28 November 2017

The Big 4 0

Today I am officially 40 years old!

I don't feel any different inside than when I was 30 (and I'm assuming I will feel the same way as I hit each new decade), but there are definitely a few more aches in the knees and grey hairs on the head!

I'm looking forward to this next chapter - I believe the best way to live life is to embrace each phase and live it to the full.  There is no looking back, so why pine for the past when you can enjoy the now.  So many people don't get to reach this age, so why complain when it's something to be so thankful and grateful for.

I'm not really a big birthday party sort of girl - I love hanging out with my family and small groups of friends but get slightly nervous in big crowds when the attention is on me (which makes being a pastor fun!), so the thought of a big 40th birthday party slightly scared me and got me thinking of alternative options.  In the end, it worked out to be the best birthday yet - with 4 amazing days of celebration.

Part 1:

Two of my lovely friends (in Whangarei) and I have mentioned doing a road trip together a couple of times in the past, and I had a brilliant idea of seeing if we could head down to Auckland and also meet up with two of my other beautiful friends (from Auckland and Cambridge) for a meal together.  Somehow it all worked out (thanks to everyone for making it happen) and we ended up having the best time together which included...

Wandering around the Matakana Village Farmers Market on our way down to Auckland...

The most delicious platter for lunch at Ascension Wine Estate...

A delicious three course meal at Tapestry Dining where I had the awesome chance to have all 4 of my besties in one spot together!  We had such a good time with lots of laughs, and I just knew everyone would get on well.

I'm so thankful to God for each of these beautiful girls - each one is such a blessing and it's a privilege to have them in my life.

After a night in Auckland, we decided to check out the La Cigale French Markets on our way home the next morning.  So many delicious pastries, meats, cheeses and more!  I'm so keen to visit again sometime soon.

Thank you Jackie, Joy-Lynn, Anya & Annika for the best time and for spoiling me!  Love you girls!!

Part 2:

Another crazy idea I had for my 40th was spending some time with my Mum, Nana, Mum-in-law and Aunty watching the 6 hour BBC version of Pride & Prejudice - making a whole day of it.  Everyone was keen - although I did feel a bit bad as I knew for some people that would be a dream day and for others it could be like a day of torture!  Thankfully it wasn't a day of torture for anyone (except for one of my sons who hid in another room).  We had the best time snacking all throughout the episodes and ended the afternoon with my Dad and Symon & the kids joining us for afternoon tea.

I am so grateful for these beautiful women in my life, who aren't just family but precious and dear friends.

I felt so spoiled, especially with all the goodies my Mum prepared for the day and the gifts I received.

Check out the beautiful cactus aprons my Mum sewed with some fabric we spotted recently.  I love them so much!!

Part 3:

Today was a day filled with relaxing, shopping and celebrating my birthday with Symon.  Of course there was still washing to fold, meals to cook and homework to help with, but it was a beautiful day with lots of love, handmade cards from the kids and special moments.

So Happy Birthday to me - and here's to the next year ahead!  If I've learned one thing from this birthday, a little bit of organising can make your special day end up the best day ever. 

19 November 2017

Formal Lounge Renovation

Presenting our first lounge renovation! 
*Please excuse the poor photo quality on this post - I've had major camera issues this week! 

We have two lounges, and refer to them fondly (and rather jokingly) as the 'Formal Lounge' and the 'Family Lounge'.  The formal lounge is anything but formal, but is the room we usually hang out in with friends and family (while we kick the kids into the other family lounge) or the place Symon & I like to spend time in together in the evenings.
This room opens into the kitchen and dining room areas, as well as our hallway.  It also has access to our outdoor porch, so is quite a central room for the house.

While this room renovation wasn't meant to involve much more than paint and new curtains, it took a while to complete!  After the re-piling of our house, there were large cracks on the walls and ceiling corners.  Thankfully my Dad pulled out his amazing plastering skills and made our walls look fabulous (thank you so much Dad!!).  

Here are a few before and after photos!









Our main aim for this space was to keep it light and fresh with the same paint colours we are carrying throughout our home (see bottom of this post for paint details).   I had the idea of having shelving above the large wall space above the couch, but it took a while to convince Symon of my plan. Eventually he caved, and it has become one of our favourite parts of the lounge for displaying art, trinkets and our weekly letterboard quotes.

