Fiji: Castaway Island (Monuriki)

Another popular excursion available at Matamanoa Island Resort aside from scuba diving is the visit to nearby Castaway Island, known locally as Monuriki Island. Made famous by Tom Hanks, the tiny island didn’t disappoint.

Obviously a lot of post production editing went on in the movie, since the island is set in a group of three or four very close islands, and not quite in the middle of the sea as it was supposed to be. And, for those that are geographically challenged (Keeling), it is nowhere near the Caribbean.

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So we came ashore on the same beach Tom first appeared on in the movie:

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Tom Hanks In 'Cast Away'

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It was beautiful. If we didn’t already feel like we were in paradise, we did now!

Our very kind guide Ben took us on a short tour of the tiny island, and pointed out a few key areas we saw in the movie.

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Then we set off with the free snorkel gear to have another go with the new camera,

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The settings were a tad off to begin with…

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But we chased some fish anyway.

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And this little guy taunted us, and followed us until we snapped his picture.

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We had one more stroll around the island before heading back to the boat.

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Not before finding one very important and crucial guy… WILSON!!

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Apparently when they finished filming, Tom Hanks left the real Wilson tied to a rock. Inevitably it (he?) came free and floated to one of the nearby inhabited islands, where a local boy in the village kept a hold of it!

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Our time in Fiji was amazing, we only had four days but we will definitely be back. Until next time!

– love Carla x

 

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The 60p, 60 second manicure (really!)

It’s been a while since I produced a Mani Monday, but this one I just had to share! For under £1 this fast drying, super pretty, gel-looking bottle of wonderfulness just had to be shared.

I am not normally one for the fast-drying formulas, I always find I am disappointed when they don’t actually *dry* in 60 seconds, but this one I put to the test.

I even set a timer:

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I applied a layer of the loveliness and waited for the time to be up, and voila! It wasn’t just a bit dry, it was properly-you-can-touch-it-and-not-leave-a-fingerprint dry. *swoon*

“Where can I purchase this amazing formula” I hear you cry, well, it is from one of my favourites actually – you guessed it – PRIMARK!

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It took three layers (and 3 minutes – woop!) to get the finished look, and for 60p I ain’t complaining.

The colour stayed vibrant and didn’t even chip over the weekend – which I spent packing boxes. It leaves a lovely gel-looking finish ad glides on – no gloopy mess!

I may just have to return to Primark for the other shades, I just didn’t think I’d be this in love!

Can you recommend any other fast drying formulas?

– love Carla x

 

Fiji: Diving with Viti Watersports

It may have rained the morning of our first real day in Matamanoa Island Resort, but that doesn’t matter when you’re diving! Now this is my third time ever diving, and I was still a little terrified! I should point out I have an irrational fear of water, I can’t swim, and the only reason I went diving, or have ever been diving, is that I know I would regret it if I didn’t go. Plus, I wanted to see a turtle.

We also took the chance to give the new camera a go underwater, and the results aren’t bad for our first time!

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The dive site we went to was called Edenville, and was more suitable for beginners. I did explain to Trevor, the very nice Londoner who works for Viti Watersports that I was a little scared, but we worked out most of my issues with a try dive in the pool the day before – and it really helped put me at ease. Freaking out when diving isn’t a sensible idea.

I have to say, the more I dive the less fear I feel, and actually it’s a very relaxing experience. And the view ain’t so bad either!

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So we swam, became one with the fish, and I waited patiently for a turtle.

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I also feel I snapped some pretty cool pics, whilst searching for a turtle…

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And then I found him!!

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Check out our Instagram page to see the video of this graceful fella!

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Towards the end of the dive I didn’t think we would see anything cooler, but the reef just kept on going, so we found another starfish to chill with!

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And of course I liked to stay a little closer to the surface… still 10 metres deep though.

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But the reef kept drawing me back in.

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In all we had a 45 minute dive and the time just went so fast. It was incredible and easily my favourite dive. For those who can’t swim don’t worry, you don’t need the ability to swim, diving is all in the legs – use your arms and you risk pulling out someone else’s oxygen! It is something I recommend, even if you only try it once.

For me it definitely helped that we had such a friendly instructor, that alone really did put me at ease, and I will happily recommend them again.

Have you been diving? Any tips for a newbie would be appreciated!

– love Carla x

Fiji: Matamanoa Island Resort, Mamanuca Islands

Bula!!

I know it’s been a while since I last posted about my amazing trip in Australia (three months have gone so fast), but I have been very busy purchasing my first house (eek)!

So, here it is (finally)…

From Melbourne, myself and the bf were lucky enough to travel to Fiji, or, as I like to refer to it, paradise.

We spent one evening on the mainland of Nadi, before heading out to the wonderful Matamanoa Resort in the Mamanuca Islands.

There are a few options when leaving the mainland to head to one of the smaller islands – the main two being a boat over, or a very cool helicopter. We went for the helicopter as it only took around 15 minutes rather than the boat which takes nearly an hour.

The service was provided by Island Hoppers who were absolutely fantastic. There is a weight restriction, and obviously being in Australia for three weeks we had lots of suitcases, but we minimised the stuff we would need for four days and packed just one bag – the Island Hoppers were kind enough to store our bags for us.

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The ride was comfortable and the view was incredible. The day we flew out it was raining, but don’t be fooled, it was still 30 degrees and my boyfriend still got sunburn!

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When arriving to Matamanoa we were waved in by a member of staff (whose name I wish I could remember) and she was just brilliant, and an absolute credit to the staff there.

