Seek, and you shall find.

I love looking at property. If I was a better sales person, I might even have gone into real estate. With our new focus over the last few months, I’ve looked at quite a few blocks of land so far, and we’ve now visited a few too. Everything starts to merge into one eventually, so wanted to remember the ones we’d physically seen, what worked and what didn’t…so here we go – welcome to my rolling list of green grass possibilities…

Rengaru Solar Village

If you’ve been reading about our journey for a while, you’ll know that I’ve rabbited on and on about this one and it was pretty heart-breaking to let it go 😦

Pros for both: Part of a village with same values, community feel, good fencing, gated, school up the road – with bus stop at gate, owners that had created an amazing organic, permaculture type environment

Cons: No transportable option due to limited access, long metal road to property, looong windey ride to Warkworth (and daycare/play centre), average wi-fi (well, I got nothing on iphone, Mark was fine on Samsung!)

Lot 8 / Kahu – 1.54ha

Pros: On top of a slope with a northerly aspect for part of it, good size, lovely rural views, lovely top soil, good road to drive.

Cons: Signs of erosion, sloping land – with no sun on parts, tricky site to build with average soil, no services – and large costs associated to how things need to be done due to covenants, very few established trees, no water source (although did have troughs for animals), lots of houses visible

Lot 4 /Kotare – 1.3ha

Pros: Lovely block of mature trees, reasonable cost

Cons: Mostly in a dip, very little northerly aspect, massive wetland across middle, steep driveway, signs of erosion, no services – and large costs associated to how things need to be done due to covenants and wetland, neighbours very close.

Lot 15, 262 West Coast Road, Ahuroa – 1.03ha

We didn’t stop to look at this one, but drove past it twice. We’d considered stopping, but it had an offer on it, and one back-up so it was more for getting a feel for what was on offer .

Pros: Beautiful trees, power to boundary

Cons: On a main road, very exposed to road so little privacy, wetland area (again!), a very weird shape, a lot of trees just other side of boundary.

276 Wech Access Road, Makarau – 1.27ha

Another one we drove past twice as it already had a contract in place by the time we inquired about it. It really was as pretty as a picture though!!

Pros: Power to boundary, just soooo pretty

Cons: Main road so less privacy, not many trees on actual land – all along boundary, went for low $500’s so more than we want to spend on land only

Lot 1 (1.29ha) & Lot 2 (1.28ha) Martin Access Road, Makarau

Gosh. These were rough as. They had just been felled of their pine trees, and I’d seriously worry about losing Luc (or possibly even Leo!) down one off the dips… it was completely topsy-turvy. Soooo fascinating to see what all is on offer! Lovely helpful agent though.

Pros for both: Lovely views (although there was new pines just planted, so not sure how that would effect the views later!), sooooo quiet, the whistling through the trees was sublime, fencing, power to boundary, off access road, did I mention how quiet!!

Cons for both: Roly poly and hilly as!! Looked very different to what I saw in pics, and was surprised by the up/down contour. A lot of unusable ground, maybe for goats! Southerly aspect, a lot of wind, and a massive pine block immediately behind us that will be coming down soon I’d say. Lot 1 was in a valley too, so maybe less wind – but less views too. Very interesting spaces!!

Up until this point, we’ve only looked at stuff in Makarau/Ahuroa – Mark really liked the idea of having 2 options to get to work – via west or North depending on traffic. And Ahuroa School looks too sweet.

Kaipara Flats is also an option though, so we decided to have a look at what was on offer that way. Interestingly enough, all the properties we wanted to look at were under Peter Morton @ Ray White – very convenient tbh.

It was A LOT of metal road to get there, but I think it was because we came from Makarau. Kaipara has a totally different feel than Makarau/Ahuroa – I think it’s got more open space (Kaipara Flats! Duh!) and we really really liked the feel, the small town hamlet and the sports club. I’m not however sure how often things come up for in this area, so we’ll just have to wait and see….

Lot 3, Corner of Kaipara Hills Road & Dill Road, Kaipara Flats – 1.17ha

Another very tricky space to imagine as the trees had only recently been cut and the title is only due 2022 as there is still some work around native bush to be sorted, plus fencing and driveways. Wet day – a lot of mud!

Pros: Lovely views all the way to Kaipara Harbour, just up the road from SH1, a much easier road to drive into Warkworth (daycare only 20 mins away!), great price, wi-fi seemed good

Cons: Southerly aspect, close to neighbours (you can see them in 2nd pic), off the grid, no geotech reports available, uber topsy-turvy

109 Dill Road, Kaipara Flats – 1.01ha

The pictures did not do this piece of land any justice. Even on a very grey day, it was really lovely to look at. Unfortunately, it did have a conditional offer on it… but the fact that it was southerly aspect was a big negative that I don’t think that Mark could overcome!

Pros: In Kaipara Flats!, really sweet piece of land, possibility of power from neighbour

Cons: Small – just 1ha, southerly aspect, likely off-grid, not much from our wish-list ticked

And now we wait.

Urgh. I’m not patient. Once I make a call on something, I want to ACT, ACT, ACT. Ok, I probably need to clarify that bold statement: With some things; there’s not much acting at all – exercise, weight loss, house work, folding washing, editing my novel (the writing was EASY!)… these are all things I seem to have an inability to regularly act on.

I think about them. Oh, yes…I think about them all.the.time! But act – no. Not often.

I’m talking about SELL A HOUSE, BUY A HOUSE, BUILD A HOUSE. Yes, yes, yes – on that stuff – I LOVE TO ACT!

But there’s a lot of things that have to align before you can move onto the acting part.

One key thing for us is budget – it’s so dreary to not have a job yet (particularly as I’m not bad at what I do and I’m sooo desperate to get my teeth into something meaty!), meaning we can’t officially apply to see what we can borrow (I’m literally DESPERATE to use ASB’s new ‘New Build‘ deal!!!!). Well, we do know what we can borrow on just Mark’s wages alone – but it’s not enough to build a whole dream!! So, we wait for that awesome job opportunity to make an effin appearance. Because it will. Everything always works out. It’s just sooooo boring and tedious waiting for it to work out. But it will.

And so we wait.

And the second key thing, is finding the right land. It seems kind of insane that we put an offer in on the FIRST piece of land we saw (I’m sure there’s an unwritten rule about this somewhere)… but it wasn’t so much about the land (it didn’t give me goosebumps…even though I tried and tried to feel ‘it’), it was actually more about what Rengaru stood for that we loved.

The community. The sustainability. The building of something unique and beautiful. That’s what we loved.

But I’m getting distracted again ’cause Rengaru was obviously not part of our future… if it was meant to be, everything would have aligned to make it happen. I would have got the job, the geotech report would have been slightly more amendable, and the budget would have worked out. But it didn’t – so, we’re back to waiting. We wait, and we remind ourselves of what’s on our wish-list, and open ourselves up to the magic of the universe…

  • Beautiful views – sweeping, green, breathtaking, soul enriching views!
  • Northerly aspect – we got some growing to do
  • Good internet – essential!
  • Ideally 2 hectares
  • In budget!
  • Amazing community, fab neighbours
  • Good schools
  • 20-25mins from Warkworth
  • Nice to have: passive income opportunities
  • Nice to have: stream or water source
  • Nice to have: established trees
  • Nice to have: services to boundary

We’re very clear on what we want. So, now we wait. And wait. And wait. Hopefully not too long, but just long enough for the universe to get clear on what we’re after, and then deliver what they think we actually need!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I know that eventually the stars will align and everything will be exactly as it should be to ACT. The stars always align eventually. Always. But it’s just sooooo daaaayum booooooring and tedious waiting for them to do their thing.

But wait we must… and so we wait.

Sometimes buying doesn’t mean owning

Holy shit. What a two weeks.

First out of the ranks, I’d interviewed for TWO jobs (you many have read my saga here already) before we went out to Rengaru, so I was feeling rather buoyant about the outcome. One was really quite awesome, and the other was ok – but I was sure that I’d get offered at least one of them this time – which is kind of hilarious since this isn’t the first time I’ve been in this situation – and lo and behold… I bloody got neither AGAIN!!

