Tuesday, December 22, 2015


My blog has been a place of reflection and memory keeping over the past five years. It is a wonderful record of our doings and my feelings as we have grown from a couple living high in an apartment right in the center of the city to becoming parents, owning our own home way out in the suburbs.

My voice here has grown, I feel less self conscious as I type. My words are for me and my family, the nature of blogging lets in friends and people from around the world visit too. It has been wonderful to connect with others, particularly since becoming a full time mum who stays at home. Popping in for a quick read of others blogs over a steaming hot cup of coffee has been meditative on the days when I feel a little frazzled.

Here and on Instagram I have been able to peep into the lives of people who share similar values and seek out the simple life. Who want to do better by people and wish to tread softly on our earth. I have found makers and doers. Mummies and artists. Everyday I am inspired by these people and in turn hope that others are by me.

I am tickled pink to have been mentioned by Emma from Thrifty Green Baby  when she was interviewed on by Balanced Beauty Bristol. A wonderful surprise and honour. Emma has a great blog on parenting, she writes with such humour and honesty. You will find great advice on parenting with the environment in mind too.

Social media can be such a positive influence (of course it can go the other way too!). Over the past few years I have been trying to be mindful of how I shop for our family's clothes. We are wearing more ethical and secondhand clothes. My wardrobe in particular has shrunk significantly after reading The life changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo. I only have pieces that I really love
(or need). When I do shop for clothes I think about what I have, if I really need (or just want) the item and consider how it was made.

On Instagram I came across The Seamstress NZ, after admiring her clothes I now have two beautiful pieces in my wardrobe. A little reminder that my blog has introduced me to a world that feels a little less hectic and a bit smaller.

I felt this too when I won a competition run by NZ Green Buttons. A beautiful book now rests on our shelf; thumbed through by me after long days and awaiting to be read by Mae when she is a little older.

The blogs I love to read are often fellow Kiwis; in fact the very first blog I ever read was Melissa's from Tiny Happy. I had stumbled across an magazine article and checked out the link. I remember how magical it was to read the diaries and musings of someone far away. From here I searched out other bloggers who liked create and tell stories, blogs like Soulemama.

I convinced my mum to check out these blogs too and she fell in love. She often said that she found great comfort in knowing that there were hundreds of others out there who loved nature just as she did. Who loved to keep a beautiful home and busy hands. People that weren't swept up in the tides of commercialism and keeping up with the Jones's.

When she became ill and endured many rounds of chemo/operations/radiation it kept her connected to crafting; the days when she was too ill to count stitches or set up the sewing machine she was able to scroll through her favourite blogs. On the brighter days she blogged about her life at Daisies, doilies and donkeys. These words and images are so treasured by us now that she has gone.

So I will continue to blog here, to share my days and creations. I do hope to connect with the folk who pop in to read. To discover new blogs and cherish the old ones. Over the next weeks I'll step away to enjoy the summer and festive season. Wishing you all Happy Holidays wherever you may be.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Crumpled paper treasure

As long as I can remember my mother loved words; novels, poems and quotes. She had beautiful handwriting; curved and friendly in appearance. She was a dab hand at calligraphy too. Notebooks were filled with quotes and poems cut from magazines or printed from the internet. All artfully arranged between vintage illustrations and images of nature.

Even her recipe books are dotted with inspirational quotes and snippets of wisdom. Mum read daily and must have surely devoured hundreds of books in her lifetime. Her love of Enid Blyton, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Beatrix Potter have been passed on to us girls. Collections of Ladybird books, and old gardening books still cram the shelves of home. Some books are there just for their beautiful spine and covers.
A posy by Mum
Mum could whip up hilarious poems to amuse us or tease her friends. She sent letters off to friends. I have more than a few shoe boxes of precious letters and cards I received. So it was a warm moment when some rumpled papers appeared as I rummaged in a drawer last time I was home.

Nestled in amongst the memorabilia, bits and bobs and random ornaments were two quotes. Printed on plain paper; words that must have once been significant enough for my dearest Mum to stash away. A lump formed in my throat as I read lines. Too beautiful to be a crumpled sheet hidden in a drawer.
Spring in Mum's garden

The first was from the blog Sarah-Jane down the Lane

       The wisteria was tumbling over itself in it's excess of life, it's prodigality of flowering; and where the pergola ended the sun blazed on scarlet geraniums, bushes of them, and nasturtiums in great heaps, and marigolds so brilliant that they seemed to be burning, and red and pink snapdragons, all outdoing each other in bright fierce colour. The ground behind these flaming things dropped away in terraces to the sea, each terrace a little orchard, where among the olives grew vines on trellises, and fig trees, and peach trees, and cherry trees.

     The cherry trees and peach trees were in blossom; lovely showers of white and deep rose colour among the trembling delicacy of the olives; the fig leaves were just big enough to smell of figs, the vine-buds were only just beginning to show. And beneath these trees were groups of blue and purple irises, and bushes of lavender, and grey, sharp cactuses, and the grass was thick with dandelions and daisies, and right down at the bottom was the sea.

    Colour seemed flung down anyhow, anywhere; every sort of colour, piled up in heaps, pouring along in rivers - the periwinkles looked exactly as if they were being poured down each side of the steps and flowers that grow only in borders in England, proud flowers keeping themselves together over there, such as the great blue irises and the lavender, were being jostled by small, shining common things like dandelions and daisies and the white bells of the wild onion, and they only seemed the better and the more exuberant for it. They stood looking at this crowd of loveliness, this happy jumble in silence.                                
                                                              excerpt from "Enchanted April" by Elizabeth Von Arnim

The second is a poem I believe is by David L. Weatherford

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask how are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time 
To call and say "Hi"
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day.
It is like an unopened gift...thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over

A reminder to be mindful and present, particularly as the festive season approaches. To notice the beauty of everyday and for me to keep working towards creating a riot of colour in the garden.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Garden musings

My garden this year has rather a large gap in productivity. A very busy Spring socially meant that I missed the window of planting for my Summer crops. The approaching festive season with all it's magic and haste has led me to hold back from popping seeds into the soil. The tender shoots would fry in the hot sun without frequent watering and nurturing.

Despite this we are eating kale and silver beet leaves plucked from beneath their flowering tops. Herbs embellish most meals with their zesty perfume. The tomatoes are starting to flower and little green bulbs are swelling. We have been enjoying sweet, juicy strawberries that burst with flavour as only homegrown berries can.

Zucchini seedlings

Mae started walking independently at the end of October and she follows me in the garden. Running off round the corner of the house to visit the chooks. Pulling off ripe strawberries, taking a bite then tossing it away. My little shadow as I pluck weeds and nip out laterals from the fork of clambering tomato plants. Mimicking me and chatting away. Dream moments for sure.

My gardening girl

When we return from the Christmas break I have plans to start filling the vege patch with Autumnal crops. Giving the soil a little love with new compost and mulch.  Harvesting sun ripened tomatoes, capsicums and spring onions. The air will be heavy with humidity and we will escape to the beach for cool reprieve.

We will be picking up paintbrushes and staining the now water blasted fence. We will be planning a trip north to Doubtless Bay to visit sweet friends how are starting their new adventure next week. Spontaneous picnics will happen. The paddling pool will be filled with tepid water and shrieks of laughter. Oh how I adore Summer.