Musings


Have you noticed the name change for the blog yet? Can’t change the URL but I thought it was time to pick a new name. So the Daily Oxford is now Up North.

In this post, I’ll give you a first look at our (rather large) property. We decided to downsize. We had 30 acres down South and we shifted to….wait for it….47 acres. Yep. We simply fell in love with the property and that was that.

We arrived on April 3 and went immediately to the property and let Zeph and Zsa Zsa run wild and free. This was before going to the pet-friendly accommodation! I promised the dogs that they could sniff and explore their new home as soon as we made it up North.

We will be living temporarily in a shed, which I refer to as The Shed. Next post, I’ll show you what it looks like. It is a serious downsize – from a two-storey home to a shed.

The Shed was not quite ready for our arrival. We started the build around November of last year not knowing when we’d actually sell our house. We have no power or water on the property, so we have to install solar panels, a composting toilet and get a phone line put in. This has taken a bit more time than we had hoped because it was hard to organise things whilst still living in the South Island.

We’ve been at the pet-friendly accommodation for two weeks now and I think one more week to go before we can move into The Shed. But we take the dogs to the property every day so they feel right at home there already. El Hubs is now project managing the build so things are moving faster.

The best part of the property for Zeph and Zsa Zsa I think is two places. The first area I call The Forest. No idea what the trees are but they are massive, tall trees and underneath them is a lovely shady area with mossy rocks and a small stream. The second place is a part of the stream. We actually have two streams that merge into one. Near The Shed is a gorgeous spot – shallow pools of water with green ferns.

When Zeph first saw the water he was a bit scared. He gingerly put one paw into the water and drew it out immediately. Two weeks down the track, he runs through the stream and uses the mossy rocks in the water as a bridge to get to the embankment on the other side. This embankment is a bit steep and Zeph and Zsa Zsa found it tough the first few days. You could see they were worried about their footing. But now they are like a couple of mountain goats.

These photos show you just how happy they are to be on their new property.

Into our last week here now. I’m a bit sad as I really like the property, but I’m looking forward to a new adventure up North. It’s been raining a bit and getting crisp in the mornings and evenings – you can feel Winter’s approach.

I intend to blog our move as much as possible. Pretty sure I’ll be without an internet connection from late March to around April 25 or so. That will be interesting. I really do want to spend less time online and more time on writing. We don’t watch a lot of TV but I’d like to dispense with the TV too.

I’ve decided to raise Monarch butterflies up North. Yes, really. It’s something I’ve always been interested in and I’ve found out that a Monarch expert lives very near to where we’ll be living. And I can do an online course to learn all about how to provide a safe Monarch habitat. Doubt I’ll get around to this until early next year but we’ll see.

Meanwhile, I accidentally shut Zeph and Zsa Zsa out of the house the other day. Zeph was not impressed at all. I really like this photo of Zeph – you can see he is not amused.

 

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As you know, dear reader, we are on the move. I’ve been talking about it for a couple of years and now the time is here! 2.5 weeks until we make our way up to the North Island. I’m actually quite excited about the change. I haven’t minded the cold weather in the South Island but El Hubs is over it. I’m not sure how mild the winters are up North but I have visions of wearing T-shirts. We’ll see.

We will drive up slowly with Zeph and Zsa Zsa. We were sending them by pet bus but have decided to keep them with us. Especially because Zeph gets a bit anxious in a car. The vet has provided a very mild anti-anxiety medication and we have purchased from iTunes calming music especially for dogs.

The Cook Strait ferry that sails from Picton to Wellington has crates for dogs and we have booked two of them. We’ll be taking their fleecy blankets so they will have them in the crate. On the drive up, we have found accommodation that allows pets to be indoors with you.

So we’re hoping we have this move covered! I do know that I won’t have Internet connection for maybe three weeks. That will give me an opportunity to hunker down and write.

I’ve just finished four mentoring sessions with a fantastic New Zealand poet. I have revised three of my poems under her guidance and will be submitting them soon to various poetry journals.

Meanwhile, Autumn (or Fall) has arrived in NZ and this week had a sudden cold snap. Zeph decided to steal Zsa’s Zsa’s moose blanket and have a snooze. Just look at that elegant paw!

 

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Lots of change going on dear reader, hence the lack of posts. We have sold our property and will be moving to the North Island. El Hubs prefers warmer climes and I have family up in the North Island. So we are busy packing or rather culling.

It’s amazing what you accumulate over the years. We’ve been here nearly 8 years now and some stuff I brought over from Australia – well, I haven’t even used. I am donating a lot of clothes. When you live on a farm, you just don’t need black pencil skirts or corporate jackets. I’ll keep you posted on the move as we go.

This means I’ll have to change the name of this blog! Haven’t decided yet what I’ll call it.

Zeph and Zsa Zsa will travel up with us in the pet mobile. I am a bit nervous about Zeph as he doesn’t like car travel very much. We will stop off along the way at pet-friendly caravan parks and motels. The Mares will go by horse transport and I have someone at the other end who will offload them.

I am looking forward to living up North. I don’t mind the cold climate of the South Island but it will be lovely to see the huge ferns that grow up in the North Island and have warmer Summers. Speaking of which – we are still waiting for Summer to arrive here and it’s nearly Autumn.

