The Body Confidence “Myth”

I think the absolute height of my body fears was prom. I’ve always had a hard time loving my arms (hence waking up on arm day to the sound of Eye of the Tiger ready to kick Self-Conscious’ butt!), and even the thought of dressing up for an event where you are going to be looked at terrified me… Even more so when I had no sleeves to cover up even a little bit of my arms… Eeek!

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An evening full of photos where my arms looked incredibly awkward (AKA prom)

Of course, in hindsight, I want to tell myself off. Without dwelling on the fact that I actually adore the photos and I don’t particularly cringe at the sight of myself (even if we had come back off of holiday the day before and I had a slight t-shirt tan from constantly covering up), I have more than learnt the lesson that my arms really didn’t matter. The extent to which I despised my arms meant that on holiday, if I was wearing a top without sleeves, I would wear a cardigan- even if it was 30+ degrees! Body confidence is something I believe is very much so an individual thing- no one else matters. It’s about health and it’s about happiness; things we (whether we need or want to and have help from others or not) can give to ourselves as a shiny little gift wrapped in all of our favourite things.

In a society like today’s body confidence could even seem like a myth to a lot of us. Who likes themselves anyway?! Of course we should like ourselves! I believe it is of absolute importance that our main aim in life is to love who we are- in any aspect of life. Frustratingly we are far more likely to compliment ourselves in terms of skills or qualities like kindness or humour (which is important too!) than look at ourselves and say, “I’ve got cracking legs, haven’t I?!” Partially because feeling confident is confused with being arrogant and apparently we should feel guilty for liking ourselves- let alone loving ourselves!

While it is sad to look back at how body conscious I was at 16 years old, I also had the ability to go home after school and devour a pack of five Galaxy cake bars (man, I do miss those little slices of amazingness)! Anyone can see that this isn’t the healthiest lifestyle. I was old enough to know it was unhealthy and should have tried far harder to restrain myself.

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From constantly shying away from the camera to getting my feet out for the lens!

Side note: The above photo seems incredible to me. The extent to how much I hated my body meant I would never take any kind of photo like this. My mum might have wanted a nice photo of me from holiday or something but I’d be so concerned about how different parts of me would make me look and in turn help me despise a photograph. Now I am more than happy to have a smiley photo taken of me since some of my most treasured photos are of family and friends looking all smiley.

I thought it was unfair I didn’t like how I looked because I cycled and walked to school or to friends’ houses, and as I continued onto sixth form, I ran more in my spare time too. With a slight – although it wasn’t much – change to how I ate, I realised pretty quickly that exercise and eating have to work together in order to do good. As I altered my diet slightly (all this meant was that I would have one or two cake bars and snack a little less) I did notice – as did others – that I was losing weight I was wanting to lose. By the time it was the summer before university I was happier but still not entirely happy. And I was still pretty good at snacking. I was for sure in need of a change in mindset and to alter my relationship with food.

In the first year of university I was running- potentially too much. At the same time, “because I was a poor student”, I was eating my main meals and a couple of snacks, but each main meal wasn’t really enough. For this reason, even if I was eating ready meals (ones full of “bad”!) and running 13 miles a few times a week along with shorter runs, I lost quite a lot of weight and started to tone up more and more. At the same time I was aware that if I was eating properly (so instead of just having a cottage pie ready meal for dinner having a homemade dish like this with potato and veggies), my body would feel far more healthier. Over the summer that followed, I was still wanting something to change. It was always at the back of my mind, though, that it was all about me. I had to really change my eating.

Still treating myself to the sugary foods I loved every now and then, I ran, cycled and walked even more (but in a far better way to my obsessive running during the academic year) whilst bringing a few sprinkles more of “nutritious” in my meals. By the time I was back at university for second year, in the same position, financially, I decided I was ridiculous (which I was!) for using “being a student” as having tasteless, boring and silly meals. I did spend a fair bit more than the year before but I easily could have healthy-d up on the same budget to first year (£7.50 aweek eek!). I also decided I wanted to budget enough to afford a gym membership too- and I fell in love with the challenge the gym brought. Throughout the year I did far more cooking and in this process fell in love buying lots of natural ingredients alongside other ingredients and making something from it all! It was all very simple but I was just happy to not have ready meals every night. And soon enough, with the better eating and lots of varied exercise, I was starting to actually feel confident in myself- who knew that could happen?!

