Monday, 5 October 2015

Sourdough Bread - recipe

Sourdough Bread

Starter - Method One
DAY ONE: Mix 1/2C wholemeal flour in 1C filtered water, cover and leave for 10 days.
DAY TEN: Add 1Tbsp flour and mix.
DAY THIRTEEN: Add 1 Tbsp flour and a little water and mix.
DAY FOURTEEN: It is now ready to use.  It should be the consistency of pancake batter.

Starter - Method Two
DAY ONE: Mix 2C of flour and 2C of water.  
DAY TWO-SEVEN: Add a little flour (and water if required) everyday to keep it at a soupy consistency. It should go bubbly and have a wine-like smell.
DAY EIGHT-FOURTEEN: Leave for 7 days before use.

Making Bread
1C starter
3C warm water
seeds of your desire (sunflower, linseed)

Mix starter and warm water and enough flour till it develops a pancake batter consistency.  Leave for 8-12 hours (overnight is good).

Take out 1C (to replenish your starter for next time, set aside).  To the remaining mix in 1tsp salt, any seeds you wish to add (sunflower, linseed) and enough extra flour to make a stiff dough (stringy-ish).  Put into a pan that has been oiled (and coated in seeds/oats).  Leave to rise for 4-8 hours.

Cook at 200℃ for 1 hour.

Monday, 28 September 2015

My birthday

So on the 22nd of September I turned 27.
I went to the Southern Cross bar on Abel Smith Street with some friends for drinks, nibbles and their awesome Quiz night!
For my birthday I got my nails done the day before, I went with gels for the first time.

Here are some photos of my birthday week:

Opened Google on my birthday to see:  
And a "Happy Birthday Lisa" pops up when I mouse over the banner. Too cool; Thanks Google!

Dan was being tricky telling me he didn't have a present for me... Then started saying "Oh I got you something, it's small and flat." I was freaking out thinking it was a ring. (wink wink). Then he comes out with this awesomely folded paper? What's going on?!

Origami folded paper, with Jewelry shopping written inside.
His reasoning being he didn't want to buy me something I didn't like, so wanted to take me with him. Plus he wanted to look at it before he buys it so he can see how it looks!

Part two of his gift was paying for my nails to be done.
I booked through the Flossie App (so easy!) and then just turned up on the day. No fussing with payment or anything like that. Thanks also to Serenity up at Absolute Therapy for the awesome job she did. I love them! Dan actually paid for this months ago, and then he forgot about it!
I booked it for the day before my birthday so they'd look awesome on my birthday day (and for a while afterwards I hope!) I got a gel manicure so they should last longer than regular polishes do. 

Birthday cake - chocolate with chocolate frosting icing.
After lighting 27 candles, and declaring it a fire hazard! -
 We decided it may be safer to get the number ones next year!

Had dinner with friends at a local pub. - Didn't get photos of our food.

Birthday earrings, from Dan's origami gift.
They're silver with CZ stones.

I am also thankful not to live in, or celebrate my birthday in the Jamaican way:  
It involves flour attacks!

Thinking about birthday parties and themes lead me to a number of articles about birthdays, this one from Apartment Therapy sung praises to me - what does a birthday party mean when you're now 
no longer a child? 

Nails awesomeness credit goes to:
Serenity Fox
Gel Manicure at Absolute Therapy

Level 3, 
5 Tory Street,

Monday, 21 September 2015

27 things to do when you're 27

Tomorrow I'll be turning 27 and I remember reading an article about a year ago someone wrote on the "27 things you're meant to do by age 27" or something, and the internet went into an uproar about the suggestions because it was like - don't listen to boy bands when you're over 27... and only wear, do and say certain things.

Well in response there was a pile of awesome bloggers (and others) who replied: Screw you and your thoughts, here's what we have to say! 

Here are my own 27 things while I'm 27, that I hope to accomplish in this year:

1. Continue with my education:
Get my degree.
Seek out the best ESOL teaching training options, and pursue them!

2. On Love:
Get engaged? Get married? Have fun with Dan.
Be smart about what to say when someone asks when you're getting married - it's very personal.

