Sometimes I like to let my mind wander away from my everyday, first-world worries, such as why my dishwasher won't clean glasses properly, and why my child has his heart set on a $400 scooter, a $400 Xbox, a $600 puppy and a $500 bike for his birthday.
Things like: how can my husband weigh less than I do? Why do the men in my life never put the lids back on jars/bottles/tubes properly and why can't they understand simple packaging instructions such as "tear here" on a block of cheese? Why does the cat have worms again? Why does it never occur to other members of my family to replace the toothpaste/toilet paper/soap/dishwasher tablets/ coffee/plastic wrap and tin foil when they run out, or at the very least write them on the grocery list?
And why can't I get my head around this "easy-peasy" home-based accounting system I'm paying to subscribe to?
Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to never again fret about getting that text message from the bank a week before payday saying, "Your account is now overdrawn, please deposit funds by 11pm to avoid further penalty fees".
Every time my horoscope says, "Be careful, money worries are looming - put aside spare cash to avoid disaster", I feel like screaming because if I had "spare cash" then I wouldn't have looming money worries, would I?!
I like to dream about the things I'd buy on a regular basis if funds were never an issue. I'd fill up my car with the snazzy, flash petrol that's supposed to be better for the engine and I'd always have lamb racks, artisan cheeses, pate and tasty Mediterranean goodies in my fridge, and a pantry full of nifty crackers and biscuits and hand-made Italian pasta.
I'd take holidays and do proper lady things such as having facials and massages and tennis lessons, and I'd buy loads of ornaments and "occasional furniture" to put them on.
I wouldn't bat an eyelid when my children announce they want ponies and trumpets and drum sets and iPods and sleepovers for 20 of their closest friends, or when my husband brings home yet another fishing rod or another punnet of Bluff oysters.
And I'd buy delicious beverages like these...
Zephyr Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2012, $22
Rich florals, sweet lychee and white pepper aromatics open the door to a full, silky-fresh mouthfeel and a long fruity finish. Great stuff from this classy Marlborough producer. www.zephyrwine.com
Dry River Martinborough Pinot Gris 2012, $65
For the pinot gris-lover in your life, here is the holy grail. Aromas of poached nectarine and grilled pear combine with lavish, vibrant, nashi-like sweetness and snappy, succulent acidity that balances the luxuriousness of the mouthfeel. Clean, crisp and robustly rich, this is wonderful. www.dryriver.co.nz
Lansdowne Estate Masterton Syrah 2009, $52
With vibrant berry aromas and a lovely floral edge, this is an interesting wine. On the palate it's packed with sweet, ripe blackberry characters and juicy spices, and it has easy tannins and an elegant, warming finish.
Mountain Goat India Pale Ale, 330ml $20 (4 pack)
This Melbourne-based beer brand has only had its hoof in this country for a matter of weeks, yet its quick trip-trap over the Tasman is already proving a popular move. True to its namesake, this IPA has a slightly gruff, hairy, bitter note, but far from being bad-tempered, it's a hop-driven, citrus-packed stunner. I also like the slightly scalded caramel note and its solid length of flavour.
Quest Farm Central Otago Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006, $100 (1.5ltr Magnum)
Mark Mason's years spent prospecting for a great pinot site provided the catalyst for the name Quest Farm. Located just north of Cromwell in the foothills of the Pisa Range, 20ha of his 150ha property have been planted into 18 different vineyard blocks. This is the first single-vineyard pinot I've tried from Quest and it's drinking beautifully.
It's developing an earthy hue, and on the nose expect to find five spice, cocoa, hedgerow fruit notes and hints of rose. In the mouth there's some lovely seasoned-leather complexity to add to the baked cherry and savoury spices on the finish. www.questfarm.co.nz
Matua Single Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2011, $46
One sip and you'll see just why this wine has racked up an international medal haul and a half, recently taking home the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards Trophy and Gold for New Zealand Chardonnay over 15, the International Wine Challenge (IWC) Marlborough Chardonnay Trophy and Gold medal, and the Grand Gold Medal at the 2013 Concours Mondial in Belgium. It's that good.
It smells like peach compote on toast, followed by a rush of tropical intensity edged with grilled grapefruit, honey and a delicious creamy complexity to counter its crisp, lip-smacking acidity. Finished off with impressive length of flavour, it's a new favourite for me. www.matua.co.nz