Polly Greeks: Creepy-crawly innovations

Rather than being bugged out by creepy-crawlies, Polly perceives the potential for additional income.

Recommended Reading: Books by Aotearoa/New Zealand authors

Our resident bibliophile shares her thoughts on novels penned within our own shores

Rebecca Stewart: A No. 8 wire attitude

Rebecca knows that the No. 8 wire rule is a way of life.

Nicola Galloway: Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

These hot cross buns, laden with complex flavours and subtle spices, require a little more TLC – but they're worth it.

Rebecca Stewart: To share with the birds

Sometimes late summer harvests are better shared.

Polly Greeks: Becoming an angel

Polly’s natural capacity for empathy makes her an Angel.

Nicola Galloway’s summer plum cobbler

Plum season is here, delivering its assortment in different shapes, sizes and flavours.

Nicola Galloway's summer-worthy zucchini spaghetti

A simple yet delicious way to tackle a zucchini glut.

Rebecca Stewart: Homegrown Pergolas

Rebecca takes measures to ensure that their trees last a few more lifetimes.

Rebecca Stewart: Following in the footsteps

Rebecca reflects on the struggles of those who lived on their block of land before her family.

Polly Greeks: Let there be light

Electricity comes to Polly’s little section of Northland, and the lights — metaphorical and literal — go on.

Nicola Galloway: Deliciously edible gifts for Christmas

Because nothing says Christmas cheer quite like chocolate.

Rebecca Stewart: The hardwork reality of homegrown, handmade hazelnut biscuits

Rebecca cracks some hazelnuts and makes a delicious bikkie.

Nicola Galloway's summer-worthy scone recipe

Nicola harvests treasures from her own garden as well as her sister's to make this summer picnic-perfect afternoon tea.

Nicola Galloway: Broad Bean, Avocado and Feta Dip

Nicola welcomes broad bean season with a delicious spring snack.

Rebecca Stewart: Living with the seasons

Rebecca reflects on the changes that come each day on the farm during a new season's approach

Nicola Galloway: Flash-Cooked Asparagus and One-Jar Aioli

Nicola makes the most of the short and sweet asparagus season.

Nicola Galloway: Slow-Roasted Hazelnut Milk

Nicola talks about the importance of shopping local and the deliciousness that comes with it.

Nicola Galloway: Whole-Egg Lemon Honey

Our resident food blogger Nicola Galloway has penned a lemon honey recipe that bucks tradition — using whole eggs and actual honey as sweetener.

Rebecca Stewart: Nature will do what nature does

Each garden has different friends and foes, writes Rebecca.

Polly Greeks: The magic of aliveness

What’s the secret to ageing well? Polly may have found it.

Nicola Galloway: The underrated delight of magnolia petals

Did you know you can eat magnolia petals? Nicola demonstrates two delicious (and pretty) ways to do so.

Rebecca Stewart: All creatures great and small

Spring is here, and with it comes many livestock considerations.

Nicola Galloway: Chocolate Almond Butter

Nicola makes her version of a decadent classic - chocolate spread.

Nicola Galloway: Warming breakfasts for chilly mornings

Nicola Galloway shares her go-to porridge recipe, as well as a delicious grab-and-go breakfast snack

Rebecca Stewart: The Good Life

Rebecca reflects on the joys of her homestead life and learnings.

Nicola Galloway: Mandarin & beetroot slaw

Zingy citrus flavours brighten winter days and this delicious slaw.

Polly Greeks: A winter's tale

After a rubbish summer, Polly falls in love with winter all over again.

Rebecca Stewart: The beautiful simplicity in a bare fridge

Rebecca Stewart reflects on how the need to have a full fridge falls away when growing to eat.

Warming winter drinks to heat up cold days

No coffee? No problem. Opt for one of these soothing winter concoctions instead.

Nicola Galloway: An abundance of persimmons

The underrated fruit with an abundance of delicious uses.

Rebecca Stewart: Bottling summer's sweetness

Digging, peeling, crushing and boiling yacon for a year of syrup.

Polly Greeks: Itching for a solution

Zen has an explosive idea, while Polly festers with murderous intent.

Nicola Galloway: Caramel Baked Apples

Nicola makes the epitome of a cosy autumn dessert.

Rebecca Stewart: The rise of the pressure canner

This modern tool adds a new string to the self-sufficient homesteader's bow.

Recipe: A nourishing beetroot Borscht soup

This nourishing soup is packed with vegetables and pantry staples

Rebecca Stewart: The joys of an autumn evening

A walk through her land during an autumn evening sees Rebecca Stewart reflect on the work and reward of many years.

Nicola Galloway: Time to sprout

With fresh produce prices higher than ever, is it time to return to good old sprouting?

Polly Greeks: An affliction of comparison

Polly turns to gratitude when infected with a dose of the “comparisons”.

Nicola Galloway: Why autumn calls for sauerkraut and salt

Rebecca Stewart: Finding silver linings in the summer that wasn’t

In a chaotic corner of the garden battered by a cyclonic south-easterly, Rebecca Stewart reflects on future possibilities.

Polly Greeks: An unwanted flatmate

“Stuff” moves in on Polly and Co, requiring a herculean effort (and a clipboard) to knock it into submission.

Polly Greeks: On never getting a second dog...

One dog is fun; two dogs are a nightmare, wails Polly.

Rebecca Stewart: Make tree hay while the sun shines

When wet weather makes traditional hay making a drama, Rebecca Stewart finds making tree fodder hay a much more enjoyable process.

Lucy Corry: Save the date

Make room in your calendar for nature’s sweetest treat.

