Saturday, February 28, 2015

Project Life – Week 6

I’m back again with another update. This time I’ve got Week 6 – the first week of February 2015.

Here’s a look at the overview:FULL_1

School started on Monday morning at Glenholme and it was a really good day!  The kids all wear a school uniform and it does make taking a class photo so much nicer!  As per usual I also did artwork with my kids on the first day.  These kids were really careful with the paints and no paint got onto their uniforms!

Here’s a close up of the start of the week:LEFT_1

Krystal and Mike have persuaded me to watch Game of Thrones.  Krystal has the first two seasons on DVD and I have to say that I’m really getting hooked on the story! 

I’ve also been busy unpacking some more boxes.  One of the good finds this week was locating my Project Life albums including the album I’m going to use for 2015… it’s a little bit different than my previous albums… but this year is a little bit different from previous years too!

I’ve found quite a few of my books and put them into the bookcase that got damaged and it has taken the focus away from the top molding.  I’m super pleased with the photos of my girls that are framed and on display too.

Mike and I have also been moving around some furniture to make things more workable for us. I’m loving how we’ve got the lounge arranged and it’s super nice to be using the big room with lots of light!

Here’s a look at the second part of the week:RIGHT_1

The week at school absolutely flew past and before I knew it we were up to Thursday night so Mike and I decided to go to the night market.  We had a bit of a look around and then made our way down Eat Street looking for somewhere to have dinner but nothing particularly appealed. 

We ended up right down by the lakefront so we decided to get a pizza from Pizza Hut and have an impromptu picnic instead.  It was actually the perfect end to the day and then it was time to get packing to head off to Wellington on Friday! (Waitangi Day)

We had an awesome trip to Wellington including stopping off at Flatbush for a delicious breakfast on the way down.  460 kilometers later we hit our destination!  We stayed with Mike’s cousin and her kids and they were keen to take us to the Buddhist Monastery just up the road from where they live.  There were a LOT of steps but it was so worth it to get to the top!

On Saturday we headed into Wellington on the train and went to Te Papa.  I’ve wanted to have a good look around Te Papa for YEARS and when I told Mike he said we should just ‘Do it'!’ so that’s how the trip came about. 

Here’s the front page of the insert:

Wellington front_1

We got off the train and wandered up the street looking for somewhere to have breakfast and in the end we both decided that McDonald’s sounded good.  The best part was that we sat upstairs and had an awesome view!

We also headed to an underground market and I spotted an artists store where she was selling the most gorgeous prints of NZ birds.  We really loved the Kiwi with the night scene and I knew it would look perfect in the lounge.

Then it was on to Te Papa and all the amazing exhibits!

There was a big dinosaur exhibit that Mike was really interested in and of course the Waitangi exhibit was a big focus for me. 

After we’d spent several hours at Te Papa we carried on into Wellington and Mike showed me the Harley store.  Unfortunately for him it was closed so he just had to make do with drooling from the window!

Wellington back_1

On Saturday night we went to James and Esther’s for dinner and helped them celebrate their wedding anniversary.  James did a great job on the bbq and Esther made some delicious side dishes and salads… followed by dessert!

On Sunday morning we headed back to Rotorua and had a couple of stops along the way including a very late breakfast in Waiouru, stopping for some ‘essential’ lavender supplies in Bulls and visiting my cousin in Taupo.  We even stopped on the Desert Road so that I could take some photos… totally loving my new camera!

So that was Week 6 xx

Monday, February 23, 2015

Project Life – Week 5

Hello again… I’ve managed to complete another week in my Project Life album!  Here’s an overview of Week 5 – January 26th – February 1st


On Monday, Mike and Tracey (his cousin) got back from Whangarei and Toby and I were pretty pleased to see him again.  We spent most of the afternoon hanging out together before taking Toby for a gentle walk (due to my calf muscle) and then we had dinner.

I’m finding it really nice to cook for someone other than just me and we’ve got a nice little routine going which includes doing the dishes together each night.

My herb garden is starting to take off now and we’ve actually been able to eat some fresh chillies and a capsicum that were homegrown as well.

Here’s a closer look at the start of the week:LEFT_1

I’ve spent a bit of time this week organising my classroom.  It’s always interesting when you start teaching in a new classroom.  You have to try and work out the ‘traffic flow’, furniture placement, display areas, teaching and mat areas as well as where to keep all the resources.

