May ’17 Favourites!

WELLINGTON: I’ve loved Wellington since I started university in 2012 but actually living here is a totally different experience. I love being able to walk to work, to my friends’ flats, to my weekly pub quiz, to anywhere I need to go. I’ve been to some amazing places, but I’m convinced that Wellington is the best place in the world. Plus the suburb where I live is filled with cats, so I meet a new cat nearly everyday when I’m walking to and from work. I am so in love with this city.

NZ MUSIC MONTH: It’s now the end of NZ Music Month 2017 and I’m really stoked with how it’s forced me to be more productive with my youtube channel – this month I’ve posted 3 new covers and listened to more kiwi music than I have all year.

COFFEE: Lox bought me a keepcup for my birthday last year because he knows I’m a fan of passively helping the environment. I’ve just started using it this month and I love thinking about all the coffee cups I’ve already saved since using it (my new job is right across the road from a wicked coffee shop so it’s good I’m saving the environment, because I’m definitely not saving money).

MAKEUP: As a relatively frugal 20-something, I often do surveys and enter competitions because I love the thought that I might win something. I’ve never actually won anything though, until this month! Miranda of Slashed Beauty ran a giveaway to celebrate reaching 10k subscribers and (bless her) made it an international giveaway so I could actually enter – and I won!!! I didn’t realise at first because the email went straight to my spam folder – I guess gmail thought it seemed too good to be true – but I found it just in time (literally, I had 2 hours left to respond). It arrived the other day and I am so excited to play with everything I won.

LIFE: I’m been at my new job for a whole month now, which I can hardly believe, and I’m really enjoying it – I’m doing work that I support in a field that I’ve wanted to be for a while. That also means it’s been a month since I moved into my new flat which I also love. I’m feeling really content & settled right now, which is a combination of feelings I haven’t had for a long time. For the past few years, everything I’ve done has been tinged with the taste of temporary – uni, living at home, part time work, travelling overseas. Now I have both job & a home that I have no plans to leave and I’m relishing the feeling of being in one place for a while.

April ’17 Favourites!

Every month, a million different things seem to happen and April has been no different – I feel like I’ve fit an entire year into the past 30 days. As well as catching up with people I haven’t seen in forever, I’ve also managed to score both a flat (which I move into today!) and a job (which I start tomorrow!). This month was huge, and I get the feeling it won’t slow down any time soon.

EASTER: A couple of weeks ago, Lox and I drove up to Tauranga to spend Easter with his family. I was a little apprehensive about heading up because Cyclone Cook had recently hit NZ – there were extreme weather warnings throughout the North Island and lots of people were advocating for staying put. We ignored those warnings and I’m so please we did – the weather was absolutely beautiful and we had an amazing time. I’ve never really spent much time in Tauranga before and now I can definitely see why it’s such a summer hotspot. We spent Easter Sunday at the beach which felt like a wonderfully kiwi thing to do:

WELLINGTON: I have a confession to make – I’m not actually from Wellington. Most people have never heard of my hometown, Lower Hutt, so it’s easier to tell people I’m from the capital, plus I went to uni in Wellington and spend most of my time there anyway. But minus study abroad and my working holiday, I’ve actually lived in Lower Hutt my entire life. Ever since I started uni in 2012, I’ve wanted to move into town (I even wrote a blog post about it once), and today I finally am! I’m so excited to finally live in my favourite city in the world. Plus my new flat is a block away from one of my best friends, and I am so stoked at the thought of being a 2 minute walk to her house.

WORK: I was excited to return to NZ but I was also dreading the job hunting process. I don’t think anyone enjoys looking for a job and it didn’t help that everyone was saying that the job market in Wellington was pretty bleak. After countless interviews (really it was 10), a pretty cool company decided they liked me enough to hire me. I’m thrilled, but simultaneously I’m terrified. This is my first permanent, full-time job – I’ve had full-time jobs before but they were fixed-term, and my part-time jobs were during uni so they were never going to be forever. Despite my nerves, I’m so happy that I’ll be earning money again and actually working in the field that I want to be in. My coworkers seem very cool and the job itself is walking distance from the flat! Bless Wellington for being such a walkable city, and bless this month for giving me so many things to look forward to.

March ’17 Favourites

March has been a ridiculously full on month. I started the month skiing in Banff and now, more than 12 000 km later, I’m back in New Zealand. I’m happy to be home but I’m also exhausted because my body thinks I’m still in Pacific Time and I now need to find work and a place to live – fingers crossed that April will bring me some good news in that department. I feel like a years’ worth of things happened in March but here are some highlights:

VANCOUVER: Despite its reputation as being constantly rainy (which is mostly accurate), Vancouver had the most beautiful weather when we left. The clouds skirted away and the snow of the previous weeks melted, giving us the first blue sky and sunlit warmth we’d experienced in a long time. Our final day we had brunch out and then wandered the Granville Island market, Vancouver ensuring it was hard for us to say goodbye.

