Friday, 27 December 2013

A Kiwi Christmas

Merry Christmas everybody!

I thought that I would share some of the things that happen in New Zealand at Christmas, because I am always interested in how other countries celebrate Christmas. A Kiwi Christmas is so diverse, so these are rather general points.

First of all, Christmas is in the middle of summer in New Zealand. This means that lots of people go swimming, or to the beach, or on a walk on Christmas day. And most of my Christmas's have been sunny and really warm. In fact, this year it was forecast to rain where I am for Christmas, and I was like, 'but what are we going to do all day?'
Secondly, this is the New Zealand Christmas tree. (Well it is actually a rata, but it looks incredibly similar to the pohutakawa, which is the actual one)

 photo ratawxmas_zpsbf3b9e3e.jpg photo ratawreindeer_zps0215a5af.jpg

Thirdly, there is pretty much no choice in terms of advent calendars here. I swear that there is only one type of chocolate calendar that you can buy easily here, and the chocolate is not good, like really not good. The only people who buy them are little kids who don't mind, because to them any chocolate is good!
Fourthly, because it is summer, berries are a popular pudding. When I was little, my favourite part of Christmas was that you got pudding at lunchtime. :)

I hope you had a lovely Christmas; I did even if it was a bit rainy! I was very excited to get the entire Harry Potter series on Dvd :) What present were you most excited to give or receive?

Ps. Have you guys seen Frozen yet? I saw it yesterday and I feel like I enjoyed it far too much. I'm listening to the soundtrack while I write this post.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Forget about the price tag

Hello all,
Today I went into K-mart for the first time, and the absurdly low prices made me realise that I never wanted to go there again, because I know how most companies manage to get their prices that low, and I couldn't support that. Here's why: 
(this is not a reflection on K-mart, I have no idea where they source their products, but their prices reminded me of the way many companies do business)
They say that there are two sides to every story. This is true, not just for incidents, but also for purchases. 

There is your side of the story. The shopping process; searching for the best deal through price comparison. How you want or need this product and how it will improve your life. The fun times you have with friends searching for what you want/need. Whether this product is right for you, is it safe and can you afford it.

And then there is the other side of the story. The person who made it, the person who packaged it, the person who shipped it, the person who sold it to you. Was making that product the best deal for them, or was their only choice to be paid next to nothing. Did they need that small sum of money so badly they were willing to work in appalling conditions to get it, did they want for better working conditions, better pay? Did make that product improve their life as buying it will improve yours? Was that the right choice, was that the safe choice for them?

There are two sides to every purchase. The story until the product is sold, and the story after. We so often selfishly only think of the second half of the story. If you look at both sides of the story, the purchase can benefit both those who made it and those who bought it. So, selfish or selfless?

Monday, 9 December 2013

Christmas Projects!

Seasons Greetings,
So I have been up to quite a bit since school finished, and I wanted to show you guys! Most of these are Christmasy; and fairly straightforward, which is why I decided not to to any how to posts, and just trust that you can figure it out if you want to, or ask questions. :)
First of all, my friend's birthday is in December, and I wanted to make her something personal. This is just a normal canvas and cross stitch; I didn't use any patterns, I just drew it.

Secondly I made these for her dessert picnic party. I'm super excited to show them to my friends! (the recipe is from the Ripe recipe book, in case you were wondering)

Thirdly we had a go at making those balls of string you see everywhere on the internet! It didn't go too well, but we had a good laugh! My advice; you need a lot of glue even though you mix it with water, and the bigger one of ours doesn't have quite enough string to support itself, so make sure you use enough.
I hope Advent is going well for you, I am thoroughly enjoying the freedom of the holidays as I know I  won't have these big, long school summer holidays for much longer! 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Sunshine Award and end of exams!

First of all, my exams are finished!!!! No more school until February! This is sooooo exciting!!!! (ok, they actually finished on the 25th Nov, I just haven't mentioned it until now)

So now that I have that over with, I have been nominated twice (by Libby-Jade and Alia) for the Sunshine Award now, it is essentially a tag for spreading the love around blogs and acknowledging bloggers you think bring sunshine to the blogging world, which I think is a lovely idea.

The Rules:

1. Post 11 random facts about yourself

2. Answer 11 questions from the nominating blogger

3. Nominate 11 wonderful bloggers, that you feel bring sunshine to the blogging world. (Be sure to notify them)

4. Write 11 questions for your nominated bloggers
11 Random Facts:
1. I am left-handed.
2. Walking and dancing are the only forms of exercise I enjoy.
3. Although you probably already know, I live in New Zealand.
4. I love to write and to read.
5. I am a teeny bit obsessed with playing the piano. :)
6. I still struggle with holding my hair out of the way while brushing my teeth.
7. I have no clue what I want to do when I leave school, and next year is my last (yay for indecision!)
8. I am feeling a bit weird starting so many sentences with I.
9. I am super excited for summer!!
10. Although I am sad because it is raining and cold at the moment.
11. And I have no idea what is going on with the font sizes, so please forgive me.
Alia's questions:

1. What's your favourite movie?
Bright Star, it is sad, but so beautiful.
2. Do you have a special talent?
Nope, unless you count touching my nose with my tongue, which isn't particularly special.

3. What's your favourite colour?
Yellow, because it is such a happy colour.

4. How many languages do you speak?

One; English, but I did both French and German for 2 and a half years at school.
5. If a fantasy world was real, which one would you want to live in?

So hard! I can't pick, so instead I'm going to choose a fantasy world where people don't have wars to solve problems, and we can be harmonious and work together and be happy (with a bit of harry potter, doctor who etc. thrown in).
6. What's your favourite animal?

Dolphins. They are beautiful, and remind me of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the same time. 
7. How would you describe your personal style?

No clue. Wait, I'll ask a friend… Apparently I'm quirky, really feminine and girly but not frilly.
8. Do you have any pets?

One cat and one dog.
9. What are some of your hobbies?
Other than reading all the time?
10. Television or movies?

I watch more television, because movies are harder to come by, so television.
11. Where were you born? 
In the same town where I live now, which is quite small (not for NZ, but for the rest of the world)

Libby-Jade's questions:
1)What's your favourite nail varnish?
The one I'm wearing now, Jaded, Top Speed from Revlon, because it is the first I've worn in years!
2)Favourite scented candle?
Don't have any unfortunately.
3) Favourite hot drink?
Hot chocolate
4) What's your favourite book?
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
5) If you could get anything as a present, no matter what the price, what would it be? 
A trip to Paris!!!
6) Favourite lipstick (if you have one)?
Don't really have one.
7) One item of clothing that's your absolute favourite?
My orange lace dress from American Apparel.
8) Is there anything you're really looking forward to about next year/any events that you're looking forward too?
9) What's your favourite film?
Bright Star (hasn't changed since the first question!)
10) What is/was your favourite subject at school?
This year? A toss up between History and Chemistry.
11) If you could have ANY pet at all what would it be? (you can make one up or just go for a good ol dog)
A big dog (we have a small one) with a gentle temperament.
I am going to be super lazy and only nominate a few people, because I can't be bothered finding 11 bloggers, and it will be more genuine this way too. Anybody else who is reading this and wants to do it is welcome to do it too. :)
Jan @ Confessions of a Book Ninja
And that's it to be honest! Most of the people I would have nominated I already did for the Liebster Award.
1. What is your favourite part of Christmas?
2. Do you enjoy writing in notebooks?
3. Can you play a musical instrument?
4. How many books have you read this year?
5. What is your favourite season?
6. Do you like banana flavoured things?
7. What is your favourite type of Christmas tree decoration?
8. Can you whistle and/or cartwheel?
9. Do you mostly blog from a laptop, desktop of other?
10. Where do you want to be right now?
11. Name a song(s) that you are enjoying at the moment.

ps. did you know that there is a spell check button? I only just realised, so I'm not sure how well it works.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Photography Friday!

Welcome to the Photography Friday Blog hop! This is a blog linkup that focuses on Photography, at any skill level or experience. Each week we want to encourage you to get out and take some photos! It doesn't matter what Camera you have - an iPhone, a DSLR, a film camera, an instax - Just get out and press that shutter! Blog about your photographic awesomeness and link up here to share it every friday. If you'd like feedback on something, leave a comment asking what you'd like to know and your host will be happy to provide you with some.

After a cold snap, the weather has just become warm again; now summer really feels like it is here! So, because of the time difference I am actually publishing this at 2am on Saturday (thank goodness for scheduling posts!). This means that I will be a little late to look at all of your lovely posts, but I promise I'll be there soon.

Each week we will choose a new Photographer to be featured! To be considered for next week, please link up your photography post below and make sure you are following your hosts & co-hosts. These two things will qualify you for being a featured photographer!

Lisa from Ameliorer la vie shared her three-day trip to Jo'burg last week, and she had some incredible photographs! Look at those beautiful Lions! Stunning. Thanks so much for sharing, Lisa!

001. Please follow your host/co-hosts and featured photographer!
002. Link up your blog post instead of your main blog URL.
003. Please link back to this link-up in your post, either with a text link or a button. The more people who link up each week means more people see your work, so please help us out any way you can :)
004. Visit and check out as many blogs as you can! Leave comments and love. This link-up is about community, so make some friends!

Click Here to grab a different button!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Why are you so skinny?

