Saturday, 21 April 2018

Louis and me

It's very possible that I'm the only Louis Vuitton customer in the history of the brand to google "is Louis Vuitton sustainable?" before purchasing*.  Surely I'm not the only one who worries about the environment while simultaneously lusting after luxury goods...?

It's now been a bit over a month since I fulfilled a dream of almost 20 years, and walked into a Louis Vuitton store, and bought a bag.

Those moments after the big purchase, strolling down the avenue - swinging my huge bright orange carrier bag - were some of the happiest of my life.

Look, I'm well aware that LV is probably one of the more naff designer brands.  Most times when you see someone carrying a Louis bag you can pretty safely assume that it came from a beach in Bali.  But for whatever reason, I've always loved the brand.  I love their moody advertisements, I love the couture - especially when Marc Jacobs was at the helm, and I have always loved their bags.

I'm a bag person (a bag lady, you might say...).  Some people get very silly over shoes, for me it's bags.

I have been known to carry my handbag from room to room around the house with me.  I never realised it was odd until someone pointed it out to me.  When I read that the restaurant Le Meurice Alain Ducasse in Paris provides a stool for one's handbag so that it doesn't have to languish on the floor, well, that only made sense to me.  I remember watching the infamous Newlyweds with Jessica Simpson where she took her Louis Vuitton bag on a camping trip.  I for one could not see the issue.  Of course the bag should come camping.

Over the years, I've been given the bad fake which doesn't even resemble a genuine design, and a few years ago my dad did buy me a (genuine) Speedy 25 when he went overseas.

But I still had this bee in my bonnet about walking into the store myself, choosing and purchasing the bag myself.  I had to have the whole experience myself.  I told anyone who'd listen.  Some people got the story more than once.  Sorry you guys...

So, anyway, when I went to Auckland in March was going to be the big day.  I'd rung the store to be sure, and yes, madam, they are always in stock.

I knew exactly which bag I wanted: the Neverfull MM in Damier Azur.

The first attempt was aborted when there was a queue to get in the store!  Listen, I sincerely love LV but not enough to line up to get inside.  We agreed to come back the next day.

And back we did go, shortly after opening, and in we strolled.  I told the very lovely man what I wanted, and he brought it out.  It was very nice.  It was the one I knew I wanted.   I had looked at it online about two dozen times.

But then, for some cosmic unknowable reason he also brought out the Damier Ebene, which had a pale pink lining.

That was it.  The thunderbolt.  That was the bag.

Transaction done, huge orange carrier bag toted around Auckland CBD, then back on the plane to little old New Plymouth.  We're so happy together, you guys.  It's roomy and practical, and (so I tell myself) makes me look a bit less scruffy even when tooling around the supermarket in track pants.

And, I even have room to carry around my knitting!

*Oh and if you're wondering, the answer is, LV is not very sustainable at all.  Unfortunately.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Knitting, snow, and typical things

J's bunny turned up at kindy.  Can you believe it??  All the lessons from it being lost have promptly been forgotten.  Typical.

I finished the border on A's Auntie J blanket and she refuses to have it on her bed.  Typical.

I finished my Eria vest which I love (sorry no photo of this or the blanket - must remedy soon), and I finished J's Granny's Favourite cardi which she hates.  Typical. 

I've decided I'll make one last garment for J, something in a >gasp< acrylic as I suspect she finds wool too scratchy, and if she doesn't wear that either I won't make anything else for her, for now.  C'est la vie, right?

I keep on finding other things to cast on instead of finishing my Sauvie vest, like a granny cover for J's favourite foot stool.  I got the various yarns from the op shop for about $3 total.  Winning!

I've also cast on a really cute cardigan called Posy, in the making of which I've learned to knit from a chart. 

I still find myself doing a lot of ripping back (when will I ever get the hang of lace?!) and the other night was a low point when I spent the entire evening knitting and re-knitting the same row.  I think that was when I started crocheting the footstool cover because I couldn't even look at my knitting needles.  Stupid knitting.

I planted my sweet peas just after St Patrick's Day as I've been taught, and they've already poked their heads through.  Here's hoping they make it through winter for lots of spring flowers.

Below is the mountain last week.  Not anymore!

I can report that the temperatures have plummeted and once again I'm devoting plenty of time to worrying pointlessly about our animals in the wind, wet, and cold.  Yes, I know they're fine.  I know.

We had more than a dusting of snow on the mountain the other night when the wind came whistling straight up from Antarctica.  My weather app told me that it was 7 degrees with a "feels like" of 1 degree.

Because I'm a bit wet I took this photo below from inside A's window.  Hence it's not a great photo and you have to squint very hard to not really see that there is snow on the ranges.  But there is.

