I’m Mollie, I’m 22 I currently live just outside London. I am a strong believer that, for some, life wasn’t meant to be lived in one place that, should your heart be pulled towards a person, a country, or an experience… you must pursue it, or one day you may live to regret it. I see this blog as my little space on the internet to share my adventures, share my knowledge, share my..
This chickpea and sweet potato coconut curry dish is my absolute favourite thing to whip up when I return home from my travels. It’s a flexible recipe which can be adapted to suit any seasonal vegetables you have to hand. It’s wholesome, it’s easy to whip up a big batch for freezer meals and it’s ridiculously yummy.
So long as you have the basic ingredients backed up in your cupboard, you can customise this dish with all the goodness, pulses and veggies that you wish.
Now I’m certainly no food blogger (in fact I’m a chuck it in, make it up as you go along and hope for the best kinda gal) but I’ve popped this recipe on my Instagram stories a few times now and had so many requests to share it. So here it is, my sweet potato, chickpea and coconut curry recipe…
A tablespoon of olive oil / coconut oil
1 large sweet potato (or two medium)
(If you don’t have / don’t like sweet potato you could sub in butternut squash, okra, aubergine or similar veg)
1 large handful of spinach
2 X cans of chickpeas
(If you don’t have / don’t like chickpeas, substitute in butter beans / lentils / mixed pulses)
2 X can of chopped tomatoes
1 X can of coconut milk
1/2 an onion
1 tablespoon of Massaman curry paste
Serve with Quinoa or rice
How to make the curry…
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total cook time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Chop up your onion and dice your sweet potato / chosen vegetable. Bear in mind that the larger they are cut the longer they will take to cook.
2. Splash some olive oil into a pan and turn on the heat. Add in the onions and sweet potato and cook until onions go clear. The sweet potato will be part cooked at this point and will continue to cook and soften when the rest of the curry is added.
3. Drain the chickpeas / pulses and rinse them before adding them to the pan. Sometimes I leave them to cook for 5 minutes, sometimes I don’t. It doesn’t really matter, whatever you fancy!
4. Next add in the two cans of chopped tomatoes, the can of coconut milk and the tablespoon of massaman curry paste.
5. Give everything a good stir and reduce the heat. If you’re cooking quinoa or rice from scratch (not a packet) nows the time to get it cooking!
6. Leave for 20-25 minutes stirring every 5 minutes until the liquid reduces to a creamy curry consistency
7. Test the vegetables with a fork to check they are soft through. When cooked, add the large handful of spinach on top until it wilts with the heat and then season with some salt and pepper to taste.
8. If you’re serving up with naan bread, pitta pockets or packet rice / quinoa! Pop them in the microwave now and add to your finished dish.
Top tip: I like to add a little bit of Hummus or natural yogurt to my curry when it’s done but it’s totally yummy without!
Do leave me a comment and let me know if you enjoyed this recipe and if you’d like to see more?
What are your favourite recipes to come home to?
Thank you for reading <3
Weekend adventures are my favourite way to break up routine and to insert a huge dose of freedom. It only takes a couple of days away from what you know to reset your mind and refuel your soul. After all, we don’t always have the money or the holiday left to go further afield so weekend adventures are how one must roll sometimes.
If you’re based in Europe like I am, then you’ve seriously hit the gold mine on weekend adventure opportunities, right? Let’s make the most of it.
Grab yourself some cheap flights this summer, pack your carry on case and go lose yourself in another culture for a few days.
What? Just a carry on? How on earth do you get everything into a carry on?
Admittedly, packing for a weekend in Europe (when the weather could change at any point) can be a bit of a challenge. There’s no point just packing a carry on if you then go and spend the money you’ve saved (by not checking hold luggage) on purchasing what you haven’t had room for when you get there.
They key to packing into just a carry on for a city break in Europe comes down to packing just the essentials,packing efficiently and taking multi purpose items. If you do the latter, it is indeed possible.
This blog post is a collaboration with Herbal Essences in line with the release of their new travel size minis which are SO perfect for the weekend getaways, for festivals or even to take to the gym.
Herbal Essences have gone ahead and released the dreamy little bottles in the two best selling scents – Coconut Milk and Argan Oil of Morocco, both of which are available to buy now (as of April 2018).
Both of these collections are great for an adventurous getaway because of their hydrating and restoring qualities (plus they have a gorgeous vanilla touch to them). Rain or shine – Herbal Essences have got your hair covered and because of the new sized bottles, I now no longer have to travel without my favourite hair products.
I honestly have been waiting for these to come out for so long. Smaller bottles mean I can save weight on longer trips (by not lugging the big bottles around) and the 100ml bottles will now pass through security in a carry on too. Woohoo!!
So here it is, my guide to packing a carry on for a weekend city break in Europe:
Tips for packing the minimal amount without forgetting anything…
Shoes can take up a lot of room so you want to take minimal pairs as possible. The main thing is that you have a pair of comfy shoes to explore in. I pretty much always go for a pair of my trusty Sorel boots. I can walk all day long in them without getting blisters, I can hike in them, they are waterproof and they are also easy on the eye! If you don’t have comfy boots, take a pair of trainers. If you’re planning on a lot of hiking, take walking boots. On top of that I usually take a pair of flip flops if it’s due to be sunny or a pair of casual, slightly smarter shoes / sandals incase I go out for more sophisticated drinks.
2. Top half
The key to preparing for all weathers on the top half is layering, particularly if the weather is looking unreliable. I usually take a couple of vests (can sleep in one of these), a thermal long sleeve layer incase it gets chilly, a jumper and a coat with a waterproof layering. If the weather looks mild let that coat be thin, if it looks chilly – take a puffy one! That covers me for daytime and then for the evenings I’ll take a couple of nice tops / blouses.
3. Bottom half
One pair of jeans, one pair of leggings (I usually travel in these) and a pair of activewear leggings for any activities / hikes you go on.
Take a few pairs of socks and undies!
4. Toilettries (remember to pass security – under 100ml)
Toothbrush (fully charged) and mini toothpaste
Face wash and moisturiser (with SPF to double up as suncream)
Small selection of basic make up
Small hair brush
Mini Shampoo and Conditioner
If you’re anything like me – I like to have quality hair and skin products when I travel but of course with carry on they must be under 100ml to pass through security.
