Monday, 20 March 2017

🌸🌻🌼 •• HELLO SPRING EQUINOX •• 🌼🌻🌸



Today in the Northern Hemisphere marks the beginning of Spring and we have equal balance between night and day, yin and yang, the feminine and the masculine. Now is a great time to fuel your life with new and positive energy.

Coincidentally, it's also International Day of Happiness so let us combine these two shifts to look forward and celebrate a brighter future. Whatever you decide to do make sure that it makes you happy! 

Be part of the movement! 





INSTANT INSPIRATION 》》


If like me, you like things that are a little bit on the creepy/weird side of life then I urge you to check out the artwork of Shawn Coss. I just stumbled across his Seven Deadly Sins and Zodiac series of ink drawings and it's made me instantly want to get my inks and paper out and start drawing again (something that hasn't happened in a couple of years)... I know now what my evening will consist of! Scrolling through his artwork has just made me feel so energised and I feel like I've had a kick up the butt to explore my creativity in other ways. 




What artists or artwork have inspired you over the years? Share them with me below!



Tuesday, 14 March 2017

HAPPY HOLI

HAPPY HOLI 💓🎉🕉





One year ago I had one of the best experiences and trips of my life so far... I visited beautiful India. I have dreamed about the place since a young age and can honestly say that travelling around South India was so much fun and just so magical. 

Scrolling through my social media and favourite bloggers today I feel like this year I have missed out on such an amazing weekend of celebrations for the welcoming of Spring... The festival of colours and love. It has brought back many cherished memories and good vibes! 

India, I miss you and can't wait to revisit you soon! You will forever have a big place in my heart! 

Happy Holi to my friends, brothers and sisters around the globe!  

Love and peace...

❤💙💚💛💜

By the wayyyyy....
Now that I have my blog back up and running again, look out for a blog post coming soon all about my first visit to India last year 😀



Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Iceland - Blue Lagoon

Hey guys!

So, here is a short little video for you all to enjoy from our experience at Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Hands down one of the most relaxing and beautiful places I've been to!
Have a watch and enjoy - I hope you like it 😀 



Iceland - Blue Lagoon


March 2017


Music by FortyThr33

Remember to head over to my youtube channel and "like" and subscribe for more videos and to keep up to date with more adventures!

Thanks 




Iceland - Golden Circle Video

Hey everyone!

Here is a short video edit of my time in Iceland on the Golden Circle Tour.

Watch and enjoy 😀



Iceland - Golden Circle
-Thingvellir
-Geysir
-Gullfoss

@lunainlimbo
March 2017

Music by Joakim Karud


Remember to go to my youtube channel "like" and subscribe if you want to keep up to date with my adventures



Sunday, 5 March 2017

ICELAND - MARCH 2017



Hey guys!

I've recently returned home from a fantastic trip to Iceland and I have a lot to talk about and share with you. Hopefully I can help to provide you with some information about this beautiful country as well as sharing my amazing experience here, not forgetting The Golden Circle and Northern Lights. This post will have lots of helpful handy tips for your travels. I would love for you to also share your own experiences of Iceland with me and if you haven't been then I would suggest to add it to your bucket list! 😁


Our journey to Iceland...


First of all, this trip was booked a good 6 months or so ago - originally as a complete secret/surprise. One of my lovely sisters had a trip to Iceland planned with her boyfriend for over a year and as Iceland has always been on my bucket list foreverrr, I thought it would be a great excuse to book myself a trip too. Originally, I had planned for it to be a complete surprise for my boyfriend Zak (you will find out more about him through this blog in the near future), as an early birthday present for him in March. It turns out that I'm not so good at keeping secrets and he found out months ago where I had planned on taking him. It was a bit gutting at the time because I was so excited about surprising him with this trip of a lifetime but I just didn't cover up my tracks very well! Oooops... lesson learnt! So a little tip for anyone that likes watching documentaries and short films/vlogs about the places they are visiting... If you want it to be a secret then delete your web history and close your tabs! However with that said, the fantastic help from my sister's boyfriend ensured that we managed to keep this great plan all hush hush from her for so long despite nearly slipping up on sooo many occasions that we can't even count! 😂 The look on her face when she saw us come down stairs with our cases was just priceless and I will never forget it! It's a good job she likes us a lot!

