Eat | Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipe

Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipe

I seem to have had quite a few conversations about my gluten free flour blend recipe recently, with more and more people I know becoming interested in removing gluten from their diet.  Whilst I didn’t remove gluten from my diet by choice, instead it was a case of having to after being so ill for so long, I do know that gluten free foods are less harsh on everyone’s digestive system.

If you are looking at dabbling in some gluten free baking, do not buy a gluten free flour off the supermarket shelves and expect to produce perfectly risen cakes and cookies from your oven.  Trust me, I tried.  It doesn’t work.  After many failed attempts, I started using the gluten free flour blend recipe below, and since then I’ve successfully baked everything from Christmas cake, to waffles, to chocolate chip cookies.

It’s my go-to when baking gluten free goodies, and although there is an initial cost and time factor, with the various ingredients that need to be purchased and then blended together, I promise you it is worth every penny spent!

Happy gluten free baking x

Eat | Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipe
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 255g white rice flour
  • 113g brown rice flour
  • 85g potato flour
  • 85g millet flour
  • 1 tbsp xantham gum
  • 1 tbsp dried milk powder
Instructions
  1. Weigh each ingredient and add to a large bowl.
  2. Stir the ingredients until well combined.
  3. Store in an airtight container.

Skater Girl

longboarding

longboarding

Happy Monday everyone, although to be fair, Monday is nearly over, but I’ve been rushing around this morning and finally have a chance to write a post.

I hope you all had a good weekend?  I certainly did!

Those of you that have seen my latest Instagram photos will know I’ve recently become a fan of longboarding.  The skateboarding kind, not the surfing kind.  I’d bought The Boy Next Door a board last Christmas, after listening to many a story of all the fun he had skateboarding in his younger years.  We finally pulled it out of the cupboard a week ago, and after stepping on the longboard and testing it out, up and down our street, I was immediately hooked.

So of course, I bought one myself.

longboarding

It arrived Thursday last week, and I finally had a chance to take it to the park on Saturday afternoon.  Learning to ride is equal parts frustrating and thrilling.  But it has been a looooong time since I have enjoyed something so immensely.  Who knew I was a closet skater girl?  I mean I played around with my brother’s skateboard back in the eighties, but never really had a clue what I was doing!  It kinda took me by surprise that I became hooked on this new hobby of mine so quickly!

I raced home yesterday afternoon after a truly lovely day with a girlfriend of mine, threw off my girly dress, pulled on jeans and trainers, grabbed my board and head out into the late afternoon sun.  The Boy Next Door has been my patient, encouraging longboard teacher and with his careful instructions and my utter determination to always be good at everything I try (perfectionist right here!), I’ve already mastered the art of carving (that’s swerving left and right) whilst going downhill!  I’m seriously proud of myself!

skater girl

I notice people glance as I whizz past, and I don’t know if that’s because they’re thinking ‘Wow she’s a little old to be on a skateboard’ or ‘A FEMALE on a skateboard?!’.  Whichever it is, I am happy to be an older, female skateboarding lover, because as my mother said about my new hobby ‘Skateboarding, good on you, you only live once’.

Sometimes in life there is this idea put upon us, that we can only do certain things based on age or gender.  If we always listen and follow that rule, we may just miss out on the things that make us the most fulfilled.  And on that note, I think I might go for a quick skate.

Do what makes you happy! x

Eat | Gluten Free Waffles Recipe

Gluten Free Waffles Recipe

Gluten Free Waffles Recipe

Gluten Free Waffles Recipe

Breakfast is my absolute favourite meal (although strangely I don’t eat breakfast during the week), and I look forward to each weekend when I can make something delicious from one of my cookbooks or a Pinterest recipe.

We ate waffles quite often in the weekend when I was growing up, store bought, but still really good.  On trips to USA waffles are also something I like to order.  The UK don’t seem to be so big on the craze, and when I entered the world of gluten intolerance it wiped out all hopes of eating any.  There’s certainly no GF freezer waffles for sale at the supermarkets here, unlike good old USA, which have loads of delicious GF options.

