Most of my blog posts this year has been about my trips. To break it up, I thought it was time for a midyear update and a recap (I also did one last year). The first half of the year has gone by quickly, as it feels like every single year. It has been a good one so far though! In this post I’ll share what’s been happening: the good and not so good (getting Covid).
Let’s start with the less positive one…
I thought my immune system was pretty good because I managed to escape getting Covid for the past 2 years of this pandemic. Even during our travels, I was pretty good at wearing a mask and trying to avoid people. However, after getting back from our Queenstown holiday, I started feeling sick and I tested positive a few days later. June 15th is becoming a cursed day for me. I tested positive on this day and it was also Mouse’s 2nd death anniversary :(.
My symptoms were:
- Sore throat – this was my worst symptom. My throat was so sore, my ears also started hurting. It hurt to swallow absolutely anything. I thought I had an ear infection because my ears hurt so much. It was bizarre. I also lost my voice and couldn’t speak for 4-5 days.
- Fever – I felt super warm inside and especially early morning (between 12am – 5am).
- Coughing – it was terrible at night and early morning.
- Blocked and runny nose.
- Tiredness – I had no energy and was mostly in bed, napping during the day, reading or watching a YT or a tv show on my ipad (I binged Everything I Know About Love show).
- Slight body aches but only on the first day.
I had 3 days of hell with Covid symptoms. I couldn’t sleep throughout the night as it was worse then and I felt like my body was fighting the virus between midnight til 5am. That was when I had a fever and coughing up phlegm. Fun times. From day 4 onwards, I started to feel better and I got my voice back eventually. My symptoms were considered mild but I never want to go through that again.
Things I found useful when I was sick with Covid:
- Tissue with eucalyptus – this was great for my nose. So soothing and helped clear my nostrils
- Vicks Vaporub
- Difflam throat spray and Vicks VapoNaturals – lifesavers for my sore throat
- Warm/hot honey, lemon and ginger drinks – I couldn’t drink any room temp / cold liquids. I loved my insulated water bottle that kept my drink warm for hours.
- Avene water spray – this was such a hack! When I had fever, I couldn’t be bothered getting up to get a cold flannel on my face so I just sprayed myself with this. Such good relief!
- Barkers Immunity Daily shots – this tastes so good! I was skeptical as I don’t like green juice/immunity shot things but this was yum.
I’ve recovered from Covid now and thankfully the lingering cough triggered by sweets is finally gone. Covid did wean me off coffee though and changed my sense of smell and taste a bit. I’ve gone off coffee, I don’t crave or feel like I need a daily cup of coffee anymore and last time I made myself coffee from our proper barista coffee machine, I couldn’t stand the smell of it! I now just have a few cup of tea to start my day.
Now that’s out of the way, onto the good things:
In last year’s midyear update, I talked about work. This year has also been great. The start of the year was a bit busy with me conducting training presentations and leading workshops. I love PowerPoint presentations and it’s been a big part of what I’ve done the past 6 months.
Then on day 6 of having Covid, I actually had a job interview. I even did a PP presentation for that interview (it was part of the brief to present work we’re proud of etc). I thought I had to reschedule because I lost my voice days before but I got it back just in time. As of last week, I signed a new job offer and I’m very happy with my role. I’m in a job I find fulfilling and will give me more space to grow as well. I don’t say it to myself often but I’m quite proud of myself. It’s a great feeling.
Te Reo Māori learning
I have 2 updates about this. Last week, I officially graduated from the Te Ara Reo Māori L1&2 course that I did last year. We had an online graduation.
At the start of this year, I was enrolled in the Te Ara Reo Māori Level 3 & 4 course. I started going to the online Zoom classes and did my aromatawai. I did well on my first aromatawai too! We had to write a 3-4min dialogue full in te reo and had to record it. However, towards the end of first term we were told that we are moving to face to face classes in the second term. That would’ve been great news to me but sadly they disestablished the location that myself and a few others in my class chose. We were left with no option but to withdraw from this year’s course as it was not really doable to attend classes, one day wānanga and noho marae at a location around 4 hours away from us. It was sad I can’t continue with classes this year but I will try again next year.
Reading / Books
As of last week. I have achieved my Goodreads reading challenge goal of 52 books! I’ve read some incredible books the past few months. I usually do a round-up at the end of the year of my top books but so far these have been great for me:
- After the Tampa – Abbas Nazari
- Homicide and Halo-Halo – Mia P. Manansala
- In Order to Live – Yeonmi Park
- Radically Content – Jamie Varon
- Nuku – Stories of 100 Indigenous women – Qiane Matata-Sipu
Gym / Workouts
In last year’s midyear update I said I joined Les Mils and started loving spin classes. Except for when I’ve been away on trips and being sick with Covid, I’ve had a pretty consistent gym routine of going 3-4 times a week doing spin and core classes.
