12 Dec 2014

Beer and Veggie Bites at Bundobust

bundobust leeds review

Trying to get a devoted carnivore, like Steve, to accompany me to a vegetarian restaurant can be a tricky task that needs much persuasion. However, with a creative Indian street food menu and a bar of eclectic craft beers, a visit to Bundobust proved instantly enticing. 

17 Nov 2014

Nutty On-The-Run Breakfast Bars

Time in the morning seems to tick away too fast and I never have time for breakfast before I dash out of the door. Cereal has been off my breakfast menu for about six months as I've stopped drinking milk. Calves milk is difficult for humans to digest and can lead to outbreaks of red flaky skin on your face, trust me - not attractive! Since I’ve been making my own granola bars, breakfast has become  tastier and my skin is much smoother too.

raw granola bar breakfast recipe

7 Oct 2014

The White Sands of Playa Blanca

The weather has turned pretty gloomy the last few days and as they say north of the wall “Winter is coming!”. This summer we haven’t travelled and have spent many sunshine filled days enjoying the rolling hills of Yorkshire with our beautiful dog, Poppy. I’m actually surprised that I’m not itching to get away again, our backpacking adventure definitely cured my travelling bug! However, with the season finally turning to Autumn, and my recent return to full time employment, the phrase “I need a holiday” is edging closer to my lips. 

playa blanca cartagena colombia

28 Sep 2014

Hello, Meat Liquor Leeds!

Let me introduce you to the newest arrival on the Leeds, steadily expanding, burger scene. Leeds, Meat Liquor. Meat Liquor, Leeds. I'm a big fan fan of this cult London born brand, much loved for its burgers and cocktails, and couldn't wait to check out their newest branch. We visited during their opening week on a Friday evening and expected to queue for a while. To our surprise there was no queue and no customers inside the clinical looking diner. Were we in the wrong place?

meat liquor review leeds

12 Sep 2014

The Best Cheap Eats In London

Shockingly it's been almost a year since we moved out of our lovely garden flat in London’s Crouch End to embark on our round the world adventure. Even more surprising is that it took us almost three months, since returning to the UK, to visit our beloved capital. However, we recently enjoyed four fantastic days reacquainting ourselves with much missed friends and London’s best bits, without the stress of working there. As former adopted Londoners with seven years experience eating our way around the city we've compiled a list of our favourite cheap yet cool restaurants in London. 

cheap restaurant London Dotori

4 Sep 2014

Authentic Tom Yum Soup

You like spicy? Then you will love this hot and sour soup recipe that I learnt in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand! Tom Yum is a delicious broth that combines all of my favourite flavours from Thai cuisine: coriander, lemongrass, lime and chilli. It’s very spicy and comes pretty close to blowing your head off - consider yourself warned. Still reading? Great! Tom Yum is easy to make and cooks in under thirty minutes, plus its low fat as there is no coconut milk or oil in this recipe. It’s one of my favourite soups as it smells fantastic and is full of flavour.

authentic tom yum soup recipe

2 Sep 2014

A Beauty Review: Lush Fresh Face Masks

As I recently discovered, when it comes to your beauty products you can’t find fresher than the gorgeous smelling goodies you find instore (and online) at Lush. They have so many luscious treats on offer too, much more than the slightly naff and frequently copied bath bombs. You always smell a Lush store before you see it and one rainy afternoon my Mum and I ducked inside for shelter. I’m so glad we did as I connected with this innovative brand for the first time, and found a new favourite beauty treat - Lush’s Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask.

lush fresh face masks review

28 Aug 2014

Spicy Guacamole And Homemade Tortilla Chips

Last night I made tortilla chips for the first time and teamed them with a Mexican inspired bowl of spicy guacamole. Holy Mole - it was pretty delicious! The fresh, punchy flavours in the guacamole and crunch of the tortillas were so much better than the pre-made, fat-filled nachos and dips at the supermarket. I feel pretty confident  as I write this that once you try this recipe, you’ll never go back to the likes of Doritos for your nachos fix again. They're so easy to make, as in less than 15 minutes, and great as a starter or snacking in front of the TV!

29 Jul 2014

A Beauty Review: Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm

I’m huge fan of cleansing balms and since discovering them for the first time about 12 months ago I've enthusiastically incorporated them into my daily beauty regime. When it comes to cleansers I'm very anti makeup wipes, they are the ultimate lazy (or, tired) girl accessory and they don’t do any good for your skin. The other option is a cream or water based cleanser but I find the whole cotton wool thing takes forever until I'm satisfied my face is clean. And then who has time to be bothered with a separate eye make up remover?!

