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Fun Times At Fraser Island

When I was in Brisbane I had the pleasure of taking the trip to Fraser Island to see the sights.

I had been told that when I was in Australia I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO go, and I shortened the list of millions of things I had to do, cutting down Manly Beach and cropping some of the others, but kept Surfers Paradise and Fraser Island.

To say I was disappointed at Surfers Paradise would be an understatement. I imagined toned Australian surfer dudes in the waves. As a lover of surfing, it was all I wanted. I got Irish people. I don’t dislike Irish people, but I wasnt expecting them there, and to the detriment of my Aussie surfers. I didn’t hear a single Australian accent!

But I plodded on to Fraser.

I wasnt disappointed. My first love is that you pretty much have to have a 4×4 to get around, due to the vast plains of sand that meet you on the island. Fantastic! Felt like a safari!

I took a tour that was organised seeing as I made the trip by myself (my friend who I stayed with had a three-month old baby at the tine) which took us to Lake McKenzie where we swam and sun bathed, through Central Station, Wanggoolba Creek and to Seventy Five Mile Beach.

Seventy Five Mile Beach is famous for its coloured sands (stunning) and also the cruise ship wreck (above) Maheno. It provides a haunting yet beautiful view from the coastline, and you can snorkel around it to see the wildlife that has taken residence there. I’m glad I hadn’t risked not taking travel insurance though; I trod on an anemone and had to have some painful First Aid to remove all its little poky bits from my foot!

As you can see, Fraser Island is absolutely stunning.  I was right not to cut it off my trip when I visited Brisbane, and I am so glad I went. If you ever get the chance then make sure you take the trip, its amazing!!

Don’t forget, there are still a few days left to enter the competition. Simply follow the blog and me on Twitter (@toesfullofsand) and tweet #sandbetweentoes comp. Please enter! I don’t want to have to give the book to my Mum!!

Beautiful Barcelona

I am a massive fan of the weekend away as it allows you to see the beauty of another country without using up too much annual leave.

And this Spring I booked a little trip to Barcelona as I have a friend who now runs his business from there, and I wanted to visit him.

I went to Barcelona for the first time when I was fifteen on a school trip with my textiles and sewing class; a trip designed to make us think about the composition for our final pieces, how we would make the patterns move and what we would design when it came to the exams.

We visited all the Gaudi works and watched the flow and colour to see if it gave us inspiration, and the class came home and produced some of the most beautiful textile pieces ever. It was a huge success.

So going back was something that I really wanted to do, and I wasnt disappointed.

I got there on the thursday and my friend had to work so I amused myself with doing the touristy thing and pottering around all the sites.

The Sagrada Familia is one of my favourite places, and so I poodled about there a bit by myself before meeting my friend and going to spend the evening in some bars, dining on fantastic little tapas and dancing the night away.

All in all it was a fantastic trip made all the better for seeing my friend, but a place that I would strongly recommend going.

People Will ALWAYS Complain!

So I was browsing througth Twitter today and I found this article from Wanderlust magazine. It really made me laugh and I thought I would share it with you to perk up your Mondays and see what nutters are lurking around the next corner.  I love the sandy beach one, but I think my personal favourite is the last.

Read, and enjoy!


20 astonishing holiday complaints

5th September 2011

Presented to you, for your entertainment and pleasure – 20 of the most outrageous, ridiculous and stupid travel complaints made to tour operators

A recent survey from Thomas Cook and ABTA reveals 20 of the most ridiculous complaints by holiday-makers made to their travel agent.

1. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”

2. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time – this should be banned.”

3. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food at all.”

4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels.”

5. A tourist at a top African Game Lodge over looking a water hole, who spotted a visibly aroused elephant, complained that the sight of this rampant beast ruined his honeymoon by making him feel “inadequate”.

6. A woman threatened to call police after claiming that she’d been locked in by staff. When in fact, she had mistaken the “do not disturb” sign on the back of the door as a warning to remain in the room.

7. “The beach was too sandy.”

8. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure.Your brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white.”

9. A guest at a Novotel in Australia complained his soup was too thick and strong. He was inadvertently slurping the gravy at the time.

10. “Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women.”

11. “We bought ‘Ray-Ban’ sunglasses for five Euros from a street trader, only to find out they were fake.”

12. “No-one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled.”

13. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England it only took the Americans three hours to get home.”

14. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom apartment to our friends’ three-bedroom apartment and ours was significantly smaller..”

15. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the accommodation’. We’re trainee hairdressers – will we be OK staying there?”

16. “There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners now live abroad.”

17. “We had to queue outside with no air conditioning.”

18. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”

19. “I was bitten by a mosquito, no-one said they could bite.”

20. “My fiancé and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

Emma from England ~ Adventures in Thailand

Sand Between Toes is designed to let you know all about my travels, but there are only so many places I can go in a year! So rather than deprive you of travel stories and fun places to go, my friend Emma who is currently travelling South East Asia (jealous!) has offered to do some guest posts, to stop her from forgetting how to spell when she is enjoying herself.


To describe Thailand in one word I would have to use the clichéd one; paradise. The beaches are the whitest sands and the waters the clearest blue, and it has come to be a place that I have fallen in love with. I am due to leave this week for Cambodia, but I am not sure whether I can. The islands are tranquil and the people the friendliest I have ever met and I don’t think I can be parted.

I arrived, as most do, in Bangkok and catapulted myself down the Khao San Road. I didn’t like it. As my first step into solo travel it was too busy for me; jam packed full of hectic market vendors and street sellers clamouring for your attention and ultimately your money.

But as I got used to the bright lights and the chatty vibe I eased a little, and a few days later when I came to leave I felt a lot more comfortable.

I made my way down the country to the islands on a bus, and I have been here for just over a week. As you can see by the pictures it is idyllic and still; the sort of place where I could stay forever gathering my thoughts and reading a book.

And the other travellers that I have met have been fantastic, there is a real family vibe to the group and everyone is looking out for one another.

I love the fact that a watch is not needed, I can come and go depending on how I feel. I eat when I am hungry and sleep when I am tired, and the rest of the time I watch the sun to get a bit of a clue of what time it is. I am getting used to being alone every now and again and learning to be comfortable with myself.

I’m currently in Krabi which is like heaven on earth, and I’m waiting here until I go to Cambodia.

The area is fantastic, full of national parks which I am trying to take the time to visit, and the best thing I have discovered so far is a market on the Maharat Soi which is packed full of fresh fruit and fish and other cooked delicacies.

I love the fact that the market doesn’t sell alcohol yet is a hub for the gathering of friends and family after a week at work.

Koh Phi Phi is a must visit if you are in the area. It’s a group of tiny islands that, although totally ruined in the tsunami, have bounced back and redeveloped so you would hardly notice.

If you get the chance I would recommend taking a boat trip around to see some of the most stunning and verdant landscapes you will ever see.

In summary, if you get the chance to visit Thailand, I recommend you seize it.

When you are travelling there are so many things you need to think about, and as long as you are prepared and organised you shouldnt go wrong. Think about where you will store your money, what Travel Insurance you will take and having a contact number for your loved ones to reach you on. I have found to be very stressful for parents when their child takes off alone across the world!

As ever, please keep following on Twitter and Facebook, and don’t forget to enter the competition to win a Rough Guides Adventure to Travel book. Simply subscribe to the blog, follow on Twitter and retweet the hashtag #sandbetweentoesblog to be in with your chance to win. The winner will be drawn on the 20th September. Good luck!!

Ibiza Rocks

People love Ibiza.

Whether you are heading off on an 18 – 30’s trip or you are older and want to hit the more beautiful part of the island, it offers something for everyone. So when a friend of mine suggested I join them for an opening season trip because someone had dropped out, I jumped at the chance.

A long weekend in the sun, lying on the beach and dancing the night away? Yes please.

