Tag Archives: photography

Hubby & Miss 8 on the beach at sunset

The Photo Gallery: World Photography Day

How do you choose one photograph to summarise a year? World Photo Day is celebrated every year on the 19th August, (but to understand more head over to the website and escape into a thousand images from around the globe).

Between August 19-26 the website opens for submissions and, for me personally, it’s a wonderful moment in the year to capture the magic that photography allows us to do. I chose this photograph, taken this week, of our middle daughter, so full of energy and zest for life.

Portrait for World Photography Day

The photograph is a snapshot of her, totally in the moment, on the beach in sunny Santa Barbara, California.

We have been back in California, on the western coast of the USA, in sunny Santa Barbara, for a couple of weeks, after a wonderful month in Europe visiting our family.

In October we head back to New Zealand to live, after having a full year of living in California. It’s a time of transition for our family. My husband and I, both having grown up in the UK – but having spent most of our adult lives in New Zealand, are well experienced in long haul travel and expat living; but seeing our children blossom over this past year of tasting a life somewhat different has been incredible.

Our youngest has turned four and learned to swim. Our oldest daughter turned eleven and has thrived in having time with her younger sisters (though missed her school and friends in New Zealand very much). Our eight year old has been the jam in the middle. She is incredibly active and has incredible zest for life. Her energy captivates and enthrals, as well as exhausts! She is the best personal trainer a parent could have and she motivates my hubby and I to keep fit, so that we can keep up – not just with her, but with our other two daughters as well.

Miss 8 & Miss 4

She motivates us all to swim in the pool, take a plunge when we’d rather not, head out for a bike ride or a run on the beach.

Miss 11 & Miss 8

She practically begs us to take her to the ‘batting cage’ or the ‘climbing wall’, or just stretch out on a yoga mat!

Hubby & Miss 8 on the beach at sunset

And work to keep up we certainly do try!

Hubby with his stand up paddle board…

Hubby at Leadbetter Beach, Santa Barbara

and me with my running (managed to sign Miss 8 up for her first 5km official run; she did great):

Miss 8 after her first official 5km run

This past fortnight, back in California, in between packing copious boxes for our return to New Zealand, has been all about balancing out the energy. We are a family of five. We’ve spent a year in each other’s pockets, out of the school system, living life closely and supporting the man of the house in his work. We’ve travelled, explored and learned so much together. We feel stronger and closer than ever before. Now we are ready to return to our home and continue life’s journey, grateful for each other, our love, our freedom of choice and a future in one of the world’s most peaceful countries – New Zealand.


Linking up with ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog, celebrating World Photo Day 2014.


The Photo Gallery | Together

A long weekend gave us time to be together as a family – even if, at times, my mind wasn’t all ‘together’ with it! In my mind there are always people floating around – physically distant from me, but close in my thoughts, that I wish to be together with – for a moment in time.

My favourite photographs of the weekend don’t share a theme of Easter (or chocolate), but show moments of togetherness. Seeing my three daughters together, happily playing for a moment in time…

Sisters together

The coming together of my husband and I – all be it in a funny pose (as instructed by Miss 7)! We met over twenty years ago and have been through so much together, but having three children in our lives has definitely been the biggest test on our ‘togetherness’! We are constantly stretched in different directions and working to carve out time to be together, to stay connected, to stay true to ourselves, to keep our sanity, to prioritise our health and to be together, as a team, as parents.


My favourite moment of ‘togetherness’ over the weekend was shared with my oldest daughter, Charlotte, who turns ten this year. She is training for her upcoming cross country race and we shared a run together. It was the first time we’d done this – properly (of course we’ve run around fields and on beaches, been on walks together, cycled, danced together… but never actually ran – matched in pace – together). She set a great pace and led me through some great stretches too (quite the personal trainer she makes!).

Mother and daughter running together

Charlotte and I don’t get much time together – as she’s busy with school and hobbies during the week. Her Daddy runs her to school, often picks her up, and spends the most time with her. I am usually tied up with my home-schooled Miss 7 and Miss 3. We all shared some good times together this long weekend, but it was great to have a little time with those we don’t usually get to spend time with too. The man of the house had a great time with his older girls on Saturday – racing around ‘Laser Force’, we all spent time together on Sunday morning at the swimming pool and at ‘The New Dowse’ gallery on Monday. I spent valuable time with Charlotte, whilst hubbie played ball, cars, lego and games with Miss 7 and Miss 3, and we all had some time alone too – to be together with our thoughts.

