Friday, July 06, 2007

ArTea Party One Success!

The debut ArTea Party went swimmingly! Thank you so much to all those who were able to join us despite the atrocious weather blowing round Ponsonby on the day! Your support, generous raffle ticket purchases, art interest and sales were very much appreciated!

In the 2.5 hours ArTea Party ran, we sold several pieces of art work, almost 100 raffle tickets, heaps of Fairtrade cakes, muffins & cookies as well as Fairtrade tea & coffee through our kind hosts The Crib bar.

Together we raised $194.80 for Oxfam which will go towards their work to alleviate global poverty. Here are some examples of how the donation may be used:

$80 could enable Oxfam to provide safe drinking water for 50 people / $150 could enable Oxfam to help four women in Indonesia start their own business / $500 could enable Oxfam to provide technical and business training for coffee farmers in Timor-Leste / $1000 could enable Oxfam to construct living quarters for 2 teachers at a rural school in the Solomon Islands

Thanks once again to all our generous sponsors and supporters

If you have any comments or feedback please email me here

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

ArTea Party, Auckland, 23Jun07

Come to our party! Come to our party!more info here

design by Gemma Roberts * illustration by Racheblue * distribution by ArTea Party * print by Image Centre * printed on 100% recycled works laser paper by Spicers Paper

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

What kind of bank charges £20 for going less than £30 overdrawn for 2 days whilst waiting for an incoming payment (from a known payer) to clear?

What kind of bank charges an additional £30 because a regular standing order had to be paid before the aforementioned incoming money had cleared.

So my account with this bank, who, by the way, I've banked with for over 20 years, is £50 down for the sake of less than £30 for 2 days!!!!! - ARGH!!! I suffered the same kind of disrespect around a year ago under similar circumstances and wrote to Abbey asking for a refund of the charges. They agreed to refund, but 'only as a goodwill gesture'! What about my goodwill gesture of staying with an increasingly unfriendly, inconvenient, unethical bank for so long?!!!

Why do banks operate like this - surely they make enough money out of us through the interest charged? Surely my 'loyalty' illustrated by having banked with them through good and bad times since I was a teenager should mean something?

I understand the bank issuing penalties for going over overdraft limits but £50 for 2 days?! Why not have a scale of loyalty whereby the longer one has been with a bank, the less charges one incurs for irregular activity? Or just have reasonable charges worked out by working days overdrawn?

Sigh! Abbey sucks! I can't wait to be able to CLOSE MY ACCOUNT and NEVER bank with them again! Thoroughly UNRECOMMENDED!

Seems I'm not the only one that thinks Abbey's charges are unfair - This is Money and Consumer Action Group

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Lovely Bones the movie?

Great news - Peter Jackson is to make a screen adaptation of Alice Seabold's awesome novel Lovely Bones. If you've not read it I would highly recommend doing so, particularly now, before the film is made and released.

"DreamWorks nets Jackson DreamWorks SKG has won a week-long Hollywood bidding war for Peter Jackson's latest film. Jackson made his screen adaptation of Alice Sebold's novel The Lovely Bones available on the open market last week, generating interest from major studios Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks. DreamWorks reportedly won the right to finance the film due to Jackson's relationship with its founder - Steven Spielberg. DreamWorks also has a successful history in promoting similarly "risky" adult dramas, with its Oscar-winning tragicomedy American Beauty grossing US $353 million worldwide. The Lovely Bones is about a 14-year-old girl who watches her family from heaven after her brutal rape and murder. Jackson will begin filming in Pennsylvania (where Sebold's novel is set) in October; special effects will be shot at his Wellington studio"
From NZEdge

Whilst I have every faith the movie will be amazing I am also a great believer in reading the book before watching the movie. Having your own images conjured whilst reading the book in mind whilst watching the movie is pretty cool as you can compare both interpretations and when both your interpretation and that of the directors and/or producers collide it's just awesome - gives a sense of universal belonging or connection I often think.
On the other hand, reading the book after having seen the movie version is often disappointing as it is difficult to compare the book format when you already have a visual image that may or may not correlate with what you are reading... ...that's my humble opinion anyway :p

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fire Goblintree

Blue Fairy from Emma DaviesYour fairy is called Fire Goblintree
She is a bringer of riches and wealth.
She lives where fireflies mate and breed.
She is only seen when the first leaves fall from the trees.
Her dresses glow with fiery colours. She has gentle green wings like a butterfly.

