Wednesday, 31 October 2012

I've been tagged!

Bunting in our playroom.

Lovely Ada Bea from Vintage Sheet Addict tagged me a few weeks ago in a post.

It's a fun way of getting to know more about our fellow bloggers!

The Rules:

Each tagged person must post 11 random facts about themselves.

Answer the 11 questions set by previous blogger.

Create 11 more questions.

Tag 11 more blogs, with less than 200 followers.

Inform the blogs they've been tagged!

I'm going to cheat a bit and post the 11 random facts, answer the 11 questions below and set 11 questions.  Any lovely bloggers who read this and wish to take part please do!

It's a long post but really fun to do once you get going - promise!

11 Random Facts
  1. I'm mad about bunting - would have it all over the house if I could.  I even plan on hanging some from the chook house!
  2. I love crockery especially teapots.
  3. I will eat anything EXCEPT oysters - yuck!
  4. I always cry during wedding ceremonies.
  5. My first job on leaving school was as a dental assistant.
  6. I'm one of six children.
  7. I like things tidy and have an obsessive habit of needing to "straighten" things all the time (I'm really annoying to play Scrabble with).
  8. I love the beach but am never overly keen on swimming in the water thanks to watching the Jaws films as a teen.
  9. I like going on Ghost walks - I was in heaven when living in London.  They are everywhere.
  10. I dream of owning a retro caravan.
  11. I am a recovering Handbagaholic.

Vintage Sheet Addicts 11 Questions

What's on your bedside table?

Photo of Mr H and I that was taken at a Black tie work function. A few magazines (parenting ones) and a couple of books: Finding Frankie by Maeve Binchy and The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes (I love my Irish authors).

What's on the top of your wardrobe?
Most of Mr H's shoes - he has more than I do.  And being the organisational freak that I am - I have them all in clear plastic shoe boxes so they stack neatly and he can see whats in them!

Happiest memory?

Growing up - summer days spent at Milford beach.  Ice cream on the way home and then a race from the car to the bathroom to get the first hot shower. Bliss.

Favourite toy as a child, or adult?

My blue denim bike I got for christmas when I was five.  Most girls wanted a pink bike.  I just hoped Santa would read my letter correctly - it MUST be blue please...........

Now as an adult, blue is still my favourite colour and I would really love one like this but with a wicker basket..........please.

Your perfect holiday destination?

We had a holiday in Brisbane in May this year for my sister's wedding - and would love to go back again.  It was a perfect mix of sun and city life for us as a family.  We loved Southbank and the buzz of the city and shopping that we don't get here in our small town.

Spring or Autumn?


What's your moto, number one rule, you live your life by!

No regrets!

If you had a time machine, what year would you like to land in?

Paris in the 1920s to see Josephine Baker perform.

Roast dinner or fish and chips?

A pub roast dinner in our favourite London pub - The Red Lion.  It was just around the corner from our flat in Teddington.  We loved going there for Sunday lunch.

What makes you 'belly laugh'?

Mr H dancing.  My daughter Bellarose and her cousin entertaining us with a "show" and the boys trying to join in by copying their hip hop moves.  And I reluctantly type this but I love a "rude joke"...........

Favourite outfit, past or present?

My 1950's inspired red dress - worn with gorgeous red silk shoes.  I wore it to a work Christmas party when we lived in London.  It was a black tie event - such a fun night.

And finally my 11 questions:
  1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  2. If you could live in any other country - where would it be and why?
  3. What's in your handbag (just being nosey really)?
  4. Which famous person would you invite for dinner and what would you serve?
  5. Favourite holiday destination?
  6. Tea or coffee?
  7. Favourite childhood memory?
  8. What are you reading at the moment?
  9. Dream job?
  10. Do you prefer town or country?
  11. If you had a time machine, what year would you land in (I like this question)?

Phew!  All done.  Hope you are having a great week!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Island time...........

Frangapani - my favourite flower.

Kia Orana!

Feet now firmly on  the ground!  Back into familiar life.

Five days in Rarotonga went by so quickly.  I missed my family - more than I imagined I would.

It was interesting watching frazzled parents on the plane and around the island with their wee ones, hot, tired and a little stressed.  I wondered if I look like that when juggling little ones and travel.

I loved my time away, but it really made me realise how much I LOVE and appreciate my family. Mr H truly stepped up and was indeed super mum while I was away.

It has been about eight years since I was last in Rarotonga and it really has'nt changed much.  It is a beautiful island.  Surrounded by a coral reef, it makes it a safe place for children to swim and a perfect place to snorkel.

As soon as I got to the resort I swapped my warm weather clothes for a sun dress and headed for the pool bar to have a cocktail.  I spent the rest of the afternoon there being lazy and reading.  Ah reading............. I read two books and loads of magazines while I was away.  Bliss!

Here is my breakfast view!

And yes - I did take these photos.  Looking at them now, it looks like they are out of a travel brochure.  No photo shop here I swear!

I caught the Island bus which does a full circle of the Island, a great way to see all of the beautiful beaches and my favourite - swaying palm trees.

The town centre is small but had some great shops and cafes.  I was dying to try the local favourite Ika Mata which is raw fish marinated in lime or lemon juice then mixed in with coconut milk.  Had a huge bowl of this at the popular Trader Jacks - this was my favourite dish eaten on the Island by far!

There are still beautiful old buildings left over from the missionary days.

And of course - the main reason for my visit was for the wedding of my childhood friend Daniela.  We have known each other since before school.  Her husband was bought up in Rarotonga and it was important they married there so his grandmother could attend.  It was such a beautiful ceremony.  Daniela and Rob have been together twelve years and also have a beautiful wee boy Kianu.

There was an Island feast, and traditional Cook Island dancers, a fire dancer and lots and lots of singing and entertainment.  I loved catching up with Daniela's family again too, we have'nt seen each other for years.  We are now a little older and all with our own families now.

What an amazing day!

I can't wait to return to Rarotonga again soon, this time with Mr H (and MAYBE the kiddies)!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

And the winner is..................


I'm now back from my trip and look forward to sharing photos with you in my next post.

But at the moment there is a more important issue to attend to..................... the Giveaway winner!

Firstly I would like to say Hi to my new followers and thank you to all my other lovely blog followers and readers.  It is always so encouraging to see that people are reading and commenting on my posts.  I had no idea when I started this how much I would enjoy blogging and how quickly you make friends with fellow bloggers.  I'm looking forward to catching up on some blog reading over the weekend and of course writing further posts!

My daughter Bell did the honours in picking the Giveaway winner.  A hat was found, names placed carefully in the hat and with a twist and florish Bell produced the winners name.

So congratulations to........... Bungalow Girl!

I love this book and hope you will enjoy reading it too!

Drop me an email through my profile page with your address details and I will pop your lovely book in the post for you.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Pacific Island bound

Today I am Island bound!

I'm flying out this morning to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands for a childhood friends wedding.

What's more, I'm going on my OWN - yes, without Mr H or the kiddies.

It will be the first time I have ever left the boys so I'm a mixture of excited and nervous.  I know that they will be fine with Dad - it's just a mummy thing to worry about - isn't it?!

I will be away for four nights and have some pampering booked in, and the beach wedding to attend which will just be wonderful.

I have a couple of books and a pile of magazines and new outfits packed.  I'm looking forward to reading, watching (entire) movies, sleeping, shopping, swimming........... the list goes on.

I will miss my wee ones but I won't be gone for long.  I'm just so grateful that Mr H is stepping in to play mum.

This is so new for me with the boys.  With Bell I was a full-time working mum.  I had a business that would see me flying overseas every few weeks or so on buying trips.  Then we moved to the UK.  I was working, full time again. This time for Pepsi Europe.  Flying all over the place for work.  I have been used to leaving Bell since she was a very wee baby.  I wanted it to be different this time round with the boys.  So fast forward 4 years and I'm off, on my own.

So...........wish me luck!  I look forward to sharing photos of my trip with you next week on my return.

Elaina xo

P.S. Don't forget to see yesterdays post  (Thursday 18 October) for the Giveaway details...................

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A giveaway

Hello lovely readers!

As part of Blogtober Fest I am excited to offer my first giveaway.

This lovely book below - A Home Companion by Wendyl Nissen.

I love this book and have posted about its virtues previously so here is what the "Booky" people have to say about A Home Companion:

Wendyl Nissen is well-known as a straight-talking journalist whose career has seen her edit top-selling magazines, produce ground-breaking television documentaries and take on talkback radio callers without batting a heavily made-up eyelid. But what happened when she let three chickens called Marigold, Hillary and Yoko into her life on 24 October, 2008? A Home Companion details Wendyl's year-long journey towards self-sufficiency. The book details each home discovery as it happens - both the triumphs and the disasters - while Wendyl slowly sheds her corporate life and takes to wearing yards of muslin, leather sandals and forgets to straighten her hair. A Home Companion is the book for any woman who finds herself yearning to get her hands covered in soil, rid her house of nasty chemicals, nurture her family and become a green goddess - even if it's just at the weekends.

