Food + friends = FUN :-)

I was out the door just before 9am.
I cruised off to 48 on Fitz Cafe to meet Corrinne for breakfast.
I was heaps early but as I didn’t really feel like shopping I just sat in the car and rested.
Painted my nails, listened to the radio and had a doze.
All this socialising is making me rather weary
Corrinne arrived around 10am after her physio appointment.
We had a very relaxing 1.5hour brunch.
Great food and wonderful company.
At midday we roused ourselves and went off to the museum to see the WoW Off the Wall exhibition.
I had planned to take Mahalia but she was staying a 2nd night with Madeline.

It was really great to see the garments up close.
There was only a small number, 30 to be precise, on display compared with the enormity of the full collection but it was enough to take in at once.
The work and detail was amazing and we oohed and aahed and checked them all out carefully making sure we didn’t drool on the garments!!

This leatherwork was amazing.

This is made from synthetic wool sacks – absolutely gorgeous!

This piece was made from 10 old leather suitcases.

They made excellent use of mirrors to you could see the fronts and backs at the same time.

This praying mantis was amazing.

The intricate work, stitching and papier-mâché  was beautiful

We spent a good half an hour checking out all the Wearable Art and then wandered down Worcester St.
It was sad to see the Arts Centre all fenced off but we found Dyslexic Discovery.
The artwork featured in the front garden was intriguing.
There were talking seats.
When you sit down they start telling you all about dyslexia.

I loved this bronze sculpture “Inner Struggle”- a steel plasma cut ribbon of words that float through the air from the book the girl is reading.

On returning to our cars we saw these words inscribed over the entrance to the museum.
Lo these are parts of His ways but how little a portion is heard of Him.

Me and my bestest cousin 

Unfortunately at 1:30pm our parking times had expired and we had to say goodbye.
I went for a wee tiki tour to Riccarton Mall and paid a quick visit to Gloria Jeans.
I have discovered they make very delicious Creme Brulee Frappes.
Then I zipped back to meet up with Robyn at the Antigua Boat Shed Café.
It was lovely to see her again.
The added bonus was that David was able to pop in and have a coffee with us too.

Then it was 3:30pm and I made contact with Kathryn who had just finished her first day at clinical.
 We met up at Coffee Culture in Riccarton Mall and hung out there – talked and ate some more until 6pm!

I then made my way west to meet up with Emma at Coffee Culture at Bush Inn Centre.
We spent the next couple of hours chatting over more drinks and food.
At 8:30pm we made a mad dash to catch The Warehouse before it closed cuz I wanted to get the latest Leonard Cohen cd,
Old Ideas,
just released today!!
I got it – so guess what Mahalia is going to have to endure during our trip back home

Then it was more farewells and I was off back to Les & Christine’s.
A final drink and chat and off to bed.
What a day.
I am rolling in frappes, juices and food  plus I have had a great socialising time – what a great day it was

A sociable Sunday :-)

We were taking things rather leisurely this morning and then all of a sudden at 8:30am we realised that we had to be out the door at 8:50am.
Les & Christine were off to Mass and needed to be able to lock up the house properly.
The earthquakes have left the house in a difficult state to secure and Les prefers to do it himself.
So Mahalia & I whizzed into our clothes, grabbed our stuff and were on the road soon after 8:45am.
Nothing like a fast and early start to a Sunday
We decided to head over to Riccarton and have breakfast at Drexels.
When we arrived they told us that they didn’t have any tables free until mid afternoon but if we would like to sit at the counter we could eat immediately.
So we did!We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and then went to suss out Briscoes sale.
We spent an hour there and came out with a trolley full of stuff.
Then it was back to Diva to return the ring Mahalia had bought the previous night.
It had broken already.
She decided to get a different one and ended up with a card of three rings so she was very happy.
We whizzed out to Hornby to pick up something from Briscoes that they had put on hold for us only to discover they had been told the wrong thing by the guy at Riccarton and the one I wanted was not there either – duh!
So this time the assistant called up Northlands and found exactly what I was wanting and got it put on hold.

Then we drove back across town again and spent the next few hours with Nick & Bri.
They liked the photo frame I bought them for their first anniversary
Where did that year just go to??

Mahalia played on Bri’s play station.
We socialised.
It was relaxing and nice just to chill with them for a while.

So enough it was time to move on again.
We drove to Northlands and this time got the right thing from Briscos.
Found Louisa & Roger at home.
We had a wander through the house and saw all the earthquake improvements and subsequent cracks from the last big quake!

I left Mahalia there to sleep over with Madeline.
They were two busy girls happily painting nails with the new metallic colours when I left.

I met up with Vonni & Alvin at the Hoofbeats Restaurant at the Racecourse.
We spent a lovely couple of hours chatting over dinner.
My dinner was the size of a truck drivers and I struggled to get through all the meet.
Had to give in at the end and not eat the last quarter of the schnitzel.

I headed home at 8pm.
Stopped in at Starbucks to get a drink and then back to the house to settle in for the night.

A very Mahalia day :-)

Saturday 28th January

We had a lovely day today.
It was very Mahalia.
Lots of girlie stuff and heaps of horses.

We started off by heading into the central city at 9am.
Parked at the bottom of Cashel St and went to see the new Re:START area.
It was really great.
We walked straight to Ballantynes as we only had an hour to spend my last years birthday voucher.
We surfed around the shop checking out all the interesting departments but nothing caught my eye in the fashion area that was within my budget.
So we stopped in at the nail counter.
I decided it was time to get girlie and buy myself some nail polishes.
But the choice of colours and brands near blew my wee brain!
Finally a lovely lady come to help and she and Mahalia had fun helping me choose some cool colours.
I have a feeling Mahalia is pretty keen on helping me use them
When we paid for them with my voucher plus a weeny bit more she gave me some extra pressies which was a really lovely bonus.
This is part of the Re:START area.
Funky eh?
Mahalia couldn’t believe it when I told her that they had used shipping containers to build it.

Then we headed to Sydneham to browse the Christian Super Store.
It is a fatal place for me to visit!
I came out with an armful of sale books
We met up with Janet & David at a cafe/bar at the carpark entrance of The Colombo.
I was most impressed as last time I had been to this area it was a scuddy mall built around Spotlight with nothing whatsoever going for it.
But since the earthquakes it has been rebuilt and is very up market and contains some great fashion shops.
Including, to my delight, Annah Stretton!
We enjoyed a lovely morning tea and chat and then went browsing.
Mahalia had fun in Postie choosing nail polishes.
It was soon time to say goodbye.
We just had time to zip over to Riccarton and grab a frappacino from Starbucks and then get back to the Arena for the show.
We spent a wonderful couple of hours at El Caballo Blanco.
Mahalia was totally delighted with it.
The horses were gorgeous.
Here’s a few pics of the show.

This horse is doing the flamenco with the dancer – really cool!!

After the show we decided to go to the movies.
So we cruised back to the Riccarton Mall to find out what time it was on.
Not till 6:15pm – over an hour to wait.
So we bought the tickets and then went for a cruise of the mall.
Found Diva and got buried checking out all sorts of el cheapo bling!
It was very quickly time to head to the theatre.
Got there and checked in and discovered that you really should double check tickets when buying.
The stupid girl at the counter had sold us tickets for a completely different movie.
We had booked to see ‘War Horse’ at 6:15pm.
She had booked us into ‘When a City Falls’ at 6:40pm.’
I had never heard of it and was not the slightest bit interested in it.
(Oops! Just realised it is the movie made about Christchurch and I should be interested to see it sometime.)
The guy on the door was great.
He went running off to change them for us so we got the seats at centre back.

War Horse‘ was excellent.
We had already listened to the story on audio book so were familiar with it.
But viewing the war scenes was much more graphic and disturbing.
Mahalia cried all the way through them.
She said later that she could handle all the dead people but the dying horses broke her heart!!
But she really enjoyed the movie and so did I.
It was really well produced.

We got some food to eat on the way home as it was 9pm.
When we got back to Les & Christine’s Mahalia showed Christine all her purchases and filled her in on our day.
Then she painted Christine’s toe nails for her before heading off to bed.

It was a lovely day and now I am rather tired so will hit the pillow.

