Things to do in Phnom Penh: Sunset Cruise

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! I feel so lucky to be spending it in such a vibrant, exciting and warm place surrounded by loved ones. We’ve been doing a lot of festive activities (drinking, eating, caroling), and although we’ve got a Christmas playlist on an almost constant loop, I can’t say I’m feeling particularly Christmassy, though we’re having a lot of fun. I spent today on another Cambodian cooking course (read about the first one I went on here), a great experience which I’ll be writing up shortly!

Sunset Cruise, Phnom Penh Sunset Cruise, Phnom Penh Sunset Cruise, Phnom Penh Sunset Cruise, Phnom Penh

One thing I really regretted not doing last time I was in Phnom Penh was going on a sunset cruise. It’s well worth doing – the heart of Phnom Penh lies close to where the Mekong river meets the Ton Le Sap, which changes the direction of its flow once a year. While floating down the river you can see the Royal Palace, and landmarks like the Vattanac Tower on one bank – and on the other, the new, including the new Sokha hotel in Phnom Penh.

Sunset Cruise, Phnom Penh Sunset Cruise, Phnom Penh Sunset Cruise, Phnom Penh Sunset Cruise, Phnom Penh

We brought our own prosecco and took in the view, as well as the bats flying alongside and above the boat. As we had prearranged dinner plans, we didn’t bring our own food, but our drinks stayed chilled in the ice box that was provided. The boat was lovely – wooden, attractive and more sophisticated than some of the gaudy monstrosities that often trap tourists wanting to go on a boat tour. We only hired the boat for an hour, but with seating provided it would be a great idea for a romantic evening – especially as almost all restaurants in Phnom Penh deliver, getting some take out and taking it on a sunset cruise would be something I’d love to do in the future.

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We paid $30 for an hour with Crocodile Cruise – it’s definitely worth booking ahead, as we saw several tourists jump on the first cruise they saw. We were able to have the whole boat for our group, at a really reasonable rate. I’ve got another few posts lined up before I go to Kampot and Kep on Boxing Day, followed by New Year’s eve in Phuket and possibly some of the islands too.

Hope you are all having a lovely Christmas eve!

The Morning of the Living Dead: Zombie Evacuation Race

If you asked me two months ago what I’d be doing the morning of the 1st of November, I would’ve probably said I’d be nursing a hangover and trying to get fake blood out of my clothes.

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The fact that I ended up doing the opposite shocked almost everyone I know – vanilla protein smoothie at 6am, then a 5k run? Doesn’t sound like me at all. After a quiet, but really interesting halloween at the Giovanni Battista Moroni lecture and exhibition, I headed to bed early to rise on All Saint’s Day in time to make the Zombie evacuation race at Allianz Park.

Vanilla protein smoothie

Walking through the wooded area surrounding Allianz Park was probably one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. Walking through a field on a misty morning, with soldiers directing you, while the x-files theme was in the air… mildly terrifying. But perhaps not as terrifying as the thought of running 5k, being chased by zombies.

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Once we’d registered, we were given tags to time us, and a soldier explained to us our predicament – the Zombie apocalypse was upon us, and our only way out was to outrun the zombies in order to survive. We ran through woodland and fields, ducked under barbed wire, through dark rooms and various abandoned buildings. Once we were done, my legs were sore and my voice was so hoarse from all the screaming but it was so much fun. I’m definitely aiming to go again next year! One thing worth mentioning was that it was quite intense. At one point, I saw a woman in tears in a muddy puddle, while her boyfriend picked her up. I was really surprised to see they were both wearing jeans – either they were unsuspecting park users, who’d unknowingly stumbled into this living nightmare, or they were ridiculously unprepared. If you do go next year, be sure to wear proper clothing – and if possible, no shorts, as those in shorts ended up getting cut up quite a bit by the brambles.

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The lovely people at Currys gave us some wearable tech for us to try out – I tried the Withings Pulse Ox, which synced to my iPhone. It measured around 10,000 steps for the duration of the race.

Withings Pulse oXWithings pulse ox

Unfortunately, I didn’t survive. In the very last stretch of the race – running across the field at Allianz Park, I lost my last life to two very big rugby zombies. Which is a fair estimation of how I’d fare in a real zombie apocalypse, I’d imagine. I managed to get as far as I did with the help from Jess, from Look What I Got, who took one for the team and acted as our human shield by taking selfies with some of the zombies (she had lost her lives at this point!), April from Hello April and Anna, who’s already written up her post which you can check out here!

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It was an amazing day, getting to see a few familiar faces and meeting some new ones too (like Olivia and Eliza!). I guess nothing brings people together quite like an apocalypse!

Misfit Shine activity tracker review

One of my New Years resolutions this year was to become healthier – to eat better, and be more active. Since graduating from university and working in an office, it’s easy to let weight creep on, and be tempted by the constant flow of office drinks, lunches and crappy breakfasts. Despite this, I have been doing quite well – I plan meals in advance, and go to the gym three times a week. This has saved me so much money, but it’s also been a great way to relieve stress. While I’m not the healthiest person in the world,  I have gradually been making small changes to offset my physical inactivity between the hours of 9 – 5: I take the stairs up in tube stations, and opt to walk instead of getting on the bus  (that is, if it’s not raining!) Little changes really do add up, but I wanted to see how much – and so my hunt began for an activity tracker.Misfit shineMisfit shine

If I’m going to be wearing something everyday, it needs to be aesthetically pleasing or it will drive me mad. This is what initially attracted me, and helped me to decide upon the Misfit Shine – practical and sleek, my Champagne coloured disc has attracted the attention of many, and has been a great conversation starter.Misfit shine

This little disc is powered by a battery which needs replacing every four months, and connects to my iPhone wirelessly through bluetooth. Through the iPhone app, I set myself a daily goal based on my height, weight, age and how much physical activity I do. It’s based on a personal target I’ve set myself, and by tapping the device throughout the day I can see how far along I am in reaching my goal. My personal goal equates to something along the lines of an hour and 45 minutes of walking, but I can meet my goals through various forms of activity. I wear my shine on my wrist on days when I go swimming (it’s waterproof!), or strap it to my sneakers with the magnetic clasp on days I decide to use the bikes in the gym. At the end of the day, you sync the Shine to the app and you can see how many steps you’ve taken, calories you’ve burned and ‘points’ you’ve earned throughout the day.

Misfit shine

I admit, when I first got the device over a month ago I became a woman possessed. I was obsessed with meeting my daily goal, in the same way David Sedaris became obsessed with his FitBit in this New Yorker article. I walked home from the office for over two hours on a day I’d been particularly inactive, and would be consumed with guilt the days I wouldn’t meet it. I’ve had it a while now, and have chilled out considerably. I love my shine – it’s oddly comforting to know how much I’ve been stomping around, and is a gentle, encouraging reminder to get out and be a little bit more active.

It also tracks your sleep, which is a feature I like, and tells you how many hours of deep sleep you’ve had.Misfit shine

The only downside to the product is that it can’t tell the difference between steps – you use a lot more energy going up flights of stairs (136 steps at Goodge Street station!), and the fact the device doesn’t always respond to my tapping (of course, only when my friends ask me for a demonstration of the device I’ve been raving about), but with the exception of those two points I absolutely love this nifty gadget and would really recommend it.

My shine, which I got here: Misfit Shine comes with a magnetic clasp (for your shoes) and a sports band (for your wrist). I’m currently coveting the rather stylish necklace and leather band accessories!

Anyone else have a good experience with their activity trackers?