The No Coffee Thang

Before xmas I mentioned that I had gone a week without any coffee -a big milestone for me. I was feeling less cranky during the day and really enjoying not having a caffeine crash around mid morning. At the time I planned on taking this further to see the long term affects of no coffee.

With the holidays and everything I was in Japan and did have a coffee every morning, no reason really other then habit. Since I have been back my coffee habits have lessened a lot as I am still trying to be caffeine free, and I have began to notice the real reasons as to why I love my morning cup. Too be honest not drinking coffee has improved my overall mood and I do want to keep drinking less. Not because it is a drastic change but because I don’t like the feeling of reliance on it in the mornings. During the weekends, however, I notice really missing having a coffee and I think it comes down to one thing, comfort.

To be having a big mug of coffee is so comforting. It makes me feel snug and happy and I enjoy it. While I do love tea, coffee has something extra soothing that tea just does not. By removing coffee from my mornings I have discovered that I drink it because I like the taste and the ritual of having a coffee, and I am finding that I enjoy this even more now. Because I don’t make a cup everyday, having one is really relaxing and enjoyable for me, I don’t look at the drink as a pick me up but as a way of unwinding.

I guess what I am trying to say is that by cutting things out we are able to appreciate them more and discover if we really do like them or not. I do like coffee, I will keep drinking it, but I will now to it because it comforts me rather then because I feel like I have to have it. Sometimes we need to do this with food. Rather then just see it as filling our stomach we should take a moment to enjoy what we are eating or drinking and really savor it. It makes the experience so much more satisfying! I know that now when I sit down for a cup of coffee it really does brighten my day.


Worksheet funnies

At my job we have worksheets which have to be done with the kids every day. When the month ends these are bound in a folder and taken home to the parents to show them that they are actually learning something and not just playing games.
These worksheets are gold. They always show so much about each kids personality and every week there is something photo worthy.

This week I have ended up seeing a few gems so thought I would share them with you to give examples of the different types of worksheets you see with kids.

First is the super cute one, generally from girls.

ahhh the cuteness! The bear and the bubbles is just too much

ahhh the cuteness! The bear and the bubbles is just too much

These always have an animal (mostly bear, rabbit or squirrel) who has a giant anime eye and is giving a wink. Hearts and butterflies generally follow.

Then there is the naïvely inappropriate one.

Kids draw or write some things that look a little wrong to us. Think when they write the word ‘cook’ as ‘cock’, or ‘count’ as… well you get the idea.

The just plain funny.

dreaming about one of the teachers

dreaming about one of the teachers

I really love how kids do not care what people think and just say the first thing that comes into their minds. I have asked students what they did on the weekend and been told ‘oh I played with my coat by throwing it up in the air and catching it.’ They come out with some gems.

I really should take more photos of these, we are always coming across hilarious and cute worksheets that brighten my day. I hope these made you smile as much as they did me 😀

Nara – the day trip Disney dreams are made of

Hey there

Today was rough! It marks the first week back at work, the first of many until our next break in March. I had been hanging out for vacation for so long and now that is over I feel slightly amiss. So with that in mind, and as the weekend was pretty simple (I read 3 books and that was literally all I did, twas awesome), here is another wee recap of Kyoto.

Well kind of. This is the city of Nara, only an hour away by subway and totally worth the travel. We decided a day trip out of the city would be fun and I had been to Nara before and was dying to take the Mr. What’s so special about it you ask?

Well the deer of course!

Yeah seriously, this has to be seen to be believed. Nara is famous for its cities park which, as well as boasting some beautiful shrines and temples, is home to over 1,200 deer. The deer have lived in the area for hundreds of years and as a result the city has build around them and just let them be. It is pretty cool and they are the main draw card for most visitors, hence the super weird and cool city mascot.

One of the best things about the park is that it is only a fifteen minute walk from the train station up a street which is clearly marked. Very easy to get to and cuts down a ton of travel time making it in easy daytrip.

As you enter the park you walk past a lake and temple, with a few warning signs about the deer. At the end of the day they are wild animals and should be respected as such. They are peaceful, but if you go around poking them or shouting crazy things they will get angry and attack – but that’s just common sense.

When you do get into the park you are greeted with something amazing.
Hundreds of deer just walking around and chilling.

They go up to people to say hi.

Or just sit around waiting for you to buy the special deer crackers which many people do in order to feed them. Warning though, don’t let the deer see the crackers before you have had a chance to open them or they will get majorly excited and attempt to steal them from you – this happened to the Mr. and he was a little put off by them.

We walked around the park for an hour or so then headed back to the station, stopping first to get lunch.
One great thing about getting out of a major city is that food is a little cheaper so we had a fantastic meal of buckwheat soba (for me), curried pork cutlet and rice (him) and the worlds biggest and tastiest inari rolls. I seriously can’t stop dreaming about them.

If you are in Kyoto I recommend checking out Nara. The price is 689yen each way and tickets can be purchased at the ticket booth in Kyoto station. The staff here pride themselves on speaking fluent English so any translation issues or guilty feelings for being ‘those tourists’ are not needed.


104 things in 2014

Hey there, hope you are having a wonderful week! Mine is nice and short, just two days back at work and it is the weekend again which is a seriously needed break! Kyoto was fantastic but getting home required a 6am wakeup on New Years day (suck!) before catching a train, plane, subway, another train and finally a taxi. We got home at 5pm that day and had work the next morning. This weekend I foresee a lot of sleep and reading.

I may also begin working on this list. As I mentioned yesterday, last year I wrote down similar goals and was pretty happy with everything that I achieved – but I could do better. To make sure I stay on track with goals, trying new things and just enjoying life, I have jotted down 104 things to tick off this year. 104 is a bit of a random number but it is just what it came to, and it’s my list so I can do what I want 🙂 Here goes



– read 100 books

– read 10 nonfiction books

– watch 5 documentaries

– watch 5 foreign movies

– add 10 new artists to iTunes

– watch 5 musicals

– discover 5 new artists

– veganise 5 Korean dishes

– visit a museum or gallery 5 times

– go to a show

– learn to knit

– visit a new city in Korea

– visit 5 new restaurants

– learn to cook pancakes

– make kimchi



– complete 3 online courses

– learn some Maori

– publish something


– do a 1 day hike

– run a 5k

– try a new exercise class

– vegan for one week

– one month with no alcohol

– become an instructor for one exercise class

– be happy with my body

Spirit/Better Me

– make a life-lasting friend in Korea

– let David cook more

– 10 random acts of kindness

– pay of $5000 of my loan

– wear read lipstick

– host something

– monthly gratitude’s

– monthly charity work

– donate to a worthy cause

– host a fundraiser

– journal once a week

– have a special birthday

– learn a lesson from a failure

– complete 5 craft projects

– organize something

– stick to a wedding budget

– take time to relax every week

– get a mani pedi

Ending on a great note there 😉

Have you made a similar list? Small goals like this are always fun to tick off and aren’t so bad when they include things like movie watching and eating. Let’s see how this year goes!

Goals and the beauty of old Kyoto

It’s my nerdy personality that really likes lists. When I am stressed about everything that I have to do I just write down everything that I have to do and it takes the weight of my shoulders. While I have mentioned before that I don’t really like new years resolutions I do like the idea of small goals and always bettering myself. 2012 was a really hard year for me in China. I was so lonely and unhappy and really began to realize how depended I was on my partner and how I didn’t really know anything about myself. I had no hobbies and the same circle of friends since I was 16. With that in mind I set out last year to change this, join new clubs and discover what I like and am passionate about. This was a major success and I truly felt like I grew into myself a lot, but of course there is always room for more growing (cheesy but true!). So this year I have upped my list to 104 things for 2014. I am finishing it off now and will post the full list tomorrow, but felt I should bring it up while the year is still young.

Till then here is the first of many things I loved about Kyoto, the old buildings!

Kyoto was the capital city before Tokyo and as a result has some beautifully ancient temples and buildings. Rather then knocking them down, the city has built around its history which has turned it into a charming and surprising place to visit. While Tokyo may be the ultra modern and hip city, Kyoto is by far more relaxed but just as exciting to see.

Around each corner were old buildings such as these.

And I even stumbled across this temple from 948 just sitting in the middle of a busy intersection, amazing.

One of the stand outs for me was the area of Pontcho which used to serve as a Geisha district. Being there made you feel like you were in ancient Japan and like a geisha might walk past at any moment.


If you do ever find yourself in Kyoto I recommending taking the number 5, 207 or 17 bus to Shijio Karasuma. This is a main shopping district but if you walk down a little side street you will find the old area (the shopping is wroth a look though). Have a good one!

New Years and bla bla bla

Hey stranger!

It has been a long week since I last blogged, but lucky for me I have been in Japan eating yummy foods and seeing the beautiful city of Kyoto. I flew home today and have a million photos and stories of course, but I am also incredibly exhausted. So here are some highlights of the trip, taken with my fancy new camera (about time)!