Tag Archive for Reviews

REVIEW: Big Boys Toys Central Districts

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1982 DeLorean DMC-12 Time MachineMost people have ‘heard’ of the Big Boys Toys show…but many don’t really know ‘what’ exactly it is.

This years event was perfect timed to take a mini-mid-exam-break-Roadtrip with my Teen up to Big Boys Toys Central Districts (Palmerston North) and check it out.

and to answer the questionIs Big Boys Toys just a hive of testosterone and full of 80 billionty Men?

I didn’t 100% know what to expect, except from what I had seen on the Big Boys Toys website and Facebook and clips of the larger Auckland show.

All I knew was I LOVE this sort of stuff, so I was in like Flynn.

It might surprise you that I, Wellington Chic, am a tom-boy from way back when.  Growing up with 3 older brothers and a Dad that could fix and build just about anything set me up as a chic who was into practical stuff.

It also means I appreciate loud noisy cars, flash slick expensive cars, Motorbikes that flip, Power Tools that whip things into shape, clever inventions, clever technology and the smell of old leaded Petrol and workshop grease…you know what I mean…the smell of a workshop…?  No?  Ok, maybe it’s just me, but hey it smells good!

What I was MOST looking forward to at BBT were these 3 things:

• The matt black Lamborghini Aventador
The FMX Extreme Sport show featuring Levi Sherwood
• An exact replica of the DeLorean from Back to the Future!

Yup, I’m also a bit of a geek like that and had a high School crush on Marty McFly.

Big Boys Toys Central Districts

So what did we find at Big Boys Toys?

Walking in it was teeming with people…

ahem…I mean teaming with MALES…

80 Billionty Males to be exact…ok, maybe not, but alot of males all in one place!

Yes!  It was of course to be expected, as the show is a Men’s Lifestyle show…aimed at Males.

But it really was raining Men, in a huge variety of ages from the young to the old.  I spotted a few women as we made our way around and they were just as excited about what they were seeing as I was.

Was it all just Bogans and Petol-heads?

No, quite the opposite.

Sure there were some Bogan’s and some Petrol-heads and even a few bikers…but it was mostly very average-joe-kiwi-blokes enjoying a fun day out with their mates or with their kids.

What was the highlight of the show?

For me, it was hands down getting to sit in a 1982 DeLorean DMC-12 Time Machine.

An exact replica of the DeLorean from Back to the Future that Mat from Hero Car Hire has painstakingly built up over the years to the amazing movie replica it is now.

Mat was also the best host, he was talkative, put up with my obvious fan-girling and took me through the cars paces with all it’s lights and sounds.  He took me back-in-time to the date of my birth and being able to see the car speed up, the Flux Capacitor kick in and then see the Plutonium flash as being depleted was seriously-seriously cool.

Thanks Mat for being so passionate about what you have built and talking yet another enthusiastic fan through your car as if it was your first.  You can find out more about the DeLorean on their website and it is also available as a Hero Experience.

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Was the FMX & BMX as cool as it sounds?

Absolutely!  The main feature act of the BBT show was most definitely the FMX & BMX Extreme Sport Show!
With the insanely talented Levi Sherwood FMX freestyle rider along with fellow FMX riders Nick Franklin & Mitch Mchardy.

Levi is a local boy from Sanson, just outside of Palmerston North and is carving it up on the world Red Bull X-Fighters stage and winning title after title.  Just check out his video from his course he has made at his home.

What you guys pulled out of your trick bag was heart stoppingly awesome and you have fantastic talent.  Being able to judge your stunts so perfectly with the pitch of the Arena Manawatu roof and land them so smoothly just show’s how world-class you all are.

You had us all gasping and enthralled with the jumps you all pulled off and the shapes your bodies contorted into in mid-air!

Paul Langlands BMX Dirt Rider and his BMX freestyle friends were a great accompaniment to the FMX with their flips and tricks showing such skill and experience.  I know it’s probably not a word you want me to describe it as, but you make it all look so ‘graceful’ as you are leaping into the air.  The model car racers showing us their tricks before the show started were also a surprising highlight for us all, man those little things can get some air!

The show was epic, I just wish NZ crowds would whoop, clap and cheer louder!  I was clapping my little heart out while trying to capture the action on my iphone as they were all amazing.  Cheer louder NZ!

Levi Sherwood - bike in background

Did you find your High School Car Crush?

I sure did!

2014 Lamborghini Aventador, be still my beating heart.

This car is damn sexy and I could just picture myself taking this on the School run of a morning.

Granted, I wouldn’t be able to fit in any of the Teens friends on pick up…oh well, back to Public Transport for them all.  In matt black it just upped its cool factor 10 fold.

The Lamborghini was my High School Car Crush from the 90’s and still is today.

I have only ever seen one other in the flesh, back when I was 17, a bright yellow one was parked outside the Monte Carlo Casino where I was visiting with my parents, they indulged me with a pic!
Yup, my parents flouted Monaco’s age law and took me in for a glimpse of this crazy casino lifestyle!

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What about the Bond car?

The Bond edition Aston Martin DB9 GT was unveiled at BBT from the new Bond Movie Spectre.

Yes, it is flash and all and looks super nice…but if I’m honest a bit ‘meh’…

Now in saying that, I would have happily taken it for a spin and I know it would have been awesome…but I’m just not awed by Aston Martins like I am other cars.

Whereas the new 2015 458 Ferrari GT Speciali, the new Ford Mustang, The new Ranger NIGHTHAWK in matt black, the Polaris Slingshot SL LE they are all right up my alley :-)

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What else can I see at BBT?

So so much!  Classic Cars, souped up boy racer Cars, Muscle Cars, electronic bikes, Harley Davidson’s, Super bikes, off roaders…quite literally a vehicle to suit everyone’s fantasies.

Thanks James from Harvey Norman for humoring us and very patiently showed us how the Glideboard worked, I was kinda stoked to learn you could clock up 20km on it in one go!
Would be a super fun thing to Ride to School?  Honestly would have loved to have a blat on one of these myself…but maybe another day.

The Hyper Stimulator’s where you can simulate you are driving a v8 super car around Bathhurst or other famous tracks around the world. They had queues a line a mile long to have a turn, OK, not a mile, but long.

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Was there some exciting new technology?

We were given a glimpse into the newest prototype of the Hendo Hoverboard the Hendo 2.0 (Beta 4 Engine Prototype).

An exciting development and I look forward to seeing where this is in a year or two’s time.  We got to see it hover back in forth between the two hosts as they tossed it around the platform.

Very cool to think that this technology is not that far from being accessible.  You can check out Tony Hawk riding a couple of Hendo Hoverboard’s here.

Hendo Hoverboard

Did they have other things there apart from Cars?

I’m also a sucker for cool things, techie things and things that would make my life easier, quicker..

So I spend ages at the Breo All Back and Breo iFoot Foot Massager stand getting to try out their super unique Foot Massager.
Oh my gosh, it was amazing, it actually did feel like someone was massaging my feet with hands…so a little bit creepy…but worth the creep, because it was awesome.  A hefty price tag, but worth it if you have spare dollars to spend.

