I had a lovely birthday this year - some years my birthday is better than others, and this year was a good one. My family took me out for dinner at a local Italian restaurant and I got this little surprise with my dessert: It's the little things that ...

 

June Little Things and more...




June Little Things

I had a lovely birthday this year - some years my birthday is better than others, and this year was a good one. My family took me out for dinner at a local Italian restaurant and I got this little surprise with my dessert:


It's the little things that count...

I also got some great gifts for my birthday - one of them was this book from my sister - which I read in one sitting. I love that the Danish have a word for that feel-good feeling. It's definitely a thing. And winter is a great time to be lighting my candles and playing a mellow-vibe playlist while snuggling under a blanket on the sofa or chatting to my family over dinner around the dining room table. These little things certainly are precious, and definitely, add up to a deep happiness for me. 


There is beauty all around us, and rainbows are plentiful around this time of year. And yes, Winter might be cold and dreary, but damn, it still has some beauty to offer:


We went up north on Queen's Birthday weekend - more on that here.

We've just had a few small, aesthetic jobs completed around our house - jobs that we'd been wanting to get done for a while now. And boy, it all turned out rather nicely, and we've been loving those improvements so much already.


Luke has been enjoying playing rugby this year and I love going to watch him play his games - especially when he scores! Hah! 



Luke also celebrated his birthday in June - read more about that in this post.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Sarah has had a bad run of it lately - first it was her back which was sore for over three months (she had x-rays and an MRI and the prognosis was overwork - all the water polo she had been playing had eventually taken its toll) - and she was booked off playing for the whole U18 season this year. This poor kid has been so frustrated and is dying to get back in the pool and back at it, but the best thing for her to do is to rest and to strengthen her core through Pilates so that when she starts up again, she won't injure herself again.

She then had blood tests done and we found out that she has an iron deficiency and she's now on supplements to help with that problem. And to add to her list of 'ailments' she then broke her finger in two places! So she was then booked off for another 5 weeks! (In my opinion, the breaking of her finger was not all bad because it meant that she then had to stay out of the pool for longer - which only helped her recovery in the long run.)

Now she just has to get over all the coughing and sore throats - and she'll be back at it! Hah. Poor kid. It hasn't been an easy few months for her.



She did manage to have some fun at her School Ball in June, though. So at least there was that! More about that here.

Back in June, Grant and I went to Luke's school quiz night which was a fantastic evening. Former British and Irish Lions Captain, Gavin Hastings, was a guest presenter on the night and it was fascinating to hear him talk about his old rugby days.

The school also managed to organised a plethora of top Kiwi sportsmen and women to send good wishes to us that night - Dan Carter, Richie Macaw, Valerie Villi, to name a few, and also the New Zealand Emirates skippers - who went on to win the America's Cup a week or so later in Bermuda! This little country of ours certainly punches above its weight in the sports arena, that's for sure.


(Here's me trying to look good in a selfie - a huge challenge, to be sure. Haha!)

And then, just when I thought I'd done my dash at the A&E (Accident and Emergency) rooms for a good few months, I get a call from Luke's school to say that he's been involved in a tackling incident and his wrist needs to be checked. So, off we went to get that looked at - and we were ecstatic to find out that there wasn't a fracture, so we walked out of there with a removable splint and a huge sigh of relief! (Good thing too, because we were off to Fiji the next week!)


And besides all that A&E action, we've had endless Osteo appointments and all three kids have been very ill with bad colds (flu?). Winter has been pretty hardcore this year!

And that was our June.

Over and out. x


 

Throwback: April - August 2015

Okay, so in an effort to get through my throwback posts more quickly (and hopefully be done with them by the end of this year), I thought I'd do a whole bunch of months together. Great idea, right? I thought so! 

