Books by Brilliant Bloggers

Two very clever (and lovely) Auckland-based bloggers have recently self-published their own children’s books.

Um – how cool is that?! Not only that they wrote them, but that they had the confidence within themselves to actually make it happen. I know a number of people who’ve said they want to write a book (yep, me included), but this is the first time I’ve seen it become reality.

The Little Tree is written and illustrated by the very talented Sarah Gauntlett, who blogs over at FaerySarah. I’ve been in love with her sketches for a while now (not to mention her crochet creations), and have it on good authority that she’s a pretty amazing person.

The Little Tree(Image stolen borrowed from Sarah’s blog)

The Little Tree is a lovely story about a little tree who is in search of his roots (haha!); on his journey to discover what kind of tree he will grow to be, he meets some beautifully-represented native New Zealand trees. This would make a delightful present for a little person, especially a little kiwi living abroad.

You can purchase a copy of The Little Tree through Sarah’s Felt shop – but be quick, as they are selling fast!

An Unexpected Christmas is written by lovely Simone Graham, the creative genius behind Greatfun4kids (party planning is her specialty!); I had the pleasure of meeting Simone at Around the Table earlier this year…she was my name badge swap partner and very graciously accepted my pathetic excuse for a name badge with the clasp that fell off the moment she tried to pin it on to her top. Oops.

An Unexpected Christmas(Image provided by Simone)

An Unexpected Christmas is a sweet version of the Nativity story, told from the perspective of angels. Simone has illustrated the story with photos of children from all over the world (including her own cuties), and has written her story to appeal to kids of any age.

New Zealander readers can purchase a copy of An Unexpected Christmas through Simone’s blog; international readers can purchase a copy through CreateSpace (use the code 4FXUJ2SX for a 20% discount).

So now that you’ve finished here, go and order yourself a copy of one (or both!) of these books – then feel very pleased with yourself for crossing something else off your Christmas list, at the same time as supporting a couple of clever creatives x


Things I’m Loving

~ more Elvish fun with Fernando; hard to believe there are only 3 mornings left of Tiny rushing off to find him.

Elf7 Elf8~ this dribbly little fella; the gums are swollen and the dribble is continuous, so we’re expecting a tooth any day now….but fully aware that it might be a long way off.


~ taking the boys to Toitu, the re-vamped Otago Early Settlers Museum; seeing the Tiger Tea bus once more, but no longer in a dusty, musty, fusty old museum = fantastic.


~ reliving my childhood and taking Tiny to see Pixie Town at Toitu.


~ discovering Santa sitting unassumingly and non-commercially in the corner of the museum, and being able to take my own photos.


~ little boys asleep in sun shades outside.


~ being able to celebrate Christmas early with my parents, so they could enjoy watching their grandsons* open their gifts.


* obviously Pickle is too small to open presents, but don’t worry, Tiny helped him (and everyone else) out.

Linking up with Meghan for my last Things I’m Loving of 2012 (I’ll be taking a bloggy break over Christmas and New Year)


Things I’m Loving

~ these cute little christmas noodle boxes from The Warehouse – just perfect for those little tricky-to-wrap gifts!


 ~ little boys who like broad beans fresh from the garden


~ being able to cut butter for baking, and getting the measurement exact just by sight


~ making little gift cards, inspired by this pin


~ brotherly love and cuddles


~ my beautiful boys (and yes, that t-shirt does say ‘Pickle’)

IMG_1345 IMG_1350

~ Christmas baking


~ more Elvish antics from Fernando


Loving this time of year!!

Linking up with Meghan for


Sharing the Love

I’ve seen other people get nominated for assorted blog “awards”, and now I’m very excited to have received my own! Blogging isn’t about any sort of recognition for me – this is my little space online – but it is nice to know that someone appreciates me being here.

That someone happens to be my friend Jo, who writes about her adventures into the big wide world at Over the Edge of the Wild, and she’s nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award.

The Liebster Blog Award is for blogs with less than 200 followers; the idea is that if nominated, you answer your nominator’s five questions, then nominate five blogs of your own and ask five questions of them. You then link back to whoever nominated you (cool way of discovering new blogs!), and let your nominees know you’ve nominated them.

Then you sit back and wonder how many variations of the word “nominate” you’ve just used in the last paragraph.

Yes, it’s a bit like a chain letter, but it’s also (a) a bit of fun, and (b) a nice way of letting your favourite small blogs know how much you love reading about their little slice of the interweb.

And I think that’s pretty cool, because sometimes the little blogs get overshadowed by the big ones, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less important to their readers.

