The early 20s struggle; I’m a strong independent woman who don’t need no man vs “I WANT A BOYFRIEND, NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE ME”

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Those of us born in the early 1990s – or maybe late 1980s, are going through a strange time right now. Struggling through the transition from childhood to adulthood, having our first “grown up” job, paying bills (sometimes), realising that very soon there will be no 90s born children in the compulsory schooling system…and *gulps* some of us may be starting to think about (or already have) starting a family or getting married.

Then there’s people like me, who are so far away from the marriage and kids thing that it’s actually laughable. In my 22 years of living, I’ve never had an actual boyfriend. Sure I’ve had some fun times *sniggers*, but I’ve never even been close to being in love. But that’s okay, right? I’m still young. I have lots of things I want to do in my life before settling down; go travelling again, get that travel bug out of my system, come home and get studying again in the form of a PGCE so I can become a teacher. Yes, plan. Besides, it’s 2015. People get married and start a family a lot later than they did say 50 years ago. Women are now more independent and focusing on your career isn’t frowned upon.

I have plenty to be happy about at the moment you know, I have a job that I love; working at a Special Needs college, with young students with all kinds of learning disabilities as well as physical, who inspire me every single day. I have an amazing family, wonderful friends, and lots of exciting things I want to do with my life.

The early 20s struggle; I'm a strong independent woman who don't need no man vs

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I AM A STRONG INDEPENDENT BLACK WOMAN WHO DON’T NEED NO MAN

So I like to tell myself…and sometimes I really do feel that way. Until I see yet another “friend” from school on Facebook announce their pregnancy or engagement. Until I see all my younger friends and even my little sister who are in incredible relationships (sorry Cherelley, you know I love you and Tom Tom and I’m immensely happy for you both).

It’s so weird and I feel totally stupid about it, because I absolutely know for a fact I don’t want a baby or a husband right now. I know I want to do other things before I settle down. But at the same time, I can’t help but think “when is it my turn?” When will I meet someone who thinks the world of me, and who I think the world of. When will I meet someone who will put me first, someone whose hopes and dreams I can share?

Recently I met a guy who was so so lovely, we really hit it off and I really thought it would go somewhere. Then suddenly, he just stopped replying to my texts. It really really upset me, like what is so wrong with me that we can go from getting on like a house on fire, talking about meeting eachother’s friends and family, to completely no contact? My sister has a boyf who bought her tickets to see The Lion King for her birthday, and what did I have? Some fuckboy who won’t even reply to my texts. Of course, I have now come to terms with the fact that he’s an idiot and I am fabulous and it’s entirely his loss. But what if it never happens for me?

Like I said, I am only 22, and I know there is plenty of time for all of these things to happen. But of course, there’s always a chance that they won’t, and that’s fucking terrifying.

BUT WHY AM I WORRYING ABOUT ALL THIS?

It all comes down to the fact that, despite all the great things I have in my life, I actually feel pretty lonely. Instead of talking to someone about all this, I’ve written a blog about it.

My feelings are massively conflicting, but all I know is that I needed to get that out of my system, sorry that my first blog post in months is a completely depressing feeling sorry for myself post. If you’ve got to this point and actually read this post, you’re a hero!

What I also know is that, I’ll know I’ve found what’s missing in my life when, if I need to share my emotions, I don’t need to write a blog post about it…

15 funniest Eastenders “Who Killed Lucy” memes

This is it! After 10 harrowing, long, drawn out months, a week of partially live episodes and a 30th anniversary 2 part featuring a live birth in the pub during a wedding reception, a dead body being found, someone rising from the dead, someone being (potentially) killed by a foot, and a flashback to Good Friday 2014, we FINALLY know who killed Lucy Beale.

CREDIT: BBC Eastenders

CREDIT: BBC Eastenders

Bobby Beale. Lucy’s 11 year old, mostly mute, half brother. As I write this, on Friday morning, 20th February 2015, there are still so many unanswered questions. Why did Bobby kill Lucy? Was it on purpose? Which was the most fatal blow; being pushed over by Max in the car lot, being smacked in the nose by Jake, being “battered” by Abi, getting beaten up by Denise; or Bobby’s final blow via jewelry box? Or a combination of all the above? Why was the front door open before Jane went into the house? Did Max actually enter the house via the back door? Was this before or after Lucy died? Did he see what happened? Who helped Jane move the body to the park where it was found? Did Masood have some knowledge about what happened? Who did Emma speak to on the phone and meet up with in the park? How did Cindy, Ian and Denise sleep through Lucy’s murder? Were any of them also involved?

My brain is truly frazzled! Being the sad case that I am, I went to sleep thinking about all this and have woken up thinking about all this.

Amongst all the confusion, you can always rely on twitter to add some light humour to proceedings. In this 21st century digital age, you’re never watching TV alone. There’s always a much bigger community, watching together and writing their thoughts about it on social media.

Finding out that a pre-pubescent child was responsible for one of the biggest storylines EastEnders has EVER seen produced some side-splittingly hilarious responses; especially in the form of memes.

*cue countdown*

#15

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

Yep, we’ve all been there…

#14

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

You’ve just arrived back to the TV show you left a few years ago. It’s a live episode. You have one job. Get the lines right. Okay.

*refers to Ian Beale by the actor’s real name*

shit.

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

#13

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

Taking it back a few years here, Eastenders sure do know how to create a mind-blowing plot twist. It’s been about 5 years I think, but I still can’t piece together what series of events led to a gawky teenager impregnating a 40 odd year old woman who wasn’t exactly the most desirable lady on the Square. (sorry Heather, miss you, R.I.P)

#12

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

Poor Ian. He sure has been through the wars ain’t he. Losing a kid is always going to be the worst pain you can ever experience; but finding out one of your other children – the youngest one at that – was the culprit. Where will poor Bealey’s loyalties lie?

