Special Delivery

As I mentioned here and here I was participating in an event called Cara Box exchange which was created and managed by Wifessionals.

I learned about the event through some blogs that I follow and decided I had to take part, although you don’t have to be a blogger to participate.

cara (car-rah) noun : beloved friend

Card

Cara Box is a quarterly box swap among women mainly based around Instagram. You get paired with two women, usually in your country and have a couple of months to get to know each other. There is also a theme and our theme was our home towns.

I decided to take part as I love receiving parcels and letters from friends and family. It’s always so exciting especially when its a surprise arrival to see what someone has picked for you. It was also fun for me because Darwin is my second home so I also got to explore a bit more about the city where I am living too.

I was matched up with Megan who lives in South Africa and Judith who is a fellow ex-pat from America who now lives in Spain. It has been great getting to know both of them and I was really excited about putting together my box for Megan.

Yesterday I had a notice that I had a parcel at the Post Office so I popped along at lunchtime today and picked up my parcel which was my gorgeous gifts from Judith. I wanted to wait until I got home to open it but got too excited!

Cara Box

I love my scarf which is a beautiful purple colour (my absolute favourite colour!). It might be generally hot here all year round but in the evenings it can get quite chilly (15-20 degrees C it’s terrible isn’t it!) so this is the perfect cover up.

Scarf

Judith also sent me a lovely mug from her home town of Segovia which is perfect as I just started my new job and hadn’t got round to buying my own mug yet. I’ve already enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate in it as the office is so chilly hot chocolate is the perfect treat!

Mug

To go with my mug I also received some coasters which will also be put to great use in the office and at home.

Coaster

Finally I was sent a very pretty ornament which is a painting of Segovia which I love. I didn’t mention it to Judith but I love picking up little items like this on my travels to keep and look back over the years and will definitely be adding this to my collection.

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I love travelling and learning about new places and I am very excited to continue getting to know my Cara Box partners Megan and Judith more over the coming months. I also hope Megan likes what I sent her!

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My Top 5 Favourite Books

As I mentioned last week I am participating in the Cara Box Exchange and each week they set us a little challenge to help us get to know our exchange partners.

This weeks challenge is to somehow decide on your top 5 favourite books or magazines if your not a book fan.

I am a huge book fan and as I have mentioned before I am taking part in the Goodreads reading challenge and set myself the challenge of 45 books this year. Well it’s almost the end of March and I’ve read 14 books which is a pretty good amount I think you’d agree, however my little progress chart thingy says I am 4 books behind schedule. Oops! Ah well I have some time on my hands and plenty of books to read so i’m sure I’ll catch up.

Back to the Cara Box Challenge though and this was in some ways a super easy thing to do because I do have some books that I just loved and didn’t want to end (The Time Travellers Wife and The Fault in Our Stars) but the question was which books should take the last 3 remaining places in my top three?

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I love all genres (and despite what the Aussie thinks don’t just read books with Vampires in, ok well not ALL the time) and so one day I might be reading a Young Adult novel and then the next day a crime thriller or romance so it really depends what takes my fancy I suppose.

the time travellers wife

I chose The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenger and put this first because it was a book I really had to persevere with and almost gave up reading several times. Despite it being hard to get in to because the way the story jumps around I knew it was a book I would enjoy if I could just get past that. When I did I thought it was just brilliant, you get totally invested in the characters and experience all of their ups and downs.

my sisters keeper

Next up is My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult. The film for this book sucked, it was not good at all and I had such high hopes for it because the book is amazing. I am drawn to books with a semi legal theme and this has that in bucket loads as well as lots of drama as the story unfolds so you really don’t know how it could end and it is a surprise.

The Hunger Games

I loved the first Hunger Games book by Suzanne Collins but wasn’t so keen on the second and third books in the series (although the firms are exceeding expectation) and raved to all of my friends that they should read them and they did and also love them, so decided I would stick the first book in my list.

the fault in our stars

The Fault in our Stars by John Green was recommended to me by a friend who reads the same kinds of books as me and she knew I would love it. I can’t wait for the film to come out and I really hope it will be true to the book as this story is just beautiful. I really think everyone should read this book but be prepared for some huge up’s and downs throughout.

the book thief

I fell in love with the story of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak when watching the film and started reading it as soon as possible and fell in love with it some more. It’s such an interesting book and so well written, it’s difficult not to enjoy I think.

