Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year in Review

Well, the year 2011 is coming to a close and we're all gearing up for the new one - making plans, shrugging off negative vibes from 2011, and generally looking forward to all that 2012 has to offer. For me, it's been pretty hectic, but fun all the same, with a lot of good things balanced out with a couple of bad things. But today as I look back over the year, I'm focussing on the good, so here are my 2011 highlights:

That day it snowed in every corner of New Zealand - a once in 50 years event

Celebrating my dad's 50th birthday rugby-style

Celebrating my little brother growing up and turning 21

A visit from one of my good American friends I met at Camp Livingston three and a half years ago

Watching the All Blacks win the world cup!!!

Ticking off the Bucket List

I have a new page! It's called Bucket List and it contains, yep, you guessed it - my Bucket List! All 80 items of it...

Everyone should have a Bucket List. It gets you motivated to do things you've always wanted to do instead of sitting there watching TV and an advert comes on saying "when was the last time you were Fiji'd?" and you say, "Oh, I've always wanted to go to Fiji", but make no move to actually save for it.
So next year, since most of my list is travel stuff, which I'm saving for in 2012 so I'm a homebody for the year, I'm planning to cross off:

7. Learn to play guitar

38. Learn how to cook a roast

67. Get a New Zealand tattoo

72. See Kitty, Daisy and Lewis in concert

77. Learn to make pasta from scratch

80. Learn to make sorbet

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Water for Elephants

Basically, one of the best books I have ever read. And I've read a lot of books.

Jacob Jankowski is one exam away from a degree in veterinary science when his parents are killed in a car accident. With nothing left for him, his life is thrown into turmoil and while moping along the railway tracks trying to escape his life; he makes a split-second decision that will change his life forever. He stows away on a train carrying Benzini Brother's Most Spectacular Show on Earth, where he meets Marlena, a beautiful circus performer, and Rosie, a misunderstood elephant.

This book has everything you could want from a book. It has a quirky old man, a magical circus, corruption, beatings, illness, death, mystery, crazy people, a stampede, and, of course a love story. But it isn't any old love story - it doesn't overwhelm the story and leaves room for the other, minor, unconventional love stories to shine through.
The prologue is enough to have you sitting on the edge of your seat - unlike a lot of books that take awhile to lift off.

Now the movie. I was a little bit nervous about watching the movie after I picked it up at the DVD store and all it had on the back was a blurb about the love story between Jacob and Marlena. I packed a bit of a tantrum in the store - "That's not all it's about! What about Rosie?! What about crazy August?! What about old man Jacob?!" But my sister assured me it did not focus solely on the love story and so I rented it and breathed a sigh of relief when it began with old man Jacob.
The movie did not follow the story exactly and even cut a few characters, but it worked. It totally worked.
I was also worried about not being able to get past Robert Pattinson as vampire Edward Cullen, but he surprised me. He is so much more than Edward Cullen, and I hope that role doesn't stick to him because he's actually a pretty great actor and really became what I imagined Jacob to be in the book.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rest in Peace Natalie Murphy

Some of you may have followed Natalie Murphy’s story, some of you may never have heard of her. Natalie Murphy was a 35-year-old mother of a gorgeous little boy named Jackson and wife to her soul mate, Greg, and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, after she found a lump the day before she gave birth. She was given two to five years and sadly passed away yesterday.
I never knew her, but when her story appeared on, I spent a whole day flicking to her blog and reading her whole story in my spare time, and was devastated when I heard this morning that she had passed away.
She had expected to live at least until New Years Day, when she was going to renew her vows with her husband of nearly ten years, but she didn’t make it.
When I heard her story, I was so moved I sent her a personal email about how she had touched my life along with that of probably thousands of other New Zealand women.
Breast cancer is so common, everybody knows somebody who has suffered from it. My aunty was diagnosed at the age of 36, and until I read Natalie’s story, I had not actually realized just how young she was. Thankfully she survived and has never had a relapse, but the thought of having it in my genes is never far from my mind.
I know that Natalie has helped saved so many lives by publicizing her story and I hope doctors clinics and hospitals will be inundated with women under the age of forty wanting mammograms, and I hope those women don’t back down in the face of the health system. Natalie was mucked around for months before she got a proper consultation after her midwife told her the lump could have just been her milk coming in. It may not have saved her if she had been seen to earlier, but we all know cancer spreads fast, so maybe she could have been saved.
After months of anger, Natalie accepted her fate and decided to embrace life and enjoy the time she had left with her husband and her little boy. By doing this, she was an inspiration to so many of us who often take life for granted. Her courage was unbelievable, especially when she said she was “the luckiest woman in the world” while facing breast cancer.
Following a story such as this really makes you take a look at yourself and think, “What would people say about me if I died? Have I truly squeezed every last drop out of my life?”
Not only does it make you look at yourself, but it also makes you look at the things around you. What matters more, your flat screen TV or your mum? Your car or your dad? Your wardrobe full of clothes or your sister? Your Nike shoes or your brother? Your computer or your soul mate? Your brand new couch or your best friends?
I for one would trade a lifetime of TV for my mum’s health, I would walk everywhere if it ensured I would have my dad around to watch his grandkids and great-grandkids grow up, I would wear rags just to hear my sister laugh, I would run in bare feet for a hug from my brother, I would write letters and visit libraries to grow old with my soul mate, I would sit on the floor for a night out with my best friends.

This is the email she wrote me, this is the kind of person she was – she probably received hundreds of messages and had a toddler and her health to take care of, but she took the time to reply to my email, which I wasn’t expecting. Rest in Peace Natalie.

Sarah, what an awesome email and a truly lovely response to my story. It has touched me and warmed my heart to know I have affected your life in such a positive way – you are right, this is the only gift I am really looking for. So thank you for writing, for listening, for learning, for wanting to be the best person you can be. You are a shining light honey so make sure others see your light too – never hold back.
All my love

Monday, November 28, 2011

Please respect my vote

Down here in New Zealand, it is easy for our people to take things way out of perspective, being so far away from the rest of the world. This year’s general election took on a whole new dimension with the advent of sites like Facebook and the increasing number of people who find their voice online, and while that can be good, there was, and still is, a surprising amount of anger gracing my newsfeed the day after the election.

With the anger has also come disrespect, which has been keeping me awake at night.

