Tips for making friends as an adult

New and old friends ❤

When I returned to Melbourne in 2016 following a five-year absence I went on a new friend making mission. Yes, I had my super close friends but many had moved interstate or overseas. The larger group of acquaintances that come with growing up in a place had slowly peeled away after years of only the odd ‘happy birthday!’ Facebook post back and forth, which unsurprisingly, failed to breathe life into our admittedly flimsy-to-begin-with friendships.

Falling into friendships is easy as a child and a teenager, but as an adult in a big city, can be daunting. Unfortunately we don’t pursue friendships with the same gusto as romantic relationships. Here are some tips in case you’re interested:

Put yourself out there

I recently sat next to the loveliest lady at the nail salon. We chatted about our respective upcoming weddings, about travel in the USA and about where we worked. As her manicure wrapped up I wondered if we should swap numbers to set up a coffee date. But before I could internally prepare my pitch she leaned over to say goodbye, said how nice it had been to meet me and I bade her farewell in return. I immediately regretted it and when I got back to my desk I used my freshly lacquered fingertips to google various spellings of her name and workplace like the creepy stalker I am. To no avail. I failed to put myself out there and so I failed to make a new friend*.

On the flip side, a few years ago my housemate (and good friend!) Dim and I planned to host some drinks at home. When we talked about who was coming she mentioned she’d invited our mutual hairdresser Jess whom she’d just met the week before. I was seriously impressed. We’ve been friends with Jess ever since! It’s just that easy. Lesson learnt: if you want to be friends with someone just invite them somewhere! The worst someone can say is no, but honestly, I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t want a new friend.

(* this story has a happy ending! My friend Lucy started working at the same place as my nail salon friend and managed to track her down. Apparently she also tried to find me on social media! We have plans to catch up for a drink some time soon.)

Woo the friend-of-a-friend

The easiest way to find friends is through the friends you already have. Say your friend Boris is having drinks for their birthday, go along and try to chat to someone you haven’t met or someone you’ve met in passing and would love to know better. Then in the following weeks, ask Boris if he wants to go to dumplings and to bring the friend you chatted up. Boom! You’re on your way.

I recently went to a hens party where I only knew the bride, I met so many great ladies that night and then we danced up a storm at the wedding. Now we are all going to drag queen bingo in a couple of weeks. Voila! A friendship love story.

Meet your online friends IRL

Meeting strangers from the internet is not weird or lame, it’s actually the best. Case in point: there are SO many Tinder weddings these days. Romance aside, it’s also a great way to make friends. I find Instagram to be the best friendship source. The aforementioned bride Sarah and I first ‘met’ through our respective WordPress blogs before following each other on Instagram. A few years later I realised she was friends In Real Life with my school friend Claire and now we attend each others’ weddings. So good!

I also met my friend Carmel, through Instagram. She lives in Hobart and we catch up for a drink every time I’m down there. I have two other Insta friends earmarked for a coffee soon, we just need to find the time.

Invite the work friend out

This is probably the second easiest way to make friends as an adult, but transitioning from work pals to weekend pals can be a challenge. The best way I’ve found, is to start with grabbing coffees together and then perhaps an after work drink and then move to hanging out outside work hours. I remember when my friend Brodie and I organised our first brunch together with our partners, it felt like a first date! I was nervous. Fast-forward a few months and the four of us are taking a ski trip to Mount Hotham together. Brodie and Andy now take each other on nerd movie dates. With my friend Lucy, I invited her to come to a really casual Christmas catch up at my house- friends ever since!

Join a club

I can’t speak from experience of joining a club in a city. But it definitely worked in the country (read about that here). The options are far more abundant in a large city so joining a sewing club or a pole dancing class or a table tennis squad is your ticket to finding friends with mutual interests. After a few weeks you can suggest going out for a coffee/drink/breakfast after training/class/rehearsals and go from there. That reminds me I’ve been meaning to join a salsa class for the last three years…

Reach out to a long-lost friend

There is absolutely no reason why you can’t become good friends with someone who has fallen off the radar (unless you accidentally ran over their guinea pig or something equally horrific). Unfortunately, the only people who seem to randomly reach out on social media are former schoolmates trying to sell you plastic containers or weight loss shakes. But that’s why it would be a wonderfully pleasant surprise to hear from an old friend, keen to catch up and talk about old times. Since moving back to Melbourne I reconnected with an old work friend and we regularly catch up, it’s super easy when people know your back story. The worst that can happen is they don’t reply. Oh well! Their loss.


