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23 2017 Mar

Art Deco Festival – Feb 2017

If you love dressing up, dancing, music, parades and all the style and fun of the 1930’s/40’s then you would love the Napier Art Deco festival.  Held over 4 days, this festival is absolutely jam packed full of fun things to do and see.  It was very hard to choose the ticketed events for our group to do!

Guided tour in Napier.

After arriving from our drive down from Auckland and meeting up the other two women of our group, we headed off for our Guided Tour of the Art Deco streets and buildings of central Napier.  This was a great introduction to our weekend as we learnt about the earthquake that pretty much destroyed Napier but at the same time reclaimed it so that what was under water rose up to became land, (which is now the airport area.)  Napier may have been destroyed but what was created to take its place was guided by the fashion, the era, the post war feeling of the time. It was one of hope, splendour, boldness, glamour and the positivity of what was ahead.  And it only took 2 years to completely rebuild!!

Enjoying our wine tasting at Clearview.

The itinerary I had planned went by the wayside a bit due to the very wet and rainy weather.  We couldn’t complain though as Napier had been in the clutches of a drought and desperately needed this rain.  So on Day 2 instead of cycling out to visit wineries we all hopped in my van and headed out on a “Tasting Trip.”  First stop was Clearview Winery, where we had a lovely wine tasting session (at 10 in the morning!)  Then it was off to Origin Earth, the home of Te Mata cheese for a very informative cheese tasting and delicious lunch at their café.  From here it was a short drive to Black Barn for yet another wine tasting at this beautiful winery.  As we drove through Havelock North on our way to the Silky Oaks chocolate factory, the women couldn’t resist stopping for a bit of shopping and a look around.  We finished our “Tasting Trip” trying out the different fudge flavours at Silky Oaks.

Dressed up and ready to party!

Back at our accommodation in Clive, we had a short rest, before dressing up in all our splendour and heading into Napier for dinner and then the Prohibition Party.  Practically everyone we saw was dressed up in the art deco era and we were constantly oohing and ahhing over the absolutely beautiful costumes we saw.  There was such an air of festivity everywhere, dancing exhibitions, jazz music, pipe bands, busking, spontaneous dancing and singing, people everywhere, like us, strutting their stuff and looking so cool! We all loved the Prohibition Party, a fun evening full of dancing, entertainment, gambling….and yes, we did get “raided by the cops!”

Our decadent breakfast at the County Hotel.

The next morning we were up relatively early for our seating for the champagne breakfast at the County Hotel.  There was such a feeling of decadence as we sipped at our champagne flutes, dressed in our finery, and were waited on for our gourmet breakfast, (and it wasn’t even 9am yet!)


Later that day we stood with many others in the rain, under our umbrellas, and watched the vintage car parade, which was actually more entertaining than I thought it would be.  From there we did some sightseeing and ended up in Ahururi for a late lunch before heading back to Clive for a bit of a rest before another night out.

That night was the Ukelele Beach Party except it wasn’t at the beach as their location got flooded out so we were at the Rugby Club.  This was a fun sing-along evening which would have been even better had we known how to play the ukulele and brought our own.  We managed pretty well with our percussion spoons though!

Enjoying the Great Gatsby picnic.

Finally, the next morning, the sun shone and boy, did it get hot!  We drove into Hastings to the Farmers Market and had a delightful time perusing and tasting at all the various stalls, choosing delicious foods for our Great Gatsby picnic.  And what a picnic it was.  We couldn’t believe all the amazing picnic settings that people had set up as part of the picnic competition; everything from the historic teddy bears picnic to the East India colonialism era.

Bubbly was sipped, delicacies were devoured as we again watched the festivity all around us, the dancers, the strollers, the musicians, and all the old cars…..it was like stepping backwards in time.  All too soon though we had to gather up our picnic things and head back to normality and the long drive back to Auckland.  It had been such an amazing weekend, despite the weather, and one that I’ll definitely being doing again (and again!)


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6 2015 Jan

Let’s Go Adventuring!

Having a Nana (or a mum) who likes to go ‘adventuring’ can be a lot of fun for kids.  With 3 of our grandkids (ages, 13, 8 and 6) coming to stay with us for a week, I decided to put together a selection of adventures for us to do.  Into an envelope went strips of card with a different adventure written on each one.  First thing each morning one of them took their turn to pull out 2 adventures from the envelope and decide which one they wanted us to do.  Some of the adventures were weather dependent (like cardboarding down Mt Victoria in Devonport) but most were do-able in any weather.  There were certainly no moans or complaints, in fact they often found it hard to choose which one they wanted us to do the most!

Here’s some of the ones they chose:

Indoor rock wall climbing at Birkenhead.  We had the whole place to ourselves!

Indoor rock wall climbing at Birkenhead. We had the whole place to ourselves!

Catching the ferry from Devonport, then the train from Britomart right out to South Auckland.

Catching the ferry from Devonport, then the train from Britomart right out to South Auckland.










Waiwera Hot Pools for the day.

Waiwera Hot Pools for the day.

Geocashing, (treasure hunting using a phone app.)

Geocashing, (treasure hunting using a phone app.)








Heading off for our night in the bush, staying in the AUTC hut.

Heading off for our night in the bush, staying in the AUTC hut.










As well as the Adventure envelope we also had the “Down Time” envelope full of low key chilling out down time activities that we did once they got home from their adventure.  A third envelope was for “Evening Meals” and it was full of all their favourite meals, (pizza, nachos, roast chicken etc).  Each child had an envelope to chose from in the morning and I’m pleased to say that the whole thing worked a treat!

I’m sure you’d have lots of your own ideas but here’s some of our ones. Most of these you can fit into your own location and most of them don’t cost too much to do. (The great thing is, that you can just keep using the envelopes idea.)


1. Choose a beach to explore.

2. Choose a bush walk.

3. Indoor Rock Wall climbing.

4. Local hot pools.

5. Snorkeling.

6. Geocashing.

7. Cardboarding down big grassy hills.

8. Kayaking, (we have our own, but you can hire them.)

9. Train trip, (choose a location.)

10. Overnight camping.

11. Ferry trip.

12. Off road cycling.

DOWN TIME IDEAS (We allowed them to have 1 hour ‘device time’ each day as well as whatever they chose from the envelope.)

1. Watch a DVD (the library has heaps to choose from)

2. Creative art time.

3. Reading.

4. Play a board or card game.

5. Create a treasure hunt.

6. Build a hut, (inside or outside.)

7. Build/create something (lego, marble run, wood etc)

8. Extra 1 hr device time.

9. Cook or bake something.

10. Library visit.

11. Play foozball.

2014-12-19 09.37.32

Playing foozball with Poppa.

All up, as I said earlier, it worked a treat and we’re all looking forward to their next visit!

(One last thing that I thought I’d also share. Having 3 kids in our very small 2 brm house can mean lots of mess.  Giving each of them their own container to put anything in the bedroom that would normally have gone on the floor meant that there was actually floor to be seen and used instead of piles of their ‘stuff’!)