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7 2014 Dec

Sunset Kayak to Rangitoto Island – Dec 2014

10pm on a Saturday night…..I could be out at a noisy, lively bar celebrating with Christmas cheer.  I could be snuggled up on the couch watching a DVD with my hubby.  I could be early to bed reading a good book…….but here I am, smoothly, silently, slicing through the black waters with my paddle, full moon at my back, city lights sparkling way ahead, all around me quiet, peaceful darkness with just the “tail lights” of the other kayaks gliding through the darkness with me.

We are on our back to St Heliers having kayaked over in the late afternoon to walk to the top of Rangitoto Island and watch the sunset.

It was pretty choppy out there...

It was pretty choppy out there…


Setting off in choppy seas, (no white caps though) our kayaks felt very stable as we rocked and rolled our way over to the island.





Tea, coffee and muffins before we head up to the top of Rangitoto.

Tea, coffee and muffins before we head up to the top of Rangitoto.



Once we got there we pulled our kayaks right up out of the water and had a very welcome hot drink with muffins, muesli bars and apples.




On the trail to the top.

On the trail to the top.



Then it was off for a very nice chatty walk up to the top of the island.










Silvery light over Auckland.

Silvery light over Auckland.

The view from the top of Rangitoto island never fails to disappoint, it is always spectacular.  This time there was a lovely silvery light as the sun shone through the heavy clouds.  There was no real fiery sunset but that didn’t matter at all.


And the moon comes up....

And the moon comes up….


We walked back down, enjoying the evening light and as we arrived back to the wharf, the moon slowly rose up in front of us.  She was beautiful!  With our backs to the setting sun, we all excitedly took photos and marveled at the beauty of the moon!



Enjoying our BBQ dinner before we headed back.

Enjoying our BBQ dinner before we headed back.

We sat, eating out BBQ steak with couscous and pasta salads, watching the moon and feeling very happy and satisfied.


By now it was 9pm, time to pack up the kayaks, turn on our little tail lights and paddle back.

The first time I kayaked in the dark I remember feeling rather nervous, this time though, I relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of being cocooned in the near darkness, the friendly full moon at my back giving just enough light.  The peaceful feeling of gliding through the dark water was euphoric.  10pm on a Saturday night……I know exactly where I’d rather be!

So pretty.  This kayak adventure was more about the moonrise than the sunset!

So pretty. This kayak adventure was more about the moonrise than the sunset!

29 2013 May

Yes You May – Day 26 – Encourage others.

Well here it is, this is officially the last day of my month of May challenge of giving myself permission each day to do something that makes me feel great and that adds richness to my day.  Tomorrow I am up way before dawn and off to the airport to fly over to Samoa with 10 other women for 10 days, 7 of which are going to be spent cycling 200km around the island of Savaii and staying in villages on the way round.   Excited….?? You betcha!! 🙂

So today, I finished off my list of ideas that I’ve put together that might help others see ways to make your day special.  (it is by no means a complete list!)  Please feel free to add your ideas onto this blog.

I’ve really enjoyed this challenge and I’ve been amazed and the different perspective it’s given me and how enriched my life has felt this month by simply taking the time to proactively add value to my day.  I encourage you to give it go too.  It doesn’t even have to be every day but at least 3 times a week I reckon, or it probably won’t happen.

Give Yourself Permission To:


Get up half an hour earlier and:

Go for a walk/run/bike ride somewhere you don’t normally go

Jump in your car, (pop your bike in the back,) and go somewhere further away and explore a new area for a bike ride/walk/run

Do some yoga (get a DVD out from the library to follow)

Get a DVD out from the library and do an Aerobics type workout (Step, Kettlebell, dance etc)

Spend half an hour sitting quietly, focus on your breathing and then choose a thought to reflect/meditate on like; forgiveness, compassion, honesty, grace, loyalty, friendship……

Write a daily journal and include at least one thing that you did the day before that you are proud of and one thing you’d like to focus on for this day

Meet a friend for breakfast at a local café

Go to your local gym and do an early morning class

Join a boot camp

Go for an early morning swim

Stop at a café on the way to work and spend half an hour planning and prioritising your day


If you’ve got young kids or nieces, nephews, grandkids…….

Play hide and seek outside somewhere or inside….in the dark

Have a picnic tea on the living room floor (with no TV)

Pretend there’s no power and have a candlelight evening

Make a treasure hunt

Build huts (inside or outside)

Climb trees

Go exploring

There’s loads of things you could do with kids, just let your imagination run wild and BE a kid again!


