Christchurch

What Do You Treasure?

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I was SO nervous!
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Finally in Christchurch *love heart eyes*
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First stop, Black & White Coffee Cartel where a little printed sign advised us there’d be no avocado (two words which should never be together) this season. Alas, our bagels were delicious and S particularly liked the NZ bacon nomnom.
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Next, one for the bucket-list. Though rather simple, I had always dreamt of visiting the Riccarton Farmers’ Market with bae. It is truly one of my most favourite places in Christchurch.
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If tea is a hug in a cup, porridge is a cuddle in a bowl, I say. Alll better. Full tummies and grateful hearts. I got the rsf, V, and df option and S ordered the spiced apple, toffee sauce, and walnut crumble porridge.
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When S sent the above photo to his family group chat, his brother asked if that was an egg atop my porridge…Hehe nope! Just honey and yoghurt.
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Things have been pretty surreal, neither of us can actually believe S is finally here. Last night we dined at Tutto Bene. The food was good and the company even greater. We had a lovely French waitress and S mentioned the wonderful paradox of having a French waitress, working at an Italian restaurant in New Zealand serving a table of Persian, Kiwi, and American diners. How beautiful is that? Unity in diversity.
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To Be Human Is A Powerful, Profound Thing That Deserves A Lot Of Patience.

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This sweet card was made by my even sweeter five year old student. Did you lovely people have a memorable Mother’s Day? This year I decided not to make a big Facebook announcement for my mama, instead I wrote this (incase you and I aren’t Facebook friends):

I don’t want to post a generic message about how I love my mum and how lucky I am to have her (which I do and which I am) this Mother’s Day. Instead, I want to acknowledge all of my friends who either live far away from their mothers (I know from first-hand experience how hard that is) and those whose mothers are no longer with us. I wish you calmness and strength <3
Image (3)Mum’s breakfast at Untouched World – a lovely modern cafe with high-quality ingredients and a romantic fire.
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Absolutely in love with my Dr. Seuss preschool teacher uniforms because I absolutely love him! Who is/was your favourite childhood author? (A question posed to me by Soroosh the other day to which I actually replied Paul Jennings).
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Kids say write the darndest things!
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“Stained glass” butterflies made with black cardboard paper, coloured tissue paper and pipe cleaners. Super easy, are instructions needed?
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New favourite CHCH eatery! This $12 split pea soup (topped with caramelised onions) served alongside Bellbird bread and carrot butter from Gatherings was 10/10.

When A Woman Becomes Her Own Best Friend Life Is Easier

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Except my momma is my best-friend. Here’s a lovely green-smoothie bowl recipe I made for her and I earlier this week: simply blend 1 banana, 1 kiwifruit, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt and 1 tsp cinnamon until smooth then top with favourite toppings. When I sent this photo to Soroosh, as I often do of my random daily snaps, he said: “tell your momma the days of smoothie-bowls are over, I’m coming for it!” Yep, don’t blame him. Twas delish.
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In addition to purelyinstagramworthyflowers, I topped them with my homemade gluten-free muesli which is basically a concoction of mixed nuts and seeds, buckwheat puffs, brown rice puffs and quinoa flakes – all individually bought and mixed together.
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Posted this fatty on Instagram. My friend Chris commented: “Garfield, is that you?”
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If you haven’t read Flow magazine, you’re missing something big. So lovely, so delicate, and so inspiring. Image-1 (2)
BearLion Foods have the best salads in Christchurch. This is a fact. Pictured is a mix of two wholesome vegetarian salads bought on my to work from the Riccarton Bush Saturday Market and enjoyed on my lunch-break in sunny Sumner. Image-1
When it comes to organic food stores, I lack serious self-control. I want to buy everything. The trouble is, I can hardly afford one thing! I think this was $6 something. ARGH why so expensive? Alas, it was heavenly. So good that I recreated it myself the next day ;) Simply warm 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 tsp raw cacao powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp cardamom powder, and some orange zest in a small pot on medium heat. Once hot, stir in 1-2 tsp of honey or coconut sugar.
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Heaven is a place on earth. UTOPIA ICE is simply the best. I mean come on, where else can you get 5+ vegan options including: passionfruit coconut ice-cream and raspberry and saffron sorbet?!
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Sorry for the copyright Flow Magazine but I just couldn’t agree more! “Coming out of  a period of scarcity, we have now reached a point where we have too many things, and it’s damaging our health.” True dat. Image-1 (1)Pad Thai selfie from my family’s all-time favourite: Zab Thai.
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In case you missed my infamous bathroom selfies with the glorious towel backgrounds.

