The Rocks Aroma Festival: The Happiest place on Earth

Anyone who knows me, knows I love coffee. And anyone who knows me really well, knows that I’m ridiculously addicted and nothing in the world can replace the taste of a beautiful cup of hot coffee. So, knowing this… can you imagine my utter excitement, overwhelming-ness and just pure joy when I went to a festival dedicated to coffee? Absolute BLISS!

Not a bad view
Not a bad view

I spent this past Sunday at the Rocks Aroma Festival in beautiful Circular Quay, Sydney. And for all of you coffee addicts out there, I’d highly recommend hitting it up at some point because it was damn AWESOME! We were blessed with a gorgeous winters day. Sydney really did show off.

If you hate crowds, then like any other event held in Sydney, it’s probably not ideal for you. And to make matters worse, I was with a large group of friends which nearly impossible to navigate through. But for that golden coffee drop, I’d do almost anything.

Nothing like sipping coffee with your girlfriends
Nothing like sipping coffee with your girlfriends

After checking out all of the stalls, I decided on the Belaroma and settled for a skim cap (my usual). It was hot, strong and bloody AMAZING!!! We then wandered up to the Rocks, through the crowds and followed our noses to the abundance of food stalls that lined the cobblestone streets. We got these delicious chicken, lamb and prawn skewers with rice and scoffed them down with another coffee (it’s a coffee festival, as if I could’ve had just one?!).

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Working the crowds

After a big feed and being hyped up on coffee, there was only one thing left to do… wash it all down with a beer! We wandered through the Rocks and stumbled across the Argyle. From the outisde it doesn’t look like much, but once you venture through the allyway, it feels like you’re in some Hungarian ruin bar. It is such an awesome place! It also doubles as a club at night and I’m already planning a trip back to Sydney for a night out here. It’s fancy, classy and just down right cool.

After some beer, food and coffee, we’d had a pretty solid day. It was a beautiful day to spend in the city with my friends before uni goes back this week.

xxx A

In my happy place
In my happy place

Curing Wanderlust Whilst You’re Stuck At Home

So recently, my case of wanderlust has been beyond ridiculously strong. And to rub it all in, I’d say about 90% of my Facebook friends are in Europe at the moment and obviously have exceptional internet service because they seem to be instagramming every minute of their trip. And so I’ve spent my break working working working, with the wanderlust increasing. So here’s my guide to all of you who are also stuck working at home over the break, with their toes twitching for adventure.

Check out a local farmers markets and enjoy some local, tasty food with friends
Check out a local farmers markets and enjoy some local, tasty food with friends

Treat your tastebuds. One of my favourite parts of travelling is eating amazing food 24/7. So why not treat yourself to that expensive Italian restaurant that you’ve never been to before? Or that quaint little cafe you walk past on your way to work? Go out with a friend or two, eat lots of food and drink even more wine. If you drink enough wine, it’ll feel like you’re in Italy or any other country before you know it.

Banana and bacon french toast in Newtown, Sydney
Banana and bacon french toast in Newtown, Sydney

Snap away. When you’re in a new place and especially a different country, you can’t help but see everything as unique, different, beautiful and in need of being on your Instagram immediately. If you apply that mindset to you’re hometown, you’ll look at it in a completely different way and be quite astounded with how beautiful it can be. And your instagram will love you for it!

Be a tourist in your hometown. Sure you may roll your eyes at all the tourists taking photos of famous buildings or street signs or statues. But how about you join them for a day? Go to all of the hotspots and embrace how remarkable the place you live in is.

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Go away for a few nights. I recently booked a 4 night holiday to Melbourne and it was one of the best things I could’ve done. It’s true, 4 nights in a new city isn’t much, but it sure is enough to check out of reality and have some fun exploring somewhere new. You can read about all of my Melbourne adventures here.

Get on a train. Or a bus, or a car and head and go on a daytrip somewhere. A small trainstop that you’ve always been through but have no idea what’s there, a bus ride to the last stop and go for an adventure. The key is to look at everything as if it was the first time.

Stick with the classics, and your breath will be blown away
Stick with the classics, and your breath will be blown away

Watch a foreign film. You don’t even have to get out of your PJ’s for this one. Just explore some of the great foreign films on offer on Netlix and bam, you’re in another country. Les Intouchables, Samba, Amelie and Amour are some of my favourite French films which will leave you feeling as though you’re strolling through Paris.

