Mobile blogging

I'm trying out mobile blogging on my iPhone 4S using my voice, it's very cool but it has its ups and downs. I think for the most part it seems to understand what I'm saying and translate accordingly but there has been some issues. I'm not sure if this is any faster.

It's certainly fun to use your voice to make notes and create reminders and the Siri feature is also a great source of amusement but the functionality in New Zealand is severely limited.

I'm not sure if I would use this long-term but it certainly is good fun playing with it!

Hopefully having this new device will mean I can do more mobile blogging in the future :)

One Year In

Today is my one year anniversary of arriving in New Zealand. In fact I got a text message from my mobile carrier telling me I have been with them for 1 year and saying thank you.

In many ways it doesn’t feel like it’s been a year already. It certainly doesn’t seem like a year ago since I last saw my family and friends, but then I suppose that’s the beauty of the modern age where I keep up-to-date on the gossip through Facebook and Twitter and I see and chat to people on Skype.

When I think about all the things that we’ve done and achieved in this last year it feels like there is a few years worth of activity in there!

We’ve settled in really well here, we have some awesome friends, regular activities that we do, plenty of R&R, and lots of future plans. We like our jobs but we’re thinking ahead, we love where we live but we still want to buy a house at some point.

Auckland is a great place to live, there is so much to do here! There’s shopping, beaches, theatres, galleries, sports, music – everything. In fact, yesterday it was brought to my attention that in the last year I have not left Auckland once. Even Waiheke Island is part of Auckland (a very nice part it is too!). Perhaps in this next year I will venture further a field, but there is still many, many parts of Auckland I haven’t seen and explored yet. Kane (who’s been to Wellington twice on business) mocks me, calling me a JAFA and saying that I think nothing exists beyond Auckland. I’ve been up to Dairy Flats, there really doesn’t seem to be much out there!! :P


I love barbeques! Barbeques and al fresco dining have always been a key part of summer for as long as I can remember. They were usually large affairs with family and friends turning up with lots of food to share. Most of the time they were unplanned and most of time they went on all day until we had squeezed the last rays from the sun (and in Scotland this is about 10pm in summer) then we’d eventually drift indoors and carry on partying.
I was too young to drink and therefore probably the only person to remember a particular barbecue where my parents had just returned from holidaying in Spain and brought with them the recipe for making Sangria!!

The actual barbequing area was the domain of the male head of household so that was my Dad at my house and my sister husbands if it was their houses. It was ok for one or two other males to be present in the barbequing area but only in a supporting role and the males and females were happy to drink and chat or provide a beer delivery service to the barbequing area.

So my own and my husbands knowledge and skill of operating and cooking on a barbeque is very limited to what we have observed.

We purchased a barbeque along with other things from the previous tenants of our rental home and the beautiful weather of the long labour weekend meant we would finally get a chance to try our hands at barbequing. I opened the barbeque prepared with heavy duty cleaning materials and rubber gloves only to discover that it had rusted through and one of the gas pipes had a large rust cavity and fissure (I was going to write hole and crack but that just sounds rude doesn’t it?). Not to be dissuaded from my plans that easily, I talked Kane into shopping for another barbeque and then phoned up Stuff2Go, a company that picks up junk and recycles it.

We weren’t sure how we would get a barbeque home in our small car and were contemplating wheeling it home in shopping trolleys, but happily it fitted (very) snuggly in the car.

Once we got home Kane set to building the barbeque with the cats playing on the deck in the sunshine beside him. Then we raided our cupboards to find things to barbeque!

The first night we barbequed:
• Vegan sausages
• Vegan burger
• Burger buns (mmm toasty buns!)
• Capsicum
• Red onion
• Pineapple
• Mushrooms
• Courgette
And served with salad and Tuimato sauce.

The next night we barbequed:
• Vegan Schnitzel
• Corn on the cob (parboiled)
• Capsicum
• Red onion
• Pineapple
• Mushroom
• Garlic cloves
• Carrots (parboiled)
• Tomatoes
And served with salad.

So far my favourite barbequed thing is garlic. I barbequed some peeled and some unpeeled and I didn’t notice any difference, both kinds were oh-so-tasty! I haven’t yet found anything that doesn’t taste good barbequed.


