Archive for November, 2009

Tandoori Nights

I’ve just been out with the Kindy teachers and other members of the committee for a curry. It was my first evening out solo and my first Kiwi curry. The company was excellent and I was particularly chuffed with my rather jovial Christmas hat courtesy of secret Santa. The curry was fascinating. It wasn’t like a curry in the UK. I had a Chicken Bhuna and opted for medium because here you can have your curry mild, medium or hot. It was very sweet and mildly warm but not spicy. It tasted pleasant enough but basically what I am trying to say was it just wasn’t like home. Anyone considering the move should stock up on takeaways before departing UK shores. Maybe even get the recipes from your local chef.

Other than that it has been a quiet day here on the Shore. Em had a super day at Kindy playing firemen with all the boys. Lucy managed to sit still for at least 5 mins in our music group which was a triumph – she also managed to climb onto the dining room table twice, which was not such a triumph for mum. Stevie got up at stupid-o’clock and went for a swim, then spent the rest of the day texting me to tell me how tired he was!

I did nothing of any interest except challenge my tastebuds with an unusual curry, oh and I bought two new running tops as Stevie had informed me that my others stank!!!! I mean, how rude can you get! Having told the lady in the shop this, she did inform me (after much guffawing) that these technical fabrics are great but suddenly they will give up wicking sweat away and nothing will shift the smell. So I am looking forward to smelling of roses on my run tomorrow, provided my curry has settled enough to get me out the door.

And how could I possibly forget that Stevie normality has resumed. I walked in the door after my curry tonight to be greeted by a young boy, then I realised that the Mo had finally gone and it was in fact Stevie. I am most delighted to have his boyish good looks back. But of course I am very proud of his charitable actions over the last 30 days – hooray for Stevie and all the other Movember participants.

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This made me chortle, I though I’d share it with you:

Christmas Cake Recipe

* 2 cups flour
* 1 stick butter
* 1 cup of water
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 cup of sugar
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 cup of brown sugar
* Lemon juice
* 4 large eggs
* Nuts
* 1 bottle good single malt whisky
* 2 cups of dried fruit

Sample the whisky to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the whisky again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it’s best to make sure the whisky is still OK. Try another cup… Just in case. Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the frigging fruit up off floor. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the whisky to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Check the whisky . Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or some fink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window. Finish the whisky and wipe counter with the cat.

Bingle Jells! all away!!

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Sweaty Santas’ Sacks (I)

Lazy start to Saturday but revved up pretty quickly. By 1130 we were smearing sun block on the kids with Jo, Jake, Nathan and Ella waiting for Santa to appear in the Mairangi Bay Santa Parade. It was delightfully little and cobbled together, but tremendously entertaining.

We saw Elvis (x3), cheerleaders, unicycling troops, scouts, surf life save club, utes turned into boats, White witches looking mad, oh and Santa. Everyone in the parade was throwing sweets at the crowd and we were given balloons and even free pizza. The highlight for Jo and I was the firemen, Nathan and Emily got to go in their truck, and Steve and Jake howled with laughter when the firemen let rip with their hoses on the surf life saving boat stuffed full of kids.

After all that excitement we dashed home and got ready to go to the Bonners’ residence for dinner. They are again very good company and we had lots of cake as it was Desna’s birthday. The kids were pretty shattered though and we had to call it a day at 10pm.

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Dragged the kids from their pits at 645 this morning to drive to Mission Bay for Hosie to compete in a 5km run as part of the ADRA Charity event. She was surrounded by kids at the start line and completed the run in 26:07. We’re still waiting for the official results but the initial timings for the 5km put her in 18th place overall, as the 5th woman to finish and as second in her age group. Not bad for an old mum! Our friend Carl gave a stunning performance in the 21km, storming home in 1hr 20mins and snaffling second place overall.

