The Balinese Balance

As I sit here an elderly Balinese woman is hunched over sweeping the pathway with a cluster of thin sticks. What captivates me most about this island is the people, their unwavering work ethic and their huge hearts and smiles. You will not find a place more welcoming.

It can also be confronting but for the most part giant friendly smiles welcome you to Bali. The Balinese people and genuinely thrilled to host you on the island they have so suitably named ‘the island of the gods’. They are most proud of their countless temples built to show respect to their Hindu gods. These sacred areas are on every street, in every village and are showcased with the utmost love and devotion. 
Something about the manic-ness of this place flows. Even with its awkward footpaths, powerful smells, stray dogs, scooter traffic jams, and relentless cries of ‘taxi’. It is as though there is a method to the madness, a common understanding and a peaceful agreement to live together as harmoniously as possible.

Here in Bali life does flow. Whether its the influence of the gods, the people of the islands energy its impossible to ignore. There seems to be a magnetic pull, an undercurrent of attraction to this place of stark contrasts. A place so foreign yet alluring to the common traveler.

It has been three years since I first visited and wrote of Bali. Every time I visit this magical island my love for it grows. My perspective also deepens and with it a stronger desire to return once more. Next year will be my forth consecutive visit, unable to resist the pull of this beautiful and sacred place with its welcoming people. 




Hard to believe less than two weeks have passed since the first ever Women’s Wellness Weekend. It feels like so much growth and progress has happened since then. Isn’t it funny, you think slowing down and taking time out to refresh may set you back – but in actual fact the opposite happens, you have more energy and motivation to move forward faster and more efficiently than before! It’s all about mind set and putting yourself FIRST!

swamp walk 2

The sun rises over the Mangaraukau Swamp on the first morning of the retreat.

Eight lovely ladies did just that, put themselves and their wellness first. These beautiful souls gave up a weekend from their busy schedules and stepped into the unknown for two days of relaxation, connection and adventure! Renee and I had so much fun serving these wonderful women who joined us at the Kahurangi Outpost for a weekend of refreshing activities. We were blessed with delicious wholesome food, beautiful weather, glorious company, and picture perfect natural surrounds. There was nothing more we could have asked for.

swamp walk

The early morning view from the Kahurangi Outpost- rustic, basic and peaceful accommodation.

The two days flew by in a whirl of connecting, exploring, eating, chatting, relaxing, creating, sharing and ENJOYING! Having fun was a key component and hearing the sound of laughter amongst the women while we were preparing meals made us both beam from ear to ear. Each attendee had the opportunity to let their hair down, and quite literally feel the wind in their hair. A space was created where each individual felt 100% comfortable and accepted in a sacred circle of women. What we quickly realised is that participants desired not only a refreshing getaway but also an opportunity to tune in with themselves while connecting with likeminded individuals in a beautiful natural and nurturing setting.

The weekend catered for a diverse group of ladies from all different backgrounds and all different abilities, offering something for everyone. Some stepped away with new motivation to change lifestyle choices (e.g- zero caffeine) and others realised the importance of connection with other women. Most importantly, participants left refreshed and recharged.


The girls hunting and gathering for the fire in their gumboots, creating a glowing warming centerpiece  for our final evening.

Renee and I are big dreamers/doers and we have many plans in the pipeline for future retreats and events. If you know a group who would be interested in a tailored weekend retreat, get in touch. For now, we thank our very first participants and all of our generous sponsors: T2, Goodness to Go, [Love] your skin, It’s all good, Canterbury Essential Oils, The Soap Kitchen NZ, and Heaphy Honey.

We will take with us the growth and learning from the weekend into 2016, watch this space for upcoming events in the New Year.

With love and wellness,

Sammy & Renee

Extending Daylight

Happy daylight savings!! I don’t know about you but boy does this make me happy… Why?

The last few months have been rough, and I’ve allowed it to get me down. Early dark cold starts to the day followed by a lengthy commute and 9 hours in an office chair. Upon leaving work, driving in traffic for an hour before returning home to do the chores and repeat! (Reminding me of a brilliant quote by Ellen Goodman). I got sucked into this world of feeling like I was always short on time and energy. It’s true it’s been wearing me down, however I am no longer going to let this define me or my happiness… No more excuses!

Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, to get the job which will pay for the clothes the car and the house you leave empty all day so you can afford to live in it- Ellen Goodman

I guess it was more of a shock than usual considering I had just come off the back of being a full time yogi for 6 glorious months. The fact this has been my first winter in New Zealand for 3 years didn’t help either. All of that aside, I dropped the ball. The first thing to slip was my yoga/exercise time, next was my healthy eating habits and finally I found I was no longer making time for the things I love (writing, walking in nature, crafts, reading). My priorities no longer became priorities, I became lythargic and moody- using a heavy demanding workload as an excuse for my unhappy state.

