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Four Fall Pastels

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As much as I love prints and patterns, I also like how solid colours look together and since March officially kicks off autumn weather, I wanted to show you my four favourite colours to wear transeasonally: blue, camel, grey and white.

Recreate my look:

Hat / Turtleneck / Skirt / Shoes

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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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Crochet + Coconut Palms

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This is the first post of October which may be a strange thing to remark on but October is an important month for Style Smorgasbord because in a couple of weeks on the day of halloween, this baby turns one! Its becoming a toddler :’) and I thank y’all for watching it grow up with me. I’m going to put a stop on the analogies for now but I have some very cool things in store for SS to celebrate its birthday.

I am constantly floored by my unconscious creativity. Woah calm done kid, you’re not that g8. But seriously, I called this post Crochet + Coconut Palms purely because of my shirt and also the palm tree in the background. Then now, as I am writing out this blog post, I see that I resemble a coconut. Amazing. I always knew white and brown was a strange combination but I always figured it was more reminiscent of a chocolate ice cream sandwich or an Oreo. Its funny how I always manage to connect everything together … must be why I am such an excellent English essay writer or maybe it just means I can fertilise 12 fields with all the bull I used to put in my essays (joke credit courtesy of Yik Yak). Speaking of poor taste, has anyone been watching the Australian Bachelorette? Oh gosh it is good stuff … most of my crew watches it and we all agree that Sam is perfect, most of the guys are forgettable and its pretty obvious who the final 3 are already. I would also like to point out that the wallpaper in the Bachelorette house is beautiful, I think it has palm trees on it. Oh the things I do and do not notice!

Can you imagine the tan stencil you would be able to get if you lay out long enough in this top?! It would be so epic haha. If you’re interested in this top, just go for your normal size. I was worried it would run small so I ordered an M but its a little looser than I personally would like.

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Top: Dresslink (c/0) / Skirt: Old (similar here) / Wristlet: Fossil

Photography: Matthew / Styling & Editing: Myself 🙂

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Stay Gold

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I am finished with my first semester of university, exams and all! To celebrate, Adela and I went to our mecca that is Bondi Beach. Its a tourist spot, sure but its endless array of cafes dotted along the seaside is too attractive to pass off. After being holed up for a month, it was such a literal breath of fresh air to be outside. We grabbed brunch from Trio Cafe which is an all day breakfast place and we split the mango and lime buttermilk pancakes and raw salad both of which were de-li-cious and the portions were ge-ne-rous. Then we popped by Pressed Juices to grab something that was indeed, ‘positively life changing’ (as their slogan suggests) so we could have something to drink whilst we sat by the beach and just talked about how great everything was 🙂

I’m so glad I brought along my camera because we set it to self timer mode and went a bit crazy with candids. The following pictures are a few of the gems that I found; most notably, scenes of the sky changing colour as the sun set and Jasmine Dowling’s contribution to Bondi’s street art scene! These pictures remind me about a lot of things but above all else, to stay gold Ponyboy.

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Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes

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Or in my case, slashed knee jeans. No bad blood here just a really great ribbed sweater from Trendsgal and a serious side part to hide that 3rd day hair. I used to hate these types of coats because the ones in my wardrobe were all varying shades of pink and I really didn’t need to look like a giant marshmallow when my cheeks were already so red from the cold. Now, I found myself reaching for this jacket more times than I care to admit.

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Turtleneck (c/o): Trendsgal (8% off with coupon trendsgalitry8)/ Jeans: Dotti / Bomber: Miss Shop (similar here) / Necklace: Lovisa (similar here)

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Rain Rain

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please stay and play i have a cute-as outfit

// dress: topshop similar here and here/ bag: collette by collette hayman (similar here) / shoes: jeffrey campbell //

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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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Gold Coast Digger

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A fortnight ago I was lucky enough to score a last minute deal to the Gold Coast. It’s like the Miami of Australia and where our version of Spring Breakers herald every November. Not exactly in with that scene, I decided to postpone Gold Coast digging until the end of January 2015. The holidays I go on are usually intensely packed – sometimes with 3 am wakeup calls and past midnight showers so it was nice to head somewhere sunny without a plan for once. Click the scrapbook to see it expanded and try and spot my dress twin (I’ve been keeping count and so far I’ve seen it once in Gold Coast and once in Sydney!)

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Transport

In order to maximise out time there, we took a 6 am flight with Jetstar! This was probably the most tiring part of our journey but we were in chill mode from here on. Watching the sunrise while we took off wasn’t too bad either. The traffic around Gold Coast is pretty easy to navigate – we usually took a bus or tram. Our hotel was right beside the Surfers Paradise tram station which was super convenient. Check out that surfboard carrier on the tram below – if this isn’t a surfer’s paradise then I don’t know what is!

