Some Big News and Our Next Chapter

Forgive me for the recent silence both here and on Instagram, but we’ve had a LOT going on the past few months. I’ve been dying to share some big news with you all, but needed a few things to fall into place, and to get through a super intense and busy period first. Now that’s passed, I can finally share our big news! Well, actually, TWO bits of big news really.

As many of you will know we’ve been slowly chipping away at finishing our little cottage, whilst we also hunted for a new home. However, several months ago we received a private offer to buy our cottage…. which we accepted! We love this little cottage more than any other home and we are so proud of the renovation we’ve done, but being a small 2 bedroom, we knew we couldn’t stay forever.

The past 16 months living through yet another renovation has been challenging – both from a renovation perspective, but also just a size perspective. So, being able to sell privately was a blessing since we didn’t have to go to market or have open for inspections. However we still had to finish things off, and actually, it’s really not ideal trying to finish a renovation, whilst photographing the house for a magazine, AND packing up to move out – all at once. It’s been unbelievably stressful and intense, if I’m honest, but thank goodness we had another wonderful thing to focus on.

You see, during the past 3-4 months, we also decided it was time for our family to make a big move. One that has been on the cards for over 10 years. Not only have we sold our little cottage, but we are also moving to New Zealand! Queenstown/Wanaka to be exact. Those close to us weren’t shocked by this news at all, as we’ve been talking about it for so long, but the fact that we are finally doing it feels surreal.

We actually wanted to move to New Zealand (which is where we got married) over 10 years ago. It was post GFC and for several months we tried to find jobs, but things just weren’t happening. So instead, in early in 2011, we decided to move to the Southern Highlands, where we had family & spent most weekends.

We’ve done many trips over to NZ over the last 10 years, but it was our trip over to the South Island 2 years ago where we looked at several properties in Queenstown, which reignited the fire. Then 18 months ago, Chris got a job offer in New Zealand. We decided, since we’d just sold our last home, that it was the right time.

We started putting plans into motion and were going to be moving mid last year. But then…. COVID happened! That instantly put the breaks on our plans, and over the past year, we’ve been in limbo as to whether our dream of living in NZ would ever happen. Hence why we also stayed in our tiny cottage so long.

All these photos from our trip 2 years ago.

If I’m honest, our whole family has struggled the last 18 months. This year in particular, I started suffering from quite bad depression. I’m usually a very optimistic, outgoing & bubbly person so being as low as I was felt strange and uneasy. I’ve felt pretty lost since Covid began, particularly in my career, and this year I struggled to feel hopeful or find joy. It was like someone disconnected the electricity inside me.

For the past 6 months, we’d also been hunting for a proper family home to buy in the Highlands, but everything kept falling through. Nothing was working out and with prices going crazy, we wondered whether this was our time to go to NZ after all. I’m no psychic but I do believe in “signs” and things happening for a reason. I couldn’t help but feel the universe was directing us towards NZ. Chris’ job offer had remained open and once “The Bubble” between Australia and New Zealand opened, we knew this was another sign.

As soon as we made the decision to move to New Zealand, everything started falling into place. And quickly! All of a sudden, the lights inside me turned on again. Hope, excitement and inspiration quickly returned and we feel like this enormous weight had been lifted. Even though we will really miss our families, and our friends both in Sydney and the Highlands, I know in the deepest part of my soul that we’re are doing the right thing for our family, and for us individually. And we’re so lucky to have some good friends over in Wanaka already. Our kids are so excited but so are we. In fact, I haven’t felt this excited in a very, very, very long time.

We’re heading over to NZ this week to enrol the kids in school, and find a home etc as well as having a much needed holiday and catch up with friends. Then we’ll come back to the Highlands, finish packing our two containers, and move over end of July/early August. I’m a little nervous about finding a home as it’s peak snow season in Wanaka and Queenstown, and both towns are notorious for being difficult to find rentals. But, I just know it will all be okay and things will happen as they’re meant to.

As well as our move to NZ, I’ll also be sharing a lot more details of the cottage (finished) in subsequent posts, including some wonderful partnerships with amazing suppliers, although since the cottage is going to be featured in a magazine, I need to hold back some of the images until that runs. But i’m so proud of how it all turned out and I’m also so happy the new owner is so in love with it (and is such a lovely person too). It really made leaving that little bit easier knowing it’s going to be well loved and lived in.

If you have any good tips about moving overseas, I’d love to hear from you! I’m daunted by the idea of packing our containers (as in packing properly for overseas and Custom inspections etc) but also just the logistical side of the move, so any tips would be greatly appreciated. We truly cannot wait to start our new life in New Zealand and I’ll of course be bringing you all on the ride with us!

Stay tuned for more!

Nicki xo

Join the Conversation

  1. Oh how my heart sings when I think if queenstown.. I’m so happy you are living your dream … very close to my own .. I know we will end up in that slice of paradise soon .. good luck with all the moving and I will stay posted on your journey as may well need some insight .. best wishes

  2. How exciting. I’ll live through your photos as I too would love to live over there for awhile as I have family all over but cousins & dad in Arrowtown! Good luck with it all.

  3. Wonderful news, Nicki. Life is meant be a journey of exploration. I have loved sharing your time in the Highlands, and I look forward to enjoying the next chapter in your lives, You have an innate talent for creating a warm home interior, and an eye for natural beauty and architecture. Keep the stories and photos coming….!
    Wishing you all a wonderful time in beautiful NZ. Best wishes x

  4. So thrilled for you all. Amazing how things feel so far away from reality then almost over night it all starts falling into place. Can’t wait to see your new home. That area of NZ is my absolute favourite. X

  5. Kim Bradley says:

    Congratulations Nicki and family!