I managed to get most of it sorted out and then I bought some new fabric to go up on the walls of my classroom.  It makes the classroom instantly more colourful and has the added bonus of backing the kids work really well. 

You might remember that in Week 4 I printed off a whole heap of colour photos for my Hobbiton wall frame.  After putting all the photos in place I decided that I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would so I re-printed all the photos in black and white and now I really love the new frame.  Somehow the photos seem a lot more dramatic in black and white!

Here’s a close up of the second part of my week:RIGHT_1

We started off our school year with a two day noho marae.  As a ‘newbie’ to the staff, it was a really good way to get to know everyone PLUS we had some amazing tutors for the two days who shared so much of their knowledge with us.  We did a long walk on the second day and visited lots of places including the government gardens, museum and the hospital.  It’s amazing where all the local treasures end up and I learnt so much from the experience.

By the weekend I was ready to chill out with Mike and we started off the weekend with breakfast out at one of my favourite places (Third Place).  We invited Krystal to join us and it was nice to spend some quality time together.  After breakfast we had to go and do our recycling and Krystal decided to hang out with us some more… then we all went into my classroom to finish off the wall displays and after that Krystal took us out to a local blueberry picking place.  They make their own blueberry frozen yoghurt and it was DIVINE!

We spent most of Sunday doing jobs around the house and then we went to a family dinner at Krystal’s.  Once a fortnight Krystal, Chris and their flatmates invite their families around for dinner.  It’s quite nice to catch up with the other parents plus we all get to share a meal with our children.

One thing I have found is that Krystal and I have been sharing lots of foodie ideas lately… which I think is great!  She gave Mike and I a taste of her chocolate Baileys and we’re total converts… it was super delicious and we’ve since bought a bottle for ourselves!

And that brings us to the end of January! 

Project Life–Week 4

Sometimes you blink and weeks have literally passed you by!  I’m now playing the ‘catch up’ game but thankfully I’ve been filling out my calendar regularly and taking photos so it’s not as bad as it might have been.

Here’s an overview of Week 4 – January 19th – 25thFULL_1

The week started off with a couple of ups and downs.  I won an auction on Trade Me to buy a gorgeous bookcase for the family room (UP) and the sellers had given me the measurements so I knew the trailer would work brilliantly (UP).  When I went to pick up the bookcase it wouldn’t actually fit lying down on the trailer because they’d forgotten to measure the top molding detail area (DOWN).  Thankfully the sellers husband said he could loan me some rope and tie it down for me (UP) but unfortunately a few minutes up the road his rope tying skills came into serious question when the top molding broke and the bookcase crashed down into the trailer (MAJOR DOWN!). 

The molding can probably be replaced but for now I’m using the bookcase and trying not to notice the top molding too much!

Here’s a closer look at the start of the week:LEFT_1

Ever since I moved back to Rotorua I’ve been spending time trying to make the place look good again and that includes the lawns.  When the kids moved out they hadn’t mowed the lawns in weeks and the back got done on a high setting with no catcher so it’s been a mission to bring it under control.  I did discover though that mowing lawns greatly upped my steps and ‘active minutes’ on my Fit bit!

Last year I started buying a lot of books… it’s amazing what you can afford when you stop smoking!  Love That Dog was a book I borrowed from my friend Marie in Gisborne and I really loved it… even though it had me in tears by the end of it.  When I got back to Rotorua I ordered it through a local bookseller and it arrived almost straight away!

I also bought myself a really pretty phone cover.  Last year I upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy 3 and discovered that I can do quite a lot with it… it’s especially useful at school!  I’ve had a couple of covers but I really wanted something pretty and the pink butterflies on this one really caught my eye!

This year I’ve discovered that I really love white as an accent colour around my home so I’ve been working on getting some framed photos up.  In the end I went for black and white photos in white frames and I seriously love how it’s turning out!  It did take a couple of goes at the printing to work out which settings I liked the best but it was worth it when I saw the final results.

Here’s a closer look at the second half of the week:RIGHT_1

I picked up my new school laptop this week and I felt super lucky when they also provided me with a brand new backpack to transport it to and from school.  Certainly makes my life a whole lot easier that’s for sure!

