FINDING YOUR COMMUNITY


Over the past few months, it's become increasingly clear to me how important it is to have a solid, reliable community around you.. both as an individual, and as a married couple.

We are lucky enough to have an extremely strong community in our family, and are eternally grateful that the relationships we have with our immediate family are so strong and so unbreakable. We know it's not always the case for your siblings to be your best friends, but for us, that's just how it is and we couldn't feel more blessed. I haven't always felt this way, so to now have that as my reality makes it all the more sweeter and even more difficult to imagine a life without our family a 10 minute drive away.

Finding friendships that feel like family is also something I think we have taken for granted over the past few years. It's only recently where I've really come to realise (and whole-heartedly appreciate) the impact that my friendships have on me. I'm not talking surface friendships - I'm talking the deep, soul-filling kind of friendships that remain stable, solid and consistent regardless of location, time and status.

My circle is small - and I used to think that only having a couple of friends was a bad thing. I used to think that the more friendships I had, the more fulfilled I would feel but I couldn't have been more wrong. My girlfriends that I keep close these days are some of the strongest women I know. They influence me and drive me to be better. They call me out when I'm in the wrong, and push me forward towards my fears because they believe in me and what I'm doing. They FaceTime me to say "hi"/"I'm thinking of you" even when they're in the middle of their supermarket shop, and they turn up at my doorstep with wine and chocolate when they know I've had a bad day.

Maybe not sisters by blood, but soul sisters, they are.

To finish, I want to bring light to this C.S. Lewis quote I came across and couldn't agree with more (but I'd say that a circle around a picnic blanket at the beach would also do the trick!) 

“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?”
- C.S. Lewis

I hope you all find your tribe.
 People always say don't settle for "the one", but I also think you shouldn't settle for friendships that aren't the real deal. They can do more harm than good and you deserve more than that.

Love + light,
A x 








NELSON & MALBOROUGH, NZ


A couple of snaps from our trip to Nelson/Marlborough last month. We explored Pelorus Bridge and Rabbit Island, but mainly just let ourselves be. In a time of craziness, that was exactly what we needed.

More to come...
- A x








THE END OF YEAR ONE


We have decided to take anniversary photos every year to mark the end, and the start, of each new season of our marriage.

We've been taking portraits of ourselves for years now (nearly six years!) and always find it so fascinating and so special to look back on them as the years go by. We've got photos from when we first started dating, to our first huge overseas trip together, to our university coffee dates, ski trips, picnics... the list goes on. We're big photo people, if you couldn't already tell ;-)

This year, we spent our anniversary in Queenstown and it was the most beautiful backdrop to start this new tradition. The mountains are one of our favourite places to take photos (on par with the coast) and we had so much fun taking a few moments out of our evening to capture these photos together. Already, they're some of my favourites.











SPA TIME - ONSEN HOT POOLS


On the morning of our anniversary, we headed to Onsen Hot Pools for a morning of relaxation and one-on-one time. When we arrived, we were shown to our private room, with our own private spa pool! Our jaws dropped when we saw the view - it was breathtaking!

Onsen Hot Pools is only a short drive from the centre of Queenstown and overlooks the Shotover Canyon. You can book a pool for one hour at a time, and the pools can fit up to four people! We were lucky enough to get the "tandeki" package, which meant we were provided with ice-cream, chocolate and wine to enjoy whilst spa-ing. Never too early for a cheeky celebratory wine! ;-)

We would highly recommend a trip to Onsen if you are ever in Queenstown - it was the perfect romantic start to our first wedding anniversary!

ONSEN HOT POOLS: www.onsen.co.nz








THE BEACH PEOPLE


We love living close to the beach. To be honest, we can't really imagine (or want to imagine) a life that isn't coast-side. A life where we can see the ocean from out our bedroom window and a life where we can venture down to the sea whenever we please.

