Sunday, 10 January 2016

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Christmas approached like the speed of light and the fact that this time of year was so light and bright was very strange! The days have steadily become longer and warmer and for those reasons we weren’t feeling Christmassy at all. The staff at our accommodation made the common places nice and festive but the only decorations we had were the two little ornaments my friend Steph had given me before our travels.

In Newmarket we passed a statue of Santa perched next to a sun hat stand. There was an annual Santa parade that went through the city’s main road Queen Street, which we planned to see but after waiting in the crowds for 20 minutes we decided to appease our hunger instead and had a lovely meal at The Med Kitchen in the Wynyard Quarter by the harbour. 

Biggest and best Christmas decorations of the city
We did our shopping like the rest of you and like always I left things to the last minute. Over here in NZ the post office informed us that if we wanted gifts to arrive in the UK before Christmas we should post them before December 1st. Well, that didn’t happen, obviously. I think around 14th I sent a couple of packages to a select few family members and friends and was horrified to learn that I had to label my package with a description of what was inside and how much I spent! I did have a lovely chat with a woman at the counter who was posting a photo of her dog with balloons tied around its collar to some Japanese friends who used to live with her.

The next big dilemma was Will’s present, what to get?! I thought about a Go-Pro camera as I remember last year saying he wanted to get one to document our travels through NZ but not being a very technical person myself, (what’s a smart phone?!) I didn’t want to get a model that wasn’t very good. I researched some reviews online and people seemed to be pretty happy with the most basic camera so I went with what felt comfortable. He tried it out in our local coffee shop but we didn’t realise how wide the captured images would be and so I am the protagonist of this particular time-lapse video!

Will made me feel very pampered with his gifts of Marc Jacob’s perfume Daisy Dream and a luxury Molton Brown hand cream.

For our first hot Christmas we thought it would be fitting to have a BBQ on the beach but when we enquired at the council they said we would have to use a gas powered one as if we used coal it would pose an open fire risk. Even when we searched for disposable BBQs we couldn’t seem to find many anywhere; it seems the Kiwi’s are serious about this type of cuisine and the only way to go is heavy duty! We compromised with a fancy picnic and stocked up with as much alcohol and snacks as we could carry in our new chilly bin or cool bag. I did miss our usual roast dinner and all the trimmings but this Christmas would always be memorable for being different.

However, I did make a catastrophic and rather painful mistake in forgetting the sun cream. We went to the beach and I forgot the most important thing. I peeled. Badly. We’ll move on.

We travelled by ferry to Waiheke Island, an hours journey past a few other islands including Rangitoto and found a quiet spot on Oneroa beach. We had a beautiful day enjoying the sun, relaxing, eating and soaking up the view and said to each other we’d have to come back again soon.

Had to include these exotic looking plants; really made us feel like we were on a tropical island

Love the pattern of this bark

Bright and beautiful

Although the sky looks pretty grey, it was warm, honest!

A lovely woman from work gave me some Scorched Almonds for Xmas, a Kiwi favourite and they went down a treat!
Such clear water
Palm tree!

The time between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve is always a strange one with everyone not knowing what to do with themselves. Will had a couple of days back at work and I tried looking for babysitting roles to fill in the time. Then the night was upon us, quicker that expected, as always. Again we stocked up on the booze, grabbed some snacks and headed to Mount Eden to watch the fireworks explode over the city.

Just a little tipsy...

We had to sit in the tall grass somewhat as everywhere on the volcano top was busy

Doesn't truly capture the atmosphere created by the lit city

I have to say the display wasn’t as dazzling as I had expected but it made it special knowing we were starting a new year in a foreign place together. And when Will had to go to the toilet (nature's toilet, aka behind a tree) I saw a real actual live shooting star! It was pretty amazing but over in a flash and I wish Will had seen it but a very positive start to the new year; a good omen for things to come I think.

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