Why Marriages Break Down

Marriage is a beautiful thing – a holy divinity between two people who love each other for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, the beautiful thing that was just described is rarely the haven that a married couple sign up for. They instead come into a series of long arguments and glass-shattering moments when they see personality traits that were never there before. And while many people would like to stop their divorce, that doesn’t always happen.

 

Marriage is supposed to be the final commitment, the ultimate. However, this commitment can be too much for some people whether they went too fast or just have too many differences. For many years, divorce percentages have been ridiculously high, and there are a lot of common inferences that seem to come up in the proceedings and the reasons why things are ending.

Having thoroughly researched the reasons why most marriages fail, we have compiled a list of the four most prominent reasons why any married couple tend to split up.

A Difference In Lives Priorities

This is an extremely common one which you hear, and which unfortunately could be so easily avoided. One of the first things you want to know about somebody is their plans for their future, for their life. Once married, finding out that these priorities differ greatly can be an extremely difficult thing to get to grips with.

This was seen as one of the key factors in divorce, as married couples were never after the same things in life.

Adultery

Sadly, a lot of us cannot keep to the sanctity of marriage. It’s sad, because we do our best not to break any other contract we sign up for – so why is it so common for somebody to be with someone else when they are married?

This is probably a culmination of the other three facts, but most affairs happen because the spark has died within the marriage. What caused that spark to die is hard to find out, but must be for there to be any hope of saving a marriage.

Financial Issues

Sadly, in this modern world, love is trumped quite heavily by money. Loving somebody when you are young and care-free is easy, loving somebody when they sleep twice a week due to financial stress is a different matter. Financial issues are the cause of a huge amount of breakups, as the stress gets too much and rather than admit they messed up couples take it out on each other.

The best way to get around this, of course, is to realize that money worries can and will be fixed if you just give them time and work together. But financial issues are seen as one of the most common reasons why things end in tears.

Children

Whether one wants children and the other doesn’t, the couple cannot have children, or they struggle to raise a child, children is one of the most common causes of divorce, too. Parents who are struggling in other aspects of their lives can sometimes see the child as part of the problem, leading to a difficult relationship between the parents themselves. Children can be seen as “ruining dreams” or “holding us back” and this can cause irreparable damage.

All of these cases are massively common, and to avoid them you need to be prepared to really look at yourself in the mirror. Looking and seeing that your problems are either not as bad as you once thought or that they are beatable is the first part, though – not divorce.

Photos taken from: http://www.savemymarriagetoday.com

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Three Great Tourist Attractions in Auckland

When you combine outstanding, picturesque scenery with one of the most vibrant cities in the country, you are left with the outstanding concoction that is Auckland. A place of outstanding contrasts a series of adventures to undertake, the largest city in New Zealand is home to more than 1.5 million people. As well as this, Auckland is the largest Polynesian city on the planet.

The entire city is built around the scenery, meaning you can go from the busy streets and bustling city-life to the beautiful country walks and hiking trails. With an excellent nightlife and a huge amount of enjoyable restaurants to fit your tastes, Auckland has all of the great attractions you need to create a real tourist trap.

Mix in the charming climate and the unique atmosphere within Auckland, and you are left with one of the most enjoyable locations to visit in the country. The most diverse city in New Zealand has a real amount of great tourist attractions you absolutely must visit.

Water Tours

The Auckland waters are truly outstanding and you can be there in just a few moments from central Auckland. You can take on cruises on a classic style yacht, and even charter one if you have the experience. You can go and visit the local mammals, with local eco-safaris taking place every day. You can also take part or just enjoy the spectacle of the America’s Cup Racing Yacht Tournament.

As well as this, you can take the ferry to Devonport and enjoy a far more rustic stay than the bustling life in Auckland. You can even visit the gun emplacements in North Head, which are well worth seeing if you wish to see truly outstanding pieces of firepower.

Hauraki Gulf

The Hauraki Gulf is right on the doorstep of Auckland, and plays host to a wide variety of truly outstanding natural islands. Visit the summit of Rangitoto, a huge volcano island in the middle of the Gulf. You can visit on a Kayak, and enjoy a casual paddle across to the island.

