Give Thanks and Praises

Things I am thankful for:

  1. Family, they may be crazy but they help me feel like my own craziness comes from a happy place
  2. Memories of Paris and Venice (and so many other amazing places) that get me through the good days and the bad
  3. Flatmates who cook the most delicious meals when I am too tired to pick up the phone and order takeaways
  4. A good night’s sleep and the lack of an alarm clock
  5. Tea deliveries. ‘Nuff said
  6. America’s next top model. Haters gonna hate, I’m going to watch this show until its death because I can
  7. Animals. I may not have any of my own right now, but my cat charming skills get a good workout in this neighbourhood
  8. A job that pays the rent and also helps with unexpected costs that could be more stressful then they are
  9. Friends who are there all day, every day and the constant surprise I feel at getting to hang out with such amazing people
  10. Christmas. Christmas. Tinsel. Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving xxxx

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My Foxy Tea Time: keep calm and drink tea

I love tea. With weeks like last week where everything that could go wrong went wrong and my normal coping strategies were forgotten in the spur of losing my mind (just a little bit), the only thing that got me through each day (other than Edd, Ben Howard and copious amounts of wine) was my love of tea. Some people don’t get tea. Edd doesn’t get tea, especially herbal teas. To him they are just watery drinks with no real substance or meaning. I don’t get these people. Tea is great, stop sharing your tea complaints and just sit down and drink some more.

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My recent taste in tea is kind of reflective of my lifestyle/state of mind as of late. I assume this must happen for others too. With life being more stressful then I ever agreed upon, here they are, 4 of my favourite teas that have been helping me get through and face each day with a smile, even if it is the kind of pained smile that makes your face ache a little.

Twinings Invigorating Peppermint

Twinings Invigorating Peppermint If I could only have one type of tea for the rest of my life, it would take me less than a second to choose peppermint. I love this stuff. This Twinings brand is my current “at home” peppermint tea (I have a Dilmah one at work which I have raved about before). This is just a straight up, no frills but also non-challenging peppermint tea that is the perfect accompaniment to a lazy afternoon, or a rushed 10 minute break between tasks. I love the versatility of peppermint tea. Any time of day, any state of mind (although I seem to be testing it on a primarily stressed one).

artemis Deep Sleep Tea

Artemis Deep Sleep Teaartemis are a new brand for me, local and certified organic with a mission statement that I can get behind, I love their range of teas that are specifically targeted for different mental and physical  uses. This one is specifically to aid with Deep Sleep, something I have not been experiencing a lot of. This tea is a soothing loose leaf mixture of lemon balm, licorice, passionflower, hops and valerian root. You can see what each ingredient is specifically included for (I love that this information is so accessible!) but for me the key is whether it tastes okay and whether I feel any benefit. The taste was different to what I was expecting, I think due to the licorice and hops which give this a slightly unusual taste but it wasn’t at all unpleasant. Sleep wise, it seemed to help me get to sleep quicker and wake up less so if you want to try a natural alternative to sleeping medication I would definitely give this a go.

t leaf Restful herbal infusion

t leaf Restful infusiont leaf are a New Zealand tea brand that I may have become a little obsessed with. This is the first tea by them I have tried, and I chose the restful one because generally I reach for tea when I am not feeling so restful. Ignoring how beautiful the t leaf tea bags are (I feel so wasteful throwing them away), this tea is definitely one I would buy more of. It has a combination of relaxing ingredients such as chamomile, lavender, ginger and cinnamon along with a peach flavouring and it tastes delicious. Their tea is also pretty reasonably priced and so easy to shop from afar …. I may have an order currently on its way to me now.

T2 Southern Sunrise

T2 Southern SunriseI couldn’t do a tea post without including one of my favourite tea brands, T2 (also the most expensive, but I like to pretend the price tag is a figment of my imagination and just buy all the tea anyway, much to Edd’s dismay). This tea is kind of the odd one in the bunch, its summery and punchy and flavoursome. I have been using this as the weather gets warmer to create some delicious iced tea concoctions. Southern Sunrise is a looseleaf tisane and comes with a delicious combination of lemongrass and grapefruit flavours. The strong citrus and fruity notes make a beautiful iced tea, especially when sweetened with some of my all time favourite Turkish Apple Tea. T2 are great at doing samples in store so go try some.

My Foxy Tea Time

What tea has been your go to recently? And what are your tips for dealing with stressful times (asking for a friend)?

