Flagstaff track 1Flagstaff 2Flagstaff 3

There was a decision made today to put aside the weekend slog of Getting Stuff Done – it was long overdue, time to walk up a hill. We tackled the Flagstaff track, to the west of the city and wandering up high above, with incredible views. The light and colours were just stunning, so glad we did this. Happy Sunday everyone xx

Posted in #100daychallenge, inspiration, life in Dunedin, Life in New Zealand, life in otago, Nature, New Zealand, photography | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

and so far

100 Day 9Day 10 copyDay 11Day 12Day 13

and so far I have enjoyed the #100daychallenge, but am surprised to find that it is easier to take photo’s during the week than it is the weekend, when the whole idea was to put a bomb under my week routines.

and so far it is interesting to go through the process of photographing across the day and uploading to my computer, picking my favourite, only to then send the photos to my phone to be made smaller and square in my Instagram feed.

and so far I have found myself walking with a lot more intention, looking around, noticing, thinking possibilities. I love the way photography makes me ‘see’ more.

Joanna x

Posted in #100daychallenge, creating, Life in New Zealand, photography | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Day 2100 day 3100 Day 4100 day 7100 Day 8I am now on day 9 of my #100daychallenge – a photo a day for 100 days. Here are a few of my favourites from the past week. One of the challenges to start with has been the fact that I have chosen to start this photographic challenge during a rather dramatic cold snap at the end of a very mild winter. Mental battle number one has been avoiding the pull to make the photo’s cheerful and bright – it’s winter, capture the beauty as it is. There have been some fails, and hopefully some wins. If you would like to follow my challenge I am posting daily on Instagram x

Posted in #100daychallenge, Life in New Zealand, photography | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

on change

snow moving across the hills of North East Valleythe local creekThe Stables - Chingford Park

Over the past couple of months I have spent quite a bit of time considering where I am. It’s interesting that when you leave somewhere you have been based for a very long time you can feel, in the new space, not quite sure what you are supposed to be doing with your time. I guess in the previous home I had all of my habits and rituals entrenched, and knew exactly what I did when I got home from work, or woke up on a Sunday morning. Part of the excitement of a new home was the chance to re-think and re-invent that cycle of living – not to suggest that it was flawed, more that it was time to welcome some change. What I did not necessarily count on was the wherever you go there you are factor – we moved and I began to repeat some of the habits that were in need of some change. It’s not exactly rocket science is it – like a new place was going to afford a new me! Clearly, that is far too simplistic a way of thinking about it. It has, however, highlighted how much I did want things in my life to perhaps take a different course.

Rightio – so how, exactly, do you change? I think that’s probably one of those questions that shortly gets followed by a bunch of uncomfortable throat clearings, a little shuffling of the feet, and eyes turned towards the ground. There is no simple answer – ya gotta put in the work. There is a theory that to affect any real change you have to stick with something for 100 days – to reset your thinking, create new habits, or change the way you do something. So this is what I have decided to do – for 100 days I am going to take a photograph every day. I obviously already take quite a few photos, but wanted to work with something that really makes my heart sing, and something that I truly enjoy.

My plan is to push my ability with the camera, try new things, have a go at looking at things from a different angle. I have also decided not to give myself any rules about format – it may be with my SLR, but it may also simply be with my phone. 100 days is actually rather a long tome and I think it wise to start with something that doesn’t feel too hard, but allows some re-thinking along with some creativity thrown in for extra merit. Funnily the New Zealand chapter of the 100 Days project is actually starting up in a few weeks, if this idea tickles your fancy and you would like to get involved in the bigger picture you can join here. And if you would like a little help, advice, or guidance on choosing an idea this podcast by Elise Blaha-Cripe is especailly good, and comes from two people who have just finished the project successfully. And yes the first thing they say is pick something you find easy, because if it’s hard at the start you will never last at 100 days of it!

Day 1 of 100 – These photo’s are from a walk Mia and I took to a local park – it has been cold with snow showers today, and the light and colours have been just amazing.

