Werribee Gorge Hike // 06.11.16

“The journey is never finished, the foal is always just across the next river, round the shoulder of the next mountain. There is always one more track to follow, one more mirage to explore” – Rosita Forbes

Recently, I was chatting with some friends about things to do in Melbourne, and they were saying there are lots of fun hikes around. That weekend we decided to go and explore and complete one of the hikes that we had heard a lot about.

14We drove around 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours to Werribee Gorge where there are two circuit walks; the short circuit, and the full circuit. The short circuit was 5km and takes around 2 hours; and the full circuit was 10km and advised it takes 5hrs to complete. Us being us, decided to do the full circuit – i’m not sure what we were thinking at this point.

81The circuit  started  by going up the steepest hill, while walking over an abundance of rocks and gravel.  When we started the hike we were all wrapped up in our jackets as the weather was a little overcast. We had to consistently walk up hill just to keep the momentum going. One of the girls stopped part way for a breather, not a good idea…getting going again was quite the challenge.

5Before we were even half way up the first hill we had to make a pit stop to remove all our additional layers, bathe ourselves in sun cream and hydrate. We had no idea how hot it was going to be when we started the hike, and even though it made it so much more challenging, it was nice to enjoy some of the warmer weather, while being surrounded by such beautiful scenery.

411The saying, “what goes up, must come down” was pretty apt on this hike, as it literally felt we were going up and down every two minutes. I really enjoyed that the terrain varies so much throughout the hike; gravel, rocks, sand, water, you get to climb through it all.

276One of the great things about this hike are there are so many lookout points that you can stop at and take in the surroundings. There are boards which tell you a bit about what you are looking at. Most of these describe the nature you might see or hear from this point, normally describing birds (however we didn’t see any), and sometimes including stories about the history of that location.

10At the start of the hike there was a sign that mentioned that this hike was aimed at intermediate to experienced walkers – now this confused us. Nobody in our group could be classed as an ‘experienced walker’ however we figured we can walk, we’re all pretty fit and healthy, and we can help each other along the way.

The sign mentioned that there would be various terrain, scrambling and climbing included. Until we reached this point of the hike we hadn’t come across much/if any scrambling (we may have been on our hands and knees a lot, but this wasn’t intentional) haha!

212There was a thin metal wire attached to a slanted rock face which aided you as you climbed around the front of the rock. The rocks were a little way off of the ground, and hung over a body of water…basically, if you fell you were gonna get wet (and probably hurt yourself).

1326Me, being me decided to do this one handed as I took photos of the rest of the group. I’m not going to lie, this seriously worked my core. Imagine trying to balance on a rock face, holding on to a wobbly wire that moves every time somebody moves, while trying to focus your camera with the other hand. It was quite the challenge. However, I feel a few of the photos turned out well enough for you to get an idea of the different aspects of the climb – personally, this part was one of my favourite bits.

1619Sometimes it’s just nice to be out in nature, and away from the city life. I live and work in the city so it becomes so easy to get caught up in it all. I love how peaceful and serene it is when you’re away from the high rise buildings, the traffic and general air pollution. You can actually start to process your own thoughts, breathe fresh air, and relax for once.

2023Going out and exploring a place you’ve never been before not only opens your mind to new adventures but it allows you to let go of all the negativity that builds up on a day to day basis. Even the most positive people allow things to get to them, sometimes you just need to escape for a few hours to a place with no phone signal, and just explore…forget about everything you left behind, and just enjoy yourself in the moment.

1821This hike was great, because it felt like you were going through different adventures along the way. One minute you would be climbing a hill, crossing a river, or scrambling across rocks…the next you’d be walking along a sandy beach, overlooking the gorge and eating your lunch next to the water.

2425I need to make the time to adventure more, to step out of my comfort zone and enjoy the natural beauty Australia has to offer. Because at the end of this trip I don’t want to look back and go ‘what if’, I want to say ‘remember when’.

