The Long Weekend

It wasn't that long ago I wrote about the wisdom of New Zealand and the public holiday on the 2nd January now here I am a few weeks later 'celebrating' Auckland anniversary with a long weekend.

There is no great story or adventure to recount. Our visitors that were planning to come Friday afternoon for the weekend cancelled at the last minute - and the bed had looked so good. 

A good amount of this

And some of this while working hard at Blogland adventure
A Sunday spent really lounging in bed adventuring into Blogland. From a link from a link to a list from a link form a blog I read - that I have now frustrating lost as I wanted to share them all here. Deeper and deeper I went. Travelling in my pyjamas. I did save one link though..

A joyous post where nursing home residents re-created famous movie scenes . The whole website is a dream.

Our pallet that would be decking project moves along...
We spent a fair amount of time on the continuing garden project but I also made my first bacon and egg pie (thank you Southern Man Cookbook). I think it's a bit of a kiwi thing and I have eaten it before, but my own was of course far superior!!

Bacon and Egg Pie
I also made some mince pies. Yes, in January, in the summer. I made a healthy batch of Nigellas, rhubarb mincemeat back at Christmas time, so what's a girl to do. I didn't make the pastry - let's blame the weather - far to humid.

My mother's inspiration for my pie letter topping - she always made roses!

There was of course time for this.
All in all the weekend made for some happy days and lots of sleep. 

The best of...

Many a moment of reflection over coffee has occurred prior to creating this post. The moments or things I can fit into a category to give it a "Best of 2013" award. All my own creation and subjective opinion and at times rather obviously contrived.
On with the awards then.

Best Movie

We love the movies and New Zealand has a wondrous array of fantastic cinemas. I've started tracking the movies we go see on Pintrest boards. 2013 is right here and after careful consideration and serious thought to giving the award to 'Star Trek' or 'About Time' the award goes to…'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'.

I thought it was great but I was also surprised. I went along a bit dubious but was sucked in totally and came away with a glow in my heart. It was also the last movie of the year and a perfect one to set you up for a New Year.

Best Food Moment

This award centres around an acknowledgement that work is exhausting because I love it and I work really hard. So no, I don't come home and feel the need to hand-make anything from scratch. I don't want to spend my weekends menu planning, shopping and cooking. I do though want to eat well but not shop every night while racking my brain for what to eat. So thanks to a rather practical recommendation from a kindred soul at work 2013 was the year I welcomed My Food Bag from Nadia Lim.

Seriously good food, thought out menus and not that bad to prepare. Reduced waste, less thinking and shopping but a great meal every night (well most nights, I currently only get the bag every other week).
The meals are fairly easy to prepare - really easy when Adam cooks, as he does most nights. It also means we are trying food and food combinations we would normally avoid - such as the meat/fruit combination. The duck and mango in our first week was an astounding eye (or tastebud) opener.

Best Book

This is the most disappointing category despite exceeding my goodreads challenge when I looked back at the books I had read over the year not one great story stood out. Sure there were some good ones, such as 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog' that had me sobbing at the end and 'The end of your life book club' which inspired many of the other books I read and encouraged reading generally. But great, no. So the award is shared by two work related books, which were inspiring, easy to read and full of practical tips and actions I can actually put in place thereby making the world a better place. This is not an exaggeration or a boast. If you or your mother/father/son/daughter/friend are a patient on the ward I work, you want it to be a better place and that is the buzz I get from work. Leading and developing a team of people to make a difference to every single patent who comes our way.

So the award is shared by: 
'Switch' and 'Zapp'. As corny as they sound and currently full of post it notes of ideas and on loan to others - spreading the word as it were.

Click for their website 
There is also a Zapp written specifically for healthcare - marvellous. 

Most Inspiring Moment.

While on the work vibe and before moving onto travel then. I got myself along to the APAC conference. The programme had appealed but I had no idea how inspiring and world opening this would be. Both of the books named above I read because of this conference. Take a look at these videos….

Then there was this man. A standing ovation at a healthcare conference..I kid you not. You must read his work whoever you are.

Glen Colquhoun

Travel moment of the year

I still remember the tingle and the excitement as I walked up towards the harbour and got my first glimpse of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It became a state the obvious time, when I kept repeating "Look, it's the Opera House" or "Look, it's the harbour bridge" and it didn't get boring once. We spent most of our time around the harbour and loved every single second of it. Thank you Sydney.

Activity of the year

A close one and I couldn't decide, so another shared award.

Curling, a side trip as part of the Otago Rail trail - more images on flickr 

The other award is for the Luge at Rotorua on my birthday this year but you'll have you to follow this link to the proof.

Photo of the year

I don't really like my photo being taken but this one isn't too bad, so this one has the award.
2013 was also the year I got a 'real' camera (thank you Adam) and the laptop (thank you Adam) so a good year. 