Rebecca Stewart: Fragrance of life

One can not live off food alone. Beauty, too, is sustenance for the soul.

Lucy Corry: A year in delectable eats

Lucy Corry looks back on the year's culinary highlights: best recipes, best at-home achievements, and Wellington's (arguably) best pastry.

Rebecca Stewart: The flight of the bumblebee

The humble bumble is an adored (and necessary) friend in Rebecca's garden.

Polly Greeks: On life and death

Polly shines her light on the cycle of life.

Lucy Corry: Tales of a failed allotment holder

At least Lucy Corry gave the marathon-like task a good go.

Lucy Corry: The joy of not cooking

Can’t face the kitchen? Lucy Corry knows the feeling.

Rebecca Stewart: Winter’s final blast

Nature shows no mercy as it rips through Rebecca's homestead.

Lucy Corry: The joy of cooking other people’s recipes

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and even master foodie Lucy Corry takes inspiration from her favourites.

Lucy Corry: How to say cheese and mean it

October is New Zealand Cheese Month. Lucy Corry gets some tips on how to make the most of it.

Rebecca Stewart: The long and winding road

The road leading to Rebecca Stewart's homestead is rocky, unpredictable, and full of stories.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: No thanks, I’m not hungry

Lucy claims she’ll eat anything — except what’s on this list.

Lucy Corry: Making butter better

Lucy Corry has firm opinions on the softness of butter.

Rebecca Stewart: A time of new life

With spring on the homestead, Rebecca Stewart welcomes the cycle of life.

Lucy Corry: Underrated culinary goodness in Wellington

The capital’s annual culinary festival might be over, but there are still plenty of reasons to love Wellington’s food scene.

Polly Greeks: A life lesson that stung

Seven-year-old Zendo gets lessons in courage, caution and comeuppance.

Lucy Corry: The most humble, sweetest vegetable of them all

Lucy Corry writes a love letter to kūmara.

Rebecca Stewart: The hearth fires of home

Winter in Rebecca Stewart's off-grid bungalow means everyone's drawn to the crackling fireplace.

Lucy Corry: A dog’s breakfast

Lucy Corry's furry friend gets a feast fit for a king.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Guiding out of insanity

Polly attends to a relative. The truth can withstand any amount of scrutiny...

Lucy Corry: Mind your manners (please!)

Lucy Corry questions the age-old practice of table etiquette.

Rebecca Stewart: Why small-scale sustainability is possible

It takes a village – until Rebecca Stewart suggests otherwise.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: 5 ways to get out of a winter food rut

Gloomy winter days can make anyone uninspired in the kitchen. Lucy Corry shares five tips to getting your creativity (and appetite) back.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: A matter of taste

Lucy Corry navigates a nasty bout of Covid-19 and the loss of her strongest senses – her taste and smell.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Ice, ice baby

Too many frozen gel packs are giving Lucy Corry chills.

Rebecca Stewart’s Blog: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

When the to-do list grows, Rebecca Stewart turns to the world of secondhand – saving the planet one rescued tool at a time.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Books for cooks

Anyone for Nun’s Toast? Lucy Corry shares some of her favourite secondhand cookbooks.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Behind the scenes at the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards

Lucy Corry's scored a pretty good gig — judging some of Aotearoa's best kai.

Rebecca Stewart's Blog: Living our best life

The beauty and hardship of self-sufficiency makes living off the land better than material wealth, writes Rebecca Stewart.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Egging you on

Chocolate eggs are all very well, but Lucy Corry prefers the real deal.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Puppy ponderings

Despite vowing “never again”, Polly gets a puppy.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Kitchen jobs ranked from worst to best

Lucy Corry may be a fantastic cook, but that doesn't mean she's a natural at other kitchen tasks.

Rebecca Stewart’s Blog: Preserving up a storm

Bottling the last of the harvest is no easy task when the goal is a year’s supply of sauces, tomatoes and plum wine.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Feijoa frenzy

As a food writer, it's Lucy Corry's job to describe flavours to readers, but there is one fruit to which she can never do justice.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Foiled again

Lucy Corry's husband has got a shiny vice, and it's her goal to dim its shimmer in their household.

Polly Greeks’ Blog: Rooster raises a ruckus

Polly Greeks has a run-in with a good rooster gone bad.

Rebecca Stewart’s Blog: The self-sufficiency mindset

Our new columnist, who lives on a six-hectare block in King Country, makes it her daily mission to live as self-sufficient as possible. A can-do attitude is a necessity, writes Rebecca.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: The king of herbs

Lucy Corry hits the jackpot with the king of herbs — and adds it to vinegar, butter and just about everything she eats.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: Creatures from all walks of life

Lynda Hallinan gets a right-to-life lecture about pest control.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Family flavours

Some of our fondest memories of loved ones come from the flavours they serve us, says Lucy Corry.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Boxing on

Lucy Corry revisits her time abroad in France — where mornings were blissfully free of school lunch preparation.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Good intentions

Lucy is kicking off 2022 with a list of culinary intentions — not rigid resolutions.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: Hey, soul sister

Lynda Hallinan learns that companion planting doesn't always go to plan.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: The best things I ate in 2021

Ah 2021, a year of unpredictability — at least Lucy Corry has had consistently great food to lean on.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: Signed, sealed, delivered

The secret to getting out of a pandemic-induced rut? Revel in the joy of dilly-dallying, says Lynda Hallinan.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Gifting yourself an easier Christmas

Great expectations for Christmas are out-of-date — instead approach the holiday with lower standards, says Lucy Corry.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: A mug’s game

Lucy Corry's not one to swoon over a fine china cabinet, but that doesn't mean she's going to drink out of an ugly mug.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: Are we halfway there yet?

