Easter LOOONG Weekend

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Happy Happy Happy Happy Easter…or what I used to write in EVERY Easter card–> HOPPY EASTER! The four day weekend is here. Emzie and I have been counting down the days until the Easter Carnival. Over the last month we had been debating on using the time off to fly to: Christ Church, Queenstown or Wellington but never bought flights to anywhere.

My family graciously invited both of us to join them at their batch in Taupo. (It took me at least a month to figure out “a batch” is what I know to be a “cottage”). Emma and I strongly considered going and helping the kids hunt for all their Easter treats! After weighing all the pros of cons we chose to stay in town. We have both already been to Taupo and weren’t keen on the petrol bill. The total commute time would be around 4 hours one-way. Stopping off at the free Mud Pools was the only real attraction we were keen on seeing along the way.

I picked Emzie up Thursday night so we could do our grocery shop; as most will be closed on Friday and Sunday. We have my house to ourselves all weekend so we picked up some drinks and happily continued our Full House marathon. The episodes NEVER get old!!!

IMG_5679IMG_5687There is a Mahons Amusement Park for all of the Easter Weekend. Em has been stoked for the ferris wheel and I am pumped for my FAVOURITE ride the zipper. The rides begin at 9:30 and run to 10pm. I enjoyed my little morning sleep in. I was welcomed to a exceptionally prepared breakfast sandwich of: avo, ham, tomotoa, cheese all things I have wanted on a burger!!! We googled the Carnival to find out what rides would be there and how to get the most bang for our buck! We got an email notifying us that there was a $45 unlimited rides wristband. We arrived 12PM ready to ride the rides. TO OUR UNAMUSEMENT the wristmband deal did NOT begin until 7:00pm.  Tickets were $1.20/each with each ride averaging 6tickets OR a bundle pack at $160…
“I do NOT know who would do that unless you had a massive family. And if you had that big a family you probably shouldn’t go” -em
Both of us felt it was in our best interest to stay IN TOWN for 7hrs so we would not waste gas driving home and back AND having to sacrifice our prime parking spot! (Later that evening we discovered there was plenty of parking had we wanted to leave and come back).

IMG_5705 How did we fill up 7 whole hours? We revisited all the tourist shops we have visited numerous times before.   MOSTLY we walked all around downtown trying to search for CHICKEN WINGS –not buffalo– NO definitely not the same I was informed. She had a craving and we tried so hard to fulfill it.We were also trying very hard to not get stuck paying the 15% surcharge taxed on during public holidays! We realized it would be like us tipping on any bill in Victoria bit we were NOT having it. We found a place where we didn’t have to tip.We finally (after my legs felt numb and wobbly and Emma thought she was going to eat me) settled on an Italian restaurant. We shared a mushroom, free range pork, on a white base pizza, with a side of fries and aoli. It was the first pizza I had without tomato sauce and it was incredibly delicious. With my Amsterdam Beer (delish) and Em’s diet coke we were quite satisfied with our solid decisions.


“But really at that point, I would have eaten cheap Chinese food..but not at that place we went to withAna and Kaik” -Emzie

We prolonged our comfy eating environment and slowly made our way back to the car in our last few hrs of waiting… all in the name of saving money. Nothing left to do BUT NAP. Good thing we were both blessed with the shortness of limbs so we could each somewhat comfortably curl up and hide from the public. “It wasn’t uncomfortable but it wasn’t comfortable, there are worst situations.” – Emzie We slept for about an hour and then only had 1 hour left before  6:30. At that point we we couldn’t stall any longer and were so anxious to have free reign of the rides. How many times did Em ask if it was time to go or what time is it??? Well I lost count after 7 hours of her eager eager eagerness.

IMG_5752 The rides were awesome! The Zipper ride wasn’t available but I fell madly in love with the Super-Loops. Can’t say Em liked hanging upside down too much but I LOVED being suspended in the air! After we exhausted ourselves from riding all the rides we drove home. We arrived home to a phone text from my Kiwi-Mom hinting that the Easter bunny may have left me some Easter treats. Love me some sugary treats.

Saturday was a lounging day. We filled our day with lots more Full House, cupcake baking and a delicious Easter dinner. Emzie’s honey ham was cooked to perfection. Can’t believe we still have another 2 more days off. Life is good.

Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend!
Buddha Blessings to Everyone,
xox Amanda

….Cous Cous your Mom is in my thoughts. Wishing her a very speedy recovery. Love you babe!

