If you were to ask any of the other DOLLY staffers what I talk about most in the office, I’m 100% sure they would say this:
1. My dog, Sizzle – she’s the worlds cutest sausage dog.
2. Netball – because I play twice a week so they hear about it, twice a week.
3. Chocolate – because, yum.
The other thing I talk about a bit too much (sorry desk buddies, Gyan and Alissa!) is travel. I’m an A Grade travel junkie and sitting opposite Features Writer, Dani, is dangerous business. Between the two of us, we’re constantly brainstorming what country we’re going to visit next.
My addiction started with my parents – they’re both geography teachers so every school holidays, we’d travel someplace in Australia. Since then, I’ve made it my mission to travel to ALL OF THE PLACES. While I haven’t been toallof them just yet, I’m slowly ticking things off my bucket list. Here are some of my favourite places in the whole entire universe. Well, at least for the moment, on Earth.
While I was studying at uni, I went on exchange to Italy for seven months and lived in the medieval town of Bologna. Bologna is filled with cobblestone streets, underground canals and piazzas. One of my favourite memories is of sitting in the main piazza with fresh cheese and bread, playing card games with my fellow exchange friends. There were people from Belgium, France, Germany (to name a few!) and of course, good old Australia.
Phnom Pehn, Cambodia
After studying Cambodia’s history in Year 12, I decided to go and visit the South-East Asian country. Not only are the people beyond lovely and the food, amazing, the temples of Angkor Wat are breathtaking. I spent three days just walking around them and would have spent another ten if I had the time.
At the beginning of my big Euro trip, five of my besties and I travelled around Scotland. If I could pin-point a moment where I was just beaming with happiness, it would be New Year’s Eve, 2009. We walked up to Edinburgh Castle and as soon as we reached the top, it started snowing. I felt just like Hermione in Harry Potter – probably because my hair was super frizzy from the snow, but also, because it was just so magical!
My bestie, Emma and I have done most of our travelling together but one of the highlights for both of us is trekking through the Hill Tribes in Thailand. It was super-hot but we walked through the jungle for three days and stayed with families along the way. The first family had no electricity so as soon as the sun dropped, we just played cards with our head torches on.
White Desert, Egypt
One of my favourite things to do is to camp, so camping out in the White Desert in Egypt was THE BEST. I’ve actually never been colder in my whole entire life, and sure, there were foxes everywhere BUT it was super fun. Watching the sunset over the horizon was beautiful.
Machu Pichu, Peru
I’ve always wanted to walk the Inca Trail so I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when I finally got to do it. On the fourth day, when we finally arrived at Machu Pichu, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, despite it raining for two days of the hike. We explored the area all day but I’m not going to lie – I spent a good amount of time chasing the llamas to try and get a photo with them!
The Lion King is my all-time favourite Disney movie so heading to Africa, I just wanted to see Simba! While I did see loads of Simba’s, the highlight of this trip was spending time with the gorillas in the jungle. One of the gorillas actually came over and touched my friend on her shoulder! Super cool!
She’s a life coach, mentor, blogger, empowerer of transformation and, most importantly, my best friend and soul mate. Our history is short: we knew each other in high school but didn’t really hang out till we finished Year 12. We instantly became besties. We endured amazing adventures together, made each other cry from laughter and experienced the highs and lows of becoming who we are today.
I think in life you’re extremely lucky to find a person who you can be 100% yourself with, and with whom you feel free to say or feel anything. And if you’re even luckier, find multiples (which I’m proud to say I have). Through my bestie Tania, I have learnt to love myself for who I am and radiate within the world. Scary at times but I know having her support at all times comforts me and gives me confidence.
Tania inspires me each day with positive affirmations of self-love and healing. It’s amazing to see someone putting herself completely out there and offering love and freedom to others. Her work of being a life coach is a complete inspiration to me because she’s such a beautiful soul and I know that her wisdom and life lessons are projected onto others and that makes me really happy.
We have both come a long way, and I can say that I’m looking forward to tackling the rest. But knowing I have that grounded support, I can say positively ‘bring it on’. So I guess the moral to this piece of writing is … if you’re lucky enough to find an amazing bestie, hold onto them forever because these friends are hard to find!
Can you believe we're halfway through the year already?
Winter solstice, or the shortest day of the year, always makes me really excited because I'm SO not a winter person and it means that we're already heading back towards summer. And this also means one other thing- we're halfway through the year ALREADY?! How did that happen?!
