Happy Ramblings: 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Santa sack 2016 - early opening :)

It is the day before Christmas Eve and again I couldn't wait to open my Santa sack containing little presents that I bought for myself throughout the year :) I used money that was given to me for Christmas and my birthday last year, to buy treats for Christmas this year. There are always things in my Santa sack which I have forgotten about because I don't peep into it as the year goes by.

My Santa sack fillers were:

- Body Shop Satsuma soap
- Clinique After Sun (I use this as a moisturiser on my face)
- Turkish delight

- Bath products from Lush (Snow angel bath melt, Snowball bath bomb, Rose queen bath bomb, Green bubbleroon bubble bar, Golden wonder bath bomb and Creamy candy bubble bar).
- L'Occitane products (Vervaine bubble bath, Bonne Mere bath cubes, 4 Reins rose bubble bath and body cream, Bonne Mere soaps and a Pivoine soap.

- A pottery hedgehog plant pot and mustard and cress seeds to grow in it. The mustard and cress will be the hedgehogs prickles. I also bought the same as part of my nephews birthday present and couldn't resist one myself :)
- A heart shaped soap.

- Lindt chocolate teddy bear
- Terry's chocolate orange
- 2 colouring books (Wild Savannah and Magic Jungle)

These will all keep me happy throughout the year :)

All the Christmas preparations are finished. Now there is only Christmas Eve dinner to prepare tomorrow. It is a special time for us. Everything is so relaxed it is amazing. No last minute Christmas shopping, so I can spend this evening watching Christmas themed shows, listening to Christmas music and reading my book.

I hope that your holiday preparations are going to plan and that you are managing to take time out to enjoy yourself too.

See you again soon.


Rose x

Monday, December 12, 2016

I love the days leading up to Christmas

This year there are so many things that I am enjoying in the days leading up to Christmas. I am not working this month, so I haven't experienced any last minute rush and have been doing everything at a leisurely pace.

Today I will be baking our Christmas cake. I soaked the fruit mixture in Cognac overnight in preparation. It tastes delicious...better not try too much of it!

Mum will be baking pfeffernusse cookies. I love the smell of them baking with all the Christmassy spices...cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger and cardamom (my mouth is watering just thinking about them). We give a box of pfeffernusse cookies to the postman every Christmas, his family look forward to them every year.

Here are some of the other things that I have been enjoying, during the days counting down to Christmas, here in New Zealand:

- Strawberries and plums, lovely juicy and red to match the occasion. Our plum trees usually fruit in time for Christmas, and my strawberries have been fruiting all year!

- Pavlova covered with fresh berries and cream.

- Pohutukawa trees with their gorgeous red flowers against dark green leaves. Perfect for Christmas.

- Scented candles. My favourites are pomegranate and orange, and also vanilla. And this year I had the chance to actually make candles for presents. Such fun.

- Cherry liqueur chocolates in their shiny red foil wrapping. I can never wait until Christmas to start eating treats!

- Picnics under the trees in the garden with my cats.

- Sitting on the deck reading Christmas-themed novels.

- Hibernating in the house with the cool air conditioning turned on when it is very hot and humid outside.

- Wrapping Christmas presents and making cards while listening to Christmas music.

- Decorating the house. Putting the Christmas tree up. Memories that the tree ornaments bring. Feeling like a kid again :)

- Going to the local twilight Christmas market.

- Filling my Santa sack with little treats for myself throughout the year. No peeping inside until Christmas Eve!

- Reading my favourite blogs sharing with me all about Christmas activities. And searching Pinterest for Christmas ideas.

What bliss it is to be able to experience all of these things in the time leading up to Christmas this year. I feel so lucky :) I hope that you have the time to enjoy yourself too.

See you soon.


Rose x

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Arranging Christmas decorations on my desk

I enjoyed myself this evening decorating my desk for Christmas and lighting candles.

My cat Oscar supervised the proceedings as always.

I swapped things around here and there until everything felt right.

And here is the final arrangement on my desk.

I love the little silver mercury glass tealight holders that I found on Ebay a few weeks ago. And I thought the shape of the starfish looked Christmassy too. They seem to fit in with Christmas in summer.

Yesterday was spent writing Christmas cards and wrapping all of the presents while listening to Christmas music on YouTube. I can't wait to give the presents to everyone. I gave mum hers a few weeks ago, but I have something else to give her at Christmas :)

I hope that you are enjoying your week.


Rose x

Monday, December 5, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I couldn't wait any longer to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope that you are managing to take time to enjoy yourself during this busy time of the year.

It was a very busy week-end for me, this week-end, making candles for presents. It is the first time that I have made candles and it was great fun. We had a candle and card making party and there were so many choices of things to make. It really put me in the Christmas mood.

All of my Christmas presents are ready and now waiting to be wrapped. I love wrapping gifts by the Christmas tree while listening to Christmas music. Then I can't wait to give everyone their presents.

This evening I made some more cards and gift tags. Now it is a matter of writing the cards and wrapping the presents, which I plan to do after putting the Christmas trees up next week-end, plus finishing decorating the house. The only thing left to do after that is the Christmas food shopping.

