Friday’s Letters: A Little Magic

Friday's Letters: A little Magic

Dear Long Weekend: We both know how needed you are right now. I don’t think I could work another full week right now even if I wanted to.

Dear Edd: Thanks for being the best chilli chef I ever did know. If I had to choose one meal for the rest of my life, your vegetarian chilli would be a top contender (along with a lifelong supply of chocolate and red wine x).

Dear Unrelenting Fear of Rejection: Stuff you and stuff all your mates too. This week I totally ignored your voice in the back of my head and I don’t even care if I get rejected (okay, i’ll care but not enough to stop me trying in the first place).

Dear Frozen Strawberries: Where the heck have you been all my life?

Dear 2015: Sorry for being a bit absent so far, in more ways than I can count. I promise to try harder to make the most of all of your days and use my diary more.

Dear Brothers: Happy Birthday to one of you, much love to all four of you, even when shit goes wrong. We all make mistakes.

Dear Coffee: I think I am slowly coming to the sad realisation that I’m not sure we can be best friends anymore. Don’t worry, the break up will be slow and gentle. I couldn’t handle it any other way.

Dear Merlin: So I haven’t officially introduced you yet but you have, without a doubt, been the best part of 2015 so far. Thanks for being such an incredible character and for meeting me after each and every crappy day, ready for cuddles and already purring. I already can’t imagine life without you. 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

3 months pass by

I’m really awkward when it comes to trying to update people on my life since returning to New Zealand. So much has happened, but time has flown by so quickly, so instead of rambling on I have compiled a brief list to sum up the last three months. I have also used instagram to provide a brief photographic overview of my life (spoiler alert – there’s a lot of coffee and pancakes).

So what have I been up to:

  • Eating enough cheese to feel sick (not something new, just reassuring you all that my love of cheese is still going strong
  • Having amazing #brunchclubs with Laura and Maddy, my two blogging inspirations and generally amazing friends
  • Settling in to a new wonderful flat with space and character and all those great things that make a house a home
  • Learning to love having flatmates again which mainly involves much wine drinking and the occasional sock on the door knob
  • Getting into Girls in a big way (the TV show, no dramatic orientation changes at this stage)
  • Pining over another overseas trip. Japan, I have you and all of your cat cafes in my sights.
  • Working too hard, doing too much overtime and then grumbling about it
  • Failing to join the gym but with all the right intentions
  • Enjoying the first little glimpses of summer with some iced tea and beers in our back yard
  • Feeling guilty over how hard I have found it to get back into blogging
  • Going for a couple of amazing trips to Wellington, one work related and one to launch Wellington’s very own #brunchclub
  • Baking things, but not as much as I would like to
  • Being awestruck and head over heels at my new little niece who is the most adorable piece of baby flesh I ever did set my eyes on.
  • Becoming ridiculously proud of my baby sister who makes motherhood look so darn easy, and has never looked more beautiful than when she is snapchatting her and the baby after very few hours of sleep. I don’t know how you do it but I know one day I will hate you just a little bit for setting the bar so high
  • Trying to make the neighbour’s cat love me the most and failing but still getting plenty of cat cuddles
  • Learning to appreciate the little things more, slowly.
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The “dream about you everyday”mint hot chocolate from Al’s Deli

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Using cafe’s as a way to get free (not really free) cat cuddles. 

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Experimenting with different Vegetarian meals

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Decorating the entire office to look like Alice and Wonderland and kind of knocking our own socks off

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Eating so much amazing food in Wellington. This is Chow *drool*

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Long Blacks look pretty and are better for me. So I’m trying to replace my love of lattes.

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Moving house and finding my favourite sun spot to read in

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Organising my first baby shower and not even screwing anything up!

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So I thought I wasn’t a fan of pancakes. Okra may have changed my whole perspective (which explains why I have eaten pancakes almost every weekend).

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Tried Best Ugly Bagels for the first time and thankfully they lived up to the hype in a delicious way! Peanut Butter and Jam for life.

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No words could describe how incredible it is to have a little niece.

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Entertaining which is mostly just an excuse to eat more cheese

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Had a great #brunchclub at Tuihana, more on this to come!

