Friday 30 November 2012

November Photo a Day Challenge

November Photo a Day Challenge - Final week

In the cupboard
On the wall
Have completed my first Photo a Day Challenge via Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim.  Have loved it and will definately join in another one again soon.

In the cupboard - George in the cupboard where I keep all of my "plastics" - if he's quite you are most likely to find him here, emptying it of ALL it's contents.

Tree - Two of our lovely fruit trees - heavy with green fruit. We can't wait for them to ripen. We have been told that these are Apricot trees............

Vehicle - We have a little boy who is mad on fire engines, ambulances, cars, trucks and especially trains. Thomas the Tank Engine is very popular in our house.

Big - Here are the boys foot prints made into butterflies. Can't belive how much they have grown. George is rapidly catching up to Tom. This lovely picture is going to Grandpa Geoff in England for Christmas.
On the wall - one of my favourite things in our house. A very good artist friend drew this for me one Christmas to give to Mr H. It shows our favourite things from our time in London. Our flat, Bushy Park, Big Ben, Kings Cross Station (where we used to meet up before we moved in together) and the Number 33 bus on the Richmond Upon Thames Bridge. I worked in Richmond and our favourite bar was there too. Lots of Happy memories.
Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday 29 November 2012

A Crown Lynn swan

I have wanted a Crown Lynn swan for a while now and yesterday I bought my very first one home. 
It has been teasing me everytime I drove past one of the antique shops in town - and has been in the window for a couple of months.  I went in and was very pleased that the price had been lowered - perfect!
I decided to treat myself to an early Christmas pressie (my excuse).  I'm just deciding on the best place to put it, far away from little hands.
I think this may be the start of a (beautiful) collection..................
What do you collect?
Below my photos is a history of the Crown Lynn swan by Peter Smith a Crown Lynn specialist. 


A History...................
The Crown Lynn Swan - by Peter Smith
The Crown Lynn factory produced thousands of objects for a diverse number of uses, but there is one that is synonymous with Crown Lynn; the swan.

The swan was produced in three sizes. The large and small versions were extremely popular, the medium lesser so, and as a result was produced in far lesser numbers. There are two different versions of the large size; On Lake has a sleeker body and no feet, while On Shore depicts the swan’s feet, with a much plumper body and a more flared opening on the back.

While always referred to as a vase, there are some rather obvious issues with using the swan for flower arrangements – although people have tried with rather comical results. The irregular shape of the opening, not to mention the fact it’s a swan, make it difficult to create a harmonious balance between the vase and anything protruding out of its back.
The swans impractical design was not however an oversight. It was a deliberate and clever compromise of the conditions of period – the post war years.

Throughout World War Two austerity measures were in place throughout the Commonwealth – the public were actively discouraged from spending money of anything ornamental (and therefor frivolous) when all resources should first and foremost be put towards the war effort.

Government regulations would reduce the output of the English potteries to ‘Utility Ware’ – only items of practical use could be produced. Coloured glazes and painted decoration were banned as the minerals and pigments involved were requisitioned by the armed forces. As a result everything produced during this period was white.

Ornaments were obviously no longer made, but vases were exempt because they had a use. The potteries found they could compromise the strict regulations by producing ornamental vases – as long as the object they produced had an opening in it, it was a vase.

Being unable to apply any additional decoration lead to rethinking the production process; moulds that originally only formed a standard shape were revised to add texture or embossing during the process. It did not take long before entirely new moulds were producing a variety of new and impractical ‘vases’ – flowers, ewers, ships – and swans.
The Crown Lynn swan is in fact a copy of an original English version (most likely by Sylvac) and fully complied with Utility Ware regulations; it had a practical use (a vase) and no additional decoration (mass produced in white, although rarer coloured versions do exist). But it was also attractive in its own right and could be displayed like an ornament, without being called an ornament.

This was a key point in the success of the Crown Lynn swan. A significant percentage of the New Zealand public at the time were newly arrived British immigrants, who had endured years of strict rationing and social engineering, and were particularly hesitant of buying anything that didn’t have a purpose.

The simple, honest (and compliant) design of the swan was well received by the public, and it displayed well in the newly built (and usually sparsely decorated) family homes of many returned servicemen in the 1950’s.

In the 1960’s the swans would go on to playing a part in the rite of passage for many New Zealanders, as they were gifted to mark significant events. Swans were presented at weddings, birthdays, housewarmings and of course Mother’s Day. The birth of a child would result in receiving a smaller sized swan to go with its ‘Mother’, the number of small swans on display in a house usually corresponding to the number of children.