One of my Christmas gifts last year from The Boy Next Door was a waffle maker.  Pretty much the perfect gift!  However life somehow got in the way as it does, and I didn’t end up using it until very recently.  I did some Pinterest and Google searching, and using this flour blend, I made up a batch of waffle mix and took my waffle maker for a spin.

Gluten Free Waffles Recipe

A couple of dud waffles later, I quickly got the hang of the machine, and what turned out were golden, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside waffles, that I topped with Greek yoghurt, lemon curd and frozen berries.  They were pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.  I froze the leftovers, and they later came back to life perfectly once they were popped in the toaster.

If you happen to be the proud owner of a waffle maker, or you’re thinking of buying one, and wanting a really good gluten free waffles recipe, look no further than this one below….

Gluten Free Waffles Recipe

Eat | Gluten Free Waffles Recipe
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Approximately 6 waffles
 
Ingredients
  • 280g gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (if your gf flour doesn’t contain any)
  • 2 Tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 500ml milk (I use almond, but use whichever milk is your preference)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat your waffle machine.
  2. In a large bowl, add the gluten-free flour, xanthun gum, sugar, baking powder and baking soda and stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, melted butter, egg yolks and vanilla together.
  4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until smooth.
  5. Beat the egg whites in a bowl with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold the egg whites into the waffle batter, making sure not to overmix.
  7. Pour some batter onto the waffle iron and cook until golden brown.
  8. Whilst working through the batter, keep the already made waffles warm, by placing them on a plate in the oven on a low temperature.

Eat | 5 Favourite Auckland Food Spots

favourite auckland food spots

favourite auckland food spots

One of my biggest priorities on vacation is eating really good food.  I’ll spend hours trawling the internet to find all the latest and greatest foodie spots at our holiday destination.  

As soon as we’d booked our trip to New Zealand earlier this year, I got started on my research to find the best Auckland Food Spots.  The tricky thing is, there are sooo many to choose from in Auckland, it’s slightly overwhelming.  Kiwis know how to make really good food, and really good coffee, so our list was extensive, and we’d have needed a second stomach to visit every single place I’d jotted down.

We did our best though!  And I thought, just in case you ever find yourself in Auckland, New Zealand, that maybe you’d like to know my 5 Favourite Auckland Food Spots, so you can give them a try too.  I promise you won’t be disappointed…

1. The Midnight Baker

favourite auckland food spots

I visited The Midnight Baker for lunch with my mum on a weekday and we were fortunate enough to walk in and get a table straight away.  The menu is centred around a gluten, dairy free bread called The Freedom Loaf, which is then topped with the most amazing refined sugar free toppings.  Being the sweet tooth’s we are we picked two options from the sweet menu, however the savoury options sounded just as good.

favourite auckland food spots

Whether you’re intolerant or not to gluten and dairy, The Midnight Baker is a delicious option housed in a lovely little space, with the option to buy The Freedom Loaf to take home and make your own creations.

favourite auckland food spots

2. Milse

favourite auckland food spots

Let me put it this way, you may think you have truly lived, but I am here to confirm that unless you’ve paid a visit to Milse then you really haven’t.  This dessert establishment is like visiting an art gallery, where you’ll discover sugary sculptures behind glass cabinets that are the creations of some very talented pastry chefs.

It was a hot, sunny day when we popped into Milse and so we opted for their equally spectacular ice creams.  My advice, if you visit, and you see the Bombe Alaska in the fridge, order it!! It’s the stuff dreams are made of, I ate two during my vacation just to be sure it was as good the second time around.  And it so was!!  Ice cream covered in a cloud of marshmallow?! You can’t go wrong.

favourite auckland food spots

3. Federal Delicatessen

favourite auckland food spots

Federal Delicatessen is located in the heart of the city and owned by one of NZ’s most loved chef’s, Al Brown.  Fed Deli is designed to resemble an old-stool NYC Jewish deli, which means super cute outfits for the staff, and a delicious menu of bagels, sandwiches and pie.

