18 January 2015


Looking back over the last couple of months, I realize it's been a little lot quiet here.  There has been a lot going on and not much at the same time.  You know how life gets?

I've been baking a lot more than usual.  If you've been following me on instagram you might recognize some of the photos ahead.

I brought with us, from New Zealand, an Edmonds Cookbook.  It's almost a staple in every New Zealand kitchen (am I right NZers?).  Tonight I made some Afghan biscuits, but they were a bit of a fail.  They're ok.  Just not awesome.

Edmond's version of shrewsburys.

These turned out awesome.  Yummy, almost like shortbread, with a hint of lemon zest, two sides with raspberry jam squished together.  YUM.


I found this relatively simple French Bread recipe through Pinterest.  The above picture is actually of my second attempt.  Again, the first attempt was amazing!  These ones, I kind of forgot to knead them a lot, and I wrecked the yeast a bit at the beginning, and I put them in bread tins instead of just on the tray... but they still managed to turn out ok.  I freeze one loaf and keep the other one in the fridge.  It's perfect for toast and grilled cheese sandwiches.  YUM.  Definitely keeping this recipe handy in my recipe book.

As well as baking goodies (I've made a yum banana loaf and several batches of cookies), I've been getting into some fitness.  We have a free gym (and pool) available here, it's 'free' as in we probably pay for it in rent, but at no extra cost, we can use it as much as we want.

My husband and I have been going to the gym, usually he goes one day and I'll go the next.  Or we'll both go in one day at different times.

It has been amazing.  I've worked my way up to running, from being very unfit, and I'm finding that I love running (on a treadmill in an air-conditioned room).  It's a great way for me to zone out, focus, have some 'me-time' and feel great.

I had to get over my panic when there were other people in the small room though.  I get all, 'omg I hope they don't think I'm running out of time (or in time) with the music, maybe I'm running too slow, is my heart rate too high, I know they noticed me look down at the screen, I hope they don't notice that my face is bright red, I'm the only one here sweating with a red face, must look like I'm in my own world, zone out, oops, stay straight on the treadmill, don't fall off the treadmill.'  Haha.

I have been doing some crochet.

This blue-with-brown-fleck is an almost-finished blanket.  Remember this post?  Yeah, it's been on the go for a little while.  A project I brought to the States with me.  I just love this wool.

I found a penpal.  I put stamps on the shopping list and my husband said to me, "Haven't you heard of email?"  Ha.  Ha.  Writing letters is much more fun and I like to draw and write and make things pretty.

Playing with some pencils after listening to a song that I will always love.

And, with the help of packing-paper, a cheerios box, a toothpaste box and some string, I made a cute journal/scrapbook for myself.

Keeping myself busy with painting, drawing, making, doing.

Hoping to get an online shop up and running soon with prints of my art for sale... watch this space.


04 January 2015

October, November and December's Journal 2014

Oops!  It's in Psalm 37:4, not Isaiah.  Eek.

The second image, Isaiah 46:4, is my most favourite piece of art work at the moment.  Do you have a favorite bible verse?

Have a lovely week!


09 December 2014

One Week-aversary in AZ

Ok, so it's been more than a week.  But only just, really, if you're only counting 'working days'.

The first Monday, home alone, with the kiddo while my husband went to work was, in a word: frightening.

Our boy is the kind that can't be left indoors for too long or else he'll turn into a gremlin.  We currently don't have a car.  Roy has one for work, but that's strictly for work only.  It wouldn't matter if we did have a car through, because I don't know my way around enough (at all) to know where to go anyway.

So why not go to a playground?  My head has been full of this:  Arizona = scorpions, snakes, bugs, spiders that bite or sting or are poisonous and things that freaking hurt when they sting.  One does not simply 'go' to a playground (in my head, over and over).

With my head full of the above, my head has also been full of:  panic, can not walk off the sidewalk, do not walk on grass or woodchip, don't sit on seats anywhere, don't look anywhere but the sidewalk in case of stepping on any of the above listed scary things.

So, frightened as I was, I ventured out with my 3 and a half year old.  We went as far as the playground (about 50 metres/54 yards).  I kept looking at the steps and railings on the playground for any signs of spiders.  The gardens are pretty bare so I didn't think there would be any snakes.  I didn't even sit on the seating at the playground.  Too scared.

It turns out that I had a severe case of hypochondriac-ness.  If you're from Arizona, you're probably laughing at me right now.

Honestly though, in New Zealand we are so lucky to not have any snakes, scorpions or anything that's really too scary.  There are spiders, but they are nothing (I hear) to what Australia has, or the US for that matter.

That night I had a mini freak out and talked to my husband about it.  I came to the conclusion that because I didn't know anything about my surroundings I felt so scared and isolated.  So, the next day, I put our son in the little stroller and wandered a little further.

Needless to say, the next day after that we went even further and found the most amazing book store, clothes shops, a vans shoes shop (dig vans) and a mini outside playground in a mall.  One that I could frequent as a potential place to meet other Mums Moms - or so I thought at the time, until my darling 3 and a half year old found the power outlets and cables around the edges of it more interesting than the actual playground.  Yes they were covered, the cap on the end of the hose was also in a covered drain.  But my boy, you see, is very fast and knows that if there is a plastic cover, then there's probably something really interesting underneath it.  Oh my.

We left quickly after that and found a pet store.  Lots of cute puppies to look at and there was even one white boxer puppy out that we could play with.

