A few (really) good things

I've been back at work a few weeks now and it's meant I've pretty much instantly stopped taking photos – which I hate. Life is still good and worth the photos! I guess my days are so much more structured now that I often miss the lovely things in my march from home – café – work – daycare – home. They're there though – I just need to slow down and see them more. I wrote a few years ago about the importance of getting out at lunchtime and taking a walk. It's still something I strongly advocate, just apparently for everyone else now and not myself. I will work on that, promise. It is still important!

So in the absence of recent life photos, let's throw it back to summer and remember what those warmer days felt like...can't wait for some more of these! Aren't the colours amazing? Where do these colours go in winter?

Surfer at Waihi Beach.

Surfer at Waihi Beach.

The cliff walk at Mangawhai Heads.

The cliff walk at Mangawhai Heads.

These were our Christmas present to ourselves! I love them so so much. Such amazing lines and colour.

These were our Christmas present to ourselves! I love them so so much. Such amazing lines and colour.

Um, who's that tiny baby?! Amelie and H1 on our sixth wedding anniversary at Brick Bay.

Um, who's that tiny baby?! Amelie and H1 on our sixth wedding anniversary at Brick Bay.

Fruit and vegetable stand in Waihi Beach. I kind of want to live in this perfect little cart.

Fruit and vegetable stand in Waihi Beach. I kind of want to live in this perfect little cart.

A few good things

A recurring cold is trying to take me down but I WILL NOT allow it. Except for Friday and Saturday that is, when I spent most of my time cuddled up under a blanket on the sofa, sleeping. I hate being unwell so much but clearly I needed to give in and stop fighting. Napping is very unusual for me, so when I just fall asleep like that something is wrong. There have been some good times though. It's not all doom and gloom. It never is! Hope you've all enjoyed a more successful weekend than I have and have been celebrating a few good things of your own. Happy Monday! 

Felt much better Sunday and escaped to the beach for a walk with my lovely little family. It was gorgeous out! Midwinter sun is such a treat.

Felt much better Sunday and escaped to the beach for a walk with my lovely little family. It was gorgeous out! Midwinter sun is such a treat.

Auckland from on high. Cranes cranes cranes, as far as the eye can see.

Auckland from on high. Cranes cranes cranes, as far as the eye can see.

A bit of contrast – the city from down low. Amelie loved watching this bird from the safety of her makeshift picnic blanket.

A bit of contrast – the city from down low. Amelie loved watching this bird from the safety of her makeshift picnic blanket.

How to stay on holiday forever

Scent is so amazingly powerful, isn't it? Tommy Girl will always take me back to my early teens, as will the Body Shop's fuzzy peach shower gel (would you believe they no longer seem to make it?!). Combined, I'm on holiday in New Caledonia with my French class again.

Every time I travel, I keep this in mind and buy myself something that will take me back to that holiday every time I smell it. The last few times it's been perfume – London is Coco Mademoiselle, Paris is Hermès Un Jardin en Mediteranée, and now, LA and New York are Le Labo Neroli 36.

The best way I find to ensure it has the effect you want it to is to wear it a few times while still away, on days or evenings when you're pretty sure it's going to be a good one. For example, I wore Neroli 36 when we took Amelie to the Imagination Playground, and again when H1 and I went out to dinner by ourselves (gasp!).

Then, just bring it back home and wear it whenever you want to relive those holiday good times.

Room fragrance can have the same effect. If you're in a store, hotel or restaurant that smells particularly good, ask what they're using – it may well be a scented candle that you can buy and burn at home to recreate the same vibe. Sometimes it won't be available (as happened to me in the Marina del Rey hotel, which is literally the best smelling hotel I've ever been in) but often, it will be, and this is such a nice way of making your home feel just a touch more relaxing.

Finally, a scented candle or diffuser that pulls together different components of your holiday can help you relive it in a less direct way. This is what I'm looking for now, seeing as I couldn't buy the Marina del Rey scent. I'm after something a little citrus-y (for the fruit in LA), a little salty (the ocean) and a little cedar-y (Central Park). I'll let you know if I do end up finding the scent I know I'm after – it's one of those ones where I'll know it when I smell it! 

