2013 was good;

2013 has been one hell of a year! I rang in the new year at a house party with a few days at the beach before starting summer school for 6 weeks. I passed 2 units which meant I could finish university in November 2013 instead of February 2014 like I planned (summer school was SO worth it!)

February

March

March 

I had a few weeks off before starting 1st semester with 4 units, with a short visit to Brisbane/Gold Coast/Byron Bay in July & then 5 units in the 2nd semester. 2013 was a HEAVY year in regards to study. But I was on a mission to finish university in 2013 & I did it!

April 

I still managed to get away down south in February for Kel’s birthday, a weekend in Jurien Bay in March, Broome in April with S from NZ/Cold Coast, a week in QLD in July, another weekend down south in November with some Isagenix girls & then Melbourne to celebrate end of uni, as well as Sydney & NZ in December. Travel is the reason why I push myself so hard with study. I needed to finish university as soon as possible because there’s so many places still on my list to check out.

July

It may seem like all I did was study & work with the odd holiday but my instagram certainly says something else! 2013 was the year that I made a massive health change. I cut out alcohol & processed sugar in January for 6 weeks and I experimented with making my own raw treats. Lots of new cafes popped up during the year & I ate a lot more raw than cooked food.  I made weight training a priority in September after concentrating on my diet for 6 months & I lost a significant amount of weight with these changes (less fat, more lean muscle).

July

My year can be summed up by how I chose to celebrate my birthday. 3 of my closest girlfriends came over to my house & we did a 12km walk for charity followed by a late breakfast at mine. This year was all about brunch & walk dates with friends & quiet nights in.

August 

I didn’t make any goals for 2013, instead I had a priorities list. Every time I was faced with a decision, I thought back to my priorities & it kept me on track for the year! This year I only had 3 things on my priorities list & I achieved 2 & I’m on track for the 3rd (it was a big holiday for 2014).

August 

2013 certainly  had a few sad moments but they all seem so insignificant now. The person I was on Jan 1st has grown so much  over the last 12 months (my parents would be so proud!) But more importantly, I’m proud of the decisions I made, the times I made the call to either fight or walk away because I look back on the year of 2013 & I’m 100% happy with where I am now.

There’s been a few lost friendships but the amazing new friendships I’ve gained far outweigh the losses. And the friends that continue to be there for me, year in year out, amaze me everyday. The fact that I can come back to New Zealand after not visiting for 2 years & living away for 7 years and still have the same people show up, time & time again, makes me feel pretty damn special! So many friendships were strengthened this visit & I can’t wait to be more available now that university is finished.

What’s in store for 2014? Stay tuned!

NZ highlights 2013;

I’ve spent the last 2 weeks enjoying every single minute of my time in NZ. Because I haven’t been back since January 2012 & my best friend was only around for my first 10 days, we were trying to fit in as much as possible in the first half of my visit. The weather was nice to me (for once) so there’s been lots of beach visits & time outside.

Here’s a few pics of my highlights so far:

En route bush walk in the Waitakere Ranges

Handstands with gorgeous back drops

Catching up with old friends at the usual bar

 

Tequila fun with my girlfriends

 

Getting ready with the girls for Z’s wedding

Going down to The Mount with my bestie for the first time in 6 years & climbing the mountain for the first time in 8 (!!) years

Being surrounded by the most beautiful landscapes everywhere I go

Looking at christmas lights on Franklin Street

Spending christmas night with my friends

Days out at Piha, going for walks & admiring this view

Nights spent at Piha with good food & good company

Camping in the Coromandel & walking up to this! Still love you NZ!

I’ve spent majority of my time in Auckland, with a few days out at Piha, 2 days at Mt Maunganui & 2 days on the Coromandel Coast. I’ve had the most welcoming visit, I tend to forget I’ve been gone nearly 7 years because I have so many solid friendships here (but I’ll save the big write up about my trip until the end).

Tonight, I’m relaxing at home (well my NZ home) before a big new years eve day tomorrow & a few days away up north. Wishing everyone the best new years eve celebrations!

Back in Sydney;

On my way to Auckland a few weeks ago, I did a 3 day stop over in Sydney. It’s been a year since I was last there & I’ve been saving a list of places to check out since then.

On the first day, I caught up with a friend for drinks at Watson’s Bay Beach Club. We caught the ferry across where you can check out all the gorgeous coastal houses along the way (my fave). For an early dinner, we went to Jamie’s Italian which is a favourite of mine in Perth (check out photos from a visit here) and I couldn’t believe how much better the Sydney restaurant was (sorry Perth). I got exactly the same dishes (aracini balls for starters, 3 way cannelloni for mains and brownie for dessert).

Travelling in December is so beautiful. Everywhere you look, there’s christmas decorations! This was a little something in the Darling Harbour:

On my second day, I hired a car & drove out to Balmoral Beach for breakfast.

