30 April 2011


After been tagged twice this week for a Q&A session, it 'd have been rude not to oblige, so thanks Sarah and Penny I'm taking the bait!

Without further ado, the Q&A completed.

Which living person do you most admire, and why? This is such a tough question. Even after giving it a lot of thought, I haven’t been able to pin it down to one person. I think the people I admire the most are those who give up everything to go to places near and far to work amongst the poor and needy, to give them a better opportunity and life than they would otherwise have had. Anyone who makes this kind of difference in someone else’s life is worthy of my admiration.

When were you happiest? I think I’ve always tried to be a happy person. And there have been so many happy times in my life. And now, it’s really important for me to always encourage my children to be happy. I truly believe you can always choose to be happy despite the circumstances you are in, especially if you believe that God works together for the good of those who love Him.

.What was your most embarrassing moment? 
The only one that immediately springs to mind is a time walking home from school as a teenager when a gust of wind blew my pleated school uniform skirt up high enough for the car load of boys from school driving past to get a full load of my knickers. Wished a hole would open up right there and then to swallow me up, but sadly none was forthcoming!

Aside from property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought? Probably the centrally heated heat pump system we put in our house two winters ago – it was freaking expensive but we have not regretted it for a moment. Being able to heat the whole house quickly in our crazy changeable Wellington weather is a godsend!

What is your most treasured possession? 
Like Sarah, I could joke and say my iPhone which I’m embarrassed to admit I would be more than a little lost without these days. But in reality, it’s the special memories we make as a family that I treasure the most. Every moment of beauty that unfolds, and especially the moments of beauty we stumble upon completely unexpectedly, these are my real treasures.

Where would you like to live? Somewhere a lot warmer and less windy than Wellington! But let’s face it, we don’t live here for the weather! There’s much to love about this city and I would miss so much if we ever moved.

What’s your favorite smell? Apart from diesel fumes (ha ha - did you read that post?!), probably the smell of a jasmine or daphne flower, or the scent of a freshly bathed babe.

Who would play you in the film of your life? Jennifer Garner. I have always been a massive fan since her days as a kick butt heroine in the Alias TV series, and action movies like Daredevil and Elektra. 

What is your favorite book? Always and forever, this will be Cry the Beloved Country.  How can you not fall in love with a book that starts with: There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass covered and lovely beyond any singing of it. And ends with: Yes it is the dawn that has come. Ndotsheni is still in darkness, but the light will come there also. For it is the dawn that has come, as it has come for a thousand centuries, never failing. But when that dawn will come, of our emancipation from the fear of bondage and the bondage of fear, why, that is a secret.

What is your most unappealing habit? Constant, and I mean constant hair twirling (or twiddling as my family calls it). I do it when I’m concentrating, contemplating, nervous, tired, basically I do it ALL day long. It is such a comforting feeling for me, but I think it probably drives everyone around me bananas!

What would be your fancy dress costume of choice? I’ve never really been a dress-up kinda gal. But I’ve felt way more free to have fun with this since having kids, and my most recent outing was dressed up as a pirate with Noah.

What is your earliest memory? Watching fireworks (apparently I used to call them rock-icks) out my bedroom window in Mairangi Bay, Auckland at about age 3.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? Anything that starts or ends in in the word chocolate.

What do you owe your parents? Introducing me to Jesus at an early age, and always encouraging me to be the best I could be. My parents are both really hardworking and I think I get my work ethic from them.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Can I change the question and say that God is the greatest love IN my life.

What does love feel like? A feeling of love can spring from a thousand things….but it always feels exactly the same. That beautiful, warm, fullness that completely overtakes you and makes you feel like you're a warm piece of hubby’s chocolate brownie when it’s been heated - all gooey in the middle.

What was the best kiss of your life? The kiss hubby and I shared at Auckland Airport after seven months apart on opposite sides of the world when we first started dating.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Lately I've started saying ‘Sheesh!’ and I have no idea why or where it came from!
‘Good work’ - use that a lot with the kids!

What is the worst job you’ve done? That’s a hard toss-up between picking raspberries in the oppressive heat of the midday sun, dusting and wrapping up 100-year old council rates books in brown paper for weeks on end, flipping burgers at Burger King, or emptying the rubbish bins every day at my university hostel. Oh yes I’ve had some goodies!

If you could edit your past, what would you change? I’d have thought a bit more about what studies I did when I went to university at age 17, so that I didn't have to go through it all again and do a whole other degree later!

What is the closest you’ve come to death? Losing my cousin in a tragic fun park accident when we were both fourteen. We’d been penpals and I’d seen her only a couple of weeks before. It was such a terrible shock for our families.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being able to complete an Accounting degree and then Chartered Accountant studies whilst working full-time over six years and starting a family. Something I couldn’t have done without the total support and encouragement of my wonderful hubby.

When did you last cry, and why? 
Watching the Royal Wedding last night – I am a hopeless romantic who loves a good love story and I also love the Royal family so when you put the two together it’s a sure recipe for many happy tears.

How do you relax? Writing blog posts like this one, creating art with photos whether it be a photo book, photo boards, or collages for the blog. This is usually only complete when accompanied by a glass of my favourite bubbly, and some naughty sweet treat!

What single thing would improve the quality of your life? Spending more time with my family.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you? Life is truly a precious gift. 

And there you have it! I won't re-tag anyone who's already been tagged, but if you wanna play along I'd love to learn some more about y'all out there too!

Yes, that means you!

29 April 2011

Things I'm Loving 29.4.11

♥ Before and After 
I think, no actually I know, this is the main reason I've fallen in love with photography. Beauty and creativity that is in the eye of both the creator and the beholder. There is so much that can be done with any shot. Even a mediocre shot can be made interesting (at the very least), and with a bit of skill and patience it might even become a picture worth stopping to look at twice.

There is something incredibly satisfying being able to take an ordinary run-of-the mill picture like the one above.....

...and put your own spin on it. With a little luck and especially if you hold your tongue just right, you might even find yourself creating something extraordinary. Or at least have fun trying!

♥ Llamafont 
Because...well, why the heck not? I particularly like the 'V' and the 'Y' in everyone below!

Go make yourself one at llamafont.com. Go on, go on, you know you want to!

♥ Girlfriends to the rescue 
Hubby is off to Melbourne on Sunday for five nights. I'm not used to flying solo, at least not lately, and definitely not since we've had 2 kiddlywinks. So enter the dynamic duo, Jackie and Heidi, stage right. Who were relatively easy to con into staying with me and the boys over that time. Let's hope they don't live to regret it!

And a big thank you to Mark who has already pre-cooked two meals for us to have while he's away. He's a keeper that one!

And any resemblance to Jackie and Heidi being 'mad bloggers with a camera always at the ready' is purely coincidental. Surprisingly, I haven't managed to con them into blogging.....yet.

♥ Artwork 
Loving watching the concept development from squiggles and shapes that are now quite discernible characters. These two masterpieces having pride of place in the kitchen right now.

♥ Royal wedding celebrations 

Love seeing how people come up with ideas to get on the royal bandwagon. This is what my local coffee shop will be doing today to celebrate. And they made all the knitted people themselves. Cute aye!

And me? I'll be curled up on the couch tonight just like Kristy watching history in the making.

♥ Sunrise 
If there is one thing I love even more than the beautiful sunrises I experience when I open my bedroom curtains, it's sharing them with a little person quietly at play beside me. His face bathed in early morning light is quite delightful.

♥ A new project 
And as a certain person in the household has a memorable milestone of a fifth birthday coming up in a few months' time, I have embarked on a new photobook project called 'This Is Your Life...So Far'. I'm probably mad for even attempting it with all the spare time I don't have (well if I'm honest I would have more if I didn't blog so much let's be straight!), but it's something I really want Noah to have to look back on through the years. Here's a sneak peek of the first completed page.

Now I just need to put the hard yards in to get it done in time!

