After our epic adventure in Thailand last year, in which we managed to visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi and Phi Phi, we were super excited to book our next adventure for this year.

We spent absolutely ages poring over forums and websites, considering where to go next. Coming out on top were Vietnam, India and Nepal. Unfortunately though, we simply couldn’t decide where to go! There were so many pros and cons to each place.

It was difficult because Thailand last year was just such a pull [not least because I’d wanted to visit for so long]. It was super easy to choose where to go because we both had a set idea of what we wanted and expected from our travels. The country has the best of everything. Shopping, nightlife, animals, tranquillity, bustling cities, religion and culture alongside just the right amount of sleaze.

We managed to fit a hell of a lot in, although we had to cut out some must-go places simply to fit into the time we had. On our hunt for the next adventure, we kept finding ourselves saying things like “Why don’t we try to fly to XX via Chiang Mai” and “Perhaps we could do half in XX, half in Thailand?”. In the end, we just looked at each other and decided there and then that we’d return to Thailand.

And here we are.

We worried that returning to Thailand would be a cop out. Why not try somewhere new? But then again, why not return to somewhere you loved? We’re changing up our itinerary to fit in all the stuff we couldn’t get to last time.

We also have more time, and a considerably bigger budget than last year [watch out, ballers coming through], so we can afford to live in style. Here’s what we’ve got planned so far. Let us know if we’ve missed something amazing.

Be massive poshos in Bangkok

Our first night in Bangkok, we were happy to forgo Khao San Road and head to the Sky Bar from The Hangover for ridiculously overpriced cocktails. Totally predictable, but whatever. Unfortunately, the receptionist at the hotel who was arranging our taxi took one look at Mr Jones’ shorts and told us they wouldn’t let us in. It wasn’t the end of the world, we just had the craic in the form of buckets and a game of checkers above KSR. We’ll make sure Will has something suitable to wear this time round and head to the bar. I feel like it’s just one of those things that needs to be done. Literally so excited for hangover Schweppes Manao as well – we’ve missed this shit so much!

Patong

We have a thing by which we visit a strip bar in every new place we visit. That sounds wrong, but it’s out of hilarity’s sake than anything else. Whilst we went to a few go-go bars in Bangkok, we found that the main ‘action’ was over in Patong. However, last year we’d heard about a few scams and because we were fresh off the boat as it were, we decided not to go. We’re going to head over this time though. I’ll write about it here if I can get away with not being TOO graphic.

Although, I’m not sure anything will beat the guy in the go-go bar in Chiang Mai. He was basically dressed as the KFC Colonel, drinking tea from a cup and saucer and cheers-ing with it every so often.  He was loving it!

Pai

One of our friends travelled around Thailand before heading off to Australia – he recommended Pai as the place to go. I’ve heard about the 726 curves to Pai and don’t really fancy sitting in a mini-bus trying to avoid other people throwing up on me [Will included, he’d get motion sickness on an escalator!] – but apparently it’s worth it.

There is also an opportunity here to visit a Karen Long Neck tribe…but I’m torn on this. This is something that really interests me, but I’ve read a fair few reviews that have put me off slightly. Quite a few have mentioned how much of a tourist trap it is – and really, how authentic can it be? Like the elephants last year, I’m going to have to do some more research into whether or not this is ethical, or even worth it.

Cooking class

Since we began living together, we’ve cooked up a storm in the kitchen. We’re always up for trying new things and I’d love to learn how to cook some authentic Thai food in an authentic setting. We couldn’t do this last year as we ran out of time, but I’ve found an amazing deal to do a half day at the famous Mama Noi cooking school for under £20 each! Bangin’.

More animals

One of the best experiences of my life was visiting the elephants at the Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. We did a load of research and found so many cheaper options. Unfortunately, a vast majority of these had tethered and ridden elephants. So sad! The elephants at EJS looked so happy and were literally loving it – although we did nearly get trampled by some over-zealous teenage ‘phants! You know when they say “my life flashed before my eyes” …literally.

