A Bullet for my Heart. www.onebymeforyou.com

A Bullet for my Heart – Unique Jewellery by Saomao

Nicole Travel

Ok so the title for this post is a bit dramatic…. But I did find a bullet to replace my heart… necklace that is 🙂 About 3 Christmases ago my sister gave me a tiny heart necklace which I wore everyday… Until I lost it… After a couple of months of searching for a replacement I finally found something that was suitable! On one of our excursions in Siem Reap we went to a shop near the Old Market that stocks beautiful pieces of jewellery by Saomao some of these pieces are made from old bullet casings from the war that destroyed …

Industrial Sewing Machine

Sewing Vintage Style

Nicole Make it. Fix it. Do it Yourself.

Most of the sewing machines here in Cambodia can be manually operated as well as motorised. This is because many of the buildings don’t always have electricity for one reason or another. However come rain or shine work has to be done in order to pay the bills… Today I took a step back in time and  learnt to make buttonholes by sewing vintage style – MANUALLY! Using a fairly old industrial looking Janome sewing machine it took a lot of coordination working the foot pedal and the balance wheel. The trick was to get the two parts of the machine working …

Buildings in Singapore business district

I ❤ Singapore

Nicole Travel

A weird and wonderful city… There are many reasons to love this place. As most people know Singapore is known for its impeccably clean streets, but it’s also one of the greenest cities I’ve seen in a long time. I’m not referring to its energy efficiency and use of resources, I’m talking about trees and plants. Everywhere I turned there were green stems of all shapes and sizes waving at me between the concrete and steel. My favourite thing about this city is the architecture. I could get lost in awe of the enormous skyscrapers and marvel for hours at the character …

Sewing Machine in Tuk Tuk

Shopping for a Sewing Machine in Phnom Penh

Nicole Travel

Shopping for a sewing machine in Phnom Penh was quite the experience! From entering the street lined with thousands of machines on either side, it became very apparent rather quickly that we needed to know where to go as browsing is not an option purely for the fact that  it would take FOREVER. I’m learning fast that is the way for any kind of shopping in the markets. As my friend haggled her way with the shop owner we quickly found what we were looking for and that’s when the magic started. In less than 30 minutes the machine was …

Rice Paper drying in the sun

Rice Paper Village

Nicole Travel

On our way to Wat Ek Phnom Temple in Battambang we stopped off in a little village. Our tuk tuk driver Mr Tong explained to us that this village is known as The Rice Paper Village. Most of the rice paper in Cambodia is made here and is exported to neighbouring countries like Thailand and Laos or sold to the many restaurants in Cambodia. The rice paper is of such high quality that the families who make it do not have to go to market to sell their product as customers will come to them directly to buy in bulk. …

Bat Man

The Bat Cave in Battambang

Nicole Travel

When people ask me what my favourite part of traveling around Cambodia was it’s a pretty tough question to answer, because each part of this trip has been life changing for so many different reasons. However I would definitely say our trip to Battambang was a big highlight! It’s much less intense than Phnom Penh and not as debaucherous as Siem Reap, it felt a lot more relaxed and we discovered the beauty of rural life in Cambodia, which is more our cup of tea 🙂 We explored the Rice Paper Village, saw first hand how dragon fruit is produced, and visited …

Rain clouds over Siem Reap

Water and Earth Boutique in Siem Reap Night Market

Nicole Travel

Wandering through the night market of Siem Reap, we stumbled on a stall called Water and Earth, a boutique that supports disadvantaged Khmer artisans who are skilled in stone and wood carving as well as weaving.   Whilst browsing through their beautiful hand-woven kramas (traditional Cambodian scarves) we heard the sound of a storm rolling in… Realising we weren’t going anywhere anytime soon I continued to look through their lovely stock. A rail of clothing caught my eye. I loved that each top was different from the fit to the finishing. After trying on every top on the rail, I decided to …

Palm Sugar Tree

Palm Sugar Tree – You will be my Candy…and a few other things :-)

Nicole Travel, Yummy Things

Palm Sugar Trees are quite the resource here in Cambodia. There’s not a single part of the tree that goes to waste! Leaving Banteay Srei temple we stopped on the side of the road which was lined with lovely ladies making palm sugar treats 🙂 The male part of the tree produces the sap or “juice”. The stems are slit in various places and the sap is drained into bamboo containers. The containers are collected every morning by climbing up a rickety bamboo ladder. This is then boiled down till it thickens and then can be made into sugar and/or 100% pure sugar “tablet” …

Angkor Tickets

Siem Reap the Ancient City

Nicole Travel

It’s been 3 days of exploring these awesome sites near Siem Reap province, and it’s left me speechless. Words truly can’t explain the beauty and grandeur of this Ancient City. No wonder this UNESCO World Heritage Site sees about a million visitors per year! Nestled in the forests and surrounding farmlands the ruins of Angkor carry the history of Khmer architecture. Whilst walking through the archeological marvel of the ancient city, I did wish my eyes could take photos. Although we were there in low season there were still lots of people to test our photography skills 🙂 None the …

