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Tick Tock my outdoor clock

Each winter month, I have been kept busy at A Deer Cottage thinking of ways to improve the service we provide, and also thinking about what I can add to A Deer Cottage, that not only fills my creative soul, but also adds something unique....winter obviously is a great time to do these sort of things as the wet weather generally keeps people snuggled up in their own homes without experiencing the elements.

A couple of weeks ago, I went with a group of girlfriends to a beautiful tranquil spot in Puhoi to partake in a soft sculpture course and share some giggles as well. My October newsletter I have the pleasure of interviewing Al Scott from Essential Garden, who hosted us for the day - I can't wait to go back and take on some of the other courses he and his wife provide (all this within one hour from Auckland and its CBD).

This month, I met up with Lilach Cohen, and spent a few hours chatting to her about her loves and passions. She has her fingers in many pies and provides great community service. Check out our interview below.

For some time now, I have wanted an outdoor clock somewhere in my garden, but have never really fallen in love with a design, price or size of the clocks I have seen. So I put the idea on the back burner. I find my creativity just builds and builds. Once I have an idea, a vision, I think about it until the time is right, and once I have a vision in mind, I am like "hell for leather". I am really impatient and want to start now! (to the detriment to my husband!)

Anyway, the other week while in Briscoes, Albany buying a new mattress protector for A Deer Cottage, I found the discount stand and saw an indoor clock. The clock had a pretty cool look and my creative juices started flowing. How could I make this clock weather-proof and functional for the outside? Could I buy some clear perspex and silicone, make a panel to cover the workings of the clock, silicone this removable panel to the back of the clock, and silicone all the edges to keep the weather out? Yes! Of course I could! Following on from my impatience, once I had let the silicone dry, I wanted to hang the clock. So out into the rain I went. With a masonry drill bit, I screwed in the screw to hang the clock. I think it looks pretty gorgeous on the brick archway.....what do you think? If you want to come and sit in the A Deer Cottage's private courtyard, overlooking the Kaipara Harbour in Kaukapakapa, and watch time go can book here

Since I started writing this new blog and newsletter, NZ has gone into a complete Level 4 lockdown....aaah here we go again. Having three members of my family as "Essential Workers", I am proud that they are all doing their part to offer a service to New Zealand.

Last night, I did a "zoom" mindful fitness class with Lilach Cohen from, and the recipient of this month's interview. A few months ago, my husband and I started going to one of Lilach's fitness classes. I thought it would be a good thing for my husband and I to do together, as my husband is a cancer survivor, and has had a double hip replacement, and waiting for both knees to be repaired. I liked the idea we could have this time together building our fitness. I thought I had a pretty good core fitness level until.....Lilach's UpFitnz class. Lilach's hour and a half class is situated in Helensville and just 9.4 kilometres from A Deer Cottage, they are a blend of meditation, yoga, pilates, aerobics, bums & tums and core strength training. Fantastic value for money as not only do we come away feeling like we have worked hard, (and yes we sure have!) we are also making some lovely friendships. Lilach previously worked at Club Physical as a Personal Trainer in Birkenhead, after studying at Auckland Technology of Auckland. However Lilach likes to call herself a "Life Coach"and as I mentioned previously she has her fingers in many pies. Lilach, as an Artist, is passionate about the holistic, wellness, spirituality and empowerment approach to her everyday life and coaching, and with her life experiences I'm able to understand how she masters her skills, while making it appear so effortless.

Lilach was born in Israel in 1971, just before the Yom Kippur War; a child of an exiled Jewish family, she spent her childhood in shelters, listening to the sounds of sirens, witnessing death on a daily basis. Lilach is a survivor, a strong "Warrior Woman". Lilach discovered her creativity at a very young age while in the shelters. Her comfort and safe place was expressed in her writing, drawing and painting, she escaped into an imaginary world by using found objects, burned matches became her pencils, old chewing gum was shaped into animals; green leaves, turmeric and paprika brought in the colour.

Now in New Zealand, Lilach teaches art to gifted students at the local college, as well as daytime therapy workshop classes to women, here she teaches students to use their creativity in the found and natural resources. Her passion is using dyes made from nature such as wood, indigo and spices. She describes using the spices, woods, and natural dye as a cathartic, healing, spiritual, cleansing experience; one to stimulate all the senses, not just the visual. Lilach states the spices remind her of her childhood from her mum's kitchen: "Mum was a great cook".

Lilach in 2003 immigrated to New Zealand, and trained at Whitecliffe, School of Art, and has exhibited at North Art Gallery and the Helensville Art Centre. Lilach's Art connects her bond with nature, with Papatuanuku "Mother Earth".

With Lilach's background and life experiences, her big heart, and her passion to make a difference, she offers support to women to help with self love, self esteem and working on empowering women to find the best version of themselves. Lilach states "through life coaching I encourage my clients to invest in their own health and wellbeing, to live a life with positive change through the holistic, meditation and creativity approach". Lilach works closely with the Company Ignite, Aotearoa, (a counselling provider and wellbeing social enterprise), backed by Emerge Aotearoa - one of the largest independent mental health & social services in New Zealand.

Lilach ( firmly believes that to be happy from within, we need a range of requirements to be met and states "your health is not one dimensional, it collaborates mental, physical, social and spiritual aspects, for example using the "Five Languages of Love" (social, spiritual, emotional, mental, physical) to express self-compassion will help to bring all aspects of health and wellness to alignment". With this in mind, Lilach brings the same holistic approach to her fitness classes; she quotes "this is where you can really feel your mind, body, and soul connecting".

At some stage in the future Lilach has plans to host a retreat on Waiheke - one of Auckland's special spots, a healing weekend, where you can be "one with nature", eating healthily through organic nutrition, partaking in workshops inclusive of meditation, creativity through art, mind, body and soul.

Lilach gives so much of herself, she serves herself and her community with Art, her Life Coaching and her UpFitnz classes, so I was interested to know what Lilach does for herself, what does she do to relax and restore her soul? Lilach loves to get away, to go camping, she loves to be close to nature, close to Earth, listening to the sounds of rain, breathing the fresh air, being by herself, connecting with Papatuanuku, that is her happy place.

I left Lilach's interview with a smile on my face and a skip in my step, I had a renewed burst of energy, at that stage I had no idea that we would not be making her next UpFitnz class, as we would be back in lockdown, however, I also did not know that she would offer this class through a "zoom class", and today my body is testament that zoom is almost as effective as being in Lilach's studio in Helensville. If you would like to chat with Lilach or find out about any of her Life Coach services she provides, click here.

A Deer Cottage's Subscriber discount: if you book two or more nights we will give you a 10% discount over your total bill. Please contact us to receive your booking voucher, more details click here

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