30 March 2017

My Current Favourite Lipstick by Sports Girl Australia

I confess, I'm a complete matte liquid lipstick addict.

It's getting to the point where I can't even leave the house unless I'm wearing one, or I don't quite feel right. I don't feel myself. I feel naked.

Kylie Jenner, this is all your fault. If it wasn't for those pesky lip kits, I think I wouldn't be in this position right now. You brought matte liquid lipsticks to the masses, made us get too attached to them and now we can't live without them.

This is a serious problem.

My matte liquid lipstick collection is getting out of control. I now own way to many, more than I ever thought I would, and I don't even get chance to wear them all!

However recently, on my trip to Wisconsin, I got to wear the one or two (or five) I packed in my suitcase as I had one whole month of opportunities!

My current favourite is actually a brand I came across in Australia which I immediately fell in love with. Anybody heard of Sports Girl? Well if you haven't, allow me to enlighten you.

Sports Girl is basically the Australian version of Topshop, offering trend-driven clothing, shoes, accessories, lingerie and make-up to all the cool Sheilas out there. Oh and did I mention that the make-up is amazing?!

They've got a whole range of matte liquid lipsticks in super dreamy colours, such as my current favourite. Step forward, Desert Rose.

I wear this bad boy nine days out of ten at the moment - I seriously can't get enough! Not only does it go with everything, but the slightly curved wand makes it easy to apply and it has the smoothest of textures.

It's actually described as 'Lip Chalk' which gives you an idea of the strength of the lipstick in terms of colour. Put it this way - it's one of the most pigmented matte liquid lipsticks that I own. However, unlike chalk, this little baby lasts a helluva long time. I can sip away at my drink, I can munch on my food, but it ain't shifting - no matter how hard I try. (Not that I am trying because, you know, I do want it to stay on - that's the purpose of a lipSTICK.)

Desert Rose also smells like strawberries, I kid you not. Sometimes I get it out just so I can have a sneaky whiff. Yes, I risk sounding weird with that comment but it's worth it just to tell you how incredible the scent is. (You're welcome!)

I managed to buy two of these matte liquid lipsticks while I was in Australia. The fact that they are so great kinda makes me wish that I lived out there so I could buy more whenever I like. Or I should have just bought the entire collection there and then when I visited back in October. (Read about my adventures here and here). Why did I not think of this before?!

Anyway, let's just say not buying more Sports Girl lipsticks is a regret I'm always going to have in life. (Unless I'm lucky enough to return to Australia in the future - never say never!)

Until next time, folks!


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23 March 2017

Wisconsin Shopping Haul

Soon enough, I will be off on a plane again heading back to England after spending four glorious weeks in Green Bay, Wisconsin visiting my lovely boyfriend.

We've had such a great month and managed to fit in a lot of activities, including weekends away in both Milwaukee and Door County. I will be blogging about these weekends at a later date so, for now, let's just marvel at some pretty things I've bought during my time here!

This post is going to focus on designer bargains alone; however, I have one upcoming that will feature high street items!

Everybody knows that the shopping is great in America; however, with the dollar to pound conversion rate being pretty poor at the moment, I wasn't sure if I would strike lucky with obtaining any bargains here this time around. (FYI I needn't have worried!)

Here are the details of my Wisconsin shopping haul and three new designer babies!

1) The Ralph Lauren Polo classic white t-shirt.

I'd never owned anything Ralph Lauren Polo before, even though my parents practically live in this brand, so I was super excited to see this classic white v-neck t-shirt with the cute little RLP logo on sale at the Outlet Mall in Oshkosh. I had a classic white t-shirt in my possession from ZARA until recently (I made the mistake of taking it backpacking and had to throw it away) so I was very excited to be able to have this iconic staple back in my wardrobe again. (Who doesn't love a classic white tee?) Also, at $20, it was a steal!

Ralph Lauren Polo T-Shirt - RRP $29.99 - approx $20 on SALE 
(Shop Ralph Lauren UK HERE.)

2) The Levi slim-fitting jeans.

Believe it or not, this is the first pair of Levi jeans I have ever owned - even though I have been to America a handful of times in the last nine months (and on several occasions in my lifetime)! I have always yearned for a pair of Levis but never been able to actually afford them - hello, clearance section of Kohls at Bay Square Park mall in Green Bay! (My new friend!) I decided to get this lighter blue pair with ripped knees - a perfect addition to any gal's summer wardrobe as we head into SS17. Winning!
Levi Jeans - RRP $54.50 - approx $27 on SALE (similar here)

3) The Coach designer handbag and purse.

