July has been Dry

Here we are the 31st July. I'm sipping the fruit bubbly stuff in amazement at my ability to go a whole month without alcohol. What is also rather amazing is the amount of money I raised. A huge thanks to all my sponsors.  I was stoked with the first two got me off the mark before July even started but take a look at my profile page, currently at $575 with a $90 cash deposit made the other day, $40 given to me in the last couple of days to pay in plus a cheque from the UK for 20 quid to pay in. So, thank you one and all. Really was not expecting to do quite that well so am as pleased as a non alcoholic fruit punch.
Looking back on the month there have been some quite tough days, exams, presentations, staff concerns, busy days, frustrating days and days when I thought a glass of wine would be essential. I haven't faulted, I did smell the cognac but I couldn't actually help that, it evaded the whole room thank you Adam.

I haven't missed it as much as I thought I would. It's OK sitting here with pretend bubbles rather than the real ones, but boy am I looking forward to the real ones. Maybe then it's become a habit with me, that glass of wine at the end of a tough day, that glass of pinot noir while cooking dinner, or maybe just the thought of a glass of wine has lead me to having one rather than thinking about other options. I am usually nervous when there is no wine in the house and here I am, 31 days with no wine in the house. How is that possible really. I laughed at those doing this challenge last year, thinking there is no way on earth I would ever do that, think about doing that or be remotely capable of doing that. That thinking plagued me for a whole year. I am naturally lazy but I have been given (thanks to great upbringing, childhood, parents, genes whatever) an incredible belief that I can do anything I set my mind to and while lazy, am determinedly so. This after all was about not doing something rather than doing something, so there you go.

Here comes August and the August break.......

Walk 13 - Karangahake Gorge

An escape from the city, a good run in the new car and exploring Indiana Jones style. Boy do I love my weekends. Winter has given us another blue sky kind of day and it's Karangahake Gorge. This is a seriously interesting place. An historic walkway, a cycle track, loads of tunnels to explore, bridges and  ruins of the old mine. I should also mention the free parking. We completed the tunnels walk and had come equipped with better torches than last time so could have a really good look. My mind jumped from Harry Potter (chamber of secrets), Alien, Lord of the Rings (they call it a mine) and then any scary movie in the dark. Then of course I started on what action to take if an earthquake were to hit while we were inside the mountain/mine tunnels. Of course none of this actually detracts from a fabulous day out and a wee walk. Really do need to be a bit more energetic but still so exhausted after work can't really find the energy for much more.


Blimey oh Riley , staying of the alcohol for one month and I've raised over $500. This is totally amazing and far more than I ever expected. Huge thanks to all those who have sponsored me, but heh, the month is not over so there is still time for you to add to this great cause. Follow the link to my profile page to donate.


I'm being so good I even said no to a bite of Baileys cheesecake, plus I made a risotto with no wine.

The money I'm raising is going towards Auckland region and Northland Hospitals. Here is a bit about them....

The Northern Regional Cancer and Blood Service at Auckland City Hospital supports patients from all over New Zealand's upper North Island, from Northland to South Auckland, covering a population of 1.6 million people or 38 per cent of New Zealand.

The service is a comprehensive cancer centre treating patients aged 15 and up. Last year, the centre saw up to 300 patients per day for treatment providing: radiotherapy delivered from 6 linear accelerators (160-180 patients per day); medical oncology daystay (50-70 patients receiving chemotherapy per day); and haematology daystay (20-30 patients per day).

The improvement projects earmarked for 2012 Dry July funds are the installation of Wi-Fi in waiting areas, new seating, new children's play equipment and the construction of a healing/reflection garden for the use of patients within the service building. The hospital aims to use funds from Dry July 2013 to further improve the comfort of patients receiving treatment at the cancer centre.

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Walk 12 - Maraetai

Not long, not tough, not much effort but it was outside and involved walking. Every little helps I reckon . After a brief stop in Clevedon it was along to Maraetai for a beach walk. More photos of shoes, I even tried shoes of strangers, but still don't quite have the hang if that. Being a winter's day in Auckland there were people swimming in the sea. Well I saw one person. We ate our lunch on the beach. Walked. Then refreshed ourselves with coffee. Then for some reason on the way home we brought a new car. All rather exciting really.