    You will love Wanamaker/Queenstown! The Geology is phenomenal combined with your photography skills your Instagram will be even more amazing 😻

    Safe travels and happy days! Kim

  6. Oh Nicki, so thrilled for you and your family! And congratulations on selling your gorgeous cottage. Wow, it’s a lot isn’t it?!? My husbands dream is to move to Queenstown so maybe I’ll see you there 😉

  7. Sounds like an amazing adventure you and your family are about to embark on. I too just sold my 2 bed cottage, which was totally gutted, I’m at the next stage of life, I’m 57 and my husband who is 66 in October has dementia and other health issues. So I have just made an offer on a property to do up, and hopefully sell on in 2/3 years time, hopefully the upturn in property price stay up until then
    Lots of good wishes from Ireland
    Sandra 💕💕💕💕

  8. Debbie Dooney says:

    Congratulations Nicki & family, I am sure you are going to love the Wanaka Queenstown area. I can see you fitting in perfectly and we are so lucky to have you come to live in New Zealand. I will DM (on Instagram) you details of a friend who might be of some help with a rental. I know you loved Hawke’s Bay, but the prices have gone out of control and can see you loving Otago even more. Best of luck to you all for finding your best life here xx

    1. Wishing you all the best with the move
      My family and I moved from England 11 years ago to Australia. It was a hard decision to leave family and friends, but for our family is was the best decision ever.
      We had a short term rental in a holiday home then a year long rental, until we found a wonderful family home. Thankful all our possessions arrived in the container intact.
      Our children enrolled at a fabulous primary school, where we made great friends too.
      Putting yourself out there and getting stuck in is the best advice we can give. You make your own luck and with a lovely family and great friends you can’t go wrong.

  9. Oh wow! How amazing- things do happen for a reason and now must just be the right time- enjoy! What a beautiful place to be moving to! Good luck with it all!

  10. Good luck with the move! I can’t wait to see all the beautiful photos you will post. It’s such a gorgeous place. We relocated from the city to the country & experienced a similar thing, everything was falling into place, we couldn’t ignore it & we haven’t looked back.

    1. Thanks so much, Gen. Our move from Sydney to the Highlands 10 years ago was exciting and it’s been a wonderful 10 years, but this feels even more so. I think because we’ve wanted to do it for so long!

  11. Catherine Tebbutt says:

    Lovely to read your story this morning. Covid has been challenging for so many reasons. Good to see you’ve found something exciting and inspiring in your lives. You won’t regret it and it’ll pull your little family so close together. When we moved from the UK to Sydney, with 3 small boys, it was the best decision we’ve ever made. I’m looking forward to following your progress. Good for you!

    1. Oh thank you so much, Catherine. It feels unbelievably exciting to be finally doing this after so many many years dreaming about it. And especially after the last 18 months. Imaging moving from the UK was a bit more intense than just to NZ so hats off you to! X

  12. Cassie Bassingthwaighte says:

    Congratulations Nicki! So thrilled for you and your family and look forward to seeing all of your adventures over the pond! X

    1. Thank you so much, Cassie! Can’t wait to share our trip and the whole process of moving to a new place too. X

  13. No need to tell you that you’ll love like in Wanaka.. seems like you know that ! It’s a gem . If you don’t know Florence’s make sure you find it soon for a warm welcome and great coffee. See Sharyn and say hello ftom Julie (in Auckland)
    We recently sold in Queensland and moved contents to NZ. I used World Moving & Storage in Auckland. I can’t fault their service on either side of Tasman. Highly recommend.
    All the best

    1. Oh Julie, you are a star! Local recommendations already. Love it! Will be in Wanaka this Fri so will hunt down Florences. And will get a quote from World Moving & Storage. We have 2 other quotes so will try them too! X

  14. Oh Nicki!! This is so very exciting! I’ve loved seeing your images of NZ over the years and it makes me so happy you are finally able to live out this dream! Cheers to new beginnings! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Abbie! It feels surreal and we couldn’t be more excited that we’re finally doing it. X

  15. Sarah Stubbs says:

    Certainly very exciting news. How wonderful for you all. Was delighted to have your email pop into my inbox as I haven’t been on Instagram either for the last 2 months or so. My advice would be to get everything packed professionally by the removalists – sure it is a little more expensive but saves so much hassle and they can deal with paperwork too ! This is what we did from Australia to UK. Cannot wait to follow your journey and lucky lucky people moving into your sweet cottage.
    With best wishes
    Sarah

    1. Oh Sarah, thank you so much for the well wishes but also the advice! We are beyond excited for this next chapter. Gosh I was wondering whether we should get professionally packers as Chris has told me how meticulous you have to pack everything and it’s quite daunting. Maybe we will pay the professionals! Been thinking of you and hope all going well over in the UK. I will get back on Instagram more but also posting on here. X

      1. Jilly hampshire says:

        Hi Nicki
        My daughter just movef to
        Christchurch a few weeks ago
        She is loving it. She used a
        Packing co. It all went well
        They packed everything she
        Didnt take alot. Gound a rental now looking to buy
        Land and build. She comes
        From a big family in Aus. So
        I was sad. She is on insta
        Arabella hampshire health
        Follow her. She is in health
        Love following you on insta
        Good luck with it all
        Jilly

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