Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tis the season

About time I posted something on here wouldn't you say?! Especially if you got our Christmas newsletter and decided to pay a visit.

We are busy getting ready for Christmas. We have family coming to stay and can't wait. It's Lukes first Christmas and while he may not remember it in years to come, we will so we are trying to make it special.

The tree is up and decorated. Most of the presents are bought. We are almost there.

Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and I will try to be back very soon :-)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

One year ago today

Wow, that year went fast!
Love you G xxx

Friday, October 29, 2010

29 @ 29

 1. Paint my toenails

 2. Scrapbook at least 12 moments of baby’s first year

 3. Plant sunflower seeds/grow sunflowers

 4. Eat tiramisu

 5. Get my hair cut

 6. Summarise/scrapbook our first year married

 7. Read a novel

 8. Lose 5kg

 9. Decide if I’m returning to work or not

 10. Participate in a Christmas ornament swap

 11. Write a Christmas newsletter

 12. See Harry Potter 7 (part 1)

 13. List 29 reasons why I’m a good mother

 14. Blog at least 29 times

 15. Email at least 50 photos/videos of baby to family

 16. Finish rainbow crochet blanket

 17. Get a nice photo of all 3 of us (plus maybe the dog)

 18. Take baby swimming

 19. Send 10 postcards or letters (with photos of baby maybe)

 20. Buy at least 10 bunches of flowers

 21. Try 10 new recipes

 22. Create a photo wall (in the dining room?)

 23. Make bunting for baby’s bedroom

 24. Have a picnic or tea party

 25. Find ways to celebrate each season

 26. Give away at least 29 things

 27. Try to take at least 1 photo every day

 28. Write my birth story

 29. Have 12 ‘dates’ with my husband

You can see my 28 things list here and my 27 things list here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review of 28 things aged 28

You can view the 28 things list here.

I have tried a couple of times to colour code it so it's easy to see what's complete, what was started and what wasn't done but for some reason it won't publish it.

At first glance the 28 things list could be considered an epic fail.
I completed 8 items.
But to be honest, I am pleased with what I achieved.
Not only did I complete those 8 items, I also made some progress with another 17 items even though I didn't finish them.
Only 3 items weren't started or completed and 2 of those were because I was pregnant and didn't want to do them for safety reasons (ride a horse and play badminton).

And let's not forget that in this last year I have achieved something pretty amazing. I got pregnant, grew a strong, healthy baby and then delivered him into this world (without any drug relief I might add).

Some things are more important than a list I drew up 13 months ago.

I realised pretty early on that I had made the list 'too much' - it wasn't a list of 28 things at all - most items had a bigger task than doing just one thing. It was do 28 of this or list 100 of that. I made it too hard.
Even if I hadn't been pregnant/a new mother for the whole year I think I would have struggled completing more items.
So I have made a 29 list but it's a fair bit simpler than last years. I'll try and share it with you over the next few days.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Keeping Busy

Our beautiful baby boy was born on Tuesday 10th August at 12.40pm.
We have been very busy between then and now getting to know him and learning how to be parents.
Hopefully at some point in the future I might be able to blog with a little more regularity but at the moment it's going to be very hit and miss.
So while you wait for some regular posts I decided to leave the cutest photo ever in this post :-)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Long time, no post

Wow - is it really the last day in July today? Am I really supposed to be having a baby in the next month? Eek! Seriously, where has the time gone?
My last day at work came and went and I thought about posting about my finishing work feelings.
We lost Graeme's Grandpa and I couldn't get the right words down to explain that.
And now I am 3 weeks into my maternity leave, baby's official due date is in 9 days time, we have a cot and a buggy (finally!) and I'm very much aware that there won't be too many moments to sit and think about putting words together soon.
I really can't wait to meet our new little person. I admit to being a little apprehensive about his journey into the world but knowing I will get to meet this little bundle that's been keeping me company with his little kicks and fidgets at the end of it makes me realise that it's going to be worth it.
I wonder what baby will be like? I think it goes without saying he's going to be gorgeous! How could he not be? What will he be when he grows up? When is he going to arrive?
There's so many thoughts and worries and questions at the moment but I have surprised myself and feel much calmer than I thought I would at this time. Maybe it's the hormones or some maternal instinct but there's part of me that just knows baby will be here when he's ready and we will do the very best we can for him when he gets here.
And until then I will do my best to put my feet up and rest up ready for being on round the clock duty when he does make his appearance!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Wow, June. How did we get here? Time is flying by and I honestly don't know where it went!