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Marshmallow Chocolate Mud Cookies

So today I found out I would never be able to have a cookbook because I just can’t name recipes. I can’t. I don’t know how people come up with creative yet still descriptive titles. Mine are all either too abstract that they could be anything or just downright boring. For the sake of clarity I stuck with the boring because these cookies are so delicious that they don’t need much creativity to sell. DSC_2325

I am not a cookie person, but if I am going to eat cookies I prefer them homemade (who doesn’t) and these cookies are the only recipe I come back to over and over again when I want something delicious to tackle my ever-present craving for chocolate but not waste a whole day in the process. I almost always make these with my two little brothers which demonstrates how easy and fun they are to make (and even more fun to eat).

Team work

Team work

Let me give you a quick sales pitch (although you could just glance at the photos and I am quite confident you will be sold). These cookies hit all the right spots for me, chewy and moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, rich chocolate taste as well as extra little bites of chocolate pieces and topped with some gooey caramelised marshmallows…because if you are going to indulge you may as well have it all (I haven’t mastered moderation at this point in life).

ingredients

  • 1 – 1 and a half cups of chocolate chips (I love a mixture of dark chocolate and white chocolate but hey, go crazy)
  • 1/2 cup more of chocolate set aside (this can be in any form as you’re going to melt it anyway/eat it)
  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla (I really love vanilla essence so just add 1 tsp if you aren’t such a big fan)
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows (don’t worry, there will be plenty for snacking on)

method.

  1. Microwave your half cup of chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl until smooth. I check the chocolate every 30seconds and give it a good stir before continuing because too many times have I been fooled when microwaving chocolate and there is nothing more disappointing than ruining perfectly good chocolate. Whilst microwaving set your oven to bake at 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl and ignore all the dishes that will need to be done after this is over.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy. Make this easier on yourself with a electric mixer unless you enjoy the challenge of doing this by hand. Once this is creamy add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg is added. Lastly beat in the vanilla and the melted chocolate.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture into the chocolate, folding in gently but thoroughly so the air doesn’t escape. Add in the chocolate pieces (after taste testing a few to make sure they are worthy of your mixture).
  5. This is where it gets messy. Roughly roll teaspoonful balls of dough onto paper lined trays (chocolate is going to get all over your hands, but don’t worry the mixture tastes almost as good at this point as it does in approx 15 minutes). DSC_2267
  6. You can add your marshmallows now or in around 5 minutes depending on how well done you want the marshmallows to be. I add mine after a little bit of cooking just so that they don’t get too brown. Put roughly 3 mini marshmallows on top of each cookie or 4 if there is space and you haven’t already eaten too many.
  7. Bake at 180 degrees celsius for around 15 minutes or until they look evenly cooked/set. They will be pretty soft so once out of the oven leave to cool before transferring to a wire rack. Enjoy your hard work with a well earned cookie and glass of cold milk.

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Let me know if you give these a go (preferably in advance so I can come over and eat some) and if you have any amazing cookie recipes please throw them my way so I can expand my very narrow cookie repertoire. Link me up in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook 🙂

 

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Flick doesn’t understand why we bake things which she cannot eat and is thoroughly disappointed because these smelt so good.

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Music to my Ears #2

So my music tastes range from standard middle of the road to down right random, but my favourite word to describe my musical orientation (as well as myself in general) is eclectic. Its a nice word, weird to say but pretty to look at and tricky to attempt to spell. And I like to think I identify with it, although I’m sure most of the time I come across as the most average/boring person.

I love music and I enjoy talking about it with others, so Music to my Ears is making a comeback, so get ready.

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Banks: Goddess

Banks is a bit of  a wonderful mystery to me, but the more I listen to her album the more it wins me over. First listen through I wasn’t sold, but I was intrigued by her captivating vocals and trance like beats. Now that I am more familiar with her style I can’t get enough. If you haven’t listened to her yet (go do it), imagine something along the lines of Aaliyah/The XX/Lorde kind of style. I’m probably describing it all wrong but that’s the best I can do. This makes the perfect lazy weekend album to have on in the background while you waste the day pretending to do housework.

Listen to: Brain (my favourite track of the album), You Should Know Where I’m Coming From, and the popular Fuck ‘Em Only We Know

Ben Howard: I Forget Where We Were

I am not sure how I managed to avoid getting in to Ben Howard’s music before the past month or so. His soft acoustics and soulful lyrics are right up my alley (okay so I have a lot of alleys, but his music is right up one of them). This album is his more recent one, released this year, and I love the quiet intensity of his moodier tracks. Its a great album, easy to listen to and a bit of a crowd pleaser. Now just please stand aside while I weep into pillow with regret for missing his August concert. At the time I barely recognised his name. Ah, regret, you old friend.

