Christmas has come and gone…

and I’m back!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas πŸ™‚ I got a teapot that I absolutely adore and quite a few other things that I love. What was your favourite present? Rambo’s was his pet mouse.

Rambo loves his mouse #catsofinstagram #cats

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Xo Casey

Christmas Is The Best Time Of Year

I’ve always loved Christmas. When I lived overseas it was a grand affair involving planes and seeing relatives I only saw once a year. Now it’s a lot calmer. I mean compared to seven year old me kicking my sisters earing through her ear during excited play fighting, anything is calm.

Over the last week I have slowly been collecting and wrapping my families presents. I’ve also decorated the tree. Well, my mums present is still on it’s way but the rest are done! yay!

I've wrapped all my presents! #gifts #christmas

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Merry Christmas! The tree is finally decorated #Christmas #ChristmasTree #xmas

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I’ve gone over to Burwood for a birthday and some delicious food
BurwoodOn a rather exciting day I went to CostCo and found a giant teddy bear! Sadly I could not buy it..

Adventures at CostCo

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And that’s what I’ve been doing lately, Christmas has messed with my blog schedule, so I should be on time and in schedule by the 1st of Jan. Hope you all enjoy your Christmas!

Xo Casey

Christmas Present Guide for Brothers, Dads, etc.

Well since it is so close to Christmas I though I might use this time to write a Christmas gift guide! I am so excited but also woefully behind on buying presents. Eek! Below are some quick and easy gifts for the men in your life.

Under $20

Choloate FlorentinesA favourite food or sweet
Giving someone their favourite sweet is a great idea for the holiday season. Part of the indulgence of the season is having all your favourite foods, so why not help that along?

A prepacked gift set or hamper
There are lots of little season sets in the local stores. If your boyfriend, dad, etc. is a massive coffee fiend, you could pick up a sample set of different types. The same goes for chocolate, cookies, hot sauces, bbq sets and so on.

Under $50

Ralph Lauren BlueA Small Cologne
Love a certain cologne? This is the time of year to introduce a new cologne, or gift an old favourite. A small version can be great to test if it suits someone, then you can get the big version for their birthday!

A New Tie
The classic present for a man. Surely they need another! Perhaps ask some sneaky question about their taste before going shopping.

$100 and Under

A Business Shirt
A nice business shirt can not go wrong. Most men need one at some point and a classy one can impress everyone around. This could be your chance to add a little fashion to someones wardrobe πŸ˜‰

A Nice Pair of SlippersUGG Boots
When it hits winter my dad has taken to complaining and stealing my mums slippers. Buying a nice new pair is a great thought, especially in colder areas! Remember to watch for the specials/sales to get a great bargain.

Over $100

Buy a RedBalloon experience
What could be better than helping your brother or dad achieve their dream of driving a V8 racecar? Or taking a hot air balloon ride? Or Skydiving? Something to remember forever. Red Balloon has over 2000 different experiences you can buy for someone lucky.

Supatool 9 Drawer Tool ChestA New Toolchest
My dad has so many tools and they seem to always be everywhere around the house. If your dad is like mine, a handy gift might be a new toolchest! These can be quite expensive if you’re going for a nice metal one.

Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope you all love your presents. πŸ™‚

Xo Casey

Wanderlust: a constant affliction

Wanderlust is a special kind of affliction. It can really affect who you are and what you do on a day to day basis and yet it is one of the most amazing things to posses. As I once said to a friend, just because the world has been mapped, it doesn’t mean that the Christopher Columbus’ and Captain Cook’s have disappeared. The explorers still exist, we just have a lot more options (and no chance of scurvy!)

I just stumbled across this YouTube video in my subscriptions. Watching it all I could think was “yess so relevant!” Anyone else?

p.s. I know I missed my photography post on friday, I apologise. Nugget, the cat, had just come home from the vet recovering from tick paralysis and I spent a lot of time waiting to pick her up and then hugging her.

Xo Casey

My Earliest Childhood Memory

Today I thought I would delve into the past and ask, what is the earliest thing I can remember?

Well, that would be the sound of a car exploding.

Owned and licensed under creative commons by flickr user Averain

I was 3 or 4 and in the bath when a huge glass-rattling *bang* was heard. Suddenly, everything was silent. There were no sounds in the neighborhood until, just as shock-inducing, sirens started to go off. I can even picture the bath, the bubbles and my mum freezing in horror sitting next to the bath. My older sister was somewhere in the room, but who really pays attention to their siblings πŸ˜›

I would later find out that a car had exploded down the hill from our house, in fact, in my pre-school car park. The roof of the car had even landed in a neighbours backyard!

The following days I can also remember very clearly, they were filled with finding glass in the pre-school play area, meeting firemen and seeing burnt McDonalds wrappers in the burnt out car.

What a life I have lived! LOL

Xo Casey

 

A Guide to: Singapore

Singapore is a place where culture and fashion collide, it is incredibly fun and an absolute adventure visiting the country. You just have to know where to go. Today, I’m telling you the places I love best and the experiences you can not miss.

SIngaporeWhere to eat:

Locally!
I recommend eating at the hawker centers or in eateries at least once! The best authentic food will be there, not at expensive restaurants on Orchard Road. Always ask a local (i.e. reception or host) for advice though, as some are a lot better than others.Little India, Singapore

Little India
Great curries with authentic flavour can be found from basically any shop in Little India. Choose from vegetarian or not and enjoy the amazing meal.

What to do:

The Singapore Zoo and Night Safari
The Zoo is one of my favourite places in Singapore and the best zoo I have been to. The Night Safari is an incredible experience that I have not seen produced anywhere else. They are right next to each other and you can grab some great dinner in the Safari during the hour between the zoo closing and the safari opening.

See the Merlion
An iconic experience of Singapore. I last went to Singapore with a friend who had never been to Singapore and when we went to see the Merlion it was shut! I would advise checking for any construction before you go.

Universal Studios
An incredibly fun day! It is not massive but with lines, food breaks and fireworks you can spend the whole day here. Personally I loved the Ancient Egypt area and the rides, Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure and Revenge of the Mummy.

Where to Shop:

P7150044Orchard Road
The premier shopping area of Singapore, Orchard Road has all the best stores from Gucci to H&M and it is 2.2 kilometers long! As an Australian I may have gone little mad in the 3 story H&M…

Little India and China Town
Little India has Mustafa Centre, a 24/7 department store that has everything you could ever think of. We managed to get lost in the centre! China Town is amazing for little gifts and mementos for yourself and friends.

Little India marketWhere to Stay:

Unfortunately I can not really help with where to stay as I have never had to pay for accommodation in Singapore, the perks of growing up there!

I have included a pick of places from Singapore, my own favourites, if you have other ideas comment below πŸ™‚

Should I continue this “a guide to” idea? I have ideas for New York,
Chicago, London, and a few others! Any advice to make the article
better, let me know in the comments πŸ™‚

P.S. Most photos in this post are creative commons use and the photographers can be found by clicking on them. My last trip was before I took up photography so please excuse the lack of my own photos!

Song of the Week: Hard Out Here – Lily Allen

As I become more involved in the media I have become intensely feminist. Inequailty, bigotry and misogny is just so obvious to me nowadays. For my song of the week how could I not mention Lilly Allen’s latest song?

Hard Out Here is a good look at sexism in the music industry and in society. There are even a few not so subtle digs at Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. The music video includes a set up of her ‘getting’ liposuction, a middle aged man teaching dancers how to twerk and, basically, Lilly Allen being kickass.Β  Some have critiqued the video’s contents, but really, as she says, “if you can’t detect the sarcasm, you’ve misunderstood”.

Hard Out Here is a bit NSFW, so don’t curiously start playing the clip in your office. You may love the song but your boss probably won’t!

I will sign off just this once saying, It sure is hard out here for a bitch

❀

Summer Holidays and Cute Cats

Summer Oh Summer, a time for relaxing and realising that an internship will not just magically appear. Darn!

The last month has been pure lazy time. For the first time since early December 2012, I am healthy, living at home and have no responsibilities. You can’t blame me for taking three weeks off and relaxing at home. I mean with these two cuties around the house, who wouldn’t? Seriously though, I spend a lot of time patting and carrying and feeding these two affectionate, greedy guts.

New posts will be coming soon. I have plans for 3 posts a week from now on and hopefully, maybe, some YouTube videos! Woo!

Xo

 

Italian Birthdays

Wine in Milan, Italy

“It’s my birthday today, want to get dinner?”

Looking at each other we stared and started nodding. An Italian dinner and wine? Who would say no?

We were in Milan. The hostel was the remnants of an old commune and the walls were so thin we could hear the breathing of the girls next door. Our bunkbeds were rusty and creaking as everyone sat up groaning about the inescapable humid heat. A pool would be perfect right now, but we were backpacking,Β  wine and dinner was a perfect alternative.

I had met these girls about three hours ago, but that is the way when backpacking. You meet, you chat, you do something memorable. This night would be a perfect description of my backpacking experience.

We walked along the street, pointing out the squatters in a building across the road. Large signs in Italian were hung between buildings and off the roof. One of the girls pointed out the different signs and what they meant; these people were protesting against the city government.

Dinner would be pasta, of course. The memory of what exactly I ate has escaped me, but the exasperated annoyance when we realised we had to pay for the bread they put on the table will stay with me.

“But they put it there! Not one word at all about money…”

A quick trip down to the grocery would supply us with wine. 2 Euros for a bottle that would cost 20 at home. We each grabbed one. We had no clue if alcohol was allowed in the hostel but from what we had seen so far, we doubted they would care.

