Oh it looks so serene and angelic

If only you could hear the commentary from these two

“Is this a deer that daddy shot?”

“Baby Jesus needs to hang upside down because he was naughty”

“I think the snow will melt”

“Why are the stars out in the day time?

Possibly not so angelic but beautifully innocent all the same.

Clearly there were giant bugs in the stable too, they may want to look into the health standards there….

The nativity set was brought back all the way from Malta.

Where does one being?

Well it has been four months at our new property and I don’t think we have stopped for air since we arrived and I definitely haven’t stopped to blog.


The barn conversion was completed in time and my 50 calves arrived in staggered deliveries. They are now happily enjoying the lush growth we have after such a wet spring. Even better is the fact that I have managed to sell them all. The added job for Justin was the completion of a 800m long fence to keep the calves out of the newly planted 28ha of pine trees. No small undertaking for a man fairly fresh to fencing.

The hut is up an running and has seen guests nearly every other week since it opened in September. I am getting so much satisfaction sharing our little slice of paradise with the guests and hopefully giving them a beautiful and relaxing space to enjoy.  We even managed to feature in the Marlborough Express, although this was more about Justin’s retirement.


I have inherited a garden which is an incredible feat in the sense that this was rocky pasture and is now a haven of trees bringing in the native birds. The valley weather is fairly harsh, colder in winter and hotter and exceptionally dry in summer. So the planting previously done here reflects the climate, unfortunately for me that means not a large abundance of flowers. I am slowly making a change to that and softening a lot of the garden up but I need to keep in mind that this is a long term project, not overnight. The other element to battle is rabbits and our chickens, they are very free range at the moment and love the taste of roses. I envisioned a beautiful wild, productive cottage garden and yet I have the reality of how it actually looks. I call it red cabbage housing. IMG_5890

The weekend just passed, saw a very productive dig day up on the hill. The first third of the initial downhill track has been cut in which is huge progress from some very dedicated people and one days work. There has been work already and we have a working Cross Country (XC) track which Luca has enjoyed testing out and giving feedback on. IMG_5708

This weekend acted as a kick in the bum for me to get the upstairs of the barn converted for accommodation. It sounds like we are going to have track builders and visitors all summer. I possibly was decorating more in theme with the Taylor Pass Hut and not in keeping with the decor wishes of our guests. But you know what, my barn my decor.


In amongst this all I do find sometime to look after my gorgeous little poppets who are just the best helpers, most of the time. Luca is asserting his project management skill and showing excellent capabilities as a role delegator. Miss A is just doing all she can to keep up with him which means a toilet trained little girl before the age of two, Woo Hoo.


The house has seen some colour changes since we arrived including new curtains in the lounge/dining/kitchen area. Terracotta is not my first choice, contrary to what the latest house and garden may say about it being the in colour. In typical keeping with me I haven’t followed any logic and have made white linen curtains. Not sure how long they will stay white!

I have also repainted the weather board sections on the exterior of the house. It was a mixture of ‘earth’ tones which I previously referred to as ‘poo brown’. It is now ‘Cod Grey’ which is much to my liking but unfortunately not so high on my husbands favourites. Oh well I definitely didn’t offer to repaint the house once it was done.


Ok so that is a flying commentary on my world for the last four month. Hopefully things will settle down a little, but with Christmas looming and the hut booking up I don’t see that happening any time soon.

If you want to see more of the hut you can follow me on all the obligatory social media tools….




Fancy a break?

Here it is…. my latest project settled and ready for guests as of September.

I am very excited that we already have a booking but then slightly anxious at the thought of paying guests coming to stay. I am sure we will learn a lot very quickly and will look back even in a year and see how much we have learnt.

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I find myself every morning waking eager to open the curtains. This not only reveals the very dramatic, rural view out the window it also jogs my memory of the jobs to do for the day.
Like always we want a million things done and all of them completed yesterday.

The move itself went without any dramatic events and we even managed to get in before torrential rain the next day. I have had a few people ask how do you do it by yourself? The simple answer is I didn’t. I had a lot of help and the movers now seem like extended family we move so frequently. My biggest solo achievement was loading up the ewes and goat into the trailer and chickens into a box for the animal drop off.  I have said it before but there is something about chickens that freaks me out. I think it’s the dinosaur feet. Apart from some rather random laying and roosting all animals have settled in well.

Justin arrived back into the country 2 weeks after the move (lucky bugger) in time for Luca’s 3rd birthday. Those of you who know me, know my love of baking and birthdays is the ultimate! This years request was under the sea.

With Justin home it was all systems go to get things as sorted as possible in the time he had before flying out again. There are a couple of significant timeframes looming over us. I have 50 calves arriving this month and with no sheds or shelter is was pressure on to get a user/animal friendly set up. We are nearly there. If I was a calf I think I’d like to spend a couple of weeks in here before graduating to the paddock. It turns our that 20m3 of sawdust is quite a lot, especially when the pile is looming over you and your insignificant shovel. 
The other upcoming event is the opening of the Taylor Pass Hut (previously Grantham Glamping). I’ll allocate a whole post to this, although not completed it’s getting closer and guest ready.

