Saturday, December 31, 2011

First and Last

Today (Saturday 31st December, 2011) I had my first swim for the summer and my last swim for the year.

I have always loved the water; it is so cleansing and refreshing. So what better way to see out 2011 and welcome in 2012 than going for a beautiful swim. I love swimming in Northland as the water is always clear and the sand is so white. Plus where we swim there are not many other people in the water so it is bliss.

I have really fallen off the blogging waggon over the last few months. I really want to blog more regularly in 2012. We still have another fortnight off work and this means that I can get started on writing many of the blogs that I have not had the time to write in the last quarter of 2011. I love Christmas but I am glad that it is over so that I can relax and focus on things that I want to get done.

I do always try and write meaningful blogs but sometimes they take me a long time to write and there are gaps between blogs. So I would like to try and write something a couple of times a week as I really enjoy writing and since being away from work I have had a lot of blog ideas. I also want to take photos every day and now I have the means to do that. Hopefully, photos will make my blog a little more exciting/interesting.

Goodbye 2011; I am kind of glad you are almost over as it has been a hard year not just for my friends and family, but for many people and Aotearoa.

I am determined to leave some “shit” behind in 2011 as it has no place in my life in 2012.

So welcome 2012; you are going to be a great year for us, our families and our friends.

Happy New Year!

What are you doing to celebrate the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chocolate coffee and a flower….food for the soul

I wish I had a “healthy” habit to soothe my soul. I wish I could run with the wind in my hair and music pounding in my ears. I wish we had the sea at our door where I could rush in and swim until my emotions were back on an even keel. I wish I could dance the night away with no one watching.

But right now (11.30am) amazing chocolate, coffee and a simple purple flower will have to soothe the ache in my soul. I also have an amazing new nephew and every-time I look at him my heart melts.

The past few months have been an emotional rollercoaster for family and friends. There is hurt that has occurred that I have no power to fix or control; which is hard because I am a control-freak.

There has been heartache, anger, death and life and while I understand that these things are part of life I/we still have to live through it. I also understand there are people who are suffering greater tragedies in this country and this world and I am still deeply concerned and compassionate towards other people for their grief or loss.

Sometimes it all just gets too much and I need an emotional “reboot” so that I can be a better wife, daughter, sister and friend. It would appear that the next few days are the time for that.

So sleep, a relaxing weekend, reading, music, the gym, a swim, a movie (or two), cuddles with our cats and summer holidays with friends and family will help get me back on track.

What gets you back on track?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to lose friends and alienate people…

Puppy with a bow is cuter than a political related photo
I tend to stay away from discussing politics in a public forum as I believe it to be a contentious subject. Political views are a personal thing and it is highly unlikely that people’s comments (or rants) on news articles/social media will influence the way that I will vote.

I am not going to fight with people that have different opinions to mine as I cannot imagine that I will change their opinions, nor have people change mine. On the odd occasion people that make intelligent or well thought out comments/arguments have made me think about things differently. But ultimately I will make my final choice based on my own opinions.

I grew up in a ‘left-wing’ household and I have only voted Labour once. Does that make me ‘stupid’ or ‘unable’ to make my own decisions? No it does not. I think that I am a rational person, and I can usually hold my own in debates where I know my argument. However, I am not the type of person that just argues for the sake of it and certainly do not try and argue a point that I know little or nothing about and hope for the best.

ALL political parties have made promises (at some time or another) that they have not kept for whatever reasons. Left and right wing led governments have made mistakes and then other governments have tried their best to fix those mistakes. It is almost like a national sport to play the “blame game”.  I think that sometimes people forget that politicians are still human at the end of the day and we ALL make mistakes.

I have never studied finance or economics but even I can tell that New Zealand is struggling financially. Will a change of government fix that? Possibly not. Should individual people also look at starting to change their own behaviour? Definitely!!

So I am going to think of NZ in terms of my own personal financial experience as I know what it is like to struggle under enormous personal debt as I did it for years. I could never see the light and just got further and further into debt.

How did I clear my personal debt?
- Took ownership of my debt, consolidated it into one loan and stopped borrowing
- Reduced my cost of living and lived within my means
- Stopped buying unnecessary stuff and sold the things I no longer used or needed
- Got an additional part time job

Now to ‘simplistically’ apply this to NZ
- Stop borrowing and getting further into debt
- Reduce costs i.e. politicians spending, benefits, student loans etc. Essentially "trim the fat"
- Put things in perspective and stop wasting money on unnecessary things i.e. $36 Million to Team NZ (yes I know the current government were “contractually” obliged to give it, but seriously?!)
- Before you spend the ‘big bucks’ do your research first!
- Things this country could learn from this town

By the way I am morally against selling assets, but even I can see the benefit of selling off 49% of some assets to try and ensure that they are more profitable and run in a more businesslike manner. If you don’t understand what the implications of selling state owned assets are then ask someone that does before you cast your vote. I know I had to.

Lastly, I did a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Education as I considered being a teacher. I worked throughout my degree and I am bloody proud of it even if it is not a science or business degree. I have an amazing job that I love and do not regret the choices I made for my tertiary education as it has shaped who I am both personally and professionally. It is ironic that I nearly studied politics at University, but ended up choosing different subjects at the eleventh hour.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 44 – w/c Saturday 29th October, 2011

Saturday (29/10/11) ~ I made poached eggs for the first time with the help of Twitter. I think they turned out quite good. Mark planted our summer garden; very exciting. I managed to give myself a second (or even third) degree burn pouring the pasta into the colander in the sink….no photo of that revoltingness. Reinforces the idea that pasta is the DEVIL; thanks Colleen.

