Tag Archives: sisters

Charlotte's sewing organiser

Mini Creations – now we have a sewing machine in the house!

I have friends that would be shocked at how a person could go through nearly 12 years of parenting without a sewing machine in the house.

Sophie learning sewing skills from her 11 year old sister.

Sophie learning sewing skills from her 11 year old sister.

I have often held friends that can sew (or knit or crochet!) in high esteem, as well as being in awe of the amazing things they create. When I first arrived in New Zealand, as a young twenty-something, I quickly realised how unskilled I was in many homely pursuits (everyone I met could sew and bake – really bake – and, well, at that point in my life the thought of baking filled me with fear!).

I am ashamed to say that my personal sewing skills have never gone much further than hand stitching a loose hem, sewing on a button or making the occasional felted puppet. I did make a skirt, once, on a proper sewing machine. I did it at school and it was a painful process. Since there wasn’t a lot of sewing happening in my home (apart from the occasional fix up of a garment – which my Dad was very clever at doing) I quickly forgot everything I’d learned in school. I was fortunate that my Dad’s Mum was incredibly talented at creating summer dresses for my sister and I on the sewing machine, as well as lovely knits to keep us warm in winter.

My own daughters, in New Zealand, have been gifted with beautiful dresses sent to them from their grandparents in England. My Mum-in-law knitted some gorgeous clothes for them when they were in their early years. I have been so thankful to them, but always felt lacking somewhat in the ‘Mum’ stakes at not being a sewer (or a knitter). I did finally face my fear of baking (when the children learned to speak they asked to bake – and I swallowed my fear and faced the flour).

So… here I am, with my 11 year old daughter returning home from school having LOVED sewing a ‘Tote bag’. She has not only picked up, with ease, the skills to use a sewing machine, but been further interested to research other things she’d like to make at home… if only we had a sewing machine.

Meanwhile, my middle daughter, (now 9) used to want to sew, with a passion, when she was around six. I tried to deter her with hand stitching projects. A friend with amazing sewing skills (she used to own her own business making wedding gowns!) did spend a couple of sessions kindly giving her some tips, but I sheepishly steered my daughter to other creative pursuits that I could do with her at the time. So, with my oldest daughter now skilled in using a machine it was time to finally make that purchase, buy a sewing machine, and foster the enthusiasm to ensure my daughters felt empowered to sew!

I’m delighted with the purchase. My daughter’s first home project was making an organiser to store her sewing things:-

Charlotte's sewing organiser

She has also been incredibly patient and kind in teaching her nine year old sister some basic skills.

Teaching the sewing skills

And then there’s my 5 year old, who has benefitted greatly from her older sister’s creativity already. She’s been made a skirt and scarf for her bear, as well as a lovely cushion (with the initial of her first name on it):



I can’t wait to see what other creations are made on the sewing machine and it’s lovely for the girls to learn together (though of course this doesn’t always happen harmoniously!).

Linking up with…

Mini Creations
Sunset at Island Bay

The last night of the summer school holidays

It was a perfect evening, with not a breath of wind (rare for Wellington). The sun’s heat was still present, even as it began to set in the sky.

Sunset at Island Bay

The warm evening was too much of a temptation to play. It didn’t feel like the night before the first day of a new school year. We knew the pre-school nerves of our middle daughter would stop her from succumbing to sleep for a while anyway; so out we went.

Island Bay

We played at the beach till dusk, momentarily forgetting the reality of school the next day. It was like a moment of summer we never wanted to end; the kind to bottle for a dark, rainy day.

Our recently turned 9 year old daughter, our second born, hugged her younger sister, not quite 5, as the sun sank in the sky. It was a poignant moment, knowing her homeschooling days were coming to an end. The next day she’d embark on a new path – that of joining her oldest sister at school – a path she’d made the decision to walk; but still her heart and mind were riddled with anxiety at the challenges ahead.

Sophie & Alice at Island Bay, the night before the new school year

The distraction of the sea, the colours of the setting sun, and the warmth of the air definitely helped to soothe her anxiety for that moment.

Setting sun on Wellington's south coast

How wonderful it would be to freeze time. I would have given almost anything to stop the clock and let that moment linger on and on – but then, that moment was so special – because we all knew it was only a moment – and one to treasure in our hearts.

Island Bay sunset and water jets

So, until darkness fell, we played on; examining shells, tossing pebbles in the water, paddling in the waves and dodging the water jets on the jetty.

Island Bay jetty


Linking up with the wonderful…

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


At home with my folks, Hampshire, England

It’s been a fortnight since we returned from the UK to the US. We are heading back to New Zealand to live at the beginning of October, but for now we’re in limbo; between the two places we love.


I haven’t felt like writing anything much, but have tried to fit in a little reminiscing about our trip. It’s bittersweet to write about the times we shared with our wonderful family and friends whilst in the UK: On the one hand, the photos and memories make the trip linger on and make everyone we love there feel closer; On the other hand, I’m thrown against the wall of reality – that we shan’t see them for a year or so, at the least, and we are about to move even further away again – back to New Zealand.

