Central America Day 3 – Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Hola,

This morning we had our usual 7am breakfast and headed over to the pier just before 9 in order to get a boat to another lodge for our walking tour. However we got slightly distracted as we saw white faced capuchin monkeys around our lodge, as where we are staying is literally within the jungle. Capuchin monkeys are insanely clever and so were hanging around the restaurants after breakfast in the hope of getting some scraps – we even saw one opening the bin and grabbing food.

After spending a moment observing the monkeys we headed on a short boat journey to a nearby lodge to begin our walking tour. We had a guide who pointed out so many different plants and spiders (to my disgust) whilst also explaining some of the differences between primary and secondary forests. Altogether the trail was incredibly beautiful and made almost a hundred times better by the fact we got to see spider monkeys up in the trees and one even came down an aerial root and collected fruit and ate it right in front of us!

We then came back to the lodge and as it was a clear day we thought we’d make the most of an hour or so in the sun by the pool. We then went for lunch and almost straight after we had a planned trip to visit the village of Tortuguero.

Just a short boat trip away is the lovely village of Tortuguero with a beach on the Atlantic Ocean (that you definitely wouldn’t want to swim in) where Green Turtles nest. What a little community the village had with boys playing football and street vendors selling churros and coconut water: of course I had both. Tortuguero is very well known for their turtle conservation and they have a conservation centre which unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit but we are hoping to come back tomorrow to see.

We then headed back and decided to have a drink by the pool again to relax before dinner.

We had another lovely day in Tortuguero. Most people we arrived with are leaving tomorrow, but we are very happy that we requested to have another full day.

Ciao x x

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Central America Day 2 – San Jose to Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Hola,

After a (much needed) sleep we woke around 5:30am, due to time difference, and began to pack up our backpacks ready to be picked up at 6:30 to be taken to Tortuguero.

We headed down to reception for coffee and, in true Pura Vida style, we weren’t picked up until 7:15. This being said we really didn’t mind as we were very well looked after at the hotel with plenty of food provided (always a bonus).

We then got onto the coach and began our travels to Tortuguero. This 5 hour transfer was nothing like you would usually have in England as the views of the jungle are constantly s t u n n i n g. We also had a guide who told us about anything we passed that could be of interest to us. He also informed us that a massive 70% of the Costa Rican population live in just 4% of the country showing the sheer density of some of the areas. We also found out that Costa Rica is the richest country in biodiversity per sq.m (which we now completely understand).

We also learnt more about the step towards sustainability that Costa Rica is taking. For example, most of the water in Tortuguero is not drinkable due to being so close to the ocean and so instead of making you buy multiple plastic bottles of water to keep you going, our hotel have stations of filter water from which you can fill your reusable bottle.

Just before stopping for breakfast we passed through the incredible cloud forest, with parts of the jungle being swallowed up by the clouds. We were also shown a type of leaf known as the Poorman’s Umbrella, which was apparently a very useful resource in the jungle as either shade from the sun or as an umbrella when it was raining.

We then stopped at Restaurant el ceibo, named after a type of tree that originates in Guatemala and low and behold there was a g i a n t tree next to the restaurant. We then ate a traditional Costa Rican breakfast – which we all enjoyed followed by fresh pineapple and watermelon (my fav).

We then carried on our journey to Evergreen Lodge and went over a bridge above the river Sucio, where 2 streams of water meet – fresh water from the mountains and water from the volcano to make one stream of water.

We also drove through areas that had enormous amounts of plantain and banana trees. In Costa Rica pineapples and bananas are their most important export item whilst papaya and plantain are grown for the locals.

We then had to get onto a boat for the last part of our journey, the worst bit being that as it is monsoon season it was pouring with rain, so we had a quick run to the boats. Unfortunately I ended up in a boat without mum and Lucy but the views on the way were incredible and definitely made me feel like I was in a scene out of the jungle book.

After a relatively short journey we arrived at Evergreen Lodge, we were shown to our adorable cabin with the most crazy views literally in the middle of the jungle.

We then had our bags delivered in the pouring rain and headed to lunch which was a small buffet in which we had pork curry, or chicken in cream sauce for Lucy, with rice and salad. (Be prepared for a common rice theme throughout these posts…)

We then had a scheduled activity included in our booking, a boat tour along the river through the Tortugero National Park, a conservation area full of beautiful wildlife.

To be noted: When visiting anywhere in Costa Rica, always take your raincoat. Shortly after beginning our boat tour I realised this was the one thing I forgot but I was incredibly lucky and the sun came out (as mentioned before it is monsoon season so you never know what weather you will get) and it stayed dry the whole time we were out.

Within the first 2 minutes our incredible guide spotted a 2 fingered sloth (!!) we couldn’t quite believe it. We saw it climbing the tree, which apparently they only usually do in the evening. Our tour lasted about 2 hours during which we also saw 3 out of the 4 types of monkey found in Costa Rica which include spider monkeys, white capuchin monkeys and howler monkeys (which we saw a baby of too!!), we also saw some incredible birds including vultures and a toucan and a green iguana (which we still have no idea how our guide spotted way up in the trees).