#11

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

Unrelated to Lucy again, but amongst all the chaos going on that night in Albert Square, everyone – including the Eastenders team – seemed to gloss over the fact that Mick Carter may have possibly murdered his evil rapist brother/nephew Dean Wicks by stamping on his throat! I do hope that gets cleared up soon…

#10

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

Another one that’s unrelated to Lucy’s death; but did anyone else notice that none of the children of Albert Square (apart from Bobby) have been present during this live week, or at the wedding at all! Kat was getting absolutely cream crackered – where were her 3 brats? Stacey’s little one was nowhere to be seen…and this little demon of a child. Denny, Sharon’s little rat. He hasn’t been seen on the square since September 2014!!

Prior to this, one of Sharon’s most frequent lines was “Denny??” in her annoying high pitched voice; but we haven’t heard her mention him in months…

#9

“Abi, where you been?”

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

#8

Before DC Emma Summerhayes’ untimely death at New Year, she finally managed to find out who killed Lucy. Some of her last scenes saw her make a phonecall to the killer…

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

#7

“Whatever she says, she started it” is most probably the best excuse for killing your sibling, but sometimes, when that saying gets old and you’re tired of telling the story, you might want to go for a more direct approach…

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

#6

So what happened to this adorable little Bobby…

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

#5

This Bobby barely said boo to a goose…

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

#4

Ah…that’s what happened

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

#3

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

Say no more…

#2

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

#FREEDOT
Okay this has nothing to do with Lucy either, but EastEnders 30th anniversary episode saw the beloved Dot Cotton being taken away in the back of a police car, after confessing that she killed her son, “Nasty” Nick Cotton (which technically she didn’t but hey ho). Of course, no one wants to see the nation’s most loved Nanny committed for murder. WE WANT FREEDOM FOR DOROTHY!

In addition to this, Dot’s facial expression and the situation can say so many different things…

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

And of course, Dot now has a brand new reputation as Walford’s newest bad gyal…

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

#1

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

I think the funniest thing to come out of this is that some poor innocent, and very confused, Californian girl was inundated with tweets asking why she killed Lucy. All because her name is Bobbie Beale.

Naturally, she was confused at first. Living in a place where EastEnders isn’t a thing, suddenly getting accused of being a murderer. To make it 10 times funnier, Bobbie’s dog is called Lucy.

Eventually, she saw BBC tweet about Bobby Beale, Lucy etc, looked it up herself and became FAMUSZ! She made it into the news and even joined in the banter…

15 funniest Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" memes

So there ya have it, my countdown of twitter’s funniest responses to Eastenders 30th anniversary episode. There’s plenty more where that came from, it was very hard narrowing it down to just 15!

Anyway, keep watching Eastenders, here’s hoping that some of the many unanswered questions will be addressed in tonight’s (Friday 20th February 2015) live episode.

now, get out of my blog (Peggy Mitchell style, in case you didn’t get it)

Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road

So this is it, after four weeks of temple touring in Bangkok, elephant riding in Chiang Mai, bike riding in Ayutthaya, volunteering in Koh Samui, snorkelling in Koh Tao and partying in Koh Phangan; I had gone full circle and was back in Bangkok again – for a final night out with the people I’d become so close with that past month, before our trip came to an end.

After a snooze on the long journey from Koh Phangan, I opened my eyes to the bustling atmosphere and bright lights of Bangkok. Arriving at the Sawasdee Banglumpoo Inn – where our adventure started four weeks before – felt like stepping back in time. It felt like just yesterday we were all sat around a table outside, introducing ourselves to eachother and wondering what our journey would entail. The big, scary place I’d left behind a month before now felt like home.

It was such a weird feeling realising our trip was coming to an end. After saying goodbye to some of the girls who had to head off pretty much as soon as we arrived in Bangkok, and giving presents and cards to our lovely tour guides made me feel really sad. I should tell you more about our tour guides actually, I haven’t given them enough credit in my blog posts.

Yo and Art; you are my heroes! As a first time traveller, I wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea (and still don’t now to be honest) how to organise travel across the country, accommodation, taxis, tours etc…I just generally would have no idea what I was doing. Yo and Art organised the best activities for us, always making sure our safety and happiness was their top priority; and were always happy to answer our questions. Above and beyond all that, they were amazing people. If you’re reading this Yo (Okayyyy guyyy), you are truly one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. It was so endearing to meet someone who is so proud of their culture and so happy to share it with others. You taught me so much about your culture, about yourself and just how to be a good person. You’re a credit to Gap 360, to your parents, and most importantly to yourself. Remember; check your belongingggg! And Art, I’ll admit I didn’t completely “get” you at first, but you were always there for us, joining in with our drinking and such; and once we started sharing banter about our plans to “get married and honeymoon on Koh Phangan” we totally became the best of friends! You’re a funny and smart guy, thank you for everything you & Yo did for us; and I hope to see you both again someday.

Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road

*puts away tissues and continues writing blog post*

Okay, so as a group where the foundation of our friendship was alcohol, we couldn’t have gotten away without having one final banging night out, KHAO SAN ROAD BABY!!! The nostalgia and déjà vu continued throughout the night, for example; buying street food (chicken skewers) from a vendor I’d visited just before we were leaving Bangkok the first time and going to a live music bar that we went to on our first night out together. It was such a fantastic night, the buckets were flowing, the alcohol was making me even more emotional, I don’t remember most of the night and what I do remember I can’t possibly share on the internet…yeah, crazy shit happened that night; but with the way our nights out always panned out, I wouldn’t have expected anything less – it was absolutely perfect!

Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road

Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road

Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road

So the night was over, I’d said goodbye to most of the gang whilst ridiculously drunk (which actually made it a lot easier, I was dreading the goodbyes), I had to leave for the airport at 8am in the morning; but that didn’t stop me staying up til about 5am, with one of the lads who was shoving food & drink down my throat to sober me up.

And with that, my trip was over. All the sunshine, beaches, mosquitos, elephants, tigers, temples, bike riding, snorkelling and fab adventure with my new pals was over; back to boring old reality in boring old England.

It’s been three months since I returned from Thailand, meaning I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my journey; what I’d learnt, what I’d do differently and what I want to do next.

Things I’d do differently

This was my first travel experience that wasn’t a normal resort holiday with my parents. I had a lot to learn, I didn’t get everything right but that’s what life is about – learning.

Budgeting was one of the things I was most worried about before I went. I’ve been to uni, budgeting was never my strong point. Going to a place where the currency and value of things is so different to home tricks you into believing you aren’t spending much money. The equivalent of £1 for a beer is quite a bargain, but do remember that all those pounds add up. Fortunately for me, after my four week trip I was going home; back to a place where I live with my parents, have a decent job and don’t have that many bills and other payments to worry about, so I spent my money pretty freely and didn’t say no to any opportunities. Overall I spent about £800 over the course of a month, which is not that bad. However, next time I go travelling I want to stay out for longer, and go to places that are a bit more expensive than the land of smiles; therefore next time I shall put a bit more thought into budgeting.

As you can tell through reading my Thai memoirs, alcohol played a big part in my adventures; which was absolutely fine, I had loads of fun and the parties out there shit over any party I’ve been to at home – but please remember the majority of my adventures weren’t alcohol induced and I am definitely a person who can have lots of fun without it. There were occasions where I embarrassed myself, lost my friends and had alcohol induced confidence (can be a good or bad thing!) Luckily, nothing terrible happened to me, I had wonderful friends who always had my back and made sure I was safe – and I felt completely safe too. I wasn’t so drunk that I had no idea what I was doing/where I was/what was going on etc, but I could always end up in that situation in the future…so yeah, next time I’ll probably drink a bit less.

Little lessons and big reflections

I know it sounds bare cliché, but I really feel like a different person since coming back from travelling. I have a different perspective about certain things, and I learnt many things (big and small) about the world and about myself.

I learnt little things about Thailand/South East Asia specifically, about how peaceful and welcoming their religion and culture is, that their toilets – whether Western or squat – are less than sanitary; deal with it, that when crossing the road you can’t dawdle – it’s so busy but you need to just GO! I learnt that eating my body weight in spring rolls and chicken satay is totally cool, that wearing the same outfit 7 times is okay, and most importantly I don’t need a lot of material belongings to make me happy.

Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road

Granted, my phone, my iPad, my makeup, my hairdryer and my straighteners came with me; but I didn’t feel the need to sit on social networks and compare myself to other people, and I genuinely felt that everything I had in my backpack was all I need. The experiences I had, from things as big as riding elephants and to as small as watching the sunset on the beach, were more valuable than any material possessions I could ever own. As that famous saying goes, “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” I learnt how important it is to immerse yourself in culture and experiences; I mean just look at the amount of things I did that I was so scared of doing! Eliminate the fear! I can’t wait to get out and see the world again; the travel bug has truly infected me. Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos are next on my list, with another visit to Thailand – and then hopefully onto Australia.

Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road

Last but definitely not least, the best thing to come out of this trip was meeting 17 of the most beautiful people inside & out – who I can honestly say are some of the best friends I’ve ever had. We were all so different but so the same, we blended together perfectly and genuinely got on. I felt like I could completely be myself around them, I didn’t feel like I had to prove myself or live up to any expectations. After hearing some people’s stories of nightmare travel companions and arguments, I can’t help but think how lucky we got with our group. As soon as we got the buddy list a month before our travels were beginning, we were straight on Facebook, introducing ourselves, asking advice about what size backpacks to get; and once we’d all met up we completely hit it off! Admittedly there was so much drama in the group, more than Geordie/Jersey Shore, The Only Way Is Essex and Made in Chelsea; but it was mostly good drama and I really felt like we were cool enough to have our own TV show.

Okay Guyyyys; thank you for being such incredible travel companions and friends, I couldn’t have possibly wished for a better group. You’re all amazing people and I couldn’t be happier that I met you all; I will never forget any of you and I look forward to seeing you all again someday, wherever in the world that may be.

Kop Khun Kha Thailand, and always remember

I REGRET NOTHING

Goodbye Thailand; reflections, lessons and final adventures on Khao San Road

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

*Disclaimer* Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, I’m back and blogging about my trip to Thailand again…if this is boring you, in a few posts time my Thailand memoirs will be over and I’ll be talking about other stuff.

So, after the bar-crawling, sunbathing, snorkelling adventures in Koh Tao, the island of Koh Phangan – best known for its “infamous” Full Moon Party – was where our travelling group would spend our final week together. After three weeks of guided travel, we were now free to do whatever we liked; with no specific itinerary planned. I’m not gonna lie, this was a weird week; I think some of us felt a bit lost not having anything specific to do, we’d lost 2 members of the group who were only on the three week trip, and the group seemed to be dropping like flies – we had people in and out of hospital for various reasons. Also, with monsoon season upon us it rained A LOT, meaning I spent stupid amounts of time scrolling down Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in my room. But ya know what, deep down I am a lazy person, and when the sun peaked through I really enjoyed laying by the pool or on the beach, smoothie in hand, headphones in, music up, or reading a book. When you’re travelling with a big group of people you’ve got to remember to spend some time with yourself.

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Our accommodation this week was a beach front resort named Sarana Bungalows, and as the name suggests, the rooms were bungalows shared between 2/3 people. Yes, the accommodation was basic, but I didn’t come travelling expecting 5* hotels. Granted, the rooms in this hotel were a little bit of a step down from previous accommodations we’d stayed in, but they were a head and shoulders above what I’d expected. The infinity pool, palm trees and being a footstep away from the beach sure as hell made up for that!

