Only I could get stung on the arse by a bloody wasp πŸ™ˆπŸ

Only I could get stung on the arse by a wasp πŸ™ˆπŸ

Yesterday, we all popped down to the beach to take the boards out (more about those in a minute!) and the kids and I are easing ourselves gently into the water, backwards while trying not to scream too loud at the chill factor, when Tom and Joe start looking nervously at my back and telling me not to move ‘cos there’s a wasp on me. So what do I do? What any normal person would do. I begin the Wasp Dance and start stripping off, while flapping around in the hope that the Wasp will be embarrassed by my moves and bugger off.

I whipped my shorts down to my knees, turned around a few times (it’s quite impossible to see your own back though) then pulled them back up when I realised how silly I must look. Meanwhile the Wasp is obviously caught in my flapping boardies and gets pulled back up, and onto my more-than-ample bum cheek. Well, OUCH. The pain was bloody immense! I whip my shorts off again and flail around in the water for a few secondsΒ  (kids were killing themselves laughing by this point) before trotting back up the beach in absolute bum agony, keeping my stiff upper English lip, before asking mark to check my arse to make sure the vicious wasp had left my butt in peace.

OMG the pain. It stung for ages and parts even went numb. I hate wasps!

And for this story, I thought you might appreciate a photo of the wasp rather than my bum πŸ˜†πŸ˜†


But let’s get to the good bit!

This week, after waiting for what feels like forever, we finally got our Christmas presents to each other.. our surfboards arrived!


They are gorgeous 😍

We’ve waxed them, been out on them, been up on them, and fallen off them. We’ve been washing machined, eaten sand and seaweed, and been munched by the Mount Mauler (don’t ask, and don’t Google 🀀)

More than anything, we’ve had a relaxing week at the seaside with the kids… this really is what I wanted when we planned this whole trip. I’m loving it, despite the bloody big wasp sting on my backside ❀😊

Living the Dream.. Underpants and Aspergers πŸ’™

Living the Dream.. I never once imagined that I’d be hand washing my children’s scuddy undies on Christmas Eve. Yet there I was. Up to my elbows in suds. That’s got to be an expression of true love, surely?

This unfurnished house is lacking a washing machine and with 4 kids and a hubby, I can see I’m going to get very bored VERY quickly of mucky grundies.

So.. Happy Christmas Everyone! Guess what Santa brought us? πŸ˜‚




Joe’s joke teeth were a big hit 😁 (or maybe Santa thinks we need a family dental trip πŸ˜‚)

Kids were up at 6ish (not bad for a Christmas morning eh?) but the first real noise we heard was Fred yelling that Santa had been and that Father Christmas is the world’s worst EVER person (the language was a tad more fruity than that) and that EVERYONE has got bigger, and more, presents than him.

Today, I bloody hate Aspergers. The perception that so many things become a winning and losing scenario is one of the hardest things for me to understand.. I’m not sure how to help Fred to learn to deal with this, but first thing in the morning when I’m just opening my eyes, I’m afraid I don’t respond well πŸ™ˆ

I became Shouty McShouty pants and this was the start to our day. Happy bloody Christmas πŸ™ˆ

Fast forward a few hours and we’ve had even more shouting and tantrums over the new Xbox (the turn-taking Rota isn’t working too well πŸ˜’), some excitement over scooters and slinkys, and lots of chocolate for breakfast. It’s a very up and down morning, and I’m not coping well. It’s 11am. Is it time for a wine yet? πŸ˜‚

Bacon sandwiches for lunch, a spot more child-refereeing, and we drag the kids over the road to the beach to stem the cabin fever.

THIS is more like it 😎


After a couple of hours in the sea, everyone is a bit happier and I’m thinking that today may be a good day after all. We even managed family cricket 😊


For the first time, Fred also took part.

This, however, may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back because again, the perception that he’s losing, or that he’s not as good as everyone else, takes over and the cricket bat gets thrown πŸ˜”

Today, I really, bloody hate Aspergers.

Back home for Christmas Dinner BBQ, and Sid decides to have a paddy and not be in any more photos.

