My First Home-Ware Haul!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Hello, Everyone! 

 I went on a little shopping expedition the other day and found a few little gems that I really wanted to share on my blog. I actually still live at home with my family, mostly to save money and there's never been a reason for me to move out. But since meeting Steve and us practicing what it would be like living together (quite successfully I might add) it's become a goal of mine for the next year to finally get our own place. 

I've always wanted to set up a home and have fun decorating. Recently we've been going through some storage and organizing what items we already have, or don't. There's now a long list of things that we will need before moving in and it's a list we are planning on chipping away at over the coming months. While we are still saving for our trip to Hawaii, we think it's a smart idea to get prepared now, rather than having to buy everything at once later. 

I've been dying to go out and starting purchasing a couple of things, and I am so happy with my finds. This entire haul only cost me $28 in total since almost all of it came from the clearance section. My mother not only taught me how to run a house, but to also hunt down those bargains. I think she taught me well!

Bed Cushion $5

How cute is this? I thought it was a nice neutral design that we could use in our bedroom. Plus, it has a removable cover so I can wash it easily or replace it later. 

Measuring Cup + Spatula $3-$2

The room in a house that needs the most stuff is always the kitchen. This is especially true with me because I love baking and cooking a lot. Measuring cups are super-useful to have around and this one has three different types of measurements labelled on it (great for those online recipes.) I use these wider spatulas most since they're so good for flipping pancakes and eggs. I'm gonna pick up another one later as back-up. 

Side Plates $2 each

These caught my eye and I just had to have them. When it comes time to decorate, I think I would like to try mimic some of the homely Scandinavian rooms you see on Pinterest. These plates just fit with that vision. And who says your first flat can't be filled with stylish things? 

Set of 4 Glasses $4

I initially walked past these, but came back because they were too good of a price to leave. My boyfriend loves his whisky and I thought that these would be a nice size for that kind of drink. They would even be perfect if you wanted a little bit of orange juice with breakfast.

Gold LIVE Letters $5

As soon as I saw these I thought they would look awesome on mantle-piece. It's nice and simple, plus it has holes at the back so you can hook them onto the wall if you like. It'll be fun getting little decorative pieces like this. 

There you go, the first of many (I'm sure) home-ware hauls. I do love this stuff and I'm definitely someone who has learned how to make a tight budget work. I'm really excited about what the future holds and I think I'm going to love the process of setting up my first home!

What advice do you have for setting up a new place?
Steph x. 

My Easy Easter Brunch

Sunday, 16 April 2017

I love cooking for others, especially if it's brunch time. Every Christmas for the past ten years or so, I've helped my Mum set the table and cook up a big morning feast for our family. The tradition has since spread to our special days of the year and Easter is no different. Here's the menu I came up with for this year's brunch: (serves 5)

Toasted Hot Cross Buns & croissants

Baked potato and Parmesan hash 

Breakfast sausages

Crispy bacon

Turmeric pancakes
+mascapone & raspberries 

Scrambled eggs

Mashed avocado

It looks like quite a lot of food, but it didn't take me all that much effort to put together. The key to a successful brunch is always timing and cooking everything in the right order. While the hash browns and sausages baked in the oven, I made the pancake mix in my Nutri-Bullet and got them frying. At the same time I whisked my eggs to set aside for last and mashed the avocado. Once my pancakes were done and the pan was still hot, I cooked up the bacon and sliced the buns and croissants. I got a separate pan going for the eggs, and lastly swapped out the oven items for the buns to toast up. Easy!

I think it's safe to say that my mother taught me well and I have been converted into a domestic queen at some point in those ten years. If you ever wanted to host a meal for friends and family, brunch is the best time to get some practice. Even having a waffle party with some of your besties would be a great way to spend a Saturday/Sunday morning. It can even be fun cooking together and there's less pressure than a traditional dinner party. And most importantly, it's a way of showing people that you care.

Let me know how your Easter was and what your favorite part was :)
Steph x. 

Easter Traditions To Start In 2017

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Oh, how I love Easter time! (and not just for the chocolate!)
It always means family time and relaxing for the long weekend. We get to sleep in on Sunday then get up to toasted hot cross buns then nibble on our Easter eggs for the rest of the day. I know it's a holiday that means different things to different people, but it's always a time to enjoy good company and treat yourself a little.