So without further ado, here we go:

1. If you could invite any four people to dinner, who would you invite?
Michael McIntyre (because he’s side-splittingly hilarious), Jamie Oliver (have you seen the way he tastes and seasons food??), my sister (because I love and miss her), and Stephen Fry (hilarious and insanely intelligent)
2. Winter or summer?
Summer (though some would argue that in Dunedin, there’s not much difference between the two, I beg to differ.). I hate being cold, and I love being outside.
3. What is the last thing you ate?
Breakfast: three pieces of toast with apricot jam, and a long black. Ever since that first breakfast in the hospital after Pickle was born, I can’t go past apricot jam. Even the half jar of precious Marmite in the pantry turns my stomach a little.
4. What destination would be top of your list of places to travel, and why?
Oh, this is a hard one! Um…at the moment, I’m going to say Istanbul, because it’s the one place we both really wanted to get to before we left England, and it just didn’t happen. The history and the food and everything we’ve heard about it…it sounds amazing.
5. And, because Aaron had so much trouble, let’s see what others think. Which would you prefer to own: a double sided lightsaber or a hovercraft?
My first response was a hovercraft, simply because I’m a lover, not a fighter, but then I started to imagine all the tasks that a double-sided lightsaber would nail, like trimming the hedge in a flash….but I’m going to stick with a hovercraft. They remind me of childhood summers in Wanaka.

And my nominees are:

MNM’s: Meghan takes the most amazing photographs, and peppers her beautiful words with equally-beautiful images.

Create Hope Inspire: Miriam is a creative inspiration! She sews, she acts, she crafts, and she’s spending this year being the best mama possible.

To Find a Silver Lining: Elizabeth is one of the most honest bloggers/writers I’ve come across, and I like that she doesn’t try to be something she’s not.

Sophie Slim: Sophie is one of the most inspirational 24-year-olds I think you’ll ever come across; she’s a wonderful mummy, and has the biggest heart.

Kiwi Womens Style: I’ve only recently discovered Kelly’s blog, but already I love her fashion experiments and style, especially her “Trying Out” series.

Ladies, if you accept my nomination, these are my questions for you:

1. Are you better at keeping your own secrets, or those of others?

2. What’s one thing you’ll always save on, and one thing you’ll always splurge on?

3. What’s your favourite thing to eat on Christmas day?

4. Do you go old-school and send Christmas cards, or do you embrace technology and send Christmas emails?

5. If you could change your name, what would you like to be called?

Joining up to share the l
ove over at Meghan’s place

Things I’m Loving

~ some expert planking from the littlest one:

Filmed under supervised conditions. Planking is dangerous, kids!

~ this Metro Melbourne ad…it’s long, but worth it…just don’t blame me when you’re singing it ten hours later!

~ the power of a promise of a date with Grandma and Grandad; changing the sticker chart reward to an experience from a thing still works, which is awesome.

~ brothers who entertain each other immensely:

“You’re awesome.” “No, you’re awesome.”

~ getting 99% of my Christmas shopping done before it’s even December. Oh, I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone!

~ getting to five months of parenting two children before having a day where I felt like I didn’t cope very well. Let’s just say that I sighed with relief once both boys were in bed last night, and that a large glass of wine was poured, and all was right with the world once more.

~ a link to amusing book covers, courtesy of Lynne over at Oh Waily Waily. I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Linking up, as always, for

Have you entered my giveaway?

Things I’m Loving

My husband arrived home on Monday afternoon after an 8-day work trip to Texas/Mexico.

By lunchtime, I was starting to get antsy, watching the clock and wishing the day away like a labrador wishing for a dropped steak.

When I heard the gate latch squeak, I leaped off the couch with a sleeping Pickle clutched in my arms, and ran to open the door. I woke the baby, but at that moment, I didn’t mind.

The smile on Tiny’s face was priceless, and the silent hug for his daddy made me melt. The smile on Tall’s face showed how happy he was to be home, and he accepted every hug with tired joy.

This morning, Tiny was pretending to fly a plane and was distributing out daddy’s tickets from his trip.

I asked if I could be his co-pilot, which was responded to with a very resounding, “No you CAN’T!”

Then Tall asked if he could be the co-pilot, to which Tiny replied, “No! You CAN’T be my Cocoa Pop pilot!”

Love having all my boys with me again.

Linking up with the lovely Meghan for

Have you entered my giveaway? It’s open internationally!

Things I’m Loving

~ spending a morning making cheese rolls destined for the freezer of a new-mummy friend, and the excitement on her husband’s face upon receiving them!

~ friends who have checked up on us while Tall is away xx

~ sticky tar, jandal days.

~ drinking coffee with Audrey.

~ the arrival of the cavalry, in the form of my tiny mother-in-law; while I feel like I’m coping very well on my own, having her here will be lovely, as will some adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around race cars, fire engines or aeroplanes (other than the one she arrived on).

~ re-discovering two of my favourite Edward Monkton cards during last weekend’s spring clean; I think it’s safe to say I live by these interesting thoughts 🙂

Linking up with Meghan for

Things I’m Loving

Today, I’m a bit sad.

Actually, I’m a lot sad.

I’ve just said good bye to yet another very good friend who is moving back to England. We met when Tiny was four months old, and her son was six months old. They both have the same name, and her son has always been referred to as “Big —-“, while mine has been “Little —-” – even the other kids call them that. I’m going to miss her, but I know that she’s making the right move – back to families, and to start her dream job. It’s bittersweet.

And Tall leaves for his 8-day work trip to Mexico on Sunday. I was feeling really fine about it, but Pickle has decided that bedtime is over-rated, and Tiny has been a bit naughty the last couple of days. I know we’ll be fine, and I know I’ll cope, but I’m going to miss having an adult to talk to once the babies are asleep…and someone to take the pressure off when it’s witching hour!

Anyway…despite the little air of gloom hanging around this week, there are some very bright patches, like:

~ the arrival of a friend’s first baby, a bonny 10lb 2oz not-so-little boy

~ the arrival of another first baby, another boy, up in Auckland

~ the news that another very good friend – who is one of the best mamas I know – is pregnant again 🙂

~ days that have been 20degC-plus, reminding me that summer isn’t too far away

~ new jandals (and the sudden realisation that I now have five pairs…is that too many? I don’t think so…Tall was a bit surprised…)

Jandally goodness

~ big brothers who encourage baby brothers to lift their heads for tummy time, and who offer such lovely words of praise like, “Good job! You’re doing so well!” (someone’s a bit of a parrot!)

“Good job!”

Linking up with the fabulous Meghan for

Things I’m Loving

~ It never fails to amaze me how we can get things done quickly when we set our minds to it! Last Friday, I decided to make up a box for Operation Christmas Child, and by Monday, it was ready to go. I took the boys shopping, and let Tiny choose whether we were making a box for a girl or a boy….the little doll sold it for him! Tell you what, though – wrapping the box was the hardest part, especially as this one’s lid is attached at one edge; I certainly won’t win any box-wrapping awards.

~ Venturing out on a warm, sunny day (hello, nation’s top temperature), expecting the playground at the Botanic Garden to be packed….and finding it completely empty.

~ As a child, this Peter Pan statue at the Gardens always fascinated me, and it warms my heart that Tiny loves it too. I noticed the wording on the plaque for the first time on Tuesday, and it made me feel all fuzzy inside.

~ Suddenly Tiny seems to have developed a real physical confidence – I couldn’t get him out of this tunnel, when previously we couldn’t get him to go through it. Proud mama moment!

~ Is there anything* nicer than sliding into a freshly made, clean-sheeted bed?? Mmmm.

Linking up with

* rhetorical question. And I am aware that there are many nicer things, but this week, this is high on my list.

Things I’m Loving

I first read about Operation Christmas Child on Miriam’s blog. Sounds like a fab idea, I thought, before promptly forgetting about it (hello, baby brain). Then Melissa mentioned it on her blog, and I thought, That really is a wonderful idea. And then I forgot about it. Again. But tonight, while my husband watched the rugby (Otaaaaaaago-oooo), I looked up our local collection points, before rummaging in my closet for a suitable shoebox. Yep, I’m going to do it, because it really is a fab, wonderful idea.

Last Friday, my big sister and her youngest arrived from Melbourne, and my brother, his wife and their two foster teens arrived from Christchurch. On Saturday, they all came to our place for a coffee, and it was like the past however-many years of us living in different countries never happened. Spending time with them made me realise how lucky I am to have such wicked siblings; we get along so well, there’s none of the silly bickering that some families experience, and we are all so supportive of each other. It was great seeing Tiny play with his little cousin, too; by the time they left on Wednesday, the two of them were great mates…which was lovely, but also kinda sad as they then had to say good-bye 😦

Steak Sandwiches
Okay, so I know that drops the tone a little, but seriously, I am going through a major steak sandwich phase. Whenever I go out for lunch, if there’s a steak sandwich on the menu, I can’t order anything else. Especially if there are caramelised onions involved. So far, I’ve discovered that the best steak sandwich in Dunedin can be found at Gaslight Café.

A Healthy Tummy
Mine and Pickle’s. Since making a concerted effort to go completely dairy free, I’ve noticed a huge difference in Pickle’s frequency of vomiting, and how I’m feeling. I’ve had a couple of slip-ups, and we’ve both paid for it, but it’s good to finally (a) know what’s upsetting him, and (b) be taking more care of my own gut.

Joining up over at Meg’s for Things I’m Loving