Tag Archives: husband


Wedding on a budget

I was just flicking through my wedding photos (procrastination FTW) and the photos of the food inspired me to share with you the secrets of my super cheap, but not trashy, wedding. I’ve been asked by a few people how I did it, so here it is…

Small back story: we got married in Canada as I was denied an extension on my work visa and I was madly in love with a Canadian. A week before I was due to leave the country to return back to NZ, we decided the best way to speed up the process of me returning to Canada, would be to get married. Naturally… Crazy? Yes. Dumb? No.

Because it was a quick decision (I planned a wedding in four days – high five!) neither of our families could make it and my friends in New Zealand couldn’t either. Bit of an ask to get people to pay over $2k for flights at short notice 🙂 Due to the snappy turnaround of the nuptials, it was always the plan to have a less hectic, more carefully planned wedding, in New Zealand.

Neither of us had a job that was bringing in super amounts of income, plus we were still catching up on the debt from setting me back up in New Zealand at short notice. And after not working for almost three months, by the time we did have money to burn (or just gently smolder and then pat out and put back in our wallets) there was only about three and a half months until the wedding. As well as that, we’d decided to move back to the North Island (we were in Queenstown) to be closer to my friends and family and to live by the beach. Knowing we might not have jobs for a little while, we needed to plan for that as well, financially. Needless to say, money was leaking into nooks and crannies everywhere we turned.

SO…to save money on the wedding, Scott came up with the idea of a pot luck wedding. At first I was like “no way are we getting our guests to bring the food! That’s one of the best parts of a wedding!” but I slowly warmed to the idea, the more I thought about how much money we actually needed in order to get the dress, the suit, the shoes, the booze, the decorations, the cake, the food, the hair, the make up, the photos….the everything! Since it was already going to be a relaxed beachy wedding, with dressy casual attire and no formal ceremony (as we were technically already married), why not make it even more Kiwi, and turn it into a pot luck?

Most of the peeps I know are quite into food anyway, so I figured they’d enjoy the fact it was something they could get involved in as well.

We saved up enough money for booze (too much booze in the end, not a bad thing!), the dress (not an expensive one, but also not my fave. If I had a do-over, I’d not buy my dress online), the alteration for the dress, decorations, invitations and little bits and pieces that cropped up along the way. All in all, I would say our total spend was just over $2k.

It helped that my Dad took care of the meat which my step-mum roasted at home before carting it to the location and the lady that made the cake/cupcakes said it would be our wedding gift. Both of these people, we offered to pay and they wouldn’t have a bar of it! Bonus.

The photos were taken by my brother in law. Phil, and one of my besties boyfriends. Both of which we said we couldn’t afford to pay but we offered up booze instead. For the most part they were both just happy to help as they appreciated the fact that weddings are expensive and stressful and they are both just bloody good blokes. Will, the besties bf, in particular did a spectacular job and we couldn’t be more thankful for the amazing job he did – he assists for Natalie Morgan Photography and you can learn more about him here.

The following photos are of the food and the cake/cupcakes – all Will’s handy work. Just looking at them still makes my mouth water AND we got so many comments on how amazing the food was compared to some of the catered weddings people had been too. Yay, go team!

HQ sum 28

HQ sum 26

HQ sum 24

The biggest thing I learned from planning my wedding was that it was OUR day and we could do it whichever way we bloody well liked! And that people are only too happy to pitch and be involved on your special day. You may think that everything has to be perfect, and for the most part it does, but as long as you and your significant other are relaxed and happy, people are fed and watered – regardless of whether they made some of the food, then nothing else matters.

Could be worse

As the (work) week starts to wrap up and I procrastinate actioning the emails in my inbox, I sit here listening to some relaxing, meditative music via the you tube and think about how my week unfolded…

I’d love to say it was a box of fluffy ducks but it wasn’t. It was a pretty average week, if you forget about the “the day that shall not be named”. It was Tuesday (oh no, I said it!) and it was not a good day. I went to bed grumpy on Monday, for no good reason at all; had nothing to be grumpy about. I woke up grumpy on Tuesday morning and it slowly got worse as the day unfolded. Nothing bad happened. Nothing at all! I couldn’t put my finger on why I was a little dark cloud all day long. I expressed my grumpiness to my sister and to Scott who both took it upon themselves to do lovely things for me to try and cheer me up. 

After a phone call to my sister, I was looking forward to going over to her house for tea (enchiladas…arreeeba!) and picking up something really bad for us for pudding. I got home to a lovely letter from the Mr outlining all the reasons he loves to love me which was so sweet it made me cry. Not his intention, but effective none the less because, if you’re a lady, you’ll know that sometimes it’s just quite nice to have a good bawl. Which I did. I realised I’d had a stressful weekend trying to arrange a friend’s surprise 30th birthday within a time frame of less than 48 hours. It was exciting and as I’m fairly good at coordinating people in secret, it was pulled off (with help from others) and she was surprised. But the concentration on the task at hand meant my other good habits slipped by the wayside. Like drinking enough water, eating actual meals instead of grazing on things I’m mostly intolerant to and avoiding too much alcohol. I’d internalised the stress of it all and it must have started to surface on Monday night.

So after the letter and the cry and some meditation on my bedroom floor, I felt 85% better and thought “it could be worse”.

This was affirmed as I ventured towards my car, off to my sisters, and saw the following on the road…


Not the greatest photo as it was taken with my phone and the light was disappearing into night time. A well timed car was passing as I took the shot so you get a better look at what appears to be a large, three scoops ice-cream crying it’s way down the side of the road.

I actually laughed out loud as I was taking the photo because as bad as my day had been, at least I hadn’t dropped my three scoop ice cream on the road, meters from the dairy I bought it from, as well. 

Dinner was delicious and I was gifted a pretty long stemmed, orange rose from my sister to add to the cheer. She also told me not to bring my grump to her house so I had to consciously decide not to be grumpy in order to be a good house guest instead of one you wish never turned up. 

The rest of the week has been largely uneventful and I’m thankful for that. It could be worse, I could be Miley Cyrus or live in Syria. 

Or I could be Rachael in Vancouver who seems to be in good spirits despite a series of unfortunate events: read here

I hope you all had/are having a good week and that despite any of the bad things that could have happened to you in the last few days, it could always be a lot worse. Happy Friday! xx


There’s something in the air – Hockey night in Canada

If you know a Canadian, you will probably have heard them mention hockey once or twice. If they haven’t, they’re not authentic and you have cause to be very suspicious. To be more specific, “hockey” = ice hockey. Here in NZ we know hockey as field hockey so I want to be clear. The game I am referring to is a game played on ice, by feisty men who glide like ballerinas despite being covered from head to toe with padding. Men, burly in stature, armed with sticks, who crave blood and victory. It sends shivers up the spine!

Some of my fondest memories of being in Vancouver were the warm twilight times I spent walking home from work, feeling the electricity in the air when it was “hockey night in Canada”. The buses have it on their overhead destination signs, cars sport flags, a sea of blue and green shirts adorn the masses and if you work in hospitality (like I did), you KNOW it’s hockey night in Canada because you’re slammed just before the game starts and the phones are silent when they’re playing. If you’re not watching the game, or you are but you’re watching it on cable and someone else is watching it not on cable, you can hear the delayed yells of the fans, through the walls, the floors and from across the road, every time something major happens. The energy is infectious and it’s exciting!

There is a real sense of comradery and you can feel it. Unless the Canucks lose the Stanley Cup Final and then there’s riots… but that aside, it’s something special to be a part of.

I learned to appreciate the sport after being subjected to watching it in the early stages of being with Scott. I found it hard to follow because they moved too fast! I lost sight of the puck pretty much the whole time. I would find my mind wandering because I couldn’t concentrate on the game – I was getting dizzy trying to follow them. What just happened? Why did that guy just get sent off? Why are they fighting, are they allowed to do that? Why isn’t the ref doing anything? Woah! is that legal?! What is icing? Nope, it’s not something on a cake. There were too many questions and I was in danger of being on the verge of “annoying questions from the girlfriend when watching hockey”. Luckily, I kept my questions in check and any questions I did have, were answered politely (because he’s Canadian). We were early enough in the relationship that Scott probably didn’t want to piss me off by getting annoyed at me for being so sweet and innocent when it came to his favourite game 🙂 Plus he likes to know the answers to stuff.

I eventually began to concentrate on the game and tried my hardest to follow that little black circle as it darted back and forth. I started to really appreciate the level of skill these guys actually have in order to be able to switch direction at a moments notice, to keep an eye on that puck when I had no idea where it was half the time, to be covered in all that gear and still be able to glide gracefully like big bulky, sweaty, swans on water. And to get the puck past that giant, lithe goalie and several other players in front of that tiny net?! Pretty impressive stuff.

I may not know the rules, I have kind of forgotten what icing actually is and I still have to ask for clarification on the “power play“, but I really like watching it. It’s something Scott and I can do together and when it gets down to the nitty gritty games, it brings a really good bunch of pals together to yahoo, or commiserate, in unison.

If you’re Canadian, or you’ve been in Canada during the hockey season, you’ll know what I’m talking aboot. If you aren’t and you haven’t been to Canada you’ll never quite understand.

I leave you with this video which epitomizes the excitement and intensity that I’m trying to get across:


Yoga and my belly

Two things I think of quite often: Yoga and my belly. I mostly think about doing yoga, I think about the good things it brings – the brightness in my cheeks and the sparkly eyes I get after a good session, the oh so lovely feeling of stretching out my muscles and the shaking in poses from the not so strong muscles. I don’t do yoga as often as I would like, due to discomfort in my back (I know, you hard out yogis will say “Keep doing it, it’s wonderful for back injuries!” – I know this, my issue is complex (not an injury) and some yoga aggravates it. I’m working on it, ok?)

One of the things I’m day dreaming about right now is being back in North Vancouver and going to my fave yoga spot: Yogapod

I discovered this place just before summer as I was looking to join somewhere that wasn’t a gym but that offered yoga classes and wasn’t stupidly expensive. I stumbled across the Yogapod website and was pleased to find that they had a 30 day membership that was quite reasonable. The catch? You had to go every day for 30 days. It was a 30-day challenge and I thought “heck, why not! I love yoga, how hard could it be to do it every day?”

It was hard. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Because of my work hours, some days I HAD to do a hot class which I ended up resenting VERY much especially because it was high summer. On the days that you missed a class (which I think I did twice) you had to make it up in a seven day period with two classes on one day. In theory, this idea was great. In practice it was a pain in the ass!! Towards the end of my yoga challenge I was crying in my classes because I was tired and sore and just did not want to be there. But I also didn’t want to give up. For one whole hot class, I did the first few poses and then just lay down on my mat and closed my eyes for the rest of the time. I did feel a bit silly but I was so far past the point of caring what anyone thought of the crazy person lying on her mat, not doing yoga in a yoga class filled with people doing yoga, that it felt so good to just lie there and breathe. Weirdo. It had been said, at the start of the challenge, that if you didn’t feel you could do the class that it was OK to lie down. I owned that.

I managed to complete the challenge and I was so very proud of myself. I have since come to terms with some of the hate I felt for the challenge. Plus, I’ve not stuck to many things in my life (see Every Two Years) so I get a bit chuffed when I have done something I didn’t think I could do… like that 5km fun run I did on a whim (see Run for fun). 

To keep me motivated during the 30 days, I would reward myself with healthy treats. Conveniently located a couple of blocks up and across, was a vegetarian/vegan/gluten free cafe called Buddha-Full. I used to get the Tall Totem about once a week (maybe twice, one week) and it made me happy to be walking home in the sun with my mat tucked under my arm, happy thoughts running around in my mind and a massive smoothie in my hot little hand.

I day dream about Vancouver quite a bit as I try to keep it as present as possible in my mind. I try to think of the things that I loved/liked so that in my mind it’s represented as a happy place; somewhere I want to go back to. I didn’t plan on being in NZ as long as I have been, I should be back in Vancouver already, but plans change and we are at the mercy of immigration so I feel like the more I am in NZ the harder it will be to leave. I don’t want to resent Vancouver for making me be there because I love one of it’s residents and none of my best friends live there. It’s a nice place with a lot to offer and before I left I remember walking home from work and thinking about how happy I was, in general, with my life at that moment. So, I try to have it in the back of my mind as a good place to be. Which it is, I just might find it hard to remember that when I get back there and am lonely and waiting to be told if I’ve been granted permanent residency or not. Perhaps to keep me busy, I’ll do another 30 day challenge 🙂 

The following photo is not to do with yoga or bellies but more just a nice photo that reminds me why Vancouver will hold a special place in my heart…



Pay Day!