We have been busy getting ready for the arrival of baby and have now chosen most of the big items we want (cot, buggy, carseat etc) and either have them here or they are on order (fingers crossed they arrive before baby does!). We've also been attending antenatal classes and only have 2 left to go. We've already done the tour of the hospital and have a box of nappies ready to go so we are almost prepared!

I've found I've really had to slow down lately and am often tucked up in bed at 9 or 9.30pm most nights (what a nana!). Undisturbed nights are well and truly in the past and I'm often awake a few times in the night trying to get comfy. I'm trying to see the good side of this - it's getting me ready for being up and down in the night with baby!

I'm also feeling a little less creative and full of ideas lately. I think my brain is busy focusing on baby related things and everything else has gone out the window.

I've been notoriously bad at taking photos and without photos I don't have much fodder for blog posts. I've had a look at what's on the camera today and then headed out into the garden in the rain to get some photos to share so I could finally update the blog. All flowers today - some brightness and prettiness to take away the winter blues.

It's been quite cold here some days and the fire is on most nights these days. I've taken to lighting candles and putting the fairy lights on to make the most of the darker nights with some twinkles!
I still struggle with the turnabout of the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere and it's weird to think Graeme will be celebrating his birthday next weekend in winter. I still have to buy his presents and am currently deciding whether or not to bake him a birthday cake, birthday muffins or birthday fact I might go and have a peek through my reciep books just now to get some ideas.
And I'll promise to try and leave less time between posts next time :-)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Autumn skies

I've been snapping away photos of Autumn colours as I've seen them the last couple of weeks. Capturing the leaves on the trees changing colour. I love autmnal colours. I'm sure it comes with being an Autumn baby. I hope to share some of the pictures once I've got a few more.
Tonight though it was the sky that caught my eye. What beautiful colours and looking very much like autumnal colours. Enjoy :-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Coromandel (our honeymoon)

We had always planned to have a honeymoon once all our guests went home. It seemed silly to ride off into the sunset while they were all still here so we spent as much time with them as we could while they were here and planned for a honeymoon a little further down the track.
There were many ideas flung around for where we could go for our honeymoon but in the end we decided to stay here in New Zealand and have a new adventure in a part we'd never been to before.

So we packed up our car and headed to the Coromandel Peninsula. It's a long drive so we stopped overnight in Taupo on the way. We went the week leading up to Easter which turned out to be a genius idea because the roads weren't yet full of Easter holiday traffic.

We stayed 3 nights at the Crows Nests Apartments in Whitianga. It was beautiful. The start of Autumn so not particularly warm and in fact it rained a bit - but it was still lovely. We strolled around the town, took the wee ferry to the 'other side' and explored over there and drove a bit further afield to see what was nearby.
We particularly enjoyed Hot Water Beach It was a little like Disneyland in that it was full of tourists. There's hot water springs under the beach so at low tide the place is swarming with people with spades of all shapes and sizes, digging holes, looking for the hot water. On this particular day it was raining quite heavily so everyone had waterproofs and jumpers on over their swimmies. As soon as warm water was struck - off came all the outerwear and everyone swarmed into the hot water pool. Very strange but lots of fun!
We also attempted the walk to Cathedral Cove but some parts of the path were slippy and steep and given I was 21 weeks pregnant at the time we decided not to take any chances once I'd lost my footing once!

All in all, a lovely, relaxing time away. Unfortunately it seems a long time ago now (isn't it always the way just a couple of weeks after you return from holiday!) but will be a lovely time to remember in years to come.

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

One of my favourite muffin flavours is raspberry and white chocolate muffins but I've only ever bought them from cafes. After eating a particularly nice one whilst on holiday (more on that later!) I declared to Graeme that I would attempt baking my own version. Graeme found me a recipe online which I adapted slightly out of sheer laziness and for quicker mixing times!

Here goes....

