The Top 4 Indonesian Islands

The Indonesian islands are among some of the most beautiful in the world. They’re vast, and they’re home to some of the most incredible culture, nature, and beauty. All of the islands are a hub for tourist activity, one of the main reasons being it’s just so cheap. Getting to the islands by plane sometimes isn’t the cheapest, but the actual spending money of the holiday will cost next to nothing. It’s a hub for families, friends, and partners alike, but there are five islands that we really want to talk about. The ones that stand out from the crowd and have the ability to make your holiday truly amazing. If you’re interested, here are our top picks and why you should have a visit.

Lombok

It has always been said that Lombok is the sister to Bali. Bali has always overshadowed it due to its immense popularity and the big reputation. But more and more people are now recognising Lombok for the amazing little island it is. There are regular boat trips from Bali to Lombok if you’re perhaps already got a holiday booked in Bali. Due to it being inferior to Bali, it does also mean that the prices of the holidays are a little cheaper which makes the whole ordeal a ton better. The cute little beachside hotels that you’ll find are just amazing. They’re as cheap as chips, and offer some of the most amazing morning views. Other more inland hotels are still just as good, and maybe even cheaper! People flood to Lombok for the beautiful beaches, wide variety of nature and culture, and for the great food. Just stroll along the beach and you’ll find some lovely bars and restaurants. If you want to get about and see the island, you should definitely consider hiring a moped. It might sound like a death wish to some, but it’s one of the best and quickest ways of seeing the island. Just make sure you’re staying sharp for other drivers on the road. The beautiful hikes that are dotted around the island is one of the best things you can do. Getting back at one with nature and exploring the island in its true glory is what it’s all about. You’ll see some amazing sights, and find some incredible bits of culture. Here are some more cool things that you can do in Lombok, https://homeiswhereyourbagis.com/en/15-things-you-should-see-on-lombok/.

Java

Java is one of the quickest growing islands in terms of popularity and economy. It is home to Indonesia’s bustling capital, Jakarta, and both are well worth a visit. Again, it’s pretty cheap, but possibly more expensive than some of the smaller islands due to the increased population. If you’re going to go to Java, you should know it is a Volcano dotted island with some of the most stunning scenery you’ll find. The tree’s are that luscious green and densely packed, and the higher you go, the more you’re going to discover in terms of amazing views. Talking about volcanos, one of the biggest that inhibits the island is Mount Bromo. It is a volcano that is mostly dormant, but does occasionally erupt. A trip up there to watch the sunrise is going to be one of the best experience of your life.

A lot of people chose to take a car, but there are hiking options. As for places to stay, Java is full of them. Because the island is one of the bigger ones, you’ve got the option of going a bit more out of the way, more nature based, but you also have to option of heading to the city to have that hustle and bustle vibe. There are the options to even rent a home which can give you a more central location, and a bit more comfort in terms of where you’re stopping. A lot of people are now choosing to get either a holiday home, or enter the property ladder in terms of buying and selling due to the fast growing economy of the country. If you’re interested in something like this, links such as https://www.rumah.com/villa/dijual have got some great pieces of real estate that might tickle your fancy.

If you’re looking for the more relaxing side of Java, we recommend you head to Pangandaran, a lovely city close to Jakarta. There’s a white sand stretch of beach with some lovely crystal blue sea to go with it. So many people that travel there comment on the fresh seafood, it is actually one of the islands biggest hits. Our final place for this one is for all of you shopping lovers out there. Bandung is one of the best areas that you can go to for some quality shopping. There’s a mix of designer shops as well as the smaller individual owned shops.

Flores

Flores is similar to Lombok in that it’s rising in popularity as the years pass by. It is the smallest islands that we’ve mentioned so far, but don’t let the size fool you, this one really packs a punch. It is most famously known to be the home of the fierce komodo dragon, you’ll definitely see a few of them roaming around during your stay here. So, if you’re heading there, one of the first things we recommend you do is check out the snorkeling or scuba diving scene.

There are some crystal blue waters that are densely populated by an array of amazing sea life. You can expect to see sting rays, turtles, as well as tropical fish. From Flores you can also get a boat ride to the smaller, yet exciting Komodo Island. It gets its name from the habitation of fierce Komodo dragons that you’ll find. It’s a beautiful island and gives you some great experiences in terms of getting close to nature. Another hot spot is definitely the lakes of Kelimutu. Kelimutu is a volcano that remains mainly dormant, but the ready it attracts so many people is due to the three crater lakes that all have different colours. There’s green, blue, and red, and all of them are so vibrant and mesmerising. There are daily guided hikes up the mountain, but a lot of people chose to go off on their own adventure to see what they can discover.

