Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy holidays!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, happy new year, and a happy summer if you're down here in the southern hemisphere with me! Hope you're all loved up, full of good food, with smiles on your faces. See you next year! :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

New "About" page and blog design!

Change is in the air again! I've simplified the blog and changed my "About" page. Does this mean I'm back? Maybe...


Well, November has zoomed by in a haze of wedding planning, moving house, welcoming a new addition to our family - the cutest little maniac of a kitten who we call Jinx. Amongst all of this, two weekends ago before we moved, instead of packing (which I should have... most disorganised move ever) I had the sudden urge to write. Josh was out, and the place was quiet, so after watching a movie (The Mask! Oh man that was a blast from the past) I switched on my laptop and started furiously writing in the dark. I got about 3,000 words written and man did it feel good! So now I'm up to a total of 6,377 words with two days left of the month. Can I do it? Will the kitty let me or will she insist on chasing my fingers around the keyboard? I really don't know, but I'm going to try. I know 10,000 words is a tiny goal in the scheme of things, but it's a goal nonetheless, and it's good to have goals! How is everyone else going out there? Made it to 50,000 yet?

And here's a picture of the cuteness/procrastination tool that is Jinx...

Monday, November 11, 2013


I said from the very beginning that I wasn't expecting to finish NaNoWriMo this year, so it probably comes as no surprise to you all that I've decided  to downsize my expectations. While I don't want to give up completely because there is still a story in my head to be written, I know there's no way I can get to 50,000 words by the end of the month. There's the time thing, but there's also the mental energy that writing a novel requires that I just don't have at the moment. There has been a crazy amount of stuff going on in my life lately that has used up most of my mental energy to the point that, last week I spent most of the week with my brain partially switched off and just trucked along doing the bare minimum. I think that was my brain's way of saying, "ENOUGH! I can't think anymore, I'm out."

So I'm not giving up! But I'm only at about 3,000 words and I should be at nearly 20,000 by now, so I'm downsizing my goal to 10,000 words by the end of the month. It's not ideal, as there's a great story to be told, but it's something, and the rest of the story is going to have to wait until life slows down and my brain wakes up.

I'll still be doing updates though, so don't go anywhere! :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

The novel writing weekend that wasn't

After getting off to a great start and hitting the daily word target on Friday, over the weekend I pretty much forgot that I was doing NaNoWriMo. So I didn't intentionally procrastinate... I'd just made other plans ages ago and went ahead with them. On Saturday I spent the day with my bridesmaids trying to find shoes and other little wedding bits, then went to dinner at another girlfriend's house that night, then on Sunday I went to my parents house and worked on some wedding stuff. Guess I haven't quite got into the rhythm of it yet... and I guess I underestimated how much wedding stuff would get in the way. But hey, I'm confident I can catch up!

Anybody else having time issues already?

Friday, November 1, 2013


I've been looking forward to today for months! At first I was like, "Sarah, don't be dumb, you can't write a 50,000 word novel in a month right before your wedding". But then I thought... naaaah I can do it! Well, I can at least try, right?! I'm so glad I'm doing it, because it just feels so good to be a part of something like this - it's like you and thousands of other people are working towards a collective goal, and I keep having to remind myself that I actually wrote a whole novel last year and I could potentially have two novels waiting to be edited by December - how exciting is that?! Halfway to my dream of being a published author!

So instead of rambling on about why I'm so excited, maybe I should just start huh? Yeah, good idea... catch you later with a word count! And good luck to the rest of you doing NaNoWriMo! :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's November on Friday!!

Wow that crept up quick! Here I was thinking November was aaaaages away, and all of a sudden it's THIS FRIDAY! So that means NaNoWriMo starts THIS FRIDAY! I'm really excited :D

What have I done to prepare? Not a whole lot... But I've still got a few days, so wish me luck. Fellow NaNoers - what are you doing to prepare? Are you nervous? Excited? Tempted to start right now?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Making a plan

We all have different ways of working - some of us like to plan, some of us like to wing it. For last year's NaNoWriMo I had an intro, and the conviction that I wanted to story to be told from the point of view of a jar of jam in a cute country cafe. I had no clue where the story would go, or even who the characters were, so I just made it up as I went along. When I got stuck, I went to my partner for help and filled a space on a wall at home with yellow post-its with a couple of words each - "sheep", "man falls from sky", things like that. It was fascinating letting the story take on a life of it's own, back tracking every now and then to shape my characters.

This year, I'm taking a different tack - I'm planning the story in the hope that I won't get stuck, because this year I don't have time to get stuck, I have too much else going on in my life to spend days agonising over my next step. I think the best way to start is the way I plan most projects - with a blank A1 piece of paper propped up on my artist's easel, as I always feel like I need loads of space to just let my ideas run free. So that's my task for this week: plan and prepare. I'll let you know how it goes!

How are you planning for NaNoWriMo? Or are you just winging it? Tell me about it in the comments!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Coming back to life... for now

Hi everyone! Long time no blog! Well, here anyway. I've been blogging over at my new home, The Green Room, and although it's been hard going fitting in blogging lately, I've been really enjoying it - it's great having a focus and a mission - I'm only trying to save the world, no biggie ;)

Anywho, I'm reviving You May Say I'm a Dreamer until the end of November because I've decided (against my own and probably everyone else's better judgement) that I'm going to do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again! For those of you who don't know already, I'm getting married on December 7th, so the month before is probably not the best time to write a novel. But screw it, I'm gonna try anyway. I don't have as much faith in winning as I did last year, but I'm hoping to make some headway the one of five novels I've started.

