Ideas for A Budget Weekend in Auckland with Your Family.

stardome

A Budget Weekend in Auckland with Teenagers.

If you plan to visit Auckland with the family and have never been to a planetarium, then you’re in for a treat. Stardome Planetarium and Observatory.

Tackling a weekend city break with two teenagers while on a budget, will find you needing to be resourceful. Continue reading “Ideas for A Budget Weekend in Auckland with Your Family.”

Love it. Hate it. Blogging.

Its a love/hate relationship but one thats a keeper.Learn the ups and downs of Blogging

Some days it feels amazing, other days it drives me insane.

Blogging.

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Three months in and I have mixed emotions on my newly acquired hobby.

Five things that drive me mad about blogging.

1: That all-consuming moment when I have an idea just bursting to come out of my head but I have to sit at the dinner table, listening to my plumber husband telling me about how the pipe wouldn’t screw onto the o-ring  and how it’s been a hell of a day. In my head I’m screaming “Shhhadd uuup!  I don’t care. Eat faster. Go and take the dog down the road for a poo so I can scribble some notes down”. Though in reality, I have to sit there and say “Ahh, that’s nice, why didn’t you use your pipe twister?” Then smile. And wait. Like a pshyco.

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2:  Every area of your life becomes an opportunity for a blog post. The kids say something and I start muttering and chuckling to myself like a mad woman. Them, staring in disbelief and horror threatening, “you’d better not post that on FaceBook-I’m warning you” Me, scribbling furiously with my little but end of a pencil on the back of the shopping list, shaking like a hag possessed.

3: The stupid hours I’ve wasted on setting things up on my site, only to disappear again two days later. I think all blogs should be written on the back of supermarket receipts then thrown into the sky for someone to find. No stats. No header configuration. No ranky, wanky rating thingys.

No readers. Ok, good point.

I just don’t deal very well with anything techy. It drives me insane and makes me cry.

4: You start dreaming of a life where everything you have is sponsored and so therefore free. Free holidays, free wine, free carpets. Free anything I could write a post on convincing people how amazing the product was. The reality? Sending the kids to my mums for the weekend, getting sloshed on a bottle of cheap red wine, and putting my slippers on so I can’t feel the grit on the tiles in the kitchen.

5: Since I’ve started blogging my house is a shit tip.

Five things I love about blogging

1: It’s something just for me. Blogging is mine. All mine. For the past sixteen years, everything I have undertaken ties to my kids in some way. Singing lessons so I can use my diaphragm to scream at them without hurting my voice. Going to the gym in the mornings so I don’t have to listen to the same old crap about who’s turn it is to put the dishes in the dishwasher. Meditation. They think I’m a weird new age freak. Good. It keeps them out of my bedroom for at least half an hour.

2: I hadn’t realised what an amazing blogging community there is out there. I never believed for one minute that people, strangers, would be interested in reading my work. That other writers would take the time to connect with me and even comment on posts. If you’re a saddo like me with no friends (other than two teenagers who spend time with you through no choice of their own, and a bull mastiff dog with anxiety issues) it’s wonderful for your self-esteem.

3: You get to say stuff that you wouldn’t dare say in real life.   Meet me face to face and all I tend to say ”Ahhh, that’s nice.” A lot. Although to be honest, you’ll probably never get to meet me in real life because I’m antisocial. I just stay at home with my dog. And cry a lot in the toilet.

4: You get to read fantastic posts from extremely talented writers. Before I started blogging I’d  scan the National Geographic for five minutes in the toilet each morning. That’s if I was lucky. Usually, it meant reading the same page over and over since I always lost my place. Now, I have an array of well written and more often than not funny posts at my fingertips. Men and women who write about all the stuff I love,  such as  how hard it is to be a parent.  It’s so refreshing to read about other things other than why the world is running out of water and what the green-eyed frog lives on in Mozambique.

5:  I’d forgotten how much I love to write. I used to write letters to my friends when I was on holiday or when I went travelling. I’d write to my Grandma every week (admittedly in the hope that she’d cello tape a pound note to the inside of her next letter). It’s a creative outlet. I love how it makes me feel when I release all of that ‘stuff’ inside of me. I feel incredibly lighter after I’ve written things down and a bonus? I’m a really nice person for about three hours after I’ve published a post.

Well.

Maybe two.

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My Random Musings

7 things new parents should avoid saying.

Eavesdropping on conversations is the best.

Eavesdropping on parents with new babies, well, that takes the pastime to a different league. There’s nothing finer than walking into the post office, seeing a long queue (granted, not a regular occurrence in New Zealand) and getting behind a couple of young parents swapping baby brags. Sorry, news.  Hearing them always makes me feel sort of curious and nervous at the same time. The same nervous feeling you get when you’re just about to go over the top on the rollercoaster. And interested to know if, 15 years later, new parents are still saying and believing the same old twaddle. It reminds me of all of the things that I too said when my teenagers were babies. And perfect. And kind. And controllable. When I innocently believed that this is how it would always be. In. The. Days. Before. They. Changed.

