Wednesday, March 28, 2018

ReachOut's 20th Celebrations recap

I ended up being over east for a grand total of 36 hours (excluding the 10 hours combined of flight time) which was crazy but I had so much fun and packed a decent amount in!

I arrived Wednesday night and checked into the hostel, the flight itself was uneventful and I just watched movies and tv shows on the inflight entertainment to pass the time. As I was the first person arriving (and the only one arriving that night) I got my own private room which was really nice. The hostel room felt more like a hotel room, as it had it's own ensuite and was nice, bright and clean. I also got decent views which was pleasant surprise. I unpacked and tried to go to sleep but the time difference (3 hours ahead) made things hard.

Thursday morning I had free time until 11.30am when the others (a mix of youth ambassadors and forum mods) would arrive, so I grabbed some toast for breakfast and decided to explore. I left the hostel at 7.30am, not realising that most things in the area don't open until 9.30am or later! But I decided to explore the area and go for a long walk (ignoring the advice of my Dr to take it easy!), I was walking past a café and decided to call in to get a second breakfast of Belgian waffles (with ice cream and chocolate sauce) which were amazing. I walked down laneways, saw some tourist spots (and admittedly felt like re-enacting some of my favourite scenes from Dance Academy haha!) and just took the area in. I grabbed a lemonade and people watched for a while before exploring a few hole in the wall shops that were finally open. I then headed back to the hostel for 11.00am and changed before meeting up with the others and heading to the RO office.

The dress code was smart/neat casual so I took an everyday outfit for me and glammed it up with the
sparkly shoes, make up, wore black jeans instead of blue and picked a more dressier top.

At the office we had lunch, before doing some afternoon workshops and meeting the CEO who was super nice. I got to catch up with the staff I had met during my last trip there and was almost tackled to the ground by J who works in fundraising (I'm pretty sure I'm her favourite volunteer!), it wasn't super intense which was nice and a lot of fun. We then had 15 minutes to finish getting ready before going in taxis to the party venue.
All of us were allocated jobs to do and mine was going around and asking people if they would like to record a piece of advice that they would tell their younger selves. I was chosen for the job because I love to talk, though it was still nerve wracking it was great meeting people who had all been connected to ReachOut in some way.
The rest of night was spent catching up with people, chatting to staff, eating and drinking. It was a beautiful venue and everyone was enjoying themselves. All current staff members and volunteers wore a special ReachOut pin which was a way for people to identify us as those currently involved with ReachOut. I'm currently loving pins so to get a ReachOut pin was amazing and I intend to wear it with pride everywhere.

We all ended back at the hostel and went to bed after a very crazy day. I rang my family up as due to the time difference it was early evening at home and then tried to sleep. I will be surprised if I got a combined 8 hours for both nights as I felt like I was existing on minimal sleep the whole trip.

Due to the various flight times we were separated into two groups who left at different times the next day. I was lucky enough to have an 8.25am flight which meant I got to leave the hostel at 6.00am along with 5 others. At the airport I sat with 3 others who were flying on the same airline but different flights (once again I travelled the furthest!) and we each grabbed something for energy, and chatted for a while. My flight was the first to board and I was thankful that breakfast was included which was nice. After a long 5 hour flight I arrived back home and met my dad at the airport and headed home to put my ankle up and relax after a full on past few days.

There is honestly not much I would've done differently this time round, I think it helped that I knew kinda what to expect this time round and it had been less than 6 months since I had flown over for the Mod Workshop. I got to see more this trip (despite it being shorter) and made sure to document it, I tried to be flexible and go with the flow and I just embraced every experience I could. Yes I had minimal sleep but I had prepared myself for it and made sure to get decent nights sleep leading up to the trip.
The only thing I would've changed was not having a sprained (well technically a minor fracture) ankle which was annoying more than anything else!

I had a great trip and I hope to return next year to help ReachOut celebrate their 21st :)

Friday, March 23, 2018

Five Friday Favourites

After a whirlwind trip over east (full recap coming soon!) for ReachOut's 20th, I am back and ready to get back into life or mainly assignments!

I spent Monday doings some window shopping and assignments, the due dates of which are slowly looming! I am loving my course but I am convinced some of these assignments will be the end of me haha!
Tuesday I finally saw my doctor about my ankle, I figured I should get it checked out before my trip as it wasn't improving and wanted to make sure I was doing all I could do. I ended up needing an x-ray which turned what should've been a straightforward appointment into a somewhat complicated appointment. Thankfully it was a quick in and out for the  x-ray but I am kicking myself for not seeing my doctor earlier and walking around on a potientially broken ankle!
I also finished binging The Night Shift, I always find its bittersweet to finish a show you really enjoyed watching.
Then Wednesday until today I was over east and I have just gotten home and doing lots of self-care :)

Also for those wanting to know I did actually fracture my ankle but thankfully I just need to keep it strapped and stay off it as much as possible over the next few weeks along with seeing a physio. So its the best case of a worse case scenario.

Quite a few of this weeks Favourites are linked into to what I wore over east, I found myself needing a distraction from studying so what better way than to focus to what to wear to such an awesome occasion?

Now for Friday Favourites:
Esma flats in silver - I really wanted a new pair of shoes to wear for ReachOut's 20th celebrations. The dress code was neat casual so while I was thankful not to have to pack a dress and wear heels (especially as I had sprained my ankle 2 weeks prior!), I still wanted to look nice. For some reason I had it in my mind that I wanted super sparkly glittery flats preferably in silver and when I saw these online I was thrilled. Of course I find with flats I need to try them on (I have love/hate relationship with how flats fit) but thankfully when I tried them in the store they fitted perfectly. They were a great shoe to wear to the event and really glammed up my outfit (I wore black jeans, a nice top, dangly earrings and completed the look with glitter eyeshadow) a bonus is that they didn't take up much space in my luggage. Also for those wondering I did wear a pressure bandage with the flats to help my ankle and I had no issues.

Lush Knot-wraps - I got given a lush gift pack for Christmas and it was wrapped in a knot-wrap which I really liked and found myself using to add some extra colour into my wardrobe. With Winter coming up the bulk of my wardrobe is black and grey I figured I should buy a couple more to throw into rotation. I tend to use them to just add colour when I style my hair (I tie them round my ponytail) but there are so many uses for them. I ended up buying two limited edition ones, Psycheggdelic and April Showers  both of which are bright and fun.

Coin Drop Earrings in silver - dangly earrings really suite me I am told, so I have quite a collection which I wear regularly. These were an online impulse purchase one night and I really love them, they are quite long but really delicate and light. I can only wear sterling silver or gold due to a metal allergy so these earrings were a steal for the price and quality. I ended up wearing these for ReachOut's 20th celebrations and they complimented my silver flats perfectly.

Life Sentence - what if despite being told you were dying you weren't? This is Stella's (Pretty Little Liars Lucy Hale) life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer and living each day like it was her last she is cured of cancer (thanks to a new experimental medical treatment) and now has to face a future she never thought she would have. I'm really enjoying this show mainly because the concept has never been done before (though it does have a bit of a Chasing Life vibe) and it's a great new perspective on life. It's done by the creators of Scrubs (Bill Lawrence) so you know it's good and I'm interested to see where it goes.

Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink - I've struggled to find a long lasting matte lipstick that I like until now. Every matte lipstick is either too dry, doesn't stay on for long, or is impossible to put on without painting your face in the process. I was really hesitant to try this lipstick but I knew I needed a lipstick for over east that would go the distance so I wouldn't have to reapply every few hours, I took the plunge last Wednesday and bought a tube (I bought it in Dreamer which is nice neautral pink) and I'm impressed! I decided to put to the test last Thursday morning, I applied it at 8.00am, went to class, had a snack, drank water, had pasta for lunch and it still looked decent after lunch. I came home, had dinner (meat and salad) then went out for San Churros with friends and had ice cream, after all that it was minimal wear (just on the insides of my lips), it then came off with only a bit of scrubbing (micellar water really helped). I will say you need to let dry after you apply it and if you are like me who applies lip balm before lipstick to leave at least an hour before you put it on so the balm has time to sink into the lips.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

What I've been reading lately

I've been reading up a storm lately so rather than just share my thoughts on the books spread out in different posts I decided to one big post with 3 reviews. Two of the books are from authors I enjoy and one is a author that I was pleasantly surprised by.

A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor? Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was—a boy from her school—and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.
Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?
This Heart of Mine is a haunting, poignant tale about living and dying, surviving grief, guilt, and heartache, while discovering love and hope in the midst of sadness.

I really liked this book and couldn't believe I hadn't read anything else by the author before! The characters were likeable and the story was full of twists and turns. I liked Leah and found her to be brave but scared, she wasn't expecting this chance at life and while she wants to embrace it she is hesitant of what could happen in the future. I really felt sorry for Matt as he had been dealt some bad cards in life but at the same time he was trying to move forward while also dealing with these what if questions. The two characters together were an unexpected but loveable pair and I liked reading how their story grew throughout the book. This book also really advocated for organ donation and in this day it's not something people think about often so it was great to see a book covering this topic.

This Heart of Mine is available now where all books are sold.

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Foreman - the blurb reads:

A powerful story of empathy and friendship from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of If I Stay.Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs.
An emotionally cathartic story of losing love, finding love, and dis­covering the person you are meant to be, I Have Lost My Way is best­selling author Gayle Forman at her finest.

I read a lot of Gayle's books and really enjoyed them, so I had high hopes for this book and while it wasn't bad I just didn't enjoy it as much as I had enjoyed her prior books. The characters were likeable and each had their own personal struggles but this made the book hard to follow at times. I did like how diverse the characters were and how you could see a lot of different cultures along with how certain experiences shaped them. The story flowed nicely and I enjoyed how the story mostly took place over less than 24 hours with flashbacks added in to give depth. I did find that the book ended really abruptly and while this worked fine in If I Stay it didn't fit with the flow of this book and there needed to be an epilogue or another chapter to tie things together. If you liked Gayle's other books you will like this one but go into it with an open mind and be prepared to leave with questions.

I Have Lost My Way is out on March 27th.

Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter - the blurb reads:
After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiancee.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find.

Every book I read by Denise Hunter is amazing and this book was no exception! It was such a fun book to read and the story was beautifully written. I loved the characters and just adored Hope and her history and how much she valued Brady's friendship and was willing to step up and go beyond to help him. Brady was someone who owned up to mistakes and wasn't prepared to step down when the going got tough. These two really complimented each other despite their differences and challenging histories. The story was really enjoyable and just when I thought I knew it where it was going it took another turn. I also loved how Denise was able to incorporate characters from the other books in The Blue Ridge Romance series and make them a part of the story but without taking away anything from the main story As with all of Denise's books it's not a requirement to read the first 2 books in the series before this one, as all the books can be enjoyed as standalone stories and each focuses on a different pair of characters. This book is a great read and once you start reading it you won't be able to stop.

Honey Suckle Dreams is out May 1st and available to pre-order now.

Hopefully your to-read pile has just gotten a bit bigger and you've found some new books to read next.
***Please note that I was provided with an advanced ebook copy of each book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Five Friday Favourites

Yay for the weekend! I've officially handed in 3 assignments, many more to go! I actually have assignments due every week until my prac (minus the 2 weeks break) which means I've started the crazy part of my studies. Next week actually have 3 assignments due as I'm away the following week due to going over east to celebrate ReachOut's 20th, which is exciting! I couldn't miss it and I'm so thrilled to be going plus it's a Community Service organisation so I feel I should be able justify missing class to go. Thankfully my lecturers seem to agree with me as long as I get my assignments in on time.

Apart from study this week has just been crazy in general and I've been doing a bit of self care after a crazy (but fun!) church camp. I ended up running the quiz night (I did it last year as well) with only 3 days notice and no one could tell. I've been told that it's now my 'thing' to do for camp so bring on next years!

On Wednesday I managed to fall down the stairs on campus and sprain my right ankle, the stairwell is dim so I couldn't see a step and missed it then my ankle buckled (which I'm used to happening due to be double jointed) when I tried to regain my footing and I fell down 3 steps and landed on the ankle that buckled. I gave 2 of my classmates a scare and I thought I was fine but within a couple of hours my ankle had swelled and it was painful. I was complaining to my mum and sister about why did it happen to me and my sister said 'Don't you mean why didn't it happen to you sooner?!' such a sympathetic sister! I've put it in a pressure bandage and just trying to take it easy for the time being.
I ended up filling out an incident report form on campus, so I will see what happens with that but I doubt we will get better lighting in the stairwell anytime soon.

Moving onto Five Friday Favourites:

Pastel Rainbow Umbrella - did I need this umbrella? Not really but that didn't stop me from buying it last week.  I find the Smiggle umbrellas really hold up well and the colours on this one are so pretty! Its a bit metallic and sparkly to, so perfect to brighten up an outfit on a wet day :) you can also buy a plain rainbow one if pastels aren't your thing (I bought it last year and everyone loves it).

Wonder on DVD - I saw this movie in the theatres and it was so good! It's heart warming and the story is really well told, also the acting is beautiful in it. It's one of those that people of all ages and backgrounds could get something out of and really shows all sides to the story.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea eyeshadow palette vol. 2 - I was minding my own business last Monday when I got an email saying that Tarte had a buy one get on half price sale with free shipping sale for 6 hours only. So two of these palettes made it into my cart (one for me and one for a gift). I wanted a smallish palette that I could take when I head over to east in a couple of weeks and this one looks perfect, plus you don't need a primer for the shadows either which is great. The colours are also very versatile and there's a decent range for all skin tones.

Cat Bracelet: Shine - this is such a cute delicate bracelet and a fun way to show your love of cats. I've been eyeing this off for my sister (who wears mostly gold, I wear silver) for a while so when it came down to half price I grabbed it and the pictures don't do it justice.  It's perfect to wear anywhere and the charms on it are so cute!

Burden of Truth - I was pleasantly surprised when I started watching this show and despite the main character being a lawyer its in no way a legal drama. When big city lawyer, Joanna Hanley returns to her hometown to try and settle a case with a vaccine company and girls who are getting sick supposedly from the vaccine. She has no idea what she is in for and just how many girls are affected and that reason behind it is much bigger than just a vaccine. Once you start watching this series you won't be able to stop and I am interested to see where it goes!