I have sixty-eight tattoos

Someone I once knew used to joke and say tattoos are not of the God, you’ll get into Heaven no doubt, but the parts of you which are tattooed will not. This would always make me laugh, it is incredibly absurd and entirely unjustified, yet still it makes me giggle. And then I went and got sixty-eight tattoos.

Last week someone who I currently know, posted a beautiful piece of writing about the whimsical and heartfelt individuals behind her indelible ink. The people she wrote about were strangers to me but she articulated the meaning behind a simple phrase so accurately and beautifully that they felt like mine, even if it was just a borrowed memory.

She also gave me the idea to write about my tattoos. About a year ago I got sixty-eight freckles scattered and tattooed all over my front and my back. They are sprinkled across my stomach like fairy bread, dotted over my chest, collar bone, shoulders and lower back. They were no easy feat, two tattoo artists turned me down and the correct shade took a while to find, every different freckle has a unique pigment and colour after all.

It was an odd request I admit but simply put, I think freckles are incredibly beautiful. Growing up in the summer I remember sitting on the faded carpet and watching as the sun danced upon my mothers skin, the constellation of beauty spots & freckles were like a million solar systems to my tiny mind. I was thoroughly disappointed when I realized that my mother had not passed this on to me. My skin was bare, as pure and as silky as milk.

So although at the time my body looked like a thousand bees had mistaken me for honey, and the tattoo artists thought I was slightly odd. I cannot wait to sit in the sun with bare shoulders and dream about the hundreds of worlds painted on my back.



The art of being indecisive

There is no art in being indecisive, there is no carefully thought out pattern or trodden path, no detailed map. Being indecisive is chaos, a whirlwind of potential windows, dreams, dead ends and opportunities. And for all the best parts of me I cannot seem to shake this inability to make and stick with a decision. It’s woven into my personality like a hall way of unwanted guests. You have simply to gaze upon the diversity of book genres claiming home on my book shelf to understand that this personality trait has been my longstanding companion.



Certainty seems merely a vanishing thing, my world is singing of potential paths, possible outcomes, relationships, friendships. I am constantly changing my mind. Take summer for instance, I have changed my mind atleast four times in regards to where I will call home this summer. I make the decision to stay in Auckland and then all of a sudden my heart aches for a summer spent at Castle Point moseying down the streets I know like the back of my hand and being surrounded by familiar love, so I change my mind. And hen I change it back again and decide to stay in the big city of Auckland to discover new beaches, learn to surf, surround myself with friends who shine, and celebrate a summer with them. A few hours later and I am back where I started listening to the hundreds of voices in my heart which tumble along like a river.

Where in the world is that gut feeling, the feeling they tell you about, the when you know you know thing? There’s a fearlessness I envy in the ability to make a well reasoned choice and stay happy with it. So because my stomach is constantly in a state of Monday Mornings, I decided to do a fair bit of research on why it is I am constantly confused with my future.

I have been learning to measure each word, sentence and piece of information I read based on the weight of my understanding and heart feeling, and this is what I have come to understand about the art of being indecisive. Indecisiveness is about risk taking, self doubt, personal comfort level and the fear of being wrong. The fear of making the wrong choice, of missing out on the opportunities left behind. I have written the following on the back of my hand so I may learn these steps by heart before I can say I know anything like the back of my hand. So here they are, the notes I will begin to put into practice.

Understand & make peace with your fears. What is the worst that can happen, and if that happens how will you hold yourself and the situation? Nothing is as bad as it seems. Be the author of your own two feet. Nothing leads to indecision faster than letting your actions be guided by the desire to impress or satisfy others. Time brings clarity. This is probably my biggest problem, I make decisions fast and fearlessly and do not often think of the consequences. It is okay to sit with your options, haste is not a necessity. And lastly and of heart importance, understand your expectations, who you are and what you expect from yourself and from your life and where this comes from.

My life is simultaneously too graceful and uneven. My life is overflowing in blessing and yet I am constantly hitting walls in personality, well being and the expectations I hold for my adventures. But I will continue to look at the back of my hands, and remind myself to slow down, to ignore the pressure to make haste and remember that quiet minds are less likely to encounter misfortune and that my life won’t always feel like a clock during a thunderstorm.






