My 5 picks for the NZ Comedy Festival 2015

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I am a big fan of this time of year, when comics flock to New Zealand to create the NZ International Comedy Festival. Just take my money. Last year Edd and I left for Europe right at this time (sob) and so missed out on seeing much action, I plan to remedy this in 2015 by going to as much as I can. For those who may not know where to start or what to see, the comedy festival website has kindly broken it all up into some handy sections (accompanied by cat pictures) so you know which shows will not be appropriate for your young sister and her very conservative, religious friends too (one time, 1 bad decision). I wanted to share 5 shows that I would pick, either because I have seen the comedian before or just ’cause it sounds great.

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Wilson Dixon – For the first time again

I have seen this talented cowboy a few times at various comedy shows and Wilson Dixon never fails to disappoint with his drawling stories from the mid-west. Throw in a few catchy and hilarious songs and you have an hour that flies by, full of laughs.

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Best of the Billys – Hosted by Ben Hurley

This kind of comedy show is a great way to get the most for your money and see a few different comedians in one night. Best of the Billys features a few favourites like Rose Matafeo, Cori Gozalez-Macuer and Guy Montgomery, and will no doubt be a hilarious night for a very reasonable price. A perfect introduction to some of New Zealand’s best.

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One Man Breaking Bad – The Unauthorised Parody

As soon as I heard that there was a 1 hour show where 1 man acts out all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad and its amazing characters, I knew I had to be there. Enough said.

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Rose Matafeo – Finally Dead

I love Rose’s unique style of comedy, she always puts on a good show and I just relate to her awkward stories more-so than any other standup comedian. She is one of New Zealand’s best acts in my opinion and definitely worth fitting into your comedy calendar. In this show she stages her own funeral, which sounds weirdly appealing.

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The Green Effect – Hosted by Brendon Green

The Green Effect is a show featuring different funny people on the two different nights who all put their hilarious minds together to come up with a way to save the world. I don’t know much more about it but will be going along to see what they come up with! Visit the website to find out more.

Will you be going along to any shows this year? If so let me know what your picks are (not that I can afford to go to all the shows I would like to see!).

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Friday’s Letters: Fierce and light and young

Friday's Letters My Foxy Corner

Dear Self: Now is the time to remind you not to volunteer for everything. Sometime’s its good to get a day off. Pat on the back for taking a very stressful week and doing a pretty good job at conquering it, even without adequate sleep.

Dear Dreams: I know you feel a little murky and things are little unsure right now. Rest assured that you are always at the forefront of my mind and with a little careful planning you shall soon become goals which will then become achievements. Just be patient with me.

Dear Creamy Mushrooms: I am one step closer to making you perfect and then I can stop throwing money away for brunch.

 Dear Tiny Turtle (Niece): Looking forward to your visit. You grow so fast and your smile is bigger every time I see you. Love to you and your chubby cheeks.

Dear Serial: I may have been the last person to this confusing and emotional journey, but I have finally finished all of your podcasts and have been left suitably in tatters. Just give me a goddam answer already.

Dear Workmates: Please stop jumping ship and leaving me to fend for myself. I need you all to make life more bearable. Along with wine and chocolate, which will never leave me.

Dear Savings: You and me have got some talking to do.

Dear Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Every time I watch you, I love you more and more. Thank you for being such a beautiful movie.

Dear February: You are one very busy month. Take it easy, you are supposed to be the best month of the year, even though you’re the shortest. Bring on birthdays and anniversary’s and other good things.

Dear Angel Olsen: Thanks for creating such beautiful music with lyrics that talk straight to my heart. Like the ones that gave me my title.

Dear Merlin: So it turns out you are a pretty amazing tree climber. Thanks for those moments in the middle of the night where sleep evades me but you are always around for cuddles. Thanks for being such a big boy at the vet. Love you and your giant paws. ❤

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A Mexican Feast at Flying Burrito Brothers

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to my first Zomato meetup where I got to try enough Mexican food to last me several weeks.

This meetup was hosted at Flying Burrito Brothers in Newmarket, which had opened a little while ago and had a menu to delight any foodie with Mexican tastebuds (my hand is firmly in the air).

Virgin Mojitos Flying Burrito Brothers

Virgin Mojitos and dark lighting, sorry in advance for all the other photos

We started with a virgin cocktail; mine was mint and agave and all kinds of refreshing – which was much needed after dealing with Auckland traffic after work. We were then given a tasting board of their starters (bocaditos) to share around whilst we all were introduced to one another. Highlights for me included the Jalapeno Relleno (corn crusted jalapeno) as well as the Quesadilla De Queso, a delicious cheese, chilli and coriander quesadilla which went perfectly with their fresh tomato salsa. The highlight of this platter was the hot spicy cheese dip, Chilli Con Queso. I could live off the stuff (not for long though).

Flying Burrito Brothers

The Starting Platter

After gorging on starters, plate after plate of delicious dishes came out until our table was creaking. There were enchiladas, fajitasand burritos, but the highlight for me was the mushroom quesadilla (Quesadilla de Hongos) which was cooked to perfection and came with generous amounts of guacamole, sour cream and salsa. I must mention the Holy Mole Enchilada. Filled with chicken, I didn’t really try this but couldn’t resist tasting a little of the mole sauce which was rich and delicious.

Flying Burrito Brothers

Enchiladas, Burritos and Fajitas, Oh My!

Flying Burrito Brothers

Mushroom Quesadillas, perfect for any cheese loving vego

Flying Burrito Brothers

Luckily we had a bit of a break before desert, the conversation was pretty lively and the white sangria came out and was light and tasty. When the deserts arrived they were quickly demolished. We tried the Banana Chimichanga, tortilla wrapped fried banana served with ice cream and cinnamon sugar. Good but in my opinion, not as good as the Churros which came with three different dipping sauces. Yum.

Flying Burrito Brothers

Never too full for desert. Never.

 

It was such a fun night and an amazing way to sample some of the delicious dishes offered by Flying Burrito Brothers. I now can’t wait to go back with more friends and eat so much I can’t get home.

Flying Burrito Brothers

What the table looks like at a foodie meetup.

What are your favourite Mexican dishes?

Music | Loving for Laneway

Its summer and summer wouldn’t be summer without a music festival. Last year it was Big Day Out, this year it’s Laneway and I couldn’t be much more excited.Laneway Festival 2015

Even if you don’t happen to be going along, there are a few faces who I had no clue about prior to excitedly spending my pay on a ticket. So I thought I should share a few new favourites. (I’ll be honest, I knew about 3 acts at the time I bought my ticket, fools rush in?)

1. Courteney Barnett

Courtney is an Australian singer with rambling lyrics that are hilarious and weirdly witty, as well as a unique style of dead pan story telling singing that reminds me of Kimya Dawson. Listen to Avant Gardener (ever wanted a song about having a panic attack during a heat wave in public) and Pickles in a Jar.

Courteney Barnett Laneway 2015

2. Jon Hopkins

I never thought I would be keen to see a sonic technician live but this guys arrangements hook me and apparently he is quite the live performer (I’m curious to see more than anything else). His synth/keyboard tunes are smooth and easy to relax into, I find them oddly hypnotic. Some may seem familiar as he has done a bucketload of collaborations. And I had never heard is name until a couple of weeks ago. Win. Might not be for everyone but take a listen to Breathe This Air and a familiar sounding Light Through the Veins (if you have 9 minutes free).

Jon Hopkins

3. St Vincent

I’m sure everyone other than me is already aware of St Vincent, sometimes I think I go through life without acknowledging anything new. St Vincent (Annie Clark) is someone quite unusual, in a great way, with some twisted indie pop melodies and haunting but playful vocals I don’t really have anything to compare her to. If you haven’t already, try out Cruel and Cheerleader, a couple of new favourites. I can already imagine how incredible she will be live. Dreamlike techno? I’m just going to stop trying.

St Vincent

4. Angel Olsen

I saved my favourite for last. I have fallen fast for Angel Olsen’s retro style of music, playing her songs on repeat since discovering her just 4 days ago. She is now probably the act I am most excited to see. This is one example of where I listen to one song and become instantly attached to a musician. Her LP, Burn Your Fire For No Witness is already going to be one of my favourite albums of 2015. Her style ranges from heart wrenching folk, like my favourite track unf*cktheworld and Windows, to experimental electric rock and more upbeat tracks like Hi-5. Her music is dreamy and intense. I would pay to go to Laneway for her set alone.

Angel Olsen

These 4 are all new to my ears, there are also the old favourites who I have wanted to see for a while like Banks, Belle and Sebastian and Little Dragon! And with a timetable of minimum clashes I am pretty hopeful at catching all of them. Bring on Monday 😀

Let me know if you are going and who you are excited for (not that I can squeeze much more into my day)!

xx

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Strawberry Fields Forever

Summer Strawberry Picking in AucklandWith Summer in full swing and the weekend hours more precious then ever, I have been trying to tick off various things from my Summer Bucket List. One of these was to gorge on strawberries at a pick your own farm, and with my two little brothers over for the day we had the perfect opportunity for it.

