8th, October, 2017

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The weekend after visiting Wat Pa Phu Kon, we set out on our next temple-filled adventure. Unlike our previous trip, which was a two hour drive, this giant Buddha was only 45 or so minutes from home.

The biggest problem I actually had was finding out what this place was called. I’d seen photos of it around Udon, but nowhere seemed to say it’s name. It took a whole lot of Googling (I’m talking 20+ minutes here!) and visiting all kinds of weird Thailand forums. Just to find the name. The coordinates were really vague too, so I just kind of crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. And we totally made it (which you’ve no doubt figured out).

And just so you happen to be cruising around Northern Thailand and want to visit: it’s called Wat Phu Thong Thep Nimit. Oh, and to save you on Googling, there’s a map here.

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It was so exciting when we first approached the hill and spotted Buddha right on top. It truly is enormous; even bigger than it appears in the photos. We drove our car as high up as we could, and parked at the bottom an extremely grand staircase adorned with sparkly green detailing.

Oh, and if you’re wondering – yes, I totally did count the steps. I can’t quite remember how many there were, but it was upwards of 150. 158 possibly.

It felt truly humbling being a part of something so impressive. Locals were paying their respects and making offerings. We did the same and lit some candles before bowing in front of Buddha.

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I think what was most surprising, was this incredible structure has been so close to us this entire time. I genuinely had no idea it was so close! 45 minutes isn’t far at all, so if you’re heading to Udon Thani in Northern Thailand, you should absolutely make the drive. It really does have to be seen to be believed.

And of course, it’s already got me excited for our next temple adventure. I’ve heard rumours of a temple in a cave and you can only enter by a small beam of daylight peaking through a hole. It sounds intriguing.. Time to get Googling again, I suppose!

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12th, September, 2017

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Around eight or so months ago, I moved to Thailand. When I picture Thailand I basically imagine temples and brilliant weather, so it’s a bit ridiculous that I haven’t actually visited any temples since I’ve been here. Aside from when I went to Laos. But that’s not Thailand. So that’s a whole different story.

We rented a car a few weeks ago, with the mission being to explore some of the grand temples around Udon Thani, the province I live in. Grand doesn’t even begin to cover it.

First up, we visited Wa Pa Phu Kon – otherwise known as ‘Heaven on Earth’. And it’s pretty darn easy to see why!

This temple is relatively new, being built only a couple of years ago. The exterior is obviously beautiful – and it’s massively exciting when you get the first glimpse of it peeking out from the trees as you approach. The province I live in, Udon Thani is generally pretty flat, so it’s even more impressive that it’s located on one of the big hills around here. The views are seriously INSANE.

Even more grand than the views was what lies (literally!) inside the temple itself. An enormous reclining Buddha, made from Italian marble takes up the majority of the space. It’s so (so!) big we could barely even fit it in the photo – and we were using a wide angle lens.

I took a whole bunch of footage of this place too, so I’ll definitely be putting up a video sometime soon, when my laptop is sorted.

In the meantime, if you happen to be passing through Northern Thailand (Udon Thani specifically) the address of Wat Pa Phu Kon is here. So, so, SO ridiculously worth the visit!

Jumpsuit – Trashy Diva

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16th, July, 2017

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It’s been over six months since we moved out to Thailand. It’s super hot pretty much all of the time (seriously, the only time I’ve felt cold was an ‘off’ day of 18 degrees. In New Zealand that’s t-shirt weather!) Lately I’ve been spending heaps of time at the pool – and thankfully there’s one really close to my house.

The last few years I’ve basically just stuck to high waist bikinis, and I’ve spent the last couple of months trying to branch out a little more. Sure, I still love one pieces and am giving thinner strapped bikinis a go too (totally makes me feel sixteen again, by the way). I spotted this one piece by Phax Swimwear and decided to try it out.. even though it’s completely like nothing I’ve owned before!

Now, about comfort zones: this swimsuit is TOTALLY OUT OF MINE. I was drawn in by the bright yellow (always!) so decided to tell my nerves to bog off and try something completely new. The result? Boobs, boobs, boobs. It was definitely a little intimating heading down to my local pool to snap some pictures – luckily no one was there, thank goodness! I ended up feeling a whole lot more comfortable than expected though, and looking back at these photos, I feel pretty damn good about myself too.

