Isolation Bay – Georgias Surprise Weekend Away

Isolation bay Tekapo

With Georgia’s Birthday coming up I wanted to do something special for her. It’s been a massive year with losing her mum, her grandad, getting married and renovating our house. I thought about a weekend away with the pooch, but shes just spent 4 months straight renovating with me, there’s so much more she needs than just me: family, friends, relaxation, a change of scenery and laughter.

I was keeping tabs on a weekend close to her birthday and locked in the location of Tekapo with everyone coming as it’s only a 3-hour drive from Christchurch. I got talking to the team at isolation bay and we teamed up to give her the best birthday surprise I could have imagined – and she had no idea what was happening.

I told Georgia on Saturday afternoon to pack her bags because I’m taking her away for a few nights. All she was concerned about was where Frankie was staying! A couple of colleagues from her work helped me organise an additional day to the public holiday off so we could stay two nights.

After dropping Frankie off at her own accommodation at Eyrewell forest en route to Tekapo we stopped at Lake Tekapo Farm Tours where Nicole, Georgia’s sister met us, followed by my sister Ashlee, her partner Dylan and their son Weston, Georgias friend Brooke, Jax and her daughter Blake and my sister Hayley.

Lake Tekapo Farm Tours

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We kicked it off with feeding a few Alpacas and a couple of friendly Merino Sheep, after that we had a tour of the original Mt John woolshed then got in Janes mystery machine and headed in-land to check out the views and history that Balmoral and Mt John stations had to offer. Our guide Jane talked us through the land use throughout the last century and the farms use today. The views along every stop were incredible, my camera couldn’t keep up. The milky blue water which Jane explained was created by rock flour from surrounding glaciers. The glaciers grind rock into a fine dust. This rock dust is floating in the water and causes the turquoise colour you see. I loved stopping at the glacial creek and having a glass of possibly the freshest water. The kids loved this too, Weston and Blake were right in there scooping a few glasses to drink/throw.

Isolation Bay

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The vista that this accommodation offers is like no other, I’ll have to write another post on this alone because I have a lot of photos to share! We were guided there by the lovely Bonnie. As you drive down a shingle farm road toward the isolated bay, you’re greeted by this oversized house that mirrors the surrounds with its giant glass front and wooden exterior. Walking in your breath is taken away by the grand size of the inside and the panoramic views of the lake.

The house was clearly designed to follow the sun, in the morning you enjoy a coffee, soaking up the atmosphere from the front. In the evening you head to the back where you have a BBQ and open up the largest stacking doors you’ve ever seen to create a tunneled view out the front before retiring to the luxury feel in the center of the house where you literally can’t stop looking at the lake and mountains.

The beauty of isolation bay is that it’s designed with families and large groups in mind. Sleeping up to 18 the house is large enough that a large group just seems like a small gathering. It really was the perfect retreat with our family and friends!

Silver River™ Stargazing

This one really blew us away. None of us had been stargazing before so we didn’t know what to expect. Jane, the tour guide from the earlier tour comes backed with years of experience in star gazing, there wasn’t a question she couldn’t answer and they were being fired at her from all angles once we all got behind the telescope.

The views of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and the moon were really something else! I’ll be doing this again and I really hope with Jane because she was so helpful and enjoyed a good laugh at all the different reactions to what we were seeing. The groups favourite was, of course, the moon because of the detail but my sister Ashlee was VERY impressed by Mars. There was even a shooting star to top the night off.

We had the most amazing time and it wouldn’t have been nearly as good without the company of our friends and family. I recommend you check out the places above because they really are the perfect example of what makes Tekapo so special.

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Healthy pooch – healthy home

If you’ve been following our blog for a while now, you’ll know how much we love our 11-month-old boxer puppy Frankie and our 110-year-old villa. It’s important as parents of a fur baby that we provide a safe and healthy home for her and do our best to keep bad habits and bugs away.

We’ve put together a few pointers to help dog owners and people thinking about extending their whanau to make a healthy home for everyone.

Keep those Fleas away

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We’ve used Bravecto spot-on for dogs since Frankie was 8 weeks old because it offers true peace-of-mind which is awesome for folks with busy schedules. Protecting dogs for up to 6 months against fleas and up to 4 months against ticks, it’s safe to use on breeding, pregnant and lactating dogs – plus ‘ivermectin sensitive’ Collie breeds, so ideal for our little sensitive pooch.

Fleas can have a significant impact on the health of a dog, and the whole family. Bravecto spot-on for dogs also reduces the incidence of flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) – a common skin disease caused by a hypersensitivity to the saliva of the flea resulting in intense itching.

The Bravecto spot-on for dogs twist’n’use tube application is super simple without having to remove the lid, you just read the instructions based on the size of your dog; in our case, Frankie gets 4 drops on her back. Bravecto has been available to treat fleas and ticks on dogs for over 4 years, initially as a tasty chew which provides 3 months flea and tick protection. Bravecto spot-on for dogs has the same active ingredient as the Bravecto chew however due to its formulation it lasts longer.

You can buy Bravecto spot-on for dogs from leading pet stores and your local vet, or learn more here: http://bit.ly/BravectoXMooch

What’s in their food?

From day one we discovered that Frankie had food allergies. She’s allergic to grains, beef, and egg, so she’s only ever been fed the best food for her. We choose raw feeding for her, purely because we know it works and the company we buy her rabbit from also mix all the ingredients she needs to stay fit and strong in with it. It’s very obvious when you see her coat how healthy she really is from being fed raw, her coat shines like hair does in those shampoo commercials you see on TV. I will say, however, that it is our choice to go raw, some people argue its advantage but the results are very obvious with Frankie. Always your homework for your breed before making any intense dietary changes.

Allergens in your home

Now, this is a tricky one, if you’ve read our blog post on (plants toxic to dogs) you’ll see one of them is a plant called Wandering Jew. We didn’t even think about this one when looking around our yard, because it was inside our house and we had 3 of them! Plants can be so harmful to animals, so do your homework and have a good scan of your property.

Washing your pet blankets and their toys etc. in with your standard wash also needs to be carefully considered. Frankie itches so much she grazes her skin if we don’t wash in a sensitive wash. It’s much like a person with skin allergies, you’d change their washing powder so you need to do the same with your dog’s laundry items.

Give them a Den

Boxer puppy

The age-old debate about crate training is real, especially if you have an inside dog like Frankie. She has access to our whole backyard and a laundry throughout the day and sleeps in a large crate in our spare room at night. Giving them spaces that are their own allows them to have a “den” or territory that is theirs to feel safe in and also protect. This is obvious as Frankie will lie on the back deck when we are home and enjoy the backyard and will walk over to her crate when she’s ready for bed.

This also gives you your space, and trust me, it’s a godsend when visitors come and you have a 20KG boxer with enough energy to power the grid to be able to send them to their space where they can feel comfortable and won’t play up.

This is a collaboration with Bravecto – all words are our own : )

Get to know the Ryobi 190cc Self-Propelled 4 Stroke Lawn Mower

Ryobi Lawn Mower

Mowing your lawns can be quite the workout, it becomes a weekend chore that you don’t always want to do between emptying the catcher, pushing the mower row after row, you get more of a workout than a CrossFit champ.

Having the right mower means you can get the lawns mowed faster and easier. The Ryobi 190cc Self-Propelled 4 Stroke Lawn Mower will help you do just that.

With our latest garden project on the go, we were more than happy to team up with our friends at Ryobi to share our thoughts on this model with you guys.

What’s under the hood?

  • Powerful 190cc 4-stroke OHV Yamaha engine
  • Self-propelled drive
  • Mulching and side-discharge options
  • 460mm cutting path with adjustable cutting height, meaningless passes to get the job done
  • 4 swing back blades for increased cut and safety
  • Deck cleaning ability for a standard garden hose

I know some of you are already fizzing!

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This mower also comes with a 2 year replacement warranty, and she’s a real head turner!

Our review on the Ryobi 190cc Self-Propelled 4 Stroke Lawn Mower

Our section size is roughly 600 sqm so not a grand estate by any means. The mower we had before this one was around the same price but I noticed they cut very different. Where the old mower would scuff this one would glide nicely and adjust itself to suit – magic! The self-propelled engine is brilliant for getting the mower through areas that are usually really difficult and would be soooo good for large sections and steep sections, maybe a little bit of an overkill for our small yard.

The catcher is super easy to use as it just hooks on so has not potential to break like the old ones did, its also 55 litres so makes for less visits to the compost heap or green bin.

I’ve done a lot of research on mowers and I think Ryobi have nailed this! Especially with the Yamaha engine and all the easy to use features. Supplying the kit all in one is also so handy for different styles of mowing to achieve a bit of #lawnpawn.

You can find the 190cc self-propelled lawn mower, along with the rest of the RYOBI range, at your local Bunnings Warehouse.

 

A few tips for preparing for carpet

We’ve recently completed a whole house renovation which was kicked off by the desperate need for a cosy home with warm, plush carpet.

We are fortunate and very proud owners of a 1909 Villa, one of the square ones with the porch out front. We fell in love with it as soon as we walked through the front entrance to the open home. Walking inside, I remember thinking how amazing the house was, it was so spacious and we loved the flooring. After living in the house for a month we soon realised that what we thought we liked was actually a botched flooring install.

The house had cheap blonde oak laminate from the kitchen, through a disjointed hallway and in the entrance/living area. In the bedrooms, there was plastic feeling loop pile carpet, the type that could take a good party and you’d never know.

Before Photos

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Our little Villa never had a feeling of cohesion or home. Every room was separated and the light didn’t travel through the rooms. The laminate flooring.. where do I start!? The laminate panels were all chipped between joins, were puckered from the front door to the dining room which caused it to make a squish sound when you walked across it. The Carpet was so stiff we would prefer to wear shoes inside, especially with the chips in the laminate.

Autumn comes and we decided that we would get new carpet in winter. With the cold laminate and no underlay, our feet would be frozen touching the floor while in the living room and we didn’t want another winter with frozen feet. We had A LOT to do before then because the house needed some work before the carpet and new laminate went down. Sam and the team at Flooring Xtra were so helpful and did a great job at providing options that for our functionality and aesthetic requirements

Some things to consider before getting new carpet or laminate

Walls – If you are looking to replace any gib or rip any walls out, do this before the carpet goes down. The floor gets covered in dust and gib glue. If you need to touch up any walls, do this beforehand also so you can repaint.

Architraves – If you’re like us and want to replace your architraves for aesthetic reasons, do this beforehand because you will most likely have to alter your skirtings to suit.

Skirting Boards – Check all your skirting boards are the same and to a high standard, you may need to replace some or touch up the ones you have. Skirtings will need to stay off if you’re getting laminate but will need to be installed if the carpet is going down. If you have to replace skirtings you may damage your walls so give yourself some time.

Caulking – Look around the joins in architraves, skirtings, and window surrounds for gaps, use no more gaps to caulk the caps and touch up the paint. This is a LIFESAVER for uneven boards etc.

What’s under the old carpet – Turns out, our flooring was extremely uneven and the laminate was nailed down which goes against the concept of floating floor. We also had a huge rotten flooring panel so had to have that replaced too. Your flooring company will need to check the floor before the new flooring goes down.

What’s the purpose of your carpet – We had a strict must have… Thermal! We selected the best thermal underlays and they also double as sound absorbers, so think about style and function working together.

What are you doing with your furniture – Your furniture and “things” need to go somewhere while you get carpet, we were lucky to have a garage a front porch and a sunny day!

Our carpet is from Flooring Xtra here in Christchurch. Our consultant Sam took us through options in our price range and we landed on Fog Grey from the Miro range carpet paired with an 11mm 130KG Sleepyhead underlay

Carpet reveal

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Capturing Water With The Marley Twist®

Water diverter The Marley Twist®

Environmental concerns on our waterways and newly chlorinated town supply water in Christchurch have us thinking of ways to create our own sustainable hub that keep us healthy as well as provide efficiencies. Growing up on a Farm there were many common practices that have been tried and tested over the generations that urban growth has forgotten about.

When innovation combines with a process that isn’t all that new, it’s bound to not just improve but impress. I saw that Master Plumbers had released their product of the year at the NZ plumbing awards and it was the Twist®, I was already conjuring up ways to use this in our backyard. While yes, this is a sponsored post, I’ll tell you now that we were all set to buy one prior to the collaboration but our renovations got away on us.

Marley Twist

Get to know The Marley Twist®

A compact rainwater diverter that turns your downpipe into a free source of water. Quick connect any standard garden hose, “twist” to the on position and enjoy the benefits. Rather than letting rainwater flow away into the stormwater system, Twist can be used to divert rainwater to a storage tank for all the jobs around the house. We’ve been using ours for the below:

  • Fill Frankie’s water
  • Wash Frankie after her muddy runs at the park
  • Wash the lawn mower
  • Clean hands after gardening
  • Water for our goldfish

Marley Twist

The Marley Twist® is designed with aesthetic and function in mind. Designed to capture free rainwater and has been specifically designed and manufactured in New Zealand for New Zealand conditions. Water is our most precious natural resource, and a regular clean supply, whether in urban or rural areas, can no longer be taken for granted. Easily installed, you can put the Twist® onto existing downpipe/s to really maximise clean water capture. And when integrated as part of a Marley spouting and downpipe system they carry the same Marley 15 year guarantee.

Easy Install

We’ve put together a “how-to” video guide to installing The Marley Twist®, watch below:

Shop for your colour here: http://bit.ly/MarleyTwist

NB: This is a collaboration with Marley, all words are our own.

Road tripping in the Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai

With all the renovations we have on the go at the moment, we were well overdue for some time away. Where better than Queenstown to spend the weekend away!?

Cockram Nissan mentioned that they had a new Nissan Qashqai N-TEC on their yard and we were lucky enough to take it for a spin on our weekend away. We both have hatchbacks and have traveled the central road many times with my parents living in Te Anau, so driving an SUV on this road was well received.

Nissan Qashqai

 

A QUICK RUN DOWN ON THE NISSAN QASHQAI

It’s an SUV that isn’t trying to be anything it’s not. It’s the ideal commuter for people that need convenience and space, but still want to look the part so basically Georgia and I.. Sleek LED daytime running lights that pack a punch in the dark with an aerodynamic very easy on the eye body and 19″ Alloy wheels. The panoramic roof makes traveling more exciting and creates a spacious atmosphere.

Competitively priced, you’ll be safe in the Qashqai with Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Driver Alert and 360-degree around-view cameras. Load up in a flash with an interior that adapts to any situation, which we all know is just what renovators and people on the go need! Wherever you’re going, you can get there safely knowing Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies have got your back.

Nissan Qashqai

HOW’D WE FIND IT?

Driving from Canterbury to Central Otago in winter is always interesting. This time the temperature was -4 degrees and we saw more than 8 crashed vehicles across the Lindis Pass. We felt extremely safe in the Qashqai with its blind spot warnings and driver alerts. I especially enjoyed the roof, traveling for 4-5 hours in a car soon feels like you’re in a box, however, the Qashqai’s panoramic glass roof made a huge difference and I didn’t feel that fatigue you usually get from long distance driving.

Nissan Qashqai

Georgia is often bribed out of the car for a hot coffee in Tekapo (hates the cold) so the heated car seats meant we could have more photography stops along the way – happy husband! When in Queenstown, we had to find our accommodation, generally this would involve an argument, a U-turn, and a phone dieing. We used the inbuilt nav that displays via the centre display and also on the driver’s dash it prompts the lanes coming up and directions – extremely handy!

The Nissan is the perfect size vehicle for us, we had Frankie in the back the previous night with the boot liner that Cockram Nissan put in for us and then neatly packed our luggage in the back on the way down to Queenstown.  The boot can even be customised if you have groceries so you only have half the floor compartments to use to avoid the rogue pasta sauce and eggs playing corners from slipping out of the bag.

Nissan Qashqai

Another feature we made full use off was the 360 cameras when parking, and the assisted park. Now I’m off a farm so can back and park like a pro using my mirrors however I’m not going to turn down the precision parking that the Qashqai can do itself.

The one feature that we missed was Apple Car Play, having an Apple watch and an iPhone it would have been nice to sync them up, but it still has Bluetooth that you can control from the steering wheel so no biggy!

The Qashqai well and truly impressed us both. Georgia was impressed most with its comfort and leather finishings and I enjoyed the additional features like stationary braking instead of having to put your foot on the brake, the panoramic roof and the aesthetic of the exterior.

See the Nissan Qashqai in action on our Vlog https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15DD-tAlplI

Nissan QashqaiNissan Qashqai

Cockram Nissan is donating $100 to The SPCA Canterbury with every purchase in June 2018.  If you’re like us and have a pooch, take them in when you pick up your car and get a free boot liner!

www.cockramnissan.co.nz

Going Green with Koala Mattresses

We’ve all seen the videos online of the mattresses where people are jumping on them with a cheeky glass of red and the wine doesn’t move at all.  Georgia and I had the opportunity to order a new mattress for our guest bedroom and Koala made sense for so many reasons. It’s becoming more and more important to us that we do our part in terms of sustainability, Koala ticks all the boxes for us, adopting a Koala with Australian purchases and a Kiwi in New Zealand and planting over 5000 trees.  They also have almost no carbon footprint through the manufacturing process and are made using sustainably sourced Australian materials

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When ordering anything for our home we are always tempted to go in-store and buy off the shelf because you can wait up to 3 months for some things to get to you, not with Koala.  We ordered on a Sunday, with Monday being public Holiday, it was on our doorstep on Tuesday morning!!

We had our doubts about the comfort of a mattress that comes rolled up in a box.  As soon as it started unrolling Frankie jumped up and started rolling on it! She’s a sucker for comfort and has slept on it all afternoon. I’ve read amazing things online about how it has repaired peoples backs and necks and from laying on it this afternoon I can see how.  It’s firm, but a different type of firmness, it’s closer to a memory foam firm (although containing 0% memory foam)  than a solid metal spring firm – which is what makes it so comfortable and with zero partner disturbance when getting in or out of it.

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From a single to a super king, the prices in NZ range from $850 – $1400 so extremely affordable compared to the inner sprung versions we are used to seeing. If you’re not a fan, Koala give you 120 days to return for a full refund!

Our view on these mattresses is that they are great buying for what you get! We also appreciate the extra steps that they take to minimise their carbon footprint and give back to nature by planting trees with profits and adopting our country icon!

We grabbed you all a bargain! Get 15% off a mattress with my unique discount code MOOCHSTYLE15 when you spend more than $1000 here

NB: This is a collaboration with Koala, all words are our own

See the full unboxing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zuf7og9nK_s

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Petlocate – Review

Pet tracker

Track where your pet is!

 

Frankie has legs like a giraffe and runs like a racehorse, backed with some IQ she has us worried most days.  We’ve fenced off our yard so she has to get through two gates to get out but she will still give it a nudge if she wanted to.

We wanted to find a solution that would help us keep an eye on her during the day when shes roaming free destroying all our precious plants and digging to china. We came across a brand that had literally just launched a device called Petlocate. In a nutshell, their F1 Pet Tracker has been designed to prevent that worry we all have when not around our Pets. Now you can see where they are whenever you want by simply looking at your Phone. Styled with Google Maps, Petlocate App shows a beacon where your Pet is on a Map, and another beacon where you are so you can locate them faster. You can even get a text if your Pet walks out the front gate and get a full history of where your Pet has been during the day.

Pet TrackerPetlocateP1220407Pet tracker

What we love about it is that Frankie hasn’t once tried to scratch it off, meaning its comfortable. It’s also a really nice size for a boxer so a great fit for her collar.

In terms of how it syncs with a GPS to get the signal of where it is, you load $10 or however much you want to a sim that comes with it and it lasts for months.  I can see this being a great option for pedigree breeds, farm dogs that like to wander and anxious fur parents like ourselves. We found the best option to keep an eye on her and even better that it’s an NZ brand leading the way for pet tracking.

 

Shop it here https://petlocate.co.nz

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KURI puppy school, 4 weeks in

When choosing to welcome a puppy into our home we knew that there were a few things we needed to get right. The first was our home (see our blog post on plants toxic to dogs) and finally there was us.

Frankie isn’t just any puppy, she’s a boxer!

So she has more energy than Shayden, is very jumpy and will give everything a nudge with her paws. This being said, it’s important that we know how to train her to be the best she can be with all our visitors, other dogs and joe blogs that stops their car to give her a pat (it happens). Our friends had been RAVING about Geoff and his team at KURI. Stress and pain-free, reward-based, natural instinct training that helps you put your best foot forward as an owner and provides a great base for your puppy.

Kuri puppy

Kuri Puppy School

Of course, we booked her into their Puppy Class – Level 1, an 8-week course with 5 other pups (all different breeds). We’ve noticed in the 4 sessions we’ve already had that Frankie’s relationship with us is built on mutual trust and respect, we understand why she does things and she can read our body language. KURI has taught us proper socialisation skills, boundaries and when best to praise Frankie and teach her when she’s playing up that what she is doing is wrong.

We are so impressed with every part of their business, we buy their raw dog food (Frankie has the glossiest coat in town and hasn’t itched since going raw), have purchased her Julius K9 harness and Collar lead and they stock our fav Washbar dog wash and sprays and absolutely love the pens that you train your dog in.

Frankie, 4 weeks in is sleeping 8 hours a night in her crate with no noise when she gets put away, sits on command 90% of the time, lies down when asked, won’t go into areas of the house she knows she’s not allowed in, greets small dogs in submission when calmed down by us, has a much better recall than we were expecting and is so damn happy!

We’ll touch base after our last class, Frankie is growing fast and has gained 4KG in her time there so far, it really is the best thing we could have done for her given her size and fun loving personality (if you follow our Instagram you would know the stories we are talking about).

Thinking of getting a puppy? We couldn’t recommend KURI more!

Kuri dog food