Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Wheels: Spinning

It feels like there's a large amount of building work happening on our little stretch of the West Coast right now.  The market is tough at the moment - listings are being bought quickly, but they're really hard to get.  Becoming homeless is a bit of a risk if you do sell (to say, move into a better part of town or find something bigger, as opposed to cash out or move out of the area) because few listings mean if you do sell the pool of houses to buy is equally limited and the rental market is tight, so that fall-back just isn't there.  The Expressway work is well underway and will take years to complete, so there's been a big influx of families move in for the duration, and I've told that a lot of houses have been bought.  I guess if a company will be renting them for their workers long-term, then buying is a good option for keeping as much money in your own pocket as possible.

Anyway, I think this is what has led to all this building.  There are new houses, sure.  But there are a lot of big extensions going on, which I love watching happen because I love architecture for a start, but it's really exciting seeing what people are doing with houses when they, quite literally, rip into them.  This is a house that both the husband and I love, which sits on the beach front.  We walk past it sometimes every day, definitely a number of times a week.  Seeing this sent me scrambling up a hill to take a photo - one day it's a house, the next day it's half a house.  I can't wait to see what they do with it.

Another thing I love about this place is that the houses are all so different.  There are the more similar newer subdivisions, but this sort of work isn't happening in those.  This is happening to the older and/or smaller beach houses where houses are on different kinds of sections with different kinds of views and wotnot to maximise.  Some houses change phenominally, and some are done so cleverly you'd never think they'd done anything to it at all (even though you know if you've been watching that it's now twice the size).

The other day, a section I've been watching for about a year suddenly changed.  One minute there've been initial groundworks sitting there for months without change, and the next I'm driving along with my coffee and a massive crane is swinging pre-fab concrete tilt-slabs into place.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Want. The Summer, For Me Edition.

My list looks pretty sad after the house post, but this is the list I'm much more likely to try and get away with so I'm keeping it simple. 
OK, full disclosure, because we've been friends for a while - I've already ordered one of these things.
Oh.  Two, actually.  Bad Ginger.
These from Mighty Ape, who/which/what/that (I should know this) hooks me up with books whenever Book Depository can't.  (And as usual, I've used images from the websites I've linked) 
For a (long) while there, life went mad and I let all of my subscriptions go because I wasn't even picking them up once they arrived.  So wasteful.  I read two of the latest issues of YH&G over Labour Weekend though and I realised how much I'd been missing them, so I need this subscription back in my life.
Summer hat.  Pretty self-explanatory.  This is Ms. Danke, by Goorin Bros. who have been making hats in America since 1895.   One of these in my size is currently somewhere between the United States and my front door.

I have a thing about nail polish in summer (toes are weird, and you see so much more of them in summer.  You need to do something to make them look less weird) , and I have a thing about grey.  I love this concretey shade by Kester Black, findable at taylor boutique.

I'm currently sporting a shade of dark green (chipped effect, bad me) on my toes, but this (stocked by Tessuti is softer and more summery.  Butter London are one of my favourite nail polishes (along with Kester Black, obviously)  Plus, it'll go much better with these trainers by Kathryn Wilson ....  and who doesn't need a nail polish with a name like Two Fingered Salute? Hmmm?

I still have a watch on my wishlist, but I've settled on this one from Paper Plane Store.  The husband wasn't at all impressed with the all-black jobbie I picked for my wishlist a few months ago - he told me I was being boring.  Boring!  To be fair, this is probably a better pick for a pasty ginger, but still. BORING! 

Aaaand while I was playing around in Paper Plane Store, this Lemon Palm & Leather Shopper looked pretty awesome for the beach and general carting around of stuff in a cheery, merry way.

Good times!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Want. The Summer, House Edition.

I had such a lazy long weekend - spending lots of time just dreaming and doing a few things I don't normally get (or make) the time to do, including catching up on a couple of issues I have here of Your Home & Garden.  With some plans to make a few changes around the house - pull up the carpet in the lounge and lino in the dining/kitchen - on top of other must-do jobs like painting the roof (we're currently discussing from opposite sides of the fence, that it would not be funny to paint it bright yellow and put a smiley face on it), it's got me thinking about the house and adding some more cool stuff as things start to change.

This should give you an idea, if nothing else ever has, of just how eclectic my tastes are.  My decorating style is 'things I love' but somehow, even though everything in our house is so different (my beloved collection of OddOneOut painted plates, sitting about a wedgewood blue industrial metal cabinet next to a yellow and white wool chevron rug) it still works, because the common theme is love.  Or, maybe I just can't see it because everything is a favourite.  Meh.  I try not to buy stuff I don't really love, because it just ends up replaced and that's so wasteful - of the stuff, and the money you bought the stuff with. 

Right.  Into the summer wishlist.  You can probably also blame The Block for this because I did end up addicted after all, and it always put me on a decoratey bent.