We arrived back from the tour at about 16:30 and as it was still dry we decided to head to the pool with a book for just over an hour (with a cocktail in hand of course).

Dinner was served at 7pm in the same buffet style as lunch (and more rice, shock). As we still haven’t quite adjusted to the time difference, and we got up at 5:30am, we were exhausted again and so decided to head to bed around 9pm so we could feel refreshed for the next busy day ahead.

This could be an interesting sleep as it is insanely noisy from all the wildlife and rain but it’s weirdly very relaxing.

Sorry for the ramble, well done to get this far!!

Ciao x x

P.s. I can’t believe Wes chose Megan (thanks Love Island for the 5 min clip on the app).

Central America Day 1 – London to San Jose, Costa Rica

Hola chicos y chicas,

Today was a day full of travelling. After a lovely dinner and a relaxing sleep in the hotel we headed to Gatwick Airport.

One easy bag drop and a stroll through security later, all we had to do was to pick up a few bits of food for the plane (you can never trust plane food) and extra mosquito sprays (you can never be too careful) and then it was time to head to the gate. As it was a large plane we boarded quite early and everything ran very smoothly, before we knew it we were up in the air and starting our 11 hour flight to San Jose!!

Throughout the flight we all watched multiple films (thanks BA for top movie choices) and ate plenty of food, which we can all agree was the best plane food we’ve had, including my fav graze box (top marks again BA).

11 hours later we landed and we were swiftly introduced to the Tico’s “pura Vida” lifestyle. After a thorough passport control inspection, we went outside to find out transfer to the hotel. We found everyone in Costa Rica is so kind and helpful, helping us to find our transfer and calling our driver to see where he was. We were told to wait 5-10 minutes (which ended up being about 25 minutes, in pura Vida style) as there was bad traffic but this is simply the relaxed attitude they have – they never mean the time they say haha (definitely a test of patience for mum)!

Due to a taxi protest the traffic was awful but we quite enjoyed our hour transfer to our hotel as our lovely driver (Paulo) gave us lots of information and recommendations for the places we are going to be visiting.

After checking into our hotel (Don Carlos Hotel – run by the Don Carlos family for 4 generations) we headed up to our room to freshen up shortly followed by a welcome drink and some nachos and quesadillas to keep us going. By this time we were exhausted. With a 7 hour time difference it meant we headed up to bed at about 3am British time: as mum isn’t used to going on nights out this was absurd for her.

In the hotel we quickly realised just how much everyone in Costa Rica wants to help save the planet and the environment with signs all over the hotel reminding you to save water and turn off lights. And so, after a very quick shower we were in bed and more than ready for a restful night to prepare us for a busy day of travelling to our first destination.

Ciao x x

P.s. it’s been 1 night and I already miss Love Island.

Central America Prologue

Welcome back!!

So it’s been over a year since I last wrote a post, so this is definitely long overdue.

A quick run down of my past 12 months include: passing my second year of Uni with a first (?!!), during which I also worked part time at a social media agency, was the PR Sec for Leeds Celtics Cheerleaders and was part of the Pom and level 2 teams! Overall a v fun but also incredibly busy year, hence the lack of posts on here (oops).

I am currently enjoying 3 months of freedom before I start a 12 month placement as a marketing intern for Sainsbury’s in London.

Even I struggled to keep on top of my schedule in June, filled with a holiday to Portugal with Abi and Caz, two trips to Cambridge to see my sister in her rowing competition (and absolutely smashing it) and to see her graduate (which she also smashed may I add), a trip to London for an induction day at Sainsbury’s, a few trips to Nottingham to see Joe and another trip to London with Joe for my belated birthday celebration.

I have had a fabulous June but I think my July may top it ever so slightly…

Which brings me to here, writing this blog post. I am currently in a hotel room near Gatwick airport relaxing before an 11 hour flight tomorrow to… Costa Rica baby!!

That’s right, the travel blogs are coming back !!

My lovely mum is treating my sister, Lucy, and me to a holiday in Costa Rica for 2 weeks. Lu and I will then be carrying on our adventures together…

We currently don’t know what the WiFi will be like over there but I will be posting as often as possible to keep all family and friends updated on our travels (especially you Grandma and Papa x).

Thanks to everyone who is interested in following our adventure, I hope you’re all enjoying the sun (and the football result of course).

X x x

Bumpin’ and Ballin’ in Cambridge

Last weekend I had the most lovely trip to Cambridge with my mum and my boyfriend, Joe. My sister, Lucy, is at the University of Cambridge and for the last year she has been Women’s Boat Club Captain for her college, Emmanuel. Each year there is a big rowing competition between all the colleges in Cambridge (there are a lot) and so this year we decided to go down and watch the final 2 days of the competition. My sister has kindly summarised May Bumps for me as..

“A rowing race in which boats start evenly spaced apart and try and catch (“bump”) the boat in front before they are caught by the crew behind. This happens over 4 days, and each day the crews that bumped the day before swap places and start in a new order, with the aim either to finish at the front (head of the river) or to go up a place every day.”