What’s so important to me is that I don’t obsess over exercise and food- I enjoy the whole experience. And that’s what is so important. Sometimes I think far too much about not being able to make it to the gym on a day I want to go on and then I tell myself off: STOP. Sometimes I’ll overthink some food I ate and once again: STOP. Loving ourselves is so much more important than telling ourselves off if we slip up – no matter how big – because, if we really want to, we can pick it all back up again as soon as possible.

I really “healthy”d up a month or so into university in the second year, realising that I wasn’t being “strict” on myself through not snacking on rubbish and choosing healthier options, I actually enjoyed it. I still eat chocolate cake one every now and then. My mum and I will meet up for ice cream a couple of times a month. I still adore cheese. I hear this all the time and it’s true: it’s all about moderation. But more than anything, my body thanks me so much for eating in the way that I do- adding as much veg as possible to dinners or salads. Eating more exotic fruit that I adore like pineapple and mango when I’m bored of apples and oranges. For switching pasta to whole wheat and always eating wholemeal bread. For finding alternatives (what-I-call jacket potato wedges instead of processed chips which I realised I don’t actually like or sweet potato because it’s SO YUMMY). For eating pizza only as a treat and not as a quicker dinner “when I don’t have time.” For exercising, and most importantly, for adoring the whole routine. The least fixed routine- which is so incredibly important for me.

I’m also a big believer in switching it up. I’d get bored if I had a fixed plan for food and exercise. Each week I am likely to do at least one sport I didn’t the week before so I get excited about it all: badminton/tennis/swimming. And with food, I am constantly looking for new recipes/making up new recipes. Now I look forward to the lifestyle I am now used to (it’s not a “diet”!), happy with myself and excited at the thought of improving myself further. For me!

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Now a member of the Let’s Love Ourselves Club

I believe we should all feelgood about our bodies- all shapes and sizes are welcome in the Let’s Love Ourselves Club. And while we are in this club we should evaluate because we are more likely to do so in a positive way. I so believe we should always strive to be positive because, then, even when we are negative or feel bad about something we have accustomed ourselves to seeing the world in a brighter way which moves along even the suckiest of times. So since I have become more of a half-full kind of gal, I have been able to look at parts of my body I don’t like and change them positively or find peace with them! If I am feeling down about myself, then I just plan how I’m going to make myself feel better about it! Because the best type of evaluation comes when we are happy. We can make two stars and a wish and it might go like this:

Star: I like my arms now

Star: I love my legs

Wish: Tone up my arms more

And so I carry on walking, cycling and running to destinations; I carry on putting extra positivity into arm day at the gym- always ready to learn more exercises to be Arm Happy too. I don’t dwell on any food choices I made previously. I like the phrase, “work hard, play harder” but I want to enjoy every aspect of my life and so with a lot of aspects of my life, especially with my lifestyle, I just Play Hard. It’s only work if we don’t enjoy it!

It’s, of course, so important that we make healthy changes when we need to. Although I want everyone to like themselves, it is crucial that people make important changes when their health is in danger. (Also that we are always living so as not to jeopardise our health.) If we are unhealthy (Galaxy Bar Kat), we should so want to healthy up and if we are dangerously unhealthy in any way, we must (important: healthily and positively) make changes. Exercise is so awesome, as is finding a healthy relationship with our food. I would never consider “my way” as “the best way” and so it stands that we should research and try and find our own way to Healthy Happiness!

If we are learning from mistakes and never putting ourselves in danger (eating/drinking alcohol in dangerous amounts or not eating and nourishing our bodies enough), we can be body confident and healthy too. Even if it takes time. And what is so very important that we, in High School Musical fashion, support each other and be very aware that The Body Confidence Issue is NOT Just a Girl Thing. It’s an Everybody Thing. Females just aren’t the only ones who give themselves a hard time- but all of us can feel confident.

