Travel

New Zealand Series: Te Arai Point Beach

 

If you’re looking for a spot to disappear to, away from the city and bustling crowds then I’d suggest taking a day trip 1 and 40 mins north of Auckland to the beautiful Te Arai beach.

If you like the vibes of Piha but hate the crowds then Te Arai point maybe the perfect way to spend the day. It’s beautifully isolated and forces you to spend time off the grid as there is no cell phone reception. Positioned on the east coast this beach offers miles of pristine white sand with choppy surf ideal for swimmers and surfers alike.

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Some pro tips would be:

  • Pack food and water, as the nearest shop in a 20 minute drive.
  • Don’t bother washing you car prior to departure. The last 15 minute of your journey is a long a unsealed gravel road and everything will get covered un dust.
  • Bring shade. If you plan on parking up on the beach then you need a place to escape the sun and wind as the beach is rather exposed.
  • The trip is not sign posted so take a map or your phone for direction. Cellphone data will get you 97% of the way so screenshot your last few turns. Don’t do what we did and ‘trust your gut’ as this will get you lost. Google maps is your friend.
  • EXPLORE! On one side of the beach you’ll see a stretch of white sand for miles. On the other, a small cove type opening that acts as a peaceful lagoon in amongst the rough waves. Great for kids or those who just want to chill.

Check out the photos

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Lisa x

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The things they don’t write in parenting books.

It’s a well known fact that parenting is like a ever-changing obstacle course with no map or signs that your on the right path.

Thankfully though, we are no longer in 1940 where women and men stay silent about their parenting concerns. We are lucky enough to have an endless supply of books, support groups, antenatal classes and even the internet to educate ourselves on what is going to be one hell of a ride.

HOWEVER.

In the last two years I have learnt there are many ‘FYI’s’ that are left out of the available learning material.

This became more apparent when recently I had a run in with a very obnoxious couple while I was out shopping one day. The books I read didn’t teach me how to handle these social interaction so I had to improvise.

This couple was young, clearly did not have kids and felt the need to express their self-entitlement.

I was in line for food with my 2 year old and yes, I had my pram. Because a pram is the most vital piece of equipment to help  stabilise an unpredictable toddler, hold my shopping bags and keep my sanity intact (put that in your advertising Kmart!).

The line moved forward so naturally,  I followed.

While I stood there this couple started walking in my direction. I figured there’s a tone of space behind me so surely they’ll walk around me right? In a way, they did but they sure made it clear they weren’t happy about having to take approximately 3-4 extra steps to pass by.

The comment from the male: “Way to block the fucking path with your pram.”

Followed by an ignorant murmur from his underage girlfriend “Wow…your so smart lady. Fuck sacks.” said sarcastically.

They both gave me evil looks as their shopping bags purposefully smacked the pram.

PAUSE.

First of all, I was lucky enough to get through 1 hour of shopping without a tantrum.

Second, as a reward for being an awesome kid we were in line for ice cream and we were having a pleasant day up until this point.                              

Third, do you think because I’m a mum on my OWN that it’s ok to make loud comments like that? Would you have said that if her dad were with me?          

Fourth, did I look like someone who was going to ignore this? Did I have ‘I’m a chicken shit’ written on my forehead? Answer: NO.

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For some odd reason they assumed I didn’t hear them and they walked by with a thick layer of smugness on their face.

So they got one hell of a fright when I went all Cookie Lyon on them and said

“Excuse you! We’re you talking to me? Cause it sounded like you were. Care to explain?”

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Both look pretty stunned because I guess they weren’t counting on a response. After a few seconds of what I thought was a glorious stare down the guy finally said “oh nah” while he looked at the ground and continued to walk away. His girl was long gone too cause we all know those hoes ain’t loyal.

In that moment it was like catching an under sized fish and thinking ‘should I let this go?’  I had every fibre I my body saying ‘going on, give him a piece of your mind!’ However  I looked at my kid and thought, no. You’re too young to embarrass now, I’ll save the good stuff till your older. So I let him leave with his newly descended testicles. But of course not without one final intense “fuck with me and see what happens” look.

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The point is that shit like that happens all the time and the more comfortable I’ve become in my parenting role the more apparent these situations become.

