31 August 2015

Mango with coconut sticky rice.

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Martinus and I have been telling each other that we need to make mango with sticky rice ever since we visited Thailand three years ago. This year we finally got around to it while mangoes were still in season. I used this easy recipe from The Kitchn.


The first time I followed the recipe exactly. The rice is steamed and there's two different sauces, one is mixed into the rice and one is thicker and goes on top. After that I made a few changes and it was delicious each time. I couldn't get hold of Thai sticky rice, but sushi rice works just as well. I also used black rice a few times. I left out the sauce that goes on top several times and didn't miss it at all. This recipe is so easy that I even made it for breakfast a few times.

If you love mango and sticky rice or you want to try a new exotic dessert, try this recipe.


24 August 2015

What I'm packing for two weeks in Belgium - Random

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Hey guys. I wrote this post before I left, but I'm waiting to board my flight home now. I did a pretty good job with the packing, but I'll do a post about what I'll do differently next time.

This is everything that didn't go into the toiletries and clothes posts. These are my favourite types of posts to read, all those little things you might not have thought to bring along. I don't think I included any brilliant tips, but it's always nice to compare lists to make sure you don't forget anything important.


I'm going to be in Belgium for two weeks so other than my prescription medicine and passport, nothing I forget will be a big deal. I could either get by without it or buy it there. I've read the advice to take half as much stuff and twice as much money so many times now. It's not the most practical advice for budget travelling, but I think it's good to remind yourself that there's no need to worry too much. Try to be prepared so that you don't have to waste money, but remember that mistakes can be fixed.

Martinus bought a sim card while he was in Germany and there's still some airtime left on it, so I will be using that in Belgium. There's so many options these days. There are special travellers' sim cards, local sim cards and the option to use your regular sim card with roaming charges, It's best to research which option is best for you depending on where you're going. If free wi-fi is widely available you might not even need a sim card, but I like the option of making calls in an emergency.

Medical
Prescription medicine
Pain killers
Sleep aid (I don't use sleeping pills, but pills that help me relax so that I can fall asleep easily)
Plasters (Adhesive bandages/Band-aids)

On the plane
Passport
Ticket info
Accommodation info
Pens
Travel journal (My grandma told me to write down what I do each day on holiday years ago, but I always think I'll remember)
Notebook
Sleep mask
Neck pillow (I decided to get a firm bulky one because I don't want to wake up lying on a stranger's shoulder. This is one aspect where travelling with someone else is much nicer.)
Ear plugs
Headphones
Headphone adapter
Earphones (For when my ears hurt from the headphones)
Tissues
Lip balm
Hand moisturiser
Face moisturiser (Look for unscented products because lots of people are allergic or sensitive to certain scents)
Deodorant
Antibacterial wipes/spray
Eye drops (I have really dry eyes)
Nail clippers and nail file (I always seem to need them when I don't have them)
Book and bookmark
Gum
Toothpicks
Granola bars (Just in case. I don't usually take along snacks on a plane because I'm one of the few people who actually like plane food.)

Electronic
Phone
Phone charger
Powerbank (Remember to charge it. My phone charger has two USB ports so I can charge the phone and the powerbank)

Handy items
Duct tape
Clothing pegs
Safety pins
Zip-lock bags
Umbrella
Laundry bag
Reusable shopping bag

Safety
Flash light
Door stop (An easy and cheap way to prevent your door being opened.)



17 August 2015

Short hair!

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I've been growing my hair for a few years now. I don't think it has been this long since I was 12. Like everyone with long hair I sometimes had the urge to cut my hair when I saw a cute short cut on someone. But I felt like I needed to enjoy my long hair for a while after all the time it took to grow it. Well I did that and now I have short hair again! Sometimes I think I need to decide if I'm a short hair person or a long hair person, but that's ridiculous. I love both and have had my hair at many different lengths throughout my life. It's really fun to have this stuff you can do whatever you want with and have go back to the way it was eventually.




Since I cut off so much hair, I decided to send it to Cansa to make wigs. You can read more about that here.


10 August 2015

What I'm packing for two weeks in Belgium - Clothes

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Like I said in my previous packing post, I've only flown internationally twice. I feel like I did a bad job packing for both trips, but I'm very happy with what I'm taking along this time. My first trip was to England and I can't remember what I took along, but I know it was too much. I borrowed a huge backpacking backpack and I distinctly remember being very unhappy when I was carrying that heavy bag. My second trip was to Thailand three years ago. I only took along a small backpack, but after reading about clothes being lost at the laundromats, I took clothes I didn't like very much. Now when I look back at those photos I wish I'd taken along nicer clothes.

My backpack. It's quite small, so I had to take lots of things off my list to make it all fit. I could've packed a lot more if I took a regular carry on size suitcase, but I wanted to be able to easily carry everything myself.

In the past few years I have learned a lot about minimalism and I've read so much packing advice while planning this trip. After putting together the basic list a few months ago, I noticed that those items are what I wear most so I know I'll be happy wearing them while I'm away. I'm only taking one backpack and I'll be using another backpack over there for day trips. One of the backpacks can be checked in on my trip home so I'll have space for souvenirs.

My handbag to take on the plane and use on the trip.

