Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Psychic told me it would happen

It has been a crazy past few months and I apologise for my very long absence from Zahara Dessert.I'm sure you didn't miss me too much?

A lot has happened since I last wrote to you all way back in April.

We are still in the midst of ticking #41 off the Life List: 'Live and work overseas for a year' in New Zealand and still really enjoying it. Husband is still working very hard on that 'little movie' and I am still being a lady of leisure.

Although hopefully I won't be a lady of leisure for too long as I need to start financially contributing, as our finances are a bit stretched given we crazily bought a house here in Welllington. 

Our living room Bay window (with my Eames House Bird).
It all happened so fast.

We didn't want to keep on wasting money on rent and given the significantly cheaper houses prices to what we are used to in Sydney, we thought it would be a good little investment.

We had been looking for a while, trying to work out what areas we liked and could afford. We really loved the suburb where we had been renting in, but as it was one of the pricier ends of Wellington, we thought we would have no chance. We had put a few offers on some properties. We were even very close to buying a house, however it fell though as the house had significant building issues.

My husband found an ad for a beautiful 1930's bungalow and thought we should look at it. It was down the road from our rental and was in a gorgeous location. I thought he was going crazy. It was WAY too expensive and it would be a waste of our time to even go and look at it. Husband convinced me other wise and I was so happy that he did.

We fell in love with it straight away and we just 'had to have it'. We thought long and hard to see if and what we could really afford and put in a cheeky offer which was of course rejected. But with some stressful negotiation, the owners finally accepted a price (still significantly lower than what they wanted) and we moved in 2 weeks later!

It is our 'dream house' (that we could never have afforded in Sydney).

I call it my 'dream home' because that is what the Psychic had called it. I totally forgot about this until my mother reminded me. Before moving to New Zealand, I had gone to see a Psychic. I had never been to one before but I thought the time was right for a little guidance.

It was a really rough time in my life. Husband had just been made redundant, I wasn't really enjoying my work, we were dealing with some family 'issues' and my husband had been offered a job in New Zealand. We had to make the tough decision to move our lives (and dog) to another country and start again, away from our friends and family. I just didn't know what to do.

Without any help from me, the Psychic told me via some Tarot Cards that we would be moving overseas, we would be financially secure, we would buy our 'Dream House' and we would be really happy. That was all I had needed to hear.

And so far, she has been 100% correct.

The original 1930s plans. The house we bought it very different to this, as the previous owners modernised it and made it open plan. But the lovely original character is still there.
We still have a lot of work that needs to be done to the house. As you can imagine, a house that is over 80 years old needs a lot of love and care (and roof insulation), but I think it will be so worth it.

My favourite bit about the house are the original 1930s features.

The ceiling in the bedroom
 The Carrara ceilings are just divine and I also like the quirky fireplace.

The Eames bird makes another appearance, this is actually his permanent home.
We are still in the process of trying to make our house our own. Hopefully I will be sharing with you some photos of how it looks and what changes we have made. Who knows, maybe this will be the house that makes me tick off #13 "Have my current home/renovated home appear on Apartment Therapy/deecor8/or similar"?

Who knows how long we will be living here, but I think it will always be our dream home and we will be really happy here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The American Dream

Winter in Central Park
I wrote down my Life List, soon after we returned from a holiday in the United States, way back in 2011.

A lot of the things on the 'Life List' had been churning in my head for some time, others had appeared after our US trip. These were things that we just didn't manage to get done or I wanted to do again when I returned to America.

Ever since this trip, I have been trying to get back to the USA to tick all American items off the list.

I am very excited to report that in May we will be returning to the USA, armed with my Life List and all the intentions to tick these items off.

This trip was planned around #32: Renew our wedding vows, Elvis style. This is something we have wanted to do for some time. However when we learnt our really good friend was having a party in Vegas to celebrate his 40th Birthday, we knew this would be the perfect opportunity to organise a trip around the Life List. The Birthday Boy and he wife also wanted to renew their vows in Las Vegas while they were there, so we felt it was destined to happen!

What is better than a double wedding?

Elvis here we come..

Here are all the things I am planning to tick off while we are in America (to say I am excited is an understatement)...

32. Renew our wedding vows in Las Vegas (Elvis style)
35. Take a road trip through California and visit the Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs and San Francisco
47. Go to Disneyland
71. Go back to Central Park in NYC and see the Alice in Wonderland statue
72. Go to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles
74. Go back to the Getty museum in Los Angeles
77. Find the perfect Fajitas
79. Search for the perfect Margarita (or at least go back to Spice Market in New York and have some more of those heavenly Ginger Margaritas)
82. See Bill Cunningham at work/on his bike in NYC (one can only hope)
84. Be able to afford a pair of authentic designer shoes and/or hand bag (I need some glam shoes for #32!)

Central Park, New York
I will keep you posted on how I go...

[all images by Zahara Dessert].

Monday, April 15, 2013

#46: Pay off my credit card(s)...Paid Off DONE

Florescent Seaweed at Seatoun Beach, Wellington, New Zealand

I just realised that I ticked #46 off the Life List and I didn't even realise. Woo Hoo!!!

For some time now I have been trying my best to curtail my frivolous spending and not buy everything that I like.

It has also really helped that I currently do not have a job. I just can't buy that dress I like or that top I just 'have to have'.

Thanks so much 'husband' for helping me tick this off the Life List... you are the best!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kia Ora to all

Breaker Bay, at sunset
Kia Ora in the Māori language literally means "be well/be healthy", but it is used to just say "Hi.

I first must apologise for my very very long absence from Zahara Dessert. To be honest, I have been very busy doing not very much at all.

As you may already know, I am 8 weeks into ticking #41 off the Life List: 'Live and work overseas for a year' in lovely New Zealand.

So far Wellington has been very kind to us. We have had the most amazing weather and according to the locals, it has been the best Summer in more than 10 years. However the downside of this is that the North Island is now in drought, so we are waiting for the rain to come and help out the farmers who have been suffering.

The Pass of Branda (I love saying that out loud)
We are also very lucky to be living in one of the most beautiful parts of Wellington. We are surrounded by the Cook Straight and have the most amazing views from our house of Wellington Harbour. I have wasted many hours looking out our window and watching the Ferries and life pass by.

Our 'private' beach, behind our house (Oruaiti Reserve)
We are also blessed to be surrounded by the most spectacular stretches of coast line. No more than a 5 minute walk from our house we are on the beach at the Oruaiti Reserve, a rugged area surrounded by beach and tracks along a volcanic foreshore. The views from here are ever changing and I am yet to tire of the views (even when it is blowing the famous Wellington gale).

Seatoun Harbour on my daily dog walk
Although I am yet to find work, I really am enjoying being a 'lady of leisure'. A lot of my time has been taken up 'nesting' and trying to make our Kiwi rental feel like home.

...So all in all, life in New Zealand has been treating us very very well.

Our view
I really am looking forward to seeing where this amazing adventure will take us and what things I will be able to tick off the  Life List. As I have mentioned before, 2013 will be the year that I will achieve many of my Life List goals and I say 'bring it on'.

Breaker Bay
I hope you can follow me on my Kiwi journey...

[all images by Zahara Dessert]

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Guest Post: 52 suburbs around the world, Te Aro

In honor of our impending move to Wellington, I thought I would share with you Louise Hawson's truly stunning photographic journey of Te Aro, Wellington, as part of her series 52 Suburbs Around the World.

It's strange, the minute we announced that we were moving to Wellington, blog posts about Wellington have popped up all over the place, helping me feel less anxious about the move and more comfortable about getting out of my comfort zone.

But I am NOT looking forward to the cold and the famous crazy winds of Wellington. You can never get used to that. 

Louise's did an amazing job capturing the true essence and beauty of Wellington that I love and that you can only find by ditching the guide books and exploring the town yourself.

Louise's photos have made me look forward to the great coffee on Cuba Street, but Miss Piggy's Wellington posts have made me hanker for the amazing produce and cafes that it also has to offer.


Thanks again Louise for helping me really realise what a truly stunning place I am moving too (even if [hopefully] it isn't a permanent move).

All photos by permission of  Louise Hawson from http://52suburbs.com

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A last minute Life List (things to do before we leave Sydney)

Bathers Pavilion, Balmoral, Sydney
As you know we are off to Middle Earth to live for a year and start our new 2013 Life List adventures.

But before we leave Sydney, I want to do things that I had been planning to do for AGES but wasn't able to.

So here is my 'Sydney Last Minute Life List' (must be completed by mid February):
I know its only a year that we will be away for, however I know that these are the things I will crave and make me very Home Sick.

I will also have to change my Life List item #45 and change it from 'discovering the amazing things about Sydney' to 'discovering the amazing things about Wellington'.

[all images by husband]
Balmoral Beach, Sydney

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My bird obsession... I blame the Eames bird!

As you know, #33 on the Life List is to buy an original Eames piece of furniture.
I have been on the hunt for a while and I have not been able to find one that we can afford. 

Image via smallshop studio
So in the meantime I am on the hunt for an Eames House Bird.

I am obsessed with him at the moment.

Image via the fancy
Image via houzz

Here are some House Birds I found as part of my Pinterst Board.
You can follow me on Pinterest if you like.

Image via whorange
Image via sfgirlbybay

Image via imemine

Image via vitra

Image via antiques navigator

Image via stardust modern design

Image via paper blog

Image via love maegan

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Merry 2013: Zahara Dessert... 1 year on

The last sunset of 2012, Sydney, Australia
Happy New Year!

New Years Eve was the 1st year anniversary of Zahara Dessert.

I am not really sure how I feel about it.
I had very big plans for this blog when I started.
I knew I wouldn't tick a significant amount of items off the Life List, but I thought I would do more than what I was able to accomplish in 2012.

I just got busy, often I was lazy and think I was a little bit unmotivated.

Also 2012 was a bit of a crazy year for husband and I.
It often gave us lemons, but we embraced this crazy year and did our best to make lemonade.

I have very big plans for 2013.

Come February, I will be able to to tick #41 off the list 'Live and work overseas for a year'. Yeah!

As you know, we were planning for this to be New York, however as things in life often don't go to plan, it looks like our overseas destination will be WELLINGTON, New Zealand.

After losing his job, husband has been offered a years contract working in Wellington. An amazing opportunity for him as it means he will be able to continue to do what he loves and work on films that inspire him.

OK so not as glamorous as New York, but we still will be moving to another country for a year and exploring the wonderful things that Wellington has to offer.

As I have said before, I really like Wellington. It is a funky little town and I am really looking forward to spending a lot more time in New Zealand.

The move to New Zealand also means that I will be leaving my full time job after nearly 5 years and taking on a small part time role in Wellington. The upside to this is that I will be able to spend a lot more time writing on the blog and taking everyone on more 'Zahara Dessert' adventures. Which I am very much looking forward too.

I know 2013 will also be a year where I will be able to tick more things off the List, as we will be going to America on holidays, armed with my list. So again I am very excited about these and all the other opportunities we have to tick off the Life List.

Happy New Year!
Here is what I am planning on ticking off the List:

11. Have my current home/renovated home appear on Apartment Therapy/deecor8/or similar - I can't wait to find a new home and having a blank canvas to decorate and fill it with our treasures.
14. Learn how to take great photographs - New Zealand is very photo worthy
16. Set up a greenhouse in the back yard to grow phalaenopsis orchids - NZ will be ideal for this
17. Grow a veggie patch/orchard in back yard - So looking forward to a house with a real yard and garden
24. Get to my ideal weight and stay there (10kg less than what I am currently) - this is going to happen in 2013 (I need to look hot for my new wedding dress - see #30)
25. Be completely debt-free (mortgage included) - given we now only have 1 and a half pays, a mortgage and a rental, I need to focus on this for 2013.
28. Choose a good cookbook and cook every recipe in it - no excuses not to do this
29. Learn how to bake cakes (and not blame the oven) - this will continue
30. Renew our wedding vows in Las Vegas (Elvis style) - Look out! This is happening in May, 2013.
31. Buy a real Eames/Hand Wegner piece of furniture - might as well continue this search
35. Take a road trip through California and visit the Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs, San Francisco just to name a few  - this is happening in May/June, 2013
37. Watch the 100 Movies to See Before You Die  - might as well
38. Read Top 100 Books Of All Time - might as well
39. See a real Banksy on the street - the search continues
41, Live and work overseas for a year (plan for 2012 is New York)  - Wellington, New Zealand 2013

44. Pay off my credit cards in full and manage my funds a lot better than I have in the past - see #25
47. Go to Disneyland - hopefully get to do this in May/June, 2013
48. Sing Karaoke in front of a crowd - no time like the present
49. Eat much better (ie. less sugar, carbs and chicken and more fish and red meat) - see #24
50. Wear Lipstick over consecutive days (preferably a shade of red) - I still need to find a shade of red that doesn't make me look like a 'lady of the night'

51. Master my mother's eggplant Parmigiana  - I can't rely on her making this for us at a drop of a hat now that she is 2250kms away (or 1398 miles).
52. Master all my mum's Italian recipes  - see #51
59. Be more tidy and organized (may have slight hoarder tendencies) - This will happen
61. Live more sustainably (stop throwing food out) - I need to focus on this

62. Learn to stress less over unnecessary things (and consequently save on massage/physiotherapy bills)  - This also will be my focus in 2013
63. Become more organized and stop focusing on doing the fun things first  - If I want the blog to happen, this needs to be a priority
65. Get a tattoo  - NZ is the land of tattoos
66. Become someone that regularly exercises  - see #24
67. Find the perfect 'little black dress'  - might as well keep on looking but not until I tick off #24
69. Go back to Central Park in NYC and see the Alice in Wonderland statue  - this is happening in May/June, 2013
71. Buy an antique worthy of the 'Antiques Roadshow'  - am still looking
72. Go to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles  - this is happening in May/June, 2013
74. Go back to the Getty museum in Los Angeles  - this is happening in May/June, 2013
75. Learn how to put a full face of make up on  - I am getting better at this, but will continue my quest
77. Find the perfect Fajitas  - Either in Wellington or in America
79. Search for the perfect Margarita - Either in Wellington or in America (or at least go back to Spice Market in New York and have some more Ginger Margaritas)
80. Donate blood regularly Started  - I need to now find a blood bank in NZ and start donating

82. See Bill Cunningham at work/on his bike in NYC - hopefully we can see him in May/June, 2013
83. Finish the cross stitch project (that I have been working on for the last 15 years) - might as well do this while I have time to kill
84. Be able to afford a pair of authentic designer shoes and/or hand bag - Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik here I come! I need some glam shoes for #30!

2013 is going to be big and I am so looking forward to it.

Bring it on!

Sydney, I will miss you very much
[all images by Zahara Dessert]

Friday, December 14, 2012

#90: Live in a house with a Jacaranda tree

I have loved Jacaranda trees for as long as I can remember.

Growing up there weren't many in our area, but when I moved to Sydney I was surrounded by them.
Along with Frangipanis, they are my most favourite tree.

Many years ago I made the oath that the first thing I would do when I bought a house would be to plant a Jacaranda tree. Unfortunately this has yet to happen. My current house has a tiny courtyard, which is not suitable for a massive tree like this. However my next house will have a garden big enough for a Jacaranda.

In the meantime, I am going to try to visit Grafton next year and go to their Jacaranda Festival.
Maybe I can even become the Jacaranda Queen if I wear my sexy 1980's dress I just wore to our recent Christmas party?

Instagram pictures by mrs_clock, mashakoster, liarna_mae, husband and zaharadessert