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.

 

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Pallet Kingdom

One of the awesome things about university are the people, a fact that is true about most well intended establishments. This semester I am taking a really interesting paper called Social Entrepreneurship. This week our lecturer invited a lovely and slightly witty young lady called Adriana who although, young in appearance is wise beyond years and in wisdom. She gave a good hours talk about her neat little business called The Pallet Kingdom, laughed about her tragedies and ‘mistakes turned lessons learned’, and encouraged us to support and grow ideas around social enterprises.

The Pallet Kingdom is a humble and homemade social enterprise in the big city of Auckland. Adriana and her troop rescue unwanted and left to waste pallets and after a little bit of love and a lot of time and energy turn these pallets into beautiful pieces of furniture for houses, cafes, gardens and any little space that needs a bit of beauty. Adriana and her company have an awesome philosophy around business, sustainability and around taking trash and not only turning it into a treasure, but into a profit and more importantly a purpose.

Persistence in the ever constant face of diversity was at the forefront of her talk. Even after a newsworthy car crash through her house which demolished a client’s work and much needed tools, a sliced off thumb and an eviction notice, Adriana still preaches grit, passion and determination.

An hour of my Friday well spent. How awesome is it that we are constantly surrounded by creative, talented individuals whose dreams and possibilities are endless. Adriana created a conversation for us to be beginners, encouraging us that no one starts off being excellent and hard work is a season to be honoured. Furthermore, how lucky are we to live in a country in which education is so freely given and most people are open and willing to give it.

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Fabric Origami

Made by Hand is a beautiful book, however it is not for the faint crafters. A step up from simple paper crafts this book is a collection of wonderful, bold and quaint creations. From screen printing to basket weaving, T-shirt rug lacing to sweet little fabric parsnips, colorful coiled bowls, olive oil soap and my personal favorite fabric origami butterflies.

The pages are filled with projects as opposed to afternoon activities, but that didn’t stop a friend and I from gathering a few pieces of lost fabric and trying to copy and create from dog ended pages.  Fabric origami is by far the easiest of all the creations all you need is an iron, fabric, scissors, and a needle and thread. The two fabrics we used were off cuts from a beige linen and a beautiful home made screen print of tiny hill -houses that my incredibly talented friend had created and donated.  The smaller the square of fabric the harder it was to get a good fold and the harder it became to sew. It helps a fair amount to have a practiced hand in artfulness, but all you really need is to be somewhat competent with a needle and thread, and if not have someone nearby who is. Have a little peak below and get your hands on this book it is truly a delightful find.

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Almighty Gardening Team

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I have just spent the last hour and a half hanging out with the lovely Tess from Almighty, and an equally cool bunch of kids from Edendale primary school, watching and only slightly helping out as they made a cafe-worthy pumpkin and silver beet risotto. I was too embarrassed to admit it but I have never mastered the art of risotto, so was stoked to see the kids cook up a storm with apparent ease.

For those of you who love gardening, or love the idea of gardening, feel pretty darn sexy in an apron, love experimenting with food or think that it is of great importance that New Zealand kids feel at home in both the garden and the kitchen, then keep reading.

Almighty Juice is a proudly owned organic and general well-ness company. Alongside making some pretty beautiful products they are also supporting the Garden to Table program. A program that is focused on changing the way children approach and think about food.

Up until very recently I have been living a blissfully ignorant life when it comes to sustainability and the awareness that every single one of my actions has a much bigger consequence. Although I am still miles away from being able to call myself sustainable, I am well on the way to educating and slowly changing my lifestyle to a happier and healthier one for both me and the environment.  A massive part of the journey to a sustainable lifestyle is to just simply get among it, network with people, have conversations, read, research and make mistakes, because any mistake you can make will not be worse then the one of simply not trying.

