In My Travel Bag: Nu-Tan

Probably you will laugh at me a bit but when we decided that we were going to Thailand one of the first thoughts I had was “Oh yay I can take my Nu-Tan with me and actually use it properly this time!” Last time I used it I kind of sucked a bit. Partly because it rained a lot when I first attempted to use it, but mostly because of who I am as a person. As in: I’m not the kind of person who pops out to her back yard for a tan. Especially not when there are three children in the house who look at you like you’ve lost the plot when you pop out to the garden in your bikini for no apparent reason.

Despite my first failed attempt at using Nu-Tan I did discover their biggest plus: My skin isn’t so sensitive when I use those patches! And THAT is why I am taking those babies with me to Thailand. Because this prone-to-looking-like-a-tomato-after-a-minute-in-the-sun skin of mine definitely likes those little patches.

So yes. I’m using Nu-Tan as part of my sun protection now.

I should try to explain this in a way that makes me sound less like a rabbit on speed…

Nu-Tan has a sort of hormone patch that you stick on your arms for a minimum of two hours before you go out into the sun. Then you get your tan on for half an hour and after a bit of regular use (patch plus 20 mins in the sun or 10 mins on a sunbed) you start to get an actual tan. This is great for doomed-to-be-pale folks like myself. And it does actually work.

Now I’m not too worried about my closely-resembling-death pallor (Drucilla and Morticia have been my #stylegoals for years) but, I am VERY concerned about how the sun tends to affect me. So, it is my hope that along with my sunscreen and my usual head-to-toe coverups, my Nu-Tan patches will help to keep that mean mean mean sunburn at bay.

And probably I will even get a tan for the first time in about 20 years.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Yes, I Use Credit Cards to Fund My Travels

This is in no way advice on how anyone should go about dealing with the financial aspect of travelling, but yes, my guilty “secret” is that I use credit cards to fund my travels.

Maybe it’s not the smartest plan, and I definitely don’t advocate it, but traveling on credit cards works for me. I have this thing where I am REALLY good at paying off debt but I’m super freaking terrible at saving. I can guarantee you I will pay a 20k credit card debt off in half the time that it would take me to save that same 20k. I don’t know why. Most likely it has something to do with being convinced that eliminating debt is a priority, while not feeling quite as convinced that saving is.

Actually it’s more like: I have a crippling fear of debt.

So, of course, the “fear” plays a role in making my travels a little more stressful than necessary. But, the credit cards kind of help to make it possible and the whole yolo thing helps to keep the demons at arms length for at least 49% of the time.

Also: free travel insurance when you purchase plane tickets with a credit card.

I do harbour a fantasy where I pay off my credit cards and then start a nice little nest egg, but so far the temptation of adventure has kept me at its mercy.

I’ll get better. Or maybe I won’t.

For now I’m just trying to love my life.

How do you make this stuff work for you?

In My Travel Bag: Oh So Heavenly

So I have this thing that I’ve been doing ever since I dragged my husband with me to Thailand back in 2014. I’ve been kind of…well…let’s call it Collecting Scents. I know it sounds mad. Maybe it is even. But I really love it and it’s become one of my favourite travel traditions.

Every time I go on a trip, I find myself a brand new scent to take with me. And ever since I started doing it I have to admit that the Oh So Heavenly range from Clicks has been a huge feature in the tradition. I have absolutely loved OSH ever since I discovered them years and years ago (the lavender and the pomegranate range especially remind me of the early days of my relationship with my husband) and I’ve been using them for nostalgic purposes on my travels.

You see, the Pretty in Pink range reminds me of our fantastic family roadtrip around the Eastern Cape in 2016.

And the coconut body spray reminds me of being in India.

The Moroccan Argan Oil range reminds me of Turkey.

The shampoo with the berries on it reminds me of Zanzibar.

And it’s so nice because every time I use any of these products in my mundane day-to-day life, they transport me back to a beautiful memory that makes me smile.

So I take the tradition very seriously. 

This time I got a little bit extra indulgent and got myself a whole range of Oh So Heavenly’s Lily Lovely. And I can’t wait to use it. Of course it’s all politely on hold in my toiletry bag, waiting to be used for the first time on the morning of our flight.

Am I silly?

Do you have any strange travel traditions that you like to indulge in?


Travel Essentials: My Top Five

I’m not really one of those travellers that can brag about how light they travel. You know the type: Oh I travelled through Asia for three months with only my hand luggage and a tube of mascara. No. That’s not me. At the same time I’m not one of those travellers who you see at the check-in counter, trying to justify why they shouldn’t have to pay extra for the 5 piece matching luggage set that weighs four times the allocated baggage allowance.

I’m just the girl who tries to strictly keep it under the 20kg average that should keep you from forking out any extra cash. I don’t mind spending money on travel. Spending money on extra luggage though? No man that’s crazy!

Anyway – I’ve been thinking about what the must-have items in my luggage are, and I’ll admit that the answer to this question changes from mood to mood, because most of what ends up in my luggage is obviously clothing.

There are, however, 5 items that never change. It doesn’t matter if I am on a road trip through my own country or I’m galavanting over the seas to foreign lands. These 5 are my no-compromise must-haves, and honestly I have no idea how other folks manage to exist without them. I couldn’t! (more…)

FYI: Cheap Flights to Vic Falls and Zanzibar

Photo on 2016-05-11 at 11.05 AMI mentioned the other day that I spent pretty much the whole of last weekend trolling various websites while I tried to figure out what kind of travel I would like to indulge in next. I also mentioned that the cheap flights to Zanzibar in August that I had been counting on using to celebrate our anniversary (seven years folks, and we still like each other!) were sold out by the time I was ready to take the plunge and pay for them.

Disappointments aside, I did find out some cool things while I was fiddling and I thought that I would share them with you, even though I won’t be able to take advantage of them myself.

I’d first like to say that I have fallen in love with Fast Jet and I recommend that if you’re a bit like me and are happy to travel just wherever as long as the flights are reasonable, then you should be trolling their page. And no: no one paid me to say it. I legit love them. (That said if there are any Fast Jet marketing folks out there wondering if they could get this dreamy-eyed travel blogger to say nice things about them in exchange for payment then the answer is yes yes yes a thousand times yes!) (more…)

How to Plan an Impromptu Trip to India


In eight more sleeps Ty and I are going to India. Three months ago I wasn’t planning to go to India. Going to India was never on my main travel list. To be perfectly honest with you, India has always been on my in case of divorce travel list. Thanks, Elizabeth Gilbert. I blame you. My comfortably married self who is currently not in need of an ashram, has been considering other destinations though. Germany, for one. And Italy. But not India.

Then, in November, I met Shobha. Shobha lives in Hyderabad, India, and she stayed with my folks for a couple of weeks while learning more about their business and she and I got along really well. Of course, she kept saying you should come and visit us in India and I of course kept thinking if only impromptu trips to India were part of my homeschooling housewife lifestyle.

You know how sometimes you go to your favourite online shopping store and you put a bunch of stuff into the cart before laughing at yourself and then closing the browser? I do that too. But with trips.

So, I thought maybe I should share what happened, because I’m kind of overwhelmed at how it worked out. Travelling is a luxury denied to most. As someone who barely makes ends meet, I must admit sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve this thing that makes my heart soar so high. But maybe, just maybe, it’s a little more doable than we allow ourselves to believe. As soon as you make it a priority, somehow it works itself out.

Play With Flight Apps

Out of curiosity about what kind of costs we were looking at for a trip to India, I decided to play around with a flight app on my phone. I was shockingly surprised to find that flights around the dates that I had randomly chosen were not that bad. Those are now the dates that we will be travelling. If I had chosen other random dates, we literally might not be going right now, because on further inspection, I fiddled around with other dates and the tickets went up by 4 to 6 grand. If those had been the first numbers I had seen I would have put my phone down, so don’t give up if the first numbers you get are bad. Play around a bit and you might come up with something you can afford.

Check Out the Sights

So I knew that the Taj Mahal was in India, but after that my knowledge was limited. Obviously ashramming was not an option (you go to those things solo, otherwise there’s no point as far as I’m concerned) so I had to figure out what the actual options are. Let me tell you, as soon as you start Googling India, you realise that you need to take off at least 6 months to get a proper feel of the place. Figuring out how to spend a mere 3 weeks is hard. I already know that when my kids are grown I’m going back for a proper amount of time.