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Found an app that lets me replace faces with animal heads (called Animal Face, go figure) and have been going through all my travel photos to make them more appealing. So great.

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Enjoying the Kiwi Spring that has just started making itself known

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Befriending all the cats in the Neighbourhood, even the ones that look like little alien sheep.

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Reading this book and getting a little obsessed

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And lastly, embracing Halloween at work.

Looking forward to:

  • Lorde concert which is on tonight and which I should be getting ready for instead of blogging
  • Going to see Bill Bailey this week which will be amazing
  • The exciting future of #brunchclub
  • Watching my niece and my sister grow together
  • Spending more time with family now that the sun decides to come out more often
  • Continuing to make the new place feel like home
  • Joining a gym so that I can get fit and healthy
  • Doing some part time study, all though I might put that off until next year
  • Planning a budget that lets us save for a trip to the South Island and then later on for Japan
  • CHRISTMAS.

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Photo Diary: The Coromandel

Hi Guys!

So I may have taken a rather long break from blogging. It was well worth it for a week long holiday away from the big smoke and staying at our favourite bach in the Coromandel at Hot Water Beach (near Hahei). I thought the most appropriate thing to do upon my return would be to share some snaps from our week away, showing off a few of our favourite places to go. Edd and I go with my family to Hot Water Beach every year and I can never get enough.

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Our first couple of days were pretty dramatically terrible in terms of weather but this made for a good excuse to go visit Coromandel township on the other side of the peninsula and eat plenty of good food.

 

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We stopped in to the Driving Creek Railway which is full of amazing art and also hosts a wonderful train ride into the native bush. Well worth a stop, especially with kids.

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There was also a lot of wonderful bird life in the native bush.

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These little guys are so fluffy.

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A very small taste of the incredible sculpture at the railway. The pottery in particular is stunning.

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There is no such thing as too much beach

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Just ask Mr 6

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Evening walks along Hot Water Beach and candy floss skies

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These two had an awesome time once the sun came out.

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Lucky for us it stayed out for the rest of the trip. Most of our time was spent on the beach, usually with a book nearby.

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Occasionally we ventured away from the beach to visit some of our favourite spots. This place is amazing and does a huge range of delicious liqueurs.

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And Eggcentric cafe is another place we always ensure we stop at. The food here is amazing and again, the art in the gardens is wonderful to be around.

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There is always the little ferry ride across to Whitianga if you are in need of some serious shopping or a bit of night life (by that I mean the sports bar…)

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This guy was sitting right outside the bach, just waiting for his photo to be taken.

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On the way home we stopped at a wonderful hidden river spot, just by the state highway.

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My 12 year old brother is much braver than I am.

All in all it was so wonderful to get away from work and general life in the city and take some time to be with family. I’m already excited for next year.

Lizzy x

Tuesday’s Top Ten: Lush Lusts

Hi All, Happy Tuesday!

For this weeks Top Ten post I thought I would do a quick round up of the ten Lush products that I am currently lusting over (by which I mean each week I got into their store and investigate then leave wishing I could buy them all). I have recently gotten more interested in Lush and I think it is because my skin just doesn’t seem to react well to much any more and so natural products have become more appealing. I also love Lush as a brand that is cruelty free and vegan (and the ladies at the Queen

Street office are super nice too!). To be clear, not affiliated or sponsored anyway, as per usual. Just a little obsessed…

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1. Dream Cream: Top of my list and a product I plan to buy ASAP is this soothing body lotion for sensitive skin. A best selling product and after being given a sample last week I now understand why. Filled with good stuff like chamomile and lavender this smells good but feels even better. Not cheap which is why I put it off but a little goes a long way so I think it is probably well worth it. $37.90 for 240g

2. Dreamwash: Another product that I have a sample of and have already enjoyed briefly is this shower soap that is, once again, soothing and suitable for dry, red skin. Full of all my favourite things like chamomile, calamine, lavender, aloe vera and essential oils I am a big fan. A little bit expensive for a shower wash, at $28.90 for 250g  so not something I would straight away shell out for.

