Parents 😅

Have you ever looked at your parents/parent and thought “How in the hell did you manage to raise me?”.
I hadn’t. Well that was until last week. I should have however, seen the signs on our first trip together, but I guess I kind of….just let it slide.
Let me start from the start, the culprit being my sweet and charming 😃 mother. Maybe this  might help explain things a little bit better.

It was our first Euro-trip together – Kiwis Up Over Tour (phase one) 2014-15. First stop was London, we were emotional and not thinking straight, so I let Mum direct us around…….and around…….and around. Yup continuously in long loops of the same streets. In fairness she’s never been great for direction so I just happily strolled along with her. We did manage to see a lot, at the expense of our very tired legs.
Then in Berlin, we were starting to stink, so we decided a clothes wash was in order. We went to a convenience store and after some long studying of the pictures on the front of the box, she purchased some washing powder.
We found the closest laundry mat and settled into watch the clothes dance about inside the machine. About 15mins in I quietly decided to mention “doesn’t seem to be much of a soapy washing powder, does it?”.
Mum sort of shrugged and we continued to stare, mesmerized by the spinning, tumbling clothes. Long story short…….when we opened the machine at the end of the cycle we discovered that my clothing, yup only my clothing, had been destroyed by some tie dying bleach. Her clothing miraculously survived. Convenient? Mistake? I’m still not sure. I just remember her chuckling and saying “One day you’ll laugh at this”. She was of course right, after wearing my new fancy (but not so nicely tie-dyed) clothing around for the rest of the trip, it did make a good story and induce a few giggles.
Then there was that time in Rome, when we did thee old faithful Hop on/Hop off tour. This fine day we sat pleasantly atop the open top bus, listening to the very informative pre-recorded guide as it chirped brightly through our ear phones. I caught mum’s eye and indicated that we were to hop off at the next stop. She nodded eagerly and we collected our belongings in preparation for our departure. Bus pulls in and I jump first to my feet and pull my ear plugs swiftly out and into my pocket. I watch mum carefully to make sure she’s coming too and that’s when it happened. She jumps to her feet starts quickly pacing up the aisle, just as the cord from her earphones pulls tight whipping her head backwards and throwing her off-balance. She caught herself well and it was only her ego that was bruised as fellow passengers chuckled around her. I didn’t laugh though…..well not much 😂. We were in fits of laughter as we stepped off the bus and onto the footpath.
I really could go on all day, but I won’t, instead I’ll leave you with this gem.

Whilst visiting Malahide Castle last week, we stopped off at the lil girls room to freshen up and on leaving the bathroom we were deep in conversation. Mum was walking ahead and as she stepped through the door a young gentleman rushed past on the way to the lil boys room.
Mum starts to walk quickly after him as I call out “mum…..where are you going?….Mum? MUM???”.
She’s still chatting away closing in on the poor chap who’s now throwing paranoid glances over his shoulder as he goes to push through the door. I try one last time “STOP MUM, That’s the men’s toilet!”.
The man stops just as mum nearly runs into the back of him, an awkward exchange occurs as she sheepishly scurries back toward me. Accident? I’m not sure, but that poor fella got a fright.
Anyway she’s now off in Scotland, I’m excited for her yet still a little bit worried as I received a message from her today:

I forgot to tell you.  I did the earphone thing again in Glasgow, in front of only 1 person this time. 😂

And by the tone of the message she’s pretty chuffed with herself! Anyway keep following our journey as I’m sure there will be plenty more to tell you……Lord give me the strength Haha!

Laugh, Dream, Reach xx

Welcome 2017……..

Well I’ve made it into 2017 pretty much unscathed, due to the weather being shite (yes I’m learning some of the local lingo) on New Years Eve in Dublin we had a night in with family, a few wines and a lot of laughs.

