Tag Archives: Auckland

Day Trip to Devonport


Dearest Sultana,

May has been sick all weekend. It started with a mild fever on Friday which became quite high by Saturday and slowly improved on Sunday. This meant that we were home bound all weekend.

On Monday she was all better but I wanted to keep an eye on her so I kept her at home. Four days of being cooped up in the house with these two girls was beginning to wear on me though so I decided to make a trip to Devonport with the two.


Read the rest of this entry

My Enchilada Adventures


Dearest Sultana,

In NZ, we don’t really get exposed to much Mexican food. I mean I often buy the Old El Paso kits and since I don’t know any better, they’re pretty good for me. Last few years though, it seems like there has been an emergence of Mexican culture and foods. One I have gone to quite often is Mexico nearby Britomart (they have a few more branches now), I don’t know if it’s authentic but to uneducated me, it seemed authentic enough and really good. The menu keeps changing and there is always something new and interesting to try. The ingredients are really fresh and the herbs and spices aromatic and memorable. In a way, it is like Indonesian food where the spices are strong and flavoursome too. Unfortunately the prices are a bit more than what I can afford on a regular basis, so it’s reserved for special date lunches with my sisters only.

So when I came across a recipe for homemade chicken enchiladas by Comfort Cooking Aboard, I was very Read the rest of this entry

A Day in Auckland


Dearest Sultana,

I’m going to be out and about today, all day…

So today I’m going to share some photos of places I’ve been to recently:


Auckland City peeping through Cabbage Trees and Flax on a cloudy day.


Purple flower on strawberry leaves… strawberry season coming up soon! (only 2 more months!)


Auckland’s Old Railway Station in the centre of the city


Takutai Square in Britomart, I love passing by here to get a glimpse of the vertical garden


June getting acquainted with “letters” outside Birkenhead Library


More spring flowers in the garden. I don’t know what these are but I love the burst of colour.

Rewards Chart and Auckland Museum Visit


Dearest Sultana,

May made herself a Rewards Chart:


She even made the stickers to go on it. One side for June and the other for herself… Obviously her side is the one with the long haired girl and the most rewards.

She rewards herself, for tidying up, for creativity and for sleeping in her bed for the whole night. She rewarded June for finishing her dinner and helping tidy up.

And you know what, this chart has been working wonders! And she came up with it all on her own! It’s been up since yesterday, I hope she will stay with it for a little while longer.


On Saturday the three of us went to visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It’s got a lovely children’s section which the girls enjoyed. They also had an engaging exhibit on the marine life surrounding Auckland, “Moana, my Ocean” which has become a hot topic in our house since the government proposal to reduce the recreational fishermen’s fishing quota. What we found of most interest in that exhibit was the life cycle of the snapper, the fish that daddy usually brings home from his fishing trips, and the biodiversity at the Leigh Marine Reserve. We plan to take the girls there in summer, it really is a fascinating place to snorkle, to see snappers and lots of other fish, completely unafraid and swimming right up to the shallow waters. This time round, we’ll also be doing some kayaking.


After the museum we went to the Wintergardens. This is one of my favourite spots, I love the burst of colours in the wintergarden.

bWHq0giGkXNhvVLNf3tMToF-UBD-aW3S7-BWrqvvLhR8yH8Vu9pZOVFBca0fzh61dw=w1600 Vwr8D70Be8tfYDm3y_G1VviNlgYaYOl28Yy3ZzrLNRxwek_4i21UrnOh_Lny2afpkw=w1600

The greens in the humid heat in the tropical garden, such a contrast from the wintergarden and never fails to remind me of Indonesia. This time round they even had bananas and jackfruit growing. Jackfruit growing! What a sight.



The Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Wintergardens are both located at the Auckland Domain, Park Road, Grafton.

Shopping Trip – Buying fabric for the bags


Finally a bit of time to go on a shopping trip to look for fabric for my bag project.

June and I drove to Newmarket right after we dropped off May. I was looking at getting some upholstery fabric for the bags because I wanted something sturdier than the quilting fabric that I usually get.

I have been to these shops before and the fabric selection is amazing. First stop Martha’s fabrics. It is a pretty big shop with a huge range.

WH9eEIM9nQO4SxF13IVHbjIJ8HLt9Y_T1_esn0JkNzyvc2v0SMgbCIe9zr1fehfP8Q=w1600 egVZRUQ0UQr6PgCRmW-BOBXWKnd69ZXjSHXewlFRHlLeMTRgoZ5cMpWZKGNyfUlAaw=w1600

I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for. I wanted something quite happy and summery but nothing too busy that will compete with my applique pieces. They had a lot of geometric type fabrics at the moment and I thought those would work quite well but nothing really caught my eye.