If the above scenario were to happen when my kid was around the 6 month mark, I most likely would have just ignored it. Because in the back of my mind I may have thought ‘maybe they are right? Maybe I should have stayed home? Maybe I should have made of an effort to move my pram? Because after all, I’m new to all of this.” Thank god I’m not that person now!

Most times your too focused on your kids to even notice or sometimes you do notice but feel it’s not appropriate to say anything.

My advice? SAY SOMETHING.

People may stare at you, give funny looks or whisper about you to their friends. None of that matters. What matters is letting that ‘other person’ know, that shit is not ok.

To summarise,  I’ve made a list of scenarios that have occurred in my short parenting time and what my reactions were. I strongly suggest aligning your attitudes to be some what similar ….

Let us begin:

  • Prams are big and clucky, that just the reality of them. Whether they are designer or the warehouse they are not meant to be invisible and people will need to walk around them.

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  • When your kid cries in public, people will look.

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  • When your kid cries in public, people will judge you.

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  • When your kid cries in public, people will expect you to flick that magic switch to make it stop, they will be super confused when you don’t do this immediately.

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  • When you’re at a seated event with your toddler people will expect good behaviour. If your kid kicks the back of their chair they will give you the ‘why did bring your kid here?’ look. They may even request to move seats.

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  • When you approach the counter to order food with your kid and you maybe trying to teach them some independence by letting them pick and ask for it themselves. You will get toe taps, coughs and loud sighs. These are signals that people are impatient and want you to hurry the hell up.WGAF

I hope you enjoyed this weeks episode, until next time!

 

Lisa x

 

 

 

 

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Life

Setting Goals vs What really matters?

What matters most can be a loaded question. The answer depends on who’s asking and who’s being asked.

With the arrival of the new year, the prosperity of a blank slate shines bright and clean. When that new year rolls around we ask ourselves “Ok, what are my goals? What am I going to start/stop doing?”

90% of the time for me that answer begins with “eat less [insert food] and do more [insert exercise move I absolutely despise].”However, setting goals means nothing if we don’t understand the purpose behind them. The ‘why’ is just as important and is the power that drives the ‘what’.

When we ask ourselves ‘what are my goals for this year?’ It will often result in answers such as buying a first home, travel the world,  make more money, lose weight, stop smoking etc. All perfectly good goals but they have their flaws. The problems lies in the fact that these goals are set without a purpose in mind. Why do you want to travel? How will this add value to your current life’s state?

These are the reasons it is more beneficial to ask the question what matters most to you.

Better relationships? Finding love? More freedom with your time?

Finding out what matters to you most is a tool that will help narrow down the list of abundant unnecessary goals. It will help decipher and focus on what really motivates you, what makes you happy and what keeps you passionate. From there, you build your goals with substance and meaning.

In other words, know what you’re doing it and why you’re doing it.

  • Goal: I want to lose 10 kgs
  • Why: Because it will mean a healthier and more energetic me that will ultimately lead to better lifestyle.
  • Goal: I want to work less hours
  • Why: Because I want to create a better work/life balance. This will allow me to create a stronger relationship with my family.
  • Goal: I want to travel the world
  • Why: This will let me met new people and gain experience outside of my comfort zone that will filter into other aspects of my life.

These are a few examples…

Let’s plan for 2016 to bring positivity, prosperity, strength and tiny bit of drama. Because let’s be real, life ain’t life without a bit of drama. Just try not to attract too much and learn how to handle it better.

Lisa x

 

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Travel

New Zealand Series: Taupo

Living in the heart of Auckland city means I don’t get to see a lot of nature without a 5 story apartment block impairing my view.

Thankfully over the weekend we managed to escape the traffic ridden city to venture to a more slower paced town smack bang in the middle of the north island.

4hours driving, 2 McDonalds drive throughs and 1 coffee stop later we arrived in Taupo. We spent the weekend doing nothing of importance but spending quality time with one another.

If your looking for a place to disappear too then we highly recommend heading to Taupo for a weekend. A place that can only be described as ‘simple but nice’.

Accommodation: Waitahanui Lodge.

A charming cabin style lodge right on the lakeside. What it lacks in modern amenities it makes up for in peaceful surroundings. No crowds, no traffic and  10 feet away from dipping your feet in New Zealand’s beautiful Taupo Lake.

