Arts in Action

We were lucky enough to be able to attend our local Arts Centre’s open day last weekend, what a treat!  Pretty much our whole rugby team turned up and the boys made the most of the amazing opportunity to try their hand at pottery, mosaic, clay modelling, jewellery making, painting, wood carving and much more.  It was lovely to see such a usually physical, hard core bunch of little athletes getting in touch with their ‘artistic’ side!

I definitely recommend investigating whether there is an arts centre near you, there is so much on offer by these small, community driven organisations you may be quite surprised – I know I was!  We can’t wait to bring Ethan’s beautiful bowl home after it has been fired.

For information on the Kumeu Arts Centre, visit their Facebook page here



Saturday in Milan

I woke up this morning to a lovely email from Dave so thought I would share….

Well my day today was a good as it can get without you and the boy, let me give you a recap. Started off early this morning looking for a place to clean my clothes, thought I had it covered because the girl at the front desk circled a spot on my map so I headed that way. When I got there it was a drop off dry cleaning place.  Being stubborn like I am I was not going to drop off my clothes because I wanted to wash them my self. So before I left I noticed a street fair in the plaza across the way so I figured I should check it out seeing as what else do I have to do!  Being very early not all the vendors where set up so it was a little quiet, but I did find those amazing plates and a stand that sold cookies by weight, that was my favourite spot.  I wished Ethan was there with me so he could help me fill my bag up with all these amazing cookies, don’t worry Ethan I got a lot and ate enough for both of us. So full of cookies and plenty of time  to spare I jumped in the Panda {Dave’s rental car} as I was off to clean these clothes no matter what.

I drove all around the city with no luck so I decided to go to the next town over. When I thought all was lost at a red light I look over and notice this little clothes washing shop that said self service in the window!!!!! I got so excited I almost ran the red light. I quickly parked the car and walked in, there was a big Italian woman behind the counter and only one washer and one dryer in the shop, they were empty and I ran over trying to read the Italian the best I could to figure out how to work the machine. The big lady walked over and started talking to me trying to tell me how to operate the machine but as I don’t understand Italian and I quickly found out she could not speak English we started to play charades.  It was fun and funny and the big lady kept making fun of me but we got there in the end and my clothes are washed. So after that I went back to the hotel and put all my clothes away and decided that today I was just going to hang around the little city I am in and go back to that street fair and look around more.

I found out this place has bikes you can borrow for free so I got all set up and ran down stairs to grab a bike. Well of course with my luck all of the bike tires are completely flat except for one, it was just half way flat. So I figure with my my skills I should just take the one with the half way flat tires and just fill it up at the gas station no big deal right???? No, it’s a big deal because in Italy they use two different size fittings for bikes and cars so no luck there. With sweat pouring down my face and less air in the tires than I started with I sit on the curb of the gas station try to think my way out of this. Then I remember, when I was at the street fair the very first stall was selling bikes, if I could only get that far I bet they would have a pump that would work. So with determination I slowly start way way towards the centre city and about 6km later I make it it was a rough ride and my bottom is still a little sore but I am there and just like I thought they have a pump. So with a smile on my face I bike around the whole city taking pictures and just taking it all in. I ended up back at the street fair where I had a late lunch and a cold beer. Plus I got a little gift for Ethan and my baby! I love you guys tons and wish you where here with me team Jack rules!!!!!!!


Bicycle in Milan

Friday love

Lawn mowed, weed eating done time to weekend!  Mum and I busted ass this afternoon and got our outside chores out of the way before the inevitable rain returns.

September, like every other month this year is just flying by.  I get to the end of the week to write these posts and look in my camera roll, for the first time ever I am struggling to remember to take pictures even!

I have snapped a few though, and have found a couple from Dave’s iPad that have ended up on our photo stream – he is now in Milan, MUCH happier than he was in Rome.

The Block is over but our own reno has kicked into gear again this week.  The laundry’s makeover has finally begun – floor to ceiling cupboards are being built to fill in the big waste of space that is our laundry/thoroughfare through the house.  Can’t wait for all of that extra storage!  I also {finally} made a decision on the ventilation system, so a Mitsubishi Lossnay system is going in next Friday, and we have signed off on the water/sewer/drainlaying quote so we are soon about to be very broke.


Also loving surprise packages thanks to being a mummy blogger!  More on that later….


This Chinese Elm side cabinet is perfect, but I want it for a TV cabinet.  What do we think?  I’m loving it, the price is better than the ‘new’ option I’m also considering, but I think I’m put off by the sheer mass of it.  It is a serious piece of furniture.


Though Lou has been a particularly Bad Dog this week, I adore this picture of Ethan and his pup.  This is the ‘before’ shot.  Lou was outside the groomer and looks like a yeti no longer.  Spring cleaning includes the dogs in this house!


Loving catching little glimpses of Dave’s European Adventure through my photo stream.  How rico suave is this little hotel snack?

