Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas and the Amazon

Just a quick post as I'm not entirely sober after attending a Boxing Day potluck dinner. Everything was so delicious (I made a pav) and it was a fun evening sitting out in the sun, sipping a pims cup and doing a lot of laughing.

Yesterday we had a lovely, quiet Christmas Day. We did an orphans Christmas - just my flatmates and I. Basically we ate our way through far too much food, opened some presents and spent the afternoon relaxing in the backyard with drinks.

What did I get? Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking, a bottle of torrontes, one of pisco and some plant seeds. My flatmates know me so well.

I managed to read almost an entire book (I'm itching to go to bed and finish it now but maybe just another bowl of trifle first...). I made it my goal to read a book a month. Last month I read The Help. This month I'm reading about the first guy to walk along the Amazon in its entirety. Epic and just a little mad. What guts that'd take!

I hope you had a great Christmas too. I'll leave you with a few of my favourite pictures from the Amazon (although I explored it from the relative comfort of a ferry and a guided jungle tour - although we did paddle our own dugout canoe and catch our own dinner of piranha). I have so much respect for this crazy dude.  No Christmas snaps yet as I'm borrowing my flatty's mac computer and it is so confusing. I'm going to bed...

eating breakfast of fish and banana at our campsite in the jungle

paddling down an Amazon tributary in a dugout canoe

my first piranha

sunrise on the Amazon from the ferry

It is hot in the Amazon - look at how sweaty we are after 5 mins of walking

Shaman perfoming a ceremony to rid me of my tummy ailment

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pictures of our tubby bunny

A quick post before I get ready for work. I managed to get most of my christmas shopping done between training in the morning and my official shift in the afternoon yesterday and went out for lunch too so I'm feeling much more organised. I slept in this morning too (a whopping 7 hours of sleep!) and all of us were home so we got the bunny out of his hutch and had lunch together while he ran around the lounge. And I've got a red wine and aubegine lasagne in the oven and a vege crumble in the fridge so we are set for lunches and dinners for both before and after Christmas which is one less thing to worry about. Yay.

Buquebus' latest cute thing is playing in a box we brought him home from work which he uses as a tunnel. If he keeps up the eating he might not fit through it for much longer though. Also at 2am I shredded a huge pile of documents so we are all set for bunny bedding material for a while (and it was free!). Right now both he and the neigbours' cat are stretched out in the sun looking oh so cute. They get along with the wire mesh between them.

On the gardening front our peas have pods! The tomatillo (Cape Horn gooseberry) is also starting to get some fruit and the first courgettes are about ready to eat. Hopefully after my holiday they'll all still be alive.

Anyway better go. Here are a couple of pictures of Buque. Enjoy.

His favourite hiding spot - under the cabinet. He
also stands up against it and tries to eat the mail.

Exploring the lounge

Pommy flatmate works LONG hours so here she is
snatching a few moments with Buque - eating breakfast with him.

Cloudy Bum and Buquebus

Note his cute food bowl. I've continued my red spot colour theme outdoors too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


On Monday afternoon (having spent the whole morning in bed after not leaving our work xmas function until 5.30am a bit worse for wear) I headed down to the SPCA to pick up a bunny.

The hutch arrived Sunday and I have to say, this bunny has it good! The hutch is nearly the size of my bedroom. It's a good thing too as Buquebus is massive! And he's such a glutton.

We went with the second bunny in the end, formally known as Sedgwick. Malakai was there and so gorgeous and friendly but not due to be desexed until the end of the month (and he's so cute and personable I'm sure he'll get chosen fast). We got in there just in time too as all the bunnies are moving out to Waikanae where they have better hutches. So if you know anyone looking to adopt a bunny that's where to go. I really hope Malakai finds a good home.

We are all completely smitten with Buquebus. He's getting more used to us. We chilled out on the couch together watching telly last night and he had free run of the lounge. The only pictures I've taken so far have all been on my phone but I'll get some good ones and post them this weekend.

