Female Solo Travelling – Indonesia

I decided to embark on a solo trip to Bali after seeing travel brochures for a paradise looking like island and I was sold! I also found it’s a pretty safe place to travel alone and the locals are very friendly. So here’s my fantastical blog on what I did there for a week with all of my golden tricks and tips!

Ladies travelling back from prayer in brightly coloured traditional clothing
Ladies travelling back from prayer

What originally started as a month long trip around Asia had to unfortunately get cut down to two weeks max as I picked up a new job contract. So I had already planned to fly to Singapore and use it as my base, which is very common when travelling around Asia! Singapore airport is not only the most popular place for connecting flights but long running top rated! Check out my Singapore in a weekend blog post here. I booked a return flight to Bali with Scoot and I read reviews that it was a great budget airline to use.

Rinniboo riding on a horse along the beach in Gili T
You can hire a horse to ride along the beach at Gili T

Unfortunately, I had quite a terrible experience with my flights out to Bali from Singapore as the pilot announced an hour into the flight that we were delayed for half an hour because they originally couldn’t turn the engine on! That was resolved after they restarted it but now we had to turn around and land back into Singapore because a new fault has cropped up! This meant we had to fly around for three hours to burn enough fuel to land and then we didn’t get onto a replacement flight and actually into Bali until 6 hours later! By this time all my plans to check out the local neighbourhood, sample the local cuisine and sit down to plan my trip there with everything unpacked had gone out the window! I also got charged a fee for an after hours pick up from the hotel, which I was not aware of and I had already given the taxi driver a big tip anyway! Thankfully my flights back all ran quite smoothly and I left plenty of time to catch my flight home to the UK straight from Singapore (lots of time to hit the duty free – hard!)

 

I had pre organised an AirBnB well in advanced at the Spa & villa Moksha Ubud. It’s a beautiful villa with a communal pool, garden and spa hut out back where you can pick and choose from a range of spa treatments and even book a week package where you can get a select few wonderful treatments each day! The place is run by the friendly duo Mega and Ali with dedicated security at night and a great team that made me feel safe and right at home. They do not rent out scooters but you’re only less than a 5 min walk from the main road where there’s a plethora of travel shops and stalls where you can hire scooters, book transport and a variety of trips.

 

For the first day I farmiliarised myself with my local surroundings so I took a walk along the whole length of the main road and scouted out where the most popular places were to eat by the locals. I then ventured to the monkey forest where they had an event on and all of the women were there dressed in their traditional prayer garments and listening to the show and testimonials. Having visited a monkey forest in Manchester before, the proximity to the cheeky furry creatures was not new. However, their fearlessness of teasing visitors and nicking personal belongings astounded me! I made sure all of my things were tightly packed away in my drawstring bag, but even an unfortunate shop keeper from the string of stalls in there had their stationary stolen by a cheeky monkey!

 

All of the architecture just took my breath away, the temple arches were decadently adorned and everywhere exudes history with the mossy weathered cobbles and bricks. I really disliked how touristy Ubud was as the streets were heaving with visitors and this attracted a lot of hawkers, which unfortunately made every step along the road a constant battle to reject taxi rides! A great way I met new people, locals and other solo female travelers (which there were a lot of in Ubud!) was by using the Couchsurfing app. Speaking the local Maly language encourages shopkeepers at the local markets to haggle in your favor and is a great shopping experience!

 

Other great apps and links:

  • Flytographer.com – capture all those memories by hiring a photographer
  • Booking.com – book from over 400,000 home-stays and hotels around you like any other a hotel
  • AirBnB – Search some great hidden gems to stay in

Through making friends with other fellow female travelers using networking apps, and just going out for a meal at busy restaurants to get chatting with others around me I managed to arrange a day trip and share a taxi with mutual new friends and visited; The Monkey Temple – they have occasional parties here after hours, so get the invite through word of mouth from the locals for a fantastic night there when the sun sets!

