On My Wishlist

With Christmas fast approaching, there are so many amazing things available in stores, and I am spending a lot more time in shops while I complete my Christmas shopping. I’m happy to say I have been very self-controlled, and have been buying for others only. But on my shopping endeavors, I have come up with a list of things I really want to buy for myself once my bank account recovers from Christmas. (Of course if some of these things end up in my stocking that’s ok too 😉 )

All images are taken from the websites linked below.

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation

I feel like I am constantly searching for the perfect foundation. I’ve been through various bottles of different products, and still haven’t found “the one”. Earlier this year, I invested in a pricey MAC foundation which was pretty close to perfect, only to accidentally smash it on the floor after one wear, and I was absolutely heartbroken. Since then, I’ve been making do with various drugstore foundations that I already had stashed in my cupboard, but I’m ready to invest in a higher quality one. Nars Sheer Glow has been recommended to me several times, so I’d love to give this a go.

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Chi Chi Nudes Eye Shadow Palette

I’m in need of a new eye shadow palette, and I really like the look of these ones. I’ve heard good things about the Chi Chi palettes, and it features all my go-to colours, so it must be a goodie!

T2 Strawberries and Cream Loose Leaf Tea

I love strawberries, so it’s no surprise that this is my favourite T2 tea. I’ve had this one before, but I haven’t got any left. I want more!

If you haven’t checked it out, T2 is an amazing shop that stocks pretty much every flavour of loose leaf tea you can think of. They have heaps of tasters set up for you to try, and they’ll even brew up one of your choice to test out, if you want to try before you buy.

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Holiday reading material

In New Zealand, Christmas means long days spent at the beach, so a big pile of good books is a necessity. On my list at the moment is Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Sweet Bitter by Stephanie Danler.

Lush Products

My local shopping mall has recently brought in a Lush store. Ever since, I have become obsessed with going into the store to check out their products. I’m dying to try some of their bath bombs.

So those are a few things on my wishlist. What’s on yours?

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Lessons Learnt in 2016

For me, 2016 has been a year of trying to find some clarity, to figure out what my goals and passions are. Looking back on this year, I realize I’ve learnt a few little life lessons, that will be invaluable to me as I go through life. So for all you twenty-somethings out there, here’s what I’ve learnt this year.

You are you, and that’s okay

This one is so important. I often find myself second guessing my feelings, opinions, and actions, based on what I think others would do in my situation. But the thing is, only I feel the way I feel, and like the things I like. No one else is like me, and therefore I shouldn’t judge myself against others, because they are completely different individuals, and making comparisons in entirely pointless. To quote a popular phrase of 2016, “you do you”.

See your problems as challenges

This is something I have only recently learnt, and and it has completely changed my outlook. There are so many hurdles we have to overcome all the time. But rather than seeing them as barriers stopping us from getting results, maybe we should be looking at our problems as challenges, as things that we can work through bit by bit to get to our goals. Seeing my problems as challenges has really helped me to be more proactive at making things happen.

Things will happen exactly when they are meant to happen

This is something my mum told me a few years ago, and the older I get, the more it rings true. For me personally, I can spend a lot of time thinking about what I “should” be doing at this moment in my life, but not really moving forward, because I’m just not ready to take that leap into something yet. I’ve learnt that if you don’t feel ready to do something, then don’t force it. Because when the time is right, you’ll leap straight into it, and be ready to fully commit.

Don’t worry about the future so much

This one ties in with the point above. It’s important to make plans, and have an idea of what you want in your future, to give you something to work towards. But this shouldn’t take over your life. If you want a new job, then work towards that. If you want to save for a house, then do that. But just remember, to enjoy now, and live in the moment too.

Nobody really cares about what you are doing

Okay, well maybe that’s not entirely true, but what I mean is that we spend a lot of time worrying about what other people are thinking about the decisions we make. But really, how long do you spend agonizing over the decision your friend made to leave her job? Do you spend your whole day talking about that person on your Facebook feed who recently decided to ditch her teaching career to become a pilot (or something like that)? Probably not. If anything, when I hear that someone has made a ballsy decision, no matter what it is, I usually think about how brave and awesome they are for taking a leap of faith, even if it’s not something I would personally do.

So those are a few little life lessons that I’ll be taking with me into 2017, I hope some of you out there will find these useful too.