At this point, I open the wine, and accept that no matter what we do, our day is always going to consist of tantrums and tears as well as laughter and fun.

Our family is not perfect, but it’s just perfect for me. It’s bloody hard work sometimes, and I can understand why we are the neighbours that no one wants to live next door to πŸ˜† but This Family’s all mine and I love it.


(Sid’s over there in the corner having his No-Photo Hissy Fit πŸ˜†)

Few more fizzy wines and it’s all good. (Me, not the kids πŸ˜‰)

Happy Christmas 2017 everyone ❀

What kind of idiot arranges to move to an unfurnished house 3 days before Christmas? That’d be Me πŸ™ˆ

So what kind of fool decides to move house 3 days before Christmas? Yep. ME.

Not just move house either, but move to a completely unfurnished house. So what did Joe and I spend Thursday the 21th December doing? Battling the Christmas crowds to find cutlery, bog brushes and bedding. Not that we even had any beds yet πŸ˜†πŸ™Š


However (said in a very Hannibal Smith voice) “I love it when a plan comes together…” Our beds and mattressesΒ  arrived on the same day we moved in 😎  Β Thank God, as I’ve been stressed to the max about it.

So… we’re in the beachy house.Β  I even splashed out on a last minute Christmas tree which was on offer at $4.98. See? There’s the bonus to being so last minute 😎 super sale Christmas items!


Our next purchase, a bloody big BBQ. We’re struggling for places to sit, but the priority is that Mark’s cooking Christmas dinner this year, so here she is 😎


Sid’s impressed πŸ˜‰

Not only has it been stressful moving, but bringing over the secret stash of Santa’s presents has been downright sneaky ninja material. There’s been night time wanders, limbo under window moves, and some whopping, big lies about unsafe wardrobe floors.

Wrapping was done in a rather speedy and untidy manner, but seeing as they’ll only rip it to shreds and leave it all around the lounge, I don’t care.


Christmas tree – check βœ…

Presents – check βœ…

Bbq and huge meat stash – check βœ…

Alcoholic beverage or two – check βœ…

Beach view? – check βœ…


I think we’re ready for Christmas 😊  Are You? πŸŽ„πŸŽ‰πŸŽπŸ—πŸ–πŸŽ‚πŸΉπŸΎπŸ₯‚πŸ„

There’s always one! (But why is it always mine?!) πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ

There’s always one. But why is it always mine?! πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ)

As parents, we’ve all had that thought, haven’t we?!!

Picture the scene… beautiful weather, calm waves lapping at your tanned toes.. Pilot Bay is a gorgeous family sandy beach: shallow blue water, kids playing happily with spades and sandcastles, tinkling children’s laughter in the air while the adults relax in the summer sun…

Then your second child thinks it’s funny to yell, “SHARKKKKKK” πŸ˜†πŸ™ˆπŸ¦ˆ as he splash-runs his way out of the water.


I can look back and laugh now, but FFS in that moment, your stomach still drops and the Jaws music still plays in your head πŸ™ˆ πŸ˜‚ and a split second later you need to track down your joker of a son to give him a slap for being embarrassing πŸ˜†

So this week, we’ve explored a bit more, in our efforts to find a place to live. We’ve been up to Katikati and Waihi Beach, and driven through many suburbs of Tauranga, it’s all beautiful and we’re still kinda homeless. The good news is that we have got the beachfront property to rent for 3 weeks, so Santa has somewhere to visit. The bad news is that we still need to find somewhere from mid January. Other good news is that our surfboards arrived! Other bad news is that the courier dropped them in transit and they’re broken 😭 Even more good news is that I’ve ordered some beds to sleep on when we move into the new place next week. And the bad news is that as they are oversized items, they may not arrive until after christmas πŸ™ˆ

As you can tell, this has been a week of ups and downs. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve seen photos of the UK snow and we’ve felt a bit homesick. It feels a very long way away right now and I’m so thankful for the awesomeness of FaceTime to keep us in touch.

On Friday, the older boys all had a family surf lesson with Marc the Spanish Surf Instructor.


