Review: Away Travel Luggage

Review: Away Travel Luggage

A month before I departed on my trip to New Zealand, I bought two new cases from Away Travel online both in the colour “sand”:

  1. The Carry On
  2. The Medium

I bought these two as they were essential sizes that I needed to replace old bags. I considered buying The Large luggage, but didn’t think I’d need that much space. I spent a few nights measuring the bags against my old ones, making sure they were the perfect size. The lifetime guarantee was another factor that drew me towards Away Travel; I prefer to buy items that will last, rather than buying something that I will need to replace after a few months.

After months of hesitation, I finally bought them! Altogether, these bags cost $625 AUD. The carry on was $295 and the medium was $375. Purchasing the bags in a luggage set, I saved $45. Shipping was free. On to the review!

I’ll score these bags out of 10, based on these 3 criteria:

  1. First impression.
  2. Durability.
  3. Overall function.

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My score: 8/10. 

On my work break, my sister messaged me and sent me a photo that my new luggage arrived! It took about 10 days shipping to Australia. I assume they have a warehouse in one of the major cities which ensured quick delivery. So far, so good!

One of my concerns buying online, was that the bags could get damaged, lost or stolen on its way to me.  However, my bags were encased in hard foam to keep from denting or damage in transit. And the fact that these boxes arrived without getting lost, was a good sign.

Out of the box, these bags felt quite light. The exterior material is grainy but not tacky upon looking at them. However, the feel of the exterior lost marks as it is rough and made it feel cheap despite it’s expensive ‘look’. The colour was one of the many reasons I went with Away Travel Luggage. I got both bags in the colour “sand” and it was just as beautiful in person as they looked online!

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My score: 7/10.

At first, I was really careful when rolling my bags around. After a week or so and especially when I began packing, I used quite a bit of force to open and close the bags. So far, they haven’t cracked or damaged when I’ve turned the bags sideways or sat on them to zip the bags shut!

When picking up The Medium luggage at bag collection, I noticed a few scuff marks. Other than that, the bag held up well throughout the international flight. The two electronic appliances I took were intact.

Despite stuffing my luggage with thick sweaters and making my bag bulge slightly, it closed relatively easily! For some reason, I worried constantly about buying a new luggage bag and then breaking the zipper on the first go. This did not happen!

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My score: 7/10

As you can see in the image above, both The Carry On and The Medium have two compartments: one side with a mesh zip flap and the other with mesh storage and two tightening clips.

Both sides were equally easy to use, fill and re-open when needed. I found the two-clip side really useful for my bulky sweaters and jacket. I could compress the sides down by pulling at the clip tail.

Both bags had a locking system at the top of the bags for security. They also came with luggage tags attached which I only filled out half-way through the trip. Oops.

Both the Carry On and The Medium had four wheels which was essential when purchasing new bags. I didn’t want to worry about having to drag one or both cases with me. Convenience is essential when traveling, especially overseas!

A few things I would note:

  • Overlap: If one side is heavier than the other and you flip it to zip the case up, it can overlap, resulting in a bit of strategic manoeuvring in order to close.
  • Top handles not catching: Both the handles can be temperamental. Particularly, when going through security – especially during peak time – you’ve got to grab your belongings quickly off the scanning belt and continue walking or else you’ll hold up the people behind you. However, the handle of my carry on would not “catch” and I’d end up carrying it out of the way to avoid a hold up. I’ve now learned not to worry about the perfect height of the handle and simply pull it up with some force so it locks in and I can roll away smoothly!
  • The wheels: I found if my carry on was 7-8kg, it would wheel, but sometimes get lost in a different direction than the one I am pulling it. Similarly, at 24kg, my medium luggage bag would wheel but I needed to add force and keep a steady grip so it wouldn’t roll in the wrong direction. This could be because I filled my bags to capacity — I still haven’t completely learned to pack ‘light’! 

All in all, I am so happy with my purchase. These bags got me from A to B AKA Adelaide to New Zealand. Through the road-trips we took, and having to re-pack each time into a small boot space with other luggage, they did exactly what was advertised. My belongings were safe through it all and I wasn’t afraid of anything breaking! Plus, they look stylish AF when rolled together. Totally worth the money spent!