Everyone knows that great feeling of having a conversation with a like-minded person who just ‘gets it. It’s so incredibly encouraging to begin to walk alongside others who are journeying the same or a similar journey. Not only is the product behind Almighty beautiful, but the philosophy and ambition behind it is as-well, so thank you Tess for encouraging conversations, I still have miles to go but now at least it doesn’t feel like light years!

If anyone wants to lend a helping hand and get among some gardening and cooking with some pretty darn awesome kids, head along to the Almighty Juice website and flick the good souls behind the screen a message, they will be super excited to hear from you!

The 21st Theory

For some reason when one turns the grand age of twenty one, it’s kind of a big deal. In New Zealand culture young adults often celebrate by convincing their parents to hire out a venue or bar, invite friends, collogues and acquaintances alike and hope the bar tab doesn’t run out.  This terrified me. I can count the number of close friends I have on one hand, how do people even know enough individuals to fill a room, let alone a venue?

It may be the fact that I am not the coolest kid on the block, and that I tend to lack any hesitation when pouring out my love, not realizing friendships take time,but it wasn’t until admitting my fear of holding a 21st to a friend, that I realized that there was another option, and that was simply to not. So for my 21st year of living on this beautiful planet, I decided to climb a mountain and celebrate my life surrounded by blue skies and white peaks.  It was incredibly humbling to spend the day feeling tiny and important both at once.

However, last July I attended a 21-year celebration that made me think that if I could do it again, this is exactly how I would do it.  A 21st, or any birthday celebration in-fact should, in my opinion, reflect the person who is being celebrated. I hiked all day on my birthday and was surrounded by nature and company that made me blissfully content. This person surrounded herself by the beautiful people in her life, insanely good food, and a wonderful creative spirit.

I often joke that I am studying to do exactly what this person does for a hobby. However I wanted to write this blog post and include these photos to encourage others that a 21st isn’t defined by what is expected but by what reflects you.

 

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 Photos credited to a miss Em Blackmore

 

Lonely

Lonely. Have you ever felt lonely? Not the good lonely, not the feeling of being surrounded by trees and mountains feeling minuscule but filled with joy at the majesty and magnificence of the world around you. No I mean lonely, that feeling you had as a kid when you had the horrible thought for the very first time that maybe no-one will show up to your 5th birthday party or even your 18th. That feeling which authors describe as sitting in a room surrounded by people but feeling like you’re the only one there.

For the last few weeks that feeling has been my constant companion closely followed by its friends jealously and comparison. And I write these words not as a long depressing rant but as an encouragement to the lonely ones. Although it may seem like it I promise, you are never alone. It is just a feeling, an incredibly present and powerful one at that, but hundreds if not thousands of people have been there and are still there. Some people have a megaphone, but I have words and sentences and a God who is as close as my bones and as real as the breath in my lungs, and a heart that I have prayed over and over again to be broken for things that break others hearts.

I remember thinking since I was young, how incredibly scary and vast the ocean was. I mentioned this to someone once and they turned and looked at me with a mix of puzzlement and amusement and replied, scary? Nah, it’s just incredibly powerful. And what an awesome notion that is, my loneliness, the feelings I am feeling are not scary, are not depressing, they are powerful.

And although I feel at times that I am racing a rising tide, I must constantly remind myself that I have always loved to swim in the wild waves. A beautiful analogy right there, even if I am the only one who understands it.  A very real and honest post for this week, but I almost promise to write something significantly more exciting soon enough.

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Thanks Tim for the beautiful photo, credit is rightfully yours.

12 weeks in Italy

A few weekends ago on a lazy, meant-to-be productive day, I found myself rugged up in bed watching Italian documentaries. I have been dreaming of Italy for awhile now. Little towns in Tuscany, Anghiari, Firenze, Lucca and Casale Marittimo are all dotted on my back-of-the-door map of a boot shaped country. I am hoping for 12 weeks in Italy in the near ish future, and although my planning has so far only reached the enchanting northwest region of Italy, I hope it will soon find my flicking through pages and pages of second had travel guides for all the forgotten towns and best kept local secrets. A girl can dream right?

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