I'll be 27 by the end of this year, and despite the fact I'm still a few years off being in my 30's, I've been reflecting lately on my 20's and how much I've changed, and how much I've learnt.

It's funny - I was just talking to a friend yesterday about how much my perspective on certain things has changed, and how it seemed to happen overnight. We joked about how 'old' we are now, as we watched a group of 18yr old girls walk past us at 12pm on a Sunday afternoon in pretty minimal clothing and obscenely high heels. Seriously, our judgement could be felt miles away - when did we turn into such nanna's? And when did we become so okay with that?

I thought I'd compile a little list of my own observations, as I find these quite interesting to read. Sometimes I think we all have our own worries, or thoughts, that we think are unique to only us, when in fact, it seems as though so many others have the exact same thought, and it genuinely makes you feel so much better!

So, my twenties, in a nutshell:

1. It's okay to stay in on Saturday night.

I've never been a big 'going out' person right from the get go. When you're young though, it almost seemed compulsory that you went out on a Saturday night. I would have friends of parents ask me why I wasn't going out on a Saturday night, and it made me feel almost humiliated - like I wasn't as cool as their kids. Then there was of course the dreaded question at work - any plans for the weekend? They were just being polite, but my usual answer of 'not much' seemed to illicit looks of judgement from everyone who asked, to the point where sometimes I'd even lie about my plans. LIE. What in the world...? 
I love socialising and being with friends, but sometimes (most of the time) I just like to have a quiet weekend, and at the age of 27, I now can say with complete confidence that I actually LOVE staying in on Saturday nights. I'm not embarrassed to say that, and I'm so glad that feeling of 'needing to impress' has gone away. What a ridiculous thing to lie about - honestly! 

2. Health is so much more important than 'being skinny'.

When I was a teenager, I never worried about 'health' or weight loss or anything like that. I was raised on a healthy diet and school meant I exercised all the time. I never had a confidence issue until I was about 18 and started to put a little weight on. Nearly ten years later, 'health' is something that crosses my mind every single day, and it's made me realise how much it really can mean.

Health isn't about dieting, gym routines or calories. It's about your body, as a whole. It's about educating yourself on foods and what works for you, what makes you happy, and embracing what you have. I am always going to love food, and eating. I am never going to be great at portion control, and I'm never going to like quinoa. 
I have also realised that years of not paying attention to what I'm doing to my body is starting to take a toll on not just my stomach or my hips, but also my heart and my mind. If I knew how much damage I was doing to my mind, I would have gotten a hold of it years ago before it got out of hand. 

Listen to your body, don't listen to anyone else. You will know whats best.

3. You cannot pull off winged eyeliner, and it's okay.

I have hooded eyes, which means winged eyeliner gets cut off at the crease and looks really weird. I can do it if I make the wing really thick (and 60's style, which I love!) but it takes a lot of effort and doesn't come across as being very casual. I've definitely learnt after ten years of trying that I'm just not ever going to have the perfect cat eye flick, and it's totally okay. There are other things that suit me better!

4. Stop comparing yourself to others.

This is my biggest and worst habit, especially being in the blogosphere. I have consistently compared myself to others and it's never ended well, so why did I keep doing it?

I think it's natural to compare yourself to others, and in some ways its a healthy thing. It's what helps us learn and grow, but I've realised that there is a point where you have to stop and look at what you have achieved on your own already. Envy is never a nice look, and it certainly isn't ever going to push you in a good direction.

5. Not everything is going to happen smoothly.

I knew from a pretty early age that nothing I wanted to do was going to be easy. It would have been great if I just finished my Business degree and got a job in Marketing, but unfortunately it was decided that I definitely could not, and would not follow an easy path, and whatever it is that's in store for me is not going to be easy to achieve. 
For the most part, everyone always has to work hard to get where they are, that's a given, but I know particularly when you're interested in creative industries, it's always so much harder to get where you want, and I really had to sit down one day and tell myself that if I want to be happy, then I have to stop letting every road bump get in my way.
It may seem cheesy, but I actually got a Latin quote tattooed on my arm a few years ago, as when I first read it, it really resonated with me.

"Fluctuat nec Mergitur."

It roughly translates to 'She is tossed by the waves, but does not sink', which to me seems like a reminder that despite all battles, you must pick yourself up and try again. I think this is something we must all remember in times of hardship!