Do something different in the evenings: (instead of watching TV)

Go for a walk around your neighbourhood

Play cards or some other game

Go skinny dipping on a moonlit night

Wade through the sea at night and watch all the phosphorescence

Play in the playground (when there’s no kids around)

Go to the movies

Join a club/group/night class and learn something new

Be creative; draw, knit, sew, sculpt, bake, write stories/poems




Phone family/friends and actually talk (not text or email)

Pamper yourself; have a facial, footbath, do your nails, your hair…

Share a massage

Sort through your photos, your files, your wardrobe, your drawers, your boxes of “stuff”

Invite friends around for a pot luck dinner

Go out somewhere cheap and cheerful for dinner (where you’ve never been before)



Make little tweaks to your day:

Drive a different way to work/school/wherever

Take some time to sit and a café and read the paper

Give yourself half an hour to check out that shop/museum/library/art gallery/café/park/garden centre/beach/reserve/walkway/show home…….

Purposely get yourself lost on a walk/run/drive and find your way out without any help

Buy yourself a little treat just because; flowers/magazine/book/nice bottle of wine/ chocolates/CD

Start using stuff you’ve been “saving”; that body lotion/soap/perfume/underwear/etc that you got for Xmas/birthday

De-clutter! (This could be a blog of its own!) De-clutter your wardrobe for a start and get rid of stuff that you no longer wear, or looks a bit shabby, is dated, the wrong colour for you …..Be ruthless!

Try a new recipe at least once a month

Change your daily routine just a bit

Get in touch with old friends

Give yourself a focus for each day eg; to smile more, to listen to others more, to appreciate the little things, to laugh, to be more gracious/patient/kind/loving etc


Do some big stuff! Give yourself permission to LIVE YOUR LIFE OUT LOUD!

Set yourself a “sweaty armpit” challenge that both scares and excites you, and do it!

Some examples could be:


Do a skydive, a bungee jump, white water rafting, high ropes course, abseiling, caving, canyoning (choose from some of my adventures on this website J) or some other adrenaline pumping adventure


Ditch a bad relationship, if it’s not working for you and you’re not happy, get out.

If it’s worth working on then talk, get counselling do whatever it takes so you know that you’ve given it your all……

Try online dating, speed dating, join a singles club –



If you’re not happy in your job/career then start the ball rolling now, start looking/planning when/how to change it

Do your research, get the help/advice/training/education you need

Talk to people who have the job/career you want and ask them about it

See a career consultant

Read “What Colour is Your Parachute” (an oldie but a goodie.)


Go on….give some of these a go or come up with your own ideas…’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!!

28 2013 May

Yes You May – Days 21 to 24 –

It’s been a few days since I’ve written my “daily” blog…….   But each day I’ve made sure that I’ve done something that will make my day feel that little bit more special and each day through having this as my main focus I have found out more about myself.   Read below to find out what I ended up doing….

Day 21 – Yes you may celebrate yourself!

It was early Saturday morning just after 6am and I was up and getting ready to meet up with my running group “GoldP1000791 Resizedingham’s Girls” to do a 10km run in the Northcote Point area.  (One of my favourite areas of Auckland.)  We drove off in my van down the motorway, parked at Onepoto Domain and off we set.  I took off at the front with my chalk to draw arrows for the rest of the group to follow.  It was a gorgeous run, we ran down streets and walkways that we never knew existed, marvelling at all these beautiful old villas, we ran under the harbour bridge on ramp, through parks and reserves……

And as I ran I was thinking about what I was going to give myself permission to do that day to make it special….imagine that!  Then of course I realised that what I was doing right then was pretty blimmin special, but to push out the boat a bit more on myself I decided as I ran along to celebrate myself.  Now, this is not always that easy for us to do.  Often we find it easier to identify our faults not what we’re proud of.  We are often guilty of the “tall poppy syndrome” to ourselves.    But as I ran along feeling fit and strong I decided to acknowledge and congratulate myself for that –  and then I started listing off other things big and small that I had achieved  that I felt proud of and I really allowed that feeling of personal celebration to sift down into my inner most being and stay there.

Day 22 – Yes you may ……

OK, I admit it……. I found it hard today to come up with something special, something different, something that I was giving myself permission to do,  feel, express, learn or experience that I maybe wouldn’t normally do.  In fact I started putting a bit of pressure on myself, like, come on, you’ve GOT to enjoy this day!  What are you going to put in your blog then?  Accountability is a great motivator but it can also be a source of stress too which kind of negates the whole premise behind this blog.  Throughout the day as we had a lovely long breakfast with my sister at a local cafe, (in Northcote Point) as I shopped for last minute things to take over to Samoa, (I leave on Thursday) as I lay on the couch with my feet up reading my book, as Derek and I “judged” the X factor contestants together….. I was thinking “hmmm, this feels pretty nice, this feels special, and this feels good but is it really worth writing a blog about…..?

