Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We Will Remember

At 3.45pm on the 19th of November, in the small New Zealand town of Greymouth, news of a coal mine explosion swept our little country. 29 of our men were trapped 2.3 kilometres underground somewhere in the 7 kilometre long mine. For 6 days people tried endlessly to drill into the mine, to try to rescue our men. Hope was not lost that these men were alive. That they would be rescued. That we would be able to bring them back to their homes, their families, their lives. On the 24th of November at 2.37pm that all changes. And the hope of getting the men out alive was crushed. A second explosion occurred. There was no way that the men could have survived it. In the following 4 days two more explosions hit the mine, and flames and smoke continue to billow from the entrance. 29 men lost their lives, and 29 families lost their fathers, their sons, or perhaps their brothers.

Today, my little country mourns for the men that were lost. We mourn for the fathers and for the sons. We mourn for the uncles and the brothers. We mourn for the friends that those men had become to so many. Today, we feel for the families that have had to say goodbye to their loved ones, and try to come to terms with the fact that there may be no way to recover the bodies of their families. A remembrance service is about to commence in greymouth, and a nationwide 2 minutes of silence will be observed at 2pm. And while I didnt know any of the men personally, or any of their families, or their stories, I still feel the sadness, albeit on a scale that pails in comparisions to the greymouth community, that comes with the loss of life. The sobering reality that life is precious, and that it can end so quickly. One thing is for certain, the men who lost their lives will never be forgotten by this country.

Its situations like this that makes you realise that those little petty things that get you down in life, really don’t matter that much. That this life is so precious, and that more than anything, it can be taken away in the blink of an eye. It makes me realise that telling the people that I love, that I indeed, do love them, is one of the most important things that I can do. That showing affection and kindness, empathy and sincerity is more important than being popular or cool. That this could all be over so much sooner than anyone thinks, and that tomorrow should never be taken for granted.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Work it baby! Work it.

It’s been a week. A week since I woke up and started to change my habits... a week that I have been going to the gym... a week since I ate chocolate! First of all can I just say thank you all so much for your comments and emails. Your support and encouragement means so much to me in all of this! Its like having my own little cheerleading squad rooting for me to do well... and it means SO SO much to me! So thank you all, from the bottom of my heart! So... from the beginning.

In all honesty, it hasn’t been that rough. The first few days weren’t fun, I won’t lie. I experienced some pretty intense headaches {read sugar withdrawal} and I was pretty exhausted from going from nearly no exercise what so ever, to full on body assault at the gym. But I am feeling good. Each day at the gym I feel a little less uncomfortable. I even went shopping for some proper gym clothes {haha see I can always find an excuse to shop it seems...} I think the biggest thing I have noticed, is that you have to be organised. Organised in the sense of, you have to know what you are eating, and what time you are eating, otherwise it is so easy to deviate from your plan. And organised in the sense, that you have to have a gym schedule and you have to stick to it, so it just becomes part of your life. Like you wake up every morning and go to the office at the same time, well, you have to go to the gym at the same time, and it just be the way it is. You have to make it a priority, other things can wait.

My trainer at the gym has me eating every 2 to 3 hours. 5-6 small meals a day. This is a big change for me, as I am totally guilty of not eating breakfast, and then grazing from lunchtime till I go to bed. It’s been an adjustment but it’s something that I’m working on. It’s only been a week, but it’s still a struggle to eat breakfast. I am getting there though! I think the things that I am starting to miss the most though are the sweet bits. I am a total sweet tooth! Oh yes! So this whole super healthy eating thing has left me feeling a little bit on the boring side... I’ve started to look around for some healthy sweet options, but am coming up pretty short. Although, I do see that they have produced a few low calorie ice-cream type treats, that I may look into...But before I do that, tonight I am off to the gym, to be weighed for the first time since I started the journey. Keep your fingers {and your toes} crossed that my hard work has paid off. Because it has been hard work, and its only going to get harder. And as much as I dread getting on that treadmill, I will do it. And I will succeed. Because there really is no other option this time.

P.S I was thinking maybe not everyone wants to read about my journey with this... and maybe I should make a little side blog where I can write a little bit more about what I am doing and what I am going through, maybe even turn it into a place where we can share stories, and recipes and other things to do with your own journey, and mine too... What do you think??