The one I really really wanted got back to my email follow-up with a ‘sorry, no’ (but be sure to apply if you think that you see anything else you’d be a good fit for!!!) and the other one never bothered to let me know at all – even after I chased them! (I just CANNOT get my head around this rudeness and inefficiency, particularly after an actual interview… so if you’re reading this and are guilty of similar behaviour – UP YOUR BLOODY GAME!).

That was strike one. I now had no job secured (or any prospects), and only had 20 working days to find one, which again, was hilarious as I’ve been trying to find one for a year so far… but ever the optimist, I was sure that it would be ok.

Then came strike two. The budget.

Here were our initial calculations to get a ball park feel when we first did the math:

Basic house – $225,000 (Nearly $15,000 more than Waikato FYI!) (Oh, and transportable not an option thanks to two stonking big trees either side of entryway)

Solar – $40,000

Natural Flow waste water – $14,000 (turned out being double what we expected!)

Water tanks – $14,000

Legal – $1,500

Consents – $10,000

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Even more hilarious than expecting to get a job!!! The build price came in at $390,000 (not including solar) – and that was with several TBC’s as the builder didn’t think that it would be a very easy site to build on, and we would have needed additional engineering reports (on top of the ones they’d already quoted), possibly with retaining walls (I did not think this would be the case, but builder threw it in there anyhow!!) and he was pretty sure that it would cost at least another $50,000 more that quoted!! People, that was getting into the million dollar realm…. what are we..Aucklanders?? (Yes actually, but the ones that can’t afford to spend $1,000,000 on a house!)

The salesman was also very un-salesy and said that he’s gonna try and talk us out of this one as he thinks this project will be a lot more than we could afford… and although it had a nice view, it was ultimately just a metal road up to a paddock. And there would be others just like it, for hopefully less – and with at least power to the boundary!!


And then Mark had a builder come through for some treatment and he had a few home truths too:

  1. Don’t build if you don’t have a buffer (he wasn’t very specific about what that should be… I’m assuming our 3% wasn’t going to cut it though)
  2. He’s never worked on a build that DIDN’T go over
  3. He no longer commits to a buffer as it’s completely impossible to guesstimate a build cost at the moment
  4. The shortage on building materials is very real – and getting worse! (12% increase on supplies recently)
  5. Don’t fret – something else would come up that would likely be better!

So when I showed Mark what the builders had provided – on top of a very long (very old) geotech report, easements and convenants – and no flat building platform with dodgy sand…. we both looked at each other and saw the dream of Rengaru disappear like smoke before our very eyes.

And it was heartbreaking. 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

But on the plus side, Mark slept like a log for the first time in 2 weeks so… #winning.

So. The dream has met its first speed bump. Not all negative as it was a massive learning curve and we learnt a lot, have a really good idea of what to ask now, and a much more accurate idea of what it costs to get set-up off the grid – and most importantly, an even bigger desire to make it happen…. if only to make use of the insane new build rates that ASB has just released!!

Key takeaways:

Polished concrete floors are substantially more expensive than carpet – even when part of a concrete foundation!

Building an energy efficient house costs a bloody fortune – and basically out of the realms of normal budgets

Soil type makes a big difference on a Geotech report – and if you see the word ‘engineering’ anywhere – you’re up for a shit load of extra dollars

I wish I had more builders and engineers in my life!

Looking sometimes means buying.

So, we may have got a little bit over excited about our plans!

Turns out, when it comes to bare land, you can get a bit buy-more-itis – just like anything at the mall! We were initially looking a lot further afield (as in Kerikeri further afield) but for a number of reasons – we’ve decided to stay closer to home and find something around Warkworth. (I know! A little bit fancy, right!).

So, of course, Trade Me beckoned – and I stumbled upon this piece of land that I really liked the look of… I mean, look at the block of trees!!!!

Lot 4 – Kotare

Here’s what it had to say:

Title issued, ready to build on now! Rare opportunity to create your dream home here or park up your tiny home to contemplate your future plans. From the moment you arrive through the electronic entry gates, you will see that the Rengaru subdivision has been designed with quality in mind. This groundbreaking, exclusive development will incorporate the very best of 21st century design and technology, seamlessly alongside sustainable and environmentally conscious living.