One by one, they all caught some waves, and Joe and Tom are getting pretty good at standing up, the jammy natural dudes.


I kind of loitered around at the side of them with my board during the lesson, in case Fred needed any help, catching a few waves and feeling pretty smug as I surfed my way in. Marc waved me over at one point, and I thought maybe he was going to compliment me on my immense technique.

Nah. But I’ll take his constructive comments ‘on board’ (get it? πŸ˜‚) as he told me that I need to bend my legs more and lift my arms, because I look a bit like a surfing gorilla. Thanks dude, thanks. I guess I’ll try to take my knuckles out the water and shift my bum closer to the board.


Speedway! Demolition Derby and muddy donuts… πŸ©

So, tonight we took the kids to their first speedway event, stock car racing and demolition derby! We paid for our family ticket and trotted in.. found some amazing front row seats and sat down. Check us out! Best seats in the house!

Enter a caption

Anyone wondering why the seats around us are empty? πŸ˜‚ We didn’t πŸ™ˆ

First we got our priorities straight and I got in the queue for some mini donuts. The first race began. And as I carried my cinnamon-sugar encrusted beauties back to our seats, the realisation of why we’d got such great front row seats hailed down on me. Literally. Great chunky sods of red mud were falling from the sky, and (as it should be) my first thought is to protect my donuts. (That’s not an metaphor πŸ˜‚)

I’m scuttling back to our seats with a hand over my delicious treasures, with my eyes half shut in case they get hit by a flying mud missile, get there, and the kids are thinking this onslaught is the best thing ever πŸ˜‚

We moved. Lesson learnt πŸ˜† – don’t rush for the front row seats when the pitch is muddy (and full of crazy bloody drivers) πŸ™ˆ

It was a great night though, loved it.

This week, the kids have had a surfing lesson, we’ve been to a river adventure park, and we’ve been hunting for a property to rent.

The surf lesson was put off for a bit because the dodgy huge full moon brought us unusually huge high tides and waves, and the sea was full of itty bitty bits of mashed jelly fish πŸ™Š but they got their lesson this morning and rocked it 😎


The river adventure park was brilliant- high diving boards, water trampolines, slip n Slide, ‘The Blob’ (giant air pillow in the water that you bounce people off) and all sorts of other such fun things that the kids made us do…


During the activities, I managed to gracefully faceplant the trampoline air pillow, and I have a gorgeous bruised hooter. I’m pretty sure no one noticed πŸ˜†

House hunting. What fresh torture is this? There are now only 16 days to Christmas, and 13 days til we have to be out of this AirBnB place that we’re in, and we have nowhere lined up yet. I am slightly in panic mode.

We’ve viewed a couple and applied for about 6, but I’m not sure what is putting the agents off; it could be our lack of credit history, it could be our lack of employment, or it could be the fact that we have 4 kids, all at the tender age of between 4 and 11.Β  And they’re male.

I’m sure our super well-behaved brood of boisterous boys wouldn’t be off putting in the slightest πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ

Please cross your fingers, I viewed a property this morning that is only available for 3 weeks, but it means that we’ll have somewhere for Santa to visit. I’ve texted and pretty much begged for us to be able to live there.

Here’s the view over the road out the front:


Keep everything crossed. Fingers, toes, eyes.

We need a home. Especially here ❀

Our Home Schooling journey continues (not child labour at all. Honest πŸ˜†)

So we’ve been here in New Zealand for nearly 4 weeks, I thought we’d better start some home schooling. (To be honest, they’ve been learning loads already with the Road Trip and Beach living, but I want them to learn some more vital life skills, so we begin here…)

The Art Of Making Your Parents Breakfast In Bed:


All the boys canΒ  now handle a toaster and a plethora of cereals πŸ˜πŸ˜‚


And they’ve all begun earning their pocket money by making their beds and keeping their rooms tidy.

They are still driving me crackers with their insane arguing on occasion (so the potential of sending them to the local school is still a very valid threat) but for now, I’ll keep them. As long as they keep the toast coming πŸ˜‰

Sid is a little bundle of pleasure to teach, he is so enthusiastic about his sounds.. not so keen on putting pen to paper but I’m sure that’ll grow on him when he’s ready.


