Summer holiday loves, at home in Wellington

This is such a magic summer we’re having back in Wellington, New Zealand. Having hubby not working has made the school holidays all the more special (and less stressful!) too.

Dan taking the children and their friends out on the kayak in Island Bay

Dan kayaking with Sophie & a friend in Island Bay

We have just over a week left before our two older girls start the school year (our now 9 year old homeschooler is giving school a go – again… we’ll wait and see how that goes! Fingers crossed!!).

Hubby is due to start on a work contract in February and I’m looking forward to having some one on one time with our four year old (though I think she’ll miss her friends, when they are all back at school! It won’t be long before she turns five and maybe asks to join her friends at school too – it’s not compulsory till she’s six, so no rush.).

Despite the school term commencing soon, the summer holiday feeling will linger on a little longer, as we take ownership of a lovely home in Martinborough at the end of January (which we are looking forward to enjoying as a weekender and holiday home). The climate in Martinborough is generally warmer than Wellington, and the bountiful fruit and flowers in the gardens there are definitely evident of that!

Martinborough vineyard

Hubby and I got out together, sans children, last night. It’s rare we get time together, without our little darlings around, and, from the photograph below, you can see how happy we were to enjoy each other’s company one-on-one! We took a walk to the lovely Brew’d in Island Bay and are very grateful to our lovely neighbour for watching over our children, as well as her two.

Rare time together without our dear children

Most of our evenings have been spent in the garden, playing out with the children till the sunsets. We are living with the daylight and loving time with our friends and neighbours. Seeing our daughters hanging out with their friends and building on friendships is magic. There’s been so much impromptu creativity, like this fairy petal shop that one of our daughter’s set up with a friend.

Fairy petal shop

In between garden games and play, we’ve been taking it in turns to escape out for a quick bit of exercise (running for me and kayaking or paddle boarding for the man of the house).

The surf was so beautiful at Lyall Bay this week. Whilst hubby caught some waves on his paddle board, I watched over the children and their friends, paddling in the surf and playing with puppy (also paddling in the surf!).

Enjoying the surf

One evening I walked the puppy to the next bay, with my two youngest children and two of their friends, whilst hubby kayaked between the bays. We met up at the playground and then I headed for a run, whilst he took the children and puppy home.

Walking in the sun

It’s so lovely to be living back in Wellington, with the beautiful bays and rugged hills descending into the sea. The sky is an ever changing canvas. I always think of my dear Mum when I see a beautiful landscape, as she loves to paint with water colours and show me her latest work on our Skype chats. Nature has such a wonderful way of helping to connect hearts across the miles.

Island Bay

I love this sunset over Island Bay and the reflections in the water.

Sunset over Island Bay

Yes, it’s been a good summer. A summer of play and time to be together as a family, without distractions. After all of the travelling we did in 2014 it’s been lovely to start 2015 by enjoying the simple, and yet delightful, pleasures of living in such a peaceful, stunningly beautiful and happy little corner of the world.

I’ve loved waking up to the creative thought of my children (though often their impulse to start creating and experimenting, before I’ve even had a coffee or splashed cold water on my face to wake me up, is hard to be 100% enthusiastic about). Our youngest daughter, like her older sisters – when they were of a similar age – wakes with her mind switched on full power, ‘green’ to ‘go’!

Just a few of her pre-breakfast activities this week…

Meanwhile, our oldest daughter, who isn’t so keen on the outdoor pursuits of summer (that exacerbates her hay-fever), has been busying herself with a ‘Forensics Science Badge’ that she keenly brought home with her from school at the end of term. She’s had me analysing finger prints with her and examining fibres under a microscope – all of which I’ve gladly been party to, so long as I can fuel myself on coffee and ‘run’ time!

It really is the little things that make a happy life. I take so much pleasure from gathering fresh herbs and fruit from the garden (not that we have a large amount growing, but enough to put a smile on my face). I love collecting sweet pea flowers each day, to refresh a small vase on the kitchen windowsill, and enjoying their beautiful scent. I find the power of scent from a flower, the warmth of light from a candle, the soothing feel of an aromatic tea or cup of coffee in my mouth, so incredibly uplifting and calming – and just the balance I need when my children are testing my patience (wine helps too!).

So, here’s to the last week of the summer school holidays, but not the end of summer. Here’s to busy family life and the good times that aren’t always savoured until time allows for reflection. Finally, here’s to our puppy, Cocoa, and bunny, Fudge, that give us such amazing love and opportunities to while away time, just ‘being’ happy at home and in the garden.

Cocoa & Fudge, with Alice