December: Meals, Miles, Books and Looks


This month has see lots of tasty meals both at home and out and about.  My goal for next month is to have most of meals home made.

Miles: 4km

I only went on 1 run this whole month and it was a 4km walk/jog around the neighbourhood.  I did go on a fairly long walk yesterday and I really feel it today! 


I have a small pile of books waiting to be read and I'm still struggling to get into Field of Prey by John Sandford.  At what point should I give up and move on to something else?


I have a good few Christmas t-shirts but some seem to have gone missing :(   Here is my pre-Christmas, Christmas Day and post-Christmas looks.

2014 Restrospective

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
I took part in the running of a car rally.  I did paint-balling with friends.  I went to a demolition derby.  I hit a few balls at the batting cage.  I took a few ballet classes.  I started taking ice skating lessons.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Haha! It's always a work in progress!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Heaps of people had babies this year.  My friend Craig has a little girl, my friend Steve also had a little girl, my cousin had a little boy, my nephew had a little boy and my niece also had a little boy.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My cousin.

5. What places did you visit?
The Zoo, Hobbiton, Whangarei, Ohakune, Rotorua, Warkworth, Woodhill Paint-balling.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

I'm pretty lucky in that I don't feel like I lacked anything in 2014.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
We have done so many fun things this year and celebrated a number of things this year.  Our friends Sharon and Gerard got married.  Our friend Jude celebrated her 40th birthday.  Kane came first in a race.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year
I'm not sure.  I'm pretty proud of decorating the entrance-way and also of the public speaking duties both of us had at the Scottish night at Lions Club.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Last years success was the garden, but this year it has been my failure.  I'm putting it on my resolutions list!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had more that one bought of eye infections and I also had a few months of anxiety which I hadn't experienced before.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
It's a tie between my le Creuset shallow casserole dish and my beautiful new bike.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Kane kept an amazing attitude during his recent redundancy and subsequent contract role.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
During the Scottish Independence referendum, I was greatly saddened by a few peoples attitudes.

14. Where did most of your money go?
I think I ate it :(

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I got really excited for autumn because I had lots planned - road trip, ghost train, haunted house, toffee apples, spiced apple cider, demolition derby.  Yeah, I'm getting excited for it again!

16. What songs will always remind you of 2014?
Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood, Blue Jeans by Lana Del Rey, Paris NorĂ°ursins by Prins Polo, If I Could Change Your Mind by Haim.

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

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter? Same

c) richer or poorer? Same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Gardening.  The weeds are trying to take over!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Watching repeats on TV and eating junk food.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2014?
In our home with good food, Pimms cocktail, wine and Christmas movies

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
Still in love with my husband.

22. What was your favourite TV program?
Psych, Fargo, Grimm, True Detective, Grays Anatomy, Orange is the New Black, Castle, Agents of Shield - I could go on.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2014?
It was a bit of rainy day so we went to the cinema and watched 2 movies back-to-back! I've never done that before.

24. What was the best book you read?
I particularly enjoyed Enders Game, the Maze Runner, Ready Player One and The Man Who Came Early.

25. What did you want and get?
A fun bike.

26. What did you want and not get?
A dala horse.

27. What was your favourite film of this year?
I think Gone Girl was probably the best, Guardians of the Galaxy was definitely the most fun but watching The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies in IMAX HFR on Christmas Eve was the best experience.

28. Did you make some new friends this year?
I think I was especially antisocial this year so I guess that's something else to add to the resolutions list!

29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I have had an awesome year, I'm not sure it could have been any better.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Too frumpy!  That's another one for the resolution list!

31. What kept you sane?
Clonazepam and therapy haha!

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
No one.  I was admiring outfits worn by the character Meredith Gray in Grays Anatomy.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
I got caught up in the Scottish Independence Referendum although I was unable to vote.  I did vote in the NZ elections.

34. Who did you miss?
No one really.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
It's never too late to learn something you always wanted to.  I love my ice skating lessons!

Currently in ... December

Hello! Can you believe it's only 1 week until Christmas?  This month is flying by so quickly. 