Warriors Game at Eden Park

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Another weekend came and went in the blink of an eye! I had really been looking forward to the weekend after such a busy week.
Quick rundown  of the kid’s schedule:
Monday:soccer practice and babysitting, a succcessful skype date with Dom in the evening xo  IMG_5441
Wednesday: a sick boy home from school and swimming practice after school
Thursday: a beach day with the neighbours followed by an impromptu outdoor dinner at our house
Friday: we finally arrive at out first free day of the week!!! Also the day I felt like the referee between two overly energized boys who couldn’t keep their hands OFF each other. I texted Em early in the morning to tell her how my day started so she came over for a bit in the morning. While we hung out she treated me to a sugary surprise. I LURVE me some cupcakes and I love that it had a friendly elephant on it!
Emzie and I bought Rugby tickets online last week and were really excited to attend the game Saturday evening. We didn’t have the best weather this weekend still had lots of fun.

Early Saturday morning, I woke up to the beautiful sound of rain and wanted to sleep the day away. Instead I forced myself to shower and drove over to Em’s house so we could go to Hineoma St. Market that runs from 9:00am-1:00pm every Saturday. We have learned to go to markets with low expectations.  We found it to be held in a pretty small area. The stalls were close together with not much room to move around in. We were impressed how many young vendors there were but could not find any of their merchandise appealing.

IMG_5451IMG_5452We went for breakfast at Tongue and Groove Cafe and both go spoiled with the large portions of our meals. Em ordered the pancakes which came with a generous portion of fresh blueberries, whip cream and bacon. I ordered the mushroom and bacon omelette that could have fed at least 2 people. We have been there before and have never been disappointed with the friendly quick service.  After a delicious meal we headed home to organize our tickets and outfits for the evening. Originally, when ordering our tickets online we thought that we had to print out our tickets but quickly realized we only needed to scan our iphones  (which had the ticket barcode in our emails) at the gate. OH isn’t technology a wonderful thing?!!

We took our times preparing ourselves for the game and organized the addresses on the gps. We were seated under the sheltered section of the stadium but weren’t sure how much that would protect us if it was windy and rainy at night. We really did not want to be wet, cold and sitting in plastic chairs all night! We dressed sensibly and packed ponchos! We planned to eat dinner at St. Luke’s Mall which would make it a close drive to Eden Park. We chose the Restaurant Bar in the Mall which we thought would have fast service since it was pretty empty in the early evening. We were NOT impressed with the slow service or the bartenders mixing skills. We know he felt badly for the slow service as he brought us over a girly blue cocktail drink as his form of apology…unfortunately that too wasn’t as tasty as we’ve experienced before.

IMG_5453We walked around the mall for a bit before heading off in search of free parking. The drive to Eden Park from St. Luke’s was only about 10-15 minutes away. We knew the earlier we arrived the closer we would be able to get parking. Our plan worked as we got decently close! We passed up all the people offering their driveways and lawns for a flat rate of $10. Not thanks we prefer FREE! Once we parked it was super easy to find our way to the stadium as there were roads blocked off and swarms of people wearing jerseys or walking all in the same direction 🙂

It rained a few times during the game but it didn’t affect us too much. We were enough under cover that it just felt like mist and the ponchos never needed to make an appearance. The New Zealand Warriors lost to the Sidney Roosters :/ The final score was 14-16. Here are some game stats for anyone who follows the sport…
















IMG_5456IMG_5460I will not lie –there were moments where I had no idea what was happening. You could definitely feel the energy when things were going well for the Warriors. We picked really good seats because there was a very animated/enthusiastic Warrior’s fan who loved hooting and hollering. He provided us with helpful insight in the game; I particularly liked when he would yell tips to the referees! Eden Park had plenty of food stalls and ample amounts of staff to aid everyone. Prices were decent and my hot pretzel was delicious!! Em really enjoyed her mini donut service too! We lost, but I did love that LARGE flames would go off when a point was scored.  The heat the flames gave off were always appreciated and welcomed by Em and myself!! The game started at 7:30 and I was able to drop Em off and be home by 10:30. I enjoyed myself at the Rugby game and am looking forward to going to an All Blacks game with my Kiwi-Dad as their season begins after Emzie has returned to her homeland of Canada.

