Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt II

For some time, although my mental health & general outlook has been more positive than the beginning of this year, I have been feeling utterly exhausted. Physically and mentally. I kept putting this down to three children ’cause let’s face it that’s a full-on proposition but in the back of mind I had a nagging feeling something wasn’t quite right.

Cue a blood test. The results showed that my thyroid isn’t working as it should thanks to medication I was on a while back. Added to that I have lower than usual haemaglobin. Both these issues are now being dealt to with some medication and diet.

The mental exhaustion is something else. It’s a kind of listlessness. Being a stay-at-home parent can be sheer drudgery at times. It’s easy to get sucked into a vortex of “when the kids are all at school I’ll be creative again” & “it’s not fair J has a much better time at work than I do”.  Doing lots of cleaning doesn’t help this outlook.  Actively engaging with the pre-schoolers and at Playcentre does help. Giving myself some time away from it all does too.

An aunt of mine is fond of telling me that she was always blaming her husband and her children for why grand events weren’t happening in her life. That her family were holding her back from achieving. She said once she realised that she stood in her own way she got a lot more done.

I am trying to take that advice, to watch who and how I blame others. I have been a procrastinator since I can remember. Nothing to do with three children. Nothing to do with J. My biggest threat is myself. A little doubting voice that says what if I try and fail is the thing that has held me back but if I never sit down, put the work into it there will never be anything much to show for it.

Some photographs, a few poems, almost 60,000 tweets. And four beautiful children.


Harbour of my heart

Waitemata, harbour of my heart,

the lights of Tamaki Makaurau are glistening on your surface.

Pools of light & oily blackness calling me.

I want to throw myself into your cool waters.

Wash off the busyness of my head.

Stretch my limbs and swim to the other side.

The port lights flickering red, yellow & white.

The city towers blink.

I can hear distant sirens wail & closer the slick tension of rubber & road.

I have two supermarket bags to unpack and a home to go to.


Cool food for a hot day



In Auckland humidity it’s hard to encourage my kids to eat. I was out of ideas but on Twitter I found some inspiration from Laura Vincent (@Hungryandfrozen) who had written an article for http://www.3news.co.nz/ Laura’s suggestions were for raw cold food -veggies and dips, salads. I didn’t have all the ingredients she suggested so I made some things up as I went, using what was available here.

I followed her advice and chopped up: capsicum (yellow & green), cucumber, beans, carrots and celery. I added mung bean sprouts to the plate too.

I made guacamole using:

2 ripe avocadoes
2 cloves of fresh NZ garlic
a dash of balsamic vinegar
a dash of olive oil
a pinch of salt
ground black pepper

mash the avocadoes
mince the garlic
add the rest of the ingrediants to the mix and stir

I made hummus using:
a 390g tin of chick peas (mostly drained)
a tablespoon of tahini
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of fresh NZ garlic (minced)
juice of one lemon
salt and peper to taste

Put the mostly drained chick peas and some of their juice into a bowl.
Add tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice.
Blend together using a stick blender (or food processor if you prefer)
Add salt and pepper to taste.
If the consistency is too tacky – add olive oil and more lemon juice
until it is a smooth but thick. Add more salt & pepper if needed.
Sprinkle with powdered paprika (if none available you can use a little
chilli powder or as I did today you could try tumeric)

Laura also had a wonderful recipe for marinated mushrooms but I didn’t
have all the ingredients she suggested so I took some liberties and ad

2 large handfuls of button mushrooms (raw & sliced)
4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon treacle
½ a teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of garam marsala
1 pinch of cumin powder
a dash of balsamic vinegar
a pinch of salt

Put the sliced mushrooms in a bowl.
Cover with oil, vinegar, treacle, salt and the other spices.
Turn the mixture several times until the mushrooms are evenly coated.
Cover and put in the fridge for a hour.

These were delicious but I am keen to try Laura’s recipe as well!

I also made a raw broccoli salad using

a brocoli head chopped into small florets
a vinegarette using olive oil & balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper
covered with toasted sunflower seeds.

(Again Laura had another suggestion using broccoli & cauliflower but I
made use of what I had in my cupboard)

I roasted in olive oil & a clove of minced garlic: one zuchini
(courgette) sliced & a handful of fresh asparagus. Once cooked I
drained them & put in separate bowls in the fridge to cool.

I cooked three fresh beetroot in boiling salted water.
Wash the beets but do not cut the stems from the top – the beet will
be bitter if you do.
Once cooked (test with a knife like you would potatoes) drain and
place in a bowl of cold water.
Peel the cooked beets with your hands. The skin should come off easily
in the cold water.
Chop into a clean bowl, cover & refridgerate.

I also cut fresh (bought) pita bread pockets into triangles for
additional dipping into the guacamole & hummus.


The family enjoying a picnic tea


Dinner turned into a ukelele jam with Jacob on uke, James on vocals.