It’s no secret that I am a huge Disney fan.
Sleeping Beauty was always my favourite movie – I had a poster advertising the VHS hanging on my wall while growing up.
It was an amazing poster – aside from being huge, it was made of heavy cardstock and looked something like this.
I loved it so much, battered as it was, it even graced the bedroom wall of one of my apartments after I moved away from home.
I think it’s now in storage, but I would love to fix it up and hang it on my wall again in future.
Anyways, that is besides the point.
While traveling Europe last year, we stumbled upon the Disney store in Venice – so naturally I had to take a peek.
I instantly fell in love with the Disney Animators’ Collection of princess dolls.
If they weren’t so large, and my suitcase already so full – I would have bought Aurora on the spot!
For Christmas I was lucky enough to receive a voucher for DJB World Photography to take part in a photography walk around Melbourne! I have always wanted to do a photography session and recently bought myself a new camera, so could not wait to get out there and learn how to use it!
At first I was worried that my little camera wouldn’t be very good for this type of session, but was assured that it would be fine! So long as your camera has a Manual setting, you’re good to go.
There are a few different walks to take part in via DJB, but I booked myself in for the Melbourne city lights and laneways walk for Friday Feb 22nd.
There were eight of us were in attendance, along with our host, Claire. First she explained how to use the Manual setting on our cameras and which bits were important to capture great photos (namely shutter speed, aperture and iSO).
We were then taken to a few different points of interest around the city where we had a free reign to snap until our hearts were content. I found the walk really useful and it was great being in such a small group where you could get feedback and ask questions. After the two hours was up, I had learned a lot and had great fun playing with my new toy!
Claire took photos of us during the session, you can see these here.
I still have a lot of work to do to improve my photography skills, but I’d like to share a few of my favourite snaps with ya’ll. I haven’t edited these at all, so they could do with a bit of work, but I think they really show how great my little camera is!
The brain is a wonderful thing. A simple song or smell can evoke a range of memories and images within seconds!
The other day I was listening to an amazing playlist that I had put together (modest much?!) and I was met with a rush of memories that made me smile to myself as I sang along. It got me thinking about the songs that bring the most vivid memories for me, and I wanted to share them with you guys in the hopes you’ll do the same!
The song that started it all was this one:
I’m a huge Empire Records fan, and those of you who have seen the movie may remember that this song plays at the very end, while they’re all dancing on the roof of the store. But, to be honest, it’s actually not the movie that this song reminds me of. Whenever I hear it, I instead go back in time about 10 years ago when I was a poor student living in Dunedin. My flatmates were my best friends and we used to have great parties at our place every weekend. A couple of our friends were really into making up party playlists and it turned into a bit of a competition. This song was a favourite of all of ours and was one we played a lot. It reminds me of being young and carefree, and the lyrics really speak to that time in my life where my biggest worry was passing my assignments and finding money for alcohol!
Another song that takes me back to my student days is this one:
We used to sing this at least twice every Saturday night before heading into town. We actually felt like we couldn’t leave the house until we had belted this out at the top of our lungs, we loved it that much. It was also a time in my life were I was on-again/off-again with a dude and the album now reminds me of him and I couldn’t listen to it for ages after we broke up. Sad times.
Now to wind the clock back even further – I’m talking 20-odd years ago – is this classic:
Every summer when I was growing up, we used to camp at Bannockburn, in Central Otago. This was back in the days when John Farnham was in his element and our Mums thought he was a spunk. We were taught the moves for this song, and to this day my Mum insists we dance along whenever it comes on the radio!
A more recent flashback from two years ago is this amazing track:
I love this song. So much. It reminds me of one of the most independent times in my life, when I was living in Christchurch – I had a car with a decent sound system and was able to drive myself wherever I pleased. I mostly drove alone and had the best car concerts ever! I’m talking speakers at full blast and me singing like no-one was watching/listening. Even if they totally were. Whatevs.
So, now it’s your turn – what songs take you back in time and why?!
Today I was looking for information on the new Kingkiller Chronicle title (The Doors of Stone) because I remembered that I thought I had read somewhere it was due for release next month. It’s not, and there’s no release date for it yet, but during my search I stumbled upon the author’s blog.
First of all, I’m impressed that a dude who writes for a living has the time/motivation to keep a blog at all, but also his words are magic. Patrick Rothfuss writes like a river flows – gentle, slow but full of purpose. I absolutely loved reading both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Mans Fear and I cannot wait to read The Doors of Stone – I know he’s good. But these stories came from his brain – he can write what he wants and we’ll get sucked in, anticipating the next adventure, hungry for the next chapter – it’s a given. The books are amazing and the story is captivating. But it’s not a real story.
His blog on the other hand, is real. He let’s you in to his life, talks about his partner and son, his projects and all the while you’re lost in the words he has written, as if its another of his wonderful stories and not about a trip he took to the supermarket. I knew he was good, but now I realise the man has a gift! And I’m so glad he can share it with us.