After three months in lockdown, Lynda Hallinan surveys her half-finished DIY projects.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Love is… never having to say ‘let’s go shopping’

Lucy Corry ponders why couples' supermarket trips are romanticised, rather than despised (just a little).

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Pride comes before a fallen cake

Baking is certainly not a slice of cake and all foodies fall short sometimes, says Lucy Corry.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: Life in the slow lane

Lynda Hallinan tries to focus on the little pleasures of her spring garden during lockdown.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Conditional country loving

Polly and the children get positively broody, but news in the valley isn’t all good.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: How to eat cheese

Say cheese to springtime nibbles and grab the golden chance to grate your own, says Lucy Corry.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Reasons to be cheerful

It's the little (and slightly guilty) things like eating chocolate over your laptop that get you through life, says Lucy Corry.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: A lockdown farewell to library fines

As a lifelong bibliophile with bad habits, Lynda Hallinan pays her debts to the local library.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Crimes against food

From spaghetti in a can to letting egg yolks go to waste — Lucy Corry acts as judge in the court of taste.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: A taste of the Wairarapa (at home)

Don't let your taste buds suffer in lockdown and instead enjoy the best of the Waiarapa (from a distance), says Lucy Corry.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: New Zealand’s true heroes

Lucy Corry dishes out gold medals to those who keeps us fed – from market gardeners to nut butter producers.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: The cat that came in from the cold

It takes sheer luck get a cat that looks like a unicorn and purrs like a Tesla.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Cold comfort

A freezer full of leftovers is the equivalent to money gaining interest in the bank, says Lucy Corry.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: Tree hugging for the non-hippies

Can’t see the woods for the trees? Here’s how to find meditative pleasure in giving midwinter hugs to towering trunks.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Sickness benefits

Lucy ponders the much-debated approaches to combatting winter ills — from wholesome tonics to intoxicating tipples.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: The best-laid plans of mice and women

Lynda Hallinan plays cat and mouse with a family of unwelcome houseguests.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: 6 cookbooks to read in bed

To read a cookbook in bed, says Lucy Corry, is to surrender to inaction and read for pure pleasure.

Polly Greeks’ Blog: The beauty of unpredictability

Polly muses over the lessons learnt when life doesn’t go to plan.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Some like it hot

Forget oil heaters or fireplaces — Lucy Corry heats up with spice.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: The world's your oyster

Lynda Hallinan dusts off her pinny and treats herself to a batch of homemade cinnamon oysters.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Less pressure takes the cake

Birthday cakes taste just as good with a less-is-more approach, says Lucy Corry.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: The reality of family traditions

Family traditions are all well and good, but some — like overripe fruit — can fester and rot.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Not a lady who lunches

A startling confession from Lucy Corry — she just doesn’t enjoy lunch.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: A good egg

When it comes to the perfect plate of savoury eggs, writes Lynda Hallinan, fresh isn't always best.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: The rise of the Splayd

Lucy Corry encounters a historical figure in the world of cutlery.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: Sage advice

Sage is a handy herb but Lynda Hallinan has a hard time keeping it alive.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Out, damned spot!

A food writer meets her greatest enemy — the dirty kitchen cupboard.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: What you knead to know about hot cross buns

Lucy, who once skipped a party in order to perfect her hot cross bun dough, shares her most successful recipes and tips ahead of Good Friday.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The new chooks on the block

Polly’s brood gets clucky over new chooks.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: Growing patience from cuttings

An ardent gardener loses her patience and weaves a little magic with garden prunings.

Lucy Corry's Blog: A cure for garden heartbreak

Lucy Corry heals her heartbreak with an off-site garden adventure.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: You say tomato, I say make 'mine a double'

Lynda Hallinan perfects the art of the lockdown liquid lunch.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Nice foodie people on the internet

Lucy Corry offers a cure for those with an addiction to mindless scrolling through social media.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: The liberation of dried-flowers

Before the tanks run dry in summer, this land-lover raids her cottage-style picking garden for buds, blooms and seedheads to hang in her dried-flower hut.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: We all scream for ice cream

Lucy Corry pens a love letter to one of her great loves in life — ice cream.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: Let them eat sponge cake

Lynda Hallinan gets all her ducks in a row and bakes her grandma's favourite cake.

Polly Greeks’ Blog: The forest calls for minimalism

Polly and co welcome — with love — a large slab of concrete to their off-grid idyll.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: A recipe for a good holiday

The magic of baches is in their ability to show you the beauty of the small things in life, says Lucy Corry.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: The missing piece

Lynda Hallinan reflects on a summer spent "wasting time" doing jigsaw puzzles.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: Culinary resolutions for 2021

Lucy Corry reminisces on her gastronomical habits of the past in preparation for the future.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: A remodeled hen house

Lynda Hallinan’s free-range chickens come home to roost in a chook house inspired by the Wild West.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: The best things I ate in 2020

From budget eats to keeping it local, the best way to remember 2020 is through good food, says Lucy Corry.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: The writing's on the wall

As the year draws to a close, Lynda Hallinan asks her children what the future – and Santa – may bring for them.

Lucy Corry’s Blog: A survivor's guide to Christmas

Christmas is a scenic marathon, says Lucy Corry, not a sprinting race.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: Growing apples and kids

An apple a day keeps Lynda Hallinan's parental guilt at bay.

Polly Greeks’ Blog: The fertile soil of marriage

Polly considers the anatomy of her marriage.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Stirring up Christmas traditions

Nostalgia tastes good but her mum's Christmas cake tastes better, says Lucy Corry.

