26 January 2016

Back to school shelf

Another little shelf display - the kids are back at school next week after their summer holiday. How cute were my babies on their first day of school?

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22 January 2016

Blurb flash sale!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

I'm currently frantically creating (or rather recreating) my 2014 photo book. Yes, it's 2016 and I still haven't ordered our 2014 book! I had created it but [insert long boring story] the files were lost and I have to do it all again.

It's been on my to-do list for ages, so what's motivated me now? Well Blurb is having a flash sale of 35% off, so I really want to get on that! Here's what they have to say:

Kick your procrastination back into 2015 and get working on that Blurb book you've been wanting to create! To make the effort even easier, Blurb is giving you 35% off your order starting today, January 21st, through January 27th! All you need to do is use the code QUEST35 at checkout! Here are the details:

Offer: 35% off books made by you at Blurb with code QUEST35
Valid: 1/21/16 - 1/27/16
Code: QUEST35
Terms & Conditions: *Offer valid through January 27, 2016 (11:59 p.m. local time). A 35% discount is applied toward your product total with no minimum order or maximum discount. Valid for printed books made by you only. 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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20 January 2016


Sea grass

“There’s an idea I came across a few years ago that I love. My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance and in inverse proportion to my expectations. That’s the key for me. If I can accept the truth of ‘This is what I’m facing – not what can I expect but what I am experiencing now’ – then I have all this freedom to do other things.”
- Michael J Fox

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18 January 2016


The boys started surfing lessons a little while ago, and have had fun with that. I thought I'd share a few photos I took during their lessons.

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1 January 2016

It's 2016!

Happy new year, everyone! Last year was a year of finally finding our place in this world to settle. I thought I'd continue the tradition of my annual quiz (here's 2013's and 2012's and 2014's and 2015's).

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?

Became super strict with my diet, eliminating a lot of foods. Daily vlogging.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I  didn't have any specific goals in mind; I tend to choose a phrase or word for the year. I particular phrase didn't present itself for ages, but the theme of practising authenticity started peeking through.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My new friend Jess.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just spent some time getting to know New Zealand a little better.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

More money; our own business maybe.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

25 May, when we moved into our own home.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Buying a house; renovating the sleepout; starting a garden.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Losing weight. No matter what I do it doesn't budge a gram.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Ongoing illness that I'm learning to manage, and a really really bad bout of flu.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Our house.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Same as last year: our boys and my wonderful husband for working so hard for us.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I won't name names here ;)

14. Where did most of your money go?
House renovations for sure.

15. What did you get really excited about?
Buying a house, every renovation, gardening.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2015?

The theme tune in the intro to our vlogs.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier.

b) thinner or fatter? The same.

c) richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?


19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Missed people I love.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Christmas 2015 was relaxing and low-key and actually the best one I can remember. I hope the same for next Christmas.

21. Where did you begin the year; and where did you end it?

Began it in a rental house in Pukekohe; ended it in our own home in Taranaki.

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?

Yes, with our house.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Wayward Pines, Heroes

24. What was the best book you read?

I enjoyed Tess Gerritsen's Gravity. Also the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Melody Loops royalty free music site.

26. What did you want and get?
A house.

27. What did you want and not get?
Any weight loss.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I didn't see any! Actually I did watch Catching Fire 1 of the Hunger Games trilogy.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 40 and got emotional. It was a big trigger for missing loved ones.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Losing weight, and more money. Also my bestie Carley moving down to Taranaki :)

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Super casual. I spent a lot of time in my painting clothes.

32. What kept you sane?
Practising all of the self-care lessons I've learned; connecting with my viewers on YouTube.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

None in particular.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Ummm ... pass.

35. Who did you miss?

Too many to mention, and it makes me sad to think about.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
My new friend Jess.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:

I've learned and grown so much again this year, but in ways that are hard to put into words. And some lessons are too personal for my blog. But there has been a LOT of learning and growing.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

"Feels like home to me." - Chantal Kreviazuk

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31 December 2015

Christmas 2015

I hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas! We had such a nice relaxing day at home. (You can see it here if you're interested.)