My own Santa sack is full and now I must wait until Christmas Eve before I can open it and remember what I put into it during the year. They are just little things, but they bring me lots of happiness.

Wishing that your days be Merry and Bright.


Rose x

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Flowers in my garden today - Lots of smiles

I took a lovely long stroll in the garden with my camera this afternoon to see how my flowers are doing. It was surprising at how many flowers are blooming at the moment. The plants flowering today are dotted around here and there, along the drive and around the house, not en masse. My photography encouraged me to walk far and to look close.

The scent from the roses was delicious. I took my time breathing in deep breaths to take in the different floral smells as they wafted by. Then I became aware of the gentle buzzing of the bees as they hurried from one flower to the next, busily gathering their pollen. It was blissful, despite the wind and the grey clouds heavy with rain to come.

The flowers in the top collage of photos that I took are:
- yellow daylilies, Chinese forget-me-nots, soldier poppies
- lavatera, cotoneaster, pink carpet rose
- red bottle brush, nasturtioms, white and purple echiums

I don't mind the rain, we desperately need it, especially for my wildflower garden. I was hoping that by going out with my camera it would encourage the rain to fall, just like hanging out the washing does! Instead it remained dry, but the light was great for taking photos. It hopefully may rain tonight.

The flowers in the bottom collage of photos that I took are:
- sycamore helicopters, light pink carpet rose, white Wedding Bells carpet rose
- dark pink carpet rose, Californian poppy, feverfew
- white ivy-leaf pelargonium, lavender and erigeron

This morning I read a lovely book called "The Art of Hygge" by Johnny Jackson and Elias Larsen. It is about "how to bring Danish cosiness into your life." The word Hygge is Danish and encompasses feeling cosy, comfortable and at peace with the world. What a great way to live. Most of the ideas in the book are for the colder months, but I think they can be adapted and enjoyed all year round. I felt hyggelig during and after my walk in the garden :) I would like to think of some more Hygge things for the summer months.

I hope that your week will be full of Hygge :)

See you again soon.


Rose x

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Photos from my South Island trip - New Zealand

A cloudy glimpse of Mitre Peak. The water from the little stream here is so pure that people were filling their drinking bottles with it.

A stop on the way to the Mirror Lakes.

The Mirror Lakes. There was a slight breeze rippling the water when I was there, so I couldn't capture the mirroring effect of the mountains on the water very well.

A waterfall on the way to Milford Sound.

Queueing for a cruise on Milford Sound.

A colony of baby seals.

A peak at Mitre Peak. Then back to Queenstown.

A panoramic view of Lake Wakatipu from the Skyline Restaurant in Queenstown.

View from the Skyline restaurant down to the gondolas, Queenstown and the Remarkables mountain range.

The gondalas are the only way up to the restaurant unless you want to climb! You can get down by mountain bike, luge or gondola. I chose the gondola ride there and back. It was terrific.

Now back down to earth from great memories.

See you again soon.


Rose x

Friday, November 11, 2016

My vegetable garden has gone wild

After spending so much time establishing wildflower beds, my vegetable garden has turned into a wilderness. My parsley and coriander have bolted ready to set seed. And my herbs have been taken over by buttercups. How did that happen?

The perimeter of the vegetable patch is full of wildflowers, including lavetera (mallow), Californian poppies and Chinese forget-me-nots.

The mallow has taken over the fence where I grew runner beans last year. It is so pretty that I don't have the heart to remove it.

The only veggies left in this area are fennel and artichokes. The rest is full of weeds including feverfew, nasturtiums, echium (viper's bugloss) and buttercups. I like the feverfew, nasturtiums and echiums, so I will let them stay.

The soil has dried out a bit now to allow weeding and digging over, so that is my next task. Dad is great, he will be helping me with this. Then I can sow my vegetable seeds for this year. All the seed that I ordered has arrived. Now I need to plan where to grow everything.

That's me finished for the day. I am going to snuggle into a comfortable chair, read my book, which is due to be returned to the library on Monday, and have a cup of hot chocolate.

Bye for now.

Love Rose x

A new garden bench seat - very happy

Here is a photo of my new garden bench seat as promised. It came in kit form, so dad put it together for me. I am so happy with it. I can sit out in the garden again with my cats and enjoy the view. This is my favourite place to sit under the trees. Sometimes I read here and take a picnic.

The ixias in the wildflower bed, that I see from my garden seat, have finished flowering now and have been succeeded by wild oxeye daisies. The daisies planted themselves very generously here. They are lovely to look at. There are lots more coming up in the field too.

When my new wildflower bed is in flower I may move my garden seat over to that area. There is a tree near there where I could put it. My fingers are still crossed that the wildflowers will be flowering by Christmas.

The rain that the weather forecast promised hasn't arrived yet, but the clouds are heavy and grey this afternoon. Hopefully it will rain tonight on my newly sown seeds.

See you again soon.