Rengaru is nestled serenely below the Kaipara Hills surrounded by an abundance of native trees, birds and wildlife. Peaceful and tranquil, yet just a short drive to Warkworth, SH1 and SH16, East Coast beaches and the Matakana Coast Wine Country.

Kotare is one of just 6 sections available within approximately 100 hectares of organically run farm. A stunning 1.3ha, two paddock section; the north facing house site is beautifully nestled into the landscape with a backdrop of a Kahikatea grove and panoramic rural views. The driveway to your section, fencing and gravity fed stock trough are already in place. Geotechnical report is available and sensible covenants are in place to protect your asset for the future. Don’t delayβ€”call for more details and to start your journey to lifestyle living! Additional information available at tiny home, transportable homes, solar, eco living, sustainable living, off grid, passive solar, environmental living, alternative living, organic

No, we won’t delay! Where the hell do we sign up?? Let us at it….

*Heads to website and feverishly reads about this little bit of paradise*

Shit. It’s off-grid. As in COMPLETELY off-grid. But it’s so lovely. Maybe we can make it work. Maybe we’ll just go and have a look. Maybe we’ll just start our journey by looking at this one property, which will be a good gauge when we look at others. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Appointment requested. We’re off to see this piece of land. Just to look. We won’t buy now. Of course not. We can’t. Our house isn’t sold, and I’ve yet to find enough work (rather important to secure the loan). Even though Rengaru whispers to our souls about living lightly on the land, and co-creating a haven with a community for a better future for all!

We’ll just look.

So, it went something like this….

We got there and released our krakens! They bolted straight down to the streams edge, and started throwing stones into it. I met – and immediately adored – Jo Montague from Harcourts. I totally over-shared (yes, yes, those that know me stop your snickering!) and said that we’ve got the smallest of small budgets, that we’re not normal Aucklander’s with a million dollars available, that we’re desperate to be part of such an incredible opportunity, that Mark literally reads soil books, and that we absolutely love what Bev and Dave had done! Yes, we absolutely kept our cards completely close to our chests. (When I say ‘we’, I actually mean ‘me’! πŸ˜‚)

“I’m sure we can make it work,” she said calmly.

“Now, I know you wanted to see Lot 4 (1.31ha, more than we paid for our first house!), but I think we’ll just have a look at Lot 8 first (1.55ha – and a mere $30,000 more). I feel like your family would have a lot more room to do the things you want to on that one. We’ve also had someone look at Lot 4 twice now and they’re close to putting in an offer.”

Lot 8 – Kahu

Um. Ok. Cause we’re just looking and totally not buying.

What was that? Did anyone else hear that loud bang???

Ahhh, only Mark falling utterly and completely in love. Hard.

Oh, shit (and yes, there was a lot of that!!). We’re not just looking. We’re talking offers. We’re talking about actually buying this baby! But we haven’t sold our house yet. I’m still looking for some more work. We can’t do this. How are we going to make it work? How can we do it??

Mark looks at me with those beautiful blue eyes.

“I’m sure we can make it work,” he said calmly.

So, yes, we’ve put an offer in, with some conditions, and after much to-ing and fro-ing, we’ve struck a deal. And now we’re working really, really hard to see if we can make it happen… because, like everyone keeps telling me…

“I’m sure we can make it work.”

Stick around my friends, let’s see if we actually can.

Highlights of the day:

Leo herding a sheep back in its pen… he was so damned pleased! He looked at me and said, ‘Mum, I didn’t think that I could do that!’

Luc running around like such a headless chook that he fully exhausted himself, and had to be carried back to the car – which meant that I got covered in the sheep shit that was all over his boots!

Putting an offer in on a piece of land that we love.

Dream a little dream.

Mark and I have been together a looooong time. As in from the previous decade, before the last one, long! We’ve had a lot of dreams. To travel (ongoing). To have a beautiful family (tick). Buy a house (tick). Build a house (on the list). Live a sustainable life on a beautiful homestead (starting to happen right now!!!!).

