How To Wear Tan Ankle Boots ♥

tan ankle bootsIt was only AFTER hitting ‘purchase now’ on a pair of terrific tan ankle boots that I thought “wait a minute… I have no idea how to wear them!” I mean, their black equivalent and I have been best friends for YONKS, but tan? Eek! But with their gorgeous sturdy heel, exquisite zip detail and wallet-friendly price, these babies and I had to become acquainted, and with a little bit of vision (and a rainy morning spent on Polyvore), I discovered that they’re not so disastrous to style after all. Behold… the wardrobe pieces that I’d be delighted to introduce them to! (I think they’ll be exchanging numbers and setting up lunch get-togethers in no time, don’t you?!)how to wear tan ankle boots

A bright red tunic and a pair of black leggings keeps things low-key, but the jewel-laden cuff and statement handbag turns EVERYTHING up!

how to wear tan ankle boots

Oh, the simplicity!  While the tan cuff with gold embellishments ties back charmingly with the tan and gold on the boots, the basic creams, white and denim in the outfit ensure that the footwear and accessories remain the focus. (Or, at least that’s what I figured. What do I know? I’m sitting here in my dressing gown!)

tan ankle boots

I may or may not have been listening to Pennyroyal Tea during the composition of this ensemble… (And I love every single bit of it!)

new look bootsIs there a rule somewhere that dictates that you shouldn’t wear ankle boots with a maxi-dress? BLAH. Let’s ignore it!

How would you wear tan ankle boots? With a cape? Your treasured harem pants? Not at all?! Which is your favourite look?


Type, Type, Type! My Thoughts On How To Become A Better Writer ♥

If you’re needing a boot up the blogging backside (don’t we all!), look no further than #NZBloggers’ ‘Blog Greatness’, a weekly prompt for bloggers to use to get inspired, encouraged and most of all… posting! Today’s topic? ‘Type’. Here’s my interpretation of their idea!

(Disclaimer: I first published this piece in 2010.)

Type, type, type. Type, type, type! Type your words! Type your WORDS!

Ahem. Allow me to switch off KC & The Sunshine Band’s Shake, Shake, Shake.

Now! An expert on writing? Me?! Please! I’m as much as a virtuoso wordsmith as I am a master chef (and considering that I not only burned the vegetarian hot dogs that I was cooking for lunch today, but the bread rolls as well, this speaks volumes! Oh, and how could I forget the lid to the bottle of my barbecue sauce which so helpfully decided to fall off, too, drenching my charcoaled sausages and bread in sauce?! D’oh!), but in between listening to Queen and trying not to set my food alight, I do spend copious amounts of time engaged in this magnificent activity.

Blogging, tweeting, trying to convince my boss that saying “oh, ship’’ is a totally excusable replacement word for an expletive that rhymes with ‘oven mitt’ in the newsletters and blogs that I write for her travel company (which usually results in me standing there with outstretched arms saying “huh, huh? Get it – ship? Because we’re a travel company?!’’ Ba-doom-CHI!) –  my fingertips are a regular companion of the keyboard’s, and here’s what they’ve learned along the way!

Make Friends With A Thesaurus (Coffee Date Optional)

I don’t remember anything about fractions and I certainly don’t recall how to play the recorder (somehow I don’t think that my neighbours will be losing any sleep over this nugget of information!), but one thing that I have retained from my early education days is a teacher’s advice to experiment with using different words while writing. You see, I’d just written a story on how much I loved black labradors. I love black labradors!’’ I’d scribbled. Black labradors are the best because I love them!’’, my clearly cutting edge prose stated. Corrine, I love your story,’’ my polite teacher told me, but interesting stories use different words. What about if you said “adore’’ in here instead of using “love’’ so many times?’’

Mrs. Church, you were SPOT on. Interesting stories do use different words, which is precisely why I’ve enlisted Thesaurus as my writing companion when the only word that’s swirling around in my head is “fantastic’’ and I’ve already typed it 8,658 billion times!