Merumaya Cleansing Balm Review

15 Jul 2014

Date Night At Tharavadu

Kerala was the first stop on our round the world adventure and we are extremely fond of this small state on India's south west coast. Every day we delighted in the fantastic spices, seafood and hospitality of this region. Kerala is famous for its beautiful backwaters, evergreen jungle and Arabian Sea coastline of golden beaches.

review tharavadu restaurant leeds
"Authentic Kerala fish curry (in Leeds!)" 

17 Jun 2014

Skinny Spicy Cauliflower Soup

The latter half of our seven month trip was in South America and the effects of a high carb, meaty diet are really showing as I can no longer fit in to my favourite J Brands. Sob! So, for the past week since returning from our epic round the world adventure I’ve been trying to cram as many vegetables into my diet as possible. 

skinny cauliflower soup recipe

1 Jun 2014

Ten Travel Essentials For Female Travellers

After seven eventful and fulfilling months backpacking across India, South East Asia and South America there are a few things in my backpack, well, ten to precise, that I would struggle to travel without. Unless you're flashpacking or a journalist for Condenast Traveler backpacking is a very unglamorous life, you literally carry everything you need/own with you as you go.  Yes, whatever you decide you 'need' you're going to have to carry so the idea is to travel as light as possible and the selection process of what to take is very daunting. 

19 May 2014

Eating Cartagena

The journey to Cartagena from Iquitos was a long and tiring one, so when we woke in our cramped but beautiful hotel room we were very excited to be in Colombia. Cartagena is a major port on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a beautiful, Spanish colonial walled town and an impressive fortress that was built to defend the city against pirates. We stayed in Getsamani, a small neighbourhood outside of the old walls where back in the pirate day the African slaves used to live, more recently its where prostitutes made their living and today it’s very backpacker friendly!

cartagena colombia

11 May 2014

Border Mission: Peru to Colombia

Iquitos was a very different city once we returned from our trip into the Amazon. It was early afternoon and everybody was in town, the streets were literally buzzing with rickshaws, it was so noisy and almost impossible to cross the road as there was so much traffic. Such a contrast to the serenity we’d just experienced in the jungle! 

life on the amazon river peru

8 May 2014

Amazon Adventures With Jungle Man

Our journey to the mighty Amazon jungle began in Lima, after a couple of days hanging out in the trendy bars and restaurants of the Barranco neighbourhood, we boarded our $80 flight to Iquitos. Our decision to venture into the Amazon was made just one week before whilst we were in Cusco. After a few hours research and a couple of emails we chose to stay at the native owned Abundancia Ecolodge over the many American owned luxury lodges also near to Iquitos. Our guide would be Miguel aka Jungle Man! 

eco lodge iquitos amazon peru

4 May 2014

Learning To Sandboard

When we first heard about the huge sand dunes in Huacachina we were a little skeptical about them. In Vietnam, we’d visited the pretty but underwhelming dunes at Mui Ne the year before. Fellow backpackers and bloggers assured us that sandboarding in Peru was something we had to try. All buses from Cusco to Lima go via Ica so there was lots of choice on buses, as it was 14 hours overnight we decided to treat ourselves to the 'Cama Total' seats downstairs. 

sandboarding huacachina peru

2 May 2014

We Made It To Machu Picchu!

Cusco is the gateway to the incredible mountain top Inca village of Machu Picchu and it would have been a major fail for us if we didn’t at least try and visit. The scenic, adventurous route was no longer an option (see why here) so, we decided to see if a local travel agent could help get us there another way. 

"We made it!"

30 Apr 2014

Cusco - The Centre of the Inca Empire

In total we spent just over two weeks in Bolivia and after a sunny couple of days on Lake Titicaca it was time to board a night bus bound for Cusco in Peru. Copacabana is less than 15 minutes drive from Bolivia’s border with Peru and for the first time in South America we had a supervised border crossing by the hostess on our bus, this meant we were herded like sheep from one immigration office to the next. The Peruvian immigration office looked in need of some renovation but we were very excited to be in Peru. So many travellers had raved to us about Peru and we couldn't wait to explore.

copacabana to cusco peru immigration
"Welcome to Peru!"

25 Apr 2014

The Other Copacabana

Our final stop in Bolivia was Copacabana, where unlike it’s famous Brazilian namesake this Copacabana sits on the banks of Lake Titicaca, one of the world’s highest lakes at 3,812m ASL. This lakeside town is only a four hour drive north of La Paz and less than 30 minutes from the Bolivia and Peru border making it a popular traveller spot. Our bus ride to Copacabana started in the rather rough Cementario neighbourhood of La Paz with an unpleasant breakfast of bread filled with cheesy, lumpy milk. Note to Sticky: Just because the locals are eating it doesn’t mean you will like it too! 

