Saturday, December 29, 2012

Spontaneous purchase of flights

I've just finished my 19th day of work in a row with 6 more to go this week at least. So I can be forgiven to feeling a little crazy (hearing The Hobbit play 3 times a day every day will do that to you - I know the music score by heart). In a moment of slight craziness this week I booked flights to Samoa for May next year. Now I have the thought of that to get me through the rest of a busy summer.

I'm looking foward to going back to Savai'i and especially Lano again. I haven't decided yet whether to hire a bike for the 2 weeks and circumnavigate Savai'i or to head to American Samoa for one week and the other week simply lazing on Lano beach.

This trip is a little bitter sweet right now due to thoughts of the damage done and lives lost in the recent cyclone over there. The last bit of news I heard mentioned that the water and power supply to Apia has been severely damaged. One of the reasons why I want to head back over is to spend my tourist dollars which is my way of helping the recovery. The other reasons are simply because the country is beautiful and the people couldn't be friendlier. There's got to be a reason I'm heading back for the 4th time in 3 years.

Cannot wait!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Late night baking. Again.

A second batch of chocolate cupcakes are in the oven as I write. It's just one of several things I need to bake before going to bed. I'm exhausted but with a trip to a farm park and bbq tomorrow,  then work all night there's not really much time left between now and when people come over for brunch on Christmas day to get things done.

I did splash out a bit tonight during a last minute late night dash to briscoes.  Somehow I left with a new crockpot,  tablecloth, bowls, serving dishes, champagne flutes,  sunnies etc etc. Whoops. My bank account will not thank me for it but I'm a sucker for things that match.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Busy baking

This past couple of weeks I have probably worked more hours than ever before in my life. It's hard to switch off at the end if the day when you live and breathe your job -also when your flatmate and most friends all work at the same place.
Although it's busy I'm having more fun than ever thanks to being constantly surrounded by an awesome team and being given some new (exciting but frightening) challenges and responsibilities.
Interestingly this surge in hours has coincided with me doing more baking than ever. It's my way of unwinding and I love sharing food with others. If it gives them a moment of joy during their busy day then the job's done. So now I finished for today at a reasonable hour (home before midnight) i'm going to crank up coldplay and bake something for tomorrow. The only question now is, what to make.. I sacrificed the vege market this morning in favour of a full 6 hours sleep so the fridge is a little bare....
Banana loaf won out in the end

Friday, December 21, 2012

Les Mis

Right now I have the West End Les Miserables soundtrack keeping me company as I bake some Christmas goodies for friends. I am so excited for the movie coming out in January. Every time I hear the trailer I almost get goosebumps.

I have mum to thank for a love of musicals. As kids we weren't really allowed to watch tv, especially not cartoons. On sunny days we had through outdoors and our imaginations to entertain us (and the run of a farm), when stuck inside there was boardgames, books, cassettes, crafts and so many cookbooks to peruse. 

So now as an adult I still know all the words to Cats, The King and I, Grease and Les Mis. Shame I was born without the ability to hold a tune. I cannot wait to go to Europe to see them all live one day.

Tidy house, tidy mind

I am not an unclean person but I can be very messy. My problem is that I spend an hour or two here and there cleaning and always start with the communal areas, the pets and the garden. My room always left until last and therefore mostly neglected.

Today though I made time to give it a thorough clean and organize. Now I feel great and actually want to spend time in here (I want to sit at the sewing machine!). It's amazing what a tidy environment can do for your mood. Now the challenge us to keep it that way... you wouldn't think it'd be hard when I spend 80% of my day at least at work or sleeping.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A few December pics...

Some snaps of the cheeky bunny as today is exactly one year since we adopted him from the spca.  He was so terrified of us back then. One year on he's starting to come out of his shell. He eats all day long and loves playing in boxes. What a sweetie.
The others are of the start of my summer garden.  There's one more broccoli to eat and then it's a lot of lettuce to plough through before the tomatoes,  cucumber and courgettes kick into gear.  I've mostly been remembering to water it.
The last is the view from the roof at work. I have to grab a few minutes of sunshine wherever I can.

Monday, December 17, 2012


This week I splashed out on a new phone. It is F-A-N-C-Y! Hopefully it means I will update more as now I have internet access where ever I go. The coolest thing about it though is that I can tag on and off the bus with it. No more scrambling for change when I've forgotten to top up my snapper.  It's the little things. ..

