The Auckland Bucket List ♥

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I grew up in Sydney, Australia, and although it would be silly to suggest that my childhood wasn’t jam-packed with memories of attending phenomenal concerts (my first one was Marilyn Manson, and no, I can’t believe that my parents allowed me to attend it with friends as a youngster, either! Mind you, they probably just heard the name and thought, “oh, MARILYN Manson? She sounds nice!”), splish-splashing at pristine beaches and seeing exceptional sights, I KNOW that I still didn’t scratch the full surface of its awesome.

Auckland? We mustn’t let this occur! I’ve put together a bucket list of activities to fulfil before I ever leave – if I ever leave, ha! – this city, and maybe it’s something that you could think about completing for your location, too?

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Marilyn Manson. PROBABLY not the image that my folks had in mind!

x Catch A Ferry To One Of The Islands

Did you know that you can board a boat to some pretty choice (that’s New Zealand slang for “excellent”!) islands from central Auckland? Waiheke, Rangitoto, Devonport… what could be finer than cruising along the harbour on a stunning summer’s day before hopping off, snapping gorgeous photographs and wandering through different terrain? Possibly only the next item on the list!

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x Gobble Metre-Long Pizza At Toto’s

It’s PIZZA. It’s a metre-long. Get out of my dreams and into my mouth, Toto’s!

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x Walk A Marathon

While I used to be the first person in a car to spot a group briskly strolling on a Saturday morning and think “goodness grief, what’s WRONG with you all?!”, I’ve definitely changed my tune. Can you picture how neat it would be to pace about in a sea of people, all sweaty and full of accomplishment afterwards?! Hand me one of those participant numbers Auckland, and let’s get our walk on!

x Say “G’Day!” To The Animals At The Zoo

I’m sure Charlie would adore the giraffes! (And if she doesn’t, this big kid will!)

x Grab A Drink At Men Of Steel

Ooh-er. So some might consider this tacky – it’s a ladies-only bar with male strippers – but I’ve heard from a few that it’s one of the funniest and most entertaining hotspots in town!

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 x Roll Dice At The Casino

I’ve never been into gambling and I’m not particularly fond of kissing my money goodbye, but I’d still like to roll dice at Auckland’s SkyCity Casino – word on the street is that it’s outstanding – just once!

x Feel The Sand Between My Toes At Piha Beach

It’s dazzling, isn’t it?

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x Tread Through The Domain

Featuring duck ponds, a museum and gardens aplenty, The Domain is Auckland’s oldest park and it has a view of the city centre to boot. Fabulous!

x Scoff Fish & Chips At Mission Bay

This seaside suburb is renowned for its tip-top version of a New Zealand culinary classic!

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x Watch A Movie With Charlie During Hoyts’ ‘Mums And Bubs’ Movie Sessions

Does anyone else find it weird that you can bring your baby to sit in on the latest The Conjuring horror movie with you?! WHOA. Anywho, they’re special sessions for, as the name suggest, crocodiles – no, mothers and their wee ones – to enjoy films together, and they’re only available in limited locations around the country. I’m in!

x Journey To Manukau Heads Lighthouse

There’s just something alluring about lighthouses, isn’t there? Is it that they’re the centre of a slew of spooky tales? Is it that I’ve tried to climb up a heap of them, only to find them perpetually locked?! Well… this one isn’t! In fact, it’s one of the few in New Zealand that is available to the public, so as soon as I can find a driving buddy, I’m extremely keen to make the trip to it!

Have you ticked off any of these? What could you aim to see in your neck of the woods? And, because I’m nosy… what was YOUR first concert?!

xoxo

What The Frock?! : 11/10/14 ♥

What’s ‘What The Frock’? Upon compiling feedback for Frock & Roll, the undisputed winner of the ‘What Would You Like To See More Of?’ competition was “style” photographs of what I was wearing. (Gosh, who would’ve thought?!) I find this both utterly astonishing and magnificently terrifying, particularly as I believe that I have roughly the same amount of fashion credibility as, say, a dish cloth. BUT! You ask, and I deliver!

What The Frock?! : 11/10/14 ♥

I couldn’t whistle if my well-being depended on it (blush), I’m not sure why Chingy raps I like them black, white, Puerto Rican, or Haitian/Like Japanese, Chinese, or even Asian” in Balla Baby (uh… aren’t Japanese and Chinese people Asian, Chingy?!) and I have NO IDEA why I resisted printed leggings for so long because holy lycra, they’re so criminally comfortable!

