Questions & Answers Blog
I recently posted on my social channels as I wanted to do a question based blog post and give you all the opportunity to ask me whatever you wanted about me and my life, in the hopes you can get to know me a little better.
I will start with a small introduction/timeline of my life….
My name is Millicent Tanerore Annie Elder (Holmes – my last name from my New Zealand dad Paul) (Kabanas – καμπανά – which means “Bell” and is my Greek dads last name), but all my life I’ve been Millie.
I was born on the 23 of May 1988, a Gemini born in the year of the dragon. I’m half Greek half NZ Maori. I was born in Southwark London, and spent the first two years of my life between Lesvos and Athens before moving to New Zealand with my mum.
Shortly after we moved to New Zealand my mum married my dad Paul and when I was 4 my brother Reuben was born. I grew up in Remuera Auckland and went to school at Diocesan School for girls in Auckland.
When I was ten my parents got divorced and eventually both remarried. I spent my teenage years between my parents houses in Remuera and Waiheke Island until I moved out of home and my dad moved to Hawkes Bay.
In my teenage years I got involved in drugs and finally beat my addiction in my early twenties.
After overcoming drugs with my partner, I lived a pretty standard life. I had a job working in International Trade at the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and my partner was a Foundations specialist. I stayed in West Auckland with my two dogs and my partner and enjoyed a “normal”, simple life. This was when I started blogging and taking an interested in looking after myself with whole foods.
In 2012, I found out my dad was sick with cancer that he a previously beaten when I was around 15. During this time I left my job and moved to stay with my dad at his home. We lost him 6 months later in February 2013.
And then in August 2014, my partner of 7 years was murdered. In late 2015, I moved to Greece to live with my dad.
I’ve spent the last two years living in Lesvos getting to know my Greek family and finding myself again. Six months ago I moved to Thessaloniki with my Greek partner Kosta for the winter.
Having experienced a lot in my life, I started my blog to try and get control over just a small section of myself which was my relationship with food. My blog has developed and grown with me as a person allowing me to share much more of my experiences and in turn connect with so many amazing people.
You seem extremely optimistic and positive in your view of life and dealing with challenging people or situations - from where did you get this strength and lightness? With your tough background in mind you could obviously have gone the other way and become a quitter instead. But you became a survivor.
Being able to be optimistic is not always something I am able to do, but regarding the tough situations in my life, being optimistic can sometimes be a daily struggle - it’s not easy. But in my mind I know that it’s not healthy to keep myself feeling down about things I cannot change, life does go on and if you don’t decide to live it then it will pass you by. This is somewhat of a mantra of my life now. I have the feeling in my heart that compared to many my life is not so hard and I am extremely well off compared to so many, so I should make the most of what I have.
When it comes to difficult people I try and remember that it is not for me to change someone’s point of view. Maybe they are not ready to see things from other perspectives and respectfully agree to have different views. Also, I try remembering that hurt people, hurt people. Many people are struggling with life for so many different reasons and I try remembering if someone is being hurtful or nasty to me that maybe they have something serious and upsetting going on in their life. I’ve learned it's always important to be empathetic towards others.
Where do you see yourself in your last days of this life?
I imagine the last days of my life that I will be surrounded by family, I hope that when I am old I have a nice big supportive family surrounding me and a full life to look back on.
Who would you have dinner with if you could choose anyone alive or dead?
If I could have a meal with someone who has passed away it would be a dinner with my grandparents, both of my Greek grandparents and my mum’s mother who all passed away when I was very young.
What is you biggest fear?
My biggest fears now are to lose any other people who are special in my life. Loss is extremely hard to pass and I don’t want to go through that again.
If someone offered you any present in the world - what would you choose?
Hmmm any present? An endless supply of avocados hahaha no, if I could ask for a gift for myself it would be that every year I could have all my family and extended family all together in one place.
Your tattoos are an amazing artwork that's tells the story of your life - when you look at them, do you remember the hard times in your life? Do they remind you of being strong and never quitting? Do they make you happy? What do you feel when you look at them?
