A Charmed Life


this kiwi girl muses about… life, death, resolutions among other things

This past week – oh vey! Yucky does not begin to describe it.

There really ought to be pause button on life when you are visited by loss… but then again I suppose we need the confronting nature of life in all her perplexities and idiosyncrasies to remind us to get out of bed and live.

The death of David Bowie has had a profound effect on me, more than I could have imagined – not that I ever imagined this possible for David appeared to exist in an aura of timelessness that seemed to transcend death only it didn’t and he is gone and it is a loss that will be felt for the rest of my life I know this to be true; but his was not the only passing that darkened my door in the last week – many – not one, not two, not even three – many beautiful souls lost their brave battles with that bloody cancer beast.

I know to a certain extent from my own experience how debilitating cancer can be; so to know how in health these souls were so completely present and vital then to have to imagine them in their sick state, reduced to living a lesser life feels wrong and hurts more than their passing does. To that end, in amongst the sorrow I find solace in the knowledge that these souls – finally emancipated from their diseased bodies – are free. To those who have transitioned thank you and to those of us left behind always the love. 


The following words were written before death darkened my door, when I had that gusto the promise of a new year brings; I don’t feel like that today but there you have it ladies and gentlemen – life in all her ebbs and flows – funk to funky. So without further ado… this week’s post:

Firstly can I start by wishing you a very Happy New Year. May each and every day of yours be draped in happiness, warmth, peace and love.

So a new year hey! New resolutions! Have you made any? Have you already given up? It is said that 25% of resolutions are broken in the first week alone. Then within six months, over half of resolvers will have given up. Not for me though, once I get an idea in my head I find it quite seamless to follow through – the right mix of stubborn and discipline with a dash of guilt I suppose. To that end in the past I have been able to successfully complete:

  • no alcohol for a year – thrice,
  • learn to ride a horse,
  • no ice cream for a year – it’s harder than you think when you are a kiwi girl brought up on loving all things dairy,
  • read minimum two books a month for a year – that one very nearly failed when I decided to read War and Peace, have you read it? It is quite possibly the longest book ever written (okay its not but it felt like it at the time). Thankfully just as Natasha entered into the story a bad bout of flu kept me bedridden allowing me the time to finish it in a timely manner,
  • learn how to fence (the epee kind)

Some resolutions like the above list I have made just because I enjoy a challenge. Others are made for the greater good like when I introduced lemon water to my morning routine to boost my immune system, a habit I continue with today. Exercise is always a good one when it comes to resolutions – to gym or not to gym being the common question. I am not a gym junkie so I wouldn’t dare go there but I like to stay fit so through resolutions I have established a regular fitness routine sans the gym that keeps me ticking over.

And it was the greater good I was pondering, when one night last September feeling disgustingly gluttonous – after chomping my way through a humongous bowl okay it was a bucket, a bucket of sweet and salty popcorn for dinner – I decided to wage war on refined sugar. Only, as I savoured the last morsel of popcorn I had no clue what refined sugar was so what I actually said was ‘fuck you sugar, I’m not going to eat you anymore.’

Turns out I didn’t know jack, for in sugar I have met my Waterloo. It’s not enough to cut out sweets and cake, sugar exists in this whole other stealth world. To understand the mammoth battle ahead I have had to study the history of sugar, the science and its health implications and it has been no Tuesdays with Morrie let me tell you BUT the more I know the more resolute I am to not eat it – this coming from a girl who once stated bubble gum as her favourite food. Oh la – it’s an interesting time to be me.