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

In addition to this, there was also a cute little restaurant area with cushions on the ground, where we all made the most of the food and drink tab system in place; spending many evenings eating Pad Thai, drinking beer and having deep emotional chats. My tab actually came up to ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED BAHT by the end of the week…which is the equivalent of 32 British pounds. It sounds like so much in Thai currency, I was absolutely horrified I’d spent so much money stuffing my face; but in reality £32 for a week’s worth of food and drink isn’t bad at all.

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

As I said before, I spent a lot of time in the pool, chilling on the beach, befriending dogs (see pictures below) and hiding in my room when it was raining. As well as this, lots of fun and random times were had with the gang; playing volleyball on the beach (FYI I am absolutely terrible at all sports), doing handstand competitions like 5 year olds, and playing a game in the pool where me and one of the other girls were on the lads’ shoulders, trying to push each other off – and whoever got pushed in first was the loser (maybe you had to be there for it to sound fun).

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

One night we had quite a sentimental moment watching the sunset together on the beach. I can’t think of any other time in my life where I’ve actually sat and watched the sun go down; it was truly spectacular, no filter needed. Actually, iPhone cameras don’t even do it justice. It was a pure Louis Armstrong moment, thinking what a wonderful world we live in. One of the girls said something so sweet and true, that has stuck with me ever since and I’ll always remember it when I’m feeling a bit sad, or missing people: “watching the sunset is comforting because you remember that at some point in the day, everyone in the world has looked at that same sun.”

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Cute, right? Here are some of my other Koh Phangan highlights;

Total Wipeout

You’ve all seen Total Wipeout, right? The TV game show where contestants would attempt to complete a series of obstacles over water to win money? Always thought “I would soooo love to have a go at that”? – well on Koh Phangan in Thailand, you actually can! and I did! (of course I didn’t fully complete the circuit, but it’s the taking part that counts)

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

The course was complete with inflatable paths, spinning spokes, inflatable rock climbing, monkey bars (the only thing I could actually do, and not gonna lie, I was a fucking pro), and the three big red balls at the end which you have to somehow find your way to walk/crawl along without falling into the water. This attraction gets thousands of visitors per month, and in the two or three years it has been open, only 88 people had made it onto the wall of fame, as of November 2014!

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Despite not actually managing to complete the majority of obstacles in the circuit, I had so much fun just messing around, egging my mates on, and watching other people fall down and such. The absolute highlight of the day came in the form of a giant inflatable cushion by the side of the lake. One person lies down on it, and two people jump down onto it from a high platform above, causing the person laying down to launch into the air! I watched many people do it, go flying ridiculous heights into the air and lad with a massive (and painful) thud into the water…initially my brain said “fuck that for a laugh”, but of course I ended up doing it, and I’m SO glad I did.

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Laying down on the inflatable waiting for my pals to make the big jump felt more like a thousand hours, than the 30 seconds that it actually was. “Are you ready Natalie?” they said, “YEAAAHHH!” I yelled back. Was I ready? Was I fuck! I was absolutely shitting it. Next thing I knew, I went flying into the air, turned upside down, could hear my friends saying “SHIIIIT”, as I landed in the water face first. It was SO FLIPPING COOL! It was probably the most exhilarating and frightening experience of my life, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat (even though I lost my nose ring and had to wear a stud for the rest of the trip; which I now realise don’t suit me at all.)

Random night out

On our first night on Phangan, after enjoying a group dinner at a restaurant high up in the hills, one of the girls asked me if I was gonna go out that night. Me being me, I never say no to a night out, especially in Thailand; so of course I said yes. I was stunned to realise it was just me and one other girl from the group going; along with 3 girls we’d met earlier on in the day at the hotel. Was it really true, the usual party-goers of the group were actually STAYING IN? Crazy times. Anyway, it was actually a pretty damn good night. We ended up at a bar called Ringside – that was also a hostel – playing beer pong and raving the night away to old school R&B and hip-hop music. It was the perfect choice of music for me, Kisstory all’day err’day for me! By this point of the trip, I’d come to realise that nights out in Thailand always ended with weird things happening to me, and that night was no different.

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

*Disclaimer* What I’m about to tell you is something that I 100% would not recommend for anyone’s safety, and mum, I’m sorry

It soon got late and Maria and I realised we didn’t actually have any idea where we were, or how to get back to the hotel. Fortunately, we’d met two French guys that night (one was an angel, one was an absolute dickhead) and used our womanly charms to get a lift back to the hotel on the back of the nice guy’s motorbike! Three people on one motorbike, when the driver is slightly pissed is not the best idea, but it was really funny! He was going so fast and I literally could not stop screaming, but we made it back in one piece and alive to tell the tale.

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

selfie as blurry as I felt!

FULL MOON PARTY

Okay, here it is; when you clicked on this Koh Phangan blog, I’m sure the Full Moon Party was what you wanted to hear about. In case you’re unaware The Full Moon party is an all night rave held on Haad Rin beach, once a month (when the full moon is out, of course). It has everything you could want from a Thailand party; alcohol buckets, fire skipping/limbo etc, lots of music, lots of people and some recreational drugs, obvz.

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

After a girlie day of shopping for Full Moon supplies, including being served by a very enthusiastic man when buying vodka (“Smirnoff Vodka – THREE HUNDRED FIFTY BAAAAAHHHHTTT”), we got ready and started pre-drinking at the hotel. Lots of banter was had in this time; we covered each other in neon paint, drunk lots, and sung happy birthday to one of the lovely girls, Brogan, whose birthday we were celebrating.

