Saturday, March 28, 2009

Middle of the day

I am in the middle of a stunning autumnal day. Jonty, Nic and I all went to Lyttelton this morning. They went boating and I went to the market...on my own. They had a great time checking out the shipwrecks and I had a great time getting the food in. I bought organic apples, a whole bag of lunchbox sized Braeburns for $3! Organic vegetables including a cos lettuce and some fennel bulb and stunning ruby red pears. I also got some Aoili (I could make my own but my olive oil is not as good as theirs) plus some venison sausages, a small bag of kaffir lime leaves and a small bag of fudge for my sailors. Plus one giant organic baguette. After the market I went flower shopping and got dusky pink roses, dark red roses, white carnations and a bunch of freebee carnations. I have them in various combos and vases around the house now. I also stocked up on some bakery items and headed home also with a new vase and a pair of boots. YIKES!!! Shopping on ones own is a recipe for disaster me thinks.

With my gorgeous purchases I stuffed the very full fridge fuller and made my first ever Caesar salad using the cos, baguette, eggs, shaved Parmesan and some stunning pancetta I bought from the butcher last weekend. I added anchovies to the aoili to get that salty thing going and man it was lovely. I would have to say the lettuce was the least spectacular element of the dish and it was tasteless and a little sinewy. Anyway, because I am in love with food, I took a photo of it to share.

As I have already shared I am doing an upholstery night class these days. I have just about completed my chair which has been on the go for about 6 months. Below you can see the original followed by the makeover shot.As you can see I have gone for the French Country theme and hope to get a beachy kind of feel from it in the sunroom. Nicholas and the cat seem to love it so I imagine it is going to end up with either food and dirty feet or cat fur all over it. The upholstering has 7 layers of stuff on it and I learnt lots of new skills, needle and fabric stuff in the process. The wood has three coats of paint. Funny thing is, it is not that easy to sit in for grown ups but it has been fun to make and I love the look of it.I have a large vessel of quinces simmering on the stove in order to run up some quince jelly this weekend. Oh bliss. I just hope I can find enough jars after making plum jam in summer and some strawberry a few weeks ago. It is all sugary and fruity around here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I wasn't with Jonty and Nic today when they went down to the estuary to enjoy another gorgeous autumn afternoon. Jonty took these lovely photos that I just have to share because they are just gorgeous and very evocative.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just finished reading #13

Bernhard Schlink - Homecoming

Mmmm, not sure what I think of this book. I read 'The Reader' a few years ago and loved it but this was less lovable. However, I was intrigued by the context. It is based around the genre of 'homecoming' novels produced in Germany at the end of WWII whereby the soldiers of the German army who were just abandoned wherever they were at the fall of the war made their way home to find a range of scenarios faced them. This in itself is really interesting. We don't get a lot of stories about what the Germans faced at the end of the war.
The theme of homecoming pops up all over the place and the lead character Peter, has one or two of his own to deal with. He is basically in search of his long lost father who was a Nazi and basically abandoned him and his mother at some point shortly after the war. Peter heads to New York to find him and get to know him hoping to discover some truth and perhaps put some of his own demons to rest. This is not a spoiler, the blurb does all that. Anyway, I didn't love this book but I did find it interesting. Schlink is a good writer so that is a bonus for sure.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Tonight after me getting home before everything turns, I got to spend an hour with Nic on my own and it was bliss. He treated me to a piano practice where he kept saying 'do you mind if I play that again to get it perfect?' !!! Was that my son? As he explained in his prim little voice and demonstrated the difference between mezzo forte, forte, mezzo piano and piano I felt myself well up with pride and wonder. After that he negotiated the last 30 minutes of his before bed time as 10 minutes of computer, 10 minutes on the trampoline and then 10 minutes watching a dvd he then said 'I really want to play on my computer but I would much rather have fun with you' and then he leapt on me, winding me...never mind. I know some kids lavish their parents with spoken love all the time but he doesn't so this was a REALLY big deal for me. He does say I love you everyday but this felt really nice. So, 10 minutes playing silly buggers on the trampoline was the deal. It was great fun. Then we harvested a large handful of cherry tomatoes, the very last strawberry and six blueberries before enjoying 15 minutes of Wallace and Grommit on DVD. If only every night was like that...but I'll take whatever I can get.

Sleeping sweetly now that little boy of mine. Delicious.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ellerslie International Flower Show

As Nic munches on tacos behind me I thought I would do a quick post about the Ellerslie International Flower Show. Having stolen the show from Auckland (for many millions of dollars) the Christchurch City Council took a real risk in bringing the icon event south. Many have had much to say about this. During the 5 day long show the weather has been appalling with sleet and gale force winds which had as all feeling a little nervous and sad for the organisers. However, 40,000 plus had been through during the first 3 days even during the worst of the weather. I chose to go today for several reasons. I had been watching the weather closely so knew it would be good today, my friend Alex and I were both free today and finally, I thought most people would think the weekend would be busy so would go during the week....and BINGO! It totally paid off.
The 'bloke's garden'

This was pretty ugly but worth a picture

The edible garden

Akaroa garden
Wedding cake from the 'Hollywood' themed floral arrangements

' Sex in the City' inspired shoe with sushi made of flowers in the background

We could easily have spent an entire day there and got free food in the food tent and attended the 'Wearable Weeds' show but we decided that lovely though it was that we needed to spend time with our families and 3 hours was enough for us. You had to move along at a reasonable clip as there were people wanting to see stuff but it was well laid out with plenty of room, although everyone said we had picked the best day to come as it was the quietest, still seemed like heaps of people. I had also heard there were people who didn't like it. Not sure what they were expecting but it was pretty much what I thought it would be. There was a nice mixture of exhibition gardens, floral art, food, gardening retail as well as clothes, jewellery and lovely natural skin care. I will definitely go back next time. I loved it.


