Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Outing - Tramp to Sunrise Hut

So this post has been a while (like over 6 weeks) in the making - whoops! Oh well. In case you are unaware, New Zealand is renowned for hiking tracks that zigzag all over the country, dotted with cute little huts. So it's the perfect place to go hiking/trekking, or as they call it here in New Zealand, "tramping" (trekking + camping = tramping).

Although Luke and I have been for a few walks around Wellington, I hadn't done any official "tramping" in New Zealand since I was about 14 years old and did the Tongariro Crossing with my mum, aunt and uncle. So when a good friend of mine from church said she was organising a trip, I was pretty keen. 

The plan was to hike up to "Sunrise Hut", one of the most popular huts in NZ. The walk is pretty easy, although quite steep, and it only takes about 2.5 hours.

We set off impossibly early that morning to ensure we could get to the hut in time to claim our mattresses and cook dinner while it was still light. There's no electricity in the hut.

Pretty sky

The group before we set off. What I love about this photo is Elizabeth trying to fix David's hair. :)

NZ countryside is so pretty.
Here is our feast. Fit for a king! Pretty good for camping food.
Luke and I. Yes, that is a Minnie Mouse beanie. :)
It wasn't the best sunrise in the world, but it was still very pretty with the sunlight streaming through the trees as we headed down the path the next morning.

Things I learnt on my first tramping trip:
1. Tramping in jeans is not a good idea. No matter how cold it is, you will get hot.

2. Zip-lock bags were practically made for hiking - they're brilliant.

3. Torches that go on your head might look dorky in daylight, but when there's no electricity and your hands are full you'll look like a bloody genius.

4. That scratching sound in the night that sounds like it's right next to your head is probably a possum and everyone else is probably hearing it too.

5. If you're going to fall asleep in church because you didn't get enough sleep due to point 4, sit in the back row so the row behind you doesn't notice.

Liz did such an awesome job organising the trip. We had so much fun. It was also Luke's first tramping trip. :) Will definitely try to do some more in the future.

Well, until next time :)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Review - The Intouchables

Why is it that the French make such good movies? Even if you're not a huge fan of subtitled movies, you must admit the French have a certain knack for cinema.

Luke and I recently watched the French film Intouchables. It was such a wonderful heartfelt movie that I really can't recommend it enough.

Essentially the storyline goes a little bit like this:

Philippe is a millionaire living in Paris: intellectual, aristocratic, the creme-de-la-creme of society as it were. He also happens to be a quadriplegic in need of a personal caregiver. He is interviewing applicants when along comes Driss, an African with an attitude who is only there to get a signature to prove he has been to job interviews so he can get his unemployment benefit.

Philippe, for whatever reason, decides to give Driss a chance and offers him a one-week trial. At the end of this period he can decide whether or not he wants to continue. Driss accepts, and a very unlikely friendship ensues. The mansion where Philippe lives is turned upside down and it is clear that their lives will never be the same again for having known each other.

 9 weeks after its release, it became the second-most successful French film ever.

This movie was the official entry of France to the Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards 2013.

It is official: Germans have better taste in movies than Kiwis. This movie was the most successful film in Germany in 2012, with 8.8 million moviegoers. In New Zealand the most successful movie was Twilight: Breaking Dawn. Shame on you Kiwis!

As always, the trailer is below:

Until next time :)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Trip to Europe - London Part 6

More photos from my trip to Europe. Am I trying to make these photos last as long as it takes for me to go overseas on holidays again? Yes, yes I am. 

Fans of the BBC comedy Black Books, drink it up. That's right, this is the outside of the shop where the show was filmed. How cool is that! Love that show. If you've never watched it and you have a kind of black/strange sense of humor, seriously - go out and buy it and watch it and laugh and then watch it again and laugh more. 