Chat to a Tour Guide

 So, a lot of websites that I visited offered tour packages and I was curious about them but there were no prices. Finally, at one random site, I put in my details and hit send. The confirmation email arrived in my inbox, and I suddenly sobered up. How ridiculous! I don’t need a tour operator to contact me! I’m not going to India! That’s madness! So I deleted the email without confirming anything.

Well, the next day I received phone calls from three different tour companies. This was a little embarrassing as I wasn’t a serious potential customer, but I was upfront about my simple curiosity and none of my unconfirmed email follow uppers seemed offended by this or ever treated me like I was wasting their time. Soon I had three different quotes for what I wanted. The number was high, but it seemed reasonable.

 800px-A_man_in_traditional_attire,_RishikeshDo Your Own Research

 Not wanting to accept the high quotes on blind faith I started doing my own research. I tried to figure out what things would cost if I set about doing all of it on my own, and also contemplated just rocking up in India and going with the flow. The go-without-a-plan thing was easy enough to do in Thailand. Honestly, I’d happily send my kids to Thailand with a backpack and zero plans and feel pretty confident that they’d manage ok. But it doesn’t work like that for all countries. London and Spain, for instance, are scary as hell and it’s hard to make any sort of decision in those places without fearing that your weakly valued SA Rands are going to disappear way faster than you expected.

Anyway, I did the research and started to understand pretty well what things did and didn’t cost. I am almost 100% sure that just going with the flow and doing things on your own is probably the most cost effective way to go. But for this trip I decided that I’m ok with paying a little extra for a bit of piece of mind. We need a good break, so splurging on a few unnecessary extras seems like a good way to go.

I turned down two of the quotes I got and then worked with the tour operator who gave me the third. Together we changed a few things and managed to get it down by quite a few thousand Rands. I have to admit that a LOT of work went in to all of it, but I’m happy with the idea of what we’re getting (not sure if the idea and the reality will measure up but here’s hoping!) and I’m glad I put in the extra work because now I know that I have made the choice that I am most comfortable with.

Buy the Tickets

 If you’re comfortable purchasing tickets online then go for it! Personally I was a little weary that I was missing some sort of fine print so I contacted my travel agent. She managed to get me tickets close to the price that I had found online but with less travel time so I was super happy about that.

Get the Vaccinations

There are no compulsory vaccinations needed for India, although there are a couple of recommended ones. If, however, you are travelling to India via Ethiopia like I am, you need to get a yellowfever shot. The shot is valid for 10 years so keep that card they give you in case you need it for your next travel adventure.

Get the Visa

The visa application process seems to be a lengthy one with many forms and hoops, but at least it’s not too expensive. You’re looking at an overall costing of less than R500 per person which is pretty low compared to some costs.

Dream About Packing and Then Get Started

I haven’t started packing yet but I’ve packed in my head a thousand times already. I’m so excited I can barely contain myself any more. The anticipation of this trip, though very spur of the moment, has kind of kept me ticking for the last couple of months, a fact for which I am exceptionally grateful. 

800px-Lotus_Nelumbo_nucifera_Flower_Close_2048pxRemember That Things Are Possible

I feel like an ignorantly privileged jerk making sweeping statements like all things are possible, but I think pulling something like this off (and I assure you – the kind of wangling that had to take place in order to make this happen was a feat of talent!) reminds me that things like this can be pulled off. And it makes me feel hopeful. I pulled off a trip to Thailand in 2013. Then in 2014 I managed to pull off another trip to Thailand, this time with my husband. I spent 2015 feeling like our travels might be behind us for a very long while, and it felt a bit like a stone in my stomach. But we’ve done it, again. And I think I might be figuring it out that we can do this. We can live this way, over and over. We just need to do the wangling thing. We need to prioritise.


Image Credit:

By Yann (talk) – Own work, GFDL,

By Photo (c)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) – Own work (Own Picture), CC BY-SA 2.5,

By Ken Wieland from Philadelphia, USA – Rishikesh man, CC BY-SA 2.0,