Monday, 24 August 2015

How to keep fit whilst travelling and on a budget

I know the feeling. You've been travelling for a few weeks and although it seems like you've walked for miles, it just doesn't cut it. You need a gym, you need weights, you need to get back into shape...

I have been in Sydney for five months now and honestly, I haven't felt so big in my entire life! I thought coming to Australia would make me lose weight. How wrong I was! I guess I have to accept the fact that my body doesn't agree to zero exercise. I can eat (oh my I can eat) and so the only way to shed those calories is if I work out. This isn't to say that I have a unhealthy diet, not at all. I eat small but often to keep up with my busy lifestyle. However, in order to maintain my toned physique, my body requires at least three intense workouts a week.

Luckily for me, I find it as easy to shed those extra inches as I do to put them on. For the last month I have been training hard at a local gym, but this isn't sustainable if you're not going to be in one place for longer than a couple of weeks (which you're most likely not when you're on the road). So I decided to come up with some tips for those of you, who like me are travelling and want to remain in shape, but wish to do it on the cheap (cus every traveller loves a good bargain).

DO - look out for local deals. If you know you're going to be in one place for longer than a couple of weeks then get yourself on to Groupon or do a quick search on the Internet. You'll be amazed at what you can find (even in the more expensive cities like Sydney)!

DO - make use of local parks, ovals and so forth. You'll be surprised at what you can do with a set of stairs, a bench and some grass... Time to put those gym exercises into practice in the glorious sunshine ladies!

DO - try and walk, jog or run as much as possible. I love walking but sometimes I will run to and fro places to increase the intensity from day to day. 

DO - watch what you're eating. It's easy to grab a takeaway whilst you're travelling for the sheer convenience. However, this is not good for your waistline. Cook your own food instead - it's much cheaper and will save you piling on those extra pounds. Some great snacks which I often eat on the go here in Australia include cornthins (similar to rice cakes but made with corn) topped with avocado and tuna, nuts (I prefer almonds, walnuts or Brazilian nuts but any nuts will suffice as long as they're unsalted/unflavoured), boiled eggs, dried fruits, muesli bars and just plain old chopped up fruit or veg. 

DO - get some other fitness fanatics involved. Motivation is a big factor in keeping fit. I prefer working out on my own but it's easier said than done when you're staying in a hostel and most of your roommates are passed out from the night before. That temptation to stay in bed increases just slightly...

DO - take photos of your progress. It's easy to forget how you used to look. 'Gap fat' is a thing I'm afraid!

DONT - give up after a week. Change doesn't happen over night. You have to make exercise part of your lifestyle, regardless of how different it is to the one back at home. Yes you're travelling and want to enjoy yourself but what harm is half an hour out of your hectic schedule going to do? You'll thank me once you return home and step on to those scales trust me...

DONT - set unrealistic goals. This is about keeping fit, not shedding pounds which would be impossible on the road I would imagine. You don't want to be worrying about what is going in your mouth every second of the day. Travelling is about embracing the experience. Just remember, it's okay to grab a quick Mcdonald's whilst on the go, just as it's okay to indulge in a few alcoholic beverages (if that's the type of experience you're going for). Just be aware when this becomes a regular thing.

I am now in my fifth week of training and I feel heaps better already. Just remember it's easy to lose what you already have after a few weeks off, but it's also very easy to gain back. That first workout is never going to be easy so why delay? 

I will soon be on the road and will somehow have to try and maintain what I already have. This will be my biggest challenge to date as I won't know where I will be in say, two months time. Maybe I won't have access to a park or certain healthy foods which I like to eat, but I'll give it my best shot! Keep your eyes peeled as I willl be updating you with my day to day fitness and healthy eating regime here on my blog and across my other social media platforms.

Are you a finess fanatic with a passion for travel? How do you manage your busy schedule whilst on the go?

Thursday, 20 August 2015

A little taste of paradise

So my holiday within a holiday so to speak began on 5th July in Nadi, Fiji. A holiday I couldn't really justify, but nevertheless seemed only fitting seeing as I was on this side of the world. When else would I get the chance to visit some of the worlds most beautiful islands? I am a travel and lifestyle blogger after all...

