Sunday, March 25, 2012

catchy kiwi songs

a post for my north american friends and fam who probably won't have heard these songs. 


(a much bigger fan of the song than the video)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

inspiring dreams

i could listen to neil degrasse tyson for hours... even though i think he sounds a lot like penn from penn and teller so i always picture penn making these lectures... (i realise penn and neil look absolutely nothing alike, it's just a sound thing)

minimoon #1.5

/ the famous opera house was as stunning as it looks in the pictures /
i suppose our first minimoon (mini honeymoon) was wellington, but seeing as we shared a bed with reuben's sister alex and were tour guides for the fam the whole time, it was really only half of a minimoon... so we were lucky to that reuben had to head to sydney for work and we could use this opportunity (read: free flights) to have a short week of sightseeing and a proper minimoon. it was great to be back in a real city, the minute i got out of the cab at the hotel, i could feel the hum of the city. our hotel was in chinatown only a few minute's walk from darling harbour so the neighbourhood was buzzing and glittering. we had dinner looking over the harbour on the first night and of course i tried the kangaroo :) unfortunately it was an early night for us as it was pouring rain (parts of the city were having horrible flash floods) and to top it all off i had a sprained ankle from derby and a head cold...

/ one of the many plates of fresh oysters we had during our visit /
as the rain hadn't cleared on thursday morning, we decided an indoor activity would be best so we headed to the australia museum. it wasn't as flash as the melbourne museum, but it was pretty fun nonetheless, i love my dinosaurs!!

/ rooaaarrr! /
the museum also had a few live animals, which was really great to see how they displayed and incorporated interpretation into their exhibit.

/ the gorgeous queen victoria building /
after the museum, we wandered to the shopping area of town on george street where we drooled over pretty clothes and food at the queen victoria building and huge surrounding shopping plazas.

/ reuben posing in the botanical gardens /
next on the agenda was to have a look around the rocks and circular quay area to gaze at the bridge and the opera house and the queen mary 2 cruise ship that was in town for a couple days. and because we hadn't walked enough that day (haha), we continued on to the botanical gardens where we spotted very noisy sulfur crested cockatoos, plenty of spiders and trees filled to the brim with flying foxes that were just starting to stir.

/ on the ferry to the zoo /
my feet were definitely aching by the end of day 2, but the sprained ankle and bad walking shoes didn't hold me back! on friday we were off to the taronga zoo, which quickly earned the rank as the best zoo i've ever been to. 

/ mountain goat overlooking the city /
[side note. proof my husband loves me: i get to drag him to museums, zoos, aquariums and wildlife centres in every city we visit.]

/ getting some koala love /
i was pretty excited i got to see some animals i had never seen in person before like koalas, wombats, a platypus and tasmanian devils! i was so excited that a tasmanian devil public feeding was starting when we got to the zoo that i made reuben practically run across half the park so we could make it before the talk ended. i was happy to hear that their devil breeding programme is quite successful and there were 4 joeys running around the enclosure wrestling and being absolutely adorable.

/ little devils! /
friday night meant dinner and show time at a place called the slide lounge. the show was called el' circo - think small scale sexy cirque du soleil with dinner and drinks. we had such a great time eating all nine courses and watching pole dancers, trapeze artists, hula hoopers and drag queens, i would definitely go back for another show there.

/ the coastline /
saturday was beach day and luckily we had bright blue skies and sunshine. we started by taking the bus out to coogee beach where we had brunch with a friend before starting out on the coastline walk to bondi beach. there's paved walkways that must connect all the popular area beaches and this particular walk took us about an hour and half in the blazing sun with sea spray occasionally blowing up the cliffs. we dipped our toes in the water at bondi and then headed back in town so we could head to circular quay to catch the ferry out to manly beach. manly had a charming feel to it with some decent shopping (yes, i bought a pair of shoes) and tasty fish and chips that we ate on the beach. for dinner we went to an overpriced restaurant in the rocks that made the best bloody mary i've ever had.

/ a wall of million spices and sauces /
the seafood in sydney was amazing, but what we had during the week was nothing in comparison to what we had on sunday afternoon at the fish markets. dozens of stalls with countless crustaceans and fish of every sort laid out on ice for adventurous buyers. since we were leaving that evening and didn't plan on doing any cooking, we went to one of the restaurants and ordered a stunning platter that included lobster, clams, morton bay bugs and more.

/ one of the dozen stalls at the market showing off delicious seafood /
after our feast and bit more wandering, we were off back to wellington for a late night drive home and back to reality...

lovely discovery

i've never hear nicole atkins before but i am really liking her!! i think i need to watch a few more of these sideshow alley episodes and see what else i can discover.

Sunday, March 4, 2012



what an unbelievably cool technology! would have been a great thing to have for places like the christchurch cathedral, which is being pulled down versus being rebuilt due to lack of funds.

(my new background is from the door that was at the very top of the cathedral when i visited with family in 2006)

Friday, March 2, 2012

my friend foxy pop

/ swamp city roller rats by sandy carter photography /
i've had lots of people ask me "what's that derby thing you've been talking about lately?" nope, not horses. yes, it's roller derby. now before you go thinking i'm completely insane let me just state that what i am doing doesn't even remotely resemble what you're picturing in your head - elbows to the face and smashing chicks into walls. i am training, which, in my case, means i am still mastering the art of staying vertical. ok, so i actually haven't fallen as much as my klutziness indicates i should, but there is still plenty of time. 9 weeks in fact! 

so we newbies are called 'fresh meat' and i am lucky enough to have convinced my coworker toni to come along as well on this 9-week course that teaches the basics of roller derby. seeing as i haven't had a pair of skates on for about 15 years, i have actually been learning how to skate again! the course is pretty fast-paced and i really struggle at times, but the organisers, trainers and team all have a positive and supportive attitude and want everyone to be included no matter what their skill level. a couple times i've had to skate out of an exercise, but as soon as i did, one of the girls came straight over to work with me individually.

by the end of the 12 weeks, we are meant to be able to master a list of internationally required skills allowing us to officially bout. there are a few more things that would be required before making it on to a team, but i'm not even thinking that far ahead. not sure if i'd even pursue getting on to a team, at this point i'm just in it for the fun, fitness and awesome outfits.

anyway, it was my friend angela (the other animal keeper at te manawa) aka foxy pop, who encouraged me to come along and i'm glad i did... at least for now!