Monday, 14 March 2016

Travel outside of Europe

I always wanted to travel but I never made it a priority. I also never earned enough money for it to be much of a possibility. In the last few years however, that has begun to change. I have started to travel a lot more than before. In the last 5 years have been to Scotland, Greece, Denmark, Poland, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Ireland and most recently to Portugal. I have had some amazing adventures, several of which I have written about on my travel blog: aroundtheworldin80mugs. And over the next few years I hope to continue to use my passport as much as I can.

But despite all of my recent travels, there is still one thing - I am slightly embarrassed - that I have yet to do. However, this summer I will be doing something very special. Something that was on my original Year31Project list. This summer I will finally travel outside of Europe for the first time!

Over the weekend I booked my flights to go and see my friends in Bali in August (and so much more!!!). I'm so excited!

My good friend Katherine - who I met many moons ago when I was working part time and studying for my BA degree in Wrexham, North Wales - her partner Eddie and their little girl Lily have been living out in Bali since November 2014 and I am so happy that at last I have the money to make the trip.

I am literally so excited I don't think I'm going to sleep for the next 5 months! It is going to be an amazing adventure. Myself - and my girlfriend Liliana for part of the trip - will be travelling around South East Asia, taking in several beauty spots and vibrant cities in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, before ending our trip with 7-10 days (the details aren't completely ironed out yet) in beautiful Bali with my wonderful friends!

I'm so excited in fact, that I've already bought my swim shorts! :)

Plus of course, it's not going to stop there! Next stop, I plan to finally visit New York and then fingers crossed, at some point soon - hopefully sometime next year - I would love to visit my aunt and uncle in Trinidad. Watch out rest of the world, here I come haha.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Cut Throat Shave

I've always been a fan of facial hair. I think it maybe has something to do with the fact that a number of the people I looked up to as a child - my dad, my uncle and Magnum P.I - had moustaches.

When I was young my favourite tv show was Magnum P.I. I'm not sure how much I understood about what was going on? However, I knew enough to know that when I grew up, I wanted to grow a Tom Selleck moustache, drive a red Ferrari and get the pretty girl.

Then, when I was around 14 years old, all I wanted was a pair of lamb chop sideburns. Something that I no doubt still couldn't grow now (not that I'd particularly want to). Then from around 16 onwards, it's all been about the beard (I thought I would be able to grow by the time I was 18 haha).

Well I'm now 32 and I still struggle to grow a half decent beard. I did have a fairly impressive beard last Christmas - or at least I'd like to think so - when to my mothers distress, I also got my nose pierced:

However, as you can probably see, there are two main problems with my facial hair. It barely grows on my cheeks and it's too ginger (which would be less of a problem if the hair on my head was also ginger). If you look closely enough at my beard you can actually see that it is a rainbow of brown, black, blonde, white and red. However, due to the almost luminosity of the red hair in my beard, it gives the overall impression of being only very, very orange.

Now 2013 was definitely the year of the beard. There wasn't a clean shaven hipster to be seen all year! Beards were so popular in fact that their popularity carried on into 2014 and even 2015, when their popularity even started to infiltrate the mainstream.

And although I'm no hipster, I have always admired a good beard and so needed little encouragement to attempt to grow one of my own too.

Since the start of 2013, you won't have seen me without some sort of facial hair - long or short. Throughout 2013 I was often seen sporting a tash with supporting beard (obviously) or maybe a little David Brent style box beard . Which was not so much on purpose, as it was due to an unfortunate lack of growth on my cheeks, while attempting to grow a full beard and/or being too lazy to to shave.

In 2014 the tash morphed into the longer beard that you can see in the first picture and then during 2015, although I tended to keep it trimmed right down, there was always some sort of facial hair. You certainly wouldn't have seen completely clean shaven.

I'm trying to remember the last time I actually had a wet shave. It was either in December 2012 or at the beginning of January 2013. Either way it has been over 3 years! Which is pretty mad. Three whole years without seeing my face without facial hair.

Now seeing as it had been so long since my last clean shave, when I decided that maybe it was time to finally grow my face back in place of a beard, I thought it might be a good idea to use the opportunity to have a first experience and therefore make it a part of the Year31Project.

I decided that it was finally - this is something I have been meaning to and wanting to do for the last two years and even longer - time to have my first ever cut throat shave!

So a couple of weeks ago, I was long overdue a haircut and not having had a decent barbers and therefore decent haircut in the last couple of years, I was in need of a new barbers too. Hopefully one that could become a trusted and longterm solution. Well that's when I came across this place - a short walk from my girlfriends house - which although doesn't look like all that much from the outside:

looked very nice and professional on the inside and was just the kind of place I was looking for: A Traditional Turkish Barbers, where I could get the full hot towel treatment:

And I certainly got the full works. For what I thought was a fairly reasonable £23 (£14 for the haircut and £9 for the shave) I got:

My hair washed and then cut. My face washed and then moisturised. I was given a full shave that left my face feeling smoother than a ballroom dancer's chest. A nice hot towel massage for my newly hairless face, plus a head and neck massage thrown in as well. When that was all done, I had the hair burnt off my ears using what looked like a (on fire) toasted marshmallow and the barber also offered to trim my eyebrows too (but I politely declined that one). I'm not sure what more they could have done?

I think I have definitely found my new barbers. I'm thinking that I should maybe make a habit of it and start treating myself to a haircut and shave once a month?

So without further ado. Here it is, the dramatic transformation.

Here I am before:

and here I am after:

What do you think? I knew it was time to shave as soon as footballers started to grow beards haha.

It's so weird seeing my face again like this! I literally haven't looked like this in 3 years. It's definitely taken the years off too. I almost look like a teenager again haha (Although maybe the haircut did as much to alter my appearance as the shave?). But I'm not sure I'll be keeping it. I mean I have to keep the face unfortunately, but I can at least cover some of it with facial hair haha probably not too much but almost definitely a small dusting of hair. The kind of three day stubble that takes me a week to grow.

I have actually gone out and bought a new razor:

as I haven't owned one in the last 3 years. However, I'm not sure how much use I will get out of it? I think I'll probably be mostly sticking with the beard trimmer for now instead.