My taste of Thailand

If there is one place that I truly love in the world, it has to be Thailand. The place known as the land of smiles is like an idyllic paradise with white sandy beaches, the warmth of the Andaman Sea and an extraordinary culture that incorporates beautiful temples, wonderful dance and costume and a love of one of my favourite animals, the elephant.

I have visited Thailand on numerous occasions, managing to combine relaxation on those beaches and Thai massage, with tourism, enjoying the sites and sounds and smells of an exhilarating land. Phuket is by far my favourite place. I love to eat the street food that you find off the beaten track in Patong, and then enjoy the Thai boxing bouts whilst avoiding the snake charming that often takes place in between bouts. The street markets and shopping are full of weird and wonderful items, from fake labels that are often difficult to tell apart from the real thing, to wood carvings, pewter and silver and incredible Batak fabrics made into dresses, sarongs and throws for the home. I always come home with a suitcase full, and now have many in my wardrobe that I have been wearing for years. Thailand is a place where you can have a bespoke suit designed and made within a couple of days for less than the price you would buy one from Matalan. It is a shopper’s paradise, even a trip to the incredible Wat Chalong temple, one of the biggest in Thailand, also saw a street market set up along the paths that lead to the temple.

I was recently asked by Destination2.co.uk to name the one place in Thailand that I would recommend as a must visit destination for anyone who was planning a visit. This was a tough choice to make as there are so many wonderful things to see and do, from the elephant orphanage in Chiang Mai, to Phuket Fantasea, which has one of the biggest floorshows in the world, along with the world’s biggest buffet restaurants. But in the end I opted for Koh Panyee, the Muslim village on stilts because it is, quite frankly, like no where else on Earth I have ever visited.

Koh Panyee (also sometimes spelt Ko Panyi) is a fishing village in the Phang Nga province of Thailand. It is easily reached from Phuket, and you can do day trips that are combined with a trip to the James Bond island that featured in ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ (we did lots of silly Bond poses when we visited, which led to our guide saying ‘it is time to come back to the boat now Mr Bond’). Koh Panyee was built by Indonesian fisherman and is entirely on stilts, making it a strange and rather wonderful place to visit, and in particular, to enjoy a lunch in one of the many restaurants that look over Phang Nga Bay.

For me, the idea of a village built on the sea, rising above it on stilts, is a mystical, magical one that is a must visit. Thailand has many wonderful experiences to offer the tourist, but this must rank amongst the best of them.

Have you ever visited Thailand?

Reviewed: The Hampton Cornflower Blue Grab Bag from Yoshi Bags

Yoshi Lichfield should really be called the home of the bag. Specialising in beautiful leather bags, Yoshi is home to the classic, the elegant and the quirky. Whether you are looking for a smart work bag, a tote perfect for shopping, a shoulder bag that could also double as a clutch for a night out, or even a quirky custard cream bag that would even appeal to those with style taste slightly off the radar, Yoshi has designs for all – and every one is a beauty.

Recently, Yoshi has unveiled a glorious new colour in it’s leather collections, a stunning shade of cornflower blue. This blue leather has been used to create the Hampton collection, which incorporates a range of bags and purses. I have been using the ‘grab bag’ which is described as: “Perfect for all occasions and outfits both day and night”
and have to agree that this is a bag that is smart enough for formal or even occasions, but looks totally great with jeans and more casual wear too,

Hampton Cornflower Blue Leather Grab Bag £60.00 Click to visit Yoshi

The grab bag is great, big enough to carry all your essentials – purse, keys, phone, lippie notebook, pen – all will fit easily into the middle compartment which has a zip top for security. It then has two further side compartments which close with magnetic clasps that are perfect for things like Oyster cards, train tickets or bus passes, the sort of things that you may want to grab in a hurry. Inside the middle section there are even more pockets, big enough for your mobile phone, and another zip pocket too. The whole bag is lined with a crisp blue striped fabric which gives it a slightly nautical feel, and contrasts beautifully with the cornflower blue leather of the bag.

The dimensions of the bag are Height 23 cm, Width 33 cm and Depth 10 cm, and as I show above, it can work with a range of colours and outfit styles. The bag comes in one of the Yoshi dust bags which make it a perfect gift idea for a birthday or Christmas, and, as this is such a classic style, you know it is a gift that will be used forever more.

You can view all Yoshi bags by visiting the Yoshi Lichfield website here.

Bath or Shower – which do you prefer?

It’s an age old question that can start arguments, divide families, and generally go unanswered. No. I’m not talking about whether tea is better than coffee (it isn’t, even though I love a brew), or whether X Factor can ever be better than Strictly (it can’t). I’m talking about whether a bath is better than a shower.

Shall we consider the evidence?

Showers are Great for Waking you Up

Is there anything better for getting you set up for the day than a shower? Those powerful jets of water are invigorating, exhilarating and refreshing. If you are definitely not a morning person, than a shower can be a great way of saying hello to the morning. However, if your shower is little more than a trickle due to low water pressure, you may need to install a shower pump. Stuart Turner shower pumps can address this problem, which occurs in a surprisingly high number of households, and will ensure that your shower is a refreshing experience.

Baths are so relaxing

In the same way that showers can wake you up, a bath is a perfect way of relaxing and shaking off the day. The fact that you can lie down in warm soapy bubbles, and that you can even buy things like bath pillows means that for many, a bath is the ultimate in relaxation. Add some soothing lavender oil, light some candles, maybe even grab a glass of wine or a book, and you can spend a lot more than 5 minutes unwinding and getting yourself ready for a good night’s sleep.

A shower is more hygienic

Many people argue that a shower is a far cleaner and more hygienic option due to the fact that the dirty water is instantly disappears down the plug hole. Many hate the idea of lying in bath water, arguing that, if you are really dirty, you are instantly dirtying the water and then lying in it – they may well have a point. There is also the fact that exfoliation  and body scrubs are far easier to use efficiently if you are taking a shower.

However…bath oils, salts and bubbles

But, it has to be said, that all the best pampering products, from bath oils, to all those seasonal  Lush bath bombs that everyone loves, can only really be used if you are taking a bath. Powerful jets of water from the power shower may be no comparison to a bath filled with bubbles and sparkle that is just calling for you to get in and enjoy.

A Shower is no mess

You have your shower, and then you switch it off and get out. No hassle, no mess. But consider the bath mentioned above, the one with the Lush bath bombs in it. Yes, glitter and petals look very pretty, but at the end of your bath, when the water has gone, you are left with a mess that you then need to clean, just when you are feeling all sleepy and relaxed.

A bath is better for aches, pains and the common cold

When you are not feeling well, a hot bath can make all the difference. Whether you have added eucalyptus to clear your nose, or arnica that will make aches and pains feel a little better, a bath can be therapeutic as well as relaxing those aching muscles.

So, where do you stand? Bath or shower?