Traveling Sardinia

Summer seems to have totally caught up with me this year, I feel like I’m still just getting into the swing of this sunshine and I am NOT ready for it to leave. Last minute frantic planning for our Sardinian adventure comes as no surprise, as most of our trips are spontaneous… or just unorganised. We booked flights to the island after a bit of googling research ‘where can I do lots of fun stuff in the sun, eat good food and not get ripped off?’ was the basis of my search. And after scrolling through breathtaking pictures of Sardinia on Lonely Planet, flights were bought and the decision was made. I make that sound a lot simpler than it was – Callum and I are both  faffers, and we totally faffed over where to go for a little longer than that! But a large mediterranean island, with spectacular mountains, cliffs and caves accompanied by crystal clear turquoise water for snorkelling and free diving? How could we say no…

IMG_7233So basically – post holiday I’ll cut to the chase and totally recommend Sardinia (especially the northern part of the island) as a place to visit… and double especially if you are outdoorsy and up for a bit of exploring.

Before you go

How to get around – 100% you’ve got to rent a car, the island is large, everything is spread out… and there isn’t really much going on with public transport – I didn’t see a single bus or train the whole time we were there. But we found this such a great way to get around. (Just double-check your accommodation has parking).

Best time to go – June & September, we read a lot online about prices surging in July/August and all the lovely quiet areas we visited would most likely be hoaching during these months.

How to get there – unfortunately there are no direct flights from Scotland, so we had to get a connection via London (but that was actually straight forward and not too much hassle). We flew into Olbia which is ideal for exploring the northern part of the island.

Where to stay

Cala Gonone – is where the limestone peaked mountains meet the sea via sheer cliffs with incredible caves and white beaches. We absolutely loved staying in Cala Gonone, it had a very low-key friendly vibe and was ideal for exploring both mountains and sea.

Processed with VSCO with c8 presetGPTempDownloadIMG_1736Alghero – is one of Sardinia’s most loved medieval cities. We stayed in the old town which was a beautiful section of the city with traditional old buildings, no cars and was bursting with culture and incredible restaurants. Parking was a bit of an issue since there was no cars allowed in the old town – but we managed to find free parking at the marina (I know shock – marinas are usually extortionate).

Costa Smeralda – we didn’t actually stay here, although I’ve heard it’s a favourite for anyone looking for a bit of glam. We visited the area for a day, and it is very beautiful. Although if looking at other people’s super yachts and cars is off-putting, I’d stay clear!

Processed with VSCO with c8 presetProcessed with VSCO with c7 presetIMG_5246

Where to visit (day trips)

Olbia – despite its industrial outskirts, Olbia has a beautiful historic centre. We stopped here for lunch on our way north to Costa Smeralda and were pleasantly surprised by how authentic and affordable it was. Lots of lovely boutiques, cafes and wine bars.

Dorgali – looking for a tourist free zone? Dorgali is small and nestled within the limestone mountains (not far from Cala Gonone). Ideal for hikers and climbers.

Porto Cervo – sooo, not exactly our kind of play ground but if you’re looking to pop champagne and wander round super yachts for an afternoon… Porto Cervo is your place. Lots of designer shops, swanky restaurants and all kinds of other fancy stuff.

Stintino – home to Sardinia’s most recognisable beach Spiaggia della Pelosa, and at the islands most northwestern tip the small village has beautiful views and unspoilt scenery. We had a really chilled day here, the beach was busy (so we didn’t last long) but we walked into the village and had the best meal of our holiday at La Darsena.

IMG_5189IMG_5194

Things to do

Explore mountain tracks – there are heaps of incredible mountain ‘tracks’ online, the ones we found were really scrambley so I’d recommend sturdy trainers for the hills.

Beach hopping – there are dozens upon dozens of beautiful white beaches all along the coast line (I imagine all the way around the island) – and most have paths between each one ranging from 1 hour to 5 hour walks. Also very scrambley with lots of loose rock, so not one for the flip-flops!

IMG_3758Rent a boat – we did this in both Cala Gonone and Alghero. Cala Gonone was probably the favoured location due to the incredible cliffs, caves and swimming spots. Alghero was almost as equally nice, but not quite as breathtaking as Cala Gonone.

IMG_4601Snorkel/free dive/scuba dive – we brought our own kit bags from home, but there are heaps of dive schools, centres and rental shops in every town and village.