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When I used to literally hide from the camera

Other peoples’ comments, of course, can get in the way of opening the door and walking through into The Body Confidence Room (metaphors are my best friend today). I have never had anyone explicitly say anything to or about me in regards to my body (as far as I am aware) and to anyone that has, as hard as it is, their comments just shouldn’t matter. As long as we are happy and healthy, or making our journey towards healthy, then turning a blind eye is absolutely necessary.

One thing that used to really upset me, though, was this… Almost whenever I used to meet up with a particular friend she would say something along these lines: “I know I’m not fat but I have a really big tummy”… *we discuss further* …”We’re the exact same body shape, aren’t we?” She hasn’t said this in a good while, I don’t see her how she saw herself and I am sure she wasn’t trying to be mean. However whenever she said it I was either trying so hard to stop feeling bad about myself or I had stopped feeling bad about myself, so it sucked massively and could throw me a few steps backwards. However, if she were to turn around and say this today, I am so confident in how positively I feel that I could easily shrug it off. Not just because I have entered a healthier way of living but because I can see that feeling sucky about myself really wasn’t worth it.

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And a wild crop-top-wearing Kat appears!

A few years ago I remember crop tops coming back in and, despite adoring the craze, I was very aware that they weren’t for me. They are now more than just a staple item to my wardrobe- my friends who wear outfits including crop tops name them “Kat outfits”! Me, Kathryn Terry, who had the worst kind of butterflies in the lead up to prom wearing crop tops!

I used to be able to sit there and list all of the things I despised about my appearance. This was a far unhealthier activity than eating a whole pack of treats after school. Not only have I learnt to deal with or cherish the qualities I can’t change, I’ve kicked butt in trying to change bits and bobs I can change- alongside my mindset. Exercise is something I adore, and eating well too. Knowing that this isn’t going to change brings me so much comfort- far more comfort than crisps and chocolate once brought me… or supposedly brought me! I know I can keep improving myself and it’s so important to know that we all can!

Through looking back on how nervous I used to be and terrified of my own appearance, I find that body confidence comes from a healthy attitude (not just in regards to food and exercise), complimenting myself, never comparing myself to others and from the simple desire to want to love myself.

Join the Let’s Love Ourselves Club today! **IT’S FREE!**

~ Kat ~

A Slice of Serenity

West Wittering is my number one favourite local day trip destination- all year round but especially during the warmer months of the year. It’s a slice of holiday just a forty minute drive away from where I live. On Tuesday, Aaron, Hannah (his sister), Bud (his dog) and I made a trip to West Wittering. The weather was cloudy to start with but as the day broke into afternoon the clouds cleared and we celebrated as it became warm and sunny.

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Every time I have been to West Wittering in the last year or so we have had Bud with us, which means we have always been in the dog-only, Bud friendly area. It is super beautiful and guaranteed to make for a very happy Kat- and a super happy and relaxed Bud. As soon as we arrived we all ate our storybook picnic sandwiches – egg and also cheese and cucumber – and quickly made our way through popcorn and chocolate!

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Hannah and I wanted to paddle our feet into the sea and tried to make Bud come along too but he wasn’t having any of it. After an hour or so of sunbathing and playing piggy in the middle with Bud, with the help of Aaron, we managed to convince Bud to come in too (bribing with sticks was the most effective way). The water was surprisingly warm and this made it feel more and more like a day holiday.

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Despite the fact that West Wittering has always been packed with smiley, excited faces when I’ve visited, it is my number one place to feel tranquil and rested. It’s probably my favourite beach because despite being the sandy beach we dream of, it’s far more than just a picture perfect location. It’s a little bit edgy and a pretty kind of unruly. Its easy admission of being beautiful and yet never sorry for staying true to its prettily untidy naturalness is for sure why I will be going there again as soon as I can.

We finished the day with an ice cream before walking back to the car. West Wittering was a super fun way to spend one of my days off this week. It was brilliant to just walk Bud around the “dogs allowed” area where I was allowed to run about, roll in the sand and splash my paws in the sea while Aaron, Hannah and Bud watched.

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea,” – Karen Blixen.