Listen to: Small Things, I Forget Where We Were, End of the Affair

Alt J: This is all yours

I saved my favourite for last and anyone who is unlucky enough to spend much time with me will know that this album has been almost exclusively played over and over until i had to force myself to ration it out (once a day maximum, no more than 4 times a week). Alt-J are one of the very few performers I would travel large distances to go and see, which is a pretty big deal considering I am normally too lazy to go to concerts in the city where I live.

This is their second album (I raved about their first album over here) and for me its the best music they have produced, but I can also see some people preferring their more mainstream (if you could ever classify alt-J as mainstream) first album. This is all yours is a unique series of tracks, that in my opinion are best played as a set. I won’t try and review them any more than to say that the album is very different. Its a bit weird, a little creepy at times (see the lyrics of Every Other Freckle, one of my favourite tracks) but incredibly interesting and evocative to listen to. I find their album creates a experience that I get absolutely drawn into, with soft melodies, haunting vocals and the odd punch of upbeat rock. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I think Alt-J are doing something very different and if I had to listen to one album for all of 2014 it would have been this.

Listen to: Nara, Hunger of the Pine (keep an eye out for a weirdly perfect Miley Cyrus ??), Warm Foothills (this makes my heart feel all warm and happy) and The Gospel of John Hurt. Just listen to the album, several times in a row. You won’t regret it (You might but I didn’t).

What has been playing for you recently?

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Friday’s Letters: take me out tonight

Dear Flatmate: So we now have a dog for two weeks and although my sinuses hate you right now, the big labrador cuddles more than make up for it.

Dear Spring: I love you and your beautiful flowers. My hay fever hates you and your disgusting pollination. Why can’t we all just get along.

Dear Edd: Thank you for being so understanding of me and my crazy moods. Sometimes I still forget how amazing it is to be married to my best friend.

Dear Broken Dishwasher: You taunt me as I clean the dishes by hand. I hope that makes you feel better about yourself.

Dear Bill Bailey: Holy cheese you were hilarious. I don’t know how you play so many instruments so incredibly well but your Reggae dubstep remix of the Downton Abbey theme tune was pretty much the best thing ever.

Dear Body: I know, I know, I have abandoned you like Nemo abandoned his dad, totally unintentionally and I’m really sorry about it. Promise to start working on this soon.

Dear Body: Further to the above, if I try harder could you also try harder? My job involves talking non stop all day so when you decide to make me sound like Chewbacca with a pillow over his head, life becomes just a little more challenging.

Dear Lorde: You put on an amazing concert last weekend and I still get chills just thinking about it.

Dear Neighbour: Thanks for offering to keep our dog guest a secret from the landlord. You are way cooler than I was expecting.

Dear Sleep: I need more of you in my life right now.

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Say Hi to Raja/Ranger

Say Hi to Raja/Ranger

 

 

 

Taking Stock | November

I found this through Laura and kind of loved the idea. So lets not commit to anything too over-eagerly, but my thought process is that if I like doing this then I might attempt it monthly. But don’t expect it, just be pleasantly surprised if I follow through. Deal?

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So just in case you were wondering what goes on inside my head (its a pretty weird and yet boring place):