But I have to admit that all I'm managing to do when putting these throwback posts together at this point is choose the best photos and write an accompanying little blurb. Nothing fancy, is what I'm saying. But I'm forging ahead. And hopefully I'll be up to date before the end of this year? I'm thinking I'll throw a little party when I get to that point. What do you reckon? ;)

Anyway. Back to April and May of 2015. We spent that time packing up our home, in anticipation of a move - not as big a move as our previous one, but one just 3 kilometres down the coast!

And it was an exciting time - not the packing so much - but the prospect of moving home for the first time in New Zealand. We were sad to be leaving our friends in our old neighbourhood, but we love our new neighbourhood -  we live close to a beach that is perfect for swimming, stand-up paddle boarding and walking. Bailey adores her walks there!

We moved into our new home in June of 2015.


This photo was taken after one of those long beach walks, no doubt. Haha!


Colleen and Evie on one of their visits - just look how small Evie is here:


Nearly done with unpacking and setting up our new home:


Little Evie pops:


Luke at one of his Rippa tournaments for school:


Sarah and her friend, Nicole - off to a social get-together:


Luke's 11th birthday party at the movies:


We use one of the rooms in our new house as a gym and that little room has seen lots of action since we moved in:


Bailey having a winter swim at our local beach:


Luke having a winter swim (he wanted to be the first family member to swim in our new pool):


One Saturday morning in the winter of 2015, we drove up to Matakana for a wander around the market and then went on to have lunch at a restaurant nearby:



Luke also spent a few days up in Omaha with a friend during that winter school holiday, and they attended a football camp up there:


Just look at these two cuties! This girl sure loves her dog:


TV time on the sofa:



And cousin time at Colleen's place:


We also did a trip out to Rangitoto Island one weekend during the winter of 2015:





We did a great walk up to the summit of the volcano, via the lava caves.


And here's a photo that I took in our back garden one night when the moon was particularly full:


Okay, this post is getting a bit long, so I'll sign off for now. More 2015 to come soon...

One last thing...

I'm thinking about all the thousands of photos I have and whether I should be doing something with them. How often do you look through old photos? Do you have photo books made for your coffee table? Or what other good ideas do you have to make the most of your old photos? I'd love to hear your thoughts.



 

Friday Fun Five


Yay for the weekend! 


So, we're pretty much in full hibernation mode here in wintery Auckland. There are the odd clear days when we catch a glimpse of our long-lost friends Spring and Summer, but for the most part it's 16℃, cloudy with the odd shower. Not that I'm complaining (much) because we've been enjoying our time spent indoors, but I am definitely starting to count the days to Summer now. Just saying.

Here are 5 things I wanted to share with you today:

1. This got me thinking: How social media warped my understanding of friendship.

2. Sarah's friend, Harvey, drew this free hand and I thought it was pretty good:


3. I met my friend, Helen, for a catch-up last week and I ordered this green smoothie (which was quite delicious despite the fact that it looked a little weird):


4. Do you enjoy a themed dress-up party or do you prefer to wear 'normal' clothes when you're socialising? Last weekend we went to a 40th which didn't have a dress-up theme, but friends of ours arrived late from another party (still dressed in their gear from that party) - and they upped the fun with those outfits. What do you think? Dress-up or no?


5. We're binge-watching The West Wing on Lightbox at the moment - and loving it. Here are The 75 best TV shows on Netflix - what are you watching? Any good recommendations?

Have a great weekend, everyone. Keep warm, southern hemisphere, and enjoy the rest of your summer, northern hemisphere!


 

4 cool bands that will blow your mind

So the thing is: Coldplay is my number one band, and in my mind no other band comes anywhere close to knocking that awesome group out of that spot for me, but just recently I've been giving a few other bands more play time on my Spotify. And I may or may not be playing a few of their songs to death right now. 

Just to be clear - these aren't brand new bands and you may well have heard of them ages ago, but I've only fallen in love with them over the past few months and I wanted to share them here with you.


1. RÜFÜS


 



2. Arizona


 

3. French Montana


 


4. Shakka


 


Let me know what you think. Are any of these favourites of yours? 
 

