Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other. (Carol Saline)
My sister and I have family visiting from New Zealand this week, so I’ll be a little scarce. See you on the other side!
I’m back from running away to New Zealand.
Well, I didn’t really run away. I just took a long break. A break from all things social media. And maybe, to some extent anyway, from my world of Autoimmune Protocol stuff.
And, it was good. I can definitely recommend it!
Taking a technology break had unexpected benefits.
It made me look up.
I wasn’t constantly checking email. I wasn’t blogging. I wasn’t on Facebook. And, for a large part of my time away, I had no access to the internet, so I couldn’t have even if I wanted to.
Granted, I was in New Zealand. Hardly a difficult part of the world in which to connect with nature and steer clear of all things social media…
There’s a real purity in New Zealand that doesn’t exist in the states. It’s actually not an easy thing to find in our world anymore. It’s a unique place because it is so far away from the rest of the world. There is a sense of isolation and also being protected. (Elijah Wood)
And, because I wasn’t in my own home (or kitchen), I had less control over my diet. Not that much less, to be honest – my Mum is seriously accommodating when it comes to my dietary requirements. But there are definitely fewer options on a boat. Not a high-speed blender in sight! I got very organised and made bulk almond milk before freezing it into portions!
I also became slightly obsessed with an Al Brown recipe for a roasted cauliflower salad that I have modified to fit my needs. Watch this space – it’s a winner!
Anyhoo – back to running away and my social media holiday.
I think the biggest takeaway for me, is that I didn’t really get just how addicted to checking my in-box I had become. Out on the water with a cheeky glass of red*, watching the sunset with people I love helped me appreciate how important connecting with both nature and loved ones in REAL time can be.
So, if you didn’t get the chance to take some time out over the silly season, I’m going to suggest you have a good look at your diary and see when you can run away. Just for a wee while. It makes coming home all the sweeter.
*Did I mention I loosened the reins on my AIP stuff a little?
I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.
It’s been a bit of a mad time here at Casa TSL. We are well on the way to getting the house organised to sell. And then, last week, we were advised that my Dad was having surgery to have his thyroid removed. And, as resilient and invincible as my Dad is, I kind of felt a trip to New Zealand was required. So, while LM toiled away here, I flew back to Auckland for a few days.
I’m so glad I did. I got to spend some lovely time with both my Mum and Dad. And, my Dad remains resilient and invincible.
There’s something about BIG life events, isn’t there? Weddings, funerals, health scares – they all bring family together. And, this trip home was no exception. I caught up with my favourite cousin (I’m pretty sure none of my other cousins read this blog, so I should be safe!). It was just fab’ to see him. It’s been too long between drinks.
We had a good old chin-wag. And, I learnt something. The skin issues that have plagued me for years, and lead me to the Autoimmune Protocol, extend beyond my immediate family. My cousin suffers from similar problems. POWERFUL genes, these TSL genes!
Any-who, we talked a lot about gluten. And I can drone on about the nasty effects of gluten for a long time. I’m almost evangelical about it. You know how when smokers give up cigarettes, they often become the staunchest and most vocal anti-smokers? Well, that’s me about the evil effects of gluten. I was the bread-loving queen. Even now, the idea of artisan, sourdough has me salivating. But no more for this girl.
After 23 years of trying to get rid of my skin issues, not one doctor suggested that gluten could be the problem. And giving up gluten was all it took to clear everything up almost completely.
And, then I learnt about all the other side effects that can be caused by gluten.
So now, I think everyone should give up gluten for 30 days – just to see how they feel. If there’s no change, well – no harm done. But, if you feel better; if your skin is clearer; if your brain loses its fog; if your joints stop aching – then gluten may well be the culprit. Isn’t it worth it just to see?
Could you be sensitive to gluten?
Gluten is a large molecule. It’s very abrasive to the lining of our gastrointestinal tract. And, it’s impossible for us to digest.
Whenever you consume foods with gluten such as wheat, oats, barley or rye, you risk damaging the lining of your gastrointestinal tract. In fact, the more gluten you eat, the greater the risk. Something to think about when the norm for many is cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner… Once your gut lining has been damaged, you set yourself up for intestinal permeability which can then lead to all sorts of food sensitivities, skin problems, brain fog, depression, and many autoimmune conditions.
Something to think about?
The best way to go gluten-free is to shop the periphery of your supermarket. Ignore the lure of all the processed gluten-free options. Sure, you may lose the gluten, but the other highly processed ingredients aren’t doing you any favours either. Rather, try adding in plant-based foods. It’s amazing what you can do with vegetables when you start experimenting. Ever tried zucchini noodles?
