Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wow! I got an award!

"The Versatile Blogger"

My first blogger award!! Thank you so much Lori!!! Make sure you check out Lori's website and on twitter!

Her writing style is amazing and I love our late night twitter conversations when I'm home from the pub on a Friday night (well, Saturday morning...).

So, about the award...

This is just a fun way to meet other bloggers and get to know one another, by passing these fun bloggy awards to other bloggers that we like! There are some FUN rules in accepting this bloggy award.
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.

2. Share seven things about yourself.

3. Pass the award along to 15 other bloggers who you recently discovered and think are fabulous.

4. Contact the bloggers you choose and let them know they won the award.

Seven things about me:

(1) I'm from New Zealand

(2) I either take ages to decide stuff (took me three and a half years to decide what colour to paint my house) or decide super fast (once I bought a car in two days and another time in three days.  Both times I wasn't even looking for a car!).

(3) I love Japanese katsu curry

(4) I sleep talk

(5) I've watched and read Bridget Jones' Diary about a million times

(6) My next holiday I want to go to Hawaii or Croatia. Or New York, or Malaysia.

(7) My next overseas holiday will be Sydney for my friend Sarah's wedding!

15 blogs that DESERVE this award and your attention! (please note these are not in order of importance!)
  1. Obviously Lori's blog!  All Mums have to check it out!
  2. Lovely wee days - fantastic blog from New Zealand if you are into baking.
  3. The Culinary Explorations of Mrs Cake another great blog about food from NZ!
  4. Nothing Too Fancy Great cooking blog from Australia
  5. Hapa Bento Go the bento!
  6. Bentolicious  More gorgeous bento from Lia!
  7. Hawai'i's bento box cookbook, bentos and more for kids buy Susan's books! So good!
  8. Melanie Sumner bento and lots more
  9. Ken Tanaka Ken loves you! Help him find his parents!
Ok, so that is only nine but it's really late and I'm tired.  Plus, my birthday is on the 9th of March so 9 is a good number!

Day 24- A letter to your parents

I am really not good at all with deep and meaningful stuff so this is going to be very short!

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you very much for everything you've ever done for me.  I'm very sorry for all the times I've been annoying.  I really appreciate all the opportunities you've given me and love you both very much. 

Thank you also for buying me lunch so often on Saturdays too!

Love Nichola

Not the best photo but...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 23- Something you crave for a lot

Easy!! a McDonalds soft serve ice cream cone! I don't go a week without having one!

I'm not big on ice cream in general because I don't like cream.  McDonalds ice creams are a bit watery though, probably because they are 99% fat free (NZ ones, not sure about other countries).  I'm not sure if you can actually call them an ice cream because according to the McDonalds ingredient list they don't contain cream. 

I have a really sore throat today, so, I went to the McDonalds at the bottom of Taranaki St after my meeting in town this afternoon to get an ice cream.  I figured it's kind of medicinal since it helped my throat feel better for about three minutes.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else

Um, just me being me I guess.  I can't think of anything about me that is extra special, but I guess no one is exactly the same as me. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy

A "something"? Heaps of things make me happy so I'm not going to choose just one.



My friends also make me happy, but about a million posts in this 30 days thing have required pics of them, so you can look below.  Also, bento make me happy.  Again, see below since this is my bento blog and all...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 20- Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future

I hadn't seen this one before!  Although this could be a useful post given I'm currently single!

So, I'd see myself with someone who: 

- is nice and normal
- has a car and can drive safely (this includes not sitting in the fast lane on the motorway holding everyone up!)
- friendly, and who will get on with my friends
- can fireman lift carry me over his shoulder
- taller than me when I'm wearing heels!!!!
- not necessarily sporty, but someone who doesn't do no exercise at all
- likes traveling
- doesn't smoke

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them

When I was little I used to think it was a bit weird that my nickname was Nick!

Nectar - my sister couldn't say my name when she was little so it sounded like Nicta or something and then from that Dad started calling me Nectar. 

Nic/Nicky - kind of obvious!

Nichola with the ch actually said rather than like Nicola.  I've had this from a few people over the years.

Nuc - Richard who I used to work with started calling me this because he's British and said it's how I sound.  Ros (who appeared in a post below) calls me it too.

Crash - at work because I keep falling over and getting hurt.

Nicholas - get this at work.  Some people at work think this is my name so some others at work started calling me it to try to encourage others to be confused.

