Adulting Diaries: Handling Friendships

Hey 20 Somethings,

So, let’s be real…Friendships in your twenties are hard! Its a crazy time in our lives where suddenly, we are responsible for ourselves and our own wellbeing, we’re trying to excel and move forward in our careers, we’re adjusting to this whole adulting thing, we’re trying to handle our finances and trying not to go bankrupt before our lives even start…the list goes on and on. So you might find that during this period of time, you might struggle to hold onto the friends you have left.

My little brother always makes fun of me because I have so little friends. I always have to remind him that when I was in High school, I had LOADS of friends, but life after high school is a different story; people start studying, people move away or you guys grow apart- life happens. 

Besides all the craziness of adulthood, you might still be dating as well, that’s another thing you need to balance with your friendships. It almost feels impossible!

I’m extremely busy, at the moment, Im working two jobs and training for a third job and will possibly be taking on a fourth job in the second half of the year. I live with my boyfriend and a roommate, and still try to have a reasonably healthy social life by going out and doing things people my age should be doing. It’s also hard, because as a performer, my hours are often opposite to the people in my life. 

Luckily, my friends understand my lifestyle. I’m the friend who isn’t going to message you everyday and check up on you. If you text me, I’ll reply immediately but the conversation will be short because I’m messaging you in between running from one thing to the next BUT, they all know, if they need me – I’ll be there. I’ll clear my schedule and make time for them, no matter what.

I try to keep my friendships going strong because my friends are my sisters and the family members I never had. ( I come from quite a small family and I don’t know half of my cousins. And I never had a sister.) So these are the few friendship rules I’ve come up with for myself:

  1. Check on your Friends: I try to check in with my friends at least once a week. Whether it’s in a group chat and I can check on them all at once, or if I see a worrying tweet from them and I message them privately. Even if it’s just a quick “Hi, Hope you’re good! Miss you!” It shows your friends that you are thinking of them, even when you’re extremely busy and you’re able to make some time for them. 
  2. Try to Make Plans at Least Once or Twice a Month: I make a conscious effort to make plans with my friends, I often do it as a group- like a braai or going out to dinner together. That way I get to see all my favourite people at the same time and get to spend a little bit of time with each of them individually. (Because let’s face it, life gets real busy for all of us.)  Or find ways that you and certain friends can bond over something you both like: You both enjoy working out? Go on a gym date! Both love a specific TV show? Schedule a weekly date to watch the latest episode together. – These are things you’re going to do anyways, why not include your friends when you do them?
  3. Don’t Let Your Relationship Ruin Your Friendships: This one I struggle with a lot. When I date someone, it’s often hard for me to remember to manage my time equally between work, my love and my friends. But you must!! My trick has been, making sure my boyfriend has met all of my friends and that he likes them and forms relationships with them! This way, I can have friends over while he’s there too, I can invite a girl friend over for coffee and bae is in there spilling the tea with us! It’s awesome. But always remember to check with your friends first, sometimes they just need some alone time with their friends and don’t wanna hang out with your man ALL THE TIME.
  4. Write Letters!: When I was in high school, My friends and I would write each other letters EVERY DAY! We all knew what was going on in each other’s lives because we were constantly communicating. I’m giving myself the challenge to write one letter for each of my friends this year. It serves as a recon, you can tell them about things they’ve missed out on in your life, you can open up about what’s bothering you, tell them about your goals and hopes for the future. Give them a quick update on your life, because how often do you get to tell everyone in your life everything you need to tell them? It will be good for you and for them and I honestly think it will make your friendships stronger, especially if they write back.

So those are my four goals regarding my friendships this year. 

Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle to keep your friendships alive… This adulting thing is hard. But the great news is, you’re not alone. Reach out when you feel you need help and check on the people in your life who have been too quiet lately. Everyone is going through something right now- but we don’t have to do it alone.

If you made it this far down this post, close this tab and go tell a friend you love them and miss them!

Until next time!

Nadine 

Adulting Diaries: Life Update

Hey guys!

First of all, Happy easter! I hope you’re all having an amazing long weekend and enjoying a much needed break. I sure I am! I’ve forced myself to relax this weekend and stay in when I can…so that’s exactly what I am doing.

