Sublime stay at The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa



After my fiance and I decided were in much need of a nice and relaxing getaway together, we excitedly booked our first trip to tropical Bali, Indonesia.

The Breezes: First Impressions

Centrally located in Seminyak- the heart of the island's most vibrant holiday scene, arriving at The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa was instantly relaxing.
Just a five-minute walk to the golden-sand Seminyak Beach, the flowing sea breezes were lovely in the warm heat.
Warmly greeted with big smiles from the reception staff, we had our luggage taken for us and we strolled towards our room taking in the magnificent resort as we went.
The wide open and modern lobby opened through to a stunning pool area surrounded by welcoming loungers and a pool bar where holiday-makers were enjoying the late afternoon sun.









The Room

Our room was located on the second floor and there is a lift available for those that do not wish to take the stairs. Through the door to our room, we saw our large and modern bathroom to the left, kitted out with all the toiletries you could possibly wish for.
Ahead was our very large King bed in a spacious room fitted with a tv, safe, air conditioning, good wifi, plenty of drawer space, a big chair in the corner and a wardrobe with fluffy bathrobes and slippers.
My favourite thing about the room was the large balcony leading off it offering two comfortable chairs and a table, with a view overlooking one of the pools and the tennis court above the Beach Restaurant.
We saw many fabulous sunsets from the comfort of our balcony enjoying a Bintang (local beer) or two.







Beyond the Room

The resort offers a wide range of facilities including a well-equipped air-conditioned fitness centre, a tennis court, Kid's Corner, Travel Information Centre, a Departure lounge, just to name a few.
They have a road-side restaurant and bar called d'Base which is one of Seminyak's popular dining and entertainment venues with nightly live music and performances.



There are two large pools which I found so great. The lagoon-style four-tiered swimming pool has a sandy man-made beach with red and white candy-striped beach loungers and shady umbrellas- which gives it that ultra relaxing feeling and may have been the reason why we didn't even bother going to the real beach except for a quick look and walk along on our first full day there.
The second pool, closer to the lobby is surrounded by comfortable white loungers, is deeper in the middle and has a bar attached.
Titled 'The Sunken Pool bar' it has a daily fun bingo game with prizes for the winners and pretty good drink specials for beer and their signature cocktails. You can even order casual poolside tapas and snacks if you're feeling peckish.





We arrived on a Friday and discovered the resort puts on a traditional Indonesian buffet feast and dance performance show every Friday evening, so we happily booked this at once.
We were excited to try real Indonesian cuisine for the first time as well as experience Balinese culture.
From start to finish the atmosphere, attentive staff, food and performance was a highly enjoyable experience.
We were greeted with a frangipani flower each and shown to our table which came with insect repellant- a very thoughtful touch!
The buffet offered a huge range of mouth-watering Indonesian dishes and I had to stop myself from going up a third time to get more!



While we were enjoying our dinner and dessert we had a glass of included wine and listened to the pleasant live traditional music.
We then ordered a bucket of Bintangs which came on ice and watched the Indonesian dance which told a story through performance. It was very captivating and entertaining and encouraged the audience members to get involved.
At the end we were invited on to the stage if we wished to get a photo with the actors in their costumes. We were very glad to have booked this dinner as it made for the perfect start to our time in Bali.




The daily breakfast served at The Beach Restaurant was an international buffet with a wide range of both Western and Indonesian cuisine with everything you could want to start your day. Pancakes, croissants, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, cooked breakfast options including made-to-order omelettes and eggs how you like, I enjoyed everything with the exception of the coffee which I couldn't quite stomach (I am a coffee snob).

The Spa, located to the right of the lobby is beautifully appointed with private treatment rooms and offer many different pampering treatments.
We enjoyed an hour-long Balinese massage in the middle of our stay which included delicious refreshments beforehand. We both highly enjoyed it and left feeling very relaxed and rejuvenated!


On our final day, we booked in for a Balinese cooking class the resort hosts daily.
We were taught in a small group by expert chefs how to make many delicious traditional dishes. We donned our aprons and paper hats and learned about the ingredients and helped to prepare and cook each dish.
A recipe book was also included with all of the meals and instructions inside which we could take home along with our printed apron.
Enjoying the food afterwards was, of course, the best part and it was so delicious and a super fun and interesting experience on the whole.




Fantastic Staff

Every single member of staff we encountered were highly professional, warm and friendly and made our stay that little more special.
From the special touches in our room every day after it had been made up- a different towel animal each day and a lovely personal note, to the incredible service when you are poolside.
The staff at reception and the information centre were all very helpful in recommending tours and the best places for us to eat, they are more than happy to help you with anything.
The greetings and smiles around the resort, the funny pool bar staff, the room service (of which the food was very good!) were all brilliant.
We even by a stroke of luck had to stay an extra night due to the nearby volcano erupting and our flight being cancelled... and they accommodated us with no hassle at all.
We were very impressed.



The Details

Hotel: The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa

Location: Jalan Camplung Tanduk No. 66, Seminyak - Bali 80361

Reviews: Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor and 4.5/5 stars from 1537 reviews and a 9/10 on Booking.com.

Price: The rooms are generally from $150 AUD a night for a superior double room which includes breakfast and free wifi.


Final Thoughts

Overall it was a truly incredible stay and so pleasant we were very sad to leave- even after 10 nights! The location was excellent with many eateries, bars, the beach and shops in close walking distance.
The rooms were clean and the grounds and pools were immaculate and well-maintained, and the staff always went over and beyond.
The resort would suit a wide range of people from those wanting a romantic couple getaway, groups of friends and families with children.



A nice comfortable hotel really makes such a difference and the next time we go back to Bali which will probably be in 2017- we will undoubtedly book with The Breezes again and I highly recommend this hotel to anyone wanting to stay in Seminyak.
We both thought The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa was sublime and we can't wait to go back!



If you have any questions at all about the hotel or have any other suggestions for fantastic places to stay in Bali then please let me know in the comments below!

This post is not sponsored; it is my genuine thoughts and opinions.

Thanks for reading,
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20 Must-Do’s in New Zealand


Are you heading to New Zealand for the first time soon?
Maybe you are already there?
New Zealand might be a tiny country located at the very bottom of the world but there are countless amazing experiences to be had and fun new things to try.

New Zealand is a unique country in that we have a little bit of everything you could imagine as a perfect destination to go to.
We have warm weather and white sandy beaches up north, cold weather and beautiful snowy alps down south, and lush native rainforests, geothermal activity, glaciers, crystal-blue lakes and volcanoes in between.
It really is every travellers paradise and it took leaving New Zealand for a couple of years and exploring the rest of the world for me to realise just how amazing our country is.

I have previously written a New Zealand Travel Guide which covers the basics and place highlights in the North and South Island that I would recommend visiting, so have a read of that if you would like more information and ideas of where to visit.

Here I've put together a list of top 20 must-do's, that I myself as a Kiwi would recommend to a friend going there for the first time.
It's a good mixture of specific activities and places to do them, as well as certain Kiwi things to try that we ourselves enjoy and are very normal here (aka mandatory if you want to fit in!- I'm just kidding!). In no particular order- let's jump straight in!


1. Go bungy jumping!

Commercial bungy jumping first started by New Zealander A J Hackett in 1986 and it is the ultimate Kiwi adventure activity!
Jump from a tall structure (bridge/building/ledge) while connected to a large springy elastic cord. It sounds terrifying - and it is! But it is also incredibly exhilarating and trust me, once you jump the first time you will just want to do it again and again - it's so fun!
You can bungy in Auckland, Taupo and Queenstown.
Head to their website for more information bungy.co.nz.

Jumping for the first time in Queenstown 2011
Feeling exhilarated!