Yesterday was the last of our birthdays for a while and we were gifted a gorgeous Autumn day. We were at the bach and the beach was almost deserted save for few other families enjoying the last stolen days of summer too. Some who I recognised as regulars from this summer. The waves were non existent due to recent weather activity so there was calm and peace and savouring in the air.

Ben had a lovely day and the children as normal just lived every moment of it and had a ball.

Here is the photo we took of the cousins last year and beneath is this year's. How they have grown physically and in so many other ways. What a difference a year makes, especially for Liv, Nic and Danielle-being school kids now.

Ben loved his birthday because it was about the things he loves...bubbles, balls and food

Monday, March 09, 2009

5 favourites - Sunday

#1 Finding this website NZ On Screen. I found it while reading the Sunday Star Times 'Sunday' magazine on Press Display (#2). Those things coupled together made two favourite things in about 2 minutes. 'NZ on screen' has New Zealand movies, short films, documentaries and TV programmes on line. You can access stuff from 1950 up to now. Imagine being able to access all those fantastic things. I cant wait to watch the art documentaries and the short films. These things are usually hidden in the dark corners of the night that only insomniacs can watch and now everyone can. Very very exciting.
Favourite thing #3 would be the feeling of accomplishment after having washed down the whole exterior of the house. With a two year old paint job it was time for a good scrubbing and what a difference it makes. It doesn't matter too much that I can't move my arms today, really.

Although I am not a big fan of winter, I must say a mid afternoon autumnal visit to the beach was fantastic. It was hot with just tiny tinge of fresh Autumn in the air. The tide was high as anything and we did get a laugh out of watching people scramble off their towels when rogue waves tickled them up the beach. Is that bad?
Finally, collapsing into bed after a night of ironing and putting washing away. In itself nothing too flash but the bonus and 'favourite thing' was the smell and feel of sun dried smooth white sheets.....ahhhh.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Last night we collapsed on the sofa after a big birthday day. Nic decided at 5.30am that is was present time and when we encouraged him to go back to his room he just cranked up his computer so the rest aspect of the morning was soon shattered. Consequently birthday activity started very early. After presents from us and our overseas family Nic phoned is Granny in England and Auntie Louisa. Lovely conversations.
Then at 10am after frantic food prep we took a small group of Nic's friends off to Pirate Island Mini Golf. Now that was a crazy experience!! Those girls just raced around the course taking little head of skill or the holes really and going flat out. It was fun but mad. Ruth and Simon joined us and neither of us took cameras which is unheard of so I only got a few snaps on my phone.

Nic, Bethany, Bella and Holly. Bella won, she is a natural sports girl and I can see her going far. And she is a redhead so we really love her!

Back home and all the rest of the family arrived and with the children and doing two lunches, a kids one and an adults one, I almost keeled over. It all went really well and I think everyone had a great time. The kids were great!
Holly and Nic
Olivia, Ben and Holly

Six is different to five! I felt a bit nostalgic on Friday at work but didn't have time to pontificate yesterday and now it is another day and the sun is out and there are things to do.

Because of the flat out nature of the day I didn't get many good photos as there seemed little time to pause and capture. I loved the cake though, hope Nic did. He pretty much cleaned it up last night so I am guessing so. Thanks to everyone who contributed to a great day.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

My new favourite thing

I have fallen in love with Press Display. It is the newspaper online exactly as you wuold see it when you bought it. Every advertisement and classified is there, free! I have been trying to enable you to see it but because it is only available to Christchurch City Library customers with cards I can't but you should ask your library if they have it. It is a special library product and is available all over the world. I usually look up the Chistchurch Press but there are heaps of newspapers from around the world. Talk about a time waster. I am sure it costs the library a bomb so if you have a card, check it out.
I always talk about friends on my blog and this week is no different. On the first day of Autumn we headed to the beach for a cracker of a day. It was like a big sigh of relief to be there after weeks of soggy days and no real sun. Making it special was having my friend Liz and her family there. Our boys had a ball boogie boarding and digging holes together. We realised we had been friends for about 30 years. Yikes, where do the years go?!! Because we live far away from each other and I have a city life and she a country one it is hard to connect so when we do it is great! I wish that happened more often. I have thought twice about sharing this picture because it is not hugely flattering but we are not models and this is what we look like, so what the hell

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Every February/March my posts are full of parties - children's parties... and of course this year is the same. We had Simon's birthday last weekend (although he is not a child) and Gill and the girls were in town so our family gathering was bigger and better. Alas, I forgot to take my camera so no lovely photos.

Yesterday was Olivia's party and due to the unseasonal and grindingly lengthy patch of crap weather we were forced into the school pool for fun activities instead of the beach as we normally might. We are all scaling down our parties this year following the 5th party extravaganza of last year so it was just family and might I say, very pleasant.
Olivia's cousins Danielle and Kayla are just lovely girls and the five children play fantastically together.
Nicholas made some fruit kebabs to take along but alas they did not compare with the pink sugary fare on offer. They did get eaten but I think it might have been the adults that went green instead of pink.

I would have liked to edit and play around with the photos but no time...sun is out and we are off to the beach.