Arthur’s Seat

Edinburgh, Scotland, Travel

Some of you may have seen the photos I posted on Facebook and Instagram of the hike Willem and I made up to Arthur’s Seat this week. A little something you should know about me is when I was young I was extremely lazy. Physical activity and the outdoors did not interest me in the slightest. There was no way you would get me climbing any kind of hill. Willem can testify that I am an extremely stubborn woman – the poor guy. So for me to be out and about loving nature as much as I do now, it’s kind of a miracle.

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Arthur’s Seat happens to be in the park that we live so close to now, it’s perfect. However, the day we chose to go up was not perfect. I got it in my head that we were going up on this particular day and as I said I’m stubborn so there was no changing my mind. My weather app told me the wind was at about 45km. Well let me tell you it was a SHITLOAD stronger than that. As we climbed to the top the wind tried to push us back to bottom. We persevered and kept clambering up. Three quarters of the way up a huge gust of wind came along forcing me to grab hold of a rock to stay upright and not be thrown off the edge. With every blast of wind that came to test us I let out an involuntary scream. Each more ridiculous sounding than the last.

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Finally we were at Arthur’s Seat and it was time to sit down and marvel at Edinburgh in all it’s glory. Except the winds were like 100km winds I swear to god so it was terrifying. My face looked like I was on the back of a motorbike without a helmet. Snot flying, again involuntary, in all directions. Thankfully, the winds did not effect the view. Edinburgh is a gorgeous city, especially from up high.

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The trek back down was a little less traumatic. Although on the walk back down I started running and because of the wind couldn’t stop. The walk home also including me slipping in a huge pile of mud. It was a hilarious day.

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Until next time friends..
x

Edinburgh Week One

Edinburgh, Scotland, Travel

I have been in Edinburgh for just over a week now and already my time has been filled with ups and downs. We trained from Banbury two days after Christmas. Yes, we are idiots. We didn’t have seats for a good three hours, we spent that time cramped with other disgruntled travelers in the small section between carriages. It could of been worse though and we got to Edinburgh eventually. As soon as I exited Waverley Train Station and was in the middle of the Christmas Market I was in love. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city. The bright lights, carnival rides and the sound of bag pipes filling the air. But you know the way the universe works, every high is followed with a low. So we hopped in a black taxi, feeling good and filled with hopes, dreams and all that jazz. As it happens we chose the stupidest possible time to move to Edinburgh. We moved the week of a little thing called New Years Eve – ever heard of it? Well Edinburgh does New Years big time with a festival called Hogmanay. This means that accommodation prices are ridiculous and all reasonably priced places are booked out months in advance so the only place we could find was a wee way out of the city. We told the taxi driver where we were staying which was Sighthill to which she replied “why are you staying out there?” As soon as we got to our accommodation I knew that it was the low I had been waiting for. The house was down a quiet, dark street, well away from the city. I had booked it through Air BNB but for the place we were staying it was the first time they had ever used Air BNB so didn’t really know what they needed to provide for two people to stay. I’ll give you a little hint – you need to provide two pillows. We got inside and were shown to our room which looked fine until I noticed the one single pillow. I asked if there were any others and the host got confused and said no. The place was also filthy and smelt like burning Chinese food but that’s neither here nor there. Let’s get back to Edinburgh itself shall we!

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We’ve spent our days exploring the streets and different areas of Edinburgh – Old Town, New Town, Tollcross, Bruntsfield, Grassmarket and Leith. Each are so different and so lively except for Leith but that’s another story. A lot of our time has also been consumed with trying to find a permanent living place to escape the aforementioned hell hole. I’m going to be honest guys it was slim pickings out there for houses. I thought New York had some weirdos looking for room mates but Edinburgh gives it a run for it’s money. Each place was stranger than the last. We had almost given up hope until the angel that is Maureen called. Maureen is our lovely new land lady who found a room wanted ad I had posted online. We came to view the place and took it straight away. It’s a two bedroom house close to Holyrood Park which is beautiful and filled with swans which kind of terrify me – also a different story for another time. So there’s another high for you and soon enough the universe tapped me on the shoulder to serve me that next low.