After opening presents we had the boys go into Daniel's room and wait while we brought in the foozball table we'd bought. As you can see, it was a huge hit!

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I cooked up some bacon, eggs, tomatoes, beans, and toast for everyone, after which Grant and Haydn (brother-in-law) went back to bed and the boys enjoyed their new toys while I got ready for the day. I then put up the hammock and had a lovely rest beneath the trees, enjoying the warm summer weather which has finally arrived.

Then it was back into the kitchen to prepare Christmas lunch. While I was doing the food the others enjoyed some snacks: baked brie, crackers, peanuts, homemade onion jam, smoked fish (gift from a friend, freshly caught and smoked), and chips.

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I pottered about in the kitchen preparing lunch, while Grant tended to the BBQ. We ate out on the deck using the table I made.

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We had roasted sweet potatoes, garlic bread, chopped salad, coleslaw, potato salad, bean salad, and also grilled zucchini (not pictured).

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We also had some lamb and pork chops and pork sausages that Grant did on the BBQ.

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A little while after lunch it was time for dessert. I like to serve what I call deconstructed trifle / pavlova. This way everyone can build their own dessert. Want pavlova? Take meringue, fruit, cream. Want trifle? Take sponge, jelly, custard, cream. Gluten free? Take anything except for the sponge. Dairy free? Take anything except for the custard and cream. It's always a hit and so easy to prepare.

I served jelly, trifle sponge, custard, whipped cream, mini meringue nests, fresh fruit (apricots, grapes, mango, pineapple, strawberries), coconut cream, gingerbread stars, and the red plate you see holds some sweets and cake from a neighbour.

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In the evening we went to the beach for a little while, then home and to bed. It was such a lovely relaxing day and is the best Christmas I can remember. Being so settled and happy in our home has made such a big difference.

I hope you each had a wonderful Christmas too!

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2015 Books - December

I only read 3 books this month and listened to 1 audiobook, bringing my total for 2015 to 77 (last year's total was 109).

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.)

Lovable Livable Home: How to Add Beauty, Get Organized, and Make Your House Work for You - Sherry and John Petersik

Stolen - Lucy Christopher

Something You Should Know - Melissa Hill

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Inside Stories: A History of the New Zealand Housewife, 1890-1975 - Frances Walsh

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30 December 2015

Shelfies 2015

I've got this little cornice shelf in the kitchen that I've had for years. After we moved in I didn't really do much with it, until Halloween, when I put out a printable, some owl candles and my thrifted pumpkin salt and pepper shakers. I didn't even take a photo of it, this is a screenshot from my Halloween decorations video.

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When Thanksgiving rolled around and I hosted a meal I decided to dress the shelf up again.

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I loved how it turned out and couldn't wait to decorate my little shelf for Christmas.

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Now that Christmas is over I've switched out the Christmas items for a New Year's Eve theme.

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This antique jar contains pieces of paper that we've added throughout the year, detailing our favourite moments. We'll go through it on New Year's Eve.

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Next to it is a mercury glass candle, and a plate to which I added a little string of bunting made from gold foil sheeting, with silver stickers saying 2016. You'll also spot a small gold clock button.

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The other end holds a photo of me and my cousin Di, whose birthday is on 1 January, and a clock and watch (both stopped at midnight) and an egg timer that I got out of the Pictionary box.

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I am now officially obsessed with shelf decor ideas!! I have so many planned for next year I'll probably be switching it out every two weeks or so. I already have my next shelf design planned (summer theme), so watch this space. I'll post each shelfie here, and then do another roundup at the end of 2016.

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23 December 2015

Update a lampshade with paint

I though I would share this tip with you. When decorating Daniel's room recently I realised that the beige lampshade just wasn't going to cut it.

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Rather than buy a new one, I simply painted the old one! I mixed some acrylic paint until it was the right shade, then watered it down slightly. Then I just painted it right onto the lampshade and let it dry.

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Voila, a whole new look!

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