Achievement of the year

Another tough category, with three particular moments in the running.

  • 2013 was the year I wrote the most blog posts. The blog has been ticking over since 2008 and I was heading to these distance shore, it has evolved and I've learnt a few more tricks, but I still just witted on but not really sure who reads this. Heh. 
  • Dry July was something in 2012 I laughed at, thinking there was no way I could do that, and why would I. These thoughts plagued me all year, so when July was getting close I signed up for the challenge, raised over $700 and really impressed myself. 
  • Flickr was my first step in the wonderful world of the internet. I love it, I do. It has introduced me to some fantastic photographers and helped me learn what kind of photos I want to take. Flickr has an 'Explore' section. Really no idea how photos are selected for this but 2013 was the year that one of my photos made it. This gave me huge viewings and generally made me feel kind of chuffed. 

So there you go, my highlights I guess. You decide.


It's been a good day, we may not be totally ready for the visitors that arrive on Friday but the new plants in the new decking that were pallets are not dead. Happy.

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My sister has challenged me to take part in the 100 Happy Day challenge with her. Now I know, I really don't need another challenge. How many years will it take me to complete the 365 mug shot project and what about the 41 Walks, and those other lists made on other birthdays past" but she is my little sister. Was I going to pass or worse, cave. Of course not. A picture a day of a happy thought for 100 days. Of course I can do that. 100 consecutive days mind you. The weekend was a breeze, Sunday in particular was awash with happy thoughts. Back at work I didn't even tank about it. Once at home, I enjoyed clean to windows but my mind was drifting to fretting and worry as our cat had not returned home. I was struggling, hoping for that jubilant cat return that I could spontaneously snap and capture as my happy thought. Not going my way though. I can still be happy, admist my worry and despair. Dinner, that did it. Boy did it smell good. The cat returned half way through dinner. He is curled up on the bed as I tap away. Joy and happy.

8 months

8 months of what. Well it could be 8 months of shame or disgust or embarrassment or just 8 months what it is - it's 8 months since we took the van out. There you go, confession done.
So moving on from the obvious New Years Resolution, goals for 2014, vision, mission...and so on. I think a star chart should do it.
WOF done and dusted, odd noise that bothered Adam, yes 8 months ago sorted, the van is one the road. The road road north, a beach, a swim, a sleep and a rather lovely pub where the landlord thought I ought to finish the bottle.
Perfect day.

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Blimey I've been at this blogging lark for 6 years.
The blog has a birthday.
Celebrate with a Stormtropper

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Walk 30 - TiriTiri Matangi

New Years Day 2014……Tiritiri Matangi……several years on the 'to do' list…….but a 90 minute ferry ride from Auckland and a world of birdsong, magical forest and rain and sun was ours.


We tried our hand at a garage sale. None of the predictions we had been given came true, we got up early, we sold some stuff. It was an education. Tired and in need of refreshment we headed to the beach.

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Sculpture at the Gardens

In attempt to clear the self destructive mind games I play with myself here are the photos from our trip to the Botanic Gardens and the latest sculpture trail. Now which one did I vote for for the favourite prize and which photo should I submit to the photography competition? Answers on a postcard (but that would presume a readership, so really a question to myself).

A section of Flotilla by Lucy Bucknall and Andy MacVicar

A section of Home Sweet Home by Jeff Thomson

A snippet of  Over the Farm Gate by Bryan Verey

The White Horse by Ben Foster

That will be Adam peering through Rook number 2 I think (By Oliver Stretton-Pow)

A nightmare to capture, so I has great fun playing with the camera
7 Days by Jane Downes

Oh Crabby I do believe we're rather lost
by Jamie Pickernell

in fill housing by Mia Hamilton

in fill housing by Mia Hamilton

in fill housing by Mia Hamilton

in fill housing by Mia Hamilton

That will be Adam again - just resting this time

Carving up the Land by Michael Klaja & Gordon Smith 

Pineapple Twists by Christine Hellyar

People watching art in the visitors centre 

A start

Good Morning to the 2nd of January 
New Zealand is a very wise country. Not only is New Years Day a public holiday (wow nearly 6 years it's taken me to use that phrase as opposed to bank holiday) but the 2nd of January is as well. I think it's wise. It is wise now I work Mon-Fri and have all public holidays off. It is wise when I've had a decent break from work. It is wise when I've spent some time resorting my soul, my garden and my house.
Work beckons tomorrow. I would be lying if I said I had completely switched off over these long and glorious days. At time it has consumed me, it wakes me with a start in the early hours. Yes I have peaked at a few emails. Heh. I'm a work in progress. My world for 2013 was 'Balance'. It would be mean of me to say I failed, but I did find lot's of ways for it not to work - so that is progress.
2014 brings me 'Hope"


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