Friday, 16 August 2013

The Art of Keeping Busy

This may as well be titled the art of keeping busy and not finding time to blog. But yes I have found myself pretty busy. It seems that the more you do the more you manage to fit in though, when I was job hunting a few years ago I really was not doing a lot else. Shopping and spending my overdraft, going to the library to get free books and looking longingly at people that had jobs was about the extent of it. Now that I work I somehow fit in yoga, kickboxing, running club, cooking, wood chopping and generally being the best girl friend in the world ( this is a direct and truthful quote).  Does busy-ness inspire busy-ness? It would appear so!

 This month I've stepped it up a notch as we have agreed to a dry August. Its turned into get in shape and get a bikini body August for me especially after having to don my bikini mid-winter in Raro a few weeks back. I tend to think I eat relatively well...... but I do love to cook and I rarely do potatoes without duck fat or braised beef without red wine. I've joined a running club imaging that I will be one of those people who just do casual half marathons all the time ( I did one once and didn't run for the next two years). I see there is a kerikeri half marathon in November and that seems to me to be a nice sort of getaway spot so I may aim for that.

I've found a wonderful blog called my new roots written by a lady who creates amazing healthy fresh food with vegetables, fruit, grains, and whole foods. She does something called ' life changing bread' and YES it has changed my life ! Its full of nuts and grains like chia seed, flax seed and almonds and doesn't contain flour yeast eggs or anything that someone might be intolerant of ( unless its nuts I guess).

Other things keeping me busy are a scarf I started to knit in June that has become more like a large and misshapen square and may be ready for winter 2016 if Im lucky. It takes around half an hour to complete one row so quite a soothing (annoying) process.

Anyway look at me finding time within my busy-ness to write a blog post! This in part is due to having too many coffees- I took a bath in an attempt to slow my heart rate but to no avail. I baked a lemon grapefruit tart for friends who are coming over for dessert and that seemed to be a good use of my excess energy due to the fact I have to concentrate ridiculously hard to follow instructions. I talked my sister through the art of ironing, should we be worried that potential lawyers don't know to put water in an iron or indeed turn one on??  ( love you ems)

As an aside to all this busy-ness has anyone noticed that when they browse websites ads from other websites you've visited come up showing the EXACT clothes/books/sunglasses you've been looking at!? I feel that this is just creeping up slowly and at first we are surprised and then it just seems normal that I computer knows more about you than your family. I feel worried but its also a little bit useful as in 'oh I forgot I liked that I better buy it" So they win that round.

Here's one such outfit asos really wants me to buy.... Im pretty ready for Spring weather to begin and if this little number doesn't bring out the daffodils and lambs I don't know what will!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Top 3 things I'm really super-duper into

I thought about naming this new 'feature' ( I'm aiming at some consistency here) things I'm addicted to but was reading something about how we inadvertently use lots of drug based language in our everyday speech, interesting, so in light of that I developed the
mega catchy ...

Top 3 things I'm super-duper into:

1) Holidays

I Just spent the week in Rarotonga with my family ( turns out you're never too old to be taken on holiday by your parents, thanks Mum and Dad!) and holidays really are so so good. Exploring the Island by scooter was definitely a highlight, the locals ( especially the children) were all super smiley and friendly and lovely. And of course its warm so thats a bonus! Raro was such a beautiful Island, I could happily live off fish, coconut, pawpaw and gin and tonics for the rest of my days. Hanging out with your family is something you definitely appreciate more as you get older and with one quarter of our family heading to Sweden next year we are fitting in holidays left right and centre.

2) Yen Magazine

Yen magazine is very close to taking over Frankie as my favorite magazine. I only discovered it last holidays so recently headed into Auckland City Library and issued 10 of the past issues. Oh the dreamy wonderfulness!! So many great articles and interviews from Grimes to James Blake and more! Just the right amount of fashion and even a few choice recipes. Pictured is the latest issue that I am yet to find in NZ but I see it features Tavi who really is ridiculously cool for one so young, check out her blog

3) Haim

These girls are super cool and make very good music. I recently read an article comparing them to Fleetwood Mac so maybe thats why I like them so much. They are three sisters from California and I reckon they have a slight 90's pop sound going on which I just love, I listen to 'Dont save me' on repeat until my man begs me to turn it off, its soooo good. Their debut album will be out in September so along with Spring Ill be looking forward to that!! Hopefully it comes out on vinyl! Check check check them out!

Soooo I'll be working on a monthly top 3 in an effort to get out more, listen to more music, try more food and generally go about the business of living my life. Have had my foodbox on hold over the holidays and am very much looking forward to getting home tomorrow evening and unpacking that box of goodness, may try and get all creative and share some recipes again...