Just as I was about to head back to school, my personal life went through a dramatic change as well!  I met someone… and it turns out he’s someone really important to me. 

If you’d asked me to make a list of what/who I was looking for I could have done that and to be honest Mike wouldn’t have ticked any of the boxes on my list but he is exactly the right person for me. 

Our first date was taking Toby for a walk at the Redwoods dog exercise park and Toby made a big deal of checking him out!  In the end we had three dates over three consecutive evenings… all involving taking Toby for a walk, followed by dinner and talking… we even went to the sculpture symposium!

On the Saturday morning, Mike and his cousin went up to Whangarei to visit family for the long weekend and he accidentally left his hat and sunglasses behind at my place when he called in for a visit.  Toby spent most of the weekend walking past Mike’s hat and looking at me as if to say “When’s he coming back again Mumma?”  He was pretty pleased to see him when he got back on the Monday afternoon… but that’s jumping ahead of myself!

Meanwhile, I was also working hard on getting my fitness up… hence taking Toby for walks at the dog exercise park!  On Sunday morning I took Toby for a road walk and about 10 minutes into my walk I pulled my calf muscle!  OUCH!!  I hoped that it would ease off if I kept going but that didn’t quite go to plan.  In the end I cut my walk a little short and came home to put my leg up with ice on the muscles.

I spent most of Sunday hobbling around and feeling pretty crippled.  Since I’m currently trying to catch up with my Project Life album I can tell you that my leg was quite sore for about 4 days and then it improved really quickly.

So that was Week 4 of 2015!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Project Life – Week 3

Hi there… this week I’ve also got a couple of inserts so it’s a pretty full on post!  Here’s an overview of the week:FULL_1

Carey moved to Katherine Australia during 2014.  Luckily she was able to come ‘home’ during the school holidays so we’ve been able to spend some quality time together.  Carey wanted to make a book, showcasing Rotorua so the week started off with Carey and myself taking LOADS of photos. 


On Monday we travelled around the outskirts of Rotorua getting the photos we wanted followed by a late lunch at Brew.  Brew make the best salads I’ve ever eaten and they’re also really reasonably priced.  We did have a bit of a splurge though and ordered dessert.  I’d never had a crème Brule before but the one I tasted at Brew was pretty fantastic!

On Tuesday we went into town early in the morning before it got too hot and carried on with our photography.  We discovered a sculpture exhibition during all our walking and it was amazing!

I decided to create an insert (6x12 size) for my Project Life album.  Click on the images to make them bigger:

Day 1_1   Day 2_1

After we finished taking photos on Tuesday we went to Lime for lunch.  Carey loves their mince on toast, which did look pretty good!  I had the mushrooms with marsala and it was delicious!

Here’s a closer look at the start of my week:


After spending two days taking photos I realised how much I love photography.  I took hardly any photos at all during 2014!  Now that I’ve got access to great quality printing again I’ll be taking lots more photos. 

I’d actually looked at investing in a DSLR camera before but this time I decided to go for it and I’m thrilled with my new camera.  There’s lots to learn and I’ll be doing some photo challenges with Carey during this year.

On Wednesday Chris, Carey and I all went to visit our friend Wendy and then we carried on out for lunch.  Unfortunately I didn’t make such good choices this time around so I went for an extra walk in the evening!!

Since I’ve moved back to Rotorua I’ve been making some changes at home and one of the things that has become evident is that I seriously LOVE white as an accent colour.  Farmers were having a sale so I popped in for a look and managed to find some gorgeous white photo frames for my living areas.  Now I just need to select the photos to go in them!

Here’s a look at the second half of my week:RIGHT_1

Nina and I spent Thursday working on our Project Life albums together.  I made us a healthy wrap pizza for our lunch and my the afternoon we were both caught up on our albums.

Water has been a big priority in my life lately.  I’ve been easily managing to drink 2L per day and I’ve found the smaller bottles really DO work for me.  Countdown have a great deal on packs of bottled water so I had to get some!  I also bought Toby a brand new water bowl and he thinks he’s pretty flash with it… as soon as I’d finished assembling the frame for the bowl he was into it!

On Friday Krystal and I took Toby for a walk through the Redwoods and then we met up later to do some things in town.  After walking around all the shops we decided a mother-daughter pampering session was in order so we bought some nail polish, face masks and eye masks.  Then we turned my lounge into a spa retreat and had some fun.  It was super relaxing and I’m looking forward to our next spa session!

