Seven Days in New Zealand

By Kate Riley January 13, 2016

Hello! I’ve been waiting to share some of the pictures I took of our trip to New Zealand in November, today’s the day. When we visited we were fortunate to have perfect weather, it was mid November so the equivalent of May weather here in the states. At the time it was late spring, the hills were green and all the flowers were in bloom. We saw as much as we could with the week we had.

We limited the trip to the South Island this time and I followed much of the advice from readers when I asked you all where we should go. I can honestly say New Zealand is one of the loveliest places on earth. “Scenic” barely captures in words what’s in store for your eyes if you’re ever lucky enough to visit or live there.

We rented a car in Christchurch on arrival and drove all the way to Queenstown over the course of the week, making several stops for lodging at some lakes in between. The one thing I’ll never forget is the color of the lakes, they are bright turquoise which took my breath away! A shade of blue far brighter than the slate blue color of many of the lakes in the United States.

nz drive


 nz drive 2



Like I said, New Zealand is one of the most scenic places you will EVER visit, around every turn in the road is something beautiful to take in with your eyes, a green meadow filled with sheep, rolling hills, mountain peaks, majestic lakes, it was so spectacular. And yes Matt did quickly adapt to driving on the left side of the road (me too), it was bizarre at first but you get used to it!

The family spent half a day in Christchurch but before we left for the mountains we visited the Botanic Gardens in Hagley Park in the heart of the city, definitely worth the visit. We walked the garden paths with rose and herb gardens and azalea bushes two stories tall in full bloom. There’s a meandering river and cultivated gardens around every bend in the path. The conservatory was lovely and the Canterbury museum was so interesting, it was filled with amazing artifacts from the country’s history and also a large display of animals indigenous to the country.

 nz fam

 nz botanical


 nz fountain

Our first of four stops during the week was Lake Tekapo, and we arrived just when the lupines were in bloom, I took a long walk just to enjoy the beauty of it all, the scenery is so beautiful it feels fake at times!

 lake tekapo

 lupines lake tekapo


 tekapo lupines


Weekend Reading

By Kate Riley January 8, 2016

Weekend hellos. It’s been a wet week here in California, the El Niño storms have arrived! All the damp weather has kept me indoors but we really need this rain so I’m hunkering down and waiting out this winter.

I’m not a January person. Other than that universal urge to purge and declutter which I do find refreshing, the month of January gets me down. I was talking with a friend yesterday who loves winter: cold weather, cozy blankets, warm beverages, trips to the snow. Okay, yes those little things are lovely but the rest of the time the dreary weather makes me listless. I just want to crawl under the covers and nap until spring arrives.

I cheer myself up with images of rooms decorated in the colors of spring. I’m very “meh” about the new Pantone colors, my first impression of the announcement was that the hues are “hospital newborn”, but used judiciously I truly am a fan of pastels.

I’m counting down the days until it’s time for spring decorating, meanwhile keeping my head down working on a few new vibrant fabric prints to feature in March. One of the home improvement projects I’m hoping to tackle is the addition of a garden shed in my backyard. Speaking of ….

 converted shed homepolish

Isn’t this the loveliest converted shed you ever did see?

Classic style: loving this beautiful home makeover.

Extra special bathroom floor tiles (and where to find them).

Oh how I love a great spiral staircase.

This beautiful barn wedding.

24 cozy winter lodges to visit.

Some helpful tips on how to start working out.

A great trick for temporarily sharpening kitchen knives.

Be sure to bookmark The Peptalk Generator !


Have a cozy weekend friends.