favourite auckland food spots

Open from 7.30am until late, we visited mid-week for a late lunch and thanks to The Fed offering gluten free bagels, I was able to order a turkey bagel with cranberry, walnuts, smoked cheddar & apple which was delicious.  If I hadn’t been heading out for dinner that evening, I would have definitely eye’d up the dessert menu, think pumpkin pie, New York cheesecake, that sort of thing and you get the idea of all the amazing offerings on The Fed’s menu.  Fun, casual and good food.

favourite auckland food spots

4. Odettes

favourite auckland food spots

Odettes was on our list of places to eat, but time flew and the one and only day we had free to visit was between lunch and dinner.

favourite auckland food spots

favourite auckland food spots

We had to settle for iced coffee, but made the most of it sitting outside in their gorgeous courtyard soaking up the sunshine.  I have it on good authority from friends that the food is fantastic too.  So next time I’m home I look forward to sitting in their truly beautiful restaurant and ordering a meal.  Don’t miss this spot if you’re in Auckland, even if it is only for an iced coffee!

favourite auckland food spots

5. Dear Jervois

favourite auckland food spots

We dined at Dear Jervois for brunch on a weekday morning, and this place is so popular it was pretty much full when we arrived.  Trendy and buzzing with the inner city Auckland crew, the menu is extensive and definitely lived up to the hype.

favourite auckland food spots

favourite auckland food spots

They cater really well to us food intolerant lot, so I was super excited to order the gluten free waffles.  We also tried the acai bowl which was fab, and the eggs benedict on a potato rosti, again another amazing dish.  The coffee is really good too, a must have for us to enjoy a cafe.  Dear Jervois is a guaranteed good food spot if you’re searching for Auckland brunch options.

favourite auckland food spots

Happy Eating in Auckland everyone! x

Eat | The Sugar Club, Auckland

The Sugar Club Auckland

The Sugar Club Auckland

Way up high, on level 53 of The Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand is a restaurant that should be on every foodies bucket list, The Sugar Club.  The restaurant with its floor to ceiling windows, offers the best view you’ll find over Auckland City.  Not only will you be spoilt by the view, the food is some of the best you’ll ever have the pleasure of eating.

As it happens, Peter Gordon the owner and brainchild of The Sugar Club, is the very person I’ve had the pleasure of working with since late 2016.  When The Boy Next Door and I booked our flights to New Zealand for February, we knew we couldn’t miss an opportunity to experience The Sugar Club and its heavenly fusion cuisine.    We booked in a date with the TSC team, and what unfolded was one of the highlights of our trip, which I’m so excited to show you with all the photos I snapped….

The Sugar Club Auckland

The Sugar Club Auckland

With daylight savings still in full swing in February we made a 7pm reservation to enable us to enjoy sunset over dinner.  We arrived at The Sky Tower, and whizzed up the glass elevator to the 53rd floor, stepping out to be warmly greeted by one of The Sugar Club team.  Being seated by the bar, we started our evening with pre-dinner drinks and sunny views over the city.

The Sugar Club Auckland

The staff at The Sugar Club are at the top of their game.  Attentive and knowledgable, they ran through the cocktail list with us, because trust me, you’ll struggle choosing when everything sounds superb!

The Sugar Club Auckland

The Sugar Club Auckland

Following pre-dinner drinks we were seated at our table and our lovely waiter introduced himself.  Peter was also in Auckland and working at TSC that evening, so it was a lovely reunion to see him at the restaurant, and have him walk us through the menu.

The Sugar Club Auckland

Because we’re greedy, we decided we wanted one of everything, and settled on the degustation menu.

The Sugar Club Auckland

As most of you know, I’m gluten intolerant and this often makes life difficult when dining out if the restaurant doesn’t offer alternatives.  The Sugar Club is not one of those restaurants.  If there was anything I couldn’t eat in one of the dishes, it was either adapted or replaced with another equally delicious dish.

The Sugar Club Auckland

The Sugar Club Auckland

Peter and the team regularly checked on us, to make sure everything was okay with each dish, which of course it was.  TBND and I spent a large part of the evening only saying ‘OMG, this is so good!’ to each other, between moments of gazing out the large window that overlooked Auckland.

