Hi, I’m Emily and I live in beautiful Whitianga with my husband, Hakan (accountant by day, photographer by night!) and our daughter Isla. Originally from London, we moved to New Zealand in 2013 after holidaying here and falling in love with the place. We said we’d stay for a year… then we said one more summer… then we said we may as well get our residency… there was always a good excuse to stay and, here we still are, over 6 years later! We were in Auckland for 5 years before moving to Whitianga. After I graduated with a History degree, I knew I wanted to work for a charity and for over 10 years I’ve been working as a fundraiser, both here and in the UK. I have worked for various different causes and have had the pleasure of working for some great charities here, including Coastguard, Blind Foundation and Oxfam. I currently work for Variety – the Children’s Charity.
When we had Isla, I unexpectedly found everything so much more difficult and overwhelming than I ever anticipated I would – like lots of new mums, I’m sure. I struggled with lots of anxiety and was very lucky to have Hakan, a good circle of friends I’d met at ante-natal class, and some dear friends. One friend in particular came to visit from Cambridge and loaded the freezer with home-cooked meals, and ordered some meals to be delivered to the door each week for a little while. It made such a huge difference. Without family around, these friends became family and helped us cope in this challenging, sleep-deprived time. When we moved to Whitianga, I met so many other lovely mums who were also doing it without the help of any family nearby, and many who were struggling. I met Fran, and within a few weeks, we decided to establish a much-needed Bellyful branch here in Whitianga. It has made us firm friends and it’s been such a motivator and a blessing to be able to do this alongside someone who has the same vision and drive.
In my spare time (ha! ‘what spare time?’ I hear every mum ask!), I love to read and have discovered a love of gardening since moving here, too! I’m partial to a crossword and a bit of knitting too. What can I say, I’m an old soul! Being around good people and enjoying a chat and a glass of wine gives me lots of joy too.
I’m looking forward to growing our branch, meeting other volunteers, and supporting local families.
Hi, my name is Fran (short for Franziska). I live in a beautiful small community called Cooks Beach, together with my husband, Brayden, our daughters Sophie and Marie – and not to forget our lovely German Shepherd, Ted. Originally from Germany, I moved to NZ in 2012, to be with my now husband, after we met 1.5 years earlier when I was travelling NZ, as so many Germans do. I’m a teacher, but at the moment I enjoy the privilege of being a full-time mum!
Just after our firstborn daughter turned one year old, we left Auckland and came to Cooks Beach, which had been a dream of ours for many years. As much as we loved moving here, it also meant that we lost the last bit of family support. With my husband travelling a lot for work and no family around, I know how hard motherhood can be and I have certainly had my share of bad days.
After a dear friend of mine had a breakdown, I decided that something needed to be done to support mums in our community. I sent a message to some friends, Emily contacted me and told me about Bellyful and the rest is history!
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