The Art of Clothes Swapping

So it’s the end of Winter.  Spring has sprung.  Summer is just around the corner!

How is your wardrobe looking?  A wee bit tired?  If your name is Miriam, then the answer is probably no.  However, for the rest of us – the answer is probably a resounding yes!  It’s not necessarily that our clothes don’t fit anymore or they’ve become worn; it’s just nice to have a change!

So here is my challenge to you:

Step 1 – Go through your wardrobe and take out anything that you haven’t worn in the past 6-12 months (excluding wedding dress or other special items).

Step 2 – Try on each item and if you decide you might wear it again in the very near future (say about 6 weeks), then keep it.  Sometimes you just need a reminder of what clothes you own!  If you can’t imagine yourself wearing it in the very near future, put it in a bag and label it “Clothes Swap.”

Step 3 – Attend a Clothes Swap. Your aim will be to get rid of more clothes than you collect!  i.e. take a shopping bag full of clothes and return home with say 2 good quality pieces that fit you well.

Between our group of friends, we hold a clothes swap about once every 3 months.  They are always really fun.  We don’t literally ‘swap’ one item of clothing for another item.  We just all bring bags of stuff that we haven’t worn recently, lay it out all over the lounge (there are usually about 10-15 of us), and we ALWAYS get some really cool stuff to take home.  I also get a bit of a kick out of seeing other people enjoy wearing clothes that have just been sitting in my wardrobe gathering dust.  It’s so much fun!

If you want to take part in a clothes swap coming up in Christchurch next month, head over here to find out more details.  All are welcome!


If you’re cleaning out your wardrobe and want to get the bags out of the house as soon as possible, clothes can be dropped off at the SCCC Office during these times:

Tuesday to Thursday
9am – 4pm or by appointment
Ph 379 5497

Address: 510 Colombo Street (opposite Rebel Sports)


Adventures in the Kitchen & The Alluring Qualities of Recipe Books

I like to eat toast.

I like the taste of toast but mostly I am too lazy to cook anything else.  I don’t have to cook for anyone else apart from me (and sometimes the flatmates if they’re home) so I just don’t bother.  Hows that for a bad example of self-care?!  I know that it’s important to eat a balanced diet and and I always have a good breakfast and lunch, however dinner seems to fall by the wayside most days of the week.  That’s when toast comes to the rescue!

However, the past couple of days I have actually cooked a proper dinner. TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

Lamp Chop & Veges

Bacon &Egg Pie

Yes – I took photos for proof.  Bacon & Egg Pie recipe here.

Talking about cooking, does anyone else find themselves collecting recipe books for no apparent reason?  Given my current occupation of toast-eating, it doesn’t make a lot of sense does it? However, I often find myself drooling over beautiful recipe books and wishing I had all the time in the world to embark on wonderful culinary adventures in the kitchen.  Maybe I’ve watched Julia & Julia a few too many times [once].

Here are a few wonderful recipe books that have been calling out to me (some of which I own and some of which I would like to own).

Julia Le Clerc: Made By Hand
All about delicious home-cooked food using natural, fresh ingredients. Yum!

Lynda Brown: The Preserving Book
I have just started learning about preserving. It’s a great skill to learn if you want to save money and make the most of seasonal fruit and vegetables.  Buying fruit & vegetables out of season is not only expensive but is also not as friendly to the environment.

Sophie Gray: Stunning Food From Small Change
I love Sophie Gray (aka Destitute Gourmet).  My mum owns this one. I once borrowed it for a whole year and refused to give it back.

Sophie Dahl: Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights
I own this one. Sophie Dahl is Roald Dahl’s granddaughter and this is part autobiography, part recipe book.

My Kitchen: One-Pot Wonders

Alison Host: Best Of
I own this one.  It’s the recipe book that taught me to cook!

Alexa Johnston: A Second Helping
A tempting collection of traditional home-baking recipes including Sponge Kisses and Melting Moments. Drool.

Does anyone else get sucked into buying recipe books?  How many of the ones you own do you actually use?  I’d love to know your hands-down favourite recipe books.  Tell me your secrets!

Beauty from Brokenness

Today I choose to believe that:

You make beautiful things out of the dust.

