Friday, May 31, 2013

Tea and Armaggedon

Armageddon came to Wellington this weekend. Not quite the end of the world, but a gathering of like minded folk who are in to all things Sci-fi and fantasy related. Or rather, as some people might put it, an opportunity to sell all kinds of tat to odd people dressed in wierd costumes!

Well I am one of these weird people, although I unfortunately did not dress up (apparently that would be rather embarrassing or so my husband and my eight year old claim!) I thought it was all rather cool.

There were an enormous amount of games, stuffed animals and wierd and wonderful plastic figurines. The girls were entranced!

Also a lot of fake weaponary.  I was rather impressed with a Klingon sword which I thought would go rather well in our dining room. Too expensive though :(

Love the weird Japonese cartoons. Do not understand them at all, but they are clearly very popular.

Lots of very well endowed figurines! 

My favourite bit! Love a bit of Dr Who!

This little chap nearly came home with us, but he was unfortunately a little on the expensive side.

My daughters favourite find. A Lisa Simpson for my little Lisa Simpson.

Sylvester McCoy. He was really rather interesting and very like his Dr Who persona in real life. Yes that is a blue cat sitting in the audience. He asked a very deep and insightful question.

I am not sure why the wrestling was in the exhibition, but they were very good. We had to emphasize to the girls that it was all pretend and they were not to attempt anything like this at home!

It'is difficult to eat your lunch when you are surrounded by green and blue gnomes and creatures who stepped straight out of a Japanese animation. Its a bit distracting.

So my greatest find and the only thing purchased at Armaggedon is now one of my most treasured possessions. A Tardis Teapot. So awesome!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Windy weather photography.

Apparently having to stop every few minutes to take a photo is a bit annoying.

Well my other half has had to put up with this for quite a few years now. You'd think he would be used to it.

I wanted to take some pictures of the sea this morning as we have reached the time of year when Wellington lives up to its windy city reputation. The following pictures are the result of a very breezy walk along the seafront this morning. I was accompanied by much moaning and lots of impatient sighs every time I paused - so the results are not quite what I hoped for.

I think the pictures still convey just how cold and breezy it was this morning. So I guess I can understand some of the moaning.

Even the seagulls were having trouble in the wind.

Still lots of people about braving the elements, and the odd Oyster Catcher.

Lot's of these birds as well. I have no idea what they're called.

A trip to Cafe Vella cheered everyone up. Great food and a good selection of songs on their playlists.

Great sausage rolls!

Also want their teapots. Something else I am going to keep an eye out for in the charity shops.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

All Greens and Blues

Last weekend the weather was beautiful and so we decided to have a quick afternoon stroll in the Autumnal sun.

Our short stroll turned into a 7km hike but it was worth it. The world seemed to turn into blazing blues and greens in the low level sunlight.

We decided to explore out the back of Plimmerton towards Pukerua Bay via a road known as The Track.

I would recommend this route to everyone. You get amazing views of the coast on one side and the rolling hills on the other.

You also get to meet the friendly locals!

Unfortunately the SH1 does cut through the view to the east but it does add to the drama of the scenery. I was rather glad I managed to capture the train in this photo as well.


Us taking in the view.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wintery Reflections on a Sunday Morning

Its Mothers Day here in NZ. Its a good day to be a Mum. I have been thoroughly spoilt. Breakfast in bed and dinner out last night. It is also a gloriously sunny morning and sitting in bed eating my pancakes I thought it would be a good morning to take some photos.

It the kind of bright sunny morning that Wellington seems to be extremely good at. Unlike in the UK where you get days of grey wet cold and miserable weather, that seem to last interminably in winter. New Zealand will very rarely have more than one grey day at a time. Yesterday was cold wet and windy and today has awoken bright sunny and cheery.

My girls are busy tidying their rooms and my other half has given then instructions not to ask Mummy to do anything today as its my "special day". I think he is really raising the bar here, in preparation for Fathers Day. I have a while to prepare so I should be okay!

I decided to take advantage of some quiet time and took some photos of our beautiful new house in the sun.

I have lived in around fourteen or fifteen different houses in my lifetime and this house is my favourite. It is not the biggest or by any means in the best repair, but it is the cosiest, and the one that feels most like home.

My favourite room. I think it's all the light that streams in and all the wood which gives it the feeling of warmth.

My favourite spot in my favourite room. I can sit here and look out at the birds in the trees and have a good nose at anyone that happens to walk by.

For years and years we have wanted a wood burning stove and we have finally managed it. Central heating in NZ is very unusual. Unless you are a British expat and have it installed yourself. Most people over here seem to have heat pumps, little stand alone heaters or wood burners. We have a heat pump in this house but I don't like it. It's great if you are sitting directly underneath it, but otherwise fairly useless.

The wood burner can heat the whole house and the flames make you feel all warm and cosy just through visual effect alone. It is also smelly and dirty and will fill your house with smoke and dust (at least if you are as useless as lighting it as me!) but the whole rigmarole is worth it in the end once it is alight and glowing happily in your warm and cosy living room.

