5 Summer Highlights & Photo Diary | 18′

Travel, Friends, Family, Food & a whole lot of sun!

 

 

Summer this year has been one of my favourites in a while! I feel like for one I actually spent enough time outside, went to the beach more often, caught up with my friends and actually visited my family in NZ.

Summer is by far one of my favourite seasons… for at least the first 2 months, then the heat starts to get too much and you start dreaming about coats and scarves. However, for those 2 months, it is BLISS. Only having to wear one layer

 

 

NZ
Because I wasn’t able to go back to NZ for Xmas this year, I decided that it would be worth going back for a long weekend to see the fam. Let.me.tell.you. Arriving at my grandparents at 1pm after travelling for 15hrs really made me question whether it was worth it for 4 days! However, I always love going back and seeing (mostly) everyone, even if it is brief.

Tennis
This summer, finally, Dietmar and myself have taken up tennis. We have lived in an apartment building for the last 3 years with a tennis court & never made the most of it. Well, times have changed.

Now, I am not great, or even good, at tennis and have lost many a ball over the fence (and thanks to trespassing laws, never to be seen again) however, I really, really enjoy it. Not only does it require a bit of exercise, its been a fun activity for us to do together.
I like this Sunday tradition, hopefully we can stick at it for the foreseeable future and my new years goal of ‘starting a sport’ can be ticked off.

Market Shopping
Market shopping can be a bit hit and miss for me. I do love going to the market on a Sunday… but because of the sheer amount of people that also love it, if you aren’t in and out by 10am, you are in for a whirlwind of 100sss of people. However, generally even if its a bit later we have been going anyway. It works out to be a lot more affordable, we like to support local producers and the quality of the fruit and vege is so much better than the supermarket. They also have a lot more affordable organic options which is a huge bonus!
A highlight of our market shopping each week is stopping by Clement Coffee Roasters for a long black and sometimes a cheeky pastry! Check them out too.

Beach
This summer we have definitely made more use of the beach than before. We do live semi close by so we really don’t have too much excuse! But this year I have made an effort to at least try and get down every now and then to soak in some sun, enjoy the sea and watch all the dogs (Screw people watching, dog watching is THEONE).

 

 Being More Active & Meeting Two Inspirational Fitness/Health & Sustainability Dreamboats
This summer has been the first summer… ever. that I have managed to stick to a fitness routine and keep active for the whole season! Seriously proud of myself for that one. My diet as such, has not been perfect but I am trying! I eat a very balanced diet (IMO) and am happy with where I am at (minus the digestive problems but mate, that’s a whole other post).

 

However, this summer I was lucky enough to meet Zanna Van Dyk & Steph Elswood whilst they were on a whirlwind tour of Australia and it was great! They are both so lovely, welcoming and really down to earth. You don’t feel like you are going to a meet-up, more just hanging out with friends! It was so cool. (On another note, Zanna has an amazing blog which you can find here)

Home Made Iced Coffee
This for me has become a solid summery weekend drink. I love coffee, probably far too much.. and am not ready to kick the addiction just yet! but to mix it up I started making an iced version which is DELICIOUS.
Ingredients:
Coffee (Instant or brewed shot of espresso)
Ice – Loads of ice
1 Frozen Banana – Its important that its frozen.
Unsweetened almond milk (or regular milk if that’s your jam)
You could add Stevia/ Coconut Sugar etc if you like it sweeter.
How to: 
Put all ingredients in a blender (minus some ice for later) and MIXX.
Enjoy with the extra ice and a reusable straw with some coconut sugar sprinkled on top (if you are the ultimate environmentally friendly health wanker like myself)
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This summer has seriously been so great! I was happy, fulfilled and just generally in a great place! I am now (kindof) looking forward to the colder weather! (but I will miss my tan!) Bring on the coats and scarves! What was your favourite part about summer this year? And if you are in the northern hemisphere… what are you looking forward to??
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Tried & Tested | Concealers

For those days when the under eye circles are just getting a little too much

It has been a little while since my last Tried & Tested post! So I do apologise! I have been trying to get together (& finish) enough products to warrant doing another one and considering I am slightly obsessed with concealers I have finally managed to do so! (you’re welcome).