As well as this, you can take in an exquisite wine tasting class on Waiheke Island, enjoy a swim near Motuihe Island and see the outstanding Mansion House which is situated on Kawau Island. Mansion House was once the home of Governor George Gray.


The Sky Tower

The Sky tower is an insane 328 meters high, with glass fronted lifts all the way to the top. With this, you can take in some of the most outstanding views you will see your whole time here in Auckland. You even do the Sky Walk or the Sky Jump, which are truly outstanding and thrilling activities to take part it.

The Sky Tower is the tallest man-made structure in the country, and offers a full view at the top. With 80 kilometers in every direction, you can really take in the beauty that is New Zealand.

There are many brilliant places to come and visit in New Zealand, and Auckland has many more awesome tourist attractions. If you are planning on visiting, then make sure that you have the opportunity to do just that!

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What I’ve learned about Zodiac Signs recently

Recently, I’ve been studying zodiac signs and what they mean. It has been really interesting! I know what you are thinking. NMRE, Zoadiac signs aren’t real. Why are you wasting your time with that nonsense? Well, I personally disagree. I’ve seen it work not just in my life, but in the lives of people that I know. So I’ve been reading up on the different signs – and here is some interesting facts on each one.

Aries

Wow – if you are this, it means that you are strong and powerful. Good for you! I am not Aries but I have friends that are, and I’ve learned a lot from being friends with them.

Taurus

These people are very reliable. They are pragmatic and build really stable lives. I have found that having these individuals in my life acts as a stabilizing force. They make very reliable, sweet romantic partners.

Gemini

Heh, this sign is… interesting. These people tend to be rather cheeky. If someone is pulling a prank, it is probably them!

Cancer

Don’t be fooled by the name. Cancer is actually a really lovely sign. These people tend to be reliable as well. They have a tendency to be emotional though, and they can take things personally. It isn’t because they are difficult, it is just that they care so much!

Leo

Meeting a Leo is an experience. This sign is represented by a lion, and for good reason. They are powerful leaders. This can make them a bit stubborn, but only because they are focused on doing such a good job.

Virgo

This is the perfectionalists in the world! If you need something done right, then these are the people to do it. You can always count on them, and they tend to stop us from making rash decisions that we’ll regret later.

Libra

If anyone knows how to balance work and play, it is Libra’s. These guys tend to be the ones who have “it altogether’. They are also a harmonizing type, and tend to bring people together.

Sagittarius

This is me – could you tell?! It is the philosophical, free-thinking people of this world. We like to challenge the status quo – but we aren’t aggressive about it.

Capricorn

You know that person that always knows how to fix anything? That person you can rely on to change your tire? All of those practical people: they are almost certainly Capricorn’s, as this is their strength.

Aquarius

This type has a split personality, which means they can be whatever they need to be in the moment. One moment, they are shy and quiet. The next they can be the biggest party girl in the club!

Pisces

And finally, we come to Pisces. Do you have a friend who is a humanitarian advocate? Charitable people tend to be Pisces, as they are the peacekeepers of the world.

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Paleo Dessert Recipe Ideas

Many people are put off going on diets because they aren’t willing to give up the tasty treats and the extras. However, many diets today have excellent workarounds. You can have awesome desserts with many diets that are both enjoyable, tasty and nourishing!

One such diet that has an abundance of dessert dishes that can top off your meal is the Paleo Diet. Built in the mold of what our ancestors once ate, in the hunter-gatherer era, there is a significant amount of different foods that you can both make and enjoy when eating this diet. You can be creative! To see creative cooks in action, be sure to watch the Paleo Mayonnaise Video I have posted at the bottom of the article.

With more natural goods like fruits and nuts available to you, it’s easy to get creative with your dessert. When people think dessert, they immediately think of chocolate cake and the like – but have you ever thought about going outside the box a little?

Grilled Bananas

One popular choice among Paleo Diet users is grilled bananas. This is a brilliant way to get the sweet tastes without having to resort to using sugars of sweeteners. Fruit provides us with a natural sweetness that is easy to enjoy if you can avoid the chocolate and chewy alternatives.