Monday, November 22, 2010

This time there is no turning back

A little while ago I posted about my weight, and my struggle with it, and my decision to join a gym, and change my patterns. That was 5 months ago. And for 2 months, I committed. I went to the gym, I ate right, and then I woke up one morning and I stopped. I didn’t go back to the gym, and I started to eat whatever I felt like {and even some things that I didn’t} I fell back into a pattern of laziness and comfort eating. Its not something new, it’s something that I have always done, and unless I change it now, it’s going to be something that I always do. The move to Auckland has been an amazing one, don’t get me wrong for a second. I love this city, and I love that I can now call it home. But at times, it has proven stressful... and what do I do when I am stressed... I eat. Not only has it proved to be somewhat stressful, at times, it has proven to test me emotionally. And what do I do when I am emotional? Oh you got it! I eat! I eat and I eat and then I eat some more.

About a week and a half ago, I struck what I am now calling rock bottom {at least I hope it doesn’t get any worse than this} I woke up on a Tuesday morning, did my hair, put on a little make up and went to put on my clothes for work, only to realise that I was standing in front of my wardrobe crying. I’m not really sure what made me so upset, but I felt like the weight of the world was {literally} on my shoulders, and I couldn’t shake it off. I have realised, once again, that I cannot go on like this, that I am not this person, that this is not my life.

So. I find myself back at the beginning and the owner of a new gym membership. This time a woman only gym. I’m back to the task of convincing myself that going to the gym is an awesome idea and that getting sweaty is going to be fun. Back to trying to convince myself that running on the treadmill is better than sitting on the couch, and that eating that salad is going to taste 100 times better than anything else I could possibly want to eat. {if you have any awesome healthy recipes... please share!!} I have support from a friend, who is also starting this journey with me, so we are in this together, but I know that it’s all down to me. It’s up to me to make the right decisions, it’s up to me to get my butt off that couch, it’s up to me to make the positive and necessary change in my life.

I went for my first consultation at the gym yesterday. I stood on the scales and as the number registered in my head, I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to run away. I don’t know how I have let myself get to this point. But I will never see that number ever again. This is the start of something. Something new and exciting. Something life changing. {it has to be... its going to be}

Now I need your advice. Do you have any great work out tips? Any delicious recipes? Any fast and easy snack ideas that won’t break the bank? Or maybe you have some wisdom that you could share with me? Because right now, Ill take any thing and everything to help make this journey a little less rough.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Knee Deep

My friend Kathleen put it perfectly. This, this is the hard part. But I guess, when you're knee high in the hard part's mud, it just means that the good part is on its way. All I can hope is that it is hurrying. This sounds awfully negative, but really its not. Its just that changes are on their way, and well, most of you know my thoughts on change! Its a shift, a movement, and finally its been a revelation, that things arent okay the way that they are, and Im the only one who can change it... Its time to stop putting little band aid excuses up to cover the wound, that has been gapping. Its time to fix it. To make the decision and to take the leap of faith. I know this is all rather cryptic. But it needs to be right now. I need it to be.

Im taking life, and Im taking back control. This is my time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lets get Thrifty

I have never been one to be careless with money. In fact, I generally am pretty sensible {read; most of the time... haha} Sure, I like to buy nice things, and have new gadgets, but I have never really thrown around money willy nilly. I suppose I have my awesome mum to thank for instilling some sense of monetary worth into me while I was younger. {thanks mum!!} This whole moving out of home, moving to a new city thing has really made me realise that things are a whole lot more expensive than I ever really anticipated. I mean I knew supermarket shopping wasn’t cheap, and I knew that there would be bills and rent and all those other factors, but I suppose it is not until you are actually living it that you realise that it is really a rather expensive world out there.
Now, lucky enough for me I have some sweet skills {queue napoleon dynamite} that means I have managed to get a pretty decent paying temp job {read; mind numbingly boring and tedious job} but I am still trying to save as well, because my first 6 weeks of living up here in Auckland have depleted my savings account a bunch! So, with that, I am setting out on a journey, that’s right folks, I’ve got my backpack and my water bottle and I’m off into the wilderness. Ok so thats a bit dramatic! But, I am going to try to be a bit more thrifty in my lifestyle from now on.
I know I know, this is nothing new or that exciting really, and I know that most of us out there are trying to make things work on a budget... so I was wondering whether you might have any tips or tricks of the trade that you would care to share with a novice such as myself? Perhaps you have some really yummy cheap to make recipes, or fun things to do that aren’t that expensive, or maybe, you are secretly a super hero saver and you have some tips on everyday saving ideas... because right now, my imaginary piggy bank is looking awfully glum!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where is that offload button?

Ive said it before, and I will say again {probably a lot} but man, people can be really really selfish, mean and well, just all flavours of not nice sometimes. I just get so frustrated. Especially when my friends are involved. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am fiercely loyal, and if I tell you I love you, it means that I will do absolutely anything in my power to protect you. My friends are my family. They are my world. So when they become the subject of malicious gossip, or nasty rumors, my instinct is automatically to protect. And I suppose sometimes that gets me in trouble, because people mistake my loyalty for something else.

You would think, that as you grow up you would leave behind the snaky high school B.S... turns out, people being mean is not age exclusive, in fact, it seems that right now, in my early 20s, the claws are out even more than I previously thought possible. I suppose, the environment I find myself in, is a breeding ground for this sort of thing, but its hasn't been until I have actually encountered it myself that I realised the extent of it all. Maybe in my naivety I believed that people could do things without having to have an ulterior motive. I am starting to question that belief hugely. People have always said that there is a reason for everything, I guess that is being made apparent, in a light that unfortunately is far more negative than positive at the moment.
Its not that I am upset by this discovery {okay maybe I am a little bit} but I am more shocked at the blatant disregard for other people in the race to the top. Its like, no one even thinks if their actions are going to effect anyone else anymore, or maybe, they do think about it, and they just don't care. And I think the thing that has made me more frustrated in this situation, is that this is not a new thing. Its not like these people woke up last week and just decided to change. They have manipulated and used people and situations to their advantage for years, and its only just recently because I have been emerged in it, that I have noticed it. And maybe even then, its only because I have become the subject of some of it, that I have noticed it. Maybe, no one notices, or maybe no one cares because they all do it too. I sure hope that isn't the case, because quite frankly, its rather depressing in a lot of ways {much like this post is getting... I'm sorry!}. The other thing that gets me too, is that these people, think we don't know what is going on. I honestly believe they think they have us all fooled. Which, leads me to the question of whether everyone else is actually unaware of what is going on, and mine is the only light bulb that has been switched on.
I'm lucky to have some of the most amazing people on this planet in my life, that I have been able to talk to this about, and I'm also lucky, that a lot of those amazing people, have been through this before and have some pretty wise and helpful advice on the whole situation. But I suppose, there is only one way that I am really ever going to learn to deal with it, and that is to go through it. Although, I do wish there was another way, because goodness, this really is just a little bit silly. In the mean time, I suppose I take each day, each rumor, each nasty comment at a time, and keep reminding myself, that I am better than that, and that I will not change who I am or what I believe in, because in the end, they dont really matter.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Check out this little dude...

I want to introduce you to Aidan.

Adorable huh? Not only is this little dude the cutest thing out, he is also pretty much the strongest, inspiring little guy I've come across in a while. Yip thats right, Ive actually never met this guy, but that doesnt make him any less special. You see, Aidan loves drawing, especially drawing monsters. Oh and he has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He was diagnosed on September the 13th 2010, and has already ungone a handful of serious operations, including a spinal tap and a surgery to insert a Hickman {A Hickman is a tube in his chest that runs up to his neck into a vein and close to his heart. It is used to give him his chemo treatments.} After his forth round of chemo, Aidan went into remission {with Leukemia it takes almost no time to go into remission} So what this means now is that the little dude will undergo consolidation chemotherapy for several months to try to rid of any other diseased cells. And after this he will start his two years of maintenance chemo. {In other words, Leukemia really really sucks.. and this little guy has a long road ahead of him} I think what I love most about this little guy though, is that through everything, he made a decision that he wanted to do something, not just be a sick little guy. So. What did he do? The one thing he loves more than anything of course... Drawing! Yip! Thats right, Aidan {with the help of his family} opened an Etsy store, full of his cute little drawings, in order to try to help with the financial strain that this disease has put on his family. Can you just imagine it... "can't you just imagine that wee face, "Mummy, Daddy, I could sell some pictures to help you with me being sick??" {CUTEST THING EVER!!} So for just $12USD you can get your hands on one of Aidans Monsters, and support this family. They are super adorable, and made even more so because this kid honestly seems to be one of the raddest little dudes this world has. So why not take a look... head over to Aidans Etsy and check out his drawings! I think this one is my favourite... or maybe this one {i do love me some dinosaurs!} I love the message from the family on the etsy store too. You can just tell that they are so overwhelmed by the support that they have recieved. So. Go on... check them out, and maybe you know someone who could do with a little bit of cheering up, or maybe you just want a treat for yourself, and you might just be responsible for a smile on Aidans face.