This month has been hectic with work. I think I''ll end up doing almost 3 weeks without a day off. Lucky I love my job,have great colleagues and access to free barista coffee!

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get the xmas tree up. I'm excited for christmas this year. We don't have to be at work until the afternoon so I'm planning a good brunch spread for all of us that don't have family here. Can't wait.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The takeaway dilemma

I'm still here but blogging has taken a back seat lately as I've been doing quite a few hours at work. If you don't know already I'm a manager at a cinema and we hosted a little party recently - otherwise known as a world movie premiere. It was a lot of fun although I'm very much looking forward to getting paid this week as my bank account took a hit with buying a dress, shoes, make up, a lot of takeaways etc etc. So worth it though!

The takeaways are something that I've been thinking a lot about this week. My diet has been shocking lately as I've been too busy to sit and eat properly during the work day, not organised enough to pack something nutritious in the mornings, and too tired when I get home in the wee hours of the morning to stay up an extra hour cooking. I think last week I ate takeaways every day - at least it's not doing bad things for my figure as that's pretty much the only thing I will eat in the day (more than 10kg lost since May) -  but at $10-$12 a pop my bank account is hating me!

So last night I set about fixing this. I made a huge fish pie, empanadas and a stack of toasties for the freezer. I think this afternoon I'll quickly make another pasta dish, pre-cut some fruit for smoothies and take the time to pack a healthy salad for dinner. On my day off I think baking a huge batch of scones is on the agenda. The takeaway joints aren't going to see a cent from me this fortnight! :-) No more excuses.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tea Cosy

I still have to finish the Australia posts and add photos so fingers crossed that will happen tomorrow. For today though (because I've been at work for 12 hours now and want to go home asap) a picture of my latest finished project.

The pommy flatmate knitted one side and I the other + the icord. It's in Stansborough Mythral and because we're displaying it at work, they kindly sent me the yarn gratis.

Such a quick and easy project. Might use some scrap yarn to make one for myself with the same pattern.

Photo: Check out our new tea pot cloaked (get it?!) in Stansborough Mythral.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sydney Part 2

*Photos to come*

After a seven course dinner the night before, we started off Sunday morning with a walk into town and across the harbour bridge. I didn't see the point in forking out for the official bridge climb when there's a free pedestrian walkway with the same spectacular view. Under the bridge on the North side was a craft market. One stall in particular took my attention and I wish I'd taken photos. This woman from the Central Coast was selling gorgeous cupcake tea cosies and knitted 'The Very Hungry Catepillar toys'. What a cool idea!

We took the ferry back to Circular Quay from Luna Park. There we headed to one of the oldest pubs in town, in the Rocks, for a kangaroo and lemon myrtle pie - part of the Coopers Ale Pie section of the Food Festival. It was pretty tasty. I can safely say I'm a kangaroo meat convert. Also I'm pretty sure lemon myrtle is a native Australian plant so it was an interesting (and very Auzzie) mix.

Katy had to head back to the airport that afternoon so after I dropped her at the train station I checked into a different hostel in the heart of the rocks. Mainly I chose it because it has a rooftop terrace that'd give me a easy vantage point to see the Opera House all lit up at night. The view did not disappoint.

I whiled away that afternoon sitting outside the Opera House with a glass or two of bubbles and my knitting, watching the cruise ship leave port and ferry after ferry departing. The people watching was fascinating. So many people both there and around the Rocks that afternoon were having wedding photos taken. I stayed sitting there until the sun sank behind the harbour bridge. I really loved this city.

I also took a stroll through the Rocks market that afternoon, namely to find the corn on the cob I saw so many people walking around with. It was a favourite street food in Peru (and doesn't feel like such a guilty snack - bonus). Oh my gosh, it did not disappoint! Slathered in butter with spicy chilli on it too...somebody needs to start selling that in Wellington!

Monday morning I made the most of my work discount and checked into Rydges for a night - purely for the luxury of a bath and a sleep in a MASSIVE bed. Check in sorted, I headed out to Blacktown on the train to visit the Ferndale wildlife park conveniently also owned by the same group. Staff discount - woo! 

I spent a few hours there transfixed by the wallabies and kangaroos (there were some seriously large joeys trying to fit into not-so-large pouches), stroked a koala (or two) and saw all the typical animals (tazzie devils, crocodile, all the birds, wombats, echidnas etc etc) in a much more personal way than behind the glass of Auzzie World. It was a serious trip highlight. I didn't mind in the least when I missed the bus and had to stay an extra half hour. Cup of tea while sitting on the ground next to a friendly wallaby - hell yes!

