Work and Play

I worked four days out of five last week and how quickly the routine kicks in and the reflection time goes out the window. I stopped doing yoga on day four and didn’t write in my journal all week.

I find money just slips through my  fingers too on car parking, food, coffees and so on. It really does seem cheaper not to work.

While I am writing the OH is watching Once Were Warriors and it knots my stomach up to the point where I have to leave. Twenty years on and child poverty and violence seems to only be worse.

Dark Horse just reiterated the terrible and frightening lives some children endure.

It was heartening to read about Children’s Commissioner, Russell Wills,in the latest Listener. What an amazing man. He only agreed to take the job on if he could continue as a paediatrition at Hawks Bay Hospital. What an amazing job he is doing in an extremely depressing environment.

What can I do to make a contribution is a question I am grappling with.  I feel so impotent sitting here knitting and reading and indulging myself in very comfortable surroundings.

So on I go making tiles and knitting.

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I was thinking maybe I could knit for babies in hospital.

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I feel so disturb by the violence even in films but I can’t just complain about it if I am not going to do anything about it.

Let’s make sure everyone votes!! FG

Kale-divine? Really!

I was given a 60 dollar Westfield voucher when I finished on a committee and it had been burning a bit of a hole in my pocket so I went shopping. In the old days I pretty much bought whatever I wanted right there and then but these days I take longer to make a purchase.

I wasn’t sure that Volume 2 of Libby Weaver’s recipes would be a good buy so I mulled over the purchase as 50 dollars for a recipe book is pretty steep, especially when you can get most on line for free. When I saw one of the recipes was how to boil beetroot, I really had my doubts.

However, I have really used her other book so I took the plunge with my voucher. It is cheaper on electronic download but I like to have the book.


I have made two divine things so far.

Firstly chicken chermoula. This was great for us as an evening meal and then delicious leftovers for lunch and I would definitely make this again. But to my absolute surprise the kale pesto is divine. We both worked today so I just threw in a roast chicken as the OH is out until a bit later.

Then I saw that I had some kale in the fridge so I made the Kale Pesto as well. It would be gorgeous as a dip on veges, chicken, pasta etc and is yummo. Much more so than it sounds as kale always sounds a bit earnest and healthy… 🙂 kind of hippy sandals, incense and BO kind of food. But it is totally moreish.

Better not give you the recipe from the new book but suffice to say if you have a processor and kale, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, spring onions, salt and pepper and cashews you are pretty much there.

Kale Pesto-so much better than it sounds!!
Chicken Chermoula


As I had a little left over from my voucher I can self righteously say that I have started my Christmas shopping -smugishness smugly smug.

119 days until Christmas

My friend Deb and I intend to bake up a storm prior to Christmas but more festive frivolity when it is a bit closer to the big day.

Last night, rather reluctantly I went to see Dark Horse. The rave reviews are richly deserved but it can be grim watching at time. It is all based on a  true story which makes it even more gritty and at times unbearable. Go and see it is my recommendation but go for a debrief afterwards.

I am doing quite a lot of the “W” word at the moment but I’m finding that the money I’m earning is really easy to save as it is “extra” to the small allowance I have these days. How quickly the rushing around thing takes over though. Today was one of the very few times that I haven’t done my morning yoga as I was tired and couldn’t make myself get up earlier. Yoga TV on the Living Channel is only about 22 minutes but it is a great way to start the day if you have that channel.


What I’m currently reading: The Hare With Amber Eyes- a biography.

Work again tomorrow so have a great weekend. FG

The Daily List

My routine at home is equally as busy and structured as my work days. I like to make a list in addition to a couple of ordinary routines. I get up and do the TV Yoga first, then breakfast, then writing and list making.

Today I have on my list:

Snail deterrents (see previous post)

Make brain balls for the week

See previous posts for recipe or google Dr Libby brain balls

Finish back of baby jersey and cast on for front – have already done this.


Return nearly due library books and combine with shopping for dinner.

