Nine things I've rediscovered about New Zealand

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Well this is awkward. It has been far too long between posts and a LOT has happened. Namely, The Blonde Kiwi proposed, our UK visas expired and we have returned home to Nu Zillund. Fair to say she's still got her looks too...

NZ from the sky

There are so so many places I need to shout about that we visited on our eight week journey home. It was glorious and now we're back in one of the most isolated countries in the world. But hey, it's not such a bad thing, see I figure that every time I feel the travel pangs I can use words and food porn pics to take me back.

So, more adventures to come despite the fact that currently the furtherest I'm planning to travel is to Wellington (to look at wedding dresses - squeee! Who even am I anymore?!).

In saying that it's fun coming home and feeling like a tourist. I feel like every day we're rediscovering things that we'd forgotten about our own country.

Here are some key findings from the past month and a bit that we've been home.

1. We have the best pies. In it's well deserved spot at number one. Seriously, you'd think that the UK could do a decent meat pie but they ain't got nothing on a mince and cheese from your local kiwi bakery. Check out this beauty from Jackson's in Havelock North. Winner.

Mince and cheese pie

2. Groceries are faaaarking expensive. I still can't get over how much our weekly shop sets us back. You also have to buy seasonal which is respectable but I do miss being able to get tomatoes at the same price year round. Also, you can't buy booze at the supermarket in West Auckland which is NUTS. If Sainsbury's started pulling that shit in the UK there would be public protests...or at least some sarcastic negative comments said under people's breath - they are British after all.

3. The streets are really really dark. I've been trying to run after work (see point above about wedding dress fitting) and it's creepy. Once 5pm rolls around all of the shops are shut, people get into their cars and there is no-one to be seen. Even in central Auckland. There is also a disturbing lack of street lights that I never noticed before.

4. There is nowhere with bluer sky. Crisp winter days in Hawke's Bay are heavenly. Case and point.
Napier Beach

5. People hibernate in winter just like the UK...but they're cool about it. Apparently it has rained almost every day in Auckland since mid July but people just go about their business and enjoy the down time at home. By comparison, January in London is a dark dark time where seasonal affective disorder infects everyone and god help you if you make eye contact with a stranger on the tube.

6. Chocolate isn't as crap by comparison. It's a known fact that the UK make better choccy and it was a tough breakup having to say goodbye to giant Dairy Milk buttons. However, I was nicely surprised to find some delicious new flavours on the shelves here that have since kept me happy.

Kiwi Chocolate

7. The Auckland restaurant scene right now is amaaaazing. Coming home means lots of people to catch up with which to me means lots of excuses to eat out. Ofcourse London has incredible restaurants too but most are either out of reach unless you're a banker or they're just really hard to find. In Auckland, there seems to be a really high standard that everyone has to keep up with. Last week we visited two very new places which were both fantastic. Azabu was a real treat with its exciting Peruvian Japanese sharing menu and Lokanta put a delicious kiwi spin on Greek cuisine. I can't wait to try all the other places that have popped up while we've been away. No pics from either of the aforementioned places soz but here is an excellent banh mi I had from Bird on a wire in Ponsonby Central, another local gem.

Banh Mi

8. The coffee really is next level down here. After drinking so many poorly made 'flat whites' from Costa I had become accustomed to shit coffee. Turns out I'd actually forgotten how bloody good the standard is here. The best coffee we had on our trip home through Europe was in Bordeaux and when I told our French barrista how impressed I was he replied with 'yes I know we are good - it is because I studied in Australia'. Go figure.

9. It's easier to feel better about slothing. This post completes a weekend of lazing on the couch, wine, skyping mates, cooking and watching crap telly. Am I the only one out there who considers that a success? I blame social media but there seems to be a lot of pressure on people to cram their weekend with Instagram worthy brunches and selfies in exotic places. I felt this acutely in London as we were on a time limit and needed to see as much as possible of the city itself and Europe too. Here the guilt factor has diminished.

It's exciting to think that as the season turns we'll be rediscovering even more of this beautiful land... as the sun motivates us to eventually peel ourselves off the couch.

Auckland Skyline

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