Friday, January 8, 2010


Only 3 days left before the return to work - but here is us on holiday!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Jessie is seventeen! My, I feel old! here she is, to tell you about her day...

Lucky for me, my Birthday was on an extremely beautiful day - which was perfect seeing as I had chosen to go to some gardens for the day. A breakfast of petite pastries was lovely, and then we spent the best part of the day out amongst flowers and trees with a picnic and croquet set.

i got some absoloutely lovely presents - thank you to everyone! Plenty to amuse me, and i felt quite nicely spoilt =)

I had a very yummy dinner out at a Japanese restaurant, and then we went to see 'Avatar' in 3D at the movies, before going home for some very late night trifle ... which tasted fantastic (thank you Mummy!). Overall it was a wonderful day, and I enjoyed myself hugely. Thank you everyone!

Monday, January 4, 2010


The house has a story... Alfred Buckland and Eliza Wallen married in England and emigrated to New Zealand in 1850 on the sailing ship "Sir Edward Paget".
They settled in South Auckland where they became established quite quickly by buying and selling land. Here are the girls outside the Main House..

Twelve years later, the two of them purchased 5 acres and moved to Epsom. They named their property Highwic.
Most of Highwic is hidden in the centre of the town by mature trees and high hedges. It has a very Victorian Garden on what remains of its land with a croquet lawn.

The house is known as one of New Zealand's finest Carpenter Gothic' houses its design found in ' A Symmetrical Cottage' from an 1850 pattern book.
Eliza Buckland did not live long at Highwic, she died of pneumonia in 1866.
She had seven daughters and three sons.

Ten months later Alfred married the servant girl Matilda Jane (how very Jane Eyre!)
She and Alfred had seven daughters and four sons, making a grand total of 21.
By the time the last one was born Alfred had 24 grandchildren - it must have been busy! The stockings set up for Christmas made us realise!

Alfred Buckland – father of the 21 children – had Bucklands Beach named after him!

The girls did some country dancing in the Ballroom which was added, along with a dormitory for the boys, when it all got too small!

I can't imagine having 21 children!!
The nice thing is children have free entry to the house and it really is a hidden treasure - by appointment only - with a talk by the live-in tenant.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


We took Jon to the highest volcano cone in Auckland, Mount Eden. It is a dormant eponymous volcano (for you Science nuts) & the summit is 196 metres above sea level. It has fabulous views of the city and harbour..

Friday, January 1, 2010

NEW YEAR 2010 !

Well, 2010 got off to a flying start - glittered young men greeted us and girls in feathers (which took Greg's fancy) we headed for Sky Tower once it was dark and were ushered through the crowds to the lifts and our table in the revolving restaurant..

Champagne was flowing, there was the pre-dinner bubbles and the midnight bubbles, party hats and everyone was in a party mood!

The city was lit up below us and we could see people gathering as midnight approached, to see the fireworks from the Tower. Dinner began with the Chef's Taster platter and strawberry and lemongrass sorbet to cleanse the palate.

I had sumac crusted tuna loin with diakon salad for entree, the girls had baked goats cheese wrapped in filo pastry - everything was delicious..

Main course arrived on our third revolution of the restaurant - thankfully no bungy jumpers were allowed off the top on the night! The walls are all glass and we had a window table (good job there was lots of champagne). Here we had shitake and oyster mushroom risotto with fresh pea salad, akaroa salmon with seared parmesan polenta, Jon had Hawkes Bay lamb loin with kumara & cumin mash & truffled asparagus - all the other choices were just as delicious!

Dessert (although we were full) was a choice of chocolate & hazelnut bavarois, liquorice panacotta, cheese & quince selection or an interesting citrus soup with almond & orange cake!

Jessica was a little worried about the way Uncle Jon was wearing his party hat and I captured her being disconcerted! The restaurant staff were brilliant, everyone was smiling, when the fireworks went off we were at the top of the tower and now I know what it feels like to BE a firework! Awesome!

We headed home at about 1 am amidst the revellers and the girls only told me I had my party hat still on when we were almost there! Mean!

Happy New Year!!