As I walked off the plane, I was struck immediately by the heat and humidity, not forgetting the sound of the locals singing. What a welcome - it surely topped any other welcome I've had on previous holidays. 'Bula Bula' they sang. 'Bula' we chanted back at them. Because 'Bula' means everything in Fiji - literally everything. 

As I was travelling alone I was hoping to meet some other likeminded travellers and my luck was in - at the airport, I met my first buddy. Her name was Laura so evidently we were going to be best friends! After some quick introductions, we were greeted by our airport transfer, a rather pleasant Fijian fellow who took us to our first stop on the trip, smugglers cove, a pretty little thing situated right on the beach. Talk about being thrown into the deep end. Along with a quick supermarket sweep (because apparently the water was going to cost ten dollars a bottle on the island), we also discussed the possibly of grabbing some weed on route too (don't worry - we didnt go along with it). Only in Fiji...

After a rather unpleasant night seep in my thirty bed dorm and one stung foot later, I realised why people don't really rate Nadi. The beaches weren't very clean, and for some reason I didn't feel safe enough to go venturing out on my own. Luckily this was only a stop over before our tour really began. 

The next day we were dropped at the Marina for boarding (Denarau) where we got to see the real Fiji - the hundred or so islands on offer. We boarded our ferry and made our way to South Sea Island, the smallest of the Fijian islands, and small it was! You could literally walk from one side to the next in less than five minutes. Yet, funnily enough this island had everything you could possibly need - a pool, lots of sun loungers and a very friendly set of staff. Again, we were greeted by the singing of the locals and lots of Bula chants.

Unfortunately for me, the first few days of my holiday didn't get off to the best start. After a fair few restless nights sleep prior to this trip, it appeared my body had reached breaking point. I think a mixture of sun stroke, sea sickness and exhaustion had set in. Plus new foods never go down too well with me. Rest was in need and rest I got. I ended up in bed both nights before 9pm!  

Despite this, I got to enjoy two days of dreamy weather along with a very cool trip to where the Castaway movie was filmed, before heading to my next destination - Barefoot Kuata, which wasn't the easiest to pronounce I must say! I also got the chance to visit a traditional Fijian ceremony and try some of what the locals drink. I'm never one to say no to an alcoholic beverage but this was an acquired taste to say the least! It tasted and looked a lot like dirty dishwasher water but it would have been rude to have said no. 


After an extremely rocky boat ride, a wet rucksack and some rather sea sick passengers, we arrived behind schedule of course (Fiji time). Despite the unruly weather we were greeted again by the islanders and got ready for lunch. I didn't think anything could top the previous island but it seemed anything is possible here in Fiji.

Located in the Yasawas, a two hour journey north from our previous island, Barefoot Kauta was much larger than the previous island. Again, our dorm was situated right on the beach, along with everything else you could possibly look for in paradise; a small bar area with three pools, lots of walkways off the beach, clear blue sea and beautiful golden sands, not forgetting the unbelievable staff. You truly are spoilt when you come to Fiji. Unfortunately the weather wasn't the best during our stay on Kuata, but we made the most of the little sun there was. 


During my time on this island I took part in my first ever summit walk which saw me walk to the highest point on the island (it was much more fun than it sounds). I nearly didn't make it after a few scrapes and slips, but I powered on through despite the humidity. I also got the chance to take part in the traditional welcome dance which was heaps of fun I must say. It was here that I met my next set of friends, two groups of English girls who unfortunately I had to leave for the next stop on my tour - Barefoot Manta. 

Of course, me being me I got chatting to another couple of girls on my boat who happened to be staying in the dorm next to me. Funnily enough they were from Australia which meant we had heaps to talk about. Out of all the islands, Manta has to be my fave. The beach was beautiful, the food delicious, and the staff - amazing! The guys from the dive shop were particularly great, so if you ever find yourself staying on this island, make sure you say hello! Even though we were hoping for manta rays, it seemed we had come at the wrong time of year. However, we did get the chance to snorkel on a pretty awesome reef site on the morning before heading on to my final destination - Nabua Lodge, the last stop in the Yasawas.

