31-days. a subscriber-only project


seems there is a bit of a trend on the interwebs to post a photo every day for november again this year. i am not feeling like i need to do that, as i have been planning a 31-day project beginning on the 1st. its a subscriber-only daily email (free) that i am sending out just for fun. fill in your details below if you want to be on the list.

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i used to think that if i had all the right gear – enamelware, hunter wellies (well, i never actually had those), the right brand of handbag and overcoat, shelves overflowing with all the right kids of books, fantastic travel stories (ok, i do have a few of those), an instagram account that everyone wanted to follow, a blog with loads of commenters, a life well-lived in a vibrant city, that i would have it made. thing is, in nz, nobody i want to hang out with gives a shit what labels i wear and they’ve never even heard of the company that makes my handbag. so what was it all for? yeah. nothing. so i threw out all the toast catalogues and sold my kinfolk magazines. because i don’t need them and because they don’t make me feel good. this realisation comes with liberation – more clearing out of stuff i thought was necessary to enhance my life that really just took up physical and emotional space. the less stuff i have, the easier it is for me to appreciate exactly what i do have – a really amazing life. and when i spend less time trying to be like you and more time simply being myself, that is where my truest, and kindest, moving loving and peaceful life is.

so much of life on the internet is displayed through filters (others, as well as my own), i wonder how much of another being i can truly get to know this way. enough, I suppose, to be able to tell me if I want to get to know someone a little more so I can then reach out and say hello.

i never understood running until being introduced to the trails here. now i can’t imagine my life without early sunday morning runs that can last up to four hours and include beaches, stairs, rope climbs and hilltops with stunning views.

brisbane: the hum of thousands of air conditioning units, street sweepers and boy racers at 2am. no thanks. I am definitely not a city girl. i like the island life we have chosen for ourselves.

the conversation with my sister that starts: “just after it flooded here we found a snake curled up in the BBQ” and I think to myself “a whole lotta nope” with regards to living in Australia.

Ways to charm me: edible flower bunches for sale



For the past 12 months, Monday evenings have always started around 4pm. That’s when I’m thinking about winding up whatever I’ve been doing so I can round up all our gym gear, make myself a protein shake, get changed and ready so I can head to the gym just after 5pm. Monday evenings are a 50-minute spinning class, followed by a HIIT session then home for showers and a quick, healthy dinner. This week though, I didn’t go. Still sore from the long (for me) run on Sunday morning, I chose instead to go for a walk along the beach with Nic, come home for a massive bowl of salad leaves and an episode of American Horror Story. I am learning more ways that I can nourish and care for myself – sometimes that means full-on gym nights and sometimes it doesn’t.

I spent a week in Australia at the beginning of September. Some of the time with my sister and brother-in-law and some at a workshop I’ve been wanting to do for years. Some of what I’ve learned has been difficult to process… My head trying to make sense of something that can’t be explained with any kind of logic. So begins a daily process of asking myself to suspend disbelief and get out of my own way. And some part of me knows that we are all more capable of magic than we could ever imagine.

Things on my mind today:

  • Where are my camera batteries?
  • Did I turn the stove off just now
  • Do I have time to go for a run in between skype, dropping the cat off, catching a ferry & shopping for our weekend away
  • Remember to pack towels
  • And there might be swimming, so pack for that too
  • Shall I run with up Palmers track to Mt Hobson with Sarah on Friday morning (a route I walked with Nic on my first trip to GBI)?
  • I gotta find those camera batteries!

Home is becoming more of a home as we settle into this place. With a lovely boardwalk meandering through the trees connecting the house and the office, I am taking great delight in travelling between the two in my slippers! We have pulled up the carpet and underlay in our bedroom (+ the lino we discovered underneath!) so we can have the concrete ground back and treated with a moisture seal. Another of the perils of buying a holiday home that used to be a storage shed. But this way we get to make the room exactly how we want it. Plus we get to sleep in the studio for a couple of weeks whilst the floor is treated, we paint the walls a colour we like and we have new carpet installed. We are now making a joke about #shithillsideroadpeoplesay that includes “this is the last big expense for this year“. Haha

I’m loving cooking with some new (to me) salt mixes – one a chilli & lime salt made locally and one a spicy herbamare mix. And we seem to be piling okonomiyaki sauce on pretty much everything. Inspired by drinks in cafe’s, I’ve also been making my own turmeric tonic, and herbal tea mixes and dreaming up some ways to make iced teas for the summer. And picnics. I’m dreaming of picnics.

leoniewise-lately-3 leoniewise-lately-4

My surroundings continue to inspire me, even though my weeks might look fairly mundane to an observer. Not always in ways that make me want to pick up a camera to document it, sometimes just stopping for a moment to breathe it all in is enough.