Last year I wrote 50,000 words worth of foodie goodness - a little country tale revolving around food told from the perspective of a jar of jam sitting high on a shelf in a charming cafe. This year, I'm exploring reincarnation with a story about a boy who lived twice. I came across a story on You Tube about a little boy who had all of these crazy details about a previous life in his head - a mum, a dad, a house by the sea, even how he died. He truly believed he had lived another life and when he died he saw a light at the end of a tunnel and ended up were he is today. The family, for the sake of the documentary, actually researched his claims and took him to the house he believed he used to live in and the look on his face - that of a grown man who has realised that everything and everyone he had known and loved was gone forever, not an innocent five year old boy - is burned into my brain. I can't forget it. So I'm using this story as a starting point for my own story about a boy who lived before.

So why am I doing this when I have a month until my wedding (when it starts)? Simply put, because I procrastinate a lot and let ideas fester in my head and it's a lot easier to get on with it when there are thousands of other people in the world doing the same thing and going through the same web of emotions with you. It's also cool to see that word count rise every day... or every few days.

I decided to blog about it here because I kind of miss blogging about random things. Plus, it holds me accountable.

So hello old readers and welcome new readers! Lovely to have you here. :)

Round two! Let's go!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Calling all tree huggers!

Hi All! So I know I said I'm ditching this blog... I am, it's just that, I'd like to direct you to my new blog, The Green Room! If you're into all things green, like sustainability, alternative energy, raw food, cycling, and saving the environment, please come and check it out! Thanks a bunch!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

This is my new direction!

Oh Hi!

After signing off from You May Say I'm a Dreamer for a little while, I promised to keep y'all updated on what my new direction is going to be. When I left here, I was uninspired, with no direction in terms of blogging. So I took some time, had a think, did some research, and decided to to the most obvious, and also scariest, thing. I decided to take myself seriously as a writer. So I'm still finding my way, but I do hope you'll join me in my new adventures!

Writing my ass off
I thought it was about time I stopped skirting around that one thing I know I'm meant to do with my life: write. So I made myself a website dedicated to my writing. I'm really excited about it! So I've put myself out there as a freelance writer, specialising in travel and the environment, and also provided information on my novels-in-progress and my non-fiction project, also in-progress. So I hope you'll take a look and let me know what you think!

Travelling and dreaming

So, to become a freelance writer you have to be an expert on something. When I started thinking about that, travel was the first thing that came to mind, so I went with it and launched a travel blog called All the Wonderful Places. It's all about exploring at home and away. Take a look at that one too and let me know what you think!

And that's not all...
I'm also working on another project... but I'm not going to reveal what it is yet - what I will say is that it's exciting, it's innovative, it's friendly, and I hope it's going to make a difference. I'll keep you updated on this one too.

I'm undecided on whether I'll come back to You May Say I'm a Dreamer, but for now I'm leaving it be. So thanks for reading guys! :)  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Time for reflection

Hello friends,

You've probably noticed I have not blogged for a good couple of weeks.

Life is changing at a rapid pace for me right now. This year is flying by and by the end of it, I'll be married and starting a new and exciting life. My priorities, my passions, my view of the world, have all started changing and I have started eliminating things from my life that I'm not passionate about any more. Unfortunately, You May Say I'm a Dreamer is becoming one of those things. But it feels positive, so I'm going with my gut, following my instincts, hoping it will take me somewhere new and exciting.

Sometimes when I log in to blog, I ask myself a few questions: "Why do I do this?" Who is reading this?" "What am I teaching people?" And lately I haven't been able to answer those questions. I want to offer something to the world through blogging and writing, and although the principals of You May Say I'm a Dreamer have done that to a point, I feel like I need to rein it in, to focus on something specific so I can do it well.

I remember being told in Journalism school that to become a freelance writer, you have to "become an expert on something". Whether this sentiment will lead me into freelance writing or something else, I'm not sure. I feel like I have a lot of bits and pieces to offer the world and I need to bring them together to create something wonderful that I can be an expert on. Who knows what it's going to be - I sure don't - but it's exciting all the same.

So what I'm trying to say is that I'm taking a break from blogging for awhile so I can figure out my next step. I have a feeling it's going to be something big, something significant, but it's hiding from me. I know it's there, but it hasn't shown its face yet. So I think by simplifying my life as much as I can, I can make room for my new direction to show itself.

When I do figure this thing out, I will let you know on here, but for now I'm going to say goodbye and thanks for reading.

Sarah xo

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

There is no excuse!

I used to moan about living in an upstairs apartment with no outside/no grass on which to create a vegetable garden. While I still moan about having no outside and no grass, after I saw this picture of a guy who grew £900 of food on his balcony and windowsills in a year, I realised there is no excuse to not start my garden. I have balcony space that doesn't get used so damnit I'm using it! So two weekends ago (in the middle of a drought - real smart timing Sarah...) I went to out with mum and dad to buy some pots, plants, soil and tools to get me started. It's not much and I'm certainly not going to grow enough food for us to never visit the supermarket again, but it's a start! Right now it's really just a way for me to learn about gardening, as I've never really gardened before apart from a couple of stints with mum as a kid which I quickly lost interest in when I realised my sunflowers would take months to grow.
So I've started simply with a few herbs: Parsley, chives, rosemary and basil because I always used the herbs growing in the garden when cooking with mum back in the day - fresh herbs just make a dish that much more delicious! I've got a couple of vegetables, as there's not a lot you can grow at this time of year (but mark my words, in spring, it's on!) so I've got: spring onions, spinach and broccoli. Yum!