Happy Sunday Ya'll.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

holiday oh holiday

With one more night of setting my alarm before two glorious weeks of holiday that vampire weekend song is already on repeat in my head. I'm picturing clear waters, blue skies and temperatures above 20 degrees. I'm on the hunt for a good pile of books, summer dresses ( to be found under a pile of woolen sweaters at the back of the wardrobe) and of course holiday inspiration!

I came across a super cool city guide called 12hrs  and while I'll be swapping my Island for another small Island this guide has totally got me craving the coolness of cities. I'm sure I've mentioned my love of Amsterdam before and my dreams to return and live there. This guide has seen me add Antwerp and Berlin to my list and most likely more will soon follow.




East London

East London

East London

Looking through the pictures I'm reminded how Europeans and indeed most of the rest of the world live their lives outdoors , eating , drinking and basically doing things communally. I love this , its so social. Auckland is definitely doing a good job on the communal outdoor space thing with Silo Park and the Britomart Area attracting people to its bean bags and grassy parks. Also restaurants seem to be open later with more casual dinning options available so that dining out isn't a big expensive lets do it once a month thing. But we need more! These cities seem so connected and Auckland could be like this- its hardly a big space!

I'm off to set my alarm, happy holiday dreaming..

Saturday, 29 June 2013

The food week that was

So what happened this week? Well my man learned how to make espresso and I created some pretty good meals from the tasty, fresh and local produce from the good people at Foodbox. Today Naomi and I converged on my deck (with left over pumpkin pie) to reflect on the food week that was: the trials (relationship-threatening ravioli making), the creative successes (fennel and apple salad, beetroot risotto) and the realisation that really we both need much better cameras!

The Foodbox Challenge: Cook with EVERYTHING in our FoodBox,  and be as creative as possible.

The ingredients:
Potato, celery, buttercup pumpkin, brussels sprouts (Naomi didn't get these), carrots, beetroot, broccoli, fennel, rhubarb, tamarillo, apples, oranges, kiwi fruit, lime, and bannanas.


Monday- Foodbox arrives and Naomi gets excited!

 Carrot and fennel slaw with masterstock chicken, egg noodles and lime and chili dressing.

Roast pumpkin, chicken and blue cheese ravioli. A classic but a goodie. Definitely roast the pumpkin if you have time rather than boiling it, it gives it a great deep caramelised flavour.

Potato, carrot, broccoli and tuna cornish pasties.
Definitely the highlight. I had been planning on using beef mince and going for a more traditional pastie, but on inspection, it turns out my mince was no longer edible... Its amazing how the potato, carrot and broccoli came together and were so delicious in the crispy soft pastry mmmm. Will definitely make this one again!

Green winter vegetable open lasagne (fennel, onion, celery, broccoli).

Roasted beetroot risotto with goats cheese and roasted walnuts. I also used the left overs to make arancini with panko crumbs, delicious...

Apple and rhubarb strudel with orange syrup.



 A little pre- yoga celery and green apple juice

Later on a juicy steak from my in-laws farm with potato and broccoli

 This, with some help from an Al Brown recipe, turned into....

... caramelized fennel, walnut, orange, and green apple salad with free range pork chop. I can't wait to make this again, good pork is so good and you can't go past putting apples with it. I've really only used fennel as a herb but its the perfect main event!

Gnocchi and beetroot with parsley. Had potatoes left over from last weeks Foodbox so used them for the gnocchi, roasted beetroot is so sweet and earthy.

I was invited to a Thursday taco night so made this buttercup pumpkin pie for dessert, everyone loved it. I think its quite American but it's really so good- nice way to sneak some extra veg in. I gave it to my man who 'has an aversion pumpkin'- he loved it! His six year old niece also loved it until, with one bite to go, I boldly declared "IT'S PUMPKIN!" then she stopped eating.

 Roasted brussels ravioli with parsley and broccoli sauce. Well this was quite the debacle due to me cutting corners, not being bothered to make pasta and buying wrappers that turned out to have an expiry date sometime back in early 2012. The ravioli disintegrated when i dropped it into boiling water. I had feelings that I imagine real chefs like Gordon Ramsay have ie: violent anger. It tasted amazing even if it looks like a green lump.

Finished my week with Rhubarb Cobbler. My man arrived home just in time for this and was amazed; A, that I was making dessert and B, that it was so amazingly delicious.

Indulging in a little more pumpkin pie- as you can see Naomi scoffed hers super fast.

The sunsets and we eat some more pie

I really enjoyed trying to use ingredients in different ways. I wouldn't normally make dessert but am so pleased I made the effort even if I will be eating Pumpkin Pie well into next week. While I had a slight disaster with the Roast Brussels Ravioli I would totally do this again as it tasted amazing and was full of green goodness. I can't wait to try doing Naomi's beetroot risotto, the colour looked amazing!