~ Kat ~

 

3 New Adventures

Writing these eight posts about our holiday to Malta has made the ten days even easier to miss and reminiscing over photos of everything we did and everywhere we saw has pretty much made me want to gather all of my belongings and just get back on a plane. Malta was the best holiday companion and it gave me three new experiences that created three of the best memories and tastes.

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The sea I snorkelled in, watched as I ate my fish and screamed as our “sofa” crashed over waves!

Snorkelling

Before Malta I had never snorkelled. Aaron has always talked about doing so when he was younger and so, at the beginning of the week, we bought two snorkelling kits and he spent a morning teaching me- a lesson that took place all week since I constantly kept breathing through my nose and learning the hard way that this is not the way. I adored snorkelling; we took our kits to a lot of the places we visited; my favourite adventure being snorkelling in the Blue Lagoon. I became childishly excited at the sight of fish; waving at them as if I had never seen one before. I now know that I will snorkel anywhere I go on holiday!

Fish platter

Being a massive foodie means that, when it comes to the evenings on holiday, I am more than excited to have a menu in front of me, ready to try something new or something pretentious I adore. One aim of Malta was to try swordfish. A few nights into the holiday we found a restaurant that served a fish platter of salmon, swordfish, tuna and cerna. It was delicious and I was so happy to have all of this fish at once since I also wanted to try tuna steak! Yum.

Water fun

We had hoped to go jet skiing on holiday but we wanted to be cautious about money and the activity itself, and so, to save money we decided to choose one of the silly, fun water activities like banana boats. We chose what was called a “crazy sofa.” With our hands held on to the handles of an inflatable, Aaron sat about a me-sapce away from me as we were pulled by a boat over lots of waves. Even though I felt super sore the next day, it was a ridiculously fun ten minutes where we both screamed a lot. 

Since I am writing no more posts about holiday, it feels exactly like January 2nd after the festive period- a little sombre and nostalgic in regards to the last couple weeks or so of festivity. It’s time to stop pining over Malta… Or at least pretend I’m not thinking about it every second of every day.

~ Kat ~

A Run With a View | Bugibba

I have made a goal to run in every country I visit- which started on my last holiday! So I, of course, ran on my holiday in Malta too. It was mid afternoon last Monday and I was a little worried about how hot it was going to be due to the time of day. All the same, we didn’t have much more time to get a run in, so, mid afternoon, Aaron and I slipped on our running shoes and headed down St. Paul’s Bay’s promenade. We had swum and walked a lot all week and so we were happy with a 5k run, although, amazingly, I wanted to keep on running!

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Since I only ran once on holiday, I didn’t want to waste too much time taking photos and so I didn’t get the best ones, but rest assured, Bugibba made for attractive running views. With palm trees dotted along the promenade, boats sat on top of the sea and the sound of lots of happy holidays, it was easy to relax into the run and watch the afternoon unfold.

Aaron and I ran along St. Paul’s Bay, passing the restaurants we had found the night before. We noted that we didn’t feel as uncomfortably hot as we expected and that it really wasn’t that bad to run in. One of the reasons I would adore living in a hot country is the thought of improving my fitness to the extent I could run long distances in 30+ degree heat. I was happy to be out running again because, before I left, my foot was pretty injured and I was happy our holiday came in time for me to rest a good few days. And, sure enough, a few days into being in Malta, my foot had healed.

I’m to be running the Great South Run in October and my plan was to start some proper training as soon as holiday was over- which I have. One thing I massively need to improve on is my speed in the heat- seen as Great South Run fell on an unusually (although not that unusual according to Great South Run history) hot October day. Although the run wasn’t very fast at all, that my fitness has seemed to improve enough not to cry and fall to the floor from sadness at running in the heat, the run in the over 30 degree heat gave me hope that I can improve my speed- not that the Great South Run will be quite as hot. I hope!

~ Kat ~

Blue Grotto & Marsaxlokk Fishing Village

Aaron’s favourite holiday activity is going to a market, and so last year and this year on our holiday to Malta we made sure we booked in a market trip. He gets far too excited at the chance of “bartering” and finding “cheap deals.” I particularly adored this year’s market trip because it felt like a Perfect Kat Day Out as well as Aaron’s.

