Part 1: Bali

With just one day left in Bali, I thought it was about time I dropped in and wrote a bit of an update. I’m treating this blog as a bit of a travel journal, because I left my actual travel journal at home. It was all packed and ready to go, but then I went through a “ruthless” cull of what I’d packed, and the journal took a hit. Believe me, there were a few other victims of that culling session that I wish had actually made the cut, but oh well, that’s not the point of this post. Maybe when this trip is over I’ll do a post on how to effectively pack for a long trip.

So, Bali. We’ve had 8 full days here now. It actually feels like a lot more than that, in a good way. When we arrived, we were greeted at the airport by a taxi driver who we had pre-booked. We met him last time we were here, and the bf had kept his number. He was more than happy to pick us up from the airport, and it was quite nice to have someone waiting for us after a long day of traveling. Top tip, if you find a good driver, keep their number, and they’ll be happy to drive you around for the rest of your trip. It saves you from having to wander the streets looking for a taxi.

Our first stop was Seminyak. We visited Seminyak last time we were in Bali for a couple of brunches, and really liked it, so decided to stay here for a couple nights. To be honest, I didn’t really rate it this time around. It’s really popular with tourists, but this meant it was just really busy, and catered towards a more Western audience, which is fine, but it didn’t really float my boat. We did find a couple of cool places to eat though. Firstly, Motel Mexicola, which I believe is a bit of a party hot spot (if you stay late enough, unlike us who were in bed well before the partying kicked off). The food is delicious, and it’s a really cool atmosphere. The other place I really liked was this tiny little place called The Deck. You would barely know its there, but once you climb up the steep stairs, it’s this cozy little spot above all the hustle and bustle of the streets down below. The menu looked delicious and vegan friendly. I just wish we’d found it earlier, so we could have returned to try out more of the menu.

Next up was Ubud. Nestled in the middle of the jungle, Ubud is completely different from Seminyak. Full of relaxing spas, yoga studios and cute cafes overlooking rice paddies, this place is amazing. We hired a scooter which gave us a bit more freedom to explore the area, something I would highly recommend doing. We also checked out the monkey forest, which isn’t my thing as I’m not a huge fan of monkeys climbing on me, but still worth doing if you’re interested. A highlight for me was our visit to Cantika Zest for a massage, which was situated amongst the jungle and rice paddies, and probably the nicest massage I’ve ever had. I also loved doing the Ubud Campuhan ridge walk, which was incredibly scenic, but make sure you go early, as it gets hot out there. For dinner, my favourite was The Elephant, which had delicious vegetarian food, overlooking the jungle and the Campuhan walk. Folk is worth checking out for a drink or snack. It has a beautiful pool too, which is hard to resist on those hot days. We actually went to Folk three times as it just had really cool relaxing vibes.

The last stop of the trip was Canggu, which is where I am now. After being in tranquil Ubud for a few days, I didn’t think anything could top it, but I was wrong. I am in love with Canggu, and I wish I could stay here for much, much longer. There appear to be lots of expats who live and work here, spotted sitting with their laptops sipping coffee in cafes. I don’t blame them, it looks like the best lifestyle. I think the reason I like it is that it’s a bit quieter than the other places we’ve been, noticeably cleaner, and there’s no one trying to sell you things on the street. I feel completely safe and at ease here. It has the cool vibes of Seminyak, with amazing cafes and restaurants, but still has plenty of beautiful rice patties and spas, similar to Ubud. In the two days we’ve been here, we’ve been a bit bad of the budget front, but there’s just too many delicious places to eat, and so little time. Worth noting is Bro for delicious dumplings, The Loft for instagrammable breakfasts, and Deus for a cool place to hang out and get 2 for 1 drinks during happy hour. We’ve still got two more nights here, so, I’m sure there’s lots more to discover yet.

Alright, that’s enough about Bali, the next stop is Bangkok for a whirlwind couple of days before we head to Vietnam. If you have any recommendations, send them my way!

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Leaving Home

Heyyyyy!

Our adventure has begun! I wrote a little bit about what was coming up for me in 2018 in my last post, but in case you missed it, I’ve left New Zealand, am currently on a five week trip through Asia, and then my boyfriend and I will be moving to England. We plan to live and work there for a year or two, and travel to Europe as often as possible while we are there. It’s going to be quite the adventure.