Hutch - had this from a few people over the years but mostly from my friend Alan and Martin at work in London.

Dot or Ethel (as in the two in Eastenders) - Alan used to say Amy and I reminded him of Dot and Ethel because we could talk all day about nothing.

Niko-chan/Nikobi/Nikoniko - my flatmate Kimie used to call me these.  I think Niko chan is the smily face picture thing. Nikoniko is like a sound for smiling.

Hutchinich - Andy (my bf from varsity) still calls me this sometimes - I think it was my log on for the computer at varsity or work maybe?

I know I've had more but can't think of them.

Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have

- Buy another house
- Buy a new car
- Get back to my ww goal weight
- Get a good time for the 10k in Auckland next month
- Go to Hawaii and Croatia

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why

Hmm.  This 30 days thing is hard when you don't just have to stick up a photo! This is also a bit hard because I really like my life.  Of course things there are I'd like, like a bigger house or more time, but in general I'm really happy with how things are at the moment so I've never really thought about wanting to have a different life. 

I guess if I had to switch lives with someone though, I would go back in time and switch with some of my grandparents, great grandparents or further back. 

When I lived in London I went to Northern Ireland and Scotland to see where my Mum's parents were from.  It was so weird going to places knowing they had been there and I was walking in the exact same places, but so many years later.  I'd love to be able to go back in time and switch lives with any of them to really see what it was like and to understand more about where my family came from. 

I'd like to do the same thing with my Dad's side of the family too - what I know about them all seems so interesting and varied.  My grandma's Dad was sent to NZ from Yugoslavia with his cousin when he was only 16 because his uncle could see there was going to end up being a war.  I just can't imagine how hard that would be! 

Not really sure if I'd want to swap for a day, but if I had to do a different job I'd want to be either a make up artist or a flight attendant.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 16- Another picture of yourself

Me and the cupcakes I made for my 30th (the theme was "races" as in horse races - I don't usually wear feathers in my hair).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play

I'm using my iPod Shuffle for this because it's my running iPod and I went for a run earlier so it was right next to me.

(1) Erotic - The Exponents

(2) Eye of the Tiger - Survivor

(3) Self Control (the Annual Remake Edit 2008) - Dave Sinclair (one of the best Body Step tracks ever!!!!)

(4) I Want You - Savage Garden

(5) California Gurls - Katy Perry

(6) Always Be Here (Radio Edit) - Dane Rumble

(7) Tribal Dance - Unlimited

(8) Forever Young (Youth Group)

(9) TiKToK - Ke$ha

(10) 雪が降ってきた (Yuki ga Futtekita) SMAP

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cooking class - chicken saag and samosas

Tonight Sarah and I went to cooking class.  It's the one by Harvey Norman on Tory St and we go probably once a month or every couple of months.  Tonight we made chicken saag, which I'd never had before, and samosas.

Sorry about the photos - I took them on my phone.

One of the best things about the class is they do a lot of the prep for you, which saves heaps of time.  This is before we started we everything set out.  On the plates is cooked potato and mixed vegetables for the samosas.

We started off by cooking a bay leaf and mustard seeds in oil, then adding onion, ginger and garlic.

Then added tomato and cooked it a bit, then pureed spinach and cooked a bit more, and then chicken which simmered until cooked in the sauce.

While the chicken was cooking we made the samosas.  We started off by cooking the vegetables with some spices.  We used spring roll skins for the outside! This pic is folding over one side and putting on a glue of flour and water.  Then you pull over the other side to make a cone, and put the filling in, then fold down the top and secure with more glue.

The samosas then were pan fried in a tiny bit of oil, but you can also spray with cooking spray and bake.

The finished saag.  Soooooo yum.  I wasn't expecting to like this but I think it is my new favourite!!

The finished samosas.  Again, wasn't sure what they would be like, especially in spring roll skins, but they were sooooo good.  I think these would be great as a bento filler! Like gyoza you can prepare them but not cook them, then freeze them.  To cook from frozen just cook in the pan or oven like normal, on a low heat.  Don't defrost or they'll go sort of sticky and doughy.

