Monday, January 26, 2015

40 Before 40 - The List

So, here it is, in all its glory - the list. I'm going to break it down and explain some of the items - why I chose them, what they entail etc - over the next couple of months. But for now, enjoy!

1. Walk to Ruapehu's Crater Lake
2. Walk the Milford Track
3. Get a Tattoo
4. Shave head for Cancer fundraiser
5. Visit Canada
6. Finish the rest of Ruapehu Round-The-Mountain
7. Campervan Holiday
8. 4WD the Molesworth Road
9. Do a pottery class (that uses a wheel) and make something
10. Make it to 50 huts visited
11. Summer Camping Holiday
12. Tough Guy / Gal / Mudrun or similar
13. Bathurst V8's weekend
14. Travel on an overnight train in a sleeper carriage
15. Do a cruise - sea or river
16. Attend a major sporting event (commonwealth games, bledisloe cup etc)
17. Complete the S-K in a single trip
18. Complete the Southern Crossing
19. Do a photography exhibition
20. Whanganui River Journey
21. Go sailing on Wellington Harbour
22. Fly in a glider
23. Blackwater Rafting
24. Have a white Christmas
25. Sponsor someone to do Outward Bound - at least $1k
26. Mt John Observatory
27. Visit Tane Mahuta
28. Cape Campbell Walkway
29. Otago Rail Trail
30. Do an overnight Solo tramp
31. Visit Stewart Island
32. Clay bird shooting
33. Visit SA, WA and NT (so I've done all the states / territories of Australia)
34. Bungy jump OR sky dive
35. Trapeeze
36. Go overseas / to another city for a concert
37. Attend a charity ball / dinner / gala event
38. Overland track, Tasmania
39. Watch Sunrise from the top of Mt Kaukau
40. Volunteer for a SARop

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Fun Fifteen: December 2014

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: Congratulations to Kate (and Tim) on the arrival of O. Looking forward to meeting your new wee man.

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
Exercise: Turns out, through tracking on My Fitness Pal and Map My Walk, that over October, November and December, I did some form of trackable exercise (swimming, gym, recorded walks) on average 4.6 times a week. Not bad.
Job / Course: Uni is finished for the year, I'm on summer holiday because I was too disorganised to get a summer job. I'm enrolled for 2015, now waiting to get confirmation I'm being allowed into all the courses I need to do.
Clothes: Looks like I have a lot of reasonably nice clothes to list on TradeMe in the new year - I put over a dozen items on wrong-way coat hangers mid-year, with a decision that if I hadn't worn the item on it by the end of January, I wasn't going to keep it (I had to extend from Christmas, since the weather has been rotten).
Weight: I decided at the start of the month to stop tracking my weight after I was blood-test diagnosed with Coeliacs disease. At the moment, life is all about moderating symptoms while I wait to see the gastroenterologist to get a biopsy to confirm.
Creative: Cleared in July.
Actually been spending a bit more time online, but at least more of it has been somewhat productive.

3. This months goals, summary:
* Daily steps average over 10,000 for the month - this is one I had to wait to get home to my spreadsheet to confirm (wish the desktop application would do these sorts of stats). Turns out I got over 11,000 steps a day on average. Go me!
*Walk up Mt Kaukau - Yes! Done just a handful of days before we went away on holiday.
*Walk part of the Southern Walkway - Ran out of time.
*Cook 2 new recipes - First done right at the start of the month was Annabel Langbeins Harvest Tomato Sauce. Wowsers. Will be making and bottling more of this over the summer for sure. Second was a friends suggested apricot chicken recipe, which was decidedly average and will NOT be being added to our regular cooking roster. Bleugh.

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Find 10 gluten-free dinner recipes that I would want to cook. GF by chance or on purpose, new or done before, actually GF or easy-to-turn GF.
*Reformat my life-list and update it to reflect some of the things I have done
*Start scheduling things in from my 40-before-40 list
*Get my hut log book(s) completely up-to-date

5. Restaurant Review: The ladies from my antenatal class all went to Foxglove for dinner at the start of the month, and WOW I was impressed. I had the flank with steak chips, and then the ice-cream sliders, and everything was so tasty. Steak perfectly cooked, chips cripsy on the outside, soft in the middle. The roast vege salad was yummy too. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the chocolate on the side of the ice-cream. Too bitter for my liking.

