Things I have learned whilst travelling – Packing!

I’m pretty sure my suitcase and I are mortal enemies…..so here’s what I’ve learnt 😉

  1. Be prepared. For anything, but don’t fall apart when something completely unexpected happens – which you were not prepared for. If you need something – buy it at your destination. 
  2. Have several different ways to access money. Carry cash, have a card, have two cards – keep them separate. Have coins, again in different bags. Do not have all of your money on you in one spot.
  3. Sanitising wipes / gel. Sure – it’s not the same feeling as washing your hands – but sometimes your hands just feel gross.
  4. You can never have too many pairs of underwear. Seriously. 
  5. Unpack half of the clothes you pack – you will NOT use them.
  6. You do not need more than 2-3 pairs of shoes.
  7. Don’t pack something you have not worn/used before.
  8. If you have things packed in space bags – you have too much stuff.
  9. Be safe, be aware of your surroundings and make good choices. You are not invincible. Lock your bags, don’t leave them out of sight and for the love of god – don’t let a stranger touch / handle your bag. This seems obvious but people continue to get caught smuggling things. Set-up or not – just play it safe. 
  10. Passport. That is all. Keep it on you. 

C X

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Wednesday…

Well it’s 7:45am here in Brisbane, it’s  22 degrees already (um we didn’t even have Spring??) and I’m on my way to work. 

I can’t help but wish I was on holidays. Maybe back in NYC…

Enjoying hot drinks, holding hands and winter. Or maybe back in some tropical paradise….

Cocktail in hand, drunken bingo, eating anything with carbs and cheese with G and spending a good majority of the day without shoes on….or even back on our Honeymoon!

Enjoying New Zealand for all that it is and all it will be! Pinot, whiskey, great food, amazing sights….

Instead I’m on a crowded bus, in peak hour traffic, suspecting today will be like any typical Wednesday – and I’ll have objects and tasks coming at me from all angles. 

We have to pay the bills and afford travel somehow though, right? 😉

Happy Wednesday!

Tell me – where would you rather be today?

C x

I love you then, I love you still. Always have, always will <3

I was looking through my photos today, as I have been trying to collate my travel photographs into my Instagram page (@novaturient_redhead); and I realised that our honeymoon was ONE YEAR AGO!!!

This time last year we were in Milford Sound, the torrential rain had us locked in our room for three days – which, to be honest – forces you to relax and just enjoy being away on holiday!

We did get out on our last day as the rain turned into a light shower for a couple of ours.

I cannot wait to repeat our last year and every year forward. Bring it on – rain, hail or shine ❤

Reefs & Rainforest – Cairns, QLD

Cairns is Queensland’s beautiful gateway to the Great Barrier reef and is also one of the larger cities in far north Queensland. Cairns is not only located on the beautiful Great Barrier Reef but it is also blessed with the Daintree National Park in its backyard, filled with rainforest as well.

Cairns his humid as it is pretty and it has around 150,000 people living there. It is laid back, beautiful, relaxing and most of all – friendly, filled with some of Australia’s nicest people. Thankfully we had two days in Cairns, which is perfect when you don’t want to miss out on the reef, or on the forest.

The World-Heritage listed Daintree Forest is one of the most beautiful forests I have ever seen, it is however two hours from Cairns. So if you do have the time, please do – you won’t be disappointed. We were quite time-poor however so we decided to visit the mountain village of Kuranda, which you get to via the Kuranda rail. A place which I first visited when I was around 8 years old in 1994 (pic below).

It was pretty special going back as a 30 year old with G, who had never been there before. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway glides above the rainforest canopy and then descends into the rainforest, it is around a 90 minute tree and allows time at two different rainforest stations. It was raining when we were there, so brolly’s in hand- we made the trek. If it doesn’t rain, is it even really a rainforest?!

Kuranda itself is a little mountain town, hippy shops, a few decent restaurants and mostly touristy type hops. There is also the butterfly sanctuary (above) which is quite expensive but the money does go towards conservation, so that’s not too bad!

