holiday

Seas the Day with P&O

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Ahoy! I have returned back on shore with sea legs and a full belly after seeing some of the ‘Secrets of the South‘. Last week, I spent 8 nights onboard the newly launched Pacific Eden which sailed from Sydney to Kangaroo Island and back. To give you a little idea of what a day in the life of a cruise-ling is like, I present to you a 48 hour recap that consists of one port day and one sea day.

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Port Day

0700 – Breakfast at The Pantry: The Pantry is the closest thing to a buffet that you will get on the Pacific Eden. Gone are the days of sticky salad tongs and soda dispensers. Instead, the citrus coloured interiors are divided into cuisines and everything is served by cruise staff. If you want quick food without the hassle of waiting for a 3 course meal, The Pantry is the place to go. My favourite sections were the salad bar and the dessert bar 🙂

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0800 – Shore Tour: A port day means that the liner docks for a whole day  (usually around 7am -5pm) and you’re free to roam the place as long as you get the last tender back to the boat. This particular boat docked at Eden, Mornington Peninsula, Portland and Kangaroo Island. I squeezed in a couple of shoots at these places so I can’t wait to show you more beautiful photos in the coming weeks.

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1900 – Dinner at Waterfront: As the name suggests, this is the restaurant with views of the ocean. Serving up ‘Modern Australian’, Waterfront was my favourite dining option that didn’t come with a cover charge because the menu changed every night, the staff were wonderfully enthusiastic and the decor was stunning. There’s three courses for lunch and dinner plus an extra sharing platter for the evening that is another meal in itself!

2000 – Pre Show Drinks: The drinks on the Pacific Eden were flowing every hour of the day and there are plenty of bars all around. Keep your wallet at home – all you need is your cruise card and everything purchased is put on your tab.

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2045 – Velvet Rope at the Marquee: There was live entertainment on most nights but the Velvet Rope was my favourite because it coincided with The Great Gatsby party. Expect lots of singing, dancing and beautiful costumes – all delightfully tied up in a neat 45 minutehigh action show.

2230 – Late Night Movie: If you’re still not ready for bed you can always head over to the Torquay to catch the last movie of the day. Some of our options included Jurassic World, Kingsman, Gone Girl, Age of Adeline and Fantastic Four.

Sea Day

0800 – Morning Dip: Sea days are the perfect opportunity to test out all the amenities starting with a swim in the many pools available.

0900 – Breakfast at Waterfront: Then its time to have a long breakfast complete with all the juices, pastries and sweet and savoury breakfast options in the world.

1000 – Zumba in the Dome: With all the 3 course meals you’re consuming, this is a great morning workout to do. Can you still pull a one leg stretch with sea legs?

1130 – Hair Appointment at Elemis Spa: The Elemis Spa has a a huge variety of services available including massages, fire and ice manicures or even a chop and colour which is what I had done!

1300 – Lunch at Angelos: Aside from the Waterfront, there are two other restaurants that are included in your ticket. Angelo’s does Italian and Dragon Lady does Pan-Asian.

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1400 – Silver Screen: Breakfast at Tiffany’s: There’s always a classic flick on in the afternoon. I’ve been meaning to watch this Audrey Hepburn film for the longest time so this long sea day was perfect for that!

1530 – Gym: Get your body ready for dinner ha!

1730 – Spa: There’s an outdoor jacuzzi for those who don’t mind the natural elements but if you want to spoil yourself, try the Elemis spa rooms. There’s a wet and dry steam room, a jacuzzi and my personal favourite, the heated ceramic beds which dry your wet swimmers.

1900 – Dinner at Luke Magnan Salt Grill: Salt Grill comes with a $49 cover charge but its still a price that can’t be beaten if you were to experience his food in one of his physical land stores. The French and Chinese fusion inspired menu is presented in a simplistic way that still packs an incredible punch of flavour.

2145 – Comedy: A bit of cheeky fun for all the adults on board.

