Welcome to Katamama

Katamama Christchurch

Looking for that statement piece to tie a room together is time consuming, stressful and you always end up getting something “okay” but never 100% what you had in mind. Before we started our renovation in our little villa we were struggling with finding inspiration so we thought we’d go window shopping to see if any styles would jump out at us.

Wooden Pendant light

Walking down the stunning atrium at The Tannery, Georgia’s Hawke like eyes spotted a pendant we had seen in a magazine but gave up looking for locally. We hadn’t heard of the store “Katamama” so were intrigued to see more. As you enter the store you’re overwhelmed with a sensory haven of homewares, every corner is filled with something you could visualise in your home.

After about 30 minutes of analysing every pendant in the store, we purchased a wooden beaded pendant for our master bedroom, and it created the path to the bedroom that we have now. At this point, Katamama was a pop-up store so it was bittersweet because we knew we wouldn’t be back in because we were about to drop thousands on a reno and they probably wouldn’t be there after we finished.

Interior decor

Fast forward 6 months, we’ve finished the reno and they’re back…. And they’ve been shopping!! We popped in to see Penny (a former corporate lawyer who has since pursued her passion with her friend Teresa in being full-time Katamama girl bosses) who showed us around their store and their new finds. It’s clear when you look at these items that this store has been built on that passion and by people who have an eye for detail. I mentioned how hard it was to find a piece to finish a room, their items range from giant oyster shells that give a mantle some Hamptons glam, hand painted faux bullheads to start the New Orleans Mardi Gras and our favourite tones of wood and rattan to bring a little bit of Bali and Palm Springs to your home.

Swinging Chair

Their statement pieces come at an affordable price and make shopping at the main retailers pointless because they have something for every space, even rattan day beds for dogs! We’ve been working hard to achieve a botanical theme in our bedroom by using natural fibres like linen and wood. We knew where to go for our headboard, it was a tough choice between their leather headboards and the rattan but ended up going home with their AvalonRattan bedhead and it’s done exactly what they say, it’s bought the room together and become the statement piece of the bedroom.

Rattan Bedhead

We’re very fortunate to have Katamama in Christchurch, they bring many different styles that you can’t find here, and when you’re in store with them they calm the daunting experience of having to choose between so many amazing options with their own expertise at home styling.

Juju hat
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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 : )

Welcome to EntX

16 months is all it took for Calder Stewart to deliver Christchurch’s EntX, offering a new form of entertainment and dining to the central city.

The three-level, $50 million development is impressive and an overload on the senses. If you’re a foodie or looking for a place to catch up with friends, I can see this being the place to do so. The 13 food outlets with an open space will bring people together and bring a new vibrancy that the city has been so thirsty for.

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Georgia and I attended along with hundreds of others for a sneak peek on Thursday night to experience the calm before the storm. As you walk in you are greeted by an impressive feature of what looks to be reclaimed wood with a huge HOYTS LED display, umbrellaed by stunning lighting. You have the option straight away to grab a quick drop at Arties bar or Joes Garage or continue through to the eateries which will have foodies and Instagrammers flocking

The escalators that look like a stairway to heaven are exactly that, walking through “Treat City” to get to the theatre lounge. Hoyts offers more than 900 spacious leather recliner seats and seven screens. Two are “xtremescreens” which are a treat on the eye. We couldn’t just blog about the chairs and atmosphere without sneaking in and trying them out!!! They are as good as we say, so much room, so much space to put treats and drinks and more treats and tonnes of leg room.

On the top floor, two theatres are “Lux” theatres – We are talking the full shebang here, USB and wireless chargers, a call button for service at every seat, and beer and easy-to-eat food designed by celebrity chef Manu Feildel delivered mid-movie – arghhhh what a dream!

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I can see a lot of money being spent at “Treat City” and many photos taken for the gram, given the ticketing is autonomous they still had helpful staff everywhere. The lux really has my attention as it’s R18 and the options are right up our alley. If you’re looking for a good night out, this is where you will be going

Its so good to see new developments popping up in the City. The parking building, bike parking and bus exchange make it more accessible than most cities to get to entertainment like this.