Glam Screens Selfie Ring & Phone Stand impressed me with their super simple invention that was actually really-really clever.  I’m not a selfie taker (unless goofing with my friends or teen), but I see benefits of this little device that attaches to the back of your phone…even if just for not having this happen when you are reading stuff upside down!

There were many other stalls dotted around the show featuring everything from golfcart Segways, Power Fits, X Hoses, Model Cars, an open stage to let your inner Drummer have a blat on the drum kit, even electronic Hookah!

The Beef Jerky stand was amazing and I meant to go back and buy some, but my Teen distracted me on my way out.  Going to hunt you out in my supermarket!

Milwaukee Power Tools…oh my gosh, I could have spent hours in their stand just playing with all of the power tools, as that was exactly how this stand was set up.

All of their power tools were laid out with walls prepared ready for you to hammer, screw, cut, sand, blast, destroy and just simply ‘play’.  I tried this one M12 Cordless Multi-Tool.

Did BTT’s meet my expectations?

It totally exceeded my expectations.

I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.  Now I want to also see the Auckland show next year.

Was it value for money/entertainment?

Absolutely, with tickets priced at under $30 and good discounts for early birds, it was excellent value for money and you could make a whole day of it.
Note:  I was hosted by Blomfield PR.

1982 DeLorean DMC-12 Time Machine

Is it too showy, snoby or seems like everyone is up themselves?

kinda is, but kinda not…if that makes sense.

It’s very laid back, but professional.  You could come to this show from any income level of society and still just enjoy seeing the toys and the show.

All of the stand hosts talk with you freely and everyone is encouraged to try things out.

Is there food?

Yes, most important question when heading out on an adventure!

If I’m not into Cars and this sort of stuff, will I enjoy it?

In all honestly, you probably won’t.

What was the atmosphere like?

The atmosphere was chilled and relaxed, but positive as everyone was buzzing with what they saw.

I wondered before I arrived if you would be able to literally smell the testosterone in the air, but no, you saw alot of fan-boying, but not too much grunting.

Is it suitable for all ages?

Kind of…if there is an interest, take them no matter what age they are.  But probably best suited from 7 years old to Teenagers to Adults to Grand Parents.

So overall was it lame or cool (as my teen questioned before going along)?

Seriously cool, it had a chance of being lame…but it soooo wasn’t.

My Teen also gave it a big tick of approval and she added that that wasn’t just because it was teaming with teenage boys!

What surprised me the most?

To find a 1962 MK1 Hamilton Jet 30 Boat that had been rebuild and relaunched in 2012 with a MK2 Zephyr 6 Motor.  Only 174 of them were ever built!  Way cool.

1962 MK1 Hamilton Jet 30 Boat

 


I want to thank Paul & Robecca from Blomfield PR for hosting me at the Big Boys Toys event and for the ticket Giveaway for my readers.

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Tip’s for your first Opera (from a ‘non-opera go-er’)

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Wellington Chic’s – Tip’s for your first Opera (from a ‘non-opera go-er’)

You may have read yesterdays blog review about the ‘out of the ordinary’ event I went to on Saturday that was the NZ Opera’s La cenerentola (Cinderella).

 

NZ Opera La cenerentola Cinderella Amelia Berry Rachelle Pike Sarah Castle image credit Neil Mackenzieimage supplied – credit Neil Mackenzie

You can read all about my interesting experience here, but I wanted to also share my Top Tips for heading to your first Opera when it’s not normally ‘your thing’

 

•  Pick an Opera you actually like the sound of…read up the storyline and see if it sounds interesting to you.  If the write up doesn’t capture you, it might not be ‘the one’.

•  Don’t be worried if your budget wont stretch to the expensive  seats.
Take what you can get if it means you can get there…
Yes splash out if you can, but in the likes of the St James Theatre, there are almost ‘NO bad seats’ you get an amazing and different view from each and every seat I have ever sat in there.

•  Check out if it’s likely going to be all out Tux’s and Evening gowns or if it’s just ‘going out wear’…
If it’s formal wear, go for it, it’s fun to dress up.
If your unsure you could call the Box Office at the Theatre to enquire what is the usual standard of dress for the night you are attending.

•  St James Theatre, I love you and love going there, but goodness me I freeze my ass off every time I do.
I have learnt now to plan my outfit around the temperature.
I never check my coat and take it into the Theatre with me.  Last time I took a Pashmina with me too so I could layer up.

•  Does the Opera have a web presence?
Check to see if there are You Tube video’s, check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and see if there is a #hashtag in advance of going.
Here you can see read up about the opera and often their Facebook pages have lots of interesting notes, interviews and tidbits to check out beforehand (and some great photo’s after).

•  Get the Opera program when you arrive.
Read the Directors notes in the program and everything else in it especially relating to the show…and it’s fun to check out the cast, out of costume 😉

NZ Opera La cenerentola

•  Don’t be afraid to go by yourself.
Pump up the music beforehand while you’re getting ready, boost your confidence and rock it out.
Don’t miss out on the experience, just because you’re on your own.

•  Make a night of it (I didn’t as I had a house full of Teenager’s before and after)…but next time it would be an early Dinner somewhere fab beforehand close by and Cocktails afterwards.

•  If you don’t go out for dinner before hand, have dinner before you leave home.
The Opera is usually quite long and it kinda sucks to be completely fa-moused half way through the performance that will also see you scoffing large quantities of potato chips at Intermission ‘cough-cough looking at myself’.

•  The St James has a no glass policy in the Theatre, so you may think you need to drink up before heading in…instead you can get your drink in a plastic glass to take in with you.  So it may well be the same at many Theatre’s around New Zealand.

•  Soak it up, indulge in it, step into the life of the characters on stage and you will enjoy it even more.

•  GO – It’s a great experience and we have some huge NZ Opera talent here in New Zealand to hear and often have visiting star’s from other countries performing also.

Have you been to the Opera / Want to go?

What did you think?

What surprised you the most about it?

NZ Opera La cenerentola Cinderella St James Theatre Wellington

 

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REVIEW: NZ Opera La cenerentola (Cinderella) – by a ‘non-opera go-er’!

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REVIEW: NZ Opera La cenerentola (Cinderella) – by a ‘non-opera go-er’!

On Saturday afternoon you would have found this ‘Mom’ out in the sticks wrangling a gaggle of teenagers at their outdoor Paintball extravaganza!

Saturday night you would have then found this same ‘Mom’ making a quick transformation, glam-ming herself up and heading out to the NZ Opera La cenerentola.

NZ Opera La cenerentola

Glam-med up yes!

But honestly…I left the house in bare feet carrying my heels… 😉

Why?  Because I had 9 teenagers in tow, to deposit at dinner and Reading Cinema first, before I even got to the St James Theatre.  So we had a short trek first to get down to Courtney Place.  Loosing my perfect hot roller-ed curls to the Wellington wind on our way.

I didn’t know anyone else going to the Opera and as a Single Parent I was flying solo and totally attempting to rock it by myself (yes girls you can totally do this in Wellington).

The St James Theatre was packed and brimming with excitement for the opening night of Rossini’s vivacious La cenerentola (Cinderella).