Gili Islands

Ok, so technically this is a few islands in one. But collectively, the three Gili islands make some of the best places to go on holiday if you want that relaxing beach vibe as well as stunning scenery. If you’ve ever seen those pictures of the crystal blue waters with a wooden swing lying close to the shore surrounded by the most pure and white sands? Well it was most likely taken at one of the three Gili islands. There’s Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. All are just as popular as each other.

Just like island of Flores, the Gili islands are a firm favourite for divers and the marine wildlife is just so vast. If you’re not certified to dive, you could always put on your snorkeling mask and you’ll be in for a treat. If you’re looking for the island with the perfect mix of beaches that will leave you feeling as though you’re in heaven, but some nightlife that will leave you partying until the morning, then Gili Trawangan is your island. Gili Meno is the island that offers pure tranquility. The beaches are so private yet luxurious. In contrast to Gili Trawangan, there’s a ban on any late partying, so it truly is an island where you’ll be able to escape it all. Gili air is so similar to Gili Trawangan in that it offers the same experience, just on a shorter scale.

 So there you go, those are the best Indonesian islands that we recommend going to. All of them will create that unforgettable feeling you’ve been waiting for.

 

Finding the perfect affordable kitchen

I don’t know about you but I get kitchen envy so very easily. Pinterest is my place too lose a couple of hours looking at amazing interiors, it just fills my head with so many ideas for what I would like to have in my forever home.

Having so many ideas for our forever home is fabulous, however it fills my Hubby’s head with worry about the costs of it all. So we either would need to wait a few years or find a more affordable priced kitchen but still with a high quality and as I am not good at waiting and saving an alternative is a must for me.

affordable kitchen

Kitchen Warehouse Ltd offers just the perfect alternative. They offer a fabulous range of complete kitchen options or even if you are just wanting to update your old cupboard doors they also offer a range of replacement kitchen doors. Also an amazing range of door handles, drawer liners, bins and just about everything else you could possibly want for your kitchen.

For me a painted solid wood kitchen is what I would go for, I really want that country living style to my kitchen. Large range cooker, island in the middle with a breakfast bar, Belfast sink, large larder style cupboards are all in my dream. I love the grey kitchens with solid wood work tops or the sage green, these would be my colour choices however depending on the fashions when I actually get hold of my dream home it might be a more classic cream.

At the kitchen warehouse they offer a wide range of colours, so don’t think that by buying online you won’t be able to find just what you are looking for. They stock, ivory, cashmere, porcelain, champagne and stone for those who are wanting a more classic style. For more modern kitchen lovers they have metallic charcoal, gloss white, star dust, tiger wood, silver wood, jet black, powder blue, ballroom blue. If like me you are looking for more of a country kitchen vibe then they have light grey, dark grey, soft mint, sage green and duck egg. They offer a wide range of styles for every taste.

The kitchen warehouse have prices starting at under £20, going up depending on what you are looking for. For me one of the best things is that if you have had a kitchen planner company in to design your dream kitchen, the design team at Kitchen Warehouse will happy send you a quote to match the design you have had drawn up. Brilliant if like me you would struggle to measure it all and add everything in making it look just perfect, it means you get the kitchen design of your dreams but at an affordable price. Which for someone like me with big dreams but a hubby who has a more affordable budget in mind is perfect.

When you bought your kitchen, what did you look for?

 

*This post was made in collaboration with Kitchen Warehouse Ltd. As always thoughts and opinions are my own. Images are from Kitchen Warehouse Ltd.*

Looking for competitive swimwear? Simply Swim has it all…

For the last few years, I have been hitting them gym 3-4 times a week or not going for months. At the moment I’m in a ‘I’ve forgotten where the gym is’ phase. But the summer is coming and I am going to get myself back down to gym. While at the gym I love to swim, but I generally wear a standard black swimsuit.

I have a couple of friends who swim competitively, they head out to competitions most weekends. They have always swam but in the last few years taken it up more seriously. Mia, my friends daughter has just turned 13 and is now swimming for the county and hitting some top times in her races.

competitive swimwear

Like I said whenever I head to the pool at the gym, I am just wearing the standard black swimsuit. So I have been speaking with them about what they like to wear while competing. I never knew that there was so many things to think about. Nose clips, hats, googles, style of swimsuit to wear. Then depending on the training they are doing, hand paddles to help with muscle strengthening, a pull kick board to help with your leg strengthening and movement through the water. Then a finger paddle to help with gliding through the water. I will be honest, I never realised they think about all of these things when taking up swimming.

What’s in a competitive swimmers kit?

I asked Mia to tell be about the items within her swim bags and show me her top picks from Simply Swim. Mia heads training 4-6 times a week depending on if she is competing at the weekend. Often heading to the pool before and after school, so snacks are always found in her bag. Mia knows that she has to put in the hours in the pool to reach her goals of heading the the Olympics in a few years.

Along with the food supplies, water bottle and towel, Mia has told me she also has 3 kneeskin’s, which is an all in one swim suit that goes up from the thighs, googles, hat and nose peg.

