Tuesday, December 29, 2009
My brother Jonathan visited us from the UK for the holidays...
We took him up several volcanoes..
To cafes for coffees and wine tastings..
To several beaches.. banana boating, boogie boarding..
He climbed Lion Rock with us..
and experienced Otara Market and the rapper..
We went for New Year's Eve up Sky Tower and for his birthday, to the Langham - both blissful meals..
Had some brother/ sister bonding time..
and that was how he spent the start of his his 40th year ! Not bad!
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sophia had a Christmas Party and all her friends were instructed to wear fancy dress.. she decided to go as a present and this is the result!
We teased her that her friends would play 'pass the parcel' with her!
But this was nothing for a girl who used to wear a dinosaur suit!
She definitely won the best costume!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas 2009 Everyone! It was a gorgeous day, 34 degrees, blue skies and sunshine! Christmas lunch out on the patio and parrots flying overhead.. it's a hard life!
The girls were very excited by their piles of presents and elected to have their favourites photographed to share with you. We spent most of the morning opening pressies - thank you to everyone for your thoughtful, yummy, beautiful presents!!
Breakfast was homemade fruit scrolls, freshly baked by the girls, they made lunch as well! Dinner was mine.
There seemed to be a pirates theme (and Johnny Depp) this Christmas - ranging from flintlock pistols, to ships, to posters..
But also perfume, and chocolates ..
and Johnny Depp ..
and novels ..
and pirate stuff and slippers in the shape of bears ..
and cook books ..
and pirate pistols ..
the girls took a break to make lunch .. so we have lots to do, lots of treats to eat, lots of wine and champagne to drink and lots of books to read. We hope your Christmases were as wonderful!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
The girls and I made the traditional Gingerbread House on Christmas Eve.. it even had stained glass windows (made from lollies)and chocolate button shingles on the roof. It took hours to make and moments to eat!!
We're talking serious gingerbread creating here!
The assembling, icing, decorating and baking, kept the house smelling sweet and gingerbready, for hours!
and it was fun!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Another Christmas excursion for us is to Muriwai. Muriwai includes a windswept rugged coastline, about 60km of surf beach and rolling dunes of black sand. It is it one of Auckland's most popular west coast beaches.
You arrive at Maori Bay and walk up to Muriwai Beach. There, at the top, is the spectacular Takapu (gannet) Refuge at Otakamiro Point, one of only three mainland gannet colonies in New Zealand.
The best time to visit the gannets is between October in February. The chicks hatch in November then leave for Australia at 15 weeks old (they don't all make it) and return to breed when they are seven years old.
Here we are at the beginning of the walk, some kindly American passer-by took our photo. The gannet colony ends up directly below you - and you smell it before you see it - fishy!
You can see that the rock they nest on at sea, used to be joined to the mainland - just behind Sophia. The gannets are spectacular to watch, their wings are 2 metres across and they fish just off shore. they hit the water at about 100kph - which makes the fishermen out on the rocks jealous!
This place is unique as it's the only gannet colony you can get this close to, and it doesn't seem to bother them a bit - you can look down on their nests and see them feeding the chicks and bringing back their fish.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
It was a gorgeous day again, so Fairy Falls became the event for the day. The bush walk is through the Waitakeres (why-tack-er-ees) and up to the falls. Some strange folk kayak in the mini lake created at its base and it's popular with families for a picnic (but they don't tend to do the 4 hour walk!)
It's a circular tramp with panoramic views in the Hunua (hun-oo-ear) Range.