29 November 2013

Things I'm Loving: minty mint, cruise ships, dress ups and Welly on a good day

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.

Mint is mint!

I go through these colour phases - for a year or two I loved baby pink and every other thing in my wardrobe was that colour, then it was brown. Most recently I'm loving the look of pale minty green. No doubt you've already seen pics of me in my minty jeans and the lovely Nikki also made me an awesome crochet scarf and necklace to match. My latest buy was this fantastic mint green top on special at Gap - it's called Supersoft and it lives up to its name. Loving it although it's almost gotten too warm to wear it now - wah!

Cruise ship season

The one good thing about my morning commute is that I now drive past the stadium and port on the motorway and get some awesome views of the cruise ships as they gracefully glide into the harbour in the early morning. I took this snap whilst driving (shh!) just by sticking my phone up to the window with one hand and hoping for the best while keeping my eyes on the road (not a bad outcome I thought!)

It's actually quite distracting seeing these amazing vessels birthed so close, I find myself wanting to peer at them to figure out which ones they are as I'm hooning along the motorway, not the safest I know. But they are mighty impressive - especially these two that docked nose to nose last week when the All Whites were playing Mexico in the World Cup qualifier - and with a stunner of a day in the Capital, it would have been a great visit for all on board.

Source: Stuff

That's Good England

I was washing my floral jeans and thought I might actually pay attention to the washing label. Say what?! I totally did a double take and cracked up.


This guy dressed himself for church the other weekend, and I had to admit he did a darn good job.

But don't grow up too fast Mister!

What's your normal?

Yep, pretty normal to come home from a run at 6.30am to find this scene in our house.

Or at 3pm finding the Lone Ranger and Tonto having a picnic in their teepee in the backyard - yep pretty normal too. 

More makes

Last week's healthy treats were all winner winner chicken dinner in my opinion. Angela's sensational 3 ingredient chocolate mousse (coconut cream, cocoa and honey), Petite Kitchen - prune and pistachio truffles (makes a lovely change from all the date based recipes) and this amazingly tasty walnut and raisin loaf also from Petite Kitchen. All sugar free, dairy free and gluten-free goodness!

Welly on a good day

Last weekend we had the most amazingly fine Saturday ever - well maybe not ever but certainly the best day so far of the not-yet-even summer. It started with a giant walk for me up the steep dirt track to the wind turbine and ended with our first meal outdoors on a gorgeous still evening. The views on the walk were quite incredible and worth stopping every little while to take a picture or two ten on my phone.

That old 'you can't beat Welly on a good day' - it's so totally true.

This weekend hubby and I (sans kids) are going up to Rotorua for a wedding - it feels very indulgent to be flying up for just 24 hours - and we are leaving the boys with Noah's best friend's family - you might remember their kids came to stay with us for the night a few months ago - well now they're kindly returning the favour, and we are very much looking forward to the quick break away!

Hope that wherever you're spending this weekend it's full of good times!

Here's how you can join in this week:

Link up below with your blog post telling us what you're loving, and grab the Things I'm Loving button below for your post too. Don't forget to share the love by visiting all the other lovelies who have joined in - the linky is open till same time next week!

27 November 2013

100 Peas if you please {Books for Kids}

I love it when by a complete stroke of luck you pick up a book at the library that the kids fall in love with and you wish you actually owned it.

1-2-3 peas by Keith Baker is a delightfully colourful counting and rhyming story that takes the reader from 1 all the way to 100 with a whole bunch of peas. For my numbers-mad four year old it really is a joy turning every page.

The story goes from 1 pea searching - look, look look to 2 peas fishing - hook, hook hook.

Every page has a delightful rhyme all the way up to 10, and then jumps through the teens in one quick page - skip, skip skip.

After this the book jumps through the tens - with some great rhyme and colour and if you're so inclined, you can count the peas on each page - there really are sixty on the Sixty page

And to help out your little counter, there are 100 peas holding flags on the 100 page.

In the past 3 or so months, Mylo has successfully mastered counting all the way to 100 so this book is great reinforcement of his skill, in a fun way.

The cheapest I found 1-2-3 Peas was on Book Depository for $18 including delivery and I must admit I'm very tempted to get it and its companion story LMNO Peas.