Cruising off to Christchurch

Thursday 26th January

The girls and I were all packed and out the door by around 10:30am.
I had left lists and instructions behind me so hopefully everyone knew what they had to do and what to eat.
So if they get bored or go hungry it ain’t my fault

We had a fairly non-eventful trip out.
Apart from Sophie not feeling too great and giving us a blow by blow account of how her body was reacting to the windy bumpy drive!

We arrived at Foresters Cafe a tad early and Margaret got a bit lost so she was a bit late.
The girls were quite happy to chill out on the lawn in front of the cafe with the 2 very friendly dogs.

We had an enjoyable lunch.
It was lovely to just sit and chat in the cool as the day had come out rather hot.
At 2:30pm we had to pull ourselves away as we still had a ways to go.

They headed off back to Nelson and Mahalia & I drove through to Blenheim.
I dropped Hali & the library books off while I went to do a drop off.
Then back to pick up new books and Mahalia.
After a quick zoom through the supermarket to get fruit and snacks for the trip we were away.
I had called ahead and booked for dinner at Hislops in Kaikoura.
We got there just before 7pm.
I had a voucher to use for my birthday so we sat and enjoyed the cool and the delicious food.
We checked our emails etc while waiting for food.

Back on the road by 8:30pm.
I was quite glad we were not heading south any earlier as the sun was blinding for about 5-10mins until it finally sunk below the hills.
We had phoned ahead to book beds at Waipara.
The last hour was quite a struggle.
My eyes were getting rather sore.
But we made it around 10pm.
Mahalia was very glad to get to bed.
I sat and chatted with Ross & Lenore over a drink before hitting the pillow sometime after 11pm.

Friday 27th January

We were so tired that we didn’t wake till around 8:30am.
We had quite a leisurely morning.
I had inadvertently left my vodem behind so tapped into their wi-fi to check emails etc.
It was lovely to spend some time with Magdala & Jamin.
They are home for a month over the holidays and fly back to Canada next week.

It was well after 11am when we finally climbed back into the Terrano and headed south.
We got caught in some standstill barely moving traffic just south of Amberley.
There was some large intensive road works happening and the traffic was banked up for ages on each side.
We finally got through and made our way to Woodend Beach and found Lizzie’s house.
It was great to finally see where she is living and spend an hour or so with her.
Mahalia thought it was just the bestest place to be as they are surrounded by horses.
Lizzie invited her to come stay – I think after her baby arrives she may have a very willing baby sitter
These gorgeous horses are just across the road and were very happy to be friends with Halia.

It was 2:30pm before we left.
We headed straight to Sockburn to drop off a parcel for Tim.
Man! The Sockburn roundabout is a nightmare.
I knew where I was going but to get around it and through the traffic was chaos.

Headed down Blenheim Road to The Warehouse to get some kitchen containers for Anson.
Of course there was more stuff we just had to buy too.
Then to Riccarton Mall to get some food for lunch and a very much needed and deserved frappacino from Starbucks!

It was getting close to 5pm so the traffic was pretty bedlamish as we drove to Bri & Nick’s.
Got there in one piece and unloaded the meat Tim had sent down for them.
They were heading out to dinner so we drove up the street to another Warehouse and changed a couple of items and bought some more stuff.
Mahalia was pretty happy with a new pair of shorts and a tee-shirt we got on sale.

We arrived at Christine and Les’s around 8pm.
Really felt so incredibly tired by then.
It was good to crash and have dinner.
Now it is way past bed time so I am going to hop into my sleeping bag and get real intimate with my pillow.

Interesting days

Tuesday 24th January

We were up and going quite early.
I had a lot on so wanted to get things moving along.

Gavin & Johannes dug out a heap of agapanthus plants that were growing on the bank and were becoming a nuisance.
Magdalena & Katherine got stuck in and cleaned and vacuumed through the living areas and bathrooms.
The other kids helped tidy too.
I made up a very large pot of Iraqui Rice for lunch.
Loaded up a chilli bin with that and some other food and sent it to Anson’s with the crew.
At 10am Anson took all the extras around to work at The Croft.
He got the girls working in the house and garden while he and the lads carried on with building his verandah.

Tim and I were expecting some people to come in for a meeting with us and the children.
We spent the following few hours discussing some important personal issues.

