Friday, January 22, 2016

Back to work...

9 months has flown by....time to go back to work and earn some pennies. In theory I could take a year off in New Zealand, but I feel like it is the right time to go back, especially as it is a little bit quieter over summer. I have been going to work every couple of weeks over the last 9 months, and doing some work in the evenings to keep me sane...yes you heard that right! So it felt quite normal to go back to work on Monday. 

However for Freya starting crèche was a new experience. She has been a couple of times before Christmas to see what it was like, but only for a couple of hours. After the last few weeks of playing with her cousins we figured she would cope with playing with other little ones, especially the older ones. So she was fine and had a great time playing, but wouldn't sleep, and then she was so tired she wouldn't want (not that she eats much anyway). Aaron had a very frustrating day as he was there with her most of the day. 2nd day was better...we went with a plan, and she slept okay and ate better. 3rd day was pretty good and Aaron left after she went down for her morning nap, and I went in for lunch and afternoon tea. Crèche got her down for one of her naps. She has a little friend who is almost 1 called Hanna, who is at a similar stage to her, crawling and pulling up on things. At lunch they were sitting in their high chairs jibber jabbering away to each other. So hopefully she is starting to get the hang of it. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

48 hours in Singapore

The final stop on our round the world tour was hot and humid Singapore. The primary aim of the stop was to break up the long trip home and get some sleep and hopefully over some of the jet lag, but it was also an excuse to explore Singapore. 

We took the underground subway to the city and arrived at our station Lavender to be greeted by the oppressive heat and pouring rain. Completely unprepared for this weather we set off in to the rain. At least it was warm! Within a couple of minutes a random woman gave me her, what kindness...a great start to our stay. We dumped our stuff at the hotel and headed out to little India and found a vegetarian curry house for a delicious dinner. 

After a slightly rough night, in not the most salubrious hotel (although at least the air conditioning worked well), we set out to explore. We headed to the Marina Bay Area, to see the famous hotel and the gardens in the bay. Unfortunately we set off on the subway during rush hour.... However when we got to the mall at Marina Bay it was completely empty as we were there before the exclusive shops opened. We walked around the empty waterfront on the double helix bridge and around the strange looking art and science museum, taking in the views looking back across to old Singapore mixed in with the new city. We then crossed over the sky bridge, through the Marina Bay Sands hotel to the gardens in the bay. This is a series of gardens with several large domes which house indoor flower gardens and other plants, but also the very impressive super grove of gigantic trees with creepers and ferns slowly climbing their way up the structures. 

Freya and Aaron on the double helix bridge.

Looking up at the Marina Bay Hotel all 57 floors

Looking down on the super grove from the observation deck at the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel from 57 floors high

The super grove from the ground

It was hot, so we headed to the children's water garden. This is an area of fountains and sprays for kids (and adults who are supervising!!) to run through. It was great to cool off and Freya loved playing in the fish fountains. 
Water fountains and sprays in the children's water garden with one of the garden domes in the background.

Freya playing in the fish fountain

Next we headed to Chinatown to find some lunch. It wasn't quite what we was much more cosmopolitan with lots of different culinary delights. We chose Vietnamese. By mid afternoon the heat was too much, so we headed back to the hotel for an afternoon nap. We emerged again just before dinner and headed to the Arab district checking out the mosque and the old buildings, before finding some dinner at one of the Turkish restaurants. Another great meal. 

The Arab district and the mosque

The next morning we went to check out the old fort canning on the hill, then briefly checked out one of the many shopping malls along Orchard road, before heading back to check out of the hotel. We headed to the airport mid afternoon and after checking in for our flight we headed to the airport swimming pool and swam and hung out for the rest of the afternoon before boarding our flight. The swimming pool at the airport is just much nicer than spending hours in the departure lounges. 

Plenty more of Singapore to explore and delicacies to eat. Next time....hopefully at a cooler???? Or at least a less humid time of the year. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

New Years visit to the Bostocks in the UK

Well after leaving warm and sunny Wellington, then visiting cool and sunny Phoenix, we reached cold and wet England. After a week of playing with 2 little ones, Freya now had 5 little cousins to play with, and a lot of different toys....she thoroughly enjoyed all the attention from the cousins and uncles, aunts, grandparents. 
Playing tea party with the girls
Great aunt Thalia and 1st cousin once removed Christopher, who was very good at making Freya laugh

Despite the inclement English weather we got out every day for a walk or activity. Freya went on her first train ride on an old English steam train in the pouring rain. Unfortunately we couldn't see much of the English countryside as the windows were all steamed up. We also went for several walks in the local, muddy woods. We had a family trip to the local swimming pool (indoor and heated) and the nearby Roald Dahl museum.
The hardy Bostocks walking in the rain and mud in whiteleaf hill above the cross

Chinnor steam train

On a rather windy day we went to the Uffington White horse and Iron Age castle and caught up with a friend Laura. Although due to the arctic conditions we spent more time in the pub. 

With Laura in the fox and hounds pub

We made a special trip to Nuneaton to see grandad (great-grandad for Freya) on his 90th birthday. Unfortunately a week was not enough time to catch up with all the family....that will have to wait till next time. 
4 generations of Bostocks 

Thankyou so much to Paul and Thalia and family for hosting us and looking after us so well...with lots of delicious home cooked meals and cakes. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Christmas with the Lymans in Phoenix

We made it.....arrived to a cool, dry and sunny Phoenix. The Oregon Lymans arrived by plane and car over the next few days. Freya seemed immediately at home and enjoyed playing with her cousins, grandparents and uncle and with lots of Millie's toys, although climbing through the coffee table was a favourite game. 
Kortney and Freya
Playing with cousins Akhen and Millie. 

A family trip to the Phoenix zoo was a highlight of the week. Freya's first trip to a zoo. I think she was just as interested in all the people as she was with the animals. 
Giraffes at the Phoenix zoo

We managed a few walks around the neighbourhood, frequenting the local playgrounds, and a couple of hikes in the desert. At the end of the week we had a fun hike and scramble up camelback (along with many others). With great views from the top. 
Helen and Freya next to a teddy bear cholla cacti in south mountain desert park. 

Kendall, Aaron, Freya, Craig, Helen and Kortney at the top of camelback

Aaron and Freya at the top of camelback, looking down the way we came up. 

We had a great week, consuming plenty of Mexican food, catching up with several friends. Thanks to the Phoenician Lymans for hosting us.