October Goals 2016

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Hello, Everyone!
September was such a great month for me, and not just for the portion of it that I was in Seattle/Hawaii. I've been super-productive and motivated with my blog, as well as my gym training. I'm feeling really good about the rest of the year and what I can still achieve in that time. Is it weird that I'm already excited for Christmas? Anyway, here's my monthly goals I've set for October:

Bake lots of Halloween goodies!

Celebrating any kind of holiday means food, food, and more food. I am getting so excited for this time of year, and to celebrate I am going to be baking up a storm and sharing lots of yummy recipes on my blog! I know I'm usually a health-nut, but everyone deserves a treat every now and again.

Participate in Twitter chats again

Late last year, I got really good at these chats and would do a couple per week. Then Day Lights Saving ruined everything by making times impossible for me to wake up for. I really love the #TheGirlGang chat, but 5am is asking a lot from a girl. There have been a few more changes now, so hopefully I can start making chats again and talk to you guys more!

Launch my advertising packages 

I'm still very much second-guessing myself on this one. I really want to offer advertising for other bloggers/businesses and do my best to help them grow. I will be offering different kinds of support, and by them buying a spot, they will be support me too! I'm only holding back for the time being because I want to get my numbers up a bit more to have a better chance at success. What do you guys think? Should I just launch it?

Use Pinterest more to grow my blog 

I'm a huge lover of Pinterest and can't go a day without scrolling through photos of smoothie bowls, or my dream room decor. I've heard a lot of bloggers talking about how they have used the site to grow their blog and it's time I learned how too! Any platform can be valuable, especially one that I enjoy using myself.

Get more creative with blog photos 

Is anyone else getting bored with flat-lays? Don't get me wrong, I still think they're beautiful. But I'm not as enthusiastic about them as I used to be. I still feel like I haven't found my blog photography style and I'm just trying anything that takes my fancy at the time. This month I want to get inspired and try new ways of capturing a blog post, that will also help me have fun with it again.

Post on Instagram everyday 

While I was holiday, I got into a really great routine of posting all the time and it really helped my numbers. It also helped me have more fun with shooting photos again. Since getting home I've managed to keep posting everyday, and I'm determined to continue doing it through October as well! You can follow me here.

Dye my hair blonde 

A year or two back, I had blonde put in my hair to try it out over the summer (and loved it!) so, this month I am going with a full head of foils and getting a whole new look done. It's been a goal of mine all year, but with saving for my holiday it had to wait. I am all booked in for it and I can't wait to see how it comes out!

I hope you all had a great September too. What are some of your goals for October?
Steph x.

September Favorites!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Hello, Everyone! 

I know I don't usually put out a monthly favorites, but there are quite a few goodies I picked up in the States that I haven't had the chance to share with you yet. Most of these items have been with me throughout September and I've used them almost everyday. We all love sharing what we love, right? They all range from lifestyle, to beauty, and even a music favorite. It's been a good month!

Hermione Granger Wand

Isn't it beautiful!? When we visited Universal Studios Hollywood, the first thing we did (because I dragged my family there) was visit Hogsmeade. I loved every second of being there and I could have blown all of my spending money in Honeydukes. I didn't get the chance to go into Olivanders, but I did find another store beside the Jurassic Park ride that was full of amazing Harry Potter merch. After looking at the selection of wands, I knew Hermione's was the one I wanted most and I love it! The only other wand I own is Snape's and this is only making me want to start a collection.

Demeter Fragrance Library

I've heard so much hype around this brand and I remember Carrie Hope Fletcher raving about different scents in a video. While we were in Honolulu, I ducked into Wallgreens to stocked up on makeup I can't get at home and I came across this counter. I was so happy! I spent ages smelling all the fun types of scents they have and decided to get the blueberry one. It just stuck out to me as something I could wear that's uplifting and perfect for Spring. I've been wearing it all month long and I'm still in love with it.

Essie Nail Polish
"Cabana Boy"

Having painted nails is one of my favorite ways to feel amazing. Essie always has the prettiest shades and I found this little beauty at T.J.Maxx. I'm a big fan of pastel shades for my nails, and this pale lavender color is exactly what I've been looking for. It has a really pretty shimmer to it too, which makes me think of it as a mermaid color whenever I wear it.

Kat Von D Shade + Light Blush 
"Bonnie + Clyde"

This is another little beauty I picked up for a bargain at T.J.Maxx. Blushes are one of my favorite items to shop for and I'm so glad I found this one. Being such a great brand, the pigmentation and quality of this blush is amazing. The idea is to use the lighter shade right on your cheek, then the darker shade towards your ear. It always comes out really pretty and it's been my go-to blush all month long. 

