Happy 35th Anniversary to My Parents!

My parents are honestly couple goals.

On this date 35 years ago, my parents got married. And what is amazing about this is that each day, they fall more in love with each other. If you hear that old trope that “marriage ruins relationships”, then let me be the one to tell you that is false because my parents are living proof of this.

This was taken exactly two years ago, when my sisters and I crashed their anniversary dinner. What legends.

In their time together, they’ve had five children, – one obviously better than the other and I am definitely talking about myself here – countless amounts of homes, about five dogs (correct me if I am wrong), and one hell of a journey together.

As a sort of present to them, and a way to celebrate their coral/jade anniversary, I gave them both a quick questionnaire to answer about the other. Here is what they had to say:

Mum
1. When and where did you meet dad? How old were you and how old was he? He was 14 and I saw him at a basketball game. I was 16.
2. What was your first impression of him? Didn’t think much of him.
3. When and where was your first date? At the movies on Queen Street in November 1976.
4. What did his parents think of you when they first met you? I never met them (when we were dating).
5. When and where was your first kiss? At the movie.
6. How did he propose? What was his first reaction? He proposed on the step of my house in November 1982.
7. What were your first thoughts when you saw him at your wedding? Grey. He was wearing grey.
8. How many kids did you plan to have? At least two.
9. What is your favourite memory with him? When Toni was sitting on the bed, she was sitting on the bed in her white dress and it took his breath away.
10. What is your favourite thing about him now? He is the most handsome man in the whole wide world.

Dad
1. When and where did you meet mum? How old were you and how old was she? Newmarket in Auckland, New Zealand. I was 16 and she was 18.
2. What was your first impression of her? I had no impression.
3. When and where was your first date? Movie on Friday night in Auckland city
4. What did her parents think of you when they first met you? I’m not too sure. They were very open and friendly.
5. When and where was your first kiss? The movie in Auckland on our first date.
6. How did you propose? What was her first reaction? I asked her in front of her home. She was happy.
7. What were your first thoughts when you saw her at your wedding? I’m getting married to her.
8. How many kids did you plan to have? No real number.
9. What is your favourite memory with her? In the temple when we got married and had Toni and Stacie sealed to us.
10. What is your favourite thing about her now? Her support for me and the family.

Besides some slight miscommunication on question one (looks at dad), and also I’m pretty sure both of their favourite memories together was having their fifth and final child, they are truly the most perfect couple! Happy anniversary mum and dad! I love you a bunch!

– by Noah La’ulu

The Problem of Being a Princess Traveller

Three and a half stars is my absolute minimum.

If you can’t tell by the travel part of Widow’s Lure, I absolutely love to travel. Seeing new places, meeting new people, trying new things… it’s all such an incredible experience. But so far, as a 24-year-old man, I have only been able to visit four countries (five if you include Australia).

But if I’m going to be honest, my country count probably won’t increase so much because I am a self-confessed Princess. And that really hinders my opportunities of travel for several different reasons.

Hanging a spreadie on top of the Rockefeller Center like a Princess.

If you want proof, just ask the people I went on my two Contikis tours with. In both End of Tour Contiki Awards, I won the Princess award. By a landslide.

Young Australians, including many of my friends, can pick up and go and travel across Europe and South America and stay overseas for months or even years. How do they do it? They stay in hostels, volunteer at organizations looking for young workers, and visit less-fortunate countries where the Aussie dollar has more value over there. I can honestly say that I am comfortable doing none of the above.

If you haven’t gathered by now, I have expensive a very specific taste in life, and my taste in life comes at a very high cost. For starters, I cannot stay at a hostel. Like point blank refuse will not do ever don’t even think about it. I don’t care how cheap the accommodation is there, why on earth would I want to share a bathroom with people I don’t know when I could have a bathroom to myself. In saying that, I can’t even stay at motels or hotels that are less than three and a half stars. I was once booked in a two star hotel in Los Angeles, and it was that traumatic that I don’t even want to discuss the finer details of it. Needless to say, I am alive and well. Also, a couple of the hotels I stayed at on Contiki had more than one floor, and no elevator. Like. I just can’t.

My style of travelling also means I can’t do it as much as other young people do. The other style of traveller can find cheap plane tickets, stay in Europe for six to nine months, live at a hostel or volunteer at an organization that offers food and accommodation, and Bobsuruncle. It’s so cheap that they could probably go back to Europe in another month or so. Meanwhile, I get flights, stay in hotels everywhere I go, eat out for every meal, and can essentially only afford to travel for five or six weeks. And that’s me done for about a year or two. My style of travelling is expensive and doesn’t last as long, but at least I am comfortable with it. I wish I could travel as long as the hostel travellers, I really do, but contradictory to what some may believe, I fund my own lifestyle. I don’t have handouts from the Bank of Daddy, and I am not swimming in inheritance money.