Anyway, similarly to the above, we want to have the best experience possible…ethically. I do like the idea of hanging out with tigers in theory – but it’s unlikely we’ll find somewhere we can see them where they’ve not been drugged or taken from their mothers. Do you know anywhere?

More beach time

As I say, we crammed a shit ton of stuff into two weeks, and barely rested. We spent one or two nights in different places and lived out of our bags. We finally slowed down and spent four days and three nights on Koh Phi Phi. Absolute dream – stay at Beach Front Divers Resort for a brilliant experience and practically your own private beach! They also run a diving school which is much less overrun with tourists than the ones nearer the ferry port.

ANYWAY. We loved those days on the beach to just chill, take boat rides island hopping, eat and drink at leisure without worrying about catching our next flight. In fact, we loved it so much we considered missing our flight back to Bangkok and booking a new one because we really didn’t want to leave.

This time, we’ve been able to learn from experience and have set aside a good five days to be beach bums and simply be. That being said, which island should we choose? Top of the list are Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Lanta or Koh Tao…

We’ve got a whole travel bucket list [and another 14 holiday days spare later in the year], so are looking for inspiration to go elsewhere this year and next. Where would you recommend?

Pink skies weekend in Berlin with television towerWe recently got back from a weekend in Berlin [Ella’s Christmas present to Will – NBD] and wanted
to share some of our experiences with you. Plus, we’ve got a whole host of new camera equipment and wanted to try it out!

We love making videos like this – we did the same thing for Thailand last year and will aim to do something similar when we head back there this year.

There’s a few Berlin-centric blogs coming up too, covering the best food, experiences and top tips, so keep an eye out for these.

Enjoy!

Want more travel? See here.

A weekend in Berlin

Why did I ditch social media?

social media queen girl in pink taking selfie surrounded by balloons

Why did I ditch social media? Because it was pretty much taking over my life, is the short answer.

Alarm goes off – straight on Instagram, Snapchat and a scroll through Facebook. Light goes out at night – best have one more scroll through social media to be sure I haven’t missed anything.

I’ve had Instagram for a long ass time, and for the most part used it as a kind of picture diary for myself, uploading images of parties, people and travels. Sometimes I’d go back through it to look at seriously fun times. It was fun! It was supposed to be fun.

Something changed along the way though, in that it became more than that to me, and became a numbers game.

I had a phase in the summer in which I tried to ‘theme’ my Instagram, uploading bordered, similarly filtered images, three times a day, with clever hashtags and formatting. It was so boring and limiting, and made absolutely no difference whatsoever to my engagement. If anything, it was worse because the images weren’t ‘real’ any more.

I’m not proud of it, but it got to the point where I was doing research to try and understand Instagram’s algorithms to figure out why my images weren’t doing as well as someone else’s.

And the long and short of it was, and still is – that actually, I really don’t care who looked at the images. I couldn’t give a shit whether Jim Bob from high school has seen my Saturday Night Out post and liked it or not. It wasn’t even about the people – it was about the numbers. And unfortunately, I was the only one in my weird, self-centred race.

The other issue of that was some serious stalking. I think it’s okay to dabble in some light stalking, we all do it to some extent, especially when people leave their lives so open online. However, when you’re 29 weeks into some bird’s photos you don’t even know, it’s time to step away from the smartphone, lady.

Going cold Turkey

Halfway through a bottle of wine, and having just had that heart-stopping moment of accidentally liking someone’s picture I wasn’t even following (maybe they won’t notice, surely they wont notice? Note: THEY’LL FUCKIN’ NOTICE, YOU DOUGHNUT), I deleted all of my social media apps.

Now, I’m clearly back on social media. You may not have even noticed I’d gone. However, the way I’m using it is a lot different now.

It was really hard, though. The next morning, I’d forgotten I’d done it and went to look at Instagram. Cold reality settling, I did something else. In fact, I ‘did something else’ a lot, whenever I found myself unlocking my phone for no other reason than to scroll through someone else’s life or post some picture for likes. I read the news, read a book, I wrote for my blog, I researched things for my new job, for travelling, for my health. I went for a ‘walk’ spontaneously for the first time in my life.

