Monday, February 21, 2011

46 - 51....

I seem to be doing this in weekly chunks now...Imagine how behind I'll get at this when I get a proper job again!

Day 46 I was feeling a little sad - getting used to an empty house again, and missing the one who vacated it. So I spent most of the day researching Richard Armitage and making cufflinks and then my Q turned up - which reminded me I needed to enter the World of Q! So I did. Ahem. So my new thing was sending in a photo of me reading Q magazine on top of Mt Tongiriro!

I am abit crap when it comes to maintaining friendships, and letting potential new ones develop. I love seeing friends and doing stuff, but I'm not so good at making it happen, preferring to wait to see if they make the suggestion. Anyway, at the Mission Bay Craft Market last October a fab lady called Patricia went halves on a stall with me (wife of a colleague of Andy's). She makes beautiful jewellery using recycled glass and trade beads, and we had a lovely afternoon chatting away. We've kept in touch via emails but as she works in Auckland there is absolutely no reason why we couldn't just meet for a coffee or lunch! So I prompted a coffee date, and this was my new thing for day 47. This may seem lame, or even as Andy said - calculated, but in fact I don't want to be the kind of person that disappears from peoples lives,but I never want to impose either (which thinking about it now, it seems you can't do one without the other, but that's not a bad thing!)and so this was a good new thing for me. We had a lovely lunch catching up with each others' news.

This was another day for something personal to myself. I never like to refer to myself as lazy, because I'm not at all - but in my spare time I can easily be not bothered to do stuff if it seems too much hassle. For example in my whole time of living a 15 min walk from Mission Bay I have never once on my own walked down to the beach, thrown down a towel and read a book for an hour or 2. Why? Because I have to walk down there firstly, then walk back up, then find somewhere to sit.....(this is generally how my brain works most of the time, thinking everything through first before acting.It gets tiring ALOT.) Anyway on Day 48 I just did it. Walked to Mission Bay, laid on the beach and read a book! It was just lovely.

Day 49 was a fun Friday evening....I had spotted a free Choral Concert at the Auckland Town Hall and persuaded Andy we should go to it. This is the kind of thing that prompted my new things year, as normally I would see it, mark it in my diary and then just not go. But I've never been to a Choral Concert before, and it was free so off we went.
Hilariously it was very disorganised and there seemed to be some kind of hierarchal seating going on for members, which upset some non members (FREE CONCERT?!), there were a whole world of Nazi ushers (who told off a 13 year old for taking a photo but missed the Japanese guy who was takin photos with his camera ontop of the tripod...), bad ettique with seating (move up people!)and children. Many children under the age of 8.
Now, I like the idea of educating children in classical music and live concerts - but I struggled to sit still for an hour, how was that 2 year going to manage without wanting to have a little sing himself?
Anyway the concert itself started off brillantly with "O Fortunata" - love that! Then it went downhill really - a low being a Kiwi famous composer named David Hamilton conducting a piece he'd written about Tui birds, which I shit you not, ended with a chrous of Tui birds tweeting for a very long time....But it was free, and I was glad we'd gone, if only to know that I like the big choral famous choral pieces, and probably wouldn't pay to see something that didn't fit that description.

On day 50 Andy & I headed to Waiheke for our meal at Mudbrick lovingly paid for by his mum. Beforehand we stopped for a drink at Cable Bay - beautiful views of the Gulf and the Auckland city skyline. This constitutes as my new thing, as although we've eaten there before, I've never had a drink outside the bar on a gorgeous sunny day! And Mudbrick was amazing by the way!

So yesterday my new thing was making carmelised onions from scratch in order to put on my homemade pizza. It takes patience (and 40 minutes!), and luckily I stuck it out and topped the pizza with it - seriously yummy! Who knew I could make my pizza even better?!

Monday, February 14, 2011

39 - 45.....

On day 39 I changed my running route - instead of the usual St Heliers & back via direct route along Tamaki Drive, I detoured up Nihill Crescent (I am not being liberal with the use of the word "up" here) and then down the steep rape alley which adjourns Rukutai Street. It was good for the abs!

Day 40 after football (where my usual is Amber Ale - ah how I miss you!)I ordered a fejoia vodka and coke. It doesn't doesn't cut it as an after football drink, I have to be honest. The general consensus around the table was that it was disgusting but I disagree - though it did work much better with lemonade!

Day 41 Al & I went to Owera and I had a little Thursday afternoon swim, before we did a grand op shop tour! H&M little black winter jacket for $6? Yes thanks! Al picked himself up a like new Henry Arsenal shirt for $4 too, so we were both very happy.