Follow up and stay in touch! We are all busy people, no one is going to have endless hours for face-to-face catch ups but it’s super easy to send a ‘it was great hanging out last weekend!’ text or a ‘thought you’d enjoy this meme’ DM to stay in touch with someone. I was recently disappointed that I hadn’t seen a friend in a while so I put in my headphones and called her on a random Thursday night. We chatted for 45 minutes. We talked about the Bachelor, our careers, what was for dinner etc. It was like we’d just sat down for a coffee together but I was able to do the dishes at the same time. The older I get, the more I appreciate my friends and their assistance in wading through life’s tricky waters. So I’m going to cling to them like proverbial life rafts. How do you make new friends?

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Do you celebrate Halloween?

Halloween used to be a dirty word in Australia and was widely (and incorrectly) dismissed as an ‘American Holiday’. In my corner of Melbourne in the 1990s, it was rare to find anyone dressing up to go trick-or-treating, and even rarer for people to be stocking up to give treats to strangers.

I remember having one Halloween party at age 5, when my Canadian mum had just returned from the motherland with a suitcase full of jack-o-lantern bowls, fake blood and witches hats. My sister dressed as a robot with a box on her head, I as a cat. We had fun with our costumed friends at home but when we knocked on our neighbours’ doors we were met with blank stares and in one instance, utter disdain.

A few years later I attended the Halloween party of a boy from school. This time his parents had worded up the neighbours and we only went to the prearranged houses. It was fun, but absolutely not the norm.

In 2019, there are absolutely still Australians who love to hate Halloween because they see it as stupid, frivolous and a form of American cultural imperialism (this article is excellent at explaining why). I note these Australians have no issue embracing every single other aspect of American culture from Netflix to Coca Cola.

But I am really heartened to see Halloween gaining in popularity across this wide brown land. My local council has even put up some token decorations. This is all led, of course, by children. I am fanatical about fancy dress, fond of actually knowing your neighbours and love a miniature Mars Bar as much as the next person. Halloween brings these three things together and I figure if you can’t muster a smile for a tiny tot dressed up as a mummy that’s on you.

Will you be celebrating Halloween this year?

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Small things I do because I’m scared of climate change

For me, climate change is the single biggest issue of our time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel helpless by photos of diminished glaciers, cracked-dry farms and emaciated polar bears. It certainly feels like any small actions we take as individuals amount to nothing, but it all adds up.

Here is a list of the things I’ve changed in order to reduce waste and try and reduce my carbon footprint. I have a long way to go and often feel like I’m drowning in plastic but I’m trying to learn something every day. That said, voting with the environment in mind is probably the most important action you can take.

Plastic + other single use items 

The recycling industry where I live recently collapsed and all our recyclable products went to landfill for over a month (!!). It was a really scary reminder that we can’t rely on recycling, we need to reduce the amount of waste we produce. Here’s some things I do:

  • We try to minimise ordering Uber Eats as much as possible and when we do, we ask the restaurant not to supply cutlery and reuse the containers over and over.
  • I never use plastic bags (even with clothes shopping) and have these handy produce bags for bread, fruit and veg at the supermarket.
  • I recently swapped from bottled shampoo and conditioner to Lush bars which are packaging-free. My hair has never looked better! We also use bars of soap instead of plastic bottles of shower gel.
  • We’ve swapped from hand wash gel to bars of soap.
  • I never use plastic food wrap (glad wrap), I use a container or put a plate on top of a bowl.
  • I recently bought a Face Halo washer instead of using miscellar water (in a plastic bottle) and disposable cotton pads.
  • I never buy bottled water (it’s free from the tap!), coffee without a reusable cup or use plastic straws.

