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A holiday to me means new experiences — whether they are local or global. Every month I lived in Canada I chronicled my working holiday in Expat Updates. Now I am back in Australia, I have created Hayley Lately. At the end of each month I talk about my life lately, my blog posts, what I’ve been reading (both online and for my reading challenge) and my writing. I hope you enjoy learning about my new home and Melbourne moments.
Well, that’s a wrap on 2015. For me, it represented another move to another city (can’t hold me down), finding two casual jobs I actually enjoy and getting my out in the world. There were a few flights within Australia, but my passport remained in hiding for 2015. But don’t worry, it’s reappearing in just two months — more on that below.
December was about work, festive parties and coming home for Christmas. I braved the crowds in Melbourne’s CBD to complete my Christmas shopping and enjoyed celebrating the festive season with my housemates, thanks to an apartment building Christmas party (my first! Does anyone else’s building do this?)
I was fortunate to get two weeks holiday over the festive season, so I headed home to Magnetic Island. It was lovely to spend Christmas with my granddad, and Uncle Geoff and Aunt Jo before they move to Houston next year (I’m not jealous or anything…). Then I flew to Sydney for an epic New Year’s Eve I am not likely to forget.
The biggest holiday news to come out of December is a return trip to my beloved Bali for a week in February — a.k.a birthday time. It all transpired thanks to a ridiculously cheap Jetstar sale. I was all set to book then looked at my favoured travel search engine, Webjet. Thankfully I did as they showed me even cheaper direct flights through Virgin Australia, which has always been a top airline for me. So my mum and I are set for our first girls’ only holiday and I am ready!
I will also be booking my accommodation through Webjet, as there are some great hotel deals featured on their website. I always recommend checking out Webjet or Zuji before booking flights or accommodation, to ensure you get the best deal possible. We are all about stretching the budget here.
Like This? Check out my Review of Webjet’s Mobile App
This month I hit publish on a few stories: for Hipmunk and focusing on Melbourne.
• Merry Melbourne Christmas Guide: I had a lot of fun taking these photos of the best things to do and see in Melbourne at Christmas.
I will be doing a post shortly recapping my reading challenge, but let’s just say I only sort of failed. This is what I read in December to catch up.
• Lucy in the Sky by Paige Toon
Challenge Completed: A book at the bottom of your to-read list
This is a very easy read I found in a secondhand store. It’s slightly cliché but I enjoyed the story nonetheless. The book also takes place between London and Sydney, which appeals to the traveller in me.
• Campaign Ruby by Jessica Rudd
Challenge Completed: A book by an author you’ve never read before
I had wanted to read Rudd’s debut novel for a while and I am glad I did. It’s an interesting story about an English banker who gets fired, comes to Australia on a holiday and ends up working as a political advisor for the country’s opposition leader. I liked the inside glimpse into our political world. For those unaware, Rudd is the daughter of our former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, so she brought her unique perspective to the novel.
• Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Challenge Completed: A book you own but have never read
This book has been on my bookshelf for way too long, so I felt accomplished when I finally turned the last page. It’s a humorous collection of anecdotes from Sedaris’ life, which is definitely entertaining. I think I might even read a couple more of his books this year.
• Red Dog by Louis De Bernieres
Challenge Completed: A book with a colour in the title
To be honest, I chose to read this novel because it was short and fulfilled a challenge. But I still think it’s a great Australian tale about the powerful relationship between a dog and his owner.
• Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Challenge Completed: A book a friend recommended
My dad gave this to me and I was surprised to realise the movie Christmas with the Kranks is based on this book. I didn’t know Grisham did holiday stories, but there you go. This is a great novel to read during the festive season.
Nicola from Polkadot Passport wrote an informative post on how to make travel a reality in your life in 2016. Meanwhile, I loved the freelance tips Lizzie shares on her blog, Wanderful World. I enjoyed reading Emily from The Cosy Traveller’s thoughts on America. I found myself nodding along, from an Aussie perspective. Jayne from Girl Tweets World also wrote about the weirdness of a Christmas in summer. Although I am used to Christmas Day by the swimming pool, I think a white Christmas is much more traditional (and awesome).
December saw me become addicted to a further three television shows. It’s an obsession, seriously. The newest ones added to my list include Madam Secretary, Orphan Black and Code Black. I also saw Jennifer Lawrence’s latest film, Joy. Can this girl do anything wrong in the acting department? She delivers another amazing performance in this movie.
I did another review for The Australia Times, about Affair Play. It was one of the best performances I have seen so far in my contributor role. Looking forward to what plays 2016 has in store.