Christmas & my Pohutukawa Fairy!

Pohutukawa fairy meets Santa

We’ve got the tree up and are feeling festive. The Christmas CD’s have been dusted off and we’ve had our first sing along around the piano. The weather (it’s supposed to be summer in New Zealand now) is very northern hemisphere… with a few days of sunshine to remind us that summer is ‘here’, it’s just very, very slow in hotting up.

The garden is looking lush (thanks to all the rain). The vegetables, herb garden and (very important!) strawberries, are thriving. Most importantly, the New Zealand ‘Christmas’ tree – the Pohutukawa Tree – is in bloom; so we can be in no doubt summer is the season and Christmas is getting closer and closer!

There’s lots of little Christmas jobs to do, as well as ‘keeping house’ and taking care of our pets. Thankfully I have a little Pohutukawa Fairy to give me a cheery, helping hand!

Pohutukawa fairy at the beach

She’s been busy at the beach arranging the driftwood into pretty piles and walking our puppy (as well as teaching him how to go down a slide!).

Walking Cocoa the puppy

She’s been popping up at Wellington Airport, to help pick up friends –

Pohutukawa fairy at Wellington airport

 … and has even met ‘Smaug‘ the dragon!

Smug the dragon

She’s been helping to do some Christmas shopping too, what a wonderful helper she is!

The festive season is definitely in full swing (even if summer is a little slow to load!) – and my Pohutukawa fairy will need her dress washing very soon! x

_________________________________

Linking up with The Photo Gallery theme of ‘Christmas’ this week at ‘Sticky Fingers’.

Posted in Alice, Photo Gallery | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

It’s beginning to feel like home again

Blogging has been sporadic this past month, on hearing from Crown Relocations that our container load of belongings was finally going to be delivered back to our home in Wellington.

I was determined to have the house organised, with storage space for everything that was coming. We’d purchased a few extra things whilst away in the USA – but had also cleared a lot things that our now four and half year old had grown out of. We’d also filled a skip load of stuff that we’d found around the house on our return from living overseas for fifteen months. The house was feeling cleared of clutter and I was determined to find a home for all our personal belongings without them overwhelming my new sense of order!

The main priority in achieving this was assigning each of our three children their own space and they would have the majority of their toys stored there; with just a few choice items (namely Lego, Thomas wooden train sets, cars, a pretend play kitchen and some paper and pens for impromptu writing and drawing) in the main living area.

The truck arrived one Thursday morning and I left hubby to tick the boxes off the inventory as they were unloaded – some 140 of them! I took my oldest daughter to school and spent an hour or so playing at a playground on Oriental Parade with my youngest daughter. Our middle daughter stayed to help with the logistics of unpacking!

Tug Boat, Parade Cafe, Oriental Bay, Wellington

When I returned home there were enough boxes loaded into the children’s rooms for me to start unpacking. Thankfully I’d forethought where I was going to store their various belongings – and ordered some great furniture from Mocka (which we’d spent the week, prior to delivery day, building).

Unpacking in Alice's room

My unpacking was interspersed with impromptu puppet shows, and other games, as toys were rediscovered after months of being on the container ship from California.

We also had a gorgeous wardrobe we’d bought from Pottery Barn, in the USA, to put together (it was mostly built – but there were three large pieces to fix together – which took the muscle power of three grown adults to lift!).

Our eldest daughter’s room is in the process of quite the make-over; with an amazing ‘New York’ feature wall. We have a few more items of furniture to choose – a desk, a couple of occasional chairs and a coffee table and some better storage for her collections and bits and bobs. She has an amazing ‘style tile’ on the wall, to keep her organised, and she’ll eventually have her desk under it – when we find one she likes.

Style tile from Pottery Barn

A wooden floor is going down this week – and will, by the end of next week (just in time for Christmas), be extending throughout the entire living, dining, hall and kitchen area of the downstairs of our home (so we have MORE furniture moving in preparation for the floor being laid down!)