I know you guys are probably pretty excited because it means winter holidays and no classes for a few weeks (yay!). And we all deserve a sleep in every now and then.
But after you’ve settled into holiday mode and spent a whole day (or two) with your best friends and favourite box-set DVD’s, I have a little challenge for you. Because I think this is the perfect time of year to snuggle up in front of the heater with a journal or head outside to the park to think about how the year is going for you. You might have set a New Year’s resolution to try a new sport, or make a certain grade in algebra. Maybe you've decided this year you want to make some new friends, or pluck up the courage to talk to that guy you like. It could be anything! How is it going? Are you happy with how 2014 is shaping up?
For me, I'm measuring myself up against a few goals I set at the end of last year. I had decided that 2014 would be all about challenging myself, and going outside my comfort zone. I was really keen for a bit of adventure and learning new things at the same time.
I managed to tick that goal off with an AMAZING trip to Nepal with World Vision in April, which was definitely challenging and a totally new experience for me. I learnt a lot about the Nepali people, their culture and what it’s like for people challenged by poverty. Going on that trip broadened my horizons and since then I've made a couple of new resolutions. Number one is doing more to help others. I also want to be more grateful, look on the bright side more often and appreciate how lucky I am to have a job I love, and live in such an awesome place like Australia.
But I wouldn't have learned to appreciate all of those things so much if I hadn't challenged myself to the first objective for the year. Goals and targets are the best way to keep improving, challenging yourself and you might even surprise yourself at what you’re capable of!
In October, I’m marrying the best boy I have ever met. But while I couldn’t be more sure I have chosen the right man, I had chosen the girls who would stand up with me ten thousand times over since the age of 10.
Bridesmaid choice at 10:
In grade 3 I teased a girl for wearing what I thought was a dumb hat. In grade 4, I realised she was the only person I knew in the new class. Without shame on my part, and with pure kindness on hers, she let me sit with her anyway and became my bestest of best buds. One misunderstanding and a primary school war meant we stopped talking for a few months. But, again showing she is by far a better human than I am, called a truce two weeks before my parents moved the fam to Tassie. We wrote, visited and called our way through the best and worst times of our life.
Bridesmaid choice at 15:
She was kinda the ‘bad girl,’ and I was the cautious kid whose worst crime was spraying cordial on sports gear so I didn’t have to do cross country training. She was also the funniest person I’d had ever met. One time she spoke with a lisp all day. I peed my pants with laughter that day. Through the years of highschool, my fantasy wedding would change, but what would remain was this gal standing next to me. One time it was decided she would wear diamonte stickers on her eyebrows. Life took us in different directions after high school, but for four years, my fake wedding day also required a back-up nappy.
Bridesmaid choice at 20:
I had decided I would never get married, and I hung out with a group of girls who seemed to feel the same way. In a group of seven, we were too happy having each other’s back. One especially, was the first person I had ever met that actually didn’t care if people thought she was cool. She cried when she was sad, yelled when she was mad and was a fiercely loyal friend. In eight years we had one fight, and although she won’t be wearing a matching dress at my wedding, she’ll be doing a reading because she’s the coolest person who doesn’t know it.
Are some of the greatest humans I know. Life isn’t sure yet if they’ll teach lessons and maybe one day leave, or they’ll be the ones that keep. But, Tegan has been around my whole adult life and taught me how to drink a bag of Twisties. Abbie saves lives, both animals and people, and saves me from boredom at least every other day. Erin has the best musical taste ever, and even when we cry, we laugh. My sisters too, will stand up with me. Oh, and the Maid of Honour? Well, turns out I was right at 10.
After spending the last week in Tokyo, I can confirm its hands down my favourite city. If you’re a fellow lover of DIY, stickers and stationery then I’m here to tell you Japan is your mecca.
From Ito-ya in Ginza, where you can wander through nine floors paper accessories goodness to Loft, where you’ll find anything from sumo wrestler note pads to sushi erasers Tokyo is the town you could easily fill your entire suitcase in one store.
One thing I noticed on my trip, aside from an abundance of stationery, was the killer ‘tude of the Tokyo girls, especially the Harajuku girls...
In the flesh their looks can only be described as totally inspiring and equally confusing (I still don’t understand the Band Aide on the nose thing, though it’s totally adorable).
