Abbie Loves

Fashion / Travel / Lifestyle

Jervis Bay Camping Weekend

 A few weekends back we hit the road in a friends camper van and headed down the coast from Sydney to Jervis Bay. I was told of the sandy white beaches and knew they were a thing of beauty, rivalling the ones that I frequent on the reg in the city, but boy were they stunning. We are still in the throes of spring so although it’s slowly warming up, we haven’t yet reached the high temps that Sydney is so well known for, which meant, we needed layers. My year down under has taught me to explore what’s on my doorstep, back in the UK, I would never have camped out in the cold, but weekends away are such a norm here its made me want to explore the UK more when I'm back. 

So one Friday after work we hit the road armed with all the camping essentials and ready to explore another part of beautiful Oz. Jervis Bay is about a 3 hour drive outside of Sydney and is a breath-taking oceanic bay and village on the south coast of New South Wales. It is also said to be home to some of the whitest sands in the world. We stayed at Green patch Campsite which is the perfect spot for a quiet weekend of camping. It’s located in Booderee National Park and is surrounded by lagoons, beautiful beaches, wildlife and walking trails. With hot showers, clean toilets and BBQ areas, it made it very easy to get at one with nature whilst still providing those essentials. My kinda camping! 

We arrived late on the Friday night so just hit the sack ready for an early rise. It might have been just spring when we went and bloody freezing at night, but the daytime was beautiful blue skies and the perfect exploring temperature. After a tasty fry up we ventured past the lagoon and onto Greenfield Beach which blew us away. They weren’t wrong, the sand was pure white and like nothing we have ever seen before. We were the only two on the beach leaving us even more speechless. If only every weekend started this way. There are coastal walks in abundance so we embarked on the hike to Hyams Beach which is one of the most popular of the myriad of beaches that make up Jervis Bay. Again, the white sands and turquoise waters left us feeling very lucky to be able to call Australia home. It was absolutely stunning.

As Matt and I are heading off on our travels soon, and are both keen on photography, we started a little visual diary which you can check out HERE. We thought why not kick-start it in Sydney as we still have a couple more months of exploring left to do and Jervis Bay was the perfect backdrop to polish our photography skills and showcase how beautiful New South Wales is! Saturday was spent swimming (yes, it was freezing but still so fun!) and hiking before we rounded it off in the pub (obvs), The Huskisson Hotel is a waterfront pub in the sleep village of Huskisson and is huge! We devoured proper pub grub whilst looking through all our holiday snaps – it was a weekend for the memory bank for sure. 

Since I can remember I have been an avid charity shop lover, sifting through rails of jumbled together clothes and random bric-a-brac is the idea of pure heaven to me. What is it they say… one person’s trash is another person’s treasure? I owe my love of vintage fashion and charity shops to my nan and grandad, since I was young they dragged me and my sister in and out of Hampshire’s best second-hand shops, carboots and antique fairs and I grew to become absolutely obsessed.

I not only enjoy a good old rummage but I am also pretty good at it. I’m not blowing my own trumpet here, but I have been a serial thrifter for years, and it comes to a point when you kind of just get a sense of what to dig out and what to leave behind. I also LOVE vintage shops, so as you can imagine my initial move to London where I bagged a job on Brick Lane was a bloody dream. However, my enjoyment is all about the initial rummage, and with some vintage shops they have done the hard work for you. The thrill for me is all about sourcing the best bits myself, I get such a buzz off those dusty old garms.

Dress - Charity Shop in Lower Clapton, East London

There are plenty of benefits in shopping savvy – aside from the thrill of bagging a bargain – it’s also a great way to save some cash whilst donating money to a good cause. Charity shops sometimes have sales too (IIIIII KNOW) and if you’re lucky, you might stumble across a £1 rail (yes, these are a thing) with the coolest pair of trews on just waiting for you to take them home and wear them with love.

I have a few pals that are scared (read: repulsed) by the thought of wearing someone else’s seconds but the trick is, to not be! Take away any stigma that you have attached to charity shops and just give them a whirl. I thought I’d put together a little thrift shopping guide for ya’ll so the next time you spot a Marie Curie or Red Cross, you’ll be equipped to rummage.