There’s been running. Not a whole lot of it but what I have done has been mega. I’ve already run 2 half marathons in the past 2 months and that’s just been around the trails here. The queenstown half should be easy terrain-wise.

Thanks to everyone who filled in my survey. I almost have enough people to get on and do a 31-day project that is subscriber only content. If you haven’t already filled it in, and you’re interested in receiving a short daily email from me, please do so. Monthly projects seem to be a thing for me and I’d love to do one that is shared only with people who really want it.

I have a feeling October is going to be amazing too.

nothing left

diptych. milo sleeping, toast & coffee. by leonie wiseI’m awake at 3am, my ears filled with the sound of the rain on our roof. I listen out for the submersible pump that transports water from our small tank to a larger one at the front of the section, drifting back off to sleep when I hear it start up, happy that it’s all working as it should be. 

I’m awake again when Nics alarm goes off. I hear the shower, then the coffee machine. The light comes on and we sit in bed reading until it’s time for me to get up and drop him at the 6am ferry. 

I make myself toast. And coffee. And sit watching the rain flood our garden. 

My bag is all packed, I’ve been to get coffee beans, Milos bowl has been filled. It’s early, but I head for the ferry anyway, preferring a leisurely journey over a hurried one. 

Nic has sent me this months login for the wifi usually reserved for airport lounge guests so I find a spot to sit and download another few podcasts for my flight. 

My email auto-responder is on and I achieved inbox:0 before I left the house this morning. 

Nothing left but to go. 


breakfast on the road, kawakawa bay

eating | a sumptuous 3-course sunday roast lunch (with all the trimmings) at Cazador – organised by gather & hunt. totally worth the trek into the city on the ferry and out to the suburbs on a bus.

drinking | mulled cider. adapted from this nigella recipe. perfect for our cool winter evenings.

collecting | a list of places we want to eat in auckland. currently this list is growing quicker than we can cross things off.

watching | i just found the 100 season 1 on nz netflix. i was going to save it up to watch on the evenings that nic is away over the next few weeks. did that happen? no.

planning | one of the first things I do when I am preparing for travel (after writing my packing list) is look for places to eat. i’m so excited to be joining my friend jo in brisbane for a night in october and have been scoping lovely vege/vegan places within walking distance of our accommodation.

playing | i recently purchased a 1975 edition of cluedo from our local spca. all the pieces were intact and we’ve been having fun, just the two of us (then with friends this past weekend), playing this lovely board game.

what have you been up to?

a few favourites


reading | The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (reminding me of the importance of making time to meditate every day) + MAKING THE PRINT – Printing Techniques For the Digital Photographer (teaching me how to set things up so I can print well from home or using a pro print shop) + Motionless Journey: From a Hermitage in the Himalayas (reminding me that I don’t need to go anywhere to make photographs, I can do it here… now)

playing | with some printed card ideas for selling locally (& maybe online)

making | delicious mini apple cider cakes from the sunday suppers cook book {recipe also online over at turntable kitchen} + this (also delicious) burger recipe by Anna Jones (bonus points for being vegan so i can feed it to a friend of mine when she comes over for dinner)

planning | our trip to Queenstown to stay in the lovely Sherwood Hotel + walking the Routeburn track over christmas. the huts fill up fast, even over the holidays so i’ve got to get in quick! i’m thinking of using this bowndling backpack for our 2-night adventure

watching | this video of the scottish highlands {thanks to susannah for sharing the link} – it reminds me of [some of] the wonderful times we also had up there.

an autumn mood




today, i feel like an empty vessel tethered to the shoreline
today, i feel all of my years
today, it’s not you keeping me from restful sleep
today, i’m drifting towards a new way


The Gift

Time wants to show you a different country. It’s the one
that your life conceals, the one waiting outside
when curtains are drawn, the one Grandmother hinted at
in her crochet design, the one almost found
over at the edge of the music, after the sermon….

It’s a balance, the taking and passing along,
the composting of where you’ve been and how people
and weather treated you. It’s a country where
you already are, bringing where you have been.
Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
turning the world, moving the air, calling,
every morning, “Here, take it, it’s yours.”

– William Stafford

in the leaving and letting go

tree stump detail. copyright leonie wise

fern frond. copyright leonie wise

in the leaving, instead of letting go, i have been trying with grasping fingers to hold on to something that no longer exists… something that has crumbled to dust

in the leaving, instead of letting go, i’ve been scraping that dust into bowls, trying to make bones from the ruins, as if somehow i can pray things back into being

in the leaving, instead of letting go, i’ve been questioning the holiness of how it is

in the leaving, instead of letting go, i overlooked the love found, and chosen, right here in front of me

and here in the leaving, i get the chance to recover lost things…
+ another way to practise loving what is
+ another way to let shit go
+ another opportunity to be my own first choice

Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.
– Frida Kahlo