They’re the sartorial equivalent of peanut butter-filled chocolate, aren’t they? Learning of their creation, you raise your eyebrows and snicker “well THAT’LL never work!”, but then before you know it they’ve moved in next-door to your bread jeans and you’re baffled as to how you ever subsisted without them. (They’re almost-pants that feel like your most comfortable pair of tracksuit bottoms, but are socially acceptable. Could there be a bigger fashion triumph?!)

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Ha, check out my new friend in the green behind me. HI, lady!

What I’m Wearing:

x Printed leggings, Cotton On
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 Glassons knotted scarf, across-the-body bag (an essential when you’re wheeling a pram all over the city; who wants to battle with handbag straps?!) and tunic/dress (I think that’s what it’s meant to be for people who aren’t giants like me!)/top thing
x Studded bow ballet flats

And now… it’s filling time! I’m racing off to the dentist (with an infant, this shall be a joyous experiment!) to acquire two, because within the next week or so, I’ll be equipped with braces! I can’t WAIT.

xoxo

Bloggers Buying ‘Likes’ And Followers: Marvellous Marketing, Or Marvellously Misleading? ♥

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We’ve all been there.

Scrolling through social media, it’s easy to stagger across a blogger’s Twitter or Instagram account and murmur “oh. My. GOD, Becky, LOOK at her following. It is so big. I mean, her follower count… is just so big. I can’t believe she’s so… popular, it’s like, OUT THERE.”

Sorry! Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back just shuffled its way onto my iTunes, but in all seriousness… you’ve seen it, haven’t you? The bloggers with billions of backers. And while there’s prominent profiles that you’d never second-guess (“his photography is unreal; that’s why even Taylor Swift is following him!”), equally often you’ll spot successful pages reminiscent of this scene from The Simpsons and think “wait, what GIVES?!”

“Two hundred channels, and nothing but cats.” (So how come their ‘fan’ count rivals Beyoncé’s?!) 

It’s an issue more contentious than the WordPress vs. Blogger debate in the blogging community at the moment, and it’s while it’s not exactly a new practice, it certainly appears to be gaining traction: bloggers buying ‘likes’ and ‘followers’. The question is: is it an example of marvellous marketing, or is it marvellously misleading?

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Maybe she’s born with it worked for it… or maybe she’s paid the way!

Blogging is BOOMING. As Laura shared in The Bloggers Brunch Club group last week, “from August to September ‘14 the number of blog posts posted in one month globally jumped an INSANE 20,000,000. From 43,622,011 to 61,839,539.” Those are huge figures, and with sums continuing to soar, is it any wonder that bloggers are utilising methods to stand-out from the crowd?

Marvellous Marketing?

Brands are noticing numbers.

Catching a glimpse of the guest list at an event that she was attending, Megan of Thread NZ couldn’t help but observe that beside each invitee’s name was their Instagram follower count. One fashion blogger is reportedly commanding $5000 per Instagram post of a company’s products. Organisations WANT to work with the cream of the digital crop, so you can begin to understand the lure of purchasing advocates, can’t you? It can practically kickstart your career!

Interestingly, having a large entourage – paid or otherwise – more often than not generates genuine followers, too. “Why does this person have more subscribers than I’ve had hot dinners?!” You ponder, puzzled. Better click ‘follow’ and attempt to find out!”

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Marvellously Misleading?

While sponsoring supporters can appear seductive, it’s worth considering this: what’s impressive at a glance won’t necessarily transfer to your real-life statistics. What happens if a PR firm compensates you for supposedly having an online mob to match Lady Gaga’s, yet request to see your Google analytics and discover that only your Aunt Betsy and boyfriend have read your post on their latest lip gloss? Sky-rocketing statistics don’t always reflect a person’s influence.

Store-bought digits can be a sore point with your readers, as well. It’s one thing to promote an article on Facebook, but if your Twitter and Instagram base seems artificial, it might be asked “hmmm… what ELSE is artificial?”

It can evolve into a debate about ethics, too. If someone’s spruiking an e-course about how to become a “super blogger” – yet are reputed for boosting their world wide web weight with their credit card – how morally sound are they? And what about our blogger friends? If we’re portraying deceptive denominations, are we helping them to feel inferior about their potentially modest quantity? Are we projecting a false image to aspiring bloggers? There’s plenty of food for thought!