Clean glass door and bathroom- done

It’s so clean you can’t see it!

Buy Dr Libby’s new recipe book with gift voucher I received. Cook something new from it for dinner.

Put paper away in filing cabinet (note to self, clear out the filing cabinet)

Meditate  in the sun for 15 minutes.

I also sneak in a little indulgence by  one of those Location Location or living in the country programmes. Too often people put off their dreams to live the way they really want to with what are essentially excuses.

Today the programme had a young couple with a little boy. They had always dreamed of moving to the country sometime… but she got breast cancer and it made them think about priorities and so they are doing it now. So sensible I think.

I would never have moved to France with Sam at the perfect age if I hadn’t borrowed the money. The money is paid back and forgotten but the memories are forever.

Sam's new mode of transport Sam and carcassonne cafe Sam carcassonne

What a brilliant day ahead. I’m pretty good at beating myself up about things I’ve done or said so here is a quote I’m going to try to begin each day with. You too, have a good day wherever you are.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt, crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, 
tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely,
with too high a spirit to be cumbered 
with your old nonsense.  Ralph Waldo Emerson





Snail revenge

I am working quite a bit for the next two weeks so it is a joy to have today off.

My poor vege plants are being ravaged by snails but hopefully not any more!!

I am trying 4 different things to rid my garden of the little critters.

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Cure number 1

Garlic infusion- soak the garlic in hot water for a few hours and then spray the garden.


Cure number 2

Break up egg shells and scatter around as snails have soft underbellies and don’t like crawling over them. Shells also work in this way.


Cure number 3

Scatter coffee grounds around the plants or spray with coffee- or both.

Cure number 4

You can use beer or 1 tablespoon of sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of yeast mixed with water. Apparently the snails fall in and drown…



So, let the battle commence. I’ll let you know if it works! Below is a great website for tips.

All this snail revenge put me in mind of a lovely Fleur Adcock poem:

For a Five-year-old – Fleur Adcock

For a Five-year-old – Fleur Adcock

A snail is climbing up the window-sill
Into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see, and I explain
That it would be unkind to leave it there:
It might crawl to the floor; we must take care
That no one squashes it. You understand,
And carry it outside, with a careful hand,
To eat a daffodil.

I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails:
Your gentleness is moulded still by words
From me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
From me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed
Your closest relatives, who purveyed
The harshest kind of truth to many another.
But that is how things are: I am your mother,
And we are kind to snails.


Sunday Lovely Sunday

Awoke today to the most perfect Spring  morning. I then cooked up a storm for lunch. Some old favourites like the foccacia bread and olive tarts but two new things as well, beetroot humus and pineapple chutney (yum!).

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The only other important ingredient was good friends to share it with.


We wined and dined outside in the warmth of the Spring sun.

Having eaten so much I had a bit of a laze in the sun with a book. Just finished  it today, called In The Shadow of Trees by Elenor Gill. It’s a NZ story and was quite a good read.


Having lazed about I thought a walk would do me good so I meandered down to Mairangi Bay and took Spring photos as I went along.

The grape leaves are just beginning to unfurl.
Beautiful purple magnolias peeking over the fence.

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On the homeward stretch the sun was setting beautifully.


I am working for the next two weeks sadly, so my blog posts will be short. Have a great week, FG.

Out Damn Spring!

I’m sitting here with a hay fever headache, sore ears, oozing eyes and a blocked nose. The roof of my mouth is like corrugated iron and so itchy!! So here is my anti spring poem:

Out Damn Spring
(Bah Humbug)

I hate spring because
Everything’s new like lust
And lounge suites.

The light is smart
The growth obscene
In its smug luxuriance.

People smile in cahoots
With strangers, lambs frolic,
Calves cavort, dammit.

I hate the green of Spring
My nose itches, I get red spots
In Spring.

Everyone is hopeful,
There’s spring in their steps.
O come back dour winter so we know
Where we stand, and teach this spring
A thing or two.