Spoiler Alert: Love is worth everything, everything.

To help me cope with missing Soroosh, I started a NZ Bucket List for us to work through come June. Some of the options are luckily local and frequent. Like, the Saturday Farmers’ Market which I have always been in love with.
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Nothing but organic.
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My dad ordered something from the Bacon Brothers which came with a hug as well! LOL you should’ve seen his face! Such a character, this guy!
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Mmmm! Remember Mandy, my ice-cream queen? Well, her and her partner don’t just make ice-cream – they make heaven: gluten-free waffles with coconut whipped cream, strawberries, roasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate drizzle.
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You know you’re cheap/on-a-diet when you share one waffle between 3 hehe >.<
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Sunday morning Baha’i children’s classes.
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Today’s virtue was “justice”. Above, equality is demonstrated with a popcorn filled “scale”. And below, one “life-raft” for all. Image (6)
Last but not least, the rest of my brother-in-law’s grandmother’s Black Boy peaches stewed for alongside my ritual morning muesli.
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To Be Creative Means To Be In Love With Life

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Stewed Black Boy Peaches are one of my most favorite foods and they’re truly perfect for crumble.

Filling:
10-12 Black Boy Peaches, peeled and chopped random
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pure vanilla essence
2 tbsp runny honey

Crumble:
1 cup gluten-free jumbo oats
1/4 cup of buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of chopped raw nuts of choice
1/2 cup of raw seeds of choice
1 tbsp cinnamon
a pinch of each ginger powder, nutmeg and cardamom
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup or runny honey
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Place the filling ingredients in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water and cook on medium heat with the lid on. Once the peaches have softened remove the lid to allow the liquid to reduce – we want a fairly thick consistency – I believe the secret to a crunchy crumble is a relatively “dry” filling so that’s what we’re aiming for.

Once ready, transfer the peach mixture to a deep oven-proof dish.

In a large bowl, combine all crumble ingredients together until nice and sticky then assemble on top of stewed peaches.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Enjoy!
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A super easy rainy day craft idea for little monsters featuring the fatal potato (far left).
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Clever little zine I came across on my lunch-break at work.
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Happiness is picking up your library requested books! Thanks for the book suggestion Rick, already LOVING Deep Work. Image-1
Oh my sister and I were so naughty today. We went to Le Panier Boulangerie !
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Another kids fun activity idea: we made wands from felt pipe cleaners and used detergent to blow bubbles.
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Yummy healthy snack idea. Raw chocolate energy balls. Recipe HERE.
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Do you know what this is? Check out my new Savvy Tokyo article HERE to find out more.

Try & Try

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Life is so much more interesting with a library card.
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Love my weekends in Sumner. Forever grateful to Mandy for the dreamy job.image-1-1
Many thanks for the sweet bag Leyla-joon, I am using it everyday.image-12
Is it too late to say sorry? Accidently/accidentally tomato/tomato image-9image-8
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Beached as bro.
image-7Day two of the Bahai fast my eyes wanted to eat all of this (vegan black bean and quinoa burgers on gluten-free bread) but my stomach only allowed for half. Still, it was SO yum! Excuse me while I go ahead and marry myself.

Be Easy. Take Your Time. You Are Coming home.

A poem by Nayyirah Waheed.
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Every year, during the month of March, millions of healthy and able adult Bahai’s around the world observe the 19 day Bahai Fast. They/we/me fast by restraining from food and drink between the hours of sunrise and sunset as a way to focus all our thoughts and energies on “meditation, prayer, and spiritual rejuvenation”. Obviously, it takes serious will-power and it isn’t always pretty (or at least not for me). In the past, I have fasted at the Bahai World Centre, amongst hundreds of other Bahais (heaven!), during University (seemingly impossible), whilst working in hospitality (what a tease!) and alone in the remote mountains of Japan (yet with incredible support see HERE). Thankfully, this year I have the support of my family and I am no longer working in hospitality (thank God!). 1 day down, 18 to go! #hangryimage-4If you thought I’d given up on my book a week challenge, you get a brownie ball (see what I did there?) but only because strictly abiding by the weekly time limits was stressing me out. So, I’m still reading and maybe even still a book a week but I’ve lost track of the what and when. Here’s book NO.whocares by a very talented writer. Totally recommend it. So funny and relatable (yes, even to a non-mama).
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“The soul is healed by being with children.” ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ” Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”
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Preschool day trip to the Canterbury Museum. Has anyone visited the discovery room here?! It is incredible and only $2 to enter! I cannot wait to take Soroosh, and to show him the room with the 100s of beautiful butterflies! 3 months today xx
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Seize That Loveliness. It Has Always Been Yours.