The boathouse/boatshed came highly recommended. It’s situated on the water with yummy food & the most gorgeous decor.

After breakfast, I drove to the Central Coast to visit my friend J in Umina. J & I were really good friends back in NZ when we were 8 & although I’ve seen her since she left NZ, we’ve mainly kept in touch over letters & facebook the last 15 years. It was so crazy to see J, her sister, her mum & even her nana because it’s been so long yet they all still look the same as what I remember. We all had a little catch up, remembering  funny things from when we were growing up & then J took me to Terrigal for lunch. Such a beautiful coastal town!

Terrigal Beach

Terrigal coast

On my last day, I headed down to Bondi first thing, got a juice from Lamrock Cafe & then walked along the coast to Bronte. The Bondi to Bronte coastal walk is quite a popular one & I was really regretting not wearing my sneakers on this day!

The over photographed, Bondi Icebergs cafe/pool

The view to Bronte

I had the most incredible breakfast at G’Day Bronte & I would highly recommend the coastal walk with the reward of breakfast at the end!

Some other Bondi recommendations:

Porch (cute little cafe a short walk from the beach)

Deli Bottega (situated off the main strip but good food & the owner is super lovely)

& what I definitely don’t recommend: forgetting your bathers at home/in your hotel on a sunny Bondi day. Good thing there’s a few shops in Bondi that will sort you out (a girl can never have enough pairs right?)

Until next time Sydney!

Officially finished!

University results have finally been released & I’ll be graduating in February 2014! It’s crazy to think I started in February 2011 with no intention to work & study full time but after 3 months in Europe, I needed to do full time hours & I refused to study part time. I said to myself that I’d do 1 semester like that & then cut down in work but then end of semester came along & I got a new job in property valuations & I never quite slowed down!

It still hasn’t quite hit me that I’m done. It may be the fact that I’ve still got to get my residential and commercial valuers license next year which requires some study, report writing and interview preparation but it won’t be anywhere near as intensive as 3rd year university.

I have looked back on the last 3 years and wondered how I managed to fit it all in. Would I do that again? Absolutely not. It was a constant battle, trying to decide if my work, study, sleep, exercise or friends were more important. Because most weeks were ‘work, study, sleep’ repeat, I couldn’t let my sleep suffer so most times, it was my grades that suffered but somethings gotta give right?

So many people ask me, “so what are you going to do now that university is finished?” and the truth is, nothing too crazy. There are a number of places I’d like to go on holiday in the next 12 months but because I’ve been working in the industry for the last 2 & a half years (and for the same firm), I don’t need to apply for graduate jobs so I’ve got it pretty good!

I’ve got a list of things I’d like to do more of such as air yoga, pilates, meditation & a whole lot of beach walks so I’m excited to get back into a routine in the new year.

But until then, I’ve got friends to see in New Zealand. 3 hours until take off!

Melbourne: The 2013 Edition;

A few months ago, I booked a $45 flight from Perth to Melbourne (thank YOU Tiger Air for your awesome deals!), not really knowing if I’d be able to go as it was in the middle of my second week of exams. Turns out, luck was on my side with my last exam being on the Tuesday & flight leaving Perth on Wednesday night. With the amount of friends I’ve made over the years living in Melbourne (& the Perth friends that have moved over), it’s become an annual trip.

Since I had just finished my degree, the plan was to take it easy, see friends & use the time to relax. I’m a creature of habit & I always go back to the same places but on this visit, I promised myself no re-visits because there’s just far too much other stuff to try first (accommodation I know & trust doesn’t count!)

So here’s a list of the places I checked out & would recommend. I went to some others but they didn’t quite make the ‘good’ list.

BRUNCH//

Wide Open Road

Wide Open Road, Brunswick: Amazing service, interior & lots of fresh food options. I got the cauliflower, ricotta & quinoa fritters with shaved brussel sprouts, asparagus, chilli jam, poached eggs & smoked trout (and a green juice). I’d give this place a 10/10.

Little Big Sugar Salt menu & green juice

Her Hot Mess (big + sugar): “big, sexy, sweet smush of pancake bits, blueberries & nectarine, creme anglaise, bacon & peacon candy & girly flowers”

Little Big Sugar Salt, Richmond: This place. If I could eat at one cafe for the rest of my life, it would be this place. It’s situated in ‘Viet Town’ & looks like it’s just got a few window seats looking out onto the street but then you get welcomed to the back where there’s two private rooms, one with a big table & another with smaller tables. Everything about this place was amazing, even their bathroom! (of course I took a photo of it).  This place gets 12/10, if not higher.

Sticky Beak juices

Sticky Beak, Windsor: Situated just off Chapel Street, cute little place with a good selection of food (you know, not too much & not too little). I got the bircher muesli with crisp shredded apple. Major food envy as my friend got the benedict dish though!