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Amongst all the drunkness, we had a cute, sentimental, spiritual moment setting off chinese lanterns into the sky; bare cute.

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

And then, it was PARTY time! By the time we’d got into the taxi, I’d already drunk a small bottle of vodka to myself, as well as lots of Malibu. I’d done my research vis-à-vis Full Moon Party, I’d always read that you need to pace yourself in order to make it to sunrise, but did I listen? I was pretty smashed by the time we got to the party. I don’t remember much, but my pals told me that I was absolutely mental when we first got there, jumping and grinding on everybody, being one of the only ones who was drunk at that point (god’s sake Nat)…shortly after this, I bumped into someone I’d met in Koh Samui, stopped to talk to him for a few seconds, then all my pals were completely out of sight. Yep, I’d done what I read you should never do, be alone at this 80,000 strong party. I’d also read that you shouldn’t wear flip flops to Full Moon as you’d either break your foot or go home with one flip flop, and that you shouldn’t bring your phone or anything valuable with you. I did all these things and I’m here today, writing this blog, with no severe harm done.

So there I was, alone amongst 80,000 people, walking the length of the beach to find everybody, sitting down with a group of randomers; crying that I’d lost my friends. Eventually, I gave up, walked into a place I considered safe: a walk-in clinic, and slept on a bench for 4 hours. Yes, I’m an idiot. I drank too much, got myself into a situation which could have been very unsafe, and missed the majority of the party. Eventually I woke up, deciding I should probably get myself back to the hotel, when by MASSIVE fluke I bumped into 2 of my friends; some of the only people who were still at the party! I couldn’t have been more relieved (and neither could they, wondering where the hell I’d got to all night), and after my nana-nap I was ready to rave shit up! We danced some more, found two of the other pals asleep on the beach, and OMG I actually made it to watch the sunrise!!! Okay, so I cheated a little. But I was there, awake, sat on the beach watching a new day begin.

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Overall, the Full Moon Party was quite an experience for me. Although I slept through most of it, it was an absolutely banging party; slightly overrated considering it is THE thing to do on Phangan, but I’d recommend trying it once. Again, I wouldn’t recommend being as stupid as me and losing your pals and sleeping in a clinic; but hey, I was safe, I was fine. If you plan on going to the Full Moon Party in the future, keep your wits about you, and just have fun!

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Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

Final Night; BBQ and reflections

Our Thailand Adventure was drawing to a close, so a beach BBQ in the evening was the perfect way to spend our final night on Phangan. Between munching on the yummy food and drinking Singha, our time was spent reflecting on the highs and lows of our trip, our incredible tour guide giving an emotional speech about how much he loves us, winding each other up, laughing at the memories, and chatting about random crap. A few nights before this, myself and two of the lads went to a place called Kangaroo Bar; it was a totally chilled out place (mainly because of the magic mushroom shakes), overlooking Haad Rin beach. It was rainy and windy, the waves were choppy, that “wave after wave” song by Mr Probz was playing and I was having a proper “moment”. Thinking about how lucky I was to have spent the best part of the month in a beautiful country with even more beautiful people.

Another night we went to a pub called The Mason Arms. Yes, a PUB! A real British pub where I ate gammon and chips and drank Magners. By that point it’s fair to say we were missing our home comforts a bit, so we had a whale of a time eating British food, playing pool/darts and generally being “homey” (is that a word?) It made me think of what it’d be like if all of us reunited in the UK someday.

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I absolutely LOVE this group of people, and the tour guides too. How was I gonna leave them? What would I do without them? I had an epic time on Koh Phangan, but I think I was quite sad at some points too, as I was so aware our time together was coming to and end. How would I cope saying goodbye? But hey, after Koh Phangan we still had a 12 hour journey back to Bangkok followed by a final night out together to enjoy, forget the tears and hand me the beer!

Koh Phangan; wiped out by the Full Moon Party

My superstar Uncle Dave ❤️

Many apologies for breaking up the travel blogging for a minute to write about something very serious and close to my heart.

On this day in 2007, one of the most amazing men in my life was taken away from us and now resides in heaven; my Uncle Dave. When I was a kid he was my cool, funny and hilariously annoying Uncle; but as each year has passed and I’ve got older, I’m understanding more and more what an extraordinary man he was.

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When I was growing up, he was the man who;

  • Nicknamed me Fatalie (I wasn’t even fat) and re-worked the lyrics of Grease songs at my expense…”look at me I’m Fatalie, I am so damn greedy, won’t go to bed until I’ve been fed”…”Fatalieeee, can’t you see, you’re so greedy; you sit at home, all alone, eating like a pig.” It wasn’t just me who was subjected to the above kind of ridicule, he made songs out of my cousin’s nickname too and pretty much made fun of everyone he loved. His banter game was strong.
  • Didn’t have a conventional “grown-up” job like most adults; the adult version of myself now would assume he was a freelancer in the media field. He appeared as an extra in TV shows such as Eastenders, The Bill, Desmond’s and Family Affairs, went to Greece for work A LOT, and he even wrote, directed and produced his own TV show – Flash Tash records. Most impressively, in the 1980s he worked as a Michael Jackson lookalike! Uncle Dave was even used as a decoy to distract fans and the press when the real MJ was in town.
  • Had the messiest room of any adult I knew!

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Now, as a 22 year old woman, I’ve come to realise what made him such a spectacular person. I don’t want him to only be remembered as someone who “fought cancer so gracefully” and “lost the battle”, but the way he dealt with his illness is a big example of the kind of person he was. In May 2006, we lost my Grandad; and it was around this time my Uncle was diagnosed with cancer – himself and one family friend knew it was terminal, but he didn’t share this with us. He wanted to carry on his life as normal, look after his family, and just be the Dave we all know and love. In the last 6 months of his life, he re-found his faith and was very positive, made sure he carried on going to the gym when he was well enough, went to Greece again, and took my Grandma to her homeland of Barbados – the place he took his final breaths.