Things we did that are highly recommended:

Go fishing at the Huka Prawn Farm

Visit Huka Falls

Dinner at the Bistro (this was perfection!)

and of course just chill at the Taupo Lake.

Check out the photos:

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Muscle Flex Zone

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Huka Prawn Farm

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Stop off in Cambridge

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Huka Falls

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Huka Falls

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Huka Falls

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Life

21 Simple Things We All Find Satisfying as Adults

Having a rough day are we?

Well, your in the right place! Ok, ok so you may have gotten a speeding ticket on the way home. Maybe you just got dumped by your ex who coincidentally really needs YOUR best friend for support. Or maybe your big plans for tonight just fell through after you’ve literally spent 2 hours slapping all the crap on your face in an effort to look good.

Well that sucks but you know what doesn’t? All the little things in your day that you may have ignored to begin with but suddenly are now the highlight of your day. I’ll be honest, I’ve had a few shit days here and there but it’s always been the smallest thing that reignites my optimism. This renewed optimism is usually in the form of instant satisfaction, I enjoy these things so much I made a list!

So, here are 21 little wins that will make your day that much more satisfactory, if they don’t well then make you own list. I’m not your mother.

1. Matching socks.

When this happens it’s proof there is a god. Well, a sock god anyway. If I see a pair of matching sock first thing in the morning then I know … today will be a good day.

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2. Afternoon cuddles with your significant other (human or animal .. sometimes I prefer the latter)  

Honey, I’ve had a rough day can we cuddle on the couch while I watch Game of Thrones? Oh you don’t want to? Tough shit, you’re doing it.

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3. Waking up before your alarm goes off and you’re not tired.

Wow, I’m awake  AND I have Energy!? Wtf is going on here? Well seeing as how I’m up now I might go and work out .. I said MIGHT.

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4. Paying a bill on time.

Victory! Now I don’t have to dodge private number phone calls for the rest of the month. On second thought, I’ll continue to do so just incase…

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5. Sitting in a waiting room and there are up-to date magazines available to read.

The most horrifying thing about a doctors office is being forced to read magazines from 1997 or reader digest. Your having a good day if your in a waiting rooms and the magazine is from this decade. Success!

 

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6. Finding a funny meme online and losing my shit in fits of laughter.

Yes, meme are still funny. IDGAF what people say. example below:

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7. Detouring through a fast food drive through on the way home after a rough day and giving zero f**ks about all your hard work at the gym you’re about to ruin.

It’s been on of those days where you need your best friend by your side. Then you realise your best friend will give you good advice that you just can’t handle right now, so you get a Big Mac instead. Problem solved.

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8. Hanging all your washing out on a sunny day and actually have it dry entirely. 

If you live in Auckland, NZ you will understand how much of a luxury this is.  The weather here is bipolar and the weather man is often 98% wrong most times. If you see sun, get it on the line and pray as you walk away.

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9. Matching Bra and Undies or the male alternative, clean underwear.

Picture John Travolter in Greese and the trail of confidence he leaves behind his swagger of a strut. Yes, today I’m John Travolter and this day is my bitch.

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10. A Full Tank of Gas

Idea: Let’s drive 2 hours out of our way to try that raw vegan cafe I saw on instagram then hit the yoga studio for an hour long session.

Reality: Let’s drive through McDonalds then go to the home, because this gas has gotta last me two weeks.

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11. Brunch

A secret meal you get after breakfast but before lunch. Why did no one tell you about this magical meal when you were little!? Those selfish adults…

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12. Having a group of friends that have actually grown up the same time as you

You know that friend that still lives at home with their parents and has no financial responsibility, doesn’t understand how the real world works and still believes in the tooth fairy? Me neither, I don’t have friends like that.

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13. Being able to watch a TV series from start to finish in the span of 4 days or less. 

So, I haven’t showed in 2 days, my cat is giving me that ‘feed-me or i’ll shit in the house’ look and all of my house plant have died. Regardless, I’ve now watched every episode of GoT and Empire and if I die tomorrow, my soul will be at peace.

