We just got back from a weekend in Wellington and boy, was it a bit of a whirlwind trip!

We travelled up for the wedding of one of my high school besties and were in the windy capital for a total of 48 hours. Our time was spent eating, drinking, dancing and chatting (with both old and new friends!). We hardly took ANY photos the whole time we were up there... which is a completely new thing for us! Normally when we are travelling, we often find that we are way too snap-happy and come home with cards and cards full of images to sort through, but this time was the complete opposite. It was so nice to recharge our batteries sans 'social media' and just be completely present in the company of those that we were with.

Both Tim and I have a little space in our heart just for Wellington, there's something about the city that we love so much! The culture and vibe of the city tugs at our heart strings every time we visit, and we always find ourselves talking about moving up there one day. No plans as of yet, but the future is a great unknown so never say never! ;-)


On the 17th of January 2017, my sweet husband turned a quarter of a century! The big 2-5.

Since he was working on his birthday (it fell on a Tuesday) I decided to surprise him by celebrating his birthday the Saturday before. I woke him up in the morning with a "choose your own birthday" poster, and then had some of our friends round in the evening to eat cake and then go out for dinner.

On Tuesday, the day of his actual birthday, I was a bit sneaky and bought him a new iPhone! The hardest thing about being married (and sharing bank accounts) is pulling off surprises without the other person knowing. I had to wait till the latest point possible in the day to go and buy it, because I was terrified that Tim would check our bank account during the day and either a. PANIC because a significant amount of money had disappeared from our savings, or b. KNOW that I'd bought him a new phone! I managed to pull it off though, he had noooooo idea (you can check out his reaction in the home video / vlog I did of his birthday!)

Happiest of birthdays to you babe, you're my favourite x


When we first got married, our bed was my double bed that I'd had all through my flatting years - it was comfortable (ish) and did the trick, but it was pretty small considering both of us tend to sleep like starfish! We didn't really have any extra cash to invest in a new bed, so a few months ago when we heard that there was a queen bed up for grabs from one of the spare rooms at my family's place, we claimed it straight away. It was a mattress and base set, and after having it for a while I really, really, really wanted to ditch the base and get a nice bed frame. It took a few months of convincing, but I finaaaaaally managed to get Tim on board one day and we purchased this frame! Shout out to Mitch and Lyndsay for helping us put it all together - turns out flat pack beds take quite a while... haha. 

At this point, we were still using our old queen mattress (honestly, I think it was about 20 years old) so it's fair to say we were STOKED when Koala wanted to send us one of their mattresses! Not only do they come in a box (which we personally think is the coolest thing ever), and then rolls out and inflates in front of your eyes, Koala adopts 1 kiwi for every mattress bought by a NZ customer. How sweet is that?!

We've now slept on our Koala mattress for 4 nights and can confirm that it is SO comfortable. It's like sleeping on a cloud. The mattress has a "zero-disturbance technology" designed to stop you from waking up from another person's tossing and turning in the night - so, so good.

Make sure you go check them out by following the links below. They're offering $75 off at the moment! Huge thanks to Koala for hooking us up, you guys are the best :-)

Koala NZ: www.koalamattress.nz
Koala Australia: www.koala.com.au

P.S. If you make it all the way to the bottom, there's a wee video of us unboxing it!



A little highlights reel of our roadtrip through the Lakes District over New Years!
Make sure to subscribe to our channel if you want to be notified when we post a new video :-)



I don't know about you, but every time the new year rolls around I tell myself I'm going to start eating healthier. It's always at the top of my list of "resolutions" and if I'm gonna be honest, it's always at the top of my list of failed ones too. 

This year though, we're 11 days in and still going strong! (Don't tell me I'm speaking too soon...)! I truly feel like this time it's going to be different. This time I really, really feel like I'm going to be able to stick to it, give or take a few indulgences here and there, because I'm doing it for the right reasons. Something in my mind flicked a switch towards the end of last year and I realised that eating healthily (and cooking some delicious vegan meals) is actually easy, stress-free and do-able as long as you are prepared. Having the right ingredients in your pantry and thinking ahead and planning your meals is the difference between cooking a nutritious meal and jumping in your car to pick up a cheeky pizza. 

Last night, I made this vegan "squashetti and meatballs" from Niomi Smart's cookbook, Eat Smart.
And let me tell you.. it was d e l i c i o u s.

The "meatballs" were made from a combination of walnuts, black beans, spelt flour, onion, garlic, green lentils and dried apricots - whilst the squashetti was made from zucchini (I couldn't find any squash at the supermarket here so I opted for courgettes instead!)

To make the noodles, I used our new spiralizer which we just bought from The Warehouse for $17 and it was so satisfying to use - I just want to spiralize everything now! Tim was rather impressed by my Master-chef-ness and gulped it all down so quickly... racing into the kitchen to get more... so I'd say it was a hit ;-)

Head to the bottom of this post for the recipe!


by Niomi Smart

(Please note: I adjusted the original recipe a wee bit to accommodate for what we already had in our pantry - the recipe below is how I made ours!)

1/2 cup of dried green lentils
1 onion, finely diced
1 tsp coconut oil
1 clove of garlic - peeled and diced
1 cup of walnuts (unsalted, raw)
1 can of black beans - drained and rinsed
2 tbsp spelt flour
1 tsp oregano
8 dried apricots - finely diced

Tomato Sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 clove of garlic - peeled and diced
salt and pepper (to taste)
5 leaves of fresh basil - cut up finely
200g of tomato paste

2-3 large zucchinis - spiralized


1. Preheat oven to 180°

2. To make the "meatballs", cook the lentils in a saucepan of water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and let them simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Fry one half of the onion in coconut oil until softened, and then add your garlic. Chuck all other meatball ingredients (minus the other half of the onion and the apricots!) into a food processor and blend until well combined. Pop in a big mixing bowl and then mix in the rest of the onion and the diced apricots. I used my hands!

4. Roll into balls and put in oven on a baking tray for 30 minutes. Rotate them once, at about the 15 minute mark.

5. Whilst your meatballs are in the oven, make the tomato sauce by throwing all the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to boil and then let simmer for 15 minutes.

6. Use a spiralizer to make your zucchini / courgette noodles. Pop them in a pot of water for 5-7 minutes - drain - and then get extra moisture out of them by using a paper towel.

7. Pull your meatballs out of the oven, pop it all on a plate and EAT!


Twenty three. It feels so much older than twenty-two, yet I still feel so much more like an infant than an adult. 

Twenty-two was a good year. A great year. I got married to my best friend, we travelled back to Hawaii, we built our home both physically and mentally and I've taken the leap into photography as a career, taking the steps we need to take to make it a full-time role.

I have so many dreams for twenty-three! Bring it on.


We have wanted to go camping for so long, and finally our time came the day after Christmas! We've both been camping many times before, but never together. This is mainly as summer in New Zealand is in the Christmas season (helloooo southern hemisphere) and for as long as we've been together either one or both of us has been working full time throughout the holiday season. This year however, was a different story! It was the first time that we have ever been able to holiday together during summer, so you can bet we made the most of the two weeks we had :-)

After spending time with my extended family in Lake Benmore (see previous post), we headed up to Lake Ohau to camp with my immediate family to ring in 2017 lake-side. My family has been going up there for the past 17 years and always go and freedom camp with a bunch of life-long family friends who have been going for just as long (if not longer!). The last time I went was when I was 16 or 17, so it was so fun to go back and spend New Year's Eve with all the whanau, immediate and otherwise!

Tim did a lot of fishing, I did a lot of reading and we both spent hours and hours soaking up the sun. Had to work on our Dunedin tans you know ;-)

Unfortunately due to the wind (it was insaaaaane) we couldn't have our traditional New Year's Eve bonfire on the lake, but we did dance our way into the new year to the african drumbeats of Mumford & Son's 'Johannesburg' album (if you haven't listened to it already, stop reading this and go put it on right now!) and once the oldies went to their tents, us youngin's took the party (by party I mean a few ciders and a UE Boom Box) down to the lake to have an extended dance party of our own.

We ended up having the WORST night's sleep ever (read: no sleep whatsoever) due to the wind wanting to flatten our poor tent... we finally gave in at 6am by crawling out of our tent and completely packing it down right then and there. What a way to say hello to January 1st! ;-)


It's only recently that I've really started incorporating breakfast into my routine. I've always known that breakfast is a crucial part of getting started in the morning (your body will thank you for it!), but a combination of laziness, sleepiness and negligence meant that if I was cutting it fine in the morning, breakfast was the first thing to get cut out of my morning routine.

After eating acai bowls in Hawaii on our honeymoon (and seeing them pop up all over Instagram.. not gonna lie..) I wanted to have a go at making one of my own at home. They are SO easy! I was so surprised - you literally just throw everything in the blender and away you go!

This is the recipe I like to use - keep in mind that you can chop and change whatever you like! 

1 frozen banana
2 chunks of frozen passionfruit
1 1/2 tbsp acai powder (we bought ours from New World)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Put all in blender or smoothie maker - you want it to be a thick consistency!
Pour into bowl and top with whatever toppings you fancy.

Toppings I love:
Toasted muesli
Dessicated coconut

© ARIANA LEILANI. Design by A.