I also bought an amazing recipe book the other day, full of beautiful recipes using fresh, whole foods and all those awesome "super foods" like quinoa and couscous. Can't wait to use the stuff I've grown in these recipes! Yum!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Monday :)

Hello! Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend! It's finally raining here, breaking our drought, and long may it continue so our farmers can get back on their feet and our gardens can start growing again. Instead of a quote I thought I'd introduce you to this amazing NZ born, Brooklyn-based band I discovered while watching one of my favourite shows last weekend, 7 Days - they're called Streets of Laredo and they're fabulous!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's definitely autumn...

I start work at 7.30am and I'm lucky that it takes my 10 minutes to walk there. Although it's hard getting up early, sights like this accompanied by chilly Autumn morning air makes it worth it. Ahh summer, it's been great, but autumn is still my favourite season.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I am what I eat - Week 6

I realise this post is a wee bit late, but it's like that for a reason I promise... I delayed writing about week six because I went back to see my Naturopath, Anya Nidd, on Friday to check in and see how things were going.
And things are going great! It's cool to see the changes slowly happening over the course of a few weeks, but it's particularly satisfying to go back to Anya and tell her all about the last six weeks, including the slip ups and the hard bits, and know that I'm doing things right and also that there is more I can do.
I felt like a different person on that second visit, like someone who had complete control of their health and skin. No longer do I moan about the state of my skin because, even though the majority of the time now it looks amazing, if it does look bad I know it's my own fault for indulging in too much sugar and fatty processed food. I also feel so much stronger in both mind and body. Although there have been times when I have had a taste of chocolate and it's taken me a couple of days of indulging (and nasty red pimples) to break the habit again, I've discovered an amazing willpower I never knew I had. I have stubbornly stuck to this new regime and the slips ups are becoming less and less because I'm now running on facts, not theories.
Before, in regards to my skin, I was bombarded by everyone else's theories on why I kept having breakouts in my twenties. Too much chocolate, too much stress, not enough sleep, not enough water, using the wrong products. But as much as I tried to turn those things around, nothing gave me results because I never actually knew the root cause of it.
Now I know I was extremely deficient in zinc, and dairy products, sugar and processed food were causing my breakouts. So now we never buy milk, barely eat cheese, my snacks consist of fruit, rice crackers and hummus, my meals are full of good whole foods and I take a zinc supplement.
Sounds easy, but it's been a commitment and a half requiring a lot of willpower and patience, which has paid off. I now believe that going off meat was my body's way of telling me it was time to do something drastic about my skin, energy levels, immune system and general health. So thanks body. xo

Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy Monday :)

Happy Monday you guys! Hope the weekend treated you well! Lots of exciting posts coming up this week, including engagement party photos, ramblings about goals and new ventures, and a few pretty pictures. Looking forward to it! Busy, busy day today though, hence the short post... Have a fabulous week! xo

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It's NZ Book Month!

It's time for the book nerd in me to celebrate my love of books! Her in NZ, it's Book Month, with a bunch of bookish events happening around the country, touring authors and people just generally loving and appreciating books. So I thought I would give myself a little interview to start things off - feel free to join in on your own blog or in the comments, even if your not from NZ, I'd love to hear from you!

What have you just finished reading?
Flashback Forward by John Cairney

What did you think?
Started of brilliantly, then went downhill from there with weak characters, dislocation from the central issues and an anticlimax.

What are you reading now?
The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield.

What do you think?
I fell in love with Katherine Mansfield after watching the movie about her early life, called Bliss, and I do love her writing, although I haven't read much of it yet - I've only just started.

Top five favourite books?
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, One Day by David Nicholls, Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen, Goodbye Sarajevo by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Sallinger.

Favourite book that's been made into a movie?
The romantic in me says The Notebook... but Water for Elephants was truly amazing.

What's on your 2013 To Be Read list?
They're all New Zealand books, because I just decided to explore a bit of my local literature for a change: The Edge of the Alphabet by Janet Frame, Scented Gardens for the Blind by Janet Frame, I got his Blood on me by Lawrence Patchett, Tamar, White Feathers, Blue Smoke (series) by Deborah Challinor, The Girl Below by Bianca Zander.

What's your favourite place to read?
I can read anywhere really - growing up in a noisy family I trained myself to be able to read even when the TV was blaring, siblings arguing, mum cooking dinner. But in summer I do enjoy a nice comfy chair outside in the sun with a glass of orange juice beside me and in winter it's always nice to curl up in front of the heater in mountains of blankets and a cup of tea. Simple pleasures really.

What was your favourite book as a child?
That would have to be Go Dog Go! Even though Dad would read it to me like, every night, I still got so freakin' excited when he would slooooooowly turn the last page and there it was, A DOG PARTY!

If you could be any character from a book, who would you be and why?
Claire from the Outlander series because she's just so damn fearless! And she's married to Jamie Fraser..

Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy Monday :)

Happy Monday to you! My what a weekend it was! My handsome fiance and I had the most amazing engagement party. It went off without a hitch and it was the best feeling in the world to have all the people we love around us and to have our families and friends get to know each other. There were so many lovely stories told and sentiments extended about us and to us, and a lot of laughs to be had. I love how two people just being in love can make so many others happy and make so many things happen.
Before I was a little overwhelmed by this whole wedding planning thing, with all the options available, all the expense, the drama, but after Saturday night I feel at peace with it all and I think we both know that the most important thing on our wedding day is not the dress, the cake, the cars, the food, or even the venue. It's about bringing two families together and sharing the joy.
Have a fabulous week xo