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We were picked up at about 9am and once again, since the island is so small, it took, I think, about half an hour/40 minutes to arrive at the Blue Grotto- the first part of our trip. We only spent 45 minutes there but we took a nice stroll around the area, picking up a few presents for family from the shops. I particularly enjoyed our little wander because the area was so bright- so green and so blue!

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Then it was another short trip and we were at Marsaxlokk fishing village, ready to market up! With strict instructions as to the presents that needed to be bought and knick-knacks Aaron wanted to find, we set off on our mission. I, however, got distracted. All week I had seen postcards with photographs of the brightest little boats clustered together on blue water. As I saw through a gap between stalls, it was Marsaxlokk that was printed on the card. Now I was on a new mission: to get the prettiest photographs to show off on Instagram. The harbour was so pretty and so bright, busy with lots of people taking in its beauty.

Marsaxlokk really was more than picturesque. I so want to go back on a weekday and experience the whole village (without the market, despite how awesome it was). It was the most beautiful village I have stepped foot in, with restaurants and cafes that looked incredible; with pretty buildings and the funny little boats that were all sorts of colours from the rainbow.

The market itself was absolutely brilliant. It was huge – HUGE! – and the star rating of a market should be measure by the grin on Aaron’s face. And the grin matched the size of the market. It had everything you could ever want in a market: lots of food; generic holiday gifts like magnets; clothing; toys. We particularly enjoyed a product called Are Not Socks- these colourful pieces of material to tie your hair up in. For 10 year old Kat I wanted to buy one. We found them all the more awesome when, amused, we heard the lady selling them singing something along the lines of, “Are not socks; they are bands to make buns!” Needless to say, we still sing this when going over memories from last week… and I don’t think that will stop.

~ Kat ~

3 “Ignore Everybody on Holiday” Books

I have always been a big reader and the best part of packing for holiday is placing a book in my hand luggage and the rest in my suitcase (although, when holidaying with my family, my mum boasts that while my books take up some of our allowed space, my mum carries hundreds of books on her best friend: The Kindle). Even more exciting is when I buy new books especially (book shopping for Malta was super exciting). What is better than going on holiday with your favourite people in your life and being able to ignore them easily because if you can’t ignore someone for a book on holiday, when can you? I read three books when in Malta this year and they very much so fell into the category of “leave me alone: I’m reading.”

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Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

I wanted to read a Young Adult book to start with on holiday because I’ve recently read more hard-hitting/thought-provoking fiction/non-fiction. Even though this is aimed at teenagers, Second Chance Summer, as I was warned, turned out to be heartbreaking: I mean, Morgan Matson ripped out my heart and stomped on it with her perfect characters. It’s about Taylor, a 17 year old girl spending her summer in Lake Phoenix (their lake house). With her family wanting to spend a summer together after they are delivered some heartbreaking news, Taylor has her summer to love her family and find herself again in her favourite childhood place while facing a few ghosts from her past.

It is books like this that inspire me to order five Young Adult genre books in one go. While a 13 year old is sure to love this, so would my mum! I finished this book on the boat ride back from the Blue Lagoon and Aaron watched, bemused and a little (a lot-a) terrified, as I wailed my way through, not the last few pages, but the last 30. It’s really, really good.

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After You by Jojo Moyes

Since I watched Me Before You at the cinema twice before holiday, I bought this (alongside Second Chance Summer) on a shopping trip the week before we were to get on the plane. Two years before I read this I had just finished Me Before You (the first book in the two-book series), so it seemed only fitting. I’m fearful of spoiling Me Before You so I’ll just say that I didn’t realise how much I needed this book until I opened the first page immediately after cleaning up my tears from Second Chance Summer.

I was dubious about reading it, actually. Weirdly. There are few authors I trust like Jojo Moyes. Her writing is flawless and I open every novel of hers, very aware I’m about to read one of my favourite stories. I was just nervous because I will never love a novel in the way I loved Me Before You and I couldn’t let the novel go. I was aware it was going to be an amazing book (there was no doubt in me at all), but took a while to buy it all the same. Ultimately, it was the continuation of Lou’s – my favourite character ever – story, and her endeavour into becoming more like her favourite way to dress- exciting and adventurous.

