Happy Matariki

Obviously it was always going to be difficult to top a week that had me going to most boring awards night ever and discovering Spotify and Uber.   but I don’t think I did too badly.

Missy Isla Brett’s and by default my grand daughter turned one this week.  She is a happy and healthy little monkey, with very loving and capable parents, doting grandparents and a crazy aunty who can’t wait to take her on excursions.  All little people should all be so lucky and loved.

And maybe I am just a little bit pleased and proud to get smiles and cuddles

me and Missy Isla

Officially with the shortest day having just occurring we should be in the middle of winter, but we all know that is rubbish.  Winter is just starting.  I actually found a wonderful diagram to illustrate this perfectly.

It is called A Realistic Calendar for Wellington New Zealand, but it isn’t too off the mark for Auckland.  Particularly Sep to Dec.

Wellington Calendar

Thank you Hello this is Amy @amyherself for the image.

There really has been some shocking weather in the lower North Island this weekend.  It must be so miserable to be cold and wet and having to deal with a flooded house.  I know there are still plenty of people who deny climate change is occurring, but if the Pope can announce shit is getting real about this stuff.  It might be time to pay a bit of attention.  How awful would it be if little Isla grew up and wasn’t able to experience a weekend in Whanganui because half of it had washed away.  It just doesn’t bear thinking about.

A special shout out to my dear readers in the Manawatu, I do hope you are managing to keep dry and warm and have not run out of essential supplies like coffee, sweet treats or tonic.

Another momentous event this week is Sister Julie left her role as customer experience manager for 12WBT.  She did a fantastic job there, and it is obvious from the Facebook posts from her staff she was deservedly loved and really made a difference.

I mention this because thanks to Sister Julie getting her role at 12WBT, the great program and her supportive team.   I have made huge lifestyle changes.  I will always be susceptible to the couch, salt and vinegar chippies and alcoholic beverages.  But I will also now get my sorry arse out of bed in the morning and go for a run, or go to the gym.

I cannot speak highly enough about the benefits of regular exercise and a bit of mindfulness in the nutrition department.  Not just physically but mentally as well.  Making positive changes isn’t always easy (well not for me anyway)  But knowing that Sister Julie and her awesome crew had my back really made a difference.  I can’t thank you enough.  Next Sunday I am going to a yoga class on perfecting your hand and headstand.  Can I  just say the Natty of two years ago wouldn’t have dreamed of doing this.  Brett is just bracing himself for more party trick demonstrations of me trying to do a headstand after a couple of gins #notpretty #notgraceful

I discovered an interesting website this week.  Thank you Kim Hill for interviewing Ross Ashcroft and bringing to my attention Renegade Inc.



Sometimes I feel that the economic path we are following is the only one that exists and we will continue to go down the path of the poor getting poorer, and the rich getting richer.  And to be honest that scares the bejeezus out of me.  But Ross spoke very eloquently about the need for change, a new economic model,  how young people are getting this and why rising house prices are killing the art of conversation.

Now for the League – Anne you can avert your eyes.

The Warriors had a great win against the Titans on the Gold Coast last night.  My cousin Brenda actually went to this game.  Here is her review Umm ’twas different and cold.  Now maybe she is not the greatest sports follower in the world, but I think she has summed up watching the Warriors quite well.  It is often cold (Mt Smart in the afternoon when the sun goes down anyone?) and one of the joys of being a Warriors fan is, it is always different and heart stopping.  She just missed out super exciting and fun.  Next time Brenda.

My Dragons had a bye last week, so hopefully they will be well rested and ready to go against the Roosters on Monday night.  The good news is Jason Nightingale and Will Matthews have agreed to respective two-year contract extensions which will see both remain at the Club until at least the end of the 2017 season.

Jason plays for the Kiwis, knows his Te Reo and has a wonderful calm presence about him.  There were rumours he would sign with the Warriors.  Good news for the Dragons but I think he would have been great at the Warriors too.  Will is playing really well this year, and it is great he will be staying on.

Oh and do I happen to have photos of myself with these two nice gentlemen.  Well since you asked, maybe I do.

Jason and me

Too funny when I showed this photo I did say to Mum I was so thrilled to get my photo taken with Jason.  She said that was obvious, but was Jason as thrilled?


Here is young Will, as I said he has played really well.  I may have been pleased to get my photo taken with him as well.

