Monday, 16 May 2016

Update for the year and the future is coming

It is insane how fast this year has flown by, it's already the middle of May and that means that I have only mere months before I'm all done with study.

Come mid November after my final two exams are done, I'm a free woman - from university life at least - entering the big wide world of full time employment. I have a few ideas up my sleeve from working for myself as an ESOL Teacher, to finding full time work in a local tutoring service or school... or heading out overseas into the ESOL role I was offered in South Korea. There's plenty of options and I'm sure more will come knocking this year.

In the meantime I have to keep studying and reading - two more novels this week, and two essays by the end of the month... before two exams in June. I really hope I have managed to learn some relaxation techniques for my exam anxiety. I just want to pass the two classes and be done with school.

Then the excitement and madness of the Engagement Party in July with our families back in New Plymouth...            Before it all starts again for the second term of uni study!

(A dated selfie at Te Papa).

Daniel just celebrated making 5 years at his job at CricHQ which is quite impressive. He started at CricHQ when we hadn't started dating yet. I've certainly never worked that amount of time in one job!

I am also considering blogging more often in 2017, like a few times each week instead of just one post per week, but Daniel suggested I find a bit more of a niche market to write to, write about and share things from. Truth be told I don't really know what my overall theme or topic is, because I just write about my life - maybe I'm a lifestyle blogger? I do like a variety of themes though - I decided against cooking as an overall topic just because I find it hard to write a lot about cooking and baking... so while I enjoy doing it I won't be writing about it... I also like interior design type things but I also like to read about what others are doing in that realm!
It's hard to nail down to one or two topics.

If anyone has help or advice about how to nail down a blog topic - I'd love to hear it.
You can contact me on facebook - here, or on twitter here or leave me a comment below!

Until next Monday,
xo Lisa.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Life, foot problems and University

This week's blog isn't as happy as normal and that's because I'm trying to view the world through rose tinted glasses after receiving some bad news last week from my doctor. As always I'm trying to see the positives and thinking this is just a test on my patience and I'm learning that while I may be down with the pain, I'm definitely not out - and it doesn't help my study so much... Got to do what I have to do though to get through.

I'd been having foot pain for about a week and I'd been complaining about it a whole bunch when Dan suggested I see my doctor and get it checked out. So I did.

There's a high likelihood I have something called a Morton's Neuroma it's a benign (non-cancerous) growth in the nerve of the toe. In my case it's in my second and third toes on my right foot.

Now I'm on a bunch of pain meds and I've been having a hard time remembering to take them every 4-6 hours because as long as I'm busy with my essay and sitting still I don't feel the pain in my foot.
More to the point it's toe pain near the ball of my foot; it feels like I have a small stone or pebble in my shoe, even in bare feet! So yeah. It's not fun.

I have my toes buddy taped together in the hopes of preventing the V sign from getting worse. It's where the nerve is pushing my toes apart so they get more of a split between them. Normally toes sit nicely side by side, mine however have decided they really don't want to be friends any more and have split into a V shape.

Today I have to call and make an appointment for an ultrasound to be done to determine (if they can spot it on the scan) if it is a Morton's Neuroma. There's also a chance it won't be seen on the screen. Sometimes, especially if they're smaller, they can't get spotted easily. Obviously I'm hoping it is big enough to be seen.

The pain may have been happening for only 10 days or so at this stage, but it's enough for me to realise just how much we use our feet and rely on things not to hurt!

Daniel was really lovely and took me shoe shopping on Saturday so I have a second pair of sneakers to wear. All of last week I had to wear my bright (neon) coral sneakers as I couldn't wear my flat black cheap (chuck taylor type) kicks.

I've also worn leggings nearly every day too as it's easier than dresses when paired with sneakers. I also have been clever and just go to uni for as long as my lectures are on, then back home on the bus, and then back up again for tutorials. I try and keep walking to a minimum to help minimise the pain. Really, really bad for my fitness levels and I think I'm getting fatter, but I have to do what I have to... Otherwise the foot pain is too severe and I can definitely feel when I've walked far the next day!

If anyone has any advice about Morton's Neuroma pain and recovery... I'd appreciate the feedback. From what I've read online the past few days - the end result will be surgery after some time. However initially it looks like shoe inserts, taping the foot and toes ... and other such measures will be used first.

If you can give me advice on how to fashion sneakers better - I'd love some help and advice.
So far I've been wearing leggings, with a long top and something like a coat or long jersey over top with sneakers on my feet.

Monday, 2 May 2016

26 places to see, do stuff and go to in Wellington, New Zealand

This week I decided to do a re-run of the Top 26 things about Taranaki post, but with a twist - everything is about Wellington and the city is the main feature.