Skintimate Shaving Foam
"Raspberry Rain"

Whenever I visit the US, I always grab myself a new can of this stuff. It's the best shaving cream I have ever used and it breaks my heart that I can't get it in New Zealand! It's so silky and moisturizing, which we all know is important. And with vitamin E and olive butter in there formula, no wonder it feels nice! Their scents are always lovely too.

Original Source Shower Gel

This has been a big favorite of mine for a while now, but I've never had the chance to share it. This is the shower gel I use at the gym and it has the most heavenly scent ever! It says grapefruit, but for me it's more like sour candy which is my favorite. After I've had a long workout and I'm super-sweaty, this is just perfect for feeling clean and happy again. It's like a post-workout treat!

NYX HD Studio Finishing Powder

I think this is one of those beauty items that has been floating around the blogging world. I was in desperate need of a new powder and NYX is a brand I naturally gravitate towards. Being a loose powder, it was a little awkward to use at first. But I have the hang of it now and have been reaching for it everyday. It's the perfect finishing touch to your makeup, and gives you a great boost of confidence!

Alice in Wonderland Mug

One thing that I was desperate to buy at Disneyland was a new mug. I need coffee with me at all times when I'm at home, so of course I collect mugs for a hobby. I've seen this one floating around Instagram for ages and it immediately caught my attention. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite tales, and every part of it at Disneyland was beautiful. Ever since I got home it's been my regular coffee mug and I love it!

New Gym Beauty Bag 

Finally a bag that describes me perfectly! Well, blog should be in there somewhere, but other than that this is spot on! I found it at T.J.Maxx in Hawaii and just had to have it. I bring it to the gym with me now, because it's the perfect size to hold all of my makeup brushes and favorite Naked Palette.

 Song: Let Me Love You ft. Justin Bieber, DJ Snake.

This has pretty much been on replay for me through August and September. I was watching a Lexlos vlog on YouTube and Carlos kept playing the song over again. It got stuck in my head, so I quickly found it on Spotify and it's been my go-to song since! It's pretty great for listening to at the gym as well. Always gets me in a good mood : )

Book: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas 

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I'm a massive reading fan, but have struggled with a reading rut for a while now. I tried getting into Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, but that just wasn't for me. I've had the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series on my shelf for a couple of months (I bought it on sale) and thought it would be perfect to help me get back into reading. I know the characters in this book are gonna break me, but it's so worth it!

Those are all of my favorites from September. I'm so happy with what I managed to pick up, especially since I don't get to shop all that often.

Let me know what some of your favorites have been this month!
Steph x.

Health & Fitness Update: September

Sunday, 25 September 2016

I'm finally back with another update!
So, these past couple of months have been all over the place for me, and towards the end of August was especially tricky. There were a few changes at my gym (I talk about that below) and I fell ill a few times, one of which landed me in an after-hours medical centre on a Saturday morning. But hey! There are always going to be challenges on your fitness journey and it's nothing I can't handle. The weather is beginning to warm up for Spring now, which should make for awesome running conditions. I also have some new goals in mind for the rest of the year to keep me motivated. Let's get to it!

Training with no trainer 

You'll probably remember me raving about my awesome gym trainer in numerous posts. He left on an epic adventure through Europe with some friends at the end of July and won't be back until late October. Of course I am so happy for him, and if anyone deserves a break it's him. But I found out very quickly how hard it can be when someone who has supported you for so long leaves. I found myself struggling for motivation, and I haven't had my weekly boxing to look forward to. Not gonna lie, it's been really sucky without my partner in crime to laugh with and talk about super heroes to. I don't have as good a relationship with the other trainers, so I've been stuck for questions sometimes too. It's been my biggest challenge lately and it's a big test of the knowledge he's instilled in me. But I'm sure he will be back in no time and we can have a massive catch up while we lift weights!

Staying healthy & training on holiday 

 So, this didn't really go to plan! But it all worked out in the end. On our recent trip to the states I ended up treating myself to quite a bit of fries, pizza slices and ice cream at the end of a busy day exploring. I wasn't bad the whole time and I still ate porridge for breakfast almost everyday. After being so strict with myself on eating habits, I just wanted to relax on vacation and enjoy not thinking about calories for once. I also made a point of hydrating properly everyday, so at least there's balance, right? 

In terms of exercise, it was a little tricky for us to find running routes where we were staying. There were some cool trails in LA (Griffth Park & Runyon Canyon) but other than that we didn't run much. Seattle was awesome because our apartment had a gym that was pretty well stocked with machines, so we all spent an hour in there everyday. Hawaii had a really lovely park to run around, although it wasn't a long distance. But there was lots of beach swimming to burn of some of that pizza I was eating too. Next time I'm definitely going to book in at a nearby gym in each location, so that I am guaranteed to keep up a fitness routine. 

