See Dog Run

See Dog Run DSC_0069 - Copy DSC_0070 - Copy DSC_0070 DSC_0071 DSC_0072 DSC_0073 DSC_0074I just found this collection of photos on our computer. Just love them! They are from a while back – When we lived down south and Cleo was able to run free in the forest. I miss that freedom!


Good Fast Food: Chili for Mah Belly

Wednesdays for us are usually a rush-a-round ordeal. I have no time to cook as I have a pilates class at 6pm, and then I get picked up by the boys to take Cleo to agility at 7.30.

So, what to do when you don’t have much time and you want something healthy and yummy?

Fast Chili. So easy to make, and you can jazz it up with some flatbread.


1 carrot

1/2 onion

1 tsp cumin

1/2 capsicum

olive oil


1 bay leaf

Sea salt and pepper

1 can mexican style tomatoes

1 can ortega black beans with jalapenos

Add your oil in to a pan. throw in onion, cumin, capsicum and carrot. mix well.

Add beans, tomatoes, and bay leaf.

Cook til things bubble, then turn it down. Stir occasionally.

It will probably be ready in about 10 minutes.

Top with salt, pepper, corriander, and some sour cream and grated cheese if you feel like it.

Flat Bread:

exactly the same as my recipe for pizza bread, but fried on a griddle iron. If you can’t be bothered trawling:

1 cup wholemeal flour

1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1 tbsp olive oil

pinch salt

put yeast in to a cup with warm water and sugar. let sit til foamy.

put the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the yeast mix and oil and stir through. knead the dough til forms a ball.

Place in a greased bowl, cover, and place somewhere warm for about 45 minutes.

punch the dough down and let sit for 5 minutes. On a floured surface, press out the dough til round and flat.

Fry dry in a fry pan, or on a cast iron skillet, like I am. Turn over 1/2 way through cooking and cook until crispy

once cooked, cut into sections for dipping in to the chili.

Dinner is done!

The longest bit of time you need is for the dough to proof, but still that’s only about an hour at tops. You can get your chili done in the meantime and find something else to do to fill in your time!

hungry kitty



PS I lost all my pics for this post, so here is a photo of hungry Arlo.


xx Em.

Yellow Dresses and Sunshine

DSC_0210 DSC_0218 Copy of DSC_0222Good Evening, and Merry Christmas!

It’s been such a long time since my last post, but I have good reason for it! I have a job, and it’s been taking up a bit of time. It’s really good, and has fit into our family routine really well!

So a couple of weeks ago we went to a wedding in Blenheim. And here are some pics of me frolicking and partaking in what the region has to offer.

DSC_0153 DSC_0152 DSC_0156 DSC_0157 DSC_0159 DSC_0166 DSC_0154

My Weekend So Far


I have had one strange and traumatic weekend.

I write this as I lie on the couch, with the husband sleeping at the other end, and the dog asleep on the floor. The teenager is in his room on the computer, and I am just gathering my thoughts on what was our weekend. I have been spending way too long dwelling on the bad things, so I am gonna condense it all in to easy to read points.

I will get the cons out of the way first…



teenager has been fighting at school

dog ripped open paw while digging in the yard and had to have staples under anesthetic

my attempt at bandaging her foot – ended up being too tight, poor love.

we are exhausted both emotionally and physically due to the above

feeling the affects of the drugs. Lots of crying and zoning out…

I pulled my calf muscle while doing 30 day shred (it’s okay now though)

Nic’s credit card snapped



I start my new job tomorrow

I figured out how to use the train for the first time on Friday

I drank a lot of nice red wine

The sun has been shining

I got to eat eggplant parmigiana and poutine

I have played 3 sets of tennis in the last 3 days

We picked our first Christmas tree (and mine ever), and even though I don’t ethically agree with it, it was pretty exciting

Nic with our tree

I had a mammoth 2 hour skype call to my friends last night and it was SO good to talk to them!

I am up to day 8 of 30 Day Shred and I am getting some muscles!


SO, in creating my list I will leave you with a song:

Have a great rest of your weekend!

xx Em.


What I’ve been up to Lately..

