Farewell to 2016

Well…. 2016 you have gone.
Disappeared into the realms of time along with all the previous years of my decades.
Not too sure if I’m going to miss you much, although there were some good times in there along with the not so great.
I was mulling over the following questions that Sunniva posed prior to New Year but never got to do more than ponder them.
But now I might just take a very quick look back…
…very quick because actually I am too busy looking forward to spend too much time looking back these days.
But like Kermit….

sometimes it is good to stop and have a look back and then you see how far you’ve actually come.

So on to the questions Sunniva posed…

What did you achieve?
I achieved the ability to not sweat the small stuff and to allow those who had my back to help carry the stresses of the big stuff.

What did you love most?
I learned to love myself.
For the first time in my life I found me.
I love the freedom that has brought me

What made you feel successful?
Learning to make decisions without fear
Learning that if something isn’t working it is not a failure.
That changing direction is ok.

What was positive about it?
I made it through the darkest period since Tim’s death, alive & sane
And not only did I make it through, I came bounding out of that dark place and embraced my future with excitement and anticipation

How did you grow?
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
I fought my boundaries
I went to war with my beliefs and traditions
I began forging my own path

How have you changed?
I have become more positive,
stronger within myself,
taken ownership of my future
and am learning to be completely honest about my past

What did you learn?
I learned that friends are vital.
That some are with me just for a season.
And that’s ok.
And that others will remain glued at the hip.
They will always have my back.
I learned who to trust and how to trust
and to use my past because in that sharing comes growth for me and healing for others

Where did you travel?
I traveled to Perth
and Auckland & Waikato
and Christchurch
and Byron Bay & Brisbane
and Wellington
Each journey brought me to a new place in experiences and in personal growth

Who do you appreciate?
I appreciate my friends.
I appreciate my children
And my health
And my home
And my place in this corner of the world
I have finally come home and I am content and appreciative for that.

Who influenced you?
Oh My!
The influences this year have been wonderful.
From the famous to those close to me.
Taryn Brumfitt – you are such an inspiration
Just this one quote alone from you has changed my life
Constance Hall – you rock our world.
Your raw honesty and humour is so refreshing.
My favourite quote from you would have to be this –
“Your summer body is your winter body with a bigger audience. 
Scales define weight. 
Happiness defines beauty
Summer + body = summer body.”
And there are those close to my inner sanctum who listen and who share and with whom I laugh and cry.
Their influence in my life is immeasurable.
Names are not necessary because you know who you are and I love you dearly for that

What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for my health and wellbeing.
I am incredibly grateful for the years I spent with Tim but am also grateful that he lovingly released me to find myself.
And I am grateful that I know without doubt that he would be incredibly proud of where I am now.
I am also incredibly grateful for my warrior tribe.
My tribe of extremely close friends that have embraced and surrounded me during this year.

And yes I did celebrate New Years Eve.
I walked into the city with my two girls.
We enjoyed the last meal of 2016 together at Bacco WineBar

Mahalia went off with Sophie, and Azzan was off somewhere in the crowds with his friends.

Eilidh and I milled with the crowds at the Cathedral Steps, danced to Tomorrow People’s reggae music, absorbed the atmosphere, drank mochas to keep warm, and just had a wonderful time.
Happy New Year everyone – Welcome 2017   🙂


My Body Image Peregrination

My life journey is a constant thread on here.
Mainly because this is my blog and I know me better than anyone else so I talk about me.
But only so I can share, to empathise, encourage and empower.
As most of you know I love words and the word journey is getting a bit stale to me so today I am going to talk about my peregrination, as it has been rather a long meander getting to where I am now.
This rumination today is about body image.

From my observations most women – and maybe men, but I’m not qualified to talk for the opposing sex – have body issues.
I have certainly not been exempt.
I had a fairly tidy figure when I got married at 21 – 173cm tall and weighed in at 66kg.
But from young I had issues with certain parts of my anatomy which looking back seem really stupid now, but……
….sadly I was not alone.
The abuse and headfucking I went through in my childhood certainly didn’t help matters and unfortunately I know I am definitely not alone in that area.
These occurrences alter our appreciation of self immeasurably.

