Friday, October 28, 2011

One Day soon I will read this beautiful book

As if the movie version cover wasn't enough to make you want to read this book and watch the movie straight after, the story itself just screams romance and Nicholas Sparks. But this time it's not a Nicholas Sparks book - it's a David Nicholls book, an author I had never heard of until I spotted One Day on my regular visit to the bookstore and saw it was a bestseller that had been made into a movie.
Bestseller?! How did I not know about this?!
So I'm thinking I might finish up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society quick-smart and ditch the pile of books I have to read so I can sink my teeth into this one and then watch the movie - which happens to star two of my favourite actors, Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess!

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY. From the author of the massive bestseller STARTER FOR TEN.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rockin' a new hairstyle

I'm always changing my hair. I like a bit of variety, and every time I get a haircut (unless it's an awful one), it feels like a breath of fresh air, a new start. It's truly amazing how much confidence a new hairstyle can give you, especially when it's a really daring one that you're nervous about and it turns out looking amazing.
This latest haircut is probably the shortest I've ever had, and although I worried at first about it not being the right fit for my face, I absolutely love it! It's the perfect haircut for summer, and I feel like I'm no longer hiding behind my hair like I have for so long since having bad acne as a teenager.
My only wish is for Mother Nature to turn the temperature up a bit and bring on summer so I can show it off!

New photos on Photography page

I have added some new photos to my Photography page, hope you enjoy. I'm hoping to get my camera back up and running soon so watch this space for some photos of the stunning Wairarapa at it's best: in summer!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WEWONWEWONWEWON!!!


It has been 24 years, and our boys in black have finally done it. After the most stressful game of rugby I think anyone has ever watched in their lives, the whole of New Zealand erupted in screams and cries as the final whistle blew and we were crowned world champions.
I was in the Fanzone in Wellington city with my partner, sister and a couple of friends amongst about 3,000 people. We got there two hours before the game started to secure a good spot at the front to watch it on the big screen, and nothing about that four hours we spent standing there was calm.
During the second half with just one point separating New Zealand and France, the only thing going through our minds was, “all the French need is a drop goal or a penalty and we’re history”.
I am not a religious person, but for about 20 minutes straight, I had my hands clasped together in front of my face in prayer, pleading for the boys to hold off the French until the final whistle.
They did, and everybody screamed, cried, and flung their arms around each other for what seemed like hours, barely believing that we had actually won the Rugby World Cup for the first time since the tournament started in 1987.
Some may say, “it’s just a game”, but it’s really not, it’s so much more than a game. For starters, it’s New Zealand’s national game. I for one have been brought up in a rugby oriented household, and even those who were not rugby fans at the beginning of the tournament were screaming and crying on Sunday night.
It’s also about what it means to be a New Zealander. People around the world love us kiwis and know we love our rugby, and over the last seven weeks, we have proved that, for a little country of just 4.5 million people, we can put on one of the biggest international events in the world – and nail it.
I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling for the last two days and I feel immensely proud to be a New Zealander right now.
We have so much heart, so much courage, so much determination as a nation, and I think we have shown that not just through the Rugby World Cup, but also through everything our little country has been through in the last year.
First there was the Pike River Mine disaster, when 29 men were killed in an explosion. Then came the Canterbury earthquakes – September 4th, February 22nd, and June 13th, which destroyed our most beautiful city and killed 181 people. Now, of course, there’s the Rena, a cargo ship that hit a reef off the coast of Tauranga and is currently on the verge of breaking up after spilling tones of oil into the ocean and scattering containers along the coast.
But we have pulled through all that, and Sunday night’s win will remain in our minds for the rest of our lives. It is especially exciting for my generation – I was just a wee peanut in my mum’s belly the last time we own the cup – because we now have one of the greatest stories in New Zealand’s history to tell our children and grandchildren, just like our parents told us about the 1987 world cup.