We drove to East Midlands Airport, which is approximately 1hr 30mins from our current location. At 3am the airport there is eerily quiet.. It's the first time that I have flown from there and I have to say it is an incredibly small airport but on the bright side there was absolutely no queues whatsoever, which is always a dream for someone as impatient as myself.

The flight was over so quickly - 2hr 10mins infact! I'm pretty sure I was in dreamland as I only remember waking up to a beautiful sunrise above the North-Atlantic Ocean about 20 mins before landing in Keflavík International Airport. 

Looking out the plane window all you could see was a glistening white landscape. We didn't realise just how much snow was there until we got a bit closer to the runway. From the plane you could see walls of snow either side of the roads, all the buildings were covered in a thick white blanket and cars were completely hidden. 




After landing we hopped on to our coach transfer and make our way to the country's capital and largest city, Reykjavík.  The amount of snow was just completely insane. I've never been anywhere where there has been snow that deep or snow that white and fluffy! It must have been a good 2ft (I'm not very good at measurements - it was basically above my knees and I'm tall!). We were told on many occasions that this amount of snow was unheard of for Iceland  (despite the name) and that they have not had this amount in such a short amount of time for over 80 years! It was literally a record breaking amount. The city was in a bit of a standstill for a couple of days as noone was prepared for it. Me being me, the first thing I managed to do when I stepped off the coach was fall over and ended up being neck deep in it! After dusting myself off we decided to do our own city tour and explore...

Reykjavik...


What a beautiful city! Absolutely stunning. There's so much to see and do, as well as everyone being so friendly. Before visiting Iceland, the majority of people told me that it is super expensive but pleaseeee do not let this put you off going. Honestly, if you're in the right places then it's really not that expensive at all and it's nothing like London prices in comparison for example. I will let you in on a few helpful things and tips later on in this post. The picturesque scenery of Iceland has also been the backdrop for many films and TV series such as Game of Thrones and Netflix's Sense8 as well as music videos like Major Lazer - Cold Water feat. Justin Bieber & MØ.



We started with a lovely leisurely walk along Reykjavík's sea front. There really is no need for filters here! Everything was so blue and white - the views are truly spectacular especially with a snowy Mount Esja in the background.`




Sólfarið -The Sun Voyager is a commemorative stainless steel sculpture celebrating the 200th anniversary of the city of Reykjavík by artist Jón Gunnar Árnason. I thought it was a Viking boat but it is infact a dreamboat and ode to the sun.



This is Harpa Music Hall and Conference Centre - this building fascinated me quite a bit, everytime we walked or drove past it I would just stare. It's so modern and stands out from its landscape. The windows are all geometric shaped with different coloured glass. Every time you caught the sun in the windows from a different angle you could just see rainbow colours aswell as multicoloured snow on the floor! It is supposedly inspired by Iceland's landscapes.



After strolling for a little while we came across the City pond/lake - Tjörnin.
It's gorgeous. If I lived in Iceland I could definitely see myself sitting on a nearby bench daydreaming. Most of the city seems to be developed around the lake and you may be able to see some iconic landmarks in this photo. I felt sorry for all the little duckies and swans as their feet must have been so cold! 





Hallgrímskirkja Church is one of the tallest structures in Iceland and is Iceland's largest church at approximately 245ft! Now that is crazy tall for a church right?! Again, this iconic landmark is inspired by Iceland's landscapes and can be seen from nearly everywhere in the city. It looks beautiful when it is all lit up at night and it is also possible to get a lift all the way to the top of the observation tower for some outstanding views of the surrounding area. 

Outside the church stands a statue of explorer Leif Eriksson, who apparently discovered North America before Christopher Columbus. The statue was a gift from the United States to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of Iceland's parliament at Þingvellir in 930 AD.


Inside the church, at 15m tall and with over 5000 pipes is probably the biggest organ I have seen and extremely high ceilings. I can only imagine the acoustics of inside the church.




There are a lot of things about the City of Reykjavik that I really loved and I just couldn't ignore. Whilst out exploring it was literally like having lots of bright and vibrant pleasant little surprises around every corner. I have to admit, I love art and I got a little bit obsessed with trying to find all of the art that I could!

Here are just a few things that I had noticed:

1) There are no McDonalds! I'm not sure what the reason is behind this and it sounds weird perhaps saying it but I really love the fact that it doesn't have any anywhere! ...Although, there are lots of KFC's.

