Hobart in a Heartbeat

First of all, what a beautiful, unspoilt, lusciously green place. I feel embarrassed to say that I didn’t know anything about Tasmania at all before we came (except for the Tasmanian devil which I originally thought was just a cartoon not an actual animal…). We wouldn’t have to be asked twice to go back. We originally added it as a stop on our trip to visit an animal sanctuary and see some real life Tasmanian devils (which actually look nothing like the cartoon), but it has SO much more to offer than that. Endless greenery, vast landscapes, incredible bays and mountains to explore. We had 3 days here and oh how we wished we’d had longer…. it is definitely on our return list.

We only saw the capital city and so I can’t give a full description of the entire state, but I’ll do my best to give you a flavour of the wonder that is Hobart.

TOP recs:

Mount Wellington- we drove right to the top in Terry the snot-coloured Toyota ( see below) and could see absolutely nothing. It was hilarious as we saw masses of photos of what it SHOULD have looked like, but the fog was ridiculous. The viewing platform was pretty amazing though because we just felt like we were in the clouds. As we drove back down, the clouds cleared and the view over Hobart was beautiful, definitely worth the trek up there.

Salamanca Place- lots of charming shops, galleries and cafes in a quaint little square. There’s the famous Salamanca Market here too, but unfortunately it wasn’t on when we were here. Kelly’s Steps in Salamanca Place take you up to Battery Point- a lovely old neighbourhood with really pretty 19th century cottages- worth a stroll around.

St David’s Park- we spent a couple of hours relaxing here in the sunshine one afternoon. It was pretty near our hotel so it was our little slice of green in the city. There’s also the best coffee sold here in the mornings from a tiny cart. The girl running it was so lovely, chatting to us about Hobart and we also bought one of her delicious homemade raspberry dark choc brownies.

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens- now if you’ve read any of my other travel posts, you’ll know we’re suckers for a Botanical Garden. This one didn’t disappoint. 100% would recommend. A stunningly beautiful, absolutely immaculate, green haven. Not the biggest, but free to go in and one of my favourites we have visited.

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary- this was about half an hour drive from Hobart and marked our first up close interaction with kangaroos. We absolutely loved it. It’s not huge, but definitely a must see. The rangers look after injured, orphaned and endangered animals and you could see how much they truly cared for them. There were huge boxes full of kangaroo food all over the sanctuary which were free to take from ( I literally emptied my handbag and filled it with food) and then you could just slowly walk over to a kangaroo, crouch down and let it feed right out of your hand. Sam virtually had to drag me out after, I just wanted to keep doing it! The babies were absolutely gorgeous, climbing in and out of their mum’s pouches, with such fluffy fur and fluttery eyelashes. We also saw a male kangaroo standing like a bouncer here which gave us a laugh (see below)

It was here we saw our first Tasmanian devil. Actually much cuter in the flesh and pretty small. We saw loooads of other animals here- a baby wombat, koalas, eastern quolls and bettongs…. to name a few!

MONA- this was one of our favourite things in Hobart. A huge, immersive art experience/gallery mostly underground. Firstly, the building is absolutely amazing, on an island of its own and the architecture will blow your mind. We felt as if we’d been in a weird dreamworld for a few hours when we came out. Films, paintings, sculptures, experiences, sounds, experiments…anything and everything goes at MONA. I feel like it’s extremely hard to describe, but just trust me on this one, don’t miss out. I’ll add some of our photos down below, but I don’t want to add too much and ruin the surprise!

TOP eats:

We went to NoHo (North Hobart) for 2 of the nights for dinner and I would say that’s the main foodie area.

Bar Wa Izakaya- Japanese cuisine. Double yum. We had the tastiest dumplings and crunchy, fresh Asian salad there and the ceiling was covered in fairy lights with sake bottles hanging down, a really cool spot.

Metropolitan Pizza- Sam found this pretty new restaurant modelled on the London underground with vintage train chairs and tables. The menu was set up like a metro map and we had the yummiest pizzas. Sam had one that genuinely tasted like a double cheese burger. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it- a pure genius creation.

Retro Cafe- in Salamanca Place, a really sweet, popular cafe. Such friendly staff and lovely fresh bagels.

Picnic Cafe- tasty breaky, we had avo toasties and great coffee.

Scallop Pie- we shared one of these (wish we’d got our own) for lunch, bought from a little floating cafe in the harbour. Native to Tasmania and I couldn’t recommend them more. Fresh golden puff pastry full to the brim with curried scallops- wow. *Mouth is watering as I write this*

Hobart truly is a special place and totally different from mainland Australia. It was gorgeously unspoilt and peaceful, with super friendly people and some brilliant activities. We tried to cram as much in as we could, but we will definitely travel around it for longer next time! I hope this gives you a little glimpse into “Tassie”….thanks for reading. Xx

Terry the Toyota

A side street near Salamanca Place

Sam posing with Kelly’s Steps

The kangaroo ‘bouncer’….. geddit

Near the top of Mount Wellington- windy!!!

Google what this viewing platform is meant to look like! The top of Mount Wellington


This exhibit was like a ‘word waterfall’ – computer generated based on the most Googled words. Really amazing!

The ‘fat car’

This was a room of screens with people all singing Madonna songs on a loop a Capella! We stayed in here for ages.

The Great Ocean Road and beyond….

Adelaide to Melbourne. What a journey.

Here’s our rundown of The Great Ocean Road and beyond: where to stop, where to eat, what to see. We loved every minute and I wanted to share our recommendations along the way!

* Adelaide in 48 hours *

We didn’t have a huge amount of time here, but what we saw of Adelaide, we loved. First of all, we discovered the yummiest burger place (Betty’s)… they have a few scattered around Australia and considering the burger fiends that we are, I’m surprised we didn’t find it sooner. They also have the most amazing thing called a ‘concrete’ which is basically frozen custard loaded with delicious toppings like cookie butter or marshmallow sauce. (Don’t go there looking for a light bite). We also ignited our love for Botanical Gardens here. It was so beautiful. I love how you can find a peaceful haven of greenery and colour in the middle of a city. Gorgeously kept and so many lovely areas, such as the Dahlia flower garden- so pretty. The sunset over the pier at Glenelg Beach was amazing on the first night. It was a little bit cloudy, so that made for the most beautiful orangey sky. We watched it from The Mosley Beach Club on beanbags, which I would definitely recommend. Also, really yummy jalapeño poppers at Beach Burrito on Jetty Street- it had a gorgeous mural on the outside wall too, which I loved.

