A reckless love affair

As I head back up the country line to my second city I felt the want to publish the following little piece of writing, which was me trying to articulate finding my heart and my feet in two different places, enjoy.

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I am having an affair. You know, the love type. I’m that wicked child they talk about with godly parents whose daughter rebelled, yet whose rebellion wasn’t confined to years but simply a life time. But before your eyes open too wide, let me clarify with a wink and a raised cup of peppermint tea in a kind of salute-no, gesture, to the predicament I find myself in. I am having a love affair with two different cities.  Wellington pleads to me on the weekends. The lights of the valley-nestled city beckon me home, but Auckland, the hustle bustle of this city comforts me in whole food cafes, communities, opportunities and an endless future.

If I lay myself on the sofa with many a pouf at my aid, I can counsel myself into remembering the starting point of the affair, and in the famous words of every children’s author who ever lived, I will begin my next sentence with… it all started long ago when I picked up, packed up and hauled my life up the country line from the little city of Wellington to the concrete jungle of Auckland to start studying at University.

Ahhh, university the final frontier. The stepping stone for us young adults before we are thrust unwillingly into the world of the grown, the working world, the coffee six times a day type of world (already there mate), but seriously, my heartache for home started as home sickness often does, when one is away for too long. I spent my first year of university booking cheap Jet Star flights (don’t get me started) and catching the almighty and bloody expensive airport bus at all hours of the morning to visit my little city.

Then life decided to show its face in Auckland. My down town, inner city apartment started to sprout many a potted plant, the sunlit patches in the corners of the room between glass and woodwork become much loved places to sprawl and study. I got a job at an ivy covered cafe and learned about whole food, wellness and yoga. I slowly, timidly, but surely made acquaintances that turned into friends. I got a car and begun to explore the outskirts where concrete turns to forest and where the refuge of the sea softened my outlook on city life. Soon Auckland began to hold all my laughter, Jet Star was just another thing to avoid and roll my eyes about and I began to become less frustrated with the bright lights of the city and more enticed by them.

Inching over my own thoughts on the last two years with one more year of study to go, I come to the late afternoon conclusion that love affairs are never an easy business to settle. The heartache of moving your life from one city to another is a difficult one to settle. Jealously of a place not a person, is odd yet ever present. But it does get easier, and the coffee does get better. Just as I believe it is possible to love more than one person, it is possible to love two different cities and call them both your own.

Two years on and I am grateful for different cities, for large ones and small ones. I am grateful that my new home does not have bitter winds. I have noticed that I have always lived on a hill and that flying into Wellington at night is incredibly beautiful. It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, although I don’t think the author of that saying had certain cities in mind.  I thought that when I moved to Auckland I would be starting a new home and leaving the other behind, but it turns out I now have two homes, how incredibly lucky is that!

Being probably quicker of mind then I am, you may have already learned how to nip any home sickness in the bud but for those who still struggle for familiar sights, for dairy owners who know your name, and for having a street map on the back of your hands, embrace that feeling for it means adventure, growth and ultimately a new start.

One more year down and one more to go and then university will be like the rooftop views from my first year apartment balcony, no longer mine. They will belong to yesterday.

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Street bouquets

If this summer was measured in sunlit days then I am sorry to declare that our summer has been incredulously short. As paper flicks over to declare another month residents on our street bid hope for hotter days farewell and reluctantly usher back in weather which belongs to July. But although most folk complain about this season, the garden has yet to complain.

For those of you who dont know I have been lucky enough to work a handful of hours a week at a floral and event design company in Brooklyn, Wellington. Not only has it been a great insight to learn, observe and laugh with talented and wise individuals, but it has been a wonderful opportunity to change the way I think about design and floristry. Kiwi ingenuity becomes the American born creative director who is the owner of this little company. Every bramble, blue berry bush,common tree, fruit tree and sometimes thistle  has a purpose and is hardly ever dismissed. Common gardens are preferred to market purchases and although floral and fauna knowledge is solid there is always room for naming ‘new’ discoveries.

I am not a florist nor do I pretend to be one however, every now and then we or I find myself wandering the streets snips in hand playing street florist and seeing what little bundles I can create. From side walks, to veggie gardens, to plants overhanging fences, it is an absolute learning curve to take the skills and talent I see each week and pace it into my own practice.

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Cauliflower Salad with Mint, Pomegranates, and Nigella Seeds.

When in doubt (or when you realize that pomegranate season is heart-breakingly short) use cranberries.

This little pop of a raw salad is from a cruisy recipe magazine and website called Bon Appetit. It’s simple, it’s as raw as can be and if you have a fairly good herb garden and lemon tree then it shouldn’t take you much time at all. We threw this teaser of a lunch date together after some good ole fashion floral work. A few hours before however, I had foraged through the best of the best supermarkets in town in search of the elusive pomegranate but alas had to settle for cranberries.

Nigella seeds along with raw cauliflower were the two things I haven’t previously dabbled with. On second thought, there was once a horrible incident with cauliflower rice in which I left it overnight to accidentally ferment and stink out the whole apartment, but we won’t go into details there. Raw broccoli salads are a common sight in my kitchen but broccoli’s fair sister in colour and character was never too frequent on my shopping list.

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Nigella seeds or black cumin are visually exciting and add a nice subtle texture and taste to salads, much like turmeric in quinoa dishes. These seeds are from southwest Asia and are not one to be found in your average supermarket but more so any organic shop. For me, that’s Common Sense Organics in Wellington or East by West Organics (now Hucklberry Organics) in Auckland.

We heavily sprinkled this salad over a few pieces of toasted Vogles, and an all time favorite Aubergine, cashew, coriander and lime dip. It was the perfect light lunch, and as always made significantly better by the company.  The recipe can be found on Bon Appetit’s Facebook page or website.

 

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Good Things Come In Threes

As November rolled on over into December, I had all these amazing plans to write a blog post every week. But as I arrived back in my little home town I discovered that although sometimes transitions go smoothly, others are a bit more bumpy. I rocked on up back into Wellington expecting everything to be where I had left it and everyone to be where I had left them. But then I realized people grow and so do cities. So instead of spending the greater part of December writing blog posts about December madness and Christmas traditions, I have spent it trying to find my feet, a job, purpose and a community that has long since gone separate ways.

Good things, according to the Latin language come in threes. And upon cruising back onto the streets of Belmont, Lower Hutt in my trusty Toyota Platz (lovingly named Paul Anka), I was lucky enough to stumble upon my first stroke of luck. A bundle of hours work a week with the lovely ladies from Twig and Arrow, a floral and events styling company, run  by a wonderfully quirky, charming and slightly witty mother and daughter duo who make me feel as though I have stepped into a slightly slower paced Gilmore Girls episode. It’s brilliant.

For those of you who don’t know, my heart is found in both the wholefood-wellness & small events industries. Being able to dabble and learn from Twig & Arrow has provided the creative events designer inside of me much calm and peace. The part of me which found joy in raw, organic whole cooking however, is struggling to be heard and is in a constant state of confusion and chaos as to where this fits into my day to day life. I do not know Wellington’s wholefood & wellness scene, I was not brought up on a organic farm, let alone home veggie garden as so many of my favorite foodie bloggers and cook book writers seem to be, and I am definitely not a natural in the kitchen. But I love it none the less and because I am determined that good things come in threes, I am hopeful that the next two will revolve around good food.

On a side note – I have come to the conclusion that I will never be a successful blogger. Someone who has marketing and media up their sleeve and can earn an income from crafting words and photos. BUT I think being an honest and open writer who can’t spell but has faith that being genuine and honest will inspire even the quietest of readers, is a good kind of writer to be.

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The cure for bad days

Lately I’ve been having a few of those days.

Yesterday I woke up grumpy and before even getting out of bed I had predetermined that the day was going to suck. I had consciously decided that everything was too hard and that I should just stay in bed and wallow for a good few hours. However, a little part of me knew that this was just a tiny bit pathetic, and that the best kind of cure for those kind of moods and those kinds of days is to simply get up, get dressed, get out of the house and find some individual who uplifts your soul and your mood.

That’s it really that is the cure to bad days. The secret to uplifting your mood. Will yourself out of the bed. Go anywhere with someone even if its just your dog and get out of that place of self pity and drowning thoughts. Change your surroundings and your company and soon enough your mind set will be on a completely different direction.

