Tuesday, 28 March 2017


Before you have children your dreams are filled with the kind of parent you want to be.  You imagine that your little ones will just fit into your current lifestyle  and not a whole lot will change.  Then you HAVE children and suddenly you're caught up in a whirlwind of nap schedules, 5pm dinners, outfit changes (theirs and yours) and the mere thought of heading off the beaten track is overwhelming.  So when four years had flown by and we realised our 'child' bucket list had so far been entirely unticked, we decided to jump in the deep end.  On a whim one afternoon we bought tickets to Splore, a 3 day music festival in the middle of nowhere. We spent weeks agonising over what to pack, about how they would sleep, about where they would sleep, about whether we should keep them on their regular schedule.

Well what a lesson that weekend turned out to be!  Against all odds (aka torrential downpours, intense humidity and mud for as far as the eye could see) we had the most incredible time.  For all our worrying the kids took everything in their stride.  They slept when they were tired, we ate when we were hungry and we danced when the mood was right.  They had their minds blown at the sight of so many different people in wild costumes, the art work, the glitter, the music... these little people of ours just absorbed it all.

I forgot to mention that at this point Nico was just a year old and Ayana celebrated her fourth birthday on the last day of the festival.

On the whole we were very happy with how we had prepared for the weekend.  Since then we've had so many people asking for tips, I thought I'd write a little list of what we found useful.


1. Go with the flow
I can't really emphasise how important this is!  We learned that kids are actually so incredibly adaptable.  If you're relaxed and having a good time, then so are they.  Let them sleep when their tired, eat when their hungry, and throw all their clothes off to dance in the mud if the mood so takes them.

2. Prepare for anything
If you're at a festival it's likely to be out in the middle of nowhere so don't leave anything to chance.  We threw together gumboots, raincoats, swimwear, cool singlets, warm jumpers and used them all.  I also put together a small pack to always have on us containing band-aids, insect repellent, iodine, energy food, calendula ointment etc just in case.

3. Warn your neighbours
Be prepared to be putting your kids to bed just as everybody else is heading out to party, and having your kids waking up to start the day just as fellow festival goers are crawling into bed.  Warn anybody who is setting their tent up right beside you, give them a chance to move somewhere child free!

4. Transportation
Having this amazing trolley was an absolute lifesaver for us.  The kids could sit in it when they got tired (Nic tied an umbrella to it to protect them from sun/ rain) and we could throw all the gear we needed for the day into it.  I also brought my trusty old ergo with me which we used if Nico wanted a nap while we were out.  Making sure that they always had a place to rest seemed to be key to a great weekend.

5. Home comforts
Sleeping in a tent surrounded by all night music and drunken conversations can be a little overwhelming when you're used to the calm of your bedroom.  It seemed worth lugging a favourite blanket, soft toy and white noise machine with us for the evenings.

6. Baby earmuffs
Festivals are LOUD and little ears are sensitive, so giving them each a pair of child size noise cancelling earmuffs turned out to be very useful.  You can get them at most hardware stores.

7. Snacks
Don't skimp on the food!  Although there was good food at the festival, the queue's were often long which is never good when you have cranky kids.  Pack a good supply of nuts, corn chips, snack bars, anything that won't go off easily (we realised that fruit isn't ideal).

Okay I won't sugar coat this, the come down can be rough.  The first night back is fine, you've unpacked the car, everybody has had their first bath in day's and scrubbed off more mud, glitter and body paint than you knew was possible, you fill your bellies with a big bowl of pasta and fall into bed.  But the days that follow sure have their ups and downs as everybody tries to settle back into everyday life.  Hang in there, you'll be back to your normal routines in no time!

I hope this has made the idea of taking your kids to a festival (or a road trip, camping adventure etc) a little less daunting.  If there's one thing this weekend taught me is that sometimes you just have to go for it!

Monday, 18 July 2016


Funny I woke up this morning (545am... thank you Nico!) with an incredible urge to throw together a blog post. 
How this past year has flown by!  It's like we blinked and suddenly we're counting down the last weeks of winter again, our sweet newborn is nearly a rambunctious toddler and our little Ayana is a kindergartner who dresses herself and demands tutu's at all hours of the morning.  For us the first year of babyhood seems to be pure sleep deprived survival and everything else gets pushed aside.  Of course it's a case of accepting it, knowing it'll pass and trying to be kind to ourselves in the process but it's not always easy.  One of the last things to get our attention during this time is our garden.  In fact that's an understatement, our garden has been horribly, horribly neglected... again!  We managed to pull back enough weeds in early winter to throw a few plants in the ground but they're looking very sad and I suspect only the strongest will survive.  Although we like to pretend, Nic and I aren't exactly green fingered.  Sure we like the idea of being self sustainable and growing our own food but the truth is we enjoy our weekly trip to the Sunday farmers market even more (especially when it includes a coffee date and a play at the beach afterwards).  As for the chickens, well the wee chicks we adopted just before Ayana was born provided us with the eggs we needed, retired and then eventually passed away.  My mum (who lives next door) recently got some new ones and it has been a relief to have somebody to feed our compost scraps to again (throwing them in the bin felt very strange and wow I had no idea how fast that fills up your rubbish bag!).  Plus while they're laying well we benefit from a bounty of fresh eggs. 
Gosh well this has been a rambling first post, it feels a lot like when you catch up with a long lost friend and although there should be a lot to talk about there are some awkward silences in the initial conversation! Sharing our personal lives on the internet has always made me feel a little uncomfortable, but then again having these times documented and being able to look through the years is so beautiful.  So we'll see how we go and what path this dear blog of mine is going to take.  Either way it's nice to be back. xx

Friday, 6 November 2015


The last time I wrote a post here Autumn was just beginning to turn into winter, the leaves had changed colour and my belly was expanding.  As I sit here now six months later, nature is exploding with colour and life again, I have a sweet, chubby little babe at my breast and am adjusting to life as a mother of two (well three if you include the puppy that has also joined our family).

