Mid-year update; concerts, running events, art, fun times in Wellington & holidays in Auckland, Queenstown & Oamaru!

On occasions, like right now, I feel the need to dump down where we’re at on this old blog, which I started in 2003 (long before social media platforms came into play!).

I often wonder why I keep this blog, but then my husband and I will start talking about some memory or other and struggle to pinpoint exactly when it was, and I find myself checking the blog and then we enjoy reminiscing.

Hubbie & I enjoy the vineyards of Martinborough in April 2021

So, without further a do…

We saw the blood moon lunar eclipse in May, the same month we celebrated our 22nd Wedding Anniversary. It was a beautiful calm, clear evening in Wellington, perfect for watching this beautiful transformation in the night sky.

Stages of the blood moon lunar eclipse, May 2021, taken in Wellington, NZ

In February 2021 our youngest tried out school, lasting 4-5 weeks, before making the decision to carry on enjoying her home education journey for now (she made a really lovely friend whilst she was there though and they continue to see each other). She turned 11 a couple of weeks into the school year, celebrating her birthday in February with an ‘Among Us’ themed party at home.

Among Us party for Alice’s 11th Birthday

She continues to love drawing, both digitally and on paper, as well as making ‘Cos Play’ costumes and playing hours of Minecraft with friends.

One of Alice’s characters.

She also loves attending ‘Armageddon’ expo events in costume. Here she (in red) with a friend at the Wellington event in April.

Alice with a friend at Wellington’s Armageddon Expo.

Her home ed weeks involve drama class sessions, a weekly ‘STEM’ class and weekly meet-ups with friends at a local library. We have some lovely nature meet ups in regional parks too, as well as exhibition visits at local museums and art galleries.

Battle Hill Forest Park

Our 15 year old, who decided to try out high school half way through 2020, is now a full year into being back in mainstream education and preparing for her mock NCEA L1 exams. She’s enjoying a great range of subjects, with awesome teachers, ranging from maths, english, science and outdoor education to hospitality, furniture and cabinetry making! She was in the school’s Shakespeare production of ‘As You Like It’ earlier in the year. Last year she started assistant coaching (unpaid) at the gym she attends for free running, parkour and tumbling classes, this led to a paid position coaching young children and helping on some holiday programs, which she really enjoys.

Sophie, on a snow boarding trip to Queenstown with her Dad in the July winter holidays.

Our oldest daughter turned 18 in June. She finished her NCEA L3 exams at the end of 2020 and is thriving in her gap year, with a couple of paid jobs, as well as voluntary work and assisting with costumes on some Wellington productions, the latest of which was ‘Sweeney Todd’. In her spare time she’s sewing and singing! She’s now preparing her applications for University, hoping to be in Melbourne in February 2022 doing a production design degree, or something along those lines!

Charlotte, wearing a jacket she made.

In March I was ‘trying’ to balance on my 15 year old’s ‘slack-line’ and failed in a big way – causing a severe injury to my right ankle – which put a stop to any running. I wasn’t even able to walk without a limp for months, and had to resort to cycling as my only form of exercise to get my heart pumping. Active yoga classes were switched up for breath-work and meditation and I took up water colours, in an effort to channel my energy in a different direction!

Watercolour nature journaling themed on Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters and Beatrix Potter

It’s now August and I have just resumed running, all be it slowly and short distances. I still have some ‘range of mobility’ issues and mild pain in my right ankle, so strength and stability exercises are part of my daily routine.

Hubby is working hard, with a team spread between Melbourne, Sydney, UK and NZ. Zoom calls continue to be the main form of communication in business. The Trans-Tasman bubble opened for a while (between NZ and Australia), and then burst (closed for some 8 weeks, at this stage). The Delta variant is currently hitting NSW in Australia and with the roll-out of vaccinations being slow there is a real need to lockdown and protect the vulnerable over there – though this variant of the disease seems to affect a wide range of ages and even otherwise healthy people are being struck down with weeks of illness needing extra medical care to get well again. Aside from work I’m glad to that hubby is continuing to let off steam with weekly tennis and football. He managed four days down in Queenstown over the mid-year July school holidays. He took Miss 15 for a snow-boarding adventure and they enjoyed carving up the snow on the Remarkables and Coronet Peak.

Beautiful scenery from a Queenstown ski resort.

Over the past months hubby and I have been enjoying evenings out to theatre and concerts, feeling extremely grateful that (thus far!) Covid-19 has been kept out of the community, enabling us freedom to enjoy such events.

Jersey Boys, Wellington

In February we saw SIX60 at the stadium in Wellington, an incredible event with 32,000 people in attendance!

SIX60 playing to a crowd of 32,000 in Wellington, February 2021

DRAX Project playing at Wellington Stadium, February 2021

In February we also ran ‘Round the Bays’, with my 15 year old and I running the 10km, whilst hubby and our 11 year old ran the 6.5km. It was such an amazing event and we were all pinching ourselves that we were able to participate in such a large scale event, without the fear of Covid-19.

Round the Bays, February 2021

Over the July holidays I had a nice trip away with my 11 and 18 year old to Auckland. We went to see ‘The Lion King’ Musical, which comprised of a very talented international cast and crew.

Lion King Musical at Spark Arena, Auckland

My youngest and I headed up to a friend’s house north of Auckland for the weekend after, staying near the Goat Island Reserve on the east coast, whilst my oldest flew back to Wellington for her weekend job.

Goat Island Reserve, New Zealand

In June my youngest and I had a weekend away in Oamaru, on the east coast of the South Island, an hour and a half drive north of Dunedin. We visited friends who had recently moved there and our trip coincided with the town’s annual ‘Steampunk Festival’, which was a lot of fun!

Steampunk HQ, Oamaru

The weather this year has been incredibly mild, with an autumn that was calm and sun-filled and higher temperatures than normal. We are now in the midst of winter and often out in t-shirts on the sunshine days in between the periodic cold snaps. This year is going so fast, I can’t believe we’re in August!

Wellington city from the air!

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage on around the world and New Zealand’s borders remain shut. People wanting to enter NZ have to secure a place in MIQ before booking a flight. At this stage New Zealand is only accepting returning New Zealander’s or those with a special visa to enter the country. Spaces her very limited and hard to come by. In the past two weeks my Mum, in the later stages of suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, was admitted to hospital with an infection. I would dearly love to jump on a plane to be in the UK, supporting my Dad and sister in caring for Mum, but though I can easily enter the UK I can’t easily return to NZ. There are thousands of people in similar situations, a sad reality of living in the midst of a global pandemic.

I really love living in New Zealand, but living here and knowing that a trip home was only a plane ride away has always given me peace of mind. I never imagined I’d be living here in the midst of a global pandemic, without the freedom to fly to see loved ones.