Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ross Creek

Reasons to love Ross Creek:

1. Trees!!! Trees, tree, trees. Green, green trees.

2. Easy option: park up on Burma Road and just walk the flat loop around the reservoir. 

3. Extra for experts: park up across from the rocket ship house on Cannington Road and walk the track into the reservoir. There's even a mini stairclimb for those of us obsessed with a Fitbit. (I am my own tamagotchi!)

4. Not many people. (So few there was no one to take a picture of). 

5. R.C. people are friendly people who smile and greet you, secret society style. I feel included and encouraged (which is important for a touchy-feely extrovert like me). 

6. Mini creek hop make this relatively simple track feel like real adventure nature to city slickers.

6. The barbed-wire has no depressing war history attached. I think it's genuinely there to keep the school boys from swimming in the reservoir water (doesn't work).

7. R.C. is just so gosh-darn pretty.

8. Did I mention the green trees?

9. There no boring historical plaques... Though I wouldn't mind know who this Ross guy was! 

Friday, July 17, 2015

St Clair Cafe


The Pacific Ocean. 

Seriously, just drive to the beach, stroll down the esplanade and wander into the the building perched on top of the breakwater. 

St Clair Cafe is not trendy or hip or anything stylish. Coffee is banging, though and there's a great selection of slices and toasted sandwiches!

 Fluffies are decorated with chocolate, hundreds and thousands and 5 marshmallows! My children were on cloud nine...and then there were fluffy refills delivered! 

Can you get a table with a better view in the city? 

Also, it's the pefect jumping off (or finishing) point for one of my favourite walks to Second Beach.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dunedin: A Love Story about Community

Nothing, in my life, has been more stressful than having my baby hospitalised at 8 weeks, my husband overseas and having to effectively abandon my other two children. 6 days and 5 nights in isolation (See: quarantine) at Dunedin Hospital felt like a long time and my heart goes out to anyone who has had to spend longer than that.

During the week and on our return from hospital, I experienced a tidal wave of support and affection. Dunedin is the most wonderful and considerate community. This city offer old school neighbourly care and warm fuzzies up the wazoo.

Here is some proof:

1.  Headed up by the girls’ Book Mother (think godmother except with a range of literature to guide the moral compass), a village raised my 2 eldest daughters as their own and, frankly, did a better job of looking after them than I do- fed, clean enough, hair done, teeth brushed, played with, chauffeured, taken to the park, dressed, read to, cuddled. EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK! (Seriously, who can sustain that kind of high achieving?!). Then cleaned my house! (Just trying to make me look bad, I suspect).

2. The paediatrics floor at Dunedin Hospital is full of the kindest, most competent nurses, doctors, cleaners and aides. I also met 2 very cool play therapists and a handful of respectable young medical students.  Cups of tea, gentle words and some no nonsense scientific knowledge were all abundant.

3. Fancy coffees brought to me in the isolation room at the hospital. Magazines, muesli bars and fresh fruit.  Tangy, tangy, happy-making fresh fruit. A reminder of life outside the hospital. As was the newspaper. My awesome midwife ran into us by chance and showed up with butter chicken for the dinner the next night,

4. Chauffeuring the Gs to and from daycare. (Luckily, Dunedin has no traffic issues and everything is less than 10 minutes away).

5. Daycare, without skipping a beat, welcomed the toddler into the fold for 2 weeks! We love you Early Childhood on Stafford! Especially because you build stuff specifically for the kids to climb up and jump off of.

6. When we were discharged, it was snowing. So the van from Off Track Mountain Bike Tours swung by the hospital and dropped us at the top of our icy hill.

7.  A bacon and egg pie was dropped off at the house. As was Spaghetti Bolognese. Kid friendly baking with fruit and enough fibre to ensure our digestive tracks wouldn’t seize up under the stress. Also mini veg quichey thingies. Why does everyone here know how to cook from scratch?

8. Two mostly cooked smoked chicken pizzas (to be heated) and one banana cake with citrus icing arrived. (Reminding me there are still good things in life during a crisis).

9.  Fresh fried rice and fried Chow Mein from a colleague’s wife’s parents’ restaurant. (Sampan House on George Street…mmmm).

10.   More coffee. 
      (Including locally roasted Sumatra blend from Mazagran.)

11.   A survival pack of homemade savouries, kiwi fruit and apples appeared in my mail box.

12.   A former colleague held the baby while I showered and then emptied my dishwasher.

13.   A current colleague came with food, cooked dinner and made little desserts with yoghurt and marshmallows!

14.   Cookies and chocolate. ‘Nuff said.

15.   Dancing with my kids. Nothing better than pop music and happy people.

16.   A fellow antenatal class graduate/roller derby girl called BellyFul.

17.   A friend hack-sawed off my door handle and told me how to choose a new one after ours seized up poltergeist-style.

18. When I had to call a plumber, the owner of Adams who is an electrician also just swung by the house to take a look at my dodgy light fixture full of water

19. Many ridiculously indulgent book reading sessions were conducted with my eldest so I could feed the 2 babies.

20.   Laundry folding. (I don’t even fold our laundry!)

21.   Cuddling. So much cuddling- I could reclaim my house after the storm.

22.   Adult conversation of the kindest, most reflective and engaging quality as I have ever had in my life.  

23.   So many phone calls, text messages, fb comments, offers of support, prayer, spare sets of hands and well wishing. Essentially, so much love.

So thanks, Dunedin. I’m very pleased you call you home.

I love Dunedin and it decided to love me back!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Midwinter Carnival: Lantern Making Workshop

Dunedin, like Stars Hollow, hides a lot of quirky, creative, community-minded characters. And in true life-is-sweeter- than-fiction style, the city rallies for projects and events like no other village I have inhabited. 

The Midwinter Carnival is Dunedin's solution to the longest, and often coldest, night of the year. The city dims the lights in the Octagon and a procession of hand crafted lanterns and wandering musicians loop the spectators, drinking mulled wine and hot chocolates.

Last year was my first foray and I was enchanted! So this year, I vowed to participate in the magic. 

Workshops are scheduled for the 3 week end before the Carnival. Registration is online and the cost in minimal. We paid $7 for materials and the volunteer staff were incredibly helpful for us DIY-challenged individuals.

We opted for the simple tulip workshop but other elements of the winter garden theme are up for creation this week end and next.

See you on the night!  

Monday, June 1, 2015

Vogel Street

Dunedin is getting big for its britches; experiencing some honest-to-a-god gentrification! 

Vogel Street Kitchen (mmmmm- coffee and exposed brick) has pummelled its way into the warehouse district as a hip gastro-destination. The clever business minds behind VSK are certainly not hipsters. The space is too polished, too professional, too customer oriented and there's free wifi (very progressive for Dunners).

Plaid faux animal-head hunting trophies and the young, vibrant staff dressed in black are cool but not too quirky. The space and furniture- design and function oriented. The food- contemporary and consistent; the baked goods are under glass domes (a good improvement on the cold, hard cupcakes served from the refrigerated cabinet during the opening week). All up, all the kinks have been ironed out and the whole city knows. 

In its wake, VSK has offered a perfect platform for the city's ever expanding collection of street art. My favourite thing aside from being met by a roaring fire and a tasty flat white is the wander between VSK and Queen's Garden. 

Frankly, colour and art have absolutely revitalised an otherwise depressing example of expired architecture in an obsolete area.

Just a taste of the work! You'll have to go find your favourite pieces.