Monday, 25 April 2016

Top 26 places of things to do and see in Taranaki, New Zealand

This week I decided to take on the A-Z challenge and decided to focus on Taranaki, New Zealand.
Here's my top 26 things to do and see in Taranaki:

Americarna - a yearly car festival celebrating American cars.

Beauden Barrett and Waisake Naholo and a number of other Taranaki players have gone on to become All Blacks (in the National rugby team).

Centre City - the main only shopping mall in New Plymouth.

Dawson Falls - a sweet waterfall on Mount Egmont/Taranaki, you can access it by following these directions.

Egmont Village - a quiet little village, with spectacular views of the Mountain, situated perfectly between New Plymouth and Inglewood, and Bell Block, it's where my family live. The local primary school pool is a popular hangout in the summertime.

Francis Douglas - the local Catholic boys high school and where Daniel went to high school.

Gables - an old hospital in Brookland's Park, the location of my parent's wedding photos - funnily enough their wedding photos were used by the local Police in order to find the missing light's which featured in their wedding photos.

Home - it's where both mine and Daniel's families come from; we both grew up there.

Inglewood - a sleepy little town where an aunt and uncle and a number of my cousins live, about 20 minutes from New Plymouth.

Jewellery shopping from one of the many boutique jewellers in New Plymouth, or head further afield to Dalgleish in the city, or Silverado in Hawera.

Kawaroa Pools and Park - the location of the New Plymouth Todd Energy Aquatic Centre. Be mindful of trains in the area as the train track is used (daily) by trains ferrying goods to and from the nearby Port Taranaki.

Lucy's Gully - a romantic bush walk which is picture perfect, with views over the city and sea; It happened to also be the scene of a murder in 2007. For directions to Lucy's Gully click here.

Mangorei Road - where you can see sweet views of the city and sea at one end and the mountain at the other.

New Plymouth - the main metropolis of Taranaki. Population of 68,901.

Oakura - a surfer's haven and township, just south of New Plymouth.

Pukekura Park - the botanical garden of New Plymouth. Fun fact: I used to live in the Curator's Cottage at 25 Victoria Road.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's Royal Visit of 1954 -

"I was a young school teacher and a cub leader in Hawera…. 
the streets chosen [for the visit] had some very unsightly and the powers that be who arrange these things
 decided something had to be done to cover these sights from royal eyes.
 Every school child set about making paper flowers in red, white and blue crepe paper. 
These were gathered and hung on these."  -  Judith Foy
For more about the Royal's 1953 - 1954 visit you can go to this website.

Rewa Rewa Bridge - the location of the Proposal/where we got engaged. It's a bridge on the Coastal Walkway. For directions go here.

Spotswood College - where I went to high school.

Taranaki - the only region where you can Surf and Ski in one day! Mount Egmont/Taranaki and surf at Oakura.

Urenui - a sweet little coastal town in Taranaki.

Valley "The Valley" - with lots of Outlet style stores and a large supermarket make it a popular shopping destination.

Walkways - there are many in the city and include the amazing 12.7km long Coastal Walkway.

X-perience - the Forgotten World Highway. Take the scenic route from Stratford to the border of Taranaki; Grab a bite to eat and a beer at the pub/hotel at the Republic of Whangamomona.

York Loop Track - for directions visit here.

Zoo (at Brooklands Park) - where you can visit and see many kinds of animals.

Let me know in the comments if there's anywhere you'd like to visit, or see... In a few weeks I'm going to do the Wellington version of this with an A-Z of Wellington. 

Until next week, 

xo Lisa.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Photography and photo shoots

So this past week has been awesome, with preparing a bunch of stuff for our engagement party...
The past two weekends we have been getting photo shoots under way. Daniel was in charge of booking a photographer to take our engagement portraits and stuff... and we just got everything organised with that and waiting on the venue... and then I get a phone call saying I had won a free photo shoot and three complimentary 5x7" photos (from the Wellington Women's Expo we had gone to earlier in the year/late last year). So of course we couldn't say no to a free $249 photo shoot! Fast forward - we get the free shoot done of us as a couple, and had a number of extras taken of us with Loren and Thomas, our flatmates. Such a fun time!

Here are some behind the scene's shots that I took on my phone, so please excuse the quality.

You can see the mobile studio backdrop, lighting gear and such too.
We moved all the lounge furniture and positioned everything.
With the studio lights and professional camera the light from the window isn't seen.

Hero pose.

Dan modelling for Hallensteins? hehe.

Behind the scenes setting up the camera and stuff

Dan with his Bug-assault rifle - getting directions from Gareth.

Dan sniping bugs.

Gareth snapping away and Dan being a model...

The photographer for this shoot was Gareth from Duo Photography.
He was really fun to work with and put us all at ease being in front of the camera.

At the end of the shoot we booked a time for Gareth to come back and show us the photos, so on Monday evening at 7:30pm we sat with Loren and looked through all the photos in a huge slide show. Duo are pretty neat in that they create a video slide show - we didn't purchase this as we just wanted a number of digital files of our photos. We ended up getting a deal from Gareth - 18 for the price of 10 plus the 3 free prints and he threw in a few extras; since we couldn't whittle down the choices much more!

These following images are some throw back images - Dan and I on the waterfront with my Asahi Pentax K1000 film camera...

Our second photo shoot was with David from Von Photography - this was the engagement shoot package for $99 it's for an hour shooting, and has a set of 20 digital images at the end.

We hired the Dome at BATS Theatre as the venue - I volunteer as an Usher there so it made sense to come and play around on the stage area! The Dome is a large space, with a matte black floor, amazing white columns on the walls,
We had plenty of fun playing with shadows from the lights that David bought with him, and the Dome, then a few sneaky stairs shots.

I really enjoyed this photo-shoot because David made us totally relaxed in front of the camera - we even got a few public displays of affection shots - kissing and holding hands!

My favourite shot so far - us on the stairs, with our D and L letters on the windowsill.
David was lovely and took this on my new Polaroid camera (from Dick Smith for $77.40).

More shots from the day...

Us holding hands.
Oh do you see that? Hot damn gurl! my manicure from Serenity at Absolute Therapy looks amazing!
Until next week, 

xo, Lisa.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Volunteering - skills for life

This week it is Student Volunteer's Week: 11-17 April.

I saw an advert on Victoria Plus asking people to make contact if they wouldn't mind doing an interview for Student Volunteer's Week through Volunteering New Zealand. I thought I would sign up to do it and then I thought well, why don't I write a blog post at the same time - about what I've been doing and how awesome volunteering is?

Throughout my time at Victoria University I signed up to Vic Plus, it's an award and certificate system that recognises student leadership and volunteering. I've really enjoyed the opportunities I've been given to excel in my areas of expertise, and developing skills I didn't really have before. You can sign up to and learn more about Vic Plus here.

One part of the programme is developing skills through personal and professional sessions and this helps the student to transition from study into paid work. Some of the workshops I've done through the Vic Plus programme cover things like how to write a kick-ass cover letter and curriculum vitae, and how to really nail an interview and get the job!

The second part is based around volunteering and giving back to the community.
Through my time doing Vic Plus I've done a range of things from charity letterbox drops for fliers as a one off day with my sister; volunteering long term as an usher, fire warden and ticket taker at BATS Theatre (just passed three years!); helping to man the stalls for Vic Plus at Club's Week 2016; and a range of other things on campus like Class Rep for my classes (for a trimester for each paper) and being on the FHSS Faculty board as a student rep (for one year).

Part three of the Vic Plus programme is writing an E-Portfolio, I am doing this step now. This is a place where the student reflects on what they have been doing, what they have learned and what they can take away from the experiences they have been doing.

Through being Class Rep and Faculty representative I've worked closely alongside VUWSA (the student association at VUW) and a large number of fellow students. The Class Rep acts as a voice between the students of the class and the lecturers and the school. They have training from VUWSA and that includes free pizza! And then at the end of the trimesters they also meet with the department and talk about the issues raised by students. The more the Class Reps put in the more they get out of it. In my first trimester I impressed the head of school of English so much that he offered me a PhD position when I get to that level... Needless to say that is no longer in my plans. But still pretty awesome!