My essential hair care Herbal Essences now have their travel minis so they are straight in my carry on to make sure my hair is fresh, nourished and fragrant no matter where I’m travelling through.
If you know how small a carry on is, you’ll realise that once you have the above in there’s not much room for anything else. Though if you’re like me, you’ll cut down on the above and make room for a few other bits. Here’s what else I pop in mine:
A portable speaker
A portable phone charger
A GoPro and charger
A small dirty washing bag (hardly takes up room)
Mini dry shampoo
Travel adaptor (hotel receptions usually have spares if you’re struggling for room)
Small bag for essentials when travelling and exploring e.g. passport, purse, lip balm (you can usually get away with this on top of your carry on)
Tips on saving space and getting it all into your carry on:
1. Your travel outfit is key
Wear the things that take up the most space / are heaviest when you are travelling. For example wear your winter coats, boots and layers! This will save maximum room in your carry on.
2. Roll everything!
Tightly roll your clothing and bits. This company way of packing with ensure you fit as much in as possible and also means you stretch the fabrics and avoid major creasing in your clothes
3. Packing cubes
I started using them about 6 months ago and now never travel without them. I use them to separate tops from bottoms and gym wear from underwear. An awesome way to keep your case organised and save everything falling out when you open it.
4. Travel towels
If you’re staying in a hotel you won’t need one but if you’re staying in a hostel or camping you may want to get a microfibre travel towel. They don’t take up much room at all, are WAY smaller than normal towels, can double up as a beach towel and will save you renting one when you get there. That being said, for a couple of pound rental, if you’re tight on room – leave the towel behind!
On Sunday night I got the chance to take my two best friends away from the craziness of our tech-driven careers and to surprise them with an evening of complete bliss.
I insisted on a technology free zone which ensured zero unnecessary interceptions were made to our conversation from the outside world. This created a truly beautiful environment in which we could catch up, reflect, giggle and dine together.
It sounds crazy but seriously think about it, when was the last time you put your phone down for 7 hours whilst with friends and didn’t touch it once? Like not even one feed scroll.
We live in a society where it’s worryingly normal to not go two minutes without sensing, seeing or searching for a notification from an electronic device and we don’t realise the direct and very powerful effect it’s having on the relationships around us. More so the attention we are giving to the relationships around us.
So Sunday was all about remembering how good it feels to be present with the people you love the most. Reminding yourself to give the people around you your time, for time is the most precious gift of all.
We hopped in a taxi to East London at which point the girls still had no idea where we were off to and what the night would entail.
We pulled up to the ibis Canning Town at around 3pm, we checked in and headed up to floor 3 where I had booked two hotel rooms with interconnecting doorways (obviously). Prior to our little getaway I had noted all of the girls favourite things, foods, drinks and pastimes and ibis had the rooms to be filled with them for our arrival.
Within 5 minutes of entering the room and putting our bags down we had all hopped into our matching pyjamas and fluffy socks with facemasks at the ready. Girl sleepover style-y.
We began the afternoon with manis and pedis from a mobile beautician who had been booked for us to enjoy. Whilst Lyds was getting her nails done, Lilly and I tucked into the hummus platter and dived into the bed of pillows beside her nattering away and catching up of life, love and everything in between. All the juicy details that the 5 minute voice note exchanges don’t cover between midweek meetings.
We rotated around until our nails were finished and there were no carrots left to be dipped.
The next few hours were filled withmaking our own pizzas, dancing, playing music and making our favourite cocktails with one of the ibis bartenders.
We did the latter on the ground floor of the ibis Canning Town where there’s a gorgeous minimalistic scandi style bar and restaurant. Perfect to pop by for a coffee alone.
By 8pm our tummies and our hearts were full and we snuggled up to watch The Bachelorette with our favourite treats back in our room.
Last weekend was actually insane. I’ve just got back from hosting Where’s Mollie Global Travellers Adventure #4 in Cornwall UK and I am still on the most incredible high from it. WMGT adventures are up there with my absolute favourites and WMGT Cornwall was no exception.
Adventure #4 was added to the 2018 calendar to celebrate one whole year since I started the WMGT family on Facebook and once again the atmosphere, interaction and feedback from the weekend has blown me away.
Oh the magic that happens when we come together and put our phones away for a while.
For this adventure I had the pleasure of Robyn by my side for work experience (Instagram @itsthelifeofrobyn). Cornwall was set to be Robyn’s first WMGT experience so I thought it would be lovely to ask her to share with you guys how the weekend unraveled and what being part of WMGT Cornwall meant to her. Alongside that, we’ve also put together a travel guide for you based on the adventures we went on, each of which are worth noting alone.
The credits for photography in this blog post go to Lydia Collins Photography.
Over to you Robyn…
Campfires, sunsets, lighthouse hikes and did someone say coasteering?
I knew this trip would be life-changing. After finishing four days of work experience with WMGT, my love for adventure and new things has been completely reignited. WMGT allowed me to let down boundaries and connect with people who have the same passion and interests as me. The itineraries, curated by Mollie, are designed to encourage you to to disconnect from social media, embrace the fresh air and spark new friendships. They gives you time to truly get to know the person to your left whether that be on a hike or cuddled up beside a bonfire. We laughed, we danced, we bonded. But mostly, we arrived as strangers and left as a family.
Here’s a little video I made from my time at WMGT Cornwall…
WMGT- What its like to feel connection without wifi - YouTube
So what exactly did we get up to?
Firstly, where even is Cornwall?
Located along the south western tip of Great Britain, Cornwall is encapsulated by beautiful beach’s and surrounded by the vast Atlantic ocean. For nearly 300 miles the magnificent coastline wraps around the UK’s most westerly points. With its captivating fishing harbours, freshly baked Cornish pastries and dynamic surf spots, the plentiful opportunity that Cornwall offers up cannot go a miss!
Cornwall was the perfect place for WMGT adventure #4 and was living proof that beauty really is right on our doorstep (when the suns out) ;-).
Planning your trip to Cornwall:
Travelling to Cornwall by car:
From London: Drive along the M4 motorway from London and arrive in Cornwall in less than 5 hours.
From Manchester: Drive along the M6 motorway and exit onto the M5 to Exeter were you can finish your journey to the heart of Cornwall in under 6 hours on either the A30 or A38.
