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Author: Jess Murray

For the love of lagom

We’ve mastered how to hygge our home, by creating a serene and clutter-free space, it’s now time to learn to lagom. While the words appear to be a scramble of Scandinavian slang, beneath the surface lies very interesting inspirations for decorating your home.



While there is no direct translation from Swedish to English, it roughly means ‘not too much and not too little – just right’.

This way of thinking is a great idea to channel when you’re decorating your home this summer.

Niki Brantmark could be classed as the queen of lagom with her book, Lagom: Not Too Little, Not Too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life, that started it all.

She gives eight basic tips to lagom.

  1. De-clutter – this speaks for itself.
  2. Bring in nature – there should be a balance between the home and the environment around it. If you live by the sea, seashells or pebbles are a nice way to incorporate this.
  3. Use muted colours – Swedish homes like to keep it simple with very organic and muted tones.
  4. Try textures – experimenting with throws, rugs and other textures is a great eye-catching addition to your home.
  5. Incorporate plants – low maintenance ones are great.
  6. Pay attention to lighting – utilise that natural light!
  7. Go vintage – creates a comfy and cosy feel.
  8. Keep it pristine – carpet is hard to clean, so get rid of it altogether.

Hello Yellow!

Let the summer sun freshen up your wardrobe this season with a flash of our favourite citrus hue: yellow.

Many zesty shades are trending, from pastel and lemon through to marigold and amber.

While these punchy hues aren’t always the easiest to wear, they pair well with existing capsule pieces you’re bound to already have – a white blouse, perhaps, or a pair of washed denim jeans.

You can’t go wrong by injecting a bright bolt of yellow into an otherwise plain ensemble by way of accessories, shoes or even a striking blazer.

Yellow pieces with floral prints or embroideries bring a laid-back, bohemian flavour, while a slinky silk dress in a saturated hue like mustard or marigold is both fun and elegant – and the ultimate stand-out silhouette for all of summer’s quintessential events.

If strong yellow shades are a bit out of your comfort zone, try a more mellow pastel tone.

Shades like buttermilk or lemon give off a graceful chic vibe perfect for that garden party or lunch date.

Top tip: It’s smart to invest in easy, versatile pieces like jumpsuits, maxi/midi dresses and tailored pants that will take you from the high street to the party in effortless sophistication.


Next-level southern hospitality: Two Fat Possums

Long famed for its southern hospitality, West Melton’s Two Fat Possums has created a cosy, local hotspot that is noted as much for its warm, ambient environment as it is for its exceptional food.



So who better to host your upcoming event? The team that knows hospitality, of course!

Nestled comfortably in West Melton’s Village Centre, Two Fat Possums has the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of events, utilising either the function room or the sit-down restaurant. Flexibility too is inherent in the catering capabilities. Various set-menu options are available or the team can design a menu to suit.

Two Fat Possums is a local gathering point for fundraisers and events, with quizzes and their famed pizza fundraisers offering a quick and easy way to raise funds for your sports team or group.

Find Two Fat Possums at the West Melton Village on Weedons Ross Road, West Melton. Phone 03 421 6481 or visit



Bellissima!: Molto Bella

The atmosphere in clothing boutique Molto Bella is so redolent of all things Italian, from the friendly welcome of three darling dogs to the gentle trickle of fountain water and the large Romantic period etchings adorning the walls, that you cannot help but be charmed by it all. And then there are the clothes….



There’s a workmanship to these clothes that’s rarely seen and being made from the most delicate of silks, finest of linens, and purest of wool and cottons, you know you are going to look sensational wearing them. Anette Drewery, owner of Molto Bella, is fastidious when it comes to sourcing quality garments that nobody else has.

The predominance of clothing is Italian, followed by French and a small but select representation of exceptionally gifted Australian and Kiwi designers. “Our clothes are simply elegant; they are timeless yet of tomorrow. When a woman wears them, she wears them effortlessly because beautiful fabrics make you feel beautiful,” Anette says.

It’s difficult to draw your gaze from the clothing, but the European leather-crafted handbags shouldn’t be ignored, nor should you bypass the finest napery from Lithuania, or the witty Belgian tapestry cushions featuring character pooches and other animals.

For décor inspiration, European lifestyle magazine, Jeanne d’Arc Living, will enthral you, and yes, those delightful Parisienne ink scrolls on the wall are all for sale! With the online store launching in July, life is indeed bellissima at Molto Bella!

Visit 199 High Street, Rangiora, phone 03 313 1366 or visit



A Collaborative Exhibition

‘Presence’ is a collaborative exhibition by artists Sam Barrow and Aimee Shields, showing at Windsor Gallery, 386 St Asaph Street (gallery has a frontage carpark), from 5 July to 18 July and then by appointment only at the artist’s space at 888 Governors Bay Road (please walk in) from 27 July to 11 August (phone 027 922 0476). “We’re really looking forward to meeting and chatting with people about our works,” Sam says.



Sam says his fine art photography is his way of embracing the subtle voice of his homeland. “Photography is my way of entering a magical ‘Between World’ – a world that is, in fact, far more vital and real than our everyday three-dimensional illusory experience would have us believe.”