On every trip back there are always so many people we don’t manage to meet up with; as well as all the wonderful reunions I write about. I haven’t seen many cousins, aunts and uncles in well over a decade. The UK is my home of birth, but not my children’s home. They were born in New Zealand and, as much as they’ve enjoyed this time living in the US, are looking forward to getting back there.

I am forever torn in two – trying to be positive for my children and their future (for sure they have an amazing life in New Zealand and a wonderful future with so much freedom of choice and opportunities), whilst feeling guilty at not being there for my folks. I feel driven to write down all the events, both big and small, that make up the passages of time; clinging on to them to protect them from fading. However faded those memories become they will live on in photographs and the love that we shall always feel in our hearts.

So, this is what it is; a place where I can write about the times we have shared and safeguard them in some small way.

Our last week in Europe was spent with my Mum and Dad in their Hampshire home.

My dear folks with their youngest granddaughter, Alice

It’s where they have lived for thirty-five years and where I grew up. My best-friend, from when I was 11, still lives a few houses away and many of my other school friends have stayed and are seeing their own children pass through the schools we went to. The week was one of spending time with people that have touched my life throughout the years and still mean so much to me. I caught up with friends over coffee, at local pubs, even at a new trampoline centre (anything to keep the children happy!).

Old University friends of both my husband and I (yes, we met way back then… at Southampton University) came together. We shared memories, talked of our different life journeys – the happy and sad parts that combine to make life’s rich tapestry – and looked forward through our children’s eyes at what is yet to be.

We took a day trip into London with my folks and our children, walking through the parks and admiring the sights steeped in history. Hubby took our older two children to the theatre to see ‘Phantom of the Opera’, whilst I spent a lovely afternoon boating along the river Thames with our youngest daughter and my folks.


The week came to a close on a Friday. Our flight scheduled to leave Saturday afternoon. The last day was spent sharing my best friend’s celebration of her youngest son turning ten. She kindly invited us to share the ‘football party’. It was lovely to see her sons and my daughters getting on so easily.

In the afternoon one of our nephew’s, Michael, came down from his University digs, along with his lovely girlfriend, to spend the evening with  hubby and I. One of the binding memories of our visit to the UK this time round was how our daughters enjoyed the company of their older cousins – they were reunited with all but one of their six cousins. All their cousins are boys, and most are a fair bit older, but the bond of family made their union easy.

Michael, Sophie & Alice

Likewise, the bond between Aunts and Uncles and the girls, their nieces, was lovely to see.

Seeing my sister and having the chance to head out for a run with her was a special highlight for me (yes, I’m still running – before wine… have to earn it now I’m forty!).

My sister and I

The memories will live on in our hearts forever xxx


Linking up with ‘The Photo Gallery’ at Sticky Fingers


Loved celebrating four years of our youngest daughter being in our lives!

We are so very blessed to have Alice in our family. She has spent her first four years sharing her happy zest for life with us and bringing us all so much joy. There’s been no need to rush her off to kindergarten when we were in New Zealand, or a preschool whilst here in California, as she’s always had plenty of activity in the home with her sisters, neighbourhood friends and family. She’s a chatty, friendly, sociable girl who has sooooo much love to share.

Alice the Princess!

We enjoyed a fabulous day of fourth Birthday celebrations with her over the weekend; from a morning of present opening and playing, to an afternoon of splashing in the swimming pool, running on the beach and finishing up with Birthday cake. Nothing was planned, everything just flowed.

She loved her special day and kept asking, again and again, ‘Am I really four now?’.

She kept checking to see if anything about herself had changed, along with her age. She thought that she’d be a different size or have to sleep in a different bed. I recall her older sisters asking similar questions around this age. She was almost a little worried about turning four, saying, ‘I’m happy being three, but I do like Birthdays!’.

It was hilarious when the man of the house got the kayak in the swimming pool and she togged up in a life-jacket for a ‘high sea adventure’! She loves the water and her biggest accomplishment this year has been learning to swim.

High sea adventure in the swimming pool with Daddy!

Her energy throughout the day was wonderful and she just about managed to stay awake for some Birthday cake, after meeting me on the beach, after my jog, for a little workout of her own! We drove back home, with the top open on the VW, to keep her awake. She crashed pretty soon after blowing out her candles and devouring the icing off her Birthday cake!

Her good friend here, Ollie, couldn’t make her actual Birthday – but we are looking forward to a bit of party fun, pirate style, this coming weekend with him!

Miss 4 lives in a world of imagination and creativity.

On any given day she could be a princess, a vet, a doctor, a zombie (older sister’s & Minecraft!)

Face paint is frequently requested and she asked me to turn her into a puppy dog the other day – to surprise her Daddy on his return from a three day business trip away (she wanted to ‘pretend’ she was a new pet in the house).