Now I know I’ve been terrible on the blogging front of things! I’ve been very pre-occupied the past few weeks. First of all, I’ve been hard at work at launching my Youtube channel for the blog! Which I would be extremely grateful to anyone who checks it out and shows some love! Also, don’t forget to subscribe. 

The channel focusses on make up for beginners as well has natural hair tutorials and product reviews. I’ve really enjoyed the process of filming videos, editing and uploading them to Youtube and though the view count isn’t high right now, it’s something I’d like to stick with. Videos are uploaded weekly, so check it out now!

I also signed the blog up on Twitter!

Product wise, I’ve been sent a really cool new range, which I am not allowed to tell you about yet, as the range has not been released in stores yet. But what I can tell you is that it’s working wonders for my skin and as soon as I have the go ahead, I’ll tell you all about it.

My life has been extremely busy this past month. My boyfriend started his new job and flew off to Australia for the month. He’s back this Friday for a few days before he leaves again for a little longer, so obviously this has been a crazy adjustment for me. If you know me and my boyfriend, you’ll know we do everything together, so him leaving kind of made me feel a little lost and lonely as hell. I’ve never been one of those girls who saw themselves dropping everything for a guy, but the moment he got on that plane I was ready to drop everything and follow him. But of course I can’t do that, and I can’t let myself do that. Girl, I’ve got goals, even when I’m lonely. 

So I spent a few days being sad and crying and made sure I was surrounded by friends and family and eventually I learned to work with my new normal. And thankfully, there have been plenty of things to keep me busy. I’ve been blessed to be sent work in this crazy performing industry I am in; after Langarm at the Fugard, I moved on to play Pinocchio at the Nassau Theatre and then I was offered a job at the Rockwell Theatre to work in a show called Kaapse Stories. So apart from working there, I also attend castings all day, teach drama and I’m starting training to become a Barre instructor!

Wow. That’s a lot. The biggest challenge through all this has been remembering to look after myself. I’m forcing myself to go to the gym, even when I’m feeling terrible, I stay social and make sure I have time for my friends and I try to eat regularly. That’s been going well, I do forget to eat sometimes but most days I’m on top of it.

If anything, this experience has taught me how much I enjoy time alone, like not all the time- but I do enjoy it. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to just be alone with my own thoughts and have the freedom to focus on me for a bit. 

Anyway, I’m very excited to have my boyfriend back this Friday, even if it’s just for a few days, and I promise to not drop everything and follow him around the world. (Although that sounds amazing) And I will definitely be getting back to some good blogging and content for you guys!

Thanks for the love so far.

Check out my Youtube channel!

Nadine

Obligatory 2019 Post

So it’s 2019, wow, where has the time gone? Damn, it was just 2018 the other day. Anyways, as one does when a new year starts, I’ve decided to set some goals for myself.

I had a pretty good 2018, my only goal was to be happy. And I was, damn. I started dating the most amazing guy, I booked a dream job and I moved into my own place; things just went really well for me.

But lets get down to this goal business:

Goal number 1: To be better at this blogging thing.

Damn, I’m probably the most inconsistent blogger known to man. I don’t know what it is, I just get distracted by other things instead of focussing my energy on building this site and it’s social media presence. But, the good news is I am going to change, I’m going to be better, for you, dear reader.

How am I going to do this you ask? Well, lets start with one blog post a week on the website, and at least three posts on our instagram page (@20somethingsblog) I’m going to start sharing content that my followers can relate to and learn from. Whether it be lifestyle, make up or fitness related.

Goal 2: Get this little body of mine back in shape.

I used to have a banging body, back when I was studying dance full time- I could eat anything I wanted and not have to worry about my weight. But now, things have changed. It’s hard to drag myself to the gym everyday. It’s hard to make sure I’m eating properly and healthily. And damn, it’s just so hard to stay in shape.

But the good thing is, I’ve accepted my new, fuller body, I call it my “Adult Body” – I mean, with my woman bits as voluptuous as they are, that seems like a good name. I’m a curvy woman, and I like being a curvy woman, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to look after my body. So I’m making a pact to myself, to love my body unconditionally in whatever shape it’s in and to take care of it- this means being mindful of what I put into it and how I treat it.