Well hi there 🙂

It’s been a wee while since my last post, and I have been pretty busy as of late – things to do, people to see – all that jazz.

where to start….

looking real professional before the interview…


I have it! After a bit of time trawling for jobs, I finally got an interview and I begin work this week. I will be working approximately 15 hours a week, in residential homes for people with intellectual disabilities. I have met most of the residents already, and they are lovely. I really look forward to starting to form relationships with my co-workers and getting used to the way things are done in the company. I also love fact that I get to continue my music work and they have been really accommodating of my other commitments.

bbq food just about ready to nom.


Last week, my Dad (Pappy) came to visit. I should have taken more photos, really, but I was so flat out I didn’t have time. He was here for 2 nights and we sure got a lot of quality time out of it. We went for a bike ride, played tennis, had a bbq, went out for dinner, ate bakery food, went for a drive, walked on the beach….no wonder I was exhausted the next few days after! We had such a fun time, and I’m glad he is able to come back up for Christmas in a few weeks.


I have had a break from Pilates for the last 2 weeks, and in that time my hip has been playing up (I have some issues with my RHS hip, we think it’s a hangover from the congenital hip displaysia I had when I was born – that I didn’t know I had until last year). I am really looking forward to getting back to class tomorrow, that’s for sure. I have just started the 30 Day Shred programme. Today, will be my 3rd day of level 1. So far, my arms are killing me, especially the inside of my right elbow from all the weights work. I only have 3kg weights here at home, so I think I will have to alternate with something a bit lighter, such as some cans until I get a bit stronger. I thought if I posted that I was doing the programme that I would actually continue with the programme. I have taken some gross “before photos” which I will post when I feel comfortable, so in the meantime here is the least gross one…

modest before photo, post 1st day of 30 DS, 18th November.

Cleo and her ‘auntie’ Ness – my mother in law’s dog. Spending a lot of time with these bitches lately


Apart from myself being in a bit of a crappy mood as of late (probably caused by not being able to eat chocolate and lose weight), things have been pretty good! We seem to go through these ebbs and flows of things being excellent, and then a bit average round these parts. Being a step parent can still be difficult , and having a teenager in the house can be trying at times, but we focus on the positives, and I am pretty darn content with the routine of our lives. Home really is here in Wellington for us. I know we live a bit far out of town, but I love it, and I feel so lucky to have our little – albeit temporary – house on the coast. We also have some exciting news. We are on a waiting list for a puppy! We have been wanting another dog for a while now, and although people tell me just to have a baby, I say now…babies take a bit of time to materialize sometimes, and in the meantime lets have a baby dog!

Dad – to – be of the puppies we are waiting on.


I have had a few things going on in the last few weeks socially – the latest being attending a hens party for my friend Ruth on Saturday. It was a lovely day, with high tea and games. I’m really looking forward to the wedding, and am awaiting a dress I have ordered to wear. I love getting dressed up for special occasions, and have got my shoes sorted already….behold!

These are the shoes that I wore for my wedding ceremony, and I have been dying to have another excuse to wear them. I may have to do a bit of wearing in, though…

Well, so lots and lots of stuff has been going on. It’s been great keeping myself busy – things were getting pretty mundane being stuck in a routine, and now I am sent into a tailspin with all the things that are happening.


Hope you are all well and you have a lovely week!

xx Em.


Oh this photo cracks me up and makes me SO happy at the same time.

It’s a slow day at the office today, so I look inspiration from the lovely Danielle at Sometimes Sweet for this post. Sometimes it’s just nice to write about what you are doing, even when you aren’t really technically doing anything! That’s the story of my life at the moment, and I think I could make busy/lazy a trend/lifestyle.

Watching: The Amazing Race, Australia. It’s the new My Kitchen Rules replacement in my life and it’s preforming well so far. Thank god for live record, etc, we have been able to record our favourite shows and watch them when it suits. So, to add to The Amazing Race we also have Homeland, Miami Ink (an oldie but a goodie), Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones (Nic makes me watch it, but I am kinda getting in to it), and as lame as it is….police 10/7. 

Listening to: The sound of a tuned piano! I finally got my piano tuned and have been playing a bit lately. Unfortunately she has some health issues, and I will have to pay for a refurbish in time, but I am happy with it being tuned a semitone lower than it is supposed to be in the meantime. I am currently looking through my Cole Porter songbook for easy songs to start with. Oh, and I have my first voice student coming this afternoon. Hopefully they won’t mind all the boxes around the piano!

