April: Meals. Miles, Books and Looks


Looking back through my photos for April, I can't believe the Pumpkin Carnival was at the start of the month as it feels like it was such a long time ago now.  We also celebrated a friends 60th birthday, helped with the running of our big Lions Club fundraiser, attended a city bike ride workshop (in the rain!) and finished up the month with a great day of running and yoga at Wanderlust 108.


Meals took a bit of a nose dive this month and there were a little too many purchased meals and take outs.  There were a few home cooked meals in there though and here are some of them:

// Meals
1) Vegan pancakes with slices plum, cooked sliced apple, and maple syrup.
2) Vegan lentil and barley stew - I made a big batch and froze the leftovers.
3) This is supposed to be enchiladas.  I wrapped vege chilli in tortillas and covered with enchilada sauce and smoked cheese - it was really tasty anyway :)
4) Smoked fish pie with parsnip, carrot and kumara.

// Ginger loaf and pumpkin muffin mix
For the Lions Club fundraiser I made the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins again and I also made a banana loaf with some of the bananas I had frozen.  Both Kane and I love home baking so to soften the blow of giving all these tasty treats away, I made our favourite ginger loaf.  It's very much like the McVities Jamaica Ginger Loaf that is popular back in the old country.

Miles: 22.6km

Running has felt a little uninspired this month and most of my runs have been about 4km and half-hearted.  I'm feeling the motivation creeping back in though and I'm looking forward to a nice morning run tomorrow.

I went to 2 yoga classes and I've started doing sun salutations in the mornings.  I also did 6 strength training sessions and I really noticed the difference in my yoga.


I read two books this month as well the non-fiction book The Truth About Style by Stacy London.

I finished Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell at the start of the month and I really loved this book, and it got me interested in the music that it references.  I found a couple of Spotify playlists and I made one of my own from these.

Towards the end of the month I finished Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.  The story itself is fine and it was a quick read but I found myself thinking about some of the ideas it brings up, especially the unplugged back to nature versus high tech urban life, long after the book was finished.

// Images from Good Reads


I have one "look" and the rest are life snapshots :)  My look are these red pants I got from Esprit last month! I am getting braver :)

Life looks are: Kane and I at the start of the 5k at Wanderlust 108 - that was such a good day; Me playing in the crunchy leaves I swept up on the driveway; Kane and I looking a bit soggy after biking in the rain during the city ride workshop - quick drying pants and a rain coat might have been better than jeans and a hoodie though!

// Life

Home-made Mayonnaise and Coleslaw Recipes


Last week while I was sick and home alone, I went to make a sandwich only to discover that we were out of salad cream and mayonnaise so I set about making my own.  I'm pretty sure the last time I made mayonnaise from scratch was when I was 11 and in the Brownies, but this is a very easy recipe and came out really well.
* * * *

Whole-Egg Mayonnaise Recipe

* 2 Eggs
* 2 tbsp White Vinegar
* 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
* 1/4 tsp Salt
* 500 ml Vegetable Oil

1. Using a food processor, crack in eggs, add mustard, salt and vinegar and turn to a medium speed.
2. Very slowly drizzle in the oil in a small steady stream.

You can then put in a container and store for 2 weeks in the fridge.

 * * * *
Yesterday evening I decided that I would use up the leftover quarter cabbage and mayonnaise by making a coleslaw.  Again, another easy recipe with all the hard work taken out if you have a food processor!
* * * *

Coleslaw Recipe

* 1/4 Cabbage
* 4 Carrots
* 6 tbsp Mayonnaise (more or less as desired)
* 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
* Pepper to taste

1. Shred the cabbage and then shred the carrots.
2. Stir in the mayonnaise and mustard and mix well.  Adjust amounts to taste and add pepper.

* * * *
// Home made coleslaw 
However, as I began to shred the cabbage my food processor made a horrible clacking noise and I checked to find that the shredding attachment hadn't seated itself properly and was catching on the lid.  I adjusted it and continued on shredding the cabbage and the carrots.  I then proceeded on with my recipe and then decided to experiment a bit more adding in chipotle tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper when suddenly I bit down on something hard and spat out a small shard of plastic.  I looked at the lid I had put in the sink and yes, it was quite broken.