2) You can walk down the streets and not feel like you are in a "city". Everything is just so chill and quirky. The people are very friendly and welcoming. I would compare it quite closely as the Northern Quarter in Manchester. 

3) There is so much history and culture to be learnt. There are so many museums and exhibitions to visit.

4) Everything is so colourful! The buildings, the walls, the doors... There are so many wall murals, paintings and graffiti everywhere - I personally love to see this kind of creative freedom! 

5) There are no typical branded high street shops or shopping centres like what we are used to seeing in England. Everything I saw were quite minimalist and subtle boutiques, which I actually prefer to seeing huge brand names everywhere all lit up and flashy. 

6) Yes - food and drink can be very expensive. But like I briefly said earlier, it really does depend on where you are and want you want. We didn't spend thaaaaat much money in all honesty. Approximately £400 between 2 people. Some of you may find this totally expensive or inexpensive, it completely depends on your budget of course. For me this was a lot less than what I anticipated we might end up spending and the prices are not extortionate in comparison to most major UK cities. There will be some money saving tips for you included further down in this post.












How cool are the wall paintings?! I would love to have a go at doing something like this myself! Seeing them constantly reminded me that I must get creative when I get home and I felt so energised and inspired after seeing a lot of them.



So, the food in the City is quite varied. There is a lot of choice between steakhouses, Italian, American, Greek, traditional Icelandic cuisine... the list goes on.  A personal favourite that I really enjoyed was the traditional Icelandic meat soup. It's basically a flavoursome lamb broth but was absolutely fantastic in the baltic weather conditions that we experienced. It's also super cheap and it is perfect if you're out and about but don't want a full stomach.

Everything you need in the City is all within very close walking distance. Laugavegur street is the main street and you will find everything you need either on this street itself or just off it. This includes bars, restaurants, hotels, shopping!

I'm personally not a big shopper but I am a self confessed foodie (and my boyfriend even more so). The whole time I was there, all I really wanted was traditional Icelandic cuisine or seafood, however this turns out the be the most expensive and a lot of these places were all fine dining - very small portions but with a large bill!  I did see a few places with sheep heads, whale and puffin on the menu... Thankfully, polar bear isn't on the menu!







There is a really handy app which you can download called "Crave", this app is basically the Tindr of restaurants! You simply select your budget and which cuisine you are interested in and then with a shake of your phone or a swipe to either side you can express your interest. You can then explore your interest by viewing the menus, the typical cost of bill for 2 people sharing with drinks as well as book in or find them with maps. If you are really on a budget there are a lot of little cafes, bakeries, supermarkets and soup places. If you collect as many visitor guides/maps you will find that they contain a lot of discount vouchers for restaurants and tourist attractions as well. 

There is another app which will come in useful "Appy Hour" - this allows you to browse the City for Happy Hour and this can be applied to both food and drink depending on the place. Now, Happy Hour is not just one hour... which is great! For example, we were staying at Skuggi Hotel and every night between 4-7pm it was 50% off drinks, making a pint of Viking equivalent to approximately £3.50. There are sooo many places that do this and it's all at different times too, I did see somewhere that had Happy Hour for 8 hours a day! I would definitely recommend just seeing what is about in your area in terms of places to eat, it really just depends on what you can get for your money and how flexible you can or want to be with being able to get lots of deals and discounts.

Another tip - drink the water! It's up there with the best tap water you can ever drink. In a lot of places it actually comes straight from the source, so don't waste your money buying any bottled mineral water as it is exactly the same thing! You will find in some areas or when having a shower that there is a stench of rotten eggs... This is completely normal and natural because of the sulphur and the geothermal origins of the hot water. Near enough the whole country is completely run off geothermal energy. At first, I will admit it was a bit "euughh" but you just get used to it and to be honest I think it's pretty awesome to power a whole country from geothermal resources!

Another thing to mention would be to not let the restaurant service put you off. I have personally been in the hospitality industry for a long time (too long) and let's just say that my idea of good service is not theirs. At a lot of places your servers will seems just so chill and not very attentive, sometimes I actually thought how are these places even running when everything seemed so disorganised i.e. food taken to wrong tables, incorrect orders, not knowing table numbers. My only assumption is that perhaps these places do not operate with a tip system and so the service then becomes very lax. Obviously, this won't be everywhere but is just what I experienced on many occasions.