If these ideas are not enough to cure your wanderlust until you’re next overseas holiday, then why haven’t you gone already?!

xxx A

11 Things To Do in Melbourne

After my amazing girls long weekend away to the amazing city of Melbourne, I’ve come up with my ultimate to do list in this spectacular city.

1. Brighton Beach Huts. Only a 15 minute train ride from Flinders Street Station, is Brighton Beach. From the station, you can make the quick walk to the beach where you’ll get exquisite views of the Melbourne city skyline and get to see the quaint, beautiful and bright beach huts. And once you take your photos, you can venture up to the main street of Brighton and enjoy some shopping and beautiful cafes.

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2. Chapel Street. Get the train to either Windsor or Prahan and just wander that street my friends. Perfect for day and night. Great little boutiques, funky bars, unique restaurants and a cool vibe that resonates with King Street in Newtown, Sydney. (Note: the bar tenders at Taco Bill are really attractive).

3. The Lion King. If you’re a sucker for musical theatre like I am, and if you great up singing Hakuna Matata, you’re in for a dream come true kind of night. When we went, a little boy was bouncing up and down and cackling to himself in his seat and it just made me even more happy and excited.

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4. Cookie. I don’t really know how to describe this hidden tower of bars and restaurants but it’s awesome! Located on Swanston Street, from the outside you wouldn’t even look twice at the entrance. But up every flight of stairs, there’s a different bar, club or restaurant. The best is saved til last… the ROOFTOP BAR! We drank a jug of sangria whilst listening to some awesome music and looking out over the dazzling city.

5. Degrave Street. Located off of Flinders Lane is the incredible little street stuffed with amazing cafes! One part of the street feels like you’re in Paris, other half on the other side of Flinders Lane feels like you’ve just stepped into Japan. It’s so diverse, with little boutiques and bars, we felt so lucky we didn’t have to travel far to get some amazing food and shopping done.

6. The Great Ocean Road. You can read about our adventure on this spectacular piece of coastline here. If the picture below doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

The magnificent 12 Apostles
The magnificent 12 Apostles

7. Take a tram ride. The CBD of Melbourne is lined with trams. And the best part is that they’re free! It’s a fun, easy, quick and free way to get around to all of the hot spots that Melbourne has to show off.

Wandering the streets
Wandering the streets

8. The National Gallery of Victoria. A big and beautiful gallery located just off of Federation Square, is a great way to see some beautiful Australian art and also spend a rainy cold winters day.

9. The Yarra River. Stroll along the river and soak up some sunshine (well, maybe if you go in Summer). It’s a gorgeous river dotted with cafes and a great bicycle track. Around Melbourne there’s also bikes you can hire for a few hours (similar to Barclays bikes in London), so you can ride along the river and get a different perspective of the city.

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10. Hosier Lane. Another hidden gem of an alleyway that is completely covered in street art! It’s funky and fresh and makes for some absolutely amazing photos! Oh, and there’s some Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc artwork aswell. What’s not to love?

Hosier Lane
Hosier Lane

11And if nothing else… just wander around the streets. You’ll never know what cool bar or amazing coffee you’ll stumble across.

Anything I’ve missed? Where would you want to go if you visited Melbourne? Let me know in the comments below!

xxx A

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One day exploring the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of those breathtaking journeys that you just have to experience in your lifetime. I was lucky enough to go with my family when I was a wee lass, however, being 4 years old, I didn’t exactly appreciate/remember the whole experience. So… on a girls long weekend away to Melbourne with one of my best friends (Tishia), we decided to relive this awesome journey together and it was one of the best day tours I’ve ever done.

The magnificent 12 Apostles
The magnificent 12 Apostles

We travelled with ExtraGreen Holidays located in Swanston Street. Our tour guides name was Frank, and frankly (haha get it?) he was awesome. For $45 we definitely got our value for money. From 7:30am-7:30pm, we were on and off the bus and absolutely breathtaken by the spectacular views of the unique coastline of the Great Ocean Road. We were considering hiring a car and doing it ourselves, however for that value for money, we not only got there and back, but were also taught some great history lessons along the way. So in our situation, it was totally worth our money. (NOTE: The weekend special is $45, any other day can cost you up to $100).

These windy roads are not for the faint hearted. If you're prone to car sickness, be prepared.
These windy roads are not for the faint hearted. If you’re prone to car sickness, be prepared.

We stopped and had lunch at Appollo Bay for an amazing Fish and Chips feast (what else can you expect from a small coastal town?) and continued on down the windy roads with many photo stops along the way. The tour highlight include, the 12 Apostles (the most iconic part of the Great Ocean Road), Lord and George and London Bridge. Even though we willingly came to Victoria in the middle of winter, it was indeed pretty damn cold, so a good jacket and warm clothes are definitely recommended. And as Frank wisely advised us, on the Great Ocean Road, it can be sunny one minute and raining the next so always be prepared.

With so many photo stops, you'll have plenty of time to capture the perfect photo
With so many photo stops, you’ll have plenty of time to capture the perfect photo

Many of you may ask if it’s worth spending the full day on a bus to see some rocks and cliffs. If you’re spending several days in Melbourne (like we did) then yes, absolutely. It’s cost effective, exciting, adventurous, and you get to meet lots of great new people and learn about the history and making of the Great Ocean Road. However, if you’re intending on doing further travel throughout Australia and Victoria and already hire a car, it’s probably worth heading there yourself. Then you can do it at your own pace. Saying that, we were definitely given plenty of time at each spot to explore each area and take some pretty amazing photos.

The photos speak for themselves. The Great Ocean Road is definitely a must- regardless of if it’s Summer or Winter, raining or sunny, it’s going to take your breath away I can guarantee that!

Have you been here before or want to know more about it? Let me know in the comments below!

xxx A

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Tishia and I. Nothing better than going on adventures with your best friend
Tishia and I. Nothing better than going on adventures with your best friend

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A beautiful weekend in the Northern Beaches

This weekend, I was lucky enough to visit one of my friends houses on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Nature treated us to a stunning performance, as the sun dipped below the ocean, beautiful ombres of pinks, purples, golds and blues lit up the sky, I was reminded of the simple beauties of everyday life! So I thought I’d share some of these pictures with you, as a reminder that beauty is all around, and sometimes if you’ve got a friend to share the special moments with, that’s all you really need in life.

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As the day ends to rest
The sunset does its best
Setting on fire the lively waves
Colouring orange the nature he saves
its pure ancient glorious perfection.

The great ocean will receive
The burning sun who’s going to leave.
Slowly comes the night
Devouring that magic light:
we are still suspended in a great delight.

Source:
Family Friend Poems

xxx A

Mardi Gras ~ The Happiest Place On Earth

Happy Mardi Gras! And what a happy occasion it was! It was my first ever proper Mardi Gras celebration, and it wouldn’t have been complete without a tonne of glitter! This day is about equality and celebration of people from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Intersex Community.I enjoyed this magical day with my two good friends  Tishia and Dylan and these are some of my observations/conclusions from one of the biggest Mardi Gras Festivals in the world!

I felt incredibly happy. I’m not sure if it was the glitter or the ecstatic energy from the buzzing crowd but I felt so HAPPY! In fact, I felt like a real life fairy, skipping around everywhere and sprinkling glitter on everyone. This euphoric state got me questioning, ‘why can’t I feel this good everyday?’ And I guess I have no legitimate reason at all! And everyone seemed happy and thus everyone was absolutely beautiful. Whether you were wearing hot pants, leather, sequins, had glitter on your eyebrows, lips or breasts, jeans and a t-shirt or basically nothing at all, everyone looked absolutely FABULOUS! And not only were they fabulous but also lovely people. Walking up and down the parade, we talked to and met some incredible people.

All this colour and happiness and loving acceptance got me thinking about everyday life. When we’re not covered in glitter or listening to doof doof music, what happens then? I honestly believe if we lived everyday of our lives like we were at Mardi Gras (yes, glitter included), the world would be a much better and much more peaceful place. Wearing what we want to express ourselves and not being slut shamed. Talking and accepting our own and others sexuality and not be labelled as a derogatory name with associated stereotypes. Meeting new people without fear of being judged. Dancing in the street and listening to great music. And most importantly. BE OURSELVES! Why is it that for only one day we let our guard down and flaunt what we’ve got? And every other day we embody prejudice, we discriminate subconsciously, or judge others? Equality is for everyone! But unfortunately for some, they wipe their glitter off with a conservative and close minded wet blanket. We all have the right to be our own unique being on this planet, some of us just prefer a little more glitter in our lives.

Here are some photos of my night and all the sparkles!

Tishia, Me and Dylan
Tishia, Me and Dylan
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Eyebrow game on point!
Clothes are definitely optional at Mardi Gras. Glitter is compulsory!
Clothes are definitely optional at Mardi Gras. Glitter is compulsory!
We are FIERCE
We are FIERCE
Celebrating with a view
Celebrating with a view
Street Parties should happen every weekend
Street Parties should happen every weekend
Dancing all night with my best friends
Dancing all night with my best friends

xxx A