Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Outing - Family Day

Okay, so Family Day was actually quite a while ago. But since I took a big break from blogging, it'll be news to you anyway. What's Family Day, you ask? No, it's not some special New Zealand holiday. Rather, it's the day where my husband and his family all get together to spend a day together as a family. It's actually on Luke's parents' anniversary, which I think is really neat. After all, Christmas is about celebrating Jesus' birth, so the focus really should be on Him. That's why I think it's a great idea for a family to have their very own special event where they can enjoy each other's company, eat good food and maybe exchange a gift or two.

As you can see, the spread this year was amazing. And all those beautiful flowers were picked from Joanna's very own garden. Meanwhile, I'm currently struggling to get herbs to grow!

 After lunch, we had our somewhat traditional game of croquet. I say "traditional" because we've played it for the last 3 Family Days that I've attended.

Since I somehow managed to win the previous years, I was definitely feeling the pressure to have a back to back win. 

 Stephen, Luke's dad, managed to win the title. Meanwhile, Michael and I battled it out for second place - Western style.

Look - chicken!

Dinner was also very scrumptious. And Joanna made these cute little candle holders to provide light outside. What a neat idea!

 The end.

Until next time :)

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Review - Kiki's Delivery Service

So you may or may not know that I am a fan of cartoons/anime/anything cute. When the latest Pixar comes out I normally go see it at the cinema, and also inevitably cry at some point (there is always that moment, you know what I mean?). I especially love the work of Hayao Miyazaki, who is also known as the Japanese Walt Disney. Luckily for me, my brother-in-law and his wife are also big fans, so we can watch movies out of their collection. You know, care and share alike.

Recently they lent us Kiki’s Delivery Service. I had no idea what to expect, but I gathered it had something to do with witches, since the girl on front of the DVD was riding a broomstick. This movie came out in 1989 and is based on a novel by Eiko Kadono. Actually, in Japanese the title is simply “Witch’s Delivery Service”, which spoils the surprise even more.

Kiki is a young witch who, according to tradition, must leave her parents on her 13th birthday and find a town where she can be the resident witch. She takes along her cat Jiji, who without a doubt is the best thing in the movie, and comes across a quaint European seaside village. Although things don’t go quite as planned, Kiki’s headstrong and resourceful determination help her as she comes across new challenges.  
According to Miyazaki, the movie touches on the gulf that exists between independence and reliance in Japanese teenage girls. Going far beyond coming-of-age themes, this work deals with the nature of creativity and talent, and the central difficulty every person faces in becoming themselves, whether through luck, hard work or confidence.




This is the first Studio Ghibli film released under the partnership between The Walt Disney Company and Studio Ghibli. Also note: if you watch the English dubbed version (which is very good), Kiki is voiced by Kirsten Dunst and Jiji (the cat) is voiced by Phil Hartman, also known as Troy McCure from the Simpsons. I only just learnt that, and now I really want to watch it again so I can say: “Hey that’s Troy McCure!”

Best line of the movie:
Jiji: More sleep please, thank you! 
(I now say this every morning to Luke.)

The trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Until next time :)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Trip to Europe - London Part 3

So the holiday continues. John took Laura and I to the Camden markets, which were great! I bought the most gorgeous pair of shoes, which were actually an item on my wishlist ages ago. Who would have thought that I would fly halfway around the globe and find the exact same pair of shoes! Crazy huh?

Anyway, the Camden markets are great for clothes shopping and finding different and unique pieces. I would have liked to check out some of the vintage places a little more thoroughly, but I was on a budget and didn't want to bore my companions. 

 Here's Laura and I having crepes for breakfast. The crepes were made by some Japanese guys (figures).

 Laura and I being very touristy - but it's okay because we were tourists, which makes posing completely acceptable.

John also took us to the famous Hummingbird cupcake shop. It was so pretty inside with such wonderful treats.

  Here is me about to hoe into one of their famous red velvet cupcakes. Yum!

And here is Laura and I on a double decker bus. Because you know you have to.

Until next time :)

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Verse - Psalm 94:1-4

O Lord, God of vengeance,
    O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
    repay to the proud what they deserve!
O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
    how long shall the wicked exult?
They pour out their arrogant words;
    all the evildoers boast.

The verses above might seem a bit random, but let me explain.