It’s like religion. In my family, my parents, my siblings and I are all baptized but the only ones of us who go to church are me, my dad, and my sister, and it’s only once a year – on Christmas Eve. My great-grandfather was a minister and my grandparents were all highly religious. So although we don’t practice religion, we respected their beliefs, and still do although none of them are around to practice them anymore.

I hate when people from different religions come to my door or hand me flyers or preach at me in the streets to try and lure me into their way of life. The way I see it, I have my beliefs and I respect yours, but don’t push your beliefs on me because I won’t push mine on you. I live my life the way I want.

The same goes for election time, and the only difference is that the door knocking, flyers and preaching is replaced with cowardly, faceless comments on Facebook.

I voted National.

National won the election.

Why? Because 48% of New Zealand voted for them, as opposed to the 27% who voted for Labour.

I don’t feel the need to justify my vote, but I did think it through, despite those Labour supporters who think not one National voter thought about their vote and just voted for them because John Key is a good kiwi bloke. We had our reasons just like you had your reasons.

And most of us are smart people, despite those Labour supporters calling us F***ing idiots for not having the same opinion as them. We’re not calling you names because you voted for the weakest party of the two.

So, voters, feel free to talk about your political beliefs on Facebook, but have some respect for your fellow kiwis.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

 This book was recommended to me by one of my good friends Jamie, who I met at Camp Livingston while working there as an Arts and Crafts Director three and a half years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long!). Being as in-love with books as I am, she wrote me a three-page list of books I should read, and that’s how I heard about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

I didn’t like it at first. I knew that the whole thing was written in letters, but I was kind of hoping there would be some break in between letters – but there weren’t, and after a while, I started to love it. Once I got used to the letters, I found myself very impressed and slightly amazed that the author managed to create such deep, whole characters from letters and make me fall in love with them all.
I challenge anyone to read this book and not want to meet Dawsey, Isola, Amelia, Eben and the rest, and be a part of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, book lover or not.
There’s not much else to be said about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, other than – READ IT – and now I plan to visit Guernsey on my Big OE, simply because it's a beautiful place both on paper and Google, and, of course, for it's history.

Synopsis from Good Reads:

“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb?
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dreaming of...... Guernsey

So I've almost finished reading The Guernsey Potato Peel and Literary Society - highly recommend it - and I have fallen in love with Guernsey just as Juliet Ashton did.
This may sound funny to some of you Northern Hemisphereians, but before reading this book, I had never heard of Guernsey - and it's always a great feeling when you find out a place you read about in a fiction novel actually exists.
Now that I have Googled Guernsey extensively, it's officially been put on the Big OE list. I think part of my Big OE with my partner will have to include going on a wild goose chase around the places I have read about in books, such as Culloden, which features in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and is apparently quite a moving place.

So before I post my review of The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Society, I thought I would share some beautiful images of this beautiful place that I found on my Googling expedition.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The green thing

This was sent to me by my friend Murray Clarkson, who does an amazing job of managing the Featherston Community Centre, and it really struck me and made me think, so I thought I would share it and maybe it will make you think too...

In the line at the supermarket, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."
The cashier responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."
He was right - our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the supermarket and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go half a mile.
But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts - wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that old lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Wales .
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank from a tap when we were thirsty instead of a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service.
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A blues convert

Way back when, blues music conjured up images of smokey underground bars, entrancing African-American voices that sounded like warm honey, and suave men wearing tuxedos sporting swished-back hair getting lost in their saxophone.
These days, when you hear the words “Cross Creek Blues Club”, the word “club” is enough to make you see wizened old men whose music dreams failed and who get a group of like-minded old men together to share their woes and their bad blues music.
After joining my friend Tory, a Cross Creek Blues Club fan, at the Tin Hut in Featherston on Wednesday night, my visions were proved very, very wrong.
Sure, the club captain was a wizened old man, but he was sweet. And sure, there were a couple of middle-aged men up on stage and in the audience, but they had style. There were definitely no stereotypes in that place – every person seemed worlds away from each other in terms of personality, but were brought together by a love of blues music.
I have worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for nearly a year now, and have written many articles on who is set to be playing at the blues club each month, but I have never actually been, or met any of the members. So when Tory asked me to go, I though, why not? I’d had a busy week and needed a glass of wine and a catch up with my fellow journalism school survivor, and the music might be okay.
Well, I arrived, got myself an $8 glass of wine (seriously, in Featherston?!) and sat down with Tory. Then began the people watching. In front of me sat a boy of about twelve, there with his parents. Across the room were a few young guys, maybe in their mid to late twenties. Behind me were a few young couples with a great sense of style and warm smiles, something I see seldom in Masterton but often in places like Featherston and Greytown.
At the bar stood a small woman with a cute black pixie cut who looked like she has just flown over from Paris in her beautiful brown overcoat and red hat, standing by a young man who also looked like he was straight out of Paris.
So with my attention back to the conversation, which was generally sharing war stories of our time at the Wairarapa Times-Age and Whitireia Journalism School, the music played on in the background. It was quite good.
After a couple of people had played, two words pricked up my ears: Jimi Hendrix, and as I do most times I hear that amateur bands are going to cover songs sung by music legends, I inconspicuously crossed my fingers and prayed this particular band wouldn’t murder a great song.
Well, this guy was so good that I almost fell asleep in my chair I was that relaxed. With some good sauvignon flowing through my veins, I closed my eyes and let the music flow through me. I’m now on the hunt for a Jimi Hendrix record.
Turns out the French-looking woman from the bar was featured singer Alda Rezende, and the young French-looking man was Lucien Johnson, a saxophone player, who plays in a band The Troubles, which was backing up Alda.
I’m not the best judge of nationalities it turns out – Alda was Brazilian. I may have been right about Lucien though, but I never actually heard him speak, I only heard his impressive saxophone playing.
For such a petite woman, the voice that came from little Alda was definitely unexpected. You wouldn’t expect to hear Brazilian music at a blues club, but somehow Alda’s deep, husky voice that sounded neither male nor female by the end, fitted in seamlessly with the eclectic mix of musicians there that night.
I will definitely be back next month, Cross Creek Blues Club; to listen to the musical stylings of Vinyl Bison I’ve heard so much about.

