11 months away from home

11 months away from home

Can hardly believe I’ve been away so long, but at the same time it feels like forever since I left the UK.

Life is busy here, too busy to keep up with the blog it seems, but I really am intending on getting back to it!

Most exciting news is that I got my visa to stay in New Zealand for another year! So stressful getting all the paperwork together, got some amazing letters of support from some lovely people, and it came back in a week – so quick – couldn’t quite believe it


Well, it would have been rude not to!

Does mean that I can now plan a trip back to the UK and catch up with everyone and finally make some decisions on what to do with all my stuff that was too important to throw away but that I’ve managed to live without for a year…….

In other news I’m in the middle of another hacking cough, at least I know from my visa chest x-ray it’s not TB!

Had a really sore hip so not been running but returned to the gym this morning – cross trainer and recumbent cycle felt good, but not sure my co-gymees were so pleased with the coughing up a lung soundtrack that accompanied it.

I’ve also volunteered for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 for their dates in Wellington – first match England vs New Zealand! New Zealand is such a small place, I was at the volunteer session and met a friend of a friend from the UK, she’s also called Emma!!

Next up is find a job and sort out a trip to the UK

Best of Britannia

Originally posted on Slinks and TreasurePods:

Calling all London and surrounding area folk...

Calling all London and surrounding area folk…


We are delighted that we will be showing at Best of Britannia next week
3rd and 4th October 2014 in London.

We will be there with our TreasurePods and Barefoot Slinks, both handmade in the UK – Sparkle, originality and quality.

(Use the promo code bobfeedsclerkenwell to gain 2 day access with a Pulled meal and a pint of Meantime beer for £8)

CLICK HERE to register

Best of Britannia

Best of Britannia – come and say hello!

What do you treasure?

What do you treasure?

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10 months since I left home

Tomorrow (5th September) marks 10 months since I left the UK.

Can’t quite believe I’ve been gone for so long but at the same time it feels like I’ve been gone forever.

My blog has been quiet since I moved to Wellington. Lots of stuff has happened while I’ve been here, some bad but mostly good, great in fact especially now summer is on its way! – am going to try and put together some highlights as can’t quite face putting everything out there just yet.

Tomorrow I’m going for my medical for my temporary residency application in NZ – please cross your fingers that its all OK and the application is successful as I love this country.

Latest nighttime adventure – team ‘the undead’ do the Butterfly Creek nighttime madness!


skeleton, dead school girl, ninja and mummy

Move to Wellington – Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th

Saturday 5th July

Up and was finished packing in time to meet Grant at 10am to go see the section he’s selling (NZ ish for piece of land)

We went for a final coffee at the Bach down by the sea before saying our goodbyes, going to miss my New Plymouth husband and our dates with our ‘son’ T


Had to pop into town to print the photos for T and G’s goodbye presents and along to the Taranaki Hardcore shop for a car sticker for Tom.

Once I had finished packing Nita, G and T were back from their morning activities and it was time for more goodbyes. T was fast asleep in the car so I could only wave goodbye to him and his curly blond hair.

One final final goodbye to make, drop a photo from our trip to the snow to Grant and give him a packet of Jaffa’s I’d impulse purchased earlier!

Overly confident at my sense of direction I got lost leaving Grant’s and ended up by sea! No bad thing, always good to see it.

Stopped to top up the air in my tyres but couldn’t work out how. Had to ask a lovely man to help, showed me pebble trick to let the massive amounts of air I’d pumped in out…..

Stopped off in Stratford for a coffee and caramel slice, not the right time to see the famous clock in action again though.

It was miserable weather, Mt Taranaki was well hidden, stopped once for petrol a bargain 215 cents/litre, better than 220 in NP and had a quick kumara quiche/slice thing before the final push to Wellington and after getting lost in Porirua I finally got there!

Spookily the girls knew I was arriving and had dragged Rhys to the gate to greet me as I pulled up. It was all a bit overwhelming, could have done with a minute to recover from the drive, but were so excited and they’d made me posters welcoming me back and presents – my first loom band bracelet

Dinner was pizza and relatively early to bed – had been a big day. Very sad to have left all my New Plymouth friends but excited to see what Wellington would bring.

Sunday 6th July

The girls have a little business of making and selling scones on a Sunday, and after crumpets for breakfast that’s what happened.