The Golden Circle...


After arguable one of the best night's sleep that I've ever had, we set off early from our hotel for a full day of exploring some of the magical landscapes that Iceland has to offer in the area. I would highly recommend The Golden Circle tour as an excursion on your trip but be warned there are soooo many tourists all doing the same thing as you!  This is the one and only thing about all the excursions that I didn't like the most - just too many people! It spoils it for me a little bit. Firstly we arrived at Þingvellir National Park, which is about 40kn from the capital. Þingvellir is situated in a rift valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It also marks the boundaries between Mid-Atlantic and Eurasian tectonic plates. Close by there is Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland. Here it is possible to go scuba diving in the Silfra Canyon and swim between these two tectonic plates at quite a steep cost.
The Alþing - the parliament assembly was formed way back in 930 AD and thousands of people from all across the country continued to meet at Lögberg, the Law Rock until 1798 along side the Icelandic Commonwelath period. Major events in the history of Iceland took place here as thousands of people of all ages, backgrounds and trades gathered to discuss the laws and future of the country as well as talk through any issues and any significant news. It was seen as the centre of Iclandic culture and has had a great influence on the present day of the country.  Þingvellir national park is now ipart of the World Heritage list as of 2004 for its significance to the country in terms of culture, history and geography. 








After exploring this beautiful site we then headed on our way to Haukadalur Valley, the geothermal home to the geysers Geysir and Strokkur.  "Geysir" literally means "to gush", it was incredibly fascinating to watch the hot spring water being sucked into the earth before exploding so high into the air! Research shows that it is earthquakes that have reactivated the geysers over time and Strokkur geyser now erupts approximately every 10 minutes. We were there for about half an hour but had noticed that it had erupted about 5 times as sometimes it will erupt massively and then a few little times too straight after. It was all very exciting to witness and there were lots of cheering and clapping from tourists after the large eruptions. There is a taped out area to stop tourists from getting too close but I would recommend standing out of the way depending on which way the wind is blowing as there is a chance you will either get wet or have a huge cloud of rotten egg stinking steam in your face! Apparently the hot springs can also reach temperatures of up to 100°C. 








Watch my video below to see Strokkur geyser in action!

  

Our final stop of The Golden Circle Tour was Gullfoss Waterfalls "The Golden Falls" near Selfossi. At a staggering 100ft in height at least, it is clear to see why this is one of the most iconic waterfalls in all of Iceland. I loveeee waterfalls, there is not a lot else on this Earth that makes me feel so calm and at peace. 



If you follow the walkway from the Gullfoss restaurant there are two viewing platforms - one at the top and one at the bottom (kind of). The view was just amazing, the sound was mesmerising - one of the best waterfalls that I've ever seen but I just wish we could get closer to it... Even though that is probably quite dangerous. With how cold it was while we were in Iceland it was actually really difficult to look and admire the Falls for longer than a few seconds at a time. The wind that was coming from that way was so strong and gave me instant brain freeze and a feeling of a severe migraine. My phone and camera also ceased to work a few times I'm assuming just because of how cold it was. Nonetheless, it was incredible and I would highly recommend visiting, The Gullfoss Visitor Centre and Restaurant are also really nice with great facilities- we were greeted to some much needed Icelandic meat soup, tea and cake to warm up again!



The Northern Lights...



Wooooohoooo!!!! 😍 THIS was the part of the trip that I was looking forward to the most. I had no idea where we were heading to but I could not contain my excitement! Due to the extreme weather conditions our first trip out of the city to Kalfatjörn Church was cancelled so we had the chance to go on our second night instead.  Again... don't be suprised by the amount of people there aswell... there was just so many but you can wander off a little bit so that you are out of the way from everyone else. I pretty much ran to get out of the way of the crowds and found myself the perfect patch of fluffy snow close to the beach.  So just to let you know to avoid disappointment.., you've probably all seen photos of the Northern Lights but you will never see them like that with your eyes! A lot of people get disappointed and I even heard a few people on the trip saying things like "Ooh this is shit!"... NO! No it isn't! It's amazing! The human eye is not capable of picking up and recognising these colours as vividly as a camera would. With your eyes you could see misty white bands in the sky in stripes, moving around and "dancing" to begin with. Obviously seeing the Northern Lights are never guaranteed as there is just no way of predicting this natural phenomenon. Once your eyes start to adjust to the low light levels it then makes it a bit easier to see the Northern Lights. I could then start to see patches of emerald green dancing in the distance beyond the hills. I immediately got the Hero 4 out and programmed it on a night time lapse, low light levels with a long shutter speed and the results are out of this world. Far better than what I could have imagined! To capture the fascinating Aurora Borealis, I set the GoPro to the following settings:
Mode: Night Lapse
Shutter – 30 sec
Interval – Continuous
MP – 12MP Wide
Spot Meter – OFF
Protune – ON
White Balance – 3000K
ISO Limit – Min 100 Max 800
Sharpness – High

