10 Things I Want To Do Whilst Living In Australia

Whilst me and M haven't decided where in the world we want to settle in the long term, we definitely have lots of trips planned whilst living here in Australia. As M is Australian, he's ticked off much of my 'to do' list (especially as he comes from Tasmania where it is insanely beautiful!). Once we are more settled here with our jobs and living arrangements, I can't wait to spend weekends gallivanting and exploring this beautiful Continent. Here are my top 10 things I want to do whilst we live here:

1. Swim and snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef- really a once in a lifetime experience and as I've never seriously snorkeled before, I think this would probably be an amazing place to start! (although i'm slightly worried about all that deep diving I did as a child and how badly it has damaged my ears).
 2. Explore the Melbourne lane ways- exploring boutiques and coffee shops is an ideal way to spend the day in my books!

3. Drive down the Great Ocean Road to see the 12 Apostles- A road trip down the Great Ocean Road and seeing the (now) 8 limestone stacks would make a great couple of days.

4. Attempt to surf at Byron Bay- I've never tried surfing but it has been a lifelong dream to be able to do it (I'm 100% a water baby!), and Byron Bay was the perfect setting when we visited a couple of weeks back. I can't wait to go back!

5. See the sunrise at Uluru/Ayers Rock- probably one of the most iconic Australian settings, seeing the rock formation at sunrise would be beautiful- and as M is into rocks, I'm pretty sure he'd be keen.
 6. Visit the world's largest sand island at Fraser Island and see a real shipwreck- also known to be a keen dolphin visiting spot, I think it would be amazing here! Dolphins have been a firm favorite animal since growing up, so to see them in the wild would be a dream.
 7. Drive over to North Stradbroke Island- living in Brisbane means being only a short drive away to this island that boasts clear blue waters perfect for a little weekend getaway from the city.

8. Drive up to the Blue Mountains in NSW- the characteristic blue haze is caused by eucalyptus trees surrounding the area emitting chemicals, giving it such a beautiful blue tinge to the landscape. A road trip up here is definitely on the cards!

9. Kayak at Freycinet National Park- although I've been here already, I was really ill so remember nothing- we made a quick dash back to Hobart via the hospital! Me and M love kayaking and it would be amazing to go back here and do that.

10. Swim in Bondi Icebergs Club pool- this pool is all over Pinterest, and for good reason! And upon doing a little research, it only costs $6.50! Whenever we eventually head to Sydney, this will definitely be on the top of my to do list! I keep looking at this photo and can't fathom how amazing it would be to have a daily swim here.
 What is on your to do list in Australia? Do you recommend anything I haven't got on my list?

Byron Bay Birthday Road Trip

For my birthday, Mr. Nomad whisked me away on a road trip to a surprise location. After packing the car and dropping into Chemist Warehouse to get some cold and flu tablets (why do I always get ill when I travel goddamn it!), we drove south past the Gold Coast and through the Queensland border to New South Wales. My first impressions of NSW was that it didn't look all that different from Queensland, however after driving for a while the landscape got greener (due to it raining more I would guess).We ended up staying just south of Byron Bay in Ballina, a really nice (and quiet) town right next to the beach. We stayed at the Ballina Beach Resort which was nice- it was slightly motel-ish but with the added benefits of being literally a 3 minute walk to the beach, and had its own pool and jacuzzi/spa for us to use.

Ballina Beach Resort

For the first evening we scouted out the local supermarket for some things to snack on for dinner in the hotel. We then checked out the local beach and Ballina lighthouse. Then of course we had to test of the spa/jacuzzi which was really fun!

Ballina Lighthouse

Ballina Lookout

On my actual birthday we took advantage of the free breakfast at our hotel and headed out for a day of exploring at Byron Bay. Byron Bay was a 25 minute drive from the hotel and we absolutely loved it. What do you imagine when you think of Australia? If you think of surfers, amazing beaches and a laid back lifestyle, then this is exactly what Byron Bay was. Before exploring the town itself, we headed up to the lighthouse and luckily were given someone else's parking ticket so we didn't have to pay (paying for parking is one of my big bug bears!). After walking up, there were quite a few people pointing out to the sea, and low and behold, we'd arrived when several whales were near the shore! It was the perfect birthday present.

Byron Bay Lighthouse

Byron Bay Lighthouse Lookout
Byron Bay Coast
Byron Bay Beach
After having a look around the town and all the shops and of course spending some time on the beach, we found lunch at Beloporto Burger Bar (I had the Belo Special Salad and Mr. Nomad had the Belo Double Chicken Burger). We took these and ate them on the beach a little further up which was really nice- it's so quiet along the coast as soon as you leave the centre of Byron Bay. We had a blanket in the back of the car and set up camp on the beach for a while, taking in the beautiful weather and surroundings. After lunch we headed back to Ballina and enjoyed the spa/jacuzzi for the last time and on the way couldn't help add to our 'Australia's big things' portfolio (basically Australia has a host of large objects around in random places that people take photos with) and took some shots with the big prawn.
Ballina Giant Prawn

We ended up at Fleurs Restaurant which was part of a hotel for dinner. Whilst it might sound underwhelming, ur experience was much like the TripAdvisor reviews- surprisingly good. As a gluten-free vegetarian, I find it really difficult to find things suitable for me to eat, but at Fleurs it was no problem. I got the baked Aubergine and Kumera parmigiana with tomato sugo, pine nuts & fried cauliflower florets for starters which was really tasty, Mr. Nomad got the jumbo scallops wrapped in prosciutto on petit potato rostis with a saffron vinaigrette which he really enjoyed. For mains I asked the chef to make anything gluten-free and vegetarian and he suggested a gluten-free pasta dish or risotto, which I was happy with- and was given a vegetable risotto with a balsamic glaze and hazelnuts which was so good! Mr. Nomad got the veal saltimbocca with gnocchi romana and wild fungi Marsala sauce which was also apparently really good. We decided to skip dessert (we are such a savoury couple!) and headed on the way back to a supermarket and bought some crackers and cheese and a bottle of wine. After arriving back at the hotel we got dressed into some warmer clothes and headed back to the beach lookout and ate our crackers and cheese and sipped on wine. It was the perfect ending to my 24th (eek.) birthday and can't wait to visit again.

