Thursday, 24 April 2014

Suitcase. The Great Ocean Road

I just returned from an amazing weekend roadtripping along the Great Ocean Road. This truly is a picturesque part of the world that had me wondering at the history of our beautiful country. Along this stretch of road, awe-inspiring cliffs loom over rocky beaches and all the while the Great Ocean Road winds delicately around the coastline. Every now and then the road winds into deep forest before you pop out again with the ocean in sight. It's an amazing experience.

We began our trip in Melbourne early Friday morning where we headed over the West Gate Bridge and on towards Anglesea where we first hit the Great Ocean Road. Following along this part of the coast, the road is set high above the water and there are plenty of places to stop for pictures with this great vantage point. Drive along the coast an hour or so and you'll hit Lorne. We stopped here for lunch and had a wander around town. What was once a sleepy fishing village is now well and truly a holiday hotspot. I found Lorne to be quite like the Noosa of Victoria, beachy shops, seaside restaurants and a lovely calm beach with rolling waves.

On the road again and we continued our drive towards Apollo Bay. This stretch of road remains winding around the rocky coastline and there are some great spots for photos. We reached Apollo Bay Friday night and this was to be our pitstop for the weekend. It's a sleepy little seaside town and whilst there isn't all that much to see and do in Apollo Bay itself, it does provide a great location base for exploring around.

Saturday morning we were up and about. We visited the markets on the sea front which were, as expected, very small but still a bit of fun. Then it was onto Cape Otway which is about 20 minutes drive west from Apollo Bay. We didn't visit the lighthouse itself but we walked along the tracks nearby for a view of the lighthouse and the old cemetary which is the resting place for several sailors and their families from the 1800's. This area of the coast proved treacherous for many ships and there are several wreck sites to be seen as you travel along the road. Along the road to Cape Otway you can stop at Bimbi Tourist Park which provides the start of the walking track down to Station Beach which has to be fiercest sea I've ever seen. The waves pound the coast here and standing down on the beach I was a little afraid that I could be simply washed away; it was the kind of water that once it takes you I doubt you'd ever return.

On the way back to Apollo Bay we drove through Beech Forest which provided some beautiful rainforest scenery. Be warned; this road isn't an easy drive, it's full of blind corners and tight turns with steep drop-offs but if you're a confident driver it's well worth it. Halfway up this road you'll find a beautiful plantation of Californian Redwood trees. It's a magical place. These great trees loom up towards the sky and in amongst them their canopy is so dense that very little light comes through and when it does, it is in a "peeking" fashion. There are also some spectacularly large bright red mushrooms to be found. I can't explain the feeling I got as I explored this forest other than I felt like I could have been in Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree forest. This is definitely a place to stop and explore.

A little further along the Beech Forest Road you'll find the Hopetoun Falls. There is a lovely rainforest walk to reach them that takes around 30minutes return depending on how quickly you take the stairs (there are 203!). It was such a tranquil part of the forest, if I was an artist I would have loved to plonk myself down with some watercolours. That night we ventured up Beacon Point (a mountain overlooking Apollo Bay) for dinner at Chris's. The restaurant is somewhat like a big tree house on the edge of the mountain with a spectacular view. It was an incredible meal and I'll put the review up very soon.

We stayed in Apollo Bay again Saturday night before continuing on our way towards Warnambool. Once you leave Apollo Bay on your journey west, a great deal of this road is tucked away in the forest and there is not as much ocean to be spotted as there is on the Anglesea - Apollo Bay stretch. But it's still a beautiful trip. We stopped for lunch at the only little cafe in Lavers Hill and had a lovely snack. This place is wooden and so authentic as are the country folk who work there. On we continued towards Port Campbell where we saw the 12 Apostles (I think there might now be only 8 left standing). When these incredible structures first appear out of the ocean as you round the coastline it's an amazing view and there are plenty of great spots for photos along the boardwalk.

A little past the Apostles you'll reach Port Campbell which is a lovely seaside town with a beautiful beach that I would love to go for a dip in in the summer months. Just out of town you'll reach London Bridge, another incredible structure in the sea left behind by the history of the land. The Apostles and London Bridge are the big names along the stretch but a little further on, the Bay of Martyrs is not to be missed. It's not so touristy and has an incredible view of a bay which features structures similar to the Apostles.

Past here and we were onto our last stretch to Warnambool where we spent our last night and explored town. I happened to go to the Sprint Car Races that night which was certainly an experience not be missed.

