Saturday, November 30, 2013

Things I'm Loving - This one time, I went to Budapest

This post has been well overdue, but finally

My friend Cara and I went to Budapest in the October half term for four days. It was amazing! The weather and atmosphere; the old buildings and the Ruin pubs. I somewhat lack a sense of direction and found this city perfect for navigating!

Here are some of my favourite shots from our adventures!

The walking tour
We did a free walking tour which mainly consisted of the Pest side and a little bit of the Buda side. You paid what you wanted at the end of it and saw a bunch of stuff that you might normally have seen! On the tour, I did in fact learn that Budapest was two islands. And that there are loads of lovely buildings everywhere!

We got slightly bored with the big history talk...

View of Pest from Buda.

Apparently there's a rival between the Pest's 'love locks' and those in Paris!

A massive church

A bit of camera trickery! 

You rubbed his belly for goodluck in finding nice food - it was more like finding dairy and gluten free food for me! 
I can't remember why we rubbed his legs - but it was fun!

Szechenyi Baths
We went to a thermal bath place for the day. It was amazing! With 16 pools, 3 outdoor and the rest indoors, ranging in temperatures and having the sun shining all day - it was perfection! 


And that my friends, are my favourite photos from our trip! There are more random ones which will be shared all in due course! 

Linking up with meggggggg!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Things I'm Loving!

This weeks lovings..

Doing things for a great cause
My gorgeous cousin Sophie has just completed her Run for Arthritis, where she ran 30km, climbing Mt. Kaukau in Khandallah then through the Northern Walkway, followed by getting up to the Brooklyn Windmill and finishing on a high at Mt. Victoria. All this was done in four and a half hours!

Our Nanna, my sister and Sophie's dad all suffer from arthritis, so for her this was a cause close to her heart - and ours! Sophie's raised over $2500 so far - you can check out her donation page here!

She also made it in the Hawkes Bay Today newspaper as she's so inspiring! 

Well done lovey, I'm sooo proud!

After seeing this article about a family who made their children's dinosaurs come to life, a work friend and I were sold on the idea to do this with my kids! 

We've got one week left in November, which equals one more week of fun and my kids running into the class saying "ohhh nooo! Dinosaurs naughty!"

These are the tricks our dinosaurs got up to so far...

The dinosaurs got into the train tracks! 

Ohhhh nooo! Not the flour!

Shredded paper's always fun, no?

Those naughty dinosaurs covered the class in toilet paper...

...and they left little droppings!!!

The dinosaurs abseiled down the hankies trying to attack the pet snails!

New onesies

I love my new onesie. I'd wear it 24/7 if I could!

Cat's who like to hide in boxes
I just love Keith's attempt to fit into the lid of trivial pursuit! A lil bit of overhang there buddy! 

Linking up with my gorgeous friend!

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Latest Best Read: Call The Midwife

After watching a couple of episodes of Call The Midwife when I was back in New Zealand, I was hooked. 

The day before I went to Budapest I needed a smallish sized book to stuff into my hand luggage; a book that would be perfect for the plane; a book that would be perfect to read when I had some downtime. 

Call the Midwife was the perfect solution. I devoured the book within two weeks, which is a pretty big accomplishment for me! It's not often I love a book from the very start til the very end, so that's saying something! 

Jennifer Worth writes from her own experiences of being a midwife in the East End during the 1950's. She tells stories of her patients, her co-workers and what it was like living in a time that is a complete contrast to now. 

Reading about the living conditions in the 1950's, the types of work people had to endure, the different lives they lead, new medical marvels like The Pill and the NHS system - all things we take for granted these days! 

Each chapter was written from the heart and shared so beautifully, it made me have real feelings for those people; sadness, compassion, hope, joy.

This story really made me think of how lucky I am to be living in a day and age, where medical services are at the tips of our fingers; I am lucky enough to have a pretty ok paying job; I'm lucky enough to live in a flat that's warm and cosy and doesn't leak; I have access to food and water when ever I please. 

I was a little bit sad when I finished reading it. I never wanted it to end. Never fear - there are two other books that follow on from this; Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to the East End.

If you are yet to watch the TV series, you can catch season one and two on this link! Call the Midwife season 1 and 2

I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn a little bit of history whilst reading something beautiful, yet sad, yet amazing. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

This week's lovings

Getting my craft on!
I made this felt board for my kids at work, to help them retell 'brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?'
They loved it! Now I need to get my a into g and do one for Dear Zoo!

Autumn surprises
I love capturing shots like these. They make my heart all warm.

 The morning that was
As soon as this happened (it hasn't been the first time either..) I knew the odds were going to be against me for the rest of the day. And they freaking well were. I can laugh about it all now, but I was less than impressed on the day!

Through our school we can order resources from the local library for the kids. A teacher had ordered a taxidermy fox (?!?!?!), so I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to play a few tricks on some fellow work people! Needless to say, a lot of people picked up on the trick pretty quickly. The best reaction was from the Head Teacher (principal) after I showed him the fox and told him I had caught it in the foyer. He fell for it, hook line and sinker, and proceeded to get very nervous about what was in the box after we had said I put it in there to show him!