A lot of flour and grated cheese later, amazing scones appeared – not English dainty afternoon tea style scones – awesome massive big as your hand ones – yum!!!

We walked round the block with them – they have a route and regular sellers but as it was the first weekend of the school holidays it was a bit quiet. In the end they didn’t sell as many as normal, but it did mean I got to eat some

For lunch we went into town for yum cha, the dragon, where we’d previously been was fully booked so went to new place. Not as good, but they did have sesame balls, so weren’t complaining too much!

We stopped of at the girls school to play miniball – like basketball but for smaller people as far as I can tell. Z and I won 3 games of first to 10! There was much high5ing.

The plan for my first couple of weeks in Wellington is to help get Rhys’s house ready to sell. Phase one was to help the girls tidy their room and decide what they were happy to put into storage while all the decorating went on. We had a fun time sorting and cleaning and making their room look awesome!

We had left over pizza for tea, Frozen for movie night on the projector and it was time for bed!

Last week in Taranaki – 30th June – 4th July

Monday 30th June

Even with everyone still here, I had to get up and go next door to work (and for breakfast!)

There was no coffee cup out for me though….. Was like I’d already left :-(

G was staying off school as she’d complained of a headache yesterday and hadn’t had a great sleep. So it was a morning of Kids TV which caused great excitement when the girls and Rhys came over after their breakfast.

Both cars were at the garage, we just waited to find out which was first to be fixed.

There were omelettes for lunch, T helped and also L helped too, another omlette convertee

Both cars were fixed by 4pm, Tom had just needed new battery so no major dramas.

They left by 4:30 and after a quick tidy I headed back over for dinner and then a catch up with the last episode of Broadchurch – amazing!!!!

Tuesday 1st July

Up for the first bootcamp since my cough arrived. Realised how much more low tempo they are than the individual sessions I’ve been having with Brent, lot more chat and rest time.

Got home to discover that Greet was still feeling poorly and had woken up with a slightly swollen red hand. When she got dressed she realised she was covered in a rash. Trying not to panic her I called Nita and we were off to see the doctor. Thankfully not meningitis, but she thought a strep throat with secondary scarlett fever. She did a throat swab, said we’d do a blood test too and prescribed some antibiotics. I took G to get some sweets to push up her blood sugar while here dad sorted the prescription. Having been told he didn’t need to pay for it he took T while G and I waited for it to be ready. They then said it would be $10 for the prescription, I’d left the house without my purse and with Aaron gone we had no money. Thankfully a lovely lady who’d heard them say there would be no charge paid for us.
Next stop blood test. I’m a terror with blood tests. I can take blood from someone (part of my job in UK) but take blood off me or I have to watch someone else do it I’m on the floor before you know it. Thankfully G was the queen of cool, watched every step of the way while I just held her hand and looked at the Winnie the Pooh poster on the wall! She got a cool plaster, a lollypop and a voucher for free fries at McDonald’s!

After a fun packed day we had yummy meatloaf for dinner and amazingly Grant wanted to watch Pitch Perfect – a film I’d always thought was about football but turns out to be about singing!

Wednesday 2nd July

Just as I shut the door to head next door for breakfast I knew I’d forgotten the keys…… I was locked out. Nita gave me the phone number for Mandy’s parents who had a spare key but after 2 confusing phone calls where the man who answered said he wasn’t Mandy’s dad, I gave up.

It rained all day and with G still home from school there was no crackerjacks, trip to library or potential coffee date with Grant. But being the sweetie that he is he brought us over giant cream filled raspberry buns – amazing!

When Nita and Aaron got home I relayed the story of phoning Mandy’s parents number and Aaron said my accent had probably confused him as they were certain it was the right number. Sure enough, when Aaron spoke to him they established that they had a space key and would bring it with them when the picked Mandy and Milla up from the airport in the morning!

Thursday 3rd July

I missed bootcamp, my new alarm on my phone didn’t work (or I didn’t set it correctly…..)

Greer went back to school as she was no longer infectious.

When Mandy and Milla got back we managed to unlock the house and I ran around collecting up my things which happily I’d left relatively tidy the morning before.

At lunchtime Nita brought home her foreign language students for an end of term get together. They all brought food from their home countries – was an exceptionally delicious meal.

