Tuesday, 31 May 2016

May 30th Two Sleeps From Winter

June 1st is looming. Winter is right here on our doorstep. We have lashings of rain, thunder (which I hilariously read the other day being referred to as Angel farts), lightning, and it is cold. Very cold. And going to get even colder if the weather experts are to be believed.

So it was a bit of a shock to see our Jade plant, the smaller of the money trees, full of new buds. The larger money tree has flowered, and this one has decided now would be a good time to have a growth spurt. I hope the young'uns aren't in for too much of a shock when the expected polar blast hits this week Fortunately we do not see snow here, but with the nearest snow fields a three hour drive away, we certainly do feel when it is snowing.

Monday, 30 May 2016

May 27th - 29th Minnie Munching For Green and Other things

How quickly they roll around. Another weekend has just flitted by, just as in now you see it and now you don't. Here today and gone tomorrow. Yes that is exactly what it was like.  And because I can't really believe it was here and gone, I am going to display my photos out of order.

Let's go backwards for a change and start with Sunday. Minnie does like her greens, as in grass only, and a certain variety only. To the extent that we have to leave a weedy patch in the garden for her to munch on  It wasn't hard to notice she had been having a spot of indulgence

This is the only green she will eat. If there are peas in her food, we have watched as she has expertly spat individual peas out across the floor, and she won't eat any dry food that is green. However when it comes to her grass.

Rewind to Saturday, and just like the week before it was time to check the lotto tickets And!!!!

 Still  not enough to retire on. But it was lovely to hear the metallic trumpet blast and to read 'You Are A Winner'

Rewind further back one more day to Friday. Usually my weekend posts are only for the Saturday and Sunday, but as I worked most of Saturday, I had to forego my Friday post due to lack of time. Friday was actually lovely as there was a little hiatus in the middle of my working day, and I was taken out to lunch by absolutely wonderful customers (the ones holidaying up here from the South Island). They wanted to get together for one last time, whilst they were up here. So I was collected by chariot and whisked off to lunch at Good George Brewery.

Don't worry! This is not where we dined and only their promotional caravan. Here is where we had lunch, although our drink of choice was a Cider

Friday, 27 May 2016

May 26th Wacky Weather

We have had a few days of weather hell. To the extent that Minnie hasn't been walked for days. There has been torrential rain and winds. With Winter on our doorstep next week, the turn in the weather, while not surprising, is definitely not welcomed

What was surprising however was to wake up to a weird type of sky. Looking westwards it was the usual one monotonous blanket colour of dark, dark grey, showing another downpour was imminent. But turn your head to the left and the sky was blue as, with white fluffy clouds.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

May 25th God's Gift To Working Women

The humble slow cooker. What a blessing for busy days. Except you do have to remember to take the meat out of the freezer for the next evening's meal.  Take a slab of meat, with apologies to Vegetarians, Vegans, Pescatarians and Pigs (it was a Pork Hock). Cover it with a packet of ready made sauce, with apologies to food purists, anti any form of sugar followers as I am sure there would have been sugar in the sauce and I forget to check, paleo aficionados - mmm not sure about them, oh and let's throw in an apology for any other food faddists I missed. 

End of day ensues and you have your main ingredient cooked and ready to go.

There was however one minor (?) problem. When dinner time did eventuate, George wasn't feeling the best due to a migraine. I actually wasn't that hungry either. Guess what's for our next dinner.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

May 24th The Dinner Invitation That Went Awry

We were invited out to dinner, to be cooked for by my younger son and his partner. All good. But you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. Actually did you know that the line 'the best laid plans of mice and men' originates from a Robert Burns poem, and it should actually read 'the best laid schemes of mice and men'. See! As I  have often said this wee blog can be a tad educational at times too. And I managed to fill out a few lines and up my character count at the same time.

Back to our dinner. We had about 30 minutes until we had to  head out, when a god almighty storm struck complete with thunder and lightning. Then it was hark - is that my phone I hear? Actually it was, and due to being in another room in charge position, it could hardly be heard.

Gina, my son's partner, was ringing. She was stranded not far from our home and her vehicle window wiper's had decided to break. She couldn't see a thing, let alone drive the 20kms to their home. George ventured out in his shining armour (his car) to save the damsel in distress. She followed his lights to come back to our home. Which was fortunate as the rain was that torrential, it was impossible to see without window wipers.

Where was my son, Todd? Well he had an appointment and that went a lot longer than expected. He eventually turned up at ours. With the weather and other events conspiring against us, it was decided that dinner would be at our house.