This is simple to make and literally takes about fifteen minutes. You’ll need a grill and a couple of bananas. You could then add in some walnuts and almonds to add extra flavor, and whip up a heavy cream to create a charming extra that will add flavor to the entire proceeding.

Leave the peels on, get some cinnamon and some coconut oil. Split the bananas in half and put some cinnamon on the open side. Place them down on the grill for a few minutes or until the peel starts to come off. Eat it out of the peel if you can!

This is just one of the many examples of creative thinking inventing up a fantastic dessert meal. Paleo Diets are fun, good for you, and lets you explore a side of food you probably never have. It’s time to avoid all of the overly priced and lackluster choices out there in terms of food, and start enjoying some proper dessert meals!

Look about in recipe books and online for some creative ideas posted by other Paleo Diet users, you will never find yourself short of ideas!

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The top 5 sports in New Zealand

Reflecting upon its British Colonial heritage, New Zealand has a very British-centric sports feel to it. The most popular sports are Rugby Union, Cricket, Netball, Rugby League and Cricket. Water sports are also very popular, as well as the likes of golf, tennis, netball and soccer.

New Zealand regularly compete in international tournaments in all kinds of sports, from the Olympics to the FIFA World Cup. But what are the most popular sports in New Zealand?

Cricket

Cricket is the national sport of the New Zealand summer, and is one of the ten countries which competes in Test Match Cricket. Although not as widely followed as the likes of Rugby, New Zealand has a strong cricket following and support. A large percentage of the population take a deep interest in the international cricket scene, and the country has been involved since the 1930s.

Traditionally one of the powerhouses of the sport, they have yet to lift the World Cup in the Men’s game.

Rugby League & Rugby Union

New Zealand and rivals Australia make up two of the real powerhouses of the Rugby scene, but unlike Australia, in New Zealand the dominant form of Rugby is Rugby Union. The Rugby League scene in the country is almost all semi-professional or amateur, and it does not enjoy a glittering profile amongst locals.

The national side has competed in the Rugby League World Cup since the 1950s, and they won the last World Cup in 2008, for the first time ever. Rugby Union, however, is considered the national sport of the country. A massive part of national heritage and identity, it takes in the biggest attendances by far.

The All Blacks are a much feared team in Rugby Union, and are the most successful team in Rugby Union history.

Soccer

Although not a massive sport at the moment, interest has been keenly growing in recent years, following the national team’s impressive showings at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where they impressed in a group including perennial challengers Italy. In fact, New Zealand ended that World Cup, the only one they have been at other than 1982, as the only unbeaten side, going out in the groups despite not losing a group match.

Although attendances in the local championships are not great, there is a growing following for teams abroad and it is currently the most popular and biggest participated sport for boys and girls aged 5-17.

Horse Racing

Horse Racing is a slightly different style of sport, but it is nonetheless enjoyed massively in New Zealand, attracting regularly large crowds. New Zealand has been the breeding ground of some of racings finest steeds, and has a variety of Melbourne Cup triumphs to it’s name.

 

New Zealand sportsmen and jocket Mark Todd was chosen as the Horseman of the Century, having won a litany of medals and trophies in his career, most recently a Bronze at the 2012 Olympics.

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Eating Healthy When At A Restaurant

Most of us see eating out or getting take-away food as the easy option – it saves you cooking, right? One thing it does not do is keep your diet in a fine balance. Again, the majority of us do not live perfectly healthy lives and have rather dubious diets.

 

This is why, especially if you have a mediocre diet, you should try and use restaurants and take-away food as a chance to eat a little better. Healthy eating is definitely possible, and because it is being cooked in a restaurant you are sure to be getting a top quality meal.

When surrounded with all that temptation, all the bad stuff, it can be hard to say no but most of the healthy options are just as nice in a restaurant. Here are some fundamental concepts to put in place when eating out at a restaurant, it will make it much easier to ensure you eat healthier;

Manage your portions

If you simply cannot get anything healthy, then ensure you limit your portions – get the smallest possible. Order a normal sized meal, and make sure you get things like salads and healthier appetizers, but keeping your portion to a reflective size is half the battle.

