Meet Kenneth our Mini Lop

We have no idea how long we will be staying in London but I recently got offered a job and they want me to stay for the longer term. While I have been waiting for my visa to come through so I can start this job I have been super lonely at home. I also developed a bit of anxiety as I have had Dave by myside for the past 7 months nonstop and suddenly he is at work and I am alone. I really wanted a pet. I think they are amazing and can help with anxiety. We decided to adopt a Mini Lop Rabbit. I have always wanted a rabbit but back in Australia well Queensland they are illegal and you risk a $44,000 fine and six months in prison. Apparently, Queensland is the only place in the world that doesn’t allow pet rabbits.

We got Kenneth the other day. He is a chocolate, Mini Lop Rabbit. He is also a Scorpio just like me! He is desexed and super friendly. He is so cute and loves to cuddle. He is a little shy at the moment due to changing homes but that is normal.

He didn’t come with the name Kenneth, his name was Baxter but we changed it as I wasn’t a fan. Plus, I don’t think rabbits really come when their name is called. We decided to call him Kenneth after Kenneth the character in the TV series 30 Rock. Click on this link to see some snippets of Kenneth in 30 Rock.

Kenneth is our new best friend, we love him instantly.

N. x

Advertisements
Posted in Lifestyle Blog, London, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Made Homemade Icelandic Style Yogurt

Since travelling I have missed yogurt from Australia; the thick and creamy yogurt found everywhere in Queensland. My favourites were Queensland Yogurt Company and Mungalli Creek Dairy Yogurt. I couldn’t find the same while travelling but I did come across Icelandic style yogurt in New York under the brand name Siggi. It was amazing to say the least. It is super thick, low sugar, high protein and fat free. Where has this yogurt been all my life! Then we went to Thailand and the yogurt there is appalling and I craved Siggi’s daily. Upon arriving in London I came across Skyr yogurt at the local Asda and the love affair for Icelandic style yogurt began again. I have to admit I think Siggi’s flavoured yogurts are better but Skyr’s flavoured ones are still decent. I bought the natural Skyr and it is equally as amazing and you can flavour it yourself with maple syrup, berries etc., Even though Skyr is pretty decently priced I love to learn how to make things at home so I found a recipe online and attempted to make a homemade version of Skyr.

In terms of cost effectiveness I am not sure whether it works out more cost effective but it does stop me buying packaged items and gives me a sense of satisfaction that I made it myself.

My first attempt at Skyr was a success and my partner is a huge fan (which is always a good sign). I did accidentally use organic, full fat milk and it still turned out great. The second time I got the right milk needed to make Skyr (non-fat milk) and the main difference is that I noticed there was less whey dripped out and it thickened quicker. I tried to take photos along the way, the lighting is terrible in the kitchen but it does the trick.

I used the recipe I found at this blog (Jules Food Blog Spot). Both of my attempts I have halved the recipe I found on Jules Food Blog Spot. For my first attempt I didn’t buy enough milk (still trying to get used to the imperial system of measurement) and I think by halving the recipe it makes enough yogurt for both of us (for now). I also need to see if my pot will support 5 litres.

Ready to start!

Ready to start!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2.5 litres (1/2 gallon) non-fat milk (organic is better)
  • 1-3 heaped Tablespoons of Plain/Natural Skyr or another brand if you can find it
  • 3-4 drops of Vegetable Rennet Liquid (I got mine from Planet Organic)

Equipment

  • Digital thermometer
  • Stainless steel pot
  • Tea-towels or a towel for wrapping up pot
  • Cheese cloth or a big square of muslin cloth
  • A large strainer
  • A whisk
  • Bowl/cup

Instructions

  • Ensure all your utensils are clean
  • Pour milk into pot and set to a low heat/low flame if using gas
Heating milk on stove (gas)

Heating milk on stove (gas)

  • Heat milk to 87-91 degree Celsius (190-195 degrees Fahrenheit) – use a low heat to avoid the bottom of the pot burning
Heated to 190.5 F (88 C)

Heated to 190.5 F (88 C)

Note: Using a low heat the milk will take about an hour to get to the right temperature, don’t turn it up just to speed up the process or you may burn it.

  • When the milk is heated to the above temperature turn off the heat and let the milk cool to 43 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit) – this takes about an hour but monitor it appropriately
  • In a cup or bowl put your heaped Tablespoons of your Skyr yogurt starter (or another brand if using that) and slowly add a Tablespoon at a time of your milk until you get a smooth, pourable consistency, make sure it is combined
  • Add this mixture to the warm milk and stir but do this carefully to avoid scaping any milk solids that have forms at the bottom of the pot
  • Add the drops of liquid rennet to the milk and stir carefully
  • Cover your pot in tea-towels or a towel and leave in on the bench-top for approximately 12-16 hours
  • After 12-16 hours, uncover and take a look at the pot – it should be quite solid by now and some whey (yellow liquid) maybe visible on top
Thicken after sitting for 12 hours

Thicken after sitting for 12 hours

Note: If the milk mix hasn’t thickened/formed then something has gone wrong

  • Take a sharp knife and cut the curds in to cubes (you don’t have to do this but it helps the whey sitting on top go to the bottom and you can scoop of the mix easier. It looks cool but you don’t have to do this step
Cutting curds

Cutting curds

 

  • Line your strainer with your cheese/Muslim cloth and spoon your curds into the strainer until all done. I ended up scooping everything in the pot into this so nothing was left behind
  • Let this sit for 1-2 hours to drain most of the whey
Yogurt in Muslim cloth draining through strainer

Yogurt in Muslim cloth draining through strainer

DSC00626 (Small)

Whey that dripped out

  • When the dripping is not as consistent, gather the corners of the cloth and tie and hang from a wooden spoon (or similar) over a pot/saucepan/bowl to catch the remaining whey.
Second round of 'drain away the whey' this time in the fridge

Second round of ‘drain away the whey’ this time in the fridge

Note: The first time I made this yogurt I did the second ‘drain away the whey’ step on kitchen bench as London is cold. The second time I did it in the fridge. If you are in a hot place probably best to do in the fridge. Don’t discard the whey until right at the end.

  • This will take a few hours so be patient. The result should be firm/thick and a bit dry around the edge of the cloth, almost like a cheese. I love thick yogurt but if left too long and then refrigerated it can become almost like a cream cheese consistency
DSC00623 (Small)

Not a great photo but you can see the thickness around the edges

  • Remove the yogurt from the cloth and put into a bowl. Whisk it until smooth.
  • If you yogurt is too thick use some of the whey that dripped out when whisking as this will help to thin it out. Remember it is supposed to be thicker then Greek yogurt but not as thick as cream cheese.

Note: My partner wanted me to keep the whey and he decided to drink it as it is quite good for you. I personally cannot bring myself to drink it.

  • Put in the fridge and let set a bit longer
  • Now your yogurt is ready to eat by itself or add some fruit/maple syrup/honey/seeds/nuts etc.,
DSC00659 (Small)

Finished product (with camera flash)

DSC00650 (Small)

Finished product (without camera flash)

Note: The consistency of the yogurt should be smooth and not grainy/lumpy like cottage cheese. If it is try whisky it until it is smooth. If it is thick you can add some of the whey that dripped out to the yogurt.

There are quite a few steps but making this is actually really easy. The first time is the hardest but once you get the hang of it you will be a professional.

I like to make a berry mix to add to my yogurt which is super simple to make. Just buy either fresh or frozen berries and add to a pot and turn to a low heat. Using fresh, ripened berries will be best as they will have more sweetness then frozen berries. The berries juices should start to be released and use a wooden spoon to break them up a bit. You can add sugar to this if you want more sweetness. I prefer not to add any additional sugar unless the berries are super sour then I use coconut sugar to sweeten (stevia could be used also). Once finished put in a container and let cool in the fridge.

Hope you enjoy.

N.x

Posted in Homemade, Lifestyle Blog | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Vegetarian Lasagne (Gluten/Dairy Free)

One of my old housemates, Keeta, is a vegetarian and she made a delicious vegetarian lasagne once upon a time. I don’t know the recipe but I remember it being amazing. I tried to find something similar and came across a recipe from Good Chef Bad Chef online Dairy Free Vegetarian Lasagne.

