These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: APRIL 2021

So somehow it’s May… when did that happen?! I think I lost track of time between long weekends, stressful work days and smashing some personal bests with my running. This month I’ve been really proud of the way I’ve been able to step up and take initiative and stand up for myself. I’ve been having a pretty challenging time at work, adjusting to a new workplace culture, new management style and a new role (all in a new city). I’m super grateful for my incredibly kind and supportive colleagues, but I’ve certainly been questioning my capabilities which has taken a toll on my confidence. It’s hard not to spiral when your confidence falls, questioning why you’ve made these decisions and questioning where you’ve ended up.

I’ve been really grateful for the incredibly supportive people who have reminded me of who I am, what I contribute and how I am valued. While it may sound like a cry for validation, positive reinforcement, it’s so much more than that. It has meant the world being able to reconnect to my values, my skills, my experiences and what makes me special. I am special and so are you – if anyone makes you feel like you’re not special, you’ve really got to consider whether you need that person in your life or not.

While the past few weeks have certainly been challenging, I’ve dug deep, been brave and stepped up so that I can get through these challenging times. I feel like I’ve grown an exponential amount, being able to communicate clearly and confidently to attempt to resolve conflict, while also making the concious effort to not take certain things on, because it doesn’t fill my cup.

At the end of the day, there will always be people out there who do not want the best for you, question your intentions and attempt to bring you down. As the beautiful Michelle Obama said, when they go low, we go high. So higher and higher I will strive to continue to fly.

Easter adventures

Hands down one of the best things about April is the number of public holidays we’re able to squeeze into the month! So over the glorious Easter long weekend, John and I headed up to Port Stephens to enjoy some sunshine and celebrate my Mum’s birthday! It’s always nice going home and even nicer to celebrate such a special and beautiful woman like my Mum.

Some of John’s friends joined us at Murray’s Brewery for a much needed beverage in the sun and we spend the evening on the balcony eating cheese and drinking beer. On Sunday we were treated to some glorious weather and we went exploring to our secret island, and honestly is there anything better than jumping off a rock into the water? I love love loved it and love brining people to enjoy the beauty of Port Stephens.

After our weekend in Port Stephens we headed to Sydney to spend time with John’s family. We headed to Manly for lunch and soaked up the beautiful vibes of being by the beach. It was such a lovely day out spent with John’s family – I even got a few cuddles from little baby Jack!

Yours & Owls

The festival we never thought would happen finally happened! Scheduled for October of 2020, I think I bought tickets over a year ago and with all of the cancelling and rescheduling, I’d considered my ticket a donation to Yours & Owls. Despite countless challenges, the legends at Y&O managed to pull off NSW’s first COVID-safe festival and boy oh boy was it great! Two days of back to back bangers was so much fun! Big shout out to Elly for letting us have pres on your front balcony. I had my first chip on a stick (I don’t know what I’ve been doing with my life) and we boogied away to Lime Cordiale, Smith Street Band, Hayden James, Tones and I and Slowly Slowly – oh and Blue was obviously the superior section!

ANZAC Day long weekend

And another long weekend rolled around. ANZAC Day is always a special day in our family, not only with Isaac currently serving but with a lot of family members having served. Our family came down to Canberra so we could go and watch Isaac march out in Captain’s Flat. It was so lovely to have everyone over – including my beautiful Grandma – for brekky and dinner. Then I discovered my new favourite pub, the Old Canberra Inn. We headed there (with a bit of an embarrassing detour of my behalf) to play two up, eat some schnitty and down some pints! An absolutely epic long weekend and I couldn’t be more grateful for my family for coming together and enjoying eachothers company.

Celebrating our 30th

While I’m not quite 30 myself, the organisation I work for celebrated its 30th birthday! I was respsonbile for pulling off our 30th birthday (which, if I say so myself – went pretty damn well!). It’s always hard starting a new job, let alone being handed the responsibiltiy of delivering a milestone event. While it was certainly a bit of a whirlwind, I’m so proud that I not only pulled it off, I kinda nailed it! Shoutout to my awesome colleagues who got me across the line and helped me make the magic happen.

Colours of Autumn

Just thought I’d share some of these gorgeous photos of the beach, the river, the lake and the trees I’ve been soaking in. Isn’t Autumn just the best?!

Flicks

The Serpent
You know that I’ve been loving shows that satisfy the travel bug within me. The Serpent certainly does that (but in a bit of a messed up way). It’s a bit of a slow burn but absolutely worth it! It’s an epic show based on the true story of a French serial killer throughout the ‘hippie highway’ in the 70s. 110% recommend!

A Fantastic Woman
I bit the bullet and tried out my first bath in my new place – despite the lukewarm water (seems we’re having some hot water issues… not ok as we are about to enter winter!), I lit a candle and set up with my laptop to watch this gorgeous movie soaked in bubbles. This took a turn I really wan’t expecting and thought was beautiful and heart wrenching. It tells the story of a trans woman who experiences severe isolation after the passing of her secret boyfriend in Chile. It’s in Spanish but hey – I think you’re brave enough to overcome the subtitles for this incredible film.

Tunes

deja vu, Olivia Rodrigo
Yep, basic bitch status has been achieved. But seriously Olivia girl who hurt you?! At such a young age she is absolutely killing it and producing absolute bangers. I’ve had her songs on repeat and believe she’s about to release an album… she’s certainly on my radar!

R U High, The Knocks and Mallrat
I have had this banger on repeat. Such a good tune to listen when you’re on your way home from work on a Friday and getting pumped for those after work drinks!

Books

What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriaty
So I was a bit slack on reading this month (oops) and I think it’s because I got stuck on this book. For 400 pages it just didn’t really do it for me. Nonetheless, I persevered. It was nice. That’s all I really have to say. I’ve got some much better books on my to read pile, so check in next month for those updates.

What Alice Forgot eBook: Moriarty, Liane: Amazon.com.au: Kindle Store

We Are All Burnt Out, The Cut

I have been recommending this episode of the Cut to everyone and anyone who will listen. I was listening to this episode on a drive up to Sydney and I honestly felt like it was specifically addressed to me. It is a MUST listen. It talks about identify and who we are when we place so much value on what we do (our jobs), how toxic workplace culture can affect you and why it’s so important to have things outside of your job that spark joy!

Product

It’s actually an oldie but I’ve never had so much appreciation for it – my Garmin watch! Ever since getting it I’ve been getting super into my running and think that I can finally call myself a runner. My goal this year is to run a half marathon (21.1km) and this month I smashed my longest run of 10kms! Despite the below zero mornings, I’ve been dragging myself out of bed to run to the lake and get my heart rate up and get sweaty. I’ve also beat my parkrun 5km PB and I’m nearly at my goal of doing it in under 30 minutes.

Might be a strange one, and also may not be entirely because of my watch, but I’m so proud of myself for pushing myself and really dedicating the time to improving my style, strength and endurance. So Garmin if you’re reading, I’m happy to be sponsored by you!

I picked up my Garmin from Rebel when it was 50% off so keep an eye on their website for some pretty awesome deals!

Forerunner® 735XT

Well, April what a month you were. I feel stronger, professionally, mentally and physically, and I’ve never felt more connected to the people in my life who matter the most. The next month is pretty full on with LITERALLY every weekend booked out for the month. But hey, I’m going to take it slow, take time for myself and take it easy.

I hope May is kind to you, I hope you’re kind to yourself and remember to make some time for fun and joy!

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: MARCH 2021

This post is dedicated to my beautiful Grandad, who sadly passed away this month. May his watchful eye guide us from heaven as he rests in peace.

So, is this what loss feels like? A dark sadness in knowing you won’t get to have another conversation again. Relief knowing your loved one is out of pain and finally at peace. Joy that they’ve been reunited with friends and family in heaven. Existential crisis in knowing how much they shaped the person you are today, what does it mean now that they’re gone? I think these are some of the questions I’ll be asking myself over the coming months. Grappling with big questions, and hopefully, with my Grandad guiding me (as he always has), reminding me of what is important in the short time we’re blessed enough to have here on Earth.

