Everything you need to know about travelling to the United States with ESTA

Before we get started, I would like to proudly announce my first collaboration and guest post! I was contacted by two students to collaborate on a post informing my readers about how to apply for an ESTA to enter the USA, what it is and all the nitty gritty bits in between. – With a pretty awesome infographic and video to boot –

You can check out their website, which is EXTREMELY helpful right here. – I wish that this was available when I was applying for my ESTA before visiting the US it would have saved me SO much time and stress! –

So without further a do!

If you’re planning on travelling to the United States, you’re probably thinking that you have to get a visa to go there, right? WRONG.

Introducing… the ESTA

 

What is the ESTA? I hear you!

  • – The ESTA is a travel resource created by the United States Department of Homeland Security that allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the US without having to get a visa. Pretty awesome!
  • – Anybody travelling to the US as a tourist, on a business trip or anybody that has a connecting flight involving the US from any of the 38 countries eligible can apply.
  • – This is not useful for students or those planning to work in the US.

So how does it work?

  1. Basically, the ESTA application is completed online and only takes around 30 minutes. That means you don’t even have to leave your house, nevermind go to an embassy appointment.
  2. All you need is an electronic passport and then fill out the ESTA form.
  3. Once you have completed the ESTA application, you will receive an email within 72 hours, although responses usually only take minutes.
  4. If your ESTA has been granted you will receive an email notifying that your application has been approved.

Now what?

Here’s the real beauty.

The ESTA is valid for two years.  In those two years, you may travel to the US as many times as you wish, so long as you do not stay in the country for more than 90 days.

Things to consider

  • If an ESTA is not authorised, then the applicant will have to apply for a visa.
  • If you are unable to complete the application yourself, somebody else can do it for you. Just make sure that all of the information that is inputted is correct.
  • The country of issue on the online application form is the country of your citizenship as it appears on your passport.

 

Here’s a pretty cool infographic that sums it up:

I hope this was helpful and shed some light on the need for an ESTA and how easy it is to apply! Pass this on to your friends if you know they are going away to the USA and could benefit from this post.

 XOXOXOXOX

We did it!

We made it in one piece all the way to the end of the island,  the most westerly major town in Cornwall. Penzance! The move was smooth and painless and we are now finally getting into a regular routine. We have found a gym to workout in, I have found yoga and other group fitness classes to attend during the week and a job lined up in a couple of weeks as the Easter holiday approaches.

We are only here for a short time, 6 months at most, but most likely less. With this in mind, I have set myself some goals to achieve before our journey takes us somewhere new:

  • Family: First and foremost I want to bond with my family, spend time with my brother and make up lost time from our past. He’s nearly a teenager now and is turning into a wonderful young man. He makes me very proud. I also want to see my cousin and her baby boy – my God Son – as often as I can while we are here, I learned the hard way that if you miss out on a child growing up, you can never get that time back.
  • Friends: Catching up with old friends is definitely on my “To Do” list while we are here. Another blast from the past like that of America(<— Click me) would be such an experience. – I do love the parallel of reminiscing on old memories while forming new ones, such a romantic… –
  • Health: If you follow me on social media, you probably already know that I have given up meat and dairy. I gave them up mainly because I had a change of heart and decided that I did not want to contribute to the mistreatment of animals in the meat and cheese industry. – Even if it is just a small percent, I still don’t want any part of it. – This also means that I have started to shop “Cruelty-Free” in all of my cosmetics and other household goods. But with this life choice also comes health benefits and I hope to see some major changes in the passing months. I will keep you updated.
  • Fitness: I have decided to get into yoga, and want to improve my fitness while I have the time to really get stuck in.
  • Food: I want to learn and start baking! – Vegan baking anyway, which some stuff doesn’t even require an oven but you know… – I also want to visit some well-known restaurants here in Cornwall and share my experience for people who want to visit and need some local knowledge.

 

With March nearing an end, I better get a move on ticking off these boxes!

xoxoxoxox

 

For the past 5 years,

I have bleached and coloured my hair too many times to count. I went from blue to purple to pink, to a mix of the three for my hen do, back to blue for my wedding to peach, and now just plain blonde!