Getting back in the gym

 Walking back into my local gym was actually a bit of a relief. I was reunited with my squat rack and I could finally get back into my programs. The hardest part was actually letting my body get used to the work I was doing before I left. These first couple of weeks back have left me aching everywhere. I certainly don't have the energy that I used to and I've been struggling to finish even an hour workout. On my third week, I've felt almost back to normal and I can extend my workouts longer. I know it's going to take some time for my body to adjust and get some strength back, so I just have to stick with it until then. 

Good nutrition always helps

To go with my struggle of regular workouts again, I have also been trying to get back into focusing on putting good foods into my body. I definitely developed a craving for carbs and sugary treats while we were on holiday, and it's been so hard to resist! I'm slowly getting better and I'm back into the swing of meal prepping. But I definitely think my low energy is also tied to my holiday nutrition and I need to get lots of goodness in me again! No more pizza :(

Spartan Training Begins! 

Yup, I am less than a year away from competing in my first Spartan Race. Now that I am back from my holiday, I can focus my gym work on training for the occasion. It's a 13km obstacle course that will require a lot of endurance and physical strength to complete it. I'm going to really work on my upper-body strength, continue running regularly (plus improve my overall fitness) and really push myself mentally. Once my trainer is back we can work on a proper game plan together, but for now it's just me and a couple of crossfit workouts added to my daily routine. It's a dream of mine to complete this race, so training hard will only make it more meaningful.

October Goals: 
Work on a new crossfit workout every week and master all of them
Get to ten body weight pull-ups 
Squat 60kgs by the end of the month

Hopefully next month I will be feeling a lot more energetic and my body will be back to normal. You always need goals and challenges in fitness, so it's only making me more determined to work hard.

How's your fitness journey going? I'd love to know!
Steph x.

Blog Posts I Love Reading!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Last year I wrote about Blog Posts I Will Always Read, and it got a really great response! It's awesome seeing what other bloggers love reading and it gives me a better idea on what kind of content I should make more of. 
Just like my little blog, my taste and interest in different blog posts has evolved over the year and a half (ish) that I've been in this great community. Lately I've been trying to read more blogs and I've found some amazing new bloggers to follow. I've put together a list of topics that have been catching my eye lately and ones that I just adore reading!

Tattoo Showcases

If you know me, you know that I am tattoo obsessed! Everything about them interests me, and I love it when bloggers share pictures and their experiences of getting them. Some of them are complete works of art and deserve to be admired. I definitely want to put up a post soon sharing the tattoos that I have and advice on getting your first one.

Fitness Journey

There is nothing more inspirational that reading about someone who is turning their life around. Whether they are just starting on a path to fitness or they have been on one for years, I love reading the passion that people have for improving themselves. It's something I can really relate to and it's awesome to send them some encouragement when they might need it. 

Favorite Cafes

This is a relatively new favorite type of post for me, but who doesn't love pictures of cute interiors, beautiful cakes, and the all important latte art? Even if I may never get the chance to visit some of these cafes, it's still a joy to read about someone's experience. It really makes me want to explore new cafes in my own city too!

Monthly Goals

These just give me the biggest hit of motivation and I freaking love it! The start of the month is such an awesome time to reflect on what you want to achieve. I can't ever resist reading through these posts when I see them pop up on my feed.

Disney Wishlist

I follow a few bloggers that do one of these posts a month and it's always magical! They're full of the cutest little collectables and usually a mug that I desperately need to add to my collection. 
Disney + Wishlist = Perfection! 

10 thoughts we all have when...

Those posts that make you wanna shout "Thank goodness I'm not the only one!" I recently read one about thoughts at the gym, and every single one was on point. It's great when you find posts that are completely honest and relatable. They can also be pretty hilarious to read! 

Positive thoughts 

You always want your readers to leave your blog feeling happy and that they gained something from reading it. Whether it's about what makes you happy, why you love something, or sharing a really uplifting experience, I'll read it! The internet needs this kind of positivity to be shared as often as possible.

So, those are some of my absolute favorite types of blog posts I have loved reading lately. The blogging world is only getting better and I can't wait to see what awesome ideas you guys have next!

What blog posts do you love to read most? 
Steph x.

Why It's Great To Blog On Holiday!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

My time on holiday is probably when I'm at my peak for creativity and I get so inspired by what's around me. There's nothing like traveling to get your mind in a good place, whether you go around the world or just a weekend trip to a town an hour away. On my recent trip overseas, I had the best time blogging about what I did and using what made me happy to write.

I wanted to share how useful it was to use my vacation time to fall head-over-heels back in love with my blog. Prior to going on holiday, I found myself quite mentally exhausted with everything going on and within a few days my creative side was kicking already! Going somewhere new can bring exciting content for your readers and make you excited to write about it too.