Good luck against the Roosters, Dragons.  Don’t give them anything to crow about.

And finally if you are having a rough day or week, may your song come on and make everything a little bit better



Musings on my mortality and a bit about Arthur and Mee

A fairly ordinary week was had here except on Tuesday night when I came down with a nasty tummy bug.  It was not a good time.  But I did get the opportunity to consider which parts of me I was prepared to donate for the better of humanity. Me over react – never.  So here goes in no particular order.

  • one liver – slightly gin soaked and indeed liverish at times
  • one heart  – with dirty lefty tendencies, propensity to get very moved at any interactions with puppies, sad movies and any stories about battlers overcoming the odds.  Can tolerate a 10km run though – just saying
  • grumpy Achilles tendons – not good for much actually
  • nice big hands – ideal for page turning, and online interactions.   Have a definite aversion to manual labour of any kind
  • determined chin – however seems to becoming a home ground for the beginnings of a lady beard.  Needs constant vigilance

Fortunately as you can gather I did recover and I am now back to normal – whatever that is.

One of the reasons Brett and I work together so well,  apart from him doing all the work and I do very little, is that he has a real flair for design and putting together those special touches that make a house a home.  But he is also quite happy (within reason) to take on board some of my ideas – more books, Maori it up a bit, snuggly blankets and incorporate them in a way so they still  look awesome and not just a higgedly piggedly mess.

Here is a link to his blog – just to give you an idea of his cleverness


For the longest time I have been telling him how much I loved reading the Arthur Mees Encyclopedias as a child.  They were terribly out of date even then, and horrendously Anglo Saxon centric.  But before the internet (yes there was such a time) encyclopedias was where you went to get your random facts, and the Arthur Mees have these in spades.  I loved them because they were divided into different sections including Stories, Art, Philosophy, Things to Make and Do, and History.  I most enjoyed the Stories sections, but many a hour was spent pouring over them when there was nothing else to do.

Ian Sansom from The Guardian has written a nice piece on Arthur Mees and his vision to come up with an encyclopedia to answer his daughter’s many and varied questions.


Brett has managed to find a full set – with shelf for $1 and I am looking forwarding to revisiting them and also seeing where Brett installs them in the Lodge so they look cool and inviting rather than old dusty tomes.

What $1 can buy you
What $1 can buy you

No NRL games this week, as the Kiwis vs Kangaroos test is on this weekend.  It was due to be played on Friday night, but with Brisbane getting a storm as only Brisbane can, the game has been cancelled till tonight.  So instead of me telling you how much I love the Dragons and the Warriors here is something slightly different.

I read a great article (also in The Guardian) by Patrick Skene about Olsen Filipaina.  It seems amazing to imagine the NRL now without Polynesian players as they make such a huge contribution.  His experience with the Balmain Tigers sound horrendous, but he comes across as a real champion and gentleman.  Unlike Wally Lewis, ahem.


Anyway all the best Kiwis for your game against the Kangaroos.  Just play your best and if you can channel a bit of Olsen’s awesomeness, even better.

Fitness Weirdo – but a happy one

This Sunday I ran my first 10km fun run.  I am pretty darn proud of myself too because I ran all the way.  The course was a 2.5km loop around Waiatarua Park in Remuera.  The course was quite good but it poured with rain about half an hour before we started and for most of the hour and 2 minutes and 13 seconds that I ran for.  Which meant it was wet.  And there was a spot where I swear wasn’t a puddle it was a mini lake.  The water came up well over my ankles.  Knowing the first time you ran through it, that you would be coming up against it 3 more times was not the most inspiring sensation I must admit.

Before the race - boo
Before the race – boo

The run is part of a series of 6 races organised by Run Auckland.


I have to say despite the weather being more designed for ducks than runners, it was really well organised, and once you got your head around the fact you were going to get bloody wet a lot of fun.  I was a bit disappointed I didn’t finish in under an hour – which was my goal.  But there is next month’s run.  And I will tie my laces better next time.  I did have to stop for that – that must have slowed me up by 20 seconds at least 🙂

By the time we finished a little bit of blue sky
By the time we finished a little bit of blue sky

Of course the funny thing is me even being disappointed at not achieving my goal of 10km in under an hour, is that 2 years ago this would not have been remotely possible.  But since making the decision to stop being a couch potato and doing the Michelle Bridges 12WBT program.  (which I joined thanks to Sister Julie and I can not sing the praises of highly enough)  I can now go out on a wet Sunday run for over an hour and think that is a good time.  Weirdo I know.