Feeling:  Christmasy!  After kicking off the season by going to see the ballet of A Christmas Carol and then reading lots of northern hemisphere blogs, watching Christmas movies and experiencing some miserable rainy weather, I'm certainly feeling in the mood for a traditional Christmas.

Thinking:  About plans for Christmas and Hogmanay and goals for the next year.

Reading:  Field of Pray by John Sandford

Watching:  Christmas movies!  So far I have watched Holiday Inn, Scrooged, Elf and Home Alone.  Still to come are Die Hard, Gremlins, Christmas Vacation and Miracle on 34th Street.  I've also been watching the Grimm, Castle, Big Bang Theory, Arrow and the Flash.

Anticipating:  Christmas eve plans and eating the panettone I bought a couple of weeks ago.

Listening to:  Christmas music!  My favourites are Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bells (the Frank Sinatra version), and pretty much everything else!

Planning:  A few cinema trips, Christmas day meal plans, Hogmanay and new years day plans and I'm starting to think about next years goals.

Wanting:  More days in the week so I can do everything I want to do!  I haven't made any cakes or biscuits.

Loving:  My new Martha Stewart tartan table cloth that has arrived just in time for Christmas!

Grateful:  For all that I have and all that I am able to give. 

Wishing:  Everyone a merry Christmas and that the good weather returns on the 26th!

The Festive Season

The festive season is in full swing now and it's only 2 weeks until Christmas!

* Christmas Cards *

I put on some Christmas music, a Santa hat and got out my red and white snowflake pen (from Kikki.K) and wrote out Christmas cards for our families.  I think next year I may do a photo card and newsletter to mark our 5th Christmas in NZ.

* Tree and Decorations *

We brought out the bags and boxes of Christmas decorations and, again with Christmas music in the background, put up the tree and decorated it and the house.  I had great fun pinning up some extra baubles and bits of ribbon in my hallway to make it look festive.  I was hoping to find a nice garland for my stairs but haven't come across one just yet.  I'm still looking though!

* Presents *

This year I opted to have wine sent out to family overseas.  In my head I see everyone gathered at my parents house raising a glass to celebrate.  But then I realised that we have quite a few youngsters now (and 2 new babies have joined the family this month!) and I thought I should sent some lollies for them to enjoy.  I had fun making my own wrapping paper with brown parcel paper and seasonal themed stamps and ink pads tied up with festive ribbon or twine.

* Home Baking *

I put on a new Christmas singlet and the idea of baking popped into my head.  I wanted to have a go at making and icing sugar cookies, but instead I decided to make a fruit cake.  After we had had a couple of slices I put it in a cake tin in the cupboard, but that didn't really stop us from heading to the cupboard to get some more!

* Christmas Movies *

I made a list of Christmas movies to watch (in addition to the annual watching of National Lampoons Christmas Vacation) and so far we have watched Scrooged and Holiday Inn.  It is very strange to think of the song White Christmas being a new song for that movie as it's become such a part of Christmas.  Like before 1939 there was no such thing as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

We still have Gremlins, Miracle on 34th Street, Die Hard, Home Alone, Elf and A Muppet Christmas Carol to get through!

* Parties and Events *

There are not enough weekends in December for all the fun parties and events!!  We have had to turn down a few events because of clashes with other events we have already committed to.  We have already been to 1 Christmas meal and we have 2 more plus 2 Christmas BBQs.

We also went to see the NZRBs performance of A Christmas Carol

This was absolutely stunning.  I was so moved by the performances I actually shed a tear, but with all the sniffing going on around me I hardly think I was the only one!  On our way home we got some Starbucks, (I <3 Red Cups!) we went by one of the houses that go all out with the Christmas lights and it all made for a perfect evening.

* Christmas Fashion *

I have been sporting a few Christmas t-shirts and singlets lately and I still have a couple still to wear.  As for party wear, I haven't bought anything new and I'm still trying to plan out what I'm going to wear to the next few events.  I bought the Stylebook app, but as yet I haven't had any time to photograph my clothes but I'm really looking forward to using this app after the new year.