Lynda Hallinan’s Blog: Lawn and order

Lynda Hallinan gets off the grass and gets behind the wheel of a ride-on mower for the first time.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Bring back the tablecloth

The tablecloth has a magical ability to add just enough polish to maintain the façade of normality, says Lucy Corry.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: Never work with children or animals

Lynda Hallinan shares the less-than-glamorous reality behind a photoshoot for NZ Life & Leisure, one involving cantankerous chooks and reluctant roosters.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Kitchens I have known (and loved)

Lucy has seen her fair share of kitchens, some more a cupboard than culinary retreat. She reflects on the best and the worst ahead of moving house — and kitchen.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Say cheese

Life without cheese is no way to live. And if lockdown limits its supply, thou shall make it from scratch, says Lucy Corry.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Pedaling forward

Polly needs a few breathers when teaching her daughter to ride a bike.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: How to sprout a kūmara in no time at all

Lynda Hallinan measures the year's progress in song lines and kūmara vines.

Lucy Corry's Blog: A guide for rusty diners

Been eating at home of late? Lucy offers an etiquette cheat-sheet for those venturing out of the kitchen.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: Boots and blossoms

After wobbling in posh-but-painful shoes, Lynda turns to dainty and delicate flowers in her spring garden.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Let's not do brunch

Why would anyone willingly opt for one meal instead of two? Lucy takes a controversial stance on a weekend favourite.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: Cosmopolitans in the country

Lynda Hallinan turns half-eaten jars of jam into spring cocktails (worth cleaning out a fridge for).

Lucy Corry's Blog: Going nuts for nut butter

Does New Zealand make the world's best peanut butter? Lucy Corry takes on Aotearoa's best while sharing some tips and tricks for homemade nut butters.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: Felted shoes and other lockdown home comforts

Lynda Hallinan abandons high fashion for home comforts during lockdown 2.0.

Lucy Corry's Blog: My top 10 kitchen curios

Suspicious of pristine Insta-worthy kitchens, Lucy reveals the shabby kitchenware that makes a regular appearance in her day-to-day cooking.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: Courting in the country

Lynda Hallinan reckons it's time to start a match-making service for celibate cows, solitary sheep, chaste chooks, frisky fillies and other lonely farm animals.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Is life too short to grate a carrot?

Has the world gone mad with its plastic-clad fruit and pre-grated carrots? It's complicated, says Lucy Corry.

Lynda Hallinan's Blog: Cowbells and wedding belles and country music jams

Lynda Hallinan fears for her children's musical tastes.

Lucy Corry's Blog: A toast to the toastie

Lucy breaks down the essentials of a good toasted sandwich.

Lucy Corry's blog: What is NZ's most comforting biscuit?

Lucy Corry picks a controversial winner in her search for New Zealand's most delicious and dunkable cookie.

Polly Greeks' Blog: DIY debacle

Life whizzes past when James and Polly build a flying fox.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Contact tracing in the Far North

Polly is left scratching her head when her children catch an unwanted bug during lockdown.

Lynda Hallinan's shear hard slog

As the alert level 4 lockdown deadline loomed, Lynda Hallinan hastily followed her father's footsteps into the woolshed.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The in between

Buddhists might describe the lockdown as a bardo state, a time of being in between, writes Polly Greeks.

Lucy Corry's Blog: DIY Marshmallow Easter Eggs

Lucy takes her mind off the lockdown with her delicious homemade marshmallow Easter eggs.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Lockdown in a far north forest

One would expect Polly, lover of gloriously empty days, would embrace a mandatory lockdown. But like a wild animal caught in confinement, she can't stop pacing.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Well-bread

Worried about running out of bread? Step away from the supermarket and make your own, suggests Lucy Corry.

Polly Greeks' Blog: How to age well in the forest

Polly’s off-grid life hasn’t been good for the wrinkles. Turns out, trees are excellent teachers on ageing well.

Lucy Corry's Blog: The power of comfort food

As the world panic-buys and self-isolates, Lucy Corry switches on her oven in an effort to spread the love.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Reclaiming menstruality

Polly embraces an honest discussion about periods.

Lucy Corry's Blog: How to break up with paper towels

Lucy decides to end her love affair with paper towels in the name of the environment.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Water wars

Polly considers the controversial use of the local water supply as the Far North experiences its driest summer yet.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Cooking for one

Ryvita and cream cheese, anyone? Lucy Corry attempts to swap her snacking ways for single-serving, homemade meals.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Spiritual intelligence

Polly ponders life and death after bumping into Dave, an electrician and the victim of a nasty shock.

Michael Van de Elzen's Blog: Rural roots

Chef Michael Van de Elzen is turning his summer harvest into something special.

Lucy Corry: The city dweller's guide to foraging

Even city dwellers can forage for edible finds with a few rudimentary guidelines to keep the tummy happy and the neighbours sweet, says Lucy Corry

Polly Greeks' Blog: Embracing routine

Polly had long feared of a life built around routine. But just as seasons change and mountains rise, she realises that routines are a natural phase in life.

Lucy Corry's Blog: Is there such thing as too much ice cream?

Lucy proposes an end to lake-sized lattes and tower-high ice creams — to all the gargantuan portions plaguing New Zealand cafés and restaurants.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Making lemonade

Polly attempts to look on the bright side after a series of sour events occur at home – and across the Tasman Sea.