I did have to rush back to town though as I had dinner booked at the Hilton. Yes, you heard read that right. I was about to do my second Peruvian degustation dinner in three days. This one was done by celebrity chef Luke Mangan and a Peruvian chef that has a couple of restaurants in LA. Delicious doesn't really cover it.

The dinner itself took me out of my comfort zone a bit. I don't mind going places by myself but this particular dinner was communally seated. At my table they were all at least a decade (or two, or three) older than me and very very successful - owned large companies kind of successful. I felt slightly inadequate when they asked what I did and I had to say well, I am a manager at a cinema. Ah well. We were all there for the food and after some initial awkwardness the conversation and wine flew freely. Perhaps it was because of the wine that the conversation flew so freely haha.

Each course came with matching wine - mostly from Argentina. Photos to come. It was a great evening and I enjoyed both degustation meals a lot. The thing I love about modern Peruvian cuisine (and I am very passionate about it) is that it takes the elements of pretty simple and humble street/home cooked food and transforms them into something quite different - sophisticated and chic but still very true to its roots. If that waffle makes any sense.

I didn't plan the night in the hotel very well though as I didn't get to sleep in the next morning. Instead I did a quick spot of souvenir shopping, in a yarn store of course (Morris and Sons). So. Much. Pretty. Yarn. There was a whole wall of Noro and a lot of Peruvian and Italian yarns. I ended up taking home a 300g of yarn in total, which I thought was pretty restrained. Oh and a little owl cross stitch kit too.

 Then it was on the train to the Blue Mountains. I spent most of the ride balling up the yarn I'd just bought.

The Blue Mountains I'll save for the next post...

Sydney Part 1

*Photos to come*

Well I very nearly didn't make my flight to Auckland to start off with. I'd booked with Jetstar and despite having flown with them before and knowing their check in rules, this was the first time I received an email from them on the day of my flight with the first sentence saying 'you have selected auto check in'. After reading that my mind thought that I was already checked in, so when I finished work and left for the airport, I skipped the whole check in process and went straight through security. It was only when they started to board the flight I realised I had no boarding pass. Whoops. Luckily they bent the rules a bit and let me on.

After a night camping in the airport, I slept the whole way over to Sydney. When we landed I expected sunny skies and warm temperatures. Instead it was pouring down and 9 degrees. Brrr. I hadn't packed for that! Our plans for that first day ended up being perfect for the weather. We visited Auzzie World and the Aquarium, both at Darling Harbour and both indoors. Both were good opportunities to get up close to all the animals you think of when you think 'Australia'. Kangaroos, koalas, dugongs, salt water crocodile, sharks, snakes... I couldn't spot the platypus though.

We stayed the first couple of nights at the YHA near the railway station and on the same block as a wee cafe selling Colombian street style food. That was the first of many yum meals. I think I spent most of the holiday eating, suprise, suprise.

Of course as soon as I forked out for an umbrella the rain disappeared and Sydney put on a gorgeous afternoon. We headed to Circular Quay to see the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House - we took photos of each other in front of them of course, like proper tourists.

That evening we headed to Hyde Park for the Friday night noodle markets - part of the food festival. Oh my god, was that food good?! I haven't had much experience with Asian food so it was fun to a little something from several of the 50-odd stalls that were there. I tried peking duck pancakes, bbqed octopus, prawn on betel leaf, tapioca pudding, bbqed corn, dumplings, steamed pork and duck buns etc etc. I'm definitely a convert. There were chairs and tables set out and fairy lights/lanterns in the trees. I had a glass of wine (Katy had a sip of her's before the wind dumped the contents over the grass). It was a really awesome night out.

Wiped out, we headed to bed rather early. The next morning we headed out to Bondi Beach to do the Coastal walk to Coogee. I'd packed my togs but it was still windy and pretty cold so I skipped a dip in the waves. The walk was great - taking us along the cliffs past several small beaches, some with salt water swimming pools. All up I think it was about 6km - not a bad walk in jandals.

The afternoon we spent looking at some shops in the city and then it was time to head back to the hostel to get ready for dinner. We ate at Morena, a modern Peruvian restaurant. It was the reason I wanted to go to Sydney. My parents shouted us the degustation menu each (with matching wines for me) for my birthday present. I hit a quarter century next month. The photos don't do the food justice at all. I didn't want to use the flash as I thought it might disturb the other guests.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


About to take a taxi to the airport to get a flight to Auckland and then onwards to Sydney tomorrow morning. So the next update should be exciting!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The last week, in pictures...