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Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Aaron bought me Extraordinary Means for my birthday and I saved it for last on holiday. The novel is about the return of Tuberculosis and the teenagers who have the disease that have been sent to a boarding school. Going in, the teenagers don’t know how long they will be in there until they’re better- they don’t even know if they will get better. Or if they’ll survive at all.

Lane is still focused on his dream of getting to Stanford when he ends up at Latham House. Soon enough he realises how damaging working hard is to his health and he tries to fit in- finding himself in the quirky friendship group of Sadie, Nick, Marina and Nick. Their group makes the book immediately endearing. They’re friendship also creates the dark humour the novel oozes and together they portray one of the main messages: One of mankind’s greatest downfalls is fear. The book is full of references which I adored (the reference to Community being my absolute favourite reference of all time- I got very excited as I finished it on the plane back!), and despite the novel being more bitter than sweet, it teaches us in the best Young Adult kind of way.

~ Kat ~

A Foodie in Malta

Eating abroad is, of course, one of the best parts of going on holiday for me. Our holiday to Malta last week, which meant a nearly daily try out of a different ice cream, included a lot of yummy food. Although this particular day of food did not include a trip to an ice cream parlour (major sad face), I decided to take pictures of all of the food I ate last Thursday- the day we visited the Blue Lagoon.

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For breakfast we tried out Dr. Juice, a healthy cafe in the main square of Bugibba- where we stayed. I tried one of the super veggie juices which was made of freshly squeezed cucumber, spinach, carrots, lemon, kale and chia seeds. To eat, I had a cookies and cream cake made of so many raw ingredients: tiger nuts, almonds, raw cacao, agave syrup, coconut oil, cacao butter and cashew nuts. It was all so delicious and so healthy. I have always wanted to give baking these healthy, yummy cakes a try but wondered whether I’d like them because they normally involve nuts- I am not a fan normally. However since I enjoyed this so much I plan on baking something similar very soon.

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When we arrived at the Blue Lagoon there was a fruit stool selling lots of fruit (like pots of watermelon or strawberries) but I, of course, wanted the pineapple full of fruit. So I got it. It was super yummy and made me happy because at home I make, what-I-call, grapefruit bowls full of fruit and it reminded me of those. The pineapple was stuffed with watermelon, strawberries and apples!

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When we were on the boat again after our trip to the Blue Lagoon, Aaron and I ordered some lunch. I got this chicken salad. Of course it’s not as healthy and exciting as I’d try to make it, but as food from a little boat goes, it was pretty awesome and there was so much chicken that it did fill me up!

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When we got back we went for dinner at a restaurant overlooking the sea. We shared calamari to start which was so, so good. We hadn’t had any before that evening on holiday (very unlike us!) and we were glad to finally indulge in calamari again. I then had seafood pasta- something I order every holiday because it’s probably my favourite dinner. This one had a tomato-y sauce with prawns, muscles, a king prawn and capers.

Writing this post has made me miss the food I ate in Malta so much. I’m pretty determined to buy all of these ingredients so I can remake this day of food and dedicate a whole day to crying about how yummy it all is.

~ Kat ~

A Day Trip to the Blue Lagoon

On our holiday to Malta last week Aaron and I booked a trip to the Blue Lagoon. We got on our little, busy boat and set off an hour later once everyone was on board. It was the day before the sea was to get a bit choppy and it did mean for quite the adventure- we both adored the boat trip alone because we found the waves pretty therapeutic and turned into excited children when we got splashed.

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Before arriving at Comino Island where the Blue Lagoon lies, a few caves were pointed out to us- one was the cave where Robin Williams fought an octopus in Popeye and one looked like it had Australia carved out of it (although not quite as big). After hopping off of the boat, Aaron and I shared a pineapple full of fruit which was super yummy seen as the day was so hot.

I could stare at the Blue Lagoon all day, every day- none of my photos do it any justice. The sea was a few different shades of blue- my favourite being the light and bright swimming pool kind of blue that is far prettier when it twinkles just above the white sand. It is surrounded by rocks, and even though it is very tourist-based, none of it takes away from the breathtaking blue waters.