Posted in #100daysproject, Life in New Zealand, photography | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

girl time

Christchurch - Orana ParkChristchurch - Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Clock TowerChristchurch - Poppies in Victoria SquareChristchurch - former fountain, Victoria SquareChristchurch - Installation artChristchurch - giant chair installation

After a friend shared some photo’s recently of a weekend spent away with her daughter, Mia and I decided to directly steal this idea and planned a trip, just the two of us, to Christchurch. We created an enormous playlist on Spotify for the trip, 105 songs for the big drive there and back, which pretty much had us singing the whole way. With stops in a few small towns to check out Op Shops, have a snack, and chat with the locals, we are now convinced that Temuka is our new favourite town. So with just four days to ourselves we planned zoo visits, shopping trips, dinners out, and a little wandering around to just soak in the sites. Christchurch has obviously been through a lot since the earthquakes in 2011, and the last time I was there the entire central town area was blocked off with much demolition and building going on. You can now get into the centre, and it’s heartening to see the progress and re-build that has been achieved so far. There is interactive installation art dotted all over the place which, when I mentioned this on social media, a Christchurch based friend replied and next time you come it will be different again!  Wonderful.

Mia and I have decided to make this girls weekend a yearly thing – and have named it Mamma-Mia. It was a wonderful time for us both – time spent just being together with no other distractions to shift our focus. What shall we do with our time next year I wonder?

Posted in gratitude, Handmade Life, inspiration, Life in New Zealand, New Zealand, photography, thoughts on living, Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

on owning things

Blue Morning 1Blue Morning 2

This is our new home, on top of a hill, looking down a valley. We have been here now for just over two months, and we have discovered something over these two months – we own way too much Stuff.  It starts with the need to move all the Stuff from one house to the next, sorting, throwing out, boxing, prioritising, picking up, putting down, stacking and stashing. Then there is the need to transport it, pay some people to help, then walk up and down 75 steps what feels like 75 million times. Once that is over, well, there is Stuff everywhere. Really, everywhere. And where are we 2 months later? There is still Stuff everywhere. Despite our best efforts to find spaces and places there is just quite simply far too much. We are throwing out what seems to be a minimum of a box per week, yet the Stuff pile doesn’t really feel like it’s going down. It’s everywhere, in piles of I don’t know what to do with it, around the house just waiting to be dealt with.

Well, this is the point where I throw down the gauntlet, kick up a tantrum like a two year old in a supermarket, and strike Stuff in the face with my gloves whilst challenging it to a dual. I have had enough, Stuff can go jump off a cliff for all I care. The moment I opened a box of I don’t know what to do with it and realised this same box had held the same issue 9 years ago when I opened and closed it at the last home, and it was making my heart feel heavy. Time to do something about this. Obviously the issue also sits with going through the Stuff so it can be sorted and organised or simply thrown out, but that in itself is emotionally draining and time-consuming work This sucks, how did we ever let it get to this? Don’t get me wrong, we own just as much as the last person, no more, but when we moved home something in our thinking shifted too. This Stuff weighs you down. This is not a new or unique problem, as the hundreds of thousands of Minimalists will attest, and in no way will we ever become Minimalists because there are some things which bring us great joy but the current problem is that those things are lost under too much Stuff.  As Rob Bell put it ‘Physical things have a Spiritual weight’. Yes, yes they do.

So we have a rule for addressing Stuff, and some guidelines to help with clarity.

  1. Do you LOVE it? This is about a 5 second thing – you know straight away if you pause the answer is no. Your heart knows the answer and is extremely honest about it to boot.
  2. Are you keeping it just in case? This is a terrible reason to keep things! The it might be useful someday for… fills those cupboards, sheds and garages faster than anything else. And invariably the one time you do reach for that just in case thing it was not the right fit/size/colour anyway
  3. Are you keeping it because someone gave it to you? I think, for me, this Stuff has the heaviest spiritual weight. It’s hard when you have something that you don’t want or just isn’t your thing any more, yet you feel bound to hold on to it because it was gifted to you. I remind myself that I do not expect people to keep things I have given them forever, I gift something purely for that moment, I do not look around someones home wondering where that thing I bought/made/sourced is, and I sincerely hope there is no one out there thinking they have to hold on to something because I gave it to them. (If so this is your Permission Slip to let it go) Hopefully the people in my life have a fairly similar view.

There are obvious exceptions to the above, some Stuff you can’t get rid of, you need to hold on to it because it is simply too loaded an item, and that’s ok too, but as a starting point these three questions work exceptionally well. Right, off to attack another box then…

Joanna x

Posted in choices, Handmade Life, inspiration, life in Dunedin, Life in New Zealand, lifestyle, minimising Stuff, photography, thinking, winter | 2 Comments


afternoons 1afternoons 2afternoons 3

Today – at Warrington Beach – a truly favourite spot. Later in the day the earth threw out such beautiful light. The colours were muted and soft, moving slowly across the spectrum, a wintry warmth that belied how very chilly it actually was. We still found ourselves walking the beach with joy – there has not been a lot of this quiet time in the past months, so much to do and organise. I look forward to spending a lot more time in this way.. and it’s nice to wander again with camera in hand.

Watching – Game of Thrones Season 6 – we had no internet for 5 weeks so there was a fair amount of catching up to do!

Listening to – Paloma Faith A Perfect Contradiction, and a little Thompson Twins

Reading – All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doer and Villa- From Heritage to Contemporary by Patrick Reynolds, Jeremy Salmond, and Jeremy Hansen (seriously, I am now officially Villa obsessed)

Posted in Handmade Life, life, life in Dunedin, Nature, photography, winter | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


This morning – coffee on the verandah, sitting in dappled light reading my new book Villa. Birds are chattering, Tui’s are fluttering past and singing their showy songs, the city hums softly in the background, the dog hangs out at my feet surveying his domain. Life – it ain’t half bad.

Posted in inspiration, life, life in Dunedin, Life in New Zealand, life in otago, New Zealand Villa, photography, thoughts on living, weekend living | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

and now

Our new view – rolling hills, cabbage trees and, at night, fluttering city lights. Not only have we moved on from our wee cottage overlooking the harbour, but we are now (mostly) moved in to a sprawling Villa on the hills. Yes, we do know how lucky we are. 

It’s a beautiful home, full of heart and love. We are closer to town and everyone seems to be so much happier for it, even the dog. There is still much unpacking to be done – we need to build a bookshelf for our bulging collection of books – but all in all we can find most things and are settled in enough to sleep well at night. We are still awaiting Wifi – which is part of the reason for the quiet here on the blog, but the other reason is that I am trying to decide where to from here.

I love blogging, I always have, but as my life has changed so much in the past 18 months it is hard to know how to represent it, and on what platform. I still haven’t decided, but this morning I looked out the window at the deep gray skies and shifting light and just felt like it. Continuing seems the most likely choice, how doesn’t seem so obvious. I’m sure all will become clear as life settles a little – it’s been a crazy year so far getting the previous house ready for sale, open homes, selling, then moving. It has, however, been so very very worth it.

Watching – Orange is the New Black – how did it take so long to get to this series!?! Super cool in every way 

Listening to – Hollie Smith ‘Water or Gold’ – any wait between albums for Hollie is a wait too long.

Reading – lots of NZ House and Gardens… my attention for novels is not quite back yet, and I have lots of house  plans swirling around in my head.

Thanks for sticking with my story – Joanna x

Posted in choices, life, life in Dunedin, life in otago, little minx blog, living in Otago, Nature, photography, thinking, this week, thoughts on living | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

favourite places

One of our favourite places in the whole wide world – Moeraki. We drove up there today and spent a couple of hours just sitting on the beach reading and watching and occasionally throwing sticks for Max. The beach was really busy, which is not something we are used to! The advantage of that was the amount of borrowed dogs that joined in the water play with Max. And I have finished my film, so am looking forward to taking it in next week for development. Interesting how quickly 24 photos are used up when you’re used to limitless snapping…

Posted in daywalks in Dunedin, gratitude, life in Dunedin, little minx blog, photography, weekend living | Tagged , , | Leave a comment