Zephs contemplates The Move.

Zeph contemplates The Move.

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I’m loving a few things lately. Constantly wearing them or using them. So I thought I’d show you.

IMG_8583That hot tomali handbag is my recently purchased Rebecca Minkoff Hudson Moto Mini. I’ve been using it since I bought it back in early May. You can’t fit much in the bag so it’s really made me downsize the stuff I was lugging around. I have a very small wallet, my iPhone, one lipstick and keys. That’s it.

Starting from the left:

  • Heritage Store Egyptian Oil. This is a new discovery. I bought it off iHerb and it’s a blend of olive, peanut, sassafras, fir needle, and lanolin oils. You massage into tired muscles or sore joints. It does smell a little bit like Deep Heat but nowhere near as potent. I find it really effective. The product is based on a formula from Edgar Cayce.
  • Alba Botanica. Pretty sure this is an American brand and I discovered it this year, again on iHerb. I’m loving the distinctive yellow, green and brown packaging of the brand. I bought the Drink It Up Coconut Milk Hawaiian Leave-In Conditioning Mist. The mist smells like you’re spraying a tropical garden into your hair and the scent lingers for some time. Hair feels soft too.
  • But the real find from this brand is the Jasmine and Vitamin E Hawaiian Moisture Cream – wow. Beautiful, but subtle jasmine scent, not too heavy on the skin; absorbs quickly and is great under makeup. I think this might be a HG product for me.
  • The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry Body Butter. You know I love body butters from TBS. Normally, I buy the Shea Body Butter or the Cocoa Body Butter. Recently, I tried the Olive one and loved it, so thought why not try a totally different scent. I was a bit worried I’d smell like a fruit bowl but nope, the Raspberry Body Butter is very subtle. I liked it so much I bought the Frosted Cranberry variety at Christmas time. I have a couple of body butters to use up before I get to this one. And I am very keen to try out Alba Botanica’s Hawaiian Kukui Nut Body Cream.
  • Now Solutions Moroccan Red Clay Powder. Another iHerb find. Actually, I’m buying most of my stuff off iHerb these days. I saw this product on a YouTube beauty video and thought it would be great to use as a detoxifying masque. It feels slightly warm once on the skin and certainly tightens up the pores and skin. I use it once a week.
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze Light. I have quite a few bronzers but I keep coming back to this one. It isn’t orangey and gives you a wonderful sun-kissed glow. In the pan, it looks like there’s a lot of shimmer going on but it doesn’t show up on the skin. The texture is silky and smooth and blending is a breeze.
  • Kat von D Shade and Light Eye Contour Palette. I’ve not tried anything from this brand before and this was a very good start. A great matte eyeshadow palette that is very easy to travel with. It’s arranged into three colour quads – neutral, cool, and warm. I mix it all up and I find the eye shadows very velvety with minimal fall out.
  • Jewellery. There are two pieces of jewellery in the photo. One is just above the Hourglass bronzer. I bought it up in the North Island and it’s a cuff filled with sparkly gold beads. A great piece of costume jewellery that I seem to wear a lot.
  • The second piece of jewellery is in the photo below and I bought it a few months ago in Wellington. It was instant love. I walked into a shop in Cuba Mall full of amazing rings and earrings. I was just looking and was in the shop for 5 minutes or so before setting my eyes on the ring.
  • I was so attracted to the light blue colour, which is unusual because green is my favourite colour. I would not have said that I was a fan of blue but, since getting this ring, I’ve noticed that a lot of my clothes are shades of blue. And a favourite handbag is navy.
  • I didn’t know what the stone was and ended up in a long conversation with the shop manager who told me it’s a Larimar. I’ve since found out that Larimar is a fairly recent find from the 1970s and is only found in the Dominican Republic. It’s also known as the Dolphin Stone, Blue Pectolite, Atlantis Stone and Stefilia’s Stone, and is a rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite.
  • When you look at the stone, it’s like seeing the sun dancing on turquoise waters. It’s said to be a crystal of serenity and aids communication. The ring is handmade and I really like the thick shank, which has a hammered effect. I haven’t taken the ring off since I bought it a few months ago. IMG_8741

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We’re a third of the way through Winter and, so far, it’s been surprisingly mild. A couple of chilly Arctic blasts passed through quickly and that’s about it. No snow – yet.

We bought Zeph and Zsa Zsa new pet beds. They’re orthopedic dog beds and designed to give support to arthritic or senior dogs. Neither Zeph nor ZZ are arthritic or senior but I reckon younger dogs can benefit from having excellent quality bedding to support their joints.

I found Zeph snoozing by the fire the other day on his new bed. He loves it.

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We’ve up to the North Island for a few days. I must say that the vegetation there is lush. You get giant ferns, stunning Kauri trees, Totora and beautiful Pohutukawa trees boasting crimson flowers.

We stayed in a lodge and our window looked over a small white church nestled amongst Winter foliage. You can just see the red roof of the church in the photo below.

IMG_8681What really caught my eye though is the tree in the middle of the photo. What a stunner.

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