Journaling · Lifestyle

Moments of Bliss -Journaling

Back in January 2019, when I got my journal from Kikki. K , I loved it but I was not certain if I would finish it.

I have always had journals. This Kikki .K journal from the Life is wonderful series , with all the woodland motifs was a delight to write on. As a result , I did not abandon it half way through, like I have sometimes done ,and actually finished the 2019 journal pages

Apart from the cute layout of the journal, I also liked that it was date free. That took the pressure out of having to stick to everyday journaling , leave dated pages empty , and feel disappointed looking at the un filled pages. Usually , I only journaled once a week , but journaled more than once when I felt like I needed to get my thoughts in order ,

Back in September, I discovered a few things that propelled me to a whole new world of art journaling

Hobonichi journals

Sojourner covers.

Washi tapes , stickers

Fountain Pen

Water colour paints and brushes my son had discarded.

With all my supplies and December Daily musings journal prompts from @retrowtures , a new love for journaling took root and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of decorating my pages with water colours and putting down my thoughts on paper.

Although there are some amazing art journal pages, I look upon my journaling as something I do just for my own personal joy , without a self imposed performance pressure on myself.

While at the Craft Camp , I took a class on Mindful Knitting, where I learnt about the importance of creating a making space . Ever since I have strived to slow down, keep the area I work in ,clear of clutter and light a scented candle. Sometimes I have instrumental music playing along. This has helped me truly have a few moments of calm and peace at the end of the day .

The things I journal about differs every time. Sometimes its just about my day, sometimes its how I am feeling, my thoughts, fears etc, sometimes its prayers, or gratitude , things I’m loving at the moment and so on.

I do not do it on a regular basis , sometimes its once a week , and sometimes I journal more often

I have also been using it to practise my art journaling and calligraphy and it has been a wonderful creative outlet for me.

Each time I ‘m able to set aside a good chunk of time, I use it to journal and sometimes art journal. No part of it is perfect in anyway , but process of creation something without any sort of restriction, embracing the flow of the moment is what is fun for me.

So, I do want to encourage you to try journaling , creating a making space for yourself and see how you like. I have definitely enjoyed the process and I think you will too !

Akaroa · Budget · New Zealand · Road Trip · South Island · Travel

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.

 

 

Ashburton · Budget · Camping · Lake Heron · Lifestyle · New Zealand · Travel · Uncategorized

Fishing Trip : Lake Heron

We  went on a Fishing camp to Lake Heron.

It was a freezing but also a very heartwarming trip.

 The boys had so much fun

This time Big B had company and he enjoyed kayaking with some friends in the river. Like always J made sure that I was snug as a bug in our tent.

This trip  immediately puts a smile on my face as memories of good times, laughter ,conversation, fellowship and food come scrambling by, just like that ,when I’m doing something as simple as a making a sandwich! And I get transported back to those mountains again. 

Budget · New Zealand · Out and about Christchurch · South Island · Spring · Travel

Day Tripping: Waikuku Beach

When the weather gets gorgeous ,the school break starts, and the day light savings kick in,then its  time to go exploring out and about Christchurch.

This time,we decided to drive upto Waikuku Beach… its just a half an hour drive from Christchurch in the Waimakiriri district.

Waikuku Beach is a very beautiful beach.

The weather was gorgeous for the drive, but walking out on the beach, I needed my jacket on…. to protect me from the chilling wind.

Lil B loves the water and wanted to swim . With the terrible cough he has been having for over a week now, walking up and down the sand dunes was the sensible option.

The drift wood on the beach offered to be the perfect walking sticks and a boy definitely needs two of those for scaling up the ‘mountains’

Seemingly untouched, we saw a couple of surfers on the beach .However, the Surfers Lifeguard watch house makes me believe that the Waikuku beach must be  a surfer’s paradise. Plus a great place for kids to frolic around in the sea.

 We drove around spotting water birds

 and enjoying the rustic charm of the area.

when this board caught our eyes

A hidden little gem that we thoroughly

enjoyed exploring

First things first though…as soon as I saw the word craftworks, I made a beeline  into the store.

We were greeted with the friendliest of smiles and an array of glorious handmade glass beads, jewellery, tableware. The owner told me,she made them all out of test tube heat resistant by blowing the glass.

 I searched up and found their website! I do want to go back there.

This large antique mill that was built sometime in the 1870s, houses a large assortment of things .From Antiques ,trinkets, homewares and Kiwiana Memorabilia to gorgeous clothes , accessories and collectibles.

 I just adored the exposed brick walls and the gorgeous, friendly resident dog inside. oh and not to forget the old fire place adding on the vintage charm and warmth to the place .

The drive back was dedicated to spotting babies…

Btw,where did September go? seems like it whizzed past when I blinked!