Aaron and I spent our time at the Blue Lagoon snorkelling and swimming in the crystal sea. After putting our snorkelling gear back we had a little swim, my heart stopping at the sight of a jelly fish. I swam back to the rocks as if I’d just had an encounter with a shark. The Blue Lagoon is pretty known for being friends with jelly fish so we were quite cautious! We weren’t able to get to the second destination and so a safer place was found to “park up” and I finished my first book of the week while sunbathing from the boat. It was my absolute favourite day trip of the ten days- it felt like a slice of paradise.

~ Kat ~

“Not all Those who Wander are Lost” | Malta

When Aaron and I went on holiday last week we did a lot of wandering- hence, the implementation of the J. R. R. Tolkien quote. Suited up in holiday clothes and bags full of sunglasses, spending money and towels, most days we were also able to grin like Bilbo and say “I’m going on an adventureeee!” Our travels within Malta were without a doubt one of my absolute favourite parts (although you will hear me say that phrase alongside other activities a lot in regards to our holiday) of the ten days!

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On the Monday (the second day of our holiday) we visited Valletta for the afternoon. Valletta is the beautiful capital of Malta. I think it was a forty minute bus ride away from Bugibba and was very different to our holiday base. The buildings were, although I am no architect, incredible, architecturally. It wasn’t just the surrounding area of the main town that was beautiful, the town centre was too. The shops (which included all of the names known well to the UK) were placed in the most brilliant beige buildings. There were wiry balconies and grand entrances and I wish we could visit every week!

I swung on some funnily placed swings for an arts festival taking place in Valletta and then we ate lunch at an Italian placed in a winding alley that made it feel more and more movie-like. We then wandered out of the town centre and admired the old and pretty buildings before walking along, looking out into the sea.

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On the Friday of our holiday we went to In-Naxxar, after a short bus journey. We simply went to the bus station, not knowing where we were heading. We decided we would get on a bus and just get off wherever we fancied. Since we thought In-Naxxar looked really delicate and pretty from the bus window, we hopped off and took a wander. It was full of winding streets of houses, pastel colours and shops we hadn’t seen before. In-Naxxar was particularly special because it wasn’t very tourist-y at all. It was just a little town (or it seemed so after what we saw) where people were going about their business and we got to soak in the beauty of the place while they did so!

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On our last full day we wanted to make sure we visited St. Julian’s Bay as I had wanted to all week. So, once again, we hopped on a bus and hopped back off, walked through a few strips of town before we found the rocky bay. I stood in the sea, read on the rocks and then Aaron and I played a tennis game I brought with us. We wanted to explore but were not sure what we were exploring as we wandered about. We ended up at Portomaso Marina (the boat photo above!) and took a stroll around it before we headed back.

I can’t decide exactly what I thought of the busses in Malta. Although I don’t have any complaints (and they had air con which was very useful!), I’m not sure how reliable they are in coming on time- no country is exempt from that problem, I don’t think! However half of the time I was oblivious so it could have been totally fine. All the same, the busses were so handy in our adventures and I’m grateful there was a good enough system to allow us to explore so much of the island.

~ Kat ~

Bugibba | Malta

I have just arrived back from an awesome ten day holiday to Bugibba (St. Paul’s Bay) in Malta. Despite holiday blues walking beside me every step of the way today, flicking through the photos is a hobby (one I’m sure I’ll be taking up every day for the rest of summer) that is keeping my tears at bay. Even if it’s not at St. Paul’s Bay. *Gulps.*

Maaaalta

Maalta

Before last week I had never visited anywhere other than Spanish islands for a summer holiday and so I was very excited to step off of the plane into the warm 2am Malta air two Sundays ago. Bugibba is located in St. Paul’s Bay and is a very lively area, we realised almost immediately. After exploring the pretty local area we spent the afternoon at an Irish pub called Fat Harry’s (something which has become almost a ritual on holiday- Aaron and I fell in love with an Irish pub in Lanzarote, last year, too), ready to watch Murray at Wimbledon. I drunk Pimm’s and squealed as my favourite sportsman won while I was surrounded by a lot of happy Brits and sunshine to match my mood (pathetic fallacy at its best!).

