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Thursday, 22 June 2017

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT.

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

If there's one thing I've taken home from the south, it's the overwhelming kindness and love that everyone has for one another. It unsettled me a little, actually - to know that I come from a society that is far more reserved...private - when really, it doesn’t need to be that way.

Their love for food, creating a happy atmosphere and just generally enjoying life was all encompassing. I wanted a slice of the pie, to be apart of something, to feel that love.

I think their beautiful mentality was a huge part of me embracing every moment whilst I was there. I'm a very insular person and I find myself almost always floundering in social situations - but that just wasn't the case here. I wanted to know everything about the guys I was travelling with, soak up every bit of information each tour guide gave us. I wanted to share stories and beliefs and experiences.

We'd spend up to six hours on the mini bus some days and I loved every second - snoozing in between taking in the landscape and stopping off on the beaten track at gas stations to pick up a $89 XXXL Dr Pepper fountain drink. Listening to my trip mates music playlists and eating my hearts content of cheetos. There wasn’t anywhere I’d rather be.

I rode a bike for the first time in about 15 years. We cycled around Birmingham, Alabama with a guided tour - learning about their incredible history and the civil rights institute.

Ate tomato pie at Wildflower Cafe and clam spaghetti at Bottega restaurant.

I abseiled 85ft down a mountain in Fort Payne and climbed back up it.

Cinnamon swirls bigger than my head were consumed, and I went GoKarting for the first time in my life. I tasted every flavour of moonshine in The Smoky Mountains and danced in Gatlinburg’s streets to country music.

We wrote a song in Nashville, at Studio B - all about Kristabel. She loved to wander off at any given opportunity and would text half an hour later saying 'where are ya'll?'

Visiting the studio in Nashville where Elvis recorded over 200 of his songs will always be a highlight - for that hour I was totally consumed by that buildings history, so many incredible moments were had right here - and we recorded our own song, too!

Standing in Elvis’ kitchen and sipping milkshakes in his mums diner.

Eating the best southern fried chicken to grace this land.

Taking a moment to appreciate what our world has achieved - standing in the spot where Martin Luther King was assassinated and then standing in the middle of the crowd at Beale Street Music Festival, listening to Kings of Leon.

Watching the sun set over the Mississippi River with live music, opera singing, giant jenga and cocktails in Natchez.

Wandering the buzzing streets of New Orleans, soaking up the last hours of our trip with Pimms and jazz, music on the street and peanut butter burgers.

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT
THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT



THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT




THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT



THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT





THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT



THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT
THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT



THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT



THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT


These photos tell one of the greatest adventures of my life.

And the list for how much I loved TrekAmerica could go on forever.

It pushed all of my boundaries. I’ve lived a sheltered life - through my own choice mind, but there is so much I haven't tried or experienced. Every aspect of this trip unearthed more about me I didn't know. I felt the fear and did it anyway. I made friends I’ll keep for life. I met people that opened my eyes. I felt excitement and energy every single day. I realised, that by simply letting myself, I could gain access to a more fulfilled life.

I couldn’t recommend this trip more. To travel the world and feel safe, to travel the world and learn more than you could hope for, to travel the world and grow - TrekAmerica you’ve got it all.

Find out all the info and sign up for our Deep South BLT trip here.

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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

WEIRD & WONDERFUL.


WEIRD & WONDERFUL: Do what you want when it comes to fashion.

WEIRD & WONDERFUL: Do what you want when it comes to fashion.



The great thing about fashion is, we have creative control - and that’s exactly what makes it so goddamn special.

I recently attended a ‘fashun' event where I was countlessly asked the questions:

‘What’s on trend this season?’

‘What are your fashion dont’s?’

‘What colours are in?’

And I answered the same every time. 

‘I don’t really care’.

Not because it’s not, or shouldn't be, important to someone, but because it’s just absolutely not what fashion is about for me. 

I want every single woman and man out there to be able to put on whatever the hell they want and wear it with confidence. Because it makes them feel good. Because when you wear that dress you want to take on the world. Because those brogues make you feel a million bucks - and those sweatpants? They see you through each and every single day. 

I want to wear summer dresses with my oversized, unordinary Celine Lola Sunglasses - so I will. And I’ll do it with confidence - because it’s for me and no-one else. So if you want to clash prints? Do it. Or you fancy wearing brown and black or socks with sandals? Then just DO it.



It's okay to be weird and wonderful at the same time. 
WEIRD & WONDERFUL: Do what you want when it comes to fashion.