Travelling to Cornwall by train and coach:
Train services run frequently from London Paddington station. Coach times from London or Birmingham to the city of truro takes 7-8 hours.
You can also find direct trains that run daily from Bristol to Cornwall.
Prices and times can be found here: nationalrail.co.uk
Travelling to Cornwall by air:
Cornwall airport in Newquay have daily flights from around the UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain. With additional seasonal routes, you can even fly from Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Dublin and Alicante!
Our 4 day itinerary in Cornwall…
There is honestly so much to do in Cornwall. It very quickly becomes overwhelming when you start researching your trip. There are so many gorgeous coves, walks and activities to check out, so if you’re just heading down for a couple of days I would suggest not jam packing your itinerary with the whole of Cornwall. Perhaps stick to one area and leave room for the unexpected.
For WMGT adventure #4 we stayed around Padstow and Newquay but I know Mollie has done a 4 day roadtrip and a travel guide for the lower end of Cornwall (St.Ives and Truro end) took. You can see that blog post here.
Here’s a google map of where our WMGT weekend adventure took us…
On day one of WMGT adventure #4, we arrived at YHA Treyarnon at 4pm after a 5 hour road trip from London. We parked up, emptied our backpacks and settled into our new home for the weekend.
YHA Treyarnon Hostel is perched right on a cliff top overlooking the rugged coastline of Treyarnon bay. With outdoor picnic bench’s and coastal walks at the door step, you are completely spoilt for location here.
This traditional hostel has over 68 beds including bunk beds and double beds, dining lounges and a self-catering kitchen. It also offers a camping site where you can rent bell tents and land pods.
Even if you don’t choose to stay at the hostel, the beach front cafe and restaurant is worth a visit. They even have live music on fridays from local talent.
Location for sat nav: YHA Treyarnon Bay, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8JR
By 5pm most of the Thursday arrivals had touched down and it was finally time to mingle.
Mollie had bought a WMGT beach volleyball kit and so we set up an epic game of volleyball down on Treyarnon Bay. So easy and so much fun! At 7:30 it was time for a group dinner at the hostel were we got know everyone, relax and prepare for day 2’s adventures.
Our first morning had us hike / meander along the coastal path from our hostel around to Trevose lighthouse via Constantine Bay and Booby’s Bay. We were out for around 2 hours in total and we were even lucky to spot some seals along the way near the lighthouse.
Once we got to the lighthouse hot chocolate was poured and we watched the seals while fuelling up on some custard cream biscuits.
Tip: Don’t forget a thermal flask and snacks for once you get to Trevose lighthouse. The view is epic and a hot chocolate will warm you right up!
By afternoon we hopped in the car, took the scenic route and drove 20 minutes to explore the small little town of Padstow.
Padstow is a charming village known for its fishing ports and sandy beaches. We jumped right in and experienced the true Cornish countryside by indulging in some epic Cornish pasties and home-made fudge.
Top tip: The main carpark is pay and display so don’t forget some pocket change!
Top tip: Grab lunch at one of Rick Steins world famous fish restaurants. Fish and chips followed by a Cornish ice cream and a Rattler (Cornish cider) = the Padstow dream!
Location for sat nav: Padstow PL28 8AQ, UK
We arrived back to the hostel for around 3pm by which point it was finally time to meet the rest of the WMGT family who were joining on package two. After dinner at the hostel we headed down to the beach, built a bonfire and introduced ourselves. We tucked into some s’mores and listened to campfire stories.
Tip: This is a great chance to get to know everyone so bring a pack of cards or have some ice-breaker games ready to go! Heads up is always a winner.
Time to go coasteering! What’s coasteering I hear you ask? A unique and exciting adrenaline built experience which includes cliff jumping, coastal scaling and a little bit of swimming (floating). A pretty hands on activity and one that only one or two of the 50+ group has encountered prior to this weekend.
Located on Fistral beach, we met Nick and his fully trained team at Barefeet Coasteering who took us along one of the three optional routes. Just before jumping in, and after we had been kitted out with the appropriate wetsuits and safety gear, were taught all the skills and techniques you need to ensure a safe and memorable climb. Once the boring stuff was over, we explored our way along the coast, swimming through crystal blue water and climbing up coastal cliffs before leaping up to 30 feet into the sea. The sun was shining, the wetsuits were snug and the WMGT family vibes were in full swing.
Tip: Don’t forget your swimsuit, a towel and old trainers. You can also rent wetsuit boots and gloves for £5. When you’re finished grab a token at beach rental and jump into a one of the beach showers! Be ready for a quick one though its only 3 minutes.
What an unforgettable experience!
Location for sat nav: 5 Headland Rd, Newquay TR7 1HW, UK. The best car park is opposite the Atlantic Hotel it 30 seconds walk away.
After coasteering, we grabbed a pizza and beer at Fistral Beach Bar. If pizza isn’t your thing there is plenty of food options to suit everyone and if the sun is shining – you strike gold at this location.
After an adventure packed day, we sat outside on the decking with our drinks and toasted to fears conquered, friendships made and beautiful english weather!
After a busy morning we headed back to YHA Treyarnon and freshened up for dinner.
Of course we couldn’t resist another bonfire. We were so lucky to experience one of the most beautiful sunsets on this evening. We cuddled around the fire, toasted marshmallows and danced the night away. It was a time were we truly got to embrace and soak up the new life-long friendships that had been made.
Time for the WMGT travel quiz! We all grabbed a drink at the bar in the hostel, munched down on some yummy WMGT cupcakes and celebrated an amazing weekend.
Waking up on the last morning felt so surreal. We repacked our bags and got ready to check out. We kicked off the day with a group breakfast and an optional volleyball session on the beach.
Once packed and ready to go, we hit the road and travelled to another beautiful corner of Cornwall- Tintagel. Tintagel is located along the coastline between Padstow and Bude. Here there are plenty of breath taking hikes suitable for all ages.
One of the main features in this gorgeous cornish town is Tintagel Castle (a national heritage site that costs £9.50 for adults, £8.60 concessions to enter).
Top tip: If you take the coastal path south here you can view the castle from afar for free.
Not sure how much hiking you can take? All along the SW coastal path there are benches where you can enjoy the views while snacking on a pre-packed lunch. We parked up in the main Tintagel car park and then walked for an hour before turning around again. All the views.
