How I found my first day of open water diving…

Well, I survived my first day diving in the deep blue sea. Amazing right? I always imagined myself diving but never did I imagine how fearful I would be. The sea is a scary place but so beautiful when you get to explore it using Scuba equipment. This morning we had our exam, where we were asked about 40+ questions, which was all stuff that we learnt in the classroom, in the pool the day before and when we did our homework later in the evening. I didn’t get enough questions right the first time around so went back, read the question thoroughly and re- answered. Thankfully, I passed the test. I’m not all that good with tests and the academic side of things but instead prefer to be more hands on and learn through experience. Surprisingly, I felt so much more confident in the sea than I did when we were in the pool yesterday. It came so much more naturally and I felt relaxed, in control and it was so much fun! We are diving as a group of 5, plus our dive instructor and dive master in training. It’s a fabulous group! We are all a similar age and we all seem to have the same laid back personality, so nobody feels rushed or guilty for slowing the group down. I love it! Anyway, I’m lying in bed, in the dark, waiting for Josh to come home from watching the United match. I don’t think it’s a very good result, so hopefully he won’t be too long to bed as we have to be up at at the restaurant for 6:15am, to catch a boat to Chumpon Pinnacle, where we will experience our 3rd dive! I’m keeping my fingers crossed (and rubbing my nipples) in hopes that we will get to see the infamous whale sharks. Ps. The nipple rubbing thing is a tradition of Big Blue’s, I believe, it’s good luck to do this and bad luck to mention ‘whale shark’ on the boat. Keep your fingers crossed for us guys! I didn’t come all this way for nothing! Hope you’re having a fab bank holiday weekend, love L x

Night train to Koh Tao

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This little boy made me laugh so much, he was so involved in whatever he was watching, whilst his mum cooked and served food off her market stall. Love getting street shots like this!

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Before catching the train, we ate food at a restaurant opposite Hua Lamphong train station.

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The sun set and it was as if the sky was on fire, how beautiful?!

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Hopped on the night train at 7:30pm. The lads all had Singha's and eventually had them taken off them. There must be an unwritten rule that you aren't allowed to drink on them...

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We were late booking the night train so only top bunks were available. These are smaller than the bottom beds and right next to the air conditioning so I spent the night curled up in a ball, coughing because my throat was so sore.

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Josh at 4am trying to breathe in warm air from under his blanket.

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Sairee beach here in Koh Tao. These are the boats that we will hop on board to when we begin our open water diving course. I'm so nervous...

I don't feel particularly great after a bad nights sleep, shitty air con again and a headache but here we are in Koh Tao, finally! It's so hot here, it's actually hard to leave the shade without pining for a drink of water or burning your feet on the sand. We start our open water theory later this afternoon, where Josh and I will have to pass a test so that we are able to go out and complete an SSI. I'm sat in the bungalow on the beach at the moment, I'm going to catch about half an hour sleep and then go out and possibly play a bit of football with Alex and Josh. We just walked in to town to get checked over by the Dr before diving, just to ensure that everything is okay - which thankfully it was, otherwise I'd have been gutted. Alex also got a few piercings in town too which I recorded so I'll share that on my Koh Tao vlog when I am home. Anyway, time for a nap before I fall asleep learning my theory tonight. Have a good day, L.

Ginger Farm Kitchen, Chiang Mai

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Where we ate: Ginger Farm Kitchen, Chiang Mai

I know I said that I probably wouldn't have time to post but I do have a couple of minutes spare and I really wanted to share with you our meal from last night, whilst it's still fresh in my memory. Wow, the most delicious meal we've all had here in Thailand was at a great find, just across from our hotel in the One Nimman shopping area. A must try for anyone who visits Chiang Mai. Although a little steep in price compared to street vendors, it is definitely a treat and well worth it in my opinion. Mum and I had the Tom Yum cocktails - delicious! And Alex and I both went for the Khao Soi noodles, the dish that I've been craving ever since I had it in Bangkok. Then we all shared a variety of dishes, from fried shrimp, fish balls, fried eggs covered in tamarind sauce to the most amazing crispy belly pork. Urgh, I could eat it all again now it was that good but I'm currently lying in bed, with a sore throat, waiting for Josh to get back from the gym before we head down to breakfast. We are heading to the airport around lunchtime to hop on a flight back to Bangkok, where we will catch a train later this evening. I'm so excited to get to the beach, it's definitely the best part of Thailand for me - the beaches, the palm trees, the sunsets and the chilled out lifestyle. Chiang Mai has been good but I don't think we made the most of our time here, which means we may have to return in the near future! Doi Inthanon was on my list of things to do here and I failed but in all honesty, non of us could be bothered with the 5 hour round trip to and from the hotel. Anyway, Josh is back now and urging me to move out of bed so I best do as I'm told, ha! I guess I'll speak to you when I'm in the south of Thailand tomorrow! Lots of love, L.