Here goes my A to Z of Wellington, New Zealand!

Arts and Culture Capital - there's so many spaces to see and do things, from local art galleries to theatres for shows...

BATS Theatre - so many shows, so little time. I've counted up all that I've seen as an Usher and I'm up to show 146 in a week or so. Not far to 200 shows! #Counting

"Coolest little capital in the world" - The 2011 one liner in Lonely Planet about Wellington.

Dirty Little Secret - rooftop bar.

Exhibitions - at various art galleries and museums.

Fever Hospital, Mount Victoria - now the SPCA location.

Garage Project - beers and brews.

Hutt Valley - Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt at the base of the Rimutaka Hills.

Improvised theatre - Wellington Improv Troupe.

Jackson - Sir Peter Jackson turned JRR Tolkien's books the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, into award winning cinematography.

Katherine Mansfield House and Garden (formerly Birthplace) - I'm yet to go and check this out. It's up in Thorndon.

Love - what I found when I met Daniel my now fiancé!

Mount Victoria - the Lookout is a must, also the Southern Walkway.

Newtown - the community centre has a good feel for what's happening in this bustling suburb.

Oriental Bay - from the beach to the views over the harbour and the ice cream shops along the way, O'Bay has it all!

Porirua - from the Shopping Mall to a list of places to visit... I need to spend more time in Porirua ~ It's a bit of a hike from where we live, but well worth the cheaper prices! (About 21 minutes on the train, plus time spent getting to and from the station...)

Queensgate shopping mall - the main shopping mall of Wellington, located in Lower Hutt.

Royal New Zealand Ballet - Ballet troupe of New Zealand based in the St. James Theatre on Courtenay Place. Flatmate Loren and I are going to a show very soon!

Somes Island - the island in Wellington Harbour, where at one stage Enemy Alien Internees were kept during WWII. Today the buildings are still on the island and can be visited. The island is a special place with shared history of many people. It is a great photography spot.

Te Papa -  the National museum. Lots of it is free and there's a wing that has a charge to see the exhibits. Well worth paying the small fee for many of them. We've seen a number of them. Keep an eye out for Locals deals too.

Uber X - a popular ride-sharing company that usually riles up taxi companies. I really like using it. It's in New Zealand in selected cities, so keep an eye on the app. (Use my code for a free $10 credit: lisat2293ue )

Victoria University - where I am in my final year of study for my BA in English Literature with a minor in Religious Studies.

Windy Wellington - the weather in Wellington is somewhat all over the place with a Marine climate; Windy Wellington is the nickname given to the city especially when it's blowing a gale.

X-plore Wellington - a favourite pastime is to go somewhere and just explore the surroundings. It's a great way to learn the city when you move somewhere new. A few weekends back Dan and I went out to Island Bay, he had never been before. I'd been once, years ago. We went to the Aquarium there - the Island Bay Marine Education Centre - well worth the $5 (adults) or $2 (kids) entry.

Young and Hungry - Wellington theatre from young actors.

Zealandia - a wildlife sanctuary in Karori which happens to also be the first suburb I moved to when I first moved to Wellington for University way back in June of 2009.

Until next week,
xo Lisa.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Top 26 places of things to do and see in Taranaki, New Zealand

This week I decided to take on the A-Z challenge and decided to focus on Taranaki, New Zealand.
Here's my top 26 things to do and see in Taranaki:

Americarna - a yearly car festival celebrating American cars.

Beauden Barrett and Waisake Naholo and a number of other Taranaki players have gone on to become All Blacks (in the National rugby team).

Centre City - the main only shopping mall in New Plymouth.

Dawson Falls - a sweet waterfall on Mount Egmont/Taranaki, you can access it by following these directions.

Egmont Village - a quiet little village, with spectacular views of the Mountain, situated perfectly between New Plymouth and Inglewood, and Bell Block, it's where my family live. The local primary school pool is a popular hangout in the summertime.

Francis Douglas - the local Catholic boys high school and where Daniel went to high school.

Gables - an old hospital in Brookland's Park, the location of my parent's wedding photos - funnily enough their wedding photos were used by the local Police in order to find the missing light's which featured in their wedding photos.

Home - it's where both mine and Daniel's families come from; we both grew up there.

Inglewood - a sleepy little town where an aunt and uncle and a number of my cousins live, about 20 minutes from New Plymouth.

Jewellery shopping from one of the many boutique jewellers in New Plymouth, or head further afield to Dalgleish in the city, or Silverado in Hawera.

Kawaroa Pools and Park - the location of the New Plymouth Todd Energy Aquatic Centre. Be mindful of trains in the area as the train track is used (daily) by trains ferrying goods to and from the nearby Port Taranaki.

Lucy's Gully - a romantic bush walk which is picture perfect, with views over the city and sea; It happened to also be the scene of a murder in 2007. For directions to Lucy's Gully click here.

Mangorei Road - where you can see sweet views of the city and sea at one end and the mountain at the other.

New Plymouth - the main metropolis of Taranaki. Population of 68,901.

Oakura - a surfer's haven and township, just south of New Plymouth.

Pukekura Park - the botanical garden of New Plymouth. Fun fact: I used to live in the Curator's Cottage at 25 Victoria Road.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's Royal Visit of 1954 -

"I was a young school teacher and a cub leader in Hawera…. 
the streets chosen [for the visit] had some very unsightly and the powers that be who arrange these things
 decided something had to be done to cover these sights from royal eyes.
 Every school child set about making paper flowers in red, white and blue crepe paper. 
These were gathered and hung on these."  -  Judith Foy
For more about the Royal's 1953 - 1954 visit you can go to this website.

Rewa Rewa Bridge - the location of the Proposal/where we got engaged. It's a bridge on the Coastal Walkway. For directions go here.

Spotswood College - where I went to high school.

Taranaki - the only region where you can Surf and Ski in one day! Mount Egmont/Taranaki and surf at Oakura.

Urenui - a sweet little coastal town in Taranaki.

Valley "The Valley" - with lots of Outlet style stores and a large supermarket make it a popular shopping destination.

Walkways - there are many in the city and include the amazing 12.7km long Coastal Walkway.

X-perience - the Forgotten World Highway. Take the scenic route from Stratford to the border of Taranaki; Grab a bite to eat and a beer at the pub/hotel at the Republic of Whangamomona.

York Loop Track - for directions visit here.

Zoo (at Brooklands Park) - where you can visit and see many kinds of animals.

Let me know in the comments if there's anywhere you'd like to visit, or see... In a few weeks I'm going to do the Wellington version of this with an A-Z of Wellington. 

Until next week, 

xo Lisa.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Photography and photo shoots

So this past week has been awesome, with preparing a bunch of stuff for our engagement party...
The past two weekends we have been getting photo shoots under way. Daniel was in charge of booking a photographer to take our engagement portraits and stuff... and we just got everything organised with that and waiting on the venue... and then I get a phone call saying I had won a free photo shoot and three complimentary 5x7" photos (from the Wellington Women's Expo we had gone to earlier in the year/late last year). So of course we couldn't say no to a free $249 photo shoot! Fast forward - we get the free shoot done of us as a couple, and had a number of extras taken of us with Loren and Thomas, our flatmates. Such a fun time!

Here are some behind the scene's shots that I took on my phone, so please excuse the quality.

You can see the mobile studio backdrop, lighting gear and such too.
We moved all the lounge furniture and positioned everything.
With the studio lights and professional camera the light from the window isn't seen.

Hero pose.

Dan modelling for Hallensteins? hehe.

Behind the scenes setting up the camera and stuff

Dan with his Bug-assault rifle - getting directions from Gareth.

Dan sniping bugs.

Gareth snapping away and Dan being a model...

The photographer for this shoot was Gareth from Duo Photography.
He was really fun to work with and put us all at ease being in front of the camera.

At the end of the shoot we booked a time for Gareth to come back and show us the photos, so on Monday evening at 7:30pm we sat with Loren and looked through all the photos in a huge slide show. Duo are pretty neat in that they create a video slide show - we didn't purchase this as we just wanted a number of digital files of our photos. We ended up getting a deal from Gareth - 18 for the price of 10 plus the 3 free prints and he threw in a few extras; since we couldn't whittle down the choices much more!

These following images are some throw back images - Dan and I on the waterfront with my Asahi Pentax K1000 film camera...

Our second photo shoot was with David from Von Photography - this was the engagement shoot package for $99 it's for an hour shooting, and has a set of 20 digital images at the end.

We hired the Dome at BATS Theatre as the venue - I volunteer as an Usher there so it made sense to come and play around on the stage area! The Dome is a large space, with a matte black floor, amazing white columns on the walls,
We had plenty of fun playing with shadows from the lights that David bought with him, and the Dome, then a few sneaky stairs shots.

I really enjoyed this photo-shoot because David made us totally relaxed in front of the camera - we even got a few public displays of affection shots - kissing and holding hands!

My favourite shot so far - us on the stairs, with our D and L letters on the windowsill.
David was lovely and took this on my new Polaroid camera (from Dick Smith for $77.40).

More shots from the day...

Us holding hands.
Oh do you see that? Hot damn gurl! my manicure from Serenity at Absolute Therapy looks amazing!
Until next week, 

xo, Lisa.