Switching off

The first couple of days were tough, and what shocked me was the amount of times I’d have that urge to open an app. Any spare second and I’d go to open one. Over the course of the next couple of weeks though, I found myself thinking less and less of social media. I even watched an entire film through with Will, without having a sly scroll.

However, I need social media, for my job, blog and general knowledge. I decided to reinstall and set myself limits. Ten minutes max, twice a day – no stalking whatsoever. To aid this, I did a massive unfollow / unfriend cull.

It has worked! Instead of scrolling endlessly, I usually have a purpose and I am much more able to switch off.

So for now, I’m back on social media. Still liking, still scrolling – but on a much smaller scale. And the numbers? Yeah, I might still post a selfie if I’m particularly feeling myself that day, but I realise that what’s important is whether I like the picture, not anyone else. I also know that some people think I’m beautiful and awesome no matter what – and that’s what I care about.

Interested in my thoughts? Read this open letter to bitchy high school teacher.

Want to know about waxing?

I’ve been waxing my bits since 2010. Eight years of visiting various salons every 7 – 8 weeks (I’m blessed / cursed with slow-growing hair). That’s about eight waxes a year – or about 64 since I started. And because of that, truth be told, I consider myself an expert on the subject.

A strong advocate for the manicured front garden, I’ve shared a lot of advice with curious friends over the years. Here it is in all its glory, to help you on your way to achieving a Waxed Wonderland. Sorry. I’m having far too much fun here.

Prep

Rule number one: don’t get waxed the day before that big date, beach day or bikini photoshoot or whatever. You’ll be a red, swollen mess. Get waxed a good couple of days beforehand to allow everything to chill the fuck out.

When choosing where you go to get waxed, do your research and don’t ever choose the cheapest. I’ve seen intimate waxes cost from £15 – £50+ – and you truly get what you pay for. Cheaper ones tend to be less experienced waxers sticking strip wax in any old place and basically ripping your skin off before sending you out into the street traumatised. I’ve been seriously bruised and burnt over the years by shit waxers, so I’m asking you to not make the same mistake.

More expensive waxers will use higher quality wax, will use a proper technique including pressing down on the area they’ve just waxed (it’s kind of like rubbing a bruised elbow – don’t know why, but it works). They’ll also use talc to ease the waxing process, and calming oils or sprays afterwards. One time, a premium waxer spent a good 20 minutes down there with a pair of tweezers to truly ensure she’d done her job. Top marks!

In terms of prepping the actual area ahead of time – just be clean and make sure the hair is a good few mm long, for the wax to grip. It doesn’t hurt to exfoliate as well, to help with any ingrown hairs.

Hot wax vs strip wax

You’ll often be given the option between the strip and hot wax. Strip wax is where wax is applied to the area with a bamboo stick, a piece of paper is applied to the wax, and then the whole lot is ripped off. Hot wax is pretty much the same, except it’s usually a higher quality wax, and we skip the paper – the wax is applied and then removed by hand from your body. To make things extra confusing – the strip wax is also hot. All wax should be hot. Whatever.

In terms of advice, if you’re just beginning, I’d say go for hot wax. It’s slightly less painful for some reason, and I find it’s more accurate when removing all those annoying tiny hairs. It is a little more expensive, though – you’ll find lower range salons don’t even do it, so avoid those ones.

The process

If you’re a massive prude, you’ll just have to get over it. It’s truly intimate and there’s no room for embarrassment. You’ll meet the waxer and will be fully exposed within about two minutes. They don’t even buy for a drink for the pleasure.

No but seriously – they literally don’t care.

She’ll probably ask you to lie down with your legs like a frog – you know, like you’re doing some kind of weird backwards breaststroke – and go from there. If it’s a good wax, she should get everywhere -and I mean EVERYWHERE that you haven’t specifically asked that she leave, i.e. if you’re getting a Brazilian.