Most of my tattoos are extremely sentimental, and remind me of only good memories in my life; that is how I planned them out. Yes, if I’m having down days I can obviously look at portraits of Connor and my dad and remember the hard moments, but they also remind me that both Connor and my dad are always with me watching over me and looking out for me.
They have also tested me a lot, I experienced a lot of pain to have all this beautiful art work on my body and I suppose when I think back on that it does show me that I’m quite strong!
My tattoos make me very happy I am a walking diary of my life that only I can read and understand which is a very nice feeling.
I know your tats are your own thing that you don’t need to explain to others but would you share some of their stories with us?
My tattoos are extremely personal, and the back stories to them are very long and personal also, but I will share the back story of the piece I have down my ribs which is a quote that reads ‘Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family.’ For me this is a huge theme in my life. A great number of people that I call family, who are not blood relatives of mine, and over the years I have had people who had no reason to include me in their families do so out of loyalty and love. It’s just the idea that your family is who you make it.
Are you happy? I think that the way you have conducted yourself over the last few years is amazing!
I used to think I had to wait for certain things in my life to start or finish for me to be happy, like ‘when I lose 5kg and hit my goal weight I’ll be happy’, but after a great convo with a friend I realised happiness is a mindset. You can choose in any moment to be happy. I have so many things in my life to be happy about compared to so many. Most days I am happy but of course this is a daily struggle. Your brain loves to highlight the negative, so morning mantras and reminding myself of the gifts I have in life help.
Please talk about your Maori whakapapa and engagement with your community etc. How you've thought about your identity and if that's changed over time. If you want to and it's not too personal I’m always interested to know how other multiracial people navigate their different cultures.
To be honest I don’t know so much about my Maori heritage, my mum is extremely into this part of our ancestry, where I have reached for the Greek side of my heritage. But I do know that the fact that I do have Maori blood and I come from such a unique and special part of the world makes me feel very blessed and special, it something that I would love to consider more.
What would you tell a 15-year-old you? What are your 5 must haves in life?
I would try and tell a 15-year-old me to calm down a little, and be prepared for the years that are coming, to remember who they are in the hard times and not to lash out so much.
My 5 must haves in life are, my family, love, support, the ability to keep doing what I love and the ability to keep growing and learning.
Is there any food you used to get in NZ that you don't get at all or easily in Greece? What steps did you take to adjust to living in Greece? Do you meet many "kiwis" who are also living there? What are some Greek dishes (not commonly known) that you love?
There is a lot of food that is not so readily available in Greece, vegan options are a huge one, there are nil in the way of meat substitutes. I have met one kiwi in the last 2 years in Greece I’m sure there are many but I’m not seeking out other kiwis while I’m here. Adjusting to Greek life was hugely facilitated by my biological father who I went to live with in Greece. He is an extremely wise and philosophical man helped me to let go of the person I grew up being in New Zealand and open my eyes to a new fresh start and way of being in Greece. There are so many Greek dishes that I love, I love peasant style dishes like φάκες which is a simple dish of lentils cooked in red sauce and can often include garlic, onions and carrots I don’t know exactly how they make it but I love it. It’s very filling and warming in the winter and delicious.
With your wonderful grasp of the English language and great ability to communicate, have you ever thought of a career in television? I'd love a news presenter that told us how fucked up everything is.
I think growing up in the public eye and seeing just how much work my dad put into both of his jobs in radio and TV I never once thought I wanted that to be me. I feel very uncomfortable when all the attention is on me, it’s much more fun to hide behind the other side of my laptop. But also, the amount of your life that you end up having to give to the public in that kind of job for me is extremely off putting, I want to live my life on my terms and being a TV presenter today where news appears dictated by much larger powers just seems horrible to me.
Was it hard to give up meat? Looking to do the same for a while but finding it difficult to try and start. Need to explore more of your recipes. Also want to do the same with sugar.
I would say sugar for me was much harder - giving up meat because of my love for vegetables was a little easier. The trick is to find a way that works for you, if you need to integrate it slowly into your life do that or if you feel you can cut it cold turkey then great but whatever works for you in your lifestyle and day to day living should be your starting point.
Are you living in Greece forever now and if so are you going to take your dogs over?