I didn’t need to make any new year resolutions, I’m pretty much living all mine over the next year, travel, take more photos, meet new people, try new things, travel to places I haven’t been before and not having to think about getting up for work. Ok I’ve rubbed it in enough! I hope you have all decided to do at least one thing this year that you haven’t done before, it’s never too late.

I have been getting out and about around Dublin and beyond. Before New Year Mark & Jaimee took me to a beautiful place called Kilkenny. It’s about an hour twenty south of Dublin. Such a picturesque place with so much history. We visited the Kilkenny Castle and St Candice’s Cathedral and Round Tower. Mark and I climbed the 121 steps up the tower to a fantastic view of Kilkenny and beyond, it brought me back to the days of ladder drill at fire training, it left me with shaky legs then too. It was quite a tight squeeze and very steep up the steps but was well worth it.

I was really excited to finally find a chai latte in a little café as we walked around the town. We also had a lovely meal at the Hibernian Hotel before we headed home. There is so much more to see and do in Kilkenny, we will be back.

On Monday 2nd January we headed out for a look around Dún Laoghaire, Pronounced Dun leary (or in Irish, Doon Leereh) it is a beautiful seaside town on the southern coast about 12km from Dublin. We went for a walk along the mariner and out to the light house, the wind was nippy but it was amazing how many people were out walking.

Yesterday I headed into town on my own (Jaimee had to go back to work) with her still ringing in my ear, now you remember what bus to catch, where to get off and back on, ring me if you get lost (since when did things change and she become the responsible adult??). I did a spot of shopping, Marks & Spencers had a great sale on so a chance to stock up on some winter tops. I also met up with Inez and Ciara from Perth and got to meet, Inez’s sister Claire for a meal at Avoca and The Auld Dubliner for a drink. It was great to catch up with them before they continued on their travels.

I’ve booked my first couple of trips away, Scotland next week and Copenhagen in March. Just sorting details to Bristol next month, plenty of adventures to come!!

Laugh Dream Reach only you can make it happen xx



Loving Ireland……

Ok I’ve only been in Ireland just over a week but I’m loving it! Christmas when the temperature is not over 15C, ok so far it hasn’t been over 10C but it is so much more manageable than in the 30’s. The decorations and lights, the food is amazing, the live music in the warm, inviting, Irish pubs and the lovely family I am staying with, which does include my daughter and future son in-law. I have been out to a family dinner at the Vermillion Indian Restaurant,  been to a couple of Irish Pubs, had an amazing Christmas dinner and some very funny after dinner entertainment playing Heads Up. I went sales shopping on St Stephen’s Day (which to all those not in the know is Boxing Day), visited the Dublin Zoo and went for a look at Glendalough in Co Wicklow where we walked along the lake/lough and had a picnic in the ruins of a mining settlement.

No doubt there is plenty more out there to see and do, best I put on my winter pyjamas, jump in my bed, rest my weary head and see what tomorrow will bring.

Laugh Dream Reach …….. Shirley


Merry Christmas 🎄

Arriving in Ireland to carol singers at the airport and Jaimee dressed as an elf, what more could anyone ask for. I have been relaxing this week to get over my long flight, while Jaimee is flat out at work. I’m in the right time zone now so the body has adjusted well. Some last minute shopping in town, so many people doing the same, the beautiful Christmas lights and my first Irish pub with live music. It’s all part of my new adventure. We are off to Grafton street tonight to experience Christmas Eve.

Jaimee and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas xx

Laugh Dream Reach you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve xx

2017 here we come!!!

Life takes many different twists and turns. The past two years have been some of the most difficult we as a family have had to experience. To change that path Jaimee sent me a message, “Why don’t you come live with us for a year”. After much thought and a conversation with the boss the dream of all dreams become a possibility.

A year of saving , doubt, more saving, planning and oh yeah more saving that dream is now only a week away. The suitcase is nearly packed, although packing a years worth of stuff in a 30kg suitcase isn’t easy! The last few last-minute jobs are done. My last week at work, ok I don’t really want to think of that yet. It is going to be hard saying “see you in 2018” to my IMCC family who have helped me get through those last two difficult years. Moving further away from my NZ family and leaving behind Mitch and Shelley. I know it’s going to be hard but I also feel like if I don’t do it I will regret giving up the chance to fulfil one of my long time dreams.

