Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Healthy May - week 4

Man a month goes fast! So this will be my last Healthy May post. I hope you've tried out my healthy recipes and enjoyed them as much as I do.

Sometimes it's hard to know if you're doing all the right things - there's so much conflicting information out there about what's good and what's bad for you. But I had a moment last week when I realised just how healthy I've been.
I was having a bit of a bad day, and at about 3pm, that point in the the day when you feel like curling up into a ball and going to sleep, I decided to go for a walk and get myself a treat. Sugar has alway been my way of cheering myself up, so I went and got a hot chocolate and a lemon slice. The first sip of hot chocolate and the first bite of lemon slice was absolute bliss, but when I got about halfway through both, I felt sick, and I just wanted to go back to work and have some green tea.
It was a real surprise, and it made me feel so good about how I'm treating my body now - I no longer crave sugar all the time and I've also stopped eating bigger meals than what I need. I feel awesome! Have any of you had a similar moment of realisation?
Fitness wise, I think I've done pretty well despite being held back from the gym by a week of tonsilitis and whiplash from a car crash on the weekend. I feel like focussing on my health this month has given me a totally different attitude towards health in general and a much better awareness of my body. As I said at the beginning of the month, this month was not just a fad diet, it was a lifestyle change, an attitude change, and I think I have achieved that.
How about you? Do you feel changed? Like you can do anything? Are you fearless?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Monday

Hello all, happy Monday to you. Today I don't have a quote for you; instead I just want to urge you all to be thankful for simply being alive. This past weekend was a bit scary, as my sister and I had a car crash. It was the kind of crash that, had one tiny detail been different, it could have been about 100 times worse than it was. But instead, we were incredibly lucky. Both cars were written off, but apart from sore necks from whiplash and one of my hands being a bit sore from the window hitting it, we came out of it with not a scratch. Today we are both so, so incredibly grateful that it was not worse, and believe there were one or two guardian angels looking out for us that night. It certainly puts things in perspective.
Have a great week everyone, and make sure you stop and smell the roses. Make this week count.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Seriously cool NZ holidays

Isn't it funny how we dream of travelling to distant and exotic lands, but sometimes you only have to look around you to realise some of the coolest places on earth are right in your backyard?
I stumbled across an article about the strangest places in NZ to stay on The Dominion Post website the other day and, because I'm a sucker for the weird and wonderful, I was so excited that these amazing places were so close to home. So I'm thinking most of them are going on my bucket list.

Solscape, Raglan: This place is amazing! There are eco-friendly cottages, an "Earth Dome", and, best of all, tipis! I think I would like to stay in a tipi.

The Boot, Nelson: Just like a fairytale...

The Giant's House, Akaroa: This place looks so quirky, like something out of Dr Seuss' head.

Maruia Springs, Lewis Pass: Relaxation anyone? Love the South Island.

Oh, and while I'm travelling, I think I'll go visit the coolest restaurant in NZ, The Redwoods Treehouse. Yep, it's a restaurant in a tree!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Travelling through time

If you could time travel to any era, where would you go, what would you do? I’m sure most of us have answered that questions many times, because for some reason, those things that are impossibly out of reach are the things we often want the most.
For everyone there is something in history they wish they could have witnessed, or, better yet, been a part of. For me, it’s always been the sixties. The year 1969 to be specific. On a farm in outback New York. Sound familiar? Yes, as a teenager, disappointed with what modern music had to offer, I turned to the classics; to the songs that caused such social upheaval and started revolutions, songs that created the teenager.

I longed to put on my long Indian-inspired orange skirt paired with a bell-sleeved top, topped off with bangles and headbands and hop into a convey van with a bunch of like-minded friends to drive the miles and miles it would have taken to reach Woodstock (never mind the fact that I live in New Zealand and if I time travelled I would end up in sixties New Zealand... minor detail).

