Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bookish - Finding


I'm enjoying squeezing in moments here and there to read. This year I am studying and working alongside my usual life so the time I have for leisure is precious and I am trying to guard it more carefully and use it more intentionally and joyfully.

Much better to lose an hour in a book than reading alarming things and social media rants online!

Finding by David Hill is a great novel that follows an intertwining of two whānau through seven generations.

The novel spans from 1886 through to 2018 and tells everyday mundane and extraordinary events of two Māori and Pakeha families. There has clearly been research that has gone into giving the book depth and plausibility.

Each chapter is told in the voice/s of a new generation and it is great to feel the link between the generations.

This sort of book makes me want to know more of the family stories that give me life.

A very readable novel. Suitable for competent readers of upper primary and beyond. A great way to delve into some of our history's events in a way that brings them to life.

Details - Penguin Random House NZ, May 2018 RRP $19.99

love you more than a wonderful discovery during a very near miss xxx

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bookish - Kakapo Dance

Kia ora koutou,

I am always on the look out for New Zealand authors and topics in books to give to friends, near and wide, when they have little ones.

I think books are a fantastic gift and in the early years board books are worth their weight in gold. Little people go through rather a grabby phase and it's so good to still be able to share books with them without the heartache of ripped pages.

Kakapo Dance by Helen Taylor is a great size for sharing with little ones and the pages are nice strong card which makes them durable and the pages turnable. My favourite part of the book are the illustrations which remind me just how beautiful our birds are. They are brimming with life and colour and movement.

As I read it I was reminded how many of our birds we call by their Māori (original) names. I would love it even more if all the names were the Māori ones, I think it's such a great way for us to work towards more recognition of the names that were already given.

A fun, onomatopoeic, read aloud book for little birds who need to know we all dance and sing our own way.

Details - Penguin Random House, May 2018 RRP $15.99 BB

love you more than a tui on a kowhai tree xxx 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bookish - You Are Awesome


How could I resist asking for a book called You Are Awesome? Turns out I am so glad I did. Matthew Syed author and former international table tennis champion has written this excellent, visually appealing and highly readable book.

In it he breaks down the difference being being average and being ordinary - and though there are plenty of big names scattered through out the book, he is at pains to paint the real story of how they got to where they are. There are sections of famous failures and what people see and what the reality is.

The book is a great exploration, at a upper primary to lower high school level, of the growth mindset. It has plenty of great tips along the way.

This is a book I will be recommending to our school library and encouraging my children and teachers I work with to read.

A timely, well written and challenging (must persevere more!) book to read.

Details - Hachette NZ, April 2018, RRP $24.99

love you more than a funny story about a bus to Norway xxx

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Bookish - Valdemar's Peas

'sup peeps,

Hope your reading lists are looking as fulsome and inviting as mine. Is it just me or do other people buy books at a much faster rate than they can read them??

Valdemar's Peas was a requested title from Gecko Press who publish fabulous books for children. This particular title is an English translation of a Swedish book by Maria Jonsson.

It's simple illustrations and pared back text are one of those combinations in great children's writing that I find so clever. Valdemar and his little sister are eating dinner and Valdemar must eat his 'boring round and pointless' peas before he'll be allowed chocolate ice-cream... how will he get around this dilemma? Has Valdemar got the smarts to outsmart Papa?

A fabulous book that we have enjoyed several repeats of already at our place.

Details - Gecko Press, May 2018 RRP $19.99 PB

love you more than a Papa in a pinny xxx

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Bookish - Ghost Boys


I was a bit worried about requesting Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes as I tend to find books and movies that cover racism extremely disturbing. I'm so glad I pushed myself though.

The book is Jerome's story, a 12 year old boy playing with a plastic gun in a park, before he is shot by police. The book alternates between his voice pre and post death and is his own journey of discovery as he meets other boys like himself.

I read the whole book, which is older fiction though not necessarily YA territory, in an evening. The chapters are very short and the narrative moves really well. I felt so challenged reading this book and within a day of finishing it I had recommended it to at least two people. It's a story of racial prejudice in law enforcement and the Black American children who have lost their lives because of it.

Instead of feeling angry and bitter this book is an exploration of what it means to bear witness and to face up to these things that happen regardless of how 'colour-blind' we may claim to be. It's hopeful and heartfelt and devastating at the same time. I consider it to be an incredibly important book and I will be recommending it to the school my children attend as a novel study book.

