Festive greetings from Aotearoa!

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks of events and I am so grateful that our ‘team of 5 million’ pulled together earlier in the year, with the 7 week lockdown, so that we can enjoy living a life of ‘relative’ normality now (things can always change!). Everyone I talk to is filled with gratitude and at every event there is a keen awareness of how fortunate we are. I am in frequent communication with my folks in the UK and my daily thoughts are filled with them, consciously sending love and best wishes their way. I am so grateful for Skype and Zoom calls.

Pohutukawa blossoms – our New Zealand Christmas Tree

Summer Solstice here has just heralded in our summer in New Zealand (most of the country has been basking in sunshine for several weeks, but Wellington has had its usual windy spring with every day throwing us a mixture of seasons and the consistent need for a layered wardrobe!).

Princess Bay, Wellington, New Zealand. December 2020

Our family and friends in the northern hemisphere will be celebrating the slow return of the light, much needed for them right now – as they suffer in continual lock downs and restrictions.

Here at home our three daughters excitement for Christmas is building, though it’s a little different to when they were little. Our oldest has finished her final year of school and is already busy in her gap year with a mixture of paid part-time work and volunteer work. We had an amazing evening at her Y13 Leaver’s Dinner.

Leaver’s Dinner for our oldest daughter, held at the InterContinental Hotel, Wellington.

Leavers Dinner for the Y13 cohort and a wonderful moment for parents and now ‘old girls’ to celebrate their school years and look to the future with positivity.

Our second born turns 15 on Boxing Day and has just had a brilliant party with friends. She’s had a great two terms at high school in Wellington, deciding to start there at the beginning of term 3, after over 4 years of home education. Her home room teacher gave her a fabulous report saying, ‘Sophie is like an exclamation mark in all the best ways. She brings a huge amount of enthusiastic energy and genuine passion to her learning and staff and students alike are spurred on by this. A powerhouse of positivity, Sophie is a well-loved part of the Kelly WhaÌ„nau and every classroom will benefit from her presence next year. NgaÌ„ mihi nui ki a koe, Sophie!’

Our second born turns 15!

Sophie’s best friend from home ed days is at the same high school and she came over to help with the party preparation. They did such an amazing job making all the food, baking and decorating this incredible vegan cake and decorating the house for the party too!

The party was an 80’s themed ‘murder mystery’ and was brilliantly hosted by our oldest daughter, acting as the detective.

Our oldest daughter hosted the party, playing the role of ‘detective’.

Our youngest daughter enjoyed joining in with the party too, playing the role of ‘Tom Cute’!

Our youngest in character as ‘Tom Cute’ whilst the other party goers talk motives to try and solve the mystery!

She’s had a great year of home education with her friends, finishing up with her last Makeroom STEM class of the year last week and brought home a clever little acoustic levitating device (that levitates tiny pieces of styrofoam) – she explained the physics to me brilliantly – it looked like magic to me! She also had her last Dungeons and Dragons meet up of the year this week. She will have to make time to connect with her wonderful home ed friends over the holidays and weekends next year – as she has decided to start school, beginning in term 1 in February and going into ‘Year 7’.

Hubby is working like crazy to tie up work so he can relax over Christmas and New Year. We did enjoy a relaxing weekend in Martinborough at the end of term 4.

Dinner in Martinborough at Crouching Tiger.

There was a lovely little Christmas festival in Martinborough, which our youngest enjoyed.

Christmas fun in Martinborough

I’ve been kept busy ferrying everyone to various meet ups with friends, Christmas shopping, wrapping and doing all the usual housework, as well as enjoying a few fun times of my own (can’t be all work and no play, tee hee!). I enjoyed an amazing dinner with a couple of friends at Te Papa Museum, seeing the WOW Up Close exhibition.

All dressed up for dinner at Te Papa, enjoying the ‘WOW Up Close’ exhibition with friends.

The following day (with a bit of a sore head!) I visited a recently opened yoga studio – NOWBreathe – with a friend, for a special ‘Vin & Gin’ Christmas flow class. The atmosphere and energy was so warm, welcoming and vibrant. After a cup of mint tea and a few deep breaths and downward dogs I started to feel much better. I ended up winning a month’s pass – so shall be trying out lots more of the classes and definitely plan on incorporating more yoga time into my life heading into 2021.

Christmas yoga at NOWBreathe. Studio, Wellington

I’ve also started running again! The IT band injury that side-lined me middle of this year is coming right – though still not completely healed (so I’m continuing with all that I’ve learned – glute work for strength, combined with stretching and rolling) and not pushing myself too far too soon.

Happy to be getting back on the trails of Wellington again – even better when there’s treats to run for!

I did my longest trail run since my injury this week, enjoying the Southern Walkway (with a little extra, as I ran to the start). It was a calm day in Wellington (unusual) and cloudy (pleasant for running) and I loved being on the trails again, connecting my breath with nature and listening to the bird song as my feet followed the pathways winding through the town belt reserve.

The Southern Walkway (with a couple of extra kms, as I ran to the start).

It’s now just two sleeps until Christmas Day and I’m off out now to stock up on those last minute items. We have friends around on Christmas Eve, so I plan to do some baking this afternoon (it’s raining, perfect baking weather!).

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, though I know for many people it will be a hard one this year, not being able to be with those they love and care about. I am so grateful that my dear sister is able to be with my folks this Christmas. My Dad has had an especially tough year caring for Mum at home, with her now in her eighth year of battling Alzheimer’s disease. My sister’s presence is a huge support for my Dad. I’m also so grateful to old school friends, who live close to my parents in England. My best friend has been amazing in popping to the pharmacy or shops for my Dad and her dear son and hubby have been helping my Dad to clear the autumn leaves in his garden.

This pandemic has been so hard on so many millions of people around the globe. My heart and thoughts are very much with all those suffering.

Take care and here’s hoping the New Year brings some light and positivity to everyone.