Category Archives: New Zealand

Details from our time and travels in Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud

Flying, Walking, Talking and anything else you can think of!

Hmmm, that whole feeling bad about it being 2 months since we last posted an update thing clearly didn’t give me any kind of boot up the rear to make a more concerted effort – we are now another 5 months or so down the line & people must think we have spontaneously combusted!!?

We are still here mind, all present and correct – so I will attempt to fill you in on what has been happening over the last few months but you’ll have to forgive me if I leave things out/repeat myself!!!!

Most of February was relatively uneventful and was mainly about getting ready to go to NZ – we managed to fit in a trip to Grandpa Peepoo’s house and then Grandma & Hompy came to stay and to inspect the new abode which we had pretty much managed to unpack by that point!!! Isabel carried on going to pre-school which gave Mummy and Molly some quality time together and also gave Mummy a chance to squeeze in some much needed sewing time (for a Wedding Dress and Isabel’s Bridesmaid’s dress).

At the end of the month we packed our bags and headed for Heathrow with Mummy wondering how on earth we were going to manage 30 hours on a plane with 2 under 3’s!!!???? We needn’t have worried though – all credit to them, the Girls were brilliant and behaved impeccably. We had the odd moment where their tolerance levels bottomed out (but didn’t everyones???) and it didn’t help that Air New Zealand managed not to order dinners for them!!!! So we made it, just about in one piece (though they did also try to lose our pushchair in LA and then make us miss our connection to Wellington by bringing our bags out last!) and arrived rather blearily at Jode & Bretts house for the 1st part of our stay! We had a wonderful time doing not very much at all other than chilling out and catching up with friends, drinking copious amounts of wine (nice one Brett!) and setting the world to rights! The end of our trip saw us move accommodation and also brought about the reason for the trip in the 1st place – Uncle Paul and Aunty Rachel’s wedding!!!!! Isabel looked fab though did as suspected and freaked out at all the people in church so walked down the aisle in floods of tears with her hand clamped firmly over her mouth! A marvellous time was had with lots of memories to bring home with us!

The NZ trip wiped out a large chunk of March as well and what was left of it was pretty mundane day to day stuff mixed with a generous helping of jet-lag…lovely!!!!

Early April had Mummy delivering the Wedding Dress she was making just before we went to NZ and saw Daddy gallivanting off to Paris on a work trip! Mummy then began work on another dress (keeping her well and truly out of mischief!) and we all began gearing up for Isabels 3rd and Hompys 75th Birthdays at the very beginning of May! We had a small gathering of under 3’s at our house to celebrate the Birthday before we headed off for a long weekend in Devon, her actual Birthday and a lovely family celebration – we attempted to introduce a new tradition that involved showing us your Birthday knickers in order to take a picture of them but strangely Isabel was a lot keener on this idea than Hompy was!!!???
The following weekend, Mummy and Daddy managed to escape for the weekend CHILD FREE (thanks to Aunty Crassin!) which was brilliant and the 1st time we had done since either of the Girls were born! We had a lovely time in Bath and managed to catch up with Mr AND Mrs Dibens which is a very rare thing thanks mainly to Julie’s training schedule so it was all the more special!

We have also been keeping a close eye on Miss Isabel who has become rather deaf over the last few months – we have now had an appointment with the nice Dr at ENT and the conclusion has been that she has a very bad blockage of wax in her ears but beyond that her hearing seems to be Ok thankfully. Continuing with drops coupled with an appointment in early August is the current treatment which may become a procedure under anaesthetic to remove the wax but we shall wait and see on that one!

Molly has also been busy of late, walking and talking – the walking was taking a lot longer than the talking but we are pleased to report that she has been a fully fledged walker for about the last month…the turning point for her seemed to be the arrival of the newest member of the Winchurst household, an 8 week old Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel called Tana (as in Umaga, former All Blacks captain and NOT Mrs Ramsey!!!) – watching him run riot around the garden seemed to fill her with envy and so she just decided to get on with it, much to everyone’s delight!!! The talking thing has been happening since the beginning of the year but now she is basically completely comprehensible which makes our life a lot easier – she’ll ask for the things she wants such as “more milk please!” although we particularly liked “Hooray! Sausage!”!!!

The next few weeks are taken up with visitors and then a trip to Devon for Sarah and Simons Wedding and a chance to introduce Tana to the rest of the Winchursts which we are looking forward to. It’ll also be the 1st time he is allowed out for a walk so we’ll keep you posted on how that goes – though don’t expect an update before October or you’ll be very disappointed!

Trip to New Zealand

Although we ended taking our video camera all the way to New Zealand, didn’t touch it for a couple of weeks, then brought it all the way back again, we made better use of our stills camera with Kate taking photos at regular opportunities. Now that we’re back home, Kate has spent some time uploading a whole load of photos (130 to be precise!), although I think it took more time thinking of 130 different captions than it did to actually upload them!

Therefore please click on the photo if you would like to see them.


We’re coming home!

As many of you will already be aware, we have decided to return to the UK when our New Zealand visas expire later this month. We have had a great time here, and thought long and hard about what we were going to do, but in the end decided that we want Isabel to grow up knowing and seeing her family regularly, not just every couple of years, and that means returning to the UK.