While it might seem as a New Zealander this issue is not particularly 'ours' reading the book felt like a real challenge to me. I came away from it thinking anytime I recognise a sense of fearfulness or stereotyping in the way I think towards a people group, that indicates thinking and experience I must challenge in myself.

As a mother raising two wonderful white boys this is a book I want to read with them as they get a bit older and to talk about these things. I think it's so, so important for any of us raising white children, especially boys, that we do all we can to help them realise their 'privilege' and to be able to humbly journey with that in the spaces they occupy in the world. We cannot let attitudes of entitlement and unchallenged perspectives of the world be their journey. Having said that I think this book is for everyone we all have something to gain from it.

It's so foreign to me to think of the police as anything other than a group of people or person that would help me. It would never enter my thinking to be frightened of them or worry that I might experience injustice at their hands - sadly that's because of my privilege not a universal truth.

I find racism so upsetting yet I am not without my part to play. I am sure I have offended, appropriated and lived in the spheres of my privilege unchallenged, arrogant and unaware. I hope and pray that I will continue to learn and I am very grateful for the beautiful book that is Ghost Boys and its invitation to me as a white woman on a journey.

Details - Hachette NZ, 24 April 2018 RRP $19.99 PB

love you more than a painful realisation you still have a way to go xxx

Friday, April 20, 2018

Bookish - Paper Dolls - When Harry Met Meghan

Top of the day to you,

Many, many, many moons ago I had a paper doll set of Prince Charles and Lady Diana which I adored. I have no idea how many clothing options PC had but Lady Di had a fabulous collection of dresses that I had many hours of enjoyment from.

A love of clothes and a good dash of nostalgia lead me to request Dan Evans paper doll book When Harry Met Meghan. The flaps of the book contain a Harry and a Meghan complete with simple stand and the pages have clothing ensembles, facts and (possible) facts to add to the experience.

The bodies of H and M have already be scored to make punching out easier but the clothing and tabs have had no such treatment so if you are planning to purchase one for your young royalist.

As a clothes lover I would have liked more outfits but I think it would take a very large collection before I was at clothing option capacity!! ;-)

A super fun gift for any royal-lover in your life or a great prize if you're planning to host a wedding party to watch the proceedings.

Details - Hachette NZ, March 2018 RRP $14.99

love you more than wedding dress options xxx

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bookish - Eat Happy


How can anyone resist wanting a recipe book called Eat Happy: 30 minute feelgood food? This gorgeous hard covered recipe book by Melissa Hemsley is a real joy.

The recipes are designed with a focus on speed, easily accessible ingredients and promise to only use one pan or two - what's not to love? There are recommendations for substitutions should you find yourself caught short, or discover you are suddenly a vegan or vegetarian.

Melissa has spent many years in the food industry so she offers up a lot of tips and tricks along the way.

This recipe book feels like the perfect fusion between the way many people are trying to eat now - low sugar, gf and df options, using ancient grains and less refined ingredients - and also speedy, accessible ingredients that can be done without 43 hours following 15 different steps. It's doable, fast and driven by a clear love for fresh, seasonal, healthy ingredients that create beautiful flavours.

The book has ten chapters of food types - including sweets, thank you!, vegetable mains, bowl food... and there are also supplementary sections on using leftovers, how to make it work for you, making something out of nothing.

If you have a foodie in your life who never has enough time to cook and bake I think this might be a firm favourite.

Details - Penguin Random House, Feb 2018, RRP $55.00HB

love you more than little chocolate pots with only 5 ingredients xxx

Friday, April 13, 2018

Bookish - Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different

Heya :-)

I was SO excited to discover Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different by Ben Brooks was coming out. I already have a copy of the Rebel Girls book and I had felt a little sad for my boys that a similar thing didn't exist for boys.

I must say my boys have been very happy reading the girls' one and I like that they are being introduced to strong female characters in their lives (their mother falling into this category!).

One of the things I absolutely love about this book is the wide variety of ethnic groups and geographies and time periods represented. It is SO good for our children to read about all sorts of people whose lives and experiences are different from their own.

The stories are easily read and each one page story has a cool illustration that goes with it. The variety of achievement types is extremely wide too. The book features Taika Waititi - whoop! NZ represent.

I'm such a fan of these kind of books, of introducing children to heroes who don't fit stereotypes and who show them there is so much more to success and to the world than their experiences and point of view. For kiwi boys I think seeing heroes who aren't just sports stars is really important.

