A lifestyle blog written by a Welsh lady living in Wales.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Beach Walks and Bluebells

Beautiful bluebells!
Over the Easter bank holiday weekend, I went on a lovely walk along the beach during low tide at Three Cliffs Bay on the south coast of the Gower Peninsula, and discovered the views from the coastal footpath between Three Cliffs Bay and Oxwich. The weather was warm and hazy, and it was lovely to enjoy the beautiful scenery and wild bluebells. We've enjoyed a few sunny spells, and I think that the sunny weather has helped to bring out all the bluebells.
The view towards Oxwich
Wild flowers
Wild primrose
Three Cliffs Bay
Three Cliffs Bay is definitely one of my favourite beaches in the Gower because it's so unspoilt and peaceful.  There were lots of holidaymakers enjoying themselves on the beach, and we felt very fortunate that we didn't have to travel too far to visit this lovely part of the coast. This is one of the most enjoyable walks along the Wales Coast Path, and springtime is probably the best time to enjoy the good weather and beautiful bluebells.

I hope that these photos inspire you to visit Wales!

Thank you for reading! Angharad x

Top 10 tips for the Maldives

I've written this post to help you if you've never been to the Maldives before and you're thinking about booking a holiday, or perhaps you've booked a holiday and you're thinking about all the things you need to organise to make the most of your trip. I've put together this list of Top 10 Tips, based on my own personal experience of our stay at the gorgeous Reethi Faru resort. We had a fantastic stay, and I hope that this post helps you with planning your trip to the Maldives.
1. UV protective clothing                                                                                                                   
Before you go, I would recommend purchasing a UV protective long sleeved rash vest and shorts/leggings for snorkelling. I didn't know about this beforehand, and when I went snorkelling in my bikini (wearing SPF50!) I burnt my back. There were other people who wore UV protective gear when they went snorkelling, and this is because you genuinely need it if you burn easily. A t shirt may also work but a UV protective one is best.  Don't worry if you think you'll look a bit daft; you won't be the only one, and sunburn is never a cool look (and it's sore too!). 
2. Snorkel equipment   
I would also recommend that you pack a snorkel, mask and fins (you definitely need the fins to protect your feet from the coral.) These items take up a fair bit of room in your suitcase, but it usually works out more costly to hire the snorkel equipment when you're at the resort unless this is included, so check before you go.
3. Snorkelling tours
If you're apprehensive about snorkelling then go on an organised snorkel tour. During our stay at Reethi Faru, we initially weren't sure about where it was safe to go snorkelling (e.g. entry points and currents), and we were a bit worried about getting hurt on the coral, so this was really helpful and gave us the confidence and knowledge to go on our own at various access points around the island. 
4. Photography
Consider getting a waterproof camera to take some underwater shots of all the amazing reef fish and sea life; it really is like nothing else you've ever seen. I didn't have one, but I think I would have enjoyed taking photos under the sea, especially when a turtle came to say hello! I really enjoyed taking photos of all the beautiful scenery, and it's nice to have lots of memories to look back on.
5. Sun
Avoid the sun between 11 and 3. Its the strongest sun we've ever experienced, so find some shade and enjoy a book and a nice cocktail! It got quite hot and humid in the day time, and it was nice at sunset because the temperature was more comfortable.
6. Mosquitoes
The mosquitoes aren't too bad; we got bitten a couple of times but they spray the island every afternoon. Jungle Formula helps, but you really don't need to worry about mosquitoes. 
7. All Inclusive
If you can afford it then definitely go all inclusive. It can be tempting to just go for the b&b option because it appears to be so much cheaper when you're comparing options, but it's usually a false economy. If you're not sure then take a look at the prices for food and drinks and how much you think you'll spend each day. To give you an idea of prices, they add 23% tax on top, so a diet coke works out at about £5. You could probably just have breakfast and dinner if you wanted to save money, but we preferred going all inclusive.

8. No shoes
You won't wear shoes for the entire holiday and you'll enjoy it (and I'm a girl who loves her holiday sandals and flip flops!).  I was surprised by how quickly I got used to walking around the island with bare feet, and it certainly helps with making you feel more relaxed.

9. Seaplane  
I would recommend choosing a resort island which is accessed via seaplane. It bumps up the cost but it's an amazing experience to fly over all the islands.We flew with Trans Maldivian airways, who are only permitted to fly from sunrise to sunset. The beauty of the Maldives is at its best when you can see all the tiny islands below you, and it adds to the adventure of your holiday. The baggage allowance is 25kg, which includes 20kg of checked-in luggage and 5kg of hand luggage per person.

10. Holiday books 
Bring some good books; the Maldives is the perfect location to relax and enjoy a good read! There are lots of fun things to do in the Maldives, but you can't beat relaxing by the pool or on the beach and having a really good rest.

Let me know if you've been to the Maldives before; I'd love to hear what your experiences were! Thank you for reading, Angharad x

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Nature and Wildlife in the Maldives

The beautiful resort island of Reethi Faru in the Maldives was rich with nature and exotic wildlife,  and there were a few things on the island that we'd never seen before. The marine life was absolutely stunning; there were so many different varieties and amazing colours of fish, it was hard to believe that they were real. Here is just a snapshot of some of the beautiful things we came across on the island!

 Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs protect themselves from predators by making themselves at home in an empty seashell, and use this to retract their whole body into. As the hermit crab grows larger in size, it finds a larger shell and abandons the previous one. We saw quite a few of these scuttling along the sand, and David kindly picked one up for a photo (I didn't want to get nipped!).

Fruit Bats

I'd never seen Fruit Bats in their natural habitat before, and it was really cool seeing them hanging in the trees and snacking on fruit. As dusk fell, the bats would swoop from tree to tree and were fascinating to watch. Some see them as pests, but they play an important role in seed dispersal and pollination (they also look very cute!). The best time to photograph them was early evening, before they start to take off.

Oriental Garden Lizard

Reethi Faru had lots of lizards scurrying around the island, and they all loved posing for photos (as you can see!). The lizards eat mainly insects and help to control insect populations...we'd often see them standing very still, before running off somewhere very quickly. The Oriental Garden Lizard is also known as the "Changeable Lizard", due it its wide variation in colouration and ability to change colours during the breeding season. We also saw geckos in the bathroom of our beach villa; they would appear in the evening to come and say hello!

Beautiful Flowers
Jungle geranium
Water lily
One of my favourite things about visiting the Maldives was seeing all the beautiful flowers , particularly those which you don't get back home. Reethi Faru had lots of different varieties of plants, trees and flowers, like frangipani, hibiscus, jungle geranium, and water lilies. I love flowers so much and it was lovely to see them in bloom and capture some nice photos.

Palm Trees

When you think of the Maldives you probably think of swaying palms against blue waters and gorgeous sunsets, and Reethi Faru didn't disappoint! There were some lovely palm trees by the swimming pool which looked really striking as the sun went down; I loved how natural and unspoilt the island was.

Stunning Sunsets
We enjoyed some really beautiful sunsets at Reethi Faru; the Sunset Bar had deckchairs on the beach so you could sit down and enjoy the sun going down with a nice drink and some popcorn. Another beautiful thing we saw on the beach at night time was a natural phenomenon called 'bioluminescence', where bioluminescent plankton glowed in the dark and lit up in neon blue patches as the tide came in.

It was such a special experience to stay in the Maldives and enjoy its nature and wildlife. I hope you've enjoyed these photos, and I'd love to hear from you if you've also visited the Maldives!

Thank you for reading, Angharad x
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