My weight and shape has changed dramatically throughout my life.
You cannot go through 11 pregnancies & births, breast feed 10 babies and suffer multiple accidents to many parts of the anatomy over the years  without some significant body carnage.

Living on 60’ slopes for 36 years was a reason (I know, not a good reason, but a reason nonetheless!)  for me to not go walking much due to damaged knees.
I tried in latter times by purchasing a tredmill.
It got used and I did try all sorts of other means/diets etc to try & keep in shape but it was a very ebb & flow thing depending on my moods and events of the times.

Anyway, fast forward to 2013.
That fateful month of February when my life was traumatically turned upside down & inside out.
My reaction was to retreat to my bed, eat comfort foods and watch brainless movies for months.
Assuaging grief in the most consoling way I could.
And that was okay for then.
From there was the period of running away with my two babes.
Tramping boots were bought and some moderate walks undertaken during our travels.
Then two years ago we moved to the city.
The moving process once again added more damage to my back, hips & shoulders so ongoing physio was required.

But I was making baby steps.
We bought bikes.
I biked for several months until we got the puppy.
Then I began walking him around the streets.
It was really enjoyable to wander the river and explore the city.
Slowly I was increasing my exercise time.
Unfortunately a couple more severe accidents slowed me down with injuries and long term recovery periods.
At the same time I was also dealing with some very hard stuff.
My ptsd levels were often going through the roof.
My headspace wasn’t wonderful.
In fact early-mid 2016 was probably the darkest, heaviest space I had been in since Tim died.
I received test results from the Dr saying I was pre diabetic.
They wanted me to join in with Green Prescription and go to aquafit classes and discussion groups to help me loose weight etc.
In essence it was probably all very good and helpful BUT I was very definitely NOT in the right headspace to so anything extra so basically told them to fuck off!
Then finally after 40 months of very intense grieving, my brain finally began to clear.
Lucidity began.
I set about making some much needed rational decisions.
Once that was underway I began to want to look more aggressively at my health & wellbeing.
I took ownership and control.
I reduced my intake of sugars and carbs – I know from experience that they are the worst enemies for my body type.

I joined the gym and with encouragement from my daughter that it would take me at least 2 weeks of determination to make it a habit I stuck with it.
The trainer set me a routine which I worked hard at.
I was juggling my youngest kids needs which at the time were pretty intense, but was trying really hard to put mine up there on the top of the list too.
I roll out of bed around 6am at least 4-5 mornings a week because I know for me that if I do not get there and do my work out and pump the cardio before 7am it is just not going to happen.
And now I really, really love going.
My trainer reworks my programme every month or so too help me strengthen and tone up this battered body of mine.
I can vouch for all those proven studies that exercise produces endorphins which really do reduce stress, increase happiness & energy levels, ward off anxiety and depression, improve sleep and boosts self esteem.
But! I had to be in the right headspace to even contemplate attacking it.
If I had tried earlier I can honestly say I would’ve failed.
I had to be ready to bite the bullet with a sense of determination.

Around this time I became aware of the Isagenix products.
I had been very skeptical at first but after a while I discovered my daughter Sunniva was already using them so discussed it with her.
Her response was that she had no idea how they worked but that they did work and the she has far more energy than ever before.
So I decided to give them a go.
Not just for me but also for my 16 year old daughter who also needs a lot of energy for her rowing.
She & I took the products to a well known naturopath here and had them checked out and she said they were all good and that it was the amino acids that were doing the job.
So on that recommendation we joined up and began to use them.
I love using the products.
I tweak as I want.
I particularly love the shakes and cleanses.
I am not religious about them, I use to suit me and my lifestyle.
Since I began going to the gym and using the Isagenix the weight has been falling off me.
I honestly do not count calories or do anything that is mind controlling.

In amongst all of this there have been several interesting influences regarding the body image issues.
I came across the Australian blogger Constance Hall.
And, as have many women have, found her approach to be incredibly liberating.
She’s raw and open and honest and completely out there.
And I absolutely love that.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet her when in Perth a few months ago.
Another Australian,  Taryn Brumfitt, began the Body Image Movement with her docs/movie Embrace.
This movie is absolutely brilliant and should be seen by all.
These women along with many others have been such an encouragement.

While in Perth I went shipping with my niece.
It was so much fun.
I bought myself a new swimsuit.
We walked into the shop and I announced ‘I don’t do black’.
Sam followed me in saying ‘And she don’t do Nana either!’ 🙂
But after trying almost every colourful swimsuit in the shop we then turned to the black ones.
And guess what.
They worked.
And I found this one 🙂

Then I said – ‘right, now I have that sorted. Let me see some bikinis’!!
The absolute best thing about shopping with the niece as opposed to the daughters was the encouragement 🙂
I have not worn a bikini since I was in my teens!~!
And to even consider doing so was a huge step.
But after over 5 decades of hating on my body I decided it is now time to love it instead.

Scars are the tattoos of the brave according to my son.
This body of mine has more than earned its stripes, its scars and its tattoos.
It’s bravery deserves to be honoured.
Yes, I have lost weight but that is not the issue here.
The issue is loving yourself.
Recognising that this body is not an ornament – it is a vehicle.
It has strength and purpose.
So even after Tim died when my weight skyrocketed up to 83 kgs plus it was still a purposeful vehicle.
I just didn’t appreciate its worth.
During all my child birthing years when I would moan about not fitting my clothes Tim would just tell me to go buy a bigger pair of jeans.
He saw me as the women he loved no matter my size.
He didn’t care, he loved me for who I was.
It was a tragedy that I didn’t see that.

I don’t really see a huge change but friends have been commenting.
Here are some photos taken 3 months apart.
Remember that there is no way on this planet that I would’ve posted any photos like this before!
Huge steps forward in acceptance of self 🙂

3 September = 80.4kgs

11 December = 74.4kgs

I don’t need the scales, I know by my clothes that my body is changing shape.
I have just dumped a pile of size 14 jeans etc out of my wardrobe.
Went shopping cuz they were a tad loose and came out in size 11’s.
That really blew my brain!
Then a month later I went back to buy a belt because they were loose.
But what is super cool is that it is not the weight loss that matters to me.
It is the feeling of being well, and happy and feeling my body becoming  toned and stronger.
And knowing that the physical events that I want to tackle are becoming manageable.

My therapist commented to me recently that she was glad to see I had my spark back.
I thought on that and responded that actually, I do not ever recall having ‘a spark’ like this before.
I have so much exuberant energy that I feel like the Energiser bunny on full batteries!!
Even when the batteries run down a tad I am still in a really happy place.

My body and I are finally friends who are pretty damned proud to be seen together in public 🙂
Christmas Day at Cable Bay 2016

Becoming Woman – A Wild Warrior Woman

I’ve been exploring my wild self.
Learning about me
My inner innate self
Peeling back layers of societal constraint
Pushing myself out of my comfort zone
all my pre-learned norms

Discovering that being a wild woman has nothing to do with
doing wild things
or stomping on male egos

It is about embracing your true natural self.
For one
that may be loud and out there – whirling through life in dervish excitement
for another
that is could be silent and contemplative
and everything in between
and maybe even at the same time

It is the woman who wants to break free from all the strings society has placed on her to find herself in the heart of love and compassion

A few days ago I experienced a sudden awakening
I know what happened…
that I will never ever forget
I have learnt how it has damaged me
that I am recovering and healing from

But the light went on with a suddenness that kicked me in the gut
it was like a lightening bolt hit me
I saw with incredible clarity
As a child
I was completely Mind Fucked
My God!
It wasn’t my fault.
I knew it wasn’t my fault
I know it wasn’t my fault
The release of shame
and guilt
and the burden
with that understanding
has been immense