My only day off is Christmas Day so until then I'm going to be pretty busy. Tomorrow I get to start work at 9.45am and won't leave until close (maybe 2am?). We just spent a small fortune at Pak n Save so I'd better start on baking some Christmas goodies. It looks like Christmas day dessert is going to be baked alaska and a plum frangipane tart, BBQ and salads for lunch and cream cheese and bacon bagels for breakfast. Cheeses (including port salud, my favourite) and homemade dips to graze on all day too.

I've got another Xmas dinner to go to on Boxing day so I'll need to make a pav for that at some point and need to bake some presents. I have knitting to finish as well and I have barely started on buying gifts. Hopefully I can find time to fit it all in between shifts at work. I am hanging out for 10pm on the 28th when I am flying home for a weeks holiday. I really cannot wait.

How are your Christmas preparations going?

Friday, December 16, 2011


My summer job when I was 18 (and probably the coolest job I've ever had)
was shearing angora bunnies in Waitomo Caves (the village, not in the actual caves themselves).
Towards the start of the year we joked about getting a pet rabbit if my flatmate managed to stave off deportation this December. Somewhere along the line this became less a joke and we started to seriously think about it. In the meantime we bought fish. I started to have doubts about the bunny because only once has somebody other than me actually cleaned out the fish tank (and that one time a fish ended up getting carpet burn) and so I was a little worried that rabbit hutch cleaning would be added to my list of chores along with kitchen cleaning, bathroom cleaning, fish tank cleaning and 99% of the gardening.

However a couple of nights ago we went out to the pet store to get our fish a little something for Christmas - something they could swim through or hide behind but it turns out all those sorts of things are decidedly ugly! I got distracted by the tiny bunnies and oh my gosh, they were all so adorable. I nearly took one home right then and there. 

I went home giddy with excitement over the soft, fluffy cuteness of the little creatures which seemed to be contagious so now our whole flat is hell bent on getting a little bunny to love. I've had a few bunnies and a guinea pig in my time and mostly it hasn't turned out too well, what with farm dogs and predatory pet cats... (sad face). 

I'd love to get a kitten but my heart is with my lovely cat that lives at my parents. Also, cats last way too long. My cat is 13 and still as healthy as anything. Bunnies last more around the 5-10 year mark. Still, that's quite a long term investment for someone who likes to travel. So rather than get a cute baby bunny with its whole life ahead of it, we decided to pop down to the SPCA and see what they had. 

It made for a fun morning. All of the bunnies were too cute. I'd quite like to take the ugliest one/one that has been there longest, home. But one bunny in particular was just so gorgeous and friendly that we've put in a request for him. If that doesn't work out then this one is my second choice

My flatmate is forking out for a hutch (around $300 including delivery) - expensive, but it is big enough and tall enough for the bunny to be happy outside while we are at work. I need to track down a litter box, water and food bowls,  food,  toys and something to block off our lounge before next week when the hutch arrives and soon after something fluffy and cute to live in it. 

We have a tiled kitchen floor so he'll have lots of space to run around inside (hopefully it won't take long to toilet train him) but I'm thinking the tea trolley will have to find a home in the lounge to avoid it getting gnawed. Also I need to keep an eye on trademe for some of those baby barriers to keep it from exploring the rest of the house. 

We are so incredibly excited. We may not have our bunny yet but it already has a name - BUQUEBUS. I can't wait to show you pictures next week. 

He's named after the ferry that goes between Argentina and Uruguay. When my flatmate and I were travelling there last year we tried to tell my grandmother we were taking the Buquebus to Uruguay. We completely failed to pronounce it properly so she told us "You Kiwis, you can't pronounce anything. It's not buquebus, it's BOO-KEY-BOOOOS. And not Uruguay. EWWW-ROO-GOO-AI." She then made us repeat it until we got it right and it became a bit of a running joke. Somehow the rabbit's ended up with it for a name. I think we'll call it Buque for short.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wow, I am tired but I have a mountain of dishes to do before going to bed. Today I spent a lot of time in the kitchen and managed to make quite a few things - toasted tropical muesli, two loaves of delicious white bread, rhubarb and ginger muffins, orange muffins and a eggplant and fresh tomato pasta dish to take into work for dinner. All that food wasn't just for me either. The muffins were for my colleagues as we've had a very busy week!

