My cleaning routine

I’m a very routine driven person, but I also get very lazy, especially when it comes to things I don’t like doing, such as housework.

I have been known to let the housework slide to disastrous levels, then get incredibly overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of the task involved in cleaning up.

But with age comes a little bit of wisdom (not much, but some.) and I have learned that by using my need for routine, I can overcome my laziness toward housework by a small degree. I implemented a cleaning schedule a few months ago and I am very pleased to say, that barring a few setbacks, I have stuck to it quite well.

I realized that by letting the housework pile up I was even less inclined to do it and I absolutely hated spending the majority of my day cleaning the house. These days I clean a little bit everyday and its working! Now my house will never be featured in Garden and Home, but it’s comfortable and I love it. I feel so much lighter when the space around me is under control. I don’t think I’ll ever go back.

If like me you struggle with the concept of being a domestic goddess, maybe a cleaning schedule is for you. I have tasks that need to be done daily, weekly tasks and special tasks (these include washing windows, dusting light fixtures, cleaning the oven, washing rugs etc.) The special tasks can be done when you have time to fit them in throughout the week, but the whole system is designed so that I shouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes to an hour on housework a day.

This is what my cleaning routine looks like:

Daily tasks:

A load of laundry from start to finish (except the items that need to be ironed)

Unpack, load and run the dishwasher. Wash the dishes that need to be done by hand and put them away.

Wipe down the kitchen counters and dining room table

Take care of clutter immediately

Make the beds

Check the floors

Weekly tasks:

Monday – Bathrooms

Tuesday – Dust the whole house

Wednesday – Vacuum the whole house

Thursday – Mop the whole house

Friday – Ironing

Weekend – change the sheets, wash sheets and towels.

Stash busting

As I mentioned on Friday I have been knitting obsessed lately. I think it’s a combination of the cold and the drive to finish up some of the wool I’m hoarding.

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I have been on a stash-busting mission and I’m incredibly proud of my efforts so far. My wool collection has been getting a little out of hand and something needed to be done. So I have taken the bull by the horns so to speak.

Over the weekend I used up one ball completely by making a really cute scarf for Willow. It was lovely variegated chunky wool in pinks and purples. So I knit it up simply using garter stitch, seamed it to make a snood and presto. A cute little scarf that I made quickly (it would have been done in about an hour, but because I had issues with how many stitches to cast on it took about two; still really good going.

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I also finished a scarf for her that I have been making for ages. I had intended for it to be a long scarf infinity scarf that needs to be twisted once. But I got so bored of knitting it that when it was long enough to turn into a snood I cast off and seamed it up. It’s really cute and warm and Willow loves it.

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I also finished up that ball of double knit to make a little hat to match. I found the pattern on Etsy and it’s adorable. It has a little flower and a stripe in a contrasting colour. It was relatively easy to knit and very quick. I made a few mistakes, but that’s the best way to learn. The next one will look even better.

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I am still working away at the Pipet pattern I started ages ago. I have nearly finished the yoke and sleeves and will then be able to move onto the short rows. It’s been a real challenge and the pattern and wool are fiddly so I can only work on it when I can concentrate.

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My stash busting jersey is looking all kinds of gorgeous. Plus it’s quick and so fun to make

I have started another project though. This one is specifically designed for stash busting. I’m basically using up all sorts of odds and ends to create a striped jersey. It’s incredibly fun and easy to knit and I’ve already gotten quite far. I love how it’s coming together! I’ve already used up some odd bits in the knit and it was thrilling.

I love how it feels to finish things. The older I get the more of a kick I get out of it. Now my feeling of elation has expanded beyond the pure joy of finishing a project to the joy of finishing a skein of wool.

Friday Favourites: June 23

Last week was so hectically productive that I’ve felt this week was slow and dragged on a bit in comparison.

I just haven’t been able to build any momentum this week and felt behind the curve the entire time. Oh well, win some and lose some I guess.

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When it’s cold just wear your blanket!

We had a wonderful long weekend here in South Africa and let me tell you, it was needed. I love productive weekends and this one checked all the boxes. I finished a few projects, indulged my creative side, went shopping with Willow, saw our friends, celebrated father’s day at home with A and got some housework done in amongst all of it. I even baked. Weekend winning.

