Month: November 2016

Book Review: Lily and the Octopus

A quirky and deeply affecting charmer of a novel, Lily and the Octopus is funny, wise, and utterly original in its exploration of what it means to love any mortal creature. This brave little dachshund will capture your heart, as will her prickly, tenderhearted, and irresistible owner. Don’t miss their adventures together.

To tell you anything of the plot would spoil the experience. Just read it.

I haven’t read The Art of Racing in the Rain, but I’m hearing and reading that the two books have a similar concept. It definitely needs to be on my to-read list.

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.

Sending Christmas presents back to NZ is the biggest faff. I end up spending more on the postage than the bloody gift. Every year I say I’m going to spend more on birthday presents for my family, finding personal gifts for them on their special day. And I do. And then October (it starts earlier each year. When I’m 40 we’ll have Christmas carols in July) roles around and Christmas vomits all over London and I feel the desire to buy them gifts to send home. I even spoke to mum and said we’d take it easy on gifts this year, seeing as I was home for Christmas last year and took gifts. And then she messages me this week to say she’d popped something in the post to the boyfriend and I, so clearly we’re doing gifts and she’s broken from the original plan. Like, seriously, we’re all just swapping cash?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Grinch. Christmas is by far my favourite of all the commercially flooded holidays – I love giving gifts, finding something perfect for my favourite people. But the idea of hitting the shops in London to find said wonder-gift instils me with fear.

This weekend we have decided to brave the already-mad shoppers and busloads of tourists to get to Harrods. Mostly because I want to buy their Christmas mince pies and gorge on them before December even arrives (totally not Whole 30 approved, but I’ve done my 30 days and want to celebrate Christmas properly, in November AND December), but also because the older members of my family love the biscuits and tea from there. Plus Harrods have super cute baby things for my beautiful, new niece, who no doubt is going to win the present lottery this year.

All I want for Christmas this year is a packet of Tim Tams, a new Christmas jumper and for my boyfriend to sit through the entire Sound of Music film, while I sing along in anticipation of our trip to Salzburg at New Years. What’s on your Christmas list?

Whole 30: Day 30!

Boom, alright! I feel amazing. I’m not stopping at 30 days, I’m carrying on. I won’t be as stringent, because hello! Christmas is on it’s way. But apart from Christmas celebrations and my trips to Prague and Salzburg – I will be eating Whole 30.

Last time I did a Whole 30 in 2012 I was straight onto a glass of wine the day after, to celebrate. Seems silly, I know. But this time round I’m older, more determined and ultimately just not as beholden to a glass of wine like I used to be.

The results:

  • I sleep soundly every night. Every! I have more energy, I get up and move about more, I’m overall less lazy.
  • I have lost 4.7kgs (10.3lbs) and not only do I feel and notice the difference, people are commenting on it. The frustrating thing is that my weight loss is all around my face and shoulders and décolletage. They always say you lose it top to bottom, so I really need to get stuck in now to slim my tummy and ass.
  • My skin is clear, my hair is glossy (I think it’s all the salmon and avocado I’ve been eating); religiously drinking water really does have it’s benefits.

I won’t be posting weekly reviews moving forward, instead the odd catch up post on how I’m progressing.

If you are wondering about a Whole 30 and if it’s right for you – start reading up. Knowledge is power. If you understand the eating plan of Whole 30 you can make a judgement. Don’t jump in knowing half the facts. Especially make sure you understand what is approved to eat and what is discouraged. A simple slip up of eating peas (nearly happened to me on day 24) could ruin all your hard work. Not ruin in the fact that you gain weight or your body falls apart, but more your sense of achievement for not making it the full 30 days!

Book Review: The Couple Next Door

Gripping. This book kept twisting and turning in ways I could not have expected. I could not put it down and flew through the dark and suspenseful chapters.

