Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Autumn's Nature Table

I have been a bit slack about getting the nature table sorted out since we moved into our new wee house. However, today at a junk shop, I spotted a lovely wee mid century style table (more about that in another post!) and decided it would make a perfect nature table for the wee ones. 

I was lucky enough to win the autumn fairy who graces our nature table, a couple of years ago from Morning Sun Rae. The toad stools where made by my amazingly talented sister, she makes all manor of amazing things from roving and felt (I keep telling her she should be selling them). The leaves, Holly and I collected a few weeks back and flower pressed. The acorns where from a day trip Isla and I took to Cromwell recently. Lastly, the little mouse was knitted by me. 

I am so pleased to have our little nature table set up again, it adds a little magic to our living space.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Natures Playground

There was a time in my life when I could not imagine living anywhere else but in the city. The countryside held little appeal. I loved the bright lights, the hustle and bustle that the city life provided. In my 20s, I lived in an apartment smack bang in the centre of Melbourne. I loved that anytime of the day or night, there was always something happening, somewhere to go, something to do. 

After I had my girls, those thoughts and feelings slowly began to change. I wanted to take a slower, more gentle route than the usual roundabout many mothers step onto. Constantly engaging themselves and their babies in organized activities. Rather, I preferred the quiet, gentle rhythm of our life at home. Of simply enjoying my little ones company.

Living here, adjusting to a rural mountain lifestyle, has been an easy transition for us. I love how close our girls live to nature here. They don't admire nature from a far, rather they live within it. The lakes, the mountains, the forrest are all within our immediate environment. We wake to the sound of a bellbird. We know where and when the sun rises and sets. We appreciate it all and we are grateful that we are lucky enough to live here, in our little corner of paradise. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Creative Space- Rag Rug

This project has been stuck in the 'almost complete' basket for months, but finally, I got round to finishing  this one off. I am so pleased I did as I just adore the finished look of it and the girls are overjoyed to have it in their bedroom at long last.

It was made using old woolen blankets, platted and then sewn. A long, and at times tedious job but in the end, well worth the effort. It makes the perfect warm play spot for the girls as the weather starts to cool and they begin to play inside more and more. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Simple Skincare

In my quest to simply my life, I have been looking at ways to reduce the amount of skincare products I use. So many people have a bathroom full of soaps, liquid body wash, scrubs, moisturizer for the face, the body, cleanser, toner... the list goes on. A few months back, as we where preparing to move house, I decided to part with all of those things and instead use a few simple multi purpose skincare products. I was searching for products which where as natural and chemical free as possible but at the same time effective. My solution came in the form of 2 simple products. A compressed olive oil soap and a natural oil to moisturize.

I used an olive oil soap, you can buy many different brands from any health food shop. The whole family use it as a face and body wash. Followed by an oil to moisturize both face and body. To many the idea of using oil on their face seems odd but in all honesty, my skin has never looked better. My skin is far more balanced and smooth . I doubt I will ever go back to using a traditional moisturizer. I am particularly a fan of busby pure tissue oil, which is a mix of avocado, grape seed and rosehip oils. Another draw card for me is it is affordable, meaning I can also use it as a body moisturizer, which I would not feel I could do with some of the smaller, more expensive oils.

So now, rather than a whole cupboard of products I just have two, good quality, multi use items. And that, in my mind, has got to be a good thing. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Things I Am Loving Today

Don't you just love autumn? The mornings start cold but then the days are amazing. Big blue sky days, still and sunny and perfect. This was the view out my window this morning, just one tiny little cloud peaking over the hillside.

 And running with the autumn theme, my sweet girl made me this card at preschool yesterday. She stuck the leaves on herself, wrote inside her name and drew a ton of love hearts.... just for me!

Her drawing and writing skills seem to have grown exponentially in the last few weeks since she turned four. She is drawing people, flowers, fairies and rainbows that require no explanations. She is writing her name on everything too, and her sisters, and mine. It amazes me that this little person is becoming so capable.

Linking up with Paisley Jade for things I am loving

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Place And Yours- Whats Inside Your Kitchen?

The lovely Deb from Works in Progress gave me the honor this week of hosting 'My Place and Yours'. So, I spent a few days pondering over what part of the house to show you! In the end I settled on the kitchen, mostly because my kitchen is not your run of the mill kind of kitchen. Why you ask? Well it lacks cupboard doors and a pantry. This initially made setting it up a tad of a challenge.

Now though, I love it, everything is on hand, easy to reach. Whats more, I love having my beautiful thrifted finds on show.

