Melbourne, Post Holiday Blues and a Bit of a Life Update.

Hey guys,

I know this isn’t the usual travel series I have been posting each week although I wanted to break it up a bit. I also know I haven’t posted in a few weeks, life has been pretty crazy, although I have made a commitment to my blog and I do love writing so I am going to try to keep uploading on a weekly basis.

Firstly, I feel like I want to mention this because something quite scary happened in our family recently. A few months ago my mum was diagnosed with a very early stage of breast cancer. It was a massive relief that it was diagnosed so early and thankfully everything is going to be okay. For a few weeks it was scary because all we knew was that ‘Mum had cancer’ and until it was removed and found out, very luckily, that it hadn’t spread, it was a pretty stressful time for all of us (especially mum!). It certainly put life in a bit of a different perspective as you just think ‘that will never happen to me or the people I love’ and when it does, you realise how lucky you are to have your good health and loving supportive people in your life, and how lucky we are, as not all people find it as early as the doctors did. I cannot stress enough how early detection saves lives, my mum did not have any symptoms or lumps, she is perfectly healthy. Ladies, if you have been putting off that pap smear or breast check, go and do it, it’s not a nice thing to do, but it sure is better than a cancer that has spread.

Moving forward, recently I went to Melbourne to visit my brother for a week, we did so much in just one week, including visiting the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, drinking wine at a vineyard in Monteville and doing enough shopping to (literally) break my bank account. A friend asked me the other day ‘how can you afford to be going away all the time lately?’ I replied with ‘I have a credit card’. (Which is ok as long as you don’t go crazy with it and only spend enough so that you can pay it back in full within a reasonable time – that Louis Vuitton handbag will have to wait!) But yes, it was very worth it, as I have to say I was stuck in quite a holiday blues slump when I came home from Europe, and I could not get motivated to do anything. I didn’t want to go to the gym, I didn’t want to go to work and basically I was super bored. Although it’s a beautiful place to live, I live in a very small town with minimal things to do.

Which is why I am excited to say I have decided to head back to study. I have just started a Bachelor of Business majoring in marketing via distance education and so far I love it! Between work, gym, study, preparing healthy meals and trying to get a full 8 hours sleep, I haven’t found much extra time in the day, but the past week I have felt that I have a purpose in life and that I have something to work towards again. I am crazy busy but I like busy, productivity keeps me motivated and it also makes me look much more forward to my rest days.

I feel going away to Melbourne gave me a lot of time to think and chat to my brother about ‘what was next for me’. To end this blog on a happy note, here are a few photos I took whilst I was there for the week 🙂

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The Virgin Traveller: Wales, United Kingdom

This post picks off from where I left off in Bath, as that same afternoon we travelled two hours north west to Wales with Brandon’s maternal grandparents. They live in Pontardawe which is a small town of 5000 people about 12 km north of Swansea. It was one of the cutest little places I have ever been to, although all the signs in Welsh are quite confusing and long!

That night we went to Potardawe Inn for drinks with Brandon’s Aunties and Uncle. They are so lovely, they also took us for the best cold weather food (so my healthy eating had REALLY gone out of the window by this time – but it was worth it). I had hot chips, cheese and beans, SO good! We had a few drinks but didn’t stay out too late and we were exhausted from exploring Bath all day.

We had a nice sleep-in the next morning, probably the first one I had after getting over jetlag. Once we got out of bed and had a full English breakfast (courtesy of Brandon’s Nanny!) we got in the car and drove an hour into the country side to a place called Pontstcill reservoir in the Brecon Beacons and had a picnic and just played by the running creek. It was very relaxing after a few crazy days. The countryside was so green and had so many sheep (how I have imagined New Zealand would be?) After a big day of eating and relaxing in the country, we drove into Swansea city and went to an Italian cafe that claims to have the best ice cream in Wales, called ‘Verdi’s’ and it was true! Amazing ice cream 🙂

We drove back to the house that night and it was a good 8 degrees C outside and we decided to hop in the hot tub outside, which was sooo nice (apart from running in your bathers from the house outside to the hot tub!) We stayed in there for a good hour, which was a great way to end a great day.

The next day, we took a train to London, thankfully Brandon’s grandparents accompanied us to London as I don’t think we would have been able to work out how to take the Tube alone for the first time, but anyway more on that next post!

P.s sorry there arent many pictures of us doing a lot of things I mentioned, sometimes I was having such a nice time that I forgot the pick up my camera.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for next week!

Love Kate xx

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Our Picnic area for the day.

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The weather had a sudden change and my lovely boyfriend gave me his jacket (mostly so I would stop complaining about how cold I was hehe)

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The Virgin Traveller: Bath, England

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the second post of my travel series.

We got up early and drove about an hour up the road from Bristol to Bath. Bath is famous for its Spa Baths where the Roman baths were founded in 60-70AD. The Roman baths were gradually built over the next 300 years and the town became famous in the 1800’s as a fashionable place to visit.

When we first arrived in England Brandon’s Aunty surprised us by having a full day organised for us to visit to the Thermae Bath Spa, which is a combination of a historic spa and a contemporary building in the city of Bath, England, and was restored and re-opened in 2006. This is a luxury spa house with several spas, including one on the roof! We stayed here for a few hours testing all the different spa rooms, it was freezing dressed only in bikinis getting from the door (at about 12 degrees C) into the spa, especially the one of the roof, but it was so worth it! Very relaxing and warm. The spa also had showers and a dressing room so you could refresh and blow dry your hair before getting on with your day. A quick spa before work anyone? 😉 You couldn’t take pictures inside the spa house for privacy reasons but if you want to see pictures of the place, you can click here.

After the spa we went to the Ancient Roman Spa Baths and took a full guided tour of the complex. The wealthy Romans used use these spas as a place of luxury and in the 1800’s England’s gentry frequented Bath as a resort town. It was so interesting and I couldn’t believe that the hot bath springs are still bubbling naturally to this day from deep underground (although I wouldn’t swim in them as you could probably catch something pretty nasty!)

After taking in all the history we had an English High Tea planned for the afternoon. It was so nice; we drank champagne and ate so much cake (again haha) whilst being serenaded by a pianist in a room full of chandeliers.

We then strolled the cobble stone streets of Bath visiting all the quant little shops. There was an all year-round Christmas shop called ’25th of December’, and there was a little gimmicks store full of Beatrix Potter gifts, including Puddle Ducks (which if you know me, you would know that I collect them :P). They also had a fudge shop that was literally the best fudge I have ever tasted! It is truly such a beautiful little town, with so much history, I really recommend that you make sure Bath is on your itinerary if you are heading to the U.K anytime soon.

Love Kate xx

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The Virgin Traveller: Bristol, England.

 

Hi everyone,
As you know I have recently returned from a 5 week trip around Europe. This was my first trip away from Australia. I posted some photos on Facebook while I was away and a quick blurb about what we were up to at each new location, but I didn’t end up having the time/internet to upload blogs whilst away. I would have liked to have been able to put more time into it whilst there but now I guess I get to re-live it by creating this series.

I want to post each week about each country/place we visited, my obvious thoughts about the world and what it was like to do a Contiki trip for those of you considering it!

Before I start going into detail about the trip, I want to talk about the flight over to Europe. Oh my goodness, I couldn’t believe how long it took to get there, I mean you hear 23 hours and think ‘oh that’s not that long, it’s only a day’, but maybe this is just because I am not a fan of flying but wow, 23 hours is such a long time to sit on a plane, especially if you can’t sleep. What makes that even more annoying is when the person you’re traveling with, sleeps the entire flight! As soon as we landed in Heathrow I swore I never wanted to do that again (knowing dam well I had to in 5 weeks’ time if I ever wanted to come home) but I wiped that from my memory for then and it is so worth it as for the first time in my life I was in another country 🙂

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Day One

The first day we went to a place called Weston-super-Mare which is a town in Somerset, England, on the Bristol Channel 18 miles south west of Bristol. I would like to think of as a being a typical English seaside resort, inclusive of the obligatory English Pier. We walked in the ‘sun’, keeping in mind that I was still freezing, but we were very blessed with such sunny weather for England at this time of year (well any time of year that is, for England). We went and played on the arcade/show machines and some of us ate greasy deep-fried fish and chips. Well I didn’t eat fish and chips that day as being early into the trip I had every intention of keeping healthy throughout so I bought a salad from Waitrose, but I can safely say that little epiphany went down the drain after day 1! I am only here once (this time anyway!)

After the pier, we visited Cabot Tower lookout which is set in parklands of Brandon Hill in Bristol. The Tower is 32 metres high and was built in 1897 to commemorate John Cabot’s famous voyage 400 years ago from Bristol to what is now known as Canada. We climbed up to the top and it was a beautiful view. I also saw my first squirrel, albeit a grey one and not a red native squirrel, but still very cute and we fed them! (Well Brandon did, I’m not a huge wild animal fan – scenario “squirrel bites Kate and she dies of rabies whilst on her 2nd day of holidays”). I also loved all the wild flowers growing around the parks and lovely little daisy’s in the grass.

That night we went to a place called ‘Cosmos’, it was like a huge sizzler, and they had chocolate fountains! No didn’t stick my face in it but tempting. So so good. We didn’t stay out late as although jetlag didn’t hit me as badly on the way over as it did coming home, I still couldn’t keep my eyes open towards the end of each day for the first few days.

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Day two

Shopping day! My boyfriend’s aunty took us shopping, and we went to Cabot Circus which contains shops, offices, a cinema, hotel and 250 apartments. I could have spent a few days just in this shopping centre part. So many different shops that we don’t have in Australia. I bought a few bits of clothes, although I couldn’t go crazy as I didn’t want to spend all my money in the first few days! Near Cabot Circus is a little market area called ‘St Nicols Markets’ it was very cool, you could buy lots of vintage bits of clothing and lots of yummy cakes! We also made a visit to ‘the Mall’ and I had my first John Lewis experience (like Myers but bigger!).

I forgot to mention that it was my boyfriend’s 20th birthday the day we arrived and we didn’t celebrate too much, as the only thing we wanted to do was sleep after we landed! So that night his lovely Nan and Gramp threw him a birthday party at one of the local pubs in Winterbourne. It was so nice, he got to see a lot of his family that he hasn’t seen in years plus I got to experience my first English Pub and extended family networks. Yes, I do have some family, but they are spread far and wide over Australia in little groups, and we only get to see them in singular lots at a time. It was amazing how everyone in England seems to live so close to ALL their relatives!

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Day three:

That morning we got picked up by Brandon’s Aunty, Uncle and two adorable little cousins. They took us to the Docks area and we went for a walk and ate tea and cake on this little ‘boat cafe’ (first of many cakes I ate whilst in England – gluten free be dammed!) We then went on the ‘SS Great Britain’ which is a museum ship and former passenger steamship.

The ship was launched in 1843 and was the longest passenger ship in the world from 1845 to 1854. In 1852 the ship was purchased to carry emigrants to Australia and an extra upper deck was added to the ship so she could carry up to 700 passengers. It was very cool to see, Brandon and his uncle climbed the rigging. Looked like fun but was a bit high for me (plus I was wearing a dress). That afternoon we went to Clifton, it is considered the ‘posh’ side of Bristol. It was beautiful and the streets looked a bit like Notting Hill/Kensington areas of London. There was an ice-cream van and we had ice-cream in the park, even though I had gloves on and it was still cold but is it ever too cold for ice cream? We made our way up to the Clifton Observatory located on Clifton Down which was a former mill built in 1766, now used as an observatory, which also took you down through a cave in the hill to a lookout on the side of a mountain and which had the most amazing view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge which spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon and was built in 1864. Was a really great day! 🙂

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Can I just add to that I really looked my best in the first few days of the holiday, as I made a big effort to curl my hair and do my makeup. You will see as these posts keep going that I look more and more grungy as the trip goes on – too much to see, not enough sleep, early morning getaways and not enough time to care about looks!! Haha.
Thanks for reading my first post of this series 🙂

Some posts will be longer than others, we probably spent the most amount of time in the U.K so these will be bigger than when we started traveling across Europe.
Please feel free to leave your feedback!

Love Kate xxx

My 20th Birthday Weekend

So as most of you are aware I turned 20 on Friday. I know 21 is the big birthday but to be honest this is the most surreal feeling I have ever had when getting older. When I turned 18 I didn’t feel much different as I am not a big drinker, so nothing changed that much and you are still a ‘teenager’, but to me, saying I’m 20 years old, is a really weird thing!

On my actual birthday, I got my hair chopped, coloured, and styled, my makeup done and since I am very lucky that my amazing boss is a photographer, we did a studio glamour photoshoot as a birthday present from her. It was so much fun and honestly made me feel so confident and beautiful all day.  I am so in love with my hair chopped, I love that feeling when you get a new haircut and you feel it’s almost like a ‘new beginning’.

And yes, I will be posting the photoshoot pictures on here, but that post is TBC! 😉

The rest of the weekend was really lovely and spent with close friends and family. We went to dinner last night at a new Italian restaurant in my town and the food was amazing!

Below are some pics I took last night.

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Also a massive shout out to my boyfriend’s mum Kerry (who is a cake maker extraordinaire) , who spent her Saturday with me making this beautiful (gluten free!) cake shown in the above pics, she is seriously so talented, thank you for such a fun day.

Hope you enjoyed this little snippet of my weekend, thank you to all my beautiful friends and family for all the lovely messages, calls and Facebook posts, I felt very loved! The only thing missing from my weekend was my brother who now lives in Melbourne, wish you were here, you were very missed Peter.

Make sure you keep posted as there is only 5 weeks left until my boyfriend and I voyage to Europe…exciting things to come!

Love Kate xox

 

Ways I like to Unwind and Relax at the end of the day.

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Sometimes it feels that you have days where nothing goes right or maybe you just look in the mirror that day and just feel bleh! (even if you’re a person with lots of confidence, everyone has days like this!)

I have put together a few things that I like to do at the end of the day to make myself feel better and more relaxed.

Take a bubble bath

I loooove bubble baths. Nothing is better when you are a bit stressed than dropping a Lush bath bomb and watching the colours swirl and sizzle in the water as you light some candles ready to close yourself off from the world for an hour or two. While in the bath I either like read a good book or I put my iPad at the end of the bath and watch Netflix/YouTube. It really is my favourite way to relax as it feels like my time.

A pamper evening

Joining with the first point, if you have the time, having a pamper evening is a great way to unwind and make yourself feel 100% better. I like to shave my legs, put on a facemask and hair mask, use lots of lovely smelling body wash, exfoliator, moisturiser and then finish with some self-tanner and I can guarantee you will feel like a shiny new person when you’re done.

Logging out of Facebook. 

This is one thing I have been trying to do recently each night before I get into bed. Because I work on a computer all day at work, I have already been staring at technology for around 7 hours that day, so I feel that logging out of Facebook before I get in bed resists my urge to stay up and binge scroll for hours, and it gives my brain a break. I don’t just mean close the app, I mean logging out, this goes for any type of social media that you may be addicted to, scrolling on etc. such as Instagram, Snapchat, twitter. Trust me, it will remind you not to go on it if you open it by accident, as you will already be logged out and not tempted. Reading a book before you sleep is much more relaxing.