Lush shampoo (purple) and conditioner (green) bars, plus a regular bar of soap

Food + diet

Andy and I really need to reduce our meat intake, I’m putting it here to remind myself!

We live in an apartment and have started using this compost bucket to remove all our food waste from landfill. Food that ends up at the tip emits methane which is terrible for the environment. Using the bucket has been a revelation and I wish we started sooner! It’s super easy and makes it really obvious when you’re throwing out spoilt produce that you didn’t get around to eating (a good reminder to buy less). The bin juice from all the decomposed fruit and veggies is like crack for all my indoor plants. I have so many new leaves since using it.

You eventually need to bury the waste so we found a local lady on the Share Waste app with a huge worm farm to take the contents of the bin. In return, she gave us some of her fresh produce. Win win!

Coffee grounds and food waste ready for the compost bucket

Car use + transport

Andy and I both take the train to and from work. I don’t drive every day but I wish I was better at not using my car at all. I mostly use it to drive to the gym so I really need to find a gym within walking distance. At present I haven’t used my car for two full days. Once we get fully separated bike lanes on Exhibition Street in Melbourne I’d love to start riding to work.

Electricity + water

According to Choice, heating water is the second most energy intensive activity after heating and cooling your home.

We don’t have a clothes dryer or a dishwasher and we wash all our clothes in cold water. We don’t have an air-conditioner and try really hard to put on extra clothes and blankets before switching on the heater.

I have been meaning to look into a renewable energy provider for a while, I know Tango Energy uses wind power. If you have any tips on this please let me know. When I was renting in Kalgoorlie we had solar panels on the roof and owed nothing to the power company every month! Heaven.

Consuming less

Our small two-bedroom apartment makes it really easy not to buy new stuff because we literally have nowhere to store it!

I never buy anything online as I was super shocked to learn that a lot of major retailers end up putting returned items in landfill because it’s cheaper than repackaging.

I have rediscovered my love for op-shopping and have been exploring ways to revamp some of my old products (I recently dyed a pair of shoes with leather dye instead of a new buying pair).

At the moment I’m trying to buy second-hand wedding decorations wherever possible and if I can’t, I buy things that can be on-sold after the wedding.

Where I need to do better

We love to travel, but flying burns fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow. I need to start off-setting all my flights.

We still throw out (recycle) heaps of plastic; yogurt tubs, berry containers, cleanser bottles, used makeup containers, beer and wine bottles. I know there are bulk food stores where you can buy things like washing up detergent in a reusable bottle, I need to look into this. Also, the Queen Victoria Market has a shop where you can refill wine bottles.

I still buy new clothes and fast fashion too frequently. I do try to wear my clothes as much as possible and give away or sell things I won’t wear anymore. I used to donate a lot to charity bins but they are overwhelmed with so much stuff that they end up having to throw it out anyway.

I also want to buy a washing bag that collects micro plastics from synthetic clothing so it doesn’t end up in the ocean.

Got any more tips? Would love to hear what you’re doing in this space.

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Margot – 8 weeks

My sister Sarah and brother-in-law Nady welcomed their daughter Margot into the world the day after my birthday. Another Leo in the family! I can’t possibly describe the joy she has brought to all our lives or how wonderful becoming an aunt has been. It’s such a unique feeling to welcome a brand new person into the family, for years it’s been new partners which is excellent, but this time it’s someone we’ve eagerly anticipated for months and we get to slowly discover and learn more about every day.

At 8-weeks old, Margot has just returned home to the other side of the world. My father, Andy and I saw them and 90kg of luggage off at the airport. It was a really tough farewell. But we squeezed in as much family time as possible while they were here and I’m super grateful to have had them home in Melbourne for so long.

The next time I see Margot she will be 6-months-old. So here’s a snapshot at 8-weeks.

Margot, you arrived late on a Monday night.

For a week you didn’t have a name and for some reason that drove me crazy!

At the moment you are a master feeder and a wonderful sleeper, your parents are so lucky.

You started smiling at about 6-weeks and so from then on we all made it our mission to see your beautiful toothless grin.

