there you are

September 29, 2016, 0

Isn’t it fascinating that we go away to travel only to come back a different person? Whether it’s a subtle change in our perspective of the world, newly gained experiences or simply breaking routines, travel is the perfect catalyst for challenging boundaries. Personally, I love that it expands my capacity for wonder, appreciation and happiness – and having the chance to explore this lovely planet with someone special is truly a bonus.


Life is also full of unexpected situations and no matter how prepared you may be for certain setbacks, there comes a time when we all have to deal with a surprise turn whilst on the road.

For one, losing a wallet can be a huge catastrophe. There is just so much anxiety and loss of time that comes with it, especially if you’re unsure whether it was actually misplaced or stolen, and being a potential victim of card fraud can be a stressful experience. Unfortunately I’ve been in a circumstance where I’ve had to reluctantly cancel my cards, leaving me only with a handful of cash to tide me through the rest of the trip. Thankfully, I had a friend with me then so it didn’t turn out all that bad but we’re not always that lucky.

That said, I recently discovered Westpac’s Card on Hold feature that is so valuable. It simply means you can lock your Debit MasterCard via Westpac’s mobile banking app in seconds whilst you search for it.
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westpac

By using the Card on Hold function while overseas, your Debit MasterCard will be locked for a maximum of 15 days and can’t be used, but of course you can unlock it at any time.

If you don’t find your card within that locked period, Westpac recommends reporting it lost or stolen and a replacement card will be issued.

It should also come as no surprise that Card on Hold is great for when you’re back home too! If you were to misplace your Debit MasterCard when you’re in Australia, then you could also use Westpac’s Get Cash feature to withdraw cash from any Westpac ATM while your card is locked. You can access Get Cash easily via Westpac’s mobile banking app, but remember you can only use this feature if you’re in Australia!

Westpac is committed to helping millennials take control of their finances by giving them greater access and security, and it is useful to note that Westpac was the first to extend its Card on Hold feature to Debit MasterCard. Now every time my card goes missing, I have a mini heart attack but realise I also have Card on Hold with Westpac so I can easily lock my card in seconds instead of cancelling it – definitely a life-hack any traveller should keep in mind!
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In collaboration with Nuffnang and Westpac

postcards from

September 12, 2016, 1

A quick check in from this part of the world because I’m missing Paris and London all over again. Granted, the time differences can surely cast a mighty jetlag spell, and the long-haul flights are known to irritate skin, but there’s nothing more valuable than travelling. They say journeys educate, and without a doubt, the experiences and people you meet are the ones you’ll keep to heart, the new cultures and traditions are something you’ll naturally commit to memory, and the ways you learn to cope with your surroundings will suddenly become second nature.
With that said, Paris and London are some of my favourite cities in the world so it goes without saying that a recap is only necessary.


Besides being coined as the city of light, Paris is also full of inspiration, art, fashion, and of course, love. From the extraordinary Eiffel Tower to the impressive Jardin des Tuileries, to the numerous cafes punctuating almost every sidewalk, Paris will always enthral.

Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a few weeks, try getting lost in the Louvre, discovering La Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle. Climbing the Arc de Triomphe, visiting the Grand and Petit Palais, exploring Montmartre, taking a trip to the Château de Versailles, the list goes on… It’s impossible to shortlist a number of things to do in such a beautiful city, so my advice is for you to encounter Paris by yourself.
My first trip ever to Paris was with dearest mum, and it’s one we always talk about. As with all travels, be careful and watch your belongings – I was lucky enough to only have my McDonald’s Happy Meal stolen from me.

London is truly a treasure trove of familiar landmarks and brilliant days out worth revelling in: Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, London Eye – you get the drift.
Stop by Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens for plenty of shade on a sunny day. Make your way to Borough Market on the weekends for fresh produce, or pay a visit to Oxford Street for an unrivalled shopping experience from high-street fashion to international brands.

During my last work trip, I spent a lot of time at Convent Garden, a vibrant, cobblestoned area brimming with fashion boutiques, cafés, restaurants and theatres. Its central piazza also hosts daily alfresco entertainment and frankly, it’s not too bad of a place for a stroll on a fine morning.

One of the most frequently asked questions I usually receive is how much money one should take on vacation, and to be honest there really is no standard answer. Your budget will hugely depend on how long you are planning to stay, what kind of accommodation and trip you want it to be, and the kind of activities you plan to do. Figure out what you realistically can do with the money you have and stay within a budget. That way, travelling won’t stress you out – it’s not supposed to anyway.

If you’re like me and worried about carrying large amounts of cash, know that Westpac provides access to over 50,000 ATMs in the Global ATM Alliance network with absolutely no ATM withdrawal fees (keeping in mind a 3% Westpac foreign transaction fee applies). That simply means with a Westpac debit card, you can withdraw cash seamlessly without paying any ATM withdrawal fees.
With Westpac’s Global ATM Alliance, ATMs are easy to locate via Westpac’s mobile banking app, meaning Aussie travellers like us don’t have to wander foreign streets searching for a withdrawal fee-free ATM.
Travelling with financial security doesn’t get any better than that, right?

In collaboration with Nuffnang and Westpac

city getaway

September 9, 2016, 0

From afar, Milan’s huge landmarks and gothic structures are certainly overwhelmingly magnificent and spell-binding. Take Duomo di Milano for example, there is always some sort of enchantment that comes with its overall beauty, but as you inch closer to scrutinise the finer details, you understand why the grand cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete.

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An ancient city centre with soaring buildings and palazzos, it is no wonder Milan is a magnetic point for designers, photographers and artists. In my previous post, I mentioned that our hotel was conveniently located within the city’s fashion and shopping district, and it should come as no surprise that it was none other than the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel Milano that is also within five minutes walk of the Duomo, Teatro alla Scala and the business and financial district. The guest rooms and dining venues are all framed by an unforgettable 15th-century cloistered and landscaped courtyard, and being situated in one of the city’s most historic quarters clearly has its perks – the streets are all photoshoot-worthy at any time of day.

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La Veranda Restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel Milano

Besides breakfast every morning, we also had lunch at La Veranda that is an all-day dining room occupying a wide conservatory area overlooking the courtyard garden. The restaurant offers innovative Mediterranean and local cuisine, as well as relaxing summer outdoor seating: all enriched with the flavours of the exquisite dishes of Executive Chef Vito Mollica and Marco Veneruso, the Restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine. My favourite dishes being: scallop carpaccio, culatello, salt codfish and the decadent apricot-stuffed quail.

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Apricot-stuffed quail with foie gras and celeriac cream

As they say, a dip a day is always the way, and the hotel’s spa is a warm, welcoming and tranquil space designed in the true Four Seasons spirit by world renowned Spanish designer and architect Patricia Urquiola. We spent a bit of our evenings in the pool and only wished we had allocated more time securing the Spa Suite Room for a special couple treatment and then relaxing by the fireplace.

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Apart from their luscious dining and spa, the rooms at Four Seasons Hotel Milano are designed around the original 15th century architecture, blending historic details with timeless Italian design. And the best part? Their Carrera marble bathrooms include heated floors and back-heated, steam-resistant mirrors. We also had a peek at their various suites, including a fashion one that imparted the air of a cosy city apartment, and it’s safe to say that each room’s contemporary art complemented the opulent furnishings just as well.
In truth, Milan was a brief getaway but an unforgettable one at that, especially when boutiques, design stores and galleries are all within a stone’s throw. There are countless things to do in Milan. Wander the charming streets of the Navigli district. Explore the remarkable gothic majesty of the Duomo. Share a gelato. Sip an aperitivo. Take in a breathtaking performance at Teatro alla Scala. Sleep beautifully and wake up refreshed.

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