A homewares tour of Ponsonby Road

Before travelling to Auckland I had heard so much about this suburb, it’s dining, fashion boutiques and drinking options and of course its housing. On a sunny Friday morning, I biked from the city to Ponsonby to check out what options were available for the home. On the way there up college road, I had to hop off my bike so I could appreciate all the houses, they all looked just like our villa at home and there was so many of them! As you look around you see wisteria covered porches, grand bay windows and skillfully crafted fretting – I was in heaven. After soaking up the views I was eager to see where the people in these homes shopped locally for their homes, so I continued on Ponsoby road on a quest to check out what was available.

Bob & Friends

I was parking my bike from the Grand Mercure outside a charming villa on Ponsonby road and noticed that it was a homewares store also so went in for a look. Walking in I was greeted by the lovely store owner who told me to have a good look around.

P1200019WOW was my first impression, her exorbitant collection of homewares allowed you to browse like you would a museum. Bob & Friends is a store that brings a collection of contemporary British design to Auckland with a range of furniture by leading designers such as Mathew Hilton, Donna Wilson, Kay and Stemmerlee Kirkbridge, Gareth Neal, Terrence Woodgate and Rob Ryan.

I would shop here for the finer things to differentiate my home like modular scandi style shelving and the sustainably designed and developed lighting options by Tala (in love).

I loved how each room had a new feeling, toward the back of the house you could slouch in the chairs and picture the furniture in your own home. Being a villa it was even better for people like us who have a villa with high ceilings and white walls just like theirs!

Ponsonby Homeware store

Indie Home Collective

After stopping in for lunch at Blue Breeze I spotted Indie Home Collective from across the road and recognised the name from Instagram.

Indie Home CollectiveWalking in I knew that Georgia would like this store. A modern interiors store with an organic vibe, not trying to be something it’s not – I like this! Located in the perfect spot for shopping and dining on Ponsonby Road, the boutique historic space had white tongue and groove floors and was styled perfectly to relax when you were inside. The store person also made you feel extremely comfortable as she ran me through how each piece is carefully selected and why. Owned by the hugely talented Claudia Kozub, she has fantastically executed a feeling of comfort and home. I’m always influenced by a store that has a bounty of plants so maybe that’s why…

This store stocks international homeware brands such as The Scent of Home & Wonki Ware (so amazing). These sit alongside exclusive lines including Bedouin Societe & Ay Illuminate.

You often find stores that have a small amount of white washed linen blended with soft monochrome furnishings – but not one that nails this throughout their store – Indie Home Collective does!

 

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Ponsonby Plants

I go to Auckland and I find the best plant store yet – standard me!

Ponsonby Plants was such a great find in the cracks of the hustle and bustle.  I saw this across the road as I was biking to lunch so pencilled it for my way home. This store has been here for longer than I have been alive, so I imagine they’ve seen Ponsonby thrive also.

P1200122Richard DeGrandpre, owner of Ponsonby Plants is to thank for this haven. He grows the bonsai and cacti himself, as well as producing some of the pots with a varied maturity of plants from months old to years old. The price of the plants generally reflects the care and time that gives you a plant like a fiddle leaf fig that is almost as tall as you or a hanging vine that drapes like no other.

I heard locals in the store as they were admiring the bonsai’ saying how this store is the only store that offers the “in” plants when the others struggle to source them.

What’s even cooler about this store is they have worked with brands like Huffer and MTV, when you’re inside you will see why they go to this location for the plants – they have everything!

Get plants for your home people, not only are they healthy – they look so much better than anything else.

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H&M Christchurch opens its doors

New Zealand’s second H&M Store is opening its doors to Christchurch and we were invited, joined by our favourite Christchurch influencers to a guided tour of the new store before the madness unfolded on Saturday morning with people camping out over night to be one of the first in the new store. The Crossing”.

Located in our newest retail precinct “The Crossing”, H&M have graced us with New Zealands first H&M Home department. The new store, wrapped around the corner of High and Cashel in a strikingly designed building both inside and out, caters to all ages and of course their homes too! Refreshingly relevant styles for clothing had Georgia shopping her heart out and the homewares just blew me away as they were all new styles that we haven’t seen yet here in Christchurch.
Home ware

It’s obvious that H&M design their home wares just like clothing: edgy, current and functional. The colours you’ll see in the home section are bound to shake things up. You’ll see antique blues, millennial pink, golds, olives and organic cotton. If it’s linen or velvets you’re after this is the store to shop, they’ve ensured that they are turning up to impress!

