My thoughts on ‘the Block’

There have been many posts in the almost 7 days since the Block auction was broadcast live on TV, leaving many on the edges of their seats and shocking viewers with the underwhelming result (yes, I know, I should go write for the Herald – until then, here we are). I found the entire event depressing. As a millennial imminently aware of the housing crisis, I was shocked at the prices of what I’d call a typically family home in the suburb I grew up in and where my mother bought her first house (for ~$55k!!!). It really hit home just how grim the current situation is.

People accuse millennials of being selfish, indulgent – somehow the reason we can’t buy a house is because we’re spending $18 a week on smashed avo’s on toast. In light of the impending election, I thought it was worth writing a post on what it’s like being a millennial in the depressing reality that is the current state of affairs. (Spoiler alert, it’s pretty shit).

There was a show not to long ago about ‘who really owns NZ’, which, to be honest, felt like a xenophobic white man complaining about how immigrants are buying NZ land and taking over. That’s not the issue, the issue is demand versus supply in Auckland. And, in fact, we need immigrants, to fill the labour shortage. There are simply too many people who want to live in Auckland.

30 years ago, when my mother bought her first house, she got given a subsidy to buy a house that was worth just over 3.5 times her salary. For me to buy a house now, with 0 subsidy would cost be at least 10 times my salary – for a shack in Hamilton. Awesome.

Anyway, back to the heart of this post – the Block. What I found particularly hard to watch was the price of houses, being purchased by (what I presume were – correct me if I’m wrong) foreign investors, because no one in New Zealand can afford the reserve. I know that we can’t change the current cost of houses and I don’t want those with houses to lose the value of their property. What we need is to develop other areas and spread the wealth around the country so we’re not all bidding for Ling and Zing’s house in central Northcote.

I write this from Whangapoua, a beautiful but sleepy town in the Coromandel that is only inhabited (mostly) for 6 months of the year (see stunning image below #jelly). I’d love to live here. But I can’t. What events am I going to run in Whangapoua? Who would utilise my communications skills that I spent three years honing at uni and piled on the student debt for? Therein lies the issue for the modern millennial – even if we don’t want to live in the cities there are few opportunities for my skills outside of city centres.

I don’t want to accept that I will be renting all my life, never achieving the kiwi dream of home ownership unless I greatly reduce my spending and basically become a hermit. I don’t want to be endowed with so much debt that I feel unable to travel or buy the extra latte… I don’t want it all, but I want the quality of life that my parent’s generation were offered. And I want to be able to do it out of Auckland.

So, I’m not sure how much change a blog post can affect, but if the Internet is good for anything, it’s for providing a voice to those who would otherwise not be heard. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but I hope by the time I’m thirty, I will be at least able to plant some strawberries (or maybe some tarragon?) in a garden that belongs to me. And I look forward to seeing a season of the Block in another part of New Zealand.

21981896_10155643335817910_844839295_o.jpg
From where this blog post comes from today- Whangapoua Beach #summeriscoming

 

 

Advertisements

Finding the perfect flatmate (do they even exist?)

Unless you’re a super wealthy millennial who forfeited the avocado on toast brunch dates (I prefer pancakes anyway), or have comfortably nestled into your parent’s garage, an inevitable part of living in New Zealand is going flatting. I think my mother, who never actually had to flat (#throwback to housing subsidies for new home buyers!) is inwardly repulsed by the idea of living with complete strangers. I’ll admit, it’s not the greatest idea, but when your friends aren’t quite ready to leave the basement, what other choice have you got?

So here’s another fun blog post, essentially part of the SEJ Guide to Adulting (in a bookstore near you…in about 5 years) on how not to end up co-habiting with weirdos/axe murderers/people who leave the toilet seat up (is there anything worse?!). I’ve done my fair share of flat hunting and flatmate acquiring, so here’s my top list of what to look out for in flats and flatmates.

