Sunday, 28 February 2010


It is so easy to moan and find fault and I often go the whole day and sometimes a whole week and realise that I have moaned about so much and been thankful for so little! So here I go... here is a list as big as I can bring to mind at this very moment - hopefully this will help me start to counteract all that is in me that is ungrateful, selfish, self-centered, negative, stressed, worried and critical.

* I am loved unconditionally and perfectly by my maker. Continuously forgiven for all my stupid mistakes and inconsistencies, saved by Grace and living in Freedom. I am on the path to knowing life in all it's fullness and I know the Author of truth, light, hope and love. I will never understand or comprehend it all fully but the beauty is that I don't have to, this goes beyond any form of earthly logic or law and I don't have to worry for I am safe in the arms of the one who knows exactly how I work, think and feel and still loves me!

* I have a flippin' awesome church where I love being rooted, connected and part of building the Kingdom surrounded by the wisest, kindest, most inspiring and passionate people I know; people I am honoured to call my friends. 'Freedom Bath & Bristol' has done so much for me over the past 3 and a half years, they have helped me with spiritual and emotional breakthroughs, taught me how to cry, stood with me when it seemed like all around me was falling, celebrated with me when God made a way and provided answers to prayer, encouraged me, raised me up to use my giftings more confidently for the house, laughed with me on numerous occasions, taught me to have fun and enjoy this life as we live it all together whatever that life may bring our way!

* I have been blessed with a job with a paygrade and responsibility that I never expected for this season of my life. It is earning me enough to be living in the city I have grown to love and with the people I love, and enough to be paying for my fast approaching adventure! It is not always easy or fun but it is pushing me, shaping me and giving me skills that I'm sure in the future will help open doors!

* I have a home in Bath with an absolutely Gorgeous Family (Big up the Jones Family!). They have blessed me so much with their 'food-included' rent, home cooked meals, unlimited washing machine use, dinner time banter, family life (cat included!), a beautiful bedroom, big words of wisdom, prayer and love! Choosing to live in Bath would not have been possible without these guys!

* I have parents that have always been supportive of my dreams and passions, built me up, trusted me and rejoiced with me. In my newly independent 'left-home' situation they are always only a phonecall away and available for a catch up chat. I am so blessed to have parents that know God and therefore sort of understand where I am at and when I need prayer. I have two beautiful, talented little sisters that I adore and are always prepared with funny film quote banter when I need cheering up. We are so different yet so similar and I LOVE it! I also have an amazing wider family and I love the banter between me and my many many cousins! Whoop whoop for family!

* I have brilliant friends, both in Bath and further afield. People who I love spending time with through good times and bad who put up with my annoying habits and are always there to support me. We're are not blood related but we are family just the same!

* I am so thankful for the gift of music and for living in a world full of it! Music helps me convey my emotions and passion and joy in a way that I couldn't express otherwise!

* I have just bought a beautiful new camera and it will be arriving later this week!!! I love photography and I can't wait to get super creative with my photos! This was also a financial miracle as on Amazon this camera was £85 cheaper than it's RRP! A beautiful camera and a bargain - whoop whoop!!

* I am thankful for Porridge breakfasts! Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day but my recent discovery of porridge has taken this to a whole other level!

* I am thankful for and am loving the fact that I have lost a stone in weight!!!! OH YES!!! Only 2 more to go!

* I am thankful that I live in this modern tech-loving age, how did people survive without the internet!? I know and agree that technology hasn't always been for the better and in lots of ways has ruined our relationship and communication skills. But just the sheer fact that I can post this message and it can be viewed by people all over the world and how much smaller the world is with this tech simply astounds me - I am in awe!

* I am extremely thankful for consistent re-runs of friends on TV. There is nothing like relaxing after a long day at work in front of something that you really don't have to think about. I know it's a bit trashy and americanised but it makes me laugh and I am not ashamed lol!

* I am thankful that I am me, I am an original and I fit right here, right now exactly where I am supposed to be. I am full of hope and anticipation for the things ahead and excited to see what may come out of this little life of mine, and all of this because of the freedom I know in him - Thank You JESUS!

I am thankful for many many many more little things that fill my life, too many to mention. But it has worked, even writing these few things down I am already feeling a lot better. This little list is already a lot longer than the list of things I was moaning/feeling negative about before! Thank You God for everything!!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Leaving on a Jetplane..........On the 28th July!

I confirmed my flights yesterday!! At 12:20 on the 28th July I leave Heathrow!! It's all getting very real and very exciting, though I still have a lot of money to raise so these last few months are going to be very tight but it's going to be worth it times 1000!
A couple of days ago I was looking further into the itinerary of the 'Kiwi Explorer' pass that I am doing for the last couple of months of my trip, all the timings are flexible but here's where the bus takes you....

(Start anywhere, finish where you start)

Auckland to Mercury Bay (Whitianga)
After visiting Mt Eden (one of many dormant volcanoes in Auckland) we head towards the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the afternoon at Cathedral Cove accessible only on foot or by kayak - a beautiful coastal spot great for swimming, sea kayaking and spotting dolphins if you’re lucky. Provided the tides are right we may also check out Hot water beach and dig our own hot pools.