* Christmas Day Plans *

This will involve Pimms cocktail, twiglets, a traditional (vege) roast dinner, plum pudding, ice hockey and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  If the weather is nice we might also get to play boules, badminton or wiffle ball. 

November: Meals, Miles, Books and Looks

I can hardly believe that November is coming to close and that next week is officially the beginning of summer.  All the overseas Christmas gift shopping has been done and sent and now I'm looking forward to to putting up the Christmas decorations and getting the house ready for the season.


Food has been mostly unplanned this month and therefore poorly selected for the most part.

I got some free samples of Weetbix multigrain after the Auckland quarter marathon and I've been having those most mornings.  I used to have mine with hot soy milk but a friend suggested I try hot water and brown sugar and this is now my preferred way to eat this - its easy and delicious!

Since the weather has been a bit rainy and cold at times I have been having lots of my favourite soup - Kumara and Coconut Cream.  I'm going to have to find out how to make this soup myself!

Dinners have been on the hoof and the dinner pictured is a very simple tuna pasta bake with garlic pepper.

And I finally bought the shortbread pan I have been coveting for about 18 months!  I haven't made shortbread since I got the new food processor and my goodness it's so quick and easy with one of those things.  I suspect we will be having a few more rounds of shortbread over the Christmas and Hogmanay period.

Miles: 22.9km, PBs* 1km, 5km, 10km

I ran 2 races this month and had 2 other runs to stretch the legs to make 22.9km total for the month.  I managed PBs* for 1km, 5km and 10km and I also completed my furthest distance of 11km.  So while it was a low mileage month it was a very successful month!


I finished reading "Never Saw it Coming" and "Too Close To Home" both by Linwood Barclay and I am currently reading "Field of Prey" by John Sandford.

I did a search for books about the suburbs and was definitely in a murder mystery kind of mood so that's how I ended up with this selection.  I think my next couple of books will be lighthearted summer reads so I'll have a look at some reading lists next week to see what I should order from the library.


I am so in love with my beautiful new bike!  I'm on the look out for an equally stylish helmet to wear when I ride it.

They're not easily visible in the photo above, but I got 2 new pairs of leg warmers to wear ice skating and I got to try out my funky purple pair when we went skating with friends on Saturday.  I think it was my magical leg warmers that helped to me to get the front to back mohawk down but it's obvious that my backward one foot glides need more work as I end up going into a bit of a spin!

I got my new glasses and I've been wearing them all week instead of contact lenses as the optician thought that I still had a trace of infection so I got some extra strong antibiotics.  I go back tomorrow so hopefully I'll get the all clear.  My eyes feel totally fine but I trust the experts with my eye health.

The last photo in my little collage is of my tartan leggings!  I'm so glad I had these to wear to the Scottish night since I didn't actually have anything else to wear that was particularly Scottish (except for jewellery - I have a lot of Scottish jewellery).  Our President, Janelle, couldn't believe I didn't have anything Scottish! 

* PBs (Personal Bests) are counted from when I started running again this year.  I used to run 9 years ago and I've a long way before I can catch up to those PBs if I ever can!

Scottish Night at Lions Club

Exciting, fun, stressful, nerve-racking, eventful, entertaining - oh so many descriptors!

During this year at our Lions club we have had a St Patrick's themed dinner and a St George's themed dinner and since my husband and I are both Scottish the club decided to have a St Andrew's themed dinner as well.  St Andrews Day is on 30th November, so the November dinner meeting was scheduled for haggis :)

We've had a bit of stress, uncertainty and upheaval lately with my husband being informed of impending redundancy and he has been working very hard at securing a new job.  Initially the Scottish night sounded like it would be so much fun and I had some ideas and plans for the night but alas the best laid schemes o' mice and men gang aft agley.  Thinking about the public speaking portion just made me feel even more stressed and anxious, but I think it all worked out pretty well.

In the end I didn't have much time to prepare and ended up just doing everything off the cuff and I think that worked out better.  I gave the loyal toast, from a text I found online:

Long may her Majesty be spared
to grace her high position
to rule us all, both great and small
with wisdom and discretion

and then I recited the Selkirk Grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit. 

