Dumpling Delight

Squid and green beans with cumin

pork and fennel dumplings

So on Sunday evening I got taken to Barilla Dumpling, an extremely popular Asian Restuarant. Fluro lighting and plastic tableclothes do little to dim its appeal, and the que for a table was out the door.

An impressive menu with even more impressive prices -  $10 for 20 pork and fennel dumplings, its hard to not be taken with the place. The busy surroundings adds to the atmosphere of the place, and with the asian written board menu its not hard to picture myself back in Vietnam. The food (as in Vietnam) comes out when its good and ready, so don't expect your dishes all at once.

After an extensive debate we settled on three options - pork and fennel dumplings, squid and cumin with green beans, and the fried french beans with spicy salt - something which my dining companion raved about. And once I had tried it I could see why. Covered in almost a tempura batter, they were light and crispy, and oh so delicious.

fried french beans with spicy salt

Condiments ahoy each table have their own pots of soy, asian vinegar, and mild-chilli oil...something which pleases myself as I like to drown each chopstick held bite. Tea also comes complimentary to your table. And something to make the purse strings even happier...Barilla is a BYO so you can have your own cheap bottle of plonk without having to worry about shelling out the average $50 charge for one in a restaurant.

Don't expect great service, or lush surroundings, but do expect delicious food that is great value for money. A must visit for any Aucklander with tastebuds!

Emily x


it was all red and green and blue and black and yellow and white and pink and gold

A whirlwind weekend back in Melbourne. Friday afternoon, Robyn Stone, winter sun, fizzy wine and a new 20mm fixed lens to try. Perfection. A week on, its raining in Auckland, i'm miles, no ... OCEANS away from my all my best friends and I want to step back into this afternoon so badly! 

Ive hooked up this on lookbook so y'all should take a browse. http://lookbook.nu/look/3966608-it-was-all-red-and-green-and-blue-and-black-and-yellow
Why cant every day be as good as this one?

(Photography by Robyn Stone : Canon 550D with a 20mm fixed lens)

Emily x



A Silent Sunday.

So on Sunday night I was privileged enough to be invited along to the screening of Hitchcock and Chaplin classics at the finale of the New Zealand Film Festival by New Zealand film critic Dominic Corry.

Set amongst Auckland's legendary 'Civic' the experience can only be described as magical. One of the few remaining Atmospheric Theatres in the world, the famous cinema was in-fact backdrop to the Peter Jackson remake of King Kong film...and infact our seats were right where King Kong leapt too. Luckily no giant gorilla accompanied us tonight, but instead the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

The cinema is a true visual delight with grand doorways, a star-filled ceiling with floating clouds, animal inspired boxes and and statues, twisted columns and seated Buddhas. (Unfortunately the pictures do not do it justice - photographs were not allowed so these blurry couple have been lifted off the net instead!) But what took place onscreen was rather special aswell. Born in the days of films oozing with sound, colour and special effects I must admit that I dont think I've ever fully sat down and watched a lengthy silent film. My mind was skeptical as to whether my attention span would last the duration of the films.

But quite to my surprise five minutes in I didnt even question the lack of sound, and found myself fully involved in the plot. Nowadays films play on underacting and realism, and these two films were delightfully over-acted and expressive. And I found myself laughing out loud...something which modern films find hard to muster from an audience. It really was not difficult to understand how Hitchcock and Chaplin are two of films greatest makers. 

A truly special Sunday. 

To read Dominic's review of the experience for the New Zealand Herald, and many more of the entire festival click here : 


Hold the press : ive found the best invention ever!

 Okay. Steady yourselves people. As after 25 years I've just found a simple kitchen appliance that makes everything tasty, and practically gourmet (in my eyes!). Enter the 'immersion blender'.

I cant believe it. All I did was chop up some nearly-off veg, cook it then blend it in the pan with some chicken stock and I feel like Gordon Ramsey right about now. Its so tasty! And SO smooth. And I thought making your own soup was quite a hassle. How wrong I was! Oh gosh I want to eat/drink this all day.

I'm about to become the soup woman. Right now I would happily forgo packing the hair-straightener's to make room for my immersion blender. And its oh so easy to clean! Believe me, coming from the girl who finds two minute noodles a right faff to make, this soup could not have been easier! 

Immersion blender, I applaud you.

Emily x


Hobbit shaped footprints...

Hello from Auckland! 

I arrived on a rainy Sunday with a suitcase weighing the same amount as me and a list of gumtree rooms to view. After numerous viewing failures I landed upon a small goldmine within Mount Eden...a lovely flat-share with an even lovelier couple.

Landing in a country which I have never visited, knew not one soul who lived there, yet waving a years working visa in my hand certainly meant I had my work cut out for me...not only to make good friends, but to also find work within the industry I want.

Right now I feel like the 'Yes Man' (you've read that book right?!) ... I'm currently saying yes to everything, going everywhere and meeting everyone I can. And boy what a positive experience it has been so far! From birthday invitations to finding freelance work, after only a week I'm on my way to making friends, and getting a job. To coin a phrase 'jammy' is how I would describe whats happening at the moment. Thanks life. Now if you could bring the sunshine out that would just be the cherry on the cake!

I've even had a new hairdo as I figured new city, new hair. And for the first time in 25 years I actually left the hairdressers smiling. Finally I've caught up with the trends and joined the ombre brigades. And if the wines I had this afternoon are anything to go by, blondes definitely do have more fun!

Emily x


Sugar highs, Leaving lows...

Three weeks at The Golden Door Retreat in Queensland left me invigorated, healthier, more energetic, and positive. Whilst their my eyes were opened to natural ways and means to cure your body, holistic health, the benefits of vegetarianism, and alternative therapies. Whilst there I embraced the life change and tried several of the treatments on offer : flower reading, naturopathy, feldenkrais, hypnotism. I tried to cure my sugar addiction, found out about my intolerance to gluten, attempted to realign my posture, and sort out bad sleeping habits.

I left the Golden Door with a spring in my step clutching my two sugar-free muffins determined to make some changes to my lifestyle and diet. I arrived home to Melbourne to find a welcome home spread of pick and mix, chocolate, cheesecake and wine. Needless to say I couldn't get to sleep until 5am that night...my body was so high off the sugar it hadn't had over the last three weeks I just could not sleep! Not even a bottle of wine was enough to put me into a slumber.

 Old habits die hard and I spent my last day in Melbourne with the girls re-toxing my body with cider in the sun, then crying into an open suitcase as none of my things would fit. A fair chunk of outfits had to get left behind in various friends wardrobes, and when I toddled off to the airport there was little weight difference between myself and the 50kg of clothes I 'had' to take with me.

Australia has treated me better then I ever could have hoped, and its a country I will always hold dear to my heart. But as the fortune teller at the Golden Door said to me : Australia is just a pit stop for myself. So on to the next one : New Zealand awaits!

Emily x


"Good Neighbours become good friends"

Well my visa is almost out, and I've worked the 6 months I could at 'Neighbours' so sadly the time has come for me to say goodbye to Lou and the rest of the Ramsey Street residents! I have met some lovely people there, and I will miss rather a lot of them.

But all good things come to pass and it's time for me to move on to my next adventure. A health retreat! Many a 12 hour day at 'Neighbours' I dreamt of meditating and just having time to myself, so I decided to make this dream a reality. 'The Golden Door' in Queensland offers a work experience program, and I was lucky enough to be accepted on. In return for helping out 5 days a week for several hours with the guests I get free board, food and use of the facilities. A sneaky way to save the $3000 a week it is to stay here!

I'm currently embracing Tai Chi at sunrise, walks through the forest, meditation, yoga, delicious vegetarian food, swimming under the stars and the positive attitude that everybody seems to embody here. It also helps that Queensland is ten times sunnier and warmer then Melbourne! I'm here for the next three weeks but I'm quite tempted to extend my stay as I'm enjoying the stress-free, simple pace here. 

Now whats the bets I'll be running for the nearest MacDonalds in a few days? 

Emily x