Growing up in South-East Asia; specifically, Brunei, Chinese New Year was one of my favourite celebrations. The music, the colours, the lion dances.. I really do love it all! The moment I hear the distinctive drum beats come on while I’m walking around the supermarket (the music is everywhere!) I just can’t help myself and tap my toes as I walk down the aisles. So I was massively excited to be back in Asia again – after all, I moved to Thailand – so my new hubby could experience it for the first time too.
I sold most of my clothes before moving over and had nothing red in my closet! The closest I had to gold was this yellow suspender skirt from Black Milk which I paired with a sheer sleeved tee I’ve had for absolutely ages. And the hair? My co-worker is INCREDIBLE when it comes to braids, and luckily she offered to do mine up in the most intricate style I can even imagine (!) the day before the celebrations. Ugh, she is the best!
It was quite funny – despite my HUGE passion for CNY, we never actually made it to the celebrations! We headed down to look at the decorations – when we took these photos. But on the night I wasn’t feeling terribly well and ended up asleep on the couch at about 9:30. I vaguely remember waking up at midnight to hear the distant sound of fireworks, which put a definite smile on my face. Here’s to next year then, I suppose! ; )
Married? Married?! Yep, you read that right! At the end of December we had what can only be described as a whirlwind wedding. And I really do mean whirlwind! I had already signed my contract for a job I had taken overseas (more on that later) and when we realised due to Visas that my love, Barnaby could only stay with me for three months, we had to act quick. We have been together – and absolutely inseparable for the last 10 years, so basically, that was not going to happen. So the end result was that we had one week to plan our wedding…
My parents were arriving in New Zealand a couple of weeks before were due to fly out, so I sent my Mum an email that said “Pack something nice. We’re getting married. No biggie!” And the ‘no biggie’ became the ongoing joke of the wedding – because there always has to be one, right?! Unfortunately the short notice meant that other people I love; my brother and his wife, for example, weren’t able to attend. I’m still gutted about it – but it means that in the future we will have to recreate it – with more time to plan!
There were some really problems on our hands – the dress, suits, location, food, guests, for starters! And I can’t lie – it was a VERY STRESSFUL week! Barnaby was launching a new website for his work, meaning I had to sort out most of the details. Somehow, somehow I avoided being Bridezilla, apart from one occasion where I yelled at my mother in law the classic line – “WELL, IT’S MY WEDDING!” I’m still really embarrassed about my outburst, to be honest!
I found my dream dress – well, caped romper actually on ASOS, and ordered it straight away. Because it was around the Christmas period I was really worried it wouldn’t arrive in time, so just as a back up I bought a lacey bell-sleeved number from Shopbop – as their packages can get through no matter what! I ended up wearing it the day after the wedding and it was a total beauty too!
As they say – gettin’ hitched doesn’t go without a hitch (or two!) – and my big one was that my shoes broke! The only thing I splurged on for the wedding was my shoes. I opted for a sparkly set of Charlotte Olympias and spent a few days practicing walking in them in the big lead up – because I never wear heels. But on the day… I tried them on, walked a few steps and the straps broke! I was SO gutted. There wasn’t really time to dwell on it though, so I simply ripped the strap off the other shoe too and wore them like that. Unfortunately they were falling off my feet most of the time, so I wore them for the ceremony, for some of the photos, then just spent the rest of the time going barefoot.
So that’s that! I’m now married to my sweetheart and living in Thailand. Life feels pretty darn great right about now. Oh, and in case you were wondering – I totally did the whole ‘something old, something’ thing too. My necklace was blue (and it was my Nana’s, so it’s very, very special), my ring was Barnaby’s great grandmothers (old), something new was my playsuit and my shoes, and my something borrowed was silver nail polish I asked my mother in law to buy. Nailed it!
Um, so the past couple of months have been slightly hectic (to say the least!) In short; I got married (will post photos from this so super soon!), quit my job, and migrated all the way over to Thailand. Northern Thailand, to be specific. Welllll, Udon Thani, Northern Thailand to be really specific. I haven’t been exactly sure how to even write all of this down – namely as so much really as happened. So I suppose I’ll start with why I decided to move to Thailand..
In June 2016 my Nana passed away and I have been really, massively, enormously struggling with coming to terms with it. I didn’t have a lot of family support in New Zealand. My parents live in Brunei, in South-East Asia, and my brother and his wife live in the UK. My Aunt, who I am close with lives in the North Island of New Zealand. So basically, no immediate on-site family support – from my side, anyway. Barnaby’s Mum, Jane was massively kind; taking us into her house and buying me a gym membership to help ease the pain. But oh my gosh, there was (and still is) SO MUCH PAIN. I have never lost anyone before – let alone someone so close to me (Nana and I emailed multiple times a day and had set weekly coffee dates). Around the time of the funeral all of my family was there, but when they left… it was just me. And I could see my Nana everywhere. I drove past all our favourite coffee places, vintage shops we would visit together, and to get to work I had to drive alongside the church where her funeral service took place. It was the absolute pits. And I didn’t know how I was going to be able to stay there.