Divinely Inspired Artist Aimee says her paintings reflect the beauty of life. “My works are intuitive and, as the Divinely Inspired Artist, I use colour, the real and the abstract, intentional energies of sacred geometry, numerology and other symbols to create an extra sensory experience.“



For more information, visit or



Islands in the sun

Kitchen islands are no longer an afterthought; rather they’ve become the mainstay of the contemporary Kiwi kitchen. We look at how to make the most of these modern kitchen must-haves.



  1. Put an unexpected twist on the classic kitchen island by choosing one with curved edges. This small difference allows for slightly more practicality – and safety, especially if you’ve got littlies. Curved islands also typically have more storage space than their rectangular counterparts.

  2. By extending your countertop overhang beyond the base of your kitchen island you’ll easily add extra space for seating more guests (and prepping food). Add a trio of bar stools and ta-da – you’ve got yourself an extra dining area/breakfast bar.

  3. Kitchen islands don’t need to be set in stone; if you want something that’s easily removable for rearrangement, try a freestanding island. They’re generally a bit smaller than your typical island, but much more versatile.

  4. Waterfall worktops – benchtops that flow over the edge, covering the side and reaching the floor – are skyrocketing in popularity due to visual continuity that’s sleek and minimal. But they’re not just for show – waterfall countertops protect cabinetry too. Popular options include marble, granite and varnished wood – even concrete is having a moment.

  5. Multi-functional kitchen islands are quite the addition to any kitchen; make the most of your storage by taking advantage of that space under (or even above) your kitchen island; add cupboards, drawers or open shelves. Hanging a pot rack or lazy Susan above the island is a fun way to add dimension.

  6. To break up an all-white kitchen, consider going for an island that’s unique – a statement colour perhaps, or textured quartz; offering timeless appeal, this stone is renowned for not scratching or marking easily, and it requires less upkeep than other materials like granite.

  7. A two-tiered island (an island with a raised bar extension) is a functional and stylish addition to any kitchen; they create a clear separation between the eating and preparation areas, making the kitchen look more organised. Mix and match textures for a unique look.

  8. For something a bit different, consider installing some lighting underneath a bevelled or extended countertop. The subtle lighting source provides tasteful ambience, while acting as a convenient nightlight.


Luxe Lavender

Ultra-violet may have been crowned the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2018, but its popularity has planted the seed for a softer take on the colour for 2019.




The pretty pastel hue of lavender is enjoying a newfound emergence in the sartorial sphere this year. A captivating colour that’s softer and more usable than its punchier purple siblings, lavender is a delicate, feminine shade that lends itself to countless variations of styles, making it suitable for both high-fashion and street-style looks; think crisp white shirt and tailored lavender blazer or oversized pale purple puffer and mini skirt.

Alongside winter’s typical dark and neutral hues, lavender is a welcome addition to the season’s colour palette, and when spring rolls round, the captivating colour will fit in well with the other vibrant hues in your wardrobe – pale yellow, powder blue, teal and both light and dark green.

For a minimal chic look, pair this pretty purple with bright white, black or pearl grey – the grey undertones of lavender mean it works well with dark neutrals like charcoal grey and indigo denim. If you’re not shy to go all out, try a full tonal look using other purple hues like mauve, violet or a pale shade of lilac and don’t be afraid to pair it with out-there colours like bright orange or emerald green, or patterns like leopard print or snakeskin.

Lavender-coloured knitwear is divine and sure to cure the winter blues, and sheer and silk fabrics in this shade are proving popular amongst some of fashion’s hottest powerhouses.




Heavy Metal

Rose gold is out and in its place are the shimmering sheens of copper, gold, chrome, iron and brass, blending together in a variety of ways. A little refresh or a big renovation, a touch of mixed metal magic is sure to add a sparkle to your space.



Metallic interiors will shine bright this year, as we see an assortment of mixed metallics across appliances, lighting, decorative accents and beyond. A carefully curated ensemble of contrasting metal accents is sure to create harmony and balance within any room of your humble abode, while likely remaining a tastefully timeless look for some time to come.

Experiment by choosing one dominant metal and complementing it with a couple of different metal accents – try picking a neutral base – light or dark – that is easy to mix with brighter, bolder hues.

If you’re wary of going too all out, start with small decorative items – but try not to just pick one of each shade and stop there, instead pepper in a couple of items of each metal for more purposeful flow. If you’re feeling a bit braver, embrace the trend by mixing up door/drawer handles, lighting fixtures, side tables and tapware.

Bear in mind that mixing and matching doesn’t mean the metals have to be entirely different from each other; you can absolutely combine two or three cool tones – silver, aged iron and pewter – or warm shades – copper, brass and muted gold.


Beat the Chill

Winter is knocking at the door, and there’s nothing more we’d love than to retreat to the warmth of our caves and hibernate until the sun shines again – we can only dream! Winter is the perfect time to update our interiors so that when we do arrive home from that long, cold, dreary day, a serene and comfortable oasis awaits. We’ve put together our top tips for transforming your home in preparation for the cold months ahead.