I have been entrenching myself in this song
Soaking in the words
Whirling to the music
Unfucking myself
Claiming my Warrior Woman
And allowing this brave heart of mine to shine

“Warrior” – Aurora
I fall asleep in my own tears
I cry for the the world, for everyone
And I built a boat to float in
I’m floating away

I can’t recall last time I opened my eyes to see the world as beautiful
And I built a cage to hide in
I’m hiding, I’m trying to battle the night…

Let love conquer your mind
Warrior, warrior
Just reach out for the light
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior of love…

I stand behind the wall of people and thoughts, mind controlling
And I hold a sword to guide me
I’m fighting my way…

I can’t recall last time I opened my eyes to see the world as beautiful
And I built a cage to hide in
I’m hiding, I’m trying to battle the night…

Let love conquer your mind
Warrior, warrior
Just reach out for the light
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior of love!

Underneath darkened sky
There’s a light kept alive

Let love conquer your mind
Warrior, warrior
Just reach out for the light
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior of love…
Warrior of love!
Warrior of love!

Watch my rising….

My journey has at times been rather a ponderous hesitant walk.
I’ve staggered under burdens
of expectations
of abuse
of self imposed protective measures
of responsibilities.
Many parts of the road have been incredibly rough going.
Often times I’ve approached corners with hopeful expectancy only to be blind sided once again.
Treacherous valleys, difficult hills, swamps have sucked me in and nearly suffocated me.
My path this year led me over the blackest coldest mountain range…

I fought my way up those high peaks
I collapsed at the top panting with exhaustion
Completely spent
I could go no further
I was finally stopped
I let myself bleed
Let myself feel

I conquered the pain
I conquered the fears
I conquered the blackness

No longer will I run away from my dragons
I will fear them no more
I am embracing my dragons
They now work for me,
with me,
are part of me,
but no longer control me
The roles are reversed
And it feels

Sparkling living

This journey of mine has taken me on many detours.
Some have been incredibly hard.
Others frustrating.
And more, emotionally disabling.
Through it all though I have found a new me.
A stronger me.
Someone I did not know existed.
Many close to me have recently commented that they are so pleased and glad to see me smiling again.
It was said that I have my spark back.
That stopped me…
To breath…
And think…
I honestly do not ever remember having a spark.
Not like this.
Maybe as a very small child I probably had that childish spark of mischief and wonderment.
Like this gorgeous poppet I captured at the beach last week.
But that spark was cruelly extinguished at a very early age.
Yes, I was happy – to an extent.
But there was always that underlying ‘thing’
The part of my life I wasn’t able to talk about…
The secret…
The burden I carried…
that killed my spark.

I had no idea until recent years just how much those 10 years of stolen childhood had affected my entire life.
But now I am walking my healing journey
Running towards an expectancy of wonderment
Reclaiming ‘me’
I am not going to compromise myself anymore with the pain and the abuse and the heartache.
Because I Am all I have got and I Am going to live sparkling.

Knowing I Will Be OK


I have experienced a LOT of internal confusion and debate over the past 3 years & nine months as to how my future is going to pan out.
I know firsthand that life is incredibly tenuous.
For a long time I have felt uneasy and scared as to what my future might be like.

But I have finally reached a place.
Turned a new page.
A blank, clean page.
I have a freshly sharpened pencil.
I am about to begin writing a new chapter.

It is actually rather exciting to be embarking on a different journey.
It has taken me a long while to bury the hopes and dreams from my past life.
I have had to work through the grief of the loss of all of those.
It has not been easy but it has been a journey of healing and learning and discovery.

I now have the beginnings of new dreams and new ideas and new hopes………
Life is awesome and it is going to be even more awesome.
I am happy.
The darkness has lifted.
A new day is dawning.
I have absolutely no idea where it is going to take me but actually I don’t really care.
I just know
I. Will. Be. Okay.img_0272

Self care

Since I have moved to town and begun working with vulnerable & abused women I have been introduced to the notion of self care.
In our training we were taught that self care is vitally important.
After so many years of putting myself and my needs second, or third – actually probably more than 12th in line this was sort of a new concept for me.