Long story short, my Grandad had a full life. He has always been my inspiration for wanting to travel, make the most of every opportunity and come back with a good story to tell. So in true Grandad style, this blog, this monthly ‘favourite things’, is my way of reflecting on what I’ve done in a month, receiving it all with gratitude, thanking people for making my month so special and thinking about the direction I want to take my life. I’ve been doing these monthly recaps for years now and sometimes I’ve wondered why I do it. It’s moments like this, to be able to look back on all of the wonderful people and things I have in my life that put it all in perspective, that make it all worth it.

This month has been tumultuous indeed. The loss of my hero, navigating a new city, starting a new job, visiting friends and spending time with my boyfriend while everything is new… quite frankly has been exhausting. Mentally and physically. While I wouldn’t change a thing, I think it’s a reminder to protect your time and energy. To spend your time and energy with people who fill your cup, who make you feel special and loved, because spreading yourself thin will only leave you feeling sad and tired. If my Grandad taught me anything, he taught me that spending time with the ones we love, and investing time to create more friendships, is what it’s all about.

So as I look back on March, I’m so incredibly grateful for the people who supported me through what has got to be one of the hardest months I’ve experienced. In true Grandad style, let’s take a look back on the month that was.

Elly’s birthday

Little Elly turned 25 and we had a big old birthday bash to celebrate! We headed up to Newcastle for some fun in the sun. Little Elly had a bit too much fun and found a makeshift bed on a rather hard surface. It was such a great weekend spent with friends and family all to celebrate the fun, vivacious, gorgeous and hilarious Elly!

Yea the gals

Have you ever started a group chat with some of your closest girlfriend’s to organise a weekend away, only to realise that the only weekend you’re all available is 5 months away? Yea me too. Turns out that 5 months ago we chose to have our girls weekend away during a once in a hundred year flood. So while we didn’t exactly have the beach weekend we had hoped for, we certainly had a grand old time! Yea the gals!

Canberra shenanigans

One week into my new job at a Women’s Health Organisation, it was International Women’s Day. A historic march took place outside of Parliament House and it was amazing being there with colleagues and listening to incredible women sharing their stories and experiences.

For my first proper weekend in Canberra, Johnnie came to visit, and boy did we paint the town red. Well maybe just Kingston. We had the best time exploring the foreshore bars, and infamous Kingo pub, hiked up Mount Taylor, watched a pro ultimate frisbee game, and road electric scooters!

House Warming

After a month of slowly warming up our new house and getting acquainted with Narrabundah (the good side apparently), it was time to spice things up with a little old house warming. It seems my housemates (Liam and Connor) have a different definition to what ‘little’ means because at one point I think we had over 100 people in our big ass backyard. And to be honest, it was one of the best housewarming parties I had ever been too (and I was hosting it!). Of course it was country themed and of course we stayed up til 2:30am singing ‘country road’ until our neighbour marched into our house to disconnect the speakers – I’d call that a success!

To back it up, we attended Wine Machine the next day. After a much needed greasy brekky, we headed off to the first festival in over a year – and boy oh boy was it FANTASTIC! Did it rain? Yes. Was it freezing Canberra rain? Yes. Was it awesome? Hell yes! While it was kind of strange to sit down every now and again and stay in our squares, I somehow ran into a big handful of beautiful people (classic festivals) and lost my voice singing along to some bangers! WHAT A WEEKEND!

Books

Honeybee, by Craig Silvey
This is a book that once you sink into it, you can’t stop reading. I thought this book was truly gorgeous, a story about identity, love, a desperate search to fit in, belong and be yourself. Treat yourself to this over a weekend, you won’t need the whole weekend to finish it because you won’t be able to put it down.

Honeybee by Craig Silvey

Tunes

Serotonin, Girl in Red
Ooooooh baby I have had this song on repeat! Whether I’ve been at work, running, on the way to work, it’s the perfect upbeat tune to listen to.

Middle Kids new album “Today We’re The Greatest.”
Oh my god the album I so desperately needed! This album has been powering my drives between Canberra and Sydney and honestly what a masterpiece. I’m obsessed with Bad Neighbour and Stacking Chairs… Bring on May when I get to see them in concert!

You Me At Six
My inner punk rocker chic has been tapped back into as I’ve been playing You Me At Six on repeat. It’s kinda crazy that 10 years ago I was obsessed with them and saw them at Soundwave (haha yes Soundwave… what a throwback). I’ve been loving their new album (yes they’re still releasing music) and LOVE their song Glasgow… ooooh it is so damn sexy and powerful! A little treat for you is their Orchestral version – you’re welcome.

Flicks

Behind Her Eyes
I watched this whole series in a day (a very sad and rainy day) and OMG I am OBSESSED! It was amazing and honestly will have you guessing the whole way through. The ending, whilst a bit out there, was epic and my jaw seriously hit the ground when the end credits rolled.

Ginny and Georgia
Another series you can smash over quickly, except this is a lot more light hearted. I absolutely loved the characters and felt that it explored some really important themes and issues. Honestly I don’t think you could pay me enough to be a teenager in our society nowadays (teenage years were hard enough) but this show reinforces important messages of mental health, support, friends and connection.

Podcasts

Freshwater Five (The Guardian, Today In Focus)
This is a must listen series! An investigation that looks to uncover one simple, yet one big question… are these five fisherman from the Isle of Wright guilty of attempting to import unprecedented amounts of cocaine into the UK? You can find the 6 part miniseries in the feed of The Guardian’s ‘Today in Focus.’

Well March, you have certainly been one of the hardest months. It’s been challenging being a long way from home, feeling a little lonely, a little isolate and a lot overwhelmed. It’s all part of life I guess. I think the ups and downs of the past month have really made me prioritise my relationships with loved ones, taking time for myself, and reaching out for support. Life isn’t always easy (in fact, sometimes it’s shit) but it does help us grow, learn and figure out this crazy thing we call life.

I just want to say a huge thank you to all of those loved ones who have listened to me and supported me over the past month – it hasn’t gone unnoticed and I’m beyond grateful to know you’re just a drive or a phone call away!

These Are A Few of My Favourite Things: FEBRUARY 2021

For the shortest month of the year, February sure threw a lot our way. In 4 short weeks I quit my job, moved to Canberra, explored new parts of Wollongong and Sydney, and spent long, warm evenings with people I love dearly, people who have shaped me over the past 7 years of living in Wollongong. I’m writing a whole blog post about how UOW specifically shaped me (watch this space), but honestly it’s the people I’ve been lucky enough to forge friendships with in Wollongong that have made it so special and memorable.

I always knew it would be hard leaving Wollongong, but I didn’t think it would be this hard. As I drove out of the driveway (praying the car would make it – another long story), I could barely see the road in front of me because my eyes kept filling with tears. It’s a strange kind of happy/sad when you leave a place you love. I know that the friendships I have will last a lifetime and I know that I’ll be back sooner than expected for a visit. I think it’s something more than just saying goodbye to a place you called home. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a part of me that I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to let go of.

As I cruised down to Canberra, watched my first sunset from my new balcony and sipped my first beer, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Which is a wild and wonderful feeling. I’m only a few days in to life in Canberra and a whole lot of new things happening, so before I get too ahead of myself, let’s take a look back on the month that was.

Resigning from UOW

I’ve worked at UOW for 7 years… and I finally handed in my resignation. It was one of the most liberating and stressful things I’ve ever done. As I mentioned, I’m writing a post about this and looking back on how UOW has shaped me (hint: in a big way). If you’ve ever resigned, especially from an organisation undergoing immense change, then you’ll know the mix of emotions that come with pulling the plug. Guilt, freedom, escape, opportunity, loss… it’s a strange mix but at the end of the day, you always have to make the best decision for you and your career. I took a leap for me and my career and whilst it’s too early to say how it will work out, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Sydney adventures

I was lucky enough to explore some more beautiful areas of the Shire this month across some stunning Summer’s days. The first day I explored Cronulla with my sister and damn we couldn’t have picked a better day. The water was crystal clear and Croatia coastline blue, we had some overpriced avo on toast and devoured some chippies by the Salmon Haul. It was the perfect beach day and I’ll certainly miss beach adventures with Elly but there will be plenty more I can look forward to!

