30 April 2017

April 2017 Roundup, Highlights + Favourites

April has been a busy month, but a good busy, not a stressed busy, if that makes sense? Keeping in mind the extremely shitty start I had to 2017, April has been one of the better months, its treated me well. I feel like so much has happened this month and the fact that I've been away has meant I haven’t been able to share a lot with you or be as active online as I would've liked. After Easter, I decided I would take an extra week off and I'm so pleased I did. I was able to reflect and work on my intentions for the next three to four months. With a lot going on over the next few months I've decided that dedicating and scheduling time off, generally it'll be for a day or two at a time, will be of benefit to me both physically and mentally. I have the tendency to work for large periods of time without taking breaks. I'll start working on something, ideas will start flowing and I will continue to work on it until I think it's completed perfectly. I'm so hard on myself about the quality level of the things I do, it can become dangerous and I can wear myself out pretty quickly. I'm hoping that scheduling time off and regular breaks throughout my day to day life will help me to not only be more productive but also mean that I'm going to have the time and energy to look after myself properly. 

I spent two weeks of April travelling which was fantastic. For me, Easter was spent with my family from Christchurch and a few family friends. We were in Rai Valley, on some land my Grandparents own. See the BP here, where I talk about Rai Valley in more detail, specifically about the significance the place has to me and my family. We didn't have any cellphone coverage or any internet which meant we drank wine, played card games and talked until the sun went down. The boys went deer and pig hunting, along with all the other good things that boys get up to on the farm. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it was great to be away from any internet and phone distractions. After the Rai, I spent a night in Blenheim with my Grandparents before travelling down to Christchurch for a week. During my stay in Christchurch I stayed with family, while catching up with other friends and family which was so much fun. I hadn't seen them in so long, we had so much to catch up on. There's something that's not quite the same as being able to catch up in person, compared to talking on  FB or Snapchat.

Nine BP's and counting went live on my blog this month. I’m happy with the variety of posts that went up this month but a favourite post of mine this month was, "Don't Let Your Career Make You A Bad Mum". This being my favourite of the month is purely because it's something I'm so passionate about. I'll leave the post linked here, if you have no idea what I'm talking about and let me know your thoughts on the topic. I’m looking forwards to next months BP’s, with the aim to get all 13 up over the course of the month of May.

My highlights for the month of April has to definitely be all the time I was able to spend with friends and family. Like I said earlier, I spent a lot of time away this month and being able to spend that time with friends and family meant a lot to me. 

I have a few bits and pieces I’d like to share with you guys. 

Doing It by Hannah Witton has to be my favourite book of the month. In her book Hannah talks about consent, contraception, the LGBTQ+ community, virginity, body image along with many other informative topics. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I think it's one that a lot of us should be reading. 

This beauty product was gifted to me as an early birthday present from my sister. I had use this product couple of times before I actually owned it myself and I knew I had to get me hands on it. I adore this product, it's high coverage meaning it covers dark circles and any redness and looks flawless on the skin. It's probably up there as one of my all time favourite concealers. 

Flow is a magazine that is printed in Poland but I managed to get my hands on it as my local book store was selling it. It's just such a beautiful magazine, wonderful article and amazing illustrated. Highly recommend checking it out if you're able to. 

B x

27 April 2017

Planning For A Successful Day

There is always so much to get done and just not enough time in the day. But sometimes we just have to accept not everything is going to get done. Time management is such a massive part of being organised and successful. It’s important the we become the master of time management. 

Step One: Set A Plan For The Day
If you want to get something done, decide when and where, otherwise take it off your to do list. Everyone is going to be different in regards to want will work for them, whether that is planning digitally or on paper. Regardless of which you prefer, I recommend having a place for all appointments, meetings and time specific tasks, this may be in your iCal or diary. You’re also going to want to create a to do list for all the tasks that need doing throughout the day. Again, this could be digitally or on paper. Remember to be realistic, by doing this you’re not going to feel defeated when you see a long list of tasks you couldn’t get to. 