Arrowtown · Autumn · Budget · Camping · Lifestyle · New Zealand · Singapore · South Island · Travel

Arrowtown

Over the Easter Weekend, we decided at the last minute to visit Arrowtown, a quaint little town.

J was not sure if he would have to work or not . By the time we learnt that he would also not work on the holidays, the Holy week was almost upon us.

Big B and J  decided to try their luck finding last minute accommodation in Queenstown when the search showed us that there was a vacancy at the Holiday Park in Arrowtown.

Being Budget travelers,we decided to take it ,as it was very budget friendly for us,even though we had no clue about the place or where it was . Thank God for Technology and GPS!

As we started on our trip, we learnt that Arrowtown was a Gold Mining Town, with remnants of the 19th Century history well preserved in the town.

When we got there,we were so taken in by the old world charm the little town boasts of.

The weather as we drove the scenic route for nearly five hours was just gorgeous!

We stopped to have a look at the Kawarau Gorge . As much we would have liked to explore the gorge and all it had to offer, we put it off for another trip. This time, however, our hearts were set on reaching  Arrowtown as early as we could .

The gorgeous Autumn palate of gold , orange ,fiery red, purple and greens greeted us as we drove into Holiday Park Arrowtown .IMG_1965It offered the perfect backdrop for the surrounding mountain ranges

Set in this picturesque setting is a very well maintained park with several kinds of accommodation, right from tent and powered camper van grounds to ensuite studios, self-contained flats, lodge rooms , to suit every budget.

 

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We stayed in the Oregon Lodge.

It has an all sufficient kitchen, with fridge, freezer, microwave,T.V, stove and utensils with ample space to cook and have our meals right there. And also sinks and hot and cold water taps to clean and take water from.

I had taken lime rice, cutlets and chicken fry, our standard picnic food along with eggs and bread. Which we could store in the community kitchen. This came in handy as I could store the food in the fridge and heat up at lunch time in the microwave.

Our rooms were heated, with bunk beds. We hired the bedding for a small fee. It was spacious, warm and cozy  for the four of us.IMG_1936

 

On Day 1, after long drive, we had a long nap when we finished unloading all our stuff. It was almost dark when we went to explore the quaint little Arrowtown on feet.

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We had dinner at this little pizzeria called Off Piste. It was almost closing time.IMG_2019.jpg

chicken , brie , apricot.pizza. We were not too hungry .

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On seeing the beautiful little town , reminiscent of old English villages we have read about in books,we knew without doubt, that we had we found our own little pot of gold !

We did the actual exploring of the little town only on Day 3.

The historical character of the little town is very well preserved.

Est. 1862!

Est.1862 .

On the fringes of this charming little town is the Chinese settlement. I read in a pamphlet I found at the park, that these Chinese came to work in the goldmines and were racially discriminated from buying things from their stores. But these very self reliant folk set up their own stores much to the annoyance of the European settlers.

There is a fun gold panning activity you could do, there at the settlement memorial.

We mostly walked around in the town and enjoyed it very much.It was just absolutely lovely!

If you are into visiting places with historical character then Arrowtown is a must visit. There is a lovely Museum and one could get dressed in period clothes and get photographed.

Moreover, there are lovely little cafes one could pop in for some coffee and relaxing time.

A few minutes of arriving at the Park, Lil B had made friends with the kids there at the park and spent many hours happily playing with his new friends there

Day 2 was Easter Morning. There was an Egg hunt and Pancake Breakfast at the community kitchen in the park.IMG_1930

IMG_1928.jpgand then there was a very fun Easter Egg Hunt

mom! stop being a paparazzi

After we were done with the egg hunting, and all the treasures demolished, we headed off to Queenstown.Which was like, a 15 minute drive.

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Full points to you if you guessed what we did there!

The only thing we wanted to check out first thing, was not any of the many adventure stuff that Queenstown is famous for, but the Fergburger  Burger.

So undaunted by having to walk quite a long distance from our parking

and the long queue

and the 45 min wait,We got our Easter lunch at Fergburger. And we were not disappointed at all!and the wait didn’t seem that long either.

On the way back,  we decided to take our family picture at this ethereal spot with a help of our tripod.

 

Nelson · New Zealand · South Island

Nelson

Nelson was closed for Christmas  , so we just walked around townIMG_0810IMG_0812IMG_0776Did a little bit of shopping at an antiques storeIMG_0785

Had our Christmas feast at Istanbul… we were all missing our turkish/ middleeastern food and were so happy ,we found some authentic food ….kababs, kubooz and hummus… here….not to mention the very midwestern ambiance they had too.IMG_0794

the food was good

 

all we did through the holidays ,was eat, sleep, wander, repeat, repeat…. and don’t regret it one bit!