As I am sure you can imagine, bleaching your hair time and time again does not do wonders for your lustrous locks. – Or in my case, my dry dishevelled dreds –

I was left with dry, angry hair that felt like straw or as someone once described it to me “barbie hair”

– L I F E L E S S

I tried every remedy I could think of:

  • Deep conditioners
  • Serums
  • Conditioning sprays
  • Coconut oil – Of course, people pour this over life right?

Sometimes the combos would work, and sometimes my hair just wasn’t having any of it. I was beginning to feel hopeless. The coconut oil did nothing for my hair, it did not condition it and it left it looking greasy. I was running out of options. – Obviously, this will not apply to everyone, but my hair was saying “nuh uh

I decided to do some hard research and started looking into other ways I could try to lock some moisture into my dried out and unforgiving mane.

I discovered a hair treatment process using hot oil when I came across some old VO5 Give Me Moisture Hot Oil Treatment (they don’t seem to supply it on their website anymore but you can buy it still from Sainsburys here) and after my hair felt INCREDIBLE. It was soft to touch, had body and shine and was easy to style.

I had to do more of this.

I don’t like to over do it with hair products, so I wanted to find a cheaper more natural alternative to this hot oil treatment I found hiding in my bathroom cupboard. First things first…

What is a Hot Oil Treatment?

Hot oil is used to deep condition dry, damaged hair. It helps to prevent damage to hair or to reduce existing damage to split ends and/or chemically treated hair.

How does it work?

Heat opens the cuticle of the hair and allows moisture to penetrate the hair shaft locking in moisture and strengthening brittle tresses from root to tip.


So,

Here is how I went from A to B in a few simple steps!

  1. Wet hair with warm water, opening the cuticles preparing them to soak in the oil from the treatment.
  2. Warm your avocado oil in a bowl in a bigger bowl of hot water until the oil is hot, but not too hot that it burns your skin as you will need to apply it onto your hair with your hands.
  3. Making sure that you have cleared an area got a large towel beneath you to soak up any spillage and avoid making marks, apply to your hair from root to tip massaging gently into your hair and making sure it is saturated. – Especially those parched ends!
  4. Heat a towel in the tumble dryer then remove and wrap your oil-drenched hair and leave to soak for as long as you desire. I usually leave it for an hour or more and sometimes over night. – Although I wouldn’t recommend it because I woke up with a green pillow and bed sheets!
  5. Once the wait is over wash your hair with warm/cold water* using preferred shampoo and conditioner – I’m LOVING Smoothing Therapy -Brazilian Keratin Shampoo and Moisture Rich – Argan Oil Conditioner both by NATURAL WORLD. Check out their other products and see for yourself how amazing their ranges are for all your hair troubles!
  6. After drying your hair (with WARM to COLD air – hot air damages your locks by making them dry which is what we are trying to fix) and apply your favorite serum for extra shine and silkiness.

Now you can enjoy the benefits of a weekly hot oil treatment for your thirsty hair!

Not only can you benefit from Avocado Oil but there are all sorts of other oils you can use depending on what your hair needs. Here’s a list so you can start experimenting and enjoying the boon of sexy moisture rich hair:

  • Avocado:  For super dry, frizzy chemically treated hair.
  • Castor:  For thin, lifeless and brittle hair.
  • Jojoba:  This is a great oil if you have dandruff or itchy scalp.
  • Olive: This oil helps protect ends from splitting and breaking.
  • Sesame:  For shine and luster.
  • Coconut Oil:  For softer locks.
  • Argan:  To hydrate and enhances the elasticity of your hair.
  • Sweet Almond: This oil contains plenty of Vitamin E, which helps support optimal hair health.