Photo by Mike Warman

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Summer loving

Okay, I know it's not officially summer yet, but it's November 1st, and while I'm writing this it's 20 degrees (celcius) outside, so I think it's time to really start looking forward to sunny weather, especially since summer seems so long ago with the terribly cold winter we've had. So, this summer, I'm looking forward to:

 ♥ eating gelato ♥ exploring new places in the Wairarapa like Herbertville Beach and Gladstone ♥ christmas ♥ celebrating new years at Castlepoint Beach ♥ camping ♥ roadtrips ♥ writing poems ♥ getting my camera back up and running ♥ experimenting with my new vintage Agfa camera ♥ concerts ♥ planting a herb garden ♥ reading books in the sunshine ♥ swimming in the ocean ♥ jumping off the Eastbourne wharf into the ocean ♥ woodfire pizza on the beach ♥ bike rides ♥ summer dresses ♥ barbeques with friends and family ♥ roasting marshmallows ♥ salads ♥ parties ♥ singing to summer tunes up loud in the car with the boyfriend, not caring who's listening ♥ walking around in bare feet ♥ inventing fruit smoothie flavours ♥ chillin' at the Waitarere Beach bach with the family

What are you looking forward to this summer?

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. ~James Dent

Friday, October 28, 2011

One Day soon I will read this beautiful book

As if the movie version cover wasn't enough to make you want to read this book and watch the movie straight after, the story itself just screams romance and Nicholas Sparks. But this time it's not a Nicholas Sparks book - it's a David Nicholls book, an author I had never heard of until I spotted One Day on my regular visit to the bookstore and saw it was a bestseller that had been made into a movie.
Bestseller?! How did I not know about this?!
So I'm thinking I might finish up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society quick-smart and ditch the pile of books I have to read so I can sink my teeth into this one and then watch the movie - which happens to star two of my favourite actors, Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess!

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY. From the author of the massive bestseller STARTER FOR TEN.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rockin' a new hairstyle

I'm always changing my hair. I like a bit of variety, and every time I get a haircut (unless it's an awful one), it feels like a breath of fresh air, a new start. It's truly amazing how much confidence a new hairstyle can give you, especially when it's a really daring one that you're nervous about and it turns out looking amazing.
This latest haircut is probably the shortest I've ever had, and although I worried at first about it not being the right fit for my face, I absolutely love it! It's the perfect haircut for summer, and I feel like I'm no longer hiding behind my hair like I have for so long since having bad acne as a teenager.
My only wish is for Mother Nature to turn the temperature up a bit and bring on summer so I can show it off!

New photos on Photography page

I have added some new photos to my Photography page, hope you enjoy. I'm hoping to get my camera back up and running soon so watch this space for some photos of the stunning Wairarapa at it's best: in summer!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


It has been 24 years, and our boys in black have finally done it. After the most stressful game of rugby I think anyone has ever watched in their lives, the whole of New Zealand erupted in screams and cries as the final whistle blew and we were crowned world champions.
I was in the Fanzone in Wellington city with my partner, sister and a couple of friends amongst about 3,000 people. We got there two hours before the game started to secure a good spot at the front to watch it on the big screen, and nothing about that four hours we spent standing there was calm.
During the second half with just one point separating New Zealand and France, the only thing going through our minds was, “all the French need is a drop goal or a penalty and we’re history”.
I am not a religious person, but for about 20 minutes straight, I had my hands clasped together in front of my face in prayer, pleading for the boys to hold off the French until the final whistle.
They did, and everybody screamed, cried, and flung their arms around each other for what seemed like hours, barely believing that we had actually won the Rugby World Cup for the first time since the tournament started in 1987.
Some may say, “it’s just a game”, but it’s really not, it’s so much more than a game. For starters, it’s New Zealand’s national game. I for one have been brought up in a rugby oriented household, and even those who were not rugby fans at the beginning of the tournament were screaming and crying on Sunday night.
It’s also about what it means to be a New Zealander. People around the world love us kiwis and know we love our rugby, and over the last seven weeks, we have proved that, for a little country of just 4.5 million people, we can put on one of the biggest international events in the world – and nail it.
I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling for the last two days and I feel immensely proud to be a New Zealander right now.
We have so much heart, so much courage, so much determination as a nation, and I think we have shown that not just through the Rugby World Cup, but also through everything our little country has been through in the last year.
First there was the Pike River Mine disaster, when 29 men were killed in an explosion. Then came the Canterbury earthquakes – September 4th, February 22nd, and June 13th, which destroyed our most beautiful city and killed 181 people. Now, of course, there’s the Rena, a cargo ship that hit a reef off the coast of Tauranga and is currently on the verge of breaking up after spilling tones of oil into the ocean and scattering containers along the coast.
But we have pulled through all that, and Sunday night’s win will remain in our minds for the rest of our lives. It is especially exciting for my generation – I was just a wee peanut in my mum’s belly the last time we own the cup – because we now have one of the greatest stories in New Zealand’s history to tell our children and grandchildren, just like our parents told us about the 1987 world cup.

Photos from

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The end of a journey through paradise

The Endless Forest
By Sara Donati

Well, the Bonner journey is officially over in terms of the physical books, but the story is something that will live with me for a long time.
Over the last seven-or-so years, I have followed Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner from Into the Wilderness to Lake in the Clouds, Dawn on a Distant Shore, Fire Along the Sky, Queen of Swords and, finally, The Endless Forest.
When I started reading the final book, I was totally confused. There seemed to be so many new characters and the story had skipped over a fair few years. Even halfway through I was still figuring it out and thought maybe I should go back and flick through the previous books. But, I persevered, and the story grew and changed and took on a life of its own.
Much like the rest of the books, The Endless Forest had a steady, balanced pace to it, something that was frustrating at first but, once you come to accept that that is the nature of the Bonner journey – the books are a story of their whole lives, not just a small part of it – you begin to enjoy it and always want to know what happens next and where everyone ends up.
Without giving anything away, the story ended just the way it should, and left the door open for the lives of the Bonner children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to continue in the readers’ minds for years to come.
It’s like that feeling you get when you’re out of high school for a few years and you wonder what people you went to school with are up to these days. I almost want to look up Daniel, Lily, Gabriel and Birdie on Facebook. Lol. They feel like old friends and I’m certainly going to miss them.