 

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A variety of temples including the beautiful Water Temple, a coffee plantation – get a tour guide to take some candid photos and taste test all the coffee they make on the plant for FREE! The additional famous ‘poo coffee’ is at an additional cost but it makes for a great story! Rice fields – unfortunately, if you thought Ubud was too touristy, the popular rice fields are a lot worse! The locals have barricaded any tourist photo opportunity spots and have even set up a toll to progress any further up the paddies! It did dampen my experience, but luckily it wasn’t top of my bucket list.

 

Bali has a plethora of temples to explore from their religious roots that has been at the heart of every Balinese for centuries. Each place has their own rules to be respected but you can really get up close and personal with the ancient rooms and artifacts.

 

Whilst I was there I really had to visit the insta-famous Gili Islands. My heart sank when I almost couldn’t squeeze it into my itinerary, but I organised a 1 night stay at Gili Twargran at a wonderful villa, Ko-ko-mo. Known for its bustling parties at night, it was a great choice out of the 3 islands. Gili T is best for the younger audience that likes a party, Gili Meno is full on honeymooners and Gili Air is the best for a relaxed island break.

You can hire a bike for the day and it takes around an hour to cycle around the whole island. I picked the best time in the afternoon to set off and the sun just started to set as I was getting closer to the famous Hotel Ombak swing sunset Insta-photo opp location. Luckily I found a great spot just before the hotel that was a lot quieter and quaint to take a swing photo! The hawking of sales was a lot less and more manageable being on a small island but that means the prices are a bit higher and there’s less of chance of a successful haggle. After watching one of the most beautiful sunsets on earth the night life really kicks into action! There are a few locations for outdoor movies and dining options to chill out with, but just shy of a few minutes away near the night markets where you can get fresh food cooked right under your nose is the booming clubs where you can party the night away!

 

The fast boat back to Bali was the worst experience I had in the whole holiday. It took a while longer to get back than the journey out to the island because it had a lot of stops to take along the way, and it needed an inspection halfway to ensure it was not overcrowded- which is common and very dangerous. It was great having the wind in my hair on the upper deck until the tide changed and we were all getting soaked! So we had to retreat back inside where it was hot and stuffy which was ripe conditions for sea sickness. I really had to get into my zen mode to stop throwing up! When we finally reached the dock at Bali I was cold, exhausted and just wanted to quickly get back to Ubud and crash in my bed. Horribly there was a bombardment of taxi services which even made it difficult to get off the boat! I think I know what it’s like to be harassed by paparazzi! I had to be pulled onto land! Thankfully, I had a very informative taxi representative that recommended a driver to me, obviously it was at tourist prices. I thought I had booked a ride back but unfortunately this is quite common. You can take a private taxi back to Ubud for 350k-500k IDR or take a shuttle bus for around 120k IDR that takes longer and drops off everyone along the way. It was my own space and aircon back for me!

Recommended places to stay in Gili T:

  • Ko-ko-mo resort Gili Trawangan
  • Hotel Ombak Sunset
  • Pearl of Trawangan
  • Santorini Beach Resort

How did I end my amazing solo trip?? With dinner at the local of course; Mee goreng and a Bintang – A Bali home brew!

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I had an amazing experience of the best and the worst of solo travelling. It was a great way to learn more about myself, overcome my personal fears of social anxieties, learning to swim and make great new friends for life! I really felt it was one of the most enriching things that I’ve done in my life, and learning a skill to not only overcome a fear but to fulfil my dream of swimming with turtles was an empowering point in my life. I felt like I could do anything! So I passionately encourage everyone that’s thinking of travelling on their own to 100% do it! Do your research thoroughly, and prepare yourself for a trip of a life time. Take that leap of faith, because a wise man once said ‘if you think you can, you will!’.

 

Check out my last travel blog on First cruise with P&O review or check out my last tech blog A woman’s review of the FitBit Alta HR
Let me know in the comments if you have been to Bali or any of the Gili islands before and if you have any great tips for solo travelling.
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Female Solo Travelling – Indonesia

First cruise with P&O review

I ventured out on my first cruise with my mother as a birthday present. Here’s my experience and my top tips that I took away from the trip.

Our cruise was around the Greek Islands with P&O cruises on the Oceana ship at mid-June time.

