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    A SUMMER IN GREECE - EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

    A Summer in Greece - Everything you need to know. 

    Sorry this write up took me so long to finally post, I get messages all the time about my Summer in Greece and advice for those of you wanting to do the same.  I had written a couple blogs mid last year when I was there and so I have integrated those in with this one with all the questions I get asked on a regular basis and some more about my time there so that anyone wanting to do the same can. 

    If you have any other questions please do get in touch, ps this particular post includes my own pics. 

    Enjoy
    M x


    Last year I was lucky enough to live a Summer on the beautiful island of Ios in Greece.
    Ios is an island known for its partying, the far-out beach club pool parties and so many beautiful private hidden away beaches. It is not for the faint hearted and is full of people that are just as crazy as me if not even more so. Eat, sleep, rave, repeat is a massive part of lifestyle there but there is also the best food I have ever eaten, hidden private beaches, infinity pools, cocktail bars, the friendliest people and so much culture.

    Why did I choose Ios over other islands?
    One of my best friends Emily met her partner Jon when visiting Ios back in 2013. She fell madly in love with him and with the island - and then basically never left. They spend every Europe summer there (May-October) running and working from the bars they own and then they live back in Australia the remaining months of the year. So, for me Ios was the best option, I had also visited a few years back when I first went on my OE.


    Where did I work?
    I was lucky that knowing Emily and Jon I already had my job lined up before moving over. I worked in one of Jon's bars called Circus Bar… and it was a completely crazy time. Some nights I felt like I was out of a coyote ugly movie scene dancing on the bar, serving drinks, singing, dancing etc, basically being paid to have a fun time and keep people hyped up (and I love to party so it was fun).
    Other nights I hated people and being treated badly so I would get a little sassy and have to push past annoying drunk people who yell Swedish at at me, try grab my bum and stand on my feet… but 90% of the time it was fine. (Being 6 foot blonde, I was spoken to in Swedish almost every night whichwas actually quite funny, sometimes I would nod and pretend I was Swedish just for fun + I learnt some Swedish words to say back).

    Almost my entire work team was Australians and everyone I worked with was so super nice and friendly. I feel lucky to have gotten one of the best jobs on the island. The people I worked with are just like me and have ‘regular’ jobs back home - teachers, therapists, electricians back in their hometown, but were living in Ios for a new experience and an adventure filled Summer.

    I basically worked every single night and then during the days I would go to the beach, lie by a pool and just enjoy the island. I think I had 4 nights off the entire time I was there which is kind of just how it goes. Everyone works all the time. 

    Bar life is a lot different to NZ, there are next to no rules. You can be drunk at work or drink while you work, customers don’t get kicked out for basically anything (except fighting) and the crazier you are the better as long as you are still doing your job.

    Here is our work squad at one of our themed beach nights whooohooo. 

    Landing a Job:
    Jobs on the island vary from bar staff to restaurants to promo people. A lot of the work is night work because tourists come to party. My suggestion is if you want a job to go early in the season around the mid - end of May and start walking into bars and introducing yourself for a job. The earlier you are there the better as then you’re the first ones on the island before it starts to get busy and first in for everything.

    Your job is pretty important to your life in Ios, because you will end up hanging out with people who do the same hours as you or work with you because this is where you spend a lot of time. A lot of places are Greek owned by Greeks, but many of the main bars are also owned by Australians - these I think are the best places for a Kiwi to work. You need to be outgoing, hardworking and open to a crazy work life to survive.

    Working nights can definitely take its toll though and be hard on your body. I worked from 11pm-3/4am and my job was one of the good ones. Most people work 10.30-4/5am, or if you were at a later bar you would work until 6/7am! So you can imagine your're up all night especially if you go out after. We would often be out until 9am haha. Your body clock is different though, you sleep until early afternoon and then siesta (nap) most evenings between dinner and starting work again. Then of course there is the odd day your're just so tired you stay inside sleeping allllll day. Long term I couldn’t do this, working then sleeping maybe 5 hours a night then napping for 1-2 hours later, but for the time I was there it worked fine. Of course if your not about the party scene as much or don’t want to work evenings you could get a hospitality job and do days, but then you miss out on doing a lot as you don’t have every day free to explore, swim etc. 
     