I would get caught in the massive traffic jam that stretched for miles and my friends and I would abandon our van and walk, in bare feet of course, to the farm, drawn in by the strumming of guitars, microphone feedback, the thump of the drums and most importantly, the hum of half a million excited revellers come to enjoy this free concert that was never supposed to be free.
And when the rain started, my friends and I would let it come down on us and soak us to the skin. We would slide down the banks and then jump in the lake, all the while people that would go down in history as some of the greatest musicians of all time played on.

If my novel ever gets published, I know people will ask me “What inspired you to write about 1940’s Wellington?” To be honest, I don’t know. I started writing a novel based in 1960s America when I was about 20 and, although I may pursue it again someday, those files lie dormant on my computer. I can’t remember when I decided to base my book in the forties, it kind of just happened that way.

I let the story take me where it wanted and I ended up in the city I grew up in, but it is different. The masonry that, in my time, has been preserved, yet overtaken by high-rises, is now clearly visible and clean.
As I walk through the city, I am surrounded by a sea of hat-wearing people. Men in suits no matter what their profession and ladies in tailored suits and dresses with felt hats on their heads. There is a scattering of soldiers, their presence reminding people there is a war going on. Trams carry the people from A to B.

With the arrival of the Americans in 1942 comes both good and bad. Jealousy reigns among the New Zealand soldiers as their kiwi women become enamoured by the Americans, a brawl now famously known as The Battle of Manners Street erupts as an insult is flung from an American to a Maori, and a group of American soldiers drown at Paekakariki during a training exercise. However, their arrival also makes the city come alive with the opening of coffee bars, the organising of balls, a new sound of music, and hope that there is light at the end of the war.
And in amongst all of this are fretting mothers with sons away at war, exhausted fathers trying to scrape together a living, and young people who should be enjoying the innocence of young love but are instead mixed up in the turmoil and forced to think like adults.

It was not one thing, but all of this that has kept me stuck on the 1940s. The amazing amount of events, tragedies and social changes that occurred during that time is hard to ignore, as are my instincts – those instincts that drive me to find out more, to dig deeper, to find out the story behind the story. Those instincts are driving me deeper into Wellington’s history, with my novel pushing me on, urging me to go this way and that, shaping the story around me so much that, while it’s not the way I expected, I feel like I am travelling through time just like I always dreamed.
So, if you could travel to any era, where would you go, what would you do, and why?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Part time models

A couple of weeks ago, my sister, Joshua and I went on a little adventure in in the coolest little capital city in the world. My sister is putting together a photography portfolio for school and asked us to be models.
Here are a few of my favourites.

We did some planned and posed ones...

And we did some candid ones, which are my personal favourites in any photo shoot...

A couple of funny things happened...

And then one of the models became the photographer... It's always nice for my sister and I to get our photo taken together because at any event or photo shoot, it's always one of us behind the camera.

Even though we're out of focus, I think this one has to be one of my favourites...

We had a second photo shoot recently, so watch this space for more fantastic photos by my talented little sis!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Healthy May - week 3

Good morning all, hope you all had a good Week three of Healthy May. I bet you all did better than me. I had tonsilitis all week, so it was soup and toast and no gym for me - just lots of sleeping. But I started feeling better on Saturday, so spent the afternoon baking and found this scrumptious muffin recipe. Enjoy :)

Makes 12
Olive oil
1 cup reduced fat milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 cup bran flakes
½ cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup olive oil
1 banana, mashed
1 cup blueberries
½ cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 210 degrees. Lightly spray 12 medium muffin pans.
Combine milk and lemon juice. Set aside.
Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add bran and sugar. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients.
Beat egg and whisk in oil and milk mixture. Pour liquid mixture into the well. Add banana, blueberries and pecans. Mix until the dry ingredients are just dampened.
Three-quarters fill each muffin pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

How did you all get on?