A few days ago, if you couldn’t tell, I was pensieve and contemplative and probably not feeling 100% the person I usually am…

Today I feel much better. Actually, since writing that post I feel much, much better! People got in contact and expressed their appreciation which was very much needed and lovely to hear. Not for the “ego boost” or any kind of needy beast inside needing to be fed (well, possibly a little bit of that…) but for the sheer joy of a friends affection for you. We might not think we need it until one day it’s not how it used to be and then a bit of a hole is left. Plug it up with loooove 🙂

Anyway, another reason I could be feeling better today is because it’s pay day. Can I get a whoop whoop? 

I get paid monthly, blerk, and pay day is very much anticipated each month. Today I wrote out my budget and put down all the things I needed and that were high priority – car things, alignments, check ups and such, rent, food…. all those boring things. But as well as the chunks of money I put towards the non-exciting stuff, I also got to put some away for fun stuff. This weekend is Erin’s birthday, next weekend is Jemma’s birthday, the weekend after that Scott and I are heading to Onemana, along the Coromandel Peninsula, to meet up with some cool kids we met in Vancouver. Scott already knew them, I knew a mutual friend, we all got together in some way or another (mostly non-sexual, but then kind of sexually… but not how you think… twisted! haha, Scooter and Me, the friend and the friends boyfriend, at some point, back in the day…) anyway – that’ll be a weekend of chillaxing, maybe a bush walk, some fizzy wine and definitely some food. Oooh, I didn’t think to plan a menu. I will now! Yuss!

Those are things are days/weeks away so today I satisfied the spendy monster inside me (he’s not very big and he’s mostly quite practical) with the following:

  • Half leg wax at Sanctum Beauty Therapy – they just moved into a bigger premise and it smells good, and they have detox tea and MindFood mags while you wait. I went in fifteen mins earlier just so I could drink the tea and read the magazine. And the place smells AMAZING! Oh, I said that. But it’s true. And there’s that plinky plonky music people say they hate but if they’d just relax and shut up for five seconds to listen to it, they’re probably end up a little more zen because of it and less likely to complain about trivial things like plinky plonky music in day spas. What are they meant to play? I’d like to know.
  • Inner Health Plus Dairy Free because probiotics are good and I have an intolerance to dairy. That magnum I ate last night and the greek yoghurt I ate this morning made me all stuffy and I feel a bit blurgh health wise in general and because your immune cells live in your gut, probiotics will help them to thrive and keep me healthy. They better… or else!
  • Lifestream Ultimate Greens for a wee bit of a detox and because I’ve been reading about alkalising my body – more so my blood – and the lady in Health 2000 (Mt Maunganui) told me it was amazing. I generally believe what I hear from ladies who work in health stores. I do grill them a little bit because I have experienced the whole “umm, I actually don’t know what the benefits of this product are versus that one…” line, it made me a bit wary of some staff in health stores because I know not all of them are trained in natural health. Just told to sell the products they’re told to sell. But I trust this lady. So I’m looking forward to putting the delightful smelling (actually, pretty weird smelling) powder into my smoothie tomorrow morn and feeling amaze balls. Watch this space. I went in looking for Chlorella (another Lifestream product) but she said this has that as well as spirulina (you know that shit’s good) and barley grass. WHich is more alkalising than Chlorella. Green stuff. It’s good; get it down ya! 
  • Sushi from Sushi Heaven. I don’t care how many awards Mount Sushi has won, it’s not the best sushi in the bay. They don’t give me free sushi at the end of the day. But sushi heaven do. 
  • 91 unleaded petrol for my car. She’s been mostly near the empty end since I got her so I treated her to some of the good stuff. I usually name my cars but this one I couldn’t quite get inspired for. I think I might’ve just come up with her name. Although she doesn’t technically look green, she technically is because that’s what CarJam tells me she is… The Green Dream. 

So that’s me. That’s my today so far. Later, after work, I am getting a massage – for medicinal purposes – and going to Bayfair (see ya there!) with my sister so we can get over excited about being out of the house and at the mall, try not to eat cheesy gravy garlic fries and look for stuff for me. Oh and mainly so I can get a smarty pants phone to download Whats App (whatever that is…I’m so out of touch) so that my sister in Melbourne can send me photos of my nephew. Woo! Technology! Woo!