I hope this review gave you an insight to Away Travel carry on and medium luggage bags. Happy travels!

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Why I don’t believe in God.

Why I don’t believe in God.

There isn’t one particular reason why my belief faded. It’s a collection of big and small occurrences. So go grab a coffee, tea, snack or a full meal – this will be a long one!

{Please note that this is my personal experience and is not a way to shame others who are religious! We are free to believe what we want, and we have the ability to choose: if something becomes oppressive or harmful in our lives, we can let it go!}

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I’d been part of a youth group for a number of years. At that point in my life, I felt rather secure in my faith. As a teenager, I had curious questions, but they were met with “I don’t know” or “pray about it”. I would shrug it off. Deep down, I had this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right.

During my senior years of school, my personal life became absolute chaos: my grades began to slip, I was sad, anxious and angry. I was being manipulated by people around me. Trapped. I clung to the idea of a “loving God” because I felt that love was lacking so much in my life. I wanted protection, guidance and love.

God filled a void I had no capacity to fill for myself. Spoiler alert: not yet, anyway.

Then, under the pressure of school and toxic relationships, I started experiencing what some may call “spiritual warfare”. It began at a youth camp. At first, I heard a light whispering. After a few minutes, an unknown voice spoke to me. These voices could not be identified as male or female. I was terrified, sometimes numb and mostly sad. What was wrong with me? Was I losing my mind?

An adult in the community suggested I see a mental health professional, but this was a red-flag to me at the time. If this adult agrees I’m suffering from these experiences because of my “sin”, why would she then suggest I see a psychologist? What would the benefit be if this was in fact a spiritual matter? To say I was confused, would be a gross understatement. These voices haunted me for 6-9 months. I never saw a doctor. And my family never suggested I needed to.

This was the beginning of the end.

{I mentioned this experience to my psychologist recently and she agreed that under the enormous amount of mental pressure I was under during that time, it could have been auditory hallucinations.}

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After deliberation, I let my parents know that I was leaving the catholic church. I even had a short chat with a priest about it. He was surprisingly supportive of my plans to attend a new church.

I began attending a protestant church which was the opposite of the type of church I grew up in. There were no dark wooden pews, no statues and not as many windows. We didn’t have to be silent or hold our heads down. This is where I started to learn about community. The people were the church! <– my “aha” moment.

As life would have it, the insecurity returned. I felt I didn’t belong. I didn’t want this “responsibility” to evangelise. I didn’t want to stop same-sex couples marrying each other. I didn’t want to shame others for how they felt, because I knew what that was like. There was a deep conflict brewing between what I was taught to believe, versus what I wanted to believe.

I couldn’t believe it. I was a self-righteous wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I kept preaching “love all people” and yet I was shaming people for their “sins”, trying to scare people into believing. I would talk about how abortion was so harmful to the foetus, yet ignore the needs and wants of the woman bearing this difficult decision.

I was a complete hypocrite!

I needed to remove myself from this blanket of lies.

Title_04.jpgThe threatening voices were gone, but there was a new voice in my head: the voice of reflection and reason.

Where did I belong if it wasn’t with a church community? Could I accept myself as Angela without the identity of religion? Why did I think that saying hurtful things and scaring people would draw them to religion?  

By the age of 18, I moved out of home to a granny-flat with my relatives. I learned about budgeting expenses (although they were minimal), how to cook for myself, how to plan around uni classes and work. I also met new people! They have become some of my closest friends.

The world was different than I imagined! I thought it was a dark, sinful place. I thought that me leaving my faith behind meant that I would go to hell. Ironically, this belief was shed once I started seeing a mental-health counsellor.

By age 19 and in my early 20s, my worldview completely changed.

I didn’t need to feel guilty about speaking my mind, questioning beliefs or getting drunk on a Saturday night. What’s the point of me believing in something I didn’t agree with anyway? In my mind, I either conformed to religious beliefs (no drinking, dating with intention, voting against same-sex marriage, being against accessible abortion etc) or I was free. Guess what I chose?

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Freedom has always been a value of mine. Whether it be the freedom to choose, the freedom from manipulation, religion or a mindset, freedom has always been the goal.  I’m not afraid of what a book may say, or that a “believer” might tell me my life is full of sin.

