28 June 2010

Last Week is over

Last week was really horrible for me (just work, stress etc), and by Friday I just wanted to crash with some wine and my PJS...

BUT I went to this dinner at Rob's school (where he also lives). I warmed up once the stress started to melt away (but I wasn't in a good way when I arrived!). Rob had been involved in a Quiz since 4pm - I joined in for the dinner. I had a nice time there for an hour or so (his work colleagues seem nice - mostly outgoing and friendly English teachers), then back to his place for some 'Sons of Anarchy' (I've introduced Rob to the series, and am watching it again with him. We have ONE episode left in season one, before we can move onto the very awesome season two).

Saturday we had brunch together (Trinity of Silver organic deliciousness!), before he dropped me home - that's when all the fun cleaning, tidying, and cooking started! Because, at 5pm-ish, a crowd of four were to descend on Rich and me for nibbles, dinner, and old school vs. new school games :)

We all had a blast! (even if 30 minutes before they were due, the lounge was still a bomb site thanks to my two brothers assembling a TV unit and drilling on doors! Good work, but bad timing!). We played board games first: Cluedo (Mrs White, with the Candlestick, in the Billiard room if you will), Boggle, and Operation (though strictly speaking it wasn't 'old school' as it was the Shrek version!).

Then on to Wii Mario Party 8. I'd never played Mario before - I was more a Giana Sisters gal. We played four player Mario Party games- frickin random stuff!! I think the programmers were surely high when they thought up EVERYTHING! Lots of laughs though :)

Sunday was more of a chill out day - more Wii goodness (in the form of shooting zombies in a gore fest retro-esque game), and a drive over the Shore (it's like another world :P).

Also, it was self-imposed New* Music Sunday, with a heap of new tunes for my listening pleasure, including (*new to me, or new new): Frightened Rabbit, Passion Pit, Sarah McLachlan, Chemical Brothers, She & Him, The Black Keys, LCD Soundsystem, Karen Elson, and Dead Weather.

Anyways, happy Monday - I have a new conditioner to try out... yes folks, that's right - I am excited about this. But remember, it IS a Monday, and I am currently stuck at work... It's the small things...

18 June 2010

Another Update

I thought it's about time I wrote an entry. I'm just back from Rob's - he took me to dinner last night, bought me roses, and chocolates, and a bottle of wine :) Really sweet. So, I'm in a good mood!

It's been a busy month or so - obviously had my week away in Argentina. I also had a day trip to Napier for work (with my boss for the first time ever - it went well).

Even though it's felt busy, and the time has simply flown, I'm having trouble accounting for all the days!

There has been a lull in concerts - I've got a few bookmarked as ones I'd like to go to, but unfortunately my money tree still hasn't appeared (Band of Horses, The Temper Trap, Passion Pit, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club...). I believe I am getting a Florence and the Machine ticket for my b'day though, so yay! I didn't go to the Laneways Festival here, so I missed seeing her.

As far as new music goes, I've been a bit slack. I haven't managed to get the new Band of Horses, The Dead Weather, or ... goddamnit I can't remember the other new album... Anyways, I haven't got them onto my mp3 player yet. I've been listening to them a lot on my PC though - THE EDITORS!! That was the other new album - I really love their new album. It's awesome :) Out of the three aforementioned albums, I think I always end up back on The Editors.

I only just managed to listen to the new Trent Reznor EP, the 'How to Destroy Angels' project - I downloaded it free (thanks Trent!), then forgot where I saved it to. It's fab (I eventually found it) - I've listened to it four of five times; just keep hitting repeat.

I haven't updated my TV page, but I've chewed my through all of season 1 of Fringe, and most of season 2. I like it! Yes, it does have a distinctly 'X-Files' feel, but I liked the 'X-Files', so any comparison is a good one.

The short-lived, 10 episodes, show 'The Unusuals' was another I watched - I seriously dig Amber Tamblyn, and she was great (although always felt slightly too young...) as Detective Casey Shraeger

I've also clocked through a number of season finales lately (of shows that I follow): Glee, Bones, Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Breaking Bad, United States of Tara to name a few. I'll miss them, but it frees up my time to catch up on all the movies I've been missing.

Welcome back True Blood and Lie to Me - I've missed them both, so glad to have some new episodes to watch.

