Sunshine Blogger Award

One of my favourite things about blogging is the community it creates. You find yourself reading, befriending and caring about the blogs you read and the people behind them. And then every now and again you’re rewarded with a kind praise and ‘keep it up’ with a blogging award. Now these things are super informal and don’t have much significance in the traditional sense of an award. But DAMN do these mean so much to people (like me) who blog for the love of blogging and feel that their words have impacted someone’s life in a positive way #thedream. 

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to “bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”

So more of less, the lovely Little Sunshine, nominated me (you can check out her awesome blog here). She’s asked me 10 questions which I’ll answer below. Then I need to nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 10 questions as well. It’s a great way to get to know a little more about me and continue contributing to the amazing blogging community I’m a part of.

Ready? Let’s Do It!

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Some bright sunshine-ness quote to get this post started

1. What is your biggest dream?

Admitting to your biggest dream is scary, because it means putting it out into the world. Which means you’re somewhat accountable. But honestly, one of my deepest, biggest dreams is to write a book and have it published. That would honestly be unreal and a dream come true!

2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ooooh this is a tough one! There’s sooooo many places such little time. At the moment I’m going to say EGYPT, my best friend is there at the moment and she’s making me incredibly jealous! But it’s somewhere I’ve always been fascinated with. I want to learn about their history and their present. It’s a country with so energy and creativity that I really want to experience first hand.

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My beautiful best friend living life to the fullest and exploring Egypt

3. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

Extrovert all the way. I have introvert tendancies because give me a book and a cup of tea any night and I won’t leave my room, but damn I’m pretty outgoing and I’m quite proud of it.

4. Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?

Well at the moment I’m studying in Montreal on exchange. I don’t think that idea ever crossed my mind but I sure am happy here. For me going to university was something I always wanted to do. Not only to further my education but to grow, learn and meet people who will challenge and encourage me. And so far, that’s exactly what university has provided me.

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Some of my amazing friends I’ve been lucky enough to meet through university

5. Do you usually follow your heart or your head?

I’m a low key hopeless romantic and always follow my heart. Sometimes I have to follow my head, but for big decisions, I’m going to follow that crazy thing pumping away in my chest.

6. What are you most thankful for?

The opportunities and experiences I’ve been blessed with. Words really can’t describe how grateful I am for the people who have guided and encouraged me to bravely pursue my dreams.

7. What’s on your bucket list this year?

Well considering that the year’s nearly over, I think I might change this one to next year. I think I want to do the City2Surf again next year and I really want to learn how to surf!

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Attempting to surf in San Sebastian, Spain

8. What´s your favourite food ever?

I love Japanese food! Hit me with that salmon sashimi, ramen and dumplings any day and you’ll find a very happy Adelaide.

9. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve received a lot of good advice lately, but I think the thing that stands out the most at the moment was said to me by Ben Brown, when we met at Buffer Festival. He said that we’re all just trying to figure out what we’re doing. That we make mistakes, we learn, we improve and life goes on. That we shouldn’t stress over the little stuff because it’s the big stuff we should focus on and go after.

10. Which of the places you’ve traveled to inspired you the most, and why?

Oh damn this is a tough one! Edinburgh really inspired my creative spirit and it’s a feeling that I carry with me to this day. I have to admit that Paris is eternally inspiring. There really is something magical about that city that makes me want to be the best I can be and soak up all the beauty that city has to offer.

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Jardin de Tuilleries, Paris

OK so here’s some bloggers that I’m absolutely loving. To all of you, please keep up the amazing work! Your posts inspire me and many other in more ways than you’d know. The world (and the internet) need your voices so keep on spreading your sunshine.

  1. The Nigerian Nomad
  2. Journal By Assia
  3. Me Myself and Everything Else
  4. Expand the Horizon
  5. Evelina
  6. Samantha In Transit
  7. Roving Lioness
  8. What Makes Mary
  9. Sweet Jini
  10. Ella Sykes Blog
  11. Anges Voyage

Alright… so now… my questions are below. Hopefully they provoke thought and you enjoy answering them.

