Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Meditteranan Food Warehouse Pizza Parlour

When we had our floorboards under construction recently, we had to operate without a kitchen - which meant a lot of eating out.  We tried the Mediterranean Food Warehouse Pizza place in Kelburn.

Its a nice, cheap eat (though pizza pomodoro in Wellington do a better Italian pizza).  BM was intrigued by the taro cake on the menu.  I hadn't had taro before I came to New Zealand (apologies if I'm preaching to the choir).  Its a tuber veggie and is really common in Polynesia (and increasingly New Zealand).  It has a sweet nutty flavour.  I still haven't cooked it at home though and am pretty sure they added food dye!

*** Giveaway details: http://crafty-mermaid.blogspot.com/2011/09/15-followers.html***

Monday, September 26, 2011

At the Cable Car

A view of Wellington from the Cable Car in the Botanic Gardens.  BM has this view on his walk to work every day - I only have it if I need to head into town for a meeting.

*** Giveaway details: http://crafty-mermaid.blogspot.com/2011/09/15-followers.html*** 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

House upsets

There's been an awful lot of this...

and this...

recently because of this...

 but thankfully, its started to look like this...

And that's after 35 different floorboards were removed, replaced, sanded and varnished...

Its been rather tiring.

*** Giveaway details: http://crafty-mermaid.blogspot.com/2011/09/15-followers.html*** 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

wine tasting around Martinborough

The second day in Martinborough saw us touring some of the wineries for wine tasting.  I drove so BM was able to stock up our cellar (doesn't that sound grand? Actually its a few bottles in the same cupboard as our cleaning supplies!).

It can be quite good fun touring the different wineries and sometimes there's quite a drive between each of them.  Here's BM perusing the selection at one cellar door.

And here's a smaller (but very cute) cellar door.  I find the whole idea of being able to visit wineries to be a wonderful idea.  I love that the climate supports grapes here.

That evening we drove to Masterton and went to the Countryman for dinner and walked around the town first to peer in windows.  It seems that the young farmers contest was also on that weekend!

Another wonderful meal.  The presentation was seriously appealing.  Paua frittter for BM and garlic bread for me to start.

Scallops for BM and beef (I think!) for me for mains.

Followed by crumbed camenbert for BM and a sweet treat for me.  Yum yum!  It was a fun weekend.  Unfortunately I got hit by a bug and went under for a bit - but the wood stove was a god send and I snuggled down in front of a roaring fire and broke into my reading.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

A weekend trip to Martinborough

Winter is a long, long season without the bright lights and celebrations of Christmas and New Years to break it up.  This year BM and I took a weekend trip to Martinborough in one of the wine producing regions of New Zealand.  I started the weekend with a hot stone massage and it ended with a refreshing juice and nibbly chocolate.

I booked BM and I into a Bach (holiday home) in Martinborough.  I was much impressed by the bright blue kitchen splashback and the beautifully warm wood stove.

The house would be great in summer as the living room/kitchen opens on to the deck.

And around the corner is a very pleasant surprize - a wonderful hot tub.

We ended our first evening with dinner in the Martinborough hotel

A yummy souffle for BM and a fresh bread and dip for me.

We both had a duck based main - yum yum!

And BM had cheese for dessert.  So appetizingly presented that I had to steal a photo and some cheese!

We went on a tour of some of the wineries the next day and I'll sort through the photos and post about that soon!  (And yes, to my Christmas visitors, you will be going to Martinborough, there will be a quiz so pay close attention!)

*** Giveaway details: http://crafty-mermaid.blogspot.com/2011/09/15-followers.html*** 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

signs of spring

But daffodils in the markets and cherishingly carried home.

*** Giveaway details: http://crafty-mermaid.blogspot.com/2011/09/15-followers.html*** 

snow in Wellington

And snow on our path too...  Such a magical environment...

snow out my window

Last month's Wellington snow fall did make some pretty pictures.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brightening up the Kitchen

The herb corner of our kitchen.

Housed beside our Cath Kidson covered kitchen table.

Now brightened up with new bright plant containers.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Giveaway to celebrate 15 Followers!

I started the crafty-mermaid blog soon after I moved to New Zealand and wanted to have a record of the things I'd been making.  I wanted a way of sharing this with some of my friends in Ireland, the US and even in New Zealand.  

The last few years have been pretty changeable.  I made some wonderful NZ friends and moved in with them. I met and fell in love with BM. Moved in with him and his two cats and then convinced him to move!  This year, we bought a house together and I love, love, love it.  An Teach Gorm (the blue house). Its been wonderful to document all the changes and to look at the emerging pattern in 20:20 hindsight.
As well as a visual record, I've also found some wonderful, colourful, bright and beautiful blogs.  I've visited blogs and started and entered into conversations.  Others have called in here and said hi or 'oh that's nice!' and its all been greatly appreciated.  I had a rather nice surprize today when I realised that I had 15 followers.  I'm so glad you're interested in calling in and seeing what I've been up to.  I really enjoy all your comments and love visiting all your blogs.  I spend a lot of my time being inspired by what others have created.

