Honeymoon update

We’ve done most of the planning and organising for our honeymoon now – as much as we are going to.

We have:

  • Booked, paid for and picked up our tickets. Actually, there is no tickets. In this modern digital age, we’ve been issued an itinerary and we don’t need a ticket to travel. So much easier, since it’s one less thing to worry about forgetting to bring!
  • Booked and paid for our rental car – we are picking up a car at Heathrow when we arrive and using it for 3 weeks.
  • Booked a transit hotel in Singapore for our 6-hour stop over. This hotel is such a great idea! We can have a shower, a lie-down, grab something to eat and even work out in their gym if we want.
  • Booked our first night’s accommodation in Brighton. We are staying at the grand-looking Royal Albion Hotel on the beach front.
  • Been buying GBP while the going is good. I have a OneSmart card that gives a good rate and means that when we are in the UK we are spending in the local currency (so no conversion charges for every purchase). We’ve set aside all the money we need for the trip – now we just need to save for the luxuries.

Now all we have to do is wait for February 29th to roll around!

Queenstown getaway

We’ve come to Queenstown for a wee break this weekend. The idea was that we both worked over the Christmas break (I had a few days off, Stephen only the stats) and then take a long weekend once the Christmas / New Year crowd had passed. It was a great idea! It’s quiet in Queenstown, but not too quiet – we still have plenty of people to watch (one of our favourite pastimes).

Having a holiday now also breaks up the time until we go on our honeymoon to the UK. Its now only 7 weeks until we go, and it’s been a lovely little treat to help pass the time.

We’ve done very little here. Often our holidays are action-packed – there is always so much to see and do! But this break has been very laid back. All we’ve really done is hang out at that hotel, ate and drunk coffee at a whole range of cafes, and wander around looking at everything. We did stumble upon the gondola and luge yesterday, so we gave that a whirl. Fun!

And now we are sitting in the Koru Lounge waiting for our flight home – back to reality. It’s going to be a very busy few weeks before we go away, and I feel very grateful that we can take these mini-breaks here and there when we get the chance.

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The 40 b4 40 Challenge

My Twitter friend Lana tweeted the other night that she was writing a list of 30 things to do before she turns 30 in November. Since I’m turning 40 in November, I thought this sounded like a great challenge. Thanks for the inspiration Lana! Her blog is here.

Each time I achieve one of my goals, I’ll blog about it. If I don’t achieve them, I’ll blog about that too. Here it is, my 40 b4 40.

  1. Write a list of 40 goals to achieve before I turn 40
  2. Host a tweet up BBQ at our house
  3. Have a relaxing long weekend in Queenstown (completed 13-14-15 Jan, I haven’t relaxed so much in years!)
  4. Visit Tintagel Castle (this one ain’t going to happen in the next 12 months)
  5. Stay overnight in a castle
  6. Learn to drive a manual car
  7. Run 10km (completed as a lead up to the Chch Marathon 10km event 27/05/12)
  8. Run 5km in 35 minutes (5km in 35min 45sec, 29 Jan)
  9. Own an iPad 3 (lined up for one on release day in York, UK, 16/03/12)
  10. Visit Singapore (twice, on 01/03/12 and again 21/03/12 but only the airport)
  11. Save $10,000.00 (in time for our honeymoon 01/03/11)
  12. Bake a cake ( baked a few in the year)
  13. Buy a new car (this one is not going to happen this year, I got a new kitchen instead!…ooops got a new car as well!)
  14. Drive on the M1 in England (I didn’t do it personally, but I was in the car)
  15. Visit 3 Apple Stores (Bath, Brighton, Regent St London, and Glasgow)
  16. Celebrate my baby girl’s 20th birthday
  17. Finish the Millennium trilogy by Steig Larsson (finally finished the third book 28 Jan, good series, the third one dragged on a bit in the middle).
  18. Learn how to use MS Project (I’m getting there with this!)
  19. Give blood (24/11/11 and again 23/04/12)
  20. Visit 10 cafes in Christchurch and review the coffee / service on my blog (they are over here)
  21. Celebrate one year of marriage somewhere interesting (In Christchurch, then Singapore, then Brighton, UK)
  22. Visit the birthplace of Captain Cook (15-16/03/12, Whitby, UK – what an amazing place!)
  23. Visit Melbourne (booked for the end of August!)
  24. Tell my husband I love him every day (yup, even when I was mad)
  25. Go on a cruise (booked for March 2014)
  26. Cook a three course meal for my husband (did this on 2nd March 2013, better late than never!)
  27. Take a moment every day to be grateful (I do this every morning)
  28. Stay sober every day (17 years and counting)
  29. Meet 10 new people (hallo roller derby league!)
  30. Complete 40 blog posts (achieved this a little late – on 01/01/13)
  31. Visit Napier
  32. Teach Bronwen how to apply make up
  33. Visit the Franz and Fox glaciers
  34. Take my grandson to visit a train
  35. Complete Portal
  36. Go jet boating (I’ve decided this is an insane idea. I get horribly seasick)
  37. Attend a tweet up in another city
  38. Publish my Daily Bebe book
  39. Plant a herb garden
  40. Learn the Paso Doble (this one’s a joke really)

