Knowing I Will Be OK


I have experienced a LOT of internal confusion and debate over the past 3 years & nine months as to how my future is going to pan out.
I know firsthand that life is incredibly tenuous.
For a long time I have felt uneasy and scared as to what my future might be like.

But I have finally reached a place.
Turned a new page.
A blank, clean page.
I have a freshly sharpened pencil.
I am about to begin writing a new chapter.

It is actually rather exciting to be embarking on a different journey.
It has taken me a long while to bury the hopes and dreams from my past life.
I have had to work through the grief of the loss of all of those.
It has not been easy but it has been a journey of healing and learning and discovery.

I now have the beginnings of new dreams and new ideas and new hopes………
Life is awesome and it is going to be even more awesome.
I am happy.
The darkness has lifted.
A new day is dawning.
I have absolutely no idea where it is going to take me but actually I don’t really care.
I just know
I. Will. Be. Okay.img_0272

Self care

Since I have moved to town and begun working with vulnerable & abused women I have been introduced to the notion of self care.
In our training we were taught that self care is vitally important.
After so many years of putting myself and my needs second, or third – actually probably more than 12th in line this was sort of a new concept for me.

I have spent so many years being strong, the one that everyone depends on, the one that gets things done, the busy one.
I didn’t realise until about 5.5 years ago when my brain said enough and I had a major breakdown.
I had no idea what was happening to me until a friend asked me a question.
Do you think you might be depressed?
Seriously  – me depressed!
I dont ‘do’ depressed!
I haven’t got time for that nonsense :-/
But, her question & concern stopped me in my tracks and I took the plunge and went to my Dr.
That in itself was a major exercise at the time.
Anyway, the upshot was, for the first time in my entire life I was able to tell someone about the extensive sexual and emotional abuse I endured for over 10 years of my childhood.
And from there I began my healing.
It has not been easy, it is never easy to open old and deep wounds and expose them.
In fact it is very scary.
I was, and am, a mother of many, and a wife, running businesses alongside my man.
Life was busy.
I had not realised that busyness is one of the ways that abuse victims ‘use’ to ‘forget’ what has happened to them.
Not that you ever ever forget!
Life didn’t get any easy with this disclosure, in fact it got a hell of a lot harder.
My journey of self discovery has been incredibly tumultuous.
I have discovered who my true friends are.
Part of my self preservation has been learning to close the door on those who can’t or won’t support me and to embrace those who can and do.

My therapist has been flabbergasted over the years as one historic trauma after another is disclosed as well as more stress and trauma that has occurred along the way since then.
She commented to me one day that my PTSD was incredibly complex.
I picture my traumas over the years as pieces of string, they have knotted together and through time have wound themselves into a very big ball of string.
Hence the name of this new blog 🙂
I am slowly unraveling and dealing with each piece, unknotting, unraveling,  and using them to weave a new garment.
My new garment is going to be stunningly gorgeous and of course the predominant colour will be Orange 🙂

So back to self care.
For me this has not happened overnight.
It has been quite a journey.
Slowly slowly, baby steps, three steps forward and one back, sometimes it has felt like four back!!

My self care began with mending my mind.
Learning how to process what has happened, how it has affected me and the way I deal with situations and then to relearn new ways, more healthy ways of approaching similar situations.
This takes time and I am ever so grateful to have found a therapist who has worked with me gently over the past 5 years.

Physical rest has also been important.
I have pushed myself for so long, the subconscious need to keep busy to bury everything sort of busy.
When Tim was killed my body stopped.
I was literally unable to do anything but go through the motions.
I stopped cooking, reading, listening to music, art……
I literally shut down and spent most of my time hiding in my room watching brainless movies.

Then I ran away.
I took my two youngest and we ran away.
It really wasn’t a conscious decision.
It just happened, but it was a good happening.
We spent most part of a year on the move.
We had some amazing adventures and did some much needed bonding and healing.
It was a very precious time for us all.
It resulted in us moving to town and away from my most recent pain of losing our main man.

One of the first things I did was to apply for a partially voluntary job with SASH Nelson.
It was pretty daunting applying for the first job in nearly 40 years.
But the cool thing was that I was accepted to be a part of the Crisis Response Team.
Becoming part of the team has played a huge part in my healing journey.
My team mates are the most awesome girls, they have become members of my new Village.
It was through this job that I have learnt much more about the importance of self care.
Plus I am able to help support others because I have an empathy and understanding with them.
And helping them is helping me – win win 🙂

And now to now!
Where am I at now?
Well, I am kickin’ arse.
I am so incredibly proud of myself.
I still have down days, days where the tears rule, where I hit the floor in a sobbing heap.
But those days are less frequent.
I have days where I am incredibly lonely, but I am learning to reach out.
I am in a much stronger headspace.
And being in a stronger headspace has given me the ability to focus on my physical being.
Living in the central city on the flat has allowed me to gradually build up my fitness levels.
Due to a lot of injuries both historic and recent my body has been rather battered so walking has been good therapy.
I have restored my soul by wandering around the river and roads with the puppy, discovering new places and friends.
Recently I felt in the right place & ready, so have joined up with a local gym & pool.
It is 10 years since I did any serious gym work.
I have really enjoyed going down there first thing most mornings and getting a good cardio session going.
The trainers have put together a programme for me in the weights room, and after just a month I am feeling so damn good.
I am not focusing on weight loss, just getting my body toned and functioning again.
Yesterday I was very conscious that all my jeans were getting very loose and quite baggy – not really the look I like – so I popped in to see the girls at JeansWest and they helped me find some new jeans.
Unbelievable – I have gone from size 14 down to size 11.
I haven’t been that size in about 28 years!!
This morning, I am feeling really buzzed from my Vitamin G(ym) fix this morning.
In fact I am feeling frickin’ fantastic  🙂
This self care stuff is actually pretty damn good.

Food Glorious Food


Food is a huge focus in most folks lives.
It’s a pretty important thing.
And everyone has a view point about food.
Some don’t care, they just eat anything and everything.
Some care fixatedly and are extremely particular.
Some have deadly allergies
Some have intolerances
Some are just plain picky and ride on the back of those who have those allergies.

Me, well I just like food.
But I am very particular as well.
My food has to be good.
Really good!
I won’t pay for crappy fast food unless that is the absolute last option and I am at deaths door!

I have cooked and baked nutritious delicious food all my married life.
I have literally fed armies, fed the multitudes.
But when Tim was killed, my spirit to cook died too.
My confidence disappeared.
I relied on the kids to produce many of our meals.
It’s take me a while to get back on the planet in that regards.
Now we are off the farm and usually only 2-4 of us at home our meals have changed, simplified.
I use a lot of vegetables and not a lot of meat.
Because one of us is vegetarian, I tend to cook around her and then add meat according to what rest of us want or need.
And actually, I am finding that I don’t need or want a lot of meat any more.
I am ‘fussy’ in some respects which makes it so easy when I go out.
I don’t eat pork or venison because I don’t like it and I don’t eat mutton or lamb because no-one can cook it like Tim did 😉
I also try and keep my food as unprocessed as possible.
And I keep my sugar intake to a minimum.
I’m not religious about it, I have done being a slave to it.
Food is to be enjoyed, but in that enjoyment I try and make wise choices.

In our city house we have an oven which I am not familiar with, I hate using it, and can only usually succeed to get it operating if Mahalia is here to operate the switches!
So I cook mainly using the mini bench oven, the slow cookers, the rice cooker and heavy cast iron cookware on the gas stove.
We live on salads and stir fries of varying combinations depending on the seasons, combining them with potatoes in many disguises, noodles, rice, buns, etc.
The slow cooker is also a brilliant stand by, I can prepare a nutritious economical meal which can often last us for more than several days, once again combining with whichever carb you choose to make each meal different & interesting.

I don’t need to turn out great quantities of baking anymore so 6 muffins cook nicely in the mini oven.
These were made to Mahalia’s request using pumpkin puree, halloumi cheese and toasted seeds.
They tasted really good!
And when you have roast veggies left over what better way to use them up than bubble and squeak with some organic farm eggs lovingly squeezed from Marah’s chooks by my gorgeous little grand daughters 🙂

But being in the city also has another benefit.
We can eat other peoples cooking more often!
There are some wonderful cafes & restaurants here.
I especially love the cafe culture, the diverse range, the outdoor & street seating that our climate allows us to enjoy.
The thing I love about eating out is sharing.
Sharing time with friends.
Taking time out of the busyness of life and just stopping.
I love nothing better than to meet with a friend and spend time enjoying their company along with good food and great coffees.
I love exploring and finding new treasure troves, and returning to old favourites.
There’s one or three I have frequented recently deserve a mention –

The Baker’s Coffee Shop makes excellent coffees & exquisite pastries onsite.
Mahalia and I treated ourselves the other day, it is probably not a place I need to go too often because the pastries are just wickedly wonderful and self restraint is extremely difficult 😉

7010 Your Local is another fav.
The cool thing here is that the food is different every day.
But each time it is just so good.

I have to make particular mention of the relatively new La Capilla Restaurant.
Owners by head chef Takeshi, one of the best chefs in our region.
I recently took my lad out there for a special lunch.
He said it was absolutely the best meal ever as he pretty much licked his plate clean 🙂
And of course, being a special lunch we couldn’t leave without sampling one of Takeshi’s delicious deserts each.
SO good!

The other absolute fav place of ours is East Street Vegetarian Cafe & Bar.
If I want to keep Mahalia happy I just suggest going there for lunch, or dinner, or dessert, or…….. any excuse really and she is very happy 🙂
It has the reputation of being the best vegetarian restaurant in NZ and I agree whole heartedly.
The ambience is retro and funky, the staff are super cool and the food is awesome.
Double thumbs up to this place.
Mains are exceptional and desserts are pretty darned good too.img_9824img_9825

A cafe that I don’t get too that often as it is on the other side of town is Blackbird Eatery.
It is tucked away inside a local gym and as it is only a couple of minutes further to the airport it is worth leaving a bit earlier for your flight so you can fuel up on the way.
It focuses on raw and fresh foods.
I was heading to the airport so enjoyed a get together with two of my girls here last week.
We did the afternoon tea sweet thing, the brownies were made from gf, df ingredients and were divine but we shoulda divided two among three of us as one each was a bit much for our relatively sugar free bodies.

I popped down to Christchurch this week.
It was a very impromptu visit so I didn’t rush about catching up with everyone like I often do.
Pretty much focused on the business to hand and getting some much needed rest.
But I did manage to share a couple of meals out whilst there.
A pre show snack at Rendezvous Hotel’s Junction Bar before going to Evita.
Everyone else was eating platters of deep fried bar food.
As I said further back, I am personally trying to make good choices and too much deep fried or sugary food is not a good choice for me right now.
This beetroot salad was wonderful, the buffalo yoghurt and hazel nuts mixed with roast onion and beetroot was just perfect.
What I really liked was that they were willing to accomodate my preferences and swap some ingredients for another.
I do have a couple of concessions which include the occasional glass of cider and a mocha.
The cider must not be apple, anything but apple!
And the mocha has got to be good – very hot, not lukewarm and milky -eeewk!
I walked on the Wildside with Nathan and enjoyed a Mandarin & Lime Cider while had had an Asahi beer.
He tried to convert me, but no, beers for me.
Joe’s Garage in Rangiora was our second choice for dinner.
But as the first choice was closed for staff training we opted for Joe’s.
It was a good choice.
Not too crowded while we were there so fairly peaceful, staff were great and the food was pretty darned good.
Nathan proclaimed the steak to be perfectly to his liking and my salmon was delectable.

I could not leave Joe’s without having a Killer Smoothie so had that for dessert.
My goodness, they are the absolute best smoothies.
Ever since my first one at the Sumner Joe’s Garage many years ago it is top of my menu choice whenever I have the fortune to find myself there.
It is basically yoghurt with black doris plums & honey.img_0155

Basically when it comes down to it, there is really nothing that surpasses sharing good food with good friends.

Loving my garden

We moved here in the spring – almost 2 years ago.
That first spring was spent demolishing the garden.
We are now 2 springs on from when the landscaping & replanting began.

Early September and the peaches and nectarine trees are beginning to blossom.
img_9792 img_9793\
Barely 2 weeks later and they are smothered in pink.
I hope this gloriousness means lots of fruit 🙂img_0009
Random splashes of colour are brightening the section
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The only tree left from the original front garden is the old lemon and it has bounced back with abundance from it’s very severe pruning.

This morning I spent a couple of hours weeding and adding more plants to my under the jacaranda forest floor garden.
It is looking so lush and wonderful.
Just have to ensure the puppies stay out.
I have it fenced off because Caspian tears through it when chasing passers by on the other side of the fence.
He pays no regard whatsoever for my labour of love.img_0010img_0115  img_0116
On the other side of the boardwalk I’ve added some more hellebores along the back so hoping for lots of wonderful winter roses next year.
And now there is spring rain gently watering – it was a timely planting session.

Farewells and welcomes

I returned home Friday, only to farewell our lovely Sibylle the next morning.
She has been an absolute joy to host and slotted into our family so easily.
We are sure gonna miss you, you bundle of Swiss sweetness xxxx

Lenore & Ross had enjoyed their time with her & Mahalia as well.
They had been out on a few adventures sussing out some of the local scenic spots.

We welcomed Anja a few hours later.
Also from Switzerland, and also had problems with connecting flights into Nelson.
But she eventually arrived and all is well.

Sunday morning I roused Azzan from his slumbers and we all went out to Melrose House for brunch.
It was a rainy day but still pleasant enough to sit out on the verandah.
The cafe is under new management but the food is still spectacularly wonderful.
The staff were delightful, made some new friends whilst connecting with them 🙂
Mahalia was bemoaning having to share her smoothie with yet another flower.
Flowers everywhere amongst her food.
But so pretty Halia 😉img_9743 img_9744
The man of the house easily tucked away a decently proper man sized breakfast.img_9752
This beautiful young woman holds a very special part of my heart  xxximg_9754
Azzan headed off into the showery elements to walk the Grampians…. mmmm, maybe meeting friends was a preferable option which he quickly opted for  😉
We took Anja for a tiki tour in the rain and ended up languishing on the floor in John & Sally’s lounge, in front of their fire.
It was very cosy 😉

Phoebe & Sapphie came for a visit the next day.
Sapphire enjoyed some story book time with Nonna.
It’s not often she stays still enough so I made the most of it 😉

Ross & Lenore packed up and said their farewells and headed south back to their land of normality.
It was so lovely having them here.
Thanks so much for all your help, and I am glad you were able to have a break, rest up and recover from your jet lag.

I am pretty much over mine now and reality is hitting :-/

Ev’s 40th – Party Time

Saturday night was party time.
The All Blacks had just beaten the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup for the 2nd time in two weeks so all was well in Evan’s world and he was ready to party by the time the full time whistle was blown 🙂

Jesika had made a fantastic photo board for him.IMG_9339 IMG_9340 IMG_9341 IMG_9343
He was sporting the satin shorts from Shoshannah and the flashing lit up horns & jandles that Marah sent.
Perfect party attire.
I presented Evan with a celebratory picture that I had painted on my way over.
It’s carrying my main present – which was too big for me to bring in the flesh, so he has to come home and get it 😉

The other main man was also suitable attired to attend the Kiwi themed party.
Welcome Fred Dagg 🙂
He was really rocking those gumboots.
Fred Dagg aka John Clarke has always been a favourite of our family.
One skit in particular always made Tim laugh and he was always commenting that ‘the front fell off’ when things didn’t go to plan 🙂IMG_9309
Jesika went all out as did her Chilean friends Jacqui & Javier.
IMG_9324 IMG_9326
Me and my girlIMG_9330
Jesika & Sam getting the cake finished IMG_9335
Cheeky cousins 🙂
IMG_9338 IMG_9334
There was quite a storm blowing outside the marque so lighting candles took skillIMG_9345
Evan with workmate Tracey and her daughter
Ev with Sam’s present – yes he drinks tea 😉
The ulteria motive was to stop him drinking her cups of tea when he visits!!IMG_9356 IMG_9361
Ev with ‘old’ school mate Tracey.
There were 3 Tracey’s at the party so we had to differentiate with clarification nicknames.IMG_9365 IMG_9366 (1) IMG_9367
A major amount of drunken hilarity occurred of course.
Measure biceps at this point…..IMG_9372

Wal lost his wig later in the evening – somehow looked a lot better on Bud methinks 😉IMG_9373
I love this last photo – it was the last one I actually took that night and it shows the birthday boy in full swing.
He was really enjoying himself 🙂IMG_9374

Do more of what makes you happy

Tiki-touring on the way home took us to the end of a road.

Going down is fine – but every step down has to be reclimbed in an upwards manner 😉
Hey Sibylle! Where are your shoes?
Obstacles do not block the path,
they are the path.
You can shake the sand from your shoes,
But not from your soul.

Take me to the beach and I will show you joy 🙂





Taming a prehistoric beast!
Cave creatures
Looking back from whence we came.IMG_9093