Travelling for Less

A large part of budgeting for travel depends on this question: what kind of traveller are you? Are you a traveller that wants to/is willing to “rough it”, or would you prefer to stay in nice hotels and go out for dinner every evening? If you’re the former, budgeting and saving for your trip might not be as necessary before jetting off. Many people are far more fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants than I am and are willing to work at hostels scrubbing toilets for free accommodation. As I’m not quite a vagabond enough traveller for that, I prefer to have more of my trip planned out beforehand. The key to travelling is knowing what your limits are. If you require a nice hotel with at least a 4 star rating, then book it. If you’re happy staying in a shared room at a hostel, go for it. There’s no one right way to travel.

There's no one right way to travel, but you can't go wrong with a pool bar.

There’s no one right way to travel, but you can’t go wrong with a pool bar.

Flights

I’ve found that the best way to find cheap flights is to be flexible. This is why I like to plan my trips far in advance because it allows me to be more flexible with times and dates. Just to give you an example, while searching for flights to the States, I hit the flexible option and saw that if I was able to fly out two days earlier than the date I entered, it would save me $500. I know there are times when you aren’t able to adjust dates on your trip by that much, but ticket prices can vary greatly even by the hour.

Time allowing, the best way to find cheap flight prices is to play around with dates and times on several different search engines and compare. Some search engines I like to use are: skyscanner.com, studentuniverse.com (this one is especially good if you’re a current student with a valid student email address or under the age of 25 as they give special discounts for students and youth), flighthub.com and kayak.com. I like to search for flights on all of these sites and compare to find my best option.

Searching for flights via a travel search engine also allows you to compare different airline carriers and their prices. If you notice the cheapest option is an airline carrier you don’t particularly like, chances are you can email or call a different airline that is advertising the same flight and ask them to price match. I know that Jetstar will price match flights as long as the flight you’re price matching is within one hour of the comparable Jetstar flight.

Santa's sleigh was lacking reindeer, otherwise we would have considered it.

Santa’s sleigh was lacking reindeer, otherwise we would have considered it.

Accommodation

The options are vast when it comes to accommodation. From booking a hotel to finding a place on Airbnb, you have many choices. Personally, I tend to first look at what my hostel options are in the city I’m visiting. I’m not quite sure why hostels have gotten such a bad rep, but there are some really great ones out there! For most of the hostels I booked in Europe, I used either hostelworld.com or hostelbookers.com, which both rate cleanliness of the hostel, atmosphere, helpfulness of staff, etc. If you’re a young traveller, I really see no need to book a hotel. Most hostels have private rooms (if that’s why you think a hotel would be better suited towards your needs) and a really nice private room at a hostel may cost you around $50-60 AUD a night whereas even a dingy hotel room would cost you at least $75 AUD a night.

Airbnb is another great option, especially if you’re travelling with a group of people and are looking for more of an apartment or house vibe rather than a hotel vibe. Airbnb also came in handy for me and my boyfriend when we vacationed in Hawaii because we wanted something more romantic than a hostel but weren’t too keen on how expensive the nicer hotels were. Airbnb has an option for every price point and will suit most needs.

At the end of the day, a good accommodation should meet your cleanliness needs and your security needs (safe neighborhood, a safe for valuables, easy accessibility to transportation, etc) and anything else is just a nice extra!

The

The “backyard” of our Airbnb accommodation in Hawaii.

Sightseeing/Exploring

So obviously there’s a reason you’re on this trip. You’re in Rome to see the Colosseum and eat amazing food or you’re in Paris to drink wine under the Eiffel Tower. Whatever it may be, planning for it allows you to see more of the city you’re in and helps to save money. I personally swear by the guide books written by Rick Steves. Following Rick Steves’ advice for Rome, I was able to see Palatine Hill, the Colosseum, Vatican City (which also included hints on how to access a short cut to St. Peter’s Basilica so that you didn’t have to wait in another line to re-access entry) and eat gelato at one of Rome’s most historical gelato joints all before 2:30 pm! And I wasn’t even rushed! If I had tried to navigate all of that by myself, I have no doubt I would have struggled to fit all of that in one day. I also probably would have made the mistake of paying for a ticket at the Colosseum and then for a ticket at Palatine Hill when there’s actually an option to buy a cheaper ticket that allows you access to both sights.

