Category Archives: Wanderings

Wandering around Japan Part 1

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you will have seen a lot of photos from my recent trip to Japan. I want to make sure I document my travels as I intended when I first started this blog back in 2011. Unfortunately jet lag and germs have been a bitch this last week and held me up on getting my posts organised. I have 3 posts planned, but have decided to add this on is as a fourth to get the process started and because it doesn’t require me to have been through all my notes and photos from when I was away!

As an introduction I have wanted to visit Japan for a really long time. Probably over 10 years, but the cost of going has always been a barrier. Then when I got a promotion last year I decided to use the extra cash to pay for my dream trip and booked it back in October 2015. I decided to go with Exodus as I really rate the company after being on a number of trips with them (Tibet, Peru, Amalfi, Cross Country Skiing) and knew it would be really well organised. It also made it really simple as it was going pretty much everywhere I wanted to go and meant I could just sit back once it was booked and focus on my new job with the trip to look forward to.

Upcoming posts will break the trip down in these sections:

  1. Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima
  2. Takayama, Matsumato and Yundanaka
  3. Tokyo and Hakone

For this post though I thought I would focus on what I bought home – THE SOUVENIRS!!!

Kit Kats are huge in Japan, but not an everyday sweet purchase like you find here, but instead for all the different flavours available. I found a few as I went round,but I know there are even more depending on where you visit as they do flavours by regions. I then found a counter in a big department store (think Selfridges) and found some small boxes of posh versions. The at the airport I found a couple of big boxes to bring home enough to take into work. I haven’t tried them all yet, but I can say the sake, melon, apple, and green tea ones taste exactly like the flavours, which is amazing!

I actually didn’t buy too many things while I was away. Sure there were things I saw and would have bought, but then thought about having to carry them around. But I knew I wanted to find some new Starbucks mugs! I found special versions of Kyoto and Tokyo and also a mug celebrating 20 years in Japan. We did end up in Starbucks quite a few times as it was the only place where we could easily get English Breakfast tea as close to home as possible (my mum is not a fan of green tea). So I also made sure I tried the Matcha Latte and their seasonal Nectarine and Peach tea, both of which were nice and different to what we get here at home.

I also knew I wanted to get a Maneki-neko known as Japanese lucky cat. However I got a bit overwhelmed when looking as there were so many different ones. In the end I found a small one that looked cute and had purple on it. I am going to look up all the different meanings again and work out what it all means.

Something I hadn’t thought about buying, but when we were there it made total sense was some chopsticks. I love using chop sticks and as I definitely want to cook more Japanese style food at home they will come in very useful. I chose the winter Mt Fuji set and was able to get my name in English and Japanese engraved onto them. Our guide carried his chopsticks around the whole trip so that he didn’t have to keep using the disposal ones at restaurants so I also bought a cloth case to carry them in.

This little Mt Fuji plush toy was an impulse buy as I just thought he was super cute and was less than £5 so  I couldn’t resist. He will go somewhere where I can see him when I work as he always makes me smile.

I also bought back another Starbucks find as I was intrigued to se what they would be like at home. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m sure you’ll see them on my Instagram when I do!

Another impulse buy from the Japanese equavilent of the pound shop  – a Hello Kitty headphone case! I’ve broken two sets of headphones this year form keeping them unprotected in my bag, so when I saw this I again could not resist!

Lastly I have a couple of sake cups that we had to buy to do some sake tasting. I kept an eye out for a nice sake bottle and cup set, but did not find any I really liked.

I had such an amazing trip and the time flew by, but it also felt like a long time between starting in Kyoto and finishing in Tokyo. As I said I am going to go into much more detail of my trip and all the places I visited in the next few posts. I am looking forward to going through all my camera photos that I haven’t shared with anyone yet. I’m also looking forward to reliving everything I did even just for a few minutes as I right. That is what I love about writing this blog as it makes me spend a little time reflecting and appreciating what I’ve been doing and that makes me very grateful.

Trip Planning: Japan and the Cats

So what happens with Merry and Pippin while I go off on holiday?

They get spoilt rotten I bet!

The terrors as I affectionately call them to their faces are very lucky that at the moment they get to stay at home in their own space while I go off adventuring. I have a friend who comes to stay to enjoy some solitude and fun away from normal life for a bit. While they stay they feed, play with, and look after the cats. I’m sure this is much better for them than moving them about, but also financially for me this works out really well. I’ll be coming back in a couple of days and I’m sure they will have learnt some new trips and have a slightly different routine that they will try and train me to keep up (they wish!) and will ignore me for a few days before they work out they’re stuck with me again. I’m sure they love me, but at the same time I’m sure they enjoy be spoilt everyday too!

I think I’ll be okay to keep this arrangement for the next year or so, but them will likely have to look for a cattery to house them in for the longer trips or if I go away over Christmas. I like them to have contact with people more than just someone popping into feed them, but I don’t know anyone else who would move in for a couple of weeks and who I trust, which is greatly important.

I always miss them when I’m away, but I am not looking forward to recovering from jet-lag this weekend with two demanding terrors running around the house!

