30 to 30: Nemesis update

| by Bel |


Do you remember how I have told you about how I have that nemesis, who I saw one time on the bus in [redacted] and he annoyed me how he was talking to the person sitting next to him and so now I hate him but I see him around town sometimes and I'm like GRRR THAT GUY even though I don't have any real reason to?



30 to 30: 9 days to go (apparently)

| by Bel | 

Bel: I'm looking forward to us all going out for dinner for my birthday. Have you got that Thursday night in your diary?

Bel's dad: Yes of course, next week.

Bel: Dad, no - not next week, in a fortnight!

Bel's dad: A fortnight?

Bel: Yes, on the 28th! Sheesh.

Bel's dad: Next week.

Bel: What?

Bel's dad: Tomorrow week in fact.

Bel: Tomorrow week??

Bel's dad: Yes, tomorrow is Thursday, all day until midnight, which means one week from then.


Bel's dad: Yes.

Bel: My birthday is next week!!

Bel's dad: Yes. You'll be 30.

Bel: I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

30 to 30: Beginning of the end.

| by Bel |

Got my first birthday card in the mail this weekend.

Bluejay!! Outta the way!!

Technically the envelope was marked "FOR 29th JUNE" but I opened it right away anyway. Lou understands this of my nature and when she send me my lovely giftie early, I was given instruction to of course tear it open immediately.

And now I have this yummy visual reminder of all the rosebuds I'm going to drink at my birthday party!

30 to 30: My friend Lou in London

| by Bel | 

#94 on my epic To Do list was Visit Lou. I ticked this off at the end of last year, whilst also completing #1 Go On Our Honeymoon. That trip also crossed off #89 Spend New Year's Eve In An Exotic Location and #101 Visit Family In Sydney (Ranking in no way indicates importance, FYI!)

Here are some photos of us on our wonderful walking tour of inner city London, past the iconic sights on the Thames riverbank.

This is that bridge that gets pwned at the start of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!!
And yes, our hair matches our outfits. 

When I saw this, I was like "Mark! You can barely even see the Globe in this photo!" and he was like "Um, yeah, I didn't actually know what you were talking about when you were like 'OMG! The Globe! Take my photo!!' so yeah."

The Shard!!!! (You have to say it like that - The Shard!!!)

Me using Lou's London A-Z to get around without supervision!

30 to 30: Kitteh luvs cupcakes

| by Bel | 

Katya made these delicious looking (and tasting!) rainbow decorated cupcakes this afternoon.

And then Bluejay decided she would share mine with me.

(Yes this is me with my uggs-wearing feet up in front of the fire)

You have not laughed at your cat being ridiculous until you have laughed at your cat being ridiculous with blue icing all over her whiskers.

30 to 30: 30 Songs

| by Bel |

Here is a playlist I made for Melissa, who is turning 30 today, exactly three weeks older than me!

Some of it is very specific to our friendship, but there should be resonance for anyone who listened to a lot of commercial radio in the late 90s.

  1. “Summertime” Dinah Washington band
  2. “Sweet Dreams” Eurythmics
  3. “Here Comes The Hotstepper” Ini Kamoze
  4. “Short Short Man" 20 Fingers, feat. Gillette
  5. “Informer” Snow
  6. “Would I Lie to You?” Charles & Eddie
  7. “Two Steps” Alice Russell
  8. "100 Days, 100 Nights" Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
  9. “My Girl Josephine” Supercat
  10. “Kate” Ben Folds Five
  11. “My Sharona” The Knack
  12. "New Age Girl" Deadeye Dick
  13. “Prisoner of Society” The Living End
  14. “Everlong” Foo Fighters
  15. “Tonight Tonight” Smashing Pumpkins
  16. “Pepper” Butthole Surfers
  17. “Santa Monica” Everclear
  18. “What I Got” Sublime
  19. “She Wants To Move” NERD
  20. "Umi Says" Mos Def
  21. “Everything Is Everything” Lauryn Hill
  22. “I'll Be Missing You” Puff Daddy feat Faith Evans
  23. “I Swear” All 4 One
  24. “Head Over Feet” Alanis Morissette
  25. “Stay” Lisa Loeb
  26. “Building A Mystery” Sarah McLachlan
  27. “Father and Son” Cat Stevens
  28. “Everybody Hurts” REM
  29. “Street Spirit” Radiohead
  30. “Exit Music For A Film” Brad Mehldau

30 to 30: In which I go to the gym so you don't have to.

| by Bel | 

  • Women only gyms are different to co-ed gyms. The atmosphere is less competitive and there's a wider variety of body shapes.
  • Don't drink water before the end-of-session ab tracks in your aerobics class. No matter how thirsty you are, hold out. Don't dooooo it!! Having a big swig of water and then launching into crunches will make you want to vomit.
  • The first class of spin is cruel on your crotch, but you soon get used to it (/destroy sensitivity in that area?).
  • Treat the free shit like you paid for it. Because really you did. Any of those "free" personal training sessions they give you when you pay the joining fee, make sure you book 'em in. If they have a sauna or massage bed, get stuck into it.
  • No one cares what gym gear you're wearing.
  • But maybe it will make a difference to you? Wearing a matchy-matchy ensemble where my shoes are coordinated with my leggings and singlet makes me feel like I am part of a TEAM! Here to WORK IT! To go for GOLD!
  • (I am assuming that you are wearing a supportive bra and comfy shoes. Which of course you are.)
  • When you bump into your boss half naked in the changing rooms, just maintain eye contact. In the eyes.
  • When the instructor enthusiastically yells "Sing along, you guys!", no one will sing along.

30 to 30: Stitchin'

| by Bel |

Day Zero Project #22: Complete a cross stitch project

Ok, technically what I did was embroidery, not cross stitch. But still counts!

I had a look in the new craft store Made Marion for a pattern that would be suitable for my toddler godson. The people in that shop are lovely, but sadly the range was limited to pretty traditional teddybears. I did get a nice big hoop though - and resisted the urge to stock up on more lovely colours of thread!

Glory be to Google - searching found me exactly what I was after! I bought a PDF pattern from Auckland-based crafter The Stitchsmith. Take a look at the original and you'll see that I adapted it quite a bit for my finished product. In fact, I noticed that there were some differences in the pattern and the completed example - there is more room to be creative in this kind of embroidery than a by-the-numbers cross stitch.

I also resisted buying up on carbon paper and transfer pens. I figure I'd just trace the design onto the fabric.

Idyllic domestic scene? DON'T BE FOOLED.

Sellotaping the pattern up onto the window, I grabbed my pillowcase and started to attempt to trace the pattern on.

First, it was awkward getting the bit of the pillowcase I wanted to stitch onto, to overlay nicely onto the window. I needed a third arm to hold it in place. Then the two arms I do have started getting tired. The sun was conveniently shining through and illuminating the paper for my tracing - but also shining right in my eyes and making it hard to see.

After about the sixth time of losing my grip on the material and tracing completely askew, I gave up and tore the pattern down off the glass. I stormed off to make myself a cup of tea, because I am boss like that.

When my inept crafter's rage had worn off slightly, I took another look at how I'd gotten along. It was then that I realised I had made an idiot mistake. Not wanting to stain the white material, I was using my trickmarker, which is designed to fade and leave no trace. DESIGNED TO FADE, PEOPLE. Sheesh, what a muppet.

Invisible chopper. Sigh.

Even after just 15 minutes, my tracing was already beginning to pale and disappear. Unless I was intending to magically upskill and sew like crazy for the next half hour undisturbed, I was going to be left stitching aimlessly in the wilderness.

I resorted to sellotaping the pattern to a hard cover book, sliding that inside the pillowcase and tracing (lightly, but not TOO lightly) with a soft pencil.

This went much better.

Especially after Mark saw me faffing around with it, sighed and harummpfed and then, once I relinquished my attempts, joyously took over the sketching.

(I had no problem handing it over. My mum is a very talented artist, who couldn't resist intervening and giving tips whenever she saw us muddling our way through art projects as kids. The frustration of not being able to make something look on the paper the way you have it in your head is soon dissipated if you're willing to swallow your pride and let someone who knows what they're doing take over. And besides, otherwise you'll have to put up with them hovering nearby and 'not saying' anything, which is worst of all.)

I don't have any "work in progress" photos to share with you - and even more sadly, no photos of the backside of the stitching. But let me tell you, it was exquisite. I used to be mortified of anyone sneaking a look at the back of my work and seeing the unholy spaghetti tangle mess revealed there. Not this time! All my stitches looked as neat and tidy as they did on the front, and I carefully tied and snipped off small knots. Honest!

The bulk of the sewing was done while keeping DK company in hospice. I found it incredibly useful to have something to do, which wasn't intrusive or consumed too much of my attention. It was the perfect level of distraction, while still being able to stay engaged with what was happening around me. I feel a bit rude reading a book (but not a magazine, funnily enough) and it was unbearable to just sit there doing nothing except watching and waiting.

The rest was done sitting on the couch at home, half-watching movies in the evening. It's amazing what you can tolerate when you're focusing elsewhere. COUGH Fast and the Furious for the nine millionth time COUGH.

I ditched the hanging banner from the original pattern and made the 'copter pilot a bit more cartoony. I drew freehand a couple of cutesy clouds to give a bit of aerial context and am so pleased with how they turned out.


I've since gotten a book out from the library, as I realised from reading the pattern instructions that my repertoire of stitches is fairly limited. What you can see here is mostly backstitch and I split my embroidery cotton to 3 ply.  The main exception is some simple stitch on the rotor blades which I did with the full 6 ply.  The detail in the line across the chopper is a metallic gold thread - it's a bitch to get through the needle but looks fantastic.

The courier should be delivering this giftie today - I hope Leo enjoys it! I am looking forward to getting stuck into a new project... any requests??

30 to 30: Consolation prize

| by Bel | 

Lovely long weekend here and since I missed three days, here are three outfits and three nails to satisfice. (AND A PHOTO OF MY CAT.)

Outfit for SlutWalk protest:
Faux fur coat - Collectif (early birthday gift from the wonderfulest Lou!!)
Merino cardigan - Minnie Cooper
Chucks with red glitter laces 
Catseye sunglasses - you can get similar ones off TradeMe

Outfit for rainy days:
Raincoat - Farmers. It folds up into its own pocket!
Hoodie - AS Colour
Catseye glasses - free online with a voucher

Outfit for being fance:
Dress - Jacqui E. I feel so Mad Men wearing it!
Wedges - Hush Puppies

Necklace - Agatha Paris (YES I BOUGHT IT IN PARIS. But apparently there is a boutique in Auckland?)
And I did my hair with hot rollers.

Butter London 'West End Wonderland'.
Bought in a sale online, I can't bring myself to spend the $35 in Farmers.

Me: OPI Nicki Minaj collection 'Pink Friday'
Brookie: Australis 'Sweet Pea' base with
OPI Nicki Minaj collection 'Fly' french tips.

OPI Nicki Minaj collection 'Did It On 'Em' base with Orly 'It's Up To Blue' french tips

Nails being put to good use, tickling Bluejay under her chin.

30 to 30: 100% photos of my cat. Because Friday.

| by Bel | 

Bluejay. And me!

(She lets you know she wants breakfast by sitting on your throat. SO CUTE.)



(this is her lapping water from the bottom of the shower, which is apparently something she loves to do)

(And this is her scratching the shit out of new armchairs which had been in our home approx 2 mins)

Oh and one video for good measure. This is her showing a piece of paper WHO IS BOSS.

30 to 30: In which I finally learn the importance of dental hygiene

| by Bel | 2pm NZ time |

Until earlier this month, I hadn't been to the dentist in a long time. A really long time. Only one other time since I'd turned 18, in fact.

The long awaited check-up (#44 on my Day Zero Project list) revealed that I had a cavity in need of a filling, and a thorough clean to get rid of years of built-up plaque. Gawd, the clean was the worst bit of all. My hands were shaking - I had not expected that to be so intense.


The dentist was also able to confirm that I have no wisdom teeth. None at all, not ever. He told me that this evidently meant I was "more highly evolved". THAT'S A DIRECT QUOTE, PEOPLE. FROM A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

My youngest brother has only one wisdom tooth, whereas the other has a full set. He's the only one of us who doesn't need glasses though - so I've decided we all need to get body x-rays to check whose appendix is the smallest, so we can confirm which of us siblings is the most refined genetic specimen.

Why do we avoid things that we know are actually good for us? Money, I guess. That's hugely off-putting. It cost me about $300 all up for the clean and the filling - and most people have told me that's a pretty good deal. Unless you're actually in pain from your neglected, rotting teeth, it's easy to just spend your money elsewhere.

Live action shot of me cleaning my teeth.

But I am now determined to be a responsible teeth owner and go for an annual check-up, as well as using a soft brush, rinsing with mouthwash and even FLOSSING*. Perhaps that more highly evolved part of me is finally taking hold!

*The dental hygienist emphasised the importance of flossing (ugghhh) and said "You don't have to do it when you brush your teeth. You can do it any time, even just while you're watching TV." Is this a thing?? Are people out there, watching Shorty Street as they seesaw dangling bits of floss through their teeth?! Really?? I compromised and am doing my flossing while in the shower. Which is way more normal.

30 to 30: Bel's turn.

| by Bel | 2.35pm NZ time |

Remember how Lou did that daily 30 Days Til 30 thing? Counting down the final month between her and her 30th birthday?

Well, time marches on and now we arrive at my last days in my 20s.

I know, Lucy, I KNOW.

I kick off the action on May 30th (HOW APPROPRIATE) and will be covering the same topics that I attempted to bully Lou into covering. I will also need extra writing ideas, so feel free to drop 'em in the comments.