On the way back down the mountain the train journey takes about two hours, if you can – try to get a window seat on the left hand side of the train – this will guarantee you will see out the window and see the view. The seats are quite small because it is an old train but it is really nice. The Barron Gorge, is not to be missed!

Below is a picture of us with our delicious lunches – I had the chicken and G had the crocodile – I cannot and will not a dinosaur haha. I think the Kuranda Skyrail and the transfers cost around $125 per adult and whilst it is expensive, if you can afford it I would definitely recommend it!

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, and if you have ever seen any tourism ads regarding Australia and more specifically, Queensland – you will recognise it instantly. It is made up of over 3000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands and 300 coral cays. Sadly, the colours in the reef from when I was a kid to when we last went are very different. Unfortunately coral bleaching is a very real tragedy happening to this natural wonder and we (humans) are losing the battle to save it.

My fiancé bought us a private snorkel with a marine biologist (available on the boat we went out on as an additional extra) as my birthday present. So that was amazing, just holding hands and snorkelling out on the reef. We were quite a long way from the boat and on a few occasions I had the ‘what am I doing?!’, but it went well and it was absolutely beautiful. We also had a beautiful lunch, fruit and snacks on the day-trip and I think it was around $250 pp.

Hilariously, one of the most memorable parts of the day was the teenage boy working on the boat who was trying to help some older men and their wives with sea sickness, but they were dismissing him and basically shoo-ing him away. Anyone who has been on the water or is Australian with some coastal knowledge, is aware that if you are feeling sea sick – you need to be looking at the horizon, usually from the back of the boat. When this poor guy was trying to stop them from laying down and shutting their eyes they refused him and became sicker. They all ended up throwing up in the end, the one man who had been particularly rude looked so angry that he was vomiting, his eyes darting around wildly as he scream-vomited into his bag. I thought G and I were going to pass out we were laughing so hard (because he had been so rude to the young kid just trying to do his job and help).

Our time in Cairns was brief, but it was absolutely spectacular and a nice little break off of the boat! One of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen, was as the Pacific Dawn sailed out of Cairns and it was quite misty and it was such a beautifully soft departure, quiet and smooth and really really beautiful – as you can see from the pictures above!

Thanks for reading – let me know what you think of Cairns?

x

Let’s Eat! 8 of my favourite places to eat in Brisbane <3

rabbit holeSo, I don’t get out nearly as much as I would like to. With a Husband who works every second weekend on call and a full-time job, gym and other social commitments, I don’t always have the want or need to get out and about on the weekends. However, when I do – there are a few different places which I love to go. So when we do have the time to go out and eat together, we have a few staples which we love. Budget –friendly, man-friendly and with generous portion sizes, these are a few of my favourite places to go with my Husband,

Jan Power’s Farmer’s Markets – what’s not to love about going to the markets on a Saturday? The bonus? The Jan Power’s markets are open until midday, so no need to fight the nomad army at 6am with trolley’s on wheels – unless you want to of course. I just prefer a lazy and relaxed wander around the markets with a good cup of coffee. Hubby loves anything to do with dumplings, German gourmet sausages and we both love anything that resembles pastries.

Eat Street Brisbane – much like the above Jan Power’s markets, but with music and booze! Any excuse to jump on a ferry and head down my beloved brown to Hamilton for the Eat Street Markets from Friday-Sunday. Eat Street is fantastic, no shortage of food stalls (every seen a potato on the end of an electric drill, turning into a tasty snack?!). Plus, show me a girl who isn’t mesmerised by a string of fairy lights and I will in turn, show you a liar ;). One word for you, to really sell this – CRONUT.

flour and chocolateFlour & Chocolate – this gorgeous patisserie is located in Morningside on the south-east side of Brisbane and trust me, it is worth it! If I can give you a tip though, get here early or you will miss out. Flour and Chocolate is open Monday-Sunday and has an amazing selection of tasty treats (including gluten free products). With a handful of well-deserved awards, whenever my Husband comes through the front-door with a bag from Flour and Chocolate, my smile almost breaks my face! My recommendation? The double-chocolate brownies and the almond croissants. My Husband’s favourites are the eclairs and the chocolate croissants.