I've noticed every birthday I have seems to get better, but with that there are also some tears whilst I fathom HOW I am getting this old? It feels so surreal to me- I feel like an 18 year old trapped in a 24 year old's body). Please tell me I'm not the only one with this clouding conscience of aging doom over me every birthday I have!?

Where's been one of your favorite road trips?

10 Random Facts About Me

10 random facts about me

1. I once met Rolf Harris in a French supermarket, and I used to think this was the best random fact ever... heh.

2. My mum used to cut my hair really short when I was young, and in the playground at school people would ask me if I was a girl or boy.

Me with purple dungarees and sporting my short hair.For some reason I was eating Jumplo..
3. I have coeliac disease and idiopathic pancreatitis.

4. I've been a vegetarian since birth.

5. I used to have a blog during my first year at university. I got 200 followers I think, and it was before many bloggers became noticed by the media i.e when Zoella used to comment on my blog etc!

6. I secretly want to move to the South of France where I've spent most of my holidays as a child, but as it is so isolated i'm not sure how well I would cope, but there's something romantic about living a simple life in the middle of nowhere!

7. I have a undergraduate and Masters degree, and hopefully should be starting a PhD soon (all depending on if I am successful in getting a full scholarship as an international student!).

8. I currently live in Queensland, Australia, but was born in West Yorkshire in a little UNESCO village. I miss the rolling hills and old buildings, but love Australia's warmer weather and the ability to go swimming 90% of the year!

Home in the UK.

9. I'm a secret lover of the gym, and in my final year of university got really fit and was going to the gym at least 5 times a week. Sadly those days are long gone- I can't wait until I can justify a gym membership again!

10. Me and my boyfriend love to pick up the PS3 or our laptops and have a good co-op session playing games. Our favorite is normally Age of Empires!

Me and Mr. Nomad (photogenic as ever!).

Tell me a random fact about you! 

Skincare Saviours

Skincare Saviours

Firstly I'm a bad blogger... let's just say essay marking and end of term stress of being a tutor took over. Moving on!

My skin has always been a little meh. I’m not even sure what I mean by that- It’s never been super problematic but at the same time it has its issues. Generally I would say I have dry, sensitive skin and this hasn’t changed too much since moving from the cold of the UK to the heat of Australia (aside from my makeup sliding off my face after spending the day in the intense heat). My main problems are dryness (which really affects the application of my makeup), congestion in my chin and nose area and sensitive skin. Over the years I’ve spent so much money trying to tackle these different issues, and think I have found some of my Holy Grail items.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
This cleanser has been my saviour ever since I bit the bullet and spent a lot of money as a poor student on it. Although it doesn’t get talked about much in the blogging world anymore, I still love it and almost had a heart attack when I couldn’t find it in my luggage when we arrived in Australia-thankfully I found it at the bottom of my bag. Using a muslin cloth works great in gently exfoliating my skin. Although I've tried a lot of different cleansers, this is always the one I come back to.

I really think that drinking a lot of water makes a difference to the overall appearance of my skin. As well as being dry, I get quite dehydrated skin and the best way I find to tackle this is from the inside out. I also like adding a squeeze of lemon to my water which is full of antioxidants and vitamin C which is great for combatting colds.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo +
I’ve been using this on and off for about half a year now and think it has come positive effects on my skin- especially at unclogging pores on my chin. It’s pricey, although I do believe it has made a difference to the texture of my skin.

This is something which I have grown up using for all sorts- grazes, cuts and spots. Anytime I have some redness on my face or a particularly dry patch, I apply some Sudocrem to the area and it really helps hydrate it.

Healthy Eating
Healthy eating also has an effect on my skin. When I eat badly, I feel sluggish and my skin looks tired. During my last year of university I really focused on a having a healthy diet and exercising found my skin really showed when I was taking care of my body and what I was putting in it.

Nude by Nature Face and Body Oil
I got this as part of a gift set for Christmas and fell in love with it. I’ve come to liking facial oils over the past couple of years. I also like the Boots Botanic Facial Oil which is great for hydrating the skin when it’s feeling particularly dry or dehydrated. It took me a while to get into them as I don’t particularly like the feel of it on my skin, but now I use them as a kind of face mask before I go to bed. 

Biore Triple Action Toner
I bought this recently due to the hype over salicylic acid as a chemical exfoliator. Thanks to Caroline Hirons' blog, I found this toner which is a margin of the price of the more expensive chemical exfoliators on the market. So far I'm pretty impressed- my skin's texture seems to have improved, especially in my problem areas.

I'm still on the lookout for my perfect moisturiser- whilst I like the Nude by Nature Intense Moisturiser which i'm currently using, I want to find a slightly lighter one I can use before applying makeup. I'm also coveting the Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque.

What are your skincare saviours? Let me know if you have any suggestions for a good base moisturiser that isn't too heavy for applying foundations over afterwards.