6. Resist picking at your skin at all costs.

Okay, to be fair, I still haven't quite learnt this. What I have learnt though is that picking at spots ALWAYS makes them worse - why do we keep doing it? Not only does it aggravate the skin further, but it almost always leaves a scar. Nothing good has ever come of it, so why do we keep doing it?

7. Wear sunscreen.

Growing up in a country with an extreme UV index and the highest rate of skin cancer in the world would make you think I am completely sun-savvy. Sadly, sunscreen was just not something of high importance when I was young, and so as a young adult, I was a little too carefree for my liking.

It's mostly the smell - I can't stand the smell of sunscreen, so when I was a kid I would struggle awfully when my mum tried to put it on me and she would end up giving up and letting me go. I tan very easily, I have a naturally olive complexion, however that doesn't mean I'm immune from burning and wow have I had some bad experiences in the past. As a teenager and young adult, you kind of brush it off - yep, it hurts but than tan is so worth it! That's all I really ever saw, so I didn't care.

Fast forward to my late twenties, and I'm a lot more aware of the consequences. Some are already apparent, but others I'm waiting for, paranoid more than ever. I've always been lucky that I've had great skin, never needed skincare until I was about 21, never really needed to wear a lot of makeup. Now though, my face is full of broken capillaries and sun damage, and it's irreversible unless I want to undergo laser surgery. I have so many regrets, as I now feel like the redness in my face is so bad I absolutely have to cover it up, and no skincare can help me.

As for my paranoia, my body is basically covered in moles and small freckles. I mean, not covered, but they're there. On my back, my arms, and a couple on my legs. I have to watch these so carefully, and I know one day I'm going to have to suck it up and visit a skin clinic to get them checked. To be honest, I'm dreading it. It's one of my biggest fears to receive news I may have skin cancer (even if it's something that can be removed easily). The ads on TV do a good job on instilling fear into me, and I just wish I could go back in time and cover myself in sunscreen like everyone else. Couldn't they at least have made good sunscreens earlier in my life? The ones they have on the market now are great!

8. Embrace your weirdness.

It may come as a surprise to some, but I was not a cool kid. Shocking, I know. I'm still not very cool but I kind of like that. I like that I'm a little kooky, and a little weird, and I hope this is something that sets me apart. I'm not sure why or when liking something 'out of the norm' became something to mock, because it's ridiculous and petty. Your weirdness makes you interesting, and no one wants to be dull!
I'm okay with being an absolute Harry Potter lover. I am currently wrapped in a giant Harry Potter blanket I've had since I was ten. I play games on my phone. I don't like Adam Sandler or any of his movies (except maybe Big Daddy and his cameo in Hot Chick). I love reading (although I don't consider this weird, and it's so wrong that it's become 'un-cool' to read). I used to make websites from scratch when I was as young as 13, and yes, sometimes I still want to play The Sims. I just love decorating houses, okay?

9. Prioritise what you want in life and make it happen.

By this, I'm mostly talking about money and where to spend it. I've been told consistently since I was about 16 that I need to save up and not spend my money on rubbish. I'm not sure what 'rubbish' was meant to mean, but I certainly don't think I was spending money on it. For me, I loved (and still do) travelling. I would save up all through my uni months and when it came to holidays, I would fly back home and have a fun two weeks with my friends, whether we took a mini holiday or just spent all our money on food and drinks and movies. Whatever it was, I had a great time and now I have great memories to reflect back on.
In my early twenties, I decided to branch out and travel overseas. I travelled the world for three months on less than $10,000 and saw almost everything I wanted, and had one of the greatest experiences of my life.
This is where I place importance - experience. I know people as young as 21 or 22 who are busy saving for their first home, and who haven't stepped foot on a plane. To me, this is crazy - a house is an investment you are paying off for the rest of your life (especially if you live in Sydney!), why would you throw yourself into that at such a young age?
If this is what you want though, go for it. If that is what will make you truly happy, do everything in your power to make it happen.
If you want to travel to another five countries before you turn 30, don't listen to everyone telling you to save for a car, or a house. Do what you know will make you happy - there is time for everything else later in life. Embrace your youth. We can worry about everything else in our 30's ;)

10. Friendships become harder to maintain the older you get.

This one was hard to realise. The words 'I've been such a bad friend.' have been uttered in my circle of friends more times than I can count. It's silly, of course. It's also a reality of becoming an adult, and your life changing before your eyes.
I think it must happen early in your twenties. We all finish university, or pick up full time jobs. We start relationships, form new circles of friends, pick up new hobbies. Before we know it, 'hanging out' seems like something of the past and something we now have to 'schedule' in. It's a sad reality, but I think it affects a lot of us.
When this was starting to happen, when all our priorities shifted, I realised that we now needed to work harder than ever to maintain our relationships with people, but when you have a great relationship with someone, it's actually, not very hard at all.

