We’ve recently moved into a new house. New old house. It’s actually the first house we’ve ever lived in together as it’s been apartments up until now and I luuuuurve it. Apart from all the housework of course. Apartmentwork was pretty easy in comparison. Vaccuum up and down, up and down, and we’re done! Now it’s more like – vacuum, vacuum, vacuum, lose the will to live, stare down the hallway at more rooms to vacuum, shake small child off end of hose, vacuum, vacuum….

Moving into a new house is  exciting but busy too, with all those boxes to unpack and things to connect, joining fees to pay, mail to redirect, the strange quirks of your new house to figure out (What does this switch do?? Ooooh, garbage disposal. Sorry, sleeping baby in the other room.) There’s so much to do and clean and do. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit like: Will it ever all get sorted out? Don’t worry, I’ve been told the answer. No, it never gets all sorted out. It’s like parenting and marriage and family : Endless. {People tell it to you like that too. All laughing and then deathly serious with eyes wide open and dun-dun-dun music playing in the background. Thanks.}

Which is why I must tell you about The Kindnesses. The Kindnesses have blown me away. When we’ve moved previously, it’s been to places where people didn’t know us, where no-one was really excited to see us. Moving back to New Zealand has been a whole different, lovely thing. Our first Kindness was from my friend who helped us pick our interior paint colour. She skipped her baby’s naps to help me, emailed me dozens of options and even came along to my meeting with the painter. We went with this one. It’s hard to explain how awesome a white can be until you know how awesome a white can be.

Then there was the lovely ‘hello’ sign, from my sister. Just about as perky and vibrant and cool as she is. A jar of homemade biscuits, a packed lunch and a whole day of helping me unpack boxes, from a friend I lived with at University. She’s the reason my spoons are in drawers and wine glasses are within easy reach; bless her cotton sox.

Then a frog card (welcome to your new pad!) and a HUGE jar of lemon curd (actually made with Tahitian limes, because that’s how she rolls) and pinwheels for the girls, from an old work pal. Lime curd and cream atop a fresh, hot scone is my new favourite morning tea. Gaaaaahhhhhhh.




Our gorgeous Macau friends sent us a beautiful print of one of my favourite beaches (the same friends that introduced me to good champagne, my bank balance does NOT thank you). LOTS of food from local cafe, Little and Friday (which deserves a post of its own, methinks) hand-delivered by awesome fellow Mamas who came with kids in tow and stayed for long pots of tea. Thank goodness for your advice and humour, ladies.

Flowers, emails, and some embroidered linen of my Grandma’s, gifted by my Mum. For when you have friends over. Who bring tahitian lime curd, ooh la la.




Mum has been The Ultimate Giver of Kindnesses over the move, as per usual, helping out with the girls, bringing over little treats like pulled pork she cooked in the slow cooker for about 12 hours and soup and little pottles of vanilla ice-cream. Clearly the strategy is to fatten me up, ply the girls with love and sugared treats (isn’t that the same thing?) and ensure we never move again, nyah ha ha! It’s working, Mum.

The flurry of Kindnesses has left me feeling so blessed and loved in a way no overseas move ever has. Moving overseas was heart-pounding exciting and incredible and a teeny bit glamourous, but also hard and gritty and lonely at times. Damn lonely.

And you know what else is lonely? Writing. I read your post on Wednesday and my heart went out to you because I know exactly the feeling you are talking about. You’re tired, it’s not working and you don’t know why. Your work in progress is being, well, a Shit, and you want to send it to its room until it gets a new attitude. It doesn’t. It just hangs around like a teenager with a hygiene issue. Worst of all, it’s your work in progress. No colleague to pin it on or even moan about it to. It’s a lonely place when it’s all your responsibility.

But then, The Kindnesses. Recently, my U.S. editor, has helped me view a battle-weary manuscript in a whole new light. She’s given me ideas, new ways to make things work, new enthusiasm. She is cheerleading my characters, and that fills me with so much hope. In Germany, where The Colour of Tea is The Perfume of Tea (doesn’t it sound so grown up?!) I’ve been chatting online with readers as they read the book and it feels like we’re all somehow in the story together, peeking into Lillian’s cafe. And finally – this. This sharing of good times and not-so-good times helps me understand that it’s not only me who feels this way, that it’s not always easy and that the job of a writer needn’t be so lonely after all. Just when you feel quite lost a Community of Kindnesses comes your way and you feel a whole lot less solo.

So, I’m wishing that Kindnesses head your way, or that the fresh paint on your lovely old house makes you feel shiny and new. Some of the best advice I ever got was to remember that a mood, emotion or frame of mind cannot last forever, it passes, they all pass. Sometimes you just gotta hold on for the change of season. And in the meantime I say, bestow Kindnesses upon yourself. Leave the vacuuming, eat chocolate in the bathtub, slather lime curd on your toast for breakfast. Pull out the good linen and the pretty plates. Invite over a friend who makes you laugh and brings donuts. Be around enthusiastic people, who cheerlead you and remind you – we’re here. When you need us.

HUGS, Hannah x

PS. Very, very big hugs and kisses to everyone who has loved us through our move; thank you for your Kindnesses! And for those who raise me up when the writing is challenging and my mood is dark – I’m afraid I’m gonna keep needin’ ya. It’s an endless thing. Like parenting and marriage and family and home ownership… 😉 x