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Author: Melinda Collins

Salad Season

‘tis the season of backyard barbecues and beachside picnics. We’ve pulled together summer’s hottest selection of seasonal salads to make eating well, easy!



Packed with all the goodies – including fibre, protein, iron and a bunch of B vitamins – raw broccoli makes the perfect salad. Pair it with smoked salmon, black olives, toasted seeds, a creamy avocado dressing and plenty of garlic and lemon for a serious flavour kick.

Grilled to perfection, spring onions make the perfect partnership with ripe slices of avocado. Toss in a dash of lemon juice and a sprinkling of salty parmesan, some lightly roasted pumpkin kernels, a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper. It’s the stuff summer dreams are made of.

Mix this Mediterranean beauty up with what you have to hand. As a base, throw together cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, red onion, creamy feta cheese, olives, diced capsicum and capers. Dress it with salt, pepper, oregano and a drizzle of olive oil – perfection on a plate.

Add fresh strawberries, fresh basil and mint leaves, crunchy walnuts, red onion and crumbled feta to a bed of cos lettuce. To dress, blitz roast strawberries with a teaspoon of dijon mustard, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and half a cup of olive oil – divine!

Toss shredded roast chicken with fresh thyme, a dash of lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, garlic, cooked streaky bacon, green beans, croutons, parsley, mint and spring onions. Dress with extra virgin olive oil, the wholegrain mustard and a few good swigs of apple cider vinegar.


Summertime blues

Evoking honesty, trust and stability, blue is everything we’re craving as 2020 draws to a close and we yearn for the optimistic offerings of a fresh new year.


While colour institute Pantone unveiled Classic Blue as its Colour of the Year in late 2019 with no notion of what was in store in the months to come, it was everything we needed, with the tranquil hue creating an interior antidote to our global stress levels and evoking the peace and dependability we’ve sought from our home spaces this year.

And the best is yet to come.

Blue is making its seasonal debut this summer and we’re excited about the opportunities it represents.

Channel the beach by pairing your summer blues with crisp whites and light timbers, create timeless chic spaces with serene grey-toned blues or get dark and moody with deep jewel-like shades of cobalt and azure.

We’ve pulled together some of our favourite summertime blues to quench your colour cravings.

OZ Design Furniture Cable Knit Cushion


Adairs Urn Vases


Citta Beanbag


Brosa Armchair


Brosa Ottoman


Healthy hacks

We’re quickly heading into the social – and too often, stressful – season. So, what are some simple seasonal habits we can adopt to keep fighting fit for the festivities?



It’s time to take the work out of working out. Soak up the sun – and a healthy dose of vitamin D – on the tennis court, in the pool or on a hike around Hagley. Known as the happy hormone, vitamin D has been shown to regulate mood and ward off depression, but it also helps support strong bones, muscles and overall health. Combined with fresh air and exercise and you’ve got the ultimate elixir.

There’s a clever way to eat well that means you can have your cake and eat it too – not that we want you thinking of cake! But if you are, why not think of a healthy wholefood one? That’s right, you can make nutrient-dense sweet foods using vegetables! Think rich beetroot mud cake or kumara brownies. It’s a thing! So why not let you fingers do the walking and find some sweet swaps of your own?

The key to heart health is to keep moving and that doesn’t just mean getting an extra kickboxing class in after work. From building a fence to mowing the lawn, all physical movement plays a role in keeping your heart healthy. So why not schedule some time in the garden or get your DIY hat on and paint the kitchen? Or maybe it’s just a matter of parking a couple of blocks away from the office in the mornings.

Packing your lunch – it seems so simple and yet this small change in your daily routine can help control your mood, your calories and your spending! When you’ve got a healthy lunch to hand, you’re much less likely to find your hand in the company snack box when low sugars hit. Stay energised and productive throughout the day with nutritious options such as nuts, dried fruit, roasted chickpeas and bliss balls.

It’s time to vege up, not out, by increasing your vege intake. Aim to have fruits and vegetables make up half of each meal. Why not make half of breakfast fruit and half of lunch and dinner veges? Better yet, throw some green smoothies in the mix and you can have the best of both worlds! For simple summer dinners, combine a marinade with fresh grilled veggies and your favourite low-fat protein for a great-tasting, healthy weeknight meal.