I could have come up with a list a mile long, but these are the ones that stood out for me - and yes, learning I could not pull off winged liner was pretty devastating and naturally made the cut.

What about you guys? I can't believe how much of a change you go through in your twenties - adulting is so hard!

It's no surprise that some of my most loved Instagram accounts are those made by fellow Aussies. I love any Instagram feed that allows me to dream of travelling, beaches and good food and it's no secret that Aussie's love to travel and eat well - and boy do they do it well. 

I wanted to share some of my absolute favourites with you today and...sorry not sorry for inducing any post-winter blues with these sun drenched Instagram accounts.

@ _gracek

This Aussie travel blogger has an Instagram made of dreams. Her photos make me want to jump on a plane and go anywhere. A must for vibrant, soulful and crisp photos that will make you rather jealous.

@ life.with.three

Another instagrammer who's feed makes me incredibly jealous. Bright, sun drenched photos which, when scrolling through in your dressing gown as winter has just finished, has you yearning for the warmth of the sun on your skin. I'm not sure if I follow these gorgeous instagrammers because I hate myself or if it's because they're serious #goals.

@ elsas_wholesomelife

This is healthy inspo at it's very finest. It's the perfect mix of travel and good food, and not just any food - the most Pinterest worthy and colourful food you've ever seen. If you lead a plant based diet, or are just interested in consuming more plant based meals, this gal is perfect for you.

@ tashoakley

It's almost cheating including Natasha Oakley but I couldn't not. Co-founder of swimwear brand Monday Swimwear, Natasha's Instagram if full of beautiful location shots, as well as her incredible style. On a personal level, her body is absolute #bodygoals, agreed?

@ the_excursionist

I don't know too much about this account other than the fact their photos are dreamy. They truly capture the experiences of travel, and if there was one word to describe the account, it would be wanderlust. Incredible.

How many days till summer...?

I really only started getting interested in beauty when I was about 20 - I grew up with a mother who didn't really wear a lot of makeup herself, and a school that strictly forbid it, so I was a late bloomer.
In fact, none of my close friends are really into beauty either, so I guess it comes as no surprise that when I did finally get my hands on some products, I had no idea how to use them.

Thankfully, I've not lived through too many awful beauty trends, but I've definitely learnt a lot about everything. When I saw Rebecca from From Roses post about her Beauty Faux Pas, I immediately wanted to share with you guys some of my own.

I absolutely give you permission to judge me - I judge myself, every single day.

  1. Ironing my own hair. Kids with straighteners these days will never understand. 
  2. Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse - is this going to be on everyones list? Probably.
  3. Wearing a ton of foundation and no blush or bronzer or anything. Yikes.
  4. Full face of makeup, but not filling in my (very sparse) brows.
  5. Deciding that I should fill my brows in, but using a metallic black/charcoal eyeshadow to do it. Made sense at the time.
  6. Wearing the same metallic black/charcoal eyeshadow on my eyes, but not blending it in. 
  7. Silver eyeshadow. Not a nice kind.
  8. Sleeping in my makeup, because second day mascara looked 'cool'.
  9. Didn't use a cleanser until I was about 23. Or a moisturiser.
  10. Never wore anything on my lips for years, because I hated the feeling. 
  11. Bleaching my hair at home. When it's naturally very, very dark.
  12. Wearing black eyeliner only on the bottom lash line. So very 00's.
  13. Trying to pull off liquid eyeliner as an everyday thing and learning that it just isn't for my eye shape. 
  14. Forever choosing foundation shades that were too pink - or too dark. 
  15. Not knowing SPF in flash photography gave flashback and thus resulting in a large collection of photos from my 20's with the dreaded 'ghostface' look.
  16. St Ives Apricot Scrub - need I say more?

What beauty mistakes have you made in the past?

This post is definitely a little different from the norm, but it's actually been something I've been thinking about writing for a while now! I think it started when Facebook memories started showing me posts from 2012 when my friend and I embarked on a three month backpacking trip of Europe and the USA, and whilst also feeling very nostalgic, it also got me thinking about the trip a lot - what we did, the lows, the highs. I've also talked to a lot of people recently who have gone on their own trips and they've asked for advice, and so I thought, why not make a post about it?

Obviously, backpacking trips are going to be different for everybody. You will make your own experiences, and see things differently, so this is just my own views and my own experiences. You have to do what you're most comfortable with!

While you may not have plans to ever backpack, I think a lot of these tips apply to travelling in general anyway. I hope they're at least a little helpful!

1. Invest in a good backpack.

I wish I knew this when I was shopping for mine. Seriously.

I was on a pretty tight budget, and absolutely did not do enough research. I just thought it was a bag - who cares! WRONG. You will be carrying this on your back for god knows how many months. You will re-pack this baby everyday. You will sometimes even use it as a pillow. Spend time shopping around, and girls - you don't need a big pack for all your wardrobe. I will touch on this next. I bought a HUGE backpack that ended up being ridiculously heavy, uncomfortable, and about a month in one strap broke. Two months in, both straps were completely warped. Three months later, I was counting down the number of times left I had to haul it onto my back. Good riddance.

2. Pack the bare necessities.

When you haven't backpacked before, you don't really know what to expect. The expectation is having multiple cute outfits with interchangeable shoes, and being able to maintain your usual beauty routine. The reality is that you will get sick of your clothes - no matter how many cute tops you bring, you will HATE THEM ALL one month in. You will be seen in the same top in every tenth photo. So there is no point stuffing your bag full of outfits - narrow it down. You only need one jumper - chances are you are backpacking in a warm climate. You only need 1-2 pairs of comfy shoes and maybe some dressy sandals - optional, as Europe is pretty slack in it's dress codes (it's the greatest). As for beauty? Simple is best. I swear half my pack actually ended up being makeup and shampoo. You will find you will wear less - if any - makeup. Keep to your essentials. Now, I can't tell you what skincare to pack, however if you can get away with it, leave your five step routine at home. Unless your skin will horrifically break out without it, I don't think it's worth taking your chemical exfoliants and serums. There is something about being on holiday that I think is great for your skin - fresh air maybe? Less stress? Who knows. Less is best, friends.

3. Learn the language.

I made sure I could say 'Please', 'Thank you' and 'Hello' in every country I visited. I think that's the least you should do, as it's only polite and not very hard. I think there's nothing worse than tourists who don't take a second to actually absorb the culture around them - how hard could it be to learn one word, and be a little respectful? I think it's also fun - I love learning new languages. The only one I couldn't grasp was 'please' in Dutch - sorry, Amsterdam.

4. Say Yes.

This is so cliche, but it's true. Why travel far and wide if you aren't going to go outside your comfort zone and try something new? Not saying you need to go leaping out of a plane or anything (unless...okay, that would be a totally cool story, though) but if an opportunity arises - do it! Don't overthink it, chances are it will actually be kind of great. Like the time we decided to go bike riding from San Francisco to Sausalito - despite the fact I hate bike riding and have a bad knee, and it was about 16km long, and it resulted in me dislocating my knee at the very end - I had a great day! Push yourself, do something you wouldn't normally do back home. Stay out till 6am (you won't have a choice in Europe, that's how it works) and eat and drink all of the food - all of it. Even the haggis. Just do it.

5. Hostels don't have standards.

You're going to have to learn to not be picky about your accomodation. Some hostels were great, others had us laughing at how terrible they actually were. You don't always get what you pay for, and most of the time the bathrooms are questionable. We were lucky we didn't come across bedbugs the entire three months we were away - there was a lot of talk about it though, so be aware. 
Remember at the end of the day, the hostel is literally just a place for you to sleep. You don't tend to spend a lot of time there so don't worry too much if it's not perfect. They're also a great way to meet people - even though I'm not super outgoing, we ended up making friends almost everywhere we stayed. You just don't get that in hotels! We had some of the best experiences staying in hostels, so don't be afraid. Just be aware, and be careful - don't leave anything important or expensive behind, and you'll be okay. You will also get used to people having sex next to you - yep.