Love, Luce ♥

The Grampians // 30.10.16 – 01.11.16

“Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures” – Unknown.

50.jpgSo, apparently in Australia, they have public holidays for absolutely anything. Since arriving here two months ago there have already been two public holidays…(AFL Grand Final, and Melbourne Cup)…not exactly normal holidays.

Due to these public holidays, it means a lot of people are off work, or at least work reduced hours…what better time to take a road trip to The Grampians right? My friends Zoe and Lucy and their parents go to The Grampians every year over cup weekend. So, this year a bunch of us decided to tag along (we were invited, we didn’t gate crash).

42.jpg7.jpgA friend, Skye, very kindly offered to drive the three-hour road trip to get us to The Grampians. I find road trips so much fun…chilling out in the car, belting out the tunes with your friends, and stopping off in cities you would never normally think to go. What more could you want?

6.jpgWe made a few pit stops along the journey to take some photos of the beautiful scenery and break up the journey (not that it was that long – it literally flew by). There were so many amazing fields, filled with bright, colourful flowers, such a picturesque area to travel through.

It was so lovely to see these parts of Victoria. Since arriving in Australia I’ve spent most of my time in the city; due to ease of access, work, and where my friends like to hang out. It was nice to escape the hustle and bustle, have no phone signal for what felt like a lifetime, and just enjoy the great outdoors with my friends.

9The campsite we stayed at was called Lake Fyans Holiday Park, and it’s situated in the middle of The Grampians. The rest of our group arrived a few days prior to us, so they kindly set up our tent for us so it was all ready for when we arrived.

This actually was very much appreciated as when we arrived; myself, Jen and Skye had a much needed nap. I had gone out to a Halloween Party the night before we left and didn’t get in until 04.00am (oops) – with the added bonus that we started our road trip at 08.00am it’s fair to say I was pretty exhausted.

10Within our party, we had a caravan and two tents which we were all spread out between. Having the caravan there was soo handy – using the hob to cook meals, the sink to wash up all the mess, and the gazebo to keep everything dry through the countless number of showers we encountered.

We arrived at the campsite around lunchtime on Sunday 30th October and left on the morning of Tuesday 1st November. During this time we played one game of cards against humanity, had two campfires, did four hikes and took hundreds of photos.

So, I’ve decided to split our adventures up into several posts for ease of reading; I will upload a new post each Wednesday for the next five weeks. Once the post is live, I will attach a link to it below:

The Grampians – Day 1: Halls Gap // 30.10.16

The Grampians – Day 1: Kangaroos and Lake Fyans // 30.10.16

The Grampians – Day 2: Hollow Mountain // 31.10.16

The Grampians – Day 2:  Fish Falls // 31.10.16

The Grampians – Day 2: The Balconies and Reeds Lookout // 31.10.16

I had an absolutely amazing time exploring the outdoors with my friends, and it’s always great to escape for a few days. I would highly recommend visiting The Grampians if you are ever in Victoria, and I really hope I get a chance to return before I move on with my travels.

Love, Luce ♥

What We Learnt at Summer Camp // CaitoTaylo

“Where strangers become friends, and friendships last forever” – Unknown.

My friend (and hopefully soon to be flat-mate) Caitlin has a YouTUBE channel. She uploads lots of fun videos, many of which are related to camp…partly because of her job, but mainly because camp is the amazing, so why the heck not?

I recently teamed up with her to do a video on ‘What we learnt at Summer Camp’.

DISCLAIMER: This is Caitlin’s video that I am simply sharing. The filming and editing are all Caitlin, I am simply just in it!

I have linked the video below if you want to have a watch.

I introduce my YouTUBE debut…

Please check out some of her other videos and subscribe for more of CaitoTaylo.

I’m still contemplating the idea of making my own channel – do I just jump in the deep end and do it? (Answer the poll / comment below).