Songs You Should Listen To This Christmas

Okay it’s been way too long since my last post. It’s amazing how busy life can get, and all of a sudden a month has passed without me even realizing.

Speaking of time flying by, it’s almost December again! When did that happen? You know what that means though, it’s almost time to start playing the Christmas music. I’m going to be honest with you here, and tell you that I’ve been listening to festive playlists non-stop since the beginning of the week. Usually I have a “no Christmas music before the 1st of December” rule, but when I saw the Happy Holidays genre pop up front and centre on Spotify on Monday, I just couldn’t resist.

So, to get us all into the Christmas spirit, I thought I’d share five Christmas songs that I absolutely love. Although I do enjoy the classics, I have to admit that I can’t get enough of all the poppy tunes that are gracing my Spotify playlists. So, for those of you who also get great joy out of hearing insanely poppy Christmas jams, here is my round up of Christmas songs you have to listen to this year

Mistletoe – Justin Bieber

This has been a staple in my December playlist every Christmas for a good four or five years now. Every time I hear it, I find myself swaying along, imagining I’m sitting by a fire, watching it snow outside. Which is quite the opposite to the classic beachy weather we are used to at Christmas time here in New Zealand.

My Only Wish (This Year) – Britney Spears

This one takes me back to being about 12 years old, dancing around the lounge on Christmas Eve with my brothers and sister. I think it was featured on one of those Christmas compilation CDs. It’s exactly what you would expect of a Britney song from the year 2000, an upbeat pop-tastic song about wishing for her true love.

 

All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

I think this one speaks for itself,  isn’t this everyone’s favorite Christmas song?

 

Underneath The Tree – Kelly Clarkson

If you’re a Kelly Clarkson fan, you’ll probably love this one. It’s upbeat, and rivals Mariah’s All I Want For Christmas in my books (big call I know). Literally every time I hear it, I have this urge to throw my hands up in the air and sing “YOU”RE HERE, WHERE YOU SHOULD BEEEE”. This is another one of those songs that makes me really sad that we don’t get to experience the magic of a white Christmas here in New Zealand.

 

Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande

I’m not usually a big Ariana fan, but this one is just so fun to sing along to. It turns out Ariana has a couple of Christmas albums, who knew?

 

So, that’s a round up of the songs I’m looking forward to singing my little heart out to this Christmas.

What are your go to Christmas songs? Comment and leave a link below to your favorite songs, and I will give them a listen.

Long Weekend in Queenstown

Recently I took a couple of days off work and headed down to Queenstown, for an extra-long weekend getaway. This was my second trip down there in the space of year, but before that, I had never ever visited in my 25 years of living in New Zealand.

It’s a two hour flight from Auckland, which is pretty far by New Zealand standards (although it probably seems like nothing to those of you who live in large countries), and flights can be pretty pricey if you don’t grab them during a sale, or months in advance like we did. It’s totally worth it though. Queenstown is easily one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.

I thought I’d put together a little list of things you might like to do if you ever find yourself in magical Queenstown.

Ride the gondola

For the prettiest views of Queenstown, I would highly recommend taking the gondola up to the top of Bob’s Peak. Once you’re up the top you can take in the views, eat at the restaurant, or ride the luge (which is super fun, so I would strongly recommend you give it a go).

Wine tasting

On my most recent trip to Queenstown, we visited a few different wineries for wine tasting. On a beautiful sunny day, there is nothing better than sitting outside, sipping a glass of wine (or three), and admiring the stunning scenery. My favourite vineyard was Gibbston Valley. It was very relaxed, with picnic tables dotted amongst the blossoms – perfect for an afternoon of wine tasting with good company.

Hire electric bikes

If you’ve never ridden an electric bike before, you are in for a treat. These things can get up to 50kms per hour, and are so much fun to zip around on.

We hired electric bikes for a couple of hours and went for a ride around Lake Wakitipu. It’s such a great way to see more of the sights of Queenstown.

Rent a car

Although you could probably do most of the things on my list without a car, renting one makes it a lot easier to get around. The centre of Queenstown itself is very compact, and you could easily walk around the town in less than five minutes. But there is so much to see outside of Queenstown, that really does require a car. You’ve got picturesque Glenorchy in one direction, and Arrowtown and Wanaka in the other. All of these little towns are worth the drive and the scenery along the way is unbeatable.

