Special Days


Celebrating Father’s Day in New Zealand

Father’s Day, celebrated on the first Sunday of September in New Zealand (and Australia), was this year spent with a mix of action and creativity. Two of our three daughters were keen to get their Daddy out for some action and took him to the local recreation centre for an hour or two of roller-blading!


He did awesomely well and was, as always, a very good sport.

In the afternoon he had a quieter, more relaxing time, building a Star Wars Lego kit with his oldest daughter.


So a pretty good day for an amazing Dad (only he didn’t get breakfast in bed – not that he minded – but he did get a set of hot chilli sauces, which he very much approved of and remarked as ‘One of the best Father’s Day gifts ever!’. He also got a pair of Star Wars boxer shorts, which he modestly abstained from modelling).


The week before Father’s Day he’d enjoyed a fantastic morning at the junior school, having been invited to a ‘Father’s to School Morning’.


He spent the morning playing football and making a car out of scrap materials, after which he enjoyed a lovely morning tea and listened to two of his daughters sing in their respective choirs.

He could have also attended a Father’s Day breakfast, with his oldest daughter – who is in the middle school, but she decided 7am was far too early to be at school for that (and he was quite happy about that!).

So a very happy day celebrating the amazing man of our family, who is the most awesome, entertaining, supportive, helpful, attentive and fun Dad to his three daughters (and a very wonderful hubby too!).


Linking up with the wonderful ‘Magic Moments‘ at The Oliver’s Madhouse blog


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


Linking up with…


Celebrating 16 Years of Marriage | Magic Moments

On the 29th May this year, hubby and I celebrated 16 years of marriage, a good fourteen-plus years of which have been spent living as expats in New Zealand; on the opposite side of the world from our birth place of England and our dearly loved (missed and thought about often) families and friends.

It felt like a really special, milestone-celebration; particularly after the past couple years – which have been full of change. Last year we were celebrating in California, where we were resident at the time; the year before we were celebrating in Wellington, knowing our lives were about to change, with a move away from our home in New Zealand, to Santa Barbara, California.

Two years ago we didn’t know what the future really held for our family. Hubby had sold his business and was now working for a big international tech firm, that had bought a product off him and his colleagues. We had a three year work visa for the USA and were pulling our three daughters (then aged 3, 7 and 10) away from their birth place and a home they loved (of particular concern was taking our oldest daughter out of a school she adored).

We didn’t know how any of us would adapt to life in the USA. On the one hand, we envisioned our daughters and us settling into it and then we’d have to decide on the next 5-10 years; on the other hand, we saw it as a ‘working holiday’, of sorts, and returning to New Zealand thereafter – or maybe even journeying back to the UK to live, where my husband and I grew up.

It was a time of huge unknowns and indecision. It was a time of emotions riding high. It was a time when love between a couple was tested and strained. But, we pulled through it all and now, on reflection, it has definitely made us stronger.

In the end…

We made the right decision to treat our time in California as a temporary experience. The first months, where we tried to integrate our daughters into a USA school, were painful and hard. Once we stopped trying, made the choice to follow a path of unschooling / home-learning and make the most of the opportunity to travel and bond as a family in a new place, we were flying.

Our oldest daughter, in particular, still caused us some concern, as she was quite withdrawn in the first six months – but once she had a date set on her calendar, to return to New Zealand to live, she perked up and made the most of her time living overseas. We ended up spending fifteen months living in California and don’t regret any of it, but moved back to New Zealand knowing it was the right decision for our children.

So, after nearly eight months of living back in New Zealand, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a delicious dinner at Tirohana Estate in Martinborough, knowing our three daughters were being brilliantly looked after by a couple of our friends and happy to be home. It was a dinner of flowing wine, sumptuous food and easy conversation.

Dinner at Tirohana Estate, Martinborough

I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the dinner and have felt a smile deep in my heart ever since.

Happy 16th Wedding Anniversary!