Re-Read Your Content Out Loud (It’s Okay! It’s A Totally ‘Men-In-White-Jackets’ Safe Activity)

Fact: I do this with almost every piece that I type up. Why? Because too often I’ll be sitting there, whacking my keys away, thinking that everything’s all fine and dandy and then bang! I’ll re-read it, and there it is. A spelling mistake. A missing word. Something that makes absolutely no sense at ALL. How could I have missed this when I’ve already read it three times?!’’ I think. I don’t know, but I don’t usually miss a great big whopping mistake when I re-read it out loud. Fact #2: doing this also helps me to determine how flowing everything is, how easy to understand everything is. And goodness, reading your content out loud doesn’t have to be a boring exercise: who said that you can’t recite it all in a Scottish accent?!

Consider Your Audience (Even If They’re Purple, Scarf-Wearing Caterpillars! Which They’re Probably Not)

So you’ve thumped out an article, you’ve re-read it to yourself (and PHEW are you relieved that you didn’t use that analogy!) and now comes the time in which you must consider the audience that’s going to be viewing it. How will your words make them feel? How are theymeant to make them feel? Happy? Sad? (I hope not!) Informed? Inspired? What are they going to think when they examine your piece? What is the overall message that your piece is trying to convey, and do you think that it achieves it?

Stay True To Your Original Vision

Perhaps you started writing a novel on your passion for tennis balls. Maybe your blog/website is devoted purely to your hatred for snow globes. Whatever it is, remembering your original reason for beginning your project can help to keep your writing on track ENORMOUSLY. Stick a white label to your computer or laptop or pop a piece of paper beside it with the reminder does this piece demonstrate my hatred for snow globes enough?’’ scrawled on it, and ask yourself the question every time you’ve finished typing something up!

Do you have a secret writing tip? What? You won’t tell me, because that would defeat the point of having a secret” writing tip? Oh. I see. But what I lack in hotdog cooking I make up for in secret-keeping, I promise!


Sage: 3 Life Lessons I’ve Learned While Travelling ♥

postcardsmunichaustria The amazing alps of Austria.

If you’re needing a boot up the blogging backside (don’t we all!), look no further than #NZBloggers’ ‘Blog Greatness’, a weekly prompt for bloggers to use to get inspired, encouraged and most of all… posting! Today’s topic? ‘Sage’. Here’s my interpretation of their idea!

When I read the word ‘sage’, my brain immediately answered “aha! WISDOM!”, and began recalling three of the nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned while travelling…

#1: Expect The Unexpected. Actually, Don’t Expect Anything At All!

On the first day of a Contiki tour, where our bus was bound for Amsterdam and everyone in the group was GIDDY with glee, I was surprised to hear our supervisor announce that his biggest tip for our trip was to “have no expectations”. Huh? Have no expectations?! But… didn’t he realise how many years I’d spent fantasising about swanning around Italy with gelato?! (Only to discover that it wasn’t quite what I imagined?) “If you set sky-high expectations for every destination, you’re likely to be disappointed,” he continued. “But if you decide to approach everything with a positive attitude, minus the assumptions, you’ll enjoy yourself much more.” This turned out to be fabulous advice, and it’s logic that I’ve come to apply to everything, not purely travel. Picture that you’re about to attend a party. Isn’t it probably going to be 1,3737372 more fun if you arrive at it with zero pre-conceived ideas, rather than thinking “this is going to be the best night EVER!”? If it’s a fantastic evening, you’ll be thrilled. If it’s not, you won’t be too bothered. Win-win!

Mucking around in Munich, Germany. Hi!

#2: Ask For What You Want

It feels mildly embarrassing to croak “uh… excuse me… but um… would you mind… taking a photograph of me at all?” to a stranger, but it’ll feel WORSE if you miss out on capturing a beautiful moment in front of The Eiffel Tower because you were too nervous to ask anyone to take your picture! (I’ve previously plucked up my courage and approached people that I didn’t know at Buckingham Palace and in Dublin for snapshots. It’s true!) It’s not always easy to, but where it means missing out, ask for what you want. Won’t it be spectacular when you get it?!

#3: Your Coping Mechanisms Will Strengthen

Guess what?! Unfortunately, those pesky curveballs that the universe (I’m sorry, I usually avoid that expression at all costs, but here we are!) hurls at us during our day-to-day lives don’t just decide to pack up their bags and go on holiday because you’re on holiday. Things can, do and will go wrong when you’re travelling, and they’re often ten times more stressful because you’ll also be navigating foreign maps, languages, currency and transport when they do. But your coping mechanisms will strengthen, and as a result, you’ll develop a unique breed of resilience that you wouldn’t possess if you hadn’t chosen to gallivant across the planet. Hooray!

Not leaving your passport tucked into the seat of your plane? (Oops. Guilty!) Carrying a credit card for emergencies? What life lessons have you learned while travelling?


Taking Stock ♥

Whakatane, New Zealand ♥

The pretty blossom-lined streets of Whakatane, where even in winter, it’s mostly tropical!

My Foxy Corner is one of my favourite online reads, so when Lizzy suggested that her audience complete her regular ‘Taking Stock’ challenge, I was only too happy to oblige. Here we go!

Making : E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! In news that probably won’t cause you to clutch your pearls, as a single parent and a student (and having just purchased an itty-bitty place), my finances aren’t exactly flourishing at the moment. Things are tight, but rather than sink into a hole of despondency, I make EVERY meal, and try to treat budgeting as a sport. (If I spent $58 on last week’s groceries, my attitude is likely to be “RIGHT! What can I whip up for the next seven days so that my next bill is only $48?” What can I say? Sometimes, I’m competitive!)
Cooking : Tonight, it’s vegetarian patties with lemon and pepper-sprinkled oven fries. (They’re $1.99 a bag at Pak N’ Save. Who could resist?!)
Drinking : Ginger beer with crushed ice, mmm-mmm.
Reading: Assignment briefs. *cue the Never-Ending Story theme*
Wanting: This lounge suite. And then there’s this entertainment unit. And a guitar! Some garlic bread wouldn’t go astray, either…
Looking: Ahead. (Always!)
Playing:  The Foo Fighters.
Deciding: On a cake design for Charlie. It’s her first birthday in a few months *sniff*! I’m really not ready for my baby to grow up… but she is!
Wishing: For an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan. Or an entire decade in America. (Neither of them are going to happen, but how enchanting they’d BE!)
Enjoying: The glorious pitter-patter of the sound of rain on my roof.
Waiting: For my degree to be completed, so that I can take my next step. Sadly, I’m going to be waiting a while!
Photo on 15-08-14 at 7.53 PM #2
Liking: Stumbling across old photographs. (LOOK AT HER!) Also, that I now have braces. 
Wondering: What life will look like in five years time. (I intend for it to be very different!) 
Loving: That the world is changing, and Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer. As Ellen DeGeneres so perfectly put it: “Bruce Jenner is a beautiful, brave human being. He’s saving lives and opening minds.”
Pondering: What I’d like to achieve next.
Considering: Starting essay #2436373. It’s not going to write itself, is it? (Trust me, they don’t, I’ve found out the hard way!)
Buying: Ha! What’s that?! The BARE MINIMUM, I can assure you! I’m saving every spare penny.
Watching: *whispers* Judge Rinder. And documentaries on London on YouTube.
Hoping: That when Charlie recalls her upbringing, she knows just how much she was loved. That child makes my heart beat and my mind race with motivation. I want to be everything that I can for her.
Marvelling: At a message I received from the lovely Kahurangi a couple of months ago. She was planning a day trip to Auckland, and asked if we could meet, however I’d JUST put in an offer on my unit in Whakatane, which I had a feeling was going to be successful. I’ve known her online for years, and when I replied that I’d love to, but couldn’t guarantee that I’d still be in Auckland, she instantly replied “I knew you’d be getting itchy feet! I didn’t think you’d still be living in the same city in a few months time.” Isn’t it funny how well people can come to know you without having met you? She was right! My wings are constantly flapping, begging to be stretched somewhere else…
Cringing: Rarely. Mistakes – even the stupidest of ones – inspire progress!
Needing: Continued good health, because without it, we have nothing. I had food poisoning last week (the WORST), which only reinforced this!
Whakatane, New Zealand
Questioning: How to savour each and every day. 
Smelling: The sweet scent of freshly washed sheets. 
Wearing: My dressing gown. I know. “I’m so fan-cy…!”
Following: For updates on friends that are in Nepal. Thankfully, they’re safe, but their hearts are breaking at the devastation that’s occurring in their country, and so is mine. It is one of the most special destinations, with the most extraordinary people
Noticing: The similarities between The Foo Fighters’ Weenie Beenie and Queens Of The Stone Age’s Millionaire. COME ON. That riff! Those vocals! Somebody else has to have noticed this!
Knowing: That today’s struggles are temporary. 
Thinking: Perpetually.
Admiring: Kez. She has the most incredible heart. And musicians. If only I could play like them!
Sorting: Everything into where it should be. One of the benefits of having a small home is that there’s absolutely zero room for disorder, which delights me! (I loathe clutter!) The older I get, the less I’m trying to accumulate. “Buy what’s essential and spend the rest on travel” is my motto, because at the end of the day, we can’t take our possessions with us! 
Getting: Excited for the future. 
Bookmarking: Recipes to try. Doesn’t this curry sound delectable?! 
Coveting: Furniture.
Disliking: People who are inconsiderate. Blurgh!
Opening: A wedding invitation from one of my oldest, closest friends, who’s marrying in Sydney at the end of the year. 
Giggling: At this video that my sister just sent me. (What did I just watch and WHY AM I STILL LAUGHING?!)
Feeling: A combination of grateful, and restless. 
Snacking: Not at the moment. Or much, actually! I prefer a hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Wishing: For everything to work out exactly as it needs to. Cripes. Aren’t we all?!
Helping: A little one find her feet (literally). Her current obsession is using me as a jungle gym while she practices standing. 
Hearing: Infant cries. Charlie’s hungry! (She’s taken to eating feijoas and is demolishing two a day.)


In Another Lifetime… ♥


The other night Natasha and I were discussing what we’d complete in another lifetime. She mentioned that she’d pursue a second degree. My mind immediately sprinted to visions of packing for Paris (ugh, wouldn’t it be extraordinary? Imagine living amongst its history!) and training as a hairdresser for a hobby (it’s often an expensive service, and when it comes to styling my tresses, I have the imagination of a pine cone. I’d love to become skilled!).What would you do if you were presented with the opportunity of being reborn? Learn Chinese? Dye your locks turquoise? Become a volunteer firefighter? I’d…

Move To Another Country

Okay, so I’ve spent the majority of my existence in Australia and I’m now in New Zealand, but with the two so geographically close and relatively similar, does it REALLY count?! If I was to return, I’d dart off to France and immerse myself in a new language or drag my butt to Britain and embrace its differences. (Pssst! Once I’ve finished my degree, this is actually something that I intend to do this time around, anyway!)

Study Law

Do you ever think “goodness it’d be great to study ___ if I had the availability/funds/etc.”? I frequently muse about how fascinating it’d be to practice law. And graphic design. And photography. And jewellery-making. Hmmm. Maybe I need to be reincarnated a few times…!

Apply For A Position At An All-Inclusive Resort

Have you ever seen those job listings which guarantee free accommodation, a killer salary AND (usually) heavily-discounted food… provided that you’re willing to re-locate? They often involve living onsite at resorts or hotels, and gol-ly, think of the ADVENTURES you’d have! (And how quickly your bank account would build up!) Back in the day, as an early twenty-something filly in Sydney, I’d briefly contemplated the idea until I remembered that I had a long-term boyfriend, a mortgage and (at the time) no desire to leave either of them. But if I was given a second life? You bet I’d be applying!

Participate As An Exchange Student

Nothing about sending their teenage daughter to co-habitate with strangers on the other side of the world appealed to my folks, and now that I’m a parent myself, I can understand, but my oh my, what an experience it’d be!

Work In The Kitchen Of A Sushi Or Japanese Restaurant

Ha! Don’t laugh! Oh alright, chortle away, because it is fairly ridiculous, isn’t it? I don’t even know why I’d like to work in one, but for a teeny-tiny period of time, I think it would be fabulous!

What would you adore to do if you were given a second life…?


An Update From Whakatane ♥

Whakatane, New Zealand

Good evening! It’s been a LONG time between drinks, hasn’t it?! Wait… have you done something different with your hair? Aha! I thought so. (And isn’t it snaaazzy?!) Has anything else changed? Fill me in on what’s happening with your beloved/apartment/fur babies/intentions for 2015. Did you have that conversation with ___…? How splendid it is to gasbag again!

