Sunday, 25 October 2015

Paradise in a Nutshell – Day 3 in Koh Lanta

A lot of people deemed us crazy to be travelling to Thailand for just 3 days. But, I’m a dreamer and I know that dreams are worth chasing – even if that requires a lot of dedication, disruption and desire. Trust me – it’s worth it.

On our final evening we decided to make use of the spa, which included a massage – something I have never experienced before in my life. Don’t get me wrong I’ve always wondered what spa days may encounter, but never have I had the opportunity or occasion to try one out. Well, this may just have changed everything and opened my eyes to a whole new world of relaxation.

On our arrival at the spa, we were met with green tea, and given white slippers. We then were escorted to our treatment room, where I found myself doubled over in laughter when we were presented with the tiniest 'panties' – my husband’s face was a picture!

We chose the aromatherapy package, which was an hour long massage, with oils and lotion. I am no expert in spa treatments, but wow did I feel good afterwards. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief, I was awakened.

The treasured part for me was unveiling my elephant tattoo, and the kind masseuse carefully patting Pang, almost feeling a sense of realism – my tattoo had spoken to her.

The next day we had the morning to gather our belongings and thoughts. I felt a deep desire to spend a little time alone – I needed some escapism. So, I found myself solely heading towards the beach, where I sat and admired the setting (once more) and quietly pondered my thoughts. In that moment I realised just how grateful I was to Thailand – if I had never travelled here in May, I certainly wouldn’t be sat here now and more so – I don’t think I would have ever unlocked my dreams.

I then ecstatically joined my husband for a final treat around the pool – a dragon fruit I’d bought the day before at a fruit stall. I carefully sliced it down the middle with a pen knife and devoured one half, then the other. I felt absolutely gluttonous, but in the most tropical way. I’d just eaten an entire dragon fruit in one sitting!


We then left for the airport. Of course, our journey home took almost 24 hours – taking 5 days away from reality (2 travelling and 3 staying in Koh Lanta), was a trip worth taking. I wouldn’t ever decline an opportunity to travel, seek and wander (because sometimes in life, you have to take chances).

I’m not sad that we are home, or that we couldn’t stay longer – I am more enthused, excited and passionate about the next trip, wherever that may be.

Never, ever give up on what you love most.

Day 1 in Koh Lanta

Day 2 in Koh Lanta

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Scream If You Wanna Go Faster - Day 2 in Koh Lanta

We woke to calm – the storm had left and we were certain of another glorious day in Koh Lanta.  I ran a warm bath, flung open the shutters in our bathroom (totally bliss) and once more absorbed the setting – we were situated right in the middle of a spring of palm trees.
Sunday’s have become the day we look forward to most, at home we usually use them to catch up on chores and anything else that hasn’t happened during the week.  I’ve kind of lost touch with the idea that Sunday is a day to be enjoyed.  When we were preparing to get married in 2014, we visited church most Sunday’s – which was an absolute joy for me, I found myself looking forward to our visit each week.  I also became fond of dressing in my Sunday best – I felt a sense of pride in getting dressed smart for church and have kept this little mantra in mind. 
Dress: Primark
So, Sunday called for something lovely – I put on my satin floral dress and headed straight towards breakfast.  I indulged in more fruit and gently savoured my coffee admiring the glorious views.  It was then, my husband posed the question whether to hire a scooter for the day. Of course, it was an almighty: Yes! 

My husband is a great navigator, he also patiently taught me to drive (which was quite the challenge to say the very least), he also had a scooter long before I met him.  He often reminisces about this time in his life, and I always smile and imagine him on his mint green Vespa. The scooters available for hire where a little more modern in age, but of course I knew I was in safe company – he selected us two helmets (flowers for me, naturally), and off we went…
We didn’t have a map; instead we used our instinct to navigate around town.  We headed straight towards the busy streets, stopping off for an iced cold drink and some gasoline.  I adored the old school petrol pumps and couldn’t help but pose next to one...

Next, we hopped back on and headed towards the other side of the island – where we were met with miles of pure open road, we increased our speed and I clasped my arms as tight around Simon as possible, I may have even screamed a little!   
We passed an army of fruit stalls (I stopped to take photographs of the amazing tropical varieties), bars, beach shacks, and …. Monkeys!  I had read that monkeys were often present in Koh Lanta, but I didn’t realise we would suddenly find ourselves surrounded by a small fleet of them.  Of course, I was absolutely mesmerised by these tiny creatures on the road, but felt a deep sense of sadness that they were so close to danger.  We carefully passed them, and made a pit stop for some lunch (Pad Thai obviously). 