I always see the loveliest decorations and baking ideas in magazines/on Pinterest that makes me feel inspired. It puts me in the Easter spirit and for the past few years I've tried to think of new traditions I can make for our family. I thought I'd make a list of small ways to do this and share them with you!

Bake a themed cake 

I've seen so many amazing cakes covered in speckles or topped with Cadbury Mini Eggs. The pastel cupcakes look adorable too. Truth is, most of the recipes are actually pretty easy to put together. Easter is a great time to practice your baking skills and maybe even show off to your work mates. If you're having an Easter meal with your family, a themed cake would be such a lovely way to surprise them.

Try making your own hot cross buns

I know the store-bought ones are easy to pick up, but can you imagine how amazing your kitchen would smell with a batch of freshly baked buns? Yum! They would also be better for you too, with less preservatives and you can even add whatever fruit (or chocolate) you like. There's easy-to-make recipes online and even the gluten-free options means that no one misses out, no matter your dietary needs. Give it a try! You could even get the whole family in on it.

Throw a brunch party

I have to admit, this is something I plan on making a tradition this year for sure. I usually only cook a big family brunch at Christmas time, so why not do it for other holidays too? You can get as creative as you like with the menu, chocolate chip pancakes, french toast, or just mountains of avocado on toast. Make it as healthy (or not) as you like, just make sure to invite loved ones around to share it with and have a good time.

Get outside with your family 

Something non-food related (although you could always bring a picnic!) Even though Autumn is upon us now in New Zealand, I know for a lot of lucky people it's now Spring time. With a new season bringing more sunshine, it's the perfect time to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. You could go walking with you dogs, pretend to be kids at a park, find a walking trail, or even stage an outside Easter egg hunt!

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend!
What traditions do you and your family have? Or any you would like to start?
Steph x.

What I Eat In A Day #3

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Welcome back to another installment in this series! This week I decided to capture a rather foodie Sunday and show you something a little bit different to some of my at-home meals. I had a lot of fun this day trying new things and spoiling myself a little. Next week I am definitely getting back to normal meals!

It wouldn't be Sunday without pancakes in bed! I got to use my new fry pan this morning (quite exciting, I feel like a domestic goddess) and it was quicker to heating so I burned a few of them. But they still tasted amazing! I lathered on the maple syrup and whipped cream, which I wouldn't normally go for but I'm trying to add more fats into my diet for energy. I just used a similar mix to my Protein Pancake recipe, but forgot the baking powder. 

I went off to the Food Show today with one my CrossFit buddies. Being massive foodies, we were pretty excited to wander around trying new things. There were a lot of our favorite brands there and I think we found some new favorites too. 

Here's a little haul of what I got: 
(coconut yogurt, paleo pancake mix, smoked salmon, almond butter, and the best barbecue sauce ever!)

There wasn't a lot of lunch options, so we decided to make the short walk to Town Tonic and try there new menu. It was definitely worth it and seriously makes me want to come back soon (they have a whole section on the menu just for avocado!) I went for the vegan huevos rancheros, which was two tortillas filled with baked beans, avocado, tofu scramble, and grilled eggplant. So good! 

Snack time! 
We are going out to dinner tonight, so I'm just having something light to tie me over. I'm having some fruit dippers (chopped apple) with some of the new mango coconut yogurt that I bought. This really hit the spot. 

Sorry about the photo quality, my new phone hated the lighting in there. We came to Fush for dinner, a restaurant that focuses on the Kiwi (and British) favorite that is Fish and Chips. You can order the fish any way you like, chips normal or sweet potato, and there's also burger options as well. 
We all shared some onion rings (the best I have had in my entire life) and some salt & pepper squid. 

For my main, I went for pan fried fish and sweet potato fries. I didn't feel like anything heavy, so this seemed like a healthier option. But Oh. My. Goodness was is amazing! One of the best meals I have ever eaten. It really was that good. Loved every bite!