Our lovely friend Jane is getting a Foodbox next week and is known as a bit of a whizz in the kitchen; she's going all out and getting the Crowd Pleaser !

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Its Friday Yo!

Well well the week is nearly up and all I have left are some delicious little Brussels sprouts, which ill be whipping up into something so delightful that my lovely man will never even know what's hit him. Tomorrow afternoon over a nice cold something rather Naomi and I will compare, collate, collaborate etc and get some photos up. I've had a pretty good time trying to get creative and it certainly has made me think a bit differently about how I cook. I just had sneak peak at what will be in next weeks Foodbox and Im looking forward to Monday already (I know, right? Monday!).

In other unrelated news I was reading the latest Smith magazine that I bought for my man ( whose hands it has yet to reach) and read about the coolest new concept in milk dispensing in cafes. If youre a barista or have been one or have ever been into a cafe you've surely got a good idea of how many milk bottes they go through. Also how SUPER annoying it is that they have that little plasticy peel top that never peels properly and is a huge waste of time/materials/money etc/ . Anyway long story short these clever guys based in Sydney came up with The Juggler.

Click the link to find out more but its like a tap for milk! There is a bladder that can hold 10 Litres of milk underneath- no more bottles! no more time opening bottles! Seems like a win win to me.

Right, I can smell my little brussels roasting away ... Happy Friday everybody.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Foodbox Challenge

My friend Naomi recently got me onto the foodbox company. They deliver a box of fresh, local fruit and veg weekly to your door. I've done other things like this in the past but got sick of trying to get creative with potatoes and kale every week! I got my first box last week and had planned to do it fortnightly but it was so packed with variety and deliciousness that I had to order another for this week. To make life interesting I challenged Naomi to what I'm creatively calling "The Foodbox Challenge". The rules are fairly loose - cook with as much of the produce from the foodbox as possible throughout the week, be as creative as possible and take photos! 

At the end of the week I'll do a post of our weekly menus and you dear readers can decide and vote for which dishes you liked the best or who you thought got the most creative. There may even be a foodbox for one lucky reader ( Auckland, NZ area only sorry)

Happy eating...

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Because its Sunday and my outlook for the day has been stormy seas and grey skies I thought I would share some of the blogs Ive been perusing recently for inspiration - in the kitchen, things to wear, see, do , think etc!

Very good shots of European style, to me this site is actually 'street style' rather than ' on-the-street-outside-a-fashion-show style'.

Written by a South African girl, this blog contains a well put together mix of beautiful images, clothes, people and places. This blog really makes me wan to visit SA so i can go to all the wonderful places/shops she talks about, well worth checking out!

This is a food and photography blog that makes me want to become a photographer.  Based in Tasmania these two friends go out and source local food and turn it into delicious and stunning feasts. They document their adventures of meeting local producers, going fishing and discovering new ingredients- very inspiring!!

I used to love Thursday's listening to the amazing Charlotte Ryan on bfm talk to Simon Farrell-Green of Eat Here Now. Listeners could text or call in asking about good places to eat around Auckland. So Eat Here Now is his blog and showcases Aucklandland eateries. Quite good if you live in Auckland and maybe not so much if you dont sorry. On a side note I saw Simon at Queenstown airport recently and felt quite star struck but didn't say hi, a small regret in life thats comes a close second to not saying hi ( I love you and everything you do and say!!) to Rick Stein at Auckland airport. DAM IT.

I dont know if anyone else ( maybe the aforementioned Mr Stein) has made me laugh out loud or agree any more wholeheartedly than Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller. She inspired me to cut off  my hair, to layer like theres no tomorrow and to dress for yourself. She is incredibly witty and smart and  has amazing and original style. Ive been a fan for a long time and the love affair shall continue..

While on holiday over Christmas I walked around Paris day dreaming that I would bump into Garance, that we would have a little espresso together and she would hire me as her assistant on the spot to travel the world with her. This did not happen but very well could have as I loitered in the Tuileries until my nose nearly froze off. As with the man repeller I love Garances writing style - could be partly to do with French translation but she is very funny and also very to the point. While not a lot of what she writes about is super relevant to my life ( places to eat out in Corsica, the Celine latest resort Collection) it is very nice to dream and she takes cute little videos too.

The quest to know more, my lovely and multi-talented friend Emily recently started this blog. Heres her blub: There is so much to know in this world, so much to learn. It seems that in the life time of an average human they will only scratch the surface, a thought which is simultaneously exciting and sad. Rather than sit around contemplating how much there is to find out, and how little time I have to do it in, I thought it best to get cracking and start learning. Know More is the documentation of this process.

