LONDON // LEEDS // YARM

OK so this vlog is super random because I kept forgetting to vlog! But I really wanted to make it because it showcases some truly amazing people I’m lucky to have in my life.

I want to give a massive shout out to everyone who put me up in the UK. Your hospitality, tour guide skills, food and company was so special. You know that when you’re in Australia next, you have somewhere to go.

You can check out my YOUTUBE CHANNEL HERE

Why Your HOUSEMATES Are A Special Kind of Friend

We all have those special friends that you share everything with. But you seem to share everything and more with the people you live with. And because of this you’ll either end up loving or hating them. Luckily for me, I’ve had the best run of luck with housemates throughout my time sharing houses and apartments. Honestly, ridiculously lucky (I hope the streak continues overseas!). But there’s just something about housemates that makes them a special kind of friend, and after just having moved out of another shared house, I’ve come to realise why your housemates are a special kind of friend.

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Nicola & Tiger, my 228 apartment housemates

They see you in every light

They’re the first to see you in the morning when your hair is a mess and you’ve got drool running down your chin. And they’re the last to see you before you go to bed, when you’ve got a facemask on, rocking your trackies and trying to hide how many biscuits you have to go with your pre-bed tea. Regardless of what time of day, your housemates are there to see you, so it’s only natural that when time’s up and you have to move out, that you feel ridiculously comfortable in front of each other.

They see you at your best and worst

Not only do your housemates see you in every light, but they see you at your highest, proudest and most excited, along with maddest, moodiest, saddest and sassiest moods. They’re there to hug you when you’re upset, laugh with you when you’re an idiot, laugh at you when you’re drunk and listen to your rants. Regardless of how you’re going, your housemates will see it all. It just goes to show how compassionate, patient and understanding your housemates are, and they’re pretty damn good qualities to have.

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Khal, Steph, Chantelle and Luke. My housemates from Unit 10 for 2015

They put up with your messy dishes, room and bathroom

Some say that the walk of shame is walking home in the morning after an all nighter. The real walk of shame is darting from your bedroom to the kitchen with a pile of dirty dishes you’ve stashed away. And regardless of whether or not you think the coast is clear, there’s always someone there to see it. Your housemates also witness the following; your underwear hanging on the balcony, your hair in the sink, your pile of dishes you’ve been putting off doing for a week and your bedroom floor becoming a wardrobe. Regardless, your housemates are there to see it all.

The walls are thin

Enough said…

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The gang

Their friends become your friends

One of the best things about moving into a house with a bunch of new people, is that there’s so many more new people to meet through them. Suddenly you’ve got your housemates friends coming over for dinner, going out for drinks together and ending up at house parties with them. It’s pretty awesome because you get to meet so many new and exciting people that you’d never normally meet.

 

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Family photo at Clarendon 9, London. 

They’d do anything for you

The best thing about becoming friends with your housemates is that they’d honestly do anything for you. Whether it’s picking you up at 3am while your friend is vomitting, listening to your stories for the 10th time, lending you their milk when you’re out, or surprise cooking you dinner, dropping you off in town, taking you grocery shopping or getting drunk with you… your housemates will always be there to do anything for you.

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Harbour cruise with the girls from iHouse 

So I’m flying out in a week, about to live with many new housemates. This post is to thank each and every person I’ve been lucky enough to live with. Our friendship means more to you than you could probably ever imagine! xoxo

The DO’S & DON’Ts of being a LONG DISTANCE Friend

So you’re heading off overseas and you’re excited as hell! And so you should be! What an awesome experience. But one of the things that suck about heading off on an adventure, is saying goodbye to all of your friends. And of course you want to maintain these friendships while you’re overseas. But believe it or not, even when you’re not in the country – you can still do things to annoy the hell out of your friends.A common fear is homesickness. So it’s only natural to want to keep your friends close. But you don’t want to get to the stage where you try to keep them so close that you suffocate them through their phone buzzing day and night at them. So here’s my quick little guide of what you can do, to be the best long distance friend. 