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14. Doing the grocery shopping and realising your an adult. Therefore you CAN buy that packet of chocolate biscuits and stash them at the back of the cupboard for later.

Because that’s what adults do to hide things from other adults.

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15. Having a clean car

Huh, so my dash board is actually a light caramel tan, not shit-brown. Go figure…

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16. Having coffee with a good friend

Coffee is improves my energy levels and friendship de-creases my stress levels. A genuine win-win situation.

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17. Spending the whole day secluded for some much needed alone time and eating whatever the f**k you like (pyjamas optional).

Today I will not participate in the world and that’s just fine with me. Regular life will resume tomorrow….

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18. Having a day time nap.

I have a million things on my to-do list and most are classed as urgent, but f**k it…I’m having a nap instead.

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19. Completing your daily to-do list by lunch time.

Wow, now have a spare afternoon with nothing to do, what just happened ? I’m usually much less productive than this! I wonder how long this ‘new me’ is going to stick around?

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20. Finally getting around to doing those chores you alway said you would

I know I said it 6months ago but i mean it this time! Wardrobe organised, check. Shoe closet organised, check. Garden weeding? Um, I would but it looks like it’s going to rain in the next 1-7 days so I’d better not risk it. Oh well.

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21. Dressing for comfort over anything.

Some how my ‘quick trip to the supermarket’ jeans have also become my ‘clubbing’ jeans, ‘daily errands’ jeans, ‘dinner with friends jeans’ and ‘shopping for new jeans’ jeans. Occasionally people compliment me on my ‘effortless and cool style’ but the truth is 90% of my washing is dirty and these were the only clean clothes in reach.

 

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Lisa x

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Women on women and not the way your thinking…

Lately I’ve noticed an influx of posts on my Facebook feed discussing issues surrounding gender stereotypes, equality and society standards. Most of which are directed towards either women and girls and their ‘place’ in today’s world.

Majority of the blogs I’ve read highlight the ideas and pressures that society has put on women from a young age. “Marriage, children and career all by 30”. Fail to tick all three boxes and you will be branded unsuccessful OR “if you have a uterus you must put a baby in it otherwise your making a mistake” OR “you shouldn’t wear so little, you might trigger a chemical reaction in a mans brain that will cause him to lose control of his actions. For which you will be responsible for.” Blah, blah, blah.

Now, if your a man and reading the above paragraph made your balls shrivel and testosterone drop instantly, feel free to take a backseat because the following is not addressed to you.

After reading really opinionated blogs about feminism, social equality etc, I always scroll through the comments section. Because lets be honest, that’s where shit gets real.
One comment stood out and it was from a man. To place a direct quote he said:

“why do women care so much about other women? Men really don’t give a shit.”

That honest comment made me laugh like crazy mainly because it made so many women mad as hell. *shocker*

I thought about it for awhile and it’s true to say that Gandalf_24 was right.
Women are the main fuel source behind most of these ideas. Ironically, women insist other women must have children before their biological clock runs out and they die miserably.
They must seek marriage before they become expired goods. The list goes on. As women we have a horrible tendency to make these assumptions and perhaps can’t see we are contributing heavily to these ideas.

This is not about gender equality, feminism or social standards. My opinion is shaped around the idea that women need to cease judging other women around these issues. I personally have definitely been guilty of this. Considering the century we live in women no longer do what they used to back in the 50’s. Hell, we have generations that will never know what a CD is let alone be aware of the 50’s. So why do we hang onto to these ideals that are no longer realistic? And why do we push them on other women but get all defensive if they get push onto us?

Call it my own personal opinion but men really don’t give a shit. Seriously. I’ve had this confirmed by several reliable sources*.

I guess my overall point is some views on women are terribly out dated and as women we should make a conscious effort to stop pushing certain values on other women.

Yet, some will not agree and will continue to remind me that I’m still an unmarried female with a child. To those women I will politely say please…..

……………… pipe the f#!$ down.

*Reliable sourcing meaning my boyfriend Brandon, Gangdalf_24 and My cat (he’s a boy).

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Travel

Thailand, Phuket – May 2015

If you’ve peeped my Instagram lately you will know I’ve recently returned from Thailand. Rather than upload photos to Facebook I thought it would be more informative if I collaborated all my images and give you an in depth explanation of our experience.