Location for sat nav: : Tintagel Visitors Centre, Bossiney Road, Tintagel, PL34 0AA
Once we finished the Sunday hike (our final group adventure) we cosied up in The Wootons Inn where Mollie had pre-ordered some homemade cakes and had both those and hot drinks waiting for us.
Ic can also highly recommend the tasty Sunday roast. It was the perfect final feast before the long drive home.
Once we refuelled on the Sunday lunch menu it was time for our final “see you later”. I refuse to call it a “goodbye” because in reality I plan on meeting these people again. We even surprised Mollie with a special thank you card for all the hard work and effort that was put into making the weekend nothing short of amazing!!
I never truly understood the value or importance of ‘home’ until just recently.
For this blog post I have teamed up with Herbal Essences (in case you didn’t know, I’m an ambassador for them) to share with you lovely lot exactly what home means to me and why it’s now a huge part of my happiness regime…
I’ve spent the last four or five years denying ‘routine’, refusing a ‘9-5’ and spending every living hour searching for adventure. I’ve avoided coming home at all costs, extending adventures and chasing both the sun and my friends around the world. My sole priority has just been to embrace my 20’s and to make sure I have zero regrets looking back.
Whilst I have done exactly that, I’ve also completely exhausted my body in the process and have not given myself the balance I clearly need.
For how can I really embrace adventure when my body is running on zero?
I’ve had a few big crashes and a few big burns throughout my travel career (read more about that in my blog post here) and I noticed, particularly in the last 6 months, that these were becoming more and more frequent. After two months in Australia at the beginning of this year, it became very clear to me that I couldn’t keep up the amount of travel and energy output that I was committing to. I knew something needed to change but the passion I have for my work kept having me turn a blind eye to it.
Three weeks ago I then had a fall at the indoor ski slopes and had to cancel two weeks of not only work but gym and movement. I was forced to be at home and live life in the slow lane, to spend time at home recovering, resting and in turn completely resetting my mind and body.
Within these two weeks I took a complete 360 in my approach to work, life, love and the relationships around me. I felt like I finally took a step back and had the time to experience and rebuild the healthier lifestyle I needed.
If I hadn’t have had that fall, I would have done myself some serious damage regardless, just at a later date and maybe not as easy to recover from.
‘Everything that happens, happens for a reason and takes you to exactly where you are destined to be.’
In those two weeks I realised that routine and predictability aren’t ‘my worst nightmare’, in fact they are essential to pursue the life of adventure I desire.
I can now completely appreciate the stability and comfort that comes with routine and I’ve fallen in love with the little things at home and how much peace they deliver.
Now, en route back from the airport I am more excited than ever to get home to them and to give my mind and body the TLC it needs, ready for the next adventure.
These are a few of my favourite things…
Lighting my favourite candles…
Running a hot bath, exfoliating and soaking off all the impurities I’ve gathered along the way…
Cleansing my hair, conditioning it and nourishing it with my favourite shampoo and conditioner…
A little bit more about the brand new Arabica Coffee Fruit collection….
Crafted with Arabica coffee berries (which are exceptionally rich in antioxidants and Vitamin B) along with Aloe and Sea Kelp, this new collection is designed to boost volume and leave you with hair that shines.
As always this new collection is just filled with life and it not only leaves your hair filled with life but also with Herbal Essence’s signature scent indulgence.
You most likely clicked through to this post because of the title? Because I mentioned counselling and oh my god does that mean I’m about to admit I have mental health issues and that I was sent to a counsellor to get sorted out. Is my life not so perfect after all?!
I’m going to guess at least a few of you were thinking along these lines and honestly, I think that’s pretty normal. Mental health isn’t spoken about nearly as much as it’s experienced. We all have mental health and it’s our responsibility to look after it. There’s a serious lack of funding allocated to mental health education and there are so many assumptions made when the words ‘mental health’ and ‘counselling’ are mentioned.
Yes i’ve been to a counsellor. No i’m not embarrassed about it. No my life is not perfect. But also no, going to a counsellor doesn’t mean I have mental health issues and that I need sorting out.
I feel counselling is looked upon as a sign of weakness when I think it’s actually quite the opposite and shows incredible amounts of strength.
In fact I think going to see a counsellor is a huge sign of courage and shows a willingness to reflect on your self in a very ‘naked’ way. How amazing is it that you’re curious about your own mind and you want to get to know it. I think so anyway. After all, you’re stuck with it for a pretty long time.
You can choose to see a counsellor without being ‘ill’ or being on anti depressants or without being forced to go.
Counselling is NOT a bad thing.
I feel very privileged to have a psychotherapist as a mum and in turn I have been raised with complete emotional freedom and support, hence why I speak so openly about the topic. I hope that only time stands between this being the case for everyone (and i’m here to do my bit).
I have zero embarrassment in sharing that I have been to counselling. In fact I’ve invested in counselling during three periods in my life that I found hard to navigate through alone. Counselling gave me both the space and perspective to work through these periods, to acknowledge them and also assisted me in developing the tools to overcome them.
I’m currently having a few sessions with a counsellor in London to navigate through the transition i’m currently finding myself in. Read some more about that here.
The truth is, counselling is a serious privilege and if I could justify the money every week – I would go regardless of whether I would consider that period of my life particularly difficult or not.
Private counselling sessions can indeed be expensive, hence why I don’t do the latter. You can pay anything from £40-£200 for a session depending on where you go and the experience your counsellor has. Fear not though there are many places that offer counselling for free and a lot of counsellors offer low income and student rates.
This post is basically a few words from me to you incase you are going through a difficult time or are having reoccurring emotions / relationship problems that are making you feel uncomfortable.
There is no one in this world that doesn’t have bad days and you are never alone, even if you feel it.
Reach out and talk about it.
11 reasons I love counselling and would highly recommend it…
1. You get to sit and talk about you and your life to someone who’s actually listening…
There aren’t many situations in which you can talk about yourself and your worries for a solid hour and not feel selfish about it. Everyone has their own problems right? Sometimes it can feel difficult putting your thoughts onto your friends and family but with a counsellor that is exactly what they are there for. They want to hear what you have to say, what you feel, what you’re scared about and what’s upset you. In fact the more you say the better.
2. You just don’t have to feel bad about it…
You’re paying them to listen – moan away!