6. Motherhood Moment: On LJs last day at daycare, we got our first pair of hand-made Christmas ornaments. Too cute.

7. Been there, Done that: What a month! I've done loads of local walking, especially through a local bush reserve, and several walks all the way in to the city. We've visited the zoo several times and had year-end swimming lessons where Mark came along. Then we went on summer holiday - visiting the farm, Christchurch, Dunedin, Pounawea, Waikawa and ending the year in Bluff for a night.

8. Coming Events: Well, its a new year. In January, features include a visit from Australian relatives, a day on Stewart Island, a night camping at Battle Hill. Late on we also have a weekend in Greytown for the Martinborough fair and a weekend at the club ski lodge.

9. Links Round-up: A few recipes. My friend Sharron from tramping club has started collating her trip reports on a new blog, Ange is doing trailwalker this year, go donate. And then there is THIS insane jigsaw puzzle - I really want someone I know to get it.

10. Life list update: As always, no action. At least, I think there's been nothing. I've not actively worked on it - hence the arrival of the new 40-before-40 list.

11. Wish Lists: Nothing new right now. I got some new music before Christmas, and one of my book requests for Christmas. Will have to go shopping to get some of the others for myself soon :)

12. Life Lesson this month: Dont ever tell a physio you hope not to see him again. Finally better enough to stop seeing him about my knee, and I go and fall over and damage a nerve in my arm. Oops.

13. Days gone by: December always means Christmas and holidays - the Kepler track, Napier, Tongariro Crossing, Nelson and a day trip on the Abel Tasman.

14. Fave memory from the month: Probably arriving at McLean falls lookout to discover it wasn't fenced off at all - you could walk up to and into the waterfall. On a swelteringly hot day, this was quite awesome (not that I got wet, but the slight spray was lovely).

15. Photo of the month:
I had to come back and change from the one I had, when I sat down and went through my holiday snaps and found this from one night in Pounawea.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

New Year, New Goals (2015)

Health & Wellbeing
I've spent too long watching my weight and having it not change. Its started getting to the point I've been sabotaging myself, since nothing works anyway.
Instead, this year, I want to focus on dealing with my emotional eating, and sort out my digestive issues.
Also, I want toaim to do the Wairarapa Womens Triathlon at the end of the year - so that means I need to get running, riding and swimming on a regular basis, as this is a much longer triathlon than the Kapiti one I did a couple of years ago with next to no training.

2015 will be hectically busy. Insane. I'll be studying full-time, Mark will be working on ever more projects that may take him out of town (and appears to be heading off to Melbourne for a week for a conference too).
I'll definitely need some balance, some time to myself.
I want to read a new book every month. A whole novel, or history. 12 new books in a year.
I also want to get back into dance. Either back to Ceroc, or on to something new.

Being out in nature replenishes the soul. It challenges the mind. Its something we really want LJ to have a love for.
I want to do a tramping / camping trip (at least one night) every quarter. At least 4 trips this year. LJ does not have to be on all of them - in fact, I want one of them to be just me.
I also want us to do something vaguely outdoorsy at least once a month - a daywalk, a bike ride, a trip to Zealandia. As a family, or as a couple, or even just me.

At Home
We've made the decision that we're not house hunting again until I am back in the workforce, which means at least another year (and possibly two) in our little house.
I need to keep on top of the Graduate Recruitment programme. It is essential that I use it to get my way back into the workforce.
To save the house from feeling too small, I want to keep on top of giving away / selling things we dont need. No more bags and bags of LJs too small clothes piled up in the corner of our bedroom.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 In Review

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Attended a political debate. Purely by chance, I had a cancelled lecture when there was one on at campus.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did pretty well with meeting the goals I set at the start of the year. I cant quite say I exercised twice a week every week, but I definitely feel my exercise quotient has increased. I started a full time course. I've sold some of LJs stuff (although I have more to sort now) and am down to only some dresses that I'm still a little big in the chest for in my dont-fit-yet box. Weight has been a problem all year, its not budged in 12 months. Hopefully once I've had my endoscopy to confirm the diagnosis of Coeliacs I got in November, I might be able to actually lose some weight. I did a photography course mid-year, shame it didn't spark me into doing more photography though!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Marks brother and his wife became parents for the first time late in the year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
We had two funerals to deal with this year - Marks grandmother (which we couldn't attend because I was grossly fatly pregnant) and my grandfather.

