Blackbird Goods Soirée | Winter Edition

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Arrangement by Kim from Lushka Flowers.

 

This is one of the things I love most about owning a store, the ability to bring people together and create community. Upon moving to the Hawkes Bay two years ago, I was struck by the clear definitions of the seasons here. Growing up in the far north of Whangarei Heads, where the winters are mild but endlessly wet, it was a welcome change. When the seasons change, there is no blurring or merging into six months of dismal weather, you have the leaves falling and crisp mornings of Autumn, the bright days and blossoms of spring, the hot golden days of summer, and the frosty and beautiful tones of grey in winter ( I swear, they are actually very pretty! ) So upon opening the store, we really wanted to celebrate those seasons in a unique way, with a gathering, some delicious wine ( of course ) and showcase a local talent with a focus on the season. For Summer of last year I made a foraged wreath and we drank sparkling wine, For Autumn the ever talented Ash from Organic Ash made an outstanding cake and showed us how she likes to decorate hers, and we drank a taaaasty drop of Rod McDonald Rosé. So for winter, I didn’t want it to be brushed over. Although winter tends to be the least favourite for most people, I really think there is a lot of beauty in winter. So I enlisted the fantastic Kim from Lushka flowers, who, like I believes that winter has a lot going for it! To pair with the season we made a spicy batch of syrah mulled wine with the help of our friends over at Rod McDonald Wines . Here is the ( a slight adaption from a Jamie Oliver ) recipe!

  • The juice of 2 mandarins/clementines
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 whole nutmeg , for grating
  • 1 vanilla pod , halved lengthways
  • 2 bottles Rod McDonald Quarter Acre Syrah

 

This makes enough for around 15 people. Peel large sections of peel from your lemon and lime using a peeler, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the mandarin/clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover.

Let this simmer and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes. It’s important to make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol.

When it’s almost a syrup, turn the heat down to low and add the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.

 

Winter warmth in a glass!

7 Years | Lake Waikaremoana

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I know posts have been few and far between, and I apologise, and blame it whole heartedly on Blackbird Goods. But regardless, these images have been sitting on my computer for a good wee while now, so finally decided to get them up.

The Husband and I celebrated 7 years strong at the start of last month. 7 years of great times and hard times, but times next to each other none the less. We took off for a long weekend at a great little spot on Lake Waikaremoana ( Lou’s Place, full of history, great reading material and a cosy wood burner, all for a mighty fine price ) As usual we have a little pooch that tags along with us, which is always fun, but makes it hard to do longer walks, as with most national parks, dogs are prohibited. So instead of one long walk, we tend to do multiple shorter walks. Which is pretty great as well.

Lake Waikaremoana, translated to ” the sea of rippling waters ” is a part of Te Ureweara National Park, and is a wild and windy place, as you may have told by a few ” look how windy it is!! ” photos. With unpredictable and changeable  weather, you really feel at the whim of the elements, which is rather invigorating. It is untamed, unruly and we loved it.

Now looking back at the pictures, it feels like we are due for another adventure!

x

A peek at BLACKBIRD GOODS online store

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It has been a long time coming, but it is finally here!

Blackbird Goods online store is live!

We are now able to share our shop with those who can’t get to our bricks and mortar in Napier, Hawkes Bay. We bring you a selection of hand picked, ethically sourced goods, from around New Zealand and abroad. Goods with an emphasis on quality, beauty and everyday practicality. 

We hope you like it.

Head over and visit www.blackbirdgoods.co.nz

On dealing with loss of two babies, and how you can be a better friend to those who’ve lost theirs.

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PHOTO : Me in the first trimester with Coco.

May. Initially its significance to Nathan and I was it is the month of our wedding anniversary, but now, it’s also the month of the death and birth of our first child, and was the due date of our second.

I wasn’t going to publicly share this part of our lives, after sharing so much about Coco Darling, I didn’t know if I could pour my heart out all over again. But my friend, the woman who interviewed me for my first ever feature in Homestyle Magazine back in 2013, and one very talented writer, Debbie Harrison persuaded me to. Contacting me in September of 2015, asking if I would share my story on Coco Darling with the readers of NEXT magazine as a feature they were doing on resilient woman. I obliged, happy to once again share that story with the world. Partly because I had always felt to share Coco’s story, to try to make the loss of our children a little less lonely. But also because I was in-fact pregnant once again, in my first trimester and due around the same date as our Coco had been, the end of May. I thought I perhaps share more of a happy ending to my story. So we set a date for Debbie to interview me over the phone and went about life until then.

