Thursday, 14 May 2015

Balcony Dreaming

These images make me want to decorate my balcony, pronto! Right now all I have out there is our little potted lemon tree (Raul), some solar fairy lights, and a BBQ. I've thought about a little table and chairs but now I'm planning big floor cushions, blankets, pillows, some lanterns. A place to sit and drink a morning coffee and ponder the day ahead, and then curl up in the evening with a book and a cold glass of white wine.

I love that, like my balcony, these don't all have great views, but they've fully made the most of the space to create little outdoor havens. Who needs a garden, right? Do you have an outdoor space, and what have you done with it? X

Image sources: 1 (unknown), 2, 3, 4, 5

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

10 Things to love about Melbourne

I've been in Melbourne for almost 3 months now. It's weird, in many ways I still feel like I'm on holiday even though I'm working everyday, because everything is new and exciting still. But when living somewhere rather than just being on holiday, you start to notice the little things. Little quirks that are different to home like the way you can't buy alcohol in supermarkets, and you can only get salted popcorn in the cinema. So I've put together a list of the things that I love here. No doubt there will be a 'Things I miss from London' post to follow at some point.

Nowhere in the world does smashed avo on toast as well as Melbourne does. My colleague gave me a long list of breakfast places that I apparently need to try, so I'm slowly working my way through them. I'm in love with Three Bags Full (also within stumbling distance of home, winner), Cafe Azul, Breakfast Thieves, and Manchester Press so far. Next on my list are Top Paddock, Hardware Societe, Big Little Sugar Salt, and Journey Man. And there are many many more...

I love being able to drive for an hour in one direction and be surrounded by mountains, or in another direction and be on a long white beach.

Commuting and travelling around London I always felt like I was on a mission. To rush past people, jostle onto the tube first, get ahead on the escalator... there is none of that here. Maybe because hopping on and off trams is more relaxed, but also there just aren't the sheer crowds and it's so nice!

I love the interior design shops here. Australians aren't afraid to use colour, and the designs and patterns are so quirky. There are many more independent brands (though you do see the same ones stocked in all the little boutiques) and it's so nice to see.

Melbourne restaurants make me feel normal! As in, I can look at the menu like everyone else around the table and the waiters don't look at me blankly when I tell them I'm coeliac. It makes eating out enjoyable again. Also the cafe across from my work does THE best GF blondies. Though this isn't great for my health...

They've mostly closed in the evenings for the Winter now but coming from Thailand, exploring Vic Markets and South Melbourne Markets at night made it feel like we were still travelling. There's something amazing about eating street food and browsing stalls in the fresh air at 8pm.

Well, it's Australia so this had to come in. Melbourne is known to be colder and more rainy than most of Australia, but coming from the UK it's a breeze. It's coming into Winter but when the sun comes out it's still beautifully warm.

I guess this comes with better weather, but it's so nice to have more outdoor seating, rooftop bars, BBQs in the garden...

I've never really been a coffee drinker but now I'm addicted! People here don't let anything get in the way of their coffee.

And the stars. Growing up in London I'm not too bothered by pollution but it feels super fresh here.

What are your favourite things about the place that you live? X

Monday, 20 April 2015

3 Favourite Australian Blogs

Before I moved to Australia I decided to track down some Australian blogs to get me in the mood. I actually think there are less (lifestyle/design) bloggers down here than in the UK, unless I just haven't come across them yet. Please shoot across any suggestions you have! These are three that I love reading on a regular basis.

The Sunday Chapter

Angela's content covers everything from healthy treats and how-tos, to lists and interior inspiration. However everything she posts is put together so beautifully and consistently that it's so easy to get sucked in! She posts pretty much daily, which I also love. I followed the skinny green smoothie recipe for breakfast on Friday and it was YUM. I adored this bedroom inspiration post, and I really want to make these amazing-looking protein energy bites! 

Let Us Wanderlust

Carly's blog is all about her passion for travel and she has great tips for it, too. My favourite is her post on beating post-holiday blues. This is such a real thing! I love Carly's little life updates and following the progress of her wedding planning, so exciting!