Photos from Stuff.co.nz

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The end of a journey through paradise

Review
The Endless Forest
By Sara Donati

Well, the Bonner journey is officially over in terms of the physical books, but the story is something that will live with me for a long time.
Over the last seven-or-so years, I have followed Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner from Into the Wilderness to Lake in the Clouds, Dawn on a Distant Shore, Fire Along the Sky, Queen of Swords and, finally, The Endless Forest.
When I started reading the final book, I was totally confused. There seemed to be so many new characters and the story had skipped over a fair few years. Even halfway through I was still figuring it out and thought maybe I should go back and flick through the previous books. But, I persevered, and the story grew and changed and took on a life of its own.
Much like the rest of the books, The Endless Forest had a steady, balanced pace to it, something that was frustrating at first but, once you come to accept that that is the nature of the Bonner journey – the books are a story of their whole lives, not just a small part of it – you begin to enjoy it and always want to know what happens next and where everyone ends up.
Without giving anything away, the story ended just the way it should, and left the door open for the lives of the Bonner children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to continue in the readers’ minds for years to come.
It’s like that feeling you get when you’re out of high school for a few years and you wonder what people you went to school with are up to these days. I almost want to look up Daniel, Lily, Gabriel and Birdie on Facebook. Lol. They feel like old friends and I’m certainly going to miss them.

Now reading: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A confidence boost from that perfect piece of clothing

Confidence comes in many, sometimes surprising, forms. It may be a compliment, it may be a good hair day or a new hair cut. For me, it's usually a good skin day that does it, but on the weekend, I found that perfect piece of clothing that made me put my shoulders even further back, my chin up, and put heels on my feet.

It was just a little black blazer.

Isn't it amazing how, when you go to the mall with money in the bank and the intention of buying something you've wanted for awhile, you look in every single damn shop and you can't find it? Well, a few weeks ago, all I wanted was a short, three-quarter length sleeve black blazer. I looked in every shop in my price range and found one blazer that would have been perfect, except for the fact that it was made for the most out of proportion girl imaginable - let's just say size six waist and G-cup boobs. Yeah. Not going to happen.

So I went shopping again last weekend for some nice tops to wear to work in the summer, and again found nothing that suited me - everything was so baggy and floaty... no tops that flattered the figure, just ones to hide it. BUT, as I was at the end of my tether in Cotton On, a place I shop rarely because their clothes don't last very long, a little black blazer hidden at the back of the shop caught my eye. I picked up my size, not getting my hopes up at all, and took it to the changing room along with about five other failed tops. Slipped it over my shoulders, and VOILA! It was the most perfect fit of any piece of clothing I have ever tried on in my life! To make it even better, I went to pay for the $44.99 blazer and was charged $39.99!

It's one of those pieces of clothing that goes with pretty much everything and this $39.99 wonder has transformed my wardrobe, and my somewhat grouchy attitude towards the available fashion at the moment.

Have you experienced a fashion miracle lately?

Friday, October 14, 2011

How great are Mumford and Sons?!

Every time I hear this music - I have the album, Mumford and Sons "Sigh No More", on both CD and vinyl - I just want to write, and write, and write. Pour my thoughts out of my head onto paper into beautiful words like these. One of my favourite winter nights this year was curling up by the fire listening to the record revolving on my new record player and reading the lyrics off the back of the cover. For me, it is so refreshing to know that beautiful, meaningful music like this still exists and is not 40 years old. Every one of them is still alive and young and touring the world with their magic.



As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts
Oh the warmth in your eyes swept me into your arms
Was it love or fear of the cold that led us through the night?
For every kiss your beauty trumped my doubt

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no
This time no"

We'll be washed and buried one day my girl
And the time we were given will be left for the world
The flesh that lived and loved will be eaten by plague
So let the memories be good for those who stay

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no"
Yes, my heart told my head
"This time no
This time no"

Oh the shame that sent me off from the God that I once loved
Was the same that sent me into your arms
Oh and pestilence is won when you are lost and I am gone
And no hope, no hope will overcome

And if your strife strikes at your sleep
Remember spring swaps snow for leaves
You'll be happy and wholesome again
When the city clears and sun ascends

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no"
And my head told my heart
Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no
This time no"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From the burbs to the wops......pt2

On Friday night my mum, sister and I donned high heels, dresses and our best jewellery, and headed into Wellington City to see the Broadway classic, 42nd Street. We parked and stepped out of Courtenay Central into the busy street and I instantly felt at home amongst the people and the cars and the buskers and the slightly polluted air.
The country is, as they say, a breath of fresh air, and I have come to love it. But, there's nothing quite like the salty breeze that whips you as you walk along the Wellington harbour; the sound of cars and buses and high heels speeding around the busy city (oh how I miss the sound of high heels that aren’t my own); the courageous fashion, odd couples, hole-in-the-wall cafe's that make the most amazing burgers (yes, Offbeat, I'm talking about you), and the vintage fashion as opposed to second hand "fashion".
Driving around the Wairarapa is also a different experience – for those people with no sense of direction, the Wairarapa is the place to be. Long, straight roads that you get to know in no time at all. Only problem is, if you go too far out into the country – like to, say, Alfredton, it’s the scariest feeling if you have got the wrong road because you can be driving for half an hour and not see another street to turn off into that lets you know where you are.
So, Wellingtonians, when you take a drive to work or to the town centre, what do you see? Houses, office buildings, shops, parks, sports fields, bus stops, schools, people.
What do I see? Sheep, sheep, sheep, ooh lambie cute! Cows, cows, cows, sheep, sheep, oh look, a person!... well, it’s a farmer… sheep, sheep, sheep, cows.
Okay, maybe I exaggerate a teeny bit. There are plenty of houses and schools and parks and stuff, but seriously, there are a lot of sheep. And cows. And farmers.
BUT, the thing I love about this place is just how natural it is. You drive past those farms and see the meat you buy for dinner. In summer time, stalls and shops full of fruit and vegetables straight from Wairarapa vines, trees and soil are everywhere. Schools grow their own vegetables, keep chickens, and have worm farms and greenhouses.
It’s also full of surprises. I know I may have led you astray with my “sheep, cows and farmers” comments, but rest assured, the Wairarapa is not all country and western. Little gems are hidden in nooks and crannies all over the place.
In Martinborough a new bar called Cool Change has just opened up, and if you’ve just got the Little River Band song in your head, that’s exactly what the owners Karina and Jimmy want. It’s all about good music, good beer, local wine, and kiwi food, all encased in the beautiful old post office building.
On the road to Mount Holdsworth you will find a little cabin with a wood fire oven, which churns out amazing pizzas on Friday nights, or so I’m told – I haven’t been there yet.
On the way to Stonehenge Aotearoa, just out of Carterton, a beautiful abandoned house sits atop a hill slowly falling to pieces.
On the way to Riversdale/Castlepoint, there is a small town called Tinui, which houses about 25 families and was the first place in the world to hold an Anzac Day service.
Way at the back of the Cobblestones Museum in Greytown sits a man named Tony King, who has a great passion for printing, and runs a working print shop equipped with vintage printing presses as a live exhibit at the museum, where buildings of Greytown’s past have been preserved.
Oh, and you must visit Schoc Chocolate in Greytown, which sits right next to the museum, and try a piece of kiwifruit and vodka chocolate.
So, the people of the Wairarapa may not wear high heels to work or to bars – or anywhere really, and Masterton’s town centre may be bereft of good clothing and music stores. The internet may suck, and there may be a lot of sheep and cows and farmers, but during my time here, I have met a lot of people who have escaped the “hustle and bustle” of the city and come over here to have a lifestyle, rather than a job.
It took me a long time to get used to the quiet of the country, but now I feel at home. Although, I still feel that hustle and bustle calling me back.


Monday, October 10, 2011

From the burbs to the wops......pt1

It has nearly been a year since this suburban girl moved to a place where the roads are long, the air is fresh, houses get forgotten, and you occasionally find yourself sharing the road with cows, so I thought it was high time to tell the tale of my adventure.
As most of you know, I moved to the Wairarapa to work as a journalist at a daily newspaper after a six-month stint in the Hawke’s Bay (which, FYI, is overrated), where I moved to straight out of home.
For my job I talk to many different people, including kids with big dreams, and it makes me wonder what twelve-year-old Sarah would think of her life now.
In terms of a job, I think she would be pretty proud of herself and would have said “yeah, I could see myself doing that”. The lifestyle, however, would be a different story.
I only she could see it, she would say, “What?! What are you doing living in the middle of nowhere? Why aren’t you in New York City?!”
But life takes some strange turns, and lands you in places you don’t expect to go, or to like, but despite yourself, you change inside and surprise yourself.
The day I arrived in Masterton – or M-Tron as my brother likes to call it – I thought I was getting used to summer. The Hawke’s Bay sun was relentless, hotter than I was used to in my hometown. I was in for a treat.
I got out of the car and the heat hit me in a wave. I looked down and saw my arm was red from resting it on the window ledge for the three-hour drive south, and still we had to unpack my life from the trailer. To be honest, it was hot, but it was just the start of a summer that entailed sleepless nights, constant dripping sweat, chronic hay fever, and nights spent sitting in front of the fan. A micro-climate, they call it. I’ve also been told this summer will be even hotter. Dear lord.
At the other end of the scale, the winter has been the most miserable, cold, gray winter ever – although, my first winter in Masterton just happened to be that winter it snowed twice, so maybe I shouldn’t compare. But I will anyway.
In summer, I challenge anyone not to smile and feel the soul cleansing as you take a drive down a long country road. Winter, however, is a different story.
One of my most significant adventures in Masterton was on that day it first snowed (not the one when the whole country – including Auckland – got snow, the one before that).
I was driving out to a house way out in the country and had a near-death experience trying to maneuver the company car over snow. As I often do, I went past the house I was supposed to go to and, the further along the road I went, the thicker the snow got, and I found myself in a mighty predicament when I looked to my left and saw driveways, which I needed to turn around in, were all caked in snow because the smart people who lived there had decided to stay home.
Then I looked to my right and the road fell away like a cliff down to farmland and a bunch of rivers. So I had the choice to either try my luck with one of the driveways and end up trudging through the snow to the householders door to sheepishly ask them to help pull my car out of the snow; or I could keep driving until I got to the sunny side of the island.
Or, I could reverse all the way back to the house I was supposed to be at 15 minutes ago. So I took a deep breath, steadied myself, put the car into reverse and spent a terrifying five minutes sliding over the snow to the house. I made it safely, heart still (barely) in my chest, and was greeted by an excitable dog and a lovely couple who served me my first ever cup of coffee.

Part two coming soon...


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The day they met at boot camp

Just a little bit from my novel, Missing Since Tuesday... enjoy!

The day they met at boot camp, a day that seemed a lifetime ago, Arthur and Stan had become instant friends when Stan found himself without a light and in desperate need of a cigarette to quell the burning pain in his chest caused by the unfamiliar exercise.

Arthur sat against the cold concrete wall of the barracks, breathing in the warm smoke, closing his eyes as the comforting cloud engulfed his lungs. The rest of the group had already set off in search of sleep or shower, but after a day spent with fifty sweating, grunting men, Arthur needed at least a minute to himself to collect his thoughts and take stock of the damage done to his own unused muscles.
After two glorious puffs, he opened his eyes and saw one of his comrades coming toward him, cigarette in mouth, desperately searching his pockets for matches.
As he got closer, Arthur recognized him from arrival the day before. The man’s shock of curly blonde hair that stood him apart from the rest had gone, as had Arthur’s own dark brown locks, taken at the mercy of the razor the day before.
Without a word, Arthur flicked the man his box of matches and after lighting his cigarette, the stranger flopped down beside him and they sat together smoking in companionable silence.
The man was a little younger than Arthur, perhaps by a couple of years, and through their cloud of smoke Arthur noted the naivety in his blue-green eyes.
“Tough day huh?” Arthur ventured.
After two grateful puffs, the man exhaled. “Yeah, you could say that”.
More silence as the gray cloud spread and floated into the dense bush that edged the camp and Arthur’s cigarette wore down to a stub.
He drew one last smoky breath and extended his hand to the man after he stubbed out the cigarette butt under his boot. “I’m Arthur by the way”.
The man took his hand with a strong grip well beyond his years and introduced himself. “Stanley,” he said. “But they call me Stan.”
He was about to ask who “they” were, but was interrupted by the bugle call for dinner, and they reluctantly rose, each man keeping outward composure while inside their muscles protested against any form of movement.