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Sending some love to you all
  1. What’s your ideal Saturday night consist of?
  2. Where would you love to live in the world?
  3. Where do you think is the most peaceful place you’ve visited and why?
  4. Mountains or ocean?
  5. If you could have any superpower what would it be?
  6. What advice would you give to yourself at age 16?
  7. Where’s your happy place?
  8. What’s one thing you can’t leave your house without?
  9. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
  10. If you could be president or prime minister of your country for one day, what would you do?

[If you’re not sure what to do, read below]

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers for this award
  4. Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated
  5. Notify the bloggers you nominated

16 Things I Want To Achieve in 2016

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

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Dream a little bigger darling. Source

1. Watch less TV shows, read more books

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

2. Limit my coffee spending.

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

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

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

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

4. Be a vegetarian.

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

5. Ride my bike more often.

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

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My beautiful blue Electra

6. Maintain and improve my French.

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

7. TRAVEL! 

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

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Travel planning goals. Source

8. Volunteer.

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

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

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

 

10. Try something new

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

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New adventures await. Source 

11. Say Yes!

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

12. Be thankful, and show it.

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

13. Couchsurf.

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

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Of course continue blogging. Source

14. Eat. Sleep. Blog. Repeat. 

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

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

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

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Source. 

16. Own It!

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

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

Why It’s Important to Follow Your Heart

I know, I know. It’s more clichéd than a boy meets girls story, but like this classic Disney plot line, there’s a reason why they’re so popular and important. Because it’s true! If you’re anything like me, and care about others, are ambitious, like taking risks, go adventuring, meeting new people…. Then following your heart can take you further than you could imagine.

I think it’s important to do so because your heart is your emotional side whereas your brain is the logical side. Logic can only get you so far. But compassion, empathy, understanding and emotion are driven by those electric urges that pulsate from our hearts. And it is these qualities that can push our comfort zones, open you up to new and exciting experiences, all whilst having a great support network around you. So here are some of the reasons why it’s so important to follow your heart, and those gut instincts and little voices that keep speaking to us.

The magnificent 12 Apostles
Following my heart to the magnificent 12 Apostles

Logic doesn’t always make sense.

If logic tells you to go to university and study commerce, work 60 hours a week, save money for a house… all whilst you’re unhappy in these situations, you’re heart doesn’t understand. Why suffer through something that ‘seems’ right and is ‘supposed’ to be right, when you’re unsatisfied? Sounds like a pretty boring life to me. Instead, focus on doing things that satisfy your wants and needs. Do things that make you happy.

Your heart knows what you want.

I’m a big believer in having goals, dreams, ambitions and values. And they’re stored in your heart. By staying true to the above, this will keep you going through the harder or more stressful times.

Others are here to support you.

Friends and family can help you through those harder times by usually reminding you of your focus or dreams. It’s so reassuring sharing these with loved ones, because once they know and you come to them a bit stressed or overwhelmed, they can always offer a shoulder to lean on and advice to keep striving to achieve your dreams.

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My heart taking me to London

Your heart can rescue you

If you find yourself in an awkward, uncomfortable or unknown situation or cycle, take a step back and ask yourself if this is helping contribute the person you want to be and what you want to achieve. Ask yourself how you got yourself into this situation. Was it an accident? Was it unexpected? Was it a misunderstanding? By asking yourself these questions, it will hopefully help you avoid these situations in the future.

At the end of the day, you’ve got to be happy with you.

Throughout life, it’s important to stay true to yourself. There’s nothing wrong with being selfish and doing something that you need to do. Whilst at the time you may feel awful or confused, if it’s something that will make you happier in the long run, you just need to bite the bullet and do it. Future you will thank you for your bravery.

Whilst I realize this all seems very cheesy, sometimes you really just need some cheesy words of advice to get you through. I know the past few weeks have been extremely stressful for not only myself but many of my friends and by listening to my heart, it helps reassure myself that I’m on track and happy underneath it all.