I’m currently typing this blog from my Air BnB in Seminyak, Bali, whilst it buckets down outside. Not the ideal weather I was hoping for. But the weather seems to be about as unpredictable as Auckland weather, in that it can be raining one second, and sunny the next. This is not good news for my journey to our next stop this afternoon which will require me to walk with all my possessions on my back, thank god for the backpack rain cover that my mum convinced me to get, mum always knows best right?

Anyway, for this post, I thought I’d write a bit about what it was like packing up my life in New Zealand. Because due to rain and jetlag, we haven’t done a lot here in Bali yet, other than eat, sleep and a short swim when the weather was good.

I feel like I spent months packing and preparing for this move. We’ve known for quite some time that we wanted to travel this year, so over the last year or so I’ve been slowly downsizing, and refusing to buy new things as much as possible. As soon as I finished uni in November I went straight into packing and selling mode, which meant that for the last few months, I’ve been living in limbo, surrounded by boxes and living out of bags, as I slowly sold all of our furniture. By the way, if you’re needing to sell things, Facebook marketplace is great for getting rid of things quickly. You’re probably not going to make a lot of money out of it, but it’ll give you a little bit of extra spending money, and someone will come to your door and take your possessions off your hands, it’s a win win.

So, Wednesday was the big day. Our flight was at 7.00am in the morning, which meant a super early wake up, but also saved us from spending the day waiting for a flight. By the time Wednesday rolled around, I was ready to go. There had been numerous goodbyes in the weeks proceeding, as well as a last minute rush to get the final packing done, and things sold. Saying goodbye to my friends and family was tough, that feeling of not knowing when you might see them again, or if things would be the same when you return is hard. But I just keep thinking about what Winnie the Pooh said, “how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”. I’m so lucky to have something so great at home that makes it hard for me to leave, and I know that it’s all back home waiting for me when I return from this amazing adventure.

So, that’s probably enough from me for now. It’s day three of our trip and I’m starting to get used to the idea that I’m basically going to be wearing the same clothes for the next five weeks until we arrive in England, and that I’m probably not going to feel super clean for a while. It’s a tough thought to come to terms with for a clean freak like me. But hey, it’s all part of the adventure right? Ask me again how I feel in a week or so ha.

Ok, will be back with an update soon, byeeee.

jIsajAt

 

2018 Adventures

Hi, hey, hello! It’s me! Do you remember me? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. I’ve been a crap blogger over the last year. I know it, you know it, we all know it.

2017 was a big year. One of the biggest. I went back to school full time, whilst continuing to work. Life was busy, but I loved it, and here I am on the other side with a brand new qualification, and some super exciting plans on the horizon. I felt really bad about not keeping up a regular blogging schedule, but sometimes you just have to accept that you can’t do everything all the time, and so I let the blog take a back seat. But this year, things will be different (oh January, a month of such hope and optimism).

2018 is shaping up to be another crazy year, but an exciting one. In just under a month, I’m packing up life here in New Zealand, and I’m moving to the other side of the world aka England. On the way, we are stopping off in various South East Asian countries. I’m excited, nervous, and at this moment a little stressed about the five billions thing I’ve gotta sort out between now and when we leave. But I just focus on that first cocktail by the pool in Bali and that chills me out.

So with all these changes and adventures on the horizon, this is going to mean that there will be lots of material for lots of new posts. To be completely honest, with all these changes, there probably won’t be regular posts for a little while, but once we are settled into our new life in England, I will aim to start posting regularly.

So that’s what’s been happening. If you’ve ever moved countries or have any tips for South East Asia travel, send me your tips and tricks for making this as easy as possible!

Stay tuned for 2018’s adventures!

Another Queenstown Adventure

Queenstown has quickly become my go-to travel destination when I’m looking for a getaway that makes you feel like you really got away from home, even though it’s not that far away at all. With its quaint little streets and laneways, and people visiting from all over the world, it almost feels like you’re in a different country.

During winter, Queenstown turns into a bit of a winter wonderland, with its snowy mountains, cold temperatures, and the bustling little town. It was about 2 degrees for the majority of the time we were there, which was a great opportunity to bust out the various beanies and gloves sitting in my draw that don’t get much wear here in Auckland.

Having been to Queenstown a couple of times already (which you can read about here), and feeling well in need of a relaxing break after a busy semester, Mum and I decided to skip the adventure activities and opted for a long weekend of hot pools, wine, and good food.

Our first stop upon arrival was Vudu Cafe, which has quickly become one of my favourite spots for a bite to eat in Queenstown. The coffee is delish, and even though I haven’t tried any of it, the cabinet food is beautiful. On this visit, I tried the vegan samosa which was pretty nice, and huggge.