How am I going to achieve this? Well I’ve started training with an awesome guy named Kyle Price ( @defined_physique_fitness ) who is helping me reach my body goals by working out with me twice a week. I’ll keep you updated on our instagram page!

Goal 3: Look Good, Feel Good.

I’m the type of girl who throws on whatever is lying next to her bed and leaves the house like that, unless it’s an event, I hardly pay any mind to what I am wearing. But that stops today, I wanna start looking photo ready at all times. And I also wanna try and expand my range of fashion, by adding in new things, like head scarves and wearing local brands.

Goal 4: Give Baaaaack.

I’ve been wanting to give back to the community for a long time, last year I started working with the Kay Mason Foundation teaching the kids how to sing and dance. I’d like to expand on this a bit this year, try visiting children’s homes and teaching performing arts to the kids there. If you know of any homes that may be interested, please contact me via our contact page!

Goal 5: Be Kinder to the Environment

I wanna use less plastic in my everyday life, this almost seems impossible to do but I’ve found that there are small lifestyle changes I can make that will help make a difference.

I’ve bought a silistraw, which I use instead of the traditional plastic straws and I’m trying to recycle plastic and buy less items that use plastic containers and bottles. If you have any tips for how I can improve my plastic usage, please leave a comment or contact me!

So those are my goals for the year! I think they’re pretty attainable. What are your goals for 2019?

Let me know in the comments!

xx

Nadine

Adulting: Moving Out

What’s Up 20 Somethings!

So I know I have been terrible at posting the past few weeks, I hope you haven’t been too deprived. Remember you can also follow the blog on Instagram, where I am always posting stories about events I attend and some make up and beauty hacks – @20somethingsblog.

The reason for my absence is that I moved out of my parents home and found my own apartment. #ADULTING. It’s been a stressful time for me but also it’s been beyond amazing. I’m learning a little bit more about myself everyday.

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I started looking for an apartment at the beginning of the year, but my price range being that is was, I struggled to find a place that was comfy and homey. And can I just say how expensive it is to live in Cape Town?! It’s like they don’t want the youth to move out of their parents homes EVER! It’s ridiculous. But then at the end of June, I came across this amazing little Duplex in Claremont. And I knew the moment I walked through the front door that this was my new home. Its’s spacious, with an upstairs and a downstairs, three bedrooms! (Of course I picked the biggest one!) 

So naturally I applied for the place. And many emails later, convincing the agent that I swear I could afford the rent, my lease was approved. Then came the beginning of the pain, I had to pay a two month deposit on the place, which was a big bulk of my traveling savings, but I figured, listen if you’re gonna adult, you gotta do it right. So I parted with the money, like a big girl. Then I thought, here comes the easy part: Finding two people to move in with.

LOL.

So finding one roommate was easy enough, I work with a lovely guy named Joseph who I knew was also looking for a place, so I showed him some pictures and he agreed without even seeing the apartment. (He literally only saw it the day before we moved in.) Then I ventured into the Facebook groups, posting a witty little paragraph and some pictures of the place.

First of all, can I just say how DUMB people are. I  put ALL the information on the post; Area, how many bedrooms, if there were built in closets, parking information, rent, deposit, water and electricity and wifi. And you know what? I STILL GOT QUESTIONS ABOUT THOSE EXACT THINGS WHEN THE ANSWERS WERE RIGHT THERE!! 

I’m convinced social media has made us lazy, like just read the post man.

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So posting on Facebook obviously attracted a whole lot of strange characters. One guy offered to pay the deposit and the rent immediately if he could move in the next day when it clearly said on the post that the apartment was only available in August. He also refused to give me his current landlord’s details so I could follow up on him- which seemed really fishy. 

Eventually I found a lovely young afrikaans girl who was keen to move in and I thought everything was sorted. So I packed my bags and went to Norway and Sweden for two weeks, thinking when I arrived everything would be fine and we could move in without any issues. But then in the middle of my vacation, this girl messages me to say she found another place and is moving in that week.

And all I could think was, “This Bitch.”

So it was back to the Facebook groups hunting for a roommate. Now if anyone you know is looking for a roommate, please don’t enquire unless you’re definitely interested. I had people asking me about the place just because they were being curious. Like. This is stressful, can we not.

Eventually though, I found a lovely guy studying and teaching at UCT named Zenzo, who could pay the deposit and the rent each month and was just an all together nice guy. So yay.

What I haven’t mentioned was how many anxiety attacks I went through before moving out. The moment I mentioned that I was ready to move out to my friends and family, the jokes started streaming in; about how I’m untidy, about how I can’t cook and will starve to death, etc. Stupid stuff. And okay, it was funny the first few times, but then eventually they started making me feel like maybe I couldn’t do this. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe I would be useless at adulting.

It sucked. I literally started crying at Fathers Day Lunch and then had a hectic cry sesh later that night when I got home with my parents.

Shame, I know they didn’t mean any harm. But it was still horrible, so a note for you, reading this, if you have a friend embarking on a life changing moment, just encourage them. I promise you. They’re stressed enough as it is, they don’t need you reminding them that they cannot do it. 

My boyfriend handled all my breakdowns like a damn pro! Every time I obsessed about how I’d do it, he just told me everything would be okay and encouraged me till I was laughing again. He really is the best. 

I couldn’t afford a moving company, the cheapest one quoted me R2000 – for a few boxes and my bed. I was just like, thanks but no thanks.

Super boyfriend got a friend to bring his bakkie and the two of them legit carried all my furniture. 

It was really great. Moving day went super smoothly, and we all got super drunk after everything was in the house.

Listen, if you ever move out, don’t expect people to come over and help you out. In adulting, it’s every man for themselves. My Mom was a huge help, she literally came over and packed my whole closet and spent the first week looking for curtains for my room.

Once I was settled in, the apartment really felt like a home, It’s so nice to have a space that is all mine! And I keep learning things about myself, like the fact that I hate dirt and stains, every time there’s a coffee stain on my counter, I wipe that shit. I also hate dishes, and trust me, they pile up. I’ve literally made time in my day dedicated to doing the damn dishes. Who am I even?

So far I’ve managed to keep my room semi-tidy. And I legit, LOVE my new room. It’s amazing. It’s perfect. 

I haven’t gotten my head around cooking yet. I’ve made some oven bake things etc. But the fact that I work nights keeps me from exploring my cooking prowess. But I’ll get there.

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Also, no one warns you how addictive and exciting furniture shopping is. My boyfriend literally has to drag me out of furniture stores because I’m always looking at things  I do not need.

Okay, this post has been waaaaay to long. I may be doing a few more adulting posts, tell me what you want me to write about in the comments! Also I’d love to hear your moving out stories!

Until Next Time,

Nadine

Road Trip Through Norway

Hey 20 Somethings,

So for those of you following me on Instagram, you’ll see that I have been doing some travelling lately. I’m currently in Norway, more specifically doing a road trip through Norway, which has been quite eventful. So I thought I’d do a little post about my trip so far and let you know how it’s been going.

First of all, Norway is beyond beautiful. Like when I say views, I mean VIEWS. Everywhere. Every town, every city, every corner. I’m staying in a different hotel every night, some have been really awesome and some have been below average- but it’s all part of the adventure I guess.

Norway is known for it’s immense greenery and fjords (lakes but like, bigger.) It’s summer here at the moment, so that means in the cities its very hot during the day, but what’s amazing is that like an hour or two out of the cities, you can see snow on the neighbouring mountains. It’s beautiful.

Yesterday I saw one of the most magnificent waterfalls, I’ve ever seen in my life. Norway is covered in the type of beauty that takes your breath away. And what annoys me most, is that the pictures just don’t do it justice. So like, just picture everything I’m showing you but like 1000x better.

So far I’ve visited Oslo, Geilo, Bergen and Sogndal. I’m on my way to a town called Alesund as we speak. Oslo is lovely, it’s got the typical buzz you expect from a city, but it’s still pretty laid back. Actually, the entire country is extremely laid back- Norwegians are super chilled. I fell in love with Bergen, it’s the cutest little city with something to see around every turn. I took a walk down the Bergen fish market, which isn’t for the faint of heart, and saw some fish I never knew existed. The city is the perfect combination of past meets present.

