Why Mexico is the new black

Hearing about Mexico a lot lately? Seeing posts about Tulum all over Instagram and wondering a) how the hell you pronounce it and b) how can a place look so perfect? Can’t figure out why all of a sudden Mexico is where everyone seems to have either just returned from or planning to go?

If you are looking for a fresh destination with plenty of opportunities to explore, and just as many options to kick back and relax, you would be unwise to overlook Mexico as a consideration.

There are so many reasons that Mexico is the new black, and here are a few of them to get you seriously ready to book your flight.


These incredible sinkholes are probably the most pure and perfect water holes you are likely to see. There are (probably) hundreds of them across this area of Mexico, and many are available for tourists to visit for a swim, There are many famous cenotes throughout Quintana Roo, and many lesser known ones. I was lucky to swim, paddle and snorkel in quite a few of them!

Ik Kil – lots of people go here as it is close to Chichen Itza (see below) but it is stunning to see and has a great jumping platform.

Ik Kil

Ik Kil Cenote

Casa Cenote was a tip from a local, and I am really glad we checked it out! It even has it’s own resident crocodile (which, as an Aussie, I felt quite alarmed about, although I was assured it is harmless due to it’s relative youth and will be relocated once it is a threat).

Kantun-Chi – This Ecopark has 5 cenotes, each of which are all different, as well as an underground river cave which is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Absolutely stunning!


This town is about 2 hours south of Cancun, and is a magical combination of high end hippy vibes, ancient Mayan culture and ruins, and some of the most incredible culinary options in stunning locations. We spent a day here, with margaritas and tacos on the beach watching the kite surfers, and I was very sad we didn’t have a full week to enjoy it.


There are 3 islands that should be on your radar if you are travelling to Quintana Roo region. Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel are all incredibly beautiful, and all great options to stay a few days at.

Cozumel is where a lot of cruise ships stop off (check out my post on that topic), and has plenty of activities to do. It is the biggest island but having said that, you can easily get around it in a day with a few beach and bar visits scattered in between.

Isla Mujeres (pictured below), just a short hop on a ferry from Cancun, is a cacophony of colour and energy, an easy day trip from the main land for a quick visit.

Isla Holbox is about 2 hours drive plus a boat trip from Playa Del Carmen, or less from Cancun, and is the more relaxed and less touristy of the islands – ideal for really disconnecting. And, bonus, they have flamingos! I didn’t make it to this island, but all the more reason to head back there ASAP.


For those interested in the cultural history, the ancient ruins in Mexico are a dream. One of the 7 wonders of the world is Chichen Itza, about 2 hours drive from Playa Del Carmen. But the history of Mexico is always evident with ruins scattered throughout the region. My personal favourite was the beachside ruins in Tulum, absolutely breathtaking.



Nachos. Tacos. Burritos. Margaritas. Beer and cocktails so cheap you will go home blatantly offended at the prices you are used to paying. But so tasty you will be swinging between wanting to cry with happiness, wanting to move to Mexico, and feeling genuinely perplexed as to why people outside of Mexico can just never really pull off Mexican food this well. I have yet to make chicken tacos taste half as good (why?! It’s just corn chips and like 5 other ingredients! What magic beans are they using?!).

Side Note: Safety

A lot of people ask me about the safety issues in Mexico. I have never ever felt unsafe in Mexico at all. Having said that, I recommend researching the area you are travelling to in order to feel really comfortable. We spent a week driving around Quintana Roo, and having a few tricks up our sleeve and reading safety tips helped us feel really prepared and in control from a safety perspective (insert some links). As always, plan and travel smart.

Whilst this post focuses on theQuintana Roo area (so, flying into Cancun), the west side of Mexico is equally as beautiful, with Cabo San Lucas being another incredible destination to check out.

So, if you are still reading this and haven’t already started looking up flight costs, well, what are you waiting for?!


TRAVEL: Planning a 4+ week holiday

There are different schools of thought on the ideal vacation length. But depressingly, the average American vacation is just 4 days. Some research says 8 days is a good number, others 10 days. My personal opinion is that I need a minimum of 3 weeks on a vacation.