Happy Monday :)

Good morning and welcome to Monday! I'm nearly cured of that horrible tonsilitis which rendered me unable to talk for most of the weekend, so will be back on board this week with lots of exciting blog posts for your reading pleasure - and best of all, I'm in a major writing mood at the moment, so here's hoping that continues so I can make some headway with all the projects I've been putting off.
Hope you all had a fabulous weekend - mine was spent sleeping, baking, watching movies, watching rugby, and house hunting. Did you get up to anything interesting?
Anywho, here's you're Monday inspiration, a little quote from an old-school American radio DJ that is a favourite of my dad's Have a great week!

"Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."- Casey Kasem

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Less is more...

Hello all! I realise I have been neglectful of this blog for the last week or so, but I came down with my yearly dose of tonsilitis on the weekend, so my mind is too foggy to come up with any inspiring posts. And I did promise an update on my novel last week, but I seem to have got sidetracked and now I just don't have the brain power to write anything.
However, I'm determined to get better by the end of the week, so hopefully I'll have lots in store for you next week to make up for my neglect, so just be patient with me! I'm still here and I still care!
For now though, I leave you with this:

Those priceless things we should all indulge in much, much more.
Have a great weekend xox

Monday, May 14, 2012

Healthy May - Week 2

Well, week two has been okay, although I didn't achieve many of the things I set out to do last week... just stress and being busy and whatnot. But I do have an awesome recipe to share with you :) Hope you all had a good week two :)

Makes 2 loaves (24 slices)
½ cup sultanas
½ cup chopped dried apricots
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup hot water
400g can lite sweetened condensed milk
½ cup golden syrup
3 cups wholemeal flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
·         Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Line 2 loaf tins.
·         Place sultanas, apricots and baking soda in large bowl, stir in hot water.
·         Add condensed milk and golden syrup. Stir until combined.
·         Add flour and walnuts, stir until well combined.
·         Spoon mixture into loaf tins. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
·         Allow to cool in the tin. Turn out of tin and slice to serve.

*Tip: Cut into slices once cooled, wrap each indivudual slice in gladwrap and freeze so it doesn't go stale and you can take a peice whenever you need to. Great for when you sleep in and you miss breakfast - grab a slice, chuck it in your bag, and by the time you get to work it's defrosted and you have a healthy breakfast!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The path I choose to follow

Lately I've been thinking about my novel, Missing Since Tuesday a lot, and have found myself getting bogged down with ideas; so many ideas in fact, that I feel I'm lacking a clear direction and it's going to end up too full of observation and become boring.
Don't get me wrong, I have pages and pages of great writing (well, I think it's great and all the people who have read it think it's great...) and a head full almost to the brim of ideas, but it's just too much sometimes!
The main problem is that every time I go on a research mission, a new strand gets added to the story - I find out about an event I didn't know about like New Zealand's Centennial Exhibition at Rongotai in 1940 and I see my characters there socialising, talking about the war and such, and then the whole story ends up changing around it and I can't settle it for long enough to get past chapter six (I've written six chapters in order, but I do have about fifteen more that are scattered randomly and I'm not sure where they fit).
With so much history, so much information, it's hard to find a middle ground - to know when to draw the line and get to the point of the story.

So to all you writers out there reading my blog (thanks for reading!), what would your advice be? How do you draw the line on information and how do you settle on one direction for your story so the writing flows smoothly instead of changing all the time?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Healthy May - Week 1

So last week, I joined Amanda from Here Comes the Sun on her journey towards becoming more fit and healthy (I wrote this post about it) and I promised you a run-down of my healthy week, so here it is.

On Tuesday, I went to the gym and did a Body Combat class, which was amazing! I haven't been able to do it for awhile due to issues with my feet, but they have behaved themselves for the past week, so it felt so great to go back and punch and kick the living daylights out of some air! (Body Combat is mixed martial arts group fitness). Also hit the gym on Thursday for about an hour. For week two I'm hitting the gym three times!