After some quick goodbyes, I boarded my final transfer all alone which made me doubt my final destination, and right I was. The staff weren't as welcoming and there wasn't an awful lot to do there. However, I made the most of my time by catching up with some fellow travellers who I had met previously on the trip, not forgetting two more final activities before jetting back to Sydney, these activities being my favourite ones of the trip so far. My first activity was a visit to the Sawa - I - Lau caves which involved another half an hour boat ride of course. Evidently I was bricking it, as I'm not a huge fan of water or confined spaces, but I was all for facing my fears on this trip I must say! 


However, somehow during the trip I had managed to misplace my final two activity vouchers which nearly cost me my place on these two trips. Rest assured, I argued my case with the rather rude receptionist and managed to jump on the next departing vessel that morning. I wasn't paying again that's for sure! The next day it was another early morning wake up call via the island drums, before a trip to the famous Blue Lagoon where I got to swim with hundreds of fish during feeding time. 

After one last lunch, it was time to board the yellow boat just one last time before heading back to Smugglers Cove in Nadi. Of course the boat was running behind schedule which meant a late return to the mainland. 

Overall my lasting impression of Fiji remains a truly positive one. The people are exceptionally friendly and the atmosphere is so chilled. It truly is paradise! If you like the feeling of being miles away from home, then this is the place for you. For me, possibly not the best resort as a solo traveller. However, least I know what all the fuss is about now. I would definitely consider coming back, maybe in a couple of years or so when I can finally face the thought of stepping on to another boat, and maybe with a close friend or a partner. 

What makes Fiji really special are the variety of islands available for you to enjoy, all of which are extremely unique. I for one certainly didn't realise how many islands they were, and how far apart they all were. There is certainly more to Fiji than meets the eye.


Have you ever been to Fiji? What was your favourite island?

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Settling in - Sydney style

I can't believe it's been a week already since I arrived in sunny (the majority of the time) Australia! And what week it has been. Amongst checking out the famous opera house, some of Australia's most popular beaches, I've even managed to fit in some personal shopping. But when is there not time for shopping?!



So life as a 'Pom', isn't so bad after all. For starters, people here are so much friendlier than they are in the UK. This may be helped by the fact that I am female and a solo traveller. Nevertheless, I feel so much safer here than I did back home, and have met some great people already. I love big cities, hence why I have always been drawn to London as a potential place to live. However, Sydney has so much more to offer than the skyscraper buildings and tacky tourist attractions you often hear about. The real beauty lies within the suburbs, like the one I am staying in. Newtown is such a fantastic place, and I have only just touched the surface. I am so keen to check out the rest of the city, but for the next few days, it looks like I may be stuck in my room, which may I add is luxury compared to my Harry Potter room back home. If you haven't guessed already, it's raining here. Nothing like the UK weather, but it hasn't stopped for the last few days which makes me think I should have packed some more layers...

For the next six months, I will be working as an au pair for a lovely host family. They have three children who I'll be responsible for, and a very cool house, not far from the hustle and bustle of the city. I think being an au pair is one of the best ways to explore Australia (or any other country for that matter) as you get the most expensive things covered, including your food and accommodation, and also get a feel of what it's like to actually live amongst the locals. It certainly beats staying in a overcrowded and overpriced hostel that's for sure! I've even managed to expand my cooking skills this week, which I've always been keen to do. It looks like I'm in for a great few months, as long as the weather changes that is! For the time being I am going to make the most out of my time here by getting involved in as much as possible, and hopefully meet heaps of new and exciting people. 



Bye for now.


Travelling - What to pack (the essentials)

As you may be aware, (thanks to my countless tweets/photos, and not forgetting my previous post), just under a month ago, I embarked on my year (or more) trip to Australia; first stop Sydney. The trip itself is something I had been planning for many months beforehand, along with the packing that is...

