Travel Blog Success. It was something I joined up to some months ago but it has taken a bit of a back seat but I have logged on again this past week. I am still a little unsure of what my blogging goals are and if this is even the direction I want to take. The more I read the more I realize I am a little out of my league and exactly how much I don't know what I am doing! However, I'll continue to plod my way through and see what transpires.

I've also been reading this....

My tour itinerary.
My first trip I am heading back to South East Asia. As mentioned, I had such a great time in Vietnam in September and it confirmed for me that SE Asia is definitely somewhere I want to explore more and any hesitations I had in travelling there were slightly unwarranted.

First stop is Thailand where I am doing another Intrepid tour starting and ending in Bangkok. Following that I will be chilling in Phuket for a few nights.

Then I'll be heading to Cambodia for a month and need to make sure I'm up to speed on everything in this....

Volunteering overseas is something that has been on my bucket list for some time now and after hours of trawling the internet and asking people for advice I finally settled on Cambodia and registered with International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ). I have a 4 week placement in Cambodia and while I am not sure of all the exact details as yet I have requested to work in Child Care. I will know more in the coming weeks. I will confess to being a little nervous about what conditions I will be working and living in, but I am excited about the experience and what it will bring for me.

I am not sure in hindsight and time will tell if it was a good idea or not, but I fly out of Brisbane on Friday the 13th February and am totally on the countdown.

Someone recently commented that I was very "planned" for my trip and wasn't leaving much room for chance and possibilities. That's really not me. I like to have as much planned and paid for before I leave home, I think I just feel safer and reassured somehow if I know exactly what I'm doing and where I'm going. Perhaps that may change, we'll have to wait and see.

What sort of traveller are you? 
Fly by the seat of your pants or organised Annie?

Linking up with My Home Truths and One Mother Hen! Check 'em out!

Monday 12 January 2015

for a new backpack

My without a doubt bargain buy in this years Boxing Day sales was my new wheelie backpack and packing cells from Kathmandu!

I was fortunate enough to get a $100 gift voucher to use at Kathmandu from some lovely people at work and went looking for some new luggage to get me through my adventures this year. I had been doing some research and had decided that I wanted to invest in a backpack on wheels. I am not a big backpack person and hundreds, probably thousands, of dollars being spent at the Chiropractor and on remedial massages seems like such a waste to then go put a heavy arse backpack on it but I do like the convenience of them if need be. So a backpack on wheels seems like the perfect compromise, and this one was a bargain.

Prior to the sales I had written off the Kathmandu ones due to the expense, but with the voucher, some money from my Grandmother and an awesome sale I got exactly what I wanted.
70 Litres of spacious wheelie backpack heaven

It did also have an optional day pack that can be attached to it, however I already have another small pack that I use as my day pack so I decided against it at this point.

While I was there, and given how good the sale was I decided to invest in some packing cells. Lots of people swear by them these days but I never saw the fuss. During my last trip to Vietnam I used suction packing bags and they were great, especially because I did my fair share of shopping there!
Time will tell how good these are.

New packing cells

In the bottom left hand side is a cotton sleeping bag liner. Sometimes when travelling, beds and linen can be lacking and/or questionable, so a tip I picked up from another traveller is to invest in a sleeping bag liner that you can slide into if such a need arises....eek..

So how much were all my bargains and how much did I save?

The sleeping bag liner was 60% off making it just $23.99. There was a deal on the packing cells, any 3 for $25, which was a bargain as the large one is usually $29.98 on it's own. The backpack was the biggest bargain down from $499.98 to just $224.98!

All up I purchased $709.84 worth of goodies for just $298.97, so with the voucher and other money I had received, my out of pocket expense was quite minimal! A bargain indeed I would say!!

Can't wait to put all of this to good use very soon! Stand by in the coming weeks as I reveal where I am wheelie backpacking to first and whether my new bargain backpack is up to the challenge!

I have just had a quick look at it seems the massive Kathmandu sale is still happening so if you are in the market for any camping, outdoor or travel gear be sure and check it out!

Linking up with Kirsty at My Home Truths where you can read more about bargain Boxing Day buys, and Alicia from One Mother Hen for Open Slather.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

For my top 10 Health and Fitness tips!

A lot of you will have set yourself some health and fitness resolutions this year so I thought that I would share my 10 top tips to achieve your health and fitness goals in 2015.

Now I should start with the disclosure that I do not hold any qualifications in the health and fitness industry and that you should always consult a professional before starting any new health and fitness program. These are just hints and tips and advice from someone who's probably been there and tried that! Take it with a grain of salt, keep the bits that interest you and discard the rest! 