When does obtaining an audience become putting your best foot forward… or faking it?

xoxo

Thank Frock It’s Friday! ♥

If you’re clicking here for the first time, WELCOME! Every Friday we celebrate the fact that – ding, ding! – it’s Friday, and our favourite things (late-night noodle markets? Napkins?! Okay, it’s probably not the latter…) from the week that was. Here’s what I’m currently loving!

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x Brian ‘Head’ Welch’s Autobiography, Save Me From Myself - It’s a HECK of a story, so I’ll probably gab about it in further detail with you later, but in the meantime, picture this: you’re obscenely wealthy. There’s millions of dollars in your bank account, you have a six-figure swimming pool and you’re travelling all over the globe (India, Germany, Canada… if it’s on the map, you’re headed there!)… but despite all of this, you still can’t prevent the love of your life from leaving you.

“How could she walk away?” You think indignantly. “I’m a CELE-BRITY!” You are, but you don’t have long to dwell on your situation, because not only has your beloved – who has become a full-time drug addict in your touring absence – left you, but she’s also abandoned your daughter, and you’re now a single parent… while still a musician for one of the most famous groups in the world. Mind-boggling? This is only the beginning, and nothing compared to what happens next in your journey!

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Save Me From Myself  - Brian Welch’s best-selling book documenting his metamorphosis from a raging, strung-out rockstar to a sober solo father – is a GRIPPING read!

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x Bargain Burger Lunch Dates – “Meet me in the city for a sister lunch date!” My sister Caroline messaged me. (Is that not one of the greatest ways to start the day?!) “OKAY!” I enthusiastically replied, and before you know it, we were chowing down on bargain burgers and howling more than the hyenas from The Lion King in the way that you only can with a sibling!

x Infinite Possibilities - Do you remember that episode of Sex & The City where Carrie declares “the most amazing thing about living in a city like New York is that any night of the week, you can go to Paris”, as she skips into a French theatre? Alright, so nobody’s going to be confusing Auckland with New York anytime soon, but how outstanding is it that on any evening, you could visit a rowdy comedy club, sing at a Japanese karaoke bar, prance at a concert or gobble cuisine from any country that you desire? A prospect-filled urban lifestyle isn’t just what I crave, it’s what I need!

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x Other Little Things - Attending Auckland’s Diwali festival; homemade nachos (who said that budget dinners had to equate to boring?! Someone who’d forgotten the glory of nachos, that’s who!); reading Charlie bed-time stories; Buzzfeed’s article ‘59 Reasons Living In Sydney Ruins You For Life(it’s true!); opening my first it’s-just-me power bill and owing a total of $52 (C&C Music Factory’s Everybody Dance Now may or may not have been playing in my head as I read it!); kind, willing-to-help bus drivers; wacky dreams; and progress. If my Eftpos card could cry, it would have as I swiped it at the dentist’s on Wednesday, but on the bright side… I should be equipped with braces by Christmas! Short-term pain, long-term gain. Straightening my teeth is one of those things that I’ve been dreaming of but pussyfooting over FOREVER, but then it clicked to me: how could I teach Charlotte to pursue her goals if I wasn’t fulfilling them myself? What sort of mother would I be if I was encouraging her to love herself from the get-go, but not leading by example? The appointment needed to be made!

What have you seen? What have you done? How are you spending your second-to-last weekend of October 2014?

xoxo

Don’t Live The Same Year 75 Times And Call It A Life ♥

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If you thought accidentally plunging a knife into the toaster was shocking (oh, English muffins. When will we learn?!), try realising that there’s only seventy-six days left until the end of the year. Sitting there with your mouth hanging open? Me too! I’m also ruminating over Robin Sharma’s wisdom of:

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”

We all have commitments, so the LAST thing I’d ever do is hop up on my high horse and suggest that anyone is as dull as beige wallpaper for consistently turning up to their jobs (can you imagine it?! “Why weren’t you at work yesterday?” “Because some wang on the internet named Corrine told me to spend the day blowing bubbles at the beach!”), studies or waking up to feed your dog, but what could you do to distinguish tomorrow from today? How could this December be drastically different from your last December? What would you like to remember taking place at this age, or your next birthday?

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How about vowing to cavort with a new recipe once a week? Quitting an addiction? Facing a fear? (Did you know that Tuesday was International ‘Face Your Fears’ Day? Now’s as good a time as any!) Running a marathon? Inviting someone to lunch that you’d like to get to know better? Anything but living the same year over and over again and calling it a life!

xoxo

Thank Frock It’s Friday! ♥

If you’re clicking here for the first time, WELCOME! Every Friday we celebrate the fact that – ding, ding! – it’s Friday, and our favourite things (online shopping? Slugs?! Okay, it’s probably not the latter…) from the week that was. Here’s what I’m currently loving!