However, for those of you who've been travelling yourselves may know, it's hard to know exactly what to pack, especially when you don't know how long you are going to be away for. Like many other travellers, I searched high and low for the ultimate packing list to assist me with this. Lets just say, it wasn't easy. Taking inspiration from various different sites, I decided to come up with my own exclusive guide on what to pack, which will hopefully be useful for all sorts of travellers out there; whether this is a 4 week trip around Europe, or a gap year globe trotting across various continents. Obviously feel free to comment and make your own suggestions as I am quite the novice still! 

Just to give you an idea of what I am letting myself in for over the next year, I am  currently working as an au pair in central Sydney for six months. Come September time, I will be embarking on my next journey driving along the East Coast for several months with two of my very best friends from the UK. After this, I will fly across to South East Asia for a couple of months exploring the likes of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos to name a few. I'm even making plans to stop off at Fiji and New Zealand, but I will see how I get on with managing my finances first! I am likely to be faced with a multitude of weather conditions along the way, so bear this in mind whilst you take a read through some of my travelling essentials...

  • 1 strong large rucksack. I bought a new one especially for my travels from a camping/hiking shop called Trepsass. This cost me just £40 which is a bargain considering how pricey some of these can be. Mine holds 65l so it's a little on the larger size. However,it all depends on how much you are willing to carry. Personally, I think anything between 50l and 80l would be feasible. 
  • 1 smaller rucksack/ small case. This is particularly useful for day trips/weekends away, or simply as hand luggage. Remember to check the sizing if you do decide to use this as hand luggage, as different airlines will have their own personal requirements on this.
  • 1 small/medium bag - for everyday use. Lugging a rucksack round all day can be tiring, even those smaller daypacks. Therefore, I would certainly recommend purchasing a smaller hand held bag to get you from A to B. 
  • 1 bum bag - again for everyday use. This will be particularly useful when I start moving around more, when keeping my personal items secure.
  • 1 clutch bag - for those evenings on the town. Remember to pack as lightly as possible (flatpack bags are much easier to pack) and to never bring your best pieces with you, even if you want to remain fashionable. You can always buy more if you need to when you arrive.

  • 1 waterproof jacket. For some reason I didn't trust my mums 'rainmac' after getting soaked through at Glastonbury, so I purchased a new one, again from Trespass. This cost just £25 and has been my most valuable item to date. 
  • 2 pairs of trousers/jeans/leggings- for those colder days/evenings. Again, I have found these items particularly useful as believe it or not, it does rain here! Leggings particularly are very versatile and lightweight, so stock up ladies!
  • 1 jumper/ hoody - again for those chilly nights. 
  • 3 pairs of shorts - it will be hot enough to wear these eventually so I've been told...
  • 5 Tops. T-shirts, vests, bralets; whatever tickles your fancy. I've brought quite the collection again as these are extremely light to pack. 
  • 5 dresses. I love dresses and most of mine are lightweight too so I managed to squeeze more than I probably needed in. 
  • 5 bikinis/swimsuits. I like having a selection when it comes to swimwear, but again, less would suffice.
  • 2 yoga pants - for working out. I've also bought two pairs of shorts for working out whilst I've been over here. Even though it can get chilly, it's ridicously humid too. I may not need these when I start backpacking, as I presume I won't be working out too much then, but they can be used as extra layers if needed.
  • Underwear (socks, bras, pants). Remember you can always wash these whilst you're travelling so only bring enough for up to two weeks. Saying that, I think I counted over 30 pairs of undies the other day... Okay, so I don't travel lightly. This isn't to say that you should follow my example...
  • Pjs. I didn't think I would be needing any long pjs but it turns out I was wrong once again! It is so chilly here at night at the moment so definitely not okay to let it all hang out!

