Tag Archives: New Zealand

Christmas & New Year’s Recap… two months late


Dearest Sultana,

I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long, it’s been about 4 months!!! and I have thought of this blog often during that time and yet couldn’t muster the energy, inspiration, courage to come back to my blog. But a few nights ago I put today into my diary as the day I would return, even if it’s just for a quick “hello, I’m still here!”

What have I been doing? Well there was Christmas, the kids went to visit Santa at his Bach (that’s a kiwi holiday home by the beach) and Santa was in his shorts and t-shirt, it was lots of fun for the kids, we put up the tree, opened presents and spend time with Grandma, Grandpa and the girls’ two aunts. Read the rest of this entry

Cushla’s Village Fabrics


Dearest Sultana,

Cushla’s Village Fabrics is probably my first conscious introduction to the world of quilts and patchwork.

Cushla's Devonport

Before I was first drawn to their shop (when it was still on Clarence St), I didn’t even know what a quilt was. Read the rest of this entry

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

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.

Blogtember – Share your favourite online shops


Wednesday, September 11: Share links to your favorite online shops, preferably with a few photos of your favorite items in each shop.


To be honest I don’t do much online shopping because living in NZ, we are pretty far away from everywhere else and a lot of sites don’t ship to NZ and those that do charge astronomically.

Probably like most kiwis, I do most of my online shopping on Trademe, which is NZ’s very own version of Ebay. Most of the time, I can find what I’m looking for here. It can get pretty addictive, my husband was an addict for years.

trade me

I recently found DIY Craft Supplies, they sell all things to do with hairclips, ribbons, embellishments. I can spend quite a bit of time on this site just looking at all those ribbons and possibilities.

I admit that since becoming a mum, a lot of my shopping has been centred on the girls. I love looking at things that the girls might love, I love the colours and ideas and endless possibilities. My husband gets a bit grumpy sometimes because our house can become quite cluttered if I don’t watch it. Who am I kidding… it is already very cluttered. I know I must learn to resist!

Here’s a NZ brand that a few years ago was just emerging but now as become quite a household brand. It makes toys and kits for children that are inspired by traditional toys and activities. I like their use of simple materials with lovely vivid colours.

Here’s another NZ site that sells a mish mash of things. I love this planter. They have several with different colours and designs. I’ve long wanted to put plants inside the house but so far haven’t because I was worried about May toppling the plant or eating the soil or pulling out the plant (she has done all these things before), so a hanging planter would be an ideal solution.

This is one of my obsessions, labels! More specifically labels for June’s school stuff. It’s useful of course but I’m not simply being practical. These labels lift up boring lunchboxes and make them one of a kind. They are like eye candy and I always have trouble picking out a design.

And last but certainly not least. I’m a bit of an Ikea addict. We don’t even have an Ikea in Auckland, which is probably part of the reason, maybe if we had one here it would lose some of it’s appeal. I look at their website every so often. I was especially often on it when I was expecting my June and planning the move into our new home. I get to visit Ikea whenever I visit my sister in Melbourne, which is not that often. A trip to Ikea is always a highlight of my trip to Melbourne. Is that a little sad? I don’t know, I’m too busy thinking about eating their meatballs and gravy with a glass of cranberry juice.


Blogtember – How would I spend 3 months if it was completely up to me…


Prompt 2:

Wednesday, September 4: If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do? (bonus points for fun photos from Pinterest, but don’t forget to cite the source!)

Thinking about this prompt, it is harder than I expected to come up with something. I mulled over it overnight and suddenly I was reminded of the time when we were about two years into our marriage, before we gave serious thought to starting a family.

Before we were married, one of my husband’s dreams was immigrating to America. I guess at that time we still had a rosy view of USA, land of opportunity (it still is, but as my father in law so aptly put it, opportunity comes where you work for it). My husband was much more into this idea than I was, I felt like I’ve found my home in NZ.

Anyway, we participated in the annual lottery scheme to get an American green card, and we got picked! I mean we would have to get interviewed, fill in lots of application forms etc, but I think at the time our chances were pretty good.

