1. Strawberry season
The best strawberries are Te Arai strawberries. There’s a farmstand set up in Mangawhai several times a week, and I don’t bother buying strawberries unless I’m buying from them. That doesn’t mean we miss out though! I’m very dedicated to picking up a punnet whenever needed. Strawberries are my favourite fruit and the season for them isn’t long – I don’t want to have any regrets!
2. Lunchtime surfers
A lunchtime run took me to the beach one day and I wasn’t the only one…the water had a whole crowd of surfers enjoying the swells, presumably most of whom were also enjoying their lunch break. I love things like that – it’s like a tiny dose of healthy subversion breaking up an otherwise standard work day. I’ll work, but I’ll stop to surf as well! Go surfers.
3. Our new beach bag
By the end of summer last year and the year before, our beach bag was a complete write-off. This year I was determined to do better. This extra-large L.L.Bean tote (I chose the zippered version with extra-long handles) is so sturdy and also enormous. We keep it permanently packed and ready to go with a picnic blanket, Turkish towels, sunscreen, and beach toys, and it lives in the Jeep all summer so we’re always prepared any time we spontaneously decide to hit the beach (we often set out to do something completely different and decide to go to the beach either instead or afterwards). L.L.Bean has such great quality products and they ship directly to New Zealand. Easy peasy.
4. Blooming hydrangeas
My hydrangeas are going absolute gangbusters! They started with a few early blooms at the beginning of November and now, at the start of December, they are a mass of riotous pink flowers that greet us every time we pull into the parking area. Gardening isn’t my natural forté but these are doing so well and I’m so proud of them!
5. The start of the Christmas season
On the last day of November I snapped this photo of the decorated ‘Christmas tree’ outside Bennett’s Café. I haven’t been feeling particularly Christmas-sy this year, after what have been an odd, stressful and fast-moving few months, but seeing things like this definitely sparks joy and reminds me my Christmas spirit is still definitely there, if just a bit muted.