Polly Greeks' Blog: A festive tightrope

Polly considers the seasonal magic of the Far-North while avoiding the consumer extravagance of Christmas traditions.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Sex talk

Jim reflects on his late mum as he encounters the trickiest parenting topic in the book.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Magic in the mundane

A big-city visit causes Polly to question the family's isolated lifestyle - if only for a moment.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Done with school

Jim comes to terms with his eldest daughter finishing high school.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Heat wave

The early arrival of summer in the Far North is a delight, reflects Polly, so long as it doesn't outstay its welcome.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Leave the door open

A family friend's death reminds Jim of his mum's open door policy.

Polly Greeks' Blog: A pampered pooch

A posh poodle learns to embrace the wild, carefree outdoors in an extended stay with Polly.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Letting go

The toughest part of parenting isn't sleepless nights or the terrible twos, reflects Jim. It's learning to let go.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Mother tongue

Polly uses her cunning tongue – one of the many languages taught in her household – to get her mum's travel insurance paid out.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Long-distance parenting

Jim juggles fatherhood with the 4-hour time difference at the Rugby World Cup.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Lost in translation

Polly is deeply touched by the power of people when her mum goes missing in Spain.

Lynda Hallinan's Guest Blog: Lambs (not) to the slaughter

Lynda insists on keeping her lambs as pets, even as they (predictably) wreak havoc on her home.

Jim Kayes' Blog: In plain sight

Jim discovers that misplacing belongings is hereditary.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The bunny boiler

Polly and co take their revenge on rampaging rabbits.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Out of pocket

Jim's daughters get increasingly inventive for tapping into the Bank of Mum and Dad.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Writing retreat

Polly quickly gets distracted while attempting to write her second book at a writer's retreat.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Father Time

When his daughter struggles to read a traditional clock, Jim reflects on how time never stands still with technology.

Mosaic shower

Polly Greeks' Blog: The Big Bang

An explosive moment makes Polly reflect on the enterprising wilderness women in the Far North.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Hawaii Five-0

Jim reflects on his regrets and achievements while in Hawaii for his 50th birthday.

Guest Blog: 'How my veggie patch has helped me grow'

Our guest blogger Poppy Vink shares what she’s learned starting a veggie patch from scratch and how her budding garden has helped with her mental health.

Polly Greeks' Blog: All in a lather

Polly searches for the recipe for success when she gives soap making another shot.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Texting lingo

Jim defends the English language as his youngest muddles it up with acronyms and alternative meanings.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The Great Disconnect

Polly reconnects with land and life after losing cellphone coverage.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Room makeover

As Jim helps his daughter rearrange her room, he recalls the territorial bedroom wars of his past.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Cold discomforts

In an effort to beat a never-ending cold, Polly embraces an extreme athlete's chilly bathing method.

Jim Kayes' Blog: The unworried well

The story of an old farm dog reminds Jim that there is nothing worse as a parent than not noticing when your child is truly sick.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The rumpty retreat

Polly and co return to the rumpty caravan (and former tiny home), this time to test out their DIY fireplace.

Jim Kayes’ blog: The merits of exercise

Why does life sometimes make being active more difficult than it should be? asks sports-lover Jim.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Swapping clothes

It's clothes-swap time again. As Polly bids farewell to unwanted garments, she reflects on the snowballing effect of modern fashion habits.

Jim Kayes' Blog: School ball

Jim cruises down memory lane, recalling his Miami Vice-esque ball ensemble as his daughters get ready for school ball.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Sweet temptation

Jim is in a fizz over soft drinks.

Polly Greeks' Blog: What does the future hold for planet Earth?

Some predict Earth's imminent doom while optimists remain eternally hopeful. As a mum, Polly wonders where she should stand.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Accident-prone

Jim reflects on his accident-prone past as his two daughters head to the operating theatre in the same week.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The kiss that cost a friendship

Polly's seven-year-old daughter gets a lesson on relationships after she steals an innocent kiss from an exciting new visitor.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Telly troubles

In the age of Netflix and infinite TV choices, it's Dancing with the Stars which makes Jim's family gather around the TV.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The workforce

Polly makes an uncomfortable personal discovery when she enlists the help of voluntary workers from overseas.

Guest Blog: Ashia Ismail-Singer’s journey to My Indian Kitchen

It was a bout of homesickness that prompted Malawi-born New Zealander Ashia Ismail-Singer to start her blog.

Jim's Blog: Easter egg rankings

Jim Kayes debates which Easter treat is the best and gets hopping mad over his family's egg choices.

Polly Greeks' Blog: When grief recedes

Grief is as much about loss as it is an expression of love, reflects Polly Greeks.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Cashless children

Giving kids cash for spending money is now an antiquated tradition in the age of EFTPOS, reflects Jim Kayes.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The rumpty caravan sees a new life

James and Polly breathe life into an old Oxford that’s more companion than caravan.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Finding the Spirit of New Zealand

In the days following the Christchurch mosque attacks, Jim Kayes reflects on the power of hope and the Spirit of New Zealand.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Reclaim the Christchurch shootings through love

Let the bullet-holes blasted through the fabric of New Zealand society on Friday be a call to lovingly take the hands of strangers.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Too much homework

School-life balance becomes seemingly impossible for Jim's daughter when she comes home with five hours of homework.

Polly Greeks' Blog: An advert for the off-grid lifestyle

A fish-fuelled weekend has Polly dreaming of how to write the perfect advert for the off-grid lifestyle.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Parental hypocrisy

As Jim nervously lets his daughter loose in Six60's 50,000-person deep crowd, he recalls his own gig mischief as a teen.

zendo and kauri

Polly Greeks' Blog: Growing forest kaitiaki

While teaching her kids about the plight of threatened kauri, Polly hopes to propagate passion for the environment that will last a lifetime.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Hopelessly unromantic

When Jim's daughter gets a boyfriend, he hopes her beau is as unromantic as he used to be.