Love, Luce ♥

Little Tommy Tucker // 22.10.16

“As we grow up, we realise it is less important to have a ton of friends, and more important to have real ones” – Unknown.

3.jpgEarly morning starts, breakfast, and catching up with your best friends…what better way to start your Saturday? After nearly two weeks of not seeing each other, it was so nice to have a good old natter and catch up on the past fortnight.

2Since being in Melbourne, I have learned there are cute little cafes around every street corner. Wooden walls, fresh plants, and bright lighting are such a common theme…but I love it! Everything is so ‘Pinterest’ and vibrant and you can’t help but be in a happy mood when you’re in these places. They are the perfect location for a catch-up with friends over great food, coffee, and fresh juices.

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Seasonal Mushroom Bruschetta, Balsamic, Apple, Almonds & Fetta on Rye.

Jen and I both got the mushroom bruschetta, it was delicious! Just imagine; toasted rye, crunchy apple with mushrooms, along with a soft poached egg, drizzled with sweet balsamic…incredible! Pair this with a Banana, Mango, and Passionfruit Hepburn organic juice and you have the perfect match.

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Raspberry and White Chocolate Crumble Muffin

As we were leaving we happened to notice the cake cabinet, how could you say no to this Raspberry and White Chocolate muffin? A soft muffin with raspberry jam, crumble topping and white chocolate chunks. The perfect mid-morning snack.

If you live in Melbourne and want to visit Little Tommy Tucker then head to their website, or you can find them in Bentleigh…would highly recommend.

Love, Luce ♥

Exploring the City // 15.10.16

“Nobody owns the world, so feel free to explore it” – E.A.Cabaltica

2For those that don’t know, Melbourne is known to have a pretty good transport system…in the six weeks I have been in Melbourne, I have primarily used trains and trams; alongside the occasional lift from friends. In the middle of the city, there is a free tram zone, in this zone, you can hop on and off the trams without paying…pretty great huh?

Recently, I noticed there were ‘old fashioned’ city circle trams, and I didn’t understand what was different about them. So, me being me, went home and researched it…turns out that they do a loop around the entire city. They have a speaker system built in them which gives you a running commentary about the history of the area you are passing through while pointing out tourist locations along the way. And, added bonus…THEY’RE FREE!

1Sometimes exploring alone can be more fun than exploring in a big group of people. I really enjoyed having the freedom to jump on and off the tram wherever I wished, I had no time restraints or other commitments, I just took my time and explored at my own pace.

South Wharf is a really pretty area, it’s right on the Yarra river and has an amazing view of the city. Not only that, there is an outlet shopping center here, and plenty of lovely restaurants and cute cafes overlooking the river. I’ve been to the shopping outlet a handful of times since being in Melbourne and it’s huge! I still don’t think I’ve been around the entire center yet. If you’re lucky though you can pick up some pretty great deals, though!

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Yarra River – South Wharf

I find myself stopping in the middle of the bridge every time and just looking at the city, I feel there is so much to see and take in. Believe it or not, people actually get helicopters to shop here. Why? I don’t know. The fact that someone can afford to pay for a helicopter yet chooses to go to an outlet is beyond me.224I absolutely love these bikes that ‘decorate’ this restaurant. I’ve always wanted a Pashley bike or one in a similar style. I absolutely love this style of bike, and I think they look great surrounding this restaurant.

The Melbourne Star is a giant ferris wheel on the waterfront with birds eye views of the city. I haven’t yet gotten around to going on it, however, I definitely wish to do this during my time in Melbourne. At night, the star glows in different colours, as if it’s not pretty enough already.

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Melbourne Star – The Docklands

I hopped off the tram at the harbor and it was so beautiful. Lots of boats parked up in the dock, a view of emirates stadium and the rest of the city and lots of pretty trees surrounding the area.25.jpg30.jpgI noticed there were lots of waterfront restaurants, although all pretty pricey they definitely have amazing waterfront views!29.jpg24I didn’t realise until arriving in Australia quite how many Asian people reside here. Okay, now I think about it, we are right next to Asia so it does make sense. I particularly loved this kids jersey saying ‘curry’ on the back – not gonna lie I have a pretty weird sense of humour, and I found this hilarious (so much so, I took a photo).13I’m pretty sure there is a China Town in most major cities around the world. China Town in Melbourne is no different. Chinese lanterns hanging from above, bright colourful signs outside every shop, and restaurants galore!

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China Town – Lt Bourke St

18As you walk down the stretch of China Town there are so many aromas of Chinese cuisine…there’s something to suit every taste.

Now, I don’t know what this church was called, but I do remember it was in the middle of a stretch of high-rise buildings on Swanston St. It really stood out to me. I love that in the hustle and bustle of a big city, there’s still quaint little churches and architecture in their original form.

12Parliament House is one of my favourite places I’ve visited in Melbourne so far. The location is amazing, at the end of all the major streets in the CBD and overlooking the city. On one side there is a green grassed area, where many choose to sit and relax on a warm day, and the other side where there are lots of steps leading up to the entrance. I have been known to go and sit on the steps before work and overlook the city, although it’s still in the hustle and bustle of the city, I find it quite peaceful and relaxing.

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Parliament House

23Finally, the amazing ceiling in Melbourne Central Station! I absolutely love the ceiling in this station. An old chimney pipe, still marked with ‘lead pipe & shot factory’ with a glass roof…it kind of reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when they go through the roof. I absolutely love it, I find myself take photos of it every time I pass through.

 

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Melbourne Central Station

I hope you enjoyed being a part of my day while I explored the city. There will be much more to come over the upcoming months as I get to know Melbourne and the rest of Australia.

To keep up with my travels follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

Love, Luce ♥

 

Moving Down Under…An Update.

“I want to see the world, follow a map to it’s edges and keep going. Forgo the plans, trust my instincts. Let curiosity be my guide. I want to change hemispheres. Sleep with unfamiliar stars and let the journey unfold before me” – Unknown.

September 6th, 2016 I said goodbye to everyone and everything I knew. Passport in hand, I got on that plane and went to the furthest destination possible…AUSTRALIA! 17,205 miles away from the place I had called home for the last five years, the country I have lived in for the last twenty-four years, and the place where everyone I know and love will be staying.

Now, this is something I’ve talked about doing on and off for the last five years, but I never thought it would happen – I don’t think anyone did.

Twenty-Sixteen has quite possibly been one of, if not, the toughest of my life so far. I’ve lost loved ones, been through heartbreak, changed job, moved house – and that’s only the half of it.

People say that when life changing events happen (no matter how big or small) you find yourself, you begin to learn who you really are. I don’t feel this way, I couldn’t feel less like myself if I tried.

Deep down I thought that by jumping on that plane and leaving all the pain, heartbreak, and suffering behind it would help to start the healing process. I thought that I would start to learn who I am again. We are now over a month into the journey and I am yet to find myself, yet to heal, and yet to let go.

There will always be a huge hole in my life, but I need to stop trying to fill it with what used to be. I need to learn to put myself outside of my comfort zone, to embrace new challenges and beginnings – but right now this just doesn’t feel possible.

More than anything I want to enjoy my time in Australia. This has been my dream for as long as I can remember, but the one thing that is holding me back is my heart – that emotional connection with what I left behind the moment I stepped foot on that plane 34 days ago.

Then there’s TimeHop – I currently hold a love-hate relationship with this app. I love that I get daily reminders of memories with my friends and family, but it also allows you to reminisce on the times that are causing you so much heartbreak. Right now I’m not able to filter these memories…not that I will ever want to (or be able too).

Sometimes you meet people who not only hold a place in your life, but they hold a place in your heart too, and once they’re in your heart, there’s no escaping.