Of course, a visit to the Onsen Hot Pools was a must. This is such a luxurious, relaxing experience. With beautiful views of the Shotover River, a glass of wine in one hand, and ice cream in the other, this is an ideal way to escape the cold weather.

Whilst in Queenstown, a trip to Arrowtown is always in order too. It’s such a cute little town, with tonnes of cafes to choose from. We sheltered from the rain in the Bonjour french cafe, and had delicious coffee and a late breakfast. I went for the scrambled eggs in a croissant which was the perfect option for me – it warmed me up but didn’t leave me feeling too full. There were little games at each table, which resulted in an inter-table competition. Such a cute little place that I would 100% head back to.

One of the things that we really wanted to do whilst in Queenstown was to find a vineyard where we could have a delicious lunch and a nice glass of wine. We decided to go to Gibbston Valley. I had been here previously and loved it, so was keen to go back. We ordered the Harvest platter to share, which had all the good things on it, and I had a nice glass of Pinot Noir on the side. With its relaxed and cozy atmosphere, Gibbston Valley was the perfect spot to while away a rainy Friday afternoon.

Another trip highlight was our Saturday morning drive to Glenorchy. I had remembered this being an easy 20 minute drive around the lake, but turns out it was more of a 45 minute drive (sorry Mum!). I particularly wanted to go to Glenorchy because of the spectacular views of the lake and mountains, but sadly when we got there, the rain and clouds meant that we couldn’t see much of anything. Instead, we found a busy little cafe called the Sugar Loaf Cafe, where I had the veggie breakfast. Having been opting to eat vegetarian meals more often than not these days, I’ve noticed that decent vegetarian options are lacking in a lot of places, so I was thrilled to see a vegetarian breakfast front and centre on the menu. It was absolutely delicious. When we left the cafe, the cloud had lifted a little, so we were able to get some photos of the scenery after all.

Our final dinner in Queenstown was at the My Thai Lounge. We were drawn in by the lakeside views and numerous pretty umbrellas hanging from the ceiling. The food was all so tasty, and the ceiling was totally gram-able.

Before we flew home, we stopped for brunch at Bespoke Kitchen. I actually found this when I spied a photo of their beautiful food on the Queenstown Instagram story. My orange spiced pancakes were a treat for the tastebuds, the coffee was great (seems that coffee in Queenstown is just good everywhere), and the cabinet food looked amazing. The cafe was so busy that we were only able to get a spot outside in the 3 degree weather, but it was totally worth it. It turns out that Bespoke Kitchen is run but the same people who own Vudu, which totally makes sense, as the menus were kind of similar (different meals but similar in style).

So there you have it – I did warn you that the trip was spent eating and drinking, and having written it all down, I definitely wasn’t wrong. Have you been to Queenstown? Where’s your favourite place to go?

Pancakes at Bespoke Kitchen

My Thai Lounge

Glenorchy

Lake Wakatipu

Harvest Platter at Gibbston Valley

Lake Wakatipu in the rain

Onsen Hot Pools

Vegan Samosa from Vudu Cafe

Whirlwind Weekend in Wellington

A couple of weeks ago, I jumped on an early morning flight to Wellington, for a quick little weekend getaway. The primary purpose of our trip was to visit the Te Papa Museum to see the Gallipoli exhibition, but other than that, we skipped the touristy stuff and opted for a weekend of eating, drinking and window shopping. Here are the highlights:

Gallipoli: The Scale of War Exhibition at Te Papa Museum

Te Papa is one of those “must do” things if you’re a first time visitor to Wellington. It’s a cool museum, perfect for a rainy day, like the day we went. This time we went specifically to the Gallipoli exhibition, which we had heard was amazing, and it absolutely went above and beyond my expectations. This exhibition would be fascinating for anyone, but for those of us New Zealanders who grew up learning about Gallipoli, and commemorate it on ANZAC Day each year, the exhibition is truly worth seeing. I was amazed by how much I learned, how much I didn’t know, and how emotional it made me feel. Truly amazing, and truly worth the trip. I believe it is on for at least another year or two, so definitely check it out.

The Arborist

This popular bar and restaurant was next door to our hotel, so it was the perfect spot for an afternoon wine before heading out for dinner. The decor was very cool, and the menu looked delicious. If we had been hanging around Wellington longer I would have been very keen to come back for a meal. It also has a rooftop bar, but sadly as it was raining, the rooftop was closed when we were there. Next time we are back in Wellington I will be heading back here for a meal and a glass of wine at the rooftop bar.

