Camera testing at sunset

WHAT a sunset!

I took a trip up into the hills and to the zigzag path to watch the sunset with my lovely boyfriend, Michael.

Camera testing 3

Wish I was on that plane, going on a holiday!

We’re so lucky to live so close to such a peaceful spot and it was great just to sit back and take it all in.

I got to test out my new tripod and camera remote at the same time.

Camera testing

Oh, Michael!

(I’ll admit, it took me a while to figure out that the remote had to be pointed at the front of the camera for it to work.)

I’m really excited to get out and take some cool night photos soon!

Camera testing 1

Advertisements

What I’ve learned from six months of blogging

IT’S been a big six months!
When I first started this little spot on the internet, I had no idea how much I would love it.
While I put off starting this for months longer than I should have, I was really glad when I finally did.
It’s been a massive learning curve though! Here are some of the things I picked up on during the past six months.

What I've learned in six months of blogging | Extraordinary Days blog

It’s been a whirlwind ride!

Everything takes time:
From brainstorming ideas to writing posts, taking photos and putting posts together, blogging is a time-consuming process.
That doesn’t even take into account all the time you’ll spend on your blog’s Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin and Pinterest pages to promote your blog!
This is something I really didn’t expect when I started this blog. It’s a labour of love but it takes a while to put everything together!

You have to be organised:
It just won’t work if you aren’t.
I have to fit in a full-time job, about two and a half hours per day commuting, seeing friends and sleep. It can be done but it isn’t easy.
When I started writing this post I was on a plane, watching Captain America – you just learn to fit in blog activities with your schedule.
For example, I get my lovely family and friends to take outfit photos before events and I’ll take a range of photos in advance so they’re ready to use whenever I need them.

Other people are so inspiring:
There are so many people out there creating amazing content.
Whether they’ve been blogging for a few years or a few months, there are a lot of really cool people on the Internet!
Twitter and Bloglovin are the ways I use most to find new blogs. (Check out my Twitter feed here, I’m always retweeting awesome content from wicked bloggers I find!)

Don’t expect people to interact with your blog if you don’t do it with anyone else’s:
Your blog doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Unfortunately there are people out there that think just promoting their own content is enough – but interacting with others is an awesome part of the blogger community!
The best way to do this is read, read and read some more! And if you like what you’ve read, let the author know!
Joining a Twitter chat is also a great way to meet new people and bounce ideas off each other. Check out these great list of blog chats I found here and here – so useful!)
We’re all in this together!

Sponsored posts are a very fine line to tread:
While there are bloggers out there who can pull of doing a sponsored post (they’ve usually been doing it for a while and have a great reputation), it’s not for everyone.
I find it frustrating that so many new bloggers say yes to everything that gets sent to them.
Most of the time I have no idea if that’s what they actually think about a product or it’s what they want the company to read.
Building up a strong reputation first is important so people know they can trust you.

Some days you just don’t be feeling it:
Blog burnout is real.
There are times where you won’t want to even look at your computer screen, let alone create and promote posts. I went through a really stressful time last month (which helped me create this post about awesome ways to tackle stress)
On days like this, it’s OKAY to take a break, switch off for a day and do something you enjoy.
You’ll feel better in the long run and come back refreshed.

Have fun and do it because you love it:
There are a lot of people who give blogging a go and just don’t love it as much as others.
But for those who stick around, it’s because they absolutely love what they do.
It’s your little space on the Internet, do with it what you will!

I’m looking forward to another big six months!
I can’t thank you enough for reading this blog, whether you’ve been around from the start or whether this is your first visit.
Without you, this would be much more like shouting into the void and I love sharing my life and experiences in this way.

Do you have a blog? What have you learned? (Also, make sure to post a link to your blog so I can check it out!)

Time for tea!

OH HOW I love tea!
I’ve never been a coffee drinker and while until recently my morning beverage of choice was a Red Bull, I’ve always enjoyed a cuppa throughout the day, especially in the cooler weather.
But as I’ve been making the switch to finally having less caffeine (like I’ve been saying I would for years), tea has become an even better friend so I wanted to share my favourite brews with you.

Time for tea - my favourite blends | Extraordinary Days blog

Time for a cuppa!

T2 Melbourne Breakfast:

This English breakfast-type tea is my favourite to have with milk. It’s got hints of vanilla which gives it a really sweet taste. Predictably, it’s much better than T2’s Perth Breakfast, which is more like an earl grey. Perfect with morning or afternoon tea or after dinner if you’re not up to dessert. At the moment I’m using loose leaves with a T2 mesh ball.


Red Seal Relaxing Tea:

Red seal relaxing tea | Extraordinary Days blog

Great for nerves.

This caffeine-free herbal tea has been a massive lifesaver in recent times. I found it in a health food store while I was looking for something to help me de-stress! (For other excellent ways to calm down when things get rough, check out this other post I wrote.)

The tea has passion flower, strawberry leaf, valerian and, my personal favourite, catnip. I know valerian root tablets work for me when I’m having trouble sleeping so I think that’s the ingredient that has the biggest impact for me, but not so much that it makes me drowsy at work. I’d definitely recommend this one!