This is a bit of a mashup of all sorts tbh..¬† We have some affordable & some, not so much. However, considering I wouldn’t ever really spend a craptonne on a high end concealer, I think you will find something within your budget.

Collection Lasting Perfection

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Unfortunately this first one probably isn’t for the Australian readers as it is REALLY hard to get a hold of here. I have found a few places, one being Fishpond & another being Ebay¬†however, I can not comment on what the delivery etc is like as I have never ordered it online.
If however, you are in NZ or the UK, it will be fairly easy to find and its definitely worth a look. It doesn’t have a great shade range however if you have a lighter skin tone you should be okay. It is a thickish formula with really good coverage. It doesn’t crease on me and doesn’t go patchy at all. I do recommend working quite quickly as it dries faster than some.
I also use this as a eye shadow primer and it does not move!

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer

I enjoy this concealer on days that I don’t need as much coverage or I need to cover up a spot as I have this in my skin tone and not a shade lighter (the shade range isn’t fantastic). It blends really well and is light to medium coverage. It sets very easily with a bit of powder and won’t move all¬†most of the day on me. It is very brightening under the eyes as you would expect and is best applied with a sponge.

Mecca Max Life Proof Cream Concealer

On the website this concealer is classed as a ‘eraser for the face’. I don’t think I would go that far, however, it is a great concealer and I do love it. It is very similar in texture and coverage to the Collection concealer mentioned above (maybe the formula is a tiny bit thinner), so for those aussies wondering, this would be a good dupe. It blends SO easily and for that reason + the amazing coverage it has been my current go to. It also has an okay shade range and lasts well on me (with setting powder).

L.A Girl PRO Conceal HD

I wont lie. I bought this concealer because of the hype! If you haven’t bought anything because of Youtube or Instagram, then good on you! But me, I love a good social media recommendation. One thing ill say about this is that the shade range is FANTASTIC. There is literally a colour for everyone. It has about a medium coverage and is great for brightening under the eyes. I have also used it on spots here and there and its covered well. I will say that the lasting power isn’t as good as others, however if it was something you wanted to pop on for a few hours then it would be perfect.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser

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For me, this is the perfect everyday concealer. Its really easy to apply under the eyes, blends like a dream, doesn’t crease, works fine under powder and gets rid of those pesky under eye black circles. The shade range def isn’t great and the coverage is maybe light to medium but when it does the job, lasts all day and goes on special a LOT, its worth a go. This is the one I recommend to everyone.

Revlon ColorStay Blemish Concealer

This one is at the bottom of my list, not because it is the worst, but because its not one I tend to reach for the most. This is def more of a face concealer and wouldn’t recommend for under eye use (Hence the name I guess…). It does cover spots well and doesn’t go cakey. It’s easy to apply and blends out really well. It doesn’t tend to last all day (although none really do on my spots) but I don’t mind touching up with this one here and there.

Concealers are great. On days where I have ‘no makeup’ on, I will still use one of these as one of my 3 products. My current WishList includes: Urban Decay Naked Skin, NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, Two Faced Born This Way¬†& a few more affordable ones.
PLEASE let me know your recommendations.

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Current Beauty Essentials

Beauty Lies Within..

It’s definitely been a while since I last posted anything beauty related! So I thought why not do a bit of a overview of things I’ve been trying && loving recently.

