Advent 2015 – Day One

Hartleigh has four Advent Calendars this year, and before you think that’s a bit OTT, it may be, but there’s no Advent police running around dictating how many you can have, thankfully!

So he has the usual ‘chocolate-a-day’ one, and he has two ‘build-a-bit-each-day’ calendars – one is a Star Wars 100 piece jigsaw, and the other is a Minecraft Lego creation, his fourth and final is our traditional Activity calendar. For this, I have usually completed all the activities before the start of the month, but this year it’s a bit of a moving beast as I’m making some last minute changes depending on things that are happening.

The first day of December saw the return of our Elf On A Shelf. I had hoped to have him wired by now, but time got away from me and firstly I couldn’t find my wire so I had to buy some, then I needed a quick unpick, which my sister dropped off to me this morning. but I also need a needle to sew him back up. Went to Spotlight today, forgot to get one! So I’m going to wait until the weekend now.

Anyway, here are today’s calendars (I won’t be posting a pic of each calendar each day – the Builders will be every few days when there is something to show, and for the Activity if it’s simple I’ll just post a pic of the card, if it’s ‘something’ then I’ll include that).

Day One Advent 2015

Elf On A Shelf sits atop the ‘Minecraft Lego’ advent
‘chocaday’ advent – duly tested by the mother
Activity Advent ‘Your Choice For Dinner’ = BurgerFuel
The bags hide a 100 piece Star Wars jigsaw

Bookcase Advent Calendar – 2014

Today is the 12th day after Christmas and is traditionally (and superstitiously) the last day to remove ‘Christmas’, so I took down all the decorations, lights, decor, and trees. At present they aren’t actually packed away as I want to go through all the boxes in preparation for this year. I’ve started a Christmas 2014 List that outlines the themes, ideas, and also what I would like to make for each room this year.

While I was planning the foyer space I wondered what I could do with the rather large and dark bookcase and realised it has 12 sections to it which could easily fit two bags or boxes in it to create a big advent calendar, so project number two was born! (Project number one is knitted bunting which is in trial stage at present but looking very promising, and of course I’ll be blogging about that).

So my plan for the Bookcase Advent Calendar is to use a range of boxes and gift bags that I come across during the year, and each one will have a small gift, chocolate, a ‘to do’ card, and the very last one will be Hartleigh’s ‘A Night Before Christmas’ box. This traditionally contains a pair of pyjamas, a Christmas book, some popcorn, chocolates, and a small gift. I usually also put the plate we put Santa’s food on in there to remind us to do this.

As December is such a busy month and I know I won’t be able to blog each day we open the advent, I’m very tempted to blog as I create each number,that way I can share the calendar and not stress about keeping up to date during the busiest month of the year.

Hart Advent Calendar

Goals, Resolutions, and other Good Stuff

It’s the brink of 2014 and, as I’ve done for many a year, I’m setting goals and making resolutions for the New Year. I know making resolutions for many is just lip service, but I like something to strive for. For me it’s a positive way to start the year. I forgive myself for the things I didn’t achieve and resolve to achieve new things.

I also have some rituals I like to do on New Year’s Eve to start the year the right way. This is why I don’t tend to go out on NYE. I like to be in my comfort zone, doing the things I want to, with the people I want to. This year it’s going to be at Cervidae Castle with Mr 8, and a bottle of Moet! A fabulous way to start the New Year I think!

For me, goals are those that I can achieve through hard work and determination, resolutions are those things I would really like to achieve but that may not be possible due to circumstances and events outside of your immediate control.

As I’ve also blogged I do intend to print out some of these goals and resolutions and have them posted around the house as a daily reminder. I know this really worked for my weight loss and I will start that reminder again too.

So enough of all that, let’s get into it!

Firstly, I still feel that weight loss is my main focus for 2014 in terms of personal goals.

Weight Loss Goal

Goal 1 – Get back to 30kgs lost – Achieved 15/1/14
Goal 2 – Reach my original GW
Goal 3 – 35kgs lost
Goal 4 – Reach UGW
Goal 5 – To fit into single digit size clothing (yes, that means size 8 or less) – Achieved 30/1/14 – wore a size 8 skirt to work today!

(I intend to notarise these as I achieve each goal).

I do think UGW will take the best part of the year but I’m in this for the long haul so I’m comfortable with that long range forecast.


From 1st January until 14th February I intend to be alcohol-free. I lost a tonne of weight this year whilst being alcohol free for 4 weeks, and as I have BIG goals to reach this year I want to kick it off with some really good losses.

Organised House

I did pretty good in 2013 and having to move twice did make me declutter quite a bit but I do still have a lot of things I don’t use often enough to really warrant keeping them. There are still a lot of things I can let go and as I keep unpacking I’ll also keep decluttering.

I’m also going to have a really organised house. As this house is so old there are many modern conveniences that I don’t have so being clean and tidy all the time will be important to keep the house in a ‘good place’.

Organised Work

After a year in this job, I’ve experienced all of our different race days, and now feel like I have some knowledge behind me in terms of how I can create an even better experience for our race day guests, our sponsors, and the public. 2014 will be the start of some new strategies and systems in order to maximise the experience of each guest on each race day.

2014 offers plenty of scope to develop existing race days and build on the new events from the past twelve months.

Bigger, better, and more beneficial is my aim for 2014.

