Friday, July 30, 2010

A night at Whitianga

When we reached Whitianga it was almost time for dinner! (thanks to the rain, dad drove slower, and that made me felt more relaxed) 

But we've decided to checked into a motel first before it gets too dark. We were recommended to check out Beachside Resort and the manager Bruce gave us a special price at only $100.- a night (for the five of us and its usually at $99.- for a couple but because it's winter/low season + recommended by his friend, we have special price)

The room is modern, clean and warm. It fits 4 adults so he had to blow up another extra bed for us without charging extra costs.

So we unpacked and settled down, deciding on where to eat again.

J must have found a packing on the towels and thought they're chocolates (the last motel we stayed, had chocolates on the bed)
He opened it and had a small bite and realized it wasn't chocolate! Poor boy...must be very hungry.

Because Whitianga is much smaller than Tauranga, there are not a lot of restaurants and shops around, so choosing a restaurant wasn't that difficult.

We went to check out 'Salt' - fine dining restaurant & bar. It is situated right by the water of the Whitianga Marina. Too bad it was already dark when we reached there.

Mom and I ordered - Market fish with sauteed local paua, Japanese mushroom, spring onions, chilli, coriander & white miso broth - $33.-. It was a good dish. The fish is fried on the skin side, making it crispy then put in the oven and back to the pan for final round. It goes very well with the miso broth.

Dad & L ordered - 90 day grain fed eye fillet with roasted shallots, hand cut chips & bearnaise sauce - $34.-. Dad & L claimed that it's the best eye fillet they've ever tasted! So...there you go..comments from 2 meat lover.

J's entree as his main - Ragout of wild rabbit with homemade papadelle and grana padano - $18.-

J didn't really liked his dish because it was rabbit (I should not have told him it's rabbit). He couldn't finish it so husband and I licked the plate clean..It was delicious!
Service as a bit slow, we waited 30 minutes to be fed but the waiter was friendly.

Beachside Resort
20 Eyre Street,
Coromandel Peninsula
07-867 1356
Salt Bar & Restaurant
1 Blacksmith Lane
Whitianga, NZ
07-866 5818
(to be continue...)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bye bye Tauranga

Before leaving Tauranga, we had another walk along the town and at the same time deciding on where to have our lunch. We can't decide which restaurant to go to as everyone wanted something different that we can't get in one restaurant. (we wanted to go to Mt. Maunganui Hot Salt Water Pools but was closed for renovation)

So, we ended up with kebab, sushi and fish n chips (again). We found a nice spot near the beach (sharing the spot with some hungry sea gulls)

J just had to play on the beach even though it's so windy and cold. Bbbrrrr....

Before we head up North to Whitianga, we stopped by Mossop's Honey Store. Dad takes a lot of honey. He drinks honey water, on toast and as a substitute for sugar.

They have live bee display and free honey tasting table. The store is filled with honey products such as beewax sheets for candle making, health products, gift packs and skin care products and the store smells delicious too!

(to be continue....)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Trip to Tauranga.

I love travelling! But I get anxious when it comes to flying or driving long distance. So, how am I ever going to travel again? Hmm..well...I have to keep reminding those that drive to 'slow down', looking at the driver constantly making sure he/she is not falling asleep.

Sadly, when we fly I can't sit in the cockpit staring at the pilot, making sure he/she's not falling asleep or flying us into turbulence. All I can do, is squeeze hubby's hand and say a little prayer before and after take off! and drink some Vodka! Hahahaaha....

But despite all these, we took a trip to Tauranga & Coromandel over the school holidays and yes I kept reminding the husband and my dad to slow down and kept talking to them.
We drove all the way from Auckland - Tauranga. Had two stops:

We had our lunch under this big shade. Mom cooked fried noddles so we've decided to have a fast picnic here. It was nice! know, drizzling, cool, eating noddles out of a pot, planing where to go, which route to take, family chit was a good start!

Playground stop for J so he doesn't get too bored in the car. This is Waihi - a gold mining town.
Gold was first discovered in Waihi at Pukewa (Martha Hill) in 1878.

Upon arrival, we went straight to the 'information center' to see what we can do, where to eat, where to stay and we also managed to grab a map of the town.

In the evening, we patronized an award winning restaurant - Two Small Fish.
For an award wining restaurant, business was pretty slow that evening. There were only 9 customers including us.

This is my Fish n Chips - $27.-. Portion was huge. Taste was just alright.

Husband L ordered Terakihi pan fried with homemade chow chow, roast potatoes & chick peas & onion fritters - $32.- Taste was just alright.