I'm quite a onesie advocate and rather enjoy buying and wearing them! I purchased this badboy for our pj day at school that we've just had. It's comfy as and I've spent more than enough hours in it this weekend!

Linking up with Meggy Moo!

Monday, November 11, 2013

London - The City with the Love Hate Relationship

Sometimes London is hard. Sometimes it's amazing.

It's hard being so far away from some of the most special people in my life, especially on weeks like these. But then I just remind myself of how many awesome opportunities I've had and got at the moment; the memories I've got from the last two and a half years.

Ma and Pa and me on Wellington waterfront, trip home July 2013
When I was training at uni to become a teacher, I never in my life thought I'd be teaching deaf kids in London. The London part had crossed my mind briefly, but teaching kids with complex needs? Na-uh.

An impromptu trip to the travel agents one lunch break landed me with a one-way flight to London five months later. I had my 21st, graduation ceremony, leaving one of my favourite jobs and my departure all with a matter of 10 days. Yeah, doing things by halves isn't completely my style.

I've left some of the best friendships behind, like this one...

One of the best. Wellington, August 2013
and this one.

The last goodbye. Wellington airport, August 2013
But then I've made some pretty freaking awesome friendships over here too. This girl is alright I guess...

Sara and Dan's engagement party. October 2013
And so is this bunch.

Danielle's birthday. October 2013
I've been able to travel to destinations I had only ever dreamed of. Porto, France, Malaysia, Stockholm, Budapest just to name a few...

'Borrowed' from Cara from our latest adventures to Budapest. October 2013
I've been able to meet some very loved family members in the UK who I've only ever heard of my whole life. I've been able to celebrate my grandparents' lives, as they all came from Scotland or London.

My precious Great-Aunt Nell. She's one in a million. July 2011.
In amongst all the business of London, I've been finding it so important and I guess soothing, to remember all of these amazing times and opportunites I've had. 

Like meeting my second cousin, Patti Clare, who plays Mary Taylor in Coronation Street! October 2013

In a way, it's kinda like the gift that keeps on giving. 

I can keep travelling. People can keep coming to visit. I can keep working at an amazing school. I can keep building a lifetime of experiences and memories. 

Basically, I can just keep on, keeping on. 

Tower Bridge, January 2013.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A little bit of gratefulness, a little bit of loving, a little bit of life.

On my way home from work this evening, I started making a mental to-do list. I erased it and started again loads of times, mainly because I couldn't remember what was on each list. I just couldn't bear to put my hand into my bag and get my phone, cos then the list would be for real. 

I still can't remember most of what I had planned out to do and all those 'important' things but here's what's in my head now...

- I really need to put my photos from Budapest onto my laptop for a few reasons. 1) So I can look at them. 2) So I can email Cara the ones of her. 3) So I can blog about it all - I've got a few lined up for ya! 4) So I can keep remembering a pretty choice holiday I had. In the mean time, you can pop over to Cara's blog, Britventures, and check out what she had to write about it all! 

On the walking tour we did. All the Hungarian history got a little bit too much!

- I joined the gym yesterday. I got a pretty sweet deal - the gym, classes and the pool all for £18.50 a month! - all because I teach in Islington! Choice! And you can use any of the facilities in the Islington borough under the Aquaterra scheme! 

Luckily there's one right behind Archway station which is super close to my house. I popped along tonight, a little bit nervous as it's been a wee while since I've actually done proper exercise. I play netball once a week, but I needed more!

I strolled on over to what I thought was the cross-trainer, and low and behold, it wasn't. So after entering my all the important stuff and going for a few minutes, I realised that I was on the stepper. The freaking stepper. I immediately thought I CANNOT do 20 whole minutes on this thing! I lasted for 10 before my legs nearly gave out - in the mean time, I spotted the actual cross-trainers and did 30 minutes on that afterwards! 4 miles of exercise baby!

Whilst I was sweating up a storm, I also realised that wearing 'ear-muff' type headphones wasn't the best idea. I love my Skull Candy headphones, but I don't think they're going to love the pools of sweat that were congregating around my head and neck! Lesson learned. 

I make a point of not weighing myself as I find it quite easy to get all caught up in the firago that comes along with. I decided that I'd just hop on it for old times sake after realising I have no idea what I weigh and I'm a little bit stoked with the results. I've had the opposite of the 'London weight-gain', and since I left two and a half years ago, I've lost 15kgs, and I'm back down to that! I don't remember the last time I weighed this much! CHOICE!

Széchenyi thermal baths in Budapest
- I also love smoothies. They're rather easy to whip up but I seem to not make time to do it in the mornings! On the weekend I was craving one, popped down to Sainsburys and bought the essentials, and voila. We had a happy hungover Nikki on our hands!

- I also love Autumn. I love all seasons but for different reasons. Autumn = amazing colours, crunchy leaves, sunny cool days, refreshing air, and the exciting times when I get to wrap in warm in all sorts of woolen and winter paraphernalia!

My £5 cat dress off eBay! 
- Lastly, I love this song. It gets played at least three times a day, much to everyone's disgust. But I'm obsessed with it at the moment. I like her studio version better than the video clip as it's more raw, but the video is pretty rad too!

Gabrielle Aplin - Home

Linking up with Cat this week for things I'm loving and Simoney for the grateful project!