223o – Bianco White Party at the Dome: There are a ton of parties on board and there’s a great atmosphere created when everyone gets involved in the theme. Our cruise had a sail alway, a back to school party, a gatsby night, a bianco white party and a las vegas pool party.

2359 – Midnight Snack and Zzzzz: Your stewardess makes your bed twice a day which is service that I have never experienced. They will first make your bed in the morning and then whilst you’re having dinner, they get it ready for the evening by dimming the lights, placing a tray of midnight snacks on the bed and twisting your towels into animals. You will feel incredibly spoiled and taken care of for sure!

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Post created in collaboration with P&O Cruises

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SS Brunch with Uzuri

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I have returned from my holiday with plenty of beautiful things to share with you including the first SS Brunch of 2016. I want to introduce to you Magdel and Emre who are the founders of Uzuri, a newly launched brand that hails from the beautiful and graceful country that is Africa. They have a wonderful vision to clothe the inner dreamer, seeker and scholar and their SS16 Capsule Collection consists of timeless and elegant staples including The Moja which is a 100% leather sandal that has been locally sourced and crafted in Africa. I hope you enjoy this SS Brunch and feel inspired to tread lightly and kindly.

What makes Uzuri African?

Our leather and fabric are sourced locally and the craftsmen with whom we partner are all South African. We aim to design first and foremost for the women of Africa. Women of different ages, races and cultures – all embracing their heritage, inspiring generations to come, seeking beauty, living boldly but also seeking qualify and functionality.

Uzuri means beauty and grace. Do you have any muses that embody these two words?

We were both raised by strong and independent women, we have the privilege of being surrounded by incredible sisters and friends who are passionate about life, who are true to themselves, who pursue their dreams fearlessly. Ladies who live their lives with intent + walk in truth, in grace, in beauty. These are the women that inspire us, the women we want to dress.

What are some of the steps implemented so that your final product is ethical and fair?

We believe in buying local, even if the result is a slight increase in prices, and in  partnering with our South African craftsmen and ladies. We are involved in every single detail. Sourcing, meeting with our craftsmen / ladies, designing + the final quality control – we ensure that all the people in the production chain is honored and fairly compensated for their contribution. Uzuri is a vision that stretches further and wider than clothes + shoes. We love our country and we want to build + dream alongside contributors to continuously invest in + grow this multifaceted country of ours.

Tell me about your creative process, is there a certain time you work, a candle you burn, a beverage that you consume?

We have both been working full time until the end of 2015, so the dream of Uzuri was pursued over weekends, late nights + early mornings. We have been drinking numerous cups of tea + dreaming of a brand that is true + bold + ethical since 1999, when we first became friends in grade 8.

What are you goals for Uzuri in 2016?

Uzuri is still in its baby shoes. We want to continue building a brand without compromises- growing holistically but remaining faithful to the childhood dream. Our aim has always been to rather deliver an ethical product, that embodies beauty and quality, than delivering a bigger, more mainstream, but less ‘hands-on’, range. Of course this has its own challenges, especially in a growing market – the effect being that Uzuri ranges are always limited editions. Moreover we will continue to follow our hearts, work hard, and shine a light on the beauty that Africa has to offer.

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The Moja in Nude Leather  (c/o)

If you want to learn more about Uzuri’s vision as well as visit their newly launched website, click here.  signoff2

Topdeck NZ Northern Explorer

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When I was initially researching this trip, I looked high and low for a review about this specific Topdeck tour but I couldn’t find anything that answered all my questions and was also recently published. Now that it has been almost a month since my return, I wanted to create a post for anyone who is looking to do the Northern Explorer tour in the future. I will be covering accommodation, food, attractions and the people 🙂

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I booked my tour a few months in advance with STA travel but you can also book online directly through Topdeck’s own website. I would definitely recommend doing it in person through an agent because you can ask as many questions as you please, the price is exactly the same and you don’t have to pay the whole trip up front, only a small deposit. If you don’t want the hassle of booking flights and buying insurance separately, STA are happy to hook you up as well but if you want to save some money you can grab those through Webjet which is what I did.

