Throwback Thursday – Fun in Fiji

Thursdays are all about throwing it back to times gone by. Right now here in New Zealand, it is the middle of winter. And these dreary days have got me dreaming of sunnier times. With this in mind, I’m going to throw it back to exactly two years ago, when I was recovering from a terrible flu, and decided to trade in the rainy Auckland winter for the blue skies of Fiji with four of my girlfriends.

We rented a two bedroom apartment in a resort, and had eight amazing days of sun, cocktails, swimming and all those things you do on an island getaway. It is still one of my favourite holidays to look back on.

Fiji is an amazing place to go if you just want a few days of pure relaxation, where your biggest concerns are which pool you are going to lounge beside that day, and where you will go for happy hour. Based on my experiences, the food wasn’t especially exciting, it was all pretty similar to what I can get here in Auckland, but twice the price.  But hey, you don’t go there for the food.

We stayed at the Wyndham Resort on Denerau Island, and spent our days pool hopping around the various resorts in the area. Absolute bliss. We also did a boat cruise out to Tivua Island.

Check out a few of my snaps from the trip below. Soon I’m going on another winter getaway, and I’m pretty glad about that, otherwise I’d be feeling seriously sad looking at those blue skies.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions for sunny holiday destinations, for anyone looking to escape the winter?

 


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My First Beauty Haul

Last week I did my first ever online beauty haul. I purchased a bunch of products from Beauty Joint, and they arrived on my doorstep yesterday. I thought some of you out there might be interested to know what I got, and my first impressions of the products.

All photos are from www.beautyjoint.com 

CITY COLOR COSMETICS Brow Quad – Dark $4.20 NZD

This may shock the brow enthusiasts out there, but this is the first time I’ve ever used any product on my brows, ever. Fortunately, I have naturally dark and full brows, and so there has never really been any reason for me to do anything to them. But the current trend of full and dark brows seems to be continuing on with no sign of stopping, so I thought I would have a go at trying some brow products, in an attempt to make mine look a little more neat and tidy.

Upon using this, I’ve decided that I probably won’t bother with using cream or powder products on my brows again, as I really didn’t like the way they ended up looking really heavy on my face. Maybe I haven’t found the right product yet, or maybe I just need to take time to get used to the look. But, I don’t think this is something I will try again anytime soon.

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e.l.f. Clear Brow & Lash Mascara $2.79 NZD

The other brow product I purchased was this e.l.f clear brow and lash mascara. I haven’t tried the mascara part yet, as I really purchased it for the brow aspect of it. I really, really like this product. It makes my brows look tidier, whilst still looking natural.

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e.l.f. Essential Blush with Brush – Blushing $3.63

Another e.l.f product I got in the haul was the Essential Blush in the shade Blushing. This is a gorgeous, slightly peachy, pink. It’s super pigmented so you don’t need much on the brush, and a bit more shimmery than I expected, but that doesn’t put me off. My cheeks will just be a bit more sparkly than usual. This arrived perfectly on time, as my usual everyday blush had an accident a couple of days ago, and is currently in a million pieces. RIP my Dandelion face powder from Benefit (another great product I would highly recommend).

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KLEANCOLOR Retractable Waterproof Lip & Eye Liner in Fuschia NZD $2.46

I bought this in the hope that it would match my range of fuschia lipsticks, and it looks like it is going to work with them perfectly. It glides onto my skin nicely. Having not actually worn it yet, i’m not sure how long lasting, or drying it will be, but I’m looking forward to giving it ago. This is retractable, with a little sharpener in the end.

LA GIRL Lipliner Pencil in Forever Red $2.79 NZD

This pencil is slightly darker then it is appears in the picture, but I still like it all the same. It goes onto my skin nicely, and will go perfectly with my selection of true red lipsticks. Again, I haven’t actually worn it yet, so I can’t comment on how it wears, but for the price, it’s worth a try.

