Thursday, 24 December 2015

Up, up and away

The day we left New Zealand for good, 30th October 2015, finally arrived. It was warm, but very overcast and the sky looked ominously dark and brooding. I had taken Little Boy to our small local airport a few times over the few months before we left, to get him used to the noise of the planes and just experience the environment so it wasn't too much for him on the day. He loved looking at the helicopter which was sitting right next to the airport lounge. 

Big Girl joined me in taking photos of our plane landing....

This was Little Boy's first experience of being in a plane and I wasn't sure what to expect. He was a star! He had a lollipop to suck whilst we were taking off, and was quite happy looking out of the window at the world below. It was a great flight to start him off, as it's only a forty minute flight to Auckland. The Bay of Islands is only a small airport, so they don't have big planes. This one was about 28 seats, and was comfy and not too loud, a great introduction to flying for a little person. 

I think the photo below shows the Rainbows End theme park in Auckland, as that's a roller coaster at the end of the rainbow! (Well okay, not quite at the end, to the right and up a bit ;-)  )

I was so glad I bought a Trunki for Little Boy, as there were quite a few long walks at the different airports, which aren't ideal when you factor in time differences and a very tired two year old. You do have to make sure they hold on though, as he let go once when we stopped, and as I walked off again he disappeared backwards and hit his head on the floor. No damage done, but I did feel a bad mummy :-)

There were lots of firsts for him - first airplane ride, first ride in an elevator, first ride up an escalator, and also first ride on one of those moving walkways. He took it all in his stride. Just like his big sister did when she was little. I guess they are both made for travelling!

The lounge at Auckland airport was excellent, and they had a designated lounge for kids. Little Boy made himself at home in front of the tv.....

Whilst Big Girl helped herself to some food. We were lucky enough to fly business class (more affordable when you are only flying one way!) so it was all included in the price. She kept coming over to me and whispering' "Can I really have what I want? Is it all free?"! 
 There was a kids' chill out area upstairs, with some humongous beanbags arranged around a tv. Unfortunately no sooner had we settled down to tuck into our food, we were called to board our plane. 
Yet again Little Boy proved his laid back nature by falling asleep before we had even taken off! No little man spreading out on your lap trying to sleep, he had the luxury of his own bed, and he made the most of it. In fact he slept so soundly he missed all of the food on the twelve hour flight, and woke up just in time for breakfast before we landed! 
Air New Zealand is a great airline, and business class with them is a wonderful experience. They make you feel special, and nothing is too much to ask. I would thoroughly recommend them. 

The same can't be said for our second flight, which was with Air Canada. The lounge was basic, and we had several hours wait there. The flight felt like they were trying to provide a business class experience, but not doing a very good job of it. I won't list all my moans about it here, but let's just say I wouldnt fly with them again even if it was free :-(  
Shame, as it's not like we can afford to fly business class all the time. We treated ourselves when we left for NZ, and likewise on the way home. Unless we win the lottery any future holidays will be back to basics. 

We couldn't believe it when we arrived in London Heathrow and it was so warm - in October! We'd packed jumpers and coats to wear when we got off the plane, and I walked out of the airport in a vest top! What's going on with the world?
An hour and half drive in a taxi saw us finally arrive at our destination - we were staying with my mum in the Cotswolds until we found a place of our own. This is what welcomed us when we got there - a homemade welcome home banner!

Home at last - well sort of. Now all that's needed is a house of our own, jobs, cars, school.....
Oh well, one step at a time, Rome wasn't built in a day!


Friday, 13 November 2015

Packing our bags

Oh dear, so much for keeping up with my blogging. It's been eight weeks since my last blog post but so much has happened. So now we are finally settled in our new home (yes, new home!!!!) I'll try and get back into it and let you know what's happened. So here goes.....

Well the end of October finally arrived, and we had the last few bits and pieces to wrap ready to be sent back to the UK. As we were doing the packing ourselves we tried to combine as many things together as we could, which ended up with some odd shaped packages......

The one above was a slide and a sunlounger, but we decided that it looked more like a dead body in a blanket!
We said goodbye to friends and neighbours, and got some nice cards and sweets for the kids to eat on the trip home....

OH had his last day of work a few days before we left, and was pleasantly surprised to receive a watch as a leaving present. Plus they very kindly offered to drop us off at the airport on leaving day.