Summer Strawberry Picking in Auckland

With a few recommendations from friends, we decided on Garelja Bros Strawberry Gardens and spent a wonderful half hour or so filling up buckets and containers (and our mouths) with the most beautiful and delicious strawberries I could imagine. The boys had a great time and I was busy thinking of all the wonderful things I could do with the bounty we had picked. The hot sun was shining (we were slathered in sunblock), despite its popularity we never had to share our area with any other pickers and the strawberries were plentiful. Within 20-30 minutes we had more strawberries then we knew what to do with.

Summer Strawberry Picking in AucklandSummer Strawberry Picking in AucklandSummer Strawberry Picking in Auckland

The best part about Garelja Bros was when we came to pay, and found (to our surprise) that the mountain of juicy strawberries was only $15. We had expected to part with much more cash (rather happily) in exchange for our few kilograms of fruit. Unlike some other Strawberry farms, Garelja Bros doesn’t do their own strawberry ice cream, but their friendly staff recommended a spot called Juicy on the way back to the main road (turn left, left, left and its on your left :)) that specialised in fresh strawberry ice cream, as well as Coffee, smoothies and gelato. Somehow we found room in our bellies and sat on some beanbags in the shade with a monster of an ice cream to devour. I’d like to say that it was so big I couldn’t finish it..but I’d be lying.

Summer Strawberry Picking in Auckland

Both of these spots were cheap and friendly and provided the 4 of us with a highly enjoyable afternoon in the sunshine. Even better, I now have 4 kilos of strawberries in my fridge and freezer.

Summer Strawberry Picking in AucklandSummer Strawberry Picking in Auckland

If you haven’t been yet, Garelja Bros may only be open for a little while longer (check their Facebook page for details) but I highly recommend them if you get a chance between 10am and 3pm. They charge a very reasonable $5 a kilo and if you can, bring a flat tray to lay the strawberries on in the car so they don’t get smooshed.

Let me know if you have any favourite strawberry spots in Auckland and what else is on your Summer Bucket List!

Summer Strawberry Picking in Auckland

You can see Mr 7 eating on the job here. Cheeky.

Summer Strawberry Picking in Auckland

#brunchclub’s Festive Feast with Chuffed

festive feast with chuffedSo on Sunday we wrapped up the year’s #brunchclub with a rather wonderful feast at Chuffed on High Street in Auckland. It was the perfect way to end the a year that has been full of surprises for #brunchclub, primarily in that it made the transition from being an excuse for me, Laura and Maddy to go eat delicious food and talk blogging to a huge group of incredible New Zealand bloggers. Each month I meet new people and we try new amazing spots in Auckland where we can chat over coffee and brunch.

 Chuffed Auckland Cafe  #brunchclubIts been amazing, and Laura and Maddy are two inspirational bloggers who have become my close friends through this whole thing (a side effect of #brunchclub for which I couldn’t be more grateful).

Maddy, Laura and Lizzy from #brunchclub

Finally a photo with all three of us!

To finish off the year we had 20 wonderful men and women (including ourselves) for a Christmas feast, featuring Turkey, Ham and all the wonderful vegetables you could imagine. Chuffed was a beautiful venue, a little haven in the middle of the city with a stunning outside area that was perfect for our group.

Decor for #brunchclubFood at Chuffed for #brunchclubFood at Chuffed for #brunchclubFood at Chuffed for #brunchclubFood at Chuffed for #brunchclubChuffed Cafe AucklandChuffed festive feast #brunchclubWe had a mixture of bloggers who regularly come to #brunchclub, and others for whom this was their first time, which was so cool (I still can’t believe how many great bloggers there are in Auckland!). We ate and talked the day away, and then rushed down for a quick look at the Auckland Fair (which looked incredible!).

#brunchclub festive feast at ChuffedI nearly forgot to talk about the desserts which were the most delicious part of the day in my dessert-loving opinion. There were two different options, a brioche and blackberry thing with marscapone (which looked delicious and was full of fresh berries), and my personal favourite, a lemon posset with berry coulis and crushed amaretto. Honestly, the lemon posset was delicious, like mind bogglingly delicious. I could have eaten them all, and nearly did. Everyone’s lucky they managed to obtain one to be honest.

Desert at #brunchclub

Drooling all over my key board. Someone help me make this.

