Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Back to school

All the girls went back to school today. A morning without hitches – ahhh.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Birthday Girl!

Ruby wasn't sure if the iPod touch we gave her was real...

or just a hoax.

Of course, I'm not nearly as mean as my kids think I am.

Happy birthday Ruby Girl.
m, xox

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I [we] did today...

A school holiday project – potato printing and stencilling.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What I [we] did today...

Put up the new trampoline which was a belated Christmas present.

I love...

moments like these.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A little notice board

Ruby got this idea from reading one of my Frankie magazines. It was a fun, easy project for her. And I got to put the first note on it!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tidy up

There's nothing like a good dose of inspiration to get one motivated. It doesn't look quite as nice as "the white room", and the view hasn't changed. Still, it's much nicer than it was before.

How I long for...

A tidy desk and a room with a view.

Reblogged from 16 House

Friday, January 20, 2012

What I did today...

I had a bit of a fall on my way to work :( Felt like a bit of a Nana really. I blame it on my old, leather-soled shoes; they don't like sloped pavements. Looks like I'll have to turn those pants into shorts.

Taupo Swim: Just for fun

Most people would consider a 10km swim more than enough for one weekend. But after Saturday's effort, Steve turned around on Sunday and did a 2.5km swim. The conditions weren't much better than the day before but one lap of the course is far more do-able than four – even if you have to spew your way to the finish line.

Steve came first in his age category and third across the finish line.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Taupo Swim: The big one!

There are plenty of things we set out to do just to give it a try. If you enjoy it then you'll probably choose to do it again, if not then you can  at least "tick a box". Steve's most recent goal was to do the 10km open water swim at Taupo. Something I would never dream of attempting. In usual fashion, he was cool, calm and collected before the race. With two breakfasts in his belly and a couple of energy satchels shoved up the legs of his wetsuit, he decided he wouldn't stop to feed during the race. In hindsight, this was a mistake.

At the start of the day the water surface looked quite nice and not too choppy which was great for the kids, but by the time 10km race started, the wind had picked up making it the worst conditions they'd ever experienced in the history of the event. Not deterred, and swimming alongside Olympic young gun, Melissa Gorman, Steve was in good company.

After two gruelling hours in choppy waters, battling a severe leg cramp, Steve embarked on his fourth and final lap; just as the first elite swimmers were finishing. But he was running on empty. When he finished, he told me he was considering swimming over to the feeding boat to beg for food but decided to just get on with it. The final lap took almost an hour. When he finally emerged from the water he was in a state of complete exhaustion. I am always amazed at how often Steve will finish a race looking like he could turn around and do it all again. But not this time.

After a feed of lollies, brownies, electrolytes and eventually, a sandwich, he recovered. Finishing with a time of 2hr:50sec he came in at second place for his age group in the recreational category. What some people do for recreation! I am very proud of him.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Taupo Swim: The juniors

 Last weekend we went to Taupo for some swim races. I feel like I let Team Stevens down as I didn't swim [too much eating and drinking and not enough swimming in the lead up is my excuse]. The girls did the Ocean Kids Swim which was a 100m swim in the icy, I mean refreshing, waters of Lake Taupo.

They all did well, Eadie came in just ahead of Ruby but there was no sibling rivalry [not that was noticed anyway]. Even Ava who was the last across the finish line. She was feeling a bit down on herself but we reminded her that there were some kids who didn't finish and also, she hasn't done any proper swimming since October when she broke her arm.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Northland: The Food Train

We went to The Food Train, as pizza and pasta joint in Kaitia, on our last night. I took a gluten-free pizza base which they were willing to top. The guy who ran the place reminded me of Manuel in Fawlty Towers which wasn't very reassuring. We were seated, then promptly forgotten. Eventually Steve managed to get some menus and glasses for the wine. Needless to say, we waited a long time before our order was taken and then even longer before we got the food. Manuel did offer to let the girls make their own chocolate strawberry pizzas for desert – gratis, which sweetened us up.

Top a pizza base with grated cheese and melt in the oven. Then top with "as much as you like" choc bits and return to the oven to melt. When it comes out, top with sliced, fresh strawberries and cut. Enjoy!

Sounds dodgy but it was really quite nice – try it at home.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Northland: Ahipara

The pic above was taken on the day we arrived in Ahipara. Day 2 of our stay we drove up to Cape Reinga – you've already heard about that. Then the weather packed it in.

We made the girls rug up before heading to the beach which meant a warm layer and rain jackets. I do wonder why I bother sometimes as before too long they were running around getting their clothes wet and peeling off the layers. Why is it kids never feel the cold?

On one of our trips to the beach even I got in the water. I got up on the on surfboard too which was fun [sorry, no pics]. The last time I did that was a year ago at the same place so we have renamed Ahipara "Ahimara".

Northland: Cape Reinga

Maori folklore states that Cape Reinga is the leaping-off place of the spirits of the departed on their journey back to Hawaiki, their native land. Some people say visiting Cape Reinga is a bit of a pilgrimage for the Kiwi's. Well, I'm definitely not a Kiwi, but if you're ever thinking about embarking on such a trip all I can say is: Think twice. It was a bit of an anti-climax.

When we finished fighting off other tourists for the best position for the obligatory photos, we back-tracked to find a suitable place for a picnic. By this time it was past 1pm and we were all staaaarving. We found a great spot near the sand dunes but just as we laid out the picnic, in true Kiwi fashion, it started to rain. Thankfully, it didn't last long and after a bite, we played on the sand dunes. The dune in the background of the photo below looked like lots of fun, but the smaller one in the foreground took a bit of effort to climb so we can only dream about the fun that could have been had...

We drove back to Ahipara on the beach, stopping along the way for a surf and an explore at The Bluff.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


This lino is on the floor of one of the original baches on Rangitoto. Very kitsch. Very cool.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Today we crossed another item off our "To Do in NZ" list – we climbed Rangitoto.

When a volcano erupted in Hauraki Gulf 600 years ago, Rangitoto was born. In Maori, Rangitoto means Bloody Sky which I guess is what they saw when it exploded onto the seascape. With it's distinctive symmetrical shape, Rangitoto is one of Auckland and NZ's most recognisable landmarks.

Catching the 7am ferry was a bit of a shock for our body clocks which have been set on holiday mode for a week or more, but we managed. In fact it was good to get an early start as the wind had picked up significantly by the time we were heading home at 12.45pm.

The loose volcanic rocks were a bit of a hazard for some of us. After one child tripped over a rock, another one proceeded to tell us how the first one could have avoided such tragedy. Then splendidly re-enacted the fall of the first child! The result was some grazed knees but, thankfully, no broken bones.

It took us about 90 minutes to climb to the summit. Before we embarked on our tramp, I did wonder if volcanoes had summits as the "top" is actually a crater – but they do. Unlike the crater of Maungawhau which is grass, the Rangitoto crater was thick with vegetation. As the ground base is volcanic rock, it can apparently get very hot on the climb but we were lucky that it was an overcast day and didn't have to worry about that.

On the descend we checked out some lava caves which were quite interesting apart from the Asian family who were following [too] close behind.