Book Of The Month – Mind Your Own Beeswax (Hannah Reed)

This particular book of the month is not so much being featured because I loved it, but because I didn’t.

Hannah Reed has come up with a fantastic concept with this small time store owner and bee keeper solving mysteries. It has the potential to be comedic as well as unique and interesting. But it falls flat. In the first book Story Fischer is understandably focused on trying to save her bees and makes some stupid decisions in the pursuit of justice. Her penchant for stupid decisions and not speaking up when she should is not so understandable in the second one.

I grew very tired of hearing how she slipped and tripped because she wore flip flips everywhere (including while tending to bees) and how she reached into her lives without proper protective equipment.

I was also unimpressed with how the author handled phobia. In this novel Story’s cousin Carrie-Anne offers to look after a dog then dumps it on Story with no regard for Story’s fear of dogs. The author then makes it seem like Story looking after this dog cures her fear. Talk about unlikely. Story also behaves with similar disregard to her sister’s fear of bees.

The mother and the sister also need a swift kick for their behavior.

So what does this story have going for it? It has a quirky element, some interesting character dynamics and the potential to be a brilliant mystery series. But at this point in the series this is being stifled by characters not learning from their mistakes.

Krystal xx

Political Opinion: The NZ General Election

A quick commentary on some of the political commentary surround New Zealand’s election.


I think the surprise in this election was The Opportunities Party (TOP), run by older gentleman Garth Morgan, the party’s promises which include helping support young people and getting the richest ¼ of elderly to pay for it, has given the party a surprising amount of traction with young people. While they did not get any seats in this election, I think they are one to watch.

The Maori Party and the Maori Seats

The Maori Party gained no seats in this election with all the Maori Seats going to Maori Labour MP’s. There has been two schools of thought around this, one being that Maori have come home to Labour and the second being that the Maori Party have been tainted by their association with National. I tend to agree with the first school of thought. If the Maori Party had been tainted by their association with National, they would have lost their seats before now. I think Labour just put forward stronger competition for the Maori Seats.

A Labour/National Government

Has MMP outlived it usefulness? Has been another question thrown around this week. If NZ First did not agree to a coalition with either National or Labour (with Greens), then it would have to be a National/Labour coalition. And with this train of thought has also come the question of whether first past the post was a better election system.

A National/Green Government

With left Greens form a coalition with right National if National does not wish to work with NZ First. I don’t see this being a harmonious coalition, nor do I see it fitting the Greens party ethics. But only time will tell.

Winston Peters

He’s called the Kingmaker because he often is the deciding force as to which party governs, but what struck me is that he’s in his 70’s. How much longer will he be the King?

Jacinta Ardern

She has impressed me so much, coming in at the last minute she has given Labour the momentum they have been missing. With 3 years now to make the policies her own, I can see her being the next Prime Minister of New Zealand,

It feels like it is time for some changes in New Zealand politics. But what those changes are is still in question.

Krystal xx

Gaming For The Non-Gamer

Hasn’t it been a long time. I’ve been so busy doing other people’s online stuff I haven’t had time for my own.

Today’s article is about gaming for the non-gamer.

I am not a gamer, but I am rather fond of a game called Disney Magic Kingdoms (DMK). It brings back the Disney nostalgia from my childhood and gives me my very own interactive Disneyland on my phone. While there are limited time events to get things like new characters. I feel this is a game you can play at a relaxed pace and play more intermittently without missing out on much in terms of content or losing any skill.

Other phone games I like to play (on places like the train) are the King games. My personal preferences are Candy Crush Jelly Saga and Farm Heroes Saga. They’re easy but like DMK you need to apply some strategy to get to the end more quickly.

Asphalt 8 is a more interactive game for the non-gamer and takes one back to the old PC car racing games, but with some very new and very fancy looking cars.

Another more well known game is Angry Birds. I particularly like the Rio edition. With a lazy flick of a finger you can work on your anger management issues.

And finally, for interactive cuteness; Happy Jump. This cupcake style version of Doodle Jump is deliciously tempting.

So even if you aren’t a gamer, It doesn’t mean you can’t play games. But the games above require less team involvement, keyboard trigger fingers and digital guns.

Krystal x

It’s Not A Customer’s Right To Be Rude

I am that person behind the counter that you won’t remember tomorrow. I am that person that stands there patiently while you talk on the phone. I am that person you yell at even though I didn’t write company policy.

Now most people aren’t like that. But when I go to work on a Saturday, I am honestly appalled at the lack of etiquette displayed by some people.

Guide to being a decent customer:

  1. Don’t talk on the phone when you go up to pay. We need to have a dialogue about whether you’re on our loyalty program and how much your purchase will cost. Chances are, if I hand you the efpos, once you get off the phone, you’ll come back because you are on the loyalty program and you’ll want me to redo your purchase.
  2. Don’t throw a tantrum. Yes it’s not sucks that your damage won’t be fixed under warranty. But that’s company policy. Yelling at me isn’t going to change that.
  3. Don’t leave a mess. “Oh you don’t mind cleaning up my bags do you?” Actually yes I do when you’ve strewn them across the store then suddenly changed your mind. Do you leave your house in that mess?
  4. Don’t want a refund or exchange without the receipt. You get given a receipt with every purchase, surely by now you’ve realised you need it if you want to return something. I don’t care if it looks like our stock. Where is the proof you brought it legitimately from us?
  5. Don’t be the person with screaming children. Get them out of here, you’re making the more valued customers leave because you can’t control your children. On that note, stop your children from trying to eat the stock as well please. We don’t actually sell food.

I promise, if you avoid these retail faux pas I promise you will get better customer service and people who will try to help you to the best of their ability.

So next time you’re in shop, stop and ask yourself. Are you a bad customer?

Krystal xx

Defining the age of term ‘Child’

In one of our family discussions over Christmas, it came up about child fares versus the legal term child.

In legal terms you are a child until you become an adult which is legally defined on average as somewhere between the ages of 18 and 21, depending on where you live. As a result, you are generally not legally allowed to live independently until this age or able to financially support yourself.

Yet if you are on a plan, you can only have a child ticket until you are about 12, at theme parks I have seen the child age limit range between 10 & 16, movie theatres often seem to classify a child somewhere between 13 & 15, and even public transport will only accept older children paying a child’s fare with a student ID. If they are 16 and don’t have one, tough luck.

But child support payments must be paid until children are legally adults, children most likely won’t be properly employed until they are legally adults. Many young adults these days still are not financially independent for a couple of years due to studying at university. So how is it that commercial places can get away with claiming 12 year olds aren’t children?

There are three ways it can be looked at. The first is to say that a child shouldn’t be classified as anything else until they are legally an adult. The second way to look at it is based on financial independence; the idea that a parent paid less for a dependant. The third way to look at it is based on size. On a plane for example, there can be a large 13 year old who is the same size as an adult female.

However, other than size there is no excuse for these commercial places to put the child age so low just to make extra money and even for a plane the size is a flimsy excuse, I doubt the plane would need more fuel just because it had a few taller children on it.

What do you think? Is this just another way to make money or is there a justified reason for the age of a child being ambiguous in commercial places.

Krystal xx

Classic Christmas Carols Everyone Should Know

I love Christmas Carols, so I thought it would be fun to do a list of a few everybody should know.

  • Jingle Bells
  • Silent Night
  • We Wish you a Merry Christmas
  • Away in the Manger
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Deck the Halls
  • White Christmas
  • Let it Snow
  • Here Comes Santa Claus
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • Winter Wonderland
  • The Christmas Song
  • Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  • The First Noel
  • Feliz Navidad

There are of course many others, but these are the ‘classics’ that come to mind.

Merry Christmas
Krystal xx

Charities, Advertising and a little Psychology

We have received wrapping paper, stickers, bookmarks and more from a couple of charities that we support recently. And the question was raised of why charities spend their funds manufacturing things like stickers that we will never use. Why waste their money that could be spend on people in need? It was then further chewed over by bringing up the sheer volume of printing certain charities send to tell you to sponsor them when you already do.

So I thought this over for a while and decided that overall the intent of these small gifts and printouts is to remind people to keep donating. The problem is that the cost of the reminder is not necessary going to compare with the cost of return donations. And that people (like the person I was talking to) get a little upset over this perceived waste of money.

So is it a waste of money? In some cases, yes and some cases no. World Vision used to drive us mad with the huge envelopes of print outs we regularly got that all said the same thing. In fact, many a finger has been pointed at World Vision for its far too high ‘administration’ costs. This kind of perceived money wastage is in fact more likely to discourage people from donating because they don’t feel their money will be used on the people so much as it will be used on ink and paper. That is not to say that they are correct. World Vision has done many great things and does use the money to achieve these things, but they probably could cut down on their advertising costs.

Alternatively, the bookmarks we’ve received from the Stroke Foundation and the SPCA are a small reminder when reading to continue to support them. Does it work? I’m not entirely sure. Usually we become habituated to the stimuli around us, so for example in this case, I am so used to seeing the bookmark that it no longer registers or creates any sort of response from me. This is a huge challenge (that particularly static) advertising faces; how can it continue to provoke a response from us when we automatically register its presence but don’t truly process it?

So it’s not as simple as simply saying that charities advertising is or isn’t a waste of money, but more so that some charities are more aware of strategies to make the best use of advertising funds than some other charities.

Krystal xx

Obama Endorses Clinton

In a move that surely shocked nobody, with the Primary over, President Barack Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton as his replacement for President.

barack-and-hillary.pngClinton and Obama are both democrats, so naturally Obama would endorse the strongest democrat runner, as this will in theory help unite the democrat vote and ensure a win for the democrats.

Now as a woman I am definitely team Hillary and as a realist, I see that she is far better qualified to be President than Donald Trump. I see her as a genuine political candidate, I see his as a rather large ego, trying to conquer America. But I could be wrong, Trump could be genuinely in it to help make America great, problem is he’s making America laughing stock in the process.

I know come November, I’m hoping that there is a second President Clinton.

Krystal xx

Disclaimer: any facts come from a reliable news source, any opinions are strictly my own.