Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Wrap-Up

And that's January done and dusted. I MEAN WHAT? You guys... there are 11 months left of 2016... I feel like I'm still living in 2012 or something LOL. This month has flown by, 2015 has flown by... just everything flies. Jaz flies. I wish.

First month of 2016, ok let's wrap it up!

New Zealand
Oh and did I go places. I did a 10 day tour of New Zealand's North and South Island and it was BEAUTIFUL. The tour itself (the company) were absolutely atrocious but company and actual NZ are mutually exclusive.
Day 1: Auckland! We sort of just walked around the city after dinner but nothing much was open since it was Christmas
Day 2: Waitomo Glowworm Caves and HOBBITON!!! 2h tour walking around seeing the beautiful Hobbit holes and drinking ale in the Green Dragon Inn. You jelly? Then at night we went to a sulphuric mud bath and springs!
Day 3: The Redwoods at Rotorua (massively tall trees) and then the Pohutu Geyser which spat out sulphuric mud
Day 4: Christchurch! Walking around seeing the rebuild efforts after the 2011 earthquakes. Visiting the Canterbury Museum which some really amazing exhibits including a Leonardo da Vinci one. Then to a beautiful rose garden before we reached Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki later that night. These lakes are astonishingly blue and the water is so clear. Just beautiful, especially with the alps in the distance.
Day 5: Mount Cook. Went on a helicopter for the very first time on a tour of Mount Cook National Park. Got to see the Ben Ohau Mountains and glaciers from above as well as landing on snow high up in the mountains! One of the best experiences of my life. Then we went to the Puzzling World at Wanaka which had these weird and whacky things like leaning towers and mazes.
Day 6: Queenstown <3 took the Skyline gondola up to see Queenstown from above and then at midday we went on the TSS Earnslaw which is a steamship that's as old as the Titanic (1912). It took us across Lake Wakatipu (the lake at Queenstown) and then dropped us off for a BBQ buffet lunch. Best. Buffet. Ever. I have never had such delicious grilled chicken in my life. And that pork belly nomnom. I didn't take any photos because I was too hungry and it disappeared off my plate every time before I could remember to take photos. Oops. I somehow also managed to do some shopping at shops we have here in Sydney (don't ask) but also got a Cookie Time haul. YOU GUYS THESE COOKIES ARE AMAZING. If you ever go Queenstown you must go to Cookie Time and buy cookies there. The range at their super markets don't compare.
Day 7: The tour stuffed up so we ended up in Invercargill at the Bluff which is the southernmost point of NZ! Then we got to Te Anau and spent NYE there. Watched fireworks from the lake shore and they were beautiful and we were so close!
Day 8: Happy New Year! Was extremely happy to spend the day cruising through the stunning, breathtaking, exceptionally beautiful Milford Sound. I'm told that we were extremely lucky to have complete blue skies. I got douses by a waterfall at some point hehe.
Day 9: Dunedin where we saw some road that was famous for being really steep? Weird. And went to see the Moeraki Boulders which are these interesting very round boulders on a beach.
Day 10: Back to Christchurch and it's our last day. It's raining but we take a tram touring the city before we hop on a plane back for Sydney.

I'm so happy that our 10 days there were all sunny. If it had been even slightly cloudy, the helitour would never have happened and none of my photos would've turned out so nice LOL. I definitely want to go back to New Zealand to see how Christchurch looks after it's finished being rebuilt, go see the Tasman glacier, and definitely go back to Queenstown because I loved the vibe there.

The Palace Tea Room QVB
During the first week back (at work) my work mates and I were stumped at what to eat for lunch. We decided on high tea but the QVB Tea Room was full so we ended up downstairs at the Palace Tea Room which was just as beautiful! The food was really nice and as with high tea, had everybody struggling to finish by the end. The difference between this place and the QVB Tea Room is that each person gets their own little stand of food whereas upstairs, you share with someone else. The service was fabulous and I loved the luxurious decor.

Bondi Beach
Spent the day with work friends at the beach because it was like the first hot day we'd had in ages. Sun, sand and sea = my fav. Deep blue cloudless skies, white sand and ocean made for some very fun wave jumping. Which I might add were very high that day. I got thrown under a few times when waves smashed in straight after another.

Din Tai Fung World Square
Y'all know this is like my favourite eatery. I took mum there when we went out shopping and we ordered the Spicy Hot and Sour soup, Shrimp & Pork Wonton Noodle soup, Fried Pork Wonton, and my fav, the soybean milk. DTF never disappoints.

Ribs & Burgers (Rhodes)
Ended up at Rhodes for a meeting one day and they had Ribs & Burgers there. I got the Pocket with chips and my god it was delicious. It's on the small side for a burger but the brioche bun and the cheese were just so good with the patty and salad. FYI there's a Ribs & Burgers at the Star in the city.

I also did lots of shopping throughout, buying books because. And I spent today with Jess shopping in the city. We both had a lot of self-control not buying books... but not so much where makeup and clothes were concerned. We both got quite the hauls.

I got lots of books and I read lots of books YAY. I've been on a bit of a graphic novel binge so yeh.

Book Haul

Books Read

I READ SO MANY BOOKS I'M SO PROUD OF MYSELF. Ok tbh the numbers are upped because of a novella and graphic novels haaaaa.

  • Castle Hill (On Dublin Street #3.5) by Samantha Young - this was cute, I got my Joss and Braden fix
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - this was fabulous and so amazingly thought so. Stellar world-building and totally spoke to the nerd in me.
  • Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter  - great concept but I had a lot of issues with this, namely the overpowering romance which I didn't like. Review to come.
  • Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken - great time travel book with great world building.
  • Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway- this is the best contemporary I've read in a LOOOONG time. Gosh it's so sweet and adorable and realistic. Very well written.
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- left me in a very emotional state but again very realistic and I loved how there was no right or wrong in the views of the characters.
  • Rat Queens vol 1: Sass & Sorcery- this is my fav graphic novel so far. I love the dynamics between this team of female mercenaries. They're so funny and the story is awesome.
  • Wayward vol 1: String Theory- wasn't a fan of this one sadly. It was confusing and moved too quickly.
  • Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh- really great world-building, Nalini Singh always comes up with such great concepts. I got a bit confused with the PsyNet though and the romance was very overpowering. Got to remember this isn't UF but PNR.

Reading: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Listening To: The Sound by The 1975
Watching: The 100, Jessica Jones, Shadowhunters - Shadowhunters just for the laughs (I've been live tweeting as I watch). The 100 and Jessica Jones are AMAZING.


  1. I'm literally in NZ RIGHT NOW and absolutely loving it. It's such, SUCH a gorgeous place. (And we too have been having lovely weather.) I can't wait to see what you think of YELLOW--this one is high on my TBR list. :)

    1. Ahhhh I hope you enjoyed NZ! I need to go back again. I've been hearing really good things about Yellow :D

  2. YAY NZ PICTURES <3 I swear, you can never take a bad picture in NZ, everything just looks beautiful. Haha I went to the steepest hill too and Ben and I were debating whether we should drive up it. Ended up deciding not to in case we couldn't make it up to the top and wrecked the hire car. :P

    Very jealous about Hobbiton! It's on my list for the next time I'm there. And Milford Sound <3 I went kayaking and hiking there, it was just amazing. So surreal.

    YAY RAT QUEENS, so glad you liked it! Hope you have a great reasing month ahead xx

    1. One day I will put the rest of my NZ pictures onto FB. One day...

  3. I loved Ready Player One, and I'm old enough to have experienced all the 80s references first hand :)

    I'm really not organised enough to list my book haul. Must do better!

    Great post :)

    1. Omg RPO is so freaking genius and how must it be to understand all those 80s references. I understood most of them but I do admit some of them went right over my head haaah.

  4. I'm sorry to see you did't like Firstlife much! I have to read that one soon because I have an arc from Netgalley. The premise sounds really interesting! I'm glad to see you liked Emmy & Oliver though! I've heard good things about that one.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. I think Firstlife can go both ways. I know some people who loved it and others like me who are a bit eehhhh about haha. I hope you like it!

  5. Wow! Look at all those places! I'd love to visit NZ :)
    Also, I loved Me Before You!

    Aeriko @ The Reading Armchair

    1. Yessss NZ is so beautiful. I'm really glad I went, I want to go backkkkk already.
      Me Before You *sobs* I am broken. I cannot wait for the movie the cast is perfection.

  6. That sounds like a beautiful trip! I would LOVE to see the Hobbit houses. Great job on reading so many books :D Keep it up in February! Happy reading.

    1. Mel Mel you know what you'd also love on your trip to see those Hobbit holes? ME. Muahaha. If you ever go NZ you must stop over in Aus and visit us Aussie bloggers :3

  7. NEW ZEALAND <3 <3 <3 My grandparents are taking us on a cruise for my sister's 18th birthday next year so that's VERY EXCITING. And your pictures are just gorgeous.

    Aaaaand as usual you're making me jealous with all the fabulous food places you went.

    1. OMG YOU WILL LOVE IT EMILY. Thank you, I have so many photos and I'm just not bothered uploading them hahaha.

  8. I'm going back to NZ for a visit in March and seeing all your pictures made me so happy! I hope to be able to stop by Matamata and go to Hobbiton as well <3 It would be a dream come true haha.

    I miss Din Tai Fung at World Square so much, I used to go quite a bit when I lived in Sydney. We had DTF in Melbourne now but sadly quality isn't as good!

    Aentee at Read at Midnight

    1. Ooooh Aentee that is so exciting. Do you still think of NZ as home?
      You should come to Sydney and call it home and we can go DTF every week :)

  9. NZ is so freaking pretty! I love seeing your pics along with the food pics as well. I actually grew up there so I've seen a few of these sights. I miss Sydney and it's amazing food!

    1. It is it is and thank you my love of food knows no bounds. WAIT YOU GREW UP IN NZ? OR SYDNEY? Both are cool. You should come back to Sydney 5ever.

  10. AFJDKSL THOSE PHOTOS ARE AMAZING. I sometimes forget there's more to NZ than Hobbiton? Ahem. Shhh, let's pretend I am not so nerdily narrow thinking.
    And eeep! I'm glad you liked Emmy and Oliver. THAT BOOK IS SO RIDICULOUSLY CUTE I CANNOT EVEN. Like I'm usually so so critical of contemporaries? But not that one. I could hug it. :')

    1. AHAHAHA CAIT. I was actually just as excited for South Island as I was Hobbiton! I've always seen how beautiful the photos of South Island are, especially the lakes and ice capped mountains and Milford Sound. I was soooo happy I got to see them all!
      I'm usually not the biggest fan of contemporaries either but Emmy & Oliver yesyesyes.