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NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation in Ivory $10.52 NZD

This my first ever NYX product. I’ve heard good things about this brand, but the reviews for this specific product are not so great. I was silly and didn’t look at the reviews until AFTER purchasing it, oops.

Ivory was the best choice for me, because 9 times out of 10 I need the lightest shade available. In the tube, it almost looks a little dark for me, but when I put it in my face it is actually a bit lighter than my skin. This is easily solved with a bit of powder. It wears much better than I expected it to, but it did start to separate by the end of the night.

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e.l.f. Studio Eyeshadow “C” Brush $5.60

This is my second time purchasing this brush, because I like the one I have so much, and thought a second one would be handy. It picks up lots of pigment, and is really easy to work with. I have a selection of the e.l.f studio brushes and love them all.

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So that’s the haul! Have you tried any of these products? Do you have any recommendations for my next haul?

Learning to Cook – The Couple Edition

One of the things I’m quickly figuring out as I get deeper into my twenties is that adulting is hard. Paying rent every week, waking up early everyday, preparing healthy meals for myself etc.

That last one, preparing meals, is one that I have always struggled with, ever since I started cooking for myself. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking, it’s just that it’s not something that I feel particularly passionate about, especially after a long day at work.
When I was living alone, it was a bit easier to cook up something quick and simple without much pre planning with whatever was in the freezer, or you know, just eat toast and/or ice cream (that happened, many times). 

When I started living with my boyfriend, I quickly realized that my impromptu “I’ll figure it out when I get home” approach to cooking really wasn’t going to work anymore.

After a year of taking various approaches to cooking (and countless takeaway meals when we gave up trying to figure out what to cook for dinner), I feel like we have a good rhythm going when it comes to cooking.

Having talked to lots of other couples, I’ve realized that the struggle to cook quick, easy, cost and time efficient meals for two is pretty common. So here are few tips of what we have done, and what is working for us:

Have your fruit and veges delivered

We’ve been doing this for a few months now, and it’s a game changer. We get a box delivered fortnightly, and it makes such a difference coming home to a fridge full of veges. With the company we order from, you can pick and choose what veges you want on that particular week, or go with a standard box with a pre-selected range of veges. Knowing what is coming, and when, helps us to plan our meals ahead of time. It also allows us to try out things we wouldn’t necessarily buy either, like a spaghetti squash. It also works out to cost about as much as it would if we were buy to all the veges at the supermarket, but is way more convenient.

There are plenty of companies out there, but we have chosen to use FoodBox

Stock your cupboard up with the essentials

Cooking is certainly a lot easier when you have a well stocked cupboard. This may seem like stating the obvious, but it took us many, many supermarket trips to collect all the essentials. I’m talking herbs and spices, canned tomatoes, flour, butter, a range of sauces. Cooking is so much more appealing when you have all the ingredients at your fingertips.

Plan your meals in advance

I always used to hate the idea of planning meals in advance, it seemed so “adult”. It is actually a really beneficial thing to do though, because you can make sure you have all the ingredients you need ahead of time, and it takes the stress out of figuring out what to make when you get home after a long day.

Make it fun

This is a big one for me. Instead of thinking of cooking as a chore, I try and think of it as fun. If I’m cooking on my own I will turn my music up loud, sing along, and treat it as some “me time”.

Alternatively, treat it as a chance to spend some quality time with your partner. Divide out the tasks, listen to some music, have a good chat, and enjoy doing something productive together.

And lastly…here are a few of my go to meals

Here are some of the meals that have been on rotation at my place lately. Keeping in mind that it’s winter, so we are opting to make heartwarming dishes.

  1. Soups – Easy, tasty and they can last for several meals.
  2. Pies – My favourite at the moment are a good old bacon and egg pie, or a chicken pie. Again, these will last for a few meals, and are so quick and easy.
  3. Spaghetti bolognaise/nachos and other mince based meals. These use few ingredients (which you will probably already have in your cupboard) and always taste good.

What are your go to meals? And what tips do you have for the twenty-something couple trying to cook at home?