My Word

Word for 2016 Strength

Without making this post huge by trying to put everything I’ve missed from the last few months into one long rambling essay (not much happened but I had such a good break from life online and it was exactly what I needed), I simply want to briefly close up 2015, and introduce you to my word for 2016.

best 9 of 2015

Turns out the most popular moments of this year on Instagram contained either food, cats or Christmas (aka my 3 favourite things)

2015 was a strange year. It started with the best and worst days, where we came home with a fluffy feline called Merlin, and then were burgled a day later. There were some pretty small and subtle changes, like me spending a day without my phone and realizing that I need to step back a bit from social media, or walking up One Tree Hill and realizing that nothing is too hard to try. It also had a pretty big moment where I handed in my resignation for a job that I’ve loved (but have grown out of) so that next year I can try something new which has been my dream job since I was about 5.

Overall the main things I learnt this year was how hard it is to be true to myself, but also how damn important that is. I learnt that I’m a better person when I am honest with myself and with others, and how I don’t need to be ashamed of my responsible/boring/nanna side (in fact I can be proud of how good I am at adulting when I do it well) but that I can also aim to challenge myself with new things and attitudes around being more flexible and spontaneous.

With that being my main little learning from 2015, my word going into 2016 is Strength. This whole one word instead of ten billion goals suits me well, because as much as I love lists I’m super talented at writing all my goals down and literally never looking at them again. So I loved the idea of having a little mantra for myself to take into 2016 and whatever that may bring.

Word for 2016 Strength


  • Strength in my body and the way I want it to be able to physically cope with more
  • Strength in my mind and how it responds to things that happen in a healthy and helpful way
  • Strength in evaluating and discussing opinions with those who help me learn to do this better
  • Strength in my abilities to take on new challenges and push my old boundaries each day
  • Strength in finding the things that make me happy and allocating my time and energy accordingly
  • Strength in my spirit and in the way I allow myself to grow and be myself

I could go on but I guess you get the idea. It feels a bit awkward at the moment but I think that’s actually a sign that this is something I need to be more mindful of. Strength would never be a word I would associate with myself, and yet its a quality I admire in others and want to try and have create more of.

Something that helps is being surrounded by strong people who make me want to up my game and be more like them, so thanks to all the incredible humans I am lucky enough to be around.

tl;dr 2015 was cool but confusing, and in 2016 I want to give myself permission to be stronger

Do you have a word for 2016? Please share if you do! 

101 things in 1001 days

101 things in 1001 days

101 things in 1001 days

101 things in 1001 days has a certain ring to it. After seeing many others do versions of this I couldn’t help but create one for myself. It’s like a 3 year long bucket list (well, slightly under 3 years) of things I would like to achieve or experience before August 22nd 2018. I have this really annoying ability to put off things I want to do indefinitely, so I’m hoping this might help.

To read more about the whole idea you can go here, and if you create one or have already created one please link it in the comments so I can read along!