The knitting commission I've been working on - 2.5 days for a cardy and hat. I'm trying to
subsidise my yarn addiction by taking payment for baby knitting.

The knitting bag I picked up at KAN - never without it in my handbag.

Took a walk on my day off in between watching 3 films...

Stopped at Oriental Bay to read my book before being scared back inside by the wind

Dinner at work - Black Doris Plum cake with Plum and Creme Fraiche ice cream...mmm

Buquebus has picked up an annoying habit of tearing up cardboard boxes.

I spent an afternoon at the zoo with my favourite one year old. The lions were soaking
up the sun too.

My neglected mess of a vege patch - it's taking off with all this sunshine.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September knitting...

A few pictures of some knitting I've done this month...


ABs vs Pumas

I'm finally catching up on some posts from earlier in the month. My sister flew down for the night to come along to the Pumas vs All Blacks match. We had great seats tucked up under cover, out of the wind and rain. As it was the windiest day I can remember for a while, this was really welcome! My sister's plane had to circle a good 30 minutes before it could land - and it was apparently quite a bumpy landing.
I was so excited to see my favourite Puma playing. I've been a big fan of Juan Martin Hernandez since the 2007 World Cup. It was a great game - the Pumas put up a good fight - their defence was outstanding. Of course the ABs won in the end which was the result I was after (I am a Kiwi first and foremost, despite the blue and white facepaint).
While my sis was down we also went out for a yummy lunch at a Taiwanese restaurant. She's big on Asian food having travelled through China. I know pretty much nothing about Asian cuisine but I'm always up for trying something different! I had hot and sour soup and she, sweet and sour pork, and we shared dumplings and a hot of traditional tea. Tummies stuffed, we watched Moonrise Kingdom in the afternoon. And when I say watched, she watched, and I had a siesta having seen it already the night before and not having had to pay for my ticket.
It was a really fun weekend.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just another day...

I forgot to bring my camera into work so still no holiday post...the wee hours of Friday morning it'll have to be (and I really need to get my lap top fixed).

I forgot today was the day I was closing at work and then opening the next morning (so 7 hours between shifts) so I got up early to do some exciting house cleaning, knitting, killing aphids in the garden, baking bread and making Sally Lunn. Luckily I have 24.5 hours (excited much?!) between the next shifts to catch up on some zzz.

This afternoon I had my friends' baby over for a couple of hours. All three of us flatmates happened to be home and it was a gorgeous day so we headed out to Lyall Bay beach to play on the playground and have coffee at the Maranui Surf Club.

Here's me and the little one rocking her hand knits. I mainly snuck this photo in to show off her hat again and to show off my hair - how long is it getting?! That's 17 months of growth now and it's almost down to my shoulders.

I've been making a conscience effort to get up and do something before work each day and it's doing wonders for my happiness levels. One morning this week I got in 2+ hours of knitting before a midday shift. My aim for this week is to work in daily exercise so it starts to become a habit. I was getting pretty darn chubby there earlier this year but thankfully 7kg of it has somehow melted away without me noticing so by making a conscious effort I'm sure the same again will come off without too much trouble. I even started wearing jeans again after a year of not wearing them due to fear of muffin top.

Right it's getting really really late so I'd better hit the hay. Apologies for the rambling post but my brain stopped functioning several hours ago.

P.S. Just realised it's 3 weeks and 1 day until I head off to Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Cannot wait!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Still here, still knitting...

Well I've tried to update quite a few times, with photos, over the past couple of weeks but haven't had much luck with the computer. Hopefully tonight will be different.

It's Sunday so I finished work nice and early at 7-ish so I was home in time for a great night in of TV viewing - Nothing Trivial followed by Offspring. I have a glass or three of bubbly and my flatmate cooked me curry so life is good.

Once this is typed up I'll be able to get into some knitting. I've got quite a bit done this week. I'm working on a whole lot of teddy clothes, mostly of my own design, for a couple of special little (and not so little) girls' birthday presents. They look rather hilarious, in a cute kind of way, and at least I'm using up all of the yarn scraps lying around the house.