Although trying out new products is oh so fun, the more time goes on, the less I seem to change em up. I used to try and get a new Primer, Foundation & Brow Pencil every time I used one up but now, I know what I like so I tend to stick to & repurchase what I know works. With, the odd exception because I am still a bit of a beauty addict at heart. So I thought, why not share what I am lovin’ at the mo. Maybe you will find a new gem or two…

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L’occitane Almond Shower Oil & Body Cream

After hearing the constant hype in the beauty community about the renound Bath & Shower oil, it became a.. IMUSTHAVE IT. But, its rather expensive. So I thought I would put it on my Xmas list & I was lucky enough to receive it, in a set with the Hand Cream, Body Moisturiser & a Soap Bar (DREAMY).
After trying it now for a month solid, I can say, it IS worth the hype. I def use it more as a bath oil (You only need the teeeniest amount) and omg I always feel so soft & lush afterwards. I generally follow up with the body cream to get the ultimate effect and it has really become a solid in my pamper routine! The cream is as you would expect, lush. But it also soaks into the skin really well & doesn’t leave you feeling sticky and having to dance around the bathroom for 10mins waiting for it to dry!

Sukin Shaving Gel
Ive never really been one to shave my legs… with a shaving gel. Never saw the point and thought it was a waste of money (whats wrong with a bar of soap?). I still stick to this statement however, I do love this product. It is actually a men’s face shaving gel but it wasn’t being used for such things so I decided ‘wastenotwantnot’ and gave it a go.
Now I wouldn’t say its super magical but, if you do like buying shaving gel for your legs, then maybe pick this one up when its half price because it does the job well and lasts forever!

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Origins Out Of Trouble 10 Min Mask

Of the 3 Origins face masks I have tried, this is the one I would repurchase.. which I find rather funny because it was the one I was least excited to try. It is one of those products that really does what it claims to. I only use this on problem areas of my face when I am breaking out but I know that when I use this at night, the next morning my spots will be half the size and not giant volcanoes. It also doesn’t dry out my face which is magical because a lot of 10 minute masks or blemish masks tend to do so.

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L’Oreal Miss Baby Roll Mascara

This mascara is nothing like I have ever used before. You can see in the close up photos that the wand is really weird! I bought it on a whim because I wanted to try something new and I can almost say, that it is now my holy grail! Which is a huge statement because I didn’t think any mascara would ever make me want to throw out my Cover girl Lash Blast (which you can see me raving about here).
It gives a great amount of volume, without clumping, and is also quite separating and lengthening! It is the ‘doesitall’ mascara I have been wanting for so long.
Also, the packaging is pretty cute which is an added bonus.

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Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner – Eastend Snob and Stila MECCA20 – Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

I will admit that lip products are not my favourite products in my makeup bag. I love eyebrows & lashes & base. So when I do find lip products that I like, I tend to just use those ones ALL the time rather than mixing it up. I know what colours suit me and work for me. So these two have become my everyday office lip combo.
The lip liner I bought thanks to Amelia Liana and her obsession for Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk as I had heard this was a good dupe and I wasn’t about to pay big $$$ for a lip liner. It’s a very creamy lip liner and doesn’t have to be sharpened (Hallelujah).

The Stila Liquid Lip I bought during Mecca’s 20 Year celebration (read about what I bought here) and now that I have had and used it for a while I can say… the colour is amazing but the formula can be really drying if you don’t prep your lips enough. This is why I decided to see what it would look like & perform over top of the Rimmel Lip Liner and it was such a win! Not only does it last perfectly most of the day, it doesn’t flake off in a funny manner, get really dry or leave your lips with a weird tint. WIN.

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What are some of your favourite bits at the moment? Leave a comment or find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.

Living A Healthy Lifestyle and Finding YOUR Healthy

Focus on yourself, not everyone else

 Being healthy nowadays is such a relative term. What one person deems to be healthy can be completely different to someone else, and to someone who is just starting out trying to become healthier, it can be really overwhelming!

¬†As someone who has spent the last 5 or so years trying my hand at every diet and ‘lifestyle’ on the market and managing to come out the other side with good and bad experiences, I thought I could give a few handy tips on becoming a healthier, fitter and happier.

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Ditch the diets
I think this one is the most important. The best way to become healthier is to really just go back to basics. Try and get into a solid routine of having a good breakfast, lunch and dinner with minimal processed foods as well as a couple of healthy snacks in between if you feel like you really need it.

