Saturday, August 30, 2014

Goodbye Friday, Hello Weekend


Usually once a week the girls and I usually try to get together for coffee, fun, laughter and a good catch up. This time was no different. Since I can't make Pavlovas or couldn't last time I tried, one of the others (Caz) made one before we got there. I just love the light sweet flavour.  It's one of those kiwiana desserts you just have to indulge in once in a while.....perfect!


My Pinocchio Tulips are finally all in flower - I just love the bright red on the petals - so cheery and happy!


And a frozen berry cheesecake that I made last night, was extremely easy and tastes delicious.

have a good weekend :-)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Skywatch Friday - chilly Spring mornings


We really do get some amazing skies here by the beach. This one was taken 2 mornings ago while I was out early walking my Jack Russell dog Tia. Was very chilly and frosty so thankfully I had a warm jacket and polar fleece gloves on.



For more Skywatch Fridays click here :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday around the world - what I like about Spring


Lighter mornings - means more walks along the surf beach.


More sea creatures coming in and out with the tide on the rocks.


People getting outside enjoying their hobbies in the warm sunshine.


Colourful sunsets. Sometimes I walk this way with my dog at night, there's plenty of new houses being built around the different streets.


Flowers blooming, These Hibiscus thrive in the sandy soil here by the beach.

Would love to hear what's happening in your part of the world. For more WATW check out Betty's blog :-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our world Tuesday - stunning views of Queenstown


Last July the teens, my family and I were blessed enough to visit Queenstown in the South Island of NZ for 3 days. We don't get snow where we live up in Northland so this was a real treat for us. One of the things we got to try was sitting in the gondola and being pulled up the side of a very very high mountain. I'm usually terrified of heights but this was well worth it.


And this is the stunning scenery we saw once we reached the top. Awesome isn't it? We're looking forward to our next trip there again sometime.

For more Our World Tuesday click here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cafe Utopia and Coffee Art


Recently I enjoyed coffee and a chat with a good friend in another town called Kaiwaka which is about 15 minutes away from where I live. While there I happened to spot the unusual and iconic Café Utopia across the road which use to be a busy hive of activity and was well known for good service, good food and good coffee.

Unfortunately for quite some time now it's been in the process of being renovated so not quite sure what's going on but I like the quirkiness of it - there's nothing else out this way quite like it. I hope they are back in business by Summer...


And this morning the boss shouted us all coffees which was lovely from our local Peppers Cafe in Wellsford next door to work. I normally don't work Mondays but today was rather busy so I got called in. It's all good though, extra hours always help.

Hope you've had a good Monday too :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Time for a Spring clean, declutter and good coffee!

We really have had some warm Spring weather over the last few days, perfect for having a good clean and declutter. One thing that bothers me is that the condensation on windows around our house over window tends to form black spotty mould which i'm sure isn't good to breath in. Today we cleaned every single window frame, window, threw out loads of rubbish, cleaned kitchen cupboards and surfaces, re-arranged bedroom furniture and it was a good chance for me to go through the spare room where my oldest son (who is flatting) has some of his bits and pieces stored. 


After visiting my parents I picked some cuttings off two of their Geranium plants and and Icicle plant which are now in water waiting to grow roots.  So nice to see a set of pink Pinocchio Tulip bulbs flowering in one of my plant pots - guess the sunshine agrees with them too :-)


Now I'm enjoying a nice cup of coffee and watching the rugby league - NZ Warriors vs Sydney City Roosters. Back to work tomorrow though.

Would love to hear how your weekend is going too :-)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekend Reflections - St Leonard's Anglican Church - built 1914


Something I like to do is go on road trips and take photos in different towns of things that catch my eye, historical buildings fascinate me and this one certainly did that.

The St Leonard's Anglican Church in Warkworth has alot of history, and I mean alot - so much information about it.  According to the Warkworth Anglican Parish the land it sits on was donated, money raised and a tender was let for church to be built. Once finished it was dedicated on the 31st May 1914 in the name of St Leonard, patron saint of prisoners, friend of the weak and the fallen. The building was extended in in 1993 and a Rose window added in 2001 which portrays elements of the Christian faith and of the local history and character of Matakana.