  • 2 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 100g butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate bits
  • Icing sugar (for dusting)


  1. Preheat oven to 190degrees (I have a fan oven so set it at approx. 170degrees)
  2. Lightly grease muffin tins (I use silicon trays so spray them lightly with spray oil)
  3. Add the flour and sugar to the bowl and mix
  4. Melt the butter in the micowave (for approx. 40 seconds if the butter is chopped) and pour into the dry mix
  5. Add the milk, the egg, raspberries (straight out the freezer) and white chocolate bits
  6. Give it all a stir until mixture is just moistened (don't mix until completely smooth)
  7. Spoon into muffin cups
  8. Bake for 20 mins (I checked them after 15 and they definitely needed the extra 5)
  9. Stand for 5 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool
  10. Dust with icing sugar
  11. Eat and enjoy :-)

The original recipe suggested rubbing in the butter to the flour but that seemed like too much effort to me and they came out fine with melted butter instead.

They are truly delicious and were particularly tasty warm.

This recipe makes 12 (large-ish) muffins.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I'm wondering if this post falls under the "NZ adventure" theme of this blog but hey I'm excited about it!

Ever since finding the Attic24 blog I've been wanting to have a go at crochet. Which is how I ended up adding 'Crochet Something' to my
My friend Laura was a crocheter and showed me the basic stitches last winter but after September last year things got very busy and my new-and-still-shiny crochet hook was cast aside.
Now, unfortunately for me (but fortunately for South Africa where she is volunteering as a teacher) Laura doesn't live round the corner any more to mentor me in my new crochet hobby.

The great thing is though that there's heaps of inspiration and help on the internet. Along with the Attic24 blog there is another blog I've found very useful now I've decided to pick up my hook again. The blog is Little Tin Bird and Heather who writes the blog recently posted a pattern for granny squares. At the weekend I had my first try at granny squares using Heather's pattern. Here's my first attempt...

And of course - once I got started I had to try a couple more....

Aren't they gorgeous! They are made with cheap wool I'd bought ages ago to practice with so I doubt they will amount to anything other than being my first attempts!

The plan from here though is to buy some lovely soft colourful wool and make lots of granny sqaures and turn them into a baby blanket! We'll see if I get that far before August but I figure it's a good hobby for sitting down and making myself rest when everyone starts telling me too. If I make any progress I will keep you posted!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Favourite Things

Well I did kinda manage more than one post in a week given my last post was Monday and today is Saturday. I'd hoped to post earlier but it's been a bit of a rough couple of days.

My allergies have free rein because I'm not taking any medication due to being pregnant and they are slowly getting worse and worse.
On Thursday night I think I managed 2 hours sleep and spent quite a few hours worrying about how difficult it was to breath and trying not to wake Graeme with all the sneezing and coughing. We went to the pharmacy on Friday first thing to see if they had any suggestions and I was sent straight to the doctor.
It turns out I have developed asthma - probably as a result of being all blocked up from the allergies.
I found this quite alarming but after speaking with the nurse and a colleague it turns out it can be quite common and normally only lasts the length of the pregnancy. Weird huh?
So now I have an inhaler which I am to take every 4 hours when I'm awake.
And I'm still sneezing and coughing with annoying regularity.

So to stop myself feeling too sorry for myself I want to focus on some happy, cheerful things. The camera has been quite neglected over the last few months but this week I've been taking a few snaps here and there and thought I'd share some of my current favourite things...
1) homemade nachos...tortilla chips with salsa and cheese (melted) and then a big dollop of sour cream on the top. I have a feeling baby will come out with a taste for nachos after the amount of these that I have been eating lately. And it's a very quick and easy to prepare meal too!

2) non-alcoholic Malibu flavoured chocolate (which my wonderful husband spotted in the supermarket)...lovely for a nibble every now and again. I also picked up Baileys flavour but haven't tried that yet.

3) this carrot cake recipe which I printed ages ago and got around to trying last weekend. No yucky sultanas or cream cheese topping in site. It wasn't as carroty as I would have liked but I put this down to me using very small carrots. Will try chunkier ones next time.

4) which leads on nicely to my favourite blog (where the above recipe came from) - lots of colour and inspiration and cheerfulness. It's made me want to have fresh flowers in the house all the time and try my hand at crochet!

5) beach-hut napkins, half price and I used a wedding gift vouchers (we bought other kitchen-ey stuff too but these are my favourites). I love beach huts and beachey scenes and may try my hand at getting this image onto a canvas

So there you have it - a few things to make me smile. I must remember to keep the camera handy and keep snapping as part of my 28 things list is to capture the seasons and document and summer is almost at an end.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Garden Helper

I've not been much help at all in the garden lately. It's too hot, I get sleepy really quickly and I can't lift anything heavy!

But the good news is that G has another helper whose always keen to assist in anyway he can...

There's also a video but I can't for the life of me get the embed code to copy across properly. Here's the link if you want to have a look...

So as Graeme trims the branches from the trees, Rhett pulls them across the lawn and shakes them (I think it might be to make sure they are dead?!) and then the branches are pulled to bits until he finds a nice chewy bit to sit and chew...for hours.

It sure helps us fit the debris in the green waste wheelie bin but makes a mess of the lawn!

I think he might be a bigger help than I've ever been!

I might be trying something new this week - more regular posts - I have a recipe to share and some general chit-chat so I'll try and post at least once more this week.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I'm not sure this will be new news to anyone as the phone lines, skype sessions, facebook status' and tweets have been a buzz this last week or so....
But it is, after all, the next stage of our NZ adventure so I will share it here.
Bubs is due on 9th August. We had a scan at the start of this month and all seems well.
Other than extreme tiredness, unpleasant nausea and a ridiculously sensitive nose I've been keeping pretty well.
We are very excited and of course, a wee bit apprehensive about what changes this will bring...but we can't wait to meet Bubs :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Big Day Out

On Thursday 14th January we finished work a little early, packed a bag and headed up to Taupo to stay the night. We stayed in a hotel on the lakefront and ate dinner watching the sunset. It was lovely. The hotel was safari themed and unlike anywhere I've stayed before.

On the Friday morning we left Taupo and carried on up State Highway 1 to Auckland where we were attending the Big Day Out. We were lucky enough to be able to check into our Auckland hotel a little early (another strange room - this time because it had a 'capsule/pod' like bathroom - very strange!) and leave the car behind before training to Mount Smart Stadium.

It was packed and a little overwhelming on arrival. Too many people, too hot and too much to look at. So we grabbed an ice lolly and found a seat in the shade and took part in some people watching. It was such a mix of people - all ages and all kinds. We stayed pretty close to the main area which held the orange and blue stages but moved seats a few times depending on what was going on.

My top 3 acts were:

No 1. Muse (how could it be anyone else!) They were amazing. Lasers and big screens and guitar playing acrobatics. What's not to like?!

No 2. Dizzee Rascal - I'm a little surprised by this as was expecting to like him but not necessarily love him but he really got the crowd going and Bonkers was amazing!

No 3. Lily Allen - unfortunately not as good as I'd hoped and the sound seemed a bit off but she was still worth a watch and got the crowd going with a couple of her more daring songs!

So a good time was had by all. I was exhausted by the end of it. Between the 3 hour drive from Taupo and a hot day and lots of music and clapping and singing I was ready for my bed by the time Muse were done. We had to get the train back to the hotel which was surprisingly easier than I had anticipated and we ended up back in our room just after midnight.

The next day we drove back to Palmy stopping in Hamilton to catch up with Kelly and Michael on the way. The weather on the Desert Road was shocking (very heavy rain and low visibiloty) but we eventually got home about 8.30pm. Needless to say we didn't do much at all on Sunday over than sleep and pick up the dog from the kennels :-)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Strolling

