Greek Islands

. September 15, 2018 .

As summer comes to a close I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite moments of the season, starting with an unforgettable week sailing through Greece and Turkey with my Life Before Work family.

This was my second trip with Life Before Work and third time on a sailing holiday. There’s something about living on a yacht for a week with the same bunch of people, island hopping, adventuring and - ahem - partying that makes it different to other trips, and something I’ve vowed to do once every summer. Full of different groups and solo travellers, you eat together, explore together and drink together - forming a yacht life family by the end of the week. 

Last year I did it solo, but this time I dragged Charlotte along for the ride. Traveling alone or with a friend with LBW - both experiences were amazing (you can read what I got up to in Croatia last season here). So, late July, after one almost-missed flight and hours of travelling later, Char and I arrived in Bodrum harbour ready for a week sailing the Adriatic. 

Fashionably late as always, we arrived at midnight whilst the rest of the gang were out for a first night of partying. We were greeted by some of the lovely ship crew with some greatly appreciated drinks and fresh snacks before heading to our cute but spacious little room below deck for a good nights sleep.

Come morning time, we met all the guests and guides over brekky. I was even reunited with my friends Jesse who was a guest on my Croatia tour and Matty who was one of the guides and it was so good to be welcomed with some familiar faces! 

We set sail for Kos around 11, soaking up the rays on top deck with some new friends. I knew we’d hit Greek waters when my notifications started to ping through, a sign I was back in the EU and my data had finally started to work. Thank god - because we’d soon be hitting up the most Insta-worthy spots imaginable. 

Kos is a charming little Greek island, not my favourite we’d see on the trip but still a gorgeous spot. Char and I left the gang at a beach club in the afternoon, itching to explore and of course, being the little speed demons we are, jump on a monster quad bike and discover the island.

In the short couple of hours we had, we managed to reach the other side of the Kos and back, cruising along the cost we enjoyed the beautiful landscapes (Kos is actually pretty green for a Greek island) and stopped for a dip and quick photo shoot at some ancient ruins. Back just in time for drinks and dinner at sunset on the boat, we geared up for our first group night out on Kos. 

In the days that followed we also visited the Island of Nisyros – home to the most incredible volcano crater (that we of course ended up having a dance off in). Overlooking the volcano so the tiniest white washed Greek village that reminded me of a less hectic and more charming Mykonos town. It was here we located a tucked away, cash-only ice cream cafe that served possibly the best damn pistachio flavour I'd ever devoured.

Next up though was my favourite stop along the trip, Symi. I couldn't believe I'd never heard of this gorgeous little Greek island before – it was the most charming place, a pastel town of pinks and yellows met with a quaint harbour and the most scenic roads to ride around. Here the whole gang hired scooters and convoyed around the island, soaking in the breathtaking views as we went. We had a gorgeous family dinner out this night on the harbour making it my favourite day of the entire trip before heading back to the yacht for you guessed it, another party night.

And I have to say, life on board a yacht with LBW really is the best life. Exploring a new beautiful part of Greece and Turkey everyday, devouring incredible food made by the wonderful crew on board and of course dancing the night away every night in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of amazing new friends. A few sore heads yes, but even more new friends and unforgettable experiences made, all of course made extra special shared with my girl Char. 

Thanks to Life Before Work for having me for another incredible Yacht Life trip this summer. Special thanks to our amazing guides Des and Matty for making sure we all had an amazing time throughout, as well as the awesome crew on board Yacht Life Turkey & Greece – see you next year.
Singapore

. May 24, 2018 .

A lot of you will know I kicked off this crazy adventure with an amazing few days in Singapore. It was short but oh so sweet; I met some amazing people, saw plenty of beautiful sights and was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved everything Singapore had to offer. A charming mix of traditional old Asia with its China Town and Little India neighborhoods, juxtaposed with modern skyscrapers, futuristic gardens, and crazy architecture. I also didn't appreciate what a multi-cultural country Singapore is – made up of four main groups (Chinese, Indian, Malay and Eurasian) it's an incredibly diverse place!