Barossa Valley Wine Tasting….. On our second full day in Adelaide, we went on a wine tasting tour. We had the best day. We definitely took the average age down a few years, let me just say that.. but we had so much fun. 3 different tastings. Plus lunch and cheese. Anyone who knows me knows I luuurve cheese. I was potentially more excited by that than the wine. I’m also not really a red girl, but I honestly liked 90% of the wines I would say. The people were just so lovely everywhere we stopped, and each place was different. Our first stop was Tearo Estate, a family run winery. They gave us little wine postcards with the story behind each wine on them… I liked that touch. Our second was the Lambert Estate, where we also had a really tasty, fresh lunch. We found the most gorgeous rosé called ‘First Kiss’. Lastly, we went to Pindarie Estate, where they gave us aaall the cheese. Hello!! It had such a perfect, rustic setting, with great views across the valley and huge hay bales looking over the fields of vines.

From Adelaide after breaky at Luigi’s (10/10 would recommend the sharey board) we started our journey towards Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road in Hattie the Hyundai. We made a few stops along the way…

*1st stop- Victor Harbour*

A sweet town, with some cool surfy shops and cafes, not loads to see but perfect for a pit stop. We walked across to Granite Island and the crashing waves were completely mesmerising. We stood there for ages just watching them break over the rocks. I had my first bath in over a month here too… so for that, it holds a special place in my heart.

*2nd stop- Robe*

We didn’t have super high hopes for Robe, as we didn’t know much about it, but it was so charming! We had a little cottage, which I have to say, looked a little bit scary on the pictures…kind of ‘set of a horror film’ vibes…. but it was actually the sweetest thing. We felt like we had a little house there and we really settled in. The 2nd bedroom did have a creepy doll in it though… I did SO MUCH WASHING HERE. Just needed to note that. I was so happy. We turned the cottage into Widow Twankey’s Wash Shop, literally clothes, knickers, towels hanging from everything. We hung most of our stuff outside and found it all scattered across the garden in the morning, so we had to do a scavenger hunt for stray socks….. that was fun! Anyway, I’ve digressed ( no one wants to know about my washing Romy), it was a lovely beachy town with gorgeous blue water. I found my new favourite shop, Holiday- look at their dreamy Instagram. Aaaall the linen, sandals and dangly earrings. Sam tried to teach me chess here too, at the local ice cream shop (standard) and I managed to drop my entire cone onto the chess board (standard Romy). We loved it here.

*3rd stop- Port Fairy*

Someone in a shop in Robe told me that most people prefer Port Fairy to Robe. I think we preferred the town in Robe more, but Port Fairy’s beach and surroundings were prettier. A highlight was the walk over to Griffith Island. The most beautiful lighthouse, wallabies, unspoilt beaches and sparkling water. We had a great breaky here too, someone on Trip Advisor said it was the ‘best breakfast’ they had ever had- bold statement- at Bank St. & Co. I have to say, it was delicious. I had a fresh sourdough bruschetta with poachies, mozzarella, avo and chopped toms. Nothing wild, but it was really tasty. Sam had sweet potato avo toast.

After leaving Port Fairy, we joined the Great Ocean Road. It started with only a few flashes of ocean, then all of a sudden it was there in full force… amazing cliffs and wild waves. Luckily, we left in enough time to do all of the little stop offs, which I would definitely recommend. Bay of Islands, London Bridge, The Arch and The Grotto were some of our favourites. Once we arrived in Port Campbell, we made our way to the heliport for a tour of the 12 Apostles. We only booked a short trip, but when we arrived they upgraded us to a 25 minute tour with all the sights included! An incredible way to see the 12 Apostles… we felt very lucky. For any nervy flyers, it was much smoother than a tiny plane. I was worried beforehand but actually it was really smooth. After the flight, we thought we’d get some food in Port Campbell and decided to get some crispy prawns and scallops to share at a food shack…they gave us 1 prawn and 1 scallop. Oh we laughed… I mean I think you probably had to be there, but considering the expense, we thought there would be at least 5 of each to share… but no. Just 1. Trying to make 1 prawn and 1 scallop feed the two of you is a struggle, let me tell you. Turns out we had to specify that we wanted more than 1….

After that little giggle (hate the word giggle), we drove to Apollo Bay, for our final stop before Melbourne.

*4th stop- Apollo Bay*

So. The most gorgeous room. There was a big bath in the middle, which I completely relished. But in terms of much to see… nada. We strolled out in the evening as we were starving after the 1 prawn 1 scallop saga and there was honestly nowhere to eat. We ended up sharing a takeaway pizza and relaxing in the room with ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ (watch it on Netflix- so funny).

I feel like I’ve maybe done Apollo Bay a disservice, but we realised that Lorne nearby had a lovely surfy, beachy feel with loads of little shops and cafes and we probably could have stayed there instead, but considering Apollo Bay was really just the gateway to the 12 Apostles for us, it was perfect. The next morning it did give us a pretty tasty breaky- we can’t remember the name… but we had asparagus, poachies and a great coffee and it was lovely.

We arrived in Melbourne a day early and we were staying with Sam’s cousin and his girlfriend…. we had the most amazing time. Melbourne- what a city. We absolutely loved it. I feel like I can’t write out absolutely everything we did and saw, because it will take this post from being long to snore-worthy… so I will try to keep it as brief as possible.

*Marvellous Melbourne*


Yomg- totally filthy, delicious burgers…. complete with cheese injectors (yes you heard me correctly)- cheese you inject into your burger. Ps. We don’t just eat burgers.

Tommy Ruffs- amazing soft shell crab. Buzzy atmosphere, great superfood salads too. ( Am I redeeming myself for the cheese injector yet?)