Mom & Dad shared the Gurnard pan fried with potato & chive croquetes, roast beetroot, pancetta, micro salad & verjuice granita - $32.- Taste was just alright as well. Nothing fancy.

This is J's dinner. Risotto with flounder, prawn, cherry tomato & sweet corn - $16.-. This is actually an Entree but it's a good size for him. It was the BEST meal of the evening and even dad ordered another round of risotto after his main. When dad says it's's really quite nice! So, we all forked in to try. Yup! Better than my fish n chips...

So, after filling up our belly, we went for a walk around the town of Tauranga. I noticed that there are a lot of shop brands that we can't find in Auckland. There's no Just Jeans, no Cotton On, no Principles, and no Ballentyne (not that I shop in all these stores) but they have mostly private brands and the stores are all nicely decorated!! Very different from the stores we see in Auckland.

We checked ourselves into a 'Spanish Style' Motel - Mission Belle Motel for $200.- a night. The room fits exactly the 5 of us but too bad there's no hot pool to relax in after the long journey... so we took out our laptops instead. Hahahaaha...

J brought his friends along this trip as well. Meet Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Mr. Rabbit!!

(to be continue...)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Farmer Bill's Fresh Baby Peeled Carrots Review

Very happy to receive a big box of Farmer Bill's Fresh Baby Peeled Carrots. There's a total of twelve individually packed carrots. They were still cool when I opened the box and the packs looks attractive (especially the bright orange colour).

I gave 1 snack pack (75g) to J and he opened the bag by problem.

He enjoyed the nagging needed...which is a good sign...LOL.

I don't usually like munching on raw carrots, but I have to say Farmer Bill's Fresh Baby Peeled Carrots does taste fresh, crunchy, sweet and looks cute. I was surprised I ate more than I usually do.

I also like the fact that we can eat it straight from the bag and it's a good size to bring along and will definitely be in J's lunch box this week (for a lazy bum like me, it's an easy and quick way to make sure the family have the 5 servings of veges a day!)

You can make fangs with these baby carrots too!

Thanks to Farmer Bill's Fresh Baby Peeled Carrots for sending a generous amount for trial.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Pirate Birthday Party for a Girl

J was invited to his classmate's 5th birthday party and he was so excited to dress up as a pirate. He was all prepared because he also had a pirate birthday this year.
This pirate party was a bit special because it's for a birthday girl!
When we were out buying her birthday present, J told me that she doesn't like girlie toys and wants to get a 'Ben10' toy for her. I was quite reluctant but in the end, I agreed just because J knew her better so I trusted him.
So...we bought a 'Ben10' Lego for her and for J himself! Hahaha...his bright idea (so they can play together)
Anyway, back to the pirate birthday party...upon arrival, J saw this big pirate ship and was so excited he ran straight to it but we managed to stopped him. We went to greet the birthday girl and her family & friends...and as fast as he went again.
They hired a professional 'pirate' including his 'pirate ship' and he organized the treasure hunt & games for about one and half hour? (loss count coz I was too busy taking pictures and video...hahaha)
And the ship's name is Black Rose.

They also have a huge tent for the kids...almost like a 'wedding' reception. Hahaha...because they have place cards...which I thought was sweet. J was very observant because when I showed him his seat...he told me and the birthday girl that his name was spelt wrongly and needed another 'U'
I was happy that he realize there's a mistake in his name!
Kids was served 'kids' food and I was being naughty and tasted every single one of them and I tell you...WOW...almost for a minute there...I felt like a kid again! LOL..
I didn't get the chance to talk to the 'pirate' but found his website.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eco Friendly Sandwich Wrap

As a parent, I believe we're always thinking of what to pack for our kids' lunch box. We have tried a variety of food such as -
  • fried rice, 
  • lightly battered salmon with green beans (his fav.), 
  • potato & salmon fritters, 
  • chicken with brussels sprouts & potatoes 
  • and all the healthy food we can think of.'re going to ask me..."how do you find time to do all this"? I husband is so patient and an angel, he wakes up earlier than me to prepare breakfast and lunch for J !! (and that's everyday!!) And when my parents are here, they'll do it too.
He also make sandwiches for J's lunch and I thought it would be nice to get him an Eco friendly sandwich wrap instead of wrapping it with aluminum foil..right?
So...this is what we Eco Friendly Sandwich Wrap from and this is J's wholemeal pita bread filled with tuna, cucumber, small chunks of pepper bells and alfalfa sprouts.
We got the 29 cm x 29 cm for $14.50
Yeah...We bought the biggest one in case we have a bigger sandwich for him in the future!
The black label is to write his name.
It fits nicely into his lunch box.