This weekend I realised that I have never been so unorganised for Christmas πŸ™ˆ Every time I pop on Facebook I see Christmas trees and tinsel. It’s giving me palpitations. 22 days to go and I have no idea where we will even be living, let alone whether Santa will be bringing tangerines and lumps of coal. I’m hoping that we hear back from the estate agent today as to whether anyone will let this crazy family of 6 rent their property.

I have, however, been organised enough that MY Christmas present is sorted 😁

Santa is bringing Mark and Me a Log for Christmas.Β  Check out this bad boy:


So if we can’t find a rental, it looks like Christmas accommodation is sorted with kids sleeping in the car and Me and Mark sleeping on a surfboard on the beach πŸ˜‚ πŸ™ˆ

This weekend I caught up with an old friend (Not THAT old, old as in I haven’t seen her for 14 years πŸ˜‰) and her 2 boys, we played, we swam, we built sandcastles, we climbed rocks, we dug holes, we played football, and had a bloody good catch up. It was lovely, aye Keri. Aye πŸ˜‰ 😁  And really nice to see the boys making friends 😍

So keep your fingers crossed for house news this week. And the boys education continues with an actual surf lesson this Wednesday. Surf Report is for good waves, hot weather.

Bring it on 😎





What I think I look like surfing (and what I actually do πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ)

Seriously. Who knew I had so much of a builders bum? πŸ˜†

I almost wish mark hadn’t got the camera out, I look a lot better in my head 😝 (and that wave I’m on looked at least 3 foot πŸ˜†)

Photo Collage Maker_M2pZOx

We’ve basically been spending this week on the beach. The kids have been lathered in factor 50 (as have we) and we’ve been in and out of the sea more times in the past week than we have in the past year. It’s been ace.


Sid has discovered an intense love for sand…


(And an intense dislike of showers to get it off 😜)

We’ve bought a car.. It’s a 7 seater so we can fit all the rugrats in, and it’s a Japanese import, so I haven’t got a clue what half the buttons on the dash do πŸ™ˆ but it’s got air conditioning and it goes. It’s ours 😍 (and we’re not bus wankers anymore 😁)


This week, I’ve also discovered that FaceTime is brilliant. My parents have hit the ground running with their new technology (the iPad) and rang up this morning, smack bang in the middle of me having a shower. I heard the ringtone, and thought I’d left it by my bed. The ringer, however, got louder as I rinsed off my shampoo, and I heard the excitement in Sid’s voice as he realised, “Grandad’s ringing!” while trying to open the bathroom door.

My voice was more terror-ridden as I yelled at him to “LEAVE IT, I’LL RING BACK” while clambering towards the towels in my half-blind contact lens-less state. I know they’re my parents, I know they’ve seen it all before, but I’m pretty solid that they don’t need a reminder of me in my birthday suit 40ish years on πŸ™ˆπŸ€€

10 minutes later, I’m decent and having a fabulous natter with my ma and pa. Technology these days is just the best.Β  I miss them, but it’s great to be able to actually see them in their lounge… even if it is mostly a view of the top of their heads πŸ˜‚ (they’ll figure that out with practise 😊)

So now I’m all confident with the face to face video call thing, I also managed a fabulous natter with my Scottish twin 😊 I miss some people. This weather almost makes up for it, but I still miss ya πŸ˜™

So. The quest this coming week is to find somewhere to live. We have 3 more weeks in this awesome Bach on Grove, then we’re sleeping in the car and tent, unless we can find a rental crazy enough to take us on πŸ˜‰


Happy Birthday Fred, the smell of Egg 🍳 and locking yourself in the loo

So, on Friday our eldest turned 11. Congratulations to us! We’ve kept him alive for this long πŸ˜‚ As it was our last day in the van, we sang happy birthday with his candles on a bacon butty for breakfast, his favourite meal, I think he liked it 😊


We spent the morning in Rotorua. If you haven’t been, then you might not know that it’s well known for its geothermal activity and hot pools… which go hand in hand with the whiff of sulphur. And if you think back to those chemistry lessons, you’ll know that it’s a rather immense smell of Egg. After a while, you don’t even notice it (or so I’m told πŸ˜†). Mind you it’s still slightly more pleasant smelling than travelling with sick boy in your van πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚

It’s also an area well known for being the adventure capital of the world 😊

We went on the gondola up Mount Ngongotaha, and came down on the Luge ride- it’s well exciting! The boys loved it, even Sid who sat on my knee and I think would have gone faster if he’d had the controls πŸ˜‰


It’s also home to the Mountain Biking festival Crankworx and it was awesome to see parts of the course and bikers on there, a bit different to our ambles along the canal back home πŸ˜‚

Also known as RotoVegas 😁 -it’s where Mark and I spent our 2nd wedding anniversary, doing a skydive here almost 19 years ago 😍 Awwww ❀



Then on to Tauranga, where we had to part with Big Bertha the Campervan. She’s done us proud! A total of about 2000km I think. And we only broke 2 cups and 1 glass with our driving πŸ˜πŸ˜‚Β  (I say our, it was Me 😁)

We got in the Airbnb house, and the first thing that Joe needs is a wee. The rest of us are frantically unloading Bertha (we’re a bit later than we’re supposed to be) and as I’m flinging the 6th bag of clothes in the hallway I hear a little voice, coming from the only bathroom in the house, “Mum, the lock’s stuck”… and 3 seconds later, “Mum, it’s come off in my hand”… πŸ™ˆ

Mark pops round to the bathroom window, which is nowhere near big enough to hoist Joe through. I’m still taking crap out of Bertha- it’s amazing how much stuff we got in there! And I’m thinking how lucky I am to have four lovely sons who provide so much awesome Blog fodder πŸ˜‚


The owner of Big Bertha (Craig of Whitianga Coastal Campers- lovely guy) managed to get Joe out with the canny use of some pliers. Phew.

And here we are, in our home of 4 weeks! It’s a fabulous 50’s Bach, 2 minutes from the bars and restaurants and 5 minutes from the beach 😊

Comes with surfboard, bikes, washing machine (woohooooooooo) and even an outside loo!

Which reminds me. Small snippet of advice for you lot: when indoor toilet is occupied, and you decide to use the outdoor one, and you check that there is a light and toilet roll, and you sit down with a big sigh of relief… don’t start to think about spiders lurking beneath the toilet seat because it WILL make you jump up, whether or not you are part-way through a pee. πŸ˜πŸ˜‚πŸ˜

The Zats have arrived. Welcome to The Mount 😁


What happens when you have a hissy fit in a small, confined area (like a camper van) πŸ™ˆ

So, what happens when you have a Hissy Fit in a small, confined area (like a camper van?) πŸ™ˆ

Well, now I can tell you. But first let me set the scene…

We had a lovely stay at Waitomo Caves, the kids weren’t too fussed about seeing the glow worms so we spent the afternoon playing in the pool and around the campsite (…or doing laundry if your name is Mum).

We set off to Taupo the next day, and were about halfway through the 2 hour drive, when the little voice from the back whispered, “I’m going to be sick” πŸ™Š

So a swift pull over to the side of the road, and out comes the plastic bag, and a bag of wet wipes.. we’re pretty good at this travel sick malarkey now. Or so I thought πŸ™ˆ

One small spitty bag of sick later, we wipe poor Sid clean and tie up the bag ready to find a bin, when the real thunder chunks arrive πŸ˜πŸ™ŠπŸ€’

I’ve never seen the other 3 unbuckle and move so fast as to get out of the van and out of spew range πŸ˜‚

The poor van. Poor sid. Our poor luggage (that Sid was sitting next to) and poor us. One pack of wet wipes was NOT enough.

So we did the best spit-and-polish clean up job that we could, and drove on to Taupo, with air freshener and open windows.