I can’t remember why I have a paint brush in my car, but anyway, I was driving down the motorway when I decided that Wing-mirror Spider had outdone himself and the massive web that covered half my wing mirror had collected far too much debris and had to be removed, so I reached into the glovebox and pulled out the paintbrush and brushed the web away and popped the paintbrush back in the glovebox. That’s when I started to get really paranoid that I now had spiders in the glovebox. It took about 40 minutes before I got stopped at traffic lights and finally could check for spiders. I’m not even afraid of spiders!

Birthday Weekend

I’ve had a lovely long weekend for my birthday and it’s been great!
I started Birthday weekend on Wednesday evening by wearing the birthday tiara and drinking some lovely strawberry Cruiser Wine Bubbles.
There was no long lie in for me on my birthday, I was up and ready to open pressies that had been sitting on the dining table for a several days tormenting me! I got some clothes from Zara (so I can show off here!), some Ortak earrings, a scarf, mascara, a moneygram, perfume, some chocolate bars and strangely a packet of Doritos chilli heat wave crisps. I then put up my cards and headed to get the bus to the ferry.
We grabbed some brekkie and ate it on the ferry over to Waiheke island. We then got a bus tour of the island and walked along the beach before we headed to the vineyards. There are over 20 vineyards on the island and there are olive groves as well. We headed to Stonyridge vineyard and ordered tasting glasses of all the red wines. Seven glasses of different wines were then put in front of us and we started working our way through them. We then ordered 2 glasses of the ones we liked the best and had those with a light lunch. The next winery we headed to was closed and the bus was heading along the road so we took that as a sign to head for home.
The next day we had a much needed long lie and then we headed into town. We had some lunch at the Mexican cafe and then we went to find the pub I had heard about that serves pints of Tetley's and John Smiths. After wandering up and down Wyndham Street we eventually found the doorway for the Spitting Feathers. We stayed there for a few before heading over to the Auckland SciFi meetup.
Saturday was relatively quiet and we chilled out with the cats (I have cats now) before heading out to Monsoon Poon for Hamish’s birthday. We had a lovely meal and chatted with some nice people who had been to a wedding in Crieff and had toured some of Scotland.
On Sunday I spent some quality time with my Sims and enjoyed my last day of freedom before work the next day.
A very enjoyable weekend!

Neglected Blog

Ah my poor blog. It has been getting a little neglected lately and I must remedy that. The point of starting a blog in the first place was so I could store my thoughts and memories for when I forgot them and it's not going to do that if I leave it empty!

As I remember things from the last few months I will post them up here as well as keeping up-to-date with stuff.

This week I have mostly been: eating hot chips, skating, getting freaked out by meditation podcasts, snug under a blanket, wearing a scarf.

I also: went to an ice hockey game, watched the movie RED.

First Quarter


Looking back my last few blog posts, I can see that I have left some pretty big gaps in my activities so here is what I’ve been up to the last few months.

The first was the Big Day Out where we saw some awesome bands. I particularly enjoyed Rammstein and Wolf Mother. Iggy Pop and the Stooges were good and had loads of energy and I also enjoyed Lupe Fiasco.


I was sad to have missed Steriogram and I think it was mostly laziness that meant I missed their gig at a local venue too. I’m bad :( Walkie Talkie Man is an awesome song.

A week after the Big Day Out our container arrived from the UK and it was unboxing time. Finally I was reunited with the football inflator adapters, lint rollers, a couple of screws and the bubbles I was given in Pisa. I don’t know how I coped all those months without them :\


Then we decided it was time to be more sociable so we joined up with a local sci-fi group and met some cool people.

At the start of the month we went to the opera Xerxes which was awesome, very colourful and quite funny. This was held in the Civic theatre which is a very pretty theatre. Inside the main auditorium looks like an ancient greek amphitheatre and the ceiling above has glistening stars. People get very dressed up for the opera here and I saw more than a few tuxedos and even someone with opera glasses! I’ve got tickets for a couple of ballets and I’m wondering if they will be as dressy.

We’ve been to a couple of Blues super rugby games which have been really good – helped by the Blues winning both times! I like the whole experience of going to the rugby games. There is usually some kind of show before hand with competitions and cheerleaders that actually do cheerleading. There’s more of the same at half time with opportunities to win stuff or get freebies like t-shirts and mini rugby balls.


a few weeks ago we went to a friends house for his birthday and ate cake and watched movies. From Dusk to Dawn was not what I expected!


I particularly liked his shelving unit make out of cardboard and styrofoam. We don’t need IKEA with kiwi ingenuity like this!

And that brings us to last weekend when we went to the Stone Temple Pilots gig. This was brilliant and they played all their best songs.


So that’s more or less the first quarter of the year!

Nothing to Wear

The nights are fair drawing in :)
It has started to be a bit chilly in the mornings when I wake up and it’s a bit dark too, but the clocks change at the end of the week and I have to try and figure out what time it is in the UK, has the clocks changed there already?
Despite the chilliness in the mornings, the afternoons are bright and warm and similar to a normal Scottish summer’s day, with that little hint of coolness in the air and it’s an easy 20 degC when I’m heading home at 5pm. This confuses me, and I usually end up over dressed for work in boots and jumpers and scarves. Even Kane, who has only worn shorts for the past 5 months, has taken to wearing jeans on the odd evening.
Selecting the appropriate clothing does require a re-education. Even though the mornings are cool to begin with, it gets warmer and it’s still not yet jacket weather. It does rain though and my goodness it rains! I’ve never seen so much rain all at once! Last Saturday I was out and about quite early in the CBD, I elected to wear my uniform of converse trainers, jeans, t-shirt and a jumper because it was raining and looked cold. My jeans got totally soaked at the cuffs and was drawing the water up while the jumper was causing me to over heat! I saw a good few people wearing vests, shorts and boots carrying umbrellas and this is now making sense to me!
I’ve fallen in with a decent crowd and I might ask them for some advice on how to dress myself but it’s likely they’ll tell me to wear my Star Trek TNG uniform or something!
One of the main reasons for moving to New Zealand was to do more, to get out of the rut and do some living and I can honestly say that I have done more in the last few months here than I had in the last few years in Edinburgh. Even with the scary earthquakes in the South Island and the tsunami warnings closer to home, I’m glad I live here.

J 2.0 in beta


When I trained for and ran my first half marathon, I was so happy to cross that finish line!  I wore my medal for weeks!  But I was also sad because this thing that had consumed so much of my time, so much of my life was now gone and there was nothing left to fill it.  (That’s when I started training for another one.)

Moving to New Zealand has been a bit like that first half marathon.  It was such a big goal that had been in my life for a long time that now it’s achieved I have nothing to focus on.  (I am certainly not planning another move!)

From the exercise in my last blog post I have focus again!  And amongst my goals of buying a house, looking at service delivery at work and travelling in New Zealand, I plan to run the Auckland Half Marathon.  Ahh.. race schedules, how I have missed you…

J 2.0


It’s January where traditionally I create a new resolution booklet – yes a booklet – filled with the familiar headings and under each heading a list of, more depressingly, familiar goals and instructions on how to succeed.

This always leads to a kind of bottleneck, where I try to do everything at the same time and after about a week I’m exhausted from my rigorous exercise program, starving from my restrictive eating plan and broke from trying to create the “stylish new me” despite my involved financial budget and savings plan.

This isn’t working so something has to change.

Magazines and other media are telling me that it is bad for me to set such lofty goals as this has a negative impact when I inevitably fail, and instead perhaps this year my resolution should be one of acceptance or to be kinder to myself.

In my opinion, to not even try is much worse than failing!  Acceptance??  What?! am I suppose to just say, this is all I will ever be?

Neither of these approaches work for me.  However, I think I have an idea!

Instead of trying to change everything all at once, just tackle those goals one at a time until they are integrated, internalised, habit, second nature.

So the first goal is some personal admin of the mind.  I’m going to have a think about who I am, where I have been and what has made me into this version of me right now.  (One of the things I already know about myself is that too much introspection is very bad for me! so I will not spend too long on this exercise)  Then I’m going to have a think about where I am going, where I want to go and what that version of me will be like. 

This is one of my favourite exercises.  I learned this reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Imagine it is 5 years from now and you going to a social gathering.  You get yourself ready and head to the venue.  You arrive and see that all your family, friends, co-workers and people from your community are there.  You then come to realisation that this is your funeral and a key member of your family stands in front of everyone and begins to talk about you.  They reminisce and talk about what kind of person you were, what qualities you had and achievements you made.  Next a friend stands up and talks about what kind of friend you were.  Then a co-worker stands up and tells everyone what kind of person you were at work and your achievements and successes there.  Finally a person from your community or other group you are involved in that gives some kind of service stands up and they tell everyone what kind of contributions you made or of your involvement.

This exercise gives a good template for who you are, the best version of yourself, and of where you want to be heading.  It gives you insight into your values and of what matters most to you and these are the things you should be giving the most of your time to.