Now reading: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A confidence boost from that perfect piece of clothing

Confidence comes in many, sometimes surprising, forms. It may be a compliment, it may be a good hair day or a new hair cut. For me, it's usually a good skin day that does it, but on the weekend, I found that perfect piece of clothing that made me put my shoulders even further back, my chin up, and put heels on my feet.

It was just a little black blazer.

Isn't it amazing how, when you go to the mall with money in the bank and the intention of buying something you've wanted for awhile, you look in every single damn shop and you can't find it? Well, a few weeks ago, all I wanted was a short, three-quarter length sleeve black blazer. I looked in every shop in my price range and found one blazer that would have been perfect, except for the fact that it was made for the most out of proportion girl imaginable - let's just say size six waist and G-cup boobs. Yeah. Not going to happen.

So I went shopping again last weekend for some nice tops to wear to work in the summer, and again found nothing that suited me - everything was so baggy and floaty... no tops that flattered the figure, just ones to hide it. BUT, as I was at the end of my tether in Cotton On, a place I shop rarely because their clothes don't last very long, a little black blazer hidden at the back of the shop caught my eye. I picked up my size, not getting my hopes up at all, and took it to the changing room along with about five other failed tops. Slipped it over my shoulders, and VOILA! It was the most perfect fit of any piece of clothing I have ever tried on in my life! To make it even better, I went to pay for the $44.99 blazer and was charged $39.99!

It's one of those pieces of clothing that goes with pretty much everything and this $39.99 wonder has transformed my wardrobe, and my somewhat grouchy attitude towards the available fashion at the moment.

Have you experienced a fashion miracle lately?

Friday, October 14, 2011

How great are Mumford and Sons?!

Every time I hear this music - I have the album, Mumford and Sons "Sigh No More", on both CD and vinyl - I just want to write, and write, and write. Pour my thoughts out of my head onto paper into beautiful words like these. One of my favourite winter nights this year was curling up by the fire listening to the record revolving on my new record player and reading the lyrics off the back of the cover. For me, it is so refreshing to know that beautiful, meaningful music like this still exists and is not 40 years old. Every one of them is still alive and young and touring the world with their magic.

As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts
Oh the warmth in your eyes swept me into your arms
Was it love or fear of the cold that led us through the night?
For every kiss your beauty trumped my doubt

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no
This time no"

We'll be washed and buried one day my girl
And the time we were given will be left for the world
The flesh that lived and loved will be eaten by plague
So let the memories be good for those who stay

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no"
Yes, my heart told my head
"This time no
This time no"

Oh the shame that sent me off from the God that I once loved
Was the same that sent me into your arms
Oh and pestilence is won when you are lost and I am gone
And no hope, no hope will overcome

And if your strife strikes at your sleep
Remember spring swaps snow for leaves
You'll be happy and wholesome again
When the city clears and sun ascends

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no"
And my head told my heart
Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no
This time no"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From the burbs to the wops......pt2

On Friday night my mum, sister and I donned high heels, dresses and our best jewellery, and headed into Wellington City to see the Broadway classic, 42nd Street. We parked and stepped out of Courtenay Central into the busy street and I instantly felt at home amongst the people and the cars and the buskers and the slightly polluted air.
The country is, as they say, a breath of fresh air, and I have come to love it. But, there's nothing quite like the salty breeze that whips you as you walk along the Wellington harbour; the sound of cars and buses and high heels speeding around the busy city (oh how I miss the sound of high heels that aren’t my own); the courageous fashion, odd couples, hole-in-the-wall cafe's that make the most amazing burgers (yes, Offbeat, I'm talking about you), and the vintage fashion as opposed to second hand "fashion".
Driving around the Wairarapa is also a different experience – for those people with no sense of direction, the Wairarapa is the place to be. Long, straight roads that you get to know in no time at all. Only problem is, if you go too far out into the country – like to, say, Alfredton, it’s the scariest feeling if you have got the wrong road because you can be driving for half an hour and not see another street to turn off into that lets you know where you are.
So, Wellingtonians, when you take a drive to work or to the town centre, what do you see? Houses, office buildings, shops, parks, sports fields, bus stops, schools, people.
What do I see? Sheep, sheep, sheep, ooh lambie cute! Cows, cows, cows, sheep, sheep, oh look, a person!... well, it’s a farmer… sheep, sheep, sheep, cows.
Okay, maybe I exaggerate a teeny bit. There are plenty of houses and schools and parks and stuff, but seriously, there are a lot of sheep. And cows. And farmers.
BUT, the thing I love about this place is just how natural it is. You drive past those farms and see the meat you buy for dinner. In summer time, stalls and shops full of fruit and vegetables straight from Wairarapa vines, trees and soil are everywhere. Schools grow their own vegetables, keep chickens, and have worm farms and greenhouses.
It’s also full of surprises. I know I may have led you astray with my “sheep, cows and farmers” comments, but rest assured, the Wairarapa is not all country and western. Little gems are hidden in nooks and crannies all over the place.
In Martinborough a new bar called Cool Change has just opened up, and if you’ve just got the Little River Band song in your head, that’s exactly what the owners Karina and Jimmy want. It’s all about good music, good beer, local wine, and kiwi food, all encased in the beautiful old post office building.
On the road to Mount Holdsworth you will find a little cabin with a wood fire oven, which churns out amazing pizzas on Friday nights, or so I’m told – I haven’t been there yet.
On the way to Stonehenge Aotearoa, just out of Carterton, a beautiful abandoned house sits atop a hill slowly falling to pieces.
On the way to Riversdale/Castlepoint, there is a small town called Tinui, which houses about 25 families and was the first place in the world to hold an Anzac Day service.
Way at the back of the Cobblestones Museum in Greytown sits a man named Tony King, who has a great passion for printing, and runs a working print shop equipped with vintage printing presses as a live exhibit at the museum, where buildings of Greytown’s past have been preserved.
Oh, and you must visit Schoc Chocolate in Greytown, which sits right next to the museum, and try a piece of kiwifruit and vodka chocolate.
So, the people of the Wairarapa may not wear high heels to work or to bars – or anywhere really, and Masterton’s town centre may be bereft of good clothing and music stores. The internet may suck, and there may be a lot of sheep and cows and farmers, but during my time here, I have met a lot of people who have escaped the “hustle and bustle” of the city and come over here to have a lifestyle, rather than a job.
It took me a long time to get used to the quiet of the country, but now I feel at home. Although, I still feel that hustle and bustle calling me back.