It is past time for a new post methinks. The trouble is that the last one was so epic that I'm not sure how to match it. So I won't even try! Instead I will talk about this weekend and what we've been up to. Very mundane and ordinary but a nice way to document normal life.
Yesterday I started off with a little baking after a lazy start. I made chocolate chip cookies which were delicious and then had a go at making Quiche which made a yummy lunch.
In the afternoon Graeme headed down to Wellington with some soccer team mates to watch the Phoenix Game so I had a few hours laid out before me with no real plans. After dropping him off at the other side of town I decided to do a little bit of shopping on the way home. And I found these beautiful socks! Two pairs but I wore one of each for photo taking! Aren't they cute? I also bought some colourful bowls for the kitchen and some craft supplies amongst other things.
And then I didn't really do much at all. Read some inspiring creative blogs, had a bubble bath and read some magazines. The time flew by really and I couldn't quite believe half the weekend had been and gone already.
Today started with a lazy morning and my normal Sunday morning chat with my Mum.
The sky was looking grey and the forecast was for rain but I had a desire to be outside even if it meant being rained on. So we loaded the dog in the car and headed over to Ashhurst. The weather held out and it was a lovely relaxing walk.
We walked through the woods and along the gravel road and through the fields and up the steepest hill ever and finished at the cafe for refreshments. The good thing about Ashurst Domain is that a lot of the fields and paths are sectioned so we can let the dog off the lead for a run knowing he can only go so far.
One of the usual sectioned parts had some unexpected inhabitants this time. It was full of baby cows! They were gorgeous. We were a little worried about the dog with them as he had never been so close so he was kept on a tight lead and was very well behaved. The cows tended to move out of his way but as I brought up the back slowly, taking pictures as I went, they were more interested in me! This one (below) actually got so close to lick my bag and hand!
And this is the view from the top after the steeeeeep hill. For those of you that have been to this part of the world - this is actually the Manawatu Gorge in the background. A very windy stretch of road that can be hair-raising to drive!
When we got home we were all feeling rather tired about our stroll in the fresh air so we've had a rather easy-going afternoon. The Lord of the Rings trilogy has been playing on TV so we've had that on in the background between grocery shopping, folding washing and dinner preparations.
And now, it's soon to be tidy up and bed time. The end of another weekend. It's a shame. I enjoy being at home with my boys and pottering around. I'm feeling tired just thinking about getting up at a respectable time and going to work. But we have to keep the dog in food somehow :-)
It's nice to keep note of what we've been doing though. It will be interesting to look back on in time to come I imagine to see how things have changed.
And one more picture to show you. This isn't a project from this weekend but I did get around to photographing it yesterday so wanted to show it off. I am far too lazy to do this kind of work in the hot summer sun. This is the work of my lovely husband - last weekend. The mulch on the beds kept coming down to the grass and you couldn't see where one started and one finished. It made cutting the grass a little difficult. So we bought the edging and Graeme spent a few hours fitting it around the curves of our back flowerbed. I love it - think it's a nice finishing touch for the garden and makes the lawn look even better when it's freshly mowed!

And that's me for now. I seem to have got my photo taking inspiration back after a couple of months off so I am hoping I can keep taking photos to share on the blog. See you soon.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Noughties : : 2000-2009

Wow, end of the decade. This, like the end of the year, snuck up on me somewhat. I’m not sure where these last few days have gone following Christmas and thinking about it that could be said for this last year and the decade as a whole. It’s sped by. I really can’t believe that this time 10 years ago me and my friend Lou were in Scotland to celebrate Millennium Hogmanay and I met the guy that finally, this year, became my husband.

I started this list the other day and today I found all my old diaries and combed through them to get the right dates for some things and make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. It’s made me really nostalgic. I’m very lucky to have some lovely friends and family and I miss those that aren’t near me every single day. I never would have imagined in 1999 that I would be where I am now but I’m glad I’m here. It’s been up and down all the way but an amazing decade.

I wonder what the next one will bring?!

2000 : : 8 months of a long distance relationship, completed my A levels, moved to Scotland, started full time employment, almost got snowed in over Christmas

2001 : : Bought a car, bought our flat in Glasgow and got settled in, had a road trip from Scotland to Essex for a seaside holiday with the family

2002 : : Went to Crete - Greece, got a new job, went to the gym regularly, my Nan died

2003 : : Went to Gibraltar, got Dave the hamster, went for a lovely break to the Lake District, took a web design course

2004 : : Went camping in Inverarry, went to Zante - Greece, got engaged, went to Alton Towers, started book reviewing, played alot of badminton, planned our travel to New Zealand

2005 : : Sold the flat, car and most of our belongings, gave up our jobs, had an amazing leaving party, arrived in New Zealand end of June, travelled round for 5 weeks, settled in Palmerston North, bought a car, went to Brisbane, Australia to see the rellies, my Dad came to stay for Christmas
2006 : : Got permanent residency in NZ, took a Freelance Journalism course, got a permanent job, Len – my Nan’s partner died, bought our house, got the puppy, started scrapbooking, Mum came for her first NZ visit, Dad came for Christmas

2007 : : Started my new job, went to Melbourne to go to the Grand Prix, wrote a novel, got chicken pox, got Graeme on a horse, went to the UK for Christmas

2008 : : Celebrated Hogmanay in Glasgow and then went to Italy, Hong Kong and Thailand, got indefinite returning residents visas, Graeme started his current job, went to Brisbane to visit the rellies, booked the wedding

2009 : : Had a trip back to the UK to escape NZ winter, Graeme’s Gran died, finally got married