26 November 2013

50 hours on a plane = still more movies

If there's one thing long-haul travel is good for, it's catching up on all the latest release movies. And with over 50 hours of flying you can bet I watched A LOT of movies! At least 15 and that's only the ones I can remember that actually stuck with me. So here are the last of my picks:


This was a bit of a trippy movie, and because Danny Boyle was the director (Trainspotting, The Beach, Slumdog Millionaire) maybe that shouldn't have been a surprise. It stars James McAvoy as a art auctioneer who gets caught up in an art heist with a group of criminals to clear his debts, but things go wrong and after a bump on the head he can no longer remember where the stolen art is. Enter the hypnotherapist who is engaged to help him remember where he put it - but that's not all she helps him remember.

My impressions: I liked it but it went into a bit of a moral decline at the end
Star rating: 3 out of 5

After Earth

This was a film I only watched because I'd nearly run out of films to watch by then! It stars Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith as a father/son team who crash land on Earth a millenium after events force humanity's withdrawal (sounding at all like Oblivion to you?! I couldn't believe how many sci-fi movies were on the plane - I didn't even contemplate watching Star Trek which was an option!). The crash landing kills off all but the father/son team but with Will Smith's character badly injured and unable to move, his son has to transverse 100km of hostile territory with all kinds of nasty creatures in wait to trigger a rescue beacon so they can be saved.

My impressions: If I was you, I'd only watch this if there really was nothing else in the house
Star rating: 2.5 out of 5

The East

I REALLY enjoyed this film. It centres on the storyline of a young operative from a private intelligence firm sent to infiltrate a destructive anarchist group who have been covertly attacking major corporations. However, the longer she spends with them, the more she realises that there is actually merit in their fight and finds herself more and more torn between the two worlds.

My impressions: like the byline I read says it's a "morally complicated, punkishly polished movie"
Star rating: 4 out of 5


If Salmon Fishing was my favourite movie on the way over, this was my clear winner for favourite movie on the way back. It tells the true story of Jackie Robinson, who was in 1946 the first black player to play in a major league baseball team in the USA and the team executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) who gave him the chance to create history.

There was an incredible amount of hostility to overcome both on the field and off, and Jackie (who had previously not taken anything lying down) had to turn the other cheek on so many occasions. In his own way, he had a key role to play in the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr even said of him: "he was a legend and a symbol in his own time" and in 1999 was named as one of the 100 most influential people of the century. Each year major league baseball players wear the number 42 on April 15 in remembrance of Jackie's achievements both on and off the field.

My impressions: a class act and highly inspirational true story
Star rating: 5 out of 5

Beyond the Edge

I think we were very lucky to even see this one (on the last Air NZ leg home from Sydney) because it had only just premiered in NZ the week before. This is the incredible retelling of Sir Edmund Hillary's ascent of Mount Everest. Part documentary, part drama it is incredibly well acted and re-told and both Peter Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's son were thrilled with how well their fathers had been portrayed. I only wish I had been a little more awake instead of zoning in and out of consciousness after no sleep for 24 hours - on that flight I even managed to spill Mark's Coke all over me as I was holding it then nodded off and started tipping it sideways!

My impressions: a must see for all Kiwis, or at least anyone with half a patriotic bone in their body
Star rating: 4.5 out of 5

If you missed the previous two weeks of reviews, click here and here.

So which of these movies have YOU seen? And I have convinced you to see any more with the last 3 weeks of reviews?!

25 November 2013

Letters to my teenage self {Part 1}

This is a new series exploring some of my experiences as a teenager moving away from the only life I'd known and having to suddenly grow up...


I know you think that your life is over right now. That after ten years living in Papakura, having to leave because your father’s pastors job demands it is quite possibly the worst thing that can ever happen to you. You have made a life for yourself here, with lifelong friendships at school and church that you absolutely can’t bear to leave behind.

It's not that far as the crow flies, you’re only moving to Morrinsville, a tin-pot country backwater town an hour and a half away from Auckland by car, but to you it might as well be the end of the earth. You’ll end up going to Hillcrest High in Hamilton that first year so you can continue your Japanese studies which is what you’re most motivated by right now, but the school itself which promises so much will be wildly disappointing. Starting a new school in sixth form wouldn’t be easy for anyone, but the cliques that have formed by now with so many well-heeled children at this school wearing designer mufti clothes which you can’t afford make it nearly impossible to make new friends with everyone looking down their noses at you the whole time. The fact that you are still too young to get your driving licence and have to travel half an hour by bus every day is a further limitation on making friends and spending time with them outside of school hours. These things combined make you plead with your parents to allow you to continue your Japanese studies by correspondence so you can at least attend the local college in your final year of school. This turns out to be a good decision. The one good thing you do take away from this disaster of a 6th form year is the decision to start studying Accounting which although not very meaningful now will become so later in your life. Hold onto this thought.