There was just too much broken away that there was no way we could have eaten the coleslaw safely.  I wasn't very happy - the coleslaw was really tasty!

// Broken Food Processor Lid
Thankfully, I found a replacement lid on a website called NeedAPart.co.nz and I have bought from them before so hopefully that will arrive soon and I can use my food processor again!

Currently In ... April

Oops I completely missed out a Currently In March post!

Reading: Nothing at the moment, I'm in between books.  I've finished Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and I'm about to start reading Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

// Image from Goodreads

Watching: Being Erica, it's about a 30 something women whose therapist lets her time travel to fix regrets she has from her past.  I've binge watched season 1 and 2 and I'm starting on Season 3.

Feeling: Stressed and pulled in too many directions!  I know I do this to myself - I've just taken on the role of my Lions club president too!

Thinking: about doing some baking for the Lions event this weekend and also for my own freezer.  I would love some ginger cake right now!

Anticipating: Wanderlust 108 at the end of the month.  Looking forward to a day of running and yoga.

// Image from Wanderlust Eventbrite Site

Listening to: Spotify playlists.  I found a couple of good ones while reading Eleanor & Park so I was listening to the Smiths, Joy Division, U2 and the Cure.

Planning: A cinema trip since I just won a survival tool and free tickets to see 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Working: on a community cookbook as a fundraiser.  We've had one very productive meeting so far and it's set to be a really fun and tasty project.

Grateful: To the City Riding Workshop leaders on Sunday for a great introduction to cycling in the city.  It was a fun day, even though most of it was done in the rain, and we learned some invaluable skills.

// Cleverhood Electric Houndstooth Rain Cape

Wanting: A fancy rain cape like one of the ride instructors had.  It looked like a Sherlock Holmes style cape with part of the check pattern being reflective in the right light.

Needing: To lay off the junk food.  My diet was going so well but I've just been stress eating for too long now.

Loving: Apples and all things apple related!

Wishing: My friends all the best with their new baby!

The Great Pumpkin Carnival


At the weekend we went to the Great Pumpkin Carnival in Hamilton. 

We went to this for the first time last year (which I mentioned in this post: Weekend Recap) and had a fun experience but this year I wanted to take part in the pumpkin baking contest.  The clocks went back an hour at 2am on Sunday morning so I had the luxury of a little extra sleep before I started baking.

I made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and they were barely out of the oven before we taste tested them.  We 'taste tested' a half dozen of them and selected the 4 best looking ones for the box before jumping in the car for the 1.5 hour road trip down to Hamilton.

// Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for the baking contest
I love a good road trip and I love driving in the Waikato, the countryside scenery reminds me of home.

Once we arrived in Hamilton Gardens I went and registered my muffins.  There were 3 categories, Muffins & Scones, Pumpkin Cake, and Pumpkin Pie.  Then we wandered around to look at the pumpkins entered into the other contests.

It was very visually satisfying to look at the entrants into the Most Perfect Pumpkin and Best Mature Miniature Pumpkin categories.
// Perfect pumpkins
I loved some of the Carved Pumpkins and Best Names Creations and I think I may also enter into this category next year too.
// Carved Pumpkins
// Best Named Creations
// Pumpkins everywhere!
We took a break from pumpkins, got some tasty dairy free ice blocks and wandered around the roses and other parts of the gardens we hadn't been to before.
We had some lunch and saw some square dancing that was happening nearby - it's a different world outside of the city!
// Hamilton Gardens
We returned to the pumpkins in time for the Pumpkin Racers.  The crowd were quite enthusiastic.

// Pumpkin Racers
The giant pumpkins are very popular and there are two categories, Heaviest Pumpkin Over 200kgs and Heaviest Pumpkin Under 200kgs.  Tim Harris has won in the over 200kgs category for the past 5 years and his winner last year and again this year has been a record breaker!  This years winning weight was 789.5kg while the second place one was 260kg - amazing!
// Giant pumpkins
I was absolutely delighted to find my muffins had come second place!  I'd never entered a baking contest before and it was so exciting to take part, I never expected to place.  I'm already thinking about next years event and all the categories I want to enter haha!