You love hearing singing, humming and miscellaneous mouth noises. Your dad is especially good at the latter. I’ll never forget your parents and I humming endlessly like Gregorian monks to calm you down in the car. I hummed until my brain buzzed inside my skull.

Your mum and I have also sung endless Disney songs at you, along with ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark and ‘My Girl’ by The Temptations swapping out ‘my girl’ for ‘Margot’.

Hugo the spoodle is a big fan of yours and from day one was interested in this new tiny being in the house. Your cries would put him on high alert.

It’s fun to find words that rhyme with your name. So far we’ve come up with Chicago, Mar-a-lago, embargo, cargo and Fargo

You love movement, like being pushed in the pram (particularly over bumps and the edge where the floorboards meet the carpet), being held and swayed, being swung in the car seat.

You have a wonderfully expressive face and a great little brow furrow. You have beautiful chubby cheeks and a pointy little chin.

When you’re unwrapped from your swaddle you do an amazing yoga routine of little stretches, reaching your arms far above your head.

You have an uncanny sense of timing and manage to cry-out the moment your mum takes her first bite of a meal.

Having you fall asleep on my chest is the greatest feeling in the world.

You were born in the cold Melbourne winter and were often wrapped in a blue and white wool blanket spun and knitted by your great-grandmother.

Your grandfather has bought you every piece of infant merchandise available from the Carlton Football Club and hopefully you’ll see them win one day.

You got your first passport at 6 weeks, it took three adults to calm you, prop you up and capture your little face for the photo. No doubt the first of many passports over the course of your life.

You slept an incredible 8-hours on the plan from Melbourne to Abu-Dhabi. In the check-in line at the airport we met twin girls named June and Margot who asked if they could touch you before prodding your feet and gently poking your chin.

You are so incredibly loved by every member of your family. I can’t wait to see you in February.

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A selection of things that have been occupying my time:

Watching (very belatedly) the most recent season of Younger. The clothes on that show! So fabulous. I’m inspired to start an outlandish necklace collection like Diana. I’m also trying to get back into Crazy Ex Girlfriend so I can finish the series. Don’t let the terrible title fool you, it’s an utterly excellent and cleverly written musical comedy that does not disappoint.

Eating as healthily as possible… but on the weekend my friend-since-high-school Claire assembled the most incredible cheese platter for two (above). We sat on the couch and feasted while stalking some of our favourite Instagram accounts, projected on the TV for easy shared viewing. Definitely the highlight of the weekend!

Listening to The High Low podcast. It’s been sitting in my app for years (literally) and I just started binge-listening on the weekend as I cleaned our apartment. Hosts Pandora and Dolly discuss current affairs and popular culture with the most amazing vocabularies, it makes me want to read the dictionary. I also burnt through true crime podcast The Thing About Pam, which was fascinating.

Loving using our apartment-friendly compost bucket. Food scraps that are put in the bin end up in landfill and produce methane, a greenhouse gas with more than 20 times the global warming capacity of carbon dioxide. So being able to compost and get food out of our bin is awesome. We also get to use the liquid from the bucket as a natural plant fertiliser.

Wishing for a new adventure somewhere exotic. We are being responsible and saving pennies ahead of The Most Expensive Day of Our Lives (aka the wedding). I have to say it’s super boring. Major first world problem. My eyes need an unfamiliar scene to feast on.

Wondering about celebrity lookalikes and doppelgangers. Last night a colleague told me I was a dead-ringer for Maddie from the show Nashville, I had to google her and… I just look nothing like her! It’s so interesting how people perceive other people versus how we perceive ourselves.

Enjoying the warmer spring weather. A bit of sunshine does wonders for my mood.

Buying I just purchased my bridesmaid’s dress for a close friend’s wedding in December! Can’t wait.

Reading As always, I’m addicted to Refinery 29’s Money Diaries. Each one details a week of spending by an anonymous woman somewhere in the world, usually the US. It’s a fascinating insight into the fiscal habits of others and the comments section goes absolutely wild. I’m also reading yet another David Sedaris book, this one is made up of diary entries and the early ones don’t quite have the wit and ingenuity of Sedaris’ regular storytelling. But I’m persevering!

Planning a quiet weekend. I am spent and it’s only Wednesday!

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Wedding chat: what would you do differently?

Loving the dance floor at my friend Bec’s wedding

Andy and I are in the process of planning our wedding. Exciting stuff! We are trying to prioritise what’s important to us (food, drinks, music, photos… oh and someone to do the legal bit) and not sweat any of the small stuff. So far this is working out well except for when I embarked on a bizarre hour-long search for table runners in which I almost justified $350 to hire some before snapping to my senses and backing away from my computer. I can think of about five million better things to spend $350 on.

There are so many blogs that have lists of things people would do differently if they had their wedding again (including picking a different person to marry!) and I’m sure the aforementioned table runners would fall into this category had I taken the plunge and hired them. A few months ago I took to my Instagram stories and asked people two questions:

Firstly, how much did your wedding cost? And, what would you do differently?

The feedback was immense. People love talking about weddings. As you would expect, the answers to the first question ranged wildly from about $1000 to $100,000 depending on how recently the wedding was.

Unsurprisingly, the answers to the second question were mostly experience-based in that people wish they’d spent more time with their guests or bridesmaids or partner, that they’d invited fewer people or even eloped. No one ever wishes they’d shelled out more clams on flowers or candles. Some people did say that for ease they wished they’d hired a venue that came with things like tables, chairs and cutlery included.

The overwhelming response though, was that people wished they’d hired a videographer to capture their nuptials. You get so caught up in everything happening on the day, they wrote, that they wished they’d had a video to watch it all back again. A close second was people wishing they’d hired a better photographer or not given the responsibility of taking photos to their aunt’s neighbour’s son, a keen amateur skateboarding photographer.

What do you think? Is there anything you would change if you had a wedding do-over?

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Swimming with Whale Sharks

Have you ever ticked off a bucket list item without realising it was there in the first place?

Back in 2014, Andy and I took an impromptu trip to Coral Bay in Western Australia after our original destination was on fire. Literally. We counted our lucky stars when we rerouted and found ourselves surrounded by glorious clear blue water and tropical fish. But one (giant) fish we would not see was the Whale Shark. We’d missed the season by a few weeks, so vowed we would return one day.

That day came in May this year. Much like the first time, we flew to Exmouth, picked up a car and drove to the tiny town of Coral Bay, passing giant termite mounds along the way.

We arrived in paradise

The following day we did our Whale Shark safari, which included some snorkelling stops as well. We booked with Coral Bay Eco Tours, who were fantastic. It’s a pricey day ($410 each) but well worth it, they actually send up a plane to scout the Whale Shark locations.

Turtely awesome

Our first snorkel spot of the day. I will never tire of swimming with turtles ❤

Our first Whale Shark was content to lazily circle for an hour while we jumped in and swam alongside all 6 metres of him.

Long boy

There was a strategy wherein the boat would drop you in front of the Whale Shark so you could watch it go past and then swim madly to keep up. It was incredible how they hardly seemed to move but cut through the water so quickly.

It’s really hard to get a sense of the scale of them. If you look at the people behind the Whale Shark in the photo below you can kind of tell how huge they are:

We split into groups so we could constantly rotate between swimming and hauling ourselves up onto the boat to move ahead of the Whale Shark to drop in again. It was amazing and tiring. The most thrilling part was when the shark would suddenly decide to turn and would swim directly at you until you scampered out of the way.

Our 2014 trip was the first time I ever used a GoPro and I’m happy to say my underwater photography skills have improved since then! Andy bought this great dome mount that makes it easier to take these over/underwater shots:

We toasted to the day.

And watched the sunset back on dry land.

100% would recommend swimming with Whale Sharks.

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Wearing matching pyjamas with my sister, Sarah. She and her husband Nady are in Melbourne for the imminent arrival of their baby, my first niece or nephew. An exciting time! It’s been so nice to hang out without a time limit (for now). Sarah and I were inspired by the SNL skit ‘Backhome Baller‘, a comedic song that describes the nuances of visiting your parents with painfully hilarious accuracy, when we bought our $9.50 flannelette pyjamas from Kmart. V comfy.

Reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I am not completely fine with how fantastic it is! Can barely put it down. Make sure you read it before Reese Witherspoon’s production company turns it into a not-quite-as-good movie.

Planning a wedding. The most frustrating part of which is the lack of vendor pricing information available online. It’s a huge waste of my time and the florist/videographer/white dove wrangler’s time to send emails back and forth only to find their prices wildly outside my budget. At least give a price range!

Watching a combination of 30 Rock, The Handmaid’s Tale and Fleabag. Some comedy to balance the soul crushing experience that is an hour inside Gilead.

Eating stuffed sweet potatoes. They’re perfect for winter. My favourite topping is a Mexican bean medley with adobo chillies, guac, feta and hummus. I’ve also been eating a lot of dumplings, I wish I could blame this on the weather but they really are a year-round staple.

Wishing we had booked a winter getaway somewhere warm. With babies and weddings and other things a holiday has fallen off the agenda for the first time in a very long time. I miss having something to look forward to. Major first world problem.

Wondering how people are finding Instagram now that you can’t see how many likes have landed on a photo? Better? Worse? The same? I quite like it, I never realised how I let the number of likes guide how I felt about a photo until now! Sounds so lame but I suppose I’d see 100+ likes, double tap and keep scrolling. Whereas now I seem to take more time looking at what’s in front of me.

Buying lots of secondhand vases on Facebook Marketplace to try and create this kind of vibe. Boy do you have to be quick to nab them before they are snapped up! And then you have to drive to the far outer suburbs to pick them up. How come no one that sells anything online lives within a 10km radius of me?!

Enjoying seeing more kids in the city over the school holidays. The holidays are over now but for two weeks there were noticeably more backpack-adorned children wondering around, marvelling at things I’d long stopped noticing about my immediate surrounds. Like the little boy who stopped to sniff every bunch of flowers in the stand outside my office and the kids huddled together watching the construction of a new train station. A good reminder to stop rushing and look up from my phone occasionally.

Please send book recommendations and have a great week x

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Sorry Marie Kondo, objects shouldn’t spark joy

Last weekend, like millions of others overcome with Kondo induced hysteria, I dutifully gathered all the clothes from my wardrobe, the hall cupboard and the spare room and laid out a material mountain on my bed. Just as Japanese de-clutter Queen Marie Kondo dictates in her book and recent Netflix show ‘Tidying Up’.

The purpose of this is to fully appreciate just how many patterned sun dresses you own and don’t wear. Or that’s how it felt when I stared at the bulbous pile overwhelming the bed. The next step, according to Kondo, is to pick up each item and decide whether or not it ‘sparks joy’.

So I grabbed the first Country Road knit atop the pile with both hands, ready for the material to transfer a spark of feeling through my skin and up my arms and into my heart… and I felt… nothing. I picked up the long printed wrap-dress I wore to my sister’s wedding… nothing… A black strapless Natasha Gan cocktail dress I bought on holiday in Bali… nothing… a simple blazer from Zara… nothing. This continued until I picked up a white Uniqlo tshirt, visibly stained that sickly yellow/grey from deodorant, and felt revulsion. Somewhat miffed about the hollow absence of joy, I sorted my clothes until I had four large bags straining to contain my discards. Those bags were promptly transferred to my car and then I sat down, exhausted from the process and overwhelmed with naked coat hangers.

During the week, items from the car slowly crept their way upstairs, into my apartment and onto my body. The grey summer work dress carelessly tossed aside just days prior might not spark joy, but it was my only summer work dress. And while ‘joy’ is probably a stretch I was certainly happy that throwing it on my body meant one less decision I had to make that hurried morning. I realised that asking my clothes to ‘spark joy’ was a tall order.

For me, ‘joy’ is the highest experience on the totem pole of happiness. I feel joy watching my brother’s dog zoom along the beach, tongue flapping in the breeze. I feel joy when my mother, sister and I are paralysed with laughter over something as trivial as the absurdity of the Korean skincare sheet masks sliding down our faces. When I’m dancing in the car with my friend-since-year-10 on a ‘road trip’ to Melbourne’s outer sprawl. When my friend’s son, who has already captured a hefty chunk of my heart, breaks into his toothless grin. But standing in my spare room, clutching yet another stripy long-sleeved top? Completely joyless.