Was a day of yummy food as in the evening Grant and I went out for our final evening meal at Our Home – fish, spinach and mashed potato with a gin and egg white cocktail and an espresso Martini!

We then watched 2 movies, The Pretty One and Non Stop – very different but both really good

Friday 4th July

A day forever in my mind as its when my friends James and Jim got married. Then, as it was today, it was a beautiful day.


On the walk to school

I had to say goodbye to Aaron as he was off to an away rugby match and wouldnt be home before I left. He told me I was one of his top 2 au pairs. He also told me that when they’d first seen that I wanted to come work for then he wondered what kind of crazy 39 year old would want to do this….. Then they met me!

We walked G to school for the last time and then headed back wasting no time as T and I were off to the mountain with Grant to play in the snow. But first we were stopping in Stratford to see the glockenspiel clock do its thing.

It was a beautiful day with amazing views as we drove around the mountain. So clear you could see the mountains at Tongariro in the distance. We got to Stratford with enough time to get a coffee (complete with chocolate fish) and see the wonder of the clock. Various doors open and characters from Shakespeare’s plays appear and recite lines from his plays! After 5 wonderful minutes it was all over…….

We continued our journey up to the skifields, the temperature dropping all the time. I popped to the frozen toilets and added some long johns to my layers and we started the long walk up there.

Long because T didn’t want to walk or sit in the sledge, so we took turns to carry him. Eventually we made it as far as the goods lift area. Here we played snowballs, did some sledging down a little slope and T seemed perfectly content with this. We started to try walking to the skifield but was pretty tough going with a T in your arms so we returned to playing by the goods lift, snowball fights, then sledged back downhill to the car park.




We stopped at the Stratford mountain house for lunch. A lovely warm cosy place. T was so well behaved. I had an egg and bacon sandwich and fries and T had a massive portion of curly fries with ketchup.

All too soon we had to get back home to make sure we were in time to get G from school. After such a beautiful day the sky went cloudy and the rain started.


Rain but a double rainbow

Once Nita has home from work I went to the gym for last time, there was kicking, sit ups crunches, kicking, bicycles, gloves, pinching/kicking, punching. Happily I got to say goodbye and get a photo of Janna (I’m guessing at the spelling) who in my mind looks just like Nikki and is equally as lovely and fun to work out with.


Janna and me


Brent and me - please ignore the terrible hair!

Friday night was girls night with T as an honoury girl. We had Indian for dinner, and the girls and T had got me a pressie and cards to say goodbye.


Proper Kiwi now

We then played charades until it was time for us all to say goodnight for the final time.

Showing off New Plymouth – Fri/Sat/Sun 27/28/29 June

Friday 27th June

It being the last Friday of the month it was time for the Singer/Songwriters evening at the Little Theatre in town. It was their 9th birthday, amazing music and there were speeches and cake!

Was a lovely night with Grant, Julia, Evelyn, Ana and Conal. Love that everyone does one song and then they change over, you get to listen and then chat, so makes for a very sociable evening.

I left early so I could meet Rhys and the girls. Got back in time to re-light the fire, it was almost ticking over from when I left.

They arrived in a bundle of excitement, but soon all was calm, the girls in bed, Rhys and I with a glass of wine, chilling and getting ready for the weekend ahead.

Saturday 28th June

Sunny but windy and no sign of Mt Taranaki

After breakfast we headed into town to explore the delights of New Plymouth. First up, obviously, was the famous Wind Wand by Len Lye.


The girls were suitably impressed, but they were also impressed by the massive waves the sea was throwing up into the walkway. We may have accidently got soaked once or twice. Had a lovely walk along the Coastal Walkway to East End beach for a play on the playground and the beach with its black sand.

For lunch we walked back into town and headed to The Bach for lunch – had my favourite of the brunch stack with hallumi(?) and an earl grey tea.

In the afternoon we headed to Pukekura Park to see the Golden Bearing (or tree as most people call it) and then to Brooklands Zoo for monkeys, meerkats and a couple of dead mice in the sea otter enclosure!

To walk to the zoo you go past Brooklands Bowl a big amphitheatre where lots of world famous people/bands have played – and that’s world famous in the world, not just world famous in New Zealand……. The amphitheatre has a large grassed section and is amazing fun to roll down. Having seen people doing it on the way to the zoo we had to do it on our way back. 3 very dizzy girls arrived at the bottom giggling away and unable to stand for quite a while!

