A little adventure south

Tomorrow I am off to the South Island. I fly into Christchurch to visit family and friends and then my dear friend Bev and I are driving to Dunedin.On the way we plan a special stop at the Moeraki boulders to scatter my husband’s ashes. He died in a climbing accident 21 years ago and I have kept them here at home but I feel it is the right time to do this. I have chosen Moeraki because we stopped there on the way to our little marriage ceremony in a tiny town called Kimbel, close to the mountains. Sadly Brett fell on Mount Sefton (to the left of Mount Cook) only three weeks after this happy event.

Mueller Hut, Mount Sefton, New Zealand, photo

On the way we all stopped at Moeraki for a walk along the beach and this place feels right to me. ( These photos are not very clear because they are photos of photos.)

Brett, his parents, Sammy and me on the Moeraki beach
The weather was one of those perfect, big sky central Otago autumnal days.


So next week I am going  for a quiet stroll with Bev along the beach and to scatter the ashes there.

I will be away for 8 days and have decided not to take my computer so will take lots of photos and post when I return home.

I am however, taking my knitting! I am making a fancy beret from the alpaca wool for my friend Bev, who is a hat wearer from Dunedin, as it can get pretty cold down there. Below is the pattern from a blog site called Knitting Galore by dianne-jones.blogspot.co.nz. She is obviously really clever and her pattern is free. It is also on two needles as I am not keen on circular ones. I have no idea how to “wet block” the finished article but no doubt there will be a video about it somewhere. Fingers crossed I can do it.



Isn’t the koru such a lovely symbol of growth? This is the fern that grows at our back door right beside the washing line. I guess they will have unfurled by the time i return home.


Have a wonderful week wherever you are. FG


Alpaca passion

On the way to Turangi, (Took the long route) we came across this great Alpaca farm called Nevalea.

Nevalea Alpacas Sign


I couldn’t help myself and bought a whole packet of wool at $9.50 per skein. Nev, above, told me alpaca is 30% warmer than wool, it is a delight to knit and by the end of the afternoon I had the softest, loveliest little hat all knitted up.

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Alpaca hat and wool

Wool, it is actually 95% alpaca and 5% merino. Nev told me the 8 ply would be too hot but I bought it anyway. He has obviously never been to Dunedin!


As an update for meeting my friend for whom I was bridesmaid many moons ago, we had two great catch ups and neither of us has changed a bit… who cares, aging is wonderful and those Knickerbocker glories were fab.

The olden days
We have much better colouring!

Definitely worth a visit to St Heliers Cafe and Bistro. I believe they also own Rosies, Takapuna Beach Cafe and Cafe on Kohi. They really know their stuff, have a great range of unusual and healthy food and the staff are always mature and lovely.


On Thursday I am off to Christchurch, a town where I spent a good 30 years of my life and to Dunedin, the place where I was born, so will keep you updated with my whereabouts. Have a good week. FG







Rotopounamu Walk

At the long weekend we had the opportunity to stay with friends at their bach in Turangi which lies at the south end of Lake Taupo so it is a fisher person’s paradise. While there we took the walk around the Rotopounamu Lake.





It is a lovely easy walk on mostly flat paths and is really lovely. The birds are amazing and I saw my first North Island robin.

Roto collage


I highly recommend it. The reason I had the opportunity to see so many birds was this little app I have on my phone called What Bird? NZ. We had a lot of fun using the audio and the birds really responded to it, quizzically looking at us trying to work out why we weren’t very bird like. The app is completely free and if you are a novice like me it was really handy.

iPhone Screenshot 1


The simple life doesn’t mean an empty life!

It seems crazy to say but I’m busy 🙂 This week I am having lots of visitors. On Tuesday night my lovely son came for dinner and as he is a pescatorian (only fish no other meat) I made Libby Weaver’s hamburgers using lentil patties and my favourite, her cashew nut sauce and alongside that her apple walnut salad with the most delicious dressing of dates, lemon, ginger, cumin etc. as well as a green salad from our garden. In addition I made a batch of choc chip biscuits for Sam to take back to the flat to munch on while studying.

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In between times I continue with tiling and knitting. I am back to making a few dish cloths to give away to visitors as well as the odd woolly hat.



I also went to the $6 session of Hip Op-eration, a local film about a group from Waiheke Island forming a hip hop group. They age between 67 and 94. I thought it might be too similar to Young at Heart which I loved but I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it. Quite moving and the best part for me was the back stories of the women they focused on.