It’s hard to miss the size of a full cruise ship. The P&O Oceana is a Sun-class cruise that holds up to 2272 people with 11 floors to explore. The size standing next to it at port just took my breath away, but nothing prepared me for what the interior was like. I was in awe of the dĂ©cor and it literally felt like a three story building when you step into the foyer. You almost completely forget you are on a ship until you venture out on to the deck where there’s enough room to share sun bathing space with all the other sun worshippers on board. There was even a small shopping mall inside with several shops! I was a regular at the jewelry store that stocked local finds wherever we docked. They had all of the latest designs at amazingly affordable prices.

 

I would definitely recommend paying an extra £100 pp for a twin bed room for a port window, especially if you’re nervous about sea sickness and also for a first time cruise. I wanted to be able to see the sights when we were moving or docked, even if it was just sea for two of the days in a row! My mother is a natural at sea and rarely ever gets sea sick, but having felt it myself before. I didn’t chance it and packed sea/motion sickness tablets with me just in case. Thankfully I did because the seas were quite rocky for two of the nights!

Food

There’s an all day buffet available that serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and always has something different each day. My favorite was the occasional BBQ they had outside when we were at sea and even included entertainment by the pools whilst you feasted! For the last night we indulged and paid extra for a Italian dinner at CafĂ© Jadin.

 

Sports and Spa

I highly recommend adding on the option of a realigning Pilates class or relaxing yoga class followed by a spa package whilst you’re cruising away. I adds a luxury touch to your cruise experience and I took advantage of the spa exclusive packages when they had a talk where we were able to trial all of the stocked Elemis products.

Themed Dinners

Every night is a different themed night and adds a splash of fun to your evening dinners. For the black tie night, we glammed up and chose to share a table to meet others on the ship. We met some wonderful people and shared the tastiest food! I think people are almost forced to be overtly friendly not only because you’re stuck with them for the whole trip but also the crew on the ship that you interact with everyday always have their customer service A game. So it highly influencing, but makes for a wonderful atmosphere. It made it a lot easier being on a floating island for a few days!

 

Top tips for next time

It’s easy to over pack for all of the themed nights and exploration attire. But if you can, board from a port rather than taking a plane out. This way you have a lot more or even limitless luggage allowance, always check with your agent first!

I couldn’t live without sunscreen and my facial mist from Garnier with SPF 30 in it. The sun was out every day (except for Mykonos! Which I vow I will give another chance!) and it was a lot easier to burn when you’re sunbathing at sea.

Pre book excursions in advance. You can take advantage of the savings and even if the excursion doesn’t go ahead on the day, you get the money refunded back to you.

If you can, bring some bottles of your own water or take advantage of the water bottle package on the first night. Although there is a water dispenser you are able to use at the buffet, due to hygiene reasons, you should not use this to refill your bottles! Hygiene is important on board and hand sanitizers are available at the entrance of all food areas. Tummy bugs are easily spread in a close environment, so don’t chance it!

 

Spending can get away from you sometimes as drinks are extras and hitting the on board boutiques makes you feel like you’re not spending any money when you just sign your room number! Everything is charged at the end of your cruise and you get the long bill to pay either by card or cash.

There are many other great tips and helpful advice about on board tipping digressions and health and safety, including emergency information and drills. Always be in the know of these and it will make your cruise more relaxing.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at sea and at the Greek islands of Mykonos, Athens, Sarande and Katakolon! I would definitely have loved to explore Malta more than just the airport and port next time, but I’m already looking at a Caribbean cruise for my next trip! Cruises are a great way of getting a feel and quick overview of different locations. It was a great insight of the Greek islands and now I know which islands I would like to go back to holiday at for longer, like Sarande and it’s cosy village! With the wonderful crew service and daily activities, I can see why it’s a potential retirement plan!

First cruise with P&O review

10 Things I learnt In Italy

During my recent trip to the north of Italy (and Switzerland) You can read about here, I realised quite a few things in my surroundings that’s different to life in the UK. Here’s 10 fun things that I learnt whilst in Italy.