22 Apr 2014

A Long Weekend In La Paz

La Paz couldn’t be more different in appearances to Sucre, its all chunky grey buildings, noisy traffic and busy people packed tightly into the base and steep sides of its crater like setting. The city is edged with beautiful mountains and sits at an average height of 3,600m ASL making it the highest capital city in the world. Travellers have mixed opinions on La Paz but like any capital its dirty, noisy and smelly so its a love it or hate it kind of place. We approached it with an open mind and were looking forward to somewhere with bustle and hustle.

la paz street art bolivia

18 Apr 2014

Happily Stranded In Sucre

We spent just one night In Uyuni recovering from our Salt Flats tour before making the bus journey to Sucre via Potosi. There had been daily protests and road blockades over the past week so we were relieved that we could actually travel. First we took a bus for about four hours to the silver mining town of Potosi which is also the highest town in the world at 4,440m ASL. We would have loved to have stayed and visited the mines here which are notoriously dangerous places to work but as the miners were mid-strike we decided to pass straight through to Sucre in a shared taxi for just 40 BOB (£4) per person.

sucre plaza bolivia

12 Apr 2014

Touring The Worlds Biggest Salt Flats

We began our adventure to the Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia’s huge salt flat desert in a quaint little town called Tupiza just an hour north of the countries border with Argentina. Walking the streets of Tupiza we felt like we’d been transported back in time to another era, almost all the women were wearing traditional Bolivian dress and they looked fantastic. From head to toe they each wore a small black bowler hat, their long hair braided in two pigtails, a knitted cardigan over a waist length lace blouse, a huge calf length A-line skirt with hoops for essential hip enhancement (to impress the men!), woolly orange tights and open toe sandals. This is the Aymara women’s signature style and they never stray from it.

Indigenous Bolivian women
Photo Credit: Luchalibrabol.com

7 Apr 2014

Horseriding With Gauchos In Salta

Our next destination after wonderful Cafayate was Salta which was a meagre four hour journey north by bus through the Quebrada De Las Conchas (aka. those rocks again). The main reason for heading to Salta was to go whitewater rafting on the Rio Juramento, we’d loved our rafting experience in Bali so much and were very keen to try it again. We even emailed the only agency in town to check it was available and of course they said "yes, no problem" but when we went to the office there was of course 'a problem’ and we couldn’t go.

gaucho horseriding salta argentina

3 Apr 2014

Exploring Cafayate A Wine Lover’s Paradise

Cafayate is a tiny town famous for producing Torrentes wine and its quite tricky to reach when you’re heading north so not many travellers venture here which made it even more appealing to us. From Mendoza we took an overnight bus of 15 hours to Tucaman and this bus was by far the worst we’d travelled on so far, inside it was very dated and scruffy with no service but it did stop a lot so we were able to grab some food and use a cleaner bathroom along the way. 

the road to cafayate argentina

28 Mar 2014

Fine Wine & Fabulous Food In Mendoza

We headed to Mendoza full of excitement as its Argentina’s wine capital producing 80% of the countries wine every year. We’d already enjoyed some fantastic Argentinian wines over the past ten days and were eager to learn more about them plus, of course taste them. Steve had organised a very special date with a premium bodega through his previous employer too! Good times guaranteed. Unfortunately our 24 hour bus ride from Puerto Madryn was not a great one due to only Spanish films and no wine but, we did play bingo in Spanish! We didn’t win though and were full of envy when the bingo champ collected his bottle of wine!

wine tasting bodega salentein mendoza argentina

22 Mar 2014

The Penguins Of Punto Tombo

We’d read about and heard a rumour that there was a one million strong penguin colony on the central Patagonian coast, and our research showed that they were in town (shore) until the end of March - just like us! We were feeling lucky so caught another long distance night bus to the colder climes of Southern Argentina and the seaside town of Puerto Madryn. For this journey we traveled with Andesmar in the same class as before and though it was alright we’d definitely been spoiled by Rio Uruguay. It was raining very heavily in Buenos Aires so our bus was delayed by a few hours which meant our dinner was served at 1.30am, by this point we thought we weren’t getting anyway so were just glad to get fed.