We were due to fly on the Friday, so left the removals as late as possible so that we wouldn't be without our stuff for too long. On the Wednesday two very pleasant men arrived to start wrapping up the furniture. Little Boy was excited to see a big truck, but a bit intrigued as to why these strange men were taking all our things. 

On Thursdsy the big lorry arrived with the shipping container and a few extra men to help load it all in. They also bought the bad weather with them, and we watched our cardboard boxes going out in the rain....

There were brief spells of clear skies, and luckily all the furniture was wrapped in waterproof plastic, so it wasn't too bad. We couldn't see how so much stuff could fit into what looked like a rather small container. We came out with a 40ft container, but sold quite a bit of furniture so were going back with only a 20ft one. 

I had to rush around like a mad thing, making notes of numbers on packages and what they were. Everything looked the same when it was covered in plastic!

The driver did an excellent job of reversing back up the drive, and that was the last we would see of our worldy goods for around 8-10 weeks....

So we had one night of camping in our house. I had bought Little Boy a child's blow up travel bed, which he loved. Unfortunately, unbeknown to us it had a slow puncture so in the middle of the night he got off it and I found him in the morning flat out asleep on the floor in the middle of his room!

Our final morning was a mad rush of case weighing and checking cupboards. The house looked so big empty, but it wasn't going to be lonely for long, as it's new owners were moving in the next day.

So here the long journey begins. 


Friday, 16 October 2015

Bye bye Banner

Today was a sad day. We fly back to the UK in two weeks today (eek!), so unfortunately Big Girl's pride and joy, her beloved pony Banner, had to go to his new home :-(

Have you ever had a day when you feel like the meanest mummy on Earth? Well I did today. She put on a brave face as the big horse truck came to fetch him, as we decided it was best not to get upset until he had gone in case he sensed something was going on. But as soon as it was driving away she burst into tears. 

For the 18 months or so we have had him, they have had great fun together, and she has learnt so much having the freedom to go out into the field whenever she wanted, and a lot of the time simply rode him bareback with a just a piece of string round his neck to steer him. She has sat on his back, reading him stories and just chatting, whilst he was busy munching. Two friends together. 

God, I feel mean. 

I bought her a silver locket which I gave to her a few days before he was due to go. Inside is a picture of him on one side, with a few of his tail hairs on the other. So she may not have him anymore, but at least she has a part of him with her forever. 

When you take the foam out to remove the necklace from the box, I had put another surprise underneath. Another photo of him!....

So I guess a necklace doesn't compensate for a real live pony, but it's the best I can do, and she loved it. She wore it all today. 
He has gone to a home which sounds great. It's an equestrian centre, where he will be used for advanced beginners and will also get to hack out by the river, and do Pony Club, ribbon days etc. So he will have heaps of young girls and boys loving him and fussing over him! Plus we can follow him on Facebook, and the owners have promised to keep in touch with updates. 

He left at 7am this morning and we got a message this afternoon to say he had arrived safely and was happy munching grass with another horse. 
Stay safe, be happy gorgeous boy

Sunday, 4 October 2015

More boxes, no car and a big bill

Yes I'm still here, still packing. I found a free calendar I had, cut out October and stuck it on the fridge. It's now a scary reminder every time I cook or make a cup of tea of how fast the days are flying by...

I have lists of lists, lists in my head, lists on my ipad, lists on scraps of paper. 
We are gradually getting to the point where we are packing things we are still using. Who needs a bedside table when a packing box does the trick....

To be honest I actually prefer the box, it's bigger and a better height than the old bedside table!
Big Girl is camping in her room on a blow up bed with a sleeping bag, as we sold her bed on the weekend. She's quite happy actually as she says now there's space in her room to do gymnastics!

 I'm also chuffed to bits we have just sold the car, one less thing to worry about. The very nice man who has bought it said we could keep it until the weekend so we can have one last trip to the beach (cross your fingers for a nice weekend for us). 
So I'm madly planning everything that needs doing this week whilst I still have transport. It's a fifteen minute drive to town and we aren't on the bus route. Recycling, taking leftover toys/clothes etc to the charity shop, Little Boy needs his hair cutting. We'll be 19 days without a car - bummer! It's a shame as once all the packing etc was done it would have been nice to spend maybe the last week doing lots of fun stuff. Guess we will just have to sunbathe in the garden!