Monday, October 10, 2011

From the burbs to the wops......pt1

It has nearly been a year since this suburban girl moved to a place where the roads are long, the air is fresh, houses get forgotten, and you occasionally find yourself sharing the road with cows, so I thought it was high time to tell the tale of my adventure.
As most of you know, I moved to the Wairarapa to work as a journalist at a daily newspaper after a six-month stint in the Hawke’s Bay (which, FYI, is overrated), where I moved to straight out of home.
For my job I talk to many different people, including kids with big dreams, and it makes me wonder what twelve-year-old Sarah would think of her life now.
In terms of a job, I think she would be pretty proud of herself and would have said “yeah, I could see myself doing that”. The lifestyle, however, would be a different story.
I only she could see it, she would say, “What?! What are you doing living in the middle of nowhere? Why aren’t you in New York City?!”
But life takes some strange turns, and lands you in places you don’t expect to go, or to like, but despite yourself, you change inside and surprise yourself.
The day I arrived in Masterton – or M-Tron as my brother likes to call it – I thought I was getting used to summer. The Hawke’s Bay sun was relentless, hotter than I was used to in my hometown. I was in for a treat.
I got out of the car and the heat hit me in a wave. I looked down and saw my arm was red from resting it on the window ledge for the three-hour drive south, and still we had to unpack my life from the trailer. To be honest, it was hot, but it was just the start of a summer that entailed sleepless nights, constant dripping sweat, chronic hay fever, and nights spent sitting in front of the fan. A micro-climate, they call it. I’ve also been told this summer will be even hotter. Dear lord.
At the other end of the scale, the winter has been the most miserable, cold, gray winter ever – although, my first winter in Masterton just happened to be that winter it snowed twice, so maybe I shouldn’t compare. But I will anyway.
In summer, I challenge anyone not to smile and feel the soul cleansing as you take a drive down a long country road. Winter, however, is a different story.
One of my most significant adventures in Masterton was on that day it first snowed (not the one when the whole country – including Auckland – got snow, the one before that).
I was driving out to a house way out in the country and had a near-death experience trying to maneuver the company car over snow. As I often do, I went past the house I was supposed to go to and, the further along the road I went, the thicker the snow got, and I found myself in a mighty predicament when I looked to my left and saw driveways, which I needed to turn around in, were all caked in snow because the smart people who lived there had decided to stay home.
Then I looked to my right and the road fell away like a cliff down to farmland and a bunch of rivers. So I had the choice to either try my luck with one of the driveways and end up trudging through the snow to the householders door to sheepishly ask them to help pull my car out of the snow; or I could keep driving until I got to the sunny side of the island.
Or, I could reverse all the way back to the house I was supposed to be at 15 minutes ago. So I took a deep breath, steadied myself, put the car into reverse and spent a terrifying five minutes sliding over the snow to the house. I made it safely, heart still (barely) in my chest, and was greeted by an excitable dog and a lovely couple who served me my first ever cup of coffee.

Part two coming soon...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The day they met at boot camp

Just a little bit from my novel, Missing Since Tuesday... enjoy!

The day they met at boot camp, a day that seemed a lifetime ago, Arthur and Stan had become instant friends when Stan found himself without a light and in desperate need of a cigarette to quell the burning pain in his chest caused by the unfamiliar exercise.

Arthur sat against the cold concrete wall of the barracks, breathing in the warm smoke, closing his eyes as the comforting cloud engulfed his lungs. The rest of the group had already set off in search of sleep or shower, but after a day spent with fifty sweating, grunting men, Arthur needed at least a minute to himself to collect his thoughts and take stock of the damage done to his own unused muscles.
After two glorious puffs, he opened his eyes and saw one of his comrades coming toward him, cigarette in mouth, desperately searching his pockets for matches.
As he got closer, Arthur recognized him from arrival the day before. The man’s shock of curly blonde hair that stood him apart from the rest had gone, as had Arthur’s own dark brown locks, taken at the mercy of the razor the day before.
Without a word, Arthur flicked the man his box of matches and after lighting his cigarette, the stranger flopped down beside him and they sat together smoking in companionable silence.
The man was a little younger than Arthur, perhaps by a couple of years, and through their cloud of smoke Arthur noted the naivety in his blue-green eyes.
“Tough day huh?” Arthur ventured.
After two grateful puffs, the man exhaled. “Yeah, you could say that”.
More silence as the gray cloud spread and floated into the dense bush that edged the camp and Arthur’s cigarette wore down to a stub.
He drew one last smoky breath and extended his hand to the man after he stubbed out the cigarette butt under his boot. “I’m Arthur by the way”.
The man took his hand with a strong grip well beyond his years and introduced himself. “Stanley,” he said. “But they call me Stan.”
He was about to ask who “they” were, but was interrupted by the bugle call for dinner, and they reluctantly rose, each man keeping outward composure while inside their muscles protested against any form of movement.


Tonight, half a world away in Wellington, Arthur lay in bed thinking of red high heels and copper hair, of the girl he had lost and the one he had found, and wondered how love and lust was possible when the world revolved around war and they were stuck in the middle of it.
By day they drew every ounce of strength from their bodies and held in their hands tools of destruction barely any of them had ever hoped to encounter, to practice for when they would hold the lives of foreign men in their hands. Yet, by night, their newly calloused fingers stroked the soft flesh of an earlobe and trailed down a bare arm. Lips used by day to shout and obey commands kissed lightly over gooseflesh from earlobe to collar bone to breast and whispered sweet nothings in the eager ears of the fairer sex.