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We had drinks in the bar waiting for us, along with a shell necklace. Happily, Matamanoa is an Adults Only resort – the main basis for choosing this place.

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Originally we had booked a Beachfront Bure but on arrival the lovely lady upgraded us to the finest Beachfront Villa!

The Villas are a short walk from the main bar, and since it was raining we were taken to our villa in a golf cart around the edge of the island.

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We swung the door open and were greeted with a stunning villa.

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Complete with beautiful flowers!

bathroomAnd even an outside shower!

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We had our own plunge pool and a view to die for. I only wish the camera hadn’t died after day two, when the sun really came out – we cleverly left the battery charger in the suitcases back on the mainland!

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This little fella came to greet us.

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We even had access to our own private slice of paradise.

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Rain or no rain, the water was amazing!

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So I took a quick dip to test out the new waterproof casing for the camera, and the sun decided to show itself. And I, being the clever cookie I am, decided to just snap some pics, without wiping away the water! Clever me.

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We stayed for four days at Matamanoa Island Resort and I couldn’t recommend it enough! Our stay included a buffet-style breakfast of cereals and pastries which changed a little everyday and was perfectly tasty.

There was a good lunch menu and an even better dinner menu – both of which changed daily. I fully recommend the Caesar salad – it’s made fresh at your table exactly how you like it.

No cash changes hands at all during your stay, they simply charge everything to your room and you pay when you leave by either cash or card.

Together we spent around $3500 Fijian dollars, which is roughly £1,140. I know that sounds a lot for four days, but that is for two of us and included excursions like diving (which cost the most, but still much cheaper than in Australia) a boat trip to Monuriki Island (otherwise known as Castaway Island) and six treatments in the spa (we were in paradise after all and had had a tough three weeks in Oz), as well as three course evening meals and lots of cocktails!

Obviously it’s not a budget holiday, actually everyone else but us were there on honeymoon, and we were easily the youngest there.

All in all, Matamanoa is a beautiful resort, the staff are brilliant – I really do wish I’d have got the name of my friend who works on the reception who greeted us, she had a brilliant sense of humour and like all of the staff, was very friendly and approachable.

I will definitely be back again (when funds allow) so until then, Fiji.

Have you stayed in Matamanoa or anywhere else in Fiji? I’d love to hear from you!

– love Carla x

Let’s Go Retro: 70s style

The SS15 catwalks were awash with 70s throwbacks of floppy hats, garish prints and lots of denim from the likes of Stella McCartney and Tommy Hilfiger.

Now we all love a statement piece, but I think this is a trend worth getting on board with, and I think the easiest way to nail the trend without looking like a complete reject is to think 70s boho with a 90s vibe – think crochet, denim and layering if you will.

Here I have grouped some of the main statement pieces to get you into this trend from some of  my favourite retailers, first up New Look:

70's Style favourites from New Look
Affordable fashion, student discounts and bright and vibrant prints, oh New Look how I love you! The block heels, the tassels, the slip dresses – there is something for everyone if you want just a hint of 70s or a proper blast from the past, an hour or two in New Look will definitely hook you up! I personally am lusting the suede mini skirt, a nice hippy top and I will be a happy bunny.
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Number two on my list is ASOS. A collection of goodies from lots of shop all in one place, they have got the trend down! I am in love with the maxi denim skirt, which can be tricky, but they have got the perfect shape so you don’t look frumpy. I’d team it with the super tasselled handbag for drinks with the girls.
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Last on my list is BooHoo. They take things to a younger hippy feel, think festival chic. It’s all about the crochet shorts and the floppy hat, all you’ll need is a cute pair of sandals and you are set. Coachella eat your heart out!
Will you be rocking the seventies vibe this summer? Let me know your favourite picks – any excuse to shop!
love Carla x

Music Monday #6

After my dream come true trip to London to see Cats, it got me thinking about how much I heart musicals – yes, not the coolest of admissions, but hey, I did used to want to be a dancer.

So, to celebrate my love of musicals, this week’s Music Monday is a selection of the finest songs from film and stage.

– love Stef x

Les Miserables: On My Own

Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat: Close Every Door

Chicago: Cell Block Tango

Cats: Memory

Grease: You’re The One That I Want

Rocky Horror Picture Show: Sweet Transvestite

Chess: I Know Him So Well

Rock of Ages: Dead Or Alive

Sound of Music: Sixteen Going On Seventeen

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Doll On A Music Box

26th Birthday in London

The blow of turning 26 on April 3 was somewhat eased by my lovely boyf. who decided to whisk me away to London for three days to celebrate (he’s very good like that).

Now I’m back, I thought I’d share a few photos with you about what we got up to and show just how I celebrated my birthday. 

We travelled down to London on Thursday lunchtime, made our way to the gorgeous Marlin Limehouse apartments, before heading to the Palladium to see Cats (my absolute dream come true, I may have cried – I’d also play Jemima FYI).

On Friday I awoke to a birthday breakfast of pancakes and syrup, got ready and travelled to the London Dungeon for an hour and a half of spooky London history. I was also locked in a cage by one of the actors, much to the boyf’s amusement.

It was then lunch at Yo! Sushi, a spot of shopping (Lush and Primark) on Oxford Street and a rainbow cake birthday treat from the Hummingbird Bakery in Soho.

Friday evening saw me taken up 72 floors for sunset at The Shard – with champagne thrown in, and an amazing meal at Gaucho on Tower Bridge.

Thank you boyf. 

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Cats 1 FINAL

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26th Birthday in London

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– love Stef x