Day 23 – Yes you may harden up!

Now I know I’ve said quite a few times in this Yes You May blog that I enjoy exercising in the early morning002s and that is true for most of the time…. but…..there are times like this morning when I didn’t want to get up.  I had done all my little motivating strategies like getting my exercise gear out the night before, planning my route where I was going to cycle, visualising myself out on my bike feeling fit and strong, visualising myself getting home and how great I’d feel and it still wasn’t working.

I knew I wasn’t sick, tired, sore or anything like that.  Mentally I didn’t feel like I needed to “give myself a break.”  I knew I just needed to “harden up.”  Over the years I have learnt (and am still learning) how to let my mind control my body and not the other way round.  I have learnt that my body, my attitude, my emotions will believe what I tell them to believe, if I say it with conviction.  And the more I say it, the more my body etc goes along with it.  So, harden up I did.  On went my jacket and out into the drizzly rain I went on my bike.  I gave myself permission to go out for at least 20 min and ended up out for double that and yes……once again my mind was right. I did feel awesome when I got home. 🙂

Day 24 Yes you may try something new!

Another wet early morning start.  This morning I was determined to do something completely new, to try an exercise class that I’d never done before.  We’re very lucky in that we live just around the corner from the local Leisure Centre.  The darpm classy before I had booked myself in for the 6am RPM (or Spin) class.  I hadn’t ever bothered with RPM before because I have a bit of an aversion to cardio machines as I think, why be inside rowing, cycling,  running , cross training on a stationary piece of equipment with loud music blasting and big TV screens on when I could be outside in the fresh air enjoying the sounds and smells of the early morning (read one of my previous blogs “Maximise the Moment and you’ll get where I’m coming from.)

But some women from my running group had raved about the classes so I decided to give it go.  WOW!…. talk about a heart pumping, sweat pouring, jelly legged workout!!  It was great!  There we were pumping our legs as hard and fast as we could to Billy Idol blasting out “With a rebel yell she cried more more more!”  What a way to start the day!  I don’t think it’s my thing to do it all the time but it certainly is a damn good workout and it’s made my day. 🙂



24 2013 May

Yes You May! Day 19 and 20 – Add some value to your day!

Day 19 of giving myself permission, “yes, you May,” to do something each day for the month of May, that will make me feel great.  I didn’t get a chance yesterday to do this blog as I was back on “nana duty.”  During the day though I was thinking of what I could do, what was something I could add to my day that wouldn’t take up a huge amount of time (as I didn’t have much of that yestbath 204erday), wouldn’t cost money and would add value to my day.  I discussed it with my husband and still hadn’t really thought of anything….I’d already cooked up a really nice meal as a treat but still felt like I could do something else…..

I had an exercise class to take at 5pm so off I went.  When I got back home it was dark and raining just slightly.  My wonderful husband had run a lovely hot bath in our outdoor bath for us with with a big glass of red waiting for me!  We sat in the bath, caught up on each others day, drank our wine as the soft misty rain fell on our faces and it was just perfect……!  (I didn’t get a photo of us in the bath…probably just as well…but here’s one of our bath on a sunny day.)

Today…..well after spending all day in my office catching up on a backlog of work as soon as I finish this blog I’m off down the beach for a late afternoon walk which I am soooo looking forward to!




22 2013 May

Yes You May – Days 17 and 18 – Give time to what really matters.

Well I’ve just had a taste of what it’s like to be a busy mum at home with sick kids ……!!  I’ve been on “nana duty” yesterday and today and I realise how difficult it can be to try and create great moments when you’re busy catering to the needs of sick kiddies.

However, through doing this blog and therefore having the thought of creating great moments constantly on my mind, I loo261018_571109953_2294773_nked for ways to make my time with my grandkids special.  Given that they weren’t up to doing much at all on account of feeling sick, I spent time reading stories, watching a DVD all the way through with them, (instead of leaving them plonked in front of it while I worked) building a lego zoo and cooking up their favourite foods to tempt their little appetites.

After they were gone I spent some time relaxing with hubby and then heading off to bed early with a good book.  I don’t know about you, but that for me is bliss…..!

No, I didn’t get my work done, yes, everything was put on hold and yes I got up real early this morning to do some catch up but I wouldn’t have had it any other way and yes, it felt great to spend that quality time with my grandkids.


20 2013 May

Yes You May – Day 16 – Maximise the Moment!

Maximising the moment, squeezing all the juice out of it, BEING totally in the moment, being present…..this is what I gave myself permission to do today.