 

Christchurch · Cookie Time Factory Outlet · New Zealand · South Island · Templeton

A Cookie Time Factory shop trip

My kids ,are big fans of cookie time  cookies. It so happened that on his way to work, J , found a factory outlet .

Sunday ,being a beautiful sunny day, we were in for a little surprise.

None of us guessed where J was taking us, only thought that we were going for a little ride around .

Only when the car slowed down, did we realised where we were!!

Surprise!!

You should have seen kids’ grin to know what a happy camper they were.

Not even for a second ,are you allowed to think about anything else. You got to have cookies on your mind, right from the parking lot!

I was pretty impressed !

Well, tell me ,where else would we find a cookie wall in the parking lot?!

Right before the entrance,the ‘cookie muncher’ strikes a welcoming pose and a quick picture was in order.

I loved this sculpture

It’s called Lean on love.

The interiors are pretty impressive too, continuing with the Cookie Theme

The stools are pretty cool carrying on the cookie theme

There are Tshirts and soft toys available

And of course cookies with offers too hard to resist.The friendly staff make it a warm place to be.

There are also buckets that you can fill with your choice of cookies and you can even send them to family abroad.

We all love the taste of the cookies and no doubt, fell in love with the outlet too.

I think we are going to be frequent visitors here.

Bethany Christian Park · Budget · Camping · Kaiteriteri · Life style · Lifestyle · New Zealand · South Island · Summer · Travel

Bethany Christian Park ,Kaiteriteri

 

Waking to the sunshine and feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin,looking out at the beautiful pine trees covering the slopes as far as the eyes could see , was a big treat!

The minute I saw the world sunshiny and  bright when I woke up,I’d made up my mind, I was going to love Kaiteriteri. And true to that , I was not disappointed.

As I mentioned before, we stayed in Bethany Christian Park , which is a campsite in the resort town of Kaiteriteri.

We stayed in a heated cabin with comfortable bunk beds, a small table with four chairs.DSC_8358

There were several camp plots , with electrical points and  spaces for tents. Bathrooms were shared and so was the large well equipped spacious common kitchen. Everything was so clean and well maintained that we didn’t have any problem whatsoever .

We had a very pleasant stay here.We had prepared and packed  picnic food of tamarind rice, chicken fry and meat cutlets with us from Christchurch and we saved them all in the refrigerator there .The entire family enjoyed the food very much.

The other campers were very polite and friendlyDSC_8401DSC_8352DSC_8356DSC_8444IMG_8315

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The stunning golden beach was just a five minute walk from the the park and we spend a lot of our time, lazing on the beach which was so relaxing and refreshing.

We didn’t have an agenda, we just decided to take it easy and enjoy each other’s company. After all the change in our lives we just needed to hang out together, and  do nothing but enjoy each other’s company.

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Finding a quiet spot to catch forty winksDSC_8378

Building castles on the beachDSC_8369

We did the most mundane things like stopping on the roadside picnic spot to eat our fish and chips

Lessons on whistling sharply were  exchanged between the father and son. Its the son offering tips to the dad and not the other way round, if you were wondering!

 

Feeding ducks

 Hunting crabs

 

Taking advantage of the low tide and looking for  other sea life

Marveling the beauty of God’s Creation

and trying out some waterboarding

Budget · Camping · Kaiteriteri · Lewis Pass · Lifestyle · New Zealand · South Island · Travel

Summer Holiday Travel :The Beginning

As soon as the summer holidays rolled around, the children were itching to travel and we decided that Nelson was going to be our Mini vacation Destination.Using google, we decided to stay in

Bethany Christian Park  in Keriteriteri and it seemed like a great place to stay even though it was not in Nelson.After a few emails back and forth, our stay there was confirmed.

J thought it would be a good idea to take Lewis Pass route  on the way  to the camp…

We started on our trip,late afternoon after J came back from work.It was a lovely sunny afternoon with blue skies, the route  scenic and beautiful ,with some of our favourite songs on our playlist  _that  had been carefully put together for the trip_playing in the background, it was a very enjoyable ride. We wanted to get to the camping park before sunset but we couldn’t stop ourselves at every little turn to snap a few pictures.

For the first time, I experienced the heady scent of the wild flowers! The Scent filled the air. I stood there letting the gentle breeze tickle my cheeks inhaling the freshness  in the air

Beech trees

The boys were both asleep by now.IMG_0706 J and I took a break near this river

 mail boxes  in the middle of nowhere.

Breathtaking view ,this  picture does not  do even a shade of justice to that !

snowcapped

By the time we reached Bethany Park, it was quite late and we were all ready to crash! After a quick registration by a very friendly manager, we were happy to have comfy beds to sleep on in our  heated cabin at Bethany Christian Park in Keitaritari.