Then there are the general jobs that need doing. Pest control, getting the animals settled, meeting the locals and putting our touch on things.

The plant in the last photo was pulled out with the digger and will be replaced with some slightly more friendly and less aggressive plants. I have probably broken some terrible gardening rule, but that thing had to go!

Then there is the view, this is from the hill face looking back towards the house (which you can’t actually see but is to the left). The hill which I took this from is currently being replanted in pine trees and as soon as Justin is home the mountain bike tracks will be underway.

Lucky that Justin is home next week because the list of ‘to do’s’ is growing by the day. Although I have found myself quite happy to muck in a do it myself, in the 4 weeks that he has been gone I have made the nesting box shown above, made a shelter for the lambs, made a unit for a sink and bench to sit on in the calf barn and I am currently resewing the curtains. Everyone is entitled to their own colour preferences, unfortunately for me, a room of terracotta curtains is not my first colour pick.



Take brace positions 

Take brace positions this is really happening.

The sale has confirmed we have the red sticker to prove it and I have the beautiful bottle of champagne to toast to it, cheers for that Andy!

The hut has been loaded and is now nestled in its new home. That sentence makes it sound so straight forward but it was far more hair raising and tense than its simple delivery. Some trees were sacrificed in the name of its new home but nothing that won’t grow back. September is rapidly approaching so as soon as we are in I will get the finishing touches underway outside.

And the view from the bed makes it all worth it. While in there “setting up” last weekend I took a moment to rest on the bed. All I could hear was the river trickling past (not in a toilet inducing way)  the birds singing and feel the sun sneaking in the door to warm my toes, it was bliss.

The move happens this week and conveniently so does the next round of the EWS. Justin flew out to the South of France this morning. A day later than scheduled due to small people sharing their tummy bug. All I can say is thank goodness he didn’t come down with it on the plane!

So it’s the week of countdowns, Luca’s last week as a two year old and our last week in this home. There are so many good people/animals in this valley and we will miss some of them so much. Luckily its only Blenheim and nothing is that far away really.


Luca’s daily visit to Hugo

A rather odd request but if anyone knows of a Donkey looking for a new home, sweet Hugo here has lost his buddy and is rather lonely in his big paddock.

The snowball effect 

This week I found myself mortified in the New World car park. I thought I was unseen until a woman shouted 

“Woo go sister that was agile”. 

It all started months ago, in the space of one week we filed 3 insurance claims. The companies must love us and our premiums. Firstly Luca tried to clean my beautiful and fairly new black truck… with stones. Needless to say it was not black, suave or sophisticated with scratch graffiti down one door panel. 
Miss A then kindly posted some paper, an apple, my Apple (iPhone) and a wooden block down the toilet. I tried the rice in the bag but this little baby wasn’t coming back. So the next claim was filed. Then while out on a training ride for the first time ever Justin’s phone fell out his pocket and smashed on the ground. 3 claims one expensive week. 

Anyway the car was booked in to be repaired and I felt terribly ‘Merivale soccer mum’ when I was given a lovely new white Land Cruiser Prado to drive around in for the week. Unfortunately the kids were sick this week so I only took it out once. Which  leads me to the moral support of a stranger. 

I was treating myself, I handed the kids over and went to the super market alone. (Clearly the standard of treating myself had slipped slightly but needs must for a solo mum). In my purse I had the car keys, but it was keyless entry so I simply opened the top portion of the back window (you can open the window or door) and placed the groceries in the boot. I then neatly threw my wallet through the car onto the front seat, shut the window and walked to the drivers door to get in. 

The door was locked. How could it be locked everything is meant to open when I touch the magic button. Turns out not when you touch the window button. I went back to boot, surely a car that had all the bells and whistles and could probably fly to Saturn if pressed would have an unlock button in the back door panel. Nope, no button. I couldn’t open the boot door I could only open the window. Luckily my fear of this truck being scratched had meant I had parked far away from the door denting riff raff. What else was there to do but sneak a quick look around. As elegantly as one can I then clambered up the back of the truck, through the window, over the groceries and then car seats, did a spider like minouver to get my legs through to the drivers seat and then opened the door. That is when I heard the shout from the car closest to me (but at least 5 parks away). 

“Woo go sister that was agile”. 

“Thanks, no one was meant to see that”. I promptly replied while trying to hide my scarlet face and elegantly get back in my soccer mum beast. Ha yeah right. 
I was very pleased to pick up my truck with very heavily tinted windows today. No one need see my clambering over the seats in that! 

Grantham Glamping

My work in progress has floundered slightly and seems now to have hit the same bump in the road that Justin and I are experiencing. Where is its home to be? The hut is very nearly ready for guests, except for the titivation needed to the surrounding outside. As soon as we know where we are residing there will be planting, dining areas and an outdoor bath to put in.

With a queen size bed, cooking area, shower, toilet, dining table and safety conscious fire (imitation) it seems like a peaceful paradise compared to our chaotic house.

I may have developed a bit too much of a habit for treasure hunting at op shops but I see it as recycling and we are all meant to do our bit to help the earth!  All going to plan this little gem will be ready for guests in Spring.

More photos and links to social media and all the buzz to come soon. Instagram @Granthamglamping