The itch to have space, space and more space has become harder and harder to ignore as we’ve got older, and particularly after the weirdness of last year. I’m no small-town girl… I’ve tried it twice before and hated it. But all those times were in suburbia. Which is exactly the same suburbia in big cities (which I’m not a fan of either) – but without the benefits. I’m not sure I’m a natural country girl either (although I do love a pair of wellies). But I want to be. I really want to be. There’s something about the thought of that lifestyle that makes my feet itch and my soul crave. Maybe I am those things I thought I never was and I just haven’t had the opportunity to set them free. And even if I’m not, it’s the space I’ll love. And lucky for me, Mark is that guy – a small town, homesteader kinda guy. So, we’re going to do it and it will be bloody awesome.

We took the first step to make it happen by putting our first home, in a small rural town, on the market. And it feels great. I’m just so delighted that we’ve taken that first step to make the next one happen. And the universe is good like that, it will support us as it’s coming from a place of love, growth and a desire to be better. That positive energy will make magic happen.

Of course, this will come with a lot of change. That doesn’t really scare me all that much. I do love (some) change. I have to regularly remind myself that ‘wherever I go, there I am’ because I’m always dreaming up this or that type of change! If I can’t be exquisitely happy where I am, it’s likely that I won’t be anywhere else either. But if it’s coming from a place of love – then all will be well. It’s still scary though to take a chance. I believe there are no wrong decisions, and we could always make a another decision if this one doesn’t work out. But really, all I’m feeling is such excitement about what could be….

Although we’ve talked about this for years, we’ve recently had some amazing inspiration from a number of sources, one of which was ‘Biggest Little Farm’ on Neon. I actually watched it first on my own, and then forced the family to watch it again the next evening. It’s all the things that we’ve started appreciating and thinking about ourselves.

We’re not going down that path. It was a huge project. But It was still soooo inspiring to see what they did. And so, a number of You Tube clips have followed, all on biodiverse and permaculture farming. Mark is waaaayyyy into it. I know. Riveting watching. But it really is. Being able to grow your own food is pretty frecken awesome!

But first steps first. Sell house. Buy new house. Live the dream. Easy peasy, right? Totally. πŸ™‚

Need job. Will write.

Having babies is a lot of work. Not just making them, but living with them too. You know what’s harder than that? Trying to find a job AFTER having a baby during a global pandemic.

Now we’re talking next level struggle.

Seriously. It’s been hard. Especially when all I want to do is write some epic content and earn some effin money. Seems simple. So simple.

To be fair, it was simple on my first rodeo. Although we didn’t have a global pandemic then. Well, we did actually have a small one in East Africa (heard of Ebola?) but it hardly caused a blip globally.

First baby went like this. “It’s time – let’s have a baby!”. 9 months later – positive test. 9 months later – beautiful baby boy. 9 months later – first job post-maternity.

And the second one? Well, he took THREE years before he deigned us with a positive pregnancy test so the signs were already there that this was going to be an entirely different rodeo! And it has been…. including my 50+ job applications (I stopped counting after that) and 16 interviews to date. That’s correct. I’ve had some sort of post-pandemic interview/call/zoom with SIXTEEN people – and I’m still mostly unemployed.


I don’t even want a whole job. Just a half one. Or even a quarter. But that apparently makes it even tougher! At time of writing, seek had over 3,138 jobs for full-time marketing roles, and a whopping 479 for part-time roles. So, the odds are well and truly stacked against me.

It’s been more than a year since I first started putting feelers out for work, so I consider myself a bit of an expert now (I do love to be an #expert) and the things I’ve discovered are…

Don’t expect a reply….

Yes. I know. All that effort, none of the reward. For the average job application, I’ll have a good read of the job description, a good look at their website, LinkedIn and other available platforms, and then craft a really good cover letter… but all that effort does not mean that YOU’LL GET ANY SORT OF RESPONSE!

Shocking. Rude. And so absolutely inexcusable.

Is it REALLY that hard to reply to an application with a quick ‘Hey! It’s an employees market at the moment and we’re being hammered by some really strong candidates. You’re likely not going to be good enough, but thanks for making the effort anyhow, ’cause, well you just never know, right? Also, by the way, we’ll only be contacting successful applicants. Have a nice life if you don’t hear back from us’?