3. Be in the moment... 
Too often I'm busy, busy, busy and too hectic to just be.

4. See more of the world, and the beautiful country I live in. 
Go exploring in a new (to me) part of town. Take photographs and get awesome memories in the process (to later share some on here and Instagram too).

5. Use Sunscreen. 
Skin Cancer in my family means I'm already at a higher risk for it than I'd like.
Use the proper SPF stuff.

6. Stop worrying about what anyone else thinks of you, just what you think of you. Who cares if you buy your clothes on sales, or from the bargain section of the shop?

7. Get more of my university assignments in, on time. Being on time is a great skill to have too.

8. To learn how to appreciate being alone. To think. Plan. Make my own path for the future.

9. On saying No when you really don't want to (or can't) do something.
This is something I've been working on. I find it easier now to say no, but then the guilt gets me. I need to work on losing that guilty feeling (like I'm letting someone down by saying No.)

10. Update my Instagram / social media accounts more. But don't let it become an obsessive need to do it. Weekly updates are probably best.
And to post my blog posts onto my Facebook page each Monday when they're published here too.

11. Have more time with Friends. We're all so busy all the time with work, school, and other commitments that we barely see each other for months on end. (Crazy!)
I'm going to be trying to meet up with a couple of friends for walks/ swims and chats more often.

12. Learning a new skill. I've been working on teaching ESOL for a few years now and I'm still learning constantly. I teach one on one, so those kinds of lesson set ups with a student don't scare me. (They used to!) ... whereas I'm still not 100% in the way I teach, so I'm learning to be more perceptive of how my student learns and adapting my teaching style to them.

13. On food: 
Learn how to cook a signature dish. Mine just might be couscous. A year or so back Dan admitted to me that he couldn't stand rice. One evening I decided to try making couscous and we both love it. I've learned over time that couscous needs more flavour so adding some cumin and butter is awesome.

14. On fashion: 
I'm no fashionista! Generally I wear clothes that are comfortable. I'm not into fashion or the latest runway styles. I have my usual grab and go set that I wear often (I'm looking at you leggings!)... Recently I bought a crop top, so I am keen to learn how to wear that. It's striped white and black. If anyone has tips - leave me a comment.

15. Find, follow, and comment on other people's blogs. 
I recently found Helene in Between on BlogLovin'.
BlogLovin' also has a great email newsletter which puts you in touch with other blogs you may like. I've been subscribed to the main email list for a while, and love it.

16. Use protection: 
If you're like me and don't want a baby now, then use protection. I have my copper IUD in still, but there's lots of other options out there.

17. Figure out your finances:
Student loan? Yeah, and it's not pretty. ~$45,000 owing on mine*.
The good news is though, that I have no other debts. No credit cards and no overdraft. 
I had a $500 overdraft, with my bank and paid it off quickly. I also cut off that feature so I can't go into more debt again.
And just as I set myself a goal to aim for: to buy myself a tablet (to use for teaching, as well as University study...) and then I realise - fully upset now - about how close it is to Christmas.
This year is the final one I'll be having at home with my family; Next year (2016) is all about studying and saving hard to afford TESOL studies in 2017... before moving overseas! (late 2017 / early 2018).
*I haven't finished my studies either, so I have a little more which will go on there in the next 18 months. 

18. Creating a more homely home:
Keeping on top of my chores better, not letting washing pile up, or dishes take over the tiny kitchen.

19. Professional, in attire and in personality:
This is a current gap in my wardrobe, I dress relatively smart casual (so I think anyway?) So I have a distinct lack of black nice trousers and such for interviews and more business attire in general.

20. Making my health a priority: Up until I turned 25 I was biting my nails and making a right mess of my hands. It effected my self esteem and my feelings of worth.
Now I'd like to work on myself as a whole - eating well, drinking more water and just generally taking care of myself better. Since being diagnosed with Asthma at 21, I've let it be an excuse for my bad weight and health choices. I can exercise. I am lazy; I need people to support me in my fitness goals.
I am not trying to lose weight per se, but to become overall more healthy.

21. Facing things head on: If there's something difficult in the way, to face it like an adult and accept that things may be difficult. It's only a challenge for the moment. It won't last forever.

