23 April 2016

Blurb for Mother's Day

This post contains affiliate links.
Mother's Day is around the corner and it's time to think of gifts for the special women in your life (or, you know, for yourself!) A unique present would be a Blurb book as it's entirely personal. Fill it with photographs, or recipes, or get your little ones involved and populate the book with their special artwork.

Get 35% off at Blurb for Mother's Day with code SUPERWOMAN35U!

This code is valid from 22 April until 28 April, so get busy!

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22 April 2016

Pihama beach

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New Plymouth bike park

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This was a great bike park. It has four sections:

1) a road section with proper road markings, speed bumps, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, a roundabout, and stop / give way signs;

2) a toddler section with a rubberised floor for little ones to learn to ride their bikes;

3) an obstacle course with a bridge, narrow beam to ride on, posts to weave between, and a see-saw that you cycle over;

3) and a dirt section for BMX style riding.

Noah, of course, was in heaven! Daniel stayed at home with a friend who was visiting, hence the lack of photos of him.

If you want to see more of the bike park you can do so in this vlog.

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20 April 2016

Toe Jam

I promise it's not going to be all-Jamberry-all-the-time, but I had to share my pedicure. This is the April hostess exclusive wrap - host a party (in home or Facebook) and you'll receive it for FREE. Please let me know if you'd like to host a party; Facebook parties are so fun and the bonus is that we don't even have to live in the same country!

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14 April 2016


I've always liked having pretty nails, but I find that nail polish only lasts one day, two at most, on my fingernails before chipping. It's just not worth the trouble.

I recently invested in the bits and pieces needed to do my own gel polish manicures, and have been loving that. It's so great to have painted nails that look immaculate for a week or even up to two weeks!

And then I discovered Jamberry nail wraps. Oh my. So much variety, such fun designs, and they last as long as gel nails do? Wrap me up!

In fact I love them so much I've signed up as an independent consultant. That means I get to talk about Jamberry at parties and online and get paid for it, plus I get my own wraps at a discount - what's not to love?

As promised on my vlogs I won't go on and on about Jamberry all the time here, but I did want to let you know that I am a consultant, and let you know that we can host parties together on Facebook, we don't even have to be in the same country - how cool is that? It's the new thing. Party at home in your pyjamas, don't have to get a babysitter, but have fun hanging out (online) with some friends. Let me know if you'd like to do that :)

I'm hosting my launch party on Facebook and would love it if you can come! The live hour will be on Friday night at 8pm (that's Auckland time zone) with games and prizes but the party is open all week until Saturday night if you want to join in the longer-running games and place orders. You can order if you live in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the UK, and your order will ship locally. Here is my Facebook Jamberry page, here is the party page, and here is the party store where you'll place your orders. I'd love it if you'd join in :)

And I couldn't leave you without a picture - this is what I'm wearing on my nails right now and have been for the past week: GDI gel polish in colour F48, and Jamberry nail wraps on left hand pinkie and index finger, and right hand ring finger, in Sweet Nothing.

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12 April 2016

Thoughts on blogging

We need to talk.

(Ha ha, sometimes I'll say that to Grant just to see the fear in his eyes!)

I want to start with an apology for not posting more regularly here on my blog. I do feel bad that I have loyal readers who have been returning to this little space on the web and not seeing much of anything, and I regret just dropping off the face of the earth with minimal posting for the past year.

I've been mulling over my feelings and finally it's time to explain what I've been thinking and feeling about blogging.

I've always had a need to tell my story. I used to keep journals as a child and teen, and when I discovered blogging it seemed like a natural fit. I've been blogging for TEN YEARS now!! How crazy is that?!

Over time I have enjoyed reading blogs too. I also started watching vlogs on YouTube. With time it seemed a natural progression to start sharing my story there.

Vlogging and making videos fulfils my storytelling and sharing needs, but more than that it's been a surprising gift in terms of connections. I've made some wonderful friends vlogging, and formed really meaningful connections with people around the world. It's been so much more rewarding in that sense than blogging ever has been.

I am just as guilty as anyone for not leaving comments on blogs. We are reading blogs in feed readers and on our phones, and it's a big hassle to click over, log in, and leave a comment. I totally get it. And I don't blog for the attention and for the comments. But it can be a bit discouraging to put up blog posts and get very little back in terms of connection. The stats show that people are reading, and I sometimes my posts pinned, but it's like people are talking about you instead of to you, if that makes sense.

It's not that I get zero comments - I so appreciate the few people who did take the time to comment. And I feel bad that I didn't always reply. I never knew if anyone would come back to my post to read my reply in the comment section (especially since it takes me ages to get around to replying) and not everyone has an email address attached to their account so I couldn't reply that way, so I'd end up not replying at all. I really feel bad about it (and it has always bothered me) because I know how rare it is for anyone to take time time to comment in the first place, at least on my blog for some reason (could be the lack of response??)

I'm not blaming my disappearance on you guys, please don't think that. And it's not that I felt a total lack of connection, because I did. It has always meant the world to me to receive emails or comments saying that I have touched someone, or made a difference to them, or receiving support and encouragement from readers. It's just a different kind of connection than I've found on YouTube.