My Uncle Dave was only 39 years old when he passed away; he didn’t have any children, but he spent his life helping others. He lived at home looking after my Grandparents, and looked after my Grandma after my Grandad passed away. As I mentioned before, that coincided with his diagnosis, we were all mourning – Uncle Dave had all of that to deal with but he never complained once.

Despite his somewhat mean banter, Uncle Dave was actually nice to everyone. The day of his funeral the church was full to the brim, so many people wanted to pay respect to a person who touched the hearts of everyone he knew.

Most importantly, he made us laugh all the time! He’d ring up and say “Hi Fatalie, ask Cherelle how are things in Addis Ababa”, “you should know” I’d reply. Context: my sister Cherelle was a super skinny child, Uncle Dave would say she looked like a starving African that you’d see on a Save The Children advert, or in Addis Ababa, for example. Uncle Dave was also very skinny, so “he should know” exactly how things are in Addis Ababa. In the 14 years I had the pleasure of having him in my life, I never saw him unhappy, and never heard him speak badly of anybody. He was an effortlessly funny and kind person.

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photos left to right: me & Uncle Dave at the Rhein Falls in Switzerland 1999; Uncle Dave, my dad & Grandad – Christmas 1989; my mummy with Uncle Dave & Uncle Carl on my parents’ wedding day 1990

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photos from top left to bottom right: Uncle Dave on the far left, with his brother & sisters (my mum, aunties and uncles); Uncle Dave (in the pink shirt) with my Grandma & his brother & sisters; Uncle Dave on far right, my mummy next to him, Uncle Carl, Auntie Michelle and cousin Sadie); the Forde kids with their parents/my grandma & gramps (Uncle Dave at the front in the England football shirt)

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Uncle Dave & my mum with baby me in 1992; Uncle Dave & Auntie Miche with 3(?) year old me in 1995 maybe

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photos from top left to bottom right: Uncle Dave (on the far right in the blue hoodie) with my mum, his siblings and friends in the 70s/80s(?); Uncle Dave (second in from the right) with his family Christmas 1989; Uncle Dave holding my sister Cherelle at her Christening in 1997; My grandma’s birthday in 2005 (Uncle Dave second in from the left, on the back row)

It’s been 8 years and this never gets any easier. Early 2007 was the hardest time of my life so far, how do you deal with losing two family members you were so close to, within 8 months of eachother, when you’re only 14 years old? I dealt with it the only way I knew how; keeping my thoughts to myself. I’m not one for talking about my emotions, writing this blog post is the first time I’ve really said any of this stuff where anyone can hear it. Thankfully, I have a very supportive and loving family; through our times of grief we’ve come together and tried to make sure we’re living a good quality of life, which is what Uncle Dave and my Gramps would’ve wanted.

David Forde was a truly wonderful man, uncle, brother, son, cousin, nephew and friend. I miss you every single day Uncle Dave; we have family parties, we do Christmas and New Year together,we go on holiday together, we have family group photos but they will forever be incomplete without you. I’m sure you’re up there having a great laugh at my expense at some of the things that go on in my life; there’s so much I’d love to tell you! I will treasure the memories we had with you forever and ever – I wish you were here to see the woman I’ve become, I’m proud of myself and I hope you’re proud of me too. I love you.

David Anthony Forde
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28th April 1967 – 14th January 2007

Koh Tao; rhymes with WOW!

A short ferry journey from the island of Koh Samui brought us to our next location, the beautiful island of Koh Tao. In light of the tragic events that occurred there just weeks before my trip (two backpackers were brutally killed on the island), I didn’t really know what to expect of this place – but once I was there I forgot all about that…I absolutely ADORED Koh Tao.

Koh Tao; rhymes with WOW! | Welcome to the Goode life

I can’t even put my finger on what it was that made me love this place so much, writing this post two months on I’m struggling to remember what I even did in Koh Tao; but I remember loving the vibe and feeling really happy there.

Koh Tao is a very touristy island; shops selling souvenirs, t-shirts and fake Ray-Bans were every where you turned, the streets dotted with hotels and western restaurants – but I actually found these things quite comforting. I despise the idea of being an ignorant traveler who only wants what they’re used to, but by that point in my trip (two and a half weeks in), home comforts and familiarity were much appreciated! The relaxed island vibe and the fact Koh Tao is quite a small island struck similarities with the Caribbean island of Barbados in my mind; a place I feel very at home in, having been there 3 times, spending my 21st birthday there, having family there, and actually being of Bajan descent myself. In addition to this, Koh Tao was also the first place on this trip where I’ve seen the type of people I would see at home, your typical tourists, which could be considered as a bad thing – but together with all the things I previously mentioned: the mix of familiarity and a beautiful new environment was a blissful combination.

Our 5 nights in this divers’ paradise island were spent incidentally at a hotel named Asia Divers Resort. Despite the lack of hot water and temperamental WIFI, I would go as far as saying this was my favourite accommodation of the entire trip. The rooms were comfortable – clean, and provided with new towels and bedding every day, the pool was lush, surrounded by palm trees and lovely greenery; the whole place was just really cosy. If I were to go back to this hotel I’m sure a tonne of happy memories would immediately come flooding back to me.