Daves Italian Hotel Dinner

This pic also appeared in the photo stream, sneaky Dave taking screen shots of us chatting.  We miss you SO much!  22 days to go x


Things I’m Loving is hosted by Meghan at MNM’s

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful matter how simple it is.


This week has had a frantic feel, one of those weeks with a multitude of appointments, people to call, things to schedule, bills to pay…… sans husband of course.  But Dave has been available via the inter webs to help me make a big decision for Ethan – thank god because I was just dithering on my own.  Ethan is very gifted in reading, writing and spelling, he always has been.  Language comes naturally to him and has since he was 9 months old {that was a fun month – a walking and talking wham-bam!).  Maths however, not so flash.  Not bad, not so bad that it has ever drawn any attention, but the disparity between his numeracy strategies and the brilliance of his language skills has become an ever widening gulf this year.  He has slipped through the maths groups and has simply failed to progress.  Time for some outside intervention.  I probably could have given his teacher some time to pull him up to where he should be, but quite frankly maths is a big deal and sitting on the mat playing learning games  isn’t serving E any purpose.  After running it by Dave he agreed that the $48 outlay {ouch right?} for one session per week was an investment that Ethan needed.  Time to catch up before he really gets left behind.

With that being only one of the spendy decisions on hand this week {the house reno is back into bleeding money mode}, I have made it to Thursday and that is lovely.

Currently Loving

So much!  I bought quite a stash of nail polishes back from the states because faves like Orly, O.P.I and Essie are only $7ish per bottle, beats paying $25 here.

China_glaze_rose_among_thornsChina Glaze – Rose Among Thorns is the first one I have tried out and I LOVE it.  It’s a matte neon, goes on beautifully and looks fab.  Available in NZ from www.candy for $14.95

Also loving Man O’ War Pinot Noir (I was given 6 bottles of the 2006 vintage and can’t find it on their website, but it’s delish).  I’m ashamed to say I opened my first bottle of red wine for the winter on Monday night.  And it’s actually spring.  I used to look forward to a nice red on a cold night, luckily it seems spring hasn’t arrived with a abundance of warmth so I’ve probably got a few more nights of dark chocolate and wine ahead of me!


Still slogging away at the first book in the Game of Thrones series by George R.R Martin.  Slogging sounds so derogatory, which is terrible as I LOVE this book.  I just haven’t prioritised finishing it!  Kindle says I’m 80% of the way through so I’ll wrap it up this week.

Available from The Book Depository with FREE SHIPPING worldwide


Honestly, nothing much.  I would rather be writing or reading.  I can get sucked into The Block for about half an hour before I get antsy.  Truth be told, since Mum, Dave and I bought this house the only show I watch with any regularity is Shortland Street!  I haven’t watched this since I left home at 20 but apparently it’s fairly easy to pick-up where you left off even after thirteen years!

Thinking about

Our house, the renovations and prioritising the many remaining to-dos, Dave in Italy – if I don’t hear from him my mind starts to wander and I worst-case-scenario everything.  I’ve also been spending a lot of time thinking about this blog and where it’s headed.  The conclusion of one project has given me a little freedom to relax and just do what I want -which is what you should be doing on your own blog right?

Surprised by

The lack of hours in the day, constantly.  The treadmill-like feeling of getting up, school drop-off, going to work, school pick-up, after school activities, chores, dinner, bedtime…..blah blah is relentless.  And that still surprises me.  I can’t remember feeling like this when I was a SAHM.  probably because at the end of the day, when you’re at home, you are master of your own destiny {as much as the little people will allow of course}.  If you don’t want to get out of your jammies, the reality is, you really don’t have to.  I miss those days, sometimes!  The grass is always greener isn’t it….

Making me sad

Our soldiers dying in Afghanistan and the lack of respect certain people show for the armed forces, their sacrifice in service, and the honour in their deaths.  Whether you agree with the war or not these men and women deserve nothing less than our utmost support.

Making me happy!

Crossing things off my to-do list every day, coming home and seeing the last two new windows installed, seeing my little guy happy at Numberworks DOING MATHS, my mum and our house x

What I wore

My outfit in this post was saved by the wise decision to wear heels. It was Friday and I had no motivation to dress for work – hence my go-to sloppy sweatshirt and T.
I love this feather necklace, another of my bargain Warehouse finds!



Jeans: Wrangler

T-Shirt: GAP

Sweat: Country Road

Purse: Country Road

Shoes: Randoms from random American shop

Sunday Love

Whoa. One week down of Dave’s European tour and we made it. Missing him terribly but loving being able to talk to him twice a day on Face Time.

Ethanand I Facetiming

I am such a sucker for a good bridge photo.  Love Aucks x

Auckland Harbour Bridge

Soooo excited about spring!  Hurrah, admittedly we skipped 3 weeks of winter but I think the general manic pace of 2012 for our family has made winter hustle along quite nicely.

Spring bud

I LOVE these friends so much.  You really are a bunch of nutters, and we have SO much fun xx


Loving Saturday nights with clean sheets and vege garden planning to do.  I am my nana, I fully realize this.


