Foodie in a Fitness Camp

Folks, I’m committing a travel foodie faux pas… I’m going on a diet, entering a fitness camp and stopping travelling around for a month, dun dun dun!

People have asked me why I would go to a ‘weight loss camp’? But I thought you loved food?! Aren’t you happy with yourself? Won’t you get bored in one place? What will you post?!


I will ALWAYS love food, yes I am happy with myself but I also love being healthy and I recognise when it’s good to check in with myself and my weight. I’m not trying to be a skinny bitch I just want to make sure I reach 100 and get my royal telegram. Sure in theory we all know how to lose weight but it’s a struggle, especially when you love food as much as someone like me!

I’m going for the discipline, the routine and the support so I can’t ruin my progress through my own lack of will power when left to my own devices. I’m going for the positive environment to work out and eat well in and the community vibe because fitness doesn’t have to be a miserable solo expedition. And actually I’m looking forward to staying in one place for a month. I can unpack and stay unpacked woo! Don’t worry, I’ll still have plenty to post about. Map of Flavours followers…get ready for health pics and protein shakes! (Don’t worry it won’t really be that bad)

This is an opportunity to get fitter, detox and cleanse my body and yes, lose a few pounds but overall just be a trimmer, fresher but still curvy and happy version of me.


I’ve been travelling for almost 11 months now and not being able to cook my own food and control what’s going into my dishes has been a bit more trying than I expected. I generally eat a sensible, balanced diet but in South East Asia they love to pump food full of salt, sugar and oil! You can ask them not to but usually it’ll still find a way into your meal and into your body. I’ve eaten plenty of organic, healthy meals on my travels so I’m not suggesting EVERYTHING cooked here is like that. But when you’re on the road a lot and passing through remote as well as developed areas, you don’t always get too much of a say in what you have.

Anyone that says to you “oh travelling will be great you’ll be eating fresher food and on so many adventures and moving all the time the weight will just fall off you” IS LYING. I call bullshit folks.

bs (2)

1) There are lots of fruit and vegetables everywhere but they only work as a snack on the go, I can’t often cook something up in a hostel. Too much fruit is too much fructose (sugar) so not fantastic for you in big quantities and as is the case with a lot of market offerings, the fresh produce is not far off turning bad so you better be quick in your consumption! Or it’s the other end of the scale and the produce is not ripe enough yet; I don’t exactly have space in my backpack for a bunch of bananas.

2) The spread of Western influence has reached very far and wide. A lot of fast food chains and food brands we recognise are all over the world and in supermarkets all across South East Asia. Western style restaurants are often just as frequent on each street as local ones and as travelling becomes more popular, so does ‘catering for westerners’. It’s hard to get away from sometimes and as much as I love Asian food, when you fancy something more familiar and it’s on offer, it’s hard to say no. If it wasn’t there I’d happily not have it! But it is there and as I’ve already told you guys, my will power isn’t the best. So I end up succumbing more often than I mean to.

3) I’ve always enjoyed hiking and I’m doing it now more than ever. With so many trails, jungles, mountains and volcanoes to climb I love it! My legs are more muscular and I walk EVERYWHERE. I have never rented a motorbike (yes I know shocking all bloody travellers do it here why aren’t you part of the cliche Kaska?) and yet despite all this walking, I’m not shedding many pounds. Why? Because I’m not using my other muscles in any other kind of intense exercise. I swim when I can and a day of snorkelling will burn a few calories but I’m never in the gym or anything like that. I haven’t done a sit up since I left home because I’m either in a dorm stuffed with beds or oh yeah, it’s too bloody hot! Which leads me nicely onto my next point….

4) It’s too bloody hot outside! Even when it’s raining, the humidity is stifling and ‘cold’ in many parts of Asia is nothing like ‘British cold’. So no, I’m not going to do loads of intense work outs all the time because I’ll pass out. I will laze in a hammock, chill on the beach, sit in a cafe or walk in the shade with some friends because it’s much more comfortable.

5) A large part of travelling is sitting on your arse. Whether you’re doing any of the above, reading a book, chatting to new friends or most commonly sitting on a bus, a train, a plane or in a taxi getting from A to B, you will be cushioned on your behind not moving a great deal.