You make good your promise to your parents that your grades won’t suffer by changing schools and study hard all year gaining an A Bursary with scholarship marks in English and high marks in Japanese and Accounting too, which is enough to be awarded the title of Proxime Accessit (2nd student in the school). But.....this last year at school comes at a cost, as the sheltered life you’ve led so far, insulated up until now by mostly socialising with other church youth is about to change. There is a complete lack of other people your age in the small church your father is leading. This means the only option you have is to socialise with school friends which brings with it many new experiences - drinking, parties, and boys who don’t hold the same beliefs as you. It’s not ideal but you want to fit in and make friends, and so you wonder f it’s the price you have to pay. It’s a million miles from the life you were living just two short years ago, but it’s the world where you now find yourself and you feel as if some of these things might actually be required to survive. You still keep in touch with some your friends from that other world, but many just fade away with the natural passage of distance and time and you’re saddened that this chapter in your life is no more, and wonder how His glorious plan for you could possibly be reconciled with where you find yourself now, without the closeness of friends who value what you have always valued.

To be continued……

22 November 2013

Things I'm Loving: brilliant books, blinking birds, twistheads and London from Above

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.

An unexpected Christmas

I get such a buzz when talented friends make use of their talents and create something utterly inspired. My friend Simone is one of these people. Not only is she the queen of parties (if you want to host a party with any theme imaginable, her party page should always be the first place you go for inspiration), but she has written a magical and modern Christmas story called Unexpected Christmas that is both delightful and refreshing in its take on how Jesus came to Earth. Last year her story was taken by the famous St Pauls church in Auckland and turned into their spectacular annual Christmas video.

I was so darn proud watching it! This year Simone has republished an updated version of An Unexpected Christmas and it's available either here on her blog for Kiwis or through Amazon if you're overseas or want the Kindle version.

I love how beautifully but simply this story is told with concepts that kids will totally relate to. Quite simply a must-have to put under the Christmas tree this year!

Attack of the birds

There are bloody birds in our ceiling. It happens at the same time very year. Starlings or blackbirds (we think) make nests in our eaves and then the noisy buggers young birds hatch and stir up merry hell for a few weeks, disrupting my sleep, making me utter expletives I normally wouldn't dare and making me so grumpy at our complete inability to do anything about it that I force hubby up in the ceiling amongst the pink batts just to check even though I know darn well there's nothing we can do. Plus hubby said he won't exterminate them, and I don't really think deep down I'd want him to. So as usual we just have to wait it out - and know that there's gonna be no sleep past 5am in our bedroom. So this week I'm loving the fact that we actually have a spare room so I can relocate there in the weekends and least get a sleep in!

Closed for business

There's a distinct lack of creativity and crafting going on in my world this year. Part of me is sad not to be furiously making lots of gifts for lots of people in advance of the festive season, but the other part of me is realistic that there's a time and a place for crafting and with the trip taking up so much time and energy, it's not the right time. So you'll have to forgive me if I decide to repost a few classic crafts from prior years in the coming weeks, it's the best I can muster up for now! I'm trying to just embrace the decision to simplify and not overburden myself with responsibilities this year is the way to go.

From top left to bottom right: Sweet Orange Sugar Scrub, Cinnamon Scented Candle, Christmas Cookes in a Jar, and Fizzy Bath Bombs

"This day"

I love that Mylo in his 4-year old way doesn't say today, he says 'this day'. So we'll be having a conversation about something we're doing and he'll say 'Mum are we going to football on this day?'. I love that it makes complete sense even though it's not the done way of talking - I love that kids develop their own unique take on the world and it's always a little sad when they start to conform and lose that individuality in their language.

London from Above

We got given this fantastic puzzle as a gift from Mark and Mary-Ann for the boys. It's a pretty advanced puzzle for the boys to attempt with 500 pieces and small pieces at that. But they have loved seeing the puzzle come to life in their hands and recognising all the famous landmarks as they put them together.