On Saturday I finally got a chance to really ‘play’ with my new camera.  Auntie Daphne was having a wee holiday with Mum and they invited me to join them on their trip to Hobbiton.  What an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. experience.  It’s a really magical setting and fantastic for all ages. 

We all had our cameras with us.  Auntie Daphne took a modest 53 photos… Mum is famous for being a ‘shutter-bug’ and she took 184 photos… and then there was me… but remember I was trying out my new camera!… I ended up taking 276 photos!!  Thank goodness for digital cameras!

I had so many photos that I had to do an insert (Design G) but I also used some of Cathy Zielske’s templates (Labeled photo sets 1 & 2) so that I could include the maximum number of photos.  Here’s the front of the insert:FRONT_1

And here’s the back:BACK_1

Sunday was a much quieter day.  It was the Country Music in the park event and I enjoyed catching up with some of my friends that I haven’t seen for a long time. 

So that’s been my week.  I’m really enjoying these school holidays and getting quite a lot of things done. 

I hope you’re all enjoying 2015 as much as I am xx

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Project Life – Week 1

I thought I’d better get my Week 1 pages blogged before I put up Week 3!

This year I want to focus on getting healthier, fitter, stronger and more balanced.  It’s something important that I need to do for myself and I’m definitely focused on achieving my goals!  In spite of a couple of indulgences this week… crème Brule (Monday) and chocolate brownie (Wednesday)… I have actually managed to shed 500g and it feels good!

Here’s an overview of the first four days of 2015:FULL_1

Right now my mind is filled with making some changes to the way I live my life… mainly in the form of exercise (walking) and drinking water.  I’m also focusing on making smarter food choices and maintaining my non-smoking, non-V-drinking status.  Joining Cathy Zielske’s Move More, Eat Well Jumpstart is a massive step in the right direction for me!

Here’s a closer view of the start of the week:LEFT_1

If I’m going to do lot of walking then I definitely needed some new shoes and with Rebel sport having their New Year sale there was no better time to buy… love the touch of pink too!

This year I’m using images with my date cards that relate to being more healthy… in Week 2 it was nectarines and for this week I chose blueberries… I’m loving blueberries at the moment!

I’ve been making a lot of pizza wraps… super simple and using a wrap for the base gives a perfect crunchy base to put toppings onto.  My current favourites are spinach, capsicum, chicken, and a light grating of parmesan cheese.  I also love adding some cucumber, mint and yoghurt dip to the side for a bit of flavour.

Toby and I have discovered a dog park near the Redwood forest where we can walk without Toby having to be on the lead.  He loves it!!!  We quite often meet other dogs running through the park and so far everyone has been very friendly and well behaved.

Now it’s time for some gardening!RIGHT_1

When I moved back to Rotorua I knew that I was going to need to put a lot of work into my gardens.  Since this garden is small… by the front door… it seemed like a good place to start!

First up I had to get all the weeds, weed matting, bark and rubbish out of the garden.  It turned out to be a fairly quick job really. I filled up two big sacks really quickly and then it was time to go and have lunch with Chris and Carey.

Carey made some delicious pinwheel scones and I took some strawberries around.  We had a great time catching up and having a girly chat. 

After lunch I headed down to Bunnings and bought some supplies and then I got busy!  I added two big bags of organic compost and another big bag of manure.  Digging it all over was a bit of a workout too!

Then I planted all my new purchases… chilies, capsicum, tomatoes (x3), basil (regular and purple), parsley (Italian and regular), sage (x2), oregano, chives and mint. I added some snail bait too because I know from past experience that the snails absolutely LOVE that front garden!

Next, I hooked up an irrigation system to make watering a breeze and by 6pm Sunday night I had a brand new garden!

So that was the start of 2015 for me… things are looking up!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Project Life – the beginning

As  you already know, I’ve decided to get back into Project Life this year.  It feels good to be taking photos again and recording the everyday goings on in my life. 

