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

a few favourites

things on the table by leonie wise

listening | Ta-ku + Cereal – Flight Track – Vol.1 and Vol. 2 + in her room podcasts by sara blackthorne – women writers on life, craft and changing the world

admiring  |  the genius behind this beautiful visual guide to formal, informal, and accompaniment place settings

dreaming  | of cocoa & dandelion root truffles (with freshly ground organic coffee) <– are you reading this nic?

reading  |  “you want easy? take up stamp collecting” – notes on feeding the creative hunger by my friend David duChemin + A customer walked into his pizza shop and changed Philadelphia with $1 and a single Post-it note.

loving  |  the worlds first octographer – at sealife aquarium in new zealand! an octopus is trained to take photos of aquarium visitors + the instagram photos of new zealand (& other places) made by helena sofia  + the new bowndling guides

buying  |  stuff from the creative market. like the lovely helena font. now i want the boho family of fonts and the brush up font and the manifold font!

thinking  |  we rarely suffer from any kind of ailments (colds, flu etc.) but i am tempted to give this antibiotic recipe a try anyway as it sounds delicious!

training  |  for the queenstown half-marathon in november this year (though i haven’t fully committed to it yet, by actually entering)!!   






In giving voice to what we feel, the darkest cry uttered with honesty can arrive as the holiest of songs.
– Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

some days feel like an impenetrable wall of coded messages that i don’t understand.

there is a sense of exclusion that previously didn’t feel as if it existed – it leaves me wondering exactly when i was cut adrift

i’m not good with guessing,
as to what it was that happened
when one side of the conversation has ended and
i’m left talking to myself…

how do i cross the chasm, or at least gain clarity and closure when the other is silent?

disconnection possible even as the deep red arteries of the universe run through us all.


11 things


the (wo)man burns. kiwiburn 2015

  1. i don’t like clutter… it makes my head hurt and my eyes go wobbly. which is probably why this house is a constantly moving tide of things in and out
  2. i have come to the conclusion that i have too many cameras (ref. 1) so some of them have to go
  3. i don’t like chocolate
  4. nor do i like ambiguous emails – or conversations – that leave me wondering “what the … was the point of that?!” tell it to me straight
  5. nature is my holy place. it’s why we married on a beach, under a tree, instead of in a church
  6. be true, or go away. and by that i mean be yourself. i apply this rule to myself too
  7. i miss my friends in england & the usa/canada something fierce. skype is a poor cousin to face-to-face conversation
  8. never did i imagine myself taking up trail running. yet – if you follow me on instagram, you see that – here i am, about to do an 8km event tomorrow
  9. i have no idea what i’m doing half the time, but it doesn’t usually stop me
  10. i very rarely spend money on myself. not because i don’t believe i deserve it, more because i’d rather spend it on adventuring
  11. i want to live like this….
    “Step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will only burn what you are not.”
    – Mooji

now. this.




 am chasing flies around my parents living room, armed with a lime green coloured swatter thats paddle is shaped like a hand. its more bendy than i am used to and my half-hearted swings lack the force required to do anything but push air in their general direction. lucky day for the flies.

my hair is getting longer… i pass a photo in the hallway of me around nine years old. the younger me has longer hair still and i pause for a moment, taking her in, noting the length and silently vowing to recover her shiny long locks (even though they will frame a much older face).

the grandmother clock in the corner chimes the hour, its quiet ticking making me drowsy. the aches in my body from HIIT, running & spin have me reluctant to take a quick nap on the sofa, fearing i will snooze folded at a weird angle and feel worse for it when i wake. ive been for a drive and scoped out a couple of places nearby where i can do a couple of loops to keep up with my new trail running escapades and plan to head out tomorrow morning whilst my parents are at church. nature is my holy place.

we have been out to the markets, and a local poultry club meeting, we have talked about gardening and making bread and how to darn things without a mushroom. we have flicked through my mothers book of collected recipes, reminiscing over plum sauce and ginger beer.

my mother is knitting baby booties and tiny hats that she gives to the local hospital for the prem babies. she has lost count of how many (hundreds) she’s made and tells me that she is thinking about her mother when she was her age and how she used to knit booties too. i can’t (don’t) knit and i don’t have a daughter, so the line will stop here – on the sofa – in my parents living room.

my bag for the return flight home will be stuffed with air plants, seed pods, cuttings and seedlings. a sure sign i have been visiting my mother.



nic-40th-5nic-40th-1nic-40th-3 nic-40th-4nic-40th-6



28 february 2015, great barrier island

1 // nic sure knows how to pick a spot to celebrate his 40 turns around this planet. i am lucky enough to have spent the past 14 of them with him and we have some amazing stories already, with plenty more to come i’m sure.