So go and explore and find out and know more.

good reads

Whenever possible I read a lot which is often to the detriment of my wallet as I do like to buy books although mainly second hand. As a child and teenager I would have 3 books on the go- I'm sure this must have been confusing for me and I really cant imagine myself following 3 different story lines now but who I am I to question my hormonal teenage brain. Come summertime, give me a beach and a (good) book and I'm set for hours; in winter the same but by a cosy fire. I don't get to read as much as I would like during term time but I more than make up for it during the holidays.

Last break I devoured  The kindness of your nature (Linda Olsson) in two days while camping but I hadn't taken anything else to read?!!  That led me in turn to buy my new favorite magazine, Yen, at the Coromandel Four Square. Anyway... apparently Linda Olsson is huge overseas (she is Swedish but now NZ based) and her stories often follow a similar theme but to me this story was quite magical and unique.

The start of this book reminded both me and my man of The Bone People (Kerri Hulme), very difficult to get into (I made 5 attempts at BP before loving it) but so so worth it once you're in. Olsson has a very restrained style that means the story unfolds slowly but perfectly in time. I will admit now to a tendency to skip large portions of books that I find boring. This did not happen in  The kindness of your nature, I hung on every word. I'm not going to totally review this book as Lisa Hill does it quite well here. But I recommend it. Part of the story is set in coastal Northland and Olsson really captures the beauty and the solitude of rural NZ. I don't want to give away any part of the story so I will only say that I was left thinking about it for a much longer time than any other book I have read. I made my man read it just so I could discuss at length what I was feeling (Men love talking about feelings). And yes, I cried.

Bonjour tristesse (Francoise Sagan) is a book I continue to go back to, partly to re-live the romantic sunny setting of the Mediterranean and partly because each time I notice something new or feel something different about one of the characters. I really enjoy French to English translations- it may just be the authors I have read but to me there is a real French style that is to the point and sort of nonchalant. Sagan has this attitude down, especially since she was around 18 when she wrote this book. The main character Cecile is lovable for her honesty and the unashamed way she embraces her life of privilege and her love of fine things. The whole tone of the book seems light, lovely and easy- very much like Cecile but with real menace just below the surface. 


Currently I am reading The Element (Ken Robinson). It has made me become very wary about telling children to sit still on the mat or to draw conclusions about a child's intelligence based on standardized testing. Ken Robinson is well known for his views on the public education system and I tend toward agreeing with many of them. We dont know what jobs will be around in the future so how do we (teachers) begin to prepare children for them? Who are we to tell children there is one way to learn and one test they must pass to be deemed intelligent? What Robinson is saying in this book is that we are all born with some level of creativity, of intelligence, but we express these in very different ways. He believes we just need to find the medium which through to explore and express our talents and make that our job. He interviews and uses for example many talented and creative individuals like Matt Groening,  Mick Fleetwood, Paul McCartney and many more. This would be an inspiring book for any young person who struggles in school or any adult unhappy in their job.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Winter has arrived

Since moving to Auckland from Central Otago Ive tended to look down upon those wearing puffer jackets ("winter!!! you call this winter!!?? Im swimming!!"). I would loudly proclaim oh Auckland what winter, winterless North, Ill be in sandals till June, I swim everyday in the sea....etc etc  But oh how the proud do fall, IT IS FREEZING. Not literally, we are no where near freezing point but dam its cold. I can see my breath , I'm wearing tights and now that its raining all the time and our water tank is full Im back to spending my evenings soaking in the tub. I also have a slight sniffle that may turn into some sort of winter cold although I have not experienced one of these for many years it may just be hayfever. Its hard to complain though when my sister sends me photos of herself trudging through snow to lectures in Dunedin or my mum tells me she's added a fourth merino layer to her outfit down in Alexandra. The thing is though we are just not prepared up here, I mean my tights are 20 denier! more suited to a light autumn breeze than anything below 10. My lovely lockwood is a home more suited to the summer, sure once the fire is lit its like sauna in here but this week I am sans my man and while chopping firewood in the dark and torrential rain may appeal it some , it does not to me.

This brings my to the sort of point of why im writing.... HATS. The minute I put a hat on my body temperature soars, its like magic. Hats are life changing, well thats pushing it but they are super useful. Woolly hats are excellent but Ive found in Auckland a wide brim fedora is best because not only does it keep you warm, hide a bad hair day and look good but it totally keeps the rain of your face for those occasions when it rains 10 separate times in one day and the sun out of your eyes when the sun comes streaming out from behind aforementioned rain clouds.

Here are some goodies...

Cara Delevingne 

from Sartorialist

Hat instead of a top- why not?

Elisa in bejeweled wool

LM aka Man Repeller at her best
So frenchy 

Paris loves girls in hats 
Paris loves men in hats

In Amsterdam wearing clogs and....a hat!

So there you have it next time you're cold wear a hat, next time you have the shopping urge buy a hat! Better yet if your into knitting -knit a hat!