Although I try to capture a moment each day and share it with you on Instagram and Twitter (ahem, and I’m sorry about all of the baby spam, but sometimes, after that year, I’m still in awe that I’m a mother at all!), let’s rewind back to the day that the photograph above was taken. It was exactly a month ago yesterday, and my daughter Charlie and I had just arrived in Whakatane from Auckland to begin our new lives. I know I vowed to never shift to a small town again after Blenheim *shudder*, but Whakatane is a WHOLE other kettle of fish (honestly!), and I knew after our last visit here that it was where we needed to be.

Whakatane, New Zealand

I’m itching to meet people (I practically had to place my hands over my mouth to stop myself from hounding the first person in their twenties that I came across “hi! How are you?! Who are you?! How does one meet people around here?!”), and sometimes I feel frustrated that I’m living in an empty home, but my grandmother is amazingly adept at delivering reality checks. “I’m 75 and the chairs at my dining table are from an outdoor garden furniture set,” she reminds me.  “I’m still working towards where I want to be!” 


Her wise words always encourage me to take a deep breath, count my blessings and enjoy this stage of subsisting, regardless of the fact that it’s spent on the floor. (It won’t be forever!) Somehow, between all of this moving mayhem, I’ve also managed to submit three assignments (did I tell you that I was accepted into Massey University? Eek! I was! I’m completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Social Anthropology this semester, with a view to transferring into a Bachelor of Social Work next term). Things have been frenetic, tiring and testing, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We have one life to live. Hit at it full throttle and give it your all, I say!


If I Ever Have To See Another Packet Of Two Minute Noodles Again… ♥

iboughtahouse1 … OR Homebrand (the cheapest of the cheap!) bread, or eggs, then I’ll… practically smooch them. Because if they hadn’t been my dietary staples for the last 3,374762728474787621526 days (rough guess!), where would I be?! How would this have occurred?! IT COULDN’T HAVE!

You see, I’ve kind of bought a house. And by “kind of” I mean “ARGH!” “I have” and by “house” I mean this ol’ thing. It’s been intimidating, stressful (“oh cry for me Argentina…” someone might grumble, but no, REALLY. Negotiating with banks, real estate agents and perusing contract page after contract page on your own – without any guarantee that the property you’re vetting for will become yours – has proven to be a complicated test of sanity!) and overwhelming, but it’s DONE.
iboughtahouse5 iboughtahouse6 iboughtahouse5It means we’ll be relocating from Auckland (but not too drastically, our new home is in the Bay Of Plenty, only a 3 hour drive away), but most importantly, it means that Charlie will have security, stability AND her great grandmother within walking distance. What could be better?! (“A place in Sydney,” one of my friends replied. “Why aren’t you coming back?!”)
iboughtahouse iboughtahouse4

If things are somewhat sleepy around here, it’s only because I’m unpacking boxes and plotting our next steps, but I’ll be back up and running and asking for all your gossip soon! (We have a heap to catch up on, don’t we?!)


Current Style Obsession: Interior Design ♥

interiordesignWith a change of address only a squiggle of a signature away (more details on this when I’m no longer petrified that telling you anything will “jinx” everything, but I’m 99.9% likely to be MOVING!), all I can think about is interior design.

Luxurious living spaces! Resplendent ROOMS! The abode I’ve been eyeing up is a quaint-but-cute, bright (it’s filled with skylights!) two bedroom townhouse, and I’ve been eagerly daydreaming about how I’d adorn it (it’s free to fantasise, right?!). There’d be a pinch of rock and roll, a sprinkling of travel-oriented accessories and – oh, I know. Why don’t I just be quiet and show you?!

Sparkles, soft candles and a nod to Paris in the form of an Eiffel Tower ornament? Très bien! 

mapoftheworlddecalProfessing a love of the world (except, uh… New Zealand? It seems to have been conveniently snipped out of this one!) with a wall decal seems like a winner of a decorating choice to me. Wouldn’t it be perfect positioned behind a couch? (I fully intend on making this happen!)

travelinteriordesign musicinteriordesignAlthough, these pieces are equally fetching…

sparklekitchenIf a bedazzling kitchen backdrop couldn’t get you motivated to cook, NOTHING could.

musicinteriordesign3 musicinteriordesign2

I adore every inch of these melodic bedspreads (I’m more than marginally obsessed with music…!).

skullinteriordesign interiordesign

Shades of silver, turquoise and ebony are my f-a-v-o-u-r-i-t-e.