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I am what I eat - Week 5

Well, it's just two days until my engagement party and, although I'm not doing this whole "I am what I eat" thing just for the sake of looking and feeling good at the party, it is really good to have something to shoot for.
It's like any kind of diet, or lifestyle change as I like to call it. You know what certain things will do to your body, but sometimes you just can't resist. Even with my skin the way it is, so troublesome and fussy and sensitive, and even though it makes me feel down when it's not looking so good, sometimes you fall off the wagon. Now, I haven't fallen off the wagon this week, but having something to look forward to, something to look good for is such a good way to not fall off the wagon.
So although I am kicking myself a little bit for letting greasy, sugary food lead me astray in week 3 because it gave me a breakout and set me back a week, it was also a good test, because now I know exactly what I shouldn't eat to avoid breakouts. I've also realised that, yes, stress does cause breakouts, but, as a lot of people do, I don't eat very well when I'm stressed, so maybe the stress is just a tiny piece of the problem. So this week has been very, very busy, but the breakouts have stayed away because I've remained level headed and chosen to ignore things I would normally be stressed about and decided to deal with them when life quietens down in the next couple of weeks, while still eating good, simple food.
So now I have to ask myself: What do I have to shoot for after the party?
So many things!
First of all, my fabulously talented photographer friend Michelle has asked me to collaborate with her in a project she's doing - photographing women without makeup on. It scares the bejesus out of me, being photographed without makeup, but I can imagine it being an enlightening experience and I'm so looking forward to it!
Then there's my birthday in the middle of of the year. Every year I've said to myself "by my birthday I'm going to have my skin sorted" and it's never happened because I've just tried new skincare products, googled a bunch of "healthy skin recipes" and never made them, or resolved to do an at-home facial 2-3 times a week and forgotten. But now it's so possible. And seriously, 25 is far too old to still be having teenage skin problems I've decided.
Then, of course, there's the wedding, which we're hoping to have at the end of the year. By then, I'll be like "Skin problems? What skin problems?"

And the sunshine continues

This summer, we have been blessed with the most amazingly consistent weather, something we haven't had in years. First came the heatwave on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, then came a whole 10 days of non stop sunshine and heat, and then the temperature dropped a couple of degrees but the sunshine just kept going and going and going. And it's still going, right up to the last day of summer.
In Wellington especially, we've always had such unpredictable weather - even in the middle of summer it can be raining with a howling southerly one day and brilliant sunshine the next - so it's been such a relief to have some consistent weather for a change.
As much as I love my once in a lifetime tan I've acquired this summer, I can't help looking forward to my favourite season, autumn. This morning instead of walking out of the house into the lovely summer warmth, I took a deep gulp of fresh chilly air, which is my favourite part about autumn. That crispness, the freshness, the dampness of the air just makes me feel alive. It's invigorating.
It feels like we've been enjoying summer so much that we've forgotten that autumn is just around the corner, but the shops haven't forgotten, that's for sure. I went into the mall yesterday and the shops were full of winter coats, chunky knit cardigans, scarves and hats - the cozy stuff, my favourite kind of clothing.
I would say "See ya later summer", but it kind of doesn't feel like we're saying goodbye just yet. The sun is still shining, it's still beach weather, so I plan to enjoy these last days or weeks as it may be of sunshine before we all get to snuggle up in winter woollies and drink hot tea with a good book.
Hope the weather's being good to you, wherever you are. xo

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happy... erm... Wednesday...

I know, I've been a bad blogger this week... but in my defence, I'm working two jobs and my engagement party is on this weekend and work has been unusually busy with lots of people away... so can you forgive me? I hope so! Hope you have all had a great week so far! xo

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I am what I eat - Week 4

This week has been a bit of a challenge, and I've been learning how to work my new healthy living around a busy, busy life. I'm working two jobs at the moment - eight hours during the day then about three at night, every night, delivering Census forms- so it's been extremely hard to keep up with healthy eating. Sometimes I don't even have time to eat.
But! Despite all this, I began my week organised and, although our flat is the messiest I've ever seen it, healthy eating is taking priority over cleaning, so it's staying that way until I get a break on the weekend.
A lot of diets fail, and my theory is that it's disorganisation that makes them fail. If you plan your week, think about what you're going to have for dinner the night before, make extra so you can have it for lunch the next day, cook the easy stuff when you're busy and get creative on the weekends, all should go well as it has for me this week - except last night, when it was Noodle Canteen for dinner at 9pm, which to me isn't all that bad as it's full of veggies and freshly cooked.
The skin isn't looking as good as it was in week 2, and I put that down to stress, but now I'm in a good rhythm and I'm forcing myself not to worry about the little things like tidying the house, so I'm confident it will look fab by next Saturday.
Hope you've all had a happy, healthy week xo

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Monday :)

I've never been a runner. Never. Even as a kid, I avoided it like the plague. In P.E, I was one of those girls who made the least effort possible and sat in the corner of the gym gossiping with like-minded girls for so much of class our teacher actually gave up on us by the end of each year.
How things have changed! I'm now the happiest, healthiest, and fittest I've ever been in my life and I'm loving it! Yesterday I did something I've never done in my life... I ran 7km! It was for a race called Round the Bays, where thousands of people gather on Wellington's waterfront on a Sunday in February every year and run or walk around the bays. I've done it most years for about ten years, and I've always walked it with my mum and sister. This year, after getting so awesomely fit over summer, I decided I would be dumb to walk it and waste my fitness, so I ran. And it was the most liberating thing I've ever done in my life!!! And not only did I run the whole thing without stopping once, I got a pretty good time - 47 minutes! When I crossed the finish line after sprinting the last few hundred metres, I felt like laughing, crying, squealing and dancing in a circle on the spot all at the same time! I still can't really believe I did it, although the aches in my legs are reminding me every now and then that I did in fact do it, and well.
It's amazing how much a moment like that can change you. I've now decided I love running and can't wait to get out there again, and I'm even contemplating doing the half marathon next year. There are no limits!!
Hope you too had an amazing, limitless weekend! Happy Monday!! xo