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Accommodation

My friend and I went together so we upgraded to twin share which was an extra hundred each. This was a really great decision on our part because our room was always much nicer and we would always have access to our own private bathrooms and amenities. I think the accommodation was fantastic in terms of variety, as you can see we stayed in a ski resort, a Maori Marae (which is the sacred meeting place) and also a small boat!

These are all the places we stayed at:

  • Pre-Accommodation at Travelodge Hotel, Wellington
  • Skotel Alpine Resort, Mount Ruapehu
  • Maori Marae, Rotorua
  • Sudima, Rotorua
  • Rock the Boat, Bay of Islands
  • Tanoa Paihia Hotel, Tanoa

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Rotorua Museum of History & Art

Attractions

I paid for three optional extras: Hobbiton, Hell’s Gate mud spa and Rock the Boat. There is a ton of other cool things that you can also participate in such as white water rafting, zorbing, inflatable kayaking and bungee jumping.

Hobbiton: to read more about my Hobbiton experience, you can visit my first New Zealand post here.

Hell’s Gate: was a nice experience after having skipped way too many showers on this trip! We spent an hour in the hot mud and springs where our noses accommodated to the sulphurous scent of Rotorua.

Rock the Boat: this was my favourite part of our entire trip! For 22 hours we went on a tiny little boat and saw all 144 islands with a very enthusiastic local crew. There was a paint balling introduction, fishing for dinner followed by night kayaking which was breathtaking. We paddled out at 10pm and the water was filled with phosphorous algae so when we dipped our paddle or arm in the water, a beautiful trail of glow in the dark algae moved along with us. We also lay in our kayaks and looked up at the glowing night sky and it was quite magical 🙂 After kayaking, the brave kids jumped in for a swim. It was cold but so worth it because as we swam, the algae continued to glow and everyone felt like a mermaid. Once all warmth had escaped our bodies we jumped back out and sat by the fire. The next morning we went snorkelling and hiked up a lush island barefoot. I don’t think I’ve ever had that many adventures in under 24 hours!

The activities that were already included in our tour were just as great and the night at the Marae was my favourite. Some of the things included a hike in Tongariro which you can read more about in my previous post here, a rugby lesson at the NZ Sports Academy and a night learning about Maori culture including the haka and poi dances at the Marae.

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If you choose not to participate in an activity you have the option of exploring the city yourself. None of the activities are affiliated with Topdeck so you can do as little or as much as you would like. Here’s a snap of me ‘skydiving’ and another of my friend bungee jumping.

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Te Papa Museum

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Food

Breakfast is included every morning at the location of the accommodation for the previous night. We had a combination of cold and hot breakfasts and three dinners were included. Lunch was always up to us and we were given the opportunity to go to grocery stores and stock up on water and snacks if we were heading somewhere remote.

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People

For the trip we had a tour leader, a driver and an extra person who did both jobs whenever the main people were tired. No tipping is required and they were all very helpful. Most of the the other travellers were Australian like myself but around 30% were from overseas. We had a big group of almost 40 including people from the UK, US, Germany, France and Switzerland. The best way to describe the environment would be like a big school camping trip. I know tours like these have a reputation for being party tours but I think it usually depends on the group itself. This was a bit of a quiet group so there was no pressure to drink if you didn’t want to and the places we travelled to lacked night life so there wasn’t much on offer in terms of after hours entertainment.

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Waiotapu Geothermal

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Overall, Topdeck tours are very fast paced adventure packed trips. If you want to see lots of scenery, I wouldn’t recommend going on one because we were only allowed 10 to 30 minutes tops at some scenic lookouts. However, they are very well organised so you don’t have to do much thinking aside from getting to the bus on time.

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Huka Falls

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I never have much use for souvenirs so I only bought one thing for myself – a kiwi charm (only available to purchase in New Zealand) to finish off my pandora bracelet for 2015.

Hopefully this whopper of a post was helpful for some people. If you have any questions in general about Topdeck tours or more specific ones about the northern explorer I would be happy to answer them in the comments below. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with a fashion post on Friday! Lets hope this weather clears up a bit too eh?!!