Trip Packing: Japan Edition


I’m off to Japan tomorrow and I am so excited! This trip has been planned for over a year, which also means I’ve been in my current job a year, so I can’t keep calling it my new job! This past weekend I started packing and only now have my everyday things to pack tomorrow morning. My cat sitter is all set up and they will be spoilt while I’m away I’m sure.

I decided to go for the autumn ancient and modern Japan trip with Exodus because I thought it would be cooler, but I juts looked at the weather and it’s hot!

What is this???

I’ve had to rethink everything I was planning to take as jeans and t-shirts and jackets are not going to work. I’ve had to find some last minute summer clothes in the sale, which was super lucky as everywhere now has winter stuff only!

So what I am taking for a 16 day trip to Japan?


  • Linen trousers
  • Jeans
  • T-shirts
  • Lightweight cardigans
  • Smart top
  • Long sleeve tops
  • Hoodie (wearing)
  • Underwears (bras/socks/knickers)
  • Pyjamas
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Swimsuit
  • Walking Trainers (wearing)
  • Lounge pants (wearing)
  • Lightwight trainers
  • Slip on trainers
  • Ankle supports


  • Deodarant
  • Shampoo/Condition
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Makeup (minimal)
  • Hairspray
  • Facewash
  • Moisturiser
  • Suncream
  • Face cloth
  • First aid kit essentials
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Hairbrush
  • Makeup sponges & cleaner
  • Pain tablets & gel

Other Stuff:

  • Passport
  • Insurance
  • Wallet – cash/cards
  • iPhone, headphones & charger
  • Kindle & cable
  • Camera, lens & charger
  • Notebook & pens
  • Guidebook
  • Lightweight handbag
  • Backpack
  • Suitcase
  • Golf ball (for heel pain)
  • Waterproof inner bag

I’ve pretty much packed everything and I am surprised at how light my suitcase is. I’ve put some clothes in my hand luggage in case my suitcase goes missing. I still have plenty of room for souvenirs and I already have a few ideas of what I want to look out for.

Wandering around Bristol

I’ve said recently I’ve been restless and not quite feeling where I am living. Don’t get me wrong I do love my house and being near all my friends, but there is something about it that is not quite working for me at the moment. It’s too quiet! I love quiet, but also I want to live a full life and love exploring and where I currently am, doesn’t have the things I want on the doorstep. My sister lives in Bristol and I head that way quite a lot and I keep thinking about maybe, possibly, in the future, moving there…

I don’t know for certain, but a big part of me at the moment want to live in a city. I loved Vancouver, Edinburgh and Cardiff, even if I was just there for short amounts of time. I love how you can walk everywhere (pretty much) and there is usually something new happening or to explore every week (maybe month). There is a sense of life to those places. I get the same feeling in Bristol and with my current job that could work as a place to be…

This last weekend my sister and I were meant to go sailing, but the wind was not in a kind mood and we are fair weather sailors, so we changed plans and went out for a walk around Bristol Harbour. We have done this many times, but as it was heavy showers forecast all day we went out expecting to top for coffee and in places all day, and that we did.

First we went to lunch at a new cafe called Mokoko.  I introduced my sister to flat white and the coffee bean menus even though she took the piss out of me for being so interested in coffee! We had a lovely lunch and I would recommend it as a place to go if you’re in the area.

We then started our walk, got about 500m and it poured down so we went into the M-Shed to learn about the history of Bristol. It’s free and it was interesting, but both of us were annoyed that there was no logical flow to the information and instead it was in themes, which was interesting but confusing!

After that we started on our walk again and go a bit further – to the cafe outside the SS Great Britain to be exact! It had started to rain again and we went for a cuppa. As it decided it was going to carry on for an our we decided to into the SS Great Britain as neither of us had actually been inside ever!

I was quite impressed. I loved the being able to walk around the ship and go below into the dry dock. The dry dock was the best part and I found it much more interesting than the reconstructed interior.

When we got to the deck the sun decided to make an appearance and it was beautiful to see colourful Bristol come to life.

Did you know you can get married on this ship?

Nor us! We were wandering around and suddenly there were lots of smartly dressed people heading into the lower deck which was all set out theatre style. It would make a unique setting that is for sure!

We then carried on our walk around the floating harbour, stopping for another coffee when it decided to pour down again and then headed for an early dinner at Pho. I am now obessed with Vietnamese food! I want to learn how to make Pho and rice paper rolls and have already spied that I can get the ingredients I need from my local shop. It was so fresh and filling, but light and tasty all at the same time.

Just one day in Bristol and I explored new things and went to new cafes and restaurants that just isn’t possible where I currently am. I am so tempted, but at the same time I don’t know whether I want to spend the money on moving. I have only just got to a place financially where I can afford to do the trips I want to do (Hello Japan!) and I really don’t want to give that up. I need to think hard about whether I can do both, but it might need to wait until I progress in work a little further. I’m excited to think about it though. I can start creating the future I want now, but only if I know what the future I want looks like. (I haven’t been reading a leadership book at all!!)

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