Anika Abroad: Switzerland Edition

Guten Morgen/Hallo/Bonjour!

 

I am officially loving Europe 🙂 I actually wrote this blog post last week on the train from Lausanne (Switzerland) to Paris, but did not take my laptop on my travels so unfortunately could not post!

 

My flight from Sydney to Zurich was smooth, and I ended up getting the whole row to myself, meaning a solid sleep. I even visited the butterfly garden in Singapore airport, which made for a very cool stopover.

 

The first few days: Zurich, catching up with family and daily swims in the river

 

My Uncle was there to collect me from the airport in Zurich, and we made our way to his home to have some coffee. After settling down into my room, we headed out in to the city. The architecture is amazing. We went for a swim in the local river in the afternoon, which definitely seems like the hip thing to do in Zurich (and it’s perfect for the 30-degree weather).

 

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The river

The next day, we visited a Quar-Tierhoff (a local farm) where my Uncle helps out occasionally. It’s about 10 minutes from the city and there are goats, horses and rabbits. We also visited the Zurich museum which has some really cool interactive exhibits, and a great boutique shop. Again, we went for a swim in the river in the afternoon. The river is a wonderful place to people watch.

 

La Montagnes – St Luc, Vals D’Annivers

 

After becoming acquainted with Zurich, we headed off to St. Luc – an incredible village in the Swiss alps. It is a French speaking area, unlike Zurich where they speak Swiss German. Boy oh boy, is it beautiful – the mountains and the hotels and houses.

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View from the hotel

From the village, you can catch the fernicular up to start one of many spectacular walks in the mountains. On Saturday, we caught the fernicular and made our way to Hotel Weisshorn which was built in 1882 and sits at 2337m. The mountains are filled with pretty alpine flowers, and you can often hear the sounds of the cows and their bells. It was basically like walking in a postcard. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking.

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Taking in the scenery
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Swiss alps
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A postcard (not really)

On Sunday, we took the chairlift from Chandolin and walked the Chenegouga trail, which featured 4 beautiful lakes nestled in the mountains. The backdrop, is of course, many more mountains. As I said, it’s honestly spectacular. I also went for a swim in Lac Noir (2501m), much to the surprise of the other walkers. The water was too nice not to, and it wasn’t even that cold!

 

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Swimming in Lac Noir

 

We also saw a real life marmot, in the field between Illsee (2360m) and Waschsee (2419m). I have decided that these are like kiwi in New Zealand. I think they are pretty rare to see, but you can sometimes hear them if you listen close. I whipped out my camera just in time, and managed to take a few photos! Woo-hoo.

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Hello my marmot friend

Other noteworthy points:

  • The food has been amazing. Our breakfasts were buffet-style, with a selection of fresh breads, eggs, cereals, fresh fruit and meats and cheese. It’s safe to say, I went to town. Also on Sunday night, I had a really good meal ft duck, mashed potato (so gooood) and vegetables.

 

Some more photos:

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Hotel Weisshorn (as mentioned earlier)
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Alpine chicken?!

 

Anyway, that’s enough from me. For more photos, check out my Instagram or Facebook 🙂

 

Up next on the blog: Paris, a castle and the South of France.

 

 

Affectionately Yours,

Anika X

 

Ciao, Canberra

* Sorry to be MIA these past few weeks – I’ve been in a whirlwind of farewell events, stuffing my face full of Canberra’s finest foods and putting off packing til last minute *

By the time you read this, I’ll be over on the other side of the world in Switzerland!

Despite being organised with my packing list, when it came to actually packing the clothes in the bag and making sure everything was in the one place… let’s just say I work well under pressure. Sometimes.

Hot tip for travel: do not wait until the morning of to pack your check-in. You’ll be very rushed and highly stressed. I didn’t even put the lock I bought especially for the trip on my bag.

But alas, I made it to my bus and successfully made my way through customs (after the forced disposal of my toothpaste and a rush to empty my drink bottle – whoops). My mamma and my sister came to see me off at Jolimont, which was lovely.

I’ll be honest, I am very excited… but it’s definitely one of those ‘mixed emotion’ type adventures in life. I am sad to be leaving all the wonderful people in my life who made my last few weeks in Canberra unforgettable. It’s safe to say, there have already been some tears, and I’m sure there will be more. But that’s okay… it’s an adventure of a lifetime, right? A learning process. All that jazz.

