Happy Hallowe'en!

I watched the first 4 episodes of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch at the weekend and so far I find it quite interesting and not what I was expecting.  Kane and I keep trying to place what year it might be set in but the furniture, clothes, tech, music and pop culture references are so mixed up!

// from Google Search

The weather turned to custard over the weekend as well and our beautiful warm spring days were replaced with gloomy dark and rain filled ones - no garden was mowed this weekend!

It really added to the atmosphere of the TV show though, and I felt very inspired to decorate for Hallowe'en.  I pulled the box of decorations from the garage and set to work putting fake cobwebs, spiders and ravens out the front of the house and then decorating the front door area with more cobwebs, spiders, ravens, a skull, besom and streamers.  I got the bluetooth speaker and tested out the spooky Hallowe'en sound effects and set my Hue hall lights to flash and change colours.

//Webs and Spiders

//Webs, Cloaks and Brooms

We don't always get Trick-or-Treaters around where I live, but we have had a few in previous years so I like to get some chocolatey treats in just in case (and then I get to eat them if not many kids show up!) I think now I've decorated we might get more kids so less lollies for me :(

Currently in ... October

Its almost Hallowe'en!  Time to stock up on lollies and check out the spooky Netflix offerings.  I'm thinking The Burbs :)  Most of my thinking has shot ahead to Christmas though and I'm enjoying the possibilities.

Reading: I just finished reading a book called Lagom and I'm about to start on a different book called Lagom.  I've also got two murder mysteries sitting on the table waiting to be opened.

Watching: The Good Place and Greys Anatomy are back!  I'm also re-watching Psych, I miss those guys.

Feeling: I'm a bit up-and-down right now and trying to work through all my feelings.

Thinking: Christmas 2014 was epic.  It was so good that it broke Christmas for me for years because I couldn't come close to recreating it's magic.  I'm now ready to try.  It won't reach 2014 levels, but I'm seeing it as a practice year for 2019.

Anticipating: Christmas markets!

Listening to: Spotify playlists.  I love to put on one of the Focus playlists and get cracking.

Planning: I'm planning on buying sparklers when they are for sale next month.  Fireworks and sparklers are only on sale for about 3-5 days at the beginning of November, once a year.

Working: Working on my Holiday Council Q4 goals.  I'm a total HoCo convert now.

Wanting: I priced up some new outdoor furniture, rug and bbq.  I want those things and the $2500 to buy them!

Needing: I really need to get out of the house and have some fun!  Maybe mini-golf?

Grateful: Super grateful to Kane for painting the room that is our home gym.

Wishing: I'm hoping its going to be a good summer.

How I Meal Plan and Grocery Shop

Today, as I was jotting down my meal plan and shopping list for the week, Lisa and Ambers recent blog posts regarding meal planning popped into my head and I thought I'd share my own process.

The Meal Plan

I usually meal plan weekly on a Friday or on Saturday morning.  A quick check in the pantry and freezer and then I try to plan some meals around what I find.

I also check in the calendar to see if we have any events that may affect our choices like, lunch dates, movie nights, sports clubs, etc.  This week we have:

  • A holiday weekend that will allow me more time to try out a new recipe, or cook something that usually takes more time.
  • Kane's indoor football that he'll want something quick and lighter
  • Figure skating lesson that will need to be ready quickly
  • My ballet that will require something quick and light
  • Ice hockey games to catch up at the weekend that would be enhanced with beer and finger food

I start with breakfasts.  During the week we usually eat cereal for breakfast and then on the weekend I like to make an egg dish, waffles or pancakes.

Lunches follow the same process.  We eat the same thing during the week and it's usually some sort of sandwich.  Kane goes for a lunchtime walk every work day and likes his lunch to be portable.  For weekend lunches I like to plan something different but we don't bind ourselves to the plan, so that if we find ourselves on a road trip or are presented with something tasty looking at the farmers market we can be flexible.  2-3 pieces of fruit are always included.

For dinners there are usually things like skating practise that needs to be planned around.  Kane and I also share the cooking and we have different strengths and cooking preferences so that gets taken into account too. 

Generally there will be something during the week will inspire an idea or I'll get reminded of something I haven't made in a while and that will get added to the meal plan.  Sometimes it's a recipe that I will follow, sometimes its a picture and I will make something that I think its like it, and sometimes its a flavour or texture that I'm craving and so I'll create something to satisfy that.  Meal plans can come together quickly, but sometimes they can take a while especially if I get side tracked looking at yummy recipes on Pinterest!

Instead of assigning meals to certain days, I usually just list 7 meals and then we can decide on the day what we feel like eating from the list.

The Shopping List

Grocery shopping usually takes place on Saturday morning, although I am thinking about trialling out going after work on Friday and it usually takes about 30 minutes.

Once I have a meal plan, I then go down the list of meals and note down what I need that I don't already have.

Next I'll write down any pantry items that needs topping up - things like tea, coffee, flour, herbs and spices, tinned tomatoes, soy milk, oil, sugar etc.  I check on the cat food supply and then the non-food items like toothpaste, shampoo & conditioner, shower gel, toilet paper, washing powder, fabric softener, household cleaners etc.

