Thursday, 14 April 2016

Wedding Inspiration 01

Alex and I haven't made any concrete plans for the wedding as we're waiting on news about our (hopefully!) venue at the moment. For the first couple of weeks we were just enjoying being engaged and celebrating with friends/family. The wedding will most likely be at the end of next summer in the UK, but there are a few things up in the air at the moment. However we have a pretty clear idea about what style wedding we would like. I've always dreamed about having the reception in a simple field in the fresh air, in the summer. Although there are some gorgeous wedding reception venues out there, I really dislike the idea of having to cut the party short because we only have the venue for a certain time. I want to party all night! :)

We want to keep costs down as much as possible, so that will probably mean making a lot of the food ourselves and having a buffet style dinner. The amount that some things cost just for one day is just extortionate so I think we'll be scrapping a few traditions that we're not bothered by. I am planning on designing the invitations, making all the signage, and any placecards/menus. I would like to have a wild/relaxed theme for the flowers for the tables and decoration, with lots of greenery. I would love to have Australian native flowers for bouquets as a nod to Alex's home, and I also just think they're beautiful. 

Planning a wedding is more overwhelming than I thought, but every time I get stressed I take a step back and remember what it's all about and try and enjoy the planning process as much as possible. My amazing sister has already created a spreadsheet for all the details which made me feel so much better! 

Have you planned a wedding? I would love any tips you have! 

Image Sources: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

New Zealand | Arthur's Pass - Haast Pass + Getting Engaged!

I thought I'd compact our NZ travels into a few posts as we covered quite a lot in 9 days! We spent our trip in the south island driving around in a small campervan (which I wrote a bit about here). It was SUCH a good way to do it as we didn't book anything apart from a couple of nights, which meant we could drive for as long as we felt like each day, and also had a little portable kitchen in which to cook our meals.

The flight from Melbourne - Christchurch was only 3.5 hours but with the time difference, we actually landed at 5am after a full day of work on Friday night, having had no sleep. We felt slightly like zombies but we were so excited, and got straight on the road through Arthur's Pass, a stunning mountainous national park. There are loads of places to stop and go on short walks like the one we took to Devil's Punchbowl Falls, with a scramble up a mountain to the view above.

We stayed our first night near Hokatika, by Lake Kaniere which was quite grey and drizzly but still beautiful. The next morning we went to Hokatika Gorge with its stunning milky turquoise waters and then onto Franz Josef Glacier. However the glacier has retreated so much that you actually can't get that close to it anymore, and if I went back I would consider splashing out for the helicopter ride that takes you onto the ice itself. We camped by Lake Paringa and then the next day drove down through Haast Past through Mount Aspiring National Park to Wanaka, stopping at more waterfalls along the way and the amazing blue pools, which were SO clear and blue. 

It was during a walk to Roaring Billy Falls (photo above) that Alex asked me to marry him, and of course I said yes! He had spent the last 4 months designing a beautiful ring with a jewellery maker, and even told my parents back at Christmas when they were in Australia. I couldn't believe they'd all kept it a complete secret so well! We were on a total high for the rest of the day! It made the whole holiday even more special than it already was. X

Monday, 4 April 2016

New Zealand | Mornings with the Campervan

Hello blog, it's been a while. Two weeks ago Alex and I got back from New Zealand and life has been a bit chaotic since. I've finally started to organise my photos (so. many. photos.) so I can share them on here. 

We spent 9 days driving around the south island in a little campervan and some of my favourite moments of the trip were the early mornings. Waking up with the sun, often watching it rise over a beautiful lake or mountain, pulling on warmer layers, and rolling out of the campervan straight into the fresh air. We took so much enjoyment in cooking outside on the little gas stove, boiling the kettle for our coffee, and sipping away whilst the bacon and eggs sizzled in the fresh air for our bacon/egg rolls. Alex was determined to eat one of these every morning and I think he managed it most days! Everything just tastes one hundred times better al-fresco, don't you think?

Also, remember my 25 at 25? One of them was to learn to crack an egg with one hand and I attempted it for the first time whilst taking that photo below... it turns out it's not that hard. Ha. I just... did it. 

So now we're back to reality and I'm still dreaming of those mornings. We're wondering if we could sell everything we own and live in a campervan forever but I think it might not be the same camping on the streets in Melbourne! More New Zealand posts to come, stay tuned! 


Monday, 7 March 2016

Gluten Free Banana Pancakes

This has been my go-to pancake recipe for weekends over the past year - they are the best sweet gluten free pancake I have tried so far. They are so quick and easy, and so delicious - fluffy on the inside like an American pancake, with caramelised sweet bananas and with a slightly wholemeal/nutty taste to them. They're also dairy free and refined sugar free so you don't have to feel too guilty. My boyfriend felt tricked when I told him they were vegan haha, because he thought they tasted so amazing!

The recipe is adapted from goop and I usually make this for two of us when we're super hungry!