Many of us make excuses for whatever reason, the question is, who are we fooling? Not me, not you, not anyone. It’s easy to get caught up in a vicious cycle of self sabotage and that’s exactly what happened to me this winter. The trick to getting back on track is holding the understanding and awareness of how this is affects you and those around you. For me it comes down to what’s important, what I prioritise above all else… And that is health and happiness! Something about daylight and sunshine which brings everything that’s important into focus. 


Unfurling and unfolding as the sun shines and the days get longer…

Life- a balancing act consisting of highs and lows and everything in between. It’s easy to forget these variables, especially as social media broadcasts the worlds highs and barely ever exposes the raw and honest lows. Let’s get honest, it’s human nature, life’s not always a box of chocolates and we needn’t feel less for acknowledging that. I honour truth and authenticity, and my truth is I’ve been at a low. Loosing myself at the hands of the corporate career ladder… Enough with the climb. I’m earning an income which is allowing me to have security and stability which is what I need right now. For me, that is enough.
The experiences that I am having allow me to empathise and connect with women in similar situations, which is why I am so SO excited to share my learnings through Evergreen Earth! With retreats and workshops in the making there are wonderful things on the horizon. A little short term sacrifice is all worthwhile as my business develops its wings. In the meantime I’m finding balance by staying connected to myself and my goals.
Teaching yoga once a week to my colleagues is hugely beneficial in keeping me accountable, even those times when I don’t feel up for it I leave feeling 100% more positive. Yoga really is a lifeline. As daylight savings progresses I have grand plans for yoga in the park and at the beach. Nature, plus yoga plus Vitamin D has to be a winning combination! 

Time to get the jandals out and bask in the sunshine of Spring, may you all enjoy the long evenings as summer makes its way to the Southern Hemisphere. 

Xx Sammy


Go feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and love in your heart.


Time to refresh

Sammy Garrett from Evergreen Earth and Renee Riley from Bay Fitness are extremely excited to present the first ever Women’s Wellness Retreat to be hosted at the Kahurangi Outpost this November. This weekend getaway offers a refreshing location, filled with rejuvenating activities, and revitalizing company. Need an excuse to take some time out? Now’s your chance!!

The Kahurangi Outpost- secluded accommodation immersed in nature

Renee and Sammy are giving women from all walks of life an opportunity to take time out for themselves. NOW is the time to put YOURSELF first! Life is becoming increasingly demanding and many of us struggle through doing what is expected of us without doing what is BEST for US. We are here to change this. During the weekend you will be challenged to discover that there is more in you. With lots of adventure and a focus on refreshing the body, mind and spirit there really is no time to wait.

Once refreshed you will have the ability to reconnect with yourself, the beautiful person you are deep down inside. With a goal to develop self love and acceptance you will learn the tools of wellness in order to live a healthy and happy life.

The weekend will be filled with group activities, nature walks, adventure, challenges, bonding, wholesome food, yoga, sunshine (we hope) and of course, the chance to rest, relax and recover. This quiet reflection time is vitally important for you. We will be asking that participants leave their phones behind in order to fully be present in the moment and connect with themselves (there is a phone at Kahurangi Outpost for emergencies). The ‘Women’s Wellness’ group will be small (10-12 max) to allow a supportive, safe and encouraging space where each member feels comfortable. By the end of the weekend you will know the other women and yourself a whole lot better, sticking by the rule that what happens on camp stays on camp!

A nearby waterfall…

The weekend begins on Friday afternoon 6th November, we will be travelling together to the Kahurangi Outpost with pickup locations in Takaka at 4.00pm and Collingwood 4.30pm. Giving you the ability to leave daily stresses, responsibilities, your kids, your car and your phone at home! From Friday to Sunday afternoon everything will be taken care of for you, all you need to do is show up and take part. We want you to get the most out of the weekend, optimising your wellness and your life. This weekend is fuelled by a passion of wellness for women and the prices covers costs only. In other words, Renee and Sammy both do this for the love it not to make profits. We want to keep the cost at a minimum in order to make the weekend as affordable and aaccessible as possible.

