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

Choosing Happiness


I was texting my bestie the other day scrutinizing all the steps I was needing to take to be happy. Don’t get me wrong I  feel great right now: enjoying life, great weather, I am safe and have created a support system for me (here as well as maintaining those back home). These days my ultimate definition of “happy” is to be living in Thailand.  For those who know me, you know that I have always dreamed of one day moving to Thailand to live for an extended period of time. I was born in Bangkok and have since been back there twice to visit. It has always been a goal of mine to go back to my homeland to experience its rich culture. I want to feel more like a local and less like a tourist.  

I was complaining that I know I have to work to be happy but sometimes processing all the steps feels too overwhelming. Some days it just feels like I’m stuck. While I was attending school I always felt like I was waiting for school to finish so I could figure out what I wanted. Three different schools; and I kept living day to day and feeling like I was making no progress. It is obvious to me that I have been moving in the right direction. I am working towards what I want but I just WANT to be there. I wish I could just jump ahead sometimes. Bypass the middle section. Living in Victoria, I wanted to be happy and have a job working with children. Then I decided to seize the opportunity of working and travelling for a year and became an Au Pair.

I was working and waiting for months until I could finally move to New Zealand. I bought my ticket and I knew a change would happen. Now that I feel settled here I am juggling the feelings of contentment and wanting to move on. Leave a great thing to experience something new and unknown!
IMG_8738I was outlining all my concerns to Bizzle and her reply made me smile:
“I know what you mean. I hate waiting for life to happen. I think sometimes we need to take risks and take charge of our lives. “

That’s what my best friend does for me: she listens, validates my feelings, gives me support and strong words of encouragement. I just needed that boost.

IMG_6317When it doesn’t feel like I am moving forward,  I appreciate the nudges of encouragement. The reminders that I am working towards my happiness. I needed to refocus my energy and remind myself not to become too blindsided by my goals of Thailand. Yes I want to achieve my goals, but I shouldn’t discredit all the opportunities I have in New Zealand.  I know I am heading in the right direction—but I can also be happy where I am now both  physically and mentally. I just need to keep being positive and not let my anxieties sabotage me!

Life is what you make of it and I am choosing to be happy. I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness. 

Thailand 2013!!

Buddha Blessings
xoxo Amanda

Love you bizzle xo

Love you bizzle xo


Made it to Muriwai Beach

Emzie and I finally made it to Muriwai Beach after talking about it for months!! We were waiting for a day of little wind and we finally got it. It is located on the opposite side of Piha Beach and has very little shelter from the wind. It is another black sand beach that a lot of people know about but it’s a bit of a drive from Auckland. I  heard on the radio that it was currently 24.5 degrees and it would be a high of 25! All weekend is supposed to be sunny and hot. I had the full intention of quickly grabbing some gas and then going to pick up Em. I totally forgot it was Saturday –inflated prices and higher volume of customers :(.

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After finally meeting Em we got to the beach in just under 40minutes. It was around 12:15 with a gorgeous blue sky. We slathered on sunscreen (yes Bizzle you would have been proud of me). “This is SPF 70+! You might as well be inside, you’ll get more tan through the window” -Emzie After lots of reading and water we locked our stuff in the car and got ready for our walk. We went to the top of the hill to see all the gannets on “their rock”. The smell wasn’t amazing but it was a pretty view. 

The black sand beach actually had a lot of different things to see. After we finished walking along the top of the hill we went to take a closer look at the tide pools. The water was sooo clear! We loved looking at the cave and walking in it. It was so pretty looking at the colours and all the personal engravings. It started to get fairly crowded so we took a few quick pictures before exiting.
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The sun was hot and we decided to treat ourselves to some ice cream before the drive back. Lucky we cooled off before getting back on the highway. We were only around 11 km away from Em’s house when I noticed white smoke from my rear view mirror. Instead of blowing away its thickness picked up.

Amanda: Is it REALLY windy or am I smoking?!
Emma: …it’s you

I parked Myrtle on the side of the highway and we endured countless honks and hollers while we waited for my Kiwi-Mom to rescue us.
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I felt so badly that she had to bring the kids and drive all that way to pick us up. She did a quick check of the car and tried to see if more oil or water would help the car. Cars are not allowed to be left on the side of the highway so we were going to try and drive it to the nearest street. Unfortunately we probably only got a few metres before my Myrtle wouldn’t let me accelerate and we had to ditch any last hope of getting her home. I parked as close to the edge of the road as possible then we pushed her off to the side. We stripped her of any personal belongings and we all shuffled in our rescue vehicle feeling defeated and glum. After dinner a tow truck brought Myrtle home….for a fee. Our family is now in the market of looking for a new vehicle ASAP as I  have school runs and soccer on Monday!!!

I am still in the process of getting caught up on my blogs. I wanted to post this today so it was still fresh in my mind. It’s nice having the boys back in school so I have my days back for myself but I’ve been feeling like the days have been slipping by. I am in the midst of researching Thailand Thailand Thailand: jobs, visas, accommodations, climate, flights just so time consuming. I have also been trying out a new healthier lifestyle; more exercise and eating healthier…less laziness! I promise I will post the missing blogs eventually. I have lots more memories and photos still to share. SO THANKFUL Myrtle chose today to stop running instead of while the girls and I were on our roadtrip. We would have been STRANDED!!!! So thankful!

Big shout out to my older brother who celebrated another birthday! Love you xo

Buddha Blessings to everyone – I will be in a land full of Buddhas this year 🙂
xox Amanda

Shopping and Dancing Our Day Away

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IMG_7811 Ana's  (463)Ana was excited to have Emma over so that someone was up in the morning with her while Kaik and I had a nice little sleep in. They enjoyed their morning tea. When I got up Ana treated me to a delicious breakfast sandwich with egg, avocado and tomato! We started our day adventure off in the direction of One Tree Hill but had a little difficulty getting there without using the GPS (since we could not remember the proper name for the park). Cromwell Park is what the GPS prefers we call it. The top had extreme winds as we were trying to not get blown over and keep the hair out of our faces while  taking pictures. We spent the majority of our time chasing sheep trying to pet them. Though Kaik got close a few times, no one actually touched a sheep. Next we headed to downtown to check out some neat shops along Queen Street and do last minute souvenir shopping, as it would be the girls’ last time downtown shopping before their departure.

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KP Photography

IMG_7811 Ana's  (468) IMG_7811 Ana's  (479)


KP Photography

IMG_3889Emma was delighted to see a guy dressed up as the ‘Mad Hatter’ and excitedly sat down and had tea with him, on the sidewalk, with a huge smile on her face as she loves Alice in Wonderland. I found his voice to be very creepy but give him credit for putting in all the time to do the full face of makeup and dress himself in quite the elaborate outfit.

The evening was spent indulging in Grey Goose Momma Whitley so generously bought us from the duty free shop. We loved our joint Christmas present. Even with all the public transit confusion we were able to get ourselves on the right bus and rode it for about an hour until we arrived at downtown Auckland.

IMG_3938 IMG_3984We went to a bar which was half inside and had an outside portion which was pretty neat since it was a nice night. Over time the bar did seem to get a little crowded and Ana (during her kiwi-style dancing) ended up stepping on some glass. Emzie’s handy dandy band aid really came in handy.  Even though the bar wasn’t closed a yet we ventured to find yummy food, the best thing after a night out.

"This seems like a dark alley...""It's a shortcut!""Lane -Fu@k it - just take it. YOLO"[I was scared but we survived :)]

“This seems like a dark alley…”
“It’s a shortcut!”
“Lane -Fu@k it – just take it. YOLO”
[I was scared but we survived :)]

We just missed our bus and would have to wait at least 45 minutes for the next one so we chose to take a taxi home. After asking around we decided to go with the taxi that could offer us the best estimated rate. The ladies had a fun night and could finally say they had experienced the downtown night life.

