Monday, 29 December 2014

FitfyTwo/52......the last one

"Portraits of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Finished!  The final portraits for the year.  All 52 done.
Tom - "it's cold mum"!
George - water boy....... he really really loves being in the water.
Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".


Saturday, 27 December 2014

A very Kiwi Christmas


I woke up Boxing Day with (fuzzy head) aching feet from dancing, sore stomach from laughing, and a croaky voice due to epic Sing Star battles with my sister.
Our Christmas Day weather was great, the sun shone and it was warm.  The kids were well behaved, even though breakfast for them was mostly made up of the sweet contents of their Christmas Stockings.
Santa came through with my very much wished for Pink Flamingos............which I may have purchased/wrapped myself.  Sometimes you just need to take matter into your own hands.
We ate roast lamb and Christmas Ham which Mr H glazed and cooked on the BBQ.  Raw fish in coconut cream, lime and coriander was served along with roast vegetables and huge bowls of salad.
We sat in the garden under our big shady tree, I set a table and had three huge jars of hydrangeas from my neighbours garden as our centrepiece  Arms chair's in the shade were a favourite place to relax and sip ice cold beers.
We played tag, bulrush and touch rugby.  I hired a Sing/Dance Star console which was so much fun.  Apparently my sister and I hogged it most of the evening..........but I don't think that was true.
We have been away the last two years so to have Christmas this year at home was wonderful, it felt relaxed and easy going.  I'm so glad we have stayed home this year.  And now it is time to sink into full holiday mode.  No more gift wrapping ( I did my usual last minute power wrapping Christmas Eve), no more mad dashes to the Supermarket along with the rest of the town to do the Christmas shopping.  It feels like everything is done and dusted for the year.  Relaxxxxxxxxx.
Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014



"Portraits of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Not a lot of photo taking lately.  My sister and her family are visiting and I snapped these photos of my boys walking in the vineyard one evening with their cousin.  They look so grown up next to him.  Making sure he is ok.  Only one portrait left to go............
Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".


Monday, 22 December 2014

Happy Holidays!

Hello!  Just popping in to say Merry Christmas!  The last month has been busy for us, lots of end of year functions and parties...........which for this homebody takes some getting used to.

Mr H and I finished work on Friday,  and my sister and her family arrived on Saturday so things are feeling really festive around here.  We have been swimming every day and enjoying the sunshine too.  Today I caught up on things around the house,  and even got some time in the garden.  The tree is up, the Christmas carols are playing around the clock (Mr H dislikes carols....all the more reason to play them) and the kids are counting down the days and hours till Christmas morning.

I have six weeks off and I am beside myself with the thought of the summer days ahead.  I have two more Portrait Posts to do for the year and maybe a post on how this Kiwi family spends Christmas Day.....and Mr H is now an NZ Citizen, so that's something else to celebrate.
So my lovelies, Merry Christmas!
Tell me how you will be celebrating December 25th?
Will have snow on Christmas day or will it be stinking hot?!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014



"Portraits of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014."

We are counting down.........last week of kindy for George, and work for Mr H and I.  Bell and Tom are already on has been so busy.  No time for blogging.......and I miss this space when I am not here.
Tom - First year of school done and dusted!  So proud of him.  He has loved it but is so ready for the Summer Holidays.
George - this week's favourite item is one of my mixers - who needs the latest toys?  He has been a monkey this week.  The antics are endless.  I wouldn't be surprised if he is on Santa's naughty list!
Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".


Monday, 8 December 2014




"Portraits of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014."
Tom - "how many sleeps till the big holidays mum?"............."how many sleeps till Santa comes mum?" much to look forward too.
George - oh to be three again?  So many wonders to behold.......there was a native bird singing away in the tree and he was mesmerised.
Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Little Anahera Fairy giveaway winner!


Thought it best that I draw the winner!  This week has got away on me.  On Wednesday I thought it was Friday.....I'm hanging out for the weekend.

So thank you to my sister n law Em from  Little Anahera for making this beautiful Christmas Fairy - I hope the recipient enjoys her.

And the winner is..........Emma Elliot.
(Make sure you get in touch, the last giveaway the winner didn't and a new name was chosen!)

Emma please drop me an email with your address details to
alittlebitcountrynz (at) gmail (dot) com
Don't forget you can view more of Em's beautiful Fairies/Angels on her Facebook page.
Enjoy your week!

Monday, 1 December 2014

A Christmas kitchen.......Ginger Ale Fruit cake


This was me on Sunday.  Playing Christmas Carols and baking fruit cakes.  I found a couple of small cake tins in a kitchen store in town and they are the perfect size for gifts.  Using the recipe below I was able to make 5 small cakes.

I measured out the fruit and poured in the ginger ale before I went to bed Saturday night and placed in a covered bowl.  It is an easy to follow recipe (Dulcie May Booker) and you can tweak it to suit your tastes or add more brandy (or not) if desired.

I just need to wrap in cellophane and ribbon and they will be ready to give out this week as teacher gifts.

I love baking at Christmas, and next on my list is Chocolate Fudge. I use a Nigella Lawson Recipe - delicious!  Jars will be filled again this year and then decorated with the usual Christmas ribbons and tags.

Ginger Ale Fruit Cake

You will need:

225g Sultanas
225g Dates
225g Currants
225g Raisins
2 tablespoons Lemon Rind
240ml Ginger Ale (I made sure the fruit was well covered, and tipped the excess out in the morning)
225g Butter
225g Sugar
4 Eggs
280g Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Almond Essence
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 tablespoon Brandy (I used about 2)


Soak fruit and lemon rind overnight in ginger ale.

The following day - cream butter and sugar very well.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then add sifted flour and baking powder.

Add soaked fruit and, lastly, essences and brandy.

Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (depending on the size of tin you use - mine were done after 1 hour 15 minutes) in a paper-lined tine at 320F (160C).

Intially when I put in all the fruit ready for soaking it looked like way too much - but once the other ingredients are added the consistency is great.  It is a VERY fruity cake!


What Christmas treats do you enjoy making this time of year? 

Feel free to share your links in the comments section below.

Don't forget to enter this beautiful Christmas giveaway.


Sunday, 30 November 2014


"Portraits of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014."
Tom - fresh from his first school disco - and showing me how cowboys dance......crazy.
George - watching his big brother quietly in the background and most likely thinking the same thing as me........crazy.
Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Christmas Giveaway...........a Little Anahera Fairy

With the festive season lucky reader will win a beautiful Little Anahera Christmas Fairy.  Handmade here in New Zealand by my clever sister n law Em using wool and silk.

Along with  flower in her hair, this beautiful fairy is holding a tiny Christmas wreath.

Perfect for the top of your Christmas tree or displayed with other decorations around the home.  These sweet fairies are lovely as a "keep you safe" sleep angel and a few hung along a twisty branch make for a magical mobile too.

Little Anahera is the name of Em's business and you can visit the Facebook page here to see all of the beautiful fairies she has made.  You can also make contact through this page for custom orders and queries.

To enter the Little Anahera Fairy giveaway all you need to do is:

Comment below - tell me what you are hoping
Santa brings you this year.
(for me it is more uninterrupted sleep, a smaller waistline and flamingos for my garden!)

Feel free to share this giveaway via Social media (Facebook, Twitter, blog).

This is an International Giveaway.

Giveaway closes on Wednesday 3rd December at 11.59pm (NZ Time) - and will be announced the following day.  The winner will have 1 week to get in touch or a new name will be drawn.  The sooner contact is made the quicker I can get your fairy posted out - and hopefully in time for Christmas.

This giveaway is now closed.  Click here to see who won.

Thank you Emma from  Little Anahera and good luck!


Tuesday, 25 November 2014



"Portraits of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Tom - climbing the chicken coop.
George - in the corn field.
Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Afternoon tea under the trees

I hope you have had a great week.  Things here have started getting busy.  With the lead up to Christmas I have been doing extra hours at work.  Lots of things on with the kids and a wonderful work dinner Friday night with Mr H.  It was walking distance from our house which is a real novelty around here.

Saturday Bell and I spent the morning in town getting her sorted for next weeks school camp - then the plan was to spend the afternoon catching up on housework and washing..........but I nana napped instead.

I've been hoping to catch up with some friends lately, so Saturday afternoon I sent a message out saying Sunday afternoon tea at mine, 2pm - bring the kids and a plate!  Everyone said yes, so it was a quick blitz of the housework Sunday morning and some baking and sandwiches made before everyone arrived.

I haven't picked my camera up all week, so once the table was set I took a few snaps.  So glad I did as once everyone arrived the camera stayed tucked away inside.  There were platefuls of food, tea, orange juice and bubbles to be enjoyed.  The sun shone and the kids were great and played well together.........all SIXTEEN of them.  That's how many kids there were between we six mums - SIXTEEN!

It was a great ending to a really good weekend.  We are all hoping we get another catch up in before Christmas!
I hope your weekend was a happy one - what did you get up to?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Keeping calm and carrying on.............

Hello lovelies!  I wanted to sit down and have a catch up with you - I've posted plenty over the last few months, but there will always be things I don't share - one thing in particular I wasn't going to but a message from a friend today has made me have a change of heart.

I started a part time job in June - before I began I thought it would be a good idea to go and have a few things sorted that I had been putting off like visits to the dentist and doctors.  I did both, all went well and I thought nothing of it until a letter arrived.

My smear results came back abnormal..........follow up visits to the hospital with a specialist resulted in me finding out I had early stage cancer cells in my cervical "canal".  Gobsmacked.  And extremely relieved due to the fact that it had been caught early and was only on the outer tissue layer and had not spread.

After a couple of treatments that included tissue removal I was given the all clear in September.  Phew!  I choose to keep the results and my hospital treatments to myself apart from Mr H of course, two family members and my boss due to the fact I needed to take time off work.  I'm not good with sharing info like this and have always preferred the "Keep calm and carry on" approach.  I'm the same way with most things.  I have ups and downs like everyone - I just tend to "suck it up" and keep going.  A not entirely healthy option I'm sure.

After I was given the all clear - I did casually mention it to a couple of friends.  One of them sent me a message today saying she went for her smear after I told her and has found out she has abnormal cells and is about to start going through the motions of removal and further tests.  She was grateful I had told her, as it made her pick up the phone and make a very overdue appointment.

So beautiful ladies.  Early detection is key!  I am so grateful it was found early and that I will be around for my children.  I hate going to the Doctors for "Lady Checkups" but the alternative is much worse.
We need to look after ourselves first so we can be around to look after those we love.
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