I'm so glad I took 4 days to do the trip, I think it was the perfect amount of time to explore this area and all it has to offer. Visiting in April was a little chilly and the weather was mixed but even when cloudy the southern coast of Victoria has a magical feeling that can't be ignored.

Photos by Krissie.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Must Have. Birthday Wishlist

Well it's that time of year again... I have but a month left of being 23. I honestly don't know where the time goes. I barely get used to knowing my new age before I turn the year older again! 23 has certainly been a tumultuous year for me so I really hope 24 brings bigger and better things. Here is my birthday wishlist for 2014, so many lovely things, so hard to decide...

 photo carpe_diem_bracelet_zps026f8298.jpg

So in love with this little bracelet from Bahagia. Sometimes we all need a little reminder to "seize the day" and what better way to have it than by looking down at your wrist and seeing this beautiful piece of jewellery. Perfect.

I've been struggling with my $20 straightener for too long. My hair barely holds a curl on the best of days so I think it's time I ought to upgrade my equipment.

Those who know me know that I'm in love with anything to do with New York. To have this print hanging on the wall in my room would be utter big-city-dreaming bliss.

So in love with Celine's branded tees; they are effortlessly chic. The real macoy seems to have sold out now but you can pick up these copy versions on Etsy. Don't worry, I won't tell.

You've gotta love that perfect dewy-skinned make-up finish. I've got a tester of this stuff and it gives you exactly that. I think I now need to invest in the whole bottle.

Love the retro-vintage look of this music dock. I'm such a music lover; I like every genre (except that awful screamo stuff) so I'd be very content to hook up my iPhone and listen to my tunes from this little baby.

Photos courtesy of Bahagia, GHD, Society 6, Etsy, Clinique & JB Hifi.

Friday, 18 April 2014

One Day. Happy Easter

Hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend and have some fun things planned with family and friends. I've just arrived at the Great Ocean Road so I'll be back with plenty of pictures to share with you next week. In the meantime here's some inspiration for a chocolate filled weekend. I apologise in advance if any of you are on a diet as the following might just send you off the rails. Much love xx


Happy Easter
Photos via Pinterest.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Style It. Scarf Kimono

The 90s was all about crop tops and choker necklaces, the 00's trend was mini dresses in rainbow colours and if I had to pick what the hit style for the 10s is so far I'd have to say kimonos and kaftans. These styles are all the rage whether you throw them on over your swimmers, jeans and tee or favourite party dress. There have been some gorgeous kimonos in stores recently from Spell and Sportsgirl so I felt inspired and decided to give my own version a go... and [bonus!] all you need is a scarf.

Take a large, silky, square scarf and fold it in half. The bigger the scarf is the longer your kimono will be; to give you an idea, my scarf is around 1m x 1m and it comes down to my knees.

Tie each of the two corners together in a neat knot; you have now created your sleeves. Slip it on like you would a cardigan and voila; one kimono for the fashionable girl. How easy was that? You can thank me later.

Photos by Krissie.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Plate Up. Dukkah

I'm always looking for quick and easy ways to inject plenty of flavour into the meals I cook. When you work full time it's sometimes difficult to think of delicious meals that won't take forever to make. Enter the humble dukkah; this nifty spice mixture is your answer to everything. Use it as a spice rub for a range of meats and fish, sprinkle over currys, stiryfrys, pastas and salads or simply have it with your avocado on toast. You can easily whip up your own batch at home and it stores really well in an airtight container.

What you'll need
2/3 cup hazelnuts (you can also use almonds, macadamias or pine nuts)
80g sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

What to do
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spread your nuts over a baking tray and cook in the preheated oven for 3-4 minutes or until nice and toasty. Rub the nuts between a clean tea towel to remove as much of the skin as you can. Place the toasted nuts in a food processor and blitz until coarsely chopped. If you don't have a processor you can do it the old fashioned-way: place your nuts in between a tea towel and give them a fair whack with a rolling pin [this is a great stress buster, just watch your fingers!]. Transfer to a large bowl.

Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat and add the sesame seeds. Shuffle them round in the pan until golden and add to the nuts. Now place the coriander and cumin seeds in the pan and warm until aromatic and the seeds begin to pop. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and pound until finely crushed. (If you are lacking these ingredients or appliances you can use the pre-ground versions from the supermarket, the flavour just won't be as intense.) Add the crushed spices, pepper and salt to the nut mixture and mix well. Serve with your preferred dish. Dukkah also makes a great nibble plate when you have guests; simply serve with some bread and olive oil.

