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

. March 13, 2018 .
I'd toyed with the idea of lip enhancement for years. We live in an age of perfected pouts and flawless faces thanks to the beauty gurus of social media and from friends to followers, I'd seen some pretty good results when it came to lip enhancement. So, as the possessor of pretty flat lips, I wanted to try it out myself. There's something about a pillowy pout I'd always loved the look of on other gals, it's feminine and a subtle enhancement of your natural beauty – when it's not done OTT of course. I mean, ily Kylie, but it's definitely all about enhancing what's already there for me. So last week, running on a few hours sleep after my late return from Berlin, I headed down to London to visit Viva Skin Clinics to finally try it out and I couldn't be happier with the results.



The best thing for me about my freshly enhanced pout is that they're still very much my lips. Same shape, just a touch fuller and my previously uneven lip line more perfected. My top lip no longer disappears when I smile, they're a perfect base for a coloured lip and in general, make me feel a touch more confident.

On the day, I headed to Viva Skin Clinic's Dental Art Studio in Old Street to meet the wonderful Dr. Rupert who would be doing my procedure. As well as being a talented cosmetic doctor, he's the loveliest guy who made me feel so comfortable and put my nerves at ease as soon as I got there (even though I was late!). We had a consultation beforehand and agreed on a minimal 0.5ml of Juvaderm for my first lip enhancement procedure to create the natural look I was after.  As my bottom lip was already fuller, we decided on a little more up top and Dr. Rupert said he'd use those injection points to create a deeper cupids bow for me as well. 

In terms of pain, I felt virtually nothing! We used an anesthetic cream that totally numbed the area and I only felt a minimal couple of pinches on my bottom lip and nothing on the top. So if, like I was, that's something you're nervous about – don't be, the procedures is over so quickly as well. 


without/ with lip colour


You can see from the before and after's shot on the day (below) there was an immediate improvement to my uneven lip line and though much fuller, they still held my own natural shape. There was some slight swelling afterward, but not enough to stop me attending a restaurant launch back in Bristol that same evening! It can take up to a week (today, when I shot the images with the red lip) for the swelling to totally go down, but I'd say mine were completely settled the following evening. 


Now they've settled, they should stay this way for up to six months and then, I'll be heading back to Dr. Rupert for a little top up. I may even be tempted to go even a little bit more fuller next time, but for now, I'm totally in love with my newly enhanced lips and can't thank Dr. Rupert and Viva Skin Clinics enough for a great experience from start to finish. You can visit their website for more information and their complete range of cosmetic treatments here.

On the day: Before and Afters


Reykjavík

. March 09, 2018 .
As promised here's my Reykjavik post. Iceland's capital and most densely populated area, it's one of the greenest, cleanest and safest cities in the world. Of course, as with the rest of the country, I fell head over heels for its Icelandic charm, adorable buildings, and cute eateries and thought it deserved a post of its own (you can catch the rest of my Iceland guide here).

When planning a trip to Iceland, there's definitely a checklist – most of which I covered in my last post. The blue lagoon, golden circle, northern lights etcetera and Reykjavik is usually the base point, but people often forget to mention what a wonderful little place it is in itself. In fact, I was surprised how trendy Reykjavik was for such a small town, but perhaps thanks to its booming popularity over the last couple of years it's full of the coolest bars, vegan joints and its music scene is pretty bloody impressive too. 


We stayed in the super convenient Swan House apartments, right in the heart of Reykjavik all restaurants and museums were within walking distance and we were just a couple of blocks away from the bus stops we needed to reach for our tours. The apartments themselves had a minimal clean and cool design with a contemporary Icelandic vibe. Think greys, textured blankets and woven wicker lamps – v cool. It was also a stone's throw from the bay so at sunrise (about 9am when we were there) I wandered down a couple of times and enjoyed the most spectacular firey sky views over the mountains – see pic no.2.

With spacious studio layout big enough to sleep four of us, complete with a kitchenette, dining table and cute bathroom it was our perfect base and frankly a little haven after long days exploring. Also worth noting Iceland can be pretty pricey, especially when you factor in all the costs of the tours, so having the option to cook our own meals some nights was so good. My family loved it here and I totally recommend the superior studio we stayed in for groups but they have a whole selection to choose from here.


That being said, Reykjavik is also a great place for solo travelers and backpackers and there's an amazing range of hostels on Hostel World here.  We actually visited one as its bar was renowned for being the one of the best in Reykavik, so on their Jazz night we visited Kex Hostel and ended up having a great night. If I was to go back again alone (which I'm definitely scheming to do) I would 100% stay here!

As I said the vegan scene is also amazing, but Reykjavik in general is incredible for food and nearly everywhere had great veggie/vegan options. Kaffi Vinyl is a new place which is basically the cooolest vinyl shop come vegan restaurant hybrid. Great beats and tasty grub, get there early for a dinner-time table. Brau∂ & Co is a bakery famous for the 'worlds best' cinnamon buns and it definitely lived up to the hype – so much so I went back there twice! It's colorful building is nestled on the main street leading to the Cathedral, so grab one and enjoy devouring it on the way up. Another favourite for dinner was Mikeller & Friends, a danish Joint that had a wonderful local-pub type atmosphere that served an extensive range of beers, cocktails and the best vegan pizza with cashew cheese. Other places you should hit up are Joe & The Juice, for coffee and/or juice before you set off on your tours, Aku Taktu – a Iceland's fancy take on a Maccas that do a smashing vegan burger and Reykjaviks Hard Rock Café ain't bad either.  

There's so much of Reykjavik I'd still love to see – I wish I'd had a chance to visit the opera house and some of the museums, but I hope you enjoy these tips anyway and be sure to check out this website for local events and music nights during your stay! And that concludes my Iceland posts, you can read my guide for everything outside of Reykjavik here or watch my Insta video below for some of the trip highlights. Thanks always for reading x


lucia grace