Monday, 30 June 2014

52 Lists // Week 27 - In My Bag

1. My diary
2. Chanel lipstick
3. My car keys
4. My purse
5. Sunglasses
6. iPad
7. Snackajacks
8. Handcream


Sunday, 29 June 2014

TRAVEL: Minyon Falls, Nimbin and driving across the NSW/QLD border

Deeply sad to leave Byron Bay, we packed up our van and checked out of the Arts Factory.  
We were advised by a guy on the desk to drive to Nimbin, claimed to be Australia's Amsterdam, via Minyon Falls. DON'T DO IT!! We set off, aimlessly driving as roads were closed and it was miles and miles away. Determined to get there still, myself and Hannah managed to navigate our way there (we didnt buy a satnav as there was no real need - more on this at a later date). We ended up practically off-roading the campervan (naughty us!) up into the rainforest. It was a bit scary, we weren't really sure where we were going and we couldnt really turn back in the end. 

We arrived, in the middle of the rainforest, to Minyon Falls...except there were no 'falls' just dried up rocks where the probably used to be a waterfall. Nice one Arts Factory Guy - 1/2 tank of fuel used, two hours of our time and disappointment at the end.

We stayed all of ten minutes, got back in the van and begun the scary offroading once more. Oh, and we met some wild horses along the way...

We finally made it back to safe road when the petrol light came on...BRILLIANT. Now, my Parents have laughed at me since I was little but I have an irrational fear of the petrol light coming on. Always have done and this worry hasnt left me in nearly 23 years. We were in the middle of nowhere, ages away from the next town...with no  fuel. We somehow made it to the tiny village of Dunnan to the smallest little shed hosting the only unleaded petrol pump for hours - thank god for Dunnan!

We filled up and set off for Nimbin. We had been told great things about Nimbin so were keen to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately for us, we had been cursed with bad weather, so we arrived in Nimbin to a constant downpour for hours.

Nimbin is NOT like Amsterdam. It is home to a lot of creepy, weird people. Every other person is obviously selling marajuana, VERY illegal in Australia but the people of Nimbin somehow get away with offering it to every person that passes them, with their police station smack bang in the middle of the town. The atmosphere isnt relaxed like Amsterdam, you feel like you are on tender hooks the whole time you are there. These creepy people dont look just high, they look like the kind of people you would see in an episode of Breaking Bad begging Jesse and his pals for another hit of 'the good stuff'. 

I'm not a prude and I am definitely not naive, but the vibe of Nimbin was not a pleasant one; give me Amsterdam any day! My boyfriend assures me that the history of the place is very interesting etc. but the people just creeped me out a tad!

From Nimbin we were headed for Surfers Paradise and I could not wait to get out of that place! The bad weather was set in for the day and it meant a rather scary drive through the hills, filled with heavy rain, thick fog and steep drops. I did, however, drive us over the NSW/QLD border, which was weirdly exciting. I still cant believe some days that I live in this country now, even if only temporary.

Not the best of days as you can gather. I have met people that love Nimbin, but I seriously question their rationality with that judgement...


Monday, 23 June 2014

52 Lists // Week 26 - Life Essentials

1. A good cup of tea
2. Country walks and fresh air
3. Home comforts - not materialistic things, just the sense of being 'home'
4. My handful of reliable, incredible people - and feeling wanted and appreciated
5. Alone time every now and then - sometimes I just need to switch off from the hectic
6. Company - yes, time alone is great but I'm a girl that loves having company
7. Cinnamon and Raisin bagels with Nutella
8. Avocados - Avo love is a way of life
9. Time to cook and bake
10. Reading material - be it a novel, a blog, a magazine - I love having the resources to learn more or the inspiration 


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

52 Lists // Week 25 - Let Go

1. Things and people that make me unhappy
2. Negative thoughts
3. My need to eat Nutella/Peanut Butter out of the jar with a spoon
4. Past worries affecting future happenings
5. Not just me - most women -the mind set that cutting foods out helps lose weight/you remain slim - the key is regular exercise, a balanced diet and a little of EVERYTHING in moderation!


