Mini creations from the school holidays

I adore the downtime of the school holidays and the opportunity it gives my children to be creative without any constrains on their time. It’s also wonderful to see them create with the freedom to go with whatever is currently in their hearts and minds, rather than have to work on something within the guidelines of a lesson.

Over the last fortnight of the Easter school holidays each of my children enjoyed creating and this is where I take a moment to share those creations (which I will undoubtedly look back on with fond memories in years to come!).

First up has to be these beautiful words from my daughter Sophie, who put together a little hand-made tube of messages for my Birthday.

from Sophie on my Birthday

My youngest, Alice, enjoyed creating with different mediums, a gorgeous heart shaped pebble, painted with love, bead creations, carefully placed and ironed to fix together (Mum on hand for the ironing, of course!), a painting and a beautifully written Birthday card.

Creative Alice, at 5

My oldest daughter, Charlotte, spent a lot of time designing houses on Minecraft and browsing interior-design magazines. She loves organising and has the most incredibly well organised room. She took her organising skills out of her room and into the kitchen, deciding the pantry cupboard needed a thorough sorting out before the new school term started – and I’m so grateful that she did! She also did a cute ‘bead doll’ –

Bead doll

I spent a relaxed hour or so of colouring in Mandalas with my two youngest, on a rainy spell of the holidays in Martinborough. It was a gorgeous moment, between showers, holding up our work to the light, which kept playing with us from behind the clouds.

Colouring in Mandalas

Aside from the creations, there was some diligent school work going on in the background too. My oldest, Charlotte, has been working her way through a book that was assigned to her in English last term. She’s been struggling with the book, but has a wonderful English teacher and thanks to that inspiration, Charlotte has forged on, and self-assigned herself a certain number of pages to read each night of the holidays.

Sophie, who started school at the beginning of this year, after a few years of home-schooling, due to anxiety (which still troubles her every day – but she keeps striving to be on top of it), read through at least four books in the series ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid‘, whilst passing on the wisdom she’d learned in school about primary numbers.

Prime number lesson from Sophie

As well as all this creativity on paper, rocks and whiteboards, there were hours of unscheduled play – the best part of the school holidays! There was time to swing on the trapeze in the garden and jump on the trampoline, time to go swimming and exploring, geocaching and cycling.

Now we are back to routines and reality with a thud. It is the first week of an eleven week term, and we are slowly – and a little reluctantly – adjusting.

Linking up with….

Mini Creations
Posted in Art, Learning & growing, School hols | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Photo Gallery | Colour – on my Birthday

There has been colour from afar, by way of gifts and cards, and colour near to me, by way of nature, food and art. There has been colour in my children’s creations and in the candles, lit to warm the dark. I have been spoiled with loving gifts and thoughts this week, in celebrating my 41st Birthday.

This time last year I was in sunny California, celebrating my big ’40’ with dear friends in Santa Monica. This year I am ‘home’ – where my children were born and are at their happiest, in Wellington, New Zealand.

Wellington, New Zealand

The colours on my Birthday, that filled the sea, sky and flora all around me, where a gift of Mother Nature at her finest. I am so thankful for that gift and the sunshine that made me so happy.

So happy to be in Wellington on my 41st Birthday

My three daughters all returned to school, to begin their second term for the year, on my Birthday. It would have been a day tinged with sadness, at the quiet of the house after the fortnight’s holiday, but my dear hubby took the day off work and we spent it beautifully.

After dropping the girls off at school we headed to Mount Victoria’s town belt for a gorgeous walk, with our puppy Cocoa.

Colour on my Birthday

We then headed home to hang a gorgeous piece of artwork from the artist Fleur Wickes (whom Dan and I met in antenatal classes, prior to the birth of our first daughter, nearly twelve years ago!). I have long been an admirer of Fleur’s work and when she put this piece up for sale I dropped a few hints to Dan!

'It is beautiful here', artwork by Fleur Wickes

‘It is beautiful here’, artwork by Fleur Wickes

I absolutely adore the scale of this artwork and the bold red colour of the words, which call out to me every time I climb the stairs of our home. We have hung the artwork on a large wall on our upstairs landing. It is a beautiful space and somewhere I have often sat to read a book, gazing out the large windows to the garden. The light in this space is bright and welcoming, a perfect place to appreciate how beautiful it is, in our home, in our hearts and in the love we share with friends and family near and far.