I do believe in the joy of owning less and spending money on experiences over things. This is well evidenced by that time Andy and I sold everything to travel for 16 months.  Sure, I like to shop and I enjoy having something new and fun to wear but I think it’s more important to reign it in at the purchasing end and not the purging end. Some clothes serve an important, albeit boring, function of guarding against public nakedness. A minimalist wardrobe that gives you grief every time you need to dress in a hurry won’t spark joy. Also, the way our capitalist society functions is on the premise that objects diminish in perceived value over time, which is why we’re always upgrading our iPhones. So asking clothes to ‘spark joy’ could end in a revolving door of buying and purging. Our charity shops are already overwhelmed with Kondo inspired ‘joyless’ clothes, and what to do with the excess is another blog post entirely.

So I’m not going to feel guilty about allowing some discarded items back into the house, if they’ll come. The joyous experiences I’ll have in my joyless clothes is good enough for me.

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My top 5 things to do on the Isle of Pines

The Isle of Pines (IoP) is a super popular cruise ship destination but well worth a longer stay. We arrived by plane and hadn’t booked the shuttle bus to our hotel, so it took some awkward attempts to speak French to the ground staff to organise for a taxi to take us. If you haven’t read my previous post please book everything in advance!! We stayed at Hotel Kou Bugny which is right in Kuto Bay, has a pretty good restaurant and a two minute walk to Kanumera Bay. Here’s what you should do:

Grab a car to explore the island

Unless you are on a cruise day trip or some other tour, it’s impossible to see the island without a car. Kou Bugny has a fleet of three or four hire cars which make it really easy to explore the island. There is a small shop not far from Kou Bugny where you can pick up supplies for a day of sightseeing. The roads wind between small towns and reach spectacular view points. You could even pump the Moana soundtrack on the way around like we did.

Snorkel in the Piscine Naturelle (natural pool)

I did a lot of research on how to get to the natural pool and found many accounts of people unable to find it?! We found it clearly signposted and very simple to get to. We followed Google maps, parked the car, paid a couple of dollars and walked on in. Beautiful beach with some great snorkelling, make sure you BYO snorkel and mask. A friendly doggo joined our walk along the estuary to the pool and hung out for a lot of the day, barking like mad at someone’s drone.

Plenty of fish and easy swimming in the natural pool

I like to be, under the sea

Ol’ Squinty McGee

Sail around Upi Bay in a traditional outrigger

We weren’t keen to join a bus trip from our hotel to Upi Bay in the morning because we thought it might be cloudy so we decided to wing it and head out there ourselves in the afternoon. The receptionist at our hotel had called ahead to organise us a trip with a local man on his boat.  When we got there the tide was out and we we found a man who was willing to take us out if we could push his beached boat into the water. We still don’t know if we ended up with the man the receptionist had contacted or not?! Either way we loved putting along amongst the giant rock formations.

Pushing the outrigger into the water. I love how high the gent on the left has his shorts rolled up.

Upi Bay

GoPro selfie

Remember that time we went volcano boarding in Nicaragua? Andy’s singlet does

Enjoy sundowners at Kuto Bay

The IoP isn’t the kind of place where you stroll along a beach heaving with bars with extensive cocktail lists and colour coordinated beanbags. It’s just not that populated or touristy. If you want to catch the sunset while sipping a Pina Colada head to Kuto Bay.

The only bar at Kuto Bay is this one at Hotel Kou Bugny

Yes I like Pina Coladas

Snorkel around the sacred rock at Kanumera Bay

Kanumera Bay is a hop, skip and a jump from Kuto Bay, Hotel Kou Bugny and Oure Tera beach resort. It looks like this above water:

It’s disrespectful to climb the rock FYI

And like this under water:

This was the sassiest little fish

Was not keen on me photographing him


What do you think? Your kind of holiday?

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