Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Happy Place!

Hello all or should that be Bula!! I have just spent the last 9 days in 'my happy place' - Fiji. This place is paradise on earth to me and it is where my mind wanders to on those days when life is just getting a little tough. I think we timed our departure perfectly, by chance, as we had had snow here in Wellington the week before we left. To go from wearing layers of merino wool daily, to wearing not much more than a bikini and jandals was absolute bliss.

Flying out of Wellington at sunrise was beautiful. And a mere few hours later we arrived in Nadi ready for a short drive to our lovely resort. There is no time difference between NZ and Fiji so it's a great place to visit with children as there are no ridiculously early starts with confused little body clocks! The Fijian people are probably the friendliest I have ever met in all of my travels. Everyone makes eye contact and greets you with Bula (hello) which is wonderful and makes such a pleasant change to where I live where it seems people go out of their way to avoid eye contact sometimes! Their pace of life is very relaxed, they adore children and take great pleasure in squeezing their cheeks, kissing them and generally spoiling them at every opportunity. The most amazing thing of all to me is that the lovely folk at the resort remembered my childrens' names from our visit last year. How utterly amazing is that! That really sums up these beautiful people for me - they are truly caring, loving and genuine. It was amazing.

This was the view from our room - a beautiful lagoon and waterfall and the most glorious gardens.

This part of Fiji doesn't have the white sandy beaches, but it is still gorgeous. The small folk had great fun running in and out of the water after breakfast each morning. By far the majority of the stay was spent in and around the many swimming pools rather than in the sea. Probably because I am scared of crabs, sharks and seaweed!!

This one is the adults only pool which was a bit of a treat to escape to while Mr 6 and Miss 4 went to play at the amazing kids club. They wanted to go back each day for the crab racing, coconut bowling and frog hunting amongst other things. Who was I to argue with them!! It was a real treat to have a wee bit of time out to sit in the sun and read a book. I'm sure all other mums out there will understand exactly what I mean!!

Now I did warn you there would be a few palm tree pics!!

And another one...

Gorgeous gardens at our resort with another beautiful lagoon.

This really is my happy place. How could it not be? The swimming pools have sand all around them so you still feel a little 'beachy', clear water and stinking hot sunshine - aaaaahh. It was almost too hot for me which is really saying something.

Staggeringly gorgeous sunsets - every night was picture perfect and as we sat outdoors to have our dinner each evening - this was our beautiful outlook.

On the last day of my stay I was wandering around a neighbouring resort and spotted this gorgeous lounge bar. These are my fave colour combinations - I wish I'd discovered it sooner as it would have been the most perfect place to laze in the heat of the afternoon with a nice cold drink or two.

Walking back to my room I spotted this man showing some wee kids how he could climb the trees - he was such a total poser when he saw me with my camera!

Now the only thing that could make this picture more perfect to me would be to have a crochet hook and a ball of wool at hand!!

Each afternoon the Fijian drums would be beaten to announce that it was happy hour at the bar. On the last day of our stay as the drum was beaten, Miss 4 leapt out of the pool, threw her arms in the air and announced "It's Happy Time"!!! Hilarious.

I hope you've all had a fabulous week. I can't wait to catch up on all the beautiful blogs I've been missing over the last week and a half.

See you again soon!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Crafty bliss!

After a fairly wild week of snowy weather, it was nice to finally get out and about and hit the shops for a treat. I have been wanting to visit an emporium in a nearby city for a while so a friend and I jumped in the car and managed to escape most of the rain storms on the way. I didn't really know what to expect so I was hugely pleased when I spotted all the crafty bits and pieces! I bought some fab wooden buttons - but I could really have gone crazy buying loads more. Next time perhaps ...

The wall of buttons was tucked away around a corner, so when I discovered it I think I might have actually squealed out loud!! So many choices, in every colour imaginable. Then there was the ribbon wall ...

And just when I thought I'd seen enough buttons, I turn another corner and there's another wall of them. This time it was all the kids buttons and more decorative bits and bobs. Amazing!

This is a closer up look at the ones I bought on this trip. The tulip ones are destined for a lovely green cardi I have. The buttons on it are perfectly fine already, but these will look even better. The other ones will wait for another project I have in mind.

Another treat I bought earlier in the week was this pretty bangle. It's bright, glittery and covered in roses. I love it! I've worn it every day this week - because the weather has been so gloomy - I've needed as much colour on me and around me as possible. I also had some fantastic op shops finds this week but I completely forgot to take pics of them. A gorgeous light grey merino cardi, a silk skirt (amazing!) and a fab wrap top. Talk about fab bargains!! I will pop them on my next post!

I just had to pop this pic in to end with as my back garden turned white during the week. I know you lovely folk who live with snow year in year out will think this is quite a piddly little snowfall but for us here in Wellington - it was substantial and we're all still talking about it! It was exciting for my small folk and quite a novelty for us bigger folk too!