 

Take home a share

If you find the portions are too big even still, then request a takeaway box and put half of the portion in there. You can then have that for lunch, meaning you keep your portions much fairer and provide yourself with that opportunity to not pig out.

Get water

When at a restaurant, it’s too easy to just order a soft drink or a beer. Make sure you stick to water – the extra additives in restaurants make the juice that little bit worse for you, meaning you should swerve the fattening juices that come with your meal almost on cue now.

Dodge dessert

A lot of us make that horrible mistake to just order desert anyway, despite the fact we are full and feel like we are about to burst. Learn to say no! If you feel perfectly full and happy after your dinner, then do not go for dessert. This is also the most tempting part of the menu – avoid these massively unhealthy dishes every time you go out and especially if you have had a healthier meal. Don’t put all of your good work to waste by getting dessert!

Eating healthy can be hard, especially if everybody around you in tucking into decadent yet unhealthy meals! Make sure you limit your portions and get the most nutritious and beneficial meal you possibly can.

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Breakfast Ideas for a Paleo Diet

It is a wonder that in today society, with all of our breakthroughs in medicine and technology, that the majority of the developed world suffer from weight problems and living a healthy lifestyle. Worse still, there is so much misinformation out there it is hard to know what to believe and what is nonsense. Many of us could become more fit and interactive in life if we just had a strict routine to follow in terms of our fitness and welfare. Many of the most common health problems people suffer from is by not having a cohesive idea of what they should and should not be eating. The Paleo diet is a new but quickly growing diet which is being recommended by many people as a good starting point for a new health regime. You can make almost anything, even Paleo Mayonnaise.

However, getting into a diet like a Paleo diet can be tough due to needing such specific plans about what you are going to eat and what you can eat on a daily basis. Many guidelines are very generic and it can leave you struggling for creativity and therefore it is much harder to stick to a routine. If you need help getting started on a Paleo diet, then try out some of these breakfast ideas – you can build from there. Any meal in a Paleo diet must be food that was hunted or gathered, so this included any type of;

  • Meat
  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Nut
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Roots
  • Berries

This means that despite limiting yourself, you still have a pretty huge amount of selection out there, so getting creative should not be a problem. You have to be sure you are avoiding things like grains, oils, sugar, salt and dairy, these are all post-agricultural foods which goes beyond what the Paleo diet is about.

Monday – If you are used to cereal on a Monday morning before work, try a mix of nuts and berries with some coconut milk, which is allowed. This is quick and cheap to make, and lovely too.

Tuesday – Go for something a little more daring, like an egg & tomato stir-fry, with some green onion cooked into it. This will keep you going with a lot of energy until lunch.

Wednesday – Egg with salsa and avocado is a good way to start your day – it will brighten you up for sure. It’s very quick to make and the ingredients are simply sourced. Use 2 eggs on a medium heat, and then include a quarter avocado.

Thursday – I recommend trying some banana almond pancakes – this is a lovely recipe and tastes just as good as any normal pancake. Add one egg and one tablespoon of almond butter, then mash in two bananas. Add some coconut oil and cook the batter on a medium heat. Add some blueberries if you like to give them some extra flavor.

Friday – try a coconut milk smoothie. To do this, add some coconut milk into a blender and add the fruits that you want. Add some nut butter in too, to create a nice smooth aftertaste. If you feel it needs it, add some vanilla extract (a few drops) to add some extra zest.

Saturday – Sweet potatoes will do the trick here, go for some sweet potatoes which have been grated to a tablespoon of coconut oil. Cook until it is softened, and then add a quarter tablespoon of cinnamon.

Sunday – It’s the last day of the week, so go for some steak and eggs in the morning. This meal will give you plenty of energy and see you through until a later lunch. Cook the steak as you like, it really is up to you how you like your steak!  Paleo diets are extremely good for you and can put you on a more healthy mindset – it is does not need to be so tough to come up with ideas, either!

