Phuket Island Hopping

The largest island in Thailand rightly known as ‘The Pearl of the South’, is a rainforested, mountainous island and has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches… in other words a tropical paradise.

Despite visiting it at the so-called rainy season, we were lucky enough to go through two weeks of beautiful sunshine, and hot humid temperatures. Even though it is a risky choice, if you have the weather on your side, the perks of the low season are many, as tourism levels decrease.

Phuket offers such a rich variety of experiences – of course the white-sand beaches, culture, diving, fabulous food, spas, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, nightlife – that visitors are spoilt for choice.

Over the course of our two week vacation we tried to do as much as possible to uncover the beauties the Island has to offer.

Here are some of the highlights…

The first hotel we stayed at was located at the 11km long Mai Khao beach. This was probably the quietest beach on Phuket. The area largely consists of the luxury hotels situated there but also a small outdoor shopping mall. There are local restaurants and pubs too where you can try authentic local food and drinks.

The beach is surrounded by nature, we saw different kinds of species such as a water lizard that looked more like a baby alligator, and butterflies in the size of a pigeon.

We were told that if we see a water buffalo in the road not to run since it might then attack us! Hopefully that didn’t happen.

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Mai Khao beach, Phuket

The best way to discover the hidden gems of the Providence is to go on island hopping boat trips, so we took the opportunity and I can say that we were pleased with the experience!

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Boat trip, Andaman Sea

By this way you can enjoy the beautiful views of hundreds of small islands. It was a really hard pick since there are so many different trips. Our first destination was the famous James Bond Island.

It was chosen as one of the locations for the 1974 James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun. The landmark is among the most popular activity in the region. Located in the National Park you will need to pay a little fee for entering the park, but if you are on a tour it’s usually included in the price.

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James Bond Island, Phang Nga Bay

After that came the adventurous part of the trip, canoeing! We canoed in the absolute quiet and peaceful ambience at Kong Island, along the amazing landscape before entering the beautiful caves and lagoons.

It got really dark in the caves and we had to lie down at some points in order to pass under the caves, but at the end of the tunnel the views are breathtaking!

We also stayed for 2 nights at Phi Phi Islands, which was probably one of the best decisions we made about our vacation.

It was a constant feeling of serenity… but how couldn’t it? Living in a cute little cabin right next to the beach, being surrounded by palm tries and nature, surely embraced that feeling.

I must add that the beach of the resort was like a postcard picture!

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Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort

Moving around the island is interesting and quite unusual for a person like me that uses a car everyday. After the tsunami in 2004 the roads were re-built, however they are used only for pedestrians. There are cars but only those permitted  for emergency services, so the only way to go somewhere is either by bike or by water taxi.

I don’t usually describe myself as an early bird, but waking up early in the morning to watch the sunrise, was totally worth it!

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7:00 am, Phi Phi Island

The Monkey Beach was definitely one of my favourite island hopping destinations! Although the beach didn’t have as many monkeys as I thought there were gonna be, they were a bit aggressive and it was quite crowed, you don’t get to swim with them everyday!

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Monkey Beach

I love spas, I mean who doesn’t? But an outdoor spa that has a jacuzzi with this view? I think it totally exceeded my expectations!

Thai massage is among the most famous massages in the world. We couldn’t resist not getting spoiled by the traditional oil aromatherapy and natural scrubs.

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Outdoor Spa

After returning back to the mainland, Phuket we decided to visit the Big Buddha. They call it Big Buddha, but as I said after my first glimpse at it: “It should be called Huge Buddha!”.

It is a 45m marble statue of Buddha, on a mountaintop in the middle of the jungle, and offers panoramic views of the city.

An interesting fact of the temple is that it’s still under construction, since it is being built by the people. You can buy a brick at the entrance to help the work progress. However, that fact that it is still unfinished, doesn’t undermine it’s beauty at all.

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Big Buddha Phuket

Last but not least, Phuket Town is the capital of the Island and the old town is lined up with colorful 19th-century shophouses and buildings. It’s a perfect place if you want to find out more about the history and culture of Phuket, shop, or dine.

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Phuket Town

 

Ethical Fashion

Shop ethically. Shop responsibly. Shop slow fashion. All these are things I’ve been seeing around for some time. But what exactly do they mean?

Sustainable fashion AKA eco fashion, is a part of the growing philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility.

This is an umbrella term used to describe fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing. It covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare.

It can be seen as the antithesis of fast-fashion and that habit of buying a new, cheap top for every night out, which might never be worn again or may well fall apart after a couple of washes anyway.

