Thursday, January 31, 2013

I am what I eat - Week 1

About four months ago, I had a chicken breast for dinner and, not even halfway through, couldn't bear to eat the rest. It made me feel sick, and from then on I have had no desire to eat meat. I've always been a big meat eater - a big eater, really - so it was a strange feeling to suddenly stop eating meat. I haven't stayed away from meat completely however, as I've tested myself over the last four months, trying to ask my body whether it will ever consider eating meat again and like it. I ate a bit of turkey and ham over Christmas, but by the end of it I felt like there was a bunch of nasty, unnecessary stuff in my body which made me feel sick and didn't do my skin any favours.

So last Friday, I went to see a Naturopath for two reasons: #1 I had no idea what I was doing with this whole pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish) diet, #2 I have been suffering with problem skin since the hormones kicked in at 14 years old - nearly 11 years ago - and thought it was time to try a different tactic.

I'm not even a week in and already I'm feeling like going to see the Naturopath was the best thing I could have done for myself. After getting over the first week of being pescetarian - the tiredness, the dizziness - I began to feel healthier than I've ever felt before. But after seeing the Naturopath, I've realised what a strong and powerful thing the body is. You feel like you're eating healthy, and you think you have as much energy as you're supposed to have because everyone else around you burns out at around 3pm so it must be normal, right? That must be the body's limit, right? Wrong.

On Saturday morning, the day after I saw her, I ditched the peanut butter and jam on toast and ate the breakfast recommended to me - muesli, berries, almond milk and ground flaxseed mixed together. Not only was it delicious, but it kept me going all day. And I mean all day. From 7am to midnight, I never once felt tired and packed so much into my day. And that was just because I changed what I ate for breakfast.

As well as putting me on a bunch of supplements, the Naturopath recommended a protein rich diet with lots of good skin foods like berries and almonds thrown in, milk and other dairy products thrown out, and not even a week on I'm feeling the benefits of it. Staying away from processed food and going back to basic, organic food is also important and I've found myself analysing everything I eat, even snacks, figuring out what each piece of food will do for me. Will it clear up my skin? Will it give me long burning energy? If it doesn't do the things I need, I won't eat it. I no longer snack out of boredom, indulge in a chocolate bar because I'm having a crappy day. Even a sneaky late night supermarket mission for junk food has seen me return home with organic orange juice, rice crackers and hummus.

My skin is also looking better. It's a slow process, but it's getting there. When you struggle with bad skin, you spend so much time and money obsessing over things to put on your skin like cleansers, moisturisers, pimple cream, makeup, you forget that what goes into your body shows on your skin. So here's hoping, after 11 years of looking in the mirror and finding something wrong with my face every morning, I can eventually look in the mirror, put on some moisturiser and leave the house wearing a smile instead of makeup.

So why am I writing about this? Because the way we humans eat needs to change and, although I'm no expert on the topic, I hope that my journey will inspire people - even if it's just one person - to start thinking seriously about the food they eat and what it does to them and for them. You are limitless. Your body is powerful. Use it to it's full potential.

In about five weeks I'm going back to the Naturopath to report on my progress, so stay tuned every Thursday for updates, inspiration and healthy, easy recipes I've tried.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Down by the river

What is it about water that makes us feel so at peace? Why do thousands of Kiwi's flock to rivers, oceans, lakes, on every sunny day?
On Friday, New Zealand - Wellington especially - got some big news. The ten day weather forecast showed nothing but sun, sun, and more sun. No cloud, no rain, not even wind. For a whole ten days in a row. This may sound silly to some of you living in predicable, consistent climates, but for us it's a miracle. Often our weather looks like all four seasons in one day, no lie.
So on Saturday morning, instead of staying inside doing the boring domestic things I normally do, I put my book and a picnic blanket in my bag and headed down the road to the river.
Although there's a motorway running alongside it., the sound of cars turns into a dim murmur as you sit by the river and listen to the water flowing by and the light breeze rustling the trees above you. I wish I could capture on camera the way the water sparkles.
Maybe it's the sheer strength of water that has us all in awe of it, or maybe it's as simple as this: it cools you down. But the sense of calm you get just hearing the water flowing, that's more than just relief, that's peace. Hope you're all having a good week whatever weather you're having. xo

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Monday :)

Morning all! Happy Monday! Hope you all had a fab weekend. Here in Welly we're enjoying an extremely rare 10 day stretch of the most perfect weather you could imagine: Clear blue sky, not too hot, not too cold, a slight breeze to cool off. So pretty sure most Wellingtonians and New Zealanders have had great weekends! If you're in Queensland, hope you're staying safe and dry, and if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, hope you're keeping warm. xo

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's the end of the world, whatcha gonna do?