We stayed around Mission Bay for a while playing with the kids and eventually popped into CBD for brunch with the marathon club. Another super sausage experience for all. After a leisurely munch we wandered down into town to see the Auckland Santa Parade – you can never have too many Santa Parade experiences in one weekend. It was fantastic. There were over 40 floats ranging from cheerleaders to Clifford the Big Red Dog, Chinese dragons to pole dancers, pirate ships to giant snowmen balloons. Father Christmas also pitched up on his sleigh. We clapped and cheered for an hour, and that includes Lucy who is becoming a very good clapper!

After all the excitement of the Parade (which according to news reports attracted over 250,000 people – an impressive total from Auckland’s population of 1.2m) we drove home and all had a shower together to wash away the sun block and general fatigue. Another busy but very exciting weekend stumbling around finding new things to do.

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Rock and Roll

We’ve had Jo, Jake, Nathan and Ella round for tea tonight and had an absolute hoot.  We seem to get on well because Jo and Josie are equally matched in the jumping around in a bonkers way stakes.  Jake and I share some similar traits and the kids are similar ages and play really well together.  Jo is a born and bred Kiwi so we’re very proud of our local friend!  Jake is from the UK and they both lived in London for a while.  They’ve got a great story about going to a party when Jakes brothers band was signed to a label and who should be there, Liam Gallagher, Kate Moss and other famous names.  We’re hoping that some of the rock and roll cool might spread over to us.

Josie was a fab hostess and did some lovely food which went down very well.  In particular the Chocolate brownies and eton mess pudding was a delight.

We’ve been planing the weekend.  More Santa parades, more socialising and another run for Josie on Sunday.  5k this time which she should do pretty well in.

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Lovely People

We’ve just been reading about two lovely people in our vicinity.

There is a lovely old lady who whilst in hospital having her hip done, asked the staff if they would like some teddies for the childrens ward.  They said they’d be delighted so she now knits them constantly and has provided 81 knitted teddies with clothes all paid for out of her pension.  She said she could knit one a day, but her usy life prevents her from doing that.  She’s made matching teds for twins and triplets and special themed bears for rugby fans etc.

The second lovely person is an old guy who wanted to get his favourite tramping track repaired so he wrote to the DoC to ask them to do it.  They wrote back saying that they didn’t have the funds so he just went ahead and did it himself.  He’s spent $8000 of his own money buying gravel and repairing the path and now the DoC has contributed some more gravel and given him enough timber to make over a hundred wooden steps.  He’s said that he’d be happy to help repair other tracks in the area.

I feel humbled by stories like these where people are so selfless in their actions.

Talking of selfless I’ve done my bit this month to garner a few coppers for the betterment of men’s health and awareness of mens issues including prostate cancer and depression by growing this fuzzy nose mat.  Balanced on my upper lip is my attempt at a moustache or Mo as  in Movember.  In four days it will be history.  Gone, never to be repeated.  If you have been meaning to sponsor me but not quite got around to it there is still time!

Click on my big smiling Mo face to be taken to the donation page.  Many thanks to everyone who has contributed already.

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Surf dude-ettas

I’m sat here in my clean pyjamas, all sparkly after a shower, having spent the afternoon over at Piha beach with our lovely friend Nick. I honestly cannot believe how much sand we brought home with us. It took ages in the shower scrubbing the girls, and as for the car………..oh my word!

Still, it was a glorious day with clear blue skies and a good wind to keep us cool on the beach. I bought the girls some rather natty surf gear so I can relax a bit knowing that they are well covered in that special SPF50+ material.  Clever Nick put sun cream on in the car park, I did myself and the girls once we’d set up base camp on the beach and the three of us looked like black doughnuts within 2 minutes of application. We also had jolly hot feet as the black volcanic sand there gets roasty toasty – Nick was again prepared boy scout style with his flip flops (or jandals as the Kiwi’s like to call them). I have sooooooo much to learn!