Here’s why:

  • it takes a week to unwind all your work related stress, and thinking about work, obsessing about work, and shaking your compulsion to check your email every 12 seconds as a reflex
  • The week before you go back to work your brain is subconsciously back into work mode
  • Therefore you need 3 weeks off to get just 1 week of actual switched off proper relaxation vacation time

We often go on longer trips, on average 4-5 weeks, but our longest has been a touch over 6 weeks. This kind of trip presents a few unusual challenges, particularly if you are crossing climate zones.

Why go longer?

Particularly if you live somewhere fairly isolated (i.e. Australia) getting to where you want to go is a massive effort in itself. Think about approximately 20 hours of commuting (minimum) just to North America, and then there is the associated jet lag. So I figure hey, if you’re going to all of that effort you might as well get as much bang for your buck as you can!

Taking a longer holiday gives you the opportunity to see more places, and ultimately tick more off your bucket list (although this does need to be balanced with not feeling like you are packing and unpacking every couple of days which gets annoying).

Itinerary tips

After doing a few of these longer trips, my partner and I have come up with a few approaches that help us maximise our holidays, both from a relaxation and adventure perspective. I think of this as the ‘big rocks, small rocks, pebbles’ approach (which is actually a productivity/time management approach designed by Steven Covey that applies equally well to holiday planning!).

Big Rocks

I don’t mean a literal big rock (although I am sure there are many worth seeing!). What I mean by this is to pick your ‘must do’ places, and decide how long you want to spend in each of those spots. These are your ‘big rocks’. For example, you might have skiing in Park City, Utah as a ‘must do’, and then visit Las Vegas because it is conveniently located and you have the time to spare in between your next ‘big rock’ (so Las Vegas becomes the ‘small rock’ or ‘pebble’). The overnight in LA on the way out of the country is the grain of sand that sits between the cracks of the big rocks and the pebbles, but they have their place!

Some of the great travel experiences I have had have been the pebble pieces of holidays. A boat trip in Turkey, and the cruise we took around the Caribbean are two of my favourites that come to mind – both were kind of ‘fillers’ in our trip and we had pretty low expectations of them, so when they turned out to be fantastic it made our holiday even more amazing than we had expected! Both of these are lifetime memories for me, and to think they were a happy accident because we wanted to do something close by. For me, this is the reason not to sit in one place for weeks on end in a holiday, because your next favourite place might be just around the corner.

Having said that, for big trips like this I would suggest a 5 day minimum in each location. Unless it is a ‘grain of sand’ aka a layover and you really just need it as a bed for the night in transit, moving around too often means you don’t get to experience and enjoy the local culture. It is a fine line to walk but 5 days in one place is usually a good length of time. We have done 3 nights in each place on a really jam packed trip, but as amazing as the places you are in, sometimes having a day of rest and not feeling like you should be sightseeing or exploring is nice. However if you are booking a busy trip, a tip that we have used is planning a couple of points in the trip where you stay in a nice hotel for 2 nights and DON’T MOVE! Unless it’s to go to the pool bar…. which is what we did for the last 2 nights of a massive trip on the go, we parked ourselves in a hotel in the Greek Island of Kos. Didn’t see the island at all in that trip, just the hotel, because we needed the break! (#firstworldproblems…..)

Packing for different climates

“How the firetruck do you pack for a 6 week holiday across multiple climates??!!!!!” I hear you ask. Well, the answer can be simple enough if there are 2 of you travelling and you are happy sharing luggage.

For our long haul trips across summer and snow, we tend to pack one summer bag and one winter bag. That way we only need to have one ‘active bag’ no matter where we are, and the other can be stored somewhere out of the way. Of course there are some items that need to be used in all climates (i.e. toiletries) so you just make sure you have allowed for that in your packing. Packing for the snow has it’s own set of challenges – so I suggest you check out my guest blog on Wood & Luxe on that very topic.