I am terrible at making plans I used to love making plans but due to things that have happened in my life its shown me that I prefer to make short term plans and go with the flow instead of making long term ones that can be ruined by the happenings of life. For now though I am very happy in Greece and I enjoy living here. I don’t think that I will bring my dogs over as my mum is now very attached to them and I couldn’t take them away from her and their idyllic life she has given them.
When you are down what do you do to bring your spirit up. I struggle some days to stay positive. Also, are you a DIY kind of chick because you seem very self-sufficient and independent. Do you do your own little house type repairs.
When I’m extremely depressed or I’ve worked myself into a ‘state’ usually I sleep. This gives me time to think about why I’m sad and wake up a little calmer. My next step after that is talking to someone who understands - this helps me problem solve my issues and work on them.
I don’t think of myself as a ‘DIY chick’ as such but I do enjoy problem solving household repairs and things like that. My Greek dad is very much like this so I suppose I get some of that from him.
What led to your addiction, and what would your one piece of advice be for young people to not get involved in that lifestyle?
I can’t say exactly what led to my addiction but at the time that I tried drugs I was in a very rebellious stage of my life. I had a lot of free time - both my parents were busy at work and the group of friends I had were older than me and into doing different things. For me at the start it was something cool to try. My key piece of advice would be think about what this is going to do to your life, it might be something cool or fun to try but is risking getting addicted to any substance and having that dependency dictate your life something you are prepared to do?
What help, advice, support should I give my niece struggling with addiction?
This is a hard question to answer because all people are so different that also means each person’s approach to kicking addiction should be personal to them. Generally, though there is a rock bottom or low point that needs to be reached and then once you are clean you need to be very careful not to associate with people who could trigger or instigate the drug use again. After getting off drugs I wish someone had educated me on food and what to eat to make me feel healthy as I gained a lot of weight after I gave up drugs and this caused me to be very depressed and want to use again, but not everyone gains weight after getting clean.
Do you have any plans in writing an autobiography after to your blog?
It’s almost a running joke in my family when we talk about this topic. I would love to at some stage write some sort of autobiography however my memory is not the best I often remember things back to front in the timeline of how they happened, not to mention I would have to change so many details for quite a few of my teenage/early twenties years, maybe a secret anonymous biography.
I would love to know how you and Connor overcame your addictions and how I can support a loved one through this challenge.
Connor and I overcame our addiction through support of each other and in want of a better life together, our day to day life has gotten very crazy and we wanted a normal life and set out to get it. In the early days the main things that helped us were; we changed our numbers, and stopped talking to anyone associated with that old life. We stayed close to family, we were lucky to have the amazing and unwavering support of Connor’s family which really helped in those early days. And the third was just to try and get through each day at a time without relapsing. It’s so hard to say how you can support a loved one who has an addiction because you can also enable them to use again, so it’s a very difficult question to answer.
What's it like to be you?
I can’t say what it’s like to be me because I’ve never been anyone else, but I have learned to love being me. A lot of people think I had this amazing life and threw it all in my parents face when I started taking drugs, but what you see in the media about me and my upbringing is not all as perfect as it looks.
I grew up in a family where I didn’t have my biological dad around. I knew I had roots from the other side of the world but I was unsure as to how that made me feel. At times I felt like an outsider in my own family. My parents were both very hard workers. I was also a part of this crazy life of my dad’s which included photo shoots and having the media be a large part of my young life. My parents went through a very public divorce and I also had two new step parents come into my life, not to mention all the difficulties of being the daughter of one of the most well-known men in New Zealand. There was a lot of pressure for me in my life growing up but that also forced me to grow up quite fast. I understand everyone has different things in their life that test them and make them who they are I’m just glad I have the perspective to look back on them now and try to take small lessons from the things that happened.
What's your partners name? How did you meet your partner?
My partners name is Kosta. I met him on the island of Lesvos where my dad lives and I spend my summers. Because Molyvos is a small village of around 1500 people, it’s a very close community so most of the people in the village know each other, but I used to go and eat at the pizza restaurant that he worked at with my girlfriends and that’s how I first got to know him.