Sat Nam

Also in the news: My girl Hills campaign to the White House is going gangbusters, I hope this really is the year of a female president #Hillary16 ♥ Sean Penn – he makes me smile. I love him and not just for who he was married to but for his intelligent movies, his unwavering commitment to rebuilding Haiti and his fuck you’s to authority and the media – never before have we needed more people like him, people who question governments, media, industry and disrupt the status quo so Sean if you want to interview the most notorious drug dealer in the world kudos to you #Madonna+SeanPenn4eva ♥ I consider myself an activist, it is a title I wear with pride because it is my privilege to help my fellow brothers and sisters in their hour of need where I can. I don’t know how but the refugee crisis has affected me like no other tragedy ever has. It has become nestled deep within my heart and I feel strongly I must be part of the solution so in this coming year I will use whatever means I have to continue to shine a light. As I keep repeating; this – the worst humanitarian crisis we have known – is not going to just go away, it’s on track to get keep getting worse. I pray in 2016 we see an universal melting of hearts that leads to getting the job done – because it is in all our best interests, as Katniss says “Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!” #OneLove ♥ Another tragedy that has touched me is the plight of Saudi Arabian Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, I wrote of him a few months back. He is currently imprisoned awaiting execution for taking part in protests during the Arab Spring when he just 16 years old. Since I wrote I have been unable to obtain news on his status that is until New Year’s day when his uncle and 46 others were executed by beheading for so called terrorism. Mercifully al-Nimr was not on the list of the dead. I think of this young man everyday. He haunts me. Can you imagine being arrested for wanting democracy? How is this terrorism? Western and regional countries need to get their priorities sorted; Oil vs Human life – it’s really that simple #KarmasABitch ♥ If you haven’t already, listen/read Idris Elba’s keynote speech to Parliament on diversity and imagination – it’s really quite something. Bravo Luther! #let’sMASHtheBox ♥ And finally some lightish relief… over on Eastenders, I’ve waited ten years to say this, Grant Mitchell is coming back. Sadly it coincides with Peggy’s death but I just want the Mitchell brothers back together so I’ll take any storyline. Cue the doof doof.

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drink – carrot lime juice

carrotsToday I’m going gaga for carrots. Did you know carrots come in purple, red, white, and yellow? In fact, purple, red and yellow carrots were the only colour varieties of carrots to be cultivated before the 15th/16th century. Makes me wonder why that had to change, I reckon any of those colours are a damn sight improvement than the odious colour we associate them with now (I really really do not like orange and I’m in good company either do Nicole Kidman or Sarah Jessica Parker). That said I read recently that eating more deeply coloured orange vegetables like carrots decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in adult women so ignoring my dislike of that awful colour I embarked on a mini mission to find the perfect carrot based drink. After much experimentation, this simple one – carrot lime juice –  came up trumps so here is my current yum, a bit of zing and a bit of tang.

carrot lime juice
(makes 1 glass)
3-4 carrots
1 cm fresh ginger (zing)
1/2 lime (tang)
stevia (optional)

1.Peel the carrots and the ginger.
2.Place the carrot and ginger in the juicer/blender (medium speed).
3.Serve immediately with lime juice (and stevia) to taste.

Carrots are good for you, I know talk about stating the obvious. Of course they are, they are a vegetable and therefore part of our ‘5 A Day’ BUT do you know why they are beneficial for you? Let me enlighten you. Carrots are good for you because they are loaded with something called beta-Carotene which is a source of vitamin A which we need to aid with the following:

  • Maintaining Oral Health
  • Rich source of antioxidants
  • Helps protect against all kinds of ailments: Stroke, Cancer and as mentioned above Heart Disease.
  • Useful for the management of cognitive dysfunctions
  • You all know this one – Vision health (especially night vision)

Nothing else left to say except… if you haven’t already – embrace them carrots!

Also this week: Jen married! Ohlalala What will the gossip mags do now #JustiferForever • England win the Ashes whop whop #ImafauxBrit • And how about that arse Donald Trump, all I really have to say is keep it up DT, the more vulgar and inappropriate you get, the easier my girl Hillary’s ride to the White House #Hillary16 • Google to restructure into new holding company called Alphabet #AlphabetIt hmm its not the same • Robin Williams one year today, still hurts ‘You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.’ #myfavquote #DepressionisReal

Sat Nam


eat – chilled asparagus and almond soup

soupfordaysI don’t gush over food very often but today I am sharing my current favourite recipe – chilled asparagus and almond soup – created by the Hemsley sisters. I love asparagus so I am always on the lookout for new asparagus recipes and I found this gem in their cookbook The Art of Eating Well (great book for those who love healthy flavoursome meals and also for those reluctant cooks like moi).