Making the most of inspiration 

Before going on holiday, I was constantly stuck for ideas for blog posts. It turns out that getting a change of scenery was the best thing for igniting new ideas and finding my enthusiasm again. There are so many blogging opportunities for wherever you choose to travel to. If you're a foodie like me you could document your favorite places to eat. One of my favorite bloggers Lucy recently posted all the delicious food from her trip to Richmond and I loved reading it! Write about what adventures you go on, what you pack, or anything that sparks your creativity. I put together a list of my Travel Blog Post Ideas if you need some inspiration. 

It encourages you to explore

 I've gotten guilty lately for saying "That will be great for my blog!" and it turns into my main motivation. Of course I like to explore like any other avid traveler, but making the most of my holiday includes finding things I want to write about. Before we left, I researched different Seattle cafes and the best food in Hawaii to help me find new places to see and enjoy. It helped us find a new part of Seattle that we didn't know was there (seriously check out the Arts District there!) And I ate the best acai bowl ever in the cutest township on North Shore, Oahu. If I hadn't sought out things to blog about, we may have never found those gems!

Grow as a blogger

I feel like I've taken a step forward with my blog recently and I owe it to being away from my usual blogging spot. I didn't go over with a blogging plan, I just wrote about my experiences and everything else that inspired me. It forced me to think more about how my blog was going to continue while I was away from the norm, and it helped me grow more confidence in my work. It also gives you time to step back and think about changes you would like to make. Whether it's you blog or just your everyday lifestyle, traveling lets you look back on normal life and you find motivation to make things better.

Record happy memories 

One of the best things about blogging is being able to look back on previous posts and reminiscing on a happy time. I love reading the post I wrote about my 24th birthday last year, almost like it was journal entry. By recording your travel experiences on your blog, you can look back on amazing memories and special occasions any time you want!

Improve your photography 

I think most bloggers always have their camera at hand when traveling, or at least I do! It's so much fun to explore and spot random gems that make for great blog photos or Instagrams. I always find traveling helps me develop my eye for good shots and each year when I look at my photos, my skills have gotten better. Not only this, but travel also helps me grow my passion for photography. I'm constantly looking around me and finding beauty in everyday things. It's the time that I enjoy shooting photos most and every year I just get more passionate about it.

Even though it's tempting to use your vacation as a a blog break (and you probably deserve it!) but if you're anything like me, you can't resist a blogging opportunity! I did take pressure off by not having a schedule, so I got the best of both worlds.

What are your thoughts on continuing to blog on holiday?
Steph x.

Launching #NZBlogSquad!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Hello, Everyone!
I have something really exciting to share with you today. It's a project that I am really passionate about working on and I am so happy that I decided to go for it. It's something that has been missing in the NZ blogging world, but don't worry because I am here to change that.

Alright, what is it? 

#NZBlogSquad is an online community for all Kiwi bloggers/vloggers to get together and support one another. I'll be re-tweeting your awesome posts, hosting fun chats, and further down the line I will be putting together blogger events/meetups for everyone to enjoy. 

As a blogger from New Zealand, I've struggled to find any local communities of fellow creatives to chat and get support from. I'm also yet to hear of any events being held, which is disappointing because bloggers are such awesome people! We are a small country after all, but that doesn't mean we can't have an awesome community to be a part of. So I thought, "Why don't I start one?" and so, #NZBlogSquad was born!

This community will be based on Twitter, but I have also started up an Instagram page. On there I can re-post your photos with a link back to you and celebrate your awesome pics. This is going to be a consistent community for you guys to be a part of, and the Twitter chats will be open to bloggers everywhere. It's a chance for us Kiwi's to support each other and have a positive space to discuss all things blogging/vlogging. You might even get a special mention to celebrate your awesome work!

Wanna join #NZBlogSquad? Follow us on Twitter!

I look forward to connecting with you!
Steph x.

Disneyland Bucket list: How did I do?

Monday, 19 September 2016

I think making a bucket list for every exciting place you travel to is such a brilliant idea. It lets you get the most out of your time and your goals for the trip are more meaningful. I made a Disneyland Bucket list before heading away, and after reading Paige's Disneyland Paris Bucket list Revisited post on her blog, I thought it would be cool to share mine too! She got up to some awesome stuff, so make sure you go check out it out.

My day at Disneyland was full of fun with my family. It made us all feel young and we all laughed so hard going on rides together. It's a day that I will never forget and hopefully I can go back soon to explore more of what Disney has to offer. Especially when the new Star Wars park opens!

Here's how I did on my list! 

Buy a pair of Minnie ears and wear them the whole day

Done! After a little exploring we stopped for coffee on Main Street and planned what to do next. We walked passed a little store selling clothing and I found my fluffy pair of ears. I probably should have waited to see some other designs, but I love the classic pair. Didn't take them off until we went to bed! I actually almost lost them on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but luckily we were sitting at the front!