      1. Italians really like to take their time and enjoy their food and drinks – every restaurant and cafe I went into, everyone was taking their time and enjoying each others company.travel blog north italy milan in a week photos rinniboo com
      2. Italians do actually eat a LOT of pizza and pasta! – The majority of people everywhere I went were eating a slice of pizza or a plate of fresh pasta!

https://giphy.com/embed/ZlEhAjohXkZj2via GIPHY

  • Every angle of Lake Como is picturesque – I mean… LOOK AT IT!

    Travel blog - Italy in a week Milan Switzerland Lake Como Venice blog blogger Foxtown outlet shopping where to eat where to go day trips easy jet lastminute.com package holidays planning flying
    The views of Lake Como were breathtaking!
  • When you ‘walk a dog’ it actually walks you! – I’m going to assume Italian dog owners love their dogs so much they let them lead the walk.

https://giphy.com/embed/9GtQPJ8WzR052via GIPHY

    • Punctuality still isn’t on any Italians priority list – never was never will be!Travel blog - Italy in a week Milan Switzerland Lake Como Venice blog blogger Foxtown outlet shopping where to eat where to go day trips easy jet lastminute.com package holidays planning flying
    • You learn to love coffee and wine and how to drink it – always order a coffee after a meal!travel blog north italy milan in a week photos rinniboo com
    • Olives and ham aren’t actually supposed to be that salty – everything is so salty in the UK!

https://giphy.com/embed/peNV63cM784hyvia GIPHY

  • You can’t have too many vineyards – when you drive from Milan to Venice and pass through all the major white and sparking vineyards/wineries, you can’t NOT have a glass of wine

    Travel blog - Italy in a week Milan Switzerland Lake Como Venice blog blogger Foxtown outlet shopping where to eat where to go day trips easy jet lastminute.com package holidays planning flying
    One of the grand hotels in Milan
  • Italians like to talk – it seems rude to get straight to the point, get to know them a little first.

    Travel blog - Italy in a week Milan Switzerland Lake Como Venice blog blogger Foxtown outlet shopping where to eat where to go day trips easy jet lastminute.com package holidays planning flying hotel landmarks
    Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II opened in 1877 and is the worlds oldest shopping mall!
  • Italians are pretty straight talking – they know what they want and how to get it!

But most of all, Italy is the most beautiful place I’ve visited and the culture there is amazing!

– Rinniboo

10 Things I learnt In Italy

Travel Tips – North Italy in a week?!

Hello! Long time no post, I’ve been busy inspiration searching and that involved travelling! In my usual ‘two-birds-with-one-stone’ fashion, it was also a birthday trip curtesy of ma madrĂ© (big thank you mum!) But Italy was also on her bucket list!! So let get stuck right into it!

So I like to squeeze in as much as I can when I go on holiday to a new destination, check out the Singapore in a weekend blog here. So when we went to stay in Milan for 6 nights we squeezed in day trips all around the north of Italy to experience lots of snippets from each place.

Travel blog - Italy in a week Milan Switzerland Lake Como Venice blog blogger Foxtown outlet shopping where to eat where to go day trips easy jet lastminute.com package holidays planning flying
Flying past the Swiss Alps

Packing

Always check the airline that you’re flying with for luggage restrictions. We flew with Easy Jet so they have a policy for one small hand luggage and an option to add one checked 20kg luggage bag. We originally were not going to even add a suitcase! But we ended up sharing one, thank god because we forgot to factor in shopping and souvenirs! I always pack heavier and bulkier things when the weather is cooler, so it helps to check the weather at the destination before you pack.

I tried to plan for a few outfit photos so I packed a heel boot… that I didn’t even wear! So I recommend just packing flats and comfortable shoes if you plan on doing a lot of walking like we did.

I also found that I could contact the hotel before hand and check what amenities they already had there so I could probably pack less i.e. shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, cotton pads, slippers etc. So it would’ve been handy if I didn’t need to carry a bottle of body wash, but anything that I’m picky about I just took a travel size version.