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Nothing like an intimate dinner date with friends before you leave. Source

DO: Have a send off

Before you head off, have a little send off with your close friends. Whether it’s a coffee sesh , drinks or a cute little dinner date, make sure you take the time to tell your friends how much they mean to you and how much you’re going to miss them. You can also take this time to share your excitement and fears. When you’re all on the same page before you’re about to leave, you’ll be much more prepared (mentally) and feel a sort of closure, a sense that you know your friends will be there for you.

Don’t: Over Message

This is probably the biggest point! We already know how annoying it is when that one friend just doesn’t stop messaging you, so why would it change anything when you’re overseas? By over messaging, not only are you going to push your friends away, but you’re going to make them think that you’re not making the most out of the opportunity you’ve got.

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DO: Look for alternatives ways to communicate

Get off of Facebook messenger and get creative! Look into Skype, Whatsapp and Viber. One of my friends and I use Whastapp to record messages and send to one another. It’s so much fun because when you listen to a message you’ve received, it feels like your friend is sitting there with you. Or go back to basics with a pen and paper. Make a cute card, write a letter or send a postcard. Whatever it is – just don’t stick with your basic messenger because that ‘ding’ sound will get very old very quick.

DON’T: Overshare your selfies

This is a hard one because of course you’re going to want to share your adventures with your friends. But there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing the same selfie face in front of a different landmark. Get creative with what you share – there’s so much out there! Instagram is my go to photo sharing site because it allows your to get creative and you can share as much as you want – it’s Instagram! Experiment with apps like Boomerang, Snapchat, Blogging or 1SE. Remember, you want to have things to talk about when you get back. Get creative, share something interesting and enjoy the moment you’re in!

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Best friends are there through it all.

THINGS TO NOTE:

It’s not all about you. Remember that your friends back home still have to deal with life’s many problems. Don’t forget that they may need to lean on you for advice and support just as much as you might need them. At the end of the day, that’s what friendship is right?

Be open to change. Naturally if you spend time away from home, things are going to change. And so will your friendships. You win some, you lose some, and those that matter will be there through it all.

So, I hope this helps you be the best friend you can be whilst you’re on your adventures overseas making new friends and keeping your friends back home!

 

 

 

3am Conversations

Do you ever find yourself engaged in an amazingly hearfelt, inspiring, personal or just damn real conversation at 3am? If you’ve ever pulled an all nighter and partied until the sun rises, then I’m going to assume that yes you have. On the weekend, I found myself sitting in the middle of a roundabout with a friend of mine and a skateboard at 3am. There were a few street lights on, and we just sat staring down the middle of the road getting lost in conversation. We talked about what inspires us, what scares us and our grand plans in life. And then I kind of learnt how to skate. I’m not sure why it happens at night, but something magical hits the air after midnight and you just seem to get lost in each others words. It was such a great and refreshing experience that I just had to share it with you! So here’s why 3am conversations are the best conversations and why you should have more of them. 

Add tea and you're ready for a greta chat. Source
Add tea and you’re ready for a greta chat. Source

Darkness offers a refuge. There’s no bright lights around, everything is cast in shadows and there’s no judgement or reason for insecurity. Darkness takes all of those away in the most comforting way. I think it also offers a small sense of rebellion. You sit there and through your peripheral vision you catch a glimpse of the time and think to yourself ‘man it’s late but I don’t even care.’ There’s something exciting about being up at 3am and it’s even better if you have someone to share that with.

Alcohol may or may not play a part. It’s no lie that alcohol helps you loosen up a bit. And it’s usually at a house party or after a night out that these conversations usually happen. You definitely don’t need alcohol to have these chats, but let’s just say as a university student, it’s quite common.

Openness. A combination of the above two things lead to you and the people you’re talking to being open, vulnerable, trusting and honest. You seem willing to share things with people that you wouldn’t normally share. More willing to delve deeper, self reflect, ask questions that you wouldn’t normally ask and know that you’re accepted for who you are. With this incredible sense of openness, you can just unleash anything onto the world.

I'd rather have a memory full of amazing moments than a house full of things. Source
I’d rather have a memory full of amazing moments than a house full of things. Source

Connection. With openness, comes connection. Whatever it is you talk about… travelling, studying, family, money, life or chocolate, talking about an issue openly creates a sense of connection with the other person. You get excited and inspired by what the other person is saying. And when you share your experiences, you see the other persons face light up with agreement. It’s such a powerful thing and this is why we must never underestimate the power of our words.

Long lasting friendship. The amount of genuinely amazing people I’ve befriended from one of these rogue 3am conversations can’t be counted. And it’s a special kind of friendship, because you’ll always look back on that one night, at 3am, when you were locked into conversation, as the moment you became friends.

Time escapes us all. You look at your watch again and suddenly its 4am, you’ve got to get up in a few hours to go to work or study and you wonder where the nights gone. The thing is, time escapes us all. In the end, we all just want a little more time. And don’t you think that time spent being open, honest and real is time well spent?

Bring 3am to 3pm… Just because these conversations happen at 3am, doesn’t mean they’re restricted to happening only at 3am. Bring a sense of openness, honesty and curiosity into every conversation you have. Be a little vulnerable and ask meaningful questions. Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.” These are the ones that people will remember you for.

When was the last time you had a 3am conversation?

How to be the BEST modern day penpal

So you’ve met some pretty awesome people throughout your travels, adventures, nights out and days here there and everywhere… now what? The amazing people that I do meet, I just can’t deal with the fact that I may not see them again. And whilst I realise this is a reality for a lot of the people I do meet, the second best thing is to keep in touch and wish them the best with their life. I like to think I’m pretty good at keeping in touch with people. And I do so because I just want them to know how much I value our friendship. So here are my ways to be the best modern day penpal with your friends around the globe!

Modern day penpals. Source
Modern day penpals. Source

Take advantage of social media. There’s no need to explain how revolutionary social media is to our everday lives. But make sure you take advantage of it. At the double tap of a finger you can like someone’s Instagram photos, send a snapchat, or like a Facebook post. Comment on someone’s photo telling them how much you see missing their face around, or just to say you’re thinking of them. While it may seem like nothing, it really does mean the world.

Make a phone call. Again, with the cost of phone calls being so cheap these days, there’s no reason you can’t call your friend (probably wouldn’t recommend for international calls but within your country, there’s no excuse). It doesn’t have to go for hours, but sometimes… just hearing the sound of someone’s voice is so comforting. It’s easier than texting back and forth, you can express your emotions and if you close your eyes, it’s almost like they’re there with you.

If it's good enough for Carrie Bradshaw, then it's good enough for all of us. Source
If it’s good enough for Carrie Bradshaw, then it’s good enough for all of us. Source

(If you can’t call your friend because they do live oversees and those fees are just too high) Record your voice. OK give me a chance to explain. I know it sounds weird but it’s actually the coolest thing to do. My friend who’s always galavanting around Europe and I usually communicate via voice recordings on Whatsapp. The time difference makes it hard to organise a skype sesh (and the quality is always shitty), and she doesn’t post much to social media because she’s so busy…. soooo sending voice recordings back and forth is the best. I usually sit on my bed and pretend as though she’s sitting at the other end. Sure it may look weird to people walking past your room and listening to you talk to yourself, but it’s the best thing to receive.

Snapchat!!! It took me a while to jump on the snapchat wagon, but now that I am, I don’t know how I didn’t live without it? I love sending snaps to my friends that I don’t get to see all the time just to fill them in on what I’ve been up to. And I love I get a snap of them on a night out with friends, or jumping on a plane, of their breakfast or when they’re hungover. It just makes me feel like I’m there with them.

(And if you’re game) Physically write a letter. Do you remember the last time you received a physical handwritten letter or postcard? You become overwhelmed with excitement, joy, intrigue and happiness! Now imagine one of your friends having the exact same reaction because of something you sent! It’s absolutely beautiful! Whilst sending parcels is like murdering your savings account, sending a letter or postcard is super cheap and the reward is absolutely priceless. I still have a whole box filled with letters, notes and postcards from friends and family, and it’s something I’m going to keep forever.

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So as much as it sucks that you’re not going to see these amazing people around everyday, by doing the above things, it will definitely keep the friendship alive.

Do you have any tips or tricks to keep in touch with your friends overseas? Let me know in the comments below?

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: SEPTEMBER

Ok 2015. You can slow down now. But seriously, how quickly has this year flown? Well I guess if it’s just going to keep on flying by, it’s important to have a quick look back on the month that was September 2015!

I’m on a BUS!!! Not sure if anything else can ever beat this one! One minute I’m on a flyer at uni, next minute… a bus! Move over Carrie Bradshaw! I’m coming for you!

Representing UOW on  a BUS!!! Carrie Bradshaw style!
Representing UOW on a BUS!!! Carrie Bradshaw style!

Welcoming Spring with a Sunrise swim. I love the fact that this is a thing! Starting a new season on the right foot by getting up early and watching the sunrise from the ocean! And if you’re with friends, it makes the freezing cold sand almost bearable!

Worth the 5:30am wake up
Worth the 5:30am wake up

Volunteering with OXFAM. For the next few months, I’m lucky enough to be involved with Oxfam, campaigning against Climate Change in support of food security and sustainable development. I’m really excited to be given such an amazing opportunity like this to become more engaged in the community and make a real difference to the world.

Hit Record TV. Firstly, i’s got Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Secondly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt! But seriously this show is soooooooo good! If you love music, art, creativity and just all round amazingness… then this is the show for you!

Glamping on the South Coast. Ok so we were planning on going camping and then we stayed at a friends holiday house so I’m going to call it glamping. It was such an awesome weekend, spending time at the beach, playing drinking games and just spending some great time with some great people!

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ASLA’s S4S Leadership Conference. I was lucky enough to attend a National Leadership conference at the University of Wollongong. I had the best weekend meeting people from all over the country, focusing on what we’re passionate about and what purpose we have. It was absolutely awesome to meet such inspiring people and really focus on what it means to be a leader.

At the S4S Conference doing our army leadership rotations.
At the S4S Conference doing our army leadership rotations.

Just generally enjoying time with great friends. This month I’ve just been so grateful for all of the wonderful people I’ve met and who are in my life right now. Whether it’s watching the Bachelorette, drinking coffee, going crazy in a study room, ordering pizza and just being there for a hug, you’re all amazing and I’m so grateful for all of your support and love.

Some of my fab friends
Some of my fab friends

Well I hope you had a fabulous September and I hope October is splendid.

These Are A Few of My Favourite Things: August

The last month of Winter! Winter I love you, but I won’t miss you at all.

Running the City2Surf. Something I’d only been dreading for months finally happened and I couldn’t have been happier at the finish line! Just helps motivate me to push my comfort zone and never stop daring to achieve something great!

At the finish line soaking up some sunshine
At the finish line soaking up some sunshine

Banks. Goddess. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this album is the real deal! Definitely helping me get through those study blues.

Sad airport trips. This month we had to say adieu to two of our favourite English exchange students. These boys know how much we’ll always love them, but it really does suck not seeing them every morning and every night. I look at the photo below and am so grateful for everyone’s unconditional friendship. You guys make me feel at home, safe and completely loved. Cheesy I know but deal with it.

Our beautiful little KB family
Our beautiful little KB family

Adventures with the family. Sadly I don’t get to see my family all that much. So when they come and visit for the weekend, we truly have the best time. We went out to the Sea Cliff Bridge which is an absolute must! Plus a lovely tour of Wollongong’s best restaurants and bars. Please come and visit more!

My sister and I on the Sea Cliff bridge
My sister and I on the Sea Cliff bridge

How to Be Parisian. One of the most beautiful little books that I own. For more reasons why I love it, read here.