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As a Phuket amateurs we had a certain picture painted in our minds of what this country could in tale. I am chuffed to say that everything you’ve heard about Thailand is true. The good, the bad, the sad and the absolutely beautiful.

We traveled to Phuket, the tourist capital of Thailand. The ‘Thailand experience’ begins the second you step off the plane. We landed at 9pm and we were hit with a smoldering, thick heat. For us, who come from New Zealand where the heat even in summer can be quite docile, it took sometime to adjust to being in a constant state of sweat.

The taxi ride to our hotel consisted of four near death experiences. People drive like their auditioning for the next Fast and the Furious installment .Our driver drove twice the speed limit, while he calmly avoided colliding with tuk tuks, pedestrians and scooters with a family of five all piled on. At one point we drove past a man driving a scooter with his wife breastfeeding a baby on the back. It was insane and for the first 5 minutes I kept thinking about all the road rules they would have broken back home. After about 20 minutes into the drive I soon began to realize that this was the way of Thailand. To the western eye it seemed chaotic and hectic but the the Thai it all worked in perfect harmony that resulted in zero road rage. I mean ZERO. A lesson we could learn in New Zealand.

We stayed in Patong Beach which was saturated in tourists. Many people have mixed opinions about this place but I personally loved it . If you prefer nicely manicured streets with decorative trees lining the pavements, I suggest you holiday elsewhere. These streets are unkempt, somewhat dirty and cluttered with cheap market stalls. It sounds very unappealing however I found that to be the charm of Thailand. It gives you a different experience to what your used to and offers you an opportunity explore a lifestyle you maybe less accustom to.

So let me offer you some travel hacks and detail how we spent 9 days in Phuket, Thailand.

Beers on Patong Beach

Beers on Patong Beach

The first thing I noticed about the Thai people was that you are never far from a smile. They have the ability to smile for absolutely no reason and to begin with, this was slightly perplexing but after awhile it becomes contagious. It’s rare to come across people who are so genuinely stress free and polite. Whether we were conversing with market stall owners, waiters or taxi drivers they all seemed to posses this friendly, laid back quality that was refreshing to be on the receiving end of.

Shopping: During the day the streets are hustling with market stalls in what I would describe as counterfeit heaven. Every top brand you can think of replicated and available at one fifth of the retail price. Nike Roches, Birkenstock sandals, Michael Kors handbags right down to MAC and Bobbi Brown make up brushes. Of course some products are not up to usual standard but for the price you pay it’s usually good enough.

Aside from these Phuket was great at selling unique trinkets, handmade bags, jewelry, and souvenirs.

If your planning to do some market shopping just know that there are stalls everywhere. Most stalls sell practically the same things, so if your shopping for something particular be sure to have a look around. You’ll find some stalls will sell the same handbag but of course one will sell it cheaper than the other.

When browsing the Markets it is almost expected of you to negotiate the price. Bartering is an excellent skill that will get you the best value for your buck. If your interested in a pair of shoes just ask them the price, most will type this out on a calculator. You can usually counter offer by halving that price, then the negations will go from there. It’s good practice to always be polite and if you genuinely not interested then always say thank you.

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One time I got annoyed at my partner because he didn’t try hard enough to barter a much cheap price for a singlet when he could have. Because to me it was all about the $$ and the best deal I could get my hands on. He Swift reminded me the this is how the all market sellers make their living and thus put food on their table. So we shouldn’t be trying so hard to barter a really low price when in most cases, they rely on good sales to provide for their families. This was one of those rare ‘pearls of wisdom moments’ my partner occasionally has only when all the planets are in alignment. So I learnt a lesson in humility and always agreed on a fair price. You’ll also find that most markets and mall don’t open till about 10 – 11 am, so feel free to sleep in occasionally.


Nightlife
: A very big contrast to what the day time offers. The stalls tend to fade (although some stay open all night) and all the bars come out in full force. Thai women will stand on the road side offering cheap drinks and entertainment and it will be hard decision to settle on one bar. The most over populated road is of course the famous Bangala Road. This was a two minute stroll from our Hotel (the Kee Resort) and I would dub this as the central hub for all tourist night life. On the last night in Phuket we took advantage on the cheap cocktails and played connect four with what we think was a lady? Anyways, we chilled, drank and played pool all night and then stumble back to our rooms. I realized the next morning, that drinking the night before your 12 hour economy flight home is not a fabulous idea.