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One of the grand hotels in Milan

Hotel

We chose a hotel and flight package on lastminute.com but we booked at like 1am in the morning (never do that!) so we only had photographs of the hotel to go on. Thankfully it was the most beautiful hotel, Starhotel E.C.H.O. It’s super eco friendly with all the heating sourced etc. They even had sustainable tips on a card in each room to help. Even their restaurant locally sources their ingredients! You can check out their video explaining the E.C.H.O here.

Travel blog - Italy in a week Milan Switzerland Lake Como Venice blog blogger Foxtown outlet shopping where to eat where to go day trips easy jet lastminute.com package holidays planning flying
Getting around Milan is pretty easy

Getting around Milan

I got the heads up that public transport will go on strike with little notice before hand, and with my luck they really did whilst we were there! But we still managed to suss out how to use the Metro which is the public underground train. It’s a lot less complicated than the London tube as you only need to know the two stops at either end of the three lines, and you could probably work it all out from there. We mostly used the green line which went through the main Centerale FS station which had an abundance of newsagents. All sold the majority of the tickets for bus, Metro and tram,  along with all of the different ticket machines.

Most people spoke english being the big city centre that it is, and you could even chose the preferred language on the ticket machines once you located the right one! The most popular Metro lines tend to run from 6am – midnight, so outside of these times I would recommend taking a local taxi. Bare in mind a taxi can take around 10mins to arrive or you can find a taxi rank nearby any main station or just outside the famous Duomo cathedral.

I did find having a tube map helped, but I also love these apps whenever I travel anywhere:

  • City Mapper – although it’s not the best for Italy, you can see routes from A to B!
  • Google Maps – the good old map pal
  • SpeakEasy Italian – Unfortunately I didn’t get to exercise my Italian much (or lack of) but it was handy if you ever need help as it does not need internet connection to work.

If you can arrange for internet roaming abroad with your network provider it will help if you get lost in this digital age.

Day Trips

On the first day we needed to know our surroundings so we booked in at our hotel recommended travel agent Zani Viaggi for the Grande Tour de Milano, which was a great morning trip to the most famous landmarks.

Travel blog - Italy in a week Milan Switzerland Lake Como Venice blog blogger Foxtown outlet shopping where to eat where to go day trips easy jet lastminute.com package holidays planning flying
Milan is a big city!

Day 2 was the public transport strike so we had to hop on a taxi to the meeting point to catch the coach. Being in the capital city of fashion you HAVE to go to a shopping outlet! Unfortunately, Serravalle shopping outlet seemed too similar to the Cheshire Oaks shopping outlet (they’re owned by the same company) that’s local to me back in the UK so I decided on FoxTown.

Little did I know it was in Switzerland! It was a great experience having found a YSL and Versace outlet that had prices up to 70% off! But even then most items were still around £500+! I did manage to find a leather skirt I liked but they only had one faulty one left! I would like to go back to Switzerland for a romantic cliché ski holiday with a cheese fondue in front of a fire (and shopping!)

Travel blog - Italy in a week Milan Switzerland Lake Como Venice blog blogger Foxtown outlet shopping where to eat where to go day trips easy jet lastminute.com package holidays planning flying
The views of Lake Como were breathtaking!

A visit to lake Como was planned for day 3 as all of the tickets for Florence was sold out for that morning, however both places are exceptionally beautiful! I took a good 70% of my 1000+ photos around the lake because it was just that picturesque! We did find the famous Seta (silk) shop in Como, but I only managed to check out half of the shop before we were rushed onto the boat to Bellagio! But that just means I will have to go back again to see the other half of the shop!

Travel blog - Italy in a week Milan Switzerland Lake Como Venice blog blogger Foxtown outlet shopping where to eat where to go day trips easy jet lastminute.com package holidays planning flying
Venice and their well-known gondolas

For the last full day in Italy we had pre-booked a Venice day trip because it was only available on the Sunday during the 6 days we went for, and it was the one place that I really wanted to visit! Venice is such a different city, which was made apparent when we had to get off the coach at a manmade island (built mostly for all of the tourists parking!) to then take a boat over to the district.

Unfortunately, most shops are closed on Sunday but all of the tourist places were open. This meant that it was HEAVING with tourists, and it didn’t help that there was a marathon going on at the same time! The trip was a great quick overview of Venice, as I would recommend a little educational show around by a local guide for the first time there. You learn a lot from locals, but I think the beauty of visiting Venice is getting lost in the labyrinth of streets and leisurely discovering new ‘calle’ (street/s)! As my mum experienced (she got confused with all of the guides having the same flags and got lost for a few minutes!) This is definitely on my list of places to revisit as the 6 hours we spent there was not nearly enough!

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We HAD to try the local gelato!

Eating Out and About

I love to try all of the local food wherever I go, but having been on mostly tourist trips to the usual tourist places we paid the inflated prices! I always like to wonder around for a few minutes to compare the prices, since most of the restaurants have the same popular Italian dishes. I tried to visit the recommended restaurants, but when you’re doing so much exploring you get tired and just want to eat anything that’s close by! I did thankfully try local risotto, fish & meats, traditional stone baked pizza and gelato! It’s true that the gelato tastes amazing in Italy because they make it fresh and the flavour is mind blowing!

Travel blog - Italy in a week Milan Switzerland Lake Como Venice blog blogger Foxtown outlet shopping where to eat where to go day trips easy jet lastminute.com package holidays planning flying hotel landmarks
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II opened in 1877 and is the worlds oldest shopping mall!

Can you do north Italy in a week?

You definitely can if you are fit and able to zip from place to place to get a quick taste of each city/country (mum got tried very easily). I definitely recommend going for longer so you can really savour and enjoy each place. I like leaving something to do and explore in places I would like to revisit. I definitely learnt a lot on this trip, especially about the Duomo and Last Supper painting. I didn’t know the colour of the Duomo varies because it’s made of pink marble, and that the Last Supper was painted on a kitchen wall! Although, the staple food in Italy isn’t my favourite (pizza and pasta isn’t my first choice) as I prefer a lighter meals i.e. veggies and fruit. I absolutely LOVE the pastries and antipasti options there! Everything Italian always tastes better in Italy!

Check out the travel vlog here.

Ciao!

-Rinniboo

Travel Tips – North Italy in a week?!

The Human Sensor Launch Night – Making the invisible visible!

The launch of the Human Sensor kicked off on the 23rd of July and it was a day packed full of speakers and a live performance at the end. Here’s what happened on the night for all of you that missed it!

Making the Invisible Visible

Finding 70 Oxford Road was an easy task as it used to be the old location for the Cornerhouse, which I found that people still mistake it for! Upon entering the venue, the place was still buzzing from the morning talks about Manchester Public Health and Air Pollution, it was still incredibly warm for the tail end of the heatwave but everyone was excited for the performance in the evening.

the human sensor air pollution with Inivisible Dust in Manchester for the european city of science 2016 - climate change, eco friendly, zero waste, raise awareness
Seeing double! I stand in front of the promotional video that I starred in with Creative Concern.

 

As we prepared the wearables and leaflets for the night, there was still a flurry of things to do. I accompanied Laura Parker the deputy director, to display the Human Sensor posters at Salder’s Yard for the location of the final show, and hurried back to get ready for the guests arrivals. We didn’t realise the location was quite a bit of a walk away but thankfully we managed to get back in time to add the finishing touches!

the human sensor air pollution with Inivisible Dust in Manchester for the european city of science 2016 - climate change, eco friendly, zero waste, raise awareness
All of the wearables lined up in the dressing room ready for the dancers.

The night kicks off!

The clock ticked 7:30pm and the first guest arrived! As everyone started to filter in and settle, the presentations soon started. Alice Sharp the director of Invisible Dust began the evening explaining the concept of the not-for-profit company that aims to raise awareness for air pollution by partnering art with science, and then introduced the Human Sensor artist Kasia Molga. We then had a talk from the Kings College of London, Dr Ian Muwa about air pollution. Did you know air pollution is costing us billion of pounds, and it contributes to 40,000 deaths in the UK?! After the congratulating and thanking everyone that had been involved in the project: Kasia, the organisers and people behind the scenes, the fellows, the choreographer and the dancers, there was a short break before we were all ushered outside for the start of the performance!

