It’s time to get real with Carefree

Periods and vaginas. Two words that make most of us squirm. Yet, when you think about it, there are nearly 12 million females living in Australia alone, that either will be getting, are having or have had their own experience with their period. Despite it being one of the most natural bodily functions for women across the globe, it still seems to be frustratingly taboo. Why is this though? Why do we as women, feel ashamed by something that we cannot change?

Just over a week ago, I attended an all womens breakfast, hosted by Carefree Australia and the ever amazing Dr Ginni Mansberg. I was lucky enough to meet Dr Mansberg at another health event, where we discussed the taboo of ‘sex’. You can read about it here. Dr Mansberg is an incredible figure, who you would most notably recognise as the female doctor for the Embarrassing Bodies Down Under series. She is a practicing GP and in particular, womens health. It was wonderful to hear her speak again and shed some light on the many misconceptions that women have around their period.

At the breakfast, we were encouraged to discuss openly any issues or questions we had about periods, menstrual health, vaginas or even tampon use. It was so refreshing to be able to speak so freely about a topic that I find even sharing with friends, can be an uncomfortable experience. What shocked me was that women described their friends as ‘vulgar’, ‘crude’, ‘embarrassing’ and even ‘weird’ that spoke with them about their period (based on Carefree’s research). These words have such a negative connotation, despite the fact that we, as women, share the exact same experience, every single month.

Another area that was shocking, was the many misconceptions around tampon use. 26% of women still believe that a tampon can get lost inside you and 47% women believe that you can only wear a tampon for four hours – wrong, they can be worn unto 8! And finally, 75% of women choose not to wear a tampon at night for fear of Toxic Shock Sydnrome. Dr Mansberg explains, “It is a condition, but extremely rare. Despite an enormous amount of research, there have been no studies which have shown that wearing tampons for up to eight hours – day or night – raises the risk of TSS”.

In response to this, Carefree have done two things, they launched their night time claim with their existing ‘Flexia Tampon’ and  recently launched their ‘Be Real’ campaign. I never thought I would be sharing my thoughts on tampons on the blog, but hey ho, there is always a first! The ‘Flexia’ has been designed to be able to be worn at night, and as we learnt that many women didn’t know that they even could! What is fantastic about the ‘Flexia’, is the winged design. Carefree had added innovative SoftFold® wings technology to their tampon design meaning they draw fluid into the core, catching fluid that other tampons miss, so there’s less likelihood of a leakage. So you can have a restful nights sleep with out a worry.

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As a mentioned before, Carefree also launched their ‘Be Real’ campaign, shedding a light on the issue of periods, putting it out there in the open and encouraging women to speak freely about their experiences. As I’ve learnt, so many women have misconceptions and misunderstandings when it comes to their periods and especially tampon usage. I am sure you have seen their recent television commercial (which is certainly causing a stir). If you haven’t seen it, view it below:

What do you think? As a female viewer, can you relate, or do you think it’s pushing the boat too far? Perhaps you’re a male viewer, so what are your thoughts? The main aim by Carefree is to open up the conversation and ‘get real’ about periods, do you think this could ignite the conversation? Carefree are encouraging conversation beyond the television ad, especially on their Facebook page. But obviously many women are still very embarrassed, so for those women out there, who are a little more private, if you have any questions about your period, you can ask them here and they will be answered by a professional.

Do you think this sort of campaign is a game changer? Can we break down those barriers? Can we alter the statistics? Menstrual health is something that has been so badly marketed in the past, that we have created these misconceptions and misunderstandings. In some religious societies to this day, women who have their period are considered ‘unclean’ and are marked, so the whole of their social circle know. We need a ‘earthquake shaking’ shift surrounding the issue of periods – and not just amongst women. Men, boys, perhaps even children need to be educated. It’s about getting real about the situation. And I think that Carefree are doing a fantastic job about getting the topic out there in the open and starting the shift. But realistically, the education needs to go beyond women, to the whole of society, before we start to see really start to see a momentous change. Period (don’t mind the pun).

#bereal #becarefree
www.carefree.com.au
www.facebook.com/CarefreeAustralia

The Bali Diaries: Part Three – Villa Love

I am finally back online.. After coming home after Bali and literally moving in that day, it’s been a crazy few weeks. Between juggling work and uni, it’s been insane. I’ve finally been linked up with my Internet!