Day 14- A picture of you and your family

My Dad and me

My mum and me

At my Grandma's 80th (my Dad's side of the family)

Me and my cousin Melanie

I also have a sister but apart from the one with everyone I don't have any photos of us together on my laptop

This is our dog Jessie who I am counting as part of our family.  My mum sprinkled her in the park halfway up Homebush Road because it was her favourite park  (down the road from their house). 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 13- A letter to someone who has hurt you recently

No one has hurt me recently so this is easy! Or hard depending on how you look at it! 

I figure it's not what people do to you that matters but the way you react.  I guess if someone did something that hurt me then I'd have to reassess the situation - did I do something that actually allowed them to think that behaviour was appropriate/why did they think doing that was ok/is it someone who is important to me and I'd be willing to forgive them/is it someone I can "de-friend" etc.

I think there's no point dwelling on the past so it's always better to move onwards and upwards, no matter the situation.  Maybe that's why I can't think of a time when someone has hurt me.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 12- How you found out about Blogger and why you made one

How I found out about blogspot is also how I got on twitter - BENTO!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got my first bento in 1995 at Mitsukoshi in Ginza (the big original one).  It was Hello Kitty and I think is 250mls. 

This is it, with my first bento.  Not really sure if it is my first bento because I remember taking rice to school in this box and surely I must have had it with something! But it was my first bento when I started making them last year.

I started posting my bento photos on facebook, but the ladies I was getting inspiration from (see the blogs I follow for them) had blogs and I could see the benefit in actually blogging about bento rather than facebooking them.  I like being able to look back and see how I've improved from that one above, and I like how you can follow other blogs in your blogger list and get ideas from them.  I've also made some great bento friends this year which has extended to other food bloggers and even friends of bento bloggers.

I tried wordpress first but it was a bit harder to get started  so after about two or three hours of trying, I started this blog.  This has been quite a busy year at work so I haven't been able to make as many bentos as I'd like, so it started turning into a blog for me to blog about stuff in general.  I haven't given up on bentoing though!

Bentoing is also how I got onto twitter because it was a great way to see the blog links that everyone was posting and pics.

Another thing I love about blogging is being able to see how people get to my blog and where they are - I've had visits from every continent except Antarctica.  I've had some very weird google searches referring people too!

Where are you from and how did you find my blog?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 11- Another picture of you and your friends

Ok, since everyone else put lots of pics for the last one, so am I!

Here's some of my favourites. I know they are all quite recent, but these are the pics I have on my laptop.

Sarah, Hayley and Me.  Christmas holidays 07/08

Amy and me at work at Nova 03 or 04 - check out the fake grass!!! and picnic tables.  The 15th floor view of Osaka made up for it though.

Kimie, my old flatmate in Osaka, and me

Ange and me in Beijing 2006

At Glenorchy on our way to Paradise (actual place!) day before New Years Eve 04 I think

Beer place in Umeda with Kristian, John and Salib, my friends from church, July '10

Paul, me, Craig and Chris - friends from Japan in London - July '08 - I met up with Craig in Osaka exactly two years exactly later!

Tri-nations game (against South Africa) at the Speights bar in London '08 - Hayley, me, Moun, Sam, random guy from Tauranga

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 10- Songs you listen to when you are Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad

This is a little hard because I don't listen to music dependant on how I feel, I listen to music depending on what I am doing - radio in the car and at work or my ipod when running, if I'm going to be out by myself for a bit not in the car (so like if I was going to walk into town and go shopping), on planes (or trains etc if on holiday).

The only ones I choose what to listen to are when running.  Then I prefer SMAP because while they are totally cheesy, their songs have a great beat for running and Queen ("I was born to love you" and "Don't stop me now") and body step/RPM songs.

So, because I dont really listen to anything on purpose, here are ten random songs from my ipod:

Paradise City - Guns N' Roses - coz although I'd never be a bogan, I'm from the Hutt...

Spice Up Your Life - Spice Girls - I was 18 in '97...

Let's Get Loud - Jennifer Lopez  -a body step song

Billy Don't Be a Hero - Paper Lace - I drove from Sydney to Thredbo with my aunty once - we listened the the Priscilla Queen of the Desert tape (it was '96) a million times on the way and back

I'm in the Mood for Dancing - The Nolans - when I lived in Osaka my friend Amy and I ALWAYS used to do this first at karaoke.  I'd never even heard it before I met her!

Only I Could Die (and love you still) - The Exponents - coz they're from NZ and are great!

The World I Know - Collective Soul - my second ever concert.  All the guys were handing out picks after each song.  Except for one. The one who fought through the girls with bad perms to give his to me.