Source: Fairy Name Generator

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Celebrity Lookalikes!

This is fun! Find your celebrity lookalikes here!

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Ceasefire Campaign

Email from Ceasefire Campaign:

Dear Friends,

As the awful civilian death toll rises above 1000 in Lebanon and Israel, people around the world are seeking a place to voice their frustration and concern. Over the last 4 days, 200,000 people from 148 countries have signed the ceasefire petition. At this rate, we could soon be the largest global online petition in history.

The pressure is working. The global outcry over this crisis has pushed the Ambassadors to the UN Security Council to work around the clock to achieve an immediate ceasefire.

The latest word is that the Council may be close to a final vote today or tomorrow, but we've been this close before and negotiations have fallen apart. We need more pressure now to close the deal.

Please forward this email on, spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues, post a link on your blog, bring up the campaign in discussions, and urgently encourage people around you to join this global wave of protest by signing up at the link below:

The pressure is working. Let's ratchet it up.

With hope,

Ricken Patel,
Ceasefire Campaign

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Kepler Track Dec 05

Mount LuxmoreWell I made it up that mountain - somehow! Lots of meditation, deep breathing & regular stops were required but I did it!

On Boxing Day, BF - in his infinite madness - insisted we do the whole track including the extra 45 mins from Te Anau through the wildlife centre to the control gates (even though there was a perfectly good bus running to the gates *huff* he still owes me big time for that!) so we did that and then walked through beautiful forest for a while until we hit the lake beach (Brod Bay) where families on day trips were lounging - lazy sods!

We left them to their happiness and proceeded to trudge away from the lake up the mountain - OH MY WORD! It was painful! To say I was unfit was an understatement. Within minutes, my heart was racing for all it was worth, my hot hot head was burning up and my breath - what breath? I think I'd left it at the beach. You may have noticed that I like a good moan (it's how I was brought up, so I'm good at it) but to be fair to Kepler, despite the pain (which I got used to eventually) the whole walk was breathtaking (in a good way). The scenery was awesome, the forests just magical, the sun shone most of the time, the rain was light and refreshing and when the initial pain wore off it felt good to be using muscles which had previously lain dormant for too long. And to be fair to me, I didn’t actually moan that much on the trek, as BF will concur. Shocking!

The last few hours of the day however, when we finally broke the tree-line, was a little disheartening as my legs ached like never before, it had started to rain, and the Luxmore Hut was nowhere in site. I knew we were so near but there seemed to be a huge expanse of bush (as in heather, bramble type stuff not kiwi/aussie 'bush') ahead of us. At this point, my meditation had turned into a commune with the earth whereby I agreed to just let go and stop fretting as the earth agreed to carry me along. I may have been somewhat delirious at this point, but to me, that’s what happened. The earth generously swept my heavy, tired feet along the path and that’s how I made it to the hut some 35 mins later. It was a blessed relief and the views from the kitchen were reward enough - just beautiful!

Luxmore Hut
After a slightly chilly night at the very well equipped hut, we set of the next day to climb Luxmore once more. This time our path was along somewhat precarious ridges (all ridges are precarious to me you understand. One could fall off the sidewalk and break one’s neck you know), over beautifully weathered rocks and sepia toned stones, some textured like sand, others smooth as glass, saturated with minerals revealing patterns formed by history, displaying a time long gone. They reminded me of the multi-layered images I have been creating of late and provided much inspiration. I would have taken more photographs of them but was too busy trying not to fall off the mountain!

BF persuaded me (the boy is a genius...or a hypnotist) to take the detour climb up to Luxmore’s summit which lies a mere 1472m above sea level and although I was very nervous of what I saw as a steep, unsteady path, full of rocks just waiting to slip from under our feet and send us hurtling down the mountainside, I did it and the view was great, er I mean awesome (remember you're a kiwi now)! After the obligatory photos we stumbled back down to rescue our backpacks from the cheeky Kias who were attempting to demolish them.

The path levelled for a while after this which was pleasant and gave us time to peruse the fauna. Gorgeous purple heather, bright green tufts of grass amongst the stones, perfect white mountain daisies, delightful moss as bright as any you’d find in a fairy-tale, covered with tiny red and white flowers – I’m gushing I know, but it was just perfection up there!

I’d been quite nervous (what, me, nervous, no!) about walking along the Forest Burn Saddle as there were warnings about strong, sudden gusts of wind that weren't afraid of blowing you off your feet and carrying your unfortunate frame away down into the valley to be pecked at by the Kias (I made that last bit up, but there were warnings). However, this turned out to be one of my favourite bits of the track. And when we stopped for lunch over looking the fiords, surrounded by blue mountains, glass-like water below, I was in heaven.