We know there are lots of obvious questions – where will we live? what will we do for work? when will we be flying back? what will we do with all our stuff here in New Zealand? how will Isabel support her team in the 2011 Rugby World Cup in NZ? We have answers to some of these and are busy working through the answers to the others. We will keep you all posted.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here, and will miss lots of things and lots of people. We will try to post some of our highlights, lowlights and other musings when (if) we get a chance over the next couple of weeks.

Isabel at the beach

Well today was Auntie Catherine’s last day with us in Wellington, so to make sure she didn’t leave on an empty stomach we took her to the Chocolate Fish. Having had a lovely brunch (as always) we decided it was a good time to initiate Isabel in the ways of the sea. We therefore took her to the little beach next to the Chocolate Fish to see how she would take to a bit of paddling. Having got over her initial uncertainty of the water surging in over her feet, she soon came to enjoy it, and if Daddy hadn’t stopped her, she would have been happy to wander into the Cook Strait!!

Unfortunately we didn’t have our camera with us, but luckily Catherine did (had her camera, that is, not ours). She has promised she will email us the photos when she gets home, so we’ll post them here when we get them.

In addition to her paddling, Is is continuing to practice her walking. Her current record is the eight steps she took from her baby bouncer to the coffee table, onto which she then put her bottle. What a good girl. Let’s hope she continues to be that tidy as she grows up!

The other trick she’s learnt to do is to wave. Daddy was sitting in the car waiting for Mummy and Catherine in the pizza shop (Hell, of course) and turned around to the Munchkin and said hello and waved. Much to his surprise Isabel waved back!! He tried it a couple more times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and it wasn’t. She appears to like waving as she has since been seen waving at the cats, herself in the mirror and people on the TV!!

A veritable melting pot!

It has to be said that it is absolutely BOILING here at the minute – yesterday it apparently got up to 28 degrees……which explains why I still managed to get surnburnt even though I was smothered in factor 30 suncream.

There hasn’t been a huge amount report of late – Isabel has continued to amaze evryone with the speed at which she got over her operation and has also continued to become ever more active. She now pulls herself up on every available piece of furniture and cruises along it – whilst investigating anything that she might be able to reach along the way! (Daddy will have to find new homes for the remote controls as she is particularly fond of these!)

Dan has been extremely busy at work and is tied up with a number of chrsitmas “do’s” tonight and all day tomorrow – tomorrows is a Wineries trip to the South Island…….lucky for some is what I say! (me and the Munchkin will have to settle for Tea and Formula – we know how to party here!)

On Saturday there is a “Carols by Candlelight” event at the Cake Tin (the stadium here in Wellington) which Rachel is pretty keen to take Isabel to – and i think it would be ok if me and Dan tagged along as well (!?) and then Sunday is the Family E&Y christmas event out at Kaitoke Regional Park (which is where the Rivendell sets were for LOTR) so we will be heading out to that….and with a bit of luck, we’ll take the camera!

Not wanting to gloat or anything…..

november in wellington

For those of you who are currently experiencing the horrors of a British winter, just to cheer you up I thought I would supply you with a snapshot of today’s weather.

It has been pretty much like this for the last couple of weeks – hence why I have managed to get sunburned as many times in as many weeks (including the horrible bright red face incident which Dan found particularly amusing!)

Here’s hoping that it keeps this up – although I, personally, could do with a bit more of a breeze to take the edge off the heat otherwise I will be doing my bestest snowman in the sahara impression and will end up spending most of the summer indoors!

We’ve got a wee cough

Er, I mean we’ve got a week off. Today (24th October) is Labour Day here in NZ, which means, rather ironically, that everything shuts down for the day and it is a public holiday. To save using my holiday entitlement we therefore decided that we’d take the rest of the week off for a well-deserved break. (Well deserved in our opinion, at least!) We’re planning to go away for a few days and have booked a mini-break in Taupo at the end of the week.

Although we’ve been there before, when we were over here on holiday in 2003, we didn’t spend much time there, so have decided to base ourselves there again and spend some time exploring the area. We plan to test drive the Munchkin carrier to make sure it works successfully and generally spend a few days getting some R&R.

Kate’s been looking in the Rough Guide and has found Taupo’s answer to a British pub. According to the description although it doesn’t look like a British pub it serves a dozen English beers which have travelled well (apparently) and it serves fish ‘n’ chips and an all-day breakfast. Well, it sounds like that’s the food and drink options sorted!!

Phew, that was lucky!

Much to our surprise, we came home from a lovely day out and evening at Paul and Rachel’s house to find the garage door WIDE OPEN – and given we went out at about midday, it had been like that for just short of 12 hours!

Luckily, everything seems to be where we left it – aside from the stuff that Nigel decided to tip on the floor but there’s nothing unusual about that!

Needless to say, we’ll be sitting in the car, on the drive and watching the door shut completely from now on, just to be sure………

Granny arrives in Wellington!


At roughly 2.30pm today local time, Granny Radcliffe arrived at the start of her holiday down under with us. She got to meet her great granddaughter for the first time at the Airport and later on helped me give her a bath.

We took her home via the Chocolate Fish Cafe, where we stopped for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Yummy!