Through my volunteer ushering, fire-warden-ing and ticket taking role (I wear many hats at once) at BATS I've learned to multi-task and prioritise things. I've also developed more confidence with talking to strangers and public speaking in general. I still have a few (rare) moments of worry like when a siren is in the sound effects of a show (and I think it's the real alarms going off!)
I am currently working really closely with the Box Office staff each night - we also communicate via radios and I help to ensure that the audience is kept happy and safe within the space.

Because of my love of theatre and box office assistance at BATS - I decided to take on the role of volunteer Front of House Manager for Summer Shakespeare, where I took on full responsibility for all of the Box Office area - from selling tickets, to training fellow Vic Plus volunteers and other community volunteers, and being the main First Aider and on the Health and Safety team.

Summer Shakespeare 2016 - Cast and Crew first rehearsal photo.

Posters by Glover Park, in Ghuznee Street, Wellington.

I had a number of challenges through the season from an audience member being involved in an accident with a prop, to EFTPOS terminals and ticket scanners malfunctioning!
Thanks to my training at BATS I was able to apply a lot of what I already knew, mostly regarding how to fix things up - I had friends who had come along to the show comment that they had never seen me so organised, in control and busy before!
Due to personal reasons* I will not be returning to Summer Shakespeare in 2017.

From the pre-promotional shoot we did which was used for styling ideas.
I had a great costume and didn't know what to do with this apple.

Volunteering for me is about giving back to the community, but it's also about a transfer and use of skills. When I'm not volunteering - I'm often studying. Studying only uses certain parts of my brain. I like being creative - volunteering in the theatre allows me to explore my business side as well as my more creative outlets.
Because of my volunteering at BATS I was introduced to a theatrical genre called Improvisation, because of that exposure I signed up to community college classes for Improv in 2015. I really, really liked performing and I want to expand my skills in that area.

From the pre-promotional shoot we did which was used for styling ideas.
I had a great costume and didn't know what to do with this apple.

*I have to work and get money to help fund our wedding. So by this summer I should be in employment which means less time for all of the volunteering I like to do. However I am sure I will continue doing some volunteering things just because I love doing them so much. For example - BATS you haven't seen the last of me yet!

Until next week,
xx Lisa.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Do little and often

The quote on the whiteboard above my desk in the office says "Do little and often" - it's my personal saying for this year to help keep me on track. I'm not even sure where it came from as a quote, because I can't find it online. I like it as a saying anyway.

I'm in my final year of university and it feels like life is going by super fast.
Possibly due to the excitement of being engaged, and our upcoming parties and plans for this year travelling back and forth between our home town of New Plymouth and our home here in Wellington.

I find that sometimes little quotes and sayings help me to keep on track and keep myself grounded.

Now of course I have to save up to buy the film because it doesn't come with any. But yeah. Super excited. I can't wait to use it for like my Bachelorette Party and maybe the Engagement Party too. 

This past week was one of excitement - every time a courier came it was another box for me. Another and another. So many boxes. Not too many to count though!
Two on Tuesday.
Four on Wednesday - well three boxes and a courier package:

The courier package contained this amazing long cardigan from The Warehouse. 
I've been wearing these loose long cardigans for a while now, they're really nice and layered.
This one is a red with black flecks colouring. So like a burgundy red.

The small box was from The Body Shop - I ordered a Blueberry body wash 250ml, then there was an Easter special online and I found their Easter Egg so it was a free hand cream: coconut flavoured. Plus they threw in a free sample of the Japanese Cherry Blossom perfume spray. 

I really like that this is in an actual mini spray bottle. 
No more messing around with the annoying dropper their old samples used to have!

Then one of the boxes had the two black fake fur pillows -also from The Warehouse.
The Body Shop things on top of them.
The canvas wall art is also from The Warehouse.

Tuesday's Haul: Two striped throw blankets for the couches in the lounge.
The coasters and the place-mats (all from Farmers)
The aqua/turquoise throw from The Warehouse.

Also from Tuesday's haul: a grey they call it "taupe" on the website fake fur pillow 
also from The Warehouse.

On Monday we went to Neil and Erin's house for lunch, then wandered into town. I'd seen the advert for the Fujufilm Instax Mini 8 camera at Dick Smith for $77.40 so we wandered down to Dick Smith after lunch and I grabbed the deal with a baby blue one. 
They had a few other colours in store too - pastel yellow, pastel blue, white or black. 
I just really wanted the pastel blue one.
Sadly the sale on them ended on 30/03/2016 so it won't be available when this post goes live. 