What a perfect time to be reminiscing about my incredible trip to the Indonesian island of Bali? It’s such a beautiful place with so much culture, atmosphere and colour. One of the hardest and most difficult decisions to make, is where to stay. With so many beautiful resorts, hotels and accommodation options, it can be a little overwhelming. Whilst I was in Bali, I stayed in a few different places, which gave me scope to try out some different accommodation. One of the most popular forms of holidaying, especially in South East Asia, is the private villa. I guess the main difference is the privacy. Unlike hotels, you are left to your own style of holidaying. Many private villas come with their own pools, meaning that you don’t even have to step outside of your own complex. Plus, you often get your own kitchen area, meaning you can cook your own meals and eat at your own leisure. Many of the villas offer a butler/chef service, so at any point in time, you can have delicious meals cooked just for you. Whilst I was in Bali, I stayed in three private villas – all were extremely different with their service.

1. The Seiryu Villas, Seminyak
Jalan Drupadi, Kuta, Bandung, Bali 80361
www.seiryvillas.com

Pros:
1. Loved the privacy – we were rarely disturbed and basically could have holidayed in the villa.
2. The bathroom door that opened out to the pool was amazing.
3. Loved the quirky decor that was dotted around the villa.
4. Service of food was fantastic – meals would be cooked outside of your room and brought to you. However, if you did want a chef to come in, that could also be arranged.

Cons:
1. Whilst we were staying there, across the road there was a severe amount of construction going on and we had floodlights streaming into our villa until 11.00pm and banging and rattling until the early hours of the morning.
2. There is no ‘communal’ area – so if you like to meet people that you’re holidaying with, then this set up wouldn’t work. It’s very much designed for couples and honeymooners that want to relax.
3. The outside isn’t particularly wowing, so don’t judge a book by its cover!

 

2. The Elysian, Seminyak
Jalan Sari Dewi 18, Seminyak
www.theelysian.com

Pros:
1. The Elysian was a bit more of a hotel set up – there was a restaurant, bar conference room, communal pool area and spa.
2. We spent Valentines Day night there, and the staff went above and beyond to make it a special experience for us. They really do want to make your stay magical.
3. Loved the food. Breakfast in the morning was divine.
4. Had a bus service that could take you into town whenever you needed.

Cons:
1. It’s really hard to find! It’s down lots of teeny tiny weeny streets. You can walk to Seminyak town, but it is a bit of a way.
2. It’s extremely expensive to stay at The Elysian and I felt that it was no more luxurious than the Seiryu, yet there was at least a $200.00 a night difference between the two.
3. If they are marketing themselves as more of a hotel, they could add a gymnasium, sauna and spa to justify the high villa rates.
4. You can’t cook your own meals in your villa – you can have a chef, dine in the restaurant or head out into town.

 

The Puri Sunia Resort
Ubud, Bali.
www.purisuniaresort.com 

 

Pros:
1. The surroundings are gorgeous – you feel like you’re in a jungle. Ubud as an area is much more relaxing, it’s a lot greener and lusher. If that’s the type of holiday you’re after, then Ubud is the spot to go to.
2. The villas are much more traditional in design – thatched roofs, wooden furnishings and a canopy bed with mosquito net!
3. A beautiful outdoor bathroom adds to that jungle feel.
4. As a resort, the overall feeling is much more tranquil, offering walks, cycling and yoga.

Cons:
1. If you do want to head into town, you have to take a 15 minute bus. The resort is quite a way out of Ubud Town Centre.
2. There is only one restaurant, so you’re limited with your dining options.
3. If you’re not very good with bugs – be careful! Ants come into your room at the sniff of food and there are creepy crawlies all in the garden. Mosquitos galore too. So be mindful!

 

If you’re looking for a personalised service, holidaying flexibility and a little bit more privacy, then the villa is the perfect option. I would suggest that the villa set up would suit couples, honeymooners or single travellers. Less confronting than the big chain hotels, you can certainly have a memorable getaway.

Live a little and book your next trip to Bali!