Neo Cafe

We stopped in here for a morning coffee, and the Whittakers chocolate cake caught my eye, but it was far too early for cake at that time (is it ever too early for cake though?). The cake stuck in my mind all day, so before our flight home, I dragged us back to Neo Cafe so that I could pick up a slice to take home with me. This was the BEST. CAKE. EVER. For those of you who are not from New Zealand, Whittakers chocolate is pretty much our pride and joy, and is the most delicious thing ever. So you can imagine that a cake made from Whittakers is truly delightful. To top it off, it even had salted caramel icing. And I’m not even really a cake person.

Our whirlwind weekend trip totally reignited my love for Wellington, and I can’t wait to get back there asap (mostly for the cake). Are there any places that I need to hit next time?

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My Favourite Skincare Products

It feels like I’ve been searching for the perfect skincare routine for the longest time. And guys, I think I’ve finally found it. I know, I can’t believe it either. One of the ways that I find new products is from blogs, so I thought I’d share the products with you, just in case anyone out there is interested.

Garnier Micellar Water

I wrote about this way back in August, and I’m still loving it. Over the past year, I’ve used two bottles of this stuff. Considering I use it every single day, often more than once, I’m pretty happy with how long it lasts.

I start off my nightly skin care routine by putting a few squirts of this on a cotton pad. It removes all my makeup and leaves my face feeling pretty clean.

Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser

After trying out tonnes of different drugstore cleansers, I recently purchased Cetaphil for the first time, and this stuff is seriously changing my life. I have the one for oily skin, but they have versions for all skin types. I apply it to my face with warm water, after I have used to the micellar water, to get rid of any lingering makeup and give my face a deep clean. Ever since I have been using this, my skin has completely cleared up and is so soft and glowy. Seriously amazing. And to think, I was getting ready to shell out the big bucks for a more high-end product.

Lush Mask of Magnaminty and Lush Cup O’ Coffee Face and Body Masks

I talked about the Mask of Magnaminty when I first bought it, and I am still loving this product. It has this very calming scent which smells delicious and also makes me feel really relaxed. Whilst wearing it, you can totally feel it working on your skin to give it a deep clean, and the morning after applying this, my skin is always clear and blemish free – it’s amazing. I even sometimes just use this as a spot treatment if I don’t feel like covering my whole face.

I love the Cup O’ Coffee mask almost as much as the Mask of Magnaminty. I find that the Mask of Magnaminty is better at treating breakouts, but other than that, the Cup O’ Coffee mask is just as good. It smells delightful as if you are covering your face in coffee and chocolate, which you kind of are. As you rinse this one off, you can exfoliate your face with the coffee grinds. The end result is glowing, soft, smooth skin which smells amazing. I love using this one in the morning or during the day if I’m working at home, to perk me up in the afternoon when my concentration is lacking but it’s too late in the day for a coffee.

Both of these masks are self-preserving, which means they last a lot longer than the fresh masks from Lush, but still use all natural ingredients. I usually do a mask at least once a week – more if I have the time!

What are your holy grail skincare products that I need to try?

I’m Still Alive!

Hello hello hello!

You might have noticed that the blog has been a little bit quiet lately. I haven’t forgotten about you guys, I promise. In fact, I’ve written about a hundred posts in my head, they just haven’t quite made it to paper, so to speak. For those of you still here, thanks for sticking around during my radio silence. I have good reason, I swear.

You might remember that a little while ago, I told you I was heading back to uni this year. I’ve now nearly finished the first semester, and I tell ya, it’s been pretty busy. Balancing work and full time study, whilst maintaining something that resembles a life, has been quite the challenge, but a good challenge.

I have to say, despite the never ending deadlines, I’m really loving being back at uni. I’ve always been a bit of an academic at heart. Most of my work is done online, so I do a lot of it from the comfort of my couch, which is awesome. I could really get used to this “work from home” thing. I’m also lucky enough to have family with houses in beautiful parts of the country, so when I get sick of my lounge, I just drive to one of their places and set up shop for a few days. It’s pretty ideal.

Apart from study and work, there’s been a lot of Netflix watching. I’ve made my way through Riverdale, Girlboss, 13 Reasons Why and I’m sure there are other things I can’t think of right now. What’s everyone else been watching? I need recommendations for my “study breaks”.

So that’s a quick update of what’s been happening with me. I’ll try get some more posts up asap, but if it’s a bit quiet, now you know why! I still post regularly on Instagram, so if you’re looking for me, you can always find me there.

Talk soon!

One Year of This Girl In Her Twenties

This month marks the one year anniversary since This Girl in Her Twenties began. Of course, the idea had been floating around well before that time, but in March 2016, I finally got around to writing that first post, and so, This Girl In her Twenties was born.

One year has flown by, and now I think to myself, why didn’t I just do it earlier? I’ve loved having a space to write about my interests, and to be able to interact with people out there who share my interests. I love that no matter what I write about, there is always someone out there who relates to it. Every time I get a new follower, I’m genuinely stoked, because someone out there actually likes reading my stuff, who knew?!

So thank you to all of you who have visited my page, liked my posts and left comments, and to those who follow me over on Instagram too.

Here’s to an even better second year!

thank you

First Impressions: Lush Mask of Magnaminty

In the last year or so, I’ve really jumped on the Lush bandwagon, and slowly but surely, my bathroom is filling up with those token black Lush pots.

After watching a review on Youtube about the Mask of Magnaminty, I was desperate to give it a go, and so yesterday, I treated myself to it. I was not having the best skin day, waking up with tired and blemished skin, and I was hoping this mask would be my savior.

I should note that this mask is self preserving, which means it lasts longer than normal Lush masks. I think mine has about four months left before it expires. All ingredients are natural, and listed on the pot.

The first thing I noticed when putting on is how minty it smelt. If you don’t like mint, probably don’t bother with this one. I left it on for a bit over 10 minutes, and in that time I could definitely feel it working on my skin.

I washed it off with warm water. There are some gritty bits in the mask which are meant to work as an exfoliater, which means not only are you getting a good deep clean, but you are exfoliating your skin as you wash it off.

I have to say, I think I was expecting miracles, as I do with all new beauty products. I was hoping to remove this mask to reveal perfectly flawless skin, which didn’t happen (but come on, is any product THAT good?). My skin did however feel much cleaner after using this, and I’m hoping that with regular use, the more effective it will be in helping me realize my vision of flawless, glowing skin.

Have you tried this? Are there any other Lush masks I have to try?

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My Five Favourite Shows Right Now

Happy Thursday everyone! Its time for another round up of TV shows I’ve been loving lately, because there are just so many. So what do you do when you’ve found a show that you love? You blog about it. After you’ve told all your workmates about it first.

The OA

This show is different from anything I’ve seen, and I’ll admit that after the first episode I wasn’t convinced. But I have this rule with myself, that if a show kind of catches my attention, but not fully, that I should watch at least three episodes before I make my mind up. It’s a good job I persevered, because by the end of the third episode I was hooked.

Basically, it follows the story of a girl who returns home after being missing for seven years. She was blind when she went missing, and when she returns home, she can see again. In the first season she tells us where she’s been for the last seven years. It is kind of drama, kind of sci-fi, and just really fascinating. I can’t give away too much otherwise I will spoil the plot, but I 100% recommend you give this a go. There’s only 8 episodes, so it won’t take too much of your time.

Black Mirror

I’ve never met a person who didn’t love Black Mirror. Again, it’s unlike anything you will have seen before. It addresses the impact that the creation of new technologies have on society. Each episode has a different story line, different characters, and a different cast. I particularly like this, because you can watch the episodes in any order, and if you’re not feeling one of them, then you don’t have to see it through to the end, you can just skip to the next one (I may have done this once or twice).

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I’ve gotta be honest, I watched the first episode, and though I was entertained, I didn’t have any intentions to watch this season the whole way through. It was funny enough, but also kind of ridiculous. But then I watched another, and another, and before I knew it, I had finished all 18 episodes.

The main plot line follows a woman who is chasing after an ex fling from her teenage years. It’s a comedy, with many musical interludes throughout each episode. The musical bits are commentaries on various aspects of modern society. It’s funny yet impressively intelligent.

The Mindy Project

I love this show. And I know I’m a bit behind the eight ball on this one, as the first season came out years ago, but I spent last weekend bingeing the first couple of seasons so I’m quickly catching up. Mindy Kaling’s character is a little crazy but actually entirely relatable. All of the characters are kind of just exaggerated versions of normal people.

Girls

I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll mention it again. As a twenty something, I totally relate to the characters, who are also navigating their way through their twenties. I mean, my life is no where near as exciting as theirs, but I can definitely relate to some of the life decisions and every day hurdles they face. You should go binge this now if you haven’t already.

What are you guys watching? Is there anything I missed off this list that I need to watch?

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