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06/02/2016

Australia Travels - Things To Do In Sydney


Sydney was one of my favourite places and it is Australia's most visited city.  With that in mind I wanted to share some of my favourite places that I visited to give you some tips are places you can go

To start off with I stayed at Maze backpacker hostel which is in the Chinatown area. I thought it was a great place to stay, really reasonably priced I had a private room which was secure and clean and the staff seemed friendly. I enjoyed my stay there and I would recommend it, the only odd thing is the weird smell from the stairs, they could definitely use investing in a glade plug-in airfreshner!


Here are some of my top things to do and see in Sydney:



Skydiving at Wollongong Beach in Sydney

I won’t go over this again as I've already written a post about my skydive which I will link here however I really recommend the people at Skydive The Beach in Sydney if you're into that sort of thing.

Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens are situated at the edge of Sydney Harbour and are home to an outstanding collection of plants from not only of Australia but at all over the world.  It's a really lovely place to walk around or walk through on your way to or from Sydney Harbour and there is also a free guided walk if you want someone to take you around and explain things in a bit more depth.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is obviously named after the original Hyde Park in London and like the Park in London it's a great place to sit and people watch meet up with friends or sit and have your lunch. This is also the oldest park in Australia and it's a great way to feel like you've left the city without going very far as it in the middle of the central business district.


Balmain

I had no idea that there is an actual place called Balmain I just thought it was a fashion designer is actually a really cool suburb in Sydney which is great for food lovers as it's packed with cafes and restaurants serving up all kinds of food and really cool coffee shops.  I would recommend getting there by ferry as the views of the harbour are amazing.



Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney's iconic harbour bridge is superbly impressive, it first opened in 1932 and connects the Sydney central business district with the North Shore of the city.  I found it funny that locals sometimes nickname it the coat hanger.  Or you can climb up the pylon look out at the south eastern edge of the bridge near the city for free as well if you wanted to climb over the bridge it's very expensive and I decided to do the skydive instead as it wasn't much more money.

I'd really recommend going to the bridge and is looking around the rocks on the same day and then going to Sydney Opera House as it is all very close together and it will save you time.

BLUE MOUNTAINS SYDNEY

Blue Mountains Tour 

I've made a separate blog post about my trip to the Blue Mountains which I will link here. If you like hiking walking trails or just an amazing view you can either go for a day trip or a weekend trip and you can even incorporate camping or canyoning if that’s your thing as well.


Sydney Opera House 

Sydney Opera house is such an iconic landmark it was amazing to see it in real life. Situated near circular quay and Sydney Harbour Bridge and surrounded by bars and restaurants buskers and performers it had a similar vibe to Leicester Square in London. One of the best ways to see the opera house and the bridge is by ferry you can get a ferry to Taronga Zoo or Manly Beach which means you get a two in one, the trip to the place you need to get to and a fun ferry journey with cool views.  You can go and see a show at the opera house or just buy a ticket to be shown around, I bet it’s an amazing place to see people perform. 

GIRAFFE TARONGA ZOO AUSTRALIA

ELEPHANT TARONGA ZOO SYDNEY AUSTRALIA


Taronga Zoo

My cousin actually suggested I go with her when she visited Taronga zoo so I figured why not.  We purchased combined ferry and zoo tickets to save some money. Once you arrive at the zoo there is a sky lift which takes you all the way over the zoo to the top it's a really cool idea as the zoo is set on a hill so if you start at the top you can wind your way down looking at all the animals until you get to the bottom back to the ferry terminal. 

I had an amazing time at the zoo and I really felt like the animals were well looked after and cared for and I was really excited to see the turtle the seals and all of the giraffes.  I would recommend going to this zoo as it was one of the best I have been to especially for animals having plenty of room to move about and just looking really chilled out and happy with really nice happy staff who seemed to just love their jobs. 


Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach


Bondi Beach

Probably the best thing about Sydney was Bondi beach. Obviously Bondi Beach was crowded because it's such a tourist attraction but I found it so much fun and I went on such a beautiful day I just really loved i, it's really safe and there are so many lifeguards, people were really friendly and the surrounding area had so many nice restaurants and cafes which actually sold healthy foods which was a struggle of mine in Australia at times as everything seemed to be fried or served with chips which was getting a bit annoying but here I found some beautiful restaurants.  You can learn to surf at Bondi but everyone I spoke to recommended learning at Manly beach instead.

Wet And Wild Waterpark

This wasn't something I had planned to go to but some new friends I made invited me to go along with them and again I figured, why not!  I'd never actually been to a waterpark before so I didn't know what to expect, it turns out it was brilliant! We got the train there from central station and then a bus from Blacktown. It was quite pricey for a ticket for the day and a locker but I genuinely had such a fun day going on the slides, playing in the pool with it’s wave machine and sunbathing.  It was much like being at a cool beach party as there was music and even some world famous stunt bike riders on the day we happened to go.  All in all if you’re with a group of mates or family then this is an awesome day out. 