You seriously didn't expect me to cook a dinner for four at 5 minutes notice did you? Do I look like Wonder Woman? I know there are times when I am the Nigella, the Julia, the whomever famous female celebrity chef of the moment is, in the kitchen. But really? Me? At 5 minutes notice? Get real folks. This is where the Colonel and his southern fried chicken saved the day. And it was finger licking good!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

May 23rd For One Little Minute

Yes for one little minute, one tiny portion in time, my stomach fluttered. You most probably wonder what on earth I am on about. I am a sucker for purchasing the all elusive winning lottery ticket. It is my only vice (in gambling that is) in life.

Well... the Lotteries Commission very kindly provide a mobile app, so you can scan the barcode of your ticket and see if you are a winner or not. Which actually is very handy, because if it was 'The One' would you want to be in a public place when you found out. How could you keep your composure? I would be the short, fat, little lady attempting somersaults, hands in the air, acquiring an immediate love for religion and singing out Hally-Loo-Lah's - and all of this in a public space.

Instead, I can now do this in the confines of my own home. Well if I won that is. Which I thought had happened. The App scans the barcode, and then there is a metallic trumpet blast and your screen announces 'You Are A Winner'

That is when you hold your breath, you assemble all in the house if they are home, you are nearly peeing yourself with excitement, you survey your immediate surroundings to see if somersaults are possible, you plan your retirement - and then you click to see what you have won.

Which is exactly what happened today. Trumpet Blast. Breath held. Click. Here is the result.

Monday, 23 May 2016

May 21 - 22 A Weekend of Gifts

Saturday was busier than usual. I had South Island based customers visiting up here in the North, for whom I have done quite a few bookings and an online friendship has evolved. It was the perfect opportunity, with them having to be in our neck of the woods, to meet them finally.

They also happen to own NZ's largest lavender farm, and  coincidentally featured on a NZ television program just the week prior.  And they are dog lovers, with two small dogs of their own. Unfortunately because they flew, the dogs had to remain home, so Minnie was unable to meet some new friends as well. But we plan on rectifying that in the future.

The guys came bearing gifts - lavender based products from their own lavender of course, which really had us ooh-ing and aah-ing. And were thoughtful enough to not forget Minnie

This was especially brought back from their last trip to India for me

A wonderful evening with wonderful new friends. By the time they left we were well into Sunday. Yes it was well past the witching hour. Which meant Sunday was a slob and blob day, and the weather gods 'rewarded' us with inclement weather which removed any thoughts of guilt for being couch potatoes.

Our Orchids have been moved onto the front deck so they have some protection from rain, wind and frosts that will no doubt pop up now we are very close to Winter. As a thank you, there are lots of flower buds on all the plants. Obviously when we have more than one plant flowering, I will post a photo of all of them and the various colours

Saturday, 21 May 2016

May 20th End Of The Day

It was nearing bed time, the time when I start my Snore Fest (although this has reduced in volume now thanks to a recent purchase). George was in full repose on one sofa fast asleep. Minnie was tucked up beside me, making sure that I was half off the sofa I was sitting on, and she had the other 7/8th's 

Yes, it was 9:30pm well maybe 9:00pm, oh okay even 8:30pm if I am to be totally honest. Come on,, give us a break. It has been a hard week and isn't this what everyone does on a Friday night?

But that isn't what I was going to write about! The reason I started, is because it was nearly time to go to bed, and then the thought struck me. I hadn't taken a photo all day. I had been at my desk all day coming to grips with a new computer program and here we were with the day done and dusted, and no photo.

Oh the shock! Oh the horror! A glance around the room. No, George wouldn't appreciate waking up to find there was going to be a photo of him asleep on the couch. Minnie would only lift one eyelid and glare, and tell me with that one glare to not even think about it. A selfie? OMG - that would shut this blog permanently down or readership numbers would plummet. There was nothing for it, but to take a photo of what I was watching on the screen. After all who doesn't love Mrs Brown's Boys and Mrs Brown. No matter how many times I have seen the same episodes, I still have a good belly laugh.

Friday, 20 May 2016

May 18th -May 19th Hello Again Auckland

I have been back in Auckland for my final two days of training. Not only can being in a classroom situation for a full on eight hours be exhausting, but also the 5:30am start on the first day to get there in time for a 9am start. Once you hit the big smoke, traffic is bumper to bumper and at a snail's pace.

Fortunately I only had to endure the 5:30am start for one day, thanks to a friend's generosity of the use of her home for the night - she is away, so it was much appreciated. I wasn't alone however due to these chatty little acquaintances, who were very camera shy when I tried to get up close and personal

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

May 17th The Money Tree

Our Money (?) Tree is starting to show flower buds for the first time ever, and we have had it for a very long time.

Oh my gosh! Does this mean we are coming in to money? Does this mean that financial riches are heading our way? Does this mean retirement is looming on the horizon? Does this mean when I board a flight, I turn left and not right?