Top competitive swimwear from Simply Swim

Mia has put together her top picks from Simply Swim.

Mia loved this ‘Arena Powerskin Carbon air full body‘ in the plum colour. The colour is fabulous so she can be seen better through the water. The length of the shorts are just what Mia looks for when choosing her swimwear. This offers compression areas without altering the comfort of the suit, perfect for competing. Mia really likes the Arena swimwear range.

Having a great pair of goggles is really important to Mia, they allow her to race though the water with ease. Mia said that the goggles have to fit perfectly over her swim cap. These pink ‘speedo virtue mirror goggles‘ caught Mia’s eyes.

To finish off Mia’s top picks, she went for this Speedo ‘printed long hair cap‘ to keep her long hair all neatly tucked away. The caps help to make the swimmer to reduce the drag of the water. I never knew that caps came designed for long hair or short hair. It would appear that there is a lot I didn’t know about competitive swimming.

As a teenager it is also important to her that she looks great in the pool, as well as having the best equipment to help produce the best results. Although Mia is able to wear a lot of the junior swimwear ranges, she is now beginning to go into the adult range. The wonderful thing about Simply Swim is they offer both junior and adult options in the same styles. Simply Swim cater for the whole family from babies to adults, so whatever you are looking for you will be able to find.

Do you swim competitively? What’s in you kit?

I wish Mia lots of luck in her next big race weekend. Keep it up sweetheart and we shall see you at the Olympics in a few years.

 

*This post was made in collaboration with SImply Swim. As always thoughts and opinions are my own, however Mia helped me out with this post.*

Making memories in Crete

2017 was the first time we went abroad as a family. In fact it was the first time me and the Hubby has been abroad in the then 11 years we had been together. We headed to Crete one of the many Greek islands, with our 2 very excited children and my Mother and Father in law.

We chose the tiny little coast town of Almyrida and the most fabulous private villa up on the hill side about a 5 minute drive out of the town itself. We hired 2 cars that we collected at the airport nice and easily, it was about a 45 minute drive along to the coast from the airport to our villa. The drive gave us time to take in the beautiful island.

The villa

Our villa was fabulous, set up the hill with views over the valley, across the town and out towards the sea. The villa also had it’s own private pool, set in a olive grow. The villa had 3 bedrooms, 2 double and a twin each with ensuite bathrooms on the ground floor. Then upstairs there was an open plan kitchen, dinning and living room, with doors out on to the wrap around balcony. The balcony became home to breakfast, board game in the evenings and many glasses of wine of the adults.

The Beach

The beach was lovely, sat right in Souda Bay. We spent a couple of lovely days on the beach. We hired lounger chairs from the local hotel at €3 each, but it was also perfect because it mean that the bar staff from the hotel came down onto the beach taking orders for food and drinks.

Although as a family we had been on UK coastal holidays, being able to spend a whole day on the beach was lovely. We made sand castles, played with the beach ball and swam. We ordered food and drink from the hotel bar, which was all reasonably priced. For those couple of days of family fun making memories was worth every penny that the holiday cost us. Even now almost a year later we are talking about the holiday and the child are asking about when we can return to Crete.

The food

Greek food is some of the best in the world. Freshly made salads that are just out of this world, fresh fish dishes are very popular, things like moussaka, stifado, souvlaki are all popular. They also cater wonderfully for the children. The hubby tried the very popular lamb and goat meals, while I stuck to the fresh fish and salads. Oh I also loved the fried cheese, stuffed vine leaves, that we shared for starters most evening. Every time you go into a restaurant for a meal, they bring you ice cold water to drink while you choose your meals, they when they bring you your bill they bring out a small dessert, or bite size piece of cake.

The Island

making memories in crete

The island of Crete is just beautiful, steeped in history. We visited Chania and Rethymnon both old Venetian harbour towns. We wondered around, popping in and out of the shops and beautiful cafes. If you love seafood you must pop to Rethymnon as the restaurants around the harbour have the most amazing selection of fresh sea food. Although we didn’t you can take a boot trip out to sea from the harbours which we plan to do when we next visit the island.

Even though Almayda is small town, they have everything we wanted. A couple of small super markets, a bakery that sold the tastiest cakes, an ice cream shop, only a hand full of shops and then a nice selection of restaurants and taverns.

We loved our week in Crete, the Cretans are some of the friendliest people you could wish to meet. All so helpful in shops, brilliant with the children and in the restaurants more than happy to explain what the food is and what it contains. We are going to go back but next time with think we will look at an all inclusive holiday. We have found some great ones here https://www.holidaygems.co.uk/all-inclusive-holidays We made memories that will last a lifetime and cannot wait to make some more during our next adventure.

Have you ever visited Crete? What did you think to the island?

 

*This post was made in collaboration with Holiday Gems. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*