This post contains affiliate links. This means should you love the product recommendations as much as I do, at no cost to yourself, I may receive a small commission should you purchase. All products recommended to you are only products that I would use myself.
I have visited Paphos, Cyprus a number of times now, and each time I always find new places to eat and discover new things to do. Paphos is well known for it's amazing beaches, cutesy streets and its great location which makes other towns and activities easily accessible from Paphos. But for me, Paphos, and Cyprus as a whole, is famous for its food. I am a big foodie, and one of the most exciting aspects of travelling out of the UK for me is to sample the offerings!
Here, I have complied the best places, by my recommendations, to eat in Paphos.
FIRST AND LAST BAR & Resturant, paphos
MAP: Konstantias Street, 8041 Kato Paphos, Cyprus
First & Last is for those foodies who like their home from home pallet. This bar and grill restaurant does THE best Sunday Roast Dinners and is perfect for those who just crave a good filling dinner after a few to many bevvies! They also do Fish and Chip specials on a Tuesday and Friday, which includes a free pint and a massive portion all for 9.95EUR. If youre one to not miss out on the football whilst on holiday, this is the place to be. The outside screens and comfortable seating area make for a good parking space to watch the match! Definitely check them out if your staying in Paphos, they come highly recommended from me!
CURRY HOUSE INDIAN RESTURANT
This post contains affiliate links. This means should you love the product recommendations as much as I do, at no cost to yourself, I may receive a small commission should you purchase. All products recommended to you are only products that I would use myself.
Goals vs. Resolutions
Resolution (noun); a firm decision to do, or not to do something
Resolutions are usually made on New Year’s Eve; full of good intent and determination.
Goal (noun); the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
This year, I will be setting goals instead of resolutions. Notice in the description of a resolution- it is firm. A definite decision to do or not do something. This is probably why I never ever stick to any resolutions that I make.
I feel by setting goals, that they are more flexible. Goals are set for a desired result, and can be tweaked and amended throughout the year, because you know, life happens.
Anything that is a firm decision does not take into account any anomalies that life may throw at you. Let’s look at loosing weight for example:
*This post contains affiliate links to my recommended products. This means, should you love the products as much as me and choose to purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you*
What is a Puggle?
If you have stumbled across this page, you either are new owners of a Puggle (congrats!), or you are interested and intrigued by the Puggle and would like to know more...
As a proud owner of a Puggle, I’m hoping that I may be able to provide you with some information and anecdotes about the Puggle breed.
First and foremost, the name Puggle comes from a blend of the two breeds that the dog is - a Pug and a Beagle. An unlikely cross, some may say, as the individual characteristics of the two breeds lay on opposite ends of the scale.
Beagles are known for being natural hunters with an immense sense of smell - real wanderers. Pugs, on the other hand are small, stocky, yet full of funny quirks that make them so loveable. Mix the two together and you get a loveable wanderer.
Puggles as Puppies
Having an eight week old Puggle Puppy was not easy, let me tell you! I spent a lot of time researching how to train such an exciteable pup, and implemented this as much as I could. Read my top tips for training your new puppy here.
However, generally as puppies, Puggles are a bit of a handful. Puggles inherit their intelligence from the beagle and are extremely inquisitive about their new surroundings once they arrive into your home. Their favourite way of exploring their environment is - you guessed it - with their teeth! Noooo! Lilly was a real chewer and managed to destroy most of my wooden furniture, despite us buying every chew toy and squeaky toy in sight to distract her. There was only one toy that managed to turn her attention away from my dining room chairs and that was the Kong.
The Kong is the best food based toy that I’ve ever come across. It has multiple purposes too. It is made from strong rubber, designed to be really hard to destroy, unlike your TV stand! You can also stuff it with the Kong paste which is really tasty and comes in many flavours. Lilly loved this - and still does to this day - and it is the best distraction toy on the market in my opinion. Try this with your puppy, but remember to reduce down their meals during the day or they will end up putting a little bit of unwanted weight on! ? They are available on Amazon here:
Personality of a Puggle
Puggles are loyal. As loyal as you would ever imagine a dog to be... until she is distracted. A puppy Puggle may not seem loyal to you until they are tired and fancy a cuddle. Lilly and I struggled to bond at first as she didn’t seem to take much notice of me when I was trying to train her and I constantly felt that she only wanted to know me when I had food. Your Puggle puppy will try to rule you on their terms, unfortunately. But, now she’s officially well into adulthood, she is the most cuddly and loving dog any owner could wish for. Until distracted. Distracted by anything too. A slight noise can set her into bodyguard mode; a cat or a bird on a walk will set her into wandering mode. If you can keep your puggle’s attention on you, you will have a great dog.
‘Dog Strops’ are real. Lilly very rarely gets told ‘no’ for anything these days. She is very good in the home and generally good on walks. However, if I am busy doing something else, for example, cooking, Lilly will throw a tantrum at me and will eventually put herself in her bed or safe place to sulk. If she really is in a mood she will probably throw in a massive *sigh* for good measure.
F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing Out) - Lilly has a real thing about feeling left out, or at least thinking she is getting left out. If I am having a cuddle in the evening with her sister, Bella, Lilly will not be long putting herself between us to be fussed. As your Puggle gets older, it seems to be that they crave your attention more. Lilly is much more demanding of my attention now than she ever was when she was a baby. It’s seems she has transitioned from Miss Independant to Miss Reliant.
Puggles are really gentle natured. They love kisses and cuddles, long naps and being pampered. That’s right, your Puggle will want to be pampered. I’m talking back massages, belly rubs and everything inbetween! Be rest assured that she will pay you back with plenty of kisses.
On Lead Walks Can Be Tricky...
As I have already stated, your puggle will be a natural explorer. This means on-lead training can become difficult. We have never fully mastered Lilly walking to heel, but, with a lot of patience, sausage meat and the help of a HALTI head collar, we have managed to finally make walks pleasant after around three years of stressful walking time. Some people view HALTI head collars as cruel, I know I have had some side eye looks when walking Lilly, but I really do rate them for dogs that cant keep their noses off the floor and walk next to you. To the eye it looks like a mussel, but your Puggle will still be able to breath, bark, eat etc with it on. It sits at the top of their nose and clips onto their harness for safety (just in case they manage to slip out of it!) and then the lead clips onto the underside of the HALTI. The idea is that if your dog tries to pull away from you on a walk, a slight tug on the lead will turn their head to look at you and you can implement your training technique once they have slowed down and produced the desired behaviour. We bought Lilly a size S, as she doesn't have an overly long snout, here is a link for the one we have below.
Just a sidenote about getting your Puggle used to wearing the HALTI - try putting it on them before they eat a meal and they will soon realise that it's nothing to be worried about. This will also make them happy about wearing it outside of the house.
Overall, Your Puggle Will Become Your Best Friend
Getting used to having a puppy, whether this be your first puppy or not, is always a change. Beagles are known to be the breed that stays a puppy for the longest, approximately three years instead of two, and it is a fun three years. Our Puggle seemed to transition from puppy to adult pretty much over night. She has so many amazing qualities though and now as an adult dog her intelligence never fails to surprise me every day. If you are looking for a dog that will make you laugh, protect you, love you and be your best mate, I would highly recommend choosing a Puggle.
On a more serious note - please research your breeder before buying. Both Mother and Father dogs should be available to meet before buying any puppy, and remember that a dog is not just for Christmas, it is for life.
- Lea Bella x
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The Maldives... Paradise on Earth
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Holiday Dates: 9th October - 19th October 2018
Adaaran Select Meedhupparu Beach Villas - rated at 4*+
Stepping off the seaplane and getting my feet on the ground after what felt like an eternity of being in the air felt like I had just won the jackpot. No-one could have prepared me for the turquoise blue waters, the bright white sand, but most importantly the friendliest of welcomes I have ever received when arriving at a resort for the first time.
Golf buggies collected us from the jetty on the South of the island and whisked us away to the main bar where we were greeted with a refreshing pineapple drink and a cool cloth to wipe away the last three flights. The 30 degree sun was beaming down on my face as I thought 'people are right....this is paradise!'. I had not even seen the half of what this Island had to offer yet...
I should probably mention here that I had not seen our luggage yet since stepping onto the seaplane (you can read my seaplane experiences here) and at this point I didn't care. We were given the all important safety briefing, a map of the island and was told that we could go and get some lunch on the all-inclusive while we waited for our room to be ready. So that is what we did!
The Accomodation - Beach Villa 4*+
We had booked a beach villa initially, with a view of upgrading to the water villas over the next few days - read my tips on how to save money on your upgrades here. We were chauffeured once again by a friendly Sri Lankan guy who showed us our room. The first thing I noticed about the room was the amazing view... believe me when I say that it is absolutely breath taking. Our patio doors opened out onto a wooden terrace with our own sunbeds and a seating area, and then the beach and the ocean, like right in front!! It's really hard for me to explain exactly what seeing this for the first time is like, but I will never ever forget how I felt. I don't actually think I've ever felt as excited, overwhelmed and knackered all at the same time! HA.
Once I had gotten over staring at the beautiful clear blue ocean, I checked out the rest of the Villa. OK, so my first impressions were 'WOW... this is loads bigger than I expected!'. The main room has a large bed, bigger than our King Size bed at home for sure, a TV, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities and then the bathroom. The bathroom was half outside and half inside! WHAT! There are his and hers sinks, a loo (obviously), and then the spectacle, the outdoor shower. Amazing - and boy did it get used! There is an indoor shower too, which I only used on the first night and the rest of the time we were in the beach villa we totally utilised the outdoor shower. Why not - you're in the Maldives after all!
Exploring the Island
Once our luggage had been delivered to our room, which was only around 10 minutes after we had been delivered to the room, we immediately got changed into our beach wear and went for an explore. Being the avid researcher that I am, I had read that the whole island was approximately 3KM in diameter, and it should take around an hour to walk the circumference. In our experience, it would only take an hour to walk around the island if you stopped at every bar you passed along the way (there are 5 in total). We walked it in around twenty minutes. Everywhere you look, you are greeted with amazing views. Whether you are looking inland at the beach villas and the beaches, or if you are looking out into the Indian Ocean, which stretches for miles. It is when you take a minute to breathe and take in the blue views when you realise you are actually on an island in the middle of nowhere. The good thing about Adaaran Meedhupparu Island is that there are actually three other islands that you can see - but you couldn't swim to them! But they are there in the distance, just to comfort you and remind you that your not completely isolated from the world.
'I think I would get bored in the Maldives' was one comment that I received from many people before visiting. How far from the truth can you be! Don't get me wrong, the Maldives is famous for being a honeymoon destination and a luxurious relaxing style holiday for the obvious reasons. But there is also, surprisingly lots to do! There are many excursions that you can do - we opted for the Dolphin Safari which was hands down one of the most amazing excursions I have ever done. You are picked up from the island in a Dhoni, (a traditional Maldivian fishing boat) and taken out in to the Indian Ocean for a spectacular show of Dolphins in their natural habitat. What's more amazing than seeing wild dolphins in the Maldives? There are other excursions that are all advertised in the Main Reception and they all come at a cost, and they are quite a cost too - but totally worth it.
At Meedhupparu, there are five bars in total to relax and chill out in. One bar, Café Mass, is the only 24 hour bar and was right near our villa (room 223 for anyone who is interested) and this serves all your all-inclusive drinks, tea, coffee and the premium drinks for those who are on half board or Bed & Breakfast options.
The Main Pool Area
The infinity pool is perfect for photo opportunities at Meedhupparu. The pool faces the beach and the ocean and makes a perfect back drop for those romantic pictures, and for just sitting and collecting your thoughts whilst the sun is beating down on your back. The pool bar here serves all drinks in plastic glasses so you can take your drink wherever you want to in the swimming pool and sip on a Pina Colada whilst relaxing in the water. The sunbeds here all have mattresses and the pool boy gives you a towel and then replaces if for you after lunch.
The main bar / lounge area is also located next to the swimming pool. This serves all your drinks, daytime snacks and tea/ coffee and fruit juices. The main stage area is here but you won't find an animation team bouncing around here!! Not even in the evenings. The vibe to this island is ultimate chill.
The main reception is also located close by and there is a child's play park too.
The All-Inclusive Food
Adaaran Select Meedhupparu Round-Up
This was our first time in the Maldives, and realising I have no other island to compare this too, I had the best honeymoon holiday of my life. So much so that we have booked to go back next October! See my travel plans for 2019 here. I would highly recommend the beach villas for first timers to the Maldives and if it’s affordable luxury you’re looking for you won’t be disappointed here. I should also mention here that the staff are brilliant, all of them. From the gardeners to the management, everyone says ‘hello’ to you and those who speak better English really try with you and ask if you are well etc. When visiting any country, I always ask the staff about their lives. Some stories they will tell you will really open up your eyes.
I hope this post has given you more of an insight into what to expect when going on holiday to this particular island.
Leave me a comment below if there is anything else that I have not mentioned that you would like to know.
You can follow me on Instagram @leabellablogs or on YouTube linked below.
Thanks for reading!
-Lea Bella x
2019 - Places I will travel to...
Just a really quick post to fill you in on my travel plans for 2019 so you know what blog posts to expect over the next few months... *UPDATED FEBRUARY 2019*
Italy - 24 Hours in Naples, January
We are going to be staying in a 5* B&B for the night right on the sea front in Naples.
Amsterdam - P&O Ferries, February 2019
Taking the P&O Ferry from Hull, UK to Rotterdam, Holland for a day trip to Amsterdam
Spain - 4 nights in Valencia, February
I have never been to mainland Spain before (I know- right?!) so I'm excited to see what Valencia has to offer
Tenerife- Sandos San Blas, March
For my husbands birthday. 5* All inclusive bliss.
Frankfurt, Germany - March
Another 24 Hours In... trip. Keep an eye out for the vlog on my YouTube channel!
Spain - 3 nights in Marbella, April
Hen Do Time -Party!
Mexico - 7 nights in Akumal Bay, May
Another luxury hotel right in the heart of Akumal Bay, Riviera Maya.
Maldives - 9 nights in Meedhupparu Island , October
Back to paradise... Cant wait!
There are a few months missing, as you can see - this is only because we have nothing booked at the moment!
As always with each blog post there will be a video posted on my YouTube channel, you can check this out below.
I hope you will come along with me so I can share my travel experiences with you.
Thank you for reading
-Lea Bella x
...and how to keep your costs down.
Heres a little disclaimer before I start on this post...
1) In no way, shape or form am I implying that these holidays are affordable for everyone. You’re affordability is no one else’s business but your own.
2) These prices are 2018 prices and are subject to change due to supply and demand.
3) This post is based on my own experiences and is in no way influenced by any third party.
OK now that’s over... let’s go! ✈️
When you think of a luxury holiday destination, instantly you may think ££££. Sometimes this is true, and, in a lot of cases you get what you pay for. BUT. There are ways of getting to your dream destinations for a more affordable budget. Let me explain how in this short ‘How To’ blog post.
Nature at its Finest
5:30am on a Sunday morning is not usually a time of day I see often, unless I’m headed to an airport. But, between the end of October and the end of December every year on the Lincolnshire coast, something quite special happens which makes the 5:30am alarm easier to deal with.
Every year the Grey Seals grace Donna Nook’s beaches with their presence for two months to have their babies. It is such an amazing experience to see wild seals nursing their pups right in front of your eyes. This year, so far, there are 2,010 seals in total on the shores of Lincolnshire, including Male and Female adults and what a sight it is to see. Of course, you don’t have to be there at the crack of dawn like we were, but at this time in the morning the seals are very awake and really lively.
We saw new pups, you know, the white fluffy ones that look like you could just pick them up and give them a squeeze (not advisable FYI), older pups who were shedding the last of their baby fluff, mummy seals nursing their babies and Male seals trying their luck at finding their next mate. It’s surprisingly peaceful and quiet there at this time in the morning as not many other tourists have gotten their weary heads out of bed yet!
A baby seal nursing on it’s Mother. December 2018
I’d say the walking trail - which is all fenced off for safety of the seals and the humans - is around a mile walk to the end and back. A lot of the pups come right up to the fence and some will let you take their photo without barking or hissing at you!
You can see for miles across the flat Lincolnshire coastline here, but just a little warning for those of you who may visit with children (but even for yourself) there may be a few pups laid on the beach who have sadly passed away. We saw three today.
Unfortunately the statistics are against the pups and only 10% are likely to survive and make it back to sea. It’s facts like this about nature that really ground you whilst taking your photos and videos etc and make you think. Of the 2,010 seals on Donna Nook beach, only 201 will make it back to the waters.
The Lincolnshire Wildlife trust work really hard here for the two months that the seals are on land. They are mostly volunteers and are at Donna Nook from 6am in the morning. The wardens we spoke to are very knowledgeable and try to keep tabs on the seals even though there are so many!
Another special mention has to be to the local seal sanctuary’s in the area. Any seals that are injured or deemed as unhealthy will be rescued by the sanctuary’s and given medical attention until they are seen to be fit enough to go back to the wild. We visited the Mablethorpe Wildlife Sanctuary where they have kept 8 seals (I think) who were all rescued from Donna Nook beach. You can visit them all year round as they do not close in the winter time.
Have you experienced any wildlife in the UK? If so I would love to hear your experiences, leave me a comment below.
- Lea Bella x
What I Wore On Holiday As A Plus Size Woman
Let me set the scene for you... I’m 5ft6, size 16/18 and a real lover of cheap and affordable fashion. I suffer with the ‘saggy’ tummy after losing weight and putting it back on for 10 years, so obviously I like to dress accordingly.
Before I went on holiday I was browsing and browsing for what seemed like hours and hours trying to find stuff that I would
A) be comfortable in
B) look good in
C) look trendy in
D) that was affordable
So, after trawling the internet I ended up buying most of my items from Boohoo, ASOS and a few items from PLT. of course though, I had to make a visit to Matalan as they do some real bargains at the end of the summer season around September which was perfect timing for my holiday.
This bikini was pretty average in terms of fit and look; £20 from Matalan. I tied the straps in front of my bust to create a bandeau effect for the top - mainly to stop those pesky tan lines!
This is the same bikini top as above, but teamed with a pair of shape bikini bottoms from PLT and they were only £5! I love these because they come with a trendy belt making them extra high waisted and I felt really body confident in these. 10/10 for me on the bottoms.
This was an all in one from Primark. I really liked the shape it gave me around my waist but, as it’s backless, there isn’t much support around the side-boob area so I felt a little self conscious in this and was on the look out for a nip slip constantly! If this had a smaller and tighter bust area it would most definitely be my go to. I believe it has support on the inside for around the belly area.
Beach Cover Ups
This is one of my Matalan bargains - £4! I love this because of the material. It’s made out of a silk-like material and is really light and airy, and has cute little ties on the shoulders to add a girly vibe. It is also a good length.
OK - with this one you’re probably thinking ‘why is she dressed like that in a hot country?’ Let me tell you - I was suffering from the worst sunburn I have ever experienced here! It was naaasstttyyyy! So this jump suit was the most perfect cover up for me because not only did it cover up all of my sunburn but it is so light and it’s cut really wide - so actually you feel like you’re almost wearing a parachute! I wore a different one to travel home in too, i would highly recommend getting at least one of these as you can dress them up or down - add a belt and a cute pair of sandles and big earrings and you have a cute little night time outfit. Wear it in the day on its own and Voila - you have a beach cover. You’re welcome.
I love this cover up! It was a shirt I found in Matalan - £3 in the sale! Barg! It is chiffon so kinda see through, but had a lovely paisley pattern in a blue and turquoise colour so is very apt for holidays. I also wore this knotted at the front with a pair of shorts to make a different outfit.