One thing that bugs the bejesus out of me is those Hollywood movies about the end of the world. When I first saw the trailer for the movie 2012, I was really excited, because, finally, here was a movie where the world would actually end at the end of the movie. But it didn't...
It's not that I want the world to end, as I quite like living, but I just wish someone out there would actually have the guts to make the world end in a movie or in a book. Like when everything just goes black. Or white. Like, there's no people left. No one. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Everyone and everything is gone. I'm sure there is something out there, and if there is, I'd love to hear about it. But I haven't yet heard of anything.
So tell me, if you came home from work one day, flicked on the TV to watch the news and saw your prime minister/president/queen/leader standing solemnly behind a podium addressing the nation, telling their people that the end was nigh - that there was, say, a massive asteroid hurtling towards Earth and it was so big it was definitely going to smash our planet to smitherines and there was nothing we could do to stop it, and we had a week before this all happened, what would you do? What would your last week on Earth look like? And what do you think the world would look like in the end? Would we descend into anarchy or would we hold our loved ones close?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The NZ fiction journey begins

Since I've finally finished reading Nancy Wake - which I wanted to finish by the end of 2012 but just didn't get round to it - my NZ fiction journey can begin!
You have seen me mention it before, but just to recap... I am reading only New Zealand fiction this year for three reasons: #1 I feel like we give international authors too much of the spotlight, with our books squished into dusty back shelves in our own book stores. #2 I want to become a New Zealand author one day, and I'm working on an epic three-part series called Missing Since Tuesday, so I want to learn what I can from those who have gone before me. #3 Apart from maybe reading something by a NZ author in school (which I can't remember but I'm sure it must have been in the curriculum somewhere), I have never read a book by a New Zealand author and of that I'm a little ashamed.

So here I go, and I'm starting with a lesser-known book called Flashback Forward by John Cairney. I should probably start with something a little more well known, but I've just been hankering to get into this one since I bought it over a year ago, so I'm starting with it.

Here's what it's about:

Tam Cochrane is a sickly lad, confined to his bed in Glasgow in the 1880s. His only experience of adventure and the outside world is through books - that is until his father decides to sell up and head for New Zealand. As they take the four-month journey by ship, Tam's health begins to improve, and with it signs of a new Tam, fully engaging in the real world. After arriving in their new country, the family heads to Rotorua and Tarawera, only to be caught in the volcanic eruption of 1886. Having been concussed, Tam wakes up, groggy but still the fit young man he'd been growing into, except he finds he is in Napier, emerging from the ruins of the 1931 earthquake. What has happened to the last 45 years? Why is he still a young man? And who is the other Tam Cochrane, now living like a recluse back in Glasgow? An intriguing story, it is set among the cataclysmic events of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and deals with identity, with finding out who we really are in life and with living it to the full.

Synopsis from Google Books

Happy Tuesday :)

Morning all, happy Tuesday! We just had a long weekend here in Wellington, NZ, to celebrate Wellington's Anniversary, hence the lack of Monday inspiration - I was busy sleeping in, painting and generally just relaxing... ahh, so nice to have a long weekend after the craziness that comes with checking back into life after Christmas and New Years.
So here's your Tuesday inspiration, have a lovely week peeps! xo

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nancy Wake, my hero

If I had the chance to go back in time and be anyone I wanted to be, I would be Nancy Wake.
I've just finished reading her biography, Nancy Wake by Peter Fitzsimons, and, it's a big call I know, but I'm just putting it out there... I have never heard of a more fearless, kick-ass human being in all of history.
I first heard of Nancy Wake when she died at the ripe old age of 98 in 2011, and was thrilled when I found out she was a New Zealander, as most people knew her as an Australian, since she moved there as a young child.
I asked dad about her and he told me she was nicknamed "White Mouse" because of her ability to evade capture during World War two. By the end of the war, she was on top of the Gestapo's  most wanted list, and she ended up being one of the most highly decorated war heroes of the second world war.
In the early days of the war when France was occupied by Nazis, Nancy helped saved thousands of people by setting up escape routes out of France into Spain, and then, as the war intensified, she was trained as a spy by the British and led 7,000 resistance fighters in D-Day preparations.
She parachuted into France, organised food, clothes and weapons to be dropped from the sky, embarked on a 500km bike ride in 72 hours to get a new radio when theirs had to be destroyed (the radio was their most important weapon - without it they could not continue what they were doing because they couldn't arrange for supplies to be sent from Britain), and basically, she organised a band of soldiers to piss the Germans off so much that they were driven out of France - they blew up bridges, ammunition stores, and attacked German troops unseen and took off back into the mountains.
And they did leave. France was liberated in the end. And after reading about Nancy, I think it would have been a whole lot harder if not for her.
After reading the book, I looked her up on YouTube, and, one video that struck me was one where Peter Fitzsimons, the author, was talking about the book launch, and said that when Nancy was asked to go up and speak, she simply stood up and said, "I've got one thing to say. I killed a lot of Germans, and I'm only sorry I didn't kill more. Thank you." And sat down. A sentence like that just sums her up completely. What a woman.

