So much has happened since I last updated this blog, in August! I’ve started a proper job, initially on a three-day-a-week basis, but soon to be full-time, and I’ve finished and submitted my dissertation, a miraculous two weeks ahead of schedule. I have one essay left to submit before my degree is completed, which is the most surreal feeling. I can’t wait to work full-time and have my evenings and weekends available to actually enjoy time with my friends and family, without the spectre of uni stuff forever looming over me!
During my entire degree Hattie and Joe have been absolutely amazing: they’ve rolled with having a Mummy who is usually tired and stressed out, and virtually never lasts through an entire weekend without disappearing off to her bedroom to write something. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t suffer from mum guilt because I know that I’ve made the right choices for my family, and for me, and I also know that Hattie and Joe have always been loved, cared-for wonderfully, and easily able to access Tristan and me whenever they needed us (and here’s a big revelation: once you’ve stopped breastfeeding, literally every part of parenting is an equal opportunity endeavour!) Also, I started my degree when they were 14 months old, so they can’t remember a time when Mummy wasn’t studying. However, I’m still very thankful to have such kind-hearted, adaptable little kids, because their great attitudes have made life as a student and a mother so much easier to handle.
In recognition of this, I really wanted to spend some fun time with them during these holidays – particularly given that I’d anticipated being on the verge of a dissertation-induced mental breakdown by this point. It felt like an unexpected gift, finishing my dissertation early, and while it’ll be lovely to have a handful of days between now and the end of the month when the kids are at school and I don’t have to be at uni, I was so happy to have a chance to hang out with the kids – after all, I’ll be working full-time when the next school holidays roll around. So we asked Lea, our au pair, to take today off and work on Saturday instead (when Tristan and I are heading out for an afternoon of wine-tasting), and I promised the kids a day of adventures. I didn’t tell them what I had planned, largely because I didn’t have much planned – I decided pretty much everything on the way! Here’s how we spent our day…
(And before I write any further, I have to say how incredibly lucky I am to have the time and energy and good health to spend a day with my two equally healthy and able-bodied kids, in a beautiful, safe city with good weather, and sufficient money in the bank account to make spur-of-the-moment decisions to do fun things. Life is very good!)
Despite living in Auckland for several years, we’ve never visited this very cool historic site! It promised tunnels, so I knew the kids would be keen to explore it.
Up the maunga we went, stopping on the way to pose for photos in front of the stunning backdrop of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto:
Armed with torches, we explored the tunnels:
From top to bottom of the maunga the views were stunning (and we were there from 8.30am, so it was lovely and peaceful!)
Off to the city
Next, we caught the ferry to the city, because who doesn’t love travelling by ferry? And we were all set to walk around the Wynyard Quarter, but there was a chilly wind, so we stopped in at H&M and bought an extra layer each (and some bling for Hattie and Joe):
Once we were more snugly dressed we strolled along, ending up stopping in Silo Park for a play and a sandwich break:
And I’m sorry to gush, but how gorgeous are these kids of mine?! I look at them every day and marvel that we’ve made them.
(Joe’s a big fan of high fashion posing at the moment)
Cupcakes and play
We caught the ferry back, jumped in the car, and headed to Bondie for some princess cupcakes. The morning had already been knackering for Joe, but Hattie managed to stay away and sing along to the radio with me during the journey:
The cupcakes were as delicious as ever (I ate Snow White):
If you live in Auckland and you haven’t checked out Bondie’s cupcakes yet, treat yourself!
Tristan met us there, and after we dropped him back to the office we stopped for a play at the playground, where the kids dazzled me with their monkey bar skills:
We finished the day with a trip to the cinema to see Smallfoot, which is really charming – I loved it, and the kids liked it a lot (they always need a couple of viewings of a film before they figure out what’s really going on). And bless them, before the film started they very patiently enduring a trip to a local shop to check out curtain options:
As we left the film Joe announced “This has been the coolest day of my ENTIRE LIFE!” – and Hattie agreed that it was the best day ever. It was such a lovely day for me too!