On Valentines Day I explored the other side of the channel. John took me to Bundeena, a place I’d been wanting to visit for months! Again, we were spoilt with a gorgeous sunny day and it honestly felt like I was on Peter Pan’s island as we climbed down to what felt like a private beach. The water was sparkling and it was such a beautiful day. We had an awesome picnic, complete with some cheeky beers and my favourite cheese. Of course, right as we tried to take a picture it started to rain, but it honestly made it even more special. I love the adventures I go on with Johnnie and I’m so excited for many more to come!

Isaac’s 21st

The baby of the family has made it to 21 and I’m not ok with it. Little Isaac also lives in Canberra and needless to say it was a bit of a shock when I told him I would be joining him in calling Canberra home. Coincidentally, we had already planned to spend the last weekend of February down in Canberra to celebrate his birthday, for me it just meant I was permanently staying (hehe). The fam and I had an awesome weekend. We played lawn bowls in the blistering heat, I met Isaac’s friends and hopefully snagged myself and invite or two to some upcoming parties (sorry Isaac) and enjoyed some time walking around the lake and sipping delicious coffee. I couldn’t be prouder of everything you’ve achieved in 21 short years – I’m so proud of ya and I’m so glad I’m closer to you!

Farewell Wollongong

Parting is such sweet sorrow, but before the sorrow I was determined to create a sweet little shindig. All of my amazing friends came to help me say ‘see ya later’ to the Gong, complete with cocktails, gin, beer, dominoes and pulling some fortune cards to top it all off. I was only left with a minor hangover which, courtesy of strong kiosk coffee and a dip in the ocean, didn’t ruin my spirits.

My last morning in Wollongong was forecast to storm and rain. But I refused to accept such terrible conditions, so I gathered the gang together for one last sunrise swim. And boy oh boy did the sunrise gods deliver! It was one of the most spectacular sunrises I’ve ever experienced. My eyes were puffy from the night before (I low key cried my eyes out at the thought of having to say goodbye to my bestfriend), but it was exactly what I needed to get my spirits into gear for all of the unknown, and all of the possibilities that were to come my way.

Hello Canberra

With the help of my trustee movers (also known as Dad and Isaac), I pulled off the move to Canberra! Moving in with strangers you meet on the internet isn’t the easiest thing to do (or probably safest) but I trusted my gut instinct and I couldn’t have asked for a better house with better housemates. While it’s still early days, I’m loving where I’m living (it even has a working fireplace!) and I’m so excited to call this beautiful red brick house my new home!

Flicks

Lupin
Ooft what an amazing series! It’s in French but don’t let the subtitles deter you, you’ll be hooked. It’s about an art heist (and honestly if anyone’s down to conjure up a plan to steal an expensive necklace, hit a girl up), from the Lourve. Omar Sy is just a legend and this storyline is so playful, witty, and gritty. Would 100% recommend it to anyone, even if you’re not into French films/cinema.

Firefly Lane
OK, this show received so much criticism and I’m kind of surprised. Was it revolutionary? No. Was it unique and original? No. But was it fun, heart warming and a gorgeous story about female friendship that had me hooked? Absolutely. I really loved it and the different timelines that weaved through the narrative. An easy, chick flick watch for sure!

Babyteeth
I’ve been wanting to watch this movie for a long time and I finally got my hands on it (thank you YouTube movies). I watched it with Mum and from the trailer, you really couldn’t tell exactly what this movie was about but what a beautiful little flick it is. It’s an Australian ‘dramady’ set in Sydney so the familiarity of the streets, trains and schools are gorgeous to watch in an indie film. It’s quirky, fun, rebellious and a lovely Australian film.

Tunes

Alexander Briggs
Go to this song on Spotify, start radio, you’re welcome. I’ve been loving this song and had it on repeat for most of the month. It’s the ultimate chill, feel good, emotive song you need on a chilled afternoon while enjoying a beer or two.

Creatures at Leisure
Boys… please consider this an official plea… get back together and get performing! I was lucky enough to catch Pete at a gig in Cronulla this month and boy oh boy what a throwback to uni gig days!

Books

Queer Intentions, by Amelia Abraham
My awesome housemate Clare bought me this book for Christmas and damn what a read it is! Each chapter looks at a different queer identity as she follows the lived experiences of people navigating their queerness in a predominately anti-queer world. Loved it, would recommend!

Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ + Culture - Pan  Macmillan AU

Man’s search for meaning, by Vicktor Frankl
Voted as my mate Pete’s fave book, I thought it was time to read some books based on other people’s recommendations. And what a book this is! Despite it only being around 130 pages long, it took me weeks to get through this one. I found myself thinking deep about a number of issues raised, so it took me a long time to get through it. But I think that’s the aim of this book. To get you to stop, think, reflect and construct a world and life that brings you and others happiness and meaning.

Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl - Penguin Books New Zealand

Product

You know you’re getting old when you get excited about nice kitchen products. For Christmas I was treated to a set of goooooooooooood knives and damn what a GAME CHANGER!!! So I’m using this space to shout from the roof tops, treat yourself to a nice knife. Seriously. It makes chopping pumpkin/sweet potato/any near impossible or near misses with your fingers, a thing of yesterday and so damn easy. Yes I’m still in my twenties and yes, next on my list is some nice cookware… I don’t know who I’m becoming but it seems I’m turning into someone who has nice kitchen appliances.

Well, seemings we’re half way into March (oops), you’ll be seeing another post shortly. All I can say is damn time is absolutely flying, my social calendar is full (speak to my assistant if you want to see me) and I’m so excited to dive right into Canberra life! Watch this space and I hope March is lovely for you all!

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: NOVEMBER 2020

Can you believe it’s December?! We made it! Who would have thought we would finally be graced by the good vibes of Summer kicking in, daylight savings, and that sweet taste of optimism as 2021 approaches. November was an absolutely awesome month! With weekends filling up, people wanting to get out and about and the good vibes rolling in, I’ve been feeling like one of the best versions of myself. Surrounded by friends, family, getting outdoors, getting sweaty, I’ve been trying to enjoy everything as much as I possibly can – what else is life for?

On the 1st of December (yes I know this is a November favourites post but bear with me), I got two tattoos. I had been wanting some new tattoos for a long time now and had been putting it off for my next overseas adventure (I’ve got both of my other tattoos overseas – Ireland and Mexico – and was looking forward to adding Mongolia to that list). Suddenly three years had passed since my last one waiting for the right time, the right moment and the right adventure. I realised I don’t want to wait for this perfect situation to arise because as it currently stands, we won’t be jet setting anytime soon. And I guess this translates into so much more, why wait or delay what you really want? Perfection and the ‘right time’ may never come. So I took this as a sign to be proactive and chase what I want, create and control what I can. Which took me to a tattoo shop in Corrimal with my (amazing) boss where we got inked up.

I got a beautiful little swallow on my arm and the French word ‘insouciante.’ I absolutely love them and as I sit here typing, looking after them to make sure they heal properly, it’s a nice reminder that we have the power to take steps to create the life we want each and everyday. It starts with an idea so follow through, make that inquiry, ask questions, figure out what you want and run with it. I don’t want to waste my time waiting for my dream life, dream tattoo, dream [insert anything you want here]. Life is messy, unplanned and we’re all just winging it – now I’ve got some beautiful wings on my arm to remind me to take off and chase it.

Before we launch into the festivities of December, let’s have a look back at the month that was November.

Blue Mountains

Another month and another adventure to the beautiful Blue Mountains. With so many incredible hikes and adventures on its doorstep, each visit makes you feel like you’re entering a new world. This time we went adventuring down Wentworth Falls, complete with an icy swim at the bottom (I have literally never been colder in my life – be prepared). It’s always a joy spending some time away, especially with my sister and Dad. We survived the Valley of the Leeches (be careful if you decide to hike after a storm and everything is wet) and our legs were only half dead from the dreaded stairs!