1. Set SMART goals...

SMART Goals are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
You really need to sit down and have a good think about what it is you are hoping to achieve, but follow the above guidelines when writing your goals. A goal like "I want to run" is way too broad. A more suitable goal might be, "In 3 months time I want to be able to run 5km in under 35minutes".

Set short (eg. 1 month), medium (eg. 3/6 months) and long (6/12 months) term goals and revise them as often as necessary. Write them down, make them into a poster and hang in your bedroom, put them on sticky notes on your bathroom mirror, tell your partner/friends/family/next door neighbour/anyone who'll listen, stick them to the inside of your pantry where you will see them each time you reach for a snack! Whatever you need to do to keep them in the front of your mind.
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2. Track your progress and celebrate successes...
Take photos of yourself in the same outfit at the start of your journey and at regular intervals throughout. They never need to see the light of day but your eyes but they are a great way of seeing how you are going. If you are comfortable, a bikini or sports bra and shorts are great as you can get a really good view of what's going on.

I also keep a notebook of notes of my fitness progress. I keep all my measurements, including weight, as well as my progress towards my goals and track running times etc in this notebook as well.
I have a weekly weigh in, and keep a note of it, as well as jotting down anything that was going on that week that may have impacted on my weight. I don't however get too hung up on my weight as it is on the scales as I don't believe this is a true indication of my progress. I prefer to look at my clothes and my other measurements (arms, thighs, chest, waist and hips). I love it when a pair of shorts that used to be really tight, now slip on with ease, but the scales haven't moved. I am actually currently 4kg off my goal weight but it is not bothering me at all because I know I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been (or than I have been in a looong time!).

If you are keen you could join the fitness tracker revolution which will track things like exercise, steps taken, calorie intake and output, sleep etc. I wrote a post a few weeks ago comparing the Fitbit Flex with Garmin Vivofit, two of the popular ones on the market at the moment, if you missed that you can read it here.

When you have reached a goal, celebrate it! Shout it from the roof tops, share it on Facebook, brag about it to all your friends. The support and encouragement you will receive will be overwhelming and be exactly the motivation you will need to keep going and smash your next one!

I was amazed looking back through old photos to see this! Was great to compare.!

3. Join something...
anything.... a gym, a bootcamp, a yoga class, a facebook motivational group....anything.
It will be a long hard journey if you try and do it alone so find something that suits you and join it! I never thought I would do the bootcamp thing, I thought I wasn't fit enough, would feel out of place and hold the group back, but joining that group last year was the best fitness decision I made. Not only did I meet some really cool people, but I exercised harder than I ever have and did some things I never thought that I would thanks to the encouragement and support of the wonderful Personal Trainer and the other girls in the group. Find something that works for and suits you and pay up front if you can because if you are anything like me, you are more likely to go if you've already paid for it because otherwise it's a big fat waste of money and you just can't swallow that!
4. Change it up...
Don't be scared to try different things and change things up a bit. Find something that you like and enjoy but every now and then do something different. You don't want your exercise routine to become mundane or boring because then you won't want to stick to it. You also want to make sure that you are working different muscle groups and if you are constantly doing the same thing you will leave some muscles unworked. If you are trying to stick to a program but don't feel like doing what it is asking of you, perhaps you don't have enough time, or you have a niggling injury or muscle soreness, don't just skip it, do something else, even if it's just a walk, that is better than sitting on the couch and your body will thank you for it.
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5. Get dressed...
I was concerned when I started the bootcamp how I would go as it was from 6-7 at night. I don't usually like to exercise in the afternoon as there always seems to be many reasons (aka excuses) as to why it wouldn't/didn't happen, for example "I have a headache", "It's too hot", "I had a late meeting at work", "I'm too tired", and the list goes on. I much prefer to exercise in the morning, that way it was over and done with and I wouldn't have to think about it for the rest of the day. I always felt I had a better day and was more productive on the days that I did exercise before work. Anyway to try and overcome the problem of not wanting to exercise at night I would get changed into my workout gear as soon as I got home from work and try and not sit down until it was time to go. Once changed I felt ready and would always go. If I am exercising first thing in the morning I always lay my gym clothes out the night before and get straight up and get dressed before I did anything else!

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6. Count down...
This is a little exercise tip that works for me. When I am doing reps of a certain exercise, say the workout I am following requires me to do 12 pushups, I prefer to count down from 12 rather than up to 12. I know it seems like such a tiny thing but it actually helps me a lot. If I know how many I have left I am more likely to get to the end. If I am counting up, sometimes I have a tendancy to stop because I think I can't make it. It's like some kind of weird brain trick thing, but for me it works.