The Hip Op-eration Crew is the world’s oldest dance group (Guinness World Records, 2014).
The Mega Crew hip hop dance troupe consists of 23 senior citizens aged between 67 and 95 years old. All Crew members are neighbours and live on Waiheke Island, a small island off the East coast of New Zealand in the South Pacific.
The motto of The Hip Op-eration Crew is RHY = Respect and Honour Youth.

Hip Hop dance is a vehicle to not only form stronger connections with our young people but to also promote attitudinal change in our society; towards both aged persons and youth.
The group performed at the World Hip-Hop Championship Finals in Las Vegas (11th August 2013), competed in the New Zealand National Hip Hop Championships (2013 & 2014) and have been featured in the news media all over the world from the front page of the Wall Street Journal to the BBC News in Europe to Chinese, American and Australian primetime television. They have become an internet sensation and are also the subject of a 95 minute feature documentary film currently in cinemas all over NZ before being released internationally in late 2014.The Hip Op-eration Crew members include four people who use mobility aids, 11 members in their 80s and 90s, many people who are deaf, and one member who is legally blind. The average age is 80 years old and there are five men and 18 women in the Crew.

Please visit us on Facebook for videos, photos and updates:-

I am also immersed in my two  MOOCS but am trailing behind a bit as I have a couple of visitors today, my friend Rebecca and her dear wee 6 month old Dahlia and tomorrow I have an old friend for the day from Australia. I was her bridesmaid way back when. It is a fatal  move starting to look for old photos as I am now way behind on my list.


 I have my eyes closed but those were the days where you eked the film out, took it to the chemist and a week later got to see them. That is, if you didn’t accidentally open the camera and ruin it or the film got stuck. We haven’t changed a bit. At least it’s in colour!

For the long weekend we are off to Turangi to stay with a couple of Bruce’s friends. I haven’t been there before so I am looking forward to the trip. The traffic will no doubt be hideous. On Monday we are going to see the cricket at Hamilton. I wish I didn’t know that Sam will also be on the road. I never stop worrying, even though there is no point to it.

It’s a hard life! Have a great weekend everyone. FG

Christmas Tile Mania

I got a little carried away this afternoon and have semi-prepared about 24 Christmas tiles. I am a sucker for anything that looks remotely Scandinavian and i think these do.

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There is an amazing young woman who has set up her own business called The Sweet Eatery and her confections are out of this world. She sells at markets around Auckland including the Saturday Mairangi Bay market.


and incidentally this market has the best greens in the world. So cheap and so fresh.

Anyway, back to the tiles. I am hoping The Sweet Eatery might be interested in putting a delicious Christmas confection on top of a tile as a gift. I thought it would be ideal for a teacher, an elderly person, a friend as they get to eat something delicious and then keep the pretty tile for the Christmas table. Who knows she might be keen. Thoughts anyone??

Below are just a few of her concoctions, yummmmmm. She also does good gluten free.

Bet these have really helped that late afternoon sugar craving. Stuff Dr Libby’s chocolate recipes made with beetroot and avocado right now. Have a good week, FG

Tiling Away

I thought I had tiled the morning away but I see it is 2:40 pm. I have decided to move away from the silicon sealer as it is so bad for ones brain and breathing. It is a pity as the thick deep sheen looks great but I am going to experiment with varnishes instead.

Today I have been putting the felt on the backs of the tiles to protect any surface they go on. Sadly, by the time I have sourced the image, Mod Podged it and sealed it and then added the felt there is not a huge profit in this enterprise 🙂 Still I plough on, See below I have done a material Christmas one as well. Let me know if you want to buy one for a fortune or even a small fortune or ok, make me an offer. They vary in value from cheap paper through to genuine French 19 century prints.

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Life is good, hope your week is going well.


Lovely to go, lovely to come home

Wellington really pulled out all the stops weather wise and it was great to catch up with friends, rekindle old ones and make some new ones. It really is a small country with so many people knowing each other at some other point in their lives or just knowing someone who knows someone. I didn’t really see Juliette Binoche but I like her haircut. Of course it will look exactly the same on me.

Wellingtpon Collage


Wellington a beautiful is gorgeous and the sea and surrounds were stunning. It has been my best holiday there yet.


This is a small piece of a Katherine Mansfield sculpture in the city centre. It was interesting picking out the familiar stories.


The cafes were quirky and more interesting than Auckland I thought. I feel able to comment as I went to quite a few….
Beautiful Floriditas. Tried to go to the new sister cafe called Loretta’s on Monday but sadly it was shut. I was totally psyched up for the rice pudding.




Trelise Cooper’s shop was quietly classy too.

there were interesting images all over the place.