Pool day at the U Nimman

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Hey loves! It's 5pm here in Thailand, the rain has just forced us to leave the pool side but I don't mind because I've had enough sun today. I didn't actually do much researching yesterday, in fact in all honesty I did zero. We went out for food last night and then Josh woke up at 2am to watch the United match.. but I'm not allowed to talk about that (they lost). We are busy travelling back down to Bangkok tomorrow afternoon, where we will catch the night train to Chumpon and then a bus to catch the ferry over to Koh Tao. It will be a long ass day but I'm so excited to get to the island's now. I'm struggling to breathe properly here in Chiang Mai. I don't know whether it's just in my head or if the air pollution is really bad here, either way.. get me to the beach! So, basically today has been the same as yesterday. We sunbathed, swam and ordered food from the bar. I had this delicious homemade ginger ale with cinnamon and fruit. It was so refreshing! I'm going to try and make it when we are home, I even think a drop of gin would go in it nicely! I'm not sure I'll get chance to post tomorrow as we'll be on the sleeper train in the evening so I guess I will speak to you in a few days! Have a good week, L.

We’ve arrived in Chiang Mai

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Hello! Okay.. I just wrote a whole paragraph ready to share and clicked cancel instead of save and it deleted it all! So annoying! Anyway, what I was going to say was that we arrived in Chiang Mai yesterday after a very bumpy plane ride here. Josh and I sat by the pool, ordered some food and then we were later joined by my Mum, Dad and brother Alex. We were all pretty tired so we spent the majority of the evening in the pool, watching the live concert that was taking place across the road at the Maya shopping mall. I think we got the best view, don't you agree? Songkran was still in full swing when we arrived, so we only ventured to a nearby food place for dinner and sat in the hotel bar for a few drinks before bed.. then we ordered a pizza company delivery and I mistakingly convinced Josh that we did not need a large pepperoni pizza with cheesy stuffed crust so we only ordered a cheesy garlic bread which I thought would be extra cheesy and super greasy but no... a sprinkling of cheese and dry to the bone. Bad choice Llana, bad choice! Anyway, we are all currently sat by the pool again. Josh hasn't been feeling too good so we went to Boots to pick up some bits and bobs for him. He has a blocked nose and bad head, which sucks for him but he keeps soldiering on! If it were me, I'd be tucked up in bed with the air con on, curtains shut and a film on the tele, ha! We are a little stuck with what we want to see here in Chiang Mai actually, do you have any recommendations? I'm going to sit and do a little research ready for tomorrow, with a coffee ice and maybe order some food soon. Alex also wants to get some ear piercings so we may venture to the shopping mall and I might just have to get one too. Although, my last piercing I got a few Christmas' ago is crusty.. I'm hoping that the sea salt will be able to cleanse it a little but that's not going to be for a couple of days. Right, time to sunbathe and try and tan my pale looking legs. Lots of love, L.

