Travelling Tips for the Best Holiday

I’ve just returned from my second holiday of the year, this time to the beautiful island of St Lucia (travel page coming soon). During my holiday, I realised that I have grown as a traveller over the last two years and I wanted to share some hints and tips that I’ve learnt.

Tip 1: Create a list of things you need to pack

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It is so easy for me to forget something when packing. So last year I created a packing list at the back of my bullet journal. This is a comprehensive list of all the things that I need on my holiday. It includes toothbrush, outfits, contact lenses, shoes etc. By having this list, I always know the essentials I need for my holiday. Items such as sunscreen and swimwear are in the optional column of the list, as I only need it when travelling to hot destinations. This list ensures that I never overpack as I know that everything I need is on the list. It also means that I can pack my luggage (for weekends away) the morning of the trip and I never forget anything.

Tip 2: Buy travel-size cosmetics

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

I used to buy mini plastic bottles and transfer my normal beauty products, e.g. shower gel, cleansers etc into the mini plastic bottles. I realised that it was a waste of time and waste of plastic as I could never properly clean the bottles to reuse them, so I always had to buy new ones. Instead, I now buy travel size beauty products (used only when travelling) which are kept in a clear plastic bag (the same ones they provide at the airport). This means that when it’s time for me to pack, all I need to do is add my foundation and contact lenses into the clear plastic bag and I’m ready to go.

Tip 3: Travel wallets are a lifesaver

I love my travel wallet; I have had it for just over 2 years and it is my favourite travel essential. Especially on short trips where I can only take a backpack, having all my travel documents in one wallet makes my airport experience a breeze. I would strongly recommend getting a travel wallet, it stores your passport, ID, money, credit cards, and boarding pass.

Tip 4: Price check excursions

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Before I go on a holiday I always look on Trip Advisor and check the costs of excursions. When I arrive at my holiday I then ask the hotel how much the activities costs. If it is roughly the same as on trip advisor or cheaper, I book it through the hotel. If it is more expensive, I book it on Trip Advisor instead. The advice that people usually give is to book your activities at the destination, however this does not always work out cheaper as some destinations charge more than Trip Advisor.

Tip 5: Get a Monzo card (or other similar providers)

After my travel wallet, Monzo is my favourite travel must have. Monzo does not charge you for transactions made abroad and they usually give you the best exchange rate when you take out cash from a cash machine. I love using my Monzo because it means that I don’t need to carry a lot of cash. I only use cash at cash-only places and the rest of the time I use my Monzo card. Monzo also shows me exactly what I spent my money on and gives me a spending summary at the end of my holiday.

Tip 6: Have fun

Photo by Jill Wellington on

You’re on holiday, enjoy yourself and have fun!

Thank you for reading.

The Fourth Wall

Recently, I went to see the wonderful comedy As you like it by William Shakespeare. Throughout the play, I was shocked to see so many interactions between the audience and the actors, completely destroying the fourth wall. The metaphorical wall that stands between the actors and audience, the wall that inhibits the actors from stepping into our world, and us from stepping into theirs. Although I enjoyed the play, this destruction of the fourth wall made me very uneasy.

I did not expect this assault on the fourth wall from the Royal Shakespeare Company. I expected great actors with great performance, even for a comedy like this one. I did not expect actors taking a seat next to viewers or even inviting them on stage or breaking from character and having a quick laugh about strictly come dancing. I could forgive the costume changes being done on stage as part of the artistic direction, however the breaking of the fourth wall was too much for me to handle.

The fourth wall is a very important theatrical convention, one that protects the actors from interruption and diversions, as they cannot see us but we, as silent observers, see them. The fourth walls shields the actors from screams and shouts of the outside world and it allows them to do their job diligently. Actors are never to cross the fourth wall, never to acknowledge the presence of the audience, only when the play is complete.

I understand that aspects of the play itself could be said to shake the fourth wall due to the famous line by Shakespeare “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;”. However, this line is not enough for the directors to dismiss the existence of the fourth wall. It can even be argued that a lot of Shakespeare’s plays move the fourth wall, with lines such as:

“If this were play’d upon a stage now, I would condemn it as improbable fiction” (Twelfth Night: Act 3 Sc 4)

“How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted over in states unborn and accents yet unknown!” (Julius Caesar: Act 3 Sc 1)

“I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; / A stage where every man must play a part, / And mine a sad one.” (The Merchant of Venice: Act 1 Sc 1)

However, none of this is an excuse for actors to come off stage and interact with the audience, nor invite the audience on stage to hold up post it notes, all for a few good laughs. Is this what theatre has reduced to? Breaking the fourth wall for cheap laughs and a few chuckles?

I feel that the fourth wall is a valued member of a theatrical performance, without it, it leaves the play lacking. If I wanted an interactive session, I would have gone to one. However, I paid money to see actors act and viewers view.  

Thank you for reading.

P.S. one thing that I did enjoy about the performance is the diversity in casting.

Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History

I was recently given a key chain with this quote on it, and was told by mutiple people that the key chain fits with my personality. This gave me the opportunity to think about it sincerely and to wonder whether or not it does in fact a) describe me, and b) whether or not the statement is indeed true.

From the top of my head I can think of mutiple (two) well behaved women who made history. The first is Mother Theresa, she is as well behaved as they come. She devoted her life to religion and charity, helping the poorest in society through the love and kindness of her heart.  She was literally a Saint, which is the best definition of well behaved.

The second woman that comes to mind is Michelle Obama. From her public life in the White House, she did everything a first lady was supposed to do, she did not break any rules, but in fact followed them all. Whether or not she was well behaved in her private life is still unknown to me as I am yet to read her biography.

After thinking of these two women, I realised that I could not think of any more well behaved women. That the statement was in fact true, that although there are some examples of well-behaved women making history, they seldom do. Most of the well known women throughout history are rebellious, outspoken and rule breakers. Women like Empress Matilda, Queen Elizabeth I, Rosa Parks, Audre Lorde, Aung San Su Kyi, and Emmeline Pankhurst. They have had to break through the barriers set by society in order to achieve everything that they achieved. They had to defy the ruling powers and stand up for what they believed in, even if I don’t personally agree with these women and their politics, it is safe to say that they impacted the world.

As for me, I do not see myself as rebellious, I see myself as someone who follows and enjoys rules. I may be outspoken and can occasioanlly bend the rule, but rarely do I break it. Maybe one day, I too would be an example of a well behaved woman who made history.

Check out the new travel pages:

Red Sky

“Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning”

Well it was not only red, but yellow and purple

I was not warned but looked at it kindly

I saw the colours and dreamt of delight

I sought for comfort and ignored the omen

The sky was right, it always is

It knew the week that laid ahead

It knew the trial I’d overcome

To have my boots nailed to the ground

The moment I see the sky as it appeared

The warning that it perceived.

Thank you for reading.

Book Review: The Glass Palace

A book of such epic proportions is one that is rarely executed, which is why this tremendous task took Amitav Ghosh 5 years to complete. The Glass Palace is a novel that follows the transformation of a nation from Burma to Myanmar. It follows the lives of two characters and their descendants as they navigate their way through monarchy, imperialism, war and independence. The novel, although historical in some respects, is nothing but pure fiction, with the writer intertwining the lives of those individuals to the events of the country’s transformation, as well as its relationship with neighbouring countries; India and Malaysia.

Ghosh himself stated that “one can examine the truths of individuals in history more completely in fiction than one can in history”. This is true as most history is taught from the perspectives of kings, queens and important men. They are rarely seen from the eyes of an individual, only from the collective as one voice. Most common men and women did not have the means of telling their stories, especially in the pre-20th century where reading and writing was a luxury reserved only for the rich and wealthy. Ghosh’s ability to explore the lives of individuals against the epic backdrops of historical events is one that I enjoyed throughout the novel. However, his attempt to take the reader from the 1880s Burma, through India, USA, Malaysia and back to Myanmar in the 1980s was far too ambitious. The novel starts with the Imperialist British army deposing of the Burmese king, through to his exile up until the rise of Aung San Suu Kyi. Although the earlier chapters are well researched and written, by the end of the novel, the story becomes less believable, one example of this being a character’s sudden ability to be a professional marksman with no prior experience of a firearm. The reader begins to lose interest in the characters mid-way through the novel as there are far too many lives and stories to follow, making it difficult for one to connect or identify with an individual character.

On the other hand, one must praise Ghosh’s ability to create characters that remind you of people you know, people who make mistakes, forget their past, redefine who they are and fight for what they want. The novel, although unrealistic at times, rings true to its motif of The Glass Palace, as we all live in the glass palace of our everyday lives, and it takes but one stone for the glass to shatter where we have no choice but to rebuild another.

One character whose glass palace was shattered by political consciousness is Arjun. Throughout the Second World War, Arjun begins to question the role of the Indian soldiers in the British Army. However, in the earlier chapters Arjun stayed firm in his belief that his role is to serve the Empire in order to bring equality to other nations, despite the inequalities he himself faced in British-owned India as an Indian man. In Ghosh’s effort to voice his personal opinions on the Empire, Arjun’s loyalty to the Empire is overthrown in an attempt to gain independence not only for India but for himself. One of Arjun’s most eloquent self-reflection echoes Ghosh himself.

“Was this how a mutiny was sparked? In a moment of heedlessness, so that one became a stranger to the person one had been a moment before? Or was it the other way around? That this was when one recognized the stranger that one had always been to oneself; that all one’s loyalties and beliefs had been misplaced?”

Arjun’s attempt to find himself, despite only having found purpose for his life through the British Army, is a battle that leads him to decisions that some readers find hard to sympathise with. Arjun not only loses himself but his most trusted and loyal companion.

To conclude, I would rate this book a 3.9 out of 5 stars, although some chapters were superbly written, the writer’s insistent on providing an ending to every character resulted in the closing chapters seeming rushed and lacking in the thoughtfulness of the opening chapters. Nonetheless, this is a book that I would recommend, if not for the story itself but for the historical context.

Thank you for reading.