All posts tagged: gift guide

Giving Presence – Have I Gone Too Far?

There’s nothing I love more than being on holiday. It doesn’t have to be a long holiday, or even a holiday to anywhere fancy. As long as I’m not at home facing the endless list of things that need to be done, then life is good. Which is why I think ‘giving the gift of an experience’ is a concept I’ve embraced. OK, maybe we’ve gone passed embracing and are now in a serious, long-term relationship. You see, last year the experiences I gave the kids for their birthdays were fun days out doing something they each loved. Miss 10 went horse-riding, Miss 8 went skiing and Mr 8 had a not-so-great day out at the Monster Slide festival. This year, I may just have taken it to a whole new level by using the idea of ‘giving presence’ as an excuse for a holiday (or two). I didn’t see anything wrong with this approach until a well-meaning friend pointed out that I might be setting the bar a bit high – creating an expectation that …

Give the gift of: Tiritiri Matangi

My sister loves nothing more than a good bush walk which made choosing a birthday experience for her fairly easy – we are a bit spoilt for choice in our part of the world. Of all the experiences I’ve given as a gift this year, this one was the most rewarding for both the gift givers and the gift receiver. There’s nothing like two days on a bush clad island full of the most beautiful birdsong to reboot both the body and the mind. Where we went We went to Tiritiri Matangi – a bird sanctuary on an island just off the Whangaparoa Peninsula. You can take a ferry from Auckland CBD which takes about 75 minutes, or drive to Gulf Harbour (where there is plenty of free parking, and a drop-off zone makes it easy to get gear from your car to the ferry) and pick the ferry up there for a quick 20 minute ride across the water. What we did Most people visit Tiritiri Matangi on a day trip, but there is …

Give the gift of: 48 Hours in (Roto)Vegas

Keeping the kids entertained during school holidays is never easy, especially when you’re self-employed. Being dragged to meetings or having yet another ‘movie day’ while Mum gets her work done isn’t what my kids call fun, so rather than bribe them with toys I promised them an experience focused totally on stuff kids want to do. Where we went For this, Rotorua is perfect. There’s plenty to do and lots of fun to be had for kids and parents alike, even if the weather isn’t great. What we did We found a package at Quality Inn that offered two nights’ accommodation plus vouchers for the Gondola and Luge, Rainbow Springs and the Polynesian Spa all at a price that made a fun-packed weekend away very affordable. Normally I’d be disappointed that the definition of a ‘family’ is 2 adults and 2 kids – but with Miss 10 away at Horse Camp we fitted right into that box. How it went We checked into the hotel on Friday afternoon. The room was basic, but comfortable, with …

Giving the gift of: Social Cooking

In our busy lives the most precious thing we have is our time, which is why this year I’ve decided to #givepresence instead of presents to everyone I know – young and old. Choosing an experience for my best friend was easy – something we both love to do is eat good food. Taking her out for dinner would have been way too easy and predictable so instead I took her to a place where you get to learn, cook and then eat your own tasty creations. Where we went I chose Social Cooking as they were located not too far away and offered a range of different styles of cooking. Plus they do vouchers which makes it an easy – give the gift then sort out which class to go to later. What we did We booked into the Celebrity Chef series to learn to cook MasterChef Dai and Dal’s famous Pork Larb – one of the few dishes to ever get 10 out of 10 from the judges. Just a word of warning …

Giving the gift of: Skiing

For some reason my kids have ended up with a passion for hobbies that are both expensive and very much unsuited to inner city living. Miss 10’s passion for horseriding can be fulfilled any time of year, and summer was perfect timing for Mr 8’s Monster Slide birthday experience. Miss 8, however, has settled on skiing. Now I’m pretty good at organising most things, but skiing in the middle of summer is a little out of my league. Where we went Thankfully Snowplanet  is only a 30 minute drive north of us. What’s more they aren’t terribly busy this time of year so it’s easy to pick up a ski pass deal on Grabone. What we did We snapped up some $15 all day ski passes. You had to buy passes for a specific day so we chose the Monday after Miss 8’s birthday. It meant everyone taking a day off, but that made it feel all the more special and – given we still had to pay for boots, skis and other bits and …

monster slide

Giving the gift of: Monster Slide.

There’s nothing Mr 8 likes more than water play, so what better experience to buy him for his birthday than tickets to the Monster Slide Festival. What 8 year old boy wouldn’t want to spend the day riding a 300m slip and slide! Where we went The venue for the Auckland Monster Slide event was changed from a central location to Whitford – a good 40 minute drive away. Still, the venue change was well communicated and was made for safety reasons. Plus they moved it to a vineyard which sounded like a fabulous idea. What we did We bought a family pass which gave 2 adults and 3 children 6 slides over a 6 hour period. I didn’t opt to upgrade to the queue jumper pass – in hindsight it would have been money well spent. How it went We arrived at 10.45 ready for our 11am entry. There was plenty of parking and the vineyard setting looked magnificent. Opening was delayed due technical problems but by 11.30 we were registered and in the …

Giving the gift of: Horse Riding

Miss 10 is mad on horses – which is unfortunate given we live in the middle of a big city. So as part of my commitment to #givepresence instead of presents I decided the perfect experience to give her for her 10th birthday would be a horse riding experience. Where we went I chose Horse Riding Auckland for our experience. They offered a few different options most attractive of which was the opportunity for a mini-trek around their farm. They were also really easy to deal with, responding quickly to my request with all the information I needed. What we did I opted for a ½ hour horse riding lesson for all three kids, then a ½ hour mini-trek around the farm for Miss 10 who is a more experienced rider. Total cost was $135 which I thought was pretty reasonable for a private booking. How it went The horses were saddled and ready to go when we arrived which meant we could get straight into it without any mucking around. The kids were fitted …