Although I do not label myself as a vegetarian I thoroughly enjoy vegetarian and vegan foods. I am slowly reducing my meat intake and this is a staple for me. I also have trouble digesting lactose and tend to only eat yogurt so given it can be made dairy free is also a bonus. I also make it gluten free as I also am not that great at digesting gluten. I have made it for friends before and no one is yet to complain. You can get the recipe of Good Chef Bad Chef as this recipe is taken from there with some slight alterations.

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 2 cups of pumpkin, cubed
  • 4 zucchinis, sliced thinly lengthways
  • 1 eggplant, sliced thinly
  • 4 cups of mushrooms of your choice, sliced and sautéed in oil (can use butter or vegan butter) with garlic, salt and pepper
  • Gloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 onion, diced

Red Sauce

  • Olive oil (or butter/vegan butter)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • 1 400g can of chopped tomatoes (organic)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cube or equivalent liquid vegetable stock
  • 1-2 cups of water (not required if using vegetable stock liquid)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of saffron threads (I don’t always use these)
  • 1 packet of firm tofu, mashed

White Sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil/butter/vegan butter
  • 1/3 cup of gluten free flour (you can use normal flour/spelt flour)
  • 2 cups of soya milk (organic preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

Other

  • 1 packet of gluten free lasagne sheets (any brand you prefer)
  • ½ bunch of basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ parsley, chopped
  • Salt/pepper

Equipment

  • Oven dish to assemble lasagne
  • Wooden spoon/s
  • Pots/pans
  • Baking tray/s

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius
  • Line the baking tray/s with baking paper and lay out the sliced eggplant, zucchinis and pumpkin and roast until soft (approximately 30 minutes)

Note: if you are in a hurry and want to minimise time you can sauté the zucchinis and eggplant slices in a fry pan on a low heat with olive oil, salt and pepper until soft. You can also boil the pumpkin. Doing it this way will save time but the vegetables won’t get to release their flavours through roasting.

  • Add oil or butter with garlic, salt and pepper to a fry pan, and then add mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms until soft and put aside
  • Get a pot/pan and add the diced onions with some salt/pepper and saute over a medium heat, then add some garlic and continue to saute for 30 seconds. Add the can of tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, oregano, saffron threads, vegetable stock cube and 1-2 cups of water (if using liquid stock don’t add water). Let this simmer and reduce for about 30 minutes. Add the mashed tofu and mix in. Once combined remove from the heat.

Note: Taste your sauce and add anything if you think something is missing. If you don’t have oregano just use a herb mix. The stock will help bring out the sauce flavour so don’t forget this.

  • In a separate pot/pan add the oil or butter over a low heat, add the gluten free flour (or flour of your choice) and whisk till it makes a paste. Now slowly add the soya milk, ½ cup at a time. If you add the milk to fast the sauce won’t thicken. Whisk while adding the milk and maintain a nice medium-thick consistency. Once you are happy with the thickness add the mustard, salt and pepper and set aside

Note: I love white sauce and I always make double the amount for any lasagne so that the lasagne is not dry and have a creamy texture. If you white sauce is not thick enough heat some oil/butter and mix in flour to make a paste and then add this to the sauce and whisk in. You should notice it thickening. Adjust as needed.

  • Grab your oven dish for assembling the lasagne.
  • Line the bottom of the dish with the red sauce
  • Add a layer of lasagne sheets and break if needed
  • Top the lasagne sheets with a layer of mashed pumpkin top with basil/cracked pepper
  • Add the mushrooms on top of the pumpkin and a little more white sauce

Note: You can also add some spinach leave on top of the pumpkin. I tend to use the white sauce on most layers as I think it makes it more delicious.

  • Top with more lasagne sheets
  • Add a layer of zucchinis and top with white sauce and parsley
  • Add the eggplant
  • Add the last layer of lasagne sheets
  • Add more red sauce and then add more white sauce
  • You can grate some cheese (vegan cheese) on top. Alternatively sprinkle some paprika.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes on 180 degree Celcius
  • Use a skewer to pock the lasagne to make sure the sheets are soft
  • Let it sit for 20 minutes before serving

Note: You can freeze the remaining pieces for lunches or dinner later that week.

I make this regularly and if you want to subsituate vegetables you can do that. You could easily subsituate pumpkin for sweet potato. Spinach will also go great and this can be added.