Even though in the beginning I was ambivalent towards the idea of leaving NZ to start again somewhere new, I have to admit that I soon became very excited. We discussed where in America we wanted to move to. I scoured the internet trying to find information about the different states and cities. I pored over forums to see the pros and cons of cities chosen by other candidates. I daydreamed about the life we would have there, the places we would see, the experiences we would share. What I wanted to do more than anything else was eat at an authentic American diner. I thought that was as American as you can get. Oh the adventures awaiting us. I was intoxicated by the whole idea.

After that reality set in. It wasn’t like we were miserable in NZ. I had my family here and we have always been close. We had our own home and a steady income. Were we really prepared to move thousands of kilometers away from all that was familiar to us?

We found out that I was pregnant about a week before our scheduled appointment with the embassy. That really made us rethink the whole situation and in the end we decided that opportunity is what we make of it. We had something good going for us in NZ and we were staying here for good.

This was in 2007, a year before the recession that began in 2008 where America was hit hard. Even now as I think of it I feel grateful for the funny way things worked out.

Coming back to today’s prompt:

If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?

Although in the end we decided that moving to America was not for us, whenever I think back to that period in my life, I can still feel a giddiness and longing for discovering the USA. I still really want to sit and dine in a genuine American diner.

So, if I had 3 months, with unlimited funds and the girls were just a little bit older, I would love love love to go on an American road trip. I would start in NY where my best friend lives (the original Sultana), catch up with her and her family and then slowly make my way around the country.

Must sees:

Please excuse the order, I’m not working off a map and am not all that familiar with the geographic locations of most places


I’m a huge fan of Dexter, I just have to see Miami, experience the colours and atmosphere and try some of the interesting foods of the region. Of course we will also need to stop by Disney world for the girls (and their parents). I’ll also want to stop by the Everglades

New Orleans

Something so romantic and tragic about New Orleans, there’s no way I could do a road trip without stopping by here.

Chicago for the amazing architecture

It was brought to my attention by M of Redesigned by M

Charleston, South Carolina

I have read a few books set in Charleston and in the South

Authors that I like are Dorothea Benton Frank and  Anne Rivers Siddons and the reason I keep reading these books, despite them being quite removed from the world I live in, is the South, something about it that’s mesmerising and keeps me coming back for more. Also, the seafood seems to be something awesome. Oh and I really want to try out “grits”

Seattle, Washington

It would have been most likely that we would have moved to Seattle if we had decided to move. It seems to be the right place in terms of what we’re looking for in a city, culture and people. The weather was the only thing that was holding us back a little.

Washington DC

To visit the National Museum of Natural History and some of the other historical landmarks.

I have to admit that a lot of my knowledge is gleaned from American TV, movies and books. Besides these better known places I am also looking forward to passing through smaller towns and visiting craft shops to gather ideas and add to my fabric stash. OK, not just craft shops. I am a bit of a shopaholic. I love to window shop, I love seeing new things. And I think America will deliver on this for me, a country filled with people who dream this big is bound to be filled with an assortment of eclectic, curious and wondrous shops. I am also looking forward to the food. And the many natural wonders that America has to offer, the grand canyon, the national parks..

One last detail to this trip, we will be going in one of those huge Winnebago’s that I’ve always looked at with wonder.

Tomorrow’s prompt is:

Monday, September 9: Take this short personality test and respond to your results. (at the end, find the detailed profile of your personality account – click “click to view” under “You” and “self awareness and personal growth.” You can even google your type and find more info on it!)


Kayak Fishing Tuesday


Dearest Sultana,

Kayak Fishing Tuesday has finally come and gone and the weather delivered on it’s promise. It was a bright sunshiny day. My husband left home at 5AM and launched at 6.10AM on Sullivan’s Bay.


The water was calm and he said in there was a flurry of snapper activity the first hour but there were no more bites after that. He stayed on for a while longer, trying to catch some Trevally but to no avail.

Here’s his catch:


Not bad!

He shared some with his co-workers and brought home 3 snappers.

He scaled and gutted them, then passed them onto me. I cut them into steaks and put them in the deep fryer.


Sorry for the colour of the photo. I only have my phone camera. It sure tasted good though. Moist on the inside, crisp on the outside. We all feasted on fish tonight, the kids loved their fish, which was so good to see. They are usually a bit picky when it comes to fish. It was nice eating fish again after two weeks off. I think this is the beginning of another great fishing season. My husband is already planning his next fishing trip this Saturday.