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It was raining again Sunday morning so we nixed our plans to go to the Parnell French Market. It was supposed to be raining all day so we chose to go to Silver Lining Playbook (with the yummy Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence). Em drove over to pick me up and we struggled to find parking. The mall was humming with people but the movie theater wasn’t too crowded. We were disappointed to find out our movie was PLAYING but only in the Gold Class theater where tickets are $35.00. Unless they were offering us leather massage chairs and getting a pedicure while eating popcorn I was not dishing out that much money to see a movie! We opted instead to see another movie called Beautiful Creatures. I’m not a fan of the sci-fi fantasy genre but the movie was okay. Emmy Rossum was great!

After the movie the rain had left so we drove to New Market to eat at Wagamamas. I dined on salted edamame beans that made me nostalgic for Azumas or Costco’s bags of them! After a delicious dinner we finished off the day of walking through the heavy rain to get gelato. I captured some adorable pictures of Emzie rocking her poncho but was informed I would be murdered if I shared them with the public! Her threat was acknowledged…for now!

I AM glad it rained since we have been going through a drought…but I do hope we have lots more summer days to come. The sun makes me happy and the rain makes me sleepy! I didn’t do any beach walks last week but I did begin working out again to Jillian Michael’s workout dvds (that I have found online). I have been pretty motivated to exercising daily so I hope I can keep it up! When I got home my family asked if I had felt the earthquakes today…I am not positive but I think we were probably driving around the time they happened.

  • Map showing earthquake location.
  • NZDT: Sunday, March 17 2013 at 4:01:06 pm
  • Intensity: light
  • Depth: 4 km
  • Magnitude: 3.1
  • Location: 15 km north-east of Auckland
  • NZDT: Sunday, March 17 2013 at 4:05:42 pm
  • Intensity: moderate
  • Depth: 6 km
  • Magnitude: 3.9
  • Location: 15 km north-east of Auckland

On a very HAPPY NOTE one of my best friends got engaged this week. I could not be more ecstatic for the cute couple and hear there may be a summer 2014 wedding! I might just have to fly back to Victoria so I can be a part of this incredible day!!! I love weddings and can’t wait for their special day to arrive! xox

Lots of Love and Buddha Blessings,

Pasifika Festival

Today we drove to the Western Springs Stadium to attend New Zealand’s annual Pasifika Festival . This was their 21st year, and first year having expanded the event to 2 days. Thousands of Aucklanders come out to enjoy the markets, traditional foods, arts and crafts and musical performances. The festival is setup into 10 unique villages that showcase the cultures of 10 Pacific Island nations: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tahiti, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Aotearoa. There were over 220 stalls to purchase items or food from.

Emzie and I went on the first of the two days. Parking was a nightmare! We ended up having to park so far away in some open field. The field had been converted into a parking lot for the event. We felt like we were paying $10 to walk. We probably would not have been so grumpy of the distance except for the fact that the parking felt like such a detour away from the event. It was HOT hot humid sticking hot! By the time we got in (free entry) all we were seeking was shade and cold beverages.




All the volunteers and people coordinating the event were friendly and upbeat. We received lays and a map upon entry. The layout of the event appeared to be pretty much taking the form of a circle. We thought if we just stayed on the foot paths we would be able to hit all the villages showcased. It was really crowded and we got turned around a few times. We found some of the villages to be more labelled than others. Some of them were humming with stalls and performers while others were very laid back…very. We were confused whether some of the event stalls were just hosting family gatherings or if they were actually selling things in the stalls.

A lot of people came out to support the festival. It was a great showing and lots of food was purchased. There were so many food stalls at each of the villages we both were overwhelmed as to where we should buy food. Some stalls had no signs yet there would be long lineups. We guessed that word of mouth was how people knew which stalls were selling what?? We tried to go just go with the flow and enjoy the gorgeous weather and crowds for what it was. We got a lot of (unintentional) exercise and fresh fruit. We both bought fresh pineapples that had been somewhat hollowed out to make room for ice cream. What we really wanted was a beer garden or stalls that were selling fruity drinks with little umbrellas. Yes we are girls!! After we finished seeing the majority of the stalls we headed straight to Brown’s Bay for some refreshing drinks.

I was happy that the festival was such a success for all those involved. It’s a great day for the locals to all meet up and have a weekend gathering. I am not sure if I would go back again. It felt very too crowded and unorganized to me. It was hard to discern which stalls had items for sell or which ones were meeting places. Also many of the stalls that were selling items were so crowded with the sellers and their families that there was no room to move around and look at their items. SIGNAGE would be my number one advice.

I know it took me a long time to post this but I am glad I finally got around to sharing my thoughts and some pictures. Thanks for reading.

xox Amanda