What Would Samantha Do? Ultimate Beach Essentials This Summer!

Summer may be coming to an end in Australia, but it doesn’t mean we have to give up the beach just yet. As many of you beach lovers already know, we’re pretty lucky here in Australia and can go to the beach pretty much all year round. Yep – even in Winter (on a nice sunny day). Regardless of when you’re heading to the beach, there’s a few essentials I’ve come to realise I absolutely cannot go without. Getting some blogging inspiration from Tripping.com – I thought I would put these together into an ultimate beach survival guide for wherever you are in the world. If you’re by a beach, then you’re pretty damn lucky.

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Sunscreen 

Being a red head with very pale and sensitive skin, I absolutley cannot leave the house with SPF 50+ To some of you, this may be a bit excessive, but with my skin, I just can’t risk it. Even if you’re not prone to sunburn, you should always slip, slop, slap! Because let’s be honest, you don’t want to be one of those ladies who’s skin looks like it’s turned to leather now do you?!

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Fabulous Hat

Think Samantha from Sex & the City, in this case, bigger is definitely better. Not only do hats look trés à la mode, but (again) they’re perfect for sun safety. It’s a win wine. And just think, you’d make Samantha ever so proud!

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GoPro

If you’re more into an action packed beach visit, then you absolutely must pack your GOPRO! I got my hands on a GoPro Hero+ last year and every time I go to the beach I love to take it. It’s such a fun way to capture photos and moments without stressing about ruining your phone. Plus, you never know what you’re going to see under the water!

Here’s a little clip of when I took my GoPro rock hopping with some friends.

Water

If you’re planning on spending a big day at the beach, you’ll get warm, sweaty and extremely dehydrated. I always take a huge bottle of ice cold water with me to quench that thirst. Plus, you’ll be able to get rid of that sand when it inevitably gets everywhere!

Super cute swimsuit

OK let’s be honest, the best part about prepping for beach season, is shopping for swimsuits. I picked this one up in Santa Monica right before my Hawaii trip (because Hawaii, enough said). I absolutely freakin love the colour, it’s a beautiful deep green which makes my hair look super red. The cut really flatters my body and I love the cut out and low back. If you’re looking for some new swimmers, you can check out Urban Outfitters where I got mine from. Another place I love to look is on ASOS!

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Urban Outfitters swimsuit. You can find it here. 

Book

If someone asked me to describe my perfect afternoon, it would be laying under an umbrella, on soft warm sand, with some watermelon, a coffee and a good book. There’s honestly nothing quite like sitting on the beach and burying your mind into the pages of a good book. At the moment I’m reading ‘I wouldn’t start from here’ by Andrew Mueller, an Australia/British war correspondent who shares his experiences from across the world. The pages are absolutely filled with sand (and sorry to my friend Dylan who kindly lent it to me), but I’ve read the majority of this book on the beach. It’s absolute bliss!

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So what are you waiting for? Get your ass down to the beach this very moment! Is there anything else that you have to bring with you? Let me know in the comments below

 

52 Things I Want to Do In 2017

So I’ve recently had a lot of time to do some serious self reflection… 10 hours on a plane will do that to you. And after recently reviewing my 2016 goals and self evaluating how I went in actually achieving those goals, I did…. Eh average. Some of my goals were quite broad and general, making it hard to develop a plan to achieve said goals. And of course, as you would have read, my exchange to Montreal kind of interfered with some of them. I know, it’s no excuse, but it happened. So… how do we make 2017 bigger and better? Here’s my list of 52 things I want to achieve in 2017. And it’s not general boring crap like be fit, eat healthy, be smarter. As you’re about to see, I’ve got some pretty solid, achievable things that I want to achieve physically, emotionally, spiritually or bucket list worthy.

