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Heating Efficiency

It’s getting cold out there, so we’ve put together our hottest tips for heating your home efficiently.



Heat pumps are one of the most cost-efficient ways to get the job done, but they do need to be sized, installed and used properly. Getting your heatpump serviced regularly will ensure it’s running efficiently.

The World Health Organisation recommends heating to a minimum of 18 degrees to prevent occupiers from getting sick. It might be tempting to ramp up heating some days, but setting the temp to 21 degrees is a good balance between keeping warm and not wasting energy.

A house with good ceiling and underfloor insulation can reduce heat loss by up to 50 percent, so get a professional to check out your insulation.

Speaking of insulating, now is a good time to either install or upgrade your curtains to ensure they’re good quality and lined – good curtains can be as effective as double glazing when it comes to keeping your home warm. Make sure you open them during the day and close them half an hour before the sun disappears so you can trap all that free heat.

Check the outside of your windows as well, ensuring seals are in good condition and trim back foliage from your windows so you can let the light in.

It may seem counterproductive, but opening windows briefly every day actually makes the house warmer by drying it out.

Most households spend more money on heating water than space heating. So why not check out some of the energy efficient water heating and cooling solutions now available.



Warming up winter: Armstrong Interiors

With temperatures plummeting, we’re craving warmth in the home. So we sought out the inside scoop from award-winning interior designer Angelique Armstrong from Armstrong Interiors about focus areas for your home to get you through the chilly season.



What are some of the best ways to create the feeling of warmth?
We’ve talked previously about the importance of thermal backing on your drapes. This will make a huge improvement to warmth and your power bill. Using lovely thick drape fabrics, like thicker linens, cottons and velvets, is ideal at this time of year. There is a huge variety of colour and price points available and we can help you narrow the options down.

A gas fire adds both warmth and ambience. We can help you find the best installer and talk you through what is needed architecturally. Meanwhile, a quick fix could be painting your walls with warmer tones – Resene Fashion Colours is a great range of interesting options. Soft lighting at night creates a cosy atmosphere, so add candles and soft scents from a diffuser.

What are some of your must-have winter warmers – those accessories you can’t live without at this time of the year?
An extra soft and luxurious comforter on the end of your bed you can pull up, while cashmere and woollen blankets are great for cuddling up on a winter’s night. We stock Seneca bed linens, so come into the work room and see what we have to offer.

What are your favourite colour combos this season?
Rust, burnt orange, golds, rich dark greens – all colours that scream depth and cosiness; anything with warm tones.

Why is now the ultimate time to start looking at renovation projects?
Whether it is a new deck, interior paint, new drapes, a new modular sofa or designer bespoke furniture, most people would like their renovation projects finished for summer and the Christmas holidays so they can enjoy it with family and friends.

When looking at an architectural fit-out like an entertainment wall, new bathroom, ensuite or kitchen, it can take a good couple of months to design and order, and joiners can be booked up months in advance, so it’s a great time to start planning and beat the Christmas rush.


Visit, phone 03 356 2636 or check them out on Instagram, armstronginteriorsltd


Angelique Armstrong
Armstrong Interiors Ltd



Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with blue cheese & thyme: Recipe

Nothing soothes the soul and fills the tummy quite like a soup in winter. Here’s one of our favourites.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup




6 cups peeled, seeded and diced butternut squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbs salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 tbs butter
3 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 clove crushed garlic
1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
Blue cheese to taste
Crème Fraîche, for garnish
Pumpking kernels, for garnish




Preheat oven to 230°C. Line a rimmed baking tray with baking paper. Toss squash in a bowl with olive oil, 1 tsp of the salt and 1/2 tsp of the pepper. Transfer squash to the baking tray and roast until lightly caramelised and tender. Set aside.
While the squash is roasting, melt the butter over medium heat. Add veges, 2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper to pot. Cook until soft. Add stock and water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the roasted squash to the pot and remove it from heat. Discard the thyme sprigs.
Blend the soup until completely smooth. Serve hot, garnished with crème fraiche, crumbled blue cheese and pumpkin kernels, with toasted and buttered crusty bread

Cafe Vivo

Warm up your winter: soups up at Cafe Vivo

With the ravages of cold and wet winter months well and truly upon us, now is the perfect time to warm up with hot food and coffee at Café Vivo. Located at 333 Harewood Road Bishopdale, it’s a warm and friendly eatery, with plenty of seating inside and out.