 

 

The Bali Diaries: Part Two – Villa Kitty

As you all know, I am completely and utterly mad for cats. Perhaps you could call it an obsession, but I don’t like coming across too crazy. They are my favourite animal in the entire world. Not only am I passionate about them as a pet, I am also passionate about their welfare. Cats are beautiful creatures that offer potential owners a wonderful companionship – they offer affection, loyalty and love and unlike some other pets, like dogs, require less daily attention. They are happy to be left alone (bot not for too long) and can often amuse themselves. For anyone that is living in a townhouse or apartment environment, cats are the perfection option. So for me, any opportunity to be involved with projects or programs that look after cats around the world is a given for me.

I was walking down the main street in Ubud, when I stumbled across a car parked. What drew me in was the magnetic sign on the sign of the car which read ‘Villa Kitty’, paired with a picture of a cat. I literally jumped and squealed in delight (my boyfriend Pete can definitely confirm that one!) and I immediately wanted to know more. As soon as I got back to the hotel room, I found out that ‘Villa Kitty’, located on the outskirts of Ubud, is a not-for-profit organisation solely focused on rescuing Bali’s abandoned kittens and cats and finding them suitable homes.

Founded by fellow cat lover and Australian, Elizabeth Henzell back in 2009, ‘Villa Kitty’ originally was a “Cats and Kittens Section” in another shelter in Lodtunduh. Elizabeth was asked to look after three tiny kittens, but simply didn’t have the time. Instead, she employed two of her friends, who were looking for work at the time to look after them. From humble beginnings, with just three care takers, two vet assistants and Elizabeth, ‘Villa Kitty’ has grown enormously, with now, twenty three staff. The ‘Villa Kitty’ veterinarian team is led by one of Bali’s most respected vet surgeons, Drh Karnata, with Drh Isa and Drh Sinta caring for all their beautiful cats and kittens.

I was so excited to head down to ‘Villa Kitty’, meet the team and of course, meet the beautiful cats and kittens house there. All in all, there are currently 113 furry friends being looked after. I was in complete and utter kitty heaven.

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There are so many wonderful people who are involved in the success and running of ‘Villa Kitty’, from vet assistants, to food preppers, a chef, cleaners, care takers, gardeners, security.. The list goes on. There is even a dog trainer, who feeds and trains the ‘Villa Kitty’ dogs (yes, dogs, even kitties need protection sometimes too!). It makes me so incredibly happy to see other people from around the world, passionate about providing the right care, attention and love to abandoned animals.

Elizabeth, whilst providing a safe and protective environment for all the felines, also runs successfully community projects. ‘Every Child Deserves a Kittten’, was a projected started in 2013. ‘Villa Kitty’ in partnership with SOS Children’s Village, placed 14 desexed and vaccinated kittens into eight different homes so the children and their foster mothers can have the opportunity to look after their own kitten. Additionally, Elizabeth has started a reading group for children, using the ‘Villa Kitty’ as a base – children are also welcome to ‘Villa Kitty’ every Wednesday from 10am – 12pm, where they can assist the staff with looking after the felines.

If you’re a cat lover like me and you’re in Bali, live a little, and do yourself a favour and drop in to ‘Villa Kitty’! The staff are incredibly friendly and you are more than welcome to meet all the feline residents. The cats and kittens loved it when Pete and I walked in – they are extremely curious and want to play!

As ‘Villa Kitty’ is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, support, where possible is always graciously received. If you would like to offer support, you can email Elizabeth directly at elizabeth@villakittybali.com. 

Villa Kitty
Jalan Ambarawati,
Banjar Tengah Lodtunduh
Ubud, Bali

The Bali Diaries: Part One

The Indonesian island of Bali is a must visit for all Australians – considering where we are, hopping on a 5 hour flight to get to paradise doesn’t seem too difficult. With plenty of flights offered by an array of airlines, getting to Bali has never been easier. This time around I flew with Virgin Australia return for less than $600.00.