Anyway, I am about to board a plane (guys, it’s a double decker PLANE – I didn’t even know that was a thing) so I should probably sign off… I also get in-flight meals too. How lavish.

Ciao, for now!

 

Affectionately Yours,

Anika x

 

PERSONAL // 21 days until Europe

I am guessing you just read the title of this post. Now that I’ve actually posted this, it’s only 20 days… but I digress. You read it right, less than 3 weeks until I fly to Europe.

I have already watched two of my friends pack a bunch of their favourite clothes, their essential toiletries and the usual medications (panadol, travel sickness etc) into one backpack and catch their flights overseas to enjoy the European summer.

Soon, another few of my friends will undertake the same ritual of packing all their favourites into one bag and taking off to explore the other side of the world. But not before I must!

So, I’m really going to Europe. On exchange. I’ll be living overseas for 6 months.

With regard to the administrative side of exchange, I’m pretty set. I have filled out the relevant forms. I’ve applied for my Italian visa. My passport is up to date. I have my accommodation sorted.

Now comes the dreaded task – packing clothes to last me 6 months in Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love clothes. However with this love, comes a love for shopping… and over the years, I have accumulated a large collection of fabulous/wild/wonderful pieces. This is why it is so difficult to pack.

Packing for Europe

There is so much I want to take, but obviously I only have one bag… and who knows, there may be clothes I want to buy over there. So, I’ve been doing a little research. I have found a few good sites with comprehensive packing lists (aka this great list and this one for long term travel and finally this one which probably has a little more than I’d like to take but is still useful).

My friend also recently linked me this great article written by Zoe Foster Blake (does anyone else have a #girlcrush on her?!). I 100% agree with finding your own style and immersing yourself in the country you are going to. I guess I’ll just have to paw through the Lonely Planet Guide to Italy that I picked up at the library… poor me (just kidding, of course!).

You must be wondering, what is she going to pack?! I’m not entirely sure yet, and it’s a work in progress, but here is a rough draft of my packing list at the moment:

Anika’s ‘what I think I’ll bring to wear for 6 months in Europe’ list

Clothes

  • Three t-shirts (a white, a grey and a khaki green)
  • Two shirts (a white linen shirt and an embroidered floral shirt-dress)
  • Two long-sleeved tops (for the colder months)
  • Three dresses (one for going out and two casual)
  • A skirt (I have realised I don’t tend to wear many skirts, but maybe it’ll change once I’m over in Europe!)
  • Two pairs of shorts (1 x denim and 1 x fun)
  • Two pairs of pants (my linen pants and my funky Ÿ flowy pants I bought in Japan)
  • Two pairs of jeans (1 x black, 1 x blue)
  • Work-out gear (tights and an exercise top)
  • A comfy outfit (leggings and a jumper)
  • A jumper or two (1 x good-lookin’ one and 1 x comfy/warm one???)
  • My beloved puffer jacket
  • The relevant underwear (of course)

Accessories

  • A funky pair of earrings
  • A scarf

Shoes

  • My sneakers (my Nike free runs)
  • A pair of low-heeled black boots
  • My black Birkenstocks (the standard Arizona style – they are soo comfy)
  • Thongs (wouldn’t be an Aussie if I didn’t bring my thongs)
  • (Maybe a pair of summer sandals? What do you all think?)

 

Let me know if I have missed anything or whether you think there is anything you would add… although I’m sure I’ll add to it as the days pass and I remember more 🙂

 

I hope you all have a great week.

 

Affectionately Yours,

Anika x

EXPLORE // Hidden Gems in Fyshwick

Fyshwick. An industrial suburb filled with car dealers and sex shops. Not many people would brag about going to Fyshwick, but today I am going to shock you (not really) and explain why you should venture there.

After a few road trips (including a visit to Bowral which you can read about here), my car was in need of a little TLC. I called up Mario at 5A Mechanical who I highly recommend, and booked the ol’ car in for a service.

With a few hours to kill, I decided to call a friend and explore the hidden gems in Fyshwick with her. As it was lunchtime, we decided to drop in to our old stomping ground – Flute Bakery.

1. Flute Bakery

In college, Flute Bakery was one of my favourite spots to go during lunch breaks. They do incredible pies, great sandwiches and the most amazing macaroons. I ordered a small coffee ($3.50) and E and I shared a beef and red wine pie ($6.00) and a chicken sandwich ($7.50). It was delicious!

 

I also purchased a loaf of multigrain sourdough bread for $6.00! It’s not pictured, but I’m sure you can imagine how good it tastes. I will definitely be enjoying my morning toast these next few days.

 

2. Material Pleasures

Across the road from Flute is Material Pleasures, which we could not resist browsing following our lunch. They buy and sell second-hand designer clothes, and you can often snatch yourself a bargain… Best of all, you’re supporting sustainable fashion and the environment!

After trying on some dresses and skirts, and admiring the Max Mara pants, I found this Ralph Lauren jumper. It was in the male section (no shame) but it was super comfy and is 100% lambs wool. I checked the price and it was $30.00! I couldn’t say no – I’m a sucker for knits.

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A knit to keep me red hot in Winter

Side note: I am yet to do a post on sustainable/ethical fashion, but at the start of the year I decided that I would limit my spending (partially because I bought too many clothes last year and partially because I realised how unsustainable the clothing industry is – shoutout to Gary and sustainable marketing).

 

3. Canty’s Bookshop 

After our fill of textures and satisfied tastebuds, we went to Canty’s Bookshop. It is a marvellous second-hand bookshop, filled with numerous titles.

Now that it is holidays (woo!), I have much more time to relax… and one of my favourite ways to relax is reading. As I mentioned in THOUGHTS // Week 12: The Importance of Self-Care, I already have Haruki Murakami’s new book ‘Men Without Women’ on my reading list. However, with the range at Canty’s Bookshop, I was unable to leave empty handed.

 

I bought the following titles:

  1. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse;
  2. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel GarcĂ­a MĂĄrquez; and
  3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

They have been on my ‘wanted to buy’ list for a while, so I was happy to get my hands on them. They were also super cheap, the most expensive being $6.50. In total, the three books were cheaper than my new Murakami book.

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My new (old) books!

Nonetheless I am always on the hunt for new titles, so if you have any recommendations for my holiday reading, shoot me a comment! Or let me know if you have read any of the above and whether you enjoyed them.

All in all, I hope I’ve inspired you to venture out to Fyshwick and explore the fine eats, arts and goings on.

 

Affectionately Yours,

Anika x

 

EXPLORE // My long weekend

God Bless the Queen.

Thanks to Her Highness, 12 June was a public holiday for us Canberrans. This meant an extra day for adventures and a weekend full of fun and friends. So I figured this week, I’ll take you through the highlights of my long weekend: DIY Brunch, the handmade markets, Wonder Woman and a good ol’ fashioned bushwalk.

1. DIY Brunch

Some say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Naturally, I started the long weekend with poached eggs and smashed avocado on toast. Instead of heading to one of my favourite cafes, I put my domestic goddess skills to good use and did it myself!

 

 

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Affordable and delicious!

2. The handmade markets 

After polishing off our breakky and washing it down with a coffee, we made our way to the handmade markets – a quarterly market held at Exhibition Park In Canberra. These markets were launched in 2008 and boast up to 250 stalls exhibiting their handcrafted goods (including homewares, food and fashion).

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Everyone enjoying the displays of homemade wares…
The markets were incredibly busy and filled with many goodies. First of all, I picked myself a natural perfume from Amacyn containing these ingredients – a blend mandarin, rose geranium, and sandalwood. Next, I picked up these sterling silver earrings – pretty cute if you ask me. Finally… we landed in the food section and I could not walk past the Krofne donuts. Their jam donuts are my absolute favourite – so warm and fresh (if you’ve never tried them, I highly recommend you head to the Old Bus Depot Markets next weekend and try one).

 

3. Wonder Woman

The movie that everyone is talking about. I went with a few friends to see it at Hoyts, then we realised it was booked out… so we road-tripped to Tuggeranong and watched it at Limelight Cinemas. The tickets were only $9.50 !!! What a bargain. I’m surprised that people don’t go there more often.

More to the point, Wonder Woman was really good – I’d give it an 8/10. I’ll let you do your own research about the plot and whether it meets the standards of other DC Comics movies, but I found it entertaining. I was also very pleased to see an empowering female lead (this is so often difficult to find in so many films) and I was also very pleased that it was directed by a woman! #girlpower

 

4. A good ol’ fashioned bushwalk

Sometimes I forget how many great walks are available in Canberra’s surrounding nature reserves/national parks. We put our walking boots on and drove to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, just a short drive away from the city centre. We walked to Gibraltar Peak, which is an 8.2km return walk.

 

At the start of the walk, you’ll pass many lounging kangaroos on the grass plains (some small, some not so small). There are also some cool plants along the way, including the pictured grass trees. There was also a magnificent view at the top of the peak. We stopped here, along with a bunch of other walkers, to rejuvenate and refuel.

 

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I love rock (and roll)
For more information about any walks available at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, make sure you head to their website.

Anyway, enough about me. What did you all get up to this long weekend?

 

Affectionately Yours,

Anika x

PERSONAL // Life Update

I like consistency, and so I decided that I would do a new blog post each week around 7am, Wednesday. This week, I have not done so. Not because I forgot, not because I didn’t want to, but because life got in the way and my attention has been focused elsewhere. You’ll learn why soon.

Anyway, for this week, I’ve decided to write a short and bittersweet life update:

The good news

  • On a positive note, I finished exams on Monday! You may have seen this on my Instagram or I may have excitedly told you. This means semester 1 of 2017 is complete, and I only have 1 1/2 years of study left – eeek… and one of those semesters will be spent in Milan. How time flies…
  • On another positive note, I am officially an ANU Global Programs storyteller which means I will submit my stories/adventures/misadventures to Global Programs and they might feature on the blog. I was gifted a T-shirt and a selfie stick – very exciting.
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Sunrise on the morning of 5 June 2017.

But with good, comes bad… so here it is.

The not-so-good news

  • One of the most inspirational women in my life passed away. She would have been 95 on Monday 5 June 2017. My Great Aunt (“Auntie Anne”) was born in Germany and escaped just before World War II. She lived in Australia and carved out a life for herself, making many wonderful friends along the way. She loved going for walks on the beach every day, alongside a furry companion (the last was Billie, a spotty cattle dog who absolutely adored Auntie Anne). I loved her with all my heart and unfortunately, I never got to say goodbye. I guess that happens in life. You never know when something might happen, or when your last goodbye might be. It’s one of the reasons that I always like to let the people in my life know how much I love and appreciate them. Live each day like it’s your last, I say.
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A photo of Telstra Tower at sunset on the same day (5 June 2017).

So, that’s where I’m at.

It is now 40 days until I head to Europe, so I suppose I should start organising visas and think about what to pack (and if we’re being honest here, where I even want to go).

Speaking of which, if anyone has any recommendations for what to pack when travelling for long periods (esp when you’re due to be living in a fashion capital !!!), please leave a comment!

Well, that is all for this week. Back to watching Netflix and bumming out on the couch because I’ve finished exams and have no study to do – oooohhh yeah.

 

Affectionately Yours,

Anika x

EXPLORE // WHY YOU SHOULD DO A DAY TRIP TO BOWRAL

After some full-on weeks of study, R (my adventure partner x s/o) and I spent a weekend away visiting the Hunter Valley region. This is a solid drive from Canberra (about 4 hours) so we decided to break up the trip with a pit-stop in Bowral, a lovely town in the Southern Highlands, NSW.

Even if you have only just come across my blog and read through a post or two, you probably realise how much I love brunch. With this deep love comes the need to scope out the latest and greatest cafes, which is why I have had my eye on The Press Shop for quite some time now.

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This cafĂ© is a must for those who love aesthetically pleasing surroundings. There are brick walls, painted white. There are large windows, letting in all the natural light your heart desires. There is a hint of greenery on every table. And the coffee… it was A+.

Sidenote: I wish I had taken a photo of the entrance because it is absolutely gorgeous, but I guess you’ll have to go there and see for yourself!

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Not only does this cafe serve great coffee and delicious food (I had the vegetable breakky wrap which I can highly recommend), but you can also pick up some trendy stationery (including Kate Spade – drool) or a handmade card or two from Bespoke Letterpress.

In fact, I realised that I had previously bought a few Bespoke Letterpress birthday cards for various people from Harry Hartog Bookseller. What a coinkydink.

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As mentioned on The Press Shop’s website, ‘our space is an accumulation of our design studio, print studio, letterpress stationery store and cafĂ© all contained within the one beautiful space’
 and really, it does not disappoint.
After you have had your fill of coffee and nibbles, walk down the street past the beautiful boutiques towards Green Lane. As you walk through the gates at Green Lane, you are greeted by greenery billowing out of The Orangery, part of The Potting Shed. There are many glorious plants for sale (cacti, succulents – you name it), alongside beautiful vintage pots and all the accessories a gardener could imagine.

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When you continue down the lane, you find yourself in a courtyard – a courtyard in which dreams are made of. There is greenery everywhere, and so many places to explore. We ducked into Dirty Janes – an emporium full of all things vintage/antique. We could have spent hours here, wandering through the 75+ dealers in the incredibly large warehouse – but alas, we had places to be.

I left R at one of the stores to hunt through vinyls, and wandered through the rest of the warehouse, eyeing off all the vintage clothes and antiques on offer (including old designer jewellery, books and old cameras). Perhaps once I know more about film cameras, I’ll return and buy one of these beauties!

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After I had covered most of the stores, and R most of the vinyls (see below for the happy vinyl collector), we decided to continue on our way… but that is a blog post for another time.

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Affectionately Yours,

Anika x

 

THOUGHTS // Week 12: The Importance of Self-Care

I am still in shock at how quickly this semester has gone, especially this last month. Especially now that ANU only has 12 weeks (as opposed to the ol’ 13) – time flies… I guess I’m having fun.

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My view from Hancock Library, where I’ve been hiding the majority of the week

 

As you probably guessed from the title, it is currently week 12. The week that students dread. It’s full of cramming, assessment and stress (which is why this week, I want to stress the importance of self-care).

Now everyone has certain things they like to do to de-stress, but maybe you want to try something new, or maybe you’re just interested in how others to soothe their souls. Nonetheless, I’m going to share a few tips with you so buckle up!

 

Tip one: exercise

This is absolutely the first thing that goes to the end of my priority list when I have a bunch of things to do. However we all know that exercise releases endorphins, which can be super helpful when you are stressed and in need of a break.

I went for a lake walk the other day, just before the sun began to set. I started off at the National Library and walked the ‘bridge to bridge’ (Commonwealth Bridge to Kings Avenue Bridge).

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I caught the sunset at the end of my walk, and watched people cycle past as the sunlight filtered through the leaves. There was actually a boy on a unicycle (you can see him in the sunlight) and his mother was taking photos of him (to the left). Isn’t autumn marvellous?!

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Tip two: hang out with animals 

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One thing I love about week 12 (previously week 13) are the events that ANU hosts. In particular, I always look forward to the Petting Zoo. Anyone who knows me will know that I absolutely love animals, and what better place to go.

The animal I am holding (to the right) is a silkie chicken. The lady who owns the farm (and petting zoo) said that you have to pick them up with confidence and hold their wings so they don’t fly away. There was also a 3 month old cow – what a cutie! Unfortunately, petting zoos aren’t easily accessible so if you’re looking for a quick fix, you can always find a dog who is ready to receive love, pets and tummy rubs.

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Tip three: Prepare for when you have no assessment 

FullSizeRender-3.jpgAs with most uni students, I can be a procrastination queen! On the weekend, besides the hours I spent at the library, I made it to Paperchain – a lovely bookstore in Manuka. When I saw that Haruki Murakami had published another book, I absolutely had to have it. He is my favourite author by far, and I will one day own every single book he has published. So, I’ve added it to my to-do list for the holidays.

 

Tip four: Take a break, if you need one

Finally, my last tip is to take a break. After my weekend of studying, I literally could not face my computer. My fingers hurt from typing. So, I took the liberty of taking the night off.

I went to my friend’s house and we had homemade burgers and made brownies! We tried the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie mix and added Cadbury Caramello pieces to it. Whilst I’d rate the normal mix above the gluten free version, it was still super delicious and we had it with ice cream. The perfect night off.

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All in all, no matter how you relax, make sure you take the time to self-care during week 12 (or during your work week, or any time when you are feeling stressed or overworked).

For now, it’s back to my green tea and revision.

 

Affectionately Yours,

Anika x

 

PERSONAL // How to spend money you don’t need to spend (May Edition)

In just 2 months and 2 days, I will be jetting off to Europe (for the first time ever). I will be studying at Bocconi University in Milan from August, however from July until then, I’ve set aside some time to explore Europe. Anyway, the point of telling you this, is to explain why I have been saving.

But isn’t this post about what you’ve recently bought?

Yes. It is. But sometimes, a girl (or boy, we’re all about equality here) can’t resist.

So, what did you buy?

1. A puffer jacket (for Europe and the oh so cold Canberra)

First of all, we have this trÚs chic down jacket.

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After enlisting the help of my friend who is quite knowledgeable about the world of puffer jackets, we decided on this MacPac jacket.

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It has water-resistant duck down (because down jackets are often ineffective when wet), and surprisingly it’s a really nice fit. There are also many other features which I won’t go through in detail, but it’s safe to say I’m impressed.

2. A forest green mohair knit from Country Road (that I didn’t really need, but I did really want)

This knit. Now my coworkers and friends can vouch for me – I have been wanting this jumper for months now. It all started when I received an email from Country Road, and saw someone in the jumper (see below). It just looked so comfortable and stylish.

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Pictured: the ad that worked wonders (above), and me looking super happy in my super fabulous new knit (below)

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I also luckily snatched it whilst it was on sale – 25% off. What a bargain. (It’s Italian yarn, people. How could I not)

3. Books

At the start of the year, I decided that I wanted to be more creative. Studying at university is challenging, academically speaking. However, I wanted to challenge myself more creatively.

A big inspiration toward this creative drive were a few of my friends following their own creative pursuits, such as vlogging (check out my lovely lady Georgia Parker’s Youtube channel)  and blogs etc.

For anyone that knows me, they would know how much I love photography. Especially when I am in new places, or travelling!

As such, my two most recent book purchases are… drumroll, please… photography books!

Both are by Henry Carroll:

  1. ‘Read this if you want to take great photographs of people’; and
  2. ‘Read this if you want to take great photographs of place’.

I’d seen these two books in a few bookstores and had the obligatory flick through them, and decided I wanted them on my bookshelf.

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Support your local businesses and pick them up from the National Library of Australia Bookshop where I did, or at Paperchain Bookstore in Manuka. (Otherwise if you are trying to save pennies and don’t mind waiting, I’m sure you can find them online)

Well, back to the (text)books.

Affectionately Yours,

Anika x

EXPLORE // Follow me on an Autumn trail

I would have to say that Autumn is my favourite season (although Spring is a close contender). I love the colours of the leaves and Canberra, biased as I may be, is one of the best places to be if you want to soak in the vibrant colours this season has to offer.

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So, where are the best places to go? I’m going to take you on a tour of my favourite places to find the prettiest leaves this fall.

1. Barton

Barton particularly has glorious-coloured foliage that you just can’t miss. If you park near Darling Street and make your way to Bowen Park, you will catch a glimpse of the following trees:

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2. Lake Burley Griffin

From Bowen Park, make your way to Lake Burley Griffin. Along this path, you will find many people enjoying the sunshine… from cycling to walking or simply enjoying the scenery.

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3. The National Library of Australia

Walk along the lake from Bowen Park until you reach Patrick White Terrace. Closer to the lake, you will find a path carved by trees, and seasonally coloured they are. Once you are ready for a beverage (whether this be coffee or another kind), make your way past the trees to Bookplate Cafe at the National Library of Australia to finish your autumn trail.

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Now now, I have not forgotten about other great autumn spots:

1. Red Hill and Narrabundah

Since you’re already around the area, why not check out what Red Hill/Narrabundah has to offer. See my Instagram posts here and here.

2. The Australian National University

If you are around the city, check out what my stomping ground (the ANU) has to offer. In fact, I would recommend this stretch of trees in all seasons.

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3. Ainslie

If you are around the inner north, I’d recommend Wakefield Avenue in Ainslie. The streets are still beaming with colour from the autumn leaves, and if I do say so myself, it makes for some great photography!

Wakefield Avenue, Ainslie 

Where are your favourite places in Canberra to view the autumn leaves?

Affectionately Yours,

Anika x