I have spent so many years being strong, the one that everyone depends on, the one that gets things done, the busy one.
I didn’t realise until about 5.5 years ago when my brain said enough and I had a major breakdown.
I had no idea what was happening to me until a friend asked me a question.
Do you think you might be depressed?
Seriously  – me depressed!
I dont ‘do’ depressed!
I haven’t got time for that nonsense :-/
But, her question & concern stopped me in my tracks and I took the plunge and went to my Dr.
That in itself was a major exercise at the time.
Anyway, the upshot was, for the first time in my entire life I was able to tell someone about the extensive sexual and emotional abuse I endured for over 10 years of my childhood.
And from there I began my healing.
It has not been easy, it is never easy to open old and deep wounds and expose them.
In fact it is very scary.
I was, and am, a mother of many, and a wife, running businesses alongside my man.
Life was busy.
I had not realised that busyness is one of the ways that abuse victims ‘use’ to ‘forget’ what has happened to them.
Not that you ever ever forget!
Life didn’t get any easy with this disclosure, in fact it got a hell of a lot harder.
My journey of self discovery has been incredibly tumultuous.
I have discovered who my true friends are.
Part of my self preservation has been learning to close the door on those who can’t or won’t support me and to embrace those who can and do.

My therapist has been flabbergasted over the years as one historic trauma after another is disclosed as well as more stress and trauma that has occurred along the way since then.
She commented to me one day that my PTSD was incredibly complex.
I picture my traumas over the years as pieces of string, they have knotted together and through time have wound themselves into a very big ball of string.
Hence the name of this new blog 🙂
I am slowly unraveling and dealing with each piece, unknotting, unraveling,  and using them to weave a new garment.
My new garment is going to be stunningly gorgeous and of course the predominant colour will be Orange 🙂

So back to self care.
For me this has not happened overnight.
It has been quite a journey.
Slowly slowly, baby steps, three steps forward and one back, sometimes it has felt like four back!!

My self care began with mending my mind.
Learning how to process what has happened, how it has affected me and the way I deal with situations and then to relearn new ways, more healthy ways of approaching similar situations.
This takes time and I am ever so grateful to have found a therapist who has worked with me gently over the past 5 years.

Physical rest has also been important.
I have pushed myself for so long, the subconscious need to keep busy to bury everything sort of busy.
When Tim was killed my body stopped.
I was literally unable to do anything but go through the motions.
I stopped cooking, reading, listening to music, art……
I literally shut down and spent most of my time hiding in my room watching brainless movies.

Then I ran away.
I took my two youngest and we ran away.
It really wasn’t a conscious decision.
It just happened, but it was a good happening.
We spent most part of a year on the move.
We had some amazing adventures and did some much needed bonding and healing.
It was a very precious time for us all.
It resulted in us moving to town and away from my most recent pain of losing our main man.

One of the first things I did was to apply for a partially voluntary job with SASH Nelson.
It was pretty daunting applying for the first job in nearly 40 years.
But the cool thing was that I was accepted to be a part of the Crisis Response Team.
Becoming part of the team has played a huge part in my healing journey.
My team mates are the most awesome girls, they have become members of my new Village.
It was through this job that I have learnt much more about the importance of self care.
Plus I am able to help support others because I have an empathy and understanding with them.
And helping them is helping me – win win 🙂