Everyone stood outside in anticipation to see the wearables in action, and the buzz of talking stopped once the dancers started filing out one after the other. The dancers adorned in the LED lit wearable capes sparkled as they began their dance to the Sadler’s Yard, rotating and elegantly emphasising the breathing with their arm movements whilst they waited at every crossing. We followed them twisting and turning around a route through the city centre, bystanders were curious and also mind-blown at the bizzare looking wearables on dancers! Having worn the wearable cape before I know that it was quite restrictive, but the dancers were expertly moving around in them not putting a confident foot out of place!

the human sensor air pollution with Inivisible Dust in Manchester for the european city of science 2016 - climate change, eco friendly, zero waste, raise awareness
Safety first! The dancers even have a waiting at the lights choreography!

When we reached Salder’s Yard the sun was fully set and the spotlights illuminated the venue with an almost romantic atmosphere. The final dance was a beautiful crescendo to the end of the night with a projected presentation in the background that had bite sized information and facts fading in and out. The whole performance gave me Goosebumps with the soundtrack being someone breathing that gradually sped up and became more laboured; it was almost like the breathing of something out of a horror movie! Teamed with the shocking air pollution facts on how it’s affecting the human body, it felt rather chilling but very powerful.

 

the human sensor air pollution with Inivisible Dust in Manchester for the european city of science 2016 - climate change, eco friendly, zero waste, raise awareness
It attracted the attention from many passer-bys!

Finale

The launch night was a brilliant experience and although I did work for part of the night to help set up, it did not feel like work at all seeing the project blossom into something we are all proud of! I originally wanted to partake in this project to get experience working with more wearables, but I not only managed to wear it for the promotional video, I also learnt a lot more about air pollution and how it is a very real threat even here in Manchester. Knowing that I will part from this project with more skills and knowledge that I originally expected is a great feeling, but having met a brilliant group of fellows on the programme is priceless!

the human sensor air pollution with Inivisible Dust in Manchester for the european city of science 2016 - climate change, eco friendly, zero waste, raise awareness
The finale was brilliant in a fantastic venue.

The Human Sensor is a project by Kasia Mulga and Invisible Dust to raise awareness of air pollution as part of the European City Of Science festival. Find out all of the information and photos of the events at the Human Sensor website www.humansensor.eu

Invisible Dust is continuing to work on raising awareness of air pollution with more artists and scientists in new projects coming soon. Keep up to date on their website here. The Human Sensor is coming to London! Keep your eyes peeled!

Find out more about the Human Sensor programme on the blog I wrote here.

 

 

-Rinniboo

 

 

The Human Sensor Launch Night – Making the invisible visible!

Cat Cafe Manchester

When I found out that Cat Café Manchester was opening in Manchester I jumped for joy! So I made it my mission to go to the first opening day to check it out for myself. Here’s what I thought of it.

I have a slight bias to cats as I have one of my own called Misty that you may have seen in some of my vlogs. So I personally think the more furry friends the better! It’s a bonus when you don’t even need to feed and clean their toilets!

 

First Impressions

Walking up to the Cat CafĂ© Manchester I saw a clean and modern looking entrance room. The main door is secure with a doorbell. I was greeted by an enthusiastic team member that explained that the sold out 50% of entry tickets meant that I had to wait until a space was free. Unfortunately, they couldn’t give an accurate estimate as anyone could stay as long as they wanted. Thankfully, there was only a couple in front of me in the line, and it seemed quite quiet. So I waited for about 30 mins, watching the que add up in numbers as more and more people poured in! Finally, I was called up and they explained the house rules and offered me slippers or shoe covers to wear inside the cafe. I chose the slippers, signed the form, and made my way into the cafe.

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Cat Café Manchester

The cafe works with a three door system, so I went through a further two doors and a small gate around the cafe door. The new furnished cafe was a beautiful sight to see, with a brilliant range of seating areas and a full two walls of ceiling to floor windows. The atmosphere was bright and calm and I was greeted with two resident cats having a clean and play!