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First dinner at our new house

First dinner at our new house

A few days after arriving in Edinburgh I had a telephone interview for a job as a Travel Consultant which would be an ideal job for me. I thought the interview went really well but turns out I didn’t get it. Ouch. Onwards and upwards though and back on the job hunting grind. I am so happy we chose Edinburgh as our next adventure though. I think we’ll have fun here. It’s beautiful, the people are friendly and I get to hang out with Abi whenever the hell I want. I lived with Abi back in New Zealand and it’s pretty damn cool to be living in the same city again.

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Until next times friends
x

Oxfordshire

Europe, Travel

Ahh Oxfordshire. Back in my old stomping ground. For those of you who don’t know, I was born in Oxfordshire, England and lived there until I was 12 before moving to New Zealand. I loved my time in Oxfordshire – the little villages, going to school here and being able to travel around Europe easily. I hold England fondly in my heart and always dreamt of coming back. It has been 11 years since I left and it’s better than I imagined to be back. To see my old friends, my old house and most of all my older brother and his family again after 7 years. It has been amazing staying with them. Will and I have had a great time hanging out with (being exhausted by) my nieces. For the first time in a while I am excited for Christmas, it’s gon’ be fuuuun.

With my childhood friends after 11 years

With my childhood friends after 11 years

Outside my childhood house with my childhood best friend

Outside my childhood house with my childhood best friend

A morning with Lisa and Amelie

A morning with Lisa and Amelie

Oxfordshire is somewhere that if I was to live permanently I would absolutely need a car because public transport is timely and expensive. However have you seen the price of car insurance in England?!?! Ludicrous. Oxford is the big city in Oxfordshire (obviously) and you will probably be familiar with it because of the University. Will and I have spent a lot of time exploring Oxford and surrounding areas. Oxford is a beautiful city with a gorgeous canal running right through it and filled with old buildings. My favourite part of Oxford is that Alice in Wonderland was written here which is my favourite childhood book. In Oxford they have an Alice in Wonderland shop and the pub that Lewis Carroll used to frequent is still standing and open for business.

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Oxfordshire is filled with gorgeous countryside, which is something I missed greatly while living in New York. I craved greenery and envisioned trudging through muddy fields.

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I’m loving being back in England and being around the culture. I am no longer the one with ‘weird’ music taste or a hoarder of the 90’s. I am among my people.

Until next time friends..
x

Thank you and Farewell New York

New York, Travel

Well New York, it’s time for us to say goodbye. This post has taken me days to write as every time I start I just can’t come up with the words to correctly explain just how incredible this year has been and how devastated I am that it is over. I cry every time I think about it.

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I hope it’s not for good, but it will never be the same. I arrived a naïve, shy girl who had always dreamt of some version of New York. I leave a strong, confident, broad minded woman who has experienced every aspect of the multiple versions of New York.

Thank You New York

– For making me laugh and for making me cry, usually in the same day.
– For challenging me but allowing me to thrive in new opportunities
– For making every night out the craziest and greatest ever
– For showing me things I would not see anywhere else in the world.
– For introducing me to life long friends
– For showing me a side of myself I didn’t know was there
– For teaching/forcing me to speak up for myself
– For your unique beauty that will live inside of me
– For all the times you tested my character, my patience, my well being, my spirit all to forge a stronger, more capable version of me.

New York you truly are the greatest city in the world and I cannot thank you enough for the experiences I have had which have changed me for the better.

Until we meet again,
I Love You.