101 things in 1001 days

1. Go to a wine, cheese and space night at Stardome
2. Write a completed short story or novel (if I’m feeling extra ambitious)
3. Learn some basic Japanese
4. Go to Japan
5. Travel to Melbourne
6. Road trip around the South Island with Edd
7. Read the first Harry Potter novel in French
8. Teach my first class of primary school students as a qualified teacher
9. Watch the first dirty dancing movie
10. Have a Harry Potter movie marathon weekend
11. Walk up Rangitoto Island
12. Do the Tongariro Crossing (without dying)
13. Blog for 7 days straight
14. Attend a wedding (hint-hint, someone get married pls)
15. Send a care package to someone I love
16. Learn to make crème brulee
17. Write a letter to myself to be opened on day 1001
18. Learn some basic coding
19. Compliment someone different every day for ten days
20. Ask 5 friends to suggest a book, and read them all
21. Take a photo of myself every week for a year
22. Write a list of 20 places want to visit and why
23. Write and illustrate a children’s book
24. Lose 20 kgs and keep it off
25. Go to Hobbiton
26. Do a 365 day photo challenge
27. Get my first tattoo
28. Learn to make homemade tomato relish
29. Spend a day without technology
30. Wake up early and watch a sunrise
31. Go Kayaking
32. Go one month without ordering take out
33. Go one week with daily meditation
34. Start a collection
35. Run a 5k
36. Make someone I love breakfast in bed
37. Give 5 ‘just because’ gifts
38. Do my first ever spin class
39. Brush up on my French
40. Spend a long weekend at Raglan
41. Watch an outdoors movie (e.g. at Silo Park)
42. Have one month where I exercise 5 days a week, each week
43. Complete a DIY/craft project from Pinterest
44. Learn 5 more cupcake recipes
45. Bake a loaf of homemade bread
46. Try something new with my hair
47. Create a photo collage for someone special
48. Provide positive feedback about 5 separate people to their managers
49. Complete my graduate diploma in teaching primary school
50. Host a cocktail night
51. Try 5 new cocktails
52. Create a budget
53. Put together a collection for Woman’s refuge
54. Complete a medical test I have been putting off for forever
55. Write a letter for my future child (the cornier, the better)
56. Plan and execute a bachelor style date day
57. Create a canvas painting
58. Write a “if anything ever happens to me” letter
59. Go on a picnic
60. Watch the sunset out West at the beach
61. Start a house deposit savings account
62. Visit a famous landmark that I’ve never seen before
63. Spend a winter weekend at a cosy bed and breakfast
64. Read 10 classic novels
65. Take 101 photos with my instax camera
66. Buy a guitar
67. Host a big 25th Birthday celebration
68. Save $10 per month for a fun reward at the end of this project
69. Go to 5 concerts
70. Conquer a fear
71. Read a book in a day
72. Grow a plant from seed
73. Watch a movie that was made the year I was born (1991)
74. Make my own blend of tea
75. Host a high tea
76. Memorise 5 poems
77. Write a 100 things that make me happy list
78. Watch at least one season of Gilmore Girls
79. Go Vegan for 1 month
80. Buy myself a massage
81. Send flowers to someone
82. Go camping (a big deal for me as I have an irrational fear of camping)
83. Read the Chronicles of Narnia series
84. Host a fondue night
85. Give a piece of furniture a DIY makeover
86. Go fruit picking
87. Do a guest post for someone
88. Try 10 new restaurants
89. Start a new tradition
90. Reconnect with someone
91. Donate to 10 different charities
92. Create a master list of meals we love to have on the fridge for inspiration
93. Learn 50 new things by clicking the random articles button on Wikipedia
94. Start a new blog series
95. Make a list of 101 quotes that inspire me
96. Complete a 30 day yoga challenge
97. Buy myself a beautiful watch
98. Make a set of handmade greeting cards
99. Have an animal encounter at the zoo (I’m thinking red panda or otter, but I’m pretty flexible)
100. Read a book with more than 700 pages
101. Write 101 things to do for the following 1001 days

Wish me luck, I already have a few of these in the back of my mind to tick off soon! And if you wish to volunteer to do fondue night with me, or help me watch Gilmore Girls then let me know.

I’ll post updates every now and again, and possibly blog about one single item if it turns out to be interesting enough.

Hope everyone’s week is full of caffeine and smiles and all that good stuff


Friday’s Letters: Moving right along

Friday's Letters myfoxycornerDear Blog: Sorry for being a pretty shit blogger over the last few months. It’s been really good having another break, and it co-incided with a ridiculously busy time at work. I have to learn how to prioritize at some stage I guess! No guarantees for the future, but for now I am happy to be back to having a place to ramble.

Dear Edd: It’s so easy to take you for granted after 10 years of being around each other. So I’m apologizing in advance for each time I do this in the future, and also promising to try harder not to do so. Also we were pretty adorable at school. And I think we’re still pretty adorable now.

Dear Tofu: I’m getting pretty damn good at cooking you in new and delicious ways. Just call me the humble tofu master.

Dear Justin B: I don’t know what has happened and why I keep playing your song on repeat, but it’s more than a little worrying.

Dear Auckland Stardome: You were the perfect venue for a Christmas work function, well perfect for the aspirational space cadets like myself. I plan to be back to soak up all the incredible information but with less alcohol blurring my brain cells. I may bring some children with me. You’ve been warned.

Dear Ugly Christmas Jumper: I need you in my life. Along with every other Christmas related item I come across. (Note – after writing this I then impulse bought two Christmas jumpers for myself plus one for Edd jumpers so, yeah. No self control at Christmas time).

Dear Merlin: I’ve accidentally trained you to expect treats every time you jump on the bed and it’s getting a little out of control. How will I ever have kids if I can’t even manage your own simple expectations :/

Dear Coffee: I went one day without you and it was one day too long. Sorry for even trying.

Dear Contact Centre: I hope none of you have been reading by blog cause that would be a bit awkward, but you guys have been such an amazing place to work, and announcing today that I would be leaving your noisy confines was a pretty sad event. And yet I still can’t shake the incredible excitement I feel for next year. I am so excited. Almost as excited as I am for Christmas. Time for some change!