But the number one reason I've stopped blogging as much is just a boring one - lack of time. Since moving into our house here in Taranaki we have had SO much to do in terms of repairs, renovation, decorating, and establishing a garden. And blogging is so time consuming! I'm realising just how time consuming it is when compared with vlogging. It is SO much quicker to talk things through and show them on camera, minimal editing, then upload. It takes so much more time to photograph, edit the photos, upload them to my hosting site, compose a blog post, and publish.

I've been feeling sad about not blogging, because I used to be so passionate about it. It's not that I missed blogging, it's that I missed enjoying blogging. I didn't want to give it up entirely, but I didn't want to continue out of obligation either. I was also feeling sad that stepping back from blogging means I've not been taking photos anymore. It's easier to capture our memories and experiences on video, but I still want photographs. I just can't always do both, so video wins, especially when it takes so much time to edit and sort my photos, and when my vlogging camera is so much smaller and more convenient to carry around.

I recently received a lovely gift from a fellow NZ vlogger and blogger. It was a T-shirt with a little speech bubble made up of faces, and the words "Blog off" on it.

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With it was a card and in it she urged me to keep blogging. She pointed out that ten years is a lot of time to spend on anything and there were people who enjoyed my blog posts.

It was just the push I needed. You guys are still out there reading what meager content I put up. That means something to me. But I can't go back to blogging the way I used to, I just literally don't have the time anymore.

So I've decided to go right back to basics. It still blows my mind that I've been blogging for a decade - for a quarter of my whole life!! - so I doubt any of my original readers are still following, but right back when I began my blog it was a place to share photographs as I learnt photography. I want to take it right back to that. It will help me to pick up my camera more often (not my video camera) and feed that creative side of me. There might not be much story or wording to go with my pictures, but hopefully my pictures will tell a story. After all, they say a picture is worth A Thousand Words (see what I did there?)

Next month we have been in our house for one year. I do plan to do a series of posts sharing before photos and current photos so you can see all of the changes we've made. We've worked really hard on our home and garden, and while we still have so far to go we have achieved a ton, and I can't wait to show you.

Thanks so much for your patience. The one thing that is certain in life is change, and a lot changes over ten years, so I'm sure you understand, or at least I hope you do. I have felt disappointed when bloggers I follow stopped blogging or changed what they do, but in the end if we're sharing our real lives then that's bound to happen because life is full of ups and downs and twists and turns.

In the meantime, if you do want to see what we're up to I post videos numerous times a week on my YouTube channel, which you can see if you click here. Thank you for reading all of this if you made it to the end! I hope to be back soon with some photos.


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11 April 2016

Latest Blurb book offer

I am still mulling over the epic blog post that I need to write, but haven't had the mental space to write it yet. But I didn't want to have you guys miss out on the latest Blurb book offer, as it's a good one! (contains affiliate link)

What makes those May flowers? April showers, of course! While necessary for beautiful blossoms, the rain can keep many indoors this time of year. Have some fun and productivity while you are cooped-up by creating a Blurb photo book! With graduation, Mother's Day and wedding season just around the corner, it's a perfect time to make a book as a gift!

Plus, you'll enjoy 40% off your photo book when you use the code RAINY40 at checkout today through Tuesday, April 12th! Here are the specifics:

Offer: 40% off Blurb Photo Books
Valid: 4/8 - 4/12
Code: RAINY40
Terms & Conditions: *Offer valid through April 12, 2016 (11:59 p.m. local time). Valid for printed photo books made by you. A 40% discount is applied to your product total with no minimum order or maximum discount. This offer is good for five uses, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.

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27 March 2016

Happy Easter

Long time no blog. I've been mulling over a whole long "why I'm not blogging much" post, and will sit down and write it out sometime, but for today I just wanted to share my Easter shelf. I'm not really feeling it, but it will do - in fact it will be coming down in a couple of days because it's Easter weekend now. Happy Easter to you!

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1 March 2016

2016 Books - February

I read 3 books this month.

If a book makes it to this list on my blog, you can assume I enjoyed and would recommend it (unless otherwise noted) - if I'm not enjoying a book, I stop reading it and move onto the next one. Life's too short and there are too many great books in the world to waste time reading ones that I don't enjoy! (Contains affiliate links.)

A New Day Rising (Red River of the North #2) - Lauraine Snelling

Not What You Think - Melissa Hill

A Land to Call Home (Red River of the North #3) - Lauraine Snelling

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28 February 2016

In the garden

I have always longed for a garden in which I can wander and find many things to photograph, and I'm thrilled to finally have one! And there is still so much more I want to do in our garden, so the bounty will only increase.

Although it's still late summer it's starting to look a little autumnal in parts of the garden, particularly under the apple trees where the windfall apples create a hazard, as you skid over them like a cartoon character on marbles.

The other day I raked up the windfall apples. It was quite satisfying work, as it turned out, with the visual delight of autumnal colours, curled brown leaves, and the round glossy globes of the apples. Unlike leaves they were fairly cooperative too. A flick of the rake and they trot along obediently to where you want them. Be sure not to flick too hard, however, or they skid merrily past your growing pile and you’ll have to round them up all over again.

What did I do with the piles of unripe little fruit? Well, some began my compost heap, interspersed with plenty of leafy brown waste. The rest went into the base of my beautiful new raised bed that I made, before being buried by soil. But that's another post for another day ;)

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