君色思い  by SMAP - it's SMAP!!!!!

Poi E - Patea Maori Club - we lived in New Plymouth for a bit when I was little.  Loved seeing that canoe on the way!

Meet Me Halfway - Black Eyed Peas - how could you not love it?

A little off topic but I love this song - it's from the final credits of my favourite J-drama "Good Luck" - Kimutaku and airplanes - what could be better?!?!

 A couple of SMAP songs:

A very funny SMAP parody I just found.  It only makes sense if you know SMAP though sorry! Wait until 世界に一つだけの花 at 48 seconds - they get Goro's hair tossing, Nakai's rubbish voice, Tsuyoshi's eyes and Kimutaku's wink and voice spot on! Great stuff!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 09- Something you're proud of in the past few days

There was a thing at work that I didn't want to do, but sometimes you have to man up and do stuff you don't want to do!  Am also proud of myself for not caving in and breaking my diet by eating all the yum food in the Koru Lounge both times today, and for getting up and going to the gym before going to Christchurch this morning.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why

Ok, so considering it is September 14 (yay - 6 months to White Day!!! feel free to start thinking what you are going to get me boys!...) I don't have very long to achieve these goals by.  I have a couple of work related things I want to achieve by the end of the month but considering I work in HR I don't think this is the right place to post them!

Ok, so goals for the rest of the month are:

Follow my exercise plan.  I sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago and today my physio said I can run 20 minutes at a time. So while I think I'm reasonably fit at the moment, that's from RPM so it's a bit of running to get up to 10km by the end of next month at the Auckland marathon!  As long as I follow the plan I made, I should be ok though.  The highlighted bits are my massages with Gillian of Le'Esscience.  I totally recommend you go see her if you are in Wellington, or you can order things from her from anywhere!

Keep sticking to weight watchers - I'm a bit over my goal weight at the moment and want to get back to it so I can go crazy shopping in Auckland because I seriously have no clothes at all.  I'm not doing the girly "I don't have anything to wear" thing, I mean seriously I have hardly any clothes!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you

Hmm.  This one is a bit hard! I guess lots of people/things have influenced me over the years.  There is no particular order to this!

Ros, who I used to work with (I don't have a scanned photo of her so you have to imagine what she looks like!) - got me going to Les Mills.  This totally changed my life!

My Dad (left) and his cousin Paul (below)

Dad for calling Paul when I was in form two and trying to decide whether to do Japanese or German at college, and Paul for saying Japanese was good and he used it as a lawyer (which is what I wanted to be when I was in form two, that or a journalist).  

I've stolen their work photos that I found by google image searching them so they are a bit small.

Also, my Dad has had a big influence on me for liking aviation stuff too. 

My Nana, even though she died when I was 13 she was around long enough to show me that you could do stuff by yourself and didn't need to rely on other people.  If things were broken she'd fix them, she used to mow her lawns in her late 70s, travelled overseas by herself (and even got suspected as a drug dealer!).  She also taught me how to do hospital corners on my bed to and how to make butter.

My parents too because if they hadn't paid for my trip to Japan in 6th form my life might have turned out quite different!  This is my Mum since Dad is already above! and also just in general they have had a huge influence on me because of the experiences I've had and things we did when I was younger, which have made me the person I am.

My old flatmate Lisa for telling me what industrial relations was and what classes I could take in it at varsity.  Not sure what kind of degree I'd have ended up with if she hadn't!

I can't forget Japan too!  Japan has had a huge influence on my life!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 06- Favorite super hero and why

This one was a bit hard in a way because I don't really have a favourite super hero.  But when I thought about it, I thought of this one right away.


He isn't a typical super hero because he's a fat robotic cat, but he is - basically his purpose is to save a kid from having his life turn out bad and he uses the stuff in his special magic pocket to do this. 

There's all sorts of things in his special pocket, like an anywhere door, that he pulls out and can go anywhere.  It would be very handy.

If I had to pick another super hero I'd go for MacGuyver.   I don't think he even needs much of an explanation - seriously, is there anything he can't do!?! 

When I lived in Japan it used to be on cable a million times a week so I developed a bit of a soft spot for him - I even used to have the theme song as my ring tone.  

