Shocking case of child abuse

December 21, 2011 § 4 Comments

Most people think of New Zealand as a wonderful place to live: beautiful scenery, friendly people, laid-back lifestyle. And for the most part, they would be right.

However, New Zealand has a shockingly high level of child abuse, and many disturbing cases have made the news over the past few years.

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All I want for Christmas…..

December 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

(photo credited to mMathab - flickr)

I recently read an article about what Kiwi children are wishing for, for Christmas this year.

Some of them are funny: “I am a good boy with an annoying brother so I think I should get something big this year.”

And some are a little bit heartbreaking: “I know there are lots of kids out there that won’t get much this Christmas so my biggest wish is for all those kids to have a happy Christmas and for you to give some of my presents to them.”

As I was reading through the article it got me thinking – what do I want for Christmas?

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Students: we’ve got it easy

December 17, 2011 § 4 Comments

For the past three days (and the next six) I’ve been back working for the family I used to nanny for. And it’s got me thinking. Of how much harder work and the ‘real world’ is than studying. 

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Christmas Market comes to the South Bank

December 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

One of my favourite places in London is the South Bank. I love walking along the Thames, and looking over to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, particularly during dusk.

And at this time of year it just gets better. Why? Two words: Christmas Market. 

From the middle of November, right up to Christmas Eve, the South Bank, from the London Eye to Southbank Centre, is dotted with little wooden stalls selling food and gifts.

The food

The smells of mulled wine, chocolate-covered fruit, crepes, burgers and much more linger on the air and invite passersby to take a bite.

When I went this year, I couldn’t help but be enticed by the crepe stall. Now, call me a traditionalist but savoury options on a crepe just don’t seem right.

So, in all un-healthiness, I opted for a nutella and marshmallow creation. Delicious. And sticky. I highly recommend eating it with a knife and fork.

Nutella and marshmallow crepe

While the food is lovely (and surprisingly filling), it is certainly not cheap. I paid £4.50 for a crepe. My friend paid pretty much the same for a cup of mulled wine, and his burger cost £5.00. And remember folks: cash only.

Gift options

If you are looking for a little something to buy someone for Christmas, there are a number of cute and creative options at the Christmas Market.

Particularly sweet are the hat stalls where you can purchase head-wear in the shape of nearly any animal you can think of. I rather liked the panda option.

Panda Hat

Other stalls are a little more creative. One stall, Krista’s Creations, was selling ‘letter art’ photographs: photos of objects and nature that spell out letters.

You can buy a number of letters to create whatever word you want, like “love” for instance. Personally, I think it would make a lovely, original Christmas gift.

Atmosphere & Rides 

As you walk through the market you are surrounded by the sounds of Christmas music  coming from a number of speakers. Now, I like Christmas music, but after a while it does get a little tedious.

I feel sorry for those people having to work, listening to the same songs on repeat.

However, it does help to get you in the Christmas mood – Christmas songs just seem to have that magic.

And for the kiddies there is a carousel. For a couple of pounds you can sit back and watch you child go round-and-round. They are bound to love it! And the carousel looks incredibly pretty once night has come and is all lit up.

So, if you are looking for a little bit of Christmas magic head down to South Bank – nearest tube, Waterloo.

For opening times and directions, check out the website.

Bryan Adams @ London’s O2

December 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Bryan Adam’s may be 52. But he can still rock. 

On Thursday evening I was fortunate enough to go and see him perform at the O2 Arena in London.

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It’s that time of year….. for Love Actually

December 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

About this time every year, as Christmas draws nearer and nearer, ‘Christmas’ films dominate our TV screens.

Everyone has their favourite, whether it is the classic It’s a Wonderful Life, the hilarious Tim Allen in The Santa Claus or  something else entirely.

For me, ever since it came out in 2003, my ‘must-see’ Christmas movie is the wonderful Love Actually.

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Sport: It’s not just a game

December 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sport. It’s not just a game. While watching the first half of the Australia vs Wales match this weekend I was reminded strongly of this fact very early on.

There were two things that brought this thought to my mind….

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