My Happy Places

myhappyplaces myfoxycorner1. A cosy cafe with a coffee and a friend (or two), or maybe just with a bloody good book

2. Between warm sheets in bed when I realise that I don’t have to get up yet and can savour another hour before facing the day

3. Deep in the Waitakeres discovering Waterfalls and exploring hidden tracks

4. Old bookshops with musty smells and grumpy owners (and health and safety hazards)

5. On the street walking through places I’ve never seen before (probably getting lost but I’ll deal with that later)

6. By the ocean with sand between my toes and a book in my hands

7. At home by myself with a list of tasks to complete and no one to distract me

8. At the movies with a hand to hold, popcorn to snack on and a movie on the big screen

9. On the floor playing with Merlin, gaining wounds on my arms, and spotting all the places I’ve forgotten to vacuum

10. In the country where the City is just a hazy memory and deadlines are non-existent

11. A quiet supermarket where I can browse slowly and discover new products (whilst sampling the grapes to make sure they taste okay..)

12. In the car with music playing loud enough to drown out my singing and no where to go in a hurry

13. With my brothers listening to them and their amazing view of the world, remembering how lucky I am to be part of such an incredible family

14. In the kitchen with fresh ingredients, a made-up recipe and eager mouths to feed

15. With family at a big barbecue full of laughter, food and love

16. On the couch with a cup of fresh tea and a brand new magazine to leaf through

17. At local restaurants where the menu is known by heart, the service is friendly (but not too friendly) and the food is always perfect

18. Up Mt Eden with Auckland laid out before me and the sun warming our skin

19. With friends, where ever that may be, sharing our thoughts and laughing til we hurt

20. Eating bagels on our little deck at our little blue table with the sun shining down and hot coffee to the side

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately. During a time of so much pain and sorrow, sometimes happiness can be a struggle to cling to. And yet cling to it I do.

Something I find really useful is putting more time into recognizing what makes me happy. Where do I feel happy? Who helps me be a happier person? Doing that has made it easier to prioritize what and who I want to put my energy into.

I can’t even put into words how grateful I am that I am in a place where happiness can be a concern. Where my biggest issue of the day is how I will drink enough caffeine whilst not leaving my desk. Where my struggle is how to not snack on every sugary thing in sight. Where the people who surround me are all happy and healthy themselves.

No more than now do I get that reality shock, and that reminder to never take my life for granted. So this list of happy places is a perfect way for me to recognize some of the things that I am lucky enough to experience on a frequent basis.

Where are your happy places?

Me feeling all those happy grateful feelings and remembering not to keep my eyes closed in every photo

Me feeling all those happy grateful feelings and remembering not to keep my eyes closed in every photo

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

I can’t believe its been over a year since Edd and I had our two month trip to Europe. It seems like only yesterday that we were waiting for our 11pm flight to Heathrow, passports in hand and big (terrified) smiles on our faces.

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

Waiting for our flight to London, and waiting at Rome to fly home two months later. Apart from a bit of a tan, and a bigger beard, we also learnt a few things along the way.

I have lived overseas in Australia but never really done overseas travel, and so I feel like this two months taught me a lot in a short amount of time. Being exposed to different cultures, new experiences, constant challenges, plans that don’t succeed, endless days, language barriers – it was two months full of so many things I feel like I was away for years. Here are 10 of the many lessons that I brought home with me.