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My stash busting jersey is looking all kinds of gorgeous. Plus it’s quick and so fun to make

I hope you all have a great weekend! Chat soon! xx

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Product of the week: I have been working through a stash of face masks and this Innisfree Fresh Squeeze Blackberry Face Mask one blew me away. It was such a joy to use and the effects on my skin lasted well into the week. I love it and need to get more asap!

Purchase of the week: A bought us a new kettle/toaster combo. They are gorgeous little numbers from Bosch and I feel so posh using them. They are all brushed aluminum and black and look so pretty on the counter. We’ve had our old ones for years and they were looking very tired. It was a Mother’s Day/ Father’s day spoil.

Random: I got so many things finished this weekend I’m almost high on it! It’s amazing how happy finishing something makes me feel. I just love the feeling of accomplishment and the fact that I can throw something away.

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Project of the week: I finished three, yes, three projects the weekend! Granted they were all really simple. But the point is they’re done. I made two scarves for Willow and another arm knit scarf I was commissioned to make. I used up a total of six balls of wool! Gives self a high five! I’m working on a stash busting jersey that is starting to look too gorgeous for words! I’m also still working on my Pipetjeresy which is coming together nicely. I’m a little knitting obsessed right now.

Best moment: Willow has been so playful and talkative lately. It’s so cute. But my absolute best is when she sings along to Disney songs. Her two favourite movies are Frozen and Moana and she’s working incredibly hard on learning all the words to the songs. It blows my mind a little bit. She sings the opening to How Far I’ll go almost perfectly and the way she says ‘Water’ makes my heart melt every time!

Looking forward to: There are quite a few exciting things on the horizon. We have trips to visit both of our parents coming up, A’s mom and Aunt are popping round for a short visit, my friends are moving to a lovely new place and more. I’m quite excited for the next few weeks.

 

May 2017 empties

Not such a big cache of empties this month. I am pretty close to finishing up a whole stash of products, but they’re just not there yet.

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Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Natural Bronze – I swear they’ve changed the formula on this. I like it as a tan top up or just for that little bit of glow during the dreary winter months. On my pale skin if gives a very natural looking tan which lasts about four days to a week. It doesn’t cost much, I just wish it had a guide colour as you can miss areas when applying it. Make sure to wash your hands after application.

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L’Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum – I’ve lost count of how many bottles of this I have used up. I use it every morning as part of my skincare routine and I love the look it gives my skin – very plump, healthy and fresh. It sits well under makeup and that’s all I have to say really. I have a new bottle on the go now.

Justine Baby Botanicals Baby Oil – This is our moisturiser of choice in the winter for Miss Willow. The smell is divine and it’s now something I associate with little babies. It always leaves her feeling soft and it soaks in like a charm – no sticky or slippy residue. I have used countless bottles and have just cracked open a new one. Love it.

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SNP Sheet Mask – This was one of my beauty purchases while I was in Hong Kong. It’s very hydrating and absolutely saturated with serum. It was so soaked that I could feel the serum dripping a bit while I had it on and the mask kept slipping – I don’t know if it was designed for my giant Caucasian head. It’s one of those fun ones which makes you look like an animal while wearing it, in this case, an otter. It left my skin feeling really hydrated and plump. I had zero bad reactions to it and my skin looked lovely for days afterwards. I wish I had bought more.

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Colab Extreme Volume Dry Shampoo in New York – I took a travel size bottle of this with me to Asia and it stood me in such great stead. It gives my hair crazy volume and works so well as a texturizing spray. If you’re looking for something to give your hair a little oomph then give this one a go.

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L’Oreal Infallible Fixing Mist – This is a lovely, affordable makeup setting spray that really works. I use this everyday to set my makeup and it helps things stay in place and fresh-looking all day. It also has a great spray. Just be sure to mix it up really well. I’ve just finished my third bottle and have recently popped open a new one.

Sewing project: pyjama pants

One of the things very high on my list of things to learn this year was sewing. I have intended learning for years, but have always found it to be incredibly intimidating.