Thursday, 12 June 2014

LIFE: Lately

Image Source: Pinterest

I can't hide the fact that lately, things feel a little overwhelming.

I've just returned from 9 months away; travelling, sightseeing, experiencing all of the exciting things the world has to offer. I'm now back in Nottingham, living at home, looking for jobs and trying to be 'money conscious' with the little bit I have left. Not ideal, you say? Yes, well, I know. 

I got back just over a week ago now and in all honesty...I haven't done a great deal that can be deemed productive. The thought of sitting down at my laptop to update my CV, write various covering letters tailored to different types of jobs, then actually APPLY for these jobs strikes a little bit of fear in me.

Since being back I've caught up with a great deal of people, been to Parklife in Manchester, been to Sheffield not once but twice, rejoined the gym, decided I'm going to start training to run a marathon and pretty much anything to avoid realising I'm back in 'the real world'. 

This isn't a new realisation for me, but the first time I've actually been honest about it; I'm not great at sticking to things. I will decide on something, think it's the best idea for all of a few weeks (a few months if I'm lucky) then it will gradually fade away. I'm hoping the whole marathon malarkey won't be like this but past evidence shows, it could. I've managed to stick at blogging for over a year now, mostly because I love it and I have A LOT to say; I know people read it (still a shocker!) but I like to have a place to waffle on about where I've been, how I'm feeling, what I've been doing etc. The problem that now occurs to me in terms of blogging is - I don't think my blog is good enough. I really do feel I don't put enough effort into my content, how quickly I manage to publish things...even the design of it (unprofessional, sloppy - I don't like!). Life just gets in the way, ya know? But I don't want that to always be my excuse because, lets face it, I can quite happily laze in bed/on the sofa/on a beanbag binge-watching the new season of Orange is the New Black but I can't bring myself to type up a blog post and help my lovely, loyal readers with their travels/experiments in the kitchen/bore them with the goings on in my head - it's not because I don't appreciate you guys or enjoy delivering my waffling blog posts to you - I'm just lazy. Plain and simple. As I'm getting older, I've come to realise I can't take on everything, I really try to and I'm not great at it. There are SOO many things I want to do but I'm ridiculously impatient, so I lose interest or convince myself my idea wasn't well thought out. 

Take this morning for example - I've been sat researching cookery courses and masterclasses. I've found a cracking deal for a Macaroon Masterclass. HOWEVER, is this a wise expenditure at this current moment - no, no it is not. Do I still want to do this? Yes, of course BUT it frustrates the hell out of me that I can't just click that 'book now' button and have something to look forward to. I'm one of those people, I HAVE to have plans. I get fidgety and irritable if I don't have things to do, which then puts other things on the backburner (learn how to perfect a macaroon or apply for serious jobs and face that scary 'C' word (career!)) 

You see the vicious circle I'm in? Maybe not...Do I just think I'm in a vicious circle?

I have a billion and one blog posts I want to write for you guys, really I do. When will I do them? As soon as I can. I have endless travel posts to write (I have a notebook with a list of places to write about, things to see - it's as long as both my arms - and longer!), I have restaurants all over Australia that I NEED to tell you about, recipes I've been whipping up in the kitchen that I know you'll love. There just aren't enough hours in the day - can you imagine how overwhelming this will all feel when I ACTUALLY have a job?! No, neither can I. How do people do it? Run these top 100 blogs, have a full time job and then even throw marriage/children into the mix - I salute all of you!

I've told you before I'm a list maker. I now have a to do list, a job related to do list, a blog to do list, a life to do list, a gym classes to attend list, a schedule of marathon training list - SO MANY LISTS. And, that darling boyfriend of mine is flying home you know what's going to happen, these lists are going to go completely out of the window for at least a week.

When will I learn? Unorganised Chaos down to a t.