I LOVE my early morning exercising.  I love the gentle soft pre-dawn light, I love the sound of the birds waking up, I love the clean freshness of the early morning.  I love the ease of just rolling out of bed, throwing on my exercise clothes and within minutes I’m out the door either on my bike, my kayak,  running,  tramping, swimming…..

This morning I decided to practice being totally in the moment with all my senses (except maybe for taste) being highly attuned to that present moment.  As I ran along one of my favourite runs, (if your a local “coastie” you’ll know it – up Scott Rd, into Wade River Rd and down to where the boats are moored) and I asked myself these questions;

What can you hear?  I listened intently to all the different bird calls trying to identify what bird was making which sound , the distance hum of traffic, the sound of the wSunrise boatsater lapping, the sound of my feet running, my breathing….

What can you smell? Ahhhhh…….breathing in deeply I savoured the earthly richness as I ran through the bush area, the faint eucalyptus smell of the gum trees planted nearby, the almost peppery smell of the vegetation and the delicious salty briney tang as I ran down the hill to the little bay…all heightened by the early morning freshness.

What can you see?  I allowed my eyes to roam further, to look deeper, to notice the way the early morning light infused the air with a delicate golden hue which in turn heightened and enriched the natural colours so that they glowed.  I noticed textures, the white silkiness of the trunks and branches of the gum trees, the shapes of branches splayed against the sky, the pink clouds reflected in the milky blue sea……

And most importantly, what do you feel?  I stopped to drink in the view, to absorb the moment, to feel the beauty in my soul, to allow myself to just BE and my eyes welled up as I was overcome with such a feeling of contentment, joy and calmness.  At the moment a woman walked past and looked over at me, “so beautiful isn’t it” I said.  “Yes, she replied, “such a lovely way to start the day.”   I felt like going over to her and hugging her!

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans.”  By being aware of maximising moments in your life, squeezing the juice out of them, BEING totally in the moment, you are ensuring you are really LIVING your life.

17 2013 May

Yes You May – Day 13 – Be efficient and effective!

I’ve purposely put a slightly different spin on what I wanted to feel great about today.  I know that besides feeling great when I add the physical stuff to my day I also feel great when I know I’ve had a really productive day and got heaps of stuff done.  I love lists and ticking things off…sad but true….

Unfortunately I’ve found that when you work for yourself and from your home there can be a tendency to procrastinate.  There’s no-one to be accountable to but yourself.  Those nasty jobs on my to do list slip further and further down and inevitably cause me to wake in the middle of the night fretting over the fact that I STILL haven’t done them!

So today, I gave myself permission to “Be efficient and effective!”  This became my mantra for the day.  I wrote myself a new list with all those yukky nasty jobs prioritised at the top of the list.  I divided my day up into chunks of time so I had a deadline to work to.  I allowed myself 5 min at the end of every 2 hrs to check out what was happening on facebook, or send a chatty email, or do some other little reward type thing. If I felt tempted to dilly dally any longer than 5 min I’d just keep repeating my mantra, “Be efficient and effective.”  I even put off doing this blog until those prioritised jobs were done or at least had a good start on them…(I’m talking about stuff like getting my tax info sorted for my accountant.)

And now, it’s the end of my work day,  I’ve achieved heaps and I feel quite smug and self righteous AND to celebrate…. me and hubby are off down to the local pub for a few drinks.  You see I won a $50 drinks and food voucher when I put my business card into a box and now we’re off to redeem it.  Another thing to make me feel great about today. 🙂

16 2013 May

Yes You May! – Days 11 and 12 – It doesn’t take much.

Both yesterday and today were busy, busy mornings and I didn’t get to get out in the early morning for my usual sunrise exercise that makes me feel so good.  And, I must admit I was struggling to think of what I could fit into my day that was a bit different and would make my day a bit more special.

What I decided on for yesterday made me realise that 1. how privileged I am to be able to do this and 2. how demotivational-posters-determinationso may people do this every day and probably don’t think anything of it.  What did I do……..?  I decided that on my way home from taking my Active Mums exercise class that I would stop at a cafe for just half and hour and treat myself to lunch.  Now I’m a packed lunch type of gal so this was quite a treat!  While eating my lunch I caught up on magazine gossip from December last year…they really need to update their magazines!  It was a lovely little break in my day to recharge my batteries and treat myself.

Today, following along with my theme from yesterday that it doesn’t take much, I decided instead of driving up to post my mail and do some banking, that I would take half an hour out of my day and walk up in the fresh air and sunshine.  So I did and came back feeling just great!

Life/Work balance is so important and it is very easy to allow our days to get busier and busier until it seems that there is no way out.  But there is!  Hopefully what this blog is showing is that once you set your mind to looking for ways to get a bit of balance in your life and if you are commited to doing just that then, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” And…..It doesn’t take much! 🙂