We were a bit late to the party with these being away for the month when they came out - but we are currently working on a couple of rewards for the boys each Friday - if Noah eats his fruit at school all week (rather than when he gets home which is what usually happens) and Mylo feeds himself at dinner (he can be a bit lazy) then they both get a Kinder Surprise - so we are currently trying to collect the Star Wars Twist Heads - so far we have C-3PO, R2-D2, Obi-wan and Padme - only 6 to go!

Even if it's been a ho-hum, mundane, nothing special kind of week over at your place, I encourage you to dig deep and find something to love and share with us!

Here's how you can join in this week:

Link up below with your blog post telling us what you're loving, and grab the Things I'm Loving button below for your post too. Don't forget to share the love by visiting all the other lovelies who have joined in - the linky is open till same time next week!

21 November 2013

Recipe: Wicked weekend smoothie

For the better part of this year, my weekend breakfast has consisted of smoothies for breakfast. It's such a great way to kick-start the day and there's no need to eat until lunchtime after this.

I know that there are probably a thousand different smoothie recipes floating around the Internet but this is the one that I love and that works for me:

A handful of raspberries
A handful of blueberries
Kiwi crush sachet
Juice of a lemon
1-2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tbsp protein powder
2 tbsp low-fat yoghurt

Mmmmmm mmmmmmm!

19 November 2013

50 hours on a plane = more movies

If there's one thing long-haul travel is good for, it's catching up on all the latest release movies. And with over 50 hours of flying you can bet I watched A LOT of movies! At least 15 and that's only the ones I can remember that actually stuck with me. So here's more of my picks:

The Internship
I wasn't expecting to like this so much. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn's brand of humour I can either love or hate depending on the mood I'm in. But I really liked the feel-good factor of this movie and it fascinated me that it revolved around working for Google. Basically they play 2 middle-age clueless guys who get accepted into the internshp programme at Google and have to prove themselves against lots of bright young things who are up and coming and just as desperate to make it through the programme to work at Google. There are underlying themes of 'believing in yourself' 'playing to win' and 'being a team player' that for me made it a great watch.

My impressions: easy to watch, loved the Google setting
Star rating: 3.5 out of 5

Lone Ranger
Noah watched this on the way over and firmly declared it to be his favourite movie, begging me relentlessly to watch it on the way back. I finally gave in on the London-Abu Dhabi leg and was glad I did. It's a fun retelling of a classic tale, and Johnny Depp plays Tonto so well in his usual offbeat way. There's plenty of action to keep you engaged the whole way through.

My impressions: fast paced and easy to watch
Star rating: 3.5 out of 5

World War Z
May I preface this by saying I'm not a zombie fan. AT ALL. I have never really watched any other zombie movies or any of the recently popular shows like The Walking Dead. BUT. This film took me by surprise, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When I wasn't jumping out of my skin that is - damn they moved fast! Brad Pitt stars as a UN employee tasked with figuring out where the virus came from, and how to prevent humanity from destroying itself.

My impressions: it made me think and it was scarily almost believable that it could actually happen
Star rating: 4 out of 5

I'd heard mixed things about this movie so had a few reservations about whether I should watch it, and is it just me or has Tom Cruise not aged a bit in the last 10-15 years - what's up with that?! Having said that, I did really enjoy it. Tom Cruise stars as a outpost ranger stationed on a future deserted Earth tasked with ensuring the flow of natural resources back to the new planet is maintained. But the flashbacks he suffers mean he can't shake the feeling that there is a lot more that he doesn't know and a search for the truth begins.

My impressions: It definitely kept me guessing and had a number of good twists along the way
Star rating: 3.5 out of 5

This movie reminded me a little bit of a kid's comic version of Avatar. A human girl gets shrunk to insect size and discovers a whole miniature world exists in the forest so she bands together with a group of others against the forces of evil that exist in the forest so she can eventually return home.

My impressions: As kids movies go, this one was enjoyable but maybe not THAT memorable, but I was a little distracted watching this one - I think I was writing a blog post at the same time!
Star rating: 3 out of 5

So who has seen any of these movies and what did you think?!

If you missed last week's post, I reviewed: White House Down, The Expatriate, The Great Gatsby, Now you See Me and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen here. And there's still more to come next week (don't be surprised I did tell you I watched a lot!)


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