magallenic penguins punto tombo patagonia argentina

19 Mar 2014

Big Eats And Cultural Delights In Buenos Aires

Our journey to Buenos Aires involved our first overnight bus journey and although we’d heard that the buses in Argentina were great we were a still a little apprehensive. There was only one bus company for our route but we opted to travel Cama class which meant an almost flat bed and all meals included, we paid 800 ARS (£62)each. Bus travel in Argentina is expensive but to be fair though we were travelling 1,350 kilometres! Once onboard our minds were put at ease, we had huge comfortable seats and within ten minutes we were eating cake and dulce de leche toffees. They even had a couple of films to entertain us so it was just like being on a long haul flight, we slept well and awoke at the massive three storey bus station in Buenos Aires.

tango buenos aires argentina

10 Mar 2014

Day Tripping At Iguazu Falls

Situated right on the border between Argentina and Brazil Iguazu Falls are a popular stop on the traveller trail in South America. After our crazy week of late nights in Rio De Janeiro for carnival we were definitely in need of a couple of relaxed days in the countryside. We landed in Foz De Iguazu fresh from two short and very comfortable flights on Brazil’s budget airline Azul complete with free snacks and soft drinks - easyjet take note! Our next mission was to cross the border into Argentina and get to the town of Puerto Iguazu where our hostel Residencia Noelia awaited us.

Iguazu Falls Puerto Iguazu Argentina

6 Mar 2014

Rio Fabulous Carnival

As luck would have it our arrival in South America was also when carnival explodes nationwide across Brazil so it was a no-brainer for us to make Rio De Janeiro our first stop. We had seven crazy days in one of the most famous party cities in the world. Cariocas (Rio locals) love to party and during carnival the entire city comes alive to host the world biggest street party. Rio Carneval is not just about the Sambodrome where the cities best samba schools parade, every Rio neighbourhood hosts a bloco (or five) over the four day carnival weekend too.

rio de janeiro carnival 2014 brazil

1 Mar 2014

Sunrise Over Angkor Wat

We left our yoga retreat feeling rejuvenated and with just two days left in Cambodia it was time for us to visit the star attraction, the temples of Angkor Wat. To save time and hassle we organised a half day tuk tuk tour through our hostel. We really wanted to watch sunrise over the Angkor Wat temple so we set off bleary eyed at 5am but the chilly 30 minute drive soon woke us up and we were ready for action.

Angkor Wat Temple Siem Reap Cambodia

26 Feb 2014

Taking Timeout In A Yoga Retreat

There many awesome yoga retreats in South East Asia and of course, India but during our three months travelling these wondrous places we hadn’t visited a single one. After enjoying the beautiful countryside around Kampot we headed to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s main beach resort which was actually a complete dive with dirty sea, dirty sand and a rather seedy nightlife scene for ageing men. We spent a couple of days tanning by our hotel pool near the underwhelming Victory Beach before eagerly hopping aboard a night bus to Siem Reap where the peaceful Angkor Zen Gardens and our first ever yoga retreat experience awaited us. 

Yoga retreat Siem Reap Cambodia
"Zen lives here..."

18 Feb 2014

A Cambodian Countryside Tour By Tuk Tuk

Our next stop after Phnom Penh was about five hours minibus ride south to the small coastal town of Kampot, which is famous for producing Kampot pepper. If you've ever eaten dinner with Vicky you’ll know she puts puts black pepper on everything, so we were both intrigued and looking forward to a taste of the worlds best! Plus, just under 30km along the coast is the quaint seaside village of Kep, the fresh crab here is proclaimed locally as the best in Asia! As we love our food, we were easily sold on a one day tuk tuk tour around Kampot and Kep.

kampot kep cambodia countryside tuk tuk tour

13 Feb 2014

Phnom Penh City Highlights

We were coming to the end of the South East Asian part of our trip and decided to squeeze in a couple of weeks in Cambodia thanks to some cheap flights with Tiger Air. Our first stop was Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh, we’d agreed that we were up for a bit of a party so chose the young and lively Mad Monkey hostel. After a much needed afternoon nap (we’d slept overnight in Singapore airport) we headed straight to their rooftop bar for $1 beers and later, 3 for 2 Happy Hour making friends quickly with an eccentric Irish/Texan guy. 

phnom penh royal palace cambodia

11 Feb 2014

Hiking An Active Volcano

Indonesia has over 147 volcanos many of which are still active and climbable, so as we were in the country it would have been rude of us not to give one a go. Our research led us to Mount Bromo on East Java at 2,329m ASL. The best time to view Mount Bromo is at sunrise when if you are lucky you get to see low blue clouds circling the rim of the crater. 

