Day 4 – Kerikeri

Day 4 – Kerikeri

December 1, 2015

Today we decided to take it easy and on our schedule was only one thing and that was Skydiving  and Yes, you read it right. I certainly wasn’t brave enough to do it but hubby and company decided to do it and I was there to see it. Hubby has never done this before and he was hesitant.

The day began early because Anya got up at 7.30 am and our day began slowly because we had to get ready by 9.30 am. But due to weather, the Skydiving school called us and said our appointment has changed to 12.30 pm and it was fine with us because we had a lot of time to get ready.

We got there by 12 pm and it was about an hour away from Paihia called Kerikeri. It was such a small airport and the plane was so tiny that it could fit only 8 people to the max. They all had a 5 minute video on what will happen and they went to get suited up. I was pretty nervous for them when I saw a group who went before them. When I saw them in the parachute, I could just see myself screaming, closing my eyes and most probably have a tiny heart attack as well . They chose Tandem skydiving in which a professional jumps with them.

They got all ready and went into the plane. It all looked fine and it took about 10 minutes for me to see them in the sky. They chose the 16,000 feet package which was about 45 second free-falling and then falling with parachute (just thinking about it gives me shudders) . I couldn’t see who was down first but after 50 seconds or so, I could see a yellow parachute. And by the time it was half way through, I realized it was hubby on the first parachute.

The way he described his experience is that it was terrifying when he jumped but it was better when the parachute came out so he could balance. By the time we finished with skydiving, It was 2 pm so we went to have lunch at an Indian place on the way called Mighty Indian. My take on the restaurant, BAD. I think I make good subzi than them. It was a waste of money, I would have rather had some fresh fruits and sandwich.

Then we went to Haruru Falls which was on the way back to Paihia. It was a small falls and we barely stayed there for 15 min and we went back to our hotel to take a break. In the evening, we decided to go to the beach. We were in the beach by 6 pm and the sun was down and it got cold. I mean it wasn’t summer there and so without the sun, it was a cold, windy time and it certainly wasn’t a good time to go into the water because you are shivering when you come out.

After our 30 min stint at the beach, we went again to the supermarket to get some groceries for our dinner and breakfast. By the time we went to bed, it was already 10 pm and we were tired even though we didn’t do much that day. The next day was going to be very long for us so we hoped that we had good rest that night.

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Day 3 – Paihia

Day 3 – Paihia

November 30, 2015

We had a long day ahead. We had to drive to a place called Paihia which was North of Auckland and it was about 3 1/2 hours drive. We started early and left the hotel by 7.30 pm. Anya was getting bored in just 1 hour so we had a short stop over for breakfast and then continued our journey. Once you go outside of main cities, the New Zealand you see is beautiful. 95% of them were farms and Anya loved watching all the farm animals and horses. It is so green and so quiet. You feel this rush of calm when you see them. I loved it.

We reached Paihia by 11.30 and decided to check in at our hotel. The hotel was amazingly clean and very comfortable. We had a quick stop in our room before we continued to our Dolphin cruise. The cruise started at 1.30 and it was beautiful. The day started with Grey clouds and by the time we went into the ocean, it was so sunny that the ocean looked beautiful. The cruise was for 4 hours. We saw lot of Dolphins and we even say a baby Dolphin with their mother. They were very playful and was showing off to all the tourists.

 

Dolphins following our boat

Some part of the cruise was very bumpy which I hated but once it stopped moving, I felt better. There was a Hole in the Rock in the middle of the ocean and it was huge. Huge as in, we actually went inside the hole in the rock and came the other way. We also saw some Seals sunbathing. It was so cute.

We then stopped in Okehei bay to stretch our leg but I didn’t want to go out since I didn’t feel good with bumpy rides. Most likely I was seasick. So hubby and company went out and walked to the light house which was on the top of the mountain. The view was just amazing. By the time we returned from our cruise, it was 5.30 pm. We were so tired with all the travelling from morning.

Note : You will find me describing the New Zealand with the repetitive words like Amazing, Beautiful and Calming a lot because I couldn’t describe it any better. 