22. On music: 
Listen to whatever makes you feel something (it could make you dance and be happy, or cry...)

23. There's always a lesson to be learned: No matter what life throws your way, there's always something you can learn from the good, the bad or the ugly that comes your way.
Use these lessons in positive ways.

#24 credit

25. Stand aside from those who do not agree with you and your views. Embrace the whole "agree to disagree" vibe of life. 

26. Stop comparing yourself to others. 
The Jones' aren't at the same stage of their life as you are, and that's okay. 
Your life is not their life (and vice versa).
Life in the moment and just learn to be.

27. Be yourself.
Stop being ashamed of who and how you are. Embrace your quirks. 
You're you and your friends and family love you for being you. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Gold Coast Australia Trip Part Two

So last week I shared some of things we got up to in the Gold Coast back in July, this week I've written more about our trip: Shopping, photographs and fun times. I also do a bit of a review of the places we went and what I recommend to do when you're in Surfer's Paradise and Chevron Island (Gold Coast).


Pacific Fair: 
Open Monday to Saturday 9am to 5:30pm, Sunday open 10am to 4pm.
To get there? Use the G:Link (it is the last stop) or one of the public transport buses (check this website for timetable and journey planner). Located on Hooker Boulevard.
Lots of shops here too ~ from food and beverage outlets in the food court,  Kmart, Myer and a wide variety of clothing and shoe shops, to Smiggle and a surprising amount of chemists!

Beach front Markets: Along the Esplanade by the waterfront.
Open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday between 4pm and 8pm, during summer the hours are longer, I think it closes at 10pm? Beachfront Markets site for information

Cavill Ave ~ One of the main streets through Surfer's Paradise. We found a variety of food and beverages along here. During Schoolies it's worth skipping the area though due to the crime rate increasing.

Paradise shopping centre: 
Open every day 9am to 10pm. Located on Cavill Ave.
Lots of shops in here from clothing, to food and beverages and even a Build a Bear workshop! (When we were there in July they had Minions stocked too).
Another highlight is this cute Photography place just outside ~ didn't get pictures this time, but definitely want to in the future.
Vodafone was my stop for my sim card for my phone. There's a number of mobile stockists all near each other so it's personal choice which to use. I just know Vodafone works with my phone so I went with them.
Dan and I also bought bags from Strandbags - he needed a carry on suitcase, and I needed (Okay wanted) a handbag. Both were on sale. (Score!)
You can find more of the shops and info here: Paradise Centre

Activities and things to do?

***Warning: a few semi-spoilers:
Open daily 10am to 10pm. An optical illusions extreme journey, through 20 areas of insanity. In a couple of rooms I felt like I just needed to get out of *right now*, filled with an infinite space of mirrors ~ inside the computer themed room ~ (floor, ceiling and all four walls) as well as being a maze like space... combined with not being able to find the door and feeling unbalanced about it all wasn't a good feeling - I managed to stop the panic attack but yeah, it's crazy! It took another couple of hours to have my stomach settle after we had left. (Definitely not so fun for me).  It's well worth doing once, but it isn't something I will do again because of how I felt afterwards, Dan said he'd do it again though.

One room has a wobbly floor (there's an option to go around this one though if you're uncomfortable with uneven floors and the signs do warn you so you can take another path), as well as plenty of very trippy and extreme areas.
One area has a Fog Machine - so be aware you may need to walk through quickly like I did as it's hot and a little too humid and it started to effect my asthma. I wasn't so happy with the strobe light area too - felt dizzy after a short time, so be wary of the warnings and walk through areas quickly if you're feeling off about them. There's some good "scary dark" areas too, nothing is too freaky and even I was okay with it.

Tickets for adults are $26.90,  kids are $17.90, seniors are $19.90 and family passes (2 adults and 2 kids) are $72.90. Visit their Website for the exclusions and warnings: there's also a lot of strobe lights, and other light tricks, so avoid Infinity altogether if you're sensitive to flashing lights. 

Infinity is NOT disability friendly with stairs and dark spaces, you need to be in good health and fitness to go through. No photography and you can't take bags in, but they offer a "secure" space for bags to go behind their counter. You have to wear white sock things over your shoes and white goofy gloves that look like Mickey Mouse gloves.