Big news this week in our household - Mr 6 lost his very first tooth! The tooth fairy has visited and he is still carrying his $2 coin around that she left him. I'm loving the slightly different way some of his words sound through the new gap. Gorgeous!

I was absent minded and posted without adding a note about my good luck this week! I was the lucky winner of a fab giveaway here! I am so hugely grateful to LeeAnn - it really made my week!

I will be a bit late with my usual post next week. I will explain why in my next instalment! So until then, I hope you all have a fabulous week!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Brrrrrr! Hey what is this white stuff?

It was so cold and gloomy here over the weekend so to add a bit of brightness to my day I made this gorgeous wee cosy for my oh-so-little teapot. And it has done the trick - just looking at it makes me feel a million times happier. Is it just me or does tea taste better when it's out of a pretty pot with a cosy? In the morning I am usually rushing so I just throw a teabag into a mug and drink it while standing making school lunches. But there is something about actually sitting down and enjoying a quiet cuppa - ah bliss. So that is what I am doing right now, typing away happily and grinning at my cheerful wee teapot!!

I wanted to add something to the top of it but didn't want to do flowers again so this time it was hearts. I had a gorgeous little heart button to use on the bottom of the cosy so it seemed a perfect choice. As much as I love my 'flat top' tea cosies, I really love adding things for a bit of fun. I love the way it has turned out.

So it seemed only right to enjoy a piece of yummy chocolate slice at the same time! I was only told about this recipe yesterday morning and had to rush home and give it a go. I kind of wish I hadn't now - it's too hard to stop eating!!!

I also made this absolutely delicious banana bread. Oh wow - this was a total hit. We ate half of it within 10 minutes of it being out of the oven, warm with butter. Somebody stop me!!!!!

I told you that it had been cold here... now we usually get down to about 4-5 degrees Celsius on a very bad day. But yesterday it actually snowed!! It hasn't snowed in Wellington for decades and they are saying this could be a once in a life time experience. Well - I was like a kid at Christmas - it was so exciting. We ran outside and made small snowballs and had a fabulous time! One 'snowman' ice sculpture later and we were all very happy to come back inside to get warm! The snowflakes on our skylight window were beautiful. It is forecast to snow again today, but sitting here right now with the sun coming in the window it's hard to believe. The flowers are from my small folk who picked them at their grandparents house and brought them home especially for me. Very special.

I hope you all have a lovely week.
Take care.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A week of things to make me smile!

I apologise in advance if this post is a bit lengthy! I only do one post a week and this week, it's been pretty full on so I have lots of things to write about. This morning, I popped into town to meet a girlfriend at Moore Wilson's (a fabulous wholesale store which regularly tempts me with all its gorgeous kitchen bits and pieces). This amazing ice display has just been created outside the store as part of "Wellington on a Plate", which is a month of food based events. Isn't it fantastic? Fresh produce sealed in huge blocks of ice. Thankfully we are having fairly chilly temperatures here, so hopefully this wonderful piece will last for a while!

We treated our family to one of the events, which was a gourmet food/steam train excursion. It was brilliant!! I was so excited to go on a steam train - there is something so charming about them, the noise of the engines, the whistle and toots, the gentle rock of the carriages ... We had the most wonderful day - plenty of lovely foodie treats and gorgeous countryside to chug through. The journey was from Otaki to Feilding and back. Here are a few pics from both inside and outside the train. When we got off the train, it was continuing on its journey and we were lucky enough to find ourselves right beside it along the main road. Mr 6 and Miss 4 had a total blast - as did the grown ups!! I just wish I had taken my vintage crochet bag with me, then I could have sat there like an old nana with my hooks!

Not a lot of progress on my blanket this week as have had lots of hat orders to complete. I was having a wee play the other night, trying to work out what, if anything, I could pop onto the boys hats. The girls hats look gorgeous with flowers but the newborn boys hats looked a little plain. I ended up creating this cute wee bear and he looks adorable. I've even managed to decipher my pattern scribbles if you fancy making one. I used a 4.5mm hook and double knit for this particular one and he measures approx 4cm across his face (not including ears). Any size hook will do. And it only uses up a tiny bit of wool so great for little leftover pieces you have. This is using US stitch terms.

For the face:
Rd 1: Ch3 then join to first chain with sl st.
Rd2: Ch2, 10hdc into ring. The ring will be small so you may need to jiggle it a bit to find the centre.

Rd3: Ch2, 1hdc into same stitch, then 2hdc into every stitch. Join with sl st to top of first Ch2. Do not fasten off just yet.

Now for the ears:
Sl st into next stitch. Into the same stitch Ch1, hdc, 3dc, hdc, sl st. Fasten off.

Working towards the left now, skip 4 stitches. Insert hook into 5th stitch and draw yarn through.

Ch1, hdc, 3dc, hdc, sl st into same stitch. Fasten off. Tidy ends and now you can make his wee face.

Using contrast thread stitch eyes ...

... nose and mouth. And there you go - a cute wee bear face. Just what my little hat needed!!