Photo by Krissie

Friday, 11 April 2014

Suitcase. Top 5 Roadtrips

"Are we there yet?" is one phrase that I guarantee will not be coming out of your mouth on these road trips. I have hand-picked the top 5 scenic roads around the world that will have you taking in some of the most breath-taking scenery. Read on for some holiday inspiration complete with roadtrip soundtracks and your mode of transportation. Simply pack your iPod, licence, and a sense of adventure.

Great Ocean Road, Australia

Distance: 253km
Time: 4 hours
Car: A Model Ford
Soundtrack: Forever Young

Head south-east of Melbourne and you'll come across some of the most beautiful coastline that Australia, and the world, has to offer. The Great Ocean Road is an iconic Australian landmark. Along this picturesque stretch of highway you'll find some truly breathtaking scenery, the famous twelve apostles (ocean rock formations) and some quaint little towns offering plenty of culture to boot. It really is a road-trip not to be missed.

Route 66, USA

Distance: 3,057km
Time: 27 hours
Car: 64 Mustang Convertible
Soundtrack: Rolling Stones

"You'll get your kicks on Route 66..." If this isn't the most iconic road trip around then I don't know what is...  Marking the way from LA to Chicago, Route 66 is quite possibly the most famous road in the world, and for many it marks a right of passage as a knowledgeable traveller; you haven't seen the world until you've driven Route 66.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Distance: 56km
Time: 75 minutes
Car: Alfa Romeo Convertible
Soundtrack: Ricky Martin

You'll be zipping around tight corners at the edge of some awe-inspiring cliffs as you travel along the Amalfi coast. This route claims to be one of the prettiest you will ever encounter and the hairpin bends are sure to keep your blood pumping. The stretch between Positano and Praiano is especially beautiful and you'll also drive by Grotta dello Smeraldo which is the perfect spot for swimming.

Whangamata to Ohope via Rotorua, New Zealand

Distance: 225km
Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Car: VW Kombi
Soundtrack: Beach Boys

New Zealand, the land of the long white cloud; this country has some truly beautiful scenery and some of the most amazing places can be seen along this stretch of road on the north island. This trip is perfect for those who love the surfing lifestyle offering the perfect combination of time spent by the sea and inland as well. Make sure you check out Donut Island off Whangamata for a "hidden ocean" experience, climb Mount Maunganui  for breath-taking views and enjoy the volcanic springs at Lake Rotorua.

Cabot Trail Nova Scotia, Canada

Distance: 300km
Time: 4 hours
Car: Willy's Jeep
Soundtrack: Flume

This roadtrip loops the northern tip of Cape Brenton providing killer views out towards the Atlantic Ocean and abundant opportunities to stop at some of the best hiking trails. Be sure to make a pit-stop for a seafood lunch along the way, this area has some of the freshest produce around. Nova Scotia is full of natural beauty and is sure to take your breath away.

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

One Day. Wonderous ideas

In our day and age, technology and the internet are wonderous things. I can't even imagine what living would be like without Google, smart phones, GPS, free international calls and social media. These things have certainly come a long way in the last few years and I can't imagine how much further they can go, although I'm sure we will all be surprised when the latest ground-breaking ideas roll around; because there are sure to be plenty more.

The internet has provided us with such wonderful ways of communicating with others, we can share ideas, find information so easily and express ourselves to an audience of millions all from the comfort of lap[top]. I have come across countless things on the web that have prompted me to sprout my own ideas and given me inspiration for things that I would have otherwise never seen. So I thought I'd share with you some of the wonderous [it is the word of the day after all] pictures that I have found online. I hope they inspire you, bring a smile to your face and prompt you to do some research of your own...

Did you know if you set a dandelion alight it burns in brilliant colours?

The floor plan of the most perfect Manhattan Studio

 I've always been fascinated by Flamingos

If this isn't the most perfect rhubarb tart then I don't know what is...

Positano Cliffs, Italy

Who doesn't love basking in the sunshine

 I love this idea

The Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

The perfect backyard pool

My most favourite majestic animal 

 A lovely idea for a piece of wall art

 Delectable lemon meringue

Chic bedside

The pink beach, Sardinia Italy

The perfect skylight

 Coconut icepops

 The best kind of cuddles

 Crayon art

Be sure to come follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. I love posting pictures like these that bring a smile to my face... and hopefully yours too.

Photos via Pinterest.