I think it's quite a pretty church especially with the pink Camellias flowering in the front.

See more at Weekend Reflections :-)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Skywatch Friday - the after work Spring sunset


One of my favourite things to photograph are skies - sunset and sunrises hold amazing colour combinations to me. Sometimes we can get orange, pink, red, yellow, gold - all sorts in all different patterns and shades. This one was taken last night just as I had arrived home from work - had to quickly grab my camera so i didn't miss it. Perfect start to Spring!!!

For more photos of skies check out Skywatch Friday :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Challenge - Yellow Daffodils - a true sign of Spring!


While driving through towns last weekend, in amongst a brief respite of rain I spotted these delightfully vibrant yellow Daffodils. Some clever clogs had planted them on the corner of a intersection and there they were showing their colours off for all to see - love it!

To take part in the Thursday Challenge click here :-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday around the world - Summer at Mangawhai Surf Beach


These days here in Mangawhai we've had the odd sunny day but mostly dreary wind and rain. It's enough to make you go on holiday to Fiji or Rarotonga. Thankfully I have oodles of images from last Summer saved on my phone and laptop. This one above is from one of my long walks on our local surf beach, no more than 5 mins from where we live. A massive log had washed up around by the rocks and I found it too tempting to pass up taking a photo especially on such a calm sunny hot day.


This one is in honour of our country's surf life guards. Right through summer we see them patrolling the beaches around NZ keeping an eye out for swimmers in trouble, sharks and any other disturbances. They are purely volunteers and i'm definitely of the opinion they are worth their weight in gold and being paid for what they do.

For more WATW - check out Betty's blog :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The wonders of stormy winter skies - Maungaturoto sunset


A few years ago I lived in another small town about 25 mins from here called Maungaturoto. Might be a bit of a tongue twister for some of you to say, however it is a Maori place name which broken down is: Maunga = mountain, tu=to stand, roto=lake.

Anyway many mornings and evenings we had the most amazing skies from orange to pink to red - just stunning. This one was taken about 6 years ago on a cold chilly winter's night from my driveway. The two large trees use to stand in my backyard but they were awful - when they dropped their leaves they also dropped sticky budded flowers so we ended up chopping them down. The middle tree though is a native Cabbage Tree so we had to keep that but I just love the colours in this photo - hope you do too!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ear candling and crazy Monday mornings

In case I haven't mentioned this before every Monday morning on my day off the girls and I get together for coffee and a catch up at the house of one of our friends (Caz). Some of the topics we talk about can range from completely normal to totally off the wall but it's fun and a great way to connect.

This morning one of the girls, Bee came in with an ear candle she had bought locally and complaining of a blocked ear.

If you've never heard of ear candling never fear as I will explain...apparently the ear candles are made of beeswax and filled with various herbs. Sarah gently inserted the candle into the outer ear the top was lit and as it melts down the odour and warmth from inside is suppose to suck out the wax and any other offending things stuck down there.

Now I've never really believe in stuff like this but as the treatment went on the more unblocked Bee's ear became.  At the end she could hear normally again. I'll have to remember this treatment!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Time for Saturday - fresh bread and library books


If there's one thing I enjoy it's making fresh bread, however recently I bought a breadmaker off a friend and let's face it this is a much easier way of doing it.  Sometimes I improvise a bit, I'll make garlic and onion bread, or olive and sun dried tomato bread - this time I decided to try avocado and corn bread.

All was going well until silly me did what I do every night before I go to bed - I turned off all the switches in the kitchen. 5 mins later I realised what I'd done, rushed back to see a loaf of half cooked bread. I restarted the whole cycle again and hoped all would be ok. Unfortunately when I got up this morning half of the loaf was ok and the other half was squashed. sigh. So today I'm going to try again and this time all should be well.