All drinks are included in the time spent, and you only pay for time you stay. Food such as paninis and cakes are an extra cost. I had a white chocolate and berry muffin that was so yummy! It’s ÂŁ12 an hour and cakes are around the ÂŁ2.50 mark. It’s a bargain compared to the London cat cafe that I went to!

 

The resident cats

The resident Norwegian forest cat Ygritte, wanted to make friends with everyone! She came up and sat next to me, so I grabbed a cat toy and started playing with her. She was definitely a favourite! Alasan the Mainecoon also had a big personality and went to sleep in his favourite hammock! There is a total of 10 resident cats at the Cat Cafe Manchester; Alasan the Mainecoon, Harvey and Fluffy the Ragdolls, Joel the Russian blue, Keira and Snowy the Bengals, Georgia and Bert the Birbam cross breeds and Ygritte the Norwegian forest cat.

Thankfully I managed to see most of the cats, but soon it was cat nap time. So after spending about 45mins in the cafe and a latte, I decided they were all resting and made my way out.

 

The concerns

Many of the frequently asked questions are answered on the website but here are the most common:

Are the cats rescues?

No, they are pedigree or semi-pedigree. Their reasons for this is because most rescue cats have had a hard start in life, so forcing them to be in a busy environment isn’t the best. They do however support their local cat shelters by donating to the RSPCA and the Cats Protection charities.

What’s the point in a cat cafe?

It’s targeted at cat and animal lovers, and novelty seekers. But it’s also brilliant for the people that cannot have cats in the house, or don’t have the time to take care of them. Edit: They also emphasise on mental health benefits of having a furry friend to aid depression and anxiety. Did you know studies have found your heart rate is lower when you’re stroking a purring cat?

Are children allowed?

Yes, but they must be 10 years+ as they will need to know how to treat the cats with respect. Edit: They now do cats and kids days, see the website for details.

Do they have any events?

Yes! They have plenty of events on in September, from cat yoga to film night. Check out what I thought of the launch of the cat yoga classes was like here.

Do they care about the welfare of the cats?

Yes! The cat’s wellbeing is their number one priority, they go over the hygiene and rules with every person; Do not chase the cats, no flash photography, do not bother the cats when they are sleeping. Shoe covers or slippers are worn and you must sterilise your hands before you enter.

 

My closing thoughts

Overall the experience was great, and I would definitely visit again! The wait was not too long in the line as I went at a quiet time. Even if I didn’t get a chance to go in, I could always peek through the large windows! I was worried about whether the people would follow the rules or not, as some people insisted on stroking Alasan when he just wanted to sleep. However, people finally got the message when the cats get their fangs out!! I would like them to adapt some of the ways that Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium works, and give the cats a break in the middle of the week. Hopefully they have time to be super attentive to the subtle cats change in behaviours when they are ill, and be able to keep track of all of them. The team members there have been with the cats long before the opening to get them settled, so they are quite accustomed to each other.

Cat CafĂ© Manchester is the first of it’s franchise open 7 days a week 9am – 6pm. Located in Manchester Northen Quarter, 103 High St, Manchester M4 1HQ. Book online or over the phone in advance to guarantee your spot!

Just purrfect!

-Rinniboo

 

Edits 3/1/19: There’s now a Cat Cafe in Liverpool Bold St!

The franchise is now supporting local animal shelters, specifically helping to rehome cats  by spotlighting certain cats on their social media. Which is a brilliant way to help adopt don’t shop!

 

Note: This review is not endorsed or sponsored in anyway and all opinions are my own.
Cat Cafe Manchester

Manchester vlog

Vlog! Man, I’m spoiling you guys with videos this weekend. Last of the trilogy! Enjoy me having road rage in Manchester and trying to see the midget Wane Rooney play a game of football with the underage.

Don’t forget to like and subscribe for more!

This vlog we’re in Manchester. The road rage is ridiculous being the next rumoured ‘hub’ and now apparently the traffic is worse in Manchester than London!

My cat Misty the Moggie is finally growing into a beautiful adult cat and suckling less, but purring like a real grown up kitty!

Tech I’m currently loving is new finds for my Apple Watch, check out my review of it here.

Rinniboo

Manchester vlog