Image 22GPTempDownload 2Processed with VSCO with 1 presetKayak/SUP board – again you can find places to rent boards and kayaks everywhere – Cala Gonone seemed to be the best location for this to paddle into the incredible caves.

Cook with produce from local markets – even if you miss the markets, the small local shops sell the most incredible produce. We only ate in one evening, but had breakfast and lunch in our apartments quite often… the most simple food tastes so good!

Eat out – do your research or ask your apartment/b&b owner to recommend the best local restaurants. We got pointed in the right direction and it really paid off, the food was honestly incredible.

IMG_5197IMG_5249Wine tasting – I’d save this for the west coast, which is teaming with farm land and vineyards… from large businesses running tours, to smaller independent family run sites – whatever tickles your taste buds!

Overall, we had an incredible time in Italy. If anyone fancies a Sardinian adventure and wants to ask some questions, slide on into my DMs on Instagram and I’ll be happy to chat! @ronamcmillan

Thanks for reading

R x

Hot Weather Adventure Tips

This week the west coast of Scotland has been graced with what felt like endless hot sunny weather… although it has rudely come to an end now. So I am back inside for the first time in days covered in aftersun and drinking lots of water. Phew! As much as I LOVE the sun, I totally forget the strength of it… especially in Scotland. For some reason I feel I have immunity to the Scottish sun, as if it’s not really the same sun I’ve experienced in other parts of the world. And even when going up hills this week, or out on the water I kept forgetting that I needed to drink more and wear more suncream. Doh! Thankfully I’ve escaped unburnt, but I have defiantly been dehydrated more often than not this week – so my first hot weather adventure tip…

Water! I am going to admit something which is going to make me sound like such an idiot, however… I won’t make this mistake EVER again. We went for a scamper up Ben Lomond last Thursday in 25° heat with less than one litre of water between the two of us. Most of the assent was almost unenjoyable because we were so thirsty but we luckily found clean water to drink after the summit. I am now constantly drinking from a 2l bottle of water, and we bought a few big packs of 2l bottles to keep in the car so we will never be short! I read a bit about walking hydration online after that day – and the recommendation is to obviously drink LOTS of water before and during your walk, have some sports drinks that will replace electrolytes (body salt) on you as well, however avoid sugary drinks as they cause nausea and probably won’t rehydrate you very well. 

IMG_3443Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

IMG_3339

Ben Lomond

Check the weather, and avoid the hottest part of the day for walking. On Tuesday we wanted to head to Glen Coe and Glen Etive to explore some hills and rivers, so decided to leave Glasgow really early to walk while the sun was still low in the sky. We were off the hillside by midday, and got to have a lovely lazy picnic afternoon in the shade. 

Processed with VSCO with c8 presetProcessed with VSCO with c8 preset

IMG_3600

Glen Etive

Remember to eat – the ONLY time I ever lose my appetite is when I’m overheating, and this has happened every single day this week… especially when exercising. It is so hard to force food down when your feeling exhausted from the sun, but amount of energy burnt in hot weather needs to be replaced with some food. On the go I totally recommend lightweight small energy bars and fruit, they’re packed with goodness and you don’t need to eat much to get the boost you need. 

IMG_1238IMG_1491

IMG_2320

These guys are my favourite! Perk!er

Get framed and protect your eyes – block UVA and UVB with a pair of lightweight sunnies. I would recommend glasses with plastic lenses that are light and durable. Also make sure they fit really well, otherwise they’ll be slipping and sliding all over your sweaty face! 

Keep yourself cool – pick clothes and shoes that are going to be lightweight, breathable and made of fabric that isn’t going to cause you irritation when you start getting hot and sticky. A hat is also really helpful for keeping your head and face cool – I look incredibly dorky in a cap but I really need one to stop my scalp from burning and to keep the sun from my eyes. 

“Don’t get summit fever” Callum has said to me more than once this week. Listen to your body, and if your feeling dizzy and dehydrated be prepared to stop. We actually did turn back on a hill this week because I was feeling really unwell, I felt bad about it – but also knew it would be stupid to carry on in discomfort. 

Don’t be fooled by ocean breeze. The wind is so refreshing when it’s hot, but it is also very deceiving. The sun will still burn your skin! I found that checking the UV index gave me a good indication of how strong the sun was going to be for the day. 

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

IMG_3317

SUP boarding Loch Lomond 

And finally, listen to Ryan Gosling and “Get in the water”!

IMG_3618

IMG_0647

We stumbled across Etive pools on our walk and couldn’t resist a swim to cool down!