A new blogging star is born

People, you must take a look at this blog. It's called Today is Better than Someday, and it's written by my gorgeously talented little sis! She wrote her first blog post today and it is fabulous. So take a look, leave a comment, enjoy. Well done little sis, welcome to blogging, keep it up! xo

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Coming soon to THE BLOG

Well, it's a new year, the best time to make changes, improvements, goals, plans, start projects, and dream, dream, dream. So although I don't want to change the blog too much, as it's ticking along quite nicely as it is, I will be adding a few more exciting things into the mix. Here's what's coming up:

A year of NZ fiction
I'm reading nothing but New Zealand fiction for the whole year because I feel like we don't give our own authors anywhere near enough recognition - we love our books, but our bookstores are so packed full of international popular fiction that ours is always shoved to the back, squished into a couple of shelves. Of all the bookstores in Wellington, there's only one I've seen that makes a big deal about NZ fiction and has it all laid out on tables in the front of the store, and so they should, it's something to be proud of. Anyway, that's what I'm doing, and I'll post more about it on the blog soon, with regular updates and reviews to come.

Editing the novel
I'm also in the process of editing the 50,000 word novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo - so far, it's not as bad as I thought. I hope to have it fully edited by June and published as an ebook and a paperback by the end of the year, so watch this space people!

Buy a piece of You May Say I'm a Dreamer
And finally, after visiting a small-town picture shop on my summer travels, I decided to make use of all of the creative photos I've taken over the years and start selling them mounted on photo blocks - I'll be keeping with the "dreaming" theme, so watch this space too!

Wedding Bells are ringing
Yes, there will be a few wedding posts here and there, but I promise You May Say I'm a Dreamer will not turn into a blog exclusively about weddings (I think I would drive myself, if not others, insane if I did that...).

So enjoy, and feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, advice, anything you like really. Have a lovely Tuesday! :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Monday :)

Good morning all, happy Monday! This week You May Say I'm a Dreamer is fully getting back into the swing of things, which means your Monday dose of inspiration is back in business! So this one's for my dad, who told me last night he missed my Monday inspiration which he reads every Monday with his morning coffee, so here it is Pa! :)

Hope you all have a fabulous week :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We're all going on a... summer holiday

So, as if getting engaged wasn't enough fabulousness to last a lifetime, we also had the most fabulous holiday with friends at a bach on Lake Taupo, where we did all the things you're supposed to do on a kiwi summer holiday... barbecues, lazing by the lake, lazing in the backyard, lazing in the lounge, playing board games as 2012 came to a close, swimming in the lake, taking the dinghy out on the lake, relaxing in natural hot springs, getting massages, seeing parts of our beautiful country we either haven't seen before or haven't been to in awhile... it was bliss - the perfect start to what is set to be the most exciting (and a little bit scary I'll admit...) year of our lives so far.

Photos above: Lake Taupo, Turangi, Tongariro National Park, Huka Falls

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy first Monday of the year!

Morning all and a happy first Monday of the year to you! Hope your new year got off to a great start! Mine certainly did...

Yep, that's an engagement ring on my finger!!
We stayed at a bach on Lake Taupo for New Years with a few friends and on New Years Eve, Joshua and I went for an early morning walk and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! It was totally unexpected and I swear I am the happiest person in the world right now! And, is the ring stunning or what?! So now the planning begins... I don't think either of us were prepared for the amount of doors that the putting of the ring on the finger would open... it's only been a week and we and everyone else around us have started planning the engagement party, hens party, stag party, wedding and honeymoon... it's insane! But happy, happy times. Bring on a busy 2013!