Miss M isn’t so keen on the Dad & daughter bonding trips. They usually involve walking for hours with a heavy pack only to spend the night on an uncomfortable bed in a cramped cold hut. Toilet facilities are dark and smelly and inhabited by huge spiders, spikey wetas and other horrible creepy crawlies. Actually the huts & beds are not that bad, but the crawlies are.
So I proposed a Mum & daughter bonding trip involving something a little less arduous – window shopping & maybe some real shopping. Miss M has raised the possibility of studying interior design and/or decorating so I thought a trip to the nearest ‘big’ town for a look-see at some home décor shops would be fun.
The weekend was organised then gate-crashed by Mopp. He wanted to bring the BMX bike and go to the bike/skate ramps. And he wanted to drive us down. Then the Anster decided he wasn’t going to be stay-at-home Susie so he organised a tramping trip away with Mr L. Hmmm, what to do with the dogs….. it all got too hard and I threw my toys out of the cot. We stayed home.
After a quiet word about the trip being a girls trip, the Mopp got the idea he wasn’t coming with. The trip is on again, albeit several weekends later.
Gisborne is a lovely little town with some beautiful home décor shops. However, it is nice to get out and see what other regions have and it was a good excuse to catch up with some good friends. Also a good excuse to visit some large well stocked food shops and supermarkets. So Miss M and I set off for the Hawkes Bay – a 3 hour trip on what some say is the worst road in New Zealand. We took our baby car – a wee 2-door 1500 manual Pulsar. It was perfectly suited to zipping around the 45, 35 and 25km corners (of which there are many! I often think that one day on a trip from Gisborne to Napier that I am going to count the number of speed restricted corners).
The Anster had told me there was a really large New World supermarket in Napier. Thinking it would be situated with the other supermarkets, I merrily made my way into Napier town. After driving around in circles for a while we consulted our onboard GPS and finally found our way – we were just slightly in the wrong place. It was worth the visit though – My apple radar was on full alert – I found some organic locally produced apple & black doris plum juice which we oooh and aaaah over until we found the Blueberry, Cranberry & Apple version. That went into the basket. Further round in a drinks fridge we found some adorable bottles of Noah’s creative juices. Three of the four flavours were apple based, and I was sorely tempted to buy all three. We made do with one each. After a good squizz around all the isles, we got a move on to make it to Havelock North in time for dinner.
The idea for our big shopping day was to begin in Havelock North and work our way North, through Hastings & into Napier. Havelock North is a great little shopping centre – home to some gorgeous shops. As the shops don’t open until a leisurely 9.30 am, I took the opportunity to visit the supermarket (a smaller New World) and stock up on goodies to take home: ginger sauce, ginger purée, hot sauce for the Anster.
Then off to the shops – Cadeaux, Redcurrant, Bonjour, Shabby Chic…… there was so many interesting items and ideas. We found a beautiful tartan skirt for Madison but at $399 I decided to leave it in the shop…. should have realised really, it was Havelock North we were in after all. I managed to squeeze in a visit to a lovely deli/food shop where we found a CronutTM. Having read about the cronutTM phase on-line, I had to try one. It was OK – done and dusted. Overrated…….(that is just my opinion).
I drove around in a few more circles looking for a second-hand shop that I had directions to – but I am not great at directions so we never did find it. I did attempt to persuade my daughter to visit another deli/food shop but she was ready to move on to the ‘big’ towns. So Hastings here we come – after a few more mis-turns and u-turns. There is a huge store in the main street of Hastings at the very Southern end – forget the name but is like Fergusons, or Hetherington’s or something vaguely English sounding. There is an entrance and from that first shop you go through an arch into another part of the shop, then through another doorway to another bit and down a corridor type skinny shop into yet another shop. Fantastic furniture and mirrors and lights and that kind of thing, fantastic prices too. Found a lovely bookshelf for Patrick’s room – still in the shop as my wallet wasn’t that heavy.
Anyway the highlight of the southern end of Hastings main street shopping was the shop full of cake decorating stuff. Miss M found Minions – she was happy, we could go home now. I found some natural food colouring which had been on my list of things to look out for. There was a wall full of cookie cutters (I did check for an apple-shaped cutter quite forgetting I already have one, maybe two at home).
The northern end was a little bit boring. Miss M was over Hastings by that stage. She wanted to go to a fabric shop, then she didn’t. She wanted lunch. We moved on to Napier. There was a beautiful French shop that was on our must-see list. I couldn’t remember what it was called or the exact location, just that it was on a side street and was a concrete type building. After driving around a bit, and turning around a few times we found the perfect park (and after I scrounged around on the floor for parking money) we went looking for this elusive shop. I think we found it. We found a really good shop anyhow with a great name (it was called Madisons). Found some cool wooden spoons with their ends dipped in white paint. Didn’t buy anything. Moved on as by now we were nearly dropping with hunger. Found the first busy café and ordered some lunch. Ate too much, didn’t eat anything with apples. Then off for more shopping. Miss M is totally over home décor shops by now. She wants to visit clothing & shoe shops. We traipsed up and down the street looking for a sweet shop that was next to a shop that wasn’t there anymore…. that took a good half an hour. We decided to move the car – and ended up parking half a block from our first parking spot. Miss M was ready to pack it in and come home. I overruled – we still had a good hour of shopping left in us. We found the sweet shop – closed down. Bah humbug…. so we went down and around and up and down and found an old antique store with some very cool old diving helmets, but even at 50% off were just a little too much.
There was an arty type shop with great skirts – hmmm that might have been in Hastings come to think of it. We got Mr L some intestinal worms in a jar, and Miss M wanted some Smurf pellets. There were some strange beings lurking about so we departed with just our intestinal worms.
The nearly last shop was a cute wee French Country style shop that smelled wonderful. The sales lady was very pleasant considering we had wandered in only five minutes before closing. Miss M spotted the jars of Bon Bons and to convince me we needed them, she showed me the apple flavoured Bon Bons.
The last stop was a rushed visit to find something to take back for the Mopp, since we’d kindly purchased some worms for the Mr L. Last minute doesn’t mean uncool as we got a very cool recycled drinking glass – our family has a ‘thing’ about having their own personal drinking glass. The Anster has about 2-3 of them (he’s not a fan of hot drinks so that justifies having more than one cold drinks drinking vessel), and since Dad has one (or three), the kids need one too.
It was a great day – we didn’t spend too much money and we didn’t eat too much food (apart from lunch). I didn’t speed on the way home (well, not too much) and we got home in time for dinner.