Friday, 29 June 2012

A Wedding Book

A year and a half after our wedding, we finally ordered our wedding photo book.

I think designing a book online and getting it printed is a lot easier (and more modern) than printing photos and putting them in an album.

We got out book from Blurb, because it had really good reviews. Also, its designing software was really easy to use.

Because you design it yourself, you can use any format, and add text (we added our vows, a poem, and the lyrics of Matt's song).

You can make any type of book with this service - I might make a recipe book next.

Its sort of special looking through the photo book that you know your grandchildren will look through.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Feeding the Vampires, aka Give Blood

If there is one thing I will bug people to donate, it's blood. I understand money can be hard to give, especially on a regular basis. But, we all have blood in equal measure, and if you are eligable then you should seriously think about it!

Especially because NZ donor numbers have dropped off and we have a shortage of blood in our hospitals.

I recently donated for the first time in four years. It's been a while because I've had a few health issues, but they are all sorted, and I'm back on board!

You go in and fill out a form asking basic (sexual and general) health questions. You meet with a nurse, who takes a finger prick of blood (the worst part!), to check your iron levels. Then the nurse will go over your questionnaire to check you're eligible to give blood.

Some of the main reasons you might not be able to, are if you have had an invasive medical procedure, or a piercing/tattoo in the last 6 months. Also if you're unwell (have a cold etc), you won't be able to donate. You can find more eligibility info here
(I was on a few different medicines and I could still give :)

Then, its off to donate! Its not painful (apart from the sharp prick when the needle goes in), and it takes only 10 minutes

My arm. Good times

My blood. Hope you're not feeling icky
Ok, so its not painful, but its not the most fun experience, of course. But, I always tell myself that this is SO SO easy compared to what someone who might need a transfusion is going through.

And, lets be honest. It's nice being treated like you are SO AMAZING for giving blood (all the staff are so lovely and encouraging).
 After I gave blood, they have a nice little cafe for us to relax in and we get free coffee (machine, not instant!), bikkies, and get this... crackers with Marmite on! So if you're missing your marmite fix (here in NZ it's out of stock), you will want to get in quick.

I got a big sexy bandage cos I am allergic to the little sticky ones. Fluro pink was a colour option. I declined.

If you have extra time, and meet the criteria, you could also donate plasma or platelets. I can't donate plasma (I need to be a bit more chunky), but got my blood tested for being a platelet donor. For both you have to be there a bit longer, and they take your blood out, take out the plasma/platelets and return your red blood cells to you. You can do this every 3 weeks-ish, as opposed to whole blood which you can only donate every 3 months. If you have spare time, and are healthy, you should look into it.

If you're in NZ go to this website, and book a time to make a donation. (Come on, do it, don't be a wuss!). If you are in Wellington, I'll come with you and hold your hand!

If you're overseas, I'm sure your country needs blood too - go out and give it a go!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Recipe: Lolly Cake

Here in New Zealand, Lolly Cake is a baking staple. And its so easy because there is no baking, or real baking ingredients involved.

All you need is:

-1 packet malt biscuits
-1/2 tin of condensed milk
- 125g of butter
-Eskimo lollies, or fruit puffs

First, you need to smash/blend the malt bikkies. Depending on your mood, you can smash them in a plastic bag, or blend them in a blender.

In a large bowl microwave on low the condensed milk and the butter.

Chop up the lollies to your desired size.

Mix all ingredients together

Coat a surface in coconut, then, roll out the mixture into a log shape onto it.

Don't think about what it looks like
Coat it all with coconut

And wrap it in cling wrap and put it into the fridge for a few hours (or the freezer for 20).

The cut it into your desired shapes

The recipe is from here, and the site also has a few tips about other things you can add to the recipe.

This is great to bring to any dessert evening, or to pop into lunches.

Enjoy! xo

Monday, 18 June 2012

Song Lust

(Florence + the Machine - Shake It Out.)