Little life-changers

Actor, screenwriter, theatre-maker, wife, supermum – Sophie Henderson wears a lot of hats. But as comfortably and effortlessly as she wears them, it took some time to get used to the fit of the latter.


“I was terrified of becoming a mum and losing myself so tried to live nine months like it was my last,” she laughs about unexpectedly falling pregnant with Matilda – now four – while living in Melbourne.

While some find comfort in a large tub of ice cream and others start nesting, Sophie wrote a script!

Now, another whole baby later, that script is playing out across cinemas throughout the country.

Baby Done stars Kiwi comedian Rose Matafeo opposite Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis and was executive produced by none other than Taika Waititi.

Like the little people that inspired the storyline, the film too was a joint effort, with Sophie’s husband Curtis Vowell directing.

Director Curtis Vowell and Rose Matafeo
Emily Barclay (Molly) and Rose Matafeo (Zoe)

The stellar line-up of supporting cast includes Madeleine Sami and Emily Barclay.

You know the movies where the lead characters fall in love, get married, get pregnant and it’s smooth sailing from there on in? Baby Done is nothing like that.

“My hope is that Baby Done surprises and delights audiences, pushing their limit of what’s acceptable for a pregnant woman to do,” Sophie says. “I was not a well-behaved pregnant woman, and this is not a well-behaved film.”

Greenlit when Sophie was pregnant with number two (Silvie, now two-years-old), Baby Done is a “warm-hearted, edgy and comedic take on an old problem in new times”.

“We were excited to have a baby,” husband Curtis says. “But we were also completely and utterly unprepared. The unknown of how we were going to prepare for a child and what impact it would have on our lives began to sink in and we basically freaked out!”

Their experience of impending parenthood was “a comedy with a quiet streak of despair,” Curtis laughs.

“We promise not all of Baby Done is about us, but we relate to the self-denial that comes with growing up and the feeling that you might lose yourself when you turn into a mum and dad. And like Zoe, Sophie thinks she can do anything pregnant!”

We think she probably can, based on the simple fact she has just brought a film to fruition, while juggling not just one, but two little “life changers”.

Written over more than two years, the film was then shot over six weeks in April 2019 before heading into post-production for a year – then of course Covid-19 held up the release.

There’s not a lot of time for rest yet either, with other projects in the works for Sophie (including a film called Workmates about her time working at Auckland’s Basement Theatre) and Baby Done set to be released in the UK and US in January.

While the storyline was written to put her concerns about the possibility of losing part of herself when she became someone’s mum, its production actually gave Sophie a special part of herself to cling onto.

“I’m not gonna lie, it was really hard work,” she says of making a film with little people underfoot.

“Part of writing the film was to prove to myself that I could still fulfil my dreams as a filmmaker. I felt like I was running out of time to do these things and didn’t want to lose my old self.

But those irrational fears come true in the first year; you do lose your sense of self and I was really holding onto this film to hold onto that.

“I also wouldn’t recommend making a film with a two-year-old and a three-month-old,” she laughs.

But much like parenting itself, the hard work of creating a world from your imagination is worth every single sleepless night. “It brings me absolute joy,” Sophie says.

“You fall in love with the characters, you want to do whatever it takes to look after them and you just don’t want it to end.”


Healthy habits

We’re not here to talk about total body transformations, swearing off carbs or overhauling your fitness routine. We’ve got far better news! In fact, we’re here to fill you in on some simple ways to improve your health and wellbeing.

Walk it off

The process of digestion actually ramps up our metabolisms temporarily; a brief walk does the same. Together, a short walk within 20 minutes of eating is believed to increase the metabolism by 20 percent, leading to an increase in caloric burn. What better motivation do you need to get off the couch?


Just breathe

Ever noticed when you’re stressed, you tend to take shorter, sharper breaths? Diaphragmatic or belly breathing comes with a raft of benefits, like alleviating stress and even lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. Research shows deep breathing through the nose, as opposed to the mouth enhances cognitive function, such as memory!


Something fishy

With its ability to prevent heart disease and stroke, we all need more omega-3 fats in our lives – but humans can’t produce them ourselves. Thankfully there’s a tasty way to get the benefits – eat more fish! Seafood is packed with high-quality protein, vitamin D and calcium, but low in total and saturated fat.