I know in myself, that I am complete because I am. In my darkest moments, faith was comforting. But now, my darkest moments are an example of how strong I am because I fucking fight back. Not because someone tells me they’re praying for me.

I accept myself as I am, without religion: a woman who is trying to live her best life, despite the lows. A woman who is trying to bring light to her part of the world through encouraging compassion for oneself and others. A woman shedding light on societal pressures: what a woman should or shouldn’t do, wear, say and feel. A woman who is free.

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Reflections during the Long Weekend

Reflections during the Long Weekend

Today, I want to reflect on the last two years. Particularly, for myself as an individual as well as a committed person in a relationship. I’m always starting conversations with my boyfriend about the future regarding property, financial goals, aspirations and ideas. As nice as it is to imagine what our future could be like in career and as people, it is so important to realise how far we’ve come.

In this world of social media (including this blog you’re reading – although I hope this is a positive one!), it can be difficult not to get swayed by what others post or say. And as advertising on social platforms becomes more rampant, it can be difficult to remember what’s truly important. I catch myself wanting material items that could never bring me true joy, so I’m taking a step back today.

A tendency of mine that I’ve had since a young age, is that I can doubt myself in almost every aspect of life. It’s sad and really frustrating. However, I’m becoming better at noticing small accomplishments and reminding myself of where I am now. Below is a humble-brag to remind myself – and you – that it’s possible to improve our lifestyle and well-being by simply working on it.

financially

  • I’m finally earning more after 10 years of being afraid to commit to a self-accountable role (and of earning minimum/below minimum wage).
  • I’m putting away half my pay-check into savings (some weeks 75%).
  • I’ve been able to save for two holidays, one of which I paid off upfront as a birthday gift for my boyfriend.

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  • I’m getting better at not taking things personally.
  • Setting boundaries but also doing my best to talk about how I really feel.
  • Able to hold space for others really well.

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  • My story is my own to change. I can either: repeat it like a broken record and be miserable and blame others for my mistakes OR I can make amazing lemonade out of lemons.
  • Learning what it takes to never give up.
  • I know my limits are only set by my mindset.
  • If I set myself to a task, to follow through.

physically

  • Trying to move my body 2-3 times a week.
  • Pushing through the tiredness.
  • Knowing there is so much room for improvement and that’s not a bad thing.

I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend! Don’t forget to remember where you’ve come from and the accomplishments you’ve made along the way.

By noticing the good in our life, we notice the good in others 🙂

What have you accomplished this year that you’re proud of?

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Life update: Am I studying? Financial goals? Travel?

Life update: Am I studying? Financial goals? Travel?

It’s been really quiet on this side of the interwebs… I can hear the tumbleweed. So here’s an update of what I’ve been up to and some changes that occurred since my last post!

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  • Started working full-time
  • I withdrew from studying psychology
  • I set some specific financial goals
  • Traveling to New Zealand (south island) in July

I also am continuing to listen to podcasts, I still practice yoga twice a week, I go on wholesome hourly walks in our beautiful neighbourhood, I still vocalise how grateful I am for a job and for the life I have, weekly.

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Since getting a new job, I’ve been learning about new systems, navigating a new team and have become an all-round busy-bee, Tuesday–Friday, 9AM-5PM. I was coming home tired from the day and then forcing my brain to use more energy after dinner. I wasn’t sleeping well. I still studied an hour or two each night, but it felt like a forced chore. With other things going on in my personal life, something had to give. And as difficult as it was, I decided to defer my studies until 2020. For the rest of the year, I can focus on saving, having more of a balanced life and of course, growing this blog!

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Thanks to many motivational talks and practical examples, I believe that reaching my financial goals are possible. Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy to work towards. I’ve had several breakdowns… If I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s to expect the unexpected.

At the moment, I’m working towards a 1k Emergency Fund. Eventually, I want to save an extra 3-4k to cover three months worth of bills. From there, I will continue to save for vacations and any other financial-heavy plans.

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What excites me is the idea of one day, starting my own counselling practice, creating self-help products and running my own online business.