After that I told a story about the wild haggis that roam the Scottish hills (!!)  before sending the haggis party to go catch a haggis!  

Off they trotted to the kitchen and then the piper got his bagpipes going and the haggis was paraded around the room before being placed on a table with a tartan table cloth.  Then my poor hubby, who like me was a bag of nerves, and having never recited any Robert Burns poetry before, proceeded to give the Address to a Haggis.  The piper, hubby, knife carrier and drinks carrier all then downed their shots of Glenfiddich.

After that everyone settled down to enjoy their meal and enter into conversations with each other.  Some people were trying haggis for the first time, others were enjoying a rare treat, and a few (us vegetarians included) were staying away from it!  We did get some tasty clapshot as well as other non-Scottish specific food.

Once the meal was finished our District Governor gave her speech and then the piper played a few tunes and we even had some impromptu highland-esque dancing!  Then we all sang for Auld Lang Sine and us club members got to tidying up and our guest headed home after having what I hope was as much of an enjoyable, fun and entertaining evening as I had.

Five on Friday

Wow, what a crazy, full week it has been!  Here are the highlights:

One: My poor husband has been through the wringer this week but I'm so impressed with how he has handled himself.  He's an undemanding and easy going person who quietly works very hard and therefore if anyone deserves good things, it's definitely him and I'm very pleased that he has had some good news this week.

Two: As if there wasn't enough stress in our lives this week, we both had to do some public speaking (!!) but we survived and had great fun at our Lions Club Scottish Night.

Three: I ran a 6k race and was consistent with my times of late, but I have started to do the couch to 10k program again from the start since I only made it half way through before taking several weeks off due to injury.  I've done week 1 and I'm doing it in the mornings now since it's too hot in the evenings.

Four: We've been learning some fun and challenging things at ice skating and the past 2 lessons we've been trying to do mohawks which is where you glide forward on one foot and then switch to gliding backwards on the other foot - it looks so easy but so hard to do in practice!

Five: I just love the library system.  I love that I can order books online and choose which library I want to pick them up and then I can drop them off at any library I'm near.  It's such a good system.  Through the library website I found some recommendations for books so I have created a reading list Pinterest board so that I don't forget what I want read!

Currently In ... November

I've started following a few new blogs recently and seen this fun post format that gives a quick snap shot of where we are in the month.  So here we are half way through November already!

Feeling: Happy to have raced 6k yesterday, achieved my goal and I didn't injure myself in the process!

Thinking: About the upcoming Scottish night at Lions Club.  I have to do some public speaking that I am not confident about.

Reading: "Too Close To Home" by Linwood Barclay

Watching: Far too many shows as usual! My favourites at the moment are "Castle", "Grimm" and "Grays Anatomy"

Anticipating: Wrapping and sending Christmas Gifts this weekend

Listening to: Spotify (and therefore not Taylor Swift)

Planning: My outfit for the Scottish night and realising I have no tartan to wear!

Wanting: To start running in the mornings.  Its pretty difficult to get out of bed in the mornings but this is a new habit I really want to make.

Loving: Reading some new blogs and being inspired to blog again.  The blogs I'm newly following are: Love Everyday Life, Lisa's Yarns, Girl with the Red Hair and Everything Starts Here

Grateful: For my husband and our 2 cats.  I love our little family unit.

Wishing: My mum a very happy 70th birthday!

Five on Friday

Yay Friday is here again :)

Here my top 5 this week:

One: Christmas! I'm really starting to feel more in the Christmas mood since I'm almost done with the Christmas shopping.  I'm going to wrap things this weekend and write out cards and listen to some Christmas music - I can't wait!

Two: I got to catch up on some Toronto Maple Leafs games and they've won the last few games yay! #GoLeafsGo! and also it looks like my cat is a hockey fan too :) He was pretty engrossed watching the players and puck zip across the screen - too cute!

Three: I got some books out from the library by Lindwood Barclay and have started reading one of them and I'm enjoying it.  It's called "Never Saw It Coming" and I'm only a few chapters in but hooked on the story.