    Having a work Visa? 
    Ok so you didn't hear this from me, but you don't actually need a visa... yes legally you should have one but a lot of places will hire you under the table and don't actually care. You can stay up to 90 days in Greece without a visa and if you wanted to stay longer then you just need to leave a certain zone in Europe for 5 days or more and boom you've cheated the system. Did I have one... hmmm. 

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    Where did I live? 
    I stayed with Emily and Jon when I first moved over and then started the house hunt on arrival and moved into a small room share with one of the new friends I made on the Island (Nat, she was from Sydney and we started working together). A lot of people come and stay at a cheap backpackers when they first arrive before finding longer-term accommodation. You don’t have to know someone to go to Ios, you just need to be a little prepared in case you don’t find a job or accommodation right away.

    Our little house cost us 10Euro each a night each and I stayed there for the remainder of my season. When I say house I really mean one bedroom room that we had two single beds facing outwards from each other in. Then with a small bathroom and tiny fridge, our room had character but was nothing flash and it smelt old and musty almost all of the time. I’m 6 foot tall and our shower was so small that every time I showered in it I had to actually bend over haha. Often I used other pool or hotel facilities to wash my hair as I hated the shower so much haha.

    We had a fan (no air con) but this did the job and you only needed a sheet or no sheet to sleep with as it was so hot. We bought this for about 40Euro from the hardware store, it was one of the last ones to buy at the time and I am so thankful we had it as I would not have survived without a cooling device.
    My bedroom pillow cost me 10Euro in the village which was a mish to find anywhere with pillows and then Nat and I actually ordered some bathmats and towels online that were from H&M Europe (one of the only places that delivered to Ios). The stores on the island are very limited so you didn’t have access to much at all, I’ve written some more below about what to take.

    We were pretty lucky with our room to only share between two of us, a lot of people on the island shared rooms with anything up to 6 others in bunks or singles lined up bed to bed. Its just about getting there earlier in the season and if your not happy with your accom then just take what you can and keep searching for something else. Honestly I think you just can’t be picky unless you have more money saved to get something better, our little house was totally part of the experience though.
    Our landlord was a Greek man named Andreas, he was great, we paid him one month in advance in cash and he would sometimes come out partying with us which was super funny also.  

    Nat & I just outside our house with my best ever real tan! Ahhh we were so brown, missing it! Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, shoes and shorts

    What do you need to take?
    Even though Santorini is only an hour away by ferry you are limited on the island to a lot of things as you cant buy them so here is a few things you will need to take that you cant get:
    - Towels
    - Underwear & socks
    - A good shampoo and conditioner, if your blonde like me then you might use purple shampoo and you cant get anything like this on the island, so go stocked up.
    - Makeup, even though you hardly wear it you cannot get anything only a couple cheap mascaras at the service store so you need to make sure your're equipped.
    - A decent multi vitamin, trust me your body needs it.
    - European plug adapter.
    - Your NZ driver’s license only allows you to drive a quad so if you plan on hiring a scooter at all you need an international drivers license which is really easy to get from the AA or NZTA. I walked or bused everywhere so didn’t get this.


    What you don’t need to take?
    - A jersey, it was sunny and hot every single day and I never saw rain, you don’t need anything warm literally you will live in your bikini, shorts and singlets and that’s all.
    - Heels or flash clothes. You wont wear these, everyone is so beachy and natural you will hardly wear these things. Maybe nice dresses or things for a special night out or dinners but think relaxed and casual. I didn’t even wear makeup most nights (but you also have a killer tan so don’t need to).