Mercury Bay (Whitianga) to Rotorua
We depart Whitianga early in order to make the most of our time in the geothermal and cultural centre of New Zealand, Rotorua. Our first stop en route this morning is a visit to the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush clad gorge, swing bridges and a one kilometre long tunnel. On arriving into Rotorua you will have the chance to go luging, zorbing or for a dip in a natural hot spring before experiencing the traditional Maori Hangi and Concert in the evening with Tamaki Tours - a night not to be missed!

Rotorua to Waitomo
Today we start with a visit to Te Puia - a large geothermal reserve and Maori Arts and Crafts Centre. Te Puia is also your first chance to spot the elusive Kiwi bird!! We depart Rotorua to drive on through the Waikato and King Country to the Waitomo caves. (Wai meaning water, tomo meaning cave) The local caves, hiding under the green Waitomo countryside, are made out of limestone, which is basically very old dead fish (in this case about 40 million years old). We spend the afternoon checking out Marokopa Falls (3rd largest falls in NZ), the 'Natural Bridge' and Ruakuri reserve. Apart from glow-worms in caves you may see stalactites, stalagmites, cave coral, rock sculptures, fossil oysters and fossil whalebones.

Waitomo to Taupo
We leave at lunchtime today so that you have time to experience the legendary Black Water Rafting in the morning with either the Labyrinth or Abyss trips! Other adventure activity options include the Quad Biking through rural farmland or the brand new Ruakuri cave which is an engineering masterpiece. We leave the Waitomo region behind us heading in the direction of the Tongariro National Park and Lake Taupo. Apart from the natural geothermal features of the surrounding area, Taupo is fast becoming known as the action adventure capital of the north. Activities include skydiving, bungee jumping, jet boating, walking the Tongariro Crossing (said to be the best one day walk in the world!), trout fishing and more…

Day off – Taupo
Enjoy a sleep in (for those not doing the Tongariro Crossing) and experience one of the many activities on offer. A walk down to Spa Park to relax in the natural hot springs by the river is also a great way to spend the day (or night). Alternatively If you have time head off on our 'East As' - 4 day, 3 night unique add on trip around the East Cape which takes you to places few tourists get to see, stay in small communities and experience Maori culture as a living reality.

Taupo to River Valley
We head south around the “great lake” to Turangi then head into Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and a two hour walk through native bush, waterfalls and braving the cool mountain streams of this alpine volcanic region. In the afternoon we travel through to our ultimate adventure lodge - River Valley, situated amongst towering cliffs and bush-clad hills. River Valley offers some great activities including a very scenic horse ride and grade five rafting on the Rangitikei River, which runs straight past the front of the lodge. Spend the evening enjoying the delicious roast dinner & relaxing by the open fire.

River Valley to Wellington
A late start after a morning white water rafting on the Rangitikei river or horse riding up in the hills full of deer, cattle and sheep. We arrive in Wellington late in the afternoon. This city is the undisputed capital of culture, the arts, restaurants, fashion and nightlife. It’s home to the largest cultural attraction in New Zealand, Te Papa Museum that is well worth a look (and it’s free).

Wellington to Picton to Nelson
We take the Cook Strait ferry across to the South Island (awesome scenery) and travel via Havelock, Pelorous Bridge over to Nelson, New Zealand’s sunniest city. A great place in summer to jump off the bus and explore the Abel Tasman National Park on either foot or kayak.

Nelson to Westport
In summer (October to April) we head into the Abel Tasman National Park to Kaiteriteri where you have the chance to do a half-day kayaking trip or a water taxi ride into the national park to do a short trek. In winter we visit the Nelson Lakes National Park for a walk in the forest and a visit to one of the spectacular lakes in the area surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains. En route to Westport we meet the team (and Rata the dog) from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boat, horse trek and quad bike in NZ.

Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Today we head down the spectacular West Coast Road that stretches 435kms along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds through diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights Include Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks & Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blowholes. Tonight your driver will arrange a group meal for you at the legendary Mahinapua Hotel known as the “Poo Pub” (a traditional West Coast Pub). Be aware of the West Coast Cuisine is not your standard BBQ! The “Wild Food Feast” may consist of whitebait, bambi steak, wild mussels and other things. It’s an awesome evening to get to know your fellow travellers.

Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman’s Centre where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with sphagnum moss growing, old timber-milling techniques, possum trapping and helicopter deer recovery – known as New Zealand’s last great adventure. We then head through to Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.

Free day - Franz Josef
Today is your chance to hike on Franz Josef Glacier, rated in the top three NZ activities by Kiwi Experience passengers.

Franz Josef to Wanaka
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson, near the village of Fox Glacier.

We then cruise down the last stretch of the West Coast road (and the most scenic) stopping to check out Ship Cove, Haast River, Thunder Creek Falls and Blue Pools. After we pass the township of Haast we head into the mountains and bid our farewell to the coastline. Watch the scenery change dramatically as today’s journey continues. We cross the bridge at the gates of Haast, head up the pass and into Mount Aspiring National Park. As we come down the eastern side of the main divide, we track over toward Makarora, a wilderness stopover boasting a population of 20, but you try to find all of them in winter. We arrive in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka between at approximately 3pm.