My point being that there’s a reason you’ve planned this trip and you’re going to get the most out of it, and save the most money, by being prepared. Maybe barhopping is more of your thing rather than sightseeing, but even barhopping can be well planned so that it leads you to the best happy hours and the best promotions happening that night in the city! (I will admit that a well planned barhopping trip seems to unravel slightly more with each beer, but that’s part of the fun!)

I'm more of the barhopping type.

I’m more of the barhopping type.

Food and Bev

Yes, there’s even a way to make this cheaper. While it’s my personal opinion that you should try the food in every city you visit because food and drinks say so much about that culture, I understand that your limited money can’t always go towards lavish meals and cocktails. My advice? If you have limited funds, try and limit your meals at a restaurant to one a day (or none when possible). While I was travelling, I would typically buy a baguette and some lunch meat/cheese to get me through the day and would eat at restaurants rather sparingly. A few hostels I stayed at also offered homemade dinners and you would only have to pay an extra 2 or 3 euros to join in.

I will always think spending money on coffee is worth it

I will always think spending money on coffee is worth it.

Emergency Money

This one is important. Always keep emergency cash on you because you never know what can happen. My bank once disabled my card while I was in Paris even though they knew I was travelling to Paris and I was at the mercy of the timezone (I had to wait several hours before my bank was even open and could be contacted) and international calling. I luckily had friends that were able to spot me money until my card worked again, but you won’t always be that fortunate.

Have Fun

At times, booking and planning a trip can seem overwhelming. I’m currently booking a trip to the States where I’m trying to fit a lot into the 3 weeks I’m there and I feel like I think of new stuff I need to take care of every day. Flights, rental car, accommodation, pre-purchasing tickets for events I know I want to attend, etc. It seems never ending. I do know, though, that the reward will hopefully be a stress-free trip because I’m doing all the stressing and budgeting now! Trips and vacations are meant to be a little getaway from day-to-day life, so make the most out of them and have fun! I hope these tips have helped and if you have any more suggestions let us know!

I've given you advice on how to save money, yet here's me after spending 80 euros on this large chocolate rabbit.

I’ve given you advice on how to save money, yet here’s me after spending 80 euros on this large chocolate rabbit.

Propagating Succulents From Leaves

This is a great way to have an amazing little indoor garden of succulents, almost for free! Propagating is an easy way to turn one plant, into 100 hundred! Succulents are such a simple way to decorate your home. They add a simple freshness, colour and minimalistic elegance to your home or bedroom. They are even great for livening up your desk in the office, or your study area at home!

I decided to propagate my succulents instead of spending money every time I wanted more. It was so easy and they are so cute! This is the first time I have ever tried and I really did not expect it to be so easy. This was what I did.

Step One: Gathering Your Leaves
Carefully pull leaves off from the bottom half of your succulent. Be very careful because if they aren’t pulled of right at the stem they won’t work. If they are difficult to pull, wiggle them gently from side to side till you hear them snap.
Most local markets will sell cheap succulents ranging from $2 to $5 for medium sized. I have brought mine from both markets & little Nurseries. 

Step Two: Letting Them Dry Out
You need to let the ends of the leaves dry out and callous over before you can plant them. Leave them about 1-3 days. I am not entirely sure how long I left mine, just keep an eye on them really.

Step Three: Planting The Leaves
Fill a small flat container with soil. I used an old Chinese take-away container. Most people recommend Succulent Mix for the soil, but I just used Soil I got from the Reject Shop and it only cost me $3 for 1KG! Place your leaves out in rows on top of the soil. From here your leaves will start to bud and the white and bright pink roots will grow down into the soil. {I just let my leaves dry out on top of the dry soil for step 2}

Propagating Succulents from leaves

Step Four: Watering
For this stage I use a spray bottle and spray the leaves every day. Be careful not to over water or the leaves will rot. I also like to keep them in filtered sunlight rather than full sunlight during this time.

Step Five: Waiting
You should start to see some tiny growth within a few weeks to a month. The leaf you used to Propagate your new succulent will eventually die. I don’t like to rip it off incase it rips of the attached roots.

Propagating Succulents from Leaves

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Step Six: Decorating
Once your Propagated are big enough you can move them into their own pots, make a mini succulent garden or terrarium. So many possibilities because from those new succulents, you can then gather their leaves and make more! You could fill your house!

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Have fun getting on the Succulent trend for Less!

Cassie xox

Strawberry & Coconut Cocktail

Hello Friends,

It’s Saturday!
Which is a perfect day for a nice refreshing Spring Cocktail by the pool, in the backyard, on the deck or with some friends or maybe just your cat!