Songkran

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A few iPhone shots from today's adventures. We decided we would walk because we wanted to avoid traffic fumes and tuk tuk's, which really is unavoidable in Bangkok. So, after walking around in circles we jumped in a tuk tuk to Lumpini Park. I forgot to negotiate a price, so was charged 200 baht for a 5 minute journey. Ridiculous! Always remember to agree a price before jumping in a tuk tuk because they will charge you whatever they want. Once we had had enough of Lumpini and it's dragons, we walked again for miles, found a cash machine, grabbed a coffee yen (coffee ice, yen in thai means cool or cold I believe), which you should try. I don't often drink coffee but coffee yen from 7/11 is so delicious and costs about 50p for a medium cup. Also, another thing to bare in mind is the amount of plastic that 7/11 staff try and push on you. Straws and a bag for a bottle of water? They really need to up their game! I have my M&S fold away bag with me so we can avoid having to use single use plastic bags whilst we are here. What we are finding difficult is avoiding plastic bottles though, as the tap water here in undrinkable, we have to buy bottled water. Any ideas on how to avoid this? I actually think that the Thai's are good at recycling plastic though, I've seen separate bins dotted about the city, so hopefully they're becoming aware of whats going on in the world. Anyway, back to yesterday... after walking around in the heat, we decided to grab the Metro to the station nearest to the Grand Palace which is almost directly across from Wat Arun. I've never been to see Wat Arun before, so we caught the ferry boat over which was only 4 baht per person. It was so busy. Unbelievably busy! My thinking was that it may have been a little quiet around lunchtime as it was the hottest time of the day but I guess there is never a quiet time to visit one of Bangkok's most popular tourist sights. I forgot to mention, that this weekend was Songkran, which is Thailand's new year water festival. I've experienced it so many times and have usually been in Pattaya or Phuket for it but here in Bangkok it just felt too much so we tried our best to avoid it, which we did pretty well with until we reached Sukhumvit Road and we get absolutely drenched before walking in to the hotel. I do love it and it's an amazing experience for anyone but when I just wanted to see more of the city, the last thing you want is to walk around soaking wet! Today we are getting ready to head up North to Chiang Mai. I'm actually very excited as I've never been before and I get to see my Mum who I haven't seen for about 3 weeks, so I'm looking forward to that! First thing is first though, breakfast! If you saw my post from yesterday then you'll understand my excitement for breakfast here at the Akyra. Catch you soon, L.

Breakfast at The Akyra

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Good morning! Can we just talk about how insane my breakfast is? One of the reasons why I booked this hotel is for the breakfast. I'm a foodie so I always love to scout out the best places to eat. Here at the Akyra, you get to chose two dishes each from the breakfast menu. So, of course we chose two each. I went for the fried eggs and French toast, and Josh went for the cheesy scrambled eggs with crispy bacon and fried rice. The French toast was delightful. I've never had it before but mmm, so yummy! I even ate some of the fruit that was served with it, which is a rarity for me as I'm a bit funny when it comes to fruit but I am slowly getting better, ha! I'm already looking forward to breakfast tomorrow morning but think I may chose something more authentic. Every time I'm here, I always want eggs and baked beans so I want to force myself to eat more Thai. Ah, anyway I'm sure you'll see what it is I chose. Today we are going to head into Bangkok, visit Lumpini park and Wat Arun perhaps but not entirely sure. I guess we'll just see how the day goes! Hopefully we don't get too wet from Songkran... L.

Sunset drinks at Pippa Sky Bar

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What I am wearing: crochet top from Stradivarius, trousers from Zara (years ago), earrings from & Other Stories.

Hello loves! How are ya? Can't believe we have been here 3 days already... I don't even want to think about it! Last night we enjoyed drinks on our hotel roof top bar. How beautiful is it? Such an amazing view of the sunset disappearing behind the sea. I highly recommend this hotel for a few nights stay, the staff are brilliant and it's such a nice, clean, chilled hotel. The Pippa bar and restaurant is open to the public also, so you don't have to be a guest. You could always hop in a taxi from wherever you're staying in Pattaya and enjoy the view. Just make sure you get there in good time to get a seat, it's not that big! At the moment we are repacking our bags ready to head to Bangkok. I'm a little sad to be leaving Pattaya already but excited to explore a little more of Bangkok over the next few days! I think I will try to vlog from today but we will see how it goes..Although, Songkran festival has started so everyone is throwing water. Not sure I want to risk my camera! Anyway, I better go as we need to check out and I should probably help Josh pack his suitcase.. ha! Speak soon, L.

Pool day at The Mytt

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Where we are staying: The Mytt Beach Hotel, Pattaya

 