I'm planning on doing laundry midway through the trip, so I'm taking enough for half of the trip plus one day. Something I never see mentioned in travel articles is the fact that the clothes you're wearing while doing laundry won't be washed. If you're washing clothes in your room as you go along it makes sense, but I'll be taking everything to a laundromat at once. I don't travel often, so I don't have quick drying clothes and will need to use a tumble dryer. (At home our clothes are line dried). It's also strange that so many lists and outfit examples use only a few shirts to mix and match. I don't know about you guys, but after a whole day of walking around I'm going to be sweaty and need a clean shirt the next day.

I'm not planning on going anywhere fancy, so my clothes are really basic and casual. I'm taking one dress that can be dressed upped and I'm going to wear it on laundry day so my jeans can be washed. I've checked weather predictions and historical temperature averages for the time I'll be there, but I'm still nervous about being too hot or cold. I have one warm outer jacket, a few lightweight warmer layers and t-shirts as a base. Hopefully I'll be warm enough outside and be able to take off layers in heated buildings and when the weather changes. The temperatures seem to vary between low and high 20's (℃) so I have a few long sleeved t-shirts too. In an emergency I can always buy something warmer there.

My flannel shirt is going along for a few reasons:

  1. It's a very comfortable warmer layer.
  2. It will be a nice change when I'm bored with the t-shirt and sweater look.
  3. Martinus gave it too me so I'll also wear it when I'm homesick.

Clothes for 16 days in Autumn:

1 Warm jacket with removable hood.

2 Cardigans

2 Lightweight sweaters

9 T-shirts (3 Long sleeved)

Flannel shirt

2 Stretchy skinny jeans (This is what I wear almost every day and they're thinner than regular jeans)

1 Grey dress

Tights

Heat generating leggings

PJ bottoms (I'll sleep in the t-shirt I wore that day)

9 Panties

3 Bras

9 Pairs of socks

2 Pairs of shoes

Slipper socks


Accessories

2 Beanies (My ears get really cold)

3 Scarves

1 Necklace

A few decorative bobby pins

Day pack

Large handbag

Small handbag


And that's all. I really wanted to take photos of my clothes, but I didn't have time so I might update this post in the future. It's really basic items with the same basic outfit each day, but I really like seeing capsule wardrobes.




03 August 2015

Skoon skincare samples

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Skoon is a South African natural skincare brand. I read about them on the Emmajanenation blog earlier this year and started following them on Instagram. They were offering discount coupons with their trial packs and I ordered two different ones so I could try a variety of products.

I love the beautiful simple packaging and their emphasis on science. I sometimes feel that the term natural is overrated because it doesn't necessarily make something good for you. But Skoon has a complete ingredients list for each product on their website with an explanation of what the active ingredients do.

The sample sizes are very generous and I've been saving them for my trip to Belgium. Trying new products really adds to the excitement of a vacation to me. If you're curious about what I'm taking along, check out the first part of my packing list.





31 July 2015

What I'm packing for two weeks in Belgium - Toiletries etc.

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I started making a packing list as soon as I booked my flights. I thought it would help me relax, knowing that everything is planned out. But of course I still obsessed about it and read loads of packing tips and kept adding and subtracting things. I've only flown internationally twice, so I'm not an expert at all, but I love seeing what other people pack and want to share my own list with you.

I wanted to keep my luggage as light as possible, but I did allow myself a few luxury items. I'm taking along a cleansing balm because at home I just want to quickly wash my face and get into bed. Vacation is the perfect time to take a few extra minutes at night for a more indulgent skincare routine. I'm taking waterless face cleanser to use in the mornings. It will also be perfect to take off my make-up on the plane before sleeping.

Another luxury item is a single use sachet face mask. It will be a nice treat and takes up hardly any space. I'm not sure if the hair dryer is necessary. There won't be one where I'll be staying, but I'm going to cut my hair before going and considered air drying it. In the end I decided I'd rather take it than possibly me miserable with wet hair in the cold.

I'm not sure how much of each product I need for two weeks, but I decided not to worry about it and replace whatever I need to over there.


Skincare:
Cleansing balm + muslin cloth
Waterless face cleanser + cotton pads
Toner
Thick moisturiser (To use on the plane and for dry patches)
Regular face moisturiser
Sachet face mask

Hair:
Solid shampoo (I've been wanting to try these from Lush)
Solid conditioner
Travel Tangle Teezer (Edit: I swopped this for a small brush because I don't need more with my new short haircut.)
Bobby pins
Travel size hair dryer (Edit: No space for the hair dryer so my hair will have to air dry.)
Microfibre hair towel/turban (I got one of these for the first time this year and I love it)

Toiletries:
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Soap
Sunscreen
Razor
Glasses + case + wipe
Sunglasses + case
Eye drops
Bio-oil (Instead of body lotion. Oil goes a lot further)
Hand cream (To keep in my handbag. I apply hand lotion several times a day)
Deodorant (I got a solid stick deodorant for the trip)
Ear buds
Lavender oil (To help me sleep and deter mosquitoes if necessary)
Mint oil (To mix with lotion for a refreshing foot lotion after a day of walking. Also good for nausea)
Exfoliating towel
Tweezers
Nail clippers
Nail file
Oil blotting sheets
Travel towel (I hate the texture of the ones that fold up really small, so I got one of the microfibre towels that are larger but feel nicer. I don't love the microfibre texture, but it's so much nicer than the other smooth ones.) (Edit: No space so I'm going to use the hostel towel.)

Make-up
CC cream
Eye BB cream
Concealer
Eyebrow powder
Eyebrow brush
Cream blush
Blush brush
Eye liner
3 Lipsticks (Nude, red, pink)
Lip balm

When I get back I'll write a post about the things I didn't need or should've taken.



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