Now of course I have to save up to buy the film because it doesn't come with any. But yeah. Super excited. I can't wait to use it for like my Bachelorette Party and maybe the Engagement Party too. 

I feel like I've been super productive this week - all the parcels arrived and the flat things were all put away today.  Yesterday I also washed all the new lounge throws so they're all nice and clean. Today I also hung some art in our bedroom and ensuite! In between times I've also been watching lots of vloggers on YouTube - notably Aspyn + Parker, Casey Neistat, and Erik Conover.

And we have two photo shoots this week - we started the week with one on Sunday (March 27th) from Duo Photography and I'm going to do a blog post behind the scenes and talk about what we did, and then this Sunday (April 3rd) we had another one with David from Von Photography.
The second shoot is just us as a couple though. Totally different styles for each of them and I'm really excited to get our pictures back when they are all done.

Considering we have been in our house now for about three months, it feels like it has been longer ... I was thinking that I feel like I have known Loren (our flatmate) for a lot longer than a couple of months.

All of us as flatmates get along really well, and I'm loving it!

Until next week,
xo Lisa.

I've just realised that I haven't posted a quote in quite a while either - 
Quote of the week:

"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." 
John Wooden

Monday, 28 March 2016

That's a billionaires dream and we're not billionaires...

The past few weeks I've been going slowly more crazy with the workloads of uni life piling up and just feeling overwhelmed by literally everything going on.

On top of two English papers, which have many hours of reading novels, plays and poetry between them, as well as worksheets for the tutorials (both classes), and studying towards assignments (both classes seem to have essays due at the same times), ... Life is just a bit hectic.

One paper (201) has a large novel (600 pages),
three small novels,
a huge number of poems
and a Shakespeare play.

The other paper (312) has a larger novel (860 pages),
two smaller novels,
and a large number of poems.

My desk right now is covered in piles of books...

Along side all of the university study and work I've been doing this year - I am also trying hard to keep my sanity and find information about, research and plan out things for our engagement party, and future planning researching for our wedding.

So far I know the wedding will be in New Plymouth, sometime in 2018.

No - I don't know who is on the guest list.
No -  I don't know if you can bring a plus one.
No - I don't even know if you're invited yet!
Yes - there are limits in place, and yes some friends and family??? may simply not be invited.

I am not saying these things to be bitchy, I'm trying to be honest.

Wedding planning is not easy.
I'm finding it hard to do this from afar. We currently live 4-5 hours away and thinking about all the details does my head in at times. Both of our families are based in New Plymouth which is why we are going to have it there. While I have had a few years of pinterest and learning about etiquette and things, Daniel is totally new to all of this. So we are learning together.

If budget allowed we would bring them all to Wellington, or to another destination; but that's a billionaires dream and we're not billionaires.

Marriage, engagement life so far is about doing things as a team. We're not doing this all alone. It's a team effort. It's not up to one of us to make all the choices, even though it has kind of been like that so far. I've done a lot of legwork to get things sorted (like the invites for the engagement)... But then some is also legwork for Dan to do (like organising the photographer for our photo-shoot before our engagement party).

I'm also having to learn lessons about wedding/marriage/engagement etiquette and how to deal with the people who think they can invite themselves, or change things, or add things, or do things when it isn't their place to do so. Unless the couple actually asks you to do something, please don't just assume you can go ahead and do that thing. We are not about to start paying for things we didn't ask for!

Also if you don't get an invite don't be put off, it may be for a number of reasons that simply you don't know about. We have limits on our budget, our venue has maximum attendee limits due to health and safety, fire safety etcetera etcetera, plus we are choosing carefully who we are inviting (or not inviting) and have our own reasons to do so. Life is complicated. It's not a simple act of making a list and inviting every single person we know. We have many limits.

To put it simply - we cannot afford to have a huge lavish affair with every single person we know (or coupled up person we know for that matter!)

If you're asked not to do something by someone - please just don't do it!

It's all simple common sense, which doesn't seem to be common now.

Next week it's volunteers week and I'm thinking about all the volunteering I do and I am going to do a post about what gets me excited about volunteering...

Until next week,
xo, Lisa.