Linking up to the lovely Paisley Jade's regular Things I'm Loving linky:

27 April 2011

NZ Roadtrippin

I had plenty of thinking time available on the 5 hour journey to the Naki (Taranaki) over Easter weekend. And I decided that taking a road trip in NZ is a unique event. So I came up with a selection of NZ roadtrippin facts. Fellow Kiwis you should identify with one or two of these!

You know you're on a road trip in NZ when....

Hot air balloons appear out of a field in the middle of nowhere

Pony poo is advertised on the side of the road

A majestic mountain decides to grace you with its presence for the journey. And then proceeds to hide itself completely for the rest of the weekend.

Jet trails light up the sky in every which direction

You count no less than 15 milk tankers on the way

Following one for miles…

And miles……

And miles……

And still more miles....

The roads are mostly one lane and windy

So when you see signs like these it's cause for instant celebration

And where I come from people hugging larger than life plastic cows don’t seem at all out of place

And every sleepy town you pass through looks a little like the one before.

Welcome to my world!

Disclaimer: if there is any doubt in your mind that I may not have enjoyed this road trip, think again. It was lush - that is, compared to the 5.5 hour return journey in torrential rain with an extra half an hour stuck in the long weekend traffic returning to Wellington.

Yup, I'll take cows and milk tankers and windy country roads any day thanks!

24 April 2011

Easter Expeditions

A few snippets of our expeditions over this long Easter weekend...

A whale of a tail
I’ve always thought the coastal walkway in New Plymouth is world class. I love running it, walking it and even biking it. This weekend we ventured to the northern end to see the newly designed and much acclaimed Te Rewa Rewa bridge. Designed in the shape of a whale skeleton, it is in stunning contrast to the river banks, grass and water that surround it, and yet not at all out of place this close to the coast.

One could almost imagine a whale being beached inland and its skeleton remaining as a scar on the landscape in the shape of the bridge.

Fun-Ho Toy Museum
If you are over thirty and live in NZ, you’re likely to have had a sibling or parent who owned Fun-Ho toys. I know my brother and dad both owned a Fun-Ho tractor in their childhood as my mum still has them at her house, and because I happened to spot the exact models in the museum today. Fun-Ho toys were an institution in NZ from the 1930’s till the late 1980’s made locally­­ in the workshop in Inglewood employing up to fifty people. Unfortunately they couldn’t compete after import tariffs were removed and the market got flooded with cheap imported plastic toys. But it was wonderful that someone had the foresight to want to keep this important piece of local history and open the Fun-Ho toy museum so that future generations can still see all the toys on display, some of which were in immaculate condition. Of course the Punch Buggy models were the first thing that were spotted by Noah!

When crunchy met splashy
‘I can’t believe you haven’t taken me here before’ This was hubby in disbelief as we walked from GeeGee’s house to the beautiful Waiwakaiho River in under ten minutes. The burnt gold and russet brown colours and crunchy leaves added to the autumnal magic, while the mirror-clear fast-flowing pool just begged for a spot of rock throwing, each SPLOSH and SPLASH echoing loudly, cutting through the quiet Saturday morning air. Hubby is now determined to return in the summer for a swim in the river pool, although it'll be armed with insect repellent after getting tagged about five times in as many minutes.

There's something carefree about throwing leaves. Is it the knowing that you can throw to your hearts content and for once no one minds the mess?

And no mistaking this one for a tree, no matter how he might try.

Heave ho.. as we await the inevitable KER-SPLOSH that follows.

Today was the first day that I have noticed the definite change in season. There was no mistaking the golden hues surrounding us, and the crunching leaves underfoot.

And if I were an insect...
I’d want to live in the Wanganui winter gardens. Each road trip we take to the Naki isn’t complete until we've had our leg-stretching break here. From the vibrant indoor displays of colour...

to the weird and wonderful sculptures and designs outside....

it is a truly a sight worth seeing. And it makes a very nice change from hours and hours of staring at cows, tankers and green fields!

I love the colours in these last two pics. It seems even the bougainvillea and berries are singing the undeniable song 'autumn is in the air'.


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