Both my boys pounced on this book when it came in the post and they have been reading different stories and showing me ones that have really struck a cord with them.

Details - Hachette NZ, April 2018 RRP $39.99 HB

love you like I love a collection of world changing men who never once picked up a sword or saved a princess xxx

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Makey - Wordy Sitching

Kia ora,

So I've been doing some more stitching. This is a quote from author of  A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L'Engle.

I just adore this quote and I enjoyed the process of stitching it.

I'm getting rather a collection of big and small wordy stitches... not sure what I'll do with them but I enjoy the process!

love you more than a sense of completing something xxx

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Bookish - The Squirrels Who Squabbled

Hi Squirrel Lovers,

I have really enjoyed reading The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright and Jim Field to many children already.

It has a lovely fast paced narrative and a sweet message. The illustrations are a great match to the text and move from beautiful page and double page spreads to more comic style action sequences. The rhyme scheme is solid as well.

It doesn't matter how grown up I get I will never stop loving the pleasure of a gorgeous picture book.

Details - Hachette NZ, April 2018 RRP $19.99

love you more than a waterfall rescue xxx

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Makey - Extrovert Introvert Quilt Top

Kia ora,

This year I am studying part time and for one of my assignments the tutor asked for a personal response to some of the material.

Well, that lead me on rather a journey and one of the things that has come from it is a series of quilts and mini-quilts, or at least they will be if I get them finished on time!

This quilt top is about the extroverts and the introverts and how both are powerful people types, both are beautiful and both are necessary.

The wild colours, which represent me - and many other extroverts all came from my stash, via off-casts of my dear friend Deb. Now that they are all mixed together I feel like I like them much more than I did individually.

What are you making right now?

love you more than a riot of colour xxx

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bookish - Differently Normal

Kia ora Koutou,

Today's novel is written by NZ author Tammy Robinson.

Differently Normal is a novel that follows Maddy - whose life doesn't get to be typical.

With Bee, her autistic sister Maddy and her mother have to live their lives in line with Bee's needs. Maddy doesn't mind though, she adores Bee and she's okay with living a life that isn't all about falling in love.

When Maddy meets Albert at Bee's riding school there isn't any spark, she's just not interested and besides there is no room in her life for anyone. It seems though that Albert has a tenacity that Maddy's not quite prepared for... is her life really too complicated for love?

I enjoyed that Maddy wasn't falling over herself to impress Albert and win his affections.

I really appreciated the genuine love that Maddy and Bee shared and that Bee's autism was not only cast in a negative light. I found the depth of character demonstrated by the two main characters also really affirming.

Read an extract here

The story isn't without its twists but you'll have to discover those for yourself!

Details - Hachette NZ, January 2018 RRP $29.99

love you more than a perfectly captured photograph xxx

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Makey - Girl's Dresses New Look 6522

Hey Up :-)

I am blessed to have some very creative people in my world and I was talking to one of them last year and I mentioned how much I loved her paintings and she straight up offered to paint me one. I was very humbled and excited by the prospect!

In the spirit of generosity I wanted to make a thank you gift for her so I decided to make a couple of dresses for her wee ones.

I used New Look 6522 which I felt would be fairly forgiving when making for someone little who you don't know too well and would also be able to layer with warm things or allow the breeze to circulate in summer.

I think they quite like them, and me, I am so thrilled and proud to have a gorgeous piece of art by someone I know on my walls.

love you more than gold leaf xxx

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bookish - Quark's Academy

Hey Readers,

We've just finished reading (aloud and on our own) Quark's Academy by Catherine Pelosi. Having two boys that love science I felt like this would be well received.

I read the first half of the book to them aloud and then let them continue one once the mystery was beginning to unravel.

The book  follows Augustine, Celeste and Oscar who have all been picked for a very special place in the extremely exclusive, for geniuses only, summer camp. They have one week to make the invention they pitched, and be judged against others. Who will win and what does the very impressive academy hide?

Along the way there will be unexpected friendship, moments of courage, strange and wonderful adventures and camaraderie.

An really enjoyable, very readable book for independent readers in upper primary - or a fun read aloud!

Details - Hachette NZ, January 2018 RRP $19.99

love you more than a perfectly timed scientifically created storm xxx

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Makey - Stichy

Kia ora,

So part of my prayer practise (I know that may seem an extremely weird sentence!) lately has been finding 'ancient prayers' that I like and free-hand stitching them onto random pieces of fabric with whatever threads I have in my collection.