WEIRD & WONDERFUL: Do what you want when it comes to fashion.

I know we all have certain styles that won’t suit us, that perhaps we can’t always wear what we see on the catwalks, even though we might like to. 

But when you look at something and fall in love with it, that’s when it’s meant to be. That’s when you say screw what anyone else thinks, this is my time and I’m going to look bloody great, thank you very much. 

For a moment, be brave, put the media’s ideals behind you - forget what you’re ‘supposed’ to conform to and go for it. I doubt highly, that’ll you’ll regret it.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Photography by West Creative


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Thursday, 1 June 2017

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS: TREK AMERICA

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS: TREK AMERICA DEEP SOUTH BLT


I decided to do a trek of America without giving it a moments thought. It wasn't until I was sat on the minibus, having landed at New Orleans just moments before, that reality hit me.

I would be spending 8 days, trekking from state to state, with a group of people I didn't know, spending 6 hours a day on the road and bunking up with the others in the evening.

I sat on my own on the mini bus on the way to our first hotel. A few tears escaped my eyes and I tried my best to disguise them. I was hormonal and tired and still very much in the grips of depression. I had been so excited at the prospect of seeing America again, I hadn’t realised - that perhaps I’d overestimated myself. Perhaps I thought I was in better health than I actually was. That maybe this would be too much and that I'd made a big mistake thinking I was capable.

It was late and the others were all headed out to get pizza. I stayed at the hostel by myself, popped on my pyjamas, eye mask and ear plugs and aimed to sleep it off. If nothing else, I knew I had to stay true to what I could do, not what anyone else may expect.

I woke up the next morning, our first day of travelling ahead of us, and I made the decision there and then.

These opportunities are few and far between, for all I know I may never get to see this part of the world again and so I said to myself:

'You're going to roll with the punches Megan, and soak up every god damn beautiful part of this trip. Let your insecurities and worries trickle off your shoulders and embrace strangers becoming friends and parts of the world teaching you more than you could've dreamed'.

And so I did.

Yes, anyone can write a guide on how to travel, but TrekAmerica quite literally changed my mindset, it brought me out of the shell I'd been hiding under for a year and it taught me endless lessons.

And I can't wait to share them with you.

The Deep South BLT baby - coming to a blog post near you very soon.

Book your TrekAmerica trip today HERE.

GET THE LOOK:



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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION.


THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
I wrote about about my recent struggles with depression at the beginning of the year and have been overwhelmed with the incredible response - the emails, messages, likes, tweets, cards, gifts and words, have been a support that's felt endless and completely unexpected. I am yet to respond to most of them because words are difficult - but please know that I will. 

I’m still in the midst of a silent hurricane - a complete turmoil, and the life I once knew exists only in memory. No matter how many people reach out I still feel utterly alone; I guess that’s depression, isn't it? 

My gratitude to the ones who get it, the ones who want to help, is all encompassing. But today I wanted to write a note to the ones who don’t - the ones who believe you have to fit a certain criteria to be struggling. The ones who think their suffering is insurmountable to others. To the ones that would rather bring someone further down than lift them up. 
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK


It’s surprising isn't it - because my automatic response would be ‘They don’t understand because they haven't experienced it’; but what do you do when they have, are, do? 

Perhaps it’s a lack of experience, perhaps it’s immaturity - but it doesn't really matter either way. My last blog post proved two things to me:

1.) There are so many more people than I realised suffering - who wan't their voices to be heard.

2.) We still have a long way to go before we're all heard. 

These photos were taken a the beginning of the year too -  a matter of weeks separate these images with those sat in my first post. They were taken on a day I’d felt willing to put on a face of makeup and brave the world. To me, I see a beautiful backdrop, perfect framing and a pretty outfit - but I look tired, and my eyes are blank. 

My point is this: depression has many faces. I can live a life online and not show all the horrors that happen behind closed doors. Perhaps you would have seen me on this day and thought everything looked perfect. 
The fact that I’ve shared some of my truth is not there to be measured or judged against your suffering. It’s there to say it’s okay not to be okay; that some days I can but most days I can’t. 

I don’t want to be pessimistic - I want this to be a gentle nudge, to hopefully fill a blank where education on this subject should be. I wan’t there to be a greater understanding, a louder voice, and less hostile, taboo environment for us all to exist. 

This is to say, there’s absolutely no way you can compare ones brokenness to another. 

Dragging someone down, whether they know you are or not - will always say more about you than it will about them. 

