Friday, February 21, 2014

A Season of Weddings

So next Thursday marks the first of three weddings that Mark and I are attending. It is actually quite crazy however they are all in the space of about 10 days and are in 3 different towns in New Zealand.

I am really looking forward to them as for once Mark and I can relax and be guests at a wedding rather than racing around trying to set everything up. The last few weddings have been crazy and coming back home has been an opportunity to rest and relax. Even our own wedding was completely nuts. Sometimes in retrospect I think that organising your own wedding when you have to hire/provide most of the stuff is harder than going to a venue where most of it is included in the price.

Having been part of a number of weddings now and having friends that own a cupcake business if I had to organise our wedding again I think I could do it much easier without a massive amount of stress. I could possibly even do it cheaper!

So the first wedding is Mark’s youngest brother and it is in Wellington. It is nice as his family does not always get the opportunity to all be in the same place at the same time. I am ridiculously excited about seeing his sister, her husband and our niece and nephew when they fly in from Melbourne on Sunday night. This marks the first time I have seen my niece since she was about 6 weeks old. I need to really restrain myself from ‘buying them all the things’. Turns out that we are only in Wellington for about two days and then we fly back to Auckland to attend another wedding on the Saturday. I think it is going to be a beautiful wedding and in particular I know Erin (my sister-in-law) is going to look incredibly beautiful.

The wedding on the 1st of March is one that is very near and dear to Mark and I as we introduced them. I said to Laura when they got together that if it had not been for cats and Buffy they probably would not have met. The wedding is in Gordonton and I cannot wait to see how absolutely beautiful the day is going to be.

Lastly, is close friend’s wedding down in the South Island. I have known Pip now for over 4 years and we met via Twitter one New Year’s Eve and we have pretty much talked every day since then. I am excited to attend their wedding as it marks the start of the next part of their lives together. Also, we are going to a venue and town that I probably never would have been to if it had not been for them moving down to ‘Sunny’ Invercargill. Oh and for the record Pip got engaged just before Christmas last year and has organised her wedding in less than 3 months!

After these three weddings are over I think that is it for the next year and then I expect they will all start planning their families.

Helpful things when planning your big day:

  • Use your own music via an ipod playlist
  • Have a book to save your ideas to show florists, hairdressers etc.
  • Look at different blogs, Pinterest for ideas and inspiration and then settle on one theme whether it is colour etc.
  • Have a gift registry as people are always going to ask even if you do not want to have one
  • Online or hard copy planner
  • Delegate
  • Book the main things as soon as possible
  • Do not get crazy about your weight...just eat well and exercise. You will look beautiful on your special day no matter what...that is what an awesome photographer is for
  • You get all your photos even the crappy ones; so be prepared for that!
  • Trade Me and Amazon are your friends

An Overview of Korea

In May this year (2013) I was asked if I would consider travelling to South Korea for work. My first reaction was trepidation and a bit of fear. Personally, I had made the decision a few years ago that traveling with the Asian continent was not really something I would be interested in for a variety of reasons.

Once I got over my initial ‘drama queen’ reaction I calmed down and considered the prospect of traveling to a country where the culture, language and history are so vastly different from New Zealand. I also decided that it was an amazing opportunity (despite being mostly work-related) that was unlikely to come up again in the near future.

I have always been pretty relaxed about traveling, however this marked the first time to a country where English is not the native language. I do remember thinking “how lost can someone get in South Korea?” The really great thing is that one of my work colleagues had traveled to South Korea earlier in the year and he had also been there before.  Also, the hotel I stayed at provided pretty comprehensive instructions on which ‘limo’ (bus) to get from the airport to the hotel.

When I first arrived in Seoul I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people around. I managed to get the right bus to the hotel and settle in. I think that, that night I walked around locally just to get my bearings. One thing that really surprised me was the amount of high rise style apartment blocks. I suppose when a city’s population is about four times the size of the whole of New Zealand you have to build up to accommodate the people.

Working took so much of my time especially when I was adjusting to the time difference. I would work when I woke up and then from 9am-6pm and then work again after dinner.

