Sunday, September 23, 2018

Comfort food - mexican eggs

The youngest of the household is requesting mexican eggs a bunch lately. It's one of our fast and furiously made comfort foods. Passed onto me by friends who spent years in Mexico, it's traditionally a way to stretch leftovers and give them new life.

I know someone will ask so here's something resembling a recipe:

Mexican eggs

olive oil
6 eggs, beaten (that always sounds violent to me!)
sprinkle of grated cheese 
handful of ripped spinach or other greens
bit of chopped sweet pepper if you fancy
jalapeno to taste
heap of crushed tortilla chips
teaspoon or mexican sort of a spice mix (we use this Tio Pablo one, one packet lasts us AGES. And no, this post is not sponsored, we just love the stuff)
a lime
bunch of coriander
avocado! (Good ones are like gold around here at the moment)

Heat your oil and start cooking the eggs, stirring all the time. When they start to firm, dump everything else in, stir madly then plonk a lid on. 

When we have vegan folks staying, or are going dairy-free we substitute soft tofu for the eggs and use vegan cheese. It's still yum.

Garnish liberally with coriander leaf (cilantro to some of you), fresh lime juice and sliced avocado. 
Fast, easy and good. 
You're welcome.

What are your comfort foods?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


The last two and a half years have been a trip. Through hard times as we transitioned to being a family of two, Jed would talk about going to Fiji together. It was landmark thing for him. A sign that everything would be okay. For someone that left with just over two hundred dollars in my bank account, it looked pretty unachievable. I tried not to let that show. Dreams are a beautiful thing after all.

I saw the package deal online late one winter night. It was an awesome deal, but I crunched the numbers and it still looked out of reach. Half an hour later an offer for a new work contract came through. It would pay for the trip.

I won’t say I didn’t have reservations a few times in the next few months about spending that amount of money. I did. But words from a friend who is currently battling cancer helped. She said to DO ALL THE THINGS. That we never know if we will have the privilege of life in 5 or 10 years time. She was right. Also, who knows if the boy will still want to hang out with me in his teenage years, now seemed like a good time.

We had a blast. I couldn’t remember not working for that long before. It felt so good to be able to do that for us. We’d come from winter and the temperature was a beautiful 27-30 degrees celsius. We swam for hours, sat in the shade and talked, ate decadent desserts on our hotel room balcony, caught frogs, watched movies, went on a boat exploring, snorkelled, and lushed out at the amazing buffet breakfasts. Jed was ready to come home after the five days, I could’ve stayed another few weeks, easy. We’re still glowing from it, still talking about it. It really was the best of times.

I screwed if I need a new car or major dental work in the next few months but I am SO glad I took the jump. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Thinking out loud: the danger of bubbles

We live in houses or apartments that are fenced or clearly delineated from our neighbours. Often in neighbourhoods made up of people similar to ourselves. 
Yup, some of us live in bubbles. 
We leave our homes to get into the bubble of our cars, to drive to the bubbles of our workplaces, then our gym bubbles and perhaps our chosen bar bubble to have a drink with friends who dress like us, talk like us, and are most likely of similar ages. We might even all share similar skin tones. If you look at snail trails of our weekly movements, they’ll show that the pathways that map out our interlinking bubbles are relatively limited.

We have even found a way to create bubbles in the vastness of the internet. Social media. Our social media feeds are curated. Mostly people’s posts who have similar backgrounds as us and of similar thinking and political leanings. This curation of social media has us see the world through a magnifying lens of sameness and was named as one of the contributing factors to Donald Trump’s rise to Presidenthood. Many people didn’t take him seriously because the world viewed through their facebook feed, their main peephole into the greater world outside their bubble, thought he was a joke. It wasn’t, and Donald is having the last laugh.

I saw the power of bubble bursting when I got into street performance in Europe in the nineties. Watching one of my friend's juggling shows, hat at the ready, I saw a rare thing. People from all walks of life in the same place, laughing, relaxed, open. Lawyers in suits, next to a street person, next to a mama with a kid in a stroller next to a student from South America. It was a rare and beautiful thing.

The thing is, our bubbles are getting in the way of us having a clear view of the world we live in. They stop us from getting a clear view of key issues. 

Life in a bubble can be a healthy choice if you need space and time to heal and simplify life for awhile. Full-time lifelong bubble membership is dangerous. It isolates and separates. If we share a bubble with those that think, look and are the same age as us, we don’t get pushed or challenged on our views, we become entrenched in our sameness, entrenched in our privileges. 

In our nearest city, the wealthiest suburb is ten minute’s drive from the poorest. You can bet there isn’t much traffic flowing between the two. (Although I recommend the former’s garage sales are worth a visit in summer). NZ has the worst rates of homelessness in the OECD with about one percent of our population living in cars, on the street, in emergency accommodation or camped up wherever feels safest. Add to those shameful numbers the amount of people living in poverty and it’s not a good picture.

We have the people who own companies and decide the hourly rates of wages of their employees living in bubbles where private schools, snowboarding winters and holidays abroad are the norm. Then we have the people earning the minimum wage set by those affluent people. I'm simplifying a little, but you get the picture. NZ’s minimum hourly rate just went up to $16.50. A basic living wage is calculated to be $20.55 an hour. Many people are having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet for their families. There are no after-school activities, trips abroad or buffer funds possible.
This is a gross generalisation but it is not far from the truth.

To bring it back to bubbles, how can we make compassionate decisions about wages for employees or who to vote for at election time when we live in a bubble of privilege?
Many of us want to live beyond the confines of our bubbles. Bubble dwelling is a limited life. It’s a construct. One that isn’t serving us. 

The prevalent old school Kiwi views of ‘life is an even playing field’ and ‘those in poverty just didn’t work hard enough’ can’t exist in a world where bubbles merge and burst, where friends circles are diverse and we learn to value other’s opinions. I was talking to work colleagues about this and one way some of them are cracking open their bubbles is by choosing a social media feed to consciously diversify. Or taking community college night classes. Or talking to random people on the train. 

I loved Design Mom’s post about why and how she diversified her twitter feed, falling back in love with Twitter in the process HERE

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


New favourite t-shirt alert! 
I am not a wildly enthusiastic t-shirt wearer. I have a few, perfectly cut tee's that Iove and wear on repeat and this one has joined their ranks. 
Not only will you look fab (and join a secret club of people who own these tees) but buying one supports the work of The Kindness Institute. I had the honour of working with Kristina, the founder and Lead of TKI through my work this year so have seen the work first hand. I love what they do.
Doesn't get better than that people! 

Aroha Mai, aroha atu

Love and compassion received, love and compassion given

Also - apologies for the animal hair visible on the closeup, at least I managed to get the animals out of the frame!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Rad reading: In the company of women

I have been a fan of Grace Bonney's Design Sponge blog for years and I am not quite sure how I missed that she'd created a book, In the company of women. It's all the good things!

I requested it from the library but it's one of those books worth buying.
Plus, random fact: her partner co-wrote one of my favourite cookbooks, so we're practically buddies right?!
Here's what she says about her book:

Across the globe, women are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and overcoming adversity to start their own creative businesses. In the Company of Women, Grace Bonney’s new book, features interviews and portraits of 100 of these exceptional leaders across a diverse range of races, ages, backgrounds, and industries. There are young media titans and mother-daughter fashion houses, hoteliers and ceramicists, tattoo artists and architects. Each inspiring interview is accompanied by lush, original photographs of the women in their workspaces—and together, the women’s stories paint a beautiful picture of what female entrepreneurs can achieve if they work hard and support one another. Chock-full of practical, empowering advice for the next generation of entrepreneurs and makers, these interviews offer insights into what success really means, overcoming obstacles, staying true to yourself, and so much more.

I am totally inspired by real-life stories about the success, challenges and outlooks of other women at the moment. The last Rad Reading post was on 200 Women.