The Rabbit Hole Café & Bar – this restaurant is in Seven Hills and is THE place to go for brunch. Not only is it adorable, it is delicious and really well priced. It is home-cooking at its best and the coffee is amazing. The Rabbit Hole Build your own Breakfast is such a great idea – instead of being stuck to a breakfast and paying extra for sides, you choose your eggs to be cooked how you want and choose three sides for $18.50. The bacon here tastes amazing and is so thick. Really great atmosphere as well and a gorgeous little homewares shop next door for a post-brunch wander.

our hausOur Haus Café in Hawthorne is a cool little coffee ship with friendly service and delicious, large-portioned meals. It is very reasonably priced and located on Hawthorne Road. Their bacon and egg role on Turkish bread is Hubby’s choice and I cannot go past their very large, very delicious Eggs Riding (roasted pumpkin, wilted spinach, poached eggs on buttered Turkish bread with tomato compote). You can also take your dog to the outside area!

Buffalo Bar – described as ‘rocking with American rockabilly soul’, the Buffalo Bar on the corner of Edward and Mary Street in Brisbane City is delicious. It’s got the ambience and environment just right and with a selection of tasty American treats (jalapeno poppers, a large selection of wings, fries, burgers, brisket, short-ribs, steak etc.,), you won’t be disappointed. If that all sounds a little too meat-heavy for you, then I recommend the sweet potato fries with jalapeno mayo and the Burt Reynolds burger (breaded camembert burger with battered cauliflower, chili and coriander relish) – it left my mouth watering for two days afterwards. Hubby’s go-to drink is the Old Fashioned or Manhattan and I am all about the French Martini or a good Pinot Noir.

downtown instanbulDowntown Istanbul – located in Hawrthorne, this is my preferred Turkish restaurant in Brisbane. It’s directly next to the Hawthorne Deluxe cinema so it makes the perfect, pre-movie date restaurant. It is operated by the former owners of Ahmet’s in Brisbane, so these guys know Turkish food! The service is quick and friendly and the food is delicious. My pick is the Ali Nazik with Chicken Shish (chargrilled marinated chicken) and Turkish bread). Hubby’s preference is any and all of the Turkish Pide (Pizza’s). Downtown Istanbul also has a large list of local and international beer and wine, I am a big fan of the Not Your Grandma’s Rose and the Downtown Sangria.

Ze Pickle burgers in Fortitude Valley and now open at Camp Hill on the South Side, will have your mouth watering before you have even sat down at your table. Any place that has uniquely named food and drinks is going to appeal to me any day of the week, but what’s important is that the name isn’t the best thing about it. Ze Pickle is amazing, I don’t know of any man or woman who has been disappointed with their fare. With burgers named Chee-Ze, Ya Mum, 3am, Kim John Illest and the Triple Loco – how can you go wrong? My favourite is the Chee-ze and Hubby’s favourite is the Pablo Escoburger (ground wagyu beef, cheese, guacamole, queso, smoked jalapenos, corn chips and zp sauce). ze pickleKumara fries and fried baby bell cheese will also ensure you sloth-out of there when you are done. My favourite cocktail is the Kim Karpassionfruit (vodka, fresh passionfruit and flavours of vanilla and lemonade and the Hood Juice (gin, cloudy apple and watermelon juices and peach and apple flavours). There is a large range of tap beer as well.

These are just a few of my favourites, like I said they are inexpensive, the food is good quality and the atmosphere fun. I hope you enjoy these suggestions, please let me know what your favourite menu items are from these places!

x

Melbourne in a day!

So not technically a holiday, but I’m currently at the airport waiting for a flight to Melbourne!


Any excuse for a plane trip somewhere, right? Well I have a fantastic reason as today is my very first close-girlfriends baby shower!
I am so excited to get going – though I hear it will be much colder than my Queensland weather! Cracking up at the quality of ‘journalism’ in mags these days-check this one out (above).