The bread, my usual recipe off the healthy food guide website, turned out amazing. Much more amazing than it usually does. Normally I try to make it healthier by using wholemeal flour and adding a few seeds and such. Not today. Today we had plain old white. I also used my new (secondhand from my mum) cake mixer with the dough hook on instead of kneading it too. It came out sky high and absolutely divine. In fact I might sneak another piece now...

The other thing I made was salad. We are eating salad a minimum of once a day because the lettuce and radishes in the garden are growing like crazy. It's hard to keep up with it. Recipe ideas for lettuce will be gratefully accepted.

Work was also quite fun tonight although tomorrow when it's the first night doing the new menu might be a different story :-S

I don't normally like to blog about my job but I might just have to share a couple of pictures this weekend as the just-opened-today downstairs area is looking pretty darn impressive. Actually we made the paper today (I haven't had any run ins with ghosts lately though...).

Right enough procrastinating. Dishes time!

Handmade 2012

How happy was I to get up this morning, log onto facebook and find this link from my sister.

I am so excited for Handmade 2012. In fact I think I'll apply for leave for that weekend, this week because there are so many classes I'd like to do, I'll be making a weekend of it.

Last year I did the sock knitting class which was a lot of fun. Next year my timetable might look something like this...

Day 1
Crocheted garland or cushions
Spinning with a drop spindle
2 handed stranded knitting or tapa cloth dying
Lynda Hallinan self-sufficiency on a shoestring masterclass

Day 2
Cupcake decorating or Ruth Pretty masterclass or Fabric Baskets or from Plots to Plate
Beaded knitting or wine tasting
Sock owls or Martin Bosley masterclass

So many choices!

And completely unrelated, we just had another earthquake. It freaked me out a little because I heard it coming before the house actually shook. Creepy!

Time for a cup of tea I think!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Tree

We all met up at the Warehouse after I finished work today to buy a Christmas tree and decorations. We had more than a little fun picking them out. A kiwi Christmas theme won out in the end so there's lots of blue and red, stars and later this week tree biscuits in the shape of kiwis will be added to the mix. Maybe we'll be a little naughty and pinch a few pohutakawa blossoms. The question is will the edible decorations all last until Christmas day?

It was too good of an opportunity not to take the mickey out of the traditional American Christmas card by snapping a few 'family' shots of our own. So an early Merry Christmas from us and our four goldfish who have surpassed all expectations and are all still alive several months after we bought them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Reading and xmas ideas

Well I came back from Samoa (very, very reluctantly) and almost immediately after stepping off the plane started to feel pretty ill. Three days later I've slept off the aches and headache so I'll be back at work tomorrow (and daydreaming of Samoa). 

Yesterday in between naps, I knocked off the first of 12 books I'm going to read in the next year as part of my things to do before my 25th birthday. I never saw the movie The Help, but the book was fantastic. It is about black domestics working in white households in America back in the 1960s. I could barely put it down. I love the way the author captured the voices of the different characters. Now I'm on the lookout for my next book to read.

I'm also on the lookout for Christmas present ideas. I'm trying to give everyone something thoughtful and with some handmade element this year. We'll see how that goes. I stumbled across this idea today and thought it might be perfect for my 9 year old niece. 

cookie dough mixture in a jar

I also came home with a bag of lemons from mum's tree so lemon curd will be featuring in some peoples' presents this Christmas too. 

This is the latest I've left sorting out Christmas gifts actually. Most years I've bought everything by the end of November. Normally I'm quite lazy and do everything from one shop - one year it was Lush, another Whitcoulls. Last year everyone just got souvenirs from South America. Whoops. This year however I'm actually going to be at the farm with the family only a few days after Christmas so I do need to prepare some sort of presents that are easy to fly up there with. 

My Samoa holiday blog post is still to come - I have some nice photos to share - maybe tomorrow...