Four: Last Friday night I got to pick up my new glasses which are purple and look awesome, and I got a free second pair so I chose a black frame.  I'm really happy with them.  I had to get some sort of dilation thing done to my eyes which made my pupils looks massive with only a thin ring of colour around them - I looked like the cats when they are playing with their toys.


Five: I got my weight taken on Tuesday and I'm making good steady progress towards my goal.  I'm making small easy changes that are yielding the results I want to see and because everything is so incremental I feel that they are ingrained and has just become my new way of life.  I've still got a long way to go but I'm already a quarter of the way there.

Christmas Shopping

On Saturday I had to take my car in for it's WOF (warrant of fitness) and while it was in the garage Kane and I went into Newmarket to grab some breakfast and make a start to the Christmas shopping.

After some delicious eggs benedict with mushrooms and avocado we went into the mall to see if we could get some ideas.  A short while later I got a call from the garage telling me car had failed its WOF for a frayed seat belt and it would take a week and $400 for the part to come in.  Sigh.  We headed back to get the car, sorted out the details and made another appointment for the following week to get the work done.

After that we headed to another mall to continue battling with Christmas shopping plans.  Both our families live overseas and if I mail things to them I have to try and do this sooner rather than later, and inspiration was being very elusive!

Feeling a little defeated, we had to stop for lunch to refuel, give our feet a rest, and plan our next attack!

After lunch we headed into a shop and that's where the brainwave hit!  We then blitzed most of the shopping and had plans for the rest.

Last year I had agreed with my family that since there were now so many of them that I would send a hamper for them to enjoy at my parents house on Christmas morning.  (I really wish they would do a Secret Santa as I would certainly prefer to spend my Christmas budget getting something wonderful for one person instead of having to stretch it across 18 people.)  This year the hampers didn't quite seem worth the money and I went back and forth over this but in the end a solution presented itself and I hope everyone in my family enjoy the gift I have planned.

To celebrate what was eventually a very successful shopping trip we went to Starbucks for a one of the special red cups drinks which is always a highlight of Christmas shopping for me and I got a toffeenut latte and Kane had a peppermint mocha and then we went home very happy. 

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!  Here are my top 5 things this week.

One:  I ran a quarter marathon!  I'm so happy about this.  I tore a muscle in my calf a few weeks back but I went to the Osteo clinic at Unitec as soon as I could and Naomi was able to work some magic on me to get me to the start line of the quarter.  Not only did I manage to finish, I was pretty close to the time I expected to run before the muscle tear.  I have a few other niggles and pains now but I'm confident that between Naomi and the exercises she gives me I will be a well oiled machine in no time!

Two:  Seven weeks 'til Christmas - eep!  I still can't quite get used to a summer Christmas and it's so easy for me to forget all about it until December.  Back in the old country I would have finished my Christmas shopping in September and that's what I should be doing again if I want things to arrive on time.  I'm going into full Christmas planning mode this weekend!

Three:  My husband is the love of my life and I'm so proud of him right now.  He has a very full plate and he's working so hard but I never see any of his current stressors get to him.  He is my inspiration.

Four: My mum's 70th birthday is next week and I have sent her a nice gift that I hope she likes.  I really like it and I'm considering getting the same thing for myself! 

Five:  My nephew and his fiancĂ©e had a son.  I'm so happy for them as I think it's something that they've wanted for a little while.  And it's very fitting that the first boy in the family has had the first boy :)

October: Meals, Miles, Books and Looks

I've see a few of these monthly round ups and I'm really loving this format so I thought I would give it a go!


October gave us the start of the NHL hockey season and since we don't get any televised games here in NZ we decided that we would splash out on an NHL Game Centre Live subscription so we can watch games whenever we like but we can usually watch live games at midday on Saturday.  So for game day lunch I made us a small feast!

* Peri peri corn on the cob, * Breaded mushrooms,
* Hot chips with cheese and gravy,
* BBQ dip, * Ketchup
 It was a lot of food but very tasty!