Find what exercise works for you
Just because someone tells you that running is the best exercise, doesn’t mean it is. For them it may be, but for you it probably isn’t. Trial and error is your best friend! Try everything you can! Bootcamp, swimming, weight training, pilates, yoga.. there are so many options. It’s important to try out as many things as you can until you find what you enjoy. Don’t just do something because it burns the most calories. Do it because you love it and eventually you will start to feel better and mental & physical results will follow.

Listen to your body
This one is hard and has taken me SO long to get right. It goes for food and exercise. Food wise, if you are following some kind of plan and that plan tells you that you have to eat at 3pm, but you really don’t feel like it, then don’t. Your body can tell you when it is hungry and when it is not. Exercise wise, it is important to recognise the difference between really not wanting to go for your workout and your body telling you that you have done enough. That takes time. But same goes; if you wake up and really do feel far too tired to go for that run, then maybe just go for a walk or stay home and stretch and see how you feel afterwards.

Quality workouts over quantity
Instead of trying to work out 6 times per week and potentially running yourself into the ground, start with 3 workouts a week where you try your absolute hardest and see how you feel. The following week you might be able to add in an extra one.

 Start small
Small changes can make the biggest difference.
I think it is so important not to go all or nothing. 90% of the time you end up burning out after a couple of weeks rather than making it a long term thing. You don’t have to completely change your lifestyle overnight, (if you have, then seriously, good for you) , you are allowed to take time. Doing small things like getting your exercise up by going walking at lunchtime or drinking one extra bottle of water in a day, or cutting out the sugar in your coffee really makes a difference over time.

 Find something positive in every day
Life is just one big annoying mind game and sometimes it can feel really overwhelming. At times like this I like to take a breath and just think of things that I am grateful for or something positive that has happened in my day, even if that is something really small such as appreciating that delicious coffee that gets you through that Monday afternoon.

Keep accountable
If you are really struggling with feeling unmotivated to go to the gym or are having self control issues in the food department, keep accountable to someone or someones’. Whether that’s booking into a class at the gym with a friend or using an app such as Snapchat or Instagram to send pictures of your meals to your bestie. These things can help you to make better choices overall.

Don’t beat yourself up, just try again tomorrow.
Changing your lifestyle generally doesn’t happen overnight. Give yourself time. In the great scheme of things, that extra meal you had is not going to matter. That pizza you ate, or that workout you missed, isn’t going to destroy your progress. You really just need to give yourself time. You are human, we all have bad days, so eat that pizza, it is completely normal.

When it comes to health & fitness, everyone is different. What works for someone, won’t work for someone else. Or it might, for a while. But to be a healthy and happy person overall, you need to find what works for you, what YOUR healthy is.

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Please note: I am not a qualified Dietitian, Nutritionist, PT or Health Coach. Please contact a professional if you would like in depth advice on anything mentioned.

The Ultimate Nutty Banana Muffin Recipe

Because Banana Bread requires far too much self control

I made these muffins as a ‘lunchbox’ snack, to beat that afternoon lull that we all love.. They are full of only good ingredients & are so delicious. They are also fairly versatile and can be personalized depending on how you are feeling that week.

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Ingredients:

1.5 Cups Spelt Flour
3 TBSP Coconut Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder

3 Eggs
3 TBSP Coconut Oil
Splash Vanilla Extract
3 Overripe Mashed Bananas

9 tsps Nut Butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius fan bake.

Mix the Flour, Coconut Sugar & Baking Powder together in a large bowl
– I use a whisk to mix these ingredients together as it distributes them better

In a small pot, heat the coconut oil enough to melt it but don’t let it get to hot and bubble or start spitting.

Mash the bananas and add these into the dry ingredients along with the eggs & vanilla extract.

Lastly mix in the coconut oil. At this point you will be able to tell whether the mixture is too runny or thick. If it is too runny, add in extra flour 1tsp at a time until the mixture gets to the right consistency. If it is too thick, add in milk a little at a time until it gets to the right consistency.

Fill muffin cases half way & add 1 tsp of Nut Butter in before filling the cases to the top.

