The first crop of onions.

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They grew in rather close quarters, and a tiny lesson has been learned.  We must plant them at a greater space to allow for bigger bulbs next year.

I’ve trimmed them and foolishly placed said onions onto the mantle in our kitchen.  Now, I am airing out our whole home from the intense perfume of fresh onions.

Another novice mistake.

Now they sit on the porch airing out for a few days before I store them in the cupboard.

Do you have a recipe that features onions that you love?  I’ll probably need to get through these red ones rather quick!  

We’ve been misted today in a dainty almost microscopic rain.  You know the kind that lightly falls on your face and skin, it feels refreshing?  Eventually it saturates you to the core, and yet at the same time is lovely because it is warm.  Summer rain, is so pleasant.

This constant rain has made New Zealand’s soil fertile and created an optimal growing season in many regions.  Palmerston North has had one of the wettest summers on record.  We can only help but flash back to our struggles in Eneabba trying to grow our food in the hot heat of summer.  We watered it endlessly.  Many of our plants died.  Here, we hope for some more sunlight to help ripen our green tomatoes. Though, I’ve heard they are good fried green anyway!

Blueberry Picking in Ashurst

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Some of the local activities we got into:

  • Glow worms in the Pohongina Ranges (my first time too – they were really beautiful).
  • Blueberry Picking in Ashurst
  • Mike and Ashley went for a wild boar hunt, and were successful – they also got a deer and were very stoked with the result.  Those animals were brought back to our friends farm for processing.
  • Hanging out at the Esplanade in the city and along the river
  • The Fielding Market and Livestock sales
  • Mount Bruce – to see eels, kiwi, kaka and other beautiful native birds
  • A small cheese farm where we met a lady who won some impressive awards for her rare raw cheese (apparently a cheddar – but not called that because it’s not from the place called Cheddar).  Who knew cheese was so exclusive!

We thoroughly enjoyed spending these past 6 days with our friends and wish them the best time during this next leg of their journey through New Zealand.

We were very sad to see them go this morning, but know soon enough we’ll be in each others company again.

Slow Cooked Vegetarian Chilli

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This slow cooked vegetarian chilli will put a little fire in your belly.  It was inspired by a food blogging friend Elaine who writes Foodbod.  She posts really creative vegetarian food often with middle eastern influence of fragrant spices and sauces.

Right, so yesterday I was inspired to make some slow cooked chilli.  This all went into a slow cooker and was left to simmer for basically the entire day.  I scavenged for it in the pantry but you could throw in whatever you wanted for your chilli too.

  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 jar of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3x capsicum (red orange and yellow)
  • 2x Spring onions
  • 2 table spoons of paprika
  • 2 table spoons of chilli powder
  • However much salt you prefer
  • 5 large pieces of garlic crushed

This all simmered on low heat from 10am to about 4pm.  Then in the last hour I added two heaping spoonfuls of cocoa powder, which took off the acidic edge and gave it a really dark rich look and taste.  I’d never thrown in cocoa before, and saw that Elaine had done so… honestly am never not putting it in again!  It was delicious.

The topping is a mixture of: Colby cheese, cilantro, parsley, raw red onion, lime zest and juice with avocado and finally a few green jalapeños.  I also toasted a few pieces of tortillas in olive oil and butter for yummy dipping vessels.

For the 400 hours that this meal cooked, Wes and I ran amok.  He and I headed to the Manawatu river for our daily walk.  It’s about 6.5km – I puff away and eventually end up misty and sweaty and he sings like a wee little bird or passes out for the 1.25 hours it takes me to get the walk in.

He cut his first tooth yesterday, and I couldn’t help myself and have since been calling it a “Toof”.  I’m sure my ridiculous vocabulary is going to mess him up some as he gets into school.  I count before I pick him up “One, two, free” and can often hear Mike cutely doing the same.

Wes is such a beautiful, happy, content little boy.  He gets the giggles when I change his outfits, because he has ticklish armpits and he laughs at me when he has done a little poop and it surprises me.  He enjoys my interpretive dancing (the more awkward the more giggles I get) and sometimes talks himself to sleep.  We’ve seen him grow and change each day, and I am smiling whilst writing this because he really brightens my day.

The red marks all over my neck and chest in the image above, are from his little fingernails which I promptly trimmed last night as he fell asleep.

In other non baby news…

My younger sister Andrea is marrying her soulmate Kris in Cuba this week, and the family are all in attendance to celebrate for a week of fun in the sun.  We really wished we could have been there, and have been sending loads of love and support to them for their special day.  They will definitely have some really cool new memories together to cherish.  I know Wesley would have loved to watch everyone dancing…

Happy Healthy – Food & Fitness in Perth

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Yesterday I worked with new Perth business: Happy Healthy. Owner Jess is passionate about creating nutritious, organic food and helping inspire others through fitness.  She is kicking off the new year by following her dream full time, and will be providing fitness classes as well as expanding her already successful health snack business.

The location, energy and laughs were awesome, and really made capturing these moments very enjoyable.

After the shoot, Mike and I went to Fremantle, played some arcade games and feasted on some delicious Italian at the always popular Sandrino Cafe.  I had a spicy tomato, parmesan and garlic gnocchi and Mike enjoyed a fresh calamari salad with lemon and garlic aioli.

Tonight I’ll be headed out to the suburbs to get some snaps of a friends young son and daughter by the river.

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This is the only item we’ve bought for our little baby…  

Early in the day we had our latest ultrasound.  Where we learned the gender of our baby.  What was kind of hilarious (and concerning!) – Mike didn’t make it through the whole scan.  He was feeling very sick being in the hospital, and had to leave the room before he fainted.  This isn’t the first time… and it’s made me wonder how he’s going to manage when we’re actually delivery the baby?  It’s adorable, and concerning.

Do you squirm at hospitals or know someone whom also gets distressed like this? 

A hairy werewolf unknowingly roams Brisbane.

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I think it was Boxing Day morning in Palmerston North, New Zealand that Mike and I were laying in bed and I noted that I was seeing some changes happening in my body.

It’s not the first change though.  I’ve been observing these changes over the past few months and at times make a point of highlighting them to Mike.

The first time it happened, I was telling Mike about some photographs I’d seen of women online who had stretch marks.  I was casually mentioning that I already had a few on my legs and chest from puberty when he confirmed…

“Yes you have a lot”.

I suddenly realised that my “invisible” stretch marks where actually not and my mind shattered. Literally all this time I’ve been deluded thinking no one ever noticed them.  Haha people have just been kind, until that moment.

A few weeks later, I was basically complaining that I was feeling swollen and that I was begining to get large, when Mike turned and said…

“Just wait until you’re a whale!”.

I laughed and then stared at him.  What?  Immediately he realised this was probably the wrong thing to say…

Lastly, brings us back to boxing day in bed.  I have started to notice this soft peach like fuzz is growing on my shoulders, and tummy and was pointing it out when Mike turned and said…

“and also your face”.

I was horrified.  He stroked my cheek and intimated where it was growing.

Oh my god.  What the hell…?  I’m turning into a man.  How did I not notice this on my face too?  We joked about how to sort out the situation, though now I’m a little paranoid to be honest.  He does make me laugh and if anything I can at least laugh at the transformation (however shocking it is) with him.

These photographs were taken in Brisbane.  Which is a really cool city.  I was able to roam about and take it all in before meeting Mike in Wellington the next day.  I’m keen to head back to Queensland sometime and see the State’s rain forests.

  1. The Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane is free and definitely worth checking out on the Southbank.
  2. That smoked salmon eggs benedict was amazing (just look at that massive portion of salmon!).  It was found at Jimmy’s on the Mall in the heart of the CBD.  It was the perfect place to eat outside and people watch as locals rushed to work.  The place was a mad rush of Christmas shopping.
  3. Tess made it safe and sound to Wellington, and is a very happy dog in the country.  She’s with Mike’s mum for the next few weeks before we return.  Thankfully her journey over was really well handled by a pet travel company called “Jet Pets”.  We couldn’t rate them more highly.  If you’re looking to send your pets overseas – while they do charge a hefty fee; they really look after your pet in a very loving and considerate way all throughout the journey.  Tess was taken on walks, fed and given ample time outside of her crate through her journey.
  4. I didn’t take many photographs in New Zealand as I was generally living in each moment, however Christmas was awesome, and I was able to stay back and enjoy a beautiful wedding between Mikes cousin Sarah and her new husband Derek.
  5. Travelling whilst prego is very exhausting.  I’m currently back in Perth with my feet up enjoying the first day of 2016.

Happy 2016!

-Holly