Everyone deserves to take in this view- Patarau Beach

Now’s the time to ask yourself, is wellness a priority for you? For $180-$200 it can be. This price is yet to be confirmed but will be all inclusive of costs throughout the weekend. Including accommodation, transportation, nutritious quality food and all excursions and activities. Places are limited and filling up fast, a deposit of $50 is required to secure your spot. Contact Renee 0212364505 or Sammy 0279773831 to arrange your deposit and ask any questions. If you are interested and the weekend of 6-8th November doesn’t work for you, never fear there will be future events in 2016.

We’re here to tell you that YOU are important, YOU matter and YOU are beautiful. Join us at the ‘Refresh Women’s Wellness Weekend’ a perfect way refresh before summer rolls around. With love and wellness,

Renee & Sammy

The Evergreen Evolution

It began with a dream, and then a vision and eventually a knowing that this is what I am to do. It is my mission and I gladly accept! Slowly but surely the ideas kept growing inside of me, urging me to take action. So I did. The yoga training was the first step. Through yoga and meditation I was able to navigate the path of life- once discovering the tools to help me on my way I couldn’t keep the secrets to myself and vowed to share these revelations with the world. And believe me when I say, this is just the very beginning.

12 months ago, during a 10 day silent meditation retreat I had a light bulb moment of clarity (yes there was a lot of time to ponder life’s big questions!) and from that moment on I knew my purpose. No it was not to slave away in the corporate world, earning the big bucks for someone else’s profit. No it was not to keep a clean and tidy home with dinner on the table. No it was not to be a good daughter, sister, partner or mother. Although these things are part of life I knew there was so much more than that. We all have our own unique ‘so much more than that’, a purpose lying deep inside of us dying to be fulfilled. I believe it is my mission to help you discover yours…

Evergreen Earth, an organisation dedicated to help individuals reconnect with themselves, others and the Earth. With a goal to liberate and educate as many people as possible, the Evergreen Evolution began. I want to share with others how to live with soulful simplicity, opening to the joy and wonder of our Earth. This is not a quest I take lightly, evolving slowly but surely I am putting 100% of my passion and energy into making this dream a reality. Imagine a world where everyone was tuned in to living a wonderfully creative and abundant life? Wow!!

I still have a great deal to learn on my own journey and will be taking the next year to develop my yoga and meditation practice whilst teaching classes and hosting workshops and Evergreen Events part time. As always, I continue to learn and grow myself by attending as many self development courses and programs as possible. On top of that planning will be underway for the Evergreen Retreats to be held in New Zealand. To give you an idea-the retreats will be incorporating yoga, meditation, healing, nature, adventure, nutrition, education, wellness, connection, community, permaculture and so much more. As you can see, there is plenty of planning to be done. I see myself as a facilitator who will work with experts in their field, engaging these people as masterful resources.

Every time I share this vision for my future the light grows stronger and I am more confident to take steps towards making it happen. I thank you for allowing me to share that which is of utmost importance to me. Some may call it a higher calling, all I know it that this is my passion and purpose in life. As I begin to birth this creation I invite you to join me. Share your ideas and visions for a future of open hearted, strong, empowered, connected yet independent individuals. I would love to hear from anyone who is interested in collaborating, collectively we are stronger.

Shortly I will be rebranding to reflect the unveiling of Evergreen Earth, the blogging will continue as I embark on this journey of business creation. What began as a small seed deep inside my heart has now developed into a beautiful flower. Thank you for following and supporting me on this path. By living in truth and continually receiving an abundance of love and nature, Evergreen Earth is ready to blossom.Fern

Opa’s Words

My Opa is a talented rhymer… maybe that’s where I get my love of words from. I wanted to share a beautiful piece which he read to me recently. We not only share a passion of writing but also a love of nature. Amazingly he will be turning 90 next year, here’s hoping I also inherit is health & longevity!

This is his poem:

The Road Side

Even the road side is an education, of God’s beautiful creation.

Grasses waving in the wind, and far more can be seen, with all kinds of flowers in between.

The clover flower red and white, is for the bee’s a great delight.

Buttercup, daisies, dandelions, they all look extremely fine.

Forget-me-nots and others hard to name, make up the beauty all the same.

When we look across the fence, we see the animals cows and sheep, the calves and lambs make a great leap.

The trees are there macrocarpa, poplar, willows and pine, all standing firmly in a line.

The sycamore tree mentioned in the good book, Zacchaeus did climb in to have a better look.

In the sky we see the magpie, with their bell-like sound, ducks with ducklings all around.

The hawk flying above the ground, seeing if there is good feed to be found.

The farmer is plowing the field, hoping for a very good yield.

The seagulls are in the furrow, they have no worry about tomorrow.

We also should not be concerned what the future brings along, but rather be thankful for the day by singing a joyful song.

Written by Hank Buys.

The Road Side