Jaimee and I will be documenting the adventures on our blog. We have a list of things we want to achieve so if you want to follow our journey you can log in and get notifications sent to your email when we post. We also welcome suggestions that you think we should attempt on our travels. We will share our list as we go.

Laugh Dream Reach, we are sure going to in 2017!!



It’s a Whole New World

Life is such a funny thing. You never really start to live your own life,  until something happens to make you realise that time will someday run out. But why do we wait for that wakeup call? Why do we work so hard and leave little time for play, fun and laughter? We work to live, not live to work. Life is for now, not later. It is not a rehearsal. Life is the journey we take, the roads we stumble down, the forests we get lost in, the rivers that cleanse our souls and the oceans that take us around the world. The time for living is this very moment, it should not be wasted. Breathe in, breath out for this next year is going to be an adventure!

It is with my most utmost delight and pleasure to finally announce………….drum roll please 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Shirley is coming to town, and just in time for Christmas!

She’s chucked it all in for a year of adventure, so I would like to welcome you back to the BLOG! In the coming weeks we will revamp and you will be able to share in our adventures as Mum and I take on Europe.

We have each developed individual bucket lists and are going to combine them to make the ultimate travel list, so we will be posting them as we go along.

All we ask of you is that you sit back, relax and come along for the ride, as we try to navigate through the many countries we plan to visit. There will be tears, laughter and memories to be made, on what will be fondly called Kiwi’s Up Over Tour – Round 2.

Welcome to the start of what’s to come!

Laugh, Dream, Reach xxx

No Word Of A Lie, I Almost Did Die

Let me tell you the tale of the moment I thought my life was ending.

The sun was shining and the day was warm. It was a day like any other day, almost. I had just signed up to the gym and today was my first day. The class wasn’t too hard, and I’m sorry to say that that wasn’t what nearly killed me, although it left me red faced and breathless. I showered after the class and pulled on my clothes. Lastly I pulled on my socks and smiled as I realized I was wearing one of Marks socks, as well as one of my own.
I continued on to work and the mundane task of washing dishes (filling in for a colleague that was away on holiday).

The day was mostly uneventful and if it wasn’t for the delightful banter with the chef I would have probably died from boredom. I was wishing for something that would disrupt the day and I’d be able to go home and unfortunately it wasn’t long until my wish was granted, perhaps not exactly in the way I had hoped.

I took in my hand a black bag full of rubbish. I wasn’t too bothered being left with this job, the skip (bins) weren’t even far from the back of the shop. I began my descent on the old metal staircase humming a tune as I basked in the glorious sunshine. It was just near the bottom of the stairs that life as I knew it was about to change forever (or perhaps just for a next few weeks), the gods may as well have just ripped up my gym membership because what I was about to endure was going to leave me physically impaired (OK, OK perhaps still a little bit dramatic) for…….well there was no way of knowing at the time. As I took the last few steps the rubbish bag slammed into the handrail and flung back into my leg.
Now it didn’t hurt, I am of course a strong independent woman! I continued to walk and thought nothing much of it at all until…….

ALAS my foot was wet, I looked down and I kid you not I was gushing blood like some sort of popped goon bag (wine cask). I stared in horror as my white sock stained red and with each heartbeat there shot a stream of blood from my leg. I strangely felt calm and all I could think was “I don’t wanna die next to the bins”, which in fairness I don’t think I know anyone who would. I let the black bag drop from my hand and ran up the stairs calling for the chef for help.

She simply thought I had gone mad, and I am sure she thought I was well and truly cracked as I flung myself onto my back on the floor, grabbing blue paper as I went down, kicking my leg up above my heart as I held the paper tightly onto the wound to stem the flow of blood as it sprayed artfully onto the walls.