I think it's a bit on the pricey side.... $10.00 would be a reasonable price considering the quality (too simple, J didn't find it very attractive, and if you know how to sew, you can easily make one yourself) but the good thing is, when not in used, it can be easily stored and it's a good way to start saving our planet!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Indoor Rock Climbing

 J loves climbing! Since young, he climbed on sofas, tables, anything that he set eyes on actually. (yeah! almost like a monkey). Hahahah...

When he was younger, we bought him a toddler climbing set but he's getting too advanced now and finding it too easy and using it as his treasure place when he wants to hide his toys.
So, we brought him to an indoor rock climbing centre.

It's J's second time at an indoor rock climbing centre and this one is much bigger and cheaper and there's no time limit. ($7.50 for 5 years and under and it's for the whole day)

 They have the 'kids climbing area', newly open (3rd July 2010, just in time for school holiday) and the 'more advance climbing area'. J climbed in both areas and we spent about 2.5 hours there. Great place for fun and exercise. We can even have birthday parties there!

Extreme Edge Indoor Rock Climbing,
5 Waikaukau Road,
Glen Eden,
P: 09-818 3038

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dining Out

When it comes to dining out, my dad would usually go to his favourite restaurant. He's familiar with the menu, the taste and most of the time even the owner and the chef.

But this time, it's mom's call and she wanted to try out the 'Fireplace'-Bar & Brasserie at Kumeu.
I have to say, I was quite impress with the interior. It's welcoming, simple, neat and I like the high wooden ceiling.
This is my 'Tempura Fish'
L ordered 'Rump Steak'

I think dad had 'Scotch Fillet', mom had 'Tempura Fish' as well but asked for it to be 'pan fried' and J had kid's menu - 'Chicken Nuggets & Chips' (and we kept giving him fish and vegetables and stealing his chips, LOL)

We went on a Tuesday -  All main course for only $19.90!! (to be seated between 6-7pm)
The lady that served us that night was very friendly and this is what we should find in all the restaurant.

The Fireplace Bar & Brasserie
64 State Highway 16
P: 09-412 6447

Monday, July 12, 2010


It's been really cold these few days and it's the time of year where nobody likes opening mail from the electric company! Houses in Auckland are so differently built that during winter, we need to wear jacket/jumper indoor, whereas when we lived in Zuerich, Switzerland, we could be nude indoor while it's snowing outdoor! (Hahahaa...well... not that we did it!)

We've pink bates put up last year but heaters are still running every night especially in J's room as cold could trigger his asthma.

It's also time to dig out my boots, thermal, gloves and thick socks. As for the summer clothes...I'll see you in a few months time.

During this cold, winter, flu season, I would stock up on onions and when there's sign of flu or sore throat or any early sign of sickness, I will cut one onion in half and put 1 in the bedroom and the other half in the living room (which ever room we spend time the most). 

I'm sure you all know the benefits of onions. I've tried it few times and I'm happy with the results. It usually stops the flu from spreading around. Give it a try. More onions and less medicine = happy family. Hahahahaa...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Out Shopping

I've always enjoyed going shopping/window shopping by myself! Reason is because I can take my time going through clothes, shoes, accessories, handbags etc... in peace!
I'm very lucky to have a very patient husband. When the three of us are out shopping, he'd be the one taking care of J. He'd be the one waiting for J at the play area, He'd be the one in the toy shop with J while mommy is in her favourite store trying out shoes, clothes and looking for bargain! Hahahahaa..

What I usually do when I'm out shopping with J:
  • Ensure he's not tired or hungry
  • Bring his favourite toy along
  • Bring husband/mom along (take turns to watch J while 1 of us are trying out clothes)
  • Limit my shopping time
  • Get J to help out (asking his opinion to keep him busy)
  • Take him to a toy shop or play area (if there's any. So he get to do his window shopping as well)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

All Blacks of New Zealand

I had a small job last week. Filming the re-opening of the Kingsland Train Station and All Blacks was there for the ceremony. Kingsland Railway Station is five minutes walking distance to Eden Park, the major rugby stadium in Auckland. The platforms were lengthened and an underpass constructed just in time for the 2011 World Rugby.
That's Steve filming Edward from PeopleMax.
All Blacks Captain - Richard Hugh "Richie" McCaw
The rest of the team, walking towards Eden Park Rugby Stadium. The station was packed full of news crew, photographers, fans and VIPs from Auckland Council and other councils. It was nice experience because I get to feel like a 'paparazzi'. hahah...