Day 42 was Sushi Train. In honour of Al's last night in NZ (sob!) we hit that train action - not the cheapest way to eat sushi but certainly the most fun! Just watching the little plates coming towards you...should I wait? Should I just go for it? What if I eat this prawn one and a tempura veggie one comes round next? The lesson I learnt was that you just eat both! Yum. Will definitely do this again.

Day 43 we went out West to Henderson. Our friends the other Smiths had recommended an Indian out that way - those who know of our horror at Kiwi Indian resturants don't fear, it was very very good indeed. It even had proper naans! I ordered the dhal makhini which I never do as I always consider Dhal a side order, but was glad I did as it was very yummy indeed.

Day 44 I went with Natalie to the new improved St Heliers Craft market. Gone are the dog gifts, knitted jumpers and pie stand, now replaced by screenprinted tees, handmade dresses and gorgeous jewellery. It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and we even had ice cream on the beach after!

Day 45 is today and it's Valentines day! So I have made Andy a 3 course meal to be eaten in the sun on the deck with oodles of wine. The new thing is the Fish pie - we haven't eaten it yet but it's a Jamie Oliver recipe and he hasn't let me down yet, so fingers crossed!

Hope you're all having lovely Feb 14th....I am excited for Pancake day tomorrow - I have a recipe for a pea pancake (so savoury) which I might do as my new thing tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

English Girls Approximately....

The first draft is complete! Although I think I am supposed to leave it 3-6 months and come back to it, I just had to give it to some people for feedback....

I am now starting on my next novel, which will be very different. Less romance, more disaster suvival. I am very excited!

32 - 38.....ahem.

I am blaming our virus ridden computer for the delay in the updating. Thankfully it is now fixed - cheers Geeks on Wheels!

So, we are now in February, shortly my brother heads back in the direction of home and Andy & I may be moving ourselves, though only as far as the South Island. Is this closer or further away from the UK I wonder? Anyway, all that change can wait.

So on the 1st day of Feb more commonly known as day 32, I made Egg Fried Rice. I have honestly never done this before, Andy is such an eggspert there never seemed a reason to, before noe anyway! I slightly doused it in soy sauce whilst in the pan which I think was a faux pas but it tasted good and that's all that matters right?

Day 33 I drank something called Stolen Rum. It's a NZ rum company, and it's pretty damn good actually. Rum always makes me think of the Prohibition era or pirates. This was after subfootball too, where my normal drink of choice is the Amber Ale. However for Feb I am giving up beer and wine (though apparently not Shiraz....) so I needed a new after footy beverage. Will I get it again? Probably not, though only for the cost v quenching stand off....on a night out who knows?

On day 34 I walked a suprisingly long walk to the Auckland Fish Market. I've never been, which considering my new love of eating fish is pretty shocking. What can I say? It smelt like fish and I felt guilted by all the dead full fish and the live lobsters.

On day 35 I made Lemonade Scones. We had them at National Park at the weekend so I thought I'd give it a try. The lemonade in the mixture keeps the scones light and fluffy, however they don't stay fresh for as long.

The next 2 days involved my screenprinting course at the Art Station. Day 36, I printed using a screen onto fabric for the first time ever, and on Day 37 I printed using a photographic screen onto a t-shirt for the first time ever! This is really where I want Candyretro to go - making my own fabrics and printing my own images onto T-shirts so I loved this. It was so accessible, and after only 2 days I do have the basics of the concept already. I could literally go forth and create, if only I had a studio, paints,screens and a squeegee.....I guess I have the ideas though and that's a good start.

Day 38 involved making a meal of North East England classics - Pan Heggarty (or Panaculty as it was known in Middlesbrough) and Pease Pudding. The latter I was most impressed with, as panaculty really is just corned beef hash - or a variation on shepherds pie (I mean this as in it's not hard to make.) Pease Pudding was a bit more time consuming and involved a lot of trusting Delia Smith. Thankfully she knows her stuff! I remember my mum eating this a lot when I was a child, and I hated it, thankfully I don't hate it anymore. I would definitely make it again, though I'm unsure what to eat it with.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

days 29 - 31

So to the end of January 2011. Freaky!

Day 29 was indeed travelling on the Overlander Train through the North Island to National Park Village. We were seated in the observation carriage though the weather was pretty miserable.

Day 30 was a walk up Mt Doom and through Mordor itself! Unfortunately saw no dwarfs, just lots of other walkers. We were very lucky with the weather - it was a glorious day! My legs are so very tired now but glad to have done it.

Day 31 was another tran related new thing - I stood outside on a moving train! It's a proper carriage designed to let people stand outside and look at the views, so thoroughly safe but I've definitely never done that before!