02 February 2011

Recipe for a Great Family Adventure

Take one city-bound TV-overdosed family; put them in a people-mover crammed with gear and stick them on the highway heading north for a weekend at the beach, far removed from civilisation.

Holiday weekend adventure with Gail from Delightfully Diva-ish and family {+dog!}

Add one cyclone and some blocked roads.
Mix together with some great friends, a sense of humour and a large dose of flexibility.
{if possible make sure these friends come equipped with at least two great kids. If they also own the smartest dog in the world, even better}

Make sure to have well-charged cellphones and plenty of credit.

Keep driving north on the back roads, avoiding floods and landslides. Use camera regularly.

To keep things interesting while stuck in tailbacks, you can try playing snap, i-spy or having backseat fun fights (warning - wiggly teeth may be lost in the scuffle)


After baking in crowded vehicles for four hours, release some steam with the help of the smartest dog in the world and a pet-friendly motel.

Thanks to Kristy (PaisleyJade) for being willing to open her home to us at short notice! And yay for getting to meet Jacksta B as well! (PJ was meant to come to the beach for a BBQ, but the cyclone dashed our plans)

Take the city-folk and mix well with some locals.
Make sure they are flexible and also have a great sense of humour, so that when you phone and say, Can nine people and the smartest dog in the world come over for dinner at your house? they are likely to say, "Why certainly!" and invite some more friends as well.
It helps if these locals are well-loved crafty bloggers with sociable husbands, a collection of cute kids and the best backyard in the world.

{Carefully avoid mixing the dogs.}

When the roads clear the next morning, proceed to the coast as soon as you can wipe the sleep from your crusty eyes, and stock up on last minute provisions.

Carry seventeen loads of paraphernalia down 160 steps; try to avoid tripping over any toddlers. Or dogs. Dress the kids in their swimmers, slap on sunscreen and send them to the beach with their daddies.

Throw open the doors and windows of your classic kiwi bach and take in the view.
Breathe in deeply and make a cup of tea. Or two. You made it. Now let the fun begin...

You can flavour your beach weekend with your favourite combination of...

 Al fresco dining... {BBQ'd prawns, steamed mussels-from-the-rocks and wine}

 Hanging out with your favourite people... in the most beautiful spot on God's Earth...

 Chilling. Swimming. Crab-hunting. Rock-pooling. Rock-fishing. Musseling. Reading. Sand-sculpturing.

Enjoy the stunning beauty of a classic kiwi beach...

{if some annoying people set up camp right below your deck, you can send your daughter to climb the tree they are sitting under and sing Miley Cyrus really really loud... but they probably won't take the hint...}

Top off a great day with a sunset walk on the beach... with the smartest dog in the world {warning - your children will once again start begging you for a dog...}

Leonie from KiwiatHeart, recently returned to NZ from living in Oz... how great to meet her and her lovely family!

And just when you think it can't get any better... the cherry on top. More bloggy friends wander up the beach and join you for brunch. What a lovely surprise. The kids make friends for life. Little Bloggers just starting out come face-to-face with other kid bloggers... ex-pats rediscover the joys of being back in Kiwi Land... and how easy it is to make friends... {and I got to splash Leonie!}

Some Do's And Don'ts for making the most of an Adventurous Weekend
  • DON'T go back home when the phone rings and you are warned "Don't leave Auckland" - stay on the road and figure something out.
  • DON'T forget your crochet coffee cup sleeves. You never know when you will need them.
  • DON'T think taking the dog on holiday is too hard. A dog makes a wonderful beach companion.
  • DON'T forget the sunscreen. Or the mozzie spray.
  • DON'T lose your cool when your toddler upends a bucket of sand over your head. It will wash out of your hair. Eventually.
  • DON'T get too upset when your kids are making you wonder why you had them  brought them after just an hour of landing at the beach. Talk to your wise friend. She will remind you that they are kids and we all have them.
  • DO make another cup of tea and sit in the sunshine. Soon the sounds of happy laughter will drift up and reassure you that your friend is so right.
  • DO buy more orange juice than what you think you'll need. And lemonade. And bottled water. You never know when you might have unexpected guests.
  • DO plan a menu that requires as little time in the kitchen as possible. BBQs. Hamburgers. Popcorn.
  • DO keep your cool when your child has a tantrum when the other kids are asleep and you have settled in for a nice friendly non-competitive grownup game of cards...
  • DO consider a dog.
Best weekend EVER!

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PaisleyJade said...

What an awesome post - and amazing weekend!! Loved catching up with you guys and looking forward to meeting Leonie soon!!! xoxox

Meghan Maloney Photography said...

What fun!! And even better that you didn't let the cyclone scare you off!!! Love seeing bloggy friends all getting together!

Leonie said...

Oh Simone it was so lovely to meet you and Gail and your families!! And where else in the world can you rock up and crash someone's brunch?.. and then overstay your welcome and eat their dinner too!! lol
It was totally surreal to be floating in the ocean (in Godzone)chatting away to you!!!
We had an awesome day. Thank you for your hospitality. The hubby and kids had a whale of a time too. Like the girls said, 5 bloggy girls in one place.
Cant wait to catch up again soon and looking forward to meeting PJ and Jacksta.
Your photos are STUNNING!!!

jacksta said...

Love the pics. Glad your weekend turned out awesome despite the early rain. It was really nice meeting you...like meeting a celebrity! ;)

Anonymous said...

Love love love love

one day.......

love and light

Kat said...

Both the holiday, meeting new/old friends and I simply LOVE your photos!!!
How did you get that affect please?

Stacy Uncorked said...

I love this post! What an amazing weekend for sure! :)

WW: Summer House Renovation Update

Neetz said...

awwww that looked really ultra awesome!

Simoney said...

For anyone who wants to know how I got that photo effect...
It's on Photoscape, a free downloadable photo editing programme that I share here:
The effect is "Cross Processing" under "film effects"; I think there is also a vignette. And of course... my favourite frame, Cali 09.

Holly Lefevre said...

Everything about this post is amazing and wonderful and I think most families can take a cue from this for sure. Your photos are delightful and just gorgeous and it makes me want to get up and escape form this dreaded computer. Magnificent post.

Unknown said...

Wonderful post! I love your pictures! You had such an adventure getting to your vacation spot.

Shell said...

What fun! :)

Melanie said...

This is completely awesome. What great photos and what seems like great fun! This makes that desire in me to visit NZ that much stronger.

Yes...great stuff!

Galit Breen said...

This is so beautifully done! Truly a work of heart!

Anonymous said...

Awesome pictures. It sounds like you had an amazing weekend!

Di said...

I love this post! Such fun to read!

Missy | Literal Mom said...

I love these picture collages - you told a beautiful story with them!

Unknown said...

Your pictures are amazing! What editor do use? I'm so glad you all were able to find the joy and laughter in an endless road trip. That would have really tested my patience!

PS. Those coffee cups sleeves are so clever!

Stopping by from the Summer Fun Show-Off. :)

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