Wanaka to Queenstown
A short but action packed drive today through to the NZ's adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World (check out the toilets - highly entertaining), skydive over Lake Wanaka & the Southern Alps and stop in at the world first commercial bungee site - the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you will get a chance to book all activities and re-confirm coaches at the Info and Track Centre as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast friends. What better way to enjoy a memorable trip down the coast with a night out exploring Queenstown nightlife with all the crew to finish things off!!

Free day – Queenstown
Queenstown is rated up there as being one of our passengers favourite spots to hang out in NZ so take the time to spend at least 3 days here apart from being one of the most beautiful places in the world, Queenstown is New Zealand’s, if not the world’s, adventure capital. You can take advantage of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. We do recommend one activity however, the overland day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand’s most beautiful spot, and that’s saying something!

Queenstown to Christchurch
We head out of Queenstown, up over the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country, named after James Mackenzie who was a notorious sheep rustler (or Velcro glove wearer). After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki to see Mt Cook & Lake Tekapo for a view of the Church of the Good Shepherd, the bronze sheep dog and the milky blue colour of the glacier fed lakes. From there we have a very straight and flat run into Christchurch and will deliver you to the hostels of your choice between 4.30pm and 6pm.

Christchurch to Kaikoura
We travel across the northern Canterbury Plains towards Kaikoura arriving around midday. Kaikoura used to be the South Island’s best-kept secret, as not many people knew about its beauty and unbeatable marine experiences. Kaikoura means to eat Crayfish (kai - to eat, Koura - Crayfish), actually the full name is Te-Ahi-kai-koura-a-Tama-ki-te-rangi.

These days it’s the whales, dolphins, seals and the fish and chips that Kaikoura is becoming ever more popular for. Experience Dolphin Swimming, Whale Watching, Seal Colony walks or chill out at the hostel situated just up from the beach.

Kaikoura to Picton & Wellington Or Nelson
We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It’s a spectacular drive, and we may take the opportunity to stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks all day long. We make our way to the Picton ferry terminal in time to catch the 1.15pm sailing to the North Island. Say farewell to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) and we’re on our way! The ferry ride takes about 3 hours, and you will be met by our ‘Ferry Bus” Pukeko on the other side to whisk you off to your hostels.

Wellington to Taupo
We’ve got quite a distance to cover today so we head away from Wellington by 8am to beat the rush hour traffic. We pass through Taihape where we drop off and pick up people for River Valley. Departing Taihape we make the climb up to the Central Plateau, home of the Tongariro National Park. For access to the National Park, we can drop you off in the township of Turangi.

Taupo to Auckland (via Rotorua & Mt Maunganui)
Our first stop this morning is Rotorua, often referred to as 'rotten rua' due to the abundance of thermal activity in the area. After dropping off passengers who are spending a few days to have a good look around we travel through to Mt Maunganui, a seaside town well known for its awesome beaches and surf culture. We take a break here for you to climb the mountain, go for a swim of surf or laze around in the hot pools. From “the mount” it’s a 2-hour drive into Auckland for drop off’s in the city.

Minimum trip time: 20 days
Maximum trip time: 12 months from 1st day of travel

How AMAZING does that sound!!!?? - Definite activites on my list - Skydive at lake Taupo, Whale watching, kayaking, hiking!

More to be posted soon!

Friday, 5 February 2010

A Little Revelation!

I had a very weird scenario today that a few months ago I would have thought impossible...

Between finishing my degree in June and starting my current job in November I was unemployed and very skint. I had a job interview around once a fortnight and even though they all went extremely well I was never successful in being given the position. Once such job was a 'Retail Assistant' job in a brand new, huge New Look in the same shopping centre I now work in. Not the greatest job in the world I hear you say but I was very qualified, flexible with all the hours they wanted, had a brilliant interview, they said they loved me, and to be honest the idea of 50% staff discount was very exciting. I didn't get the job even though they were offering 80 positions in this new store! I was gutted!

Today I sat in a meeting for Management for the whole of SouthGate shopping centre representing my store (there were only around 15 people who had been invited to this meeting) and guess who I was sat next to for the whole meeting...... The Manager of New Look! The very same guy who'd interviewed me and then not given me the job! I don't think he recognises me (after all they interviewed hundreds of people) but I couldn't help feeling that God clearly had had much better things in store for me than I thought possible for myself! Now I am the acting manager of a store when only 3 months earlier I was turned down for a much lower job! Amazing!
I have to say I was surprisingly comfortable sitting there discussing possible marketing opportunities and store turnovers! It just goes to show that you never know what's around the corner on this very wiggley journey through life and to be honest I quite enjoyed being surprised by this one. Thank You God that you are in the driving seat!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Whilst having a little nosy on Youtube...

Was enjoying spending some of my long awaited day off pootling around on the Interweb. I found some beauties that really brightened my day! Check these gems out....

Awesomeness!! :D