Snapshots of New Zealand

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As I mentioned in my Snapshots of Wellington my main purpose for visiting New Zealand last month was to reunite with friends not to tour the country and although I left with most of the country left unseen the part of the country that I did see I feel I got to know really well.

I spent the majority of my trip with my friends and their 3 daughters down on the idyllic Pauatahanui Inlet, about 10 minutes from Porirua City and after five and a half years apart it was so special to see what life in New Zealand is like for them.

I got to go on the school run and collect groceries, to potter in the garden, visit their family and attend church with them. All very simply things, but very special things when done with friends.

I also got to stroll past many familiar sights that I had only seen in photographs; the beautiful beach huts of Paremata, the sweet church of St. Albans at Pauatahanui and the sea shell shore of Bottle Creek.

I even managed to squeeze in an exhibition at the Pataka Museum in Porirua, a movie at the most gorgeous art house cinema in Petone, as well as a drive up the coast to the Nga Manu Nature Reserve where I was delighted to get up close with a beautiful New Zealand parrot called the Kaka and see the famous nocturnal kiwi bird.

It feels somewhat unreal that I went all the way to the other side of the world – on my own! – to be with them. This trip was not something I had planned it was something that just kind of happened unexpectedly and I’m so grateful for it. The solo travel was good for me and I left New Zealand full of inspiration and conversations that will carry me through until we meet again.

Have you ever traveled abroad alone? Where did you go?

Snapshots of Wellington

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Last month I embarked on my first ever solo trip – all the way to New Zealand! Now this visit to New Zealand wasn’t your typical visit to New Zealand. Most people who go all the way to New Zealand have the common sense to take at least 3-4 weeks to properly explore the country, but I on the other hand went only for 9 nights!

You see the purpose of my trip was not to tour the country but to reunite with friends so I spent the majority of my trip with them down on the Pauatahanui Inlet (about 20 minutes from the capital city) but added on 2 nights in Wellington at the start of my trip so as to adjust to the timezone and do some sight seeing.

I only had 48 hours in Wellington but I managed to cram a lot into my visit, including:

In Wellington I stayed at the Travel Lodge by Plimmer Steps for a bargain price which provided me with a comfortable room and great location for exploring the city. It was just a 2 minute walk from Lambton Quay in the central business district (which provided me with ample souvenir shops and a Starbucks) and was only a 5 minute walk from the cable car and just a little more to the waterfront.

Wellington turned out to be a really walkable and friendly city and as a lone female traveler I felt incredibly self. Locals stopped to give me directions and help me read maps, taxi drives told me their family migration stories and bus drivers took the effort to make sure I got off at the right stop.

It’s also a really clean and arty city with quirky monuments and statues not only along the waterfront but throughout the city as well and it’s all framed by those rolling green hills.

I can see why it was voted the most liveable city in the world in 2018.  There are not many cities I visit that I feel I could happily live in but Wellington now makes it onto that list, along with Edinburgh.

Where was your last travel destination?

{Daughter Diaries} #61

Daughter Diaries #61 | The Open Home

Dear Blossom, we’ve had a lot of fun over the last month as we’ve dipped our toe into studying history. I’m delighted that your grandmother’s love of history that was passed on to me now seems to be passing on to you too and that together we’re able to answer tough questions and explore interesting eras. Keep cheering for the under dog, my sweet, there is always someone out there who needs to be given a voice. Dear Bubbles, or should I call you Wriggly-Bottom? Our Stone Age studies are really coming to life for us at the moment and I too wish we could have seen a real life woolly mammoth. I am however grateful that we don’t have to live in cave, despite how much fun you and Rumbly-Tum seem to think that would be! Plus I think our dietary requirements may have proved to be a bit of an issue during the Stone Age, not so much for Hairy-Legs, he would have loved all the free-range, organic meat. Dearest Daughters, thanks for including me in your games, Freckle-Face loves you.

What would your Cave Man name be?

 

{August Gratitudes}

Gratitudes August 2019 | The Open Home
For happy hearts and warm welcomes.
Gratitudes August 2019 | The Open Home
For date nights at home and very own audio book.
Gratitudes August 2019 | The Open Home
For sacrificial love and comfort in the quiet.
Gratitudes August 2019 | The Open Home
For courage that calls out to courage and the lives of those who led the way.
Gratitudes August 2019 | The Open Home
For friends that are as crazy (and cute!) as you are!
Gratitudes August 2019 | The Open Home
For a family favourites and a world of imagination.

These are the inserts from our gratitude journal during August, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed.

What have you been thankful for lately?

 

{Daughter Diaries} #60

Daughter Diaries 60 | The Open Home

Dear Blossom, in a few days time I will be traveling to the other side of the planet and to say that this thought doesn’t fill my mamas heart with a little anxiety would be a lie – hence all the cleaning! I would be much obliged if you could water the tomato plant whilst I’m gone, remind Daddy to put out the recycling on Sunday evening and oh! please try not to lose your first tooth! I know you’re ever so eager to have a gappy smile but I on the other hand am in no rush for you to grow up and would be somewhat sad to miss out on such a momentous milestone. Dear Bubbles, you teach some great life lessons. One being that if you see a dandy-puff at the side of the path then you should stop to blow it no matter how late for a coffee date you may be. Thanks for reminding me to walk a slower pace in life, to savour the everyday ordinary moments, to not sweat the small stuff and to find beauty amongst the weeds. Dearest Daughters, may you find pleasure in walking slowly through life, finding joy in all circumstances and beauty in unlikely places.

When was the last time you stopped to blow a dandy-puff?

{July Gratitudes}

Gratitudes July 2019 | The Open Home
For nose scrunchingly good ice-cream!!
Gratitudes July 2019 | The Open Home
For simple pleasures and real life friends.
Gratitudes July 2019 | The Open Home
For the end of an era and a sweet sense of humour.
Gratitudes July 2019 | The Open Home
For ice cream faces, sticky fingers and summertime memories.
Gratitudes July 2019 | The Open Home
For beach domination and the sand at our feet.

 

These are the inserts from our gratitude journal during July, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed.

What have you been thankful for lately?

{Daughter Diaries} #59

Daughter Diaries 59 | The Open Home

Dear Blossom, in the past week you have slipped down the stairs, tripped in the garden, fallen off the sofa, stumbled in the kitchen, bumped your head on the coffee table and stubbed your toe in the hallway! I feel another growth spurt may be coming on. Perhaps a career as a professional tennis player is not quite the best idea after all, maybe go back to writing books, you’re less likely to break a leg that way! Dear Bubbles, this week marks the end of an era as we say goodbye to play school and move on to new ways of learning together. I was particularly delighted to hear from your ladies in the end of year report that your sense of humour has shone through at play school these past couple of years. You never fail to entertain us with your cheeky antics and I hope you’ll be photobombing my Insta worthy photos for many years to come! Dearest Daughters, may you never lose your zest for life and the ability to laugh at yourself.

When did you last laugh at yourself?