I’ve got my good-deed for the day, a little old man with his wheelchair-bound Wife has ducked off to the restrooms pre-flight and asked the staff to watch his bags. They said no, so now I’m watching them, because why not?
I’m only in Melbourne from 10am until 6pm when I fly home, an express trip, sure. Although I think it will still be fun :)!

Also for anyone wondering – this is the nasal spray I was talking about in my last post. You can find this in most airports, though if you buy it at a chemist warehouse before your trip you will save $.
Have a happy Saturday!

X

My 6 Must-Have carry-on items for Long-Haul Flights!

A book your music, headphones, a sleepy-mask, some snacks, your bag, your camera, your phone. All set, right? WRONG! There are some key pieces I have listed below which I NEVER forget to take as part of my carry-on luggage! These are the six items which work for me for long-haul (some for short-haul).

So we need to be on-guard about what sort of space we may be inhabiting after someone a little grotty / sick / unwell / who doesn’t wash their hands after the toilet. Let’s not forget, that some people treat their areas like this:

1410929850728_wps_3_Passenger_shaming
1. Anti-bacterial gel/wipes. I know the plane itself is crawling with germs, bacteria and other nasty surprises, however I still relish in the small comfort I experience in wiping down my seat/tray/arm-wrests and remote control on my flights. If I am spending 3+ hours (sometimes up to 15 hours!), then I want a fighting chance in my seat.wipes
2. Keep your nose wet  -This one is not at all glamorous but I SWEAR by it – once your nose is dry – your nasal passages become problematic as your natural drainage system starts to play-up, which can mean viruses and bacteria getting somewhere they shouldn’t. I am not saying you won’t catch something, but keeping your nose moist (sorry, not sorry), will certainly improve your chances!

3. WATER! Yes, we all love a few bevvies on the flight – my most common used sentence when flying tends to be “red wine / vodka diet please”. It might help you sleep, but I promise you – if you don’t keep hydrated, you are for a world of hurt. Air conditioning and low humidity is the fastest way to dehydrate and you know what makes it worse? Booze. Stay hydrated, drink your H20!body sock

4. Socks. Yes – your insta-selfies and other glamorous photographs and general ‘image’ whilst going through security and boarding your flight is great. But you know what you want 3-4 hours into your flight? Comfort. My bra comes off, a long sleeved jersey goes on, my shoes come off and my thick socks go on and I go for comfort. You can then un-bogan yourself before you land. Trust me on this – socks and comfort – nothing worse than cold feet thousands of feet in the air!

moisture5. Moisturiser & make-up wipes. Nobody likes a sandy, cracked face. Again to my point above about your socks and comfort, same goes for your face.  You can look glam all you want – but when it is bedtime – you want to get rid of that makeup – cleanse your face and slather on the moisturiser. You can put your make-up back on before you land (and brush your teeth!). just because you are flying, does not mean you forget your skin-care regime! Just remember to keep your products under 100ml or you risk having it trashed before you get on the plane.

 leggings are not pants6. Fresh underwear This one is mostly for the ladies, but men might like this too – honestly, flying economy you don’t have the luxury of a bathroom or shower at the end of a long trip – some make-up wipes, bit of deodorant and a fresh pair of undies (and clothes if you wish), will honestly make you feel much better once you reach your destination!

What is your must-have carry-on item?

Happy travels!

x

Brisbane – 5 of my favourite things to do!

c0adf43f7fe3273b0614d550b00e3af6Queensland is huge – in fact, it is nearly five times the size of Japan, seven times the size of Great Britain and two and a half times the size of Texas! I am a proud South-East Queenslander, which in my humble (completely non-bias opinion), is one of Australia’s finest states!

(Image Credit – The Courier Mail – http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/g20-brisbane-sign-returns-for-good/news-story/3a795b6d1d5cc52534f0628ced436334)

Brisbane as the capital of Queensland, is our beautiful river-based city and has a population of 1.977 million, with me being one of its biggest promoters!

I thought I would take a moment to champion this gorgeous pineapple-on-pizza, thongs in winter, cold water showers at midnight in Summer, magpie-ducking, Yatala-pie eating, Straddie loving, cane-toad hating, Ekka-enthusiastic, air-conditioning flogging state of Queensland! Let’s start with Brisbane first :).