Time together

The time we spend apart, makes the time we share together all the more special (thinking especially of my dear Mum, celebrating her Birthday this week and travelling with my Dad to see my dear sister and her partner in the north of England).



The Photo Gallery: The Letter C

These past hot months, of the most incredible summer New Zealand has seen in decades, has been intensely wonderful. We’ve enjoyed endless evenings of playing out till dark, and days with windows flung open to let air fill the house. We’ve not had to layer up in months, our skin has been free to breath, unrestricted from long sleeves and heavy materials. The washing has been put on on the line, every day of summer – without fail, to dry without a care. Long hair has dried in the air, with no need for electronic blow-drying to take off the chill of wet locks around the shoulders. Our feet have walked freely on sand and grass, free from confinement of socks and shoes.

But, all this pleasure has come at a great price.

New Zealand, otherwise know as ‘Aotearoa’ - translated this means ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’, has seen plentiful blue skies – but very little cloud. So, with this week’s ‘Photo Gallery’ being on the theme of ‘The Letter C’, I’m throwing in this photograph of what we’ve seen for the past few months – and it’s quite obvious what we’ve seen very little of (spot the white fluffy bits – there’s not been many of them around!).

Another sun filled day at Lyall Bay, Wellington, endless summer of 2013

The weather map over the entire country has frequently been dotted with nothing but ‘sunshine’ symbols.

Now, we see the consequence, and drought has been declared in vast areas of New Zealand. Wellington City is on track for its longest dry spell since 1947, when Kelburn’s rain gauge did not record any rain over 1 millimetre for 34 days. Wellington is to see a ban on any non-essential use of water outdoors from Saturday.

Photo from NIWA - March 2012 contrast to March 2013, North Island, NZ

CHANGING COLOUR: Nasa satellites show a relatively green New Zealand a year ago, compared with a browning country now. The Wellington region's water supply has dropped to near crisis levels. CREDIT: Niwa

So when we do see cloud in the sky, we really hope – like never before – for it to bring rain – and consistent rain for days.

It has been divine and we’ve loved every moment, but now we really must start doing our rain dances and – when it comes – we must be grateful!


Linking up with ‘The Gallery’ at ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog…

The Gallery

Scorching Wednesday in Wellington

It’s too hot for many words (and too hot for clothes!),

so here’s a few captures from my day…

The most beautiful school run, along Wellington’s south coast.

With hubbie away, I’m on duty, leaving the house before 8am to make it to school on time for 8.20am.

My non-schooling daughters joining their big schooling sister for the ride.

It was quite a jolly drive this morning!

School run

After the school drop, a stop at Oriental Parade to admire the view (and get Mamma a latte!).

Oriental Bay

Wellington City

Wellington is a beautiful capital city in the summer sun.


Gazing at vast numbers of moon jelly-fish and hoping to see dolphins and mermaids too!


Later in the day, after a swim in the cool pool, and school pick-up,

the children play in the garden, whilst I escape for a jog.

Grandma & Granddad kindly watch over their grandchildren.

I am free!

Princess Bay

Houghton Bay

And now…

Lying in bed, with windows open, too hot for p-jays.

I’m listening to the seagulls – calling in the night.

My entire being glowing from a sun-filled day.


The Gallery | Sky

Wellington is the home of ‘Big Weather’. The sky scape changes rapidly. It is often four seasons in one day.

Wellington from Brooklyn wind turbine

The clouds can race so fast that they make you feel dizzy (especially if you happen to stand under a city high-rise and look up!).

Majestic Centre, Wellington city

From high vantage points over the hilly harbour city…

Brooklyn Wind turbine, Wellington

and from sea level…

Oriental Parade

the sky always enthralls me, as much as the hills and sea that make up Wellington’s geography.

Lyall Bay, Wellington

The colours of the day and the mood of the seasons…

Setting sun over Evans Bay

all reflected in the sky on an infinitely changing canvas.

Taken at Carlucciland, Wellington

From dawn to dusk,

through the blue summer skies and the storms of winter -

From the high hilly tops,

to the splash of salt water at sea level -

The canvas is ever changing -

as are the colours on the palette.