Planning: Lots of things! Some of which I can’t tell you about just yet..but soon I will be able share. Other things include applying for life insurance (joy of joys); planning christmas (argh!) in our new environment (I am so excited my Pappy is coming up for it!); looking at travel options for future overseas adventures; thinking of way of conning husband into getting me a french bulldog for christmas (anyone got $3000?)

Thinking about: As broad as it sounds, life. At the moment I am in a really reflective place so I just want to take stock of what I have in my life, and find ways to be the best person that I can. Oh, also I am thinking about the interview I had yesterday and whether it will work out (fingers crossed!)

Looking forward to: Possible employment! And, my Dad coming to visit next week. I’m also excited to get the final touches on my new tattoo hopefully this weekend AND going out for brunch with Nic’s family for his brothers’ birthday.

Reading: Shamefully, nothing. But I think blogs count. So, on my blogroll is Sometimes Sweet, Dainty Squid, Perez Hilton,  Gala Darling, and the blogs of my friends. I am also doing a lot of reading on My Fitness Pal – one of the single most important things for me at the moment (operation: lose weight – so far, it’s working quite well and I am down 5 kilos last time I checked)

Making me happy: The fact that I AM reaching goals; good news in many places; good friends that live close; red bush tea heaping me curb my caffeine addiction; sweet treats; family phone calls; hanging out with Cleo; waiting eagerly for my friends’ wedding festivities; the lavender in bloom outside my window; the weather getting warmer; possibilities that things are going to keep getting better and better for us.

Doing this has suddenly put me in a very good mood. I have had a headache for the last 2 days, and now I feel less tension in my face which has dramatically helped with the pain.

Life is good, you know!

Have a wonderful day,

xx Em.

A Daily Stroll

I live in probably one of the most beautiful towns ever.

Waikanae is right by the water, surrounded by hills, rivers, lagoons…We are spoilt to live here.

Every day or so, Cleo and I go for a walk. We really are spoilt for choice as to where to go – the beach, river, the lagoon, cute little grassy lanes…Wherever we go, we get to take in a visual feast of beautiful things.

Our walk to the Lagoon was brought to a halt today though, as Thomas the Goose (as he is known locally) was protecting another family of geese, and I couldn’t get through!  He brayed and hissed at us and started to make chase. Apparently he is also guarding a family of swans, with signets that have just hatched. What a tough wee man!

And the Pohutakawas are starting to bloom – that means Christmas is here soon!

Pohutakawas are New Zealands answer to the Christmas Tree. They mainly grow in the north island, and are just so beautiful. Lush deep green leaves with bright red flowers. They are just so beautiful, and the streets are lined with them here.

Have a wonderful day!

xx Em.

The Job Hunt

I’ve had a lot of time to paint my nails…

Since moving up this end of the country, things have been a little quiet for me on the employment side.

I was extremely lucky to complete some wonderful work for a couple of months, but since that contract finished I am only working 2 hours a week.

Not quite enough, eh?

So – I am an active job hunter.

Looking for employment is pretty difficult. I have been searching on and off for about a month or so now, and i’m just getting to that stage where I am a little panicky….

Any jobs out there, Girl?

I was a bit more picky to start with. I have been wanting to set up a private music practice but have not had much success with starting things up. I have very little contact with a potential client base, so I thought I should perhaps look for something with a little more support, or something short term until more work in my chosen field (music therapy) comes up.

Today I have a job interview as a relief teacher aide, and I am really excited about it. Nervous, but good nervous. I know that by doing this it will really help us with our savings and save my sanity! I love being at home, but not every day doing housework!

So, hopefully by the end of the day I have a little more direction!

Fingers Crossed,

xx Em.

A lovely day.

On Saturday I  was absolutely thrilled to have my very very good friend in town.

Debbie is my oldest (not saying she is decrepid) friend. We have known each other since we were just 4 years old!! Here she is, looking stunning as my maid of honour at our wedding… Oh and it’s a funny photo as it looks like we are about to pash…

Hah, hubby looking away in disgust….anyway……

Debbie is such a lovely person, and I am SO lucky to call her my friend. She lives over the other side of the world at the moment, so whatever time we do have together is so special. I was very excited to hear she would be briefly in my town over this past weekend. We decided to do something MAJAH together.