P.S I know its been a while since I have been able to blog, there has been so much going on here, good, bad, and well otherthings too. But I am going to make much more of an effort to stay current with this blog. Over the last few months your love and support has meant so much to me, and I just wanted to say how much I love you all! Yip, every single one of you, even you in the back wearing that cardigan! And you, you reading this right now, you might just be my favourite {just dont tell anyone else! I would hate to hurt anyones feelings!}

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A weekend away. Part 1

So, I've officially been living in Auckland for a month! And what a month its been, I have been having such a wonderful time, and getting to do a bunch of exciting stuff. And as much as I have been loving this city... it was time to get away! My flatmate Sarah, organises a girls weekend at her family beach house every year, and this year, I got to go along. Boy oh boy! Was it madness! We had 3 nights out at one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand, dressed up in silly costumes, drunk a lot, chatted a lot, and just spent a lot of time in the sun. There is no television, no computer/internet, cell phone reception, or really any connection to the outside world. It was wonderful.When I thought about posting about this, I decided I would split it into two different posts, one about the antics that we got up too, and one about the actual beach, because its just so beautiful and I really want to be able to show it to you. I'm going to do the latter of the two first, because I just cant wait to show you the beautiful photos that I was able to capture. Honestly, being in a place like that just makes me realise how blessed I am to be living in such an amazing country. Just 3 hours out of the biggest city in New Zealand, Otama Beach is seriously the closest thing to Paradise that I can imagine. Oh I'm just going to let the photos do the talking... because there really aren't any words that will do it justice.

On the drive up the coast of New Zealand

On the drive...Isn't it so pretty?!

View from the deck of the downstairs batch

Oh the beautiful beautiful beach.

Footsteps in the sand

The lagoon

I sat up on the rocks and wrote in my journal for a while. It was pretty spectacular.

As the sun begins to set...

A perfect sunset.

Being back in the city is wonderful, I do love it a lot. But oh how I miss the beach already!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Photos like this just fuel the addiction. I am booked in for my next tattoo in a couple of weeks time. This time its just something little, for a couple of my family members, but it is going to be just as important as every other one which already finds a home on my body. Im really excited about my new ones to be honest. I have a list that is getting longer and longer, each new idea telling a little bit more of my story. A little bit more of the bigger picture. I cant wait to sit down one day and tell my grandchildren all about them, about my life, and the people that meant the most. This is me. Take it or leave it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A favor...or two.

I thought I would take a second to do a little bit of shameless promotion... although not for myself today... for a couple of my lovely friends who have some awesome stuff on the run at the moment {i seem to be surrounded by some of the most talented people everrrrr}

My friend Nick is the singer in the lovely New Zealand Band Autozamm and they have just released their third studio album 5th Degree {which you can TOTALLY buy on itunes... if you wanted} You should totally check them out, and send some support their way. Im sure that they would love you for it. I would too!

Next up are my boys in Shotgun Alley... AND my girls in Litvak Attack. Bon Jovi are coming to New Zealand to play a couple of shows and are using one of our local radio stations The Rock to find the support act... Voting doesn't start until the 25th of October... but you should jump on the site and have a listen to them both. And maybe, just maybe when it comes around to it, spare a few moments of your busy busy times and vote for them. Litvak Attack can be found on page 2 at the top and Shotgun Alley can be found on page 3 down the bottom.

Yarp. Talent huh. They last few days have been sort of weird really, The weather has been packing itself back down towards winter {just as the sun had become a standard feature round these parts} and even though I have had things that I have done im sort of in that 'dont want to do anything' mood. It will pass in the next couple of days I am sure. I have a big girls weekend planned out of the city for this weekend {which is going to rule} and then its not that long until I go home and see my family for my cousins 3rd birthday {seriously where has the year gone?} And then its nearly christmas! WHOA! Soon enough, they will be playing carols in the stores... oh goodness.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Changing Perspectives Vol. 14

Once upon a time there were 2 girls, who decided to embark on a photographic journey. Not the kind of Journey with Dragons and Bad Guys, rather the kind of journey that requires them to take 1 photo everyday for a whole year. Thats 365 photos. A challenge? Perhaps, But these girls decided to take it on together, everything is better in pairs right? The rules are simple. 1 Photo every day for 365 days. Starting July 1st 2010 and ending July 1st 2011. They thought they would share their little project on their blogs. A little gallery of sorts. So this is it. A year of photographs. Are you ready to see what their worlds look like through a lens?