Sky Tower, Auckland, new Zealand
x Getting Acquainted With Auckland - Firstly, ooh it’s been a while since we’ve played the ‘Thank Frock It’s Friday‘ game, hasn’t it?! (Over a year, to be precise!) But now that I have a baby who sleeps for more than an hour (happy days!), an internet connection (always helpful!) and a heart that’s not being yanked out of my chest repeatedly (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the past twelve months were BRUTAL), it’s time to resume the match!

I adore Auckland. Sure, nothing is ever perfect in life (nothing!), but some days I waltz around with Charlotte honestly feeling as though we’ve won the lottery. You mean… we get to live here? We can be tourists EVERY DAY, because after living in Australia, everything is completely foreign to us? Whoa. How lucky are we?!

Albert Park, Auckland

Thinking “alright, I’m going to take this street, because I have NO idea where it leads to!” has directed us to some pretty special places. Isn’t Albert Park divine?!

Britomart Train Station, Auckland

Exploring Britomart Train Station (it is SO fancy; it reminded me of the Tube in London!) to meet one of my favourite people, Natasha.

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 Hi!

Be Someone Who Makes You Happy

x Self Sufficiency – I think I’ve admitted this to you before (what haven’t I told you?!), but until fairly recently, I’d never been single. My first relationship lasted for almost a decade, so I was terrified curious to see how I’d fare living not only in a new city, but on my own. “How does one go about setting up their electricity?!” I’d panic… until I had to do it!

x Other Little Things - Barilla dumplings (is it weird that I’ve been fantasising about them ever since I had them? Probably!); constantly meeting so many lovely, friendly, caring folk; my Auckland Aunts, Uncle and sister; Love And Death on repeat (if rock music floats your boat, I promise that you won’t find a finer recent musical offering than this band!); phoning noise control (I know… WHAT?! Grandma Corrine in the hooouse!) and wondering “hang on, since when did I become the caller, rather than the subject of the call?!”; booking a consultation for… braces! (Argh! It’s next Wednesday); peppermint hot chocolates; and finally, my angel Charlotte. (Nauseating, yes, but who could resist this tiny face?!)

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Happy, happy Friday to you! How was your week?

xoxo

E.L.F. (Eyes, Lips & Face? More Like Excellent, Low-Cost & FANTASTIC!) Cosmetics ♥

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Lipsticks for less than a latte? Top-tier foundations that you can purchase with a ten dollar note and – shock! – actually receive change from? Given that it wasn’t April Fool’s Day, I thought I was in the midst of a beauty mirage when I stumbled across e.l.f. (it’s an acronym for eyes, lips and face, but what it SHOULD stand for is excellent, low-cost and FANTASTIC!) Cosmetics, but no! These beauties are the real make-up deal, and unlike season four of Revenge (goodness grief, are you watching it? WHAT IS GOING ON?!), impeccable!

Since becoming a parent, I’ve become acutely aware of two things: a) that my laundry basket will never be empty again; and b) that it’s all on me to provide an incredible life for Charlie. I blabbed about it briefly on Instagram, but every day is a conscious decision: do I want to spend $30 a week on pizza (yes)… or put $30 a week away so that I could, say, take Charlie to Italy, and scoff pizza with her there? Do I want a glass of wine each day (again, YES!)… or to save as much as I can, so that eventually (eventually) I can buy a wee apartment for us to live in? Choices… so it’s out with the expensive (it’s been nice to know you, M.A.C), and in with the substitutes (hi, e.l.f… and water)!elfcosmeticsflawlessfinishfoundation
But here’s the clincher: you would never – and I say this as a lass who is VERY fussy about her make-up, because, you know, nobody likes being asked if they’re an extra from The Walking Dead – know that you were dabbling with a cheap” brand. I purchased the Studio Flawless Finish Foundation ($3!), liquid eyeliner ($1.99, what is this sorcery?!), brow kit ($3) and High Definition Powder ($6) and legitimately wondered why I hadn’t seen billboards all over the city proclaiming their perfection: they’re that good! (And have I mentioned that they’re cruelty free?) 

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Before

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After

Have you tested any of the e.l.f. Cosmetics range? If you haven’t, I’m sorry, because yes I have just sent you into an online shopping vortex, but at those price points, it doesn’t make cents (snap!) NOT to share the love!

xoxo