Books that didn’t make the cut but that I also love include The Memory Keepers Daughter, Life of Pi, the Divergent Series (this didn’t make the list as I hate the ending in the final book), The Lovely Bones, Monsoon Season, The Beautiful Creatures series, The Game of Thrones series (I hope the next book comes out soon), The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices Series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Residue Series and Gone Girl.

Oh dear I just realised all of my choices are either films or about to be made in to films – does this mean I have good book taste!?!

5 Things I can’t live without

I am participating in an event called a Cara Box Swap. For the swap you get matched with 2 ladies, one who you send a gift to and one who sends you a gift. The nice thing about it all is that you connect with and get to know new people and learn all about their lives.

The swap takes place every quarter and this is my first one so I am quite excited about getting to know the two lovely ladies I have been matched with, one who is in Spain and one who is in South Africa as well as selecting the gifts that I will be sending out.

The swap is primarily run through Instagram and I noticed the other day that the Cara Box account suggests weekly themes to help you get to know the ladies you have been matched with. This week’s is 5 things that you cannot live without and so I thought I would have a look and decide what my 5 things are.

Now the first 5 things that sprang to mind without much thought are (in no particularly order really as they are all equally important to me):

1) The Aussie
2) My amazingly supportive family
3) My amazingly supportive friends from the UK
4) My gorgeous dog Henry
5) My parents and brothers pets (Tilley, Tess, Kismet (craziest cat I have ever met), Tobey and Milley)

I figured that some of those people probably wouldn’t want their picture blown up for all to see on my blog although I will show you the animals again

Dogs and Cats

As a result I decided to take a photo of the 5 things from my handbag that I cannot live without and explain a bit about them:

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(My 5 things)

1) My iPhone and ipad – these are essentials (and I am a little addicted to them too I think) as they mean I can speak to my family and friends at home pretty much all of the time. We text, iMessage, FaceTime, Skype, What’s App and Facebook sometimes constantly (the Aussie once asked how often I text and message everyone via What’s app and told him he probably didn’t want to know!).

This technology means that being the 12,000 odd miles away from home doesn’t feel so bad for someone who is a bit of a homebody. It makes the distance acceptable until we can all be together.

As you will see my iPhone is a little bit sad looking though as it is well and truly smashed after I dropped it on the floor when using it as a torch to go to the bathroom at 5am in the morning.

2) Headphones – I love that their pink firstly, I don’t know what has happened but I find myself wearing pink more and more these days and also greens which never really appealed to me before. It must be the Aussie air or something.

I also love these headphones as they are the only ones I have bought that haven’t died in a month from being thrown in and out of my various bags so I can listen to music, talk to my family and friends via Facetime etc. I’m very anti social when I am out because if I am walking anywhere I plug the headphones in and just listen to my music.

Due to my love of listening to music these are an essential!

3) Sunglasses – I have pretty bad eye sight. I had an operation on my left eye when I was about 2 but I still have shocking eyesight (3D films etc just do not work for me for example). The Aussie drove home from my night out last night and I was shocked how bad my eyesight is without glasses in the dark.

In the end when I finally started driving I declared my terrible eyesight to the DVLA in the UK and so now have to legally drive with glasses which is fine but you need some good sunglasses in Australia. I used to have some practical but not very attractive looking sunglasses but just before I came here I found a super cheap glasses website and these glasses cost me about £50 with all the scratch resistant type stuff.

I would be lost without these glasses so they are essentials!

4) Hair Serum – a gift from my equally curly haired friend for my Birthday in November after I discovered the cost of buying some toiletry products in Australia.

My hair is very curly, tight ringlet curly if I don’t manage it well. I used to hate having curly hair and for a long time straightened it pretty much daily but then I discovered how to manage the curl and now quite like that I can go curly or straight if I like.

It’s so humid in Darwin at the moment due to the never ending wet season (I’d love some rain or for the dry season to actually start and drop the humidity a bit please!) that serum is essential. If I didn’t use it the curls would just get bigger and bigger and with a touch of frizz – not a pretty sight!

5) Mints – I toyed between mints and plasters as I am so clumsy always cutting myself or finding I have scratched a stupid mosquito bite so need a plaster but I decided mints are essential for obvious reasons!!!

So those are my 5 essentials, what are yours?