Time for the second inspired post!
If you haven't read anything on this topic before, I would advise that you read one of the posts at the bottom first so that this makes more sense, as I don't cover very much of what there is to be said on the topic.
Here is the song: (reason here)

You know what? Most of the time, I'm happy with my weight. Most of the time, I see my body as a whole, and I love the way it feels to be inside it. That is, until someone reminds me that I am skinny.
"That's because I actually have fat on my bones."   "You need to eat some more pies!"
"Ugh, why are you so skinny?"
That is when I start to notice. I see the way my butt cheeks unnaturally sink in. How my wrists look unusually small. I feel the pain of my sticking out back-bone as it grates against the ground when I lie down. I see the way my hip-bones stick out, pulling my skin. I touch the rise and fall of my bumpy shoulders, one bone above the rest. I feel the awkwardness of my elbows, as they jar into my waist while I walk. I rub my neck in comfort, but all I touch is hard and linear. Outlines of what lies beneath. I look at my wrists and see the veins and arteries; blue, purple and pink. I clench my fist, only to see the white knobs of knuckles. My fingers splay and I see the skin faithfully following the bone.
So I thank-you, for commenting on my weight as if it were a compliment. Because every time you do I'm reminded that it's not.
What I'm really trying to say is that firstly, just because someone is the weight you want to be, doesn't mean that they are happy with their weight. And secondly that what you may think is a compliment, might not seem like one to the person receiving it, so be careful about the way you phrase things.
(I actually am happy with my weight, which is a bit below average, but not super skinny, and I have filled out since childhood when these comments were more common, but I still get them occasionally now)
Also, quite a few adults have made these sorts of comments, you would think they would know better? Imagine how much worse those comments would be if I wasn't happy with my weight.

Places with more information and go into this in more words than I do:

Monday, 18 November 2013

Words Worlds Project no.4

You know how I just said in my last post that I would be doing 3 inspired/inspriational posts? Well this post is number 1.5, because it isn't one of those three, but I felt like doing this post today. I haven't done one of these posts for a while, but I have decided to get back into it, mainly because I have been thinking about this quote quite a bit recently.
via Pinterest, original source unknown
I have been using this to remind me to talk about ideas and events when I talk to my friends, because every time I have a conversation where we gossip about other people I have a weird feeling afterwards. The best conversations you have with friends are the ones where you are imagining this or that and dreaming up great plans.
I think that this is more something to aspire to, than to be like, "that person is talking about people, she/he must be small minded" because everyone talks about events, people and ideas at some point.

I'm super excited because two of my friends are considering starting blogs, which would be so exciting because I have nobody to talk to about things, like when I get super excited about getting another follower or my new header that took me an afternoon to make! Hopefully they will go through with it. :)
What do you guys reckon? (about anything I've said really)

ps. I'm halfway through my exams, yay!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

When I grow up

I have been feeling very inspired recently, and so in the coming weeks be prepared for 3 inspirational/inspired posts! This week's post was inspired by life in general I guess, and it follows on from three of my previous posts; take a risk, take a chance, make a change, if you want to make the world a better place and now I'm free falling.

What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to do?
My immediate answer is that I don't know. But I have now realised that is not true. I do.

When I grow up, I want to fight injustice. I want to challenge prejudice. I want to change the world.
I want for there to be equal rights for all people, across the globe, whether gay or straight, black or white, man or woman. Everyone. And I want to help this happen.
I want to stop to wars and keep the peace. I want people to be paid fairly for their work. I want to help fight poverty.
I want to help educate the world, so we can understand how we are affecting our planet, and how we can improve.

I don't know how I am going to do this; by being a teacher, a writer, a doctor, a blogger, an activist, an artist (in the broadest sense of the word because I can't draw), a fair trade worker. All I know is that when I grow up I want to help change our world. Does that answer your question?

With each post I'm also going to add a song that I feel matches the writing!

(Disclaimer: this piece of writing is not meant to be politically correct, it is merely written to express a feeling)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Ignite the light, and let it shine

On Tuesday it was Guy Fawkes, and while I cannot understand how a country/countries come to celebrate something not being blown up by blowing things up (in the simplest of terms), sparklers are very pretty. :)
So, on the 5th November, on our lawn listening to what would be a car backfiring at any other time of the year (or elsewhere in the world, a gun), we took some long exposure shots of our sparklers!
I was very exited by sparklers in the shape of stars and hearts, they were great fun!

The picture below is where I attempted to write my name, but as you can see it didn't work out. I think I might be able to make out an 'a' though!

Happy Sunday everyone (but don't tell the link up, we'll just pretend it's friday!)!
I hope you enjoy your week, wish me luck with my physics and english exams this week!

Random fact: In New Zealand we have to wait up relatively late for fireworks (especially for little kids) because it has just been daylight savings, and so it doesn't get properly dark until 9! I'm pretty sure you don't have to wait this late in the northern hemisphere, but let me know what time you have fireworks.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

My deep love of books

I love books. A lot. More than I probably should. I take that back actually. There is no way that you can love books too much.
I have to always have a book on the go to read, otherwise I feel quite lost. This year I set myself the challenge of reading 100 books, because I'm one of those weird people who likes to and actually does keep track of the books they read. I use Goodreads to keep track of my books, but I also write them down in a little notebook, which I've been doing for far longer than I knew Goodreads existed!

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Emma has read 78 books toward a goal of 100 books.

Anyway, here is a bunch of books I've read/re-read recently, have you read any of these? Are any of them a favourite of yours? Do you have any books that you would recommend? (I read pretty much anything, including the backs of cereal packets)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted
Battle Royale
Outliers: The Story of Success
The Fault in Our Stars
Looking for Alaska
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Host
Anna and the French Kiss
The Prisoner of Heaven
Magic Flutes
Same Difference
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