No one place in Wellington can ever be the same again -

There is an energy that keeps it changing -

Even when the sun sets on each day.

© Sarah Lee, 2012

Sunset from Shelly Bay, Wellington


Photo A Day JUNE 1 – 9 | Slices of Life

I love taking photographs and joining in with ‘Photo A Day June‘, with a different theme every day, adds a little spin to my domestic, home-schooling, mothering duties. I normally snap the pics on my phone camera (which isn’t great – a little grainy and difficult to focus at times), but when I have the time – and a free hand – I like to take photographs with this little baby…

My camera and green chalked streak of hair!

Here’s the first nine days of June…


My morning usually starts early, involves a large breakfast, a large coffee and spoonfuls of patience. Thankfully I have no need to look presentable for my oldest daughter’s school run (she starts at 8.30am and hubbie takes her – as his office is near her school). I usually wake whenever my youngest does and and wait for my six year old, home schooler, to wake up (she’s a night owl and often doesn’t rise till 9.30am – which allows me some nice one-on-one time with my two year old).

I find my self baking, making play dough, painting, putting the washing on, playing with puppets and sometimes painting whiskers on my two year old – every morning is different!

1. Morning | PhotoadayJune


This is the latest collectors ‘must have’ in our house (I shudder at the packaging and plastic volume involved). They are called ‘Trashies’ and this is what the trash can looks like when it’s empty…

2. EMPTY | PhotoadayJune


A favourite of my two year old’s – berry muffins – we keep a stash of frozen berries in the freezer over winter (like squirrels) and despair when the stash runs out. It’s so good to chuck in a handful of antioxidants to a smoothie or some muffins.



I took this on Queen’s Birthday weekend at Scorching Bay – the rocks are beautifully sculpted by the sea there.

Scorching Bay


I love the design of this sign, and others, alongside the dunes at Lyall Bay. When I first came to Wellington the dunes were non-existent – but once, before the area was settled by people, were extensive. Thanks to some hard-working, caring volunteers who love Lyall Bay, there’s been a lot of great restoration work – and these signs help to encourage people to protect that work.

Dune sign at Lyall Bay

6. HAT

The day I took this photograph was definitely a WARM hat day in Wellington (and in the South Island – where snow blanketed the island). This hat is made of possum fur (possums were introduced to New Zealand from Australia and are a serious threat to the native wildlife and trees). There’s an interesting article ‘Making possums pay‘ in New Zealand Geographic. I can’t help feeling sorry for the possums born in the wrong country – but the damage they are doing to New Zealand’s flora and fauna is putting many species on the seriously endangered list (I hope I don’t receive too much flack for wearing a possum fur hair… it is very warm though, *thank you Possum!*).



This wasn’t my first thought for this theme – but when I came across a few chickens enjoying a drink from this rain filled pot at the local Zoo, I thought ‘Drink!’.

Mmm, water!


What to photograph? It could have been the nuts that Alice had just spilt all over the kitchen floor, or Sophie on the computer. It could have been the dishes waiting to be washed, or the clock ticking on the wall. It could have been the drawn curtains keeping the cold out. In the end, I settled for this six o’clock snap – young Alice cooking up something for her dolls…

Alice at six o'clock


Two images for today. One was taken at Wellington Airport – I took Sophie and Alice for a plane watching ‘fix’ and a ride on the toy ‘Westpac Trust’ helicopter (Charlotte needed a little space after a late night – so her Daddy kindly obliged and took her out for some one-on-one ‘clear head space’ time!).

At the airport we reminisced on all the visitors we’ve greeted to New Zealand at the airport – Grandma & Granddad, Auntie Claire, cousin Jane – and we talked of flying away some place at a whim and all the places we’d like to travel to.

Sophie and Alice at Wellington Airport

This final photograph, snapped on my phone, was a breathtaking sight for my eyes. My dear hubbie was taking care of the children, whilst I enjoyed a little solo time on our local beach. As I parked up the car a stunning rainbow almost ‘shot’ from the sky, like a celestial beam of light (I only wish I’d had my SLR on me to take a decent photograph!). Ah well – the memory is imprinted on my mind…

Lyall Bay beach at dusk