One Month In


We have now been living in New Zealand for 1 month!  And what a month it has been :)

In the first few days we picked up our rental car and had all the flurry of buying kitchen appliances etc.  Once we had the essentials; food, cooking implements, something to eat from, something to sit on and something to sleep on, we were good to go.

My advice to anyone else doing this – register for FlyBuys, we could have gotten so many points :(

Furniture here seems very expensive at first glance.  I’m an IKEA girl and I feel at home with veneer and fibre board and a cheap price tag.  However, things are actually made of solid wood here, mostly New Zealand pine with a nice stain or super glossy.  Once we got our heads around that, we started to see furniture as an investment and not just something that will do short term. 

We took our time figuring out what bedroom furniture we wanted, shopped around and managed to get a really good deal on a bed and mattress.  We got a duvet, pillows, covers and sheets as part of the package deal.  We were really happy to find our IKEA double duvet fits our queen size bed snuggly, which was something we were concerned about.  I think standard UK double duvets would be too small.  I managed to get some money off a matching chest of drawers too.  I also asked how long they are likely to have that particular furniture set.  They have had it for the past 10 years and are not planning to stop or change it, so I hope this means once we’ve saved up some money we can get more matching chest of drawers and dressers.

Another thing that is very expensive here are second-hand cars.  They hold their value very well.  I’ve only ever bought a second-hand car once and that was the 1977 Volkswagen camper van.  We had good times in that van, but also too many break downs!  I think it put us off second-hand cars for life!

We shopped around and decided to buy the cheapest new car available in New Zealand!  We have a Holden Barina Spark CDX (in cocktail green).  It’s definitely not in the same league as our old car but I do love my new baby :)  The salesman was just awesome and if you are ever looking to buy a new car you should find Richard Thomson at Schofield Holden in New Market and talk to him.  He reminded both Kane and I of Dick Van Dyke.  He is such a nice man, kept me updated with the progress of my car, I picked it up on the scheduled date and he introduced me to the staff in the service centre, made sure I was familiar with the car and then a few days later called just to check everything was ok and I was still happy with my new purchase.

I’ve found people in the service industry much nicer here.  Even I’m nicer here.  The other day a man dropped something and instead of giving him a kick when he bent to pick it up, I picked it up for him!

Anyway, the day I got to pick up my nice new car, I got offered a job!  I applied for a number of jobs and got replies back from 2 agencies which I registered with.  Colin Munro from MTR took me under his wing a bit and gave me some excellent advice on my CV.  CV’s here are really long!  In the UK you shouldn’t go beyond 2 pages, but for someone of my experience I probably should have a 5 page CV!!  I totally reformatted my CV and I now have a 3 pager.  This seemed to help and I had 2 interviews very quickly, the next week I had a second interview and started my new job almost straight away.  Colin and Andy at MTR are awesome!

I’ve also found a new pole dancing class that I go to on Saturdays and lately I’ve been spending the weekends sourcing new clothes for work.  I packed a small work wardrobe which was good for interviews but a bit too formal for work.  I’m disappointed that my belongings haven’t yet left the UK and I’m looking forward to being reunited with them … eventually.

It would seem that Tesco’s have ruined me when it comes to my price expectations of tights.  A single pair of tights here costs about … hey there’s no pound sign on my keyboard! and I thought it was just the @ sign, the “ marks and the \ that was in different places – I never noticed the absence of the pound.  Anyway, a pair of tights costs about 2 GBP and in Tesco you can get a value 5 pair pack for that price.

To provide some balance though; avocados, mangos, pineapples and the good NZ wines are all cheaper and tastier I think :)

So tonight, after work, I’ll drive home, have some dinner out on my deck with a nice glass of white wine and then later either watch the Event, go to the cinema or watch a DVD if a new one from Fatso has arrived.  So not too different from normal, but different enough for me.

Take care everyone xxx

The Big Move


We’ve been talking about it for so very long and have taken our time over the process of moving, it feels so good to finally be here in Auckland, NZ.

Prior To Leaving

Before we left, we visited Kane’s parents in Orkney for a few days.  It was nice to see them and Kane enjoyed being home for a few days.  Leaving was a little strange because although we all know it won’t be our last visit to Orkney it will the last for a while and we have become more regular with our visits over recent years (mostly due to having such a good car).

We then had a nice visit with Kane’s Grandparents, who made us feel guilty for leaving it to the last minute.

After we arrived back at my parents house we had a very short time to finish anything outstanding and then we sold our beloved car.

On the Saturday we had nice visit from our friend Craig followed by a fancy dress hallowe’en party at my sister Jacqueline’s house.

The next day we were frantically finishing packing our stuff before we went out for a big family dinner at the local pub.

We still had some packing to do after the dinner too and we had to make some tough choices about what goes and what stays.  We had phoned to find out about the excess baggage charges as we were only allowed 1 bag each of 23kgs and any extra on our Edinburgh to London flight would be £9 per kilo plus £10 per bag!  Additionally Air NZ would charge us £35 per extra bag.  We had 4 bags between us and had grudgingly accepted that we would have to pay lots of money to take these things so we spent some time trying to weigh up if each item was worth the money.

After we finished packing we enjoyed some champagne with my family before heading to bed for an early night.

Day of Leaving – Monday

We were up early-ish to finish up packing and to check we had everything we intended to have.  My nephew Sandy had come to give us a hand and to see us off (although I think he just forgot to adjust his clock for daylight savings and that’s why he was early!)

My sister Elizabeth, my BIL Jim and my niece Hollie then came to say goodbye to us at the house before we jumped into the car and headed for the airport.

At the airport I said goodbye to my parents and to Sandy and Hollie and it was a bit weird again because I knew I would see them via the computer and talk to them all the time and we would all visit when we could.

After they left, we got checked in and surprisingly we weren’t charged for excess baggage!  I even queried this (how honest am I?) and was assured we were allowed 2 bags each.  I’m not so stupid as to question it any further so we were very happy with that! Probably could have taken more stuff.

Then Kane’s sister Alison and her husband Ross arrived at the airport and we had a drink and a chat with them before we went through the final security checks and on to our gate.

Flight 1

Edinburgh > London flight was good and uneventful.  I think I dosed for a little while and was disappointed that they didn’t feed me.  We arrived a little earlier than expected in London and got ourselves to the next gate for our Air New Zealand flight to Auckland via Los Angeles.

Flight 2

London > Los Angeles was a very good flight and I tried to set myself to New Zealand time by trying to stay awake as much as I could during this flight.  I had the middle seat so Kane could have the window whilst it was daylight.  I watched plenty of movies!  We got given a snack of some vege crisps and I got an L&P and then a little later we got a nice meal and I had some white wine with my meal.

Someone near us, and I think it was the man I was sitting next to, kept farting every 20 minutes or so and it was disgustingly smelly.  I nearly choked once.  I started putting my nose and mouth under my jumper after a while.  I really hoped he was leaving us in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles In Transit

I have a love/hate relationship with Los Angeles.  They always seem to do their best to scare the crap out of me but this time it was really nice and easy.  We got our passports stamped and grabbed a packet of crisps and some juice and got the free wifi password and updated facebook :)

Flight 3

Unfortunately the phantom farter had returned aboard, however it did get less as the flight went on.  I had swapped seats with Kane so I could get comfier to have a sleep and after I finished watching my movie and had some more food, I had a nice long sleep.  I woke up a couple of times convinced that I had missed a meal but Kane assured me that I hadn’t missed any meals.  I was so glad to get my breakfast because I was so hungry but at the same time I was worried that this would start off the phantom farter again.

Arrival Day – Wednesday

We arrived a bit earlier that scheduled into Auckland we got our bags and headed through customs and bio-security.  I was disappointed that there wasn’t any Border Control camera crews about.

We got through and then we bought ourselves 3 mobile phone sim cards and top ups.  One each for Kane and I’s mobile phones and one for our mobile broadband dongle.  That was really easy to set up and we did that over some hash browns from McDonalds at the airport.  We then saw who I think was the rowing team do a haka at the airport before we grabbed a taxi to our B+B.

We checked into our B+B and had a cuppa and chat with our host Bryan before we headed out to get the keys to our rental house. 

We were a little disappointed with our rental place initially because it didn’t have any carpets down just some vinyl in the kitchen and bathroom, the power wasn’t working and the front and back doors weren’t opening and closing properly.  We did the inspection and our landlord said he would get the power sorted for us and get the doors fixed.

We then headed out to find the shopping centre where our bank is and on the way we were asked by a nice old lady to help her sort out her washing line.  She had a super friendly cat called possum.  We chatted with her for a while and then headed to the shopping centre.

We went to the bank to get our accounts sorted but the personal banking person wasn’t there so we made an appointment for the following day and we checked out the other shops that were in.  We then went to the library to use their free wifi and then checked out some other shops at the retail park across from the shopping centre before heading back to our b+b totally knackered.

Day 2 – Thursday

This was a very productive day.  We had breakfast at our b+b and chatted to the German couple that were staying there also.  Then we headed out to get a bus to Parnell to pick up our rental car.  The google maps app on my ipod touch is great, it told me which bus to get on and when it was due, everything!  We got to the car rental place picked up our little car and then I drove us back to the b+b.  We then got our cases and checked out and headed to the new house.  We were very pleased to find we had power and that the doors had been fixed and after faffing about with the water we found out how to get us some nice hot water too.