But I stayed. And the pain eased a little.
But then I hit the point where I knew it was going to keep hurting for a long time, and I just wasn’t happy in Christchurch anymore. After all, we moved there from Wellington so I could be closer to my Nana, who had just started to get sick.
Sorry if this has caused any tears (eep, it has for me!) so lets get onto some happier stuff!
First up – I got married in December – as I mentioned earlier ! To the love of my life – my man for well over ten years; Barnaby. I will share some photos soon! It was a little intense planning a wedding in just over a week – but so, so wonderful!
You might not know that I actually grew up in Asia! From the age of 4-16 I was raised in Brunei. Since arriving in New Zealand I had been desperate to get overseas again! And luckily my love, Barnaby, felt the same way. We had had so many ‘what if?’ conversations over the past few years, and this time it all seemed just right. Right down to the fact that my car in Christchurch literally exploded the day after I signed the contract! Talk about meant to be!
So here I am! Udon Thani! Visiting the giant ducks – my favourite landmark. I hope you enjoy following along my Northern Hemisphere adventures – it sure is lovely having you here!
A little while ago now I was asked by Boohoo to tell you about some of my favourite spots in my current city; Christchurch, New Zealand. My computer hasn’t been behaving itself so this post has been hugely delayed – actually blogging in general has been! However, I couldn’t resist sharing – especially as this is genuinely the CUTEST street ever. But yeah, stay tuned on the blog, because I have some crazy, crazy, CRAZY news. Actually, you might have seen some of it on my Instagram… (I got married!)
Your favourite street and why you love it?
Without a doubt, my favourite street in Christchurch is New Regent’s Street. I am massively obsessed with old buildings, and although we lost 90% of the best ones in the big earthquake a few years back, New Regent’s remains! Between the pastel coloured facades, cute shopfronts, and adorable geranium displays on every balcony, what’s not to love?! Plus, the tram drives through constantly; making it all the more picturesque. This is definitely the must-see spot of Christchurch – especially if you’re a blogger or Instagrammer! 😉
How would you describe style in your city?
Boring! It feels a little harsh to say aloud, but being completely real; New Zealand in general (not just Christchurch!) is obsessed with black. Oh, and activewear. And for this colourful and not-always-active-or-wanting-to-be-in-activewear-all-the-time lady, you certainly learn what it feels like to stand out. And you find out pretty quickly what that feels like. So if anyone in Christchurch is reading – please get more colourful stuff out of your closet! It is way more fun, I promise!
What’s the best new thing to do in 2016?
The suggestions given for this question were more along the lines of bars and restaurants, but the BEST new thing I’ve experienced in Christchurch this year absolutely has to be The Crate Escape. Have you done an escape room before? We were lured in by the pun-tastic name, but I think we’ve found a new obsession for sure!
The best spots to Instagram?
That’s easy! New Regent Street of course! Just look at those pastel buildings (cue love hearts in the eyes!)
Myself and Barnaby started a travel website a couple of months back, & the really, really cool thing is that it means we are seeing a whole lot more of our very own New Zealand. Last week (or thereabouts) we visited one of truly the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my entire life. Living in NZ, we are pretty blessed with insane views – and they can become the ‘norm – just because you see them.. well, everywhere! So you know it must’ve been a good place to stop this kiwi gal right in her tracks.
The stunning mountains would make the perfect backdrop for well, pretty much anything, but I do feel that they look pretty fabulous with my lacy green dress. The shades of green really complimented each other – and naturally I had to bring in a burst of my favourite colour – bright yellow! It was absolutely roasting during our entire stay, so I’m so glad I decided to pack only dresses (although in honesty I probably would’ve done the same; rain or shine!)
By the way, these photos were taken out the front of our Purepod, which really was the dreamiest spot. I’ll be sharing more about it all on my next post – prepare to be blown away!
P.s. One of my FAVOURITE online stores – Shopbop is holding the most amazing Black Friday sale. I’ve already swooped in and bought a pair of Charlotte Olympias (which are now sold out, so that was lucky!) Enter the code GOBIG16 for 25% off.
If you’re ever, ever thinking of popping down to New Zealand – more specifically, Christchurch, please, please make sure that you visit in Spring! Often referred to as ‘the Garden City’ it certainly lives up to it’s name when the seasons change!
