Saturday, 11 April 2015

Travellin' in Thailand: The City

If you follow me on Instagram (which y'all should), you will know that I've just came back from holiday in Thailand.  To help fight the Thailand blues, I decided to do a mini series on MITMU all about my time in Thailand.  I've split it into three parts: The City, The Jungle and The Beach.

We spent three days in Bangkok and if I'm honest, I approached my time there with a little trepidation.  I had the impression that Bangkok would be intimidating, overcrowded and dirty.  Within a couple of hours I realised that I shouldn't have worried...I loved Bangkok.  While it was a little overwhelming at times, I have never been in a city where people have been as friendly.  As soon as people saw us with a map, they offered to help with directions.

We must of looked a little lost one day while trying to find somewhere to eat.  A woman approached us and gave us directions to the shopping centre she thought we were looking for.  When she found out we were looking for somewhere to eat, she ushered us into a tuk tuk, haggled the local thai rate and directed us to apparently one of the best restaurants in Bangkok.  The fact that we were two veggies in a seafood restaurant was beside the point, it was the thought that counts.  I guess some things get a little lost in translation!

Accommodation - There are so many hotels in Bangkok to choose from which really works in your favour as you can get amazing room rates (I really recommend using Travel Pony).  We stayed in two different hotels while we were in Bangkok - Anantara Bangkok Sathorn and the U Sukhumvit Bangkok.  I would recommend either to anyone visiting Bangkok.

Rooftop bars are popular in Bangkok.  The U Sukhumvit has a rooftop pool with bar which was an amazing place to chill out in the evening (and the cocktails were amazing).  The sun sets around half 6 in Thailand and you get amazing views of this from the rooftop bars.

 However, Zoom sky bar and restaurant in Anantara stole the show.  37 floors up you get the best view of the Bangkok skyline, amazing music and even better food.

Things to do.  We spent one day in Bangkok visiting Wat Arun and the Grand Palace. Unfortunately, Wat Arun was being refurbished at the time so there was quite a lot of scaffolding. However it was still amazing to see. We were humbled by getting blessed by a Monk with Sacred Thread, which symbolises luck and fortune.

The Grand Palace was absolutely breathtaking to see.  It is split up into several different buildings and gardens.  Although it has been partially opened up to the public, it is still an operating palace.

My one tip for visiting the temples in Thailand is to ensure you behave and dress respectfully.  The dress code for the grand palace is stricter than others, a scarf covering your shoulders won't do, you need to be wearing sleeves that cover your shoulders.  You can rent cover ups within the Grand Palace  however the queues can get quite long.  Also, when you are within the temple, make sure you take off your shoes and under no circumstances take any photographs!

Another must see in Bangkok is the MBK Centre.  It's a huge shopping centre with seven floors and believe me, if you want it, you can find it in the MBK Centre.  Each floor has a 'theme' - electronics, clothes, beauty etc.  My one big tip for the MBK Centre...HAGGLE!

MBK is in the same district as Siam square which was amazing to wander around with lots of amazing independent shops and stalls.  We also spent some time in Khao San Road, a huge road home to lots of backpackers.  Here you can get cheap drinks, food, clothes and beauty treatments.  We got a manicure and pedicure for less than £20!

Getting Around.  Getting around Bangkok is incredibly easy.  There's the sky train, which is the cleanest, and best air conditioned train I've ever been on.  It's quick, cheap and easy to use.

Getting a tuk tuk is probably the most fun way to travel in Thailand, though at times it can be a little scary;  I don't think lanes are a big thing on Bangkok roads! It's best to agree a price before you get in and again don't be scared to haggle!  There are also taxis everywhere in Bangkok which are quite cheap, but always ask to use the meter or you could end up paying a lot more than you need to (we found this out the hard way!)

I can't wait to write my next post on the jungle - elephants, tents and sustainable tourism!

Love Nic

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Cruelty Free Hair Care

When I decided to go cruelty free, hair care was one of the first areas in my beauty routine I changed up.  I instantly turned to one of my favourite brands, Lush and haven't looked back.  I love how easy it is for me to shop in Lush, all I have to do is look for the Vegan symbol on the front of the packaging and I'm good to go!

Rehab Shampoo has to be my favourite product I've discovered since going cruelty free.  It combines a number of different fruit juices (pineapple, papaya, kiwi and mango) with olive oil, jojoba oil, sea salt, seaweed and peppermint.  My hair seems to love this combination: the fruit juices have a gentle clarifying effect, the oils add some much needed moisture and shine and the sea salt gives volume.  My hair has been so shiny since using Rehab, without leaving my hair feeling 'slippery'.  What I love about Rehab is while giving my hair shine, it is also volumising.  Importantly, it leaves my hair smelling delicious - the perfect balance of citrus and peppermint.

I have previously tried a couple of hair conditioners from Lush; if you're a long time reader of MITMU you might remember my obsession with American Cream a couple of years ago; one of the best smelling hair products on the planet but sadly not Vegan. I was recommended Veganese by a member of staff and have since repurchased it three times.  

Veganese is not the most heavy duty of conditioners, but is perfect for everyday use.  If you have a coarser hair type, it may be a little too light for you .  Veganese combines agar agar gel (derived from Seaweed) with rosemary, lavender and lemon juice and oil.  Perfect for my fine hair type, Veganese doesn't weigh hair down and works well with Rehab as it doesn't compromise the volume created by the shampoo.

That being said, once a week I like to give my hair a deep conditioning treatment and for the last couple of months I've been using Coconut Oil as an overnight treatment. I heat a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave and apply it to the ends of my hair before popping on a shower cap (I never said you were going to look glamorous).  I have quite oily hair which is why I avoid my roots, however if you have a drier hair type definitely apply it to the full length of your hair.  Coconut oil has been an amazing addition to my hair care, my hair feels stronger, softer and shinier.

Love, Nic