I've been trying to convince the husband we need poufs for years.  Years.  I may have finally worn him down.  Last year, we bought giant bean bags for the deck and the blasted things only did us a year - two of them perished about 6 months ago (five hundred thousand little white balls all down one side of the house) and the other isn't far off.  The big problem is we left them outside, and this environment, as much as I love it, is harsh.  We have a small house though, and bringing giant bean bags in each night just isn't possible.  They don't fit.  Actually don't fit.  And I'm not dragging them up and down the section into the garage each morning and night.  So.  I'm working on poufs because they can be easily bought inside and stacked in a couple of corners (and I love them, and calling them poufs makes me laugh because I'm a child).

All pictures have been taken from the websites I have linked to each one.

Moroccan Pouffe by Fezart on etsy.com.

Blob Beanbags for the husband, to sweeten the deal (in demin, because hopefully that'll be harder wearing and look less outdoorsy, inside).

Flox dot decal.  I love Flox, and when I saw this on The Block, I may have jumped out of my chair a little bit.  We have a few Flox things, and I always imagined a large piece of her art would be out of our budget for a wee while, but this giant dot from Your Decal Shop would be a perfect thing to put up on a tricky boring space in a bleh part of the house.  The Tui especially appeals to me, because we have a tight pair that hang out at the back of our house on an enormous Kowhai tree, and we're pretty fond of them.

This.  This will make the husband and I smile a lot, because it's been an in-joke for years.  I need this.  Thanks, Your Home & Garden for featuring MintSix this issue!

2015 calendar (um, obviously), by EyePoetryPhotography on etsy.com.  Yes, please.

Karadeniz Turkish towels from Father Rabbit, always a favourite for homewares.  These towels look so luxurious and summery.  Imagine starting your day jumping out of the shower to use one of these?  Happiness.

I told the husband I wanted to get some fun summer linen.  He asked me to find scratch'n'sniff coffee sheets.  I found Kip & Co's Croc print on Let Liv instead.  Though he might be onto something with the coffee.  Imagine it.

Hexagon tray from SE3.  I love SE3, and their customer service is great too.  I also obviously love this tray and all it needs is a glass teapot and some lovely plates for a perfect afternoon tea set up.

While we're dreaming ... the Hasse lounge suite from Hunter Furniture (why not?).  We spotted this on TV as we were fast forwarding through some ads a while back and both of us went scrambling for mobile devices to look it up!  I love Scandinavian design to the moon and back, and the retro patchwork thing just makes me cheerful.

That should do it ... for now.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Wondering about that cake from yesterday's post?

It was a very happy meeting at morning tea time, I can assure you.  (My self-control kicked in just in the nick, otherwise it would've been breakfast)

This beautiful thing (from the Spruce Goose in Lyall Bay, Wellington) was (oh yes, definitely was) some kind of layered mudcake with a thick caramel sauce-like icing.  I'm not sure how you create layers with a mudcake, but there was definitely something going on there - you can see it. Maybe I need another to try and work it out?

The mere memory is making my knees wobble.  And it's the reason why I am sugar-restrained, not sugar-free.

They also made this.  I meant to post this picture up weeks ago and forgot all about it.  Heaven knows how I did.  It's a Lolly Cake-pop.  I assumed when I bought it it would be a ball of traditional lolly cake.  Not so.  It was a really amazing mud cake (I wonder how much begging it would take to get their mudcake recipe(s) ?) with a small-ish ball of lollies (eskimos, or similar) in the middle.  And real chocolate on the outside. 

The Goose is definitely something exceptional on the cake front, and the coffee's pretty good too.  It's probably just as well that this is just down the road from the husband's work, and not mine.

These pictures make me really cheerful.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

I have a new cookbook, and the photo looks weird

It really does.  See?  No idea what that's all about.

Earlier in the year I got really sick, seemingly out of the blue.  It wasn't out of the blue - I'd been tired, stressed and struggling for what felt like years, and then all of a sudden, my body called time and I was in bed for about 3 days.  I just couldn't get my feet back under me.  I came right with a lot of chicken soup, and not much of anything else, and found that it had a bit of a taking-care-of-myself snowball effect.  My diet changed a lot because I couldn't stomach much aside from plain foods, and so processed foods, baking, a lot of things went out the window.

But, I like bickies and sugar and bread and sugar and sugar ...  Plus, I felt like the proverbial bandwagon jumper-onner, and meh.  Bandwagons make me twitch. 

But it's pretty hard to deny - I felt so much better eating wholefoods, simple, non-processed foods, either gluten free or high quality bread (I don't believe I'm gluten intolerant at all, but there's something in store bought bread that affects me - it's as simple as that.  No idea what, and too lazy to find out, when I have a fairly good solution), and ditching refined sugar.  That was just the reality of it.  Dammit.  And it's not just feeling a little bit better, the endometriosis I had operated on before I had Cuinn came back after having Antonia, and the pain and symptoms were chronic, on top of general fatigue - the symptoms almost entirely disappeared with a change in diet.

So I kicked up my heels on holiday as a last hurrah of sorts (that mallowpuff was worth everything!) and then came home and started settling into new, better habits.