Rose x

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Another wildflower bed in the making

For the past week I have been busy preparing another wild flower bed. This new one is 200 metres squared (4 metres wide by 50 metres long). We marked out the area in the paddock first and then dad mowed it with his ride on mower. We then paid a contractor to rotavate the area by tractor. The area was too big to tackle by hand.

There was a delay in sowing the wild flower seed due to rain and high winds for a few days. The rain was much needed though to settle the soil down. When the rain stopped I divided the wildflower patch into eighths with markers. Then I used 780 grams of wildflower seed in total mixing 98 g of seed at a time with 2 L of fine pumice stone in 8 batches. I then sowed the seed by hand.

This morning I finished sowing the wildflower seed, yaaaay! It was a fun job to do, if a little bit back breaking. I felt like a farmer of olden days sowing a crop by hand. It was quite therapeutic.

The birds have found my seed to be irresistible to eat, especially the doves. The blackbirds have been turning over the soil looking for worms. And the rabbits have been digging holes at the edge of the wildflower bed. Sighs. Luckily I sowed the seed densely. Dad and I covered the seed finely using eight 40 L bags of compost, so hopefully this will slow the birds down.

Now it is a matter of keeping my fingers and toes crossed that the seeds will germinate. We are expecting light rain over the next few days, so that will help. Because the area is so big we aren't able to water it ourselves, so it is up to nature to do its thing.

It is exciting waiting for the flowers to pop up. The seed was a mixture of 30 different types of flowers which were un-named on the packets. I recognised poppies, cornflowers, calendula, French marigold, cosmos and scabious seed. I hope that the flowers will be blooming by Christmas time :)

Time now for a cup of tea and some more colouring in.

I hope that you have a good week.

See you next time.


Rose x

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Day in Johanna Basford's Enchanted Forest

I couldn't think of a better way to spend a rainy Spring day than by absorbing myself in painting in my Enchanted Forest colouring book by Johanna Basford. So I dug out my tin of watercolour paints and my very tiny size 2 sable paint brush and set to work at my desk while the thunder, lightning and hailstones did their own thing outside.

The photos above are snapshots of portions of the pages that I was working (playing) with. And the photo below is of the middle section of the picture.

I just love colouring-in books for adults. The drawings inside are exquisitely detailed and I enjoy losing myself in the pages as I colour them in. There are little things that aren't noticed at first until you look closely and see little creatures hidden amongst the foliage.

Now I am quite happy and relaxed and looking forward to my next session of colouring in.

Two more recently released colouring books arrived in the post last week - I couldn't resist buying them - Johanna Basford's Magical Jungle and Millie Marotta's Wild Savannah. The pictures inside are just as delightful. I have quite a collection of books now to enjoy.

Happy colouring.

Love Rose x

Sunday, October 23, 2016

From 50 Ixia bulbs to thousands of flowers

I started this wild flower area many years ago and planted just 50 ixia bulbs in it. Now the ixia have taken over. It is surprisingly one of the last surviving plants in this spot. It gives a splendid display of thousands of flowers now and takes little, if no, looking after. I let the plants happily seed themselves after flowering and just mow around the edges to keep the garden in check.

This is a view from the ixia bed across to the pond. It is my favourite place to sit in the Spring time. I like to watch the flowers blowing about in the gentle breeze and watch the birds flying overhead from here.

And this is my old garden seat which has now been put into retirement because one of the legs rusted through.

Yesterday we bought a new garden bench seat which dad assembled today. I will have to photograph it to show you, it looks great in its new position. I am very happy with it and so are my cats who like to sit with me.

I am hoping that the flowers will continue putting on their show for a few weeks more.

See you next time.


Rose x

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Spring has arrived in my garden

Spring is here and all the bulbs are flowering which puts a big smile on my face. Spring came quite early this year. It has been very wet, I don't remember so much rainfall before, but the plants are loving it.

The golden African daisies (arctotis) began flowering a few weeks ago. I have been deadheading them this year because I read that they will continue flowering until Autumn if I do. Each arctotis flower only lasts for 2 days, so that will be a lot of deadheading for me!

The purple babiana is flowering well. I have quite a few large clumps of it now which I plan to divide in the Autumn and spread them through the arctotis. I like the combination of gold and purple flowers.

The white onion weed is spreading rapidly, I won't be pulling it out as I like the look of it, it reminds me a bit of snowdrops. Just a pity it smells of onions, so not any good for picking and putting in a vase.

My white hellebores are putting on a great show again. When I cleared out the large dead leaves I found hundreds of tiny hellebore seedlings. I need to find another shady place to plant them in.

The multi-coloured ixia flowers have just started to open. They look lovely waving about in the breeze.

This mass of pink frothy succulents has been flowering for weeks now. I have forgotten the name of this plant?

And here are some of my bluebells flowering. I love their scent, just like hyacinths.

I am enjoying these flowers while I wait for the soggy land to dry up a bit. I want to have a large area of paddock ploughed over so that I can sow my wildflower seeds that I bought last year. I can't wait.

looking forward to seeing you here again.

Hugs Rose.