Sincerely,
NYLuva4eva
x

Take A Hike Buddy

New York, Travel

To be honest with you it is quite the miracle that I am home safe and sound writing this. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Because of the constant energy New York has it can get quite tiring and sometimes you need to escape, so Will and I did just that. Before leaving New Zealand I would quite regularly go for hikes in the Waitakere Ranges which was amazing. When we caught the Metro-North train upstate I was expecting hikes of the same beginner-intermediate intensity. Well let me tell you, this shit almost killed me. It was a day filled with wrong turns, mishaps, stunning views and by the end of it extremely sore legs.

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I had wanted to get out in to nature for a while so did some googling and found this link. We decided on Bear Mountain State Park as we had seen photos that looked incredible. The Metro-North train only stops at hiking stops such as Bear Mountain on the weekend and only one door of the train opens for you to exit. We missed our stop. Manitou was the stop we were meant to get off at and then walk across Bear Mountain Bridge but the conductor was a real shithead and didn’t explain that you had to be on the small area between train carts that specifically says “NO STANDING”. Go figure as to why we thought that’s not where we should be waiting. Any who there was an absolutely lovely lady passenger on the train who told us that a couple stops away was another hiking trail and she explained exactly where we needed to go. It wasn’t our trail of choice but what the hell.

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Everyone in New York must have been needing to get out into the wilderness because so many people got off at the next hiking stop. We followed the ladies directions which lead us to a desk with two rangers at the beginning of trail helping people. His first words- “This is an extremely challenging trail which involves rock climbing where you need to have your arms and legs free”. Nope. Not happening. My response? “Is there an easier option”? There was! Hallelujah! He showed us on a map where we needed to go, how long it would take and where the best views were. When we asked if we could take a copy of the map he said “Sure, for $2”. Obviously we weren’t THAT far out of New York City.

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Even though we still managed to get extremely lost, it would have been a lot worse had we not purchased that map. The first part of the hike I found incredibly difficult, it was mostly up hill and we climbed 1000 ft. We were also idiots and only took a 500ml bottle of water each which we almost finished just on the train ride. It was tough. As Will kept pointing out, you can last two days without water and we are complaining and dreaming about our next beverage after 20 minutes. Fair call. Our lunch spot was incredible. Sprawling views of the Hudson River and other state parks. I packed tuna for our lunch but stupidly left the can opener at home! So Will being the Survivor fanatic he is put his hours of watching to use and bashed the can open on a rock. My hero.

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After lunch was when things started to go wrong. The ranger had told us to start on the Yellow Trail till we get to the White Trail. Follow the White Trail for 10 minutes until you get to the Blue Trail. From there continue on to the Red Trail. It took us hours to find the White Trail. Each point where a new colour would appear was very confusing and the map did not give us a good indication of where to go. We eventually got to the White Trail and then to the Blue but we took a wrong turn. After what must have been 3 hours of hiking we thought we were coming to and end but instead ended up at a kids summer camp. We exited the park on to a huge green field with a climbing wall and soccer goals. Surely this couldn’t be the finishing point. It wasn’t. But it had water fountains! So after our run in with severe dehydration (not really), we ran to the fountains and guzzled that cold water like never before.

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We managed to find some people who gave us directions how to get back to the train station. This involved walking through the entire camp which was incredible! It was just like the summer camps you see in the movies. It turned out to be one of my favourite things I have seen while I have been here. At the end of the camp we ended up back on the trail…for another 2+ hours!! That’s not even the best bit though. Once we finished the trail we still had a 30 minute walk to get to the train. I slept real good on the way back to the city, reeeeal good. It was a great day though, filled with adventure which included me sliding down a hill on my ass. That happened when we took ANOTHER wrong turn and had to trudge through thorn bushes. Ahh nature. You can’t beat it.

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What other hikes should I get lost on in NY State? Please let me know!

Until next time friends..

xx

Under The Sea Housewarming

New York

Long time no see you guys!

Not to sound like an old woman but..boy, do i have a lot to tell you! One adventure at a time – so let’s start at the beginning.