I've managed to cut down a bit on my sugar - there's been no chocolate in the house and I'm saving money so I've been strict with myself about buying unnecessary food, and my meals have been relatively healthy this week.
For lunch this week I made a recipe out of The Healthy Skin Diet book called Roasted Sweet Potato Salad and it is delish! (the flaxseed oil can be a bit of a put-off because it's expensive but you only use a little bit so it lasts a long time and if you're not worried about your skin you can just leave it out) Who would have thought that curry powder and lemon juice go so well together? So here's the recipe...

1 large sweet potato/kumara, peeled and diced into bite-sized chunks
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder
Ground black pepper
Pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
200g rocket or baby spinnach (approx 2 handfuls)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Place sweet potato/kumara in a bowl and mix with olive oil, then place on a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes or until pieces are soft and browned (not mushy). Remove from the oven and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, garlic, curry powder, pepper, salt and flaxseed oil. Then add the sweet potato and rocket, and gently mix.

*Tip: Replace lettuce with spinach or rocket in any meal. Lettuce is pretty much just water and gives you no nutrients at all, while spinach and rocket are full of nutrients and all those body-friendly things.

Goals for next week:
  • Do weights and crunches every night before bed (flat stomach here I come!)
  • Stay away from too much dairy, especially milk (inflames acne-prone skin)
  • Hit the gym three times, including Body Combat on Tuesday
  • Try a new recipe from The Healthy Skin Diet
How did everyone else get on?

Happy Monday :)

Morning all, and Happy Monday to you! Hope you all had a lovely weekend and are ready for the week ahead. Did you see the "Super Moon" last night? Epic huh? I freakin love space!
I just can't keep away from the genius Dr Seuss, so here's a simple, uncomplicated quote for you today that I hope will inspire you this week to stop, smell the roses, and keep it simple - life in the slow lane is underrated.
Does anybody else ever get that feeling like you're the only one who can see the light at the end of a dark tunnel? Like when people around you are having a hard time (in a way that slightly affects you but your life pretty much carries on as normal) and you tell them it's all going to be okay and that when one door closes another one opens; that every bad thing that happens is an opportunity for something good to happen that there wasn't room for before.
But you feel like you're standing on top of a table in the middle of a crowded room screaming these things at them, but no one looks up. No one hears you. No one believes you because you're young with no mortgage, no kids, no life insurance, no power bills, no rates, pretty much no responsiblilities. But sometimes the answers are simple if you open yourself up to them and look at life in a different way.
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
- Dr Seuss

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dreaming of... Jackson Hole

Just a little something to get those dreams flowing for your weekend.
Today I'm dreaming of a town called Jackson Hole in Wyoming, USA after coming across a photo of it on Pinterest.
I don't know much about Wyoming, but every time I come across it on my Google and Blogosphere travels, there's always something beautiful, quirky and interesting about it so I think maybe one day I will go there to see for myself... might do some "fly fishin'"... whatever that is...
Also, the reason why the Pinterest picture took my fancy was because of the name "Jackson Hole", which is the name of this great song by Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson.
(Click on photos for sources)

Have a fabulous weekend people!
Sarah xo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Time to write has been found

It has been lost for a long while, what with changing jobs, moving towns, moving back in with the parents, searching for a place to live with Josh, joining the gym, and just generally dealing with the mad rush that is my life. Those are the excuses I've been using for months now, and life does not look as if it is going to get quiet or boring any time soon, so I have actually had to carve out some time in my week to fit in some writing.
I'm a big procrastinator, as I'm sure most writers are, and I prefer to work on more than one project at a time to ensure I don't get bored or distracted, and I think a big reason why I have been putting off writing anything remotely related to my novel Missing Since Tuesday is simply because I don't really want to finish it. Sure, I've got  A LOT to write yet, but the whole story is in my head and I'm having so much fun researching it and putting it together that I just don't want the journey to end. But I do want to get it published in the end, so that's really no excuse, and I guess that just means I'll have to write another book after this one.
I also struggle to write at home. I have a big desk set up in my brother's old room and all the space I need, but I just can't make myself sit down and do it because there are so many other things I could be doing.
So I came up with a plan... if I can't write at home, where can I write? The library of course! And, just my luck, I found out that my local library is open until 8.30pm at night, so after work yesterday, I went to the library, set up my computer and just wrote! I know it's a cliche, but it works! And hey, it's not like I was sitting in a dark corner of a trendy city cafe downing cup after cup of coffee while writing my novel... or screenplay...