Amazingly, considering the weather, I'm still picking at least one ripe tomato every day, although I saw on Instagram that someone had pulled their plants and hung them upside down on the verandah to ripen the stragglers. 

My plants are looking very sad and sorry but there are still heaps of tomatoes on there so I might try hanging them to see if I can get them to ripen that way before the plants give up altogether.

Meanwhile I've found my favourite way to preserve tomatoes:
Roasted gently in the oven with lashings of olive oil, whole cloves of garlic smooshed under the side of a knife, plus salt and pepper.  I then squeeze out the garlic cloves and discard the skins, pour the tomato mixture into a pot and blitz it with my bar mix thingy until smooth.

Delicious!  And no fiddling around boiling and peeling the skins.  I left these in the oven for a couple of hours at about 150C and the flavour was incredible.

What's been going on round your joint this week?  Anyone else still picking tomatoes??

Saturday, 14 April 2018

My crown is in my heart

“My crown is in my heart, not on my head; not decked with diamonds and Indian stones, nor to be seen: my crown is called content, a crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.”
― William Shakespeare
It's a year today since we arrived in New Zealand to live.

I had been so excited in the lead up, but on the big day I didn't feel anything like how I expected to feel.  It all came crashing down on me as we drove to the airport that day, hours away from leaving our beautiful life in Perth. 

I was terrified. 

I suddenly thought it was a huge mistake.  I couldn't even talk.  I spent the first week here sick with a shocking cold, lost my voice, and inwardly was freaking out.

Luckily I got well again, and life got amazing.  You can read the first post I wrote after we arrived here.  Gosh I can't believe that was a year ago.  The kids were so little!

Every day now we collect eggs and check on our cows and eat apples from our orchard.

I remember those first few times driving home along country roads, barely believing that this wasn't a holiday and we weren't going to leave.  I still drive those roads and drink in the views.  Every time I turn in our gate I still can't believe we get to live here.

Our girls will never remember anything different.  This is their childhood.
“My crown is in my heart, not on my head; not decked with diamonds and Indian stones, nor to be seen: my crown is called content, a crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.”
― William Shakespeare

Monday, 9 April 2018

Parenting milestones that you don't see coming

Ugh I'm still hating everything I write.  What is the deal?!  Anyway, here goes...

I had one of those big parenting milestone moments on the weekend.  We took the girls to McDonalds for breakfast (judge away!) and it was the first time ever that I've been able to sit down while my kids play.

J has always been timid and tends to do stuff like freeze on the steps to the slide while every other kid pushes past her.  And little A, while no shrinking violet, has had her mobility issues holding her back.  However, her walking has improved dramatically over the past few weeks.

There are so many puns I could use here (leaps and bounds, taking great strides, etc etc) that I'm actually trying to avoid them, can you believe that?

Anyway, A now toddles around by herself quite confidently, and, on the morning at McDonalds, once she was happy that I'd watched her climb the stairs to the slide a couple of times, she was off.  And J was thrilled to have A to play with, which resolved her natural shyness.  The squealing from them both was off the charts.  Sorry, fellow patrons.

I stood around uselessly for a few moments.  And then!

I sat down.  I drank my coffee.  Three years and two months into my life as a mother this was a HUGE moment.

Another milestone that hit me the other day was when J lost her beloved bunny.  It's somewhere at kindy.  Possible a metre below the surface of the sandpit.  No one knows.

She has been taking bunny to kindy every day since she started last year, much to my frustration,  because it always goes missing.  She tosses it aside at some point during the day and every time I pick her up we have to go hunting for it.  It's extremely tiresome but she absolutely will not leave bunny in the car.

I keep warning her that one day bunny will be lost and not found if she doesn't take care of it.  And guess what happened.

Luckily we have a spare bunny, but the lost bunny is by far the favourite.  At first I was pretty keen to make sure we got it back.  But then it occurred to me.  She's now three.  Her dependence on bunny will naturally wane.  We don't desperately have to find it, because she doesn't desperately rely on it the way she once did.  She can have spare bunny for now and eventually, probably, spare bunny will sit on a shelf in her room.  Whoa.  Whoa.

For a toy that has been her constant companion for almost her whole life, that was a mind-boggling moment for me.

Look, I won't pretend that I don't feel occasionally wistful for my kids' babyhood which is rapidly ending.  But I am so done with babies.  I mean I was done with babies even before I had my own babies.  If that makes sense.  Basically: not a baby person.

So I really love these moments.

Turns out, everyone was right.  They really do grow up.  And I could not be more excited.

Edited to add: You guys!  I wrote this in about ten minutes flat!  I'm back!!