Since I moved to Thailand I’ve steadily packed on a bit of weight and am definitely heavier than I’d like to be. Most of it seems to have gone to my boobs though, so at least I fill my top out well! I was joking to my husband, Barnaby, and saying people will think I moved to Thailand to join the plastic surgery crew. Ha! Let me assure you these are definitely the result of burgers, plenty of green veggie stir fries and burritos galore. I think I’ve discovered the boob diet! That can totally be a thing, right?

Swimsuit – Phax (via UK Swimwear) / Cover up – Phax (via UK Swimwear)

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8th, June, 2017

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You know when you fall completely out of love with your wardrobe? Yeah, well, the dreaded curse definitely got the better of me a month or so ago. Before moving to Thailand I had the biggest purge and sold or threw out pretty much all the clothing I owned. Ya know, except for my wedding dress and a few sentimental favourites. I took a few tropical kind of maxi dresses with me, thinking I’d get into them once I arrived here.. but turns out that I am WAY more twee than I am boho. And I’m totally one hundred percent absolutely fine about that!

I’ve been steadily adding more pieces I truly love to my clothing collection and it’s safe to say that ruffles and off-the-shoulder fits are right up my (garment) alley. Luckily Thailand completely feels the same so I’m able to buy a lot of the stuff I love straight from the market! ..Well, when they fit anyway! I’m an L here, compared to being an S back in New Zealand (although the mango and sticky rice consumption may be having a bit of an influence on that too!)

Online shopping doesn’t happen quite as much as it used to and I have to be completely head over heels over something to click on that glorious ‘add to cart.’ This dress totally checked all the boxes. I actually love a whole bunch of stuff by the brand (Line & Dot, dontcha know!) so think there will be a purchase (or three!) before I head off to Europe next month. Because if a holiday doesn’t deserve a cute new outfit, then I definitely don’t know what does!

DressLine & Dot / Hat – Vintage / Flamingo FlatsCocoRose London

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28th, May, 2017

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Guys. There is a giant dinosaur themed playground right in the middle of Udon Thani, Thailand. How have I lived here for five months and not known of it’s existence?! Gah, I’m so disappointed in myself. Either way, I am so, so happy we found it and love how these colourful guys look stomping around in the background of the photos. After taking some snaps on my Instax camera and looking at the washed out colours, I realised how much they remind me of the dinosaurs from Palm Springs (even though I’ve only seen them in photos).

One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Northern Thailand is the abundance of dinosaur statues. They’re littered all over the place – particularly around the central city. I asked a co-worker about it and it turns out the answer is pretty simple: a lot of dinosaurs lived around these parts! They still find heaps of fossils all over the place, and there is even a dinosaur museum a couple of hours away. We don’t own a car, we just rent every month or so, and I think this definitely needs to get added to ‘the list.’ And don’t worry, I’ll totally have my camera in tow.

As for now, I’ll just be stompin’ around with all of these big guys. What can I say, just call me Jurassic Jo!

Top & Dress – H&M / Glasses – Miu Miu / Shoes – CocoRose London

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15th, May, 2017

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When I left New Zealand to move to Thailand, I gave up most of my beloved bag collection. Sure, I felt all good about myself giving them to my nieces to play with (I would’ve gone nuts for them at that age. Or at my present age, for that matter), but man, some of those bags I really, really loved.

I suppose this lemon is my first foray into a comeback, of sorts, and BOY AM I GLAD. It’s hard only having two bags, guys, especially when they’re more along the lines of ‘serious’, instead of novelty It was my birthday last week (28 now, dontcha know!) and sweet Barnaby, who knows me super well, duh, gifted this little lemon number. Kind of the perfect present really! It reminds me of my beloved watermelon bag (it’s here, to jog your memory!) and in my favourite shade ever – YELLOW!

Another thing I’m mighty keen on – as is everyone in the world – is gingham. I have a pretty limited collection of clothing (so far) here with me in Thailand, and I’ve noticed that gingham is not-so-slowly becoming the majority shareholder. This romper is no exception. The off-the-shoulder fit is really cute, and I’m really into anything with ruffles and bows, so it really does check all the boxes. Yep, I’m a happy lady.