My parents bought me a sewing machine for Christmas a while ago and I’ve used it a handful of times, but never on my own. I always had visions of sewing my fingers, which put me off in a big way.

This past weekend, I finally bit the bullet. My mom and I headed off to Chamdor Fabrics, bought a couple of patterns, bought some fabrics and got our act together for a few projects. First up was a pair of flannel pyjama pants for me.

I felt like PJs were safe because if I royally screwed up, no one would see. Turns out I’m not as bad at this as I thought I’d be.

My mom had a huge hand in helping to figure out the pattern and cut the fabric. But I did a fair amount of cutting myself and didn’t do too bad a job. I did mess up a bit on the cutting, but not so much so that we weren’t able to complete the project. You live and learn.

The actual sewing turned out to be the easiest part. I’m really proud of how these turned out. The owls on the front are upside down, a result of how I cut the pattern out, but I really don’t mind. They’re super soft, really comfy and have pockets! I now feel all pyjama pants should come with pockets. I’m going to use the leftover fabric to cut Willow some pants too.

I’ll take more photos for the process next time

Friday Favourites: June 16

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Chilly evening cuddles with my other baby girl (The cat)

This week was tough. Exhibit A, this post is going up on Saturday! It was one of those weeks were all the deadlines, all the meetings and all the appointments seemed to happen at the same time. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been feeling under the weather all week.

It was one of those weeks were all the deadlines, all the meetings and all the appointments seemed to happen at the same time. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been feeling under the weather all week.

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This is how we watch TV these days…

It was also a four day week as we have a public holiday today. I have gotten to the age where public holidays are more of an annoyance. Don’t get me wrong, the three-day weekend is great. But the mad panic of having to fit my work week into four days makes me wonder if it’s worth it. By the time the public holiday rolls around I’m exhausted.

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I made a quick honey and yogurt loaf on Friday morning. It was quick, easy and delicious

But, I have to say that I feel a huge sense of achievement this week. I cleared a lot off the ole to-do list, the house is in order (mostly), the windows are clean, we ate healthy meals all week, I got some good quality time in with Willow, I dropped off a sizeable donation of clothes for the Knysna fire victims and I managed to do some time knitting. Sometimes the week rules you, but every so often you get to be on top of things and it feels amazing!

I hope you all have a restful weekend. Chat soon! Xx

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Product of the week: My skin has been freaking out recently and has been in need of some serious TLC. So I spent my Friday evening in a face mask while knitting and watching Masterchef Australia. Glamourous. One of the masks I used was a strawberry infused smoothing and brightening sheet mask from Innisfree. This morning my skin is a lot calmer, hydrated and radiant. I’m really impressed.

Random: I feel a little down after my orthodontist appointment on Tuesday. I was really hoping for some good news as to when the braces will come off. You can read all about it in my post. But I’m trying to pull myself together. There has been some terrific progress and my teeth are going to look awesome when they do come off. I just have to keep on keeping on.

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Project of the week: I made Willow a little dressing gown over the weekend. It is a little huge for her (the pattern was for a three-year-old) and I had a few challenges, but this is my first solo sewing project and I’m so proud of it!

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Best moment: Sitting on my bed just made up with clean sheets, in my tidy  room taking in the afternoon sunlight shining in through clean windows. *Gives self a high five*

Looking forward to: I have some tasks I need to tackle this weekend, otherwise, I plan to spend a nice quiet weekend with my family and friends. A has requested flapjacks for father’s day, which should be a whole lot of fun.

Adventures in Adult Braces: June

Let’s rewind to last month when I was so optimistic that there was light at the end of the braces tunnel. Those hopes were dashed on the rocks of this month’s appointment.

Last month we put more focus on addressing the tooth that was out of alignment. Well, that tooth is extremely stubborn and refused to be moved. It moved minutely, but not enough to satisfy my doctor. So this month we threw the entire arsenal at it. The block on that tooth was replaced with something a lot strong to force the stubborn little thing into place.

Currently, the block is a bigger annoyance than the tooth because of where it is situated. My canine keeps knocking it and I can’t close my teeth properly. I have been assured that this will only be for a few days as the tooth settles and moves. Here’s hoping.

The only other adjustment that was made was that I now only have to wear my elastics at night and not 24 hours a day anymore. This is all well and good, but I’m worried that I will forget to put them in. I have to try and be extra vigilant.

My orthodontist was incredibly happy with the progress he is seeing. He says the treatment is a huge success – his exact words. But there is still no word on when they braces will be coming off. He did mention in passing that the length of treatment was until March next year (this is news to me!!) and that at this rate I could be finished by December.

He did mention in passing that the length of treatment was until March next year and that at this rate I could be finished by December. This is all news to me. I was under the impression that treatment was only 18 months long and I have been holding out to have the braces removed in October at the latest. I feel a little despondent to learn that I may have so long to go still.

 

 

The great haircut fiasco

It’s taken me a while to write this post. I’ve had to come to terms with how I feel about everything before I could commit it to words.

A while ago, my darling daughter decided to give herself a haircut. I can see all the moments leading up to this grand event in mind, it’s now becoming pretty comical, but at the time, not so much.

A couple of weeks ago I had given her fringe a quick trim. Her hair was getting in her eyes and it was time. A few days after that I decided to rearrange Willow’s toys and make room to store all my wool, knitting needles and sewing stuff. I had repurposed a plastic storage bin for this and locked everything up tight and put it under my desk.

These two incidents may seem unrelated but wait. You’ll soon see how they fit together. My parents had come to visit for the weekend and my mom and I decided to leave early on Saturday morning to go to the fabric store. We left A in charge and headed out before Willow had woken up for the day.

While I was getting my fabric cut A called me to tell me Willow had cut her hair. Apparently, she had gotten out of bed without calling for anybody, climbed upstairs in her sleeping bag, got into my neatly packed up and (I thought) locked craft box, found my sewing scissors and hacked her hair off.

When he called me I was under the impression that she had just cut a small section. When I got home and saw the devastation that was her hair the full impact of what had happened dawned on me. She had basically shorn about a third of her hair off. It was cut so close to the scalp that it still amazes me that she didn’t lose an eye, the tip of her ear or manage to scalp herself. It was the parenting fail to end all parenting fails.

I took her to the hairdresser to see how we could salvage the situation, but the only thing to be done was to cut it all off with the hair clippers. She now has an ultra-modern hair style and it’s changed the way she looks completely. She looks so old now!

The further we get away from the incident the more I cringe about it. I honestly thought that everything was packed up safely in the box that was locked with some pretty hefty clips. It never dawned on me that she was strong enough to open the box. The sewing scissors and all over scissors for that matter are now all stored up on high shelves out of reach. Its bolting the stable door after the horse has fled, but what can I do about it now. I am just consoling myself that it was just her hair and hair grows back!

Friday Favourites: June 9

What. A. Week. In fact what an intense few weeks. I feel like activity on this blog has been few and far between and it’s been because I have been so busy, it just slipped down the list of priorities. But things are starting to settle down and get back to normal… I hope.

I feel like activity on this blog has been few and far between and it’s been because I have been so busy, it just slipped down the list of priorities. But things are starting to settle down and get back to normal… I hope.

This week has been cold, cold, cold. We’ve been feeling the effects of the intense cold front that has been ravaging the Cape. I have been watching the news on what’s been going on down there and my heart is so sore for those who have been affected by the fires and storms. I have been trying to rally people to donate to the relief effort. If you can check out this site. I’m pretty sure this will be an ongoing problem and they can use as much help as they can get.

I feel like there’s so much to catch you up on that I don’t know where to start. I’m going to just update in a series of photos, and start again from scratch.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Chat soon xx

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My friend’s wedding photos are finally done. How gorgeous is this shot? Obsessed

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A gorgeous piece of art by Miss Willow

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Miss Willow’s favourite thing right now: Her Snow White outfit

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Sunday morning snuggle session

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The whole family in bed enjoying some Moana on a chilly afternoon

Product of the week: This week I have become firm friends with Baking Soda (Bicarb) and a toothbrush. It amazes me how versatile baking soda is. I have been on a mission to clean water marks and the grouting in bathroom and it’s been working like a bomb. I also used it on a pot that had food baked onto it, and voila! it lifted like a charm. Its my new favourite thing.