***

Tonight, half a world away in Wellington, Arthur lay in bed thinking of red high heels and copper hair, of the girl he had lost and the one he had found, and wondered how love and lust was possible when the world revolved around war and they were stuck in the middle of it.
By day they drew every ounce of strength from their bodies and held in their hands tools of destruction barely any of them had ever hoped to encounter, to practice for when they would hold the lives of foreign men in their hands. Yet, by night, their newly calloused fingers stroked the soft flesh of an earlobe and trailed down a bare arm. Lips used by day to shout and obey commands kissed lightly over gooseflesh from earlobe to collar bone to breast and whispered sweet nothings in the eager ears of the fairer sex.

Monday, October 3, 2011

You can choose your family

"It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons." ~Johann Schiller


Since battling through teenage hormones, bullies and acne, I have come to live by the philosphy of erasing negative people from my life.
Recent events have made me question the saying, "You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family." Finishing school enabled me to choose the people I spend my time around, (although I have come across my fair share of negative people in the workforce), but over the last few years, I have been lucky enough to have an amazing group of friends who love me for exactly who I am, who have control of their own lives, who think about the effect their actions have on other people's lives, and who are ambitious and know the meaning of hard work.
I come from a very close, hardworking, loving, "normal" (whatever a normal family is these days) family. I grew up in a comfortable home with my parents, brother, sister, cat, dog, and white picket fence, so I guess by old fashioned standards, we could be considered normal. My extended family, however, is constantly challenging the word normal, bar a few awesome aunties and uncles and cousins (you know who you are).
For a long time, I have challenged obligation invites to parties and the sentence, "at the end of the day, he's my brother". To me, family are those people you can rely on for hugs of comfort, a place to stay, and a listening ear. My flesh and blood are my mum, dad, brother and sister, and my extended family are those who have my respect.
I grew up in a mother's group around 22 other children and today, 23 years later, those mothers who occassionally breastfed each other's babies, punished each other's children, comforted any child who needed it, and gave us all places to sleep when they got together for games nights and us kids got tired, are my family.
Those kids with whom I jumped in the creek, played dressup, drank watered-down juice, ate marshmallow slice, shared birthday parties, packed tantrums, and learned to tell time and tie shoelaces, are my family.
My best friends who are always keen for a quiet drink, camping trips, and dressup parties; who offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a sense of humour, are my family.
My partner, who I could write a novel about - let's just say i couldn't imagine spending my life with anyone else - is my family.
While I do have some amazing "blood relations" - aunties who crack me up and who I can have an intelligent conversation with, and cousins who I chill out with at Christmas time playing pool and backyard cricket, some of my "blood relations" do nothing but hurt people, cause problems, and have no control over their own lives and expect other family members to bail them out or feel sorry for them. These are the people I choose to not call family because they hurt the people I love most and have a negative effect on our lives.
As I mentioned before, I have had it with obligation invites, and I hope this post will challenge people's idea of obligation. OBLIGATION has to be one of my least favourite words. We all get to choose how we live our lives, and just because I am descended from some of the same people as these negative influences, that doesn't mean I owe them anything.

So what do you think? Do you believe in the sentence, "at the end of the day, he/she's family"?