Our final stop was a small bit of beach – again unpopulated, a small family run shack was on the edge of the beach – we both ordered banana smoothies.  I then realised that, the most unfortunate incident had occurred.  I had only got my period, unexpected and unannounced – I couldn’t help but laugh, laugh at the ironic scenario I was now in.

Without a graphic detailed account (we’re all women here), the scooter had truly pushed me over the edge!  And my dress, yes that beautiful dress was now all I had to wear until we returned back to our hotel.

Arriving back, we returned our scooter and said goodbye to a brilliantly short-lived fairy tale.  Later that evening, I looked at my husband over dinner and quietly told him that ‘it had been one of the best days of my life, spent with him.'
To be continued...
Day 1 in Koh Lanta.


Friday, 23 October 2015

Thunder Only Happens When It Rains - Day 1 in Koh Lanta

Arriving in the Koh Lanta district was something to be treasured; being met by a warming heat and tropical palms at every corner was like stepping into A Bug's Life.
I loved the overwhelming greenery – so natural, and home to so many lizards, bugs and an abundance of nature.
Of course, jet lag set in almost simultaneously as we checked into our room – we did very little but unpack the essentials and then get some much needed sleep overnight.

Waking up on Saturday morning was glorious – I felt a wave of energy and a solid sense of happiness about myself.  Stepping out onto our balcony surrounded by palm trees at arm’s length and a crisp blue sea in the distance was breath-taking; we were in our very own oil painting.

Breakfast Dreams: Watermelon, mango, pineapple, papaya and dragon fruit

I am no stranger to creating mammoth creations on my plate, and getting giddy over breakfast is by far one of my favourite things to do whilst on my travels!  My husband actually laughed when I returned with this ginormous plate of fruit, he believed I wouldn’t eat it all – but as usual I proved him entirely wrong and devoured the fruit mountain in one sitting.

Next up, we familiarised ourselves with the surroundings – hello beach!  I genuinely feel as if life has a funny way of reoccurring and words becoming real, when I visited Phi Phi Islands in the summer, I wrote how I felt the desire to find a less remote and quieter beach ... this was simply everything I had wished upon.

It was extremely surreal being able to see Phi Phi in the distance, knowing we were on the tip of exactly where we had visited five months prior (and not knowing we would be returning).

I actually couldn’t contain my excitement, I ran across the stretch of beach (barefoot) with so much adrenaline in my blood.  I was absolutely in my element, this was something that I remember so clearly from my honeymoon – setting off running, without even a moment to ponder, or inform my husband (he’s used to my spontaneity now).  It’s true, when you are truly happy – you strive to do the things you love most, thus running.

We then had a blissful afternoon enjoying our hotel facilities – the pool, jacuzzi and simple relaxation.  On our return to our room, we were met with a plate of pineapple!  Later, that evening we decided to have a wander into town to pick up a few bits from the local 7-Eleven (amazingly good convenience store, we first discovered back in May).

That evening was quite a quiet one for us – we sat on our balcony, ate more tropical fruit and absorbed our surroundings.  When we climbed into bed, we heard a roar of thunder, which then spiralled into a spectacular storm.  It felt all too real, and as if almost the ceiling was about to cave in – we actually jumped out of bed at one point and I grabbed my phone ready to call for help!

Thunder and lightning like never before – Thailand is known for its unpredictable climate, and we had just witnessed the storm of all storms.
To be continued... 

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Back to the Future

Exactly a week ago myself and my husband set off on a journey back to where it all began – Thailand.  When I say ‘back’ – I am referring to our time in Thailand earlier this year.  A trip that warmed our hearts and most definitely changed my entire outlook on everything.  It sparked a passion, deep inside of me and I discovered that my desire to write about travel, food and culture was very much a part of who I was.

Sports Bra: Ellesse Bikini: Roxy

I went onto write a travel log entry for Travel3Sixty, which then got published in the August 2015 issue.  This gave me the desire to fuel my passion further.  Search, write and endlessly follow my dreams.