Only one more day before Ana and Kaik depart for Australia 😦
I am saddened that their adventures with us are coming to an end.
One more group beach day before things get back into our daily routine.

xox Buddha Blessings,
Amanda, Ana, Emzie & Kaik

Sailing the Night Away


KP Photography

The weather was pretty overcast when we woke up but we chose to stay in a positive frame of mind. THE SUN would come out for us! We enjoyed a bit of a sleep in before packing a picnic lunch and heading over to Takapuna Beach. We were going to spend the afternoon lounging around the beach before going SAILING. When I moved in with my Kiwi family I excitedly told Ana my family owned a sailboat. Ana expressed to me that she had never been on a sailboat and that was one of the things on her bucket list. I have been a few times before and loved it so I told her of course we would try to make a dream of hers come true. My family was MORE THAN willing to take me out whenever it fit into my schedule and to accommodate my friends coming aboard too. Both parents are on sailing leagues and those nights I babysit the boys. In the summer the family quite often goes away for a week during school holidays. On weekends they take the boat out frequently to go fishing and to enjoy overnight excursions.

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KP Photography


My Kiwi-dad had pre-warned us that all three of us probably wouldn’t be able to get on the same boat. On Thursday night rum nights people can sign up to go out on boats that aren’t theirs. People tend to use their regular crew but there can also be spectators who just want to go out on the boats. Luckily Ana and Kaik were able to ride the Princesses together. The boat was docked right beside “our boat” the Panacea so we were able to see each other and somewhat communicate before the race.  We arrived at the marina early so we would have time to change and snack. At this time the weather was so stormy that the waves were HUGE and there were a large amount of whitecaps. I was excited but felt silly wearing my jeans knowing full well they would get wet and heavy.


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The race was amazing. It was hard to tell who was winning because boats took different routes and the boats had different handicaps. As a competitive person – I always got nervous when a sailboat passed us but I knew our boat was in good hands. We had 4 crew on our boat and then myself and another person spectating. Kiwi-dad’s goal is always to WIN so I was happy I was on his boat. The 6 of us started in the back of the boat and once we were out of the harbor and in open water the non crew sat near the front of the boat. I told Kiwi-dad I didn’t want ANY RESPONSIBILITY given to me during race time. I wasn’t checking wind or doing any of the sails. He laughed and said that was completely fine he would try to make it as smooth a ride as possible. It was a windy day and the waves were sooo choppy by the time the race started. I got so soaked and had the time of my life. Sailing was WAY MORE physical than I ever thought it would be. The one thing I learned is when you hear, “TUCK” yelled out it means watch your head, usually duck from the boom, and once it’s swung over you quickly AS FAST AS YOU CAN get to the other side of the sailboat. You can slide under the boom or walk around the back but do NOT stay on the same time or your feet and maybe whole body could be in the water. Kiwi-dad assured me most races aren’t that physical it was just because it was so choppy out there. The rules of the weekly competition are that the top 3 boats get free rum. The thing is — everyone usually brings rum and drinks beer after the races and it’s a very social time for all the sailors so no one is really “left out” of celebrating. You have a celebratory drink on your boat. Then you visit your neighbour’s boats. Then there is usually a rum boat (the loudest most overcrowded one) and everyone just chats and the night gets louder and longer and longer. There have been instances where people have decided to sleep on their boat after the races…Needless to say the girls and I had a fantastic time and laughed our butts off the whole time. I took some pictures on my iphone but had to tuck it away in my bra for most of the race. I was a little paranoid that it would fall out or get splashed and have water damage forever! I can’t wait to go again. I usually decline the overnight rides with the family but I look forward to racing with the parents again. 


After the race we went to pick up Emzie and bring her back to my place for the evening. The only minor issue was how to exit the marina?!!? The GPS does lie sometimes…don’t worry we figured it out 🙂

IMG_3865We went home and went to bed pretty early to get ready for our next day of fun!

Buddha Blessings,
xoxo Amanda, Ana & Kaik

Sylvia Park and Kiwiyo

It’s holiday time for Me AGAIN!!!! My original plan was to have 3 weeks off work while Ana and Kaik were in town. Later, my Kiwi-Mom and I decided to I would work Monday and Tues of this week and then still have Wed-Fri off. It worked well for all of us because the girls and boys were able to be entertained at the same time 🙂

When I was woken up (Ana let me have a decently nice sleep in) the weather wasn’t amazing so we decided it would be a good day for an indoor activity. The girls had never been to Sylvia Park Mall (the 2 floor mall that has some of its stores outside). Ana wanted me to be adventurous and drive without the gps. I had been before but Emzie drove so I wasn’t sure if I was up for the challenge. The drive was pretty straight forward once we knew what turnoff we needed to take. The girls and I had a pretty productive time at the mall. We tried not to stray from buying anything we didn’t need!

In the evening we picked Em up and headed towards Mission Bay. We were all missing Victoria’s Qoola (a frozen yogurt bar where you get to choose your own toppings and your payment is by weight) so we treated ourselves to New Zealand’s Kiwiyo. I wish you all could have been there. Ana always has a big smile on her face but while she was making her selections she was BEAMING from ear to ear. Our verdict being it wasn’t the equal or better to Qoola but it was yummy. We took our creations by the beach to eat.

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Emzie wasn’t too amused by all the birds that were closely watching us. We took advantage of the opportunity to practice our action shots and photo poses before calling it a night. We dropped Em off at home and promised we would pick her up again tomorrow. She gets Fridays off work so we ladies would all be bunking at my house for Friday – Sunday until we had to drive the girls to the airport Sunday morning.

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Thanks for reading and a special thank you to Ana for her active participation in the blog!
There will definitely be a blog for tomorrows sailing adventures!! 🙂
xox Amanda and Ana

Whitcoulls and then SKY SCREAMER!!!!!!

We had a pretty lazy morning today. We had breakfast and hung around the house until after morning tea. We packed lunch and then headed over to Albany Mall. I took the boys to Whitcoulls (it is very similar to Chapters; but also sells craft kits and toys). The store is two floors with the top floor being the kids’s section. They have a huge colouring section and play area for guardians to take children. During the summer, the store hosts free activity times to sample their products. While the boys took part in the colouring segment, Ana and Kaik visiteda few shops. We all met up to eat our packed lunch and shop around to a few more shops around Albany mall. We headed back to Whitcoulls so we could colour large Disney colouring sheets. The boys had a great time having 3 girls to colour with them.

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Once dinner and dishes were done the girls and I excitedly headed to downtown Auckland. We went back to Queen Street to poke our heads into the souvenir shops. Once it got dark we finally got to go on the  Sky Screamer!! We were all very nervous while being strapped in as it looked a lot scarier than the Sky Swing in Rotorua. When I lived in the hostel I watched numerous people on the ride being flung INTO THE AIR then flipped around all screaming their heads off. I couldn’t wait to do it myself and my high expectations were NOT LET DOWN. My favourite carnival ride has always been THE ZIPPER where you go around on a “ferris wheel” and as you are going around your individual carts flip in circles! . The Sky Screamer was 10x better than any Zipper ride!! Highly recommend the ride to anyone who likes that belly flopping feeling. WE felt like we were falling and flying at the same time. I would have done it over and over again if we didn’t have to pay. We refused to pay 10$ for a single picture of us, or 40$ for the video so I made my own…thank you iphone 🙂 I made a video of our ride and posted it on my facebook account. It doesn’t have any sound but it’s pretty funny watching our facial expressions!


After our exhilarating ride we decided to each treat ourselves to some delightful McDonalds before heading home.


I am back on holidays tomorrow 🙂 Life is good!!!
xox Buddha Blessings everyone,
Amanda, Ana & Kaik


The boys are still on summer break so I had them from 7:30am – 4:30pm today.

3 adults to 2 children was a welcomed ratio for me! I let Ana and Kaik sleep in a little bit while I hung out with the boys in the morning. The weather wasn’t very sunny but we decided to still head towards the North Shore to Devonport. It took us just over 3o minutes to drive to the harbourside suburb of Auckland. We walked around to all the shops and located the one the boys were eager to revisit. There are lots of beautiful trees to look at. The boys had fun climbing in and out of them.  After our walk around we had a picnic lunch by the water. It was pretty cloudy after lunch but the boys begged us to let them go swimming. They were fairly convincing in sharing that their day would be ruined if they couldn’t go for a dip.