Bake for 20-25mins or until a fork comes out clean.

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These muffins come out fluffy, soft and delicious. To change up the recipe, instead of using nut butter, you could always add in chocolate chips, berries or even just some chopped nuts.

If any of the ingredients in this recipe look unfamiliar or you don’t have them, feel free to comment and I can give you some recommendations for substitutions.

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The Melbourne Brunch Guide | 6 Places You Can’t Miss!

Melbourne does love a Sunday Brunch

Melbourne is well known for being the Australian capital for all things Coffee.. but do you know what goes really well with coffee? Great food! Brunch is my favourite meal for sure mainly because it is only really enjoyed during the weekend and probably only became a thing because people wanted a glorious sleep in. So, here are 6 of my favourite pick for places to go in Inner City Melbourne.

Top Paddock РRichmond. 

The Food at this place is incredible. Not even just the range or the taste. The presentation is immaculate (‘Cough, Cough’ the Blueberry & Ricotta Hotcake). There are ‘healthier’ and some more indulgent options depending on how you are feeling, however I would reccomend having a fairly big appetite when going!
The cafe itself has a really beautiful design. Its comfortable and quite open  compared to some other options in Melbourne.

Tip – Get in Early! Or you may be waiting a fair while for a table.

Pilar of Salt РSouth Yarra/ Richmond. 

Once again – this is a cafe that if you want a decent table and a short waiting time, get in early! I have been here a few times, early morning and after lunch and it seems no matter the time, theres a chance of waiting! But for a good reason.
Firstly. The coffee at this Cafe is seriously top notch! The cold brew however is def a go to for me as its just, good. Like, really good.
The food here is also pretty bloody good and the menu does cater to a lot, if not all walks of life and it quite veried (Would you like the Pancakes? an Eggs Bene? Or maybe an Hawaiian Poke Bowl?). The atomsphere of the Cafe itself is also really cool both inside and in the back/ outside area. On the way out you must also get one of their delicious treats from the front desk (Drooools).

Tip: Request a place to sit if you are fussy, or you may end up at a very busy and loud share table.

Serotonin Eatery – Burnley.

Seratonin Eatery

Are you the type of person who loves Smashed Avo, Vegan Pancakes or a Matcha/ Tumeric/ Cacao Coconut Latte with a Smiley Face like myself? Then you will love this place! As the name would suggest, you walk into this Cafe and you cant help but feel Happy! If it isn’t the Smiley face on the Top of your¬† latte, the Japanese Style share tables will seriously make you go, Wow. This Place is Cool!
The food is all Plant Based, very nutritious and delicious ūüôā Even the names on the Menu make you ¬†smile and feel good (Positive Pancakes and Smiling Smashed Avo have to be my favs!)
My Favourite part of this Cafe however has to be the incredible comprehensive list of drinks! Protein Lattes, Coconut Cacao Lattes, Tumeric Lattes’ – ALL THE LATTES. I seriously love it and want to try them all! Even if you arent hungry, just go there for a drink!

Tip – Google map it by street view before you go or you may not find it easily ( like me and end up waaaay down the road).

Oscar Cooper – Prahran.

I have been lucky enough to dine at this cafe a few times and each time I have thoroughly enjoyed it! The atmosphere is really nice. Its cosy and warm in the winter (even when you are seated right by the door) but they also have some outdoor seating options which would be great in Summer! Their Jaffles look amazing and I have been told they certainly are. My fav dish is definitely the buttermilk & banana pancakes (dreamy).

Oscar Cooper

Higher Ground – CBD

This place is #instagramgoals

If you are in Melbourne for a short amount of time and based in the CBD, after a typical Melbourne brunch. This is your place. The menu is pretty great with a wide range of options for everyone (once again has the famous pancake as it is a sister cafe of Top Paddock). The savoury dishes are also good!

I had the Lamb Sausage Roll and although the portion size was smaller, I was still satisfied. The interior of this place is actually just incredible. Its so big with a load of greenery. It IS the place to instagram.
Tip: once again, get in early so you aren’t waiting an hour!