Eat a Mickey-shaped churro (or two) 

One thing's for sure, Disney make the best churros! I never found one shaped like Mickey Mouse, but I did eat a normal one during the parade. It was delicious and crispy; really craving one now!

Ride the Tea Cups with my Mum 

This has to be one of my favorite memories of the day. All four of us piled into a cup and my Dad spun it so fast that we were all cracking up laughing. It definitely felt like something out of Alice and Wonderland. I'll never forget going on this ride and sharing the experience with my family. 

Touch Snow White's Apple & hear the Witches' laugh

Yup, this was spooky! I didn't touch this one myself, but I did dare my brother to go do it and it was quite the surprise. We also stood outside the ride and waited for the Evil Queen to appear in the window. She's so scary!

Get my hands on Dole Whip from the Tiki Room

Sadly this was one that I didn't achieve that day. Every time we walked past, there were huge cues and they weren't letting people inside the Tiki Room for a while. I decided to give it a miss, but I will definitely go back and try my luck again next time.

Explore Cinderella's Castle

I have to admit that seeing this iconic castle for the first time was a little surreal. I never got to look inside because no one else in my family was very interested, but it's something I may have to take my Mum along to on our next visit.

Ride Splash Mountain (and get soaked) 

We had really bad timing for this one, especially since it's such a popular ride. We first came across it around lunch time, but all I could think about was food (of course.) Then it was late-afternoon when the weather was cooling down, so I didn't want to aggravate my fading cold by getting wet. I'm disappointed we didn't make this one, but at least now we know to get our timing right!

Take a picture in front of the castle

Done! And I even wore my Minnie ears for it too. The castle was a lot smaller than I was expecting, but still so magical to see it in real life. I can only imagine what it must have been like when the park first opened.

Stay and watch the fireworks show

This was the most magical experience of the whole day. We were lucky to get a great view of the castle and it was honestly better than I expected. Shooting stars, the best Disney songs (See the Light from Tangled!) and light projections on Main Street to include everyone. I got emotional watching it and I can't wait to bring my own children to see it someday!

Yell "Andy's coming!" at Toy Story characters and see f they fall down

It was actually really hard to spot Disney characters throughout the day. I only saw the Mad Hatter and Alice, plus Aladdin and Jasmine (who looked just like the animated character!) and finally Goofy. I never managed to spot the Toy Story characters, but I might use the Disney app and track them down next time. I'm dying to see if this works!

Make a wish in Snow White's well 

This one was tricky to find actually, and by the time we did find it, they had roped off the area for the parade :( I was really looking forward to doing this and from what I saw of the little area it was so cute! On our quest to see if we could get through, we did wander through Pixie Hollow, and that was really cool to see. Not a total loss after all!

Visit the Star Wars Launch Bay & check out the props

Tomorrowland was the first part pf the park that we explored, mainly because my family is all mad on Star Wars (myself included.) Launch Bay was such a cool exhibit and they had full costumes and models from the actual movies. It's also where you can meet certain characters and I had the coolest experience meeting Kylo Ren!

Overall I think I did pretty well! Next time I will know all the tricks, like hitting the busy rides while everyone is at the parades. I am itching to go back already and tick off the rest of my bucket list! 

What would be on your Disney list? 

Steph x.

Ten Reasons Hawaii Is My Happy Place

Sunday, 18 September 2016

You know how most people have a "Happy Place"? Whether it's a far away city, a secret spot you came across when you were young, Disneyland/World, or simply being at home. I never really had one until a few years ago and it's amazing to have a destination that's so special to you.
I have been lucky enough to visit the island of Oahu three times now, and every holiday reminds me of why it's famous for being a wonderful place. Hawaii is full of happy memories for me and every time we return it's like being greeted with a hug from an old friend. I am completely in love with this slice of paradise and I wanted to share with you why it's my happy place!

Holiday Vibes 

We generally stay at Waikiki beach, which is a tourist hub and I love it! There's something so fun about everybody being on holiday. We are all relaxed and having a good time, so there's no tension or judgement going on. Everywhere has this relaxed holiday vibe that can't help but put you in a good mood.

The Food

Oh, the food! If you're a fan of garlic prawns, acai bowls, or poke, then this is the holiday destination for you. It's one of the things I look forward to most when we visit and I never know what delicious creation I'm going to get to try. They make the best grilled ahi (tuna) that you have ever tasted, and the cafes are stocked with delicious treats. If there's good food, I am one happy girl.

Beautiful Beaches

This is definitely something that Hawaii is most famous for, and I can confirm that they are as beautiful as you think they'll be. There's actually a huge variety of beaches to enjoy: some are still and perfect for snorkeling, others have monster waves so you can sit and watch the locals surf. All come with that famuos golden sand and sparkling blue water. It's just stunning to explore each spot and you find something special in each of them. You might even spot some turtles!