Note, if you do make the trip to Wanaka (a little over an hour each way), you should definitely stop off at the Cardrona Hotel. This is a fantastic historic pub with a huge outdoor sitting area amongst the garden.

Onsen Hot Pools

The Onsen hot pools are the ultimate in luxury. Located on the edge of a hill, looking over the well-known Shotover River, you will have your own private hot pool for one hour. For a bit extra, you can pay to have wine, ice cream and candles, which makes it all that little bit more special. This is super romantic, but also a fun thing to do with friends.

All the adventure activities

SO MANY ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES. Queenstown is the home to bungy jumping, high speed jet boat rides, paragliding, zip lining and so much more. During our most recent trip, we did a jet boat ride around Lake Wakatipu, which was thrilling and scenic at the same time.

Even with all I have done above, I have only scratched the surface of Queenstown. So much to do, so little time. I think next time I visit, I might have to do a bungy jump.

That’s it for today, I hope you will find my suggestions useful 🙂

Guide To Goal Setting

In the last few months I’ve been making a real effort to get serious about setting achievable goals. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years thinking about where I see my life going, without feeling like I’ve made any real progress. So, after making this decision to make a conscious effort towards my goals, I’ve actually made some real, tangible progress. Below are a few steps I’ve taken to become more clear about my goals:

I wrote my goals down

This is such a simple task, but I can’t tell you how valuable this has been. Having my goals written down somehow makes me feel more of a commitment to them, and makes me feel like I have more of a clear focus. It’s even been scientifically proven that those who write their goals down are more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t.

I talked to a friend

A friend and I recently decided to become accountability buddies, which basically means we talk to each other about our goals and check in with each other from time to time to see how we are going.  Talking to someone about what you’re working towards somehow makes you feel more accountable, but also gives you that support you need to keep working towards your goals.

Attended a goal setting workshop

Kikki K does these awesome Goals workshops (and many others). I went along with a friend, where we were given a beautiful Goals journal, and were encouraged to think about our core values, our goals, and working towards these. This was a really worthwhile workshop, and if you are struggling with goal setting, or just looking for a bit of inspiration, I would totally recommend going along if you have a Kikki K near you. Plus there is wine 🍷

Set up a vision board

I haven’t actually done this yet, but as soon as I have a free weekend at home, I’m going to get started on this little project. Apparently this is a really great way to stay on track with your goals. They also just look really pretty and will be a fun DIY project.

I’m happy to say that by just doing the few simple things above, I have so much more clarity on my goals for the next few years, and am have already made so much progress in the space of a couple of months.

So that’s a little update on what I’ve been working on lately. If any of you out there have some handy tips on achieving your goals, please let me know in the comments!

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Get To Know Me – 21 Questions

Today I’m doing a “Get to Know Me” tag, because it’s always good to get to know a bit more about the person behind the blog. Thanks to Life Journey With Liyana for inspiring me to do this post. She did a similar one over on her blog recently. I decided to do a slightly different tag, and found the questions below on Ysis Lorenna.

1. Are you named after anyone? 

Not that I know of, I think my mum just liked the name.

2. When was the last time you cried? 

Balled my eyes out last weekend watching the Gilmore Girls finale. Hopefully you won’t be bombarded with my constant Gilmore Girls mentions now that I’ve finished all seven seasons. Lol jk the new season is coming out in two months..

3. Do you have kids?

No kids. Have just been given some plants though, so this will be my chance to see if i’m cut out for parent life.

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?

Definitely, I know we would share the same taste in TV and movies.

5. Do you use sarcasm a lot?

Never (all the time).

6. Will you ever bungee-jump?

Its not something I’m super keen on, but I live in New Zealand which is pretty much the bungee capital of the world, so you never know.

7. What’s your favorite cereal? 

A nice toasted granola/muesli.

8. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their smile I think.

9. What is your eye colour? 

Hazel.

10. Scary movie or happy endings?

Happy endings always.

11. Favorite smells? 

Rain or frangipani. Both at the same time is even better.

12. Summer or winter?

Summer summer summer.

13. Computer or television?

Television.

14. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

The UK, which is about a 24 hour flight from home.

15. Do you have any special talents?

No, not really.

