Some Kind of Wonderful

Some Kind of Wonderful

The photo above was taken at the island Tiri Tiri Matangi. It’s a magical place, in the Hauraki Gulf and accessibly by a ferry from downtown Auckland.  Going there feels special because you can only approach it by boat, and only a few people are able to stay each night. It also feels like one of Auckland’s many well kept secrets. The last time I went, the day I took this photo, it was the middle of the New Zealand winter. In some of the photos, we’re wearing shirts and…

Don’t Fear The Reaper : La Plagne Part II

Don’t Fear The Reaper : La Plagne Part II

And so there I was, sliding down the slopes of La Plagne in Savoie, with Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ playing on a loop in my head.  That 70s guitar riff playing out in my head as I did my best to control my speed and follow the girl in front of me, who I had decided had good technique.  It was quite a beautiful moment. As much as my story of learning to ski was about overcoming my mental blocks about not being good at sport, it…

You’re Not The Girl You Think You Are : La Plagne Part I

You’re Not The Girl You Think You Are : La Plagne Part I

He said “But Freeeeyaaaa, you must reeelaxxxxx” his teeth parting in a smile while still clutching half a cigarette. I’d said it was fine for him to smoke as we took the ski lift together, in my desperate attempt to appear not as uptight as I obviously was.  On the list of things that might kill me in the next 15 minutes, passive smoking was the least of my worries. I wanted to turn to my relaxed, slightly stoned ski instructor and say is “I’m sorry, sorry, but you’ve clearly…

Dunedin: A Quirky, Playful Intellectual City

Dunedin: A Quirky, Playful Intellectual City

We took the bus to the seaside on the Sunday morning.  We walked along the Dunedin foreshore in the sunshine wearing winter jackets and sunglasses,. Saint Clair beach turned out to be a lovely place to spend our last day in the city of Scarfies, and after enjoying a meal at a busy cafe (clearly the place to brunch that Sunday) we walked in the sunshine down the beach and back into town. When planning our Central Otago Rail Trail holiday, we wanted a city to base ourselves in before and…

Otago Central Rail Trail – A Winter Adventure

Otago Central Rail Trail – A Winter Adventure

  I warned that there would be at least one point of the trip that I would completely lose it, and possible throw my bike down on the trail and yell ‘That’s it! I’ve had enough.’ He replied ‘Well that’s fine, but if that happens I wil remind you that this was your idea.’ And it was – doing the Central Otago Rail Trail in the middle of winter actually was my idea.  You wouldn’t guess it  was my suggetion, as one of us owns three bikes and cycles 40km…

Faux Hippies on Fantasy Island

Faux Hippies on Fantasy Island

I didn’t want to tell Sarah, but secretly I didn’t mind Crowded House…but this wasn’t the time or place for truths like that. For her, hearing ‘Weather With You’ through the floorboards at 3am was a special kind of torture, and I certainly wasn’t wildly impressed myself.  The flippys had got us again. A New Years on Waiheke Island, north of Auckland, seemed a great idea.  There would be sun, there would be friendly backpackers at our hostel to have a few vinos with, we’d see the wineries and generally…

Proof of Life

Proof of Life

A friend once told me ‘I know the exact moment we became friends’. She went on to describe how, when we were both exchange students in Leeds, newly minted to the country and bonding over discovering the joys of studying in the UK, she came with me one day to help sort out a phone and bank account. ‘When we’d finally got it sorted’ she recalled, ‘and you stepped outside, dropped your phone, and it broke- up until then we were just fellow exchanges. But when I saw you start to…

Empire of the Mind

Empire of the Mind

Every six months, I meet up for a coffee and a chat with a gorgeous friend of mine. I’ll natter about university, work, my latest exciting recipe or purchase, and in return she’ll modestly regale me with tales of saving rainforests in Brazil, internships in Geneva, orphans in Madagascar and hot summers in New York. If she wasn’t so fantastic and genuinely interested in my tales, I’d feeling a bit self-conscious saying things like ‘Oh yes, well when the soup started to turn blue….’ or ‘You should have seen me…

Oral Indicators

Oral Indicators

I was talking to a Canadian recently about the raised-in-#canada Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds. I remarked that Reynolds was doing quite well (he was voted People magazine’s 2010 Sexiest Man Alive) and then I commented that ‘He would have had to dump his Canadian accent when he crossed the border.’ The Canadian I was talking to replied ‘What Canadian accent? There isn’t one.’ Clichés about ‘out and about in a boat’ aside, yes of course there is a ‘Canadian accent’ just as there is an Irish, Scottish, Australian, German and…

Sleeping With Strangers

Sleeping With Strangers

I have often thought that undertaking air #travel today is like being a contestant on some mad, and quite sadistic, tv game show.  Think ‘Amazing Race’ but with bite. From the moment you arrive at the airport, the whole affair is designed to test your patience, sanity and ability to perform under pressure (or extreme exhaustion).  You want to go on holiday? See your family? Get somewhere for business? How. Bad. Do. You. Want. It?! Just how much of your own dignity are you willing to give up in order…