In between all this unpacking, furniture building, painting and decoration, friends have been a very wonderful and welcome distraction. Hubby and I have been taking it in turns to take the children out, whilst the other one is left at home getting on with work. One of my favourite outings was with my younger two, to explore some rock pools. Our eldest daughter has been industriously earning points for a ‘Marine badge’ in science this term, so naturally her learning has influenced the younger two.

Rock pooling

At home in the garden there’s been plenty to entertain too, whilst I’ve been tending to our tomato, peas and strawberry plants – that are all growing beautifully (and yes, I’m still getting out for a few runs to keep me sane!).

summer garden

A friend invited us around to her house for a wonderful afternoon of making some ‘moss art‘ (environmentally friendly graffiti if you like!). The children loved blending the moss with some key ingredients, before pasting the mixture onto some wood, that my friend’s son had careful cut with his saw.

Our eight year old homeschooler has a very close friend her age (who she missed heaps whilst we were living in California) and they’ve been catching up a couple of times a week to play sport. They’ve both joined a softball team this term and are doing really well.

We’ve been out walking our puppy, enjoying the company of our neighbours and their children, and preparing our home with festive decorations for Christmas.

There’s also been unplanned interruptions to our unpacking, like the afternoon a beautiful ‘Tui’ (NZ bird) was found by my neighbour on her driveway, looking very wind swept and too tired to fly anywhere. She took the bird to the wonderful ‘Nest’ at Wellington Zoo, along with two of our daughters and her daughter, where the vets invited them in to see how they cared for wild birds in need of some rest and recuperation, before being released back into the wild.

We are finally beginning to feel ‘at home’. It’s so lovely to have our photos up on the walls again and cosy corners to snuggle and read (not that we have much time to sit down at the moment!).

And our gorgeous puppy is definitely helping us to feel ‘at home’.

The best part of being back is the welcome we’ve received from friends. Wellington is a pretty special place, despite the wind, and an impromptu evening meal with a friend and a drive to the Mount Victoria lookout reminded me of that.

Wellington lookout

The sunsets, the racing clouds, the hills and the harbour; this is what keeps our hearts in Wellington.

My hubby and I, expats from the UK, are so happy to see our children’s smiles at being back in the country where they were born.

It’s really great to be ‘home’. x

Seychelles Mama
Posted in New beginnings | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

My Babies | The Photo Gallery

The theme on ‘The Photo Gallery‘ is ‘Babies’ and I couldn’t resist a trip down memory lane…

Each of them entered this world with a unique birth story (as we all do!), which I do think has contributed some what to their personalities. They were made with the love of my husband and I, both of us born in the UK, but all of them were born in Wellington, New Zealand. They are all proud to call themselves New Zealanders and were wonderful ambassadors for New Zealand whilst we were living in California, USA.

New Zealand really is their home and they are so fortunate to have a life of so much freedom, choice and options.

I snapped a photograph of them today, running together on the beach with their Daddy and our latest addition – our gorgeous ‘fur baby’ Cocoa the Cavoodle (middle name is ‘nut’)!

My babies in December 2014!So many amazing times we have shared and many more to look forward to. Right now, our eldest at 11 and a half, our second born at nearly 9, and our youngest coming up 5 in February, are all looking forward to the long summer holiday in New Zealand (only summer is a little ‘slow to load’ in Wellington right now!).

_____________________________

Go check out the gallery over at Sticky Fingers blog for lots of cuteness!

 

 

Posted in Photo Gallery | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Mini Creations

A tweet reminded me of this lovely ‘Linky’ (‘Mini Creations‘ by Kid GL loves), run by a couple of great kids, in the UK, to celebrate the creations our children produce.

All too often I wish I’d taken a photograph of a particular creation – but then the moment has passed, the item has been lost, gifted to a friend or put out with the rubbish in a clear-out.