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I treated myself to some snazzy new shoes! These brogues are from Jessica Simpson and are so incredibly cute and comfy. Love

Purchase of the week:  I treated myself to these shoes as a payday treat. They were on sale for 20% off at Edgars and I’m in love!

Random: I have been obsessed with cleaning my house lately. I don’t know what it is but I’m making hay while the sun shines. I have sorted out water marks, I have been cleaning the walls (courtesy of the toddler…) and I’m now on a mission to get the carpets and upholstery sorted. Not my usual type of obsession, but I’m rolling with it

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I made myself a pair of pajama pants!

Project of the week: I’m determined to learn how to sew. I went fabric shopping with my mom and have a few projects in mind. But the one that we completed on the weekend were these cute pajama pants. I love them ad I’m really proud of myself.

Best Moment: I have been making good progress at finishing things, but my proudest moment was putting on my new PJ pants that I had made myself.

Looking Forward to: We’ve got a quiet weekend planned. I’m hoping to make Willow a dressing gown and spend snuggling with her. She’s a little poorly, so we’re going to take it easy.

The Incredible Philippines

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This is part two of our recent holiday to South East Asia. It has taken me far too long to get this post up, but life has a way of getting in the way of your plans 😉

You can read the first instalment here. Like part one this post is long.

Wow, the Philippines. I have been struggling to come up with the words to describe how utterly incredible this place is!

We stayed at a resort on the Panglao Peninsula on Bohol Island and it was everything you would imagine a tropical island to be. I loved it so much. I would go back there in a heartbeat.

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It was quite a mission to get to. We left Hong Kong at 8.30 in the morning on a two hour flight to Cebu. After the super efficiency we experienced in Hong Kong, Cebu was a little bit of a shock to the system. It felt a lot more rural and disorganised. We spent forever in passport control and then even longer waiting for our bags to come out at baggage claim. It was such a mess.

My sister had arranged for a shuttle to collect us at the airport and take us to the ferry terminal. Once again we were faced with chaos. Thank goodness Carmen had bought our tickets online. But we still had to get our bags checked through, pay our terminal fee and then get on the ferry. Once we were on we could sit back and relax for the hour and a half it took to get to the city of Tagbilaran.

What we found in Tagbilaran made Cebu look like the height of organised. Getting off the ferry was a challenge, and then we still needed to try and locate our luggage -all in stifling heat and humidity. Again, my sister, the queen of organising had a shuttle waiting for us. So once we got out luggage we were able to sit in the air-conditioned bus for the 20 minutes it took to get to out resort.

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The resort itself is like something out of a movie. They are currently upgrading their facilities, but we were incredibly comfortable during our stay and I would have stayed in a hovel if I could have that view. It was breathtaking!

But our room was no hovel. We had a sea facing bungalow with an incredible view and a Jacuzzi in our own private grotto. It was lovely.

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That first evening we all just chilled by the pool, waiting for my parents and Kyla to get there (they came on a different flight). We also got to meet up with two more of Ricky’s friends, adding to the surprise that had been going on all week.

We had an incredible dinner on this gorgeous deck with incredible sea views. But most of us were worn out by the intense journey it took to get there so we all turned in early for the night.

The next day we went to town after breakfast. We had decided to go buy some snorkelling gear and when we saw the centre the sports shop was located in, a few of us decided to stay to do some shopping. The prices in the Philippines are incredibly good and we ended up buying quite a bit in that centre.

After shopping, we decided to find some local food for lunch. We walked around the town for a bit and discovered this magnificent church, but could find the food we were looking for. So we decided to head back to the resort. Our little group split up and A and I and our friend Andrew ended up in this little burger joint for lunch. After that, we took a tuk tuk back to the resort. The afternoon was spent snorkelling on the little reef they have and hanging out by the pool. In the early evening, the final two people in the surprise joined our party, making it complete.

The next day was Ricky’s birthday and he had organised a day trip to go explore more of Bohol. We went to the town of Carmen where the Chocolate Hills are located. As you can imagine, there were jokes for days about this and my sister being the mayor of Carmen. The Chocolate Hills are a world heritage site and a natural wonder of the world. I hadn’t heard of them before this trip, but they are really cool and I’m glad we got to see them.

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After that, we went to an adventure park where the others did zip lining and an obstacle course. I’m not great with heights so I kept my feet firmly on the ground. My mom and I wandered through the butterfly garden and then I took photos of the others on the skateboard zip line.

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Our final activity for the day was a buffet lunch and river cruise on the Loboc River. It was spectacular. The food was incredible and the river cruise was so chilled and beautiful. There was live music and we got to see people who lived on the river banks swimming, kids were jumping into the water off of trees and such. It was such a lovely afternoon.

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That evening we had Ricky’s birthday party on the private island in the lagoon in front of the resort. We were taken to the island on a little boat and were treated to the most spectacular sunset. The dinner was, again amazing, and I even got to try sea urchin for the first time.

We danced, and chatted and had a great time. A and I left a little early to walk my parents back to the beach. By the time it came to go home the tide was so far out that the boat couldn’t get back to the island. So we walked in the warm water all the way home. A and I ended the evening by chilling in our Jacuzzi listening to the music from the party.

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The next day was quite chilled. The main group went snorkelling at a reef about 10minutes by boat from the resort. My sister, Kyla, and I as well as two others decided to go to a nearby dive resort to scuba dive. Unfortunately, I had problems with equalising my ears and wasn’t able to finish the dive, but I had a great time chilling on the boat chatting with the skipper. I also saw a school of flying fish, which blew my mind!

We met up with everyone else for a fish barbeque on the beach. It started pouring down with rain while we were there, so we were moved to a covered deck area. The food was great and we had a great time chatting and laughing. Most of the people had hired scooters for the time we were there, but I did the sensible thing and went home in the taxi, leaving A to drive the scooter with the rest of them in the rain 😉

On Thursday the main group when to go see the dolphins at the marine sanctuary. Normally you are able to swim with the dolphins, but due to the fact that the pod had babies, no swimming was allowed, but they got to go snorkelling in the marine sanctuary.

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A and I stayed behind along with my sister and a few others. Kyla’s boyfriend was joining the group that day, so we decided to wait for him. A and I decided to drive our scooter into town. We had a few errands to run and we wanted to explore more. Kyla and Dave joined us and we found my parents in the centre buying souvenirs a little later on. It was awesome to have Dave with us. He’s lived in South East Asia for a while and knows how to find the local haunts. He found this awesome little restaurant that served local Filipino food. We had seaweed salad, Jackfruit, chicken stew and more. It was awesome!

We got to drink some more awesome cocktails, eat another incredible dinner (by this point I was struggling to eat food. I had eaten so much that there was just no more room!). A and I went back to our bungalow to pack after dinner then found the others for a game of Jungle Speed before saying goodnight. It was the perfect way to end off our final day.

The next morning, we managed to get the boat to take us to the reef for one last snorkel before we headed home. We saw giant clams as big as a table, seahorses, so many different kinds of fish and starfish and moray eels. It was lovely. They give you bread when you snorkel so you can feed the fish and get them to come right up close to you. It’s incredible.

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Once the boat got back to the resort I had to hot foot it to the shower, finish up the last of our packing and then go to check out. There were four of us leaving on the early ferry, with another group leaving later in the afternoon and the rest leaving on Saturday.

This time the ferry ride was not as intense as the first time. I think we had more of an idea of what to expect and were able to negotiate it quite well. Once back in Cebu we found a taxi to take us to the airport. We wanted to have plenty of time because the traffic can be hectic. Once you’ve driven around in the Philippines you’ll understand. There is no discernible system.

It was a really long travel day. Our flight out of Cebu was delayed and we had a really tight window in Hong Kong to catch our connector. We were met at the end of the gangway by a Cathay Pacific air hostess who marched us through that airport at lightning speed (Hong Kong is not a small airport!). At one point we were literally running to keep up with her. But she got us through all the various check-in points and onto that plane in good time.

And that is the grand tale of our tropical adventure. It was a time I will treasure for always and I will go back to the Philippines in a heartbeat!

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