Gluten Sensitivity Warning Signs
These are a number of common potential warning signs that gluten is not your friend. Here are a few of them:
Not yet convinced? A couple of the more compelling recent reads are:-
Wheat Belly by William David, MD
Grain Brain by Ron Perlmutter, MD
Has anybody else experienced health wins by giving up gluten?
If the people of New Zealand want to be part of our world, I believe they should hop off their islands, and push ’em closer. (Lewis Black)
Lewis, you’re a very funny guy, but I don’t think I agree with you on this matter. There are some people from New Zealand who seem to be taking the world by storm without pushing the islands any closer…
I mean, everyone knows about the Boskke* Sky Planter, don’t they? It seems to pop up all over the place. And, it is a great concept. And, it’s designed by a Kiwi.
An inverted pot for flowers, herbs, and other leafy companions, the Sky Planter was designed to save space, conserve water, purify your air, improve your health and transform your view of nature. The boys at Boskke left out ‘provide great design’ in their product spiel.
Because no matter how pure my air becomes or how my view of nature is transformed, I’m not interested in a hanging planter if it is ugly. Call me shallow.
What I did not know is that Boskke founders – Patrick Morris, and his brother, Jake – happen to be the progeny of founders of the world-famous-in-New-Zealand ceramics producer that is Morris & James. Sustainable design is kind of in their blood.
But, now they’ve gone and done it again. The Sky Planter wasn’t enough. Now they’re launching the Boskke Cube…
I think it looks fab’.
Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. (Leonardo da Vinci)
Apparently, the “Boskke Cube reassembles the humble plant pot, putting the organic process of growth on display, rather than hiding it away.
The clear body of the Boskke Cube is also a water reservoir, supplying up to four weeks of moisture through the same Slo-Flo watering system that the best-selling Sky Planters use.”
And again – great design.
Boskke have a number of distributors around the globe. In Sydney, my favourite is Terrace at 47 Queen st, Woollahra, NSW 2025
*The name ‘Boskke’ is derived from the old English word ‘bosky’ which means ‘a small forest’ and that’s exactly what the team from Boskke want us to create with each of their clever eco-sensitive designs.
Artisan Design, Artisan Food, Celery, Drinks, Flavor, Hand Crafted, Little and Friday, Natural Soda, New Zealand, Sarsaparilla, Six Barrel Soda Co., Soda, Summer Drinks, Sydney, Traditionally Crafted Food, Wellington
Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.(Robert Morgan)
Not only do I really think the Six Barrel Soda Co. should be readily available to punters (like me!) here in Sydney-town, I would also like them to resurrect their feijoa flavour. There is quite possibly enough of a nostalgic Kiwi market here in Australia to justify a massive batch just for us…
Maybe I should start a petition…?
The good people of Six Barrel Soda Co. craft classic fountain-style sodas by hand using all natural ingredients. They are based in Wellington (that’s in New Zealand!) and they even have a factory café which is open 7 days.
Small problem. I live in Sydney. And when I checked out their website, I found I could buy from stockists all around New Zealand, and in New South Wales and Victoria. But, it would seem that the good cafe-owners of Sydney have yet to discover the genius that is Six Barrel Soda. Sigh.
Here are my favourite-sounding flavours currently available…
Six Barrel Soda Co. say that their celery tonic is made in the style of a classic new york city soda popular in jewish delicatessens. It apparently has the spice of lightly pressed celery seed and ginger, the crispness of cucumber, green apple and fresh celery and the freshness you should expect of great soda.
When LM and had a visit to Katz’s Deli, we were a little surprised to find that celery soda rocks! I really want me some Celery Soda…
According to the description, the Cherry & Pomegranate started out as a grenadine until more cherries were added and it became it’s own thing. Real cherries are combined with pomegranate molasses for a sweet tartness, orange blossom water for floral notes and organic cane sugar for a natural sweetness. YUM!
The Sarsaparilla blurb made me think of my Dad. He would love this flavour, I think. Made in the style of a classic root beer with sarsaparilla root, star anise and juniper berries for floral and licorice notes, ginger for spice and caramelised sugar and molasses for the smoky sweetness.
Of course, he lives in Auckland and can wander down to Little and Friday in Newmarket if he wants a fix.
Hibiscus flavoured soda sounds so girly and feminine to me. And, apparently it is a floral plummy original number. Dried hibiscus flowers are used for a deep red colour and a rich floral and stone fruit flavour.
There are many more seasonal flavours available, too…
Of course, conveniently I can order Six Barrel Soda for international delivery online direct from Wellington (here, if you’re interested). It’s just that, at $10 per bottle delivery, it’s getting a teeny bit on the steep side. What I really, really want is a Sydney-based stockist…
Animal Photography, Book Review, Books, Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, Christchurch, Christmas Gifts, Dog, Dwight D. Eisenhower, French Bulldog, Gifts, Gifts for hard to buy for people, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador, Lord Byron, New Zealand, Photography
What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog. (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
‘Quake Dogs’ will make you melt…
At 12.51pm on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake severely damaged New Zealand’s second-largest city of Christchurch, killing 185 people. It followed an earlier ‘quake of 4 September 2010 which caused significant damage to the region, but no fatalities.
‘Quake Dogs’ is a dog’s perspective of surviving the Christchurch earthquakes. The book is made up of a series of stories about individual pooches and what they went through.
100 dogs, 2 cats and a chicken were photographed for the 68 stories in the book. And as sappy as I know it sounds, each one is more engaging and heart-warming than the last… Honest.
Cilla, the Boston Terrier, may have slept through the big ‘quake, but the many aftershocks caused her great anxiety and apparently her hair started falling out, and she lost a lot of weight.
She has since moved to just north of Auckland where she lives with her owners and new best friend, Oakley, the French Bulldog.
Jet, the Labrador, was collected by her owner’s daughter after the 2010 quake. She developed separation anxiety and was able to anticipate aftershocks.
When the big 2011 quake hit, she was alone outside and had to wait, surrounded by liquefaction, for three hours, teddy in her mouth, until her owner could get home. Fortunately, her separation anxiety is much better now.
Chloe, the Chihuahua, lives with Caiou (a Greyhound) and Little (a Labrador). When the big quake hit, the dogs were home alone. Apparently, their house was like the inside of a washing machine on spin cycle…
To avoid being crushed by a falling cabinet, Little smashed through a glass door and received a nasty glass cut on his head. Caiou and Chloe followed him and they all huddled in the garden together until help arrived.
Today, Chloe has proved the most resilient of the three pups, although she is small enough to fit in a hand-bag, so this may be a contributing factor!
The poor dog, in life the firmest friend. The first to welcome, foremost to defend. (Lord Byron)
My Mum sent me my copy of ‘Quake Dogs’. I just love it.
Written by Laura Sessions (who has two dogs – George and Mildred) and photographed by FURtographer Craig (who has no dogs, but three cats – Jazz, Mr Tinkles and Millefeuille), part of the proceeds from the book go to support HUHA, a national organisation that works to rescue and re-home animals around the New Zealand.
If you have a dog lover in your life, they will love this book! The book has been such a success that it has sold out BUT new stock is expected by 2nd December (in time for Christmas!). You can order through the Furtography website (payment through Paypal) and the book will be sent to you. AND, you can even get a personalised dedication… All for NZ34.99!
*Guinness, is the face of ‘Quake Dogs’ – in New Zealand he became a very familiar scruffy face and appeared regularly in the TV news updates. The enormous, shaggy Irish Wolfhound became the pin-up boy for the Student Volunteer Army and was awarded a medal for his work with their rescue effort.
Like most Kiwis, I have a bit of a thing for the Pukeko. With its distinctive bright blue colouring and bright red beak, it is always easy to see against the green of the New Zealand wetland.
Also known as the New Zealand Swamp Hen, the Pukeko is a member of the rail family, and it is similar to other species found all over the world. There are apparently 15 sub species of the bird and their range includes southern Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Melanesia, western Polynesia, as well as Australia and New Zealand, so it is a very common bird. In New Zealand, you can find them in almost any grassland area, especially in swampy locations.
Just why they have struck such a chord within the Kiwi culture is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it is because they are a little ungainly, but still full of character. It’s certainly not because of their flying ability – their take off is laboured and they are awkward flyers with feet dangling and often crash landing into a tree or bush, although they can fly long distances.
For me, one woman who has captured the quirkiness of the Pukeko perfectly, is Beatrice Carlson. She apparently originally studied oil painting and it has given her an understanding of layers and transparency that she now uses in her digital work. Her works are dramatic in scale – the piece above is 1200mm x 1200mm – but she works with the smallest of details, adjusting the images pixel by pixel.
I think I would quite like Blue Comme on my wall…
Essenze sells Blue Comme for NZ$2,901 and will ship anywhere in the world. You can check out their site here.
New Zealand is not a small country but a large village.(Peter Jackson)
In New Zealand, the ownership or use of a bach (or, ‘crib’ if you hail from the South Island) is almost part of our cultural heritage. And, for the initiated, a bach is an unassuming, sometimes even rustic, holiday home.
My parents have a bach about an hour’s drive north of Auckland. And, when I say ‘bach’, I mean a modest-yet-lovely wee house nestled into the bush.
The last time I visited, my Dad was talking ‘bach refurbishment’ with me. He wants to spruce the place up a bit, without spending too much money.
So, I’ve had bach refurbishment on my mind… And, I quite like the ‘Kiwiana nostalgia’ feel that Lucy Gauntlett’s work evokes in me.
New Zealand based professional photographer & graphic artist, Lucy Gauntlett specialises in creative New Zealand limited edition landscape photography, large-scale panoramic landscape photographs and prints of local New Zealand scenery. While these range from rugged West Coast beaches to edgy graffiti ridden streetscapes, my favourites are from her hand painted fruit and vegetable signs that she photographed and layered.
Perhaps I’m just feeling sentimental, but I think some of these pieces might be quite nice at the bach…
Or, for something with less Kiwiana but even more of a retro feel, this kitchen aid poster could be just the thing for the kitchen…
Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump. (Auguste Rodin)
So, this year’s Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi is almost upon us. It’s one of those fab’ public exhibitions that Sydney does so well. I look forward to it every year. The Jacaranda are flowering here in Sydney and it feels like summer is well on its way. It must be time for Sculptures by the Sea…
One sculptor whose work I quite like, and who is not exhibiting in this years sculpture walk, is Peter Lange. A New Zealand ceramic artist, he taught himself pottery in the 1970s.
I’m a fan of trompe l’oeil. I like the humour and whimsy of it. And Lange brings this to his work. He started his slip-cast trompe l’oeil sculpture in the mid 1980s, after an encounter with Richard Shaw, a recognised master of trompe l’oeil sculpture.
Lange gained notoriety in 2002 for building an Anagama Boat. Apparently he was investigating the motto “if you throw it in the water and it sinks, then it’s art… if it floats it’s craft”. Intrigued by the resemblance of the interior of an Anagama kiln to an inverted boat, Lange set out to prove that an inverted kiln could float.
In August of this year, he installed three giant brick kumara (that’s New Zealand sweet potato, for the uninitiated!) on Mt Eden Road in Auckland. The work is called ‘Tahuri’, after a legendary Māori gardener known for her fabulous kumara. The work was sponsored by Eden Arts, a lovely group of people committed to promoting the arts in Mt Eden (a suburb of Auckland).
In my wee investigation of the talented Mr Lange, I found that Masterworks Gallery in Auckland has some of his work available. I imagine they are quite heavy and expensive to ship, but if one lived in Auckland…
If you’d like to see more examples of Peter Lange’s work, he has some great images on his website here.
Sculpture by the Sea (Bondi) runs from 24 October to 10 November 2013. If you’d like more details, check out the website here.
So. Last week I did something impulsive. Quite impulsive, really. I was very generously offered a late invitation to join a party for dinner at the newly opened Sugar Club at the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland. Private dining room, no less.
Yes – that’s the Auckland in New Zealand. And yes, I live in Sydney which is in Australia. But really, what’s 2,160 kilometres between friends? As it happens, LM and the teenager were off to Melbourne to check out universities for the weekend and I was at a loose end. I looked online and webjet offered me a reasonably budget flight. I figured it was meant to be…
I’ve written before about my longstanding crush on Peter Gordon. So it was extra-special to have the chance to dine at his newly launched Sugar Club just 7 days after it opened. If you’re not familiar with the restaurant’s history, here’s a blurb from Peter’s website:
The Sugar Club has an iconic history in New Zealand, opening in central Wellington in 1986 with Peter as head chef – and being the first Kiwi chef to bring an Asian and Middle Eastern-infused menu to a New Zealand restaurant. Since then, The Sugar Club opened branches in Notting Hill and Soho in London, again with Peter as Head Chef. During this time, Peter also wrote his first of seven cookbooks, The Sugar Club Cookbook.
Peter Gordon is credited as being the ‘godfather’ of fusion cuisine. He is known for pushing boundaries – where one national cuisine starts and another stops. For him fusion is “fun and it’s playful. It’s simply one of many cuisines, and it happily sits amongst them like a magpie, borrowing from them all.”
That was MY meal. Here are a couple of the dishes…
Our party of 12 was very well looked after by the very charming and efficient Edward. We had a super evening. The food was superb and the wines delicious. I suspect we were treated particularly well given our ‘private dining room’ status organised by our lovely host. My only complaint is that my images aren’t as good as they would be if LM had been the photographer. Apologies!
Peter Gordon is cooking at the Sugar Club for the next month before he hands over the reins to Head Chef, Neil Brazier. I reckon’ it’s definitely worth a visit!