Happy Memories

This is exactly why I love to keep coming back to this place. I still remember seeing that beautiful blue water for the first time, and it making us go rush to buy bikinis so we could jump in right away. Or swimming with dolphins on my Mum's birthday and conquering my fear of the ocean. Thinking of Hawaii just brings back so many wonderful memories that makes my time there feel special. 

Body Confidence

I know the thought of wearing a bikini on the beach is daunting for a lot of us (myself included) but there's something about Hawaii that stops you from caring. It goes back to my point on holiday vibes; everyone is in the same boat, and we are all super-chilled because we're on the beach instead of being at work. No one cares what size you are, because everyone is concentrating on their own vacation. Anyone and everyone can strut their stuff down the beach and feel amazing.

Island Exploring

Going on a Hawaiian road-trip is one of my favorite things to do! I'm always glued to my window staring at the beautiful green hills and being in awe of the natural beauty around us. Oahu is small enough that you could explore the whole island in about two days. Both North and South shore have amazing sights and cool stops along the way. We never know what we're gonna find!


Hawaii combines the joy of a beach holiday with the fun of American shopping. Some of my all-time favorite places to shop can be found in Waikiki: Forever 21, Zara, Sephora, Papyrus, and Wallgreens for stocking up on beauty items I can't get at home. The Ala Moana mall we always go to is huge and you can spend all day browsing the brands there. I probably do most of my shopping when I'm on holiday, so Hawaii is amazing for spoiling myself a little. 

Tattoo Spotting 

I'm not sure how many others enjoy doing this, but I find it so interesting. I'm super-obsessed with tattoos and I get really curious about what other people have got done. Obviously with Hawaiian weather being a summer dream all year round, everybody is in shorts and crop tops. Which means that there are more tattoos on display! On previous trips I have seen some masterpieces (and cringe-worthy ones too) and it's just awesome to see everyone's artwork that is usually hidden. 

Those Green Hills

I have such an obsession with the famous Hawaiian hills you always see, with their lush greenery and sharp ridges. One of the first mornings I ever spent there I walked outside and saw them for the first time and it hit me where I was. They're just stunning and I'm dying to find a really cool walk that will get me close to them.


Hawaii is known for being the rainbow state, and on our last trip is was so clear why. Almost every single day that we were there, we managed to spot a couple of rainbows in the sky. And who doesn't love rainbows!? It makes your whole experience there even more special.

I hope everyone gets the chance to visit this island paradise at some point, and that you love it as much as I do!
Where is your happy place?
Steph x.

Giving My Work-Space a Makeover!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Does anybody else love scrolling through Pinterest and seeing all of the amazing work areas people have put together? It's essential just a desk, but some of them are just stunning! I had been struggling to think of how I could re-vamp my own area and make it a creative space for me to work in. But while I was on holiday, I got a wave of inspiration for getting it the way I want. And all while using decorative items I already own. 

Since I'm so proud of my new blogging corner, I thought it would be fun to share my process with you and show you how I achieved the look I was after. Hopefully it will help anybody else who's in the mood to redecorate a little!

Move it around 

The first step in my little makeover was to simply change the location of my desk. It's amazing how different a room can feel when you switch a few pieces of furniture and create a whole new look! My desk used to be facing another wall beside my bed. The down-side to this was that it wasn't a key focus in my room and I could easily slip into a lazy "I'll just work from my bed" mood. Not that there's anything wrong with blogging from your cozy bed, it's just always been unproductive for me personally. 
Now my desk is opposite my big window for extra and light, and it's opposite my bed too. Every morning I get up, see my lovely little work area and I get motivated to make the day productive. It's now a big focus point of my room that I can't ignore. I just want to open my laptop and get to work!

Keeping it simple 

One thing that the Pinterest Desks of Dreams all have in common are that they are simple in their creativity. Some keep to a black/white theme and none are particularly over-whelming. But everyone has their own way of decorating, so I just had to stick with my style. Just like my Instagram feed, I love having a pop of color on a plain white canvas. I dug through some photos I've had printed and cards I've collected to use as decoration. With my actual desk, I wanted it to be as clutter-free as possible. I have a terrible habit of hoarding up journals and books into a mini-tower next to me while I work. Just the essential journals will be beside my laptop (planner, blog ideas journal, diary) and just three as a maximum. It needs to be a calm space for me to do my best writing and stay focused, so keeping it simple is the best way to ensure that.

Use what motivates me 

Almost all of the little decorations that I have used are like little treasures to me. I've got travel photos that remind me of happy memories, my Coconut Lane print that reminds me to be a bad-ass, and even a Little Mermaid post card that inspires me to keep dreaming. I bought the little light-up S after a little bout with feeling negative as a gift to myself that makes me think "I will make someday." All of these help to create a positive space to work in that I just love looking at! I will be adding more later when I find the right pieces. They're all things I love, and when I look up from my laptop when I'm stuck for words or motivation, it inspires me to keep going.

