29 April 2015

Our beautiful New Zealand holiday

I've been absent from this blog, busy having school holidays with the children and working. I've been thinking of you though, especially when I take photos.

Here are a few lovely things we did over the break, making the most of the gorgeous autumn weather.

Family walk on Mount Maunganui beach
The diver to the right was diving in, climbing up and repeating.
He was truly reveling in the experience - wonderful!
The stunning Huka Falls near Taupo. We came to this view
 at the end of a beautiful hour of riverside walk. (Confession:
the children complained.)
Anna, aged 8, bakes cupcakes BY HERSELF!
Her Mama just admired her.
Always time for reading a Little House on the Prairie book,
and some simultaneous cat-loving. He is a darling, this cat of ours.
Check back soon - I have a post on bumblebees nearly bursting out of me! It will be about how to attract these loveable pollinators to your garden, and why you might want to. A teaser for Harry Potter enthusiasts: did you know that Dumbledore is old English for Bumblebee?

2 April 2015

Living in an armpit city: the bonuses

I live in Hamilton, New Zealand, a city which has a reputation for being foggy, damp and generally not a happening kind of place.

There are real bonuses to living here, though. There are certainly coastal places nearby that are a couple of degrees warmer in winter and cooler in summer, but compared to the climate of most of the world's cities, it's fantastic. Houses cost about half what they do in Auckland, traffic is a fraction of what it is in Auckland, the schooling's good and there are lots of great free family activities.

Here's a taste of some of the things we've been doing recently.

Annual 'Balloons over Waikato' Festival

The balloon dipped its basket in the lake!

Pumpkin Carnival at the Hamilton Gardens

Weetbix tryathlon for children

The Hamilton Gardens

I've written about this beautiful place here, here and here with some lovely images ... but here are some more recent ones:

The Tudor Garden

In the Sustainable Backyard

The Tropical Garden

Tropical Garden again

 Fun at the river

Our young friends

I also like living in a University town, with the associated speakers that visit and general proximity of academia when I need to dip my toes in it again.

While I can't promise I'll always live here and that I love everything about it, I may feel that way if I'd grown up here - I know plenty of people who are sure that this is the place for them, forever.

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