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Koh Tao is famous for its heavenly beaches, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Chilling out in the sea whilst having a break from the burning sun, looking around at the trees and the hills, the longtail boats, sun shining…I felt like I’d literally found heaven on earth. I was enjoying the moment so much that I didn’t actually take any decent pictures of Sairee beach! Of course, that is how the world is meant to be enjoyed in all honesty, taking it all in with your eyes, and ears, and nose, and hands, not through a lense. But hey, here is one picture I managed to take whilst scoffing a club sandwich at a beach side bar. (Have I mentioned how much I love club sandwiches)

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Between lounging on the beach or by the pool reading my book, and dodging the blistery rain showers which saw the drout end and the monsoon season begin, here are some of my Koh Tao highlights:

Koh Tao pub crawl

The fact I put this in my highlighted memories of Koh Tao is somewhat ironic, seeing as I barely remember that night and it took some hungover discussions with the rest of the group the next morning to piece the events of the night together. The first bar started off with some buckets, banter, and my friends wetting themselves laughing when I said you can’t take selfies with me in a dark room because “YOU CAN’T SEE ME”, and everything after that was a bit of a blur. From what I do remember it was a fabulous night, which fell on Halloween; people with painted faces and scary costumes, lots of buckets, a Ladyboy show – in which one of the lads in the group joined in and got on stage, slut-dropping, dancing on tables, laughing gas, one of the girls disappearing for an hour then coming back with her face painted, some lads getting lairy, a power cut at the final bar, and a drunken walk home…what more could you ask for of a night out eh?

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Food

As I mentioned before, Koh Tao is crawling with western restaurants; Italian, Mexican, American, European…you name it. When you’re hungry on this island you’re sure to find something that will tickle your fancy. The morning after the night before (pub crawl) I ventured out by myself to find some grub that would attempt to cure my raging hangover; and I wasn’t disappointed when I found a little place called Blue Chair and stuffed a beautiful chicken salad sandwich down my gob. Of course, as well as all these Western restaurants and bars, there were plenty of Thai options too; such as the beach front restaurant we went to that same night. The Wind Beach resort was a typical Asian set-up, cushions on the floor around low set tables to eat around – it was really quite beautiful; as was the Green Thai Curry I ordered. Unfortunately, the service there was not up to much, but what can ya do. We didn’t stick around there for dessert but instead enjoyed some delicious ice cream from one of the many ice cream stands in the little alleys by the beach.

Dinner the next evening was at a BBQ themed restaurant named Sairee cottage, and similar to the night before, the service wasn’t spectacular but thankfully the food was. I personally went for Thai cuisine rather than BBQ, in the form of Spring Rolls for starters and Yellow Curry for main which was quite delish, but the BBQ food did look amazing.

My two favourite food establishments in Koh Tao were Sairee Sairee restaurant and Farango; both located near Sairee beach, next door to each other in fact. Sairee Sairee’s menu was mostly American and European cuisine, over the course of our time in Koh Tao I visitied this place for breakfast, lunch and dinner! They must have got sick of my face in the end. Full English breakfast, paninis and burgers were absolutely divine. Farango was an Italian restaurant, which we visited for dinner twice as a group; I’m such a sucker for Italian food, and I’m quite obsessed with Lasagne. Of course, I ordered Lasagne on both occasions and it was truly scrumptions.

Koh Tao, I rate you A+ for food.

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Beauty and relaxation

A bit of a girlie note here, but Koh Tao was the place where my nail life changed forever; I discovered shellac! Gel nails, in which the nail varnish lasts weeks and weeks on end without chipping. Some of us visited a beauty salon for massages and nail treatments; I decided to go for a mani-pedi, shellac on the hands and normal nail varnish on the tootsies – with everything in Thailand being so much cheaper than the UK it was a perfect bargain. I chose a bright yellow shade, and it looked so perfect that my lifelong habit of biting my nails disappeared – in fear of ruining my shellac! Two months on, my nails are healthy and super long! It sounds ridiculous but I’m so excited by this, as I’d never ever had nice nails before. I’m a changed woman!

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Snorkelling

My absolute favourite memory of Koh Tao – and one of my many favourite activities I did on this trip – was a snorkelling day trip on what can only be described as a boat of death (not quite the Titanic, but I feared it would have a similar end).

As I mentioned before, monsoon season was on the horizon, and the day of this trip the weather was quite horrendous. The wind and rain made the boat extremely rocky; I’ve never experienced sea-sickness in my life until that point. It genuinely felt like the boat was going to topple right over, I absolutely hated it at first.

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But as the weather started to let up, and we stopped off at the first island for some snorkelling, the day soon improved. I’d never snorkelled properly before, so me being me I was a bit frightened, but it was absolutely wonderful. I got to see some stunning and colourful fish very close up, and sort of got chased by them when some of the lads threw food into the sea near us! It was an incredible experience, and another one of those moments where I thought “wow, I’m here, in Thailand, doing some incredible things that I’d never dreamt of doing before.” What made it even better was seeing one of my friends who couldn’t swim get into the deep sea and go underwater; couldn’t have been more proud of her.

Snorkel times 🐠

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Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any more exciting, we stopped off at the final destination of the trip; Nangyuan Island. I can honestly say I’ve never seen or been to such an idyllic and tranquil destination. Thailand seems to be a “there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs” sort of place, evident by what felt like a climb of 13726836 steps to get to the viewing area where you can take in the outstanding views of the island. It was SO worth it, just look at it…

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Being in Nangyuan Island felt like stepping into a screensaver. The beauty was just indescribable. The water in the sea was so ridiculously clear, you could see your feet in it and can barely tell where the air ends and the water begins.

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This island was a beautiful way to end a magnificent day.

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Our final night in Koh Tao was spent in one of the best ways we knew how; by getting notoriously drunk of course. Sadly, the monsoon-ness of our time in Koh Tao meant we couldn’t go out-out on this night, as it was pissing it down with rain and the best bars in the island are open air. So we raided a 7/11 for alcohol and played drinking games in the hotel. Most of us were sensibly drunk, whereas one member of the group drank an entire bottle of Jameson to himself in a very short period of time and spoke to my family on facetime! It was so funny though, and a lovely way to spend our last night all together; as the next day we would lose two of our girlies in the group as they were only on the 3 week leg of the Thai Adventure – meaning they were heading onwards *sad face*

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Saying goodbye to these girls and Koh Tao made me realise what I loved about Koh Tao most, which was hanging out with my amazing new group of friends in a leisurely fashion. I love them all so much (which I shall talk about more in a future post).

