Life At The Moment

July 21, 2017

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Victoria Beckham Sunglasses and Fendi Sunglasses c/o Smart Buy Glasses

I wonder if I’ve started taking life in the islands for granted. The slow pace, the lack of certainty when it comes to the days activities. The sips of Rosé  at 11am. Making a largely Dunedin-based wardrobe work in muggy 27 degree sun, rain and wind. Our time, and money, spent largely on food and togetherness. A minimal wardrobe refreshed simply and quickly and dark circles and tired eyes hidden with a rotation of two beautiful designer sunglasses that have been perfect for this trip. A little boy who hasn’t slept the whole night through since we arrived almost two months ago. Though in all honesty I wouldn’t have been able to sleep the night through either – there are people to talk to, scrabble battles to be engaged in, and did I mention the mugginess to contend with? Our bodies are tired, our minds foggy but our hearts never fuller. Our time here is almost at an end. The bags will be packed slowly, the tides of sadness of leaving and the excitement of being back in Dunedin will ebb and flow, and new adventures planned. But right now, it’s 10.34am and there’s a bottle of Moscato in my dad’s collection that needs to go in the fridge.

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July 21, 2017

 

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a portrait of my son, once a week 

Rafa “Tumble”. It was his impressive downward facing dog and this tumble stance that led me to enroll Rafa in a gymnastics class. And now, even though we’re traveling and haven’t been to class, he still loves a good tumble.

Previous portraits here.

Story For White Magazine

July 12, 2017

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“In being gentle and true to myself about how I really felt about my marriage and partner, I opened myself to a journey of true discovery.”

photo Kama Catch Me 

I have followed White Magazine on Instagram and on their blog for over a year now, perhaps even two years. I can’t tell you of the excitement and fear, in very unequal parts – tipped in favor of the latter, that I felt when I was asked to contribute a piece for their current issue around the theme of “conscious”. The magazine has the most captivating mantra, “a marriage as beautiful as your wedding day”. I couldn’t have thought of a more fitting issue, or publication to write for. I wrote a piece titled A Life of Intention.

Patrick and I by no means have the perfect relationship. We simply try to build on our relationship, and create a relationship that’s better than yesterday and one that has room to grow and be even better tomorrow. I don’t want to take too much of your time by writing too much here, but it would mean the world to me if you wanted to have a read of the full piece, available here. I feel like it’s a humble piece, not one with a lot of airs about it, but one that I got vulnerable writing and sharing.

 

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July 12, 2017

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a portrait of my son, once a week 

Rafa Heirloom.  That little gold bangle on Rafa’s wrist belonged to my dad. It was given to him by his grandmother. My dad wore it, his sisters wore it, I wore it, my brother wore it. And now it sits on Rafa’s wrist.

This weeks portrait was captured by the talented duo Ropate & Gitte from Kama Catch Me

Previous portraits here.

Microbeads and Plastic Free July

July 3, 2017

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In January this year, the New Zealand government made an announcement to ban plastic microbeads in cosmetic products. The ban takes effect from July 2018. Plastic microbeads cannot be recycled and there is evidence to show that they pollute waterways and harm marine life. The United States and Canada have also begun the process of banning plastic microbeads, while Australia has threatened to if cosmetic companies do not voluntarily remove them from their products.

Microbeads are tiny plastic beads made from polyethylene (or polypropylene) found in a variety of skincare products. The most obvious and well-known products containing microbeads are exfoliants and facial scrubs. However, they are also found in masks, cleansers, soap and even toothpaste. The size of microbeads mean that water treatment facilities have no way of filtering them out. Their plastic/chemical composition also mean they are not biodegradable.

Luckily, there are many companies out there who, even before the threat of the ban, were environmentally conscious. Many companies, like Savar Skincare, opt to use alternatives, such as bamboo beads to plastic microbeads. As a consumer, you can make the switch and opt for products containing natural alternatives to microbeads, such as ground nut shells, apricot kernels and bamboo.

I personally prefer an exfoliant instead of a cleanser, so the information on microbeads was particularly useful for me. Once I became aware of and understood the issue, I immediately looked at the Savar Natural Refining Revitalising Facial Exfoliator I was using and was relieved to see they used bamboo beads. One of the benefits of investing in a natural, plant-based product.

July is Plastic Free July, if overhauling your lifestyle to completely rid it of single use plastic is too much, you might like to consider looking through your skincare products to see what they contain and making the switch to products with natural microbeads. I’d also just like to commend companies who strive to be environmentally aware and responsible. And who do so before bans and fines come into effect.

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July 1, 2017

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a portrait of my son, once a week 

Rafa My sister and I used to raid this cherry guava tree as children, Rafa has just discovered its fruit too.

Previous portraits here.

Philanthropy During Your Fiji Holiday

June 26, 2017

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One of the most common questions travelers to Fiji ask me is, ‘what can I take or do to help people in Fiji?’ Often this is from parents who want to have their children engage with local children and gain an understanding of the Fijian schooling system. Many individuals just want a chance to experience life in Fiji and develop an appreciation for the issues faced by citizens daily. Here are some suggestions for individuals or families looking to become involved in communities around the country during their stay.

Check with Your Hotel
Many hotels have ongoing community projects with local villages. In most cases, hotel staff are residents of nearby visits and visits to the community, or schools can easily be arranged directly through the hotel. Those who have opted to try this have had the best results when setting up the visit once they have arrived in the country. In this way, a community visit can be scheduled on a day where other plans get cancelled due to poor weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Some hotels engage in educational projects, environmental ones or health-related projects, all based on the location of the community and the most urgent needs.

Libraries
A visit to the local library will give you a good sense of the importance placed on education and learning in Fiji. While many libraries are inadequately resourced, they are brimming with vibrant hope. There are over 900 libraries in Fiji. I suggest libraries because you (and your family) might have the opportunity to engage in afterschool or holiday programs (where they exist). There is also scope to offer your story reading services or lead a craft or musical activity. Libraries are also a good place to donate. Many libraries use the donations to give children, who otherwise cannot afford the minimal membership fees, the chance to become members.

If you are interested in donating books I would consider newer titles. Browse through the shelves of many of these libraries and you will notice the absence of the current reference books, the latest pop culture titles, or new titles in general. Too often it is ex-library books from the developed world that gets sent to developing countries. While books of any nature are an asset, it is rather unfortunate for children, and adults for that matter, to miss the Harry Potter series for instance!

Hand Over Your Cash – In-Flight
If you fly Fiji Airways this is an option available to you. Fiji Airways In-flight Cash for Kids program was developed by the airlines cabin crew and helps fund the Fiji Airways charity, Wings of Hope. The program collects unused foreign coins (or notes) from on-board guests which become part of the funding for Wings of Hope. Since becoming aware of the program I have collected foreign currency from all our travels that seem to find themselves all over our home and put them in our travel cases, ready to hand over to the cabin crew. A few Wings of Hope projects have included buses for special education, water sanitation in schools and scholarships. If you do have your currency ready but miss the collection, or do not hear the announcement for it, simply hand it over to a crew member.

Ask and Listen
I find it hardest to calm the excitement and good intentions of visitors who want to fix everything. One of the best things you can do in a new country, and to truly understand the developmental issues is to talk to the locals. Ask them questions, listen to their stories – and truly listen. Local communities often have traditional ways of addressing problems and utilizing this local knowledge will help create sustainable solutions.

Is engaging with local communities important to you when you travel? 

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