Sunday, 12 January 2014

Christmas with the Bate's family.

Nothing could have made Christmas more normal than spending it with my extended family; Colette, Jordanne & Sharn, Ashley & Luis (their boys - Lucas and Ricco) and Mike, Nanny Liz and Grampy Ray.

They welcomed Ollie as one of the family with open arms, making him feel comfortable and at home and I relaxed as soon as i'd had a mummy cuddle from Colette! And a sister squish from Ash and Jordy!

We got to spend Christmas Eve out for dinner and drinks with Mike and his parents - generously paid for by Mike (thank you) and Christmas Day morning at Nanny Liz & Grampy's for a good English fry up. 

The rest of Christmas Day was spent at home with Colette and the gang and Sharn's (Jordannes boyfriend) lovely family drinking, eating and laughing (a lot!). The only strange thing was BBQ'ing the food rather than roasting it (oh and being in shorts).

We got to see lots of Mount Maunganui and Papamoa during the 2 weeks we were there - climbing "The Mount" for Ollie's first 360 view of Tauranga and Papamoa, sunbathing on the beaches, watching Ollie jump off the cliff at McLaren Falls into a big river, walking with Ashley and boys up to the Papamoa hills, Ollie's first surf lesson courtesy of Sharn, eating fresh fish and chips in Tauranga (we watched it being skinned and filleted) me getting an amazing tattoo of a compass (again courtesy of Sharn) and generally spending lots of laughter and fun times with the family. 

Up at "the Mount"
Ollies first surf lesson!
Sharn teaching Ollie to surf :)
Taking the boys for a walk round "the Mount"
Cutting Jordy's hair.
Up at McLaren Falls
Me and the lil sis at McLaren Falls
Getting my Tattoo

My tattoo :) Thanks Sharn
Cutting Lucas' hair
Bodyboarding :) 
Lovely little Ricco
Walking to the Papamoa Hills

Spending New Years Eve with Ashley at Luis' bar made the whole thin even more special and fun - Ash we love you lots! We drank the night away, danced, got a random subway half way through the night (standard) and watched the beautiful fireworks over The Mount! 

Me and my lil sis Ash

Drunk selfies :) 

Spending this time with my extended family means so much to me - it made me a lot less homesick but also made me realise I will miss you all so much when we go home! 

"Matman" as Ricco says Batman! 

Ollie and Sharn :) 

This was the perfect way to start our New Zealand adventure, sad to move on but excited to get going we're heading to Rotorua - the Stinkiest place in NZ! 

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Sydney - 3 days is 100% not enough in the nicest city we've been to!

Arriving in Sydney airport at 9am, a quiet descended on our ears - we thought we had lost our hearing on the plane - but no Sydney was calm and quiet with a well run taxi rank and hardly any traffic. It couldn't be farther away from Bangkok where we had just come from.

We stayed in the "Potts Point" area of Sydney - contrary to other travellers opinions - "too close to Kings Cross and very seedy, the red light district of Sydney" - we thought it was perfect for us. Central enough to walk to all the tourist areas and close to Kings Cross for bars and take out food. 

3 days in Sydney is definitely not enough time in this beautiful, modern metropolis. 

In these 3 days we managed to fit in all of the sights including Sydney Opera House and the bridge, the Royal Botanical Gardens, The Rocks shopping area, Diamond Harbour, the zoo, Bondi beach (with the lovely Steph - one of our fellow travelling friends) and we got to take a short trip to see another friend we met on a tour (Ryan and Mandy) in Hornsby. They very kindly invited us for a good old Ozzie BBQ and boy was it good! Thank you again for the wonderful hospitality and if you're ever in England - you know where to come! 

                   Ollie and Ryan :)
                      Bondi Beach

We also managed to stumble across a famous pie shop "Harry's Cafe de Wheels" which by the way actually does the BEST pies ever! 

Sydney is such a beautiful city and we felt safe at all times. Walking the city is by far the best way as you get to see more and find lovely little caf├ęs and restaurants, which you wouldn't have otherwise. 

We rounded our short trip off by having dinner and drinks with one of our favourite people - Ros! We met Ros on our first tour and have become great friends, managing to catch up in China, Thailand and Australia. The night flew by with laughter, drinks and stories all mixed with some amazing fireworks! We love you Ros! 

We left Sydney feeling sad that we hadn't spent enough time here, but vowing to come back to Australia and not only see more of Sydney but see the whole of this exciting country! Even though we only got to spend 3 days here - it was perfect as we got to catch up with our friends. 

Now to spend Christmas with my extended family "The Bates" and to do some crazy camping and extreme sports! New Zealand, we're on our way!