Having been in Bali a few times, there are certain areas that I have fallen in love with more so than others. It’s really important to outline exactly what you want from your trip, because Bali first timers can be thrown. Kuta is perfect for party lovers – think nightclubs, bucket drinks, lots of markets and plenty of people about. It is full of hustle and bustle, has an eclectic nightlife and can be a little overwhelming. On the other hand, Ubud (where I am writing from now) is a little less shall we say ‘in your face’ and provides a much more relaxing, peaceful environment. It’s an area that is great for nature lovers, as many of the hotels and villas are surrounded by jungle, greenery and rice paddies. It’s a little bit more ‘spiritual’ with plenty of yoga retreats and health and wellness spas. Then there are plenty of spots in between – Sanur, Seminyak and Legian just to name a few.

This time around, my iteniry consists of Seminyak and Jimbaran Bay. I was meant to fly into Yogakarta in Java, however Mother Nature put her foot down by erupting Mount Kelud. I am not sure what sort of coverage this event has been getting back home, but from the press here in Bali, I’ve learnt that many people have been displaced from their homes and sadly there have been a small number of fatalities. So my thoughts and prayers go out to all the people affected. Hence why I am now writing from Ubud. Since my flights were cancelled, I had three days to fill. Funnily it was a blessing in disguise, as I never intended to stay in Ubud.

Here’s a few snaps of what I’ve been unto over the past few days, to give you a little insight:

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be doing a few posts about my adventures in Bali – from accommodation ideas, to my favourite spots to dine, to a very special kitty post! It is a rich and colourful country with so much to offer, so keep your eyes peeled! In the mean time, stay happy, stay safe and don’t forget to live a little!

 

You’ll ‘ooh and ahh’ when you check out the Crow Bar!

There are certainly a lot of wine bars, small bars and tapas bars cropping up around Sydney. But what exactly is the formula for success? In quite a competitive market, how do these establishments stand out from the crowd, so that we, the all important ‘customer’ always go back. I have tried a lot of small bars in the past – some have been themed, some offer a very extensive menu, some focus just on international wines and some have been quite obviously a rushed start up.

All of them certainly offer an interesting experience in one way or another, but I always seem to walk away thinking, there was ‘something’ missing, food could have been a bit better, the menu was a little pricey, the atmosphere was dead or decor was unfinished.

I stumbled across ‘The Crow Bar‘ one evening as I was trying to find somewhere to have a bite to eat. I noticed that it was new, and as you all know, I love trying new venues out. Located on the corner of Willoughby Lane and Burlington Street, ‘The Crow Bar’ is in prime position. Opposite the Crows Nest carpark, you’ll walk out and see it straight away. I was instantly drawn in by the soft lighting and warm ambiance and could see that there was certainly an atmosphere. On arrival, people were laughing, there was a mixture of old time crooners and modern hits playing in the background and everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves. There was a mixture of groups, couples intimately dining and people dropping by for a quick drink.

For me, welcoming, knowledgeable and friendly staff is a must for a small bar. Poor service and lack of customer understanding is simply not acceptable. If you’re planning on offering a dining experience in a smaller space, it should be a given – no excuses. Now, John Cantle, part owner of ‘The Crow Bar’ is a absolute rockstar at this. He made an effort to speak to everyone the evening I was there, discussed the menu, made sure my table was properly fed and hydrated, and believe it or not, had a bit chat with me! And after looking at other reviews online, John and his team are now known for their welcoming and hospitable service. Not only is he friendly, engaging and passionate, he really does know his stuff. After chatting, I found out that he and his partners Tracy Cantle (his wife) and Kerry Hewitt (sister in law) have been in the industry for many years, and they themselves have been on the same quest as me – finding the perfect small bar. However, they went one step further and started one themselves and I am pretty thankful that they did.

John describes his cocktail list and food menu as ‘simple and sexy’. The head chef, Anna Borna has put together a menu that is diverse, but not complicated. What you read, is quite literally what you get. This is something I noticed straight away with ‘The Crow Bar’, every single ingredient that was listed in the menu items, you could taste. Many dining establishments will attempt to get away with not having all the ingredients listed in their meals – and it’s very frustrating. But to put it simply, the food at ‘The Crow Bar’ is delicious and some of the best small bar share plates I’ve ever eaten. It’s flavoursome, interesting and presented beautifully. John and his team know their menu inside out, which shows an air of professionalism. If you’re unsure of what to pick, they’ll be more than happy to aid in your decision making.