Ocean Alley – the return of the gig

Sweet jesus, hallelujah! Gigs are back baby and what better way to ease back into it than to see Ocean Alley with my bestie Tish. While I may have completely sprung it on her, we had the best freakin time! Despite the sitting down and buying an ugly beer cooler (thanks Tish hehe), it was so incredibly amazing to see live music again. We both had a really profound moment of appreciation for all the gigs we’ve moshed around at prior to COVID, but also immense gratitude that we were able to actually go to a gig in 2020! Bring on more in 2021!

Shenanigans

Basically I just wanted to share these photos that make me so damn happy. I’m so fortunate to have such beautiful people in my life. This year certainly hasn’t been easy but it’s meant the world that I can be silly, be fun, be adventurous and have legends to share it with!

Bloggers, vloggers and podders

Stuff the British Stole
Marc Fennell can do no wrong and this podcast is no exception. If you’re a history nerd then this podcast is definitely for you. I know it’s a bold call with only two episodes out, but they are a great two episodes! I love that it makes you think about the British empire and the ‘contested history’ behind some of the most iconic artifacts now sitting in museums in the UK and around the world.

Music

Omar Apollo
Ooft hello Omar – thank you for bringing this beautiful album to my ears. While exploring Spotify I came across this album and dayum it is good. The perfect kind of album to listen to when you just want to chill out, feel a bit sexy and take it easy for the evening.

Clairo
And also, hello there Clairo, why has it taken me so long to fall in love with your music?! It’s the perfect chilled afternoon album when you’re tidying your room and makes you feel like the ultimate protagonist in the story of your life.

Tired Lion
As if I needed more good music this month, Tired Lion did a number on me and released this badass album. I’ve been playing their album when I’ve been going for my morning runs and it always motivates me to push harder and channel any negative emotion into my running. Singing this out loud will also just make you feel amazing!

Flicks

The Odyssey
If you’re looking for a cinematic French film then look no further. Based on the true story of Jacques Cousteau and his boat the Calypso, it tells the story of Jacques quest for adventure, exploration and money. Jacques invented the aqualung, whose invention took him to the depths of the ocean to explore a new world under the sea. It’s absolutely gorgeous and would highly recommend (there’s not too much dialogue so it’s not overwhelming in its French-ness). You can watch it on SBS On Demand.

Enola Holmes
If you’re looking for a light, adventurous, wholesome movie to watch then look no further. I absolutely loved this movie and thought Millie Bobby Brown was an absolute delight in this. I love a spin on a classic story, especially when it has a badass lead woman!

Season 4, The Crown
I have been waiting patiently for this season to come out and man can I tell you, it was certainly worth the wait. Like every other twenty-something, I’ve fallen in love with Princess Diana. I was also fascinated to learn more about Margaret Thatcher (of course, do your own research on the facts) and the way Gillian Andrews played her was so remarkable (your majesty). I loved the imagery of the Queen, Diana and Thatcher and thought they did a wonderful job and comparing and contrasting these dynamic women. Cannot wait for Season 5!

Books

No is not enough, by Naomi Klein
In the midst of the US Election, I felt compelled to find out how we got in this mess. I was drawn to Naomi’s book because of her incredible expertise and insight into climate change and policies, and brand superpower. The themes she touches on in this book are pretty incredible and paints a crystal clear image as to how Trump was elected in 2016. I may have been pessimistically trying to prepare myself for a world where his reign would continue but thank the lord Biden won. A fascinating look into capitalism, the climate crisis, the rise of brands and ‘super marketing,’ and how it intersects with 21st Century politics.

Naomi Klein | No is Not Enough

Believe Me, by JP Delaney
My sister has been raving on about this book for what feels like years, so I finally picked it up and read it. To her credit, it is actually quite interesting and certainly keeps you on your feet. I’m not usually drawn to suspenseful books so it’s not something I’d usually go for, but I’m glad my sister insisted. It was easy to read, had me questioning how it was going to turn out and I quite enjoyed it – thanks Elly!

Believe Me by JP Delaney - Books - Hachette Australia

The Coconut Children, by Vivian Pham
I’ve heard so much about this book and when I was looking for an Aussie fiction book to read I just couldn’t go past it. Set in Cabramatta, it tells the story of young Vietnamese-Australian teenagers navigating high school, family, relationships and culture. I absolutely loved it and would LOVE to see this turned into a Netflix miniseries! Plus Vivian Pham wrote this book while she was still at high school! THE TALENT!

The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham - Penguin Books Australia

Product

Fujifilm Instax Polaroid camera
Honestly this little beauty continues to deliver the goods. I know a lot of people seem to save it for special occasions but honestly, whip is out at your next dinner/drinks/walk/thing you’re doing, and snap some pics. They’re such a lovely way to capture a moment, share them with friends, and pop them on your wall. Can’t get enough and I can’t stop taking little snaps with this beauty!

Well November, what a month you’ve been. Let’s keep the good vibes going into December. Let’s go slow and calm, let’s seek joy and happiness, let go of the stress and anxiety and let December be the best month yet! I hope you all stay safe, happy and healthy over the festive period. Go easy on yourself, take the pressure off and just enjoy the end of the craziest year!

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: OCTOBER 2020


Thank you for coming October, what an absolute smash hit of a month. Daylight savings is here, the days are getting longer and warmer, and everyone seems to be running around with some extra spring in their step. This is the first month things have started to feel ‘normal,’ and I say ‘normal’ in quotations because I recognise the immense privilege that comes from being able to work from home and not be under a strict lockdown. We still have a long way to go in this global pandemic and complacency is the enemy. I’m so lucky to live in a safe environment and I’m so damn grateful to have the opportunity to meet up with friends, travel regionally, and figure out what this ‘new normal’ looks like.

I think our world, or if not, our psyche has completely altered after the events of 2020, and it’s still not over. I ran into a friend this morning getting coffee. I hadn’t seen her in several years and when retelling what I’d been up to this year, I realised that I had gravitated towards comfort and cosyness. And I realised a lot of my turmoil is a result of being frustrated with myself that I’ve accepted comfort in my mid-twenties. But this month has taught me that there’s ways to push your comfort zone to keep growing, while operating within a space of comfort and safety. I don’t think I’ve quite figured it out yet, and I’m certainly still on that journey – but you know me, I’ll let you know how I go.

But before we jump into the unknowns of the future that triggers an existential crisis in all of us, let’s have a look at this comfortable/push the comfort zone month that was October.

October Long Weekend

Hallelujah – thank you for blessing us with a long weekend topped with AMAZING weather! I had honestly been looking forward to this long weekend for months and honestly, it was everything I wanted (and needed) and more. I spent the weekend with my long time best friends, in Newcastle and Port Stephens, exploring rock pools and caves, drinking beer and soaking up sunshine. I was absolutely exhausted by the end of it, but seriously couldn’t have been more happy and grateful to spend a weekend with amazing people.

A Solo Vacay

If you missed it, I spent three nights at an airbnb on the Central Coast on my own. It was just what I needed, do some soul searching, It was so refreshing to go slow and put myself first. Do what I wanted, when I wanted – which mainly consisted of getting up early for a run, grabbing a coffee, spending hours by the pool, drinking wine and reading books. If you haven’t been already, I would absolutely recommend checking out Ettalong Beach and Palm Beach (you can get between the two via a quick 30min ferry), the perfect destination for a little getaway.

Blue Mountains 2.0

Back to the mountains we went! After our last visit, with zero visibility at the three sisters, it was a pretty amazing sight on the Friday afternoon when we arrived, to head on down and take in the amazing view. After a picnic with pizza and beers and a good nights sleep, we headed off on a 13km hike. There’s nothing quite like being out in nature, having some good old chats and exploring more of what this beautiful country has to offer. To top it off, we spent our afternoon drinking and eating pizza. I always appreciate the balance I get from a weekend away with my fam.