If your strolling the streets through restaurants and bars after sunset, be prepared to weave your way through some fierce salesmen. Everything from tailor-made suits, sunglasses, cheap beers and infamous ping pong shows will be on offer to you.

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A word of caution when it comes to Ping Pong shows. Most will offer you “free entry” and all you have to do is buy one drink. The catch is that drink will cost you four times the normal price and you will be forced to buy it. I’ve also heard rumors that some shows will only let your leave if you pay an “exit fee” which is something ridiculous like 2000 baht.

Beers and cocktails are ridiculously cheap which makes it dangerously easy to get pissed. Being as though it is Thailand take some caution. Because if you go to bed with Cindy don’t be surprised if you wake up with Bruce.

Food: Because we stayed in a place that was popular with tourist, we found that majority of the food available was hugely westernized. The main areas in Patong cater more for the western taste buds but if you wonder further enough into the less populated areas you are more likely to stumble on some genuine Thai restaurants. Because of the strong Indian influence in thailand there are a lot of Indian curry restaurants available. A word of caution, their idea of ‘spicy’ is no joke, delicious but deadly.

11281822_955965614454863_1962247900_nOne of the best eating experiences we had was eating at a night market. Now it is true what they say, be careful what your eat. There were a lot of stalls with cooked meat being present to the general public walking past. They looked appetizing but if your not born with an iron stomach I would avoiding foods that have been sitting for a while and opt for food that can be cooked right in front of you. My partner didn’t apply this common rule, although his dinner was super yum (best description I could come up with), the dash back to the hotel bathroom a hour later was highly inconvenient.

I, being the wiser of the two, had Pad Thai where this guy on his scooter/kitchen cart whipped it up for me in 5 minutes.

Besides the fact that dinner was amazingly satisfying for lack of better description, the best thing about the whole dinner? Well for us to buy two dinners, two cans of coke and two Nutella and banana crepes for dessert, our two course menu cost us about five dollars! I kid you not , this will go down in history as the worlds cheapest dinner date.

20150513_111330Things to do:

Thailand is full of touristy expeditions and they are all easily accessible. We preferred to explore the more cultural side but there are plenty of adventurous things to do as well. Here’s what we got up to….

 20150515_131005Wat Chalong Temple – This place stood as a beautiful reminder of how rich Thai culture can be.You’re able to explore the temples and watch others pray and give thanks. It’s a perfect way to spend a chill day as it takes you away from the hustle and fast pace of the city. The Temple is soaked in history and an absolutely beautiful way to spend an afternoon.

Patong city weekend Markets – Pretty much a collaboration of the regular street market but on a heavy dose of steroids. Row after row of continuous market stalls. We picked up a few singlets, family gifts and probably my favorite purchase this pink, gypsy patterned beach bag. So buy a beer from one of the many stall and exercise your bartering skills to pick up some sweet merchandise.

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The Big Buddha is another over tourist populated hot spot but is definitely a must do. This great monument reflects the hard and extremely impressive level of craftsmanship it would have taken to build such a statue. It put us in a state of ‘awe’ as we tried to decipher the culture and history the Big Buddha represented, truly magnificent. Again, its another relaxing experience which comes with a magnificent views.

Long boat ride to a secluded beach. At the end of Patong Beach we took a long boat to Freedom beach, about a 10 minutes ride. This is also reachable by drive and short trek. This is what post cards are made of. White sands, 30+ degree heat and best of all minimal crowds. So minimal, a few women found it to be a fab opportunity to sunbath topless! This was my ‘screw it moment’ so off went my top and out sprung D&D. Actually it was less of a spring and more of a flop, but same principle. We spent practically the entire day getting tan and swimming at what felt like a private beach.

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Freedom Beach

Speedboat Tour to Phi Phi islands and Maya bay. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. If you book a really good tour you’ll find that it is all inclusive of everything you will need for that day.