After a bit of (A DELICIOUS) brunch we decided to go and get some friendship ink. Neb opted  for a beautiful fantail on her ribs. Ouchies, but SO beautiful. Here is the process (Debbie wouldn’t let me take photos of her expression at the time)

            Getting the outline done looked like it was the most painful part

And the final (fresh) result…

This little guy will lighten up a bit, and more detail will show on the wings. Will have to get Debbie to send me a healed pic to update. Debbie was SUCH a trooper. Ribs are incredibly painful to get tattooed, and wow she was so good and handled it amazingly. an hour or so later and she has a beautiful fantail, or as she is calling him “Pio” (short for Piowakaka, the Maori name for fantail)

So, with the theme of birds, I had been wanting to get a quail tattoo for a long time, and finally came up with an idea. Our tattoo artist Mike was able to weave his magic in to our pieces, and I am more than happy with the result. I decided to get my tattoo on my inner arm, covering a small red rune tattoo I had done years ago.

It was the biggest and longest tattoo session I have had to date. 3 hours trying to stay as still as   possible, all the while getting cramp in my shoulder.

But hey, you know what? It was SO worth it! I am in LOVE with my tattoo.

I have another wee session to go to add some white highlighting to him, but I am SO happy with it. He’s a bit scabby right at this point, but I’m sure he will be ready to flaunt his cute wee quail face sometime soon.

I was so glad to share this experience with Debbie. Now we are two birds of a feather who get to (when fate would have it happen) flock together. Friend love!

Have a wonderful day!

xx Em.


good fast food – the slow and planned version – stuffed roasted squash and other things delicious!

A while ago I found a recipe in a vegetarian cookbook called “fat freddy’s pumpkin.” It requires a big old pumpkin, cutting the top off like a lid, taking the seeds out, roasting it, scooping out and mashing the insides – then mixing it with cheeses, breadcrumbs, yeast extract, and nutmeg.

For some reason or another, a pumpkin at the supermarket costs $10 right now…

This is bloody ridiculous. Apart from the price, there is no point us buying a massive pumpkin, as only 2/3 of us in the house even like pumpkin.

So, alternative? A wee cute squash!

I have not had too much of a chance to put effort in to dinner this week for one reason or another, so tonight was the night. Here is the recipe for it, as well as some accompaniments, pizza bread and a green salad with crispy chickpeas (all recipes will be 2 generous servings).

Stuffed Roast Squash

turn up the heat, 180 degree styles

cut the top off the squash and scoop out the seeds. Roast for 30 minutes or so, until insides are soft. Today, i’m cutting the squash in 1/2, so I can serve it on the plate (cover it with tin foil if you want to do this, too)

Scoop out the insides  into a bowl and mash it.

get some oil in a pan, fry up some onion (i’m using spring onions), pine nuts, basil, rosemary. Add the mix to the squash with sea salt, ground pepper, an egg and cottage cheese.

stir all that up and chuck it back in to the pumpkin shell. Put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so.

Pizza Bread

1 cup wholemeal flour

1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1 tbsp olive oil

pinch salt

put yeast in to a cup with warm water and sugar. let sit til foamy.

put the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the yeast mix and oil and stir through. knead the dough til forms a ball.


Place in a greased bowl, cover, and place somewhere warm for about 45 minutes.

punch the dough down and let sit for 5 minutes. On a floured surface, press out the dough til round. put a little oil, herbs, and sea salt on the top. Cook for 20 minutes on 180.

Crispy Chickpea salad

1/2 can (200g) Chickpeas in brine (drain the brine though unless you like farting)

1 potato

2 cups baby spinach or salad greens

1/2 capsicum

1 carrot, grated

1 stick spring onion

1 boiled egg

dressing of your choice

drain the chickpeas and coat in a little olive oil. roast in the oven until crispy

chop up the potatoes in to cubes, also roast in oven (some cajun seasoning would be yummy on it!)

Boil the egg, drain, and cool. Chop in to quarters.

Throw the spinach, chopped capsicum, carrot and spring onion in to a bowl. When all other elements are cooked and cooled (warm is fine), add to the greens. Mix through before serving with your dressing, and top with the egg.

Dinner. Is. Served!

(pictures slightly differ from my methods, as I made mine just a little healthier by not having egg, and the hubby’s a little less healthy by putting breadcrumbs on the squash)


xx Em.