I would love to give one lucky ready a copy and am happy to post worldwide so............. here's what you need to do.

Join up as a "Follower" - great if you already are one.

And leave a comment below letting me know you would like to go into the draw.


I will draw a name next Thursday and will post the lucky winners name.


This giveaway has now closed.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Oranges and Lemons

We have an abundance of oranges and lemons on the vineyard.  And we love them!

I have been experimenting with a lovely orange and lemon body scrub.  There are a few recipes floating around, some you blend, others you grate etc. 

Below is a recipe for the one I love.  It is so quick and easy.  For this amount you can pop what you don't need into a couple of small jars.  They would make a lovely handmade gift.  Alternatively, because it is an oil base it will keep for a couple of months.

Lemon and Orange Body Scrub

You will need:

1 cup sea salt
1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil, but if you have it, almond oil, coconut oil, or even vegetable oil will be fine)
1 tsp of grated lemon rind/ lemon juice
1 tsp of grated orange rind

Mix the sea salt and oil together in a mixing bowl, then add the lemon and orange. If the consistency is watery, you may want to consider adding a bit more sea salt.

When kept in a jar the oil and salt will seperate.  A quick shake will sort this out.

I'm going on holiday at the end of this week so have been preparing my skin with this lovely concoction - Enjoy!

Something yummy...................

Easy Lemon Biscuits

You will need:

125g of butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp grated lemon rind (I doubled this for a stronger lemony flavour)
1 egg
2 cups standard plain flour
1 tsp baking powder


Cream butter, sugar and lemon rind together until light and fluffy.
Add egg, beating well.
Sift flour and baking powder together and mix into creamed mixture.
Roll heaped teaspoonsful of mixture into balls and place on an oven tray.
Flatten sligthly with a floured fork.
Bake at 190C for about 12 minutes or until pale golden.

For the icing I mixed together icing sugar, lemon juice and rind.  Our lemons are not too sour so this icing was just so good!

The next batch I'm going to include orange rind as well.

And continuing with the citrus theme, I had to include my Lemon Dusters from a previous post.

My sister n law Em made these for me using a recipe from Wendyl Nissen's Home Companion.  I love using these and have discovered that due to the vinegar in them they are fantastic for wiping down mirrors and windows - NO STREAKS! 

Here is the recipe:

Lemon Dusters

You will need:

½ cup water
½ cup white vinegar
3–4 lemons
6 drops lemon essential oil
6 to 8 dusters
(made from old towels, nappies or sheets)

Mix equal quantities of water and white vinegar in a bowl. Add lemon essential oil, soak your clean dusters in the bowl for a few minutes and squeeze so that they are damp.

Peel the rind off the lemons and lay a couple of pieces on each cloth. Roll up cloths lengthwise, then roll the other way into a ball. Place these in the jar one on top of each other, throw in the occasional extra piece of rind and screw on the lid.

Take the dusters out when you need to use them, and if they aren’t too soiled you can roll them back up and use them again.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

For the boys

Alot of my life now revolves around trains, trucks, cars and diggers - the toy kind.

My boys are obsessed.  At the moment it is mainly Tom but I can see that George is heading in the same direction.  Hard not to when he copies everything big brother Tom does.

We have a wee gem tucked away in our town - it is the local Transport Museum.  It's run by a group of lovely old men who potter around with the motors etc while you are there and they never mind the children climbing in and out of all the vehicles and machinery - a boys paradise.

We met my sister n law Em and nieces there last week for a bit of transport fun.



There were even some friendly horses who wandered over to say hello.
We can't wait for our next visit and will be returning very very soon!

Monday, 15 October 2012

A Spring Show

I hope all you lovely readers had a great weekend.

For us here we enjoyed the annual A & P Spring Show.  We make sure every year we go early to beat the mad crowds.  We timed it perfectly - as we were leaving the rain showers started and I think half of the town were there!

This year Tom enjoyed a few rides (no tears this year) and the must see tractors, diggers and farm yard animals.  He even managed to have a swim in the pool and spa tent as his swimming teacher was there promoting their swim school.  Fun!

Mr H and I enjoyed paua and mussel fritters on Rewana bread, washed down with cider.  George found a trike! And hung out in his pram happily chomping away on strawberries.

Bell enjoyed the show the day before with friends - not cool to go with mum and dad anymore!

Here are a few photos of our Spring Show day.............


Have a great week!

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