Here is one of the best ways to beat the winter blues


Get yourself to Fiji! It still amazes me that we can leave 16℃ weather, (with rain - hello, Auckland in winter), fly two and a half hours north, and be greeted by 30℃ beautiful, warm weather! I love you, Fiji!

I'm beyond jealous that Fijians get to enjoy that kind of hot weather during their winter! And I'm beginning to think that I'm actually an island girl at heart. ;)

Anyway, as you may know if you read my previous post, we recently spent a glorious week in Fiji, where we stayed at the Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa and got to relax and enjoy all of that warm Fiji sun. Wow, what a treat that was - and a fantastic way to beat the winter blues!



We booked two rooms at the Hilton - a beachfront guest room for Grant and me (we were fortunate to get a downstairs room without requesting one because you can request one but would then pay extra) which led straight onto the lawn and then the beach; and a suite for the kids (this included a bedroom and a lounge/dining room/kitchenette, with a balcony). There was a gas BBQ on the balcony, but we didn't use it during our stay, opting instead to try the various restaurants available at the many Denarau resorts and the Marina.





There are quite a few resorts in Denarau and we walked along the beach to have a look at the other hotels there. Verdict: each of the resorts have pros and cons. Some have awesome pools, but no beach; and others have beach access and water sports, but the hotel building doesn't appeal. I guess it depends what you want from a holiday. We really enjoyed our stay at the Hilton - the pools are great - there's a kiddie pool with slides, a couple of family pools and even an adult only pool. The accommodation and grounds are also modern looking, despite needing a bit of updating. 

We had dinner at both restaurants at the Hilton, but enjoyed our meals at other resorts more. We had a good meal at the Thai restaurant at the Radisson one night and the seafood platters at the Sheraton Denarau Villas were awesome - great setting too. One night we went through to the Marina and had a fun night at Cardo's eating to the sound of a great singer and her band, right there on the water front. And on the nights that we'd spent the whole day out on the water, we had light meals at our resort Deli which serves delicious salads, pizzas and other light meals. They also have the most scrummy watermelon and pineapple juices, iced coffee frappes and smoothies. We certainly didn't go hungry!


There's something incredibly special about island sunsets! I'm thinking it's those palm trees...








I managed to read two and a half books while in Fiji! Honestly, that's my idea of heaven - reading on a summer island holiday. Total bliss! If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen this next photo already:


Have any of you read The Handmaid's Tale? It's not a new book, but it's been adapted for TV and recently come out on Lightbox here in NZ, so it's very topical at the moment. After reading the book, we came back to Auckland and Grant and I watched the series - it didn't take us very long to get through Season 1! *bingewatchingmuch* Whoa! Quite a story.

In my previous post, I mentioned that we did two boat trips during our stay - the first trip we did was to a pontoon called Cloud 9 - go and have a look at that website and the videos - that place is amazing, and definitely worth a trip! It's a fun (party) pontoon in the middle of the ocean, near to some reefs. 



We spent the day swimming, snorkelling, tanning, reading, jumping from the pontoon and enjoying a stunning pizza lunch on that little piece of heaven. The kids loved it - lots of great jumping, swimming and snorkelling opportunities for Luke and endless very Instagram-able opportunities for the girls. Smiles all round.











A couple of days later we did a day trip to Savala island which includes a 1½ hr boat trip out to the island, great snorkelling on the nearby reef, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming and a BBQ lunch. Island life at it's best! And we had a great day out - getting back to our resort feeling totally relaxed, sun-kissed, tired and happy.




Our boys setting off for some snorkelling:



We saw some gorgeous fish while snorkelling here - such beautiful colours and quite a variety. And the big purple starfish were absolutely amazing!

Here's a happy snorkeller, coming in from his session. That water was so warm.








I can't tell you how much I miss being in Fiji now that we're back in wintery Auckland! But that little trip to soak up the sun has certainly given us some much needed sustenance to help us get through the rest of our winter here. 

PS This is not a sponsored post.

PPS Take me back to the islands!




 
 
   
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