I really love it. I do so many things at a very fast pace so stitching old worlds is a sort of slowing down and embedding.

This is a prayer I found last year when I was on a 7 day silent retreat and I stitched it recently.

Are you a collector of ancient words?

love you more than a straight line of random stitching xxx

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bookish - Family Favourites

Hiya Peeps,

So it's already Autumn here in Chch (apparently - it's not actually that cold yet) and there are some pretty stunning things happening here and there in nature.

I was really thrilled to be sent a copy of Nadia Lim's book Family Favourites. We get her bargain box fortnightly and so I am familiar with her recipes and know they work, on the whole, with my family.

My eldest 11 was very pleased with the book mark that came with it that you can use to mark your own favs, bless him. He also decided to make The Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding immediately - that was most well received. I'll definitely be swapping this one to the go-to position from now on.

We've made quite a few things already from it, Sausage Rolls and Butter Chicken were very well received.

The recipes are clear, photographed and easy to follow.

If you can't bear the thought of having to come up with new ideas for dinner this is full of tried and true, family recommended meals from the bargain box programme.

Details - Penguin Random House, Feb 2018, RRP $35.00

love you more than a dinner someone else made for me xxxx

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Bookish - A Māori Word a Day

Ngā mihi koutou,

I love that there seems to be a groundswell (in my circles anyway) of people who are hungry to extend their knowledge of Te Reo Māori. As part of my learning journey I receive an email every day with a word and sentence and so I was thrilled to see Hēmi Kelly's book A Māori Word a Day come out too.

The book is beautifully laid out with a Māori word, it's definition and classification and a couple of rad sentences you can use with the word in it. One for every day of the year.

The book is a really nice size too so you could easily pop it on your desk at work or in a draw that's handy so you can try out your kupu hou (new words).

There is a pronunciation guide at the front and the great thing about Māori is that once you have that nailed down you can work out any word.

If you are wanting to go on a journey to use Te Reo or enhance the quantity you have this is an excellent resource.

Details - Penguin Random House, February 2018 RRP $30.00

love you more than a kaputī (cup of tea) xxx

Friday, February 23, 2018

Makery Stitchery

Hi :-)

Part of my creative practice last year as been linked to my faith. Picking up a needle and thread and 
engaging with stitching as prayer.

While we were away over the summer holidays I stitched this prayer that I had found.

I just stitch free-hand and I like the way it's all a bit wonky - imperfect like me, joyful all the same.

It's stitched on old linen type fabric I've had in stash for ages and just using threads in my embroidery case.

A project for taking time with.

love you more than a simple-soul fill xxx

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bookish - We Own the Sky

Hi Hi,

When we got back from our holidays I was delighted to find some novels waiting to be read, to accompany the rather large stack of second hand books I may have purchased overseas! ahem.

We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt was one I absolutely devoured.

It kept me up reading too late and made me messy cry. The story follows Rob, Anna and their son Jack along a path no one wants to journey. Life shattering and devastating circumstances leave them navigating unknown waters and questioning themselves.

This is the first work by Allnutt that I have read and I really enjoyed his writing style.

A moving and wonderful, heartbreaking read.

Details - Hachette NZ, February 2018 RRP $34.99

love you more than a box of tissues on hand xxx

Friday, February 16, 2018

Makery - Jasper Sweater Dress


Well you might be forgiven for thinking I've really stopped making things but really I've stopped being so good at taking pictures and writing blog posts - although I suspect I am not alone in this!

Last year I saw a gorgeous rendition of the Jasper Sweater dress by Paprika Patterns and I really wanted one myself. Maybe it's nostalgia - I had one when I was about 11 and I felt fabulous in it! My mama made us quite a lot of clothing growing up and I do look back on them now with great fondness.

I also remember throwing up all over my step-brother while wearing it, but that is a post for another time!

The dress is pretty simple to make with the exception of the welt pockets. I have made welt pockets before (not in stretch) and I've always found the physics of the them a little challenging but got there in the end. I'm not sure entirely what went wrong here. There is both instructions and an online photo tutorial - maybe I overloaded?

After I unpicked something 3 times (a record!) I reminded myself I am not a perfectionist and finished was the goal.

I love the finished product. The navy velveteen and buttons had been in my stash for ages and the organic terry was a purchase towards the end of last year.

What's on your comfiest outfit list and would you wear a hoodie as a dress?

love you more than a matching seam stripe xxx

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Bookish - I Am Jellyfish

Heya Friends,

I hope your summer was full of books! I read quite a few which I loved. This year I'm going to be doing some study which means I might not have as much relaxation reading space in my life!