2. Go adventuring in Queenstown 

Speaking of adventure activities- Queenstown in the South Island is the perfect destination to do all of the fun things our country offers in one place- it's our adventure capital.
As well as bungy jumping you can find the world's highest canyon swing, go luging, skydiving, extreme jet boating, white water rafting, helicoptering- you name it!
Queenstown is my favourite place in New Zealand as it is surrounded by the Southern Alps and it is incredibly stunning and picturesque- that alone is reason enough to go there even without all of the fun things to do there!
Here's the official Queenstown site for more info: queenstownnz.co.nz.

Luging with a view
Go extreme speed-boating on the Shotover Jet

3. Embrace the footwear: jandals 

Jandals are the national footwear of choice- as it is in Australia as well- except there they call them thongs. (Thongs to us is underwear!). You may also know them as flipflops.
Walking around everywhere in your jandals is a normal look for us- sometimes even in the Winter. However, I would not recommend wearing jandals if you are going for a hike!




4. Try a mince and cheese pie 

We love our meat pies and they are an acceptable meal at any time of the day.
Mince and cheese is a specialty- especially topped with some Watties tomato sauce!
Pies paired with a Powerade (sports drink) is a common hangover cure, and you can find said pies hot from the oven in many places including local dairies (corner stores), service/petrol stations, supermarkets and bakeries.



5. Go on a Lord of the Rings tour 

If you are a fan then don't miss out on the many Lord of the Rings tours and places to visit dotted all over the country. My number one recommendation would be to visit Hobbiton in Matamata, Waikato. It's an incredible tour only 1.5 hours drive south of Auckland.
The farm is immaculately kept, you learn a lot of great information and even finish up at the Green Dragon pub for a hobbity ale or cider. Head to their website for more information: hobbitontours.com.
Wellington - our capital city, home to Sir Peter Jackson and where the movies were filmed offers many movie location spots, tours and the Weta Cave which you can visit.
To discover more areas and filmed scenes all over the country check this website out for full Middle Earth tours if you're interested: discovernewzealand.com.

Beautiful Hobbiton in Matamata, Waikato
The "Get off the road- quick!" spot on Mt Victoria, Wellington

6. Go wine tasting

New Zealand's climate is perfect for wine-growing and we have produced some very delicious and internationally acclaimed wines including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
You can find stunning wineries and vineyards all throughout the country but some of our top places to visit to sample the delights include (from top of the country to the bottom):
Waiheke Island, Hawkes Bay, Martinborough, Blenheim and Marlborough.
We have many different classic New Zealand wine trail tours you can go on, for more information visit here: newzealand.com.



7. Experience Maori culture 

Soak up Maori culture and hospitality in Rotorua, the cultural heart of New Zealand.
Visit an authentic pre-European Maori village and admire beautiful carvings and Maori architecture, watch a cultural performance, learn the history and even enjoy a traditional mouth-watering hangi (food cooked underground) feast.
Te Puia is a great company in Rotorua that offers day and evening Maori culture experience tours: tepuia.com.



8. Fly through the Southern Alps 

There's no better way to experience the mountainous peaks, glaciers and lakes of the Southern Alps than by taking a breathtaking scenic flight from Queenstown.
It's easy to book your dream day in the sky with plenty of tours available.
Sip on champagne in your helicopter and land for a scheduled picnic lunch in the mountains. It would certainly be worth every penny and make your trip to New Zealand even more unforgettable!
Head to the Southern Alps Air website for more details: southernalpsair.co.nz.



9. Explore geothermal phenomena 

Geysers, hot springs, boiling mud pools and huge volcanic craters are the backdrop in Rotorua, where nature's forces escape by bubbling, steaming and hissing from the inner earth. Indulge in a thermal pool spa therapy or take a walking tour to discover the sights and wonders of this mysterious place that sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
With more than 1200 geothermal phenomena in the region, the volcanic zone has drawn visitors since the 1800's and became the birthplace of New Zealand tourism.