Oh, and of course there is also that secret project!! < Yes it’s a two exclamation project 😉

Handmade Christmas

Christmas was little underdone this (despite having 5 trees) as I felt like I didn’t get the benefit of the whole experience a) because we moved house so late, b) the trees didn’t go up until December!, and c) I worked so much! So Christmas 2014 starts in January with the handmade Christmas project. Look out for blogs about fabulous handmade items (and no doubt terrible disasters too!).

First on the agenda is knitted bunting (if I can remember how to cast on lol).

Bucket List / Things I Want To Do

2014 will be time to tick some of these off, and I will create a separate blog listing them and write separately as I tick them off, but here are just a few:

– Photography course
– Buy a Grabone ticket to a destination I’ve never been to before
– Blog, blog, and more blogging


Sonya’s Handmade Christmas

For the past few Christmases I’ve been making at least some of my Christmas presents, a few easy decorations, the advent calendar last year, and wreaths. I love how they look and now with the move to the new (very old) house I’m tempted to make some more decorations and other decor items a little trickier than just wrapping some twine around a polystyrene ring!

So I’ve decided that 2014 is going to be be the year of ‘Sonya’s Handmade Christmas’. Each month my family have crafting afternoon and I haven’t really made anything of substance, so the plan is to have one project a month to make that at the end of the year is part of my handmade Christmas.

Because I’m such a theme queen I’m going to need to decide on the colours for each room and where each item I make is going to go before I start work on it. I would like to make several different versions of the some item if I have time, eg; bunting. For the lounge if I stay with my current theme the burlap and black,then I would make a burlap garland and then in the hall perhaps a knitted one similar to the one below.

So there it is, the first resolution for 2014 (which I may even start in 2013!).

Merry Christmas everyone, I look forward to sharing my Handmade Christmas journey with you!



image source

A Summer of Sun, Fun, oh and Love!

Summer usually means a series of events – my birthday, Christmas, a day at the races, and a concert and then pretty much back to work without really feeling like I’ve had a break or enjoyed the beautiful weather, but this summer was not my usual summer!.

December started as it usually does, with me kicking the Christmas decorating, crafting, and preparations into full swing and I snuck my birthday in fairly low key with a picnic dinner at the beach with my son and my mum. 43 is a fairly blah birthday moving me further away from 40 and closer to gulp 45! One resolution I made this birthday was to let shit go. No use stressing over crap you can’t control. Actually managing this pretty well so far although I know I’m always going to care too much what people think about me.

Christmas was a lovely day spoiling Mr 7, having a Christmas breakfast with lifelong friend Shelley and her son, then Christmas lunch with my niece and her now rather large family, and then on to the traditional dinner at aunty Pam’s. Was a great day.

Usually by the start of December I also have my marquee booked and filled for the races on the 27th but this year I hadn’t organised it, and as it turns out that was meant to be because about a week before Christmas I started a new role at Taranaki Thoroughbred Racing as the Events, Marketing & Sponsorship Co-Ordinator meaning that now I attend the races as my job! I would have been bummed if my friends were all there celebrating and I couldn’t.

The other thing I usually do over the Christmas break is go to a concert, often at Butlers Reef to see The Feelers or Jimmy Barnes, although sometimes at The Bowl if we have great band there like Fleetwood Mac. This year because some things have been a bit mixed up I wasn’t paying attention to who was playing out there and missed going to see Shihad. Really hoping to get to see a band out there at some stage, it’s always a great night out.

One of the biggest changes over the summer has been my hours, my new role is super flexible so I can work when I want, where I want, and this has allowed me plenty of time to enjoy the first of the items in my title – Sun. Taranaki, along with much of the country, has enjoyed some of the best weather we’ve had during a summer for literally years and it’s been fantastic to be able to hang out outside in the beautiful sunshine. I’ve even managed to get a tan! #loveit

Fun is the next thing on my summer summary. A combination of flexible hours, hot hot weather, and probably a bit too much beer has resulted in a summer of fun. I haven’t laughed so much in years, I’ve been on all sorts of adventures, and I’ve just totally done plenty of things that the ‘anal retentive’ Sonya wouldn’t have done. Caring less does open you up to new experiences!

Last but certainly not least is Love. I’ve loved spending hours out on the deck in the sun drinking a new love Export 33 beer, I’ve loved spending time with friends, I’ve loved hanging out with Mr 7 who at this age is just such a cool kid, I’ve fallen back in love with country music helped in part by Tate Stevens winning X Factor. I hope my neighbours love it as much as me as it’s often played loud during those drinks-on-the-deck sessions. I’ve loved having time to work when and how I want to. I’ve loved being back in control of my diet and losing weight. I’ve loved the new experiences this summer has presented. And I’ve fallen in love with this guy…

Well actually probably not so much him as this song, which is kind of my theme song for summer! I hope you have had an amazing summer doing all the things that make you happy like I have!

Advent Calendar 2012 | Day 15

Day 15 was another favourite for me, watching a Christmas movie (spot the typo on the card – ooops). With a large number of Christmas movies now playing on all the channels we decided on an old favourite, and despite it not strictly being a ‘Christmas’ movie in the traditional sense, it definitely has a Christmas theme running through it. Hart and I love watching movies together!

Day 15 collage

Advent Calendar 2012 | Day 6

Day six was another choice card for Hartleigh – he got to choose what we had for dinner. He didn’t immediately choose McDonald’s – which is where he most often asks to go, but actually thought he might like to go to Joe’s Garage. After some further consideration he decided on McD’s. Luckily for him we are actually going to Joe’s next week anyway.

day six collage