Please know that you are valued, but you are not above anyone else. And whether you understand someone's battle or not, doesn't take away from their fight. 

And to anyone suffering -  Know that owning who you are, no matter how fragile that may make you, is far superior to a life stunted by negativity.
THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK

THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION: MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK

Photography by the magical Georgia Claire

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Monday, 17 April 2017

HOW TO SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL.

CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
Portugal is one beautiful, vast country. Jamie and I stayed last summer with hopes of taking a day trip to Lisbon, only to realise it would take us more than that to arrive via public transport *doh*. 

We’d decided, then, that it would be our top place to visit for 2017 and in late March we did just that. We packed as much as we possibly could in to our two days and for what it’s worth, I’d certainly recommend staying a little longer if you’re able. 

Today, I wanted to share my top places to sleep, eat and see whilst you’re there - a jam packed City Guide to one of the most amazing, cool, laid back Cities - Lisboa. 

TO SLEEP 
Residentas Apostolos - a unique, luxury apartment building in the heart of Lisbon. Its location is perfect, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city noise but central enough to be able to experience this beautiful place on foot. Each room is elegantly designed and is guaranteed to make your stay feel even more special. The staff go above and beyond to ensure you get the most out of your time there, and will even offer free of charge transfers to and from the airport when you use my cheeky discount voucher listed at the end of this blog post!
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
TO SEE
Principe Real, If I learned one thing from my time in Lisbon is that it is steep. March-April are definitely preferable months to visit, you get all of the beauty without any of the sweat patches from blistering summer heat. Those hill climbs are certainly worth the pay off though - the views from Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara are so beautiful and offer a relaxing, subdued environment to soak up the stunning sights, and relax those burning thighs. 
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
Sintra 
If you find yourself with an afternoon to spare, I would totally recommend a train ride to Sintra - a small town only thirty minutes and €4 return from central Lisbon, it really is a wonderful day out. We rode a tuk-tuk to the very top of the mountains (quite possibly the scariest journey of my life), where Pena Palace is prettily perched. You can simply wander the grounds or explore the museum housed inside, it is without doubt one of the most stunning pieces of architecture I’ve ever seen. 
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
TO EAT

If you’re looking to source all the local cuisine look no further than here - a street style, sit-down food market hosting delicacies such as sushi to pizza and seafood to jerk chicken it’s not one to be missed. It differs from your typical street food on the basis that it caters for all - if you’re looking for a quick snack, great they’ve got you covered. If you’re looking for a sit down three course meal, amazing, they’ve got that too. It provides for the masses and does it with elegance, ease and affordability. Perfect. 
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
AO26 
The vegan food project. Now, I’ve never eaten vegan before now and so I have very low expectations for what a good vegan meal looks like but Oh. My. Regardless of your dietary preferences, this restaurant is a must. Super affordable, beautifully designed and incredible food with flavours that are absolutely insane you’ll wonder why you even bothered eating meat in the first place.
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
Pastel De Nata - aka the most delicious custard tarts you’ll ever experience. Manteigaria is the place to get them - a shop come cafe where they make the tarts before your eyes and let you grab a coffee at the same time. They’re a mere €1 each and I would be lying if I said we didn't eat these at breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
We sampled some other incredible restaurants, that I wanted to keep away from the camera just to enjoy the experience, but that are certainly worth checking on your stay: 

Cantinho Do Avillez - Jose Avillez is a michellin star chef and owns some of the most highly recommended restaurants in Lisbon. Cantinho is one of his more affordable, with an intimate setting and a menu that lets you feel like you’re spending a million dollars euros, without actually having to. 

The Insolito - Boasting the best views of Lisbon, you can either come here for dinner or to sample one of their famous (mock)cocktails - travel up to the top in the first ever lift built in Lisbon and be prepared to never want to come back down. 

City breaks are fast becoming my favourite way to experience the world, but with travelling comes responsibility and budgeting for such trips becomes essential the older we become (wise words, Megs). So if you’re looking to see more of the world but are keen to know exactly how much it’ll cost you, have a quick look at the Post Office website and their City Costs Barometer for this year -its a hidden treasure and should be your one stop shop for City travel in 2017. 
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
CITY GUIDE: SPEND 48 HOURS IN LISBON, PORTUGAL

Our time in Lisbon was short but sweet and so I'd love to hear your recommendations for what to do in the comments below for me and other readers, too. 

Oh, and if you're visiting this year, make sure you use my 5% discount for your booking at Residentas by using code ‘APO2017MEGS’ at checkout - you're welcome :-)

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