This is a recipe I made up when I visited by parents house. I was inspired by how fresh the air and sunshine was there and by all the ingredients growing in the garden!Strawberry & Coconut Cocktail

Ingredients:
❈ 60mls Coconut Rum
❈ 1-2 Mint Sprigs 
❈ 4 Lime Wedges
❈ 2 Strawberries, chopped
❈ Soda Water

Method:
Add all ingredients except Soda Water and one of the Strawberries into a Boston Shaker and fill with ice {if you don’t have one a jar with a lid is fine – that’s what I did at my parents home}, SHAKE! and then dump into a jar. Top with Soda Water, add slices of Strawberry and Garnish with a Mint Sprig.

Strawberry & Coconut CocktailSo many of these ingredients I found around the home! My Mum grows this amazing Chocolate Mint that literally smells like Mint Slice biscuits! My Dad grows a Lime Tree and Strawberries in the backyard. So these ingredients are so easy to find just around the home! Mum even gave me off cuts of the Chocolate Mint so now I grow it on my window still!

The Coconut Rum I brought was called Divas Glades Coconut and was only $16!! So crazy cheap!

Well that is all,
Enjoy your Saturday Afternoon!
Cassie xox 

Green Detox Juice

Hi All,

It’s Spring in Australia and it is already HOT!!
So, I have a really yummy, refreshing, healthy and delicious juice to share with you all.
Yes it is all those three things!

Cucumber & Coriander Juice

Ingredients:
❉ Cucumber
❉ Micro Coriander {Normal is fine as well}
❉ Lemon
❉ Green Apple

Method:
Using a juicer juice half a Cucumber, one whole Green Apple and one peeled Lemon.
I then like to blend all these ingredients together with about half a scoop of ice and some Micro Coriander leaves in a blender. Once blended pour into a jar, add some ice cubes and voilå!

This is so delicious and so easy. Micro herbs are also great to grow for your kitchen as they are small and full of flavour, and lets not forget super cute and great for apartment life!

Cucumber is so good for you as well, it contains a heap of Vitamin B’s including Vitamin B1, B5 and B7 {great for hair & nails}. B vitamins help ease the feelings of anxiety and help with stress! Which is great for if you are a stress head like me!
Cucumber is also rich in the most basic elements needed for healthy digestion: Fibre and Water!

Consuming Coriander is proven to be one of the most effective methods to remove heavy metals such as; Mercury, Lead and Cadmium from the body. Coriander is also an Antiseptic that will help with Mouth Ulcers {A stress issue for me} and to freshen your breath!

P.S Blenders & Juices are so so cheap to buy and well worth the investment!

Enjoy!

Cassie xox

A New Face for Less


(To preface this post, I will state that I am in no way a dermatologist. If you have any skin conditions or extremely sensitive skin, please consult your dermatologist before trying any new skincare products.)

I’ve recently been going through the process of switching my makeup and face wash over to less toxic products. This can be a long and expensive process for many reasons:

One is that it takes so much research to decipher whether a product that claims to be natural is even good for your skin. (I say this as someone that has a background in journalism, so reading through the list of chemicals and ingredients on the label of a product can be tedious and disheartening to say the least.) Cosmetic companies have jumped on board with this current “natural and organic” movement, but they have a lot of leeway with how the word “natural” is allowed to appear on their products and they use this to their advantage. Take for example St Ives Naturally Clear Apricot Scrub. You could argue that this product isn’t technically claiming to be natural by simply including the word “naturally” in the title, but my assumption is that they’re hoping the consumer will see the word “naturally” and it will deceive them into believing it is the better option for their skin.   (Here is a detailed post about all the ingredients in St Ives Naturally Clear Apricot Scrub and why most of them aren’t good for your skin.) St. Ives Oatmeal Scrub & Mask(I do realise this is not the Apricot Scrub, but it is a product from the same line and has a lot of the same ingredients mentioned in the article)

Do not assume seeing the word “natural” on a label automatically means “good for you” because this allows cosmetic companies to charge a premium for “natural” skincare as consumers are led to believe that paying more for a product must mean it’s because only high quality ingredients are used.