I can proudly say that I am now at least a little confident in my surroundings here in Gilbert, AZ.  I am just on the look-out now for some friends (Nigel - no-mates).  I'm thinking I could start up a coffee meet-up at the mall and see if that might gather some Moms to come and hang out.

We went to church last Sunday, but that was when we still had a rental car.  I didn't manage to talk to anyone.  It was big (and awesome) and we got a little lost amongst everyone.  But, now that we don't have a car, church is out of the question.  It would take about 2.5 hours to walk there versus a 15-20 minute drive.

Not having a car is limiting, but not having a car also means that I'm going to get to know this neighborhood really well and I might just get a little bit of fitness into my system.  Now, I can't complain about that.

While my husband was at work last week, our boy and I managed to go to a couple of playgrounds (many times), we've had a swim in the pool, and dipped in the hot tub (we had the whole pool to ourselves), I've been to the local craft store, I've made my first purchases with American money, we've learned that our boy does not like automatic flushing toilets (too loud), and that you always always need to have your sunglasses and/or your sun hat.

You'll be proud of me:  I can now sit on a playground bench without too much fear of being eaten alive by a spider.  Because it could potentially happen, right?


03 December 2014

We're in AZ

Woah!  Talk about catching my breath!  I am quite a little tired. zzz.

I've got a few (very unedited but necessary) photos for you to have a look-see...

The beautiful Tasman Sea as seen from up in the air.  Heading to Auckland, New Zealand from Queenstown.  The view was amazing.

Farewell Spit for those of you who know a little of NZ geography.  Kind of ironic.  I had to snap up these photos, there ain't gonna be another chance for this in a quite a while.

Mount Taranaki.  So pretty.  And look, next pic, it's got a green dress on.


Just another photo of this amazing world we live in.  The water with all the waves and ripples looked like the wrinkles on leather.  Still in NZ.

I put the camera away as we headed into Auckland.  After we were on the big plane though...

The faces of one very excited 3 year old.  It was a great flight... I haven't experienced another to compare though.  It was a bit cold, but we all had blankets.  We all got as much sleep as you can when sitting upright and getting kicked by that darling 3 year old.

When he's tired or hungry, or both, he gets mad.  And there is no consoling him - that is until I hold him tight and tell him made up stories of fun adventures - and he's out like a light.   Phew!

We arrived in LAX 15 minutes early (12hr flight), we were very ready to get off that plane and, as soon as we were off it, our achy muscles disappeared.  We only spent about 20 minutes from the start of customs to the other side of the airport.  It was a breeze, a little terrifying, but very smooth.

A short bus trip to where the rental car was waiting for us was so fun for the Little Lion.  The mid-sized car we booked wasn't available so we were upgraded to a mid-size SUV.  OH well.  Haha, it fit us and our bags much nicer.

Off we went to our motel to freshen up, then soon afterwards we headed out again to have dinner with Roy's sister and some US family.  They were awesome, the food was way too good and our boy was way too grumpy.

The next day we drove to Arizona.

Still in California, there's the HOLLYWOOD sign!  Oh, and my husband's nose.

On the freeway, 5 lanes going east.

This sign cracked me up and I almost didn't get it photographed.  Roy thought there was something wrong when I started freaking out trying to get the camera on in time.

"State Prison Next Exit - Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers"

The road was a straight line for about 6 hours.  I don't know how Roy managed to look so not-tired.

We're still in California in these photos.  One thing I haven't taken a photo of yet is the Saguaro Cactus.  They all looked like a person with their arms up saying, "Hug me!"

I promise I won't hug any cacti.

I will try to take some epic pics for everyone to see.  We just don't have a car so everywhere I go to has to be within walking distance.

I got a little overwhelmed yesterday with the realization of no independence.  No car.  It's a big place here, everything we need is within walking distance, 20-30mins one way max.  We only went to the playground that's within our apartment complex, twice, then went back home again.  Today we ventured out a little further after I read a map and got my bearings.  We're actually very close to the things we need, supermarket, craft store etc.  Always have to be close to a craft store.

In New Zealand, being in the Southern Hemisphere, as the sun rises in the east, it arcs around to the north then settles in the west.  But here in the Northern Hemisphere, it arcs around to the South.  Which means you can find yourself going north when you think you're going south and vice versa.

Crazy fact.


20 November 2014

2 sleeps

Ok, so my next post is probably going to be written in the US.  Just sayin'.  I apologise beforehand if I take too long to write - do send me a reminder message if the suspense is unbearable!

After exactly two sleeps, I will be driving my son and I's butts over to Queenstown to pick up my husband's butt.  Can not wait.  It's "only" been 8 months.

Now what has begun is the 'surreal' feeling, where I don't know if my head will believe it's actually real until we're standing face to face.  OH!

Check me out on instagram because some time on Saturday afternoon I will be doing the obligatory family-selfie to prove that it's for real.

Two sleeps!

Then, the other particularly important part of the story... we arrive in the US of A on the 26th of November (six sleeps).

A watercolor by me, Hollymayb. 


13 November 2014

9 sleeps...

...to go until we pick up Roy from the airport!  YAY!

Another 13 sleeps until we all fly out to the US.  Can not wait.  It's getting real, folks!


06 November 2014

Custom Orders

These photos don't do this one justice.  It's a big painting on 560x760mm watercolour paper 300gsm, watercolour paint and watercolour pencil.