On Halloween we went to pick up our race packs and decided to have dinner at a place called Miss Clawdy's.  I was so happy to finally get the bottle of bud I'd been craving and the popcorn they put on the table was amazing!  Cinnamon, cumin, sugar, coriander was a few of the flavours I remember the waitress telling us was on the popcorn.  We then had tacos, hushpuppies, ceviche and thick street cut hot chips - all highly recommended.


34.6km in total for October which isn't too bad considering I tore my calf muscle 1km into my 8km Ekiden relay leg.
This month saw the last race of the Unitec run series and our girls trip to Rotorua to take part in the Ekiden rely (which is a marathon split into 6 legs and ran as a relay).  We all had the best fun!


I didn't read anything in October!  I must rectify this in November.


Stuck in a slight fashion rut.  I did buy myself a few new t-shirts from Dotti and Esprit.

And I did get some awesome new bluetooth headphones just like Kane's and I customised them a by wrapping them in yarn to make sure we could tell ours apart.


We are now 4 weeks past the shortest day and well into mid-winter here in Auckland.

We've had some wet and wild weather and we are due for some more wet weather, but the past few days have been beautiful.

I adore cold, clear, calm winter days and have loved these past few days and been inspired by them to book a mini break to the Powderhorn Chateau in Ohakune with the hope of getting day or two snowboarding on the Turoa slopes.

Apparently at the Powderhorn Chateau you can choose to stay in the same suite your favourite Lord of the Rings actor stayed in!

My hope is that I get a room that looks like the one on the website - doesn't this look lovely! Its designed to look like an Alpine ski lodge.

As for snowboarding, I really hope it's like this when we go.

Paintball in the Woods

I was recently lucky enough to have the opportunity to go paintballing for a friends birthday. 

Google maps got a bit confused when we were trying to make our way out there and I had to resort to stopping and asking for directions, but it turned out to be pretty easy to find even though it was in the middle of nowhere.

Once we arrived we had a short briefing on how the day is run and had an opportunity to order a pizza for lunch in advance, upgrade our paintball guns and purchase other additional items.  After this we signed some legal waiver, got some numbers written on our hands and then got giving our overalls, padding and helmet in a very army movie kind of way - it was pretty cool.

Once we were kitted out we got coloured tape wrapped around our upper arm to signify our team.  We stuck some of our stuff in our locker and then we got our safty briefing.  At this time the all the birthday folks had to get up on the platform and our birthday boy, the poor fella, got made to wear a big target!  To add insult to injury he was put on a different team too so we could find him and shoot him - we're a rough bunch eh? :D

The first 2 games we played was a capture the flag game and it was set in a large sloping area with a small pyramid in it that housed the flags.  I had helmet fog issues in the first game and then in the second game I got shot on the elbow, shoulder and left buttock.  I had some spectacular bruises!

The next 2 games we played were set in an area with a small fenced off compound that had 2 cabins and lookout tower in it - the aim of the game was to capture and hold one or both cabins.  My dear husband who had got shot and passed me on his way to respawn told me the coast was clear so I ran full speed into a stomach shot at less than 3 meters - the good news is that the padded vest took the brunt of it so it didn't really hurt.

We could have spent the whole day there, but the cost of ammo and refreshments would have made for a fairly expensive day so once we had used up about 2000 paint balls each we called it a day.  A good time was had by all.

Swiss Market

I got to celebrate passing my PRINCE2 exam by attending the Swiss market and indulging in a few delicious treats.

It was well attended and there were baked goods, chocolates, sauerkraut, grocery items, crafts, toys and fun band playing some tunes.

I was a bit disappointed there was no raclette, there was a kiwi sausage sizzle with swiss sausages though and we bought some emmental cheese.  I got some swiss chocolate and Kane got a Berliner doughnut and we also bought some birnwegge.  (All of which were eaten the next day before I thought to take pictures of them!)

After we had wandered around the stalls inside and outside, we bought some crepes and rivella to enjoy in the sun whilst being entertained by a lively band who appeared to be dressed as wizards.

I am looking forward to one day visiting my good friend Craig who lives in Switzerland :)