St. Ives Oatmeal Scrub & Mask(I do realise this is not the Apricot Scrub, but it is a product from the same line and has a lot of the same ingredients mentioned in the article)

Secondly, I think most of us can admit that we’re brand loyal to certain makeups and face washes. When you find a product that works for you, it can be extremely difficult to jump ship and try to find a different brand that works as equally well (or better) for you. Why fix what’s not really broken? For me personally, I have relatively dry skin and what people with dry skin hear over and over again is to use face washes that don’t have alcohol in them as alcohol will dry out your skin even more. Well, upon conducting what I thought would be an easy, pointblank search saying “alcohol in skincare products is bad, here are skincare products to use that don’t contain alcohol”, I ended up opening a whole new can of worms in regards to “good alcohol” and “bad alcohol” in cosmetics.
(I found this article to be an informative read about alcohol in skincare products as it directly refutes claims made about all alcohol in skincare being bad.)  This is what initially started my journey of wanting to understand the ingredients in my cosmetics and, inevitably, swapping over many of my products. The real struggle, however, is how is one supposed to swap over their skincare products without losing their mind in endless research and all the money in their bank account? Well, I’ve done some research for you.

If you’re willing to try a slightly alternative method of face wash, look no further than Coconut Oil (Make sure you’re using organic extra virgin coconut oil as to avoid it containing toxic pesticides and being comedogenic, meaning it clogs pores.) You know what’s wonderful about reading the label on a jar of Coconut Oil? It’s only ingredient is Coconut Oil! So I’ve already eliminated the problem of, “What the hell are all these different ingredients listed on the back of this product?”

Coconut Oil

Also, Coconut Oil is cheap! Depending on the brand and size of the jar, finding coconut oil under $15 is an easy feat. Plus, that same jar of Coconut Oil can be used for cooking, so you’re essentially getting a 2-for-1 deal for under $15. Other benefits of using Coconut Oil as your go-to facial cleanser? It doubles as a moisturiser and you’ll smell like you’re on holiday.

Coconut Oil
Still up to try a slightly alternative face mask for acne prone skin? My go-to is:

1 TSP Honey  ~ 1/2 TSP Nutmeg ~ 1/2 TSP Cinnamon

Honey Cinnamon & Nutmeg

Honey is a natural way to lock-in moisture while its antibacterial properties help to reduce breakouts and heal current problem areas. Nutmeg is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal which helps to sooth and clear up inflamed skin. Cinnamon also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties which help to dry out current pimples and blackheads. Cinnamon is also known to help with blood circulation and plumpness of skin. (Only use cinnamon once a week as it can cause irritation and dryness.) Also, all of these products combined can be found for less than $10!

Want an alternative acne spot treatment? Try baking soda and warm water. Baking soda is amphoteric, which means it has the ability to act as either an acid or a base. Why is this good for your skin? It means that baking soda has the ability to help neutralise any pH imbalances on your skin. Baking soda also helps to dry the skin (so use this method sparingly if you’re like me and have dry skin) which in turn helps to remove excess oil from breakouts. It also has mild anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

Wary of trying DIY treatments? I love and personally use https://www.nourishedlife.com.au/. Essentially, Nourished Life has done all the research for you on the ingredients in cosmetics (plus other products) and only includes products on its site that have passed their extremely strict ingredients test, which are then easily available for you to purchase. Plus, you can sign up for their weekly newsletter and receive the heads-up on weekly discounts. I recently saved around $50 on my last purchase through Nourished Life because of their weekly newsletter and their Instagram discount. (For more info on their Instagram discount, visit their Instagram page @nourishedlife)

I understand that changing your beauty regiment isn’t easy or cheap as it has personally taken me months to slowly find products I like just as much as the old products I was using, but it is doable!
This week alone, I bought:
Zuii Organic Mineral Blush which is the perfect organic match for anyone who loves the well known NARS Blush Orgasm.
Weleda Skin Food which is a body cream that is also sensitive enough to be used on my face.
100% Pure Purity Spot Treatment for any isolated breakout areas.
100% Pure Black Tea Mascara as mascara is one of the last swaps I need to make to have my makeup routine be toxin-free.
And Black Chicken Remedies Axilla Deodorant Paste to fulfil my need for an organic deodorant option.
All these products were purchased for $115.47 (AUD). Not bad for a new body cream, mascara, blush, deodorant and acne spot treatment!

I hope this week’s post has provided you with adequate information on how to easily and cheaply start the swap on your beauty go-to’s! If anything, I hope it has awakened a desire in you to research the products you are currently using and find products that best suit your needs.

With love,

Natalie xx