  • Trainers - for walking/working out. I am not usually a trainer sort of girl, but these have been a god send so far in the stormy weather!
  • 2 pairs of sandals - for everyday wear. I bought an identical brown and white pair from primark which I wear most days/ on an evening if the weather is nice. 
  • Wedges/ boots. It's not overly warm at the minute and we are entering Australia's winter so I ended up buying some black ankle boots over here to wear during the evenings. 
  • 2 pairs of flip flops or thongs (as you Aussies like to say). No need to break the bank with these shoes. Cheap and cheerful, you'll be surprised at how handy these are. Think shared showers and an alternative to slippers...

  • 2 pairs of cheap sunglasses. I think I have around 5 pairs with me, but I am a bit obsessed with sunglasses at the moment, and they were all off the high street so I'm not too fussed if they go missing or get broken.
  • 1 hat - cause nobody wants sunstroke. My black Chelsea hat is a classic and looks great in the day of on an evening. The perfect finishing touch to jazz up any outfit.
  • 1 lightweight scarf. Luckily my brother's girlfriend bought me a lightweight scarf as an early birthday present to bring with me, as this item has been virtually glued to my neck since I've been here. Perfect for those chilly evenings or even as a sarong on the beach, this item is light to pack and very versatile.
  • Jewellery (including a watch). I can't live without my jewellery including my classic skull ring so again, another essential on my packing list. Saying that, I've tried to keep this to a minimal as its so easy to lose, and not something you wouldn't be able to live without. 

  • Shampoo and conditioner 
  • Shower gel
  • Moisturiser 
  • Deodorant
  • Sun cream
  • Wet wipes including makeup remover
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Sunscreen
  • Sanitary products 
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Razors and cream

  • Immodium and Rehydration salts - cause everyone gets a dodgy some point whilst travelling.
  • Paracetamol/Ibuprofen - for those aches and pains.
  • First aid kit including plasters. Hopefully I won't be needing this but you can never be too cautious.
  • Mosquito spray (and lots of it). It appears that the Mosquitos here are a huge fan of the English blood so I'm getting through this by the bottle.
  • Prescription tablets. Remember to label these clearly as you don't want these to be confiscated. 
  • Savlon/tcp for any cuts/wounds. We travellers like to take risks, and the majority of the time, these risks come with consequences. Obviously you can buy these sorts of things when you need them but in some places they may not be that easy to get hold of. 
  • Vitamins. I'm always getting ill so this is an essential one for me. However, I think it's a good idea to carry a supply with you as you are more susceptible to getting ill whilst you're travelling. 
  • Cold and flu tablets. Even though the weather is still on the warmer side, there are still some nasty bugs floating around, something I am well attuned to in the UK, I always seem to pick up the latest virus or cold so I was prepared for the worst when I arrived here (especially as I was arriving in the colder months).
  • 1 antibacterial travel towel which I've heard a life saver when travelling. They are not only absorbent, they are also hygienic and very easy to fit in your bag.
  • Goggles
  • Shower cap
  • Travel pillow
  • Ear plugs
  • Eye mask
  • Travel tissues 
  • Books
  • iPad/ phone/ camera and chargers
  • Plug adapters. Make sure you get a universal plug if you are meeting multiple counties. 
  • Selfie stick
  • Makeup
  • A Notebook and pen. This is so handy, especially when you're a blogger. You never know when you might need to write something down!
  • Visa - you will need one of these to enter most countries I believe. If you are thinking of working in Australia, this will need to be purchased and approved before your departure. 
  • Travel insurance including medical insurance - make sure you are fully covered for all the countries you are visiting including all activities too.
  • Money. Possibly the most important items on this list. Make sure you have some local currency with you, including a card of some sort to book flights etc on the go. Most of my money is loaded on to a travel card called mytravelcash who I would thoroughly recommend. Not only does this card convert straight into the local currency, it is also free for me to withdraw money using this card. I also have a credit card from the UK with me which I haven't actually used but is great for any slight hiccups.
  • Passport - make sure this has a good couple of years on it as you never know where you might end up in two months time!
  • Driving license/other form of ID. I wouldn't recommend carrying your passport around with you unless absolutely necessary, especially on a night out. Leave this in a secure place at all times.
  • Scans of important documents. These will come in more handy than you think. Documents are likely to go missing at some point so having a back up is crucial. You don't want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere without any form of ID or way of communicating!
  • Air tickets and hostel confirmation. Make sure you have all relevant tickets on hand and have printed out any hostel/ hotel confirmation so you are able to check in as smoothly as possible. 

