Lahaina, Maui

A quick 40-minute flight from Honolulu and we landed in absolute paradise! The island of Maui is so incredibly beautiful, and we felt so, so lucky to be able to see it. We stayed in Lahaina, which has been kept so traditional and in keeping with Hawaiian history. This was particularly clear whilst driving past Front Street, the area with the main shops and restaurants, looking over the sea front. We arrived at our hotel for the next few days, the Outrigger Aina Nalu, which was just the loveliest place. Rather than one large building, it was separated into blocks with just a few rooms each, and the décor was kept beautifully with the traditional island style. The pools at this hotel were also just stunning!

They hadn’t been able to fit our luggage onto the plane so it had to be sent on the next flight – we were told it would be brought to us at our hotel by that evening, so we just decided to spend our first day exploring the area and doing some food shopping as this hotel was self-catering. The food we bought was all amazing, but so expensive it was ridiculous. As the evening went on, and there was no sign of our luggage arriving yet, J was getting more and more anxious and I just couldn’t understand why, as surely it couldn’t be that big a deal – it would arrive at some point! It was delivered to us at around 10pm that evening, and I’ve never seen him look so relieved! The next day, I understood why he’d been so stressed…

We went on a trip called the Road to Hana (aka the windiest road like ever), stopping at many different waterfalls on the way and overlooking the sights, including Honomanu Bay, the Wailua Valley Outlook, the Nahiku Marketplace, the Wailua Falls, and the Seven Sacred Pools at O’heo Gulch. As incredible as this all sounds (and to be fair it was all truly beautiful), our tour driver was mind-numbingly boring and I actually managed to fall over on the hike up to O’heo Gulch, spraining my ankle, which resulted in me being a stroppy mare. This ended up being a slight nightmare to J, seeing as he had a preeeeeetty important question to ask me when we reached the top!

It would definitely be fair to say that I stopped my complaining straight away, and spent the rest of the trip in a complete daze. We went for a gorgeous meal that evening looking over the sea, and even got free dessert because of our news (undoubtedly the best part of being newly engaged was all the free food we were given)!

The following day was absolute bliss, as we went snorkelling on Molokini Island with green sea turtles! Our guides were amazing, and the experience was simply phenomenal, and so, so much fun.

Our last two days after this were spent relaxing by the beautiful pools at our hotel, wandering around the town, and eating incredible food. Our last night in Hawaii was spent at the Old Lahaina Luau, which was so unbelievably extraordinary – the performers were amazing, the music was amazing, the food was amazing, and the views were amazing. It was truly the perfect way to end our visit to our dream location!

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Waikiki, Oahu

After a not so great flight from Vegas to Honolulu (due to teeny tiny seats and J being approximately the size of the BFG), we finally arrived at the Shoreline Hotel in Waikiki, in the place we’d spent the last two years dreaming off. Gorgeously balmy temperatures hit us straight away, and seeing palm trees everywhere were just the most blissful sight. We didn’t arrive until around 9pm, so went for a late meal and drinks overlooking the famous Waikiki beach.

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Our first full day here was spent on Waikiki beach itself, relaxing in the sun and splashing in the sea. We also had the most incredible cocktails inside pineapples, before spending the evening at an amazing restaurant called Cheeseburger, with the most delicious food and extremely strong MaiTais!

 

Over the next few days, we watched the sunset over the ocean, visited Honolulu Zoo, went shopping, and saw Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri, which were just unbelievable.

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Undoubtedly our most memorable night spent on Oahu was the night we went for dinner at Disney’s Aulani resort. It’s always been such a huge dream to see this place, and it definitely did not disappoint. The hotel was just beautiful, with subtle Disney theming everywhere. Staff were so welcoming and kind, and the food was amazing! After our meal, we took a barefoot walk along their private beach which was adorned with lanterns, before we sat and drank yet more cocktails.

