Tantalise Your Tastebuds at Tok Tok

Okay so I realise there are a lot of t’s in the heading but never mind that, let’s get to the important bit.

I wanted to share with you my experience or review so to speak on my favourite Asian restaurant Tok Tok.  I have eaten here a few times and can never get sick of the food.  Tok Tok is located in the bustling suburb of Takapuna, and you will find that they serve Asian fusion cuisine, particularly South East Asian food.  Upon entering the restaurant you will instantly be transported to what feels like a bustling restaurant in Bali, or Thailand.




The decor inside the restaurant is amazing, from the bamboo lampshades, to the spices and the trinkets around the place.  Every time I have been to this restaurant it was full, so it pays to make a reservation.  Even the cutlery used is so unique.  Good old-fashioned tin cups and tin water canisters.


So once you get over the decor and the whole scene, we get to the best part, the food!  Tok Tok restaurant has won ‘Best in Taste’ at Taste of Auckland, and I can see why.  It truly is an explosion of flavour, every single dish is like a party in your mouth.  Like most Asian restaurants the dishes are to be shared.  We usually get a few ‘Small’ dishes to start and then move on to the ‘Big’ dishes.

Both my husband and I were so impressed with the service. Your order is taken at the start, and the food is brought out to you once they are cooked, it just keeps coming.  I have never seen service to this level, they were so friendly and efficient, my goodness they are fast!  You are never left sitting there waiting and wondering where your meals are.  It’s like they have eye’s on everyone at all times, they just know what you need before you even know!

For our small dish we ordered the Salt ‘n Pepper Squid and the Pork & Prawn summer rolls. I have tried almost all of the small dishes from my visit’s to date, and I love Asian food so I was in heaven.  They were so fresh and flavourful, and they surprisingly light, they didn’t feel like heavy dishes which is perfect.



We didn’t have to wait long for our big dishes.  We ordered the Crispy Hapuka Dry Red Curry and the Shaking Beef.  OMG I died and went to heaven again at this point.  The beef was super tender it was unreal.  The fish was beautiful and delicate.  We also ordered a side of rice and roti.  The rotis are small and really crispy.



There is a lot of food on the plates so perfect for sharing!  By this stage we were in a bit of a food coma, but somehow we managed to find some space for dessert.  I mean how can you not right!  We had the Bay Leaf Panna Cotta and the Pandan Tapioca.  Oh my goodness, the Panna Cotta is so soft and silky with the unique taste of bay leaf served with caramalised banana and peanut praline.  The Tapioca had so many amazing textures, with caramalised pineapple, lychee and chilli cashew candy.  My husband wants to go back and just have the tapioca!



We had to do a few laps of walking along Takapuna Beach afterwards to work off the food, but it was so worth it.  I can never tire of this place and there is so much choice on the menu there is something there to suit everyone.

If you have not been to Tok Tok yet, I would suggest you get there pretty quick smart, it truly is a culinary experience.

You can find Tok Tok at Shop 1 – 129 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna.  For more info click on the link here.


Ronell x


No Cook Playdough

I have been using this playdough recipe for years!  I can’t remember where I got it from but it’s super easy to make considering there is no cooking!

It truly is fail proof, every time I make it, it turns out perfect.  It is super soft and doesn’t dry out easily.  We store the playdough in zip lock bags once the girls are finished playing with them. I usually double the recipe as well.


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
  • 2 Tbsp of oil (any type will do)
  • 1 1/2 cup boiling water


  • Add all the ingredients in a bowl according to the order above.
  • Mix with a fork as it will be very hot.
  • Once you are able to touch it a bit, knead it for a bit in the bowl then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it some more until you get a nice soft and smooth dough.
  • Then add food colouring to make your colours.


Ronell x

The Slow Dance of Marriage


Today is our 14 year wedding anniversary.  14 years!!!!  I sometimes sit and think wow I can’t believe that we made it so far!  When we got married back in 2003 we were still really young, I was 21 and Adam was 23, we dated for almost 2 years before we were married. Prior to being married we didn’t live together, we were both still living at home.  So we knew being married was going to be a huge learning curve, especially sharing the same space!  Luckily for me, he is a bit of a neat freak too, thank goodness for that! Also we were blending two very different cultures so there was a lot of give and take that had to happen.

In the beginning we stepped on each others toes a lot, as you do, and it took us a few years to actually find our rhythm, but even now we stumble a few times.  Three years after being married we had our first child, and having children well that’s when the strength of a marriage is really put to its test. It definitely wasn’t smooth sailing, there were times when I wanted to just leave and even though Adam won’t admit it, I’m sure he too felt like that at times, but somehow we managed to dig deep and get through all the hard times, and we all know those hard times come and go as we go through the different phases of our lives.  We both have amazing role models in our parents who have being married for over 30 years respectively, and who are always there to help us whenever we need advice to this day.


It’s now that I realise marriage is not the tango or the tempo, to last the distance it has to be a slow dance. I am the hot-headed one in our relationship (my family are probably reading this and nodding!) and Adam is the calm and cool one, which is great because we balance each other out, god help us if we were both hot headed, I probably wouldn’t be writing this.  I may have thrown and orange or two over the past 14 years! However, we have taught each other so many things over the years, and when I look back we have achieved so much together in such a short amount of time, and I am super proud of us both.

It’s important for us to celebrate each other as with life and parenthood we usually forget and everything else takes priority.  So to my dear husband there are a few things I would like to thank you for (it might be a bit cheesy but I don’t care).

Thank you for being my rock and safe haven.  No matter how hard life got at times you were there to lift me up.

Thank you for running to the supermarket and buying me tampons/pads when I run out (just to clarify this doesn’t happen often).

Thank you for always giving me your last cheese and cracker on your plate even though I know you probably don’t want to.

Thank you for fulfilling my crazy need of adventure and driving to all sorts of places (which I know you secretly love to).

Thank you for always making me a cup of tea at the end of the day when the kids are gone to bed, I don’t even have to ask and it’s there waiting.

Thank you for working so hard and achieving so much in your career, enabling me to stay at home and raise our two girls.  We are very proud of you.

Thank you for recognising when I need time out for myself and making it happen.

Thank you for being the best dad our girls can ever have.

The list can truly go on and on, so I wont bore you.  We don’t have the perfect marriage, and I don’t know if there ever is such a thing, but we definitely work hard on our marriage and relationship and it’s what got us here so far. We both respect each other tremendously and know that each of us have opinions and views on all sorts of topics be it, news, family, friends or life in general, so it’s important to listen and communicate, and it’s something we have worked on from the start.

I am so blessed to have an amazing relationship with my husband, and I look forward to seeing where the years ahead take us.



Ronell x


I’m No Mathematician

Since when did math’s homework in primary school become so hard!!!  It’s my daughters last year in primary school which is called Year 6 here in New Zealand.

At the start of this year I have bought both girls a Math’s workbook each for us to do together during the year.  Just one page a day, to help them keep on top of maths so that they don’t fall behind.  I know maths is a subject that many kids dislike therefore, I want them to have the knowledge and confidence in it so from the get go it’s not a subject they end up hating.

But I tell you what, some of the things they learn at school now at primary school level, I’m sure we never learnt that, it just seems so much more complicated.  My daughter works on a online maths program where the kids get given tasks that they have to complete, and from time to time, she will ask us for a bit of help, this is when I run to my room very quickly and google the answer and then come back and explain it all, off course not giving away my source.

What happened to the good old fashion way that we used to do it (as per the photo example) ?


Now day’s holy shit they break the number up into so many parts and make it this long ended way of calculating it, confusing the hell out of everyone, no wonder the kids feel helpless, because I sure as hell do!

So if my kids ever end up getting a maths tutor I too will be taking lessons!!!

Ronell x


Book Review – The Way We Were by Sinead Moriarty

This is the first time that I have read one of Sinead Moriarty’s books and I could not put it down at all!  I’m sure that I ignored my husband and children on more than one occasion. I bought this book just before we went camping and it was the perfect book to take with me.

The book grips you from the start, it jumps all the way forward and gives you a teaser of what’s to come, so once that is done you kinda get the picture in your head of what you think happened.  But what get’s you turning and turning the pages is that because you know that small piece you now want to know what led up to that point and more so the fall out after that!

I remember reading it sitting outside amongst our friends and I got to the part where things got a bit intense a little sob escaped me but I didn’t want to be a blubbering mess. I suppose it’s because you put yourself in that situation and having children you think that it’s you in the place of Alice.

The characters and story seemed so realistic I’m sure there are people out there that have been in similar situations.  Alice’s world get’s turned upside down not once but twice!  She however picked her self up and moved forward for her children.  All her decisions that she made were for her family.  There was a part in the book where I thought, she is going to make a tough call and put herself first but even then she didn’t.  She made sacrifices for her family and in the end it worked out I suppose.

What I liked was that we also got to see what’s happening in the story from the youngest daughter Holly’s perspective so it was nice seeing things through a child’s eye and understand their feelings and thoughts so to speak.

I would highly recommend this book it was a brilliant read and I cant wait to read more of her books.

Happy reading!

Ronell x

Camping Diaries – Shelly Beach Top 10 Holiday Park

This year we returned to the Shelly Beach Holiday Park, reason is, last summer we had booked to camp here however the Coromandel were hit with some freak storms and a lot of the campsite especially tent sites were damaged and bogged down.  So we were put up in the Homestead which was a very old house on the grounds, and it was beautiful.


We returned this year to camp in our tent.  It’s a 2.5hr drive from Auckland so it doesn’t take too long to get there, but being the Coromandel there are lots windy roads along the coast and mountains which seems to stretch out the journey a bit.  We were very lucky when we arrived with the weather, it was a bit overcast so putting up the tent wasn’t too bad as it was not stinking hot.  However it took us about 2.5 hours in itself just putting up the tent and fully setting up the place.  We were wrecked!

Our girl’s don’t sleep in sleeping bags as they find it a bit restrictive (actually neither do we) so instead I got them these single bed comforter sets from The Warehouse which are perfect.  Once camping is done they get washed and put back in their bags for the next trip away.  The following day our friends arrived so that was pretty exciting, it’s always great going away with company.  We helped them set up and then it was time to relax.  As you can see from the photo below, yes we do have matching tents!  These are the Kathmandu Retreat 360 tents and its so spacious you never feel cramped.


When we arrived the campground was fairly empty but it didn’t take long for it to fill up! There were loads of caravans and campervans that checked in and a whole heap of tents.  I loved going around and checking out everyone’s set up.  The campers around the place were also so friendly to each it was great.



I found the campground to be really clean including the facilities like the shower blocks and kitchens.  They were always clean and are really big and spacious.  There is a laundry on site as well.



The campground doesn’t have a massive playground, just a small climbing frame with a slide, but they do have this amazing jumping pillow which is huge.  We never saw the kids all day, after breakfast they would all head off towards the playground and we would only see them when it was meal times!  They made friends with the other kids from the playground as well, and that’s the great thing about camping, you get to form this amazing community and connect with other people.  We also took our swing ball set which provided some entertainment for them as well.


When the tide has gone out and the sun is starting to set, it’s the best time to take the kids to the beach and look for crabs and pipi’s. The kids had loads of fun looking for all sorts of treasure on the beach.


It’s the first holiday that we actually got so much time to sit back and relax.  We didn’t do too much, just drove around to a few places to have a look at the beaches, we had lunch at The Mussel Kitchen which is an absolute must if you are heading down to Coromandel.  I even managed to read so much during this trip something that I was never able to do at previous holidays, so that just goes to show how much time we had to chill!

The only glitch to the trip this time was….


My husband is notorious for snoring, this time though he was joined by my friends husband too!  Due to the close proximity of our tents, you can imagine the volume!  It seems like they had a bit of a duet going all night long.  So after two nights of getting no sleep at all, literally nothing, that at 5:30am one morning I was walking on the beach and by 6am showered and ready for the day!  Anyway I should explain that I am an extremely light sleeper and I think over the years it has gotten worse, which makes sleeping for me a bit of a problem.  So the only way for me to get any sleep was to sleep in the car!  That’s right, for the remaining nights of the holiday I slept in the back seat of our car.  I had makeshift curtains with some towels and put the seats back and I was set.  Even though my body ached at least I got some sleep!

Besides this glitch, we had an amazing holiday and wish it was for longer!  The next trip certainly will be, I just need to sort my sleeping out (any tips welcome)!

Happy camping!

Ronell x


Exploring the Coromandel Peninsula

Our annual summer camping trip this year took us back to Coromandel.  We camped at the Western side of the peninsula at Shelly Beach. The great thing about Coromandel no matter which side you’re on it is so picturesque and there are lots of places to see and discover.

This blog post is going to be more of a photo feature post, showing you some of the beautiful scenery that we came across along the way.

Shelly Beach



High tide at Shelly Beach was usually around midday to late afternoon so perfect time for the kids to swim, however the wind was a bit cold and they didn’t get to do much swimming.  When the tide went out it was a great time to look for crabs and watch the sun setting.




Wyuna Bay

This bay is just a short drive from Coromandel town, we were on the road searching for a beach that the kids could swim at and came across this bay which was just stunning.  The water was the most beautiful colour.



Oamaru Bay

This bay is just around the corner from Shelly Beach and slightly deeper so if you’re looking to have a good swim where it’s not too shallow then this is the bay to head to.



Waitete Bay

We stumbled across this bay on our way to Coleville.  To access the beach you will need to drive down a dirt road, then park the car.  Once that is done follow the pathway down towards the beach.




Colville Town

This little town lies 27km north of Coromandel.  It’s very small and has a general store/ petrol station, a couple of cafes where you will find an abundance of homemade preserves, and home-baked cakes.  There is a post office which there girls were very fascinated by it. There is a shop where you will find buddhist and indian products, things like clothing and trinkets.




The next time you are in Coromandel jump in the car and start exploring!  There is so much to see and discover in this beautiful part of New Zealand.

Happy travelling!

Ronell x


A Trip Down the Puhoi River

Now that the weather is starting to finally feel like summer here in Auckland, it was time for us to make the most of it.  Kayaking down the Puhoi River is something that we have always wanted to do and now that the girls are a bit older we decided it’s the perfect time.

We booked 2 double kayaks and the cost for that was $200, we booked the early morning session for a couple of reasons, mainly with kayaking you have a short window based on tides.  Also our girls are early risers so it made sense booking the first slot.  Travelling up North in the holidays there is always traffic so going first thing means we didn’t get stuck in any traffic and stress about not making our allocated time.

Because both girls have not kayaked before they got a lesson from one of the owners so that was really good.  We all then got fitted with life jackets and then we were shown the route on a map that we will be kayaking along.  The route runs from the Puhoi River all the way down to Wenderholm Regional Park.  You can only go one way, you can’t sort of turn around and go back to the start.  I bet you are wondering well how the heck do you get back? Have no fear, there is a shuttle bus that is waiting at Wenderholm to pick you up and take you back to Puhoi where your car is parked.

The distance of the kayak trip is 8km long and takes two hours to get to the end.  The kayaks we used had rudders in them so we had a bit of help when we needed to steer the kayak.  Now with taking children along the ride, our girls are 10 and almost 6 so they were not too little, however, Chloe who is almost 6 did ask a couple of times how much longer till we get to the end!!!  They did really well and actually did paddle most of the way.  If your child can’t handle sitting in a confined space for that amount of time I would suggest get a babysitter and just the parents give it a go.

Also it’s hard to paddle once you get closer to the end as the estuary is very big and open so the currents and wind makes it a bit more challenging and also makes your muscles scream out just that little bit more.  I honestly thought that the day after I wasn’t going to be able to use my arms, but surprisingly it was my calf muscles that had enough!  Oh the pain, probably from controlling the rudders the whole way.

Make sure you are prepared, plenty of sunblock and water bottles.  You are allowed to take a bag onto the kayak so you can pack some essentials in there.  We didn’t get too wet but having some dry warm clothes in the car wouldn’t hurt.  Don’t forget the snacks, because after kayaking for that long, everyone is hungry!

It’s great fun and at times we just didn’t paddle at all and relaxed and talked for a bit. The water and scenery were beautiful.

So go on and get cruising down that river!


Ronell x