My favourite French things; Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, red and black nailpolish and my gold plated Pierre Laniere watch I bought in Paris for my 19th birthday.
My favourite French things; Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, red and black nailpolish and my gold plated Pierre Laniere watch I bought in Paris for my 19th birthday.

Orange is the New Black. I have a problem. I’m addicted. Like seriously. I watched 2 seasons in just under two weeks. For anyone that’s been thinking about checking it out and has put it off (like I was) DO IT!!! Though it’s definitely not recommended during the middle of session when you have a million assignments due. But honestly, it’s such a quality show and I’m loving it!

So that’s about it from me. I’ve been ridiculously busy with work and uni so I’m glad I got to squeeze in this much excitement. September is looking even more scary with many assignments due but… just keep pushing on!

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

Have the attitude of an Exchange Student

I’ve been lucky enough to meet some incredible exchange students throughout my time of living at university college. People from all over the world who have embarked on an epic adventure to study for six months or a year are lucky enough to spend their time in beautiful Wollongong. And whilst they’re from all over the world, from many different cultures, they all have one thing in common… an incredibly positive, spontaneous and adventurous outlook on life. And whilst I’m so grateful for the friendships I’ve made, I’ll always be grateful for showing me how to truly make the most of every opportunity. And here are some of the most admirable thing about Exchange Students.

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They’re spontaneous. If you ask an exchange student what the did on the weekend, don’t expect your stock standard ‘aw, not much,’ because chances are, they actually did something awesome. ‘I went to Melbourne… road tripped up the coast… went camping in the Blue Mountains… went skydiving…’ Exchange students are always doing the unexpected, saying yes and have their bags pakced just in time to get on the next train to, well, anywhere. Their answers will leave you reconsidering your saturday night Sex & the City marathon.

They’re productive and balanced. When they’re not jetsetting around the country, they’re busy doing everything else the physically have time for. Playing sports (and trying new ones), being involved with clubs, going out every second Wednesday night, going hiking, surfing, swimming, exploring… And then on top of that, they get all of their assignments done. It must be the all rounded balance that they have in their lives which keeps them motivated and lifted, and this is one of the biggest traits that I’m trying to adopt myself.

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They’re positive and optimistic. Maybe it’s because they’re free to reinvent themselves in a new country, but most exchange students tend not to dwell on the little problems that life throws at you. Instead, they’ll look at the bigger picture and think ‘hey, it’s not so bad, look at where I am, in a beautiful country with so many opportunities and I’m stressing out about a little essay.’ It’s such an beautiful outlook to have on life because it’s so easy to worry and worry and worry even more about all the little things. But instead, we should just take one big step back, take a deep breath and try to look on the bright side.

They’re ridiculously friendly. You say hello and introduce yourself and next minute, you’re talking about travelling and your favourite country/city/food. They’re all open minded because they’ve travelled across the world to study and here to make friends.

(One of the bonuses) You’ll have a lounge to crash on in the future. Think of all the people you know from all of those countries around the world and all of the lounges that are just waiting to be slept on. Plus you’ll have a local tourguide to show your around. It’s a win-win situation.

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They’re focused and driven. They’ve obviously got their shit together. They’ve organized a semester or two to study at another university (and as someone currently going through this process, it’s time consuming and difficult), plus accommodation, living expenses and travel plans to organise, as well as doing something which will positively contribute towards their degree and future… they’ve definitely got a bigger plan. It’s incredibly motivating because it’s something I also want to achieve and lucky for me, I have awesome people to show me how it’s done.

But the WORST thing about Exchange Students… Despite all these amazing qualities about all these incredible people, why do they love you then leave you?! You create an awesome friendship and even more awesome memories… and then they leave! So to all the wonderful exchange students out there, past present and future, if you could just fix one tiny little flaw for me, that’d be great… please don’t leave!

*Dedicated to all my incredible exchange friends here and across the world. Can’t wait to crash on your lounge some time soon.

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xxx A