I am absolutely in love with this final purchase. I have been wanting a designer handbag for a long time as I didn't previously own a designer handbag. The closest thing I had to designer is my Fossil handbag which I bought in the staff shop when I used to work in the UK head office. As my Fossil bag is black, I thought I would go with tan for my Coach bag (another classic colour). At one third of the recommended retail price, there was no way I could pass on the opportunity to buy this little number from the Oshkosh Outlet Mall. And I just HAD to get the matching purse. (When in Rome, right?) This set is so pretty, it really does hurt my eyes.

Coach New York Handbag - RRP $295 - approx $95 on SALE
Coach New York Purse - RRP $150 - approx $40 on SALE

I don't understand how tourists can come to America and not leave with a suitcase full of shopping. It's like, impossible! We're lucky that we can access a lot of American brands in the UK, but the prices are never as friendly as we have to import the goods. Furthermore, as I don't plan to be back in America for a little while, I thought I'd stock up while I could.

America, I love you! I will be back.


(Please note that this post contains sponsored links by Ralph Lauren.)

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19 March 2017

How I Decided on My Career Path Thanks to 'The 4-Hour Work Week' By Timothy Ferriss

As most of you already know, my month-long trip backpacking around Thailand ended in February and I have been visiting my boyfriend in Green Bay for the last three weeks.

Whilst I was in Thailand, often laid on beautiful beaches, I had a lot of time to think. I read a book while I was out there that I had recommended to me by a friend and it totally changed my view on things. That book was called 'The 4-Hour Work Week' by entrepreneur Timothy Ferriss. (For those who haven't read it, I implore you to go out and buy it! The premise of the book is how you should work to live, not live to work. It's a real game changer.)

For a long time now, since my full-time working life began after university, I've never felt like I was really in the right job for me. Whether it was the role, the company or the environment, something in each job just didn't quite click. I worked in Marketing, where I could apply my Fashion Marketing degree, for a children's products retailer; I worked in Fashion Marketing for a corporate jewellery and leather accessories company; I even worked in a different area of Fashion and tried my hand in Technical Design. I gained indescribable experience and knowledge in each job but every time I was left feeling empty and unfulfilled. My most recent role in Design was fun but it made me realise that ultimately my skills and interests lie in Marketing. (Or so I thought!)

One day in Thailand, whilst I was travelling from Donsak to Krabi on a rather long bus journey, I got to thinking. I'd just read a chapter in 'The 4-Hour Work Week' which I couldn't help but dwell on. It basically encourages you to ask yourself what you would do if you won the lottery. If you had all of the money in the world and you didn't have to work to make a living, how would you spend your time? I thought about that good and hard for a long time. I thought about what I love to do, what interests me the most. Yes, I'm passionate about Fashion and Travel so naturally, if I won the lottery, I would shop and go see more of the world. (Wouldn't we all?) But, how else would I pass the time? The answer hit me square in the face. I would do what I'm doing right now. I would blog. I would write.

I allowed myself to continue with this thought process throughout the duration of the bus journey, and throughout the rest of my Thailand trip, and it made me question why I'd never thought of writing as a career path before. I love to write; I've always loved to write. I write my blog for free right now. There's nothing or no-one making me spend my spare time working on this blog, and posting as regularly as I do, but I do it because I want to, because I love it. So, why not write for a living? Why not monetise what I love to do?

The more I thought about it, the more I realised how much it made sense to me. I studied Fashion Journalism as an aspect of my degree and applied this knowledge when I wrote for an online magazine back in 2013 (read my initial blog post on it here and find the links to my articles in my 'Features' section). I've also had experience Copywriting in all of my Marketing jobs thus far. Every time I write professionally I enjoy it. Seriously, Katie - why have you not had this epiphany sooner? Your year 2 teacher told your Mum and Dad one Parents Evening that you were going to be a Writer and your writing was too good not to pursue it for a living. Your year 2 teacher knew it. Your parents knew it. But it's only now that it's well and truly clicked for you!

I could freelance, I could do office work; at this stage, I am willing to write for almost anyone or anything in order to develop myself.

With this in mind, I decided to enroll in a Freelance Journalism course at the College of Media and Publishing. It's been a little while since I wrote articles so I feel the need to hone my craft. I started said course when I first arrived in Green Bay and, needless to say, I'm really enjoying it! I haven't studied properly since graduating uni in 2012 and I've actually missed the process of learning and evolving during a course.

