De-vices

I glanced down at my desk yesterday, and noticed it was strewn with my most prized positions. No surprise for guessing the brand…

When does a passion become a vice? Never, right? My current Apple lineup includes:
Apple Watch Series 4 – my constant companion
iPad Pro with pencil – not the latest but I love it so!
iPhone X – also not the latest, woah, what’s going on?!
MacBook Air – the new love of my life
Airpods – these are magical earthings

My iThings
My iThings

Fashun

I’ve never really been interested in clothes or fashion. I tend to go with the flow – I make do with what’s in the shops but usually select the current season’s version of the same stuff I always wear. Over time I’ve developed a better sense of what’s going to work for me and what I am comfortable in. Like most women, I have listened to various “fashion gurus” (remember Trinny and Susannah?!) over the years who scold me for wearing this or not wearing that. I have fought against my own preferences in order to follow along and fit in. The older I get, the less I care about following fashion advice.

Here are some things I’ve recently decided about my own likes and dislikes. My goal for this year (and beyond!) is to follow these and not listen to all the noise about what’s right and wrong:

  • I like dark colours – mostly black. It’s just easier and I’m lazy. It doesn’t mean I’m boring.
  • I prefer to wear loose-fitting clothing – I hate the feel of tight waists and restrictive arms and legs.
  • I prefer long pants / skirts / dresses – I like having my knees covered up. Skirts and dresses are okay as long as they come to mid-calf, or I wear tights underneath. Wearing a dress with pants can be a thing if I want it to be.
  • I only ever want to wear comfy shoes. High heels are awful and I’m done with them. I like lace-ups.
  • I like wearing jackets. I’m usually cold when other people are warm, so these help me stave off the cold.
  • I like wearing scarves – same reason as above. They have the added bonus of bringing in some colour when I’m in the mood for that.
  • I’ve recently decided I like wearing shirts – I like the androgyny of lace-up shoes / pants / shirt / jacket. The only problem I find is that most shirts are made for flat-chested, flat bellied women. Wear are the shirts made for curves? I’m on the look out.
  • I don’t care about labels, but I do want to shop ethically. I think it’s stupid that a shirt in a fashion shop costs five times something I can get in a department store. I do care about buying stuff that’s going to last a while, and wasn’t made with sweatshop labour. I like buying New Zealand made clothing. I’d like to have the crafty-confidence to make more of my own clothing.

What are your fashion struggles?

Now I can crochet

I recently took up knitting again after a long (20-year) hiatus, but have found it hard on my hands/wrists/shoulders/neck to manage the two needles, so took the bold step of (re)learning to crochet. My Nana taught me both as a kid, but I never really took to the crochet – it seemed overly complicated to me at the time. Then, joining a craft group and watching the ease by which crocheted items slipped off the end of the hook, I was inspired to give it a try.

Much to my delight, crochet is speedy, versatile and so easy! And portable too – I can tuck my project into a small bag and get some crafting done whenever I have some down time.
So, in the last few months, I’ve been able to whip up a couple of afghan rugs using Peggy (Granny) squares. It’s so satisfying to build a whole blanket one small square at a time.
To sharpen up my skills, I’ve been making use of YouTube. You really can learn anything with a good YouTube tutorial!

The first tutorial I found was by Bella Coco. I find English tutorials easier to follow because they use the same terminology as New Zealand (4/8ply, hook sizes, double/treble crochet etc.). This one taught me the basic double (treble) crochet:

I started with Bella Coco’s Granny Squares for beginners

I also really like Bonny Barker – even though she’s American she has a good way of explaining really complex stitches. I whipped this dish cloth up in a couple of hours:

Dish cloth for beginners

2019: The year ahead

This one’s hard to write, because I am not sure what’s going to happen in 2019! We’ve spent the last couple of years laying the groundwork for our future and I suspect 2019 will be more of the same.

I’ve established some good routines around family, fitness, food, hobbies, sport and voluntary work that I am really happy with. After a few years of struggling with taking on too much, I feel like I have a good balance between doing all the things I want, and taking time to connect with the couch.

But there are also plans afoot to change things up this year – Stephen and I are both working on shifting things around in our careers, so watch this space to see how that pans out. Ooooh, mysterious!

I took the bold step of putting my hat in the ring to be a candidate for Community Board at the end of last year. Because I have opted to stand as a People’s Choice candidate (left-aligned local body political grouping), there is a bit of a process before I can actually say I’m in the running. I can’t say that I love Politics (with a big P) but I love working in my community, and would relish the chance to get more involved. I’ve met a lot of hard-working and dedicated people since I’ve been on the Dallington Residents Association, and if I could do half the job they do, I’d be pretty proud of myself.

I think this is the first year in a really long time that Stephen and I have no (national) travel plans! We have opted not to do our usual Auckland /  Wellington / Tekapo / Random trips this year, and save it all for a big trip overseas instead. We haven’t been away on a big trip since 2015, and we actually weren’t planning on going away this year either. But when Rachael and David’s wedding invitation arrived, how could we say no?! Especially since they are getting married in Edinburgh. I can hardly wait! We are planning to go to Iceland and Ireland also – two big bucket list places for me.

I’d like to get some more renovations done this year. There are two main things I’d like to get done – the rest of the windows double-glazed and the butler’s pantry installed. But I’m not sure the budget will stretch that far, so we will see.

Year in review: 2018

Usually at this time of year I reflect on the year I’ve just finished and think about the year ahead. Sitting down to write about what happened in 2018, there were so few milestones that I decided not to do my typical month-by-month account.

The main thing we achieved in 2018 was to renovate the main bathroom. I am happy to report that it’s lovely! We made a great decision to use a bathroom designer to help with layout and selecting all the fittings, and I think it made a huge difference to the finished product. We also hoped to do convert the laundry into a butler’s pantry, but didn’t quite get there with that. Maybe this year.

Main Bathroom
Beautiful new bathroom

I had fitness goals last year … I planned to bike more – and did not achieve this! I just can’t seem to work out the logistics of biking to and from work. I also planned to run the City to Surf (fail!) but I did run the 10km event in the Christchurch Marathon. After struggling with running the last couple of years, I think I have hung up my running shoes for good. My body just doesn’t respond well to running. Instead, I’ve been enjoying a variety of different fitness classes at Les Mills – RPM and Sprint help me achieve the same cardio intensity as running without the jarring impact on my joints.

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My Marathon Medal

We didn’t travel as much as usual last year either. We had a great long weekend away in Akaroa in February, a family fun weekend in Tekapo in August, and went to Auckland Armageddon in October. I was pretty underwhelmed by Armageddon last year, so I don’t think I’ll be making the trek to Wellington or Auckland next year.

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Post hockey nosh-up with Lake Tekapo as out backdrop

2018 has been a regrouping year – resetting goals, figuring out where to next, laying the groundwork. 2019 is likely to be similar as we start to slowly move towards some of these goals.