Friday, February 15, 2013

I am what I eat - Week 3

There comes a point when you're trying to make a big life change, whether it's making yourself healthier, fitter, or getting your skin healthy, when you just hit the wall, even just a little bit, and for a few days you're just over it and wonder why you can't eat crap food like everyone else and not feel tired, slobby and get breakouts. And so you tell yourself "just this one time wont hurt" and you gobble down your mac'n'cheese full of things you're not supposed to eat. Then you eat some chocolate and feel instantly guilty. Then that, combined with a bit of stress, shows on your face. Well that's what it's been like for me this week anyway, and it's started showing on my face, though nowhere near as badly as it used to. So now that my engagement party is only two weeks away (!!!) I know I have to get serious and stop hitting the wall, remembering that everything I eat has an effect on the health and appearance of my skin. Sure, other people can eat what they want and have great skin, but I just have to accept that I'm not one of those people.
So from today onwards, I'm determined not to eat anything I shouldn't and take this busy life of mine in my stride instead of getting stressed about it.
One good thing came out of this week however, and that's my family following suit. Mum, who is already very health conscious, went and bought herself a water bottle (Eco tanka) because I told her Anya (naturopath) said you shouldn't drink out of bottles that aren't meant to be refilled - ie. Pump bottles. And my sister went on a shopping spree at Commonsense Organics because she wanted some of this "never-ending energy" I get from breakfast. I haven't forced anyone into anything, they've just seen my energy and my great skin and wanted it for themselves, so I'm really happy to be continuing this chain reaction my brother started and passing it round. Here's to a happy, healthy life for all!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy Monday :)

Hello and Happy Monday people! Well this week has started off amazingly - so many changes afoot right now, and so much to be proud of! I won't go into too much detail, but I'll just say this, things are looking bright, so bright we're almost getting blinded over here! Hope your week has started off well, bring on the rest of it! xo

Friday, February 8, 2013

It's been a year

A year ago yesterday, I had just started my new job back here in Wellington after being away for two years. Man does time fly or what! Although I'm well and truly settled into my job and my life in Hawke's Bay/Wairarapa seems a lifetime ago, I still can't believe it's been a year since I came back. It came around so quick. It's been quite a year though. I've moved in with the love of my life, got engaged to the love of my life, written an entire novel, started a bunch of other writing projects, started planning an overseas trip and a wedding and a future.

What I love about being back:
Being able to plan a solid future with Joshua
Reconnecting with old girlfriends and realising that no matter how little you see each other and how much you've neglected them by being away, they still welcome you back with open arms
Having a place to call home
Becoming real grownups who buy appliances and stuff - we bought a brand new fridge and we're so excited about it!
Rediscovering my hometown/city and appreciating how amazing it is more than I used to

And the year ahead? Oh lordy it's going to be a biggie. The list is approximately a mile long, but it's an exciting list that I can't yet fully share because nothing is set in stone just yet.
It's exhilarating, and a little scary when you have a fair idea of where you're going to be in a year's time and you know it's going to be completely different to what your life is like now. I'm excited! Bring it on life!

Have a lovely weekend peeps xo

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I am what I eat - Week 2

It's been quite a week, and although I was already seeing and feeling a lot of changes after a week, they're all becoming major now after two weeks of this new healthy me.
This whole thing started because I went vegetarian, so I decided to go to the naturopath because I wasn't sure what I needed to eat to replace the nutrients I used to get from meat. I've got the vegetarian thing sorted now, with beans and chickpeas in my pantry and humus in my fridge, along with a heap of healthy veggies.
Getting my skin healthy started out being just a bonus of seeing the naturopath about the vegetarian thing, but now, after two weeks, it's turned into the most major change.
Let me pour my heart out for a second here. I have suffered from acne since I was 14 years old - that's nearly 11 years ago. I was that one crater face kid at high school and curled up into a tiny shell to make myself invisible throughout most of high school because of it and have only just gained my confidence back in the last few years. I went on Roaccutane, a very hard-core prescription drug for acne, followed by a bunch of antibiotics. I went to a dermatologist. My amazing mum bought me every cleanser and moisturiser off the supermarket shelves, the pharmacy shelves, and finally, the Caci Clinic, where I went through a series of treatments that temporarily improved my skin.
Although it has improved a lot over the years, I have never been able to get it to a point where I feel confident enough to go out shopping or even to my parents' house without wearing makeup. I have made myself do it a couple of times, but I've never felt confident about it, I've never gone out with a smile, I've spent the whole time wanting to go home and put makeup on. But yesterday was a turning point. My skin looked amazing. Seriously the best I've seen it in 11 years.
It's hard to explain to people, especially those close to you who have always seen past the acne and the resulting scars, how it feels to spend every single morning for 11 years looking in the mirror and not liking what you see. To get out of a hot shower every single morning and see all of you skin's faults laid bare and inflamed. To see people out and about and hear "ooh, you're skin isn't looking very good", and knowing they're looking at you skin rather than listening to you. To have a massive ball of anxiety lodged under your ribs when you go to the beach, even though you love the beach, but you know your makeup will wash off when you go swimming.

