who will be visiting Rotorua city and staying at Blossom Cottage.
Many visitors make the mistake of trying to see and do too much in a short time while in NZ. Some people spend more time travelling and sitting in the car instead of taking a more relaxed approach to sightseeing. Rotorua is very central and the ideal place to stay for a week, while making day trips to the many sights in and around the city. Many of the attractions outside Rotorua city, such as Waiotapu, Hobbiton, Swimming with the Dolphins or The White Island Boat Tour are only a little more than an hour's drive away. You can come back to the comfort of Blossom Cottage at the end of the day instead of changing your accommodation and continually packing and unpacking your suitcases.
Rotorua city has plenty to offer when the weather is not as ideal as you had hoped. Here a few suggestions: a visit to The Polynesian Spa is a good way to relax, while enjoying an array of hot mineral spring pools and sumptuous spa therapies. Sink into a comfy couch with a good book or magazine at the Rotorua Library in Haupapa Street or pop next door for a freshly-brewed coffee at the Library Cafe with its retro decor and vintage seating. Swimming at the Aquatic Centre is perfect for young and old and there is even a shallow paddling pool for the very young. Visit Reading Cinema in Eruera Street for a movie or The Basement Theatre in Hinemoa Street. Under the same roof is The Basement Indoor Climbing Wall, which is great fun for everyone, even those who have no experience in wall climbing. Playtopia in Ti Street is Rotorua's Indoor Adventure Playground and ideal for children up to 12 years of age. Visit The Agrodome and learn about the 19 sheep breeds, see a sheep shearing demonstration and watch the expert sheep dogs at work. It the weather clears, make your way outside, experience the Agrodrome Eco Farm Tour, meet the animals and hand feed the alpacas, goats and sheep. During the summer season and in the school holidays, those of you with a creative flair can take an art class or cookery class at Rave in Hinemaru Street. If you are peckish, take the gondola up to The Skyline Restaurant for lunch and take in the breathtaking views of Lake Rotorua, Mokoia Island and the city, while savouring a buffet meal. You may have time to whizz down the mountain on the Luge if the weather clears. Last, but not least, spend a few hours in the Rotorua Museum with one of the experienced guides. You can find the museum in the Government Gardens and it also has an excellent cafe. When the weather is less that perfect, there is plenty to see and do in our beautiful city.
We have also had plenty to do and have been working hard to landscape the grounds at Blossom Cottage after removing some tall gum trees from our property. It was a hard decision but, for our guests' safety, a necessity, as the trees were too tall and the risk of the trees falling down during a storm, was too great. We have planted a beautiful Red Robin hedge, built an arbour with climbers and we are now in the throes of re-sowing the grass. Our next project, which will take place during the winter, is to plant an orchard of heritage fruit trees. Of course, Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will our orchard, so you know the saying: patience is a virtue........
As for Animal Antics, the Blossom Cottage animals are thriving and, all things considered, they have been behaving themselves pretty well since Max and Bindi, our donkeys, escaped and devoured many of our plants and bushes! Unfortunately, Rod Stewart died. No, not the one with the raspy voice, who sings "Do ya think I'm sexy?" but our guinea pig named Rod Stewart because of his wild hairstyle! Sadly, he was found by one of our guests and will be sorely missed by Snow, our Albino guinea pig. Our two not-so-young lambs Luke and Dora, are still being bottle-fed by the guests and they don't intend on growing up and acting like real sheep anytime soon, as they enjoy the guests' attention and the bottles of warm milk taste pretty good, too! Our ducks, Quickie and Quackie and their youngster are happily roaming the meadows, taking swimming lessons in the trough and occasionally being chased away by the hens when they attempt to steal their food. Treacle, our free-range bunny, has been up to no good. I planted some rosemary and parsley at the Blossom Cottage garden for our guests and they were ready to be picked. Sometime during the day, when all heads were turned, Treacle tiptoed into the Blossom Cottage garden and devoured ALL the parsley plants, leaving just the stalks blowing miserably in the breeze! Last time I saw Treacle, he looked decidedly sheepish and, unfortunately, there was no parsley for the guests' scrambled eggs the next day!
Enough news on our naughty animals. Here is a recipe for a very special cupcake, made with ground almonds and strawberries. They are moist and perfect for a special occasion.
Almond and Strawberry Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups ground almonds, 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 1/2 cup plain flour, 6 eggwhites (lightly beaten), 100g melted butter, zest and juice of one large lemon, a punnet of halved strawberries.
Sieve the icing sugar and plain flour. Add the ground almonds and mix with a fork. Add the lightly beaten eggwhites and fold. Add the melted butter, lemon zest and juice and fold until just mixed.
Pour into a greased muffin tin, top with the strawberries (about 4 strawberry halves per muffin) and bake at 160 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of marscapone. Delicious!
Bye for now,