Lashings of ginger beer

Auckland and its surrounds has been perfect for picnicking with warm balmy days and very little breeze. There are so many great options like:

Walk off your lunch by strolling up to the lookout and listen to the robins on the way.

There is great shade and plenty of places to spread out your spread.

or really close to home for me, Mairangi Bay

There is now a reserve across the road from the beach where you can sit under a shady tree. If you can’t be bothered to picnic, buy the best fish and chips around at the Mairangi Bay fisheries. Their fresh wet fish is great too.

Finish off with a gelato from Paper Moon

Mairangi Bay Fisheries

fisheriesSelling fresh fish as well as cooked fish and chips. Parking right outside the door. Everything cooked in healthy Canola oil.

Open Mon & Tues 9.30am-7.30pm, Wed-Sat 9.30am-8pm, Sun 11.30am-8pm
Phone 479 4517
360 Beach Rd, Mairangi Bay View Map



If you want to go a little further afield then Waipu is a great little spot. Their reserve is private and looks on to the river. They have a big flat rock there where you can lay out your table.



It has a Scottish heritage so wear your kilt.

And finally my favourite beach spot of all time, Tawhitokino

You have to get the tide right and there is a steep but short climb up and over but it is really worth it. There is a DOC camp there too but you need to cart in all your supplies including water.

How to get to Tawhitokino

Physical Address:   265 Kawakawa Bay Coast Road, Clevedon

From Clevedon follow the signs to Kawakawa Bay. Continue to Waiti Bay at the end of Kawakawa Bay Coast Rd. From there follow the Tawhitokino track on foot around the rocks and over Papanui Point to the beach. Access only at low tide.

Get picnicking everyone before the weather turns to custard.





Bridge over troubled waters…

Another fun but slightly odd thing to do in Auckland is to take visitors to the underside of the harbour bridge. Just drive to Northcote Point and head for the bridge. We saw yachts sailing past, poems on the concrete pillars and a very amorous couple who seemed oblivious to our presence. It is interesting to be on the underbelly of the bridge. Take some friends or lovers….


Skytower through the girders
Can’t say I read the whole thing but might return one day to do that.
Possibly slightly bewildered visitor.


We even got a close up of an old America’s Cup NZ boat.

This interesting link tells you all about the commission for the poems under the bridge.

Her pictures are better too.

I am doing a bit of necessary job seeking in the next few weeks. I will keep you posted.

Have a great day off Aucklanders,  FG


Wonderful Auckland in the summer with visitors

There are so many fantastic places to take visitors in Auckland in the summer time. Where should I start?

How about starting the day with a coffee and a madeline at Chateaubriant?



After a refreshment stop there pop next door to the wonderful Curiosity Shop. It so lovely and they have free shells for children to take away.

Then a potter around the Devonport shops; some favourites are Cosi Fan Tutte


or the bookshop in the main street

image 2

There are far too many lovely shops to mention. Let’s just say you need a couple of hours, by which time you might be hungry….so go to Little and Friday in Eversleigh Street on your way out of town.


Suffice to say, that their meringues in the take home pack are heavenly-tart, sweet, raspberryish, chocolatety fab. Did I mention the bread and butter pudding??


The new library is nearly finished but it was sad to see that its architect died last week and won’t see it to completion. Ian Athfield houses are exciting and challenging he really had a big influence on NZ architecture..

Artist’s impression of the new library

I like the quirkiness of Devonport, like the knitting bombing of trees… wish i had done some of it.

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Then there is the beautifully restored Old Vic Cinema

The Vic Logo

A friend has rented the cinema for her child’s birthday party. $150 for the whole caboodle is not too bad and you don’t have to do any cleaning up.

Then there is Wild and Woolly I have mentioned several times before, they have beautiful light summer merino in right now.

I have barely scratched the surface -there is still the gorgeous prints shop, Nord, the Scandinavian shop, Caroline Sills outlet shop, the gallery, the monthly market, (I’ll be there on Feb 1 and have made some tiles especially for the locals.) I was horrified to discover this beautiful heritage sign has been stolen by some low life so if you see it on trademe call the police! I have made it into a tile for sentimental reasons.


The craft market is a proper craft market with no crap (well mine maybe, everyone else is a perfectionist. It is definitely the best I have seen.) First Sunday of each month. If you come along please come and say hello.

Well I was going to write about all the things to do in Auckland but have only made it to Devonport today. I’ll cover off some other cool places in my next post. Hope you are having a good week. FG





Paris terror top most in mind.

While I have been faffing with tiles today (see the tiles tab for the new ones), in the back of my mind always was the terrible attack on the cartoonists. An acquaintance told me that even Leunig also receives hate mail!  How could anyone perceive him as a hateful or violent person? He is always promoting peace and simplicity.


Dear God,

We rejoice and give thanks for earthworms,
bees, ladybirds and broody hens;
for humans tending their gardens, talking to animals,
cleaning their homes and singing to themselves;
for rising of the sap, the fragrance of growth,
the invention of the wheelbarrow and the existence of the teapot,
we give thanks. We celebrate and give thanks.


prayer deco earthworms

How lucky we are to live where we live and able to do the things we enjoy. I think I might watch the tennis final and do some knitting.  FG

Phew Mid January 2015 already

Hello faithful fluffygeorges, happy new year, I hope all went well for you over the break. I went to Christchurch for a week and did a a bit of cricket watching, a wonderful trip to Long Bay near Akaroa to visit friends, a walk around the city and to visit family. All lovely with great weather and no quakes.


The lovely new cricket pavilion. I understand there has been a lot of opposition but I have to admit I loved it and the setting was beautiful.
A visit to the cardboard cathedral and the memorial chairs for those who died in the quakes.
Beautiful Long Bay
Sweet peas, beautiful china and gorgeous food. What more could a woman want?
A bit of a nostalgic trip to Akaroa as I used to live there for a bit.
We enjoyed the “stand tall” giraffe spotting and this one is rather special as it was designed by my dear friend Bev’s grand daughter.

As you know I love Leunig so I was moved to see this at the memorial for the quakes.



No visit to Christchurch is complete without a visit to my BFF and a wander around the township. So good to see the awakening of cafes and music.

You must visit the slightly mad Wunderbar if you are in town
Lyttleton’s own giraffe standing tall.
This lovely bar hosted us for a few drinks.

It is always good to come home and the summer continues with tile-making, knitting and of course, great food. It is such a pleasure to walk into the garden in the morning and pick a tomato to eat. They smell delicious.

Slightly out of control tomatoes.

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What I’m watching:

For fun and laughter the movie What We Did On Our Holidays

Loved the cast, especially the kids!

And for a  lot less fun and laughter, um none actually, Mr Turner. I enjoyed it but both my companions found it a bit tedious. It is long too. Timothy Spall is great but the character is fairly hard to empathise with. His ex wife is depicted as an old witch but as she has his children you can’t really blame her for wanting him to take an interest and some responsibility. Being an “artist” it seems, lets you away with bad behaviour.

Lots of challenges and changes ahead for me in 2015 so wishing you a good year too. As always, I turn to Leunig for advice. 🙂 FG