Purakaunui School

Purakaunui School - the view to Purakaunui Inlet

Purakaunui School - bunting at the entrance

Purakaunui School - afternoon shadows on the playing field

Purakaunui School - Mia on a swing in the bush

Purakaunui School - the view across the road to a cow paddock

Well this weeks post was supposed to be about the new place-mats I am making, maybe to be accompanied by my favourite winter vege soup recipe but… once the fabric was cut and put into a nice tidy pile, it seemed a better idea to get everyone out of the house and into the sun for a bit of a play and a run around. Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time will know that we feel a special affinity with Purakaunui. We visit there when we can, have holidayed there, and have family who live there. Whenever we head over the hill the kids often ask if we can stop at the school, which is precisely what we did today, and we didn’t get any further. It doesn’t take much looking around to see why.

Joanna x


Long Beach July 2015 1

Long Beach July 2015 2

Long Beach July 2015 3

It’s been a weekend heavy with reflections – sadness, happiness, memories, stories, slices of life rolled out and savoured. This afternoon we headed to the beach, and for the first time in a long time the children chose Long Beach, for which I am so so grateful. There is a sense of coming home that has pervaded the past two days – a reminder of a much needed grounding, calming reality, in the crazy busyness that has become day to day. I treasure these moments –  when you stop, time seems to stand still, you see the light move and marvel at the colours, and the patterns of life flicker and dance.

reading goals


I used to read a lot. I mean, really, a lot. At my 21st birthday the funny stories told about me were mostly centred on the odd things I would do to find a way to finish a book – the oddest one of these tales was when I tried putting a book inside a plastic bag so I could read in the shower, I kid you not. Then life got busy, then it got busier, then there was lots of rushing, and a couple of kids came along, and then sleep became more important than a good book, and my world was no longer about reading despite my best efforts to keep it up. However in the past few years as the kids have gotten older it has become easier to find time to pick up a book. I still am not reading at a level I would like to, but it’s certainly vastly improved on 5 years ago.

I tend to be a slow reader, often taking up to a month to finish a book, and because of this I have become very very picky about what I read. I am not going to waste my time on anything that does not add to my life, that is not beautifully written, clever, and inspiring. My go-to help spot is Goodreads – I love using this site, and can usually be spotted standing in the library with a pile of books and the app open on my phone checking out each potential read. I have a rule that I will not read anything that rates below 3.85, and prefer to read books that go well over 4 out of 5 stars (as the Goodreads rating system is driven by real people rating what they have thought, I find this to be a fairly honest and true system). This may seem limiting, but to be honest with you it really works. Since I have started doing this I haven’t read a single rubbish book, and have read quite a few that have gone into my Top 20.

You can select a reading challenge using Goodreads, and it helps you track progress – and who doesn’t like to see their goals as a percentile achieved! My current challenge for this year is to read 18 books – so far I have just begun my 10th book, so am going rather well, even if I do say so myself. Reading highlights so far this year have been;

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt – easy reading, intelligently realised, and beautifully written. I now know why she’ a favourite author for so many of my friends – I couldn’t put this down, and finished it in 9 days!
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – this is last years Man Booker Prize winner, so well written, and gives you insight into a part of war that is rarely talked of.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – just magical! Now in my Top 10
  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena – this took me to a storyline that I would never have imagined finding myself in – so so good, such an invigorating take on surviving and living through war.





My evening walk – such beautiful soft & subtle colouring. My intentions were to take a photo or two with my phone for Instagram, but as the walk continued & the light changed it became clear that a full blog post was perhaps required. So lovely – I love this time of day x


for the night

Mias Hospital Pack - wrapped & ready to give

Early tomorrow Mia and I are heading to the hospital – Mia is having her tonsils and adenoids out, and having her third round of grommets. She has had ongoing problems with her hearing, having almost constant glue-ear, and this has made life hard for her at times. Add to this that, despite a very healthy diet, she seems to get sick rather a lot, and it feels like life could be a little bit kinder to her. So we are off to get a whole lot done in one surgery, and this will hopefully end all of these problems for good. She’s been promised lots of ice cream and jelly, but all in all with promises aside she has been really amazing about the whole thing.

As we are staying the night, spending two entire days there, I decided to make her up a little pack of things to take to with her to hospital – things to occupy the time and distract her from her sore throat. A little tissue paper wrapping and it’s all ready to gift to her.

Mias Hospital Pack

1. a hugging monkey – his hands velcro together so you can attach him around your neck – Kmart $5

2. The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton for me to read to her – this series was an absolute favourite of mine as a child, I hope she loves it too – University Book Shop $16.95

3. felt tip pens and a Frozen colouring book – pens from The Warehouse, 1/2 price $2.50, colouring book from Kmart $2

4. watermelon pad and mutli-colour pencil – both from Typo, the pad was on special for $3, the pen was $6.95

5. flamingo & pineapple pencil, rubber, and sharpener set – Kmart $3

6. watermelon tote bag, to carry it all in – Typo $12

So the whole thing was pretty affordable, and a lot of fun to put together – isn’t it wonderfully colourful, she’s going to love it.

Speaking of colourful – isn’t it just wonderful that America has ruled Marriage Equality for all! So heart warming to see rainbows just everywhere – what a great piece of news.

Midwinter in Purakaunui

Purakaunui Midwinter 2015 1

Purakaunui Midwinter 2015 2

Purakaunui Midwinter 2015 3

Purakaunui Midwinter 2015 4

Purakaunui Midwinter 2015 5

Each Midwinter we are blessed with a day with the entire extended family, in the red house on top of the hill above the Purakaunui Inlet. It’s a wonderful day filled with food, laughter, and wandering around the land as we follow a treasure hunt. Such a wonderful place, such a happy day x