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  1. Play netball
  2. Do yoga – everyweek
  3. Meditate – outside in fresh air for replenishment
  4. Get flexible – being flexible makes you sexible (Thanks Logan Paul)
  5. Don’t eat shit – steer clear of fried food, fast food and cakes (birthday cakes and pizza are allowed) (birthday pizza is allowed and also encouraged)
  6. Eat mostly vegetarian – buy and cook vegetarian, if you see something tasty on the menu like some chicken, treat yo self
  7. Compost
  8. Learn how to compost
  9. Buy an awesome coffee mug and bring it everywhere (no more takeaway cups)
  10. Buy an awesome French Press coffee maker to put awesome coffee in my awesome coffee mug
  11. Make my lunch the night before
  12. Make an entire meal for my friends and family
  13. Learn how to cook an impressive meal. E.g bake a fish, lasagne, brownies, pad thai
  14. Go to a new country
  15. Learn Spanish
  16. Visit Tasmania – points for a camper van, extra points for hitch hiking or bike riding
  17. Visit home more often
  18. Have coffee and cake with my Grandma & Grandad, Nan & Pop
  19. Send letters
  20. FaceTime my firneds overseas
  21. Experiment with video styles
  22. Make a video once a week
  23. Blog once a week
  24. Make some money from said videos and blogs
  25. Graduate (with distinction)
  26. Watch 12 sunrises (once a month)
  27. Learn to surf
  28. Try Bollywood/Pole Dancing
  29. Volunteer at uni
  30. Make a killer CV #employable
  31. Go on a roadtrip
  32. Have lunch at the grounds of Alexandria
  33. Work hard at uni. HD’s come at me.
  34. Enquire about honours/masters (overseas)
  35. Go to careers central and plan my future career path
  36. Go to a trampoline park and learn how to do a back flip
  37. Read, read, read
  38. Go in the City2Surf
  39. Work hard at work
  40. Practice my French by watching French films, French YouTubers and as part of the French Society
  41. Don’t buy things for the sake of it. How many more clothes do you really need?
  42. Complete the waste challenge
  43. Have at least 1 make up free day a week
  44. Make people birthday gifts
  45. Make a vision board and decorate it with fairy lights
  46. Learn how to edit videos
  47. Make a snapchat filter
  48. Meet new people and put myself out there
  49. Go to a festival/concert
  50. Stress less
  51. Promote peace and understanding. Try not to be as critical of others and myself. Believe in myself, my values, decisions and choices. Don’t drink as much as I did in Montreal (sorry liver). Look for the joy in life. Be accepting of others.
  52. Be FIERCE

What do you want to achieve in 2017? Have you ever done anything on this list? Comment below to let me know what you have planned and what your fierceness levels are!

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Book Review: Escape From Camp 14

So as part of my New Years Resolutions, I committed to reading more. I thought an achievable goal was 1 book a month – seems easy right? Well let’s just say it’s the end of February and I’ve only just finished my first book of the year Escape From Camp 14. My best friend lent it to me with the advice “if you read this before bed, you’re going to struggle to sleep.” And as I write this review and pass on a recommendation, I will also leave you with the same advice. Plus maybe have something joyous to do after you’ve finished reading for the day because this book is indeed intense, dark, confronting, confusing and troubling.

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Source. 

Based on a true story, this gripping book tells the complex, dark, courageous and crazy journey of Shin, who was born and raised in Camp 14, a labour camp in North Korea. Before reading this book, I honestly didn’t know much about the atrocities that happened in North Korean gulags. You just assume it would be horrible, but hearing not only what occurred there, but how he thought and felt was truly horrific. North Korea is obviously a place that we don’t hear about in the news. If we do, it’s because Kim Jong-un has conquered a mountain, or had an elaborate birthday party. We rarely hear stories and voices of those from outside Pyongyang (the capital of North Korea).

What I really took from this book is the power of the mind and media. Born and raised in a labour camp, Shin had never heard anything about an outside world let alone seen what was over the fence. He believed what he was told by camp officers, because – well… what else is he to believe? Like the famous, quote ‘if you control the media, you control the mind,’ and I think that whoever wrote that quote had been to North Korea. It was fascinating to read just how far the government go to control and suppress its people.

A Chinese-made portable media player, which North Koreans call "Notel", is seen in Hunchun city
A Chinese-made portable media player, which North Koreans call “Notel”, is seen in Hunchun city, China. Source

Blaine explains how bad quality American DVDs such Charlie’s Angels  or South Korean and Chinese TV shows, were smuggled into North Korea from China and that for many North Koreans, this was the first time being exposed to the outside world. He states that DVD’s and DVD players are actually owned by a lot of working class people as it was a way to make sure that the party can control what the people are viewing. This is something that has stuck with me and something I don’t think I could ever forget.

There are a lot of things in this book that I don’t think I will ever forget. The brutality endured by Shin and the thousands in labour camps, plus the oppression of an entire nation is absolutely horrific and I hope that freedom can come to the people of North Korea in the future.

Thank you to my friend Zina for recommending this book and thank you to the author and to Shin for bravely sharing his story.

For more information, I’d definitely recommend reading the following article by Reuters. 