Cafe Vivo

The brunch menu includes toasted bagels and homemade muesli, with French toast and a Big Breakfast on offer too. Come lunchtime, why not try a chicken and bacon open sandwich or the salad of the day? The ultimate cure for winter blues is a hearty soup and the café’s Creamy Pumpkin Soup is guaranteed to warm you up.
Homemade scones and muffins are made fresh very day. Other items like toasted sandwiches and wedges are a treat, with gluten free and vegetarian options available too. A wide range of hot and cold drinks are on offer, including barista prepared coffee, tea, hot chocolates, smoothies and assorted chilled beverages.
Café Vivo also has regular breakfast and brunch specials, such as the popular Waffle Combo for only $19.90. Plus, if you show this Metropol feature to the Café Vivo staff, you will receive a free regular coffee with any Waffle Combo purchased.
Open Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 4pm, Saturday 8am to 4pm and Sunday 8:30am to 4pm, winter doesn’t seem so gloomy after all. Contact 03-360 0996 or visit


Caped crusader: layer it up with one of the coolest ways to stay warm and get yourself a cape

If fashion is searching for its seasonal superhero, this may just be it. Capes are one of the coolest cover ups on the catwalk and now their cool cred has filtered down to street level.


Milan and London offered numerous takes on this sleek silhouette in their autumn/winter 2018 showing, taking the form of jacquard, leather and leopard print, while in Paris, the caped creations continued to make their sartorial mark as designers from Saint Laurent to Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi and Alberta Ferretti re-imagined the cape’s 2018 incarnation.
The perfect piece for winter layering, they’ll work next season too. Hung over cropped jeans, or a cropped cape itself can lend its cool cred to the most traditional of outfits.
If it’s a snug wintry look you’re after, tartan designs and chunky knits are the hottest look for winter while minimalist muted tones of grey and white make a classic sartorial statement. In the office, a chic black number can contemporise a classic crisp white shirt and tailored pant combo like no other.

Navy Magpie Style

Magpie Style Fashion Editor Louise Heller’s style notes: for the love of navy – falling for hues from the deep

Louise Heller, Fashion Editor – Magpie Style
Louise Heller, Fashion Editor – Magpie Style

Softer on the skin than black, navy is a great go-to choice if you are looking to deviate from an all-black or black-heavy wardrobe.


Try these tips on how to style, what is fast becoming, a colour staple in women’s wardrobes from north to south.

Navy Magpie Style


Freshen up: Navy will provide contrast to an outfit without being too visibly harsh. Pair it easily with softer tones, neutrals and brighter colours. Navy always looks polished with white, whether it’s with separate pieces top and bottom, or a print such as a pin-stripe.

Navy Magpie Style
Paula Ryan
Ricco boots, $590.

A touch of the blues: Navy and denim are a match-made in heaven for chic casual dressing. Accessorise with a navy-blue bag, shoes and jewellery or even nail polish. This is an easy starting point when it comes to adding navy blue accessories into the wardrobe. Navy and denim also work wonders when worn with fabrics in lively prints.

Navy Magpie Style

Outerwear: Navy is effortless, chic and forever timeless. This is a colour that never will date like an inseason colour. Investing in a navy beautiful trench, blazer or coat would never go a miss… especially when teamed with white underneath.

Navy Magpie Style

Black and Blue… Can you? You won’t be shunned from the fashion set, but if you are going to wear navy and black together there are some guidelines with how to do this without looking like a bad school uniform. Wear navy and black together, but in a textural way. Keep similar looking fabrics away from each other and wear faux fur and knitwear, or pleats and plain fabric to visually separate the two tones. When pairing the two tones together, aim to add metal or coloured accessories to break it up.

Navy Magpie Style

In the navy: Going head-to-toe in monotone navy seems scary to begin with, but this is one way to feel elegant, timeless and completely ‘put together’ without trying too hard.
A navy trench paired with a navy pair of jeans, a navy skirt teamed with a navy top makes it undeniably stylish and expensive looking. Break it up with coloured accessories, otherwise go all-out and add in more navy!

First published for Magpie Style

Winter in Ōtautahi

Spoilt for choice: Winter events to see you through to August

Winter in Ōtautahi has never looked so exciting, or enticing, as our city plays host to a myriad of events from art and theatre, to wine and babies. Talk about spoilt for choice!

Winter in Ōtautahi

8 – 9 June
NO Productions Theatre presents Jeffrey Hatcher’s fast-paced psychological thriller at the Christchurch Art Gallery. Described in one review as: “Sex, Art, Nazis and a classy 20th century icon, all wrapped up like a tasty cultural burrito”.

9 June
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own an historic piece of jetty art. 18 well-known artists, from Lyttelton to Mount Herbert, have created unique artworks depicting their reflections on Governors Bay Jetty. Auction begins at 3pm at the Governors Bay Hotel.

9 – 10 June
A huge range of products and services on show, plus seminars, demos and workshops. Everything you need to know from Bump to Birth and Beyond! Head to the Pioneer Leisure Centre.