1 1/4 cups rice milk (feel free to swop for cows/almond/soy, but rice milk is naturally quite sweet)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional), plus more for serving
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup gluten free white flour (or regular flour if you're not gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas, thinly sliced

1. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a small bowl. 
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a slightly bigger bowl. 
3. Add the wet to the dry and stir just enough to combine – be careful not to over-mix (that’s how you get tough pancakes). 
4. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat.
5. Ladle as many pancakes as possible onto your pan
6. Place a few slices of banana on top of each pancake. Cook for about a minute and a half on the first side or until the surface is covered with small bubbles and the underside is nicely browned.
7. Flip and cook for about a minute on the second side. Repeat the process until you run out of batter.
8. Serve stacked high with plenty of maple syrup. Feel free add anything you want like blueberries/nuts/more bananas but I usually eat them on their own with maple syrup, they are so delicious! Enjoy! x

The lovely 9 Piece Nesting Piece Bowl Set was sent to me from Joseph Joseph to review. This is not a sponsored post. 

Monday, 29 February 2016

Planning a trip to New Zealand!

Yes, that page is the one I ripped out of the notebook because I messed up the box around 'Milford Sound' and I'm such a perfectionist I had to get rid of it. 

In less than two weeks (!) Alex and I are travelling to New Zealand for nine days and I'm sooo excited. We've booked a little campervan to drive around the South Island in, and I'm looking forward to fresh air, hiking, and kayaking trips. New Zealand is somewhere that I really wanted to tick off while I am here as we are so much closer than from the UK! 

Although we've had this planned for a while, I haven't put much research time into the trip as I would have liked... so has anyone been?! Any recommendations would be much appreciated, even if it's for a hidden gem on a driving route or a campsite/restaurant that you really loved. Let me know please! :) Our route so far goes from Christchurch - Arthurs Pass - Franz Josef Glacier - Wanaka - Milford Sound - Queenstown - Lake Tekapo (maybe?) - Akaroa. 


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Snail Mail

I've been so lucky to have a trickle of snail mail arriving in Australia over the last couple of weeks. The mailing time from the UK - Australia (and vice versa) is so unpredictable so my birthday was spread over a couple of weeks, which was the best! Whereas Whatsapp, Facetime, and Skype are absolute lifesavers with all my family and friends over in England, there is nothing better than receiving a physical card or present in the post. It makes me so happy! I don't think digital can ever completely replace sending things in the post.

And apparently my friends know me very well, because how beautiful are these treats?! One of my besties Hannah made the gorgeous palm print sunglasses case above - she's so talented. 

I love stationery and these three cards below not only make me swoon, but I love how they all co-ordinate with each other. 

Now I think I better get on with sending off some of my own snail mail... :)

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

25 at 25

Last week I turned 25. Although it's not really recognised as a big birthday to celebrate, I felt like it was a bit of a milestone. Teenage years and early twenties spent at uni suddenly seem like a while ago and I feel more like a fully fledged adult (sometimes!). Funnily enough I am totally ok with this. 25 seems to be a good age to be right now. I don't miss the days of school, and although I miss the freedom and fun of university, I don't miss scrounging the pennies together to go and find the nearest happy hour.
People call the 20s 'the selfish years' and although it's not the nicest way of putting it, I kind of understand why. It's got me thinking over the past couple weeks what things I want to achieve, learn, or experience whilst I still have such few responsibilities. I've seen people do '30 before 30' lists but my list ended at 25. I think that so much will happen in the next 5 years that many more things will crop up that I haven't thought of. So here are some things I'd like to do tick off over the next few years, some of them are big events and others are tiny things that I've always wanted to do!

1. Run a half marathon 
2. Go on a girl's trip with some besties from home
3. Travel to Canada 
4. Cook and serve a 3 course dinner to friends 
5. Buy a property 
6. Learn calligraphy/master some beautiful hand lettering
7. Print my photographs and store them in photo albums
8. Learn to drive (again) 

9. Go back to New York
10. Learn to make my own candles
11. Go white water rafting 
12. Learn to crack an egg with one hand
13. Go to the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef
14. Keep up Pilates and/or yoga
15. Work on more designs and illustrations
16. Make some videos of holidays or even just everyday life to look back on
17. Put together a recipe book of favourite recipes

18. Go scuba diving again while it's still fresh(ish) in my mind
19. Travel to New Zealand
20. Keep up my blog
21. Redesign my blog and move over to Wordpress
22. Refresh my French
23. Get existing and new prints, paintings, and some photos framed and hung
24. Go to Tasmania
25. Learn to stand-up paddle board

Do you have any personal goals like this for the next few years? Some of them are silly things that I've always said 'one day I will learn' and now I'm challenging myself to actually accomplish them. I like having smaller goals like cooking for a full dinner party alongside bigger ones like saving for a home deposit. It makes it more fun and manageable, don't you think? I've already booked myself my first half marathon (AH) for July, and we're going to New Zealand next month. Maybe I'll do an update in 2 years time, that's a scary thought!

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