Saturday, March 18, 2017

Goodbye Gorgeous Girl

Last week I had to make the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to my beautiful Bella. My girl has been with me since she was a tiny 0.5kg kitten and has kept me company for the last 18 years. Bella was in my life before I even met my husband. She has featured on this blog many times as my 'Constant Crochet Companion'. In fact, she was just my constant companion, following me everywhere from the clothesline to the loo. She had so many lovely habits and character traits - in my mind she was just perfect. She had the greatest knack of knowing just when you were spreading out a pattern on the floor to cut out, or taking a photo of crochet for my blog and always plonked herself down right in the middle, even if she had been fast asleep in another room, it was hilarious.

I am so lucky to have had her in my life for such a long time and I'm very grateful that in her last moments she was surrounded by love with our whole family, in our home and not in pain.

Her presence is missed deeply and I find myself still coming into the house and calling out to her.

So this post is in memory of Bella and her life with me.





Bella's first day with me back in 1999.

I miss you darling girl.

Friday, November 27, 2015

2015, not a bad year so far!

It has been a wee while since I last did a post (March - aargh!) so this is going to be a bit of long one - a lot has been happening. I'll start with the crafty stuff I think, then move on to things a bit more tropical. 

But first I just wanted to say a big thank you because I just spotted that there are a lot more followers since I last posted and that astounds me. I started this blog as a way of sharing pics with a dear friend who had moved to the other end of the island, not thinking anyone else would even stumble across it. So thank you to all you lovely folk who pop by to visit my blog, even now when my posts are few and far between. It is always so lovely to hear from you! 

After Miss 8's blanket in my last post, Mr 11 decided he needed one too. So we sorted through all the boyish colours and he came up with the combination that he was happy with. I decided on chunky stripes, nothing too delicate about this blanket. I really love ripple blankets, they work up so quickly once you get started. It's almost a guarantee I'll stuff up my initial chain count and realise this when I get to the end of the first row, but I get there in the end!

The winter was a fairly chilly one this year so an extra blanket on the bed was just perfect. Both the kids have enjoyed snuggling up under their respective blankets while having some lazy TV time on a chilly afternoon.

Sorry Mum, what's that you say...

... you're trying to take a photo of the blanket...

... okay, where do you want me? Just here, okay. It just wouldn't be a blanket photo session without Bella joining in! Maybe she's hinting that she needs her own blanket?

I've also been making a few smaller blankets which are just the right size for a new baby, perfect for in the capsule, pram or bassinet. I just wanted to show what a difference blocking a blanket can make. It went from this, all wiggly and weird...

... to all nice and square (well mostly square). I have blocked it a second time since this pic just to even up a few of those lines!

I really loved this colour combo.

And of course I couldn't stay away from my beloved ripples for too long. This time a pretty pink baby blanket.

During our very blah winter, we escaped for a family holiday to Fiji - my happy place. This time we decided to stay for a few nights on one of the smaller islands and it was bliss. Sandy paths, hammocks to laze in, amazing snorkelling, lots of kayaking, great food and beautiful Fijian folk who always have a smile on their face. This was Malolo Island and boy was it gorgeous.

The view from our bure. My small folk are relaxing in the hammocks.

This is the jetty where we arrived by ferry to the staff all singing for us.

I think this has to be my favourite photo. Palm tree, hammock and a beautiful sunset - it doesn't get much better than that.

By the pool...

In a hammock...

By the pool again. This time, back on Denarau. I'm already dreaming of the next time I can visit. Time to start saving hard again.

Just days after we returned from Fiji, my husband received news that he was invited on a work trip to Hanoi, Vietnam. And even better, I was invited too! It was an unbelievable opportunity and we were beyond grateful. Vietnam is somewhere that neither of us had visited before. We travelled with a fantastic group of people who are all in the same industry and we had an absolute blast.

It was a long journey, but well worth it to experience such a stunning place. It was the first time we'd travelled without our children too. We stayed in a beautiful hotel right on Hoan Kiem Lake, literally on the lake! Sitting at breakfast in the morning, you could look out the window and see fisherman in the water right beside you.

 The view across the lake to the city centre.