The Grain Store menu

Buckwheat & ricotta pancakes with apple, orange nutella, apple puree, spiced mascrapone & pistachio streusel

The Grain Store, CBD: This was a last minute suggestion from a friend & as it was just around the corner from my accommodation, was the perfect breakfast spot one morning. It’s located at the quiet end of Flinders Lane so chances of passing it are quite slim but this place got packed! I was extremely pleased with my breakfast choice & couldn’t believe how full I was. Definitely a place I would recommend to anyone, the food, atmosphere & service was top notch. 10/10 (could even be a 11/10).

Yong Green Food

Yong Green Food, Fitzroy: Going out with a Vegan proved to be very easy this day! We got green juices, buckwheat crepes with mushrooms, raw spicy pad thai  + raw nachos, followed by chocolate and white raspberry cheesecake. I could of possibly eaten more but I behaved myself. 10/10 for Yongs!

Three Bags Full, Abbotsford

Three Bags Full, Abbotsford // Seven Seeds, Carlton: both really cute places. Good food, juices, interior & lovely wait staff.

DINNER//

Dumplings Plus, CBD: Awesome place to go with a group. We got lots of dishes to share, I used chopsticks all night (HUGE accomplishment & it was cheap cheap cheap). Plus, it’s BYO & they have some lovely cheap wine there too (none of this crazy mark up).

Chingón Mexican

Chingón Mexican, Richmond: Before my trip, I was desperate to find out what this amazing place was called so I put it to my instagram with a little help from friends but it was the hashtags on another photo that helped me find this place. We went a little late on a Sunday night so it was slowly closing but they had yummy sangria & tacos and they even made some vegan tacos for my friend. It’s definitely a place I’d go back to.

DRINKS//

Naked for Satan, Fitzroy // The Cullen, South Yarra // The Emerson, South Yarra // 3 Monkeys, Prahran (cheap drinks) // Left Bank, South Bank – all good drinking spots

Sunday night fire time

LaLaLand, Windsor: Situated on Chapel St, this was the last bar we got to on our Sunday night bar crawl. And by last bar I mean, there was no way we were leaving when there was a fire place, $20 jugs of white peach sangria + good 90’s hip hop playing. Currently thinking of when I can go back to this amazing place for nights on end (breaking my ‘no same place’ rule all in one post!)

Other than eat, I did lots of walking, shopping (even more walking) & enjoyed my first bubble bath in what feels like years. I came back to Perth feeling OH so refreshed but also so damn confused.  Melbourne always takes a piece of my heart each visit & I feel like this visit took a massive chunk. With university all done & dusted, is it time to finally move over to Melbourne after years of thinking about it?

Don’t worry Perth, I’ve still got some property qualifications to get here & save for my big US trip in August 2014 but when I get back? Who knows. A lot has changed in the last week, month & year for me.  Time to take each week as it comes!

Living the ideal day;

After my last exam on Tuesday & before my 11pm flight to Melbourne on Wednesday night, my boss let me have the Wednesday off work to celebrate finishing university (even though I was taking another 5 days off the following day). But I’m not one to say no to celebrating so Wednesday last week turned out to be filled with all my favourite things.

Starting with a sleep in, followed by a juice from The Attic in Fremantle; from there, it was breakfast at Bread in Common followed by laying on Port Beach, writing in my new journal about where I want to be in a years time. Time moved too fast that day because it wasn’t long before I had to be at Public & Co for lunch with Jess. The food was fresh & the staff were lovely (highly recommend this place!) and they even brought out freshly baked donuts for all the customers to try! From there, we went to The Little Concept for some raw treats & more chats and then I was off to Bib & Tucker for sliders, fish tacos & sparkling wine in the sun with my good friend Kelly. We came back to Fremantle that night for some Wednesday night inspiration (a little something called Wellness Wednesday but more on that later!) & then it was time to get packing & try not to miss my flight….you’ll be surprised how many times it’s happened!

Having that day off was just what I needed & it made me realise I definitely need to schedule more like that in future…..or somehow negotiate rostered days off at my next pay review. Now that’s a plan!

November memories;

 

If you follow me on Instagram, you would of seen that considering November was my last month of university, I still had a pretty fun one at that! There were beach & river walks with friends and by myself, a weekend down in Dunsborough with far too much wine & cheese, air yoga fun (hanging upside down is so much easier than handstands- who would of guessed?), birthday celebrations, raw food dates, The Bachelor finale (complete with wine, cheese & bruschetta), outdoor training sessions, work christmas party madness and of course, the final exam, post exam celebrations and a day to myself in Perth before flying off to Melbourne for 5 days.

November was a good month! I guess you could say I sure know how to make the most of my time.