Mid year life update and favourites

In what feels like a blink of an eye, we’re over halfway through 2021. I feel like a lot has happened since my last blog post and I haven’t done a life update in a while. Writing this was also slightly therapeutic for me so I thought I might as well post this and it’s something I can look back on. This is a mixture of what’s been going on in my life, things I’m looking forward to and some of my favourite things.

My last blog post was all about my Christchurch trip and since then, I’ve had another trip to Wellington (unfinished blog post about this is sitting in my drafts atm) and so much more has happened. 2021 is when New Zealand felt like it got back to normal and life has been pretty busy since.

Here are some updates of what I’ve been up to:

Te Reo Course

In March this year, I started my Level 1 and 2 Te Ara Reo Māori course through Te Wānanga o Āotearoa. If you’re not from NZ, Te Reo is one of NZ’s official languages. It is the language of Māori, NZ’s indigenous people. It’s beautiful language and I’ve been interested in learning more about it since my first short course I think back in 2018.

The course I’m doing is full-time which involves a lot more time and commitment than the other te reo short courses I’ve done. I do it once a week at night after work. It’s a commitment but so far I’m enjoying it. Learning a language can be hard but I like learning te reo in person and my classmates are really cool and interesting people.

We had our first noho marae (marae stay) back in May and that was such an awesome experience. It was quite a spiritual and moving experience and if you live in NZ, I highly recommend you at least learn basic te reo and try to pronounce place names correctly.

My course finishes in November so we’re halfway through and so far, so good. I also get to use my learnings in my job which is awesome.

On top of this full-time te reo course, I also signed up to a short te reo course through work. I thought being exposed in the language as much as possible would be better for my learning and I’ve actually enjoyed both as they are two different styles of teaching and different purposes too.

Work

There were also changes in my job. I moved and I’m in a completely different role and something I’ve never done before but the opportunity came up and I’m glad I took the plunge.

I enjoy my current role and I will have some busy / challenging months coming up but it feels good that my work feels like it is contributing to something much greater and is going to encourage behavioural change. It’s been rewarding although it comes with self doubts and imposter syndrome kicking in from time to time. It’s different to what I was doing previously and if anyone told me a year ago that I would be doing this now, I wouldn’t have believed them. I’m so glad I took this opportunity and I’m excited to see where else it would take me too.

It’s nice to feel appreciated and recognised in your job. I’m happy where I am now and I feel like I’ve come so far from where I thought I would be too.

Gym / Workout

There’s also been a change in my workout routine this year. Last year and through the start of this year, I was doing reformer pilates. I still love reformer but I was craving other types of workouts and I missed the higher intensity ones I get through gym classes so I finally signed up to Les Mils and I wish I’ve done it sooner. I’ve lived close to one for years but I only recently joined and so far, I like the variety of workouts and how available they are.

I’m loving spin classes at the moment too. My favourite ones are the virtual spin classes actually as there are less people and I get to just tune out and cycle to the music and beat. I get all the good endorphins afterwards and it’s been great for my mental health. I also enjoy doing bodycombat again. I also do bodypump as I know I need to balance it out with a weights class but I find pump so hard with my lack of upper body strength.

Anyway, so far the gym has been great. I try to go 3x a week and a weekend class if I’m not busy and I’ve slowly got a routine set which is good. If I miss reformer, I can always book a class but at the moment, gym classes are the right fit for me.

The Dual

Back in May, Max and I also did the Dual which was a 10km walk/run in the beautiful Motutapu Island. It was my first time being in the island and also doing the dual. I’ve only ever done Round The Bays before which was only 6.5kms and the steep incline was such a struggle! However, we survived and the jog on the last stretch pushed us to our limits. It was a great day out and I would do it again.

DIY Greenhouse / Flowerhouse

Another thing I’ve accomplished on the first half of this year is this miniature Greenhouse / Flowerhouse. I bought this DIY set last year and it would’ve been a great lockdown activity. I didn’t have this during lockdown so I chipped away at it and finally finished it after quite a frustrating day.

Making those individual plants and flowers were not easy but the struggle was building the greenhouse structure for me. I almost gave up but the finished product is so cute and satisfying. It also lights up inside which is so cool.

It’s a great gift to someone who loves to do DIY and crafty things.

NZ Comedy Festival / Comedy shows

I love watching comedy shows and this year I went to two awesome shows. I went to see Chris Parker’s How I Felt where he makes hilarious jokes whiles felting wool into tiny animals. I also got tickets to James Roque’s Boy Mestizo show and even though I’ve watched it before, he upgraded his show and I still laughed so much my stomach hurt afterwards.

Recently, my friend Kendel and I also watched a comedy show in Devonport which had a 4-5 different comedians. Comedy shows are great and I need to watch more throughout the year. I’m always bound to have a great time.

Lion King the musical

It’s been quite a while since I watched a musical. I was lucky enough to watch The Book of Mormon before lockdown cancellation happened so when Lion King the musical news came up, I was so excited. I instantly bought tickets during the pre-sale and we watched it a few weekends ago. It was at Spark Arena so much bigger than the usual Civic Theatre venue but it was needed for the production.

It was great and it’s still running til end of July so I highly recommend if you can get some tickets! It’s a great show with a great cast.

It hasn’t been all great the past few months either. Whilst I do want to keep this post positive, I would like to note a few things:

  • June marked a year since I lost my cat Mouse. It was a hard month for me as I still miss that boy and it’s strange when grief strikes as it can hit me at the most random times.
  • I chipped a tooth after our noho marae and had to go to the dentist. Please learn from my mistake and get regular checkups. It’s been years since I last went because the last time I did was for a root canal which was expensive so I didn’t want to go back. Well, the chipped tooth made me get a filling and also brought up the need for others so it’s been an expensive time. I highly recommend going to the dentist regularly and following their advice. Also floss daily!
  • There was a time in May/June that I missed taking my B12 supplements. I wrote about b12/deficiency here and from that time, I’ve been consistent with taking my b12 and I’ve never had issues since. Since May and June were a bit busy, I just forgot taking them and it was not a good time. I realise how important it is to keep my b12 levels up and how it affects my mood/mental health.

Moving on to lighter things, I thought I’d also share my favourites so here they are below.

Favourites

Dyson Hot + Cool fan/heater

This is top of my list at the moment as I can’t live without this now. It’s currently winter and this is my favourite thing ever. It’s also a fan so I can have cooler air when I need it. It’s 2 in 1 and it was so worth it. I got mine on sale and it is one of my best purchases this year.

iPad and Apple watch

This will make me sound/look like an apple fan but I now own a bunch of Apple products from this laptop I’m writing on, my phone, my airpods and now I also bought an iPad and watch. Anyway, these two are on my list because they’ve been my most used products since buying them. I got the iPad thinking I’d use it for my te reo course although I mostly use it to watch Youtube and Netflix and play games. It’s still a great purchase due to how handy it has been for me.

As for my apple watch, I love it because it makes me use my phone less. I can check my messages on it, reminders pop up and I can talk to siri to set alarms and reminders rather than getting my phone and typing it. It’s made my life a bit easier.

I also bought both secondhand because they’re not cheap brand new and so far, they’ve served me well. I’ve done a ‘How I shop secondhand’ blog post before and I got both of them from Trademe.

Beauty:

I don’t buy a lot of makeup anymore. Definitely not as much as I used to. I’ve culled so much of my collection over the years and I try to only buy what I need/lacking in my collection. These two I bought the past few months and have stood out.

Fenty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint

This was the first and only Fenty beauty product I’ve bought so far and it is amazing. It’s what I use as foundation and I will repurchase this. It’s lighter coverage but you can build it up. It looks great on the skin and I’ve loved this since buying it.

Mecca Max Whip Lash Tubing mascara

I’ve tried tubing mascaras a few years ago but I never repurchased them because of the price. I get lash lifts and I don’t tend to use mascara every single day so I usually buy cheap ones that do the job. However, I’ve noticed that mascaras tend to smudge and have fallout under my eyes giving me panda eyes after a long day. So when Mecca announced they’re releasing a tubing mascara, I was intrigued. It’s on the lower price range ($28 I think) compared to the Kevyn Aucoin and Hourglass ones.

I swear by this mascara now. It does not budge and doesn’t give me panda eyes even after crying (cried watching In The Heights movie (go watch this movie please)), getting rained on and sweating through a workout. It’s amazing and easy to take off once you’re ready. I use an oil cleanser and a reusable cotton pad. Easy peasy but with awesome lasting power.

It also holds a curl and does so for the rest of the time. I love it and will definitely repurchase this.

Gucci tinted lip balm in Penelope Plum

I bought this December last year and hands down it has been my most used lipstick. It is meant to a tinted balm but it’s quite pigmented so I use it as a lipstick. It was worth it for me because of how much I love the shade and the formula. Because it’s a balm, it’s not drying at all and it still has a good colour payoff. I’ve used it so much that it’s probably the first lippie I’ll use til the end of the tube. Plus, the packaging is also chic and beautiful and I have a Essie nail polish that matches it perfectly.

Fashion

Witchery slip on sneakers

I started drafting this post months ago and these sneakers were on my list. Nowadays, it’s too cold to wear it so my boots are in rotation but this pair of shoes have been my best shoe purchase this year. I love white sneakers but I also like taking my shoes off when I’m working and I like having less effort of putting shoes on and off. When I saw it in Witchery, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and after a few weeks, I ordered it online.

It was a great puchase because I’ve worn it so much and because it’s leather, I can easily wipe off any stains, dirt or mud. I do use a leather protectant spray so I take care of my shoes and leather goods. I can’t wait for winter to be over so I can start wearing this to work again.

On a sidenote, this year I discovered my love for Witchery and since my beautiful floral summery dress, I’ve bought their knitwear which I also love. It’s a nice brand and so far, the pieces I got are good quality and should last me a long time.

TV show

The Bold Type

I don’t know why I’ve never heard of this show until a few months ago. This show is amazing and is the more feminist Sex and the City, Gossip Girl and Devil Wears Prada show we needed. The different themes and topics the show has are so relevant, relatable and just simply awesome. The messages are quite important too especially for young women. I highly enjoyed this show and I binged it for weeks. I still haven’t watched the latest season and I’ll have to wait until Netflix has it.

Books

  • Oona Out of Order – a fun book to read about Oona who lives her life out of order as she jumps to a different year on her birthday. It’s a fascinating read and explores how to live in the moment.
  • The Push – this was a harder read and not for those who are pregnant/have young children because it can be triggering. I like the psychological drama of this book though as you just don’t know what will happen next. It gave me the same feeling after I read Verity last year.
  • Know Your PlaceIf you’re in NZ, you will know Golriz Ghahraman as she is a NZ Greens Party member and an MP. Her story wasn’t easy being a refugee and leaving her home country to a new life in NZ. It was a great insight to her life and it is amazing how resilient and strong people can be.
  • AuēAlso a NZ book and another tough book to read as it touches on domestic violence. This story is sad but it’s well written and touching.
  • Sex and Vanity – Another light read that I enjoyed. I haven’t read Crazy Rich Asians (watched the movie though) but this book was as scandalous and fun as I expected it to be.

I’m writing this after quite a stressful day. Sometimes things just don’t go to plan and we all have our shit days or week. I know it will pass and it also helps if I’m looking forward to something so I’ll end this post with some things that are coming up that I’m super excited about.

Long weekend trip

I’ve had an itch to book a house/cottage/hut somewhere in the middle of nowhere to relax and unwind so that’s exactly what I did last Friday. I’m looking forward for going away for a long weekend after a busy few months.

September Holiday

We also booked a proper trip away in September and I am so excited for it. We’ll be off work for a week and I cannot wait to relax, do a wine tour, have lots of baths and have some cool adventures.

Noho marae

We have our next and last noho marae in August as part of my te reo course and I’m excited for it too. Staying at a marae is cool experience and it’s a privilege to do so. Not everyone can and it’s a great way to learn more about the culture and be immersed in Te Ao Māori.


That’s all for me. If you’ve made it this far, thank you and I hope you enjoyed my random ramblings. 🙂

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