Good morning lovelies, it's actually just about to turn 2pm here in Thailand but I know that for the majority of you, it's probably early morning. Yesterday we lounged around the hotel pool, fell asleep in the shade, then got ready and went out for food at Central Festival and had a walk along the beach front. We had an early night, I think I was fast asleep by 10:30pm but I woke up in the middle of the night with a huge migraine. I think it's a mixture of too much sun and travelling. It was so weird, I felt sick and couldn't sleep because of the pain in my head. So, last nights sleep was not a very good one but.. saying that the bed was super comfy! Now, we plan to sit by the pool again and read a book. We were up early for a gym session this morning and then we went to the Pattaya Orphanage. I can't really explain how it made me feel, as I felt happy that the children were so well cared for and loved by all the staff but I also wanted to burst into tears. There are around 170 children who are orphanages and that is the limit that the orphanage will take in. At the moment, they have almost 70 babies (under 10 months old) that in their care. Honestly, it's heart breaking. A lot of the children do get adopted and sent to countries in Europe. Switzerland, France and Denmark are the most popular, with only 3 children over the past 45 years being adopted and sent to the UK to live. Josh and I were both pleased to hear that siblings have to be adopted together. We met a brother and sister, who were both meeting their parents on Monday, from France. I can imagine they were both so excited about it! Anyway, if you would like to see more about the orphanage then you can visit their site here. They really are doing such a wonderful thing,  so hats off to the staff who bring up these children as if they were one of their own. Speak soon, L.

24+ hours of travelling…

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Good morning lovelies! What a hell of a long journey that was. The first stretch of our flight wasn't so bad. I sat on the isle seat and I was next to a little boy who was the quietest, most sweetest little boy ever so I managed to catch a couple of zzz's before the second flight, where I barely slept a wink! I was crammed between Josh and a guy (quite a big guy) from Birmingham who took up all of the arm rest between us... So, yeh that wasn't the best flight ever but hey, we are here now in Pattaya for the next two nights. Alex and Dad are staying in Bangkok so we'll meet them plus Mum in a few days time. The hotel we have just checked in to is so beautiful. It's pretty new I believe and they have just opened their new sky bar, so that's where we will be heading this evening! It's only 11:50am so we actually got here in good time. The plan is to head out for a quick bite to eat and then lounge around the pool for the rest of the afternoon.. I'll be updating my Instagram stories mostly but only when we are back in the hotel, as I don't have 4g and won't be connecting to every single wifi spot we come across. Anyway, time to go sunbathe in this lovely warm sunshine, speak soon, L.

A walk in the Howgills

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Contrary to my horoscope, that told me to rest today... (Gran makes me read it from time to time), I actually have not stopped moving. I cleaned my bedroom from top to bottom, packed Josh's suitcase, went to the gym and then went for a long walk, up Winder and on to Crook fell with my Dad. I'm a little ashamed to say that I've never actually ventured up Crook fell before, so it was a first for me. Maybe next time I'll venture a little further over to Cautley Spout which is apparently the highest waterfall in England. It's literally down the round from us and I've never been, shameful! Anyway, enough rambling.. the plan for this evening is to demolish as many roast potatoes as possible, alongside toad in the hole and roasted tinned tomatoes topped with basil, am I making you hungry yet? We started watching 'Our Planet' on Netflix last night and woah, it's absolutely terrifying how fast the planet is changing. I recommend you watch and encourage your children or siblings to watch it too. Hopefully it will help us all start making small changes, to make our planet a better place for us and for the next generation. Speak soon, L.

Saturday’s

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What a bloody glorious day it has been today! The sun was shining, it was around 14 degrees celsius, the birds were chirping and it just felt like spring, you know? I went and got my hair cut and Ben decided to curl it for me. I love it! I wish I could curl it myself like this but I just get fed up of doing my own hair because it always aches my arms.. which probably means that I should work out more, like do more bicep curls or something? Oh my goodness and do you know what I found today? Do you know what I found? I can't believe I'm even saying this but there was a long grey hair. It was coarse and so long! I yanked it out and brought it home to show Josh and my Gran, I was that gobsmacked. Gross! Yeh, ok 1st world problems I know. But can you really imagine me with a full head of grey hair? I think not! I'm 24 years old for god sake. I'm coming across as being so over dramatic and I can assure you that I am not but... still, a grey hair... Anyway, I hope you're enjoying your weekend. It seems to be glorious everywhere at the moment! Tonight we are going to start watching that new documentary on Netflix 'Our Planet', narrated by the one and only, Sir David Attenborough. I love stuff like that. Josh is off walking tomorrow so I guess I will actually have to go through my holiday stuff (again) and probably his too, tidy, hoover, clean my mirror and windows and god knows what else. I actually fancy walking to the top of Winder tomorrow if the weather is as nice as it was today but we'll see. I don't want to over do it, ha! So, I guess I may speak to you tomorrow... or maybe Wednesday. Lots of love, L.