Stories from Fredonia

Final post for The WW

Posted on August 1, 2015 by

So this is the end for The Wandering Wombat. It’s the final post, the end of an era, the start of a new dawn.

It’s sad to come to an end – but there are bigger things on the horizon. I’ve just teamed up with my best and oldest friend (Brittany Tan) of sixteen years on our latest project; Outsiders Co. This girl is my support system – and we have been a constant dynamic duo since our primary school years of doubles kayaking and pyjama clad sleep overs right through to our final years of graduating university. We always give everything 110%; our friendship and our projects – so I know this one will be killer. We will be blogging about our greatest lifestyle passions, fashion, travel, heath and beauty, and events. I can’t wait to see where this blog will take us – so I encourage you all to follow and stay in the loop, I will be writing and posting for Outsiders Co weekly. With the skills and expertise of Marketing and Design guru Britt I can promise you it will be worth the follow.

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Britt and I before our first Ends Eve gig

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Ends Eve gig number two!

I’ve enjoyed watching The WW grow over the years, and thank each individual follower, visitor, sharer and supporter along my journey. I feel like I have grown as a blogger, and cannot wait to bring my new mindset and creative visions to Outsiders Co.

But before I leave – one last update on what’s been happening in the life of this wombat. I finally graduated from my Journalism degree at The University of Sunshine Coast, and am ready for my move in the next year or two to Sydney to see where my degree will take me.

I recently wandered the states again, and wanted to share a few of my highlights. California and Hawaii were my highlights, I have fallen in love with the palm tree scattered horizons along Venice boardwalk, and the Honolulu heat and humidity made me feel right at home on the Sunshine Coast. The Grand Canyon was by far the most breathtaking and priceless experience I’ve ever had, and is a visual memory I will treasure with me forever.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Venice beach

Venice beach

Grand Canyon south rim views

Grand Canyon south rim views

I met quite the special guy, who shares the same passions and ambitions as me to create a life in Sydney. It’s been a whirlwind, but I wouldn’t change a thing – I finally believe the saying ‘good things come to those who wait’, and he is well worth the wait. The man in question, Dane Bayliss, is head barista at a coastal cafe Bean There Done That, and makes a gnarly Italian hot chocolate and piccolo – a standard order for myself.

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I’ve also bought a house!

So it has been quite the year for me already – and only bigger and brighter things await me in my future.

So this is the Wandering Wombat signing out – but please look out for more from me on Outsiders Co!

xxx Ash

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Sundaze

Posted on April 17, 2015 by

Did another shoot not too long ago with my talented friend Luke Smith, who is now trying out the whole Tumblr thing to show off his amazing photography skills. Check out his work here… I can assure you there is more to his talent than just photographing me lounging around in the sand in a bikini.

He’s a gifted guy behind the lens, and for something different we invited my beautiful friend Alex Young along to join. We tried a few different techniques and locations, wearing amazing swimwear by Minimale Animale, Sumika Designs, and Zulu & Zephyr.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves…

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Diwa Zambezi

Posted on April 17, 2015 by

This blog post is well overdue – and I apologise for my lateness to the extremely kind and patient couple James Blevin, 26, and Sammy Leech, 25,  who are soon to be Mr and Mrs Blevin!

I had the pleasure of interviewing this absolutely beautiful dynamic duo a while ago, to discuss all things southern Africa, safaris, weddings, and their exciting upcoming projects.

I’ll give you some background info first. James and Sammy are the iconic high school sweethearts we love to read about. They met in 2006 in their high school years at Sunshine Coast Grammar School – which I also attended, so I feel very privileged to have known them on their journey together. You might recognise Sammy in the photos below – that’s because she’s the older sister to Nicci Leech, who helped out with my skin care blog post while staying together in Sydney!

James and Sammy are now set to tie to knot in only a matter of weeks, and I am so excited for them.

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I’m also excited about their conservation venture they’ve embarked on together. Just when you think the couple couldn’t be any more perfect, they’ve started their own charity, ‘Diwa Zambezi’, which is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and registration approval with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) is imminent.

Diwa Zambezi’s mission in simple terms is to protect and conserve the Zambezi River, and its wilderness surrounds. James explained that the approach to execute this mission is multi-faceted in that ecotourism, volunteering and retail profits will be used to supplement conventional fundraising and donation revenues. The noticeable rapid decline in wildlife populations in both Zambia and Zimbabwe in the last decade has precipitated a real need for intervention of this sort.

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James, chairman of Diwa Zambezi, is from Zimbabwe himself, so his passion for his heritage is understandable, but it is further amplified by his determination to preserve the wilderness areas of the Zambezi, so that future generations may have the privilege of experiencing these wonderlands for themselves.