Luke Hovatta, the bar manager and his bar tending team made up of Maxwell Thompson and Jamie Muscat also represent the concept of ‘simple and stylish’ in the cocktail list. There is an extensive list of classics cocktails, but I would be encouraging you to try the signature cocktails exclusively designed by Luke for ‘The Crow Bar’. Once again, all the cocktails I witnessed being made were presented beautifully and were full of personality, texture and colour. I was made the ‘Gay Jay’, a delightfully refreshing, delicate and light cocktail – just divine! It’s really obvious that the bar staff are truly passionate and highly experienced. It was an experience in itself watching them magically create the cocktails. The boys were happy to offer suggestions based on what you normally drink, or really keen for you try something new. Alongside a stunning cocktail list, there is premium beers, wines and spirits, all hand picked by the staff.

The decor and interiors of ‘The Crow Bar’ are just gorgeous. Modern, simple and stylish. Split into two parts, the front bar is where most of the action is. Surrounded by big glass windows, the space is airy and light. There is plenty of seating, made up of bar stools and tables, which are are dotted around the main feature of the room – the stunning backlight bar. Down a corridor, you enter another bar area, that is slightly more enclosed and a little quieter. This part of the bar can be hired for private functions, and right at the back has a small room with sliding doors – offering guests privacy when needed. Without being over the top, there are touches of luxury everywhere; from the velour detailing in the wall, dark oak furniture, crystal chandeliers and beautiful leather couches. It’s the perfect mix of contemporary and opulence.

It’s really obvious that John, Tracey and Kerry have put a lot of thought and effort into ‘The Crow Bar’. Even down to the name and logo itself. John jokingly explained that each of the three crows, represent the three owners. John in the middle, being badgered by his wife on the right and his sister in law being distracted by them on the left. I  really love these sorts of touches of personality, which you’ll find dotted around the bar, in the decor, the menu and artwork. It adds flair to the venue and is a great starting point for conversation.

Going back to my original question, what makes a successful small bar? What is the formula? Well, in a way John already answered it when I asked him how he would describe his bar. Simple and stylish. That’s it. Simplicity is the key. I find if everything is too complicated, over the top or even rushed, the whole point of dining in a small bar environment is lost. I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I’d imagine as customers we wan’t to eat beautiful food and drink delicious cocktails in a pleasant environment, feel that we’re coughing up a reasonable amount for the service and finally, we want to be looked after. John, Tracey, Kerry and ‘The Crow Bar’ team offer this, not sometimes, all the time. The formula is simple and it’s exactly why people keep going back.

If you’re still not small bar satisfied and on the hunt for the perfect venue, then I encourage you to live a little and head straight down to  ’The Crow Bar’, you won’t be disappointed and you will definitely be back.

Website: www.thecrowbar.com.au  Facebook: www.facebook.com/thecrowbar
Twitter: @crowbarperch  Phone: 02 9439 7888

Hours of Operation:
Mon: Closed
Tue: 3pm to Midnight
Wed: 3pm to Midnight
Thu: 3pm to Midnight
Fri: 3pm to Midnight
Sat: 3pm to Midnight
Sun: 3pm to 10pm

The Crow Bar on Urbanspoon

Tropical Travel Essentials

I am off to Bali in a week and I have already started the packing process. I always like to pack well in advance for holidays. I know it seems a bit excessive, but I have in the past, suffered from ‘last minute packing stress’ – which I am sure many of you out there can relate to. You know, when left to the last minute, we have a mini anxiety attack, throwing every single piece of clothing and shoes that we own into a suitcase, aggressively trying to zip it up (usually whilst sitting on it) and then collapsing into a heap on the floor after dealing with the physical struggle. Then you realise that you’re only allowed 24 kilos on the flight, so you attempt to weigh your suitcase (which seems to weigh like an elephant anyway) on your bathroom scales, praying that you don’t have to open that darned suitcase again.

That moment of craziness only hits us once we arrive at our destination, when we open up our suitcase and realise that we packed 5 white singlets (which all look the same), a pair of Ugg boots, despite the fact we’re holidaying in Thailand, not enough undies, and as always, realising that our toothbrush and iPhone charger are still at home.

You know what I’ve learnt? Only pack the essentials. Sounds easier than it looks, but when it comes to tropical holidaying, you really don’t need a lot of ‘stuff’. I’ve put together a few tips that I’ve found has helped me enormously when I’ve travelled.