Right, now if I remember clearly, the bag shop also had a rocket ship and a watermelon a little bit like my last one… Time for a shopping trip, perhaps?

Playsuit – Shopbop / Lemon Bag – A gift / Shoes – Cocorose London / Glasses – Ray Ban RB5226

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7th, May, 2017

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As promised; a video from our amazing trip to Koh Samui, Thailand! (And hopefully the start of MUCH more to come with my YouTube channel!) I don’t want to give away too much in this post – after all, you have to watch the video to see just how gloriously beautiful our hotel, the Outrigger Resort Koh Samui, truly was. We had our very own villa – complete with private pool (!) and the tastiest breakfasts I think I’ve ever consumed in my entire life.

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Relax

This trip, I remember so clearly turning to Barnaby and saying “I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relaxed!” And trust me, I am someone who really hates being patient and doing nothing. I like to be out there checking out everything. This time though, beach walks completely did it for me. It was the best feeling just lounging by the main pool (or our private pool at other times) just reading and sippin’ on drinks. I read three books while I was away. It was the BEST. The resort is so soothing and secluded; everything ‘real life’ feels so far away. Ah, take me back!

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Eat

Oh man, the food at the Outrigger really was something else! We ate so much pizza, drank our water weight in cocktails (if you’re heading that way I thoroughly recommend the Outrigger Collins) but my favourite was undoubtedly the breakfast buffet. Pretty much, every morning I struggled to walk away from the table. Not in willpower terms – more along the lines of I had consumed so much food it was genuinely hard to move! No regrets though, that stuff was GOOD! We had some breathtaking dates beside the ocean too. Cocktails, food and beaches just go so darn well together. Watch my video to see more mouthwatering meals.


26th, April, 2017

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Hi from Koh Samui, Thailand!

We spent a week chilling out on this beautiful island; exactly what you picture if you think of the quintessential Thailand holiday. We had visions of sunshine, laying on the beach reading; you know, the usual.

Guess what?

It rained. No, it monsooned for the first four days we were there, thunderstorms and all. Then it was glorious sunshine to top it off. And yes, I have the sunburn to prove it.

Being with my husband 24/7 is definitely the best thing about vacations (I always say that “holiday Barnaby is the best edition” to him, ha!), second best was the food, and thirdly was without a doubt was this incredible swing that was right on the beach. Hopefully these photos capture just how HUGE it was. Seriously, the photos of me climbing aboard were absolutely hilarious. It was all like ‘one foot up, pull the rest of my body up’ and to swing I pretty much had to go through the whole thing again. Totally worth it though. It was FUN. And it makes for cute Instagram and blog content too. Always a plus.

Dress – I bought it from a market in Udon Thani 

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1st, April, 2017

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Chances are, if you think of Thailand you immediately think of Bangkok (well, that or pretty beaches!) Luckily for us, Udon Thani isn’t too far from Bangkok by flight – or very expensive to do so either. It’s especially lucky as it’s a city I’ve loved since I was a kid – and possibly even more as an adult (the cocktails are really cheap, after all!)

Our last trip was ‘strictly business’ – but it’s genuinely impossible not to have even a wee bit of fun visiting Bangkok. I’m talkin’ burger eating, rooftop pools, H&M shopping sprees (such a novelty for this wee New Zealander!) and just general walking around exploring; possibly my favourite thing of all.

My husband, Barnaby thought I was completely ridiculous as we took these photos. I said I wanted to take “photos that look like I’m in Bangkok” (“but we are in Bangkok!”) and hopefully we pulled it off. It’s busy; cars (and tuk tuks!) are everywhere, it’s a little bit grungy, and powerlines – I’m talking twenty at a time – are hanging overhead everywhere you walk. And yet there’s something just so ridiculously charming about it. I’m there again in the next few weeks, and am really stinkin’ happy about it.

DressH&M / ‘Happy’ Bracelet – Kate Spade New York (via Shopbop) / ShoesCocorose London

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14th, February, 2017

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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! ; )

Pinafore – Black Milk / T-shirt – Old / Shoes – Kate Spade

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