Did my last big shop at the supermarket yesterday.....

Did you notice the toy Land Rover perched on top? I didn't notice it at the time, and Little Boy was quite pleased his favourite car was in the picture! OH is sorted for the next three weeks - he has beer

It was scary when I got to the till. I don't think I've ever spent that much on food in one go before, or had a receipt as long....

Luckily we have been selling lots of bits and pieces that we don't want/need to take back with us, so I had plenty of cash to get rid of. 

Big Girl's pony goes to his new home next week, so she will be sad. He's going to a great home though and they are going to keep in touch with his progress. Even worse she won't be able to go back to school after half term, as I can't get her there. So I'll have two children stuck at home with no toys, no transport and for the last few days - no tv! No, we don't watch that much, but I'll be honest I have been a bad mummy and used it as a babysitter over the last few weeks whilst I have been busy packing. 

Right, Little Boy is having his afternoon siesta, so I'm off to do more sorting, packing, and more lists!


Wednesday, 23 September 2015


Yes, we have finally gone and done it and sold the house - woohoo!!!!!!!!!!! England here we come!
Scary news is that we leave in 32 days - holy crap, sooooo much to do and sooooo little time to do it in. Those days are going to fly by. 

We look like we have been burgled. The garage has gone from this....

To this....

We had a brief break from packing yesterday afternoon to watch a fantastic sight. We heard a small plane making rather a loud noise and rushed outside to see. It was flying upside down and did several loop the loops - how exciting! Our very own, private aeronautical display! I was that glued to watching so I didn't miss any of it, that by the time I rushed inside to grab my camera he had finished. 

OH also discovered an antique of his - an Atari! We kept an old tv for playing games, as apparently it isn't a good idea to use your good tv (might be an urban myth but we didn't want to take the risk). 

Just look how simple the games are - we were easily pleased when we were little weren't we!

Right, that's enough playing, LOTS to do and not much time to do it in!
See you soon!!!!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Boy zone

Little Boy is having his afternoon nap, and I'm just sat having five minutes break to grab a bite to eat and catch up on blog reading. I looked up from the iPad to gaze at the chaos that surrounds me. 
Would you be able to guess that a little boy lives in this house? ;-)

I wouldn't normally show the world my lounge in such a mess, but it tickled me. It's like he is marking his territory with tractors, trucks and cars!
Messy boy but I love him to bits!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Book signing

Have you heard of Keeping up With the Kaimanawas? It's a TV show that charts the progress of the three Wilson sisters who took on the challenge of trying to tame wild stallions caught up in the annual muster of Kaimanawa horses. 
One of the sisters, Kelly, wrote a book about it, and Big Girl was very excited to hear that Kelly was going to be doing a book signing at a local venue. 

Well being very British and used to queueing I thought we should arrive fifteen minutes before the start, to get ahead in the queue. I don't think there was any need....

Even after six years here in NZ I still can't get used to the lack of crowds anywhere. We were second in line to go in!
There was an Adopt a Book section where there were lots of lovely second hand books donated by libraries etc, and they were free to help yourself! Big Girl picked a few, and I found a great one called 'The Little Yellow Digger' for Little Boy. 

There were several authors available for book signings at various times during the day, but we were lucky enough to see Kelly wandering around when we first came in, so asked if she could sign Big Girl's book then. 

She's a lovely lady and very pretty. This is photo session number two as Big Girl looked at the first lot and decided her hair looked a mess so could we do it again? Luckily Kelly was very amenable and didn't mind at all. 

A little later on Kelly did a talk about the story behind her book, and we were lucky enough to get front row seats....

We also met Terry Fitzgibbon, a New Zealand author and illustrator....

He was doing a mural and asked Big Girl if she'd like to help colour it in....

There were book characters to meet, including Clifford....

Peter Rabbit....

And Spot!...

Where's Wally? Can you seem him? ;-)

I forget the name of the book or it's author (sorry lady!) but someone had made a lovely wall hanging about the truck in the story. It was very tactile and you were actively encouraged to interact and touch the different parts. Isn't it great, very detailed. 

Well apologies for being sooo long since I last put up a post. You see, I have been rather busy. I may have some exciting news in my next post!!!!