Best Book 2015

I may look like an avid reader. OK, I am and avid reader, but one with a poor memory as I have a tendency to skim reading. I track my books on Goodreads, this has a couple of advantages for me. If I'm in a book store and I think, now have I read that one…a quick look and I can know whether picking up that Clive Cussler or Lee Child book in a second hand store will be the next book for me. Admittedly, it is those two authors that this is the most handy of, but would work with the prolific author that you are into. I also take part in the Goodreads challenge. This year I set myself the challenge of reading 35 books, I track the books on the site and build a great view like this of what I've been reading. Very handy when Susannah Conway then asks 'best book of the 2015' in her December Reflections, I can ponder my list.

I can ponder, but can I choose. There are books that link me to my very good friend Emma, such as The Summer Book, which I read in the NZ summer and added post-it notes of my thoughts and sent it to her to read in the UK summer. There there is the Ben Aaronovitch series which she introduced me to (one I would recommend) plus she sent me the gorgeous  Principles of Uncertainty. Which was a wondrous, comforting read and I may well dive back into that book this evening. 

Finally reading Brene Brown was a great part of 2015, I did connect with her and her ideas, I've put some of her ideas around leadership and feedback into practice and it started a wave of thinking in my mind that could take me on a journey in the coming year. 

I read the story of the A303 while on the A303. Brought in London (with that said good good friend) and then read while travelling to Cornwall with the in-laws. Happy memories all round really (though my in-laws think I'm a bit odd for my constant reading). Relieving that right now, I read a lot while in Cornwall and it was a time I am very grateful for. 

2015 also was the year I joined what seems a cult like following of the magical art of tidying up. Now parts are crazy, parts are wonderfully crazy, but my house is lighter and I feel better. I fold my socks and it does make sense. I'm nowhere near as sorted as she suggests. As we speak there is a huge pile of washing to put away that has been there for two days, there are yesterdays shppong bags strewn across the floor and let's not even talk about the bathroom. Even so, the book was great. Adam and I entered into the spirit of the clearing together and we have done well and feel better because of it. 

So no favourite then, but happy memories, some good books, some OK books, some have been sent on, some will stay on the shelf for now. 

Wake up and smell the roses

Walking around the roses always makes me think of my mum and then my nan. So it's a happy time, but I miss them so. This time I also thought of our first trip to Wellington where I sought out the rose garden in the Botanical Gardens. I took photos of nearly all of them to share and show my mum. Back in Auckland we have the Rose Garden in Parnell as well as the Botanical Gardens, so really never far from my mum and nan at all. 

Auckland Botanic Gardens 2015

Auckland Botanic Gardens 2015

Auckland Botanic Gardens 2015

Auckland Botanic Gardens 2015

Auckland Botanic Gardens 2015
My 2008 Rose Collection. When sharing photos of Roses the names come to life in the same way the fragrance does when you walk by them. These are all from my Flickr photo stream, so you should be able to see the title if you hover or some internet magic thing. These were taken with a Casio EX-Z1000 and I can pretty much guarantee back then I would have been shooting on auto. 

Oranges and Lemons

Auckland Metro

Burgundy Iceberg

Katherine Mansfield


Blackberry Nip

My Girl

Onto 2012 and the Rose Garden at Parnell. Here I am playing with the Hipstamatic app on the phone. the phone has added a whole new world to my photography but in even in the short time since I took these photos so much has changed. 

Week Four. Park Four.

Just getting though the weeks is good enough for me. Yep, at that point again. Switching off has taken a back seat (how pitiful am I), but the parks we've kept going. Week four has us at the Botanic Gardens. It was one of those oh so summer days, grey, damp and threatening full on rain that turned into a warm, blue skied day that I was of course completely incorrectly dressed for. 

The Botanic Gardens is a very popular spot at the weekends, it is great seeing so many people enjoying the walk around the plants. We pick a different route each time, depending on the season, our mood, the weather, our energy. Today it was the roses (but those pictures to follow), plus a sneak preview of the sculpture going up ready for the start of the summer season Sculpture in the Garden which has become a annual blog feature

Week Three. Park Three

Those habits just falling apart everywhere, how long will this one last I wonder. We chose a favourite on a windy Sunday. Murawai Beach is a newish addition to the the Auckland Regional Park group and has a bit of everything. Blimey was that beach busy. I was switching between being caught up in their energy and feeling terribly tired and lazy. We walked the beach, people watched, talked and had lunch. Re-energised by the sea and the breeze. 

Is it one of the most places I write about the most? Just photos here, part of a long weekend, place to walk, as part of a charity effort, when I said goodbye to night shifts with a sunset to sunrise drive, more sunset moments and as place for winter camping.

It was warmer than this looks

The surf guards paying their respects

Energy, motivation. Busy and brilliant.

Week Two. Park Two

Switch off fail. I can sustain a habit for about 3 weeks. Need help with that. 

We did stick with the Regional Park Challenge though. After a Saturday of housework, shopping, job lists, BBQ and firework night with neighbours. Sunday was to be the first swim of the season. Waking up after the late night and the wine, I was wondering really?

But we went. 

We choose a favourite, Mahurangi and packed a picnic. Just getting out of the city I started to unwind. Stopping at our usual spot for coffee en route, watching the clouds and avoiding the phone (so I failed but didn't mean I still wasn't trying). 

That first dive, head under the water and then making a splash with the first few strokes, feeling alive and with energy. 

Then there is the important lying in the sun (I hide in semi shade), lunch, reading, listening to the folks around us, enjoying the wonderful day. 

Adam just lying and drying after the swim

I love it all. The anticipation, the dive under the water, the swim, the way my hair falls once it is sea soaked

New sunglasses

Day 4

Who leaves their sunglasses in a public toilet. Or maybe the question is who takes sunglasses that have been left in a public toilet.  

We got to Lake Moke and no sunglasses. After day two's walking in the bright sunshine knew I couldn't or wouldn't be silly enough to walk for 3 hours without them, so back to Queenstown. 

Not where I left them. Now I have a rule for never buying expensive sunglasses, because if I'm not losing them I'm breaking them. Quick shopping stop. 

Back to the walking.

We've been to Lake Moke a few times, but never none the walk around the lake. It was windy and cooler when we arrived (the second time) so we wrapped up and off we went. 

What a great walk. Undulating, with mountain views, a glorious snack stop and then proving my magical bag packing skills by putting our warm stuff into the backpack. 

One of those insanely happy days. 

Hats, glasses and ready to roll

The black and white version on the phone

The drive to the lake (in the far distance). Blown out sky. Damn this wonderful weather

The colour version on the Nikon with Adam for added value

An insanely happy day

Oh yes

The first half 


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