I must admit that visiting "The London Dungeon" was not on my personal list of must do things in London, but it was actually a lot of fun. You learn lots of history and it's not that scary. However, it probably helped that our group included a dozen ditzy screaming 15-year-old high school girls... so I felt comparatively brave.

This photo cracks me up every time. The actors who run the show are really the highlight. They are so deadpan and refuse to get out of character. I also should mention that I was put on trial for being a witch, burned at the stake and hung. Laura thinks this was because of my black coat, which made me look like I fit the part already.

 Other touristy things to do in London include getting a photo at platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross... just because you know you have to.

 Another must do is of course the London Eye.
We went up at dusk, which was a really beautiful time to do it. There were amazing views of the city. I also had fun experimenting with my camera's "miniature" feature.

 Love this photo :)


I should probably also mention we saw two shows on the West End.
The first was Top Hat, a revival of an Irving Berlin musical, which was amazing. There was so much old style glamour, dancing and witty dialogue.

 We also saw Billy Elliot, which was equally incredible. I honestly couldn't tell you which one I liked better. The dancing in Billy Elliot was spectacular and it was such a powerful show.

Anyway, reminiscing completed.

Until next time :)

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Verse - Ezekiel 18:20

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. (Ezekiel 18:20)

Sorry for the delay in posts. I've been feeling a little under the weather recently so have been somewhat lacking in motivation.

Today's verse might seem like a curious choice, but it's something I've been mulling over for a while now. Essentially, it is the question of whether or not parents' sins have any effect on their children - or vice versa, the children's sins have any effect on their parents. I've had a few conversations about this, and although I had an instinctive feeling about what the Bible says on the matter, I couldn't think of where it is explicitly stated.

So the other day I was continuing my Bible reading plan when I came across Ezekiel 18:20. Here it is very clear that we do not inherit the sins of our parents or indeed our children. This is also echoed earlier in Deuteronomy 24:16, which talks of punishment for sins:

Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.

This might seem like a pretty straightforward thing, but I think sometimes we can get confused about the boundaries of our sin and our relatives' sin. The Israelites that Ezekiel was writing to certainly did. In fact, they even had a proverb that Ezekiel quotes in 18:19:

Does not the son bear the iniquity of the father?

To which Ezekiel responds: Not as long as the son does what is lawful and right.
However, if the son chooses instead to follow his father in unrighteousness then yes, the son will be punished for his sin. In this way a family's continued sin and rebellion against God can seem like a curse, until it is broken by the gift of righteousness which comes through repentance and faith.

Theologian Matthew Henry puts it like this, much more eloquently than I ever can:

"But this people that bore the iniquity of their fathers had not done that which is lawful and right, and therefore justly suffered for their own sin and had no reason to complain of God’s proceedings against them as at all unjust, though they had reason to complain of the bad example their fathers had left them as very unkind... It is true that there is a curse entailed upon wicked families, but it is as true that the entail may be cut off by repentance and reformation; let the impenitent and unreformed therefore thank themselves if they fall under it."

Interestingly, Jesus also spoke on this subject. John chapter 9 recounts Jesus' meeting with a man who had been born blind. Jesus' disciples ask him:

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

As you can see, this way of thinking was very much ingrained in Jewish culture. Suffering, sickness, and disease had to have a cause. Either the person affected or their parents must have done something really bad to anger God into allowing such unfortunate things to occur. It makes logical sense, right? If bad things happen to a person, they or their parents must have committed sin to deserve it - but good things happen to good people. Ironically, this philosophy is not too far from the meritocracy of our own modern Western societies.

However, Jesus' response to the disciples blows these assumptions right out of the water:

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him..." (John 9:3)

We are all responsible for our own sin, although our parents may perhaps not have been the best role models, or perhaps our children don't love God like we hoped and prayed they would. At the end of the day, when we stand before God it will be our sin and our sin alone that we are accountable for. 

