With New Zealand opening back up again, May was a very good month! We spent most of it in the country, with a couple of stints back in Auckland. The first of those saw us back there for just one night to sort a few things out; the second was for a week and a half so Amelie could go back to school! That was very exciting for all of us. Apart from that, May was more of the same. That’s not a complaint at all, by the way – that same is very lovely. Here are a few things we’ve been loving over the last month…
We ordered new winter clothes for Amelie as a click and collect order from a store which shall go unnamed, about a week before the alert levels were announced and New Zealand went into lockdown. They got in touch to tell us they would courier the clothes out, as obviously going into a store to pick them up had become impossible, and then…they just didn’t. Hayden tried so many times over the last eight weeks to make contact with them and resolve it, and all the while, the weather was getting colder and the small amount of winter clothing we had that still fit Amelie got smaller (well, technically speaking I suppose Amelie got bigger – she grew an astonishing amount during lockdown). Eventually we had to give up, get our bank to claw back the charges, and place a new order for clothes elsewhere. That elsewhere was Zara and I’m so glad we ended up buying from there! Their children’s winter collection is just the cutest this year. I’ve had real trouble dividing them up into school clothes (aka stuff you don’t mind getting painted, dirty and otherwise wrecked) and ‘good’ clothes (aka weekend gear) because it’s all so sweet I don’t want any of it destroyed!
We did this twice during May! First time was takeout on Mother’s Day (this was during level 3, when restaurants could open for takeout but not sit-down service, and places that usually don’t offer takeout did an amazing job suddenly pivoting). We had cacio e pepe gnocchi, chicken parmesan, broccoli and tiramisu and it was extraordinarily good. Second time we ate there, enjoying lunch with good friends. Full disclosure, I had the cacio e pepe gnocchi again. It was definitely better the second time. Seeing friends whom you haven’t seen in forever, laughing, and enjoying the genuinely thrilling feeling of being out and feeling safe will do that to a meal.
3. Autumn beach visits
I love the beach so much. Being able to just pop there for a walk, run or shell scavenger hunt has been blissful – it’s close to our country place but it’s still a drive, so we weren’t doing it during level 4, but we’ve gone a few times since! The first time we went there was just so good.
Lockdown cooking! I made my first ever mince and cheese pie using this recipe and it was so good. I didn’t add the celery (we’re all very opposed to celery in this family) and I made one big pie instead of multiple smaller ones, and it turned out amazing. I’m very excited to make it again – this week maybe?!
5. Family movie afternoons
As the weather has started to get more wintry than autumnal we’ve been taking advantage of the cold and cuddling up on the sofa on rainy weekend afternoons for a family movie. This is the first time Amelie’s really been into movies – she’s not really a screens kid – and it’s so nice being able to share our favourites with her. So far we’ve watched Aladdin (which she loved for the scene in the cave when Aladdin meets the Genie – she decided the cave was full of ‘hot lava’), Wall-E (she found a lot of this movie hilarious, especially the cleaning robot on board the spaceship), and The Lion King (this didn’t hold her attention so well but she was fascinated by Scar, or as she called him throughout, the ‘mean lion’). We eat popcorn, snuggle, and just enjoy the feeling of being warm and cosy with nowhere we have to be when the weather is wild outside.