Marriage is a path of undulating years, of highs and lows, just like life, and right now we are on a high. Seeing our three daughters all finally settled in a school they adore, living in a home where we feel happy and safe, and finding more opportunities to enjoy moments together as a couple (without the pain of sleep deprivation from the early parenting years) we are in a good place.

Even in the middle of winter, I feel happier than ever (and that’s saying a lot for me – I am not usually ‘good’ in winter!).

My darling husband, that I first met when I was just 18, over twenty years ago, makes me smile now in a way I couldn’t imagine was possible. Love is an evolving feeling, changing and growing in its essence, becoming deeper and etched with the experiences of life, like the contours of the land are always changing with the elements. Sometimes, when life is pulling us in so many different directions, that love is tested and hard to connect to – but a true love is ever present, its embers forever burning, to be reignited into a heated flame of passion when life is less demanding.

I feel, right now, that the smile on my lips is thanks to a window in our lives opening wide to let in the passion. Whilst that window is open, I shall value every precious moment.

Happy Wedding Anniversary to my darling husband and friend xxx

Postcards of Love on 16th Wedding Anniversary


 Linking up with…

Alice always catching sun beams

A letter to my five year old

Dear Alice,

Since turning five you’ve accomplished so much in your young life. Seeing you head off to school with such confidence and independence has filled me with many moments of deep pride (and a few Mummy tears!).

Alice busy at art in school

I wasn’t sure how you would adjust to school life, having never been to any type of pre-school education, playgroup or kindergarten, but obviously your years travelling and living overseas, as well as hours playing with your two older sisters and wonderful friends and neighbours, have been very well spent.

Alice alongside her older sisters (Alice in the middle)

I feel so fortunate to have spent so much time watching you grow into the amazing young school girl you are.

I also feel incredibly grateful to your older sisters, particularly Sophie – who is in junior school with you. They have been so supportive in helping you adjust to the routine of school life.

It’s a wonder to me where this time has gone and I still have to pinch myself that you are no longer ‘my baby’ (though, of course, in a way, you and your sisters will always and forever be ‘my babies’!). Your fifth Birthday, in February, just three, short months ago, was such a happy celebration. It was wonderful to be back in New Zealand, your birthplace, and celebrate with neighbours and family friends.

You are such a kind, caring and loving person, and so brave too. Whenever you feel disappointed, afraid, or hurt in some way, you are quick to take in deep breaths and work out how to calm yourself. You accept comfort and support, as much as you give it to all those that need it. Your personality is one of great warmth and character.

Alice on Mother's Day, 10th May 2015

Alice on Mothers Day, 10th May 2015

I love all your various expressions and the way you burst into song all the time. You have some serious power in that voice of yours! Growing up with two older sisters you’ve been introduced to modern bands and songs, not just the likes of ‘Hi-5′, ‘The Wiggles’ and ‘Play School‘ nursery rhymes. You sing along with your sisters to Maroon 5 (Sugar!), Katy Perry (Roar! and Dark Horse), Imagine Dragons, Wake Me Up (Avicii) and Sheppard’s ‘Geronimo’!

You have finally learned the meaning of what a ‘parody’ is – having listened to copious ‘Minecraft‘ parodies of popular songs for the past couple of years. You used to hear the original song on the radio and say, ‘It’s a Minecraft song, but oh, the words are wrong!’ – not understanding that the Minecraft song was a parody of the original song.

Your mind is a wonderfully creative one and your drawings are a wonderful insight into your world. Imaginary play has always been a love of yours – and still is. You have some wonderful friends in our neighbourhood and play with them for hours and hours, making up stories, dressing up and exploring the nature in the garden, at the beach and on the bush trails that weave through Wellington’s hilly terrain.


It’s magic to be your Mummy and I know Daddy is filled with happiness at your every word, song, smile and movement too.

Alice always catching sun beams

Lots of love sweetheart, we will always be by your side and with you in your heart,

Keep being you! xxxx


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

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!