Petite Kitchen really is my favourite resource for this sort of cooking and baking - her recipes are simple, easily achieved and the ingredients not usually hard to come by or expensive, and if they are, usually they'll last for aaages.  I've wanted this book for quite a while, and finally decided it really was worth it moving forward.  She's great though if you don't want to buy the book - she has a wealth of recipes online.  I just need the motivation that having a book in front of me provides, and of course, buying her book helps to financially support her to continue which will help me in the long-run too.

Anyway, I'm meandering, so here's some of what I've been playing with.  It's different to traditional baking - I had a hell of a time trying to get the biscuits (in general) to come out without burning them horribly, but a couple of batches in I worked out that if I quickly pull them out of the oven halfway through baking and whip them onto a cold baking tray, that stops the burning.  I don't know how everyone else does it - maybe my oven is just possessed.  They do need a bit more of a delicate touch though.  I put some shortbread together for the kids today, and it felt like a different world.

The recipes for these are all by Petite Kitchen, and all on her website. 

Lemon and Coconut Macaroon Cookies

Vanilla Nut Butter Biscuits (which are supposed to be with raisins, but ugh.  Raisins)

'Caramel' Banana Cookies, Sprinkled with Chia Seeds. 

Coconut Cream Popsicles.  Actually, I haven't checked that this recipe is on the website, but I presume so.  Al made this one, and obviously it's not popsicles.  What it is, is such an amazingly delicious mixture we sat down and ate it like gelato  He put mango in it, and it was DIVINE.  I don't think we actually managed to make any of it into iceblocks.  I'd be surprised if we do next time, either.

And this.  This recipe being posted online was such a happy moment for me.  I adore bread, but it seems to be something of an enemy to me.  I can't eat loads of this, but it's definitely kinder to me than most others, tastes really good and is so easy to make.  It's made with spelt (not gluten free).  Who knew spelt was such a great thing?

Crusty Artisan Dutch Oven Bread

And I've just made, but didn't take a pic of, Salted Peanut Butter Cookies.  They're pretty much held together with peanut butter and medjool dates.  I'm historically petrified of dates, but these are so good!  Soft, crumbly, and so sweet they definitely make me feel like I'm not giving up a thing.  Actually full disclosure - I'm not.  Al rang a while ago from work to say he'd picked up a chocolate caramel tart or something along those lines to split for morning tea tomorrow, and I'm totally going there.  I don't do denial.  Denial for me just results in binging on bad stuff and then giving up the good stuff totally because I'm useless.

Oh, and yeah, I started feeling better again almost immediately.  There's a point about 2 weeks after I make the change where I feel like I'm dying for a wee bit and I'm there now, but it's already blowing over thank heaven.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

We holidayed! (The end)

It's been a busy week and so I've been very slow to load these final pics from our holiday.  Or, our sort of holiday!  We weren't quite ready for it to end when we got home, so we spent a really fun family day in the city, on the very last day of the school holidays.  Te Papa for the dinosaur exhibit and then having gelato and lunch on the waterfront.

Everyone has seen pictures showing the size scale of dinosaurs to man, and of course there are documentaries and movies and wotnot, but actually standing next to these casts and really considering how immense these things were was a pretty fantastic moment.

I loved this guy.  He was enormous, of course, but every so often the shadow would come alive, roar and close its jaws down on something.  I loved showing that to the kids, but what really made my day was after about 20 minutes I looked over and dino was making a bunny shadow puppet.  Heh. 

And one last photo from the holiday - I took this on my phone from the car, while we were driving back into Napier.  I really didn't want to drive through the Bay and onto home that day!  (although I was looking forward to getting home)  I can't wait to go back.  Hopefully in summer, when all there's stone fruit and corn for miles.  The Hawkes Bay feels like the only place a girl can get a decent nectarine these days.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

We holidayed! (Stuff we bought)

We loved The Aviary.  All our holiday shopping happened there!  There wasn't a lot of it, but it was cheerful stuff.

Both of these are for Antonia - the print is by birdinabunnysuit, and the bear is a ceramic money box, because her original money box is full and it needs to be smashed to get the coins out.  The bear is a very cool replacement so hopefully she'll forgive us when piggy meets his maker, as it were. 

This duck egg blue and natural wool and cotton rug, because it was right there on sale just as we were talking (again) about ripping up the lounge carpet and putting down rugs instead.  And then the store offered us another 20% off the sale price.  We were powerless, I tell you.

This house shaped toast-rack-for-paper-stuff.  Or possibly a magazine rack.  Either way, it's doing the business on my desk, right now and it's an interesting way to organise my paper-based life.

It was a toss-up between an off-centre shot or one that was on an angle.  I decided that off-centre was less terrible.  I should really have taken a third photo that was neither off-centre nor on an angle, but ... lazy.

And that was it!  Aside from food and coffee, which doesn't count as both are necessities of life, that was all the shopping that happened!  (I am a new woman, determined to pay off my Mastercard, once and for all)