How to make a terrarium

You will need:  you will need

  1. A selection of small indoor plants
  2. Ornamental and river stones
  3. Potting mix
  4. A glass container to build your terrarium in
  5. Activated carbon (I got mine from an aquarium)
  6. Moss.

potting

Next you need to build your layers. Arrange the stones on the bottom – these will provide your terrarium with drainage. Add a decent handful of activated carbon on top of these. The carbon prevents the build up of toxins that may harm or kill your plants, as well as deters mould growth. On top of this create a 1-2 inch thick layer of moss – this will also aid in the absorption of water, and on top of this add a 1-2 inch layer of potting mix.

Now you’re ready to add your plants.

final

I also decided I wanted some animals in my terrariums, so went to a toy store and bought a bag of farm animals. What kind of farm has zebras? And awesome one, that’s what.

I made two terrariums for my room, and made one as a housewarming gift for a friend.

finished terrarium

Sheep and zebras and bears, oh my! Bottom right is my friend’s terrarium living in its new home.

 

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Ghost Shark & Sharknado; a symphony of bad dialogue

What better way is there to spend your night than watching the ultimate duo of shark-based horror movies – Ghost Shark and Sharknado – with a group of friends? Trick question, there isn’t a better way! I really enjoy indulging in bad horror movies. The poor acting, the bad dialogue, the implausible situations… and if nothing else, they give inspiration that anyone can truly can make a movie! (Seriously, how do you get to make a TV horror movie? Someone tell me the career path so I can start working toward it.)

To make a real night of it (or “reel” night of it, da da boom tsh), I put together some appropriately themed snacks

sharks in jelly

Gummy sharks swimming in blue jelly.

capsicum octopus

A capsicum octopus with olive tentacle rings, swimming in a sea of hummus (and extra dipping snacks). I also cut up some pineapple into fish and star fish, but didn’t get a good picture of it. You can sort of see it in the background of the below shot of our tropical drinks.

drinks

Ghost Shark

Basic summary: The movie begins in the American town of New Port, and starts off in a style reminiscent of the TV show 1,00o Ways To Die – terrible acting, trying too hard to make you hate the characters, dramatic zooms and the characters’ deaths teleprompted. Two ‘yokel’ fisherman are trying to reel in a super-sized fish that will win them a cash prize, when suddenly great white eats the fish that was on their line. Outraged, and being yokels and what-not, they violently murder* the shark. However, moments later the shark comes back as a ghost to avenge its own death. The town of New Port is then plagued by a series of horrific deaths where the bodies of the victims are all found by various-sized bodies of water (and I mean various, think swimming pool, bath, toilet, glass of water…)

Movie highlights:  I could sooner choose my favourite star in the sky than chose my favourite part in the movie. It would be a toss-up of when a sheriff drinks a glass of water and Ghost Shark explodes out of his head:

Ghost-Shark-Water-Cooler-death

The protagonists being terrorised by a group of twelve year olds:

ghost shark

You came to the wrong neighbourhood, motherfucker

And this weedy guy who was mysteriously cast as a tough guy and wearing sweet shorts:

weeedyguyshorts2

We laughed for a long time at that guy. Good times. I also appreciated that the ringleader in bringing down Ghost Shark was a moxie teenage girl, rather atypical for a horror movie of this quality.

Movie low lights: The acting is bad and the production quality is super low, however, this added to the movie’s overall charm.

Shark bites out of 10: For entertainment value, I give Ghost Shark 8 shark bites out of 10.

*Can you murder a shark? Well, they did.

Sharknado

The highlights: I had been wanting to watch this movie for a long time, so it had a lot of expectation to live up to. My high expectations, coupled with watching it directly after the masterpiece that is Ghost Shark, meant the movie subsequently fell a little flat. The basic gist of the movie is that a tropical weather event has hearded large schools of sharks into LA waters. When the cyclone causes the town to flood, sharks begin to cause terror amongst the beautiful people of LA. The situation worsens when water spouts turn into tornadoes, throwing sharks of all manner in every which way. What a right pickle! The creme de la creme scene in the movie would have to be when a shark flying through the air gets sliced in half by a chainsaw:

sharknado-chainsaw

Movie low lights: While the film production quality and acting shits all over Ghost Shark, the movie didn’t delight me as much as I thought it would. I think one of the reasons I like watching horror is for the innovation in it; the ability for the filmmaker to be absolutely ludicrous and try outlandish special effects, plot devices, unconventional casting, etc and get away with it. While I enjoyed the tornado carrying sharks and the chopping of a flying shark in half with a chainsaw, the movie didn’t do anything to dispel racial stereotypes (hello, Australian whose phrase is ‘bloody hell’) or gender stereotypes (I don’t know what I was expecting with the casting of Tara Reid). There wasn’t much deviation from standard horror-action movie plot devices or characters. With sharks roaming free in a city, there seemed so much  ripe potential for terror and hilarity that I felt the movie didn’t capitalise on.

Shark bites out of 10: I give Sharknado 6.5 chainsaw-chipped shark bites out of 10.

Overall, it was a delightful evening. We are thinking about doing a giant snake themed horror night next time. Stay tuned, folks!

Peach, tofu, avo and pear sweet spring salad

Aka the best accidentally delicious lunch ever

Today I wanted to use the little honey posts I purchased earlier today from the Arataki Honey Farm. My initial thought was to try and recreate a salad I had read on Undressed Skeleton which included pears dipped in honey, coated in coconut. But then I got home and realised we didn’t have any coconut. So this is what I used:

  • 1/4 avocado, cut into cubes
  • 5 slices of peach, cut into cubes (from a tin)
  • 1/2 nashi pear, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 of a TONZU vegetarian luncheon roll, diced
  • 1 asparagus cut into 2 cm lengths
  • 3/4 cup of diced pumpkin
  • handful of baby spinach leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Drizzle of Kamahi honey (courtesy of the Arataki Honey Farm!)

honey avocado peach tofu

1) Roast pumpkin with cinnamon sprinkled on top at 180 degree Celsius for about 15-20 minutes. Add asparagus for last 10 minutes.

2) Add all ingredients to your serving bowl and drizzle with honey to serve.

Very refreshing and delicious! I will definitely be making it again.

BEES – visiting the Arataki Honey Farm

One of the hardest things about no longer living in a big city is losing the ability to go on day trips to new suburbs you’ve never seen before and exploring somewhere completely different when the mood strikes. However, I’ve become determined to make the most of  exploring my surrounds in Hawkes Bay, and to go on day trips around NZ.

Today I decided to go for a morning walk down a new route to break the monotony, and just happened upon a sign that said Arataki Honey farm. Having no idea how far away this mystical honey farm was, I embarked off onto a rural road in search of treasures untold*.

1

Regrettable, is the phase I went through reading about serial killers, as every car that slowed down past me on my lonesome road I was sure was about to abduct me and harvest my organs. I did run into this wee pukeko though, which lightened the mood.

Pukeko, Hawkes Bay

Hey there little fella. If anything happens to me, go get help!

Luckily, the walk to the Honey Farm was rather short and my visit did not disappoint, potentially because I have the mental maturity of a 12 year old, who I think the target audience is (along with Gentleman Bee Farmer Gob Bluth). There were free honey samples (of which I sampled all), videos about how bees make honey, displays showing the difference between how humans see and bees see, and the best part – LIVE BEES. Safely behind perspex, mind. But still.

bee vision

Bees bees bees bees

At this point I should probably point out it was about 9.10 am that I was visiting the store, which had opened at 9.00 am. After eating all the honey and touching all things, under the watchful eye of the friendly yet suspicious staff, I felt like I should buy something. I bought I few novelty sized honey pots. I plan to have them on a salad for lunch today. YUM.

get in my belly

*Okay, the treasures were told. The treasure was honey.

Shark-night!

On Thursday I’m having a Shark-night with my friend Bridie. Do I hear you saying, what is a Shark-night? I’m glad you asked! We plan to make it a back-to-back duo of tacky i’m-laughing-at-you-not-with-you shark-based horror movies – Ghost Shark and Sharknado, complementing the experience with a few wines. David Hinckley of the New York Daily News has said “Sharknado is an hour and a half of your life that you’ll never get back. And you won’t want to.” Exciting times! I plan on making aquatic-themed food, and may even stretch to a shark-inspired outfit.

We will never swim in shark graveyards again. Tune in later this week for a full review!

sharknight

Sweet potato and apple pie porridge

Today I put a little more effort into my porridge than usual! Channelling sweet pie flavours and spices, it came out more like a pudding than a breakfast – which works for me as I could eat dessert for every meal.

I used:

  • 1/2 cup of barley & oat porride
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 small kumara/sweet potato
  • 1/2 small apple
  • 2 tsp stevia
  • 1 tsp cinammon
  • 1 tsp cardamon
  • 1 T mixed raisins and nuts
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

1

1. Cut the apple and kumara up in 3 cm cubes and cook in boiling water for about 7-10 minutes, until soft.

2. Scoop the half cup of oat into a microwave safe bowl. Add the water that was used to boil the apple, about a cup worth. Cook porridge on high for three minutes.

3. Mash the kumara.

4. In a small bowl or saucer mix the spices and sweetener.

2

5. Add spices, kumara, apple and nut mix to the porridge.  Add milk to serve.

3

Not the most beautiful looking porridge, but very delicious and full of complex carbs to start the day!