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Marcin Bronikowski Amelia Berry Rachelle Pike image credit Neil Mackenzieimages provided – credit Neil Mackenzie

I was warmly welcomed at the top of the stairs and treated to drinks and nibbles as I was being *hosted at the Opera by Spotlight Creative Media. I ended up chatting with the host and some fab ladies from The Wellingtonista before heading in at the sound of the bell.

As the lights lowered for the opening scene of La cenerentola…I chuckled to myself, as to where life takes me sometimes and the extremes of it.

This time last week (7.30pm) we were sitting on the try line at Westpac Stadium Mexican waving and cheering our lungs out watching the Hurricane’s battle it out with the Crusader’s (Wellington Chic – yes I am, but I am still a Crusader’s fan!).

Last week I was wrapped up in my winter woollies, rocking a beanie and eating Hot Chips out of a punnet where the tomato sauce gets on your fingers!

Tonight I was surrounded by Glitz, Glamour, Tuxedo’s, sparkly Evening Dresses, Champagne, Top shelf liquor and OPERA!

I worked out it had been 14 years and then 19 years since I had last been to the Opera

A friend and I had gone to the Opera in Auckland 14 years ago (which I ‘cough-cough’ can’t now remember the name of it) and my parent’s took my to my 1st Opera back in the 90’s to Phantom.

So I’m a total newbie, a novice, I don’t know ‘anything’…all I know is what I like and what I appreciate.

I’m not a traditional Opera reviewer…as you can see.

There are many fabulous reviewers out there and many technical and in-depth reviews listed on NZ Opera’s Facebook page…

So this blog review is just me sharing my experience of going to the opera as a normal ‘non Opera go-er’.

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Rachelle Pike Sarah Castle Amelia Berry image credit Neil Mackenzieimages provided – credit Neil Mackenzie

La cenerentola is sung in Italian, it follows along the story of Cinderella (kind-of), but with some unique twists along the way…

We see a glimpse of the life of Cinderella/Angelina, her two naughty Step Sisters Tisbe and Clorinda, and her nasty Stepfather the Baron Don Magnifico as their lives intertwine with the Prince Don, his sidekick Dandini and Angelina’s ticket out of the life she leads Alidoro.

I much appreciated that it was a story that I was familiar with (albeit different) as I had some anticipation of what was going on or maybe coming up, even if I wasn’t reading the Sub titles.

Is that what you call those things…sub titles…?

They very ‘helpfully’ have a long screen right up the top above the stage and one, off to the left and one, off to right that when read, give you roughly what they are singing about. .

What was amazing was you often didn’t need to read the subtitles.

The emotion, expressions, body language, themes, tone, set and how the scene played out visually almost told the story completely on it’s own.

But they were so helpful to have there when I had no idea what was happening and for picking up the funny lines and quirks.

What captured me instantly was the colours and the luxurious quality of the costumes, set and whole visual affair playing out in front of me.

Now I don’t mean luxurious in terms of expensive, I means in terms of ‘a luxurious lush depth‘ even when the fabric’s were ratty and old (Angelina) they still had a luxurious lush depth and texture to them.

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Sarah Castle John Tessier image credit Neil Mackenzieimages provided – credit Neil Mackenzie

The set’s that came out were truly amazing, Don Manifico’s shop where the Step Sisters and Angelina worked was epic!

It set such the tone for the scenes and there was so much going on in there, but I never felt it extracted from the actual Opera.

I love that they used the height of the stage for the set.  Above the shop was the families house with stairs running up the back and many scenes were directed from the large open house windows, which was just overall visually stunning and just looked seriously cool.

 

So…the Opera singing…was it good…did it give me goose-bumps:?

I know it’s what the cast train for years and years of their lives to do…and NZ Opera’s are regarded as a world-class productions…so I shouldn’t be too surprised…

But I was blown away by nearly each and every one of the cast individually.

I was already in awe of the voices, the notes, the clarity and the power behind the voices…annnnnnnd that it’s ALL sung in Italian!  Just imagine how hard that is to learn!

But then…goodness gracious me what a talent it is when there are 4 or 6 cast on stage singing their own huge song (fast and in Italian) on their own, not getting distracted from the others, but singing it perfectly in sync – but not in sync because their songs are different – if that makes sense.  And pulling it off perfectly.

That was my favourite part and total goose-bump coverage!

So, did I like it?

As I don’t know what is good Opera and what isn’t good Opera, all I can go on is how it makes me feel.

So, do I like it?

Oh my golly-gosh YES!

I didn’t realise that I had been missing out on this for the last 14 years.

The voices that made the hairs on my arms raise and catch my breath!

The notes that made me sit forward in my seat.

I was ENTHRALLED and absolutely captured by the characters and the story line.


What surprised me the most?

I had said to my daughter before I went, that I just hope ‘I don’t get bored’

There was NO trouble with that as I was sucked in hook line and sinker to the story.

Also pleasantly surprised by just how much of it was funny and how they slotted the humour in at intervals perfectly.

There was a well placed very clever line referencing ‘Cloudy Bay’ (wine)…that was by far a huge ‘lol’ moment for the audience!  😉

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Andrew Collis image credit Stephanie Do Rozarioimages provided – credit Stephanie Do Rozario


Who were my favourite Characters?

I didn’t quite realise it was possible to like ALL of the characters on stage.

I even really-really liked the Baron Don Manifico…yes he was a drunk, yes he treated Angelina appallingly…but he was still incredibly likable and a little mischievous.

I liked his bobbly, wobbly nature, his stick on comb-over that was hardly ever combed over and the fact he never had his pants done up!

The Step Sisters Tisbe and Clorinda were A-MAZING and pulled off their Characters to perfection.  Visually their Styling was equally perfection.

 

What caught me off guard?

The tension was building as we are leading to a peak scene before intermission.

Tears sprung from my eyes and rolled down my face.

I am trying to control what my body is doing and stifle the noise only letting it out when I can disguise it between the loud high notes

Trying hard to mask it ever so subtlety so those around me don’t hear.

The crowd erupts into applause and I let it out as much as I can.

As we walked out at intermission I was wiping tears from my eyes I was having trouble capturing a full breath at every intake…I’m sure everyone thought I was very-very moved by the performance

I would have been, as until that point as I was totally loving it…

BUT instead I was suffering the wrath of a poorly crunched Eclipse mint I had popped in 5 mins before, where a shard had caught in the very back of my throat causing me all this anguish!!!!

I had been stifling coughs and gags and was trying to choke away quietly and not disturb those around me!

I was then the one chic at the bar at intermission stuffing my face with potato chips and sculling my L&P trying to dislodge my mint shard.

Oh dear – classy aye!

At least my breath was minty 😉

 

What stood out in La cenerentola than the previous Opera’s I had been to?

What I don’t remember from past Opera’s was just how much is going on, on stage-at once.  That the whole entire scene is fabricated / styled / tweaked to perfection.

That the singing is oh so very important…but so is the costumes…the sets…the lighting and the tone…

In La cenerentola it was an entire package.

I loved the shop set, but the set in the Palace Gardens was my favourite overall, it was incredibly simple but was visually stunning.  It offset the costumes so beautifully.

The acting and expression of the cast are so very important and this portrays more than I ever realised.

The cast did an amazing job with this from the over the top accentuated expressions of the Step Sisters that were close on perfection to the subtle underlying expressions of the Chamber maids (gosh you were so funny ‘curly dark haired maid/dude’!).

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Sarah Castle image credit Neil Mackenzieimages provided – credit Neil Mackenzie

 

Did I cry?

Yup…and not just during the Eclipse Mint incident above.

When the singing was so perfectly synced/but not synced, (that I talked about further above) when there are 4 or 6 cast on stage singing their own song, but with others, but different.  Just stunning!

And a few other times.

 

Did I feel out of place?

I rocked up with faux confidence…and flying solo…and it was quite possibly my age group was in a minority than many other Opera go-er’s.

So it ‘would’ have been very easy to feel ‘out of place’.

Tux’s and evening gowns and very elegantly dressed peeps are the norm (is that just an opening night thing…or every night?).

But it also didn’t seem to matter if you weren’t in formal attire as there were still plenty of people in ‘going out’ clothes and also people of all ages.  Both ends of the scale and everything in between.  Octogenarians and also quite a few Kids :-)

It did encourage me thought to go all out next time and glam it up even more.

As the Opera is maybe not my normal thing…I only slightly felt out of place, but less than I actually thought I would.

I did get some looks up and down (you know the ones), but they kinda didn’t bother me, figured they were either:

  • …looking at me as I was a ‘newbie’ and they hadn’t seen me there before…
    or
  • …the were looking at my totally rocking outfit that I felt amazing in…
    or
  • …maybe I had toilet paper hanging out the back of my skirt, who knows 😉

 

What blew me away?

What was most-most surprising, was just how well received it was.

Yes, I LOVED it, but the appreciation and applause the show and cast received from the audience at the end was truly-truly amazing.

I have been to some great shows in my life, with massive crowds and standing ovations…but this topped all of them.

People were literally on the edge of their seats almost ready to burst with how delighted they were and they were all around me and across the entire crowd.

The very-very well deserved clapping was intense when the cast’s were taking their bow’s and accepting the applause.

I was teared up already through performance, but cried the most actually at this point.

I was awe at the delighted crowd, how appreciative they were for the cast and what they had just seen, it totally got me.

Yup, I’m a weirdo – who cries from seeing people ‘clap’ – yeah that would be me.

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Cinderella

 

Following my glamorous night at the opera, did I head off to an equally glamorous after party or cocktails with the cast…?

I walked out onto Courtenay place amongst excited chatter from those around me and rave reviews of how awesome La cenerentola was.

Then I head straight across the road to Starbucks to a tall Chai Latte and to await the arrival of my 9 energetic Teenagers from their movie (Pitch Perfect 2) to then get them all back to our place.

The week before, I was initially a little disappointed not to be heading to Pitch Perfect 2 with the girls, but La cenerentola was so-so-so much better…and I can movie any old day.

I’m writing this now to the sound of giggling, dancing, Hip Hop and Pop songs floating up the stairs of our Apartment and set myself in for a fun night of hosting this great bunch of girls.

I was an Opera go-er earlier that night…but after all of that when the glam goes back in the wardrobe, you wipe your makeup off and tie your hair up in a ponytail…I will always be a Mom

Digging snack food our of the cupboard for them, laughing at their funny stories and gathering up enough blankets to turn our house into a giant sleepover for the night.

 

Check back tomorrow where I will post my “Top Tips for heading to the Opera as a non-Opera go-er”!

 

The NZ Opera have a stunning 2015 season on, starting with La cenerentola and followed with Madama Butterfly and then Tosca.

La cenerentola is directed by Lindy Hume and was co-produced with Opera Queensland and features Opera stars from New Zealand, Australia and around the world.

Check out their website nzopera.com even if it’s just for the amazing graphics alone that have been created for each opera, the images are stunning!

The NZ Opera also has a great active Facebook page with lots of behind the scenes info and fab interviews and video’s, which is well worth a look to find out stuff you wouldn’t have otherwise known.

You can still catch La cenerentola in Wellington until the final night Saturday 16th May.

It then heads up to Auckland (the same day that Prince Harry leaves New Zealand…Prince Don heads to Auckland and Prince Harry heads home) and runs 30 May til 7 June, Tickets are available through the NZ Opera website.

 

* I was very-very kindly hosted by Spotlight Creative Media to the NZ Opera without obligation…but man…my experience going to La cenerentola was so awesome I just HAD to talk about it and share it with you on my blog.
What I wrote is just what I think!
Thanks for reading :-)

 

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REVIEW: Singin in the Rain

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If I’m honest I didn’t quite know what to expect with the ‘Singin in the Rain’ stage show.

…yeah…yeah…yeah I know…

There would probably be singing…in the rain… and stuff, but what else?

Miss 14 & I, love us a great stage show, so I was super excited when I was gifted* tickets the opening night of ‘Singin in the Rain’ in Wellington last Friday night.

singin in the rain wellington

Heading to the St James Theatre you always know you are going to be in for a great night!  Such a beautiful old restored theatre, such an air of excitement of what’s to come, such great shows that have been before you.

I had Miss 14 with me who loves watching Dance shows on stage, but we were contending with her just getting back from being away for 17 days on an action packed adventure with very little sleep, so I honestly hoped she wouldn’t fall asleep in the middle of it!  But she was adamant that she wanted to go and not miss out.

We head straight into the theatre once the doors opened as we love being in early while everyone else arrives.

THEN, honestly we played the fun game of “Spot the Tweeter” seeing who else was tweeting and facebooking about also being at #SinginNZ!

Then we would look at their profile pic and try and spot them in the crowd…naughty I know (and ever so slightly stalker-ish), but kinda fun when you did spot them in the crowd.

We found a few cast and crew tweeting, but we assumed they were behind the scenes and couldn’t yet pick them out.

We then spotted the lovely Sarah from @BritMumInNZ (Hi Sarah I was still to shy to come and say Hi).

Also Heather from @foodiegemsofwel tweeted and we spotted her too based on the angle of her pic 😉

I know you were there somewhere @BelindaNash as we saw many of your tweets, but could not pick you anywhere!

Anyway after we quietly giggled away about our “Spot the tweeter” game (yep shows how mature we are), we then ohhhhh and arrhed over the Theatre, the set and the anticipation of what was to come and chatting to a lovely couple beside us.

The set looked A-Mazing before anything had even started.

As someone who is used to seeing primary school and high school dance shows with paper mache sets and old supermarket boxs painted together this set looked amazing under just the main theater lights with nothing even happening yet.

Spotting the front couple of rows below us putting on their plastic ponchos as they were in the splash zone looked like a fun place to be if you were feeling a little hot :-).

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Then the show started….oh my gosh Lunchbox Theatrical Productions…my expectations were exceeded within the first 5 mins – Thank you!

