Saturday, 27 December 2014


The lead up to Christmas was met with a bit of apathy and remorse. To be honest as much as it is my favourite time of year normally, this year just did not seem right. 

We wanted a white Christmas, on the other side of the world. Not another warm one down under. But we made ourselves get jolly and celebrate anyway. I got a new job so my disorganisation just got even worse with limited time but, baking did happen and presents were got. 

Mother Nature came to the party too, and we had a couple of interesting shakes on Christmas Eve, to remind us where we are living.

Presentation is key for me...and it seems to be rubbing off on the next generation too.
Cinnamon apple fritters with maple syrup for brekky
Awesome pressies made with love; vanilla chai candles and rose sugar body scrub !!
Just a bit spoilt.

Nut roast and veges for lunch - cooler here than some places, so it was nice to enjoy a hot meal. No wine though as nurses don't get Christmas off, but look what I found in our local supermarket !!

A little bit of our English summer - come to Aotearoa. Love Belvoir !! We have a cupboard full now too.
Then pavlova roll (filled with white chocolate, cream and berries). YUM !!! Thank goodness we could take all the leftovers to Blenheim for a Boxing Day Christmas, or else we would have been eating it all for a month !!

Hope you all had a great celebration with friends and family too.

Garden Produce

Remember those ripening blackcurrants ?

Well now there are thousands of them ! The first picking weighed in at 500g

and made this much jam !

the next picking on Christmas Day closer to 1 kilo
has been used in baking, desserts, packed in punnets and taken to Blenheim or frozen. If it doesn't rain tomorrow I might need to pick the rest before the birds catch on.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Starting to get a bit like Christmas

Well it's been a while since I found time to get to this again. Things didn't work out work-wise so I can't even use that as an excuse. 

The training phase went well, but then once everything was set to "go live" there actually didn't seem to be much work at all. After 2 1/2 days of pretty much twiddling my thumbs and trying to organise my desk and look busy I decided enough was enough. Since then I've been looking for something new. Sometimes I think I should have stayed, got paid for being bored out of my mind and just kept looking for a new opportunity. Oh well. I've been getting interviews, phone ones and in person so fingers crossed things will fall into place soon.

It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here. We both LOVE this time of year normally, this time we've had a bit of trouble getting in the spirit. But we found the box with a tree in it, and I found some of others marked Christmas. We're keeping it simple.

There has been a bit of baking going on - not me though - I just want to make gingerbread....and I have no idea where my cookie cutters are, and it has taken me many trips to many different stores to be able to find some replacements. Seems everyone else is making gingerbread too ! At least I don't need cookie cutters to make white Christmas which is also on my list of things to do.

We've been for a couple of night time drives all over the city, getting totally lost at times as it is difficult to read maps and directions in the dark. Nevertheless, we have found some great Christmas light displays. This has been one of our regular Christmas traditions and it has been great to be able to do it here as well.

It has been very un-summery weather - winter clothes are getting well aired after having been packed away since June. I'm almost expecting snow on the actual day. There have been plenty of late snowfalls with the recent frequent cold snaps, so who knows.

Meanwhile things in the garden are trying their best to get on with what they should be doing this season. Currants are turning red, strawberries are growing in abundance, raspberries and grapes are beginning to appear, lettuce is growing, apples are swelling, feijoas are flowering....

and some things have just gotten away on me...

maybe I should put some pretty lights on it.

Friday, 14 November 2014

A Chance to Go on a Roadie !!

Well, week one at work seems to have gone okay. Hopefully I will remember all I have learnt in training and be able to contribute to my new team when I start for real on Monday.

It was a short week because of a public holiday on Friday for Show Day. It has been a busy sporting week in Christchurch with the NZ Trotting Cup on Tuesday, the A&P show and cricket and more racing to come on Saturday. The weather has been a bit odd for this time of year, cold wind and hail - even snow on the alps. In November.

So, we planned to go for a drive since we both had the day off as part of our weekend. People thought I was mad when I said at work we might go to Greymouth and back. Pfft, they don't know how far we drove when we were on the other side of the world !

I haven't been to the West Coast since we were about this big...

...and Lauren had had one fleeting visit to go to a funeral which doesn't really count. 

The drive there was more interesting than what we found once there. But we will probably go back with some better plans sometime in the future. Great scenery, and some really cheeky wildlife. 