Are you happy in this phase of life?
I am happy with how I have gotten to this point in my life being able to have the outlook that I do, but happiness can sometimes be a daily struggle for me. I do still get very down some days simply out of missing those I’m not around or who are not with us anymore and that’s hard because you need to feel that - that’s an important part of grief and healing.
Favorite food in the whole world?
I love seafood, all kinds, sushi and Japanese and Asian dishes really appeal to me.
What is like to move on and find happiness after all you have been through?
Initially after all the things that happened to me I truly thought the universe was telling me I didn’t deserve to be happy. I would wait for things to go wrong or self-sabotage my own happiness. Now I believe that every human being has the right to be happy in their lives.
How do you afford to travel so much?
I work hard and I prioritise where I spend my money, for example don’t spend money on expensive clothes, or shoes. The main things I spend my money on is food and travel.
I save money from my work and I plan trips based on what I can afford. I’m always on the hunt for cheap flights and deals also and now that I’m in Europe is extremely cheap to travel within that area.
How did you make the decision to live in Greece?
I never really decided to live in Greece. After the trial of Connor's murderer I was extremely depressed (and on antidepressants). I was at home all day in my pyjamas crying, and feeling restless but not wanting to leave the house and be seen by people on the street. I felt trapped. I needed to get away.
Initially I decided to go and visit my dad for 3 months in Greece. When I got there and I moved into my dad’s house and we started spending some real quality time together I didn’t need my antidepressants anymore and I felt like a normal human being. I could go out in the street and no one knew that my boyfriend had been murdered it was a safe free place for me. And so, I decided to stay in this place that made me feel so happy and free and see how I went…now two years later its clear to me that was such a good decision it gave me a chance at a normal new chapter in my life.
How did your mum and biological father meet?
My mum and my dad met while my mum was living in London doing acting and modeling, She went on holiday to a small Greek island and happened to end up in the village of Molyvos where my dad was living and working. My mum says it was love at first sight.
Always a controversial question but what religious background (if it's ok to ask) do you have? Do you believe in angels & higher powers than us?
Hahaha this is such a great topic! I’m an atheist - I believe that there is a power to the universe, and the things that are in it. Everyone should watch the zeitgeist movie. I also believe that we are powerful beings and in spirits. I know 100% from experience that my dad and Connor are often around me, since the day that Connor passed away I have seen double number variations like 11.11 or 12.12 every single day. This never happened to me before in my life, I cannot explain this but it does make me smile every time I see it.
What keeps you confident? You have such great self-esteem. Also love all your tattoos. Which one hurt the most?
Morning mantras have really helped me start my day in a positive way. I am a huge advocate for keeping anything negative off my social media because it really achieves nothing but more negativity, but I am not always so self-confident. My most painful tattoo was having the color added to my left foot, I couldn’t walk for like 4 days after let alone wear a shoe it was insane.
How come your skin looks so good and what do you use? I’m 54 this year. I don’t wear much makeup
First and foremost I have to thank my parents for my genes, I never had huge issues with my skin apart from the standard teenage phase. Recently I’ve increased my water intake and started using and active skincare range by Ultraceuticals which has made a huge difference in the brightness and texture of my skin.
If you had to be a crayon, what colored crayon would you be?
Omg is this a trick question? Hahaha, I want to be every color, is there a rainbow crayon?
How, after such heartbreak did you find 'you' again? How did you find light through the darkest of days?
This is such a hard question I don’t know how I did it. At the start I hated my life and I wish I could turn back time… it’s a process and feeling whatever you need to feel at the time is also important.
Grief is a process and I don’t think you every forget it or stop thinking about someone who was such a big part of your life, but having the support of those around you and being able to be on your own and feel comfortable and have your own time to think and process things is also as important as having good support.
I think I am still finding myself, but one key thing that grief and this time alone has really taught me is that life is so short, you must make the most of every day because you never know what is coming in the future.
Was it hard to leave NZ and move to Greece?
