Good-bye, 2018

This year has not been my favourite year. Mind you, neither was last year (with the brief exception of our wonderful trip then to Iceland, Norway, and the Baltic states), and the year before was worse! Surely I’m due for a decent year next year?

That said, I have been grateful for many things this year. We had a lovely week’s break in a part of New Zealand we had never been – I wrote about it here – and another week away (thanks to some frequent flyer miles/airpoints about to expire) in South Australia in September.

Our recent road-trip to the South Island to spend Christmas with my sisters was really special, and I ended up blogging about it almost daily elsewhere (starting with this post here), and posted photos on Fbk and Instagram (where I am @ travellingMali).

Back in January, I noted a number of projects I intended undertaking this year. I’m pleased to say that I stuck with my year long (well, 11-month?) photography course. I have some projects from it that I want to complete properly, and some lessons I need to do again, but that is the sign of a good course. I highly recommend it. Whilst I knew how to use some of features of my camera, and knew the basics about aperture and shutter speed, this filled in a lot of gaps, and I feel so much more confident with my camera. The course online is free (and begins in January, April and I think September), and there are two books for the course which you can buy online. I did, and thought they were worth it. Go to A Year with My Camera here to read more and sign up.

I have written about my gratitude for my daily blogging project and fellow bloggers over on x 365 Take Two. But I’m also grateful that people here still visit, read and comment. In total, on my three blogs, I have posted 485 times this year on my three blogs, a feat I have no intention of repeating this year. It was fun and exhausting and sometimes plain crazy! I do intend to be much more attentive to A Separate Life here next year, and I have a few other projects that I’m keen to attack too.

However, I do have to admit failure. I started enthusiastically with my 2018 in 2018 project, intending to declutter my house of 2018 things. I decluttered my bedside table and my undie drawers, and they have been a delight to me all year! But about two months in I faltered, and never got back to it. So I’m going to roll it over, to 2019, and start anew tomorrow. (Okay, maybe Thursday.) It is, after all, only a matter of decluttering five-six things a day, and I have so many papers and magazines and recipes etc that need to go that I should be able to do this. That’s the plan, anyway!

I did declutter a lot (ie thousands of emails) from my email inboxes, but I still have a long way to go! That at least began a better habit of filing or deleting emails, though again I have been slack the last month or so.

This post is breaking all the rules of Microblog Mondays, except the most important one, which is to blog. So I’m thinking that maybe next year I might not adhere so strictly to the eight-sentence rule/suggestion. (Am I the only one nuts enough to do that?)

So, we now only have six-and-a-half hours left of 2018 here in NZ. You’ll probably read this when I’m in the next year, and you’re left behind. But I’ll be there waiting for you, and will be very happy if or when you join me back here in 2019.

Happy New Year!


Season’s greetings

It is Christmas Eve. After a few cold, stormy days, the sun is shining again, and the temperature is in the mid-20s, so I’m having a cool drink in the shade, and, of course, blogging. The menu for tomorrow is planned, and everything is ready in the fridge. My two sisters are chatting outside, the men are having afternoon naps, exhausted at all the organising their wives have been doing. Littlest niece is watching youtube videos in her bedroom, and the two dogs are snoring. All is calm.

I love these quiet moments, when I get to relax, and think of the people I love; those here, elsewhere, real life, and real life online, those met and unmet. Cheers to you all.


Happy Things

Over on my daily blog Take Two x365, December’s theme was to be no theme, a free-for-all. But along the way we had discussed a theme of Happy Things, and that seems to have been universally (and happily) adopted. It’s a nice way to end the year of blogging every day.

One of my favourite Happy Things is travelling in my own country. I’m doing that now, an early summer holiday, beating the rush. So I’ve been blogging about it. Go and check it out. And apologies for the brevity of this post.

‘Tis the season

Yes, as I wrote on my daily blog the other day, summer has arrived. Not as hot, so far, as last year, its arrival had been more gentle. Tomatoes and basil, strawberries, cold drinks outside on the deck, early mornings and (relatively*) late nights are all reminding me of the time of year. So too is the sun. I set off on a walk yesterday, determined to charge up and down the hills of my suburb, until – ten minutes in – I realised I’d forgotten to put on sunscreen, and had to turn back. Exercise is important, but sunburns are dangerous, and so a reminder to my fellow Kiwis and Australians – don’t forget to cover up!

This all meant I needed to change A Separate Life’s livery. The pohutukawa flowers are already making an appearance and will be in full seasonal bloom here in a couple of weeks. I’m hoping I won’t miss them.

* after visiting Iceland and Norway last year in June, it’s hard to be surprised by daylight at 9 pm.

Where* do you want to go?

Over a decade ago, I began a travel planning business. But just as it was kicking off, other (much better-paying) work dominated my life, and I sadly neglected this little business. It has been inactive since then. But I’d like to reboot it.

The theory is the same. Travel planning (itineraries etc) is extremely time-consuming and the choices these days can be overwhelming, so why not let me do it for you?

Check out Travel Unpackaged’s website. It needs work, but is operating now. Regard this as a soft launch. And I’d love feedback on the idea.


* Yes, I reposted this from my daily blog over on x365TakeTwo.

(a continuing series)

Show us your pumpkin before and after whatever you chose to do to it. Does pumpkin soup or pumpkin pasta or pumpkin gnocchi count?

Write blog post inspired by the following word: baby. I have a separate blog based on the fact there is no baby, so no, this does not inspire me.

It’s hot, the kids are home and crazy, our pets are panting, the days are long…share your Summer Survival Tips. Summer is often very peaceful for me, so my only survival tip is not to get sunburnt, and I’ve written before about that.

10 Reasons why you love your job. I love that I don’t have one?


Introducing myself

Maori have a wonderful, ritual way of introducing themselves, called pepeha. Aside from always noting their iwi (or tribe), they will say where they were born, and what was their mountain, and their river and/or coastline. If they know it, they will also mention their waka (waka means canoe, and it is said that nine major waka made the journey to New Zealand from Polynesia).

I was born in Waimate, South Canterbury, of Irish, Scottish and Welsh (to pick a few) descent. My mountain is Aoraki Mt Cook, the tallest mountain in NZ and visible from the other side of the island where I lived. My river is the tiny Hook River that ran past our farm, or perhaps the cold, fast, and much larger Waitaki, where my father and his brothers (and I think my mother’s brother too) went fishing all their lives. I don’t know my waka, but somewhere there are records detailing the ships that brought my ancestors.

How would you introduce yourself in this manner?