“Over the last decade elephant numbers in the Sebungwe region, which includes the Matusadona National Park on the shores of Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe, have plummeted by 75% or 9,000 in number. If the population loss continues at the current rate, the African elephant will be extinct in the wild in less than 12 years. Other iconic African species such as the rhinoceros, lion, cheetah and wild dog are gravely threatened with the same fate. To see any of Africa’s iconic species in the wild, is to really live, and the next generation deserves that opportunity,” said James.

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Over the years James and Sammy have travelled to over forty countries together however the wildernesses of the Zambezi stand tall as the pinnacle of their travels, and now Sammy has fallen in love with the land herself, describing the African sky as ‘higher’ and ‘pervading magic’. Think Simba, Timone and Pumba staring up at the endless night skies in The Lion King.

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What makes Diwa Zambezi such a unique company, differentiating itself from other conservation organisations, is that it wants to involve you however it can through numerous offerings which include guided safaris to a number of locations in the vicinity of the Zambezi River such as the Mana Pools National Park, Lake Kariba and the Victoria Falls.

Activities for prospective visitors include game viewing, photographic safaris, tiger fishing, elephant rides, bush walks, bungee jumping and white water rafting in the celebrated Batoka Gorge to name just a few. The next six months will also see the establishment of an online shop, the purpose of which is to advocate and popularise African wildlife and habitats.

Profits from these commercial operations will be coupled with fundraising and donation revenues and used to fund conservation works in the national parks of the Zambezi. In time Diwa Zambezi will also seek to allocate a portion of its revenues to Australian conservation initiatives as a means of retaining its Australian identity.

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In a recent press release on the Diwa Zambezi website, James quoted “The greatest threat to African wildlife is belief that someone else will save it.”

James believes these words are very poignant for the simple reason that many people plan to visit Africa at least once in their lifetimes, and yet do nothing to ensure its preservation for posterity.

For more information on the amazing work this beautiful couple is creating, please visit www.diwazambezi.org and make your trip to the mother continent one that makes a difference.

And to view the fundraising campaign – visit http://www.chuffed.org/project/diwazambezi.

I wish both James and Sammy the best of luck for their conservation venture together, and especially for their big day! Stay tuned for more updates on this absolute power couple and their journey on the path less travelled.

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All photos supplied by James Blevin 

 

 


Sunshine in Sumika

Posted on March 8, 2015 by

I love promoting local businesses on the Sunshine Coast, and it’s all the more enjoyable when I get the chance to combine blogging amazing local ventures and the beach. Sumika Collections is a local business specialising in handcrafted and uniquely designed crochet swimwear and clothing.

The designer and business creator, Angela Miller, has an amazing eye for detail, and her designs truly reflect the relaxed and carefree nature of the Sunshine Coast beach-goers.

You can find her handmade designs at morning markets around the coast, such as Cotton Tree markets early on a Sunday. Otherwise, check out her Instagram @sumikacollections to see more of her inspiring range.

I’ve added some photos of myself and my sister wearing some of her amazing pieces – can’t wait to get my hands on some more!

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Market madness

Posted on February 23, 2015 by

Every Sunday morning, Cotton Tree closes off Kings Street and opens up market stalls, which makes my Sunday mornings at the beach all the more interesting.

My favourite stall was homemade jewellery inspired by the beauty of the ocean, called ‘Shared Earth‘. Necklaces made from coral, shell bracelets and rings, and ocean artworks filled the stall, and I can’t wait to purchase some of these intricate designs for myself.

I also like visiting boutiques that surround the morning markets, and I’ve included my usual photo reel of inspired goods. ‘Alterior Motif’ and ‘Willow and Bird’ are two of my favourites, I can’t wait to move to Sydney and decorate my new home with their amazing products, I might stock up on a few of these items before I move!

Cotton Tree markets are held every Sunday morning 7am – 12pm, if you’re in the area I definitely recommend a morning trip to the beach, followed by a freshly made coffee at Get Fresh, and a stroll through the markets.

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Beaches of Sydney: Milk Bay

Posted on February 21, 2015 by

The first beach I visited in Sydney was with my friend Lincoln, in a quiet little spot called ‘Milk Bay’.

It was a scenic walk to get to, along the harbour, and when we arrived it reminded me of a small European beach, with breathtaking views of beautiful boats, the Opera house and Harbour Bridge.

It was the day before Australia Day, and the weather was pristine. As usual, Sydney’s water was a lot cooler than the temperatures I am used to on the coast, but it was so refreshing it hardly bothered me.

What really made the experience was a little tinny that drove past, selling ice creams, and even had a little ice cream bell.