Conclusion? What you wear matters!

The more times you think about it, the more clear it becomes that shopping responsibly is not black and white and it deffo isn’t something that can be changed over night. It is a whole lot of gray. And with all of that gray, it makes it really hard to achieve ethical shopping.

So what’s a girl to do?

  • Go Eco-Friendly. Buy items made of natural fabrics that don’t harm the environment. Opt for textiles that will naturally decompose instead of sitting in landfills for ages. Such as: silk/ cashmere, organic cotton, linen etc.
  • Buy Fair Trade. Support companies who respect human rights and believe in a  living wage for their workers. Over the years many scandals have came up – last year unpaid workers were slipping pleas for help into Zara clothes. However, not all overseas manufacturing is bad. Do a little research and see which ones are enforcing fair trade regulations, especially in developing countries.
  • Look for Vegan or Cruelty Free. Buy cruelty free items and support the rights of animals. You can find out how you make a difference for animals by choosing cruelty-free clothing and accessories on the PETA website.
  • Pick Chemical Free/Organic Items. The chemicals and dyes in the majority of our clothing is harmful not just to the environment, but to the workers creating the garments as well as the consumer who is wearing the clothing. You can avoid harmful side effects by shopping products only made of organic material and natural dyes.
  • Shop Local. By supporting the small businesses in your community, you are keeping your money in the local economy.
  • Thrift Shopping/ Recycling. If shopping on a budget and avoiding massive amounts of clothing ending up in landfills are your priorities, shopping resale is the one of the best ways to go.
  • Upcycle and Sew. This is probably the most fun and creative thing to do! You can use fabric to re-sew and re-create old garments into something completely new and unique.
  • Wear What You Buy. A Lot. Supports quality items over disposable fast fashion. Before purchasing, ask yourself if you will get a sufficient number of wears out of the item. Can you mix and match it with current wardrobe items? Is it functional? Will it last?

A lot of these overlap each other and many others contradict each other.

Shopping local shops may support your community and its makers, and some may come from fair trade manufactures but not always.

Supporting cruelty free products and buying vegan sometimes means buying products hard on the environment, made out of synthetic materials that end up in landfills and don’t decompose.

Lots and lots of gray!

Fortunately, there are more and more choices and ethical clothes could be fashion forward, on trend and compete with the scene. It’s up to you to decide what values are most important to you and make your choices based on them.

Body image perception on social media

Social media are an integral part of today’s society and while they might be great in many things, that’s not always the case!

As they continue to play a major role in our lives – more than 2.1 billion people have social media accounts, and there are 70 million photos and videos posted daily on Instagram. Research shows that they have a huge influence on body image especially affecting adolescent girls and young women.

There have been many positive outcomes, especially when social media are used in ways that promote positive and productive ideas in society, but they also tend to create a wrongful perception of beauty.

Living in the era of Instagram, the fact that fitness models and fashion bloggers are all over news feeds, it makes things much more difficult for peoples self-esteem and the perception of beauty.

The ubiquity of the thin ideal is not a good thing. Not that there is anything with being thin but – we should be celebrating women bodies of all shapes and sizes. 

In a society that promotes unrealistic body ideals, it is challenging to not get caught up in comparing yourself to these perfectionist standards. It is unfortunate that the emphasis on appearance is spreading, and it is important to include a much greater range of appearances of what we as a society think of as ideal.

But also as important is; to make appearance and body ideal less important and less defining to women and girls.

Body image an increasing problem, is associated with a number of mental health outcomes including depression and anxiety but also may contribute to serious eating problems such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Approximately 1.25 million people in the UK are affected by eating disorders. While young women are most likely to develop an eating disorder, in particular those aged 12 to 20, anyone can develop an eating disorder.

So if you ever find yourself concerned about your body image ask yourself: “Is my perception of beauty distorted from the media exposure that glorifies the thin ideal that is unrealistic for most people to obtain living a healthy lifestyle?”

Never compare yourself with others and try to always feel comfortable in your own skin!

Stella McCartney starts Trashion Bag campaign for World Oceans Day

British designer Stella McCartney is calling on consumers to get involved in their local communities to clean up nearby beaches and rivers as part of the labels’ on going commitment to sustainability.

The fashion designer aknowledged on Instagram that the industry is the second most harmful environmentally, and there is a level of responsibility that has to be taken.

According to research, half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres are released per year from washed clothes – 16 times more than plastic microbeads from cosmetics – contributing to ocean pollution.