Friday

On Friday morning we drove to Cambridge and went to Emmanuel College to have lunch with my sister on their paddock. Turns out you have to be good at multitasking – eating whilst swatting away the ducks who are eyeing up your food 24/7.

We then had a wander around the city centre, as Joe had never visited before, and then drove over to the Airbnb that we had booked for the weekend. It was in an ideal location and we could walk to the city centre.

After this it was time to head over to the river to see the first day of Bumps and I was very excited as I have only ever seen one day of Bumps before, two years ago, but this year Lucy was in W1 (the top women’s boat) and they had already bumped the 2 days before and so they had moved up from 6th to 4th and potential to go up even further…

We decided to watch from The Plough at Fen Ditton, a lovely pub on the riverside who make a BIG deal of Bumps. They had multiple bars set up, a BBQ and a pizza oven with lots of seats just on the river side.IMG_6023 Continue reading

Another Primark Haul? June 2017

OK – I know I have recently posted a Primark haul but, I promise, I haven’t been spending all my money there… However, as I have just finished my exams, I decided that I definitely had a good excuse to treat myself to some retail therapy – plus with Primark’s current range I couldn’t resist!

Bikinis

Every year I treat myself to a new bikini from Primark – they are amazing value for money and last for at least a few years. This year I may have treated myself to 2… but hey ho, I couldn’t decide. (Continuing to use the “just finished my exams” excuse…)

The first bikini I got was a camo green halter neck bikini with a circular pattern. I love this bikini as it is very flattering on, however the only risk is dodgy tan lines as it would leave you with a very pale chest, therefore you would have to make sure you vary up the bikinis you wear on holiday!

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Where have I been?

EXAMS EXAMS EXAMS

The dreaded exam period, where you don’t care what you look like or what you are doing – you just wish it was over. My exam period was made 10x worse as I was the last one out of all of my friends to finish… but finally… the end has arrived and I have finished my first year at University!! Wow, saying that out loud makes it feel so real, scary.

It has been almost a month since I last wrote a blog post and I have truly missed it a LOT.

I had originally planned to continue my blog posts over my exams but turns out there was a lot more revision I needed to do than expected, which of course had to take priority over my blog – sadly.

However, that being said, I am back and ready to produce a LOT of content this summer. I have had multiple different ideas that I have wanted to write so badly, but have had no time to do them. Don’t worry –  I will definitely make up for it. Continue reading

My Primark Favourites 2017

I guess you could call this my first ever mini haul. I have decided to write this post to show my favourite items that I have bought from Primark since starting University. Recently I have relied on Primark quite a lot (not only for fancy dress for Cheerleading socials but also for some retail therapy).

Some of these products were bought up to 6 months so please don’t expect to go into the shop and find them still there.

Up to date items:

Cushions (£5 each)

I absolutely LOVE these cushions. The colours and patterns together really bright up my bedding and bring a summer. I love the mini pom-poms around the edge of the pillow and for £5 they are a steal!

Lounge set (Present)

Unfortunately as these were a present I don’t know what they cost – however these are SO incredibly comfortable and I wear these pretty much every evening. (I promise I do wash them) There is nothing better than coming back home, knowing there’s no where you need to be that evening and putting on your comfy clothes – these are 100% my go to choice. Continue reading

Best – ever brownies

Firstly – I hope you have all had a lovely Bank Holiday!!

It has been a very long time since my previous baking post and, being honest, since I’ve baked full stop so I was very excited to write this post! I love baking and it is such a nice distraction and helps me de-stress from revision and trying to meet last-minute deadlines (plus it is an amazing excuse to eat the tastiest baked goods)

Today I am lovingly joined by two of my closest University friends and we have decided to make chocolate brownies!! I have used this recipe numerous times before and you will definitely be grateful that I have shared it. It is another recipe from the good food website – you can’t fault it!! Therefore, this is not my recipe but I have altered some of the wording in a way that, I believe, makes it slightly easier to follow. Enjoy!

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Road trip essentials

Last week I went on a road trip to Cornwall.  It is quite a far journey and I found there are definitely some essentials that can make journeys a whole lot better.

A car – Obviously. But also not forgetting a breakdown kit for the car – “touch wood” you won’t need to use it but it’s probably not worth taking the risk of not bothering to take it…

A Sat Nav – Very important when you have absolutely no clue where you are going, however you may want to consider turning the voice off or at least to a very low volume – unless you enjoy being told to carry along the motorway for 20 miles, 19 miles, 18 miles.. You get the idea.

Company – There is nothing worse than having to drive somewhere for hours on your own. It will drive you crazy. Try and arrange it so that you have someone else in your car – that way at least you won’t end up going stir crazy and end up talking to yourself for entertainment.

Good music – I rarely rely on the radio for music anymore: Who wants to listen to the same song played 3 times in an hour on Capital? In my opinion the best option is to create a playlist before your journey with a duration that is longer than the journey itself. Therefore, you are guaranteed to hear all your favourite songs and won’t get  ‘Galway girl’ played 10 times. Continue reading