I Am Jellyfish by Ruth Paul is a gorgeous picture book. The rhyme scheme works beautifully  and the overall message of being who you are is a lovely one.

I love the line, "I am what I am, I know what I know, the darker the depths, the brighter I glow."

Having visited the Vancouver aquarium and fallen in love with the jellyfish there I know I'm going to especially enjoy sharing this story and my photos with children.

A wonderful Kiwi author and illustrator and a joyful read.

Details - Penguin Random House, Feb 2018 RRP $19.99

love you more than a glow-in-the-dark cover xxx

Monday, February 5, 2018

More of the Dresses


Dressember was such an amazing experience. Along with all those amazing people who sponsored me and others all around the world over $2 million was raised to support those caught in cycles of slavery.


Working together we achieve so much more.

Hope your 2018 has started really well - can you believe we are in February already?

May you have all the creative and world changing adventures you hope for this year!

love you more than a fabulous outfit xxx

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bookish - Beautiful Board Books


We've had the joy of reading some superb board books at our place recently. For those of you who love the Hairy McLary books you may be familiar with some others of Lynley Dodd's work. These board book versions means they can be enjoyed by an even younger audience.

The Smallest Turtle is one I have loved for many years.

The poetic nature of the writing is an absolute joy. The smallest turtle has hatched and he's trying to make his was to the sea but it's so hot and the seagulls are circling. The writing is accompanied by Dodd's gorgeous illustrations. This is such a special story and perfect for families who love nature and animals.

Details - Penguin Random House, January 2018 RRP $15.99 BB

The Nickle Nackle Tree also by Dodd is a real contrast to the other.

Packed with colourful quirky illustrations and nonsense words this is a counting book like no other. As usual Dodd's rhyme scheme is excellent and really contributes to the whole. I hadn't actually read this one before but I absolutely loved it and know my little number lover would have loved it as a little one, as would have my colourful artist.

Details - Penguin Random House, January 2018 RRP $15.99 BB

These two books show the contrast of what Lynley Dodd is capable of. Both would make a wonderful gift for any little person and their parents. I'll be sending some to a special new arrival in our lives.

Highly recommended.

love you more than a book where the pages don't scrunch up xxx

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Bookish - The Truth and Lies of Ella Black

Hey Readers,

So I have really enjoyed reading this past year and The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr was a perfect YA accompaniment to my pile.

Ella is leading a fairly average teenage life on the surface - somewhat misleading her parents in certain areas and with a couple of great friends. Truth is though she's hiding something very dark, something she can't talk about and something she fears she'll lose control over.

Then all of a sudden her whole world is turned upside down, and it's her parents who are hiding something - but what is it and why the trip to Rio?

Ella's life is going to get strange and difficult and she'll need all her wits and her own dark secret to help her survive what will unfold.

A pacy drama with some unexpected twists and turns along the way and some bright shining moments as well.

A very enjoyable read.

Details - Penguin Random House, January 2018 RRP $23.00

love you more than a passionate kiss in an elevator xxx

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Bookish - Catch Me When You Fall

Kia ora readers,

I always like to have a nice stack of things to read in the summer holidays. Recently I finished reading Catch Me When You Fall by Eileen Merriman. It's YA genre.

The book follows Alex Byrd who has just discovered that her leukaemia has returned, and Jamie Orange whom she meets in the waiting room. Jamie and Alex's paths begin to intersect and their burgeoning relationship is a bright light on the dark horizon of Alex's life.

How do you live life when you really might be running out of time and how will Jamie's own life and struggles cope with Alex's issues? How will her parents cope with the competition for Alex's heart and will Jamie really like her when she's sick and her hair is gone?

and... why was Jamie in the waiting room that day?

This very readable novel is set in Christchurch post earthquake which makes it instantly appealing to me. Merriman has created dynamic, believable characters who are faced with the harsh realities of medical issues largely outside their control. The joy and tenderness between Alex and Jamie is a real joy. There are some beautiful and horrific scenes where the full weight of the thinness of the space between life and death are explored.

A book to be emotionally involved with this summer.

Content triggers - teenage mortality, sex scenes, leukaemia, chemotherapy and bipolar.

I would be very happy to read other titles by this author.

Details - Penguin Random House, January 2018. RRP $19.99

Love you more than a compulsive knitting session xxx