Sunday, March 10, 2013

New blog link

Have been neglecting this blog a bit lately as I just plain didn't think it was pretty enough. Plus I wanted to use the name 'Tea with Llamas' which is what my old travel blog was called. Too good of a name to waste, I reckon. So come join me over on my new blog for much of the same - plenty of knitting, a little travel, wine when I get the chance, and snaps of that gorgeous fat bunny :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Seeing things from a different angle...

I work in one of the most beautiful buildings in the country.  Seeing it every day,  it is easy to forget that,  until a tourist comes in,  snapping photos, in awe of the place.

This week I saw it in another way too - from the point of view of an 18 month old who's just started to walk. What a cool playground with seemingly acres of springy carpet to run around on,  huge mirrors to check yourself out in,  bollards to crawl under and comfy chairs to clamber over.

We didn't even make it to the park as someone just didn't want to leave...

Goals for the month

I can't believe we're over half way through February already. Sometimes it seems that one work day just melts into another and before you know it, another week has gone by without achieving much. By achieving much I mean in a personal, outside-work sense. My routine more than occasionally feels like work, sleep, eat/cook, try keep the house in a relatively clean state and knit when I can.

So to give my free time some direction, I have a few goals I want to achieve by the end of March.

  1. Get my full drivers licence (my restricted expires in March!). I need to book a couple of lessons and sit the test.
  2. Finish the hat/cardy/bootie set for my friends' baby
  3. Finish the fingerless mittens I started last winter
  4. Knit another nappy soaker
  5. Knit a leaving gift for a friend
  6. Plant up my winter garden (lots of spinach!)
  7. Invite some people over for dinner
  8. Make time to exercise 5 days a week (swim or bike or jog)
  9. Do something touristy in Wellington I've not yet done
  10. Start making most of our bread again (even if I have to cheat and buy a breadmaker)
10 easy goals I think...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Latest knitting

I finished my garter stitch scarf. Now to drop it into knit world without walking out with more yarn... It was a charity knit for kids can. I'm not feeling charitable enough to make another though. Garter stitch is definitely not my favourite look.
Today I cast on a little baby hat to match the puerperium cardy. I'm thinking a honeycomb cable with seed stitch inside. We'll see how it ends up looking...

Trip home

My wee holiday on farm was great. I got a lot of knitting done, went to the movies,  had a lot of good food and wine, went fishing and just basically hung out. Here's a few photos. I'll caption them on the computer tomorrow.
Mum's making me a cardy in zealana heron, sigh. Feels so light and soft on.
So many courgettes in the garden
ambrosia with homegrown blueberries
one of the snapper I caught
wish I had this garden
Puerperium cardy + my cat (had her for 14+ years now)
hanging by the pool

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Back home and knitting

I'm staying on the farm for a couple of days.  No work means time for knitting...
It's starting to look more cardigan like now. Half way done!  The big question is what buttons am I going to use? !

Samoa planning

My favourite thing in the world to do is do plan travel (well, apart from actually travelling). I'm really excited to have 2 weeks in Samoa this May. Because it is my fourth trip over there I wanted to do something a little different. My first option was to go to American Samoa which is only an 8 hour ferry ride away from Independent Samoa. It sounded pretty appealing but was looking to be a bit pricey as there is no beach fale kind of set up over there and I'd need flights to get off the main island to where the apparently gorgeous beaches are. So I decided to save it for another trip.

Option B which I have decided to do, is to turn the trip into a cycling holiday. It adds a physical challenge to the trip. I'm not crazy though so apart from my first night which will be in Apia, I'll spend the entire two weeks just biking around the one island. This means there are 6 proper cycling days and the rest for rest, recovery, snorkling, sunbathing and drinking coconuts. So a little crazy, and a lot relaxing.

I really like to try do my holidays on the cheap and treat myself with a couple of luxuries.

My return flights from Auckland to Apia cost $400.
My flight Wellington to Auckland is $35.
I haven't booked a return flight back from Auckland as I'm waiting to see what comes up on Grabaseat.

Two weeks cycle hire is $230.

I have a $50 a night budget for accommodation. I know for a fact that some will be cheaper than this and perhaps one will be a little more expensive. Accommodation over there is in a hut right on the beach and includes breakfast and dinner.

My splurges will be a dive trip, and probably dinner at Aggie Grey's resort on my last night as it's right by the airport, it's a great way to kill time before check in.

Of course I've budgeted for a vailima (beer) once or twice a day too!

My favourite thing about going to the islands is that packing is a breeze. I take carry on only to force myself to pack light - this'll be even more important as I'll be carrying it on the bike. This is my all encompassing packing list for my Samoa cycling holiday.