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My heart and adrenaline taking me to the edge of my comfort zone

15 Things I Want to Achieve in 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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COFFEE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you hoping to achieve next year?

xxx A

A smile is a smile by any other name

It doesn’t take much to make me smile

Oh no, not much at all

For a smile should cross your lips as quickly and as easy as remembering the tune to your favourite song.

And a smile can stretch from ear to ear or perhaps just quiver above your chin.

Maybe you hide your teeth behind your lips to try and hold the excitement in,

But for me, my crocodile smile is always on show, creeping across the bridge of my nose so that my eyes squint and my cheeks ache.

 

It doesn’t take much to make me smile,

Oh no, not much at all

A simple hello, a fluffy white puppy, a blueberry muffin or a warm and sweet coffee.

A kiss on the cheek from the ones that I love, a hug, a handshake and sunshine above.

Painting your nails a bright, bold colour, getting to the train station one minute before departure, a text from your friend to say g’day, being woken up early on Christmas Day.

Finishing a book, cooking dinner, submitting an assignment, and getting a distinction.

When my favourite song plays on Triple J, when I arrive back home and look out over the Bay, going to sleep before midnight, and knowing that when I wake up… everything will be alright.

 

Sometimes I smile when I’m happy, even when I’m nervous or trying to be brave. Some days I don’t know if I can smile because the sunshine is gone and the clouds are grey.

But I now know a secret, something that will break a frown, when someone smiles at you, don’t look at the ground.

Look them in the eye and let that smile infect you, until you hear your favourite song ring through your mind and a smile sweeps across your face.

Then pass that smile on, you never know how much someone will need it.

xxx

A

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Dangerous Words

‘No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.’ – Dead Poets Society

Whilst sipping my coffee and exchanging gossip with a friend at uni today, we stumbled across two words which can destroy dreams.

SHOULD and CAN’T

Should – used to indicate obligation, duty or correctness

Can’t (Cannot/Can not) – not able

In life, we are constantly told to dream big, follow our dreams, be true to ourselves, discover who we really are and want to be etc. But not many people warn us of the little insecurities that creep into our minds and eat away at our seemingly untouchable dreams. Many times in my life, I’ve found my self saying ‘I can’t’ or ‘I should/shouldn’t do that.’ But why? I know that I should do the dishes when I go home, I should be nice and respectful, should work hard and should spend less time on Facebook. These are things I think I should do because they are things that I truly value (and I don’t think Mum would be too happy with a sink full of dirty dishes).

Life seems to throw a lot of should’s around. You should finish high school. Get a high ATAR. Go to university. Get HD’s. Study hard. Balance a healthy social, physical, work life. Eat healthy. Graduate. Get a job. Get some life experience for that job. Get married. Have children. Get a promotion to pay for your kids…. the list goes on (refer to clichéd Hollywood films for more should’s).

But the thing is, no one should do anything. The things that I have done in my life so far have been a mixture of should’s and want’s… and I think want is a much more powerful world than should. I want to travel the world. I want to be at university. I want to have a thriving social life. I want to do well. I want to graduate. I want to travel the world some more. I want to learn a language. I want to fall in love. I want to always be happy and free, and the only way to do that is to believe you can!

There’s only a few things that I can’t do on this earth. Fly (though there’s ways to come close that), walk through walls, keep my room clean (I’ve tried and that is something I physically cannot do), understand hatred, ever love stingrays or breathe underwater (though there’s ways to achieve that too). The point is, even the most out of this world, insane, crazy, ridiculous idea can be made possible.

You want to read every book on earth? Start reading. You want to be a musician? Start playing. You want to go to the moon? Study and work really hard and become an astronaut (or if you’re really lucky, win a trip there… thank you Richard Branson). And me… what am I doing to overcome these insecurities that sometimes shadow my dreams? Firstly, I write them down and accept them. Then I develop a way in which I can make it happen… and do it. Right now, my big goal is to go on exchange in 2016. I remember thinking ‘ooh no I can’t, I won’t have enough money.’ Well, now I have a job and plan to work my ass off over Christmas to save save save so that I CAN achieve my goal.

The only things that you should do is tell yourself that you can achieve anything your heart desires, if you have the courage to pursue it!

x

A

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