Have you tried any of these treatments? What worked best for you? Let me know in the comments below!

xoxoxox

February has been a busy month:

  • Flat Viewings: Stressful times, I totally lost my shit when a couple walked in to view our flat. My protective instincts took hold and I really just wanted them to fuck off out of MY flat.
  • Valentines Day: Brad and I don’t put a whole lot of importance into a day that has forced society into buying into the gimmick of showing love. Small gestures of affection, surprises and date nights, should all be expressed whenever you feel like it, any time of the year. Not just on Valentines. So we took our housemate out for a nice curry at The Curry Leaf Cafe in Kemptown. I would 100% recommend, absolutely mouthwatering.
  • Our Leaving Do: What was meant to be a small gathering ended up turning into a big night/networking event for Flikit (my husband’s amazing new app, check it out now!) which was all documented and will soon be a debut video for everyone to see. – Updates to come. – I found it really hard to relax that night. I wasn’t very excited about leaving my friends, I felt incredibly lucky that we had so many people turn up – all the people that mattered – but I felt like I was spreading myself thin trying to make sure I was spending enough time with all my guests and not leaving anyone out. – Playing hostess is stressful! Won’t be doing that again any time soon.
  • Birthdays: Nephews, Brother-In-Law, Mother and Husband all fall in the same month!
  • The Big Move: We are moving on the 8th of March. My last day of work will be next Tuesday and then I have 10 days to prepare for the big move.

With February almost over, everything out of the way, my grief over losing our flat dealt with and excitement building in my tummy. I feel ready for Cornwall now. The next chapter is about to begin.

XOXOX

One thing I love – probably more than traveling, and I really love to travel – is food.

Our trip to America was jam packed full of it, not always the best or the healthiest but there was a lot of it! – Probably due to the colossal portion sizes if I’m honest – We ate out pretty much at every meal for the first 4 weeks of our trip and then realised that it was becoming a huge drain on our budget so we then started to shop at the supermarket and eat at home. – Far more cost effective and we could make much healthier choices.

On the last leg of our trip, back on the East Coast, we had a couple of weeks with no plans and so I took us to Charleston in South Carolina for 5 days. I didn’t really know much about the place but it looked very beautiful from the pictures and full of activities and history.

I later found out that it was really well known for its food, and it fact it was quite an affluent city indeed.

Charleston is one of the oldest and historically rich cities in America. It’s about 400 years old – compared to most places it’s not old at all but for the States, that’s a lot of history! – It was a bustling trade center of the Atlantic and was one of the wealthiest too! It was also well known for its slavery trade.

It is colorful and full of character, I absolutely loved walking around and feeding my eyes with the sight of huge mansions by the sea.

We spent 5 days in Charleston which was enough to really get a good feel of the surrounding area. Wandering the streets, taking in the atmosphere, exploring the plantations and long walks by the beach filled our free time. – It was actually rather nice having the time to soak it all in considering that we had been on a mad rush around the rest of the country. – 

Folley Beach was truly jaw dropping, the smooth tree branches woven in golden sands, peeking out, reaching for the sky as if they had been swallowed by the beach itself was a marvel altogether.

One of the activities I enjoyed the most while in Charleston was the FOOD TOUR. What better way to get to know the history of a city but by munching your way through it! I did some research and had plenty to choose from but I ended up going with Chow-Down Charleston Food Tours. It was affordable, run by a husband and wife, intimate and great fun! Without a doubt recommended. – Try if for yourself if you are in the area, follow the link and book your place now! Don’t forget to mention which blog sent you their way 😛 –

Chow Down Charleston Food Tours provide the unique opportunity to explore the rich history and culture of Charleston, South Carolina, all while sampling a wide variety of delicious local food.

Highlights

  • We went on 6 different tasting locations all around the city, learning its history along the way.
  • It was 2 hours of rich culture, getting to see places of the city you would never come across if strolling by yourself as a tourist.
  • We got to enjoy Lowcountry classics, tasted oils and vinegars produced in the area, taste beautifully hand-crafted chocolate and even ate french cuisine as we dined in local delis, cafés, and specialty food stores.
  • We started in the heart of downtown, and set off to explore the culinary scene off the beaten path with historical and architectural commentary to showcase all of Charleston!

Have you ever been on a food tour? Is it something you would do and if so which ones have you done and how was the food? Let me know in the comments below! 

XOXOX