People seldom thought to buy a swan for themselves, so common was the practise of gifting them. If one waited long enough, one would get a swan. The practice of gifting became so common that by the late sixties almost every house had at least one, and so expected was their presence that people stopped noticing them.

The 1970’s brought about new trends, hand potted items were far more popular than anything made by machine, and earthy colours such as brown and grey were the height of fashion. The swan would spend the next two decades in relative obscurity, a nostalgic token of a bygone era, until the new millennium brought a new d├ęcor craze – minimalism. Minimalism brought austerity measures back into play as homeowners stripped their houses of decorative ornamentation, and the public went on a buying rampage for accessories that would comply with the new style – it had to be unadorned, precisely made and preferably white. It was only a matter of time before Crown Lynn’s ‘white ware’ would be rediscovered.

It has taken the Crown Lynn swan sixty years to complete a cycle from the height of popular taste, down into obscurity, and back again as an iconic and coveted object. While the swan has found an new appreciative audience today, very few of them will know of the swans humble wartime origins in England, or social significance in post war New Zealand.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Beck

Wednesday 28 November 2012

The Magic Faraway Tree

I'm really enjoying finding books that I loved as a child - The Magic Faraway Tree was a firm favourite of mine. I loved reading as a child and when I came across this Enid Blyton classic I could'nt put it down. I even pulled a sick day so I could stay home and read it from cover to cover - mum thought I must have been very ill as I stayed in my room all day. Naughty I know!

I have been looking for this 1980's printed addition for a while as I love the Georgina Hargreaves illustrations. There is a series of them and I came across The Folk of the Faraway Tree a couple of months ago. And finally recently found The Magic Faraway Tree in the same op shop.

We have been reading them to Tom - he loves the illustrations and as the book is set out in chapters (a different branch/land in the Faraway Tree per chapter) it makes for easy night time reading.

I'm now looking for the rest of the series and would like to start Bell off on the Famous Five books. I'm a big fan of Enid Blytons books and really love seeing my children enjoying them too.

What's popular in your house for daytime / bedtime reading? Do you have favourites you loved as a child?

Happy reading!

Tuesday 27 November 2012

The chicken coop - progress!

Lots of hard work has been going on in our garden over the past week.  The chicken coop has finally been cleared (thankyou Mr H) in preparation for our chickens which we are hoping to get after Christmas.

If I were a chicken I think I would be quite happy pecking around in here under the shade of a couple of peach trees.  There is a large dirt area for dust baths and general pecking.  And a section of grass for lazying around in (do chickens laze?) plus a shed with nesting boxes for them to sleep in and hopefully lay lots of lovely eggs in.

There is still a bit of work to do - I would like to paint the sheds and make sure it is completely secure to keep our pup Charlie out.

This is how it used to look - it went wild over winter with all the rain we had and we have been emptying wheelbarrows of soil in there from some of the raised beds we have been clearing.

The boys love this dirt pile and play in here daily.  The can still dig around in here - but will have to share it with the chickens.

So lovely readers - who keeps chickens?  How many do you recommend keeping?  I was thinking about 3?

Do you recommend any good books or websites to read up on all things chicken?

Any chicken hints or tips you want to share?

Monday 26 November 2012

A summers day


A beautiful summers day today..............
Paddling pool + hose = afternoon entertainment.  Our garden water comes from the vineyard bore and as we are on tank water this is a huge bonus for us.  Lots of water play planned for the hot days ahead.
Love chubby feet in paddling pools.
Icecreams a must on hot sunny days like these.
Fruit trees starting to fruit.  We have plum, apricot and peach trees.
My favourite view.
Climbing the fence for a play in the vineyard.
A shady vine for our pup Charlie.
Over the fence!
Never tire of hanging out the washing when this is my view.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.....


 Something they want, something they need,

something to wear and something to read.....