Natural instinct

It’s not hard to see why one might be yearning for a more laid-back, relaxing vibe when it comes to our post-2020 homes. In fact, many of the trends creeping into our spaces are related by virtue of their soft and earthy nature.



Natural elements such as timber and stone not only support the creation of warm, comforting spaces, but they also work well with any number of chosen aesthetics.

Whether its darker wood and ceramics for your modern mid-century moods, or light woods and stone for coastal, Nordic or Japandi looks – incorporating natural textures and colours is an instant room-booster.

Nodi Looped Jute rug

We’re also using our natural instinct to select colours, with those such as olive and sage greens playing starring roles in 2021 abodes.

Incorporating natural materials into your space can be as simple as refreshing your soft furnishings and decorative knickknacks:

James Lane Nova Mirror

Think linen cushion covers, an artistic wooden bowl coffee table ornament or wall hanging.

Linen House Marble Pink Set

Or, it can be part of a larger scale renovation or build: Think wooden flooring and wall paneling, or stone bench tops and tiles.

Mocka Asta Luxe Armchair

Whatever you do, just choose what feels natural.


Inside Out

A decked out entertaining space is the ultimate way to enjoy a Kiwi summer. We’ve got all the tips and tricks to get you there.


A deck that is flush with your interior living space is the ultimate way to create indoor outdoor flow and make your backyard feel more spacious; run your timber horizontally if your space is narrow or create multi-levels to break the space up.

New Zealand is renowned for its “four seasons in one day” but with a little forward planning you can enjoy your garden year-round. Try an electric radiant, gas heater or an outdoor fireplace to make a cosy focal point.

While interior designers have long espoused the importance of creating ‘zones’, it’s equally important when it comes to your exterior spaces. Use materials, screens and planters to break up your space, making it feel deliberate and considered.

They say to prepare for the worst and when it comes to Kiwi weather, that’s certainly an apt expression. Invest in a shade sail or clear polycarbonate roofing, or, louvre roofing gives you all the options.

Lighting is about function as well as form. There’s something for everyone, from solar lights and little lanterns to festoon lights and long string lights, just ensure any cooking and eating spaces have ample visibility.

Exterior space uncovered? Hidden storage bench seats or treasure chests that double as tables are great for storing pillows, squabs, seat covers and utensils, or select options that can be left in the elements.

Don’t be afraid to add soft furnishings – beyond a canvas covered squab – to your outdoor areas. Throws, cushions, bean bags and ottomans can all be included in hardwearing, durable fabrics for added comfort – and a little bit of luxe.

Styling an outdoor space should have the same considerations as would apply indoors. Stick to a complementary colour palette, layer with patterns and materials to create texture – and which expresses your individual style.


Stalwart of screen

With brains, brawn and beauty by the bucketload, few would be better suited to a broadcasting career than Stacey Morrison.



Then known by the surname Daniels after her father, prominent radio personality and now Councillor for Coastal Ward – James Daniels, Stacey was just 18 when she got her first gig – as a presenter on What Now?

“I love that people still remember me from What Now?,” she laughs when I point out I have followed her career since then.

“It blows me away really, I was still a student at Aranui High School at the time! I still work with Whitebait Productions which makes What Now?”

She is today one of Christchurch’s most beloved exports and her 25-year career has taken her around the country. She’s now settled in Auckland with husband, another veteran of the Kiwi screen, presenter of current affairs programmes Te Karere and Marae – Scotty Morrison, and their three children – Hawaiki, Kurawaka and Maiana.

And while mum to those three children is undoubtedly her most important role, she has been lucky to be able to combine whānau life and work at times. “Making Whānau Living for five years, with all of my kids and husband Scotty involved, really was a joy and a highlight,” Stacey says.

“The producer, Brad, and I came up with the idea for the show when he noticed how we live our lives and how it reflects many busy whānau, so I felt proud that it was a continuation of our lives and many of the cast and crew are still close friends of ours.”

Scotty and Stacey are teaming up again professionally, with a new show National Treasures hitting the small screen soon.

“It’s about keepsakes and personal treasures that people have at home, that unlock a story of a time in the last 100 years in New Zealand history,” Stacey explains.

“I’ve done some filming already and some of the stories from Christchurch are deeply moving and inspirational.”

Co-hosting The Hits Drive Show alongside Mike Puru and Anika Moa makes for a busy life, but Stacey ensures there is always quality whānau time.