Seriously. You can automate this stuff, there’s some pretty good technology out there for those that missed the memo. Agree, not all places are shit at this. For some industries – like recruitment and large corporates – auto-reply is standard, but it’s not always good. (Please check out this lady on how to do it well!)

And then there’s those that nail it…. like this one from Garden to Table – simple, to the point, and leveraging any opportunity to get their brand out there with some social links. Ten out of ten. Spoiler alert: I didn’t get the job, or even an interview, but they did get back to me as promised.

Sadly though, a stellar application acknowledgment really stands out more than it should in this game. Some people totally get this and are trying to make a change.

But sometimes you’ll get a reply – even when you don’t expect it anymore

Ok. All potential employers – listen up! You know that saying ‘rather late than never’. Well, when it comes to letting someone know they didn’t get the job and it’s been more than 4 weeks since they applied – DON’T BOTHER, they’ve worked it out! I’m not sure why, but this really annoyed me. It seems token. And pointless. And a bit of a KPI. Please refer to above point for how it should be done.

When it comes to being rejected – I prefer email

I’ve got a feeling this might be a bit controversial but I would genuinely just prefer my ‘Dear Johns’ via email. I’ve had three calls like this – and they suck. Firstly, when you realise it’s someone you’ve interviewed with, you kind of get excited. A call is good news, right? Um. Wrong. You then have to listen to how it’s not personal, you’re a great candidate… just, well, not as good as the others basically. An email with some solid feedback is all I need, thanks. (Here’s a different perspective for those that like to play devil’s advocate)

Hire for attitude, you can always teach skills!’ (Insert a gazillion laughing emojis!)

Um, in an ideal world, this would be #truth. But over here in the real world – it’s a load of bollocks. This and the ‘transferable skills’ line. All bollocks. Experience wins the race. Maybe not all the time, but I’d say most of the time. Interestingly enough, for one of the jobs I applied for (and was knocked back not once but TWICE), the amazing recruitment agent, Sarah from Execucare, mentioned that people who would normally have got the job the year before weren’t even getting interviews. So…. maybe this does prevail at other times, but it was certainly not my experience this time.

Don’t re-advertise the job BEFORE you’ve actually rejected all the candidates

True story. One phone interview. One in-person interview including 2 Ubers, lippy, heels and a blow dry (they seemed fancy!), and they didn’t have the courtesy to let me know that I wasn’t what they were after before re-advertising. I was gutted because it was a company I really liked and had followed for a while. I still get a bad taste in my mouth when I see their posts pop-up. I likely wasn’t a good fit (refer fancy comment above) – but still, so not cool!

Contacts are king (Or queen. Or both. Or just #legends)

This. A thousand times this. Never a truer word was said. It’s the only way that I’ve got work so far. It’s people that know me and are confident in taking a risk on me. They know I’ve got an incredible work ethic, I’ll get the job done, and that I’ll bend over backwards to support however I can. Hallelujah for my contacts. You are all my rock stars in this disgruntling, ground-hog epic.

However you say it – it’s still no

Got some time? Have a read of the range of no’s that have popped into my email over the last year. I’m sure one day I’ll look back at this, and be like, lucky that happened… but mostly I really just wished that someone had seen the incredible potential I offered and taken a chance on me.

Of course I know that my no meant someone else’s yes (damn I love that sentence!), but it still sucked.

However, it is what it is, and there’s no point in crying about it. So instead I wrote about it. That’s what I do. Now, let’s play a game…. why don’t you sit down, grab some tequila (or some other enjoyable something that you can get away with), and have a shot on me for every time you read ‘unfortunately’.

Get ready, team – my loss is your gain – your day is about to get a whole lot more fun!

‘Thanks for getting in touch.Β  I really appreciate your interest in joining our company and want to thank you for the time and energy you invested in applying for our job opening.Β  I greatly enjoyed our time together, including your lovely personality and great energy. Though your qualifications are impressive, we have unfortunately decided to move forward with a candidate whose experiences better meet our needs for this particular role. We hope you’ll keep us in mind and apply again in the future should you see a job opening for which you qualify.’

‘We have been fortunate to receive a huge number of great applications from highly experienced candidates. Unfortunately, in this instance, we will not be taking your application further.’

‘You were a top candidate, however after a very difficult decision I ended up moving forward with another candidate.’

