06 March 2015

A long waited things we've been loving....

So what have the MNM’s been up to lately? Have you been wondering? Somehow the first two months of the year have flown by already and it’s autumn already – nooooooooooo! Although the later sunrises in the morning are making for some incredible views from our bedroom window now so it’s not all doom and gloom!



First ever family cricket match 

We enjoyed a lovely family day out at the Sri Lanka v England cricket world cup game and managed to stay till within the last hour of the game. Noah and I arrived a little late as he’d had a hangout at church with other Year 4 boys after the morning service – and it was a great family atmosphere and we ended up sitting with our neighbours and friends from school which helped keep any boredom at bay for the boys – that and the technology we brought along as a back-up too I am sure – LOL! Nothing like back in the day when we were kids and we just had to sit and watch the whole game…ahem!


Embracing the curls

I’ve officially gone three months without straightening my hair – shock horror – who knew that was even possible? I was waiting for some kindly gifted GHD straighteners (such a kind offer by Nikki) to arrive but they went AWOL somewhere between here and the UK and I’ve been hoping against hope they could still turn up. One of these days I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and get some more but even more surprising to me is that I have managed to go SO long without straightening my hair after 11 years of doing so at least weekly if not twice a week!

Monster slide.....ah....then again maybe not!

We didn’t end up riding the Monster Slide and we’re hoping to get a refund sometime soon after they postponed the Wellington venue and which may still get cancelled altogether. I think this was probably a blessing in disguise in the end after hearing some horror stories of injuries and long wait times at other locations around NZ! Our little home water slide investment also met a short watery grave after it sprung a large unfixable tear when we took it up to my gran’s to have a blast on Waitangi weekend – ah well it was super fun while it lasted hey!

A run in with a white tail spider
Mylo had a wee run in with a white-tail spider bite which made his wrist swell up rather large – thankfully the antihistamine and antibiotics did the trick and he was back to normal within a day or two.



Fun at Te Papa
We took the boys to Te Papa to see both the Dinosaur exhibit and the 75th Air NZ anniversary exhibits which helped pass away a lovely afternoon while the rain poured down outside.



Everyday deliciousness with Chelsea

We went crazy trying out a few new Chelsea Winter recipes within the space of a week – her Perfectly Pretty Hotcakes, a mushroom spinach and herb quiche as well as the Sticky Pork ribs – all from her Everyday Delicious recipe book I reviewed last year. I thought the ribs were SENSATIONAL – high praise from someone who doesn’t enjoy eating meat off the bone most of the time!




Thorndon Summer Pool

We also tried out the Thorndon Summer Pool for the first time ever one Sunday evening – it was particularly refreshing for Mark who’d just endured the hottest 4-hour Akatarawa Attack mountain bike orienteering race he’s done in all his years of competing. We took down our Chelsea Winter quiche and ate at a picnic table in the warm sunshine in our wet togs before going back in for another dip to complete a lovely end to the weekend.



The boy who (willingly reads)

Noah has been busily reading Harry Potter – he’s managed to finish books 1-4 in the past two months. After some real hard graft trying to get him on board to consistently read, it gives my heart such happy butterflies to see him willingly grab his current book and sit down on the couch or in his room to read a chapter in one go. He’s even taking Harry Potter to school to read during their sustained silent reading times. Both the boys have a personal reading challenge at school for the next few weeks – and with the amount Noah’s reading at the moment he will have no trouble achieving this goal!

Famous Five - our newest family tradition

We are four books down in the Famous Five series which we started reading to the boys each night at bedtime at the beginning of the year – they love it so much and especially Mylo who we thought it might still be too grown up for – he’s usually the first to beg for another chapter when we finish the first one – could be something to do with procrastinating at bedtime too I’m sure.



Modern Family - oh how we laugh!

We have been making our way through Modern Family at a rate of knots and are almost caught up with the current 6th season on TV now and I’m happy to report we are enjoying it just as much as when we started way back in season one – I just can’t believe it took us this long to get into it!

Clocking up the kilometres

Now that I seem to have made some progress with the chiropractor getting all my various aches and pains a bit more under control I’ve been able to gradually increasing my pace and distance with running – although occasionally forgetting to start Strava again when I stop for a stretch mid-run which is wildly frustrating when I get to the end and realised I’ve missed a whole part of the run …….grrrr! This week though I was stoked that I managed my best 5k effort yet since I started tracking it and it's not a flat run either!



Then last weekend I also went for an awesome combination bush/road run of 6.8km around our local area and I've decided I so enjoy the bush running in particular as it is so much more interesting than plodding along on the pavement for kilometre after kilometre – I really feel as if my mind has had just as much of a workout as my body having to concentrate on each step. And you might ask how am I going with my goal of 1,000 km walked or run by the end of the year – pretty good I’d say given I’ve already clocked up 233km in just 7 weeks as well as 9 hours on the cycle trainer - unfortunately it's not that easy to track distance on that activity! I did have to invest in some new running pants – my other ones had clearly done their dash as I found myself having to pull them up about 20 times on my bush run on the weekend – and some new trainers are imminently on the cards now too!


Most of all, I'm enjoying feeling like my body is physically capable again of doing all this - last year was a bit of a write-off so this year so far has been a blessed change!

Eleven years of wedded bliss

If you missed it – we celebrated 11 years of marriage a couple of weeks back – and I decided to surprise hubby and came up with the idea of an Amazing Anniversary race for him to do as part of our evening out – the only thing is I realise I have probably shot myself in the foot now by raising the bar so high for future years!


The end of an era

Last month I also had to farewell my amazing Nan at age 97 and 10 months – you can read about her extraordinary life and our wonderful extended family farewell celebrating her life here.



Photo ops galore!

We had an amazing long Waitangi weekend away and I was lucky enough to have good weather and time to get for three different photo sessions – one on Back Beach in near gale force winds with long suffering hubby along for company where I captured one of the most incredible examples of heavenly sun rays I've ever seen, then a polar opposite experience just the next morning with incredible clear dawn skies at Lake Rotomanu and the Whale Bridge. We also trekked up the Tarankai coast that evening for the most magical sunset encounter with The Three Sisters as well – man I love exploring these amazing new-to-us places in NZ!


























Adventures just around the corner

We are also counting down the weeks to our next MNM's adventure – this time we are heading up to Gisborne and the East Coast over Easter – it’s another part of NZ we’ve never explored before and I’ve heard it’s incredibly beautiful – if your stomach can cope with the very slow windy roads along the coast though!

Watch this space.....


In other news there are quite a few other things happening behind the scenes which are keeping us super busy on the home front - I can’t say too much more than that until we have more concrete news to report but we do hope to be able to share with you our exciting plans for the next season of the MNM’s adventures within the next six weeks – so watch this space!

04 March 2015

It was no ordinary morning

There's nothing like that happy-dance-inside feeling when a moment finally comes together and you capture a shot that's been elusive for a long time. And when the other shots you weren't even necessarily even expecting to get are equally as lovely - well that's just the icing on the cake!

While up in Taranaki for Waitangi weekend, I decided I'd make the most of the now-slightly-later sunrises - and since getting up at 5.30am feels normal to me anyway when I do it all week for exercise normally it was no great hardship to jump out of bed when the alarm went.

I headed straight down to Lake Rotomanu - I hadn't been down here since July last year despite two trips to Taranaki since then - instead I'd captured Lake Mangamahoe back in October and slept in at Christmas - come on a gal does need to have a sleep in sometimes!

lake rotomanu dawn photography

It was a very still and clear morning. So much so that the lake was incredibly smooth - helped a little by the long exposures I was taking. The shot below is quite possibly my favourite black and white shot I've captured yet.




black and white jetty lake image


Once the skies lightened enough to reduce the shutter exposure, I enjoyed taking some shots of a lone kayaker's ripples flowing towards me - he paddled around the lake at least half a dozen times while I was standing taking shots and every time he came past the jetty the ripples would follow along after him.