Photo 19-03-17, 9 49 19 AM

The view of Vancouver from Granville Island

NEW ZEALAND: Lox and my homecoming wasn’t nearly as lovely as I had hoped because Wellington saw literally the worst traffic ever on the morning of our return, so no one was waiting for us at the airport. Having been out of the country for a year, neither of us had a working cellphone so we spent the first 15 minutes of our arrival feeling very abandoned and very confused. Eventually, Lox connected to the airport wifi and my parents called him through Messenger, letting us know that the traffic meant they had moved only about 500m in the past 2 hours, so it was basically impossible for them to pick us up. Despite the lack of an emotional homecoming, it was so good being back in Windy Wellington, driving along the harbour, seeing our hills (somehow greener than anywhere else I’ve ever been), and now we have a story to tell about our return home. It’s been really great catching up with people who I haven’t seen in forever and I’m so happy to be back here (and I’m so happy to be drinking our tap water again wow).

MUSIC: I wasn’t sure if I liked Lorde’s new song when I first heard it. It’s so different from anything on Pure Heroine that it felt wrong. The song has grown on me and now I realised I do like it, it just doesn’t quite feel like a Lorde song. Despite my initial doubt about it, I fell absolutely in love with this cover of “Green Light”, I can’t stop listening to it:

TV: I am several years late to the party, but I have been loving “The Mindy Project”. It’s super refreshing watching a show where I actually relate to the protagonist – I see so much of myself in Mindy and her insecurities and I love it. I left Canada with about 6 episodes left of the most recent season, so I’m hoping kiwi Netflix will be a bro and get the rights to it soon.

CATS: No surprises here. I was so happy that Tom still loved me when I came back and I’ve spent the past week reminding him that, despite the awesome Airbnb cats I met, he’s my number one (I am aware that it’s weird to talk about your cat like that, but hey, I’ve never pretended I’m not weird about my cat):

Canada, I’ll miss you, but New Zealand, I’m so happy to be back.

February ’17 Favourites

LUCK: Right now we’re in Banff again, getting a few days skiing in before heading back to BC. Banff is continuing its trend of being the best place ever – after our first night, we went to the front desk at our hotel because our key card wasn’t working. Instead of replacing our card, they upgraded us to the “King Jacuzzi Fireplace Suite”. The biggest thing I’ve ever won is a free coffee from Tim Hortons and I have never ever been upgraded, so I am beyond stoked to have a fancy room for no extra cost. It also has a ridiculously beautiful view – when I look out the window, I’m greeted by mountain. I’m pretty sure Banff is the most beautiful place in the world, I don’t think I could love it more if I tried.

photo-28-02-17-9-21-05-am

The view from my hotel room

MUSIC: I know she’s been around for awhile, but I only just discovered dodie and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with her music. “Sick of Losing Soulmates” was the first song I heard and adored, but I think “When” is my absolute favourite. She’s already super popular but if you haven’t already heard of her, you should absolutely check her out because her music is lovely and heartfelt.

COFFEE: In Vancouver, I searched for the best coffee and thought I found it. But despite being my least favourite Canadian city, Toronto actually has the best coffee in Canada. Technically I discovered Fahrenheit coffee last month, but I did visit it again this month so I’m classifying it as a February favourite (plus it’s so unreasonably good, I really needed to mention it here at least once).

TRAVEL: I’ve been in three different countries this month (Canada, Iceland, and the Netherlands) and now I’m hyperaware of the fact that in less than 3 weeks I’ll be in New Zealand. It feels very strange knowing I’ll be home soon but also pretty welcome – Canada is cool, but wow do I miss my cat.

January ’17 Favourites

TRAVEL: This month I’ve been to five different Canadian provinces (ON, QC, NB, PE, NS) and I’ve now seen enough of Canada to decide on my favourite places in this country – Vancouver, Banff, and Montreal, in case you were wondering. Our Canadian road trip is going past rapidly – I can’t believe I have less than two months left here and I also can’t believe how much I’ve squeezed into this time.

FOOD: I was never really enamoured with Toronto until the other day we stopped for lunch at The Burgernator and I had possibly the best burger of my life. It felt spiritual, it was that good. It’s not a specifically veggie restaurant but I believe that their AK-Veggie 7 burger is the best thing anyone has ever eaten. Plus it turned out to be vegan, and I’m always stoked when vegan food outperforms its non-vegan counterparts.

photo-26-01-17-3-02-08-pm

#whatveganseat (even though I’m not vegan)

ORGANISATION: I bought this diary for 2017 and I love it enough that I left a public review about how much I love it. I really hate diaries that shove Saturday and Sunday into the same space – the weekend is when you’re more likely to have more things going on! This lays everything out evenly AND it comes with stickers that you can use to denote important days like birthdays, holidays, etc. This appeals to my inner 8 year so much and brings me back to my days of keeping a sticker book (the fuzzy dinosaur stickers were my absolute favourite).