Since it's Saturday the rest of my day is going to be about walking with Tia, visiting the library, reading and relaxing then watching tonight's rugby game between the All Blacks and Australia for the Bledisloe Cup.

Would love to hear what you're getting up to this weekend...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cheerful Primulas after the thunder and lightening



I just LOVE these colourful Primulas. For the last two nights we've had thunderstorms and lightening hovering over the region which is kind of nice when you're lying in bed all snug and warm but I was instantly cheered up when walking from my car to work yesterday morning by this corner garden full of them. Kinda nice to see something so bright and warm out at this time of year.

Spring rocks!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday around the world - High in the Sky


Last Summer I was invited by a friend and his paragliding club to take part in a photo shoot at our local surf beach. I wasn't aware there was a trek at this particular location so it was quite a surprise when I reached the top after about 10 mins. It was a scorching hot day, I had loads of sunblock on and there were quite a few people up there in the air floating about - it's very high, not my sort of adrenaline rush I'm afraid. I'm the sort of person who likes my feet on the ground taking photos with my camera - believe me I didn't go anywhere near the edge of the cliff...


That's my Wednesday around the world for this week, to take part you can go to Betty's Blog :-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Our world Tuesday - Spring is time for Magnolias



This week I'm taking part in Our World Tuesday thanks to this lovely blog. Pink and white Magnolias are just blooming away here. You don't normally find these up by the beach, they tend to grow more in better soil which is why I found them down the road from where we live outside the property of one of the local recycling businesses.  These ones are obviously deciduous and only start coming out of their slumber in late winter/early spring. 



To take part in this like me you can click here...



Crochet colours lovingly made - Colour me Happy Tuesday

So today I'm taking part in Pieni's Tuesday Colour Me Happy theme this week. For me this blanket is special. It was given to my daughter when she was born by her father's grandmother and was lovingful crocheted and handmade.


We've kept it for 16 years and it's so warm that we now use it to huddle under when it's cold - perfect for Winter which is what it is at the moment.

To join the meme this week here is the link:

Pieni Lintu - MakroTex challenge

My dog thinks she's bigger than these farm animals


Typical scenery I see on some of my daily walks around Mangawhai. This is just down the road from us as you go further out into the country. Usually there are cows grazing on this block of land, they come and go but this lot were BIG bulls, even though there was a cute calf in there they were pretty nosey curious creatures.

If you've got a small dog like me, mine's a Jack Russell you'll know that often they tend to think they are bigger than they actually are. Tia is no different, on this particular day she barked and tried to approach them. Usually she's quite good with farm animals but instead of turning around and walking in the opposite direction I thought it better to keep walking and calmly telling her no. After we got past them she was ok and carried on sniffing the ground, as she normally does.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

This is what weekends look like at our place


Chocolate Chip Blueberry Muffins - very more-ish and delicious - recipe here. These will be perfect as part of the teens school lunches next week.


Walks along Mangawhai estuary - this is while walking through the camp ground. Very quiet time of year but will be busy by October when Labour weekend hits.


Two fishermen surfcasting on Mangawhai surf beach when the tide is out - not sure if they caught anything though...

How's your weekend going so far?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Blue skies over Mangawhai estuary and a fine Spring day


Here is the sight that greets me most mornings when I leave Mangawhai to drive to work 20 minutes away. This is part of the estuary that surrounds our town. Up until a few months ago the waterways here were being clogged up by mangroves but thanks to some very helpful volunteers big efforts have been made to pull them out.  

I'm looking forward to seeing all of them removed. In the distance of this photo you can see what looks like a house. It's one of the cabins at the holiday park in the village where a few holiday makers and locals have their own little pieces of paradise.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Thoughts of summer - Sullivan's Bay


wow this place is stunning! This is Sullivan's bay in the Mahurangi Region of Auckland. When it is summer here in NZ the teens and I like to visit different beaches especially the ones that have floating pontoons out on the water - that way they get to swim out from the shore through the waves.