I did rush to check our Lotto ticket and yes there was a win. A win I tell you, a win! All $7.00 worth - but it is a win isn't it?

May 16th The Storm That Came

With a storm predicted, I decided it would be a wise choice to walk Minnie as early as possible. Fortunately I made the right decision because as we were out, the clouds definitely started gathering and were getting ominously darker.

We were home before the rain hit. Unfortunately the same could not be said for George. He had been in Christchurch for the day for work, and flew back early evening, right in the middle of the thunder and lightning that eventually struck. It was his worst flight ever, to the extent that he was worried about being sick.

Meanwhile back home, Minnie and I were snuggled up with all the blinds drawn.

Monday, 16 May 2016

May 14th - 15th It's All About The Food

A wonderful quiet weekend here. Chores were completed, the grass was mown, laundry done and put away. Yes, a very quiet weekend. And it is nice to have weekends like this to not only catch our breaths, but also it gives us a chance to give recipes a go that require either more time or are new.

Saturday was a Butter Chicken Day (made from scratch). Actually it could easily be done any day of the week, but I like to marinate my chicken in the turmeric, cumin and nutmeg spices for a few hours first, Which doesn't always lend itself to being completed on a working day. Also to be brutally honest, lying in bed on Friday night, and I don't know why exactly then, but the thought came to me that I haven't done home made butter chicken for a long time. So guess what Saturday's main meal was

Sunday was George's turn. When stocking up on some new BBQ supplies at the BBQ shop, he was gifted a BBQ recipe magazine  We both liked the sound of Aubergine Parmigiana. So  this was our main 'meal' for Sunday. We topped these with home made Parsley Pesto, Tomato, Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheeses, and cooked on the BBQ. These are wonderful, and would make a lovely starter dish. But we like to be different, and munched on these for our dinner

A little (well a big one) Mouse couldn't wait to taste one - hence the gap

Saturday, 14 May 2016

May 13th Friday The Thirteenth!

Did you know that a fear of Friday the 13th is called 'friggatriskaidekaphobia'.  I am a veritable goldmine of information aren't I? Not that I myself suffer from friggertrickadelphia (easier way to remember it). Nothing bad befell me on this day. Well apart from one small spot of bad luck. I was sampling a new brand of porridge for my breakfast, which coincidentally I don't like the taste of. Neither the taste or texture was to my liking. Also this is a microwaveable porridge and I followed instructions to the T, next minute look what happened!


Friday, 13 May 2016

May 12th A Bad Season For Avocados

We have had a very bad season for Avocados.  They are retailing at very exorbitant prices, and the quality has left a lot to be desired. The nation is in the throe of an Avocado woe - I kid you not!

Can you then imagine my response when I was gifted these today, home grown here in Hamilton. Believe me we aren't mucking around with these (very large) babies and risk them going off.

Oh and you may like to know that the humble Avocado is not a fruit but a single seeded berry. You can thank me later for that wonderful piece of information

Thursday, 12 May 2016

May 10 - 11 Hello Auckland

I was in the busy metropolis of Auckland for two day's training. The brain cells had to concentrate on matters at hand for 2 solid days. I have another 2 day session coming up next week so my brain matter is really working overtime.

But it wasn't all hard work fortunately. Firstly I was the lucky recipient of this stress package present from a colleague (who knows me too well me thinks).

My keyboard will be a sticky keyboard like this one soon

All work and no play, makes Irene a dull girl. Here is what passes for a wine glass in a named establishment?

On the last day, stumbled on a good Mexican place to eat. I am coming back here next week again for my lunch

Monday, 9 May 2016

May 9th What Is This?

Well may you ask! It actually is a humble Shower Cap. And you may also well ask, Irene why are you posting a photo of a shower cap?

The reason I am posting a photo of a shower cap, is that I have an abundance here at home of shower caps. Mainly due to the number of hotels I stay at, whether it is for work or pleasure. Other guests may take the moisturisers, the tea, the coffee, the soaps, but not me. I take the shower caps (and just between you and me, I make sure I put them in my suitcase every day so they are replaced on a daily basis - but I am telling you that in confidence)..

Why I took a photo of the shower cap today, is because this evening was the first time I have ever used a shower cap for its intended use. I had been to the hairdressers, and wanted a shower and wanted to protect my perfectly coloured and perfectly styled coiffure

Usually shower caps are used for a very different purpose in this household. They make the most perfect food covers when storing left overs in your refrigerator.