If you haven’t read The Kingkiller Chronicles yet, I seriously urge you to give them a go. And if you think they’re not for you – read his blog – this particular entry really warmed my heart and gave me the motivation to write again:
It may surprise some of you to know that I have a pet rabbit. The fact that she is still living in Christchurch and I am living in Melbourne does not change this one jot. The plan is still to bring her over here when we can. Certain circumstances have meant that we’ve not yet been able to, but there is no way we want to pass her on to someone else after all we’ve been through with her.
While watching this super cute video this morning, I was reminded of our bunny, and wanted to share her with you.
Baylee is a grey mini lop and one of the cutest critters I have ever met. We got her in 2008 and for the first three years of her life (minus a brief stint in 2009) she was a princess bunny living indoors in a grand rabbit hutch and having free reign of the house.
A lot of people thought it was weird to have an indoor rabbit, and the fact that we were able to train her surprised many. That’s right, Baylee is toilet-trained! She uses a litter box and has actually been known to dash inside after spending time outdoors to do her business in the litter box!
We also trained her to go up and down the stairs of one of the houses we were renting at the time, which is why the video reminded me of this. She was so tiny compared to the steps, but it didn’t take long for her to give it a go and before we knew it, she was up and down those things like a pro!
She used to hang out with us in the lounge at night and when it was time for bed, we would say “bedtime!” and just like a child she would ignore us and stay put. So we’d turn off the lights and start walking up the stairs (where all the bedrooms were) and literally within minutes she was straight up after us!
Once, after a few too many greens, she developed a bit of a messy rear end and we had no choice but to bathe her. Now, bunnies don’t really like water and Baylee especially doesn’t like getting her feet wet so this was not an enjoyable moment for her. I think she realised we were only trying to help, so after a few failed attempts at scaling the bath walls, she gave in and let us get down to work. If you have never seen a sopping wet bunny before, then this should bring a smile to your face! Poor thing. We tried drying her off with a towel, but I think we had reached her capacity of tolerance by this stage as she wasn’t having a bar of it!
She loves having her ears rubbed and will sit for hours grinding her teeth with pleasure. If you lay on the floor for long enough, she’ll hop over and nudge you for a pet, and lick your nose for more ear scratching if you stop.
She also likes to chew power cables and almost blew my laptop up once. I’m surprised she didn’t electrocute herself to be honest. We’ve had to replace various phone cords, computer cords and mice because of her incessant chewing. There is also no area of her hutch that hasn’t got bunny bites in it.
Although she’s had a blessed life, it hasn’t been without injury. Unfortunately poor Baylee has broken 3 of her 4 legs in her short life so far (not at the same time, mind), and although we really had to consider if her life was worth living, she gave us plenty of indication that she wasn’t ready to give up just yet. Her last break was over a year ago now and she’s healthy and happy as ever with her carers.
She’s endured five house changes, all the Christchurch earthquakes, including living in the boot of our car for a few days when we fled the big February 22nd one, and various neighbourhood cats who have taken an interest in our bunny.
She’s sweet, she’s cute and she has major attitude. I would recommend a house bunny for anyone with the capacity to look after one. She’s pretty low maintenance, eating pellets and fresh fruit and vegetables; she cleans herself (although you do have to change her bedding and litter often); and she’s sociable most of the time, loving attention and companionship.
And hopefully one day soon she’ll love Melbourne, too!
Yes, you might be thinking this post is a cop-out, and you’re probably correct. I feel like I haven’t done a proper “This Week I’m Loving” post for a while, but inspiration has been lacking of late.
I’m totally not even sure if Cranstachio is a real thing, but let’s go with it, shall we? I saw a lovely picture on Pinterest a few weeks ago for Cranberry Pistachio cookies and decided to make some for myself.
I’ve used my go-to basic biscuit recipe as a base, which I have used for years! Perfect soft cookies every time. Except for that one time when I burnt them all, oops. I have a feeling it might have originated from an Edmonds cookbook (a staple in most New Zealand kitchens), but I have no proof so please don’t hold me to that one.
So, here we go…
1 3/4c Flour
1t Baking Powder
So this is the “Basic Biscuit” recipe. You can pretty much add whatever you like to this and be as creative as you want. They are also pretty good as is, although a little plain for my taste. So to this I added:
3/4c Pistachios, ground up (you can either do this yourself using a food processor, or buy them ground)
Green Food Colouring (I added a bit too much, but you can make them as light or dark as you want)
1/2c Dried Cranberries
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and prepare a cookie tray with oil/butter or baking paper. Beat the Butter and Sugar together in a large bowl, then beat the Egg and Food Colouring into this mixture. Mix in the Flour and Baking Powder and add the Pistachios and Cranberries. Roll the mixture into small balls, and flatten slightly with a fork. Cook for 20 minutes or until brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
These cookies are light and soft with a mild hint of pistachios. These would make perfect Christmas cookies, although I think next time I would use less food colouring and more pistachios!