I remember the first time we visited this place was about 4 years ago while we were out driving. We stopped in at a local takeaways and bought wedges and ice cream then enjoyed them once we got out there. Such a lovely scenic view of the whole peninsula. Roll on summer - that way we can spend a day here again!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Days of old - Calf club memories with the kids


When my two were younger (this is my daughter in the above photo when she was younger) we lived in another town about 25 mins from here on the other side of the Kaipara coast. They have always grown up with pets so they're no stranger to animals, however farm animals are a different story. At one point they told the ex husband and myself that they wanted to give calf club a go, some of their friends had gotten into it. So we put their names down and along we went - what fun they had! 

Each of the kids there were given a calf to look after, this meant that each week they had to groom, brush, clean theirs and get to know their new friends. They were taught how to train their calf, lead it around a ring and when Spring came they repeated the process on the day of Calf Club at their school. Sometimes the calves because they were little were stroppy, strong willed other times the more the kids got to know them the more they learned to behave.


On the day of calf club they competed against other children from farms around the region and ended up winning some ribbons for their calves. It's fun valuable times like this that make me look back and wish we could do it all again...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My tulip bulbs are eager for Spring too!


What's this? Another perfect indication of Spring - Tulip bulbs (Pinocchio) are poking their heads out of two plant pots on my outside deck. A few months ago I bought some pink and white striped ones and thought what a pretty display of colour they would be mixed in with these white Alyssum.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Northland has more rain so we're enjoying a lazy Sunday

There's not alot you can do in the rain here in Northland. Most winter days are spent keeping warm on cold frosty nights while enjoying mild sunny days - but this year has been different. We've had so much rain that we've had major road slips, ok so we had a break last week but it wasn't enough for conditions to dry out. When I'm out walking Tia I take her on a verge of grass down the end of a neighbouring road and that was still boggy under my feet.

Today yet again we have rain, the only positive thing is that it's filling up my watertank outside. You see, we aren't connected by the main water line that most people have. Everyone in small towns has a concrete or hard plastic tank in their yard and we rely on the rain to fill it up throughout the year. Once in a while when someone runs out we just call a local water delivery company.


That's my deck outside, backyard and my neighbours two water tanks inside of his fence.


My potted succulents haven't stopped growing with all the rain but sooner or later they're going to want to dry out.


This is my plan for the day - reading "Tudors" by one of my favourite authors Peter Ackroyd.


Tia has the right idea - she's hibernating under a blanket. Hopefully you're enjoying your Sunday too - would love to hear what you're up to today :-)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

This is what I like about Spring!


Down here in the southern hemisphere it's late winter and for the last couple of weeks we've been incredibly blessed with lovely warm sunny days. Today while on my daily walk to the postbox at the shops I saw this lovely yellow Hibiscus flower poking it's head out through the leaves of a hedge.

Other things that make me happy at this time of year are:
  • Baby lambs - awwww
  • Not so cold nights
  • Taking the electric blanket off the bed
  • Spring bulbs growing up through the soil in the plant pots on my deck outside.
Spring is on it's way!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Life in a small town - what we do and don't have

So if you didn't know, I grew up in the big city of Auckland and in 1996 we moved up to this small seaside town on the east coast of Northern NZ. At first it was very strange finding out that the shops close at 6pm but over time I've learned that there are more pros than cons:


  • I get to see amazing scenery like this every day as we live literally 5 mins from the beach.
  • We don't have nosey neighbours right next door to us peering in through our windows.
  • There's a community spirit here where everyone looks out for everyone else.
  • The supermarket is only 40 mins away but we have lots of local farms and a market each week where we can buy fresh produce especially free range eggs.
  • Our version of a traffic jam is being stuck behind a farm tractor on the main road.
  • When I drive to work each morning I pass farms, countryside and get there within 20-25 mins.
  • The only time our town is busy is over the summer and public holidays otherwise the rest of the year it's quiet and peaceful.

What are the great things about where you live?

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