Layers of change: a journey in renovation


It’s March. The beginning of a lovely cool autumn, when leaves change colour and collect in crunchy piles on the ground. When ugg boots  emerge once more from the back of the wardrobe and we hunt out the change of season clothes from under the house. The same delightful routine we’ve followed for the past few years. Reassuring and comforting.

Except this time it’s different.

Amid the delightful change of weather this year is a layer of other change. After years of thinking, deliberating, avoiding, procrastinating, and writing it off altogether, we’ve finally settled on a plan. Like it or not, it’s underway.

Yes, friends, we’re renovating.


On the path to becoming grown ups, we started looking for a plot to call our own several years ago. Having been forced to move from two rental properties as their owners sought to renovate, we jumped into the market, spent to our limit and settled in to the mortgage that joins most families at some point in time. Our new financial friend.

We were excited. What’s not to love about an estate which includes not just a house, but three outside buildings as well?! Lucky us. We bought a home not just with the warmest (read: hottest) sunroom on earth, but also with an external laundry/ toilet (complete with a non-closing door), a studio (with a nicely sloping floor) and decrepit, non-watertight carport. Charm, rustic style.

cupboard door

On the flipside, we also bought glorious art deco ceilings, sizeable rooms, large front windows for the sunlight to stream in, and lawn to envy. There were two of us, it was ours and we celebrated with French champagne in an empty home when the keys hit our hands.


Time passed and we practised painting in the outside laundry, reasoning that as novice renovators, it would be worth trialling our skills before launching into inside decorating. (A distinct benefit of out buildings.) We learned a few good things. So we took it indoors and painted the hallway. Somewhere in the process of painting the hallway a small person decided to join the crew so all the decorating turned to painting a bedroom, moving some furniture and locating the requisite newborn bits and pieces. By the end of the following two years, we had added a light shade to the hallway. And a second baby to the home.

Needless to say, renovation, stopped.

So, here we are. It’s another two years down the track, we spent 18 months visiting house inspections to see if moving on is actually what the doctor ordered, but it seems the renovating plan is where we’re headed once more. We’re taking another plunge, joining frazzled renovators the world over and learning new skills all the while. It’s a brave new world.


Mark Frost once noted that: “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body. But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming…. Wow! What a ride.”

For us, there may be skidding, wearing out and frustrating exhaustion. But hopefully there will also be order, happiness and centred calm. Whatever the ride, it’s a journey worth enjoying.

So, join us on the ride. And please, (please!) share your own tips and tricks. We’d love to hear them.



A few weeks of happiness – #20 – 22

A week of happiness, Journey true north

Well, it’s the end of a holiday Monday, and the softness of autumn is well in the air. Thanks to many things for a very nice few weeks. We are very grateful.

Thanks especially to a two part holiday. Camping in the trees:


Time at the beach:


And lots of time, to play:


How was your week?

Thanks to A New Life Wandering for this delightful idea.

A week of happiness #19

A week of happiness, Journey true north

Sometimes life shines in extreme colour.

Sometimes it seems that the sights, smells and sensations of life blaze with intensity. For no real reason, in this happy space, the colours of life have shone brightly this week.

They looked a little like this:

Play 2 Collage

This:Play Collage

And this: Sleep

What colours shone through your week?


Thanks to A New Life Wandering for this delightful idea.

A week of happiness #18

A week of happiness, Journey true north

This week I am grateful for many things. Here are just a few.

Nature, with all its delicate moments:


For things, both simple, and functional:


And for golden hour – with the return of stunning sunshine:

Sunset 4

What were the joys for you this week?

Thanks to A New Life Wandering for this delightful idea.

Be your inner child: 8 activities to enjoy just as much as your kids

Parenting, Wonder

Watch kids play and you see tiny moments of wonder that light up their faces – each and every day. They have an incessant urge to get amongst it, take life at full pace, soak it up and spit it out in a burst of crazed energy. Followed by collapsing in a heap recounting the best of their day (sometimes while simultaneously sliding into sleep).

We have a lot to learn.

On suffering


Too much darkness in the world. Too much sadness, too much loss. Too much tragedy, pain, hurt and sorrow. Too much shame, damage, and misery.

Too many tears, fears, and anguish. Too much.

Just too much.

To those who are suffering, there are thoughts of love — from the greatest and smallest places, the strongest, and most gentle of minds. There are wishes for you, for peace and rest, healing and calm. For serenity and joy.

This is a week of tragedy. The terrible tragedies of each and every day, and the national tragedies we experience together, and hope never to see again. Some are shared widely, with noise, damaging fury and tears, some are tightly guarded, held in quiet, personal, agonising silence.

To those who suffer, today and tomorrow, to those who live with pain, hurt or with sorrowful memories that will never fade — in small ways, and in large — we are with you.

We are with you.

Now. Always.


A small award at Christmas

Journey true north, Parenting

It’s nice to have a Christmas treat. And in addition to the lovely day all round that we enjoyed in our summery climes yesterday, there was a little extra in my stocking. My blog ‘Life in the Midlife Teens‘ received an Honourable Mention over at The Green Study as part of the ‘What’s on the B side of that 45?’ competition. It’s small musing on the morning battle between mind and body as a more mature parent. Take a look if you have a moment, and enjoy some of Michelle’s cleverly funny posts at the same time. It’s a nice way to enjoy that post-Christmas recovery.