Week Fourteen.
16.09.10 - 22.09.10

What a week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

You are my sunshine

Oh the sun has been shining in the biggest amounts here over the last few days. I love that summer is on its way. Ive been exploring my area a little bit over the last few days, its been fun finding some places that can be mine, in a city as big as this. At the end of my road if you walk through a little bush, and down maybe 50 steps, you find a beautiful hidden little beach reserve. There is a little pier and a little beach, as well as some benches and a little grassy area. It is so cute and quaint and I adore it. Honestly, I am living in the prettiest little area. Its so wonderful.

I have so many plans, so many things that I cant wait to do. And I cant wait to show you either! I want you to fall in love with this city, just as much as I have. Last night I went out to have a beer at my bar {oh that bar...} and I was talking to one of my girls and she said to me "Tillie, you are home. This is where you belong. This is where your family is" I guess part of me has felt like this for a while, but to hear someone else say it, and know that other people think it just as much as I do, just made another piece of the puzzle fit together. I love everyone here so much, and to know that it is reciprocated {even though I guess I always did know it} just makes me feel like things are right. And as much as I miss home, This is the right thing for me, at the right time, and all those other good things. Life is good, for a change. And I am planning on making it stay that way.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tell me my Fortune

Ive never been one to really believe in people who claim to be psychic, or have the ability to tap into the 'other' side. In all honesty, I find it to be all a little bit of baloney... Until today that is. Sarah {read best flatmate ever} and her friend Bex had made an appointment to go and see their psychic this morning, and after talking about it with them both for a little bit last night, I decided to tag along and see what the deal was. Of course, me being me, I went in skeptical as heck. I mean, I don't really know what I expected... Crystal Balls? Gypsy Woman? {who knows} but I thought it would all be a bit of a laugh and nothing to serious. We pulled up to a little suburban house, in a quiet little neighborhood. Bex went on in first, by herself, leaving Sarah and I in the car... and to be honest, at this point I started to get a little anxious. I wasn't sure me being there was the right idea, I didn't want to mess with something that wasn't in my control. I definitely had butterflies in my stomach. Bex came out and then it was apparent it was our turn. {queue butterflies going crazy} Sarah had said that I could go with her for her reading, so that I could get a feel for what it was like, and then make my decision. A little bit of time went on and I certainly wasnt uncomfortable listening to what she had to say about Sarah, then, out of no where, she said our address. She placed us perfectly. The road, that it was opposite a pub, and that we were on the water side. {I mean WHAT THE HECK!?} How could she know that right? Any who, Sarah's reading was over and it was my turn. Now, I thought at this stage I would be freaking out, but I was really comfortable. I was still a little skeptical and kept my cards close to my chest, but within seconds of talking she starting to talk to me about something that I had been keeping hugely private. She knew it. And I honestly dont believe it was a guess, she knew such intimate and personal details of my life, both past and present, and even presented insight into the future {I guess we can only wait and see if anything comes of that} We talked about a few things, things that she simply could not have known by looking at me. This whole experience has certainly challenged my previous beliefs...I guess, I am still a skeptic at heart. But this particular woman has a gift, and I certainly wont be ignoring it.

What are your thoughts on psychics or people who claim to be able to connect to the other side? Have you ever been to a psychic? I'd love to hear all about your experiences too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Changing Perspectives Vol. 12 & 13

Once upon a time there were 2 girls, who decided to embark on a photographic journey. Not the kind of Journey with Dragons and Bad Guys, rather the kind of journey that requires them to take 1 photo everyday for a whole year. Thats 365 photos. A challenge? Perhaps, But these girls decided to take it on together, everything is better in pairs right? The rules are simple. 1 Photo every day for 365 days. Starting July 1st 2010 and ending July 1st 2011. They thought they would share their little project on their blogs. A little gallery of sorts. So this is it. A year of photographs. Are you ready to see what their worlds look like through a lens?

Week Twelve.
16.09.10 - 22.09.10

Week Thirteen.
23.09.10 - 29.09.10

Another double issue this week {i promise we are trying not to make this the norm} but last week was just so crazy for me. I am finally starting to unpack the last of the boxes and it is really starting to feel like home... although, its still kinda feels like im just on an extended holiday... I guess I really should get off my butt and look for some work... Maybe next week?

Anyway, all sorts of antics have been had over the last couple of weeks. Food shopping, the zoo, a maternity shoot, and meeting my dear friends new baby girl. Isnt she just amazing... Literally... her name is Amazing Zakiyaa Yates. Mazey for short. Oh I just love her heaps!