Example itineraries:

A couple of examples of itineraries we have done from Australia are below, all between 4-6 weeks and most involving skiing/snowboarding:

  • Paris/Stockholm/Italian Alps/French Alps/Geneva (winter)
  • Barcelona/Pisa/Cinque Terre/Rome/Amalfi Coast/Turkey/Greek Islands (summer)
  • New York/Florida/Caribbean/New Orleans/Vail/Utah (winter/summer combo)

And our next itinerary is this one, which I am VERY excited about!:

  • Lake Tahoe/Park City/Las Vegas (NYE)/ Panama/San Blas Islands/Quintana Roo, MX

Planning a holiday is a bit like playing Tetris, and I personally love planning a trip as it makes the holiday anticipation even better!

If you have any itinerary questions, drop me a line!

Here’s why you need to know about Nusa Lembongan!

Bali? All over it. Seminyak, Ubud, Kuta, Uluwatu, check, check, check. But wait….

This is the island in Bali you may never have heard of, but let me warn you, once you go, the only thing you can think about is planning your next trip back.


Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan is the place where you can find all the beauty and serenity of Bali, without the crowds  and busy-ness of the more popular tourist areas. With plenty of adventure options for those wanting to explore, and plenty of relaxation options for those wanting to relax, there is truly something for everyone here.


What to do:

Nusa Lembongan has stunning beaches, incredible snorkelling and some beautiful vantage points just a quick scooter ride from anywhere on the island. Scooters can be rented from about $7AUD per day and are easily available. This is a great way to see the island and get around at your own pace. It is worth noting that a lot of the resorts and high end restaurants also offer a pick up service – drink driving on a scooter doesn’t end well!



For those really looking to get the adrenalin racing, cliff jumping at Mahana point is hard to beat. For a very cheap entry (about $1AUD) you can choose the high or low jumping point, and there is a ladder to swim around and climb up to back up to the top for your next jump!

For the ultimate nature experience, swimming with Manta Rays was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. Their curiosity and serenity is simply breathtaking.

These beautiful creatures engage with you on their own terms, as the boat takes you to an area near a cleaning station, and you are free to jump out of the boat with your snorkelling gear on. From then, it is usually just a matter of time before you encounter a curious Manta who will swim past gracefully to check you out! Many people find this idea scary or intimidating, however the rays are very gentle and swim quite slowly, and not one time did I feel any fear at all.

We hired a boat from about $60 AUD off the beach, and for 4 adults and 2 kids, we got 3 hours of snorkelling and swimming with Mantas. Not $60 per person – $60 total!!! Tip: the tides can be strong so flippers are advised, although your boat driver will follow the group as the tide moves.

Food & Drink:

It’s very hard to go past The Deck, at Batu Karang resort.


The Deck, Nusa Lembongan

For breakfast, lunch, and sunset drinks, I just had to keep coming back here. The great thing is there are fresh and healthy options as well as things that will satisfy those looking for a treat. Topped off by great coffee, this place is the full package.

At the right time of year the Sunday sessions crank with DJs brought over from the mainland to get the party going.

There are a huge range of Balinese warungs around the island for cheap local food. A highly recommended spot with a great view across to Nusa Ceningan is Warung Putu, with a traditional range of food options, and it is very wallet friendly at about $1-2 AUD per meal!

There are plenty of bars with beautiful views, no doubt! You will be absolutely spoiled for choice. But for something just a little different, check out The Howff, which is an underground Scotch bar on the water, with no external signage, and is the best kind of secret to find out about. With snacks available to complement their quite incredible cocktail list, you will be happy you stopped by to check out this bar that is very far from the Bali norm.

Where to stay:

For luxury, you can’t go past Batu Karang Lembongan – quite seriously, this resort is heaven. With various room types available, all with their own certain charm to make to make you fall in love. The massage packages here are lovely, whilst not the cheapest on the island they were really wonderful.

Having stayed here a couple of times, the challenge is deciding my favourite room highlight – having an outdoor bath in the Superior 1 bedroom villa – or drinks on the balcony from the Villa Mt Agung at sunset? Take me back….