30 days of me

It just occurred to me that it might be a good idea to explain about where the 30 days of me thing came from.  Not sure who started it but it from googling it, it seems to have been around for a few months at least.  Now it seems to be mostly girls in New Zealand, or with links to NZ.  A few of the boys have even gotten in on the act now too!

To search on twitter use the #30daysofme hashtag.  Here's a great RSS feed and list of lots of us.  Thanks @Pebblesy for all the hard work on getting those together!

Scroll down to see post "day nothing" to see what I'll be blogging about.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 05- A picture of somewhere you've been to

This is blonde me in Penang, Malaysia, last year.  I looooove Penang.  I've only been twice but would go every year if I could!!


Surfing the Great Wall of China. 

Me to lady on street: "Can you please take a photo of me in front of the Eiffel Tower?" (thinking it might look something like this, but with more of the tower obviously, since someone else taking it will be able to see better).

Lady on street: "Sure, no problem"
Me: "Thank you very much.  You just hold down this button for two seconds"
Lady: "ok" snap


Um, seriously?!

Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn't have

I feel really bad about mine, but felt better when I saw Amie had the same one!

I often interrupt people.  I don't mean to and I usually only realise when I'm actually doing it.  I think it happens because I get all excited about stuff.  This is also why I am so clumsy and always falling over when I haven't been drinking!   Also, at work I know I do it because I know what the person is going to say - I've been doing the same type of job for ages so I often know where the person is heading with what they are saying, but I need to remind myself that they still want to be heard, and every situation isn't exactly the same so I need to let them talk!

Sometimes I actually bite my tongue when someone is talking so that I don't start! I'm v sorry if I've done this to you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 3 - A picture of you and your friends

Today's post made me realise I don't have many recent group photos.  So, here is a photo of Sarah and me at Toast Martinborough last year.  It was kind of windy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 02- The meaning behind your blog name

My blog is meant to be about my bentos, although I haven't made many lately so it's sort of an anything I want to write about blog.
MECHA means "very" in Osaka dialect.  You use it when you'd say very/so in English.  I used to live in Osaka so I kind of like having a reminder of that in my blog.

It used to be that if you heard someone say mecha, you'd be pretty sure they were from around Osaka.  Nowadays it is kind of a cool word to use, so it's more likely that they are just a young person from anywhere in Japan. 

GENKI is a bit harder to explain because it is one of those words that you can't translate directly. 

You can use it: 
  • To ask/describe how someone is.  For example, when you ask someone if they are well in Japanese, "genki" is the word for "well". 
  • If someone is a friendly/outgoing/happy/energetic type of person, you'd describe them as genki.
I think genki is one of those words that tells a lot about Japan as a country.  It is used heaps in Japan whereas in New Zealand we don't have an equivalent word, or even seem to use similar words much at all. 

To ask how someone is in a casual way, just ask "genki?".

BENTO are Japanese lunches in a box.  The actual box the lunch is in is called a bento bako. 

If you look through my blog you'll get an idea of what they look like. 

You can buy bentos at lots of places in Wellington now too - they usually come in a quite flat plastic black boxes sectioned off for different things, with a clear lid so you can see what you are choosing.

So, my blog name sort of means "very happy lunches in a box" or something along those lines.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

30 Days of Me - Day One

Ok, so day one is a recent picture of me and 15 interesting facts.

This is one of the most recent photos I have of me.  It is at Kinkaku Ji in Kyoto two months ago.  I chose it because I like my hair in this pic and because over the years I have had heaps of photos in this same spot.

15 interesting things about me

1. I am addicted to McDonalds soft serve ice creams.
2. I can hold my arm out and twist my wrist without moving my elbow.
3. I can speak Japanese
4. I almost studied German instead of Japanese.  My life would be pretty different if I had.
5. My middle name is Mary.  It makes up for having such long first and last names.
6. I think collections are often tacky but I have a Hard Rock Cafe shot glass collection (I'm aware of the irony).
7. I had porridge for dinner tonight.
8. I've had two convertible cars and after having both for about six months, moved overseas.
9. My first car was a mini.  It lasted two months.
10. I went to Malaysia for a holiday mostly just because I like Satay Village on Ghuznee Street.
11. When I was at university I worked on a make up counter.
12. It is my half birthday in two days.
13. I am quite accident prone, but never was at all until I was about 22.
14. I sometimes wake up trying to find the door out of my bedroom.
15. I once woke up in the shower.