So I want to say thank you!  I'm offering a giveaway - to anywhere in the world - I'd like to put together a package of crafty-mermaid crafts and post it to one or two of you.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post or follow my blog and let me know which of the following makes you'd like.
Option A: Crochet Bunting

Option C: Cath Kidson Bag (home sewn from the book Sew with additional lining and internal pockets)


I'll also include a selection of my cards.

I'll pick the winners on the 30th of September.

High Tea at the Wellesley Club

I've signed up for a few daily offers websites and recently spied a 'High Tea' treat.  I quickly nabbed a high tea for four at the Wellesley Club.  I've firmly placed the Wellesley Club into the shabby posh category, and its in one of the older buildings in Wellington.  Lovely embroidered linen with cute china.

Monogramed spoons...

Rough sugar chunks and sugar tongs...

And a selection of lovelies - including cucumber sandwiches (which I passed off on one of my guests!).  Definitely worth the half price admission but I doubt I'd be keen to pay full price.

A Green Tour of the 'Naki

Mt Taranaki in all its snow capped volcanic glory.

Last weekend, BM and I took a tiki tour to Taranaki to watch the Ireland - USA world cup rugby match (and after last night's amazing Ireland - Australia game, I'm really sorry I didn't shell out for tickets to Eden Park in Auckland too!). Taranaki is an active tectonic region and Mt Taranaki dominates the landscape (at least on a clear day as we couldn't see it the next due to cloud!). The mountain just seems to bubble up out of the landscape.

BM and I stayed in Stratford about 4 and a half hours from Wellington. Stratford is home to New Zealand's only glockenspiel and the start of the Forgotten World Highway. I was unfamiliar with the glockenspiel concept so I'll explain it slowly for those in the same boat!

In this case the Glockenspiel is a mock Tudor clock tower which at the same times every day, scenes from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet play out over loudspeakers accompanied by random panel's in the clock tower opening and plastic Romeo and Juliet figures popping out to say hello. I thought it was hilarious and our guidebook identifies it as one of the tackiest tourist attractions in New Zealand. I can't believe the locals have to put up with the loud clockwork like music four times a day.

Luckily other parts of Stratford were far more likely to keep my interest. I wandered into a local craft exhibition - mainly quilts and clay. I really loved the simple design and bright colours on this quilt.

I'm very tempted to make something similar to these clay sculptures for our garden. I can imagine them hidden in amongst the greenery, provided a hidden surprize for eagle eyed visitors. (Speaking of which, I'm loving finding what flowers are in our garden and need to share some of the wonderful blooms with you all - one of my Irish friends couldn't believe that we had blooms last month at the end of winter - even before and during our 'snow').

BM's mother does some Raku firing and I thought these were really nice examples of that method. It requires making a different type of kiln and can lead to some very beautiful results.

I also loved these tulip like vessels. The beautiful deep blue interior contrasted with the terracotta and white exterior. A fantastic twist on the famous Irish pottery of Stephen Pearce. I was very tempted to buy these but you couldn't take them away until the exhibition was over (too far to travel to collect!) and my better sense kicked in as I realised I had nowhere to put them!

These lovely figures had such personality. I loved the facial expressions.

This was another sculpture which caught my eye - really well done and such texture.

This quilted picture was so well done and I loved the french knot sheep.

The next stop on the tiki tour was on the Forgotten World Highway - so called because of how few people live on Highway 43. Some of the advertised stops could have been skipped - this brickworks needs some serious TLC.

But the countryside was green - Taranaki apart from the lack of people and the too high hills reminded me of home. That might just have been the gearing up for the match, the rain and the green, green grass...

The last stop for us on the Highway was the Republic of Whangamomona. In 1989 the regional councils moved the council boundaries and the village (of 30 or so people) were moved from one region to another. Not wanting to play rugby for the opposition, Whangamomona declared themselves a Republic and elected a president.

We got a fantastic welcome at the local pub when we stopped for lunch. The original plan was to travel the whole length of the highway but we were advised to go earlier to New Plymouth for the rugby match. Most of the locals were going to the match (well there was only 30) and dressed up in green jerseys to support Ireland! The rest of the highway includes some unsealed roads rather than tarmacked or as they're called here metalled roads. I'd definitely like to finish the highway if I'm back this direction on holiday again.

The beers on tap included some usuals and the local brew.

So back to New Plymouth for the rather wet warm up to the match. The USA brought their own band! The lengths some people will go to...

It was an amazing night - even if the game wasn't up to much. Ireland suffered from some opening nerves and the pitch was drenched - but that many Irish voices and rain - it felt like watching a match in Lansdowne! On the road early the next morning to be back at work for lunch time...

The sea of green