We had an after school play date with some friends so Miss 4 asked if we could make cupcakes. Violet icing was especially requested and boy they looked nice. We had some fondant hearts in the pantry that we made a while ago so Miss 4 carefully popped one on each cupcake. They didn't last long once all the friends arrived!! I was quick enough to get a pic before they got eaten - they looked lovely sitting on my dear Nana's cake stand. In the past I have kept all my china treasures in a cabinet and rarely used them. But since the terrible earthquakes that ravaged Christchurch in February, I have read many stories about people losing their entire china collections and that everyone should use their special pieces on a daily basis and enjoy them. One lady had said that it was better to use something special and break it yourself than have it broken by a force of nature. So I am taking her advice!!

I recently spotted this cowl pic in a magazine and have now added it to my to-make list! I'd better get a wriggle on though or summer will be here and I'll have to wait 6 months before I can use it. It's similar to something I've already made, but different enough to make me want to give it a go!! Another thing added to my to-make list is a tiny tea cosy to go over a gorgeous little red teapot I have just picked up for a bargain - just the thing to use when I'm by myself with a quiet cuppa.

My dear friend Ange has just been away for the week and when we caught up yesterday, she gave me this gorgeous Russian doll that she found on her travels! I love, love, love it! The doll is now sitting on my kitchen shelf and she looks fabulous - such bright, cheerful colours. How lucky am I? And talking about Russian dolls ...

When I was at Moore Wilson's this morning I spotted this little gem. It's an egg poacher!! And for less than $10 I had to have it. Apparently you pop your egg in the bottom half, sit the top half lightly on top and microwave for one minute. Utterly fabulous and oh so cute!!!

Only one op shop treasure to show you this week - this lovely little pale green jar. For $2.50 it makes a fab little vase. I did also get a wonderful winter jacket/coat for $7.00 brand new - how ridiculous is that! Will try and get a pic to show you next week.

And just a silly wee thing to end with, but something that totally made me smile ... my new socks, 1 pair stripey, 1 pair spotty. Talk about happy looking feet!!

Wow I have gone on a bit, so I will end now. I hope you all have a fabulous week.

Take care,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ah - peace at last.

Happy 1st of August! It is the first day of term and both my small folk are back at school and kindy. I cannot believe how peaceful it is after two weeks of full volume! All I can hear is the birds in the garden - bliss. So I feel as if I should being going at full speed trying to catch up on all the things that have been neglected over the last fortnight but I just don't know where to start. I think a cup of tea and a quick look at some lovely blogs is called for before I start on the boring chores!

My blanket is progressing well - I think another three rounds and I'll stop. These delicious circles will form part of the border. I am so in love with this colour combination!! I usually complete the whole square before starting the next, but I just couldn't bring myself to edge them in white just yet - I wanted to see them in a lovely wee stack first. I am dreading tying in all the threads - my least favourite thing. I am using Alice's fabulous pattern and it is exactly what I had in mind. Now I just have to decide on the second colour combination to go with these little lovelies. Then I can start the white borders and get them attached to the main blanket.

A friend of mine needed a new hat for her daughter so I told her to pop over and less Miss 6 choose what colours she wanted. It was brilliant having all my wool out on shelves now - it was like being in a shop! Miss 6 browsed, selected, changed her mind, then firmly decided on "red with purple on the bottom, a pink and purple flower and leaves please". I think she chose so well - it's by far the prettiest colour combo I've used on a hat.

On Friday, the whole family had a day trip to celebrate the last day of the school holidays. Mr 6 is mad about trains and had always wanted to go on a train pulled by a diesel engine, rather than the electric ones that we normally go on. So my husband took the wee ones on the train over the hill to Greytown which is in the Wairarapa - about an hour away from our home. I drove over as the return times for the train were going to be too late for us. Just as well I was there to collect them, because it turns out that the Woodside/Greytown train station is way out in the middle of the country with not a bus, taxi or even a person in sight! Hilarious. It was the tiniest little station and absolutely gorgeous!! We had a lovely time wandering around the town and having a yummy morning tea before heading home in the afternoon.

Wow - on Friday night we had the most amazing sunset. The sky was absolutely stunning! It had been such a wonderful crisp Winter's day and this was just the most perfect way to end it.

I am sitting here at my table with a vase (well actually a lovely old milk bottle) full of Early Cheer. I think these flowers would have to be one of my favourite smells ever. The scent is just lovely and every time I walk past I get a wee burst of gorgeousness. At the vege market yesterday morning, these were everywhere and so very cheap - $2 for a lovely big bunch. I think our seasons are a bit screwy as these are meant to be out in Spring!!

Before I go I just wanted to say a big hello to my lovely new followers! I can't wait to pop over and have a look at your blogs. I am definitely in catch up mode but will get back into my usual routine now. Oh and after my grizzle last week about the gifts on Mollie Makes, apparently from Issue 4 the gifts will be included - yay.

Have a fab week everyone!