We then went to a Supermarket called Countdown to get some veggies and groceries. We decided to make dinner at home. My BIL is a very good cook and he took over the cooking on our trip. He made puliodarai and aloo gobi. We were very tired and by the time we went to bed, it was 10 pm.

And so it all started, the busy days.

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Day 2 – Auckland

Day 2 – Auckland

December 29, 2015

We missed a day because of the time zone change. We reached Auckland at about 5.15 am and I was looking forward to a warm weather coming from Seattle. And when we came out, It was cold  and I wasn’t expecting it at all. By the time we cleared the immigration and had our breakfast, it was almost 8 am. I still had to wear my spring jacket because it was chilly not warm as I thought.

We then got our rental car and drove to our hotel. We stayed in Waldrof St. Marting Apartments in the central Auckland. It was right in the city. We were too early in the morning for our check-in so after taking to the receptionist, we decided to go around the city.

Mt. Eden

We went straight to Mt. Eden where they have a fantastic view of Auckland and there was a crater as well. We had a good walk around the crater and took some amazing picture of Auckland. We then drove to the Supermarket called New World. I wanted to see what they have and I wasn’t expecting much. But I was fascinated by such a big supermarket. I went and checked our every aisle. The food aisle had more influence of Asian and British products.

I loved that they had such huge varieties of Noodles. We got Uncle Ben’s ready made food which was available in Dublin. We had that as a back up for Anya and she loved it. Since we had lot of time on our hands, I wanted to visit a stationary shop nearby . I have know about the stationary shop, Typo but I have never been to one. We don’t have them in Seattle. I loved looking at all the items. I decided to get some pens for my planner buddies and of course, for myself as well.

They were having a cultural even on the main street of Auckland so they shut down the whole street. We waited outside to see the event. Then hubby dropped us in the hotel by 1 pm and went on to pick up our BIL and SIL from the airport. We were tired by the time we went to our room. So I decided to bathe and have a short nap for sometime. I got up at about 3.30 pm. We still had some jet lag but Anya was very happy to see her uncle and aunt.

We decided to take it easy and went to the Farmer’s night market in Auckland. I loved it. They had amazing food stalls that I didn’t know what I wanted to eat. I had some awesome Gyoza and some fresh fruit ice cream. We reached there by 6 pm and came back to our room by 9 pm. And we decided to sleep by 11 pm because we had a long drive the next day.

The first day was very exciting and jet lagged but I wish I had more time in Auckland to see more sight seeing.

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Day 1 – Journey to New Zealand

Day 1 – Journey to New Zealand

December 25, 2015

This was the day after Thanksgiving and I couldn’t sleep at all during the night. My mind was full of  lists and I was anxious that I was going to forget something. With barely 5 hours of disturbed sleep, I got up at 7.30 am. We woke up Anya only by 8.30 so that we could just put on her dress and she would be ready. Our shuttle picked us up by 9.30 am since our flight was at 12.55 pm.

One of the best decisions we did was to get a travel stroller which can be used by a 4 year old. I did lot of research and found that Maclaren Techno XLR will fit perfectly but we really didn’t want to spend about $450 because we knew that it was going to be destroyed with all the travelling on what not. I decided to check on craigslist and lo behold, we found one for $60. FYI, it was well used and had some scratches and stains but we didn’t mind. The only problem was we got them only on the day we were leaving. Hubby left by 8 am to pick it up. I just wish we could have washed it because it looked like it was stored in the garage for a very long time.

Moving on, as soon as I sat on the shuttle I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was also nervous about travelling with a 4 year old for 14 hour journey. The airport security was smooth and we had some breakfast before we got on our plane. Our stop over was at Vancouver which was about 55 min trip from Seattle. I don’t know what I was expecting but as soon as I saw the plane, I was shocked. It was tiny as in only 30 people flight. I have never traveled in such a small plane and I was nervous.

Mt.Baker view from the plane

But the flight was really good, no turbulence and we reached Vancouver at the correct time. We had an 4 1/2 hrs in Vancouver till our next plane. We did our immigration check, Anya played in the play area and then we had our early dinner in the airport. Our check in started by 5.30 pm because we had a child under 5 years old  (yayyyy). The flight was full and that surprised me and it started late.