By 2:30pm we were all done and the children all headed off to play.
Tim was wanting to go out and do float work as it was so calm.
But Anson and the guys were still hard at work at The Croft and didn’t come around till late.
So they went out in the early evening and did the floats.

The kids were swimming and enjoying the lovely evening.
Dinner was late again!

Wednesday 25th January

The children spent the morning doing make-up and hair and then went out on a photo shoot.

They had so much fun.

Katherine took some great shots – I am allowed to share some here
I had to laugh.
She was very dramatic with Azzan’s make up and they did a photo shoot.
Later I found him washing it all off and then saying to the girls that he wanted to be a real boy for the next photos please!!!

Azzan is sure he is going to enter New Zealand’s Top Model when he is older and he was really hamming up the poses.

My beautiful Shoshannah

Lovely Mahalia

Playing with a stingray

Best friends – Sophie and Mahalia

Aren’t they just gorgeous?

Antarctica pays an unwanted midsummer visit :-(

Sunday 22nd evening

After I had finished blogging we were hit by a very violent lightening strike.
I was talking on the phone and it about blew my eardrum
It blew the transformers at the top of the hill and put our power out.
We had dinner by candle light.
Most romantic with 11 of us and the kids playing in the melting wax
The children were not impressed about having to go to bed by 9pm as they vowed and declared they were not at all sleepy.
But as I wouldn’t let them take candles to bed & we were making the most of no power to have an early night they just had to!
But then I ended up hopping back onto the net to book Marah a bus ticket as her ride out had fallen through.
You have to book before midnight on NakedBus if you want to get on the next day.
Thanks goodness for laptops with battery backup!

Monday 23rd January

The temperature has dropped considerably since yesterday.
It is downright cold.
Everyone arrived in at breakfast shivering.
It just doesn’t seem fair on our body thermostats – we adjust to roasting days and then in an instant we are reduced back to almost winter like conditions.

Gavin & Johannes were up at 6am having breakfast with Tim.
Anson had arranged for an early morning work schedules.
But he never turned up.
So as it was a glassy calm morning Tim decided to take the guys out to do some mussel float work.
Magdalena spent the entire day out in the garden.
It was actually a good day for gardening.
The sun was shining but the atmosphere was cool.
It is looking really good now and all the new plants have been planted so not too many gaps now.

Anson & Marah finally turned up around 10am.
Anson hadn’t woken until 9:30.
He obviously needed the sleep.
They had to leave by 11am to get Marah out to the bus at Rai Valley so Anson buzzed around getting the trailer and drums ready.
He was going to shoot through to Blenheim and pick up some 2nd hand roofing iron from Pat and some fuel.
Can’t go all that way and not make the trip worth while

Katherine was painting nails again so Azzan & Marah joined the decorating team.

After they left the children asked if they could go for picnics.
Katherine & Shanni decided to head off in the kayaks.
Sophie & Mahalia were planning to go biking around the hills.
Azzan couldn’t make up his mind which team he was going to join.
Things got rather dramatic and emotionally intense as he tried to make up his mind.
I had a quiet talk with the 4 girls and suggested that it was quite hard for him with 4 females all telling him what to do!!!
He eventually calmed down and went off with Sophie & Mahalia.
They took books and blankets and were out to look for a nice sunny spot on the hillside.

Tim and the guys came back in very slowly towing a raft of floats.

They came in for lunch and spent a leisurely time eating and talking before heading down to the wharf to do ropes while Tim changed the filters on the ’88 South’.

The children arrived back mid arvo and watched a movie for a while.
Then around 7pm they decided they just had to go swimming
There was great excitement when an octopus found them.
Here is a video Shanni took of the noisy fun they had trying to handle it.

While they were down having fun I made an Apricot Butterscotch dessert.
I made it with spelt and brown rice flour and dairy free so everyone could eat it.
It was delicious.

It was such a lovely evening I was hanging out the washing until nearly dark.
Then Jesika phoned so we skyped for a while.
She had a chat with Gavin and said goodnight to the kids before I got to have a catch up.
It is nice to hear her sounding happier

Crazy weather!!