But that’s when a few things changed. First off, I began spotting, which any woman who has been in that position knows is un-nerving to say the least. But being assured by people around me ( and google, seriously, why do we google. ) that it was perfectly normal to spot and that I should not worry. Which I tried to, and tried to ignore the gnawing feeling that I could possibly lose another baby. But week passed, all seemed to be okay, and just like that I had hit the magical 12 week date. Sweet relief. And then, I miscarried. Ending up in hospital with a lot of blood loss and a broken heart. We were devastated to say the least, and really, we still are. But soon after, Debbie contacted me about the piece, and I had to tell her that shitty shitty news, but that I was even though I felt destroyed, I still wanted to share, about Coco, and about our other babe.

The last six months have been a hard slog of down days and a few up. Watching friends and strangers get pregnant and give birth, watching babies turn two like our Coco would have, and others counting down the weeks like I would have for our second child. But I am thankful everyday for an amazing, caring and supportive husband. Incredible family and some really great friends.

But after loosing our second child, I thought, if I am going to share something about it, it needs to be more than a sob story, it need to practically help people. So, if I can leave you with one thing, it is this.

If you have lost a child, whether in miscarriage, still-born or later in their life, whether you have struggled to get pregnant, or simple cannot. Lets talk about this. With each other, and with those around us, know that you are not alone, that it is okay to be sad, angry or anything else you may feel and although we will not understand your story completely, as it is yours alone, but we can relate, and grieve with you. Surround yourself with good people, people who love you and care for you. Be kind to yourself, let yourself  take some time out, feel what you need to, write it down, keep writing. Also, maybe take a break from social media for a while.  It’s constant reminder that people ( most of whom you don’t  actually know, or would never hear about without social media ) are getting pregnant and having babies. And treat.yo.self. Sometimes it’s nice to go get your hair done, buy a new dress, or hand cream, take a bath. You deserve a little pampering girlfriend. And lastly, I can tell you, it does get better, it does not fade completely, it will never be the same as it was before, you will not forget your children ( and why would you want to ) but you will be okay. I promise.

And for those around us. Please don’t be afraid to talk to us. Acknowledge our loss, and pain. But not just the feeling, but our child, if they have a name, say their name. They are so real to us. It hurts us more when you ignore it. We know you don’t know what to say, neither do we. But you don’t have try to understand or even act like you do. Don’t try to fix it, it’s unfixable. Yes, we won’t always feel this shit, but we will always feel pain. Also, don’t forget about the men in the scenario, they have lost children too and most likely are doing a stand up job looking after the mother of said child, they could probably do with a beer and someone to talk to too. Next, please don’t ask if we are going to try again, or if we are trying, we probably are, and if we aren’t, it’s none of your business unless we make it yours ( that goes for asking people in general, if someones not talking about having babies, don’t ask them, you don’t know their journey ). Also, please don’t say there will be more children, that it will happen in the right time or that you are young and have our whole lives ahead of us. We know all of this, but it hurts and makes us want to punch you in the face when you do, even if you mean well. Remember we are dealing with the hormones and changes of somebody post baby, it’s not a fun place. Please don’t invite us to your kids party’s or ask us to hold your babies ( unless we ask to ). We really do love them, but it’s just kinda hard, at least for a while. And of course all of these is may vary from person, so when in doubt, just ask.

But what you can do is listen, bring some food, bring some wine, bring a shitty movie, do some gardening, stack the dishwasher, anything. And don’t wait for us to ask ( Well at least ask if it’s okay to come around ) as most of us a true proud to say yes, so just do it. We need it. But mostly just continue to be our friend, love us, we will come right eventually.

If you would like to read more of mine and two other incredible woman talk about  resilience through hardship, you can do so in the July issue NEXT magazine, out now.

Special thanks to the lovely Debbie Harrison
for helping me share this.