1. Toasty tones
Embrace those hot hues: we’re talking dusky pink, amber orange, yellow-y gold and copper brown. Not only do these shades lend themselves to winter decorating better than cooler tones, they’re all relatively easy to pair with the neutral, soft colours – creams, beiges, warm browns and greys – that you probably already have in your home. If you’re feeling a serious change, consider repainting or re-wallpapering your walls in a warm, subdued colour. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, adorning your walls with bright and colourful portraits or wall hangings is a quick fix that instantly adds an element of cosiness.

2. Brilliant boudoir
As the weather cools, your bed linens should change accordingly – as you swap out your light summer duvet in favour of a heavy duck-down inner, it’s the perfect opportunity to give your boudoir décor a ruffle up. Winter’s all about warmth, so investing in inviting, cosy fabrics like velvet, wool and cashmere are well worth their price tag. Have a go experimenting with new furniture – upholstered headboards make that big bedroom statement, as do hanging wicker chairs loaded with pillows and throws – your own cosy cocoon!

3. Flora fantasy
Not just restricted to the summer months, houseplants and indoor greenery can provide that much-needed burst of colour when it’s damp and dull outside. Add a touch of greenery to your rooms to purify the air and emit that tropical jungle feeling – go for flora that doesn’t require much light; dracaenas, philodendrons and money plants are just a few of many. For an aromatic atmosphere seek plants like jasmine, eucalyptus or lavender, otherwise a fresh fern or hanging pot plant might just be the antidote to the winter blues you’re looking for.

4. Graceful glow
Dreary days and dark nights make winter the perfect time to create atmosphere with different kinds of lighting. Entertaining in the winter can be tricky business, particularly if you don’t have a log burner, but you can’t go wrong with the warm glow of a dozen candles, and dotting decorative lamps with warm yellow bulbs around your living space is a sure-fire way to accelerate the ambience. If you do have a fire, spice things up by decorating the area with cane baskets and a pair of circular ottomans.


New Kids on the Culinary Block

A clutch of exceptional new eateries have stamped their mark on the city in the last year and we’ve rounded up some of the best, just for you.



A fine but casual dining atmosphere with a laid-back, buzzing vibe awaits at EARL, the city’s coolest little food-centric wine bar nestled in the heart of the CBD. Using exceptional ingredients, EARL takes a simple, pared-back approach to its coastal European-style dishes, perfectly pairing them with handpicked local and international wines. The Earl of Burger is a definite favourite – culinary royalty Nigella Lawson herself rated it ten out of ten!

2. Permit Room
Situated in one of Christchurch’s most iconic buildings, the former Isaac House, the Permit Room is a colonial-style restaurant that’s sure delight every one of your senses. Travel back in time to India’s 1940s alcohol prohibition days (rest assured – alcohol is definitely not prohibited here) and prepare to indulge in a feast of Southern Indian flavours. Top it all off with charming, unparalleled service and you’ve got yourself a culinary experience to remember!

3. Original Sin
An upbeat ambience and immaculate interior set the scene for an unforgettable dining experience at Original Sin, where you’ll encounter devour-able dishes that are created with unmatchable culinary expertise. Using seasonal, local produce, Original Sin caters to every taste and every diet – book a table and find out for yourself.

4. Burger Burger
On the hunt for a supreme burger? Burger Burger’s first South Island restaurant flung open its doors last month and we’re drooling over the line-up of mammoth burgers, alongside scrumptious sides (kumara fries, edamame beans, charred broccoli… the list goes on), old-fashioned shakes, cool cocktails and “really cold beers”.

5. Chiwahwah Mexican Cantina
Take your taste buds on a culinary adventure with Chiwahwah, the swanky Mexican cantina with a menu to die for. Perched overlooking the Avon river, this vibrant eatery serves up everything Mexican from tacos and quesadillas to ceviche and ensalada. Whether you’re after a cheeky margarita, a tapas-style banquet or a birthday dinner, head on down to the coolest Mexican joint in town.

6. Tuam Street Kitchen
Delivering hearty brunches and lunches to your table, Tuam Street Kitchen offers up a jam-packed menu that’s ‘designed to be fun, fast and diet-friendly’. Kick your weekend off with a breakfast cocktail or liqueur coffee and savour a Belgian Waffle Sandwich – banana slices, Nutella, Greek yoghurt and Oreo crumbs sandwiched between two waffles… need we say more?

7. The Yard
The hottest of hotspots, this boutique eatery offers a medley of international eats, including Parisian-style creperie Maison de Crepes, MOKOJI Korean Pancakes, hole-in-the-wall sandwich bar OTTO Delicatessen and more. Have a seat in the light-filled space and take your pick.

8. Story Restaurant
Food connoisseurs will be in their element at Story, where outstandingly delectable dishes reside. Bought to you by talented team behind Town Tonic, Story Restaurant offers up creative culinary creations that will satisfy even the fussiest of palates. Vegans and vegetarians – there’s plenty for you!