Why not have a little nosey over the latest trend pages or street style shots on Who What Wear before you plan to thrift shop or carboot so you’re well versed on what’s hot, and what’s not. There’s no better feeling than bagging a bargain that is bang on trend.

Focus on colours

What is YOUR colour or, the colour of the season? Some chazza shops like to get a bit organised and put the donated clothes in colour order which means all you have to do is head straight for your fave shade.

Don’t be put off by sizes

I have so many amazing funky shirts that are a size 18, and work perfectly worn oversized or un-buttoned over an LBD.

Always look at the labels

Whether it’s vintage M&S (St Michael) or a COS top for a fraction of the price, make sure you check out the labels as it will give you a good indication of the original cost and quality. Just before I planned to book my flight to Oz, I found the perfectly fitting pair of jeans in an East London chazza shop by a brand I’d never heard of before called, Rollas. The quality felt amazing and the fit was next level but it wasn’t until I googled them  I realised that they were by a very cool Aussie brand who are known for their incredible denim. The jeans cost me £6 and they retailed for £90, I also thought it was a sign. To this day that thifty purchase cemented the fact that I was always meant to book that one-way ticket to Oz!

Always ask

If you’re on the hunt for something don’t be afraid to ask the lovely volunteer. I was recently in the market for some new workout wear and on the off-chance asked the lady behind the counter if they had any more exercise leggings available. Next thing you know, I am in the store cupboard knee-deep in athleisure gear and bagged a pair of Lululemon leggings for 5 bucks! Which, is one of my best steals yet. Lululemon is PRICEY!

Things to look out for

I always go straight to the coats, winter or not, a good coat can sometimes be hard to find and cost you the most. I once found a black cape coat with a leopard print faux-fur trim from Harrods in a Winchester charity shop for £18 and it was one of the best days of my life. Since that day on, I rule out the coats and blazers first. Don’t forget to check out the accessories too, it’s crazy what people part with and the amount of cute vintage scarfs I have found that look fresh out of Pinterest when tied in my hair bun is just ridic.

Don’t forget the guys

Shop unisex is another top tip when charity shopping. Cool army jackets and vintage shirts tend to be lurking in the men’s rails too!

Take your time

Charity shops are full of the weird and wonderful so you must dedicate a little time to the hunt. It’s a process, a thorough investigation, and totally worth it because you might just find exactly what you didn’t know you needed.

Enjoy your thrift shopping!

black friday deals

Bagging a bargain is oh-so-me. I absolutely love a good fashion steal, hence my obsession with charity shops, flea markets and carboot sales. I also love a quick online win too. I have this ability to sniff out the best bits, whether that’s the 1 pound rail in my local chazza shop or a manic H&M mid-season sale, I’ll get amongst it and somehow always leave with an armful of goodies. 

During my year living down under, I have definitely shopped less, the choice for clothes here is not as vast as it is in the UK and charity shops are far and few between, forcing me to be a little more resourceful with my wardrobe. I have ‘survived’ wearing a much smaller selection of clothes and let’s face it, come summer I am mostly only rocking lightweight dresses and bikinis anyway!

That said, I still love to bag a bargain so naturally I’ll be checking out the black Friday offering. I’ll always log on every year to see what’s been discounted and by how much. This year I am in the market for a sturdy backpack for travelling so no doubt will be scouring Kathmandu for some bargains. I am also in the market for a handful of summer pieces to pep up my much-reduced wardrobe, a fancy frock for evening cocktails and dresses easy enough to wear from work to the beach but lightweight enough to roll up in my backpack when we head off on our travels!

black friday deals

Dress - * PLT / Bag - * PLT / Earrings - * PLT / Sandals - * PLT

black friday deals

black friday deals

black friday deals

black friday deals

What about you guys? On the hunt for anything specific in the Black Friday sales?

what to do in sydney

So, as you know, I turned last month and in my wise, ripe old age I splurged a few words on what I know now, apparently I am a life guru now... if you fancy getting to know me a bit better then have a little read HERE. Other than passing on my pearls of wisdom I thought I’d share a bit about what I got up to in regards of celebrating, let’s put it this way, it was VERY fun. All cleverly planned out by my BF who was in cahoots with a couple of my besties, I was whisked away on a little staycation. It was so beautifully crafted and planned out and all such a surprise I felt rather overwhelmed. The idea of the weekend was to explore the beautiful city we live in, Sydney! 48 hours spent eating delicious food, exploring the main tourist attractions, enjoying drinks with friends and walking… lots of walking – it was such a fun way to enjoy where we live while we can as the countdown is well and truly on before we embark on our big travel adventure home. I thought I’d break down the birthday staycation for you and show you how it all unfolded and if you live or are visiting Sydney then it might give you some inspiration on where to stay, where to eat and where to visit!

The accommodation

Matt finally dished out the address on the Friday of my birthday weekend. He told me to meet him at Pier One. Naturally, I googled the destination and hell bloody YES bbz, it was pure indulgence. Once work was done I hopped in an uber and made my way into the city, Pier One is a luxury hotel with breathtaking views of Darling Harbour and it oozes Australia heritage. We had a gorgeous suite with floor to ceiling windows looking out over the harbour, a huge bed and a mini bar and snack tray to die for (Matt went straight for the Rocky Road, whilst I cracked open the red wine, obvs). The king size bed was a dream with a fluffy robe for us each to lounge in, which was the first thing I did after we unpacked. Robe and chill, mate.

what to do in sydney pier one

what to do in sydney pier one

The dinner

That evening, after all the robe and chillin’ (and red wine drinking) was done, I was treated to one of the best meals I have ever had at The Gantry. It is one of Sydney’s most iconic restaurants and has earned one hat (an Australian version of a michelin star) thanks to its chic culinary experience. The produce is sourced locally and each delicious dish is the epitome of what fine dining should look and taste like. We enjoyed espresso martinis at The Pier One bar beforehand and velvety red wines throughout dinner. I was in a food and booze heaven!

what to do in sydney

The adrenalin hit 

The next morning we enjoyed a lay in before strolling down to a beautiful French patisserie called La Renaissance. It was the cutest little French-inspired café, we munched on croissants and leisurely sipped on coffee in their quaint courtyard. Fuelled for the day we were onto the next surprise… a speedboat...! I obviously shit myself and freaked out about potential sea sickness, which looking back, was ridiculous as it was a bloody speedboat. The speedboat tour was with The Thunder Jet Boat and it was absolutely brilliant. We got soaked but luckily was instructed to wear a waterproof blanket thing, it was the most funnest thing ever and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. Your driver also doubles up as a tour guide so they take you on a tour around the harbour, perfect to perv on its amazing views and soak up a bit of its history.

what to do in sydney

The drinks

Once the speedboat was over we hopped off and headed back to the hotel as we were soaked. Luckily our digs weren’t too far to walk and we were knackered, we had a cheeky afternoon of robe and chill (with the addition of an uber eats delivery) – those dressing gowns were so soft I would have just given the hotel a 5 * rating just based on them. The surprises kept on coming and Matt had organised a big night out with our friends in the city and it was THEEE nicest surprise when I turned up to Palmer&Co to pals, champers and a cake. #BoyDidGood. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur and as per I got carried away resulting in a banging headache the following morning. I. Will. Never. Learn. 

The sightseeing... walk over the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House 

We ordered ANOTHER uber eats (don’t judge) as we needed the salt and sugar hit to cure the cocktail hangover and we needed it fast! It worked, phew, and we were ready to attack Sunday with a mega touristy day, starting with a mammoth walk over The Harbour Bridge. I had never done it and Matt had clearly remembered my need to tick it off the list before I go, it was HUGE and a tiny bit scary (I am a number one wuss, so not scary for normal people FYI) it was an impressive way to see the city and we were so lucky with the picturesque blue skies that day. Once we had crossed the bridge we strolled around Milson’s Point, a suburb of the lower North shore of Sydney and home to - in my opinion - the most spectacular views of the harbour. There is a cute little café called Ripples and the popular retro-looking theme park, Luna Park - all very Instagrammable. Once the roaming was done we had to hotfoot it back to the other side of the bridge but this time, took the ferry. Again another beautiful way to take in the views. The next part of the surprise was more eating and drinking and Matt had booked a table at the cool rooftop bar, Hotel Palisade, we devoured more wine and a tasty cheese platter – YUM. They sadly weren’t serving dinner after 4pm which was a tad annoying as he had booked the table hoping to sample their dining menu but hey, the views and wine were enough to keep us entertained for a while. Cheese and crackers would not suffice as a dinner though, so we headed off in search of some pub grub, and we were in luck, The Lord Nelson is a Sydney institution and we filled our bellies on the most tastiest fish and chips (and more wine, obvs). It was the perfect Sunday; strolling, exploring and eating!

what to do in sydney

what to do in sydney

what to do in sydney

what to do in sydney

what to do in sydney

what to do in sydney

A night under the stars

The final part to the 48 hours in our very own city was spent at the Sydney Observatory. It was fascinating, I had never been in an observatory before and to get the chance to use some of Australia’s oldest telescopes (and newest) was very special. Sadly it was a tad cloudy but still, a super gorgeous way to end a lovely birthday weekend.

Turning 32 wasn't so bad after all.

Lifestyle blog Abbie Loves

Lifestyle blog Abbie Loves

Saying no to underwire bras

The older I’ve got the less I want to wear the bras I have always been used to wearing. The kind of bra that’s full of padding, has a stiff underwire and just generally feel tight and uncomfortable. Everything these days has to be ALL about comfort for me. Loose flowing dresses… trainers… and TBH bra-free. I made a visit to an underwear outlet near my work and bagged myself a gorgeous laced bra-let from Heidi Klum for a mere $20. Comfort with an edge of sexiness plus it was on sale, Winning!

Two faced bronzer

Way back when I worked at the Estee Lauder HQ, I was there for years so naturally was inundated up with the best make-up. Once I had left and the make-up supplies dwindled, I was back on the drugstore bronzer hype, usually going for a classic Rimmel. It was fine, it did the job but it just didn’t look as plush. Also, it was the worst to take on a night out, one drunken trip or bag drop in the loo and it would obliterate and go up in dust. THE WORST. So when my bronzer ran out the other day, I took a trip to Mecca and invested in a one from Two Faced and OMG, it is divine. It smells like chocolate, has a natural shade of tan, feels super soft to touch and is in a gorgeous looking compact. And guess what, I dropped it the other day without any disasters! I am totally sold and it’s now a must-have for my make-up bag.

Touch Éclat

This is the stuff of miracles I swear. I am not a big make-up junkie, but I do enjoy it and one thing I have always gone back to, and do know works, is this bad boy. It’s incredible! I always sway towards the pink shade to brighten my undereyes instead of using concealer (which sticks to my wrinkles) and it works wonders. 

Glow tonic

A new addition to my beauty regime, well, that’s if you can say I even have one. I am terrible! Johnsons make-up wipes, a splash of cold water and then the Nivia face cream (you know the one… thick, super creamy and in a blue pot. Your nan probably uses it) is what my daily routine consists of and it’s bad, I know it is. The lady in Sephora was horrified. She put me onto the Pixi Glow Tonic and I was unsure, I never tone or cleanse as I'm lazy AF, but, with one wipe of a cotton pad I was converted. I yearn for skin that glows and I swear after a few uses my skin felt softer, brighter and looked more refreshed. My one piece of advice here is to BUY IT and get ready for dewy skin baby.

Gold hoops and vintage rings

If anything portrays my personal style, it’s a gold hoop. I have been wearing them since my obsession with Carrie Bradshaw began, all those years ago. Small or big, I don’t care mate, just as long as it’s gold and circular I am all for it. My go to are always my chunky ones from Rokit – absolute chav chic. I also love my selection of vintage rings, I have so many beautiful ones that have all been passed on to me from relatives (mainly my nan), I stare at their uniqueness everyday and love them dearly.

Tom Ford

Remember when I said I worked at Estee Lauder? Well this perfume is from those good old days. Nothing better than Tom Ford with a staff discount, eh! My usual favourite fragrance is YSL Cinema, but sadly I ran out and not about to re-purchase it considering in 9 weeks I’ll be living out of a backpack. So, I turned to the other perfume I had here, Tom Ford Champaca Absolute. I am actually a big fan. It’s sensual, luxurious and a little bit masculine and makes the perfect scent for nighttime.


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