The problem with road tripping in a place like Norway, is that there are just so many amazing sites, we can’t help but stop. We turn 2 hour drives into 6 hour drives because we stop every five minutes to take photos. (Also can I just say how great it is travelling with my family. They’re so down for pictures all the time. I don’t have to beg to get content for my Instagram, actually my dad is the one calling me over every five minuets because he found a new backdrop that I have to pose in front of. Its pretty great. – Take notes Boyfriend.)

The hardest thing about this trip is waking up every morning, because our days are filled with travelling and activities and by the evening, I’m poofed. Also, the sun doesn’t completely go down before 1 am, So I accidentally stay up all night thinking it’s still early!

But I am having a great time, I’m in Norway till Saturday and then it’s off to Sweden. I haven’t really been doing much shopping, because I’m saving that for Sweden, when I’m in one place for a bit longer. Which is actually a good thing, if there was a Sephora in Norway, I’d be broke in a matter of seconds.

Okay, Well I’ll write again later this week. Send me any questions in the comments section!

xx

Nadine

Part 3, Why Contiki?: What to Pack

So if you’re planning on travelling this year, you’re probably wondering what to pack. I learnt the hard way what I needed and what I didn’t need. But hopefully this post can make your packing stresses disappear.

  • Get a real Camera
    Listen, I know your phone camera is great, but you don’t want average pictures to look back on after your trip. I took ALL my pictures on my phone, it was only recently when I got a real camera that I realised how shitty cell phone camera quality is. You get cameras these days with wifi that connect to your phone, so you can easily share your pictures and keep your instagram alive. If you have a GoPro, pack it. There are tons of adventure activities you’re going to want to capture. Also, don’t forget your Polaroid/Instax camera, Europe is so photogenic.

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  • Leave your stilettos at home
    Listen, Europe is nothing but cobble stone streets. EVERYWHERE. Babes, I almost broke my ankle 20 times in Paris. You don’t need the world of shoes with you. A good pair of sneakers, (Because you walk A LOT.) cute sandals and/or flip flops and maybe a nice flat shoe to wear out to clubs at night.

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  • Bikini time!
    If you’re going to somewhere sunny in Europe, like Greece, definitely pack your bikini, actually pack five. But if you’re going into the main cities, you’ll be fine with one swim suit, most of the hotels do have pools, but you don’t have much time to enjoy them. But after a hot day in Berlin, that indoor pool was everything I needed and more.

 

  • Pack a Towel
    The nice hotels have towels and that’s pretty great. But we got to some of the hostels and they didn’t provide towels and when they did there where two towels for four people in the room. Unless you’re a fan of air-drying, this is a must.

 

  • Winter or Summer?
    So consider what time of the year you’re going. May- July you’re bound to experience a great European Summer. Outside of those months it gets cold fast. But even in summer, the weather can be unpredictable. I was caught in the rain in Amsterdam, Venice and Paris. Pack a light raincoat, which you can squash in your bag if you need it later in the day. Don’t pack a hoodie, you’re most likely to buy a Contiki hoodie on the trip- which is great to wear on bus rides.
    Pack a warmer jacket just in case, one that won’t take up too much space in your bag. You’re going to want a lot of shorts, I lived in my running shorts during the day because it was comfortable to walk in. You only need one pair of jeans and a pair of tights. Pack some cute dresses in too. Contiki throws a lot of themed parties in a few cities. In Austria we had a lumo party, Venice was a nautical party, Rome was a I love Roma party etc so think of where you’re going and pack some cute outfits to dress up in.

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  • Pack Enough Underwear
    This goes without saying, but still. Most girls on my trip didn’t pack enough underwear, so they spent a good part of their trip doing their laundry. Which is usually 1-2 Euros a pop.
    Just take a little laundry bag with for your dirty stuff and do all your washing when you get home.

 

  • Make Up and Sunblock
    Australian girls love their make up. They had fully made up faces at 7 am every morning before we got on the bus. So you’re going to want to keep up. My trick? My Avene Tinted Moisturiser and some eyeliner and mascara, the two minute make up look that left me looking fresh all day.
    For your nights out you’re going to want to wear a bit more make up. So pack your essentials, you don’t want to be travelling with Twenty different eyeshadow palettes. Sunblock is your best friend. So many of the girls on my trip looked like roasted tomatoes after a day in the sun. It’s harsh and intense no matter if you’re in the streets of Berlin or on top of the Swiss Alps. A lot of the girls used Dry Shampoo on the trip, this might be something to add into your bag if need be.

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  • Bags?
    Besides your suitcase, you need a backpack for all your shit on the bus- usually a change of clothes when changing cities etc. Then you also want a good handbag to use during the day, when you don’t want to carry around your backpack. I just got a cute little bag that went on my back and carried all my daytime essentials. Just be aware of pickpockets at all times and you should be fine.

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  • Medication
    The last thing you want is to get sick on your trip. Make sure your stocked up on the following:
    – Nausea Tablets
    – Tummy cramp tablets
    – Headache tablets
    – Allergy Tablets
    – Sleeping tablets
    – Viral Choice (I popped one a day to stay healthy)
    – Corenza C (If you feel sick, just take two immediately)
    – Rehydrate (I got heat stroke in Berlin, you’re going to want a little pick me up after a day in the sun.)
    – Any medication you need or use etc.
    Better safe than sorry.
  • Activities! 

You’re going to want things to do on the bus! Pack in a portable charger to keep your phone alive and make sure you’ve got loads of reading material or even a colouring book for those long bus rides!

Okay, thats all I can think of for now, I hope that helps! Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you have and tell me what you’d like future posts to be about!

Happy Packing!
Nadine

 

Part 2, Why Contiki?: Money, Money, Money

What’s up Somethings!
Today I’m talking all things Money when going on a Contiki Tour.

Let’s be real, travelling to Europe is expensive, especially with the Euro to Rand exchange rate. So if you’re going to be travelling, you’re going to want to take a good amount of money with to ensure you get the most out of your trip.

It’s really depressing when you get your money exchanged for Euros, you go from being really rich as a South African to being really poor in Europe. Meh. So let’s talk about expenses and what you’ll actually be spending your money on.

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Nautical Party in Venice!

You’re not going to have time to go shopping. There is a lot of time to do what you want on a Contiki, but if you’re going to spend that time inside H&M in Paris, you’re going to regret it. There’s so much to see and do in Europe, and shopping there really isn’t a must. The prices work out the same as they would be here, sometimes even more expensive. If you’re travelling to Asia then by all means, shop till you drop. But Europe, I’d advise against it.

On a Contiki, they give you a list of added on extras, which you can pick from. This ranges from activities and dinners etc with the group. Doing everything on the list (Which is what they suggest you do) is quite expensive, and it would have taken up a bulk of the money I’d saved. So I left a few things off the list. Which I now regret. So this is what I’ll do on my next trip: I’ll work out how much money I’ll need to do all the added extras, and ensure that I’ve saved enough to get all of those. I suggest that you do all the activities but leave off some of the traditional dinners. There’s no need to spend R500 on a meal you might not even like, unless you’re a foodie, which I am not.

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You get breakfast included in your Contiki price and a few dinners, other than that, you’re going to be spending a lot of money on food – Pasta is expensive in Italy. My advice is that you stock up on food at breakfast, grab some fruit and croissants to eat throughout the day. You’re also going to spend a lot of money on snacks for the long bus rides, like be prepared to spend R40 on Pringles like every day.

And last but not least, Alcohol. You party a lot on a Contiki. A lot. And drinks are expensive AF, but luckily the Europeans are generous with their alcohol. They were free pouring for days, so you don’t have to buy too many drinks to get a buzz. But I suggest before a night out, you take only the cash you need or are willing to spend, so you can avoid over spending while you’re drunk.

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Bike Tour in a Beer Garden in Munich!

So how much should you take?
Listen, between R20 000- R30 000 should be enough to ensure you have a good time. If you can take more, do it. The more money you have the better.

There are lots of ways to have a good time on your Contiki without spending money, I spent a lot of my time just walking through the streets of the cities. I put myself on a daily budget – which was cool because if I didn’t spend all the money I had budgeted for the day, my daily budget increased for the rest of the trip. If you control your money and keep track of what you’ve spent, you can make any amount of spending money work.

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Bidvest has a great option called the World Currency Card, which comes with an app, so you can always check your balance and expenses wherever you are in the world.

Feel free to post any other money related questions below! I’d love to help out! Also ask me your Contiki questions!

Okay, I’ll let you go start saving now!

à bientôt!
Nadine

Part 1, Why Contiki?: Solo Travel

Hi there guys!
So I’ve had a lot of people ask me questions about my Contiki Tour last year. A lot of people want to know if it’s worth the money, what to prepare for, what to pack etc. So I’ve decided to start a blog series about why My Contiki changed my life and why I’ll be doing more in the future.

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Me in Prague 

I travelled alone on my European Whirl Contiki, which was 18 days in Europe, starting in Amsterdam or London and ending in Paris. I often get asked why I went alone, firstly, travelling is expensive for South Africans and not accessible to everyone. I did ask a few friends to join me, but they couldn’t for their own reasons, which bummed me out at first- but it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

It’s great fun travelling by yourself on a trip like Contiki, because you’re not actually alone. Only for the first day, when you meet your group, after that, you’re travelling with a group of friends you just met, having the time of your lives. A lot of people like to do Contiki’s with their significant other, which is cool. Personally I’d prefer to do it by myself. Travelling solo forced me to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people (something I struggle with, I’m an introverted extrovert).

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My group was made up of mostly Australians, Canadians and Mexicans, three of us were South African. Everyone was extremely nice and keen to make friends. We partied so hard together on our first night in Amsterdam. Our night was kicked off with a Sex Show in the Red Light District. Like if you can’t make friends with people after something like that, you never will.

If you’re travelling with friend, boyfriend or group of friends, make sure you are not cheating yourself out of the full experience. People who came with other people tended to exclude themselves from group activities and thus missing out on all the fun because they had their own agendas.

If you want to go off and do your own thing on your trip, Contiki gives you the freedom to do that, but honestly, If you’d rather plan your own trip and stick to your own agenda, you shouldn’t book a Contiki. Contiki trips are designed to ensure everyone has the time of their lives, your tour leader will ensure that you see everything you need to see and experience everything you need to experience. And doing things with the group is where all the best memories are made, if you’re going to leave the group for half of the day, you’re gonna have serious FOMO later at the group dinner when everyone is speaking about their adventures.

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Living our best life in Switzerland

For those worried about getting alone time or getting annoyed by being surrounded by people 24/7. Relax. The bus rides are long, I often just got a seat at the front away from the group, popped in my earphones and gave my social brain some rest between stops.

So Although I was TERRIFIED of travelling alone, I’d do it over and over again without hesitation. Travelling alone builds character and maturity, not to mention it’s an adventure. And now I’ve made friends from all over the world who I still speak to all the time!

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I found out new things about myself, I felt lighter and carefree, a thousand miles away from my problems and by the end of the trip I did not want to leave Europe. I found myself over there and the chances are you will too.

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Until Next Time,
Nadine

My Summertime Playlist

Summer is around the corner and you know your pool parties will not be complete without a banging playlist. Let’s not lie, 2017 has been a killer year for music. So I’ve picked five of my favourite songs, that will ensure your summer playlist is lit as fuck.

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1. Bodak Yellow – Cardi B
Fam, you can’t even lie, Cardi B dropped one of the hottest songs of the year. A hip hop track with just the right combination of chill and aggressiveness. It’s such a jam and it’s guaranteed to be one of the songs you and all your friends will be rapping along to this summer.

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https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/bodak-yellow-single/id1248377996

2. Mi Gente – J Balvin and Willy William (Feat. Beyonce)
Ok. I didn’t like the original version, I found that sound at the beginning to be annoying. But whatever, then Beyonce hopped on the remix and worked her magic and just like that the song worked it’s way into my heart. This song just screams summer when you listen to it and all proceeds go to the Hurricane Relief fund.