“I loved the lockdown for that reason – everyone at home! The second lockdown in Auckland, that was a little more challenging,” she laughs.

“We have set whānau time in lots of ways, whether it’s family movie night – currently episodes of Cobra Kai, which is great for the other four who all do karate together – sit down mealtimes and board games and travelling or working together when we can, too.”

Stacey and Scotty kept busy even through lockdown, co-creating a new all-ages activity book Māori Made Fun, featuring crosswords, word-finds, colouring, riddles and a bit of maths and science.

“This is Scotty’s seventh book and the success (which even surprised us) of his Māori Made Easy series and our other co-written book, Māori At Home means we had the opportunity to look at a different approach, that we don’t have many of on the market,” she explains.

“We wanted to make something that people of all levels of understanding – from beginners to fluent speakers; something you can pick up and do for just five minutes, or an hour, but offering some fun and reo in your day.”

One of the most special roles she has had over the years has been an unofficial advocate for te reo Māori revitalisation, after learning the reo as an adult.

“I had a very stumbling, long-winded path of learning te reo, over maybe 10 years,” she laughs. “But once I really concentrated, it took a couple of years of exponential effort to be comfortable to say I’m a fluent speaker.”

It’s a subject she is passionate about. “At the time that I started learning te reo Māori, in the 1990s, it wasn’t as widely supported, yet it felt important to me,” she says.

“Te reo Māori can unlock knowledge about where we live, what the history of that place is, express our feelings such as aroha (compassion, as well as love), connect us all and express our unique identity.”

So what would she say to someone who was interested in learning but is perhaps shy, embarrassed, or self-conscious?

“That all of those feelings are valid and yet it’s still worth pushing through, attempting and enjoying your reo learning journey. No one is judging you as harshly as you imagine, so try to stay out of the over-thinking zone of your brain, it will slow down the part of your brain, ears and heart that are trying to stay wide open!

“Kia kaha rā koe, keep going hard, you’ve got this!”

Clearly, it’s a motto Stacey herself lives by.


Sustainable Spaces

Creating food in your own backyard is a great way to minimise your environmental impact. And it’s not as time or labour intensive as you might think!


Raised vegetable gardens, homegrown herbs, low-maintenance fruit trees, backyard beehives and DIY compost – they are growing in popularity as we increasingly seek sustainability from our spaces.

Growing your own food is a great way to limit the contaminants, such as hormones and pesticides, you’re exposed to, and, with fewer resources required to reach your plate, they are less taxing on the environment.

When you’re starting out, seedlings can be a safer bet than seeds and those from a nursery even more so. Don’t go crazy on specialised supplies; start with the basics and learn as you go. You’ll find plenty of information online or you can head into your local nursery if you need to talk to the experts.

Tomatoes, cucumbers and lemons are a mainstay of Kiwi gardens, but there are more exotic, high value plants that can also be grown easily, such as berries, avocados, limes and cauliflower. Fruit trees are a great addition to the backyard and can be grown up or along fences in smaller sections, or miniature varieties are available.

There’s a reason compost has been called black gold; it’s the single most important supplement you can give your garden. Transforming your food scraps and other natural waste into this nutrient-rich, organic fertiliser is also free, easy to make and good for the environment. Just jump online and you’ll find plenty of easy to follow instructions.

Meanwhile beekeeping may require a little more research – and space – but is well worth the effort. Beekeeping supports community pollination, food supplies and fosters bee populations outside of the commercial beekeeping industry. Plus who doesn’t love honey? Need we say it’s the bees knees? You’ll find plenty of support at the Christchurch Hobbyist Beekeepers’ Club.

The garden doesn’t have to be just a place of peace; it can also be a place of purpose. So why not get out there and make the most of the warm days, after all, you reap what you sow!



An exotic aesthetic

You may not be able to indulge in any globetrotting right now, but even more reason to bring the exotic aesthetic into your home.


Art, lighting, rugs, cushions and beaded decorative accessories are some of the key tools in your decorating arsenal when it comes to achieving a luxurious exotic look.



Think vibrant colours, mother of pearl inlay, ornately carved wood, richly hued upholstery, and intricate mosaic or terra cotta tile details.



Perhaps it’s time to pull out your own travel photos and ornaments? Here’s some Metropol inspiration for how to exotify your space.