In the end I bought this lovely green linen with birds and birdcages on it. This one will be for mum’s present. Mum’s favourite colour is green and as I grow older I am also drawn to it more and more. There is something soothing and comforting in a nice dark green colour. I am planning to make her a bag in the style of the Harrods bag.

Harrod's bag

Harrod’s bag

She has had a bag of this style for as long as I can remember and her current one is beginning to look a little worn out. I’m also planning to make a semi circular coin purse with some of the remnant fabric.

Next I went to AB fabrics. Their selection is a bit more of the flowery and stripes variety but still lots of lovely pieces. If I was making a country style bag, I would probably find something here. They also have a nice children’s selection.


I almost left the shop empty handed when I came across a vibrant bright blue fabric. Perfect!


On the way back to the car we popped into the “Wise Cicada” organic food shop and bought a few items for dad’s father’s day present. Dad is a bit of a health fanatic which is great because come father’s day and birthdays, I just need to pop into an organic food shop and buy a selection of interesting organic things and he loves it!

I am so pleased with my finds today.

  • Martha’s Furnishing Fabrics

12 Melrose Street

  • AB Fabrics

2/4 Eden St

  • Wise Cicada

23 Crowhurst Street,
Newmarket, Auckland


Swimming – May’s journey


Dearest Sultana,

May has always been a rather timid child, in that way she is like me and June is the more adventurous of the two, just like her Daddy. I think it may have something to do with their birth order. May is the first born like me and June the second like her daddy.

When May was still very little we took her to a local beach on two occasions and both times she ended up with an angry looking rash. After that we didn’t take her back again. To be honest we were busy with other things in our lives and the beach wasn’t much of a priority at the time.

Fast forward three years, my dad and his wife came to visit and spend Christmas with us. My dad is a true German outdoorsman. He’s over 60 but he’s incredibly fit and spends his European summers climbing mountains, crossing glaciers and camping all over Europe. His wife is a great sport too and I think she enjoys the outdoors every bit as much as him. NZ is like an unexplored heaven to them.

They travelled the bottom half of the North Island when they came for our wedding eight years ago and this trip they did a slow exploration of the upper half of the north island. They always come back full of praises over the friendliness of the people, the great public facilities and the breathtaking beauty of NZ. Dad recounted to me how when he gets served at the supermarket checkout, the operator would enquire about his day and at the completion of the transaction would thank him and wish him good day. I was dumbfounded, I asked him how it is different in Germany, and he tells me that customers are expected to be as quick and as efficient as possible and it would be a very special day when the checkout operator smiles back at him. Well, you can’t argue against German efficiency.

While Opa and Oma were here, we spent most days outdoors and Opa and Oma enjoyed going to the beach as much, if not more than our two little munchkins.

So that was the first time May had a swim in the beach. And we all expected her to be hesitant and generally not too enthusiastic. Instead, as soon as she hit the water, she became a water baby. The change was so instant and unexpected but it was such a delight to watch her. And June was the complete opposite, she was completely grossed out by the feel off the mushy wet sand on her feet and was walking around on tippy toes. She looked like a little miss wearing high heels.

We went to the beach many more times that summer, to the complete joy and delight of the girls and their Oma and Opa.

With Oma and Opa

With Oma and Opa

After that I decided it was high time for May to start taking swimming lessons. The Auckland city council was doing a lot of promotions for their swim school. The course price was reduced and on top of that they were implementing a new free admittance scheme for children up to the age of 16. I enrolled May and we were lucky enough to be the only one in her session. So we had private lessons for that whole term. And we have an excellent teacher who can speak Indonesian and is very good with May.

May has taken very well to instructions and when she comes home from her lessons, she demonstrates her latest moves to June, whereby June insists on putting on her swimsuit (over her long sleeved onesies)and goggles and copying everything her sister does.

They have weekly lessons during term time, but during the 2 week term breaks, there are intensive daily lessons and these have really pushed her forward. I am so pleased to see how well and how confident she has become. Last term holiday, she finally let go of her swimming board and it’s really freed her up, she is swimming about like an otter. We still have some ways to go though, she still has to learn to perfect her strokes and hasn’t even started to learn to breath while swimming, but I’m delighted with her progress and her enthusiasm for the water.

Looking forward to summer and swims in the beach.