We both enjoyed how affordable H&M was store-wide. This global giant puts a lot of effort into carefully designing their lines and it’s so great that Christchurch is now home to H&M.

If you’re a corporate, fitspo, fashionista or a casual dresser – there’s something for you!

Following the walk through we were treated to a celebratory meal and cocktails at the moody Twenty Seven steps.

H&M ChristchurchH&M storeMooch Style Georgia Brian and Shayden WhippsBloggersHome wareLightingStore personChopping boardHOMEVanessa OrtynskyChristchurch BloggersH&M HomewareStore peopleHayley&coChristchurch BloggersTwenty Seven StepswineTwenty Seven Steps

Checking In – Grand Mercure Auckland

Attending New Zealand Fashion week I wanted to stay somewhere that was more than just another hotel, I looked high and wide for something different and landed on the newly refurbished Grand Mercure Auckland. Located in the heart of the Auckland’s waterfront, surrounded by designer boutiques and award winning restaurants of Britomart, Grand Mercure Auckland embraces all of these elements.

With 207 guest rooms, lifestyle spaces, both ground and top level dining/cafe bar options, Grand Mercure shares an intimate ethnic mosaic of Auckland with every traveller.

Grand Mercure Auckland is the ideal base for travellers looking to explore Auckland city in comfort and style. Greeted on entry by a grand tribal style partition, Oversized gold lighting, a bar and a seating area with a custom made glass feature of birds displayed on the wall by the talented Luke Jacomb.

Killing time before check-in

The hospitable staff on entry made me feel so comfortable, I was early so I checked in my bags and being from Christchurch I was instantly drawn to their complimentary bikes that I spotted walking through their laneway (Custom lane).

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My friend Vanessa Ortynsky and I took a leisurely bike ride to Ponsonby while I waited for my room to be ready. The roads in Auckland don’t accommodate cyclists very well but we made it work and it was a stunning ride all the same.  While in Ponsonby I toured a few homeware stores and visited a few boutiques and cafes with our friend and so talented, Robyn from Anywhere I Roam Photography. As we returned to the city we rode to Britomart and had a drink with the amazing Carmen Huter at Amano in Britomart where there were actually bike parks! On my return, I bumped into the General Manager, Zac Lumsden who welcomed me to the hotel and wished me all the best for my stay and then a very nice staff member assisted us with the returning of our bikes.

While I was away the staff had checked in my bags and moved them to my room which was 3/4 of the way up the building. Lead by a Ferrari red lift and classy halls I opened the door to a suite that had everything for me, it’s like this room was tailored to my style. Black and white offset with greens and yellows, masculine cabinetry and all the complimentary condiments for a comfortable stay (even a Nespresso machine). It was the view that topped it off, a view of the ocean and city, overlooking Britomart and the docking – exactly what I wanted for chilling out in my hotel.

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After a comfortable sleep with quality linens and bedding, I found my way to the gym for a quick morning workout followed by a coffee at the Vue bar and restaurant. This was an amazing way to end my fast-paced NZFW experience, I soaked up the vistas seen from a full glass surround, watching a cruise ship dock and unload whilst enjoying a fresh juice, yoghurt and granola.

I recommend anyone travelling to Auckland stay at Grand Mercure Auckland. A hotel within close proximity of many great local attractions, including Vector Arena, the Iconic Sky tower ANZ Viaduct events centre and Britomart shopping precinct. The Story tellers on entry and fit out will ensure you have the most comfortable of stays. See the video of our adventures here

See my stay 

 

A spring guide to your garden

Kiwi’s love spending time outdoors, our backyards are where we do most of our entertaining over the warmer months so we put a lot of pride into their appearance.

In spring we put the brollies away and start prepping our gardens, it’s the perfect opportunity to do all the ground work so your outdoor spaces are looking primo for summer.

So what do you need to do? Where do you start? It can be challenging to know which garden maintenance jobs we should do specifically during spring that won’t damage the plants and is a good use of time.  We’re getting our yard prepped, so created a list to help you through it.

CLEAR THE LEAFAGE

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Clear away winter deciduous leaf debris, dead branches and old leaves that are still hanging on but look like they won’t be for much longer. We’ve just done this and used a leaf blower to mulch the all the leaves and it doubles as compost, you can also use your lawn mower to do this.

WEED THAT GARDEN

Garden-weeds

Spring is when plants are at their best so clear weeds before they make them selves at home! Start thinking about making your life easier with things like weed mat, bark, sprays and planting crawling plants. Think about how much time you have to spend in the garden this summer. Weed mat is our life saver in the garden and we spray every month to keep the weeds down.

PRUNING

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Spring is the season for plant growth. So have a look on websites like www.tuigarden.co.nz to gets some tips and tricks.  Make sure you get onto pruning early so it doesn’t kill any growth for the spring!

USE THE MULCH

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Soil, just like us thrives when it’s getting nutritious food. Use the mulch that you made with the leafage or any compost you’ve accumulated over the winter in your garden. go to your local garden centre and get some fertiliser when you’re wanting your plants to shoot up. Oderings is always a good option or just a local nursery or garden centre.

ELIMINATE THE PESTS

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Black spot, slugs, snails and mites – get these buggers nice and early! Go to your local hardware store and they will have plenty of chemicals available along with guides and info for you.

DECK AND PATIO CLEANING

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Moss and mould most likely grew over the winter on your deck/patios. Use a water blaster or a high-pressure hose with a garden friendly cleaning solution. Be careful not to remove any paint and get a professional green keepers help if you’re worried you’ll make a mess.

TRANSPLANTING AND SPLITTING

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In spring we can split and transplant the plants that have spread. Plants will adapt quickly to being divided with the warmer weather and drier conditions and spring is a good mix of both so they won’t dry out too much while they are taking to the soil.

LAWN CARE

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During winter, lawns become bogged and full of weeds and moss. Spring is the best time to aerate your lawns and grow new grass. You can get weed and feed products that clip onto your hose so no mixing needed. You can seek a lawn care experts help and get a plan in place so your lawn is looking lush in summer if you are too busy to pay attention to your lawns. Now is also a good time to start re-edging your front lawn and reshape.

Wait for the soil to drain and the weather to warm up, before planting to give seedlings the best chance.

GROWING HERBS FOR SUMMER COCKTAILS

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Spring is a harsh season for frosts and random weather conditions so seedlings should be raised in a covered sunny location where they won’t be touched by a frost or the wind. Start transferring these to your planter boxes around October so they are established come summer.

The Bloggers Collective – A new journey

Georgia and I have been blogging for 2 years now. When we started blogging we didn’t know what we were doing or where it would take us – exciting right!?

Over coffee, Vanessa Ortynsky and I discuss blogging and the lack of community in Christchurch. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tech blogger, a home styler or a makeup artist who vlogs about the latest lip kit, we all have similar challenges and goals. Having a better sense of community in Christchurch for bloggers is key for brands as well as the blogger, we have something to say, we are all on a journey and we are truly passionate about what we are sharing (otherwise we wouldn’t put all the hours that we do into it).

So we set out on a new journey – we didn’t know how it would go OR how many bloggers there were actually were to be involved in a meetup. We decided that the first event will be a meet and greet where we can all have brunch and a general good yarn. Finding the space in Christchurch for 20+ people on a Sunday was tricky, people were turning us down (come on!!!  You’re getting 20 people who are glued to social media) and some weren’t even open. When we contacted Bunsen to use their upstairs area they were more than welcoming – what an amazing venue for this type of event, fast service, delicious food and a stunning setting.

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As I said, bloggers are passionate people so we reached out to a few brands who aligned with what we wanted The Bloggers Collective to be based on – authenticity and dedication. We made up goodie bags for the day and had just enough with sign ups booming toward the end. We had a vision for TBC to be exclusive to bloggers from all strengths. The day was just that, we had a Dad blogger, lifestylers, fitness and health, travel, graphic enthusiast — the list goes on, it couldn’t have been a better mix.

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The brunch was a huge success and we all jelled so well, the vision for authenticity really showed its colours at TBC. Between the clinking of cutlery against crockery, you could hear laughter, in-depth discussion, networking and friendships being made.

TBC was also great to look at where Georgia and I are now and how blogging nurtured us into the direction of where we are, we couldn’t be happier/busier and we work bloody well as a team.

We have many events in the pipeline and a list that will no doubt continue to grow. If you’re reading this and you came along – thanks so much for being a part of this journey with us, if you’re reading this and you want to be on the mailing list for future events, just sign up via our form and we will be in touch from there

Entertaining just got easier

We love how our little villa provides a perfect space to entertain. A huge selling point was the layout being flexible to both halves of the day and the galley style kitchen that leads to a rear private deck and garden. We love having friends and family over so they can enjoy our space with us, and it’s a great opportunity to show off what we’ve worked so hard to have and an even better excuse to get out the finer dinnerware and glasses. (is it okay for a 27-year-old to say that?).