Samphor's Model - Sewing duo in Cambodia. www.onebymeforyou.com

Samphor’s Model – Sewing Duo in Cambodia

Nicole Travel

This little store, near the Psar Touch Community, Phnom Penh, is run by sisters. The store is small. It’s stocked with the essentials like fabric, threads, embelishments and a couple of sewing machines. But I love how simple and effective it is! Their main line of business is evening dresses. But if you bring in a picture reference they’ll be able to tailor make most items of clothing. Not only do they create these beautiful dresses, they also support women empowerment within their community. They teach women how to sew. They hope that this will help more women in their …

More fabric in Orrusey Market

Orrusey Market in Phonm Penh

Nicole Travel

Orrusey Market, is possibly the biggest market in Phonm Penh, and is mostly frequented by locals. You can get virtually anything you want from fresh food, household goods to electronics! The market is situated in a big square building, on Street 182, Orussei 1 Commune, Prampi Makara, Phnom Penh and is open Mon – Sun 7:00 am – 5:00 pm. It’s enormous inside and not that easy to navigate. It’s got three floors and every inch is occupied by stalls. On the ground floor  you’ll find food in all all shapes and forms, kitchen supplies, tools, garden tools, and electronics.  The first and …

Women hard at work

Week Three Volunteer in Cambodia: Crochet Workshop Wraps Up

Nicole Travel

I can’t believe how quickly these three weeks have flown by! It feels like only yesterday that I was getting ready to embark on this epic journey and nothing could’ve prepared me for this experience of a lifetime! As week 3 of my crochet workshop in Cambodia comes to a close I look around and am so pleased with what the class have produced! The creativity and teamwork has been contagious this week. I am so impressed at how quickly these ladies have learnt to crochet, working with different yarns and hooks, as well as applying what they have learnt in each …

The Bag Lady

Upcycling Lesson in Cambodia: Turn Skirts into Bags and Shirts into Skirts

Nicole Travel

Volunteering in Cambodia has been an amazing experience. For the past few weeks I’ve been running crochet workshops teaching the women in the community how to crochet we even had a lesson on how to follow a pattern. But this week one of the ladies, Danni, wanted a break from crochet, as she prefers to sew. So I did a quick lesson in upcycling I showed her how to turn skirts into bags and shirts into skirts. Here’s what we did:   Then we turned a shirt into a skirt: We also did some mending on an old pair of …

Boat trip to silk island

Koh Dach Island – The home of Traditional Silk Weavers

Nicole Travel

About an hours boat ride out of Phnom Penh, this is a fun day trip to get away from the busy city, which is exactly what we decided to do over the long weekend. On arrival we were treated to a delicious lunch which was prepared especially for us. I have to admit it was possibly the best meal I’ve eaten since I’ve been in Cambodia! I’ve never tasted chicken like this before and the mango was so fresh and sweet. Absolutely delicious! After lunch we were shown around the workshop. The silk weaving showroom is a family run business …

Crochet Pattern Reading Lesson

Week Two Volunteer in Cambodia : Deciphering Code

Nicole Travel

I’m so glad my first week as a volunteer in Cambodia ended on a high note because it allowed us to seriously push the boundaries  in the second week! It would be fitting to say we had a couple of eureka moments this week. The most important one to mention was working out how to teach the women to read a pattern (as you can imagine this was like deciphering code), so that they can continue creating products once the programme came to an end! The biggest obstacle was the reading and understanding the patterns in English as none of …

The cook

Local Eats Cambodian BBQ

Nicole Travel, Yummy Things

I think the best way to really experience a new country whilst traveling is to taste the local cuisine like a local! And this weekend we had our first Cambodian BBQ! These restaurants are often tucked away in the streets of the main tourist track but not too far away that they’re impossible to find. You could say they’re hidden in plain sight 🙂 and can usually be recognised by their big signs like the one here. The restaurants are usually family run businesses and a lot of the staff don’t often speak english. Each table gets one or two …

Volunteer in Cambodia - Week one - The Foundation Chain. www.onebymeforyou.com

Week One Volunteer in Cambodia: The Foundation Chain

Nicole Travel

One week in and looking back at the decision I made to volunteer in Cambodia and the crochet supplies I bought for this trip it’s the BEST investment I’ve made in my life thus far! This week has been… To be honest it’s just impossible to describe… But I’ve absolutely loved every minute of it! Who would have thought that I’d be teaching a crochet workshop in cambodia! I think I’ve set a good foundation for the teachers to continue teaching groups in the future. The women I’m teaching are incredible, they’re strong, ambitious, enthusiastic and such quick learners! They’re taking …

Supplies from John Lewis

Giving a little back, One Stitch at a Time – Teaching Crochet in Cambodia

Nicole Travel

Crochet supplies have been bought and packed and the start of our 3rd adventure for 2013, is about to begin. In a few days we’ll set off to South East Asia, where I’ll be spending 3 weeks teaching crochet in Cambodia, to women in the Psar Touch Community in Phnom Penh. Over the last year my husband Mike has been back and forth to Cambodia with a UK based charity called KungFuture, who have partnered with a local organization called Riverkids. Through sports and play they have taught the children in the Psar Touch Community basic skills about health and hygiene. …