Travel: Staycation at The Chalets Motel

staycation /steɪˈkeɪʃ(ə)n/ noun – informal – a holiday spent in one’s home country not abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.
whoever coined that word is a genius. i love staycation. or perhaps, i could not go far enough because money is too precious when you now have a family. also, there was a sudden shift in activities when having a family vacation. everything has to be well planned. not much of the spontaneous adventures like what i do when i was still single.
for my 31st birthday, we went to hanmer springs, a town two hours drive up north from christchurch. hanmer spring is known for its thermal pools and spa and the best time to visit is winter. good thing it’s my birthday, we have an excuse to go there. do you imagine yourself taking a dip at one of the thermal pools with the snow-capped mountains as your backdrop? :)
for my three-part birthday post, i will share first our chosen accommodation. i thought it deserve a separate blog post as we spent most of our time here just relaxing and chilling like a villain. hahaha. when making a booking reservation, i’m always confused on which among the following should i prioritize:
  • best reviews but out of budget
  • affordable but experience is so-so

since it’s my birthday and i feel i deserve a nice vacation before going back to work force, i chose the one with the best reviews with a bit extra on our budget. once in a blue moon.

the name of the place is the chalets moteli have an idea what a chalet is but still googled it. chalets are a common type of accommodation in the alpine region of europe and is mostly made of wood. i am not the hotel-y type of person because i find it boring. i prefer interesting accommodation with a bit of character in it. when i saw that they still have open slots for my birthday, i knew that the chalet and me were meant to be. haha. here in new zealand, motels are very common as there are many backpacking tourists roaming the country.

we arrived friday at around 4pm. the host is a nice woman who gave us a complimentary drink new zealand style…a small bottle of milk. haha! their office have a wide array of books and dvd collections that you can borrow during the stay. after paying the bill and getting the key, the host brought us to our one bedroom with spa chalet.

the place is equipped with everything from blankets, towels, pans, microwave, ref, stove with oven, newspaper, clothes peg pin, dishwashing liquid, newspaper and many more. it’s a fully functional house with wifi connection and cable tv too. the house looks cozy and very calming. i imagine there’s snow falling outside but then waley.

the bedroom

the bedroom

toilet and bath with a spa

toilet and bath with spa

my husband used the spa during the first night. birthday nya din daw. i used it on the second day, lakas maka sowshal indi ako sanay. wahahaha.

the kitchen

the kitchen

the living room

the living room

the kitchen

complete with mini fridge, stove, microwave and kettle

the living room

comes with wifi and cable tv

here is the view from the outside. our rented chalet is the one at the right.

the chalets motel

the chalets motel

and here is the view of the mountain from the porch.

a bit of snowy mountain

a bit of snowy mountain

lush and greenery makes a mommy happy

lush and greenery makes a mommy happy

for our first night, my husband cooked pasta and brought the cake he gave the other day. nothing fancy, i’m happy just spending a quiet time with my family. ok na din at least tipid. :)

Random: Thirty One

today marks my 31st birthday.

to say i am happy is an understatement. i am delighted…ecstatic…overjoyed.

looking back at my life few years ago where i used to cry everyday and every single night, i still can’t believe that i am in a situation now that i have nothing more to ask for. reminds me of the quote, “you have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.” 

ooopppssss wait! i feel hypocrite in saying that. of course, i’m still drooling over material things such as books, jo malone perfume and woven wraps (which are my current obsession).

despite not having the luxury to buy them at the moment (…because i’m jobless and relying on my husband’s money, lol), i still feel that my heart is full and smiling. :)

to someone up there, thank you for the 31 wonderful years!

to my boys, who surprised me today with these simple gifts, labyu boat! medyo naiyak ako ng totoo kasi ngayon lang din talaga ako na surprise ulit, ever. hahahaha! either walang regalo kasi ang asawa ko or kung meron man, di ko alam kung tino-troll lang niya ako sa bigay nya. ;)

thanks boys!

Book: Calm (Calm the mind, change the world)

day-to-day life happenings bring us so much anxiety and stress. commuting to work every morning, encountering traffic as we drive off to work and juggling the tasks at work and home are some of the typical stressors we may meet everyday.

i happen to see this book, calm: calm the mind, change the world, when we passed by one of the bookstores at the mall. out of the many books displayed, the bright blue cover attracted me and so i skim the pages and found out it’s indeed a good read. it’s a self-help type of book which discusses the different ways on how we can achieve calmness in our daily life. the book is divided into eight sections namely nature, sleep, travel, relationships, work, children, creativity and food. the book is designed not to be read in a linear fashion, so anytime you feel that there’s a need for calm through the eight sections mentioned earlier, you can jump from one page to another. this book also comes with an app that you can download in apple or android.

calm: calm the mind, change the world

calm: calm the mind, change the world

this book is one of the easiest and light reading materials i had so far. i was able to finish it within a month’s time (an achievement if you are looking after someone). some of the book’s suggestion that i often neglect are turning off my gadgets, chewing thoroughly the food and eating lunch at my desk. when i am bored, i incessantly tap on my phone and scroll through my various social networking accounts. we are all guilty of spending too much on it, isn’t it? when i’m at work, i always feel in a hurry thus eating my food at my desk, sometimes forgetting that a couple of minutes of leisure walking outside will refresh the mind and bring back my energy again.

if you feel like reading something light, just want to relax and not pressured to finish it just like other fictional books, this is a nice one. :)