I came across the above phrase on a favourite blog ( Che & Fidel ) a few weeks or so ago.  I love this concept for gift giving for my children. I want to keep things really Simple this year.  When you throw Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles etc into the present giving mix, children can end up with an excessive amount of gifts.
I have almost finished my Christmas shopping for the kiddies and only need to add a one or two things. As well as a couple of birthday presents for family in December.  The plan is to have everything bought and wrapped by the first week in December.  I don't want to be up till midnight like I am most Christmas Eve's wrapping endless amounts of gifts, and pulling things out of the cupboard that I had forgotten I had bought.
So I've used the phrase above as my gift buying guide.  I will still do a Christmas stocking for each of the children but will fill them with a few treats and sweets instead (can't wait for the sugar rush Christmas morning).
In our family we don't buy for the adults - just the children so they get very spoilt. We will be having our family Christmas away so the big emphasis this year is on the travel, day trips like the zoo and museum, shopping treats and summer fun.  Here in New Zealand our Christmas season is in summer so we spend alot of time outdoors, swimming, fishing and of course BBQ's.
I LOVE Christmas and always make a huge deal about it with decorations, Christmas carols and eating yummy food - so there will be no changes there.  I'm excited.  It will also be the first time in 4 years that I won't be pregnant or breastfeeding so I can enjoy a few drinks. 
I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year!
What are your plans for Christmas this year?  How are you going with your Christmas shopping?



Saturday 24 November 2012

A sound you heard and Sky

November Photo a Day Challenge - Day 24 & 25

A sound you heard........... An after dinner walk - the kiddies laughing and playing in the vineyard. 

Sky.................. warm but cloudy today.  Small glimpses of blue.

Amazing sunset over the vineyard.............


Friday 23 November 2012


November Photo a Day Challenge - Day 23

I've worn glasses since I was 10 years old.  My first pair were large framed and thick - looking back now they probably looked a bit like Deirdre's from Coronation Street!
I maybe slightly exaggerating!
I have recently bought new glasses.  I looked at so many frames, different colours, shapes, styles.
 I always end up buying the same style I love and am used to wearing........slightly thickish frame and as always  Black
Do you wear glasses - do you update your frames regularly with a different style or a you a creature of habit like I am?

Thursday 22 November 2012


November Photo a Day Challenge - Day 22

This is easy! 
So many things to be grateful for - living here, Mr H, my children, family, friends, health.
I'm grateful that I can be a stay at home mum - I tell Mr H this often.
I'm grateful for choices.
The list could go on, but just want to keep it simple.





Wednesday 21 November 2012

What you wore

November Photo a Day Challenge - Day 21


 What you wore..............

Witchery jeans
Witchery stripey top
Max slouchy tee
Havaiana jandels (flip flops)

This morning we had Playcentre - it's like Kindergarten only the parent/caregiver stays and plays too.  Loads of fun!
Notice the lovely big rip on the knee?  I did this a couple of months ago chasing Charlie over the fence to the vineyard.  Thought I would be clever and jump the fence.  I got my jeans caught on the wire fence and put a tear in them.  Fast forward a couple of months and I'm sporting a pair of jeans that looks like I probably paid to have that rip in them.  If it gets any bigger I will cut them down to denim shorts!
Like most women I have a stack of jeans (various sizes) but these are my favourites.  Easy to muck around in with my boys.  I have some lovely summer dresses which I should start wearing more often.  I love wearing flip flops (with painted toes) and I don't wear makeup, unless I'm going out somewhere for dinner with Mr H.
Do you tend to stick to favourite outfits or do you wear everything in your wardrobe?

Tuesday 20 November 2012


November Photo a Day Challenge - Day 20

I'm really enjoying the November Photo Challenge via Fat Mum Slim.  I like having a prompt each day to go by.  I will definately do another one sometime.
I'm over half way now which is great - I'm SO looking forward to December as I have loads of great things to post in the lead up to Christmas.  I LOVE CHRISTMAS - and anyone who knows me well knows how much I love it.  And here in New Zealand it falls during the 6 week Summer School holiday period - so for me that Christmasy feeling seems to hang around a lot longer.
Todays photo challenge is Work/Play.
I'm a stay at home mum and I finished fulltime work about 4 years ago when we left London.  I don't really think of what I do as a stay at home mum as "work" - do you?  I have the daily routines and (endless) chores though.
Today however the sun was out again.  I really needed to do housework but instead the boys and I headed into town.  We did the river walk which heads towards the beach and back into town again.  Then we headed back home with sushi and strawberries for lunch.  Followed by a lazy afternoon snooze.
So it's been all play today.  My house is still messy.
Here are some photos of our River Walk.............


Heading out of the harbour and towards the beach.

Tom - "who's that boy"?

Explorer Captain James Cook - our coastline was first spotted on 6th October 1769.  2 days later Captain Cook came ashore in this bay - and named the peninsula in the distance "Young Nicks Head" after the young boy who spotted the shoreline.

George used a tent peg to eat his sushi - yum!

I hope your week has been a good one so far!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...