And now to now!
Where am I at now?
Well, I am kickin’ arse.
I am so incredibly proud of myself.
I still have down days, days where the tears rule, where I hit the floor in a sobbing heap.
But those days are less frequent.
I have days where I am incredibly lonely, but I am learning to reach out.
I am in a much stronger headspace.
And being in a stronger headspace has given me the ability to focus on my physical being.
Living in the central city on the flat has allowed me to gradually build up my fitness levels.
Due to a lot of injuries both historic and recent my body has been rather battered so walking has been good therapy.
I have restored my soul by wandering around the river and roads with the puppy, discovering new places and friends.
Recently I felt in the right place & ready, so have joined up with a local gym & pool.
It is 10 years since I did any serious gym work.
I have really enjoyed going down there first thing most mornings and getting a good cardio session going.
The trainers have put together a programme for me in the weights room, and after just a month I am feeling so damn good.
I am not focusing on weight loss, just getting my body toned and functioning again.
Yesterday I was very conscious that all my jeans were getting very loose and quite baggy – not really the look I like – so I popped in to see the girls at JeansWest and they helped me find some new jeans.
Unbelievable – I have gone from size 14 down to size 11.
I haven’t been that size in about 28 years!!
This morning, I am feeling really buzzed from my Vitamin G(ym) fix this morning.
In fact I am feeling frickin’ fantastic  🙂
This self care stuff is actually pretty damn good.

Food Glorious Food


Food is a huge focus in most folks lives.
It’s a pretty important thing.
And everyone has a view point about food.
Some don’t care, they just eat anything and everything.
Some care fixatedly and are extremely particular.
Some have deadly allergies
Some have intolerances
Some are just plain picky and ride on the back of those who have those allergies.

Me, well I just like food.
But I am very particular as well.
My food has to be good.
Really good!
I won’t pay for crappy fast food unless that is the absolute last option and I am at deaths door!

I have cooked and baked nutritious delicious food all my married life.
I have literally fed armies, fed the multitudes.
But when Tim was killed, my spirit to cook died too.
My confidence disappeared.
I relied on the kids to produce many of our meals.
It’s take me a while to get back on the planet in that regards.
Now we are off the farm and usually only 2-4 of us at home our meals have changed, simplified.
I use a lot of vegetables and not a lot of meat.
Because one of us is vegetarian, I tend to cook around her and then add meat according to what rest of us want or need.
And actually, I am finding that I don’t need or want a lot of meat any more.
I am ‘fussy’ in some respects which makes it so easy when I go out.
I don’t eat pork or venison because I don’t like it and I don’t eat mutton or lamb because no-one can cook it like Tim did 😉
I also try and keep my food as unprocessed as possible.
And I keep my sugar intake to a minimum.
I’m not religious about it, I have done being a slave to it.
Food is to be enjoyed, but in that enjoyment I try and make wise choices.

In our city house we have an oven which I am not familiar with, I hate using it, and can only usually succeed to get it operating if Mahalia is here to operate the switches!
So I cook mainly using the mini bench oven, the slow cookers, the rice cooker and heavy cast iron cookware on the gas stove.
We live on salads and stir fries of varying combinations depending on the seasons, combining them with potatoes in many disguises, noodles, rice, buns, etc.
The slow cooker is also a brilliant stand by, I can prepare a nutritious economical meal which can often last us for more than several days, once again combining with whichever carb you choose to make each meal different & interesting.

I don’t need to turn out great quantities of baking anymore so 6 muffins cook nicely in the mini oven.
These were made to Mahalia’s request using pumpkin puree, halloumi cheese and toasted seeds.
They tasted really good!
And when you have roast veggies left over what better way to use them up than bubble and squeak with some organic farm eggs lovingly squeezed from Marah’s chooks by my gorgeous little grand daughters 🙂

But being in the city also has another benefit.
We can eat other peoples cooking more often!
There are some wonderful cafes & restaurants here.
I especially love the cafe culture, the diverse range, the outdoor & street seating that our climate allows us to enjoy.
The thing I love about eating out is sharing.
Sharing time with friends.
Taking time out of the busyness of life and just stopping.
I love nothing better than to meet with a friend and spend time enjoying their company along with good food and great coffees.
I love exploring and finding new treasure troves, and returning to old favourites.
There’s one or three I have frequented recently deserve a mention –

The Baker’s Coffee Shop makes excellent coffees & exquisite pastries onsite.
Mahalia and I treated ourselves the other day, it is probably not a place I need to go too often because the pastries are just wickedly wonderful and self restraint is extremely difficult 😉

7010 Your Local is another fav.
The cool thing here is that the food is different every day.
But each time it is just so good.