Enjoy!

N. x

P.S: Featured image is taken from the Good Chef Bad Chef Website. I will get some good photos next time I make this.

Posted in Homemade, Lifestyle Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Grow a Kombucha SCOBY

I used to brew Kombucha at home regularly and after 7 months of travelling, I have relocated to London. Kombucha is not as popular in stores as it is in Australia/America. If I did find Kombucha in stores in London, I am not a fan of the flavours available or the cost. I tried to find a SCOBY online but they were expensive and I was prepared to try and grow one.

I searched the internet for various recipes and as I wasn’t sure it would work, so I started small. I used the recipe I found at (The Kitchn Blog). I altered the recipe as I have a small jar and just wanted to make sure it would work first. If my SCOBY grows then I will use it in a bigger jar and get my SCOBY to expand like that. If you have a good sized jar then refer to recipe at The Kitchn Blog.

The recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of water
  • 30g of sugar
  • 2 black tea bags
  • ½ cup unflavoured, Kombucha (store-bought)

Equipment

  • Glass jar – size of your choosing – I used a small one
  • Wooden spoon/stainless steel spoon
  • Cloth (tea-towel, cheese cloth or similar)
  • 1 x rubber band
  • Saucepan/pot

Instructions

  1. Pre-boil a jug/kettle of water
  2. Combine the required water and sugar into a saucepan/pot
  3. Add the tea bags and let them seep for about 10 minutes (some will leave it longer or shorter)
  4. Remove the tea bags and move the sweet tea to a glass jar
  5. Wait for the sweet tea to cool so leave on the bench (I usually cover with a towel so nothing flies into it)
  6. Once cooled to room temperature add the store bought Kombucha to the glass jar
  7. Now cover the jar with a tea-towel/cheese cloth and secure with a rubberband
  8. Store in a dark place for 1-4 weeks
  9. Check on you brew to make sure it is working its magic – it should have some bubbles and a film should start to develop. If this isn’t happening then something may be wrong. After the first week I started seeing bubbles and a film growing. It is also starting to smell fermented.
  10. Be patient, it needs time to grow.
DSC_0003 6 (Small)

This is after a few days of trying to grow a SCOBY

Will post progress photos soon and once I get SCOBY going I will brew Kombucha. I usually flavour my Kombucha the same each time as I am obsessed with Ginger and Turmeric Kombucha and sometimes for a little something different I like to add Gloves and Cinnamon.

N. x

Posted in Homemade, Lifestyle Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome to London!

We arrived in London one late December night from Poland (sounds like the beginning of a storybook). We spent just over a week hanging out with David’s family. We arrived in the dark as it gets dark early in the winter like 4PM. We had experienced this in Poland so it was nothing new. We came to London to live and work internationally for a few years, maybe longer, depending how we mesh. Arriving end of December meant that most things were closed over the break and it was somewhat a sleepy city. We had paperwork to organise and other administrative life tasks to handle so that kept us occupied. Apart from some basic exploring and trying to set up our lives we really haven’t had the opportunity to explore all of  London and what she has to offer. We have been the city various times, the bridge, experienced the DLR, TUBE, Overground and buses, Spitalfields and Borough Markets, Brick Lane, Battersea Park and a few other things. We have tried to use our feet as modes of transport were possible but London is a big place so public transport has been a winner, minus the TUBE it makes me feel nauseous.

So far London has been good. Apart from the obvious cold weather, wind and gloomy looking days our first month and a bit have been good. Exploring parts of London you can see where places like Melbourne and areas of Hobart get their architecture from. It has an old, comfortable feeling and I do see why Australians that come may not want to leave.

The biggest hurdle I am trying to overcome is the weather. Coming from sunny Queensland this weather is like a snowball hitting you in the face. I tend to leave the house with two layers on the bottom, 3/4 on top, two pairs of socks, boots, gloves scarf and a jacket; no amount of layers ever seems to be enough. The downfall is that establishments and offices are usually too warm and you need to then remove all the layers. HMPH. My body will take some time to get used to this weather and the voice inside says that probably won’t happen. How do you get used to ice cold winds cutting through your clothes and your face? I will never know!