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    Transport and getting around the island…
    Ok so some people hire scooters for the entire season, this might cost you 600-1000NZD to do depending on how long you stay. If I went again I would probably hire a scooter, not because I needed one or I’m lazy but sometimes it would have been handy to save time walking or get somewhere quickly. I walked everywhere or caught the bus, which was easy and cheap. Also when I had friends visit the island or I did an adventure day with friends we would just hire a quad for a day to take around the other side of the island which was 40Euro a day so between two only 20euro. Doesn’t sound like much but if your living off just your wages then every dollar counts.

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    Do you make lots of money?
    Ummm short answer NO not at all, but it’s not about that. It’s a lifestyle and experience choice. I made kind-of just enough to live on, and you don’t need much besides food and drinks as there isn’t really anything else to buy. Its non materialistic on the island which is a refreshing change.

    The average wage might be anything between 25-40 Euro a night, which is very little. This depends on your job and if you have a Visa also.
    From my wage I paid my rent, food and then had little to spare. That’s why its good to go with some savings or extra money if you do want to do extra things. We could drink whatever we liked at work every night so if your wanting to go out partying you wouldn’t spend money on drinks as you just drink at work then go out after.


    How did I afford it/ How much money to take?
    Flights can be anything from 2000-3000NZD returns, depending on your deal. You need to fly into Santorni or Mykonos and then Ferry to Ios as there is no airport there.

    I suggest taking more spending money so you don’t feel limited for what you can do or eat + if you don’t get a job right away or you don’t make much. I spent a few thousand additionally to what I made. Also if you travel after or around Europe more, of course you would need more, I regretted not having more money as I had met some amazing people I really wanted to go to Sziget with or travel more with but I just didn’t have enough funds.

     

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    Day to Day:
    Your day to day life is pretty amazing, you eat fab food, lounge by a pool and get the legit best tan of your life or go exploring. This is a lot of what my pictures showed on Instagram.

    There are loads of stray cats around, Nat and I had one that used to come to our doorstep every day that we started feeding and named him Darren. They don’t like the cats very much as they are considered a pest because there are so many, but we did. When I first arrived Emily and I even saved a very small kitten we found, we named him Ed… he can’t have been more than a few weeks old when we found him by a rubbish bin. He was covered in fleas and ticks so we took him home bathed him and feed him for a couple days, sadly he died as he just must have been so sick.

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    Emily with baby Ed. 
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    Churches: Ios has 365 churches total over the island! Which is pretty crazy because it’s a smaller island. The Greeks had a church for every day of the year and a lot of them are family churches, your family would have a church that belongs to the family.

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    On Saturdays shop owners would repaint the sidewalks with white paint, I don’t know why only Saturdays but it was just what little shop owners did. So many of the sidewalks got a paint top up on Saturday morning.

    We had famous people come through the island when I was there sometimes, too. Sometimes a famous model or Instagramer. I saw famous grammer Lauren Bullen @gypsea_lust at dinner one eve, I've followed her for a while so that was cool. Then I was friends with Hayley Anderson @haylsa who was also working on the island (if you don’t follow her you should, her photos are amazing and her following is over 150k). As well as a bunch of other Instagramers who passed through. Spencer Matthews, some other made in Chelsea stars, Joey from Essex, Holly from Geordie Shore + others I didn’t know were also on the island in my last 2 weeks. They were filming a new series for MTV called Celebrity Hotel, which was pretty funny. We watched them film scenes around the island (all scripted and planned of course not actually a reality or real). One day we were at the beach club and they filmed some scenes that we sat in the back of, still waiting for my big break – jokes.
    They also came into Circus Bar where I worked drinking most nights and all got pretttty crazy, so funny to see.

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    Hmm what else can I tell you… I have so many stories and memories that I don’t for one minute take for granted.
    I guess just that if you are thinking about it, seriously do it. One day you will become setup or settled and unable and I don’t for one minute regret my Summer away.

    “I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people who dream and support and do things."

    "Money fills the pockets, adventure fills the soul."