What I found really lovely was that the people I was working with went to lunch as an office each day and we tried all sorts of different restaurants from Vietnamese to traditional Korean. The sheer amount of different food options was just mind-boggling! My suggestion is to try some traditional Korean food before you go over there and then do not be afraid to try everything! It was a bit harder for me as I do not eat red meat/pork/lamb etc. however I managed to push myself so far outside my comfort zone when it came to trying different things from Ginseng Chicken to aged Squid.

I was there for a fortnight and on the weekend I was taken out to do some touristy things. We went to a beautiful Italian restaurant for lunch and then to Insa-Dong which is a more traditional shopping area with Korean antiques etc. Then there is Myeong-dong which is a very popular shopping spot and when I first went there earlier in the week I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in one place.

We went to the huge Buddhist temple and I didn’t realise until we saw a diagram of the layout just how bit it was. Then we checked out Shinsegae which is a massive department store/mall. It’s kind of split into two parts 1. Very high end fashion etc. and the second is more affordable and possibly a bit more popular. Tried some traditional Korean dessert/sweet treats.

There were times that I felt very alone in Seoul. It is hard going out shopping or eating alone when you are not working. Also, sometimes I just wanted a long conversation in English where I did not have to worry about colloquial language and having to explain.

When I returned home I realised there were so many things that I would have loved to have seen. You forget that when you go overseas for work that it is not really a holiday and you are normally knackered! When I thought I would be going back for work I was quite excited and began to think about all the things that I could do and see while I was there. I did not end up going back for work, however I know now that I would love it if my husband Mark and I could go back there in a few years and experience Seoul together on holiday. It is a beautiful place. The people are amazing and so friendly and welcoming. The food is incredible and we even went and had traditional Korean food for our wedding anniversary about a week after I got back to New Zealand. Korean food kind of makes New Zealand food look a little bit boring.

In retrospect I really wish I had done more research about Korea before I left New Zealand. The history and traditions of South Korea are rich, interesting and at times painful. If you are planning on going anywhere my suggestion would be to look at the Lonely Planet (or similar) books/websites for more information as it will really make your holiday/work trip much more fulfilling.

If I ever go back to South Korea these are some of the things that I would love to see/do:

  • Seoul Tower
  • Folk Village
  • National Folk Museum of Korea
  • De-militarized Zone
  • Lotte World Adventure
  • Changdeokgung Palace
  • Gwanaksan Mountain
  • Biwon (Royal Secret Garden)
  • Gangnam Samgyeopsal Street

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Body Attack

Jes, Jo and I

I finally plucked up the courage to go to Les Mills Body Attack on the 2nd October 2013. I have been a member of Les Mills since I was about 19 and I had never done a Body Attack class until 2013 (I am 38 now) so you can do the math on that one.

Not going to Body Attack was more about fear of the unknown and also because it is a high impact aerobics class. If you check out the promo clip on the Les Mills You Tube Channel you can see why.

Then I went with Kathryn this year :)
I had to go with friends from MotivateMe NZ firstly because I am a big chicken when it comes to trying new things and secondly because group fitness is better with friends. I went with Jes and Jo and we had some fun. Yes it was hard.

For the most part I have been going every week (other than over the Christmas break) to Brett’s Wednesdays night class at Victoria Street at 6.30pm (yes that is a shameless plug). Now I have blogged about Brett before; he is one of my favourite RPM instructors and he REALLY wanted me to go to come and try his class.

Can I say after going quite a few times that I am really starting to enjoy it. Yes it is hard. Yes I have to modify moves. Yes it pushes me out of my comfort zone both emotionally and physically however it is a really high energy class. A few weeks ago when we did track (7?) when we split into two groups on either side of the room it felt like we were doing some crazy arse choreographed dance complete with jazz or swag hands or spirit fingers. It was AMAZING.

To be fair I am probably the biggest person there and I will tell you this…if you want to try a class that is high intensity, fun and pushes you then just feel the bloody fear and do it. You can modify the moves until you can do them. Then you can even add in the arms if you are feeling particularly co-ordinated.

I live in hope that I will be able to eventually do the following:

  • Tuck Jumps
  • Star Jumps
  • Any jumps
  • Running around the room
  • Skater
  • Add my arms in

Oh and I sweat like a crazy person.

Bring on more Body Attack classes in 2014. Might even try and do more than one class a week even!