I hope this has given you a little bit of inspiration for your next big trip, wherever this may be! Stay tuned for more travel posts over the upcoming weeks, including a REBRAND of my blog to tie in with the big move to Oz!

Until then, goodbye. 


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Monday, 20 April 2015

10 important things to remember whilst you are travelling

1. Don't trust anybody. He may be 6 feet tall and strappingly handsome, but he is probably not the man of your dreams! Tourists are easy to prey on so be careful, especially if you're travelling alone. 

2. Do everything you possibly can. Yes is always a good answer. Don't be afraid to test your boundaries. You may never get this opportunity again. 

3. Clothes can be re-bought. If you haven't worn it or its heavy, throw it out! There will be plenty of cheap shops and markets for you to check out along the way. You can even get clothes handmade in some counties for next to nothing! And these are bound to be more sentimental than any item off the high street. 

4. Your family and friends will be waiting for you when you get back home. It's okay to be homesick, everyone experiences this whilst travelling. Just remember why you decided to go travelling in the first place; to experience new things and to meet new people. 

5. Friends come and go. You are going to meet heaps of travellers. Don't let anybody hold you back -you will only regret it in the long run.

6. Make sure you bring lots of layers. The weather can change from one part of the county to the next. One thing you don't want to become is sick, something I've experienced already. 

7. Listen to your body. Don't overdo it like I've been doing. Rest is just as important as seeing everything. There's only so much you can do its a day but time is certainly in your favour when you're  travelling. Just don't feel like you need to do something life changing every single day. There's always tomorrow...or the next day.

8. Drink lots of water and eat well. Keeping hydrated and energy levels flowing will only make your trip more enjoyable. Obviously don't splash all your money on an expensive meal every night, but if it comes to it, you may have to opt for the burger over the beer. Sorry guys!

9. Learn how the locals live. You don't want to be rude or caught in a situation which can be avoided. Every city has free guides and you will find a lot of things you need to know online too. No need for that pricey lonely planet book after all...

10. Stay open minded. You are going to experience some things or people you may not like or agree with along the way, but travelling is much more fun when the unexpected happens. No need to panic!



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How to give up your job and travel the world

So nine weeks ago near enough, I began the start of my year (or more) long adventure to the other side of the world; Australia. A journey I had been planning in my head for many years, but the reality was, nothing could have prepared me for what waited for me on the other side...

A word of advice for anyone thinking of doing anything similar - do not hesitate. There is no point waiting around to see if your best mate Sarah will come (she won't come). Take the plunge and go solo. Solo travelling isn't for everyone, and I have to admit it took a lot for me to say goodbye to my wonderful family and friends back in the UK. However, now, eight weeks in, I am wondering what all the fuss was about. Yes, I had a job waiting for me once I had arrived, but the fact of the matter is, you're never short of people to meet whilst you're travelling, especially in the tourist hyped backpacker areas. You will find work and you will make friends, even it means forcing yourself on to someone (don't do this!).

Sometimes it is about going out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself. I organised this whole trip by myself, which shocked a lot of people back home when I told them.  How could I trust the family I was going to work for? How did I know I would even enjoy it? Well these are all questions waiting to be answered, right when you step off that plane and have to fend for yourself. Yes it's insanely scary and exciting too, but just remember, if worst comes to worst, you can always jump straight back on that plane back home. Of course, this wasn't an option for me when I began to compare Sydney to the likes off West Bromwich, my home town. I think I'll stay here for a little while longer thanks!

Just remember, research is key. Whether you have been pondering your trip for a while, or if it's a spontaneous last minute one, make sure you have some sort of plan so you're not left stranded in the middle of nowhere! Australia is very westernised as you may know. So I knew even if I didn't have a job or anywhere to stay, I would be safe. However, the same can't be said about Asia (another place I'm visiting on my travels). No matter how many times you've been travelling, you can never be too certain about your own safety. 