The 2010 NZ International Film Festival is just around the corner. I have only flicked through the first 20-odd pages of the guide, and I've already booked about 15 films!! I always get extremely over-excited about the nzff :)

Misc section
My favs: [Simunovich Olive products - the one and only hand cream I use is theirs (I have a tube in my handbag, one at work, and one at home!). I've moved onto their body lotion, and now their shampoo. I recommend it] [Dove Cucumber & Green Tea antiperspirant spray - just a brilliant subtly scented product] [St Ives Apricot Exfoliating Body Wash - delicious and a good price] [Elizabeth Eight Hour tube - every girl needs a tube on hand!] [Stoneleigh Sav Blanc - often on special, but a good buy regardless for a tasty Sav] [Russian Fudge - my fav kind of fudge. Chocolate fudge can go take a flying leap. The thing with russian fudge is, it is really hard to find a good one - the consistency needs to melt in your mouth, and the flavour has to have that golden syrup/brown sugar tang. Problem solved: 'The Sweetest Little Chocolate Shop' on Queen Street stocks the *perfect* russian fudge at 80c a piece. Needless to say I buy in bulk... but only as a special treat of course ;) ] [Scarves - one good thing about winter is its easier to wear scarves, and I don't just mean the warm kind, but all kinds. Mum gave me this gorgeous indian cotton type green scarf that has threads of silver, and other colours all through it. I love this scarf!] [Brand new flannelet PJs - I don't care how unsexy these may appear, but a brand new set of fluffy, cuddly, PJs are simply the best. I just bought a set for half price: white with coloured cats all over. I will wear these proudly. Tease away. It also means I can though away the now-stiff and thread bare old PJs, which are the opposite of awesome.] [Random on my mp3 player. For example: The View - Coming Down, Bodyrockers - I Like the Way, Oren Lavie - Her Morning Elegance, Fink - Six Weeks, Phoenix - Run Run Run, The Decemberists - The Crane Wife, Outkast - Hey Ya!, Bob Dylan - I Want You, M83 - Graveyard Girl, Ladyhawke - Danny and Jenny, Grizzly Bear - Colorado. I couldn't come up with such a playlist!] [Castle Age - wh-wh-what?! Yes, for someone as anti facebook as me, what the hell am I doing playing a facebook game. Unfortunately I like it... ugh.] [Twitter - I really like to tweet, no matter how geeky that sounds. I like it waaaaay better than facebook] [Hugs - can I say that hugs are often underrated? Going without a hug for 2 weeks sucks ass. I like a good hug, especially from my parents - it feels soooo safe. Cheesy I know. Bite me. Rob-hugs are pretty awesome too.]

Ok, enough gratuitous random ranting for one blog entry! What I should be doing is cleaning the house... which is why I am here doing this hehe

My Travel Journal - Buenos Aires

I've been meaning to post my notes on my recent trip to Buenos Aires for a while now (I was awarded the trip from work, and went with a group of staff and their partners). They are brief, but go with my facebook photos nicely.

Thursday 20th May
Flight from Auckland to Buenos Aires, 6:30pm. Airline generally bad – rundown look about seats etc. Air Hostesses more like guards – lucky to get fed!
Plane seats were in this formation mostly: (window) two seats, aisle, four seats, aisle, two seats (window). Rob and I had a seat of two seats both ways, which was great.
No real in-flight entertainment – a couple of screens did show our flight plan, and a couple of movies (which were dubbed to Spanish, with no English subtitles. One was ‘Avatar’).
I didn’t sleep much at all on way over.

Landed 5pm, Thursday 20th. Bus took us to the Plaza Marriott hotel in the Retiro neighbourhood (big for leather goods, and near shopping). We checked in, then all Colliers staff and partners met for cocktails at one of the hotel’s bars at 7pm (keeping in mind I am running on little sleep and it's approx 10am in Auckland - great time for Vodka hehe).
All rookies on the trip (first-timers) were then invited out to dinner at a grill/streak house called ‘Las Navarenas’. Locals eat late (after 9am, and tend to head to work at 10am). Always start with complimentary baskets of bread/crackers. Tried my first Empanada (yummy meat pies that are look like turn-over pastries), and steak (HUGE!). Rob and I left around 11pm, as I was exhausted!

Friday 21st May
Breakfast at the hotel (great buffet: pastries, hot food including a chef to make you an omelette to order, fruits, yoghurt, bread, cheese, meat etc).
Brief wander around the local shops. Hotel is super close to Florida Avenue, which is lined with shops.
Half-day tour at 10am – small cost, but only our staff on two buses. Mostly driving, with a couple of stops. Drive past Plaza de Mayo (famous square, with government buildings around it, including Casa Rosa – the Pink House), 9 de Julio Avenue (widest Avenue in the world, also home to the Obelisk), Recoleta Cemetery (stop to see Eva Peron’s tomb), La Boca (with a stop at its famous Caminito Street).