1. Put together a re-useable wardrobe.
Pack pieces that can be easily dressed up or down, that could be worn during the day and during the night and also together. When you pack your suitcase and you look at your wardrobe try and match the colours and prints. A printed maxi dress could be worn during the day by the pool, but can also be jazzed up for night with some jewellery, heels and a little clutch bag. Another tip – pack clothing that doesn’t need much maintenance. For example, linen crushes really easily, so make sure you have access to an iron or laundry facilities at your hotel if you are going to pack clothing that needs TLC.

2. Never fill your suitcase.
Always leave some room when you’re departing on your trip – you are going to find some amazing pieces, accessories and jewlery on your travels. As I mentioned before, always consider the baggage limit. You don’t want to be hit with that sneaky fee, if your suitcase tips the scales by a couple of kilos. Unfortunately in my experience airlines don’t budge, if you’re over, you’re over – even by a kilo or so!

3. Have a spare bag handy.
In the front pocket of your suitcase, always pack a really lightweight expandable bag that could pass as ‘carry on’ luggage. This tip (taught to me by my mum) is really great for those out there that would classify themselves as a bit of a shopaholic. If you go a little crazy on the souvenir shopping on your travels, then you do have an extra bag to pop all your purchases in, without going over your baggage limit.

4. Think tight when it comes to toiletries.
When I say ‘tight’ – I mean it in two ways, be limited with what you put in your beauty case and also how you pack your products. Be realistic about what you need. Is it essential to bring your volumising 2 litre hairspray can and every single foundation that you own under the sun? Probably not. I find when I am on holiday, I wear less makeup and care less about my hair – I usually want to give it a once over with some shine spray. Also, pack travel size – toothpaste, shampoos, conditioners, not only it is a legal requirement with your carry on luggage now, but you can chuck toiletries away at the end of your trip, instead of lugging them back home. Finally, in your beauty case, line it with a plastic bag, to avoid spillage and leakage (which has happened to me on numerous occasions).

5. Make copies of everything.
This tip isn’t particularly about ‘packing’ as such, but still is super important. Make sure you photocopy your passport, drivers licence consulate and hotel information at least twice. Keep a copy in your suitcase and keep a copy in your handbag. Whilst you are overseas, utilise the safe in your room and lock away all valuables. There is nothing worse then having your passport stolen, so having multiple copies in reach is always good – just in case you find yourself in a spot of bother.

As I mentioned before I have already started packing. Inspired by luxury, the tropics and everything ‘islandy’ These are my top travel essentials that I’ll be taking along with me to Bali next week.

My 'Bali Basics'

Starting from the bottom left:

My Sportsgirl tortoiseshell ‘cat style’ (of course!) sunnies.

My beautiful leather travel journal that was given to me by my godfather, so I can write my thoughts, ideas and inspirations whilst I am away.

My favourite hair product right now, the Kevin Murphy repairing shine mist, which actually has flecks of of gold in it. Not only does it give my hair protection from the elements, but adds a gorgeous no fuss shine.

My ‘Imperialis’ face moisturiser by my all time favourite beauty brand Lush to keep my skin hydrated on the plane, on the beach and in the tropics.

My favourite nail polish right now by Sportsgirl and so on trend – the whitest of white! The best thing about this polish, is that it is scented! In the name of the Balinese paradise, appropriately scented too – coconut! Delicious!

Finally, my splurge purchase. My brand new Camilla ‘Jaguar Multi String’ Bikini.. So beautiful!

So there you have it – packing 101 and my personal picks. I will definitely be doing a few posts from the beautiful island of Bali. It’s a colourful, exciting and dazzling place to visit. I can’t wait to get over there and explore. So keep your eye on my Bali posts giving you some fashion, beauty and travel and accommodation inspiration.

In the meantime, start dreaming about your next adventure and live a little!

Happy Australia Day!

Wishing all my followers, family and friends a wonderful Australia Day! Whatever you are doing today to mark the occasion, I hope you’re are happy, relaxed and having a wonderful time.

Leo and I are going to spending the afternoon listening to Triple J’s top 100 countdown, enjoying a cocktail (or two) and having a beautiful cooked dinner with family and friends.