For mid range, check out the newly opened Playgrounds Wave Lodge. With a view that equals that of the luxury resorts on the island, and overlooking several incredible surf breaks (including the famous ‘Playgrounds’ break for which the lodge is named, this 6 room boutique hotel is designed for a quick surf check from your clean and convenient hotel. With a great deck restaurant (The Thai Pantry) with an obviously Thai influence for lunch and dinner menus and a Western breakfast. With rooftop yoga specials as part of the offering, this is the perfect place for couples or families to stay!!!

For budget accommodation, check out Le Pirate over the bridge on Nusa Ceningan. They have small but adorable rooms (aka Beach Boxes), with hammocks out the front, a cute pool area and a restaurant with lots of options.

Getting there

Nusa Lembongan is a great place for couples or families to visit. A quick 30 minute fast boat trip from Sanur beach on the mainland (I use Rocky Fast Cruise) for $50USD return trip, these boats are fine for kids, although I suggest wearing clothes you don’t mind getting wet, because you are wading in the shallow water to get in and out of the boat.

I hope these tips have motivated you to check out this slice of heaven! Enjoy!!


The Ultimate Los Angeles Jet Lag Guide

So, you have a stopover in LA. You want to do simg_0163omething with it but you know will probably feel like a sack of trash after a long flight. How do you maximise your time while being kind to your exhausted, jet lagged body?

Consider renting a car

There are actually some great things in fairly close proximity of the airport (Venice Beach or Long Beach, for example). So if you are renting a car, you can actually see a couple of things straight up before you even check into your accommodation. LA is a really big city, and while it does have public transport and Uber options, as well as hop on hop off and tourist buses, to maximise your stopover it is really convenient to be able to go where you want, exactly when you want.

Pick the right accommodation (for you):

Your hotel needs to be chosen very strategically. It is easy to fall into a few traps in LA with hotels.

Trap #1 Picking the cheapest accommodation available

Ordinarily I am all for bargain hunting, don’t get me wrong. But LA is huge. If you end up staying in a cheap hotel that is close to nothing good you are actually going to chew up your hotel savings in Uber fares very quickly. So my tip here is to figure out what area you want to stay in, and then choose the cheapest accommodation in that area (if that is what you are inclined to do).

Trap #2 Not researching your hotel location 

As I have mentioned, LA is massive. It isn’t necessarily quick to get from one area to another, which is why staying in a really strategic location is important. I have highlighted a couple of key areas that i like to stay in.


The beach areas are absolutely gorgeous and with palm trees abound the quintessential LA scenery you are expecting will not disappoint. A really quirky and cool area with super hip Abbott Kinney area  as well as the Venice Canals close by there is so much to enjoy. Very quick trip to the airport as well!

Hollywood/West Hollywood

This area has lots of action and plenty to see!!! A great area of LA if you want to check out all the hot spots of the Sunset strip and Hollywood – and there are plenty of them.

This trip, I stayed at The Mondrian, West Hollywood. This is a beautiful hotel with the famous SkyBar overlooking the pool as well as the LA landscape. Definitely a hotel to be seen at, The Mondrian is on Sunset Blvd and really close to the areas that I wanted to spend time at, even within walking distance to some places (half a mile from the famous Chateaux Marmont, right across the road from The Comedy Store, and close to BodybySimone LA and Soul Cycle options as well). Important for me, it was a quick drive to Runyon Canyon, which I knew was a must do for me this trip.

Beverley Hills/Century City area

This area is good if you are planning to really hit the shops on Rodeo Drive and the wider Beverley Hills area, and perhaps are planning to visit Westfield Century City. You can get out to the beach areas fairly directly but getting to Down Town LA may pose a few more traffic and logistical challenges.

For a previous trip I have stayed at the Intercontinental Century City which is definitely a landmark hotel in the area. Due to its proximity to Fox Studios and some pretty famous Talent agencies, it definitely was  a hotel where you felt like you have a very high chance of walking past super famous directors and stars at any given moment. Also close to a Hop on Hop off bus stop (which we were using for that trip) so it worked for us. Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily stay there again as I prefer other suburbs, it definitely had it’s benefits including a complimentary car service to Rodeo Drive!