I have to make particular mention of the relatively new La Capilla Restaurant.
Owners by head chef Takeshi, one of the best chefs in our region.
I recently took my lad out there for a special lunch.
He said it was absolutely the best meal ever as he pretty much licked his plate clean 🙂
And of course, being a special lunch we couldn’t leave without sampling one of Takeshi’s delicious deserts each.
SO good!

The other absolute fav place of ours is East Street Vegetarian Cafe & Bar.
If I want to keep Mahalia happy I just suggest going there for lunch, or dinner, or dessert, or…….. any excuse really and she is very happy 🙂
It has the reputation of being the best vegetarian restaurant in NZ and I agree whole heartedly.
The ambience is retro and funky, the staff are super cool and the food is awesome.
Double thumbs up to this place.
Mains are exceptional and desserts are pretty darned good too.img_9824img_9825

A cafe that I don’t get too that often as it is on the other side of town is Blackbird Eatery.
It is tucked away inside a local gym and as it is only a couple of minutes further to the airport it is worth leaving a bit earlier for your flight so you can fuel up on the way.
It focuses on raw and fresh foods.
I was heading to the airport so enjoyed a get together with two of my girls here last week.
We did the afternoon tea sweet thing, the brownies were made from gf, df ingredients and were divine but we shoulda divided two among three of us as one each was a bit much for our relatively sugar free bodies.

I popped down to Christchurch this week.
It was a very impromptu visit so I didn’t rush about catching up with everyone like I often do.
Pretty much focused on the business to hand and getting some much needed rest.
But I did manage to share a couple of meals out whilst there.
A pre show snack at Rendezvous Hotel’s Junction Bar before going to Evita.
Everyone else was eating platters of deep fried bar food.
As I said further back, I am personally trying to make good choices and too much deep fried or sugary food is not a good choice for me right now.
This beetroot salad was wonderful, the buffalo yoghurt and hazel nuts mixed with roast onion and beetroot was just perfect.
What I really liked was that they were willing to accomodate my preferences and swap some ingredients for another.
I do have a couple of concessions which include the occasional glass of cider and a mocha.
The cider must not be apple, anything but apple!
And the mocha has got to be good – very hot, not lukewarm and milky -eeewk!
I walked on the Wildside with Nathan and enjoyed a Mandarin & Lime Cider while had had an Asahi beer.
He tried to convert me, but no, beers for me.
Joe’s Garage in Rangiora was our second choice for dinner.
But as the first choice was closed for staff training we opted for Joe’s.
It was a good choice.
Not too crowded while we were there so fairly peaceful, staff were great and the food was pretty darned good.
Nathan proclaimed the steak to be perfectly to his liking and my salmon was delectable.

I could not leave Joe’s without having a Killer Smoothie so had that for dessert.
My goodness, they are the absolute best smoothies.
Ever since my first one at the Sumner Joe’s Garage many years ago it is top of my menu choice whenever I have the fortune to find myself there.
It is basically yoghurt with black doris plums & honey.img_0155

Basically when it comes down to it, there is really nothing that surpasses sharing good food with good friends.

East West Design

We were cruising up the street searching for interesting places to go when I spotted this building and called for a fast halt to the vehicle so I could zip out and take some photos of these amazing murals that spanned the whole front and round one side.
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We soon discovered that this humungous building houses 2 acres of the most wonderful treasure trove.
East West Design is the largest retail outlet in the southern hemisphere.
We disappeared into the belly of the proverbial whale and were soon drooling with desire and gasping with delight.
These photo do not do it justice.
I was scheming and dreaming as to how I could afford to fill a shipping container with all the wonderful items I was falling in love with.
I could only partially see this hunky door but was absolutely certain it would look fantabulous set into my back door 😉
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It was a veritable paradise filled with objects of desire.
Just as well the Tasman is between there and home!!