If only we could eat succulents


My garden is full to the brim with succulents. I have two friends that live in a brick house on top of a hill and on the corner. Someone has dug up their succulents and made a lemonade stand for plants. Succulents $1.00 it reads. Its such a pity succulents aren’t more edible. According to ‘A field guide to the native edible plants of New Zealand’ some of the 600 variations of this plant can in-fact be tossed in with a green salad.  The leaves of succulents have a mild peppery,bitter flavor and apparently  if you eat large quantities can cause your stomach to do flipflops.

My garden is also coughing up buckets upon buckets of a little white and endearing weed called onion weed. This blessing of a weed appeared to have wandered in overnight, decided they liked the look of our garden and plonked right down in patches all over the back lawn. I’m not complaining, in fact these little beauties will soon be harvested and thrown into many a salad, green pizza and roast vegetable gallet.

I am constantly fascinated by salads that are made up out of wild flowers, herbs and garden foliage.  This morning I decided to hunt and harvest. I had some stone fruits, apricots, cherries, nectarines and plums that I was hoping to make into a crazy green summer salad. A handful of baby kale, oregano, sage, baby basil, edible flowers, onion-flowers, pear, apple and a spoonful of home-made beetroot and chickpea hummus later I had my first almost-all home garden made salad. Perhaps next time I’ll add a few bits of shredded succulent. The art of salads and the art of botany continues to amaze me. Happy Tuesday.


Clarity, Expectation & Religion


October can be found next to the wilted lettuce or on the window pane. October came welcome into my life roaring in as September tiptoed sheepishly out the backdoor.  Just like a good meal is all about the seasoning, a good year is in the seasons, and October is a good season.

I have not written for weeks as I am trying to get my head around clarity & expectation, two things that have been on my heart and mind of late. I find it difficult to distinguish between what expectations of life and of relationships are from the world and what expectations are from deep within me. I am drawn by the beauty and unlimited qualities of the expectations God has for me but I am constantly confused by religion. By this per-determined mindset and vision Christians have. Don’t get me wrong my faith is as solid as my bones and I have many a memory of extravagant faith for bad days. But in this season memories of extravagance don’t tell me where I am headed or what I believe in.

Religion is full of words, its a novel of confusing double standards and a Jesus who pours out love like coffee. Its both a place to find refuge and a place to avoid. Religion is a safety net but faith is a necessity, its gravity. Faith is not a concept.

If I had to chose between the two, hands down I would chose faith, a relationship over religion, but is it possible to have one without the other? I do not wish to follow blindly, perhaps I do not wish to follow at all. I just want to be. Be everything I am and everything I am not in the constant and ever lasting presence of the one who created me.  When did religion get so separated from faith and from relationship?

Still I pray for commas not full stops . I will continue to wear my heart on my sleeve and feel content that all good understandings take time, after all its hard to stop loving the ocean. Even after its left you gasping and salty. – That’s often how I feel about this whole muddle we call religion. But as ever I encourage my few lovely readers to celebrate the constant questions and persistent blessings of this ordinary life.










September stumbles

I tend to stumble more than is normal in September. It happens every year. I get anxious, unsettled and confused. I get a sudden desire to leave, to travel, to change something significant in my life so I might be propelled forward in a direction I never knew existed.  If I trace back my beautiful-hiccup of the last 5 year muddle of my life, any big decisions are made in September of that given year. September is my month for break ups and the hint of summer romances. The time in which my internet history will reflect a list of travel destinations. I cannot seem to articulate very well or even pinpoint the particular frustration of this city, but September evokes it within me.

So I find myself facing that wave again, questioning if my expectations for life, relationships, even cities are too big and or too unrealistic. I panicked today, the first day back at university after the semester break. Everything was just a bit too… city, a bit too predictable. My heart suddenly felt like it was a hundred sentences away in a travel guide or at-least a map of some foreign town. I felt anxious after one day back in the hustle of the city which had already exhausted me. So I did what any sensible soul would do, I turned on my heels and sought refuge in the nearest library. After a fair amount of books were selected and issued I headed home, where I am now sitting in the sun in an oversized-faded-paint-splattered shirt, bare legs with tea and a home made strawberry & macadamia tart, dreaming of places I would rather be. Mostly? I’m dreaming of the sea, of tanned legs and clear waters.

I am frustrated with the ordinary light of this city, but I must constantly remind myself that light comes in many shapes and forms and all the light we cannot see will shine soon enough.  I am unaccustomed to this earth but find steadiness in the fact that October always comes after September and I dont tend to stumble as much in October.

