Friday, April 25, 2014


New jumper! Finished several weeks ago but waiting for the cooler weather to push me to weave in the ends. Unblocked as yet but worn anyway - and loved! (It's Camilla, and ravelled here).

Friday, February 07, 2014

Sometimes summer...

We went camping on January long weekend. Turns out it still gets might cold at night in January in NZ. But the flax flowers were outstanding, and the Tui's that come to feed from them were equally engaging.
We have a season pass to Zealandia - we can get our Tuatara fix any time (both animals and beer sometimes!).

NZ wool - Utiku yarns. Bought a while ago, but now wound and half knit into a boy jumper for winter (yep, the cold camping experience got me thinking). B's not super keen on the colours but I'm loving it. Its a lovely yarn to knit with - good stitch definition, soft but definitely woolly. Pics soon.

Swimming. Despite the lack of summer so far this year (to be fair, it often looks like summer but is ludicrously windy), we have managed the odd plunge. Or paddle, in my case. I have been fully immersed on two occasions, and it has been lovely.

One of the things I was looking forward to about living in New Zealand was being closer to the coast and closer to wilderness camping. Its nice to feel like we are finally doing some of the things we had in mind when we turned up a year ago (yes, a whole year!). I'm hoping we kick into summer gear in the next few weeks and can really make the most of it. I have big plans for our new fishing rods. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Wishing Chair.....again

I have been waiting and waiting for B to be ready to read 'chapter books'. Not because I think there is anything intrinsically good about them, or bad about other sorts of books, but mostly because they are the books that I remember reading most clearly in my childhood, and I've been looking forward to the excuse of revisiting them.
Somewhere along the line between England and New Zealand, I bought a second hand edition of the Adventures of the Wishing Chair, by Enid Blyton.

I think this is one of the earliest books I can remember loving, and I definitely read it a lot (along with the Magic Faraway Tree series). I don't think my edition had any of these covers, but there is some fantastic cover art to the Enid Blyton books over the years - enough to occupy more time on Pinterest than I can justify!

Anyway, we went camping last weekend (more on that another day I suspect) and I'd taken this book just in case - it seemed like lots of story for your size/weight ratio - very important with the car packed to the gunnels. And on the first night, as the rain pattered on the tent roof and the kids tried their best not to explode from excitement, I suggested we read a chapter.

It went well. We read another. And another. Then I had to stop as the night drew in. The boys went to sleep. In the morning, B woke (after sleeping in - yay!) and the first thing he asked for was another chapter! Since then, we've been reading 2 chapters a night, and loving it. I love coming across chapters that I remember - recalling mental images of parties where you wished for the food and it appeared in front of you. Of a magic chair made invisible, then visible again with paint. Of fairies and pixies and gnomes and wizards and witches and lemonade and ginger beer.

Most of all, I love watching B as we read. While I revel in my memories, he is caught in the story, pulling the blankets over his head at the scary parts, sitting with his hand over his mouth at the tense parts, laughing like crazy when it all resolves, and looking forward to another the end. Initially I wondered if the stories were a little dull - they are certainly nothing like the 'adventures' he is presented with on TV, internet or more modern children's books. While his friends talk about Hobbits and Harry Potter, I thought he might find pixies and magic chairs a little...old fashioned. I was so wrong - this is perfect. It is captivating, but not worrying. There is little he doesn't understand conceptually, but the language is beautiful and challenges him (I think his vocabulary has been much improved by a little Blyton!).

Spectacles. In a trice. Wickedly. Most unpleasant. Perfectly wonderful.

We are both having a ball.

Did you read Enid, or other 'older' children's books, or do you read them to your kids? If so, what would you recommend we put on our list?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Four things that make me smile....
This morning, one of my favourite breakfasts. Boysenberry bran muffins (recipe from Serge Dansereau's French Kitchen - full of wonderful and delicious things).

The ridiculous and secret pleasure I get from my crockery cupboard.

 Ludicrously huge mussel shells on Eastbourne beach.

The beautiful architecture of the inside of a fallen ponga (tree fern).

Sunday, September 22, 2013


A while ago, we bought 3 chairs on Trade Me (its like the NZ version of eBay, although why they don't just use eBay I'm not really sure). Anyway, the chairs were 8 bucks for the three. And once they were home I decided I quite liked them - except the covers. Which turned out to be (fairly) easily removable. I made new covers for one from some Bekko fabric I bought ages ago. Its not the most professional of sewing jobs, and needs a few tweaks to get them to sit right (and stay right), but I love it. It looks great in the lounge, and its a lovely, comfy chair to sit and work in. 8 dollars well spent.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Winter garden

I found some winter hazel in a grown over corner of the garden today. It is so delicate and pretty, I couldn't resist bringing a few twigs inside. I'm off to clear some creeper from it now, and give a bit of room.