We headed back out to the shops and again checked the prices of everything we wanted to buy.  Farmers had a one day half price sale on so we bought a whole dinner set.  We got our appointment at the bank and got that all sorted out and I was amazed that they could give us bank cards right there and then that we could use in the shops!

Naturally we then went to the shops and bought lots of stuff!  We got an air bed, pots, cooking utensils and some groceries and then we went back home and sorted all this stuff out.  We then had dinner quite late, about 8.30pm and then we crashed out for the night.

Day 3 – Friday

We phoned our parents in the morning and then we set about getting more furniture.  We tried Target and the Salvation Army shop but we couldn’t see anything we really liked.  We then went to Noel Leamings and Dick Smiths to look at TVs and we bought a new TV from Dick Smiths and I was cheeky and asked for a free DVD player and I got one!!

We bought a fridge freezer and a washing machine from Noel Leamings and I asked for a free vacuum cleaner, but I wasn’t so successful that time.  We did get 3 pairs of socks for free though :)

We also got ourselves some chairs at Farmers that were on special, buy one get one free so were were able to relax in the evening and watch the Mentalist on DVD.

Day 4 – Saturday

After some initial set up hiccups, I had a very successful skype video call with the pickle party this morning.  And since then I’ve just bee lazing about.  There are road closures today because of the rugby match that’s being held at Eden Park and because we fall in the zone, we have 2 free tickets!  So we’re going to that soon.  It will be cool to go into the new stand that they’ve been working on.

What’s Next

I’m going to chill out this weekend and then on Monday start the job search.  I’ll let you know how I get on!

Intermediate Pole Dancing Graduation

Ok, I'm finally getting around to posting up my intermediate pole dance routine. The video's a bit rubbish since I filmed it myself and I managed to cut the top off everything and the routines a bit rubbish since it was totally last minute. But I did it and amazingly I passed so here you go:

JogScotland 5k

And yes, I did manage the JogScotland 5k. I did it in 34 mins and 48 secs. Not fantastic but what I was hoping for. I took part in this along with my work colleagues.

The before and after pictures:

Europe Holiday


I have so many things I need to post but since my DH has done such a good job of blogging about our Europe holiday, I can score that off the todo list and just link to his blog! Read all about here:

I’m Back

  • Yes, I'm back from my excellent European vacation and I will have to write up a separate post about that!
  • I've been back at work for just over a week now too and things are quiet and going well.
  • I'm back running and tonight I'm taking part in a 5k race. I'm not as speedy as I had hoped to be, but I'm still looking forward to it.
  • I'm back at pole dancing classes and they are hard work and quite tricky!
  • I'm back to making plans, but not the important ones, I've a few things to sort out first.

Happy Days


Hubby and I have just booked a 2 week European vacation which I'm very excited about!

It's an organised group tour so most of our activities are already planned and I have the itinerary printed off and almost committed to memory. Since this means I don't have too much planning to do, I've turned all my attentions to my holiday wardrobe and packing list.

I've decided on a colour palette of gray, pink, purple and green. Of course none of my existing clothes are suitable so this means shopping!

Like most females in the run up to a holiday, I was hoping to lose a few pounds, but since my holiday is very close I can't imagine that I will lose that much to make any new holiday clothes not fit me so I'm taking the chance and going shopping this weekend.

Maybe I'll put together a collage of my holiday wardrobe?

As if the holiday wasn't enough to keep me smiling, my pole dancing classes have started up again.

The first lesson of the intermediate classes was last night and there are 3 other girls in the class. Everyone seems quite friendly which is good.

Most of the lesson was a refresher of things we had done in the beginner class that we'll be building on in this course. We practised climbs, sitting on the pole and a spin we did with both hands in the beginners class we did one handed. The first new thing we learned was how to go upside down. I've tried this myself at home and it's a bit hit or miss if I manage it, so I was really pleased that I managed it both times! The only thing I couldn't get was a move called the crucifix. This really frustrated me as I've managed it in the past.

I'm pleased that there are no bruises. I saw a glimpse of the lesson plan though, so I know there are bruises to come!

I've also said that I'll take part in a 5k race in June with some work colleagues. I've now got the fear that I'll be rubbish so I had better get in training, maybe after the shopping this weekend ...

I’ve become a pole bore!


Pole Dancing. It's all I talk about now and I'm really sorry to all the people I bore senseless yapping on about it.

After I finished the beginner course I signed up for the intermediates, but it's been postponed and is now due to start on the 12th May. So I decided to buy a DVD to keep me going and I ordered Pole Peoples The Art of Pole Dancing Vol 1 and Vol 2. But my back luck continued and they are currently out of stock of Volume 1 but that should arrive by the end of the month.