The Craters of the Moon walk in Taupo

10. Enjoy the sand and the snow 

No matter what time of the year you visit you can enjoy either swimming and surfing at our many nice beaches (mostly found in the North Island) or go skiing and snowboarding at our world-class snow mountains.
We have ski mountains on both Islands- in the North there is Mount Ruapehu- an active volcano which offers two excellent ski fields Whakapapa (you read that right) and Turoa.
In the South Island you can ski in Canterbury, at Mount Cook and in Queenstown.
All of these places offer post-card views at every ski turn, alpine peaks and resort towns jam-packed with Kiwi hospitality.

A beach in Whangarei in the North Island
At the Whakapapa ski field

11. Learn and use Kiwi slang  

There is no doubt that during your time in New Zealand you will come across our rather unique phrases and slang words. You may as well embrace it and start using it yourself!
Some common everyday words include: "chur, sweet as, choice, awesome, mint and cheers"- they all pretty much mean thanks or cool.
Most people call each other 'bro' unless you don't like the person.
We also like to add the word 'as' and 'aye' on to the end of most sentences.
'As' is used to simply emphasise the word before, for example: "that was sweet as, cool as, mean as, it was far as," and so on.
'Aye' or 'eh' is harder to explain. But Bren on the Road- an awesome travel blog I love has nailed it on the head as well as more Kiwi slang here: new-zealand-slang.



12. Trek the Tongariro Crossing 

One of the most popular day hikes in the country- the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a spectacular 19.4 kilometre day trek that crosses stark and remarkable volcanic terrain.
It is New Zealand's oldest national park and a dual World Heritage Site.
As well as seeing awe-inspiring dramatic natural scenery and unique landforms- be rewarded at the top by the stunning emerald crater lakes.
Lord of the Rings fans would know this area to be 'Mount Doom'. Here is their website for more information: tongarirocrossing.org.nz.



13. Try Whittakers & Pineapple Lumps 

Whittakers is without a doubt New Zealand's best chocolate brand- and the Peanut Slab in particular is a much loved bar.
If you're a chocolate-lover you won't be disappointed and may have to allocate extra luggage space to take some home with you!
Be sure to try some of our other national favourites too such as Pineapple Lumps, a Chocolate Fish, a Cadbury Moro and a Buzz bar.




14. Cruise through Milford Sound 

Milford Sound is an absolute gem of the South Island in Fiordland National Park (another World Heritage Site). The remarkable natural environment features dramatic fiords, spectacular waterfalls and snowcapped peaks.
Not far from Queenstown or Te Anau, enjoy an afternoon cruise or even sleep under the stars for an unforgettable boat ride.
There are many tour companies available but here their official website for more information: cruisemilfordnz.com.



15. Whale-watch in Kaikoura 

The picturesque coastal town of Kaikoura is a 2 hour drive north of Christchurch and one of the only places in the world where you can see magnificent sperm whales.
Meet these creatures up close and personal on a boat tour where you will also be surrounded by friendly dolphins and fur seals, with a beautiful backdrop of mountains.
Head to: whalewatch.co.nz for more details.



16. Dig your own spa pool 

In summer Coromandel is one of the best-loved holiday destinations in New Zealand.
The popular beach town is relaxed and laid back with a stunning golden coastline.
Hot Water Beach is a very special place where you can dig your own 'hot pool' at low tide and enjoy the warm water - another of our geothermal phenomena.
The excellent surfing conditions, nearby cafes and art galleries all add to this very kiwi experience and make it a great place to visit during summer. Don't forget to visit Cathedral Cove while you're in the area - arguably one of the most picturesque spots in The Coromandel Peninsula.



17. Go on a craft-beer tour 

If you love your beer (like me) then you will love our rising craft-beer scene. New Zealand might be mostly known for its award-winning wines, but local craft-beer brewing has been gaining popularity over the last twenty years and today there are more than 250 beers brewed in our country, each offering their own unique blends and identity.
You can find craft-beer tasting crawls, beer festivals and brewery tours all over and especially in Wellington and Auckland.



