Five Easter feast ideas

It’s always seemed strange to me, to use lots of pastel colours with baby chicks and bunnies at Easter, because for us it is a turning point in our year, when weather gets cooler and we know we’re in for the long haul of winter.

Here’s a few ideas to celebrate Easter minus the pastel. Let’s usher in the cosiness of Winter with a delicious feast.

1) Hygge feast!

Easter is in the middle of our daylight savings’ transition – so it’s time to remind ourselves that the cold dark to come can be good. It’s time for soup, candles, hot chocolate and all the cosiness that is the Danish word hygge.

CoverHave a look at this eBook Scandinavian Comfort Food, download the Libby by Overdrive app on to your device, log in with your library card details and you can read this without even stepping outside your house!

2) Mezze feast

CoverGrab some lamb, flatbreads and hummus to have an ancient traditional Easter feast. This works really well if you’re doing a feast with friends or whānau as it’s easy for people to bring something to contribute. (Flatbread, nuts, hummus, olives, wine… all easy stuff to pick up on the way to an event)

Yotam Ottolenghi is the authority on the mezze / Jewish inspired feast. Once you’ve had a read of his famous book Jerusalem, you’ll be wanting to make hummus galore and stuff every vegetable.

CoverTry also: Snackistan

3) Easter Fiesta

CoverTacos! Nachos! Avocados! You can’t go wrong with a bit of Mexican food. It’s also great because people can add bits of whatever they like to their plate, that hot sauce doesn’t have to be for everyone – but man, it can warm you up!

CoverLooking for Mariachi vibe music to go with your food? Check out Border crossings via Smithsonian Global Sound one of our music eResources. Just log in with your library card details and stream music for free!

4) Chocolate!

CoverEaster and chocolate go hand-in-hand. Want more chocolate than just a multitude of Easter eggs? Try Indulgent Cakes for some amazing cakes:

Also, for some cosy vintage feels, try streaming Duke Ellington via Access Video (another sweet eResource) – log in with your library card details to view. Look for the song ‘Hot Chocolate’ to help you get in the literal swing of Easter.

5) Eggs

CoverGo classic Easter and have an egg feast! Decorate some eggs, have an egg hunt, eat chocolate eggs or even simple scrambled or fried eggs on toast would be easy and on theme. Egg is a great book for egg recipes:

CoverAnd for a great egg book to read your kiddies, try Scrambled Eggs Super!

The Sunday Night Book is just all-round fabulous, but happens to have some great egg recipes in it too.

Happy Easter and happy eating!

Stephen Hawking 101

Stephen Hawking has been called the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Albert Einstein. FI loved his appearances on the Simpsons and the fact he had a fan club. I also love the fact that whenever I hear a computer generated voice I associate it with the astrophysicist. From what I have read, he was very witty and had a great sense of humour as well as a brilliant mind, so he wouldn’t mind my blog about him. So here is some information about Stephen Hawking and about his work — learn about Quantum Mechanics and cosmology and black holes from my selection of class readings for Stephen Hawking 101.

I started with eDS (eResource Discovery Search) eDS search Stephen Hawking and which covers articles and books in our eResources collection.


CoverRead Stephen Hawking’s bestseller A Brief History of Time that has sold more than 10 million copies. It only contains one equation E=mc² as Hawking was told the readership would be halved with every equation included.

Or try an eAudiobook if you would prefer to listen.


First off start with the basics, learn about black holes with this article by Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy Hawking

What is a black hole? By: Lucy, Hawking, Stephen, Clark, Dave, Ask, 15354105, , Vol. 10, Issue 6

Then once you have your head around the basics of black hole you may want to delve a bit deeper with this article from our Scientific American Archive.

The Quantum Mechanics of Black Holes pp34-41 by Stephen Hawking

More articles from Scientific American Archive

Science Reference Center has a selection of excellent scholarly articles –


Find out more about Mr Hawking with these great biographical sources:

Biography in context has excellent information and even has ReadSpeaker text to speech technology so you can hear the biography been read in computer generated voice similar to the technology that Stephen Hawking used himself.
Biography Reference Center has a selection biographies from different sources.

