What I’m doing now

Matt and me in Hawkes Bay, 2018.

I’m living in Dunedin, New Zealand, with my partner Matt and our four kids – two of his (17, 12) and two of mine (13, 11).

What I do: I’m a technical writer by profession, mainly working contract. I also build websites for family, friends and small businesses, and I teach programming to 8-12 year olds as a volunteer through the Code Club organisation.

At home renovating: Family-wise, Matt and I bought a beautiful 1904 two storey villa in May 2017, and we’ve been very busy since then doing a full renovation on it both inside and out. That has taken almost all of our spare time – and most of our spare money! It’s a labour of love which will be years of work, as literally everything needed doing, inside and out, including the garden.

Since taking possession, we’ve painted out three upstairs bedrooms, begun work on the fourth (the first of two more bedrooms downstairs – there are five altogether), put in new hot water and two huge heat pumps, fitted a new garden shed, cleared the entire garden (felling or removing nearly 20 significant trees and shrubs), and started demolishing a fireplace. Next weekend our new bathroom window goes in, prior to a complete gut and re-fit of the bathroom.

When not renovating or kid-wrangling I’m busy writing, composing choral music, and travelling when I get the chance.

Travelling: We did a family road trip up and down the country with Matt’s kids (mine were in Australia visiting relatives) from Dunedin on the south island to Hawkes Bay on the north island in January this year (2018), covering a distance of over 3000 kilometres. We stayed in holiday parks and with family, and really enjoyed seeing everything instead of just flying over it.

The kids at a holiday park in Wellington

A highlight was driving through all the roadworks at Kaikoura where there was a huge earthquake in 2016 that trashed the main highway through the south island.

The roadworks are incredible, and the kids had a great time tossing chocolate bars out the car window to thank all the workers managing the Stop-Go signs. The Stop-Go workers really enjoyed the chocolate bars too! ๐Ÿ™‚ We also loved visiting Splash Planet in Hastings – it was a terrific day swimming and relaxing in the water, and I only felt mildly like a beached whale in my swimsuit! ๐Ÿ˜‰

We enjoyed that trip so much that we’re already planning another road trip for next summer when we intend to circumnavigate both islands, beginning in Dunedin. I’m also hoping to visit Japan with Matt later in the year, just the two of us minus kids.

Updated 9 April 2018.