I was totally transported and in love with everything I saw come across the stage. The singing was stunning…

The 1920’s costumes were absolutely stunning and got better and better throughout…

The stage settings were ever changing and stunningly constructed to transform into any setting to suit the part of the show…

The characters were really likeable and you jumped straight into them, even the grating Lina with ‘that voice’ I ended up having a soft spot for…

I wanted to own just about every dress that came out on that stage and twirl around in each of them and wear every version of those skillfully constructed hairstyle on their heads…

The dancing, theatrics, jumping, leaping and timing the tipping and flipping perfectly…

Gosh I’m a sucker for that kinda stuff.

I was already super impressed by the show, but then it was topped by them all being doused in 12000 litres of Rain pouring down from the night sky. Kickin and tapping the rain off the stage to the shreeking crowd in the first few rows.  The rest of us were loving it watching this, so I’m sure they were loving being IN it. The show continued to be awesome and finished on a huge high.   It kept this 30 something Mamma highly entertained throughout as well as a 14 year old, which isn’t always an easy feet (especially after 17 days of adventure and barely no sleep). Honestly, I thought it would be a ‘nice’ show and all, but I didn’t expect it to be as awesome as it was.   We had a fabulous night out with Singin in the Rain and if you are looking for a fun entertaining night out, you can still get Tickets here.

NB: Intermission: Miss 14 and I are big believers that Intermissions should be part of EVERY great night out!
Who doesn’t need a short break for wee’s and Icecreams!  😉

* Disclosure: I was gifted tickets in exchange for conversing about the show in which ever way I pleased over social media etc… it was easy, as I loved it so even though they were gifted, this show rocked!  #OfficialBlogger #SinginNZ
Lunchbox Theatrical Productions & ACMN

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Summer Time Bucket Lists – What we ticked off in 2013/14

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Summer Time Bucket Lists“Summer Time Bucket Lists” are such a fabulous way to make your Holiday plans.

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They give you tonnes of activities, events, and rainy day ideas both big and small to look forward to and plenty of ideas for when you can’t quite think what you should do that day.

We are putting together out Summer Time Bucket List for these holidays coming up 2014/15, that’s when I remembered I didn’t actually hit publish on my post about last years one (it sat 95% done) “Summer Time Bucket Lists – What we ticked off in 2013/14”!

So here it is:


 

For the first time last year 2012/13 I suggested to Miss 12 (at the time) that she make a “Summer Time Bucket List”…

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Things for her and I to tackle on our holiday that would be loads of fun, a mixture of both big and small ideas as well as things we $Pay for and free idea’s too.

We really enjoyed thinking of things to put on it totaling about 15 things on it all up.  Then we had the fun of her ticking off items like “Bungy Jumping” and mastering Water Skiing outside the wake etc…

So this Summer we made a new Summer Time Bucket List 2013/14 and a slightly more ‘ambitious’ one.

Below you will see how we got on, we still have loads of summer left and hope to get through many more before the sun disappears for Winter again.


1. √ Early Swim out to the Lake Wanaka Raft + treats

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … It’s in our nature to sleeeeeep in, but somehow my daughter (Miss 14) & I dragged our butts out of the Campground & down to the lake to swim out to the raft!

@ 5.55am – yup!!

Our arctic dash was helped along by our stash of Chocolate tucked inside my wetsuit to eat once we got out on to the raft!  (Freddo & Crunchie)

It wasn’t so cold coming back in and Miss 14 even stayed in the water for a bit :-) We were even back in before Challenge Wanaka people ‘uber athletes’ started their practice swim!!

Even though I put this on our Bucket List, it took us til 3/4 of the way through our holiday to finally achieve it (& our last day in Wanaka!).

45 mins later we walked back down to the Foreshore to Kai Whakapai Cafe to defrost some more and get Hot Chocolate!  The early morning swim was a great way to farewell 3 fantastic weeks in Wanaka.

Early Morning swim out to the Raft Lake Wanaka

chocolate treats for the raft

2. √ Foosball – Have a family Foosball tournament

FREE – If you already have it.  It may $Cost you bragging rights though.
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … The competition was hot on the Foosball table and many an hour was spent flipping away on it.  I didn’t win overall, but had a blast trying to.

If I had the space for game type things at my house, it would be a Foosball* table a Pool Table and Air Hockey!

Foosball

3. Single Ski/Slalom Ski

FREE if you already have access to the Boat, Gear & Petrol.
(Miss 14)

Yes … Miss 14 has been skiing now since she was about 7 years old and has progressed through the different stages over the years.
This year, her aim was to be able to ‘drop one ski’ and ‘Slalom or Single Ski’.

Well … SHE DID and it was hugely hugely exciting.

The day she did it we had head out to an amazing spot way-way up the top of the breathtaking area of Lake Benmore.  We launched off from Sailor’s Cutting and pretty much nearly had the entire Lake area to ourselves.
There was only 5 of us there that day and we had an amazing day on the Lake.

Not only did Miss 14 master the Single Ski much to her delight (and the rest of us), but we also got my wee niece up on the Ski’s for the first time too which was doubly exciting.  You should have seen the smiles on both their faces that day = Priceless.

As all great lakes days, by the time we had all skied our little hearts out, the Southerly was starting to come over and it was a quick dash pack up back into the boat for a very eventful bumpy ride back to Sailor’s Cutting to which we all got nicely wet again from the waves.

To top it off, hilarity continued when the car tried to drive off leaving me 1/2 un-wetsuited/togged hoping on one foot as I was doing a quick change beside the car!  They were as surprised as I was to hear me let out a yelp as I discovered my ‘cover’ was about to be blown with me hopping alongside the car trying as best as I could to cover up.

Followed by me 3 minutes later coming out of the bathroom and attempt to get into the completely wrong car, step in and get 1/2 into the seat before laughed my head off realising my mistake (they had moved further up) and amusing these unsuspecting fellow boaties wondering who their new bedraggled passenger was.
I’ll give myself some credit that the car was very-very similar and also had a boat attached on the back.  I got back to my car to all 4 other occupants giggling their little heads off 😉

If you’re not sure what Single Ski / Slalom Skiing is, have a lookie here at Thomas Degasperi (2 x World Slalom Champion) doing his thing, pause it at 52 seconds…yeah that’s pretty much where Miss 14 wants to be (& the rest of us) :-)

4. Χ Walk up Mt Iron, Wanaka…

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Was disappointed we didn’t get to tick this one off.  Going to transfer our future jaunt up Mt Iron to our 2014/15 list as I know that the views from there are spectacular and it’s only meant to take about 1 1/2 hours.

5.  Water – Drink out of the natural spring in Wanaka

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … I knew about the Natural Spring and knew vaguely where it was, but oddly had never been there.  The spring comes out just down on Lakeside Drive between the Playground and the Boat Ramp, on the downhill lakeside.
We tracked it down and they have now made it into a Wanaka feature with beautiful slate stone and paving and easy to get to.  When it’s hot, the kids (& you) can have a wee splash around in the bottom pool.
Not only did the water taste great it was SOOO cold!  So after our long bike ride and nearly empty drink bottles, it was perfect timing.

Tip from Sept 2014 visit:
Cross the road opposite and have a look at where it naturally comes out of the bank and if you venture up through the wee gate and you will find fishes swimming in a wee pond (some really huge ones too).