Down Town LA (DTLA)

This area hasn’t previously been a favourite for tourists although it is coming up a bit more with cafes and bars popping up in the area. Really this area is prime for Dodgers Stadium and people needing to be close to Staples Center for concerts and events!


One of the best ways to get your body back on track after a nasty flight is getting your blood pumping!!! There are plenty of ways to do this in LA while multi tasking and sightseeing!!

My personal favourite ways to get in a workout in LA:

  • Hire a beach cruiser at Venice Beach and ride up to Santa Monica and back! Not necessarily Tour de France terrain but the views are beautiful and the locals are entertaining!
  • Hike Runyon Canyon – with a few loop options to make it as hard or easy as you like, the views on this hike are breath taking, including the Hollywood sign and overlooking LA out to the sea.



Sleeping aids

Note: I am not a doctor or in any way authorised to give advice on this!! However I have travelled A LOT. And melatonin is available over the counter in LA. Which I have found really helpful! As a relatively natural option as opposed to checmicals that don’t occur naturally in your body, I find this to really help getting me to sleep in the local time zone.


Travel: Weekend Getaway: Kiama, NSW

Looking for a weekend getaway hotspot? Check out Kiama, on the south coast of NSW, approximately a 2 hour drive outside of Sydney. The first reason to head down there is the scenic drive down the NSW coast, with roads taking you through lush greenery one minute then spits you out onto an amazing ocean scene that will keep you challenged to stay focused on the road.

Kiama itself is nestled in amongst a couple of beautiful beaches, with the Kiama Blowhole at the point. A great spot for an active weekend, the Kiama Coast Walk is 22km of scenic fitness motivation if you are up for it! Broken into 3 sections, you can do some or all of it. If you can handle the whole route, it takes you from Minnamurra to Gerringong if you are up for the challenge. Along the way the route include hot spots such as the Kiama Blow Hole (at Blowhole Point), the Little Blowhole, the Werri Lagoon, and Werri Beach.


Kiama is one of those places ideal for doing everything or nothing. With plenty of adventure activities, beaches and fishing, and nearby towns to visit, for those wanting to fill there schedule there are plenty of options. For those wishing to slow things down and hang out in town, there are plenty of places to eat, drink, and relax, and for when you feel like you should perhaps do something semi-active, Kiama has seaside  markets every 3rd Sunday on the beach.

Kiama has some great cafe and coffee options. Penny Whistlers is a new option with beautiful water views on Shoalhaven st, complete with a great menu (not to mention licensed if you are in the mood for a long lunch). One of the best things about this menu is that it has options for everyone, from the kale/quinoa health conscious of us right through to the boys (or girls!) just wanting a juicy burger – they have got you covered.

Short Black Coffee, on Terralong st is an award winning coffee spot (and if you need more motivation than that, they use real melted chocolate in their hot drinks….mmmm).

Crooked River winery is a must visit spot, just a quick drive from Kiama. With absolutely stunning views over the vines and also out to sea, the food here is incredible and the wine is so good it gives the food a run for it’s money. Great staff to add to that makes this the perfect place to spend a lazy long lunch!


Kiama has a few accommodation options, but we stayed at The Sebel Kiama Harbourside which was a perfect location with lots of great food options within walking distance, as well as the adjoining pub. Airbnb and Stayz have some local options, as well as some nearby accommodation a short drive away in Gerringong.

Highly recommend if you are looking for a quick weekend break!

Ski: My 5 Favourite Ski Towns

A truly great ski town is a tough formula to crack. It needs the right combination of character & charm combined with enough of the necessities to be functional – and of course it needs to have some banging snow! Here are a few of my all time faves for your Winter 2016/17 inspo.

1.Park City, Utah, USA

When I first went to Park City, a common response was along the lines of ‘What is there to do in Utah? Isn’t it full of Mormons? Are you even allowed to have any fun there?’. The answers to which are: Plenty!; Yes (and all of them lovely); and HELL YES!!! Having been to Park City quite a few times now, I can attest very strongly to great restaurants, a selection of nightlife options that can handle the Hollywood elite (think Sundance Film Festival), outlet shopping for rest days, and most importantly, a great variety of skiing within a short distance.