As I have mentioned we moved into a new apartment about a month ago. When we first moved in we didn’t have a couch or any living room furniture pretty much. This meant we had no communal living space to hang out or bond in and just hung out in our rooms like hermit crabs. Which is who i am at heart, but that’s beside the point. My roommate Jen managed to find an awesome deal on craigslist recently where a girl was giving away the majority of her belongings as she was moving in with her boyfriend. That sentence right there is a whole other feminist conversation i could delve in to. Another time, perhaps. Basically, what that all means is that we now have living room furniture – rejoice! This was cause to celebrate. Bring on drinking, friends, new friends and of course an under the sea theme.

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The theme was decided upon after a drunken night involving Pictionary. Promises were made, kept and executed marvelously. We nailed the theme. Goldfish snacks, candy, blue punch, blue streamers, green fish netting, sea weed, blue jello shots. After writing that i think the theme may have just been blue…

We made a under the sea themed photo booth wall which provided for some hilarious photos. We even had props – bubbles, a pirate hat and giant hipster glasses. The hipster glasses were a little off theme for under the sea, but very on-theme for the photo booth.

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Props to Harriet, Tania and Jordan who I jokingly told dress up was mandatory and came as a tribe of Spongebob Squarepant’s. When no one else was dressed up. Yep. Major props. It was amazing.

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I made fruit punch and called it Kiwi Paradise – it was a big hit. But also was the result of a lot of drunk American’s and Kiwi’s. I win!

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Impromtu Friday Night

New York, Tattoos, Travel

Firstly I would like to thank you all for the positive feedback of this blog. It means a lot that you actually enjoy reading what I have to say and find what I’m up to interesting!

Now, on to the night that quickly escalated from “Hey, wanna get a quick after work drink?” to “Hey, wanna get tattoos?!”

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My day job has been a wee bit hellish lately. Incredibly busy and struggling to find my place there. It’s a rude awakening when something that has been your dream for so long and turns out to not be such a glamorous reality. At the end of a crazy Friday and an equally crazy week, I was in need of drink. Luckily, I can always count on Jackie to join me. Must be those Taranaki genes. After Yelping multiple dive bars – my favourite kind of bar, we decided on Blue Ruin. Heaven may be overstating Blue Ruin, but it was the perfect combination of cheap beer, an amazing happy hour, hot bar maids and A LOT of Black Sabbath. This particular night of drinking ended up costing me a mere $10 at maximum. THAT ladies and gentleman is why I love America. In New Zealand, $10 would get you one drink, just.

So as the PBR’s kept flowing, the ideas they were a comin’! First, photo booth photos were a must. I am an avid lover of the photo booth. For years I have been trying to convince Will to take photo booth photos with me. Because you guys, how cute would that be? Right? But no. Even though there is a Will, there is no way. Again, Jackie saves the day and jumps at the chance. That Forever 21 photo booth didn’t know what hit them. See my finest moments below.

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A few more PBR’s, this time at Jimmy’s Corner. By now, I had text Willem saying “I’m not coming home tonight”. A good indication of where the night was heading. After discussing our love of all things Miley and deciding we were totally going to see her when she comes to New York, I came up with the next turn for the night. Tattoos! Did I mention that I love Jackie? Because again she is the only person that would be game to do this with me. Good on ya mate!

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Time to brainstorm and refuel. We needed a taste of home so Dub Pies it was. If you haven’t heard of Dub Pies, it is a New Zealand and Australian meat pie shop located in Greenwich Village. Good to know when ya feeling homesick! After pretty much swallowing a chicken vegetable pie whole, it was time to get to work. We both knew we wanted to get New York tattoos and represent our time in Brooklyn. We chose zip codes to do this. My zip code is the first and favourite place we have stayed which was in Bed Stuy with Matt and Rick. Thankfully Jackie is extremely talented and drew up the below. Done with our own handwriting. Before you say it – yes I am extremely pale.

Those crazy New York nights, you just can’t beat ’em…

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Willem was relieved that I did eventually come home and with my “prison tatt” as he lovingly put it. 11233 FOR LIFE!