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

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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!

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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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My Favourite Beauty Products for Fair Skin

I have fair skin, like the fairest of the fair. Even when I have a tan, people still comment on how pale I am – I am THAT fair. In my teens, I used to experiment with various fake tans to try and conform to that bronzed skin ideal, but to be honest, the constant upkeep was too much for a lazy girl like me, so I decided to embrace my fair skin, and to choose clothes and makeup that compliment my skin colour.

With fair skin, comes the ever lasting search for beauty products that are light enough to match my skin, of which there seem to be very few. Over the years, I’ve been through so many different brands, but have found it near impossible to find a foundation that matches my face and doesn’t leave me looking orange.

But praise the lord, I seem to have finally stumbled onto a few products that match my skin tone, so I thought I should share them with you, so that you too, can solve your fair skin issues.

NARS Sheer Glow in Mont Blanc Light 2

I took the plunge and purchased a bottle of NARS Sheer Glow, and I’m so happy I did. This had been highly recommended to me by my fair skin friends, and I’d also seen it mentioned a lot on Youtube. It is a little more than I like to spend on makeup, at about $70 NZD a bottle, plus an extra $5 if you want the pump lid. With foundation though, I don’t mind spending a little bit more, because it really is the base of the face, and if it looks good, then I will feel good. It’s a light coverage, which is good for me as I don’t really like looking like I have a lot of makeup on. It’s super buildable though, which works for those days when I want a bit of extra coverage.

The most important thing though, is that it actually matches my skin tone, which is no simple task. I got the shade Mont Blanc, which is one of the six “light” shades available. This one is number 2 in the light range, and is described as having pink undertones. With six light shades available, all with varying undertones, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find one that matches your skin tone perfectly.

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Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair 1

Much like my ongoing search for the perfect foundation, I have had similar struggles with concealer. I find it impossible to find the right shade, that also offers enough coverage and actually stays on. I did stumble onto a good thing with Benefit Boing concealer, and purchased this a couple of times, but I don’t love it enough to keep paying the $40 price tag, when there might be something just as good, for a lower price out there. After hearing about the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer from various beauty bloggers, I thought it couldn’t hurt to give this a go, especially considering I walk past the Collection stand at my local supermarket regularly.  It has great coverage, the fair 1 shade matches my skin perfectly, and it actually seems to last the day. With my Boing concealer, I was often touching up throughout the day, but not with this one! And it is so affordable, at about $15 NZD a pop.

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NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation in Ivory

I’m not going to say this is my favourite powder of all time, but in terms of matching my skin tone, it does a good job. It is a good price at less than $20 NZD, so I will probably continue to purchase this for the time being. I have tried ones that I like more, such as the Estee Lauder Double Wear, but there’s a huge price difference, so for now, I’ll stick with NYX.

nyx-powder

The Balm Cindy-Lou Manizer Highlighter

Although I have fully embraced my fair skin, it’s nice to add a bit of glow and dimension to my face, which is where blushes, bronzers and highlighters come in. My usual approach to adding colour to my face has been to sweep a little bit of blush on my cheeks, usually a warm pink shade, as this seems to work best for my skin tone. However, I recently purchased The Balm Cindy-Lou Manizer Highlighter, without quite knowing what it was. I picked this up for $5 at a makeup clearance sale, and thought it looked interesting, but knew nothing about the brand or the product. I googled it when I got home, to find out that it usually retails for anywhere between $40 and $50 NZD. If I’d known how much I was going to love this, I would have stocked up! I’ve seen this described as a pinky-peach blush that can be used as a blush, eyeshadow and highlight. I love products that do it all. This has been an amazing addition to my makeup routine, as it adds a natural bit of colour to my cheeks, and I sometimes use it as an eyeshadow when I’m wanting to brighten up eyes a bit, on a natural makeup day.

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These are the main products I use regularly, I’d love to know what other products people recommend for fair skin. What products do you use?

Summer in Sydney

Well, I’m back from Sydney and getting back into the swing of everyday life. I read somewhere recently that the third week of January is one of the more difficult ones for people, because for most of us, our holidays are over, the novelty of a new year has worn off, and the reality sets in that we have a whole year to go until the fun of the next festive season. Personally, I found this week a bit of a struggle, for all of the reasons above, as well as the fact that the weather is cold and miserable (must I remind you again that it is the middle of summer here?). Thank god for my little get away over the ditch last week, where the weather was in the 30s the whole time, otherwise I would be feeling severely sun deprived.

Anyway, back to the point of this post, which is to give you a little update on my trip to Sydney. It’s worth me pointing out, that we decided this would be more of a beachy, relaxed holiday, rather than a sightseeing trip, as we had both been to Sydney before and had done a fair bit of the touristy stuff. Where we were staying was in North Sydney, which is a beautiful area with beaches dotted all the way up the coast. We were lucky enough to be house sitting for family, and so we had access to a car and bikes, as well as beach gear like surf boards and snorkels, which meant we could fully make the most of our trip and explore the area (when we weren’t napping or laying on the beach).

I won’t give you a play-by-play, instead i’ll pick out my favourite things and list them below.