12 July – 21 July
Written by renowned NZ playwright, April Phillips, Swingers is a riotous new comedy about men married to the golf course and their long-suffering wives who’ve had enough. Teeing off at The Performing Arts Centre, Heaton Normal Intermediate School.

26 July
A selection of award winning wines from New Zealand and Australia. The event also introduces some of the people that craft and stand behind these distinctive, fabulous wines. Quaffing commences 6pm at Hagley Oval.


Win with Metropol: Hellers winter soup packs

Nothing quite encapsulates winter the way hot soup does. Our friends at Hellers have developed a classic range of winter soups containing their renowned smallgoods. Four delicious flavours provide wonderful nourishment on a cold day and an amazing depth of flavour.

Pumpkin & Smokey Bacon, Sweetcorn & Bacon Chowder, Spicy Tomato & Chorizo and Roast Chicken & Bacon are the go-to soups this winter. Find them in the chilled foods section at your local supermarket or go in the draw to win one of six sets of four of these incredible flavours.

To enter to win a pack, simply head to, put in your details and tick the competitions you want to enter. Entries close on Monday 18 June and winners will be notified on Tuesday 19 June.

First Windows and Doors

First in its class: thirty years of delivering great quality means First Windows and Doors know a thing or two about customer satisfaction

A culture of loyalty is what drives locally owned First Windows and Doors Christchurch, a family owned company specialising in supplying aluminium windows and doors to residential new builds and renovations.

First Windows and Doors

Managing Director Simon Carrodus, says loyalty to customers, suppliers and staff has seen the company thrive on repeat business, serving some clients for more than twenty years.
Simon recently bought the company from his father and plans to continue the thirty-year tenets of doing the basics well: delivering on time and ensuring the windows fit. Although long known as ‘the builders’ choice’, the company is happy to deal directly with the public.
First Windows and Doors has all the thermally efficient options and is seeing the market share for these windows grow. Simon says ‘Klima’ uPVC windows are the best performing for thermal efficiency and the company has two different aluminium thermally broken options as well. There is also the unique Smartwood option – windows where the inside frame is wooden, with aluminium exterior – a popular choice for a classic home.
There are 22 staff on the floor and eight in the office, including three sales reps and a full-time site measurer offering free measure and quotes. Simon says, “We give such great personalised service that people are always surprised at how big we actually are”.
Visit the website or phone 03-375 0700.

Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival

Winter’s southern show-down: The Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival

New Zealand’s winter has started with one hell of a party for the last 43 years. That party is the Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival and this year the party is as fresh as the season’s first powder.

Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival

The 44th Queenstown Winter Festival runs from Thursday 21 June to Sunday 24 June. The 2018 festival programme was launched on-board the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship last month, with the four-day schedule of innovative and classic events ensuring even the most experienced festival goer, an exciting and fresh experience.
The 2018 Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival is sure to deliver an Instagram frenzy for all punters, launching with a hauntingly beautiful torchlight procession through the streets and a traditional Maori welcome. Adding to the visual feast, the festival stage will now be in a new location adjacent to the beachfront creating a magical atmosphere against the backdrop of Lake Wakatipu.
New Festival Director Rae Baker has curated a collection of critically acclaimed, yet popular, Kiwi artists that will have wide appeal across a broad spectrum of demographics.
“As one of New Zealand’s iconic events, we have the opportunity to showcase the talent we have in the country as well as springboard artists who are less well known. We’ve gathered together some brilliant Kiwi artists to celebrate with us in true Queenstown Winter Festival style,” Rae says.

Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival Among the stellar line up are well known names Tiki Taane, Maala, Leisure, The Black Seeds and The Feelers, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary tour. This year two new live music venues, Memorial Centre and The Sherwood Hotel, will host some of the country’s coolest acts including L.A.B., Yoko-Zuna, Nadia Reid, Hollie Smith and local band the Killergrams.
With Cardrona as the new host mountain, festival goers will experience a brand-new mountain village experience, including iconic events like the Monteith’s Dog Derby and the canine hilarity that is the dog barking contest. This year the festival will also introduce fresh events such as snow tubing, a snow skate slalom and the Macpac Tour de Cardies.

Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival For those who prefer lower altitudes, the iHeartRadio Day on the Bay with its hilarious The Hits 90.4 Birdman contest and the JUCY Undy 500 return to the programme, alongside a brand-new feature, Go Orange Ripper Rafting. When the sun sets crowds will head to one of the traditionally sold out comedy events or the SKYCITY Vive le Cirque Ball which will be in a secret location this year.
“Festival has always been about letting your inhibitions run a bit wild and embracing the true essence of Queenstown. Traditionally for Festival this has meant anything from throwing you and your canine buddy down a mountain side to running about in your undies in freezing temperatures, we continue these traditions in 2018 and add a few surprises along the way.”
For full programme details visit