18. Discover the Waitomo Caves 

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves in Waikato is a natural highlight of New Zealand and a must-see for any traveller.
The glow worm is unique to our country and thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their luminescent light over the roof of the caves as you sail silently below on the world-famous boat ride. Learn all about them from the guides and the fascinating geology of the ancient caves. For more information head to their website waitomo.com.



19. Have a hokey pokey ice cream 

There is nothing more Kiwi than going to the beach for the day and then enjoying a Tip Top hokey pokey ice cream from the local dairy.
Of course there are plenty of other awesome flavours to choose from but hokey pokey is a special New Zealand flavour and is absolutely delicious- so you have to try it while you're there! Maybe wash it down with a can of L&P (a very Kiwi fizzy drink). Choice.




20. Go on an incredible glacier hike

Last but not least- if you are into hiking and seeing incredible glaciers- then be sure to check out two of our most accessible and awe-inspiring glaciers- Fox Glacier and Franz Josef on the West Coast of the South Island.
It's impossible to overstate the impact of a glacier encounter and there is no better place to do it than in New Zealand.
There are opportunities to experience the glaciers for people with all levels of ability. Many companies offer guided walks to see these brilliantly blue ice formations.
Head to franzjosefglacier.com and foxguides.co.nz for more information.



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Have a sweet as day,




*This post contains some images that are not my own.

Ultimate Travelling Essentials to pack!


You've booked your flight, accommodation, worked hard to save your money and probably waited for what seemed like forever - now the time has finally come to pack for your upcoming travel adventure!
Some people love packing, some people hate it.
I'm the former as I get so enthusiastic whenever I'm about to jet off and I love the excitement of getting everything prepared and ready to go.
(So much so that usually I can't even sleep the night before!).


Aside from packing the obvious things like:

Passport, wallet, phone, tickets, sunglasses, camera, clothes, toiletries, book,

etc. - take a minute and check the following travel essentials listed below.
The country you're travelling to might surprise you - every destination is different, so it's always better to be prepared.
Here is a checklist that includes the essentials to pack and also some handy items which can be useful depending on where and how long you will be travelling.


Essentials:

Travel documents copies


It's really important to make copies of your passport just in case it gets lost or damaged. Same for any required travel visas.
It's a good idea to also print out confirmations, especially for hotel bookings and any pre-booked extra trips and activities - as quite often bookings can get 'lost' and are nowhere to be found in the system.
If you are travelling for a while it can also be handy to make a print out of your itinerary to refer to along the way, with all the important info highlighted such as flight/travel times and top things you wish to do.


Noise cancelling headphones


This is a big necessity for me! As well as having an extensive music playlist.
Noise cancelling headphones are my saviour on aeroplanes. Even if I don't feel like listening to music I'll pop them on anyway to tune out all the noise around me.


Earplugs & eyemask


Another necessity similar to above! Useful for when trying to sleep on long-haul flights and even for those noisy hotel rooms or hostels that also never quite get dark enough at night.


Surge protector & adapter


Surge protectors are important to make sure your electronics don't fry in case of different surge strengths. It's a smart idea to bring a double plug adapter with you to be able to plug in two devices at once if you need to.

Day pack/bag


Take a fairly lightweight backpack with you that doesn't take up much room in the suitcase.
It's great for carrying all those essential items such as wallet, camera, drink bottle, snacks etc. Be sure it's comfortable to wear all day for those daily out and about trips.

Appropriate footwear

Something I've learnt the hard way - pack appropriate footwear! You walk so much more when you travel and it's so important to wear durable and comfortable shoes.
Your legs will probably already be aching at the end of the day (love that feeling though!) so don't add to the pain by having sore feet too.


Wind & rain proof jacket


Another important travelling item is the wind and rain proof jacket (maybe not so much if you are just going to a tropical island!).
Nobody wants to be stuck in the rain while travelling. When choosing one try to go for the all-in-one kind - both wind and waterproof, lightweight and with a pocket. These are both comfortable and useful and can be easily packed into your luggage.


Hand sanitizer

Very very important! You don't want to get sick, especially while on holiday so use it frequently - after touching money, door handles, rails etc. and especially before eating if you can't wash your hands first.