Monday, October 3, 2011

You can choose your family

"It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons." ~Johann Schiller

Since battling through teenage hormones, bullies and acne, I have come to live by the philosphy of erasing negative people from my life.
Recent events have made me question the saying, "You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family." Finishing school enabled me to choose the people I spend my time around, (although I have come across my fair share of negative people in the workforce), but over the last few years, I have been lucky enough to have an amazing group of friends who love me for exactly who I am, who have control of their own lives, who think about the effect their actions have on other people's lives, and who are ambitious and know the meaning of hard work.
I come from a very close, hardworking, loving, "normal" (whatever a normal family is these days) family. I grew up in a comfortable home with my parents, brother, sister, cat, dog, and white picket fence, so I guess by old fashioned standards, we could be considered normal. My extended family, however, is constantly challenging the word normal, bar a few awesome aunties and uncles and cousins (you know who you are).
For a long time, I have challenged obligation invites to parties and the sentence, "at the end of the day, he's my brother". To me, family are those people you can rely on for hugs of comfort, a place to stay, and a listening ear. My flesh and blood are my mum, dad, brother and sister, and my extended family are those who have my respect.
I grew up in a mother's group around 22 other children and today, 23 years later, those mothers who occassionally breastfed each other's babies, punished each other's children, comforted any child who needed it, and gave us all places to sleep when they got together for games nights and us kids got tired, are my family.
Those kids with whom I jumped in the creek, played dressup, drank watered-down juice, ate marshmallow slice, shared birthday parties, packed tantrums, and learned to tell time and tie shoelaces, are my family.
My best friends who are always keen for a quiet drink, camping trips, and dressup parties; who offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a sense of humour, are my family.
My partner, who I could write a novel about - let's just say i couldn't imagine spending my life with anyone else - is my family.
While I do have some amazing "blood relations" - aunties who crack me up and who I can have an intelligent conversation with, and cousins who I chill out with at Christmas time playing pool and backyard cricket, some of my "blood relations" do nothing but hurt people, cause problems, and have no control over their own lives and expect other family members to bail them out or feel sorry for them. These are the people I choose to not call family because they hurt the people I love most and have a negative effect on our lives.
As I mentioned before, I have had it with obligation invites, and I hope this post will challenge people's idea of obligation. OBLIGATION has to be one of my least favourite words. We all get to choose how we live our lives, and just because I am descended from some of the same people as these negative influences, that doesn't mean I owe them anything.

So what do you think? Do you believe in the sentence, "at the end of the day, he/she's family"?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The house that has no love

"Ooh, I have to show you this house," I said to my sister as I veered off course and turned right instead of straight ahead around the roundabout.
We have the same round face, the same sense of humour, and the same creative brain. We also share a curiosity for the strange, and the thought of an old abandoned house perched high on a hill in the middle of nowhere caught her attention as it had mine the day I drove past it on my way to an unrelated errand, and we sped down the long country road that was longer and curvier than I remembered.
I pulled up at the silver padlocked farm gate and we both got out of the car, the slamming of each car door piercing the quiet country air.
"Wow," we both sighed, and I retrieved my camera from the back seat. I snapped away at the expanse of grass leading upward to the ravaged beauty patiently waiting for us. It took no more than a look exchanged between sisters, the one sisters read each other's minds with as children when they have a diabolical plan mum won't be happy about. This one said, "We have to go up there", and a split second later we had jumped the fence and were making our way up the hill.
The ground grew harder and the house grew bigger as we got closer, and in between nervous glances behind us waiting for the sound of a car or angry neighbour, we both looked up in awe at this life-sized, battered dollhouse.
It stood tall and strong like a woman who has been battered and bruised by life but refuses to be broken. She has faith someone will someday rescue her so she has her shoulders back, holds her head high, and waits.
She no longer sees the cars drive by and curious faces peek up at her, since the last of her windows perished and cracked, scattering themselves inside. She no longer feels her skin being ripped away as the weatherboard succumbs to the wind. Her only friends are the birds who have made their home in her ceiling. We hope she can hear, so she can hear us tell her how beautiful she is and how we could bring her to life again if we had the money.
Putting our better judgement aside and throwing caution to the hefty breeze blowing through the house, my sister risked falling through the floor and stepped in the back door and I followed, camera snapping wildly.
Her bones were strong, stronger than one would think for a house stood on a hill for at least ten years.
The house was bereft of electricity, so candles lit up in our heads and we saw a grand entranceway leading to a country-style kitchen on the left and a sun-filled dining room with a long dining table filled with laughter and children and good, home-grown food.
We saw the dirt and broken glass and walls scattered on the walls replaced with luxurious couches, calming paintings on the walls above, and a wall lined with books. The collapsed staircase was rebuilt in our minds out of chocolate timber, leading to light, sunny bedrooms with an iron headboard on each bed.
Someday, if we ever have the money, we decided, we want to buy this house, give it eyes again and let it feel and hear the happiness and laughter we could bring to it.

Here are the photos of our adventure:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I am a New Zealander

New Zealand is a strange and wonderful place, where there is technically no such thing as a New Zealander.
My Dad always says to me, “Do you realize that New Zealand is the only country in the world where we can’t call ourselves New Zealanders?”
When we fill out forms, we have to tick the box that says “New Zealand European/Pakeha”.
Firstly, I have never been to Europe, and nor has my family. My ancestors were born in Scotland and England, and only ever went to Europe to fight in the wars.
Secondly, “Pakeha” is a Maori word, which means “white ghost”, a name given to our ancestors when they arrived on the shores of New Zealand in ships flying white sails 200 years ago. Some say it means, “white pig”, or at least that’s what the Maori kids at school used to tell us.
Of all things, the Rugby World Cup has bought this anomaly to the forefront of my mind once again, which is entirely appropriate, given that the eyes of the world are on our tiny country at the moment, with 20 countries competing for the Webb Ellis Cup.
On my dad’s side of the family, I am a third-generation “New Zealander” and on my mum’s side, I am fourth generation.
On Sunday, my dad, sister and I donned blue and white face paint and headed to the stadium to support Scotland, the country of our ancestors.
There is nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage and supporting other teams for a bit of fun, but where do we draw the line at being defined by our heritage?
I love the sound of the bagpipes, and jumping around yelling at Scotland to “run the damn ball!” and cheering when they score, but when I stood up and sang Flower of Scotland (the national anthem), the hairs on the back of my neck stayed flat and my heart beat was normal.
Yet when I stood up with my sister in my living room on September 9 when the All Blacks kicked off the RWC with a match against Tonga, put hand on heart, and sang God Defend New Zealand, tears of pride came to our eyes.
When the All Blacks performed the Haka, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
Every Anzac Day, when I attend the dawn service in Wellington, I think of the New Zealanders who fought and died for our freedom regardless of the colour of their skin nearly 100 years ago.
How many generations of people born and raised in New Zealand will it take to shake off the words “Pakeha” and “European” and when will we get to tick the box that says “New Zealander”?