Auckland Zoo

A sunny Saturday in winter and when I say winter, this is the type of winter you can wear a t shirt and just have a warmer top in case. It was a glorious day and off to the zoo we go. Auckland Zoo is a popular place so we walked with a crowd towards the entrance. This reminded me of arriving at Disneyland Paris bringing on another homesickness pang.
To take my mind of that I took lots of photos, but I have a lot to learn about photography and it turns out animals are a challenge. I think I like the flamingo ones best. I became obsessed by peoples shoes but didn't manage any photos of those either.
Either way, a great time at the zoo was had and another day without alcohol - July is still Dry

Will we see any of Adam's photos, that is the question frequently asked of this animal

There were a lot of converse seen today but I became rather conscious of taking photos of strangers so Adams feet it is

Really Dry

Still Dry, fantastically impressed and proud of myself. It was a tough night when Adam decided to partake in some really good cognac but I savoured the smell alone. What has amazed me possibly more than my ability to stay away from the drink is the incredible generosity of the folks that are sponsoring me. Thank you all so much and if you'd like to add your contribution follow the link to my profile. My sponsorship money is going towards Auckland Region and Northland Hospitals. I'm raising funds to help their cancer patients get the tangible changes needed to make their cancer journey that little bit easier.


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Walk 11- Piha

A wild, windy and wet day in Auckland. Of course we could have stayed in bed, or moved to the lounge and curled up in front of the fire, reading. But no, the beach called. I needed windy. I needed to walk in the rain. Piha beach is a classically wonderful west coast beach. The wind pushed along the beach one way as we jumped into the streams and compared the waterproof nature of our shoes (I won). I struggled with the camera in a tricky light, trying to capture the wild nature and the crazy wind blowing us around. The walk back the rain was actually moving horizontally, my right side was soaked. I have a great coat as well as good shoes so I felt snug and well wrapped up, though my legs were starting to feel the chill of the rain.

Of course wild New Zealand does have it's fair share of marvellously placed cafes so after the walk we sneaked a corner seat in the Piha Cafe. Deservedly popular on a wild Sunday, we partook in a classic margarita pizza, crumble, coffee and hot chocolate before heading back to be curled up in front of the fire with a movie to help us slide through the afternoon and into Sunday evening.

Wet but still dry......
Donate to my Dry July Challenge here

The wind winning

The dog having the time of it's life

The beach goes on forever 

Warmed ginger syrup with milk

Coffee and crumble

My lovely man 

Walk 10 - Mt Eden

Last week was a time of recovery and a time of getting through one day at a time. An attempt to grab the last of the sunshine after work and giving Adam a good reason to get out of the sick bed we head to a volcano. The challenge should have been 41 volcanos because really most of these walks seem to have us ending up on one. This walk was a bit pitiful, neither of us were up to a very long or energetic walk, so just the crater rim then. Seriously how blasé does that sound.
At the summit, feeling homesick

Celebrating with the orange juice

Exam and presentation done. The constant practice and hard work payed off. Passed exam, very very well (100%- what do you say to that mum). Presentation went well, the adrenaline coursing through my veins all day while I waited did me no good but all went well in the end. The Star Wars slide the obvious hit. Results were emailed out today. So celebration was due but in Dry July style it was freshly squeezed orange juice. It is fab having a neighbour with an orange tree. I did make it bubble by adding lemonade and drank it out of a champagne glass. Scary thought - maybe the great suit was due to the recent lack of alcohol. Moving on methinks.

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Inspiration in the orange juice

Trying to prepare for giving an amazing presentation with a cold is proving tricky. Trying to do it without the wine to get the creative juices flowing is unusual. So inspiration is to be found in a mixture of juices and Star Wars.
One week of Dry July done. Not too bad so far.....
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48 hours

48 hours in and I'm feeling rather proud. Today was one of those days when I'd normally come home and have some wine but despite the crappy nature of the day I came home and had a scone with jam and cream and a cup of tea. This Dry July may not be the healthy July I was intending.

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