First month of 2016, ok let's wrap it up!
Oh and did I go places. I did a 10 day tour of New Zealand's North and South Island and it was BEAUTIFUL. The tour itself (the company) were absolutely atrocious but company and actual NZ are mutually exclusive.
Day 1: Auckland! We sort of just walked around the city after dinner but nothing much was open since it was Christmas
Day 2: Waitomo Glowworm Caves and HOBBITON!!! 2h tour walking around seeing the beautiful Hobbit holes and drinking ale in the Green Dragon Inn. You jelly? Then at night we went to a sulphuric mud bath and springs!
Day 3: The Redwoods at Rotorua (massively tall trees) and then the Pohutu Geyser which spat out sulphuric mud
Day 4: Christchurch! Walking around seeing the rebuild efforts after the 2011 earthquakes. Visiting the Canterbury Museum which some really amazing exhibits including a Leonardo da Vinci one. Then to a beautiful rose garden before we reached Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki later that night. These lakes are astonishingly blue and the water is so clear. Just beautiful, especially with the alps in the distance.
Day 5: Mount Cook. Went on a helicopter for the very first time on a tour of Mount Cook National Park. Got to see the Ben Ohau Mountains and glaciers from above as well as landing on snow high up in the mountains! One of the best experiences of my life. Then we went to the Puzzling World at Wanaka which had these weird and whacky things like leaning towers and mazes.
Day 6: Queenstown <3 took the Skyline gondola up to see Queenstown from above and then at midday we went on the TSS Earnslaw which is a steamship that's as old as the Titanic (1912). It took us across Lake Wakatipu (the lake at Queenstown) and then dropped us off for a BBQ buffet lunch. Best. Buffet. Ever. I have never had such delicious grilled chicken in my life. And that pork belly nomnom. I didn't take any photos because I was too hungry and it disappeared off my plate every time before I could remember to take photos. Oops. I somehow also managed to do some shopping at shops we have here in Sydney (don't ask) but also got a Cookie Time haul. YOU GUYS THESE COOKIES ARE AMAZING. If you ever go Queenstown you must go to Cookie Time and buy cookies there. The range at their super markets don't compare.
Day 7: The tour stuffed up so we ended up in Invercargill at the Bluff which is the southernmost point of NZ! Then we got to Te Anau and spent NYE there. Watched fireworks from the lake shore and they were beautiful and we were so close!
Day 8: Happy New Year! Was extremely happy to spend the day cruising through the stunning, breathtaking, exceptionally beautiful Milford Sound. I'm told that we were extremely lucky to have complete blue skies. I got douses by a waterfall at some point hehe.
Day 9: Dunedin where we saw some road that was famous for being really steep? Weird. And went to see the Moeraki Boulders which are these interesting very round boulders on a beach.
Day 10: Back to Christchurch and it's our last day. It's raining but we take a tram touring the city before we hop on a plane back for Sydney.
I'm so happy that our 10 days there were all sunny. If it had been even slightly cloudy, the helitour would never have happened and none of my photos would've turned out so nice LOL. I definitely want to go back to New Zealand to see how Christchurch looks after it's finished being rebuilt, go see the Tasman glacier, and definitely go back to Queenstown because I loved the vibe there.
The Palace Tea Room QVB
During the first week back (at work) my work mates and I were stumped at what to eat for lunch. We decided on high tea but the QVB Tea Room was full so we ended up downstairs at the Palace Tea Room which was just as beautiful! The food was really nice and as with high tea, had everybody struggling to finish by the end. The difference between this place and the QVB Tea Room is that each person gets their own little stand of food whereas upstairs, you share with someone else. The service was fabulous and I loved the luxurious decor.
Spent the day with work friends at the beach because it was like the first hot day we'd had in ages. Sun, sand and sea = my fav. Deep blue cloudless skies, white sand and ocean made for some very fun wave jumping. Which I might add were very high that day. I got thrown under a few times when waves smashed in straight after another.
Din Tai Fung World Square
Y'all know this is like my favourite eatery. I took mum there when we went out shopping and we ordered the Spicy Hot and Sour soup, Shrimp & Pork Wonton Noodle soup, Fried Pork Wonton, and my fav, the soybean milk. DTF never disappoints.
Ribs & Burgers (Rhodes)
Ended up at Rhodes for a meeting one day and they had Ribs & Burgers there. I got the Pocket with chips and my god it was delicious. It's on the small side for a burger but the brioche bun and the cheese were just so good with the patty and salad. FYI there's a Ribs & Burgers at the Star in the city.
I also did lots of shopping throughout, buying books because. And I spent today with Jess shopping in the city. We both had a lot of self-control not buying books... but not so much where makeup and clothes were concerned. We both got quite the hauls.
I got lots of books and I read lots of books YAY. I've been on a bit of a graphic novel binge so yeh.
- Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman
- The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey #6, Call of the Forgotten #3) by Julie Kagawa
- The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cockal
- A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
- Bro by Helen Chebatte - thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for this review copy
- Yellow by Megan Jacobson - thank you to Penguin Teen Australia for this review copy
- Sword Art Online Aincrad by Reki Kawahara (light novel)
- Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu
- Wayward vol 1: String Theory
- Rat Queens vol 1: Sass & Sorcery
- Rat Queens vol 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth
- The Faust Act (The Wicked + The Divine #1)
- Fandemonium (The Wicked + The Divine #2)
- Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford (colouring book not pictured)
Books ReadI READ SO MANY BOOKS I'M SO PROUD OF MYSELF. Ok tbh the numbers are upped because of a novella and graphic novels haaaaa.
- Castle Hill (On Dublin Street #3.5) by Samantha Young - this was cute, I got my Joss and Braden fix
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - this was fabulous and so amazingly thought so. Stellar world-building and totally spoke to the nerd in me.
- Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter - great concept but I had a lot of issues with this, namely the overpowering romance which I didn't like. Review to come.
- Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken - great time travel book with great world building.
- Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway- this is the best contemporary I've read in a LOOOONG time. Gosh it's so sweet and adorable and realistic. Very well written.
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- left me in a very emotional state but again very realistic and I loved how there was no right or wrong in the views of the characters.
- Rat Queens vol 1: Sass & Sorcery- this is my fav graphic novel so far. I love the dynamics between this team of female mercenaries. They're so funny and the story is awesome.
- Wayward vol 1: String Theory- wasn't a fan of this one sadly. It was confusing and moved too quickly.
- Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh- really great world-building, Nalini Singh always comes up with such great concepts. I got a bit confused with the PsyNet though and the romance was very overpowering. Got to remember this isn't UF but PNR.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Listening To: The Sound by The 1975
Watching: The 100, Jessica Jones, Shadowhunters - Shadowhunters just for the laughs (I've been live tweeting as I watch). The 100 and Jessica Jones are AMAZING.