‘We regret to advise that after careful consideration, your application has not been successful.’

‘…we won’t be taking your application further as there are other candidates at this stage who are a closer fit to the requirements of the role.’

‘We have received a large number of applications for this position and unfortunately you have not been selected to progress further.’

‘We have had a lot of interest in this opportunity and we have now reviewed your application and we regret to inform you that it has not been selected for further consideration.’

‘We did forward on your CV for consideration but, when comparing against the Job Brief & other candidates, unfortunately they did not wish to proceed any further.’

‘You wrote a great cover letter and obviously have really good skills, but unfortunately we need someone with experience and skills that fit with the nature of our work.’

‘We have had such an overwhelming run of applications for this position and unfortunately, you were not successful on this occasion as we could only pick one candidate.’

‘We received a large number of high caliber applicants for the role.  In this instance, you were not successful in progressing to an interview.’

‘Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with me last week, I really enjoyed our interview. Unfortunately we have decided not to progress to the next steps. We have a few candidates who had some really specific experience that I think will make them more successful in this role.’

‘Based on the availability of other, more suitable candidates, I have chosen not to proceed with your application at this time.’

‘We want to thank you for the time and effort you took in applying for the role. Unfortunately, you have been unsuccessful with your application, whilst you have some great skills and expertise, they don’t quite line up to what we are looking for and we won’t be proceeding further with your application.’

‘As expected, we have received a number of applications and decided to move forward with other applicants whose skills and experience better meet our needs at this time.’

‘We appreciate the time and effort taken with your application including completing a video interview, however after careful review, we have decided not to proceed with your application at this stage.’

‘We’ve been fortunate to receive some strong submissions for the role and unfortunately can’t move forward with every application. In this instance, we have decided to progress with other applicants whose experience was a closer match.’

‘We have been overwhelmed with the response and caliber of applicants and regret to inform you that you have not been successful in your application.’

‘We have had a lot of interest in the role and after reviewing all applications I thought it only courteous to let you know you have not been shortlisted for an interview on this occasion.’

‘I really like you and there is potential, but there are better fit candidates to progress to the second interview.’

Unfortunately, I never got any of these jobs. (That one was free. You’re welcome!)

Is my writing good?

Dearest Diana,

Firstly, thanks for an ah-mazing bunch of books!! Cross Stitch (now better known as Outlander) was on my radar for ever and I can still clearly recall my mate Kellie raving about them yearsss ago and swooning over this kilt wearing Jamie. But alas, I seemed to never get around to it.

But then we got Lightbox (thanks Spark for that, and now Netflix too!) and I watched Outlander and Oh. My. God – I rushed to my Kindle and purchased that 1st book pronto. It was actually really wonderful to already have an idea of what the characters looked like, and let’s be honest – how feckin hot is that Sam Heughan in this role?? Jamie and Claire have been part of my life for a wee while now (big books for sure) and even though I’ve just finished the sixth book (A Breath of Snow and Ashes), they are still just as wonderful and entertaining.

But I digress…

What I actually wanted to say thank you for was a little nugget of wisdom that you shared in a Q&A in the back ofΒ A Breath of Snow and Ashes. The question was…

Jamie has tremendous sex appeal and his relationship with Claire is both passionate and tender. Were you at all surprised by your fans’ reaction to these characters and their relationship?

Part of what you replied was just such an eye-opening realisation to me….

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 9.10.24 am

Right? Right? Like wow…. of course I read. Of course I know what I enjoy and find engaging… and from that I’ve rediscovered a renewed fervour around my writing. True, I’ve had plenty of rejections (yes, yes,yes – chiclit is a hard sell, we’ve heard it all before) but I still love to read it, and other people do too… so you know what, I’m going to write for them. And just publish these damned things myself.

So thanks, Diane – thanks for reminding me about my own power.


