Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Cat Lounge

I love cats. Love them. All my Snapchat friends would know this since my fur baby Misty features in my story 89% of the time. So you could just imagine my excitement when an Auckland pair decided to open up New Zealand’s first cat cafe! I thought it would make the perfect date day.

The Cat Lounge is perfectly situated on the North Shore and serves delicious Chai Lattes (and other drinks of course). The cafe itself is separated from the cat lounge but they do serve your drinks in takeaway containers to take in with you.

There were lots of cats. Lots of cats and kittens. They were all so friendly and ready to be cuddled, patted and played with but they would also be content with sitting on your lap and having a nap. The best thing about the one-hour sessions is that they make sure only a certain number of people are inside the lounge so everyone gets to cuddle a cat. There's lots of space for the cats to walk and run around, including small bridges and shelves for them to sit. I loved the faux TV fireplace near the couches, surrounded by pictures of other cats ready to be adopted from the local shelter. 

After a good round of chasing tiny toy mice, these two beautiful kittens were keen to cuddle and nap on us the rest of the session. Shortly after residing on the couch, their friend Charlie strutted over and became adamant on giving them a thorough cleaning. Throughout being licked and prodded by Charlie, the kittens happily stayed asleep.

The white kitten slept on Yuri for around 40 minutes and within that time it received a bath from Charlie, rolled away from Yuri's lap and got picked up and moved into what seemed to be a more comfortable position without any complaints. The kitten on my lap didn't miss out on a bath either and looked drenched by the end of it!

During the session I sent pictures to my mum who got a little bit too excited and announced she'd join us. She fell in love with Ed who enjoyed getting picked up even though he was in the middle of a nap. All in all, we loved spending a portion of our afternoon here, it was so relaxing and a nice way to spend the day since the weather was gloomy. I'm already planning when I can visit next and who I'll bring with me!

Spending the day with these kitties only made me love my Misty even more - Yuri and I made her a DIY scratching pole/bed combo that I'll post soon! She's been especially cuddly lately which makes me so happy :)

The Cat Lounge's sessions for up to an hour are $10 and they highly recommend calling in to book (we did since we came in around lunchtime). Even if you're not a cat lover you will SO fall in love with this place, there's nothing cuter than having a kitten nap on your lap.

Check them out on their website and on Facebook. People have also uploaded some wonderful pictures on Instagram with the hashtags #TheCatLounge and #TheCatLoungeNZ!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Matcha (Green Tea) Macarons

Macarons are an incredible thing. They make you fall in love with them the moment you take a bite of the crunchy outer shell, instigating a beautiful crack that leads to a gooey shell body. And the filling? Oh don't get me started on the filling - buttery and packed full of flavour. If you were salivating reading that description, try and make some of your own: 

Matcha (Green Tea) Macarons
Yield: 15+ depending on the size you pipe

  • 115g almond powder
  • 230g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp matcha powder
  • 140g egg whites (at room temperature)
  • Small pinch of fine salt
  • 70g caster sugar 
  • Small squeeze of lemon juice
  • Green food colouring

For the buttercream:
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 2tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped off

Method for shells:
  1. Preheat oven to 120 degrees C.
  2. Prepare cookie sheets line with baking paper
  3. Prepare meringue shells: In a food processor, blitz almond powder, icing sugar and matcha powder until fine.
  4. In a mixer bowl beat eggwhites to soft peaks then add salt. Slowly add in sugar and beat to whisk until stiff but not dry (meringue should be glossy). Gently fold in almond mixture, add in food colour to enhance the green colour of the meringue. 
  5. Pipe into small rounds and leave to dry for 30 minutes.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crisp on the outside. Cool meringue shells before filling with buttercream.

Prepare buttercream:
  1. Place all ingredients in a mixer bowl (soft butter, icing sugar, matcha powder, vanilla seeds) and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag.
  2. Assemble macarons by filling one meringue shell and piping buttercream in the centre and top with another shell to create a sandwich. 
Make sure you comment down below if you try this recipe out! My aunt Jane from JaneskitchenNZ says that Matcha is the new salted caramel, let us know what you think!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Bali, Gili Trawangan and Lombok Adventures!

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."
- St. Augustine

I've been having a pretty good break from a lot of my social media platforms lately. Recently, I've been excited to share my life again as I've returned from Bali, Gili Trawangan and Lombok. This vacation has proved to be some of the most incredible and adventurous days of my life. So before sharing a long blog post about which places we visited and what we did, here's a short video of our adventures: