Chat over Chai #1

Hi Everyone

The idea to start the Chat over Chai series, has been on my mind for a while now. In spite of sharing a lot on the blog, I felt a certain disconnect, so I’m going to try a bit of blogging like old times.

This is basically simply a catch up series ; to connect a little bit more, by offering a sneak peak into things happening in my life , to chat about things I’m really enjoying ; on the crafty side , slow living , cooking , current favourites – different things , I can share to make note of, look back on , enjoy and be inspired to grow and thrive.

You might want to grab a cup of chai (tea or coffee – whatever you prefer) for this one

This year, Autumn and Winter went by really fast and we are into Spring which is really like being in a whole new world.

It’s just so lovely seeing the world come alive with birds chirping , flowers blooming , there seems to be an aura of gaiety in the air.

While I have struggled a lot with the colder months, I have learnt that slowing down and doing a few extra things, that I normally never did otherwise during these months, helped me a lot to keep up my good spirits.

How did my version of Slowing down look like?

Slowing Down

This was pretty much my every day routine during the cold months. I’m sharing it on my blog hoping that it will help someone feeling down as the temperatures, daylight and sunshine go down

  • Making my cup of tea, taking time to sit down and enjoy drinking it , feeling the warmth of my tea , warm up my body
  • Look out my door , make note of the sunlight flooding the mountains with its golden glow or the clouds completely cover up the mountains
  • Send Steve off to school,
  • Snuggle with my baby Amber, listening to my favourite gospel music, reading the Bible and praying
  • Taking time to shower and get dressed in presentable clothes in the morning with care, put on my favourite perfume,
  • Go for a walk once in a while with Amber
  • Do a bit of skin care once a week
  • Gratitude Journal every week
  • Use Bargain box for dinner ( this way, I did not have to do much meal planning but still had the recipes and the ingredients ,had a chance to try something new and different.
  • In the evenings, I often lighted up some lovely scented candles, put on some dreamy jazz music , kept the heat pump on and cooked dinner.
  • I added fairy lights where every I could, added cushions and throws to create cozy and warm around me.
  • Once a week I went out for brunch with my friends, or invited them over to just chat over home made ginger chai, it felt good to have those little moments of just sharing and enjoying the friendships
  • I joined a low impact exercise class which helped immensely as well.
  • Some days when I just did not feel up to it, I just let go, ordered food from Uber Eats and spent time with my kids watching re runs of Castle lounging on the sofa.

Weekends were a little bit different. We slept in , cooked some delicious meals to last at least a couple of days so that when I felt uninspired to cook, there was something to heat up and eat ready at hand.

Amber

I’m sharing these here in the hope that it will help someone who needs it. However these are not set in stone things to do, do what soothes your soul the most .

How do you cope with the Colder Months?

If you also do some of these things please share them with me.

Or if you have some other things that helped you cope through the colder months, please share them as well.

Talk later

lots of love

Pearlin

Autumn memories

Its been a while since I wrote on my blog. My last post was in March 2019! I did not mean to be away for so long. But I have been busy doing things and not so regular in updating the blog

It was the school holidays. I happened to stumble on a book called How to Hygge by Signe Johansen in the library online and promptly downloaded my first ever e -book loan from the library.

I have read a couple books on the Danish concept of Hygge but nothing spoke to me the way this book did . So I decided to put some of the things into practice .It really helped, I must admit.

I added cushions and a faux fur throw to cozy up our couch ,

Used dried lavender from our lavender plant for our kitchen counter

dried hydrangeas from our garden in the hall

greenery from pothos plants that I have been propagating, pine cones that I found in our walk in the Christchurch Botanic Garden

some fairy lights and some candles I made at a Workshop

Beginning of Autumn, we spent a day walking around the Christchurch Botanical gardens. Every season there is something to enjoy at the gardens, but my favourite times to visit there are Autumn and Spring.

The colours are just spectacular during this time. I’m sharing some of my favourite pictures my son shot.

Walking around the Rose garden ,the roses and the scent of roses pervading all over the garden was glorious.

We spent a good amount of time watching the ducks chase each other on the water

While the geese glided around seemingly oblivious to the commotion happening around

This swan was so graceful in the water

Creating a cozy space, having greenery inside the home, taking note of the things in nature really helped me, to focus on the beauty of simple things and take pleasure in them.

Also, during this time, a friend and I together , started a knit / craft and chat that like to call the Knit2together group in my home . This turned out to be a simple yet cozy way to connect with the ladies in my church doing something we all loved.

Practising gratitude, enjoying the seasons , connecting with nature and other people made Autumn a very lovely season for me.

Being intentional this way also helped me to forget dreading the approach of Winter .(which I would always do and work myself into a knot)

Greymouth

Just before the labour weekend rolled around, J suggested we all take a trip to the West Coast to explore the area. Since none of us had any idea about the area.

Grey Mouth is about three hours drive from Christchurch and we took the Arthur Pass route.To say that the scenic drive was spectacular ,would be an understatementcanva-photo-editor

The first stop was Castle Hill, which are interesting rock formations .This kind of set the tone for our trip

The terrain itself is so different on each side the mountain. As we went up the mountains the long stretches of the dark grey river beds  with streams trickling by and dull brown beech trees, were a feast to the eyes.DSC_0086

The steep scary down hill drive that would lead into the rainforest like terrain with ferns and lilies everywhere, came as a big surprise. The gorge and the bridges simply breathtaking!

This was a budget trip for us and so we stayed in the Kiwi Holiday Park  , with its self -containted kitchen, lounge, toilets was very convenient and clean.DSC_0321DSC_0039.JPGWe however decided to sleep in tents, true Kiwi style.Crawling on all fours trying to get into the tent, sleeping with hot water bottles in my sleeping bag so as not to freeze into an icicle , maybe are  fun things to try once in a lifetime, but its not something I look forward to repeating again for fun 🙂 DSC_0030The whole town was shut down for a Bike race DSC_0088DSC_0098and so Pancake Rocks was to be our next destination.DSC_0133Rugged mountains on one side the vast wide ocean on the other, the beauty left us speechless. At the entrance of the Paparoa National Park, a Weka  ,another flightless native New Zealand Bird, took to greeting the visitorsDSC_0144Inside at the park, a very well laid out trail leads to mind-blowing natural beauty. DSC_0190The visual treat  is overwhelming  as your eyes are torn  between admiring the rock formations that look like pancakes stacked one above the other DSC_0168and  the rock formations that look like humans, the rugged  silent rocks providing the perfect foil for the boisterous wavesDSC_0155and home for nesting birds high up on them. .DSC_0222DSC_0215DSC_0181DSC_0246.JPGOn this trip,I did not cook, but picked up different salads  and food from Countdown, the supermarket and had a picnic by the river at noonDSC_0292DSC_0293DSC_0299scoured the beach for pebbles and driftwood, in the evening, ate dinner at Pizza Hut .DSC_0357Unprofessional campers that we were, couldn’t  take in the idea of shivering in our tents to sleep and so  decided to pack our tents and head back back home.

The steep drive down the mountains, covered in thick fog afforded some scary , nail biting moments, but by God’s grace, we all made it home in one piece, and fell into our beds with grateful hearts.

 

Spring Scenes in Hagley Park

A jaunt to Hagley Park to witness Spring in all its glory “is a must do  “my very first friend in Christchurch told me fondly remembering her own childhood days,when I came to Christchurch two years back. We have religiously kept up with the tradition ever since.

 The spring showers almost threatened not to let that happen this year, but over the weekend, the clouds and rains gave way to bright blue skies and gorgeous sunshine with just enough breeze to cool us down on a warm day.

Needless to say, I was so excited to be surrounded by beautiful flowers and birds and be able to click away till my camera battery died and came back home with a big smile on my face.

The ducks swam up to us  fearlessly hoping to be fed.

We sadly did not take anything to feed them. they sure seemed disappointed.

After much coaxing I managed to get one picture of Lil B among the daffodils.He didn’t want to pose for pictures because he was busy hunting Pokémon

People people everywhere, enjoying the weather

A jolly mood seemed to prevail everywhere….DSC_0259DSC_0264 (1)

I’m sure it ‘s because of the flowers, the myriad bird songs

and witnessing  new life sprout out of the once dull winter earth.ad2fa-dsc_0361

Dunedin

We were in Dunedin for the Unwind Yarn Festival .DSC_0179DSC_0185

We stayed in a small town called Balclutha at a motel called RoseBank Lodge. It was a comfortable place.

The eggs benedict and hotcakes at the restaurant there were really good.IMG_0971IMG_0972It was  great to walk/drive around Dunedin  to soak in the  essence of the city.IMG_5800Dunedin  a university town, with a lot of young student crowd against the backdrop of the magnificent architecture,was a unique mix of urban as well as old world charm and grandeur.DSC_0289DSC_0006interesting wall art img_0999.jpgand the locomotive museum was a hit with the boys.DSC_0493.JPGDSC_0511 hilly landscape along the harbour so rugged and picturesque It was good to spend some time sitting on the grass by the harbour, watching the seagullsDSC_0066 The Cadbury factory is a must visit, I tried  the triple chocolate drink in the cafe near by , so tasty.IMG_0975IMG_0976DSC_0307DSC_0100DSC_0338The architecture of the  railway station was simply breathtaking DSC_0097DSC_0117.JPG

IMG_0989DSC_0129DSC_0132DSC_0150.JPG However, the most thrilling, and exciting experience for us in Dunedin was going up Baldwin Street, the Steepest Street in the world.DSC_0378

having a little glitch with our car in the middle of the climb, holding our breaths until we got back downDSC_0042

and getting a certificate at the certificate shop was indeed an experience that will stay in our memories for a long long time.DSC_0430

Glentui Water Falls

Do you have special traditions for the New Year’s Eve?

Back in India and Kuwait, we always had the Watch Night Service at Church, which we attended without fail.

Here in New Zealand, we don’t have that and so J and I had our own version at home.

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Then later in the day, we joined friends for a walk around the Glentui waterfall

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The Glentui Water Fall is about an hour’s drive from Christchurch. It is so serene and lush .

(At  the waterfall, my friend showed us the little Fan tail nest they had discovered there.If you looked closely at the nest,in the picture below, you might even catch a little orange open mouth, demanding to be fed. The little miracles of nature never cease to amaze me.)

and later for a sumptuous picnic lunch of sandwiches, cheese , crackers and pesto dips

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It was a warm and sunny day DSC_1251 and the children had a blast swimming and splashing about in the Ashley Gorge river.

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Day Tripping :Akaroa

Akaroa, which means Long harbour, is an hour and a half  drive from Christchurch. we had heard that it was once a French Colony. Having lived in Erstwhile french colony , Pondicherry in India and still cherishing the fond memories gathered there, we were more than eager to visit the place.

We might have taken a little longer than that as we stopped in a couple of places

We stopped at the first  picnic spot we spotted, took some time watching the Swans glide gracefully on the Lake Ellesmere

and then continued on

Enroute, we stopped at Little River and a little dose of history awaited us at the railway station now converted into a little craft store.

Taking one on a trip down memory lane of a bygone era.

We sauntered around entranced by the antique memorabilia on display…

Lanterns,

ticket collecting booth ,

A couple of stops at a few scenic views , later we were in Akaroa.

This picturesque town is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll around , stopping by the Museum to get an understanding of the historical heritage of the erstwhile French ColonyDSC_1351

 

The old church.. where the choir was just starting practise for the next day’s Church service.

The French street names and the antique buildings bear witness to the  bygone era.This is the only thing that bore any resemblance to Pondicherry.

A French bakery, Cooking school and loads of souvenir stores  in the town centre are a sure giveaway for the  French flavour that is still very much prevalent in the town.

The mosaic place …. which was closed as we were there late afternoon… were all very interesting to look at. we heard this was a must visit ,maybe next time.

Other than the idyllic old world charm of the town, 

a walk down the beachfront lounging  listening to the sound of the water and the sea gulls is extremely relaxing.DSC_1298DSC_1299DSC_1318

Drove to  the lighthouse

watched the boats on the bay.DSC_1435

The views were just magnificent specially at the golden hour,It must be a  popular wedding destination , as we did see a wedding party getting some photos around the town.

 We seemed to be running into them around the town.

we fell in love with this little car. … guess it belonged to the wedding party

Admired some old buildings

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Had an ice ceam

before heading back. The drive back was just as beautiful.

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we do plan to go back sometime in the summer.