Its Summer and Christmas!


This is going to be my third Christmas in New Zealand and I’m still not used to Christmas being in Summer.

It’s not just Christmas though, it’s other events like birthdays, hallowe’en, even summer holidays.  I have formed many habits and traditions over the years and without the seasonal cues to remind me I find I’m forgetting about things.

Back in the old country, daylight hours would be quite reduced by now signalling time to make mince pies and drink hot chocolate while writing out Christmas cards.  Christmas shopping would be punctuated with Starbucks in their Red Cups and I would be wearing some newly knitted gloves or crocheted hat and would finish in a nice sherry and maybe another mince pie. 

(Ironically I would also be suffering from seasonal adjustment disorder)

But here it is the beginning of Summer and I pick strawberries, go for evening walks and then have a nice glass of white wine out on the deck.  Writing out cards and putting up Christmas decorations are quite far from my mind.  Which reminds me, I need to look out the Christmas decorations.

The only thing for it is to start making some new traditions and letting go of the ones that don't fit anymore and make sure I keep my calendar updated and set birthday and event reminders a few weeks in advance!!


I was having a browse when I came across this here video of an event I attended - I don't know why I was so surprised to see myself but there I am, milling around, oblivious to any filming going on!

On a different note, I'm definitely getting a hair cut and going on a diet!!

A Change of Routine

We have been in our new house for just over one week now and we are still very much unpacking, sorting and organising our belongings.  It’s very reassuring to have a place to settle into and when I place something down I know that it can stay there forever if I want it to.  For such a long time things have been temporary and “it’ll do for just now”, at last we can make things permanent!  However, I am neither pressuring myself to get things right the first time, nor am I throwing things into cupboards with the thought “I’ll sort that out later” - best effort is the current mode.
I am quite happy with my closet, and with a recent purchase of shoe racks I think we have the beginnings of a happy relationship, but I’ll know more once I have the rest of my belts and scarves in there!
So far we have taken a walk around the neighbourhood and visited the local pub. We have met with several of our neighbours and they have been friendly and welcoming and have all said nice things about the street and the area.  I am surprised by how quiet and countryside-like it is, there are sheep in a field near my house and just the other day I had to stop my car to let a line of ducks cross the road – how cute is that!  I know this is more common on the outskirts of the city, but I live in Auckland city!  I just love that I have city life and country life.
I’m now creating some new routines and trying to revive some old but good habits.  I’ve gone back to Pole Fitness who have moved to a very cool new location in the CBD and I’ve started jogging in the evening.  Soon I’ll be back at skating too and lately I’ve been feeling the urge to pick up those knitting needles.
Overall I’m feeling happy and positive.  I have the occasional moment of doubt, or fear that the plumbing is about to disintegrate or the roof is going to fall in (but that’s what insurance is for right?).  I knew we shouldn’t have watched The Money Pit after we won the place at auction!

Round the Bays – Accomplished!



So the training didn’t quite go to plan, I failed to get further than Week 3, Day 1 of the couch to 5k program I was following!  So I was fairly contented to walk to the full 8.4km.  It seemed fairly busy as we all made our way to the start and when the gun went off it took a full 5 minutes or so to reach the start line and even then the field was fairly congested.  It was reported that 70,000 people took part in the event!

After walking for about 10 minutes, the field in front opened up a little and I was feeling good so we decided to try a little jog.  We jogged for a short time until I was feeling tired and then we walked for a bit and we continued like this the whole way.  The most I had done in training was 3.4km and it was about this mark that I was feeling tired, but by this time I had entered into a secret challenge with Chicken boy (a boy in a chicken suit with a band-aid on his chin).  We would overtake chicken boy and then when I got tired we would walk and chicken boy would overtake us and so on.  At first my aim was simply to beat chicken boy and that kept me amused for the mid section of the race but towards the end I got passed by a team of people carrying a caber and then I had an extra challenge – to not get beaten by the log!  In the end I achieved both my secret challenges and that made me very happy!

I completed the race in 80:58 which is by far my slowest time yet, but it is also my most under prepared event to date – lesson learned.

After the race, we went to find our friend Jude’s works BBQ and headed off for Glover Park after walking all the way out there we found out that the BBQ was actually at Madills Farm and had to turn around and walk 2.6km all the way back.  However I think the extra walk helped and even 2 days after the event I don’t have any pain or much stiffness.

So now I’m giving some serious thought to the Auckland Half Marathon in October – but I really have to do some proper training for that!

We're in a Magazine


Back in November when we celebrated our one year anniversary of moving to NZ I posted an update to a forum I used to frequent.  Before the move I read lots of blogs and forum posts and I loved reading peoples experiences, good and bad.  I think that really helped us get a balanced idea of what life might be like for us when we moved.  I thought it might help others thinking about making the move to post about my own experiences.  Here is my post on the British Expats forum.

After that I was contacted and asked if I could be interviewed for an emigration magazine.  I agreed and submitted my answers to the questions along with a few pictures.  It proved too much of a challenge to find pictures of the two of us together as usually one of us is taking the picture so we ran about taking pictures of us in the garden!

I didn't hear any more from the interviewer and had forgotten about it when I got a facebook message from my friend Claire who had been to an Emigrate expo and picked up a copy of the magazine to find me and Kane in it!

Claire kindly scanned a copy for me and you can view the article here > Emigrate article

In the article I mention my Sci-Fi peeps so I wonder if we will be seeing any new expats soon (assuming anyone has read the article!)

It's neither myself nor Kane's first time in print but it still felt kinda weird and a bit silly.