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

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

A guide to washing your house

There’s something satisfying about a perfectly manicured home, you walk past a house around the corner on your morning stroll, and you wonder how they get it looking so damn perfect! Chances are, they spend endless hours maintaining it so their investment has kerb appeal.
If you want to give your home more kerb appeal, an important place to start is by washing it. Think how good a car looks when you wash it, a house is much the same. I’ve recently got a Ryobi pressure washer so thought where best to try it out than washing our house on a 30 degree summers day. Before I proceeded, I researched if the pressure washer was the right choice for our house (an early 1900’s villa check it out on our Instagram).
Not all surfaces can handle the powerful jet of a pressure washer; plaster and brick can be damaged when using one. Below I’ve outlined tips on how to get the job done right and your house shining for the warmer months.

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Traveling on a “vibe” – Auckland

Mudbrick vineyard

When we travel, even to a neighbouring town, we like to soak up the atmosphere and the sites the area has to offer. Because we don’t get the opportunity to be away very often we like to pack as much as we can into our short trips.

On a recent long weekend away with friends in Auckland, we travelled to a few spots that caught our eye either from the road or on Instagram.  We love travelling like this and it always pays off!

Here’s an overview of our trip, based on travelling on a vibe. If you have a holiday coming up, keep reading for a sweet discount code on your next stay with booking.com

Dear Jervois

CafeA good brunch spot is easily the most important start to a weekend in our view.  When you’re with friends it allows you to sit down, have a laugh, some good food and plan out your day.

Dear Jervois is our new favourite in Auckland.  Located in Herne Bay on Jervois Road’s most convenient corner, for parking and right beside the amazing Father Rabbit homewares store! We had a huge sense of home at this location, nestled among villas and funky stores. It’s the sort of cafe your order a muffin before your brunch because there is so much atmosphere to soak up so you want to stay longer (yes I did this). Blacks, whites, rustic lighting and soooo many plants – just amazing!

The menu offers a number of dietary requirements and the most amazing eggs bennie which is always a must at a good cafe. It’s no wonder there was a 15-minute wait after arrival when you see what comes out – Instagram your hearts out folks, there are matcha waffles. We could easily live in this area and we spotted many villas that looked just like ours, Dear Jervois – you’ve won our hearts.Dear JervoisDear JervoisAuckland brunchAuckland BrunchAuckland Gluten FreeDear JervoisDear JervoisDear Jervois


Mudbrick Vineyard and Fenice – Waiheke Island

P1210159While sitting in Dear Jervois we were discussing what we should do for our last day in Auckland. The answer was Waiheke Island, the best call we made all weekend.

Boarding the boat we made a beeline for the bar and then got settled on the top platform of the fullers catamaran. The uber driver on the way there told me to keep an eye out for the beautiful pohutukawa in Devenport.  I see what he was saying, what a photo opp location!

When we arrived at Waiheke we went looking for bikes to hire but got there a tad late so just set off on foot up to Oneroa. We decided we would go check out the beach and then head to a winery for a wine tasting. When walking down the main road I could see Georgia was in love with the place and already looking at day spas and accommodation that her and her sisters can come back to. There is so much to soak up so we earmarked a few places for when we got back from the winery.

On Instagram, we could see that Mudbrick vineyard had amazing views and have heard great things about their pinot gris, so caught a $12 cab out there. Wow – just wow was our first impression.  Think Tuscany blended with untouched New Zealand, this is where we were. We decided to do a few wine tastings which were very affordable and gave us an opportunity to learn more about the local wine from their own vineyard. While sipping on bubbly we walked above the buildings, through a lavender garden and up to the heli-landing where we had 360 views of Waiheke. The story of how the owners set up what is there today is so humbling so do ask about when you are there too.Mudbrick vineyardMudbrick vineyardMudbrick vineyardDevonport AucklandFullers Waiheke IslandWaiheke IslandWaiheke IslandWine tastingMudbrick vineyardLater on, we caught a cab back into the town centre and finished at Fenice. Fenice sits in the heart of Waiheke Island’s main village, Oneroa. An authentic Italian and Mediterranean restaurant reflecting the seasons. We sat down to enjoy a few cocktails, authentic polenta fries and cheeses to finish.