Twinings Herbal Infusions Pure Peppermint:

Twinings peppermint tea | Extraordinary Days blog

Fresh breath is a plus.

Lately I’ve been turning to peppermint tea after big meals as it’s supposed to help with digestion. This light Twinings blend also leaves me with a tingly mouth and fresh breath, bonus! No milk needed for this one.

 

Planet Organic Female Balance Herbal Tea:

Planet Organic Female Balance Tea | Extraordinary Days blog

Worth a try!

I picked up this tea when I was searching for something to help out with my skin, which was completely breaking out! I’m not sure of how much a difference this one makes but it’s worth a try if you’re searching for another way to help your skin. It has liquorice root, sage leaf, nettle leaf, chamomile flowers and lemongrass.

And with all this tea, you’re going to need some cute things to drink it out of!
This lovely Kikki K set was a birthday gift from two even lovelier friends of mine, Helen and Kerrie. (But you can get a similar set of your own here and here!)

Kikki K teapot and cup set | Extraordinary Days blog

Such a cute little set!

Kikki K tea cup set | Extraordinary Days blog

Live bright. Be you.

Sammy | Extraordinary Days blog

My little photoshoot helper, Sammy.

Are you a tea fan? What are your favourite types?

 

What to do when you’re completely stressed out!

What to do when you're completely stressed out | Extraordinary Days blog

STRESS. It comes and goes but some times are worse than others.
When I mentioned that April had been a really crazy month for me in this post,  I was describing it lightly.
There were some intense problems at work and I took on some extra freelance writing as well and it was way too much!
Why I thought I could fit in hours of extra work on top of my full-time job, commuting for almost three hours each day and keeping this blog going, I have no idea.
I was exhausted, more stressed than I’ve ever been, irritable, unable to enjoy anything and I couldn’t make any headway in my work.
Luckily, things have calmed down a lot more now. At the very least it was a great learning experience and I am now more familiar with what my limits are.
But how do you know when you’re at that point?

I’m not an expert but these are some of the things I picked up on:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Constant worrying
  • Feeling tense, or having lots of pent-up energy
  • Feeling guilty about time spend relaxing or not working
  • Irritability or feeling constantly close to tears


How to fix it:

  • Make a list of what’s bothering you and possible solutions. This may help you figure out what problems you can tackle first and which ones will require more work to solve.
  • Sleep more. You’re never your best self when you’re tired so getting some shut eye might help you keep calm.
  • Eat healthy meals and eat enough. Look, I’m not the healthiest person but I know I get agitated when I’m hungry so making sure you eat is important. Making it something healthy is going to help because you need good fuel to run that body of yours.
  • Up your vitamin intake. To help counteract all the stress you’re is dealing with, vitamin B can be a great stress-reliever and echinacea, garlic, zinc and vitamin C will increase your immune system’s ability to cope with any bugs.

    What to do when you're completely stressed out | Extraordinary Days blog

    Vitamin B and echinacea, garlic, zinc and vitamin C.

  • Talk it over with someone you trust. Sharing what you’re going through with someone you can rely on can help you get your head around what’s bothering you and they may be able to help you brainstorm ideas for ways to help. At the very least, it will get it off your chest. A problem shared is a problem halved, right?
  • Get moving. I absolutely cannot recommend this more. When I’m feeling wound up and anxious, getting rid of that excess adrenaline makes a huge difference. It can be as simple as a brisk walk around the block. I’ve also started walking regularly  and I feel so much better for it.
  • Try a herbal remedy. Okay, part of me doesn’t want to believe that herbs and flowers can help calm you down, but it’s worked for me. Valerian root can help you sleep (but may cause nightmares in some people, just as a heads up) and I found it in a tea that really helped calm me down. Rescue Remedy has been a staple in my purse for years and lately I’ve also been using Brauer Calm tablets (a homeopathic remedy for stress) and Tinderbox lavender balm (which is a calming, soothing scent and Tinderbox is a Western Australian-made brand, too!). Whether the placebo effect has made a difference in my case remains to be seen, but I figured that if it could help, I was going to give it as try.
Natural stress relievers | Extraordinary Days blog

Rescue Remedy spray, Brauer Calm tablets and Tinderbox Lavender Balm.

  • Try yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. Focussing on your breath can assist in calming the mind and stretching can get rid of any tension you’ve built up in your muscle. I wrote another post about how yoga apps are totally awesome!
  • Get colouring. It’s not just for kids any more! Heaps of adults are now spending their down-time colouring in. My lovely friend Lisha gave me Creative Therapy – an anti-stress colouring book for my birthday and it’s great! The monotonous activity is surprisingly soothing.

    Colouring books for adults | Extraordinary Days

    This is a great way to spend some time out!

  • Allow yourself some time every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes, to do something you enjoy. This can be as easy as reading a book, looking at cat videos or painting your nails.
  • Take regular breaks. I wrote another post about why it’s so important to take your lunch break. You deserve it!
  • Get some help from the experts. If you’re in a rough spot and really struggling, talking to your GP or another mental health professional about what you’re going through, or getting some more information from places like beyondblue or Lifeline should be your next step.

Hopefully with these tips you can help get rid of some of the tension in your life.
What are your go-to ways to relieve stress? Let me know in the comments!

Sneaker heels and aviator sunglasses

A FEW years ago I would have said these shoes were hideous and impractical, but somehow they’ve won me over.
I wore this outfit on my birthday on the 16th – how was that already over a week ago?
This month has been insane and has gone so quickly.
It was the first time I wasn’t able to get the day off on my birthday but I am lucky enough to have lovely colleagues who made my day great!

Sneaker heels, sparkly top and aviator sunglasses | Extraordinary Days

Just caught the last of the sunshine!

I picked up the sneaker heels in Valley Girl on one of my last trips to Melbourne and they fast became my favourite shoes to travel in.
I like the relaxed vibe they give to this outfit and I know they’ll give my boots a run for their money this winter.

Sneaker heels, sparkly top and aviator sunglasses | Extraordinary Days

The perfect outfit for a lazy day running errands or going to lunch.

And how great are the glasses?! I’ve been eyeing off reflective sunnies for ages but I just can’t pull off the completely round frames that every off-duty model seems to be sporting these days.
So when I spotted this aviator-style pair in Cotton On (during a strictly guilt-free birthday shopping trip on my birthday) I knew I needed them in my life!
These Jay Jays jeans are good, sturdy staples that have lasted for ages even though they were cheap.
When it comes to jeans I’m really not fussy – I’ve worn more expensive ones and they give just the same as cheap version.

Sneaker heels, sparkly top and aviator sunglasses | Extraordinary Days

These heels are surprisingly comfortable.

I picked up the top from a clothes swap event so I have no idea what brand it is! I love how it’s light and the shape the cuffed sleeves gives it.
On my wrist is my Fitbit – a lovely birthday gift from Michael – and it’s helping me keep track of all the running around I do. With a shirt this shiny I really didn’t feel the need for any more jewellery.
The lipstick is MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus – it’s such an awesome shade of pink! (Watch this space for a separate review of it soon.)
And last but not least, a simple black bag brings the whole thing together!

Sneaker heels, sparkly top and aviator sunglasses | Extraordinary Days

This lipstick is MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus.

What do you think of sneaker heels? Would you give them a try?

Phillip Island part two: The Nobbies | photos

AS PART of my trip to Phillip Island a few weeks ago, we took a headed out to The Nobbies.
The coastal area is at the western tip of the island and showcases some magnificent views.
It’s also an important breeding area for many species of birds and, out to sea, there is a rocky outcrop called Seal Rocks, which is a breeding and nursery area for Australia’s biggest fur seal colony, which is estimated to have more than 10,000 members!

The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Melbourne, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Breathtaking!

The area was absolutely beautiful and the day ended up being quite warm despite the cool sea breeze. I really can’t get over the colours of the mosses and grasses that cover the rocks!
The walkways were really well-maintained and it was lovely to stroll around.

The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Melbourne, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Melbourne, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Melbourne, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Melbourne, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Melbourne, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Melbourne, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Melbourne, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

My lovely tour guides, Justin and Kelsey!

I really want to head back to Phillip Island one day and take this all in again.

Koalas and mazes on Phillip Island | photos

LAST weekend I was lucky enough to be in Melbourne for the second time so far this year!
My friends Kelsey and Justin live there and they always show me a good time.
This trip was no exception, with a day trip to beautiful Phillip Island!
The island is best known for its adorable animal inhabitants: penguins, koalas and seals.

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Look at that cute face!

Every evening, thousands of Little Penguins cross the beach to return to their burrows on land after a long day in the sea spent searching for food.
The island is home a colony of more than 32,000 of the tiny creatures!
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stay until after sunset to watch them come in but I will definitely make sure to do this next time!
We arrived at the island earlier in the day after about a two-hour drive from Melbourne and checked out A Maze ‘N Things – a sort of theme park.
The centre had awesome optical illusions, puzzles, mini golf and yes, as you could probably guess from the name, a giant maze.

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

The man is not the size you think he is.

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Spooooooky!

This only shows a small section of the maze!

This only shows a small section of the maze!

Next stop was the Koala Sanctuary!
I know a lot of nature places say you’ll get ‘up close and personal’ with the animals but this was really true for this spot.
We came across one koala, high up in a tree, growling louder than I would have ever thought possible from such a lazy animal.
At one point we were almost within touching distance of their fluffy, fluffy fur!
They’re just really relaxed animals and I love how much work this centre puts into teaching people about them and preserving their species.


Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

Travel to Phillip Island, Victoria | Extraordinary Days

This one was too tired to even climb up into a tree!

All in all it was an incredible day!
I hope I can get back there one day soon and see the penguins cross the beach!
Did you catch my travel diary from my previous trip? Check it out here.