Loving this rugby club and all it gives our son, family and neighbourhood.  Ethan played his first full field, 15 aside game under lights on Friday night.  What a hoot, the boys had such a wicked time.


Finally, loving my ‘Forget-me-knot’ Pandora charm Dave surprised me with the day he left.  I really do have the sweetest husband in the world.  Man thinks of everything I tell ya.


Things I’m Loving is hosted by Meghan at MNM’s

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful matter how simple it is.

Happy Absent Fathers Day Dave!

Dear Dave

I just wanted to let you know that even though you are on the other side of the world, stuck in that cess pool Rome, we have not forgotten it’s Father’s day.  This letter may make you a little upset and homesick, because (let’s face it) who would choose to be in Rome?, but I thought you should see that we have celebrated Father’s Day in absentia.  Try to keep your chin up, only 4 more days in Rome then onto Milan, which hopefully will be a little more interesting, it’s such a shame to go all that way and have to eat margarita pizza and gelato ::::my heart breaks for you truly:::.

So, back to Father’s Day.  I really think I hit it out of the park this year, you would have enjoyed everything I planned!

I started off your celebration with a trip to Pak n Save.  I tried to have as much fun as I could while choosing canned fruit because I knew you would do the same for me x  The best part was definitely putting the groceries away, sorry!

Grocery Shopping

I was having so much fun after going to two different supermarkets that I thought “why stop there?  What would Dave like to do on Father’s Day?”.  Fill up the truck!  It was especially awesome when the auto fill kept filling and spilled heaps of diesel all over the truck.  I lolled at that one!

Filling up the truck

Next it was home to cook me you a cake!  I made the best cake ever in my life just for me you!  mmmmm  Pineapple coconut.  Mum and I also whipped up a bacon and egg pie for Ethan’s dinner with the broken pastry from the freezer, spending my afternoon cooking for you on Father’s Day – you’re welcome!

Cake and Pie

After some thought I realised, “Dang, Dave has really cleaned a lot of bathrooms over the last 8 years”.  Hmmm.  You guessed it honey, I took one for the team and cleaned the toilet!  I know, you can thank me later.  It was the least I could do seeing as how your stuck in that hot, boring Rome with all of those dusty relics around…….boring.  Ethan has been really into our Father’s Day extravaganza, though he tried to insinuate that I was faking not knowing where the bathroom cleaners were so I wouldn’t have to do it!  Moi?

I'm cleaning the toilet

I may have gone a little overboard, but you are the best dad in the world, so when I was out I swung by Mitre 10 and picked up that indoor hydrangea you have been wanting for ages!!!!!!  Do you die?  How much do you love it?


So, as you can see, Father’s Day in New Zealand was just non-stop, you would have been so tired.  But don’t worry, you just try and keep your spirits up in Europe and I’m sure we can do most of this stuff when you get back mmmmkay?

Love you tonnes

Melissa and E


Holiday | Animal Kingdom

In the early stages of planning our trip we thought we would do three parks in three days and tack Wet n’ Wild on at night time.  When I really started thinking and investigating how much admission actually cost {approx $300 USD per park} we decided to cut it back to two days and two parks plus Wet n’ Wild.


Ethan was done after two days, in fact if I am totally honest he spent most of the time at Animal Kingdom with his eyes on the ground looking for lizards anyway.   That lil weirdo would have been just as happy {probably happier} if we had taken him to a swamp, given him an empty ice-cream container to catch critters and told him we’d be back to get him in 5 hours and don’t feed marshmallows to alligators.

But dammit we were going to DISNEY!

The Jacks at Animal Kingdom

  Like SeaWorld the park was gorgeous, our miracle run of no queues continued, there were slushy margaritas (!!!!), the weather was scorching hot but  the novelty of summer in winter still hadn’t worn off so we were stoked.  The rides at Animal Kingdom were more suited to kids of Ethan’s age than those at SeaWorld, he was able to ride everything so we quickly booked our Fast Pass to Everest which was amazing – a real classic roller coaster that younger kids can enjoy.

As we were at the park well before opening we were able to make it on the 3rd jeep for the Kilimanjaro Safari.  Wow.  We were SO close to the animals, and they were out and about and frisky as it was still early morning.  Lucky Jacks.  The best way to describe Animal Kingdom is that it is the ultimate zoo cleverly integrated into a theme park, you almost forget you are within the confines of the great Disney empire.  It was a strangely peaceful day – I know that sounds insane but there is a lovely atmosphere at Animal Kingdom, people take their time and 90% of the time you are completely unaware of the enclosures – they are so seamlessly integrated into the environment.  We had an amazing day at a place that is the perfect family destination.


Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest

The Jacks!


Komodo Dragon

Dave and Ethan




Dave Jack


Frozen banana

Tree Lady


Hippo Skull

Meer Kat


Silverback Gorilla

Silverback Gorilla