The 2 crown jewels of Park City are Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort. Deer Valley is a skiers only slice of heaven where the staff are there to nurture and serve you and I kind of feel like they might even offer you a massage if you came off a run looking a little stiff. OK, probably not really but it has a no tipping culture and the staff are trained to go the extra mile for their guests, and you feel the difference!

Park City Mountain Resort is the combination of 2 previously separate ski resorts, Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons. These 2 great resorts have now combined into one incredible resort with terrain variety and options for all levels taken to the next level. It is part of the EPIC pass, which means you can buy one pass and ski all over the US and even Japan and Australia within the same year.

But aside from these beauties, there are plenty of other great ski resorts within an hour or so from Park City for those who like a different spot every day! Between Alta, Solitude, Snowbird, Brighton and Sundance just to name a few, staying in Park City leaves you truly spoiled for choice on all fronts.

My all time favourite Deer Valley ski runs

 2. Val D’Isere, France


This town was everything I ever wanted from a ski town in the French Alps! An adorable place with dreamy white mountains everywhere. Did I mention the patisseries? Dear God take me back….

La Folie Douce is mandatory to visit for apres ski to experience table dancing in ski boots, live musicians playing throughout the crowd, and a party atmosphere that will make you want to stay forever!! I recommend showing up around 3pm.  Dick’s Tea Bar should definitely be on the list to visit as well to kick on into the night if you are keen to go on for longer.

Try something different – learn to snow kite with Oxygene or Fly Mountains ski schools! So much fun.

For great accommodation options have a look at Ski Bonjour – Check out Bonjour Bivouac for the perfect balance of on snow accom with all the hard work taken out of your stay! We had an absolutely amazing time staying here with a great location and perfect set up for our stay. Comfy and cosy, with great hosts and food!

3. Big White, Canada

Big White is a sweet as pie Canadian ski town with a kick ass party vibe to boot and most importantly – the snow is CONSISTENTLY UNBELIEVABLE!!! Accessible via Kelowna (fly in from Vancouver in a about 55 minutes), then a 30-45 minute drive up the mountain. Great terrain options with such epic snow. The haunting first run view of the famous Big White snow ghosts is truly memorable. 

Head to Happy Valley (access by skis or car) for Apres ski between 4-6pm to check out great live music (usually Jon Bos Rocks who puts on a really great show). With plenty of great food options you too you are spoiled for choice.

Snowshoe Sam’s is a must visit with great live music and an awesome vibe. To top it all off, the Canadians are pretty much the nicest people on the planet.
4. Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown (even without snow) is a town well worth a visit. Whether travelling with a family or a group of friends, this place literally has something for everyone. Plenty of bars, with some amazing secret spot restaurants hidden behind doors with no signs. Known for its action, Queenstown has no shortage of options outside of skiing including bungee jumping, heli skiing, white water rafting, sky diving, jet boating over the Shotover river (not for the faint of heart) among just a very few (check out Viator for some more options).

My favourite spots The Cow restaurant and also a must visit is Fergberger for the best burgers in towns. I assure you, the lines are worth the wait!! A cranking party town, but with plenty of family options, this is another gem with something for every visitor.

With resorts nearby including Cardrona, The Remarkables, Coronet Peak & Treble Cone you are spoilt for skiing options. The only downside is there really isn’t ski in ski out accommodation (or at least there wasn’t when I was there) so you are either looking at a bus trip or a drive up the mountain in a hire car each day (approx. 40-60 mins).

Treble Cone

5. Vail, Colorado, USA

Vail is another absolutely gorgeous ski town that will make you want to quit your day job and move here immediately. Even if it means making next to no money you won’t care because you will live in a perfect village with perfect snow and mostly blue skies every day. This town had been on my bucket list for a while and it was worth the trip!!