Be safe and enjoy yourselves today and remember, as always, don’t forget to live a little! 

Club Intercontinental in Fiji

I can officially say that I have got over my post-holiday blues. We’ve all experienced it, you know, that sinking feeling that you get when you come back from an amazing trip? Symptoms include: brain cloudiness (as you’re still in holiday mode), desperation for the beach and sunshine, severe need for fruity cocktails, wanting to sleep at all hours of the day (usually brought about by jet lag) and an obsession with maintaining your post-holiday tan by over moisturising with coconut scented body butter. Perhaps we all deal with our ‘post-holiday blues’ differently, but I can assure you, it doesn’t last for ever. Usually it takes about a week to get over. This gives you enough time for you to get back into the swing of things, get back into the routine and pretty much begin planning your next trip.

So why was I suffering all of last week? Well I returned from beautiful Fiji, which was a magnificent holiday. I went with my best friend, my mum, where we decided to have a weeks long getaway. Our mission for the trip was to a) relax, b) relax a little more and c) relax whilst we relaxed. I can assure you, we returned a little lighter, definitely brighter and very very relaxed!

We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel, located on the Coral Coast. The Interncon is one of the newest resorts in Fiji and you could certainly tell, as the decor and design was modern, on-trend and up-to-date. As a resort, it has all the features you need for a no-brainer family holiday – two swimming pools, one for children and one for adults. The pool overlooks a beautiful white sandy beach. Three different dining options – buffet, casual beachside dining and a beautiful fine dining restaurant called Navo. A gorgeous golf course, which also has lunch facilities, an award winning day spa, (which really was one of the best spas I’ve ever been in – the treatments were unbelievable!) daily activities and nightly entertainment. Also, a fully functioning gym, kids club facilities and water sports including kayaking, tubing, snorkelling etc (Note you have to purchase these, so be mindful).

I think the part of the resort which blew me away the most, was the Club Intercontinental. When I go travelling now, it’s always good to see if resorts or hotels offer club style accommodation. Although it can be more expensive, the perks and add ons, truly make it worth it. As mum and I knew that the resort would be busy with lots of children and families, we thought getting a bit of privacy and luxury would suit us.

The Club Intercontinental experience started for us from the moment we got out of the airport and to the resort. Not only were we greeted in a friendly manner with a cool towel and welcome drink, we were whisked away to check-in in the Club Intercontinental lounge privately. Here we were given our keys, explained the break down of the service and what was included in our stay. All the accommodation is situated near the Club Lounge, and all guests that are staying in a Club Intercontinental suite are slightly further away from the resort (perfect for privacy!). The suites are divine – when we walked in for the first time and not only saw the ocean views, but also the option to look at the ocean from our own private plunge pool, we were knocked back. The suites are airy, spacious and beautifully designed. The outdoor bath was beautiful and I loved that even the beauty products in the bathroom were Fijian. Every day we were given complimentary Fijian water.

Although all the Club suites are set back away from the resort, I would encourage you to walk around, not only to enjoy the beautiful views, but to also get a bit of a workout! If thought of walking isn’t your thing, then the staff at the lounge can order you a buggy, where you can be driven to anywhere is the resort that you so desire.

If you stay as a guest of Club InterContinental, not only do you get to enjoy the resort like any other guest, you also get to enjoy the following extra privileges:

Private check-in and check-out
Itokani butler service
Access to the Club InterContinental Lounge and infinity pool
Breakfast in a choice of 3 venues:
- A la Carte at the Club InterContinental Lounge
- Full buffet breakfast at Sanasana Restaurant
- Continental breakfast at Toba Bar & Grill
All day non alcoholic drinks in the Club InterContinental Lounge
Afternoon tea in the Club InterContinental Lounge
Sunset canapés and cocktails for two hours each evening in the Club InterContinental Lounge
Complimentary Planet Trekkers sessions for our younger guests
Complimentary wireless internet access throughout the resort
Daily turndown service

All of these privileges were wonderful – my favourite moment each day was watching the sunset go down during the cocktail hour each evening. Not only was the canapés served to us, simply delicious, but each night we were graced with some five-star entertainment. From traditional Fijian dances to acoustic duos, it was wonderful – Fiji offers some amazing singing talent! It was also lovely to be able to enjoy a cup of tea or a cold drink whenever you required – the one thing that really made a difference, was the complimentary bottled water, which normally you would have to purchase in the resort.