Although the nights are definitely getting darker, there have still been a few beautiful, golden-lit evenings over the last week which have reminded me of why I love summer in the first place. After a season of pretty average "summer" weather, it can be hard to remember what January and February were supposed to feel like! We've missed the bbq's and the shorts / jandals so much this year!

I've always got my eye out for quality pieces to add to our growing collection of picnic essentials (our hallway cupboard is begging me to stop), and my latest obsession is this beach towel + bag combo from some friends across the ditch - The Beach People! They specialize in luxe beach essentials and this towel certainly fits the bill. This is the Avalon roundie, and it is the perfect beach towel / picnic blanket combo! 

TOWEL / BAG: @thebeachpeople










A NECKLACE WITH A MEANING - EDEN ZOE


IV.III.MMXVI
4th March 2016.
Our wedding day.

This necklace holds so much meaning for me. To be able to wear such a beautiful necklace every day and to have it symbolise the most significant date of my life is so special. I'm not lying when I say I haven't taken this necklace off since the day I got it! It's 100% my style when it comes to jewellery - simple and delicate, and Tim loves it too which is an added bonus :-) It's the perfect gift (for anyone really!), so ladies, head on over to Eden Zoe and browse through their website. They have so many different necklace options, metals and font styles that you can choose from - they even do bracelets and rings!

I'm wearing the Dainty Bar Necklace in gold, with an 18 inch chain and block font style.

If you're keen to get your hands on one of these beauties for yourself, I'm doing a giveaway with Eden Zoe over on my instagram @ariana.leilani! Jump over to my giveaway post (click here) and follow the instructions to enter. 
Giveaway closes Thursday September 7, 2017 at 5PM NZ time.






THE MOST DELICIOUS HEALTHY CHOCOLATE SMOOTHIE WITH OUR OPTIMUM G2.1 SECOND GENERATION BLENDER


We recently acquired a brand new blender from Froothie and we have been absolutely loving being a bit more creative in the kitchen and making all kinds of variations of smoothies, soups, nut sauces - you name it!

Our previous blender was not up to scratch when it came to making anything other than berry smoothies (seriously, haha!) - so when we first started being more intentional about eating plant-based foods and making more recipes from my plant-based cookbooks, I was really struggling with blending up things like nuts, seeds etc., as we just did not have a blender that could handle chopping them up smooth enough. I can't stress the importance of a quality blender when it comes to making vegan alternatives. It will make your life SO much easier!

In saying that, we have been SO impressed with our Optimum G2.1 Second Generation vortex blender. It's commercial grade, so there is absolutely no issue with its capability to blend things like a dream! You can choose from several different settings depending on what you are making, e.g. smoothie, soup, vegetables, milkshake etc. As well as having the ability to manually enter the time/power you want to use, it also has in-built settings for each mode, making it a one-button process if you want to take the thinking out of it, like me!

One of my all-time favourite drinks has always been a chocolate thickshake, so when going plant-based I really wanted to find a way to replicate your standard, ice-cream chocolate milkshake in a more healthy form. This cacao-banana smoothie will BLOW YOUR MIND. It tastes SO good, and there's not a single bad thing in it. Trust me, you need to try this.

What you will need:

- Approx 1 cup of ice-cold water (don't use tap water unless you're using frozen bananas, as you want this drink to be COLD!) You can add more water as you please, the amount of water you use will determine how thick the smoothie's consistency is!
- 2 ripe bananas (or a large handful of chopped, frozen banana)
- 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons of almond butter (feel free to use any nut butter substitute if you don't have almond butter on hand... I'm sure peanut butter would make a delicious addition and almost make the smoothie taste like a snickers bar!)
- dash of cinammon (this will give you that sweet flavour you're craving without using refined sugar!)
- optional: 1/2 a serving of your favourite protein powder. We use Balance Plant-Based Protein in Vanilla and it's the best we've found so far!

Put all ingredients in your blender, and whizz until smooth! It's as simple as that!

Enjoy!

To learn more about the Optimum Blender range and our blender, the Optimum G2.1 Second Generation - click here 











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