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

  1. Don’t underestimate yourself. I am stronger than I give myself credit for. Whether its walking for 8 hours after years of zero exercise, or dealing with train strikes in countries where my language abilities are not great, we never came across a problem that we didn’t solve. It isn’t until you throw yourself out of your comfort zone that you put your resources to the test.
  2. Appreciating each and every human interaction. I can be a little anti-social, and so being confronted every day with situations where I had to communicate and connect, sometimes without any language to assist, was a challenge and a half. But these moments are the ones that stick in my mind; the pair of young travellers who we talked with for four hours from Berlin to Prague, the man who collapsed against me in a Paris Metro, the two Italians at our local pizzeria in Florence who greeted us like old friends and laughed along each time we stumbled over the Italian menu. We are great at appreciating the times we spend with our friends, but I try harder now to make the most of any interaction, even if it’s just apologising for bumping someone on the street. These small moments of communication, that smile you give to a stranger as you both get caught in a rain storm, these are so precious.
  3. Get rid of expectations. Sometimes the places you don’t expect much of are the ones that take your breath and steal a place in your heart. Venice is one of those places that we allocated only a couple of days to, assuming that it was over-hyped and full of tourists. Turns out that it was every bit as incredible as I could have imagined. Expectations can restrict us and narrow our options, whilst getting rid of expectations means that you don’t make assumptions and instead have to experience things for what they are.
  4. It’s okay to have boundaries. Being cautious of people when travelling seems so pessimistic at first, but in the end it kept me and Edd safe and prevented any of our stuff from being stolen. This side of travelling actually taught me that it’s okay to have boundaries , both when travelling but also just in life, and that they are necessary to protect yourself and the things you love.
  5. Finding the value in getting lost. No where more than Venice did we learn how much there is to find when you don’t know where you are going. For someone like me, who is all about the lists and the plans and the maps, this kind of lesson was a pretty important one. Although I still like life to be rather structured, I can see now how important it is to embrace the unknown and explore without restriction, and although I may not go and get lost every weekend it is something I know I need more of.
  6. Cherish the small moments. A fresh orange juice in the morning, a beautiful sunset over Piha, the way the light catches the Eiffel Tower in the late afternoon, morning cuddles with a fluffy fur baby, a clean shower after a day in the hot Roman Sunshine. We ticked off so many amazing experiences, but the ones I want to cherish and remember are the small ones that weren’t planned but that gave us that warm feeling of contentment. And this has carried in to every day life, where I try to focus on all the amazing little moments that make up a day. It’s been so easy lately to look back on a day and feel stressed, underwhelmed, insecure or exhausted. And although these feelings are still valid, I have been trying to remember those little moments that bring a smile to my face, the same way that finding a friendly stray cat whilst we ate dinner on top of Montmatre did. I want to look back on life and remember the good moments, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they might have been.
  7. Life is Short. And this isn’t meant to be a sad observation, but it was a reminder to me that I need to make the most of the time I have. Travelling made me realise how little we have experienced, and how much more we have to learn and to see. I think it may be time to book our next experience. Life is too short to be constantly afraid of making decisions, or to hold back and wait for more money, more time. Don’t act like we have forever and make the most of the life you have now, whether it’s by travelling or by staying home and watching movies in bed.
  8. Learn how to be good with money. We all know that money doesn’t equal happiness, and yet we wouldn’t have been able to go on this trip without putting aside the money and making sure we weren’t going to end up in Amsterdam with not enough dollars to get through the next month. Now when I want to go on a shopping spree I try and think about my priorities and ensure that my distribution of money matches this as best as possible.
  9. Stop carrying around excess baggage. We took two giant suitcases on our trip, and looking back we would have found it easier with less stuff and two backpacks. This obviously applies in life, and reminds me that life is easier when we discard the things that we don’t need to move forward. I’m trying harder now to make sure I know what I am carrying, and only take what is necessary and what gives me strength, leaving behind those dresses that I will never wear, or that relationship that does nothing but bring negativity in to my life.
  10. Appreciating the life I already have. Travelling through 12 incredible countries made me realise how lucky I am to live in New Zealand. Although I would go back to most of those places in a heartbeat, New Zealand is home and it’s where I want to bring up a family and spend my summers. I think I took a lot for granted, and in the last year I’ve done a better job at appreciating how amazing how beautiful country is. It’s made me appreciate how many cultures we are lucky to have create the tapestry of New Zealand, the friendliness of the people you meet on the streets, the incredible landscapes that are at our doorstep, the relative safety we take for granted, the freedom to grow and learn in a country which may not be any where near perfect, but has some of the best damn coffee in the world.


A little child in a suit, chomping on a tomato whilst at the markets in Amsterdam. Moments like these still bring such a big smile to my face.

A little child in a suit, chomping on a tomato whilst at the markets in Amsterdam. Moments like these still bring such a big smile to my face.

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

Making friends, especially with the local wildlife.

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

A couple of minutes walk from Notre Dame is one of the most incredible churches we set foot in, St Chapelle.

What is something you have learnt through travel?

Taking Stock | September

Taking Stock September

Oh hey you, how’s your last month been? I know it seems like it’s been a while and it has, but I think I’m back now so if you want to leave a comment letting me know what you’ve been up to then please do.

What better way to touch base with this little space than to do another Taking Stock.
Taking Stock September myfoxycorner

Making: A crochet blanket for my little adorable niece who turns one in October. See the end of this post for a wee sneak peek (it’s coming along rather slowly…)
Cooking: The same old vegetarian dishes, looking to spice it up with some new spring flavours.
Drinking : Tuatara’s APA because it is one of my favourite beers. That and coffee, as always.
Reading: Too much all at once. I need to stop having three books on the go, it can get a little confusing.
Wanting: A puppy, more kittens and some chickens (and simultaneously being aware that we don’t live on a farm…yet).
Looking: For a new flatmate to join our little flat family. The search might be over but I can’t get over how tiring the process has been to find someone.
Playing: Boardgames! Game nights are my new favourite way to socialise.
Deciding: On next year, and committing to a future that it exciting but terrifying but also really awesome. Feeling incredibly positive now that I have made that first step.
Wishing: That we had the money to buy a big house with a big garden without leaving Auckland, I love it here.
Enjoying: A bit of a break from blogging and long relaxing baths.
Waiting: For Christmas season; I know, I’m sorry.
Liking: The early morning cuddles with Merlin.
Wondering: About what life would be like on other planets (too much Star Trek and Sci-Fi). Also how long has it been since I went to the gym :-/ Too long I think you will find to be the answer.
Loving: The new album from Phoenix Foundation, even though I thought it was a bit strange to begin with.
Pondering: The future and all that usual stuff. When will we have kids, where will we end up living, what will life be like.
Considering: Gradually going vegan, the only barrier at the moment is my reliance on cheese!
Watching: So much Bachelor/Bachelor in Paradise/Bachelor Pad. Seriously, it’s become an issue since I discovered all of these other shows within the rather disturbing Bachelor universe. Send help.
Hoping: That I might be coming out the end of a pretty difficult couple of months where I’ve struggled a lot, not with anything in particular but just with my own mental health.
Marvelling: At the speed at which cookies can be demolished.
Needing: A little bit more me time. As much as I love how social my life has become in the last couple of years I keep forgetting to step back sometimes and have a bit of a break.
Smelling: Fresh flowers that we picked up this morning on a coffee and pastry run, Sunday’s are pretty great.
Wearing: Not enough warm clothes for the chilly weather we are still getting.
Following: The Daily Raw on Instagram, her feed induces all kinds of vegan food cravings.
Noticing: How much Edd does for me, especially when I am struggling.
Knowing: That I am so incredibly lucky for my family, friends and my husband.
Thinking: About how I can rearrange my days so that they involve more reading time.
Admiring: Laura because she is seriously stunning.
Sorting: Out our kitchen! It’s been so satisfying going through our cupboards and drawers, fridge and pantry and throwing out a bunch of things to make it less cluttered before we get a new flatmate.
Buying: My first ever pot plant, Jim, who is not doing so great but better not die on me.
Getting: A little desperate to do some kind of travel, even if it’s just within New Zealand.
Bookmarking: Recipes with Haloumi. As I said, going vegan will be a big challenge.
Disliking: Negative self thoughts that make functioning harder that it needs to be.
Opening: A jar of Fix & Fogg’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, excuse me while I eat this stuff by the spoonfull.
Giggling: Whilst playing Cards against Humanity, usually whilst tears pour out of my eyes. Its a good time.
Feeling: So many things; Sad, Grateful, Worried, Insecure, Excited, Tired, Curious, etc etc.
Snacking: On sweet and salty popcorn, I’m addicted to the stuff.
Coveting: A new iPhone, but I know it will be a while before I upgrade.
Helping: My little 13 year old brother with his market stall at the Howick Kid’s Market, and buying all the books at said market.
Hearing: People get excited about Spring and Summer, and warmer weather, and late nights with sunshine and barbecues. I think we are ready for Auckland to change things up.

Crochet myfoxycorner

The start of my blanket, not typical baby colours but I rather love it.

What has your month looked like so far?

Red Shimmer and Fuchsia Shock (Screw you Winter)

Karen Murrell Fuschia Shock Red Shimmer

Karen Murrell Fuschia Shock Red Shimmer

This month has been a rough one, anyone else feeling the struggle that is August?! I don’t know what it is about this busy month that makes me want to hermit away and sleep in a fort of fluffy blankets, bad TV shows and expiring chocolate, but it does.

One thing that makes life a little better is a couple of bright lipsticks to wear in spite of our dreary weather. I know that we are supposed to stick with demure nudes and deep burgundies, but for some reason these in-your-face, brighter tones are making Winter a lot easier to deal with.

I raved about my first ever Karen Murrell lipstick and so when two more ended up with me I was excited to see how they fared. Karen Murrell is a brand I am so happy to support and use on a day to day basis, as her lipsticks are vegetarian and made from the most hydrating, natural ingredients to care for your lips. And when your lips have been whingeing as much as mine have they need as much TLC as they can get.

These are my favourite formulas in a lipstick; moisturising, lasting and pigmented. Tick, Tick, Tick. They aren’t as long lasting as a matte lipstick from MAC but I find that they wear away so evenly that I feel a lot less worried about keeping an eye on them.

