A summer to remember

We got back from our wonderful summer roadie last week. Aware that this will be our last New Zealand summer for quite a while, we wanted to make it a cracker. And it was. A summer to remember.

I’ve so much to share with you! Prepare for photo overload….

IMG_0530

We started by trekking 650km northward to Auckland for Christmas this year – which was centred around the biennial Tuffery reunion at my wonderful Aunty Shirley and Uncle Morris’ place. The Tuffery’s are my Mum’s whānau – there are 9 siblings in total, which then equates to a gazillion first cousins and even more after that. It was a joy to reconnect with many who have been long unseen, and to meet new-to-me children too.

They’ve this beautiful old villa with secret gardens and some rambling paddocks. A hill that witnesses the setting sun.

IMG_0499

IMG_0502

IMG_0503

We spent the days over Christmas talking a lot and eating a lot and coralling an all too interested Albie away from the swimming pool a lot.

Oh – and witnessing love! My Aunty Leone got married there on Boxing Day – some 21 years after she was widowed. That was some kind of awesome I can tell you now. Love Blooms. It was such a beautiful thing.

I took scant photos which is a dog-gone shame. My head just gets too busy to pick the camera up – that’s just how it is sometimes.

IMG_0531

Then we went to Raglan, a hippy settlement by the sea, set up camp with some friends, and enjoyed two full weeks of tent living.

image (1)

The weather was kind to us. We swam in the sea every day, bar one.  Raglan’s a black sand beach with some strong, fairly unforgiving waves and I was a bit worried as to whether Albie would enjoy them much.  He surprised me and took to jumping over the small ones with vigour. Marcus is a water fiend, and I think Albie might just take after him. He’d get shivery and blue and yet refuse to leave the waves, “Not yet Mumma! Not yet!” More than once, I had to insist it was time to get out and warm up.  What a party pooper.

IMG_0580

We had a sun shade, and snacks, and a kite and some books. There is nothing much better than days spent at the beach with friends.

IMG_0582

IMG_0592

IMG_0569

IMG_0595

This was New Years Eve. We were camping at Solscape, an eco retreat, with an epic view of the Raglan coastline that was impossible to not appreciate. A very fitting place to spend the last day of 2013.

IMG_0532

We ate curry, others drank beer, I ogled our babes – old and new.

IMG_0540

IMG_0541

IMG_0556

IMG_0536

IMG_0560

IMG_0562

Albie and Mia ran about, giggling, whispering, hugging – thick as thieves – a delight to watch and an impossibility to photograph.

Picture1

IMG_0534

The kids went to sleep in the tents. The stars came out, the blankets did too and we awaited midnight. It was a peaceful welcome to 2014.

IMG_0666

IMG_0660

This is a photo of us eating our breakfast at the outdoor kitchen. That’s marmite around Albie’s mouth. He likes his toast as one whole piece now which equates to a Joker-like smile on a daily basis. And heaven forbid you cut it in half! The rules of life by Mr Nearly Three are becoming quite definitive indeed.

Marcus stopped calling me Baby and started calling me Freckles – a measure of our time in the sun.

IMG_0618

IMG_0624

We went on a sunset cruise off the coast, a trip that Albie is still speaking of. It was quite exciting you see – it was a boat with a motor and we stayed out well passed bedtime. All together VERY memorable. Marcus devoured both paddle boarding and surfing lessons and is keen to take up both. Not sure how well either activity will translate to Northern England, but time will tell 😛

IMG_0631

IMG_0639

IMG_0646

IMG_0609

IMG_0610

IMG_0677

And we ate astounding fish and chips, saw a multitude of friends not pictured here, and we took some walks, and saw this amazing waterfall, as well as an impressive seaside gorge, that you can’t really capture. But if you do get a chance to go to see Te Toto Gorge. Definitely do.

te toto

IMG_0667

IMG_0672

Marcus booked our final night in an earthdome as a treat after tenting. It was a gorgeous hobbit of a building – and the joy of electricity, nice linen and a real bed! We all slept terribly though. Missing the rustle and flap of the tent, it seemed eerily quiet. Part way through the night Marcus declared sleepily, “let’s bring back the airbed.”

IMG_0655

image

After that, we packed up the car to the hilt again (where we would fit a baby on such trips I am not sure?!) and cruised down the coast to Taranaki for a few nights, and then home again. It was a lush holiday – as you can probably tell from my already nostalgic text. The measure of said nostalgia must be in the fact that I am happy to post a family portrait Jason took of us in togs at the beach, me complete with an 8 month pregnant belly. Wonders. They never cease.

IMG_2571_2

Much love to you and yours,
Sarah