So this dress is from River Island - how cute is it! It’s made from linen so is great in hot climates. I teamed it with a pair of black tie up sandles - and apart from my awful tan lines - this is one of my fave holiday dresses. £45
This top is from River Island and the bottoms are from new look. I absolutely love love LOVE the trousers. So much so I have them in two other colours! They are really comfy and high waisted and seem to hold everything in. They are the best paper bag waisted trousers I’ve ever owned. They are also ankle grazers so bang on trend at the moment. The top is a cowl neck so I could get away without wearing a bra. So loved it just for that - let alone my love for animal print.
This dress is similar to the khaki style dress above with the straight buttons down the front but it had a tie waist and a ruffle hem. I really likes this dress but I was slightly on the short side. So I wouldn’t wear it unless I was on holiday. It’s packed back in the case.
All these outfits are affordable and have been bought from the plus size ranges from each brand mentioned. Most brands now size up to at least a 20/22 with online retails sizing at up to 28. The clothes are a little more expensive sometimes but wait for the sales and stock up ready for your upcoming holidays.
If you want to catch up on my travel vlogs and my socials please feel free to follow me by searching Lea Bella Blogs.
- Lea Bella x
A Journey Like No Other
For those readers who have been lucky enough to visit the Maldives Islands, you will know exactly what I’m talking about in this post.
For those of you who have not visited (yet?) then here is a little glimpse of what to expect upon arrival in to Valena International Airport, and the onward travel by seaplane to your island.
TMA Seaplane (twin otter) October 2018
How Do I Find My Seaplane?
On arrival, once through security you need to head for the desk which has your islands name. Here, a representative from the island will have your name on a list and will tag up your luggage. Luckily the Maldivians are so friendly and he will walk you round to the check in desk for TMA.
Once you are here, your cases and hand luggage will all be weighed and that’s the last you will see of it until you get to your villa / hotel! This has never happened to me before where my luggage is taken off me at an early stage so I was praying that it was going to make it to the island. There are, what seems like, a million different islands in the Maldives all with their own seaplanes so I was hoping it would end up on our seaplane with us and not coming afterwards.
You will then be taken to a small bus, and once the bus has enough passengers it will drive you a short 10 mins to where all the arrival lounges are. This is where you realise that you are about to be treated like a VIP.
The Arrival Lounge
We booked to stay in Adaaran accommodation on Meedhupparu island. Adaaran have their own arrivals lounge and here you will be greeted by a friendly lady who checks your passports and will tell you how long to wait before your seaplane is ready. We were lucky as we only had an hours wait. But you can be waiting up to 4 hours, depending on how busy the incoming flights are that day. So be warned! But the Adaaran lounge has free tea, coffee, fruit juice, pastries and lots of other snacks. There is also a bathroom with showers and toilets which we didn’t use, but is nice if you want to freshen up after your long journey. Here we hydrated ourselves and was getting really REALLY excited about finally being in our dream destination after so long. Make the most
of this lounge as I believe that not all islands have a dedicated lounge. So if your island does - take advantage.
Once your seaplane is ready, someone will come and get you and walk you round to the departures lounge. The views from here are insane!
TMA seaplane - this was the one we took to our island
so once you are on the plane (beware - it’s a close fit!) brace yourself for possibly some of the best Ariel views you will ever experience in my opinion! Once the pilot has given a very brief safety talk - if you could call it that - then you will be taxi’ing along the turquoise water ready to finally make the last leg of your long journey. If you have never been on a small plane before, let alone a seaplane, it is very loud!! Try and sit next to the window if you can because what you are about to see I goes something like this...
I think you will agree that this is quite the view!
Also, a little side note - the pilots do not wear shoes...
Landing at the island was smooth and steady, we were lucky that we flew on a really calm day and did not experience one bit of turbulence. It was an absolute privilege and pleasure flying with TMA, and the experience is not something I will ever forget.
Aaaannndddd you get to do it all again on your way back to Male - bonus!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, please see my Top 5 Tips to Surviving your Long Trip to the Maldives post for all things to get you through your long haul flight.
For a visual on how our flight was with TMA, check out my short video on YouTube below.
- Lea Bella x
So you’ve booked your trip to the Maldives...
Congratulations! You are about to embark on a trip of a lifetime.
My husband and I visited this beautiful resort in October 2018 for our honeymoon, and my GOSH is it truly paradise. However, there is a downside - the long journey to get there! (From the UK).
So, talking from recent experience, here are my top 5 tips to surviving your long haul travel day/s to the most luxurious destination on planet Earth...
1) Pack Lightly - So, your airline has given you 30KG of luggage - bonus! Unfortunately not... if you have an onward seaplane journey to your island, please be aware that the luggage allowance is only 20KG and not 30KG. If your case is overweight it may not get to you until up to 24 hours after you arrive to your final resort. Not ideal if you’ve travelled for 16 hours in a trackie- trust me.
2) Wear Flight Socks - OK so I know they’re a bit unsightly and not on trend. However, unless you are lucky enough to bag yourself a direct flight from Gatwick, the chances are you will have up to 3 flights to get to your island. The pressure from the flights can affect your body in a bad way, especially if you are preganant, overweight or struggle with circulation issues. So just grab a pair from your pharmacy before you go, otherwise you’ll end up with cankles the entire time... like I did. Boo.