The Sugar Club Auckland

The Sugar Club Auckland

The Sugar Club Auckland

As each dish was placed in front of us, and we took our first bite, we’d discuss which was our favourite so far.  But it was so difficult to choose, the flavours of each dish were simply divine and we both agreed as we sat there, that this was one of the most memorable dining experiences we’d ever experienced.

The Sugar Club Auckland

The Sugar Club Auckland

The Sugar Club Auckland

Dusk fell, and the city started to sparkle with lights.  Auckland’s weather is very temperamental, so we were extremely lucky to dine at the restaurant on such a perfect evening.

The Sugar Club Auckland

The Sugar Club Auckland

As I mentioned, we are rather greedy.  So we may have tried every single dessert on The Sugar Club menu.  I’m not one to turn down sugary treats!  They were all amazing and unique.  Following our last bite of dessert and last sip of wine, we looked around to realise we were the last ones in the restaurant.  This meant one thing, it was time to hit the casino downstairs!

The Sugar Club Auckland

A truly special and memorable evening, what a privilege it was to experience such fine dining.  A big, big thank you to the main man himself, Peter, and head chef Neil, for a night we’ll remember forever. x

Detour | A Day Trip to Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

If you’re unfamiliar with Waiheke Island, let me paint a picture for you.  An island located just a 35 minute ferry ride from Auckland’s CBD, Waiheke not only has multiple white sand beaches, it’s also inundated with vineyards/wineries making world renowned wine, olive groves, art and unsurprisingly multi-millionaires with some of the most amazing houses you’ll have ever seen.  It’s the ultimate island retreat.

Having been to Waiheke Island a few times over the years, from sailing there on our yacht as a child, to friends getting married at one of the vineyards, I still felt like I hadn’t properly seen all that this beautiful 20km island has to offer.  So we took a day trip there to discover as much as we could.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Boarding the ferry from downtown Auckland, we arrived mid morning and collected our rental car aka the cutest, most hilarious car ever and drove up to Oneroa Village to start our day with coffee, something kiwi’s know how to do really well.  Oneroa is a bit of a foodie paradise, with numerous restaurants and cafes, we hit up The Island Grocer for some caffeine, and TBND tried one of their mince and mozzarella pies which he tells me was amazing.  The Island Grocer also sells loads of indie food products, so we found ourselves walking out of the store with a bag full of everything from peanut butter to hot sauce.  Definitely one to visit!

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Back in the car we did some beach hopping, which also involved unexpectedly stumbling across the nudist area at Palm Beach, cue juvenile sniggering and trying to avert our eyes from it all!  One of the nudists said to us ‘You should come in, the water is warm!’.  It was around that moment that the two of us hightailed it outta there!

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Before sitting down for a gluten free pizza at The Boathouse overlooking Onetangi Beach, we drove to Casita Miro, a stunning vineyard and restaurant that specialises in Spanish food.  Due to time restrictions, we didn’t stay long, but I highly recommend adding this place to your list, it was truly beautiful.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Following our pizza lunch, we continued around the island and drove along the dirt roads toward Man O’ War Bay.  Our little car was slightly struggling with the road there, but we eventually arrived at the secluded bay, also home to Man O’ War Vineyards.  The vineyards are truly lovely, with indoor/outdoor seating, you can laze about on beanbags in the sun whilst wine tasting and snacking on a cheese board, and the beach is just a stone’s throw away.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Back in our little car, we continued around the island, stopping off to snap photos every so often.  As you’ll discover if you visit Waiheke, there’s a photo opportunity around every corner, from the view back over to Auckland, to beaches, vineyards and beautiful homes.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

We could’ve stayed on Waiheke Island for a week and have never been bored.  There is so much to do, from walks to zip lining, art galleries to restaurants, or simply laying on your beach towel and soaking up the sun (with suncream of course!).  With only a day to discover as much as we could on the island, we didn’t have a chance to sit and relax, but this was definitely one of our holiday highlights.  Before boarding our ferry, we made one last stop, at Island Gelato back in Oneroa.  Again, this is a must visit spot, the gelato was as good as anything I’d ever tasted in Italy, and the perfect sweet ending to our day on one of New Zealand’s most amazing islands.

