The Constant Countdown

And no I’m not talking about the countdown to Christmas. Welcome to another Steph on Tour-style Deep and Meaningful. At the moment, I feel in a state of constant countdown. Counting down hours, days, weeks and months and then boom, what do you know another year has passed. I’m pretty sure the most people are guilty of this, despite the inspirational quotes about ‘living in the moment’ and ‘treat everyday like it’s your last’.

I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m constantly trying to find the joy, every little bit of joy in every bloomin’ day. I say it in my Twitter bio and everything, I’m a joy-seeking professional, but I just can’t help but wish time away.

These are my weekly feels:

Monday – the countdown to lunchtime, 12 noon aka a great time,  then the countdown till the end of the working day.

Tuesday – is it Friday yet? Um no.

Wednesday – wishing everyone and myself a very happy hump day, we’ve made it halfway and it’s all downhill from here.

Thursday – it’s Friday tomorrow, we’ve almost made it, let the weekend chat commence.

Friday – Fri-YAY, doing the Friday dance all day and all night.

Saturday – Yes yes yes! Let’s pray that it’s a sunny saturday and all’s right with the world.

Sunday – The day of rest, sleep-ins, good food and an all round great day till 3pm and the Monday fears start to creep in.

Do this four times over and a whole month passes, and then four more times and another month passes, and we’re all here like ‘how it is November already’?!

Let’s not even start to think about the passing of the months and seasons; we’re so excited for spring, then can’t wait for summer, then love the autumnal vibes, then christmas and winter coziness and then repeat times a lifetime.

What on earth do we do now? How do we get out of this cycle of the constant countdown and wishing our lives away? I think I need to do something drastic and get out of the work, eat, sleep routine. Let’s see how 2018 pans out….

How do you feel about the day to day, and how are you stopping counting down the days?

Planting Seeds for the Future

We’re hurtling towards the end of the year, and I think that’s always this time of year that we start to take stock of what we’ve completed and achieved this year, how our goals and plans panned out. It’s also time to start planning for the future, and to take to look towards next year, 2018 and the years beyond, because you know what? The future is tomorrow and we never know what’s going to happen. Hashtag deep.

I’m constantly thinking about the future, where I want to be; what country will I live in, where do I see my career going, are there children in the future, when will I retire, what’s on my bucket-list, how do I make sure that I tick everything off, how am I going to manage financially? It’s all very grown up and serious, but I know that I’ll regret not being organised as a whipper-snapper of a youngster.

“In a year from now you’ll wish you started today”

There’s three kinda categories that I’m putting my effort and attention into; Money, Skills & Self Improvement. I feel that if I make gains in these categories, I’m going to put myself in a good stead for both the short and longer term future. (Feelin’ super grown up right now with this post).

Money

*Insert all the catchy money phrases here* I’m just gonna go for ‘Money Matters’ because YEAH it does. Yeah money might not be everything, but you’ve gotta have it so you can do what you want with life.

Savings

I’ve always been a saver, and I’m pretty strict with myself to ensure that I don’t dip into them and I let them grow. I’m not saving for anything in general right now, I guess just for a ‘rainy day’ but I’m okay with that. I’ll keep continuing to save a percentage of my wage every payday, I’m in a great habit and very thankful that my parents made me a saver and not a spender. However, right now, my savings are currently just sat in a general savings account, and aren’t working so hard for me, which brings me onto my next point.

Investments

I want to be savvy with my money. Right now, I can’t really afford to invest in property (Auckland housing market, need I say more?) so I’m currently investigating other ways to invest my money for the future. I’m taking my time in this, and doing heaps of research as investments can mean a whole-lotta risk. I’ve worked really damn hard for this money, so I want it to be intelligently invested in a way that works for me.

New Skills

For me, planting seeds for the future also means making sure that my skills are relevant and up to date. I love learning and I really miss the formal learning environments, ahh what’s I’d do to go back to Uni, live was v. simple then.

Photography

If you read this wee slice of the internet regularly, you’ll know that I have recently started a photography course at night school. It’s only a 6 week course and we’re half way through but I feel like I’ve already learn so so much about how to use my DSLR and how to shoot in manual to get the shots I want.

Practice for sure make perfect, but I feel that now I’ve got the theory and foundations in place I can keep trying and improving. Maybe by this time next year my blog will be filled with the best photography ever…. Or at least I’ll have beautiful photos to look back and remember the good times, they’ll be an improvement than those shot on my iPhone at least (I hope!)

Blogging

I’m really trying to get back into blogging and writing, I’ve written before about how I’d love to write a book, and how I find writing an excellent form of therapy, so yeah. I think it’s good to spend time with words.

My favourite part of blogging is content creation and planning, I love thinking up new post ideas and I have a book full of ideas, but I just need to make time in my day to write and upload. Plus, if I’ve taken heaps of beautiful photos, it’ll be a match made in heaven.

Reading Books

You may have heard on ye olde Twitter that I’ve been on a mission to read 50 books in 2017. I’ve made some pretty impressive progress and doubled the number of books I read last year and we’ve still got a few months to go. I’ve read a whole variety of books and I feel like I’ve learnt so much about random things so far, so I want to continue to do this.

Self Improvement

Personally, I think self improvement, upskilling, self loving and investment is some of the best stuff you can do for yourself. If you aren’t into skill building and you find that money burns a whole in your pocket and you’ve just gotta spend spend spend, then hopefully you are onto the self-improvement.

Yoga

I know that yoga is really good for both my mental and physical health. I’ve found an amazing space with a teacher that I love, and I’ve been going every Tuesday morning since May. I can feel the improvements in my strength, stability and headspace and I love going. I find it a really self-indulgent time. I think in 2018 I’ll set myself some focused yoga goals to up my game.

Fitness

I’m back into the gym, and I’m already feeling the benefits. I’m sleeping better, I have better concentration levels and I’m generally just feeling more myself. It’s crazy how much of a bad cycle you can get into when you are tired and you don’t exercise, and then once you exercise you get more energy. It’s super simple really, eat and move and you’ll do well.

Food

At the moment, I’m eating less and less meat whilst trying to eat more protein. I’m 100% a more conscious eater and I really want to continue on this path I’m on. I’m not saying that I’m going to become 100% vegan anytime soon, but I think a reduction in meat, and more veggies are going to be a winner.

Networking

I think it’s right that this falls into self-improvement category, but networking and expanding my circle is something that may be last on the list, but it’s certainly not least. I want to meet more people in Auckland and beyond and hear about what’s going on in the world, collaborate, come up with new ideas and big plans.

Planting plants!

And obvs, I had to mentioned my legendary ‘Steph on tour’ mint plant, and my strawberry patch that I’m trying very hard to keep them alive and kicking for the summer. So far, so good!

I’m hoping that I can nurture the little seeds I’m planting now and keep the good times rolling.

Welcome to November, it’s officially countdown to the best time of the year, Christmas and sunny summertime. Yep, that makes very little sense having ‘Christmas’ and ‘Summer’ in the same sentence, but I’ve learnt to embrace it. This year marks my third Christmas and summer in New Zealand, and this year I’ll be throwing myself into all the kiwi traditions; but mostly, i’ll be trying not to get burnt.

I did write this post in October, but whoops, a week has passed and it hasn’t yet been published, but here we go, let’s do this!

I actually loved October, and I have heaps of highlights and joyful moments:

  • Finishing my photography course
  • Sunday funday having raw cookie dough at Moustache Milk & Cookies
  • Winning Mini Golf!!
  • Birthday celebrations for Dani
  • Smoothie Bowls at Bowl and Arrow, Parnell
  • The first of the spring sunshine
  • Work BBQ Lunch – with some of the best burgers I’ve ever had
  • A weekend away in Gisborne
  • Hitting gizzys sweet beaches and trail walks
  • $1.50 Avocados at Gisborne farmers market
  • Making friends with some new baby lambs
  • My car passing it’s WOF (or MOT to my british pals) first time
  • Eating the first strawberries from my strawberry patch
  • Purchasing super fancy new shoes
  • Hanging out with the NZ Blogger gals
  • Matcha Green Tea Lattes
  • Book shopping and increasing my ‘to read’ pile
  • A new desk plant
  • Feeling the results of my new exercise regime
  • Officially reading 30 books so far this year
  • Heading to the cinema to see The Kingsman
  • Long labour weekend filled with baking and time at home
  • Buying myself some beautiful flowers, just because
  • Getting back into my social life and making more plans
  • Adding the careers section back into my blog
  • Reading ‘Chapter One’ by Daniel Fynn of Thankyou
  • Facetime catch ups with so many of my favourite friends from home


Pure excitement at my first berries!


Matcha Green Tea Latte whilst hanging out with the NZ Bloggers Brunch Gals


String of Pearls, aka my new desk plant


My first strawbs may be kinda fugly, but I grew them myself!


Our favourite spot in Gisborne.


$1.50 for an avocado aka 75p, this is why just can’t move home.


An English rose amongst the flowers


Oh hey there Gizzy!


Making friends with this beautiful horse!


Having all the fun at the beach.


Bowl and Arrow, Parnell is highly recommended by me!

Moustache Milk & Cookies for cookie dough


A regular latte, a green tea latte, and a charcoal latte at Crossroads Cafe Milford.


Just taking some snaps in Takapuna.


Work BBQ with big dirty burgers!


Kitten being the No.1 model.


Love this snap from my photography course, it’s of the Auckland Skyline, of course.

How fun did all that look? I love writing this monthly round ups. How on earth is November going to match that one?

Aims for November

  • Keep taking photos, especially now my photography class has finished
  • Get back into writing
  • Post a blog once a week
  • Be super organised and get some Christmas Shopping done early
  • Keep my Strawberry patch alive (month three, we got this!)
  • Get back into Tuesday night flight class now photography is done

Coming up in November

  • Long weekend on Waiheke Island
  • Bonfire Night
  • The two year anniversary of my arrival in New Zealand
  • Going Jetskiing
  • Seeing Lorde in her hometown of Auckland
  • The weather starting to heat up
  • The christmas countdown and all sort of festivities!

What do you have planned for November? Let me know what’s coming up!

Making friends as an adult, and the NZ Bloggers Brunch

It’s no big secret, it’s really hard making friends as an adult. Especially when you move to a new city, and even harder when you move to a new county (enter Steph Coulton!) I kinda made it hard for myself.

I’ve been living in Auckland now since June 2016, and I’ve found it really hard to make new friends, yes I’ve probably not done all the things that everyone would tell you to do, joining clubs and teams, putting yourself out there etc. I mean, it’s not that I’ve been hanging out by myself all day everyday. I’ve made a lovely bunch of buddies at work, I’ve been going to the same gym, regularly headed to a yoga class, done a pottery course, a photography course, got flatmate buddies and a couple of extra friends through friends.

I do have to say, it will be so so hard to ever replace my super amazing friends back home I have the best gal pals that I love forever and they have been the best people to grow up with. I’ll be forever thankful for them all and there’s nothing I love more than catching up with them. But anyway, back to the topic, it’s hard to make new friends as an adult…. I think it’s mainly because everyone already has their own group of friends, or maybe multiple groups of friends.

A couple of weekends ago, I went out for Brunch with some of the ladies from the NZ Bloggers Club. I’ve been following a few of the lovely ladies since I moved to New Zealand and started blogging, but especially since I moved to Auckland. And it was so nice to chat about life, blogging, content, photography, production, our interests, goals and ambitions. I had the best time meeting so many new people.

The event was organised by hostess with the mostess, Lena from ‘Lena Talks Beauty‘ and she did an amazing job at planning and publicising the event and picked an amazing venue. We had a banquet style brunch at the fantastic Rosebank Coffee & Kitchen in Avondale. There were I believe 12 of us with bloggers who wrote about beauty, lifestyle, cooking, food and parenting. So interesting to hear what everyone does in their professional life, and blog wise.

The food was really amazing, we had three courses which kicked off with crispy potato skins, followed by some very fancy and well plated French toast and the finally was maybe one of the best eggs benedict I’ve had. So so yummy! It was fun sharing everything with everyone and meant that we could all satisfy both those sweet and savory cravings.

I should also mention, and say a lovely thank you to some very generous brands that provided items for some gift bags, these were the teams at Redken, Biolage by Matrix, and Neutrogena. It was such a nice touch and a lovely surprise that we received these. Massive round of applause for Lena!

I’m really looking forward to the next monthly bloggers bunch, and it will be in my diary as an excellent social event going forward. I think it’s going to be an awesome way to make friends, and I’d highly recommend looking for a blogging gang in your area so that you can chat flatlays, the right photography conditions, editing and plan to take over the world.

Oh hello there October, you’ve come around super quick haven’t you. It’s all downhill from here and before we know it we’ll be drinking in the new year, 2018 (which marks 10 years since I left high school, but we won’t go into that right now).

September has been pretty sweet month for Steph on Tour. This month, I’ve spent lots of time investing in myself, which included heaps of gymming, yoga, healthy eating, reading, photography practicing, early nights and pampering. Dreamy dreamy times.

Here’s my monthly list of the bestest bits

  • An epic neck and neck game of Mini Golf (Featuring an epic hole in one from moi!)
  • Trying the legendary Muzza’s Pies
  • Day tripping to Shakespear Regional Park
  • Organising some treats at work for the team
  • Reading some lovely books
  • Cocktails at Mexican Cafe
  • Going out for the most amazing dinner at Depot
  • Seeing Matilda the Musical
  • Having loads of fresh flowers in the house
  • Starting a photography course
  • Getting new glasses
  • Getting back into a serious gym routine
  • Making progress & feeling good in Yoga
  • Satya on K’Rd for dinner
  • Attending NZ Blogger’s Brunch Club at Rosebank Coffee & Kitchen (more on that soon!)
  • Getting hair highlights
  • Receiving packages filled with British chocolate and harry potter goodies from my sister

And here’s a few snaps:


(Beautiful flowers for me!)


(More fresh flowers, and a wee little Steph on Tour name card from the NZ Bloggers Brunch Club)


(Probably the best card ever!!)


(Dani nailing the mini golf, and whooping my ass, again!)


(Muzza’s Steak Pie)


(Shakespear Regional Park)


(Adventuring with my favourite one! Featuring my new snapchat style sunglasses!)


(Office cupcakes, if you know, you know #lazerwolves)


(Matilda was amazing, and this was just the set!!)


(When I feel most like myself, with a head of foils!)


(The best kind of post!)

Aims for October:

  • Keep hitting the gym
  • Practice photography for my course on the fancy camera
  • Keep my strawberry patch alive (for the 2nd month!)
  • Get some more beach walks in
  • Take more casual and candid photos

Coming up in October:

  • Trip to Gisborne for the AMP Show
  • Labour Day – A long weekend
  • Team night out
  • Dani’s Birthday fun

Here’s to another good one!