  • backpack to put it all in
  • passport, eftpos card
  • flight details, TRAVEL INSURANCE
  • camera, charger, SD card
  • water proof small bag for passport/camera etc
  • snorkel gear
  • shoes - 1x jandals, 1x teva reef type shoes for cycling
  • 3/4 leggings for cycling x2
  • singlets/t shirts x4
  • cardigan x1
  • lava lava x3
  • dress x1-2
  • underwear - 3x bras, 6x undies
  • summer PJs
  • togs x2
  • quick dry towel
  • sunglasses
  • insect repellent, lush 2 in 1 shampoo bar, kathmandu landry liquid/body wash, sunscreen, lip gloss, comb, hairties, papaya balm or vicks for mozzie bites
  • water sanitation tablets
  • empty water bottle
  • socks for the plane (I get cold feet)
  • 1x book (can swap it at book exchange half way around the island)
  • knitting
  • sense of adventure

February book read

February book done and dusted.
It was a quick and easy read and differed a little from the film. Being a fan of romance (and Ewan), I actually prefer the film...
Also I was a little naughty and cast on a puerperium baby cardy in some delicious zealana yarn. It knits up so fast so I'll be back to the sensible knit list shortly. Gave my friends two angora baby hats, alpaca booties and that nappy soaker yesterday but still I feel the need to knit more cute things for the two little girls.
Baby knitting has the attraction  of near instant gratification and adorable models to show off your work. It makes clothing affordable too. This cardy is costing under $12 to make. What baby stores can you buy quality nz merino knitwear in for that price?!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Monthly movie round up

Last year I tried to watch every movie we played at my work and failed a little. I did, however, see an excessive amount of films, probably missing only 10 or so.

This year I'm trying to see as many as possible - whether we're playing them or not - but I'm not going to waste time on the ones I know I'll hate (like last year's Twilight and Battleship).

So here's my list of films I've seen so far this year...

The Hobbit 3D HFR w/ Dolby Atmos
Loved the Atmos and it's pretty cool to be the only place in Australasia with it. Was a bit over the whole Hobbit thing by my second viewing, simply because I can hear it from our office several times a day so I know it by heart

Tarantino. What can I say? It's exactly what I expected of it and I loved it.

The Impossible
Never cried so much in my life. Some brilliant performances, especially by the kids.

Rise of the Guardians
Kiddie movie. My niece enjoyed it. I thought it was so-so

Les Miserables
Loved every minute of this (loved slightly less the minutes that Russell Crowe sang for though)

Anna Karenina
Period drama. Pretty dresses. Beautiful sets. Fantastic acting. Brilliant dance scenes.

This month I'm aiming to see Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, Safe Haven (hehe), Life of Pi, A Good Day to Die Hard.


I cannot believe I knitted up to this point in under 24 hours last weekend but have yet to complete the last few rows. I am to do it before I sleep tomorrow.
In case you can't tell its a woolen nappy soaker. My friends use cloth nappies for their daughter and I'm only too happy to help keep that gorgeous wee toddler's butt dry and snug. It has double feel good factor - doing them a favour as well as for the environment. 
Plus the pattern is a lot of fun. Easy enough to pick up where you left off but with just enough shaping and challenge to not get bored.
I am going to make another one or two this month.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A love of cook books

There's nothing quite like flicking through a pile of cook books while sipping your morning cuppa or a cheeky afternoon g and t. I've been pretty restrained lately and haven't bought many new ones at all but this week splashed out in the new Donna Hay. It's full of light and tasty meals perfect for summer. I was happy to find a heap of recipes using quinoa including quinoa sushi. Yum! 
I also spotted these gems in the bookshop shelves. Perhaps next month...

Friday, January 18, 2013


Last week I got my first days off in a month so rather than hanging out at home doing housework like I should have,  I took a flight to Auckland to catch up with some family. 
First stop was mini golf as it's right by the airport.  It was my first time actually and so much fun. It appears I'm not a natural but all 3 of us managed the same score in the end -all winners or all losers depending on how you look at it.
Then it was across town to the zoo. It was easy to find with the combination of Google maps and GPS on my phone.
I hadn't been to the zoo there in 10 years. It's changed so much and I particularly loved the new New Zealand area. I saw my first antipodes island parakeet. It was also neat to see the elephant and hippos. We don't have those down our way. The orangutans were also particularly cute hiding from the sun under their sheets and vintage blankets.
After the zoo we decided to go out to west Auckland to find the house that starred  outrageous fortune. By then my phone was out of battery so no GPS to help us. We got there and took some snaps in front of it. Photos of that to come.
Then it was time to head way out east to spend the evening with family. Read: knitting time.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New habits

It was pay day today which is always nice, but even nicer when 4 stat days fall within one pay period! I splashed out a little on mince and bacon for empanadas and a nice bottle of central Otago pinot noir.

Yesterday I made the most of a sunny afternoon and walked up mt Victoria.

Next week I'll be joining the gym in the hopes of shedding a few kilos and looking after myself a little better. In 2012 I actually lost about 10kg purely by running around too much at work and eating sporadically. Not healthy at all. So 2013 heralds some better habits and fitting in exercise around my mad work lifestyle. The gym's open 24 hours so no excuses. 

Right, time for bed. I want to get up early for a walk, finish the empanadas and meet a cheese supplier at the farmer's market.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Knitting resolutions

Happy 2013!
My year started with a heck of a hangover and it's still a week until my next day off but nevertheless, it's time to think about my knitting goals for the next year, despite having zero time to pick up the needles right now.
So here goes:
  • Make myself a sweater or cardigan. Perhaps this or this...
  • Finish the other sock
  • Make a lace something
  • Make something awesome with the Manos del Uruguay in my stash
  • Use the strawberry lemonade 4ply that's been sitting prettily in the knitting crate for over a year now.
Should be able to achieve that.