    "She was beautifully out of place. 
    Sometimes I believe she intended to be. 
    Like the moon during the day."

    "If you don't know where to go, then it doesn't matter which path you take."

    "You were wild once, don't let them tame you."


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    ISLAND LIFE

    ISLAND LIFE 

    Ios is an island known for its partying, far-out beach club pool parties and beautiful private hidden away beaches. It is not for the faint hearted and is full of people I feel are just as crazy if not even more so than myself. Eat, sleep, rave, repeat is a massive part of life here but there is also the best food I have ever eaten, hidden private beaches, infinity pools, cocktail bars, the friendliest people and so much culture. Life in Greece really is a dream.  


    My best friend Emily met her partner Jon when visiting Ios back in 2013. She fell madly in love with him and with the island and Jon - and then basically never left. They spend every Europe summer here (May-October) running and working from the bars they own and then live back in Australia the remaining months of the year. 

    It has its pros and cons like any place and I do miss parts of Christchurch, but how many people can say they have lived a Summer in Greece. Here are some of my most asked questions so far, if you have any more let me know. I will write some more again soon about daily life in more details and include more photos. 

    What am I doing here?
    Ever since my first visit to Ios in 2014 when I did my OE I have always said I would come back a season and work. I have finally made that dream a reality and brought myself back. Yes I am working! So I am working in one of Jon’s bars its called Circus Bar… and it is a completely crazy time. Some nights I feel like I am out of a coyote ugly movie scene dancing on the bar, serving drinks, singing, dancing etc, basically being paid to have a fun time and keep people hyped up (and I love to party so its so fun).
    Other nights I get a little sassy and have to push past annoying drunk, people who yell Swedish at at me, try grab my bum and stand on my feet… but I actually love it so much. (Being 6 foot blonde, I am spoken to in Swedish almost every night which is actually quite funny, sometimes I nod and pretend I am Swedish just for fun + Ive learnt some Swedish words to say back). 

    Almost my entire work team is Australians and everyone I work with is so super nice and friendly I feel so lucky to have one of the best jobs on the island at the coolest place. The people I work with are just like me who have ‘regular’ jobs back home - teachers, therapists, electricians back in their hometown, but are living in Ios for a new experience and adventure filled Summer. 

    I basically work every night and then during the days I go to the beach, lie by a pool and just enjoy the island. 

    Here is our work team at a recent 'Beach' themed party night, I dressed up as a pink mermaid. 

    How did I afford it?
    I only paid for my flights here and then I have been living off the money I make while I am here. I could have saved more if I had more time and tried to do some more travel while in Europe, but you can’t do it all and I have travelled Europe before and that wasn’t my purpose for coming. So I am just spending time in Greece, I can’t complain though, its the most beautiful one place to be. 

    Do you make lots of money?
    No not at all, but its not about that. Its a lifestyle and experience choice. I make kind-of just enough to live on here, and you don’t need much besides food and drinks as there isn’t really anything else to buy. Its non materialistic on the island which is a refreshing change. 

    Are you coming back to New Zealand?
    Yes, I will be back again soon. The dates are kind of depending on some of my future work to come, but I will be back before Christchurch Cup and Show week (whooohooo) and for Summer… hopefully I can keep my tan until then. 

    Where do I live? 
    I stayed with Emily and Jon when I first moved here and now I live with one of my new besties on the island, Nat! 

    If you follow me on Instagram or snapchat you would of seen in Nat in some of my snaps and photos. We met here in Greece, she is from Sydney and we just clicked. 

    We work together at Circus and we found a little one bedroom place together that we room share. Its nothing flash, its old and smells kind of musty haha but we are making it our own and it has a lot of character. I will take you on a tour of my house in another blog post (what little there is to see). 


    Whats happening with my website? 
    I have the most amazing people to help me while I am away. Sam - you may have seen her on my Instagram or Facebook page, Sam helps me with orders and social media etc and then my amazing Mum! Mum has always been the one doing the hard yards. By that I mean the washing and ironing… I am a shocking house wife or home base. I can’t really cook or clean and I definitely can’t wash and iron well. My Mum has always helped me with the garment care and ensuring that when something is sent out to you its been washed ironed/steamed and is coming to you in great condition. 