Palm Beach – North Sydney

We took a drive up to Palm Beach which is north of the Sydney CBD. This is an absoulutely beautiful beach, with some great cafes, but I’ve got to say, the main draw card for me was the fact that this beach is where the popular Australian show Home And Away is filmed. Whilst I don’t watch this religiously, I’ve been watching it on and off for years, so being able to see where all the magic happens was so exciting, including the likes of the surf club, the lighthouse, the beach and Alf’s bait shop. We had a delicious brunch at The Boathouse, which is built over the water, giving us some beautiful breakfast views. The exterior of the building, is actually the Home and Away “diner”, and if you watch the show you’ll recognise the surrounding scenery too. This is a must-visit location for anyone, but even better if you’re a fan of the show.

Taronga Zoo

It had been years since I’d been to a zoo, and this one came highly recommended, so we checked it out one very hot afternoon. Note to self for future reference, sunscreen and many, many bottles of water are always required on a zoo day.

Taronga Zoo is situated on the side of a hill, looking over the Sydney harbour, and features stunning views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge (as well as amazing animals of course). Once you get to the bottom of the hill, you can catch a cable car back up to the entrance, so you don’t have to hike back up the hill after you’ve seen all the animals. This was ideal in the 30+ degree heat.

Surfing at Manly Beach

Manly is well known for it’s surfing, so a lesson at the Manly Surf School was a must. The guys who teach these lessons are amazing. So amazing in fact that they had me standing up on my first try (note that I had literally never been on a surf board before so this was a pretty big achievement). I am now hooked, and can’t wait to go for another lesson asap.

Food

There was so much good food, that I can’t pick a favourite, so I thought I’d give you a quick list of my favs:

Jah Bar, Dee Why

This is a tapas restaurant in Dee Why, which was one beach north from where we were staying. The fish tacos were one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten, and I don’t even like fish that much. We were lucky to be there on Monday which is “Happy Day”, meaning that all day is happy hour, which means extremely cheap food and drinks. We also got a table outside, so we were able to people watch and look over at the beach which is across the road. Definitely check it out if you’re ever in the area.

Manly Wharf Hotel

Situated over the water, next door to the Manly ferry terminal, the Manly Wharf Hotel is the perfect place for a drink in the sun.We ordered a drink from the Jetty Bar which is built over the water, and enjoyed the Thursday special which was $10 steak. You can’t say no to that! If we had had more time in Sydney, I definitely would have gone back here.

Donny’s Bar

Whilst heading back to Manly Wharf Hotel on our last night of the trip, we stumbled across Donny’s Bar. The sound of live music pulled us in, and it turns out that this is quite the popular spot for a Saturday night drink. We sat there for a few hours, enjoying a jug of Rose Sangria and the Barman’s platter. It was all delicious and the singer, whose name escapes me now, was singing all my favourite songs. Wine + live music = my happy place. So glad we found this place, it was the perfect way to spend our last evening.

So there you have it, a list of my holiday highlights. See a few of my snaps below.

What did you get up to over your holiday break? Comment below!

What’s Happening in 2017

Hello lovely readers! It’s been a bit quiet here on the blog for the last few weeks. I’ve been off enjoying the festive season, and a little bit of sunshine when it comes out from behind the clouds, which hasn’t been happening enough considering it is the middle of summer, if you ask me. My holidays were very busy, spent driving around various parts of the North Island to spend time with family and friends. My holiday is taking a pause for a few days while I am back at work, but next week I am off to Sydney to continue my summer holiday, and I cannot wait!

Before I jet off again, I thought I’d check in, to say hello, happy new year, and give you a bit of an update on whats happening with me, and the blog this year.

Life

After my Sydney trip, it will be time to get back to business as usual, and to reinstate my usual routines. Before the holidays hit, I was doing so well with exercising regularly, so my intention is to get this habit back on track as soon as I am back from holiday.

In March, things are going to change a little bit for me, because I’m going back to uni! The thought is exciting, but also quite terrifying, as it’s been a few years since I was last at uni. As I’ll be crazy busy with studying full time, and still working in my normal job, I’ll do my best to keep updating the blog regularly, but if there are times when you don’t hear from me for a while, you can safely assume I am holed up in my room trying to get an assignment done.

Travel

As mentioned above, I’m off to Sydney next week! I’m looking forward to a warm, beachy holiday, some delicious food, and a bit of shopping here and there.

There won’t be any major trips this year, but I’m sure there will be plenty of little adventures to look forward to! There is still so much of this country I need to see, particularly in the South Island, so exploring my own country will be my travel focus this year.

Blog

Can you believe This Girl in Her Twenties is nearly a year old? I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I finally sat down and wrote my first post. I also can’t believe that it took me about three years before that to actually start this blog. But here we are.

This year, I plan to keep posting regularly(ish), with my thoughts on beauty trends, pop culture, travel, life and all that stuff. I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve already, but you’ll probably have to wait until I’m back from holiday to see these.

As I said above, this year is a big year for me with returning to study, but I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated as much as possible.

That’s enough of an update from me! Thanks to everyone for reading in 2016, here’s to an even better to 2017.

If there’s anything you would like to see more of on here in 2017, comment below 🙂

Remember, if you want to keep up with me between blog posts, you can follow me on Instagram

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A snap from my Christmas Day