We boarded the flight on the Thursday evening after work, armed with Travel Insurance and suncream and I was full of excitement. I had heard the hype surrounding Ibiza and I was really excited to see if it was all it was cracked up to be.

And the island didnt fail to disappoint. It was sunny and gorgeous, and the days were spent in an idyllic location, kicking back and relaxing with a drink by the pool or laying on the white sand at the beach, sleeping off the night before.

And the evenings were insane! nightclubs bigger than anywhere I have ever been, and people covered in glow paint and brandishing whistles, ready to dance til dawn.

We were staying in San Antonio, and we had the chance to visit pacha and amnesia; two if the biggest clubs on the island. It was great fun although not something I would be able to do for more than a few days, but the atmosphere was less of the druggy feel that I thought it would be and more of a family orientated, fun place to visit.

Don’t get me wrong, the nightclubs were insane, but I found it to be a lovely place to spend a long weekend in the sun.

Have you ever been? How did you find the experience?

Let The Games Begin!

Hi Friends!

To celebrate the first of September, when the UK starts to turn a rainbow of burnt oranges, dusty reds and brilliant yellows, I have decided to do a giveaway!!

A few years ago a friend of mine bought her parents a book for Christmas, and it sparked my interest in getting out and seeing the world. The book was written by the Rough Guides people (who else, huh?) and is called Ultimate Adventures. It documents the best places to go through the year; what to see and do and when is best to visit, and I LOVE IT!!!

So of course I want to give one of you lovely people the chance to love it too. It will get your feet itching to be dunked in the ocean in a far-flung place, or even to do something that you wouldn’t normally. Either way its a great read, and one you all will love.

So here’s what to do.

1) Subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already. Not only will you be part of the way to entering, but you will get regular rays of sunshine blowing into your inbox/reader, in the form of me. Who wouldn’t want that?

2) Follow me on Twitter (@toesfullofsand). Its fun and all the cool kids are doing it (I gather!!)

3) Tweet me with the hashtag #toesfullofsandcomp so that I know you are playing the game and can say thank you personally.

And we’re off!!

I’m going to run this for two weeks, so it will close on the morning of the 19th September (poetic weeks, I’m giving y’all a bit longer!) and then I’m going to put all the names in a hat and get a colleague to pull someone at random. Do you think Hogwarts will give me the Sorting Hat to wear for it? It will give me an elevated sense of importance 🙂 then I’ll mail you the book, and I apologise now if the lust for travel wears off on you!!

I’m also going to be setting up a Facebook page so watch this space!!

Happy playing, let the games begin!!

Turning Japanese

I recently had te pleasure of being asked to go on a business trip to Japan, and I jumped at the chance. Of course I wanted to go! The trip was five days in Tokyo to visit some clients, so I packed up a bag and boarded the plane. I had dreams of it being different to everything I had ever experienced, and I wasn’t wrong.

And I learned some interesting facts when I was there. I didn’t realise that the country itself was smaller in land mass than California, yet has a population of over one hundred and twenty-seven million people. Quite a lot for such a comparatively small space.

More than 70% of Japan consists of mountains with over two hundred volcanoes.

The architecture was amazing; I saw some of the most intricate palaces and temples that I have ever seen, and there is a completely different feel to that of the Western world.

Check out the pictures!!

The Japanese go mad for all things quirky and a bit out of the ordinary, so Manga (Japanese cartoons) and the macabre are big there. There is even a restaurant where you can eat food shaped  like pieces of the body and squirt sauce from a syringe, and all the waiters are dressed up as surgeons. I didn’t get a chance to go there but I would love to.

Unfortunately I spent most of my week in stuffy meeting rooms discussing stuff you don’t want to hear about, but I hope you enjoy the pictures I did manage to take! Work booked our Travel Insurance with Swiftcover, so have a look there!!

Point Loma and Fort Rosecrans, San Diego

If you have read any of my previous blog posts then you will know that I am particularly partial to the West Coast of America, particularly San Diego and the surrounds.

