Mini creations

Last Thursday I picked up my youngest daughter from school and we headed straight to the museum – Te Papa – in Wellington. The museum is open late on a Thursday night and she’d been asking to go for a few weeks, so I finally made it happen. I used to spend so much time there with my older two children, when they were pre-schoolers, and it is always a place of inspiration.

The scene from Level 6 of Te Papa Museum, in Wellington, over looking the harbour at dusk.

The scene from Level 6 of Te Papa Museum, in Wellington, over looking the harbour at dusk.

Our favourite mother and daughter moment was on Level 5, in the art gallery, where we took the time to draw one another’s portrait! Much fun!

Alice drawing at the museum of Te Papa, Wellington

Alice drawing at the museum of Te Papa, Wellington

At the museum, we bought some stretchy putty to make, which Alice (age 5) and her older sister, Sophie (age 9), enjoyed playing with immensely!


Alice & Sophie enjoy playing with their stretchy putty that they made themselves.

Alice has also had fun being creative with play dough this week…

Play dough person, by Alice

Play dough person, by Alice

Meanwhile, our oldest daughter, Charlotte, has turned 12 and has been decorating her bedroom with her drawings!

Miss 12's new bedroom art.

Miss 12’s new bedroom art.

She was excited to bring home her first laser cutting pieces too (something she’s going to be doing lots of in Term 3 of this school year).

Laser cut art by Miss 12.

Laser cut art by Miss 12.


This artwork she’d created at school is cool too – using lino and ink (here’s a useful print out with instructions, ‘Roll ink onto lino board – printmaking‘ – if you’d like to have a go!). In school she had to choose a well know person’s portrait to put into art. She choose Rebecca Robeson (of Robeson Design), who is someone she admires for her interior design work.


Finally, there’s been some lovely piano practice happening from our Sophie (she started lessons this term).


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Mini Creations
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Magic Moments – spent celebrating our daughter turn 12!

There’s nothing like a Birthday, particularly one of your child, to make you aware of how time flies (and seems to keep speeding up the older they get!).

Our oldest daughter turned 12 today and she’s had the most fun weekend celebrating.


She spent the night before her Birthday celebrating with friends.

They played Laser Tag and arcade games.


After working up an appetite, at Laser Tag, they headed to Fujiyama Teppanyaki Restaurant…


Where they had an absolute blast!


This video sums it up!

My dear hubby, Dan, chaperoned the girls and payed the bill, whilst I stayed home to look after our younger two daughters. He is a brave and amazing man!

The next morning the Birthday girl woke to presents in bed, before being cooked a special breakfast by her Dad (top chef!).

Lunch was enjoyed at The Chocolate Fish Cafe, in Shelly Bay, where we caught up with her dear friend from ‘babyhood’ (who moved to Byron Bay, Australia, at the age of 5). She happened to be flying in on our daughter’s Birthday (1 in 365 odds!) and, since she’d just turned 12 herself, we enjoyed a lovely celebration.

In the afternoon, our newly turned 12 year old (in true 12 year old, busy social diary, form!) headed off to another Birthday party – that of her twin friends from school, who were celebrating with fun at the trampoline park in Petone and dinner at the Flying Burrito Brothers Mexican restaurant in Wellington!

After a weekend of partying our daughter relaxed in a bath (complete with bath bomb – as is the done thing these days) and headed off to bed with a smile. Meanwhile, hubby and I reflected on the parenthood journey thus far, with a proud contentment and hope that there aren’t too many bumps along the path going forward!

Happy Birthday to our fabulous twelve year old! Lots of love from a very proud, and happy, Mum & Dad (and your two adoring sisters, of course!). xxxxx


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Mid-year school reports & mini-creations

It’s been a busy week in the household with the mid-year reports arriving home and parent-teacher interviews to coordinate for all three girls. Thankfully the reports have left us with no concerns and we’re really delighted at how our older two are doing; considering they had a good year or so gallivanting in the USA, with no formal schooling taking place!

Our middle aged daughter, who was home-educated till age 9, is doing amazingly well. She is absolutely thriving in school now and achieving above expected level in many areas, even been chosen to represent her school in a ‘Tournament of the Minds‘ competition (which involves getting to school at 7.30am every Wednesday morning!)…. YAH and PHEW!