Step Two: Refocus 
Manage you day hour by hour. Don’t let the hours manage you. Taking regular breaks is an important part of a successful day for me. I prefer to take a  few minutes every hour to take a deep breath, grab a drink of water or make a cup of tea and have another look at your to do list. I ask myself the following, have you spent the last hour productively?  Once I’ve evaluated my time, I like to go back to your schedule and recommit to how I’m going to spend the next hour and what I could do to make it better and more productive. 

Step Three: Review
“The power of rituals is their predictability. You do the same thing in the same way over and over again.” Shut your laptop and step away. Looking back and reviewing my day is my favourite part of the day. I get to take time to look at my day and how successful it was or wasn’t. I ask myself questions like, what worked and what didn’t? When you were most focused what distracted you? I recommend asking yourself these questions or similar and use the information to see how you can improve your day tomorrow. 

With the productive days comes the not so productive days. But I think it’s important to remember that we aren’t always going to have good days. If your day isn’t going to great, sit down and prioritise. Train yourself to prioritise and how to do it well. Keep the same focus - choose it deliberately and wisely. 

B x

25 April 2017

Home Away From Home

I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to know several different places 'home'. There are a few different places throughout New Zealand, specifically in the South Island that I call home for different reasons. One of the places is Rai Valley, which is in between Nelson and Blenheim, two other significant place with a lot of meaning to me. 

I spent a good amount of time at Rai Valley since I had a few family members still living there but also because that's where my fathers side of the family all grew up. My Grandparents and Uncle both owned farms in Rai Valley which involved a serious amount of land which only lead to many amazing adventures and fond memories. The memories from my childhood at the Rai are very special to me and include fishing for tadpoles and other little fish in the rivers, feeding the chickens, collecting the eggs, feeding the lambs, milking the cows, riding the motorbikes. 

My Grandparents still own a fair bit of land in the Rai and have built what we call 'The Man Cave', which is a place we can all go and stay together down there. This Easter I went for a wee visit there with my family from Christchurch. There's no cellphone coverage or internet which is what I think I enjoy the most because it allows me to go back to what it was like when I was a kid and didn't have a cellphone or know what the internet was. We played cards, drank wine and just enjoyed each others company which was the perfect way to spend the long weekend. I snapped a few pictures over the long weekend so I could share them but not only that, this is apart of my family history and to me that's important. 

Pictures will never do this absolutely amazing place justice. Plus, enjoy the cute picture of my Dad's puppy playing in the long grass. 

B x 

16 April 2017

Monthly Playlist: April

I don't think a day has gone by this month where I haven't listened to music, with that being said though, it's not every often I don't listen to music everyday. I thought I would share with you some of my favourite tracks from this month. If you'd like to follow my on Spotify you absolutely can, you can either search 'Bonnie Ellen' or follow the link, here. I have a variety of music over on my Spotify along with my current favourites. 

B x

13 April 2017

Riwaka Resurgence, Nelson

I adore the country I live in and that encourages me to explore new places within my own backyard. Riwaka is roughly a half an hour drive from my place and I went there recently and explored a little. While I was in Riwaka, I thought I would check out the Riwaka Resurgence which is located in the Kahurangi National Park. It's a walk that takes to you to a cave and a deep clear pool where the Riwaka River emerges from the Takaka Hills. It is so beautiful I could help but snap a few pictures along the way. I feel so privileged to live in a country where we are surrounded by nothing but beautiful scenery. 

Above is a picture of what is known as the 'Crystal Pool' with the idea that you cleanse your crystals there on full moon. I'm not a hundred percent sure how often or how many people do this but I love the concept and idea behind it. I can imagine this place being incredibly beautiful on a summers night. 

Getting outside and exploring nature is perfect for clearing my mind. It was peaceful, so peaceful that all I could hear are the birds and the waterfalls in the background. It would be a perfect place to have a picnic and just enjoy your surroundings. It's definitely a place I would go back to. 

B x

11 April 2017

Reading Material: April 2017

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone is thinking > Haruki Murakami

For as long as I can remember I've been a reader. As a child I enjoyed reading and I still do now. I enjoy a variety of genres but it hasn't always been this way. In my early teens I really struggled to find the genres I was into which meant I was starting novels and then never really finishing them because I just couldn't get into them. Over the years I've become more aware of what I enjoy in books and what I look for in specific genres which has helped me and given my the opportunity to read some amazing books. 