There’s a bucket of yellow daffodils
Trumpeting at my door,
Their frilly faces like babies in bonnets
Silly kids in the school play.

Blast, I’m smiling like a goon.


Thank you Patsy, for the lovely spring flowers 🙂


Birthday party

Last evening was lovely. Being with Sam on his birthday, his cuzzies joining us felt so relaxed and comfortable. Sophie and Alexandra grew up with Sam next door so they know each other very well. They were ballet girls so had a great time dressing Sam up and he usually went along with it.

Sophie and Alexandra dressed Sam, complete with scar, for an Action Man competition in the local mall. He went as a climber extreme. (So glad he turned to music growing up and not climbing). He won of course…..

I decided on a make -your -own- kind of dinner with homemade rolls, fish burgers, vege burgers, and then sliced tomato, peppers, avocado etc. I also made Libby Weaver’s cashew sauce. (I love it and it can go on pretty much anything, fish, burgers, vegetables). Then each person could make up their dinner to suit. I followed up with a carrot cake. It wasn’t all that exciting so might make something different next time.

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Libby Weaver’s Cashew Sauce:

3/4 cup unsalted cashew nuts

1/2 clove garlic

1/2 cup water

juice half a lemon

pinch cumin

2 tablespoons fresh coriander

salt to taste

Whiz cashews and garlic until well-ground, add water, lemon juice and process until smooth and creamy. Fold in coriander and a pinch of salt. yummy

Sophie has just become engaged to Auldan so I had fun prettying up a little package of tiles.
I iced half of my carrot cake as some people prefer it plain and just put the icing on the table for any extra requirements.
I love setting the table and faffing about with candles.
I modified the 2 year old card I bought in Paihia to a 22…


The before shot.
From 2 to 22
Not easy getting the girls and Sam in the same frame… 🙂
And reluctantly photographed with Mummy…

In the past we would probably have gone out for dinner and spent a couple of hundred dollars. I had a lot of fun preparing for the party  and it was so nice just to be at home.

The meal probably cost around 40 dollars plus a bottle of bubbly. We used the avocados and tomatoes from the Kerikeri market and the smell of freshly made bread is lovely too.  We will be having the leftovers for dinner!

Have a great day, FG


Big and Little

We had a wonderful few days away and I love the drive up to Russell. I like to stop at Kawakawa because of the HunderTwasser loos. It is in some ways a little bit depressing as the shops are down at heel and there is an air of poverty but the influence of the artist lives on which gives the whole place a lift.

hundertwasser collage


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I am an avid tea towel collector ever since a friend gave me a book on tea towels. They are a great way to preserve memories  while doing the dishes…Bruce bought me this one.


Spring was starting to peek around every corner and the weather was generally not too bad and lovely on Sunday. Lambs really do leap with all four feet off the ground, I saw them.


On the way we also visited a couple of vineyards.

Bruce at Omata is a great person to chat to about the local area and the lowdown on wine, golf, diving and fishing.

Omata Estate Vineyard

Equally Paras at Paroa Vineyard was very helpful and friendly. The settings were both gorgeous with views out over the vines, geese honking, a lake, sculptures all to enjoy.


After taking the car ferry from Pahia we arrived at The Duke  to a warm welcome and an appetite for dinner. Below is a collage of the big picture but I also noticed lots of smaller things.

RussellSmall things like:

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It can be expensive on holiday but we got the great grab one deal for the hotel and then brought cheeses, breads, tea and crackers for lunches and snacks from home and also at the Kerikeri market. We paid for the grab one a while ago and so it was just the extras and the petrol costs.

Delicious fruit bread from the market.

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Choc covered cherries were pretty fab too from Makana Chocs.
Kerikeri is renowned for its citrus.

On Saturday we went on the passenger ferry to Paihia and I found this little treasure trove run by Anne. I spent at least an hour in there while Bruce sat in the late afternoon sunshine with a beer in hand on the waterfront. It is called Anchor Antiques.