Getting my article published was everything I could have wished for.  Additionally in return for the article I was given a complimentary voucher.  In all truth (because I’m not going to compromise on truth), I got given a free stay at a resort in Koh Lanta, a spa voucher and designated travel to the resort via mini bus and ferry.  Flights from London were not included – meaning we had to decide, whether to go or not and make the opportunity happen.

It was almost certainly going to be a no, because with work commitments it seemed impossible to fit in to an already busy schedule.  But, call it fate, destiny or a sea of overwhelming desire – I received a text one day, from my husband, saying 'let’s just do it'.  And, that we did.

I’m incredibly lucky to have been able to travel to another part of the world, and I’m feeling truly grateful.
I love Thailand SO much.



Wednesday, 14 October 2015

You Got The Love

I'm Alice Taylor and I'm a dreamer
I always follow my heart above anything else.  But, without sounding like a broken record, of course you already know all of this (especially long time readers and friends: Jazz, Ellie, darling Sophie, Maria, Gem, Vix, Char, Alex, Hazel, Laura, Dani, Rebecca, Nicola, Lucy...). 

San Francisco 2014 - Living my new married name.
My writing always determines my destiny.  If I'm happy I write, if I am sad I write.  There's no escaping my desire to write and document my life.  Harriet the Spy was my childhood role model, then there was Carrie Bradshaw who came along in my teens, who taught me that it's okay to express personality in what you love.

Not just fictional characters inspire me.  Real people inspire me.  The ones who write for a living, freelance (I'm looking at you J for Jen and WishWishWish), published and unpublished authors, magazine editors, youtubers, vloggers.  I've always fiercely admired Zoella's genuine likeability and ultimate deserved success.

I guess, my biggest inspirations are the people who are too - dreamers.  People, who put their passions before practicality, make their love into something so real it hurts.  And, of course never give up on what they believe in.

Last week, my life changed forever. 

I applied for a job so different to any other that had ever come before.  Three days later, I was offered the job there and then on the spot, and absolutely speechless.  I have never in my life, found myself in that position.  I cannot even begin to express the gratitude I felt deep inside, somebody had told me they wanted me for a job that not only is my dream, the ultimate... writing for a living, but had wanted me, specifically me.

My Dad is my greatest hero, my number one fan and quite simply in every way a part of me.  When I told him of the news, he replied by saying 'Nobody can ever doubt your passion Alice, in what you love, you certainly have passion'
My Daddy, my Father, the only man to know me better than my husband, had told me what I had never, ever considered a desired quality, but now I know it's the key to opening up the entire world.

Having a passion for something that you love, however wild and so far out of reach is the key to finding the happiness, fulfilment and in this very instance - the dream job.

I definitely have got the love.  

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Why you should Never Compromise Passion

Anyone who has ever met me will know one thing: I am a dreamer
I have a heart full of passion, and a mind set to fulfil my every aching desire.  I don’t know where it comes from, if I inherited it in my genes, whether the influences in my life determined it or whether I created it.  Because, what I have found is once you find it, you can’t get rid of it.

I’ve spoken of my dreams a lot this year, and how they have a way of returning, and becoming the forefront of my every day.  Imagine an alarm clock drawn up in your mind, everyday set to an even earlier time, and a louder ringing.  That – in essence is what I have been feeling for a long time.
I’ve always written from my heart, and you will never find me compromising on truth, or honesty.  Brutal honesty. 

Thailand May 2015
A little while ago I began to realise that real success in life is about graft, hard work, and determination.  I taught myself that when I trained and completed a half marathon in April completely by myself – no company, just me.
Yes, it was tough and challenging but after I’d done that, I realised that doing things through your own agenda, was far more rewarding that any other experience or something that could be bought, given or received.  

I wanted to spread a little message, an anecdote if you will...

If you have the passion, the love, the will to see it through – in turn good will come.  Life is about searching, searching for deepest fulfilment and happiness.
If you try and compromise what you love, then ultimately you will lose. 

Follow your heart, and never let go of your dreams.  Not, never.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Saying Goodbye to Zero and Body Dysmorphia

When I first began losing weight, dropping dress sizes was magical – it felt like a dream.
 I couldn’t believe it, I remember struggling to fit into my old clothes, skirts began dropping to my knees (even in public) and tops became so baggy it was like they had never belonged to me. 