I still love spin / cycle classes. I bought proper spin bike shoes from Trademe last year and it changed the game for me. It made me love spin even more and it’s been my favourite workout. I love The Trip and RPM. I haven’t done a sprint class since getting Covid because it’s more high intensity and I’ve been so worried about getting long Covid. My gym also upgraded the cycle studio (above) and I didn’t think I could love spin more. I can’t explain how great spin is for my mental health. I think the key for me is finding a workout I enjoy doing and it doesn’t feel like I’m forcing myself to go to the gym. I actually look forward to it.
Eventually, I do plan on adding weights back into my routine but the thought of going back to Bodypump gives me anxiety as the classes are so full of people. I’m not great with big classes like that anymore (thanks to the pandemic). My plan is to eventually get a PT for weight training.
Trips / Travels
In case you’ve missed all my other blog posts so far this year, I’ve been on a few cool trips:
- Summer in Tapu in an amazing Airbnb
- Martinborough – secret lagoon, lake and wineries
- Cape Palliser – Pinnacles, lighthouse and seals!
- Beautiful Castlepoint
- Hawke’s Bay – falls, town and a wedding
- Queenstown – Part 1 around town, Part 2 All about food and Part 3 – Glenorchy, Gibbston, Arrowtown and Cromwell
There are also these 2 that I haven’t blogged about:
Back in April, I wanted to have another break so I booked us in this cute little place in Maraetai. I call it a ‘staycation’ because it’s still in Auckland but it’s around 50mins away. I found this place with a great view of the water and had a spa pool. We had a quiet and relaxing time here.
Raglan Day trip
We had a impromptu day trip to Raglan. We stopped by Hampton Downs for coffee, then drove to Raglan to have lunch, checked out Tony Sly Pottery studio and the pub for drinks. Then we ended up at Hunua for dinner at friends and I got to meet the horses at their property. It was a pretty cool day.
My cat Turbo is as spoiled as ever. He’s basically been a mostly indoor cat this year. We had a scare a few months back when he came back bleeding with a cut on his arm. I took him to the emergency vets and he had a few cuts/scratches. The vet said it was likely from a fight. Almost $500 later and some meds, he was fine. Then a few weeks later he lost his rainbow collar and had a cut on his lip. It healed well but since then, he’s only allowed outside when one of us are home and only for a short period of time. I’ve lost one beloved cat already, I can’t deal with another one.
Those are basically the main updates for this first half of 2022. These are also some notable moments:
My birthday was back in January. I had a lovely one starting off with lunch at Amano then treated myself to my first YSL piece. I’ve been wanting a new wallet for a while and I finally got myself what I really wanted.
Max also took me to a fancy dinner at Sidart which was amazing. We did the Chef’s Table which is 7 courses but we had more than that because there were in between dishes too. The food was absolutely fantastic.
For Joan’s birthday we did ice skating in the afternoon which was hard but fun. I fell on my ass and it hurt! I realised I don’t have the natural talent for it but I’m glad I’ve done it. Then we had dinner at Masu. I’ve never been before and the food was delicious. The wagyu was excellent.
For dad’s birthday which was last week, we had lunch at XO Takapuna. They do good food and cocktails there. Joan also made an amazing carrot cake.
I don’t often go to the city anymore. I mostly work from home now and when I do go to the city, it’s to the office and back home. The past few months, I have gone on more city adventures which have been nice.
Auckland Art Gallery
One afternoon, I ended up going to the art gallery. It is free of charge for Aucklanders. It was also great timing as there was a talk called Asian Migration: Our stories featuring 4 Asian wāhine in the arts. Listening to them was inspiring and also relatable.
Auckland Town Hall Organ Concert
The day after I went to the art gallery, we went back to the city for the free organ concert at the town hall. We had lunch at Commercial Bay then hot chocolates at Honest Chocolat. It’s been a few years since we last went and it was mesmerising. The organ is such an interesting instrument. There is so much to do! Both his feet and hands were moving. There are 2 more concerts in the Free Organ Concert series left this year, one in September and November. More info here.
I’m glad we managed to go to the Inside Dali exhibition in Spark Arena. We went on the last weekend it was on. It was pretty cool then we had lunch at Gochu and dessert at Honest Chocolat in Commercial Bay.
James Roque’s comedy show Badong and The Churchill
The first comedy show I watched this year is James Roque’s new one called Badong. We’ve watched his previous shows and it’s always so funny and relatable as we’re both Filipino. It was a good show and if you’re in the UK, he’s doing this show in London and Edinburgh Fringe! Get on it.
Before the show, we went to my old favourite bar The Churchill. Pre-pandemic lockdowns, this was one of my go to places for a drink. I went here so much, my IG feed had a lot of gin cocktail photos haha. They were an MIQ facility so it was closed for a while and now they’re back open. I’m glad they still do their truffle parmesan fries and crackling. If you want a great view of the city and good drinks, check it out.
Just outside of the city, we also checked out Lucky 8 in Ponsonby when it just opened. All their tapas-style food and cocktails are $8! Absolutely great value. They were so busy but once we got a table, the food came so fast. I’ve been meaning to go back because it’s such a great concept.
One day, we decided to take the train from the city to Newmarket. Public transport is still half price fares which is awesome. Joan was getting her ears pierced and I roamed around Newmarket checking out the opshop and we ended up in my favourite part of the mall: the designer stores. She ended up getting her first YSL purchase. It was a spendy day for her haha. For me, I got a Coach belt. I’ve been wanting a nice belt for a while. The Coach belt I got is reversible black and brown leather so it’s versatile and great value compared to the other designer belts that are between $500-1000 which I couldn’t justify buying.
Discoveries / Favourites
We started watching Drive to Survive on Netflix last year and next thing you know, we are obsessed with F1. We now watch all the races! I’m not really a car person but I have found F1 quite entertaining and I think it’s because I started through DTS show and getting to know all the drivers and team principals. I don’t really have one main favourite driver as I like quite a few of them. This is something I didn’t expect I’d be into but were really into it now. We watch the practice sessions, qualifying and the races.
The Perfume Oil Company – perfumes
Thanks to my sister, I discovered perfume oils which has changed the game for me. I used to have huge collection of perfumes but over the years, my sense of smell got more sensitive and most scents give me a headache. I’ve kept one bottle of perfume last year – L’Artisan Parfumeur in Un Air De Bretagne (from Smith & Caughey’s) but the bottle is big and not great for travel. The Perfume Oil Company do perfume oils in roller balls and I got a set to try. The size is perfect for putting in your bag and travelling.
I got the Woody set which had 5 scents inspired by designer/more expensive perfumes:
- SANTAL, inspired by Santal 33 Le Labo – Unisex, aromatic and fresh woody
- VICE, inspired by Tobacco Vanille Tom Ford – A unisex, luscious and woody scent
- JETT, Inspired by Black Orchid Tom Ford – Opulent, Classy & Rich
- AFRIQUE, inspired by Bal D’Afrique Byredo – A fresh unisex spicy, woody floral
- KASBAH, inspired by Marrakech AESOP – A woody, oriental, sultry fragrance
Out of all 5, I love Santal and Afrique. I’ve kept Vice too but have given Jett and Kasbah away. This is a great way to have a nice selection of scents without spending hundreds of dollars! I got my set from Fluxboutique. These scents last so long on the skin and haven’t given me a headache.
Opshopping / Secondhand shopping
I’ve had great luck with opshops and secondhand shopping this year. I’ve decluttered so much of my wardrobe and have replaced / added key items from opshops and secondhand stores like Designer Wardrobe and Trademe.
My best buys and finds this year are:
- Puma Calis – my most worn shoe. Honestly love them. I got them from DW.
- black Maje Coat which I’ve featured in my opshopping post here. I’ve worn them so much especially in QT. It’s such a classic timeless piece.
- Coach Sadie bag – this wasn’t a planned purchase but when I saw it on DW for an incredible price, I had to. Such a bargain. Coach bags are such great quality for the price. I’ve got 4 Coach bags now, 2 of which were secondhand.
- I have this favourite combo outfit of my opshopped Tony Bianco pointy toe boots and Lonely skirt. The boots from were a Napier opshop and the skirt from Auckland City Mission opshop in Takapuna. When I wear this combo to work, I feel like a boss. The skirt is 100% cotton and still had tags on.
- I also love the 100% Cashmere Standard Issue sweater I found from the opshop. I wore it in QT when it was snowy and freezing and it was so good at keeping me warm. It’s soft and not itchy compared to wool. It was such a find for $24.
- The Isabella Anselmi tall/knee high boots I found from Recycle Boutique have also been worn a lot. I love wearing it with dresses. It was a great buy.
Hello Sailor Cafe Takapuna
My ‘new’ cafe discovery this year is Hello Sailor in Takapuna. My sister told me about it after we both met up after going to the gym and needed coffee and food. It’s been my go-to ever since. My favourite is their grilled mushrooms on toast with so much parmesan. Their pastries are also pretty good. They’re a bit tucked away underneath the Sentinel apartment building.
Disposable Film Camera
I’ll end on this but this year, I also bought a disposable film camera to take with me when we went on our trips. I finally got my first one developed and I like how the photos turned out! Here are some of them:
If you made it this far, thank you! ❤ Hopefully the rest of the year is also a good one!