The Littlest Things

This is also a lifestyle blog, and it will give you a case of major life envy! But in a good way because Sophie's lovely positivity comes across in all of her posts. I've been reading this blog for over a year now and it's still one of my favourites. Sophie lives in Sydney and is the photographer for the business she created with her Dad, What To Cook (only have a look if you're not currently hungry). Her photographs of her adventures to the beach and food she eats are just beautiful, I could just scroll forever.

However I am a serial blog reader of blogs all around the world, so do let me know which blogs you are loving at the moment!


Monday, 13 April 2015

RECENTLY on Instagram | 06

I thought I'd do a little catch up post as a lot of things have been happening around here! I started a new full time job last week and, as usual, when my routine changes I need to find a new blogging rhythm. So here's just a quick catch-up post in the meantime while I get myself into the habit of using my weekends to organise blog posts. Find me on Instagram here. 

1/ A few weeks ago I spent a very hungover Sunday in bed and started to watch Orange is the New Black after reading the book while I was travelling. I'm not really a series watcher as I can't usually find the time but I completely binged the whole first two series in about a month. It's just so good! Have you seen it?

2/ After a farmers' market a few weeks ago we popped in for coffee at the most beautiful shop/cafe, Weylandts. There is a huge showroom/shop at the back with gorgeous gorgeous styling and furniture, with a little restaurant at the front which serves coffees on wooden boards, guys. Not sure what to make of that but it was lovely. 

3/ Chuckle Park is the cutest little bar, decorated with string fairy lights and nestled into an alleyway in the heart of the city. I love stumbling across places like this, and it made the perfect pre-dinner vino spot.

4/ My amazing mother sent me an Easter package in the post from the UK! She knows me well and sent me a load of chocolate, Intimissimi undies, Anthro lipstick and a load of other goodies. Totally spoilt. 

5/ I bought my first swimming costume in about 10 years (as in, not a bikini) and did some lengths. Swimming is the most therapeutic thing! Though I do find it hard to motivate myself to get into that cold water, anyone else?

6/ I've been wanting to try Pressed Juices for ages and I treated myself after work last week. I went for Green 6 (after eating a truck-load of chocolate the previous weekend) and I wasn't disappointed. It was pricey but you get a decent amount and I had half for breakfast the next day. Next time I want to try one of their healthy but sweet-sounding mylks... It's dangerous that it's so close to my office!

How was your weekend? And have you got any plans for this week? X

Friday, 10 April 2015

Easter Weekend Camping in Australia

For the long Easter weekend, eight of us drove out from Melbourne to the Murray River, on the border of New South Wales. Coming from a country where you are never far from the nearest town/city, it's so weird and amazing to be out in the middle of nowhere after just a few hours driving. We set off at 6:30am and as the sun rose as we drove along the highway, we saw mobs of kangaroos (yes that is the collective noun for kangaroos! We Googled it!) just chilling in the fields by the side of the road. It was so magical!

The weekend was mainly spent by the campfire, cooking our meals on it, enjoying happy hour at all hours, and I also made my first smore as we were camping with a couple of Canadians. There were also a couple of heated games of Pictionary! After one night on the Murray River we drove to the Cathedral Ranges State Park, where we camped in a forest by the mountains. We woke up on Easter Sunday to chocolate eggs scattered around the campsite, and three kangaroos hopping around outside the tent.

On Easter Sunday we went on a hike up a very steep rock face. At times there were caves that the huge rocks had created which meant you had to wriggle through for a while (and I just kept thinking of the poor guy who had to chop his own arm off after he got stuck between two rocks, see ma terrified face up there ^). I'm terrible with heights, and not too keen on small spaces either but managed to get to the top and I'm so glad as the 360 degree view was not one to be missed...