// 2nd Place Muffins!
All the competition results are on the Great Pumpkin Carnival website.

Have you ever entered a baking or vegetable competition?  If you have any good pumpkin recipes let me know in the comments!

March: Meals, Miles, Books and Looks

I've really felt the change of season this month.  It's become noticeably cooler in the evenings and the clocks go back an hour this coming Sunday.  Motivation has waxed and waned and some days I'm running racing and eating sensibly while on others I barely leave the sofa and eat too many creme eggs.  The hot chocolate cravings and desire to hibernate are there already but it's far too early for all that!


I finally bought the Le Creuset mini cocottes that I've been coveting for years and made and served lots of food in them this month.

I had my first attempt at making toad in the hole but as I was in the process of making it, I realised that I used the eggs that I thought I had so I used the egg replacer I had in the cupboard.  It was edible, but perhaps a bit drier than it would have been otherwise.

1) boiled egg & soldiers, 2) carrots & mixed peas and corn
3) toad in the hole, 4) macaroni cheese & broccoli

I upgraded my spice rack with some garam masala and cumin to make a kumara and chickpea curry as my last attempt using generic curry powder was too bland.  I'm pleased to say that the new spices really bolstered the flavour.

And as I mentioned in my Pi day post, I did make chowder out of the left over vegetables.  I blended half of the vegetable mix and added shrimps and some salt and pepper.  It made a really tasty, hearty soup that I'll definitely make again.

1) chickpea and kumara curry, 2) baked potato & shrimps,
3) mojito lime marinaded tuna and vegetables, 4) shrimp chowder 

Miles: 29.4km

A painfully low amount of kilometres this month.  I ran 2 races this month, which I did well in but other than that it's been a difficult month for motivation.  I've also done 4 strength sessions and 1 single yoga class.  Oh dear :(


I read 3 books this month to keep me on target to read 24 books by the end of the year.

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, was an amusing read.  I heard about this book over on Lisa's blog and it lived up to expectation.

A Deadly Yarn by Maggie Sefton is the third book in this series that's become a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine.  Books that include recipes and knitting patterns? Sign me up!

All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka is a short read that the film Edge of Tomorrow is based on.  I enjoyed the movie and I really liked this book.  It's a bit different from the movie so it didn't ruin it for me having seen the movie first.


I finally got my jeans hemmed and I bought some new shoes and red pants that I've not worn yet but hopefully that means I'll have some new looks for next month.  This month however I've only got my silly outfit I wore for a St Patrick's day dinner and a head band that I knitted.
//St Patricks Dinner

//Knitted Headband
I love this pattern and its available for free on Ravelry.  I'm not the fastest knitter but it took less than 2 hours to have a finished wearable product.

St Patricks Day Tea Cosy

Happy St Patrick's Day!

I've been meaning to make a tea cosy for myself for a while and since I've been spending more time in my home office I'm drinking much more tea by myself.  To help prevent the too-cool-second-cup problem I thought it was a good time to find a nice pattern and get it sorted.

My number one source for knitting patterns is Ravelry so I did a pattern search for an easy tea cosy and this lovely pattern called Little Cupcake Tea Cosy by Lisa Sisk caught my eye.  The pattern is available for free on Ravelry or it can be purchased for 3 Euro from This Is Knit.
//Tea Cosy
When I went over to my box of yarn to pick one out for this project, this green colour immediately jumped out at me and it's perfect for a St Patrick's day tea cosy.  Now I just need to pick up some Irish Breakfast tea from the supermarket and I'm all set.

Are you a hot drink fan?  Or would you prefer a nice Guinness?