Staff group dinner at ‘La Estancia’. Dinner and a tango show until midnight.

Saturday 22nd May
Took a van with a four or so other staff couples to a leather outlet store. Rob bought a leather jacket and shoes. I bought a pair of green leather ankle boots. While waiting for the van to take us back, we played foosball in the back court yard of the building with one of the shop's staff/owners (he was VERY competitive!).

Back to the hotel for a brief coffee break, then more shopping down Florida Street. Lunch at Galleria Pacifico (fancy shopping mall – shops too expensive).

Back to hotel around 5pm, then off to dinner at ‘Broccolino’ (just the two of us). Great Italian food.

Sunday 23rd May8:25am – Staff “conference” breakfast (aka informal gathering to allow tax benefits).
9:10am – Partners joined us for breakfast.
10:15am – Full day Gaucho Fiesta tour. Rob and I were the only staff to go on it, and the only non-Spanish speakers in the tour van (made us feel like a hassle, but oh well).
We made our first stop in the San Telmo neighbourhood to spend ½ hour at the famous Sunday markets (antiques and flea market).

Then on to Santa Susana, in the district of Campana. 1200 hectare farm, originally started by an Irish Argentine. Homestead and Chapel (now a museum of how they lived 200? years ago), horses, park, and main tourist centre.
Big dinner for all the different tour groups (more grill), dancing/music/tango show, then outside for a horse show. There were two different horse shows: Tropilla – mixed and matched horse herds (gauchos herds them), and Carreras de Sortijas - ring race (Gauchos on back of horses race towards/under arch, from which hangs small rings. They hold a small stick between their teeth and have to get the stick through the ring to pull the ring off. The ring is then given to the girl they want to marry). You'll be happy to know I was given a ring by one of the Gauchos.

Started to rain! It ended up pouring by the time we were back into the tour van to head back to the city by 6pm.
I went for a walk by myself and got soaked (also tried a McPollo – McChicken. Not as yummy as in NZ).

Monday 24th May
9:15am – Half day Tigre (river) tour. Bus through the suburbs of Vicente Lopez, Olivos (where the President’s residence is), to Maipu train station for a scenic ride to San Isidro. There we had ½ hour of so look at the shops, Cathedral (neo-gothic), and flea markets (where I found this jewellery stall that I WISH I had bought more from. I bought myself a ring and bracelet).
Back in the bus (which met us there) through San Fernando to Tigre. From Tigre we got on a tour boat (with many other tourists) for an hour cruise of the Parana River Delta. Awesome sights – no roads on the delta (all houses use river/boat access).
Back home along the Panamericana Highway.

I went for a wander alone (browsing shops), then back to hotel where the pair of us went to ‘Las Nazarenas’ for dinner (again). Around 10:20pm we walked to 9 de Julio Avenue for some of the bicentennial celebrations (which had been going on for the last few days – 25th May is a public holiday to celebrate independence). We went to the Obelisk (big concert going on around it, along with fireworks), and past the Colon Theatre, which was having its grand re-opening – exclusive inside, but all opera/ballet etc, going on inside was played live on big screens outside. Home around midnight.

Tuesday 25th May
Checked out at noon, and moved our luggage into one of four rooms work kept for us to share. Walked to MNBA - Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (the National Fine Art Museum). Stopped at a flea market along the way. Spent the morning browsing the gallery (first floor has international artists, including pieces by Monet, Picasso, Pollack, Modigliani... Second floor is Argentinean or South American works). Lunch at the gallery restaurant.

Back to the hotel to sort ourselves out for the flight (shower, hotel bar of drinks, dinner). Then a bus came to take us to the airport at 10:30pm for our 2:15am flight. BA departure lounge – lots of duty free stores.

Rob and I got a two seater again (I had the window seat this time). We were served dinner at 3am-ish, then I slept (thank you sleeping pills!). Breakfast served around 2 hrs before landing. In-flight service just as crappy (no movies etc).

Thursday 27th May
Landed back in Auckland at 7:30am (13-14 hr flight).


All in all I (we) had a fabulous time. It was a long way to go for 5 days however - I really wish I could've afforded to stay a little longer (though, time of work etc would've been more of an issue, esp for Rob).
BA is a wonderful city, and I really hope I get to go back and travel to all the places in that neck of the woods that I didn't get to see this time.