So yesterday before my fiance and I went out to buy a new fridge, I decided I would go without makeup. I had looked in the mirror that morning and, instead of fussing over it, I simply stood there and smiled and felt my smooth, healthy skin over and over. When I told my fiance, who has always looked past the acne and the scars and told me I'm beautiful for the last six years, I was going to go without makeup, he thought I was mad at him because I got tears in my eyes. Then out of nowhere I just burst into tears. It took a few deep breaths to tell him I wasn't upset, I was happy. So happy that after 11 years I've finally got the skin I want. And although it's not completely clear yet, at the rate it's going I know it's going to be by the time our engagement party rolls around in three weeks and I won't have to spend ages painstakingly covering up the spots with concealer.
To be honest with you, I felt a little scared yesterday. I felt like my final obstacle that has been holding me back from being the most happy, confident person I can be has finally been knocked down and that's a little frightening because now I have nothing to hide behind. There is nothing holding me back. I sought help from the naturopath, which was the first step, but it's been my responsibility to carry through with her advice and for that I'm proud of myself. I now feel beautiful in my own right. I feel worthy. I used to let other people make me feel worthy, be it boyfriends, family, friends. But now I have made myself worthy and I feel invincible, I feel like I can do anything.

If you've read this far, thanks so much for taking the time to read about my journey! It feels amazing to be able to share it all, and I hope I have inspired others to make a change in their lives because one little change can lead to so many great things. But the journey's not over yet! I'll be posting again next Thursday, so stay tuned! And I think I might have the guts to post a no-makeup pic soon... xo

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: Flashback Forward

Like The Blasphemer (which I'm sure I wrote a review for but can't find), this was a book I really, really wanted to like, but in the end, it could have been so much better.

Tam Cochrane is a sickly lad, confined to his bed in Glasgow in the 1880s. His only experience of adventure and the outside world is through books - that is until his father decides to sell up and head for New Zealand. As they take the four-month journey by ship, Tam's health begins to improve, and with it signs of a new Tam, fully engaging in the real world. After arriving in their new country, the family heads to Rotorua and Tarawera, only to be caught in the volcanic eruption of 1886. Having been concussed, Tam wakes up, groggy but still the fit young man he'd been growing into, except he finds he is in Napier, emerging from the ruins of the 1931 earthquake. What has happened to the last 45 years? Why is he still a young man? And who is the other Tam Cochrane, now living like a recluse back in Glasgow? An intriguing story, it is set among the cataclysmic events of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and deals with identity, with finding out who we really are in life and with living it to the full.

It started brilliantly, full of all the elements I love in a good story: identity, struggle, change, disaster, and best of all, time travel. However, as the story went on... and on... those elements seemed to disappear, and the most exciting element, the time travel, became a bit of an afterthought for the main character, something that wasn't very important but had me as the reader screaming out for a resolution which never came. I didn't need to know why he travelled through time, I just needed to know what would happen if the two Tam Cochrane's met, and also why it was Napier's earthquake he ended up in.
I could understand a lot of the author's intentions, but I found Tam was lacking in a lot of normal human emotion. He didn't miss his family much, he didn't fight for the love of his life hard enough, and he didn't try hard enough to find out what the hell happened to him and why, so for me, the character just wasn't strong enough, wasn't deep enough.
The way the author conveyed time passing also puzzled me. All in one page Tam could fall asleep, then wake up and a year had passed - no breaks in the chapters to indicate the author was skipping ahead, sometimes it was a case of one minute he's 18, nek minute, 25...
Also, like The Blasphemer, it all ended in such a rush with so many things left unresolved, which was just not okay.
So as much as I wanted to like Flashback Forward, I wish it was so much more.
Oh well, onto the next one! Janet Frame or Katherine Mansfield... hhmm who to pick...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sun, Sun, Sun

Just two days ago, we were sweltering in the sunshine at New Zealand's biggest market, the Martinborough Fair, and today I'm wearing winter boots, a scarf, leggings, and my thick winter rain jacket was soaked on the way to work. That's the kiwi summer for ya! But we have been extremely lucky these past ten days and the sunshine is set to come back tomorrow, so not all is lost.
What a weekend it was. The fair was a fantastic girls day out as always, where we spent money on things we didn't need, oohhed and aahhed over the beautiful art, jewellery and crafts on offer, and finished the day with gelato. Bliss!
And to top the weekend off, I spent Sunday afternoon basking in the sun on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and eating pizza in a beachside cafe. Ahh summer, when you're nice, you're really nice. :)

(Also, Happy Birthday Pa! xox)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy Monday :)

Happy rainy Monday! What a weekend it was! Martinborough Fair on Saturday with mum and little sis, won myself a "model for a day" photo shoot with A La Mode Photography, and beach yesterday with a swim in the ocean - all to the tune of amazing sunshine. And today, after ten glorious days, it's pouring down with rain, but I for one am glad of a couple of days break from the sunshine - there's only so much heat exhaustion one can take! Hope you all had a great weekend and have a fabulous week! xo

Just so you know, You May Say I'm a Dreamer is now on Facebook! So head over, click the "like" button and receive You May Say I'm a Dreamer updates on your Facebook newsfeed as well as some extra goodies :)
Here's that link again

Friday, February 1, 2013

Rest in peace Sir Paul Holmes

Today New Zealand lost a true kiwi icon, Sir Paul Holmes. A long serving TV and radio broadcaster, Sir Paul has graced the living room of many a kiwi since the 1980's best known for his current affairs show, Holmes. He was a brilliant journalist who was never afraid to ask the hard questions and do whatever it took to get a good story, but he was also a man committed to the New Zealand people, and who did what he could to break down barriers of judgement.
Hi voice is one I remember well from my childhood, as I grew up watching his show at 7pm on TV1 during or after dinner. As kids, we never liked the news - we always asked our parents "whyyyyyyy do you have to watch the news every night? It's so boooooring, let's watch The Simpson's instead." But we always liked watching Holmes after the news. His booming voice spoke to us as we sat at the table with our bowls of ice cream watching him take on the latest controversial stories, crack jargon-speaking politicians, and bring the sometimes awful plights of kiwi people into the public eye.
He died surrounded by family at his home, after battling heart disease and prostate cancer. He was 62.
So rest in peace Sir Paul, and thanks for the memories.