lake rotomanu sunrise dawn photography


With the skies lightening further I headed for Te Rewa Rewa bridge. I love the design of this bridge - I've never seen anything quite like it - it makes a bold statement on the surrounding landscape.
 

te rewa rewa bridge new plymouth photography


It's like walking through the belly of a whale or being inside a giant wave don't you think?!


te rewa rewa bridge sunrise


And when I crossed the bridge and turned around to look behind me there it was. The shot that I
had been waiting so many months to capture.

mt taranaki through te rewa rewa bridge


sunrise te rewa rewa bridge mt taranaki


That elusive mountain who is so often shrouded in thick cloud put on the most stellar performance for me on this morning. And the first light of the sun's rays caught on the bridge provided a golden curtain to the show.
 

And I'm firmly convinced that the architects who designed this bridge did so knowing exactly that on a day like today the mountain would be framed so wonderfully.
 



te rewa rewa bridge sunrise photo

It was with a very big spring in my step that I left this place, finally satisfied!

27 February 2015

A Date with The Three Sisters

On the drive from Hamilton to New Plymouth during our Christmas holiday, I'd been hoping to make a stop at Tongaporutu to walk out to The Three Sisters - a renowned rock formation on the coastline that is only accessible at low tide. However, the tides weren't quite right when we drove past on this occasion, and as we only had two nights planned in New Plymouth we felt we had better maximise the time with my gran - so we left it for another time.

So fast forward a mere six weeks and we found ourselves again heading up to Taranaki for the long Waitangi weekend. This time the planets were more likely to align as I'd done my research and discovered that low tide was at 7pm and with sunset at 8.30pm, the chances were indeed high for good light assuming we were also lucky enough to get good weather on the day.



Lucky for us it was a very good day - so after an early dinner we headed up the coast an hour for our date with The Three Sisters.




From the carpark it's about a 10 minute walk along the exposed riverbank so it's is almost easier just to ditch your footwear (especially if you're in jandals) for this bit as the sandstone is quite slippery.




The Three Sisters is a fascinating stretch of NZ's coastline, not unlike Wharariki Beach that we visited back in October. But one gets the impression that unlike Wharariki, the coastline here is changing even more rapidly.


The Three Sisters rock pools

Prior to our adventure here, I did a bit of reading up about Tongaporutu and found out that the third Sister (you can see there are only two above) was actually destroyed in an epic storm back in the spring of 2003 - I found this fascinating article about a local photographer Pat Greenfield who has been documenting this coastline for the past 11 years and who has witnessed the incredible changes in the landscape over this time.

The Three Sisters boulders


A third Sister has since broken away from the main cliff again but is not as far out to sea as the other two.




We were fortunate that on the evening we went the skies were so clear that Mt Taranaki was even visible on the horizon if you look closely.





Two of the three Sisters Tongaporutu





This rock below is about as close looking to a mammoth as you could ever get, don't you think?!


Mammoth Rock Mount Taranaki


My best option for taking photos was to stand in the wet sand to capture the reflections of the rocks and cliffs - I just had to keep one eye on the surf as an odd rogue wave seemed to come in every ten minutes or so that had far more reach than the rest and threatened to take me out as well as the camera and tripod too.

Tongaporutu reflections



Black and wihte The Three Sisters Tongaporutu



The Three Sisters reflections



 
 
 


You can clearly see where the third Sister is in this shot I captured of the boys.


The Three sisters sunset sunflare bokeh


As the sun began to sink lower in the sky I took the opportunity to try and catch a sunflare on the corner of the biggest Sister. And was pretty pleased with the results!


Sunflare at sunset Three Sisters



The Three Sisters sunset boulders


The clear skies meant the eventual sunset wasn't filled with amazing red and pink hues, instead some rather lovely golden and salmon hues which stretched across the sky as the sun sank below the horizon.


Sunset reflections Three Sisters



golden sunset reflections Three Sisters

It was a truly incredible night to have been here and I'm hopeful that the planets will align again for the timing for me to one day soon return and capture her beauty again.
 



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