If I had to point out a few ‘cons’, my only qualm would be that you do have to pay for a lot of things that the resort offers including the water sports and even kids club. Normally these are offered complimentary by big name resorts, so that threw me back a bit. If you do have a big family and you are looking to put them in kids club or try some water sport activites, be warned that there is a daily charge, which seems low at the time, but multiply that for three children over five days? Well, it does add up. As for the Club Intercontinental, my only issue was that at certain times of the day, families would be by the pool, often making a lot of noise. A lot of the guests in the Club Intercontinental I noticed were couples, retirees, mothers and daughters and people generally looking to relax. It was a little frustrating that nothing was said, as these children were very disruptive. Given that there are so many facilities designed for children around the resort, it would have been nice if we could have had a few hours a day, where children were not allowed, just so the fellow guests could swim and relax in peace.

Overall, it was a beautiful stay – we were extremely well looked after by all the staff, especially in Club Intercontinental. All the staff that we personally dealt with went above and beyond to make sure we were happy. The Fijian people are such warm and friendly souls – they want to get to know you, hear your story and of course share theirs. It was a wonderful experience getting to know the staff around the resort, learning about the Fijian culture and also relaxing in a beautiful environment. If you are considering a mid year break, or even a long weekend getaway, then consider Fiji. Flights run daily out of Sydney with either Virgin and Qantas. We booked our package  through Flight Centre, who can organise some great deals for you.

So go on, live a little, you deserve it!

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2014: Make the most of it!

2014
Somehow in the whirlwind of Christmas, the madness of the holiday period and end of year celebrations, we’ve made it to 2014! It certainly has come around so quickly, it’s already the 5th of Jan and up until now, haven’t had much of a chance to sit down and think about the new year and what 2014 is going to bring.

Are you a resolution maker? Or perhaps do you make a list of things you want to achieve in the next year? Or maybe, you just go with the flow and wait to see what happens? Either way, the beginning of the year always seems so exciting – a fresh start, a clean slate and opportunity to try things differently or make some big changes.

I am so excited for Live a Little this year – I have got some amazing surprises up my sleeve! Over the next couple of months, there will be two international reviews, some more beauty posts, a brand new hotspot that has recently opened up in Crows Nest and some kitty posts. I am also going to be encouraging my followers to interact with the blog a little more, share their thoughts and opinions and let me know what you want to know about. I can promise there are going to be some awesome freebies and giveaways too!

I thought I’d share some amazing images to get you inspired for the coming year.

Whatever your plans are for 2014, I hope its filled with adventure, courage and happiness. I encourage you all to be daring and perhaps each month throughout the year, try something new. Leo and I look forward to sharing with you all of our adventures. After all, everyone always deserves to live a little!

Beautiful Because..

I am so excited to share with you all an online store that solely focuses on natural, organic and cruelty free beauty and cosmetic products, something that I (and little Leo) are very passionate about. There are so many products on the market that all claim to do the same thing, but do organic/natural products perform just as well as the other brands out there? Well I investigated..

Beautiful Because is an Australian online store that provides customers with an extensive range of international and national products that aren’t only good for Mother Earth, but also a treat for yourself ;).

Beautiful Because sent me through a wonderful range of beauty and cosmetic goodies to try including a cleanser, toner, facial oil and cosmetics.

I thought it would be fantastic to produce another episode of Live a Little TV, sharing my thoughts on the products that I was sent through from the team at Beautiful Because.

I was incredibly impressed with the timeliness of the delivery, with my products arriving within days of me placing the order. Beautiful Because go above and beyond, wrapping each individual item with love and care. If you look closely, you will see I even had some lovely handwritten messages on each of the products sent through.

If you’re looking for some last minute Christmas gifts for someone, or even if you want to live a little, and treat yourself, then I would thoroughly with out a doubt, recommend Beautiful Because. Not only will they provide you with an impeccable service and shopping experience, but are passionately supporting cruelty free and naturally derived products – which ultimately are always going to benefit you more!

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Even Leo is super pleased with the natural products ;)