Desertat #brunchclub at ChuffedThank you to everyone who joined us for our festive feast, and thanks also to every single person who has become a part of our little #brunchclub and has made this whole year incredible. Also go check out some wonderful posts about this Christmas #brunchclub over at The Confetti Room and Katerina Darling (two absolutely stunning blogs and equally stunning ladies who came along).

Christmas Chocolate FudgeAlso! I may have made some Christmas fudge for the giftbags to go along with some great little goodies from Lush! The post will be up in the next couple of days and would make a great gift for that one person who has everything (mostly shameless self plug trying to encourage you to check back later).

Festive decor with #brunchclubWe can’t wait to bring in the New Year and see what 2015 will bring for #brunchclub. To finish off a bit of a rambly post, below are 5 little things I have learnt from this year (’cause I love lists and you hopefully love lists too):

  1. I do not find socialising with new people easy and potentially never will (put me with cats and its a whole other story). Somehow in spite of this every single time I manage to meet some incredibly friendly and wonderful people who make the effort well worth it
  2. Anything is possible with two amazing friends who seem to be able to achieve a ridiculous amount of stuff in limited time.
  3. There seems to be a never ending supply of amazing cafe’s in Auckland and my goal in life is to try everyone’s pancakes.
  4. Glitter is really hard to get off your face after a hard night’s crafting. You may still look like a Christmas decoration the next day at work, regardless of showering.
  5. There is nothing better than spending a Sunday with like minded people, drinking coffee and eating delicious food.

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festive feast #brunchclub

Introducing: Auckland Food Tours

So my dream day is to be driven around to different delicious destinations where I can eat and buy as much food as possible and then nap the afternoon away. This came true last Saturday when I went along to one of the Auckland Food Tours with Edd and Mr 12. Dreams really do come true.Auckland Food Tours


I am a big fan of food. I am also a big fan of not having to put in a lot of effort in order to eat a lot of food. It’s a dangerous combination (just ask my waist line) but for those food-inclined, a food tour is like a mini miracle. Food tours obviously are a thing that have always existed outside of my imagination, yet somehow I have just never successfully encountered one until last weekend.

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Needless to say, when asked if I would like to come along on one of the food tours I did not take a lot of persuading.

All the details on the tour set up are located over on the website for Auckland Food Tours so I’m just going to mention a couple of my favourite places and then show you a few delicious photos.

Monsoon Coffee

Our first stop, Monsoon Espresso, was one of my favourites although my love of coffee may make me biased. We were shown the coffee roasting process whilst we got to down the good stuff in their beautiful roastery showroom, and whats even better is that they have a cafe in the city! The rest of the tour included Lebanese, Russian, German, Italian and Middle Eastern style cuisines and the type of stops varied from the cafe to a cheese maker in Dairy Flat, with everything delicious that you could imagine in between. Monsoon Espresso 1

There were several places that I will definitely go back to again, one of which is Barakah Foods, the Lebanese supermarket in Wairau that was full of hidden treasures for a super reasonable price. The little unassuming store is packed full of the most delicious things like pomegranate molasses, rosewater, tinned charcoal roasted eggplant, relishes and jams, fresh olives and feta. I’ve only scraped the surface of this shops offerings and I will be back there before Christmas to spend all of my money.

Barakah Food

Along the way we met a variety of incredibly friendly foodies who talked us through their passions in food and let us eat many delicious samples (we definitely did not need lunch). At one point I had a delicious German pastry, warm and doughy and full of creamy poppyseed paste (which does not sound as good as it tasted). As it was thrust in to my hand, still warm from the oven, I think I had some form of delicious bread related epiphany (perhaps along the lines of “oh my god, bread! Delicious!). I also tried Russian dumplings for the first time and may have eaten far more than my share (not my fault). I also ate a lot of cheese, but what else is new?

Massimo Lubisco

Overall Thoughts

Would I do another food tour again? This seems like a silly question because I would happily do one every weekend if I could. These would make such a great gift (oh hey there Christmas!) or the perfect experience for someone visiting Auckland. It was such a fun way to get to know some of those secret places that people discover and with the amount of tastings we received it would be well worth the price. Anne-Marie, who hosted us, was amazing and did a wonderful job of sharing her obvious love for food with each of us. Even Mr 12 was totally obsessed with the day and could not stop raving about how much fun he had.

Auckland Food Tours

Me. Eating Cheese. Because that’s pretty much what I do in every photo

 

Napoleon Pastry

In case you haven’t eaten a Napoleon before, you definitely should.

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