We are currently in New Zealand with no plans beyond 3 weeks of house sitting for my parents on their lifestyle property near Darfield! Crazy but true, we just packed up our belongings and sent them off to be shipped to New Zealand via Brisbane. We held monster garage sales, listed a few things on classifieds pages on facebook, sold lots to friends, gave more away and then finally donated a truckload to the local Salvation Army. Feels so good to have lightened our load so much that what we have left fits into a few suitcases and 38 boxes we shipped (one of which included the TV that we couldn’t get our asking price for – some people in Gladstone are very used to the transient nature of many that pass through that they like to get virtually new items for super cheap or even free as people become desperate to lighten their loads before moving on!). Washing machine, fridge freezer, chest freezer, one car, beds and dining table and chairs all sold, along with numerous bookcases, lots of clothes, toys and general household stuff.

garage sale leaving oz

Garage sale – the ‘sleepout’ was full of clothes, books and more toys!

My parents have hopped back to the UK for a short visit to assist with the arrival of their 8th grandchild. Bet they never thought they would have eight from just two of their three children! My parents own a beautiful piece of dirt in New Zealand – lifestyle blocks are not farms but big enough to run chickens, extensive veg plots, a few sheep or cows and maybe a pig.

chickens at parents darfield

Chickens escaped on our watch!

Theirs has a massive tunnel house which supports the most exquisite slim, sweet asparagus. Rows of lavender which they had pressed locally into pure oil, walnut and hazelnut trees as well as a variety of fruit trees. They have had cows in the past (got too stressful with them jumping the electric fences though so they ended up in the freezer!) Currently have eight sheep, two cats and 14 chickens. Not sure how long the chickens have left as they only generate between 1 and 4 eggs a day 🙁 Sounds perfect doesn’t it? They have worked hard to bring up to standard the fences, pens and grounds and then work equally hard maintaining them as well as working as a builder and fitness instructor!

kids and goats darfield

Kids and goats!

We own a house in a small township called Southbridge, this we have rented out for the last 5 years so our youngest two children have little to no memory of it. We are thinking about selling our house but after our recent inspection we are not sure now is the right time. I was upset after our inspection (perhaps another post about the trials of being a landlord and how tenants just don’t care about the house as we do?).

village milk oxford

Raw milk direct from the cow to vending machine = perfect!

Whilst in Australia we had access to ‘bathmilk’ raw milk not sold for human consumption due to antiquated legislation but perfectly safe to consume. Here in New Zealand they are a little more progressive and we have access to safe, raw milk straight from the cows with no processing via a vending machine at the farm. At $2.50 per litre it is great value – we don’t tolerate commercially produced milk anyway! If you are in New Zealand or for more information check out the village milk website to see if there is an outlet near you. Our nearest outlet at the moment is 20 minutes away in Oxford.

under the oaks cafe darfield nz collage

Under the Oaks cafe in Darfield, New Zealand

We stopped at a cafe in Oxford for brunch called ‘Under the Oaks’ and was pleasantly surprised to find many gluten free options on the menu and a range of New Zealand organic fuit juices without artificial additives. Meals were reasonably priced, tasty and good portion sizes so great value for money. The children shared a portion of nachos (little heavy on the jalapenos and chili for kids) and fries whilst I had a salmon rosti and husband had a sesame encrusted salmon salad. Great coffee made the experience even more pleasant and it was so nice to have room in the toilets for changing nappies! Salmon rosti cost $21 and the salad was just $19 – large coffees were around $5 each and I forgot to check how much the juices were because I was so excited to find something the children could drink without having to rely on water!