Making our Kitchen more entertainment-friendly

We are spoilt with a modern kitchen but have made some key updates pre-summer so we can get some serious mileage out of that bad boy when the days are longer, the waistlines thinner and the weather warmer. We updated our splash back to make the kitchen brighter and appear larger, it also makes clean-up a dream.  The most exciting update we’ve made recently is installing a Fisher & Paykel Double DishDrawer™ Dishwasher… In White!!!

We haven’t had a dishwasher in past houses and have seen 4 seasons of entertaining without one in the villa, so needless to say this thing is a god send! We chose white as our Kitchen is white and they’ve specifically designed it to seamlessly blend with any kitchen environment and fit into existing kitchens (there used to be junk drawers there). We appreciate good design and we appreciate quality even more. The revolutionised design is more advanced, quiet and reliable than ever. Having flexibility with new styles of cycles, how you have the inside laid out based on what you’re washing and having a sterilising function makes it an asset to an entertainers kitchen.  We like to use the top as our “essentials” bulk loads and the bottom for the odd thing that doesn’t really warrant a wash right away. It’s perfect with the double drawers when you have a large group of people over and there are glasses a plenty and you need them rotating.

The heart of the home

Often people refer to the Kitchen as the heart of the home, we however argue that it’s a well laid out space that is the “heart” of the home as it provides atmosphere and so many good times and memories. We were even more spoilt to receive Fisher & Paykels, DishDrawer™ 20th year anniversary handmade dinner set in collaboration with artist – Felicity Donaldson of Wundaire. We’ve never owned something so authentic and unique. It’s amazing how a bowl can make Georgia smile haha. We like to use what we have rather than put it away to gather dust so we invited our good friends Myles and Nadia over for our first lunch gathering of winter.

The warmth of a well-heated home on an 8 degree Canterbury winters day, with a great spread for lunch, makes winter not so bad. Being able to easily clean up afterwards with the DishDrawer™ makes entertaining so much easier. We’re excited for the many events to come.

*** This post was sponsored however it was timely because we were looking at buying one regardless.  All words are our own : )

Why we’ve broken up with Kmart

Kmart Home, why we don't buy Kmart furniture

For those of you that follow our blog, you’ll know that this time last year we were die hard Kmart fans. We would find ourselves joining the great race every night for the new “ladder shelf”, matching marble with marble – with marble….

We used to be great friends

Kmart Accessories

Our flat was soon a showroom of Kmart homewares and we were proud of them. When we wanted to redo our lounges aesthetic we could achieve this for a price of a cushion at other homeware stores. But what we soon found is that a good percentage of the stuff failed considerably.  What good is a shelf for plants when you water them and it swells with a drop of water that has come off a leaf?

Our garage was then a holding place for things we purchased 6 months ago. We were lucky enough to have friends and family that would take a few of the items but when we bought our Little Villa we decided that we would save in the long run by buying second-hand vintage furniture giving it some TLC, and it worked. If you’re into modern mixed with some old like us and shop glossy laminates and clean lines, you can achieve this by up-cycling or repainting (very easy – check out this post) .  Introducing some older pieces will give you that quality that Kmart lacks for sometimes less that the cheaper pieces at Kmart so we would recommend going with option (we learned our lesson). And the upside is that you then find after 6 months that you don’t want to rotate your pieces with the trends like you do with Kmart because you’re proud of them and they will last for many years to come.

Just the other day we decided that we would spend half the price on a peg board at Kmart than what I would have to spend making one.  Instantly we regretted it.  The particle boards were mouldy and wet and the pegs were so uneven in thickness, some couldn’t fit. I wish we just went without something that week to afford the materials to make one, we wanted one for all our sewing gear for our handmade bags at Mrs Swan so just decided to just go grab one.

We still talk

We still have some KMART furniture, a guest bedroom is a perfect place for Kmart side tables where they will get very little use so won’t damage fast, up close you can tell they are no DA Lewis, but it’s our first home so we can’t have it all. We have the odd Kmart ornament, the quality difference is very minimal between them and the higher affluent stores. Ornaments are also something that doesn’t get used so it won’t wear. We tend to not shop at Kmart with a basket anymore where you just walk in expecting to walk out with something haha (we used to take a trolley).

Consumers now days are very much in touch with the trends and want to keep their finger on the pulse. There are so many ways you can adhere to these without buying into the Kmart craze. Our blog is all about showing you how, so check out our posts and keep that garage free!