Shenanigans

It’s imperative to have shenanigans each and every month – so here’s to the shenanigans we got up to this month. From countless sunrise swims, to eating pizza watching punk bands in Sydney, from North Gong schnitty’s to dog walks, from hikes to nights out in Newcastle, this month has been pretty damn awesome. I’ve never felt more myself and whilst I’m not exactly thrilled that all of my weekends are literally filling up weeks in advance, I’m so grateful for the good times with old friends and new ones.

Books

So I somehow read 6 books over the course of the month; The House of Spirits, by Isabelle Allende, Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles andThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid were great reads and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. But these three books are my, as this post goes, my favourites.

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
I saw the trailer for Rebecca on Netflix and it looked epic. So I ran down to the book store and picked up this beauty. I absolutely loved it – I read it in a few days and honestly couldn’t put it down. The writing was stunning and the character development was incredible. I was so gripped and absolutely loved it. I watched the Netflix movie and while it is visually gorgeous, I feel it missed the grit that this book captures.

Book Club: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier - Henpicked

Call Me By Your Name, André Aciman
This book was the Summer holiday whimsical read I needed. I read it in a day and I honestly was transported. It felt like I was in Italy, I could almost feel the sweat drip down the back of my neck. It perfectly captured that feeling of Summer romance and holiday flings. That feeling of lust, curiosity, desire, intensity, getting to know someone, exploration and connection. I couldn’t recommend this more and I absolutely loved it.

Call Me By Your Name eBook: Aciman, Andre: Amazon.com.au: Kindle Store

The Dry, Jane Harper
I picked this one up from the local library and wow. Something I loved about this book was the pace, which may sound a little strange, but it just flowed so organically. I loved the themes it covered and it was great reading a book about regional Australia. I read it in a few days and it was absolutely awesome. A movie adaptation is due to be released this year and I cannot wait to watch it!

The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1) by Jane Harper

Flicks

Season 4 of the Good Fight
Yes yes yes! It’s back baby! This show is seriously AMAZING! I’ve been looking forward to this coming out for AGES! It’s on Stan and thank me later.

The Good Fight' Season 4 Review | IndieWire

Tunes

Middle Kids
Sometimes you just have an album on repeat for weeks on end, and all of Middle Kids’ albums have been soundtracks to my months. Honestly, I have nothing to say but how damn great are they?! Bring back gigs and festivals – I cannot wait.

Cigarettes After Sex
Ooft, this album is so sensual and gorgeous. I’ve recently adopted a pretty great night time routine than involves diffusing lavender oil, reading my book and playing this album until I fall asleep. Add this one to your list when you want some zen.

Product

Lanolips, mint
If I wasn’t already obsessed with Lanolips, enter the minty version. Seriously I cannot leave the house without lip balm – it’s an addiction I know – but damn this feels and tastes amazing all day long. You can pick it up from Mecca.

Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm Minty - Lanolips | MECCA

October has been one of the best months of the year. It feels amazing to feel a little more like myself, a little more adventurous and a little more sure of what I want and where I’m going. And I’m fucking blessed to have amazing people around me to support me on the way. November, let’s see what you’ve got.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: SEPTEMBER 2020

Wow, what a month September has been?! It was absolutely jam packed with weekends away, shenanigans, soul-searching, mischief and good times. The weather is slowly warming up, the sunrises are getting a little too early and the hope and optimism of Spring has well and truly settled in. As I write this, I am utterly exhausted. I feel like my uterus is attempting to escape my body and take my soul along with it (I love being a woman sometimes), my hips are killing me, my hayfever is at an all time high and I’m honestly surprised my eyes aren’t square after the intense amount of hours I’ve been putting into work.

Needless to say, I’m pretty damn excited for the upcoming long weekend and the following week where I’m actually taking leave. I’ve been so overdue for time off and a break that I feel like I’m literally staggering to the finish line. It’s just around the corner… one last push and we’re there baby! But before we welcome October, let’s have a look at this crazy wicked month that was September!

Port Stephens

If I’ve talked to you in the past month, you would know I LOVE JUMPING OFF THINGS INTO WATER! Honestly, is there any better feeling in the world?! I recently spent a weekend back home and my brother and sister were there (which is a rare occurrence to get us all together). We went adventuring around some rock pools and honestly – I just have a new found appreciation for my home town. The weather totally put it on for us and we spent our afternoons jumping off rocks, swimming around and sliding over seaweed. I’m already so excited to head back to the Bay over the October long weekend.

Sydney

Wow, who would have thought that heading for a night out in Sydney would seem so trivial?! So what better excuse than Chantelle’s 25th birthday?! We got a hotel room in Sydney, I put on a fake tan, heels, and headed out to spend too much money on cocktails! We ended up at a karaoke bar at 1:30am and damn, what a great time! There’s nothing quite like getting dressed up and heading out with great people!

Blue Mountains

Wow – I cannot believe it’s been so many years since visiting the Blue Mountains which are literally on Sydney’s doorstep. I hopped on a train after work to head to Wentworth Falls. The train trip up was spectacular and when I rolled into Wentworth Falls, there was a thick layer of fog settled on the town which gave me creepy Harry Potter vibes – I kept checking to make sure there were no dementors behind me. I met up with Dad and Elly to head to our cute little house with an cute enormous garden.

After an incident with a tick (oh Elly), Dad cooked up a big ol BBQ before we headed to grab a coffee and off to Hanging Rock. An 11km round trip, this hike was AMAZING! Honestly – despite a confronting weather forecast, the weather literally shone through and delivered the goods.

I was completely blown away by how jaw droppingly beautiful it was. The rock faces were glowing orange and the sheer drop was utterly terrifying. To add to the terror, Dad and I decided to literally jump across to Hanging Rock to terrify ourselves further (ok – it was just me – but hey I did it).

After our death defying jump, we headed back to munch into some wine and cheese. It was such a lovely way to spend an afternoon. With the heaters on, red wine, BBQ lamb and veggies and good old giggles. Very grateful to have been able to take the time away to get out in nature and spend some time with my family.

Shenanigans

There’s always room for shenanigans. From sleepovers to drag queen bingo, to sunrise swims, from grinding at work to an attempted sober September… I’m grateful for everyone who made this month so lovely and special.

Touch footy

Illawarriors what an unexpected, challenging and fun season. As I mentioned in last month’s post, I started playing on a mixed touch team. It was certainly one of the most challenging and anxiety inducing things I’ve done in a long time (check out my blog post from last year when I started playing and freaked out because I didn’t know how to be bad at things) but after every single game, I felt elated! Our last two games we actually won which led to this cool little victory shot. I absolutely love being able to get out and about, get sweaty, play as a team, learn something new, push myself, and hang out with some awesome people!

Books

The Radium Girls
My lovely friend Dylan gave this to me for my birthday and I’m so glad I got to sink my teeth into a book and a historical event I knew absolutely nothing about. This book tells the story of dozens of young women who worked in factories who used radium to paint the dials onto watch faces. They adopted a technique called the ‘lip, dip, paint’ which saw them putting the unknowingly toxic substance into their mouths hundreds of times. The worst part was that the company knew of the risks and health effects of radium, and put the company’s profits above the safety of their employees. Devastatingly, dozens of young women’s bodies literally disintegrated. The story is absolutely horrific but tells the fighting tale of them battling for justice and employee protection in the workplace.

The Space Between
Hello my name is Adelaide and I am a basic bitch who is obsessed with the Shameless Podcast and everything Michelle and Zara touch. It was really a matter of when I was going to read it, so I was pretty stoked when Chantelle came home with it in hand – I quickly put my hand up to borrow it. I smashed through this book in 2 days and yes it really is as good as it’s hyped up to be.

There are a lot of fantastic essays in here, but I was really drawn to and inspired by the section on careers and jobs. I feel that there is so much pressure, especially on twenty-somethings to know what they want, hustle, grind and sacrifice everything to pursue those dreams. I loved this book and would certainly recommend it to anyone trying their best in this big bad world.