"And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa.
And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
'Cause I like to keep my issues strong

It's always darkest before the dawn"

If you love that song you will love this one too
(Florence + the Machine, What The Water Gave Me.)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Date Night: Fine Dining Styles

I recently finished my degree (WOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!) and it was my birthday in the same week. So, a celebration was called for.

Matt and I have never been to a 'fine dining' restaurant before, but this celebration (plus the fact we have an entertainment book to help with costs) called for a classy night out.

Matt picked the restaurant - I didn't know where we were going, so it was a fun surprise for me.

We went to The Ambeli (good choice Matt!). This is the type of place where they take your coat for you and put the napkin on your lap, so we felt posh.

Much wine was consumed.

They started by giving us mini bread rolls and olive oil. Then they served us a little mulled wine with a duck liver foam.....! It was SO delicious

Then we had a starter of "Pan-fried Haloumi & Candied Pecan Crispy Chickpeas, Orange & Basil Salad"

Miam Miam!

Then for our mains I had the most delicious pork I have ever eaten (Milk Braised Pork Belly with Candied Eggplant, Olive & Pine Nut CrumbleGrilled Artichoke, Butterbean and Smoked Pork Hock Salad, to be exact). Matt dined on Angus beef filet

(Chargrilled Angus Beef Fillet with Caper Custard,Fennel Remoulade Potato& Anchovy Raviolini, Nasturtium Leaf & Goats’ Cheese Pesto, to be exact)
You know you're at a flash place when you don't know what half the words on the menu mean. I thought Haloumi was a fish, but was soon corrected (oh the shame.)

We ended with a cocktail at the Library, which was just so delicious (Watermelon Margarita, yes please.)

We'll have to do it again, next time I finish a degree.....

Monday, 11 June 2012

Wishing it away

I have been searching for the words for weeks to write my thoughts. Isn't it funny how our feelings, thoughts and emotions can escape words, slip from us like butter melting, eluding being caught down.

I found this post, and it helped me to articulate my thought. The base of it is, I have been feeling a bit boring, settled, un spontaneous, familiar lately.

There's me, Friday night, waiting for my take away dinner, before I go home for an evening alone, watching X Factor and Glee. Maybe I would be doing some dishes, for extra fun.
I would see all these young things, going out with friends, having drinks at bars. And I would feel left out. Like I had left that part of my world behind, and now I was boring. As if the most exciting parts of my life have already slipped by.

Then, I would mentally check myself. Do I really want to go back to those days? I didn't have a whole heap of direction, and spent too much time and money on things unworthy of my student bank account. I had many friends were fleeting, and momentary. BUT, in that was the huge sense of possibility, and potential for life. Who knew what would come, but it could be anything!

Since getting that wedding band, since 'settling down,' I have been looking back on that part of my life. A tad lamentful. A tad jealous of my other self.

But, I was trying to grasp, catch something that is gone. And so it should be. And I was starting to believe the lie, 'the grass is always greener......'

Don't get me wrong, this was not on my mind the whole time. Only small, dark moments, like at the takeaway store, would this fear of having missed out, prick, pierce me. And then I would close it up, swallow it and move on.

But, I have decided to confront this head on. I have had a good talking to with myself. Something like 'each stage of life has its good and bad points. You wouldn't rather go back would you? Oh, and hang on Jenn, back then, weren't you just whiling away your days till you found someone, till you could settle down.?'

In every stage of life, I have found myself lamenting for something to come, or something in the past. Why is it so hard to enjoy the present?

Small gnawing lies can be the undoing of us, so it's now time to sew this one up and close it for good.
Because in all my moments, apart from those few dark ones, I am completely happy and content, being settled. Being a wife, having a job I love and spending time with family- there is nothing more I could want. I don't need grand moments, big gestures to make me happy. The small things, the mundane moments of life- thats where real joy is.

And if we allow lies to creep in, the joy to be sucked out of these moments, well then we're in trouble. Because the grass always seems greener, but it isn't really. We have to make joy from what we have now, live in the present moment, not dreaming in our heads of days gone by, or to come.

Because, whats the point of living life, wishing it away?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Song Lust

Love, love, loving this song at the moment

(Kimbra, Plain Gold Ring.)

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