creative 1975

We nearly made it to the end … but now it’s time to say goodbye

In Renovating/DIY on January 29, 2018 at 9:20 am

I’m finding the words to begin this post. The most difficult post on my blog to write. I started this blog in 2011 because I like to write and after moving to our ‘project’ …our new home, it inspired me to document the journey. I made time when possible to make entries as we journeyed on renovating our lovely rural home. A home that has given us experiences, creativity, hard work as well as love, laughter and many good memories, especially as our daughter grew from being ten years old into a beautiful and talented young lady of sixteen. It is of great sadness and heartbreak that this will be my last post about the house and the reason I began this blog in the first place. Heartbroken because on the 19th of September I lost the very heart of our project, my darling husband Steve. He passed away following a cardiac arrest at our home. My daughter and I have been devastated by his sudden passing. The past few months have been the darkest of my life and I have no choice but to carry on with my own journey without my soul mate of twenty-five years. Everyday missing his arms wrapped around me, now replaced with sorrow and the unknown. With all my youth spent with this special man, I now have to carry on through middle age without him.

Living Room Before & After

Kitchen Before & After






Study and Laundry Before & After

Bathroom Before & After


Bedroom and En-suite Before & After

Daughter’s Bedroom (At age 10) Before & After

And all the other things a long the way…







The Kitchen

In Non-Fiction, Renovating/DIY on January 11, 2018 at 10:44 pm


Four years of planning and ‘Mind-blowing’ was my reaction when I got home from England to the old kitchen gone and the new one was in!

The planning I did for this kitchen, albeit it had been four years in theory, was done fairly quickly in comparison to other projects as Mr C wanted to strip the room and do as much as possible with renovating it, including fitting a new kitchen whilst I was a way for five weeks in England with our daughter. As with the rest of the renovation we we’re on a tight budget and finding the right type of cupboard front was proving quite difficult as quality kitchens are ridiculously expensive in New Zealand and the DIY stores just didn’t cut it when it come to completing our country kitchen. I had almost given up hope that we’d ever find what we we’re looking for (even going so far as to looking into importing from the UK), until one day and by chance whilst standing in a kitchen store and close to giving up there was one random door leaning up against the wall, our hope was restored. I sourced the handles on the Internet for half the price of store bought and after choosing between a couple of samples, came to a happy decision—finally one of the main aspects of the new kitchen was absolute! Then it was time to choose tiles. Another dilemma and time spent playing around with samples, looking for rustic and easy care—liked the slate, but nope, when you wipe them with a damp cloth, most of the cloth was left behind on the tile! So glossy and practical it was! Small tiles were first choice until it was discovered for the same cubic area as the larger tile they were going to cost twice as much! Crazy! So the larger tile it was! Decisions, decisions! The sink wasn’t a problem as this had been stored in the garage for the past two years— A country-style butler sink brought over from England by a friend whom at the time was importing a caravan! I would often think of this sink whilst I washed up in the tiny sink we had and how one day it would be eventually installed! Two years later—et voila!

The flooring was going to be laminate and this was up to Mr C as I wasn’t going to be around for any input on this as we’d run out of time to sort this item before I left the country. It all turned out well though and Mr C chose a good colour that suits! The oven wasn’t a problem either as that had also been sitting in the garage, not for two years though, just for six months. The bespoke counter tops were made beautifully by Mr C from reclaimed Rimu and have added a rustic country-style finish as well as being inexpensive in comparison to the favoured marble top. It was a compromise that I am more than happy with. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When there are always things when renovating that you know you’d do differently or areas you could have saved money on at the time, but it wasn’t obvious until later.

What you favour isn’t always possible and frugality doesn’t always succeed

So there we have it… four years on, a new country kitchen to enjoy! Waving goodbye with joy to the unreliable cooker and the 1980’s design, not to mention the horrid sink.






Personal note: This post has been posted more than two years after actual completion in August 2015. Due to the general busyness of life this final room in our six year long renovation wasn’t posted until now (Jan 2018). I wish to dedicate this last post on my blog about the renovation and the very reason I started writing it, to my late husband Mr C who unexpectedly passed away 19th September 2017. Me and my daughter miss him every single day. Together for 25 years, life without him is difficult to adjust to and it’s with great sadness after the past six years we spent renovating our lovely kiwi farmstead I am moving to another home with my daughter soon.

Rest in peace my love, I’m sure that all the work you’ve done to our home will be loved for many more years to come.

In loving memory of Steven Michael Clements

20th August 1969 – 19th September 2017

‘Loved always and forever’



Family Heritage

In Non-Fiction on February 21, 2016 at 11:38 am

I find family history and ancestry discovery very interesting—where we’ve come from and from whom, the genes we carry and the different names that have evolved throughout our history. It will be interesting to read in another hundred years’ time how it transforms further, for example: the occupations people held during the 20th century compared to the 21st century and beyond. For instance, my own family tree shows ancestors who worked as steel turners or farm servants—imagine the roles stated on upcoming censuses nowadays: IT Specialist, Graphic Designer, Baristas, to name a few. Today we have the Internet, which is a great tool to research your family tree, although I doubt whether a thorough exploration can be achieved without any cost involved or investigating findings further to create a precise map of our forefathers. However, the Internet can be a foundation to build upon. Many results are found in the Country’s census report that is a primary source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy. A methodical practice, which acquires and records information such as: full name, date of birth, dwelling, occupation and age of every occupant inside the residence at the time of the census—a procedure in ‘olden’ days that would have been hand written and kept in huge ledgers. This can be a wealth of information to pinpoint correct documentation of birth certificates, marriage and death certificates to clarify or conclude your enquiries.

Our ancestral tree begins with our parents and it’s not surprising it was named a ‘tree’ as from your mother it branches off to one direction and from your father another to create huge offshoots that are grafted and sometimes interweaved with divorces and multiple marriages with subsequent kith and kin—growing-out to a never ending expansive sapling of generation after generation. I once heard that the memories of direct descendants can be passed on through our genetic make-up. How true this is, I do not know. It’s relevant to the times when we’ve heard people talk about an extraordinary occurrence that is referred to as reincarnation. Have you ever heard anyone say ‘he’s been here before’ or ‘I think I was reincarnated’ —when in fact it’s believed it is because of our descendant’s memories being evoked through our DNA. As I said, this hasn’t been proven. Nevertheless it’s interesting.

My mother investigated her family tree quite a few years ago and it took a copious amount of time and dedication to complete; four years in fact. Thankfully through her efforts we have a documented history that began with a copper miner named John Phillips, born in 1796, married to Martha and they had seven children of only one is found documented as married with children and another documented with one child but no marriage. Records say they were all living in Cornwall and later it states in the census they were either living with each other or next door to each other in to adulthood. That’s where the tree on my mother’s side begins.

My father’s side, where the tree branches to a different bough was researched by my father’s cousin and it’s thanks to him that I have some information as well as photographs—another element of my family’s history I enjoy and I’m so pleased I have these wonderful pieces of the past. Sadly I hardly have any photographs of my mother’s family—perhaps many held by displaced members of family and some I’ve been told were stuck to hospital walls during my grandmother’s confinement back in the 70’s and were ruined whilst removing them from that wall after she passed. Her name was Ruth and she was my mother’s mother and she’s my little piece of missing history as we never met, it is such a shame not to have known my grandmother, apparently we have similarities. She sadly passed away a few months after I was born from multiple myeloma. She gave me my name and although she no longer had her sight she was able to hold me. My older sister remembers her, but vaguely, as she would have only been six years old at the time she passed away. We have a few cherished pictures and one of her mother, my great-grandmother Violet, who also passed too young and who never even got the chance to see her children grow as she died when my grand-mother Ruth was only six weeks old. It was 1921 and with no mother, Ruth was placed in the workhouse along with her brother. At some time they were taken out and grew up in the care of her mother’s sister Florence and her husband Robert who they believed to be their parents until discovering this wasn’t the case when her aunt passed away suddenly when Ruth was 14 or 15 years old.

Returning to the ancestry exploration my mother did. As well as many hours spent she also had to obtain certificates to either determine findings or develop them, which in turn was charged a fee for each one ordered. The census played a huge part in the journey and the outcome was marvellous and documented well in writing and with a complete tree to keep and a tree that keeps growing. Let’s hope when none of us are here to cultivate it anymore, our descendants will nurture it so that it is always sprouting new shoots.

One Half of my Family Tree

One Half of my Family Tree