Tunes

Sea Girls
Oooh this album is so damn good. I’ve had it on repeat this past month, especially their song Shake. Do you ever picture yourself standing on a stage with a microphone in hand singing to hundreds of thousands of people? haha yea me either…. but if I did, I would certainly be rocking out to this song!

TV Shows

How To Get Away With Murder, Season 5
Oh, my, god! I can’t remember ever watching a show that made my heart race so fast. Season 5 is a smash hit if I might say. By now, we know how it works, someone is dead and you spend the whole time praying that it’s not Oliver! But seriously, these characters are so well developed and I’ve never been so emotionally invested in whether or not someone is alive or not. Now – how the heck do I watch Season 6?! You can watch Season 5 on Netflix.

How to Get Away with Murder Season 5 Trailer (HD) - YouTube

On the sauce
Shaun Micalleff – otherwise known as Australia’s George Clooney – looks at Australia’s drinking culture in this hilarious and somewhat concerning three part documentary. As someone who attempted sober September (I blame you Chantelle and you’re too-many-cocktails-birthday-event), I couldn’t have watched this at a better time. I would absolutely recommend, it’s eye opening, insightful and will certainly make you think twice before you reach for that next glass of wine or bottle of beer. You can watch it on ABC’s iView.

Flicks

Mary Shelley
So gothic literature was one of my favourite topics in my high school English class. I think I convinced myself that my English Extension 2 class would be to me what the Swiss Alps were to Mary Shelley and I would write the next masterpiece to shake the world (I wonder how that turned out?) I remember learning about this incredible 19 year old who wrote this book and was fascinated by her. This movie is a really beautiful insight into her painful and difficult life. There are so many incredible themes I could dive into – but the biggest takeaway for me was this immense sense of loss, loneliness and guilt that Mary carried around with her from when she was a baby. You can watch this on SBS On Demand.

Snowpiercer
On the topic of light and optimistic films (hello sarcasm) enter Snowpiercer. Set in a dystopian future where the climate has killed off all human beings except those on a train, circling the world and stuck in their carriage and class. Directed by Oscar winning Bong Joon-ho, this is a terrifying look into class and the structure of our society. One of the most terrifying phrases is that “we must occupy our preordained positions and we must keep in our places.” You can catch this on Stan.

On The Basis of Sex
Given the global grief felt after the passing of Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, it seemed only fitting to watch this film. If you already know a thing or two about RBG, then this won’t be a surprise to you. Instead you will feel inspired and motivated by her determination and relentless efforts to stand up against the way things were. One of my favourite lines was when she cited “the Court should never be influenced by the weather of the day but inevitably they will be influenced by the climate of the era.” And what an era and climate RBG set, let’s hope that the next Supreme Court Justice upholds this value…

Bloggers, podders and vlogger

The Hookup
Talking about all things love and f*cking. Seriously this podcast is probably my dream job, to talk to interesting, diverse, confident people about topics that society has somehow determined is too taboo or too risque to talk about. I loved their recent episode titled ‘I think I’m bi, what next?’ I love how their episodes dive deep on topics and really get you thinking about why you think certain ways.

The Hook Up Podcast - ABC Radio

Product

I’ve tried my fair share of clay masks but this one certainly takes the cake. The Origins Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay is not only affordable (yay) but I’ve noticeably seen improvements in my skin since using it weekly. It feels absolutely divine and tightens as it dries. Certainly a great product to go with your Sunday night pamper sesh. You can pick it up from Sephora here.

Original Skin™ Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay | Origins

The recommendation you didn’t ask for, but you needed to hear

Red cabbage
Yes – welcome to my TED Talk about why red cabbage is the absolute bomb. I apologise to my housemates who have literally heard me go on non-stop about this delicious ball of goodness for the past month, but seriously – is this the most underrated vegetable on earth?

Here are 5 reasons red cabbage is the best thing you will put in your mouth this month;

  1. It’s pretty af (adds a bright pop of purple to each plate)
  2. It’s crunchy af (makes you feel healthy and full)
  3. It’s versatile af (put it in a salad raw, chuck in in a stir fry with soy sauce and honey, or drizzle some vinegar on it, red cabbage can take your taste buds around the world)
  4. It’s healthy af (it’s packed with Vitamin C and is a great source of fiber, vitamin A and potassium. You can read all about why purple foods are better for your brain, but in short; it helps reduce inflammation, blood pressure and can improve connections between neurons in areas of the brain associated with learning and memory)
  5. It’s cheap af (pick up a red cabbage from coles for a few dollars and watch it last you all week).

In conclusion – get some red cabbage!

Sweet and Sour German Red Cabbage Recipe | SimplyRecipes.com

So what an exciting month it’s been – red cabbage and all. I am sooooo looking forward to October and a few weekends away, some time off, smashing some books, getting in the ocean, getting out and about running, and saying yes to some fun things along the way. Bring it on!

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: AUGUST 2020

Well see ya later August and hello Springtime! What an interesting month August turned out to be. Adjusting to an immense physical and emotional emptiness has been a huge adjustment. But it’s also given me a lot of time and space to think, reflect and dig deep about what’s important to me and why. I think I’ve seen more sunrises this month than I have any other. I’ve probably also drank more than I have any other (hello sober September!) It’s been a bit of a blur but I’m so damn proud I made it through.

Canberra

So I realised it had been an awkward amount of time since I’d seen my (not-so) little brother down in Canberra. So why not make a weekend of it and tag along with your fam and bestie. Why the fuck did I go to Canberra in the middle of winter?! Damn it was freezing. Lucky we had some good food and good beer to keep us occupied. Note to self – Isaac, next time you’re coming to Wollongong!

Hiking and nature vibes

Sometimes you just gotta get out into nature and soak up some damn sunshine! Luckily around Wollongong we are #blessed with some gorgeous hikes. Even better, when you’ve got your Dad and besties with ya, it makes it even more enjoyable. The one i did with my Dad is called Drawing Room Rocks (not far from Berry) and the other is the Wodi Wodi track (just down from Stanwell Park). They both have amazing vistas of the ocean and surrounding valleys. Top it off with a coffee and feed at a cool lil cafe and you’ve got my heart!

Playing touch

It’s touch season! I somehow got roped into/volunteered myself to get involved in playing on a mixed touch team this season. Gosh I forgot how much I love team sports. I’ve played a few games to date and I haven’t had a panic attack (#winning). I’m getting better and more confident with each game, and it’s so great to get out and about with a bunch of awesome people. Ticks the social box and get physical box which is a win win for me! Go Illawarriors!

Palmerston (NT) - Touch Football Australia

Flicks

Why Women Kill
Lucy Liu, need I say more?! This show is epic! It’s a slow burn that tells the stories of three different women across three different decades, connected by the house they all lived in at their respective time. Following the 50s, 80s and teens (guys what are we calling 2010-2019?!), this show unpicks some incredible storylines and develops the characters beautifully. It’s a dark comedy (don’t worry – not slashy at all) and the storylines just hook you in where you have to keep watching to find out how it all plays out. You can watch Season 1 on SBS On Demand.

Salisbury Poisonings
Did the world just somehow forget that the most toxic substance on earth was loose in an English town in 2018?! Damn, this show is epic! With only 4 episodes, you’ll easily smash it out over a weekend. I remember when this happened and was it felt like a real life spy show was unfolding in front of our eyes. Watching this show and they way they recount what happened is so intelligent and gripping. It’s also funny how ‘normal’ it all looks after our response to COVID-19. In 2018, full body hazmat suits, masks and public health, really wasn’t widely talked about. Wow – watch it on SBS On Demand.

Books

The Dictionary of Lost Words, by Pip Williams
I absolutely adored this book. Set in the late 1800’s early 1900’s, it tells the story of a young girl who grows up on in the shed they compile the first Oxford English dictionary. It’s so fascinating to be transported back in time and think about how people communicated, what words meant, and how exclusionary they were/are. If you love a book about an underdog, love, curiosity and words, then you will love this book.