One such item was a gorgeous origami dress card my eldest daughter made for a friend’s Birthday this past week. I didn’t take a photo, but it was a lovely creation. However, to make up for it, I’m posting up a photo of a gorgeous ‘Merry Christmas’ box she made two year’s ago! I found it this week, whilst unpacking all the Christmas decorations, and she kindly agreed to ‘let it go’ along with our ‘Elf on the Shelf’ for a lovely family we know.

Elf on the Shelf

Our eight year old surprised us this week with a beautiful painting of ‘heart cookies on a tray’, after a trial day at her older sister’s school. She’s going to give school a go next school year, starting end of January 2015! After a few year’s of home schooling it will be a big change, but she turns nine on Boxing Day and she is keen to try and make it work. Here’s hoping!!

Painting by Miss 8

Finally, my cute as a button four year old (five in February!) greeted me home the other day with a gorgeous sign, saying, ‘Mummy, I heart you!’. She hasn’t been to preschool or Kindergarten, what with us travelling and living in the USA the past year and a bit. She’s such a happy, chatty love and it’s lovely to see her starting to write and read under her own steam.

4 year old Alice

She was treated to a gorgeous new ‘time-piece’ this week, which she is so delighted with and loves checking the time (as well as her reflection!) in it.

Alice's new time piece

Ooooo, one more creation before I leave…. this gorgeous ‘Frozen’ Christmas tree!!

Frozen Christmas tree!

 

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Photo Gallery | Pets, Unpacking & Walks

I’ve not blogged for more than a fortnight and one of the delightful reasons is having a couple of new pets in the home! The less than delightful reason; all our container load of belongings finally arrived from our year and a bit living in the USA. So, in between unpacking well over one hundred boxes, reorganising the entire house (and building a load of flatpack furniture; in preparation to store all the children’s ‘stuff’!), and occupying two home-educated children (thank goodness we have one at school!), we’ve also been ensuring our new bunny and puppy are kept happy.

Taking our new puppy for walks has been the most wonderful of excuses to escape the boxes and we’ve had some beautiful ones.

Houghton Valley walk, WellingtonOur rabbit has also been for his own little walks, on a harness and lead around the garden.

Alice taking rabbit - Fudge - for a walkWe are fortunate to have some lovely dog exercise areas scattered throughout the town belt reserve land of Wellington. It’s lovely to let our puppy run free (and so much easier to encourage our children to come along for a walk with a puppy added to the mix!).

Cocoa at the Ataturk Memorial Park

Cocoa the puppy has also been for a spin, close to the city – at Frank Kitts Park, in an electric car with our oldest daughter!

Cocoa goes for a spin!

We are loving having our puppy and bunny rabbit. It’s amazing how much having a puppy, in particular, has been such a positive thing for the whole family. Everyone is going to bed earlier and getting up around the same time. Cocoa soon sees to anyone that attempts a lie in, with a puppy lick wake-up!

____________________________________

Linking up with The Photo Gallery at Sticky Fingers

 

Posted in Our pets, Photo Gallery, Walks | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Gallery | Yellow

Introduced Ice plant, Cape fig, Hottentot fig (Carpobrotus edulis) in flower.

The colour of summer is blooming in the coastal sand dunes around New Zealand. This hardy, introduced Ice Plant, the Hottentot Fig, blooms along the coastline in startling beauty. Its colour stands defiantly bright, on even the wildest spring days in Wellington; scattered along walkways and through coastal dunes, as the wind bustles on through.

Running with the wind at her back

On the calmer days, its magnificent colour is enjoyed at leisure; as we sit in the dunes and listen to the waves, basking in the sunshine with pleasure.

Spring sunshine moment

Yellow, a colour that makes me happy, feel cheerful and bright, a colour for all seasons and times of day, a colour in so many hues to complement a thousand moods.

Yellow, on ‘The Photo Gallery‘ this week, where bloggers gather to share their interpretations on a theme.

Posted in Photo Gallery, Seasons | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments