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Life & Style

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As  I write this it’s mid-September. Cosy-as blanket scarves are being swapped for their bright silken counterparts in the southern hemisphere, while on the top half of the planet, heeled sandals feel that first crunch of orange leaves underfoot – crumbling like gingerbread biscuits making an early appearance.

It’s around this time of year when panic can start setting in.

That feeling that time has run away, and eloped with January’s list of goals.

But when you think about it four months is a third of the year. Even at the beginning over October with 3 months left – that’s  still a quarter of a year. Rather than panic, over the past week I’ve started to think about what a person can actually do with that amount of time.

It’s enough time to write a small business plan, and find a space. And maybe even an investor who believes in your dream.

Or raise a really decent kitty for a charity close to your heart.

It’s enough time to go from couch to 5K … or from 15 to a marathon.

Or write a book.

To complete a full 12 week body transformation in time for Christmas, just in time to rock a dress… or just feel really nice in matching Christmas sweats.

To give notice at your current job and switch to a new one you love more.

Repair a relationship.

Build a brand new friendship.

Plant something that will flower next season. Or a patch of lots of things you can eat.

To plan and host a really cracking party with all your friends – for no reason at all other than you want to see them (and maybe hold yourself accountable for finishing those home projects in time to show off your pad).

To have many outdoor mini adventures – if you have one a week that’s at least 12 beautiful memories to last forever.

Or book and go on a trip of a lifetime.

To pick up the phone to that person you “keep meaning to” reconnect with.

All these things have been done, by people with no more than you – or much less.

Mid-September to December. It’s a more than a quarter of the way around the sun.

Let’s make it count.
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Now I would love to hear from you – what ideas do you plan on actioning over the next 4 months?

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Reams have been written about how women are empaths, nurturers, collaborators, and catchers of all slack, random tasks and flotsam that falls well out of our scope – in the workplace and at home. We’ve been told it’s how we’re wired – and that’s why we have to work consciously to Lean In.

Yet more reams have been scribed about how multi-tasking doesn’t work, how switching roles to pick up the overflow left by resourcing gaps or lack of a willing set of hands at home leaves us burnt out, stressed, resentful and at worst, suffering from serious mental or physical illnesses.

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With the rise of the remote worker has come another interesting trend – a bump in work travel. Even when you work for the most progressive of companies –  regularly skyping in everywhere from a cafe in San Fran to your home office – every now and then the rest of your team wants to see you in person, and you’re throwing the trusty suit, lbd and trackie combo in a duffel bag.

It’s challenging enough staying on track when you’re in the comforting bubble of a regular weekly routine – a late work day here, an irresistibly pretty social invite there and all of a sudden you’re notching up a less than ideal week health-wise.

When working away, it’s even harder to ensure the days don’t get totally vacuumed up – beginning with a breakfast debrief and ending with a late night dinner and rolling into your Airbnb – when you eventually find it – totally spent.

Personally having experienced coming back from work trips feeling tired and cranky from not enough vitamin D, good food exercise – and like I had “lost” days –  I sat down and wrote a list of ideas on how to tackle a work trip without going backwards in every other area of life. Of course, I’m sharing them right here too.

Gear-up & get that workout in

There is always the time and space to do something. Airbnb homes usually have ample room for a workout either in a living room or patio, and you can move your bod in even the smallest of hotel rooms – case in point, that beast of a move, the jump squat, requires no more than space to jump up and down again on the same spot. Pack some gear in your car if you’re on the road, or alternative ideas if you’re flying. This could include:

  • a kettlebell or dumbell
  • duffel bag you can refill with shoes/toiletries, wrap in soft clothes and use as a “sandbag”
  • water bottle
  • resistance bands
  • skipping rope
  • A list of small space or travel workout routines to get you through the time away, already written out (let’s face it you won’t have time/energy when you’re on the go).

And when you get into bed, make sure you set that morning alarm! It’s highly unlikely the added social engagements of a work trip will allow for an evening routine – and chances are your stamina will have been well-tested by 10pm.

Here’s a move to try using just the floor and a travel bag!

 

 

Snack food

  • nuts
  • light fruit – green apple, berries
  • natural protein bars
  • refillable water bottle
  • tupperware container with meals for the first day: think overnight oats, a quinoa salad – dishes that won’t go too soggy to be appealing.

Podcasts

Line-up some positive, uplifting podcasts to break up the journey when you’re not smashing it on your laptop. Some of my faves: The School of Greatness (Lewis Howes), Marie Forleo and Tim Ferris.

Get some rays

Not easy on a work trip, but do make a point of ducking for a 15-20 minute walk around the block – great for your work focus as well as wellbeing. Or try for a walking meeting.

 Bring a piece of home

A candle, a pillow a throw. Something to help you relax and feel connected to you and yours. I always look forward to the phone chat before bed with my Mum or hubby. I can vouch for making the time for this – it will remind you why you do what you do – and sharing little snippets of your time away in another city or country keeps the experience positive at the same time as being a warm reminder of what’s important.

Now I’d love to hear from you, what are your best tips for staying on track with your fitness and health while travelling?

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The middle of the year can be tough – you’re right in the thick of major work projects, you may well be getting organised for EOFY and if you’re following this blog you’re likely to also be pursuing a bagload of other goals in fitness, health, family and home projects.

Your January goals are written out in your best sharpie brush cursive, but you don’t feel like taking a peak just right now. Because being half way through the year, you really want to be able to tick off on more than two. Maybe your hopes for your side-hustle have been a little dashed – despite late nights, testing out new web platforms, sponsorships, social advertising, and working your little heart out to genuinely offer your creativity to the world – no one really seems to be picking up what you’re putting down.

Added to that, no doubt the year has already thrown you a curveball or three to spice things up.

I am here to remind you (any myself) of two things. The first one is courtesy of Ariana Huffington.

“Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of it.”

The second one: how much do you stop and think about what you have achieved – even if these achievements are not listed in your original year plan.  As for the things you haven’t crossed off, have you considered that perhaps they aren’t the right things: that maybe the goals need a tweak, not you?

Some questions to consider. I’ll be taking some time, and a chai with these, and I’d love you to join me if they resonate with you at all:

  1. What has been hands-down, the happiest moment or day of the last 6 months? What elements made it so awesome? E.g. who were you with, where were you, what was it about the vibe, atmosphere or location that made your lil’ heart happy? What can you do to recreate that feeling, even a little, every day?
  2. What has been your biggest achievement in 2017 so far – and how did you make that happen? Is there something about how you ticked this off that can be applied to the other things on the list?
  3. Who is someone who has really helped you this year – made you bend over double with laughter, was your first-to-dial when you had a day go super-pear or who just makes you feel like a more gleaming version of you? What’s a fun way you could surprise them with a thank you?
  4. What is a life project that you’ve taken on this year that you just aren’t feeling – a committee or board, networking group, personal project or even group gym environment that just feels ‘ick’ and not aligned? What would happen if you respectfully pulled out of this? Do the results really outweigh how the journey makes you feel?
  5. What surprising thing have you been absolutely loving this year? An element of your day job you never expected to? A style of exercise you never thought was for you because it’s too hardcore/not hardcore enough? Dig deep, what is it really about this thing that you adore , and how can you gather more of this into your life.
  6. What are you getting better at, slowly?
  7. What’s something about the world we live in that’s really getting at you all the time – the thing that riles you right up when you see it pop up in your feed or on the news? How can you start contributing in some small way to make this thing better?
  8. What is one decision you have made that has effected the most difference in your world this year, and what is another decision you know you need to make but have been avoiding?
  9.  What are the things you have created for myself that you are most proud of this year? This could be as simple as a template email that’s saved you a heap of time, or a system in your home that has made after-hours life so much easier.
  10.  What is one small thing you can do today to make the next 6 months better? e.g. pop in a regular calendar check, write that one really tricky email.

How did you go?

If you liked this article, please share it with someone you think might get a smile out of it too.

I would love to hear from you – if you feel comfy: is there one thing on this list that made you think ‘aha’?

Here’s to switching up the mid-year mood, focusing on the good, cleaning up some stuff that’s in the way and blinging up your vibes for the rest ’17.

 

 

 

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You’ve done your darndest to smash it at life in 2017, to squeeze every last delicious drop of juice out of every minute of the day, and then… you open your calendar. And it’s mid-year.

I thought, what better time to start a life-changing challenge. Really.

Introducing, the Run Lift Style Weekend Challenge Series.

Designed for using weekends as an opportunity to level-up and stay motivated, these challenges will pair two of my favourite, most life-changing workout styles: hiit, and the great outdoors.

Hiit-style workouts have helped me through every challenge life has thrown – longer than long work hours, renovations, wedding planning and all the other big life stuff that happens in between.  It’s time to start sharing the love in a real, helpful way by popping together some free workout vids that may help others. These workouts are only 15-20 mins long, but are super intense. I have written all about why they are so effective here. Yep, these workouts done regularly and paired with a clean (but balanced) diet, will get you in super shape, quick smart.

But they are also so amazing for your mental wellbeing. There has been a bunch of research about this, but really, you just have to feel it for yourself. The harder you push, the more amazing the sense of peace and wellbeing you’ll bask in afterwards.

As for the benefits of outdoor adventure – take a peruse through some of my previous articles. My passion is clear, and my mission is to share it.

The challenge

Part One is a hiit workout you can do outdoors or indoors, with lots of modification options. For extra inspiration, this one was filmed in a very cute 70s style hotel in Monaco.

The challenge for this weekend is to complete this workout plus adding in Part Two: spend an hour “moving” outdoors – whether that’s taking pup on a beachside promenade, an urban streetscape run… or a long and challenging trail run. Rain, hail or shine.

For this part, pick something that’s outside your comfort zone. I truly believe there’s nothing like getting outside (with the right protective gear and lashings of sunscreen) to really round off your week, take the edge of daily stresses and clean your brain out so you’re super fresh mentally and physically.

Here’s Part One– tell me what you think! Breakdown and modifications below!

Beginner – 1 round, regular exercisers 2-4 rounds, advanced – 5 rounds

*Remember, with all hiit workouts, you need to push to your absolute max effort each minute – no hanging out waiting for that timer to beep. Rep to the last!

1 minute on, 10 seconds rest (use an interval timer or download a free app).

  • jumping tricep dips/ modification – tricep dips, slow
  • squat, crawl forward, standing pike push up/ modification: push up on knees or normal push up, stand up, squat
  • low jacks/ modification: squats
  • lower ab kick ups/ modification: raise legs from floor to ceiling (try without touching the ground)

What did you think? Did you enjoy this, did it help you with a quick workout with some serious kick? Would you like more?

As for Part Two, that’s up to you, please share in the comments below what you did – I’d love to hear!
x

 

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This is my year for watering the grass.

That means working really hard to not always be looking over the fence in search of lusher fields.

We’re constantly fed imagery and messaging intended to leave us feeling like we’re a humdinger of a hike away from ‘having it all’.

But this year, I want to stop and nurture the things I have. To grow those things bigger and brighter through appreciation – rather than the exhausting, constant and often disheartening search for new and better everything.

Like:

1. Friendships & Family : thinking about which friends are the ones who call, text and make an effort to catch up, and honing my energies on them. That’s not to say others get “knocked”” off – far from. We love all our friends, it’s just part of the ebb and flow of life. We all have different commitments at different times. I know for sure I have some making up to do after my huge “wedding and European holiday” year last year, and I’m loving setting up sundowner and coffee catchups.

Same goes to family – nourish the good that’s there. Think for a moment, about that person who probably texts you daily and really actually cares how you are, what you’re doing, what recipes you’re loving and whether you actually had a fabulous day. For many of us, that’s our mums.  I am one of the lucky ones to call mine a best friend.

2. Home: As is, right now. Part One of Project Bling-up our Pad is done, and we have a biiig task ahead in Part 2. But I am working to just appreciate the awesomeness we have achieved so far. Light floorboards, fresh paint in and out, those lovely cement drop lights in the kitchen that make me smile every morning. And the never-ending joy our stunning view of the river provides.

 

 

3. Love: It’s so easy to get into a relaxed-as routine just splicing in time here and there. But in those moments you do have, stop and really enjoy that warm hug – and the fact you have someone to hug at all. Without sounding preachy, there are many without even that small joy.

4. Age: It’s a dam privilege to be the age you are. Every year we bemoan getting older. Yet many people will never reach the age you are. It’s a full on thought, but it’s one I’m working on hammering home to myself. One day I will look back on my age now and say – oh to be that young. It’s all a matter of perspective, and appreciating friends of all ages. One day you will love the fact you have a younger friend who wants to brunch with you.

5. Fitness and Health: Abs not at their best ever? Or just starting a couch to 5K.  One of my favourite mantas is “start from where you are.” Then push to your best, and earn your chill.

Now, I’d love to hear from you – what are some ways you water the grass in your life? And if you did get a little something out of this post, please share below.

Happy watering!

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This is the story of the day I decided to start writing positive articles for women. It all started with a bushwalk on an absolute belter of a summer’s daY.

The epiphany happened – in a way which befits ‘aha’ moments of this kind – on top of a mountain.

To be exact, on the mossy emerald summit of the craggy slopes overlooking the hobbitscape that is the spectacular Hartz Mountains in southern Tasmania.

It was here, high on a peak, huddled on a quartz throne carved by the ages, as my eyes soaked up the soul-nourishing view, that I started to get a little bit angry at the furious gale of screeching messages all women know so well.

They’re the messages that are with us constantly: from the time we gleefully unwrap Baby’s first Barbie and our young brains sponge up tween magazine articles on ‘The Tiny Shorts Not Made for Anyone with an actual Butt You Need Now!’ to our adult world where social media ‘fitspiration’ lunges across our news feeds. They’re the messages telling us that booty is in … but so are skinny jeans; Beyoncé is hot but check how fast Miranda has ascended back to Angel-wear post-bub; sculpt those bun-muscles… but mind you don’t look like a bloke now; love yourself, (here ‘reward’ yourself with a cake-pop) but be sure to make that mocha skinny.

I mentally hurled these messages off a nearby precipice that day, and decided… actually, I love my body (bear with me here – this has nothing to do with appearance, quite the opposite).

It happened when – all other thoughts smothered by the summit’s regal silence – I focused on what my body had achieved by clambering 20 sweaty kilometres to relish this vista. I had a sudden clarity about what I went through to get myself here; that my body, through consistent effort to stay fit and strong, had allowed me to slog through slush, scramble over rocks and finally grip slimy rock handles to hoist myself to the peak.

In that moment, I had just a little flash of anger at the stubborn subculture that persists in encouraging put downs of the amazing skin-sealed apparatus that allows us to hug, savour, sense, run, climb, swim, sweat… and maybe even bake babies. My body brought me to this ancient, beautiful place, allowed me share it with someone important to me… then scuttle back down to savour a steaming hot latte in the local town.

It also got me thinking, firstly, of those around us who, for health reasons or due to life challenges cannot enjoy the things human bodies can do, let alone have the luxury of thinking about how they look.

Secondly, imagine the energy, creativity and contribution that could be unleashed by women worldwide from a celebration of the strength, health and functional fitness that allows us to enjoy life, rather than the time-leeching fixation on re-moulding our bodies to fit into the ever-changing demands of anonymous critics.

I decided, that day, to do my part to try and banish the discouragement that stops women celebrating their bodies’ forms and functions. I decided that, every now and again, I would write a piece to put a tiny plug in the noisy gale, allowing even one or two women a moment of quiet to reflect on an alternate view.

Pop culture is fun, fuels discussion and allows us to be creative, be inspired to move and live a healthier more fulfilled life, and connect in more ways than ever before. But it’s important to remember to pick and choose the media messages that resonate with us, and that come from a place of love.

And when certain less constructive voices start to increase in volume, stop, hit your mental mute and start thinking about what your body allows you to do each day.

Now, I’d like to hear from you – what was it that’s help you flip society’s critical perspective on our beautiful female bods?

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If you were to peruse my scenery-saturated instagram, you could be forgiven for thinking I grew up in a bach* clutched against sea cliffs in a picturesque New Zealand coastal town – days spent running the bluffs and nights toasting salt-frosted skin by the fire under the night-blush of the Aurora Australis.

Or perhaps in a snow-wrapped Canadian town. Complete with woolly sock and fleece jacket-padded wardrobe.

In fact, my fiery passion for the outdoors was only fairly recently ignited.

While I have been a gym bunny all my adult life (Pump class? You better believe I sweated as hard as any wilderness warrior), wild-haired bush-woman I was not. The notion of snowy breaks was pretty much limited to iced coffee dates.

Then one day several years ago, a training buddy invited me to be the runner in a team adventure race in my current home state of Tasmania – a state which is also home also to some of the world’s most spectacular forests, beaches and sea-carved coastline.

The event included kayaking, running, cycling and mountain-biking. The run was 32 kilometers over two days, over some of my home state’s most challenging terrain: think steep climbs, followed by quicksand-like soft beaches, followed by more steep climbs. Basically a pain sandwich. At that stage the longest I had run in my life was about 12 k.

Eight weeks of killer runs up steep local and one adventure race later, and my life was never the same again. I was hooked. On forest trails, on the kind of people who treasure and spend their leisure time in it, on the almost-spiritual hold it now has on me.

These days, it’s kind of the norm for me to plan a run up a local mountain with some friends of a weekend. I never feel more of who I am than while my shoes chomp leaves and squelch mud underfoot, the scents wafting up to my nostrils, an intoxicating mix when blended with some of the freshest air in the world and Lord of the Rings-worthy views characteristic of Australia’s most southernmost state.

I didn’t start small. I went from zero to one of the most challenging runs in the country.

But if you’re the sort of person who looks at stunning photos of other people’s magical-looking wilderness adventures, I want to encourage you to start your own adventure campaign. Because if this blog inspires one person to adopt a little more outdoors – with the incredibly positive trickle effect I know it will have on every other part of life – my job is done. Here are some ideas for starting out:

  • Take half an hour one morning this week, get a coffee, find a beach just a little out of your way and stroll. Feeling really frisky? Take your shoes off, dip your feet in, and enjoy how the shivers run up your calves and wake up your mind and body alike.
  • Find a local track. One of those trails that runs just a hair’s breadth behind suburbia. Leave your headphones behind. Listen for the sound of small creatures. Try and spot one.
  • Set yourself a photo challenge. Each time you head outdoors, find something beautiful to capture. It doesn’t have to be a movie-worthy vista from a mountain peak, or a perfect glassy lake. Maybe a carpet of pine leaves, or a Monet mimicking multi-coloured mossy-spotted rock. Post that insta-worthy image and be proud. Don’t worry about what most people might think – you never know who it might inspire.
  • Take your night-time hot chocolate and a woolly rug outside. Look up.
  • Challenge yourself a little more, next time.

You may or may not end up running or hiking 30, 60 or 90 kilometres across demanding stretches of rock.

Or maybe you will.

But I urge you to start small, in your adventures.

Or not. Follow in my mad size nines and go straight to Big if you wish.

But whatever the scale, the more adventurers among us, the greater the consciousness about the need to relish and preserve this grand and vivid world.

*small house, or beach hut in New Zealand. One of my favourite countries.

 

 

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At the end of a day jam-packed with skype-athons, emails, far too many flat whites not enough fresh cold water (or air, or sun) and a burgeoning sharpie-on-sticky-note to-do pile, the temptation to escape to glorious medieval Italy, parallel-universe Washington DC or a mist-enveloped castle in 17th century Scotland via Netflix is both forgivable and understandable. I have totally been swayed to teleport to a fantasy world many a chilly-mid week evening.

But there is always that ‘naughty little child’ feeling isn’t there? Even if we go through a full internal monologue of all the reasons why we deserve to “treat ourselves” with a show, or a lazy hour just scrolling Pinterest. Really good reasons. Here are some I prepared earlier: I have a full-on day job which is more than full-time, I’ve worked out – hard, I have put loads of washing on and done a bunch of other non-negotiables to get here, to this point, on the couch, flanked by my favourite fluffed-up cushions, toes encased in double-thick socks.

But isn’t it funny how something “has to give” to allow for any kind of indulgence. And that thing is always that super-niggling one, that thing we’ve put off. The one thing that, when you think about it, you get that little tuggy feeling at the bottom of your tum. Or is that your heart. In fact, we’ll unstack the dishwasher, reply to a couple more emails …text that long lost relative… basically anything other than do the Important Thing. The thing that could change your trajectory, or just shift it a slight itty bit towards some of that stuff you dreamed about as a little girl or mini dude.

What is it for you? Making a phone call about that acting night course? Just sitting down for five minutes to order that piece of gym equipment that will mean you can fit in a workout between family commitments and work? Actually doing that e-course you paid all that money for more months ago than you care to count? Or spending five minutes clicking and box-ticking to set up an online shop to share your beautiful creations with the world.

Remember when you were that little girl or dude and you were told you could watch TV after your homework? That kind of discipline is important for us big kids too. Because we too should recognise the importance of long term important things – like further education, investing time in your health or actually making a plan to share your own creativity with the world.

I have set myself a 30 day challenge – every day for 30 days, 1 hour on that Important Thing. Want to join me?

One hour – so easily swallowed up scrolling through social media, prioritising non important emails or “tidying up” (until tomorrow when you have to do it again).

That stuff can wait until tomorrow. Sometimes. At least a few times a week. Have a little love for the little girl or dude inside of your conscientiously adulting heart that had those lovely, enormous, outrageous rainbow dreams for something different. If they were to appear in front of you right now, what would you have to say? Imagine: “no your dreams didn’t happen, because I had to keep the house tidy, I always worked through lunch, and actually, I never stood up for you, in my adult life, I had this commitment and that commitment to these other adults. And then, I was just really tired, so I watched my show.” Hitting hard to you? It is to me.

At the end of the day we have circumstances, yes. But as has been proved time and time again by those in much, much worse situations than us, our daily choices are far, far more powerful. We really have no excuse not to do the Important Thing.

As you power through your chores tomorrow, don’t just ‘clear a space’ for your Important Thing. Get out the damn shovel and dig a space for enormous enough to fit the dreams of that beautiful, hope-filled young you would beam brightly at.

And yep, soon to come, my picks for chilling as you power through mid-year towards those dreams. Because all little girls and dudes in their gangly adult bods to need an imagination break. Just in between chasing their dreams, not instead.

x

 

 

 

 

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Glimpses of well-manicured, intensely green gardens and well-kept homes are visible through the fanning russet hues of the tree-lined streets of a Christchurch autumn.

From the airport to the city centre is a smooth 20 minute drive along slick, newly rain-hosed road. And between the trees the streetscape is flecked with all the signs of a thriving globalised Australasian pacific city.

Strips of high-end homewares stores with nordic-lamp-lit windows are full-stopped by street corners jammed with cafes serving all things fair-trade, raw and juiced. Locals are out and about in the full mid-morning parade of baby strollers, activewear, hip slimline suits and mobility scooters.

So far it doesn’t look like a city devastated by the horror of a series of major earthquakes.

It’s not until after we check in to our accommodation and head into the CBD to explore the city on foot that the signs of the quake strike at your heart.

In February 2011, the city was struck by a magnitude 6.3 quake, followed by a series of lesser “aftershock” quakes – the most recent of which was in 2016. From the crumbled walls of the gorgeous Christchurch Cathedral to entire vacant grey blocks; the holes in the city are a reminder that as the world moves on, the slow churn of pushback from insurance companies has taken its toll on the heart of the city and it’s people.

But it is still, a beautiful, incredible city.  And out of the gaps, a new, colourful layers have emerged. You can’t help but be uplifted by the creativity that’s manifested in the revival. And furthermore, the new features are just darn cool.

Four must-dos :

1.Re: START Market

Otherwise known as the shipping container city, and formerly the Cathedral Square, the Re:START market was built from scratch by ingeniously dropping the floors out of the containers, fitting them together in a Meccano-like fashion and painting them in ice-cream bright hues. Literally born from the ruins of the earthquake, the market was built in the central city area that was cordoned-off from public access, with many of the businesses originally located in the area now reborn in their new corrugated (kind of cosy-like) homes.

There’s everything from a Lululemon and Apple Store to local crafts and bookstores. But go one better and feast your eyes on some local designs like Beau Coop for Karen Walker at handcrafted footwear store Head over Heels. Or get into the warrior-like New Zealand spirit and find some rugby gear to style up with loose ripped boyfriend jeans and bling sneakers at Champions of the World.

The best bit is the caravans and containers serving fresh lunch options – the spice and fragrance of which only serving to add to the feeling of a city centre which is very much alive. And delicious. My picks? A smoothie from from Pure Pulp and a warm chicken salad from Herba Gourmet.

2.Henley Park

I would call this is an uber park. Its swathe scoops one side of the city, gathering in the River Avon and the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. It’s everything you dreamed a park should be when you were a kid – evidenced by the kids aged between 6 and 75 model boat racing and mums and dads using their children as a great excuse to blow bubbles and try their weary working limbs at oversized play equipment. Some make themselves even more at home – throwing a hammock between the trees to soak in the last of the late-day sun as coloured bubbles sweep sleepily past and the winner of the last boat races of the day cheer in delight.

 

3.Punting on the Avon

Because if you’ve always wanted to cruise down a lightly lapping duck-dotted river rowed by a man in a striped shirt and panama, this river equals its British counterpart in pretty-factor and romance – if not in size.

 

4. Food

Walk no further than 27 steps for dinner. Seasonal, local wherever possible. Although European inspired, the flavours are fresh and earthy – having come from some of the cleanest air and water on the planet. Special mention goes to the warm house made herb bread – don’t even bother resisting.

For great breakfast, try Park Ranger. As a branding addict, I can’t go past their clean take on 60s style. As a breakfast addict, their healthy muffins and fairtrade coffee are a perfect match for crisp mornings when you need brekky on the fly on your way to the reason you go to New Zealand. The wilderness.

More on that, coming up.

In the meantime, I urge you not to listen to chatter purporting this city to be hole-ridden, recovering and a stop-over only.

It’s a gleaming exemplar of what can be done when the world comes together for you, then forgets you for a bit while you try to dust off and reshape yourself into something new, resulting in learning you have to lean on each other to polish what you have, re-imagine what you could be and urge people to take a look at you again.

Have you been to Christchurch? I’d love to hear about your fave spot in NZ, comment below.

 

 

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