Fuchsia Shock Karen Murrell

First up I was given Fuchsia Shock to try out, a beautiful, bold barbie pink that simultaneously terrified and intrigued me.  Also can I just make a quick complaint about how annoying Fuchsia is as a word to spell, if I ever want to become the worst parent possible I will name my poor, innocent child Fuchsia and laugh as I watch her spell it wrong every. single. time.

This beautiful bright pink is a great shade, it’s bold but wearable and the perfect anti-winter colour. Having said that, I’m not super confident that I suit this shade (unless there’s a 90s party happening). I tend to go more towards berry pinks rather than barbie pinks. It won’t be one I keep in my bag at all times for emergencies, but it’s still a stunner. Red Shimmer Karen Murrell This wee beauty is Red Shimmer (which confusingly is not really shimmery at all as far as I can tell), and it’s my new favourite lipstick. If you scroll through my Instagram feed I am wearing this in 99% of my selfies from the last couple of months, and that’s because I think its incredible. I am a sucker for bold red lipsticks, so it was not a big surprise that this was one I was excited to try. 

Karen Murrell Red Shimmer

Seeing so much of my face is a little unnerving. Especially when you realize that my expression is exactly the same in each one…. I promise I’m not secretly a very confused and unproductive robot.

What was a surprise was how this orange toned red seems like an easier wear than any of the rich, blue-toned red lipsticks I thought I suited most. Orange toned are two words I generally avoid, and yet this red is perfection. It wears down to a gorgeous red-coral which I love almost as much as the original colour. Overall this lipstick embodies an attitude where I’m gonna keep on trying to face each day with a strained smile, even when my self-sabotaging mind seems determined to stay home and watch The Bachelor whilst binge eating twisties (I’m doing a great job guys).

Karen Murrell Fuschia Shock Red ShimmerIf you are driven to go buy some new lipsticks (I won’t blame you…I have a full trolley as we speak) you can get them online from Karen Murrell for NZ$30 each.

Which one is your favourite?

*These were both provided to me which I am eternally grateful for as otherwise I think I would have abandoned make up altogether. This hasn’t affected my opinion, and this post is 100% my sleep-deprived thoughts. Cool? Cool.


A Belated Foxy Book Challenge Update #11-17

My foxy reading challenge

I’ve been a once a week blogger lately, with distractions such as trying to find a flatmate who’s not a crazy psycho (only room for one in this house – me); winter finally get the best of me with a good old fashioned almost flu but not flu enough to take time off work;  and other stuff that I’m sure seemed important at the time.

So instead of my usual few books there are 7, good news is that I am up to date with my book challenge over on Goodreads (read 30 books this year which doesn’t seem like much but was a goal that seemed feasible at the time). There’s a few good’uns for you to chuck on your “to read” list!

**Disclaimer: All the books with wee little * beside them were gifted to me by Hachette NZ, an awesome publishing company who ask nothing in return. Some of the books they send turn out to be my favourites ever, and others fall a bit flat (some I don’t even read), but the fact that they are gifted in no way affect my opinions. Anyway, on to the good stuff!

My foxy reading challenge

  1. Day Shift by Charlaine Harris*
    Okay full disclosure, I read this without at any point realizing that I was reading the second book in a series. So when I critique it for being a little hard to keep up with, with characters that didn’t seem to have great introductions and a story that felt lacking in set up I say it knowing full well that those things are all my fault. Overall it was an enjoyable read despite me being an idiot, Charlaine Harris does a good job in the fantasy-mystery genre, and its pretty light reading which is always nice for a change. 3 Stars (but it may well deserve more).
  2. Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry*
    This is one that you should put on your reading list now. I did a full review over here (cause it was that good) but long story short its a fantastic novel set in 1920s New York with a cast of memorable characters and a trail of different story lines that all tie in together. Wasn’t expecting to love this one but love it I did (and you may well too). 5 stars
  3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
    I’ve been loving the Outlander series over on Lightbox (and it’s not just those Scottish accents) and so when Edd got me the first novel to read for my birthday I wasn’t expecting to take 4 months to finish it. I’m generally quite a speedy ready (which is a surprisingly useless skill most of the time) but something about this book made it a little hard to get through. Nonetheless it was an enjoyable read, a little odd in places but great in others. I dunno, a little undecided to be honest and not sure yet whether I can commit to the rest of them. 3 stars
  4. Resistance is Futile by Jenny T Colgan*
    As the book itself proclaimed: Independence day meets Bridget Jones’ Diary…not what I would normally pick up for myself I must admit. This alienesque/maths nerd (and I say that lovingly) take on a rom-com read was actually pretty fun and easy to get through. I gave it only 3 stars because it just wasn’t my kind of book but it was enjoyable, and light-hearted although strange in places with a few funny characters and one of the weirdest “sex” scenes I think I’ve ever read. 3 stars.
  5. Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson*
    Best book of 2015 is already awarded to this Sci-fi novel by the author of the Mars series (which I am DESPERATE to read). Seriously this book was A++++, would read again. I rambled on about it a little while ago but long story short it’s amazing. The easiest 5 stars I have ever assigned to anything ever. 
  6. The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lipton*
    Another great read that I was sent which is one I never would have selected! This novel was a psychological thriller/family drama set in the spookiest setting of Alaska where a Mother and her deaf daughter, Ruby, go in search of her Father who has gone missing. This was such an incredibly tense read, and a quick one too as I couldn’t wait long to find out what happened. Ruby was an incredibly likeable character, and the writing was done in the perfect way to keep you on the edge of your seat.  4 stars.
  7. Half Asleep in Frog Pyjamas by Tom Robins
    Dad told me that he would refuse to take on any of my book recommendations until I read something by one of his favourite authors, Tom Robins (not the same as Tony Robbins so don’t get them confused). I I grabbed this one from his shelf and gave it a shot and it was … okay?? Tom Robins has an incredibly humorous way of writing and is far wittier than I could ever dream to be, so 5 stars for that. The reasons I didn’t really enjoy this that much were as follows: the setting was a stock market crash in the US which holds zero interest to me; it was centred around a character who I kind of ended up hating; and it was written in second person (you did this, you said that etc) which whilst genius and incredibly unique was a little weird and off-putting at times. I will happily read another one by him but maybe choose a little more carefully. 3 stars (sorry dad, I promise I tried).

So there you go, some great (some incredibly great) and some not so great. What have you read lately?

Vegan Chilli Sin Carne Recipe

Vegan Chill Recipe myfoxycorner

Vegan Chill Recipe myfoxycorner

Today I wanted to share with you one of my all-time favourite meals that just so happens to be vegan as well as full of nutrients and flavour. This Vegan Chilli Sin Carne (chilli without meat, but sounding way fancier) is one of the few dishes that Edd makes far superior to myself so I force him to make giant pots of the stuff that we can use all week for lunches, burritos, stuffed baked potatoes and more (I’m all for making one big meal that will go a long way).

Vegan Chilli Sin Carne Recipe

This chilli is just as flavoursome as the meat version, with a hint of smoked chipotle replacing the meaty flavour but keeping it rich and hearty. Packed with kidney beans, juicy corn and capsicums and the warm heat of chilli and bold, Mexican spices, this vegan chilli is perfection for winter where you want a bowl of filling soul food.

Ingredients Chilli Sin Carne Recipe Vegan Myfoxycorner

Vegan Chilli Sin Carne


  • 3 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash of cinnamon powder (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 heaped tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped chilli
  • 1 brown onion diced
  • 1 Tbsp approx chipotle paste/sauce
  • 1 cup of veggie stock
  • 1 big carrot chopped
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1/2 C sweetcorn
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 can chilli beans (e.g. Watties chilli beans which are basically kidney beans in a spicy tomato sauce)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • fresh coriander and avocado to serve
  • salt and pepper to taste
Vegan Chilli Sin Carne Recipe

This is a giant pot with double the recipe stated here: enough to feed a small army, or two of us for a week.

Method: Vegan Chilli Sin Carne

  1. Fry off the onion, garlic and then the spices in a little oil until onion is soft and the aroma of spices fill the house. Add the chipotle and chilli and fry briefly.
  2. Drain your can of plain kidney beans and if you want to echo the texture of mince, mash these up with a fork until they look suitable (this isn’t required but does thicken up the chilli a little more).
  3. Chuck in your beans, chilli beans, carrots, tomatoes, vegetable stock and simmer for around 15-20 minutes (or longer if you have time and patience to let the flavours develop and the texture thicken).
  4. Make sure you taste at this stage in case you need to add a little more chipotle, a tbsp of brown sugar to sweeten it up, a bit more chilli etc. I tend to taste so much during the cooking process that by the times it’s finished I’m no longer hungry (doesn’t stop me eating :-/)
  5. Add your capsicum and corn and continue to simmer at a medium heat for another 10-15 minutes. Again, the longer you can leave this to develop, the better (it’s one of those dishes that is even more delicious the next day).
  6. Season with salt and pepper to your preference.
  7. Serve this along with some ripe avocado (ours was a little too ripe), freshly torn coriander and enjoy over a bowl of rice, a baked potato, or thrown inside a burrito with some salad! You can top with sour cream and cheese for something a wee bit more indulgent (but no longer vegan), but I promise it’s just as mouth-wateringly tasty without it. We have been enjoying this with a brown rice and lentil combo, usually making a double batch so that we can keep some in the freezer.

Chilli Sin Carne Vegan Recipe

This might seem life there are a few steps but it’s actually a straightforward and easy recipe that just involves a little more patience than my usual 5 minute meals, I promise its all worth it.

The beauty of this dish is that its so flexible to your tastes (and what’s lurking in the cupboard waiting to be used). We’ve tried adding brown lentils to bulk it up and include extra protein and this works well however I recommend cooking the lentils separately before hand. We’ve played around with the spices, the types of beans, the veggies we chuck in and it all comes out pretty darn delicious.

Vegan Chilli Sin Carne Recipe

I used to eat chilli con carne all the time before becoming vegetarian, so nothing makes me happier than knowing that this delicious spicy stew is even better packed with beans and veggies (and its also an abundant source of protein, as well as a meal that includes all of essential amino acids). Pairing the rich dish with fresh avocado and coriander brings the whole thing to life so I definitely suggest including those (preferably when avocados don’t cost the same as a Starbucks coffee).

If I had to choose a favourite winter meal it would either be this vegan chilli or my easy Indian Dahl. Give this one a go and let me know what you think! Is there anything different that you like to add to your chilli?

Chilli Sin Carne Vegan Recipe  Myfoxycorner


A big thanks to Edd who cooks this vegan chilli for me way more than he should have to, and who also took these beautiful photos whilst I was out spending money on brunch.

Have an awesome week guys!


July in Review

July wrap up instagram myfoxycorner

August has arrived and slapped us all in the face with its warmer temperatures and proximity to Christmas (I know I am not the only one counting down the days guys). July was a month that flew by, and it was a weird month with some memories that I will hold forever (99% of it was probably pretty forgettable and spent watching countless Bachelorette episodes).

 The best thing: Getting out and exploring, trying new places and doing new things. It doesn’t happen often but when it does I always have so much fun.

The hardest thing: Being on a Jury for the first time (and hopefully the last).

One thing I learned: I’m a stronger person when I trust in myself and stop worrying about everyone else. Also learnt a bunch of facts about space because I got bored one day and decided to read up.

On the blog: I had a really cathartic experience writing this recent post on why growing up is so hard and confusing, it’s not often that I just let my thoughts out and worry about whether it makes sense later.

Goals for August: Improve my gym attendance and find a new flat mate (if you know anyone who loves cats, isn’t a dick and needs a room let me know..).

July on Instagram

  1. I crocheted my first scarf and Merlin was my model. It accidentally ended up looking like I belong in Gryffindor but to be honest I don’t even mind (despite being a Ravenclaw at heart).
  2. I also baked these salted caramel cupcakes and they continue to be a favourite. I still have a heap of left over caramel sauce in the fridge so throw me some ideas for what to do with it (other that eat some every time I go to get a vegetable, very dangerous).
  3. Edd and I went out to try and explore our back yard a little more, doing an incredible bush walk out in the Waitakeres. Well it was incredible until we had to climb up the side of a dam, luckily my many fears don’t include heights otherwise I might have been frozen half way up and never returned.
  4. After a great mums and bubs brunch club event I took Mr 7 to Butterfly Creek. This was about 1 second before I decided the butterfly was too close to my eyes and began to panic. Fun times.
  5. Slipping in a photo from Paris last year, because I don’t understand how a year has passed and why has no one invented a time machine yet.
  6. New favourite cafe spot located at Cosset in Mt Albert, a vegan/vegetarian heaven with pancakes that were delicious and coffee that was strong. Win.
  7. It wouldn’t be winter without a tree silhouette and an early sunset. Beautiful city.
  8. 90s party vibes, I even sourced a mood ring guys.
  9. Ended July by getting super sick in a very quick timeframe. So this is me celebrating the fact that at 5pm I finally dragged myself out of bed, mainly so that I could be closer to the heat pump.

What’s coming up?

August is a busy month, every one is having birthdays and get togethers, people are moving and changing jobs. Me; I’m staying in the same place, in the same job and just trying to enjoy each day. I have tickets to see Dylan Moran at the end of this month so that will be something I will look forward to each time I reach for the red wine!

And on that note… xxx


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