Year in review: 2011

Our wedding day

What a year 2011 has been. One of the biggest years of my life, I’d say. Here how it shook down (earthquake humour):

January: Wedding planning in earnest. We conceive a idea to buy our own house.

February: The month that changed everything. How can I describe it? It was the most exciting and the scariest time of my life. On the morning of February 22 I warned my workmates that I might be a little more stressed than usual that week. It seems funny now, the things I was worried about.

March: My wedding day was one of the best days of my life (besides seeing my beautiful children for the first time, and graduating from university). The rest of March was all about trying to buy our house and making new plans. We won our B Grade ice hockey final. Go Rangers!

April: We move into our house. Our little nana house that we love so much. Never mind that it didn’t have flush toilets. It’s ours.

May: Regrouping. Trying to find normal, and succeeding to an extent. We get new carpet, our house begins to feel like a home.

June: The month starts off well enough. Normality has descended. We get a flush toilet! And then June 13th happens. It feels like square one again. Luckily it isn’t, but it’s hard for a while.

July: We buy tickets for our honeymoon! We get a dishwasher installed and find out we can use our en-suite bathroom – the pipes have been cleared. Luxury.

August: Running. Lots of it. Trying to cast off the difficulties (and flab) of the past few months. It feels good to hit the pavement.

September: We commemorate and celebrate. The first anniversary of the earthquake that started it all, and Arlia’s first birthday the next day. A steady month of running, hockey, family and spring.

October: Bronwen turns 11. Opononi! A fabulous family holiday in the north, not a lot of sleep was had. Rounded out at the end with the opening of the Cashel Container Mall. It feels like a tentative new beginning for our broken city.

November: Birthdays, too numerous to count. I travelled, a lot. Work work work and more work, and I love it! I celebrate my birthday by passing my driver’s test. Legit at last. The top comes off the Hotel Grand Chancellor as the slow deconstruction begins. Our local mall The Palms reopens, much to our relief and indescribable  joy.

December: Lots of work. Some days it feels like I’m too busy to breathe. Running, skating, hockey and family keep me centred. We get the last of our contents claim payments from the EQC, HURRAH! The deconstruction of our suburb begins, little bit by little bit. And sadly, another earthquake, followed by still more juddering aftershocks. I’ve come to the realisation that it might not end for years. Can I bear it? Yes, because I have to.

So, what sums up this year? It was a year of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’m glad to see it end and I’m ready to move on. This year has been a defining year. The events of 2011 have set a cycle that we’ll be playing out for years to come. I think (I hope beyond hope!) that the hard bits are behind us. What lies ahead are building, rebuilding, consolidation. Both personally for my family and our home, and for our city too.