I’ve always had pretty pale skin.
I grew up in Southland, New Zealand – right down the bottom of the South Island.
Summer wasn’t really ever a thing for us.
Getting a tan has always felt like a luxury to me.
I’m not into tanning beds.
The thought of laying in a chamber while UV rays blast my skin doesn’t appeal to me.
Sure, I’ve tried fake tan over the years, and struggled to get a flawless, natural finish.
I even got a professional spray tan before a friend’s wedding once.
Most of my body looked great, but I had dark patches under my arms, and I had decided not to get my face done, so was only tanned from my neck down.
Not the best idea when you’re part of the bridal party.
During our trip to Europe last year, many days were spent in the sun and even after layering on the sun-block, my skin quickly turned brown.
For once in my life I had, and kept a decent tan!
I even still have some of the lines to prove it. #TMI
So it seems too late to be writing a post about January, considering we are over half-way through February now; but I feel like I’m still in a January limbo. She swooped into my life with humid hot days, cold melty ice cream moments, much tennis watching, lightning strikes, worrying about the increasing bushfires and nerding out on Lego. With four days in a row of 40+ degree temperatures, I have never been so happy to have access to air conditioning in my life! She left me in a haze of summer breezes and foggy brains, hoping for a break from the heat.
It’s the first of December and that means two things for me – Summer is here! And I can now officially start celebrating and getting excited about Christmas!! The stores have been doing it for about a month (or more) now, but in the real world it has been frowned upon to get out the Christmas gear in November, so I have been (im)patiently waiting for this day to come so I can crank out the decorations and officially get into the Christmas spirit.
I have pretty much spent this entire weekend focused on Christmas. On Friday, I purchased a brand new bottle of Baileys. It is totally my Christmas drink of choice, and unfortunately my supply ran out quite some months ago, so I was very excited to not only re-stock, but also get two new fancy glasses to drink it in for free! #winning
Yesterday I downloaded an advent calendar app for my phone and we also purchased some new decorations to spruce up our rather small faux Christmas tree. I actually felt like a kid on Christmas Eve last night, knowing that today I could Christmas-ify our apartment. A little bit too sad to admit?!
After my hour-long walk this morning, I treated us to a delicious Maple Latte from Gloria Jean’s and updated both the lock and home screens of my phone with Christmas images. The home-made wreath I put together last year got a much-needed revamp from my partner today and I must say it looks fabulous now, hanging on our wall. Finally it came time to work on the tree! With Christmas carols playing in the background, we set to work and bought our tree to life. We totally have too many lights and decorations for our little tree, but I quite like it bursting with colour and baubles! I was even able to put presents underneath, thanks to my wonderful mother sending some over from home.
It’s kind of weird though, and I have only really started thinking about it this year – Christmas for us is Summer time. It doesn’t snow. We aren’t roasting chestnuts on an open fire. There is no one-horse open sleigh or Frosty the Snowman over here. We don’t require naff yet awesome Christmas jumpers and usually it is too hot to even think about cocoa! Instead our Christmas holidays usually consist of barbecues, drinking beers/ciders outside in the sun, going away for camping trips and visiting the beach. We totally still have a full roast Christmas lunch with all the trimmings and end up stuffing ourselves into food-comas as Christmas movies play in the background. I mean, that’s what Christmas is all about right?! I don’t think I have ever seen a New Zealand or Australian Christmas movie. We are pretty much brought up seeing Christmas as a Winter Wonderland – although most of us have never experienced one before. I was wondering today about why that was – why aren’t there more Southern Hemisphere Christmas paraphernalia? Why is it all snowmen and gingerbread and Santa wearing a full kit of Winter gear? We sing along to snowy carols and most of the store windows around here even feature fake snow! In Summer. Really?
It doesn’t stop me wanting that Winter experience though. I mean, a Santa in boardies and sunglasses just isn’t the same. And I love the wintry Christmas smells of fresh pine, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugared plums and a warm hearth – so naturally I purchased a bunch of Yankee Candle melts in a few delicious Christmas flavours. Now I can have the winter Christmas without the cold.
I’m such a noob sometimes. I always seem to be behind the trend, only catching on to *hot new* things once most people are already getting over them. But when I do find things that I like, I go all out. Case in point – Lana Del Rey. I am currently and officially obsessed. And maybe a teensy bit in love. And yes, I realise she’s been big for a while now, so what?