Today the cure of my bad day turned out to be the Sunday markets, purposefully & aimlessly wandering the streets of the city, good simple and nourishing food at Loretta & the effortless company of a friend. A simple but full proof cure for a day in danger of being one to forget. For those of you interested in nourishment for the soul, my friend and I dabbled in both the Black Quinoa Salad – with riceberry, radicchio, red cabbage, purple carrot, rosemary, and the egg, cottage cheese, celery leaf and almond open sandwich. What a treat for a day that started grumpy but ended peacefully.

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Brilliant at breakfast

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Breakfasts are a God sent. I can’t remember the last time I ambled down the cereal isle at a supermarket. There are just so many simple and sound breakfast ideas out there that dont involve processed grains and refined sugars. I often find that when you eat a brilliant breakfast, inspiration is easily found for a healthy lunch and then heartfelt dinner. Good things come in threes so why not start off the first of the bunch brilliantly. Here are my favorite breakfasts & their recipes.

Banana smoothie – One frozen banana sliced in half, one tablespoon of cocoa, a fair few splashes of almond milk, a few soaked dates, seeds of a vanilla bean and a few crushed nuts. Blend it all together until you have a thick & creamy consistency. Monday’s Wholefood first introduced me to the simplicity of smoothies and gave me a constant drive to experiment.

Chia seed breakfast bowl – The recipe for this light breakfast was found in The Un-bakery Cookbook by Megan May. It is such a simple recipe that flipping through pages and scrolling through websites is really unneeded. Soak 1/4 cup of chia seeds in coconut milk, nut milk or any milk of your choosing, pop it in the fridge for 20 minuets at the least and then top with any berries or fruit compote you like, and dont forget the sliced almonds.

Avocado – Avocado on toast, need I say more? I love it on a dark delicious rye bread or if I’m feeling particularly wealthy, a nut & seed toast. Salt, a squeeze of lemon and a shake of pepper make this my favorite breakfast, brunch and lunch.

Home made muesli with de-hydrated berries. Just before I left Mondays Wholefoods a beautiful blueberry & nut granola was introduced to the menu. Made by the lady behind the former Wilder And Hunt and predominantly used for the Mondays smoothie bowls, this stunning breakfast treat had me contemplating my decision to move back to Wellington. From a guess the muesli was a homemade mix of de-hydrated blue berries, roasted coconut flakes, roasted walnuts, macadamias, cashews and hazelnuts. Yum.

Coconut yogurt. This is the one pantry-fridge item that I splurge on. Being dairy free this is a god sent of a product and goes well with everything. From fruit, granola, pancakes, chia seeds and even savory dinner dishes such as rice, salads, roasts and especially on curry.  My heart honestly swoons. Up until recently I have always used Raglan Coconut Yogurt but the creamy and soft texture of the brand Coyo is pulling at my heart strings.

I hope these few ideas inspire you just a wee bit. Message me if you need more, I have buckets full. Happy breakfasting. Photo credit given to the talented hands behind the camera.

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This is the beginning of anything you want

It’s a quiet one for us this year. Who am I kidding its a quiet one for me most years. I am happy to fall easily into the step of a simple night, and new years eve is the perfect night for still celebrations. I am currently sipping this beauty of a drink lovingly stamped Coconut Eve. Coconut sugar syrup, coconut cream, baileys, macadamia milk, crushed macadamias with purple cornflowers and desiccated coconut to decorate. As I muse over the past year the phrase “this is the beginning of anything you want”plays over and over in my head. I know an unneeded amount of weight is thrust upon new years and a the idea of a new start however, I think there is value in starting off tomorrow with a new conviction and mindset.

I am so looking forward to seeing the glorious sunlight of tomorrow. I want to walk into the new year without an ungainly struggle and learn to accept things as they come, never feeling like a mountain has fallen on top of my head.

I am so looking forward to gently letting go of 2016 and all the worries, heartache and conflict I have tripped over. I am looking forward to starting a new year but more accurately a new day tomorrow. This coming year will hardly see me as a master chess player who meditates on every decision big or small, but hopefully more like a kite. Happy New Year Grandma, Mum, Dad & the few other wonderful people who follow this jumble sale of a blog.

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