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https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/mi-gente-feat-beyonc%C3%A9-single/id1291050768

3. New Rules – Dua Lipa
Man, if this song isn’t on top of your break up playlist, you’re doing breakup’s wrong. Besides it being a great song to sing along to, it’s beat just makes you want to shake a little something. I just picture myself driving in Camps Bay on a hot summer day with all my windows open and this song blasting out my speakers.

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https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/new-rules/id1228739599?i=1228739609

4. Slide- Calvin Harris (feat. Frank Ocean and Migos)
Okay, this song has been out for a while though, but it’s just such a vibe it never gets old. In fact, just go ahead and add this entire album to your playlist ( Calvin Harris – Funk Wave Bounces Vol.1) because it is all kinds of summer time fine.

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https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/funk-wav-bounces-vol-1/id1233842167

5. Lemon – N.E.R.D & Rihanna
I’ve been a N.E.R.D fan since primary school, so it’s really sick that they’re out here making jams and with no one else but Rihanna! You even get to hear Riri rap in this track, it’s definitely something new. I’ve had it on repeat since it came out!

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https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/lemon-single/id1300804183

So these are the 5 songs you NEED to have on your Summer playlist, let me know which songs you’re going to be jamming to this Summer in the comments.

Also, if you want to look good this summer, check out our Instagram, because we are giving away 5 Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid lipsticks! (@20SomethingsBlog)

Bye!

What I’ve Been Reading (July-October)

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted a “What I’ve Been Reading” post, but don’t worry, it’s catch up time. So sit back and relax while I tell you about the books I’ve been reading the past few months.

Vantage Points

July

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Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Everyone knows this book is an African classic, so I made a concerted effort to read it. It’s really short, so that’s a plus because I found this book to be a lot of work. I don’t know, maybe I’m not mature enough to understand it or the meaning of it. And maybe in a few years time, I’ll read it again and maybe find that I enjoy it. But I did not enjoy this book. I found it to be unsatisfying and the ending to be a bit disappointing.
Have you read it? I’m interested to hear some of your thoughts on it in the comments!

August

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Emma Donogue, Room
I found this book to be one I couldn’t put down. The plot, the way it’s written is just flawless. The story is told by a five year old boy who lives with his mother in a shed. He is unaware that they are being held captive and has no prior idea of the outside world until they escape. It’s a brilliant book. I loved it.

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Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey
I’m a huge lover of poetry, being a poet myself. So when I was given this book as a gift from a dear friend of mine, I couldn’t wait to read it. There’s something about the way Rupi Kaur completely bares her soul in this book. You see her breaking, her loving, her healing in the pages of this anthology. And I found that this book was exactly what I needed in my own life. It’s beyond beautiful and I cannot wait to read her new book, “The Sun and Her Flowers”

September

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Nadia Hashimi, the Pearl That Broke Its Shell
I’ve never read any of Nadia Hashimi’s work before, I came across this book when it was mentioned by someone on Twitter and I bought it on an impulse. This book tore me to pieces. I had to put it down a few times just because the plot is so heartbreaking. It follows the life of a girl, Rahima, living in Kabul, in a family of girls only and a drug addicted father. In her culture, it is a disgrace to not have any sons, so her family decides to enforce the tradition of the Bacha posh- where one of the the daughters lives as the son of the family. This books shows the powerless fate a woman has in the time Rahima lives. It’s an extraordinary read. Definitely a favourite of mine. I look forward to reading more of Nadia Hashimi’s works.

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Nicola Yoon, The Sun is Also a Star
I needed something light after reading The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell. So I went to Nicola Yoon. She is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. Although this is a book for teenagers or young adults, I still enjoyed reading it. This story deals with love and soulmates, while tackling deeper issues such as race and immigration. I won’t go too much into the storyline, as I don’t want to give it away. But it’s a good book, if you’re looking for something light hearted to read.

October

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Dave Eggers, The Circle
This book was another impulse buy, after I saw the trailer for the movie. Look, this book took me a while to get into. The build up is tedious and it only starts getting interesting after like 150 pages. Then it’s really good for a while, like I couldn’t put it down. And then it ends, abruptly. It left be extremely disappointed 490+ pages later. It’s not worth the read. It does however make you question the impact social media has on your life but beyond that, it did nothing for me and I also found the main character, Mae, exhausting and unlikeable.