3. Rose Jam Shower Gel: Staying on the tune of shower products, this shower gel is a gorgeous new Christmas product, scented with rose and lemon. I originally was lusting after snow fairy but after comparing scents I much prefer this slightly more subtle rose scent and find snow fairy a little sickly. $22.50 for 100g, other sizes also available.

4. Santa’s Lip Scrub: I already love the lip scrubs and am currently using the Mint Julips one (which smells amazing) so naturally I was drawn to the limited edition Christmas lip scrub which tastes of cola. Although this is a relatively simple product, at $12.50 it isn’t too expensive and would make a great gift paired with the lip tint below…

5. Santa’s Baby Lip Tint: A red tinted lip balm that is perfect to use after a little scrub and provides a moisturizing red tint with the flavour of a cola. A great combo with the scrub above, and at $12.50 is a nice treat or gift.

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6.Aqua Marina: This is another sample of a popular cleanser that I have yet to try. A pink mousse wrapped with seaweed it is definitely unusual but contains calamine and aloe vera to make it suitable for sensitive and irritated skin, soothing and cleansing. Excited to try this. $18.90 per 100g.

7. Sexy Peel Soap: I love Honey I washed the Kids but this strong citrus scent still outranks it as my favourite soap at Lush. I haven’t bought any but can’t wait to try it properly as the scents of lemon, grapefruit and lime are perfect for waking up to face the day. Yum. $7.49/100g

8. Angel’s Delight Soap: On the tangent of soaps, my favourite new soap is this sweet, colourful one. With cents of tangerines and gardenias the result is a sweet, floral and citrus scent. But mainly I just want it cause its pretty. $7.50/100g

9. Lemony Flutter: I don’t why I don’t own this product yet. This is a popular thick cream that is mainly used for softening cuticles but can be used basically anywhere dry. I love nail creams and seeing as this one is citrus scented (notice a pattern) I am a big fan of this one. At $19.90 for 50g it may seem experience but I know a little goes a long way (I always sample this when I pop into the stores).

10. Vanillary Solid Perfume: Ending with something quite different, I have been umming and ahhing over the Lush perfumes as I do tend to react a little to normal perfume and the idea of something organic and natural is very appealing. This little solid perfume is scented of, you guessed it, vanilla as well as jasmine. The end scent is a warm and grown up vanilla perfume, perfect for winter (but not so much for the season we are just entering). At $10.90 for 12g its not a huge commitment and so may be worth a try for those who like vanilla/burnt caramel scents, as I do.

Whew, I would happily go broke to own all ten of these (edd may not so much). What are the Lush products you lust over?

Xx

Inside My Mind #3

  • Today is Labour Monday in New Zealand yet for some reason I offered to do a ten hour shift instead of enjoy the sunshine. Crazy but just keeping the idea of the money in my mind.
  • Also Christmas is not far away (57 Days according to Christmas clock) and I am 80% excited and 20% terrified at how behind I am. 57 days seems like heaps of time but then I find out that people have already finished their shopping.

  • I have been trialling out Lush’s Dream Cream and I think I might be in love. It isn’t cheap so I am reluctant to shell out on the full tub but I know it will last ages and my skin seems to kind of love it. I also smelt the Snow Fairy shower gel that EVERYONE raves about and I couldn’t stand it…It is SO sweet. I much prefer the new rose jam scent. I must be crazy.
  • Edd sent me this link the other day. Unlikely animal friendships just make me happy.
  • Went to Barillia on the weekend so Mr 12 could experience thier dumplings. Was so excited to try the pork and chive dumplings which everyone raved about but unfortunately every single dumpling had an unexplainable big piece of prawn inside (which being allergic to seafood meant I couldn’t eat). I would still go back in a heartbeat but will have to be super careful in case something like that happens again.
  • I am about to start reading Allegiant and I am very excited. It must be the first time in ages I have bought a physical book from book shop full price (and not just the $2 books at opshops).
  • I am also currently reading The Magic (part of The Secret series) and although it is 80% cringeworthy I am hopeful that the remaining 20% will be useful in making me more grateful for what I have.
  • I am planning to start experimenting in cutting out certain food groups (e.g. doing a month gluten free) and seeing how it affects my skin as well as overall health. I think I will try cutting out gluten first of all so any tips on coping without wheat are very welcome.
  • Edd and I are about halfway through Breaking Bad’s final season and it is so intense! I feel like I am holding my breath for the whole episode. I will almost be relieved once it is all over I think.

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  • On less trendy tv show news I am officially addicted to Beverly Hills Nannies. It is sad and shameful but I thought I should just come out and admit it to you all. It reminds me of being a Nanny but is 100% more glamorous and way more social than my Nannying ever was. I knew I was a sucker for reality tv but I didn’t know it was this bad. Is there some kind of terrible tv rehab because I think I may need it.
  • I can’t wait for this day to be over so I can go home and sleep. Happy Monday everyone!

October Sample Bar Glam Pack

 

Hi all!
So on this Thursday after a day off work due to relentless migraines/headaches I feel a little like the guy below but don’t look quite so cute. The beginning of this week was less grim with the Auckland book launch for Laura’s amazing cookbook. Meeting her was awesome and spending the subsequent evenings pouring over her cookbook was great. If you haven’t checked out her blog or her cookbook, hungry and frozen,  then do!

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 Today I also bring you my October glam pack from Sample Bar and the goodies inside. This month’s box came a week or so ago so I am a little delayed but better late then never. This month’s box was actually pretty great and well worth the $25.

DSC_34991. Rosehip Gentle Foaming Cleanser by Essano. I received two 30mL bottles of this soap-free cleanser which contains rosehip oil and other nice and natural ingredients to both cleanse and moisturize the skin without drying it out. I have high hopes for this and am thinking that due to the oils and the natural ingredients it won’t irritate my sensitive skin but I will have to just wait and see. The smell is strange and sweet but not in an unpleasant way, just not what I expected. A full size 140mL will cost you a pretty reasonable $14.99 and can be found at supermarkets which is pretty handy.

2. Dots Laundry Powder. So before we get annoyed that they sent us a washing powder in a beauty sample pack this was a bonus product, so not a part of the 5 proper makeup/beauty samples. Am I super excited by this….no, but it might come in handy.The price for the normal packs range from $6.99-$13.99 at supermarkets.

3, Youngblood Vixen mini lipstick. I love the idea of mini lipsticks so to get a beautiful red one that I can keep in my purse if I decide to pop on a red lip half way through the day of after work before going out is great! This is a blend of natural oils and vitamins which sounds good and is a beautiful true red that is sort of matte. A great product for a sample box in my opinion. These retail for $43.50 for a full size which is pretty expensive for my little wallet.

4. Matte Eyeshadow by Couleur Caramel. Another awesome product this month was this matte eyeshadow that is a beautiful light natural brown colour that would make a great base shadow. Doesn’t seem super pigmented but is buttery and the colour is one I know I will use often. I don’t know how much these eyeshadows retail for but their range of products ranges from $20-$50 approx. I would love to see what some of their other vegan, cruelty free products are like. All of their makeup is also chemical free (not sure how that works) and fair trade. The recyclable packaging is great too!

5. Angel Orange Flower Shampoo and Hairmask. I have never heard of this hair brand (but that isn’t saying much, hair care is not my strength) but am looking forward to trying out these two products. Only downside is that they are for coloured hair so I may have to wait until I have a colour to try and lock in. I hope they smell good… These are $39 each.

6. Pure Fiji Hydrating Guava Body Lotion. Last up we received a small sample of a body lotion from Pure Fiji which is a brand I adore. The best thing about this is the amazing scent which I love about any of these Fijian products. The guava and coconut are a beautiful combination and this will be great as a moisturizer to keep in my handbag for any dryness. The full size moisturizer is $350mL and will cost you $49 which could potentially be worth it just because it smells divine. Yum.

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So all up one of my favourite boxes and what I wish every month was more like. A great range of different products and most of them well suited for me.

Hope you guys are having a great week! I shall leave you with a photo of Callie who was pretty interested in what we were doing and wanted to do some modelling of her own. Such a beautiful girl and who doesn’t love a little chiaroscuro.

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