Since I last posted I've finished a couple of other projects - an Aviatrix hat in newborn size which is so tiny and sweet, another pair of gansey booties in gorgeous alpaca, the black rib beanie for a Christmas gift (yay me, so organised!) and a dish cloth in the most tedious seed stitch that I never care to repeat (part of another Christmas gift). That doesn't look all that much written down but thatt was a fair amount of teddy knitting. I also spent a good number of hours (upwards of 10) trying to untangle the beautiful merino silk I bought off Jessicah of Spinning a Yarn at KAN so I can cast on a cowl. I can't believe how tangled I got it. That'll teach me to try ball up yarn on a bus. There must be a simpler technique but I haven't worked it out yet.

What else has been happening...? I got my wisdom tooth pulled which wasn't nearly as painful as expected but did cost me a couple of week's rent. My sister flew down to come along to the Pumas vs All Blacks game with us which was a lot of fun. I've babysat my favourite wee baby with another date with her this week - she's the most laid back and happy baby I've met in a long while. I put Buquebus on the scales to find he weighs a whopping 5 kilos - not a small bunny, that's for sure - I also bought him a dog harness to take him for walks but he hates it.

Of course I got up to lots while I was on leave but the photos are worth sharing so I'll make a point of using the computer at work after I finish in the wee hours of Wednesday morning to put them on here.

Right, time to get back to the knitting... :-)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photos from Queenstown..finally

I'm off on holiday again tomorrow and have an early bus to catch so I'm pulling an all nighter. Because of that I thought I'd take the chance while I'm still at work and doing a bit of unpaid admin, I'd procrastinate a bit by posting pictures.

So here's a quick run down and pictures from when I was down south in June.

I took the bus from Dunedin to Queenstown to meet up with my parents and the first thing we did when I arrived was go to Ferg Burger. Their burgers are AMAZING. There's a lot of hype around them and they totally live up to it - every single mouthful. Here I am eating a venison burger. Mmm. Equally great is Ferg Baker - the best pies I've ever had. I had to buy about 4 to sample all the flavours...

The next morning started with a walk around the Bannockburn countryside, up past where they used to mine gold and past many, many, many rabbits. Despite it being quite foggy I thought the colours were gorgeous - purples, reds and browns...

The walk took us past old miner's cottages - the remains of them anyway. Here I am doing the Che at Machu Picchu pose in a door frame.

Of course we took a wrong turn (my sense of direction failed me) and so we walked the long way around to Bannockburn instead of back to the car park. Some of the old buildings are really sweet.

While Dad walked a few extra ks back to get the car, Mum and I had morning tea in a cute cafe. I had to try a local delicacy - the classic cheese and onion roll. Mmm.

All that walking built up more of an appetite than just for food, after all we were smack in the middle of Central Otago wine country. Pinot, anyone? I should have invoiced my work for visiting one of the wineries that we use. Of course it's not exactly a chore tasting all of these...

After a couple of cellar doors it was time for lunch. Not just any lunch but lunch at Mt Difficulty. Oh my god was it good. I had Mt Cook Salmon with cockles washed down with a glass of riesling. Their riesling is phenomenal.

The view wasn't bad either.

A couple more cellar doors and then to Cromwell to check out the old town, relocated when they built the dam.

Of course no visit to a small New Zealand town is complete without visiting whatever the local tacky statue is. In this case, fruit...

Ah Aurum. This vineyard was definitely a highlight. I took home a bottle of white port but if funds had allowed a bottle of the Mathilde pinot noir wouldn't have gone amiss.

The next day started earlier with a drive out to Glenorchy. Just look at that view!

Horse trekking was first of the agenda. More stunning views and river crossings. Such a awesome way to check out some truely spectacular scenery.

This is Paradise. You might know it as the paddock(s) in which many movies are/were filmed - like Wolverine, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit etc etc.

We'd booked on a jet boat tour up the Dart River. It included a short stroll through the beech forest.

I'm pretty sure this one needs no caption. Just stunning, stunning scenery.

It's kind of hard to take pictures from a moving jet boat but what a way it was to see the sights. The riverbanks were covered in snow. The beech forests, mountain tops, beautiful clear day. I can see why this part of the country is so popular with the tourists.

 On our last day we went out to cutesy Arrowtown for a wander. I could live there.
It would have been rude not to visit a few vineyards a little closer to Queenstown. I loved Brennan Wines. A bottle might have made its way home with me.

The gorge.

Scenic shot of a vineyard. I'd love to visit when it's all lush and green.