Quieting the mind

January 14th, 2012

I’ve never been one for sitting still. Being quiet. Not fidgeting. Or generally quieting my mind.

I’ve recently been following the BBC 2 series Great Barrier Reef. I love it. Firstly, Read more »

What inspires you….?

November 18th, 2011

….or what keeps you going? I suppose this post could be split into two parts! Inspiration comes in many forms. For me, like many photographers, magazines are an invaluable resource of inspiration.

I’m also a very active person, and I love being outdoors. Although I feel a lot of things have been neglected this year. Due to a lack of time, and the fact that over the past few months Ian and I have been like ships passing in the night, our Read more »

Travels {Melbourne – our final destination}

August 8th, 2011

So after saying goodbye to Karen and leaving Adelaide, we caught an early flight to Melbourne, our final destination. Melbourne is well known for its shopping, so the last two days of our trip were spent meandering around the city picking up any last bits we felt we were missing, and also enjoying good food.

For a city, Melbourne actually felt quite nice and for someone who hates shopping, I found it rather pleasant and not too stressful!

Exploring the city a little further we discovered Union Lane, which is basically Read more »

Travels {Adelaide}

August 1st, 2011

From the rainy city of Auckland we jumped on a plane and headed back to Australia. When we touched down in Adelaide we were met at the airport by my friend Karen who I hadn’t seen for about 16 years. This part of the trip was about catching up with Karen and her family, and as Ian had already heard so much about them, it felt really nice that he would finally get to meet them. She hadn’t changed a bit (apart from the Ozzie twang!), and her smiling face transported me back to being about 10 years old and us running around the streets having water fights.

As we stepped out of the airport and made our way to Karen’s car, it felt so nice to be back in the warmth of the sun; something I had missed so much in New Zealand. That afternoon we headed into Adelaide for a quick tour of the city, as well as to pick up our Green Day tickets for later that week!

People watching at Karen’s sailing club…..

Karen lived about 40 minutes outside of Adelaide in a place called Strathalbyn, and our time here was relaxing. We ate good food, met Karen’s friends and spent time just generally catching up. When we were kids we were inseparable, so it was nice to finally see the life that she had been living in Australia.

A peacock at Adelaide Zoo…..

Everything was so chilled out, it was a completely different way of life; so easy going. It was at this point in our trip that Ian and I started to discuss the changes we would make when we returned home. It made us stop and think about the areas of our life that we were unhappy with.

A meerkat at Adelaide Zoo…..

Heading to a Green Day gig with Karen and her sister Stacey, it was interesting to see how different the gig was in Adelaide, to the one we’d seen in Manchester about five weeks earlier.

On the last night, we were invited to Karen’s parents for tea and it was just so lovely to catch up with them and hear their stories and experiences since moving to Australia. It was a fab end to an overwhelming part of out trip…..

The next day we had to catch an early flight to Melbourne, this would be our last stop before heading back home to the UK…..

Travels {Auckland}

July 19th, 2011

We left Taupo for Auckland, the last leg of our New Zealand adventure. The torrential weather that had been with us for the past couple of days in Taupo, followed us to our final destination.

We dropped our bags off at the hotel, and then took the car back to the hire place a few blocks away. The rain had eased off and when we were asked if we needed a taxi, we declined. BIG mistake. Within minutes of setting off back to the hotel, the heavens opened, and even now, I still struggle to describe how bad it was. The nearest thing I can compare it to, would be standing underneath the shower fully clothed. It was relentless. We arrived back at the hotel to check in, and as I stood in a puddle of water, with my hair wet through and dripping down my face, the receptionist took pity on me and gave me a towel to dry off a little.

We checked in and made our way up to our room to get changed and dry out. We waited for the weather to calm down, and then we headed out to explore and grab some food. One thing we were still struggling with, were the celebrations on the run up to Christmas. When the sun did actually shine, it felt wrong to see Christmas decorations everywhere.

…..some of them were larger than life!

Our room gave us a view of the Auckland Sky Tower, but due to the weather conditions it was closed for most of the time we were there, so we only saw a few people do the Skyjump. Ian was well up for us jumping off the top, but after the bungy episode, I was quite glad that the weather prevented us from doing it!

On our last night we booked a thai massage, and it was SO good! After the walking, climbing and bungying it was needed…..

….the next day we were ready to fly back to Australia. We were heading to Adelaide to catch up with one of my oldest friends, who I hadn’t seen for about 14 years!

Travels {Lake Taupo}

June 27th, 2011

From Wellington we made the drive over to Lake Taupo through torrential rain. It was so bad that the windscreen wipers didn’t go fast enough and every car we passed was crawling along at a snail’s pace.

By the time we reached Taupo we were glad to get into our apartment, the weather was so bad that we couldn’t even go anywhere. I was bored. So bored, that I lay on the floor taking photos of the sky through the patio window.

The sky went from this…..

….to this in a matter of minutes!

I don’t do bored well. I get annoying when I get bored. So I then turned Read more »

Travels {Wellington}

June 15th, 2011

As we flew from Nelson to Wellington, I was nervous about how low the plane was flying. To this day, I’m pretty sure it didn’t go nearly as high as the one we skydived out of! It was a 25 minute flight and for the whole journey I was fixated on the view from the window. The landscape, the sea; so clear and so beautiful. We were sat near the wings and when I saw the wheels drop down whilst we were still over water, I went into a panic! Luckily due to the position of Wellington runway and the short flight this was normal!

View of Wellington from our balcony….

We touched down, went through customs and then headed over to the shuttle bus. As we made our way to the hotel, I realised just how close to Wellington harbour we were staying. I love the sea, and the fact that we were located so close, made me feel better about being in the city.

