the Top of the World

Walking the track to the Organ Pipes

Mia surveying the view from the Organ Pipes

looking back at the end of the Otago Peninsula from the track

Buttars Peak - wild rock daisies

Buttars Peak - the view back to Blueskin Bay and Warrington

The temperatures soared, and we climbed a hill. An oldie but a goodie – the Organ Pipes track leading to Buttars Peak. The walk is gorgeous, rich, lush, sumptuous, and filled with bird-call. The view is incomparable – a full 360 of Dunedin from on high. A lovely way to spend a hot Sunday – if you are local I couldn’t recommend this walk more. I hope you all had a happy and relaxed weekend too x

a new year

a new year - Orokonui, view over the hills

a new year - Mia watching Tui's feed - Orokonui Ecosanctuary

a new year - Kanuka - Orokonui Ecosanctuary

a new year - walking Orokonui Ecosanctuary

A new year! Such excitement at the possibilities ahead – I’m not one to make New Years Resolutions, but I do have some rather sweeping life-change plans. In our household we need to achieve more happiness, calm, and balance – especially now that Simon and I are now both working full time. It’s amazing how precious time becomes when you spend a lot of it running from one thing to the next.

Today we wandered the paths of the Orokonui Ecosanctuary – we saw a Tuatara, watched huge crowds of Bellbirds, Tui’s & Wax-Eyes feed, and enjoyed the dappled shade under the canopy from the hot sun. A rather nice to start to a year that will hopefully contain a lot more quiet moments. Happy New Year to you xx


Wandering - Mia with her new camera, looking out over Otago Harbour

Wandering - Mia swinging

Wandering - Pohutakawa, Otago Harbour

Wandering - Max swimming at Back Beach

Wandering -Otago Harbour, looking across to Harwood

We went wandering today, my little girl and I, with our cameras in our hands. Hers a slinky black compact Santa gave her, mine a len-sy SLR. We started with the intention of taking a short walk, but lasted 90 minutes of wandering the hills and bays of Port Chalmers, snapping along the way. A joyful way to spend a day – and aren’t the photo’s so very blue at the moment.


Kakanui - where the ocean meets the river

Kakanui - Molly's Cottage - view from the sunroom out to the river and ocean

Kakanui - Molly's Cottage - holiday reading

Kakanui at sunset - Christmas Eve

Kakanui - walking by the river - Christmas Day

We snuck away – just for a night and day. Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day was spent in beautiful Kakanui. We returned to Molly’s Cottagefound ourselves instantly relaxed as we all flopped down and fell into books and games. There were a few walks – to the river mouth and along the banks – there were a lot of photo’s taken.

Such was the excitement of Christmas and being away for a night that there was great difficulty falling asleep for the young ones, but all was well the next day when they awoke bright and early to find Santa had indeed found us, even though we weren’t at home. Christmas lunch on the beach – smoked salmon, avocado and ciabatta, followed by strawberries, blueberries, honeydew melon, and cherries. Simply a heavenly way to spend the day.

Kakanui - All Day Bay

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day too!

Joanna x

from on high

walking to Harbour Cone - Otago Harbour & Dunedin City in the background

looking up the harbour across farmland

a quiet moment enjoying the view

velvet hills

Manuka Flowers

This morning Mia said can we walk up Harbour Cone today? I took a quick look at the small list of things that needed to be achieved, and answered yes, yes we can. So this is our day, after the list, in pictures, wandering the hills of the Otago Peninsula. Couldn’t get much better really x

our stories

Toitu Anzac Display

Toitu - 'would you volunteer to go to WW1?'

Toitu - 'no it would be scary'

Christmas is right there – if you stretch out your fingers you can almost touch it. The year is drawing to a close, the madness has almost stopped, school is completely out and we are almost in relax mode (almost). It does take a while for everyone to settle into themselves again, especially after the insanity of the many end-of-year celebrations, and the excitement and emotion that all this holds. Reuben has finished Intermediate, Mia left behind her ‘favourite teacher ever’, Simon has been working pretty much 7 days a week as it’s the busy season for him, and I am still adjusting to a full-time schedule.

Today we went to visit Toitu Early Settlers Museum for our yearly visit to Pixie Town, but ended up spending a lot more time viewing the wonderfully curated World War I anniversary exhibitions. So much to think about and to try to digest. This year, between some really amazing doco’s on Sky and exhibitions such as these, I truly feel like I have a much more involved view of what life during war time would have been like.  I will never really get it, it’s not something I will hopefully ever have to fully conceive, but I find the effort that has gone into keeping these stories alive truly wonderful. The children both really fell into the images and stories, reading excerpts and engaging in the history. Later we came home and discussed the war further, along with World War II and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Really, when it comes down to quantifying the business and craziness of our lives, it really doesn’t hold up a match to living during these times – and we do know how lucky we are.

shopping for trees

shopping for trees - Kevin the Reindeer

shopping for trees - climbing the hill

shopping for trees - Christmas Trees in a row

This past week has been crazy. Insane, bonkers, off-the-richter, cray cray kinda crazy. This past week has consisted of;

  • 9 and 3/4 hours of Ballet Rehersals
  • 5 hours of RASA Hip Hop Rehersals
  • 2 games of Futsal
  • 3 Ballet shows of 3 hours length each
  • 1 RASA Hip Hop show of 2 hours length
  • 1 game of Flipperball
  • 1 Birthday Party
  • and the Santa Parade

See – bonkers! We have a very tired, but very happy and content, household. As you can probably imagine there has not been much time for pausing, so I thought I would share with you some pictures from the previous weekend when we headed to the Christmas Tree Farm to get our tree. We just love this experience, and it’s turned into quite the Christmas ritual for us. We admire Kevin the Reindeer, we feed Bambi, we run amongst trees, we bicker over tree shapes, we select our tree and have it cut for us, we drive home with a pine-scented car and 2 children being poked in the neck/leg/arm by pine needles, we put on the Christmas music, we decorate the tree in what can only be described as a decorating frenzy, and then we sit on the couch together with the camera set to timer and take our yearly Family Christmas Photo.

shopping for trees - rediscovering the Christmas books


Admittedly this day has it’s own level of bonkers, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. What are your traditions for starting the Christmas buzz?

Northern Artery Christmas Market

Northern Artery Christmas Fair - buzzing with crowds

Northern Artery Christmas Fair - little minx stall

Northern Artery Christmas Fair - little minx Tablet Sleeves

Northern Artery Christmas Fair - little minx Christmas Bunting


Today was the much anticipated Northern Artery Christmas Market – a wonderful event organised and run by a fantastic group of enthusiastic and energetic woman. The day they put on is so good – the energy of this Market is like none I have ever experienced before, it is light and bubbly and happy, frequented by an interested bunch of locals. There is a small café area set up with tables covered in vintage table cloths, with vintage vases filled with flowers from the organisers gardens. Tea and coffee are served in antique bone china tea cup & saucer sets, and come with a delicious serve of home baking. Music seeps over the crowds from an amp in the corner, interrupted every now and then by live performances from a local orchestral band, and then later by a Choir made up of members of Northern Artery members and keen locals. The stall holders are all of such a high calibre that it is extremely hard not to just spend all of your earnings!

Northern Artery Christmas Fair - 'behind the scenes'

Northern Artery Christmas Fair - the choir performs to the crowd

It is such a lovely day – and it was so lovely to break out some of my little minx items again. Ah, days gone by for me…. I would like to say a huge thank you to the talented organisers for continuing to put together these amazing markets x


quiet Saturdays

quiet saturdays 1 - weekend minx - rainy window

quiet saturdays 2 - weekend minx - building tracks

Something deep down in me says that I shouldn’t be as happy as I am when you get up on a Saturday and it’s gray, and it’s rainy, & you don’t have anywhere you need to be… but I choose to ignore that wee voice and instead sit with my original thought of gosh it’s nice when you are forced to potter all day long! Today has been all about lounging, hanging, building, creating, and playing. We have barely left the house – I will admit that some of us (me) haven’t left at all – and have used this inside-y day to the best of our ability. And joy of joys, after a hefty tidy up and organise in the work room I started my first sewing project in nearly two months! Happy as a pig in mud x

quiet saturdays 3 - weekend minx