Monday Wisdom: 'Wear bright colours when you're young'

October's Monday Wisdom comes from a lady I met in Singapore.

She had a stall in Little India, selling clothes and ornaments, and I was trying to decide between two pashminas: a black one and a silvery blue one. I tried on both in front of the mirror and was still unable to make up my mind, when I noticed her frowning at me.

I turned to her: 'Which one do you think?' (One of  the unintended side-effects of travelling alone: you get used to asking strangers' opinions about purchases - at least, you do if you're as undecided as I am!)

'That one,' she said immediately, pointing at the blue, 'Black is for old people. Wear bright colours when you're young.' 

It stuck with me, that advice. Yes, I did go for the blue scarf, and I still think of that whenever I'm buying clothes today. But I also think it was about more than just the colour of clothing. I think it says something about attitude. I think it says: go out and experience the world while you can

By Royal Appointment: an invitation to Bath

Anyone who follows me on facebook may well already know that a couple of weeks ago, I went to a rather special event.

My grandma, Dot Pendleton, was presented with the British Empire Medal.

I know, right? It was such an incredible occasion - partly because of the event and the venue itself. The presentation took place in the Bath Pump Rooms (anyone familiar with the works of Jane Austen will recognise this name from one of my favourite novels, Persuasion).

The Award was presented by Lady Gass, the Lord Leuitenant of Somerset, and afterwards there was an afternoon tea, followed by a chance to look around the Roman Baths.

The following week, the presentation was (justly) featured on the front page of the local newspaper, the Bridgwater Mercury.

My grandma received her award for services to her local Oxfam shop: she's volunteered there for over 30 years, and helped to raise over £66,000 for the charity. Oh, and did I mention? She'll be 94 at the end of the month.

If I have half her determination when I'm older, I'll be very pleased!

Fiji: Postcards from the Yasawa Islands

[throwback to tropical islands: 2010]

Sunset in the Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Continuing my series of 'Postcards from...' posts, I thought I'd do a little throwback to what was possibly the most beautiful country I've ever visited: Fiji. 

It was such a fantastic trip, and such a key part of my year living abroad, that it seems odd to think that it all stemmed from one throwaway line in a film... Any guesses? No? I'm talking about The Truman Show. You probably didn't even notice the line, to be honest, but if you want to watch the film again to find it (really? you're that keen?!), it's when Truman's telling his friend how he wants to get away. Where does he want to travel to? Fiji. 

I don't know why this particular line grabbed me, but it did. Maybe because of the excitement and sense of adventure with which he says it. Maybe just because it sounded exotic. Either way, I got to Australia and thought, 'while I'm in the right hemisphere, I may as well just see how much it would cost to get there...' 

Reader, it was at this moment that I first saw actual pictures of Fiji. Or as I like to call it, Paradise. 

[Loo With A View] The Tongariro Crossing

I'm on a mission to find toilets from around the world with beautiful views. 


Erm, do I need a reason? Combining the everyday necessity of using the toilet with the exraordinary beauty of travel - what's not to love?!

I'm one of those people who always uses the free toilets, because you never know how long it will be until you find another one... Maybe it's a girl thing. Maybe it's just me.

View of grass and heath
~ view from the loo: the start of the hike ~

The Tongariro Crossing:

The Chinese Garden of Friendship: a time to reflect

[throwback: 2010]

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sydney

When Sarah and I spent a couple of days exploring Sydney in 2010, the Chinese Garden of Friendship was the only attraction that we paid for. When we stumbled upon it unexpectedly while wandering around the city, we actually debated whether to even bother spending the dollars (despite the fact it was only about $3 each for us as students), but in the end we couldn't resist the temptation.

After all, what better way could there be to round off a fortnight of travelling together?

It was $3 well spent. Admittedly, we didn't spend all afternoon in there. Maybe about 45 minutes, and that was only because we kept stopping to take too many pictures. 

But it was a moment of peaceful calm in the hustle and bustle of the big city. If somebody had dropped us, blindfolded, into the Chinese Garden of Friendship, I would never have guessed that it was bang smack in the middle of Australia's biggest city. Somehow, the walls seem to block out the noise of the outside world, and the trees and surrounding buildings shelter it from the wind. Even children playing seem to make less noise than usual!