Monday, June 19, 2017

A single mama sort of birthday

Oh my goodness, how to respond to the lovely texts saying they hoped I was spoiled rotten for my birthday today?

My lovelies, I am a single mama. There was no breakfast in bed, no gifts, no cake, no sleep in. Hell, there wasn’t even a Happy Birthday spoken out loud for a good few hours. No kisses, no hugs. There were some lovely texts and I haven't gone near my facebook timeline yet and I am sure there is some deliciousness in there. 

I spent 2 hours in rush hour traffic this morning, trying to get to an appointment with my fabulous lawyer only to turn around and come home as my boy had been feeling increasingly crap on the way in. He was being stoic but turns out he has the flu. I couldn’t even stop and pick up supplies to make a nice dinner. 

The rest today I worked, worked some more, mopped sweaty brows, did all the fetching and carrying that mama’s of sick kiddos do, fed wood to the fire and looked for a new job and a new rental house for us. I also priced storage units in case I end up having to put our things in storage and live at the local campground until we find a place to live. (Rentals are rare here - being a seaside community, so many are on Air bnb now.) 

I think the highlight of my day was taking a nap in a patch of winter sun. Let's not underestimate the goodness and rejuvenating power of naps but so far this cycle around the sun is a bit bleak. I did save up and buy myself a little bag from the TradeAid store in the weekend but spoiled? Far from it. 

That's okay. Crappy times in life overlap with birthdays sometimes and I am grateful for a great many things. Many of them simple joys. But those add up don't you think? There is a very cute dog flopped out over my feet as I type. That winter sun is still pouring through the window. I managed to scrounge the ingredients to make a caramelised onion tart for dinner. My kid is old enough to be largely independent even when sick - this is new. And I am looking forward to sitting by the fireside writing later this evening. Wish me luck. x

Note: Just after I had posted this yesterday evening my son's dad (and friend!) came by with a few very thoughtful gifts. It's not about the presents. I know that. But it was super nice. 
Also, I know many women have crap birthdays and mother's days even when they do have a partner - that is even lonelier. I reckon it's up to us to look out for each other and plan something special for ourselves. Even if it's a scrounged ingredient caramelised onion tart and the end of a bottle of wine found languishing in the fridge consumed in between bouts of holding a bowl for your child to throw up in! Starhawk had a great quote in one of her novels, and it has always stuck with me, 'Happiness is not in the circumstances, but how we meet them'. Hard to remember sometimes and obviously not a quote to lean on in times of trauma but I find it useful in wonderful messy everyday life. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Farmers market mornings

This rainbow of winter fruit and vegetables at the farmers market made me so happy. You can't beat freshly picked local produce. 

I have plenty of greens and fruit from our place at the moment. Kale, celery and chickweed are abundant, we're on the last of the feijoa's, I've made two batches of guava jelly already and the oranges are just about ripe. I had a craving for radishes though, and the market did not disappoint.
Love those market mornings sitting in the sun with friends. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Be nourished - sauerkraut goodness

Last week I submitted my final contributions as Editorial Assistant to Organic NZ Magazine and wrapped up my Web Content work for NZ Soil & Health - the publisher of ONZ Magazine. One of the competitions I organised for this upcoming issue of the magazine was for a bumper pack of Be Nourished sauerkraut, kimchi and juice. Be sure to get a copy of the mag so you can enter the competition because let me tell you, those Be Nourished folks know how to make superb sauerkraut. I have tasted sauerkraut made by the famous fermentologist, Sandor Katz, back when he lived at Short Mountain in Tennessee and so consider myself learned in such things. (If any of you are in West Auckland, my friend Bella also makes an amazing kraut.)

Jo Nolan founded and runs Be Nourished and she is doing an amazing job. I have been following Be Nourished progress ever since they launched and its so cool to see it flourish. 
Imagine my excitement when this lovely box of sauerkraut goodness arrived on my doorstep! Thank you Jo. We've been having taste tests with houseguests. I have been wanting to try the Ruby Perfection and it's sooo very good. The kimchi too. Such a treat. Try some. Great for a probiotic fermenty sort of a winter boost. 

My favourite fast food lunch is an avocado halved and served in it's skin, a heaping of sauerkraut with a drizzle of tahini, a touch of olive oil and oven roasted tamari sunflower seeds on top. Give it a go! I'd love to hear your favourite way to eat sauerkraut (other than straight out of the jar x)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


My boy and his dad were laughing on Mother's Day. They reckoned I was the only mama in the history of the world who'd asked for a Thermette as a gift. Rather than a massage or chocolates or whatever I suppose. Well, at least one of my mama-friends asked for a power drill and another for vouchers to the boxing gym. But yes, I might well have been the only mama to ask for a Thermette. 
I had a Kelly kettle in France and had often thought about it while on our various adventures. The Thermette was apparently invented in NZ's Manawatu in 1929. (The Kelly kettle was invented in the 1800's so may have inspired it perhaps?) 

So what is it you ask? Well. It's basically a cylinder shaped kettle. You light a wee fire under the kettle so the smoke goes up through the hollow in the centre, maximizing the heat the water is exposed to and boiling it in record time. You can also cook on the top of it. It's freaking genius. And lots of fun. Because the fire is sheltered at the bottom there, with only a hole to feed the fire - as long as you face that away from the wind, you can boil water in a storm. See? Genius. 
We plan on taking this Thermette to the beach for hot chocolates, on picnics, camping, and to use during the 123 power cuts we get every year. (I may have exaggerated slightly there).

PS: Right at this very moment, there's a possum making awful noises up the feijoa tree you can see in the photo. I had forgotten how weird they sound. If it's eating my strawberry guavas, there is going to be trouble. I love those things. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ambushed - by a moment of happy

I have done and seen some amazing things. I have lived in a war zone and communes, seen the Northern Lights, swum with dolphins in Indonesia, and danced to dawn at festivals. These days, my adventures are of a simpler nature. I think some of the happiest times in my life have been laughing with my boy.

Right now, it’s night-time. We’ve had a slow day, with both of us not feeling too flash. We didn’t even make it to our local beach. The fire is lit. The dog is curled up next to me on the couch, the little guy has crashed out on my other side. We are all nested up in favourite blankets and I have been writing. I love writing. I have a few juicy projects on the go. I took a break to stretch and realised. I am happy. Content. It’s good for me to take a moment to digest that, revel in it. Life has thrown one curveball after another lately. So many things are in flux, I am craving stability for us. Contented moments like these are gold. Simple joys. Of feeling connected. Warm. Yup, happy. I’m just going to savour that feeling for awhile. #feelinggrateful