Gosh it's hard to believe it was more than a week ago that Grandma Kiwicakes & I set off for Napier for the national NZCDG cake conference. We stopped overnight in Auckland on Thursday night, expecting the trip to Napier to take a very long time. What I hadn't counted on, was all of the road improvements since I last travelled that far south by road. (since the children have come along, we don't get that far from home - by car anyway).
We left Auckland at 7am and stopped in Tirau at Poppy's for breakfast (pancakes with maple syrup & bacon) and were back on the road again at 9.30am. Poppy's has two amazing huge Poppy flower scupltures on the top of their roof.
Around 11am, or just after we popped in to Taupo, from a slightly different angle, to what we were used to, now that the bypass is in place. We had Taupo on our mental list of places to stop, as we were making a beeline for - as Grandma Kiwicakes puts it "The best darn kitchen shop in NZ". The shop in question is called Chef's Complements if you're anyway where near by and haven't ever been. You simply must put it on your list of things to do. The lovely Vicki has an amazing cake decorating selection, as well as just about every kitchen gadget you can imagine and some you can't. I can see why Grandma Kiwicakes was so impressed, when she last visited. We actually did quite a bit of shopping there. Grandma Kiwicakes bought some Christmas presents, but I can't say what they were, as the intended recipients read this blog.
The road improvements were obvious, as we drove up the hill out of Taupo, past the Hilton - we read a road sign "Napier 146km", I drove a few hundred metres around the corner and was greeted with "Napier 136km". We had an easy run through to Napier, with only a few logging trucks to contend with. Just out of Napier, we stopped at a winery for lunch, it was raining at this stage, so no photos sorry.
Just after 2pm we rolled in to Napier and made a beeline for the information centre, to gather some maps & details of the area. As it was still raining at this stage, we had a drive around and checked out the beautiful Marine Parade. When I chose our accomodation for Napier, I wanted to feel as though I was REALLY staying in Napier. I found this lovely B&B on the internet MON LOGIS (photo from Mon Logis website) It's a beautiful old home from the 1860's and was one of the few on Marine parade to survive the 1931 earthquake. Our host for the weekend was a lovely french gentleman named Gerard. He tells a great story and was very kind to have our breakfast ready at 7am each day. Of which all of us that stayed there cannot rave about enough. Fresh baked croissant, lovely bread and quite possibly the best bowl of fruit salad I have ever had in my life (this is no exaggeration), yummy muesli. It set us up so well for the day, as it was super hectic at conference, we didn't have time to stop & eat, until mid afternoon. Gerard even offered me an omlette, but I didn't have a spare inch of room to squeeze it in.
Check out the view from our room! - at 6am Saturday morning.
We had so much fun, we had an entire classroom at E.I.T to ourselves and it felt like one big Kiwicakes party all weeknd. Flo had fun demoing the Cricut Cake, as well as the Cricut Expressions (paper cutting machine). Unfortunately I was so busy for most of the weeknd, I didn't catch more than 20 minutes total of what she was doing, grabbed in few minute bursts over the entire weekend.
Late in the day on Sunday, when I realised I didn't have many photos, I quickly snapped some photos of her work.
The little fireman is only about 7.5cm high and his little fire extenguisher is only about 3cm high. Flo cut this using red pettinice, with nothing added. She rolled it ultra thin using a pasta machine. The fireman comes from the Paper Dolls cartridge.
She also cut the filigree butterflies from red pettinice. She left them to dry over a container for the afternoon and voila, they were brought to life.
I was amazed to find, she used the pettinice straight from the packet and it dried beautifully, if I'd had to lay money on it, I would have sworn there was hardener in the icing. The butterfly is from the Cake Basics catridge.
Flo also cut out some cupcake wrappers using her Cricut Expressions (paper cutting machine)
On Sunday morning we grabbed a few minutes to look at the exhibition and competition cakes. The theme for the plaque competition was Art Deco. I would have liked to stay and look for longer.
The 3 cakes in the photo above were created by E.I.T students after 20 hours tuition (students are enrolled in a culinary course at E.I.T)
On Saturday night we had dinner at Lone Star on Marine Parade, I've since learned this is a chain of restaraunts with locations throughout NZ. Our food was excellent, including my kahlua and moro bar cheescake. Thanks Rachel, Iman & Florinda for joining us.
I would like to extend special thanks to Ann, for travelling to Napier with us, for the sole purpose of helping us over the weekend, and to Flo for her inexhaustible Cricut knowledge.
We arrived home tired and happy at 7pm on Sunday evening.