2011 was a year with a lot of up, a lot of down, and quite a bit of in between.
In 2011 Craig and I said goodbye to the Hutt Valley for city living in Wellington. We travelled to Hawaii and not much of anywhere else. Work was both stressful and fulfilling, full of sound and fury, culminating in ... not a lot. My family expanded by one when my baby sister got married. Full family dinners are now a table of eight. I am skinnier, richer, happier, and more complicated than ever before. I made new friends, kept old ones, and made the most of living in town.
Best of all, best of all, I became an Irish citizen.
In 2011 I resolved to: x be more frugal - yes? yes. x maintain the healthy-ish lifestyle I managed in 2010 - yes. x declutter - oh yes. x take a photo every damn day - yes! yet again. I missed two self-portraits though. x keep percolating this tattoo idea. - yes! and uh ... also yes.
I am ever so excited about 2012: x Europe* x a new job** x taking a photo every damn day x new tattoos***
Let's see how it goes. I can't wait!
first and last
* in April Craig and I are, leave from work notwithstanding, heading to Europe for a month. ** fingers crossed. I have leads and plans. *** I have plans for two in 2012. I've managed to make it onto the list for one of my wishlist artists. I cannot wait.
Today? today we spent an hour at the travel agency. Craig and I are planning a European Excursion for April/May 2012. I am ever so excited. We just need to work out the ... employment side of things and then we're going to book!
Linen mini skirt, white cami, & a faux miu miu jacket printed with birds.
My "I just blue myself" dress.
I am so very very ready for Dressember to be over. Not because I wouldn't be wearing dresses but because, oh lord, it has been agony stuck taking these terrible photos every day. Don't even get me started on posting them here. I hate myself SO MUCH.
I found a dress I'd completely forgotten about - a brief reprieve from repeats. I'd forgotten about it because, honestly, I don't really like it.
Annoyingly enough I received ... many compliments on this dress. From twitter, from my husband, from the girl at my coffee shop, it was baffling.
I still don't like it.
Christmas Eve pre-supermarket coffee / presents finally all wrapped / local art in the xmas spirit / lunch at Beach Babylon / hanging on the sand / priority: don't get the tattoos sunburnt / finishing the evening with Christmas movies & wine.
Christmas just isn't Christmas without any Candy Canes
To me, chocolate and peppermint is the flavour of Christmas. I can't help it. With that in mind, I fiddled around with my favourite brownie recipe and created Candy Cane (salted) Chocolate Brownies. They are so good.
(NB: my pan is a little larger than required so I made a one-and-a-half batch. The recipe below is just for one)
Candy Cane (salted) Chocolate Brownies
Ingredients 8 tbsp butter 1/2 c brown sugar 1 c white sugar 2 large eggs 3/4 c flour 1/2 c cocoa 1 tsp salt 1 tbsp vanilla 1 tbsp peppermint essence
For the icing: 2 tsp butter Icing sugar 1 tbsp cocoa 1 tsp peppermint essence 3 candy canes
1. Preheat Oven to 200c
Christmas calories don't count, right?
2. Melt (entirely too much) butter in pot over stove
3. Remove butter from heat, let cool about a minute, then add sugars (I use the pot as my bowl the whole way through. I'm all about saving on the washing up). Mix well.
4. Add eggs, flour, cocoa, salt, and essences. Mix well.
5. Line pan with baking paper, pour in batter, and pop in oven.
6. Bake 20-25 minutes, test with a knife in the center and remove when only a few little crumbs cling to the knife.
7. Cool one hour.
8. In another bowl mix the butter with enough boiling water to melt it, icing sugar, cocoa, peppermint essence, and another pinch of salt, until you have an icing with a good consistency - add water a tsp at a time to water it down.
9. Have your handsome husband (I mean, if you have one lying around, it's handy) unwrap the candy canes and crush them. Try not to eat too many of the bigger pieces.
10. Sprinkle over the icing! Enjoy. Also, if you happen to have a metric tonne of melted white chocolate from when you also made peppermint bark? you can add that too.