So the church Luke and I attend, Gracenet Community Church, has a Thursday night theology class. For the past 4 months or so we have been studying a lecture series on apologetics taught by R. C. Sproul, who uses the classicist approach to apologetics: proving the existence of God through rational thinking. The series has been great as it's exposed me to many thoughts and ideas I'd never even heard of, let alone thought about before.

One of these ideas is Immanuel Kant's moral argument. Kant (1724 – 1804) was a German philosopher  who argued that to have morality, humanity must assume the existence of God. In fact, in order for morality to not only exist but also be meaningful, there needs to be perfect justice. However, one quick look at the morning paper will lead anyone to conclude that perfect justice does not happen in this world. Therefore, for morality to have meaning, one must believe that immoral actions are judged in an afterlife. In order for perfect justice to be administered in the afterlife, there must be a perfect judge who is all-knowing, infallible, righteous and omnipotent.

It is an interesting thought. What makes morality meaningful? After all, if we just do "the right thing" because it makes us feel good, what happens if that changes and suddenly the "wrong thing" makes us feel better? Haven't you ever felt an overwhelming sense of injustice when you hear cases of judges letting child molestors or rapists off with the slightest slap on the wrist? Or when you hear about countries where there is no punishment for certain horrendous crimes? Thinking of these things, doesn't it make you want to join in with the psalmist and shout: "God of vengeance shine forth! Rise up and judge the earth!"

To say that morality evolved gives no meaning or depth to it. And if we are evolving our morals as a society and they are changing, doesn't that mean they could change to anything? We could decide that rape is good or that murder is a good. In a world of relative truths, there is no right or wrong - just preferences. And in my opinion such a world is a very scary place.

Right now, you might be thinking that a righteous and holy judge is a good thing, so that those really wicked people will get justice. But what about you? Would you count yourself amongst the wicked people? The people that pour out arrogant words and boast, according to the psalmist? You see, if God is all-knowing, perfectly just and completely righteous, this means one day He will judge everything we've ever done and said and every thought that has entered our head. Are you sure that He'd be pleased with what He sees in you?

You see, all of us have broken God's laws. Sure, it may not be as blatantly obvious as someone who has murdered, but Jesus said that if you have ever hated anyone you have committed murder in your heart (Mathew 5:21). Can you honestly say that you have loved God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind every moment of your life (Matthew 22:37)?  Have you always loved your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:39)?

The truth of the matter is we have all fallen short of the glory of God, and we all deserve to be judged and punished by Him because we are lawbreakers. The only just punishment for sinning against the almighty God is eternity in hell. However, the good news is that God has provided a way for sinners like us to be reconciled to Him, through Jesus' death on the cross. Two thousand years ago, God sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth. Jesus was both fully God and fully man. Unlike us, He lived a perfect life, and willingly sacrificed that life for us on the cross. Because of Christ's sacrifice, His righteousness may be applied to us, so that when God looks upon us, He no longer sees our sin but rather the perfect life of Jesus. Thus we can be saved from God's wrath and have eternal life.

However, salvation is not automatic. We must repent (confess and turn away from our lawbreaking ways) and decare our complete trust in Jesus' saving work on the cross.

So, I guess here's food for thought: where do your morals come from? If morals are to be meaningful, there must be perfect justice, eternal life and a perfect judge. How will you fare in front of such a judge? Are you really a good person?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Dress - Country Garden

Just two more "old house" outfit posts to go. I think I might have already done this skirt before, in my Bargain Blossoms post in September last year. So here's a remix for you.

Shirt: Farmers
Can't go past Farmers for a good old white shirt. Nevertheless, this shirt is looking a little "old" these days... probably time to find a new one.

Skirt: Thrifted
Gotta love a $4 skirt. I've now sewn up the back so it fits a little better. I love the patterns and colours of this skirt. Plus the material is somewhat slinky, so it feels nice. :)

Belt: Sportsgirl
This belt is ages old. I think I bought it before I went to Taiwan. Wore it with everything for a while, but I think I'm more into skinny belts now, although I like how it matches the shoes. 

Shoes: Thrifted
Yep, these are my awesome thrifted boots which survived a European winter without my toeses even getting wet. I think they're quite cute with the white socks poking out the top, don't you?

Until next time :)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Look - New(ish) Pixie Haircut

Okay, so my very observant interweb friends may have noticed that I got a haircut recently. To be fair, it's about 7 weeks old now and almost needs a trim. However, I haven't done a post on it yet, so here it is.