Lunch with a view
Heaven soon faded as we passed the Hanging Valley shelter and started to descend into the valley itself. Don’t get me wrong, the scenery was still awesome, the flora still delightfully floral and the sun kept on shining comfortably, but the agony of the steep descent, particularly down the long series of steps built into the mountainside was almost too much for my poor knees to bear. I suffered along until we eventually hit the forest again and breathed a sigh of relief feeling sure it would not be long before we’d come across the Iris Burn hut. Oh, how wrong I was.

The next few hours were probably the longest of my adult life. Not only was the path a constant zigzag down into the forest (agh! The frustration of feeling as though you are trundling around in circles, never getting any closer to ground-level was almost unbearable! I was trapped in an optical illusion of the perpetual descending forest) but my knees had just about given up and refused to suffer any more weight on them for longer than 5 steps at a time. Thus the descent was prolonged further as I had to stop frequently to scream internally and give my poor joints a break. And I swear the path is soooo much longer than the DOC (Dept. of Conservation) signs indicated. It’s funny how at the top of Mount Luxmore the signs indicate a 5-6 hour walk to Iris Burn but when you finally get to the bottom the sign from Iris Burn to Mount Luxmore says 7 hours! Hmmmm, go figure!

Through the forest we trudged, down one zig, down a zag, down another zig and so drearily on into the subdued depths. Suddenly, as we came around another tiresome zag, we spied something strange leaning against a tree. On closer (but not too close) inspection, we discovered a shovel and pick axe (okay, well maybe it was just 2 shovels). How strange, we thought, looking at each other curiously. Whoever would leave such items lying around this quiet forest? I naturally imagined a mad man who lived in the woods and preyed on weary trampers who dared to pass through his domain. I imagined him watching us from up above, smirking to himself as we walked innocently into his trap. I imagined the sharp cackle that would emanate from his dry, rasping throat as he pounced down upon us with his – I stopped imagining as we stopped dead in our tracks. Ahead of us a strange and undoubtedly fearsome creature appeared. Dressed head to toe in a khaki outfit with long woollen socks and large boots befitting a woodland creature, it whistled a tuneless tune as it worked away at the ground. For a moment I was convinced we had come across one of the seven dwarfs and wondered whether Snow White was hidden somewhere in the forest too. Venturing closer (how brave we were) we discovered that this khakied creature was in fact a DOC Warden clearing out the overspill sections along the track.

My astonishment was no less than if he had been one of the seven dwarfs. How could anyone be working so hard out here in the heat of the forest where I struggled to keep upright with my backpack and savaged knees! I had utter admiration for this man. He put down his shovel to say hello and let us pass. We asked hopefully if it was much further to the hut. “Erm, well” his screwed up his face looked away and we took this to mean “Yes it’s further, much, much further, you’ll never make it, give up now you fools!”

Along the rest of the way my darling BF kept saying helpful things like “oh look there’s the mountain stream; that means that we must be almost at ground-level.” I believed him, until the 3rd time he said it when I began to get suspicious. We did eventually reach a point that seemed to be at ground level and the cool river looked so refreshing and inviting and my legs were so hot and broken, that I persuaded BF to stop for a break and a foot bathe. It was just as delicious as I’d imagined, so soothing to tired feet. Quite possibly the 2nd highlight of the day.

15 minutes later, the whistling dwarf / DOC warden passed by with his shovel over his shoulder so we thought it was probably time to get going. Like fools we thought it would only be about another 40 minutes tops to get to the hut. An hour and a half later, we arrived at the Iris Burn hut exhausted and relieved.

There were no hot baths or showers to revive our aching limbs but after a long sit down whilst BF prepared dinner (he’s a good boy! / he made me do this trek, he damn well ought ‘a make dinner for me!), we set out on the 20 min walk to a waterfall which was not amazing but a good enough excuse to stretch the legs before they ceased up all together.

Stay tuned. The next thrilling instalment of the Kepler Track will follow shortly and maybe some more pics if you're lucky.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006


Bored of posting at the mo - life is too good, ha ha! :) So here's some random(ish) blogthings about me - allegedly - just fascinating huh! Enjoy dear Reader - assuming you're still out there! ;)

My Brain's Pattern

My mind is a firestorm - full of intensity and drama

(you noticed?!)
My thoughts may seem scattered to me most of the time...