The first day also involved our first ice cream (Nutella, YUM) and first try of one of the local beers, Cisk. Despite the dish belonging to the Canary Islands I have visited, we shared a mixed seafood and meat paella that evening- we were so happy to be back in a place that served such delicious and interesting food far cheaper than you’d experience in the UK.

Maaaaltaa

Maaaaltaaaa

Day four was a silly but awesome day as we made our way to Popeye Village- the tourist attraction formed from the film set of the 1980 production of Popeye which starred Robin Williams! You are able to wander around the set and it’s hard not to giggle at the little slice of silliness Malta offers you. My favourite silliness was the dance sessions the staff (dressed up as characters!) put on where I happily embarrassed Aaron by excitedly dancing along. We spent the afternoon in the sea, mucking around on the bouncy castles and other activities in the sea. Aaron turned into a competitive five year old at the challenge of running across a blow up beam to reach the other side. I, amused, watched him fail and fall into the water a few times.

maltahol

maltaholl

We adored the atmosphere of Bugibba. It was family-friendly but also for any ages. We enjoyed all of our meals and it was particularly awesome to have dinner in the restaurants dotted along the promenade so we could watch the sunset over the sea as we ate. We, more importantly, adored this 1.1 litre cocktail from O’Reillys, another pub we pretty much incorporated in our daily evening routine.

maltaholll

maltahollll

maltahollllll

Mmalta

We spent a lot of time outside of Bugibba because Malta is so small, it’s so easy to explore. I did find that it made the time we spent bumbling about in Bugibba – whether that was during the day or in the evening – even more special. We had one pool day with a few synchronised swimming sessions dotted about throughout the week too! One of our favourite activities was having an ice cream in the sometimes high 30s heat and enjoyed taking time out to discover a new ice cream parlour.

Mmmalta

Mmmmalta

Mmmaaalta

Towards the end of the week we headed in the opposite direction of the promenade we were used to- walking about twenty minutes to another part of St. Paul’s Bay. Regretfully wishing we had taken a wander to this part earlier on in the week since we were constantly pointing to places and saying “I want to go there”, we all the same enjoyed a few drinks before we had one of our favourite meals (and probably far too much food for one meal!). Carbohydrates aren’t bad if they’re cultural, right? We ate the most awesome fried cheese to start (my favourite food I could never be embarrassed of) and then shared paella alongside calamari, whitebait and loaded pulled pork potato skins. I’m pretty sure I dreamed about that meal last night. And now I’m salivating. Focus Kat. Despite it only being a short walk back to our segment of St. Paul’s Bay, we decided that, yes, seen as we pretend we are The Less Talented and Magical Flynn and Rapunzel, we would horse and carriage our way back… Which caused a lot of frustration to the drivers who queued up behind us. Oops.

Maaaaaltaaaaa

Our stay at Bugibba was one I’ll never forget. It was the hottest weather I have ever experienced and the most amount of ice cream I have ever devoured. We often found ourselves heading down to the bumper cars in the evenings, half-seriously and half-jokingly, as we fought against Bugibba’s youngest tourists. It was war.

Even though I spent our walks along the beaches staring at my feet since it’s a very rocky landscape, the beaches were something to marvel at. It felt amazing to dip my feet into the sparkly sea when I was getting particularly hot, but more amazing to snorkel- something I’ll write about in another post.

Since Aaron and I were self-catered we were able to discover a lot of Bugibba in the mornings when we headed out to find breakfast. I know I am likely to always choose self-catered because it was so lovely to see the town wake up before it began to bustle a little after we headed out. Bugibba is very busy but very laid-back too. It doesn’t lack options when it comes to eating and it even has a few health-based cafes which Aaron and I loved trying out. Even though Malta is an incredibly small island, there are so many amazing towns and places to explore

The sun shone constantly, although two days were very windy because of the choppy seas- we were getting tiny splashes of water on us even in the square, despite it being a good while away from the sea! We became particularly fond of the beer Skol while we were away and said a fond farewell to it yesterday lunch time before we travelled home.

~ Kat ~