And when I find myself in the dust, I find You there, right beside me, wiping the dust from my face, drying my tears. For the broken pieces of my heart are not mine to keep and to despair over. They are yours.

And with those broken pieces you are remaking my heart. You are creating beauty out of brokenness.

Because that’s who you are–Creator God, Loving Father…always pulling me closer.

I can never run from Your Presence.


LBTL Recipes – Flour Tortillas

As a result of doing the Live Below the Line (LBTL) challenge, a few people have been asking me for recipes. In order to get the most out of my $2.25 per day allowance, I didn’t buy any prepackaged foods but cooked everything from scratch.  This is a good principle to carry over into everyday life and even though I know it seems that sometimes the prepackaged food is cheaper, it usually doesn’t fill you up as much so you end up spending more in the long run and it’s nowhere as nutritious as wholesome home-cooked food!

I ate these tortillas every day with lunch and dinner during the challenge. Actually, our entire household makes and eats these on almost a weekly basis! They’re quick, easy and very versatile.

Flour Tortillas

Makes 10-12 medium size tortillas

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 Tablespoons oil

about 3/4 cup of warm water

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, add the oil and then gradually add enough warm water to form a soft dough (you may need more than 3/4 cup…it’s just a guideline).
  2. Knead for about 5 minutes on a floured bench then let dough sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Divide dough into 10-12 pieces and roll each to about 20cm across. Roll them out really thin!
  4. Cook each tortilla quickly in a very hot lightly oiled frying pan for approx 30-60 seconds. When they start to bubble, turn them over and cook the other side.  When cooked, wrap in a damp teatowel to maintain softness.
  5. Serve with curry and rice or use as a wrap and choose your own filling (maybe Mexican chilli beans?)
  6. To reheat, cook for 20-30 seconds in the microwave or alternatively wrap tortillas in foil and heat in oven.

This recipe is sourced from the original version of destitute gourmet Stunning Food from Small Change.

Live Below The Line – What on Earth is That?

I’m currently on Day 4 of the Live Below The Line Challenge. I did a quick video update yesterday so thought I’d share it here! Click on the video thumbnail below.

Live Below the Line involves living on $2.25 of food a day for 5 days. For me, it means my diet for the past few days has consisted of quite a random mix of rice, kidney beans, chickpeas, porridge and sometimes an egg or 1/2 a banana if I can afford it (not all in one meal though).


Why $2.25? This is the New Zealand Dollar equivalent of the extreme poverty line.

There are 1.4 billion people alive right now who have no choice but to live below the line every day – and who have to make $2.25 cover a WHOLE LOT MORE than just food…

Live Below the Line is an initiative of the Global Poverty Project who focus on educating people on poverty and campaigning for change. Their mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action against extreme poverty. They believe that the best way to really fight poverty is by trying to help people understand it.

Trust me – after living on a small amount of food for the past few days, I am rethinking a whole lot of things…specifically how much I spend on coffee a week. Oh the pain of it as I realise that for the price of a cup of coffee, I could probably feed a small family for a day. I have also realised how we can so easily trivialize money and spend it without even thinking twice!

I am not raising money for Global Poverty Project though. Instead I am putting all my sponsorship money towards a fantastic organisation that is close to my heart–TEAR Fund. With the money raised from Live Below the Line, Tear Fund will be rescuing and rehabilitating some of the world’s most vulnerable children currently caught up in the booming human trafficking trade in Nepal as well as providing basic child survival needs for children in Ethiopia and India. So far, through the challenge, they’ve raised $34,563!

You can sponsor me here. Every dollar counts!

Think about that figure – 1.4 BILLION – that’s over 300 times the population of New Zealand – living every day in extreme poverty.

My Weekend {in photos}


Poppa Dennis is 80!

The lunch menu at Mills Reef Winery.

I chose the Gourmet Venison Burger. Delish!

Dad and his twin sister, Robyn.

Aunty Rebecca and little cousin Mikaylea. She was learning how take photos on my phone.

Cousin Michael…looking kinda like a Jewish Rabbi.

World famous in New Zealand!

Catching up with old friends. So good!