At The Supermarket

 We go grocery shopping together and pick all the things on the list.  I used to be better at arranging my list in order of how stuff is laid out in the supermarket but I found I don't save any time by rearranging it.  I used to also have my meal plan on the back in case I got stuck with why I needed a particular item or how many to pick but I don't do this any more either.

Sometimes we will see special offers for things that we would normally buy (but might not be on the list) and if it's a good deal then we will stock up, but I'm less likely to do this if its for perishable things.

A few treats usually find their way into the shopping trolley too.

Special Shops

A couple of times a year we will go to specialist food shops, like the Chinese vegetarian supermarket, and stock up on packaged and frozen fake meat products.  When we do these types of shop we just pick up things that we like the look of and we don't worry about how we will use the items until we do the weekly meal planning.

And this is how I meal plan and grocery shop!

A New Ballet Class (and How I'm Better at Starts than Follow Through)


I love beginnings, from opening a fresh jar of coffee to starting a new knitting project.  There is something very special about beginnings. They are full of potential.

Spring is really starting to ramp up and with labour weekend coming up its the traditional time of year to get out in the garden and get things started.

Last week I signed up for a new ballet initiation course at the Auckland Academy of Adult Ballet (AAAB).  I did a few beginners ballet classes on my lunch break back in 2014 (blogged here) at a different dance studio but the experience at this new studio is very different and I prefer it.

//From AAAB website

Before the first class we were sent an email with guidelines for what to wear (1. comfortable workout clothes like leggings and a t-shirt 2. socks or ballet slippers) and we were advised to wear hair in a bun.  This is to allow the teacher to keep check on our posture and positioning and help correct errors.

On the night we were met at the entrance by our teacher and as the others arrived we got to meet our fellow class participants.  The only thing we had in common was that we were all female as there was a variety of heights, shapes & sizes, ages, ethnicities, abilities, etc. 

We got given an induction pack that included a headband and a car sticker - nice touches I thought - and the head/owner introduced herself and talked over the contents of the pack including how to access all the instructional videos at home! I've since used these videos and it great for at home practise and remembering arm positions and what tendu means!

The first class was very basic, but I very quickly remembered from 2014 just how deceptively difficult it is.  Only in ballet can standing up straight be such a workout and then moving the arms overhead be such a core workout!

//From AAAB Instagram (not my class)

And we were given homework!  We have 2 different exercises that we have to do every day and I get the feeling that this will grow in time.

I left feeling great and slightly taller :D

//A terrible picture of me
It was the next day that I had found my 5 year plan that I had written in 2014 and I was so saddened to see that I had not made any progress on any of my health and fitness goals - although, I did make lots of progress but then I stopped and now I'm right back where I started.  The worst part of ballet class was seeing myself in the wall length mirror and I was actually surprised at how large I am - my internal vision of myself just doesn't match up with what I see.

My goals are still valid and achievable, but while I'm really good at starting, I'm less good about seeing it through.  I've looked through this blog at all the things I've started and I am embarrassed that I am no further forward.  I even considered starting a new blog because there's only so many couch-to-5k blog posts that could be seen as acceptable on one blog, but that would just further enforce the pattern.

So its time to start again - start everything again - and this time the focus is on sticking with it and seeing it through so that maybe next year, when my 5 year plan is up I will actually have achieved, or at least be pretty close to achieving, my goals.

Virtual Coffee Date

I'm a big fan of the virtual coffee dates that Amber does over on her blog.  So here goes my version.

If we were having coffee today I'd tell you that my cat, Lazuli, died last week and Kane and I were both devastated - still are.  It's surprising how much space a little cat took up in our lives and we both deeply feel the loss.

If we were having coffee today I'd then quickly change the subject so I don't start crying again, and tell you that I went to a new knitting group that just started at the library.  I bought some beautiful new yarn when I was on holiday in Scotland and I'm looking to knit a cute cowl.

If we were having coffee today I'd tell you that I had a great holiday in Scotland and Norway and that the highlights were attending my nephews wedding, going to an ice hockey game, visiting all the Oslo museums and going on an evening fjord crab buffet cruise.

If we were having coffee today I'd tell you that I'm currently reading Beartown and the story revolves around a junior ice hockey team.  I'm also following the NHL that just started its season last week.

If we were having coffee today I'd confess that I had not been very good with exercise and that I was going to have to pull out of the half marathon because I'm not even 5k ready.  I definitely over estimated my abilities and I need to get into a consistent running habit for at least 1 year before I can think of entering a race again.  I have been doing daily squats for the past 3 weeks though - I started with 1 and now I'm at 22, tomorrow will be 23 etc.

If we were having coffee today I'd tell you that I really want a new car.  I'm used to tiny, manual cars but I took a Hyundai Kona EV for a test drive and I loved it.  I'm now trying to work out how much I can sell my organs for in order to be able to afford one!

If we were having coffee today I'd tell you how much I am loving this spring weather.  I love all the cosy things I get to do (and eat! and drink!) in winter, but it gets to feel too gloomy after a time.  I try to get out and go for a walk most lunchtimes and the temperature is just so perfect right now.

If we were having coffee today what would you tell me?