Look at this though:


We found the campsite, which included some amazing hotpools and thermal spa, so we all got our togs on, but on arrival I had to do some cleaning of rainbow-hurl items, and the kids were all hot and bothered and every-bloody-body started arguing. Someone slapped someone else round the ear, I hit the roof (almost literally in this van) and stomped off in a Mummy Meltdown, all the way to the front seat of the van, and slammed the door.

So I’m sitting there in my swimming cossie, with hands that stink slightly of toddler sick, and I’m wondering to myself, why the fuck did I storm off to the front of this damn camper? Thats hardly far away enough. So I open my door and like a gazelle, I jump out. Except the seat of my cossie gets caught on the high passenger side elbow rest, and I actually, literally, rip the arse out of my swimsuit πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ

So storming off up the campsite really is a no-go now, I’ve got a bum cheek hanging out where it shouldn’t, and I enter the back door of the camper almost in shame.

One good thing is that the kids have been so stunned by my completely childish tantrum that they shut up πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†

So that’s what a hissy fit in a small area looks like for this family 🀣🀣🀣

In the wise words of Tom, we “drew a line through it” and tramped over to the thermal spa hot pools, and relaxed (as much as you can relax with four boys forcing you up and down the water slides, playing endless tag, and dunking you when you’re least expecting it 😍)


This morning we checked out Taupo central… It’s beautiful! The lake is HUGE and there’s Mt. Ruapehu in the distance, where you can ski and board.


After lunch we had a game of crazy golf, and the owner did mention that in her 13 years there, she’d never seen anything like it. What she is talking about is the 18th hole, where Joe teed off with a huge shot of his ball, which took flight and hit poor Tom in the nuts, before bouncing off into the cup. Hole in one.

The times you wish you’d had your camera ready, eh πŸ˜‚

Nice Joe, nice.

And onwards to Rotorua ❀❀

There’s one ticked off the bucket list. Drying myself with my own underwear πŸ™ˆ

Yes, you read that right.

I am so not cut out to be a camper. I am built for comfort: 5- star hotels and apartments, not campervans and communal toilets.

The first morning in Napier I stumbled out of the van in my pyjamas, clutching my washbag full of deodorant, antiwrinkle cream and contact lenses, grasping my fresh clothes and balancing my all-in-one kids body and hair wash under my arm. My dollar coin was wedged tight in my hand (it’s $1 for a 7 minute hot shower, I’d checked it out the day before) and I’d spotted the empty cubicle from the van window and made a dash for it. I locked the door, popped my money in and threw my very excited-to-be-showering-in-hot-water body under the sprinkler.

7 lush minutes later I stepped out, to find that I’d forgotten a very important part of the showering process: my Towel πŸ˜΅πŸ™ˆ

What’s a girl to do? I had to dry off with my underwear and pyjamas. Nice. It most definitely won’t happen again.

Napier was lovely, the beach we stopped at was a bit shingly, like tiny black pebbles, but it was refreshing to not be covered in sand for once to be honest. We played around on the front and visited an aquarium.. and we got a little overexcited at seeing the penguins, resulting in my phone hitting the deck and having its screen obliterated. πŸ˜” It did make me realise how much we rely on my phone: no sat nav, no Wi-Fi, no contact numbers, no way of phoning home… we managed to get it fixed thank God but it’s now like my prized possession and lives only in my sweaty palm, no-one else’s.


We drove on to a place called Woodville, spent the night in a sports ground car park, had the biggest cooked breakfast and set off to Wanganui, which is by the sea, but on the West Coast: the sand is blacker, and there’s a lot of wood and debris on the coastline.

The campsite had a great little pool and a hot tub, we totally took advantage of these πŸ˜‚


Another day, another couple of hours drive.. and we were so blown away by the sight of Mt. Taranaki that my David Bailey of a hubby took about 50 photos on the way here πŸ˜‚


Look. At. That. 😍

We made it to New Plymouth and we’re freedom camping in a car park right next to the water’s edge… I thought it’d be quiet but there’s actually about 30 campervans squeezed on here tonight so we may be in for a late one 😊

It’s bloody beautiful though.


Tomorrow’s agenda is to get up, maybe shower, definitely remember the towel, and head to Waitomo Caves ❀