3. You don’t have to feel embarrassed about anything…
Your counsellor is someone that is not going to judge you at all. You can say what you want without getting scared of a reaction. You don’t have to hold back and nothing you say leaves the room. It’s a safe place. This freedom opens you up to work through difficult feelings that maybe you haven’t previously acknowledged.
4. It’s time to become your own best friend…
Saying things out loud that you’ve perhaps never shared or spoken about allows you to really listen and understand where you’re at. If you don’t really know how you feel, how do you know what you need? You get the chance to get to know yourself better than ever before.
5. If you want to cry it out, you can do exactly that…
Honestly, it’s your choice how you use your session. Even if counselling simply encourages you to just let it all out, you’ll feel an overwhelming sense of relief afterwards.
6. You gain new perspectives that you hadn’t previously considered…
I honestly have so many lightbulb moments in counselling. I mean, I generally feel like i’m quite experienced at working through my emotions but there are certainly times where i’m like, ‘why on earth do i feel like this? I don’t get it and i don’t know what the solution is’. Sitting and talking to my counsellor has drawn so many lines between the dots in my life and has really made me notice reoccurring ‘issues’ that I had never linked together. The simple realisation of some behavioural patterns has honestly been game changing. Once you know what you’re dealing with, it’s so much easier to resolve.
7. You learn how to navigate your way through difficult times
Talking to a counsellor can bring clarity to the cloudiest of times. It’s incredible what happens and what you are capable of when you nourish yourself in a safe and secure environment.
8. You are able to make more informed decisions…
Through counselling you are exercising your brain like a muscle, just like people go to the gym to build strength in their physical appearance, spend time building strength in your mind. The stronger you are mentally, the better you will be able to make decisions and feel confident doing so.
9. You get some reflection time…
Life can be busy and particularly with a career in social media (which never switches off) it can be hard to switch off. You’ll feel like a complete idiot getting your phone out and scrolling your Instagram feed in a counselling session. Too right!!! We need to be spending more time just with ourselves and counselling forces you to do this wonderful thing.
10. You learn how to rely on yourself…
Counsellors aren’t there to sit and tell you what to do (unfortunately) but they are there to support you whilst you figure it out and will suggest new coping mechanisms to guide you. Through doing so you take your life into your own hands and you grow confident in your own ability to manage yourself.
11. Invest in your future…
I see counselling as the biggest investment in your future and in aiding the most sustainable state of mental health. I will always prioritise the time and money to look after my mind. Your brain is a complex and delicate organ, it’s with you for life so it’s time to get it on side.
Life becomes so much easier.
A slightly different post today.
Thank you for reading <3
Finally! I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to doing this post, I have only a busy schedule to excuse myself with.
As many of you will know, there are very few (if not zero) adventures that I go on where I don’t pack my GoPro cameras. I have used the GoPro camera’s from the very beginning of my career in travel and I feel they have had such a huge impact in my ability to share travel in the ‘up close and personal’ fashion that I do. There’s nothing quite like the content from a GoPro.
Having a GoPro on hand allows me to capture not only incredible quality content but incredibly unique content. Due to the GoPros’ compact design, I never have to think twice about whether I have room for it in my bag – something it trumps the DSLR over (good point to note if you are looking for an excuse to purchase one). There are obviously advantages and drawbacks to both types of camera. You won’t often catch me without both in my backpack.
Where’s Mollie and GoPro (we go way back)…
I actually got my first ever GoPro in October 2014 when my brother gifted it to me for my birthday, just before I went backpacking in Australia and New Zealand. In 2015 I became one of the first members in the ‘GoPro family’, a selection of content creators from across the globe that effectively live and breathe the brand and are given exclusive access to events, new products and launches. GoPro supported Where’s Mollie before it was even Where’s Mollie, something I will never forget and one of the many reasons I continue to stay so loyal to the brand.
This post isn’t sponsored at all by the way, if you follow me anywhere you’ll know I’m just a GoPro fan girl.
Over the years I’ve been involved in some pretty exciting things and adventures with GoPro, noteably and more recently I was involved in the GoPro Karma launch video which you can watch here…
GoPro: Karma + HERO6 in 4K - YouTube
I tend to whip out my GoPro when i’m looking to shoot the up close and personal shots, the epic angles, the high level adventure activities and the scenes that only the GoPros wide angle lens can capture.
Which GoPro should you get?
I don’t want to go into detailed comparisons here (I will save that for another post) but here’s a link to the latest and best versions available:
GoPro Fusion (i’m yet to get my hands on this baby!) – shop here
We all know that GoPro’s can capture incredible content and it’s actually a pretty easy piece of technology to get your head around. Of course though, after spending time with one like I have, you develop tricks and techniques along the way which enable you to get better shots and frame them quicker.
You guys have been asking me for my GoPro shooting tips, go to angles and favourite accessories for a while and so in this post i’m sharing exactly that with you…
Note: I am very much a self taught photographer and videographer. I don’t claim to know the best way to do things – this is just my way of doing things!
I would highly recommend checking out my friends epic photography / videography blog Abe Kislevitz if you’re looking for more in depth reviews and show arounds on the GoPros. Legend.
My top tips for shooting with a GoPro…
What settings / mode do I shoot photos in?
If I don’t already have an angle / photo in mind, it’s time to be experimental. I will usually set the mode to time lapse with 0.5 second intervals and shoot away in different angles before reflecting on my favourite angle from the selection. There’s bound to be one in there if you move it around enough. This setting is also where I find I captured my favourite / most unique shots as it’s usually the photos I didn’t plan to take or that caught me off guard that I like the most. Candid shots galore.
If I know the shot I want and just want to perfect it, i’ll set the GoPro to burst, usually on 30/3, which will capture 30 photos in 3 seconds and will ensure there’s one in there with no blinking and no error. I usually throw a couple of facial expressions in there so that I have a choice of moods. Hahaha! You asked my technique.
If I’m out with just my GoPro and not my DSLR, it might be that I need to get a landscape shot for my blog to capture a general scene. In this case I will use the single capture photo mode.
Settings? Honestly, the automatic settings are great. I use them a lot, though sometimes I do switch on ProTune to manually adjust them.
These are my go to photo settings with Protune on:
What settings / mode do I shoot videos in?