3) Get A Face Mask - sounds a bit odd, but cruising at 43,000ft in the air in a compressed cabin can not only make you feel a bit groggy, but your skin too. I used the garnier sheet masks and my skin felt energised and I felt more awake getting off the flight. It was also a good way to feel relaxed and pampered especially if you are a nervous traveller like I was once. Although the flight attendants may throw you some dodgy looks.
4) Beware Of Data Roaming Costs - so after our first flight from BHX to DOHA, I thought I’d send my family a little WhatsApp to let them know I had landed safely. Then 02 sends me a text just as I’m boarding the airbus to Male to say I had been charged £48 for the privilege!! Check with your network provider before you leave the UK to see if they charge extra outside Europe. Otherwise make a mental note that your insta posts may cost you more than your trip to the Maldives! Another Boo.
5) Leave Your Sh*t in England - Literally. You are about to go on the most amazing holiday of your life. Leave all your problems/ woes/ issues at home. They will still be there when you get back (unfortunately) but you do not need any Becky or Susan’s ruining this for you. Enjoy the views and the all inclusive cocktails - you deserve it!
So there you have it - my top 5 tips for surviving what feels like the worlds longest flights. However the best is yet to come....
Look out for my post all about Trans Maldivian Airways. For those of you who don’t know I mean the seaplane. It’s amazing.
For a more visual encounter of our honeymoon in the Maldives, click the YouTube link below for my vlog, don’t forget to subscribe if you want to!
- Lea Bella x
No time for breakfast.
Never any time for breakfast unless it's the weekend.
I work full time Monday - Friday, 8am - 4pm. My bed means more to me than waking up half an hour early to prepare a breakfast fit for a Queen so I have always gone against the 'never skip breakfast' rule and skipped breakfast. Not great.
Breakfast is meant to be the most important meal of the day. Nutritionists reckon that you should make breakfast your biggest meal of the day, followed by a smaller lunch and an even smaller tea. Ain't nobody got time for that!
But, I do have time to make a smoothie in the mornings.
I had heard and read lots of blog posts about how good smoothies are meant to be for you. So I jumped on the band wagon and bought a nutribullet.
I started by buying fresh ingredients and making my own smoothies, as you can see from the above picture. This worked well for me, but was still taking a bit of time in the morning due to trialling different ingredients and admittedly, not always getting it right.
Then Iceland changed my life.
Whilst doing a general food shop on a Saturday afternoon and wondering which frozen fruit I should buy for my smoothies this week; I discovered the easiest, healthiest and, most importantly, quickest answer to my smoothie prayers.
Pack'd frozen smoothie kits are so easy and simple to use. They taste delicious! Inside are two frozen fruit packets and two superfood sachets. You use one of each and mix with 200ml of your liquid of choice (I use almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk) and blend! It's as easy as that. All the ingredients are 100% natural and the added superfood sachets gives your body everything it needs to be happy and healthy. Being a complete foodie, when I first started making smoothies I was worried that they weren't going to keep me full til lunch but they do exactly that.
They are available in Iceland food stores and are on special offer at the moment for £1.29 (full price £2.50).
So, if like me you are pushed for time in the mornings, is definitely recommend that you give these a try.
- Vikki Lea x
I have a love/hate relationship with exercise...
I hate the thought of exercise. I hate sweating. I hate getting in my car and driving to the gym. I hate Lycra. BUT I love the feeling after I have exercised. Apart from the sweat.
So.. This year has been up and down in terms of a lot of things. Especially the scales and my visits to the gym.
So a brief explanation of my relationship with exercise goes like this; I joined my local gym in December 2015 - two months before my wedding. I had loads of time on my hands as I was a student so spent at least 5 days a week, sometimes 6 if I was feeling really enthusiastic, in the gym. When I went for my final wedding dress fitting mid February 2016 and discovered that I had lost 6 inches from my waist, and two inches everywhere else including my thunder thighs. I was delighted!! And also classed myself as a gym obsessive... until I couldn't be arsed to go anymore.
I moved house at Christmas and joined a new gym. This gym has all the state of the art gym machines and plays decent music (which is always a bonus when looking for the motivation to exercise). So I promised myself I would make an effort and visit at least three times a week.
I did visit three times a week for January and February, then it dwindled down to twice a week, then once. Before I knew it I had not been the gym, or done any form of exercise for weeks. Weeks turned into a month (or two!). With that, the weight piled on and all of a sudden I was back in the all-so-familiar rut that I had found myself in so many times before...
I found that the key to having a successful relationship with exercise is to enjoy how you are exercising. Find something in the gym that you can do and feel comfortable with and put your effort into that. For me, this is the bike. I can't run, I hate running it hurts. Haha. But I can cycle. I then do some light weights which I can lift without giving myself a hernia. And I enjoy this routine. I concentrate my efforts on cycling a bit faster than the previous time or going further than before. This way I am still making progress whilst doing an exercise I feel comfortable with.