(Photo credit @vailmtn instagram)

Garfinkel’s a.k.a Garfs is a must visit – really it is THE place to get to if you want the Vail Experience. Great for après ski drinks, but it was also a great place for a stop off for lunch to grab a refreshing beer after the hard work on the slopes. With plenty of other great options you definitely won’t struggle to find fantastic eating and drinking venues.

Tavern on The Square at Arrabelle is a great spot for people watching as well, especially if you can get there in time to get an outdoor seat around the fire. Another special thing about Arrabelle is the spa…. heaven!!! If you need to take a break from the slopes, this is where to go!

We landed in Denver and drove to Vail, then continued the road trip down to Utah to hit the slopes in Park City courtesy of the EPIC pass as it is applicable here also (as well as for other Colorado resorts Breckenridge, Beaver Creek & Keystone)

Local tip – check out a local ice hockey game if you can for some up close and personal off the slopes action!!


(NOTE: Photos are original unless noted. You are welcome to share but please tag the site or instagram @worktravelskirepeat. Thank you!)


Work: New Year, New Hand Bag!!!

New Year’s Resolution? New Handbag!! This year, save the self analysis and drama, and resolve to get yourself a fabulous work bag that does everthing you need it to and also makes you look fabulous.

My work handbag is one of my most relied upon accessories. It gets absolutely abused. Stretched, hung, overfilled, shoved into airline recesses, shoved around, and generally speaking if my handbag filed a case at the local police station for misuse it may well get a decent hearing! With the New Year approaching (not to mention an amazing selection of sales currently available), why not consider a new bag to get you from home to work to bar and everywhere in between?

I actually run a couple of handbags at a time, mostly because I am fussy enough to bother changing my handbag to match my shoes. My current workhorse most days of the week is a Michael Kors impulse airport purchase I made at LAX a couple of years ago. It is a Hamilton Large tote, which has been a great friend to me. The main thing I consider when buying a new bag for work is space and functionality.

My new work handbag must haves:

  • Enough pockets to effectively separate my keys, phone, make up and business cards
  • Enough space to fit my lap top and ipad
  • Sections!! Ideally the main compartment is divided into 2 sections – one for laptop etc and the other compartment is for the myriad of other things I for some reason need to carry around with me
  • Shoulder strap – I can’t count how many times this has been a lifesaver. Whilst I prefer to carry my bag on my arm, when I need to juggle a few things that shoulder strap pays dividends

My current squeeze:


Want to stand out from the crowd?

I don’t know about you but I really hate seeing my handbag everywhere. I much prefer it to be classic, yet different enough that everyone who has been to a major shopping centre in the past 3 months probably has one.

For that reason, these 2 brands are very high on my love list at the moment. The Daily Edited and I are in the passions of early love. It is a gorgeous brand I have fallen head over heels with. Check out their Instagram to get why (Instagram @thedailyedited). My cousin introduced me to this brand which monograms its luxury leather products, and I haven’t looked back since. Based in Sydney, and with a 5 day turnaround to Australian clients, what’s not to love?

Check out their monogrammed tote – perfect for work!!



The second brand, Charles & Keith, is a long time love of mine. With no stores in Australia, you are relying on an airport stopover in Changi airport or somewhere lucky enough to have a store in the airport or on your travels. Reminiscent of far more expensive luxury brands (unsurprisingly, given LVMH has an ownership stake – hello!!), they are an affordable yet individual product that is in my experience incredibly functional, and retaining the high quality required by my abusive handbag ownership style. With great colour options for pretty much every range, I never walk out of this store with just one item. Side note: Amazing shoes and sunnies also, but that is a story for another day.



Another brand that is always a safe bet for a solid handbag choice is Oroton. A traditionally expensive brand renowned for their high quality, they also have some great sales at their outlet stores with up to 70% off

Check out a few more of my favourites below – and happy handbag shopping!!