All three books I'm going to mention have completely different themes and genres but they all hold meaning to me. For someone who doesn't regularly visit my blog or who doesn't know me to well, these books will definitely give an indication as to what sparks interest to me.

I'm a third of the way through Doing It: Lets Talk About Sex by Hannah Witton and the other two, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and The ANZACS by Patsy Adam-Smith are on my list to read over the next month. There are a variety of topics and themes within the three books and I'm looking forward to seeing what different things I can learn from each book.  

Hannah Witton is a British YouTuber, broadcaster and author. Hannah creates content mostly based around relationships, sex, sexual health, feminism, liberation, welfare issues and more. Hannah book, which concentrates on sex and relationship was released on the 6 April 2017. Hannah's book is such under a week old and was actually the first ever book I've brought on publication date. Like I mentioned before, I'm about of a third of the way through and I'm loving it. Hannah touch on topics such as healthy and non-healthy relationships, virginity, body image, the LGBTQ+ community, sex shaming and a few others. The chapters that I've read so far are incredibly written and very informative, I've learnt heaps of new things already. Definitely would recommend this book to everyone. 

"Sexting. Virginity. Content. The Big O . . . let's face it, doing it can be tricksy. I don't know anyone, including myself, who has sex all figured out. So I've written a book full of honest, hilarious and sometimes aka ward anecdotes, confessions and revelations. And because none of us have all the answers, I've invited some friends and fellow YouTubers to talk about their sexuality, too. We talk about doing it safely. Doing it joyfully. Doing it when you're ready. Not doing it. Basically, doing it the way you want, when you want. So, let's do this . ." 

13 Reasons Why is an young adult novel that was actually first published in 2007 and the TV series released on March 2017. Everybody as been going crazy about the series online. Everybody seems to have a really positive view on the series and what it can teach us about the relationship between bullying and suicide. With the majority of films or televisions series, if there is a book that goes along with it that I want to read, I'll typically read that first. I'm a big visualiser, and I visualise everything that I read, from what the characters look like to how the setting is. I find it not only easier but more pleasurable to read the novel first opposed to watching the film or TV series first.

"Clay Jensen, a shy High School student, returns home from school one day to find that he has received a mysterious package in the mail. It contains seven double-sided tapes used by Hannah Baker, a class mate who has recently committed suicide. Each tape details a reason that she killed herself. The tapes were sent to various other people before arriving at Clay's door." 

ANZAC Day hold not only a special place in my heart but a special place in the majority of my families heart too. Not only is it important to honour and remember our fallen soldiers along with those who fought and returned but my Pop was one of those soldiers who fought while having the privilege to return to his family safely. I'm looking forward to reading this novel as I'm sure I'll learn a lot especially because I'm aware the author, Adam-Smith read over 8000 diaries and letters before writing the novel. I think that's what makes it so special. 

"Gallipoli was the final resting place for thousands of young Australians. Death struck so fast there was no time for escape or burial, and when Gallipoli was over there was the misery of the European Campaign. Patsy Adam-Smith read over 8000 diaries and letters to write her acclaimed best-seller about the First World War. These are the extraordinary experiences of ordinary men and they strike to the heart. The ANZACs remains unrivalled as the classic account of Australia's involvement in the First World War". 

B x

9 April 2017

A Few Ways To Be Creative Everyday

Being creative is a journey that's constantly growing and changing, and I don't feel like there is ever only one way to be creative. We're all creative in our own unique ways and I think anybody who does anything even slightly creative whether it's in their personal or professional life will know the feeling of wanting more, constantly wanting to better themselves and their skill base. I wanted to open up a discussion about what we do daily that requires some kind of creativity and how we can incorporate that more into our daily lives. 

Never Say You Can't
 Telling yourself that you can't do something is never going to end well as we're all so much more capable than we give ourselves credit for. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to achieve the thing you want to do, just making a start and pushing past your fears is all that matters in the long run. 

Challenge The Way You Do Things Already
Getting stuck in a comfortable rut is something that I find myself in way to often but not just in my creative work but also when it comes to things such as makeup, the clothes I choose to wear, and my day to day routine because once you find something that works why would you change it? But I find changing even the smallest thing is always refreshing. Stepping outside your comfort zone is always hard to start with and never feels quite right at first but once you learn to embrace the change it starts to feel pretty amazing. 

11 Creative Ideas To Try
Take a photograph, whether it's for Instagram or just for yourself. 
Write, whether that's a paragraph or a page, just write. 
Read more. 
Crafts or a simple DIY project.
Draw or illustrate. 
Try out new photo editing apps or software.
Learn to knit, crochet or cross stitch. 
Indulge in a podcast.
Edit some photographs and try something new. 
Start a blog or work on your own.
Read something you wouldn't normally reach for. 

B x

6 April 2017

What You Might Want To Know & Consider Before Traveling Abroad To New Zealand

I could well be a little bias here but I adore New Zealand. It’s such an incredibly beautiful place & I feel so privileged to live here. We get a lot of tourist here in New Zealand & I love that other people are getting to experience some of the amazing things us New Zealanders have right at our back doors & take for granted. I’ve complied the top five things that I thought would be useful to know before traveling abroad to New Zealand. Obviously, I recommend doing a lot of your own research because there are a lot more than just these five things you could know & be aware of. 

This post is in collaboration with a fellow blogger over in the UK. His name is Harrison and he’ll have a very similar post to this about what you need to know before traveling to the UK. Please go check out his content, I’m a big fan of his work & feel very privileged I get to work with him with him on this post.  Check links below for Harrison's social media. 

#1: Weather 
The weather here in New Zealand is often described using the saying, 'four seasons in one day'. The weather can change so quickly here in New Zealand so at any time, regardless of the season we might be in, you need to be prepared for any sudden weather changes. It's definitely not unusual for the weather to change throughout the day, all day, every day. 

#2: Size 
Don't be fooled by the size of New Zealand. Although we may look tiny compared to Australia, we have just as many, if not more, amazing places to visit & see. Quite often tourist struggle to see all the sights they wish because they're all spread throughout the country. Most of New Zealand is country side so make sure you fill up the petrol tank and allow plenty of time between destinations because our incredible scenery while require a few stops along the way. 

#3: Driving 
Driving in New Zealand is pretty standard and like most other places. You must wear you seatbelt and hold a valid drivers license. Obviously you're not allowed to drive drunk or use your cellphone while driving. Another thing to consider is that if you don't live in Australia, Japan, Ireland, UK, South Africa, Thailand, India, Malaysia or Singapore this probably means everything is going to be back to front for you. Here in New Zealand, we drive on the left hand side of the road, also make sure your familiarise yourself with any road signs you may not know of. Such as one way bridge signs and things like being aware of railway crossings as only 1,500 of the railway crossings in New Zealand have alarms, the others you have to slow down and physically look yourself. 

#4: It's Remote 
New Zealand has a population of 4.5 million. It's definitely important to make sure you have enough gas and a few snacks because you may find you don't come across a gas station or grocery store if you're travelling to and from different destinations. 

#5: Sandflies
Sandflies bites are one of the most annoying things especially if you don't have any insect repellent! I've lived in New Zealand all my life, so nearly 19 years & I still get annoyed with sandflies bites so do yourself a favour and have some packed and ready to go when you need it! 
B x

4 April 2017

"Don't Let Your Career Make You A Bad Mother"

What I'm writing about today is something that really just doesn't sit well with me and I'm choosing to talk about it because it's something that I'm strongly passionate about. I want to point out that I strongly disagree with the woman who wrote this column and the points she made in her piece.

Miranda Devine, an Australian columnist had a piece published in the Daily Telegraph Australia, titled, "Don't Let Your Career Make You A Bad Mum". I don't especially want to give this columnist or the article the clicks but I think it's important for me to talk about it.

I came across this article via a response video by Em Rusciano. Em is a radio host in Sydney, Australia and I'll link the response video here. I love the points she made and the way she represented not just herself, but all women and mothers.

