The best laid plans of mice and men…

… and husbands and wives.

Husband and I had decided that this month’s date, we would take advantage of Academy Cinemas’ $5-Wednesday deals and go to see a movie (Birdman, to be precise).  Going out to a movie has become prohibitively expensive here in Auckland, it’s ridiculous.  It’s certainly a treat rather than an often-times thing, so when I discovered that every Wednesday you can pay $5 to see the latest films, I was so there.

However, I did make the silly mistake of thinking that being a small, out-of-the-way cinema, no one else knew about this, and so I went straight after work to get tickets… only to find it had already sold out.  Damn.  Plan out the window.  The only movie they still had seats for was American Propaganda *cough* I mean Sniper, and I wasn’t particularly enthralled about seeing.

So, with nothing in mind to do on this particularly hot and sunny evening, I picked up my husband from work, and we wandered down to  find somewhere for a cold drink.  We stopped in at Stark’s with husband getting a tall cold beer, and myself an icy Blue Lagoon.  We sat in the closed foyer entrance to the Civic and watched people go by, trying to decide what to do with our evening.  We  can’t go anywhere we have to walk a long way – I’ve prepared for an evening of sitting, and have my sky-high heels on.  Pool?  Maybe.  Art Galley? Closes at 5 (side note – what kind of major metropolitan city has an art gallery that closes at 5?). Theatre? Nothing in particular on.  To which point I exclaim “Why aren’t there any other movie theatres in central Auckland?!”  and my husband says, “There’s one right next door.  In the Metro Building.”…….. “Oh yeah,” I say sheepishly.

We decide to wander up and see what’s on, and find that The Imitation Game starts in about 20 minutes.  Hurrah!  We both wanted to see this.  So we buy tickets, grab a quick coffee to keep ourselves awake, and settle in.  The movie was fantastic, Benedict Cumberbatch (best. name. ever.) did a wonderful job of playing the genius Alan Turing.

After the movie finished, we decided we were hungry enough to have a small meal (we’d both had large, late lunches) and headed down to Elliott Stables, one of my favourite places in Auckland.  Given we only wanted something small, we went into El Faro and grabbed a few tapas plates to share.  It was absolutely delicious and exactly the right proportions for what we needed.

We headed home, happy with our spontaneous evening, and back by 9pm ready for an early night, even better!

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Writing goals, ahoy!

A couple of weeks ago I entered my very first short story competition.  I didn’t know about it until a couple of days before the deadline, so it was quite hurried, but it was fun!  I’d never written a short story before really, and it was a lot harder than I expected!

I didn’t place anywhere, but I got some really useful and encouraging feedback.  I belong to a critique website (which the competition was run through) which has probably done the most for my writing besides ACTUALLY writing – the people are really helpful, specific and encouraging, but also give it to you straight when it sucks.

I hope to keep writing short stories and practicing, because it’s a great art form and would seem to really hone your writing skills without the drain of having to write a whole novel!

2 more goals down!

New recipes to add to the collection!

Having a list of countries that you have to learn to cook some kind of dish from certainly helps provide inspiration for dinner!  When you don’t know what to cook next, or what to do with that meat you got out, it’s very helpful to look at what’s next and then go to Google.

This is exactly what I did last night! “Hmm… what am I going to do with this fish?” *check list*  “Algeria….” *google Algeria fish dish*  “Algerian fish tagine!”.  Yay for geography lessons too because, if I’m being honest, I probably could not have told you where in the world Algeria was.  I think I was getting it mixed up with Albania.

But!  Knowing that Algeria is right beside Morocco made tagine make complete sense! And boy, do husband and I like us some tagine!  The marinating fish smelled absolutely incredible, and made me want to just gobble it all down before it was finished cooking.  I may have added a few too many olives (if there is such a thing), but man it was absolutely DELICIOUS!  Definitely one to add to the permanent rotation.

My darling  mother also sent me a contribution to my goal list – a recipe for Chicken Pho, a traditional Vietnamese street food.  It was SO incredibly easy and quick, and another stunningly delicious meal, so that one is going into permanent rotation too.  Thanks Mum!

Lastly, I also did some fascinating history wikipedia-ing on a previously unheard of country/territory – Akrotiri.  Akrotiri is officially “The Soverign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia”, and is a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus.  They have remained part of UK territory even through the 1974 military coup and violent protests in 2001 regarding the UK’s plan to upgrade communication masts there.

According to some Googling, a dish that comes from the area is “skordalia”, a hummus-like dip that is made from potatoes, olive oil and garlic.  It sounded amazing to me, so I thought I’d give it a go.  On the whole, it was fine… but the consistency was more gluey than I expected from photos I saw, so perhaps I need to try a different recipe.  One to try again at another date perhaps?

Aunty-ing

One of the most awesome thing about having brothers is they make beautiful nieces and nephews to hang out with.  Okay, there’s plenty of other things that are great about them too, but I love me some niece and nephew time.  I have 2 wonderful nieces and 3 gorgeous nephews in total and they are all so much fun!  So when I saw an opportunity to be awesome-aunty for the day, I took it!

MOTAT has heaps of kid-oriented experiences throughout the year, and last Sunday was Children’s Day across the country, so they had a bunch of fun stuff on.  I asked my brother if I could take my beautiful 3-year-old niece, G, out for the day and he readily agreed.  G is heaps of fun to hang out with, she’s really well-behaved and chatters away non-stop, we can hang out for hours and she STILL wants more!

So after my brother dropped her off and she had raided my rubber duck collection, off we went to MOTAT.  Prior to getting there, she had been telling everyone that she was going to get her face painted as a butterfly – and that I would too!  I was totally keen, but once we got there, it was a BIG line, so my face-painting went right out the window.  G was totally good about it though, half an hour in the baking sun, she just found some shade, took a couple of pieces of fruit, and entertained herself.  Once we got to the front, there were 2 boards of different face-painting styles to choose from – one boys and one girls, of course (cue eye rolling).  To my surprise, she avoided the butterflies altogether, and pointed to the steampunk cogs!  I’ve never been so proud in all my life 😀  A girl after my own heart!Motat9

After the face-painting (the main attraction for G), we ate an icecream in the shade, played on some of the cool contraptions, petted animals at the petting zoo, and even made our own lollipop!

G’s favourite thing at the moment is diggers (again, so proud!), so every time we spotted a digger, we had to yell “diggah!”.  At the moment, there are a bunch of roadworks outside MOTAT so we had lots of fun “diggah!” moments 😀

As soon as we got in the car to go home, G was out like a light.  She’d been such a trooper in the hot sun all day, we had such awesome fun.

Can’t wait to take my beautiful niece out again soon!