NB: This is our own opinion, as we said we still shop at Kmart and their styles are super trendy. We are all about a good upcycle and want to educate that sometimes (like in this case) for the same price of a cheap piece of furniture – you don’t have to have cheap quality. We were not paid or incentivised to write this post.

Go upcycling!!!

Locations over the summer

2016 was a challenging year for us to say the least.  We had some really great things happen like the engagement and buying our first home, but then some really curve ball things that took us by surprise. The Summer holidays this year were exactly what we needed to hit refresh.

In New Zealand we holiday in the Summer generally from just before Christmas till a week or so after New Years. Shaydens family religiously holiday at Glendhu bay Wanaka, a beautiful bay nestled among the roots of Mt Aspiring and Roy, so many fond memories have come from there. Back here in Chritchurch we decided to have Christmas at our place. There were Christmas crackers, beautiful cuts of meat, duck fat roasted potatoes and deserts to die for… Georgias family really know how to step up when it comes to entertaining.

The whanau

Following Christmas we HAD to catch up with friends, we have the best friends and it had been far too long with the trip to Melbourne and buying our home, December packed with birthdays and events it had been a while since we all got together. Out came all the left overs and deserts on boxing day it was so great knowing that they were helping our waist lines as well as helping us relax haha.

On the 30th we were en route to Wanaka with our friends Myles and Nadia (camping without family this year). We had an amazing time together, copious amounts of alcohol, laughter and banter, it was exactly what a holiday is for! The weather wasn’t full sunshine like most years but it was warm and the rain stayed away so thats all that matters. We decided we would give Roys Peak our best effort and boy was it a stunner, if you are ever in Wanaka we highly recommend it if you have 3-5 hours spare and a good camera. Just be prepared to wait 15 minutes at the top for a pic – there is literally a line haha.

Wanaka is a stunning town and a great alternative to Queenstown if you are are like us and prefer to lounge at the lake and have beers at the camp. Two of our favourite eateries are also in Wanaka, Urban Grind and Federal Diner are worth the trip alone haha.

We popped down to Te Anau to visit Shaydens Parents, Sisters and our gorgeous Nephew. They have the kiwi dream location down there, a big house with stunning views, remote but not too far from the town and wide open spaces. Te Anau is always a great trip, we always bypass Queenstown now because we can’t wait to get amongst the walks along the lake and be in some of the most un-touched land on earth. Our family down there are always a laugh too – we don’t get down enough!!!! We stopped in at Wapati Cafe where Shaydens sister works and the whole whānau ended up popping in haha (must be the local). Shaydens dad had the standard “two hotdogs and sauce” hahaha.

Saying goodbye always sucks because you wish family were closer but we had to head off early to catch Shaydens Nana and cousins in Winton and other grand parents in Gore. It was about 1pm and we were en route now to Mosgiel to stay with Shaydens Mum, step dad and siblings.  It was so great catching up with them too.  It was a stunning evening and they treated us to a beautiful meal at Harbour side bar and Grill in Dunedin.  Was quite nice having time to stop by a few places on our way home like Oamaru …. who knew it was such a nice town haha.

When we finally got home 1720km later we literally crashed haha. having 3 days at home was a great opportunity to take a look at the house now that we are all relaxed and appreciate it…. but we were noticing things like the gardens had big spaces and where Shayden pruned a tree the past owners didn’t paint the fence behind it haha – so It gave Shayden something to do for the next three days.

2017 is looking great already.  It will be dedicated to getting fit and shredding for the wedding. We are also looking forward to whatever opportunities come for Mooch Style!

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Shayden and Georgia

 

 

“His and Hers” Christmas wish list – for the home

With Christmas and the summer break just around the corner, we were inspired to share a “his” and “hers” Christmas wish list…. for the home!

We already have a few of the items on our “wish list” but thought they are totally worth sharing because we LOVE everything we have bought for our home.

It was surprising as we put our lists together that our styles blended. It’s not very often you put together a “wish list” but it totally makes sense so you can work toward ticking things off as you go and not spend money on random things throughout the year.

Georgias “must haves”

Click on the images below to see where you can get each item, i’m in love with soft furnishings and beautiful florals at the moment, they brighten up your home and make every space so dreamy.

Shaydens “must haves”

Monochrome and edgy colours are my ideal vision for our home. There are so many great homeware stores out there – have a look and you’ll be amazed what you find.

We would love to know what is on your wish list!

Shayden and Georgia