Now we play the job hunting game and try and get someone to employee us because we are amazing qualified and great workers. Will report back our successes and failures (fun).

Till next time.

N. x

Posted in London, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Things that Grind My Gears About New York (Manhattan)!

We decided to come to America after our stint in South America and we based ourselves in New York. We wanted to give ourselves a break from South America and see our friends that we haven’t seen in a while since they relocated to New York. Everyone I meet loves New York and that is the best place in the United States. I am still torn as to whether it lives up to this. We have been residing on Manhattan Island in both East Village and Midtown and my instant impression is that this city is dirty, loud and has a funny smell. There are sirens every 30 seconds (it seems) and constant horn beeping. I feel frustrated just being in the city. I am an impatient person but this city has it over me. There are a few things that really annoy me about New York!

  1. People having loud, usually inappropriate conversations, on their hands free

This one I just am yet to really understand. I/we spent most of our time walking around the city and constantly run into people walking around on their hands free having personal conversations. A few of the conversations I have heard are around a guy talking about how his girlfriend wants him to get tested and he ain’t got nothing and his other explicit sexual history; a women talking about her friend strangling something (not sure if this is a sexual fetish or an act of crime; people talking about their cheating partner/s; and just generally loud conversations that really could be toned down dramatically.

  1. People walking around with boom boxes or small stereos playing loud music

Mainly the people walking around with these are ‘homies’ for likes of a better term. Without being rude they look like they live on the streets and haven’t had a shower in days. The music is usually rap/hip-hop/RnB genre and it is playing so incredibly loud, why can’t you wear HEADPHONES. Actually that wouldn’t help because majority of those that wear headphones here will attempt to sign/rap and that is usually just as bad.

  1. Cars piling up and blocking incoming traffic at lights

This one is just no common sense. You get a green light and the light in front of your green light up ahead is red, there is already too many cars and if you go you will be placing your car in line of oncoming traffic who will get a green light soon. So not only do you still do it so does everyone else. Then the light goes red, the next people get the green light and cannot go anywhere. So the horns just sound non-stop. They have actually resorted to putting police on corners to help control this, it doesn’t really work that well. They clearly need to fix the automatic traffic light timers.

  1. Tipping and not including tax in the price

I know Americas usually dislike non-tipping countries because we come here and don’t tip because we don’t really do it back home unless we really want to. I am still of the view that you should pay your staff appropriately so that society doesn’t have to do it for you. Majority of those that live in New York are probably not well off and adding at least 18% to service is causing them to be even less well off. Let people tip if they want to tip. No offense, but your service isn’t that great and most of the time I hate having to pay for your shitty service or attitude. Then we have the tax situation. I understand we all pay taxes, but why cannot you just include the tax amount in the cost already. Why do I pick up a pair of jeans and the tag says $25 and I am like awesome and then you add tax at the register. Why do I see yogurt on the shelf ‘3 for $5’ but then you add tax at the register. WHY DON’T YOU JUST INCLUDE THE TAX IN THE ADVERTISED COST OF THE ITEM!

  1. Bank Fees

We might have to open a bank account here if we are lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work in New York. We went around to four different banks and they all have the same setup. Every bank has a account keeping fee for their standard accounts, usually $12. You can avoid this fee if you have a daily average balance of around $1500. If your balance drops even by 1 cent causing your daily average balance to fall at $1499 then you will be hit with that fee. Not only the weird daily balance thing exists you also get charged twice to use an ATM that doesn’t belong to your bank. So if you bank with Bank of America and use a Chase ATM, Bank of America will hit you will a fee of no more than $5 and then the other bank will also charge you no more than $5. You risk losing up to $10 every time you need to use another banks ATM. I have never missed my Australian Bank so much in my life!

  1. Mobile phone plan costs and shitty phone/data reception and who uses 2G anymore?

We got prepaid phone here so that we could use them to list our numbers in a job hunt and call each other and our friends if needed. Prepaid is expensive, actually I think most mobile phone plan costs in America are expensive. We originally got a $30 (plus tax) T-Mobile plan which includes unlimited text, 5Gb of Data (1GB at the fastest (maybe 4G/3G) if you can call it that and the rest at 2G (what is this? like I know what it is but why?) and 100 minutes. I worked for Telstra once upon a time and not in my lifetime do I ever remember having to pay to receive a call, unless it was a reverse charge. Basically these minutes kept running out and I wasn’t making barely any calls. So I Googled it and found out that minutes are used when you make or receive a call. 100 minutes is nothing when people are calling you to chat about your resume for 20 minutes or more. I also read, although cannot be sure, that T-Mobile gives service priority to post-paid customers, so if you are pre-paid and there are a bunch of T-Mobile users around you trying to use their post-paid service then your service is limited. Also, the data cuts out all the time, it is slow, it cannot be used when walking around the city sometimes and it has never worked on the subway. I used to commute on the train for work in Australia and my service worked. I recently changed my service to AT&T and the pre-paid is now $60 or $55 (plus tax) with autofill so that I can get unlimited minutes. I lose some data and although AT&T is considered to have better coverage I still cannot use my phone on the subway. Seriously America, what century are we living in. We are a technology century and everyone is connected just not very well. Invest some money in the telecommunication infrastructure; your people will thank you as long as you don’t jump up the prices.

  1. Cafes that don’t do good food and coffee

One big thing I miss in Australia in going to have breakfast/lunch in a sit down café and having a coffee. What we have found here is that it is one or the other unless you go to an Australian owed café. It is almost impossible to get good food and coffee in one place, again unless you go to an Australian owed café. WHY?! They have take-away places everywhere but nothing good. I literally thought America would have this in the bag, how we were wrong. Also, the coffee here is not as good as back home. You can definitely find good coffee and we have found a few, but for every good coffee you will probably have 5 average/bad ones. I hear most take up drinking tea. Luckily we have a few places that have satisfied our taste buds. We definitely do not drink as much coffee as we did back home.

There are many other things we disliked like the rubbish piles on the streets for clean up day, when someone use the term ‘excuse me’ rudely just because you happen to be where they need to be and they cannot be polite about it, the homeless population makes me sad except for the one that threatened us (not sure he was homeless or just a traveller) plus many more. There are also good things, like the shopping options, the subway is pretty reliable, the broadway shows, tours etc.,.

Overall, we preferred Brooklyn to Manhattan Island and most of the annoyances come from Manhattan not the other boroughs of NY. We are also convinced that maybe they live in a bubble and just don’t know how some of these things could be much, much better.

God Bless America, right?

Posted in New York, Travel Blog, United States of America | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Accommodation: Hostels vs. AirBnB

When we set off on our trip all we had organised, in terms of accommodation, was one week in Chile at an AirBnB we found. This wasn’t our first AirBnB and only had done two prior to that in Australia. Both our AirBnBs in Australia were great and I cannot fault our hosts. My girlfriends and I had a two bedroom apartments in a newly build hotel on the Gold Coast, Australia for 1/4 of the price and my partner and I had a lovely weekend away at a boutique coffee farm in Byron Bay Hinterlands. As we hadn’t used AirBnB overseas we hoped for the best. Prior to heading away on our trip to South America, we figured we would do a mix of AirBnB and hostels. Both offer their pros and cons with hostels you are sharing a pretty large house with a bunch of temporary room mates for your duration. With AirBnB you are either sharing a house with your own room, sharing a room (we didn’t do this) or having the place to yourself. All our stays through South America using AirBnB involved sharing apartments/houses with our hosts, which we were happy to do as all our hosts were great.

AirBnB

Unfortunately we don’t live in a world of super honest people and sometimes photos and descriptions with differ from what you actually end up with. Sometimes people will write reviews and put a positive spin on them because they are ‘nice’ people. My recommendations would be to always read what is included and if you have any questions ask the host. If they are being a bit odd in their responses then maybe this is something you want to avoid. These are things we look out for when looking for AirBnB accommodation.

  1. Kitchen/Food: To save money on our trip and potentially avoid giving ourselves food poisoning we wanted to cook quick and simple meals along the way. Most places will say they have a kitchen but you should make sure your host is happy to let you use it. Also, if you want to use any of their condiments, ask! And if you do use the kitchen to make food, show some respect and clean up after yourself! Yes, you are a guest but it isn’t a hotel and your host isn’t your live in maid.
  2. Room/Bedroom. We had an issue with our Chile AirBnB bed in the room, it was only a twin and they said it easily slept two people but it didn’t. It is too small for two normal sized people. This was our own fault for not confirming but we always check and confirm if unsure on the bed size.
  3. Location: Make sure you look at the map for the location of the accommodation and get an idea of key interests in the area and if there is public transport close. Nothing worse then being miles out to save a few dollars a night and not be able to do anything.
  4. Host: Read the host information or ask about any house rules that they may have. Remember, this isn’t a hotel and you are living with or in your host’s space. It pays to be respectful. Some host’s are busy and won’t have time to interact with you. Make sure you are okay with this.

Hostels

I, prior to travelling to South America, have only ever stayed in one Hostel. I am not at all familiar with hostel life. It was all very new to me. I have shared accommodation and had room mates so I do know something about shared accommodation. Pretty much all the hostels we booked online had correct photos and descriptions. We found that hostel ratings varied with various negative and positives. It comes down to what one person likes another probably wont. In terms of reviews and instead of reading all of them to make our decision, we only read the first 5 and made our decision based on location, price and facilities. Here are some things to consider when booking hostels accommodation.

  1. Price: The price of hostels vary throughout and you really need to have a budget in mind when looking. It can be pretty overwhelming to look at all. We found that when looking at http://www.booking.com or http://www.hostelworld.com that we sorted in by price and anything over our budget per night was out. The only time we altered this was if there was a very small price different or if the places in our price range could possibly require a tetnes shot.
  2. Location: Location is everything. Most of our travels are done by foot patrol, meaning we walked as much as possible. We only used public transport if needed to save money or the place was out of reach by foot. If you are happy to be a bit further out and use public transport then this can save you some money on accommodation. Usually the hostels in the main hubs are more expensive and unfortunately, not always the best. Also, check your accommodation distance from the bus stations or airport as you may need to get a taxi or you could potentially walk to save dollars.
  3. Facilities: Again, as with AirBnB, we tried to cook as eating out all the time will chip into your bank account. Some hostels have basic kitchens and others have the full setup. Even though a hostel says it has a kitchen makes sure it is for guest use. We had this problem but we worked around it. Again, if you use the facilities bathroom/kitchen etc., clean up after yourselves. There are limited items in the kitchen and others want to use them without having to clean up after you. You are old enough to travel the world then you are old enough to do your own dishes and flush the toilet!
  4. Party/No Party: Some hostels are party hostels. We avoided these at all costs. We stayed next to some which was bad enough. We want to get up in the mornings and explore the beautiful world, not nurse a hangover. It is for some not for us. Living in a party hostel might sound fun but you may regret your choice when your bunk buddies are engaging in coitus or the music is still pumping until 5am.
  5. Other guests: Obviously, there are going to be other people in the hostel so be polite and engage in conversation. If they don’t want to talk they will tell you. Most are just exchanging travel plans and ideas and it is fun to meet new people. It can be a bit daunting if you’re a bit of an introvert but after awhile it becomes natural. Also, be respectful of their personal belongings and space.

While in New York we did have friends and they were kind enough to let us crash with them. We also did a week at AirBnB in Brooklyn and our hosts were AMAZING! We are currently in Bangkok and have friends here so have been staying with them. This will save you heaps and if you have friends that are in an area you are in and happy to let you crash then its a win. Again be respectful of their space and be honest with your communication. You don’t want to put any friendships in jeopardy and ALWAYS repay the favour if/when they want to come and visit/stay with you. Next stop, is Poland which we will be spending time with Dave’s massive family. In the UK we will be looking for short term accommodation, probably AirBnB, until we find work and can get something more permanent.

As this post was a AirBnB vs. Hostels post, we are going to have to tie them. They both offer different things and they both have their ups and downs. We have always found AirBnB accommodation to be more comfortable and homely but it does limit you getting to meet other travels through hostels. We mainly used AirBnB when we wanted a break from hostel life. We recommend using them both throughout your trip. Whether you stay in a hostel or an AirBnB accommodation remember to provide honest reviews. Being honest doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be rude you just need to be honest. It helps others with their future plans.

Till next time.

N and D.

X

Posted in Travel Blog, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment