Easy like Sunday morning.

Sunday has always been my favourite day.
For the last 6 weeks, it has been my only day off from 10 hour days at the National Youth Theatre, so I found myself cramming in a weeks worth of socialising and/or napping into these precious hours of down-time. 

There was a particularly lovely sunday a few weeks ago, that comes to mind. It involved racing to Columbia road to meet Lauren, slightly sleep deprived and hanging from a wonderful Hailey gig the night before. From there, we met up with Bre and popped back to hers for a beautiful lunch, before heading to Mispers HQ for a sunday hair-of-the-dog session. Everyone had spent the day before at a day-rave in East London and was hanging HARD, so of course, the cure was to gather everyone and keep on goin’.. I declined the vodka shots, but happily and lazily lounged about stuffing my face with quesadilla’s, listening to my ridiculously talented friends jam for hours on end. 

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Happy 21st Bre

My beautiful, witty, sassy, crazy-cat lady best friend turned 21 and we partied in style. The next morning was probably one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had, but birthday cake round 2 and mountains of post-party food sorted me right out! 

Here’s to another year of Bre + Maddi adventures, love you girl xxx

Missing Til Monday goes Chic, darling

So this is ooooooold news, but it’s been the busiest 6 weeks of my life, and I would been super sad if I never backlogged all the stuff I got up to during it, so here we go… My first week back started with yet another of the Mispers infamous Missing ‘Til Monday parties at Hoxton Garage; the perfect occasion to see most of my friends for the first time. I was so happy I got back to London in time for this, and mostly because I had brought with me a dress of my Grandmothers from back home (it was tailored for her Olympic tour to Tokyo in 1964), which was itching for an excuse to be worn.. and this was the perfect occasion. 

It was disgustingly sweaty and outrageously fun, as per usual. 

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Back in London town

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Some snippets of the last 6 weeks. Just more visual reminders of why I ADORE my life in London.. 

catcha down under

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My time home was too brief, but perfect. 

I had extremely mixed emotions when the time came to book flights back and re-pack; I was itching to return to London and begin NYT but was having trouble with saying goodbye the second time around, especially with the uncertainty of when I was to be back again or have my family come visit.

By the time the jet-jag and excitement of being back in the big-smoke after so long wore off, for the first time ever in London… homesickness kicked in. My little injection of home reminded me of just how wonderful it is, and if worse comes to worse and London doesn’t work out, I’m beyond lucky to have such an incredible life to return to. 

Beachy bliss

While I’ve been away, my Mum and Stepdad invested in a house on the beach in Forster, which they plan to move to shortly after my little Brother finishes high school back in Tamworth. I had been stupidly jealous receiving constant pictures and updates:

"Hi Honey, popped over to Forster again, we’re just went swimming and it’s winter - crazy! Here’s a picture of the puppies frolicking on the white sands with the clear blue ocean behind them to make your grey London day pale in comparison. Hahaha" ….

"Hey Mum, pfft, that looks totally awful"

.. and was buzzing with excitement to see it for myself finally. So armed with two of my favourite ladies in the whole world, enough wine for a small french wedding, vegan baking ingredient and our bikinis, we headed for a week of girly paradise. It was heaven. We watched movies, made dumplings, skied down the sand dunes, rolled down the sane dunes (so much sand in undies), had countless spa-baths, laid on the beach for hours reading and discovered that I am the Queen of buckwheat pancakes.

Sydney, My Love: Part 2

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Sydney, my love: Part 1 

#Sydney  

_ ITALY FLASHBACK

Back to Tamworth Town

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Getting ma hair did for a secret project i’m really excited to post about, once it’s all out in ze open! imageimage

Robe lyf at the Ridleys. I forgot how much I loved my Dads tradition of always having an after dinner spa.. So many happy winter evenings spent under the stars with my three favourite boys. image

It was bittersweet to be back in Tamworth. I almost forgot how good crisp, fresh air felt on the ol’ lungs. A happy change to London.

One of my main highlights, was spending as much time as I could with my baby, baby brother, Zaccy, who happens to be the sweetest little boy ever put on this earth.. I didn’t get to see Hunter nearly as much I would have liked, as I was either off in Sydney socialising or he was away being all brilliant at Pilot Camp, so that was kindaaaa heartbreaking..

Anyways, other happy happenings; Mumma’s cooking, so. much. gin with my Godmummy Sar, tea-time at Kaitlyn’s, seeing all the Macintyre family, puppy-love and GETTING MY LICENSE BACK = 5 road trips to Sydney!

Home sweet Home

This is now OVER 2 months over-due, oh my goodness. How could I possibly even begin to capture with detail what was the most insane, emotional, jam-packed, whirlwind of an adventure back home in Australia that was now so long ago?!?!

I guess the photos will just have to speak for themselves, mostly.

By the time I was safely boarded on the flight to Rome (very nearly could not have happened, so a few huge sighs of relief were had), I could barely contain my excitement. It had been officially 2 years and 2 months and I was jonesing for home.. While that time passed super quickly and for the majority of it I hardly had a whiff of homesickness, I cannot tell you how bloody READY I was for some home time, and how absolutely GUTTED I was to leave so quickly (even though exciting things and my beautiful friends were waiting for me back in London)! 

After touch down, and the longest customs queue ever, I waltzed out of the arrivals gate and promptly burst into the biggest grin when I saw my Mum rush forward with my little brother trailing behind. Smiles very quickly turned to tears and a few seconds later, Lis and I were both clutching at each other bawling our eyes out. #totallyLoveActually. Hunter looked on from a distance, scowling embarrassingly. He rolled his eyes when I turned to him tearily with a ‘WHY ARE YOU SO TALL?????’ and enveloped him in the biggest bear hug he’s ever received. Secretly, I know he loved it, as though he doesn’t show it, surely he misses his fav big sister loads and loads and loads. 

So, from this whole thing, I’ve deduced that two years without going home and one year is WAY too long to go without seeing family. Never again.

The first thing we did was go straight to my Granddads new house, which he moved into after Grandma died. It was so special to see him, and he even gave me Grandma’s cartier watch. The next day was spent with all the Ridleys in Cronulla and battling jet-lag. And amazing as these first few days were, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming homesickness for London, funnily enough. I’ve concluded this is because all my friends were together for the weekend having exceptional amounts of summer fun, and I was definitely experiencing some major FOMO. It only took a few Sydney Brunches (I FORGOT, nowhere does brunch like Sydney), a trip to Bondi (winter my arse) and some more family cuddles to nip this in the bud. 

There were two years worth of stories and hugs to catch up on with all my beautiful friends, and so many coffee dates and coastal walks and yummy dinners and fun cocktails were had <3

Accidental colour coordination with Mumma Bear

He is now taller than Mum. Jesus.. *puts brick on head*

Messina Cherry popped. It was an exciting day…

Earth To Table raw cake… There is nothing like it in the world. I would FLY to Sydney just for this stuff. 

Roma

On my last day in Cinque Terre, before training back to Rome by myself, a bank machine ate my card.. It wasn’t a total disaster, as I still had a backup card with a small amount of money left on it to get me to Rome and keep me fed until my flight back home to Sydney a few days later.. 

Only problem was, when I got to Rome and went to withdraw some more cashola, some unexpected payment had come out of that account meaning I had NOTHING.. Slightly stressful times, being in a city for the first time, alone with very little money… I’ve dreamt of going to Rome my whole life, watching Roman Holiday and The Lizzie Maguire movie growing up (no joke here), so not even only having roughly 20 euros left for a few days was going to get me down. Thank the lord I had already charged my Rome air-bnb before I got there, and tried to spend the two days wondering around the magical city taking in the sights and eating aaaall the cheap pasta.. Sadly though, 20 euros doesn’t get you far, and I ended up spending more time with a book and bottle of wine on the balcony of the gorgeous apartment I rented (which, by the by, continuing my luck with epic air-bnb bookings, was INCREDIBLE. This was one of the nicest, cheapest looking rooms I could find. Upon my arrival to Francesca and her boyfriends beautiful, spacious apartment, they showed me to my enormous, high ceilinged, airy room with a huge windows, a balcony and a king size bed AND had cooked me a delicious meal. We sat and ate and laughed and it was the perfect first night in Rome). On one of my ventures out and about, I ended up being followed by a super creepy dude who came up and spoke to me at the Colosseum, all the way to the Trevi-fountain.. When you don’t have enough money to quickly jump in a cab to high-tail it out of there, it’s a slightly worrying feeling, but all was okay in the end as I obviously managed to dodge him in the crowd and headed back up the hill to the comfort of my double bed for an afternoon siesta. I also discovered a food market around the corner from the apartment, so lived off bags of heavenly cherries and nectarines. Thank heavens my friend’s Mum was able to transfer me some cash to that account on my last day (my own parents couldn’t, as an international transfer over the weekend is almost impossible and wouldn’t have been immediate), as otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get the train to the airport and I don’t even wanna think about the catastrophe that would have caused. 

My complete lack of updates here is testament to just how busy these last two months have been (with spending 5 jam-packed weeks at home and now the last month back in London). iI’s a shame it is so, because now all the finer details and tales to accompany these photos are starting to become foggy memories… But, I <3 Roma and cannot wait to go back to explore it properly. I feel I had such a lovely, brief little taste (oh, and speaking of, I would do anything for a bowl of freshly cooked pasta right now) 

Take me back to Monterosso

Vernazza

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So on our first night we visited Vernazza (photos in a post below) for dinner, we spotted a sweet little Enotica on the square, with a little group of older Italian men perched on some stools out the front. They drank, smoked and talked amongst themselves energetically, and Bre and I decided this was the perfect place to get a glass of wine and soak up the last of the warm sunlight. Later, after we took some pasta down to the bottom of the bay and watched the sunset from the rocks, we decided on an early night and headed off to the train station.. Walking past the Enotica was far too tempting, however, and we ended up perched on those comfy stools that had been occupied by the men, sipping away at one last red for the evening. It was here, that we befriended Enzo and ‘Uncle Jack’, who came back to claim their seats. We got on very well, very quickly. I had the most lively conversation with the lovely Enzo; about the incredibly interesting life he’s lived so far, his childhood in Vernazza, the underwater caves around the bay, his travels, my travels, my dreams, life in general etc. Soon enough a group of locals had gathered around us, teasing Enzo and Jack over their new friends, and we were introduced and invited to dinner. Whilst we had already eaten, and politely declined the invitation, we were told to come back the next day to use the boat that three of the men joint-owned. 

Enzo said he was surprised by how happily we were spending our evening chatting away with a group of ‘old codgers’, and implied most young, attractive tourists seem to shy away from interacting with the older locals, especially the men. The thoughts makes me a little sad, for there is so much life, laughter and wisdom that can be gleaned from these beautiful little moments. Besides, we trusted our guts and there was nothing but extremely good vibes coming from these people! We were told to come back the next day to take out the boat that Enzo, Tino and another of the men owned. We assumed they had a boat to hire, and were happy to do so. The next day when we returned, we just so happened to bump into Enzo as we both walked down to the bay. I did a double take, as wearing a casual white tee and shorts, he looked awfully different to the night before when he was all dressed to the nines in chinos, blazer, silk neck tie and white leather converse (trendiest old gentleman, ever). When we asked how much he wanted for the boat, he look baffled/offended and said ‘don’t be silly, no one’s paying anything, we’re friends now..’ and pointing gesturing behind us; ‘but don’t tell those other tourists’.. He apologised for the messiness of the boat (as it was the first day this year that it had been taken out), helped us in and off we went. The motor was having some difficulties, and so he spent the afternoon rowing us around the bright blue, sparkling water as we explored that cave, swam and nattered away. 

As we rowed back into the bay, he invited us up to his BnB (with ‘the best best views in all of Vernazza’) to make use of the guest shower, as we wanted to wash off the all the dried salt from the sea. Again, nothing but good vibes here.. And he was right, his gorgeous guest house really DID have the best views of both the endless expanse of sea and the whole village. After freshening up, we sat for an hour or so with (incredibly strong) aperitifs (SO italian) on one of the balconies as the afternoon sun began to fall. We heard more about his life, and told him stories from ours. He is clearly very perceptive, as he made comments about our personalities that were pretty spot on, and even guessed our star signs!
We learnt that every day, rain hail or shine, the group of friends met for Happy Hour at the wine bar. So much to our delight, we joined them all again for another wonderful Vernazza evening.. 

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Manarola love

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By far one the most easily recognisable images of Cinque Terre is of the colourful little houses teetering on the edge of the cliff, reflecting on the crystal clear bay below. It felt surreal standing there and snapping those images myself, not that the world needs another #manarola photo.. 

Sorry for cemetery overload, but this was single-handedly one of the most special places in Cinque Terre. We spotted a billboard of sorts from below in the bay when we were swimming, so armed with Gelato we climbed to the top of the village, where hundreds of the villages inhabitants rest in peace in a marble garden of remembrance. The little graves featured a portrait of the occupant, where adorned in fresh flowers and rosary beads & had the most breathtaking, panaramic views of the mediterranean sea.