Bodega Underground- delish, fresh and unusual Mexican, open really late. Amazing guac.

Main Street- super tasty breaky. We both had avocado eggs benedict and it was totally veggie and yummy.

Tulip- great iced coffee.

Hawker Hall- on Chapel Street. The best Asian food. Mmmmm… makes my mouth water now thinking of those mushroom and garlic dumplings…. Also amazing sangria.

All of the Laneways in Melbourne have amazing little restaurants and tiny cafes, definitely would recommend.


Prahran- great foodie market, some great cafes and boutique shops. We met up with some friends there and we went to a really cool cafe called Hobba.

Parkdale- Sam’s cousin lives near there, so we went to the high street a few times. A really lovely area, some cool bars and unique spots to eat.

Southbank- this is in the city and we loved it. So pretty, yet in the middle of a bustling city. Right by the water, lots of restaurants and the coolest floating bar called Arbory.

Federation Square- when we were there, there was a Footlocker ‘House of Hoops’ basketball pop-up there, which we watched for a while… basically people shooting hoops to win trainers. It had a great atmosphere. Also, the area was so clean and modern, we loved it.

Brighton Beach- it has beach huts that are inspired by Brighton in the UK. I loved it! There were so many pretty designs and we kept walking along saying… ‘I’d have that one….actually that one….actually that one!’

Chapel Street- THE street to eat and drink on, famous for its foodie spots and groovy bars (…did I just say groovy?) That was where Hawker Hall was.

The Laneways- these are scattered all over the city, but the main one is probably Hosier Street. Really busy, packed with tourists, but definitely worth a look, famous for its street art.

St Kilda- great buzzy area for drinks. We watched the most beautiful pink sunset and I had a great pornstar martini at Captain Baxter.


The State Library of Victoria- okay book wormy me needed to mention this… it was complete heaven for me. So beautiful, so peaceful and sooo many books.

The Royal Botanical Gardens- another gorgeous garden, another tranquil break from the busy city. Definitely would recommend a stroll round here.

Cricket! – we went to see the Semi Final and Final of the Big Bash while we were in Melbourne and it was sooo much fun at the Marvel Stadium.

Clementine’s- this little gift shop was my fave. Not just because my middle name is Clementine.

The Peninsula- just an hour from Melbourne was the beautiful peninsula. There are loads of stop offs, but our faves were Arthur’s Seat lookout and Sorrento Back Beach- it had the clearest water with a turquoisey tinge and a natural ‘swimming pool’. Also had a great lobster roll in Sorrento at ‘The Boss’s Daughter’.

We absolutely loved Melbourne, its edgy, arty vibe and beautiful sights and were so grateful to Sam’s family for having us for such an amazing stay.

If you’re still here after this looong post, you deserve a gold star and a life supply of cheese injectors (….not sure that would be wise). Well done and thank you so much for reading, I genuinely appreciate it. xx

A Journey into The Outback

Camping. Grasshoppers in the loo. Sunsets. Sunrise hikes. Sheer drops. Incredible views. Crazy heat. Warm water bottles. Dusty boots. Fly nets. Cave paintings. Red sand. Wallabies. Baking sun. New friends. Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) – Uluru (Ayers Rock) – King’s Canyon.

Tips for The Outback from a completely unknowledgeable Brit:

– BUY A FLY NET- we thought we could manage without them. How wrong we were. Despite the fact that our fly nets were about 4 sizes too big, they were complete life savers. We discovered that flies like to try to climb into your eyeballs, nostrils, ears….soul. Fly nets were essential.

– FLIP FLOPS- wear them in the shower. Camping toilets aren’t always the nicest & there’s just something about wearing shoes in the shower that makes me feel cleaner.

– TAKE THE BARE MINIMUM- we were staying at the same hotel before and after our trip so we left our main bags there and just took small rucksacks, it made everything more manageable. And after a while you won’t even care what you’re wearing- especially in 45 degree heat.

– DON’T WEAR GYM LEGGINGS TO HIKE IN- 45 degree heat.. let me just repeat that. 45 degree heat. Thick black leggings- bad idea.

– DO THE HARD HIKES- the view is aaaaalways worth it. Set off early! Our group got up at 4am every day and it meant the heat wasn’t so bad for most of the hike.

– EMBRACE IT – we were introduced to an Aboriginal woman called Bessie, who with the help of a translator, shared her culture and traditions with us and explained why each area we visited was so sacred to Aboriginal people. Although our cultures were totally different and in normal life, we would have never met her, listening to Bessie talk was truly one of the most special parts of our whole trip so far.

– SUNRISE – don’t miss them.

– COFFEE- massively helps the above tip.

– SOAK IT UP- rather than just snap the picture and move on, really try to SEE and absorb the amaaazing views and natural spectacles. It is so easy to just race through everything and look at your pictures after, but we really tried to take the pictures and then really pause and take it all in.


– Sunset at Ayers Rock- although it was a little bit cloudy when we went, our group leader set up a table with snacks & Prosecco looking straight at the sunset and we sat there for a while watching Ayers Rock change colour- really beautiful and special.

– Sunrise at Ayers Rock- even better. We got up early and did the base walk and managed to get a great view of the sunrise. The rock pretty much changed colour every 5 minutes and the sky was just the most amazing orangey pink colour. Spectacular.

– Exploring the caves at Ayers Rock- ancient Aboriginal cave paintings are scattered around the caves, showing pictures, symbols and rituals. They all have different meanings and have huge significance for Aboriginal people.

– King’s Canyon- probably my favourite hike. A pretty hard hike at times, the view was the reward. Also, the route up was amazing, passing through so many cool spots, little lakes, bridges, gorges..

– Seeing a rare Black-Footed Rock Wallaby at King’s Canyon – they’re endangered and apparently a pretty rare sight!

– Our time with Bessie. I actually felt so honoured to share that time with her, I won’t ever forget it.

– The Olgas – they are huge!!!!!

– Evenings chatting over dinner at the campsite.. meeting people we would never have met in our daily lives.

Here’s a few of our pictures from our adventure in The Outback! Thanks for reading xx

This was taken by Pierre from my camping group!