5. What countries did you visit?
Our second year in a row of saying None. I want to change that next year.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Job prospects.

7. What event from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Spending time with LJ in hospital from Bronchiolitis.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing a semester at university with my best ever grades - a B+ and two A-. All with a toddler, and therefore restricted to my three days on campus, his naps, and the odd Saturday morning as study time (which also had to include my exercise time)

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not losing any weight

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A couple of chest infections (one bad enough I got a chest x-ray for fear it was pneumonia), and a substantial knee injury just after my birthday

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A tula baby carrier. I'm going to have to upgrade it to a toddler carrier pretty soon though, he's getting too tall in the back.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Angela and Raymond, along with the online and local communities who rallied around them. Despite Angela getting more and more ill with cancer, she was still a beacon of hope. Despite her death, her words have ever more wisdom. Knowing her has changed the lives of many for the better. Go watch her last words. You wont regret spending those 3 and a half minutes of your time.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and/or depressed?
Jail Breaker Mr Smith late in the year. Arrogant, conceited and awful. I'm not normally big on the death penalty, but I remember how our community reacted to what he did (it was very local - between me and my school at the time), and the more I learn about the man, the more I think perhaps he should have been left in South America, in one of their more notorious prisons. I know quite a few people who would have happily made ongoing contributions to the cost of his keep there.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Toddler. Travel.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Starting back at university. Anything to get out of the house and seeing people! And it was fantastic.
Starting back at the gym was also pretty special.
And our trip to Queenstown, since that was our big adventure for the year.

16. What kept you sane?
The gym. My photography friends. Daycare for LJ, and LJ starting to talk back to me. Routine.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder?
Happier. Far and away.
b) Thinner or fatter?
About the same.
c) Richer or poorer?
We've managed to hold our own this year - even with the addition of daycare. But I dont think we are better off.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Sleep. Exercise.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Visiting the Dr. Both for LJ and for myself. Although I do really wish that the Coeliacs I was diagnosed with late in the year had been picked up earlier, because I honestly believe it would have saved me several illnesses and loads of fatigue all year.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With Marks family in Christchurch. And then we got to visit the Catlins, stunning, wonderful.

21. What was your favourite TV programme?
Love Child wound up bring pretty special. I didn't enjoy Downton Abbey nearly so much this season as previous. The Blacklist was also intensely awesome.

22. What was the best book you read?
I've only started reading new books (so therefore requiring concentration to follow) in the last couple of months. Probably the best was The Kings Curse by Philippa Gregory.

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I cant say I made any this year. Although I've been listening to The Sound a lot, until recently when they started playing some songs multiple times a day, just like every other radio station.

24. What did you want and get?
Good grades

25. What did you want and not get?
A holiday to a pacific island, or Australia.

26. What was your favourite film of this year?
I have not seen a single new release movie this year. In fact, the only one I can remember watching is Other end of the Line, which was surprisingly good for a cheesy romance.

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 32. I had uni lectures, including an assignment (I got 100% on it, so not bad), and then racing around sorting out a toddler who needed to go home from daycare because he had a troublingly high fever. Mark and I did eventually go out for dinner (leaving a mostly recovered LJ with his grandparents), to Two Souls Bistro, which was not as good as reviews had lead me to believe it would be.

28. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not injuring myself in September, on my first overnight tramp, following it up by being too sick to take LJ on his first overnight tramp in late November.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Improving. I would love to be more feminine, but shoes in my size just dont look feminine, and I do so much walking, so jeans and skechers are just so much more practical than the gorgeous dresses I have in my wardrobe but rarely wear.