While I am interested in experiencing different cultures, I can’t see myself visiting the less than fortunate countries. I would like to think I am a decent person, and would love to volunteer for charity organizations in third-world countries that would need help, but the small problem of “I would have to stay there in those poor living conditions” is a red light for me. And I can’t do it. I need a bed, a roof over my head, some clean stylish clothes, and a nice meal on a dinner plate with a fork and a knife. If that makes me a snob, then so be it. I am a snob.

Culture shock for me was going to Subway in Texas and finding out that they didn’t have veggie patties. Imagine this Princess going to a country like Bangladesh… the culture shock would be so overwhelming that I may pass out. Admittedly, I will only ever feel comfortable visiting other westernised countries, like England, New Zealand, Ireland and Wales.

There will be some avid travellers out there who could potentially read this and think that I am a piece of shit for pretty much saying I am too good to visit certain countries, but I don’t regret saying any of this. It’s the fascination of humans; every human is raised differently, and therefore grows up differently. My parents raised me to appreciate the finer things in life, which means that I am too precious to stay in a motel with a single bed and a kitchenette. You are free to live your volunteering in a third-world country, but it isn’t for me, as much as I would like it to be.

Now, something that frugal travellers and Princesses alike can appreciate. Contiki. I cannot recommend it enough, even if some of the hotels don’t have elevators, and you’re stuck standing there waiting for someone to carry your suitcase up the flight of stairs because you just don’t do that kind of thing. If you’re looking for a unique kind of travel experience, and an opportunity to meet some new people, visit the Contiki website and book through your travel agent immediately.

– by Noah La’ulu

Satisfashion: Dressing with Coloured Hair

Coloured hair is in. Mixing that colour with ten different others on your outfit isn’t.

Ever since that fateful night in Quebec City where my dearest Bree bleached my hair in a night of drunken fun, I’ve been obsessed with having hair colours that aren’t my natural shade. Ever since then, I’ve been blond, dark roots with blue and pink tips, blond again, red and blue with blond sides, red and blue with red and blue sides, and moved onto just red and blue on top with dark sides.

Since then, I have gone back to my natural colour so to save my hair from further damage. But with my red-and-blue-do, I couldn’t successfully wear different colours because it clashed with my hair. It’s a risk you don’t think of when dying your hair, but when your hair is bright pink, that automatically means you can’t wear green with orange or yellow. Unless you want to look like you got dressed in the dark. I mean, I’m not going to judge you or anything…

My advice to those with extreme coloured hair like mine used to be is to stick to your shades, and accentuate the colour in your hair with similar colours in your outfit. I haven’t been in the coloured hair game for long, but I’ve come to understand that some parts of my current wardrobe were under quarantine until I returned to a natural shade of hair colour… which sucks, by the way. Having plan coloured hair is BORING.

For example, if you have purple hair, maybe accessorise your black and greys with different shades of purple, or even a really hot shade of pink that compliments your hair.

For me personally, I found it quite easy to dress myself. When you’re a Patriots fan, you have lots of red and blue in your wardrobe. When you’re a fan of the Bella Twins, you will have lots of red in your wardrobe also. And if you just ignore the fact that this was a costume for a pole dancing show, the colouring in my outfit work with my hair so well.

Photo captured by The Black Light. Taken at Pole Plus Studios.

I have worn reds and blues to match my hair, and have stuck to neutral shades like white and black so that the two primary colours are the main focus of the outfit. And if I were to wear shoes with this outfit, I would stick to reds, blues, blacks and whites anyway. I guess this means that Harley Quinn knows how to style an outfit to work with my hair, not me…

I guess you get the idea now. But just in case you don’t, let me give you a short instruction list…

TL;DR
Wear colours similar to your extremely dyed hair.
Match that with blacks, whites and greys.
Complimentary colours are okay (eg: if you have blue hair, wearing deep shades of purple is okay).
Try not to have too many colours on your outfit.
Don’t look like a Mario Kart Rainbow Road. No one likes Rainbow Road. No one.

You’re so welcome.

– by Noah La’ulu

#LauluCruise2017

I only just realised that I hadn’t written about my first cruise ever. Tl;dr – it was amazing.

Along with going on an amazing six-week holiday with Miss Kate, I had another holiday to go on only a few months later. Daddy wanted all of my family to get together and go on a family holiday – our last official family holiday was in 2011 – so not only was it going to be a great bonding experience for everyone, but it was going to be my first time going on a cruise.

On February 14, my family and I boarded Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, ready to spend the next eight nights on board. Not only was my immediately family attending – myself, my two parents, two brothers, two sisters, two sister-in-laws, a niece and a nephew – but we also had extended family and other friends with us, so in total, there were about 30 of us on board.

Instead of going through my days in chronological order and listing what I did daily, I’m just going to tell you everything I had done on the cruise in general.

First of all, it’s important to mention for anyone with a beating heart that food is free (with the exception of some specialty restaurants, but honestly, why would you pay to eat when almost everything else is free)! The only time I ever paid to eat was when I ate at Johnny Rocket’s, which was only a $7USD surcharge fee, and then everything on the menu was yours for the taking.

Each morning, I would go to the Windjammer Marketplace for breakfast, which is the Explorer’s version of a buffet. I can’t tell you about the variety of foods they had there for your first meal of the day, because I only ever ate hash browns and croissants; if I was feeling a bit adventurous, I’d chuck a tub of yoghurt on there as well.

While everyone in my family were free to do whatever they wanted during the day and night, we always got together at 6pm in the Sapphire Dining Room for family dinner. this was the Explorer’s version of fine dining. I’m not a fan of fine dining, really; I prefer a burger and fries over some overpriced salad that takes up a quarter of the plate. But God damn, the Sapphire Dining Room was outstanding! The food was great – and there was always one or more choices for vegetarians – but what made this dining experience really great was the service. My family had the absolute pleasure of dining with our waiters Ikomang and Imade, two lovely gentlemen from Indonesia who spared no expense in making sure our time with them was always 11/10.

The types of activities on board cater to everyone also: there is trivia and gallery viewings for the more introverted; there is ice skating and rock climbing for the physically adventurous; and there’s karaoke and outrageous game shows for the attention hogging types (me). I can’t even begin to describe the amount of fun I had on board, from playing putt putt with my nephew and niece, to playing as Novak Djokovic on Virtua Tennis in the arcade, the Explorer of the Seas had almost limitless amounts of activities to do. There were also different shows available, with ice-skating extravaganzas taking place on the ice skating rink, and broadway style shows in the Palace Theater. And if you were confused as to what you wanted to do that day, they gave out day sheets for everything that would be running that day.

I can’t speak for the other types of rooms available on board, but my two sisters and I shared a room with a balcony – because we can’t not have fresh air in our room. How gross. The room was pretty small, and the bathroom and shower left no room for me to effectively shave my legs, but when you consider the amount of time you would actually be spending in the room as opposed to everywhere else on the ship, then it was worth it. My sisters had the double bed whereas I had a hidden bunk bed that appeared from the ceiling. Great use of space, Royal Caribbean!

The island visits were also amazing! On my cruise, we were able to visit two countries and three islandsNouméa, New CaledoniaMystery Island, Vanuatu; and Maré, New Caledonia. Nouméa was beautiful in its own different way; it wasn’t what I expected it to be, but then five minutes down the street, it was… if that makes sense. My siblings all had ice cream from this place – which they said they had imported from France – and said it was the best dessert they’ve ever had, so there’s that? (I opted not to buy anything because why would you when the food on the ship is free). Mystery Island was actually paradise: the ocean was crystal clear and had this amazing shade of azure blue that it looked like I was staring at a postcard; the natives who visit the island to greet tourists were so adorable and friendly and had several goods and services for sale; and the sun was beaming down on the island as if we were the only place on earth. Admittedly, I didn’t get off at Maré, because I was too damn burnt from Mystery Island and everything hurt everywhere.

And finally, if you have read this far, there is the nightlife on board (yes there is nightlife on a cruise). Depending on which drink package you get – if you even choose to get one at all – then drinks on board can either be pricey, or already paid for.  The alcoholic drink package, which is around $45USD a day, guarantees virtually unlimited alcohol for the entire duration of your cruise. I suggest that if you’re a big drinker, or even if you can go through at least five cocktails a day, then this package is for you. The Explorer had several options for you if you were nocturnal or just liked a good night out – there was the casino (don’t ask me about it, I have no idea how to gamble other than playing Blackjack terribly), the Star Lounge (which was like a fancy music-playing bar) and Dizzy’s (the nightclub). Having experienced the latter two, I can say that the nightlife on the cruise was pretty damn good. And when Dizzy’s shut, you were free to head to the pool deck where the drinks would continue until the early morning.

The people you meet on board are pretty amazing as well, and if you’re lucky like me, you’ll take some friends away from your short trip. Everyone… meet my new little brother Alex.

Oh, and there was also a gym on board.

If you’re interested in doing a cruise – or you’ve done one with another company – I highly recommend cruising with Royal Caribbean. It was a pleasant 10/10 experience for everyone in my family, and I am more than excited to do another one with them.

– by Noah La’ulu