They've sent me Volume 2, which is for the more advanced dancers and it looks awesome but it's made me aware of how much strength and flexibility is needed to really do these moves. I've done a couple of the ones I can do and I'm still learning how to make them look good.

I've also been trying to go upside and I've been pestering my colleague who knows a teacher to drill her for some tips on how to go upside down and bless her, she really pulled through. (I can now get upside down, but immediately start sliding and can't figure out how to stick!)

Again, loads of core strength and flexibility is needed to get it right so I attempted to go to a Yoga class, but as is my luck, it's postponed for 2 weeks and I've signed up for a Pilates class that starts next week (hopefully!).

Most of the time I'm learning or practising pole tricks. I'm also working on a new dance routine because it's really fun to do. I've been doing a bit of jogging for about 20 – 30 minutes a couple of times a week and some core work, just not enough I think!

I'm thinking about making a video catalog of the pole tricks and moves that I can do.

Anyway, I'm really aware that I've become a pole bore but I'm trying to correct this!

My Pole Dance Routine

Yay! I completed my pole dancing beginners course. For graduation we had to put together a routine to showcase all the moves we learned and below is the video of my routine.

I picked AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long to dance to because it's a great song to dance to and I hope you think I did a decent job at fitting my dance moves to the music. For my costume I choose a school girl outfit as a nod to Angus Young. It was a bit nerve wracking dancing to an audience too but in some ways the whole experience reminded me of the (very) old days when I was in the majorettes.

I'm already selecting my song and costume for my next routine - this is so much fun!

I realise with the AC/DC soundtrack and the aussie flag in the background you maybe confused so I just want to clear this up:

Ya Wee Dancer!


I'm about to complete the beginners pole dancing course. It's been great fun and hard work; very hard work at times, so much so that my muscles were shaking with fatigue, but it's been great learning something new that's so different.

I excitedly tell people about my new activity and try to describe the athleticism, strength and agility that I, yes *me* somehow, I managed to pull it off and do a wonderwoman into dizzy first time and almost no one gets it first time!

But sadly I say "pole dance" and some people hear "sex industry".

I expected a few people to poke fun a little bit in a friendly banter way, and I can laugh along with that, but others go too far. They audibly make assumptions about my sex life, some confuse pole dancing with stripping and lap dancing, others inappropriately ask me how much my husband enjoys my pole dancing and someone even suggested to a male colleague that I perform at his bachelor party!

These comments are often embarrassing for me but it also belittles what I'm actually doing. I'm fairly certain that if they ever tried pole-dancing they would soon realise that it's not just doing a sexy strut around a pole, I work hard to learn the spins and moves and some of them are complicated and others just hurt (have you ever pulled your body weight up a vertical pole and then wrapped your legs around it and let go?).

Because I get wound up and frustrated by the sole focus on the sexy side of pole-dancing I tend to argue to these people that pole-dancing is not sexy and instead is a vigorous strength and endurance workout. And this is true, I've certainly received lots of comments and compliments about how much trimmer I'm looking, but I should not deny the sexy side of pole-dancing.

Dancing is sexy.

Throughout history dancing has been used for a whole bunch of things and sex is part of that. Even cave people used it as a means of wooing a mate and things haven't changed much (been to a night club recently?)

For graduation I have to put together a routine to showcase all I've learned. I'm going to embrace the sexy side of pole-dancing and if I can pull off those gymnastic moves and still look alluring and confident then I'll have accomplished something to be proud of.

A New Activity


I decided to try something a little different last night, to break out of my comfort zone. It's something that I've wanted to try for a while – Pole Dancing!

After a quick Google search I found Pole Hunnies and got in touch with them.

I roped in my niece and we both went to a taster class to see what it was all about. I wasn't sure what to expect. There were two instructors one was average height and very lean, the other was short like me and told us she was 14 stone (89kg). The shorter girl had an injury (not from pole dancing!) that meant she wasn't supposed to demonstrate any of the moves (she did show us one though). The other girl did most of the demonstrating and she wore ordinary workout wear that I would wear to the gym – except for her amazing flashing high heels of course!

There were about 8 of us in the class and we started with walking around the pole to get comfortable. We then learned a few moves, a couple of different spins called Fireman and Dizzy and then we learned how to put it all together as a routine.

Most of the time we were either concentrating on what we were trying to do or laughing at ourselves doing what felt like ridiculous things. It certainly wasn't at all sexy! It was however, a huge amount of fun and gave me a laugh. And even though every muscle in body aches today, I'm going to sign up for more classes – I just need to come up with a Pole name ???

Ae Fond Kiss


Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, and then for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me;
Dark despair around benights me.

I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy,
Naething could resist my Nancy:
But to see her was to love her;
Love but her, and love for ever.
Had we never lov'd sae kindly,
Had we never lov'd sae blindly,
Never met-or never parted,
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.

Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae fareweel alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.