Love, Luce ♥

 

1000 Steps, Kokoda Memorial Trail // Melbourne, Australia.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” – Henry Miller

Kokoda Memorial Walk…never heard of it? No, neither had I. Turns out it’s a really beautiful rainforest walk through the Dandenong Ranges National Park. As you march your way up the 1000 step climb you are faced with plaques which feed you with information of those whom fought and died on the trail during the Kokoda campaign back in 1942.

23.jpgAlthough I still don’t know much about the Kokoda Track Campaign it’s a really fascinating walk with so much history built into it. I already want to go back to read all the plaques around the trail.

My best friend Jen and I decided to do this climb on a slightly overcast, rainy day. I definitely wouldn’t advise doing this on a hot day…unless you want to die of heat exhaustion, or have to constantly stop to sweat it out.

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The whole track is literally surrounded by beautiful green fern, manna gum, and blackwood trees. Although you will cross paths with many people along the way, the whole environment is so peaceful and calming. You can hear birds tweeting to one another, and rivers flowing throughout the whole of the rainforest.

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Although there are a lot of steps; 1000 to be exact…although I didn’t count them to be sure (I wish I did)…you get to a point where you forget you’re climbing steps. You’re just so in awe of your surroundings and taking in everything around you that you are just placing one foot in front of the other and climbing…without even noticing how much exercise you are doing. Pretty great huh?

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Walks like this are pretty great to do with your best friend. Jen and I just chatted and giggled through the entire walk and before you know it you’re at the top. It must have taken us around 30-40 minutes to get to the top (stopping for multiple photo opportunities along the way of course).

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Does anyone else hate asking others to take a photo of you? I mean it’s never going to be quite right. It’s never going to be as good as if you just took it yourself. You know exactly what you want and there’s always that risk of the other person getting it wrong. But let’s be honest, when they ask if it’s okay, you always say YES…right?

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Thankfully I had Jen with me, and my trustee JOBY Tripod so we got some pretty great shots along the way! Believe it or not but you can set up your own photo shoot where ever you are. Believe me (I wish I took a photo of this now), I wrapped the straps of my backpack around the top of a wooden stump, attached the legs of my JOBY Tripod to the backpack and then put on the self timer…bob’s your uncle, fanny’s your aunt…you’re photo shoot ready. Not gonna lie, the photo’s we got from doing this are actually some of my favourites from the entire day!

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That’s all folks, I’ll keep exploring and posting my adventures for all to see.

Love, Luce ♥

Australia Leaving Party // 03.09.16

“We live in a beautiful world that is filled with beauty, charm, and ADVENTURE” – Unknown.

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Saturday 3rd September 2016: My family and close friends travelled from far and wide to attend my leaving party that my family were throwing me. Mum decked out the house with everything red, white and blue, or covered with an Australian flag.

There were banners, bunting and balloons everywhere you looked, not to mention the amazing cakes they got made for me. With cute little icing koala and kangaroo figurines, they fit the theme perfectly.

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And as if the huge cake wasn’t enough to feed everybody (turns out it was more than enough and could have easily fed the whole street), they also got these cute cupcakes made in two designs. And, if you know me well…you’ll know I love cupcakes!

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Friends and Family had travelled from all over to be there which meant so much to me. From Leeds to Plymouth, to Wales and everywhere in between, everyone made such an effort! It was so nice to have everyone I care about in one room together, even if it were only for a few hours.

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I think this is the first time in at least the last 5+ years that all five of the girls (cousins) have all been together at the same time…this definitely called for a photo opportunity.

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Photo bombing and funny family photos are always a hit – and I absolutely LOVE all the photo props they bought! This photo is of my mum and her brother (my uncle) with my sister and I sneaking in the background.

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My friend Stacey and I, who I met at Secondary school 13 years ago now! And Arron who I met 5 years ago at summer camp in America, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I still can’t believe he travelled from Wales to be there…such a great friend!