Wanaka Natural Spring Water

6. √ Late night swim in the lake

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Kinda … It has been a stinking hot day and it was still a really warm evening.  The sun had gone down and it was getting dark…but maybe it wasn’t exactly ‘late night’.

7. Χ Water Ski Jump Start / Beach Start

FREE if you already have access to the Boat, Gear & Petrol
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Wellington Chic:
Tried … I was fortunate to have grown up with Water skiing almost in our blood.  Our family holidays revolved almost solely around Water skiing and finding the ‘best water’ which all of us kids were more than happy with as we loved it!

Jump Starting was the ‘cool’ thing in the 80’s & what my parents, siblings, cousins, friends and I always did.  What everyone always strived for to have a spectacular jump start and epic ski and master the art of coming in without even getting your hair wet! 😉

I ski as much as I can, but haven’t bothered to Jump Start for over 15 years…You get a little rusty and as you might only get to ski a couple of times a year, I would take the lazy route and just deep water start and drop one.

So this Summer it was my aim to get back into Jump Starting!

I tried & tried & tried to Re-Master the art of the Jump Start again…but alas no!

I think I get at least a point for trying so hard, as one day I had about 23 goes, but sadly this item is not ticked off this year and will be added to the 2014 STBL (but I did get some epic Skiing done, so I’m still super happy and I’m stoked I gave it a good go :-))

Miss 14:
No … progressed hugely this year, see No. 3 & No. 10 but not yet to the Jump Start.  That’s also on her 2014 STBL.

NB: I listed this one as Free, but may cost you Doctors and Physio bills after you wrench your arms out 😉

Here is a picture of me Face Planting it yet again and is probably about try number 21 in the stunning aqua waters of Twizel.

Water Ski Jump Start

Face Planting the Water Ski Jump Start

Here a link to a video of how a Jump Start it is ‘meant’ to look kinda, although this one is off a Jetty, we stand in the water up to our calf/knee.

8. Χ Play Tennis

FREE – If you already have the gear and use a free court
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … not this year.
We really like Tennis, we are not very good at it (even though I did 2 years of tennis lessons from age 14), but we have loads of fun.
My only suggestion for Tennis playing harmony, choose a court that doesn’t have tonnes along side it.  You know, just one court, with 1 really-really high fence all the way round it, so that you not having to run the length of 4 other courts to retrieve way-ward balls every 2 minutes.
You can find Tennis Courts to use at local Schools or you can pop up to the likes of Wanaka Tennis Inc. who have fantastic courts up there on Upton Street.  Court hire $20.00 per hour or $6.00 per person for non-members.

9. √ Go Stand Up Paddleboarding again..

$20 per person, per 1 hour
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Loved it as much as we did last year.  You can read about it here when I wrote about it last, as we loved it alot!
This year we managed to get out x2 times while we were there.  Miss 14 managed to get to go Sup’ing a 3rd time too.
It’s so fun as it can be as relaxing as you want, as energetic as you want or as fun as you want if you want to have races and play around.  It’s also so very easy to learn.

You can find Wanaka Kayaks where we hire the SUP’s from on the Lakeside all Summer long.

 

10. √ Try Wakeboarding for the 1st time

FREE if you already have access to the Boat, Gear & Petrol
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Whoop whoop, this was so exiting a new water sport to conquer.

Miss 14 did amazingly, getting up her VERY first time and staying on for a full loop.  Much cheering, clapping and hooting and hollering!  She as stoked!

I on the other hand face planted dozens of times and my record was all of about 8 seconds.  But I am still super happy with that as I stood up – I’ll take it.

Has now been added to 2014 Summer Time Bucket List “Stay up on the Wakeboard for longer than 8 seconds”.

Wakeboarding FacePlant

This is me swimming with the fish’s after yet another Wake Board Faceplant!

11. √ Bike the track round Lake Wanaka

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We bike many times over the Summer, but did one big epic ride as far as our legs and lungs would take us from the Beacon Pt side to as far round as we could muster on the Glendu Bay side and then sat and ate Belgium biscuits as you do of course!

If you don’t have a bike already you can hire them from many places around Wanaka. We have used many times in the past Lakeland Adventures which is in the Log Cabin on the Foreshore.  Priced from $15 per hour.

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12. Χ Sleep under the stars…

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Just didn’t happen this year.

On one hand a little gutted, as it’s always such a thing to look forward to.

But on the other hand…Early morning dew…Hedgehogs…Possums…Rain…Thunder Storms…

Maybe we just need to stay somewhere with a retractable roof that has a rain sensor and we would have the best of both worlds!

Added again to 2014 STBL.

13. Χ Roast Marshmallows & make Smores

FREE – Except Marshmallows and Biscuit supplies
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Somehow that just didn’t happen either.

We weren’t camping in places that accept open fires which is one of the limiting factors.  But we still missed out on all of this deliciousness.  If we can’t find a suitable place to have an open fire, then we need to find a place we can safely have a brazier or something.

Added to 2014 STBL.

Toasting Marshmallows - School Camp

14. √ Make Shadow puppets on the roof of the Awning

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … even if it was just by myself one night.

The Bunny, the Dove, the Dinosaur…the peace sign…the OK sign and finally the thumbs up.  I should probably enter a competition or something 😉

15. Χ Introduce Miss 14 to ‘Damper’

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Ahhhhh…..damper an unleavened bread made of flour and water baked in an open fire and smothered with melted Butter and Raspberry jam. Nom Nom.

Kinda for the same reasons as the Smores, not so easy to do it.  But this has also been added to 2014 STBL.

KidSpot have got Recipe for Damper over here that we will use when we make it.

16. √ Play Spotlight…

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We were super fortunate to run into in the same camping ground “Old Family Friends grown up daughter who now has a family of her own” that we didn’t know was going to be there.

They have a daughter the same age as Miss 14 and they quickly became great Summer Holiday friends.  So Miss 14 played Spotlight many times with their little gang of siblings.

17. Χ Tyre tube down River

FREE – If you already have the tubes, Lifejackets
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … We did this many many years ago in Glenrock Station, way up in the South Island High Country on the Rakaia river sort of near Lake Coleridge.  It was so so so much fun and definitely got the adrenalin pumping.

But didn’t happen this year.  Added to 2014 STBL.

NB: Tyre tube on the River at own risk.  Plan very carefully.  Don’t tube on a swollen river.  Have a good walk up and down the river first and check it all out. Watch for fallen trees, submerged logs and currents.  Have multiple spotters and pick up people on the shore for you.  Know where you are going to get out.  Get your spotters to put something big and colourful on the river side so you can see it in advance, as the river looks different once your in it.  Ensure you are not going to end up in the sea!

Wear Wetsuit, Lifejacket and Water Shoes as they are a must for helping you get grip to get out and not knock those toes on the rocks.  Have a plan C for if you still over shoot your pick up points.  Lots to plan, but it is fun.

18. Χ Teach my nephew to say my name 😉

FREE
(Wellington Chic)

Tried … But nope he wasn’t quite there yet.  But I did teach him to stack his Stacker toy from bottom to top perfectly everytime (even when everyone else thought he was too young to get that yet).