We have three head height shelves. One houses my cups, another plates and glasses and the third, food I don't want the girls to reach like the biscuit tin, muesli bars and such.

Below the bench we keep two baskets. One has savory stuff like oil and tinned beans. The other is for sweet stuff- sugar, flour, baking powder... you get the idea. Below them we keep the gadgets.

In the adjacent corner, I keep tucked away jars and other lesser used items. I keep bread, spreads and breakfast condiments in two baskets and the dish rack below. We don't have a dishwasher so this last item is a necessity here. Beside the oven I keep pans, electric scales and an old biscuit tin that houses my teabags.

And the one cupboard in our kitchen with doors! Located under the sink. Home to the rubbish bin, pet food and cleaning products.

And our kitchen would never be complete without our mini kitchen. The girls spend a lot of time playing here, making me all manor of amazing play food dishes.

And the overall effect of our odd wee kitchen? Well I think it works out quite well. What do you think? 

What does your kitchen look like? How do you organise it? Why not link up below and show us?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Creative Space- The Dress

So this is the dress I made from that vintage pattern. I made a few alterations from the pattern. Firstly, I removed the pockets and belt. I doubled the height of the cowl neck and reduced the sleeve width. And finally, as I made it out of merino, I opted for a rolled hem. I have to say, I am really happy with how it turned out. A big thanks to Nin for all her advice on altering patterns and a big thanks to Hannah for taking this photo for me!

And in a slightly different creative space topic. I spent last night altering the layout and look of my blog. What do you reckon? Like it? Hate it? How does it work for you?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Flea Market Finds

I saw a beautiful dress a few weeks back and had visions of emulating it for myself. But, I lacked a pattern. Maybe it is just me, but I find it really hard to find sewing patterns for myself. There are tons of cool ones for kids, but for adults... not so much.  After doing a google image search, I happened upon this vintage butternick pattern on etsy, and so, with the click of a button, it was mine.  

I have already made one dress from this pattern, and have plans for a second. I will show you the first dress soon I promise, I just need to find someone to take a photo of me in it. I would ask my husband but he is the worst photographer ever. So it may take me a few days to suss something out.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Place And Yours- Laundry

This week I am joining in with Deb for 'My Place and Yours', looking at peoples laundry.

My Laundry. Well, I don't actually have one. My small but perfectly formed little house does not have a separate laundry. Rather, we have a space under the kitchen bench for the washing machine. A very British concept but more unusual here in New Zealand. We sold our dryer as we just don't need it living here in the mountains. Our winters are cold but dry, so the dryer became surplus to requirements. We keep our washing powder and our cleaning products in the cupboard beside the washing machine. Our vacuum and mop are stored in the hot water cupboard. Not having a laundry is not everyones cup of tea, I imagine, but it works for us.

For more peaks into peoples homes, pop over to Works in Progress. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My favorite Song - Ever

Many people who know me might be surprised what my favorite song is, even my closest friends probably would not guess. But I have loved this song since I was twelve years old

I don't know why I love it but I never tire of hearing it. It makes me happy, every single time.

So tell me, whats your favorite song? 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Four Laps Round The Sun

Today, my girl completed her forth lap round the Sun. How amazing it is that in that time she has changed from a tiny helpless being, into a little person who knows so much, who says so much and who does so much. 

She talks non stop, she uses large words to explain things- disgusting, amazing, humungous! 
She loves to dance. 
She loves to dress up, especially as a fairy, a princess or a mermaid. 
Her favorite colour is pink. 
She has a shoe addiction and prefers to spend her savings money on a pair of shoes rather than a toy. 
She draws amazing pictures of flowers and her family and friends.
She loves her sister. She also loves to boss her sister around!
She enjoys wring her name- on pictures, on steamed up windows, with the fridge magnets- everywhere.
She thinks that now she is 4, she is bigger, smarter and more grown up than she was yesterday.

But most of all, she is an amazing girl whom I adore with all my heart.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Feburary 22nd Earthquake- My Story

One year on and this is my story of that horrible day-

Isla was sleeping in her cot. Holly was eating a cheese sandwich and watching her favorite cartoon. I was just settling down to read a new book. A quiet break after what had been a not so great morning. I had had plans to go into the city, my phone had been playing up and I had been hoping to get a few bits and pieces from down Cashel street. But, both girls had been so grumpy that morning, that come lunch time, I flagged the idea as too hard putting it in the 'to do tomorrow' basket. Turned out that decision my well have saved our lives. 

I heard the earthquake before I felt it, but that was nothing new, we had been having small aftershocks since the September quake some five months before. People find it funny when you say you can hear them coming, I guess to me it sounds like a wave crashing on a beach but I have heard a lot of people compare it to a truck driving past too. 

I looked up at Holly as the quake started to hit, I remember watching the TV lurch towards her. I leapt out of my seat and grabbed her. I ran with her in my arms to the doorway and told her to stand there as I went to grab Isla, of course she didn't listen to me and followed me. What I remember most about those moments was the noise, I could hear everything smashing and breaking around me but I don't remember seeing any of it. I think I had tunnel vision, focused solely on saving my children. I do remember over the noise, Holly screaming "mumma, mumma". I remember thinking as I ran to get Isla 'I am not going to make it to her before the house falls down'. I opened the door to her room just as the shaking started to stop. She was sitting up in her bed, silent as a mouse, laying round her in the cot, where all the pictures which fell from the wall, missing her by millimeters. 

I picked Isla up, grabbed Holly by the hand and ran them outside. In my mind, I was just running through my house, as it had stood 30 seconds before. It was only later I realised I had in fact been running over all kinds of smashed objects, including an upturned bookshelf. I ran out into the street and looked in horror at the mushroom like cloud billowing up from the end of the street. I knew the cliffs had fallen. What I didn't know until later that day was that in that moment, as I stood there, 100metres away, two peoples lives had just ended as the cliffs engulfed their home. 

I saw one neighbor on the street and quickly ran to check on another elderly neighbor, as we returned to the footpath, another massive aftershock hit. We all stood in horror and watched as the cliffs at the end of the road turned into a river of stone and washed down. We heard the children at the school below screaming. Holly clung to my leg and I whispered "oh my god, the school, the children". I felt my whole body begin to shake with shock and I remember a neighbor asking if they could take the baby or Holly but neither was willing to be parted from me. 

We stood for a few minutes, a small group in the street, unsure what to do next. Suddenly, cars started to stream into the street, people on foot where running. Someone screamed "tsunami". I felt my heart drop, knowing that there was no way I was going to be able to run fast enough with a baby in one arm and a 2 year old holding my other. I remember in that moment the feeling of total despair and horror. I remember a second later the lady next door telling me that they where wrong, she had her radio on and the earthquake was centered inland not out to sea. One small mercy in a very dark day. 

The hours after the quake where surreal. My first instinct was that of flight. But any ideas of driving out where quickly killed when we heard that the bridge across the river had dropped and the road over the hill was gone. I sat on the front lawn, deflated, unsure of what to do next as I held my two girls. At some point I became aware that it was getting cold. I crept back into the house, horrified at the destruction, I grabbed the girls quilts, to keep them warm. I also grabbed the computer, my phone and a handful of clothes. Then we sat and waited, unsure when or if Simon was coming home.  I bundled the girls into the car and turned on the heater and the radio. We sat together as I listened and heard over the radio what I already saw with my own eyes... Christchurch was on it's knees. I closed my eyes to hold back the tears. I knew both my brother, sister and nephew where in the CBD when the quake struck but I had no way of knowing if they where dead or alive. I felt the fear well up and so unsure what to do. I put the girls into their push chair and went for a walk. 

The damage was bad, a large section of the water front had simply fallen away, there where massive cracks in the roads and liquefaction had bubbled up. Large rocks sat on houses while others teetered on the cliffs edge. We walked past the school, the sound of all the children crying was too much. We walked home. 

About  four hours after the quake Simon arrived home. He had been on the other side of the city and whilst it had been bad, he didn't really grasp the severity of it until his drive home. At some point I got word from my sister that she was ok and so was our brother. I remember the feeling of relief knowing all my family where safe. 

We decided to try and leave. Simon knew of a route round the hill he had used to get home. We packed the kids in the car and we drove. I got to the causeway, the damage was terrible. I took a deep breath and drove onto it, it went up and down, the sides slumped away and large cracks had opened up. I reached ferrymead, a bus sat, nose down, half submerged in a sump hole. We drove on. Two hours later, and we where only 10km from home. The traffic was gridlocked. In frustration we gave up and reluctantly turned for home. 

We ate cheese toasties made on our neighbors BBQ before setting up the mattresses on the floor of our sleep-out. As darkness fell, we lay together in the dark, hearing the aftershocks before we felt them. We heard the helicopters and the hercules pass over head many times throughout the night. As I lay there, unable to sleep. I became more and more aware of Isla's rising temperature. She had not let me put her down since the quake struck and even in her sleep she clung to me. I knew she was getting sick and I just hoped she was not going to get much worse. By morning she was burning up. 

We knew we had to leave, so early in the morning we bundled the girls into my car, I only had a quarter of a tank of gas. Simon said he would following his car incase I ran out. Driving across the city was a mess. The roads where destroyed, many where impassable. A drive to my parents house would normally take 45 minutes, instead it took me 4 hours. I lost Simon in the confusion. I reached my parents place having driven on petrol light for many miles. 

My parents had power, food, their own water supply. Their doctor saw Isla straight away. Our horror was over.  

 kea Kaha- Stay Strong Christchurch

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Old Door Closes

It was with very mixed emotions, that last week we sold our Christchurch house. Whilst, we where very happy to be financially relieved of owning two properties. It was tinted with a touch of sadness as we had worked so hard on our little seaside cottage, to make it into a home that I thought we would live in for many, many years to come. Alas, that was not to be. Being there, in that house, after living through THAT day, it was just too hard. And so, we have made a new life elsewhere now, in a new little house that is just perfect for our little family. I think for anyone who lived in Christchurch, February 22nd 2011 was a life changing day. There was the life before and now there is the life after. Sadly, that door was our 'before', we have a new, different 'after' now. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Full Moon Rising

One thing that surprises me living here is how amazing the night sky is. I am embarrassed to say that when I lived in the city, I never really noticed the night sky. But here, with so little light pollution, the night sky lights up like a christmas tree. The full moon last night bathed the entire landscape in a gentle silver glow, so much so that I had to stop my car on the way home just to stare in amazement at the silver ripples stretching out to oblivion on the lake. It truly was a sight to behold.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dreaming of Summer Rain

It is hot here, real hot. The thermostat has been slowly creeping higher day after day, week after week. To the point where I almost long for a wet day because everything, everywhere you look is tinder dry. However, despite my daydreams of summer rain, I do have to say, there is something very satisfying about hanging the sheets out and having them dry in under an hour. 

How is the weather at your place today? I am reading all kinds of crazy reports in the news of flooding in Australia and severe snow in Europe. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Beginning Of A New Chapter

The view from the new house. 

What a week. 

Packing up takes a lot of effort, especially with two pre-schoolers 'helping'. But I am pleased to say, we are in our new home. Unpacking was a lot easier than packing... thank goodness. I am so relieved we got rid of a lot more stuff recently, because what we have left, fits perfectly into our new home. 

This place is the total opposite of our Christchurch house in so many ways. Our old house was an old cottage, this place is near new. But, what they both share is a certain off beat charm, a house that is not your usual square box, I love that. 

It feels good to be here, in this quiet, perfect little corner of the world.

Friday, January 13, 2012


One of my goals for this year has been to continue our journey towards living a simple life. One of our first steps in 2012 has been to further simplify our possessions. 

My first realisation that we needed less 'stuff' came when we lived in Melbourne for a time, in our pre-kids life. We lived in a small (tiny!) apartment in the central city. I learnt to be very careful in what I purchased. In my mind I found it had to fit into one of two categories. It had to either have a function or it had to be beautiful. If it fitted into one of those two categories, I then had to think of where it would actually live in our apartment. If I could not think of an appropriate home for an item, I did not buy it. Simple.

Fast forward 5 years and our lives are now very different. We live in a three bedroom home, with a garden and two kids. We have more possessions, having kids will do that. You get more 'stuff' in your home but you also don't get the time to sort through it. When we left Christchurch last year, we got rid of a lot of stuff- we donated it, we sold a little and we dumped some too, although I dislike sending items to landfill if I can find another option. Now we find ourselves moving house again (I will tell you more about that another day!). So last weekend we had a garage sale, selling off a lot of items. What did not sell, we have given to charity. It feels good. To look round my house and know that packing will be easy, as everything in our home will be coming with us. They just need to be boxed up now. 

I am hoping to post a series of posts this year about simple living, this being the first. If you are traveling along a similar journey at the moment, please feel free to post your own links in your comments. I always love reading others inspirational posts. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Why Hello!

Some street art on the Wanaka lakefront. 

Hello 2012. Welcome to my world!

2012 has been good to us so far. We welcomed in the new year camping out with a small group of friends. We woke to a scorcher of a day, into the low 30s in the southern lakes district today. We also discovered an amazing swimming hole to cool down in. So yeah, the year is kicking off to a good start.

My new years resolution this year is a continuation of a goal I have been working on for the last few years- to live with simplicity. Simplicity not just within my physical home but also in my finances and within me, in how I approach life. 

I always find this time of year so exciting, filled with the anticipation of the new, like a nice new crisp book just waiting to be opened.

Wishing you all the very best for the year ahead x


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