She further commented: “In my mind, if I’m working within it – and especially as I’m in a privileged position where I have a voice that can implement change…”

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Photo courtesy: Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney has always been passionate about making a change to the environment
and doesn’t fail to prove that high-end fashion and sustainability can co-exist.

In order to honour World Oceans Day the brand is calling on as many people as possible to get involved in local charity beach and river clean-ups. In support of this initiative, they are giving away recycled and recyclable Stella Trashion bags at selected stores across the world.

More than seven-tenths of Earth’s surface is blue. This should be enough to remind us how important oceans are for us, and that – small or big, effort is effort.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, by 2050 there may be more plastic than fish in our oceans by weight.

This proves that drastic changes must be made now, and I believe it is very important to see the industries that harm the environment with their existence, to make things right and join their forces with their consumers to avoid letting our oceans overflow with litter.

The brand hopes to begin a positive chain effect that will result in change for the better, by raising awareness about the increasingly urgent issue of plastic pollution in oceans and rivers. And hope to inspire as many people as possible to get involved in this kind of environmental movements.

Organising charity beach and river clean-ups in many countries across the globe, not only gives the opportunity for communities to come together but also collectively act on a shared love of the environment.

To find out where you can find which Stella McCartney stores are giving away the Trashion Bags, and if you want to get involved with cleaning up and promote circularity through recycling visit www.stellamccartney.com

#MeToo: The untold stories

“He stood in front of the door and blocked me and tried to kiss me on the lips. I stopped him and managed to get out of the room
 I was so hesitant about speaking out. I didn’t want to hurt his family. I felt guilty as if I did something wrong. I was also terrified that this sort of thing had happened to so many women I know but no one had said anything because of fear.”

These are the words of Cara Delevingne in a post on her Instagram page giving a detailed description of the sexual harassment she experienced when she first started acting as an actor by film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Along with Cara Delevingne, many other stories of his victims and of many others have surfaced. And while all over the media are the faces of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and a numerous other sexual harassment and assault allegations against a number of powerful men, Hollywood is not the only place on earth that women are being harassed. There are around 120 million girls worldwide (slightly more than 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. [unwomen.org]

Women around the world wouldn’t give up until the ones responsible get punished for it. Over the last month, many women chose to tell about their stories through social media. Actress Alyssa Milano urged women to reply to her tweet with #MeToo. two simple words, yet so powerful, is the hashtag that has gone viral, with thousands of women responding one after the other, celebrities and artists such as Lady Gaga, but not only women spoke up even men have chosen to share their stories.

“Me too. I don’t know if it means anything coming from a gay man but it’s happened. Multiple times.” Were the words of Javier Muñoz, an American actor.

According to the TUC Sexual harassment in the workplace in 2016 research, 52% of women are sexually harassed at work in the UK. These statistics prove that unfortunately, at a place where someone should feel safe and comfortable, at a place where someone spends the majority of their day; is also a place where abuse happens too often.

The power of yoga

Regularly practicing yoga will improve overall health, including mental health. Benefits include increased concentration, reduced stress, relief from insomnia and fatigue, increased body awareness and enhanced emotional stability.

Yoga postures work on all systems of the body. As well as strengthening and elongating muscles, yoga postures tone glands and internal organs. The postures, along with breathing techniques and relaxation help us to focus the mind and calm the nervous system.

Kelly Walsh, a yoga instructor said: “If we feel stressed or anxious, we can get stuck in the sympathetic nervous system, reacting with fight or flight when there is no real threat.”

“Deep breathing and certain postures, help us to move into the parasympathetic nervous system or “rest and digest,” slowing the heart rate and conserving energy.”

People with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and ADHD have responded positively to regular yoga practice.

Kelly further added that: “Yoga could be thought of as a kind of moving mindfulness, helping us to live in the present and stay connected with ourselves and our surroundings.”

“Persistent practice of yoga trains the mind to be calm and focused, enabling an individual to perceive events and situations with clarity and to control their reactions.”

The following yoga poses are very beneficial for easing stress and anxiety: 

Child’s pose (Balasana) – Is a resting pose. Relieves fatigue, relaxes the body and further helps to ease stress and anxiety.

Bridge pose (Set Bandasana) – Helps to relieve fatigue, insomnia and depression. It also nourishes the nervous system.

Pigeon pose (Elaine Pada Rajakopatasana) – helps to release tension and anxiety held inside the body.

Get your mats ready, put your yoga leggings on and enjoy!

Namaste!

Why you should start meditating

Have you ever thought about meditating?  The ancient practice is suddenly trending and it appears literally to release tension from our overthinked brains, turns down negative thinking, reduces anxiety and keeps our emotions in check.

The pros are
 stress reduction, antiaging, stronger immunity. The cons are
none, basically. It’s like a wonder drug with no side effects.

Meditation is a really simple, but yet a life-transforming skill that can help you to relax. In the beginning many people find it difficult to focus and help their mind release all its thoughts. Thankfully, there are many tools that can help you achieve your zen.

Experts will say that there is no right or wrong way to do it, and the more you start meditating, the more effects you will see and you will eventually realise that your mind wanders less.

How to meditate: 

  • Find a nice, quite place, it’s important that you feel relaxed and comfortable in that environment. There is no right or wrong time – but even just a few minutes a day can make a big difference.
  • Some people find it easier to meditate with light music or other relaxing sounds in the background, while others prefer total silence. It’s completely up to you how you chose to meditate. Finding appropriate music might be challenging, since it must help you relax and it shouldn’t distract you, so feel free to experiment and find out what works best.
  • Sit down, relax and rest your hands on your lap. Usually people meditate by sitting on the floor crossed-legged, or sitting on a chair with their feet resting on the ground.If sitting crossed legged isn’t comfortable or painful for any reason change posture, but remember to maintain the natural curve of your back.
  • Breath slowly and deeply, if you feel comfortable close your eyes. Begin by  inhaling with your nose and exhaling from your mouth slowly and deeply. Do not force your breathing – let it come naturally and if deep breaths make you feel dizzy, breath at your own paste.
  • When you are breathing deeply you will begin to feel calmer and more relaxed. But you must remain focused and mindful of your breaths. It’s natural for your mind to slip away, and the important thing is to realise it and bring your attention back to where it should be. Your concentration will improve with practice.Tip: If you feel your mind is wandering you can count your breaths. Don’t count until large numbers, try counting up to 5 and then start from the beginning.
  • At the end, open your eyes and stand up slowly. Embrace the clear mind feeling, the positivity, the comfort and strength of your body and take them away with you.

Fashion Month Catwalk Trends SS18

If I was to describe this years Fashion Month looks in 3 words words, I would say: bright, bold, and beautiful.

Since the ultimate Fashion Month has come to it’s end, I’ve done some Spring Summer 2018 trends research from the NY, Milan, London, Paris Fashion Weeks catwalk looks.

As you know, this year was full of glamour and glitter, in other words the ultimate plethora of themes for the fashion-hungry. So now that I’ve got your attention, let’s take a look at the 7 hippest trends…

No1 ON THE FRINGE

We saw Rihanna wearing Saint Laurent’s snow white fringing boots, then the trend started becoming really famous during musical festivals, and now designers went a step further showing us how the ‘hippie’ look can also be chic.

Chanel went for a bright full fringe look styled with transparent plastic boots and hat. CĂ©line opted for the -hot trend- beige trench coat over a black long swirly blouse and slightly darker trousers underneath.

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Fringe look by Chanel and CĂ©line

 

No2 BEACH CLOTHES GLAMOUR

Mood: Is it summer yet? 

Gucci rocked this two piece pyjama style Hawaiian tropic print. Even though it’s the most colourful look it still doesn’t feel too much, it really pleases the eyes. Versace matching blue-gold ocean inspired outfit is one of my favourite looks, the shoes, the accessories, are just bold and beautiful.

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Gucci and Versace beach clothes look

 

No3 SUIT SHORTS – GRL PWR

Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Balmain and many more have pulled off the suit short look. We usually think shorts are boring, and why wear shorts when you can wear a skirt? Satin or leather, you name it, shorts are now statement pieces.

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Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent suit short looks

 

No4 SPORTY IS THE NEW TRENDY

Personally, I’m over the moon with this trend. Bold, sexy, strong, confident, comfy and you can wear them with heels or trainers. Marc Jacobs styled the one piece suit with a belt bag and a cross body bag -hot trend alert-

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Sporty looks by Isabel Marant and Marc Jacobs

 

No5 CRAYOLA – PANTONE COLOUR CHART

I’m sure you noticed that all the shows were booming vibrant, bold shades to suit every colouring. It’s spring after all! Pantone colour of the year is ultra violet yet, the designers showcased the runways with tomato red, sunflower yellow, emerald green and many more.

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Crayola colours looks by Balenciaga and Givenchy

 

No6 PASTEL COLOURS

Let’s admit it,  these are great colours for spring and summer! Love pastel colours but don’t want to be too girly? AKA – pretty, delicate yet powerful.