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SSCHRISSY

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dress /  flats / laptop case

In an ideal christmas wonderland, I would be able to create 24 days worth of content (an SS advent calendar type thing if you will) to ring in my favourite holiday of the year. Unfortunately, time and lack of wifi for the first third of this month got the better of me so with 10 days left until the big fellow be creepin’ I have created a smorgasbord of festive things that will make you say oh oh oh. Oops I mean ho ho ho! Read on to see what I have been up to in terms of decking the halls and how you can give your house that Rockefeller treatment even if you are experiencing 30 degree plus heatwaves on a weekly basis.

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NETFLIX & HEAT

I.e. stay horizontal to the ground as you wait for the thunderstorms to roll in and signify the end of yet another 30 degree Sydney day. All the Home Alones are always a classic, Love Actually, Elf and Santa Clause are viewed with greater enthusiasm each year and any Christmas themed television episode is always a delight. I watched Christmas Eve on the weekend which is a 2015 film – very realistic but not the greatest. Vlogamas has also become quite a tradition my favourites being: Zoella, Rachel Jade Annear (Australian), Aspyn + Parker & the Sacconejolys. If you want to feel like a Christmas Grinch, go watch these people. Do it in style with a marble laptop vinyl like mine from CaseApp and get 20% off your next order with the code SMORGASBORDCASE20. 

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BAKE IT OFF

Make like T-Swizzle and have a baking day with your squad. Listen to Christmas albums with some JB on the side because as much as we love to hate the Biebs, we all love Purpose. Was our icing intentionally crafted to look like snow or was it purely an accident? Only you and your friends will know this delicious secret that you will take to the snapchat grave. Great bonding sessions guaranteed. NB: No gummy bears were hurt in the process of building our gingerbread mansion despite the fact that they do look like they are falling off the roof.

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MONOGRAMMING IS SO 2015

Personalise your tree with print outs of photographs from the year. If you could do this on a 2 metre pine, it would be the perfect conversation stater piece slash subtle bragging ensemble. Oh yeah .. this quick snap was from the Maldives in early Jan and ah I look so tan here from my 2 week Greek Island escape.

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golden wonder bath bomb

TREAT YO SELF

As important as giving and receiving is blah blah blah … you know whats the most important? When the giver and receiver is both yourself. Yeah that’s right hun, you go and spoil yourself silly this silly season. A nice long bath away from all your responsibilities and to treat those paper cuts from over wrapping is a start. Lush knows whats up with the Merry Christmas gift set filled with their most popular Christmas treats: Cinders Bath Bomb, Golden Wonder Bath Bomb, Lord Misrule Bath Bomb, Father Christmas Bath Bomb and Dashing Santa Bath Bomb . If you’re feeling generous, I guess you could give them to friends and family too. Look at those smart cookies, saving you from doing any wrapping.

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Products featured c/o Pocket Prints / Lush / CaseApp 

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @stylesmorgasbord for all the latest #sschrissy updates and I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season! 

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Jet Lag is for Amateurs

jetlag2A couple of weeks ago I booked my first trip overseas by myself! It was terrifying seeing all this money leave my bank account at once. I’m going to New Zealand’s Northern Island so basically still in the vicinity of Australia because hey, baby steps! I have put together a small list of essentials for an action packed holiday. They are in no way the only things you need but just a couple of cute pieces I have been eyeing. How pretty are all this blues and neutrals together? I’m so excited for this new adventure and as always, I will keep you guys updated because I hear the Top Deck tour buses come with wifi 🙂

Carry All: Herschel’s Little America Bags seem to be the best kind of bag on the market for the person who must pack everything and anything AKA me. Fancy tops: I know I know, it’s so hard to be presentable on holidays but don’t forget to pack a few dressy tops for nights out! Choose ones made of light weight fabric and are a cinch to squeeze into your suitcase without needing any of that pesky ironing. Love the crochet cut out one and the tulle makes me sa-woon! Hats: are the lazy girl’s solution to hair problems on holidays. Hide that third day hair with a felt hat in a pastel shade or this season’s favourite, the wide boater. Footwear: If you’re not comfortable, then you’re not a happy camper. Comfort comes from the sole (HA!) and these are all penguin approved! Wallet: I have a deeply irrational but also very sensible fear that I will lose things. For peace of mind, I think travel wallets are the way to go. Kikki K and Typo carry the cutest ones with plenty of space for tickets, boarding passes, itineraries, visas, passports and foreign currency.