Transfers to and from your hotel, free drinks and fruit on board all day, joke cracking tour guides and a buffet lunch. Our particular tour took us to all the Phi Phi islands, monkey bay and the absolutely stunning Maya bay. My brain at times struggled to comprehend that such paradise has a place on this earth. The views of what were literally aqua blue oceans and rugged cliff sides were quite simply amazing and the fondest memory of our trip.

We snorkeled off the back of our boat and explored the coral reef. I squealed notes like Mariah when I stood on a sea cucumber and  yes, I found Nemo. Life made.

Aqua blue waters at Maya Bay.

Aqua blue waters at Maya Bay.

This trip took up our whole day and we were buggered by the time we retired to our room.

Beaches – Phuket is blessed when it comes to beaches. One of the main areas is Patong beach which offers your practically everything from jet ski hire, cocktails, henna tattoo, beach side massages and paragliding off the back of a boat. Very crowded in peak season though so if your looking for relaxation and quiet surroundings I’d suggest visiting the neighboring Kata or Karon Beach which can be less populated. I would avoid Patong beach if your thinking of taking a peaceful stroll on the beach, only because you’ll get approached by people offer the above activities every 5 meters.

The Flying Hanuman – To kick our adrenaline and conquer my paralyzing fear of heights we explored the Phuket forest through way of zip line. Essentially just an extreme version on a flying fox  made for adults. There nothing more to say except this was damn fun! Side note: take mozzie repellent. You can thank me later.  Link below to check it out.

http://www.flyinghanuman.com

Preparing to free fall 20 meters and trusting a guy half my size.

Preparing to free fall 20 meters and trusting a guy half my size.

Besides our major sightseeing ventures, we spent every other day wondering around town and soaking in the culture and our surroundings.

Before leaving for Thailand I was determined to tick off certain things on our holiday. Majority the activities on my list we did , except one. I adore animals and the thought of riding an elephant through the Thai jungle was on the top of my bucket list.

However, being the over concern animal lover I am I of course did my research. The articles didn’t paint a pretty picture and from what I found there was nothing to support that these animals were being well taken care of. Still needing a bit more convincing, I wanted to see things for myself. Now I’m not saying that all elephant riding places do this but I can only report on what I saw. On our drive up to the Big Buddha our Tuk Tuk driver made a pit stop to his mates house and said we can take a photo with a baby elephant. We climbed out, rounded a corner and laid our eyes on a baby elephant chained by foot to a post. I couldn’t tell if it was well taken care of or not but either way I didn’t feel right for me to stand there and smile for a photo that would just wind up of Facebook. So we left pretty abruptly.

Afterward, we saw a few elephant riding tours on our way back. To which we saw these magnificent animals with metal seats strapped to their backs. They stood side by side in the pulsing sun and all we could see was group after group jump on board this animals adding a further 100+ kgs to the already heavy metal seats. After carrying their passengers they would return to base only to repeat the process with the next group. After seeing this it was an easy decision not to tick this particular activity off my bucket list and in fact remove it altogether.

Now of course it is up to the individual and many brochures will tell you that riding an elephant will complete your authentic Thailand experience. From our personal experience we felt as if we did not miss out on anything, we did get to see elephant up close which was more than satisfying.

Anyway, animal activate rant aside we departed Phuket with a feeling of immense satisfaction. We had done what we had set out to do and created the best memories possible. Taking this trip really highlighted the contrasting difference between our lives here in New Zealand and the Thai.

Final Word

Reality has settled and we’ve now returned to our freezing mornings and frost covered windows here in New Zealand. Although this weather is less than desirable, we will be the first to admit that we are truly blessed with the daily comforts we take for granted. Our time spent in Phuket was forever memorable and we are so grateful to be a position to have traveled to the other side of the world. Overall, we loved what Phuket had to offer and are planning a return trip as soon as our bank accounts will let us.

If any one has any questions for this Thailand amateur feel free to email me at troublesandgold@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to come up with a clever answer.

PHOTOS:

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Sky bridge way above the jungle

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Phuket street vendor delivering lunch to the workers.

Phuket street vendor delivering lunch to the workers.

Leaving our small token
Leaving our small token

Photobombed by our comedic tour guide

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Henna Art at Patong Beach

Henna Art at Patong Beach

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Big Buddha

Big Buddha  

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