Waiheke Island

Detours | Piha, Auckland’s Wild West Coast Beach

Piha New Zealand

 

 

 

 

Piha New Zealand

 

Piha New Zealand

Piha New Zealand

Piha New Zealand

Piha New Zealand

Piha New ZealandPiha New Zealand


Piha New Zealand

Piha, Auckland’s Wild West Coast Beach

We spent so much time visiting beaches on our recent trip to New Zealand, which let’s face it, isn’t hard to do when they are everywhere.  Most beaches in NZ consist of white sand, but on Auckland’s west coast you will find a small beach town called Piha, with a picturesque black sand surf beach.

The weather had taken a turn for the worst for a couple of days and I was feeling kinda irritated with the lack of summer sun, until my dad suggested we visit Piha beach, because it’s always good on an overcast day, giving it a moody feel to the area.  It’s all very ‘La Push Beach’ for those Twilight fans amongst us ;o)

Piha is around a 40 minute drive from Auckland’s CBD, yet it seems like a world away when you’re standing on the black sand, with just the sound of the crashing waves, the chatter of the surfers and the buzzing of cicadas (very loud, flying insects if you’re wondering).

We arrived late morning and took a walk along the beach, exploring caves and rock pools, and watching surfers brave the choppy waves. The water isn’t the type for paddling, with strong currents, you’ll usually find a flagged safe swimming area patrolled by surf life savers which is always the smart option.

At one end of the beach is Lion Rock, which gives you amazing views over Piha if you walk to the top. We did exactly that, before driving over to the entrance to Kite Kite Falls.  The track to the falls takes around twenty minutes and it’s a beautiful walk through native forest.

It was snack-o’clock by the time we returned from the falls so we made our way back down towards the beach, for Nice Blocks and an iconic Kiwi Lime Milkshake, TBND’s first and he’s officially hooked!

Windswept and rugged, Piha surprised me. I’d visited many years ago, so I knew I’d like it. I just wasn’t expecting to love it. Which I did. It’s so different to my other favourite white sand NZ beach spots, yet I could’ve stayed there for days, one one of the many beautiful beach houses, reading a book, taking a walk, and maybe even taking a surf lesson or two.  It’s a special place, and one you should most definitely add to your must-visit list.

Piha New Zealand

Piha New Zealand

Piha New Zealand

Piha New Zealand

Piha New Zealand

Piha New Zealand

Piha New Zealand

Piha New Zealand

Kite Kite Falls

Detour | 5 Must-See Spots in Rotorua

Waiotapu Rotorua

 

Ohinemutu Rotorua

It’s a funny thing returning to a place as an adult that you’d visited in your youth.  You tend to see it through completely different eyes.  What I didn’t appreciate back then, suddenly becomes something wonderful to me in my late thirties.  

This is how I felt about visiting Rotorua again, on my trip back home to New Zealand.  I wasn’t wildly excited about going there, but I knew it was a must visit to show The Boy Next Door on his first trip down under.  My expectations were low, because I guess from previous visits in my younger years, I took plenty for granted.  Sometimes it takes being away from a place (and getting older!) to appreciate just how amazing it really is.  This is how I felt about my recent trip to Rotorua and I hope you’ll add it to your itinerary if you ever visit New Zealand.  Here are 5 must-see spots in Rotorua that I thoroughly enjoyed…

Ohinemutu Village

Ohinemutu Rotorua

There are so many Maori cultural spots to visit in Rotorua, the choice is actually overwhelming.  Ohinemutu, is in my opinion, the spot to go for!  TBND discovered it when watching a YouTube video on the haka (Maori war dance), so we decided to stop by and I’m glad we did.  It’s a small village nestled along the lake, with the most beautiful church consisting of Maori carvings and stained glass windows (see below).  There’s a marae, which you can’t enter, but is worth seeing for the carvings alone (see my photo at the top of this post).  The bonus?  Very few tourists!

Ohinemutu Rotorua

Ohinemutu Rotorua

 

Whakarewarewa Redwoods Forest

Redwoods Forest Rotorua

We visited the Redwoods Forest on an overcast, drizzly day, which actually made it even better as the forest colours looked amazing.  The Redwoods are HUGE, and you can choose a walking track from a little as 30 minutes up to a full 8 hour hike.  There’s also the option to pay to walk along an elevated pathway through the forest, but we found walking the 30 minute track showed us plenty.

Redwoods Forest Rotorua

Redwoods Forest Rotorua

 

Skyline Rotorua

Rotorua Zipline

Skyline Rotorua is SO MUCH FUN!  There’s a bunch of things to do here.  We took the gondola up to the top of the hill and chose to zipline down through the forest which was awesome!  Take note if you do choose to zipline, they will encourage you to bungy jump backwards off a 16 metre platform at the end of the journey.  I was TERRIFIED, but I did it and totally felt like an extreme sports chick afterwards hah!  The other must-do is The Luge, and I’m not sure the best way to explain this, but if you imagine a bobsled/cart that you sit in and whizz as fast or as slow as you like along a track from the top of the hill to the bottom, you’ll have some idea of what I’m talking about!  Failing that, search for it on YouTube.  Whatever you do, don’t miss the luge, it was a highlight for us!

Rotorua Zipline

Rotorua Zipline

 

Wai-o-tapu

Waiotapu Rotorua

Wai-o-tapu was mind-blowing.  The geothermal activity in this area has created some of the most fantastic colours from The Champagne Pool in the photo above, to The Devil’s Bath in the photo below.  You’ll also get the chance to see those famous bubbling mud pools.  This was one of our favourite places on our trip to N.Z, and we thoroughly recommend it!

Waiotapu Rotorua

Waiotapu Rotorua

 

Hells Gate Mud Pools

Hells Gate Rotorua

Just before we were heading back to Auckland, we decided to delay our departure and visit Hells Gate and wallow like hippo’s in their mud pools.  It was weirdly a really fun experience, and whilst we had a great time we would highly recommend that you take old bathing suits and clothes because we have struggled to get the sulphur smell out of ours, despite multiple soaking and washing attempts.  The sulphur smell will turn your jewellery black too, so be sure to remove it.

Hells Gate Rotorua

Hells Gate Rotorua

Hells Gate Rotorua

 

 

 

Detour | New Zealand’s East Coast Beaches

Cathedral Cove New Zealand

Cathedral Cove New Zealand

This post on New Zealand’s East Coast beaches has not been easy to write, simply because it’s almost impossible to narrow the list down to a few favourites!  

One of my favourite things about going home during summer is spending time with the sand between my toes.  I absolutely love being at the beach, it’s where I spent most of my holidays as a child, not to mention the fact I grew up surrounded by beaches.

With my family having a beach house on New Zealand’s East Coast, I tend to spend most of my trips back home exploring those, but don’t let that stop you discovering all the other amazing beaches, I am just sharing my favourites that I visit most often!

So grab a towel and suncream, and let’s go to the beach…

Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach East Coast

Hot Water Beach is one seriously amazing spot.  Not only do you have beautiful sand and surf, you’ll also discover an area near the southern end of the beach that thanks to geothermal activity going on under the ground, means you can literally dig a hole and create your own jacuzzi as hot water bubbles up from the sand.

It’s kind of a strange feeling kicking back in your own ‘sand jacuzzi’ whilst looking out to the sea but such a fun experience!  You can dig up to two hours either side of low tide and shovel hire is available from local cafes if you don’t have your own.

Hot Water Beach East Coast

Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove New Zealand

Cathedral Cove New Zealand

Without a doubt my absolute favourite beach.  In the world.  This was actually my first time visiting Cathedral Cove, having had it on my bucket list for years.  Cathedral Cove is accessible via boat or a walking track, which takes around 30 minutes from the public carpark.