Also, exercise because you want to, not because you feel like you have too. Do it for yourself, not for anyone else. That way, you are more likely to stick it out if you know you are only pleasing yourself.
Try Something New
So recently I have been trying Yoga. OK - let me set the scene for you. I am a size 16/18 woman with very short and inflexible legs... getting my drift? Yoga is not as easy as it looks! But it does make you sweat and my gosh was I sweating the first time I tried it. But y’know, I actually love it! I do it in my own home (I cancelled my gym membership after I found it in an old handbag covered in dust) and it really makes you feel centred and oddly relaxed. I follow a channel on YouTube (which is linked below) and they do loads of yoga videos for beginners all the way through to pro. If you’ve never tried it - give it a go!
Exercise because you want to!
We are surrounded by fitness gurus on instagram and YouTube these days and we can probably end up scrolling for hours wishing that it was us, amirite? Well don’t. A lot of the time what your seeing isn’t really what’s happening. A lot of photos are highly edited and taken in the most perfect conditions. If you’ve fallen out of love with yourself and you feel exercise will help you then do a little at a time and start to build up to more when you are ready. You don’t have to be doing yoga or being in the gym to exercise either - stick your fave playlist on and dance around your living room like no one is watching! You’ll be surprised at how good you feel afterwards!
Whatever you do - just enjoy it.
- Lea Bella x
* Disclaimer - all information on this post is based on my own opinions and experience *
Now we've got that cleared up...
SlimmingWorld or WeightWatchers? That is usually the main question on every slimmers lips at the beginning of their weight loss journey. I have been a member of both parties in the last 5 years, and here are my experiences with both.
I joined SlimmingWorld with my mum at the beginning of 2012. I was at my heaviest weight and had just come out of a long term relationship, so naturally I wanted a revenge body (that never quite happened!). I joined my local class and from what I can recall it was for an hour on a Tuesday evening.
We decided on SlimmingWorld because of the timing of the class to begin with, but the idea of eating unlimited carbs also was a big seller for me - being a Carbie and all that.
Back then, and please remember this was 5 years ago, the class was £6.95 a week and that included your weigh in and a motivational group 'chat' with the leader and the other members of the class afterwards.
Personally, I think the success of all weight loss groups lays heavily on the leader. Our SW rep was not really what I was striving towards in all honesty. She was a larger lady, and whilst I'm all about body positivity, she openly admitted that she had put lots of weight back on since getting to goal. Which, you know, fair enough. But I couldn't take her preaching seriously because of that.
On to the plan itself.... I believe there is a Red/Green day plan you can follow, but my mum and I followed the 'extra easy' plan. This consisted of super-free and free food; fruit and vegetables mostly (but not all! Remember to check!) Healthy extra A (dairy) Healthy extra B (bread, cereal bars etc) and Syns (all the bad food!). Chicken and lean meats were included in free food - so you could cook a spaghetti bolognaise with 5%lean mince or Quorn mince and have this as a 'free' meal! All sounds fab and was pretty simple to follow. However....
Well, the weight melted off me!! I lost two stone and two dress sizes in two months. Super quick. Absolutely. Made. Up.
But. As soon as I came off plan I piled the weight that I had lost back on and more. I think the fact that the 'free' food was not portion controlled has a psychological affect on a foodie and you just go for it. Which was wrong. But I bloody enjoyed it.
Let's fast forward 5 years and I now am loosely following a combo of slimming world and eating healthy. I love the slimming world frozen meals you can buy from Iceland; they are reasonably priced and very tasty compared to other brands of frozen meals. Not forgetting the fact that it's all low in fat and sugar and so easy to prepare - just throw it in the microwave and you're good to go. I believe this is a recent thing from SlimmingWorld, so bravo.
You can follow my instagram @vikkileatracker where I post a lot of my meals that I freshly prepare and also find in Iceland.
What about WeightWatchers?
Good old WeightWatchers.
A lot of my extended family have been very successful whilst following WeightWatchers. I have been to two weight watchers classes, one in 2014 and one in 2015. I got married in February 2016 so I wanted to lose weight for our wedding day.
The class I joined was on a Friday morning which worked well for me because I could use Friday night as 'treat' night and then get back on the band wagon come Saturday (usually Sunday - who am I kidding, sometimes even Monday!) This was the worst thing for me in the end, because I'd spend Monday - Friday getting off the weight I had put on over the weekend. Oops.
My leader here was lovely and a real inspiration; she had lost something like 10stone and had kept it off. She looked fab.
The plan itself is now based on Smart points. However when I was losing weight it was pro points. Each food type and portion was allocated a certain amount of points and you could keep track of the points you were eating each day on a handy app. Your daily allowance was calculated based on your weight and height. It was all very easy to follow. The only downside I found was weighing things to get the points allowance. No unlimited carbs here!
Again, I lost two stone. I lost two dress sizes and was happy. To this day I have put a small amount of weight back on to my lowest just before the wedding but, WeightWatchers has educated me on portion sizes if nothing else.