Lovely words by Yrsa Daley-Ward and lovely times during this year’s Ayyam-i-Ha – a multi-day festival for Bahá’ís (that’s my religion) which typically falls around the end of February and the beginning of March. Ayyam-i-Ha or Intercalary Days is a period dedicated to being social, hospitable, generous and joyful. In addition, it is a time to prepare for the upcoming Bahá’í fast come March (2nd) though more on that soon!
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My vegetable kebab skewers for the non-meat eaters at our community Ayyam-i-Ha sausage sizzle.
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A team-building/unity activity featuring sticks and marshmallows (to be eaten post tower construction) for Bahá’í Children’s Classesimage-1image-1-1image-1
And, Ayyam-i-Ha cards! Here’s one from me to Soroosh.
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My lucky brother-in-law, Andy’s birthday falls on Ayyam-i-Ha. So, for the first time since returning home, I had an excuse to dine out for dinner and to also dress up a little. image-1-2
We went to Mish Mash (a restaurant where nothing matches; the plates, cutlery, and menu items are all different). My sister, brother-in-law, and I loved it. My parents did not. But, that is expected because they’re Persian and picky. Actually, I’mma start calling em’ PP.
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Super delicious and spicy eggplant dish.
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Some prawn and udon edible basket concoction. image-8
Birthday boy! image-1-3
Potato crisps. image-7
Mom and dad’s shared meal: pulled lamb bruschetta. They didn’t like it because their teeth couldn’t bite through the bread (lol) and the whole meal was cold (how it’s supposed to be).image-6
This is honey glazed carrots topped with crispy bacon bits. We also had dessert. I tried to take a picture but by this time, the sun had set and the lighting was terrible. We shared creme brulee and bread and butter donuts. The latter, super good. Like, unreal.

The Best Ice-cream in Christchurch!

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Mandy’s baby: roasted plum (from their garden) and cinnamon oat crumble. image-1image-1
Belgium milk chocolate and marshmallow.
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Dark chocolate and sea-salt sorbet. Vegan and delishasssss!
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Coconut and black sesame seed. It’s vegan everybody! And my new favorite. Life is so sweet.
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I was so good you guys! Just look at these teeny tiny scoops. Plus, I think me eating the ice-cream is great advertisement, don’t you think? Here we have three vegan coconut-cream based ice-creams: coconut, blueberry and vanilla, coconut and dark chocolate, and coconut and black sesame seed. Send help!

Christchurch Night Noodle Market

Last night I went to the CHCH night noodle market with my momma and later, my sister and brother-in-law joined us. Being CHCH, I also bumped into one, two, three friends. I had fun. In all honestly, the food was average (yeah, yeah food snob) but the ambience was great! I absolutely love CHCH in the summer. The market is on until Sunday, prices range from $5 to $15, and you can find more information HERE.

Speaking of noodles/Asian food, pretty please with a quail egg on top check out my new Savvy Tokyo article, 8 Japanese Films for Foodies HERE.
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So I asked for two chicken and one eggplant/tofu BAO but I got given a duck instead. Now tell me, since I’m not a BAO enthusiast, is the bread supposed to taste like cake (it was super sweet)? Looked better than it tasted (oh no she didn’t!). image-1
These however were real good. Maybe a little dare but I think totally worth it. Not too sweet, very natural tasting and chic, too! Double win.
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Yummy but served warm/cold. More on the cold side. But tasty regardless. As you can see, I did my best to abuse the DIY topping station. In all fairness, the dumplings were generously filled to the brim with plump shrimp and prawn. image
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Mama says: peace!