propellor plane Indonesia domestic flight

8 Feb 2014

Six Beauty Must-Haves For Female Travellers

We're now three months into our epic round the world adventure and I can say from experience that I've figured out my ‘Ultimate Traveller Beauty Kit'. Below are the six beauty must-haves I rely on to keep my skin and hair as healthy as possible whilst I switch between dry, humid, wet and freezing climates. Yup, it's a *cough* hard life as a traveller but that's no excuse to return looking like Magda!

magda something about Mary

7 Feb 2014

Beach Beautiful Gili Meno

Just a ten minute boat ride from Gili T is gorgeous Gili Meno, of the three Gilis its the smallest and least developed island. Much loved for its extremely laid-back vibe and chosen by many including us as the perfect place to get away from it all for few days to relax. Gili Meno is just 2km by 1km and ringed entirely by silky white sand so you are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to finding your own spot of beach. Its so dainty you can do a lap of the entire island in 90 minutes!

beach gili meno the gilis indonesia

1 Feb 2014

The Two Sides Of Paradise On Gili Trawangan

Our next stop after Bali was Gili Trawangan the largest island of the three Gilis, a stunning archipelago of the North West coast of Lombok in Indonesia acclaimed by many as island paradise. We’d also heard that it's a popular swimming and breeding ground for turtles and as we love turtles we were very excited for our visit and boarded the early morning two hour fast boat.

gili carriage horse on gill t indonesia

29 Jan 2014

A Luxury Weekend With Friends In Bali

As we were *almost* in their part of the world (Perth) we wanted to meet up with our great friends Stef and Anna for a long overdue catch up and a plush private villa in Seminyak on Bali seemed like a worthy venue. Now we’re not talking five star luxury here but our digs for the weekend were a serious upgrade from the plain rooms we're starting to grow accustomed to. Private pool, double sunbeds, a manicured lawn, huge bedrooms, bathroom and an open plan kitchen/living area plus, a mandatory fridge full of Bintang, prosecco and wine. Everything was in place for a fun four days!

private villa seminyak bali indonesia

25 Jan 2014

Top Seven Things To Do In Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai despite its size as Thailand's second biggest city after Bangkok maintains an easy going, welcoming vibe and has plenty to offer its visitors. Within the old city walls are numerous temples, great restaurants and lively bars, but outside of the city is lush, green jungle perfect for some more adventurous excursions. Here are our seven favourite things to do in and around Chiang Mai. 

buddha chiang mai thailand

22 Jan 2014

A Touching Day In Elephant Rehab

Despite what some people say Facebook still has its uses and we discovered a fantastic organisation based near Chiang Mai through our good friend Chris. Elephant Nature Park was founded by Sangduen “Lek" Chailert in 2003, its a unique sanctuary and rehabilitation centre where abused elephants rescued from the tourism industry or logging trade, can live in like the wild elephants they were meant to be. We felt compelled to visit and show our support to this inspiring woman who has been rescuing elephants since 1993 and meet the rehabiliated elephants, bracing ourselves for some heartbreaking truths.

asian elephant thailand

16 Jan 2014

Cooking Thai In Chiang Mai

After two and a half months backpacking we finally managed to find a cooking school that fit in to our travelling movements. We had scheduled a visit to Chiang Mai, Thailand's second biggest city and also home to some top rated Thai cooking schools. It was the perfect opportunity to explore our love for Asian food, we often attempt curries such as Massamans at home and have missed cooking since being away.  

Chiang Mai Food market

13 Jan 2014

Island Living On Beautiful Koh Lipe

When we caught our first glimpse of Koh Lipe from our crowded speedboat it was love at first sight and we were very excited to be back in Thailand. The bright turquoise sea, ribbon adorned longboats and white sand soon made us forget the uncomfortable 75 minute journey we'd just endured. We'd been crammed into the back of a small speedboat along with 28 other passengers (plus luggage) and grimaced to a relentless rhythm of "1, 2, 3, BANG! 1, 2, 3, BANG!" all the way from Langkawi to Koh Lipe.

speedboat langkawi koh lipe
"Land Ahoy!"

2 Jan 2014

A Guide To Pantai Cenang Langkawi

Following our lazy and luxurious Christmas at the Berjaya resort we returned to our backpacker status (and budget) in Langkawi's major beach resort Pantai Cenang. The beach here is beautiful, 2km of silky white sand and clear turquoise sea, its lined with low rise bungalow resorts, water-sports companies, laid-back bars and palm trees. Its an ideal location to relax for a few days, reading and working on a tan - everything you need is within walking distance plus, the breeze you get from the sea keeps you sane in the intense humidity.