The first time I heard her beautiful voice was actually over a year ago, when I was visiting family back home – my younger sisters were driving me around and had her music playing. Yes that’s right; my sisters are trendier than me. Also, they don’t say trendy, so there’s that. Even my 7-year-old niece was a fan, singing along to ‘Summertime Sadness’ in the car. But I continued on, playing my own favourite artists, not stepping outside of my musical box.
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago and the stars started aligning – I was listening to the Joy the Baker podcast on my walk home one day and they mentioned her album, I thought – oh yeah, i like that Summertime Sadness song, I should look her up. I didn’t and then when we were driving around on the Gold Coast last weekend I heard the remix version of the song multiple times on the radio, so finally, finally I took the hint and looked her up this week – I still wasn’t sure if her style was my kind of music, but after listening to the preview on iTunes, I thought ‘what the heck’ – her Born to Die: The Paradise Edition album was only 10 bucks at my local music store, so what did I have to lose?
Oh my god, you guys. Ah-MAZE-ing. Amazing. I listened to the whole album while doing a mind-numbing job at work the other day, and I have been floating along on her wave ever since. I love how old school Hollywood she is, yet with these grungy gangster undertones. Her voice is like an angels, for reals and her music is captivating. I realised that I had actually heard a few of her songs before – Blue Jeans, Video Games and Radio – thanks to my sisters, I guess – and I am now a total fangirl. I feel almost haunted by her songs and lyrics, her style is like nothing I have heard before – although at times she has a Gwen Stefani sound, amiright? Each new song is like something out of a movie, yet honest and real at the same time.
Aside from the songs mentioned above, which you guys have all probably heard of and listened to before; my favourite song on this album has to be ‘Bel Air’ – so magical, angelic and dreamy:
She is absolutely stunning and extremely talented – I feel like this will be my Summer album this year because I can’t see myself getting sick of it anytime soon.
Who else is a LDR fan? Is that even a thing – LDR? And what other artists should I be checking out?
This week we decided to turn Melbourne Cup Day into a long weekend – I mean, who has a public holiday on a Tuesday anyways?! So we jetted off to the Gold Coast for four days of sun, sand and adventure. We couldn’t believe it had been 4 years since our last visit, so we were well overdue! We have already done the theme parks and such before, so decided to give them a miss in favour of exploring the Hinterlands.
Our flight in was super early last Saturday, meaning we arrived in Coolangatta at like 7 in the morning! We pretty much headed straight for Mount Tamborine. Wow. Just wow. We went on the Rainforest Skywalk, with its platforms high up in the trees; fell in love with Gallery Walk – especially the German Cuckoo Clock shop; and took to a couple of the National Park walks as well.
And that was just day one!
During our mini-getaway we also had to see what was new in Surfers Paradise – quite a bit, actually – where we stumbled into some of these guys. I have to admit I didn’t recognise them right away and when I did I got a little starstruck, watching from a distance while they posed with braver fans than I. #facepalm
Every morning we got up early and walked around Coolangatta, where we were staying. The days were warm and sunny and the nights relaxing and carefree. We love the GC!
Santorini is absolutely gorgeous! What you see in pictures is exactly what you get, so we were not disappointed. We stayed in Fira – the main town in Santorini – which was perfect for us. It was so so hot that we spent quite a bit of our time in the pool! Although we did hire an ATV, become obsessed with frozen yoghurt, and enjoy a fish spa treatment (was really weird but also kind of awesome). Of course we had to get some Santorini sunset photos – would be rude not to, right?
From Corfu we took a flight to Athens, which gave us a 2.5 hour window to catch our ferry to Crete. Unfortunately our flight was delayed so we were stressing out a bit. Once we finally made it to Athens we had a little over an hour and a half to get there and the bus we had planned on taking was an hour and 20 minute journey! So we had no choice but to join the huge taxi queue and hope like heck we made it in time. Our driver was really great and tried to make us feel relaxed, but we both knew it was a lost cause until we got to the ferry terminal (which is 49 kms away, in case you were wondering!). 30 minutes and 55 Euros later, we could breathe again.
This trip, we had splashed out and ordered a private room, which was very much-needed by this stage! It was great having our own space and being able to sleep well during the night. We arrived in Chania at 6am, where we boarded a bus to the ‘old town’. Of course, nothing was really open this early in the morning so we had breakfast by the harbour and watched the town wake up.