Home Auction

During the Auckland Anniversary weekend we had visited a few open homes and saw one that we had we liked.  Over the following Waitangi weekend (yes! two long weekends in a row – it doesn’t happen often) we decided that we liked it enough to try to buy it.
Kane worked hard in those 4 days to get mortgage approval, valuations, builders reports and insurance all sorted out before the auction day that Saturday.  We knew what the house was worth and how much we willing to pay for it and we nervously headed out.
There was a lot of people there, some were the sellers family and some were neighbours curious what the house would sell for and I think some others were just there to see what happens.  There were about 5 bidding parties in the end.

kane at auction
The auction took place on the driveway of the property and we noted that it was just like those old episodes of Neighbours.  Kane bravely and confidently started the bidding off and another couple similar to us bid against us.  We reached the value of the house and the other couple paused to look at each other, I thought we were in with a chance but they bid again.  We bid again.  The couple shook their heads and for a second the house was almost ours, but then came a bid from the back and we had reached our max and had to bow out gracefully.  A new bidder put their hand up then another new bidder put their hand up and the bidding wars continued with fresh players.  In the end the house sold for $47,000 more than the valuation which surprised everyone involved in the sale and I’m sure the sellers were delighted.
We immediately went to the pub for a stiff drink after all that excitement, and disappointment.
It was quite the experience though.  I’m not sure my heart could cope with too many auctions because it’s such an adrenaline rush!  Poor Kane had worked so hard to get everything together and it was quite disappointing to not have anything to show for his efforts but at least most of the ground work has been done now and we know what to expect if we attend another auction – I just hope next time we win!

What I ate yesterday


To answer the question "what do you eat?" :-

Breakfast: grapes, nectarine, plum

Elevenses: fruit smoothie made from mixed berries, banana, soya milk and water

Lunch: macaroni, capsicum and sweetcorn tossed in vinaigrette served with salad leaves and home made coleslaw (cabbage, carrot, Plamil vegan mayo and black pepper)

Afternoon tea: tea and home made carrot cake (from the student’s vegetarian cookbook I’ve lived by since 1995)

Pre-dinner cocktail: Cointreau blush

Dinner: Frys schnitzel with steamed kumara and broccoli
Dessert: So Good soya ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate sauce

Snacks: Bluebird ready salted chips

My Machines!

Whilst listening to my work colleague telling his daughter that she cannot use his home laptop, I was reminded of an incident where my husband had used something of mine that he wasn't supposed to.

I think he put a plastic spoon or something in the dishwasher and it came out pink, I don't really remember but I totally flipped out at the time.  I started ranting about how he shouldn't touch my stuff and that it was my spoon, MY SPOON!.  "Who's spoon?" he said - my head just about exploded and all he could do was laugh.  Of course I realised my ridiculousness and we both laughed a lot about it.

It was almost like this clip from Scrubs which I have forwarded to my colleague to pass on to his daughter :D

Round the Bays

I’m going to enter the Round the Bays event held in March.  It’s an 8.4km distance but it can be done as a run or a walk or anywhere in between.  Whilst my current run training won’t have me ready in time to run the full distance I think it’s still worthwhile entering and then run/walk the course.  This will give me something to work towards and give my current training a little more focus.
My next scheduled run looks considerably harder than the weeks before so we’ll see how that goes!  If it turns out to be too hard then I may need to repeat the week and try again next week.


My niece is getting a tattoo of a heart with headphones. I don't know what shes planning but I thought I'd draw a little picture.

I coloured it in with lipgloss.


I'm feeling very inspired by my friend Claire's journey to becoming healthy and fit all the while studying and working towards achieving her dream job. Good on you Claire!

Read her blog here:

2011 Retrospective


1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Took part in Roller Derby Fresh Meat and had a midwinter Christmas.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t quite succeed in them all, but I still want to achieve them so they’re back on the list for 2012.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Kane’s cousin John and Elaine had a baby girl and so did my old friend Dave and Monika.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Kane’s granny.

5. What places did you visit?

Waiheke Island, Piha, Mathesons bay, Takapuna – all places in and around Auckland

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

Cardiovascular fitness please.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

New Zealand won the rugby world cup!! It was a tense game but a good night at Rayna’s house and a good result for New Zealand.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year

I threw my first ever barbeque party and it was well received.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I failed to make any inroads with my physical fitness.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Not really, I had a trip to the doc for some eye infection thing and a trip to the dentist for a broken tooth.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

iPhone 4S

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

The All Blacks!

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

The media.

14. Where did most of your money go?

iPhones, Entertainment, Food and probably Grab-One

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

iPhones. I was camped out on the website for weeks.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

Pumped-up kicks by Foster the People

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter? Fatter

c) richer or poorer? Richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Exercise and running in particular.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Eating take-out. I spend too much money on take-out food.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2011?

With Kane and the cats in our house drinking too much and eating too much.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?

With new friends, and activities and my new iPhone

22. What was your favourite TV program?

Castle, The Big Bang Theory and the Mentalist

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2011?

We took a sight seeing trip to Waiheke Island and then spent the afternoon at one of the vineyards there.

24. What was the best book you read?

Getting Things Done by David Allen

25. What did you want and get?

iPhone, Pro Drums for PS3, bigger house.

26. What did you want and not get?


27. What was your favourite film of this year?

Sucker Punch, followed by X-men first class, Fast 5 and Super 8.

28. Did you make some new friends this year?

Yes, the awesome people at the Auckland Sci-fi group and Pirate City Rollers.

29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If I had been a bit fitter I would have felt more able to take part in various opportunities that came my way, instead I feel I missed out.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Mostly boring.

31. What kept you sane?

Liquor! But mostly Kane.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

James McAvoy.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

I voted for the first time in New Zealand it was very exciting learning about the political parties.

34. Who did you miss?

No one really.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

Don’t wear crazy ass high heels to the horse racing unless you’ve got some flatties in your bag.