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We loved this hotel so much – the staff were so friendly and helpful, the pool on the roof was the loveliest little sunspot, and the 24hr free coffees and drinks were definitely welcomed greatly! Waikiki itself is a crazy place – on the one hand it’s a crazily busy city, with designer shops everywhere you look. Waikiki beach is stunning, but very touristy and crowded. However, just a few minutes walk away from the centre of the city you will find areas of complete tranquility, so peaceful and quiet you wouldn’t ever realise that the main city is so close.

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On to Lahaina, Maui!

LAS VEGAS November 2017

After a long flight, we finally landed in the most bizarre place I have ever visited. Constant noise, people everywhere, and bright lights and colours where ever you looked – Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas! We spent our first evening on a night time helicopter flight over the city; this was completely insane, but truly one of the most incredible experiences. Seeing the brightest lights from up top was unforgettable!

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Our first full day was spent at the Grand Canyon, which was honestly one of my most favourite days of the whole trip. We went with an incredible company called Pink Adventure Tours, where we spent the day in a pink jeep!! Our guide was just amazing, he was so informative and friendly and made us feel so welcome in a place that neither of us had visited. We visited the Hoover Dam, the Huawalapai Village, and experience the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon – so incredible.

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The following day was spent exploring the city, enjoying the sun, and shopping! Las Vegas during the day is so different to how it is during the night, so it was definitely interesting to compare! In the evening, we then went to see a performance of Ka by the Cirque du Soleil, which is now most definitely in my top 5 shows I have ever seen!

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22.

I am back. (Probably just for one post and then I will forget again for another 5 months).

Just wanted to voice a little something. IS THERE ANYTHING MORE CONFUSING THAN BEING 22 YEARS OLD?

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On the one hand, I’ve graduated uni with a pretty decent degree, I have a full time job, and I am engaged to my absolute best friend. Life is pretty fab. However, I’m finding myself feeling like I haven’t a clue right now what I actually want to do, and I feel like there is SO much pressure to make this decision now in order for my life to work out the way it’s supposed to.

So many people I know my age are moving in with their partners, meanwhile J and I are saving for a mortgage deposit which obviously requires a steady income. Confidence issues in the career I am aiming for have simply led to me feeling totally baffled as to what I am meant to do ie.  doing a PGCE course next academic year. If I don’t do it, then we won’t be able to buy a house when we want to, but right now I feel so useless that I’m not even sure if teaching is the career for me.

There is no real purpose to this post, except for voicing my thoughts and perhaps giving me something to look back on when my life is sussed.

For now, I am baffled (though I know for sure that I am not the only one).

With love and confusion,

Francesca xxx

 

Confidence.

Sometimes, we find ourselves doubting ourselves over situations that have never been problems for us before. From a young age, I have known that I wanted to work with young children within some form of educational format, whether that be through dance or formal education. I have always known that I am good with children and that children like me, and have never had a single problem in forming relationships with them.

As some people may be aware, over the summer I went to Spain to work as an au pair. I had intended to stay for a month, working with two boys aged 4 and 6. However, after a week I made the decision to fly home after spending the week going to bed in floods of tears due to a lack of relationship with the children, and having the family making me feel guilty for not being the Mary Poppins they were hoping for.

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To put it blankly – those children were naughty. They did not want me there, and contrary to what I had been told, did not speak a word of English, which made it extremely difficult for me seeing as I do not speak Spanish (I had previously told that this wasn’t an issue).

I have always been able to develop relationships with children very quickly; I am good at talking to them, playing with them, making them laugh, and making them trust me. This experience in Spain completely dampened my confidence – I felt useless, and truly wondered if my chosen career path as a primary teacher was a sensible one. (I sound a tad dramatic I know, but this was a very intense week for me)

HOWEVER.

Prior to making my application for my PGCE, I have had to organise and undertake a placement in a primary school within my desired age group, which for me is Key Stage 1. I worked in Year 1 for a month, where the teacher encouraged me to take on different responsibilities and the children helped me to understand how to be the best I can be both as a teacher and as a role model for the children – to be somebody that children feel safe, happy, and comfortable to be with. Building relationships with the individual children in the class has affirmed my belief that teaching is the profession for me. Working with the class both academically and pastorally has truly enabled me to grow in confidence and self-belief.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that sometimes, we will find ourselves full of doubt and a serious lack of confidence. It would be easy to just give up and stop trying, however by doing this we will never learn or improve. Instead, it is important to try again – sometimes we just have to go from a different angle.