If you’re not planning a trip to Tokyo anytime soon, but you’re keen to transform your wardrobe into a pink shiny shrine to all things cute here’s my DIY round up for nailing the Kawaii look at home:
For more, make sure you look out for my Harajuku DIY special in the August issue of DOLLY!
Jetstar now fly direct from Melbourne to Tokyo.
Last weekend, DOLLY staffer Ellie McDonald hit up Groovin The Moo at Maitland Showground – and here’s why she’s calling it the “the best day ever!”
The beyond-ah-mazing performances: Robert DeLong (the dude responsible for killer track “Global Concepts”) blew away the crowds on the main stage early in the arvo, then when the sun set, Dizzee Rascal sent everyone bonkers with tunes you couldn’t help to bust out to! But it wasn’t just one huge party fest – there was time to kick back and chillax on the showground’s hill in front of the main stage (think a totes cute sway-athon to Vance Joy and The Jezabels). Plus, it made for the perfect opportunity to scoff a box of super-salty hot chips between the dancey acts. Guilty!
Groovin at Vance Joy!
The place where gumboots reign supreme: Due to rain striking Maitland the day before (but not on the actual festival day – phew!) festivalgoers stepped out in some seriously stylin’ wellies to trudge through the few muddy patches scattered across the venue. Sounds gross, but let me tell you, being stuck in the mud, rocking sweet moves to bands like The Kite String Tangle and Peking Duk, is one huge fun overload.
The mega-friendly vibe: What do you get when you throw a bunch of strangers in a paddock and a whole heap of sick bands? BFF central! Well, for the day, that is. This festival not only pumped out cool music, but a whole world of happiness, with every second person you walk past dishing up a smile and/or a high-five. And with there only being two stages – the main stage and Moolin Rouge DJ tent – running into mates was bound to happen. I bopped along with DOLLY beauty writer Nat, then Nat even met up with DOLLY ed coordinator Jacqui for a boogie later in the day.
The most awesome part of all… it’s an all-ages festival: Huzzah! Under 18s got to enjoy all the fun AND score a prime viewing position of the main acts. Yup, a massive area was allocated to all-ages right up the front of the main stage. Sooo. Darn. Cool.
Groovin The Moo is heading to Bendigo, Victoria on Saturday, May 3, Townsville, Qld on Sunday, May 4, and Bunbury, WA on Saturday, May 10.
For most of my life, I uttered this sentence more than any other – well, if you don’t count “I’ll have one scoop of the chocolate sorbet, thanks” (but that’s a story for another post – a very delicious post). I just hated it. It made my legs hurt and my lungs feel like they were about to burst and sweat pour down my face, so I figured there were two types of people in the world – those who can run and those who can’t (just like there are those people who love Harry Styles and those who pretend they don’t but secretly do!).
Of course, my high school PE teacher tried to convince me (and the rest of my grade) otherwise, forcing us to run laps of the school oval and do horrible cross country competitions every year. And, to make matters worse, I grew up in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, so that meant one thing –hills. Therefore you could hardly blame me for loving running about as much as I love algebra (why are there letters in maths, wwwhhhyyy!!!)
I’ve even bumped into the Modern Family cast on a run!
Then about four years ago, things changed. I moved to a new apartment near Centennial Park in Sydney and started going for walks around the park each afternoon. And one day, a random thought popped into my mind: “That lamp post isn’t so far away, I reckon I could run to it.” So I did. And you know what? It wasn’t so hard after all. After I’d caught my breath, I sped up again and ran to the next lamp post. Sure, I got overtaken by the 70-year-old grandpa next to me, but you seriously could not wipe the grin off my face – I was running!
View of Sydney from the infamous ‘Heartbreak Hill’ in Rose Bay.
After a few more ‘wuns’ in the park (walk/runs), I downloaded an app called Ease Into 5K that promised to have me running five kilometres in a matter of weeks. It took me a little longer than that, but I got there in the end – sore legs, burning lungs, sweaty face and all. The feeling of achievement was amazing and I was tempted to ring my old PE teacher to apologise for all my whining during those laps of the school oval!
Since then, I have gone through phases with running. There are times when I revert to High School Me and absolutely hate it, and there are times when I become totally addicted and actually change my plans to fit in a run (that’s Completely Insane Me). This morning, for instance, I set my alarm for 6am and ran down to Bondi Beach, Beyoncé blaring in my iPod. Yes, getting up in the dark is harder than turning down a date with Taylor Henderson, but seeing the sun come up over the beach and the rush of endorphins you get at the end of your workout makes it totally worth it.
