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

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



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


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!


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


Vax Blade Pet Pro – Review

Stick Vacuum
New to the shelves of New Zealand, we’ve teamed up with VAX to review the newest member of their family, the Vax Blade Pet Pro SlimVac. What’s better we’re giving one away, see the details at the end of this blog!
I remember as a child my grandmother had a portable lux (i’m not calling it a vacuum – I’ve called it a lux for 27 years haha). I was always intrigued with how convenient the concept was, having a portable lux sure did save her some time. (so she could make more baking…YUM). Fast forward 20 years and we have the Vax Blade Pet Pro, a portable lux with more vacuum power than the traditional concept we’ve always had a love/hate relationship with.
Vacuum Cleaner
Our villa is 98 square metres so not a huge space to get around so we thought we would invest in a stick vac that was on sale for $250. Because of the price I really wanted to love it, it was a bargain! But it really didn’t cut the mustard. Having Frankie has meant that we need to lux more often, and her fine little boxer hair sticks into the carpet so is a bugger to get out.
The Vax pet pro doesn’t just look sharp it really does the trick, it’s designed for homes with pets so gets into every nook and cranny. It has a boost mode (I know) and an optional roller head. Up to 45 minutes of runtime covers a good week of luxing in our house and we can just plug it in to charge it up. The only thing that I’ve noticed is that it makes more sound than the one we currently have because of the power increase and when it’s in boost mode with the head going she’s rearing to go like a good greyhound at the gate.


The Blade VX63 comes with a stair tool, pet tool and cleaning wand. This makes it perfect for stairs, pet hair removal and those hard to reach areas whether up high, down low, or in-between. The motorised floor head is great for enhancing pick-up performance on the floor but also perfect to be attached directly to the handheld for stairs, car and upholstery cleaning (any pet owner can relate to this).


Where to buy?

How you can win one?

We talked Vax into giving one of our awesome followers their very own Pet Pro so you can make luxing fun (trust me it’s fun with this). Head to our Instagram, follow us and tag a mate to win!

WashBar dogcare products – how they helped Frankie

WashBar petcare

Pets are like our babies, in the beginning, we have sleepless nights and we put so much time and effort into them to make sure they grow up healthy, strong and good-natured. Our Frankie will be coming everywhere with us so we want to make sure that wherever we are, we have the right products and gear to keep her comfortable and stress-free.

Recently, we noticed that Frankie was itching profusely and she was crying while she was doing it.  We knew that she was allergic to eggs and beef, so it had to be something in our yard. Dogs are inquisitive animals so eat everything, feel anything and roll through god knows what! I had already removed all the plants in our garden that were toxic to dogs so I knew there was no way I could find what it was.

I went looking for naturally made washes, sprays, rubs etc. that could remedy her itching and provide her with some relief. Many pet stores I noticed had washes made with all sorts of stuff but nothing came close to WashBar.


WashBar is not only all natural ingredients, it’s made in New Zealand! The company owners themselves have a dog with many allergies so they know what it’s like! All of their ingredients are ethical, natural and can be traced back to the source. When I reached out to them I had a half hour phone call with their sales manager who gave me some fantastic advice on the products I will need for Frankie based on her lifestyle. After using the washes and sprays on her, we are brand advocates for life!

Dog being washed

Manuka WashBar

  • Goodness in a bar – Neem oil, Manuka, Kanuka and Lemon Myrtle oils
    making it an antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, flea control that help combat skin irritations and infections.

Manuka+Kakadu Itch Soothe Shampoo

  • Gently Relieves Itching, we used this before the washBar. This shampoo is different from anything else available. Contains Quercetin (a natural antihistamine) and Vitamin C (a natural healer) helping soothe and calm dogs’ itchy, sore skin and to stop excessive scratching, chewing, biting and licking.
  • Also contains Manuka essential oil and Lavender essential oil making it an antibacterial, antifungal and soothing to reduce inflammation and discomfort brought on by allergies.