Billie recreating what I felt like doing straight after my run
Billie recreating what I felt like doing straight after my run

That’s me the healthy and happy weirdo who has biceps, and enjoys nothing more than showing off her headstand moves.  Of course the time I really want to show off my headstand is when I have had a couple of gins.  Unfortunately I have not found a way to keep my balance when the magical juniper juice has been consumed.  But I am a work in progress, and if it is at possible I will find a way.

I have discovered this amazing thing (and sorry if I sound like an evangelist) but regular exercise is really really important for my well being.  In fact it is my preventative medicine.  I am quite sure if I stopped exercising, my family and colleagues would push me out the door anyway, because it has made such a difference to my mental and physical health.  Exercising regularly, eating healthyish and drinking a bit less have all been really good for me.  Crazy times.

So my goal for 2015 is to keep it up, even when getting out of my nice warm bed at stupid o’clock to go to they gym seems like a really dumb idea.  Because the reality is, I have tried the alternative and that isn’t too clever either.

And I just have to say, because it has been a big week Shout Outs to …

  • The people of Northland, showing the National Party they can’t be taken for granted.  Winnie is a sly old silver fox but he is just brilliant for his nuisance value.  Lord knows what he will get up to now, but I am pretty confident it wont make John happy
  • The Warriors, I know you would have really wanted that win against the Broncos at Mt Smart, but you really came back in the second half, just wasn’t to be unfortunately
  • The Dragons, yay another win.  Hopefully you can build on that momentum for the Knights.
  • The Black Caps.  So very proud, the game against Australia wasn’t anywhere as close as we would have liked.  But you got into the final and displayed an awesome attitude the whole way through.  I think good sportsmanship is definitely something we should value and celebrate.  Yes I am talking about you, Australian cricket team, who gave an awesome demonstration of how you can be losers even if you win.
  • All the volunteers who help keep sporting clubs with future Black Caps, Warriors and Dragons going, and all those people who knock on doors to get people out to vote.  Giving up your time to do something for others for no material gain is pretty awesome.  (maybe not the Young Nats though – I think you just annoyed the hell out of the voters of Northland) Ok, it’s me, you annoy the hell out of me.



Been a while

But better late than never, unless you are Ebola and then in that case never is preferable.

I haven’t blogged for the longest time.  I must admit I lost my way a bit.  But I have realised that writing down my mad musings is something I really enjoy.  Along with gin drinking and tormenting Brett.  So seeing as I devote plenty of time to the last two I may as well get back into the blogging thing as well.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get back into blogging, so as is now March, it seems like it is a good time to start.  And the good people at WordPress have also set up a blogging tutorial for this month, called blogging101. So it definitely seemed a good time for me to shake a tail feather and get writing again

I don’t do super amazing things, so you will never be reading about me climbing mountains, or jumping out of planes  But I have great friends and family, sometimes I go on great holidays, or see fantastic performances, or look after the St George-Illawara Dragons League team for a weekend.

When I last posted on here, I wasn’t married to the lovely Brett, Okahukura Lodge wasn’t finished, and I had no idea that I would learn to like running and regular exercise.  But all happened, and a whole lot more.  I could write a whole blog about Lauren’s tattoos for example but I don’t think I am emotionally prepared for that yet.

I am expecting 2015 to be quite sedate actually, and that won’t be a bad thing after all the busyness that was 2014.

Here are some of the illustrated highlights over the 18 months.  There have been plenty.  I really am a lucky beggar.  I am also a Nana (thanks to Brett and his gorgeous daughter Hannah)  But I won’t post a photo of the lovely Isla, because even though she is only 8 months old she likes to retain control of her social media profile.

Favourite place at the Lodge
Favourite place at the Lodge
I married this guy
I married this guy
We went on a boat
We went on a boat
I did me some running


Lauren turned 21 and got her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award
Lauren turned 21 and got her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award


I got to hang with these guys.  So much fun
I got to hang with these guys. So much fun
I even got the T Shirt
I even got the T Shirt
And this is still one of my favourite residents of 7c
And this is still one of my favourite residents of 7c

So you will be hearing from me a bit more regularly over 2015.  I cannot promise it will all be quality stuff, but it will be stuff that resonates with me.