We got home and cooked up a load of veggies and a cheese sauce to go with the frankfurters that Nita was cooking up. The girls went over to the house for dinner and a movie while Rhys and I went off and had a date – curry at India Today – was my first time there, we had a massive wait for food, but sat and nattered away quite happily until the food came

Sunday 29th June

We were all up pretty early to go walk around Lake Mangamahoe and then for a swim at the meeting of the waters – the girls were desperate to go for a swim outdoors and I was foolish enough previously to mention there’s a rope swing there.

We took G along with us too as they’d all made friends last night. Was a massive walk. Have done it lots of time with friends but never with children and it certainly is a different experience with them!! We managed to get a view of Mt Taranaki though, not a great one, but enough to prove it’s there.



Love how easily children make friends

There’s loads of bird life on the water, flamingo swans according to G, but not convinced!


The girls were all still determined to go for a swim of next we went to the Meeting of the Waters. G got in deepest, but no swimming from any one! So went back for lunch closely followed by scones – cheese and sweet with cream and jam with the neighbours – Nita and Aaron

Soon enough it was time for Rhys and the girls to leave, but their car wouldn’t start. We went and got petrol in the hope that’s what it was missing, bit still no luck. The AA man came and said it was probably the fuel pump/filter, tale it to the garage tomorrow. We jump started mine, petrol in at garage, needed another jump start, then it died, so left mine at the garage and decided they’d all stay another night!!

Was nice as took them to the Wind Wand to see it lit up in the dark – looked awesome as it was a stormy night

Monday – Friday 23-27th June

Monday 23rd June

Could see the snowy top of Mt Taranaki this morning, but as the weather tends to be, it had disappeared behind the clouds by the time we walked to school.
Had a fun day with T in the garden playing rugby (or rug/kick as T calls it) cricket and swingball, or more T demanding I hit while he sits and watches!
I was brave and called immigration to finally see if it was worth my time submitting an expression of interest – it’s not, annoying set of little rules means it won’t happen…..
I did make the decision that I was going to leave New Plymouth and move to Wellington for the remainder of my time in NZ (still trying to stay though!). Told the family, they weren’t surprised, but at least it meant they have 4 weeks to find someone new – leaving at the end of the school term.

Tuesday 24th June

Super cute T moment today – had a little snooze all snuggled up to me.


Started cat sitting for the neighbours today, means my commute to work has increased exponentially, but think I’ll cope. There’s a wood fire, managed to get it going once I’d gone back next door and ‘borrowed’ some matches.
In the evening went to the cinema with Grant and co to see What We do in the Shadows – brilliantly funny film


Wednesday 25th June

Crackerjacks day!!!! Also mean coffee with Grant day and our 2 month aversary! Seems like we’ve known each other for ages not just since ANZAC day

Went to the gym in the evening, massive leg work out, not sure I’ll be able to walk tomorrow

Had some really sad news about a friend of mine, again reminding me how far away from home I am.


Thursday 26th June

It was Vogeltown School’s mid-winter swim today. I said I’d do it with G, we check with her teacher and I was allowed to be the junior schools official representative, ie the only adult stupid enough to get in the water.
It was COLD, they put ‘icebergs’ in the water – blocks of ice made in ice cream tubs, but I think the water was cold enough without it!
Got home to discover id managed to lose my phone. Shouldn’t be a trauma, but everything is on there……
Bigger things to worry about though – was cooking for Grant. Wanted to do Jamie’s 5 hour lamb, but couldn’t find the cut I wanted, so had to go for lamb chops and roast veg instead – all v yummy. Rounded it off with a Mhairi-style dessert, a perfect excuse to try lots of new NZ chocolate – yum



We watched another movie that I can’t remember and then (maybe after a bit too much wine) went for a jump on the trampoline

Friday 27th June

Walked to school and reported my missing phone to the school office not been handed in.
In the afternoon I went and got a $9 phone from Warehouse – it texts, makes calls, has an FM radio and a torch!!!
Just before I went to the gym I was showing off my wonder of modern technology to Nita and she remembered she’d had a call about my phone just after 9am, must have been handed in just after we left the office!
I got given heavy boxing gloves today, beasted my arms, always a good way to start the weekend