I hope this was helpful, i'll also be doing a blog post about my top places to eat in Sydney which will be my last about Australia!  My next adventure is to Thailand and Cambodia in May, so not too long to wait x



02/02/2016

7 Day Post Travel Detox

Post Holiday Detox Fruit

So the holiday was amazing but you slightly overdid it? No matter what kind of travelling you are doing, from a weekend break to a month backpacking, it can often be really difficult to eat healthily depending where you go and that depends if you want to.   

One of my favourite things about travelling is enjoying all of the yummy food available so sometimes it's nice to let loose and eat all of the things, and worry about it when you come back. 

The problem is, however, when you return after a long flight filled with terrible airline food, you end up feeling a bit like a potato. So here are my easy tips to get yourself back to your fit and healthy best, boost up your immune system after too much drinking, partying and generally over indulging and get back to normal.

You can follow this advice just as a 7 day detox (even though I hate the word detox to be honest) let's call it a 'healthy plan' or work any tips you get on with into your everyday life.

Drinking, or lack thereof

Oh alcohol, so bad but so good. For at least 7 days you’re going to have to say a big fat NO to alcohol, liquid calories are not what you need right now, sorry! If you have to go to an event such as a friend’s wedding in those 7 days where you would really like to take a day off and have a little tipple then stick to clear spirits with a diet mixer, so gin or vodka and slimline tonic with a bit of lemon or lime. 

Goodbye also to fruit juices (that you haven’t just freshly juiced) and fizzy drinks, if you can wean yourself off of these forever so much the better as again, empty calories, chemicals and not that great for your teeth. Also cut down on the coffee and tea, limit yourself to maximum 1 or 2 a day with caffeine and stick to decaff the rest of the time , I won’t say remove that entirely as let’s be serious, coffee and tea are just the daytime equivalent of alcohol and without either to prop you up you’re going to be miserable and crying in the office toilet by 3pm.  Instead, drink as much water as you can (I know, it’s boring). 

Tips to drink more are to put a litre bottle on your desk and bedside table and try to drink a glass or a few swigs once an hour.  I try and drink 2 litres a day and do this by having my first glass at home with my omega 3 tablet in the morning and another when I get to work with one of those berocca or vitamin c fizzy tablets added. Then I take a 750ml bottle when I go to the gym and try and drink it all, and then if I am slacking on the water drinking I will make sure to have a glass ever hour on the hour so I don’t forget. If you really hate the taste of water you can add some slices of lemon or lime or use one of the water infusers such as an the one by Infrution

Breakfast: Smoothies, Juices or Protein Shakes


I’m not someone that really likes eating breakfast on weekdays very much so it works well for me to replace my usual porridge with a smoothie or protein shake and, if you find a recipe that you like, you can enjoy this just as much as having a milkshake for breakfast. 

I try and use lots of frozen fruit, a scoop of whey protein powder and some ice with either almond milk or coconut water for a delicious breakfast packed with antioxidants rather than calories.  If you're having a smoothie without a milk I really recommend adding a squeeze of lemon juice, lemon juice is acidic but it turns to alkaline in the body and alkalising your body which is a really good thing, or just have some lemon water along with your smoothie.  Find out more about how great lemons can be for you from this website. 

 


Lunch: All of the S’s

As you’re just having a liquid breakfast you might be getting a bit hungry by lunchtime but try and avoid stodge and stick to Soup, Salad or Sushi or a combo.  Avoid things that are fried or processed and try and get some protein from fish, chicken or tofu if you are vegetarian to keep you fuller for longer.

Make sure that you pick items that you enjoy so you don’t feel like you are depriving yourself, add some chicken, tuna or goats cheese to a salad and a nice balsamic dressing or have 1 piece of wholegrain crusty bread with your soup to fill you up (just don't eat the whole bread basket).  Avoid creamy dressings, croutons and sushi filled with anything fried like katsu chicken. 

Dinner: Portion Control

If you’ve got jet lag then by the end of the day then you might be half asleep. If you have the energy, slow cooking a big pot of chilli that you can then have with microwave rice for a few days that week when you don’t feel like cooking is a great idea.  I use quorn but you could use turkey mince or lean mince beef if you prefer, I add as many veggies as I can get my hands on such a sweetcorn, onions, carrots, peas and peppers and mix with tins of chopped tomatoes, a sachet of chilli con carne spices and red kidney beans and set in the slow cooker in the morning so the first night it’s ready when I get back from work, I then wait for it to cool and put the rest into portions in zip lock bags in either the fridge or the freezer. I bought these great portion pots from Rosemary Conley Here that can be used from everything from cereal to pasta. 