Here are five of my favourite things to do in Brisbane and why!

Kangaroo Point CliffsKangaroo Point Cliffs –  look out, photo opportunity and café. If you want one of the most gorgeous views of Brisbane and ‘the Brown’ (Brisbane river), then Kangaroo Point cliffs are just for you! If you are feeling adventurous – you can always try the “KP Stairs”, with the other fitness fanatics. I fondly refer to them as the stairs from hell, 107 steps located at the eastern end of Kangaroo Point Cliffs (head to The Cliffs Café – 29 River Terrace, Kangaroo Point). If you want a different perspective, then head down to Riverlife – address of Naval Stores, Lower River Terrace, Kangaroo Point. (image credit – Image credit – https://www.weekendnotes.com/great-brisbane-walks/).

Mt Coot-thaMt Coot-tha has a view of Brisbane and its sprawling metropolis, not like any other view in the region. It is only 20 minutes from the city centre, and it is quite peaceful and very pretty. Parking can be a bit of a pain, but if you feel like a challenge – you can always park further down the hill and make the walk up. I recommend having at least a beverage at Summit Restaurant & Bar. Sunset would be my bet, or even mid-morning in the cooler months. Head to 1012 Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, Mount Coot-tha. (Image credit: https://www.brisbanelookout.com/).

story_bridge_and_CBDCity Cats of Brisbane – ‘The Brown’ (my beloved Brisbane River) is one of my true loves. I will champion the murky, brown, bull-shark laden Brisbane River until the end of my days. It’s a contentious issue with my NSW Husband, given his local body of water – Sydney Harbour, which of course is pristine and blue; whereas the Brisbane River is brown, can smell at low-tide and is not at all anything like Sydney harbour. But I LOVE it – I love the river. I love living near the river, and one of my favourite things to do is to catch the City Cat. Anywhere from Southbank down to Brett’s Wharf is lovely. There is even the free city hopper (the red ferry) which you can catch from several different stops (North Quay, South Bank 3, Maritime Museum, Thornton Street, Eagle Street Pier, Holman Street, Dockside and Sydney Street terminals). (Image credit http://www.brisbane.com.au/story_bridge.htm).

untitledNew Farm Park – whether it is a picnic, a visit to the Powerhouse, the Jan Power Farmers Markets or fish and chips down by the river, make New Farm Park one of your visits! I love the park, it has a beautiful view of the city, is not too far away from the CBD – can be accessed by the bus or ferry, or even by walking along the Riverwalk or down Brunswick Street. Best time of year in my opinion? September – November, when the Jacaranda trees come alive and you have a beautiful sea of purple flowers to hang out in. Take a Frisbee, picnic blanket, some cheese and drinks, whatever you like, with no cause for concern – as you are able to drink at New Farm Park (one of the few places in public in Brisbane which you can). (Image credit – https://www.weekendnotes.com/new-farm-park/58125/).

SouthBankAriel_20161025_wideSouthbank – I love Southbank. It is so easily accessible and has over 17 hectares of parklands, eateries, gorgeous views of the river and the city and constantly has something on to be a part of. If you wasn’t to go for a swim, visit the man-made salt water aqua pools – free to use and plenty fo space for everyone. There is the Nepalese Pagoda (which we had at World Expo 88) – see if you can spot the rude carvings! My favourite is to walk through the beautiful Arbour – which is more than a km long and is in bloom with gorgeous magenta bougainvillea flowers – perfect photo location! The Wheel of Brisbane is also here – but to be honest, I don’t think you need to spend the $20- the view from the ground is gorgeous. Summer brings the Ben & Jerry’s outdoor cinema and it is also where we have our annual French Festival, Night Noodle Markets and bands/drinks on the weekends. (Image credit – https://www.weekendnotes.com/new-farm-park/58125/).

I could share multiple things I love about Brisbane, however the top five are some of my favourite things to do – if you are ever looking for something to do or see on the weekend (or even after an early mark during the week), I recommend trying any or all of the above!)

x