I had been considering doing a pixie cut for a while, after coveting other ladies wearing them. It all came after my sister and mum kept telling me I needed to get my hair cut like Mary Margaret from the TV series Once Upon A Time. I also noticed that I sighed longingly every time I saw photos of Michelle Williams and her cute do. So when I suggested to my stylist Matthew that I was considering doing a pixie cut, he said "Let's do it." And I was convinced.

Summer is also a great time for a short do. We've actually had a summer here in Wellington, which has been most novel. I know it's not a very "vintage" style - but hey, women wore their hair short in the 1960s, right?

 Just to prove that I'm not always so serious. And I can do the most awesome fishface in the world. Period.

Special thanks have to go to my a-mazing hairdresser Matthew from Pearl Hair Design and Spa. He really is the master of all my haircuts - I'm just the lucky girl who gets to wear them.

Until next time :)

Monday, 18 March 2013

The Review - Dial M for Murder

So I'm not sure why, but the airline I took to Europe offered all the Alfred Hitchcock movies as part of their entertainment selection. I'd never actually watched any Alfred Hitchcocks before, more because I'd never really gotten around to it than for any other reason. However, I was kind of curious and had about 15 hours to kill, so I thought: why not? In hindsight, this probably wasn't the best idea, because suspense thrillers don't really help me fall asleep.

I watched To Catch a Thief, Dial M for Murder and North by Northwest (although admittedly I was so tired by this point that I did fall asleep during the last one, which Luke said was a real shame because it's his favourite).

The one that I enjoyed the most was Dial M for Murder, probably because it was the first one I watched, but also because I thought it was ingenious. Most of the movie is set in one room, but it's so intense that I actually found myself holding my breath.

The story essentially involves the so-called "perfect crime". I don't want to give too much away, as I think it's better if you go in knowing nothing like I did. I'll just say that it involves a husband and wife, an affair, a pair of scissors and a key. You'll have to watch it to find out how all these things fit in.

Grace Kelly is absolutely stunning in this film. So elegant. 

Fun Fact 1: It was filmed in just 36 days. It was also originally filmed and released in 3D in 1952. See, 3D technology isn't such a new thing.

Alfred Hitchcock had chosen a very expensive robe for Grace Kelly to wear when she answered the phone. The actress balked and said that no woman would put a robe on to answer the phone when she was sleeping alone, but rather would answer it in her slip. Hitchcock agreed to do it her way and liked the way the scene turned out. The director agreed to allow Kelly to make all costume decisions for herself in their subsequent films together. 

Fun Fact 3: Alfred Hitchcock arranged to have Grace Kelly dressed in bright colours at the start of the film and made them progressively darker as time went on.

As always, the trailer is below:

Until next time :)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Trip to Europe - London Part 2

More of London for you. And yes, I am going to make these photos last until I next go on holidays. How long will that be? I don't know - let's see how we go, huh?

 Saint Paul's
So one thing that really floored me about London was the buildings. They were all so beautiful and majestic. But then I went to Paris, and I didn't think it possible but the buildings there were even more beautiful! Crazy, I know!

They were actually filming a movie out the front of St Paul's while we were there, which I thought was very cool. They were using the top circles, which meant we couldn't go up too high (although I think Laura was completely okay with that, since she doesn't like heights). It also meant that entry was free. Yay!

 Laura and John.

  See what I mean. It's just... wow.

So this photo actually won't make much sense unless I tell you that we had a running joke about the Duke of York. To be honest, I don't know how it started, but it would always go something like this:
Laura: I feel like a crepe.
John: You're a crepe.
Laura: Your face is crepe.
John: Your mum's a crepe.
Hannah: Do you know who liked crepes?
Laura: Yeah, him and his 10,000 men.
John: I think that was their treat for when they got up the hill.

You get the idea. So imagine how excited we were to find his memorial! 

We also visited the Australian War Memorial, which is the neatest War Memorial I've ever seen, if I can say that. As you can see, there are small place names written on it, which put together form big place names. The smaller words are the names of soldiers' birthplaces, and the larger ones are the battlegrounds where the Australians fought.

 And look what we found. Langwarrin, my home town in Australia. Pretty cool, huh? Okay, so we cheated and used John's phone to look up where it was, otherwise it would have taken forever!

Anyway, until next time! :)