That’s my nephew, super intelligent :-)

Jump to Sept 2014, he can say my name now, whoop-whoop.

19. √ Don’t get sunburnt

FREE – except for the cost of good Sunscreen
(Wellington Chic)

Yes … I try hard to be really careful in the sun, but usually at least once a year I get caught out somewhere (bad) – but this year success.  I slathered on loads of sunscreen, covered my shoulders alot and found plenty of shade.  Tanned but not burnt.

I got to try out the Oasis Beauty Oasis Sun SPF30 sunscreen this year and it’s kinda fabulous! It has 94% natural ingredients, so great for all sorts of sensitive skins and little ones :-)

I just read on their Facebook page this week that Hardy’s Health Stores are offering “Bring in your old sunscreen and get $10 off an Oasis Sun 250ml”, now that’s pretty cool.

Suset

20. √ Rodeo – Go to our first Rodeo

$20 Adult, $5 under 16, Family Concession $40.  
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Can’t believe I’m 30 something and had never been to a Rodeo!

This year the timing (& weather) worked and it saw us head off to the Wanaka Rodeo and it was actually really cool.

The 2015 Wanaka Rodeo is set for the 2nd January 2015.  Hope to get there again this year if we are in town.

Tip: Take Blanket to sit on and if you need chairs, take LOW ones.  Take extra money for the fab food they have there and the Carni games :-)

Wanaka Rodeo

 

21. √ Raft – Swim out to raft on Lake Wanaka foreshore

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Many many many times.  It never gets old.  See No. 1.

My Tips are: Take a Boogie Board or something to float on.  Even if you don’t have to use it.  It’s always amazing how far out it is.  The one we swam out to in Kaiterteri a few years ago was miles out and way longer than even I anticipated.
In my mind Kids have to wear a Lifejacket & Teenagers have to either be proven strong swimmers or have a Boogie Board attached to their ankle each.  Kids & Teenagers always think it’s going to be a piece of cake and are annoyed that I’m taking a flotation device with us.
But many-many-many of these kids and one teen once have been very thankful to hold on to this Boogie Board part way out there.

22. √ Eat Gelato at least 3 times a week

$$$$Can’t recall the prices, but best food money we spent
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Wanaka has the BEST Gelato shop in the land.

Mr Black Peak Gelato man in Wanaka changes the flavors up everyday so it’s always exciting to see what is on offer. They have super friendly staff, beautifully clean premises, are right opposite the lake and are open until LATE most nights in Summer.

Always leave room for Gelato!

My favourite Gelato combination is Pavlova and Peanut Butter!  Yeah I know, crazy aye!

Black Peak Gelato work out of their Ardmore Street store (just look out for the pink bike) and also sometimes out of their ‘Icecream’ van.

Black Peak Gelato

23. √ Pot – Look for the ‘pot’ every night in the stars

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … When your camping this is one of my simplest, but favourite things to do late at night.

On our last wander to the bathroom before sleep, I would always always look up at the stars and seek out the Pot…and the Southern Cross…and the…actually they are the only ones I know!

I really must learn some more about our Night Sky*.  Maybe we need to add to our 2014 STBL a trip to the Earth & Sky Planetarium in the stunning location of Lake Tekapo.

I’ve just been reading that Aoraki Mackenzie is not only the World’s biggest, but the Southern Hemisphere’s first ever Dark Sky Reserve because of it’s very nearly light-pollution free skies.
Translation: It’s real dark there and you see LOADS and loads more stars than anywhere else – wooohooo!

Yip, it’s sorted, we need to go.  Added to 2014 STBL :-).

24. √ Skim stones

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Any chance we got.
Such a simple pass time, but so fun.  We found the best skimming stones on our Bike Ride on the Glendhu bay side.

As kids, my Mom would be worried that we would knock someone out when we skimmed stones, so she would ensure we all lined up in line with each other first before we started.

It annoyed us greatly when we were kids, as we just wanted to get on with the skimming already, but she saved us all getting concussion from a reckless throw from one of the cousins from left field.

Skimming Stones

25. √ Movie – Discover the wonder of Cinema Paradiso

Adults $15.00, Youth $9.50
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We had heard about Cinema Paradiso for soooo many years from many people, but had never been.
Wow, I’m so glad I finally did as I seriously love it there.

A very friendly comforting place where the walls are lined with both old and new movie posters that we spent nearly an hour perusing.  I just got lost in the memory of all those movies, where I had seen it and who with ;-).

Comfy old Seats make up the rows within the theatre and a Morris Minor Car sits pride of place in the theatre (that you can sit in) and it’s bumper pokes out through the wall to the other side.

We watched the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty* starring Ben Stiller, which we didn’t really know much about going into it, but we both really quite liked it’s quirkyness.  So pretty cool that both a 30 something and a 13 y/o both liked it.

Cinema Paradiso still offer an ‘Interval’ part way through the film where you can stretch your legs, stock up on more food / drink as you have usually eaten it all by then or you are pleased to use the toilet as you have drunk all your drink.  This place is great for a rainy day, when you have had enough sun and want to get out of it for a while or just unwind.

Know for next time:
What I didn’t know about Cinema Paradiso was that they make and sell famous / delectable Hot Fresh Cookies.  I was in-sainly jealous of the aroma that was wafting through the cinema after the interval and will not miss out next time!

Cinema Paradiso

26. √ Puzzling World – Get lost in the maze

Adult $17.50, Child $12, Family Pass $59
Prices are a combo, for both The Great Maze and The Illusion Room
Puzzles on table FREE if you are eating at the Cafe.
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We try to get to Puzzling World every year as we are always finding things we didn’t see last time.

No matter how many years we go, it doesn’t help us to complete the maze any faster though.  This year we attempted to do the Maze the ‘correct’ way finding all the towers in the correct order, this made it even harder for us.

We were in scorching heat this year but were delighted to find the little dead end corner that has a tiny spray system built into it to mist you with cold water to cool you off.

After coming out of the Illusion Rooms which always are a delight, we can spend hours upon hours playing with the 100’s of puzzles on the Cafe tables afterwards.  A great  activity for the young, old and in between and all season round.

Puzzling World

27. Soak in the Hot Pools at Tekapo Springs

$22 Adult, $13 Child
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … It was a seriously impromptu trip as I didn’t think it was going to happen this holiday.  We were staying in Twizel and it was already late-ish.  We floated the idea, looked at the clock and figured it was worth it even for a quick dip.  It’s about 58km away and about 40min drive.  By the time we got there, changed and in, we would still have an hour to soak.

We head off for Tekapo Springs stopping for a Pie from the Service Station for dinner on the way (yup, all class, but needs must).
As soon as we eased our way into the first pool, we knew the quick dash was 150% worth it.

If you haven’t seen Tekapo at Sunset either you are in for treat. Sitting in the Hot Pools looking out over the Basin, the sun has dipped down behind the hills, but is still hitting the hills on the other side of the basin and has bathed it in this unique warm golden, brown hue that is like something out of a photo.  But here you are in this reality in this magical place.