CoverOr check out this eBook Introducing Stephen Hawking

If quantum mechanics is getting a bit much for you try this kids book written by Lucy Hawking and Stephen Hawking which is a great introduction to cosmology: George’s Secret Key to the Universe.

What I have learnt from reading about Stephen Hawking and his work is that I need to know more about astrophysics and not be scared of science.

eMagazines for your weekend – RBDigital Magazines

Here is a baker’s dozen of titles hot off the press from RBDigital Magazines. Perfect for a spot of weekend reading – on your laptop, desktop, phone, tablet …:

Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover


  1. Apple Magazine
  2. Vanity Fair
  3. Big League
  4. Evo
  5. Bon Appetit
  6. British Vogue
  7. New Zealand Listener
  8. Woman’s Day
  9. North and South
  10. Q
  11. Hello!
  12. Grazia
  13. Philosophy now

Tutor available 24/7 –

Have you started studying this year and are feeling a little out of your depth? or do you want something to help you be at the top of your game. We have just the thing for you – a tutor available 24/7. has tutors for heaps of courses – to either help you with your studies, or try a course before you buy. Check out these great study starters to set you off on the right foot. All you need to get started is a library card and password/PIN.

 Learning Speed Reading

Learn how to read faster. Improve your reading speed and comprehension with these proven speed-reading techniques. Speed-reading is a skill everyone can benefit from, and this course provides proven techniques to improve how much information you absorb and how fast you absorb it.

 Learning Study Skills

Get tips for improving your reading speed and memory, creating detailed notes and preparing for tests. The information in this course is appropriate for all levels of learners, from school  to university students and full-time members of the workforce. Start watching now—you’ll never approach studying the same way again.

 Information Literacy

Information literacy is the ability to discover and use various types of information. It’s an essential skill for navigating the information age. Learn about strategies for finding information – from a library, archive, database or the internet – and the ethics of using what you find. This one is definitely one to trust – the tutor is a Librarian!

 Improving your Memory

Improve your memory with these memorization techniques. It explains the best methods for different situations, like remembering names, important dates, passwords, to-do lists, quotes, and more. These techniques will prove invaluable, whether you’re memorizing facts for a test at school, points for a work presentation, or trivia to impress your friends.

 Learning Algebra: Pre Algebra

Pre-algebra is the first step in high school math, forming the building blocks that lead to geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. This course will help you master the basics: from addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to new types of numbers (integers and negative numbers) and concepts such as the order of operations and distribution.

Podcast – Art and social responsibility

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

The role of art and artists in raising awareness of social and political issues – show recorded live at Christchurch’s CoCA (Centre of Contemporary Art) with artist Ruth Watson (whose exhibition Geophagy prompted the topic), art curator Jennifer Shields, socialist feminist Sionainn Byrnes and environmental activist Alice Ridley of Saikuru.

Topics covered include:

  • Setting the scene: The Geophagy exhibition
  • What is and who holds social responsibility?
  • Limits to the influence of art – art within the gallery or in the public sphere
  • Corporations and sponsoring art
  • How can art encourage social responsibility?

Transcript – Art and social responsibility

Find out more in our collection

Cover of The conscience economy: How A Mass Movement for Good Is Great for Business Cover of The responsibility revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win Cover of Slow fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics Cover of Ethics and the Consumer Cover of Clothing poverty Cover of Dying for a bargain Ecopreneuring Cover of Sustainability made simple

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms:

Learning with Lynda

Have you been thinking about changing careers or retraining, but not sure if you want to take the plunge? How about checking out, an online video tutorial website available at Christchurch City Libraries?