If I’m shooting for social and personal projects, theres no need to go any higher than 1080p. That is if you’re just planning for social and laptop viewing which I assume most of you are? Keeping to 1080p means that your files sizes will stay smaller than for example 2.7K / 4K and you can edit easier and save more space on your hard drive. It also means if you have the GoPro Hero 6 that you can shoot up to 240fps (super slow motion) which will increase your file size yes, but is an awesome feature.
For content creation jobs I usually shoot in 1440 / 2.7K just as a back up incase the client wants to use it.
The other setting I use is the time lapse video setting. To create a time lapse you can either shoot photos in time lapse photo mode or you can shoot in this video setting. Shooting in this setting means that GoPro will automatically create the video time lapse for you for a seamless and easy viewing experience.
Again, the automatic settings are great, though sometimes I do switch on ProTune to manually adjust them.
These are my go to video settings with Protune on:
What accessories do I use the most?
I have pretty much all the GoPro accessories but there are certainly a handful that I use more so than others when i’m out adventuring.
My go to, must have accessory that my GoPro is pretty much always mounted to is the 3-way arm, though this year GoPro bought out an even more compact option – the shorty. I use either or when I want to get the selfie shot.
I’m going to try my hardest not to word vomit or get too ‘deep’ on you, but you know what i’m like. I’m a thinker, i’m a feeler and I feel like I pride myself on expressing a life filled with travel in the most honest way possible. So whether you choose to divulge into my brain with me or not, it’s here for the taking.
Has the time come for me to settle down?
I won’t lie, the words ‘settle down’ still kinda make me want to run a mile and I think that’s because of what they can sometimes mean and represent in one’s lifestyle.
Settling down typically indicates marriage and babies, in which case I am most certainly not settling down, not just yet. I know no one is ever ‘ready’ for all that but I certainly have other things consuming my drive right now.
Settle is a funny word. To me personally, ‘settle’ translates to ‘being unwilling to source the energy to get off one’s arse and follow one’s desires’.
So in quick conclusion to the title of this post, I am by no means declaring to settle down.
You didn’t think those words would come out of my keyboard really… did you?
Truth is I don’t think I will ever have a dream and not pursue it, it’s just not in my nature to wonder ‘what if’. I have to know I gave my self every chance to pursue life and the opportunities out there. I would so much rather be sad about an outcome than regret not pursuing it.
But obviously, the post title didn’t come from nowhere.
Something is definitely going on for me right now. My priorities are shifting big time and I’ve found the past six months difficult emotionally and physically.
I’ve face planted the floor with mental and physical exhaustion on probably 4/5 separate occasions but then just shook it off, stood straight back up again and continued in the same manner as before.
The way i’ve been working and executing my life has been unhealthy.
Though the ‘crashes and burns’ have surfaced with much shorter intervals in the last six months, my high level of output has been evident for a while. Remember when I had an awful car crash 2 years ago? Yeah, not proud of that. I absolutely had a wake up call but I still didn’t address the route cause.
Successful as I may feel in terms of achievements, I don’t feel success unless I feel happy and my happiness has felt harder to hold on to recently.
How did I get to this?
You see for the past 4 years, whilst building Where’s Mollie? in to the brand it is today, I’ve worked relentlessly. There aren’t many days I could sit here and tell you about on which I didn’t actively do something to further my career. I’ve hardly switched off. My mind works at a millions and one miles per hour which works wonders for me when it comes to business, but when it comes to the R+R part of my life – I suck a little.
That’s an understatement. I suck a lot.
I’ve had fun of course (a hella lot of it) but i’ve realised recently that just because you’re having fun, it doesn’t mean you’re relaxing. Just because i’m lucky to see all these opportunities coming my way, it doesn’t mean I should be taking every single one of them.
Last year I made a bold ‘first time ever’ move to take a full week away from the internet world and to go to Burning Man in Nevada. If you read or watched any of my content from this magical experience (yes I still captured lol) you’ll know wasn’t exactly ‘R+R’. Who was I kidding! Haha!
You see whenever i’ve attempted to take time off from work, i’ve invested my time in fun things that still exert energy, if not more so than my usual work life. Festivals, nights out, weekend adventure, plane rides, heavy gym sessions.
Hi Mollie, you aren’t invincible.
Be as envious as you like of the incredible destinations I get to visit and shoot in, but I can guarantee there is many a time that i’m more jealous of you in your dressing gown and slippers in front of the tv preparing for a lie in.
When I first realised in October that I was struggling to switch off and that I’m actually really bad at saying no to work and travel, I decided to book 8 weeks in Australia with my best friend as of 28th December. I’m sometimes a little extreme with my choices, yes, but I felt like unless I physically removed myself from the country and stepped off the treadmill of work – I would never stop. In my head those 8 weeks would be spent experiencing life in Australia, taking on minimal travel and have lots of laptop / beach time.
Of course when I got there, I got all excited and the 8 weeks rolled into one big long (incredible) adventure.
My relentless desire and passion for adventure has become a dangerous habit.
During my time in Australia I went on a million day trips and shoot missions, I took a job in the outback to create some new destination content, I ticked the Great Ocean Road off my bucket list and lived in a camper for 5 days, we did another 3 days in a camper, I saw lots of friends I hadn’t seen in ages and of course I was still shooting branded content that I have on monthly contracts.
During our time in Australia we also mainly crashed with friends of mine and whilst I love them to bits and 100% wanted to do this, even that aspect meant I had very little time and space to myself.
I was getting seriously frustrated that I wasn’t switching off and that Australia wasn’t what I perhaps deep down needed it to be.
I couldn’t find clarity in my mind. I was tired and frustrated.
That may not make sense, but I guess when you’re not working efficiently yet your not relaxing, you’re in this state of nothingness and when i’m in that mode, I switch on self destruct mode.
I couldn’t work out what I needed. I just couldn’t sort through my emotions or thoughts.
The only time I could find calm in my mind was when i’d go to this little yoga centre in Byron Bay and that was because there was someone guiding me out of my own thoughts. I was beside myself that i’d lost the strength to focus on the good stuff, to breathe it all out and I just felt so out of tune with my own body.
In the state I felt in, I naturally had ailments showing up left right and centre. My sleep was disrupted and I felt lost.
This wasn’t the first time and I knew it, but it was the biggest sign yet.