Fenice was the perfect place finish our trip at it was so cosy with a warm and intimate atmosphere.  It actually tied in nicely with the Mudbrick location with the stone walls and plants. For some reason Georgia and I always finish trips away with Italian, it could be the comfort of their food that draws us in.Fenice Waiheke IslandFenice, WaihekeFenice, WaihekeFenice, WaihekeFenice, WaihekeAuckland City


Scarecrow

Photo 6-11-17, 9 56 44 AMScarecrow was spotted by all of us as it was not too far from where we stayed. It’s an urban farmers market, contemporary kitchen and florist, who celebrate the very best of the Auckland artisans. Everything from their kitchen is prepared from scratch, including the stocks and sauces – you can always taste this in food so I loved this place!

While we waited for our coffee we had a look at their farmers market style shelves, you can choose from things such as fresh fruit, oils and honey. They even have their own florist which caters from standard bouquets to event flowers. We love the concept of this store.  It’s humble and so refreshing for a cafe that is among the hustle and bustle of the Auckland CBD.Scarecrow storeScarecrow storeScarecrow storeScarecrow storeScarecrow store

 

If you’re travelling soon and want to check out spaces like these.  The brunch is on us…

We’ve teamed up with Booking.com so you can save $40 off your next stay.

Click here to book your next trip! https://www.booking.com/s/shayde35

 

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A night out in Ponsonby

When in Ponsonby, you either shop, eat or drink. Home of New Zealand’s finest boutiques and restaurants we wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  After a full day of browsing designer boutiques, I went bar hopping with the well-traveled Vanessa Ortynsky.

There are so many bars you can choose in Ponsonby but three of them had a distinct vibe about them that we wanted to check out. Mea Culpa, Fhloston Paradise, and Revelry. The three of them also turned out making sense in terms transitioning through the evening.

Mea Culpa

A well-established name on Ponsonby Road, Mea Culpa is an intimate narrow “blink and you miss” bar. Treasured by locals, it’s obvious that this cocktail bar is Ponsonbys jewel. Stop in after work for a debrief or sit at the bar and enjoy one of the many cocktails their award-winning mixologists can put in front of you. We decided to sit outside in the rustic Mediterranean style setting and soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying a cheese board and my very first negroni. If you’re like me and prefer something drier, ask their friendly staff to surprise you. They ask you a series of questions about what you like.  The drink they come back to me with was an amazing Hemingway daiquiri which was absolutely on point. You’ll see all sorts of people here, most people the staff know by name and then the first timers not so subtly pretending like they know what they are ordering (me) and then the boozy enthusiasts who can taste every hint of whats in the cocktail.

Something that this notable bar doesn’t boast about enough is their sustainability efforts, the limes they squeeze are all used for hand soaps and they try their best to source all fruits and products within 100km of the bar.

 

Fhloston Paradise

We took an uber further up Ponsonby road to Fhlotson Paradise. the nineties inspired bar is everything for a good night out. 90’s bangers and an extensive drinks menu will see you and your friends a good night! From the moment you walk in you see a pink haze muted by dim lighting bouncing off brickwork. As you step inside the pink neon Fhloston lights up the room and the cocktail list is calling. When I think back to this bar I think Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Espresso Martinis.

The outdoor courtyard with the heaters adds for a fun environment and head on inside to cut some shapes and have a boozy night.

Revelry

Finishing at Revelry we got there earlier on so familiarised ourselves with the bar. It was obvious that the quirky decorated bar would fill up as the night progressed so we sat at the bar and got to know the staff’s talents. There was a familiarity between all three bars and that was the exceptional service from the staff, the sense of a family unit and damn they could make a drink!  We had the most amazing shots (the banana my fav). Your cocktail and drinks options available here are endless as their collection is HUGE. After the assortment of drinks I had had I ended up with a glass of Little Creatures Pilsner – turned around and the place was packed.

These bars are a must for drinking in Ponsonby!