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

52 Lists // Week 24 - Things to be excited about

1. My boyfriend returning home after weeks and weeks of not seeing one another

2. The lovely weather - a little sunshine makes wonders to the day

3. Planning my next trip (so sensible before I'm working)

4. Starting my new health and fitness malarkey - it's nice to have something to aim for

5. Moving into my own place in the near future

6. Getting back in the kitchen and cooking up a storm - oh, I've missed it!

7.  A potential trip to Sheffield this weekend

8. The novelty of being back at home - travel has my heart but there's nothing like returning home to familiarity, your loved ones and a big, comfy bed!


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

TRAVEL: The Journey

I write this towards the end of my 14 hour flight from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi, listening to a song that holds memories (for several reasons) and really sums up my trip and my state of being over recent years.I have just finished watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a film I didn't give a chance on the first watch, but his life of playing it safe, finally taking on the words his magazine lives by going on a big adventure - I can relate to that. Sometimes it takes a big experience, a leap of faith and a delve into the unknown to truly get to grips with life, what's right for you and what isn't.

I made a very last minute decision to leave Australia and come home. Many have voiced their opinions but it truly is the best thing for my happiness. I love Australia, my life there, the places I've seen but as I've said recently, between now and the end of my visa, I wouldn't have chosen to travel anymore. Why? I have seen so many wonderful things that I want to savour those memories. I want a little reality for a while to earn some money, plan my next trip and truly appreciate the experiences of life as a backpacker.

Am I excited to be returning back to England after 9 months? I am. Nobody knows apart from my best friend collecting me from the airport and one or two others (I'm a terrible secret keeper!) Life at home will be different - for one, I will not be commuting to and from Sheffield daily and tiring myself out, I won't be living with friends - I will be in my house, with my room, with less darting around. Home holds all sorts of new, unknown possibilities for me and that is very exciting.

Do I plan to travel again? I do. My boyfriend and I have discussed it - even if it's a few short hauls to begin with, that's still exciting. There is so much of Europe I want to see and I'm determined to get to Morocco in the next 12 months. We've spoken about returning to New Zealand to see the South Island too, something I definitely need to do over a summer and the winter - sunshine and skiing!

On reflection, I may not have seemingly changed to other people but in myself, i have had a shift of thought, a hunger to be a little selfish, to do and see the things I want to. Over my travels I have realised life truly is too short; I lost a good friend of mine during my time away - she was too young and I still can't get my head around the whole thing. I remember her face the day I told her I had left behind the things that were making me unhappy and I had booked my one way flight to Bangkok. I even remember what she said.

The world is a big, beautiful place and I intend to see as much of it as I possibly can.

I have another flight Abu Dhabi to Dublin, Dublin to Manchester (god knows why, Etihad's crazy flight) until I meet my best friend in arrivals. 

I left New Zealand two weeks ago to return to Melbourne feeling deflated and a little lonely as I was leaving my boyfriend and the person that had managed to make me come out of shell again. I leave Melbourne to England full of anticipation for what the future holds. I know it won't be necessarily easy - adjusting to 'real life' will really take some time and I know there will be moments I wail 'Why did I leave Australia?!' but I return with the support of somebody I know will be with me for a long time, my family, my friends, memories that will stay with me forever and a better sense of self than when I left - a broken and confused little girl, now slightly patched together and a little more 'fixed'. I've been on an adventure I can't possibly explain to everybody in detail.

Explore. Dream. Discover. 
This life is what you make of it.


N.B. posted after my arrival home (couldn't risk spoiling the surprise now, could I?)

Over the next few weeks I will be telling you in detail about my adventures. If there are any posts you would like with any advice I can give you about planning your own trip, please contact me on Twitter or Facebook.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

52 Lists // Week 23 - Summer To Do List

1. Strawberry picking - it reminds me of being little and escaping for a day with my Grandad

2. A little trip away - more than likely to Amsterdam if all goes according to plan

3. Days out - plenty of them

4. Upping my fitness - a boring one I know but I'm determined

5. The Colour Run (unofficial) in August in Sheffield

6. Making the most of the lovely weather when we are graced with it

7. Plenty of catch ups now with friends