The rest of the night was spent curled up on surfaces in the common room. Talking to Germans, Italians, Americans, Canadians and of course the ever plentiful Australians.

xo Casey

TOP 10: Items To Take Backpacking Europe

10. A good bag

Buy a bag you are happy with. Something you can carry up the stairs of a three story hostel in London or walk across cobblestone in Italy. I met many girls on my trip with massive bags who complained about how difficult it was to carry them in subways and up stairs; and these were backpacks! Look at the reviews, try find recommendations from people who have done the trip you’re doing. I bought a backpack after I noticed one of the reviews talking about how well it lasted on their 3 month trip to Europe; perfect!

backpack

9. A reusable shopping bag

The amount of times I ended up carrying breakable, hole filled plastic bags from random grocery stores is astounding. I would always go and buy some bread and basics before any trips on a train or bus and then carry them simply because it meant super easy access on a possibly crowded train/bus. Having a small carry bag/ reusable shopping bag is also great for going between climates and needing to take off jumpers or put them on. You can also use this on the way home as a second carry-on for the plane if you have bought a bit too much!

Reusable shopping bags are great for easy access to snacks and jackets on trains and buses
Reusable shopping bags are great for easy access to snacks and jackets on trains and buses

8. A quick dry towel – a big one!

It’s always exciting when your hostel rents out towels cheap but occasionally they just won’t have them, or they will be anΒ exorbitant price. Solution: bring your own! But bringing a big fluffy towel is not good when you only have limited space. The quick dry towel works great and folds into a tiny packet – like this one! Buy one that is large, especially if you are female/ have long hair.

$19.99 from Kathmandu AU
$19.99 from Kathmandu AU

7. A Powerboard

Buy one before you leave home. There are many hostels across Europe that have one socket for a room of 8 to 20 people. If you have a small powerboard you will be the King/Queen of the room, and I am dead serious about that. It’s also very useful when stopping in cafes so you can quickly charge, your phone/ table/ electronic devices all at once. Just don’t forget the adapter! P.S. Europe, Switzerland and England each have different plugs

8710 - Power Board 4

6. A comfortable neck pillow

I constantly asked myself whether I should get a neck pillow, but by the time I realised I should, I just didn’t have the money to get a good one. Having one is the difference between sleeping and not sleeping on that 20 hour bus to Amsterdam. If you’re smart you can grab one with a clip that is easily attached to your backpack until you need to use it.

neckpillow

5. Washing Powder

This is a bit of a hit or miss. Something that is essential in some places and unnecessary in others. In an Italian hostel I was told they would have no washing powder that day and to please come back tomorrow. In London it was included in the price of using the machine. It is a good idea to put a bit in a little Ziploc bag and then chuck it in with your toiletries. This can be great when you realise you have no undies and need to wash them ASAP. Sinks are your friends.

Keeping a little bit can save you from having to wear dirty undies or clothing.
Keeping a little bit can save you from having to wear dirty undies or clothing.

4. Flip flops/ thongs

I’m Australian so I’m going to call them thongs and everyone can just deal. These are ESSENTIAL. Each hostel shower has had thousands upon thousands of people in there, you have no clue what could be in those drains. You do not want to spent precious money on going to a doctor for a fungal infection (ick).

DON'T forget these!
DON’T forget these!

3. A good camera lens!

I’m a (amateur) photographer so having good camera equipment with me is a must. I bought along two lenses that were great at close range and with people but not fabulous for the intricate details of European architecture. It is a good idea to have a capable lens with a wide focal length range, for example 50-200mm. Going with cheaper, less well-known brands (Pentax, Tamron, etc.) is a great way to save money; just make sure to look at reviews on the internet!

An example of a lens I might use
An example of a lens I might use

2. Emergency Money

Keep some money separate, either in a compartment in your valuables and/or online in an account you can easily access. There may be a time that you desperately need cash because something has gone horribly wrong. An overbooked hostel, a lost visa, a missed plane; all can be solved if you just keep enough emergency cash to deal with them.

A small stash of money can save you in an emergency situation. Make sure to keep it safe and secure though!
A small stash of money can save you in an emergency situation. Make sure to keep it safe and secure though!

1. A Lock!!!

I’ve heard a lot of stories about people who have had stuff stolen in hostel dorms. Well, in three months backpacking Europe I didn’t have a single thing stolen. I bought a trusty lock when I started in Chicago and it lasted me until I unlocked my locker on my final day in London. It is not about locking your whole bag away in the lockers; what is important is putting every item of value that you own into that locker in your room. If the hostel doesn’t supply one ask if they have secure places at reception to leave a laptop or passport when you go out.

A good lock can be the difference between a good and bad trip
A good lock can be the difference between a good and bad trip