Once I confirmed to my nearest and dearest that writing is what I want to do for a living now, they didn't think it was a big deal at all. 'Yes totally makes sense', 'cool, always thought you'd write' and 'that's great, go for it and I'm sure you'll succeed ' were some of the responses. Sometimes something is so completely obvious to everyone else except you. And it takes you a long time to figure it out for yourself. But once you do... Oh boy, it's worth it.

(Buy this life changing book HERE.)

Until next time...


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15 March 2017

3 of My Favourite Thailand Sunsets

Thailand Travelling Series

Please forgive me.

My previous post on the best bits of Pai was supposed to be the last in the Thailand Travelling Series; however, I just couldn't resist throwing this one on the end! I promise, just let me have this one more and I will shut up about everything Thailand related (for now).

Besides, who can say no to a good old sunset? (Especially if you appreciate anything and everything visual like moi.)

My sister and I agreed at the time that Thailand has some of the prettiest sunsets we've ever seen. Granted, I haven't exactly seen ALL of the sunsets in ALL of the world (challenge accepted) but, out of the ones I have seen, the Thailand ones sure are up there as some of the best! (I think it helps when the sunset is a backdrop for a beautiful beach, am I right?)

Here are my top three Thailand sunsets - cue the countdown!

3) Ao Nang.

This was the most surprising sunset in terms of beauty as, an hour before the sun actually set, there were some big, badass, dark grey clouds blocking the sun. There were also boats dropping tourists off from day trips obstructing the view. (Yes, I know - HOW DARE THEY!) Then miraculously, just before the sunset, both the clouds and boats disappeared... And what was left was a soft gradient of blue to pink to purple to yellow over the peaceful tranquility that was the ocean.

2) Koh Phangan.

What I loved the most about this sunset was the pastelly colours and how they seemed to effortlessly flow into each other. Again there were a few clouds, but in no way did they damage the view. The sunset was STUNNING (and the beach wasn't bad either).


1) Koh Samui.

This sunset was my favourite simply because of the vividity of the colours. As there had been a storm an hour prior, there were still some rainclouds in the sky. The greyness of the rainclouds only emphasised the vibrant colours of the sunset. And I think the fact that we were looking out over a gorgeous view of the harbour definitely worked in this sunset's favour! It truly took my breath away.

All three sunsets were definitely a feast for the eyes and did nothing but add to Thailand's overall beauty and charm. What a country! What a trip! What incredible, lifelong memories!

(If you missed the posts in my Thailand Travelling Series, you can catch up on them here, here, here, here and here. That's all for now, folks! K-xo)

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8 March 2017

7 Highlights of Pai

Thailand Travelling Series

As I explained in my previous post, one of the best things to do whilst visiting Chiang Mai in Thailand is to make the three hour trip north-west to the small town of Pai (population: 3000). It's just THE CUTEST and OH SO WORTH IT!

My sister and I actually went there as part of a two day tour by a lovely tour company called Chang Erawan. The tour included an amazing elephant excursion and trip to Tiger Kingdom (again, see my previous post) before you take the bumpy, windy, mountainous roads onto Pai. You stop in Pai overnight in a luxury bungalow and then spend the next day seeing the sights of the surrounding area before heading back to Chiang Mai. All the while, you travel in the comfort of your own air-conditioned SUV stocked with water and soft drinks and driven by the nicest of nice English-speaking tour guide.

It's a bit of a whistle stop tour as you are on the clock to get back to Chiang Mai for early evening on the second day, but there is enough time to cover the key highlights of one of the prettiest places I've ever been!

Without further do, here's the best bits of Pai:

1) Pai Canyon.

Ah, the imaginatively titled Pai Canyon. I hate to burst your bubble, but it's got nothing on the Grand Canyon. Pai Canyon is basically an elevated viewpoint overlooking the Pai valley; it's pretty, don't get me wrong, but it's just not the Grand Canyon! (Let's face it, nothing really compares to that bad boy.) Having said that though, Pai Canyon is definitely worth a look!

2) Pai River Villa.

This is the accommodation where we stayed for the night. We had our own private bungalow with a king size bed and ensuite bathroom which was, you guessed it, right on the river that runs through Pai. It was so peaceful and stunning! We loved it.

3) Night markets.

The actual town centre of Pai is only a couple of streets long and wide. It's very popular with backpackers and holiday-makers alike, however it only truly comes alive at night. There is a daily night market down the main street that is not quite as extensive as the Sunday Walking Street in Chiang Mai, but still fun to walk around! DO IT and I guarantee you will enjoy yourself (and perhaps pick up a couple of bargains along the way)!

4) The White Buddha.

This little guy is casually chilling halfway up one of the mountains that overlooks Pai. It doesn't feel like much from a distance but, as you get closer, it's seriously impressive. There's about 38428 steps to walk up before you can get up close and personal to him (okay, that's a slight exaggeration) however, once you're up there, the view is simply breathtaking.

5) Chinese Yunnan Village.

This is a real Chinese settlement that has turned into a major tourist attraction in recent years. Many people come from all over to experience the Yunnan food and way of life. It's not a huge area so it doesn't take long to peruse - I'd say it was a nice little pitstop on the tour and so cute that it looks like a postcard!

6) Mo Paeng Waterfall.

Usually, this waterfall is one of the tourist hotspots in Pai (well this one and Pam Bok, which wasn't included on our tour). But it was very quiet on the day we visited Mo Paeng and a bit of a disappointment, if I'm honest, simply because there hadn't been any rainfall in weeks so the water was very sparse. (And you need a lot of water to make a half decent waterfall, right?!) The surroundings were still aesthetically pleasing though and I could imagine how lovely it would have looked if only there was a bit more water!

7) Pai Hot Springs.

Unfortunately, visiting the hot springs wasn't included on our tour so we didn't get to experience them. Although, if you get the opportunity, you must do this as I hear great things about them! Take one for the team.

To summarise, we just couldn't help but love Pai. I think it's largely due to the fact that it's so small that it's SUPER CUTE. With it being nestled amongst the mountains up and down some of the most twisty, bumpy roads known to man, it feels a bit like a secret hideaway. Furthermore, I can't emphasise how picturesque it is in town centre - a perfect muse for artists needing a new subject! We were only there for one night but I fell madly, deeply in love with it and I will never forget it! Pai, you BABE!

After Pai, we ventured to Bangkok just for a couple of nights before flying back to England. Unfortunately the trip ended on a bit of a bad note for me as I was struck down with severe wisdom tooth pain which prevented me from being able to enjoy Bangkok as much as I did the first time around in 2014. 

However, all in all, I had a fantastic time during my month in Thailand. Indeed, there were some downs: illness at the beginning and illness at the end, flooding in Koh Samui, being attacked by mosquitoes and general lack of hygiene to name a few. But there were also so many ups - just read my last few blog posts back! And I couldn't have done it all without my best friend, partner in crime and Chief Travelling Buddy: my sister, Miss Nicola Davies. That girl is nothing short of amazing! We've had some of the best times travelling together on and off over the last nine months. As I sit here typing in my boyfriend's house in Green Bay, USA, I cannot help but smile at all the memories. It also makes me a little sad knowing that this travelling period is almost over. Once I get back to England in a couple of weeks time, I don't plan on going anywhere abroad for quite a while. It's time to focus on my career! (Also my passport is definitely about to expire, so there's that to sort out first before I can travel again internationally. WAH!)

This brings me nicely onto my next blog post detailing my career epiphany. It's gonna be a good one!

But, for now, Thailand - you have been incredible. You have taught me so much the second time around, just as you did the first! You have reiterated to me how lucky I am to live in a wealthy country with all the little luxuries we have and often take for granted on a daily basis. You have given me a new found appreciation and respect for life. (How much do I sound like Ross from Friends there during the car backfire episode?! Like, SRSLY.)

I'm not sure if we'll ever meet again so - if not - THANK YOU, Thailand! You have been epic and I will never forget you.

Check out my other posts in the Thailand Travelling Series here, here, here and here! For all those who have stuck with this series all the way through... I just want to say thank you! I'm so grateful that you've taken the time to visit my little blog and care about my thoughts and ramblings. I have a lot of, what I'm hoping will be, interesting content coming up in the next few weeks so please stick with me! Until next time, my lovelies... K-xo)

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5 March 2017

10 of the Top Things To Do in Chiang Mai

Thailand Travelling Series

When I visited Thailand previously on my first backpacking trip in 2014, I was only in the country for two weeks total. This meant I had to limit the amount of places I could visit as I was majorly on the clock!

My companion and I purely focused on the Gulf of Thailand, as well as Bangkok, which meant that the North was sadly out of reach. I'd always regretted this, as several different groups of people I've met throughout each and every backpacking stint always say that the North of Thailand is so pretty, especially Chiang Mai and Pai, and worth the trip up there! Therefore, this time around, there was no way I was going to let the opportunity slip by again! After Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Ao Nang and Koh Phi Phi, my sister and I headed to Chiang Mai full of hope and wonder (read past blog posts in this series here, here and here).

Here is my list of the top 10 things to do in Chiang Mai.

1) Visit Tha Phae Gate...

...and walk the walls that surround the old part of the city. These walls have been in existence since 1296 so they are something to behold! The area around Tha Phae Gate is famous and always bustling with backpackers and fellow tourists due to the abundance of cafes, shops and restaurants. (There's even a McDonalds if you're craving a piece of home!)

2) Walk to the riverfront.

The Ping River embankment is a 30-40 minute walk from Tha Phae Gate, which can be quite a pleasant stroll if the sun is shining! We found that we managed to get decent-looking photos from Thanon Charoen Mueang Bridge; plus there's cafes along the way if you want to stop off for a breather from the humidity.

3) Check out Chinatown.

We accidentally stumbled across Chinatown on the way back from Thanon Charoen Mueang Bridge. We didn't look around extensively, but what we did see certainly interested us. Furthermore, as it was Chinese New Year the weekend that we visited Chiang Mai, this part of the city was decorated with Chinese lanterns which was a treat for the eyes!

4) Spend your Sunday evening at the Sunday Walking Street market.

Sunday nights come alive in Chiang Mai down the Walking Street! You'll see sellers setting up their stalls from about 5pm onwards and there's all sorts of goods on offer - from clothing to candles to art to food - the list is endless! You'll be able to grab yourself a few bargains as well as enjoy the free music and atmosphere.

5) Visit Buak Hard Public Park.

This park is a bit of a trek from Tha Phae Gate and the main touristy area, however it sure is worth the journey! Unfortunately there were a few renovations occurring when we were there, but it doesn't stop the park from being insanely stunning! It honestly doesn't feel you're in Thailand whilst you're there - you've died and gone to heaven!

6) Have a few beers at Zoe in Yellow.

Zoe in Yellow is the main bar in an area of bars on the corner of Th Ratchaphakhinai and Th Ratwithi. It is the only bar with a dancefloor and a large, outdoor seating area where it's nice to just chill with a drink (or two). It thrives at night and you'll find plenty of backpackers in the vicinity wanting to dance, party and have a good time!

7) Go to Mae Rim Elephant Camp.

Anyone who's anyone knows that Chiang Mai is famous for its awesome authentic animal experiences! My sister and I visited the Mae Rim Elephant Camp as part of a two day tour where we also got to visit Tiger Kingdom and stay overnight in Pai (the cutest village in the mountains). At the elephant camp, we had the most fun morning bathing, feeding, riding and even mucking out (!) two elephants in their natural environment. It was one of the best things I've ever done in my life and I loved every minute of it!

8) Visit Tiger Kingdom.

As mentioned during point seven, Tiger Kingdom is another popular excursion for tourists in Chiang Mai. Be prepared for the most bizarre system ever known to man though upon arrival; choose the size of the tiger you want to be photographed with and the price, drop off your valuables and then have a member of staff literally shove you in a cage with four tigers. Luckily there's trained professionals keeping you safe in there as well as yourself, but still - it's not for the faint hearted!

9) Do some temple-spotting.

In America, there's a Starbucks on every corner. In Koh Phi Phi, there's a tattoo shop on every corner (do you hardcore readers remember this snippet from the last post?)! In Chiang Mai, however, there's a temple on every corner. Some of them are extremely pretty buildings with impressive shapes, colours and architecture, so keep your eyes peeled! Nic and I couldn't help but take photos of them.

10) Go down Loi Kroh Road at night...

...which is something we personally didn't have the time to do, as we were only in Chiang Mai for two nights. However, this road is apparently famous for its nightlife and ladyboys - so fill your boots!

All in all, we really enjoyed Chiang Mai and can certainly understand the hype around it. My three favourite personal highlights were the Tha Phae Gate area, the Sunday Walking Street market and Mae Rim Elephant Camp (especially the elephant camp)! Please learn from my previous mistake and make sure you visit Chiang Mai when you're travelling around Thailand! It's always lovely and sunny, everything's so green and the vibe is truly buzzing. It's definitely not to be missed!

Next up: a whistle stop tour around Pai.


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