If you really don’t have the energy then I’d suggest a ready meal or prepared soup or salad rather than buying nothing and ending up ordering a take away. Marks and Spencer have some great calorie and portion controlled ready meals and some awesome pre-made salads you can then just add a can of tuna or some cottage cheese to which will only take a few minutes and save you muching on rubbish in your half-asleep state.

What Foods Are Best?

If you've been eating a lot of fatty foods, the best foods to eat to reduce your current cholesterol level are fruits, vegetables and oily fish such as salmon. 

If you're bloated from a flight try drinking dandelion tea, this stuff is amazing at reducing water retention.  Dandelion also stimulates the liver which is the organ that detoxes your body naturally, it's very cheap and available from health food stores and supermarkets and is the main ingredient in a lot of 'detox' teas around that cost £20+!

You can replace calorie filled condiments with fat free greek yoghurt mixed with either tomato paste, garlic puree, chilli sauce or srirancha or any herbs and spices to make plainer food seem more interesting. 

Snack Attack

The worse part of any type of healthy eating is feeling bored and deprived – let’s be honest an apple isn never going to be as exciting as a bag of milky bar mini eggs. 

Being prepared with snacks in your desk drawer, handbag, car or cupboard will really help you when hunger strikes. It depends what your tastes are, perhaps you like fruit, nuts, rice cakes, houmous and veggie sticks etc. but whatever you prefer stock up and keep portions in little Tupperware pots or ziplock bags that you can easily get to so that you can resist any offers of sweets, cakes or crisps. 

Ease Back Into Exercise

Pick an amount of time that you feel manageable per day, perhaps that's only 10 minutes each morning on a walk to the station or 10 minutes dancing about or running about with your kids etc. aim to do this every single day and if you can increase it by a few minutes then try and do that.  It's just about making sure you're moving about and burning a few extra calories a day.  Try and take the stairs rather than the lift or get off the lift 1 floor below and walk up at least 1 flight of stairs each time. I am trying to go to the gym for 30 minutes 4 days of the week and just do as much as I can for a few weeks before I start any sort of weigh lifting plan again. Baby steps! 

Relax! 

If you've got the post holiday blues or are just stressed from being back at work this can hinder you losing weight. If you can afford it, treat yourself to your favourite spa or salon treatment like a pedicure or a massage.  If you can't then perhaps your gym membership includes a sauna and a jacuzzi or you could give yourself an at-home pedicure or manicure or try and medidate or lie still for a while with your eyes closed listening to some relaxing music just to give your brain some down time.

Sleeping is good for weight loss! Many studies (including this one) have shown that being sleep deprived can lead to weigh gain, so if you want to lie-in or have a nap - do it! 

I hope some of these tips helped, if you have some to add then please leave them in the comments below! 

31/01/2016

Australia Travels - Blue Mountains Sydney

Blue Mountains Sydney Australia
My trip to the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney wasn’t actually planned before I travelled to Australia. When I arrived in Sydney I stayed at Maze backpackers and while they didn't have a lot of trips available to book the main one was this one to the Blue Mountains.   The trip cost AU$79 so I think the hostel must get a small discount, that works out around £40 for a day trip which I thought was quite good value.

The Blue Mountains are World Heritage listed and as soon as we arrived there I was so glad I did the trip, I made two really lovely friends called Cherise and Polly, the tour guide was hilarious and the mountains were so beautiful and peaceful it was a magical day. 

So why are they called the Blue Mountains? In the hot sun the eucalyptus trees discharge a fine mist of eucalyptus oil from the leaves to refract the light which makes the haze look blue at a distance.

On our trip we went to Kings Tablelands look out and then went on a bushwalk to Wentworth falls which is one of the most amazing lookout points in the Blue Mountains we had plenty of time there so we could take lots of pictures enjoy the view.




For lunch we went to a picturesque village called Leura which had lots of nice cafes and a really cool bottle shop selling all different kinds of beers. I'm not a big beer drinker but even I had one as our tour guide Adam told us it was one of the best shops to go in. Adam was actually one of the reasons the trip was so fun, just a really hilarious chilled guy with so many funny stores that really brought the group together.

After lunch we headed to Katoomba which is the centre of the Blue Mountains and the gateway to its two most popular tourist attractions, the three sisters rock formation and scenic world.

We saw the three sisters rock formation and then we travelled to Scenic World which includes Skyway which is Australia's highest cable car, there’s also Australia’s biggest cable car and a railway with the steepest incline in the world.  So we travelled across the mountains and then went along the walkway which is the longest elevated boardwalk in Australia with 2.4 km of walk through the rainforest which was epic. 















I had an amazing day and our trip back to Sydney was super cool because instead of getting the bus, included in the ticket price was a ferry ticket from Olympic Park along Parramatta river which comes into Sydney Harbour back to Circular Quay where the tour ends. 

I really recommend going on a tour of the Blue Mountains if you're in the Sydney area travelling it's absolutely beautiful and it's just a great day out in the sunshine with lots of cool people on the tour.  I went with the tour group Oz Trails