The first time, you will probably be nervous and yes, it will hurt. It’s over quickly though, and it shouldn’t be unbearable, especially if the waxer is experienced. Rest assured, it will only get easier. I don’t even flinch anymore and regularly phone friends during a session to chat shite.

The whole thing should take about 10-15 minutes, or maybe a little longer if you’ve particularly dark or thick hair.

Aftermath

Unless you’re a waxing veteran, you might be feeling a little delicate. It’ll pass! Just avoid lace knickers and anything, erm, vigorous, for at least 24 hours.

Moisturise

I feel at my absolute sexiest when I’m sleek as a dolphin all over and this is at its optimum after a super good wax. Anywhere you’re removing hair, just slather on the moisturiser for best results. Keep it up, especially for the first few days.

DO NOT SHAVE

The worst part about waxing, for me anyway, is the awkward regrowth period you have to go through before you can get it done again. It’s awful! Patchy, itchy, annoying. I personally find hair there really ugly unless it’s extremely well maintained (as per a fresh wax), so this is doubly annoying. HOWEVER – DO NOT be tempted to shave in between waxes. It’s 100% not worth it. I don’t know the exact science behind this but it’s something about how the hair is stimulated to grow back. I have cracked a few times and shaved, and on going to get a new wax, it hurts just as much as the first time and takes longer. Avoid. The not flinching thing I mentioned earlier? That’s from following my own amazing waxing advice.

Follow the above rules and you’ll be golden. And smooth. Like some kind of golden, shiny, smooth egg.

I had a thought the other day, whilst lying in the chair of doom – if I’ve had that many waxes, at around £25 a go (yes – that’s £1,600 on waxing, I’ve spent), why not get laser treatment and get rid of it for good?

I negotiated a great deal for a package with my waxing lady! It actually works out at about the rate of six waxes (£150), and with my lack of growth, hopefully that will be the end of it FOREVER – absolute dream. Just don’t make me think about what I’ll look like at 80 with a Brazilian.

So just bear with, give me a few months and I’ll be sharing another post on what it’s like to have your clunge lasered. Super! You lucky lot.

Intrigued about my fanny? Lol, you weirdo. Have a read about menstrual cups here.

Rebrand? Yes.

millennial pink googly eyes rebrand

Welcome to the new-look blog!

I’ve run this blog since 2012 as an outlet for my creativity – especially back when I was selling bratwurst for a living. Since then, it’s grown into something I couldn’t have fathomed when I started it.

It’s opened many doors for me; socially, professionally and commercially and I’m so happy it’s expanded into something that’s (almost) financially viable.

That said, I just felt that the title ‘Ella in the Big City’ no longer reflected the direction of the blog.

I chose to simply rebrand the blog as myself: Ella Lucie. Ooh, sounds terribly narcissistic, put like that doesn’t it? Soz.

I spent ages fucking about with colour picker tools, and finally settled on this colour. It’s seriously heading into Millennial Pink territory but I properly rate it.

Has much changed?

I wondered about changing the tone of my writing, cutting out the swear words for example. BUT. I absolutely love coming across blogs that are clearly written by people who have a passion for it, and I can lose hours going through previous posts, simply because they make me laugh, or because they have a particularly exciting writing style.

Also, I believe there’s a really fine line to sponsored content. There’s nothing more annoying than a blog filled with nothing but saccharine sweet reviews whilst being practically smashed over the head with affiliate links: nah mate. If I’m lucky enough to be offered a product or experience, I’ll write about it because I like it.

So, because of this, I decided against changing anything about my writing. This blog is mine. If I want to sit down and bash out a sweary, 1,500-word emotionally-charged post, I will.

WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY IS: I’m really thrilled that this platform is heading in the right direction, but I think what’s most important to me is that I’m still writing for the love of it. But, if you want to come along for the expletive-filled journey, you are so welcome. Bring wine.

E x

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