The rest of the day was filled with lunch at the gorgeous Shed 5, on Wellington’s waterfront, a stroll through the city and then it was time to collect our girls from school.

I love this photo of them with their Daddy, which I took on the last weekend of the school holidays. It’s full of smiles, colour and happiness, a moment to cherish whenever the clouds cast a shadow on life.

My family, happily together, living back in their home in New Zealand, is the best Birthday gift I could wish for.

Weekend fun at Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre

Linking up this post with -

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery
Posted in Photo Gallery, Sarah, Special Days | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Easter Weekend in the Wairarapa

The Easter School holidays in New Zealand started with the sudden onset of dark evenings, as the clocks turned back an hour on the night of Easter Saturday. After an incredible summer it was an abrupt change for everyone to be plunged into darker evenings; but it is only fair that the northern hemisphere get a share of the daylight!

We spent Easter weekend in beautiful Martinborough. We had planned to spend the weekend catching up with old friends, but their stay was cut short with sudden news that their much loved brother, and uncle, had passed away. He was only in his thirties and a father too. His death was totally unexpected, with him failing to wake up on a Saturday morning. It was one of those moments that make you take stock of your own life, and that of everyone you hold dear. After the tragic news our friends packed up and headed home to help their family.

South Wairarapa coast

Back in Martinborough our young family continued with Easter celebrations, having finished the school term with a beautiful service at the Wellington Cathedral.

Wellington Cathedral, school Easter service

Our younger two children searched the garden for chocolate eggs on the morning of Easter Sunday (with our oldest daughter kindly taking photographs and making sure our dog, Monsieur Cocoa, didn’t run off with any chocolate!).

Seeking out the Easter eggs in the garden

Our youngest was delighted with her finds!

Easter finds!

We spent the rest of the day enjoying the last farmer’s market of the summer (which hubby and the older girls cycled to), before taking a scenic drive to the Wairarapa’s south coast, where we visited the Cape Palliser lighthouse and seal colony.

Cape Palliser lighthouseOur younger two enthusiastically climbed the 252 steps to the lighthouse.

Climbing the steps to Cape Palliser lighthouse

The view of the South Wairarapa coast from the top was worth the climb.

South Wairarapa coast line

We paused long enough to catch our breath and take a few mandatory photos.

At the top of Cape Palliser lighthouse.

Anyone in there?!

Anyone in there?

A selfie of hubby and I…

Selfie at the topBefore carefully descending the steps to be greeted by a flock of sheep being rounded up.

Descending the steps

One of the sheep decided he wasn’t having any of the rounding up business. He bolted for the sea, to have a cool down, and nearly had a run in with a seal. A shepherd was on hand to guide the reluctant sheep back to the flock.

Sheep having a dip in the sea

After all the excitement we took a short drive further down the road to see a gorgeous colony of seals. There was a pool where a group of baby seals were happily frolicking around.

Baby seals at play

They seemed to be having a marvellous time, whilst presumably waiting for their parents to return from fishing up something for lunch.

Seals on the south Wairarapa coastThe final drive back to Martinborough was appreciated by Monsieur Cocoa in particular…

Happy dog

A beautiful Easter Sunday and we were just so glad the weather held together for the weekend.

Driving through Martinborough

Unfortunately a cold southerly blast came through after the weekend, just in time for the school holidays – but we were grateful for the chocolate stash left over from Easter!

Posted in Martinborough, School hols, Special Days | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Singin’ in the Rain in Wellington!

My first thought, as I walked into the entrance of the St James Theatre in Wellington, was, ‘Wow! All these umbrellas are gorgeous, but they wouldn’t last five minutes outdoors in Wellington for real!’.

Thankfully, there were no gusts blowing into the concourse of the St James Theatre for the performance of Singin’ in the Rain, showing till 26 April in Wellington. The atmosphere was warm and cheerful as I popped into the box office to collect my complimentary tickets, care of Lunchbox Productions AU_NZ.

Singin' in the Rain at St James Theatre, Wellington

I took my friend and neighbour as my ‘plus one’ and we were given seats on the front row of the dress circle. We had a wonderful view of the performance, as well as the ‘splash zone’ – the first three rows of the stalls (patrons were given ponchos, just in case the toe tapping dancing in the rain got too splashtastic!).

It was an amazing performance of singing, incredible dancing (lots of tap – so much so that my friend had to keep reminding me to stop tapping my feet so enthusiastically!), slick set changes (including the careful clean-up of 12,000 litres of water, as it rained down on the stage) and the glamour of Hollywood in the 1920’s.

My friend and I sat captivated throughout, marvelling at how technology has changed so much in less than one hundred years, as the story followed the changes to the film industry from silent movies to ‘talking’ movies.

We left the theatre with the music of the show in our ears and a plan to spend some of the wintery days ahead rugged up watching those classical musical movies of the good ‘ole days.

Singin’ in the Rain is a 1952 American musical comedy film directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, and choreographed by Kelly and Donen. It offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood in the late ’20s, with the three stars portraying performers caught up in the transition from silent films to “talkies.”

A fantastic production, that left me with the urge to dance, sing and twirl around in a frock with an umbrella at the next sign of rain! Although, in windy Wellington, I’d be more likely to do a ‘Mary Poppins’ impression with an umbrella in hand!

Posted in Reviews, Sarah | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hobbit or Dwarf, Wizard or Man? We found out at Rivendell.

Hobbit or dwarf?

Rivendell, the place where hobbits and dwarfs meet with men, wizards and elves. Our youngest explorer was delighted to be hobbit sized, whilst my friend, Nicola, and I were wizards. Sophie, aged 9, wasn’t so sure about being dwarf sized, but she’d have a lot of growing to do to be on a par with the elves. Our friend Rob was ‘man sized’ and a great companion to our young adventurers, who set off to explore a pathway, leading down to the river.

To the river

This beautiful location, the setting for the filming of ‘Rivendell’ in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, is in Kaitoke Regional Park, in the greater Wellington region of New Zealand’s lower North Island.

Kaitoke Regional Park

There are walks ranging in length from minutes to hours, and something for all ages and fitness levels. There’s a gorgeous camping area and, in summer, there are inviting swimming holes and picnic spots aplenty.

With an autumn chill in the air we didn’t have swimming on our minds, but the river stones invited us to play. Our friend, Rob, showed young Alice and Sophie how to skip stones and set up some targets for them to aim for in a game of stone throwing across the river. They delighted in finding the heaviest stones for Rob to throw in, causing giant splashes and a crashing sound in the river valley (much to our dog’s frustration – he wanted to run in after every stone and retrieve it!).

Skipping stones

There was always a bigger and better stone – but some – like this boulder sized, monumental one, were made for climbing on!


Our young explorers enjoyed stepping across this swing bridge too.

Swing bridge Kaitoke

Such a magical place to spend a few hours, immersed in the most beautiful natural scenery. I was really glad to have the wonderful company of friends, Nicola and Rob, to share the experience with.

Beautiful stop off on the way back to #wellingtonnz. #rivendell

A photo posted by Robert Fletcher (@robertnpmk42) on


Linking up with…

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Posted in Country Kids, Playgrounds & Parks, Walks | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Running Wellington’s tracks & trails with Monsieur Cocoa

Running and walking the gorgeous trails of the Wellington town belt (with a touch of housework, school drop-offs, pick-ups, and other organising in between) has quickly become my term time ‘go to’ whilst all the girls are at school.

Looking down on Wellington city from Mt Kau Kau

Looking down on Wellington city from Mt Kau Kau

The autumnal weather has been beautiful and mild. Having a gorgeous puppy to share my time with is the best excuse ever to be outdoors and active.

Monsieur Cocoa

I adore running trails with him. He’s so good at running alongside me, slowing down when I’m gasping for air on a steep uphill section, and speeding up once I’ve caught my breath.

Mt Kau KauHe often glances up at me, with his gorgeous puppy eyes and tongue hanging out as he runs, and I find myself smiling back, as if we are sharing a mutual thought.

With walkways stretching from sea level to Wellington’s hilly peaks there’s something for every man, woman, child and dog!


Useful links

Walks & walkways by Wellington City Council

Welly walks app 

Posted in Our pets, Trails, Walks | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment