Strength in the night….

This past week…
What a week.
Trying to process it all has been huge.
The demise of the master.
Then the destruction of a masterpiece.
There were not too many Kiwis who will forget the time 00:02 and the date 14 November 2016.
The terror of being awoken by the ominous rumbling and the violent shaking and the darkness and the unknown damage being wrought around each of us.
For those of us fortunate enough to not lose power there was immediate and frantic checking in on Facebook and Geonet to see what was going on and ensuring loved ones were safe.
I was so grateful to have Eilidh here with me.
She and I kept each other company as unbelievably my children and pups slept through the whole night!
Texts, messages & phone calls flew between family and friends.
These vital connections helped maintain a certain calm amidst the chaos.

A sleepless night ahead as the aftershocks hit, the anxiety that any of these might be a bigger one.
In the few hours following we experienced 6 quakes larger than magnitude 5, and over the week since, 357 aftershocks over magnitude 4.
Reports unfolded as the morning developed.
And the reports have gotten worse with each daylight hour.
The enormity of the power released is unfathomable.
The east coast sea bed thrust up 2 metres with such force and speed that sea life had no chance to escape.
The GPS station at Cape Campbell was moved 2 meters north.
Towns completely cut off, isolated by huge landslides and destroyed roads, rail lines twisted and moved like cotton candy.
Two people died.
A miracle there were no more.
Many others injured and traumatised.

I managed about 2 hours sleep, then Mahalia unknowingly woke me at 6am cuz she knew I was planning to go to the gym.
Ah! The normality of life.
As Monday unfolded, unraveling of the disaster gave clarity to the desperation of the situation for the people on the East Coast.
Especially those in Kaikoura who were totally trapped.
Then Waiau, then we realised that pretty much most of the top of the South Island was not only isolated from the rest of the country but also from each other.
Then came the tsunami alerts.
The King Tides.
And then came the rain.
Flooding in Nelson, Wellington, more damage, more chaos.
I thought we had escaped pretty much unscathed but then the call came from down home.
Seb & Phoebe were evacuating by boat after watching a huge landslide flow down the hill surrounding the house & buildings and covering the road metres deep in wet slurry.
I was just grateful they were safe.
There have been many things to be thankful for in amongst all of this.
Thankful they had a home to come to.
Thankful for friends who provided emergency vehicles and household provisions until we can retrieve their things.
Now to add to the merry-go-round of my life I begin the EQC dance as we begin organising the clean up.

In the scale of the events, ours is but a small portion.
But in our personal lives it is rather devastating to say the least.
I have been standing so strong in the past months.
I have gained my warrior crown.
I must admit that on this day it slipped.
But I am proud of myself, because I never let it fall to the ground.
I caught it and let it wash in the tears of the moment.
Then I set it straight and stood up and faced the moment head on.

To sign off in true Kiwi style
Heres some humour for the occasion.
Check out this wonderful rendition by Jason Gunn.
Thanks for keeping us smiling Jason 🙂

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

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.

Daring greatly during difficult days


When you think the absolute worst thing to happen to you has already happened, yet another curved ball comes from left field and totally blind sides you.

In my current emotionally exhausted melancholic state I look back over my nearly 60 years and can readily recall some of the largest curved balls that have smashed into me. In amongst them smaller balls which hit with slightly less aggressive force and their bruises are sometimes not terribly visible until a trigger prompts their memory.

These balls have battered and bruised me. Some have near killed me. But I have always picked myself up, reached down, picked up the ball and run with it. Trying to run with the weight of these balls adding up over the years have resulted in a medical diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder.

In recent times I’ve been pitched some huge balls that have hit me fair in the gut. Smashed the wind clean out of me. Left me wondering how on earth I can carry on.

But I did, and I do. My natural instinct has been to recoil inwards, hold my pain, cradle it tight like a precious child, protecting it, kicking out at anyone who dares to come near, fighting, fighting, fighting for……. fighting for what?

Fighting to protect my vulnerability. Fighting to prevent more hurt, more pain. Because after all, if you don’t allow anyone in then you can’t get hurt again. Right?


Brené Brown taught me that by exposing my vulnerability I gain strength.


By exposing my desperate needs, my hurts, my pain, learning to trust, I slowly rebuild my village.

When those massive curved balls smash into you they break the protective walls that surrounded you, they don’t just batter you but they send your village scattering. Leaving only one or two of your tribe behind if you’re lucky.

It is then you make your choices. Run and hide, head for the hills, curl up in a ball, stay alone, protect yourself….

or reach out, find empathy, build strength, learn to trust, abandon shame, tell your story,

It takes a while to rebuild, to create a new village, foundation bricks are tested, ones who prove to be trustworthy and strong are added to the new foundations, the ones who are not are cast aside. You tentatively reach out, test the waters, learn who to trust, each brick in place adds more strength. A new village is constructed. Your new tribe rises to surround and support you. A tribe that is prepared to cover your back, to stand alongside, to encourage, empower, support, and no matter what, love you no matter what.

A tribe you can stand sweaty, strong & bloodied in the arena with – a tribe who will dare greatly with you!

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Teddy Roosevelt 1910

An evening at Manuka

For a Tuesday night treat I was taken to a favourite haunt of Evan & Jesika’s.
Manuka Woodfire Kitchen.

It is a delightful restaurant.
I loved the ambience and also the staff were fantastic.
Everything is cooked in this woodfire oven.
They have a cool menu which changes according to the seasons.
You order any selection that floats your boat and it comes out in a random order as it gets cooked.

This is a new Ginger Beer to me and it went down exceptionally well.
I’m not a huge olive fan but these roasted olives were wonderful, couldn’t stop eating them.
The baby heirloom peppers were SO good, and the roasted potatoes were very more-ish too.
Roasted cauli with avocado was interesting – actually this is all making me really hungry – I feel like hopping back on the plane and heading there for dinner tonight!!
Of course Evan’s meal was not complete without his portion of meat.
I let him enjoy the lamb shoulder.
I was more than happy with all the delicious vege dishes 🙂
And this really tells the story of total satisfaction.
It was lovely to spend the evening just with these two.  img_9523 img_9529
Can you tell I’m loving my new scarf – don’t think I took it off for days 🙂
Even is one of them is a total nutcase!
img_9533 img_9539
We felt we needed to do justice to the menu and sample some desserts.
But actually the first course was enough.
img_9540 img_9544
This was on the wall – it spoke to me.

Walking back to the car I spotted this cool piece of mixed media in a random shop window.
It says –
Kindness Matters
the hope and kindness
we give to the world
not only nurtures us
but it becomes
a gift for someone else
to receive for their own healing.
Thanks for a lovely end to the day J&E.
Love you both muchly xxxx

Y’know, I quite like rain :-)

Monday in Nelson – precipitation much!
Kids were glad I decided to drop them at school
My day moved from a frankly fraught 9am-er to being cosied up inside Cafe 7010 with Roni for a most enjoyable brunch and heart to heart.
Not arduous at all 😉
Home to check on my furry babies then up the street to the Sprig to sip ciders with Penelope.

Sophie pampered me this Tuesday morn – face and fingers got fussed upon.
“Take care of your body.
It’s the only place you have to live in.”
Relax, rest, revive…..

A mocha and curly fries and a catch up with Gay at the Sprig rounded off the morning perfectly.

And when you have got nothing better to do than to succumb to the Scottish blood which runs so strongly in the veins.
You spend time making chocolate cakes to use up 2 cups of sour milk rather than tip it down the drain!
Anson arrived to collect his young bro and they were very happy to take a couple off my hands.

The shelf which has been reclining in my bath for the past few weeks called to me and said ‘enough’!
So I answered the call tonight and and along with my trusty hole drilling thingee whatsit I managed to successfully hang the thing.
And whats more, it’s hanging straight!

Now the lil bro has departed for a few days big sis launched an invasion into enemy territory.
The war was waged tonight but not completely won.
Extreme exhaustion overwhelmed her so she withdrew to rally defences for a final onslaught tomorrow.
Major progress has been made and the morrow should see the floor exposed once again!

Hello world!

After 10 years of blogging about life in the fast lane of motherhood, ménage, motivation, marriage, and mourning, I have decided to begin anew.
So welcome to my new blog.
I’m not too sure how this will develop but knowing me it will be at times deep and meaningful and at others, light and fripperous 🙂
Don’t you just love that word – fripperous?
It is so fun and happy and carefree.
In setting up this new site I have stumbled upon the works of Becca Lee.
I am a lover of words.
They move me, they speak to me and and feed my soul.
They nurture, they soothe, they help me process.
When I discovered her Instagram site my heart leapt.
I fell upon her words like a starving ravenous wretch.
As I begin walking toward the light after so long in the darkness this quote fuels my soul tonight.