Our youngest daughter only started school this year and our main priority, as parents, was seeing her settled and happy. She’s now at the stage where her reading and writing is starting to fall into place, but since she’s young in her year (many of the others have turned, or are turning six, she has some catching up to do!). She’ll move from the preps to the Year 1 class half way though term 3 – and then be with that class for term 4 and rolling into the next academic year in 2016, when she’ll then be a Year 2.

She has been enjoying the Matariki -Maori New Year – art, at school. She came home with this on Monday – representing the Mata Ariki ‘Eyes of God’, a tiny constellation of stars.

Eye of God

Eye of God

Meanwhile, our eldest daughter, in Year 8, is looking forward to taking on a new language in Year 9. She had the choice of Japanese or Chinese (she’s already doing French) and she’s very enthusiastically chosen Japanese (already downloaded an app and has started learning!). She’s doing wonderfully well in art and design, her favourite subjects at the moment; and that has been very evident on the home front (as she is always drawing, sewing or doing some sort of interior design / organising!).

Cute! By Charlotte, age 11.

Cute! By Charlotte, age 11.

She has made a lovely cover for her sewing machine and organised her ‘sewing table’ beautifully!

On the home-front we have a couple of want to be chefs in the house! Sophie (9) made the most scrumptious OREO truffle balls, Alice (5) helped to make a delicious apple crumble, and both of them helped to make dinner the other evenings too. Win! Win!

Our Sophie wrote a fabulous story about her cross country endeavours with school.

First I did my school cross country, I had a lot of nerves to over come, but I did my best ignored the stitch and sprinted as fast as the wind at last minute, getting me into 7th place. Saving me a spot as a reserve. During the run I felt like I was flying except for the moment I ran through the stream, that kind of led me back to earth. I was defying the wind, running though streams, up muddy hills and through car parks. When the lady wrote the number seven on my hand I was ecstatic.

The day of western zones came. It was book character day (we dressed up like character from a book). Ms Kitney called me to her desk, was I in trouble no, she then informed me Monet was sick oh no for Monet, but then I realised I was the reserve I get changed and hop on the shuttle.

When we get there my nerves get slightly better, we warm up and line up to go. The gun goes off I fall over ohh no my friend Isobel comes back, she checks that I’m ok and then we catch up. I immediately get a stitch my only choice is to ignore it, I sprint across the river over the hill down the stairs to the final 400 (metres). I go faster than I’ve ever run in my life, the wind pushing, my hair blowing and me over taking 10 people, I came 36th ahead of 3 people who bet me in my school cross country, and around 20 from other schools, I didn’t get to the inter zones but to me I just won the world cup!

By Sophie, age 9.

And, talking of sport, there’s been hockey antics in the garage! We are currently in the dark depths of winter (just had the shortest day, so it can only improve from now!) and our youngest has been learning hockey at school (never too young to start, right?!). Anyway, she’s been asking for her own hockey stick for a few weeks, and after the positive school reports we decided to get both Miss 5 and 9 a stick each, as a reward (Miss 11, turning 12 this coming weekend, is all about fabric and interior design stuff – so that will be her reward!).

As soon as the hockey sticks were home the two younger girls couldn’t wait to practice their skills (once they’d persuaded their Daddy to drive the car out of the garage).

Alice, age 5, showing us her hockey skills!

Alice, age 5, showing us her hockey skills!

So, a busy week, and we are all very much looking forward to the upcoming school holiday! We are excited to be heading to Singapore, for a fortnight’s holiday, where we shall be meeting up with Chinese Grandad & Grandma (flying from the UK to meet us)!

Chinese Grandad & Grandma, in Wellington, 2011, with Charlotte & Sophie.

Chinese Grandad & Grandma, in Wellington, 2011, with Charlotte & Sophie.


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Mini Creations
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A mid-winter affair in Martinborough

The rain wasn’t going to stop us getting to Martinborough’s Mid-Winter Affair. We set off at midday on Saturday, picking up our friend Cyndi (aka ‘Latte Junkie‘) on the way. Traveling over the Rimutaka Hill the children in the back-seat played spot the waterfalls in the mist (of which there were many – albeit small – but nevertheless plentiful and persistent – trickling down the steep hillside).

We arrived in Featherston, the gate-way to the Wairarapa, without any traffic problems, but stopped for a wander in the lovely shops, and an all important coffee break, whilst enquiring as to the condition on the roads leading into Martinborough. Unfortunately our usual route was blocked, on account of a crucial bridge being under half a metre of water. So, we got back in the car and took the detour, around Carterton and Gladstone, to Martinborough.

Outside The Village Cafe, Martinborough, on the night of the Mid-Winter Affair.

Outside The Village Cafe, Martinborough on the night of the Mid-Winter Affair.

We arrived in time for the start of the fair, which was running from 3pm to 7pm, despite the atrocious weather bomb! Large stretch tents, dotted with fairy lights, complimented smaller marquees that stood defiantly underneath the canopy of the trees in Martinborough Square.

Martinborough Mid-Winter Affair

Martinborough Mid-Winter Affair, 20 June 2015

The scent of mulled wine and mead filled the air, as people stepped carefully in the mud to visit the stoic stall-holders (it was a shame no one was selling gumboots, as they would have sold like hot-cakes!).

Mid-winter affair, Martinborough

A sea of umbrellas at the Martinborough Mid-Winter Affair, 2015

It was wonderful to see such a supportive turnout of people to support what was truly a mid-winter affair, falling on the eve of the shortest day of the year in a torrential downpour! I rather had my eye on a stylish new raincoat from ‘OTT Coats‘ but was too caught up in stopping my youngest from mud-sliding!

Happiness for this 5 year old is... Mud sliding and lollies at the Mid-Winter Affair, Martinborough

Happiness for this 5 year old is… Mud sliding and lollies at the Mid-Winter Affair, Martinborough

We hobbled between the stalls, seeking welcome shelter in each of the marquees, admiring the spirit of the choir singing in the rain.

That's the spirit! The wonderful choir at Martinborough's Mid-Winter Affair, singing through the rain showers.

That’s the spirit! The wonderful choir at Martinborough’s Mid-Winter Affair, singing through the rain showers.

We found magic in the ‘Pixiemoon Photography and Designs‘ marquee, where our younger daughters spent ages choosing a wand (our youngest couldn’t choose – and ended up with three… Well a girl always needs a few extra wands to share around when friends come to play!).

A fairy bed at the Pixiemoon Stall

A fairy bed at Pixie Moon Stall

We marvelled over the lamp-shades at the ‘Made Marion‘ stall – an amazing place in Wellington that helps people get crafty, enjoyed tantalising our tastebuds with Macaroons, treated the girls to some lollies from ‘The Lolly Jar‘ and bought a couple of bath bombs from the lovely Ubuntu Skin Care stall.

Our eldest daughter stayed rugged up at the house in the early hours of the fair, watching a movie in peace, but joined my friend Cyndi and I later – when the fairy lights were twinkling in the darkness with full bling (and the younger girls had returned home with their Daddy for a warm bath and some magic making with their wands!).

The beautiful Pixiemoon Stall, at the Mid-Winter Affair in Martinborough. 20 June 2015 CREDIT: Pixiemoon -

The beautiful Pixiemoon Stall, at the Mid-Winter Affair in Martinborough. 20 June 2015 CREDIT: Pixiemoon –

She enjoyed a quick look around the market, before deciding that converse shoes in mud weren’t a good combination and headed to the warmth of The Village Cafe. We also made a quick pit-stop in the wonderful ‘Thrive’ store – where we all bought a pair of glorious ‘Thunderpants‘!

Feeling warmed up, with full tummies, we headed back to the warmth of the house and rugged up for the night.

By the morning the rain had finally abated and the sunshine lit up the garden. We harvested some delicious lemons, limes, feijoas, lavender and celery, before driving back to Wellington, the regular way (the river, though still raging at a very high level, had sunk beneath the level of the bridge overnight).

A surprising mid-winter bounty from our garden in Martinborough!

A surprising mid-winter bounty from our garden in Martinborough!

Such a wonderful break away, despite the weather at the fair, and we felt revived in spirit to face the final two-weeks of the school term (a long, 11 week, second term!). Unfortunately the rain returned, along with a cold southerly wind, today (Monday), but such is the weather in winter! We shall just have to make the most of it, as always!


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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Winter fun on Wellington’s south coast

The past couple of weekends have given us some calm, sunshine weather to get out and enjoy the outdoors, despite it being the onset of winter here in New Zealand. We live near the south coast of Wellington and since getting our puppy, in October last year, we have good reason to get out for a walk and go exploring.

In the winter months he is allowed on more beaches than summer, and we are delighted to see his confidence increasing with his interactions with other dogs.

This weekend we took him to a delightful beach in Worser Bay, where dogs are permitted to play, off lead, in the winter.

Worser Bay, Wellington, bathed in winter sunshine.

Worser Bay, Wellington, bathed in winter sunshine.

He delighted in running around, sniffing the other dogs and (thankfully) running back to us when called. He also made a few repeated dashes for the waves (and is now in need of a good wash down – the salty sea dog he quickly becomes, with his wooly coat!).

Our younger two daughters, who accompanied us, (whilst our oldest was busy doing home-work – supposedly – with a friend), delighted in chasing around with Monsieur Cocoa and throwing sticks for him to retrieve (the recent high tides have left plenty of drift-wood strewn about for dogs and children to play with!).

Near the beach there is an awesome tree swing too. The girls took it in turns to swing out into the sky, with their Daddy kindly doing the hoist and release work!

The tree swing

Another favourite place we like to go is the Marine Education Centre, in Island Bay. It is located within a Marine Reserve, so our puppy has to stay on his lead, but he can still take a walk on some of the beaches and dip his nose in a few rock pools.

In the Marine Education Centre, Island Bay

The marine education centre is a marvellous place to learn about the animals that live in the waters of our neighbourhood. It’s a beautiful location to take a stroll too.

Island Bay

Nearby is a wonderful playground, over looking Island Bay.

Island Bay playground

Love winter weekends when the sun is smiling on us!


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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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My Sunday Photos | Winter sunshine & fun at the beach

Oh my, what a day of weather! In Wellington, today, it was almost possible to forget it was winter altogether. The sun shone gloriously and the calm air let the warmth shine through, without the usual wind chill factor bringing it down.

Sophie and Cocoa, the Cavoodle, at Worser Bay, Wellington, New Zealand on a beautiful winter's day.

Sophie and Cocoa, the Cavoodle, at Worser Bay, Wellington, New Zealand on a beautiful winter’s day.

The tide was super high and the waves rolling in, from far out on the horizon line, rode with great height and majesty, as the gentle sea breeze caught the peaks of the surf and threw it back, filling the air with spray.

Lyall Bay, from Dorrie Leslie Park, Wellington, New Zealand, on an amazing winter's day.

Lyall Bay, from Dorrie Leslie Park, Wellington, New Zealand, on an amazing winter’s day.

After a busy weekend, with a Birthday party, to accompany our youngest daughter to, on Saturday, a football game for hubby on Saturday afternoon, a sleepover (at our place) for our eldest daughter – which also involved hubby taking them to see Jurassic World at the wonderful Embassy Cinema Theatre in Wellington, and a trip to Laser Force and Bowling on Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, I enjoyed the sound of a happy house; with my youngest and second born daughter playing with their friends. A busy, but rich day.

Now, after dropping my eldest daughter’s friend back at her home, and enjoying a moment to enjoy the last colours of the day with my youngest, I am sitting back, watching ‘Dancing with the Stars’, and feeling very glad to take a moment to relax this Sunday evening!

Catching the last of the light, with young Alice, at Dorrie Leslie Park, Wellington, New Zealand.

Catching the last of the light, with young Alice, at Dorrie Leslie Park, Wellington, New Zealand.

I have the candles burning and a lovely Pinot Noir in my glass, powering my thoughts from mind to keyboard. I feel like I’m counting down till the end of this second term of school. Three more weeks (out of a long, 11 week, term!) and we’ll be on a plane to Singapore for a two week visit; and catch up with hubby’s parents – who are flying from England to meet us there.

Thinking of my own dear folks right now, who I haven’t had a chance to talk to on Skype in nearly two weeks. They are away on holiday, in beautiful Madeira – a Portuguese archipelago located in the north Atlantic Ocean. My only regret in living in New Zealand is not being close to them. I really wish I could be there for them more. They are planning on visiting us this Christmas, which I really appreciate – as it is such a long, tiring, journey from England to New Zealand.

Have a great week and hope there’s a burst of sunshine for your to treasure too xx

At Chocolate fish Cafe, Shelly Bay, Wellington, New Zealand, a winter's Sunday in the sunshine.

At Chocolate fish Cafe, Shelly Bay, Wellington, New Zealand, a winter’s Sunday in the sunshine.


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