  • Making : my chocolate cupcakes with the intent of sharing (but mainly just for eating)
  • Cooking : vegetarian dishes for my new flatmates and realising that trying new things is fun and not scary.
  • Drinking : red wine, and too much of it. I would blame stress but honestly I just really like red wine and i’m not even a little bit sorry.
  • Reading: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, and loving it
  • Wanting: to buy all the kittens and fill my house with cat cuddles
  • Looking: for my brow zings. Everyday without it makes me that much more resentful that I inherited my parent’s lack of “knowing where all my sh*t is”
  • Deciding: what I will try and kindly manipulate my family into buying me for Christmas
  • Wishing: my health would improve without me having to put in any effort. Lazy, I know.
  • Enjoying: having full two whole day long weekends. I have always worked Sundays so this is a relatively new concept.
  • Waiting: for our gardener to email me. ITS BEEN AGES SINCE I ASKED YOU FOR THE BILL.
  • Liking: getting new responsibilities at work (I am always up for a challenge…until it gets to challenging and then I just freak out)
  • Wondering: how my flowers have stayed alive so long when my other ones died in 3 days. How does that work? (I’m not a gardener, not even a flower enthusiast, just pleasantly confused)
  • Loving: the new Alt-J album. Like, a lot. Like on repeat over and over. Too much.
  • Pondering: over what direction I want my blog to take, if any direction at all
  • Considering: signing up for A Beautiful Mess’ stationary subscription (Happy Mail), because its not that expensive and I know it will be totally amazing 
  • Watching: outlander on Lightbox, as well as rewatching The Office US because as much as I adore the UK one, Jim and Pam have my heart.
  • Hoping: that I can continue to try and make positive changes in my life and the way I live it.
  • Marvelling: at my sister and gorgeous baby niece. 
  • Needing: to meditate daily, send any useful links my way!
  • Smelling: the spring flowers in our garden, they give me hay fever but I don’t even mind that much
  • Wearing: printed leggings. So comfortable, like a bowl of my favourite pasta (which is why I have to wear them in the first place)
  • Following: too many people to keep up to date
  • Noticing: a number of incredible people around me who inspire, support and are just generally amazing
  • Knowing: that I need to change my attitude about a few things (easier said then done)
  • Thinking: about what my priorities are for the next 5 years
  • Admiring: my husbands photograhpy
  • Sorting: out the new flat 
  • Buying: the new edition of Frankie magazine
  • Getting: bills that I really wish I could just ignore
  • Bookmarking: these gorgeous desktop backgrounds from DesignLoveFest
  • Disliking: the fact that it has already been 4 months since our Europe trip. I miss a different city each day
  • Giggling: because my new flatmates are hilariously inappropriate
  • Feeling: optimistic for what’s ahead
  • Snacking: on this delicious and easy to make cornflake/mars bar slice from one of my favourite food blogs
  • Coveting: all the things but mainly this
  • Wishing: for more time in the day
  • Helping: not as many people as normal. Which feels weird but is helping me be in a healthier place
  • Hearing: birds in the morning, they are super noisy by the new bedroom! But I don’t mind too much

Thanks to Pip who has the blank list right here, all ready for you to go and take stock of your current life state!

Hope November is full of good things, and not too much early Christmas music (unless you love that in which case I wish you all the Christmas music in the world) x

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October’s #brunchclub

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So to start off, #bloggersbrunchclub has had a makeover and is now #brunchclub, check out the new website and check out the facebook group if you aren’t already acquainted. With our new, streamlined name we had something special lined up for Octobers get together, and Tuihana Cafe was just the place to host it.

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We had a big group this month, around 15 people who came to chat over good food and coffee and get to know one another (I will never stop being amazed at the number of bloggers in Auckland). Laura and I had arranged some pretty special goodie bags with the help of some great local brands, but i’ll do a post on that later. Tuihana had agreed to host our noisy bunch of bloggers and it was a great, albeit pretty overwhelming, morning.

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I got the pancakes (which will not come as a surprise to anyone who has brunched with me recently) and they were accompanied by a delicious salted caramel sauce in place of maple syrup. Edd (who had come along for the first time to help us with photos) had the mushrooms on toast, which looked and smelt amazing. I also got major food envy from the corn fritters with guacamole ’cause they looked divine.


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After we had all stuffed ourselves with too much food and hyped ourselves up with some coffee, Nate, owner of Tuihana and director of 3bit, had agreed to share some of his knowledge on cafes, business and how social media fits into all of this (you can find Tuihana on Twitter and Facebook!). It was great to hear about how cafes can utilize social media to stand out in what is obviously a pretty competitive market, especially in Auckland. Stephanie did a great post around what we heard about over on her blog.

Sharing all that knowledge, thanks Nate!

Sharing all that knowledge, thanks Nate!

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Tuihana was a great place for brunch, with a delicious menu but also a comfortable space that was pretty central (located on Dominion road and with carparking which can always be a bit of a struggle). They do a great variety of food which is a mixture of Pacific island and European influences. The little touches, like the fact that their smoothies came in milk bottles, made them memorable and different. And of course, the coffee. Their coffee was great, no nonsense but good quality and well made. All ticks from me.

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With our heads and tummies full we parted ways to enjoy the rest of our weekend, but it was a great morning and thanks to each and every blogger who came along! Also a special thanks to my other half who did such an amazing job with taking some photos (if we are married do I get half the credit for his talent? That’s how it works, I’m pretty sure). Thanks also to Tuhiana Cafe for hosting us! I know I will be back to try out the lunch menu for sure (and probably just end up eating the pancakes as per always).

Check out a couple of other posts on Octobers #brunchclub below (and if I missed anyone please let me know!)

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