I know a lot of people envy what I am doing right now. Some would say I am living the dream. I have no responsibilities, lots of time on my hands and most importantly, a free mind. Even though it's important to have some idea of where you'll be going, being open minded is key when travelling (as noted in my previous post). With an open mind, you will be amazed at how easy things seem...

For me, it all started when I finished university and started working full time. My life was lacking something to say the least. Spinning in my office chair for days on end became tedious. I was irritable, yearning for something more. My concentration levels often sunk after a few hours at work, with lunch being the highlight of my working day. Okay I get it, you're not meant to 'love' work, but for me it seemed so wasteful to wish my life away like this. I didn't hate my job but I wasn't hugely passionate about it either, which above all else, made me extremely sad. I want to find something that is worth getting up for, whatever that may be. And here I am - travelling the world - a one way to ticket to a sea of opportunities. On this journey, besides building on life experiences and fun aspect, I also want to find exactly that.

With this blog, I am able to build on my writing experience, an essential tool for anyone seeking a career in the the PR/ comma industry, as well as keep up to date with the real world. But for now it's time to enjoy myself and remember why I quit my job in the first place and decided to travel the world...


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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Afternoon tea at the lounge

Last Saturday, my mother and I headed over to The Cube in the Mailbox, Birmingham for some special mother and daughter time before I depart for the land of Oz on Sunday. I originally purchased afternoon tea for two on Groupon as a special Mother's Day treat, but decided this was the perfect excuse to fit in some last minute shopping, and also enjoy some quality time together on a rainy afternoon (not something we get to do very often). 

Apart from being quite difficult to find (I am not overly familiar with The Cube), I must say, I was rather impressed. The Lounge itself, (which forms part of the Club and Spa at The Cube) was very cosy indeed, overlooking some of Birmingham's finest canals. But what about the afternoon tea itself? Did it live up to its expectations? Of course it did. I wouldn't have expected anything less from the Mailbox. After struggling to locate its whereabouts, we finally arrived in good time, and were greeted by our waitress who offered us a choice of tea or coffee to start, (of course we went for tea). She then checked to see if we had any dietary requirements, before showing us to our seats overlooking the canal. Throughout the afternoon the service was on point - we were presented with our tea and an array of delicious finger sandwiches and cakes in little under ten minutes.

Included on our three tier cake stand was a gooey chocolate brownie, a crunchy seeded caramel flapjack, a succulent carrot cake and two classic British scones with fresh jam and cream, not forgetting a choice of finger sandwiches on both white and brown bloomer bread. We were truly spoilt for choice. Saying that, I think we could have done with a few more sandwiches (this was our lunch after all), as the ratio of sandwiches to cakes was enough to make anyone have a slight heart attack...

Of course, we managed to get through the food in no time (including all the cakes) even though I was adamant I wasn't going to eat them all, and would be taking some home with me. The temptation was clearly too much - these cakes were truly delicious! This was the perfect afternoon, and for just £16, I couldn't complain. I was slightly annoyed that I didn't purchase the deal with the glass of prosecco each to finish for an extra five pound. However, this didn't stop me treating us both to a glass of white to toast my big move in a few days time.

So would I come back? Definitely, but maybe in the summer months when it's a bit warmer and you're not left watching the rain. Saying that, this didn't stop people from celebrating the long Easter weekend out on the canal. I am not sure if the offer is still running on Groupon, but either way, this is the perfect little hideout after a long days shopping, or if you just fancy a bite to eat. They have a range of light snacks and drinks for you to choose from on the menu in addition to the afternoon tea. I for one loved the fresh modern decor, including the funky leather sofas, colourful armchairs and oden wall panels. Very chic indeed! It looked like many other mother's and daughter's had a similar idea too - the place was overflowing with women of all ages. 

Have you visited The Lounge before? What do you think of afternoon tea?


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