This is apparently my two girls tidying their rooms. I guess the floor is relatively clear so that's one achievement.

My eldest in her tidy-ish red room.

I like the way the kids bedrooms can easily extend onto the deck when the weather is good.

And when the winter sunshine penetrates the canopy the garden just looks magical.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rabbit and Guinea Heaven

Our rabbit is called Harry. Harry is extremely good at escaping. However once he has escaped, and made us also panic and search frantically for him, he always looks very relieved to be found once again. He generally hops up to us very obligingly (after giving us a very nerve wracking few minutes) and sits at my feet waiting to be picked up and cuddled.

I think he likes the idea of freedom but the reality is just a bit too scary and the world just a bit too big and untamed for him. There are also a number of large cats in the vicinity of our new house. And whilst they tend to run away from Harry when he hops up to them from behind wire, I think if he met them without any fence to protect him he may not come out the winner from any confrontation.

We also have a Guinea pig called Errol. He is not brave or adventurous and does not like being picked up cuddled or fussed with in anyway. He likes to sit under his arched wooden shelter and eat and poo. That appears to be his ideal pass time. I am sure there are many humans who would also aspire to this way of life.

Anyway, now we have our own home, we felt it was time to build the Guinea and the Rabbit a permanent run in our back garden.

My other half and I are not in anyway qualified to use power tools or construct anything ourselves. We have struggled putting together Ikea furniture in the past, so building a run was a challenge. However I think we rose to the challenge quite adequately. Although the final result is not necessarily aesthetically pleasing, it does the job!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Views of our new suburb - because I love it!

 I grew up by the sea, and so I think it is natural that I wanted to live somewhere within walking distance of the sea again. Now from leaving our front door to being able to paddle our feet takes approximately four minutes. Two and a half if you sprint!

As our (very professional and smooth talking) estate agent said "you really get the beach lifestyle living in Plimmerton" and I guess he is right. We were rather seduced by the large number of families who obviously came home from work and then spent the evenings on the beach watching the last of the suns rays reflected in the clear blue water.

Since my brother and sister live in the original Brighton, I think its only fitting that I live in what was at one time believed to be the "new Brighton". Since there are only about two thousand people currently living in Plimmerton it has a way to go before becoming as populous (or as trendy) as the old Brighton.

The little suburb does have a real sense of community and has a number of really good events that take place through the year. It was recently Plimmerton Promenades which involved a best dressed dog competition, dance shows, stalls and the opening up of the fire station. This little fire station is great and I love the fact that from our new house we can hear the air raid siren go off calling all the retained fire fighters in.

The village still looks a bit like an old western frontier town to me. The old cars just added to the atmosphere.

The sea is still the best bit about our new home.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bedrooms and Tree Turkeys.

When we moved in we knew one of the first jobs we would tackle would be the children's bedrooms. Our house is designed on three levels, with bedrooms on the ground and second floor. The main living area is in between. This means that the bedrooms on the ground floor can be a bit dark.
So we decided to tackle these first and make sure they were nice cheery places for the kids to play.

Someone who previously lived in our house obviously liked the colour orange. A lot of the house is orange and blue. Interesting combination I think you'll agree. It made the ground floor appear even darker than it naturally is. So we decided white was a good way to go.

Being progressive parents and wanting to encourage our children's creativity and individuality, we allowed them to choose one colour for one wall in their rooms. The other three walls would be white. Well my youngest daughter chose "pea green". Okay it's not actually called that on the pot, it called something much more seductive like "spring meadow", but it is essential pea green. Lovely! We couldn't go back on our promise to allow them to choose, so we came back from Bunnings (NZ equivalent of B&Q) with a lovely pot of pea green paint!

Also rather riskily, we allowed the kids to help paint the rooms too!

Rather surprisingly once the "pea green" was put on the walls it actually looked rather nice.

My other half also got rather inspired and decided to paint a tree and what is apparently a bird of paradise in its branches. Me and the kids decided it looked more like a Turkey! However I think the end result has really cheered and brightened up the smallest bedroom.

The tale of the treehouse!

So our lovely new home came with an existing tree house built on top of an existing tree stump. It was covered with spiders and dead leaves and numerous insects so was not fully explored by us or the kids when we moved in. And most importantly it was not examined by our structural engineer.

About a week after we moved in our friends came round with their kids and three of the girls decided to be brave enough to climb up and explore the tree house. After the main cobwebs and dead leaves had been swept out by Mum.

The parents had withdrawn to the kitchen for a cuppa and chat when we heard what sounded like a tree collapsing. With our stomachs well and truly in our mouths we ran out to see what I fully expected to be a scene of carnage.

Well the tree house had completely toppled over and slid down the bank. The three girls had been inside when it fell. One of them had been thrown out and had was lying half way down the bank. My eldest emerged from the remains unscathed and my youngest had to be retrieved from the wreckage and sustained two bad knocks to the head.

Following a panicked trip to A & E thankfully no one was badly hurt. However a lesson was well and truly learnt that day. Do not let your kids climb tree houses without thoroughly examining their structural integrity first!