Thanks for reading – I hope everyone has managed to enjoy the sun this week!

R x @ronamcmillan

Two Bare Feet review – snorkelling kit

Snorkelling is an awesome way to explore the blue shallows – most people have given it a go in warmer waters abroad, but there are some incredible snorkelling spots on our door step if we are willing to face the cold. Kit wise… not much is required and what you do need; doesn’t come at too much of a cost. I think most of my Scottish snorkelling experiences have been fairly unplanned – I carry my kit bag around in the back of my car everywhere I go just on the off chance I stumble upon a a beautiful stretch of water.

IMG_1919

So – I got some new snorkelling kit from Two Bare Feet last week and after taking it out for a spin I am going to write up my first impressions. I also have a few tips for buying new kit that could be helpful if you are looking to get in the water.

IMG_1278

Hood

I went for this 5mm hood in size M – I found the sizing pretty hard to work out/took a total guess and luckily it fits perfectly. The hood is snug around my whole head and neck – so much so I don’t think any water got in, my hair even stayed dry under the hood. The water temp was sitting at 8° on the surface, and quite a bit cooler as I dived down – the 5mm of neoprene kept me very toasty – so a big thumbs up from me.

My only negative for this product (other than the size guess) is that the neck panel was too bulky to go under my wetsuit. I thought this would be a bit of an issue for water leakage – but since the hood was so snug, I didn’t seem to have any problems.

IMG_2247

Fins

I’d usually opt for a longer fin (more of a free diving style) – however I thought a short pair would be really useful for wild swimming if I wanted to do any distance swims this summer – and they’re also a bit easier to manoeuvre!

These guys have an adjustable back which meant my feet didn’t slide back and forward while kicking and there is enough room to wear a very small boot with these if your prone to cold feet. I wore a neoprene sock and it worked perfectly with those too. No section of the fin rubbed on my ankle (which usually happens for me). So I’m pretty delighted with these – no negatives.

IMG_2246

Mask

I choose this silicone mask with tempered glass – reason being… silicone trumps PVC in colder waters. PVC masks look as good as silicone, and are usually cheaper; however they loose their flexibility in cold water which effectively ruins the fit of the mask around the face. Choosing a mask with tempered glass is also a good idea – tempered glass has a better resistance to scratches and is also better suited to changes in water pressure when diving down.

My only negative here (which is actually a fault of my own) was that I had some trouble clearing my mask when I first went in – I did the old saliva in the lens, then rinse with water etc and it continued to fog up. My mum gave it a good scrub with a soft piece of fabric and that seemed to do the job. Since then i’ve read that putting a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and rubbing it into the lense and washing it also helps prevent a foggy mask – so i’ll give that a go next time.

GOPR2354-3

Snorkel 

LOVE this snorkel – it’s the first time i’ve ever had a proper dry top snorkel and it makes such a difference when diving. FYI – a dry snorkel is a snorkel that has a mechanism on the top that prevents water from entering the snorkel as the snorkeler dives underwater. Very handy, and this one works very well. This snorkel also features a splash guard, and purge valve and the mouth piece is made from silicone (also good for cold water). No negatives here!

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

Hood & Mask

Side note – usually I’d wear my mask seal under the lining of my hood… but as mentioned previously my 5mm hood is super snug and the width of the mask is greater than the width of the hood, so that didn’t really work when I tried. Instead, I wore the mask seal on the outside of my hood and I was really surprised that my mask stayed sealed.

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

Gloves 

I was a bit stumped over getting 3mm or 5mm gloves – and given I always have frozen hands 5mm would have probably been wise. BUT I feel like I can’t move wearing such thick neoprene, turing a GoPro on and off is a bit of a struggle with thick gloves – so I went for the thinner ones and i’m really happy with them. I got a size S and the fit is great – they also have a velcro wrist fastening which stops water creeping in.

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Croc says 8

Why choose Two Bare Feet? 

– British company – based in Devon 

– Extremely helpful customer service – always happy to answer questions and give recommendations 

– Fast delivery – and easy returns

– As a returning customer (my SUP board is from this company, and have also bought a few different paddles and accessories in the last year) I have always had a fantastic experience, and have recommended to many friends. 

– Very reasonably priced – with incredible sale prices too

IMG_1930

A little bit from Two Bare Feet...

'In an age where everything is available at your fingertips, we thank you for shopping with us and for your continued support of Two Bare Feet.