5 and Dime Bagel

This one is a little different to the others and as you can imagine, is Bagel focused. If you like a good bagel. This is where you need to go ( or one of its suppliers). For me this ticks the box of a really good, cheap, on the go (but you can eat in) breakfast or brunch. You do need to get there early during the weekend however its so worth it. SO many options of things to have on and they actually do really great coffee to have with them!
My personal favourites are the Bacon Maple Chipotle or the Smoked Trout!

There are so many more amazing Cafes around Melbourne! This list could really go on forever! Where’s your favourite place? Where do I need to add to my list?

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Reflecting on 2017

Well first, a delayed, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Heeelooo 2018. I love the new year. No, I am not all about the ‘New Year, New Me’, it’s more of a New Year, Lets learn from last year and kicksomeass. But first, lets reflect on the year that was.

 Summer

2017 started out on an  interesting note for me. I started with a bang fitness wise. Bought a few inspirational books & off to the gym I went. I managed to soak up a lot of sun, went to the gardens a lot & started my walkingeverylunchtime routine (which I have managed to stick to hooray!). We also had our friends Nick and Illana visit around Chinese New Year so we were able to have fun showing them around and enjoying the festivities before they flew back to NZ and Dietmar shipped off to South America.
Autumn
The start of Autumn was great fun. I spent a lot of time at the gym & being really active. I signed up to an Insurance Benefits program called AIA vitality in which exercise and being healthy is what earns you points. It’s actually really great. I also had my amazing Aunty come and visit for a girls weekend in which we did a tour up the Great Ocean Road – it was really cool.
 This was also the season where I travelled a lot. First РNZ to visit the fam Рback for a few weeks & caught up with a few friends. Dietmar returned  from his adventures & then I shipped off to Europe for my 3 week whirlwind trip around Spain and Portugal! My solo trip of a lifetime! Definitely one of the major highlights of 2017. 2 Countries, 5 cities & all the little towns inbetween!
Winter
The beginning of winter was dedicated to getting used to normal life again. After living alone for 3 months and then flying off myself, getting back and realising I had to adjust was surprisingly hard. I managed to spend some quality time with Dietmar, baked a lot & cooked a lot of comfort warm food! My birthday rolled around & I was completely spoilt with gifts and a LOT of chocolate from my beautiful friends.
Dietmar and I also did another trip up the Great Ocean Road for our anniversary and stayed in Apollo Bay which was really nice!
This was also the time that I left my job – flew back to NZ for a few weeks to visit all the friends and fam & then came back to Melbourne to start my new position. Was a whirlwind of a time!
Spring
Cherry Blossoms! I love spring. The weather starts to warm up again, all the flowers start to bloom and people just become happier! I started spending my lunchtimes walking around the botanical gardens & ate WAY too much fruit… because when berries are in season, I will eat them. Dietmar and I also managed to hire a car and take a trip up to Portsea & do the Portsea-Sorrento Artists Trail which is a beautiful walk.
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I also relaunched my blog & began planning out all my ideas for 2018. We had some magnificent lightening and thunder storms & I started to take more care of my health & fitness by joining a 12 week challenge at the gym. We had our friends Michael & Sarah visit from NZ for 10 days which was so great! We did many amazing things. High Tea, Dior Exhibition, Lunches, Brunches & dinners and my personal favourite, The Book of Mormon, where I discovered my absolute love for musicals.
Christmas came around & it was one of my favourites in Melbourne so far. We spent it down in Barwon Heads with my cousin’s & their extended family. Food, many kids & sun made for a fantastic day. Hiking on Boxing Day really topped off the festive period.
Overall, 2017 was really amazing and I am so happy with everything that happened. As per anyone’s life, there were ups and downs but I know that I was challenged and have managed to come out the other side feeling so proud of myself and accomplished. Definitely ready to see what 2018 has in store and to smash all my goals!
What are your goals for 2018? Does anyone else just have this feeling it is going to be the best year?