Me xx

Ps Because I’m tremendously proud of some of these, here are a few comments I’ve received from a beta group for my first book – ‘Almost mine’ (currently being edited for the next steps of self-publishing):

‘This story has me on the edge of my seat waiting for more!’ – Shauna, Canada

‘Bonita! I loved everything you sent! Really! The characters are all very authentic, and I felt like everything worked…’ – Christina, USA

‘You’re killing me. This is a cliffhanger. Seriously the best book I’ve read in awhile.’ – Traci, USA

And my favourite (and much-wheeled out) line from a rejection letter:

‘Your passion for writing shines through, both in your query letter and your writing sample. Your prose is smart, snappy, and fun to read.’ – Danielle Chiotti



Love story(ies) & lessons


Dear Emily,

I see you & your beautiful posts. It all looks wonderful & gorgeous and just so not my life – which is what makes it all the more alluring.

And then today, after heading down a bit of a emilyhenderson rabbit hole, I took an unexpected & delightful walk down your memory lane. It started here and landed up here… but i wasn’t reading it for the reasons you would’ve expected. See, i’m obsessed with other people’s (love) lives and admittedly, it’s often because i think that they might be so much better than my own!! (working on this as per my 40th manifesto).

Of course, when you offered me the chance to read about your (no doubt perfect) ‘ups and downs here‘, i was naturally ALL OVER THAT!!!! And then, within the 1st paragraph of reading He’s truly my soulmate, best friend, and generally my most favorite person in the world’, I really hunkered down for a good read on how my own marriage wouldn’t match up to the glamour, ease and all-around awesomeness of yours (hmmm – really need to take that manifesto thing a little more seriously!).

But alas, it was everything but…. it absolutely had the ups AND downs, some genuinely heartbreaking moments, some wonderful ‘eureka’ moments, but mostly it was authentic, honest & real… and i loved how it reminded me (again) that we’re all just people at the end of the day having our own experiences & feeling the same things (both good & bad), just in different packages – and that no one actually knows anyone else’s story simply by their cover (that lesson is ringing bells from somewhere!!!!) – unless they open their story up to let you read their pages.

So thanks, lady, thanks for sharing YOUR love story – and reminding me ONCE AGAIN that life’s simply not perfect for anyone – regardless of how it may seem from the outside… or how beautiful their Instagram page is. (I’ll let you have that win – you really are one styley lady!!)

Here’s to another 10 wonderful years to you both. xx

PS i’ve taken my pledge & do hope to do my bit towards more babies.

Β  Β  Β 

A big fat red middle finger

big fat middle finger

You know what’s fun about TTC? Nothing. Not a goddamn thing. Not the sex. Not the two weeks of waiting that’s inevitably filled with all sorts of hope filled nudges – even though you know – YOU KNOW – that it’s all bullshit and the only thing that’s real is whatever means positive on the end of a plastic stick that you’ve pissed on. Not the monthly crashing disappointment that follows said 2 weeks thanks to the big fat middle finger in your pants. And certainly not the redness that punches you in the face again and again and again for whatever reason requires the removal of your knickers. Whether it’s your 1st month of trying (and failing. miserably) or your 10th – it all sucks. Every. Single. Bit.

But you do it again. And again. And again. With no guarantee that you’ll ever see that smiley face, little cross or whatever. Because TTC sucks. Until it doesn’t. Or you move on. And that’s what I keep reminding myself every time I feel like shit & guilty that I’m not satisfied with the glorious gift I’ve already been blessed with once.

But maybe that’s just me. Yup, probably just me.

Life wants to work out the deets – so don’t mess with that.

wrong way

Dear Nicola,

I’ve never met you but I just wanted to say thank you for reminding me that life will ALWAYS have it’s own ideas of how things should roll.

You think you’ve got is sussed in your head, on your vision board, Pinterest or whatever, your star sign has indicated awesome changes, and you’re feeling pretty sure with what’s what.

Then life knocks on the door (or in this instance calls you) and gives you something ENTIRELY different to what you expected. So maybe we will land up staying in Waiuku (we’ve just bought the godamn house for God’s sake), but then maybe we won’t… either way, your call was a damned good reminder that we just need to focus on the essence of things – ’cause working out the details of the ‘how’ is defo one of life’s favourite things and she can get pissy when you mess with her plans.

So thanks – message received.


Me xx

PS I absolutely adore Collete Baron-Reid & she often blogs about this – here’s an example – so do pop over and see her… I’m sure you’ll love her as much as I do!!