None of these are a recipe for life-changing weight loss. And I’m fine with that. I love my shape and luckily I’ve got a pretty face and dazzling personality to see me through (ish). But if you go travelling and don’t return home a svelte goddess, DON’T FEEL BAD. Eat the food, embrace the beach bum life and just have a good time. As long as you’re healthy that’s all that matters. And I am very healthy, I’m actually substantially fitter than a lot of skinny ladies I know. I have great stamina and can trek for miles before I start complaining. I might sweat like mad but I feel great in myself and many petite gals I’ve trekked with are gasping for breath and requesting a ton of breaks along the way whilst I’m still going! So size really isn’t everything.

But as I said, health is. And that’s why I’m doing this camp for 28 days. I feel bloated, like I need a good cleanse and in need of burning some more energy off. I’m going for this long because fortunately I have the time to and it gives me the opportunity to see and feel a real difference and help reset my attitude towards unhealthy temptations. I want to get ready and feel fresh for the next part of my travelling adventure in 2018 and learn how to get around the problems I’m currently facing on my travels so they don’t continue into the next phase.


Besides, the camp I’ve chosen is more than just keeping fit. They include nature walks, meditating with monks, yoga classes, massages and Muay Thai classes. So I’ll still be exploring nature which I love, getting my culture fix, becoming more bendy and learning new skills as well as getting a massage a couple of times a week, heaven!

The 28 Days Detox for Weight Loss, Meditation, and Fitness Retreat with Muay Thai Battle Conquer Gym in Phetchabun, Thailand seems like a good fit. I’m flying there tomorrow to begin this next adventure and I’ll let you know how it goes and what kind of healthy regime they have me on. Watch this space and watch this waistline!

Image result for phetchabun thailand map

Tips for choosing an Asian fitness retreat:

Thinking of heading to a camp yourself? Here are some of my pointers on how to choose between all the options online…

  • Check the legitimacy of the camp. Do they feature on any other websites recommending them? I found mine through and this gave me another layer of security if anything were to go wrong.
  • Are there any reviews out there? Previous users’ experiences can reveal a lot about how good your camp actually is. Their website will always only advertise themselves in the best light and not necessarily truthfully.
  • How much bang for your buck do you get? I would compare the inclusions different camps offer and see who is providing the most services for the most reasonable price. The country you go to can make a big difference too. Thailand had more options for a lesser overall price than other SE Asia countries did.
  • What outside costs would you have? Often a camp will include your food and training for 6 days a week so what will you do on the 7th day? Research the area the camp is based. Do you need to pay for a visa for your chosen country? Thailand is free for 30 days for UK citizens but some surrounding countries do not offer the same. Factor in the cost of your flights as well. London – Bangkok can be very reasonable when booked far enough in advance. Other destinations may be more expensive.
  • What time of year are you going? SE Asia is always warm, even in the rainy season. For this reason I would NOT recommend going to a camp in the peak season when it’s blistering hot. Go at a cooler time of year when the weather won’t be working so hard against you and you may even get out-of-season rates which is a bonus!
  • Are there English speaking staff? You want to get the most out of your training and you need to know your needs are understood and met. Most camps cater for international guests so this won’t be hard to find but best to double check.

Thanks for reading 🙂

A Weekend in Singapore

Singapore, a hot pot of cultures blended together to create this bustling metropolis. One great side affect of hosting such a mix of cultures? Duh, the food! It’s why we’re here right? This blog entry may end up seeming a tad one sided (I stayed in China town, so many Chinese food options, so little willpower to resist) but I can guarantee that everything mentioned is scrummy. I was there for just a whirlwind weekend so sit back and relax whilst I take you through my food and tourist tour of The Lion City…

After checking in and freshening up I went straight out to walk around China Town.


It’s a cool area to stay in with great food, bars, a market and good links to the rest of the city. I was instantly struck by the multitude of colourful shutters lining the streets and obviously…Food Street. That’s really its name! More on that later.

On my first night in the city I knew exactly what I wanted to do… see the Super Tree Grove at Gardens by the Bay. It did not disappoint!


Take a seat on the grass with the electro-forest in front of you and sit back and enjoy a 15 minute show, put on every hour, every night. Set to music, the trees come alive and it’s spectacular to watch! It’s a real must when you come to Singapore and it’s free, yay!

So, back to Food Street…. I don’t have the name of this restaurant for you but I’m sure a few of them offer Pork Belly like I had and it was something like this…


I’m drooling just thinking about this meal!  Slow cooked pork belly with preserved vegetables, broccoli sauteed in garlic and a honey grapefruit tea to wash it down. The balance of soy sauce and chilis with the sweetness of the honey was mouth wateringly tasty, fully recommended!

I only had the weekend so to utilise my time I bought a hop on/hop off bus ticket and off I went for a day of cramming in as many tourist sights as possible and explored the city. I hit up the Botanical Gardens, Little India, Suntec City, Singapore Flyer and many more cool spots. One of my favourite places was Little India. 1) it’s one of my favourite countries in the world so naturally I was drawn here. 2) The colours, smells and food that surround you are so exciting and intriguing.

S1     S2

You can spend a good amount of time walking around this part of the city, taking it all in.

It was a busy day but definitely worth it and it allowed me to cover much ground in a short space of time whilst getting some audio commentary for context. Did you know that Rio de Janeiro and Singapore are the only 2 cities in the world that have a tropical rainforest? Singapore’s is in the botanical gardens. Or that Singapore’s 2 main casinos rake in approx. $6 billion annually compared to Las Vegas’ $7 billion over 75 casinos?!  A little extra knowledge there for ya!

At the end of the day I took the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)  back to China Town and as I was heading back to my hostel I spotted a store making quite a boastful claim: ‘The best pineapple tarts in Singapore.’ Well, clearly I have to verify this statement for myself! The store has an array of options of this sweet and fruity treat available to buy in all shapes and sizes but I just bought a single cake to try out. My verdict?


YUMMY! Honestly, it wasn’t mind blowingly delicious and I haven’t had any other pineapple tarts like this to compare it to but yeah it was worth stopping in and trying one and I had a smile on my face as I ate it (OK I swallowed the damn thing in one bite) so it must have been doing something right!

How did I spend the finale of my weekend? Visiting the most culturally iconic, deeply insightful, couldn’t miss it for the world attraction….Universal Studios!! OK yes I am massively exaggerating and overselling this commercial fun world but I wanted to go and be a big kid for the day so I did. Packed full of movie themed rides, I had a blast. Travelling is whatever you want it to be so take a day off from being culturally minded, a soulful roamer exploring the philosophies of the world and let loose! Roller coasters ought to be prescribed as good for the soul I’m sure.

Once I was tuckered out like the big ol’ kid I am I took the ever reliable MRT back to China Town for dinner. Psst….tell you a secret? For the best cheap eats head to the Chinatown complex on Smith Street. There’s a hawkers market filled with locals with a real bustling and lively atmosphere. Barely any tourist faces so you know it must be good! $3 will get you a tasty local dish such as one of my top faves, Bee Hoon: fried noodles, succulent pork, a side of greens and wantons.


What I didn’t try in Singapore that I wish I had time to? A Raffles Singapore Sling! Everybody knows I’m a sucker for a cocktail and it would definitely have been cool to try this drink in its birth place. But Raffles is like Singapore’s answer to The Ritz right? So I figured best not just turn up saying “hey mama needs a cocktail” I’ll email ahead and make sure I can enjoy the bar without a reservation. Despite its prestige they are not hot on emailing single tourists back wanting just 1 drink so by the time I learned that I COULD have just walked in demanding “hey mama needs a cocktail” I was back in Indonesia. Boo! It’s always good to leave something undone in a place so you have a reason to go back. A Singapore Sling is definitely a good enough reason to fly back across continents someday.  1 other thing to try in Singapore? Chili Crab. I don’t eat seafood at all so this one may seem odd for me to include but it looked great and it’s a signature dish of the city so I’d recommend crustacean lovers give this a go.

My Top Travel Tips for Singapore:

Heading to Singapore? Here’s a few things you may find helpful…

  • Use The MRT as your main mode of transport. It’s Singapore’s subway system that runs like clockwork throughout the whole city. It’s a cheap and easy way to get around. Think of it as a smoother, much more efficient version of London Underground!

Image result for mrt singapore

  • When you purchase a travel card you can use it up to 6 times and get 10c off every 3rd top up. Every little helps!
  • The MRT and trains run to and from the airport too. It’s affordable, quick and easy to use; saves dealing with taxis!
  • Hotels / hostels are expensive, there’s no getting around it. However I can recommend the hostel I used in the centre of China Town. Chic Capsule Otel on Mosque Street is clean, comfortable and not at all noisy despite its central location. It’s 2 minutes from an MRT station for getting around the city super conveniently and each bunk has a light, plug socket and TV loaded with movies! Not that you’ll be inside much to utilise this feature but hey it’s pretty nifty all the same. It costs around $30 per night but breakfast is included and they offer free shuttles back to the airport so that all definitely helps.
  • If you go to Universal Studios go on The Transformers ride it is AWESOME


That about covers it! Thanks for staying tuned, let me know what Singapore stories you have or if you plan to go, I hope this blog is of some use to you and I look forward to hearing about it 😊 Peace, love and food x

Gastronomic Gems of The Gilis, Indonesia.

  • gili islands map

Gili Trawangan, Meno and Air sit to the east of Bali, just off the north-west coast of Lombok. There are many gilis around the country but these are THE gilis that attract many travellers every year. (Gili is the Indonesian word for island, so if you hear someone say ‘Gili Islands’ they’re just saying ‘Island Islands!’)

When you talk about these Indonesian island getaways you can’t help but think of crystal clear waters, coral littered beaches, sea turtles, horses and long hot days. But you know what else my mind recalls?

Hot, buttery corn on the cob, amazing beach side BBQs, yummy organic cafes and a generous selection of great restaurants to suit all taste buds! They may be tiny tropical islands but they can pack a big punch when looking for your next meal.

I didn’t make it to Gili Meno but Trawangan and Air were great. (Air holding a slightly more special place in my heart) Here are my foodie highlights of each island so see what you think!

Gili Trawangan

If you’re looking for a balanced and delicious breakfast/brunch, head to Kyu Café. Offering a range of wholesome options, it’s a great way to start the day located on the main road of the island. I went a couple of times and tried their fruit bowls and paninis; the ingredients were always fresh and a seat on the upper level of the café grants you views of the ocean whilst enjoying your meal. Perfect start to any day.

Image result for kayu cafe gili trawangan

Another great brunch café on the main road is Bale Sampan, at the other end to Kyu. If you have time, try them both!

Every night on Trawangan, you will find a bustling food market just a few minutes walk along the main road from the harbour. Here you will find many stalls of local food cooked up fresh in front of you. Choose from different barbecued goodies such as locally caught fish, satay and veggies and have it with your choice of rice, noodles or other nibbles they have laid out. With rows of plastic tables and chairs to sit with your friends, eat and grab a beer, it’s a fun spot to have dinner amongst the bustle of a market like you’d find in most Asian towns or cities. If you fancy something sweet after, to the edge of the market there’s a cake stand with a variety of very sugary choices!

One of my favourite restaurants on the island was Roast House. It’s an open front restaurant with a lower level seating area by the bar and an upper level balcony overlooking the street. It has such a fun vibe  and the owners were so lovely, adding to the great atmosphere of the place.  Now the food…. My oh my the food. Famed for their slow roasted chicken, I can taste why. It was unbelievably yum! The skin is roasted with black pepper and the chicken just melts in your mouth mmmmm I want it now! Served with roast potatoes and veggies it speaks to the Englishwoman in me and she was definitely satisfied at this joint.

Image result for roast gili trawangan

On the islands you will always find a local with a cart grilling up corn on the cob for passersby.  One man in particular stands out as THE corn man above all others. What’s his secret? His selection of butters at no extra charge! You can have original sure, but how about chilli butter, garlic butter, heck let’s melt some cheese on top! (OK this one does warrant a slight extra charge)  He’s the nicest guy with the tastiest corn and you MUST visit his cart whilst on Gili Trawangan.

Image result for corn on cob cart gili trawangan

Gili Air

Aaah Gili Air, the smaller, more chilled out island but no less a gastronomic gift. I never had a bad meal here and the beaches are beautiful. Perfect combo!

A little organic café I found next door to Favourite Hostel nestled up a ladder with just a few tables to it’s name, was Bliss. The food is colourful, beautifully presented and delicious. Even better, it’s completely guilt free as they use only raw and organic ingredients. Win! An easy place to miss as you have to be looking up to see it (not advisable to do this on streets with horse and carts regularly going past).

tempe salad

This healthy snap is of a Tempe Salad Bowl. Tempe is used in many Indonesian dishes and is a soy bean cake, most popularly found in ‘gado gado’ (translation: ‘mixed veg’: tofu, tempe and veggies on a plate with chili sauce, try it). The salad bowl combined tempe with mixed vegetables, pumpkin and sesame seeds, fresh basil, avocado and tomato and a cashew humous on the side.

I came here one more time and had the healthiest and yummiest and most colorful chicken and veggies burger ever, you may have seen this on my social media… check it out!

And of course I can’t not mention their Chocolate Monkey Bowl chunky monkey bowl .png

A mix of banana, apple and strawberry, raw chocolate, soya milk, granola, goji berries, coconut flakes and the world’s most amazing ingredient ever…PEANUT BUTTER! All Hail. Man I love a smoothie bowl but more on those another day.