16 Things I Want To Achieve in 2016

Ok, so it’s that awkward time of year where you’re recovering from a 3 day food baby, whilst also getting pumped for New Years Eve. And in between the hustle and bustle of this crazy time of year, I tend to find myself with some time on my hands. With an optimistic hope of new beginnings and fresh starts that New Years Eve brings, it’s time to set those goals! My New Years Resolutions for 2015 were more or less a success (read here for more), and they acted as a massive source of motivation throughout those times when you can’t help but say why bother. So here are 16 things on my radar to achieve in 2016. Some are big, some are small, some are terrifying as hell, but as they say, ‘if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.’

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Dream a little bigger darling. Source

1. Watch less TV shows, read more books

I’m a sucker for a good TV show – I’ve seen Sex and the City about 5 times through. But do I really need to watch it a sixth time in 2016? Probably not. This year, I want to trade hours of Netflix for hours of reading. I always feel so accomplished when I finish a book. Particularly, I want to finish books I’ve only half read (why do I do this to myself) and read more books from different parts of the world.

2. Limit my coffee spending.

For anyone who knows me – they know I freakin LOVE coffee. But my savings need to be growing faster. With some simple addition, I horridly figured out I spend over $40 a week on coffee. *cringe* So, I’m limiting myself to only buying one coffee a day (compared to sometimes two or three) and making more coffee at home. This will be a hard one guys!

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My love for coffee is strong, but my love for travel is stronger. 

3. Buy my lunch a max of once a week.

On the topic of savings and cutting spending – I need to stop buying my lunch all the time. There’s no good reason apart from being lazy and not making lunch in the morning. I’d hate to think how much money I could spend on lunch a week. I don’t even want to know! So I’m trying to limit myself to once a week. Again, this will be difficult but it’s better for my wallet! #youcandothis!

4. Be a vegetarian.

And whilst we’re talking about eating, let’s talk about not eating meat. This is something I’ve considered for quite a while and there’s just something about New Years Resolutions that make me think ‘now is the time.’ Not that I need to justify it, but just so you know… I’m doing this from an environmental perspective. My aim is for long term vegetarianism, but my goal is for at least a month!

5. Ride my bike more often.

I absolutely adore my bike and ride it quite often, but I think I can do better. Not only is it good for the environment, but a great workout! I’m thinking beach trips, riding into town and cruising up the coast. I’ll be sure to share my adventures!

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My beautiful blue Electra

6. Maintain and improve my French.

Having just completed my minor in French at university and with big plans to go travelling and study overseas, I have to maintain my French. And better yet – improve it. J’adore parler français, but as my Dad would say, there’s always room for improvement.

7. TRAVEL! 

I’m going to go bold and daring for this one and say I want to travel to at least 3 new countries and 6 countries in total. I’m kind of cheating because I’m planning to go on exchange in July, but I definitely want to get some good travel in either side of it!

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Travel planning goals. Source

8. Volunteer.

You give up your time and you get back more than you could ever imagine. I want to continue volunteering for Oxfam and also get more involved with the AYCC (Australian Youth Climate Coalition). I also want to continue volunteering for leadership programs at the university like ELEVATE and try to get back into AIME (Aboriginal and Indigenous Mentoring Experience). 2015 was a great year of volunteering and I definitely want to continue it into 2016!

9. You can’t play hard until you’ve worked harder.

Going into 3rd year at university, I really want to maintain my grades. And not only uni work, but I want to keep on work-working as much as I can to save for all of these epic adventures.

 

10. Try something new

I’m thinking Karoke, pole dancing, Bollywood dancing, Vlogging – the possibilities are endless. But I really want to try and learn new skills and open myself up to new ideas.

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New adventures await. Source 

11. Say Yes!

I’ll often find myself coming up with lame excuses as to why I don’t want to do something. Sometimes my inner sloth just kicks in and I can’t be bothered to go anywhere or do anything. In 2016 I want to say yes to more experiences and being spontaneous. Who know’s where I’ll end up?

12. Be thankful, and show it.

I am so thankful for so many amazing people I have in my life and it’s a fear of mine that they don’t realise how much I truly appreciate them. So for 2016, I’m thinking little cards, letters, drawings – anything to give to those people around me who I appreciate it. Who knows… maybe it will go full circle and come back to me. Either way, I really want to spread the happiness.

13. Couchsurf.

With all of this travelling I have planned, I’m going to try and throw couchsurfing in there somewhere. I’ve never done it and I’ve only ever heard good things. Apart from a few horror stories, I like my chances. And hey – say yes to new things right?!