There are loads and loads of diets out there, and believe me I've tried them all! Slimfast, juicing, smoothies, 5:2 the list is endless.
What I find works best for me is to be happy; I joined the gym in the December before I got married and that has helped me lose inches but not necessarily any weight. But I'm happy with that. Be true to yourself and if you fancy a chippy on a Friday then have it! It's all about balance. If you beat yourself up over it then you will not get any results. I am by no means a hot sexy instagram model but I am comfortable in my clothes. If I choose to lose anymore weight then it will be because I want to, not because society says I should!
In conclusion to this post, SlimmingWorld, WeightWatchers and all the other diets have good and bad aspects, so do what feels right for you.
Let me know in a comment what your experiences are of the above, if any!
- Vikki Lea x
This is Hollie. She is our new puppy and is 13 weeks old. Other than being an absolute heartbreaker, there are a few things that have cropped up during the training process that has made our puppy experience a whole lot easier. Here are my top 5 tips to ensure you have a happy time with your new baby.
Buy some high quality puppy food.
This is my ultimate rule for a few reasons. Firstly. A high protein puppy food will reduce the amount of waste (poop!) your puppy does because there is no rubbish loaded in the food. Reduced poo's = easier time toilet training!
Some super market brands are also loaded with additives and all the crap that makes an already excitable puppy even more hyper, so if you want your puppy to be calm from day one, opt for a higher grade of food.
Get on top of their toilet habits
There is only so much poo and wee stains a carpet can take and trust me, toilet training your puppy can come with a lot of stress. I allow my puppy to be contained in her own safe haven while I am not in the house, and a dog will very rarely go the toilet in their own space. But when we are in the house we ensure - and it may seem drastic - that we put Hollie outside every 30-45 mins. Go armed with treats and ready to talk to your puppy in the highest of tones upon performance and they will soon get the hang of it!!
Socialise, socialise, socialise!!!
This could be the absolute key to your dog becoming a happy, polite dog or an unfriendly withdrawn pup. Socialise your puppy with other dogs, adults, kids, babies, traffic, other animals, sounds (you'll thank me on bonfire night!) anything you can think of! The more your puppy is exposed to things that could possibly upset them later on will make them so tolerant to anything. I always make sure I play with Hollie's paws as my other two dogs hate having their nails clipped. But exposing her to having her paws tickled, stroked and held has made her a pleasure on the nail clipping front. Heaven.
Encourage play time
Your puppy will start to teeth at about 12 weeks and it can last for months. This means that anything in your house will become chew bait. Including your expensive TV stand. Not ideal.
There are many chew toys you can buy for teething pups but in my experience I find the rope toys work best. If you dampen them with cold water and then freeze them they act as a numbing agent for their gums whilst being hard to chew on. Also have plenty of toys to encourage them to play with as this will distract your pup from chewing on anything they shouldn't be.
If you increase the value of your pups toys by asking them to sit and paw before giving it to them (working for a reward) this will help the training process and keep the weight off them by not having to give food based treats everytime. This has worked well with our pup.
Master walking on the lead
This takes time and may possibly be the hardest part of the training but it will bring the best rewards as your dog gets older. If you master walking your pup to heel and without them pulling you half way down the street, then you, as the owner will enjoy taking your doggie for a walk and not resent it. If you are training your dog off lead just remember to check the policy of your local park as some public places have up to £1000 fine if your dog is off lead.
And there you have it! My top 5 tips to ensure your new pup training is as happy as possible. If you have any other tips please comment them below!
- Vikki Lea x
If you have made it to this page then social media works. And Hi!
I'll be using this blog to post about my life and everything in it - like the home page says; lifestyle, beauty, fitness and exercise and much more. By no means am I an expert in any of these areas, nor do I claim to be - everything that will be posted on this blog is entirely my own opinion and thought.
So, who is the author of this blog? That'll be me. Vikki Lea. 27 years young and obsessed with my dogs. I am a psychology graduate and still waiting for my dream job, in the mean time I fill my time out working for others and blogging 😂.
I have been on a weight loss journey for as long as I can remember. It has for sure been a marathon (and a very slow one at that!) and not a sprint, but you know what? I really don't mind that at all. So far, I've lost about four stone since I was in my early 20's but by no means am I a hot sexy instagram model. I enjoy going the gym and if I run on the treadmill for 4 mins without dying or collapsing then I have done well.
I love over experimenting with makeup. But this is a rare occurrence because having the time to contour my chins every morning.... I would rather have an extra 15 mins in bed. But when I have a good spare hour to get ready boy do I go to town and my skin hates me the next day.
I have recently moved in to my own house, finally. Therefore, I have recently enjoyed (window) shopping for all things interior and home decor. Even though our house is a new build, it's bare and empty and over the next year or two we will be decorating room for room.
So these are just a few things that I will be posting about. I hope you stick around and enjoy reading my content. I'd love to hear from you if you do!
- Vikki Lea x
Vikki Lea is 28 Years Old and lives in the Midlands with her husband and two dogs. She enjoys blogging and sharing her experiences and opinions with her audience.