We were hoping to expose the brick in our fireplace, but discovered that it wasn't real brick and in the end had to keep it black!  I love the black fireplace now, with the fresh white surround.  Above it hangs one of our favourite pieces in the lounge, our giant black T-Rex!!  We weren't sure what we were going to hang above the fireplace and had toyed with the idea of a mirror, with someone else suggesting a large clock.  Neither of those options seemed to excite us, and while on a trip to Auckland, I stumbled into the amazing Shut The Front Door store and saw the T-Rex and thought to myself that it was so crazy that it might just work.  Symon was immediately in love with it and we brought "Neville" home with us.

Our coffee table was a Trademe find that Symon found soon after we moved into our house.  It had flaky black paint that came off, onto everything that touched it, so Symon sanded it down and re-oiled it.  I love how it looks, especially with the cow hide underneath.

I love this fresh space, and everyone else in the family seems to as well.  It's amazing how a fresh paint job and some basic styling can transform a space!

This is our 8th room that we have renovated so far, leaving 4 rooms to go (master bedroom, family lounge and 2 bathrooms), 3 large hallway spaces and an office nook.  This means we are officially halfway... not including the outside of the house (eeeeek!).

Next room... our master bedroom & office nook!

Room Details:

Walls = Dulux Half Haast with Okarito ceiling and trims.
Accessories = Blanket cushions handmade by me here & here, other cushions via Wish.com, coffee table & cow hide found on Trademe, Family water colour portrait by Chelseamae, T-Rex head from  Shut The Front Door, Letterboard from Kmart, Oma Rapeti print from Tea Pea, white house ornament from Mitre 10, Jackalope head from Etsy, Dala horse via Farmers, crochet blankets handmade by memetal & wooden ceiling light from Lighting Direct and Yolo print from daffyandyarn.

To see more/all of our renovations, click here.

14 November 2017

Pink Softie

I'm loving this sweet little pink patterned softie bear. There are so many different and interesting fabrics around at the moment, which makes it so hard to choose when shopping.

I'm planning to get a bit more creative over the next few months.  Already on the list is a sewing machine cover, a crochet beanie for my son for Christmas and I really want to start another blanket project!  What crafty projects are you currently working on or hoping to begin soon?

Next post I'm planning to show you our renovated Lounge!  Stay tuned!

For more crafty makings, go here 

09 November 2017


It's been a while since I've posted a 'lately' or 'loving' post.  It's actually been the most intense few months filled with so much sorrow, stress but also adventure and joy.  As I mentioned here, we suddenly lost Symon's dad just over 2 weeks ago.  It has been a difficult time, but the gathering of family, sharing of good memories and the firm knowledge that after this short life we will see Dad Drake again is a solid comfort in the middle of the darkness.

So here's a wrap up of all the happenings over the last month...

Symon had another knee operation.  Thankfully this one was just a minor one (compared to last time) and recovery was a lot less intense.

Our son Mykah turned 16 in late October!  He planned a pretty laid back birthday, knowing he was having 2 trips to Auckland over the few days following it (one was for his Chinese language group at school to collect an award they won (first place!) for a Chinese film competition they entered).  Love you Mykah!

We've had some big first time moments recently, like our oldest son Jasher voting for the first time this year in our general elections, and Mykah getting his learners drivers licence!

Our church recently had a major auditorium revamp which looks amazing!  I had the privilege of beating Symon to the new stage to speak (thanks to his knee surgery).  I spoke on the Identity (podcast here).

As a family we went to Armageddon in Auckland this year!  Jasher (our oldest) went down early with friends (dressed as Ken Masters off Street Fighter), then joined us again for our day trip at the end of the weekend.  The kids loved it!

Then there was the loss of Symon's Dad which really has shaken the family.  It's an honour to be a part of such a precious family.

The formal lounge renovations are nearly finished, with a slight pause due to all that's been happening lately.  I can't wait to show you all the room, but just have to finish a couple of projects before I can.  I'm hoping we can finish it before the end of this month before I start to go crazy with Christmas decor!

One of our lounge additions is a letterboard.  I'm loving finding quotes for this each week.  Follow my recent ones here on Instagram.

Symon decided he was getting sick of his beard and shaved most of it off a few days ago. The family aren't too phased by it being gone, but we've been met with quite a few shocked reactions and even a guy who knows him being hesitant if it is really him and checking by looking at his shoes!  I think he looks a lot younger... like he's my third son...

And while we are on the topic of beards, hair and looks, checkout this glorious collage of Symon's various hair styles over the years...

Other than that, life has been fun, emotional, busy and crazy with this family doing life together.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

For more Loving/Lately/Thankful posts, click here.

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