Polly Greeks' Blog: holidays and summer spots

Polly declares that fortune favours those who follow winding dirt roads over sun-scorched hills and people who keep abreast of their moles.

Jim Kayes’ Blog: Slip, slop and slap

Put your sunblock on, says Jim. Forget it, say his daughters.

Polly's Blog: Potty mouths, revelations and #MeToo

When her seven-year-old expresses foul-mouthed fury, Polly reviews events in her own life that should have provoked absolute outrage but left her confusingly silent.

Jim Kayes' Blog: The politics of camping

While camping in Mangawhai, Jim is envious of his mate's luxurious tent set-up which includes a bar leaner and Nespresso coffee machine.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Power versus Peru

The family’s plan for electricity is jeopardized by a dangerous thought.

Guest blog: How to have a Merry zero-waste Christmas

Krystal Sayer doesn’t let her sustainable intentions fly out the window with Santa’s reindeer.

Jim Kayes' blog: Christmas giving

Jim reflects on present etiquette — is it okay to shake the presents under the Christmas tree?

Polly's Blog: The fine print of the parenting contract

Polly plays doctor after four-year-old Zen’s latest misadventure — an unfortunate incident with a packet of crayons and a staple.

Jim Kayes' blog: Painful lessons

Jim gets trapped in the grey area between playful adventure and cotton wool parenting.

Polly's Blog: Bird calls and tubular bells

Polly digs deep to make sense of a world that keeps spinning despite the family’s ongoing efforts to slow it.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Losing my cool

Jim struggles to stay silent while sitting  in the backseat during his daughter's driving test.

Cape Reinga

Polly Greeks' Blog: Just passing through

Polly and the family take a spiritual journey to Cape Reinga.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Exam season

As exam season looms, Jim's eldest threatens to take a three-year-long gap year.

Polly's Blog: The Unfathomable life kaleidoscope

Polly and James are on nursing duties as the kids battle a nasty bug, but in the backyard Bugs Bunny has been at play.

Jim Kayes' blog: Set up for a fall

Jim, surrounded by pranksters, takes a fall.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Bird detective work

Polly and family discover ornithological treasures at wildlife sanctuary Tiritiri Matangi.

Jim Kayes' blog: The daughter-approved shopping list

Jim is banned from buying certain items on his daughters' behalf.

Polly Greeks' blog: Bunnies and penguins

Natural bunny behaviour gives rise to far broader learnings than Polly had bargained for.

Jim Kayes' blog: Forlorn about the lawn

Jim Kayes' weed eater is broken, and he can't handle it.

Pollys' blog: Wheelchair ballet

Wheelchair-bound Zendo discovers a new dance routine.



Guest blog: 'How deep-mulching transformed my garden'

Guest blogger Elien Lewis doesn't let a shady garden stop her from producing a bounty of produce.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Man flu

Jim comes down with the flu and has a hard time receiving any sympathy from his family.

Polly Greeks' blog: A ghastly silence

Polly knows trouble is afoot when rambunctious three-year-old Zendo is suddenly silent.

Jim Kayes' Blog: 49 candles

As Jim celebrates his 49th year, he reflects on how birthdays tend to matter less when you are older,  that is, unless you have children.

Guest blogger: Living the good life in Te Akau

Never a day goes by without Laura MacDonald's toddler eating dirt. But that doesn't stop her living the good life on her rural property in Te Akau.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Radio silence

Jim suffers in silence when his daughters go phone-free for a week.

Polly's Blog: Teaching in Iraq

Training young minds to think creatively is the best schooling possible – and Polly leaves no stone (or leaf) unturned in her mission.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Wheeling and dealing

Jim's daughter adopts a 'squeaky wheel' strategy to get a new car,  while he reflects on the Ford Falcon that got away.

Polly's Blog: Matariki musings

Our Far North blogger Polly gazes into the Matariki sky to see if the future is clear and bright or if it's a little hazier for struggling Northland families.

Jim Kayes' Blog: In the swing of things

Jim Kayes is egged on by a 12-year-old and gives a terrifying ride in Rotorua a swing.

brown kiwi in New Zealand forest

Polly's Blog: kiwi encounters

Polly and the kids delight in things that go whistle and scrape in the night while Pax the dog quivers in the corner.


Jim Kayes' Blog: Forget me not

When Jim's daughters say he is getting forgetful in his old age, he takes it to heart.

Polly's Blog: Growing up in the olden days

Polly ponders the 'olden days' of her 1970s childhood and how her own children are growing up in different times.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Lol moments

Jim's cringey efforts to use the latest lingo provide amusement to his teenage daughters.

Polly's Blog: A vegetarian quandary

When a pig ventures close to home, six-year-old Vita discovers country living cuts a short track from food source to the table. *Warning this post contains a graphic photo some readers may find disturbing.*

strong woman illustration

Jim Kayes’ Blog: Girls Can Do Anything

Gender bias has no place in the Kayes’ household – and Jim is happy to don a pinny or even a frock when the occasion merits.

polly featured

Polly's Blog: The grass isn’t always greener

Polly and the family escape the forest mud by visiting the South Island.

chcolate easter egg

Jim Kayes' Blog: The leftover Easter egg

This week Jim is taunted by a chocolate treat in the cupboard

Polly's Blog: Solo rat-trapping duty

Left in sole charge of the children and the land, Polly connects with the wildness within.

Jim Kayes' blog: Sweet 16

As his eldest turns 16, Jim remembers when she was just a wee bub and how fast they grow up.