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Of course continue blogging. Source

14. Eat. Sleep. Blog. Repeat. 

Of course I was always going to continue blogging! For 2016, I want to get below the surface and write about things I really care about. There’s been a few times where I’ve thought ‘I really want to blog about this,’ and it just hasn’t happened. I think because when I’m really committing to writing something of good quality and something I deeply care about, I get scared that people won’t like it. Not anymore. Watch this space for more powerful and intriguing  posts. Also – side goal here and also a big one – make money from my blog. It’s something I haven’t yet done, and I keep reading apparently how achievable it is. Well 2016 is the year to try. I don’t know where to begin, but I’m sure thinking I can is a good start.

15. Stop comparing myself/Stop with the negative thoughts.

As you can see above, negative thoughts are fatal to passion. Who cares what other people think, as long as you’re happy with what you’re doing, do it. And I really need to stop comparing myself to others. Instead, I should embrace being inspired by others to help me achieve my goals. Work with others and try to network within communities. Positive thoughts all the way!

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16. Own It!

I think this one will be my motto for 2016. Whatever it is you do, own it. Whether you fail, excel, try try and try. Whether your goals are practical, small, enormous or achievable. Just own it. This comes down to self acceptance and being happy with your choices in life. And if you’re not happy, do something about it to change it. Whatever you do – Just Own It!

Over to you! What are you hoping to achieve in 2016? Have any advice, tips or tricks? Share in the comments below! I wish you all a magical 2016!

15 Things I Want to Achieve in 2015

So yes, this is a little New Years resolution and I figured if I put it down in writing and post it to my blog, then maybe I’ll feel obliged to actually stick to them (yay). For a long time now, I’ve always set goals (short and long term) and I find by making goals, I then develop plans to achieve them and actually do it. So this is my hit list for 2015!

Exploring Bondi Beach with my Dad
Exploring Bondi Beach with my Dad

1- Read everyday – I love reading a good book and feel accomplished and enlightened when I finish one. There’s a million amazing books out there that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

2 – Write in my journal everyday – For as long as I can remember I’ve kept a handwritten journal that I try to write in as often as possible. Throughout the past couple of months though it’s completely slipped my mind and now I don’t have any entries from October onwards. So I want to commit to writing everyday (minimum every week) so that when I’m old and grey, I can flick though the pages and think of the funny little things that happen everyday.

One of my favourite books I read this year! A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
One of my favourite books I read this year! A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

3 – Spend less time scrolling – When I’m bored or killing time, I always seem to find myself mindlessly scrolling down my Facebook Feed, Instagram, Buzzfeed etc and after an hour disappears, all I’ve learnt is that my friend got a new car and 10 inappropriate outfits of the week (thanks Buzzfeed). Instead, I can use this time more productively – i.e read, write, and I think I’ll be a lot happier if an hour slips away because I was reading Oscar Wilde.

4 – Renew my gym membership – In August I joined the gym at uni and believe it or not… I’m missing it! Never thought I’d say that about a gym! My goal is to go to the gym 3-4 times a week. I find that by going to the gym and being physically active, I am then more motivated to eat and cook healthier. It’s a win win situation really.

5 – Do yoga at least once a week – I LOVE YOGA! It keeps me balanced, relaxed and flexible. I walk out of class feeling like I can take on the world.

Having memorable times with my friends
Having memorable times with my friends

6 – Reduce the amount of alcohol I drink – Don’t get me wrong, over O Week next year, I’ll definitely indulge in a few beers, however throughout the year, I’d like to reduce the amount of alcohol I consume in one sitting and how often I drink. Because at the end of the day, it’s expensive and hangovers are not my friend!

7 – Save Save Save! – I’m currently saving my money to go on exchange in 2016 and that will be a very expensive adventure. Therefore, by cutting back on alcohol etc and being super strict and smart about my savings… I can make it happen!

8 – Be productive and prepared for uni classes – Much easier said than done, but this year I wish to maintain my high standard of work and keep up to date with assignments and essays. In the end, it will all pay off!

9 – Hike Mount Kiera – I’ve lived in Wollongong for a year now and I still haven’t hiked up Mount Kiera yet! Mainly because the days people seemed to go hiking were on extremely hot days, but this year… no excuses! It must be done!

10 – Launch my new section of A Worldly Addiction where I’ll be discovering new and wonderful local cafes and posting all the details and photos as often as possible. Watch this space for updates in 2015!