And how savvy is this approach to freeing up your wardrobe by implementing shoe shelves? Hugely! 

How would you furnish the dwelling of your desires? With an indoor swimming pool? Purple everywhere?! (I won’t laugh, I swear!)


Our Struggles Determine Our Successes ♥


“Everybody wants to have great sex and an awesome relationship – but not everyone is willing to go through the tough conversations, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama to get there.

People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not.

Who you are is defined by the values you are willing to struggle for. Because if you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs.

– Mark Manson

(Paraphrased from The Most Important Question Of Your Life, Mark Manson’s startlingly sensible piece on success.)

THWACK! Pardon the racket, that’s just the roar of this fellow delivering a perfectly executed blow to the head of a nail!

We CRAVE fulfilling our real estate aspirationsadding international stamps to our passport every twelve months, expanding our careers (insert your fantasy here!)… but how? What’s being sacrificed in the meantime to accelerate from one stage to another? (A daily croissant and a coffee habit? Friday nights dinner and dancing to power through a thesis? Enforcing an evening Facebook ban to finish authoring that novel?!)

I probably would’ve been committed if I’d confided to Twitter on Monday morning that my breakfast consisted of oats mixed with water and cocoa powder (!), but as I scarfed down each unappetising morsel – the remnants of the pantry! – into my mouth, I knew EXACTLY what I was doing. Leaving the dollars in my purse untouched, to scramble closer towards my ambitions. (Because while I won’t remember the occasional frightful feed, I will hold onto memories of screaming with joy at Tokyo Disneyland with Charlie, or signing the contract on a new home!)

A puny percentage of the population will KNOWINGLY endure strife for eventual satisfaction. Be the minority! What are you forfeiting now to later gain?


Thank Frock It’s The Weekend! ♥

If you’re clicking here for the first time, WELCOME! Every Friday we celebrate the fact that – ding, ding! – it’s the weekend, and our favourite things (falafel sandwiches so flavourful they brought sparkles of happiness to your eyes? Teaspoons?! Okay, it’s probably not the latter…) from the week that was. Here’s what I’m currently loving!

Driving Across Kariotahi Beach In A 4WD Tick! Thanks to Natasha and her tough-as-can-be wheels, I can now delightedly scrawl that off the bucket list! (It’s just something that has to be done, at least once!)

x Lorde’s Yellow Flicker Beat I’ve never watched The Hunger Games (I know, EEK! Don’t worry, I’m bowing my head in shame as we speak!), but I adore everything about this track that Lorde penned for the series.
Untitled Awhitu Beach
x Picnicking On The Awhitu Peninsula With vegetable quiche, homegrown plums (thanks, Natasha!) and almost the entire expanse to ourselves. L-u-c-k-y!

x FINALLY Having Braces – Oh, it’s only something that I’ve been jabbering to you about wanting for SIX YEARS (no big deal!)

Manukau Heads Lighthousex Setting Foot Inside My First Lighthouse – Nowhere near as spooky as I’d envisaged (did anyone else grow up reading stories about ghosts inhabiting their insides?!), but captivating nonetheless!
Untitled new zealand
x Journeying Across The New Zealand Countryside – I mean, this landscape could almost reduce you to tears. It’s gorgeous! 

x Opening The Door To A Courier, Blurting Out “Hi! Um, I Haven’t Ordered Anything?” And Unpacking Not One, But FOUR Surprise Gifts From My Friends Kevin And Jenni In Australia – Two boxes of chocolates, a beauty/spa kit set and a rattle for baby Charlie. Even though I haven’t seen either of them in over a year. Even though they didn’t have to. Even though traipsing to the post office is one of THE most tedious tasks. (I’m thinking that I should surprise them at their workplace in Sydney in the months to come and then whisk them away for lunch. Wouldn’t that be sublime?!)

x And ice cream sundaes on a scorching summer’s day. A must-have!