Blogmas day 1: What Christmas means to me

15380700_991830187587961_2249492106256704997_nI know I’m a little late to the Blogmas party but I really love writing so I’ll do four Blogmas posts today in order to catch up. Starting with: What Christmas means to me.

It’s very easy to lose sight when it comes to the festive season. Retail stores get very into the Christmas spirit which is wonderful but often you can find yourself thinking it’s all about material items. But, it’s not.

In my opinion, Christmas is spending time with family or friends and just having a bloody good time.

Eating two or three courses of the main and forgetting your diet while you help yourself to lots of sweets and puddings maybe even trying something new. For example, last year my boyfriend, Shaun, had never had trifle and I had a blast introducing him to one of my favourite puddings.

Christmas is laughing and joking with your family, forgetting all of the worries and stress you have been dealing with all year. Getting out the back yard cricket set and hitting a few wickets. Making fun of your brother while he takes the absolute piss out of you, complimenting your mother on the delicious food and enjoying watching your father relaxed and carefree. Getting excited with your eight year old niece about all the presents and smiling at the memory of when you were that age. Continue reading

My favourite part about NZ Secret Santa

By now, most people know that I absolutely love Christmas, sure it’s often tinged with sad moments but it’s usually a pretty happy time too. So naturally, when I was told about NZ Secret Santa on Twitter I just had to join in!

There’s a few reasons I love playing NZ Secret Santa, you got to meet some pretty awesome new tweeps, you get to give a gift and get one back and this year we even get badges but my ultimate favourite thing is the gift of giving.

I love giving gifts. There’s nothing better than that feeling of finding the perfect gift and seeing the giftee’s reaction when they open it. I love that part so much! Maybe they have had a hard year, maybe they got Bad Santa’d in the past or maybe they just need cheering up or they are just a really awesome person. I love being able to show them that someone does care and having the opportunity to spoil them. I also love that we get to give a gift to a very deserving charity.

This year NZ Secret Santa was even better for me. My giftee has been bad Santa’d in the past and is hoping for a miracle this year, I can’t wait to see their reaction when they open their gift and see that I took the time to find something special and really meaningful. Hopefully it gives them hope that some of us Secret Santas do try our best.

I hope everyone else is having fun this year and getting excited, like me, to see their giftee open their gift 😀

3 NZ Secret Santa Gift Ideas

I’m a massive fan of NZ Secret Santa and absolutely love what the elves at NZ Post do for us. Maybe you’ve got a giftee that doesn’t tweet much or a giftee that tweets often just not about themselves. Or maybe, you’re just having trouble thinking of a gift idea. So, I thought I would share some gift ideas that I find very useful.


1:Give your giftee something meaningful to them. This could require some next level sleuthing or maybe not much sleuthing at all! For example, my giftee had a one sentence bio but what she put in her bio was so good that it provided me with one meaningful idea and the ideas just developed from there!

2. Give them a donation: If they haven’t tweeted much about themselves then maybe they don’t know what they want or have anything specific they need. So, go through their Twitter page and find a cause they are passionate about and donate to that charity. Or if you can’t find one, donate to your favourite charity.

3. If all else fails, go generic. Everyone likes chocolate so if they haven’t tweeted much send them some chocolate, maybe you could send them your favourite chocolate so they can possibly try something new (providing they don’t have any allergies) and if they are disappointed it might encourage them to interact more next year.


I hope this helps (:

Aimee Duff (aimee_tweets_)

When A Stranger Calls

He needed to make a phone call. He glanced up and down the street. No one could be around when the call was made. Good thing this was known as the shady part of town, anyone who knew what was good for them didn’t dare venture here.

He reached into his pocket for his cell phone, he didn’t really want to risk his call being traced but what other options did he have? His pocket turned up empty. Oh the phone was in his glove box.

He walked briskly back to his car which he had parked in the shadows. He didn’t want to draw unnecessary attention to himself. He pulled his cell phone from the glove box only to find it was dead flat. His sister had told him many times that if he left his phone on a flat surface the battery would drain faster but he never listened to his sister, she was usually wrong.

About that phone call. He needed to make it, but how? There was a trilling ring from behind him. He flung himself around in surprise. He hadn’t realised there was a phonebox.

He crept towards it, looked around making sure no one had crept into the alley while he wasn’t looking, he picked up the receiver and wiped the ear and mouth pieces with a disposable tissue.


“Hello Johnnie” The voice on the other end sneered his name.

“Who is this?”

“You should know Johnnie. You were just about to call me.”

“Fitzgerald?” He asked uncertain.

“The one and only.”

He looked around himself again. “How did you know I was going to call?”

Fitzgerald ignored him. “Let’s play a game Johnnie.”

“What kind of game?”

“I’ve got your daughter.”

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Rubex Cube


I looked towards the hallway where my name was being called from. I felt like I had been caught doing something bad. I was staring at a book I had in my hand. I had meant to return it to the library the other day and now it was over due. The fact that they had my name on record as issuing the book technically meant I hadn’t stolen it but I sure felt like I was.


Emerald came rushing in to my room. She was only six so she didn’t get the concept of knocking yet.

“What’s wrong, Em?”

“Alex is hogging the bathroom again! If he doesn’t get out soon I’m going to be late for school!”

I smuggled a laugh that threatened to escape from my mouth. Emerald was usually a laid back kid but when it came to school she was quite serious. She had never missed a day in the year she had been there. My parents often joked that she was their favourite because they had no trouble getting her to bed on a school night or getting her up for school in the morning.

“You won’t be late Em. I’ll get him out.”

“Okay!” Emerald grinned and went sprinting out my door and down the hallway towards the bathroom. I heard her banging on the door.

“Alex! Ruby said you have to get out now or else I’ll be late for school!”

I smiled, shaking my head. Alex didn’t care about being late for school or whether Emerald was late for school so her cries weren’t going to make much difference.”

I got up off my bed and placed the over due book in my bag. I felt almost sad that I had to take it back. I had been reading a book by Mitch Albom and at first I had been scepticle about the nature of the book and I had surprised myself by really enjoying it. I made a mental note to look for the book online after school.


“Coming Em!”

I knocked on the bathroom door. “Alexandrite! If you don’t get out of the bathroom now I’m leaving without you and you can walk or take the bus to school! I know you don’t care about being late but Emerald does and I refuse to let you make her or me late!”

The bathroom door swung open. “Ew, Ruby, you know I hate that name. Just because Mum and Dad thought it was a good idea to name us all after gemstones does not mean I am on board with it.”

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Losing a friend. A tribute to my special buddy <3

10354937_568742433230074_7851051631867460677_nI recently lost my nineteen year old Siamese cat Shylo and boy do I miss him. He had been sick for a while and after slipping into a diabetic coma we decided that it would be too cruel to bring him back and that we should let him move onto a place where he could be in peace. While we all miss him dearly, we would never wish him back as he was. He had dementia and was going blind and deaf and it was very sad watching him slowly go downhill.

A few days after we got him put down, I turned twenty two. While I had a great day with friends and family part of me was sad too. Shylo wasn’t there to celebrate with me like he had been for the last nineteen years. He and I practically grew up together and a lot of my favourite memories were made with him by my side.

One thing I have found is that it does get easier. While I miss him dearly and miss having him around and seeing him everyday I can accept that he wasn’t well and he is in a better place now. It makes me wish that old age wasn’t a thing. Though I am grateful that he didn’t have a tragic death like some do. I think that would be worse.

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What’s your favourite book? What made you keep reading?

My favourite thing about reading is getting lost in a really good book. From the characters that make you able to relate to the plot that makes you not want to stop reading.

The unfortunate thing is sometimes a book like that and an author that good can be very hard to find.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t count on both hands how many times I’ve been captured and drawn in by a book over the years but it wasn’t until I found Stephenie Meyer that I truly knew what a great book was.

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“Violet! Come back here!” I took off running as my German Shepherd dog sprinted down the road after my neighbours rabbit, Snowball.

“Violet! Get back here or your not having dinner tonight!”

Violet stopped in her tracks and looked back at me, cocking her head. Dinner was her favourite part of the day after walk time. She came scuttling back to me with her tail between her legs.

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Drinking water for the Royal New Zealand SPCA

10354937_568742433230074_7851051631867460677_nBack in February I decided that I wanted to do some sort of good. After talking with friends and family I decided I would give up all drinks but water and in return, people could donate to my fundraising page if they wanted to.


The proceeds from my fundraising page go straight to the Royal New Zealand SPCA. They are a national New Zealand charity that look after and require funding to help animals, as they are not government funded.


It makes me sad that every month hundreds of animals are left at the SPCA mainly due to unresponsible owners. While the SPCA do their best to find good homes for all animals this is not always possible.


If I could, I would adopt every single animal so that they had a loving home. I can’t though, so I hope my fundraising efforts make a little bit of difference.

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I really enjoy writing and have been told by family/friends that I’m good at it. While I don’t think I’m a bad writer, I don’t think I’m the best either and sometimes have trouble convincing myself that what they say is true.


I’m quite hard on myself when it comes to writing and I don’t think this is a bad thing. This pushes me to do better next time which is a sure fire way to improve. However, I get told a lot that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself because my writing is good. I have been thinking a lot about why I am so hard on my writing.

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