After a pretty hideous 23-hour journey we made it to New Zealand. So what were our first impressions of Auckland? That it looked very similar to England; it was almost as if we’d been on a plane for hours but hadn’t really gone anywhere. That first day and night we both felt a bit shell shocked as we slowly realised we were literally on the other side of the world without a home or job to go back to, which made me question: ‘What the hell have we done’?  Thankfully, after a good sleep those fears disappeared and as we headed up to Paihia for our overnight Bay of Islands cruise, we were excited to finally be starting our adventure.
This time next week we'll be in the air en-route to New Zealand! Lately we've been so wrapped up in finalising travel plans and visiting family and friends that we've almost forgotten to be excited about leaving. To get us back in the mood for travel, our friend Patti wrote about her time in New Zealand.
It’s finally arrived, my last evening in London. As I type this I’m surrounded by a flat full of stuff that needs to be sorted and packed but all I really want to do is absorb everything. For a few weeks now I’ve had the sensation that everything’s out of my control, like we’re hurtling full speed towards our departure date and I’m most certainly not the person in the driving seat. We may have finished work and said our goodbyes, but I still feel like I’ve yet to come to terms with leaving my city.
I grew-up in Wales, my parents still live in the same house and when I speak to my siblings we always refer to it as ‘home’; even though we haven’t permanently lived there for years. Whenever I think of Wales or go back there it invokes happy childhood memories of having no responsibilities and playing football until dusk. All that changed when I moved to Bristol for University and then on to London to become a teacher. Although I haven’t lived in Wales since, I will always think of it as my childhood home and would recommend visiting.
Guess what? It’s snowing!One of the things we’re looking forward to when we travel is escaping the dreary British weather; we’ll definitely be glad to see the back of all the lukewarm summers and soggy grey winters. There is, however, one type of weather we love: Snow.
On a cold Wednesday night almost exactly eight years ago, I was dancing away with my housemate Kelly in our usual student haunt, an 80s themed nightclub in my beloved University city, Bristol. Drunk on £1 bottles of apple VK and deliriously dancing along to Wham, Madonna and the Dirty Dancing sound track I spotted a long-haired (equally drunk) 21-year-old Andrew across the dance-floor and the rest, as they say, is history.
There are certain places in London that feel almost magical to me – the river is one of them. Whenever I walk along the South bank or across one of the bridges I feel how ancient London is; I see all the old and new buildings winding alongside the river, all the tourists and office workers milling about and it’s like I’m seeing everything for the first time, even though I’ve lived in London for three years now.
The UK isn’t exactly feeling very festive right now; instead of crisp snow and freezing temperatures we’re being treated to rain, rain and more rain – so much so that there’s severe flooding in some areas and more than the usual dose of seasonal transport chaos. Instead of letting it get us down we headed to the Hyde Park Christmas Winter Wonderland to get in the festive spirit.
December is fast disappearing and it’s only just over a week till our last British Christmas - for the foreseeable future, anyway. In between working, travel planning and ordering the last few items on our packing list ,we’ve been trying to get into the festive spirit and what better way to do that than by checking out all the Christmas lights, decorations and markets in London?