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7. Get over yourself...
There used to be so many things I couldn't wouldn't do. There were so many things I wouldn't do at the gym because, believe it or not, I was too embarrassed. The workout that I am following at the moment asked me a few weeks ago to skip for 2 minutes. There was a skipping rope hanging up in the gym but I was too embarrassed to get it and start skipping in front of the 5 or so people in the gym at the time. What if I tripped, what if I had forgotten how to I did something else. Last week it popped up in my program again and I thought, fuck it, and so I skipped and skipped and skipped and felt like a 10 year old girl all over again! I even tried to recall some of those songs we used to sing in primary school as well! And yep, people looked at me but I didn't care, I just made sure I was a sweaty gross mess and gave them something worth looking at! Once you get over yourself and don't care what you look like and what others may think of you while you are working out, you'll find a new way of exercising.

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8. Change your self talk...
Stop with the 'I can'ts"and change them to "I cans". Don't focus on what you can't do but what you can do. I used to say that I couldn't do lunges due to my dodgy knees, so for a while I worked on exercises to strengthen my knees. One night at bootcamp I didn't want to be that girl who didn't do the same thing as everyone else, so I gave it a go and did a lunge, and then another one, and now I can do lunges up and down the length of my gym carrying 5kg dumbbells! I just continue to tell myself I can do it! Tune into your self talk when you first start exercising and listen to what it is telling you, then work out what you need to change.
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9. Treat yourself...
You still need to do and enjoy things that are important to you. Unless you have the motivation and willpower of a saint you will not be able to go cold turkey if you have been one to indulge. All PTs that I have worked with have encouraged me to have a "treat day" or "treat meal" once a week. It is all about balance and I like to use the 80/20 method when it comes to eating. If you want to try and give up all things "bad" then find another way to treat yourself, for example if you reach a goal buy yourself something pretty or that you've had your eye on for a while. It's another way to celebrate your successes.
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10. Accept what can't be changed...
Despite our best efforts there are some things that cannot be changed. Not all of us were genetically blessed with an hourglass figure, and no matter how much we try our bodies just are not shaped that way. I have little boobs and a big butt (hips) and short of having some pretty drastic surgery, that ain't gonna change! It has taken me a long time to get used to this and accept it and I will admit to not being totally accepting of it all the time, (trying on dresses is still an absolute bitch and often brings a tear to my eye!) I am a lot better than I used to be as I start to see things toning and changing.

 I wish you all the very best with whatever your health and fitness goals for 2015. If you have any tips or want to share your goals I'd love to hear them below!

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

Monday 5 January 2015

for my word for 2015

A few years ago I went to a psychic, actually I've been to a few over the years, and while I take what they say with a big fat grain of salt, something this one said in particular has stuck with me and has been replaying in my head as I contemplated my word for 2015.

She told me I was too nice, she said that I put others before myself too much and that I let people take advantage of me. She said that I was the type of person that if I had an apple and 10 of my friends complained they were hungry, that I would cut the apple into 10 pieces to share with all my friends and not leave any for myself. She said I was the type of person that went to movies I didn't want to see and shops I didn't want to go to because I wasn't the type of person to push what I wanted..... I didn't really think much of it at the time, just kind of shrugged it off thinking that she could have really been describing anyone...I mean isn't that what most people did, that's my personality.

But lately it's got me thinking and as I move towards a year of discovering who I am and what I really want from and for my life I have decided that this year my word is:


For a long time I thought the word was going to me ME as this year is really all about me and doing what I want but something in the last 24 hours has changed that and I have settled on enough.

I think it's more this saying that the actually word in isolation that has struck a cord with me. This saying is what I need to remember. I am going to stop focusing on my flaws and focus on my strengths because I am enough. I am going to stop wasting money on trivial things because I have enough and I am going to stop doing everything that I am asked to do and do the things I want to do because I do enough.

So while it may sound a little selfish I am going to focus more on me and less on pleasing others or doing what others think I should do, or what I think others think I should do (does that make sense!). I am not going to do this to the detriment of my personality or my friendships, I am not going to change who I am, just shift my thoughts and my focus a little.

So NO you cannot have my apple and NO I am not going to see that dodgy movie that I don't want to see just because you asked me to!!! 

2015 is MY year!

**I must confess that my 2014 goals and word didn't quite come to fruition like I had hoped it would in 2014 but if you want to read about it you can do so here **