We checked into the hotel, made a coffee and then stood out on the balcony; I gazed out across the harbour and Read more »

Travels {Nelson Lakes}

May 19th, 2011

I was totally in love with New Zealand. The landscape was breathtaking. As we drove from Lake Tekapo up to Nelson Lakes National Park I was totally in awe of the open countryside. Off in the distance we could see snow capped mountains, yet all around us we were surrounded by luscious green fields.

We drove for hours on the open road barely passing another vehicle and it was on this journey that we experienced the rain in New Zealand for the first time. It was bouncing nearly as high as the car and it was so heavy the windscreen wipers wouldn’t go fast enough; we slowed down to a crawl as we tried to see through the window. It was looking doubtful that we would get to explore Nelson Lakes if the weather continued.

We arrived late afternoon and headed indoors, hoping that the weather would clear up by the following day; luckily it did, and the next day we headed out ready to walk Mount Robert Circuit. Being an alpine location the scenery was amazing but along with the views came the extreme weather; we experienced sun, rain, gale force winds and hail stone. When we reached the top of the circuit the wind was violently strong and we had no cover, we held onto each other as each step forward took every ounce of strength that we had. To top it all off it started raining as well and we had to take it in turns to find our waterproofs in the bags and then try to put them on. After about 15 minutes we reached a hut and were able to take shelter until the weather died down.

As we headed back down the other side of the circuit, the clouds cleared and bright blue skies emerged and the sun began to shine. The wind wasn’t as kind though, and although it eased off slightly, it stayed with us for the rest of the walk. We stood and admired the view on the way back to the car and breathed in our surroundings. This was the last part of our trip on the South Island, as the next day we were flying to the North Island of New Zealand and into Wellington.

Wellington was an important part of the trip for me, as I would get to see one of my oldest friends, who I hadn’t seen for about 6 years.

Travels {Lake Tekapo}

May 3rd, 2011

From Queenstown we drove to Lake Tekapo; it was only a stop over unfortunately on our way to Nelson Lakes. I was determined to see it though and make it part of our trip; I’d seen some stunning images in guide books and on the internet and I longed to see the bright turquoise waters.

It didn’t disappoint. As we pulled up at Lake Tekapo Scenic Resort, the bright blue water shone in the sun. It was glorious.

We checked in and then stood on the balcony of our apartment and looked out towards the snow capped mountains. The landscape of the South Island of New Zealand, blew me away.

The drive from Queenstown to Lake Tekapo was filled with the most beautiful landscape I’d ever seen, and now here we were, looking out across Lake Tekapo, admiring it in all it’s beauty.

The Church of the Good Shepherd is situated on the edge of the lake, so we headed out to see if it was open, as the view from the altar window attracts many people from around the world. Unfortunately it was closed, but as we soon realised, we didn’t need a window to see the lake in all it’s glory, the views were stunning wherever we stood!

As I stood on the shores of Lake Tekapo I smiled to myself. The sun was shining, the water was the famous bright turquoise that I had longed to see and off in the distance I admired the snow capped mountains. It was a moment of disbelief where I wanted to pinch myself to check that I wasn’t dreaming…..

We headed back to the apartment, grabbed a cold beer, and sat on the balcony watching the sun go down…….

Next week: Nelson Lakes

Travels – Queenstown Adventures

April 19th, 2011

When we landed in Queenstown I was shocked at how cold it was; we had just left Sydney where the temperature was around 34° and I had been able to walk around in shorts and flip flops at 10pm! As we sat and waited for the shuttle bus, I opened my case and pulled out as many long sleeved tops as I could find. I missed the sunshine of Australia…….

When we arrived at our apartment, I knew we had made the right decision to treat ourselves to a little luxury on this part of the trip. It was stunning. We had windows all along one side of living room that gave us the most amazing view of Lake Wakatipu; the first night we were there I wrapped up warm and spent hours out on the balcony.

We were greeted with the most amazing sunset; it looked like the sky was on fire. I felt so overwhelmed by such a beautiful sight.

I completely fell in love with Queenstown; it felt like us. Like our kind of place. It’s the adrenaline capital of the world and we had both been looking forward to this part of the trip so much. We went skydiving, bungy jumping and rock climbing; I could have so easily stayed there.

The skydive was sensational. 45 seconds of freefall followed by a peaceful descent spent taking in the clear blue skies and breath taking scenery. As we floated down over Queenstown, I couldn’t quite believe what I was doing. It was surreal. Amazing. As soon as I landed, I jumped up, clapped my hands together and shouted “again, again”!

The next day, the bungy jumping wasn’t quite as enjoyable, and as soon as I reached the edge of the platform I froze and went into freak out mode. Luckily Ian and I were doing a tandem jump because we feared this situation might arise! The idea was, if one of us bottled it, the other one would just jump, dragging the other down with them. I was given a pep talk by my “hero” Jase, about how the feeling of walking away would be far worse than the actual jump, and how no-one was stopping me from doing this……apart from me. This is where “standing on the bridge” came from. Whenever Ian and I are about to embark on something a bit scary, something unknown, we refer to it as standing on the bridge. We can jump and see what happens, or stay on the bridge and never know. I wrapped my arms around Ian and hung on for dear life – my jump wasn’t brilliant, but at least I did it, and that’s what counts. As I opened my eyes at the bottom I realised it wasn’t actually that bad…..!

After the bungy jump we spent the afternoon down by the lake rock climbing; it was the perfect end to the day.

The following day we wandered down to the harbour; the sun was shining and it was so peaceful.

As we sat and drank our Starbucks, a girl surrounded by her friends, picked up her guitar and started singing; along with everybody else we sat and listened to her soothing voice. It was the perfect end to an unforgettable part of our trip.

 Hand in hand we headed back to our apartment ready to pack everything up. The next day we were driving over to see the bright blue waters of Lake Tekapo……