Paw Balm

  • Georgia’s been using this on her lips before she puts it on Frankie (she’s addicted to lip balms and says this is better than any other). Just like our feet, it’s important that dog’s paws are kept in good condition (especially with up and down temps that NZ gives us, moisturised and free of infection. Repairs and restores rough and dry skin on dog’s feet (and other places like their elbows) and helps prevent or relieve the infection.
  • 100% Natural Paw Balm is made with pure essential oils from New Zealand and the Amazon Rainforest. The combination of oils blended with organic beeswax (love this stuff) creates a balm that absorbs easily into the skin leaving a protective coat (much like high end creams do for us). Made with Kanuka oil – a natural antiseptic & anti-inflammatory, and Copaiba oil – a natural anti-haemorrhagic to help stop bleeding and weeping and to speed up healing.
  • Dogs love to lick their paws, they can lick away as every ingredient that goes into WashBar Paw Balm is completely safe.

Pet Spritzer

  • Designed to keep even the most active pet smelling great (keep in the car)
  • As well as being a coat freshener, the Travel Fresh is an insect repellent, and the Stay Calm is a relaxing and calming spray for nervous pets. We sprayed directly onto bedding and Frankie’s coat and DAMN she smells like the princess she is!
  • 100% natural and alcohol-free – so perfect for pooches sensitive skin
  • Gentle & calming when your dog is suffering from itchy skin, we cannot recommend this enough, not only for Frankie but for us when we are bitten by mosquitoes. Spraying your pooch with WashBar Itch Soothe Topical Spray gives instant relief. Frankie will literally stop scratching and carry on after applying.
  • Contains Anethole (a natural pain relief), Quercetin (a natural antihistamine), Vitamin C (a natural healer), Manuka & Kanuka hydrosols as well as Lavender pure essential oils – all ingredients that are antibacterial, antifungal and soothing to help reduce inflammation and discomfort brought on by allergies.

So where can you find their products?

You can see their full range online HERE / OR they are also on the shelves in all good pet stores (animates, pet central etc.).


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!


Indie Home CollectiveIndie Home Collective

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.

Auckland Plant storesBonsai Tree AucklandAuckland Plant stores



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!!!

Getting to know Newtons Chalk Paint

Blue up-cycled dresser, Mooch style

We have been looking for the right piece to trial a new paint type that we’ve heard so much about but never used.

When the lovely Ali from Newtons Paints suggested we try their paints we, of course, took her up on this.  Shaydens Mum is into shabby chic and has used it in the past and raved about it so we had to try it out for ourselves.Chalk finish paint

Chalk Finish Paint

Chalk Finish Paint is a self-priming, user-friendly paint that traditionally provides the ability to create shabby chic or distressed looks. Chalk Finish Paint removes the usual preparation that is necessary when using acrylic paints, no sanding or priming needed! The paint is a water based paint and has very low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and is environmentally friendly.

Benefits of Newtons Chalk Finish Paint – in our opinion

  1. Covers more surface area and MUCH easier than others we have used
  2. Colour range is extensive
  3. They are eco-friendly 
  4. Clean up is a dream
  5. Has plenty of products that compliment the paint 

The up-cycle

We upcycled some drawers that were in a pretty tired state.  They functioned great but the varnish was terrible and had marks all over it. We started by sanding back the top and drawers to bare wood, leaving the sides as-is.  We then wiped the sides down with a steel pad to remove any dust. Giving the paint a really good shake for a few minutes mixed it together and then used a small-ish brush to apply the first coat.  Be generous but not too heavy on the coats and allow to dry for 1-2 hours. We applied 3 coats to the sides carefully cutting into the top so it didn’t bleed at all.  When the paint was dry we applied 2 coats of beeswax (also by Newtons) to the top of the paint and the bare wood.

Click on the pics below to see the before and after 

We had never done this before and DAMN it looks good and makes your hands feel nice too haha. You simply just lightly rub in motions with a sponge and then after say 30 mins – 1 hour you wipe off with a cloth.  The wax will protect the paint and wood from dings, dust and water.

For the handles, they looked really horrible so out of the blue decided to use cotton rope, a super simple alternative to metal handles (and cheap). You cut it a smidge longer than the length you want and tie knots either end after its thread through. This was inspired by our low-boy we completed last year.

The colour we used was Newtons Regal Blue, they have a great range but this blue caught my eye for this project. As you can see the Blue is brilliant and compliments the wood.

Our experience with this paint is 100% positive, next time you have a piece you want to do up – think of Newtons.

Total spent:

Dresser – $25.00

Newtons paint and beeswax (will do another 2 projects) – $40.00