Another restaurant to mention is Shark Bites, located on the same road. The menu is Western but the flavours are so good! Chorizo and veggie pasta…check. Citrus and Oreo cheesecake…check. Imported Australian rib eye steak…check! These are just a few of my favourite things but go taste for yourself and let me know what you think.

Its not all just about eating, really I mean that. It’s cooking too! I took myself off to a cooking class on the island to try my hand at some Indonesian basics and get off the beach for a few hours.

cooking on air

Gili Cooking Classes offer 3 options based on the length of the class. The longer you stay, the more you cook!


I went for the intro just to get a feel for it. I was partnered up with another solo chef and  we made 3 dishes: Fried tempe with spicy peanut sauce, Mie Goreng and Klepon.


These were pretty basic recipes and didn’t require much skill or lend opportunity  to acquire much knowledge but it was a fun way to spend a morning. The class was easy going and the staff were very friendly, albeit pretty patronising. At one point the chef asked the group if their water was boiled yet, ready for the next stage. Mine wasn’t so he came to double check it… Mate I know how to boil water, I came here to learn Indonesian dishes not the basics of how to cook!

Mie goreng is not a very challenging dish anyway, it’s a stir fry of veg and noodles with an egg on top. What I went to learn and what I did indeed discover, was the balance of flavours Indonesians use to make a simple dish, something noteworthy.  I was not aware before of the combination of using sweet soy sauce and oyster sauce which makes a tasty concoction that makes the noodles come alive on your taste buds (because let’s face it, noodles can be a pretty plain bog standard food that need some assistance to create an impact). My favourite dish to make was klepon as I hadn’t come across it before (an Indonesian sweet dish of rice balls stuffed with palm sugar and coated in coconut, yum!) so I did get something useful out of this class but just don’t go and expect too much.  Oh and be prepared for an hour or two in cookery kindergarten.

If you are interested in any of these dishes, I will be writing up the full recipes for the website. Keep your eyes peeled!

My final mention….Warung Padang Sumatra.

warung padang sumatra

This was my favourite example of local food for sure. Not too local as it was a Sumatran restaurant (Located to the West of Indonesia) but a tasty insight into Indonesian food that I won’t forget. The menu is small as most of what they offer is already prepared and displayed in a glass case at the front of the restaurant. A very common sight with warungs (small local eateries) in Indonesia. All dishes were labelled and had a price attached; you simply point and say “I’d like that, that and that” and away you go.

Sumatran 2 (2).jpg

Everything is served at room temperature because traditionally Indonesians eat with their hands, so this is a more comfortable way to serve a meal. Rice will be served piping hot though and in this restaurant always go for the brown rice, you won’t regret it, it’s so delicious! To be fair, the flavours of most of their dishes are just mind blowing. My personal favourite and top recommendation is their beef rendang. Honestly, the best I’ve had so far and accompanied with a range of veggies and other delights, it was a winning dinner.

There you have it! My Gili recommendations and first official Map of Flavours blog! Thanks for your patience, I don’t write all too often as I’m simply having too much fun travelling but rest assured I already have other blogs in the pipeline and underway so I’ll try not to keep you waiting too long for the next one.

Quick Tips for travelling to and from Gilis.

Many travellers take the boat to and from these islands everyday and the main harbour on Bali, Padang Bai, can be a crowded nightmare to navigate. Here are my quick fire tips to make your trip to the Gilis that little bit easier when travelling to and from Bali:

  • Buy a return ticket upfront. I heard too many stories of people paying more to return to Bali than to get to Gilis because once you’re on the islands, you’re a bit trapped and they know it! (I paid 500k Rupiah return to Bali and that was the lowest price I heard of anyone achieving)
  • When booking the fast boat with a travel agent, your ticket will include shuttle transfers for both pick up and drop off. Be sure they include all this on your ticket.
  • When you return from your Gilis trip back to Bali, as soon as you step off the boat into Padang Bai you are accosted by several shuttle and taxi drivers. Ignore them all! Your boat company will have a representative with a sign and their logo to direct you to the correct shuttle but they usually hang back off the pier so don’t let the guys by the boats overwhelm you.
  • The fast boats have AC but it doesn’t often work well and the boats turn into mini ovens! Take a fan or try and sit on the top once the boat sets sail, it will make the journey that little bit more comfortable. Sindex is a good company with a comfortable boat.

Hope that helps! Most important tip: Have a great time on The Gilis and eat well! X