However, although we will all have to stand before God, not all of us will receive judgement. Those who recognise the wickedness of their own hearts and ask Jesus to forgive them and save them will be spared. In fact, the Bible says God will look upon us as if we had never sinned, because of the atonement of Jesus Christ that He accomplished on the cross.

And for you Christians - if misfortune comes your way and if you face suffering, illness, or loss, do not for a moment think that it is some kind of punishment from God for your sin or an ongoing curse you inherited from your family. Instead, know that God is sovereign over all things. Jesus took ALL the punishment for your sin on the cross, and such things happen so "...that the works of God might be displayed in [you]."

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Birthday Dress

Okay, so it's time to share with you my birthday present that I got from Luke. This is actually a mixed dress/outing post, as we took the photos at the picnic dinner that we had on my actual birthday.

So the dress is one I've wanted for a really long time - something I spied on Etsy a least a million years ago. You might remember me mentioning it in my review of the movie On The Town. You see, Cynthia from HeartMyCloset on Etsy makes reproductions of this dress, and Luke my very dear and sweet husband decided to buy me one for my birthday. :)

The Dress: HeartMyCloset
Isn't it beautiful? Although it's not the same turquoise colour as the dress in the movie, I quite like the forest green. I guess the most amusing part of Luke buying the dress is that because it's made to size he had to try and get my measurements without me catching on! A very difficult thing to do indeed!

The dress seems well made, although to be honest we discovered she doesn't make them herself; in fact, it came from Vietnam. Nevertheless, the quality is amazing - it has quite a heavy material and is sturdily made. In addition, the price was not too much for something tailor made.

I love the detail of the lining in the same black and white plaid. So cute.

And look at that twirlability. Can't wait to take this one swing dancing!

As previously mentioned, we had a birthday picnic dinner. Luke even borrowed a friend's portable iPod player so we could have music.

It should also be known that a tradition of mine since 7 years old is to have a pavlova on my birthday. This year Luke made me mini pavlovas, which were very yummy.

Although a little tricky to eat!

All in all, it was a very good birthday.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Outing - Falve Launch Party

So the other week (actually probably a month ago) Luke and I went to a launch party for the new menswear brand Falve, which has been started by two very good friends of ours, Emma & Dan.

Suffice to say that I was absolutely blown away by the quality and attention to detail. The clothing was incredible, mixing modern designs and fabrics with old-fashioned tailoring techniques using French seams and removable collars (such a clever idea).

I also loved their leather wallet accessories and bowties. I think I could totally pull off a bowtie, don't you?

Anyway, to check out their amazing Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, go to their website

Falve offers free shipping throughout New Zealand. You can also buy their clothing from the Made It shop at 103 Victoria Street, Wellington.

Until next time :)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Inspiration - The Sartorialist

I'm a huge fan of Scott Schuman's blog The Sartorialist. He is really at the forefront of street fashion photography, and I am often inspired by the wonderful outfit he manages to snap. Frequently it's just everyday people expressing themselves through the medium of clothes. Not only this, but his images are often so strikingly beautiful that they are really art works. In fact, he has permananent collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.

Schuman really has created a space on the internet for an international dialogue about clothes and the people who wear them. He obviously has an eye for detail and capturing those beautiful everyday moments.

Recently the Sartorialist went to a rockabilly weekend in Las Vegas. I loved these images so much I just really wanted to share them with you (and also get you addicted to The Sartorialist blog). Enjoy!

 This is my favourite of the photos. I love the moment that Schuman has captured here (which is really hard to do when people are mid-dance!) The couple are obviously doing some lindy hop! Woo! I love her playsuit - so fun! And I'm normally not one for showing off midriffs. Also notice how perfect her untanned skin is. Fake tan, who needs it?
 One word. Classic.

See what I mean about the artistry? This photo is amazing.
I'm again feeling the need to buy a playsuit. Never really had this need before. I also kind of want to reach into the photo and steal her handbag!

Well, I hope this inspired you.

Until next time!