Upon arrival, you descend a set of stairs to arrive onto the softest sand beneath your feet, and a paradise of a beach.  To your left is a large hole in a rock that you can walk through to discover a larger beach on the same side.  This spot is magical, and my only regret is that we didn’t allow more time to spend there.  Next time I’d pack a picnic and stay for dinner until sunset.

Cathedral Cove New Zealand

Cathedral Cove New Zealand

Cathedral Cove New Zealand

Hahei

Hahei East coast beaches

Hahei Beach is next to Cathedral Cove and is simply amazing too.  With a long stretch of golden sand, there’s no worry of feeling overcrowded at Hahei, you’ll be sure to have plenty of space to yourself.  Hahei itself it’s the cutest little holiday spot, with caravan parks, beach houses and a few cafes.  You’d need nothing much more than your bathing suit and flip flops at this pretty place, it’s pure relaxation!

Hahei New Zealand

Hahei New Zealand

Pauanui

Pauanui new zealand

Pauanui East Coast beaches

How lucky I am that my family have a place in my favourite beach town ever.  Pauanui is beautiful.  With red roads and lovely houses, there’s a small shopping centre and not too much else, which I love because it promotes a relaxing holiday for me.  Pauanui beach is long, so again there’s no feeling of sunbathing right next to a stranger, and everything is walkable so when you’ve had enough of swimming, it’s just a short walk to the shops for fish n chips ;o)

You can also get an amazing view of Pauanui by visiting Tairua, the town north of it, and walking up Paku Mountain that looks back over Pauanui itself.  (See below – pretty cool huh?)

Pauanui East Coast beaches

Pauanui New Zealand

Whangamata

Whangamata New Zealand

Whangamata is a much larger beach town than any of the other beaches I’ve listed above.  The golden beach, just like the others, is long and spacious, and popular with surfers too.  With just a short walk into the town, you’re inundated with fantastic cafes, restaurants and shops.  It’s a really fun place to spend time on a beach holiday.

Whangamata New Zealand

Papamoa

Papamoa Beach East Coast New Zealand

Whangamata New Zealand

Papamoa beach is loooooong and feels never-ending.  It joins Mount Maunganui beach, and it is truly breathtaking.  Another really popular summer spot, as Papamoa and ‘The Mount’ as we call it are within easy reach to Tauranga, one of New Zealand’s cities, so you have the best of all world’s visiting here, with relaxation and city life combined.  Whether you’re visiting for the day or staying awhile, you cannot go wrong with this beautiful beach and its surrounding areas.

Papamoa New Zealand

Papamoa New Zealand

So there were go, some of my absolute fav beach spots on New Zealand’s East Coast, and if you have a car you’ll be able to visit all of them over a period of a few days!

Enjoy that sand between your toes x

Hello It’s Been Awhile…. !

Waiheke Island New Zealand

Waiheke Island New Zealand

Hello everyone!  I cannot believe it’s almost two months since I wrote my last post here on my blog.  A very big OOPS!

As some of you will know I went home to New Zealand for the month of February, and although I had the greatest of intentions to keep posting, we were sooo busy seeing the sights, spending time with friends and family and eating all the food, and suddenly I was back on a plane to London and I’d not logged in here even once!

Since I’ve been back in London I feel like I’ve barely had time to catch my breath.  March has been the busiest of months.  I arrived back on a Wednesday morning, and found myself out and about the very next day despite the horrendous jet lag, on the Friday I was working and on the Saturday I had a wedding.  And life hasn’t slowed down since!

I’m doing that very tedious task of job searching at the moment, which takes time in itself, whilst working temp jobs in the meantime.  So my working week has been unpredictable and often includes late nights and weekends, which means Donuts + Detours has taken a back seat for now until I get life in order.

There will be a bunch of posts on New Zealand coming up, I can’t wait to share photos and tales with you all.  So bear with me as I get all my ducks in a row and back on this blogging bandwagon.

Have a lovely, lovely weekend everyone, and YAY for daylight savings starting here in the UK! x