See the results for yourself below...




There were lots of shooting stars blazing across the sky on this night aswell, I have even managed to catch a shot of one!




If you want to make the most of the experience then I would recommend a few things:

1) Get away from everyone else and find yourself a nice little spot where you can relax and have a good chance of seeing the lights. Try to keep your back to any light pollution that may be visible from the surrounding area. 

2) Do not attempt to take photos with your phone - some phones nowadays like the newest iPhones and Samsungs are supposed to be really good at capturing images in low light settings but if you have a DSLR or a GoPro you are better off. If you are using your phones please please please do not use your flash! It won't work and to be honest it's actually just so annoying for everyone else!

3) Wrap up warm and wear suitable footwear. A bottle of water and some snacks may also come in handy (or a little bottle of Rum in my case - warms you up from inside 😉). It all depends on how long you can stay out for.

4) Be patient! Your eyes need to adjust to the darkness and once they do you should be in for a treat. Also, like I said, don't expect to be seeing colours like you would in photos.. It's not possible for the most part. 

5) Remember that there is no guarantee that you will see anything at all. You can get a lot of different apps which supposedly predict when the activity of the Northern Lights is at its highest - do not trust these as many people have said they are a beautiful mystery. Nobody knows and nobody can predict them. The best times to go are the months of September to March. Even if you don't see them, as long as you get out into the wild away from the City lights you will still be able to see an awesome array of twinkling stars! 



Blue Lagoon...


What a treat this was! We booked with Blue Lagoon directly online for approximately £60pp. We opted for the Comfort package rather than the Standard package. This included entrance to the Blue Lagoon, Silica Mud Mask, use of towel, 1st drink of your choice at the swim up bar and an Algae Face Mask. 



Upon entry you are given an electronic wristband - these control your lockers and are used for any purchases at the Blue Lagoon. Do not lose these as they cost a ridiculous amount to replace! There are also so many changing rooms and lockers so make sure you remember where you keep your belongings.

Blue Lagoon is situated closesly to the International airport so a lot of people leave this as their last destination before boarding their planes back home. It is also situated near the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates making it a naturally geothermal pool heated by volcanoes!

As well as there being a swim up bar and great facilities there's also a steam room and a waterfall to play about it. There's also a separate section of the lagoon for guests that have paid for the best packages so that they can have in-water massages and water treatments. 








Personally, I think that the time we went was the best time to go with all the snow covering the mountainous landscape and the sun shining through the hazy steam from the heated water. We were incredibly lucky.  It was truly a perfect setting and a memorable experience shared with loved ones.  

One last little thing to mention with the lagoon is that after the masks (which are also available to purchase from the shop and are only made from 3 natural ingredients from the lagoon) your skin will feel amazing! Like literally... like a baby's butt amazing and so soft! Your hair however might suffer if you don't use a strong conditioner and leave it in for the duration of your visit. The water is so mineral rich and just does no good for your hair. I have really thick bleached blonde platinum hair... I used so much conditioner and afterwards it was super dry and even changed slightly yellow! It's a good job that I brought blue shampoo and hair serum with me!

Here are a few more photos of our trip to Iceland. I will also be making a video edit soon from our time there.














In summary, Iceland is... beautiful. Magical. Memerising. Tranquil.
If you haven't already been - YOU MUST! Have you been before? If so, get in touch and share your experience with me, I'd love to know and find out more. 
Keep your eyes peeled for my GoPro video edit that I will release soon from our journey.

Until next time Iceland! Thanks for having us!

Lots of love




Note: All photos and videos are mine. Shot either on GoPro Hero 4 or Samsung Galaxy S 5 - please credit them back to @lunainlimbo if you wish to share them. Thankyou :)

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