After weeks of being told she would come early, little Miss Nico Amelie arrived exactly on her due date.  She was born at home in our bed after what I can only describe as a pretty fast and easy labour/ birth (well you know, as 'easy' as you can call labour). From the moment she was born I had this overwhelming sense of feeling complete, and that our little family felt complete.  What ever happens in life now I've got my little crew. This has really had me thinking over the past couple of months and put some pretty major things into perspective... which I'm going to share in the next post!  I just really wanted to touch base after such a long break.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


There has been something very different about this pregnancy.  Right from the beginning I have been plagued with incredible fatigue, unlike anything I experienced with Ayana.  Everyday feels like I'm just living for the next chance to lay my head on the pillow and get carried off into a deep slumber, only to wake up feeling no less refreshed.  I've been cranky, emotional and altogether not much fun to be around.  Something just hasn't felt right.  So my midwife finally sent me off to get my bloods checked again, only to determine that my B12 had dropped to extremely low levels.  After a slight panic attack (thanks for nothing Dr Google) I went to visit my own doctor and had the first of three B12 shots.  It's only been a couple of days but already I can feel some life flowing back into me.  I still have a little while to go but what a relief it is to be functioning like a semi normal person again.

Anyway I really do miss this blog and hope I can start writing here more often again (or you know, for the next 3 months before the little one arrives and I'm probably too exhausted again!).  And also my apologise to everybody who hasn't recieved email replies etc from me lately, I'm starting to work through the list!
P.S That last photo is of the cow charging down the hill to greet me.  Believe me you've never seen a pregnant lady jump a fence so fast!

Thursday, 30 April 2015


When I was young I used to love getting lost in the world of Enid Blyton books, particularly the ones where children run away to join the circus.  I would lay in bed at night pretending I was snuggled up in my old wooden caravan while outside the circus folk were cooking sausages over a crackling fire and playing the guitar.  Somehow that dream has never really left me! 

The minute we unlocked the creaky old door to our overnight train I knew at least part of my fantasy was coming true!  I had actually been wanting to stay at Solscape in Raglan for years now because they have these amazing tipi's in the bush.  As fate would have it though they were going to prove much too cold to sleep in at this time of year so I reluctantly checked out their other accommodation option... earth domes, cabooses,  eco baches and *gasp* a 17 metre long original train carriage!!  SOLD!  We spent a cosy evening inside cooking up a feast while outside the wind howled and the rain pelted at the windows, even the lighting and thunder that woke us in the night somehow only added to the magic.

Raglan itself is a pretty stunning place.  It's a small town about two hours out of Auckland that is nestled in between a rugged coastline and a huge harbour.  From all accounts there are two reasons why people move here, to surf and/ or to do yoga!  All the locals know each other and life moves at it's own pace.  It's safe to say that we fell in love with this little place almost instantly.  We'll also definitely be coming back to Solscape over summer to try out the tipi's.

Sunday, 26 April 2015


This morning a very chirpy toddler and two rather tired parents sat down to a pancake breakfast and tried to decide what to do with their sunny, Sunday morning.  We finally settled on an old favourite that we haven't visited for well over a year (I'm pretty sure Ayana was still in the back pack last time we went).  In order to get to Library Point you have to head further out into the country until you see the large and completely intimidating high security prison sprawled out before you.  The important part is to turn a sharp left and head down a small, uneven road just before you hit the prison gates!  Suddenly you find yourself at the entrance of a large reserve (complete with a dog park and horse/ bike trails).  The walking track eventually leads you to a completely magical spot at the very end of the point where the tidal waters quickly turn from murky brown to a radiant blue (when the weather is right). It was here that the first settlers established a mobile library system for those living in these remote regions.  Once a month somebody would row down the river in a small boat laden with books, and lucky locals could collect some fresh reading material.  You could only imagine what a treasure it would be to have a book to get lost in when you're otherwise living in total isolation!  Anyway, nice history aside, this particular spot is just so tranquil that it's a great place to come a re-energise.  I definitely plan to visit more often again!

Thursday, 23 April 2015


We're living life in the slow lane these days.  I've been finding this pregnancy extremely exhausting to say the least, and Ayana has been sick, waking way too early and generally having some pretty grouchy days.  It started to become clear to me that it was time to take things down a few notches for a while.  So we've been spending a lot of time just hanging around at home, getting bits and pieces done but generally not stressing too much if we don't.  I suppose this is often the way things go when you're approaching winter and everything starts to drift into hibernation mode.  As of next week life will get reshuffled again with a quick getaway to Raglan and then returning home briefly before packing our bags and farm sitting at my mum's for six weeks.  We always fall into a slightly different routine when we're there because the chickens, dogs, cows and gardens demand daily attention.  I don't mind to be honest, it feels quite good.