"Those were our people today, that's Holmes tonight"
- Sir Paul Holmes

Feel good Friday

How is it Friday again already?! And February too! Hasn't January just flown by so fast? It's been a good month though. I hope January has been good to you all too! February is usually one of the busiest months of the year for us and this year is no different, so I'm looking forward to all the fun times to be had in this beautiful sunshine that's supposed to leave us on Sunday but come back in the middle of next week, so off to the beach we go in between everything else...!
I do realise this post is way too full of exclamation marks... but I. Just. Have. So. Much. Energy!! See yesterday's post (below) for why that is... So it's been a great week, and it is for sure a Feel VERY Good Friday.

Things making me happy this week:

My skin has nearly cleared completely after just a week of my new healthy eating regime
Started a new novel, and am 1500 words in already
Had a fabulous photo shoot with little sis, as part of an exciting new project we're working on (details soon)
Still loving this whole being engaged thing - it's been a month already!
Endless sunshine
Healthy meals
New-found energy!

What's making you happy this week friends?
Have a lovely weekend! xo

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I am what I eat - Week 1

About four months ago, I had a chicken breast for dinner and, not even halfway through, couldn't bear to eat the rest. It made me feel sick, and from then on I have had no desire to eat meat. I've always been a big meat eater - a big eater, really - so it was a strange feeling to suddenly stop eating meat. I haven't stayed away from meat completely however, as I've tested myself over the last four months, trying to ask my body whether it will ever consider eating meat again and like it. I ate a bit of turkey and ham over Christmas, but by the end of it I felt like there was a bunch of nasty, unnecessary stuff in my body which made me feel sick and didn't do my skin any favours.

So last Friday, I went to see a Naturopath for two reasons: #1 I had no idea what I was doing with this whole pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish) diet, #2 I have been suffering with problem skin since the hormones kicked in at 14 years old - nearly 11 years ago - and thought it was time to try a different tactic.

I'm not even a week in and already I'm feeling like going to see the Naturopath was the best thing I could have done for myself. After getting over the first week of being pescetarian - the tiredness, the dizziness - I began to feel healthier than I've ever felt before. But after seeing the Naturopath, I've realised what a strong and powerful thing the body is. You feel like you're eating healthy, and you think you have as much energy as you're supposed to have because everyone else around you burns out at around 3pm so it must be normal, right? That must be the body's limit, right? Wrong.

On Saturday morning, the day after I saw her, I ditched the peanut butter and jam on toast and ate the breakfast recommended to me - muesli, berries, almond milk and ground flaxseed mixed together. Not only was it delicious, but it kept me going all day. And I mean all day. From 7am to midnight, I never once felt tired and packed so much into my day. And that was just because I changed what I ate for breakfast.

As well as putting me on a bunch of supplements, the Naturopath recommended a protein rich diet with lots of good skin foods like berries and almonds thrown in, milk and other dairy products thrown out, and not even a week on I'm feeling the benefits of it. Staying away from processed food and going back to basic, organic food is also important and I've found myself analysing everything I eat, even snacks, figuring out what each piece of food will do for me. Will it clear up my skin? Will it give me long burning energy? If it doesn't do the things I need, I won't eat it. I no longer snack out of boredom, indulge in a chocolate bar because I'm having a crappy day. Even a sneaky late night supermarket mission for junk food has seen me return home with organic orange juice, rice crackers and hummus.

My skin is also looking better. It's a slow process, but it's getting there. When you struggle with bad skin, you spend so much time and money obsessing over things to put on your skin like cleansers, moisturisers, pimple cream, makeup, you forget that what goes into your body shows on your skin. So here's hoping, after 11 years of looking in the mirror and finding something wrong with my face every morning, I can eventually look in the mirror, put on some moisturiser and leave the house wearing a smile instead of makeup.

So why am I writing about this? Because the way we humans eat needs to change and, although I'm no expert on the topic, I hope that my journey will inspire people - even if it's just one person - to start thinking seriously about the food they eat and what it does to them and for them. You are limitless. Your body is powerful. Use it to it's full potential.

In about five weeks I'm going back to the Naturopath to report on my progress, so stay tuned every Thursday for updates, inspiration and healthy, easy recipes I've tried.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Down by the river

What is it about water that makes us feel so at peace? Why do thousands of Kiwi's flock to rivers, oceans, lakes, on every sunny day?
On Friday, New Zealand - Wellington especially - got some big news. The ten day weather forecast showed nothing but sun, sun, and more sun. No cloud, no rain, not even wind. For a whole ten days in a row. This may sound silly to some of you living in predicable, consistent climates, but for us it's a miracle. Often our weather looks like all four seasons in one day, no lie.
So on Saturday morning, instead of staying inside doing the boring domestic things I normally do, I put my book and a picnic blanket in my bag and headed down the road to the river.
Although there's a motorway running alongside it., the sound of cars turns into a dim murmur as you sit by the river and listen to the water flowing by and the light breeze rustling the trees above you. I wish I could capture on camera the way the water sparkles.
Maybe it's the sheer strength of water that has us all in awe of it, or maybe it's as simple as this: it cools you down. But the sense of calm you get just hearing the water flowing, that's more than just relief, that's peace. Hope you're all having a good week whatever weather you're having. xo

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Monday :)

Morning all! Happy Monday! Hope you all had a fab weekend. Here in Welly we're enjoying an extremely rare 10 day stretch of the most perfect weather you could imagine: Clear blue sky, not too hot, not too cold, a slight breeze to cool off. So pretty sure most Wellingtonians and New Zealanders have had great weekends! If you're in Queensland, hope you're staying safe and dry, and if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, hope you're keeping warm. xo

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's the end of the world, whatcha gonna do?

One thing that bugs the bejesus out of me is those Hollywood movies about the end of the world. When I first saw the trailer for the movie 2012, I was really excited, because, finally, here was a movie where the world would actually end at the end of the movie. But it didn't...
It's not that I want the world to end, as I quite like living, but I just wish someone out there would actually have the guts to make the world end in a movie or in a book. Like when everything just goes black. Or white. Like, there's no people left. No one. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Everyone and everything is gone. I'm sure there is something out there, and if there is, I'd love to hear about it. But I haven't yet heard of anything.
So tell me, if you came home from work one day, flicked on the TV to watch the news and saw your prime minister/president/queen/leader standing solemnly behind a podium addressing the nation, telling their people that the end was nigh - that there was, say, a massive asteroid hurtling towards Earth and it was so big it was definitely going to smash our planet to smitherines and there was nothing we could do to stop it, and we had a week before this all happened, what would you do? What would your last week on Earth look like? And what do you think the world would look like in the end? Would we descend into anarchy or would we hold our loved ones close?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The NZ fiction journey begins

Since I've finally finished reading Nancy Wake - which I wanted to finish by the end of 2012 but just didn't get round to it - my NZ fiction journey can begin!
You have seen me mention it before, but just to recap... I am reading only New Zealand fiction this year for three reasons: #1 I feel like we give international authors too much of the spotlight, with our books squished into dusty back shelves in our own book stores. #2 I want to become a New Zealand author one day, and I'm working on an epic three-part series called Missing Since Tuesday, so I want to learn what I can from those who have gone before me. #3 Apart from maybe reading something by a NZ author in school (which I can't remember but I'm sure it must have been in the curriculum somewhere), I have never read a book by a New Zealand author and of that I'm a little ashamed.

So here I go, and I'm starting with a lesser-known book called Flashback Forward by John Cairney. I should probably start with something a little more well known, but I've just been hankering to get into this one since I bought it over a year ago, so I'm starting with it.

Here's what it's about:

Tam Cochrane is a sickly lad, confined to his bed in Glasgow in the 1880s. His only experience of adventure and the outside world is through books - that is until his father decides to sell up and head for New Zealand. As they take the four-month journey by ship, Tam's health begins to improve, and with it signs of a new Tam, fully engaging in the real world. After arriving in their new country, the family heads to Rotorua and Tarawera, only to be caught in the volcanic eruption of 1886. Having been concussed, Tam wakes up, groggy but still the fit young man he'd been growing into, except he finds he is in Napier, emerging from the ruins of the 1931 earthquake. What has happened to the last 45 years? Why is he still a young man? And who is the other Tam Cochrane, now living like a recluse back in Glasgow? An intriguing story, it is set among the cataclysmic events of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and deals with identity, with finding out who we really are in life and with living it to the full.

Synopsis from Google Books

Happy Tuesday :)

Morning all, happy Tuesday! We just had a long weekend here in Wellington, NZ, to celebrate Wellington's Anniversary, hence the lack of Monday inspiration - I was busy sleeping in, painting and generally just relaxing... ahh, so nice to have a long weekend after the craziness that comes with checking back into life after Christmas and New Years.
So here's your Tuesday inspiration, have a lovely week peeps! xo

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nancy Wake, my hero

If I had the chance to go back in time and be anyone I wanted to be, I would be Nancy Wake.
I've just finished reading her biography, Nancy Wake by Peter Fitzsimons, and, it's a big call I know, but I'm just putting it out there... I have never heard of a more fearless, kick-ass human being in all of history.
I first heard of Nancy Wake when she died at the ripe old age of 98 in 2011, and was thrilled when I found out she was a New Zealander, as most people knew her as an Australian, since she moved there as a young child.
I asked dad about her and he told me she was nicknamed "White Mouse" because of her ability to evade capture during World War two. By the end of the war, she was on top of the Gestapo's  most wanted list, and she ended up being one of the most highly decorated war heroes of the second world war.
In the early days of the war when France was occupied by Nazis, Nancy helped saved thousands of people by setting up escape routes out of France into Spain, and then, as the war intensified, she was trained as a spy by the British and led 7,000 resistance fighters in D-Day preparations.
She parachuted into France, organised food, clothes and weapons to be dropped from the sky, embarked on a 500km bike ride in 72 hours to get a new radio when theirs had to be destroyed (the radio was their most important weapon - without it they could not continue what they were doing because they couldn't arrange for supplies to be sent from Britain), and basically, she organised a band of soldiers to piss the Germans off so much that they were driven out of France - they blew up bridges, ammunition stores, and attacked German troops unseen and took off back into the mountains.
And they did leave. France was liberated in the end. And after reading about Nancy, I think it would have been a whole lot harder if not for her.
After reading the book, I looked her up on YouTube, and, one video that struck me was one where Peter Fitzsimons, the author, was talking about the book launch, and said that when Nancy was asked to go up and speak, she simply stood up and said, "I've got one thing to say. I killed a lot of Germans, and I'm only sorry I didn't kill more. Thank you." And sat down. A sentence like that just sums her up completely. What a woman.