Views were just spectacular, and I can’t wait to go back!

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The itch

Posted on February 21, 2015 by

Every traveller gets it. It doesn’t matter if it was just a weekend away, an over-night stay at a B&B, or a gap year abroad.

It’s inevitable. Once you’ve travelled… you’re going to suffer the itch.

I guess they call it ‘the itch’, because it literally itches under your skin. It creeps up on you so slowly, you don’t even notice. You return home to your routine, your job, your family, a place of comfort. And when you’ve unpacked your suitcase and have finally adjusted to normal time zones, home cooked meals and familiarity… it starts to itch.

You just want to be out on the road again, exploring, experiencing new things and taking in new sights.

It might not be the case for everyone, but right now I am definitely feeling the itch.

I’m entering my final semester of my Journalism degree at University of the Sunshine Coast, writing again for the Sunshine Coast Daily, planning and packing for my relocation to Sydney, as well as planning a quick detour past California, Vegas, and Hawaii to celebrate my graduation.

To tie over these travel cravings until July, I think a few more visits to Sydney and along the south coast will be in order…

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Chicken Taco Bowls

Posted on February 9, 2015 by

All hail the crock pot!

Chris suddenly decided to buy a crock pot this weekend and I’m loving it! I’m sold on the idea of throwing ingredients into a pot in the morning and coming home in the evening to hearty dinner awaiting. And you can’t forget the bountiful leftovers it provides.

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For our first crock pot adventure, we made chicken taco bowls, which eventually became chicken tacos wrapped in jalapeño quesadilla wraps because we ran out of rice during our second (and ok we’re guilty…. third) helpings. What can I say other than they were delicious!

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So delicious that Chris felt “like Ron Swanson when he has a hamburger.”

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This super-easy recipe by Best Food Book is packed with flavor and is just right for those cold winter nights.

Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
1 (16 oz.) jar salsa
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) frozen corn
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt, cracked pepper to taste
2 cups dry rice
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 bunch cilantro

Instructions
1. 
Add everything except rice, cheese and cilantro to the slow cooker, along with 1/4 cup water (for good measure). Give everything a good stir and make sure the chicken is covered in the mixture.
2. Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
3. Near the end of the 8 hours, cook two cups of rice (Bring the rice and three cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. When it reaches a bowl, reduce heat and cover, letting simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving).
4. Carefully remove the lid of the slow cooker, stir with fork and shred chicken (it should be super tender and will easily shred).
5. Build taco bowls by pacing rice on bottom, adding taco chicken mix atop, shredded cheese and fresh cilantro.

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I would definitely recommend these chicken tacos to anyone with a slow cooker and taste buds…. Enjoy!


Beaches of Sydney: Bondi

Posted on February 8, 2015 by

Today was perfect weather to visit Bondi – Australia’s most iconic beach and a truly beautiful stretch of sand. What I enjoy most about Bondi is that it’s broken up into three sections.

You have North Bondi, or also known as the Grassy Knoll, the ‘main beach’ in the middle, and Ice Bergs at the other end.

The Bondi to Bronte walk starts at Ice Bergs and wraps itself around the coastline to Bronte beach, with just breathtaking views that are unjustified through photos.

The famous Bondi surf lifesavers are noticeable by their blue jerseys and sun-bleached hair, you might even recognise a few from the reality show Bondi Rescue.

As usual I have a photo reel below for you to enjoy, and I think you will understand why this is probably my favourite beach (out of all the beaches in both Queensland and NSW I have experienced) – and why I believe Bondi will be my choice of residency when I move here permanently in a few months…

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Ultimate guide to surviving Valentine’s Day… for men

Posted on February 8, 2015 by

Cruising the internet lately, catching up on my favourite bloggers, has got me noticing Valentine’s Day posts starting to make their way once again onto our screens.

I always enjoy reading everyones take on this ‘big’ day. I like to view it as basic politics. You’re either left or right wing, cheesey or cynical. But what I particularly enjoy most when reading V-Day posts… are the ones written by men.

Don’t confuse me for being sexist, but let’s call a spade a spade; it’s a day most women live for, and most men fear.

Goldman Sach, otherwise known as GS Elevator, released an ‘unofficial guide to surviving Valentine’s Day’ – and I think (hope) it may be satirical… but nether the less it’s extremely well worded and quite an interesting take on spoiling your woman on this over-celebrated most ‘romanticised’ event of the year.

Check it out here, it’s a well worth read and the wittiest V-Day post I’ve come across. Mothers lock up your daughters, they’re about to be swept away.

And for the Jimmy Kimmel fans, another classic YouTube challenge Valentines special.


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