My body was seriously telling me to stop. That something needed to change…
I feel like i’ve just been running on low battery for a while now and just keep hitting zero because i don’t let myself fully charge again. I charge up a little bit (have a few days in the country and a good nights sleep) and then start smashing the energy levels out the park again with a new adventure.
I take on way more than I should and when i’m in a good place, I can stay on top of it easy. But if i fall short of energy or time at any given point, it all falls apart and i get seriously overwhelmed.
I’ve designed a life that needs me to be fit, healthy and strong to hold it together but I’d let that strength slip through excessive amounts of travel and minimal amounts of recovery.
‘Stop travelling Mollie. Go home. Let yourself reset.’
This was a reoccuring thought flying through my mind and at the beginning of March 2018, I finally decided to take action on it.
It’s time to input some boundaries, learn some new habits and find some balance.
I need to take some time to nourish and reset my body. Time to give it some TLC and build it strong again.
I’m investing more time in my home life, I’m saying no to things and I’m granting myself permission to have time completely off work.
I’m taking a step back to reevaluate everything and make sure I move forward in a sustainable way.
I will check back in with you on how I navigate myself onwards from this transition at a later point.
As uncomfortable a struggle can feel when you’re in it, struggle is a seriously positive sign. It’s a indicator that change is coming. Once you’ve had a few struggles (like myself) you’ll gain confidence in knowing that and then you’ve just got to hold tight and ride it out.
It’s these exact periods of struggle that define you, shape you and are the moments in which you find your most sustainable strength.
The last six months have without a doubt been a difficult time for me to navigate through but again experience reminds me that these times always pass and your ever growing wisdom will always assist you in making the right decisions quicker each time.
When you find something you’re passionate about and you make it your career, you seriously strike gold.
I do feel very lucky. I really really love my job but in doing the latter you also run the risk of over working.
There is no body or mind that can cope with being constantly stimulated.
Holy scha-molies. Who knew the beaches in Kenya were world class? Because I did NOT.
I am honestly blown away by Watamu.
I would never have thought to go to the Kenyan coast for fine white sand beaches, ridiculously perfect temperature waters and palm trees. Never ever.
Add in turtles, coral reefs, incredible coffee, sunshine and open air treehouse accommodation with yoga by sunrise and sunset and you can imagine just how dreamy our post-safari beach days were in Watamu.
Did you miss my Kenya safari guide and photo collection?
Watamu is a gorgeous coastal town in Kenya about 105km north of Mombasa and 15km south of Malindi. Think gorgeous fine sand beaches, stunning coral reefs sitting just off the shoreline, a collection of quaint Kenyan ice cream shops, cafes and local super markets to stroll between and an inland forest home to elephants, monkeys and rare birdlife.
It’s not hard to fall in love with this slice of nature’s finest.
Watamu sits with the Indian ocean brushing along its beaches, the same waters that grace the idyllic destinations of the Maldives and Mauritius. I haven’t been to either of those destinations just yet but my time in Watamu certainly gave me a taste for the honeymoon lifestyle offered in them. I can see why they are Instagram’s most desired locations.
I have never stepped foot in water like that of the ocean in Watamu.
You can slide into the ocean without an ounce of hesitation toward the temperature (so warm but still refreshing), it’s clear enough to see the turtles gliding through and you have the finest of sands moulding between your toes as you meander through.
The best part? It’s just so untouched, at the moment anyway. As you can see in the photo below there are stretches along the beach where, as far as the eye can see, you don’t see civilisation. No huge western hotel chains towering over the palm trees, no grids of sun loungers to climb through and no jet ski’s in the water.
During our stay we resided a 5 minute tuk tuk down the coast from the centre of Watamu at Watamu Treehouse. Of course nearer the town they do have hotels on the beach but nothing excessive and I don’t feel like it takes away from the natural beauty. Just some sustainable tourism which is heavily relied on here by the Watamu community.
Price insight: A tuk tuk for the 5 minute ride into Watamu cost 200KES (£1.40)
Honestly though, five days of safari and three days of post-safari relaxation in Watamu was the perfect combination of animal adrenalin and deep ocean front breathing for our time in Kenya. Just perfect.
Now, not only did I experience the best beaches of my travels thus far whilst here in Kenya, but I also rested my head in the dreamiest setting of all.
I got to stay in a treehouse for the first time and it was everything I imagined and more.
Imagine waking up to the sound of the birds in the trees with not a window in sight to stand between you and the ocean air gracing your lungs.
Imagine opening your eyes to the glimmers of golden light breaking through the clouds as the sun starts to appear over the horizon to warm the sky.
Now imagine freshening up in the open shower with herbal washes before popping on your dressing gown and having a Kenyan coffee arrive at your doorstep.
You take half an hour to look across the contrasting blues of the ocean and the reefs that lay within it, pondering on whether you’d rather take the four minute walk to dips your toes in the ocean or tuck into a freshly made breakfast first.
You remember the day is yours to design as you wish, the handcrafted food beaming with nutrition is to be served at a time of your convenience and the beach will be there all day long. You remember there’s a yoga class on the rooftop in half an hour and decide that the world can wait because you’ve arrived.
How does an adventure to uncover the big five sound? In the wild? In Africa? In your own private jeep?
What dreams are truly made of, right? Certainly my mums anyway.
For as long as I can remember, mums’ dream has been to witness elephants in the wild and to have my brother and I beside her. And so last week, in celebration of my mum turning half a century, we arrived in Kenya to make that very dream come true.
(She’ll kill me for disclosing that. Love you mum – you look AMAZING. Evidence on Instagram – @wheresmum).
Wait wait wait. ‘What are the big five again?’ I hear you ask…
The elephant. The buffalo. The rhino. The leopard. The lion.
My brother and I took on the task of arranging a surprise eight day itinerary for mum’s dream adventure which was to include a mix of both safari and beach days. Mum then turned up to Heathrow airport on 19th March 2018 knowing she was flying into Nairobi, Kenya but had no idea what the following eight days would look like.
Three National Parks, four days, 682 km, one family safari…
The safari we embarked on was certainly not a ‘budget adventure’ but all the costs included (aside from the accommodation which we could have swapped for something more basic) was necessary to get the insane experience we had. I’ll talk more about that later in the post.