    I am also making some more T-shirts, they are on pre order at the moment and will be available from early August - YAY! 

    Will I be doing more with my shop?
    YES! I have some exciting things planned for the future and some new ideas I will be working on again when I get back to New Zealand, so standby for more! 

    If you have any other questions for my next posts please do let me know as I would love to include them!

    Until then - much love, M x 

     

     

    I MOVED TO GREECE

    I moved to Greece... Sounds like something out of the Mama Mia movie right? Well, I guess in a way it kind of is like a movie and I’m fortunate enough to be living it.  

     

    I made a decision at the beginning of this year, and in a way as a New Year’s resolution for 2017, to take every opportunity I possibly could, enjoy everything and make the most of living the year for just me. I wanted to travel, experience, inspire and do things for myself that are all good for the soul and generate my own personal happiness. My blog and websites purpose has always been to inspire other people... so I hope I can still also inspire you as I go along on my journey. 

    My friends and I call it ‘Year Of The Self’. This year is my year, my year of the self. Which I guess in a nutshell is basically basing every decision you make and everything you do on being a little selfish and living for you. This is easier when you don’t have a partner or family of your own, which I also believe that’s why its important to be a little selfish and live for yourself first before that one day comes along (which will also be so amazing of course). 
    Ultimately ‘Year Of The Self’ is to to help me grow as a person, find my own direction and just be happy and free. 

     

    I don’t want to view my life the same in another 5, 15 or even 50 years from now to the same way as I do today or I wouldn’t have learnt anything.  I want to learn and grow from my life to find purpose and fulfilment in everything I do and I believe that the only way to learn and live your fullest life possible is to forever challenge yourself, constantly create good change and to do things that help you to be happy as you find your way through this crazy adventure. 

    I challenge you to seek what sets your soul on fire because for me this is it. 

    So here I am living in beautiful Ios, a small island filled with some incredible people in the middle of Greece and I will be living here for the summer season.

    I will write again soon, some more about Greece, why I came to Ios, life here and about what I do each day. 

    M x


    "I don’t know where I am going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring."

    “I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people who dream and support and do things. "

    "Money fills the pockets, adventure fills the soul."

    "She was beautifully out of place. 
    Sometimes I believe she intended to be. 
    Like the moon during the day."

    "If you don't know where to go, then it doesn't matter which path you take."

    "Make yourself a priority. At the end of the day, you're your longest commitment."

    "You were wild once, don't let them tame you."

    "Some woman fear the fire, some woman simply become it."

    PS... Check out my IG or FB page a few posts back for a mini "Meet Sam"! Sam is the brown eyed beauty who is helping me (along with my lovely mother) to run Borrowed By Mary and my site sales while I am gone - thank you both! 

    I SURVIVED COACHELLA

    So Coachella has always been a priority on my bucket list and now I can say I survived it! I learned a lot from going, some things I picked up from friends who have been before (thank you for answering all of my annoying questions - you know who you are) and other things I learned myself.   I thought I would share my experience and mini guide for going to the festival if you decide to go one day (which you should). 

    Which weekend to go? 
    Coachella runs over two weekends, we chose weekend one which is the one most people go to and most celebrities go to.   If you want a less busy experience then the second weekend is a little more laid back and a lot of locals in Palm Springs choose to go. If your superhuman then you could go to both.  

    How to get tickets and accomodation? 
    We booked our tickets and hotel package almost 8 months before, however there are different packages you can get almost right up until the event.  We decided to book this all via the Coachella website so it was legit and not a scam + it was actually super affordable. It included our 3 day passes, 5 star accommodation & shuttle passes to and from the event each day which was about 30min away.   It turns out Palm Springs is HUGE, well a lot bigger than I originally thought. We had friends that stayed in hotels that were about an hour shuttle / drive to the event, so prepare yourself for the shuttle to and from the event each day and maybe pick a hotel that is closer. The JW Marriott where we stayed was amazing and I would recommend staying there, it had an amazing pool, real flamingos (highlight) and everything you needed at the hotel. Some of the bigger hotels like the Hilton had massive pool party with famous DJ's each day before Coachella, this is something to look into as well if you want to start your day earlier. 

    Will I see famous people? 
    Yes if you lucky! We saw loads of Australian celebs we recognised roaming or walking between stages but your big celebrities like artists and the Jenners etc hide away in artist and VIP tents and lounges!  You can buy VIP tickets though. 

    What to wear? 
    Ok so anything goes, I mean its COACHELLA... one of the biggest festival fashion events in the world right. I was actually so stressed about what the heck I would wear before going, I normally wear whatever I want to events and am so prepared with my clothes in advance but I felt so much pressure to look "cool". I had some nightmare items arrive that I had ordered online, one was too small one looked terrible and I found myself about 2 weeks out with nothing to wear to any of the days.. it was a NIGHTMARE for me who is super outfit organised. It also can get so expensive so I totally put my outfits together on a budget.   My entire trip to Coachella and America was pricey enough already so Sara (my babe in all the snaps) and I actually shopped on ASOS, Lioness, Verge Girl and Glassons to find fun festival outfits which were all really reasonably well priced and had quick shipping.
    I think as long as your conformable (so you can go crazy dancing) and then also take a long sleeve for the evening (as it could get colder once the sun went down) then you cant go wrong.  There were so many amazing outfits to stalk on people once there and that was so fun to see, I had major outfit envy over so many people.   Oh but also so important - good shoes! Your standing for well over 12 hours, walking a lot and dancing all day so you need flat shoes or boots that will last. I made the mistake of wearing new boots the first two days and my feet are literally still recovering now from it with blister scars (gross). 
     
    Coachella
    - Take a bandana! If you follow me on snapchat you will see I wore one each day. This was key (I also felt super gangster wearing), but there is high winds and dust storms and you need the bandana to protect you from them.  

    - Allow 45 minutes to get in! The lines got longer each day and you definitely need to allow time to walk in and get past all the security checks. + If you want an R21 wrist band to buy drinks you will have to line up seperate daily for this. The lines aren't bad but I would suggest going earlier in the day... the later it gets the longer the lines. 

    - Get the Coachella App! Yes they have there own app, so cool right? This was so helpful for putting together a schedule and planning who to see when. (Also a shootout to my friend Ty who is festival King, he actually wrote me a schedule of events before I went).
    - Ferris Wheel, you have to go on this as it gives you the most amazing view of the entire festival and you look over all the people and stages and everyone is so tiny like ants. Its pretty surreal seeing all the people, camp and stages from that high! A friend told me to do the ferris wheel on the second day (best advice ever Alice), there was literally no line to go up and so we didn't have to wait. The hype of the ferris wheel makes lots of people go one day 1, and then if you've forgotten the rush to go happens on day 3... so choose day 2! We went right as the sun was about to set it was beauuttifullll. 

    - FOOD. Ok so the food is amazing, there are so many amazing food stalls though so get there early and eat your heart out and try as much as you can - I wish we had tried more. 

    To sum everything up it was AMAZING. Thanks to my soul sister Sara for being the best festival buddy ever and well done for surviving three days at your first festival.

    M x 

    SHOUTOUT TO MY EX

    SHOUTOUT TO MY EX

    So I have wanted to do a basic t-shirt line to sell and for fun for some time now but I have also been trying to think about what to put on my t-shirts to make them different.

    I hope you love my t-shirts and ex or no ex they still make the perfect staple for an outfit and look great styled with jeans and a blazer or bomber for winter!

    it wasn't me, it was you 
    your loss babe 
    i drink champagne now 

    Happy Shopping, 
    M x




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