There was no way we were leaving without trying their famous Pineapple Lump wontons! For any non-Kiwis these are our classic chocolate treat only deep fried and served with the creamiest vanilla ice cream I have ever tried. These were really fun to try and I would definitely order some to share again. 

This was such a good way to finish off an amazing weekend. Good food and great people is all you need, right?

Let me know if there's anything you would like to see in this series :)
Steph x.

Seven Things From Harry Potter I Wish Were Real

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Don't you just love a post talking about all things Harry Potter? They have to be one of my all-time favorite posts to read! I've been itching to write one for a while, but needed the write topic. I thought this would be a great sequel to my Eight Things From Disney I Wish Were Real post I did last month. Although it was a lot harder to pick my favorites this time! 

I've left out the obvious ones such as Hogwarts, chocolate frogs, and the lovely Luna Lovegood. There's very little about the universe I wouldn't want to bring to life, but if I had to pick a magical seven, here's what I would choose:

The Feasts 

I must be a true Hufflepuff because this was one of my favorite parts of the movies/books: seeing all the food. I would have to do so much running if I was a student that sat in front of cakes and towers of ice-cream every night. And since our common room is next to kitchens I can sneak in at night for left-overs!

Dumbledore's Army 

I don't know about you, but when I was in high school there was nothing more thrilling than rebelling from a teacher. And who better to annoy that the horrible Professor Umbridge? The DA is a big part of the reason why Order of the Phoenix is probably my favorite of the films. They made learning spells and secret meetings look so fun! 

Diagon Alley 

When I first watched Harry Potter as ten year old, I think the first scene that made me fall in love with it was when Harry and Hagrid walk into Diagon Alley for the first time There was something so magical and exciting about it that I immediately wanted to explore it. I think I would end up spending all of my money in the Florish and Blotts book store!

The Weasley's 

Probably my favorite fictional family of all time. Starting with Mrs Weasley, the best cook and bad-ass witch, Mr Weasley and his innocent curiosity about all things Muggle-related, Charlie basically being an epic dragon-tamer, Ron bringing all the laughs to tough times (and making Hermione smile), Bill fighting for the good side even after becoming a werewolf, Ginny for being tougher than the boys, and of course the twins making sure everyone was always laughing. Even Percy redeemed himself in the end! 


I was never one for sports at my school, but if we could actually fly around on broomsticks and throw balls at each other mid-air I would have participated a lot more! I'm not talking about the muggle-version people play nowadays, I wanna be soaring through the air to avoid bludgers (although I fear my lack of co-ordination would get me hurt a lot.) It would still be an exciting sport to watch! 


Do you know how much time this would save? Being able to travel straight to anywhere you have been before would be one of the coolest parts of being a witch or wizard. Just think, if you go to Disneyland once, you can go back any time you like. I'd pop there for a churro, hit the Indiana Jones ride, then watch the fireworks show from any spot I want. Endless possibilities for this one!

Fantastic Beasts

They have always been one of my favorite elements to the HP universe, and the latest movie only makes me want them to be real even more! If I were a witch, I would probably have wanted to end up studying and taking care of creatures like Newt does. Life would never be boring and you can educate people on how to protect them.

Now it's your turn! Tell me what things you wish were real from Harry Potter in the comments.
Steph x.

365 Days Of Happiness: March

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Whenever the month flies by, I always try and remember what I did to make it go so fast. Looking back, March was pretty darn good!

My training was really exciting this month because of the CrossFit Open. Every Friday we have waited anxiously for them to officially announce the workout, then head along and participate with your team mates. It was the first time I felt like I was competing in a sport, even though it was really only against myself. I had so much fun doing it and getting to know the people at my box better. It was a big highlight for the month and I'm more determined to work harder in class every single day now. 

I think March has taught me a lot about myself and what I can do to be better. With my health, my anxiety, and what I need to do to get the most out of life. I definitely feel like I have improved in a lot of areas this month and I feel more confident taking on the rest of the year. 

Sorry if this month was a little repetitive. It looks like I did a lot of training and an equal amount of eating!

1. I made meatballs with home-made tomato sauce for Steven's work pot luck and they loved it!

2. After an insanely long work day, I got to relax with the Big Bang Theory, dessert from McDonald's, and cuddles.

3. Played a fun warm-up game at CF on the rowers. Didn't even feel like we were working out! Plus I got the highest score. 

4. At the CF Open workout today all of us girls came out in Wonder Woman shirts to scare our coach. It totally worked too! 

5. Successful shopping trip for wedding things. 

6. Round two of the 17.2 Open workout and I got my first ever kipping pull-ups! 

7. Satisfied my sweet tooth with a chocolate waffle cone. 

8. Picked up supplies for our trip! I may have also sneaked in some Easter treats. 

9. Smooth road trip down to Dunedin and managed to find the best Thai food in the city.

10. Steven's sister's wedding went super-well and we got some great pictures for them. The family even got me up dancing (a nearly impossible feat, so well done.)

11. Had a nice, chilled barbecue then borrowed a dog to go walking on the beach.

12. Lovely good-bye lunch with Steven's family. It's a great feeling when you fit in well with the right people.

13. A very nerve-racking 17.3 workout and I did way better than I thought I would. I managed 10x 25kg snatches! (my PB is only 19kg)

14. Found it fun trying to come up with healthy, yet budget friendly meals for me and Steven when we house-sit together.

15. Made easy quesadillas for dinner and they were so good!

16. Feeling proud of myself today. I pushed through a 30 minute workout without scaling any of the reps!

17. Deadlift Open workout! Was really awesome doing a heat with some of my favorite team mates.

18. Hill run, out for brunch, and shoe shopping with Mum. Just like we used to :)

19. Ended up running the 6km City 2 Surf with Steven and my knee held up fine!

20. Actually got to do some heavy back squats today on top of a great workout. Feeling confident again!

21. The boys were intimidated to workout beside me at training today. Not sure why but thanks for another confidence boost guys.

22. Made healthy cupcakes for a baby shower at work and they were delicious! (Recipe here.)

23. Nothing better than buying yourself new socks to wear. Seriously, where to they all go?!

24. Completed the 17.5 Open workout then went out for dinner with the CrossFit gang.

25. Did some more hill running today and my knee hurt way less than last week. Also went a good friend's 80's birthday party! I made her a Pac Man cake.

26. Went out and bought some games for me and Steven to play. Uno went down a treat and I think it may be our new favoite.

Lush bath using one of their Valentine's bath bombs

27. Sick in bed all day, but my wonderful boyfriend surprised me with dumplings, hot cross buns and a Maze Runner book :D

28. Chilled night watching my favorite cooking program with Mum.

29. Came home from work to find a surprise cupcake and salted caramel ice-cream waiting for me.

30. Steven came up with a new points system to help us make healthier choices in a fun way. We get rewards after earning so many points. It's working already!

31. Did my first running workout at CrossFit since hurting my knee and it felt great! So happy!

I hope everyone had a wonderful month, you never know what April will hold either.
Tell me something that made you happy in March :)
Steph x.

Chia Protein Pudding Recipe!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

One morning at training, my coach called me over to try something he had made for breakfast. It was a simple recipe but packed full of goodness. He's super-strict with his nutrition, so I'm happy to try anything he recommends. It was a delicious protein pudding that tasted like it shouldn't be healthy, yet it totally is. I found the recipe he had posted and it has since become a staple for me.

This couldn't be easier to put together and it's something that you can make the night before in about five minutes. Pop it into a to-go container and you can eat a filing breakfast anywhere/anytime that suits you. I've taken this with me to training then ate it afterwards, or just left it in the fridge for an afternoon snack.

It seems like a lot of ingredients, but once you buy some in bulk you do get a lot of serves out of it.

Serves 1

1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons flaxseeds 
2 teaspoons sliced almonds
1 serve protein powder (any flavor you like)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup frozen berries 

Into a container or bowl, add the chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, and protein power. 

Pour the coconut milk and vanilla on top and mix well.

Top with frozen berries of your choice (I would recommend raspberries, so good!)

Cover and place in the fridge to set for a few hours or over-night.

And it's ready to go! 

This couldn't be easier to put together and I have felt better since starting to eat it as part of my routine. It would be the perfect way to start a good day and get you eating right!

Let me know what you think :)
Steph x.