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My mums best friend Sue came by which was so lovely, if I have a friendship like theirs when I’m older then I will be one happy lady. Look how happy they are…

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For this one to come literally made everything perfect, and to see the bond him and Archie have melts my heart. I hope this continues in years to come and these moments don’t fade away.

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As per usual, I don’t have any photos with my Dad (he tends to stay in the kitchen out of the way when parties are going on, he keeps himself to himself and chats to his friends and family out of all of the mayhem). Here’s one with my mum, I really like this photo…it’s one of those ‘in the moment’ photos.

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Thank you so much to everyone who came, I had the best time.

Love, Luce ♥

An Open-Letter to The Best Friend I Thought I Once Knew // 28.08.16

Dear my Former Best Friend,

Sometimes I get this urge to talk to you, and then I remember that you’re a different person now, it’s just sad because I miss you a lot. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine my life without you in it…when we wouldn’t go a day without talking to one another, barely a couple of hours of silence. You were just always there, ten years of friendship, best friendship, gone…just like that.

I feel like I should be asking how you are? Or seeing how life’s treating you? But I know it’s going well, I know you’re just fine.

Every now and then I stumble upon your facebook page and see the funny faces, the cheerful status’, and the treasure chest of memories that will never be left behind. I see the girl that I once knew, the girl that wasn’t just my best friend, but my sister, my right arm, my partner in crime. The person I would go to about everything, the good, the bad, and the damn right ugly. The girl that I would call from the other side of the world to be your shoulder to cry on through tough times, the girl that wouldn’t let me go to family events alone; who would sit with me at the funerals, dance with me at the weddings and be my date to every event in between. We were a duo, we were a team, we were Lozzy and Luce.

It’s been over three years since we last talked – who would’ve thought? My life has been a series of ups and downs since that last moment we spoke. Three years ago I would never have imagined my life without you in it…even now it baffles me.

You were always just a phone call away until you stopped picking up. You were always on my team until peer-pressure made you give in. But I guess that’s just life, people come and go with no explanation. Sometimes I scroll through facebook and look through all the photos of us together, the fun times, the memories, the moments I’ll never forget. I see the person I used to be, the girl I used to call my best friend, and the carefree part of me I wish I never lost.

Thank you for the past ten years, for being my best friend. For putting up with the drama and the quirks of teenage years. Thank you for being honest and telling me when I don’t look my best. Thank you for caring and always being there when I needed you the most. Thank you for the ups, and the downs – there is always something to learn from every situation. Thank you for welcoming me into your life and making me a part of your family, of the furniture, as you were with mine also. Thank you for the embarrassing photos that accompany our teenage years. Thank you for being the person that I can honestly say my school years wouldn’t have been the same without.

I’ll never forget the moments that we shared together. We shared secrets, watched movies, and went on adventures…you are a key role in shaping the person I became. You helped me grow and develop into the person I am today.

And even though we no longer speak, I want you to know that I no longer hold any bitterness towards you, I no longer hold any hatred. I will be honest and say there is still hurt, there will always be that feeling…but I could never hate you. You were my best friend, and a part of me will always see you as my best friend…nothing can take those years away.

Together we were unstoppable, we were a team, we stood by each other through thick and thin. If there was a struggle or a bend in the road…neither of us would go through it alone.

Always know that I cherish the times we spent together, the memories that made us the people we are today. I am thankful for the sleepless nights, the outrageous phone bills, and the ability to know there’s always someone there…because those are the memories I will treasure forever.

Please note, I don’t hate you, I never could. You were such an integral part of my life and nothing could ever take that away. I just wish we were still growing and sharing our time together in the way we always hoped we would. But that’s okay, some people change, and sometimes things don’t always follow the plan. But just know, that deep down even though this may be goodbye, I will always be grateful to have called you my best friend.

I’ll always be rooting for you.

Love Always,

Your Ex-Best Friend xx