We flew in Air New Zealand and our seat which was the only faulty one in the whole plane  was uncomfortable because we couldn’t move the arm rest in between our seats. I was worried about how Anya will sleep but she found it easier to sleep with her head resting on the arm rest. Once we were on the air, our dinner got delayed. Thank God, we ordered Indian meal because that was the first served but we were waiting for the kids meal. Seriously airline, please give the kids meal first. We waited for about 45 minutes for our food from the time they started serving. She got so hungry that she ate the Indian meal.

In between all this drama, our flight hit an turbulence and it was bad. I usually don’t fare well with flights because of Acrophobia and the turbulence freaks me out. The flight was shaking so badly that I thought we were going to die, my heart felt heavy and I was holding the arm rest tightly and taking deep breaths. I think I even screamed once or twice .

Other than this, our flight was good. We slept by 10.30 pm and I surprisingly slept well and got up only because they were ready to serve breakfast. The view of the sky from the plane was beautiful. The almost sun rise, the sky had the orange hue and it was amazing.

And then we landed in Auckland. All I could think was, “Finally, Vacation.” Little did I know that this was going to be a jam packed vacation that I would need a vacation from this vacation.

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Travel Journal – New Zealand

Travel Journal – New Zealand

The Preparation

Our most awaited vacation of 2015 was to New Zealand. It all began with my BIL(Brother-in-law) asking us if we are interested in going to New Zealand for a vacation during November. We started getting excited about it because there was not New Zealand on my travel list. I started researching as soon as I could and loved their tourism website. I found lot of places I wanted to see and started making list on it. We booked our flight on August with Air New Zealand and we had one stop over at Vancouver. Our vacation was for 2 weeks and so we booked our stay and rental car.

To keep all the things in one place, I started writing on the traveler’s notebook School  so that I could carry it with me. My idea was to write a travel journal everyday and collect some brochures along the way so that I could always look back and remember them. I love the idea of carrying them with me. I had lot of list in my notebook, Things to see, Things to eat Embarrassed smile, Trip details, Tour packages and Stationary shop to visitOpen-mouthed smile. I loved decorating my travel journal and had the idea of writing on it every night before going to sleep.

I read some blog about New Zealand to prepare myself and one of the thing I remember reading is that it doesn’t have good internet and they were WRONG. On each place we stayed they had the internet and they were really good. They also sell temporary SIM card for traveller’s and We got one from Vodafone for $45 which had 250 min talk time and 2GB data which worked good for us during our 2 weeks. I think  you do need to get one of this because we were using our mobile as our GPS. Another issue was that it was expensive so I was worried about spending there. Yes, it is expensive but with the exchange rate to US Dollars, it was not bad. The groceries were just a dollar or so expensive but the shocking price inflation was beauty and skin care products.  I had a shock when I saw the price of Loreal hair color in the grocery store. As always, eating out is expensive and we ended up cooking ourselves.

I started packing summer clothes for our trip but realized that it was not going to be summer completely and took some light jackets with us which was a life saver. My handbag for this trip was Haiku bag which I got from TJ Maxx. I love purses which has lot of sections so that I can remember where they are and easily accessible. We decided to take only 2 suitcases and I also took some tea bags, coffee sachets from Starbucks and some hot chocolate for Anya. I also took 2 noodles packet because I wasn’t sure what was available there. I also packed sandals for the trip along with some more socks for just in case it was cold scenarios.

Our flight was the next day to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was a busy day for me because I had Volunteer in the morning and had to make soup for the potluck for dinner as well. So I finished packing over the weekend and just packed the hand luggage on Thanksgiving day. By the time we came home, we were so tired.

So began our journey to a land we have never been before.

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Happy New Year My Readers

Happy New Year My Readers

Hello My Readers,

Happy New Year. I can’t believe that 2016 is here. 2015 was interesting to say the least with lot of changes in my life which led to taking a break from blogging. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and the beginning of New Year.