We pride ourselves on delivering the best possible experience whilst shopping on our site and exceeding expectations from there on in. We moved from our retail shops to online e-commerce in 2008 and have continued to evolve, enhance and expand our product offerings whilst ensuring your shopping experience with us remains hassle and fuss free.

We appreciate all feedback as they help us to keep focused and on top of our game and of course exceed your expectations.'

With thanks to Two Bare Feet for supporting this post – all opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading 

R x @ronamcmillan

The Skin Diary – Zaynah SkinPRO

 

I found gold!

Don’t you love finding somewhere really great to treat yourself from time to time. I have been up north for a week, climbing hills, camping, jumping in the sea… and my face is a MESS.  You’d think all that fresh air and lack of make up would do my skin good, but it always becomes really dry from the salt and oily around my hair-line from wearing wooly hats. Delightful! So, back to the city – and in urgent need of some skin TLC I booked a Head2Toe facial with Zaynah Skin Pro. I’d seen a video of her facials using hot towels, and it looked unbelievably relaxing – so I thought I would give it a go and document the process.

What was different about Zaynah's treatment?
  • Zaynah was trained in a specialist skin clinic while living in Canada – it was reassuring to know how much of an expert she was and her passion about facial and skin care was really refreshing.
  • I received a full skin analysis – Zaynah took her time to map out my skin, she obviously asked me what my concerns were – and I told her, but I don’t really know what I’m talking about. She fully cleansed my face, then scanned my skin in detail and explained her own concerns as she went along. This was actually really informative, I learnt a lot about my own skin!
  • Zaynah used methods I’d never come across before – for example instead of using disposable sponges to cleanse my face she uses hot towels, which were as I expected SO RELAXING!
  • Totally customised to my skin, Zaynah was extremely specific when it came to product use on my skin – she even went as far as mixing two products together to ensure the ingredients were perfectly targeting my problem areas.
  • Massage too! Every single facial I’ve ever had, means being left for 20 mins at a time while the facial masque does its work… Zaynah gave me muscle melting massage from head to toe both times she applied a masque during my facial. If I’m paying for a facial that lasts 1 hour 15mins, it’s really nice to receive treatment for that whole time!

IMG_1091

As always, I was asking a million questions during my facial – I needed to get the insider scoop for my skin diary! Here’s what I found out…

How often do you REALLY need a facial?

So I’ve heard through the grape-vine that if your going to get facial treatments, you should be getting them once a month… for 3/4 months. I took this question to Zaynah, and she explained that, yes – if you want true results from a facial it is best to book three or four at a time, with about 3/4 weeks between each one. There are two reasons for this, the first is it takes time for the skin to get used to the chemicals used in peels… so if you book three sessions, your therapists can begin with something gentle and work your skin towards the use of stronger chemicals that will give you incredible results. The second reason is that it takes 3/4 weeks for the skin cells to move through a full life cycle of cell growth to make their way from the dermis to the surface – it is important to let your skin do its thang in-between facials!

Zaynah's tips on how to get the most from your facial
  • Avoid applying make up for the rest of the day – all your pores are open and clean, so applying make up will probably clog them and lead to breakouts.
  • Avoid steam, sauna and gym – exposing freshly treated skin skin to excessive heat in a shower/sauna or working up a sweat can cause irritation, redness and breakouts (good excuse to chill with a green tea for the rest of the day)!
  • Avoid over cleansing and exfoliation – your skin is delicate after a facial, the use of harsh creams, toners and soaps could cause irritation. Leave the skin be for as long as possible to prolong the facial benefits.
Why is she trying to sell me products?

Haha, this always gets me. You’ve just had a really relaxing time getting pampered, and once it’s over you get bombarded with a sales pitch. THANKFULLY, Zaynah didn’t do this to me. I was actually the one asking about all the products being used throughout the treatment, and I got really informative answers back. At the end of the treatment I asked for some recommendations as well as ways to keep my skin glowing without having to buy lots of product, and Zaynah was really happy to advise me. So what I learnt was, good therapists aren’t trying to sell you products; they’re trying to help you get the skin you want! Try before you buy? Asking for some product samples before you spend all your ££ is a great way to test out a product before making the splash! 

How's my skin looking now?

This is my skin today (one day after treatment) and it feels incredibly smooth. It is hydrated and it has a lovely healthy glow. I am not wearing any skin makeup in this picture, so – no concealer or foundation and my skin looks really natural, plump and fresh!