On the famous Bondi to Bronte coastal track – one of my favourite runs in Sydney.
So what are you waiting for? Now’s the perfect time to get started, because the April issue of DOLLY has an awesome four-page running special with heaps of useful info about running apps, tips, tunes and gear (it’s a scientifically proven fact that cute workout clothes make you run faster... or something like that!). So lace up those trainers and go for a run – even if it’s just to the next lamp post.
Running along the esplanade in Rose Bay.
Sunrise over Bondi – before the crowds arrive!
If you knew me, you’d know I’m a grade A book nerd. That’s one of the best things about working here at DOLLY ‘cos not a day goes by when I don’t get a cool new book landing on my desk. And the reason why I’m the DOLLY book reviewer here is that I’m quite exclusively drawn to YA books. This, and my near borderline obsession of all things teen (seriously, you should see my inspo board at my desk – hello Sebastian Kidd and PLL posters) is why I consider myself just. Like. You.
So today I’m going to spill to you the books I’m obsessing over. You’ll probs notice I’ve got a slight trend happenin’. Yep, it’s all things supernatural. Witches, vamps, angels and everything magical and weird, I’m into. The greatest thing about reading is diving into a world that is so completely different to your own. How often do you get to fly off on a broomstick with your own owl flying behind you or fight some Strigoi to save your best friend? Not often enough, let me tell you.
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling:
I’ve been under Harry’s spell since I was 11-years-old and I’m pretty sure it’ll never go away. You’re never too old to shout ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ on a dreary day.
Vampire Academy series – Richelle Mead:
Rose is possibly the coolest half-human/half-moroi around. She’s so insanely loyal and brave and absolutely hilarious. And I mean, no one can deny how insanely passionate Rose and Dimitri’s love is. #hot
Bloodlines series – Richelle Mead:
I can basically sum up my feelings towards this series in one word. Adrian. ADRIAN. I’ll go out on a limb and say he’s my favourite book dude EVER. I wasn’t a huge fan of Sydney Sage in the VA series but man, she’s grown on me. She’s no Rose Hathaway but she’s come a long way since being that unrelenting, brainwashed Alchemist. I am absolutely addicted to this series and I’m dying for the next one, Silver Shadows, to come out later this year!
Hunger Games series – Suzanne Collins:
I really don’t need to say much about this one. It’s a no-brainer. #TeamGaleForever.
Divergent series – Veronica Roth:
I think these books are so unlike anything I’d ever read before and that’s why I love them. Sure, it’s got a few comparisons to THG but it’s incredibly raw and gritty. Tris is so tough and willing to lay her life down on the line to save others. (And I’m not ashamed to admit, I balled my eyes out on the train after reading Allegiant)
I Am Number Four – Pittacus Lore:
I read this quite a long time ago but it still sticks with me. John has awesome powers and he has to struggle to keep them on the DL so that he isn’t found out. Definitely worth reading guys!
LA Candy series – Lauren Conrad:
Ahh, Miss LC. What can’t she do? I loved reading this series because even though she says it’s all fiction, you can’t help but draw comparisons to her life going from the TV shows Laguna Beach and then The Hills (if you never watched these shows, do it NOW). It’s like an unofficial behind-the-scenes look at reality shows and how not-so-real they are.
The Intern – Gabriella Tozer:
This is quite a recent book but it’s made it to the list! Josie is so loveable and awkward and it’s hilarious to read. It’s all about the mag industry and the lowlights and highlights of interning – something that takes me back to my own intern days!
Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl:
I loved this book so much. Lena is this little outsider who turns out to have cool witchy powers and sweet Ethan just can’t seem to stay away. I was completely drawn to Ridley though, she’s just so sassy and unpredictable. That’s why I am SO excited that she’s getting her own spin-off book called Dangerous Creatures, coming out in May! Stay tuned, kids.
Fallen series – Lauren Kate:
There are a lot of books out there right now with fallen angels and nephilim but this series takes the cake. Lucinda meets Daniel, this gorgeous and radiant guy who happens to be a fallen angel. They’ve fallen in love a crazy amount of times in their past lives but they keep getting torn apart. AND if you didn’t get the tip-off already, we’ll be seeing it on the big screens next year. Yay!
Happy reading all!