Piha has the rather dubious pleasure of being New Zealand’s most dangerous beach with the highest number of rescues each year, mostly by the surf rescue team that patrol the beach at weekends and during the summer. It is famed for unpredictable rip tides which can drag even very strong swimmers way out to sea. The only tv Steve and I watch is all about the surf team at Piha – Piha Rescue. We snuggle up and watch it on the computer once a week on TVNZ’s website as we still haven’t plugged in the telly properly. It makes you appreciate how dangerous the sea is, how beautiful Piha is, how fantastic the surf team are, and gives you a good old weep sometimes as well. Needless to say, we will only ever be ankle deep paddlers there!

Stevie had a jolly busy day at work but still managed to beat us home and cook tea for his number one fans on our return. He was positively guffawing when he saw our black smudgy sandy faces. He’s just got back from the gym after a weights session. No mention of the infamous Chontelle though 😉

Emily was a bit easier today, so much so she earned a yoghurt and a story before bed. So Steve and I are going to bed with a more relaxed demeanor – thank goodness.

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Pain in the neck

Not sure where it came from but I’ve got a wonky neck.  It’s quite painful, but getting better with ant-inflams I think.  Have no idea how it happened .  My hunch (ha) is that it was a sleeping accident and I got myself wonky on a soft pillow which coupled with sleeping for hours led to the crick.

The second day of my training course went well.  It’s painfully obvious that not every person in the company knows or understands what we covered but needs to!  Now need to work out how best toc convey that.

Josie is currently researching sports watches online.  Somethig by Garmin appears to be favourite at the moment.  We’ll see what prices are around.  Very exciting!  It has GPS and looks like  a normal watch but should fit onto Josies wrist.

Emily has been non-responsive again.  She keeps ignoring even the most basic of requests or directions, but we know she can hear and understands.  Not sure what’s going on..  Possibly a bit of homesickness? We’ve all been affected in one way or another this week. It would be odd if she didn’t show some kind of rection.


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That’s what my training course is all about.  Agile software development.  What on earth does that mean?  Well it’s basically a philosophy that encompasses a whole set of methodologies and approaches to building software that attempts to face some of the realities that cause projects to fail.  Things like the fact that if your project is big enough it will take so long to do that by the time you have finished it the business has probably  moved on and your system could be out of date before it’s even launched.

Mostly it’s about acknowledging that change is a part of every day life and part of every day business rather than pretending it doesn’t happen then everything going to custard.  So it’s good stuff.

Josie and the girls were on the beach this afternoon trying out new buckets and spades.  In fact Josie was in shorts all day – could this finally be the start of the consistently good weather throughout summer?


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49yr old, 20m high Santas

Lazy start with a smattering of DJ mummy activity. I introduced the kids to some Latin Jazz which they loved. We had a load of dancing in dressing gowns whilst Stevie muttered grumpily about it sounding like a multi-cultural montage from Sesame Street. Still, we had fun 🙂

After strutting our stuff, we went into CBD to have brunch with Carl and Nick, and their friends from the Marathon Club. We met in a cafe just off Karangahape Road which is the clubbing capital of Auckland. It is pretty colourful in the early hours by the sounds of it! But our brunch was super – I had eggs benedict with ham and spinach, all washed down with a bowl of hot choc – and I had a couple of runners lobbying me about joining the club.

Afterwards we wandered down Queen Street and came across the unveiling of a 20m Santa clinging to Whitcoulls the bookshop. He had bandages on his face which looked a bit sinister but it was because he has been erected for 49yrs and this year they had decided to give him a face lift. So after lots of standing around and dancing to the live band, two elves appeared, abseiled down Santa, cut the ties off and revealed his new look. The experience was all a bit strange – stood around in t-shirts looking at Christmas displays and a bandaged Santa being unwrapped……

After all that excitement we had a wander round town, bought some buckets and spades for the girls and a new el cheapo watch for Stevie, and then drove home for an early tea.

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