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: JULY

July!!! One of my favourite months of the year! Always because… well, it’s my birthday in July. Usually it’s always cold on my birthday because at the moment in Australia it’s about 10degrees (even colder). But this month, July in France has been sunny and superbly spectacular. I can’t believe how quickly the month has gone and how much I’ve squeezed into just 31 days! Voilà, here are my favourite things from this month!

THE UK

It feels like a lifetime ago now, but at the beginning of the month I was still in the UK. Those last few days were so special because I got to see some very special familiar faces. First was James & Beth in Leeds. I met James in 2013 at a Green Day concert in London and we kept in touch. In 2013 I visited him in Harrogate and was introduced to his friends and his (now girlfriend) Beth. 3 years later I was staying with them at their gorgeous place just outside of Leeds.

Then I went to a quaint little town called Yarm which is home to one of the greatest Englishmen I’ve ever met… Khal!!! Khal was my housemate in Wollongong last year so it was very special to be able to meet his family, his twin Jaz, and see his home town. I can’t wait to see him again in Australia one day soon!

After a few nights up North, I ventured back to London and out to Essex to see Jack, a guy that was in my Politics class in Wollongong. It was cool seeing a new part of the country, and one of the oldest parts of England. His father and him kindly dropped me off at the bus stop in town the next day so I could get to the airport.

I’m extremely grateful to all of these people who put me up and went above and beyond to make me feel at home. If you even need a place to crash and a friendly face in Australia, you know where I am.

La Rochelle

La Rochelle was the place I called home from the 3rd of July. La Rochelle is probably one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen in my life and to be able to call that place home and live with an absolutely incredible woman. It was definitely an experience I’m never going to forget. I blogged each week in La Rochelle and you can read them here.

Week 1 

Week 2 

Week 3 

Week 4 

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PARIS

Hands down, the best weekend here in France was when I went to Paris for the weekend with my American friends. We stayed in Montmartre and just wandered the streets, drank cocktails and wine, went to the Sacre Cœur and just enjoyed the beautiful weather and atmosphere that Paris has to offer. The highlight was when we went on a river cruise at sunset. It was one of the most spectacular things I’ve even seen and I’m so glad I got to spend it with such special people.

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Île de Ré

Île de Ré is an island just off the coast of La Rochelle and one of the most unexpected surprises of living in La Rochelle. It’s connected by a huge bridge which makes getting there extremely easy. If you have a car, you can venture further around the island and get to more secluded and beautiful beaches. My first weekend in La Rochelle, Delphine took me to Ars-en-Ré, La Flotte and some secret beaches. It was at this moment that I realised that I was kind of on holidays.  I also went to Île de Ré for Bastille Day, one hot afternoon, my birthday and with my Dad to Saint-Martin.  It’s such a beautiful place which screams à la mode and chic! It’s definitely one of my favourite places I got to discover.

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My Dad Arriving

On Thursday the 28th July, my Dad arrived in La Rochelle! It was so cool and I still don’t think it’s really sunk in that we’re actually in France together! On the 29th it was his birthday and we went out to dinner with Delphine to one of my favourite restaurants in La Rochelle The Cave. We had beer, wine, wine and more wine, along with cheese, cheese and even more cheese! It was such a lovley evening and I hope I was able to make his birthday a memorable and special one.

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Delphine, me and my Dad

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FRIENDS

Now I’m all for solo travel etc, but sometimes, there’s just nothing better than sharing a special moment with the people around you. And I’m so lucky that I got to meet some absolutely incredible people from all over the world! Let the pictures tell you our stories, but all you need to know is how grateful I am that I can call these people my friends.

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TUNES

One of the hardest things about travelling is trying to keep on top of your music and making sure you’re up to date on the latest tunes. So when in doubt, just bulk download and then you can spend all of those hours on trains and buses discovering the music you’ve downloaded.

This month I’ve been loving Vallis Alps. They’re just super chilled and also work perfectly for Youtube videos. (you can check it out here).

Chance the Rapper! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! That’s the best thing about long bus/train rides, it gives you time to discover some of those tunes you downloaded but haven’t got a chance to listen to yet! My fave songs are ‘same drugs’ and ‘no problem’

 

FLICKS

Because I’ve been so busy, I haven’t actually had a chance to watch any movies (except for Finding Nemo in French – that was pretty cool). But I did watch Season 4 of Orange is The New Black!!! If you’ve seen this season let me know because I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT IT!!! It’s killing me not being able to grab someone’s hand and say ‘OMG!” Legit one of my favourite shows out there and I’d recommend it to anyone!

QUOTES

This one comes from the beautiful Delphine. Présent. It’s a reminder that every day is a new day. That there’s no use worrying and stressing over what’s to come or what has been, because we just need to focus on the now. On today. And trying to make today as good as it can be. And if it’s not good, then that’s ok. Because tomorrow is another day, and there’s a new présent to live in.

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July – you have been incredible. I’m so excited and kinda scared by how excited I am to see what August has in store for me. Whatever it is – I know it’s going to be spectacular.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: JULY

July is personally my favourite month. Not only because it’s my birthday, but because it’s the middle of winter. And before you jump to ‘you actually like winter?’ let me give you this. Winter in Australia is beautiful! We’re blessed with crisp, cold yet sunny days and whales migrating up our coast. And of course, the minor factor that it was my 21st birthday. So quick recap on one of my favourite months of the year, July.

The Swans Game at the SCG. No AFL game is complete without beer and good people to watch it with. I watched the game with my little brother and my Mum and then spent the next morning exploring Newtown. A must for anyone visiting Sydney for a weekend.

Watching the Swans beat Port Adelaide at the SCG
Watching the Swans beat Port Adelaide at the SCG

Hiking Mount Kiera. This has been on my to do list for over a year and I finally did it! Just over an hour of sweating and reconsidering life, I was breathtaken by the stunning view of Wollongong and the ocean. A must for anyone living on the South Coast.

Hiking Mount Kiera, Wollongong
Hiking Mount Kiera, Wollongong

How To Be Parisian- Wherever You Are. I received this book as a birthday present from one of my best friends and it’s one of the most beautiful little books I think I’ve ever picked up. A must for anyone who dreams of Paris a little too much.

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Miguel’s New Ablum. Give it a listen. You definitely won’t regret it!

My 21st Birthday! So someone, somewhere at some time apparently decided that once we turn 21, we are mature, an adult, responsible etc… and then it’s your 21st birthday party, there’s beer bongs, Jager bombs, jelly shots, vodka and an epic hang over the next morning. I had friends from far and wide come down and it just meant every so much to me that I got to share such a special day with such special people.

My friends Morgan and my sister Elizabeth helping me celebrate my birthday in style
My friends Morgan and my sister Elizabeth helping me celebrate my birthday in style

MELBOURNE!!! I cannot express how much of an awesome time I had in Melbourne with my bestest friend! To see all of the amazing shenanigans we got up to, read here.

Tishia and I exploring the Great Ocean Road
Tishia and I exploring the Great Ocean Road

The Rocks Aroma Coffee Festival. A Festival. Dedicated. To. Coffee. Enough. Said.

Coffee festival with my amazing friends
Coffee festival with my amazing friends

My awesome retro Electra bike. Because I have the coolest parents ever, they bought me this beautiful bike for my 21st. When most people get latops, money, holidays, whatever…. I got this wicked bike! And I’m not even being sarcastic at all! Watch out for me around Wollongong.

My beautiful blue Electra
My beautiful blue Electra

And these are some of the things that made my month awesome. Until next time!

xxx A