(no kidding)
But they often seem strong and passionate to those around me.
I am a natural influencer. The thoughts I share are very powerful and persuading

(did you hear that? powerful & persuading get me!)

My Hidden Talent

My natural talent is interpersonal relations and dealing with people

(preferably online rather than face to face)
You communicate well and are able to bring disparate groups together

Your calming presence helps everything go more smoothly

(lol) People crave your praise and complements

(uhuh - you are both gorgeous people, just swell!)

I Should Learn French

C'est super! I appreciate the finer things in life... wine, art, cheese, love affairs.I am definitely a Parisian at heart. I just need my tongue to catch up... (c'est vrai, j'adore francais)

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Monday, November 07, 2005


Hmmm, haven't posted much lately and what I have has been a bit miserable, oh dear!
Things are looking much better now tho, thank goodness! Have been real busy with moving stuff, heaps of art work and booking trips to explore more of these beautiful islands, but have managed to have lots of laughs along the way - yup, a few tears too, but that's okay :)

Christmas will be strange this year, being so far away from friends and family and because of the weather. It'll be hot - weird! We've decided to take the holiday opportunity to head down to Queenstown area on Christmas day and do a 4 day trek, starting Boxing day on the Kepler Track. This is going to be hard work, especially for me who tried to run round the block the other day and had to stop every 2 minutes to catch my breath! Still, it will be a challenge and gives me major excercise motivation over next 6 weeks as if I'm unfit, the whole trek will suck big time! No pressure then ;)

waikato collage
Collage pic of recent trip to Port Waikato.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005


It's been a busy past few weeks, hours spent searching for a new home on-line, setting up appointments, wandering around in the rain & hail trying to find some of these obscure places, peering around other people's homes, wondering how a landlord can realistically expect a tenant to pay $400/week for a so called "fully furnished" apartment that has no functioning kitchen, just a small electric "cooker" and a sink (and the worst thing is that we seriously considered it for at least 2 days, imagining how we could get by without these basic functions - take-outs??!) *sigh*, wandering around lovely, light, spacious apartments that we knew we would not be able to rent because the location was just 'not us', finally finding a suitable pad and now desperately searching for cheap but reliable 2nd hand furniture to fill it.

The new pad is considerable smaller than our current apartment and is only furnished with white-ware, but the location is lovely - in an area much 'more us' - similar to Clapham/Dulwich area in vibe - it's away from the 'city'* centre, with a small beach at one end of road and cool & creative bars/boutiques/shops etc at the other end. I am so looking forward to the move and leaving this apartment behind. Plus I'd quite like the furniture search to be over - it takes up so much time.

I'm feeling mentally or is it emotionally exhausted at the moment. Though my body is up for some exercise and fresh air, my head and heart just aren't in it right now. I don't feel too bad, just a bit numb, full of nothingness. Perhaps I'm putting too much pressure on the move but I'm hoping that it will bring more than a change of scene. I can start to look for part-time paid work, start to meet some new people, and spend less time alone. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time alone, pottering around by myself is more than a favourite hobby, it keeps me alive. But this apartment often feels like a trap, holding me inside and for various reasons that I won’t go into, it’s not exactly conducive to meeting people.

I think I'm mainly lacking sunlight. Here, the balcony looks down on a tree-filled courtyard but the view across is simply the huge apartment block opposite. Thus all the light we get is reflected from it's exterior. If you crane your head round to either side, you can see the sky, but it does not come as easily as it should. We get many bird visitors returning for the breadcrumbs we leave, or just to defecate on our balcony (so sweet to watch the little heads turning slowly from side to side for up to 10 minutes as they strain to release the little packages for us!) and some days they are the only living things I communicate with between BF leaving for work in the morning and returning later in the evening.

The new pad has a substantial deck across the back with both the living space and bedroom opening up to the sky and trees and possibly a sea view when the trees are less leafy. I yearn to look out at this view every day though doubtlessly I will find fault with it in time.

Why am I being so negative? I have strange feelings that things won't go according to plan. I feel fear coursing through my veins. I feel nausea. Perhaps it's just pmt? Perhaps it's not. Sometimes, I think that thinking negative things makes them happen, but maybe that's just a way for me to blame myself when things don't work out the way I wished them to.

Blaming myself for things over which I have no control was almost a religion to me when I was growing up; that and Guilt, the heaviest and darkest of burdens for a young person to carry. I was brought up to believe that thinking ‘bad’ thoughts was just as bad as doing ‘bad’ things. This meant that when things went wrong as they infrequently did, I could blame myself for them even if I merely overheard or was a witness to an incident. I could somehow trace the event back to a time when I’d been ‘naughty’ or ‘cheeky’ or not done something I was told to do, or worse still, I’d done it badly on purpose because I thought it was grossly unfair that I had to do it at all. It’s kind of like the karma concept which I believe in wholeheartedly, but taken to dangerous extremes.

I was such a lost kid. I feel so sorry for the young person I was. And I felt even more sorry for myself at the time. It was an endless spiral of feeling sad for myself and the woeful situation I was in and blaming myself for the things that made my situation so bad. A downward, deep, dark swirling spiral of self-hate. A whirlpool of thoughts endlessly conspiring against me, drowning me in their despair.

How many times did I fantasise about running away? I can remember it so clearly as I used to spend hours thinking about all the difficulties I might encounter, and how I could possibly survive once I’d gotten away. I remember lying in my bed, where I spent as much time as I possibly could, staring out of the window, wondering if I could safely make the jump from the window to the garage and then off down the path and away.

Of course I never even got close to actually doing any of this. I didn’t have the courage or strength to make such a brave move in real life. My constantly worrying head asked: What would I do if I even made it away from the house? Where would I go? What would I do then? What else was there out there for me? I held too much fear to get very far, even in my dreams.

Enough of the reminiscing. I have at least learnt what not to do and for that I am grateful.

* Auckland - 'a thousand suburbs in search of a city'

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I love it here in Auckland, but equally, I miss London, especially now it's Autumn over there - mmmmm, my favourite time of year to be in UK.......

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sometimes, Suddenly

Sometimes, life can seem so bleak. Sometimes it can feel as though I am lost in a downward spiraling well of deepest, darkest blackness whose all encompassing arms constantly reach out, enveloping me in fear. Sometimes it feels as though there can be no way out of despair. As though all the world is a foreign land in which I have no place. As though there is no point in even trying anymore. Sometimes, this life, this journey seems too hard to carry on.

So I stop fighting, let myself go; stop goading myself with thoughts of tipping myself over the edge and just do it.

And the funny thing is, as soon as I let go, there is nothing left to fear. Instead of falling endlessly as I had expected, I float quietly in space as though carried upon a quiet cloud until I can bring myself to open my eyes and see that the ground is not so very far beneath my feet and the sky is still up above, looking down on me, little old me, in this vast and, yes, beautiful world. The beauty releases the breath from my previously closed lungs and suddenly I find I can breath again. So I do.

.......and so on and so on

Thursday, September 15, 2005


What a pain in the posterior! I've just spent all day trying to fix errors in my template - agh!
I can be such a muppet - trying so hard to be a perfectionist that I got bogged down in code and lost a whole day - no painting, no research, no chilling even, just hours and hours drifting by as I tried to fix my template cock ups!

Still all sorted now and I hardly even thought about resorting to nicotine for faux comfort - yeah! I know it doesn't look all that different but it suits me better and hey, I spent all day on it, so deal! Kiddin - hope you had a good one x

PS Check new link listing The Humanity Critic - it's funny, witty & has a special charm that warmed my dispirited cockles this morning.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Wood Smoked Lunch

Hmmmmm, I must be more careful when shopping. I picked up a couple cans of salmon last week which I'd thought were standard wild, "dolphin-friendly" salmon. Having just opened a can, I realised this salmon is not at all "wild" so feel annoyed that I've bought farmed salmon which is probably laced with all sorts of chemicals and bad stuff that just isn't fish; isn't what it says on the can.

But the worst thing is this: Reading the can, I see I've inadvertently purchased "Wood Smoked Flavour Salmon". Wood Smoked FLAVOUR??? What's up with that! Not only does it taste grim, but it's not even real wood-smoked. Either really wood smoke the salmon, or don't. Why does Sealord have to add a flavour that isn't really there? And how did they do it? I imagine a machine blowing essence of wood smoke gases into my salmon, already brim full of flavour additives and preservative enhancing chemicals - UGH!

Still, not in the habit of "throwing away good food" I stir in some mashed avocado & cream cheese and it all tastes better - phew! Only organic or wild salmon for me in future, and NO added flavours.

Later: Tasted okay with the avocado but my mouth now feels like I've smoked 10 fat mexican roll-ups - nice!

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