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My purchases for the princely sum of $17.00 lovely old cards for my tiles, some antiques buttons for my sister’s colonial dolls and an old collapsible toy for my friend. Anne was very patient and listened to my chatter and gave me some great bargains. Go here if you are in Paihia. It’s a great way to indulge without overdoing it.

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Well have to go and put the bread on and make a birthday cake for my lovely boy. His cuzzies are coming over to celebrate with us. Really looking forward to seeing them all. He is 22 today so this time 22 years ago I was in the middle of a 28 hour labour…but boy was it worth it!!!!!

Happy Birthday my lovely Sam
The cuzzies are a bit more grown up now so I hope they will let me take some pics tonight.

Have a great day. FG





Lucky Me.

It is days like today when I feel so lucky to be at home. Firstly it was very stormy and cold outside and secondly a friend came over for lunch. It is so relaxing not having to rush, or watch the clock and we could just meander over a few topics, have a glass of wine and have a simple lunch. We were going to go for a walk and buy lunch but the weather was too miserable.

Home made foccacia with salmon, avocado, cheese and poached egg followed by a brain ball.


After my friend left I indulged myself with a couple of episodes of Escape to the Country and finished my other friend’s snood. I’m going to go to Wild and Woolly next week to learn how to “graft”. It is a method of joining using three needles. I also prepped a few new tiles.

Snood nearly ready to give to my friend, Deb.
The other thing I rarely did when working was any small repairs. Today I sewed a little hole appearing in a top I had. Ridiculous I know, but simple pleasures…
A few new tiles.

It is so cosy here inside with the rain lashing the windows and crashing on the roof. I feel very lucky! My son’s birthday is on Monday so his cousins are coming over for dinner. That will be fun as they grew up together next door to each other.


I hope you all have a great weekend, mine is starting early. It is easy to be happy with what we have when we think of Palestine, Syria, Russia…

I have finished Stasiland also by Anna Funder which I really enjoyed and have started on another by Linda Olsson called Sonata for Miriam. 


I think it will be a weekend of Sudoku, reading, knitting and eating unless the rain eases up and there is a space for some walking in the Bay of Islands. As you can sit in the window of the hotel behind glass, I really don’t mind too much about the weather as long as the ferry is going.

I hope you all have a great weekend, mine is starting early. It is easy to be happy with what we have when we think of Palestine, Syria, Russia… FG

Three month review- giving up the day job

It is three months today that I left my job. Yesterday, someone asked me if I would ever go back to work and off the top of my head I said, “Maybe three days a week.”

Last night I had what I call work nightmares, anxiety dreams about being back at work. I know now that I will never go back to regular, permanent work. I have a few potential speaking jobs coming up and some contract work but I remain in a state of bliss about just being at home.

I love the time to cook, read, knit, do tiles and catch up with things. I have to admit I even like housework!  I am disappointed that I haven’t lost weight but am working on it. I haven’t missed having a huge amount of disposable income and am happy to bypass the shops generally. I think I save about $100 on food per fortnight.

Last night’s dinner was from the WW Cookbook and was delicious. It looks a bit wrinkly now… but I had leftovers for lunch and it was still yummy and apparently freezes well. It used beef in the recipe but I just minced a coupe of chicken breasts.


Yesterday  I went with my friend Deb to the wool shops to choose some wool for a snood for her. We had a great time messing about and looking at colours and styles.

Needless to say I couldn’t wait to get started.

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I can really recommend both Crafty Nitwits and Wild and Woolly Yarns for their friendly service and expertise.

Wild and Woolly Yarns
10 Victoria Rd, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand
+64 (0)9 445 3255
I hope to finish the snood over the weekend as we are taking a three day weekend up at the Duke of Marlborough in the northern town of Russell. We went last year on the same Grabone deal and absolutely loved it. The food is fantastic and for just $150 you get dinner, bed and breakfast. 

Hope all is going well with you. If you are thinking of living more simply or giving up work please comment below. FG