Friday, September 23, 2011

A thought for your weekend...

"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." - P.J O'Rourke

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Another one to add to the list...

As much as I love it when new and exciting books are released, sometimes I wish they would stop so I can catch up - I have so many books to read and it seems like every time I visit a book shop there's a new one I want to add to my ever-growing list.

The latest one is A Man You Can Bank On by Derek Hansen. Here's the synopsis from Good Reads:

Is it a CRIME to steal from bookies?

Can you TRUST an ex-Bank Manager?

Lambert Hampton is the man the Munni-Munni locals allturn to, and for good reason. This former bank manager helped them transform three million dollars - stolen from bookies by a gang of robbers - into a rescue package for their dying town.

But now the day of reckoning has come.

The crims want the money.
The cops want the money.
A rogue insurance investigator wants the money.
And so do Australia's two most notorious hit men.

In trying to save his town, Lambert is forced to risk everything - his life, the lives of the town folk, his own daughter, ten thousand barramundi and a really lovable Jack Russell.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Monday

Good morning people and hello to another week :) I've had my coffee and am raring to go! Hope everyone had as fabulous a weekend as I did. On Saturday we celebrated my little brother growing up by throwing an epic 21st party. We danced lots, sang lots, drank lots, and caught up with people we hadn't seen in years, which was awesome. It was great being able to dress up - living in the country means there's no opportunity to dress up anymore. People wear jeans and t-shirts to bars and to work, so if you dress up, even if you wear heels that make noise when you walk, people look at you funny.

The All Blacks also made everyone's weekend on Friday by smashing Japan 83-7, a great defeat considering they were without captain Richie McCaw, and star players Dan Carter and Mills Muliaina due to injury.

Also started reading The Endless Forest by Sara Donati, the sixth and final book in the Into the Wilderness series. So far it's a good read, except the book has skipped a few years and it's been a long time since I read book five, Queen of Swords, so there's a whole heap of new characters and old characters I had forgotten about. But I'm thinking Sara meant to confuse her readers to start with and all the characters will be explained as the book goes on and the gaps will be filled in. So I have every confidence that this book will be just as great as the rest of the series and I'm sure I will be sad to say goodbye once it ends.

So I hope you all had a great weekend. What did you get up to? Read any good books?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Goodbye Sarajevo review (spoiler alert)

When I turned the last page of Goodbye Sarajevo last week, I breathed a sigh of relief, but not because I was glad the book was over – I didn’t want it to end. I was relieved that I live in such a beautiful, spacious, and war-free country.

Goodbye Sarajevo is the true story of two sisters, Atka and Hana, who were torn apart by the Bosnian war in 1992 during the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare, and reunited in New Zealand by the extraordinary kindness of a kiwi family.
In May 1992, 12-year-old Hana was put on one of the last UN evacuation buses fleeing the city, while Atka, 21, was left behind in war-torn Sarajevo to look after their five younger siblings as their mother, working for a humanitarian aid organisation, was unable to reach them while their father retreated inside himself, shocked at what was happening to his city.
Amazingly, the entire family of 12 survived and later settled in New Zealand with the help of Atka’s husband Andrew Reid – whom she met during the war when he worked as a photojournalist – and his family.
The language and the pace of the book was absolutely perfect – not once did I get bored, which is rare for me, and the two different points of view really brought the story together in a way that lets the reader explore these two very different aspects of war – life in a war zone and life as a refugee.
I admired Atka for her courage in the way she did everything she could to keep her family alive and together, despite suffering from malnourishment, kidney stones, and an ill baby during the years of the war, and the raw emotion of Hana’s story balanced with her childlike positivity tore at my heartstrings through chapters that were almost like diary entries.
One thing I would have liked to have seen was a run-down of what everyone in that family of 12 is up to now, but who knows, there may be another book in the future.
I had the pleasure of meeting Atka and Hana earlier this year when I interviewed them about their book, and the thing that struck me most about them was their positivity towards life and the way they have created extremely successful lives for themselves, despite the pain they have been through which still shows in their eyes when they talk about it.
Atka worked as a journalist in Christchurch upon her arrival in New Zealand and later gained a Diploma in Graphic Design. Hana graduated from the university of Canterbury in 2002 with first class honours in law and a bachelor’s degree in Russian, and has since worked as a lawyer for a leading New Zealand law firm and, more recently, for a city law firm in London.
Just goes to show that there’s no excuse for not making the most out of your life – even if you’ve been to hell and back.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy weekend!

Happy weekend everybody! Hope your weekend is as fabulous as mine has been so far! The mighty All Blacks destroyed Tonga 41-10, booh yah! What a great start to the Rugby World Cup :) Opening ceremony was amazing too, read about it all here.

Had a great night with little sis eating homemade pizza, waving our flags, singing the national anthem at the top of our lungs (our poor neighbours...) and yelling at the TV. GO THE AB's!

Photo from Daily Mail

Friday, September 9, 2011

This time it's ours! Game on!

Today the biggest event to hit New Zealand starts. RUGBY WORLD CUP 2011!

Today my humble little country becomes the centre of the world's attention as we host our favourite game and our favourite way of showing national pride.

Tonight at 8.30pm, thousands of New Zealanders will stand at Eden Park Stadium, on the streets of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, in pubs, rugby clubs and living rooms, with their hand on their heart singing our national anthem God of Nations before we watch the All Blacks destroy Tonga.

It has been 24 years since the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup, and that was on home turf a year before I was born, when All Blacks Captain David Kirk held aloft the Webb Ellis Cup after beating France 29-9.

So here's hoping our beautiful captain Richie McCaw (he is gorgeous - I want to marry him) will get the same honour this year.

I was born in June, the middle of the rugby season, and my birthdays ever since have slightly revolved around rugby. It started at the hospital when my mum, who was packed up and ready to go after spending nine days there, just wanted to get home, and dad was late picking her up because he was at the rugby club chilling with his team after a "hard game".
Mere weeks after I was brought home, every Saturday I was wrapped up warm, put in the pram and sat on the sideline to watch my dad play. Then, two years later, my brother was born and he started playing when he was four years old, so every Saturday for most of my life during winter has been spent on a rugby field.
Despite that, I still don't know all the rules, but rugby is a big part of my life and the thing I love about it is the national pride that shines through and the good old fashioned rivalry between countries. So I, for one, can not wait to get involved in this history-making event that I will tell my kids about one day, and it starts tonight with pizza, chips and dip at home with my sister with the sound up loud.

