Category Archives: Family


Can you believe this Easter weather? So beautifully warm and sunny, like about the third round of summer. We spent the afternoon at the beach surfing and swimming. Fried up some sausages for dinner and added chips from the food truck.

20130330-063419.jpgNothing better than hot, salty fries eaten straight out of fingers as the sun goes down after a day of being tumbled about by breakers.

The kids had watched Pitch Perfect earlier in the day and were serenading passers-by from the seawall. They didn’t want to go home.

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One of the reasons we enjoy hosting international students is because they inevitably stretch our family, introducing new foods, new games and new ways of thinking, and our family is changed, always more than it was before.

We travel a lot, all over the country, dragging our students to the prettiest tourist spots as well as the secret local treasures (Kerosene Creek at sunset is the hands-down favourite) and the iconic Kiwi landmarks, trying to make sure they get to see as much of our country as possible. Sometimes their interests take us to places we’ve never been before…

Which is how I found myself, during the last week of summer, in the back of beyond sharing a very primitive camp ground with over 100 laid-back, dread-locked, yoga-practising, sun-loving (in the nakedest possible sense) rock climbers. It was a place we would never have known existed if it wasn’t for Maja.

Maja is a climber and her team, most of them Year 13s at the same school, made their annual trek to Takaka to climb at Payne’s Ford. So we went too, fascinated by the eclectic mix of young people from all over the world, the way they dressed, the food they ate and the ideas they good-naturedly debated. The weather was sensational, the campground welcoming and the wood-fired pizza oven made dinner magic every evening.

And again, last weekend, at Castle Rock for the national bouldering champs. Another gorgeous day in the most spectacular of locations. Twisty, agile, fleet-footed people hanging upside down in the most ridiculous of places.



She’s one-in-a million this girl. Throwing herself into life in a new country while still keeping up the things she loves. Busy at school while working part-time at the local cafe. Taking the opportunities that New Zealand’s great outdoors offers. And, for a change, she’s the one dragging us along for the ride.

Hangdog – A climber who hangs on the rope while working on a very difficult sport climbing route, which usually takes many attempts and requires the climber to wire or totally figure out all the movements for a successful ascent from ground to anchors.


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Ranger Tim

It’s that time of the year again. We arrived home from Akaroa to find this written on the notice board in the kitchen:

And you know what that means, don’t you? A textile takeover! The sewing room appears to have exploded outwards into the rest of the house. The dining table is covered in sewing machines – who needs to eat? There are half-cut quilts on the living room floor – well go live in another room. The ironing board has taken up permanent residence in the kitchen – so wear your polyester shirts already. Oh and watch where you step. There are pins and needles out to get you.

I would add a photo but the chaos is just plain embarrassing.


Filed under Family, Summer

Safe Harbour

Robinsons Bay, Banks Peninsula.

No hurry. No rush.

No plans.

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Like we don’t already have enough cars in the driveway, I wake up and find a work vehicle there as well. We live near the airport and offer a drop off/pick up service to family and friends heading north or overseas. Sometimes there can be up to 6 vehicles in the driveway and moving them is like a scene from The Castle. A grooming service is offered in exchange for duty-free or, if the kids love you enough, they’ll do it gratis.

We still get terribly excited when a work vehicle comes home – you have to admit, it is possibly the coolest of work vehicles – but Andrew is very nonchalant. Apparently The Firm just gave them away for Christmas.

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It was a murky old day at the beach. Reminded me of a poem I learned as a kid – “The sea is a hungry dog, giant and grey…” It was wild and choppy with a mist of salty sea spray. The Port Hills were completely obscured.


This poor person had to work on Christmas Day. There were not exactly crowds to keep an eye on. I think I managed to get everyone who was swimming in this actual photo.


Despite the grey, murky, choppy, misty day, it was warm at the beach and the kids were in and out of the sea for hours. The current was quite strong which made paddling out hard and the offshore winds were very changeable, but there was enough surf to be able to say “Guess what I did on Christmas Day?”



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Yes, yes, I know there’s only 1 more sleep til Santa and I’ve left my sewing til the last minute. Again.


In my defence, school finished late…and I was really tired – it’s been a heck of a year…and I needed a few days to sleep…and then I got a cold…

But today was sewing day.

I started off with a collection of rolled rose brooches in natural linen and lace. I didn’t photograph them before they were wrapped but mine look exactly like these ones. Truly. And then there was the Sew Together Bag. Living as I do at the Bottom of the World, I’m quite sold on PDF patterns – no international postage and immediate delivery right into my inbox. I was taken with this bag when I first saw it on Pinterest and I’ve had the pattern waiting for when I finally felt ready to sew.

It came together like a dream and as every step was completed I got more and more excited. There are 3 internal zip pockets and 4 open pockets. There is a little needle book and a teeny pincushion. There is a large zip with a contrast binding and a zipper tab to close it all up. It looks so complicated and yet it wasn’t.

IMG_6208I kept yelling for Sophie to Come and see, Come and see as another step worked to perfection. The measurements were spot on and I managed to understand the instructions all by myself. (Often Sophie has to set me straight when I really don’t get something.) This bag will be for my MIL but after Christmas, I’m going to make one for everyone else I can think of. It made me feel so clever to sew a bag that looks as professional as this one does.


Tomorrow there will be carol singing at church, brunch at home with the rellies and hopefully, if the weather holds, a bit of a surf in the afternoon. Just like last year. And the year before. Meri Kirihimete from ours to yours.


Filed under Family, Sewing, Summer