Polly's Blog: Headlamp season

This week, Polly feels illuminated when investigating solar power.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Shirt tales

After being mocked on-air for his hit-and-miss fashion , Jim gets some clothing coaching from his girls

Polly's Blog: Love thy neighbour

Tensions with a neighbour force Polly to learn lessons from the land.

Jim Kayes' blog: "Here we go again"

Jim Kayes sings along with Ed Sheeran but draws the line at Mamma Mia.

camping at New Zealand beach

Polly's blog: Easter camping misadventures

While townies flock to the campgrounds to get away from it all, for bush baby Polly the holiday park is a chance to reconnect.

half meat pie

Jim Kayes' blog: Half pai

This week Jim learns that if you need a job done right, do it yourself.

Polly's Blog: A lesson from the children

All it takes is a different point of view to see wild pigs and whole grains from a new perspective.

Jim Kayes' blog: Telling little lies

This week, Jim gets caught telling a few porkies.

Polly's Blog: A barefoot summer

The sensual joys of bucolic living include hardened soles and far better olfactory resilience.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Defending the Queen’s English

This week Jim, is like, totally, worried about vocabulary and grammar.

Polly's blog: Rising rain

This week, storm horizons have Polly pondering about the world her children will grow up in.

Jim Kayes' blog: Best foot forward

In Jim Kayes' blog this week - he’s not surprised by the ingenuity of an injured daughter.

Blogger Polly Greeks chopping wood

Polly's Blog: Stacks of work to do

This week, Polly and James' to-do list reaches critical mass.

Jim Kayes' blog: Big dogs vs small dogs

In Jim Kayes' blog this week - the family debates whether to downsize their next pooch.

Polly's blog: heartbreak in the holiday season

A seaside town is brought to a standstill after a drowning.


Jim Kayes' blog: How to be an ace of cards

This week he takes losing at cards with good grace and a pile of soft cushions.

Jim Kayes’ blog: Things you shouldn't say at Christmas

This week Jim reflects on the trouble with telling the truth.

Polly's Blog: Summer mornings

This week Polly learns rabbits can climb fences and enjoys her quiet summer mornings - thanks to the ducks.

Jim Kayes’ blog: 'It’s a debate Dad, not an argument'

This week Jim ducks below the crossfire of sibling rivalries.

Polly's Blog: The Sunday smoke

This week Polly's fishy tale all ends in smoke.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Keeping up with the kids

This week Jim suffers from a wounded ego when he lags behind his daughters on the sports field.

Polly's Blog: In hot water

‘Valve’ becomes an offensive word when Polly and co suffer plumbing problems.


Jim Kayes' blog: Dad's on strike!

This week Jim is on strike to help improve his daughters’ usefulness around the house.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Get a job

This week Jim sends a daughter out to work - and not only for the money.

Polly Greek's blog: Taro misadventures and aphid rain

The children are fascinated by the sight of inky falling insects, while a spot of foraging nearly sends James to meet his maker.

Polly's blog: Meeting Far North Boogeyman

Polly comes face-to-face with Brutus, the local boar, and the Far North version of the Boogeyman.

Jim Kayes' blog: Saying goodbye

This week Jim ponders different ways of grieving and wonders, yet-again, if those daughters aren’t a step ahead of him.

Polly's blog: the circle of life

Polly's children learn about life and death in the animal kingdom.

Jim Kayes' blog: cutting the cord

It's the end of an era as Jim Kayes prepares to cut the cord to the land line.

birthday party cake

Polly's blog: Please and thanks

This week, Polly finds manners put grease in social cogs while attending a children's birthday party.

Jim Kayes' blog: breaking bad

This week the sky falls in after a slip on the rocks.

Polly's blog: listening to the natural world

The family visit the local marae, and reap the mother of all harvests.

Jim Kayes' blog: 7 ways to embarrass a teenager

This week Jim finds novel ways to humiliate his daughters.

Polly's blog: Ducking for cover

The Pekin ducks are ruffling feathers again at Polly's mudbrick homestead.

Jim Kayes' blog: growing up quickly

This week Jim realises he’s been left behind - again.

Polly's blog: Things that go bump in the night

This week, when life gets scary, Polly goes on a witch hunt.

Jim Kayes' blog: Musical tastes heading in One Direction (downhill)

This week Jim blames the girls for a bad case of musical infection.

Polly's Blog: Pondering parenting styles

Polly tests an alternative parenting method on for size

Jim Kayes' blog: Am I turning into my mum?

Jim turns from hero to zero when channeling his mother's parenting style.

Polly's Blog: A legendary stick-in-the-mud

Polly  channels Crumpy and Scotty when she braves flood waters in a Hilux - and becomes a true bush woman in the process.

Jim Kayes' blog: Coach dad

Jim Kayes finds himself cast in the role of coach, but can he hold court in the world of school netball?

Polly's Blog: Pig hunting with the Scottish Bear Grylls

James hogs the limelight when he goes on the hunt for a pig and Polly wisely stays at home.

Jim's blog: Driving me mad

This week Jim Kayes teaches his daughter how to drive, and lives to tell the tale.

Polly's blog: 'Save New Zealand's rivers for our kids'

As the debate over the country’s polluted waterways heats up, Polly Greeks writes a love letter to Aotearoa’s rivers and streams.

Jim Kayes' blog: Good morning sunshine

Jim Kayes has been a journalist for 25 years. He survived growing up with four sisters and is now married with two daughters. Despite this, he thinks he's in charge.

Blog: treasure hunting in the Far North

In which Polly trades in foreign treasure-hunting for a more sedate seeking of materials and finds it just as rewarding.

Polly's blog: a whale tale

Polly turns to a whale when time rushes by.