My flight to Singapore was also a pretty wonderful experience in itself. I was so excited to be traveling with Norwegian for the first time after hearing amazing things from friends and fellow bloggers who often rave about the airline. I had the absolute pleasure of trying out their premium cabin where I could indulge in extra leg room, spacious seats and even had the luxury of ordering drinks and snacks straight to my seat through my personal touch-screen tv. I was also so impressed with how spacious and modern the entrie cabin was. Norwegian's long-haul flights from Gatwick use the brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and these state of the art aircraft are faster, greener and help reduce the effects of Jet Lag. 

With premium, I also had access to Gatwick's No. 1 lounge and was allowed up to two pieces of 20kg luggage and ofc this made me feel like a real baller tbh. But with premium fares as low as £549 one-way from London to Singapore, it'd be rude not to indulge in a little extra luxury. Safe to say, the 13 hour flight flew by in the comfort of Norwegian Premium. But if you are on a tight budget, you can grab a one-way in LowFare from as little as £159 – crazy good right?! Ashamed to say I spent more than that on dinner and cocktails at Marina Bay Sands rooftop bar on my first night in Singapore... oops! 



But it wasn't all expensive rooftop cocktails. As I mentioned I was lucky enough to meet some amazing friends in my short stint in Singapore – two fellow solo travelling Brits Liam and Rachel. I don't think I've ever hit it off with two people so quickly nor laughed so much in such a short space of time. Rach and I essentially spent the day eating our way through China Town then Little India, I can't recommend these two spots enough. So rich in culture, colour right in the heart of the city and don't even get me started on how mouth-wateringly good delish the food was. 

Come dinner time we headed back to the hostel where we met Liam and decided to get dolled up for a boozy evening sipping overpriced cocktails at Singapore's iconic Marina Bay Sands, the three skyscrapers joined by a rooftop infinity pool and bar stretching across the top you can see in one of my above shots. Comprised of a hotel, multiple restaurants, a shopping mall and bars, it's a super impressive must-see – especially architecture nerds. 

Whilst the pool is reserved for guests of the hotel only, the rooftop bar and restaurant Spago is worth visiting for the breathtaking views alone. After getting caught in a hilarious downpour and then catching the evening light show at the neighboring Gardens by The Bay (which was bloody amazing) we headed on over and up to the top of MBS for cocktails, wet hair 'n all. Here we sipped (or rather gulped, whilst playing the funniest game of never have I ever that I've ever played) on some deliciously strong cocktails and laughed 'till our bellies hurt. The hours that followed included ubering to some latin bar where we danced like dickheads to despacito and then bar hopped some more. Safe to say Singapore's nightlife scene is POP-IN'. 

I didn't make it out of my hostel bunk until about 1pm the following day (I blame the jet-lag.. ahem) until venturing out for more food, then after saying goodbye to Liam, Rach and I set out to see the Gardens by The Bay in daylight, which were just as spectacular at nighttime. They're full of so many interesting creations and the man-made supertrees especially are really magnificent to behold and a real tribute to what an eco-friendly, green place Singapore is – another MUST see. 

 We also managed to scout out the cutest public swimming pool nestled in the middle of the concrete jungle in the west of the city – just in time for sunset. Pretty random, but it was actually a lovely relaxing end to the trip. Despite having only 2 and half days here with my new friends Rach and Liam, I got to see so much and of course I could talk about my admiration for this cool, green and super modern country endlessly, but these guys really made the trip for me and I've been lucky enough to meet up with Liam again here in Bali and share some more lols together. 

I hope you enjoyed my personal little recount of Singapore and I've inspired you to hopefully visit yourselves one day too. Huge thanks to Norwegian once again for getting me there in the utmost comfort – honestly making the thought of catching my return flight back to the UK next month so much more bearable! You can check out their fares to Singapore and beyond for yourself here.
Bali, Indonesia

. May 02, 2018 .

It feels so weird to say I've been in Bali almost a month now. It's been flying by and I've been hitting everything pretty full speed. From surfing to scootering to exploring and partying it's been non stop but I wouldn't have it any other way, it's giving me the best start to summer I could wish for.

I've found somewhere to live, have my own scooter, made some amazing friends and am settling into Bali life pretty well. Whilst sometimes it feels it's racing by, I'm savouring those special summer moments that I love, fully absorbing memories I know will be forever ingrained in me. 

From standing under cascading waterfalls or sipping a coconut on the beach post surf to watching crazy beautiful sunsets over the Indian Ocean with new friends I'm feeling the love for this magic island, the people I'm meeting and it's here I'm even learning to feel the love for myself too. So, I'm thrilled to announce I'm working with Accessorize on their Summer of Love campaign whilst I'm here in Bali.

Given my lifestyle, my wardrobe is a big part of my life out here. I mean, did you see the size of my 120 litre backpack? It was practically as big as me and I actually floored myself under the weight of it at Gatwick - forever failing at packing light. But my love for the things I wear comes only second to my love for travel, so it only seems fair I take this opportunity to style out my favourite kind of looks whilst I'm here in this beautiful place. I'm talking sunkissed skin, salty hair, swimsuits and bikinis a plenty with layers of gold jewellery, floaty dresses and trousers for those ultimate beachy Bali vibes.

From enjoying my daily smoothie bowl at Crate to an afternoon surf in Canggu to sunset cocktails at The Lawn, Accessorize has all aspects of my Bali wardrobe covered. They're nailing it on the swimwear front this season and I can't get enough of these statement flouro pieces with a tan and the high waisted gingham set is so adorable. Jewellery wise, gold is always very much my thing, it's timeless and I love the boho vibes of layering pieces during summertime and these stacking ring and necklaces nail the trend perfectly. And of course lets not forget my pride and joy... the yellow-tinted sunglasses. They seem to go with EVERY outfit and I always get asked where they're from, I'm obsessed! 

I hope you enjoy these unseen (and some of my favourite!) images from some of my favourite moments during my first few weeks in Bali, wearing all Accessorize everything of course.  

This is a sponsored post created in collaboration with Accessorize

All items available at Accessorize
Bali

. March 21, 2018 .
This post has been brewing for a while. Months to maybe a year in fact. Initially, I wanted this to be an informative piece about my upcoming pursuit to my favourite place in the world, but I wanted to set the scene a little. Let you guys know why I've made the decision to leave home to live in Indonsesia for a few months and turns out I have so much to say this has turned into a bit of a love letter to Bali. So grab a cuppa and get comfy, It's a long one.






Exactly one year ago today, I boarded a flight to Bali for the first time with one of my best friends. It was my first time in Asia, the furthest I'd been from home and the beginning of what would be an insatiable love affair with the Indonesian island. Bali had been the top of my travel list since watching Eat Pray Love back in 2010, I'd literally spent years daydreaming about the surf, the rice fields, the temples, the sunsets and Balinese life itself. So of course, finally visiting was a pretty bloody magical, cathartic experience. It opened my eyes to not only new parts of the world, but new parts of myself. The energy, the people, the general vibe of pure happiness everywhere you went – it put a lot of things in perspective and I was addicted.

We spent two weeks traveling around the island, soaking up every bit of Bali that we could. From daily doses of vitamin-sea and traditional spas to temple trecks and conquering my fear of the sea on my first scuba dive in the Gili Islands. I fell head over heels for everything about it and came home with not only my first tattoo but a heavy heart about leaving. I mean, I like to think this was tiredness induced, but I think I was even mopey enough to shed a tear or two in Denpasar airport.













At home, I had a severe case of the Bali blues. My brain itching with fresh memories, my body craving sunshine, salt water, and coconuts. I hadn't had enough. I'd always been a gypsy soul. I craved adventure and discovery of new places, no matter how low my bank balance was – I always somehow made it happen. Where would I go next? Where haven't I seen? But this was different, never had I had such a gut-wrenching desire to return to somewhere so soon, so immediately after coming home. In the three weeks that followed, I threw myself into work, the gym and ended a five-year relationship – told you it put things in perspective. And then, before I knew it, I was on Sky Scanner booking flights back to my new favourite island.

So a little over a month after returning from my first Bali trip, I was back at Heathrow, nearly collapsing under the weight of my backpack, ready to embark on my first ever solo trip. Shit scared? Hell yes. I'd be experiencing hostels for the first time in my life, alone, with no idea who I'd meet or what to expect. It'd been something I'd always wanted to do, so returning to my new favourite place seemed like the perfect excuse to do it.

Traveling to Bali alone was a different experience entirely. It pushed me way out of my comfort zone but I loved every second of it. I met so many amazing different people from all over the world, all doing the same as me, some for months at a time, some on holiday – generally there was just an amazing friendly vibe everywhere and it did amazing things for my confidence. I was headed to the beach with different people every day, jumping on the back of scooters, sharing meals with strangers and dancing 'till the early hours at beach clubs with new friends. Like I said, a totally different experience but it only made me fall in love with Bali all over again.

And, being the hopeless romantic that I am, I also managed to fall for a boy during this trip too. Yes, Bali is renowned for its relaxed way of life, and everything really is so damn chill. But it's also heady, hell romantic and the tropical air is thick with promise and excitement. It's hard not to feel the love. This relationship evolved into a holiday romance that stretched out over the duration of the summer, and I used to think that's why I loved Bali so much, because I fell in love there. But now I can see it was pretty much the opposite, I fell so hard because I was having the time of my life, was so in love with Bali and the dreamy places I was in at the time. So when my friends asked me if it'd make me sad going back, I told them no – because (besides being totally over that relationship and a stronger person for it) there's not one hard feeling. I'll smile if I see the places we went, because it'll just be a reminder of how special the place can make you feel, with someone or by yourself.











That being said, this past year has had some soaring highs and soul-shattering lows. I've been by myself for a good amount of time for the first time in my adult life and feel more self-assured in myself, my work and the people in my life than ever before. I'm a hell of a lot more confident, independent and a step like this next one couldn't feel any more natural to me right now. I'm ready for new challenges and adventures, but I'm also so ready to return to my favourite place on the planet.

I knew after my last trip the next time I'd be coming back to Bali, it would be to stay, to experience living there. For a good while at least. The place fills my thoughts on the daily, I'd say about 50% of the accounts I follow on Instagram are Bali related and when I see these pictures or read stories about it, I almost feel homesick. I don't think there's a cell in my body that doesn't want to be there. So, come mid-April, me and my backpack are setting off once more and this time I'm gonna hang around for a while. Sure, I'll travel a little, but I'll be getting my own place, own scooter (god help me), pouring myself into my work and content creation and be living on the island of my dreams for a good few months. It's scary and will be a different experience to my previous two trips entirely, but I'm so damn ready for it.

I asked you guys on Instagram if you had any questions about my move and how I'll be doing it and the main question that came up was funding. How am I affording to up and leave? Of course, being self-employed has its perks and I fully intend on working as much as possible on my content whilst I'm out there – I'm not treating it like a three month holiday. I've saved a little money up, but to be honest, the cost of living is actually so cheap out there my expenses aren't going to be much different to what they are here. And work-wise, I'm hoping to collaborate with local creatives and have a few things planned with some of my favourite UK brands too. But what I'm really excited about is to get back to basics with my content, focus on my photography and write about things I really want to write about, there are so many ideas swimming around my brain right now I could burst.

I have a rough return date, so I'm not running away forever. There are some work and family commitments I have later in the year and to be honest, there are so many places and festivals in Europe I would hate to miss out on this summer. And if all goes well, I can probably see myself running back to Bali to escape the British winter. But for now, I just know for sure that this is my next step and after that – who the hell knows! So long as I can keep doing what I'm doing, keep traveling and creating pretty pictures and words here for you (and me) – I'm pretty bloody happy about having an open-ended future right now and am so excited about what the rest of 2018 and the next few months in particular will bring.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this personal post and some of my favourite shots from my last two trips. Stay tuned for a hell of a lot more coming this was so very soon <3

lucia grace