So, I suppose now I have to show you some of the results of my hard work... This is how Missing Since Tuesday will begin, this is the prologue. Let me know what you think :)

A young woman sits on the windowsill of her brother’s room, the late twilight sun catching the curly red tendrils of her hair that moves with her swivelling head as her eyes scan the room for a clue, any clue that can prove her wrong. Something that can tell her that her brother was not where she thought he was; that the tiny world he had created for himself out of tattered old books and piles of scribbled notes had not led to the destruction of his soul; something that can reassure her what she believes about love is true – that it is not a toxic, septic mix of torturous situations and life-changing decisions into which you fall head first down a cracked and broken road full of potholes and despair, but rather something that completes your soul and brings it back to life leaving you with no need to ever feel pain again.
But nothing catches her eye and her brother does not walk into the room with a smile that reaches his eyes and beams across the room towards her slumped and defeated form. He does not cross the room to her with arms wide open to take her in a big brotherly hug and tell her he is fine, and she has nothing to worry about.
For months now his soul has existed only in the crinkled paper mess sprawled across the room and pinned on the walls, and, according to grandpa’s book that she would have dismissed had she not been searching so desperately, his body exists somewhere in the midst of World War II chasing a love they all thought was gone forever.

*Copyright Sarah Hardie 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Life of late

Life of late has been pretty sweet.
All the leaves on the trees are falling, hailing the beginning of my favourite season - Autumn - that beautiful season when the leaves on the trees turn into all my favourite colours and I can't stop snapping photos of them; when you get to snuggle up by the fire in a warm blanket and watch movies at night; when you swaddle yourself with scarves and hats and woolly clothes; when soup becomes a part of your diet; when the sun shines yet the air is like ice and you breathe it in because it's so fresh - there are just so many great things about autumn!
Also, my kitty cat Nuggie in the middle there gave me a rare snuggle before we left for the Wairarapa... she's the grouchiest cat you'll ever meet and hates being picked up...
Oh yeah, I also watched my brother and my dad jump out of a plane.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Healthy May

So a great Kiwi blog I have been following for a couple of years now - Here Comes the Sun - did a post today about living a healthy lifestyle, and reminded me of the fact that we're more likely to succeed in things if we're held accountable - ie, if we blog about doing it, we must do it.
So she's doing this thing called Healthy May, where bloggers support each other in their healthy eating/weight loss/fitness goals by blogging at the end of each week about what they have done during the week.
Since I started on a health kick a couple of weeks ago anyway, I thought, why not join in? So every Monday I will be telling you all about my healthy week. Stay tuned!
I decided to go on a major health kick because my life has been very unsettled over the last 18 months and I slipped into bad habits like big bowls of pasta with creamy cheese sauce for dinner, chocolate as a snack, missing breakfast, lots of takeaways, and pretty much no exercise.
And although my weight isn't a problem (I know, people hate me... I'm one of those girls), my skin, which has always been problematic (it hasn't quite grown out of teenagehood yet even though I'm 24 next month) started to suffer for it. So I gave myself a kick up the bum, joined a gym, bought a book on Amazon called The Healthy Skin Diet by Karen Fischer, and started googling healthy recipes. Now I have stacks of healthy recipes that aren't just good for you, but delicious and cheap too! And I've got into some good habits which I'm hoping to stick to.
So if you want to join us, head over to Amanda's blog (linked above) and share your experience with us!

My Goals:

•Get to the gym at least twice a week
•Walk at least 30mins a day
•Limit chocolate/sugar intake
•Eat healthy meals

Simple, general goals I know, but this whole thing isn't about going on a fad diet for a month, it's about a lifestyle change, which is so much better because you're more likely to stick to it.