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This was beyond adorable xo

This was beyond adorable xo


Beach bottom cuteness xo

Beach bottom cuteness xo

After watching them swim for a short period we all hopped back into the car and headed to North Head. The boys got a kick out of sliding down the steep grassy hills on cardboard boxes. It was funny to see that there were other little kids doing it too! The boys bought their flashlights and we ventured through the old war bunkers.  The abandoned underground was pretty creepy. My six year old loved yelling and hearing his echo but the ten year old was getting uncomfortable with the dark hallways.

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The top had a nice view of the Auckland skyline where we stopped to take a few photos.



After dinner, the girls and I took the girls to Countdown to check out the wine prices 🙂 After a quick grocery shop, we headed to Long Bay Beach to check out the parks and a wee beach walk.

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Today was such a GREAT WORK DAY. Fun with friends and the boys!
Tomorrow is another workday – Buddha Blessings to you all,
xox Amanda, Ana and Kaik

Snorkeling around Goat Island (Last day of roadtrip)

Time to head home 😦

We all set our alarms so we would be up bright and early for 7am. We quickly finished packing and ate breakfast. Homemade lunches (we made amazing homemade sandwiches again!) were prepared before we said goodbye to The Pickled Parrot hostel and were on our way to Goat Island. We aimed to be back in Auckland in the late afternoon so we wanted to get an early start on the day.

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We arrived at Leigh just after 11:30. It’s a coastal village just an hour north of Auckland. We found a place to rent snorkel, fins, and a mask just before heading to the beach. The beach was a short 10 minute drive away. We ate our  delicious lunches in the car before squeezing into our wet-suits  We headed out into the water looking hilarious with all of our gear on. My goggles were too big, Ana’s fins were too tight, Kaik’s goggles pinched and Em’s fins were wonky. We were lucky enough to have Emma’s underwater camera to capture pictures of the fish we saw and some action shots of us snorkeling. None of us had any proof of the time but it kept feeling like we were swimming forever. The sun wasn’t really out but the water didn’t feel cold with our wet-suits on. We swam out to Goat Island but only sat on the rocks. Once you’re up close it doesn’t really seem like there is much to see but a huge rock. We were in the water just over an hour swimming around and enjoying all the underwater sights around the side of the island. We were all a little disappointed because we were hoping to see a lot of different kinds of fish. We saw a few big fish (snappers) and lots of pale pink and white fish but we didn’t really see a huge range of fish. It was pretty neat how close I was able to swim up to the fish. All the underwater pictures are on Emzie’s camera so I will try to post a few once she has them organized.

We had a small crisis when Kaik misplaced her wet-suit at the end of the day but the lady at the rental place seemed very chill. We suspect that while Kaik was changing someone might have swiped her wet-suit OR that we left it on the roof of the car when we drove off. We were nervous that we wouldn’t get our deposit back on our rental equipment but the lady was pretty confident that it would show up and that we could leave without paying any money for it. *There are still some good people in the world!! Crisis averted. There was no way we wanted to pay $115 for a wet-suit we didn’t have!

We were all pretty tuckered out after snorkeling and had a quiet drive back to Auckland. We were able to dropp  Emzie off at her house around 2pm and drove the rest of the way home for our well deserved rest. We unpacked the car and were able to get some laundry done before the rest of my family returned home.

We enjoyed a family dinner outside on the patio and caught up with the boys. We easily shared stories and laughed our way through the meal. It was a great way to end off our unforgettable road trip.

I would say the trip was a success. We were able to not go too far over our budget and made really smart purchases. It helped knowing that we were all basically living out of backpacks and would have to carry whatever we bought! We are thankful for the GPS and all the sunshine!!!


xox Buddha Blessings
Amanda, Ana, Emzie & Kaik!