I think my friend and fellow journalist Lee Stace, who is a huge rugby fan and works for Rugby News in Auckland, hit the nail on the head this morning with his message to New Zealand on the world cup, so I leave you with his Facebook status:
"Rugby World Cup 2011 begins here. To the All Blacks, do us proud, Win or lose, you will always be our team. To the New Zealand public, please be good hosts. Be gracious in victory and, heaven forbid it occurs, defeat as well."


Monday, September 5, 2011

Snap snap

Just added a new page... just because.

As well as reading and writing, I also take photos, so just thought I might put a few on here. Enjoy :)

Do you remember the moment?

 At first I thought it was when I was an office temp and I was talking to another office temp and she said she had been a journalist in Napier before. With no idea what to do with my life after coming back from the most amazing experience of my life in the USA teaching Jewish kids art at summer camp and travelling through about 25 states in three weeks, that moment had a big impact on my career, as it spurred me to Google journalism courses, and, before I knew it, I was enrolled.

But, the thing that really sparked my passion for journalism was a movie: 13 Going on 30. Yes, it's corny and yes, it's the biggest chick-flick, but back in the days when, on any given day, I wanted to be an astronaut, a travelling artist, and interior designer, or a children's book illustrator, this movie added another career possibility to my list.

I loved everything about the glamour of being a fashion magazine editor: the glamorous clothes, the big modern office, and the ability to control the design of the magazine - especially at the end when they do a total overhaul. I also loved 13-year-old Jenna in 30-year-old Jenna's body's perspective. Wouldn't it be a happy world if we all brought that type of innocence into the office?

After watching it yesterday, it has reignited my passion for the job, and I think sometimes, no matter what type of job you have, we all need to be reminded why we do it.

I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something at the moment, and hopefully that thing is a new step in my life. My journalism mojo is back, I'm writing like I'm on speed (but it's actually just coffee...), I'm reading like a nutter, everyone around me is happy, I'm loving my job, and, after interviewing amazing photographer Esther Bunning, my passion for photography is back. Surely life isn't supposed to be this good right? But maybe it is, considering I'm a magnet for bad luck - maybe the universe is finally smiling on me and giving me some good luck.

So, what was the moment that set you off on your career path?


Oh. My. God. I. Am. So. Freaking. EXCITED!

For those Diana Gabaldon fans out there, if you're not already following her blog, you NEED to read this. She has just put a new excerpt of Book Eight up on her blog and it is AWESOME! This lady continues to surprise me. Just when you thought she might run out of ideas after seven books BAM the story takes on a whole new dimension.

Please hurry up and finish Book Eight Diana!

Photo from

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pride and Prejudice = DONE

Well, it's taken me a long time to get through it, but I finally did it. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is done and dusted, thank goodness.
Those of you who have read it will know that it's not a very long book. It has been sitting on my bookshelf for two years, and in May I decided to pick it up and read it. It's one of those books you just have to read if you're a lover of books, and although I feel like I've run a marathon and travelled back in time to high school english class, I'm glad I read it.
I have never read classic books like Jane Austen's before - the closest I've been to classic is To Kill a Mocking Bird - so Pride and Prejudice was a real experience for me, and a real learning curve, considering the complicated-ness (if that's a word...) of the writing.
The one thing that really struck me about the book was how far ahead of her time Jane Austen was. You would almost think it was a novel written in our time if not for the overpowering, detailed dialogue.
I can see why her books are still so popular today - although the morals and values are far from what they are today, the core human emotions have never changed, especially when it comes to love.
As I said in my May blog post First impressions of Jane Austen:

We still fall for at least one bad boy in our lifetime.

We still play hard to get.

We still get jealous.

We still fall in love. In exactly the same way as we always have.
I also watched the movie last night, the recent one starring Keira Knightley, and I have to say I was skeptical about it. I'm not the biggest fan of Keira - she's too skinny and pouty in my opinion - and she was not who I imagined Elizabeth to look like while I was reading the book. I also feared the story would be tainted by passionate Hollywood kisses. But Keira exceeded my expectations and after the first ten minutes, she was Elizabeth. And there was not one kiss, although I was a tad nervous when Elizabeth and Mr Darcy finally declared their love for each other at the end, but it didn't happen and, although I'm a fan of Hollywood kisses, it just wasn't necessary for this story - ironic really, considering it's a love story on so many different levels. All the other actors were just brilliant too, pretty much what I imagined while reading the book - wasn't Mrs Bennet the funniest old lady?!
So that's two down, 98 to go on my 100 books in 5 years mission. Don't think I'll be reading any more Jane Austen for awhile - it's hard work - but I will eventually read all six of her books. So have you read Jane Austen? Thoughts?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An inspiring man

I have a pretty cool job. I get to talk to all sorts of people and write stories about important points in their lives, and writing is what I love. But sometimes it can get hard when you're pushed for time and you've got three stories and a feature to write in an hour. Then you get a phone call from a lovely old man you wrote a story about thanking you for the story and telling you what a great job you did. At the end of the day, that's what makes it worth it.

So I would like to introduce you to Stephen Davies, author of The Dolphin Enigma. He is a retired Masterton man who has suffered two strokes, but was determined to prove that there is life after a stroke, so wrote a book. I haven't read the book yet, but it's sitting on my desk amongst the pile of other books I have to read (almost finished Pride and Prejudice I promise). It's a story of New Zealand politics, war, and what if's... read about it here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tweet tweet

Yes, this technophobe has finally given in and joined Twitter...... I've had an account for awhile but I've never used it, but everyone at work is on Twitter so I thought, why not? I'm on Facebook and Blogger already, so I might aswell. What a cool little tool! I'm now following New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, a bunch of my favourite authors: Diana Gabaldon, Paullina Simons, Nicholas Sparks, oh, and the world's most gorgeous rugby player, All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw! It's quite exciting :)

So follow me if you like... not too sure how it all works yet and my tweets may or may not be interesting, but hey, why not?!/sarahcornflake