With more than 6,300 courses and 267,000 video tutorials, Lynda has something for everyone. The website is easy to use – all you need is a library card and PIN and the courses are free! There is a huge range available, all designed and taught by recognised industry experts. Courses indicate their audience level – for beginners or advanced – so you are able to immediately tell if it is the right course for you.

Each course is broken up into small tutorials so you can learn at your own pace. So check out your learning options with, free with your Christchurch City Libraries Library membership.

Check out some of these options available right now!

  • Web Designer
  • Songwriter
  • Design a Comic Book
  • App Developer
  • Microsoft Office
  • IT Security Specialist
  • Social Media Marketer
  • Photographer
  • Video Editor
  • Project Manager
  • Master 2D Animation logo

Find out more about

What were we listening to in 1988? – A musical nostalgia trip!

Nothing is as quite as good as music for transporting you back to past times of love, loss, and the gaining of life’s experiences. I know that most of my childhood can be most effectively measured musically!

I was suitably shocked to learn that ‘Simply Irresistible’ by Robert Palmer featured prominently in the New Zealand charts waaaaayyyyy back in 1988! I still remember vividly that steady rock beat, the simple, punchy, and catchy tune, the stabby brass section, and those almost-very-nearly-identical dancing/band girls – an astonishing coming-together of style and substance built to last (complete with that awesomely syncopated drum fill that inspired the young drummer in myself!) – it’s in your head right now isn’t it!?

And that got me to thinking, “I wonder how many other standout classic tunes that, just like me, are maybe getting on a bit?” and “I wonder what other songs were around at the same time as ‘Simply Irresistible'”? Turns out that 1988 was a bumper year for iconic music!

So I made a list to share with you all – I’m referring to it among my colleagues as “A Musical Nostalgia Trip” to avoid having to feel too old myself! This is by no means an exhaustive list of the quality of music back in 1988, merely a list of tunes to hopefully trigger some nostalgic thoughts and memories, and maybe even prompt you into some nostalgic musical discoveries of your own!

There’s some big hitting songs in here so if you remember them from 1988, maybe go easy and have regular cups o’tea…


What we were listening to in 1988!

List created by DevilStateDan

All of these songs listed here could be considered classics and, in some cases, so can the albums that featured them. And as always with music there are so many ways to experience the world of sound, so in this list I offer you CDs, artists’ biographies, live shows on DVD, music press articles, and printed music so you can play them yourself! Get borrowing and set off singing along your own musical nostalgia trip!

Bad – Yep, we were groovin’ to ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ 30 years ago this year. In fact, the first week of 1988 saw the great song at #6 on the NZ charts! Great tune, so cool, and still so good after three decades!

Cover of Michael Jackson The Making of Thriller : 4 Days/1983Michael Jackson – MJ sure did release some amazing music. This book looks behind the scenes during the making of ‘Thriller’, with exclusive photographs and insights.

The Very Best – INXS were big in Australia and New Zealand. ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ was, and still is, a massive hit, reaching #11 in Aus and #30 in NZ and still one of their very best – hard to believe it was 30 years ago though….

Cover of Best of INXSBest of INXS – Why not celebrate the 30th birthday of ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ by learning to play some of INXS’ other hits! This is music in P/V/G – that’s to say it has music for piano/vocals/guitar to play the tunes listed – get playing!

Rattle and Hum Songbook – We’re getting all kinds of opportunities to learn to play these songs that we were rockin’ to 30 years ago this year, including ‘Desire’ by U2! Hey, if the Edge can do it then so can you…

U2 – The latest telling of the U2 story, they gotta mention ‘Desire’ in there somewhere, right?!?

Faith – Has there ever been a more widely celebrated breakout solo album than ‘Faith’ by George Michael…!?!? The title track was the first #1 of NZ’s 1988 calendar year! Give it a spin to mark the occasion, and listen without prejudice!

Cover of George Michael: The lifeGeorge Michael – The most recent account of the life of the iconic singer/songwriter penned by a writer who has all the skills in producing engaging biographies.

George Michael: The Lone Star State. By Adrian Deevoy, Q, Jun 1988. Part of Rock’s Backpages.

Access All Areas – Big hair, slow-mo dancing, oversized and off-the-shoulder cardies…and Belinda Carlisle – it must be 1988! ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ turns 30 in 2018.

Belinda Carlisle – Heaven Is A Place On Earth. Official video. Released in 1987, taken from Belinda’s album ‘Heaven On Earth’.

Cover of Guns n' Roses FAQGuns N’ Roses – What a debut album Appetite for Destruction was for the band Guns n’ Roses and the standout commercial track on that album was definitely ‘Sweet Child of Mine’! That iconic guitar riff, the snake-like dance moves of Axl Rose – all that hit up to #7 in the NZ charts, 30yrs ago!

Guns N’ Roses: Dancing with Mr Brownstone. By Paul Elliott, Sounds, 4 Nov 1989. From Rock’s Backpages.

Guns N’ Roses FAQ – Think you know everything there is to know about these rock legends and the music that hit the world rock n’ roll scene like a speeding night train?!? Try this new book out and see how much you missed!

Cover of The best of Bobby McFerrinThe Best Of Bobby McFerrin – This one is such a classic that I still hear folks whistling the tune to ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ at the shops or in the library! This guy is a huge talent so if ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ is the only tune you know of his then follow the link and stream some more! And YES, he’s still alive – there was never anything to the rumours of the 1990’s…

Bobby McFerrin. By Tim Page, Newsday, 30 Jul 1995. Part of Rock’s Backpages, The ultimate library of rock music writing and journalism.

Cover of Bon Jovi chord songbook collectionChord Songbook Collection – Learn to play ‘Bad Medicine’ to celebrate it’s 30th birthday this year! It got to #2 on the NZ charts and is there a bigger rock anthem..!?!?

Bon Jovi – The story of the rockers from Jersey. Get some background and context for their penning of ‘Bad Medicine’, 30yrs ago this year.

Def Leppard – Working class boys from northern England make it big with one of the biggest albums in rock history, but right now we’re talking about that iconic smash that entered the NZ charts mid-March, topped out at #40, then disappeared. We’re talking about ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ a song that had us rockin’ out in 1988! – wrecking ball at the ready!

Def Leppard: Loadsamoney!!. By Mat Snow, Q, May 1988. Part of Rock’s Backpages.

Cover of Easy acoustic songsEasy Acoustic Songs – ‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman is one of those songs that instantly transport you back to where you were when you first heard it – what a beaut song! Give it a go on Piano, Vocal, Guitar in this easy acoustics songbook, where it’s jammed in with loads of other tunes you’ll want to try too!

She’s Gotta Ticket: Tracy Chapman. By Lucy O’Brien, City Limits, 5 May 1988. Part of Rock’s Backpages.

Pet Sounds – Has there ever been a song so divisive amongst its artists devout followers as was ‘Kokomo’…?!?! It got at least up to #11 in the NZ charts! Still not sure how I feel about it even after 30 years! Why don’t we have a listen to their best album instead…

The Very Best of – Gee these boys hit us hard in the late nineties, non bigger than their iconic hit ‘I’m Gonna Be’ which is still shouted as loud as a roaring soccer crowd at any Celtic-themed pub around the world today! It made it all the way to #3 on the NZ charts in 1988 but ran home to #1 in January of 1989, not 500 miles from our featured year by any extent! ….it’s stuck in your head now isn’t it. Go on, sing it!

Sunshine on Leith – The Proclaimers songs are so iconic that a musical movie was built around them a few years back. If you’re a fan of the music and you missed this film then you’re in luck as we have it in our collection!

View Full List

Podcast – Euthanasia

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

Euthanasia: It’s one of those topics that people seem to have an opinion on, whether they support it, don’t support it, or remain resolutely undecided. As New Zealand debates ACT MP David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill (the closing date for submissions is midnight on Tuesday, 06 March 2018), hear from advocates both for and against euthanasia and assisted dying.

Voices against euthanasia and assisted dying
– Jane Silloway Smith (Director, Every Life Research Unit): Overview
– Richard McLeod (Principal, McLeod and Associates): Legal arguments
– Dr Amanda Landers (Immediate Past Chair, Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine): Medical arguments
– Nuk Korako (National List MP, Port Hills): A Māori perspective

Voices for euthanasia and assisted dying
– Maryan Street (President, End-of-Life Choice Society NZ): Overview
– Andrew Butler (Litigation Partner, Russell McVeagh): Legal arguments
– Matt Vickers (husband of campaigner Lecretia Seales): Personal story

Transcript – Euthanasia

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Cover of Assisted dying Cover of A good way to go Cover of A good death Cover of The quality of mercy Cover of -- to Die Like A Dog Cover of Lecretia's Choice Cover of To cry inside Cover of Before we say goodbye Cover of Unbroken trust Cover of Fighting for dear life Cover of Death talk

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms:

Big little books – The BWB Texts Collection

The last book I got out of the library was huge a whopping 800 pages. It was a little daunting and I wondered it would be easier to read if it was a series of smaller books. Bridget Williams has a great series of little books called the BWB Texts Collection. There are some seriously good reads in this collection and all of them are short. There are some great short memoirs, and other interesting topics like combining motherhood and politics, and the Australia vs New Zealand debate.

BWB Texts are available in book and eBook format.

There are even big little books with local flavour. With the seventh anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake coming up, there are some great books on Christchurch and analysis of the earthquake – or find out why Christchurch was once nicknamed Cyclopolis.

As well as the BWB Texts Collection. Bridget Williams Books has these other great New Zealand eBook collections:

How do you learn a language in a month?: Mango Language’s #31DaysofLanguage Challenge

“Magandang umaga!” (Good morning!)

“Ako si Kate.” (My name is Kate.)

Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Is one of your 2018 New Year Resolutions to be able to chat in a different language?

Well then, you are in luck! Check out Mango Languages, and get on with it! It’s fun, easy, and free – all you need is a Christchurch City Libraries library card and a pin.

During January, Mango Languages ran the #31DaysofLanguage social media challenge. With a different language challenge for each day of the month, I used it as a chance to learn more about this great resource, and see how much Tagalog I could pick up in a month. (Spoiler – not as much as I would have wanted to, but hey, it’s been fun trying anyway!)


Here area some of my highlights from doing the 2018 Mango Language Challenge.

  • Learning how Filipinos celebrate New Year – Feasts, fun, and family! New Year is an opportunity to party, and food is a big part of that party. Long noodles and sticky rice bring good luck and a long life, so you’ll eat lots of that, but you won’t see chicken on the menu – chickens are always scrounging for food, and if you eat chicken at New Years’ you’ll be hungry all year.
  • Sharing books with Tagalog-speaking students and family at a local school.
  • Learning there are eleven Tagalog-language newspapers available to read online on PressReader (with your library card and pin). It’s interesting seeing the way that both English and Tagalog are used in the newspapers – I’d start feeling really clever because I’d read a whole newspaper article, only to realise that it was one of the English articles, not the Tagalog one!
  • Listening to the soundtrack from Pinoy Big Brother, the Philippine version of the Big Brother TV show, and other music from the Philippines.
  • Exploring recipes from the Philippines. I’ll be honest – I haven’t got around to actually making any of the recipes just yet, but I’ve found a recipe called ‘chicken tinola’ that looks quite yum, so that’s going to be my experiment this weekend. Chicken, broth, ginger, and mango – sounds just right for summer.

So there you have it. Some of my learning from a month of dipping in to Mango Languages. This is a fun app to use, and I love the variety of languages you can learn with it – Arabic, Greek, Vietnamese, Pirate, Shakespearian English… the list goes on. There is something for everyone, so give it a try and see which language takes your fancy.

Paalam! Bye!