This is an ideal summer dish, but to really get the full benefit of the flavours I would recommend teaming it with a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.


chilled asparagus and almond soup

4 servings

for the soup
100g flaked almonds. For NF version, substitute with pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds.
1 small onion, roughly diced
1 large leek, roughly diced
1 tsp ghee
1 large garlic clove (crushed)
2½ tsp fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
600g asparagus, trimmed (about 12 spears)
1¼ litres vegetable stock (or homemade chicken bone broth)
2½ tsp fresh lemon juice
salt and black pepper (chilli powder optional)

for the topping
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1. Toast 25g of the almonds in a dry, large saucepan and set aside for garnishing later.
2. In the same pan gently fry the onion and leek in ghee for 5 minutes until softened, but not browned. Add the garlic and tarragon to the pan and fry for another minute.
3. Prepare the asparagus by snapping off the woody ends. Add the spears and remaining 75g almonds to the pan. Stir, add a pinch of salt and black pepper, then add the stock.
4. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, with the lid on, until the asparagus is tender.
5. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Blend carefully, in batches if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning (I like to add a pinch of chilli here).
6. Chill and remove from the fridge just before serving, then garnish with the toasted almonds, lemon zest and a swirl of extra virgin olive oil (can be eaten hot as well).


The Greeks spoke of it in love poetry, the Kama Sutra advises drinking it as a paste, it is said the French once dined on three meals of asparagus the day before their wedding in hopes of increasing their libido for the big night ahead. Did you know that asparagus is considered an aphrodisiac? Aside from its obvious phallic shape, asparagus is also packed with vitamin E, calcium and potassium, which aid in cleansing the kidneys and urinary tract as well as increasing sex drive and the production of sex hormones in both men and women. The aspartic acid found in asparagus helps to neutralize excess ammonia in our bodies, and that’s important because excess ammonia can lead to fatigue and sexual disinterest, and where’s the fun in that?

Sat Nam


i’m going to tell you a secret

Do you have a secret, one you have had for most of your life? One you have never discussed with anyone – no I don’t suppose you do, lucky you. For most of my life I’ve harboured a secret, one that brought me deep shame whenever I thought of it and restricted the way I conducted my life.

Still better late than never, I am a true believer that the universe always has my back so in my past year – my year of magical thinking as I have come to call it – I was given the opportunity to address this shame and work through it, and hey it must have worked because here I am today ready to share it with the whole world, well the blogosphere which is tantamount to the same thing these days.

Hi my name is Reena and I have suffered from a food phobia for most of my life.’ My specific manifestation was a phobia of fruit, more accurately a fear of the texture and smell of fruit. You know in Star Wars Part IV when Luke, Leia and Han Solo are stuck in the garbage compactor, I think of that as my worst nightmare only with it being packed with fruit.

Now, I know that for you the reader this revelation will hold some element of disbelief even sound completely laughable, but to me it has been debilitating to an extent. Most phobias have a backstory I don’t know mine because for as long as I can remember I’ve had it, as a child I remember crying and – drama queen that I am – threatening to jump over the balcony on being told I had to eat a piece of fruit. I’m not entirely sure there is a moment in time that started it all because as I got older I came to know that two other family members (one of whom is my brother) suffer their own food phobias.

I grew up with this ‘secret’ and it was a secret in that I never told anyone not even family, obviously they knew I wouldn’t eat it but they attributed that to me not liking it. No one has ever known that for me to touch fruit gives me great anxiety and leads me to washing make that scrubbing my hands immediately. Even the smell or being in the same room as it could cause panic in my mind. To make it more bizarre not all fruits were equal. Some I am even okay to eat – as long as I never touched it with my hands – I could happily eat diced watermelon or apple pie with a fork. I won’t go into a breakdown of every fruit and the degree with which it freaked me out but the absolutely worst for me (still) is an orange, I am unable to look at it, smell it let alone touch it or put it in my mouth (the colour has only recently become bearable to look at). But lemons are totally fine in fact they are my favourite fruit. Not making sense – welcome to my world.

With eating being such a social activity, my phobia has restricted me when it came to cooking for others, eating out and even food conversations. Of course I never admitted my problem, for admitting would for all intents and purposes make me the object of ridicule, saying I was scared of spiders (which I’m not) is more preferable than saying I am scared of fruit but also how could I admit to something I didn’t understand myself; so to make life easier on occasion I would say I was allergic but mostly especially with my close friends and family I was just known as a fussy eater. One of my oldest friends told me recently I was always a nightmare to eat out with. Not the nicest thing to hear even if it is true.

So I continued to live with this in silence until a few years ago, when late one night at work I heard a kerfuffle at the other end of the office and upon investigation I learnt that some co-workers were playing a trick on a colleague due to her phobia of fruit. Seeing the panic in her face was all I needed, to know that I had found a kindred spirit. That night for the first time ever I was able to speak freely about my fear. Until this night this person and I barely knew each other but since that night we have become friends, whenever we meet up we joke about our connection and I have to say she is one of my best eating out buddies. Knowing that there was someone else in this world like me made me braver at broaching it with others in my life. It was like ‘I’m not such a freak, there are others like me too’ and yet it still never occurred to me to seek help or even consult the internet until the opportunity fell into my lap when I was in therapy last year.

During my time in therapy I was introduced to an nutritionist and together we worked on helping me to conquer¹ my food aversion phobia – because that is what it is called. Many people suffer from a degree of food aversion phobia; I used to go out with someone who detested coriander, I know many people who won’t eat peas – sometimes these will be fads or like mine last a lifetime. It is when it affects the quality of life that it becomes a problem. I haven’t gone into health implications because it is only since I’ve understood my phobia that I have been able to start living a more healthier lifestyle. Before just hearing how I must eat five a day would make me cringe now I’m planning meals to include my five a day.

I have worked and am still working very hard to overcome this phobia, I must have I just wrote about it; and while I’m not ready to drink a glass of OJ just yet, I will quite happily dig into a bowl of cherries and that my friends is what you call progress.

Sat Nam

¹the programme I am on was especially designed for me (it involved goal setting, reprogramming my brain, visualisation and working to achieve those goals in a comfortable environment). It is on going.


its all about the detox


So January is all about the detox according to the many headlines I’m seeing gracing the covers of magazines and in the lifestyle section of newspapers: Whether you buy into it or not, it is true that all that indulgent eating and drinking over the festive period can leave you feeling bloated, tired or just plain old unhealthy, so it’s important to take a moment to take stock and put some goodness back into the body. I actually started my new simple health kick a while back when one of my favourite Real Housewives Yolanda Foster tweeted about the merits of it. She made it sound so healthy, and best of all so easy – I had to try it and now because I love it and it being that time of year I feel the need to share it with you.

Every morning before I have breakfast, I now drink a glass of lemon water.

Not that big of a deal right? And that’s exactly the point. Read on.

So much goodness. The more I dig the more benefits I find:
1) I’m pretty confident that like me, you have known since you were a youngin’ that vitamin C is a good thing however what you may not know is that the level of vitamin C in your system is one of the first things to plummet when you’re stressed; this is why we are told to take extra vitamin C during stressful days or when we are starving off a cold – what better way to get a jump on this than by drinking lemon water regularly.
2) It helps flush out the toxins in your body by enhancing enzyme function and acts as a liver cleanser by assisting in detoxification. It purifies and stimulates the liver by encouraging the production of bile, an acid required for digestion. Lemon water can also help control excess bile flow, decrease the amount of phlegm produced by the body and assist in dissolving gallstones
3) Speaking of digestion, the digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion like belching, bloating and heartburn AND If you’re having trouble pooping, drinking lemon water will help to get things going.
4) Your body needs to be slightly alkaline to be at its healthiest as disease states can only occur when the body pH is acidic. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body thus balance your pH level(acidic level). Yes lemons are acidic on their own but once they are inside our bodies like magic, they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized).
5) The vitamin C and other antioxidants in a lemon mean that drinking lemon water can help to keep skin blemish free and rejuvenated from within the body.
6) Lemons are an excellent source of potassium, which is good for heart health, as well as brain and nerve function meaning drinking lemon water provides your body with energy when it enters your digestive tract, and helps reduce anxiety and depression. I have even heard that the scent of lemons can have a calming effect on your nervous system.
7) Drinking lemon water combats the bacteria in your mouth thus lessens the potential for bad breath.
8) As well as vitamin C and potassium, it is also a great source of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, all of which we need in our bodies to function normally.

How to drink:
If you weigh less than 70kgs to a 350ml glass of water* add the juice of half a lemon. If you weigh more than 70kgs, the same as above x 2 (to drink at different times of the day).
The quantity of water (350mls/approx 12oz) is important because our bodies can only metabolize this quantity of water at a time.
Optimal time to drink it is first thing in the morning that way you get the benefits of it throughout your day.
*Filtered water that is warm or room temperature will provide the most health benefits as it  allows for the full enzymatic and energetic properties of the lemon to do it’s magic. If you like a hot drink in the morning, warm lemon water is the best choice. The argument against drinking boiling hot lemon water is that whilst it is soothing when you are sick or in cold weather – the heat will destroy some of the enzymatic properties of the fresh lemon juice and on the opposite side of the spectrum the reason to avoid drinking ice cold lemon water is because it may hinder the digestive benefits of the lemon. In addition, even though your body will heat up the ice cold lemon water, it requires more energy and more work for the body.

Eyes Wide Open:
It feels quite ironic that one must be cautious when drinking lemon water BUT there are a few disclaimers to regular drinking you should know about before you start. As good as it is, citric acid from the lemon can eat away at the enamel on your teeth but as long as you are not using it like mouthwash your teeth will be fine. An alternative is to drink through a straw and/or use a baking powder toothpaste (I use Arm & Hammer Advance White) or rinse your mouth with plain water after drinking the lemon water. Secondly, and  this is more for me because I’m tend to be lazy and forgo the use of a strainer/juicer, you shouldn’t ingest the seeds of the lemon. They taste disgusting for one but more importantly they contain small amounts of salicylic acid which is the main ingredient in aspirin. Lastly (and obviously) if you are allergic to lemons this is not for you.

Results so far:
I initially started this as a fifteen day detox (as with any habit to notice a difference you need to keep it up for at least two weeks) but now in my fourth week I have decided to continue with it as it is just so easy to do and I do feel generally healthier, as in everything seems to be working as it should.

This one simple yet substantial action can make make such a difference to your entire well being, if you aren’t doing it get to it I say. Its a win win situation.

Hope your New Year has started happy. Sending much love.

Sat Nam


drink – christmas cosmopolitan


You may have noticed I like it spicy. Be it food or drink, the gospel according to Reena states it all tastes so much better with a little spice – so this little concoction is right up my alley. It’s a gorgeous drink, very hard to stop at one… or two.

Christmas Cosmopolitan
serves 10

500ml vodka
500ml ginger wine
1l cranberry juice
juice of 5 limes (keep zest for garnish)
sliced stem ginger


1.Mix the vodka and ginger wine in a jug.
2.Stir in the cranberry juice, lime juice and some sliced stem ginger.
3.Garnish with lime zest, if you wish.

Whatever you are drinking in this festive season I hope your Christmas is a perfect measure of fun and laughter.

Sat Nam


eat – pumpkin bread

pumpkinbreadOne of my must dos when I am in the States is to buy pumpkin bread from Starbucks. I know you are thinking ‘really Reena – Starbucks!’ But I’m telling you their pumpkin bread is their one redeeming factor. After years of harbouring a dream to be able to make pumpkin bread for myself, I finally got off my a*se and did something about it. Took a few attempts but as they say third time’s a charm and this certainly rings true for me today, for I successfully managed to produce a yummy moist loaf. The taste is sublime – spicy and sweet but the smell…  let’s just say if I could somehow translate how good my pumpkin bread smells right now, I know you would be reaching for your loaf tin.


pumpkin bread 

makes 1 loaf

500g pumpkin (you need to end up with 280g of pumpkin puree)
50g salted butter softened
60g caster sugar
½ tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger (I used fresh ginger)
3 medium eggs lightly beaten
350g white flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 Tsp pumpkin seeds (optional)
100g chopped walnuts (optional)


1.Peel the pumpkin and discard the seeds. Cut pumpkin into small chunks and place in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Put the lid on, lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Drain well and blend in a food processor until you have a smooth purée. Leave to cool.

2.Grease a 22cm x 11cm loaf tin (about 1.3 litre capacity) with butter and  line the base and sides with grease proof paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C (this is for a fan oven you will need to add 10°C-20°C for a non-fan oven).

3.Weigh 280g of the pumpkin purée and place in a large bowl and add in the softened butter, sugar, eggs and all the spices. Mix all the ingredients together.

4.Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a second large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the well and, with the help of a wooden spoon, stir all together until smooth. At this point you may want to add walnuts and/or pumpkin seeds.

5.Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked and golden the loaf will shrink from the sides of the tin.

6.Allow the loaf to rest for a few minutes out of the oven before turning it out on to a wire rack to cool.

If you do give it go, let me know what you think.

Sat Nam



eat – courgette noodles with avocado sauce


Food and I have never been friends. It’s not that I’m fussy when it comes to eating, more unadventurous and uninspired. It makes me cringe when I think of past eating habits and I do wonder how I have made it this far with no ongoing health issues. Bizarrely though, I may have been a lousy eater but I am actually a pretty decent cook (so I’m told) –  now it’s all about redressing this imbalance; exploring eating better with home cooked meals. Right now I am loving courgette noodles (also known as courgetti) – a yummy and healthy substitute to pasta.


courgette noodles with avocado sauce

serves 2

for the noodles
2 large courgettes
dash of salt
olive oil

for the sauce
1 avocado, pit removed
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp cracked pepper
¼ lemon squeezed
1 clove garlic (crushed)
dash of olive oil
sprinkle or two of chilli flakes(for a little extra kick)


1.Using a spiralizer or mandoline (or a grater will work if you haven’t got one of these) to julienne the courgettes into long strips (they should resemble spaghetti). Place in a colander and add a few dashes of sea salt to the courgette and toss. Leave the courgettes in the colander for about 20 minutes, this will help to drain off excess water.

2.To make the sauce mix all the ingredients together until it has a smooth creamy texture (I use a fork but a food processor will make the much job easier.

3.You can eat the dish raw (as is) OR you can heat up the noodles and add sauce on top OR you can heat both up – it is just a matter of preference. To heat: Add a little olive oil to a sauté pan and once pan has heated up add the courgette and cook for 2 minutes. If heating the sauce, add and mix through noodles, cook for another 2 minutes.

Hopefully you feel inspired to try if you haven’t already.

Sat Nam

ps how cool is the tablecloth 😉




I heart tea

tea tea and more teaI have been nursing my tea for the last ten minutes, feeling the love for the contents in my cup, so much so I thought I would articulate my thoughts.

My love affair with tea didn’t start until I was well into my twenties for I didn’t grow up drinking tea. By the time I left home at twenty-three I had had the odd cup of masala chai (Indian tea) but that was about it. It wasn’t until I shared a flat with a tea drinker in London that I started to really get into tea. Now many many years later I would say my day is not complete without at least one cup of tea.

Reasons to love tea;
→It tastes delish.
→It leaves me feeling hydrated and refreshed.
→According to those who know, tea improves my well being because it is full of catechins that’s antioxidants to you and I.
→I am a routine person and my two plus cups of green tea in the morning provide the stability I need to get my day started.
→It is the best non alcoholic accompaniment to have over a chat with the bestie.
→After a crappy day there is nothing more comforting than wrapping myself up in my doona and having a cup of tea to restore calm back into my equilibrium.
→It is universally available, no matter where you are in the world you can always get a cup of tea.
→The different varieties. Whilst these days at home I’m generally a green, rooibos or peppermint tea girl, I do love going to high tea as I get to experience different flavours (recently tasted and enjoyed – ginger and licorice).
→It makes me nostalgic,when I’m in a reflective mood like I was this morning I think of other ‘tea’ moments like when the aforementioned flat mate tea drinker dragged me across the road in our pajamas and winter coats to drink tea at Lancaster Gate Hotel or how when a close friend is in town from Hong Kong it has become our tradition to go to high tea at one of London’s swanky hotels.
→With so many funky tea sets/teapots around they become another accessory we girlies can collect.

tea – how about you ? Love it or loathe it. Let me know in comments. 



eat – hokey pokey cookies


I was never any good at science at school but the one experiment I remember and enjoyed was when my third form class made hokey pokey. You know the one when after the golden syrup and sugar are heated, it causes a reaction with the baking soda which creates carbon dioxide (I confess I cheated and looked up the science bit of this). The carbon dioxide is trapped in the heavier syrupy mixture which causes it to fluff up into the thick golden mixture – looking like an eruption. Then as it cools it sets into a firm solid that can be eaten. Yum Yum. A true kiwi kid, I do have a sweet tooth – hokey bars (remember them with the heart of gold in the middle), crunchies, hokey pokey ice cream… and now hokey pokey cookies.


hokey pokey cookies

makes about 12

125g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 Tsp golden syrup
1 Tsp milk
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups plain flour


1.Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking trays with baking paper
2.Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy.
3.Place golden syrup and milk into a heatproof microwave-safe jug. Microwave for 20 to 30 seconds on HIGH (100%) power or until hot. Stir in bicarbonate of soda (mixture will bubble up).
4.Add warm milk mixture to butter mixture. Stir until well combined. Sift flour over batter. Mix well
5.Roll 2 teaspoonfuls of mixture at a time into balls.
6.Place onto prepared baking trays, allowing a little room for spreading. Gently press biscuits down with a floured fork. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.
7.Stand on trays for 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.