“Tourniquet, someone get me a Tourniquet”, I cried out.

Yip that’s right I was administering my own first aid (I heard someone say hero…..perhaps not). Needless to say the next few minutes were loud and there was a slight panic in the air, mostly from me hoping I wasn’t about to bleed out here on the floor of my workplace, even if it was an upgrade from the bins.

I lay on my back watching my life flash before my eyes, breathing slowly in and out to calm my heartbeat. I looked up into the face of my work mate who was kindly holding pressure to my cut. This is it, the last face I would see, grateful that she was a beautiful sight. And then I waited. Waited for the grim reaper to arrive and take me to my final destination.

But it wasn’t my time, and I was pulled to my senses by my other work mate who basically carried me in her arms like Kevin Costner did with Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard (or maybe she didn’t……details, shemetails!) to the medical centre down the hall.
At this point it’s obvious I survived, but it was a close one. A couple of hours later I was at home with a cider in my hands after a trip to get some stitches. There were only three of them but the cut was deep and it was going to take time to heal. The only funny part being, it was Marks sock that was ruined, I believe everything happens for a reason and I think the good lord knew (being slightly OCD at times) I wouldn’t of dealt with the loss of a good pair of socks.

After a quick look by my work mate, she discovered the evil chalice that had threatened to end me. It was quite simply a broken teacup, the jagged handle of doom.

So there you have it folks, the story of my almost untimely demise. I made it out this time, I just hope to be forever this lucky.

Until next time……….

Laugh, Dream, Reach xxx

Another Goal – Write More

At the start of May I started a creative writing class. I have always enjoyed writing, but I always started something, got bored and left it. So I started this class to get motivated and start writing again! This was yet another goal of mine – Write More.

So below you will find a short story I have written for this class. We were given a writing prompt (the first sentence in the story – The most beautiful smile I ever saw….) and left to write. I had no idea what I was going to write about or how it would end. I wrote this over a period of an hour – started in class and then finished when I got home. So sit back and enjoy and please feel free to comment what you think 🙂


The most beautiful smile I ever saw shone through the glistening glades of grass. The field was like a meadow had it not been imprisoned by the rickety tin fence that hung limply like a withered tongue.

I had walked past here almost every day searching tirelessly to see her again, this time longer than the seconds she allowed me on most occasions, but she had managed to elude me so far.

A small roof peeked over the long grass, it was in the back corner on the right hand side. You wouldn’t notice it on a cloudy day, but when the sun gleamed off it, it resembled a river of dark brown chocolate showered with flecks of caramel where old slated tiles once sat.

I presumed this is where she stayed when I couldn’t catch a glimpse of her, and I couldn’t shake the urge to climb the fence and run desperately to her door. I had been warned though, she was crazy. She was untrusting. She was dangerous. I didn’t care I wanted to know her. I needed to know her. Nobody seemed to know where she had come from, and if they did, they weren’t going to tell me.

It was about 5 days ago I started to leave her gifts (although weeks since I first laid eyes on her), I then crossed the road and hid behind the old pine trees that littered the adjacent plot of land. I waited and I watched as she inquisitively poked and prodded each item before turning up her nose and wandering back into the depths of her grassy prison.
But I was relentless, and day after day I presented her with a new gift. She would soon realize I mean her no harm. She would come to need me as much as I needed her.
She was fussy, but sure why not, she had every right to be. But I couldn’t shake the feeling this was why she was now all alone.

By now you must think I’m some sort of crazy stalker. Trust me I’ve thought the same. How did I get to be this obsessed?

I wouldn’t even want to know what my family would say if they saw me here, hiding behind the pines day after day. Sometimes I even visited more than once.
But I needed her to acknowledge me. I needed her to know that she had changed my life. That even though we had never shared a word, she calms my anxiety before it creeps up my spine and wraps itself around my throat. Before the anxieties shut down my vocal cords and choke off my ability to breathe. Before the tears stream relentlessly down my cheeks, and before I crumble to the ground sobbing uncontrollably not knowing when the pounding in my ears will stop and I can see and think clearly again. Her mere presence had stopped the triggers, watching her made me feel free.