Travel: Porters Ski

the recent south westerlies brought lots of chill for the entire new zealand especially for us here at the south island. some areas are even lucky to have the powdery snow. here in christchurch, we don’t have the snow but occasionally gets snow flurries and frost every morning.

since i grew up in a tropical country where beaches are common, snow is a different experience for me. i still have to master putting on layers of clothing before going out. honestly, i feel lazy wearing so much clothes thus i prefer to stay indoors most of the time. also, the negative temperature is not so fun after all. people in the philippines complain too much during summer. people here also complain when it’s too cold. :)

last saturday, we went to porters ski, an hour and a half drive away from christchurch. it’s the closest ski field in the city, making it very accessible for families and ski fanatics. we arrived there before noon time. the parking at the ski area were already full thus we have to park our car at the bottom entrance and take the shuttle instead going up to the ski area. i enjoyed looking at the snow-capped mountains while sitting by the window.

someday, i would like to try skiing too or snowboarding. but since baby is in tow, we just enjoy playing with the snow while waiting for our friends who enrolled for the lessons. time will come that baby will walk so that will be a perfect time for us family to learn something new together.

this is also our baby’s first winter. we always bring him with us wherever we go. i hope we don’t look like bad parents for bringing our baby in the very cold weather, but then i eventually saw some infants that day making me relieved. i made sure to put lots of layers so he won’t shiver. he’s got a singlet + onesie + socks + fleece onesie + feather down infant’s onesie. he’s also got goggles if it gets too windy just like what we experienced at mt.hutt.

sometimes, i feel that our baby is too small to be expose outdoors. we were told not to bring our baby in crowded areas because there’s a chance he gets sick from catching a virus. i am aware of this so we just go out if necessary. it’s hard for us because we cannot leave him at home and nobody will look after him. i feel that enjoying life shouldn’t stop just because of having a baby around. like most people say, “ah enjoyin mo na yan habang wala ka pa anak, mahirap na pag may bata“. well, it’s true. for us, traveling is harder now especially there’s three of us and i tend to move slower because i’ve got lots of things to prepare and it’s always x2 but the happiness of traveling when you’re single, with a partner or with the family are all different based from experience. ;)

traveling with a baby is exciting, harder but twice the fun. as parents, we want to build happy memories with our child so when he grows up, he will look at the photos of the family adventures making him feel loved and happy.

Travel: The Tannery

red brick shops, restaurants and cafes with the christchurch hills at the back drop make the tannery an interesting place to visit. the best thing about it is that it’s only a walking distance from our house. :) i went there yesterday with the baby for a walk. it’s nice and sunny outside with a hint of cold winter air.

in a few weeks time, i’m going back to work and will be busy again. before that happens, i’m making the most out of my free time to do all the things i want – walking outdoors, coffee time, eating non-stop and lazying around with my mini boy. ;) when baby is asleep and snuggled inside the carrier, it makes “me time” stress free and enjoyable. haha!

my first stop is the woolston market. this is the nearest café at the entrance so i’ve decided to rest here for a while after a long walk. i ordered a scone with a cup of hot chocolate.

(baby status = SLEEPING; mommy meter = HAPPY) :)

once i finished my food, i started window shopping. yes, just window shop because the items in the artisan shops are very expensive like élite level x99! i was walking with people wearing their fancy ootd’s with designer bag whereas i’m in my cookie monster hoodie and sweat pants (plus a baby).

(baby is fidgeting inside, cue that i need to start walking…)

the mall’s interior looks classy and elegant. far from the kmart and the warehouse shops i frequent to.

after almost an hour or so of walking, i felt hungry. i’m thinking of getting a delicious, decent, heavy lunch. ahhhhhhhh. but before that, it’s nursing time. the mall doesn’t have a parents room unlike the other malls. good thing, i saw a couch near one of the closed restaurants so we did our feeding session there. i’m comfortable nursing in public, provided i always have a cover with me.

(baby status = AWAKE; mommy meter = HUNGRY x2) :-|

after our nursing session, i went to mitchelli’s café renato, a small italian café. browsing through their lunch menu, i immediately saw what i’m looking for – pesto pasta! :)

once i paid my order, i went upstairs and look for a place to sit. i chose the one at the corner, if something goes wrong (clue: baby related). it has a nice top view of the restaurant and beside the window.

the waitress finally served my food and said “enjoy your meal. :)“.

pesto pasta

then the baby now fully awake, alert and impatient starts moving inside the carrier. my most dreaded moment. what a perfect timing for my lunch. *groans*

i then ate a big spoonful of pasta and all of a sudden, baby started to cry and scream in my horror. times like this always make me panic. the couple sitting near me as well as the group of teenagers at the next table turned their heads and looked at me (with the slightest judgment), “what did she do with her baby?“.

it really annoys me when baby starts to scream like that. yes, that kind of scream that gets into the nerves. i hurriedly ate my pasta, half chewing it just for the sake of not getting choked and then swallow. oh by the way, the pasta is really good, i wish i enjoyed it as the waitress said. hindi man lang tumagal sa bibig ko. and you see that focaccia bread? all i can say is “shet, sarap”.

as soon as i ate everything, i grabbed my bag and left the place as fast as i could.

(baby status = MONSTER; mommy meter = STRESSED) :(

it turns out that baby is sleepy again. it’s about time that we go home. before we end the day, i drop by she universe as our last stop. i bought a pack of thin peppermint chocolates since i like their free taste sample. we were also there last sunday and tried the chocolate drinks which are really yummy.

am i happy? yes. but i also realize that “me time” is just a far-fetched dream.

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