Care Home Hooligan – Part 4

So my day was going great, Santa’s workshop was nice and calm, we made our lollipop stick trees and chatted, all plain sailing. We had a lovely church service thanks to the local father, then I went and did one to ones and got to know our new residents. Nobody was in a bad mood, everyone joined in and was laughing and chatting away all day, in terms of my residents and me it should have been a perfect Tuesday…. yet of course I have left feeling stressed out and unhappy.

Why you might ask? After such a lovely day do I feel so panicked? Well because it’s not just me and my residents, it’s relatives and staff and head office. My boss was under inspection which meant it had implications for me and my job was being analysed to check she was doing a good job. So I have that report to look forward to tomorrow. Our home manager was asking me for a map that I haven’t had time to do which we don’t need for 2 weeks yet. All the staff had lost their heads and were stressing out and at me. It was all a bit much. Which is such a shame because my actual job in isolation was such a win today.

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Reflections On My Travels

So this is a long overdue post! I promised it a while ago and as per usual life got in the way and i lost motivation and time. So here it finally is, less of a story of my travels as much as it was planned to be, and more of a reflection on the last year of my life.

So lets flash back to the summer of 2016 when i quit my perfectly reasonable job in IT and decided to travel to the other side of the world, to what i expected would be the sunny, chilled and beautiful New Zealand. In reflection, only really one of those was the case and it certainly wasn’t the weather! I packed up my little life in London, dragged my boyfriend straight from finishing his masters degree and we took the grueling 24 hour trip to paradise.

We had a 2 day stop over in Hong Kong and met some incredible people who would stay with us throughout our trip. Hong Kong beautifully broke up the flights and was a lovely start to the adventure of a lifetime. I wish we had the money and sense to have done a similar stop over on the way home because 31 hours straight travel was ridiculous. Not impossible, obviously, but definitely not something i will be signing myself up for any time soon.

When we arrived in New Zealand, we were faced with a few things we hadn’t really considered. First and forever the most shocking was that it wasn’t always sunny and hot in New Zealand, in fact the weather is basically England on a much more extreme scale. We arrived in Auckland on a gloomy overcast day, to check into a dorm room in a hostel just off the main street. It didn’t occur to us that we would be in a dorm, or that obviously that’s what happens when  you stay in a hostel. So that was a travel shock, the reality of having to share every inch of space and time with strangers. We quickly moved to private rooms in hostels after leaving Auckland, to minimize the awkwardness for us and for everyone else.

So our travels really began when we boarded that bright green tour bus that would be our home away from home. We traveled north to the brighter bay of islands, where we got to see dolphins and sit on the beach and really experience those minutes of holiday and travel. Including the diabolical alcoholism and mischievous activities in the early hours, which made great conversation on the bus the next morning. We made our down the north island to wellington. We sand surfed, caved, luged, spent a night in a Maori village, sat in a natural hot pool on the beach and of course basically drank ourselves out of pocket.

We arrived in Wellington to pouring rain, and yet it felt like we had come home. We spent the night in a hostel before spending two weeks with a distant relative of mine, who became like our mum and took care of us when we needed someone. That will be one of the things i treasure, building that relationship and having that love of family even when you are as far away as you can get from home. Wellington is where we set up our lives, made friends, got jobs, moved into a little flat, really lived like the kiwis do. And it was one of the best experiences of my life. That little flat will forever remain in my heart, as will the people and those gorgeous streets and views as you walk through Wellington and along the harbor. There are some bad memories of there, but they are by far outshone by the joy and beauty of the city and of my time there.

So after several months, it was time to pack my bag and go solo for my adventure down south. So i said goodbye to my jobs, to my friends, to my boyfriend and boarded a ferry to the south island. It was, without a doubt the most amazing and important thing i have ever done. The amount i grew within myself is impossible to describe, the relationships and bonds you can create with people in such a short time is life changing. You will be pushed to truly do what you want, to be responsible for only you and to deal with the consequence of what you do and want. You will push yourself into doing things you would never have imagined you would do, like skydive or learn to surf or crawl into bed with people who you barely know but love.

So New Zealand, you were stunning, absolutely the most beautiful place i have ever been and think will ever go, photos of you don’t look real and i cannot describe your immense totally consuming beauty. You were a challenge for my heart and my head, but most of all my liver. You were completely and utterly the best decision of my life and i cannot thank you and everyone who made you what you were for me enough ❤

Youtubers

Here is the list of my current top 5 youtubers that i watch and love.