There is so much of Australia to be explored, I'm already planning my next weekend trip! What did you get up to on the Easter weekend? X

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Style Inspiration: Season Transition

Whether you're in the Northern or Southern hemisphere at the moment, it's that time of year when the weather is pretty unpredictable. For instance, I spent the last weekend in shorts and tshirts, and today was the first proper cold and miserable day since I arrived in Australia. Needing a bit of inspiration for everyday workwear, I of course turned to my style board on Pinterest

None of these looks are groundbreaking but I love them. I bought a bucket style handbag just before I left the UK as my old one was falling to bits. I love it as it switches to a rucksack with a different strap! I resisted the boyfriend jeans for a long time but they just look sooo soft and comfy, I might need to get myself a pair. I am also loving boucle cardis and jackets to smarten up a pair of jeans. Also a denim shirt layered with stripes, black skinnies, and a pair of animal print slippers is pretty much perfection. 

What are you wearing this Spring/ Autumn?

Image sources from top - bottom: 1/2/3/4/5/6

Thursday, 2 April 2015

South East Asia Travels Part 3 | Chiang Mai + Pai

Arriving in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand was one of the most comforting things. It might have been partly due to the fact that my antibiotics finally kicked in and I ate a meal for the first time in 5 days and felt so much better. Cambodia was an adventure but I just loved Thailand. 

Aside from one of the islands (more on that later) Chiang Mai was by far my favourite place. The food and night markets were amazing, with heaps of fresh vegetables and fruit. We were here for the longest amount of time - 5 days - but there was so much to explore that we were busy every day. Here are some things I would recommend doing in Chiang Mai... 

Mae Sa Waterfall
We hired a scooter and drove about half an hour to the foothills of the mountains to a river with 10 levels of waterfalls. At the base there were stalls selling freshly cooked food, so we ordered some pad thai, rice, fried veggies, and drinks, and they packed it all up for us in a basket with cutlery and a picnic rug! We hiked up to level 7 and sunbathed and swam for the day. It was so beautiful and relaxing.

Elephant Retirement Park
We chose this place on the recommendation of another blogger and I'm so glad we did because it was such a fun day. I'm not really an animal person, but after spending the morning feeding and interacting with 5 gorgeous elephants, we found that they are such gentle and friendly creatures. We had a delicious lunch then had a mud bath with the elephants which was hilarious! Also... have you ever been kissed on the cheek by an elephant?! The main thing about Elephant Retirement Park is that the elephants are happy and well treated, not like the ones which are chained up and ridden (we saw the difference in the behaviour of those elephants in Thailand and it was so sad). 
Thai Farm Cooking
We spent the whole day in the most peaceful surroundings, cooking (and eating!) absolutely delicious Thai food. From green curry and cashew chicken, to pad thai and mango sticky rice, we made and ate it all. Our teacher was completely hilarious and an amazing cook. She was even super helpful with my gluten free issues. After being taken around the farm, we spent the day pounding spices and cooking away, and it was really helpful to know what we were eating for the rest of the trip! 

In terms of other recommendations on places to eat in Chiang Mai, I really liked Dash for dinner - a beautiful teak restaurant with a lovely candlelit courtyard and Thai food. For brunch, Blue Diamond was a saviour with gluten free chocolate banana pancakes (DREAM). The Saturday night market and street food were also exceptionally good. 

Pai is a small hippy town in nestled in the mountains, which is reached from Chiang Mai up one very windy road. I found the town itself a bit overly-touristy (though the restaurants were amazing for veggies and healthy food) but the area itself was just stunning. We went on long scooter drives, wanderings through remote forests, wallowed in natural hot springs, and then watched the sunset over the Pai Canyon. Fluid was a cool swimming pool to go and chill out after an adventurous day with a drink. We also ended up doing a pub quiz at a little bar in Pai, and meeting some travellers who we are currently living with in Melbourne! 

On the way down we hired a scooter for the three/four hour ride back down the mountain. It was a bit precarious but much nicer than sitting in a minibus surrounded by people vomming into sandwich bags like the trip on the way up (!). We took our time, exploring more hot springs on the way down. If you're confident on a scooter, this is defo the better option! 

Have you been to Chiang Mai or Pai? What did you think?

I'm signing off for the weekend as I'm going camping tomorrow until Monday. So have a wonderful Easter weekend! x

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