I found these Mr Ben Brown Instagram pics on his Tumblr page and since it's super-hard to buy his actual prints, this is the only way I could enjoy his stunning work. Ben is actually a huge inspiration for me and he's worked so hard for his success. His content is consistently amazing (because he makes sure of it) and I only have to watch his YouTube channel when I need a boost of motivation. Now I can be reminded of what I can achieve if I work hard, just by looking at his work.

So, what do you guys think? I'm totally in love with it. Giving my space a revamp has been so incredible for my productivity. 

What's a must-have item for your workspace?
 (Fairy lights are mine for sure!)

Steph x. 

Reading Goals & Escaping My Slump

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

I've been caught in a reading slump for a few months now and it's time that I break out of it! I love reading so much and it's one of my favorite hobbies. I want to spend more time in my day flipping through the pages of a novel and diving into new fictional worlds. 

I was reading Em's lovely blog one night and she had just put up a new post about How To Break A Reading Slump and one of her tips was to write some reading goals. I thought this was such an awesome idea to get motivated again. I do love making goals and writing lists, so this is perfect for me! 
Here are my current reading goals to help me escape my slump:

Read one book per week

 This is something that I started doing last year and it was really great for getting through my TBR pile. It works as a motivator to finish a book by a certain day, so you make time to read everyday. When I stopped doing it, I would make excuses as to why I didn't have time to read. It was either "I've got blog work to do" or "I'm too tired, I'll just watch Snapchat stories before bed" which all resulted in my reading slump. I love reading, but we all know what it's like when life gets busy, right? I tend to work best with deadlines and I think this will be great to motivate me to read more. It will make me pick up whatever novel I'm reading and stop making excuses.

Create a book wishlist 

I was going to write out a typical TBR list, but I thought that having a list of all the books I actually want to read instead of the books I've had sitting on my shelves for months. When I finish one book I can purchase whatever one I want most on my wishlist next, and so on. Forcing yourself to read a book you don't feel like reading never works. I'm going to write out my wishlist and pin it to my bookcase for extra motivation.

Books currently on my wishlist:
 Harry Potter & The Cursed Child 
The Raven King 
Empire of Storms

Try new genres 

I've always been the biggest fan of fiction, although I do stray from it from time to time. I've seen so many awesome bloggers talk about what books they have been enjoying and a lot of them are to do with personal development. After reading #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso and Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, self-help/motivation has become one of my favorite genres. I'd love to dive into it more and take a break from fiction (only for a little bit!) I would also love to read more Science Fiction after loving Illuminae and a couple other books like it. I need to stray more from my usual Fantasy genre and try mixing it up more.

Finish series I have been reading

Is there anything worse than not finishing off a story? I can get really attached to fictional characters and I like to know they get the ending they deserve. There are some series that I won't finish based on how I feel the books were headed, and that's okay. But there are a few that I have simply not been able to get around to finishing even though I'm dying to. It's my goal to get up to date with some of these and revisit the stories I've grown to love. Here are some of the series I want to finish:

The Raven Cycle
Heroes of Olympus
The Lorien Legacies 
The Maze Runner (Prequels) 
Daughter of Smoke and Bone 

Thank you Em for the inspiration! Make sure you check out her awesome blog and have a read.
If you have any book recommendations for me, please tell me in the comments below. I'm always on the lookout for new reads!

What are some of your reading goals?
Steph x.

Hawaii Food Diary

Saturday, 10 September 2016

One of the things I love most about traveling is trying new foods, or just getting to eat my favorites I can only get in certain destinations. I'm a huge foodie and Hawaii has so many delicious options to offer. I thought it would be fun to show you my favorites while visiting and share my love of the food you can get on the island.

Haleiwa Bowls 

I started following this smoothie bar on Instagram about a year ago and their creations always look like works of art. I swore I would make sure to visit the next time I found myself in North Shore, and I finally got there! My family helped me track down their little hut and boy was it worth it. I ordered an acai bowl that came with fruit and an amazing muesli underneath. It was incredible! I'm so glad we found this place, it was just what I needed in the Hawaiian sun. Make sure you check out their Instagram because they post some amazing photos that will have you making your own fruit creations!

Cholo's Homestyle Mexican 

This is another North Shore gem and it's actually the second time we've eaten here. If you're like me and you can't resist a good taco, this place is for you. This time I actually got the shrimp fajitas that came with rice and beans. It was really tasty! I was a little disappointed at first because I ordered the fresh ahi (my ultimate fav Hawaii food!) but I'm still happy with shrimp. Their margaritas sound incredible too. Definitely getting one of those next time!