Alice puppy dog facepaint

She plays with her toys in such creative, imaginary ways, making up stories with her dolls, or dinosaurs, cars, trains… she’ll pick up sticks, leaves and acorns for various props, anything to hand makes a story really!

It’s such a joy to have her around. Formal schooling is not something in her mind or ours right now. To be honest, there’s little need, as she’s thriving with natural learning of numbers, letters, art and the beginning of writing. She joins in science experiments with her sisters, builds and creates with blocks, lego, magnets and connecting rods, she sings and dances every day and is always on the go physically. Everything she needs in life is here, at home, with family and friends. This time in her life is full of magic, limitless possibilities in her imaginary worlds and living in the moment. We love you Alice Rose xxxx

Happy Birthday Alice!

Three sisters, one perfect Monday afternoon & a chocolate fish

Being woken at 5am by my two year old, Alice, after a late night travelling between France and England in the 1400’s, isn’t easy (though, thanks Philippa Gregory for the escapism).

I lay on the sofa, trying to sleep, hoping the ‘Peppa Pig‘ DVD would suffice to keep Alice from demanding too much attention. By 7.30am my oldest daughter, Charlotte, was awake. Within ten minutes of waking it was clear that anything anyone said or did would provoke a mega-watt reaction. She was exhausted and in the dreaded ‘lizard brain’ mindset, unable to see any clarity or sense, filled with fiery rage. We decided her mental health would be served well with a day at home. She tucked up to watch an old favourite, ‘Finding Nemo‘.

My middle daughter, Sophie, woke close to 9.00am, sensibly catching up on sleep after her late night (she’s been a bit of a night owl lately and, as a homeschooler, relatively free to go with her own natural bio-rhythms). She was in top form. We were supposed to meet up with some home-school friends for a swim – but with Charlotte home and Alice up so early, it wasn’t to be. By 10.30am I was ready for a nap – and so was Alice. She fell asleep on top of me, whilst I was reading a book in the play-room. We stayed asleep… till the afternoon!

Charlotte and Sophie were so good – keeping themselves quietly entertained, fed and watered. I couldn’t believe the time when I emerged from a sleepy slumber with Alice. It was 2.15pm! The sky was blue, the wind a gentle whisper (yes, it can be gentle in Welly!). There was no way I was going to let us waste the last few hours of daylight indoors.

By 2.30pm we were out the door and bathing in the afternoon rays and fresh air at The Chocolate Fish in Shelly Bay.

At the Chocolate Fish, Shelly Bay, Wellington

A late lunch of soup, bagels and bacon butties (served with a chocolate fish – naturally), went down a treat. I felt pepped up after a latte and moved onto a green tea – lounging on the bean bags, enjoying the sight of the sun, slowly sinking in the sky, over the city of Wellington, in the distance across the bay.

My daughters ran about, playing ‘museum statutes’, racing on the ride-ons and climbing aboard the model ‘Interislander’ ferry for a pirate adventure.

Wheels of fun!

Alice proved to be a little green tea leaf – testing my tea with her fingers and then draining the contents as they cooled. I half watched and half interacted with their play – loving the rarity of seeing them all connect on top form.

Alice, my little green tea leaf, full of love and hugs

After a while the play started to move away from the cafe, as the setting sun pulled the girls closer to the shoreline. We headed to one of the many little beaches that dot the Miramar Peninsula. A beach strewn with nature toys of smooth stones to skip on the calm waters of Evan’s Bay; shells of various sizes, colours and states of erosion; smoothed glass of green, yellow, orange and white; and large pebbles for tossing into the water with a satisfying splash.

A beach in Shelly Bay, Miramar Peninsula, Wellington

My older girls searched for rocks they could tap away at, in the hope of revealing hidden gems or fossils. It was beautiful to play with my youngest, Alice, whilst watching Charlotte and Sophie interact. Two sisters, sharing discoveries. This school term has felt long and I’m relieved that Charlotte, my oldest – who turns 9 on Thursday, will break up on Friday for three weeks of ‘down time’ to simply ‘be’ over the holidays.

Two sisters sharing discoveries

As the sun set and the warmth of its glow left us, we retreated to the car to head home. But before we did, Charlotte stopped a moment to sit and reflect at the beautiful scene. Sophie joined her – and then Alice. It was a special moment of peace between the three of them. A moment of solidarity. A moment I had to capture and hold onto in my heart.

A moment of peace. Three sisters and the setting sun.

They gazed at the new moon, but a crescent of light high in the sky, and the final glow of the sun over the city hills. I feel so blessed to have three special daughters in my life (however much they exhaust me and test my nerves at times!). This is what it’s all about. This was one perfect Monday afternoon of three sisters in harmony, enjoying some fresh air and winter rays at The Chocolate Fish in Shelly Bay.


Linking up with two of my favourite blog reads – ‘Exploring Beauty with MNMs’ and ‘GreatFun4Kids':