This is a question I get a lot, and I think it’s because you can’t really comprehend what it was really like for me being in Auckland after losing Connor. For me I was stuck in the house, scared to go out or to be seen to enjoy myself because I was the girl who’s boyfriend had died. I remember going out from breakfast with my girlfriends at a café one day and everyone just looked at me like they felt so sorry for me, which is sweet but it’s so suffocating to have a whole country know so much about your life.
Every day the papers were writing things and people were writing horrible things on Facebook I had to get away. The moment that I got to Greece it was like a huge weight had been lifted. For that reason, I love Greece. I get to be a free new person the only people who know the ins and outs of my life are the people I choose to tell and I can just be Millie.
What would be one of your favorite moments growing up?
Ok I have so many but one time dad, Reuben, Deborah and I were on safari in Africa and we were staying in these huge tent rooms beside a lake where all these hippos lived and it was hippo mating season. Reuben and I had a separate tent but were scared from the noises so we went and go into bed with dad and Deborah and dad who snores super loud ended up coaxing on of these hippos out of the lake with his snoring and I remember seeing this huge shadow rubbing against the tent and laying there trying to hold dads nose so he would stop snoring and the hippo would go away, which it eventually did. But this is one of the craziest memories from my childhood.
How do u keep yourself so centered, who inspires you?
I’m centered and inspired by the people I choose to have in my life, my parents, who for me includes both my dads, my mum, Connor's parents and Deborah, have all taught me different things about life and I keep these lessons and observations about how they react and deal with different situations in my mind. But you also need people in your life who will not take your bullshit and call you out on that. Most of my parents are like that and that keeps me very grounded. I’m also a very reflective person and I don’t have a problem to admit when I’m wrong or if there is a better way to deal with a situation, I’m always open to learning and looking at things with a different perspective so I think that helps me also.
Where did you find the strength to carry on in such heartbreak?
For a long time, I didn’t want to carry on. I thought “how can I possibly have any sort of life after this kind of loss?”. Connor and I had planned our lives together so for a long time after he passed I was just in shock as to how I could carry on. But after a long time I slowly realised I could spend the rest of my life mourning my old life and wishing that I could have it back or I could pick myself up and start living life. Life does not stop for anyone. Also, knowing that my loved ones were always with me helping me and guiding me through my life helped a lot.
Did you have a lot of friends growing up? In your older years?
When I was growing up I had a close group of girlfriends and now I would say I have 3 max close friends who I share everything with. I have never enjoyed having to maintain a large group of friends because I believe true friendships should take a lot of your attention. I keep my circle small but I meet everyone with and open mind and have lots of people I am friendly with. I love people and their uniqueness, we can learn a lot from others.
But I have a real issue with sharing my problems with others - I hate to burden people especially things that are hard for others to relate to. For this reason I think I like to only have a few small friends I feel I can share my real issues with.
What music do you listen to?
I listen to such a huge range of music, I love Biggie Smalls and Tupac, Jules Santana - these are the songs of my youth, but the last 5 downloaded songs I have on my phone are;
- To Pepromeno – George Dalaras
- The Love Club – Lorde
- Black Beatles – Rae Sremmurd
- 7 Years – Lukas Graham
- Fylakas Aggelos – Active Member
What makes you belly laugh!!!?
Usually conversations with my mum and my brother, but any good convo with my friends. I’m a little eccentric and strange and I love that my family and friends bring out that side of me. For example, when I speak to my brother sometimes I have an alter ego name “Stardust Gillespie” - she’s an old seasoned actor with a plum in her mouth and she loves to spin shit, and she always knows best. Or explaining new lingo to my mum is always gold, I just got off the phone to mum trying to explain fuck boy and salty and what they mean.
My favourite colour to wear is black, or white, but my favourite colour to visualise is blue, ocean blue and orange.
Do you meditate?
Yes, I meditate when I am overly stressed or if I have a lot on my plate.
Something I guess worth a question with no disrespect to anyone, would be what is it like finding love again after Connor. For me my understanding of life would be hard to lose someone through illness but someone who is taken, I would ask basically is it hard to love again.
Finding love again was definitely not something I expected. I didn’t think I was meant to have love after losing Connor, and I struggled with that for a long time. I didn’t want to meet anyone, I hated the idea of someone else coming into my life.