It is so hard for me to keep up with the website updates and things going wrong, etc etc, Because I absolutely have no idea if something goes wrong and that takes me hours of researching in the net and trying to solve the problem. It just gives me an headache after I have done all this. That is exactly what happened when I decided to get back to blogging. I changed the theme in my website and I couldn’t find my widgets. It took me 30 minutes to find where it was in the theme Embarrassed smile. And let’s not forget about taking photographs, editing and then posting. It takes a lot of time to post just one article and being the lazy person, I procrastinate, which ends up me skipping on blogging.

Anyway, I am back and hopefully I will be consistent. I have lot of ideas for my blog post especially some travel post and some planner post. This year I am going to stay positive and do my best in keeping up with the blog. I think it was a good decision to take a break last year because towards the end I just felt pressured to post something in the blog.  Few months away from the pressure of blogging worked wonders on me. Now I have new ideas and I am feeling positive about posting more articles. I am feeling relaxed and confident after the break.

2015 in Review

  • My planner – I loved the personal sized planner and my planner collection grew so much that I needed a separate space for them Open-mouthed smile
  • Vacation/Road trip – I have lot of good memories for the year
  • Gratitude post – Meh Confused smile . I should have never committed to this since I ran out of things to say and I didn’t want to repeat myself.
  • Sickness – I think this topic needs a separate post where I can rant about it Winking smile
  • Obsession over collecting purse Eye rolling smile. I really need to stop this.
  • Finding the book “Be Happy Without Being Perfect” was a life changer for me.
  • Read about 324 books this year School
  • Accepted the fact that I am never going to fit in the “before pregnancy” jeans because I am too lazy Embarrassed smile
  • Anya got older, taller and got something new, an Attitude Eye rolling smile and she is just 41/2.

I am hoping that 2016 will be better and have an calming effect on me. I have lot of self improvement books on my list to read and hopefully makes me a better person. So here to 2016, where I become a better person.

Thank you for sticking with me readers.

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7 years of blogging….

7 years of blogging….

Yes, Readers. That is how long I have been blogging. It all started with boredom and wanting to do something. I wanted to tell someone all the things I find interesting and that is how I started blogging. It all started with a recipe I wanted to share with everyone and then went on to my first ever obsession, “Makeup” .

I have never been interested in makeup when I was in school and college. I always wore eyeliner and lipstick. I think I had just one lipstick in my collection during my college days and that was the color changing, pH lipstick which changes to pink depending on the pH of your lips. I think blogging was one of my favorite pastime because I can be anyone there. I can rant and rave about whatever I want. I find it difficult to put my thought into words during conversations but I am good at writing about it.

I am starting to lose interest in blogging. I do have lot of things I want to write about but I feel pressured into writing an article every week and I don’t  like the feeling of it. I will still blog whenever I want to. I am mostly going to concentrate on travel blogging. I love talking about it and maybe food too. I want to tell about the food I tried and loved.

I do want to blog about my beauty related products but it is just lot of work with getting the perfect shot with the perfect lights. Then you have to edit them. Then I need the mood to write the article and If I did all these, I felt guilty for not being regular in my blog. I think I need to increase my vocabulary to describe the products I want to review because after few reviews, I kind of sound the same .

I think realistically I am going to commit myself to one article per week. I do read lot of books and if you follow me on good reads, you will know all my choices. Maybe the following month will be better than this month.

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Gratitude Challenge Week 36

Gratitude Challenge Week 36

Week 36 topic is Your Home.

Everyone has their dream home, right? When we were looking for a home, I knew what I don’t want? Is that weird? But I always trusted my first instinct, If I have second thoughts then I am not sure of it. We saw a lot of nice houses but somehow it just didn’t feel right. We came to view some house near by and saw a board on the road which said new construction and on an impulse we decided to check it out.

We saw a town home and I loved the layout. I didn’t want a big house because all I could think was all the cleaning I had to do. The main reason this house interested us was the finished basement. It is a perfect space for my daughter. We have the book shelf and the TV set up in the basement. She also has a dedicated play space for her. When we have guest, all the kids go to the basement and just run around. It is a size of a big master bedroom and that is enough for the kids to run around.