The first time I went shopping was an out of this world experience.  I can’t explain the feeling – I only ventured to George at Asda, but I was shell shocked that the garments I’d taken into the fitting room and tried on were FAR too big.  I had picked up sizes I was so used to wearing – 12s, 14s, 16s – they looked like all my other clothes previous, why didn’t they fit?
It took a long time for me to get my head around my decreasing size.  Because, even though I was aware I had lost weight, the image in my mind was still set around a size 14/16 (not a smaller digit, if anything a bigger one).

When I was at my lowest weight, I found that size 10 was still too big.  With a petite frame, I struggled with proportions tremendously. I found myself wandering into the children’s section a lot – something which was very strange.
But, being the woman that I am I never gave up on my quest to lose weight for my wedding in 2014. When I got married I was a size 8 – and I’m warmly accepting of that.  Because something carried me through the lead up to the wedding, but hell heck, you know I failed to laugh and I can look back now and firmly say that I did it my way – but not necessarily the right way.

If I had been a few pounds heavier would my husband still have married me?  Of course he would have done, lets face it he would have married me if I was the size of an elephant!
 Would I have felt as confident on my wedding day as I did?  Sadly probably not

The fairy tale happened after my wedding (and it didn’t involve dress sizes).  I was firmly set on conquering health and happiness.  From my time spent in Thailand, to embarking on vegetarianism, to my undying love of tropical fruit. Yes, I do rather love good food.
People, who know me, still consider me to be one of the healthiest people they know – but for me, health is about lifestyle. If you are passionate about what you eat and how you eat it, then there is no need to crash diet, beat yourself up about calories or lose faith in yourself.  

I could talk about the perils of weight loss all day long, I can emphasise with girls who struggle with their weight, much younger than me.  But, also every woman who has ever looked in the mirror and disliked the figure staring back at them – I once was that woman, every woman. 

Sorting through some clothing for charity this weekend, I stumbled upon my size zero skirt. The one and only item I ever purchased with the aptly sized 0 tag.  I laughed, because the girl who bought this skirt two years ago was so fixated on the size printed on the tag, but was it really necessary?
At the time, yes it was.  Now – absolutely not.

Be whoever you want to be, and always be true to yourself.

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Friday, 2 October 2015

Marrakesh, Souks and Culture

When I was in Morocco last month, I was so intrigued by the promise of culture that lay ahead in Marrakesh and visiting some of the world famous souks, but had my reservations – I was a young female traveller with little knowledge of the country and felt partly out of my depth. 

Trousers: NEXT Petite Top and Scarf: Second-hand Sandals: Debenhams

But, sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Because, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t at least try. Luckily my friend wanted to accompany me. That didn’t mean we didn’t get absolutely swarmed on by locals and traders alike. It was definitely tough – but I felt a huge sense of awareness afterwards.  

Having travelled to Dubai last year, I had already had a taste of souks previously (a market full of many treasures such as gold, food, textiles and souvenirs), so thankfully knew how to deal with bargaining and agreeing or you could say disagreeing on a price.

Marrakesh was hot, very hot. Golden, and noisy. Cars, scooters and buses lined the streets and traders, tourists and local men and women made up the crowds...

Above: Scorching Marrakesh midday

My favourite memory was stepping into a tiny café to grab water, where a group of men casually dressed in beige suits were sharing mint tea (traditional Moroccan tea), and reading newspapers. It goes to show that wherever you may be in the world, there is always time for tea and news.
Homewares, textiles and candles all on offer in the souks
As we walked from souk to souk, we became aware of what goods were available, I discovered the most beautiful lamp figurine. The beauty came in the fact the seller didn’t once bother me, or force the sale on me, which I was incredibly gracious of.

On our way back to our hotel later that day, my friend and I chatted about our experience in Marrakesh and how different things were from anywhere we had ever experienced. But, we both said how different selling goods is, the fact that nothing had a price tag or a 'fixed value' – it’s open to suggestion.
I only saw a tiny part of an incredibly fascinating place – I imagine if I went back, I would be far braver, and more adventurous.
I truly believe that sometimes doing things you wouldn’t imagine yourself doing is sometimes the most satisfying journey you can take. 

Tasting Morocco - The Olive and Date way

Moroccan Dreams

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