There is also a photograph spot where they take a photo of you, which you can purchase if you choose. When we went through we accidently/on-purpose photo-bombed another groups one, which neither group ended up buying! hehe.

Q1 aka the Skypoint Observation Deck: Great views over the city and local beaches. Option to do a Sky Walk around the exterior of the building, we didn't do this, but we did see others do it above the viewing level we were on. There is a cafe for food and drink in the observation level too, although we didn't use it. There are no glass floors to walk on - I was a bit disappointed about this, but the building is not really set up for that kind of experience.
Tickets are $22/$29 for adults depending if you want one or two entries, kids entry (one day) is $13 and seniors (one day) is $18. Visit their Website for more information.

Wyndham Cruises: We went on the afternoon cruise, $29 per person (it was cheaper with a voucher through Experience Oz so we got it down to $19 per person (lots of cool things on the site for various tourist attractions for cheaper). We had a platter of food too, and complimentary water. There was also a bar where you could buy drinks as well as alcohol. Lots of the photos I've added to the end of this post were taken from this cruise.

Departs at 3pm and is back to the wharf around 4:30pm.
The crew is efficient and give a good tour with a funny commentary along the way.

There is two levels on the boat so you can be inside in the air conditioned cabin area, or up on the roof deck. We spent half the cruise in each area and if it's warm and sunny definitely head up to the roof deck level!

Pros: There is a LOT of photography opportunities as well as dreaming about the million dollar homes you pass. (70% of which are not lived in full time!) When we went through there were more than 5 sections, and around 6 homes for sale.
Cons: The food platters were plain, but the rest of the cruise made up for our initial disappointment with the food (crackers, and crusty bread with cheese, two kinds of spread and some nuts).

Australia Zoo - just an hour north of Brisbane. (Aka the home of Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter).
We visited Australia Zoo on a warm day.

Bindi's Island is quite cute - entry is through a pirate ship, and you can see snakes and a snapping turtle, in her new three storied tree house, which overlooks more of the zoo.

Wear good sneakers as the zoo is huge and you will do a LOT of walking. There is a train shuttle ride you can purchase too - we didn't. There is also wheelchair access and it's disability friendly, it is very accessible with wheelchairs and prams. The zoo is spread out over a large area so you'll be tired at the end of your day there!

Tickets for adults (15+) are $59 per person, kids (3-14) are $35, seniors and students $49 each. More information is on the Zoo website.

We did a transfer to get there from through Experience Oz which was $65 per person. We worked out that it was cheaper for us to just do the transfer to/from the zoo and our resort, and purchase the zoo tickets at the zoo.

One of our highlights was getting a photo with the Tortoise:

The zoo keeper assured us that if the gates were 'accidently left open' the Tortoises would take a good hour to hour and a half to actually notice the open gates and get to freedom! LOL.
They're such large, majestic creatures but man they move slowly.

Comparison to me at Melbourne Zoo about 2 years prior. I love Turtles and Tortoises...

Photos from the Cruise; 

Waiting for the cruise to start on the jetty...

Dan with the complementary food.

On board, waiting to depart from the dock.

Dan on the top deck of the cruise boat.

Photography going off...

The dress with the lace inserts.

Chevron Island bridge between Chevron Island and Surfer's Paradise main shopping area.

Us at the Q1 Skydeck...

The hair ties I swear by:
These are so, so good and
they don't leave that annoying kink in the hair when you wear a pony tail all day... 

Glassons NZ also sell them (they're currently on sale, so may not be available for much longer).

Dan with our cocktail we had with lunch, fresh berries with lemonade and vodka. Yum!

Flowers on Chevron Island... 

****I was not paid to advertise any of the services in this post,  I am just writing my opinion/s on them.****

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Gold Coast Australia Trip Part One

So back in July, Dan and I travelled across to the Gold Coast for a 10 day trip.
The trip was to celebrate our 4 year anniversary together.

Highlights of the trip?