If you want to attack a mother and really hit her at her most vulnerable point, tell her she's made the wrong choice between going to work or staying home with her children. Tell her that her choice will have long term detrimental affects on her children and if you feel like rubbing the salt in the wound just a wee bit more, why not tell her that her choice will destroy society as we know it or that it will put our economy into a spiral of recession. Miranda Devine really laid it on thick with her column, leaving mothers feeling guiltier than usual.

In the column she said that mothers were defined by their families, women who care about their careers are selfish, she said the gender wage gap isn't real and that women prefer to selfishly work and then use IVF by choice.

I'd like to point out that, I am only 18 and not planning to have children until I'm well into my twenties but I know that no one choose IVF. IVF is expensive, painful and invasive. Miranda, the happy child of today is the child who has food to eat, who is housed, educated, and who has unconditional love and support from their family. With the prices of today, it means that families need double income sources, Mums have to work but we don't see the working fathers are bad Dad columns, do we?

Directly quoted from the column, "Young women increasingly are coerced into prioritising careers and becoming feminist warriors against the so called gender wage gap". Again, I'm with Em on this one, most mothers work because they want to provide for their kids and because they appreciate leading their own lives. There is absolutely nothing wrong with mothers putting themselves first because that makes them better mums.

I could talk about this for ages because this kind of thing really frustrates me and I guess that just comes down to the passion that I have behind these types of things. I am going to keep this short and leave it at that but please check out Em's response because she really nail it on the head. I am hundred percent with Em and what she had to say about the column. If you're a mother and have read the column, please do not let it nor Miranda Devine make you feel guilty for making the decisions that are right for you and your family. Just like Em said, you are a good enough mother. There's no such thing as a good or bad mum, you just have to focus on being good enough.

B x

2 April 2017

Highlights From The Past Month: March 2017

These last three months have been ridiculously crazy. They've consisted of the ups and the downs, the negatives and the positives but most of all I've learnt a lot about myself in those short three months. 

This post is dedicated to all the positives highlights of the last three months but more specifically the those that have happened this last month as the light at the tunnel begins to shine brighter. 

Allowing Myself To Take A Full Day Off Regularly > I'm somebody that can easily get into the habit of not knowing when to stop. All self care goes out the window and it can quickly turn into a negative spiralling effect. It's a pretty rare occurrence that I take time off during the week however I have the tendency to work during the weekend if there's something that needs doing. I've noticed over the past couple of months I've been choosing to keep myself busy because I don't want to deal with the overwhelming emotions that I've been feeling the last few months regarding the loss of loved ones. I've allowed myself to be consciously aware of this and the need for me to take time to myself, which then allows me to take better care of myself, physically and mentally. In the past month I've taken a few full days to myself where no work as been done which has allowed me to put my self care routine back into practice. I'm a big advocate for self care and self love especially as someone who has the tendency to regularly put others before herself. I encourage you all to take regular time to yourself and put a self care routine into practice. Believe me, you'll feel better for it in the long run. 

Back Into Regular Blogging > At the beginning of 2017 I made a conscious goal to really dedicate a lot more of my time and creative energy towards my blog. Unfortunately, the year didn't start how I had anticipated  and my blog was put on the back burner. However, writing is a passion of mine and I managed to get a few posts out here and there. This month I've got back into my blogging routine. As of the 16 March I've been uploading as I usually would, so that's Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 630PM NZST. I'm pleased to be back blogging regularly again, it's something I'm passionate about and will continue to do as long as I love doing it. 

Grace and Frankie > While I patiently wait for the second part of Season 7 of Pretty Little Liars to air I've been watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix. It was recommend to me by a friend and I've fallen in love with the show. It's an hilarious show and the characters are so diverse. This light hearted tv series was exactly what I needed to find and start watching. 

Warm Weather And Beach Trips > Considering daylight savings is upon us, I expected the weather to be a lot cooler by now. However, we've had a few really hot days and it's the perfect time to get to the beach before the cooler weather does really hit us. The beach is like my second home, it's a place where I can feel at one with myself, reconnect and it's almost like a reset button for me. 

Let me know some of your highlights from the past month in the comments below, I'd love to hear them. 

B x