Our Western Wander

When planning our trip, we knew one thing. We wanted to explore the West of Australia as we didn’t know a great deal about it and people mostly talk about the East. Well, how we loved the West and all it had to offer. After our brilliant stay in Perth, we picked up Tina the Toyota (as mentioned in my previous post) and set off on our 8 day West coast road trip.

Stop 1- Cervantes

Has anyone seen The Sinner? Our motel looked just like the one from the first episode of Season 2… After we got over this minor detail, we set off to firstly find lunch (crucial) at the Lobster Shack- definitely worth a visit. After that we headed to the Pinnacles- what Cervantes is famous for. Pretty cool and we even had our first emu sighting!


Eat in Jurien Bay nearby at night. Although there’s not much there, it has a few more options than Cervantes.

After we left Cervantes, we made a pit stop at Hangover Bay before driving to Kalbarri for 2 nights. That was 100% worth it. Potentially the bluest sea I have ever clapped eyes on, the whitest sand… and a pretty much deserted beach. We relaxed there for a while and soaked up the peace before heading further north. Couldn’t recommend this stop enough. Definitely would have spent longer there if we had had time.

Stop 2- Kalbarri

Such a sweet little town! We had 2 nights here and spent Australia Day here. It was also the place where we saw at least 25 kangaroos in the same place at once, during sunset where the sky was pink! Definitely sounds too good to be true… but it did happen I promise! We also had a delicious meal there at ‘Upstairs Restaurant’ (100 points if you can guess the location). The food was tapas style and we had the most delicious local prawn sliders… so good we ordered another portion. I also managed to knock over my full gin & tonic there- typical me! We explored the different surrounding beaches, from Chinaman’s to Jake’s and they were fab. Despite this, the wind was absolutely ridiculous. I have honestly never been somewhere so windy – I thought my sunbed was going to literally take off into the air and fly to the next town. On Australia Day, there was the sweetest little market in the town & in the evening we shared a pizza and sat on a hill overlooking the fireworks- we could have been the only two people there, it felt really special.

The main attraction in Kalbarri is the National Park, where Nature’s Window is. We went there the morning of Australia Day and did a few mini hikes to different lookout spots. Nature’s Window was super beautiful. The flies were releeeentless here though- Sam, usually the most laidback person in the world was waving his hands around as if he was doing a fast-forwarded, frantic ‘Tragedy’ routine. Another wonderful sight are the Pink Lakes near Port Gregory- so bright, beautiful and vast…. and smelly. Despite this, they really were amazing and our cameras just couldn’t pick up the colour, just take our word for it… they’re gorgeous.

Key spots:

Kalbarri National Park- Nature’s Window, Z-Bend

Pink Lakes

Jake’s Bay

The pelican feeding at Chinaman’s beach

Blue Holes beach

(Side note: the nectarines in the local shop were the best I’ve ever had)

Stop 3- Monkey Mia

Maybe our favourite stop on our road trip. From the moment we drove into the bay, we loved it. Walking to our room, we saw two dolphins swimming across the bay. Such a great resort, the only one in Monkey Mia and they have all types of accommodation from camping, to apartments. We had a beach view room and it was definitely worth it. The sand was like molten lava, but worth burning the soles of your feet for. We spent our two nights there in total awe of the wildlife. Monkey Mia on Shark Bay is known for the wild dolphins that swim and play in the sea really close to the shore. We virtually spent 2 days in the sea. Watching a group of 6 dolphins make their way towards you in the water just never got old. They have dolphin feeding early every morning run by volunteers, although the dolphins are wild. They only feed the mothers and only a very small amount, as they want them to stay as wild as possible. They also don’t touch them if they can help it.

The sunsets here were also incredible. We would definitely go back there, a completely unmissable destination.


If you want to be chosen to feed a dolphin- grin like a lunatic- we were told they love a grinner… so that’s exactly what I did… and was picked! Or wear something bright.

Take a snorkel!! Loads of amazing fish as well as the dolphins.

Stop 4- Carnarvon

What to say about this town….it was pretty strange to say the least. There was a pretty lake, but other than that, I would say we saw a total of 10 people. Now, we actually quite like exploring really quiet, seemingly empty places.. but this honestly felt like a ghost town. There wasn’t really anywhere we could find for dinner, so we ended up sharing a hot deli chicken in the room that night… Although we wouldn’t go here again, it was just a stop off and for that… it was ideal. One place that was worth seeing though, was Quobba, where there were some amazing blow holes. Every time the water spouted out of the holes, a little rainbow appeared in the sky!

Stop 5- Exmouth on the Ningaloo Reef

This is a contender for our favourite place. So so cool. Emus walking around the garden areas of our hotel, drinking from the fountain. Amaaazing snorkelling where you can see turtles and whale sharks ( in season). A great local brewery with the hot jalapeño dip that I promise I will only mention one more time. We met the nicest couple snorkelling at Turquoise Bay, who said they would send the photos they took with their GoPro of the turtles we all saw together – still waiting for those Ken!! We forgot Sam’s GoPro and so we just had to enjoy the turtles in real life!!!!!! Shock horror!!! Also the most beautiful colourful fish and even sea cucumbers!

We stayed at Mantarays Ningaloo Beach and had potentially the best avo toast I’ve ever eaten – for anyone that follows me on Instagram- sorry to mention it again. It had goats cheese, delicious, soft but not toooo runny poached eggs, fresh chopped tomatoes, sourdough toast and a drizzle of balsamic. Wow. I’ll just leave that there.


Make the drive to Turquoise Bay, it’s definitely worth it. Turtles!!!!!

Go to Froth Brewery to eat- fresh prawn & avo salad ( can you tell I like avocado) and of course the mother of all dips. ( Told you I wouldn’t directly mention it again)

After that, we flew back to Perth and spent another few lovely days with Sam’s family.

Top recs and tips of the West:

* Monkey Mia for the wild dolphins and epic sunsets

* Exmouth- Turquoise Bay for the turtles and beaaautiful beaches.

* Hangover Bay- great name and even greater beach.

* Raspberry maltesers- great road trip snack (if kept in the shade)

* Snorkels are a must everywhere- can’t believe I’m actually saying that as a fairly nervy sea swimmmer but they’re definitely a necessity.

* Set off early for any hikes- the sun takes no prisoners.

* The roads can be very long and very empty of both other cars and loos. Go when you get a chance!!!! And make sure you have a Spotify playlist that you and your travel buddy agree on- we have mostly different music taste, but we did agree on the Kisstory Old School Anthems playlist- bit of Nelly, bit of TLC, bit of Akon.. we’re both happy.

* Kalbarri National Park- go early because we were told it gets really busy.

* Quobba Blow Holes- bit of a drive out the way but definitely worth seeing.

* Watch out for kangaroos on the road, they literally just dart out in front of you!

* Buy a fly net- seriously.

Thanks for reading xx

The First 3 Weeks

Feb 5th – Alice Springs

I can’t quite believe we’re in Feb already. January came and went in a flash it seems… although, we were in Cornwall for NYE and that feels like months ago. Sam and I started our trip on January 15th and so far we have visited Dubai and Perth, and also done an 8 day road trip all up the Western side of Oz, up to Exmouth. We have just left for a camping trip at Uluru (Ayers Rock) for 3 days before heading to Adelaide. The neat freak in me thinks I should wait and write about the first month, rather than the first 3 weeks, but the long journey into the outback feels like a good time to write. We have had a great mix of desert, city, beach and outback so far and we have seen some amaaaazing wildlife. Also, as someone who has a bit of a sea-swimming phobia, I have conquered a fear of mine and properly swam in the sea for the first time in a very long time, and not just swam alone, but with wild dolphins and also turtles. For a while, I would just go to the beach and dip my toes in, or get in briefly and get out again, so this is a pretty big deal for me. I think it’s the unknown that frightens me, but this whole trip has been about the unknown, so I have just tried to embrace it. I would have massively missed out too if I hadn’t gone in the sea, so I feel pretty pleased that I did it.

I am going to do another post soon as a mini guide to Western Australia, not that I know half as much as some people, but just from the experience we’ve had. For this post, just wanted to document our progress and what we have loved so far.

Firstly, although Dubai is a unusual place, we loved it. It feels like a vibrant, lively and exciting city to be in. There’s also loads to do and see and we would definitely go back. We stayed with Sam’s family and we had such a great time, it really was a brilliant start to our trip. They really made sure we saw as much of Dubai as we could in the few days we had there. We did a desert safari that included quad biking, 4 wheel driving across the sand dunes and dinner at a camp with fire breathers and belly dancers. We also tried paddle boarding for the first time, and explored Dubai’s amazing malls and hotels. (I had to massively hold back in Sephora… I only bought a pair of eyelash curlers and a couple of eye masks, anyone that knows me would be very proud). Food is also a huge part of Dubai’s appeal, with some great restaurants and breaky spots.

After Dubai, we headed to Perth, again to stay with some other members of Sam’s family and wow did we love it. I’d never been to Australia before and Sam went when he was a lot younger, so it was such a breath of fresh air for both of us. I had wondered what Australia would be like for such a long time and Perth was a great place to start. With the gorgeous beaches of Scarborough and Trigg, the beautiful King’s Park that I would spend all day in and the buzzy city centre, we loved it. We actually stayed in Perth for a few days before our West Coast road trip and also for a few days when we got back before heading here. I can really see the appeal of Perth, although it could be considered isolated in some ways. As a drama and performance lover, the Perth Fringe was right up my street, and was on while we were there. I would go back to Perth just for that alone! We also went to see the Perth Glory football team play and also the Perth Scorchers cricket team too. I actually really enjoyed both- aided by vod, lime & soda. Some great beach days, bbqs and a look around the famous Fremantle jail too, we had a brilliant time and felt so welcome.

After our first visit to Perth, we picked up our car, Tina the Toyota and drove North, stopping at Cervantes, Kalbarri, Monkey Mia, Carnarvon and Exmouth on Ningaloo Reef. As I said, I’ll do another post on our best tips for a Western road trip soon. Highlights were: seeing an Emu family cross the road in front of our car, some incredible sunsets, Australia Day in Kalbarri and seeing about 25 kangaroos in one place, Hangover Bay- potentially the bluest sea I have ever seen, swimming with dolphins in Monkey Mia, feeding pelicans, the blow holes at Quobba and swimming with turtles in the Ningaloo Reef- oh and the best jalapeño dip ever… already mentioned on my Instagram, but definitely worth writing home about.

As I write this, we’re in the van with our group driving to Uluru and I probably won’t be able to post this until we fly to Adelaide, but we’re so excited to see Ayres Rock and hopefully not have too many encounters with spiders (me not Sam).

A few things we have learnt so far:

1. Aussie drivers like to give a little wave to each other on long, remote roads. Also, if you see somewhere to stop on one of those roads, do it… you never know when the next loo will appear.

2. Raspberry Maltesers are a great road trip snack.

3. Don’t eat before going 4×4 driving on the sand dunes, we didn’t and it was the best choice I ever made. #scrambledstomach

4. Kangaroos are amazing.

5. Flies are relentless.

6. The pink lakes are brighter in person than any photo I’ve seen. Our cameras just couldn’t pick up the intense colour!

7. Take a snorkel to every beach.

8. Dubai has loads of frozen yoghurt spots…one had birthday cake flavoured yog- a big yes from me.

9. Sand gets everywhere…

10. Dolphins like it if you wave at them.

Here’s some of our photos from Dubai and Perth, I’ll include the Western road trip pics in the separate blog post! Thanks for reading xx

Romy Reads 7/12/18


This year more than ever, as I mentioned in my previous Romy Reads post, reading has been a big priority. I have read some absolutely brilliant books this year and I wanted to share some of my recent reads and also my top recommendations from the whole year.

The MUST read: Educated by Tara Westover

I don’t even know where to start with this book. Without a doubt in my top two books I have read this year, potentially my number one. An incredible, eye-opening memoir from a truly inspiring woman. Although I know I shouldn’t write the blurb when it is easily Google-able, I just want to give you a bit of a flavour for it.

Tara grew up in rural Idaho to survivalist, extreme Mormons and didn’t even legally exist until the age of 9, due to her having no birth certificate. Her family did not believe in schooling or hospitals and she spent her isolated childhood working in her father’s junkyard. She lived a life of violence, ignorance, seclusion and at times, danger before deciding to educate herself. Tara ended up studying at Cambridge and Harvard, forming who she wanted to be, while still dealing with the fierce family loyalty she had instilled in her. At some points, I almost forgot the story was real life.

I feel like I’m not even scratching the surface how good this book is. She is just the most brilliant writer, brings perspective and truth to her upbringing yet still writes with such respect for her family, even though they are now estranged. If I haven’t sold it to you, just Google the book and you will see how much coverage it has had in the media. Barack Obama put it on his Summer Reading List and Bill Gates added it to his must reads of 2018, so you’d be in great company… along with little old me!

The SELF HELP read: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Haig’s incredible memoir explores his personal journey with mental health, from his darkest moments to learning to live and appreciate life again. It is a powerful, sensitive and hopeful exploration of depression and anxiety. I would recommend this to anyone, not just those who directly struggle with their mental health. It touched and affected me, while making me feel inspired at the same time. His brilliant way of writing, in easily digestible chapters, with 4 progressive sections made the (at times tough to read) words, all the more powerful. It is definitely the sort of book you could dip in and out of and also refer back to if you needed a burst of strength. This subject can be difficult to read about, but he has such a raw, insightful and important message that I think we could all really benefit from.

The SNAPSHOT IN TIME read: Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton

This was beautiful. I’m not usually drawn to romance novels… or I didn’t used to be, but I’m finding them creeping into my kindle library more and more recently. However, I do love historical fiction, which this is. Flipping between Havana during the 1950s at the time of the

Cuban Revolution and 21st Century Miami and Havana, it is a story of family roots, political unrest, love, loss and secrets. Cleeton’s writing is so cinematic, beautifully descriptive and moving. Although the story is fiction, the lives of the characters were probably the reality of many Cubans, giving me a greater understanding of a time in history I knew nothing about. Yes it’s sad in some parts, but it is also uplifting and powerful too. I really would recommend it.

I could go on and on, as currently I’m on my 31st book this year (might be bragging), but here’s the list of my top 3 fiction and top 3 non-fiction from 2018:


1. Educated by Tara Westover

2. This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

3. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig


1. Little Fires Everywhere AND Everything I Never Told You – both by Celeste Ng ( sorry I’m cheating, I couldn’t choose)

2. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

3. One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus

I’m currently reading: Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life by Katherine Ormerod

Ps. I do do other things other than read.

Pps. If you want to be my friend on Goodreads, it’s Romy Dakin.

Image from Matt Haig’s ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’

Top 5 scar covering, spot camouflaging CONCEALERS

As someone who has struggled with their skin on and off through most of my teenage and early twenties life, I have been on the hunt for the best concealers for as long as I can remember. I want as natural as possible, yet still good coverage makeup and when the day comes where I can expose my blemish free skin all the time, I will be thrilled! In the meantime, here are my top 5 concealers for covering those nasty scars and persistent spots! In no particular order… (I feel like Dermot O’Leary on the X factor)

  1. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer

This palette has 2 shades, which I usually mix to create the perfect coverage and colour. I use this product just for spots and scars, never under my eyes as it has quite a thick consistency. It is my favourite at the moment for really stubborn blemishes that need a little bit more help to stay hidden. I use it with either a small concealer brush or my fingers to create a more natural look.

2. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

I love this and have for quite a few years. It has such a gorgeous consistency, really smooth and light yet pretty good coverage and definitely buildable. It has a small spongy applicator and I find that it lasts ages. When I run out of my favourite under-eye concealer (mentioned next), I could use a small amount of this to brighten up my dark circles.

3. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer

This is quite a new one and I absolutely love it. I have never found a concealer that genuinely feels as though I don’t have any makeup on before this one. It has the lightest feel, and I wear it on its own if I want to have a ‘no makeup makeup day’. I also love the packaging, and twisty large sponge applicator. I wear this under my eyes and it never feels heavy. I also have a different shade that I use to conceal spots or scars. Despite its super light feel, it gives great, buildable coverage.

4. Bobbi Brown Instant Full Cover Concealer

I have used this for a couple of years on and off and I still think it’s great. It has a similar consistency to the Laura Mercier concealer but it is in a tube rather than palette. Pretty thick, so you only need the smallest amount, but I definitely thought it was worth a mention.

5. Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Flawless Wear Concealer

Now this is faster to use than say, but I couldn’t not mention this concealer. The queen of full coverage with the Double Wear range, Estée Lauder has nailed the formulation, with a creamy and light yet brilliant coverage concealer.

I obviously don’t use all of these at once and I prefer to wear a lighter coverage foundation and then just cover my blemishes with concealer. I would love to just embrace my skin totally as it is and I’m really trying (emphasis on the trying!!!) to be more accepting of myself…but still, I like a helping hand every now and then, so I hope this was useful!

Oh Canada!

My boyfriend Sam and I road-tripped the East side of mainland Canada and Newfoundland this summer. Other than our car breaking down and being stranded in the middle of nowhere for an entire day (reduced story on Instagram), it was wonderful. We had the most amazing time, with a real mix of city and outdoors. I just wanted to leave my tips for each place, if you’re ever thinking of exploring the beautiful country that is Canada.

We started off in Toronto on 1st August. As soon as we arrived we loved it and felt really excited by the buzzy city and atmosphere. One thing I loved in particular about Toronto was its various areas, which all felt totally different from each other, such as Kensington Market, Dundas Square and Yorkville. It was one of my favourite cities I’ve ever been to and really could imagine myself being there for a chunk of time. A few Toronto tips:

1. If you haven’t been before, buy ‘hop on hop off’ tickets. It’s a great way to get around any city and the Toronto one in particular was great and the guides had so much enthusiasm!

2. CN Tower- I loved this. It was incredible and not to state the obvious… but it is SO HIGH. I actually couldn’t believe it. If you’re a slight wimp like me, do push yourself to walk on the glass floor, it’s worth it! Don’t bother buying an overpriced cocktail at the top though, they’re tiny. One plus though, they came with little CN tower stirrers… so if, like me, you love a bit of tat, go for it.

3. Ripley’s Aquarium- you can book this as a package with the CN tower, definitely worth a visit. Amazing jellyfish and shark tanks and some very excitable sting rays!

4. Burger’s Priest- pretty decent priced burger restaurant/fast food- really tasty but the chilli cheese fries aren’t worth it. Also, don’t buy a fizzy drink can from their fridge unless you want an entire can of coke exploding all over your skirt on the first night. (I’m sure that was just me)

5. There’s always loads going on at the weekend, especially in summer it seems. To name a couple, there was a Caribbean music festival going on when we were there (unfortunately not Sam’s scene), and an amazing temporary exhibition at the National History museum with music and drinks on the top floor.

6. Pancho y Emiliano was a tiny, yummy and authentic Mexican restaurant in Kensington Market, worth the walk just for the delicious homemade guac and white sangria!

7. Casa Loma- a gothic mansion, castle style home converted into a museum. Films such as X-Men and Chicago have been shot there! It definitely had wow-factor.

8. We did a lot of eating….but another place worth a mention is Pizza Libretto, pretty pricey just for pizza, but the most delicious truffle mushroom one I’d had in a while.

We travelled to Algonquin National Park on the way to Ottawa and it was spectacularly beautiful. We unfortunately didn’t have time to kayak there, but it looked incredible. Just the most peaceful, vast space. We loved it there. Despite our lack of water sports, we made time for poutine here. If you don’t know what poutine is (what are you doing with your life), it’s cheese curds, chips and a gravy like sauce. In other words, the best food in the world. The poutine at Algonquin was our favourite of the whole trip, totally unexpected, but perfectly crispy, hot chips, melty cheese curds and the tastiest gravy. All in all, a winner.

After Ottawa, we went to Mont Tremblant National Park, which again was gorgeous. We hired a pedalo and spent the afternoon pootling around the lake. Tip: eat before you go, the sandwiches are questionable, to say the least. Mystery meat anyone? We travelled onto Montreal, a really cool, vibrant city where we stayed for 3 nights.

Tips for Ottawa:

1. There were brilliant street performers when we were there, go a bit early for dinner and enjoy the lively shows.. you won’t want to leave.

2. We went to Parliament, but not for long and we wished we’d had more time. It was so beautiful from the outside and the whole area was so clean and looked after. I would definitely recommend having a chunk of time to look around there.

3. We hardly had any time there due to our car issue, but I would definitely go back as there’s loads of other attractions- I’d recommend going for 3 nights at least.

Tips for Montreal:

1. Hike up to Mont Royal, there’s an amazing view over the city, but definitely don’t wear a skort…. Tried and tested- it’s a no from me.

2. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is FREE!

3. Crescent Street- I’m 99% sure this is the name of street we ate on every night. It was lively, bright and had such a varied selection of restaurants. We loved the (very originally named) Burger Bar and I had the Buffalo chicken mac and cheese- you have to be a spice lover though, otherwise you’ll end up taking it home in your handbag. Reaaaally hot.

4. Street food market at the pier- also a brilliant maze which we thought would be easy after glancing at the average age in the queue- we were so wrong. It was really hard! But we had such a laugh and even got a slushy at the end to continue the childhood nostalgia.

We made our way to Quebec City, one of our favourite parts of the trip. Neither of us knew that much about it before we arrived and had never known anyone that had visited. Sam said this was his favourite city and I would almost agree. It had some wicked bars and restaurants (sensing a theme here) and it was beautifully kept and historic, which still being modern and cool.

Tips for Quebec City:

1. Old town- as beautiful and charming as you could imagine. Definitely worth a visit. We felt as though we were in a European city from about the 1950s.

2. Walk along the Terrasse Dufferin, all the way to the end and climb the stairs…. Yes they will seem endless, but the view is worth it.

3. L’Atelier- amazing cocktails, epic nachos and the best tartare.

4. Visit the Citadelle- the residence of the Canadian monarch and military base. You walk through a private gate, explore the area and learn masses about Canadian military history. I know I’m not selling it, but just go, you won’t regret it.

5. I feel like a total tease recommending this, as it’s both unhelpful and frustrating. But on Grande Allée, we had the best grilled cheese sandwich of our lives. The restaurant was right at the top of the street, I can’t remember the name of it. But we shared it and it blew our minds. I’m rambling because I can’t remember anything else, but I’ll just leave that there.

6. Fireworks- Every Wednesday and Saturday in August, there are fireworks across the water between two cities. Apparently, they are absolutely amazing. We had every intention of going… but totally forgot about them once we started our hunt for dinner and then I got distracted by a dj playing Sean Paul outside our restaurant…. Next time.

We had two other night stop offs in Rimouski and Moncton, which we liked a lot more than we thought we would. I won’t go into detail, because we just happened to stop there on our route, they probably aren’t common visiting spots. One last park was Jacques-Cartier National Park, perhaps our favourite one. There was just something so special about it and I took an excessive amount of photos. There was the brightest blue, clear sky that day, so maybe that helped.

After that, we flew across from Halifax to Deer Lake in Newfoundland and spent a magical few days with amazing friends. That deserves its own post, so I will write my tips and document our Newfoundland adventures another time *everyone heaves a sigh of relief that this post is nearly over* Thank you so much for reading, after reliving our foodie (piggie) experiences, I’m off to eat a salad.