Here’s a motivational quote that’s been on my mind lately:

“If you want what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.”

Since I’m in my twenties and often feel “lost”, this is a reminder that the time to try new things is now. The time to begin actioning brewing ideas is now. I must continue breaking barriers in my own mindset to achieve more than I’ve achieved before. The option is to grow, not to stay stagnant. Yes, we all get comfortable in our routines. Not to mention, all kinds of tragedy can occur and push our plans back – but it doesn’t mean we stop striving!

This is a long game. The things I’m doing now, will lead me to the places I want to be in the future. And you know what? I may not want the same things later, as I do now. Goals may be achieved earlier or later. Either way, that’s okay.

As long as I’m enjoying the process and still doing things that bring value to others and myself everyday, I am doing well!

What are your current goals and what reminders do you tell yourself to continue working towards them?

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Organise With Me! | Beauty Shelf

Organise With Me! | Beauty Shelf

In today’s post, I wanted to organise something I’ve been procrastinating for about 6 months (oops). I have a small shelf that is dedicated to makeup, body, face and hair products. It has definitely seen neater days.

So set aside some time and organise your space with me!

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I took everything out of the shelf and separated them into:

  • Face products
  • Body products
  • Seldom-use items
  • Non-beauty items

I used my bedroom floor to sort everything since that’s the biggest space available.

I separated the essential beauty items and put them into one section on the floor. These items will be on display and easily accessible.

Now, how can I store these in my shelf so it’s practical but also aesthetically pleasing? Time to get creative!

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The original white container served me well when I first bought it. However, it did not suit its purpose any longer. It only aided my laziness, because I was able to stuff ‘just a little’ more into it.

Description of storage items:

  • Wooden bowl: This bowl was purchased from Savers (secondhand store). I believe it cost $4 or less.
  • Grey pen jar: I re-purposed this as it held pens that weren’t being used.
  • White cake display stand: this was sitting in storage after using it for my birthday a couple months ago.
  • Grey jar with wooden lid: only $5 from Kmart. This was purchased with a storage purpose already in mind.

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Bulky beauty products:

These products could be stored on the cake stand. That way, they “stand” out (see what I did there?) when I’m getting ready to start my day.

Scrunchies:

I use scrunchies on a daily basis. This was an essential item that I have always wanted proper storage for. The wide grey jar worked perfectly.

Everyday make-up:

I use about 3-4 items regularly throughout the week. These are blush, eyebrow pencil, bronzer and highlighter (occasionally). Since these are the only things I reach for, I decided to store my makeup bag away in the spare bedroom. The small wooden bowl fit all 4 items easily!

Hair/grooming tools:

I regularly reach for my hair brush, eyebrow pencil, tweezers and eyebrow scissors. These items are being stored in the narrow jar sitting on the display stand.

I really liked the way these 4 items gave my shelf some character.When you arrange your containers, keep in mind what you’ll be reaching for the most. What is the most functional and practical? Using items of different height also keeps the eye interested.

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Bringing my plan together was so satisfying. I also got a feel for how practical this shelf would be, now that it isn’t cluttered with unnecessary things.

Note: Instead of keeping my jewellery box (a bulky item) in this space, I decided to place it in the spare room. I’ve noticed the last few months that I don’t wear as much jewellery anymore.

When it comes to our material items, staying mindful of what we use, when we use it and how it adds to our life ensures purpose in every item we own.

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I used the white container to put my excess beauty items in (lotions, nail polish/nail grooming tools).

As a test, I’ve decided that unless I actively grab these items to use, I will either give them away, re-purpose the bottles or discard them.

Some beauty products are purely seasonal. For instance, I only use sunscreen in summer. I find my olive skin burns in the summer but never burns any other time of year. During off-seasons, I moisturise daily. Same goes for fake tan. If it’s cold, I’m not going to put effort into tanning unless there is a special occasion.

Nail polish and accessories are only used for special occasions also or when I feel like pampering myself. In this case, keeping it stored away ensures I have the option to glam-up and keeps my everyday shelf clutter-free.

I hope you found this organisational post helpful and that it has motivated you to organise even one space in your home! If you decluttered and organised this week, feel free to share your before/after images below!

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