So I wanted to share some pictures of Point Loma and Fort Rosecrans; the military base in San Diego. I went there this year on a warm and windy day, and visited the thousands of war graves of the men who died to protect America’s liberty. I learned about how the men would have been watching from lookouts in the rugged cliffs to spot for Japanese ships after Pearl Harbor, and I wandered up and down the weathered shoreline of the area.

It was beautiful.

My sister and I  spent a while climbing in the rock pools and fishing in the shallow dips of rock to see what we could find. She is particularly animal minded so was far more patient than me as she watched the crabs and the little fish, and I moved away and found a smooth rock to sit on and watch the shore. It’s where I am my happiest and most relaxed.

I love listening to the water lapping against the stone; slowly eroding it to new shapes and sizes like a person making something out of clay. The wind blew and I thought over what I had learned and cast my mind back to how it must have been for the soldiers who once lived there. nice for a visit, but pretty bleak for life.

If you are ever in the are, take the trip to Point Loma. The bay curves round and you can see Tijuana across the water. The area is calming and still, and a great visit.


Courchevel is one of the most popular skiing resorts in the French alps, loved by the rich and famous and skiers and snowboarders all over the world. It’s part of Les Trois Vallees which is that largest linked ski area in the world, and it’s a really pretty region.

I’m not a massive skier but went as I didn’t want to miss out on the action, and I had previously snowboarded a little in Canada. I went with three other friends who love the powder, determined to try and love it a little, although secretly wishing we were embarking on a hot and humid holiday.

I spent the first couple of days pretty much 90% face down in snow, and the rest of the time enjoying the warm toddies in the little cafes. On the last two days I decided not to ski but to stay in the chateau and have a massage, read my book and relax out of the cold.

Skiing isn’t for me, but the region is simply beautiful and the après ski is to die for!

it can be pretty dangerous though so make sure that you take out Travel Insurance, and make sure that it covers you for winter sports!

South Africa Safari

For the last week or so my posts have been a bit thin on the ground, and where I have posted, they have been scheduled. Why? Because I have been taking my summer holiday. IN AFRICA!!

If you have read the bucket list you will have seen that one of the things I have always wanted to do is to go on a safari, and I finally got the chance. So two weeks ago I got on a plane bound for the plains of Africa, ready to get my fill of wildlife. It was fantastic.

The Cape of Good Hope was where we started as I wanted to visit the fabled place where the Flying Dutchman is said to sail. If you don’t know the story, then legend has it that a ghost ship of condemned sailors sails around the cape, doomed for eternity to patrol the waters. Some sailors even say that they have seen the ghost ship, particularly in misty conditions. Sounds to me that they could just be seeing mist with overactive imaginations, but who am I to judge!

From the Cape of Good Hope we moved to the Kruger National Park, which is one of the most famous safari regions in the country. I was hoping to see all of the big five, and I wasn’t disappointed. The park was once used for hunters who made a living off the animals in the park, but it is now a place where endangered species can live protected from the poachers. It has a hot and humid feel, and the animals gathered at the watering holes, giving us a great chance to see them in their natural habitats.

The phrase ‘Big Five’ was coined by hunters as the hardest animals to hunt on foot. They are the lion, the African elephant, the cape buffalo, the leopard and the rhinoceros.

And I was lucky enough to see all but the lion. It was a shame, but the majesty of the elephants and the breathtaking presence of the leopard more than made up for it. Nights were spent in a luxury tent in the Game park, protected by our guides.

On the eve of our last day we were awoken to a bit of commotion outside the camp. We could hear our guides talking in hushed voices and wondered what the problem was. When we rose for breakfast the next day we were told that a rhino had meandered a bit close to the camp for their liking and they were trying to scare it away. I was so disappointed that I hadn’t got up!

We also went to the Ostrich farm, which was great fun. I love to see the ostriches, they are funny birds and look like they have a great personality!

Sadly I wasnt feeling well on the day that my group did white water rafting and couldn’t take part, as this is something I think I would have really enjoyed!