Paradise Isles:
We stayed at Paradise Isles on Chevron Island, Surfers Paradise - the Manager Diane Fowler was a pleasure to deal with. She went out of her way to help us. The apartment we had was nice. A simple layout with an open plan kitchen/dining and living room all in one, with a queen sized bedroom and a well proportioned bathroom complete with a full laundry. No bath in our apartment, and not sure if there are any in the others. Considering it was school holidays and the place was fully booked, I was pleasantly surprised to see that we didn't have any issues with noise or anything. Close enough location to walk into Surfers Paradise and surrounding area. The Thomas Drive shops just up the road (within a 5 minute walk) were well explored by us - we ate takeaways / in restaurants every night, even though we had a full kitchen in our apartment! The resort also has a well fenced pool and spa area, with a BBQ - We didn't use them though. (Open 7am to 9pm). The Gold Coast Marathon was also on the weekend we arrived, and so some streets were closed, but if you're walking it didn't matter so much.

It was a pity the bus company the resort uses for airport transfers didn't have our flight time - so we ended up using an UBER driver to take us. Diane is in talks with the bus company about this to allow for early flights to NZ to be able to use their services in future so watch this space! A taxi from the airport to/from Chevron Island will cost around $70 one way. This trip is around $45 one way through UBER. Local bus companies also do airport transfers.

The Pizza shop on Chevron Island: Milanos Pizza was really, really good. Definitely go there! We had dinner from there twice. They have awesome deals for a pizza with a garlic bread and soft drink for $19 (or $21 depending on which pizza flavour you choose). We had one of each deal while we were there. One pizza deal is large enough for 2 adults.

Chevron Island Village - the location of the resort, has it's own website too, although it's a little old and not regularly updated.

Travel options?

(Thanks goes to Alice my friend from Brisbane who suggested this to us.) Buy a GoCard from a 7-11 and save on public transport. You can use the card on public transport - buses, trains and the new G:link tram. The G:link tram is smooth and we used it to go to and from Pacific Fair for a shopping trip the day before we flew back to Wellington. The bus is super easy too just remember to touch the GoCard on and off when you board/disembark.
You can top up your GoCard from any 7-11 or at the tram stations or onboard with the bus driver - just talk to the driver for how to do it. We topped up at 7-11 since we didn't know how to use the tram station top up, the machine isn't totally clear for how to do it, so maybe ask a local or just go to a 7-11. Also at the end of your trip you can return your GoCard to a local Information kiosk and get the credit off it refunded to you - sadly we couldn't do this as we used it literally until the last minute before our flight.

UBER travel app:
(Thanks to Ranee's friend who suggested we try UBER when we weren't sure how to get home at the end of her party.)
If you sign up to UBER use my code. It gives you a free ride (valued up to $25). Dan and I used UBER twice, the first time we were travelling around midnight from a friend's birthday (house) party, and it was good. Although I wasn't fussed on the driver, so I didn't enjoy it as much. Our second trip out to the airport was much more enjoyable. If you're into just sitting and listening to music you can do that, or you can talk as much as you like with the driver. Seeing as our airport trip was super early in the morning and we'd chosen to stay up all night (rather than sleeping for 3 hours), we were quite tired so we didn't talk so much.
The driver will also have GPS through the app so it shows where you're up to in the trip - you can see it on the drivers phone as well as on your own with the app open. It's quite easy to use the app, just pop in your pick-up location and where you want to go and it shows nearby drivers close to where your pick-up is, they can then decide to accept your trip. The first driver to accept you will be your driver.
When a driver picks you to pick up it shows you (through the app) their name and photo and gives their vehicle type and registration plate. To me this is safer than a taxi - you don't have any of their info until you're in the car. The payment is directly from your credit card - much easier to deal with than money.
For your first trip - tell the driver and they can give other discount codes too.
Here are the app links: Android and Apple iOS.
UBER is a worldwide taxi like travel app for drivers to pick up 'riders'. At the end of the trip you can rate the driver/ the driver rates the rider/s I suggest giving good feedback unless there's a massive issue. Failure to rate (highly) means the app will cease to work for you in future (eg. if your ratings are low you will be declined by all drivers and the app will be removed  for use by you, in the future).

****I was not paid to advertise any of the services in this post,  I am just writing my opinion/s on them.****