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Easter in writer's block form

Hello!  The dreaded writer's block strikes.

Normally I sit down and the words kind of fall out as though we were sitting together over a cup of coffee.  I chat about this and that and crack bad jokes and even worse puns.

Today I keep deleting and rearranging and I can't get it right - I just want to talk about our easter long weekend.  But everything I write comes out sounding trite and annoying and uninteresting.

I might make do with a dot-point list until the words decide they want to behave.

So this was easter, in dot point form:

  • On Friday we started the day with an easter egg hunt.  
  • B had somehow never realised that the egg hunt is usually on the Sunday so he got J all excited to hunt for eggs on Friday.
  • That afternoon we headed up to B's dad's bach (that's a holiday house for those of you unfamiliar with the NZ lingo).

  • The girls threw pebbles in the water.
  • B obsessed over all the flounder he could see right there.
  • I took photos.
  • It felt really special that we were making our girls' childhood memories.
  • We stayed the night.
  • J was so excited to be sleeping in a big-girl bed that all afternoon we kept finding her lying in there with a big smile on her face.
  • B and I walked down to watch the sunset.
  • J fell out of bed in the middle of the night.

  • The next morning we took the girls for a very brief spin up the river on Poppa's boat.
  • Poppa and B (sounds like a hipster eatery) then went fishing.
  • I took the kids to play in the playground of B's old primary school.
  • The girls and I went home after lunch, by which time A was making it pretty clear that she was done with the beach.  
  • B got home, with kilos of fish, just in time for the girls' dinner.
  • I'm glad we went but it was hard work with A especially.

  • On Sunday morning we had a big breakfast at our place with B's mum and sisters, followed by the second egg hunt of the weekend.  
  • J was a bit perplexed but no less enthusiastic that the easter bunny had come back for another round.

  • Once everyone had gone home and the girls were in bed for what turned out to be an epic nap, I turned over the vegetable garden for the autumn/winter crops. 

  • The tomato plants are grimly hanging on.
  • My leeks will hopefully continue to flourish.
  • Everything else was well and truly finished.  
  • While I'm happy about the change in seasons, pulling out all those tired/dead plants did cause me to reflect.  We ate a lot from the garden this summer.
    • The kale and the silverbeet which I ran out of ideas and enthusiasm for after just a few meals
    • the zucchini which hated its shady spot and never really fruited
    • the peas which J ate by the fistful straight from the vine
    • the butter beans which were so disappointing
    • the triffidesque pumpkins which are now drying in the shed
    • the carrots which we really should have thinned out but which were no less prolific
    • and the rhubarb which exhausted me with its abundance. 

  • I tossed plants and weeds over the fence.
  • The chooks purred around my feet.
  • B buried fish guts and bones to replenish the soil (and can I just say, pee-yooo).
It was a great weekend, filled with all the good things.  

Sorry, I really have nothing in the tank today!

Hope you had a good one too x

Tuesday, 27 March 2018


I'm loving the change in seasons here.  So far the temperatures have only dipped by a few degrees (still over 20C most days) but that steamy humid summer is receding, thank goodness.

J got a new umbrella and promptly broke two of the spokes within 24 hours.  But it was fun while it lasted.  Grrr.

We're harvesting pumpkins galore and J's kindy is holding a giant pumpkin competition this week.  We certainly have the space and B has the competitive spirit so we might have to go in for that one next year.  When both girls will be at kindy oh my god.

Even my wide-angle lens couldn't get this whole rainbow in.

What's better than chubby legs in woollen tights, I ask you?  I keep getting fluff in my mouth from biting them.

We picked the last of the apples which is half sad and half a relief.  These ones will become a crumble because did you not hear me say crumble.

It's the time of the wood cutting and the stacking.  B operates the chainsaw and I take great pride and care in stacking it beautifully.  Last year we just had a big heap in the middle of the shed which made my neck itch every time I looked at it.  This year it's all going to be neatly stacked right.  They're saying there's going to be a firewood shortage in Taranaki this year.  Not at our place.  I'd better get a lock for the woodshed I think.

I don't know about you but I seem to buy way more than we end up eating and our pantry gets to this point of being so full of random ingredients that some stuff has got to start going out before new stuff can go in.  So things like this packet of jelly, that I bought on the off-chance I might make ambrosia, has been made into just plain old jelly.  I didn't hear any complaints though.

I also am looking for ideas for fifteen tubs of McDonalds hot cake syrup, five different kinds of chilli sauce, creamed corn, tinned tomatoes, and forty-five half-full packets of pasta in different shapes.  Get back to me.

What's been going on at your joint this week?  Do you throw random things in your shopping trolley that you then have to create weird and wonderful recipes to use up?  Or is that just me.