Mini travel health kit


Pack a mini health kit with any medications you may need, along with panadol/aspirin, cold/flu medicine, antibiotics, Imodium (just in case!) and basic first aid supplies such as plasters and so on. Small scissors are also very handy to pack (just don't put them in your carry-on bag... woops!).


Tissues

Take at least a couple of small tissue packets with you and have one on you at all times in your day pack. Not only for nose emergencies but more so for the many places that don't have toilet paper! (Especially common in South-East Asia and other developing countries).


Plastic bags & snap/zip lock bags


Take a few plastic grocery bags for any dirty or wet clothes, and to wrap your shoes in before packing them in your suitcase.
Snap/zip lock bags are also great to seal any toiletry liquids that may leek, to keep all of your chargers together or any loose items, to put your rubbish into whilst out and about, and even to seal your phone in if it happens to downpour!


Small padlocks

I highly recommend putting a lock on your suitcase while travelling to and from your destination and keeping any valuables locked up inside it when leaving your accommodation for the day.
If you're staying in a hostel quite often they provide lockers but you have to provide your own lock for it. It's also handy to bring a spare if you're going somewhere notorious for pickpockets. Keep your backpack locked up and all of your belongings safe!


If you're going somewhere hot:

Wet wipes 


Wet wipes or baby wipes are excellent to take if you're doing a long tour, hiking, backpacking or just going somewhere really hot! They are perfect to help freshen up.
You can wipe your face, hands or whole self with if you're missing a shower, and they are even handy to clean your belongings with if you get dirty shoes for example.


Insect repellent


It's a great idea to bring a small insect repellent with you if you are going somewhere warm and will be spending a lot of time outside. Use especially when at the beach and in the evenings to keep away those pesky mosquitoes, flies and other blood-sucking bugs.


Light scarf/sarong
If you're heading to a hot destination you probably won't be bringing many warm clothes - so a light scarf or sarong is perfect for during the flight to keep warm or to even use as a pillow. It can also double up as a beach cover up or for visiting temples.


Sunblock & hat


Don't forget your hat and sunblock! Protecting your skin from sun damage is extremely important, especially as you'll probably be spending extra time in it. Soak up those rays but do be sun-smart.


If you're travelling for a while:

Mini sewing kit
I'm not kidding you I have used my mini sewing kit and I am so glad that I had it! (I had to sew up a large rip in the back of my suitcase which saved me from having to buy a new one). Pack a small kit with a couple of basic needles and threads as well as safety pins and spare buttons. You know that you will need it that one time you don't pack it!


Washing powder

If I'm travelling for a while I have no problem at all with hand-washing my clothes in the sink, so I always take a small ziplock bag with a scoop of washing powder with me.
It's a heck of a lot cheaper and more fuss-free just to wash your clothes yourself!


Other handy things I take (optional):

Notebook and pens


I do like to write so I always take a small notebook and pen with me. I like to write down the highlights of each day (I love looking back on these years later!) as well as any ideas of things I'd like to do or places to eat at etc.


Bottle opener


This is an essential item for fellow beer drinkers out there! I do enjoy chilling in the hotel room for example on the balcony, having a couple of local store-bought beers in the afternoon sun or before heading out for dinner.
For the wine drinkers - you may want to bring a Swiss army knife with you for those pesky corks (or of course if you are camping/hiking/backpacking it will definitely come in handy for that too).


Umbrella
I always pack a small, lightweight but durable umbrella. I would recommend it if you're going somewhere in the colder months, definitely if you're going to the UK, or somewhere with regular afternoon downpours!

Protein bars


Lastly, it's a great idea to take a packet of good protein bars with you for your day pack. Being active all day long will wake up your appetite, so having a quick and filling snack on hand is useful to curb hunger in-between meals, which can also save you some money!



There we have my ultimate list of travelling essentials to pack. Let me know in the comments if you have any other essentials you can't go without - I'd love to read them!

Happy Travels,

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*This post contains images that are not my own.

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