Have you ever done this to extend that holiday feeling, deliberately or otherwise?

Friday reading

It's Friday! The weather is horrendous here and all over New Zealand. My in-laws are meant to be coming up from Hawkes Bay for the weekend but have already had to delay their journey by a day. Fingers crossed there's no snow stopping them tomorrow!

Hawkes Bay during better weather times.

Hawkes Bay during better weather times.

Cosying up and reading seems a very good way to get through this – and below is a great list of reads for those of you who are keen. There are also some cool things going on around Auckland this weekend, though, like the last few days of The Body Laid Bare at Auckland Art Gallery, and the first weekend of Wildlife Photographer of the Year at Auckland Museum. The Remuera Bastille Day Festival sounds fun too. Ideally, you'd make a whole day of it and start at La Cigale for pastries and coffee (tip: coffee at La Cigale itself is rubbish, stop at Red Rabbit on your way up). before heading along to the festival, then spend your evening at Augustus Bistro or Paris Butter making friends with du pain et du vin. That's how I'd do it, anyway.

On with the weekend! And here are some fun links...

Man Repeller bought a shirt on Instagram. (The story is not about the shirt.)

Is anyone else watching The Block? Jane Yee's recaps are laugh-out-loud funny, whether you are or not. 

Contemplating the future of work is so interesting. Could your job work in a flash organisation?

I bought these pants and am now eagerly awaiting their arrival. Apparently they look good on everybody.

When should kids get their first mobile phone? (If Amelie had her way, at nine months!) There doesn't seem to be an easy answer...

Oh, I love cookbooks so much. (True story: nearly bought the first one on this list in LA but decided it'd be too heavy to cart around. Regrets, I have them).

Speaking of cooking, you can't go past a great grilled cheese in winter. 

Have a great weekend! Let me know if you end up eating French food. Or any great food, I'm not here to discriminate. x

 

 

Three weeks of New York gloriousness!

I am SO HAPPY we got to back to New York this year. It had been nearly three years since I had last been there, but not much has changed. I felt at home instantly. It helped that we were staying on the Upper West Side, which I do very much consider my own neighbourhood. We were further down than we used to live, but I headed up to the 80s a few times for yoga classes, and time just compressed as I walked around there. It could have easily been four years ago, when I still lived there. But it was better, because Hayden and I were there with Amelie.

The Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.

The Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.

Amelie and me in Central Park.

Amelie and me in Central Park.

Boaters on the lake in Central Park.

Boaters on the lake in Central Park.

We were lucky enough to be staying in an apartment mere steps away from Central Park, thanks to the generosity of our friends who were in Italy. This meant we went into the park a lot – nearly every day, in fact. Absolutely no complaints here. Such a beautiful park, and such a great place to take Amelie! The Heckscher Playground was close by, so she got lots of playtime (she's not big enough yet for most of it, but she likes the swings and she loves watching the other kids play).

Get off me Daddy, there's a whole city to explore!

Get off me Daddy, there's a whole city to explore!

We also went into the park a few times for early dinner picnics. So much fun, and something I'm really looking forward to doing here in summer also. We may not have anything quite like Central Park in Auckland, but we have plenty of beautiful spots to hit up! 

Afternoon picnic/early evening dinner in the park.

Afternoon picnic/early evening dinner in the park.

Travelling with a baby is obviously completely different from travelling without one, but in no way do I feel that we missed out on anything. We made sure we put lots of activities for Amelie on the agenda, as well as for ourselves. Luckily, New York has many very cool things for babies. We went to the library several times, for music and storytime, down to South St Seaport for a morning at the Imagination Playground, and to the Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park. 

Amelie in the sandpit at the Imagination Playground.

Amelie in the sandpit at the Imagination Playground.

The Seaglass Carousel.

The Seaglass Carousel.

Down at the bottom of Manhattan.

Down at the bottom of Manhattan.

For us, we did a little shopping, saw friends, and ate some very good food. We also spent quite a bit of time just relaxing outside and walking aimlessly – not necessarily a thing you think of when you think of New York, but it's actually a really good place to just be. And then, of course, there was that park...

SUCH good times. New York is a fantastic city. Can't wait until we go back.

This kid! Amelie in the park.

This kid! Amelie in the park.