SJQU6584

Zaynah is based in a Salon on Kilmarnock Rd called Beauty in the Basement, I could not recommend her more. I’ve already booked in for another two facial treatments to keep my skin glowing for summer!

The products used on my skin for this facial were Dermalogica –

IMG_1092

Any skin questions, send me a message on Instagram or drop me an email!

Thanks for reading

R x 
@ronamcmillan

 

 

 

Dear sports marketing, please ditch the f**king models

The women who become role models to us, and the women who SHOULD become role models to us are two very different people. Most of the time we don’t even notice – but how does this fair up for generations to come… the kids who are going to be thrown into the whirlwind of social media slapping them in the face with airbrushed images of celebrity models, photographed in clothing & equipment that should be promoting strong, healthy athletic women.  How come it’s a sexualised Roxy ad that sells me a bikini, or Kendall Jenner wearing Adidas that makes me buy new trainers? We talk about it all the time, using REAL women, doing REAL sports is good – it gets millions of views, it gets us inspired and excited – it wins awards. So WHY are we not seeing female athletes in advertising campaigns? Were they all too busy being awesome that day? Hmm.

What makes a good campaign great is the ability to tap into the minds of the viewer, something that makes me think – I am that girl, I could be that girl, I want to be that girl. I will stop being negative nancy for a second, because good advertising does exist. Ever heard of “This Girl Can”?

‘Are you up for breaking a sweat? Lottery-funded This Girl Can is designed to inspire you to sweat like a pig – and feel like a fox while you’re doing it.’

Not hot enough for sponsorship - Silvana Lima

S*** hot on a surf board, but not pretty enough for sponsorship? Are you kidding me? Silvana Lima is one of the best professional surfers in Brazil and she is being denied sponsorship for the way she looks.

“I’m not a babe. I’m a surfer, a professional one.”

And that, is what SHOULD inspire us. But athletes depend on sponsorship to an extent, it’s marketing, a pay cheque, a team and an opportunity to inspire worldwide. It’s seriously screwed that it’s only the ‘pretty’ girls that get this chance.

Silvana-Lima

Silvana Lima – WSL

Women to follow

The Kardashians and the Hadid sisters are long gone from my instagram feed – for a short while I got sucked into their parallel universe of ‘perfection’ – I kept up with Bella and Gigi for fashion and style inspo, and lets face it – the Kardashians can be entertaining. But why do these girls become the face of brands promoting sports that they have probably never done before. It kind of shakes me up the wrong way – so here are some girls with real talent, doing great things, living interesting lifestyles. Hopefully one day these women will be the ones we see all the time, on social media, in interviews, wearing our favourite brands and being themselves.

Tyler Wright

d3706b44cd8883f6ffc6d30cb88d70cdmaxresdefault

Tyler Wright is the reigning two-time World Champion, she’s talent and strength. She’s intelligent and knows exactly who she is and what she’s doing.

“I’m comfortable, very confident, and it reflects in a powerful manner. Just the way I hold myself in certain situations – it comes from knowing myself, and that’s what’s reflected. It translates into a confident, powerful, strong style of surfing.”

Her journey from day one is pretty impressive. The Wright family is also a team of people who I really admire. Check it out…

Kimi Werner

kimi-werner-gear-patrol-cinema-lead-full1704079512

“Never take more than you need”

Kimi featured in Fishpeople, a film about people’s lives transformed by the sea. This is where I first came across her, and I was immediately hooked. Excuse the pun. She won the US National Spearfishing Championship, she was the best! But this sport was not in keeping with her beliefs; she left it behind to concentrate on sustainable hunting and marine conservation. Spending incredible amounts of time underwater on one breath, Kimi’s skills as a free diver and spearfisher is further proof that humans are completely capable of living in a way that is unharmful to our ecosystem.

Angie Payne

b72fd01f-110f-434c-9211-09d5f736dc7e

Climber, photographer, explorer. I was introduced to Angie Payne in the film ‘Poumaka.’ She was climbing one of the world’s gnarliest towers: a 1,500-foot volcanic spire called Poumaka alongside Mike Libecki (who is one of my favourite people in the whole entire world). Angie seeks adventure, she’s out there doing amazing things and not really shouting about it. She talks about her expeditions truthfully, it’s not all sunsets and summits – and we really get to see the blood, sweat, anger and tears that push her boundaries each and every time she climbs.

 

Thanks for reading

R x