This is the chocolate shop. I brought Bruce some craft beer chocolate home.
I was simply watching I suppose but loved the weekend.

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I arrived home “tired but happy” last night. It was so lovely to have a little adventure but to also come home to my partner, to our warm and sunny home and note all the little changes in the garden. It was good to sit down to dinner with fresh vegetables from the garden. The grape vine has gone berserk in the last few days.


It was good to go back to routine today and do some yoga. It’s amazing how creaky you get after just a few days. Friends are checking in and booking in for Christmas and the temperatures are on the rise so Christmas is creeping up very quickly.

I am so grateful to be able to be at home. Have a good week, FG



The Science of Happiness and…knitting.

I have abandoned my knitting of baby hats in favour of an extremely light shawl for Bruce’s mum who is looking at spending some time in hospital.

My latest NZ wool baby hats.

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The wool is Peruvian silk-brushed alpaca and it is like knitting a cobweb. You just do garter stitch on a fat needle 10mm. It is quite slippery though. Another advantage of this light warm wool is that it is anti-allergy as well.

Once again bought from Devonport’s Wild and Woolly Yarns

Wild & Woolly Yarns,   The old post office, 10 Victoria Road,   Devonport   09 445 3255

I am also continuing the MOOC, The Science of Happiness which I am finding extremely interesting. Once again it is free and available to anyone who registers. I recommend it if you are interested as it is always possible to go back and catch up if you have the time.

This is the course outline but don’t panic you don’t have to do the exam!

Week 1: Introduction to the Science of Happiness
Will be available starting on September 9

Week 2: Happiness & Human Connection
Will be available starting on September 16

Week 3: Kindness & Compassion
Will be available starting on September 23

Week 4: Cooperation & Forgiveness
Will be available starting on September 30

Week 5: Midterm Exam (and time to catch up on course material)
Will be available starting on October 7. Must be completed by November 18.

Week 6: Mindfulness, Attention, and Focus
Will be available starting on October 14

Week 7: Mental Habits of Happiness: Self-Compassion, Flow, and Optimism
Will be available starting on October 21

Week 8: Gratitude
Will be available starting on October 28

Week 9: Finding Your Happiness Fit and the New Frontiers
Will be available starting on November 4

Final Exam
Will be available starting on November 4. Must be completed by November 18.

A lot of the lecturers are involved in the

science centre

and there are lots of essay and articles there.

I am also supposed to be doing the Writing Fiction one but find I don’t have a novel in me after all…. I will get back to it after the weekend though.

I have discovered the record sized snail so far caught in my traps. It looks more like a whale than a snail. I know it’s gross but it is kind of satisfying to know I won’t be sharing my lettuces with that fatty!


I’m off to Wellington for a long weekend so will report in after that. No earthquakes I hope.

I’m not nervous…

Have a happy weekend everyone, FG


10 Oct


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13 Oct
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Forecasts and temperatures for days 1-5 are produced by MetService meteorologists. Forecasts and


10 Oct


11 Oct
Partly cloudy


12 Oct
Partly cloudy


13 Oct
Partly cloudy

Forecasts and temperatures for days 1-5 are produced by MetService meteorologists. Forecasts and





Broad beans and back to childhood

I “harvested” my first broad beans and had them for breakfast. Yum. Unfortunately there won’t be enough to share with the neighbourhood at this rate….

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I spent this afternoon with my dear friend Deb and we stuck and pasted to our hearts’ content. I had never liked our cheap coffee table anyway.. It is a lot of fun pottering with a friend and chatting and sticking and deciding where to put things. It is very reminiscent of my childhood, with scraps and card making etc. I think that in”the olden” days, women spent a lot of time in this companionable way, perhaps knitting or sewing or cooking together and it has been lost in the rush of today’s  way of living. Books have even been written about the crazy way women manage children, full time work and all that that  involves. Been there, done that.

Libby Weaver’s book”Rushing Women Syndrome” has become a huge best seller( including my contribution to it) and was yet another reason I chose to slow down and try to live more simply.

Rushing Woman’s Syndrome (E-Book)

$ 19.95 NZD

Rushing Woman’s Syndrome describes the biochemical and emotional effects of constantly being in a rush and the health consequences that urgency elicits.

It was also great to finish with a wee glass of bubbles. The table is certainly not perfect and has bubbles of its own but it is a very satisfying and cheap way to spend the afternoon. I still have to decide about trying the marine coating over the top for a mirror finish that might or might not work, or just putting a piece of glass over it. All suggestions welcome.

Stage one.
Ta dah! Bubbles for us and sadly bubbles on the table too..