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Accommodation

We stayed at a 3 bedroom apartment at Q1. It was insanely spacious for four people and had everything you needed: kitchen, 3 bathrooms, balcony, dining room, Foxtel, game consoles, board games and even DVDs (there was Mean Girls haha!). My favourite part were the views! My goodness we could see the jetty, the coastline, I basically could touch the clouds and we were only on floor 31! The facilities were pretty sweet as well. I loved lying on my back in the pool and staring at the tip of the hotel. They even had poolside tents with awnings if you didn’t want to burn.

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Sights

Gold Coast is a bit like Florida because it is home to a lot of amusement parks. Since this wasn’t our first time here, we skipped Dream World, Movie World, Sea World, White Water World. Instead, we spent our days never too far from the ocean or the pool and went to Cavill Mall and Robina Town Centre for shopping.

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Food

Although our apartment was fully equipped with a kitchen and even a food processor, we went out to eat most of the days we were there. Some of my top meals included the all you can eat pancakes from Pancake Paradise (you can order unlimited pancakes and they’re HUGE … I stopped at four), the pesto rosso from Vapiano (the wait is tiring but they make it in front of you) and the Hawaiian chicken with curly fries from Hog’s Breath Cafe.

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Night Life

The Gold Coast is alive up till late and I just loved watching the skyline from up high. They have markets along the boardwalk every Sunday and we would usually walk along the beach back to our hotel in the evening.

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I hope you enjoyed my postcard, one by ones and trademark GIFs!

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Sandy Tops Sea Bottoms

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One of my favourite things in general about blogging is the feeling of unexpectedness. I thought these pictures would end up being a mess because I shot them after a day at the beach. Sand was trapped in the weirdest places, my naturally thick voluminous hair had been naturally sea salt sprayed (god knows I don’t need any more oomph), I was sweltering in the thirty degree heat and my feet were sizzling on the pavement. Usually as soon as I get home from a shoot, I’ll stab in my SD card AY SAP because I’m impatient and I need results NOW. I just couldn’t bare to look at these pictures until a few days later so when I adjusted the curves and did some brightening, I was pleasantly surprised.

I have to say, this is one of my fancier beach get ups. My typical beach uniform reads like large t shirt over my swimmers and lots of sunscreen. Another unexpected part of these pictures are the colours. The top is beige like sand and the bottoms are blue like the sea. I like how its the perfect complement against the beachy background. If you scroll through my Style page, you’ll notice that I have never shot any pictures with people in the background because I think its distracting. However, it looks really organic in these pictures because the people are far away enough to add a sprinkle of life to the waves.

The sandy crochet top is anatomically the perfect beach cover up. Firstly, it is made of crochet which is a non brainer because crochet is basically synonymous with most coverups. It also buttons up backward and if you’ve read my wrong way don’t turn back post, you’ll know my affinity for backward things. Finally, my favourite thing about this top is that it’s ‘vintage’ Sportsgirl. It used to be my mum’s before I stole it from her closet which I think is so neat because Sportsgirl is an iconic Australian high street brand that opened in the 50s as the younger sister of Sportscraft. Now that my mum has moved onto Sportscraft, and I, Sportsgirl, I think its kind of fab to have something from a 90s Sportsgirl store that wouldn’t look out of place at all in today’s stores!

Then to finish off the look, I added some low maintenance bling by putting on some foil tattoos. They performed really well given that I crashed around in some rough waves for a while and nature exfoliated by arms by throwing me across the sand. If you’re going to a party or epic rave where you want to get some sparkle on without losing a bangle, try some foil tattoos next time!

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{Outfit photographs shot by Emi and Arm photograph shot by myself}

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Palm Springs / Suburbia

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Now that I look at these photos, I realise they are quite leafy. The hedges, the South African lilies, the palm leaves on my skort – so much foliage, so little space. I think cutting is very important. Hedges need to be trimmed  for them to look attractive. Just like clothes have to be cut well in order for them to sit right on the body.

When I used to do textiles in high school, one of my favourite materials to work with was anything that did not fray with an exposed hem. Felt is kind of hard to find in tops so scuba is my next favourite thing because it allows for the most interesting cuts and cut outs like this grey high neck top. Paired with an envelope skort, this is actually a very functional outfit. Perfect for someone who likes to lift in fancy clothes. Jokes. But really, I look so ripped in the first picture that it would almost pass as the truth. :00

Oh and instead of a GIF today, you get two of me in one picture. What a time to be alive!

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