Losing a child must be one of the most unsettling experiences ever. To then not be able to trust your husband and family makes it even more devastating. As this family try to locate their 6-month old daughter more and more secrets and deviances come out of the woodwork.

As a debut novel, I am now excited to see what Lapena publishes next!


Welcome little one.


Today, Monday 14th of November I became an auntie for the first time. I now tell everyone I encounter. I know I’m not the mother, nor did I go through the nine months carrying the little bundle but in the lead up to my sister’s due date I was a bundle of emotions. Last night I burst into tears just at the idea that my little niece or nephew would be in the world when I woke up. Tears of excitement and happiness and the sadness that she’s on the other side of the planet to me in New Zealand. I was in touch with my sister regularly throughout her pregnancy, the ups and downs, the family all getting involved and adding their opinions, my sister not always calm because of previously stated family opinions. I was also in touch with my youngest sister throughout – she too was experiencing the high and low emotions that I was. When I received the news this morning and subsequent photos I was in tears again. I requested even more photos and my sister sent some through to me while I was on the bus to work, again the tears came. I never thought I’d be this emotional from a newborn that wasn’t mine – but dear God, the fact she has my blood too and is the next generation of our family is extremely overwhelming. My sister is a mum. A MUM. This blows my mind.

I’m the eldest sibling in my family, yet my sister (the new mum) was first to graduate University, first to get married, first to buy a house and now first to have a baby. She is a proper grown up and ahead of me in all her planning and the setting up of her life. I am extremely proud of her, and while being two years older than her, I’m amazed at how she has taken to everything so naturally. She’s always known she wanted to settle down and have a family – no questions, even after her stint in London and travel through Europe. Meanwhile I decided to flit off to London not wanting to have to make too many decisions and instead keep exploring and having adventures.

All three of us are very different women, however the older we get the more alike my sisters and I are becoming. I love my sisters to bits and miss them every day that I’m in London. I can’t wait to give her a cuddle. Now we have the next generation to enjoy. I can’t wait to cuddle my beautiful, shiny, new, little niece, Pippa. Welcome to the world little one, you will be forever doted upon by your adoring aunties.

Whole 30: Week four in review

We are beyond fully in the swing of this thing. We are owning it like Whole 30-champions. Every day I’m excited to look up new recipes or simply experimenting with the fun things I find in the vegetable zone of the supermarket: courgetti, boodles (butternut squash noodles) and so many different types of mushroom.

Cracklin' chicken
Cracklin’ chicken

Also people are noticing the changes – my face is slimmer, my skin is clearer and my other half is grateful that my emotions and mood are now under control and I’m not up and down every other hour.

On the weekend I finally got around to trying Nom Nom Paleo’s Cracklin’ Chicken. Devine. The boyfriend was overjoyed. I was amazed at the flavour and crunch. It’s a great alternative to roast chicken paired with oven roasted sweet potato and a huge heaps of steamed brocolli. Perfect winter fodder. So easy to make and so cheap considering you’re using chicken thighs – which I think always has more flavour than the breast meat.

Hearty beef and tomato soup
Hearty beef and tomato soup

I cooked a piece of beef earlier in the week in the oven, roasting it to a crispy outer but still moist in the middle. No idea how I actually managed that – but I’ll take it. There was beef leftover so froogle, money saver me (not me at all, normally) decided to whip up a hearty tomato, beef, chilli soup with the leftovers. Adding mushrooms, carrots, onion, garlic, the leftover beef, a can of tomatoes and a hint of chilli the soup thickened and I was pleasantly surprised as to how it turned out.

I’m looking forward to the week ahead. I feel like we are in full swing and nothing is going to throw us off. Today is day 28, we technically have Monday and Tuesday to go to hit our 30 day completion. But the other half and I have decided we’re going to keep going. Christmas is coming so things will get mental soon. But we’ve decided that unless it’s a special event or night out or Christmas, we won’t be breaking from how we’ve been eating. We’re reaping the benefits and we don’t want to give it up.