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Parachute – Sunday

Woke up faaaaaded Sun morning, light headed and dehydrated to the days. Ended up doing something I usually hate doing at Parachute – just sitting at the tent while I downed as much water as I could so I could get back amongst it all. When I could finally move again without tripping over everything, I checked out The Ember Days who were awesome. Their lead singer, Janelle, has such a piercingly clear voice, and their music is incredibly beautiful.

Mooched around for a bit longer before winding up at Apollo Stage to watch Unison who were unfortunate to end up with their set on at the same time as Lecrae. Still they were able to pull a good crowd, and delivered a great set.


Parachute 2013 – Saturday – coda

After escaping into the blessedly sweet dust-free air at the end of Lecrae, we hurried on over to Palladium for  MC Jin’s second set. He’d managed to pull a fairly sizeable crowd considering he was scheduled on at the same time as Lecrae, and while I enjoyed his first performance better, I gotta say I think I preferred MC Jin to Lecrae overall. Yes Lecrae was awesome, and his performance was damn near perfect, but MC Jin … he seemed more genuine, more sincere, more happy to be there.

You can grab Jin’s  album ‘Crazy Love Ridiculous Faith’ available for free here

Ended the night with churros & choc sauce back at the tents listening to Switchfoot sing a whole heap of their oldies but goodies.


Parachute 2013 – Saturday pt.2

Seemed like it was a bit of a reunion of bands from Parachute-back-in-the-day with The Lads, Late 80s Mercedes and Mums Dollar all putting in appearances. We laxed back at our tent watching Mainstage’s huge screens through their sets. And then Family Force 5 came on. Not my cup of tea usually – I’d pegged them in the weird christian rock category BUT they were surprisingly very entertaining. So I went on down, told Joe I’d find him for Lecrae and joined the mosh pit lol.

Crowd started chanting what I thought was “Grey Button” which FF5 came out and performed with Lecrae for their encore. Came home and looked it up – turns out its “Cray Button”. If you’re watching the video thinking “yeah weird/odd christian rock” lol, all I can say is it was better live.

And then we had Lecrae… I’d pushed my way up to the first three rows by then, couldn’t see Joe anywhere and wasn’t about to lose my spot so intro’d myself to the guys around me who had come all the way up from Christchurch. Lecrae was polished, high energy, got the crowd moving from the get-go. The mosh pit was manic lol, I’m surprised any of my photos were in focus, plus everyone around us knew every single word… Mean. Found Joe & his boys half way thru thanks to Jono and Adam pointing the way. I think Fakin’ and Tell The World were prob the crowd faves… but it was pretty hard to pick, like I said they knew ALL the lyrics of ALL the songs he did.

Personally my fave off his latest album, Gravity, is Mayday, oh and gotta give a special mention to Church Clothes off his mixtape.

Sidenote: Lecrae is tall. Like real tall. That is all.


Parachute 2013 – Saturday pt.1

Joe and his boys skived off to Parachute early Friday morning for a boys weekend leaving me dealing with a sick Ezra and hyper girls…. *long suffering sigh*. Nah jokes. Joe and his boys Just Rhyme, Unison and Deeplight had a couple of sets over the weekend at the Parachute Festival 2013 and I as a good supportive lil wifey baked them Honey Oat Bars, Choc Chunk Cookies and Raspberry & White Choc Muffins (cos you know, they needed the essentials lol) and sent them on their way, promising to be there and cheer them on from Saturday.

Saturday arrived in a blaze of sunshine, and as Ezra’s fever had broken, I skived off down to Parachute with a completely guilt-free conscience, catching a ride down with our buddy Ricky. We arrived 20mins after all the tickets had sold out but managed to hustle one up for Rick anyway and joined all the crew in time for lunch at the tents.

Our mate Gregg Harper was DJing for MC Jin so we managed to get up front and center to support him, amongst a packed out crowd of Jin fans who went totally crazy the whole way thru his set. Caught the end of the Jury and the Saints who were rocking out in sailor suits for some odd reason.

Wandered off with Nicola for the rest of the arvo, caught a couple of young kids at the Apollo Stage who could saaang (and Donell Lewis who couldn’t… dude was flat, nasal and struggling to hit the high notes), watched Loui the Zu’s Fake Friends and laughed at Nic as she stalked the Moorhouse boys before winding our way back thru tent city for dinner.


Piha’s one of our fave summer spots…sand castles w the lil ones

Jess & Sarah wiping out on the boogie board

Pafe on his board

Joe – awesome tan line lol

Rocky and his best buddy Ezra

Keeping the girls happy in sand dunes

2012: A year of food

We’re 2 weeks into 2013 already and I’m only just getting round to my retrospective post on 2012. In my defence its been a crazy busy start to 2013. Still… while going through my photos of the last year I realised I had almost more photos of food than anything else. So here’s a quick recap of the year accompanied by pics of … you guess it … food.

I auditioned for and got accepted onto the NZ’s Hottest Home Baker tv show. Very excited!! And then due to A Series of Unfortunate Events (the car broke down in peak hour traffic, I managed to leave behind my cake stand and more importantly my recipes when we swapped vehicles, couldn’t get hold of Joe before our phones got confiscated to try get him to send me said recipes, was so dumbboring in the interviews lol, got way too stressed and straight botched the baking up terribly) I got kicked off at the end of the first episode. Very humbling. I can console myself that it wasn’t the best timing with an un-weaned 7month old baby, but I was gutted I didn’t get further. Still it was a lot of fun, I met some really cool people, and I have a ton of respect for the contestants who managed to last more than one day.

Had a little pity party to myself for a couple of days where I avoided the kitchen entirely and then had to pull it together because I’d promised Sarah a mermaid cake for her birthday… the first of many birthday cakes for the family.

In my spare time (ha!) I took on being Manager for Pafe’s rugby team – Manurewa u13 Open Rewa Rangers. There was a lot more involved than I bargained for when I signed up for it, but I had a blast. Did a couple of bake sales as part of the fundraising for our team uniforms and even got the boys baking and running the church cafe one night! My coaches Rob & Phil are so hardcase, our team of boys were awesome, and we had a mean season with the only loss being in the final. Our team came away with a huge haul of silverware – Manager of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rep Player of the Year (Pafe), Team Spirit & Sportsmanship – and two of our players (Pafe and Josiah Ru) selected for the Counties Roller Mills Rep team.

I’ve also had a lot of fun doing the ‘Talia’s Treats‘ recipes over on LaniSays. Lani came round a couple of weeks after I bombed out of Hottest Home Baker and we filmed the two recipes I tried to do on the show within the two hour time limit, with no stress and no stuff ups. Turned out pretty good too – check out the Third Heaven Cake and Chicken Pies for yourself. Any time I need a bit of an ego boost I go check out how many ‘likes’ there are on Talia’s Treats lol.

Now you may be forgiven for thinking all I care about is food… not so my friend.  Its been all about the whanau this year. Design stuff took a backseat to the delights and dramas of the day-to-day running of a family of five very active kids. These faces are the ones that have brought me joy all year long.

oh and this guy… love you babe


Advent Calender DIY

I’ve seen a whole heap of DIY Advent Calendars on the interweb so figured I’d cobble one together and try make it a little more interesting for the kids than the cartoon character cardboard box ones The Warehouse sells. Growing up we always had an advent calendar though mostly the chocolates’d all be gone by about the third or fourth day. Joe, on the other hand, had no idea what an advent calendar was until last year when I bought some for the kids. So I figured it’d be cool to start our own family tradition of handmade calendars, and so far (2 days in lol) the kids have been super excited.

Oh Happy Day have a lot of really cute ideas for advent calendars, so I used one of their free printables but instead of boxes just grabbed some styrofoam cups while doing the groceries, a whole heap of lollies & candy canes, and some $2 toys. I also printed out Bible verses for each day so we read the Christmas Story as we go.

I managed to get it all set up in under an hour, in spite of little fingers trying to help and robbing me of lollies… Only to have Joe walk in, pick up the top cup to have a nosy at what was inside, and collapse the whole lot.

In hindsight, prob not the brightest idea doing stacked cups and hoping they’d last 24 days with my five rowdy kids… and Joe lol. So on to Plan B. Envelopes strung up with buffalo clips, out of reach of Ezra and Bubbles. Ah… success.

I really want to check out the advent calendar down on the Wynyard Quarter waterfront too, so I think we’ll do a trip to the city once the kids have all finished school.

A New Year wedding

Here’s a sneak peek of wedding invites I delivered to our good friends Anaru & Grace this weekend. Also pretty stoked to be doing the desserts for their reception, did a whole heap of samples for them to choose from – mini choc cheesecakes (again), salted caramel macarons (which turned out good this time thankfully), lemon custard fruit tarts, caramel crunch brownies, mini pavs, and chocolate strawberry tarts. I was thinking they’d pick like 3 or 4… nope they decided they’d have them all except banoffee tarts instead of the chocolate ones. Alrighty then, 150 of each coming up lol.


Welcome Amaris Tuala

A huge congratulations to Freddie and Elle Tuala, and welcome to their new baby boy Amaris!

I helped out with some baking for Elle’s baby shower back in October, which as with any event her sister Lolla organises, was absolutely fabulous. I made a double chocolate cake layered with homemade jam and cream, covered with ganache and then decorated with fondant and glitter sanding sugar to look like one of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars.

And then some mini chocolate cheesecakes, and lemon & white choc macarons. The cheesecakes turned out gooooood, the macarons not so much – tasted fine, but looked well pretty crappy lol. No foot, hollow inside, must have totally over folded *Sigh*. But for all that, still tasted fine.

Elle arranged for us all to see ‘The Sapphires’ which if you haven’t caught yet, is such a good movie. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Jessica Mauboy rocks in it, and it is so funny.

First Ever Halloween

We have never celebrated halloween before. But Jess’ pre-school decided to have a shared lunch and dress-up on Friday and she was so excited that it was hard to say no. And then she told me I had to make something scary and cool and yellow and monsters or bats or spiders. Even tho she reminded me every day this week I still managed to wake up Friday morning with nothing done. Cue panicked supermarket run, crazy messy kitchen with icing and chocolate everywhere…

Its times like these I love one bowl, easy mix recipes that you can knock together and know that it’ll always come out good. Thanks to my Nana’s Never Fail Chocolate Cake recipe we managed to walk out the door with spider cupcakes, zombie eyeball cake pops and a happy 4yr old… phew!

Nana’s Never Fail Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 75g butter, melted

Preheat oven to 180C. Place all ingredients in bowl, beat till well combined. Makes 6inch cake or 12 cupcakes. Bake 35-40mins for cake, 15-20mins for cupcakes or until pick inserted comes out clean.

Ice cupcakes, then pipe chocolate circles on top of the icing. Starting at the center drag a toothpick through the circles to create the spiderwebs. For choc spiders, fold cardboard into an M shape. Fold baking paper in an M shape also, pipe chocolate legs onto paper and use either choc peanut or malteser for the body. Place on cardboard holders in the freezer to set.

For Cake Pops crumble the cooked cake mixture into a bowl. Add about a cup of icing and stir through until well combined and the icing has all been soaked up by the crumbs. Roll handfuls into balls and place on tray. Set in the freezer.

Dip each ball into melted white chocolate to coat. Pipe thin squiggles with red icing for the bloodshot look. Add blue icing dots for the iris (or whatever colour you prefer) and then I used choc peanuts for the pupils (cos I had them for the spiders and it was quick lol) but you could go all out and do black icing.

Happy Halloween…


Honey Oat Bars on a spring day

I hate doing laundry… It may have something to do with the fact that I got my arm stuck in the wringer as a kid when we had an old agitator washing machine. Even so, its by far my least favourite part of housework. With Ezra’s help I managed to fill the line today, and after a game of peekabo between the towels decided we’d reward ourselves with honey oat bars.

Once they were cooked we headed back outside for a bit of a picnic in the beautiful spring sunshine.

If you’re after the recipe for these, grab it over on


Cult Couture x LaniSays x Royal Family

Caught the Cult Couture show on Saturday with the fams both to see Lani be all fierce on the catwalk and also to take my niece out for her birthday. Was an awesome night with very creative fashion and amazing dancing by the Royal Family.

Didn’t manage to get many decent photos as my camera was playing up big time, but here’s a few anywho and also the MJ tribute by the Royal Family.

Obviously Organic Teddy Bear Hug was so cute