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COFFEE!

11 – Be an avid environmentalist – Recycling paper and plastics, donating my old clothes, not using the clothes dryer, turn lights off… Anything I can do to help our planet out more!

12 – Continue having coffee dates with my family and friends – If I’m going to keep up to date with all my uni work, then I’m going to have to keep up with my coffee hits. And what better way to do that then keep catching up with all my coffee buddies at uni and exchanging gossip, troubles, concerns, advice and friendship!

13 – Go camping – I went on an awesome camping adventure this year and it was AWESOME! So, this year I definitely need to do it again! Preferably on a nice, hot, sunny weekend where we can camp near the beach or go hiking around waterfalls. Either way, an escape from reality and technology with some close friends and sleeping under the stars sounds awesome to me!

When I had a weekend away in Sydney with my boyfriend
When I had a weekend away in Sydney with my boyfriend

14 – Have a weekend away – I haven’t been on a plane all year and I’m craving the excitement of landing in a new and exciting place! I’m thinking of either spending a weekend in Melbourne or on the Gold Coast, with a close friend and just explore and have fun for a weekend!

15 – Share something with you guys at least once a week – 2015, expect to get lots of notifications saying that I’ve just added a new post! Whether it be more photos, quotes, attempted poetry, my opinion on something, a report, tips, memories… I’ll be sharing it with you! So be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss out on a single post!

And one last big thing which will keep me going throughout the whole year… BE HAPPY! Be with my friends and family as much as possible and always with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart!

What are you hoping to achieve next year?

xxx A

5 Ways to Deal With Homesickness This Festive Season

Whilst I may be at home for Summer break, I still have this sick feeling at the bottom of my stomach, reminiscent of home sickness. Why you may ask? Well I’m a firm believer of the saying ‘home is where the heart is,’ and my heart is scattered across the globe. Whilst most of my time at the moment is spent at work, with my family or at the beach, there are times where that little sick feeling grows a little bit. So these are some tips I’ve come to use and facts I’ve had to acknowledge, to accept these feelings and embrace what I have here at home.

Christmas festivities in Sydney
Christmas festivities in Sydney

Boredom is your enemy – You’re up late at night, sleep in late, don’t go out much, watch TV episodes you’ve watched and rewatched… nothing really new or exciting is happening and you’re stuck in a bit of a rut. This bored routine is not good! AVOID THIS! Keep busy, get some sunshine, see an old friend, go for a walk, go and have lunch at your grandmas, go for a swim… ANYTHING!

Skype/Talk to your Family/Friends once a week – If you’re overseas/away from your home and missing it, it’s important to talk it through with your loved ones, but don’t overdo it. Talking to them multiple times a week when you’re feeling homesick is just going to make you miss them more and feel worse. Instead, try and talk it through with a friend you’re with in person and keep busy as well. Being homesick is a phase and you’ll get through it. Plus, if you’re with a good friend, they’ll be there to give you hugs and make you hot chocolate.

Being silly and having fun with my housemate in London. And it also leaves you some hilarious photos!
Being silly and having fun with my housemate in London. And it also leaves you some hilarious photos!

Talk to a close friend/Write it down – So yes, as mentioned above, talking to a friend is very important, one of the highlights is that you can be silly with them, laugh, smile and momentarily forget about your troubles. But if you’re travelling solo or find yourself being alone, you might find it helpful to write it down in a journal. When I’m internalising deep thoughts, I can’t live without writing them down. Expressing your thoughts and feelings is important and the best thing about a journal is that it won’t criticise or judge you… it’ll just always be there for you.

Make Plans – Go away for a weekend, see your extended family, friends, dogs… anything. Making plans gives your something to look forward to and something to be excited about. It definitely makes those long hard nights bearable when you’ve got something to look forward to!

Still not feeling better? Maybe you need a big and bold kickstart. Something to get you excited and appreciative about life again. And what better way to kickstart those sleepy cells in your body then by doing something out of your comfort zone? Go skydiving, buy a train ticket to somewhere you can’t pronounce the name of, go to a bar by yourself and meet some new people, do a cooking class, learn a new language… do something that will expand your knowledge and comfort zone. Then after that, you’ll feel re-energised and excited again about where you are and what you’ve achieved so far. And the best thing is, when you ring your family on Sunday night, you’ll have heaps to tell them!

Any other homesickness tips? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to step back and appreciate everything you have in your life, how lucky you are and how fortunate you are to have someone to share your life with.

xxx A