It was really out of the blue how it happened and I was very conflicted about it for the first months, but it was so different than when I met Connor.
I’m older now and I know myself better. Kosta is his own person so it’s a whole uncomparable different type of love. But I had a feeling about Kosta from the start.
As a kid growing up what did you do for fun - did you play sports?
As a kid growing up I played school netball, I was in the gymnastics team at Dio and I was very into swimming and athletics. I think I was just a regular kid. I loved art, keeping diaries and creative things and those have carried on into my adult life.
What is your favourite way to recharge?
So, I recharge by being alone, even for two minutes or half an hour.
When I need to recharge I like to be alone. I have come to quite enjoy my own company which I think is so important in life. I like to give myself the time to lay back and think and I usually do this by meditating.
Also, you live quite a natural life with your appearance, whereas many of us feel like we need the cosmetics and extra's to feel good about ourselves. How have you managed to jump over that need and just be you and own it?
I got very over wearing makeup at one point in my life. I got sick of having to rely on putting on a face before leaving the house so I started to focus myself on feeling ok without the ‘mask’. Obviously, I love to dress up and wear makeup, but on a day to day basis I don’t. I suppose I was want to be able to wake up and look in the mirror and be ok with what I see.
After years of being so hard on myself about my looks I’ve finally realised this is me - this is my face and my body and I should learn to love it because it’s uniquely me. But that doesn't mean that every day is like that - I still have days of extreme insecurity about my body and looks and that’s something I’m still working on.
How have you overcome patterns and transformed yourself?
It’s very hard to change the way you get used to being, and often it’s very hard for people to change. I supposed I am just open to seeing how other people cope or react to things and learning from that. That’s a reason I have so many strong capable people in my life, they inspire me.
I would be interested to know more about your life in Greece, was it hard adjusting to life over there? Did you feel out of place because you didn't know the language? Could you imagine ever living in NZ again?
My life in Greece was somewhat unique because I didn’t move to a big city I moved to a tiny village on an island, so it was a very small community, around 1500 people. I was and am still the most ‘painted’ girl in the village and when I arrived (as not many people move to Molyvos) it was like I was this new person that everyone wanted to know where she came from and who she was. I was very lucky that I had my dad there because he helped and guided me a lot. A lot of the people in Greece speak English especially in touristic places like Lesvos so that wasn’t so much of an issue. I can’t imagine making plans for so far ahead so I’m not sure if right now I could imagine living in NZ again but it will always be my home.
How did public grief effect you? Does it make it hard for you to trust people? I think you are amazing. There is no way to get over grief other than keep living through it. We have and will have to experience grief in our lives, but how the hell do you get through it in a healthy way with so much outside attention?
Public grief is really all I know. I’m very used to people thinking they can have an opinion of view about my life because of how I grew up, but I really didn’t like having to share so much of my dad’s passing with the public, and then again with Connor. It’s so horrible when you know a situation and you feel a certain way, to have people who have no clue making hard assumptions about the person you have just lost, so that side of it was a sore point for me. I think that most of my health was achieved in Greece and getting away and realising that space was what I needed to process my grief along was a great discovery. I needed distance to process things in my own time without any outside influence, only the support of those I chose is what really helped me.
What projects do you have on the go atm?
I have a retreat in Thailand that is happening in November - it’s the first thing I’ve done like this. I’ve always wanted to do a retreat because it gives me a chance to connect with people in a small group. I have a few other things I can’t quite speak about yet too
Hi Millie love how you're down to earth and not a snob even though you've had an affluent upbringing. What was one thing that Sir Paul instilled in you that has helped you now you're older?
My Dad was such an amazing man, I have had so many fond memories of him. He showed me in life that you must work for things - no one is going to give anything to you and if you really want something you need to go out and chase it.
You really have a strength in turning things around and striving for peace and happiness in your life. You must have down days though. What's your strategy for dealing with them?
On down days I kind of just let myself feel it. I don’t like to push my emotions away, if I’m sad I'll have a cry because I need it. You need to feel lows in life so you have also appreciated the up times - this is key.
Would you rather Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling? Would you rather win a Grammy or an Oscar? Would you rather be a princess or a rock star?
GOSLING!!! What the hell that’s not even a question, hahaha I have no idea between a Grammy and an Oscar I don’t really follow that sort of stuff, I’d wayyyyy rather be a rock star.
It would be interesting to hear about your thoughts on your hormone in balance solutions or if you have found some solutions.
This is a long running issue of mine, I have had issues with my hormones and fertility for the longest time and I still haven’t come up with something that works for me. I do however prefer homeopathic doctors after studying a little homeopathy myself and my past experience with standard doctors. But this is something I will keep considering.
Will you live in other parts or Europe? Is there something that draws you to certain places?
I think I am drawn to Molyvos because I lived there as a baby and my dad and my sister are there so it’s a very family orientated place for me which I love, but I also loved Denmark when I visited there - I could imagine living there.
Was it because of your old addiction that made you take more care of your well-being? And when did you start eating 'clean'? What was your diet before that?
When I got clean I just wanted to be able to live life without depending on something else to get me through the day, I didn’t care what I was eating, just that I was. When my weight started to become an issue for me I started wanting to lose weight, which after some years around 2012, I started looking to ketogenic diets and how to properly exercise. Before I got into healthy eating I was eating a lot of take out, pies, pastas, bread and fizzy drinks.
Any things in particular that have helped you deal with the grief?
Good support from my family and friends and just being around Connor’s family and maintaining my relationship with them especially made me feel less alone - they were the only people I felt could relate to my grief.
How did you enjoy having a home in Waiheke?
I love my mum’s place on Waiheke because it is a secluded safe place for me. Close to the sea and surrounded by bush, I felt very at peace there. My Mums had that house on Waiheke 18 years and she’s had both the bays that are a part of the property blessed and named by a Maori kaumatua. I’m know I’m extremely lucky to have a parent who has a house there and I know she bought that for me and my brother and for the next generations to come.
How does Connor’s family feel about your new relationship? A friend lost her hubby a couple of years ago and she's just moved on and her husband’s family are giving her so much grief
I can’t speak for them but I can imagine it’s very difficult for them to see me with someone else and I felt very awkward and guilty about that in the beginning. I think what you have to understand is that everyone is still hurting a lot, change is very hard to deal with when you are also dealing with grief. But they have been, and continue to be, so amazing to me. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. They are all such amazing, caring and loving people and I feel so blessed to be able to call them my family.
Do you take turmeric like in your diet every day, if so just the packet stuff or can you by the plant over there?
I don’t take turmeric every day, but when I find fresh turmeric I love to make turmeric lattes. They're great for inflammation in the body so having it around that time of the month really works for me. You can use organic ground turmeric as an alternative also.
Was it hard to give up coffee and bacon ??
Coffee was a little hard but once I found matcha lattes it was much easier as I had something that didn’t make me feel wired as an alternative. Bacon was quite easy. I have a deep empathy for all animals and knowing how animals are grown and killed, especially pigs who are smarter than dogs, made the decision to stop eating them simple for me. I watched some great movies like ‘forks over knives’ and ‘cowspiracy’ also.
What was the thing or key moment that made you decide to change your life? Also, was it hard for you to stick to the clean eating and change your diet to start with?
There was not one moment I personally wanted to change my life. I didn’t wake up one day and say ok this is how I’m going to live, it was more of a slow illumination of the things I knew were not good for me. I just want to live a balanced lifestyle, to be able to instinctively listen to what my body needs and wants and try and make small steps towards that. The fact that you can always improve on yourself keeps me going, you are the most gratifying project you will ever work on.
I'm gluten intolerant, have a tree-nut allergy, suffer from IBS and recently turned vegan. What do you eat on a typical day? Do you have any dietary requirements or food philosophy?
On a typical day, I eat breakfast lunch and dinner, with a snack in the evening, I try and eat chia and or fruit for breakfast, or some kind of sautéed vege, like mushrooms. For lunch and dinner it's often a salad and some sort of wrap. At the start of the year I decided to stop eating meat so I eat a lot of vegetables and fish. I’m not allergic to any foods that I know of however I do bloat a lot after pasta and some breads so I try to only have those occasionally. I try to eat instinctually and follow an 80/20 type of eating. I also eat quite high fat which I find aids skin and hair health.
I have been growing my hair and it's getting fairly long now but the ends are dry and split. How did you get your hair so long and healthy?
When it comes to my hair I’m so, so fucking low maintenance. I try not to use hair driers or straighteners day to day and I've also stopped using hair dye too. If I'm going to use anything its usually argan and coconut oils in the ends.
I love tattoo's and want to get more when I financially can. How many tattoo's do you have? Where did you get them done? Does each one have a meaning or sentiment to it?
My tattoos now cover 3/4th of my body, only my arms and chest are clear of ink, my top of my left leg is by Lance Hadfeild, and the lower section by Steve Butcher. Most of my work on the rest of my body was done at Ship Shape Tattoo, Orewa by Matt Jordan, Hoko, Coen and other guest artists that have visited the studio from other countries. And my most recent and current fave was done by Sam Carter from Gypsy Kid tattoo in Napier. Most are quite sentimental for me - I wanted to have art that reminds me of good times in my life so that when I look at my ink when I’m older I can be happy about it.
If you were on death row what would your last meal be? Where did you develop your conscious interest and love of food, cooking and health and well-being? How do you stay motivated to cook your own food and keep a healthy routine?
Hmmmm that’s a hard one I’d probably have degustation of some sort, but something without meat.
My love of food has not only come from my want to better care for my body but I also find cooking so therapeutic for me. If I’m stressed I love to get into the kitchen and start making something - it really helps to clear my mind. Recognising that food is more of a therapy for me made it clear that it’s something that will always be a part of my life. I also think that watching all my parents prepare food while I was growing up and the memories around that made food a huge part of my life from an early age.
Wow that's a whole lot of questions to answer Miss Millie. My question would be where do you see yourself in ten years.......and I think you do need to write a book...
Hahaha I’m scared to make plans for the next ten years who knows if I will even live that long. I hope that I’m happy and healthy and that maybe I have a family.
So many people that are on the drugs you were on need rehab and often still never manage to stay clean. How on earth did you guys do it so 'seemingly' easy?
I don’t think I ever portrayed that it was easy I just never spoke about it, as I find it’s such a sensitive topic which is so so different for everyone who has experience with it. It was fucking hard, I relapsed many times, and I really hated being clean and sober the first years. It was only through hard work support and determination that I really started to realise how good life can be without a dependency.
From a daughter’s perspective. How do you start the conversation about an addiction and what you need to overcome it? Are there signs (as a parent) that need to be looked at or is meth so deceiving I won’t know unless it’s too late.
I think this is so hard to answer. I hope if I ever have a child I will be able to recognise the signs if my child gets into drugs. I know that after I got clean I found it very easy to tell which people were using and which were not. I think making sure you have a good relationship with your child where they feel they can talk to you about anything is key.
Are you qualified in anything food related? Everything you produce food wise inspires me and has always made me wonder if you were a chef or had qualifications for food etc.
I am completely unqualified in anything to do with food, but I like that, I research the things I want to know about and I just speak from personal experience which I think is much more relatable then citing some information out of a book. If I’ve learnt anything it’s that we are all so different and we must learn to listen to our bodies because only we truly know ourselves. Why would you ask someone to teach you about your own body? You can take pieces of information from others that works for you but ultimately you need to find what suits you and your body.
What happened to Morrie?
Morrie was such a bad decision on my part. If you are grieving don’t go and get a new pet.
I got Morrie at a time when my whole life was up in the air and when I left to go to Greece she was less than a year old, I hadn’t trained her at all and she was a typical puppy. Morrie now lives with two other pittys in Northland with her new family on a great big farm and she is very happy. I think this was a great lesson to me, one of my faults is my impulse, I love to jump into things and learning to control that has been a huge thing for me these past years.
Thank you to everyone who sent questions in it was fun answering them and I hope you have more of an idea for who I am as a person and feel like you know me a little bit better now.