I’ve been feeling so uninspired about my work wardrobe lately (and more so since coming back from holiday).
Everything I own feels old, tired and stale, not helped by the fact that I spent very little of my time in Europe clothes shopping (yes, really).
Perhaps the promise of a new month and four weeks ‘til a new season will inspire a changing of the guard this summer. I’m already thinking an ecru, longline pencil skirt, loose-fitting cotton and silk tops, and office-appropriate dresses I can easily throw on when it’s 40 degrees celsius outside.
Creature comforts, the warmth and familiarity of my own bed and time to unwind and settle back into a beautiful normality is how I’ve been spending the past few days. With the internet mysteriously awol at home – rendering me more absent from this blog than I would have liked – I’ve instead been reacquainting myself with my boxing gloves, catching up on sleep at every opportunity and navigating my way back into the frenetic office life.
It’s nothing that a much-anticipated reunion with great coffee can’t fix though (with the exception of Rome – what’s with the good-caffeine drought in Europe?), as well as home-made breakfasts and knowing that the people I love most in this world are, once again, only a suburb or two away.
Post-holiday depression set in well and truly before I even touched down in Perth but a glass of wine and these beautiful blooms sent to me from The Sisters (such amazing florists!) and Jacob’s Creek whilst I was overseas will no doubt ease the blues.
Monday’s going to be fun.
I was chatting heatedly but excitedly to my physiotherapist just before I left on holiday as I lay face down whilst he was unsuccessfully smoothing out stubborn kinks in my back. The topic du jour was self-improvement; being the best possible version of yourself.
To put it crudely, Self-improvement is an oft-long and winding journey with the road paved by various things: diet, exercise, education, faith or vocation.
For me, exercise is a narcotic. The thrill of working up a sweat and having my heart seemingly jump out of my chest for an hour each day is strangely and almost alarmingly addictive. I’ll even go as far as saying I can’t go without two days of that quasi-comatose high. In all honesty, it’s the thing I miss most when travelling (aside from my mum and her home cooking of course) and it’s the thing I crave most when I return.
Many of my friends and family ask why, and – more pointedly – how. And even I sometimes come up for air and wonder how I ever became ‘this’ person. And by that, I mean a crazy fit, boxing junkie who now weighs more in muscle than all of my Louboutins and Celine purses combined.
It has probably come with age (for those who are sniggering, I am now only half a year from entering another decade of my life, therefore I am entitled to cite turning thirty as an legitimate excuse). And realising – after chatting to my physio – that it’s the bigger picture that motivates me the most. It’s not just about the coffee I reward myself after a morning workout. It’s never been about the toned triceps (ok, maybe a tiny bit) or being able to scale the cupola of St Peter’s Basilica without so much as generating a sweat bead (do I sound as smug as my husband thinks?).
It’s about the game-changers and the deal-breakers. And the simple fact that all roads lead to here:
Starting a family. Learning another language. Financial freedom. Travelling the world. Finding love. Finding peace.
So I eat properly, live simply and get that heart rate going. To have the energy to travel the world with the one I love most in this universe. To be in the best possible health to eventually start a family. And to ultimately be the kind of mother my mother is: hard-working, full of heart, living life in colour, and always with one keen eye on the bigger picture.
As for my physiotherapist, he’s quitting his job to not only study medicine but also pursue a wellness start-up with his like-minded friends, catering for those who are all for self-improvement in various aspects of their life but have no idea where to start. As someone who’s married to someone who sadly comes across dying people more often than most in anyone’s average work day, I think helping others so they can help themselves is the most selfless and inspiring thing in the world. He remarked that his patients come from all walks of life and often they come in with a bad back with a side of cancer. But (being a physiotherapist) he can only cure so much. Our conversation sang of reality and its ensuing sadness. But what transpired was a profound motivation to do something about it.
All of our ailments and shortcomings – how many of them could be prevented by simply taking more care of ourselves? It’s all about the 3 E’s: Eating right and light, Exercising, and Education. It goes without saying that for most of us, health and well being is much like superannuation – something we sweep under the carpet until we are forced to cross that bridge. Had we had nipped it in the bud back then, it wouldn’t hit us like a ton of bricks.
Isn’t this motivation enough?
I’ve been somewhere between tired and dead over the past few days.
I’ve also never been one to lament the trials and tribulations of travelling, but flying 25 hours home to Australia and getting three hours sleep in Perth before getting on another plane to Sydney at five o’clock the next morning, has taken more of a toll than I had anticipated.
At the same time, I’ve been feeling enormously grateful to have seen some incredible places, spent time with my dear friends whilst overseas, and met some lovely people along the way during the past four weeks. All of these things really have made the jet-lag and those three consecutive days subsisting on airplane meals worth every second.
The past month has also seen me grab every rare and spare minute I could find (almost always on a flight, a train ride or tucked up in bed!) to create some exciting travel and fashion content for this blog and for SpyStyle. I can’t wait to share them all with you over the coming weeks.
As for my time in Sydney this week, it has been frantically divided between meetings, a wedding, basking in shorts and sandals weather, as well as indulging in various eating and shopping misdemeanours. A special thank you to Emily & Simon at WM for these Urbanears headphones that will be glued to my ears during tomorrow’s flight back to Perth!
My latest Spy Style post for Vogue Australia on my packing essentials for Paris is now live!
When it comes to packing for a holiday, I’m almost certain there’s no such thing as too many striped tops (and shoes, in my case). Though someone could have at least warned me about being easily mistaken for a Gondolier in Venice…
Documenting the past two days in black and white.
1. The calm before the chaos – en route to Rome on the Trenitalia.
2. When in Rome, hyperventilate. Couldn’t take my eyes off of this City within a city.
We’re on the home stretch now, which feels bitter but sweet. I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine, eating properly (!) and especially spending this weekend back in Sydney for a friend’s wedding.
The past few days have been spent squirreled away in the indescribably beautiful Cinque Terre. It felt so blissful to take a brief reprieve from the big cities and enjoy the tiny fishing village in our own time and at our own pace. I also can’t recommend our home away from home, La Torretta enough. Wonderful hotels like these make it so incredibly hard to leave.
For now, here are a few snapshots from our time in Cinque Terre. More to come soon!
My next SpyStyle post discusses the ins and outs of my holiday packing list. Look out for it on vogue.com.au soon!
It’s 3:15am in Malcesine, Lake Garda and I’m tucked up in bed frantically answering emails and booking train tickets whilst my husband – and the rest of this beautifully quaint town in Northern Italy – sleeps.
In truth, I’d rather be getting some much-needed shut-eye, too, but I’ve decided to make the most of our hotel wifi until it drops out again (erratic internet is the downfall to wonderfully small, less-frequented European towns).
We’re here in dreamy Malcesine with a few of our friends and, in short, have been gorging on pizza, pasta, wine, limoncello, gelato and panna cotta, against a perfect backdrop of the misty Italian Alps. Waking up for breakfast to this postcard-perfect view of Lago di Garda each morning is such a privilege and pleasure and I can safely say Malcesine is, without a shadow of doubt, one of the most picturesque and serene places I have ever visited. I still can’t believe my eyes when I fling the doors of our hotel balcony open to witness a view like this and the subsequent feeling of calm that gloriously pervades the senses.
Currently packing as we’re departing Copenhagen tomorrow, bound for Venice.
I love that to get to anywhere within Europe only requires a couple of hours up in the air. In our case, it’s just a two hour flight from Scandinavia to Italy.
I’ll leave you with a few photos from our week in Copenhagen which, as you can see, involved little more than cafe-hopping and window shopping.
I plan to write a more detailed travel diary when I return so stay tuned for that! We stumbled across many gorgeous breakfast spots and shopping haunts in Copenhagen and I can’t wait to share them all with you.
A typical Copenhagen streetscape. Where you’re more likely to be run over by a pushbike than be hit by a car.
The highlight of our Europe sojourn was always going to be lunch at Noma.
After almost going into cardiac arrest attempting to secure a reservation three (!) months ago at precisely 4 o’clock in the afternoon on three separate electronic devices, it felt so surreal to be walking through the much lauded doors of this Copenhagen culinary institution and seated amongst a select few who also managed to score a reservation at one of the hardest-to-book restaurants in the world.
I won’t give away too much at this point as I do plan to write a proper post on our Noma experience, but I will say that it did not disappoint and that I can (proudly) admit that I ticked off my gastronomic bucket list, fermented grasshopper and crushed ants. Yes, you read that right.
More to come, soon!
Travelling has been so different this time around.
It has been less about shopping or even sightseeing, and more about slowly taking in the intricacies of each city and its hidden crevices and rabbit warrens. Much of our trip so far has also been about doing ‘nothing’; evenings in with mugs of tea on the couch, preparing dinner inside the comfort of our rented apartment instead of heading out every night, doing laundry each day, and finding solace in the fact that all of these uneventful things doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any less of a holiday.
I am homesick though, which does and doesn’t surprise me. I miss my mum – hearing her voice – and the waft of her Vietnamese noodle soups that stream enticingly from her kitchen every weekend. I miss my niece’s kisses and all her earnest attempts to string her first sentences together. I long for creature comforts, sunny weather, familiarity, elevators, un-wrinkled clothes. At the end of the day, I’ve discovered it’s the simple things that matter the most – whether I’m travelling or not.
I couldn’t keep you all sufficiently updated on my trip without revealing my one and only splurge during my holiday so far.
It was your typical impulsive holiday purchase and – not only that – it was the last one in Paris, sitting high on a shelf amongst Celine prêt-à-porter plaids and gold plate oxfords (love!) on the fifth floor of Le Bon Marche.
And besides, I couldn’t possibly leave Paris without some sort of souvenir, right?
Over the past two days I’ve eaten more fish and lobster than in the last two months. Such is life in Reykjavik (and Iceland, in general) where an endless supply of seafood and an endless, expanse of beautiful nothingness sit alongside quirky laundromat cafes and geothermal hot swimming pools.
Our days are long (but productive!) whilst our evenings are spent curling up in the warmth of our gorgeous airbnb apartment, drinking tea and catching up on some reading.
Tomorrow we’re off to Vik – a black volcanic sand beach!
Finally, a tiny window of opportunity to update you all as to my current whereabouts!
Right now I’m in the northernmost capital of the entire world. I touched down in Reykjavik yesterday and then went straight from the airport to the most incredible and exhilarating thing I have ever done in my life: stripped off in 2 degrees weather and took a dip in the Blue Lagoon. But, more on Iceland later.
The past few days have been spent wandering around London and getting to know some of her most heart-stirring places and spaces. These are just some of my favourite snaps from London – blooms along Westbourne Grove (such great shopping here!), discovering those red telephone boxes, my favourite iconic London structure – Tower Bridge, and finally, exploring the pretty pastel-ness in Notting Hill as we strolled down Portobello Road.
Not even the rain could dampen my spirits.
One last glimpse of Paris before we leave for London tomorrow morning.
Though we haven’t spent nearly enough time to do this city justice, I have loved every single second of our week here.
I’ve been happily caught between enjoying two kind of pleasures since we jumped on the plane last weekend: the pleasure that’s derived from a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and do things that only dreams are made of; and the very simple pleasure of being able to finally switch off from work after the most hectic year of my career thus far.
All of these things have propelled us even more to make every moment count in Paris. Feeling so lucky and blessed right now.