So here I am once again, watching from my hiding place behind the old pine trees. She walks cautiously toward the present I have left, her eyes darting left and right. She sniffs it and takes it in her mouth. I draw in my breath, I can’t believe she’s actually taking it this time. My heart begins to swell and I feel my face crack into a beaming smile. I have won. She can no longer pretend I don’t exist, I squeal with delight. With the sudden noise her head snaps up and the apple drops from her mouth. Her eyes lock with mine and we both freeze, the wind slowly pushes the grass playfully around her beautiful face. I dare a smile and wait. After what feels like an eternity she pulls back her lips and bares her teeth into the most beautiful smile I have ever seen!

She has seen me and accepted me.

“Hello Black Shadow” I whisper to the glorious black mare as she quietly descends back behind the tall grass. I have gained her trust.


By Jaimee Nolan (May 2016)

Laugh, Dream, Reach xxx

Expect the Unexpected……..

Hey Thought you might like to hear the funny side of the fire calls .

Many of the fire calls we got were pretty much the norm as a fire fighter. The crashes, the vegetation and structure fires etc that you always expect but seriously don’t wish on anyone. It’s those unexpected calls that leave you thinking, “REALLY”.
My first call like that was “house flooding”. We talked about what we would need to do on the way to the call, who had what job etc and then we pulled up almost expecting water to be flowing out the doors. The Officer in charge went to interview the occupants of the house while we got the equipment ready. He came back with a smile on his face. Not a flooded house but a leaking waterbed. The lady owner wanted it gone so we got to work trying to empty it. Every possible pump didn’t work so we slit it down the middle and the bucket brigade began. The bed was finally dismantled and chucked out onto the lawn. One happy lady and a very amused brigade.
Another be prepared for the unexpected call. Picture it late at night, storm happening and multiple call outs all over the region. We got called to a transformer fire in Timaru. All the other brigades in the region were dealing with the onslaught of the storm in other areas so it wasn’t unusual to be called out of our own area. I got pulled out of bed with the sound of the siren, so thinking late at night, no one will see me I’ll just wear my pyjamas, easier than trying to get changed still half asleep. Boy I couldn’t have been more wrong. We got to the transformer, nothing happening so got told to cover Timaru Station until the Timaru brigade got back. Arriving at the station we were told to make ourselves comfortable and go have a coffee. For a split second I forgot and went to take off my level two jacket and remembered I was still in my PJs. I quickly zipped up my jacket to the amusement of my brigade. The kept making smart remarks, “aren’t you hot in that jacket?” I was pleased when we were finally told to go home, a new dilemma it was now daylight and I had to walk home. None of the older guys would drop me off. They all laughed and said “imagine the town gossip if we got caught dropping you off dressed like that” luckily the youngest guy in the brigade wasn’t too worried and gave me a lift home.
Expect the unexpected and Laugh Dream Reach

We’re Baaaacccckkkk ;)

Lo and behold, here we are again. Earlier promises of regular posts have once again been broken as we find ourselves busy living and slowly but surely achieving little goals along the way.

First and foremost, after much discussion we (Shirley and I), have come to an agreement that one of us will update this blog weekly, Sunday was the lucky winner so be sure to start tuning in. We will be using this blog to not only document our goals but also future travel, and experiences we think you as our loyal followers will enjoy.

If you have any questions about places we have been feel free to contact us on

As for me I have just started doing creative writing classes so I may share some of what I have written as time goes on, I’m still working on my children’s book and have started to teach myself the Harmonica (also a goal on my list). So life is fairly busy at the moment, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So starting this Sunday we’re back in action!

As always remember……..

Laugh, Dream, Reach xx