Just a handful of thoughts written a few days after the first Sunday in September.

A photo by Xochi Romero. unsplash.com/photos/QMhgKXxupIU

The golden-orange light of spring.


The golden orange light of a spring dawn is here.

How beautiful is Avondale? Okay I know its not the prettiest suburb, but it does have an evident and unique charm. I think today spring got sick of waiting for tomorrow’s dawn and decided that the last day of winter should also be the first day of spring. I have been diligently studying from the early hours of this morning but couldn’t resist flinging open all the windows and doors so that the sun should sweep in. For my study break I decided to go for a good hour wonder and mosey around the neighborhood in which I reside. I took one of my beautiful reusable, fresh produce bags with me in case I decided to pop into one of the many fruit and veg shops which call West Auckland home. The bags were lovingly gifted to me by an all around genuine and salt of the earth person, Daisy, who works for a neat little company called Honey wraps, ( blog post to come soon about using these neat bags at the Avondale markets).

I spent a good peaceful and ridiculously happy hour giddily walking around the streets, peering at people’s gardens and houses for inspiration. I ended up with a bag and armful of goodies before I even turned around for home. A bush of rosemary growing wild over the fence, a few lemons from a tree bursting with fruit, two grapefruits and two mandarins, thanks to the friendly neighbours. The thing I wasn’t expecting to find, and to be honest makes me a little sad, was about a dozen potatoes simply thrown out and laying on the street. Before any college kids could spot them and kick them to the kerb, I hurriedly rescued them and popped them into my bag. I know some of you might be thinking, ‘that’s taking it a bit far’ and I know some people might scoff and think its actually a bit gross, but I have every intention of taking them home, cleaning them up and then roasting some fluffy lemon and thyme potatoes. I don’t want to go into a long rant, but food wastage is a problem, perfectly good potatoes thrown out onto the street for who knows what reason, is just for want of a better word, stupid.

Any way, September marks the beginning of spring and of so many wonderful things. I am heading to the love of my life Wellington next week to start prepping and getting the lay of the land of my summer home. I don’t want to get too excited but I am currently in the  thimbles of financing my summer plan of living in a Lotus Belle Tent, similar to a Yurt and attempting a sustainable lifestyle. So my spring cleaning this year will consist of the cleaning out, throwing out and gifting the majority of my belongings, as I will be trying to squeeze all my possessions into a 5 x 5 meter tent.

So farewell beautiful bitter mornings and hello to the golden orange light of the dawn spring so lovingly brings us.


Winter oatmeal & spring salad

We have had a glimpse of spring this last week in Auckland. It saw people take to the streets with white legs and faces turned upwards seeking the sun. Washing lines hung with sheets and linen suddenly became a regular appearance in my neighbourhood and windows and doors were suddenly pushed open wide with an expectancy that only the hint of spring can bring.  Most people I know are summer people. People who wake up and rush to the beach each morning like their hair is full of sand and the ocean is the shower. Sun kissed people who love the type of light summer brings or the taste of salt in the air.  Others are winter weather people. People who love the chill dawn breath and cold winter sky after sunset. Of-course, I am not forgetting Spring or Autumn but I find more often than not people tend to fall on either side of the scale.

Although I find great beauty in both, I am most definitely a winter person, well that was until recently when I discovered the unique in between.  The small gap of transitioning between the seasons, when things overlap, intertwine and weave together just for a few weeks. Kindly mornings when autumn and winter seem to go hand in hand. Golden dusk nights where spring and summer share the same hammock.

So with a glimpse of spring in today’s winter, I decided to honour the in between with a mixed melody of breakfast and lunch, a winter oatmeal and a spring salad. I am not a practiced hand at salads, in fact up until recently I have thought of them as rather drab, but upon further research I have discovered how wrong I have been. The below ensemble consisted of black rice, lemon and pepper baby potatoes, a handful of lettuce and spinach leaves, a few stems of raw broccoli, chicken, roasted macadamias and a small handful of mandarins. I was a bit cheeky and squeezed a table spoon of lemon+mayonnaise dressing on top but apart from that wee hiccup, my first attempt at a healthy spring salad was lovely.

My oatmeal skill is credited mostly to my Mondays family, whom without I wouldn’t have bothered with the divine but simple combination of oats, almondmeal, almond and coconut flakes, a recycled-pre-loved flower, banana, honey and homemade almond + coconut milk.