As it was such a beautifully warm day (yay!) I kept my outfit super simple. This ASOS dress (bought months ago in one of those treat yo’self moments) is a real statement piece – mostly just because of those amazing bell sleeves. It turned out to be a whole lot shorter than I expected – so I wore shorts underneath (which turned out to be quite fortuitous anyway – the winds were super gusty!)
Who knows whether it’s the pretty colour scheme or the fact that it’s just plain old getting warmer – but I am massively enjoying this transitional season. Buuuuut probably just mostly ‘cos it’s just getting warmer ; )
Ugh, if you don’t know by now I am completely obsessed with the colour yellow. As well as genuinely making you feel happier (true fact!) it just looks darn good paired with a red lipstick. I just love it. And paired with polkadots, a tie up peephole and a vintage style cut, it’s bound to be a winner.
In really, really sad news – this dress is now down to£20 over at Tara Starlet. I am beyond sad to hear she’s closing her doors (seriously, this lady is pure talent) so really do recommend snapping up a bargain – and supporting her at the time time. In the words of Ron Swanson; please and thank you.
In one of those bloggy fate moments (because obviously those are a thing) I spotted this yellow building as we were heading out for a brief lunch at Subway. I thought it was an empty old furniture shop (and it was… on one side) but it turns out that half of it was residential. So midway through snapping these shots an old man’s face appeared at the window! It might sound like something out of a horror story (especially it’s is Halloween time!) but it was, quite frankly, hilarious. And a good cue for us to know we “had the shot” ; )
While we were away glamping we were treated (no, treated is definitely not the right word!) to a big ol’ serving of the type of weather that New Zealand’s West Coast is famous for: rain! And when it rains – oh boy, does it bucket down. And you guessed it – it rains a lot.
Almost as if it was meant-to-be, I picked up this gorgeous coat by Lighthouse Clothing literally two days before my trip! The tag assured me it could hold up to rain galore – so obviously there was no better place to put it to the test. After all, I wanted to keep enjoying my mini vacay despite the rain!
This rock filled river ran directly next to our campsite. Waking up to the gentle sound of it’s flow was incredibly relaxing (and also majorly mystical!) but it also proved to be a massive source of entertainment. When the sun was out we built a little dam so we could paddle in the warmer waters. And when the weather was like – well, this, Barnaby retaught me how to skim stones. I haven’t done it since I was a kid, and although it did take a really, really long time, I definitely got a couple of shots in that I was happy with.
Oh, and you’ll be happy to know that the jacket lived up to it’s reputation. This lady stayed bone dry.
Two weekends ago we decided to have our very first foray into glamping – and sorry to be a cliche, but oh my goodness, it certainly won’t be the last! I think the very first time I heard of glamping was when one of my favourite bloggers, Liv Purvis, visited a campsite – or glampsite, I suppose, over on her blog. Things can take a while to catch on New Zealand – but glamping is apparently not one of them, and the wonderful Canopy Camping host a range of seriously stunning sites all over the country.
This mind-bogglingly beautiful spot was all ours for the entire weekend. To say I was in disbelief puts it lightly. Between the in-tent fireplace, the outdoor bath (yes, really!) we truly were in heaven. Nothing tops the feeling of waking up next to a flowing river – expect,of course, for the piping hot bath that followed. It was made all the more satisfying by the fact we heated the water ourselves through the use of a wood ‘chippie.’
Although I can’t bring you all along with me (though that would be nice, wouldn’t it! Imagine the campfire ghost stories and pillow fights!) we did manage to capture the whole thing in this cute little video. Over the last few months I’ve been building a travel website; Extacity, that will have a whole bunch of video content. And you guessed it, this is one of them! Be sure to take a look – you know, unless you’re not a fan of paradise ; )
I don’t really know whether you follow me on Instagram or not (if you don’t, please do!) but a few days ago I created a flatlay of this very outfit.. And I liked it so bloomin’ much that I simply had to wear it on one of our jaunts down to the gardens. This River; the Avon, dontcha know, flows through most of Christchurch and is insanely beautiful at almost every twist and turn. I’m not sure whether my loud strawberry bag really flattered the landscape, but I certainly felt pretty cute. And I suppose that’s what counts, eh!
The really neat thing about this outfit though, is that it’s basically my foray back into being a vintage hunter! Back in the day (AKA a couple of years ago) I spent almost every spare second in thrift shops. It’s a habit I’ve slowly grown out of (wah!) but after thrifting this dress for a whopping $2 (yes, really!) I am hooked. I even went back the next day and thrifted a Dahlia dress – for $8 this time, mind you. Thrifting really is the best way to change up your look – especially when you mix it with designer staples (oh hi, kitty flats!)
Ps. I’m sure you’ll be mega interested to know that the kitty flats (along with more Charlotte Olympia heaven!) are now on MEGA sale – up to 30% over at Shopbop with the code MAINEVENT16. Make sure to take a look!