Plan the next day

My boss recently gave me this idea. Sometimes I am just staring at the roof awake thinking of the things I need to do the next day (even if it isn’t that much, I still tend to overthink). So before I go to sleep I like to plan the next day and make bullet points of what I need to do. I feel that this clears my head, and I can sleep better knowing that I won’t forget anything that I need to get done the next day. I have this great planner that I got online that lets me meal plan, plan your workout, track your water intake as well as having a check list. I recommend it if you want to stick to a routine.

Stretch

Normally after I work out in the morning I don’t have much time to spare to stretch out my muscles, so at night in bed I like to stretch. I normally just use this video by Blogilates (her workouts are amazing too, if you are stuck for time) . Even though I already know how to stretch I like to use video tutorials because it makes sure that you stretch out each muscle for long enough. I find that by stretching and relaxing I feel ready to go to sleep after I finish. I also find that I don’t normally wake up sore from my workouts if I take time to stretch properly each day. I know people say meditating is great for relaxing, but I still haven’t mastered that, I don’t have enough patience to sit still for too long. (I’m working on it!)

I hope this post has been helpful for those busy people out there, I would love some suggestions if you have any other ways you like to unwind.

Kate xx

 

Back to Blogging & New Years Resolutions

Hello everyone!

I know it has been about 8 months since I have appeared writing on my blog but I am back and ready to start over again with the new year!

The reason I have created this new blog and scrapped the old one is because I feel that I tried to over complicate it. I purchased a blog template that I didn’t really know how to use and I wasn’t overly happy with all my content that I had written either. I felt that when I wrote it felt fake and too planned as I always wanted it to be perfect or I would see other ‘famous’ bloggers content and thought that’s what I had to be doing. I know trying to get things perfect isn’t a bad thing but I really wanted it to sound a bit more real, more me (and I am far from perfect!).

So much has happened in the past year too. I now have an amazing job that I love and has definitely improved my writing skills…but thats a whole other topic, I will address that in a different post coming soon. The content I want to write about this year will be more lifestyle related, topics that I think about daily, topics that I love reading about (such as food, fitness, beauty, everyday lifestyle chats) and most importantly this will be my travel diary as I am off to Europe in 3 months! You could say (Cliché’) New year, new me…

So now I wanted to share with you some of my new year resolutions for 2017…

  • Be more adventurous. If you know me, you will know that I am not a very adventurous person and would rather stay in on a Saturday night watching movies in my pjs. This year I really want to get out more and do more things that I wouldn’t usually do and challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. Wednesday was a great start as I went out on a boat with my friends and went snorkelling around the islands, once I do these things I end up really enjoying them anyway. Also, travelling half way across the world in 3 months is something I am quite nervous about as I am not a very confident flyer, but I am doing it anyway as I have always wanted to go to Europe and shouldn’t let that stop me!
  • Make the effort to keep in contact with distant friends and family more often. I am one of those people to look at a text message while busy and then forget to reply later. I am not a big texting person, I would rather have a phone call with somebody if I want to talk. So, this year I really want to make the effort and call more of my close friends and family that don’t live so close to me, to keep in contact, because really, busy isn’t an excuse.
  • I know this is everyone’s News Year’s resolution, but health and fitness. Last year I really pushed myself with my fitness and was happy with the results I achieved. I feel I am the fittest I have ever have been. I am also generally a healthy eater most of the time but my goal this year is just to cut the desserts out a little more than I have been (but not cut out completely of course!) to see more results, working hard won’t make a difference if you aren’t eating the right foods.

I would love to hear your new year’s resolutions too, please leave comments

I am hoping to write at least once a week so please keep posted! I have also transferred a few of my old blogs on here to get this one looking busier, make sure you go back and have a read if you haven’t already.

Love,

Kate xx