New Zealand, being in the Southern Hemisphere, has a few things backward, especially their seasons. When July and August hit, instead of being outside on patios enjoying hot sunshiney days, camping with friends and family and having yum bbq's, the Kiwis are inside huddled around the fire trying to keep warm (or, in my case, snuggled up with a hot water bottle). And then, when the rest of the world is cozy inside with hot cocoa, warm pajamas and slippers, sweetly anticipating the Christmas festivities to come in December, the Kiwis are in shorts, t-shirts, jandals (their word for flipflops) and drinking beer on patios. Although I cannot see how it could fit at all, they sing Christmas Carols about sledding in snow and wearing winter jackets outside. How wonderfully bizarre!
Mid-Winter Christmas Market 2012
One local woman, originally from Germany, found this Kiwi tradition to be too far from her home traditions, and decided to make a change. She introduced the Mid-Winter Christmas Market to the city of Tauranga held at the Historic Village. This gives citizens a chance to appreciate and enjoy the cold weather, bundled up in scarves and toques (the Canadian word for hat or beanie), sipping on mulled wine or cider, purchasing unique crafts as gifts for loved ones and singing along to Christmas Carols. This year boosted wonderful foam snow flakes being blown throughout the village, heaps of activities for the kids to do and oodles and oodles of yum food to purchase! 
Luke & I enjoying a sample of delicious mulled cider in front of the big Christmas Tree
This year I was lucky enough to attend the Mid-Winter Christmas Market as a Mobile Posh Nosh staff member, happily handing out Spiral Fries to the eager attendees.  Mobile Posh Nosh is acquainted with Food By Design, a fantastic catering company owned by my good friend, Terri. 
Mobile Posh Nosh's Team - Providing Spiral Fries and Smiles
We had a fantastic time spiraling our potatoes onto the sticks, frying them up and dipping them in one of the delicious, locally-made sauces. Spiral Fries were a great hit, with many customers searching around the entire village just to try one. You can guarantee that come this summer, you'll be seeing much more of Mobile Posh Nosh's unique yum treats!!
Mid-Winter Christmas Market - Daylight
Mid-Winter Christmas Market - Nighttime Beautiful
When travelling, on a budget, you count every penny you spend (or in New Zealand's case, evey ten cent piece, as they geniously cut out pennies).  You spend hours researching the cheapest hostel you can find, the cheapest cup of coffee that isn't from a scuzzy shop, the most cost-effective entertainment for yourself (aka walking around). So, frivolous shopping for things like, a new pair of pants, a second jacket or purse, or even another bra, just isn't on your radar. (well, in my case, it is on my radar, but I have to work hard to push it down so far that I can mentally and physically ignore it

So after four months of backpacking and traveling around on a very strict budget... you would think I would be used to this no nonsense, no need, no spending lifestyle. WRONG. Now that we have a home, and I am becoming acquainted with my new neighbourhood, I just so happen to notice that in my free time, AFTER I've sat on my couch and browsed the internet with my fourth cup of tea, and AFTER I've curled up on a chair with my hot water bottle and read a few chapters in my recent book, and AFTER I've rummaged around our home and tidied things up, and AFTER I've had my workout in the gym downstairs (can you tell I have a LOT of free time?)!!!

However, I'm not completely naieve. I am fully aware that the more items I buy, the more items I then have to take home with me at the end of the trip...and my bag is already ridiculously heavy and stuffed to the max. 

There's also the issue of lack of job security.. aka.. neither Luke nor I know exactly where our next pay cheque will come from, and how much it will be. 

Annnd, there is that small issue of the fact that right now our main goal is to work as much as possible to save as much as possible to extend our year-long plus plus holiday for as long as possible. So spending money on things I don't need... doesn't really fall into the "saving money" category.

Sooo.. in order to satisfy this need to shop... I have found a new love... GROCERY SHOPPING.

Food is essential, and consumable, and yum! So, although we are still living primarily on a rotating schedule of pasta, rice, potatoes, pasta, rice, potatoes... we have introduced more veggies and fruits into our diet (yay) and seem to constantly be running out of milk (probably due to an exceptionally large coffee intake) so... every chance I get... off to New World I go. Probably every two or three days. (its about a 10 minute walk, so there's a wee bit of exercise in there too.. bingo!) It's so fun looking through all the aisles and looking for the best looking product for the lowest price. I suppose having all this free time and not giving myself a time restriction while I'm enjoying my grocery shop has led to this new obsession. 

May my stress levels stay forever this low and my diet not forever this boring. 

Now I'm off to unpack my groceries :-D

Sweet Dea