Our first day started with a rickshaw tour around the Old Quarter. There were certainly a few 'hold your breath and keep your fingers cross you'll survive' moments - the traffic was like nothing I'd ever experienced in all my travels. Mopeds, people, cars, rickshaws all seamlessly blending, horns tooting instead of indicators, dodging pedestrians, whole families on one moped including the newborn baby - it was amazing and a little hilarious at times too. I think I only covered my eyes once when I was sure I was about to be squashed by a passing bus! The best advice we were given when attempting to cross the street was to just keep going, don't stop. The mopeds are prepared to dodge you, but if you hesitate, they'll smack right into you. By the end of the trip I was an absolute pro at walking straight out into traffic. I found myself doing it when I returned home and got a heck of a fright!

As crazy as the roads were, we only saw one minor accident. There were traffic lights only at very big intersections, all other roads just had traffic literally ducking around each other, dodging other vehicles and pedestrians. They used their horns to let other vehicles know they were near or planning on entering an intersection. No-one got angry or aggressive, they just made it work. Quite something to sit and watch! My husband was fascinated as it was the absolute opposite to the way we live where every intersection is controlled by road rules and many drivers show aggression if someone dares to move into their space.

Mopeds on footpaths, people on roads, but somehow it all works.

The local wiring system was astonishing!

The Old Quarter is made up of a series of narrow streets and each one is themed. There is a shoe street (I spent quite some time there over 4 days), a silver street, a leather street - you get the idea.

This was the haberdashery street - I was in habby heaven.

Tiny stores/stalls selling millions of buttons or ribbon or beads or zips or thread, you name it ...

We had so much fun negotiating prices, it was a dramatic process with lots of facial expressions and head shaking to overcome the language barrier. And considering 100,000 Vietnamese Dong was equivalent to about New Zealand $7.00, we were millionaires for a few days.

How could I not buy buttons from this stall, with the smallest dog I'd ever seen. More beads - bags and bags and bags of them.

There was colour at every turn. I didn't buy any yarn as I had pretty much filled up every space in my suitcase with sneakers, scarves, bags and watches for family and friends by this stage. Just as well we packed a spare suitcase inside our suitcase!

Our gorgeous hand held fans were just the thing to cool us down - and a nice cold local beer.

This was the view from the rooftop restaurant we visited. It overlooked Hoan Kiem Lake with its evening light show. We had a fantastic meal with a table full of the most delicious food - lots of things I had never tried before.

I just loved seeing all the bicycles laden with goods, anything from fresh flowers to food, to animals.

Another thing that we were really lucky with was the fact that it was harvest season in the rice paddies. We went on a bike tour through the countryside in about 40 degree Celsius heat. I thought I was going to pass out, it was that hot. I'd also never ridden a mountain bike and had no clue about changing gears so my little legs were peddling like a crazy person even though I wasn't going very fast. Thankfully someone showed me how to change gears so it got a bit easier. What a hoot. This lovely old lady saw us coming and met us with a supply of fans to sell. I've been told that the older folk with black teeth get this from chewing betel nut. I showed my kids this photo and told them that's what happens when you eat too many sweets. They freaked out.

Yep, that's me on my bike, looking less than glamorous in the heat. I look mildly like I know what I'm doing in this shot! Looking at these photos now, it seems completely surreal that only a few months ago I was on the other side of the world seeing and doing things I never thought I'd do. 

Cycling through the rice paddies, passing mopeds with all their wares.

Harvest time. I don't know how they manage it in that heat.

We had been told that some of the best food to be found is at the road side stalls which were more like tiny, tiny shops with a few tables out the front. We had no way of communicating what we wanted other than to point at someone else's food and hold up two fingers to say we wanted two meals. This amazing bowl of deliciousness was similar to fried rice smothered in veges with a broth on the side. It was utterly gorgeous and was only about NZ$2.50. Amazing.

The local dish, pho, which is a common breakfast dish (and is also eaten at other meals) was a must-try. On our last day I finally got to eat it, albeit at the hotel, but well worth it. It was gorgeous and not at all stodgy as it was mostly broth. I could really get used to eating like this. 

An amazing holiday I'll never, every forget. Leaving the heat was hard, we went from a temperature in the late 30's to arriving home to 8 degrees, brrr. That was a bit hard to get used to.

So now we're nearly at the end of the school year, only another few weeks to go before the children are on their summer holidays. It's the first day of summer next week (bring it on!) but for the meantime, it's pouring down today and crazy windy. My husband had a flight home this afternoon that landed on one wheel with a decent lean - eek. Welcome to Wellington on a windy day!

Have a fabulous week!