2 // the six of us start the day off right with some champagne

3 // bbq turkey

4 // and coleslaw

5 // beach walks

6 // and swims

a few favourites


reading | the lost art of free time + the bone clocks (i do so love david mitchell’s writing) + 9 self-help cliches to change for your own good (oh yes) + An imaginary classification of animals by Jorge Luis Borges including “those that tremble as if they were mad” and “those that have just broken a flower vase” + coffee waste – Why the man behind Keurig’s coffee pods wishes he’d never invented them

watching | kin fables – vol. 1 – kin + vol. 2 – salvage + vol. 3 – requiem. haunting, strange, beautiful storytelling

waiting | for a plumber to become available to drain our hot water cylinder and replace the element. not as easy a fix as i had hoped. until then, the cold showers continue

trying  |  buttermilk fried chicken from the sunday suppers book. delicious, if a little messy, nice to have once in a while, but it won’t be a regular menu item at our place

loving  |  Here’s to all the full figured unicorns out there (thanks to Nic for the link)

planning | how we will decorate our new office space. since it’s a blank canvas and we both (thankfully) have similar tastes, we’re poring over the modern rustic magazines (one & two) discussing ideas and pinning stuff to a shared pinterest board

researching | good places to learn a new language online. have you tried any?

considering …

When did loving yourself
become so rare, that it’s
revolutionary to do so?
– DS

the truth of today

fifteen minutes ago the dining table was littered with mail that hadn’t yet made it to the bedroom to be filed; it gave asylum to a jar of kumara (sweet potato) cuttings that desperately needed water; there was a canon battery grip – received in the post, but not yet put away with the rest of my camera gear, along with the dust mask i casually dropped there yesterday after coming inside from the garden; a tap we can’t use in our kitchen – put up for sale yesterday – stayed there after listing, along with a piece removed from our power-board to make room for the wiring that powers the new cabin; and finally a paper bag with a half dozen small apples in it – left over from the weekend, two of which i use to make beth kirby’s apple & rosemary buttermilk quickbread (a current favourite of ours).

the clothes dryer is currently occupying valuable floor space in the bedroom and the washing machine is half-in/half-out of the laundry cupboard leaving the doors gaping open and has us squeezing past it in the hallway. we had an electrician here on saturday and something he did meant that, by the time we got home from our weekend and needed to have showers, the water in the cylinder was cold. he’s coming back to fix it today, and in the meantime it’s been quick, gaspingly cold showers (or visits to a friends place on the island), boiling water in the kettle to do dishes. nothing we can’t handle for a few days of course, but i sure do love a hot shower after a full-on session at the gym or a day of working outside in the heat.

after a summer of trial and error (mostly error), i’m in the process of pulling out the gardens. virtually nothing yielded any fruit except the tomatoes. i’m separating the living from the dead, trying to figure out how to keep the soil moist for the living when our water tank is low, wondering if this is why there was no vegetable garden to speak of when we moved in. there are huge fissures in the soil, big enough to peer into (though i don’t). pull back, rethink, try again with a few winter veg and plan for something else next summer. me being away for so much of this summer certainly hasn’t helped with plant survival and i admit i feel some guilt for their neglect. still, now i have a better idea of what will grow here, so that will serve me well next time i plant.

i’m trying to find a plasterer to come and do our cabin* (all the guys on the island are busy at this time of the year), and i’m still waiting to hear when our windows will arrive. to say this has been a challenging project would be about right, but there’s no point losing my cool about any of it, so i continue to do what i can to keep moving things along and leave the rest.

we started calling our little studio the cabin in the woods but have since re-named it to the coop. i want for it to be finished, so i can paint it and we can move our ‘office’ out of the bedroom and into that space. i want for it to be finished, so we can have guests to stay without apologising for the boards where windows are meant to be. i want for it to be finished, so our bedroom isn’t stacked with boxes and the living room doesn’t feel so full – there’s things that are destined for the cabin that are in a stationary holding pattern in the house and it’s driving me a little nuts every time i look at one of them.

this is all a part of my story today and it’s not very glamourous. sometimes i wonder if choosing this was the right decision. sometimes i wonder if going back to a desk job would be ‘better’. often i wonder if my ‘work’ and my ‘life’ are a suitable offering, whilst never for a moment forgetting that these types of ruminations are a luxury that some people never have. 

i remember the run i did yesterday with the trail tribe – 8km of my heart, lungs, legs beating in prayer. i listen to the cicadas and the tui calls outside. i feel the heat of the sun on my back and the sweat trickling down my face. i dig my hands into the arid soil transferring life to safer places.

and i am reminded why i’m here.

* i haven’t posted any photos of the coop anywhere yet. i thought i’d save that until we’re finished.