Race Recap: Round The Bays

Race Website: Round the Bays

I last did this race in 2012 and I did it in 1:20:58.  It's a big event, very popular with individuals, groups and particularly workplaces.  Lots of people were wearing t shirts with their company slogan on it and at the finish area companies hire out marquees and put on food for their participating colleagues.  We had decided last minute to enter this event since we had done well during the Albany Lakes series and this race is all flat along the water front we thought we could do good times.

Official Stats:

Distance: 8.4 km
Time: 56:26
Pace: 06:43 min/km


We had to pick up our race packs and then we decided to grab some lunch in town.  We went to the crab shack and had salads and beer and it was so nice I could have stayed there all day just drinking beer in the sun.

On The Course

The start area had been colour coded depending on how fast you intended to go.  Kane had a blue runners bib and I had a red joggers bib so we hung out together for as long as we could and then had to split into our respective zones.  The coloured zones were a great idea in theory but perhaps other people didn't understand them because they were largely ignored and there were lots of blues, reds, and purples (walkers) up in Kanes section and by the time I made it to the start line there was a large family all walking across the start line together.  It took me a good 1.5km or so of dodging all the walkers and pushchairs before I finally had a little bit of space.  I probably ran 10km in total with all the weaving I did!

There was lots of entertainment on the course, water stations were spraying water into the crowd and there was a candy bar part way along the course too.  I high-fived 4 ladies on stilts.

Overall though I just enjoyed listening to my own music shutting out the audible stimulation and being carried along in a wave people being both a part and apart.

The finish line was upon me before I knew it.  It took me by surprise, I thought it was further away and I was skipping through my playlist to find a good song to finish on.  I didn't even get to the chorus!  I crossed the line and trying to fire up my app to stop timing but my hands were so sweaty I couldn't get it to recognise my finger print so I had to type in my password with shaky sweaty fingers.  It worked on the third attempt.

Post Race

I got my water, found Kane, got a beer and we swapped race stories.  Our results were immediately available to us via the Round the Bays app which was pretty awesome.  We then walked the same route back to get back to the car and then we went straight to McDonalds for one of their Create Your Taste vege burgers that's become our Sunday post run treat.

I was really happy with my time and I got a new pb for the 5k as well.  I feel like I'm really making progress!

Pi Day

//Image from forbes.com
Happy Pi day math fans!  Whilst I do like maths, I love pies more and I'm happy to have any excuse to make pies.

I love both savoury and sweet pies.  Back in Scotland they do macaroni cheese pies and rhubarb pies both are in pastry shells made of hot water pastry and they are so good.  You don't get those here so if I want them I'll have to try and make my own hot water pastry and I'm just not that brave yet.

Frozen pastry is what I tend to use in my pie making and I normally use puff pastry but sometimes I use short pastry.

For dinner I made a simple vegetable pie.  My aunt used to make vegetable hand pies that were the best and I've been trying to recreate them but I've still not got it quite right.  Since I've been really in to using my pressure cooker lately, I was able to cook the pie filling quickly, actually it took longer to peel and chop than in did to cook!  I diced up potatoes, onions, carrots and sautéed them in some butter then added frozen peas and corn and a chicken flavour stock cube in boiling water.  I lined a pie tin with thawed puff pastry, added the filling and sealed some pastry on top.  I gave it an egg wash and popped it in the oven.

Next time I'll need to remember to spray or grease the pie tin though because it was a little tricky trying to get it out!

Vegetable Pie
For dessert I made a blueberry pie using most of a bag of frozen blueberries heated in a pot with a cup of caster sugar and then added this filling to some more of thawed pastry sheets.  We served this with lemon ice cream and it was too delicious to stop and take a photo, oops!

I have some vegetable pie filling left over which I'm thinking about making into a chowder, not sure if that'll work but I feel like experimenting :)

Do you have a preference of savoury or sweet pies? 

Race Recap: Albany Lakes Series Race 3 Grand Finale


This was the final race in the series and my second go at the 10k.  For the grand finale, the course would normally change so that we could run through the QBE stadium and the mall but due to weather forecasts predicting a storm and the heavy rain the day before, this was changed to the regular course.  I'm glad that on race morning everything was nice and dry and we did not have any rain at all.  The grassy areas around were still wet in patches but by the time prize giving came around at 10.30 am this had dried up too and we were able to sit and relax on the grass.

Official Stats:

Distance: 10 km
Time: 1:10:41
Pace: 07:04 min/km


I had a dinner event on the Friday and drank way waaaay too much champagne and spent most of Saturday morning and early afternoon feeling sorry for myself.  Later in the afternoon I was ready to start hydrating and I also managed to eat some instant noodles and then later a rather delicious pasta bake.

We were running very late in the morning so didn't have time for breakfast but I wanted to try a mix of fruit juice and water instead of plain water so see if that would help in the second part of the race.

On The Course

0 - 5 km

We made it to the start area as the gun went off and we hurriedly tried to pin our race numbers on ourselves and make our way past all the waiting walkers who start 3 minutes later.  I was almost at the start line as the gun went off for the walkers and I gently ran through them trying to find a little space for myself.  I still had a lot of adrenaline from rushing around being late and started off perhaps a little too fast but I settled into a good pace by 2.5k and maintained that pace for the rest of the race.
// Anthea, Me, Kelly, Kane: Post race with our medals

5 - 10 km

There were far fewer people around in the second half of the race and I was trucking along at a really steady pace.  I had started to struggle at this point in race 2 but I was feeling really good this time around.  The last 2.5k is steadily up an incline and at no point did I feel the need the walk, in fact, I started overtaking several people who were walking.  I'm not sure if it was due to my fruit juice and water mix or the week of training inbetween or even the hangover effects but I was feeling good and it was a marked difference from the race before.  I'll keep training and I'll try the fruit juice and water mix again but I'm less keen to try the hangover again!!

Post Race

I was really proud of myself for running the whole distance and not suffering like last time and I was really happy to have shaved 39 seconds off my time.  Part of me is disappointed though because I was feeling so good and ran such a steady race that maybe I should have pushed a little harder in places and I would have got an even better time.  Ultimately I think it all comes down to race experience; I'm building a list of what works and what doesn't, but I'm also learning about how things feel, when to push and when to conserve.

The prize giving was quite extensive with winners in all race categories receiving an award and also people who have taken part in 5 series receiving a race legend award and of course there were the spot prizes of mall vouchers, restaurant vouchers, running shoes, a BBQ and a big TV.

// My finishers medal

What's Next

I've really enjoyed this series and I'm hoping to do it again next year.  As for my next race, I think I'm going to enter the Round the Bays 8.4km this weekend.  I'm becoming a race junkie!

Also in the series:
Albany Lakes Race 1
Albany Lakes Race 2



February: Meals, Miles, Books and Looks

I'm so glad that I set a goal at the start of the year to find some balance between activity and rest because by the time these end of the month recaps come around I'm feeling really good about the things I've achieved without freaking out at time moving too fast, which was an all to frequent feeling last year.

I was treated to a beautiful city morning on Friday I couldn't resist sharing.
// Auckland


Most of our clubs and classes have started back this month and we've been trying to settle back into a meal routine when we're more restricted on time.  I've been reading lots of cook books this month to get ideas and inspiration for fast and slow cooking.
// February Meals
1) Tofu triangles in a red thai curry sauce with rice
2) Lentil and potato curry with rice
3) Baguette pizza with rocket
4) Sweet corn egg flower soup 

Miles: 47km

20 km less than last month oops!  I've had 2 really good 10k races this month but my confidence in training and running a half marathon is wavering somewhat.  I'm still working with my online running coach but our focus lately is on a very hilly 8k that's coming up next month.  Perhaps I should just focus on the race in front of me and worry about the half marathon later :) 

I've also been working with a personal trainer twice a week during February and I've been seeing some strength gains.  My trainer is away for the next month though so I'm on my own again, she's left me a program and I just need to be disciplined enough to do it!


I finished Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan and I really enjoyed it.  It's a science fiction detective noir style story.  There's sex and violence and action.  I heard it's being made into a TV show and I think it would make a good one - I'd watch it.

// Image from Goodreads
I've also been reading lots of cook books for slow cookers and for pressure cookers.  I made a lentil and potato curry in 10 minutes in the pressure cooker (5 minutes to cook, 5 minutes to depressurise).  This is perfect for when we come home after ice skating and want something ready quickly.  It also makes leftovers that can be frozen for other quick meals on the go.  I haven't tried slow cooked porridge yet but I love the idea of waking up to ready cooked breakfast.

// Cook books


The first photo is from the Hawaiian themed night at my Lions Club and the second is from Kane's Citizenship Ceremony.  Both dresses are starting to get a little loose on me now.  I'm pleased to be losing a little weight, but also sad that my favourite clothes are getting baggy.  I can't wear two of my favourite work pants anymore for fear of them falling down.

// Looks
Of course these bright pink tights I bought this month are in no danger of falling down.  I've worn them 3 times now.  I'm definitely feeling a bit braver with the bright pants in public!


Kane's Citizenship Day

On Monday 15th February Kane became a New Zealand Citizen!

He applied for citizenship at the end of last year and was accepted, the last step is the citizenship ceremony where we would take an oath or affirmation and he just needed to wait for a letter informing him where and when it was.

Along with other important details, the letter contained some dress code instructions and encouraged the wearing of traditional dress from your country of origin - so for Kane that meant the kilt. Every man looks good in a kilt but, and perhaps I'm bias, Kane looks especially handsome!

A quick selfie and then we were out the door and on our way to the Fickling Convention Centre which is where our local ceremony was taking place.

// Quick photo before leaving the house
There was a little bit of a queue when we arrived and in front of us was one large family who were all going through the ceremony together - how special for them!
// Kane outside the Fickling Convention Centre entrance
// Signage
Once inside we were separated as Kane had an assigned seat and I had to sit in the area allocated to guests.  I'm already a citizen by birth, but my parents who had emigrated to NZ years before decided to return home shortly after my birth so until Kane and I moved here, I had never actually lived here.

// Kane in his seat waiting for the ceremony to begin
The ceremony began with welcomes in Maori and English, introductions of the ceremony officials, and blessings in Maori and English.

// Officials
This was followed by a cultural display of music and dance.  It was really lovely, inspiring and uplifting.

// Cultural performances

// Poi
After this the oaths and affirmations were recited en masse and then everyone went across the stage individually to receive their certificate and to greet the officials with a hongi and/or a handshake.

// Kane on stage receiving his certificate
// Kane and his official certificate
Once everyone had their certificates, we watched a video presentation that made everyone super proud to be New Zealanders.  One of the things mentioned in the video is that NZ gives permanent residents the same rights as citizens, so by making the choice to become a citizen you are showing your commitment to New Zealand.

Then we sang the National Anthem and before closing, the compere called all the countries of origin represented that day and the people stood up and gave a wave - it was so awesome!

Then we had some morning tea refreshments and finished up about 11 am.

// Morning tea in a room full of new New Zealanders
// Feeling patriotic
We took some photos in and around the convention centre and then headed out to Soljans wine estate for a celebratory lunch.

// Kane and his lunch
Lunch was delicious!  I've been to this winery a few times for wine tasting at the cellar door and have always fancied checking out their restaurant and today was the perfect time to try it.

We had 3 courses and they were all delicious I would certainly recommend it.  Of course the star of the show at a vineyard is the wine and we both went for the chardonnay which did not disappoint.

// Soljans Chardonnay
After a lovely and very filling lunch we headed home to get changed, rest up and then head out to the Air New Zealand exhibit at the museum.  Kane loves all things flight related and this seemed like an on topic thing to do.

// Old flight adverts
There was a mock cabin from the 60's which may well have been like the plane my parents flew out on.

// Me in an 1960's cabin
I recognised the wall design instantly as my parents had quite a few of these swizzle sticks in our kitchen when I was a kid.  I wonder if they still have any?..

// Swizzle stick design
To finish the day off celebrating being New Zealanders we got some fish and chips for dinner and opened the bottle of champagne we bought at Soljans.  A very good day.