there’s no place like home

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It’s a funny feeling when you’re about to head home for the first time in two years. Combine it with being a surprise trip for my 30th (ew!) birthday – I actually felt more nervous than excited when I left my office in East London to head west for Heathrow.

What if no one cares that I’m back? What if everything’s changed? What if I don’t get along with anyone anymore? What if the place I have always kept so dear to my heart, is no longer a place I feel at home in, connected with, or happy to be in?

I honestly needn’t have worried. The second I stepped off the plane and heard that kiwi accent I knew I was home.

If anyone is ever planning a surprise trip to the other side of the world…do it. Don’t get me wrong; it’s hard, it’s stressful and involves a lot of lying – but the look on people’s faces and the sheer joy and excitement generated from popping up in real life not on-screen after two years away when they’re least expecting it, is absolutely priceless. I still get goose bumps and tears in my eyes thinking back to the moment I surprised three very special groups of people. Continue reading

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wai?

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Sitting at home on the eve of Waitangi Day with a glass of wine cup of tea reading the news (#rockstarlondonlife) I was anticipating a bit of patrisim. The New Zealand Herald, Stuff.co.nz and Facebook were my voyers to life at home. Alas. My patriotic excitement was flatened like the Punakaikai Pancake Rocks. I felt like I had been slapped in my kiwi face with a chocolate fish.

Negativity consumed the media. I don’t know why I was expecting to read or see anything different – maybe it’s because I’m 18,324km from home – rose tinted glasses, grass is greener and all that jazz – because in reality year on year the majority of the country’s patriarchy is clouded by the minority radicals and the political issues surrounding our national day.

Us expats over in London will find any reason to celebrate our roots, boast about our clean, green islands a world away from the real world and all of its problems. So while us girls didn’t join the 30 odd thousand Kiwi’s on the annual pubcrawl through central London, we explored five different supermarkets across three potscodes to find the perfect ingredients for our own Waitangi Day celebration. Continue reading

a.k.l.

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Auckland
New Zealand
Home ♥

When the rest of the world think of New Zealand  – or those who have heard of our little islands at the bottom of the world – more often than not, they think of the South Island. They look past the largest city in the country and think mainly of hobbiton or the mountainous, lakeside, glacial, views.

Don’t get me wrong. The South Island is absolutely stunning, but poor Auckland often gets forgotten and missed from a travel itinerary – because it’s just a city. I can hear all you South Islanders cringing as I type..us Aucklanders cop a lot of flack from the rest of the country, i.e. our nickname being  JAFA’s (Just Another F***ing Aucklander…) but I stand strong as a born and bred Aucklander and believe that Auckland is absolutely a destination that should make it on to any NZ travel itinerary. Continue reading

anzac

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Growing up, April 25th has always meant the same routine; waking up at 4am, bundling up warmly, putting together a flask of hot chocolate and heading down to the beach with my dad – and in earlier years my beloved Grandmother – for the annual Anzac dawn service. This tradition is so ingrained in my calendar  I even continued this tradition this year with my flatmate while living in London. Post service, you go home, snuggle back in to bed, waking a few hours later to eat freshly baked delicious Anzac biscuits (recipe here). The news that evening heavily revolves around coverage of the various services nation wide, across the Tasman as well as the build up to the service about to be held at the very place this day is based on; Gallipoli, Turkey. Being a place close to all New Zealanders and Australian’s hearts it was a no-brainer that on my five day trip to Turkey I would make the trip down to the historical peninsula.

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#homeproud

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You definitely feel a heightened sense of patriarchy when you’re living away from home – especially when the Rugby World Cup is live in the country you’re living in! But it’s when you see articles like this where your country is voted the Best Country in the World, once again in the Telegraph Travel awards, that you secretly burst with a little bit of pride while sitting in your London office.

Cue boasting email to all work friends…

26 Reasons New Zealand is the Worlds Best Country

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home is where…

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I had the most amazing week at home, the blue skies, the sun, the beaches, the general views, the people, the wedding and the fresh creative food – my 7 day break in NZ was short but sweet.

It wasn’t as much of a holiday as it was an exercise being home, there was always something to do, someone to see, and someone to help get down the aisle.

It was the most special experience being a part of Mr and Mrs Glass’s special day. Murphy’s law, it of course had to be  the one day of rain – however the weather definitely didn’t dampen our spirits. As I sit here blogging in my bridesmaids dressing gown, my eyes go glassy and my skin prickles with goosebumps thinking back to the day we had on March 27. Standing by one of my best friends sides, while she not only looked her most beautiful, but more importantly looked her happiest, was nothing short of magical. It was beyond worth the 74 hours of travel I endured to be a part of it – I am so honoured to have been chosen to be up there with them and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. A day I’ll never forget. Continue reading

…destination home

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Airplane food, wine, sleeping aids, my kindle & earphones…ah the simplicity of the next 30 hours in the life of Cinders…

It’s only been sixty three days since I left home but not even the thought of cramped airline seats, pesky seat neighbour elbows, transit rooms or customs could dampen my excitement about flying back to the land of the long white cloud.

I’ll admit it feels odd to be going back so soon – I have only just set up my new life and already I’m trekking back to the other end of the world – before I have even had a chance to really miss down under.  Continue reading