16. Where were you born?

New Zealand.

17. What are your hobbies?

Blogging, listening to music, going to concerts, binge watching tv shows, walking, yoga. The list could go on and on.

18. Do you have any pets? I have a cat that lives with my mum.

19. Favorite movie?

Serendipity.

20. Do you have any siblings?

Yes.

21. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Happy. Cliche I know, but as I get older, I’m realising that happiness is not actually a given.

 

Okay that’s it, I hope you all enjoyed learning a little more about me. If anyone else does this tag, leave a comment below with a link your blog.

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Cooking time: Strawberry and vanilla chia seed jam

I am totally not a morning person. I struggle to wake up every single day. One of the things that makes my morning that little better though, is having a yummy (and easy to make) breakfast to look forward to. I’ve spent many the hour on Pinterest, googling recipes, and experimenting with various ingredients.   

My latest experiment has been chia seed jam. I thought this would make a nice topping for my breakfast oats, or could be simply used as a jam on my toast – a much more healthy alternative to the one I buy from the supermarket, and I know exactly what is in it. 

I used this recipe to get me started. 

Last night’s concoction is my favourite by far, a strawberry and vanilla creation. This is what I put in it:

  • 1.5 cups of frozen strawberries
  • A dash of water
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A dash of vanilla essence (1 teaspoon would do)
  • A squirt of honey (about one tablespoon worth)
  • Two tablespoons of chiaseeds 

I can’t give you very exact measurements for some of the ingredients because I just kind of prefer to chuck things in to taste (some might call it laziness). You can find the instructions on how to cook at the link above. I found it useful to add a dash of water (about one tablespoon would do) to stop the fruit from burning while cooking. 

This stuff turned out to be absolutely delightful. So far in the last twenty four hours, I have eaten it on toast, with my oats and over ice cream. So versatile, so tasty and so healthy.

What’s is your favorite breakfast creation? Have you made chia seed jam before?

I Left My Heart in New York City

When you travel, you gather a lot of memories, stories, trinkets and new friends along the way.

Some places you will love, and some places you won’t want to rush back to. But there will be those few places that keep your heart long after you leave, as cliche as that may sound. The ones that you’ll long to go back to, and that you’ll return to time and time again.

It’s pretty easy for me to name my favorite three places that I have visited (so far):

1. New York City, USA

NYC had always been top of my bucket list. The art, the shopping, the music, the landmarks where Gossip Girl was filmed. So when I booked myself a tour on the west coast of the USA, I just knew I had to fly across the country to NYC while I was on that side of the world. It would have been rude not to.

Within the first day of my trip, I fell in love with New York City, and now when people ask me where my favorite place is, I absolutely always, without a doubt, say New York City. Why? Maybe it was the shopping, the Broadway shows, or the world famous museums that I had always dreamed of visiting. It was probably a little bit of all of these things. All I know is that NYC worked its magic on me in a big way. And I cannot wait to get back there.

 2. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is one of those places I knew little about before visiting, and to be honest, if it hadn’t been a stop on the organised bus tour I was on, I may not have even made it there.

But I am so happy I did. It is the most beautiful place with amazing castles, churches and cobblestone streets. I spent my days there walking the streets drinking coffee, admiring the buildings, and drinking hot wine at the Christmas markets with great company. When I think back on my time in Europe, I always remember my time in Prague as the best time.

Like NYC, it was absolutely magical, and I would go back in a heartbeat.

3. Melbourne, Australia

Every time I go back to Melbourne, I fall in love with it a little more. Fortunately for me, this city is just a four hour flight across the Tasman, and a perfect long weekend destination. I posted about my most recent trip there here.

It’s cool and quirky, with amazing food, coffee, shopping and street art. The art galleries are fantastic, the beaches are beautiful, and the city just radiates good vibes. I have been there a handful of times in the last few years, and I never ever get bored. I’m already keeping an eye out on cheap flight deals so that I can plan my next trip over.

So there you have it, the three places in this world that I love most of all. Do you agree with these? Where are your most favorite places?

Latest Beauty Purchases – First Impressions

I’ve bought a few beauty and hair products over the last few weeks, so I thought it was about time I did another first impressions post. I grabbed the NYX products from a pop up sale on Once It, and picked up the hair products at an annual pop up sale, which was conveniently located just down the road from my office – the perfect Friday lunch activity.