So next stop, the full moon party island of Koh Phangan; but before that I’ve gotta say thank you Koh Tao, for a wet and wonderful time; I will definitely see you again in the future! So until next time…

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Koh Samui; dam-building, alcohol-consuming and beach paradise

After an all-together 12 hour coach – boat – coach journey from Ayutthaya, we arrived in a place of relaxed vibes, gold sand beaches and turquoise sea. Paradise seems too small of a word to describe the stunning island of Koh Samui.

After two weeks of traveling through mainland Thailand; trekking, elephant riding, ziplining, white water rafting and cycling, I think our minds and bodies needed an island break, and what an incredible place to begin. Our accommodation, Samui Econo Lodge, was absolutely wonderful; myself and two friends were lucky enough to be allocated a room that was like a penthouse suite! It was absolutely huge, had a double bed, a single bed, a sofabed, a kitchen, A BATH! It was literally a dream. It wasn’t long before the rest of the group came to have a nose at how epic our room was and continued to just barge in whenever they pleased – party roooom!!

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After dumping our stuff and reveling in our palace of a room, we headed straight for the beach. I’ve been to a lot of beautiful beaches in my time, such as those in the Caribbean, but the beaches in Koh Samui were like nothing I’ve ever experienced before; I felt like I’d stepped straight into a “wish you were here” postcard.

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Over the course of our 4 days in Koh Samui we had some fabulous times on the beach; sunbathing, playing frisbee in the sea, teaching one of our girls how to swim, eating the best club sandwiches and drinking fruit smoothies in beachside bars, eating our bodyweight in ice cream, and just generally having lots of giggles. By this point I felt like I was on holiday with life-long friends – it’s crazy to think we’d only known eachother for two weeks at that time. I felt so lucky to be where I was, with the people I was with; it was like a much better version of your typical coming-of-age holidays to Magaluf or Ibiza.

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We didn’t waste any time in getting into the party spirit. Our first evening on the island saw us girls go all out with our appearance (most of your time spent traveling you look like a pork scratching – at least I did anyway), getting dressed up, made up, straightening eachother’s hair – lucky I brought my straighteners along eh? Everyone was using them!

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We went out for a meal as a group to Charming Restaurant, which does what it says on the tin really. The food was great and the cocktails were lovely…”boom boom on the beach!” We carried on to a little bar near our hotel, in which some of us snuck bottles of vodka in, one of the girls ended up with a pool cue in her eye, and my friend and I ended up getting quite drunk – her more so than me! Spent the night holding her hair up as she puked in the toilet, when in Rome eh?

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The next morning saw our volunteering project begin, with a spot of dam-building; which didn’t immediately sound that interesting, but it was actually lots of fun. The building of new dam’s in the river helps the flow of clean water in these rural areas, so we did a worthwhile thing. Our group made a very good team, some of us (myself included) mixing cement, some people went to gather rocks, some laid the rocks, and we were all like a factory system – passing buckets of water up the line to make the cement, and passing buckets of cement down. We completed our dam in a couple of hours, much quicker than other teams, we were told; and all signed our names whilst the cement was still wet, whereas one of the lads decided to stick his face in it – coz writing your name is just SO mainstream.

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Our next volunteer project was in a school, which I was so excited about; at home I’m a support worker for people with special needs, I love working with children and I was really looking forward to meeting some Thai kids. Unfortunately, it was half term, so the kids weren’t actually there; gutted! Our task was to paint one of the classrooms pink, which of course was much easier to do when the kids weren’t there. This was a two day task, which was actually rather enjoyable. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of DIY at home, and I get quite OCD over it; so I just got on with the task, whilst having giggles with the group, singing, chatting etc. Although we didn’t get to meet any children, it was nice knowing that the kids would hopefully appreciate a colourful new learning space.

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I may not have got to meet any children at the school, but it soon became clear what they do during half term; sell crap on the beach at nighttime and start cuddling the shit out of you in order to trick you into buying stuff. On our penultimate night in Koh Samui we visited Ark Bar – a bar on the beach which we would be going to again the next day for a beach/pool party. It was a cool place, with benches on the sand, a staggering choice of cocktails, fire dancers and banging music! So yes, you’re sitting there, enjoying your cocktails when these adorable kids come up to you selling things like glow-stick glasses, flower necklaces and other junk that you’d absolutely never need in your life – but the children are so bloody cute it’s hard to say no! Sneaky marketing trick there. Grown-up sales merchants also bothered you, selling jewelry, sarongs, and some rather weird stuff; one woman put something which felt like a vibrator on my back, and there are also sales merchants with live monkeys and lizards which they just put into your hands, take a photo and force you to buy the polaroid. (We didn’t fall for that though, ain’t nobody got time for that)

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The following night is when the real party began, the beach & pool party! I can absolutely 100% say that this was the craziest night of the trip in so many ways. It all started off fine, with a buffet dinner and one free drink included in the ticket price, we met some nice people from all over the world and had some good old chats in the sea…that was the calm before the storm, which very quickly turned into being absolutely rat-arsed (being drunk in the sea is such a surreal feeling), some frolicks that couldn’t possibly be shared on the internet, and some drama that made Geordie (or Jersey) Shore look tame.

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It was an epic night though, and if you remove the bad parts, it was a fabulous way to wrap up our time in Koh Samui. I’ve taken away some wonderful and insane memories from this place, and I will definitely be returning one day.

Until next time, bye bye Koh Samui and onto Koh Tao

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