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Stay warm with a Heat Pump in Auckland

Winter has come and gone, and spring is now here. Despite that though, New Zealand has faced one of the worst spring cold snaps on record. Instead of welcoming in sunshine and picnics, we were given a rude hello to September with the onslaught of an extreme storm. As a result, the weather went down and people began to pull out there old, expensive heaters. I highly recommend you ditch that though in favour of heat pumps for auckland – efficient and cheaper. I’ve always been a strong proponent of heat pumps, and here is why.

Reason #1: They Save Our Environment

Humanity has already left a nasty footprint all over the planet with its use of cars, rivers and landfills. The least we can do is give back a little – especially in New Zealand. Why? Well, New Zealand arguably needs its environment the most. We make so much money through our tourism trade, and our tourism is literally dependent on having nice scenery. Heat pumps are a really efficient form of heating, and use a tiny amount of electricity. Throw away those fireplaces and embrace modern technology, people.

Reason #2: They are Cheap and Save Money

Come on lets face it – who likes spending money on electricity? NOT ME. I like using it but I don’t like spending money on it. When I buy some nice dinner, it tastes good. When I buy a new shirt, it looks good. When I pay my electricity bill… I get no immediate gratification, except for the fact that I know I can go turn on a lightbulb, and it will work. So, if there is any way I can find to lower my electricity bill, I usually try to do that. And there are some really great tips out there for how to do that, actually. But for now, one of the ways I do that is through my heat pump.

Reason #3: They are super warm and cozy

Everyone loves sitting in front of fire places. Nothing makes you feel more warm and cozy. But here is the thing. Fireplaces feel lovely… when you are in that room, right in front of it. The heat does not distribute well around the room. Instead, it all clumps into one place – which is exactly what you DON’T want! For a nice warm house, you want the warmth to distribute through multiple rooms. Heat pumps don’t do that specifically unless you purchase a ducted one, but what they do do is fill the whole room with warmth – increasing chances of it flowing throughout the house. In short, they keep you warmer and while don’t have the same “feel-good” factor, are much better.

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Top Reasons to be Single

So you’d rather be out on a date and have a girlfriend or a boyfriend – fair enough. But hey! It isn’t the end of the world. Sometimes we have to be single while we learn why we are driving men away and how to fix it. There are great reasons to be single, and I’m going to share some of them with you now.

Reason #1: You are absolutely free

That is right: you are absolutely free from any responsibilities. While it is nice to be able to have someone else responsible to you, it is less fun being obligated to them. If your job offers you an opportunity that requires you to move half way across the country – why not, right? After all, you have absolutely no one tying you down. Do you want to walk around the house in your underwear? Then DO IT. This might be the only chance you get to have pizza every single night for a whole week. Granted, I hope you are choosing pizza with vegetables on top at least – but why not live the dream while you still can?

Reason #2: You are investing in yourself

When you are with someone, it may be lovely, it may be sweet, it may be comforting. But one thing is certain: you have less to invest in yourself. And, ultimately, you cannot truly invest in someone else if you don’t invest in yourself. Why? Because then you’d have nothing to give! If we feel bad about ourselves and don’t know how to be happy WITHIN OURSELVES then we will never be able to make a partner happy. Which is why being single is an amazing opportunity to reclaim yourself. Instead of having your wants dictated by a partner, now is a time to figure out what exactly you want, and what makes you happier. Learn how to be self-sufficient and happy, so that you never have to rely on someone else.

Reason #3: You get to experience things you wouldn’t have otherwise

My newly singledom was initially quite shocking and not pleasent. I didn’t want to be single. I dreaded the day that I would be single. I had forgotten what it was like to not have a partner. It had been so long that I just didn’t know how to be by myself. I thought that being alone would mean that my life would be less vibrant. But not so! Instead, my life has never been fuller. Being by myself has forced me to try things I’d have never tried. I initially did these things and met new people to stave off the loneliness – but now I am so happy I reached out and made new friends, contacts and went out and tried new things on a Friday night.