Little America Hemp Backpack / Little America Chambray Crosshatch Backpack

Crochet Long Sleeve / Chiffon Top

Hannah Mid Brim Fedora / Riviera Wide Brim Boater

Leather Inject Boots  / Nike Rosherun

Perforate Leather Travel Document Wallet / Hudson travel wallet

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Entertainment By The Sea

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The Way We Were // Entertainment by the Sea // Like a transplanted English seaside resort, Coogee Beach attracted large crowds of day-trippers pouring in by tram to enjoy a variety of entertainments, the stone wall promenade, separate swimming baths for men and women and netted enclosure for beach swimming.

I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of the beach even when its not the summertime. In some respects, the cloudier skies and stronger winds makes for an ever better Bondi to Coogee walk or in my case Coogee to Bondi crawl. We took our time on a fine Sunday, grabbing acai bowls from The Courtyard first for some pre strolling fuel before setting off at about 12 pm and making sure to stop and rest at all the beaches in between: Clovelly, Bronte and Tamarama. There are about 7000 beaches in Australia alone but for anyone visiting, this 6km walk will let you see five.

When I was in Santa Monica, California a few years back, I bought the cutest little trinkets from the boardwalk; little thong key rings filled with Cali sand. When I first heard about Little Pieces Of, I fell in love with the similarly designed concept too; pea sized glass bubbles filled with sand from your favourite beaches! You can even send your own collected sand to the amazingly multi talented artist: Katie Shriner and she’ll custom make you a necklace. It’s the perfect summertime momento – I know of a bride who had the sand she stood on for her wedding ceremony turned into a necklace too – how precious is that? Go have a stalk of the Online store, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

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The Storm Before The Calm

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Have you ever been to the beach and then had to promptly leave again? I have, many times including this time when we thought to head down to the beach for a pre dinner stroll. It had started to rain, the wind was really ripping it and when there’s wind, there’s sand tornado-ing around you. If you’ve never experienced it, be thankful. Sand, after all is made up of granules of rock and minerals so when its windy its kind of like nature is throwing rocks at you and its not pretty.

Nonetheless, my poor camera lens braved possible scratching and I managed to get in several pictures of my Endless Summer Blouse from  Lil Muse Boutique. The crochet detailing is really fine and although I wore shorts, its long enough to double as a dress. It also looks quite lovely off the shoulder!

After we left and hung around the predictable nature of the swimming pool, the sky decided to clear up again and the storm was over. Everything was calm once again. Still but not eerie. I’ll take it.

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// Top – c/o of Lil Muse Boutique: Endless Summer Blouse / Shorts – Vintage Replay Cutoffs //

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Pineapple Princess Tiki

villa1I just got back from a small little getaway and now I have a tropical little post to share with you! I stayed in a lovely villa that was super close to the beach and the pool and I spent my days swimming, watching movies and eating too much. Sometimes the best holidays don’t require a passport and thousands of pictures captured on film, they’re just about disconnecting, appreciating that everywhere you walk is a palm tree, watching Nickelodeon in your bathrobe and sitting in foot spas and steam rooms all day long.

That being said, I did get a few photographs of my stay including this cute little number. I’ve been on the hunt for something in a pineapple print and I’ve been on the hunt for a kimono since last summer so when I saw this one I knew I had to have it! Kimonos are the epitome of a summer vacation because they’re perfect as a beach cover up and so easy and breezy. I like wearing mine with denim cut offs and tank tops so the bright print can be the focus of the outfit.

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