Where to next ?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The long weekend is almost over

Well, it seems it is time for me to return to the workforce. My chopped up finger is almost recovered and looking fine too. 

I took advantage of the rainy day last week and contacted agencies and made an appointment with one to go in and register. Next morning I got a call to go along to an interview...and I start Monday. It is a temp role - technical admin - part of the rebuild and sounds interesting. The pay isn't as great as I would generally want, but it all helps. Plus it will be something slightly different to add on to my CV for the next role. This week is training, and it is a short week too with Canterbury Anniversary Day/Cup Day on Friday. Perfect to help ease back into the routine.

We've been discovering all sorts in our garden, peonies, strawberries, currants, rhubarb, silverbeet, apples, feijoas, potatoes, raspberries, lily of the valley, alstromeria - love it !!

Mum and Dad came for a visit at the end of last week and bought the things we hadn't been able to fit in the car when we left Blenheim. Now we have to decide where we are going to put it all here. While they were here we went out for lunch in Prebbleton - Thyme Cafe, go there if you are down this way.

After they set off home, we went for a drive to Akaroa, New Zealand's own little piece of France. It is a nice drive, and filled in the afternoon nicely. The pain au chocolat helped too.

So, now it is the night before I have to get up early and wear clothes that have been hiding in drawers, the bottom of my suitcase or storage for the last wee while and make a contribution to society and the tax man. Kind of mixed feelings about that, especially since the winning Lotto ticket was sold at our supermarket, and we didn't even buy one ! Missed opportunity.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Boxes and Boxes

Well, we loaded the car up and set off from Blenheim last weekend to make camp for a night in our new home. Our furniture and belongings arrived on Tuesday so only one night of roughing it was required.

What was an empty, quiet house on Monday night has since transformed into one filled with life - and many piles of unpacked, stacked up boxes and packing paper. We're still looking for a pillow and have discovered that we may have "donated" some things we thought we had kept. Like coat hangers particularly. a quick trip to the Warewhare has resolved that though. Slowly things are finding their new homes.

We are also finding our way around the city and even had a "peak hour" trip to the Emergency After Hours Clinic the other night when my fingers happened to get in the way of the knife when chopping pumpkin for dinner. OUCH.

We have plans (or I do) to get some veges planted in our amazing garden and to sort out the extra belongings that have also come out of storage. if you are in Christchurch and looking to buy some secondhand furniture - I may have what you are looking for watch this space. It will have to wait 'til my hand is working a bit better than it is now though.

Next task is to get registered with some agencies and get a job.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Another Adventure Begins - No Regrets

So, It's been a while. Mostly for the last month I have been alternating between wallowing in misery about making such a snap decision to end the dream, enjoying being home and seeing family and contemplating the fact that actually we are in almost the same state here as we were in the UK.

Still, we have made progress. I have accepted that I made a stupid decision. I am working on accepting that we had a great three months. I have set a goal to return and give it another go - once I have replenished my savings.

We decided to give Christchurch a go on our return. It is a city rebuilding after monumental upheaval, so it seemed a fitting place for us to begin to rebuild our lives too. It is almost four weeks since we arrived back into spring with blossoms on trees and new leaves and cute baby lambs frolicking in fields. I am missing autumn, and not really looking forward to summer, but spring is helping with the transition. The occasional wintery day breaks the monotony of blue sky and sunshine days and reminds us again that we have to wait six more long months to get to wear warm snuggly clothes. 

We have a car - a Rover which has been named "the moon buggy" to get us around the place. It will do for now, it doesn't have a CD player or an AUX outlet so that will have to be remedied soon and it has no drink holders which we didn't discover until we visited the US Embassy for Food the other day. Hmmm. 

The rental market in Christchurch is pretty fierce but we're a pretty determined couple of ladies and we have found a wonderful house to rent. It has an amazing garden with lemons, black currants, apples, strawberries, cherries, feijoas and veges so we won't be starving. It is also only 5 minutes from Lauren's new job. So just me to organise now. We move in this weekend and the truck will arrive from Wellington with boxes of belongings and furniture to unpack at the beginning of the week.

Apple Blossoms down the street

 Matai River Nelson

 Reject export peonies from the peony farm where Anne works

 A rose and an azalea in Mum and Dad's garden