Being single was initially scary and I had to take it one day at a time. But now that I’ve been single for awhile, it really isn’t that bad after all. While I’m sure I’d never pick to be by myself, while I’m here, I figure I might as well enjoy the ride and make the most out of it.

Photos credited to: http://www.meetyoursweet.com/women/blog/why-you%E2%80%99re-driving-men-away-and-what-to-do-about-it

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Auckland Farmers Market

If you are sick of eating sprayed up vegetables and “goods” which are no longer quite so good for you, then why don’t you consider checking out the Farmers Market’s in Auckland? They provide plenty of quality farmed goods that you can really pick up quality produce for a great price, safe in the knowledge that you are buying genuine food.

However, there are many markets to check out and finding the one most suited to you can take a little time and patience. Some of the best farmers markets are in Auckland, and they are usually based in the cities anyway, so you shouldn’t have to travel too far;

La Cigale’s

La Cigale’s French Market is one of the most impressive of the Farmer’s Market, and is a favourite for many. You can pick up a variety of produce like dairy, seafood, and meat. It’s absolutely bouncing on a Saturday and gives you plenty of opportunities to pick up some great food!

The people are colourful to say the least and if you go down regularly enough you will start to see some old faces and many new – it’s always full on Saturdays. Although open on Sundays, its nowhere near as full or vibrant and you don’t get quite the same quality of selection, so make sure you visit on a Saturday for the full experience!

Oratia

A strong community-based Farmer’s Market, you get more than just produce here. It’s shaped like a horse-shoe which is always good, it helps add to the authenticity, and you can get a mix of good bargains, local music and some very unique wines to try out – so make sure you arrive via public transport!

The spices and garlics are some of the nicest you can pick up at a market – put them on any meal and turn it from a micro-dinner to divine cuisine – it’s also quite famous for the quality of tomatoes on display at the market and you can get them all over the place. It’s again one of the great Farmer’s Markets and is well worth checking out – it’s impossible to miss.

Sandringham

Sandringham is still in it’s first stages as a Farmer’s Market, but it’s already beginning to get quite the reputation as one to watch out for. With the intention to expand further in the future, going around the different suburbs in a rotation scheme to make sure everybody gets a chance, this once a month opportunity gives you the chance to pick up some cuisine not found in too many other markets.

From Japanese dumplings to some simply divine bread, there is plenty of very different food you can pick up at the Market to make it worth your while. It’s a bit different to your usual market, there are a lot of artisans in some very specific subjects who regularly visit here, so have a little fun exploring and see what you think of the place!

However, these are not the only markets! There are many more all across Auckland and frankly our best recommendation would be to see where you go with it – travel to a town, if you have the day free, and see what is on offer! The majority of Farmer’s Markets in Auckland take place on a Saturday or a Sunday, so ask around and see what sounds like it may appeal to you – but at least you have somewhere to start now on your Market hunt!

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Things to NOT say on a date

A lot of my girlfriends are starting to get into the dating scene again, after being married for 10+ years. And when you get back into dating, it can be a really daunting task to say the least. When you have been married for so long, you forget what it is like to talk to strangers. And when you are with strangers, you have to be a bit different: they don’t know you, they don’t know what you “really” mean, all they do is take your words at face value. First impressions COUNT.

That is why today, I am going to write my blog post on what NOT to say on a date.

DON’T SAY 1: “I am unemployed”

OK: So a lot of wives end up becoming stay-at-home-moms, and ditch their day jobs. And this is fine – as long as you are MARRIED. But now that we are in the 21st century, your date is looking for a woman that is strong an independent: and being unemployed says anything BUT that.

So, what do you say if you are actually unemployed, when he asks you what you are doing? Say that you have been out of the job scene for awhile, and that you are in the process of applying for jobs. This helps if you actually ARE applying for jobs. This makes you look like you are independent, and that you are looking to look after yourself – not be taken care of.

DON’T SAY 2: “What car do you drive?”

Every girl’s dream is to hitch a guy who has money to his name. But when you are on your first dates, you don’t want to appear like a gold-digger. So don’t ask him about the make of his car, unless he brings it up in discussion. Don’t ask him how much he earns. And absolutely do not ask him how many bedrooms he has in his house. You should be interested in HIM, not how much money he has.

DON’T SAY 3: “I am looking to have 5 children”

And please – this ISN’T the time to bring up your hopes and dreams for the future. You are in the very beginning stages of getting to know someone. The truth is, they don’t know yet if they like you or not: and they won’t have time if all they are worrying about is whether or not you’ve made plans before they have.

Some people say – oh, if they don’t want to discuss this, then doesn’t that mean they will never be ready for commitment? NO. It doesn’t mean that at all! As I said, they don’t know yet if they like you enough to keep seeing you – let them just get to know you, before scaring them away. Hope that helps! As always please share a comment on your thoughts.

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Photography Portraits of my cousins from Auckland, New Zealand

Today I wanted to share with you my photos from my cousins. It was taken by the Portrait Photography Auckland studio. They did an amazing job and really bought out the children. I love portrait photography, especially photos of children. My cousins have delightful children; they have been raised to be incredibly polite. And, unlike a lot of children over here, they aren’t picky eaters (that might sound a little strange, that I care about them being picky eaters, but trust me – having kids at a dinner party and them refusing to eat anything is very frustrating).

Take a look at their portrait photos here:

portrait photography

Aren’t these photos the most adorable things you’ve ever seen? It makes me (almost) want to have children myself.

They had their birthday recently, and they had a party (they are twins). I was trying to think of a present to buy them. It can be hard buying presents for my cousins, since they live in Auckland and I live in Chicago. Shipping can be extremely expensive, and you have to find something that is really light and will fit in a small envelope.

So I went and shopped around. I saw a bunch of toys that I thought they would love – but again, unfortunately, none were really good for sending back. I considered sending clothes; but clothes seemed a bit boring (even though I love little baby shoes, they are extremely cute). Ultimately, I decided that instead of buying something here and shipping it all the way to New Zealand, that I would instead buy something over there and have it shipped to them. I thought long and hard, but I ended up choosing a buzzy bee for them. I wasn’t sure if they had one or not, but it seemed appropriate.

I wish I had been able to come, but that is life. Since I couldn’t be there though, they sent me the next best thing; photos. Not only did they send me photos of the party, but they also sent me these professional photographs that they had done, which was very nice of them.

So, readers – if you had to buy a baby a present, what would you buy them? Sound off in the comments!

Photo’s taken by: http://www.stuartriddell.co.nz

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Paleo Recipes Cookbook: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemons are delicious in baking, and when I was creating new paleo recipes, I decided to try out something I had been kicking around: lemon poppy seed muffins. There is a bit of a backstory to this, though. I spent a lot of hours in the kitchen testing and trying out new things. There were a lot of failed starts, and some versions that while my roommates enjoyed, weren’t up to my standards. I finally created a version I was proud of and reminded me of the ones my mother used to make.

I used some substitutes to help with the texture. I used coconut flour to create the fluffy, moist texture you get in bakeries. I used real, fresh lemon juice (so much better than artificial sweeteners!) and of course, I added in poppy seeds which adds a delicious crunch that doesn’t conflict with the other flavours. I’ve been having one each morning with my coffee and other breakfast.

Best of all, these are perfect for guests, because they take so little time to create. Just throw all of the ingredients into the food processor, and you have batter that is ready within a few minutes.

Number of muffins created: 8

Ingredients

Quater cup of honey

Four eggs

Quater of a cup of melted coconut oil

Zest of one lemon

One teaspoon of vanilla extract

Half a teaspoon of baking soda

Three tablespoons of lemon juice

One tablespood of poppy seeds

One eighth of teaspoon of salt

One third a cup of coconut flour

Instructions

  1. Step one: preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Step two: while waiting for the oven, take out a muffin tin and grease or line it (I recommend you don’t use olive oil as it leaves an after taste on the muffins)
  3. Step three: take out the food processor, and grind up all of the ingredients – EXCEPT for the poppy seeds. Process until they are well combined.
  4. Step four: once all of the ingredients are well combined, take your poppy seeds and pulse them in.
  5. Step five: pour the mixture into the muffin tins. Fill about half way, as they will rise and you don’t want them to spill.
  6. Step six: bake them until they are tasty and golden brown. To test if they are ready, take a toothpick and insert it into the center. If it is ready, it will come out clean.
  7. Step seven: take the muffins out, and cool until they are no longer hot to rouch on a wire rack.

