Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Africa: Kenya - Challenge Africa (Part 3)

Heyyyy Everyone,

[First read part 1 and part 2

Here is my third and final Africa blog, well not my final forever because I know I will be back, but my final for this trip. This part of the trip was very different from the others.

Charity work and volunteering is something that has always been very important to me since I was able to join my local Oxfam store when I was 18. I don't have enough money to help everyone, but something that helps almost as much as money, and is easy to give, is your time. When I have time on my hands I like to be able to think that I use that time wisely, and the best way to do that is to volunteer. Being so close to Kenya on this trip and having lots of free time made it impossible for me not to pop over and check out the amazing work Challenge Africa have been doing in Abimbo Village, and of course help out wherever I could whilst I was there. 

My time in the village was eye opening, inspiring, enriching, and at some times challenging and heart wrenching. I am an emotional wreck when I watch any of the TV fundraising programmes like Children in Need or Comic relief, but nothing can quite explain how I felt when I was sat next to a young 21 year old lad who hasn't yet finished High school because he can't even afford to put food on the table, let alone pay school fees, and I had to explain to him that my education up to 18 was free. It makes me feel sick to my stomach that we take things like school for granted. No matter what their situation they are still so positive and ambitious. The same young lad who still has 3 years left of high school and will not be able to afford to do them consecutively told me that in 10 years he will have been to university, become a teacher, and will have saved enough money to come and visit me in England.

The children at the centre were some of the happiest children I have ever met. They love going to the centre for school and playtime, and were happy to let me get involved with their fun and games. The centre gives them more than they could ever ask for, they get an education, they get to play with other children on the park and with toys, they get delicious food cooked by the matron and fresh, clean running water, they even get health checks to make sure they are fit and well. These are all things that wouldn't be possible without the support of Challenge Africa

One of the things I find most amazing about Challenge Africa's projects is their commitment to sustainability. Although there is always a need for initial investment, that money is used to create self sustainable projects. For example, their most recent project, Kids4Kids, gives each child at the centre a goat. The goat produces milk that can be used at the centre and also brings in a small income, they also breed, meaning more children can be supported.  

I am by no means an ambassador for Challenge Africa so please check out their website for more information about what they do and how they do it. Here are some of my favourite pictures from my trip, I took hundreds and it was hard to choose from but I've tried to narrow it down for you. 

Dancing and Singing in the playground

'The boy Owen'  

No caption needed!

The two swing sets I helped build for the children

The boys enjoying their new Dennis the Menace toys

Toothbrushes in the health check room

Loving their new swings 

Selfie time - cheesy grins!

More selfies! 

They Loved my sunglasses!

I hope you like my pictures, if you have any questions about my trip or Challenge Africa please comment below and I will be happy to answer them! 

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Africa: South Africa - Cape Town (Part 2)

Heyyyy Everyone, 

Cheeky sunday blog for you but first read Part 1 HERE

After our camping we decided to live it up in Cape Town for a week, a bit of luxury for a very small price (Cape Town is cheap!) I absolutely fell in love. I want to go back for sure, I want to take all my family because I know they will love it (there's something for everyone), but I would 100% consider looking into living there, that's how much I loved it! 

I'm not going to bore you with all my holiday facts but I will tell you my must do things in Cape Town, and show you some pictures! 

1. Hop on, Hop off bus - I don't normally like getting these tour buses because I don't think they are worth the money. However, this one was so cheap and there were so many extras that were included in the price of the 2 day ticket. 

2. Wine Tasting - There are LOADS of vineyards in and around Cape Town so it's hard to decide which ones to visit. We visited the ones that were on the 'purple line' of the Hop on Hop off bus which meant we didn't have to pay extra to get taxis and things. 

3. Watch the sun set on Signal Hill - This is another thing that is included in the price of your Hop on Hop off bus ticket. It is a night tour that takes you up to Signal Hill to watch the sun set. I would recommend doing this on more than one occasion during you trip because it is simply beautiful. Get yourself a pic-nic and a cheeky bottle of bubbly and just soak up the views! 

4. Go up Table Mountain - If you have the time during your trip and you like to walk I hear it is a very nice hike up the mountain. It could take up to 6 hours and may depend on the weather during your stay, but it is worth considering. If you're not a hiker then there is the cable car that takes you right to the top. However, be aware that the cable cars stop running a lot due to weather, it may seem absolutely fine on the ground but it could be windy up at the top of the mountain and they can't risk running the cable car if that's the case. Your Hop on Hop off bus driver will be able to advice you whether the cars are running or not. 

5. Go to Boulders Beach in Simon's Town to see the Penguins!! - Aren't penguins just one of the cutest animals, when they waddle around, agh adorable!! And imagine penguins, but on the beach, not something I ever thought I would see. There are private tours that will take you to Simon's Town but they are expensive, it is very easy to just get a train there and then you are able to freely walk around Simon's Town without the pressure and time constraints of a tour guide. 

Other Things to consider: V&A Waterfront, it is absolutely beautiful, there are loads of restaurants on the waterfront and a big shopping mall, there is also a ferris wheel with spectacular views. Robben Island, this is a long tour so will take up at least half a day but is interesting if you are interested in the history of Nelson Mandela.

Places to eat: The Bungalow, this is a restaurant connected to a country club and is located on the sea front with an incredible view. It does require bookings but is totally worth it, the food is delicious and still cheap even though it's luxury. Shimmy Beach Club, you should visit this place not just for the amazing food, but also for cocktails around their pool, and for a night out. Check out their website for events, they hold some pretty big club nights. Market on the Wharf, essentially the food market at the V&A Waterfront. Oh Em Gee, I could of eaten there every day, there was so much choice and it was all 100% fresh and amazingly tasty. You can get your hands on Indian, thai, burgers, mexican, sushi, wraps, and so much more, and all at a very reasonable price. 
(Left: My steak, salad, peppercorn sauce, chips and a glass of bubbly at The Bungalow. Right: Sushi at the food market, all that came to about £2)

I think that's about everything I wanted to tell you about Cape Town, although I could go on because as I said, and I'll say it again, I tricking LOVE the place! If you're considering a visit, consider no more and just book! 

Have you ever been? Leave your comments on places I need to see in Cape Town on my next visit! 

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Africa: Zimbabwe & Botswana (Part 1)

Heyyyy Everyone, 

I recently got back from spending a month in Africa and I am missing the HELL out of it!! I want to go back, anyone want to fund a trip for me? mm thought not! I wanted to document my trip on here so that you can hear about what I did and get advice of where to go, but also just to store my photos so that I can look back when I'm missing it. 

I am going to split this blog into 3 parts because there are a lot of photos and a lot of things I want to share. This first part is about Zimbabwe & Botswana. During this part of the trip I was with one of my best buddies from uni, Eppie, and we joined Absolute Africa to trek, camp and get involved in some amazing activities. 

We started in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and wow what a place. Lovely people, monkeys stealing food on the side of the road, a cool party hostel, and the most fabulous Falls, (pictured below) Pictures just don't give it justice!

Whilst we were in Zimbabwe I did something I never imagined I would ever do. I was so scared and excited. I had no idea what to expect... I walked with Lions!!! When the Lions went back to their beds after their walk I cried, I was so overwhelmed with what had just happened. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I'm so pleased to be able to say I did it.

Things to see at Victoria Falls: 
The Falls (obviously), 
The bridge over the falls (between Zimbabwe & botswana) - where you can Bungee jump, or just watch other people bungee like I did 
Walk with Lions at the 'Lion Encounter'

Where to stay: 
We then took our trek truck (which by the way was called 'Eeyore', best name ever!) into Botswana. We first went to Chobe National Park where I went on my first ever Game Drive. I don't want to overload you with pictures (I genuinely took about 500) but here are a few of my faves! By the way, the giraffes were my absolute fave, they are so elegant and pretty!

There's something about seeing animals in their own habitat that makes it so magical. 
After a night at Chobe we went on to the Okavango Delta where we bush camped! I wasn't sure how long I would last with no electricity, no running water, no toilets.. basically living as cave men, but I absolutely loved it! We sang round the camp fire, saw elephants walk past our camp and swam in the delta (or rather paddled and got scared about the leeches!). We had a lovely ride in a moroko for 2 hours to camp, shame me and Eppie got the worst driver who kept banging into the sides, I was genuinely scared I was going to fall in! I still managed to take a cheeky selfie though! Also that was my toilet for 3 days! 


I would just like to take this moment as well to let you know how impressed I was with Absolute. If your thinking of travelling around Africa they are the best value for money, our tour guide was amazing, our driver was amazing, they were great with communication, the food was good, the people were nice, I don't really know what I can say but go with them, you will not be disappointed  They travel all around Africa and you could trek with them for 3 months! I defiantly want to go back and join them to see more! 

Watch out for part 2 of Africa in Cape Town coming soon. If you have any questions about my trip please leave them in the comments! 

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Free MAC Lipstick!

Heyyyy Everyone, 

I have recently discovered how to get my hands on a free MAC lipstick, sorry if you already knew this, but if you didn't it's well worth knowing! 

It's not the easiest thing and you will have to spend a lot of money in the process, but being a massive MAC customer it wasn't hard for me to spend enough!  It's called the 'Back to MAC' program and is there way of being good to the environment. Two of my fave things in one, environmentally friendly programs and free lipsticks!! Basically all you have to do is keep your MAC packaging. Once you have 6 MAC primary packaging containers you take them to a MAC counter/store and swap them for your new lipstick! So keep your hands on your foundation bottles, your eye shadow container, your powder pots, keep it all and exchange it for a new lippy! 

I recently changed my old packaging and got this gorgeous shade of 'Creme in your Coffee'. I love it! (sorry about the quality of my picture, it was just taken on my phone!)

What do you think? Have you got enough packaging to get yourself a treat?

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Sunday, 10 May 2015

April 2015: The Rose Petal Beach

Heyyyy Everyone, 

So I know its already May but I still need to review Aprils book! Which by the way didn't take me 3 months to read, I realise the last book review I did was January, but I've just been quite busy and not done much reading recently.. SORRY!

However, when I did get chance to sit down and get stuck into Dorothy Koomson's 'The Rose Petal Beach'.. WOW.. I mean what a good book! I didn't expect anything less from the 'Koomson', but I think it even exceeded my expectations! The book has in it Murder Mystery,  Love, Heartbreak, Friendship, Illness, it's essentially got every genre you could need (except horror HA). By including all this fab content it kept me hooked like you wouldn't believe! I definately want to go out and buy every 'Koomson' book there is! 

As usual I don't want to give too much away. This is always the case when I love a book because I want you to go and read it so I can't give away all the plot twists! So I'm just going to leave you with this.. READ IT!

Next month (or rather this month) I'm going to be reading (have started) 'The Long Close Call' by J Wallis Martin. Something I picked up in the charity shop because I fancied something a bit different! 

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Girl Is Back

Guess who's back back back, back again 'gain 'gain, Emma's back back back, tell ALL your friends friends friends.. guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back, na na na 

Heyyyy Everyone, 

I've been thinking about writing this blog all day and have had that song stuck in my head for about 9 hours. I pride myself on knowing pretty much all of the words to a lot of Eminem songs, because I was a die hard fan when I was young and thought I was cool!! 

It feels good to be back!! The reason I have not been blogging for the past few months is because I lost a lot of motivation a while back, as you will of read about here, but then when my motivation came back I found my life in a bit of a whirlwind. I have done a fair bit of travelling and some bits of work here and there and have struggled to stay awake at night long enough to write a blog. However, I can absolutely PROMISE you that this is me back for good now! I can promise you that because I have made a bet with myself that if I miss a Wednesday 'blog publish' day then I will run around Nottingham naked, and I ain't bloody doing that, so I have no choice but to keep up with my blog! 

Trust me there is a lot of good stuff coming your way, I have a lot of books to review, I want to explore travel blogging a bit more and share my photos from my recent trips, and I also just have some general chit chat that I want to share! In fact the list of blogs I have planned is sooo long that I might even have to do some Sunday publishes! Extra blogs for you lovely people (don't say I don't ever give you anything)! In fact I am going to kick start by giving you a slightly late April book review THIS sunday, watch this space!

Ciao for now, Emma Jessica <3