Sunday (30/10/11) ~ Mark did the 5km walk that is part of the bigger Auckland Marathon while I had a coffee and read the paper. In the afternoon Shona and John popped over for a catch up which was awesome.

Monday (31/10/11) ~ Halloween and we only had one trick-or-treater.

Tuesday (01/11/11) ~ I attended an old work colleague/current client and friends funeral. Devastating.

Wednesday (02/11/11) ~ I received a phone call from my sister at work to say that she could go into labour at any stage in the next few days to a week. Exciting! Took Kitty-Kat to the vet.

Thursday (03/11/11) ~ Sister still not in labour. Saw the 5+ a day team outside Britomart.

Friday (04/11/11) ~ Chilled out at home with Mark in the evening and watched some recorded TV. Sister still not in labour. I kept waiting for the late night phone call so decided to have an early night.

Week 43 – w/c Saturday 22nd October, 2011

Saturday (22/10/11) ~ Lunch at palmers with mum and dad and then later birthday dinner in Greenhithe for Jamie and Nikki.

Sunday (23/10/11) ~ Relaxing day at home. I think Mark planted sunflower seeds into trays.

Monday (24/10/11) ~ Lovely extra day off for labour day. No photo.

Tuesday (25/10/11) ~ Work and loads of TV watching in the evening. Made the best Pita for lunch at work. Yum-yum.

Wednesday (26/10/11) ~ I cooked a fantastic dinner with loads of broccoli to use up stuff in the fridge.

Thursday (27/10/11) ~ Work and client meetings. No photo.

Friday (28/10/11) ~ Early morning appointment with a client. Went to see John Rowles in Takapuna with Raewyn for her birthday; very cool! Amazing performer.

Week 42 – w/c Saturday 15th October, 2011

Saturday (15/10/11) ~ I got up late as Mark took the car to get supplies for his boat building project. I started the kitchen spring clean/declutter. It is kind of a work in progress but I did get rid of a lot. I think I will write a blog post about it. Made Nigella’s Devil’s Food Cake for dessert; it was great but I will double the mixture and add more baking powder next time.

Sunday (16/10/11) ~ Finally got soil for the garden! Watched the rugby in the evening while texting my sister who was on her own in a bar in New York.

 Monday (17/10/11) ~ Bit of a bad day and ended up eating some bad food and then putting some clothing on layby. Tackled the pantry which looked like a train smash!

Tuesday (18/10/11) ~ Went to the gym and did about an hour of cardio which was awesome. No photo.

Wednesday (19/10/11) ~ My sister and nephew came to visit me at work today and I got three paintings from my nephew to put up at work.

Thursday (20/10/11) ~ Work. No photo.

Friday (21/10/11) ~ Work. No photo.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2 months, 1 day

I find it unbelievable that Christmas is so close. How did that happen?

This morning I went to the gym despite having a sore lower back. I tried to walk on the treadmill and that was not good; so I swapped to the stationary bike. I managed to do about 30 minutes of cardio which was a fairly poor effort. Mind you I was trying to talk myself out of working out at all so even 30 minutes is better than none.

I am not on track to hit my Christmas target. I feel angry at myself and my lack of planning/discipline. However, I am not going to give up. I have 8 weeks and I can make those 8 weeks count. I can ‘choose’ to lose 8kg or 16kg. I am going to aim for 16kg!  This means sorting my eating out and committing to exercise.

How will I do it?
- Plan my meals and increase my vegetable and fruit intake
- Remember to take food out of the freezer before work
- Stop eating pasta for a while (this is my weakness)
- Reducing my portion sizes (I even disgusted myself at the amount of pasta I ate yesterday)
- Aim for lower G.I. food to keep my blood sugar stable
- No takeaways
- Drink less coffee and more herbal tea
- Have less salt
- More sleep
- Get out of bed when the alarm goes off and drag my butt to the gym
- Do 20-30 minutes of exercise when I get home after work
- Start doing yoga or Pilates
- Build my core strength
- Read the two health and fitness books I have in my bedside drawer for inspiration and motivation
- Buy a pair of new shoes

At the end of the day I know what to do I just need to stop talking about it and ‘just do it’.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Yesterday I wrote a blog about Spring Cleaning and Decluttering. I got some great suggestions as a result and two comments that both mentioned that it is good for your soul; which I absolutely agree with.

Lauren has been finding 15 things per week to sell or donate. Pauline has just finished tackling her pantry. Teena has sorted her daughter’s room and the hall cupboard. It seems that people have the decluttering “bug”.

Then last night my whole world changed! Kat mentioned that I take a look at Freecycle. Now I had heard of Freecycle before, but I had never really looked at it.

I went on and signed up immediately. Next to Pinterest this could be my next obsession! I have been a member for less than 24 hours and found homes for:

Two Queen sized duvet inners
A Metal filing tray
2 x books
62 empty DVD cases (from work)
Assorted Stationery “stuff”
Pet bowls, blankets and a basket
A stack of reusable shopping bags

I am completely addicted to it. The pile to list on Freecycle is growing and the pile to sell on Trade Me is decreasing. I have told my friends about it and phoned my husband twice; I do not think he gets why I am beyond excited. Raewyn and Pauline are both now fired up and excited about it as well.

Freecycle speaks to me because it is about community, about gifting items to other people in your community and ultimately reducing the amount of waste that goes into our landfills. This is why I totally support people going through inorganic collections on the side of the road. If someone can use something that others have thrown away then I support that 100%.

Their mission statement is simple “Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.

So, what are you waiting for; get decluttering and “Freecycling” people…you will be amazed at how good it makes you feel.