The Dictionary of Lost Words | BIG W

Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
Ah good old Brene Brown? Where would I be without her wisdom and ability to easily communicate complex concepts? I think I could have highlighted every other page. Honestly it’s jam packed filled with so much great content, wisdom and advice that it’s almost too much to soak in at once. It’s certainly a book I’ll be referring back to often. Thank you Tish for the recommendation. If you’re looking for how to dig in deep and confront your feelings (rather than hiding from them like I tend to do), then this book is for you.

The Gifts of Imperfection – Bethel Store

Tunes

The Killers
Do you ever have those moments where you literally forget a band exists? And then, out of the blue, one of their bangers comes on and a whirlwind of goodness just flashes right back to you? That’s what happened the other day when Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll came on and wow I was TRANSPORTED! So my recommendation is to go back 10 years ago and listen to those albums that you used to lose your mind to. Another reminder why music is good for the soul.

Podcasts

The Cut
The Cut is back baby! Hallelujah! This was one of my FAVOURITE podcasts last year and then they, well, cut it. I’m so glad they came to their senses and decided to revamp it. Two episodes in and I’m loving the new host, the topics they’re covering are awesome and – ah I’m just really excited that this podcast is back in my life!

The Cut Returns With a New Weekly Podcast

Product

Hawaiian tropic
This product smells AMAZING!!! Honestly their sunscreen makes you want to put it everywhere at all times, because after all, sun safety is sexy. Plus, if like me you’re basically incapable of tanning, be sure to pick up their gradual tan lotion too. It feels so good on your skin and again, smells amazing! Anything that promotes protecting your skin, hydrating it and getting your tan from a can (or a bottle), then I’m about it!

Buy Silk Hydration Lotion SPF50+ 180 mL by Hawaiian Tropic Online |  Priceline

Well August, what a ride. I’m very much looking forward to September and taking it easy. I’m looking forward to taking a step back from drinking and challenging myself to set new goals and kick them too!

Port Stephens: The most magical place on earth

There’s few places on earth I would refer to as truly magical. The South of Iceland, the mountains of Guatemala, the South West coast of Australia, the turquoise waters of Belize… they’re all pretty magical. But one place that I was lucky enough to grow up in, and somewhat call home to this day, is Port Stephens… and let me tell you, it’s pretty damn magical.

Located three hours north of Sydney, this peninsula is the perfect destination for your next weekend away. Here’s some reasons to add it to your next weekend getaway!

Summit Mount Tomaree

Hands down one of the best views I’ve ever encountered. At the end of Shoal Bay beach is this great little hike that is sure to get your blood pumping. The reward is totally worth the sweat, plus your Insta game will be poppin! Top it off by running down via the World War Two gun emplacements and going for a quick dip on Shoal Bay beach #thedream

Murray’s Brewery

If you’re looking for a place to spend a sun soaked afternoon, while discovering some of the tastiest beers you’ll come across, then look no further than Murray’s. Most weekends they have live music and their pizza’s are an absolute must! My go to is either the Angry Man or Whale Ale.

Little Nel’s

If you’re looking for an epic place for brunch, then look no further. The coffee is superb and their menu instantly induces saliva. Be sure to get in early, it gets pretty busy – and for a good reason!

Spot some wildlife

You are spoiled for choice when it comes to wildlife in Port Stephens. You’ll often spot a koala up a tree and kangaroos on the golf course, but where Port Stephens is really lucky is its sea life. There are over 100 resident dolphins that cruise the calm bays, and in winter there are dozens of whales that grace the coast. You don’t even have to head out on a boat to experience the beauty of these creatures. From a headland or beach, you just might be lucky enough to catch a tale or flipper of some of these beautiful animals.

Bannisters

If you’re looking for a place to spend your afternoon sipping cocktails and snacking on some tasty food, look no further. Complete with a gorgeous pool and elevated in the tree tops, this is the place to take a group of friends and watch the sky change colour as the sun sets. For kick ons, head down to Cheeky Dog for a more relaxed, pub vibe.

Birubi beach

Home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest moving sand dunes, the 32km beach connects Port Stephens to Newcastle. It’s a stunning place to watch sunrise and pick up a coffee at Crest. There’s some gorgeous rock pools to explore and if you’re adventurous, you can venture into Tin City, across the dunes and even check out the shipwreck. 4WD and a permit are a must!

Country club

After you’ve finished jumping off the jetty, head to the infamous Country Club for a few cold brewskies. After a recent renovation, it’s become a little Coogie Beach Pavillion. It was always a cult favourite of ours in high school, and let me tell you, there’s no where else I’d rather be on Christmas Eve. The CC is certainly where it’s at.

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Sit back, relax and stay a while ✨

A post shared by Shoal Bay Country Club (@shoalbaycountryclub) on

Samurai Beach

Who doesn’t love a good nude beach? The suitably named Samurai Beach is certainly one to add to your list. You can get their via 4WD through a pretty hectic track or you can walk along One Mile Beach, climb over some rocks and strip off. With any nude beach, comes the couples in their 50’s who are too confident, but if you can look past that, then you’re in for a good time!

I guess the age old saying is true, sometimes, there really is no place like home.

These are a few of my favourite things: July 2020

Welcome to my birthday month! Yep, I think in 2020 I’m entitled to a birthday month, so here we are. What a rollercoaster of a time. I went for a little weekend away to Terrigal and Newcastle to visit my family, celebrated my birthday over a week or two, went for numerous sunrise swims and lost myself in a delightful book. This month was not without it’s downs. As some of you may already know, Soph and I are going our separate ways, so as you could imagine, it’s been an uncertain, emotional and challenging time. But as I sit here, soaking up the winter sun, looking forward to a casual beer or two tonight, I can only look to the future with optimism, positivity and hope. I mean, surely this year can’t get any worse? Right? (touch wood).

A Central Coast Adventure

Just before things took (another) turn for the worst, I was able to get away to Terrigal and Newcastle to spend a few days with friends and family. We were treated to some glorious weather and my sister even convinced me to head out and about for a swim. For a moment, I think I was even able to trick myself into thinking I was in France. Mum, Elly and I were window shopping through the streets of Terrigal when we stumbled upon a restaurant that was basically screaming at us to take a seat on their patio, order a bottle of wine and spend a few hours at. So we gave in to the pressure and did just that.

Wow! We had an absolutely glorious afternoon enjoying our wine, snacking on chippies and just chatting. Hello Euro-Summer vibes.

Then it was up to Newcastle where I set up my work from home station at Dad’s place. I caught up with one of my mates from high school to hear about his recent engagement(!) and enjoyed (suffered) some early morning runs (so early that it’s still pitch black outside).

A South Coast Adventure

I somehow picked the perfect weekend to go down to the South Coast for a little birthday getaway. With myself and 13 friends, we packed our cars (literally – jam packed them) and headed for Narrawallee. We booked an incredible Airbnb across the road from the beach. Filled with gin, beer, champagne, sunrise swims and way too much laughter, I had THE BEST TIME! What a way to bring in 26! (and yes can you believe it? I’m freaking 26 y’all!)

I even mysteriously woke up without a hangover! Hello maturity. But in all seriousness, I am so grateful for the people who made my birthday so special. The people who make me laugh so much until it hurts, the people who I haven’t seen in years and the people I live with. My friends are seriously out of this world and I’m so grateful to all of you – near and far – who make me feel loved each and every day.

Birthday shenanigans

What is a birthday without a few shenanigans. As I mentioned, my birthday consists of a whole month. So here are some pics of some good times shared with friends.

Quick aside – how frickin cool is my pearl satin shirt? I totally splurged to treat myself for my birthday and I seriously have no regrets at all!

Books

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towls
So in my mission to read books from around the world, I picked out this not so little beast. At a mighty 450 pages, this is well above my usual 300 page novel, but wow was it easy to rip through it. The writing is like nothing I’ve ever read. It’s mischevious, it’s poetic, it’s witty and it’s observant. By observant, I mean you are taken into the thoughts and perspectives of ‘the Count,’ a Russian aristocrat who is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol hotel in Moscow. If he steps foot outside, he will be shot. Spanning decades, this historical fiction takes you through the inner workings of the Count in a deeply personal and hilarious way. Would absolutely recommend if you want to feel as though you’ve made a best friend at the Metropol hotel.