MUSIC: The other day my friend and chief musical influencer Chloe told me to listen to this song and I’m so glad I did. It feels nostalgic even though I first heard it a week ago, with this understated strength pulsing throughout it. Give it a listen, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I am stunned to believe that 2017 is already 1/12 over – I feel like it only just started. January has been a pretty good month, and I’m hoping that will set the tone for the rest of the year.

2016 Favourites + A Reflection

I started 2016 like I start most years, with a list of goals and resolutions. I like to make these lists because I love lists and it makes me feel like I’ve got something to work towards. I’m pretty happy with where I ended up with my goals and resolutions for the year, so I wanted to do a quick reflection on those and my year as a whole:

PHOTOGRAPHY: I kept up my photo-a-day project pretty consistently – I just did a quick scan through and there are only 5 days that are completely blank. I definitely missed more than 5 so some of my entries are slight cheats, but I’m still really stoked with myself for more-or-less sticking to this goal. I’m hoping I’ll have enough money left to buy myself a proper camera before leaving Canada so I can (hopefully) keep improving.

photo-1-01-17-4-52-27-pm

July was the only full month that had selfys that didn’t make me cringe.

WRITING: Ehh, I’m still really out of the habit of creative writing. I kept up blog posts pretty well, but I specified to myself that they didn’t count. I started quite a few songs and did actually finish one – it’s only about 45 seconds long but it feels wrong to add anymore to it, so I’m still going to claim that I succeeded with that goal.

MUSIC: I finally did start doing more music with Lox – all up we posted 5 covers to Youtube, plus more that we didn’t record. My Youtube channel itself was an unwritten goal of mine too, so I’m really happy that I finally got brave enough to start sharing my covers online. In 2017 I’m wanting to post more songs (covers and originals!) when I reunite with my beloved piano.

LIFE: 2016 had a bunch of other achievements for me – I left home and moved to Canada, I got my first flat, I started my first full-time job, I stopped eating meat, I made new friends, and I learned that I can support myself. I also was reunited with two of my favourite people and saw more of both NZ and Canada than I ever imagined. Personally, it was actually a really great year for me, but on a global scale it was rough as hell, and I’m still a little concerned about what the long-term effects might be.

This year was another strange mix of wonderful and awful, and I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I am pretty damn pleased to see the back of 2016. 2017 is mostly unwritten for me – my only plan is that I leave Canada in March, and everything else is pretty uncertain. I am really looking forward to finding out what 2017 will bring.

Halloween ’16 Favourites

2016 is definitely the most I’ve ever celebrated Halloween. It’s just not a big deal in NZ – I’ve been trick-or-treating myself once, gave candy out to trick-or-treaters once, and dressed up maybe three times total. Canada is obviously a change of pace from NZ’s nbd attitude. This whole month I’ve been enthralled by pop-up halloween stores, the fact that people actually decorate their houses spookily, and the giant orange pumpkins everywhere. 

PUMPKIN CARVING: As I keep mentioning, pumpkins are not big and orange in NZ – they look like this and you hardly ever see them whole (you usually buy them pre-cut in halves). Also our seasons are flipped, so pumpkins in October is just not a thing. So it was definitely a novel experience when my friend invited me over to her place so we could carve pumpkins (and play rock band, which wasn’t festive but it was fun). I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I’m pretty proud with how it turned out!

Carved my first ever jack-o-lantern 🎃

A post shared by Clemmie (@seaalley) on


FRIGHT NIGHTS:
On Sunday night, Lox & I went to Playland for the third time (!) for Fright Nights. There were some rides open, as well as shows and haunted houses. We headed straight towards the wooden rollercoaster (I’m convinced it’s the best rollercoaster to ever exist) and then checked out some of the haunted houses. Prior to then, I had never been to a haunted house. Even though it was spookily ridiculous (backstory example here!), I was still super anxious and maybe screamed a few times. Being at a theme park at night was a pretty cool experience and kept giving me vibes à la the classic choose-your-own-adventure, Escape from the Carnival of Horrors.

photo-31-10-16-7-08-48-pm

ACTUAL HALLOWEEN: Oct 31 was our final night in Vancouver, so our house had a potluck dinner as a final hurrah. I only realised 20 minutes beforehand that we were supposed to be dressing up, so I attempted to make myself a spooky ventriloquist doll with just makeup. I felt okay with the result, and in all honesty, I was more dressed up than a lot of the kids that rang our doorbell (I was still so excited every time it rang because it was so novel to me – I cannot stress enough how little my hometown cares about halloween). We made a pavlova to show off a classic NZ dessert (all were duly impressed) and we ended the night by telling our still-awake flatmates about NZ’s history. I couldn’t have picked a more perfect way to spend my final night in Vancouver.

CATS (not spooky): I finally got to experience my first cat cafe and it was the greatest hour of my life. The cats were all super friendly and adorable, and the food on offer was pretty amazing too. It’s also satisfying going somewhere like this where the cats are up for adoption, so it’s not exploitative and it’s helping them find their forever homes!

Now October is finished, Lox & I are starting the next part of our adventure – road-tripping across Canada. November is going to see us through a lot of the country – I’ll keep you posted!