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You never know – you may find yourself feeling more passionate and empowered than ever. 🙂

Francesca xxx

DANCE

Before I met my darling J, I had another one true love – dance. From the age of two and a half I was partaking in dance classes, starting with ballet and moving on to tap and modern when I was five. Since I was tiny, I’ve always adored the way dance can completely change the way I feel; there is nothing quite like moving your body to music and sharing that with the people around you.

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I love everything that dance has brought to my life. I have made incredible friends through dance – us dancers seem to have a unique sense of empathy between us all and many of my friends, who I’ve met because of dance, are the people who I genuinely believe understand my soul in a unique manner. Sharing such an expressive passion with others can give you feelings that are incomparable to anything else.

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Growing up, I took part in exams and shows, both of which I completely adored. Taking part in exams helped to establish a healthy sense of competition in myself, challenging me to improve each time I was examined in a further grade. Shows however, have always been the highlight of my year. Stage makeup and costumes, exciting music, and the most fun dances leading up to the big finale at the end, getting to show my friends and family exactly what it was that I spent every minute outside of school doing.

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My love of dance continued through to sixth form, where I decided to attend two different sixth forms just so that I could study A-Level dance. This then continued through to me moving away to study a BA Hons in Dance Education at university. Studying dance so closely has been both a blessing and a curse; on the one hand, it was incredible to be able to understand the derivatives of the different styles of dance, and getting to try my hand at learning the technique of different styles. However, I also ended up spending the majority of my final two years injured, and found that without being able to physically dance, I actually found the subject rather boring and really struggled to stay motivated. Despite this, finishing my degree on my target grade is my proudest achievement to date, and I am so so proud that after 19 years of having dance in my life, I have managed to become so well qualified to pass this love onto others.

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I am so grateful for all that dance has given me, and I’m not sure that anything will ever really be able to replace that. For me, dance was my whole childhood. Without it, I simply would not be the person I am today.

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BEAUTY

Today, I will be discussing something that I have always loved – BEAUTY. There is nothing quite like the power of makeup for increasing confidence, helping you to face a difficult day if needed. It can allow you to create a different persona for yourself, quite literally ‘putting a face on’ for the day ahead. You can challenge yourself to experiment with different colours and textures, natural looks v full on sparkle. You can use it to dress you up for an evening out, define different characteristics within your own face, define all of the best bits for performances.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved makeup. I had to wear it for dance shows from the age of three (that bright red look and blue eyeshadow look was just something else entirely). I loved it when my mum would let me try out her lipstick if it was a fancy occasion, and when I was older getting my first mascara, eyeshadows, sparkly pink lipglosses. (Feel free to laugh at the photo example below)

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Taking it to even now, when I get stupidly excited over a pretty new highlighter, or a high end lipstick. I just love the way that I can completely change up my look by changing one factor in my makeup. (even though I usually just go for a natural everyday look ha.) As someone who regularly struggles with confidence issues, I find that even putting on a quick face of makeup can completely change my outlook on my day, helping me to think more positively and optimistically. I wouldn’t say that I rely on it as I can equally feel just as happy with no makeup on at all, but I genuinely love makeup, I love the process of application as I feel it gives me that time in the morning to prepare myself for the day and just have some quiet time to myself. I love how when I go out with my friends, putting on makeup is just so much fun together and is really just such a bonding experience.

(Photo below is my beautiful best friend Miranda and I when we recently went out.)

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Currently I’m just using a BB cream with a liquid highlight, bronzer, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, and mascara, but when the weather gets cooler and I lose my tan ( 😦 ) I tend to wear quite a bit more. I’ll maybe do a full runthrough of the current products in another post I’m using if anyone would be interested in knowing?

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Francesca xxx