As always i’ve plotted our route on a google map for you so that you can see exactly where we stayed, what we did and the roads we took…
When is the best time to go to Kenya?
There are advantages and disadvantages to all seasons of the year, the best time to go really depends on what experience you’re looking for. For us, we wanted to avoid heavy rain and tourism but wanted to maximise our chances of seeing the animals. We went second week of March due to aligning all of our work schedules and it ended up being perfect. We saw so many animals and there were hardly any other jeeps / safaris so it felt like we had the parks and hotels to ourselves – a very special experience.
Note: The week before we arrived, Kenya had received more rain than they’d had in over two years. There was a lot of flooding through the parks and the roads are dirt tracks so a lot of them were damaged and closed. This meant we had to actually cancel a hotel booking and adjust our route.
Top tip: If you do take a risk with weather and book within rainy season like we did, try and book hotels where you pay on arrival. We had reserved our hotels on booking.com and had already paid when our driver told us the road was impossible and closed. Luckily because the weather had been so extreme, the manager of said hotel refunded us our room price because we couldn’t get to the hotel without a 4 hour detour!
The best weather?
June – October is the best weather window in Kenya as in this time you reduce your chances of rain and mosquitos. The ‘worst’ weather sits in March, April and May – considered the peak of rainy season. If weather is bad enough, some parks shut. We visited in March (19th – 28th) and had a few nights of rain but nothing in the day! As with anywhere, you take a risk by going in rainy reason but you can save a lot of money and avoid heavy tourism. Our experience proves rain isn’t guaranteed. Advantages also include beautiful green landscapes!
The best time for animals?
End of June – September. This is when the animals migrate distances of around 2000km over to Kenya from Tanzania and ‘the greatest wildlife show on earth’ takes centre stage. The great migration is supposedly the greatest mass movement of land mammals on the entire globe so as you can imagine, during these months, people come in from all over the world. Parks can get busy and very crowded but for good reason. Wildlife can also be easier to spot during June – September (the drier months) because there’s less foilage and bush and animals will head to watering holes.
During our safari in March we saw…
Allll the elephants, lions, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles and zebras amongst a millions dik diks (yup it’s a thing – google them!), gazelles, grand gazelle, orix, buffallo, wart hog (pumba), impala, heart beast and guinea fowls! Honestly, all the birds and bee’s and trees and birds, I couldn’t possibly remember all the names but it was sensational.
The best time considered to according to Ishmal (our guide with over 25 years experience):
‘June is ideal, you’ll catch the migration, you’re at the beginning of the peak season but may just miss it and there’s 50/50 chance of rain. You optimise your experience being a good one in June. If you go during the migration, be sure to locate yourself near the River Mara!’ Ishmal (The driver we hired from Africa Safari Discovery).
How do you go about planning a safari?
Decide what time of year you want to go
See my advice above!
Decide how many parks you’d like to visit during your safari
Different parks can have higher chances of seeing different animals so visiting a combination of parks is a popular choice to maximise the number of animals you see in the wild.
Decide whether you want to self drive the game drives or head out on the game drives provided by the lodges
Most of the accommodation and lodges will have game drives that you can pay a fee and book on to (like an excursion).
If you are going to self drive the game drives, you need to decide whether you’re taking charge or are hiring a guide with your vehicle
You can hire a safari vehicle and self navigate the game drives or you can spend extra and have an experienced driver and guide come with you on your adventure. Understandably you may be looking to cut costs where possible on this trip but I cannot recommend having a guide enough. Now that i’ve experienced safari with one, i think i’d always spend the extra money to have one.
We hired Ishmal, who joined us for 5 days and the benefits I found of a driver come guide were:
They will do all the driving for you
They are extremely experienced in animal spotting and will spot 70% of the animals you miss
They have an endless bank of knowledge about the animals, their habits, where best to find them
They can name the animals and add depth to your experience
They have awesome stories
They know the locals so you feel safe in their company
They know all the roads so can navigate and renavigate with easy when necessary, saving time on not getting lost
He can take a family photo for you!
BOOK YOUR TRANSPORT, YOUR ACCOMMODATION AND YOUR FLIGHT!
Extra information and FAQ’S for safari….
If your driver is with you for 5 days, do you have to provide accommodation for them for 5 days?
Nope. It’s an extremely popular set up for a safari and so all the accommodations (the ones we went to anyway) had housing on site for the drivers to use. I think they give them meals too as encouragement to bring in the business I guess.
Do you have to pay to enter the National Parks?
Yes. This was a cost we weren’t made aware of. As far as I know, this isn’t something included in any of your accommodation but i may well be wrong. For the three parks we visited we each had to purchase a pass (valid 24 hours) for every day we were there. Penalties apply if you have exceeded your time upon exit. Student rates exist so if you have a card – take it. Prices were the same for the parks we went to $52 for one adult for 24 hours. Certainly a cost to factor into your planning!
Touchdown in Kenya had us land in Nairobi with British Airways at 10pm. If you’ve read my top tips and preparations for travelling in Kenya you’ll know that it’s strongly advised to not drive at night for safety reasons. For this reason (and because the first park was a few hours drive away) we booked into the Sheraton Hotel by the airport for a peaceful nights sleep.
Day two and three…
On the morning of day two we woke at the Sheraton Hotel and met our driver Ishmael who came with our wagon for the week! it actually seated like 7 people so it was super spacious for the three of us to cruise around in. Once we’d done our hellos we began oberserving the change of scenery as we drove through the urban city life down to the plains of Amboseli National Park. As mentioned previously, for the week prior to our arrival Kenya had had masses of rain so the drive was pretty muddy and many roads were still flooded. We stayed in Amboseli National Park for two nights at Ol Tukai Lodge.
Top tips and information about Amboseli National Park:
$52 USD entry per person per day (24hr pass)
With clear skies you get insane views of Africa’s highest peak – Mt. Kilimanjaro
One of the best places in Africa to spot Elephants and have up close encounters!
Chance to visit and experience life of local Maasai communities
Ol Tukai lodge looks out over the game reserve so you can lie by the pool and spot elephants and hippos from your lounger! Insane!
Exciting encounters we had here…
ALL the elephants and giraffes, a few lion spottings and a crazy amount of hippos! Don’t want to take the limelight away from all the other animals but of course these are the animals we dreamt of seeing!
Amboseli National Park photo gallery…
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