Of course every album needs a cover page and that’s what I’ve got to share with you today.  I decided I wanted something simple but meaningful and here’s what I came up with:

Title page_1

There were definitely a lot of lessons learnt during 2014 and I’ve grown both personally and professionally during the year.  Best of all, 2015 feels like it’s going to be a great year!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Project Life–Week 2

Well I’ve actually made a start on my Project Life album for 2015!  I still have to do last week and the title page but I’ve worked out HOW I want to work things this year… and I’m pleased with the results.  Here’s an overview of the past week:FULL_1

As I was putting my photos together this weekend I realised that FOOD seems to feature heavily in them… healthy food for the most part too!  That’s probably because I’m so focused on the Move More, Eat Well course I’m doing with Cathy Zielske.

I’m definitely moving a whole lot more these days… in fact I’ve racked up almost 92,000 steps in the past 7 days!  Some of those steps come from the 4km walk Toby and I do each day.  He’s actually looking pretty fit and healthy these days! I’m also incredibly happy to report that I’ve downsized by 800g this week so it’s a feel good day for me today!

Here’s a closer look at the start of my week:LEFT_1

On Monday morning I went walking with Toby and Nina and she mentioned that the lady who does her nails had a vacancy for 9.30 that morning.  Next thing I know I’m booked in for a manicure!  I have to admit that I LOVE getting my nails done… and the pinky-purple glittery nail polish is really cool… normally I go for a French manicure so the glitter is a real change.

On Monday afternoon Esther and Liam arrived from Wellington to stay for a few days.  We hadn’t seen each other during 2014 at all so it was a big catch up!  Esther made some of her pate and I made us some margaritas and we chatted away out on the patio… was a lovely way to spend the late afternoon.

I’ve been making lots of wraps lately and I’ve discovered that they make awesome pizza bases… especially if you like crispy bases!  They’re so quick and they make very healthy lunch and dinner options.

Along with eating healthy food I’ve also started drinking lots of water… at least 2 litres every day!  Each day as I drink the bottled water I put them up on the microwave as a visual reminder to myself of how much I’ve had and how much I still NEED to have.  Then at the end of the day I refill the bottles from big 3L bottles I buy from the supermarket and I’m all set for the next day.

On Tuesday night Chris and Carey came for dinner and I made us a lamb tagine in my brand new tagine pot.  I’ve been really looking forward to trying it out and it’s fantastic!  After dinner Carey helped me put up some of my artwork… including the fab triptych painting I won at the art auction two years ago. 

Here’s a look at the second half of the week:RIGHT_1

Esther and I went out to Third Place for brunch on Wednesday.  She’s heard all about it because it’s one of my favourite places but this time she got to try it for herself!  After brunch we went to Kuirau park and I got Esther to take a few photos of me for my Move More, Eat Well album.  Thankfully the weather was perfect… just a little bit cloudy which was brilliant!

On Thursday I spent some time at school and then Krystal and I met up for dinner.  We ended up going to Leonardo’s Italian Restaurant and had a brilliant platter… delicious breads, salamis, olives, bruschetta, dips and more… we love sharing platters!

On Friday I got my hair done and just for a change I went for big spirally curls!  Actually I quite liked them and will definitely try them again.  I got home just in time for the HRV blokes to install the extractor fan in my bathroom… yippee no more steamy mirrors!  They also installed a heat transfer system to keep the lounge warmer in winter.

On Saturday Mum came over for lunch and we ended up going to Brew which was fabulous!  Mum had a grilled fish salad which looked awesome and I had the bourbon beef salad… absolutely to die for!!!  The beef was super tender and just melted in my mouth!  It’s great being back in Rotorua and being able to catch up with all my friends and family again. 

Today I had a big catch up with Tracey on the phone…the big downside about leaving Gisborne is not seeing Tracey and the kids each week!  Tracey was showing me some stuff on Trade Me that she liked and I came across a gorgeous bookcase that I knew would be perfect for my lounge… and it had a Buy Now price that was perfect for my budget! 

Within three hours I’d bought the bookcase, hired a trailer, driven out to Lake Okareka to pick it up, driven back and installed it in my lounge!  It fits the space perfectly and will look great with books and photos all set up on it!

So as you can see it’s been a busy… and eventful… week. 

Yesterday was also a special day for one of the teachers I worked with during 2014.  Kat worked in the classroom right next door to me and we got on really well and yesterday she married her lovely Tom in Gisborne.  I know they’re going to be super happy!

Kat wedding

So that’s all my news for now.  I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend and you’re ready for the week ahead.