6. Always over-budget.

You can be a fanatical budgeter, and have everything narrowed down to the $ (or the €) but I'm telling you now - have a 'Miscellaneous' fund. There's nothing worse than realising you are running out of money overseas. Things will happen - good things, bad things, and you need to prepare for them. You don't want to be turning down amazing opportunities because you can't afford them, and you don't want to be going home early after paying for something unexpected. I hate that money is as important as it is, but that is just the way of the world, and we have to accept that you will be a lot more comfortable knowing there's a few dollars in your account at the end of the day, just in case

7. Prepare for the worst.

And by that, I mean germs. I'm telling you - it will happen. Ever heard the phrase 'Contiki Cough'? It's a real thing. Whether you go on a group tour or not, you are bound to catch something. Late night, lots of drinking (or not, but still), lack of sleep and being in close proximity to people means you are probably going to get sick, and it's going to suck. I got sick after Greece and spent the next two months suffering. I still went about and did everything I would have done anyway but it got hard sometimes. Having to visit a pharmacy in Nice, France and try and ask for cough medicine in my broken French was not fun, and neither was hacking up a lung in a room of 12 people. Pack some painkillers, pack some antibiotics, pack whatever you think you may need. I wish I knew this.

8. Take a break, at least once.

Not everyone will feel the need to do this, but we certainly did. Maybe it was the sickness finally wearing us down, but we decided once we got to Las Vegas (near the end of our trip) that we would splurge a little and spoil ourselves. It was easy in Las Vegas, as it's pretty cheap to stay in a hotel there, and it was well worth it for the proper beds and a private bathroom. We did something similar in Scotland, which was at the very end of our two month European tour. We could only afford a hostel, which was fine, but we treated ourself to a proper pub meal which was amazing after months of cheap, stodgy street food. Sometimes you just need to take a breather, and refresh yourself. It's important to know it's okay - and it's okay that the hotel staff are judging you in your smelly t-shirt and giant backpack. 

9. You don't have to drink the €3 cocktail buckets, and you certainly don't have to drink five of them.

Europe has cheap alcohol, and they don't really measure anything. I learnt very quickly that I can't drink vodka. I also learnt very quickly that travelling on buses and planes with hangovers is really not an experience I'd like to go through again. I've seen someone vomit out the window of a moving bus, and it's a visual you can't forget easily. You can say no. The bartenders will be very persuasive and very cute, but you can say no. 

10. Don't worry, at all.

People are apprehensive about travelling overseas, particularly when it comes to backpacking or just being away for long periods of time. You will worry about money, hostels, being safe, organising travel, being tired, being hungover, whether there's WIFI, missing home. 

You'll be fine.

I've never slept better than when I travelled. As someone who suffers seriously with sleeping, this is huge for me. You are going to be full of excitement, fear and horror and it's going to be great. You're going to get back to your accomodation at the end of every day exhausted. You're going to acquire some new scars and some new stories and some new friends, and you're going to learn some hard lessons, quickly. You're going to see some things that take your breath away - good and bad. You're going to appreciate a good bed, more than ever. You're also going to appreciate privacy more than ever, to be honest. 

Travelling is so important to me, and backpacking was one of the best things I've ever done in my life. I've travelled a lot, and I've always had a great time, but the best times we're definitely had in 2012, when I spent three months away from home, my first overseas trip as an adult. It's not for everyone, and I can completely understand that some people have no desire, and that's okay. If it's something you're thinking of doing though, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

You will see and experience so much more than you will ever will otherwise, and you'll come home with so many stories - some that you will tell for years, and others that only you and the people you travelled with will ever know about. I learnt so much when I travelled - about the world, about different people, different food. I learnt that I live in an amazing country, and that I should never forget that, but that it was really, really important to see the rest of the world and learn about theirs. 

I'm not sure if this post was helpful, necessarily, but I hope it was at least enlightening, in some way. I also hope that if you read this as someone who has travelled before, that you are nodding your head and laughing, because you know it's the truth. There's nothing quite like the bond of two people who have backpacked.

If you've travelled, what did you learn? Talking about travelling is one of my favourite topics in the world, and I'd love to hear your stories :)

After taking a few rested weeks off from blogging, I've come back to you with a monthly favourites video!

This month has been a month of loving old favourites, and I wanted to share a couple with you. These are products I've been reaching for almost daily - definitely a little obsessed!

Have a lot of video ideas in my head at the moment so make sure you subscribe so you don't miss out!

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