NYX – Photo-Loving Primer

This is lavender in the tube, but appears colourless on your face. This shade is designed to brighten the skin. It is also available in a green shade which hides redness, and a clear one which covers the pores. I was amazed by how smooth it made my skin feel. I wore it under a foundation that tends to go patchy after a few hours of wear, and I was amazed to see that when used with this NYX primer, it lasted for a lot longer. So far, I’m super happy with this purchase, especially considering I only paid $14.95 NZD. It is just as good as the more expensive primers I have purchased in the past.

NYX Mineral Stick Foundation – Fair

This is the first time I have used a stick foundation, and I had to YouTube how to apply it. The first layer offered a light coverage, but it’s really build-able which means it can be as light or as heavy as you like. I’d say it is more creamy then matte. So far, I’m quite liking it, but I’d need to wear it for a full day before I can really make a decision on it. This only cost me $9.95 which is probably the most affordable foundation I have ever purchased.

NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder – Porcelain

This comes in a round black compact, with a decent sized mirror. It has a  nice, flawless matte finish, with really good coverage.  I have been using the Maybelline Fit Me powder religiously for the last few years, but thought I would branch out and try something new, and I’m happy I did. I can definitely see myself repurchasing this, especially for $17.95 NZD.

NYX Baked Blush – 06 Wanderlust

I had expected this to be a little more pink, but it is actually a very peachy shade. That’s ok though, I don’t currently have a peach blush, so it’s nice to try something different. This is highly pigmented, and you don’t need to put too much on the brush. It’s also not too powdery – some of my blushes in the past have been super powdery and they go everywhere. It was $12.95 NZD.

Kevin Murphy Body Builder Volumising Mousse

I picked this up at a hair care sale recently. I don’t typically use a lot of product in my hair, because it is super thick and quite long, and I just find it easier to kind of let it do it’s thing naturally. But I thought I’d give this a go for those times when I want to add a bit of extra style. The first time I used it, I massaged a few pumps into my hair and it added a lot of texture and volume. The next time, I just used one pump and it gave it a little more height without feeling like it was full of product.  I think this stuff is going to be really useful when it comes to creating big voluminous waves.

Revlon Professional Equave – Hydro Nutritive Detangling Conditioner

This was the other item I purchased at the hair care sale. I thought this might be good for those days when I haven’t washed my hair and its needs a bit of extra shine. This definitely adds a little bit of extra shine, and it smells great – all good things in my books!

So that is all that I have bought lately. You can find all the NYX products on the NYX Cosmetics website, and the hair products can be picked up online too. What have you bought recently that you are loving?

Favorite Things Part 2

I did a Favorite Things post way back in April, so I thought it was well time for another one. Below are a few things that I’ve been loving lately.

Spring

Winter is almost over, Spring is moving on in, and I’m so happy about it. It’s getting a little warmer, the days are getting longer, but most importantly the Spring lambs are out, and they are just so cute. My motivation to get out and exercise at my local park (which is also a working farm), has never been higher. Here’s a picture of one of my new friends.

Ripped Jeans

Okay, I’m a bit behind the times, but this weekend I bought my first ever pair of ripped jeans, and I just love them. They just add that little bit of effortless edge to an outfit.

Married At First Sight USA

Have you ever watched this show?? I always thought it was just another mass produced reality show, but when I stumbled across it whilst eating dinner in front of the tv the other night, I became positively intrigued. In the episode I was watching, the couples were moving in together, and I couldn’t help but question how you could possibly move in with someone YOU JUST MET. But apparently it actually works out for some of the couples. Totally fascinated. I’ve got to find more!

Garnier Micellar Water

I was given a bottle of the Garnier Micellar Water a little while ago, and it’s made my night time routine so much easier. This stuff literally takes my makeup off in one swoop, and it leaves my face feeling super clean. If i’m wearing full eye makeup, I might also need to use a bit of makeup remover too, but day to day, I generally just wear a coat of mascara, so this works perfectly for me.

Climbing Trees

I spent my Sunday climbing trees. Or to be more specific, I spent the day doing a high ropes course way up in the trees. It was both physically and mentally challenging, but also so much fun. If you live in Auckland, I would highly recommend checking out Tree Adventures


What have you been loving this week?