30. Who did you miss?
Everyone. I feel like I've barely seen anyone all year, because everyone is so busy.

31. Who was the best new person you met?
Probably my Info102 lecturer, who was also my tutor, and my academic referee for a scholarship application. But interestingly, all the people I've added as friends on Facebook this year, are people I met last year or earlier.

32. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Sometimes you have to stop, for your own sake.

33. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost
                         - Wake me up, Avicii

Friday, December 19, 2014

40 Before 40 - Introduction

I've noticed this year that my life list has been basically untouched. Oops. Not ideal.

And I've struggled with inspiration to go out and get things done that challenge me.

So, since I have just under 8 years till I turn 40, I've decided to set myself a challenge of 40 things to do before I turn 40. Its time to start living again, because who knows where life will take me? I need to thank Raymond at Bone Marrow For Life, and the ever-awesome Angela, who left us this video, for kicking me in the bum and making me get writing...

I dont have 12 months to live - I hope. I hope to have many more than that. But its time to really start living, stop putting things off, start doing.

When I went to a group of ladies I know online for suggestions, it was incredible how many of their ideas I've already undertaken in my life. Things I've done that didn't make it on to my "done" life list - because I did them well before my blog was started.I'm planning to remedy that in 2015, when I tidy up both my done and to-do life lists.

Getting a balance has been a challenge too - Finding a combination of items that wouldn't break the bank, not doing too many very similar things, making sure I'm willing to do (and talk about having done) all of them. Being inspired at times was hard, but wouldn't you know, as soon as I got to #40, I had half a dozen new ideas!
You would have thought that having a substantial life list (over 200 items I want to do in my life), it would have been easy, but financially, I couldn't just do that. My life list also includes many things that aren't just a one-off. With 8 years to complete 40 challenges, in which time I need to finish uni and get a job as well, and a currently-toddler at home, time constraints will be sunstantial!

So, the rules I applied to writing the list:
* Must be a balanced split of next-to-no cost vs more expensive items, with the target being very few big expensive items
* While others can come along (and in some cases I'll need them to), by and large, they had to be things I didn't rely on others for
*One-offs took precedence. Sure, some will require a substantial lead-in time for fitness / planning, but most of the the items will be do once and over. The ones that wont will require a couple of hours once a week for 8-10 weeks at most.

So, whats on the list?

Watch this space!

Saturday, December 06, 2014


I found this recipe on a Facebook page, and rather than doing the suggested "Share to save" to my wall - where I would never find it again, since there isn't a search / folders option there, I wrote it in my diary.
Its so good I've cooked it twice and they've all been eaten before I got a chance to take a photo. Might have to go make them again just to get a photo :)

Simple, tasty, cheap, should have all the ingredients in your pantry already.

DUFFINS (Donut Flavoured Muffins)

1 3/4C Standard Flour
1 1/2t Baking Powder
1/2t Salt
1/2t Nutmeg
1/2t Cinnamon
1/3C Vegetable Oil
3/4C White Sugar
3/4C Milk
1 Egg

In a small bowl, combine the egg and the milk.

In a larger bowl, combine the other ingredients.

Mix the egg and milk into the other ingredients.

Bake at 180C for 20-25.

Brush with melted butter and then dip in cinnamon sugar (1/4C sugar + 1/4t cinnamon).

Eat warm.

Makes 12.

If you dont have nutmeg or cinnamon, you can use 1t mixed spice to replace both, or 1/2t mixed spice to replace one, and it has no negative impact on the taste of the muffin.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Fun 15: November 2014

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: Best of luck to Tim & Kate, who are due to have their first baby early this month. And congratulations to Stacey & Mike on making it through their first year as parents.

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
Exercise: Was going SO well at the start of the month, and then I got a chest infection.
Job / Course: Uni grades came out late in the month. A B+ and two A-. Not a bad result.
Clothes: Have cleared half the box of things I had stored from pregnancy. Its mainly dresses that I'm still to big in the bust for left
Weight: Hovering. Fluctuating. Not shifting. Driving me mad.
Creative: Cleared in July.
I have been actively choosing to read etc instead of being online lately, but am still spending far too much time on the computer.