Blog: the pros and cons of homeschool

The land is proving to be a natural classroom in more ways than one for Polly and her family.

Blog: traveling with kids

Polly finds traveling with kids a less-than-relaxing experience.

Blog: is it time for the ducks to get the chop?

This week, Polly defends her ducks from a date with  the casserole pot.

Blog: wet, wet weather and harvest fever

Polly gets wet feet during the storm and discovers she has to reap what she sows.

Blog: no such thing as lazy summer days

Lazy summer days? Huh. For Polly and family the warmer months are too busy spent making hay while the sun shines.

Blog: No such thing as a stranger

At a time when travel bans and giant walls place severe strain on international relations, Polly reflects on the kind hospitality she received in the Middle East.

Blog: The case of the disappearing duck

In Polly Greek's blog this week: when a Pekin duck goes missing, James goes on stoat-catching duty.

boys at campfire

Blog: boys gone wild

Young boys run wild on Polly's  family camping trip.

Blog: The great Christmas debate

Polly debates whether to boycott Christmas and celebrate the Summer Solstice instead.

Blog: Insolent chickens and wayward eggs

Polly joins 'Team Duck' when her chickens send her on an egg hunt.

Blog: No walk in the park

A walk in the forest with the kids proves hard work for Polly.

Blog: Feature windows and communal beds

Polly laments the communal bed while a new DIY feature window brings some unexpected lessons – and just a little pain.

Polly Greeks

Blog: You can't get good help these days

As the mudbrick  house construction progresses, Polly finds some workers are more help than others.

Blog: a phone full of memories

A Hungarian couch surfer's crazy music brings back memories for Polly Greeks.

Blog: The big packing debate

There are two types of suitcase packers in this world, writes Polly Greeks, the  Johnny-Go-Lightlies and the Just-In-Case packers.

Blog: near noodle starvation

A new wwoof-er demonstrates his unfamiliarity with wholefoods and a spiral staircase sends the family’s spirits to heaven.

Blog: Big windfall and the big smoke

The big city beckons for a Kaitaia local, but sometimes the hitting the jackpot comes with a price.

juice clense

Blog: fasting and furious

An all-liquid diet brings Polly to breaking point.

cider apples

Rainy day ideas for bush babies

What do you do on a rainy day when you live off-the-grid? Make cider vinegar!

local horse

Blog: A bathroom at last

The demise of a local coincides with the near-death of the family’s bathroom plumbing.

Polly's secret chocolate stash

Blog: The secret chocolate stash

Polly tries giving up sugar, but thankfully follows reason.

Blog: Online shopping fails

Why all-terrain roller skates are no match for a goat track in the Far North.

compost toilet

Blog: When compost loos go bad

This week Polly Greeks discovers the perils of a compost toilet.

Blog: Off-the-grid and online

In the first of her fortnightly blogs,  NZ Life & Leisure columnist Polly Greeks shares an update of life in her mudbrick off-the-grid home in the Far North.

A batch of mud-brick batter

Mud, muck and madness … the family ditch the churn of house building and find peace (and perspective) on an unpeopled Pacific beach.

When it all feels a bit hard

James and Polly hear the gasp of the Grim Reaper but swiftly shut him up.

Sowing a kauri legacy

Kauri, puriri, totara and rimu – these are the leafy sentinals standing guard over the Greeks family. And, in return, the family is taking just as much care of them.

An ode to laundry

A gypsy arrives bearing trinkets, spinning yarns and sorely lamenting the fact the kitchen is now indoors.

Kiwis in the kitchen

When nocturnal noises interrupt Polly and James’ sleep, it could mean unexpected visitors of anything from iconic wildlife to decidedly dubious characters.

Ruffling feathers

Polly and James welcome a major upgrade to their culinary arrangements with the arrival of an indoor kitchen and a flock of chooks.

Hunting and gathering for our mud-brick home

Polly and James feel there’s a bit of magic involved in their hunt for building materials.

Gone with the wind

House construction becomes frustrating with unsolicited input from a three-year-old and a devil wind.

Raising a bush baby

Polly ponders the joys of raising babes in the bush

A beginner’s guide to bush fashion

Polly comes to the conclusion that although bush wardrobes owe nothing to fashion, friendships are more desirable than clothes.

Less than willing woofers

The ww part of wwoof is not always obvious.

Showers and cling film

With the arrival of hot water and some imaginative use of cling film, the level of luxury in life off the grid moves up a notch

A shaggy dog story

The newest addition to the family generates a case of puppy love.

Beware the posse of pillaging pigs

The idea of a gift economy works well in a weekend café but is not so welcome when garden pests help themselves

Meeting the neighbours

Although not exactly living next door, James and Polly’s new friends are models of neighbourliness.

Welcome to the Lighthouse

Polly and James bask in the (mostly) golden silence of their surroundings and become involved in a community venture run as a gift economy.

Preparing for guests – in an off-grid house

Polly and James welcome visitors to their one-roomed mud-brick house although cooking in their open-air kitchen is still something of a challenge

A roof at last!

At last there’s a roof over their heads and Polly and James hunt for recycled treasure tales from a rumpty carava

From Versailles to the mud-brick house

Polly and James’ mud-brick house in the bush begins to take shape with assistance from a Frenchman who helped restore the Palace of Versailles.

The definition of “rumpty”

Life in the off-grid remoteness of the Northland bush suddenly blossoms with social conviviality and the good cheer of neighbours.

A newborn in a caravan

Mason bees, mice and a new baby… there’s no room for them all in an off-the-grid existence

The start of a new adventure

It sounded so romantic… living in off-grid self-sufficiency in the country... but then it rained… and rained

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