Escape to: Siem Reap

Thoughts, Travel

I will be travelling again soon (YAYYYYYY!) and this time to Europe. Before I go, I thought I’d finally share my way too overdue story on Siem Reap, Cambodia. This was my very very first time to travel completely solo (I’ve flown solo a few times before…), and to be honest I LOVED IT.

The first thing that I noticed about Siem Reap is how similar it is to Philippines. Except I think it’s definitely a lot hotter, and the soil is red. I was not expecting that. Also, in Siem Reap (and I think the rest of Cambodia), they use USD and don’t have coins. If you get a change that needs is lower than a dollar, it gets converted into riel. Weird. I know.

I was lucky enough to be there during their New Year, which lasts for a few days – and it was chaotic. In a good way, don’t worry. The Cambodians like to celebrate their New Year water festival style. If you were at Pub Street during one of the nights, there are pools of people (pun fully intended), carrying water guns. There were A LOT of pick up trucks loaded with a drum, which I assumed to be filled with water and people at the back – all firing at will. I felt like it must’ve been the zombie apocalypse. Minus the zombies. If you stayed on the sidewalk though, you won’t get soaked – it’s only on the road that the water chaos happens.

The best thing that I saw was Phare, a mini circus company that gathers disadvantaged youth and former street children and educates them in the arts – theatre, dance, and music. The profits from the shows goes to help and support these disadvantaged youth and street children. I love knowing that there is hope for these kids, regardless of their past circumstances. I’m pretty sure they run shows all year round, so if you’re ever in Siem Reap, please please check them out and show your support.

Things to do

Other than the obvious, which is temple hopping and Pub Street, my non-touristy activities included: Pottery Class + Quad Bike (I also checked out a couple of museums which names I can’t remember).

When you’re in Siem Reap, enjoy the cheap noodles, cheap roti pancakes, and cheap foot massages ($1 USD for a half hour foot massage, yes please.) I was spending $10 USD ($15 NZD) a day and that was me eating for two, but probably three. I was also having dessert for appetiser, and then dessert again for dessert.

I had one blank day in my itinerary, so what do I do with it? I checked out a cafe called Temple Coffee & Bakery. Apparently, you can take the Aucklander out of Auckland, but you can’t take Auckland out of the Aucklander. I practically stayed there for the whole day because they have beds instead of seats. Yes. Beds. Instead of seats.

Where to stay

I stayed at this hotel that I found through Airbnb and I highly recommend it for so many good reasons. You get way more than you paid for. It’s a 15-min tuktuk ride from the city centre, but I didn’t mind it at all. It’s nice to be able to go to a little haven (with a swimming pool!) after roaming around temples and night markets on a hot day. The hotel owner is always happy to help you – especially with tuktuk rides and general getting around Siem Reap. When I went temple hopping, he organized my tuktuk ride. And my tuktuk driver had a chilly bin filled with water bottles and cold face cloths. Amazing, I know. Okay… I did get lost because I couldn’t find my tuktuk driver. I’d completely forgotten what he looked like! Oops…

I hope I get a chance to visit Cambodia again. Honestly, I absolutely loved travelling solo. I’m sure travelling with someone will have resulted in better Instagram worthy photos and all that (what. a. millennial.), but I can’t wait to do it all over again in October. This time, for six weeks. Around Europe.

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Light & fluffy pancakes

Design, Recipes

I stole this recipe from Little and Friday’s cookbook, Every Meal (available for purchase here). I honestly love that cookbook, because of the basics recipe section at the end of the book. If you know me, then you will know that I grew up watching My Kitchen Rules and Masterchef (both the Australian series), and that has a lot of influence on me.

Anyways, I’m sharing this illustrated pancake recipe, because… who doesn’t love pancakes on a weekend, right?

Method:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar first (always).
  2. Add in your wet ingredients, except for the egg whites.
  3. In a seperate bowl, sift the dry ingredients before folding* into the wet ingredients.
  4. In yet another seperate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold in the egg whites with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Cook at medium heat, top with whatever your heart desires that day. You do you, boo.
*to fold something into an ingredient means to use a spatula, not a whisk, not an electric mixer. See? Told you Masterchef has its influence on me.

An open letter for the anxious

Thoughts

I know how it feels.

Your lungs are heavy and filled with water.
You’re suffocating. But you’re not.

You’re crying out for help, but no-one can hear you.
Because you’re not.

You’re screaming, but you’ve also lost your voice.

The room feels smaller, the walls are closing in.
But it’s not.

You break down.
And you don’t know why.

It’s a battlefield – one that no-one really notices. After all, who knows better about the monsters inside your head than yourself?

I don’t know why or how you are battling anxiety – maybe you had your life planned out, and you thought you’d be successful at 23. But you’re not. Or maybe you thought you’d be married by 24. But you’re not. Or maybe you thought you would be a mother at 27. But you’re not.

And I know you’ve heard this a thousand times, but you need to hear it again and again, until it sinks in… It’s okay. It’s okay to not have everything figured out. And it’s going to be okay.

I want you to dismantle your preconceived notion of how your life should play out. Take one day at a time, one minute at a time and just breathe. Breathe, because this is just a season. Breathe, because seasons come and go. Breathe, because you don’t know the wonder that tomorrow (or today) could bring. Breathe, because you are growing. And you are learning to fight the monsters inside your head, the ones who haunt and taunt you in the middle of the night.

Anxiety is paralyzing, with all these thoughts swarming in your head. But those thoughts are all lies. Who told you that you’re not smart enough? Or lovable enough? Or pretty enough? Or good enough? Who told you that?

And when did you believe the lies?

Don’t buy the lies that anxiety is trying to sell you.

The truth is that you are loved.

And cherished.

And seen.

And wanted.

And adored.

And accepted.

More than you know.

Just because.

I know it’s not easy to get out of your own head and it’s definitely not easy to change your thoughts like a light switch. But, please. Promise me, you’ll try to listen to the truth and not the lies. Give yourself the chance to choose which voice to listen to, because anxiety is just another voice.

You just chose to give it a megaphone.

Cosmos

Design

This probably won’t be the last “Cosmos” I will create. If you know me, I love geometry, symmetry, pattern, foil, and of course, stars. So in the next few weeks (or months), I will definitely be playing with Illustrator to create geometrical things. I can’t wait to share with you all the magic (hopefully) that I will create!

First Friday Freebie #03

Design, Freebies

It’s the first Friday of August which means … I’ve created a free print! You’ll probably need a lot of ink for this one. I created this print against this (slightly gloomy) background as a little reminder that the best days are ahead of us. There is always room for the (really, really) good kind of unimaginable. You can frame it, use blutack (or washi tape) to stick to your wall, or use a clipboard (like this) to hang it.

Download it here. And as always, this is for personal use only x