  1. Starting with a personal favourite of mine – and this could go either way – Cleaning rosters. This really depends on the level of OCD you require in your fellow flatmates. I tried and failed with a cleaning roster in my old flat, but I strongly recommend asking about this one; it’ll tell you a lot about the people who live there. If you’re big on organisation and cleaning, this will tell you that you’re about to flat with some great people who are ridiculously organised. But, on the flipside, it means they’re unlikely to be relaxed and if you’re looking for a chill flat, avoid one with a cleaning roster. Similarly, you will want to check if they’re clean and tidy, which is amazingly deceptive in flatmate interviews, but use your best judgement.
  2. Friends & partner policy. This one is an interesting one. I’ve seen a fair few flats advertised that say ‘no sleepovers’ or ‘no friends after 10pm’. For me, these types are worse than the cleaning roster implementers and are to be avoided at all cost. Unless you’re a hermit that’s looking for other hermits to avoid external human life with, then, by all means – go forth.
  3. Cooking restrictions. Again, another interesting one. I’m an avid cooker/part time baker and don’t like to have restrictions imposed on me on how much cooking I’m allowed to do – ads that say ‘light cooking’ are immediate red flags for me. Shared cooking between flatmates also isn’t up my alley – so many problems. For example, what happens on the nights I cook with my friends/partner/cat/Jamie Oliver cut out? Or what happens if you’ve got one flatmate that just cooks terrible food and you consistently deliver Master Chef quality dishes? How is that equal? You’ll also want to check the cooking of your future flatmates – I’m not a big fan of the curry /no extraction lovers, so just another one to be aware of in your lengthy interrogation of a new recruit.
  4. Hobbies. This is a good one, as I am a fan of the flatmate you never see/one that has interesting stories from their various hobbies. Basically no hobbies = always home. If they’re at home playing loud music (particularly during my allocated quiet yoga time), then they’re not going to gel well with me. Flatmates with a good array of hobbies e.g. sports and crochet enthusiasts will make for good co-habitants. Shared interests are also ideal and hobbies tell you a lot about an individual.
  5. Filling the gaps – this one mainly pertains to finding new flatmates. As a ‘knowledge worker’, I have little to no practical skills, which means simple things like a broken dishwasher become a mammoth task. A great tip is to finds new flatmates that have skills you so desperately lack- so for me, a tradie who’s clued up with a hammer is a winner to fix the something I will eventually break. Surprisingly, physicists also make for great flatmates (despite their also lack of practical skills, typically) because they can bring some great banter. And communications people are just great all round (I do disclose a bit of bias here). So, find what you’re missing and recruit!
  6.  Assessing life stages. This is pretty straight forward, but I’d recommend avoiding people who are in a completely different life stage to yourself and your fellow flat fam. I tended to avoid students in my old flat because it wasn’t the quiet and productive study environment conducive for a student’s performance. Similarly, I’d recommend avoiding people who are in their late fifties (for example), if you’re a flat of mid 20’s professionals, as they’re unlikely to want to bond over a Friday night game of vodka Monopoly (yes it exists and yes it’s a good time). First time flattees are also good to avoid, unless you’re feeling generous and willing to teach Dishwasher Tetris 101 (again).

So there you have it, 6 (this could have been 60 – count your blessings) fantastic tips of what to look out for when you’re choosing the place you will spend a majority of your downtime. Choosing the right flat is important and can be challenging, but your flatmates can become life-long friends (or so I’m told). This post has been all about the people – but there is undoubtedly a post coming on choosing the actual flat itself – and why TradeMe/Facebook photos are super deceptive. Stay tuned!

 

Modern dating 101

I haven’t written a dating post (or in fact, any post) for a while, so I thought I would jump on and write a comprehensive assessment of all your dating options as a millennial in 2017. So much choice, lucky you.

You’d think that in the era of modern dating, with so many options, it would be a lot easier to find the love of your life. I mean, statistically, you’re a lot more likely to find ‘the one’, when you have access to a much greater dating pool, but it’s also a lot more challenging to weed out the creepy men who are just wanting to know the colour of your underwear (yes, I am unfortunately speaking from experience). So, here you go, this is the #sejoverview of your current dating options when you’re a single pringle wanting to mingle.

#TINDER

I’ve written quite a few posts on ye olde Tinder, but it’s 100% worth mentioning again. It’s easily accessible and has the great feature where you can filter out people based on their age and location. Such advancement we’ve made in the world today. It’s fabulous for seeing some of the world’s most fabulous pick up lines – the most recent personal favourites of mine have been gifs. Why present a witty quip, when you can send a picture of a rolling seal? What an art form. You get what you pay for with this one (yes I have a free account), but you can’t expect too much when you’re judging people based on what they look like (I am a sucker for a man in a suit). So the verdict on Tinder is a definite quantity over quality, but you may find the odd gem.

#BUMBLE

This one will be incredibly short, as I don’t actually have a Bumble account. Apparently this is better than Tinder but again, yet to be proven. I couldn’t be bothered having 2 dating apps on my phone and after finding out that women have to do the talking on this one, I was instantly turned off. No, I don’t think it’s empowering. Men apparently think it’s great. You only have 24 hours to reply to a message, so this one requires some serious commitment and let’s face it, if you wanted commitment, you prooobbabbbllyy wouldn’t be trying to hook up with someone via an app…

#DATING WEBSITE e.g. Elite Singles

For research purposes, I did actually make an account on Elite Singles. However, I don’t actually think there is anything elite about this website. I didn’t exactly invest a lot of time in this one, but I found the website to be clunky, confusing and convoluted (the trifactor of C’s). I went on the website once, found that it matched me with a dairy owner in Mt Roskill and a plumber in Red Beach. No offense to either profession, but not quite what I was hoping for. I immediately lost interest, but boy did Elite Singles play the clingy ex – sending me emails every couple of days telling me I had a match. I did not return. Verdict – eehhhhhhhh not my recommendation, I honestly think Tinder works better than this website (which by the way, doesn’t supply photos or info for free users).

#THE HOUSE PARTY

I’m a big fan of the house party vibe, which works exceedingly well in a flatting situation where your flatmates bring their hot friends over. My top tip here is try and get hot people to move in when you’re filling up your flat (like attracts like, you see). Then, all you need to do is strategically plan a house warming party and ta dah, you have your optimal moment. I will warn you against getting too drunk when you’re trying this play, as it’s really not a good look when you crash out at 11pm (absolutely not speaking from experience here). House parties are a lot quieter than a bar, for example, which makes it a lot easier to have a conversation and find out if this person is worth your time and attention (which is, as we know, invaluable – if you can’t give more than 10 seconds to tweet, how are you going to spend 10 minutes on a conversation?). Verdict – house parties are a great way to meet people/potential datees.

#TOWN

I have never once met anyone of value in town, but let my bias stop you from getting out of your shell and dancing the night away with some interesting (and potentially attractive) lad or lass. I have 2 good friends who met in town and are now married, so keep this option open. It does help if you’re an extrovert and willing to meet people, but some extra liquid courage never goes amiss. Town is also a fantastic place to test out some weird pick up lines on people you may never see again. Featuring the #HPpickuplines; “Are you a Snitch? Because you’re by far the greatest catch here.”, or “I may not be the boy who lived, but I can still be your chosen one.” (Gold!). This also helps weed out the weirdos who haven’t read Harry Potter… Verdict on town – very very hit and miss, always bring a wing man/woman.