Charles & Keith Gusseted Work Bag (Teal)






Charles & Keith Work Handbag (Nude)

Oroton 1

Oroton Alpine Chain tote (Black)

Oroton 2

Oroton Henri Shopper Tote (Tan)


Travel: 7 Ways to Travel in New York

New York City is a bustling metropolis with 1.6 million people populating the 87.5km2 Manhattan island alone. With so much to see on Manhattan alone, it can be intimidating to work out how to get from point A to point B while getting the most out of the experience along the way. Whilst most people who have lived in NYC their entire lives probably still haven’t seen everything there is to see, with some strategy and a few hot tips you can plan out your trip to make the most of your adventure!

Hop on Hop off bus

This is a great way to get a fairly quick but inclusive tour of Manhattan. These tours are great options for Day 1 or Day 2 of your trip to get a feel for the hustle and bustle of the city and all of it’s sights, smells, and sounds!! It also helps you to get an idea for places you may like to spend more time at, and even more of a bonus, it will take you past some places you may be happy to see from a bus, check off your list, and keep going onto the next thing (more time for shopping/Cosmos, etc!!).

There are a couple of main companies that run these buses, and with stops all around the city, if you strategically plan your accommodation to be near one of the drop off points you can save some $$ in taxi and subway fares as well


NYC Yellow Taxi

The iconic New York experience -an absolute must (mostly for logistical reasons!), the cabs are reasonably priced and the drivers vary from insulting and offensive to knowledgeable and friendly! Worth it for the experience factor. Just pretend you are Carrie headed off to hook up with Big and jump on in (although if you are off to meet Big he really should have sent his driver, he is off his game).

Hot tip: Make sure you check out google maps before you get in a cab to make sure the traffic is headed in the direction you are wanting to go. With so many 1 way streets and heavy traffic, walking one block across can save you lots of $$$ for minimal effort (also, #exercise).



Another cheap option to get around – if you don’t have the Uber app set up, all you need to do is download it, set up your details and use the app to order an Uber to your location based on your phone’s GPS. They send a text to let you know your car details, how far away it is, auto charge your credit card and send you a receipt! The Uber app also gets you to rate your driver, which tends to keep the cars clean and the drivers polite! Happy days.


Another iconic NYC experience, the subway system is comprehensive, efficient, and cheap. Use the subway to zip all over Manhattan, or if you are feeling more adventurous jump on the subway and head over to Brooklyn or beyond (channel your inner Dan Humphries).

Hot tip: Look for accommodation close to subway, and check out their multi trip/weekly options depending on how long you are in the city.

Hotter tip: For motivation on why you should ride the subway, check out the @hotdudesreading instagram account where you will find some VERY inspiring reasons 😉

Water Taxi

After you have braved the subway over to Brooklyn and checked out Dumbo, grab a shake at the Shake Shack, get some epic pics of the Brooklyn bridge and jump on a water taxi for some amazing views of the city, and some wind in your hair. With the US flags on the back this was a really fun way to see a different side of the city.


You can then enjoy the ride for a few stops and hop back off on Manhattan.

Hot tip: The water taxis go most of the way around the island so definitely consider them if you are heading to or from another borough to mix it up from the subway.

Helicoptor tour of Manhattan

For the experience of a lifetime, head on down to the heli port at the south end of Manhattan where you will take off into the skies to have your mind blown.

For a first timer on a chopper, I spent the entire time gaping at view. Central Park from the air was a particular highlight, the contrast of the city and the park are quite simply incredible. The  September 11 memorial is another particularly memorable view.

If you are going to spend up on a transport option, this one is pretty special, just make sure to take it all in and not spend the whole time taking photos!!


Circle Line Ferry

Circle Line Ferrys have been featured in hundreds of movies (think How to Lose a Guy in 10 days where they go over to visit the family) and is yet another must do. Personally the trip over was enough for me to check out the Statue of Liberty, I just turned on back around and headed back to the island! Lots of great photo opps of the statue and the island from the water.

Cold tip: If you are heading to NYC in winter, there are 3 relevant words for this ferry trip. LAYERS and FACE PROTECTION!!! The wind rips through you and brings the temp down ten degrees, instigating all sorts of frozen hands/selfie sticks/iphone loss fail situations. So layerr up and keep your tech close!