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Filed under Food, Paleo

What to do with storage once you’ve moved?

My relatives recently have been contacted by their Storage Contains located in Christchurch, telling them that their contract was up, and asking if they’d like to renew. They got a nice surprise when they said they would – the prices had lowered! How often do prices get lowered? The only time I’ve ever truly seen prices be cut was by fast food companies during the recession. And now that we are starting to climb out of it, the value items are much worse than they used to be before (I suppose companies assume that we all suddenly have amazing jobs now, don’t they).

I was pleased for them, though. I’ve mentioned them before on this blog – they are kiwi’s who live in New Zealand. They used to live in Christchurch, until they recently moved up to Auckland. You may or may not have heard, but there were some sizeable earthquakes in New Zealand. They started on September 2010, and they only just stopped properly in 2012. But it still left the city savaged. My cousins had their home utterly destroyed. As a result, it was deemed unsafe to live in. So they had to store all of their stuff. You don’t realise just how much stuff you have and how much storage room it takes until you don’t have a house anymore. I felt that way when I moved to my tiny apartment here.

Regardless, they were lucky enough to find the company Storage Direct. They were very tired and so they didn’t want to have to lug it all out to a shed, but apparently, this outlet actually delivers mobile storage units to your house. It is a neat idea, and one that saved them a lot of headaches. They then picked it up for them, and have been storing it for them ever since.

They had plans to take it all with them to Auckland. I’ve talked before about how I believed that once you’ve gone without all of your stuff, you get used to it fast and suddenly you don’t feel like you need it after all. It turns out that it was true for them. Once they had gone without all of it, they didn’t really need it. That is why it was great that their rental prices for the unit had decreased, since it meant they had to justify it less to themselves.

But still – what do you do with all of the junk? I’m leaving it up to my readers. Please let me know in the comments.

Photos taken from: http://www.storagedirect.co.nz

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Filed under Christchurch, New Zealand

Dating advice from a single woman

My friends often come for me for dating advice. As a single woman, I am often out in the scene. I can get tiring at times; heading out to bars, meeting strangers and trying to balance this with the rest of my life. It can get stressful at times; but it is also a lot of fun. I’ve decided to share some of my dating advice with the rest of the women on the internet, so read on.

NMRE’s Advice: Don’t go out every week

You might feel underpressure to go out and find a man as soon as possible (I have heard many stories of overbearing mothers). But don’t listen to them: the number one thing you need to do is to look after yourself. And trust me – going out week after week after week gets tiring, especially if you throw alcohol into the mix. Don’t go out each week, instead stay in some weekends. Read a book, do your nails and cook yourself a nice home cooked dinner.

NMRE’s Advice: Let the men come to you

As silly as it may sound, a lot of men feel intimidated by women that are assertive when it comes to the dating scene. See, you have to understand men – they like to be the protectors. And if you come in there, guns blazing, then your confidence will be attractive at first – but soon, they’ll start to feel redundant, and feel that they aren’t living up to their image of themselves as a protector. When dating men, you need to make sure you don’t take away their masculinity.

NMRE’s Advice: Don’t go dutch

It is my policy that if you a man asks you out on a date, then he should foot the bill – after all, it is his job to impress you, and not the other way around. And since I advise you to not go to men, except for exceptional circumstances, it should be him asking you out – not the other way around. If you go dutch and split the bill, you are doing the same thing as asking him out. You are removing his feelings of being a protector which, while seemingly convienant in the short term, won’t work out in the long term.

So there you go – look after yourself. Make yourself the priority, not having a boyfriend be your biggest concern. And remember: the boyfriend is to look after you, not the other way around.

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Filed under Dating