Soak, wallow, turn over, push yourself along to another section, soak, wallow, lift your feet up, sit in front of this jet, soak, wallow, now try this one…yup, that’s the Hot Springs shuffle!

After a while, we get a little distracted and end up trying to dunk each other and then I need to get out and Pee!  What is it with Pools and making me need to Pee even if I’ve just been!  Anyone else?

But then a cold dash back into the Pool to soak some more.  They are open right up until 9pm, so a great after dinner treat.

This was a brilliant idea.

Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

28. Χ Race down the Queenstown Luge 

$53 Adult, $44 Child includes ride up Gondola or you can buy other combo’s
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Last year we excitedly ticked this of our 2012/13 STBL and had such a blast with a large group of cousins to race down the Skyline Luge Queenstown track with.  Even in the misty rain all you could hear were laughing and squeels of delight as we shot out of the gate and into the first turns.

But alas, we did not get back there this year.  The pricing may seem steep, but it also includes your ride up the Gondola which is normally $30A, $19C on it’s own. You can spend as much time as you like up at the Gondola, perusing the view and watching all the goings on up there.

We would love to go back again this coming 2014/15 Summer.

29. Have a beer at the Cadrona Hotel, Wanaka

$Just the cost of your Beer or Cider or hot chocolate or Spider + you will probably be tempted by watching other people’s food come out
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … If someone asked me ‘Why do we like the Cadrona Hotel so much, as it’s old, little and way out of town’…I don’t quite know how to answer…except “We just do”.

It makes me smile everytime we drive past it, maybe it’s just the familiarity of that. When you walk in side you are enveloped with a great sense of warmth and acceptance.  It almost wouldn’t matter if you were in your beach gear, your Snow Skiing gear, your Swanni off the Farm or a Space Suit, come on in, take a load off and have a beer.  So we do.

On a beautiful day, there is nothing better than heading out the back to the massive beer garden scattered with wooden benches, fire pits and unique old paraphernalia.  We just sit, spin yarns and chill.

I have been fortunate to have visited many times in Winter too including just recently in September and it’s completely different experience, but the same all enveloping feeling when you walk in to warm your hands and toes by the fire.

It will be on our Summer Time Bucket List every year that we venture to Wanaka :-)

Cardona Hotel Wanaka

30. Χ Paddleboard in Wellington harbour

$25 per person, per 1 hour
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … fully intended to and we planned to many times, but it just didn’t work out this year.

Fergs Kayaks on the Wellington waterfront offers not just SUP hire, but also a wide range of other water sports to be able to enjoy our harbour from.

Been thinking this would be a great way to celebrate the last day of term/school year that’s coming up!

31. √ Go Fishing in Wellington harbour

FREE – if you have the gear
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Kinda … We didn’t actually tick this off in Summer, but we did just a few weeks ago tick it off.

We head down to the area where the new and completely fabulous Apartments are at Clyde Wharf Quay.  I have loved this area ever since I first moved to Wellington some 17 ish years ago!

They have a great new Fishing platform right out the end of the wharf that’s tucked down off the top, so not quite as windy and has tapped water, lights and even a bait cutting chopping platform.  Great location.

When it comes to Fishing, we really know nothing and keep it really simple.  We own just 2x Hand Reels that we bought from The Warehouse a good 10 years ago and they are still going strong.  This time we had borrowed a rod also, but I kinda still liked chopping a changing back to the Hand Reels.

We had tonnes and tonnes of bites, but in the end only caught one tiny-tiny we fishy, like about 15cm long, so back in he went.

But what we did see more excitingly was about 8 Penguins swim, frolic and taunt us in the water.  They were seriously cute and such a delight to see.  I never knew they would be in such a populated area, so it was awesome to see them.

Fishing in Wellington Harbour

32. Χ Go Camping in Wellington

$$$ See below
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Didn’t quite happen this year.  Nearly all of our camping gets done in the South Island, bar School Camps and Church Camps up here.

So we fully intended to at least have a night/weekend of camping somewhere in Wellington.  These were some of the places we were looking at heading.  We have been to all of them before at some point and all have their unique features.

Kaitoke Regional Park – Upper Hutt
$6 Adult, $3 Child Camp Site

We have been out here for Swimming in the River, Day trips and also for me to be in Wedding Photo’s once as a Bridesmaid for an amazing old friend of mine.  It’s gorgeous out there, and has some basic facilities making it any easy weekend getaway and is incredibly low priced also.

El Rancho – Waikane
$28-$34 Camp Site

Ahhh, El Rancho you are a unique gem.  With extra things for the kids to do, a Pool and the beach nearby.  We had our Church Camp here a few years back and really loved our time there.  You must check out the Water Slide!

Otaki Forks – Schoolhouse Flat – Otaki
$6 Adult, $3 Child Camp Site

I always thought Forks was such a weird name growing up!  We ventured here for a short one night Leadership camp for School in Year 8 and I was asked to be Parent help on.  Even though it was only short and sweet it was a great place for a short camp.  Lots of space to spread out and do activities, the river just nearby for swimming and a fabulous crop of wild Boysenberries to pick from.

I wouldn’t camp here by ourselves as its too quiet, but in a group of others it would be awesome.

Castlepoint – Wairarapa
$36 for 2x Adults Camp Site

Each time I have been to Castlepoint I have discovered something new.  I have great memories from here being a School Camp Parent multiple times here in the past.

It’s also where I got to learn how to surf for the first time (well to balance for 5 seconds).  Each time we have been we have stayed at camps further away from here, but I’m looking forward to one day be able to camp in this one by the beach and in it’s centre.

Learning to Surf - School Camp

 

Add all of the above added to Sleeping in lots, hanging out with our Family & friends, Playing with the nieces and nephews and cousins, lots of Eating (all the time), playing Cards (Speed) Bananagram and Heads Up, doing Dishes (all the time), Walking all over the place, going to the Supermarket (all the time – we spend tonnes of time in that supermarket and in Summertime Queues, but they have got clever and now offer Free Wifi, so I can check the news, download emails if I reallllllly want to while leaning on my trolley making new ‘line friends’), spend lots of time People watching, Making new friends, finding new Markets and Fairs, oogling at both new houses and the gorgeous older ones House, Caravan moving, Storm repairing and Flood cleanup’ing led to an absolutely amazing Summer.

So we did pretty good 21/32 things ticked off!

So-so many amazing experiences in that and awesome Summer Memories as well as Mother – Daughter memories.

Can’t wait for Summer 2014/15 and we have been slowing putting things on our Summer Time Bucket List for these Holidays.

Do you have a Summer Time Bucket List?

Even if your staying at home in your own city, you can still make one and fill it with things big and small and there are loads of things to put on it even in your own backyard.

Would love to see yours if you have one, so please post your link in the comments.

Have we inspired your to add any of the above to your list this year?

Any suggestions of what we should add to this years list?


 

NB:
*Affiliate Link – If you see an *Asterisks, that means there is an affiliate link to Mighty Ape, these are marked with an *.

The rest of the links to places, events and sites are just because I love these things and want to share the love in this post:-)

 

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