Panda Express

It's probably a good thing that we don't have this back home, because I would be eating it at least twice a week. It was my second time and I had to get the same Honey Walnut Shrimp with noodles. Oh. My. Word. I don't know what they put in this sauce, but it's incredible! This has to be one of most delicious meals I have ever had. I'm a bit of a cheap date, I guess!

Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood Market 

Almost every time we go to the Ala Moana mall and have lunch at their food court, I usually head straight to this place. They make the best grilled ahi (tuna) ever! It's one of my favorite foods to eat whenever we come to the island and they sure know how to cook it. So good!


 Hawaiians are just as great at making a beautiful cup of coffee as they are with grilling tuna. We have managed to find several cafes that brew incredible artisan espresso, as well as serving heavenly pastries. Our first gem is Honolulu Coffee, which roasts Hawaii's famous Kona coffee beans. They make one seriously strong brew that any coffee lover will appreciate. Their dessert options are beautiful too!

We also found Kona Coffee Purveyors & Patisserie at the newly built International Market Place. This place has a really cool vibe, beautiful coffee and pastries you can't resist. Their coffee isn't quite as bitter as Honolulu Roasters, but that's how I prefer it. We tried both hot and iced options available and loved them. This place is probably my new favorite coffee stop in Waikiki.

What cuisine is your favorite?
Steph x.

Top Coffee Finds In Seattle!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

If there's one thing that I am picky about in life, it's my coffee. There's an art to getting the perfect cup and I've been lucky to find a barista who knows how to deliver on the best flat white I can get. It's always tricky to find proper barista coffee when we travel to the Sates. Some of their methods are very different to home and you can really taste the difference. I've learned to do my research before-hand to scope out the best cafes to go to for my coffee fix.

Obviously the one thing I was looking forward to most about visiting Seattle was finding great cafes and the perfect coffee. Turns out that it's a little harder than I thought, unless you're a fan of Starbucks which you can find plenty of. But I did come across a few cafes that really delivered a great cup coffee that I can highly recommend if you ever get the chance to visit. All three of these are located in downtown Seattle and will help you get the most out of this city (and it's fame for coffee!)

Located right by the Pike Place Market and tucked away on the second floor, was my favorite coffee find of our trip. I started looking for great coffee shops on Instagram earlier in the year and Storyville was one of those. I wasn't disappointed either, because this place offers a cozy atmosphere and one great cup of coffee. The taste isn't overly bitter, yet you still get a strong flavor. Super smooth as well, which I loved. They also offer a great selection of food; I had a pretty amazing Asian salad that was full of dates and cashews. We also went back for an afternoon pick-me-up and got their GF chocolate cake that was pure heaven! I think the secret is their technique of soaking vanilla in bourbon prior to baking. They make all of their own food, including croissants. That's always something I appreciate in a cafe.

Their service is super quick and they make your drink right in front of you as you order. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful as well. Storyville is a brand that prides itself on delivering quality coffee and donating part of their profits to help stop human trafficking.
 I'm telling you, this is Seattle's best kept secret!  

It's a little tricky to find, so make sure you stick to the main entrance of Pike Place Market and look for signs on the opposite building as you walk down the street. It's also above the Crumpet shop!
It's worth it, trust me.

This cafe can be found in a really cool part of Seattle called the Arts District that's full of up and coming businesses. Victrola was another coffee shop that I discovered on Instagram and it was just a short walk from where we were staying. It has a really cool indie-vibe and has big windows so you can enjoy the afternoon sun. 
You can tell that they take pride in how they roast their coffee beans and what the resulting taste is. It's their aim to offer only the best espresso and to bring that quality to communities. Their roasting room is right there in store for you to watch and they even have tasting rooms at the back if you want to learn more about what they do. You can taste their passion in the coffee, which is beautiful and strong. It's a great cafe to sit back and chat with a friend or get some work done. Great coffee, great vibe. Highly recommend!

Fonte Coffee Roasters 


On our last day, we were on our usually coffee hunt when we came across this place. The cafe has a luxury-vibe to it and the option to dine-in or just enjoy a cup of coffee. They offer some great afternoon treats to go along with it as well. We devoured an almond croissant and doughnut with ours and they were both delicious. Fonte prides themselves on their European style coffee that is both rich and full of flavor. The cool part is that they offer four different espresso roast each day that are hand-roasted by a talented member of their team that has been in the coffee industry for thirty years. They definitely came across as a brand who know how to create and serve great espresso, and pride themselves on it.
You can find it opposite the Seattle Art Museum and a short walk from Pike Place Market.

Now you can skip the neighborhood Starbucks and enjoy an amazing brew by one of these cafes, made proudly by their talented baristas!

Do you enjoy trying new cafes too?
Steph x.