Romy Reads – 20/9/18


Anyone that knows me knows I am a complete and utter book worm. If I can steer a weeny 5 minutes of a conversation to the topic of reading and books, then I will try harder than a Brit clinging onto summer. I am obsessed. I write reviews (just for myself..), have a Goodreads account that I meticulously update and I LOVE a bookshop browse, even though I have a kindle. I find it so relaxing, getting lost in a story, learning about something I know nothing about, or being kept up at night needing to read JUST….ONE…MORE…CHAPTER. I have always read, reading anything and everything, but I made it a goal of mine this year to get through even more books, trying all sorts of different genres. I’m currently on my 24th book of the year and I thought I would share a few of my recent favourites.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This was completely wonderful, gripping, heart-breaking and fascinating. I actually read this in April when I was on holiday in Italy and read the final 40% late at night during a pasta fuelled food coma. It reduced me to tears by the end, with her beautiful way of story-telling, developing character and relationships. I won’t write the blurb, because you can search for a much more concise and appealing description than the one I’ll write, but trust me when I say, it is one of the best books I have read in a long time. With themes of rebellion, family tension, relationships, culture clashes, perfectionism, class, secrets and consuming love, it is something special. I can’t even express how much I enjoyed it, but if you love Liane Moriarty… then you most definitely will love Celeste Ng- I loved her writing even more. One more thing.. her other book, Everything I Never Told You is just as incredible.

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

I loved this. As someone who is completely fascinated by crime documentaries, this non- fiction book jumped out at me. It explores the growth and beginnings of the FBI and the crimes that were the birth of it, the Osage murders. The exploration of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma, from the discovery of valuable oil supply on their land leading them to wealth, to the targeted murders and corruption of the community, this book was brilliant. Grann manages to paint the complex and weaving picture of the families and detectives, along with the conspiracies, injustice and roots of the Osage culture in a captivating yet smooth way of writing. It exposed a crime that had long been buried in history and I think it is the perfect book for a crime doc lover.

Everything I know about Love by Dolly Alderton

This was so amazing. I originally wanted to read her memoir because I think Dolly is fab and love her podcast with Pandora Sykes, The High Low. I find her so interesting and articulate and love everything she stands for. When I first started reading the book, I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I wanted. At the beginning, she told tales of her wild youth and countless escapades with loads of different guys. I enjoyed it, but I thought the whole book was going to be her trying to convince everyone how crazy, cool and wild she is. How wrong I was. It truly told her life story, with all of its ups, downs, twists and flips… her heartbreak, experience with grief and love of her female friendships, along with a real sense of what she believes in. It is completely brilliant and it was so natural, I could almost hear her voice as I read it. It is not just your average memoir, but a thoughtful, honest, raw insight into her life, her experience with love in all its different forms and her life as a currently single but hopeless romantic. I really loved it and now I love her even more.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Wow. That’s the first word I would use to describe this book. A difficult read in terms of the topic and at times harrowing story it tells, but a complete necessity. It gave me a whole new perspective on life for a different culture and the harsh reality for some. It traces three hundred years in Ghana, through the lives and family tree of two different girls, who happen to be half sisters. Again, read the blurb, as I can’t possibly put into words the breath-taking, heart-breaking power of this story. Each chapter surrounds a different character, but they follow on from the last and all becomes interwoven as the book progresses. Gyasi’s ability to transport the reader through time, history and place is absolutely mind blowing, the sort of book that will leave you with goose bumps and a lump in your throat. At times uplifting, romantic, sorrowful and hopeful, the journey of the two inextricably linked, yet completely contrasting experiences of life through slavery in Ghana, to the jazz clubs of America is unmissable. I would say read it when you really have time to, if that makes sense. When you can really commit to the story and be absorbed by it, because it is not an easy one, but definitely worth it.

I’m currently reading: This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

If you want to follow me or be my friend on Goodreads, it’s just Romy Dakin. There you can see what I’m reading, what I think and if you really couldn’t care less… thanks for making it to the end of this post, I’ll talk about my mac & cheese recipe next… maybe.

The Tale of the Magical Growing Eyelashes

Once upon a time, there was a pair of eyes… No I don’t think this is going to work.. I’ll start again. So, over a year ago in about November 2016, I started reading reviews about an eyelash growth solution called Lilash, and as a beauty junkie who is forever trying new products, I really wanted to give it a go. I am all for big full lashes and I was desperate to grow my own natural lashes. I had been having LVL (Life, Volume and Length) treatments, which basically gave my own lashes a perm, and the results I had were amazing. It is a pretty bizarre treatment in which your eyes are closed, another eyelid is ‘built’ on top of your own (I’m really not explaining this too well…) and your lashes are almost folded up and tinted. Depending on what your natural lashes were like before, you are left with lashes that could potentially pass as falsies. Now I have naturally very dark eyelashes, but they weren’t super long on their own so LVL was the answer for me at the time.

When I was a bit younger and first started wearing mascara, I used to pick my mascara off of my eyelashes at the end of the day, which caused some of them to fall out, leaving me with bald patches and it took me a really long time to grow them back to the point they were when I was having the LVL treatments. However, I wanted to try something that would avoid me having to go and get my eyelashes done and that I could maintain myself. I saw some brilliant results and reviews from Lilash and so I thought I would go for it. I started using it in January 2017, firstly with a 3 month tube and then bought the 6 month one after- because my eyelashes were looking INSANE. I don’t want to blow my eyelashes’ trumpet…but they did. I was constantly getting compliments on my lashes and I was asked if they were fake virtually every day, all I would respond was….it’s Lilash.

You use it once a day, at any time ( I apply mine at night before I go to sleep) and apply it how you would liquid liner, just a thin line of the solution on your upper lash line. You apply it for 12 weeks consistently and let the results speak for themselves. After the 12 weeks, you have a week long break and then start again. The only thing about Lilash is that once you start, to maintain the results you have to keep applying it, and it is pretty pricey. But considering how much lash extensions and LVL treatments are and how regularly you have to go, it is completely worth it in my opinion. Also, because I have been using it for so long now, I only apply it every other night, which means the tube lasts even longer.

You would think I got commission from the amount I talk about it (please), but you can order directly from their website to be sure you have the right one, as there are many copies on the market. I must have easily told 50 people about it… and I have tried other similar products such as Revitalash and never had the same sort of outcome.  I really really would recommend it for anyone that wants to grow their own lashes rather than wear extensions, experience the wizardry of Lilash and still be able to wear mascara.

Pat yourself on the back if you have made it to the end of this post… I am aware there is more to life than eyelashes, but I just wanted to share a product that I absolutely love and try to break the record for the number of times the word ‘lashes’ is used in a blog post. 🙂

PS. In the photo I only have the tiniest bit of mascara on!!!!