Sunday began as another lovely day.
Anson, Marah, Gavin & Johannes went out fishing at 8am.
They had all had quite a late night so were looking rather like stunned mullets.

Mahalia & Sophie have discovered there is a game on the computer that they can play together so they have been having a heap of fun with it.

I worked on my blog and photos all morning.
Finished and had breakfast at 11:30am.
Then we all got together for fellowship.
The weather turned yucky early arvo and the washing had to be whipped off the line quickly.
It rained for a while.

Shoshannah had asked Tim if she could be baptised so the meeting followed the theme of baptism.
It was really interesting and created quite some discussion.

So mid arvo when we had finished fellowship we all wandered down to the beach.
The rain had stopped thankfully.
It was a bit bleak but Shanni pronounced the water warm so in went Tim, Graham & Shoshannah.

Ready to go under…..

And up she comes again with a huge smile

I love this photo of her.
All clean!

We all came back up to get warm and have lunch.
Marah & I checked out photos on the computer for a while.
The children then went back for a swim.
The next I saw of them they were all in the spa pool with Gavin.
He was the only one of the older crew who would consent to go swimming.
It was very crowded – I bet the water level has dropped considerably!

Marah & I tried to watch a dvd but the stupid dvd player will not play speech so we gave up
Anson put the boat up on the trailer as there is a southerly coming.
Marah walked back to The Croft to watch a movie on a dvd that will work.
I think I need to go shopping while I am away next week!!

Shoshannah & Katherine cooked dinner.
Tim had a sleep, he actually had two sleeps!

Now the weather has closed in and it is nasty, wet and cold.
There is thunder pounding the hills.
A good night to head to bed early I think.

Gavin’s birthday

21st January
the end of a long hot day

Gavin turned 25 today.
He was a long way from Dartmoor and family.
We had planned a surprise dinner and had everything prepared for when we arrived home from the sports day.
He had no idea.
I love preparing surprises

His favourite meal is roast mutton chops.
We had fresh butter beans, corn & carrots with roast potatoes, mint sauce & gravy.

Then for dessert I had made his absolute favourite.
Trifle with jelly and coconut cream custard.
Andrea had baked a very delicious carrot cake for him.
She iced it in the morning before she left.

We really caught him by surprise
Is that really all sunburn Gavin??

One candle was enough – he had expounded more than enough energy today already!

A very practical present from Tim & Graham – an 18″ chisel chain blade for his chainsaw.

And a Holman’s Study Bible from us all.

Happy Birthday Gavin.
It has been wonderful having you become part of our family.
I am sure this coming year will be full of many blessings for you.

Te Towoka Sports Day – part 4

It was about 6pm by the time we left.
Anson was giving biscuit rides around the bay.
It was really funny to watch Gavin & Johannes trying valiantly to hold on only to be flipped off very dramatically as they bounced over the wakes.

Azzan loves to jump of the wharf.
I love this shot of my flying boy.

More biscuiting

Seconds after I took this Johannes went for a very spectacular flight off the biscuit!

We headed homeward and Anson soon caught us up

And zoomed right past us

Leaving us in their dust, so to speak!

It was such a glorious evening.

We had all had our quota of Vitamin D.
I was rather annoyed as I had applied plenty of sunscreen but had still gotten burnt.
I hate using the stuff but was trying hard to be sensible this time :-/

We arrived home after 7pm.
Nathan had most of the dinner cooked.
Katherine had helped me prepare veges before we left and Tim had put a roast of mutton chops in the oven.

We all unpacked, showered, the kids swam, spa-ed and showered
and then it was dinner time.

Te Towoka Sports Day – part 3

The final even of the day was the gumboot throwing.
Always loads of laughs.
It is for over 16yr olds.
All of our aged ones lined up.

There are some very interesting techniques involved



Johannes – he thrilled the crowd with an Olympic double spin hammer throw!


and Marah – who almost won until another girl pipped her at the post!

Then it was time for the presentations.
Caroline presenting Gavin with his cup for winning the Men’s Cross Country.

Katherine with her cup for winning the Women’s Cross Country.

The ‘Shwinnington’ team being presented with their award for winning the Women’s Relay.

The relay winners with their silver platter.

The children all packed up and went off swimming then.
They deserved it after their hot industrious day.