Try mixing pieces that are loose with an element of boyishness. Color-blocking is a really great way of standing out. Whether lilac, pink, lemon or baby blue it’s in vogue when worn together in the weirdest combos possible.

Céline pulled out the perfect lemon, lilac, purple and beige combo, really impressive colour matching. Emporio Armani also opted pastel colours in many of its SS18 runway looks.

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Pastel colour looks by CĂ©line and Emporio Armani

 

No7 CHECK PRINT

If this Fashion Month has taught us something, it’s that plaids and tartans are not only for the colder months, and I strongly advice you not to put them away with your winter clothes. Designers have proved us that checked clothes and accessories are good for spring.

The Fendi model was dressed in a nude check print open shoulder dress, styled with pecan brown check print sock boots. Alexander McQueen rocked a black, red, white plated look and black boots.

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Fendi and Alexander McQueen check print looks

Why you should slip on a Spacemask

I don’t know about you, but when I see a product over and over again, I have to try it. Spacemaks is yet another brand I’ve been seeing all over my Instagram feed recently.

I love a good face mask, sometimes I wonder if I use too many. Is that possible? Anyway, I won’t say anymore because, this isn’t anything like the others I’ve tried.

What are spacemaks?
They are disposable, self-heating eye masks infused with iron powder and essence of jasmine. Each eye mask is designed to “transport you to another dimension whilst relieving tiredness, eye strain and many other tensions” for approximately 15 minutes.

What makes Spacemasks so amazing?
The fact that they are great for everyone and very convenient to use. I mean, can’t fall asleep? Spacemask. Had a long day at work? Spacemask. Studying hard for exams? Spacemask. Travelling long distance? Spacemask.

The experience…
So…when I put the eye mask on, I sat in bed, got comfy and opened up the mask. I must admit that at first, I wasn’t impressed, but after 3 minutes I started feeling the warm sensation.

I felt relaxed and calm during the duration of my interstellar relaxation experience with the spacemask however, they say the duration is 15 minutes, but at that point I couldn’t take it off yet. The mask was still slightly warm so I continued to use it for a little longer until it cooled down completely.

spacem 

P.S. I wouldn’t recommend trying this product if you don’t like heat on your face, the mask gets really warm at some point and if you don’t like the warm sensation it’s not worth it. 

Time’s up now!

It’s 2018, it’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and it can be really discouraging to see how far we still have to go, before we can create a world where; we are not judged for how we look, but how we are.

“We are witnessing a revolution for women, just like getting the vote and entering the workforce. There’s no going back.” Gretchen Carlson said. That’s why it’s so important to acknowledge the momentousness of the movement.

The news anchor and advocate for workplace equality and the empowerment of women wrote a book “Be Fierce! Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back.” Contributing to the ‘fight’ alongside many other women, who are raising their voices every day.

“He stood in front of the door and blocked me and tried to kiss me on the lips. I stopped him and managed to get out of the room
 I was so hesitant about speaking out. I didn’t want to hurt his family. I felt guilty as if I did something wrong. I was also terrified that this sort of thing had happened to so many women I know, but no one had said anything because of fear.” Cara Delevingne

The British model and actor shared an Instagram post in which she detailed the alleged sexual assault by the movie producer Harvey Weinstein, while meeting about Tulip Fever, a film produced by the Weinstein Company in 2014.

And while all over the media are the faces of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, a numerous other sexual harassment and assault allegations against a number of powerful men, Hollywood is not the only place on earth that women are being harassed.

There are around 120 million girls worldwide (slightly more than 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives.

And believe me I don’t care if you are a man or a woman (because it really shouldn’t matter), these numbers show that’s something is seriously wrong with our society and that something needs to be done ASAP!

Tracee Ellis Ross said something very noteworthy: “Men, may you be accountable and self-reflective, compassionate and open; may you ask how you can support a woman and be of service to change, and may you get help if you need it.”

Photographer and blogger, Oscar Minyo, also addressed the issue on instagram yesterday: “I will never know what it feels to be harassed, molested, grabbed, intimidated, or touched against my will…”

“…I will never have to justify what I was wearing or how much I drank. I will never have to feel fear walking home alone. I will never have to justify why I didn’t resist. For that and more I’m being privileged of being a man.”

#Time’s Up! It’s important that those who have the privilege – of being a man, because our shitty society has been shaping this idea for hundreds of years – to try and use it for good.

Talk about the subject, as uncomfortable as it can be. Get educated and educate. And don’t ever look the other way, because no means no. And silence means no too. Know where the line is.