Gentleman in Moscow Book Club Questions: 10 Questions That Are ...

Tunes

Total eclipse of the heart, Bonnie Tyler
Not exactly a new release but it certainly has been on repeat for the past few weeks! How flipping good is this song?! Such a great way to let out all those emotions by belting out a banger. On another note – 80s power ballads are such a vibe and are absolutely essential during a rough emotional time.

Folklore, Taylor Swift
Yes I am a basic bitch and totally lost it when I hear the new Taylor Swift album was dropping. What an indie, heartbreak, chill album it is. I’m considering it like an additional birthday gift from Taylor to me!

Flicks

Before Sunrise series
Before sunrise is one of my FAVOURITE movies ever! The series starts in 1994 when Celine and Jessie meet on a train in Europe. Celine is heading back to Paris, and Jessie is jumping off the train in Vienna before flying back to the US. Taking a chance, Jessie asks Celine to get off the train with him and so begins one of the most whimsical love stories I’ve ever consumed. We smashed through watching the series (set 10 years apart from eachother) and each time I watch it I get something new out of it. The dialogue feels completely organic and unscripted and it just makes me fall in love with storytelling, connection and wander.

Traveling Scene to Scene in the Streets of Vienna, Before Sunrise ...

The Girl In The Fog
If you’re ever looking for an interesting and left of centre movie, check out SBS On Demand! They have such an amazing selection, especially of foreign films. One day while searching for a movie, I cam across The Girl in the Fog – an Italian movie. I have to admit, I usually lean towards French films so I decided to go crazy and test out this Italian one. Wow. It’s a slow burn but it really got me thinking and I was really invested in the cinematography – plus was trying to figure out what happened to the teenager who went missing in a small village in the north of Italy.

Bloggers, podders and vloggers

The High Low
I’ve been loving this podcast so much! I’ve been tuning in and out for several months, but an episode that talked about the Greenland Shark absolutely won me over (I’d highly recommend looking up the Greenland Shark – it’s awesome and groww). Hosted by Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, they chat about the highs and lows of life, pop culture and news. Firstly, I flippin love their accents. I am completely engrossed when they speak and I forget to listen to what they’re actually saying. But most importantly I love their perspectives, their vocabulary, the breadth of the content they consume and talk about and the issues they raise. Ah! I just love it!

Say Hello to The High Low | Papier

Product

My Mum absolutely spoiled me for my birthday and she treated me to this Sunday Rile C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Tumeric Face Oil. Wow hello luxury! I’ve been experimenting with Vitamin C serums lately and I love them! They leave your skin feeling so dewy, glowy and honestly, fucking radiant. This face oil is next level though. It sits well under makeup, it smells delicious and feels incredible on your face!

If you’re looking to treat someone to something fancy, I would add this one to your basket.

Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil

While this month certainly has been bittersweet, it sure was good. I’m truly grateful for all that I have and the people I have around me. Sure, I’m scared, confused and I’ve never been so unsure of uncertain about the future (thanks COVID) but maybe this is the fresh start, the new leaf I needed to challenge me to dig deep, keep growing and get shit done.

These are a few of my favourite things: MAY 2020

So it seems we’re getting in the swing of things? Are we? Kind of? I think we’re doing ok. It’s crazy to think that (in another life) I would have been heading to Mongolia to live and work for several months. Alas, the universe had other plans and the lounge room is proving to be pretty damn exciting. Nonetheless, we adjust, we adapt and we keep going.

This month has been a month of me putting up boundaries and standing by them. This has meant movie days, reading books, cooking food, going for long walks, taking it easy and going slow. And wow – going slow is pretty damn nice. I think I’d like to hold onto this way of life for a little while. One where my weekends aren’t always booked, where staying in my pjs all day is acceptable and putting myself first is always acceptable.

Home

Working from home is an interesting premise. Home becomes work and work becomes home. And when work becomes a bit too much to handle, it’s challenging to escape it all. So I thought I would take this working from home business, well, home. So I headed up to Newcastle and Port Stephens to visit family and work from home. I can’t say how refreshing it all was. Just to have some space and distance between everything going on. To reconnect with people I love and haven’t seen in a long time has been incredibly healing and therapeutic and I feel reset and ready to bring on the rest of 2020.

Fresh air and good times

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, when you’re in a rut, feeling down, feeling overwhelmed, anxious or just you know, living through a pandemic, get outdoors, connect with friends and loved ones. Be silly, be curious, take a moment and just feel it. Life isn’t always easy, it’s not always clear and it’s confusing af, but good people, good energy and good attitudes will take you a long way. And I’m forever grateful for the good eggs around me who I absolutely love.

BookS

Dear America, by Jose Antonio Vargas
This book is one of my favourite books I’ve ever read. I would completely recommend this for anyone who doesn’t quite understand what it means to be undocumented or is interested in immigration policy in the US. Jose is a journalist so the style of writing is easy to understand, it’s intriguing and takes you right into the life of someone who is American in every way, except by citizenship.

Dear America': Jose Antonio Vargas Documents His Life - The Atlantic

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
I bought this book on an impulse off of Amazon – it was $8 and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for fiction and I thought… why not? Well this did not disappoint. It’s a beautiful tale told from the perspective of

Fall Book Preview – Modern Mrs. Darcy

Flicks

Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Oh my goodness, if you watch one French film this year make sure it’s this one. It is simply stunning. It’s so captivating, delicate and intimate. There’s not too much dialogue so it’s not an overwhelming amount of French to take in. Those eyes have stayed with me since watching the film and every time I see page 28 my heart skips a beat.

Bombshell
With a star studded line up, I usually like to be critical about it. Margot Robbie is an absolute babe and if that’s not reason enough, the scene that illustrates the disgusting abuse of power of men – I held my breath for the entire scene. It shows the subtle ways in which people with power abuse that power and manipulate strong women. It’s heart breaking but overall a big fuck you to ‘the man.’

Normal People
Yep, like every other basic bitch I jumped on the Normal People train and damn! Of course I read the book (and what a stunning book it is) but this series is absolutely gorgeous. I love how raw and real it is an wow, the on-screen chemistry is incredible! Apart from the fact that it made me want to runaway to Ireland, it’s a stunning watch.

Harry Potter
Wow – if like me, you were OBSESSED (and I repeat) OBSESSED with Harry Potter growing up, then do yourself a favour and re-watch these golden flicks! The first few are actually amazing! They’re so fast paced and you’ll be laughing and anticipating every line. Plus it will just make you happy! We all need a little bit of that right now.

Bloggers, Vloggers and Podders

Lone Fox
I don’t know why, but I have been addicted to watching DIY and renovation channels. I love Drew’s channel and it is seriously leaving me with the urge to paint a wall a vibrant colour and experiment with wallpaper! Plus he does some really cool DIY projects which I’m yet to try, but I bloody love watching!

Dying For Sex
This. Podcast. Is. A. MUST LISTEN! It’s about a woman, Molly, who is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She leaves her unhappy marriage and ventures on a series of sexual escapades to feel alive. It’s a beautiful yet harrowing story of life and death, but most importantly of friendship.

#BlackLivesMatter

What’s worse than watching the world burn is the fact that we let it get to this in the first place. Inequality doesn’t just happen over night, it happens every single day and is embedded in systems, institutions, policies, actions, attitudes and values. I have done nothing to deserve the life that I was born into. Yet by mere luck and chance, I was born into a loving family, in a safe country, with access to education, healthcare and was encouraged to pursue my dreams. I was able to navigate life relatively seamlessly. And the fact that our friends, due to the mere colour of their skin, are denied the same human rights, are hunted in our streets and are deemed less valuable, is simply no the world I want to live in. It’s f*cked up and seriously, the system, the attitudes, the everyday choices that we each make that lead to this, need to change. Black and Indigenous lives matter.

A really inspiring quotes from Maya Angelou to close this board. (Critique) Education is KEY! You need to learn