I do love our home. I decorated it myself with paintings and all the knickknacks I collect along the way. I am grateful for perfect home we found. I think if we ever want to move to a different place, I would just want the same house but in different location.

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Gratitude Challenge Week 35

Gratitude Challenge Week 35

Week 35 topic is your neighborhood.

I always believed in the quote, Everything happens for a reason and that is why I believe that I am meant to be here in this neighborhood. It is very near to my daughter’s school. It is also walking distance to some of the shops and a beautiful trail. And I have made some good friends. The neighborhood I live in is not big but I love it. I love that it is only walking distance to bus stop. There are mixed ethnic families here. I am the only Asian Indian here and some of my friends are Japanese and Korean. I love that our neighborhood is so varied. I love talking to the Asian families about food.

They love Indian food too and I invite them sometime over for tea and I usually make Chai and Dhokla for tea. They love it. I also have some Indian Snacks or sweets for them to try on. There are also some mature couples living in our neighborhood whose children are grown up. Of course there are one or two idiot ones but that is given in any neighborhood, right?

But yes, I love my neighborhood.

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After 7 week of absence..

After 7 week of absence..

Hello Readers,

Did you all miss me? I know it’s been a long time since I did anything in my blog that was because I had guests for 6 weeks staying at home and I was busy with them. I did have plans of continuing with the blog but somehow all I wanted to do in my spare time was read or watch Netflix rather than squeeze my brain for words . That was so not happening. I was stressed for the first few weeks with all the changes at home but then I decided to just give my brain a rest instead of taxing it. So I decided to take a vacation from my blog and come back with a rested and fresh ideas.

I do have some ideas for the blog. I have lost interest in makeup but that doesn’t mean that I don’t buy them , I just lost interest in blogging about them. I am into Planners these days and it is getting way out of hand. Soon I will be joining the hoarders . I am just buying stuffs for planner all the time and I do feel guilty but I just can’t control it.

Just this week, the Planner society is talking about the Kate Spade Rose Gold limited edition planner which is sold in the outlet mall. People were queuing up in the morning to get them and now its all sold out. On Tuesday, I had this feeling of just driving up and getting one. First of all, It is little bit expensive and I would probably feel guilty for the rest of my life if I get it and Second of all, it was sold out.

I always wait for the urge to calm down before making decision of buying anything. Most of the things I buy are impulse buys especially the handbags . I get bored with then very quickly or I don’t use them if they are not comfortable. I don’t care about the “brand name”, I just want a comfortable and good-looking handbag.

Moving on to the planner, December is almost here and you might think it’s still 2 months away, but let me tell you all the shops already have the Christmas decorations. So I need to decided on the next year’s planner. I am leaning towards the fauxdori because I have started loving how they feel and I can print them myself too. I got a standard size and field note size. Though the field note size is little bit small, I think it will be excellent for just writing notes or for random things. At the moment, I used it as book of quotes. I love how it fits in your hands.

I am using the standard size as a travel journal and ideas for my writing exercise. And yes, If you remember my previous articles, I did finish my novel-writing and I haven’t touched it for the past 3 months . That was just the first draft. One of these days, I am going to take it out and do the second drafting. Now that I am free, at least for the next 6 weeks, I will be doing that.

November will be a busy month for me, maybe I should say that the last 2 weeks of November will be busy for me because your’s truly is taking a vacation  . I am so looking forward to this one. I have my travel journal all ready and I have made on notes on what I want to see and of course, What I want to eat? . No wonder I can’t seem to lose weight.

I still have some photos that I took for a blog articles and once I have finished those, I am going to talk about the planner for few days. I also need to catch up on my gratitude post. I loved doing those. I think I am also going to do some travel articles mostly on places I went this summer. Next week I am going to sit down and plan all these stuffs so that I can be regular in my blog.

Thank you very much for waiting for me to start my articles again. I know that I am inconsistent but you have to realize that I am just doing this for fun and this is definitely my creative outlet (I think).

Talk to you soon readers.

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