  1. Zoella – she speaks for herself, i just like to watch her vlogs, her laid back attitude, her quirkiness, her main channel videos are usually lighthearted and easy to just binge on
  2. Ayla and Caleb – A little less well known, a very cute Canadian couple dealing with infertility and they vlog about their journey to creating a family and all the ups and downs on the way. They are kind and so in love, their story is captivating.
  3. Getting There – Stacey, a to-be-mother in a wheelchair in america with her Mexican husband and their everyday life and currently preparations for the new arrival
  4. Tanya Burr – a force of nature, funny, silly and insightful. She is a big youtuber, but for good reasons
  5. Sarah Lemkus – A Kiwi vegan who makes videos about her lifestyle, how she, her husband and their young daughter live on a vegan diet. I am sure the word ‘vegan’ and ‘vegan lifestyle’ may have put you off, but coming from a fellow meat eater you can rest assured her videos aren’t pushy or judgey, they just give me some great ideas for meals and she is so personable and Beth is so cute, i am basically just hooked!

Why you should visit – Wellington

Lonely planet dubbed it the “coolest little capital in the world”, and for good reason!

Not only is the city surrounded by a picturesque hilly-mountainous backdrop, but its array of bars and pubs with multiple live music options every night and countless easy going quirky inhabitants only add to its appeal.

From Cuba Street; a cool road in the center of town lined with cute independent shops, amazing cafes and coffee shops and countless pubs and bars. Some of my favourites being midnight espresso (coffee shop), bad grannies (pub), Ekim Burgers (food van, cant have the food but can kill the milkshakes!) and minerva (independent book, stationary shop)

To Courtenay Place; one of the main roads in Wellington for bars and ‘clubs’, some of my suggestions being Danger Danger (DJ always takes requests and plays all the major hits from the 1980s onwards), The Residence (nice chilled pub), Establishment, and if you fancy a slight heading off the main road Dakotas (a cowboy inspired bar with a mechanical bull!)

For more cultural activities the city is thriving, it has Te Papa, the best museum i have been to in a long time! It has 5 floors of New Zealand history, from Maori history to cultural and social changes in the more modern era. It has also a lot of natural history and filled to the brim with interactive and well put together exhibitions.

The city has a set of botanical gardens, admittedly not the most extravagant or most beautiful set the world has to offer, but the option to head up there via cable car which has a fun light-show attached makes it a much more exciting and fun day out.

If you fancy more of a walk you can head up to Mount Victoria lookout, not too much for a hike and the views over wellington and the harbour are to die for. Or you can walk along the harbour from the train station down to oriental bay, a nice sandy beach.

Or, if you fancy your walking more routed in shops and city life Lambton Quay is the place for you. A thriving curved street that goes from the train station and parliament (which does several free tours a day by the way) right to the end of Willis Street another shoppers paradise.

Wellington always has some sort of activity going, it has weekly food markets, to stock up on fruit and veg and grab a delicious meal from one of the stalls (every Saturday and Sunday), or the late night eatery that is the Friday food market on Cuba. It also plays host to lots of cool buskers, pop up entertainment and city organised events like ‘Welly Christmas’

It has all the classic things you expect to find in a city: Cinemas (most being independent, so slightly more comfortable and classy with the added fun of a bar), Laser tag (unlimited play from 6pm till close on a Thursday or Friday for just $15, including free arcade games to fill your time between games) and of course bowling alleys.

Any day of the week there is something going on, and most of the time you don’t even need to know where to look. A beautiful, chilled and bustling little capital city that will steal the hearts of anyone who comes to visit her.

Festive-less festivities

So this past Christmas marked my first ‘hot’ festive season, and here is my review.

A hot Christmas, quite frankly, is rubbish. Which coming form a self-confessed Christmas fiend is a pretty harsh statement. I had my decorations and lights up on the 25th November ready to welcome the advent month in… and what a disappointment that would be.

There are a lack of festive lights, open warm fires, street markets with sausages and chestnuts, the radio isn’t filled to the brim with Christmasy songs, it is impossible to find any festive clothing (be it even a Christmas themed t-shirt!) and most heartbreaking of all a lack of family and friends. Although even a cold Christmas away from them would be off so i cant blame the heat for that.

We attended ‘A Very Welly Christmas’ in late December, which i must say was the most disappointing experience ever. The ice rink was no larger than 2 double beds put together, and contained no ice whatsoever. They food options consisted of one Churro stall, a Chinese and a Thai stall, a distinct lack of German sausage and hog roast. There were still no lights to be seen at all, the music option was on one stall and consisted of jazz covers of carols, which was pretty good and made the only impression of the event.

On actual Christmas day the streets were packed, there were people in the parks playing ball and people lounging on the beach. Which i guess i wouldn’t have minded quite as much if it hadn’t been a mere 16c and overcast. The television options were poor, a Kylie special where she mostly sang her own hits dressed as a fairy.

The usual Christmas treats were far and few between, no nibbles of pretzels and cured meats, no boxes of roses and heroes, no horrible sprouts to push around the plate and no beloved yule log to stuff yourself to inconceivable fullness.

Bah Humbug!