Monday, September 30, 2013

Things I'm Loving!

The last wee while I've been loving...

I finally finished my crocheted slippers that I started on my journey back from New Zealand! 

Diet changes
I'm recently a 'gluten-freer' and I've been loving the challenges and results of it! 

Delicious dinners...

Delicious lunches...

and delicious breakfasts!

Water beads!
I can't get enough of these! I'd happily take sit in a bath full of these (togs on of course, so they don't slip up anywhere unwanted!)

They're simply magical! I bought 50 packs of them for £5 for a sensory activity for my kids at work and they've been going down a right ol' treat - even with the year 6 kids!

Once the water has been added, it's a pretty quick process to see get going. Keep on adding the water and they'll keep on getting bigger, until they get to about the size of a marble! 

Linking up with a super choice babe who I'm soooooo excited to see in a few weeks!!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Being Gluten Free - the amateur edition

WARNING: if you're hungry, you might want to wait and read this until you're full. There are a lot of food photos! 

I've been dairy free for the last four years and after slightly introducing it again and reacting horribly, I took a closer look at my diet. I was often so bloated I looked about 5 months pregnant, got stomach cramps, and was terribly, ahem, irregular. 

When I got back from New Zealand I made the decision to cut gluten out of my diet to see what difference that'd make. Within a week I was noticing a huge difference! 

I'm now in week 4; my skin has cleared up loads, I'm a lot more regular, the bloating has pretty much disappeared and I just feel better. 

So here I am, dairy and gluten free, being one of those annoying people to cook for or take out for dinner, and having to become more creative and aware in the kitchen! 

Gluten free bread, ham, rocket, hummus and goats cheese
To be honest though, I don't actually mind. I've noticed too much of a difference for it not to be worthwhile, so I'm happy to carry on my merry way!

I'm not a 'breakfasty' person, but this muesli is lush! 
The things I've found the hardest have been having to shop for a 'gluten free life'. I'm getting the hang of it pretty quickly but having to check the labels of a lot of stuff whilst I get to learn, know and have favourite brands can be somewhat painstaking. 

Baked salmon, rocket, and roasted potatoes
I've definitely been eating a whole load healthier and having to think of different things to cook, but that challenge has been kinda fun! Like cooking proper fish, I don't remember the last time that ever happened! But it was delish! 

This pizza, it was the best. I couldn't find proper pizza bases at the small Sainsburys near my house, you can get them in your online shop or possibly at a bigger store, but the pita breads were actually perfect! They tasted just as good the next day and were a choice leftover lunch! 

Gluten free pita breads, bacon, red peppers, goats cheese, olives, tomato paste and rocket! 
Gluten free pasta was one of the first gluten free things I bought, but I hadn't gotten around to cooking some until recently. It cooks normally, however I found it to be slightly dry the next day, so maybe add some olive oil before fridging it! 

Gluten free pasta, yellow peppers, olives, chorizo, rocket, tomato based sauce
 In terms of snacks, I'm not a huge snacker. I normally just wait for the big meals or have fruit. But when I feel like a snack, it's gotta be good! I found some gluten free rice cakes, threw some hummus and goats cheese on top and voila! Here we have the most boringest looking beige snack. Ever. It was pretty tasty, so putting the beige aside, I was quite happy munching on a few of these! 

Gluten free rice cakes, hummus, goats cheese
 Now, this is a classic Nikki concoction. A not-how-it's-meant-to-turn-out meal, which turned out to look like vomit but taste amazing! The lentils went too mushy, so I added borlotti beans and whatever was left in the fridge. The soupy texture was actually alright and there was enough substance for it to not be really runny.

Red lentils, borlotti beans, chorizo, green peppers, mushrooms, and add whatever spices/herbs you want!
I love chick peas, all the different kinds of beans, I've started experimenting with lentils and am going to try quinoa next! 

So as a newbie to being gluten free, I'm enjoying it quite a bit. It can be hard, either to find a meal on the menu you can have, or something specific at the supermarket, but it's all good! 

Persevere! It's worth it! 

What are your favourite gluten free meals? I'd love some more inspiration! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Things I'm Loving!

This week I'm loving...

Being more 'Londony'
Last weekend my friend Cara and I went for a walk along the South Bank and decided that we both should do more things around London. 

This week a friend from work asked if we wanted to go see Sky Fall at The Scoop near Tower Bridge. It's an outdoor amphitheater, which in itself is awesome, however the rain played a big part in us leaving half way through! 

Popcorn was consumed quickly before we were soaked through and headed to the pub to warm up!

Bright things
I bought these tights for my Pikachu Halloween costume a few years ago and they haven't been worn since. As I was searching through my draw, I came across them and thought they'd be perfect for the grey day we were having! I love having a 'pop' of colour, so these were perfect! 

Are you having a giraffe?
There's giraffes scattered all over The Thames walkway at the moment. A year or so ago it was massive gorillas, some pianos and short-stay art installations. They're for a campaign called Stand Tall which is part of Colchester Zoo's 50th anniversary. They're pretty awesome and each are so different! 

Spicing it up
I made a new header for my blog which you should all probably check out, it's pretty choice! 
I used this fantastic and easy to follow tutorial from Meg and voila! 

Linking up with the woman herself

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Sunday Stroll

Last Sunday my friend Cara and I went for a walk along the South Bank. The summer festival is still on at the moment so there were lots of awesome things to see! 

On that walk, we made the decision that once a month, we need to do something 'Londony' whilst sipping on some Summer Cup. 

What I love about London is how versatile yet unique it is. There's always something to do, sometimes you do have to search for it, but when you're walking down somewhere like the South Bank, each person's experiences are there own. 

Like this lady's. She doesn't know this photo exists and most likely never will, but how awesome does her experience look?! All surrounded by the bubbles and that, how choice! 

Despite the chill nice Autumn breeze in the air, I could have stood for ages taking photos of this hippy with his bubbles. It was hard not to squeal in delight seeing this magic unfold! 

And here she is, in all her glory. Gotta have the mandatory 'London' photo!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday's Song

This guy, Mikhael Paskalev, is amazing! 

His song I Spy and the video clip, are more than enough to get anyone dancing around in their undies! 


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Things I'm Loving!

It's hard to believe that I've been back in London for just over a week now! I started back at work this week too, which has been fun but stressful. My new kids are super gorgeous and it's going to be such an awesome year with them!

There's been some pretty major stresses first week back which I'm hoping I'll get answers to very soon, so it was nice to look and find some beauty in life at the beginning of the week!

I'm in absolute love with the singer Matt Corby at the moment! Especially this song - Resolution

I've also gone gluten free now as well as being dairy free - so far so good! I'm just testing it out to see how much of a difference it makes to the old belly!

I love finding awesome graffiti around London - It was even more of a find as I had forgotten about taking the photo and a nice surprise to find on my phone!

I'm still bearing the warrior wounds from my compression socks I wore on the flights back to London! I'd watch out for them, however I don't think it helped that I wore them for over 24 hours without taking them off... a bit of an egg move.

Linking up with my favourite

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Grateful Project - Life Through The Lens

So sometimes life throws you lemons, yeah? And you can't make lemonade out of them, just yet. So while I wait for the answers that I need, which are completely unbeknownst to me at this point in time, you get to have some of my 'more arty shots' from the month. Lucky you guys!

This pooch, she's the best.

Crocheting in the sun!

Under Petone wharf 

Petone Wharf

 Spring has sprung! Plum tree blossoms

Walking along The Thames, engulfed in the lowering light

My new favourite photo!

Linking up with Simone

Monday, September 2, 2013

Airport Ramblings

So I wrote this whist waiting an awful four hours at Brisbane airport, and I've only just had the chance to post! 

Being back home was pretty darn choice, but it’s somewhere where I don’t think I can settle back in for a while yet. I’m definitely loving the ‘carefree, no limits, freedom’ aspect of life at the moment and I can honestly say that probably the only thing holding me in London at the moment is my job. Until that changes, which I hope won’t happen for a wee while, then I’m a London girl. I’ll always be a Kiwi girl at heart, but right now at this point in my life, my life is mainly in London.

Seeing my friends and family was my favourite bit, closely followed with being so close to nature. My younger cousin (who’s 14) laughed at this big time, saying “nature, what? That’s everywhere”. It sure is, but not in the pure form like it is in New Zealand. Even when I was up in Auckland with Simone, we were still immersed in it. I don’t think it really matters where you are in New Zealand, there’s always an aspect; the beach, a river, forests, nature walks, plants, farms, animals – it’s all nature. Then again, it does make you find nature in London or elsewhere.

What I loved most about catching up with friends was that it was mainly like how it was two and a half or more years ago. Especially with Tara and Meg, it was like we had only been apart for a month if not days! It really shows what true friendships are like and I treasure that with all my heart. I would probably give anything to have those special people with me all of the time. But alas, that’s life. We move on, we move countries, sometimes to the other side of the world, and it’s that that makes coming home so special. There’s some cheesy quote about friendships and how you don’t have to be by each other’s sides for the friendship to still be filled with truth and love, which has totally escaped my mind. But that quote – it might be cheesy, but it’s true.

You know the saying, home is where the heart is, defs true for New Zealand. But home is where the rump rests (thanks pumba) is equally true. I haven’t completely got the travel bug where I have itchy feet and have to go on holiday every month, but I have done my fair bit of travelling. These next few years are going to explode with travelling now that my big trip home has happened, I can save for some other exciting adventures.

Total change of subject, this kid just pointed and said super loudly “oh my god mum, there’s that creepy guy again!!” and pointed at this poor lonely old guy eating his sandwich by himself. It reminded me of the when we were on the crocodile bikes and a couple were in front of us who hadn’t noticed a family on an enormous bike , who also happened to have a silly little Chihuahua dog as well, who also weren’t getting out of the way, which resulted me in saying a bit too loudly under my breath something like “oh man, that lady with the rat on a lead should probably move outta the way!” and Noah kindly said in a kind loud voice, “Nikki that’s not a rat, it’s a dog!” *insert cringe, a slight blush, and a huge rush of ridiculously loud laughter*

Right, back to my heart-felt blogging and I’ve completely lost track of where I was going, and this mind-train has definitely crashed! More importantly, the amount of dairy free food (snacks included) at airports is completely non-existent unless you’re after ready salted or salt and vinegar chips or salted peanuts and spending RIDICULOUS amounts of currency for them. Coming from someone who forgot to prepare and bring her own snacks (apart from fruitbursts and minties) or tell the airlines that I needed a ‘special’ meal, I’m totally starving after my lunch at Wellington airport consisted of an overpriced ($7!!!) fruit salad and a coffee and my first plane meal was a bread roll and a little bit of chicken as the mashed potatoes and veges were laced with butter, and going by the reaction of my belly, there was either dairy in the chicken or milk solids in the bread. I’m living the dream over here!!!  I’m off to find some food which will probably be chippies and buy an expensive bottle of water which I’ll have to throw out anyway because plane people are lame and cross my fingers Singapore Airlines does a much better job of their meals than Virgin!

And because you can't have a post without any photos, here's one of my dog.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Top Travelling Tips For Long Haul Flights

Because sometimes things get learnt the hard way, here's a few 'Nikki-tips' to hopefully help you, your friends and your family, enjoy the travelling part of your trip more! 

Make sure you know what your luggage looks like, especially if you're borrowing it. It's happened twice where I've arrived back at Heathrow Airport and had a massive panic because I couldn't 'find' my bag - it was there the whole time, but after travelling for hours on end, the last thing you'd want is for it to have gone missing especially if you've had stop overs! 

 Pack snacks if you have dietary requirements and remember to tell the airlines you need special meals! The worst is when you can't eat anything but peanuts and chippies! 

 Get one of those annoying neck roll/support things. They actually do come in really handy! And don't be afraid to use the plane pillows as butt cushions. I find three of them helps save the back!

 If you're travelling solo, make sure you get an aisle seat. Just don't nap and slip your legs into the aisles. They will run over your feet with the trolleys! 

Plan activities for the stopovers and during the flight, such as crocheting. You are allowed to take it in your hand luggage and it helps kill a bit of time! 

Make sure you check how long your stopovers are. There's really nothing worse that realising after a 12 hour flight, you have another four hour stopover instead of the two that you thought it was! It results in the bar being your best friend and you spending loads of money in duty free! 

 Get a headphone adapter jack thing for the airplane! They're not too expensive and it means you get actual quality sound when watching the movies! 

And there my friends, are some tips straight from the horses mouth! 

Things I'm Loving - NZ Favourites

Well, I have officially ended my five and a half week holiday in New Zealand and am back in sunny London! Time went super quick and I'm a bit sad that I'm back to work on Monday!

However, I have the memories to last a lifetime of such an amazing trip! I met some pretty awesome people, caught up with my pretty awesome friends and family and had a pretty awesome time.

So, without further ado, here are my top favourite moments!

Going to visit my Mum's friend on her farm in Featherston

Getting to meet two amazing ladies. Cat and Simone, who's blogs I've been following since forever!

Spending my days with these two gorgeous animals!

Spending so much time with this amazing lady and her family. They really are choice! sorry Markie, there were no photos of us - but you are still choice!

Being so close to nature's own special beauty

Hanging out with these hooligans aka Ma and Pa

And these other hooligans, who are not my parents..

It was such a fun holiday, there's way to memories to have a blog post full of 'just the favourites' so that's all my jet lagged brain can muster up! Check out my previous posts for more fun adventures in New Zealand!

Linking up with my choice babe!