#NETWORKING EVENTS

We finish this list (it is getting rather long, phew!), with a personal favourite of mine – the networking event. Who said networking events had to be for making business connections (I mean that’s what they write in the advertising copy, but really, any opportunity eh?). This is a sure fire way to meet up and coming young professionals like yourself. My tip for such a situation is to be the one that fills the silence. I was recently in a lift with a bunch of young professionals and it was awkwardly quiet, cue SEJ with a witty comment; “goodness it’s like human tetris in here” – I will now forever be known as the girl who made the awkward lift moment…a whole lot more awkward #sorrynotsorry. Verdict on this one – always maintain professionalism; feel free to add them on LinkedIn, but slowly make your move in a professional and quiet way. Go networking!

There you have it, a great overview of all (well a good selection of) the different platforms you can meet the weird and wonderful partners that this world has to offer. Cast your net wide and test out those Harry Potter pick up lines.

Why I cheated Junk-free June

I decided to do junk free June last year because I wanted to clean up my diet and eat healthier; my main motivation was to lose weight and kick start a healthy lifestyle. I decided to do it this year because I felt I needed the challenge of eating ridiculously clean, but somehow forgot how hard it was last year (kudos to everyone who actually went 30 days without eating junk).

Three days into junk free June, I was visiting my mum for dinner and told her that I wouldn’t eat what she made, because it wasn’t junk free. Cue a lecture about how I didn’t need to lose weight etc. etc. I didn’t embark on JFJ because I wanted to lose weight (well, 2 kg would be nice…), but because I wanted to eat healthier and cut out the 3pm brownie cravings.

Mum’s lecture got me thinking about my relationship with food. Ever since I moved out of home, I’ve been incredibly health conscious, I guess because I thought it was the right thing to do. I’m already gluten free (not a choice), so I don’t really eat pizza and all the delicious carby things anyway, but for a good 6 months, I refused to eat potatoes and still refuse to eat white rice.

I’m not overweight, I’m not unhealthy, but, for some reason, I am paranoid about what food I eat. I can’t eat a brownie without feeling incredibly guilty and even feel bad ordering a mochaccino instead of a flat white. It took mum’s lecture to make me realise that my relationship with food was actually really unhealthy. No one, especially no one my age, should feel guilty about eating bad food every so often.

Junk free June was great in theory, but it made me feel terrible about wanting to eat pasta for dinner or a macaroon with my coffee. I decided it was time to rethink my relationship with food. I’m a big advocate of the 80:20 principle – if you eat healthy 80% of the time, it’s okay to pig out 20% of the time (within reason). So, that’s what I started to do and this is when my indiscretions on the diet of junk free June started to become (slightly) more frequent. Half a brownie one week and a macaroon the next, was technically breaking the rules, but an important learning curve in my realisation that I don’t have to give up the food I love all the time.

There are too many articles, podcasts and blogs out there that all give conflicting information about what you should eat, what junk food is and what it means to ‘be healthy’. I got 5 minutes into a podcast about how bad grains are when I turned it off – I need my morning oats! I guess the moral of this blog post is that you need to do what’s best for you and eating healthy and clean doesn’t have to mean giving up Sunday morning pancakes with your family.

Yes, I cheated on junk free June, but, no I don’t feel bad about it. I’m learning to balance the healthy and the sugary delicious foods and define what healthy means for me. If you take anything from this blog post, it’s that radical programs don’t really work and you’ve probably heard this a million times, but repetition is key – so, do what’s best for you. And if you’re brave enough to do JFJ, build in some flexibility. One macaroon won’t kill you.

#sejtips – avoiding becoming a human burrito in winter

Winter is no longer coming, it is now definitely here – cue the Game of Thrones memes. Apparently people are less social in winter and although it might be tempting to don the onesie and stay in Netflix and chilling every night (or maybe Netflix, no chill if you’re a single pringle), humans are social beings and eventually you’ll need to come out of your cocoon to greet the world. Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a helpful list of all the fun things I like to do in the midst of the winter – Kathmandu puffer jacket mandatory. These should help you avoid becoming a literal human burrito (it is very tempting when it’s this cold)

#1 MOVIE DATE

Preferably Gold Class with squishy arm chairs and unlimited amounts of popcorn. This one is for the less adventurous among us, as it’s really just one step up from Netflix and chill and no one will frown upon you if you wear your PJs and ugg boots (particularly if you’re out West). Depending on your mood, head to Hoyts Sylvia Park for a lush experience in their Lux cinema, or if you’re feeling a bit more #basicbitch, then definitely Henderson for $8 movies and non-judgemental staff.

#2 SALSA

We pretty much went from 0 to 100 with movies to salsa dancing, but what better way to warm up and get the heart rate going than some dancing? And what better way to justify the fries and six pack of nuggets you got on the way? Viva dance studio is great for a variety of dancing styles – salsa is pretty lit on a Saturday night, but they also have Zouk, Bachata and for those wanting something slightly different: Bollywood dancing. Get off the couch and get going!

#3 KAROAKE

Keeping up with our theme of racing hearts (does singing Bohemian Rhapsody count as cardio?) in nice warm indoor spaces, head on down to karaoke for what is pretty much guaranteed to be a good time, with some ‘social lubricant’ (many margaritas). You also don’t really know your friends until you’ve drunkenly sung the greatest 90’s anthems together on a Saturday night. Get amongst! My recommendation is Rock Bar, but Queen Street is flush with these beauties. Get googling and book in a great group date night.

#4 FONDUE

Winter is absolutely the time to be bulking and adding an extra layer of fat really helps to keep the electricity bills down. Chocolate fondue is warm, indulgent and a great way to spend a chilly winter evening. A definite step up from inhaling an entire bar of Whittakers’ new toffee chocolate whilst binge watching the new season of House of Cards. For the Shore Kids, there’s the House of Chocolate Dessert Café & Cakery and for the city slickers, head down to Parnell to the Chocolate Boutique. And why stop at fondue? The Chocolate Dessert Café have waffles, deliciously decadent cakes, cupcakes and truffles… Avoid if committing to #junkfreejune.

#5 HOT POOLS

Thaw your frozen bones with a trip to the hot pools. No one knows cold like a frost-stricken Aucklander in the middle of winter and a nice relaxing hot pool mission is definitely what you need to feel your fingers and toes again. It’s also super relaxing and great for the muscles, so it’s practically rehab. Parakai Springs is always a good option, albeit a bit of a drive (stop at the Whenupai Bakehouse Café to justify the journey) – they have a big indoor hot pool and hydroslides for the inner child. Alternative options include Waiwera (they do ½ price for the last 2 hours) or West Wave (see earlier comments re pyjamas and uggs).

#6 ICE SKATING

If you’ve given up and accepted that you will be cold this winter, don another puffer jacket (you can never have too many) and go ice skating. If you’re unco, like me, then you’ll want to go with someone who has slightly more coordination. Paradice Ice are a fairly good bet for a good ice skating experience, but, again in the outer ‘burbs. Aotea Square also has an ice rink open from 16 June. Remember to take your life-proof case so you can Instagram your excellent figure skating #winterOlympicshereIcome.

Also, here is a #winterpun, enjoy:

Image result for winter pun

 

#sejtips – living the single life

Aside from my pretty serious commitment to the gym, I’ve now been single for a pretty much record amount of time. Proud of me. I’ve decided to write this most as a celebration of being able to be alone; in a happy relationship with me, myself and I (and my dog.) I have quite a few friends in relationships, or who are married to work/study so I’ve become pretty good at masturdating (thanks for this beautiful neologism Katie) and third wheeling. Enjoy the singledom and remember that not that long ago (back when a common cold was a death sentence), you would be married with children by now, or be written off as a crazy spinster (I’ll take the spinster option with six cats please).

Because lists are nice and a convenient way of writing, here is a collection, in list form, of my favourite tips for living the single high life and mingling like a true single pringle.

  • Get some rad hobbies. Being single is way easier when you’re doing something to occupy your time. You’ll stop noticing all the cute couple photos on your Facebook feed and reaching for a bottle of wine every time someone from your year group gets married/has a baby. Some serious #sejtips for great hobbies (watch out, it’s a list within a list #crazy #listception):
    • Crochet (not good if you’re sad about being single – those needles are sharp)
    • Colouring in  – super versatile and therapeutic, 10/10
    • Cooking/baking – make sure you post this on your Instagram with #wife/husband me
    • Roller blading – yes it’s a thing for those among us who are blessed with coordination
    • Take up salsa dancing – also great if you’re low key trying to meet a gorgeous Spaniard (dreams are free: mostly it’s middle aged men and their wives at salsa)
  • Right, enough hobbies. The next great tip for living up your single life is to get comfortable eating on your own. This was a particular challenge for me as I always felt like Nigel no mates when I went to a cafe and ordered for one. There’s a lot of articles on how great it is to go out on your own (masturdating) and I recommend everyone (single or not) trying it out at least once. Start small. Go for a coffee and read the paper; you’ll look sophisticated and intelligent, or maybe take a notebook and write introspective thoughts (my shopping list for later). Just leave the colouring book at home.
  • Go out and talk to people! Probably not the greatest advice if you’re an introvert petrified at the thought of talking to people, but luckily I’m super confident, so this isn’t an issue for me. Find your confident friend and get them to wingman/woman you out on the town. Depending on your preference, you may want to start in a safe social space – go to meetup.com and find an interesting group to join. Now is a great time to start learning Japanese (remember the hobbies?). If you’re more adventurous, like myself, just get yourself along to your local bar (I recommend Grey Goose or Long Room) and stare at someone until they talk to you – this tried and true method works every time.
  • Don’t be afraid to 3rd wheel it. A tricycle is way more stable than a bike – which is why we give them to toddlers. Find your favourite couple and start inviting yourself on their dates. Make sure they’re a nice friendly couple who won’t canoodle in the corner whilst you’re carrying the karoake squad. Even better when you have more than one fave couple that you can rotate. Enjoy the break from solitaire and get right into competitive game of Go Fish/whatever normal couples do these days.
  • Master the art of treating yourself. Because, you’re worth it. Don’t let being single be an obstacle to getting flowers ‘just cause’. Buy that extra pair of shoes, send yourself cupcakes: treat yo’self – you deserve it. I’ve become a pro at taking romantic candlelit baths with myself and an audiobook (Harry Potter is the only man I need in my life). Don’t forget to look in the mirror and tell yourself how great you are – who else is gonna do it?

I could probably write more about how great it is to rid yourself of the shackles of the mandatory date night, but I don’t want to alienate those who are happily sailing the river on their relation ship (#punny). So, my single ladies and lads – don’t think of single as a prison sentence condemning you to staying home and writing blog posts watching an entire season of Riverdale, see it for the exciting opportunity that it is! If that’s not quite doing it for you, then I suggest half a dozen cats – they’ll keep you busy.

5̶0̶ 20 first date ideas

I recall upon the mental image of a young blonde Drew Barrymore and pineapples. 50 sounded good, but in reality, is a bit ambitious (I mean I could start naming individual bars, but then what good is Google??). Following on from my last post about Tinder, I thought I would write about what to do when you find that magic match. At this point I may also mention that these also make good bestie dates/not first dates. Anyway, here are some fail-safe dates that you can use to determine how real that flirtatious banter (flashback to the cutecumber pick up lines) really is. Enjoy.

  1. Movie. I almost never recommend this, so you’re probably wondering why I put it first on my list. Well it’s easy, fail-safe and great if you don’t really like the person, but decided to leave your 7 cats at home and socialise with other humans.
  2. Mini golf. Dependent on your hand-eye coordination – if you’re like me you will either be laughed at, or elicit great sympathy.
  3. Giant jenga. Yes it’s a thing – try Mama Loco outside Albany mall.
  4. Beach/bush etc. walk. This one is always great because even if it’s a truly terrible date, at least you got some steps out of it. Just remember to wear your fitbit.
  5. Drinks at misc. bar. This one is like the movie suggestion. I personally wouldn’t, but hey whatever works for you.
  6. Chocolate fondue. Wayyyy better than drinks because well, squishy arm chairs (which means close body contact) and of course, chocolate. I recommend the Chocolate Boutique in Parnell or House of Chocolate Dessert Cafe & Cakery in Takapuna (which also has waffles).
  7. Museum. For the slightly nerdy ones out there (yes this is a personal favourite of mine), I love a trip down memory line of the many many many school trips I was forced to take as a child to the museum. It’s actually way better going as an adult.
  8. Motat. In a similar vein, Motat is a fun, hands-on date (particularly if you’re doubling dating with your babysitting responsibilities). My friend did this one with her boyfriend and they’re still together a year later, so clearly trains and cars are more romantic than they seem.
  9. Cakes n Ladders. This is a board game cafe in Symonds St. It’s pretty good for an alternative date idea. I will warn you that their games don’t tend to consist of scrabble and monopoly (my type of games), but do learn towards the more ‘gamer’ style games.
  10. Kmart. Had to put this one in there. What better way of finding out if this is your potential partner than casually strolling through the homewares isle at Kmart and pointing out what furnishings would look good in your future house?
  11. Ice skating. This one is again for those who have more coordination than yours truly (which is why yoga is my sport). If you are as bad as I am getting around on a tiny piece of metal on ice, this is a great opportunity for cuddles and arm holding. Or your chance to show your gracefulness (just like Casey in Ice Princess, what a classic.)
  12. See a show. Many options here – currently trending are the Comedy Classic gigs and the Pop Up Globe. Get yourself on Eventfinda and line up a show. (Try not to bring out that cheetah laugh until at least date number 3).
  13. Cooking date. If you are willing to let this person in your house, a cooking date can be a good option (although I strongly suggest vetting this person very heavily first). My top picks for a cooking date are things that are cute and collaborative like sushi, cookies, or pizza. Also a chance to show off your superior cooking ability. #wifeme/husbandme
  14. Dinner date. This one falls pretty low down the list because it’s boring and unimaginative. Sub out for any meal. Jazz it up with a more interactive experience like Korean BBQ or teppanyaki. And always go for tapas (find out if he’s a food sharer or what I call a ‘Joey’ #friends).
  15. Rainbow’s End. Serious investment of time here – definitely not for someone you’re iffy about. Another reference to childhood excitement and apparently they have some new rides too.
  16. Kelly Tarltons. What better than bonding over cute penguins and things? Their interactive kids zone is also pretty cool (just pretend that unidentified child in the corner belongs to you).
  17. Pool date. This one is a bit risky and is predicated on the assumption that you’re comfortable wearing togs. However, if you go somewhere with hydroslides, it’s pretty much a guaranteed good time (at this time of year, I do recommend going somewhere indoors like West Wave or Waiwera).
  18. Winter gardens. Or any gardens really. I personally love a cemetery style garden myself, but a bit morbid for a first date (or any kind of social interaction…). Take your DSLR and get some artistic pics for that instagram account you’re working on.
  19. Go-karting. This is similar to my mini golf suggestion – it’s a bit risky if you have no spatial awareness, but it’s fun, interactive and a nice early indicator that you won’t be the lead driver on future roadies (I’m not actually allowed to drive at all anymore…).
  20. Karaoke. Another potentially risky one, but what is life without adventure? I personally love karaoke and if someone can’t handle my intensely passionate rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, they’re just not right for me. Try any of the karaoke places in Queen St for what’s sure to be a rocking good time.

There you have it – 20 great first date places (if I do say so myself) for every kind of possible date. Now you have no excuse to Netflix and chill your way into romance. Give it a go, I dare you.