I know, I know. You think you have the perfect child, we all do. And they are; perfect I mean. It’s just that… you know that saying ‘ don’t tempt fate’? Well, it applies to all of the following points. So Parents. As desperate as you are to blurt out these statements, Don’t.

  1. “He is such a good sleeper”.

Granted, at the moment this is very convenient. Not for you getting up at 5 am to put the telly on. No thank you. We have a routine. We have this sleeping thing nailed.  But, be warned. At 15…you can’t get them out of that same bed for love nor money. You long for a day, just one, when they’ll get up out of that stinking pit before 11 am. I’m still waiting.

2. “She eats anything. Her favourite is vegetable korma”.

That’s because she’s strapped into that chair with no way of escape. It doesn’t last. The Nigella Lawson pea risotto is a thing of the past, and will instead be  replaced by the never-ending question: “does it have mushrooms in it?”

3. “He loves it when I play classical music in the car. I think he’s going to be a composer.”

If you’d rather listen to Adele than Baby Beethoven, do it. The only thing he will be composing in the car at 15 is a text. And guess what? You’re not part of it, so keep your eyes on the road . And , whatever .
4. “She’s already using her pincer grip.”

Believe me. When your girl reaches 13,  and you see those thumbs whizzing over the Instagram keyboard at a hundred miles an hour, you’ll wish she’d kept those beautiful chubby fists in her mouth. Don’t encourage the use of fast fingers. Put mittens on until she’s 20 if necessary.

5. “He’s saying Dada, but I’m teaching him to say, Mama!”

Don’t. Once it starts, it never stops. Just leave it. Let Dada take the blame.

6. “She loves her big brother.”

Make the most of this one. It seems that when a pair of siblings enters into the dark void that is teenagerism, they make a secret pact. “In front of  Mum and Dad, at least, we will hate each other .Especially at dinner time; just to ensure their dinner goes down in lumps.”

7. “I’m taking him to coffee mornings. He needs to socialise.”

If your idea of sitting in a big circle with a load of other knackered parents, staring and comparing little blobs, mashing, mushy banana (if you’re healthy) or digestives (if you were me) into their bibs, then go ahead. Honestly ? Go round to Grandmas, (if you don’t have one handy, there’s always the old people’s home down the road), make yourself a cup of tea, get a magazine (preferably not on good parenting), and let her hold and coo for an hour. Socialising done. And don’t worry, in 15 years he will have 1023 friends, on Facebook.

There then .  That’s  it for starters,  but,  be warned. As the years go by there arrives loads more. All the time. However, at least you’re in the ‘know’ now . You’re in the proper parents’ gang. You see,  they don’t tell you these things at antenatal class, it’d seem a bit scary wouldn’t it?   “Heres a free nappy, oh and by the way, anything good that happens? Just ignore it, it doesn’t last”.

So, new parent. Next time you’re stood waiting in line and someone asks how the new baby is,  just say, ” naughty as hell ” that way, you’re not setting yourself up for future disappointments. Not only that,  but you’ll keep the nosy old bag, the one listening to your conversation behind you, happy.

 

 

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 One lifestyle change that will save you money immediately, when you emigrate to New Zealand with your kids! 

This is an inblogtweeny . A bit of information on how emigrating to New Zealand, has saved me approximately $500  per  year on one lifestyle change.

Shoes.

Incase you didn’t know, proper shoe wearing amongst New Zealand school children, is neither compulsory , nor fashionable. There are, it seems, three options when deciding which way to adorne your wee piglets trotters. 

A: Bare (a number 1 choice for a large percentage of the kiwi kids). 

B: Flip- Flops  ( when winter hits, they seem to make an appearance).


Or C: One up from flip-flops (but with a strap around the ankle .Not the model shown, but similar, worn by ‘them there high schoolers.’)

Whichever  your choice, the maximum you will pay is approximately $30 per pair. Already a bargain. I know. But wait…

There is another option . It’s the one that we chose. But remember people, we are homeschoolers, ( and therefore …weird) and this choice isn’t really, well …cool.

Crocs. 

I know. Gorgeous aren’t they ? 

Comfy as anything, easy to kick off, stylish in a ‘German backpacker ‘sort of way,  never wear out. Crocs.

 And I’m not talking the real ones, with the picture of the little crocodile on the strap here. No. (Poor Kids. )

We went , and continue to go for , the replicas that are about a third of the price,  and at the most, need replacing only three times a year. (And that’s being generous.)

My kids have played at piano recitals and have hiked mountains in these beauties, they really are the bomb.  

So…Living in New Zealand.

Cost on shoes per year = $90. 

Times two kids = $180. 

That’s about 45 pounds. Per Year.

Compared to the Clarkes shoes, which I was buying when we lived in England, which set me back approx 45 pounds per term . New shoes were always needed per term, (I’m sure Clarkes brush some leather shrinker onto their shoes .)

Living in England.

Cost on shoes per year = $360 

Times that   by 2 kids = $720 .

A whopping difference of $540 per year saving!

We have lived in New Zealand for nearly 8 years now, so I’m guessing, there should be about four thousand dollars around here somewhere…