3. This months goals, summary:
*Spend max 1 hour online a day. In total - facebook, blogging, flickr, news, reading other blogs: Fail, again.
*Have my daily steps average over 10,000 for the month: The closest I got was an average of 9,700. And then at the end of the month I got sick with a chest infection. So I wound up at just on 9,200 average daily steps - 24,000 steps short over the 30-day month.
*Walk up Mt Kaukau: For the whole month, when the weather was good, LJ was home (and I'm not doing that climb with 14kg of toddler on my back!), and when he wasn't, the weather was rubbish (and its very exposed). Then I got a chest infection. We made an attempt on the 30th, but had to turn back because LJ was freaked out by the wind.
*Cook 4 new recipes. Done! Chelsea Winters Sticky Pork Ribs, Lemon Honey from the edmonds, Marmalade from the edmonds and 13-spice chicken from The Food Truck Cookbook. The two mains will definitely be added to our list of ongoing recipes, the two edmonds recipes were to use up the lemons we got from Nans garden.

4. Next months goals to aim for:
* Daily steps average over 10,000 for the month
*Walk up Mt Kaukau
*Walk part of the Southern Walkway
*Cook 2 new recipes

5. Recipe Review: Two this month. Chelseas Sticky Pork Ribs were divine. Time consuming, but not difficult. The most annoying part was having to make a special trip into the city to visit Moore Wilsons, since the local supermarket only stocked pre-marinated (and huge) ribs for on the BBQ. Not what we wanted.
I also tried Martin van de Elzen's 13-spice chicken. Its meant to be done on bone-in peices and cooked in the oven (its his take on KFC), but I did it as a rub over chicken breast cut into tenderloin sized pieces.
Both were fantastic, and will definitely be making it on to our regular meal rotation.

6. Motherhood Moment: LJ is a real talker all of a sudden. And a brilliant parrot sometimes. Gems he has come out with this month include "Happy Birthday" to Grandma and Grandad, "Bye Ladies" to Granmas workmates and "Dont be silly Mummy". My heart melted just a little when I got "Hello Mummy" on the phone when he was out for the morning with Granma and Pop and we were sorting out picking him up.

7. Been there, Done that: A quiet, local month. We started off with a visit to the open day at the new bridge in Johnsonville to watch the crane working, had fireworks in our backyard one night (left LJ to sleep). Mark and I went up to Queen Elizabeth Park at Mackays Crossing for a walk on our anniversary. A random long Saturday that started with a walk at Zealandia at 8am in the cold, included nudie-bum time outside in the sunshine for LJ mid-afternoon, and ended wrapped in blankets watching the fireworks in town. A ride partway up the Rimutaka Incline.
A couple of trips to the zoo were thrown in for good measure, and Mark took LJ on the train to Johnsonville one morning when we were off to visit Granma and Pop. We had a parcel stolen out of our mailbox. And we rounded out the month with LJ spending a night at Granma and Pops place. Mark and I only managed to sleep in till about 8am.
As an added bonus, we also moved our mortgage, so got a bonus payment, which I bullied Mark into spending on finally buying a new dishwasher. Yay for no more leaking all over the kitchen floor!

8. Coming Events: Christmas. Summer holidays. Cant wait.

9. Links Round-up: Mostly recipes this month.

10. Life list update: Its not been a month of working on anything sadly.

11. Wish Lists: It took Mark and I (mostly me) nearly 3 weeks to put together Christmas present ideas lists, and then he still hadn't thought of anything for him, and my list only had 2 or 3 items on it (we're pushing for joint presents instead, things for the house that will be useful).

12. Life Lesson this month: You cant get out of Murphys law. LJ normally goes to sleep pretty well in his buggy, so we decided to give it a go on Guy Fawkes night, staying in town all evening for the display and walking him to sleep. No joy. Instead he was climbing up and down stairs and grizzling all evening through to the 9pm display, and didn't get to sleep till he was at home just after 10pm.

13. Days gone by: November is Wedding anniversary month. so big events in the past includ Honeymoon. House buying. Holidays. Tramping while pregnant.

14. Fave memory from the month: Sitting at the Malthouse, having a beer with Mark.

15. Photo of the month:
From our evening waiting for the Guy Fawkes fireworks display on the harbour.
Fireworks Night