May 8th Sunday Servings

A normal Sunday here, with some differing sightings. Firstly at the supermarket for our weekly shop, saw this lovely old girl

Then we were stopped at traffic lights and there were roadside plantings on the traffic islands. This coincidentally is a wonderful feature throughout Hamilton. It is great to stop at traffic lights and see lovely plantings of flowers and greenery. However the latest planting at this island had me surprised. There was lots and lots of parsley planted in the middle, and it was growing in abundance! I doubt it could be picked and eaten due to traffic fumes, but what a wonderful idea. The photo unfortunately isn't very clear as I was in the passenger seat on the other side, and we weren't stopped for long.

It was a grey, dismal day. Which was a contrast to the previous day which was a summer's day, with blue sky and 25 degrees. Today was the exact opposite, with lots of cloud cover. Therefore it was very surprising to be treated to a spectacular sunset in the evening

Sunday, 8 May 2016

May 7th We Are Family

Yay, yay, yay.  A great time spent with my sister Sophie, my niece Paula and my great-niece Claudia. We don't get to see each other often enough due to them living in Silverdale, Auckland (just a few kms away), so it was lovely to catch up.

I also took them around for a little tour of Hamilton. Paula grew up here, so took them to see local sights and old houses and to see the how the little metropolis of Hamilton has changed over the years. But first we had to indulge in some lunch. You can't do such an undertaking on an empty belly!!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

May 6th The Day Of The Cards

'twas that day of the month
a time when George says out loud "you can't"
When egos get a boost
When Chickens come home to roost
When Irene has yet another win (yawn)
And Bree-Arn loses and do you really think I would mourn?
Joined for a laugh by Cristina and Crae
And this is why each month, cards we do play

Friday, 6 May 2016

May 5th The Black Box

For at least a year now a phenomenon has been sweeping social media here in NZ, where you sign up to receive free samples and post a review, both on social media and via a survey.

My turn has arrived to receive one of these sample boxes - called 'The Black Box'  There are a variety of products to be sampled

Below is proof as to why I don't do selfies.  

Minnie is much more photogenic then I ever will be

It's all about product placement

Thursday, 5 May 2016

May 4th Walks With Minnie

Today on our walk we encountered this metal bar with this strange inscription, which I have never heard of before. Of course I came home and consulted with my friend Mr Google, and SFNZ is apparently a New Zealand organisation dedicated to supporting families in mental illness. This metal bar was a random find in the park,   and I would love to know what it's use is

Being Autumn, the leaves are always wonderful. Here is a local tree with every possible Autumn leaf colour available

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

May 3rd Beautiful Hamilton

I attended a trade event, and fortunately it was held in a beautiful location. So instead of waxing lyrical about various South Pacific destinations, I was in awe of the beauty of my outside surroundings. Autumn colours and dusk on the river - it was an artist's palette.


And here is some arty farty-ness spotted as I left the function

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

May 2nd The Mystery Of The Hidden Sugar

I have no idea what prompted me to check out the ingredients list on a packet of Panko Crumbs in my pantry. These are Japanese style breadcrumbs, purchased recently. Imagine my shock to see listed in the ingredients list 'Sugar'.

And  it is quite ironic that the importer of this brand is a Japanese food importer and yet these are a product of Thailand!

Which then led me on a small goose chase. George actually had a loaf of sliced bread in the house. I decided to check whether your normal, every day, loaf of sliced white bread had sugar in it. The answer to this is a big resounding no.

I happened to  have another brand of Panko Crumbs in our pantry, and checked the ingredients list, and noted it had absolutely no sugar.

So be aware!  They may be only crumbs, but they are not all created equal.

Monday, 2 May 2016

April 30th and May 1st Weekend Shenanigans

The week that has been, has had a chain of unusual circumstances relating to my birthday, which was two months ago.

It started with a decision to go under the tattoo needle again, which George had stated would be a birthday present from him. He was gifting me a balloon ride, but the weather gods saw fit for that to not eventuate. So instead it was a tattoo, that has taken a while to decide on.

That was the first event. The next was as covered in my previous day's blog, a lovely lunch with two lovely friends - which has taken two months to eventuate due to timetables.

Finally culminating this weekend with receiving another belated present, which due to distance barriers meant it wasn't easy to get here.  Shirley, who does not live locally, designed and made this garden totem,, and it was a gift from our friends, Raewyn and Danny in Perth. I just love it, and with the elephant theme, it certainly suits our home

I certainly am very lucky to still be receiving birthday wishes and gifts two months after the event.

We were also very lucky to have our eldest granddaughter stay for the weekend.

Havana decided that for Sunday breakfast, that George could join us at our very special, secret cafe that only us girls have been to.  I can't tell you the name of the cafe as I have been sworn to secrecy and it is only for us, and now George, to enjoy. But I can tell you the food they serve is the best and never fails to please.

Oh and if locals do want to know where this is - I am open to Bribery and Corruption!