Tuesday, 13 April 2010

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Friday, 12 March 2010


There you stand, in the heart of one of New Zealand’s most cherished cities, Christchurch. With its perfectly crafted historic cathedral and university buildings, you are surrounded by architecture that tells the tale and draws you deeply into the heart of this remarkable nation’s foundations. Strolling about the many attractions you might find yourself in the prestigious Hagley park and ask: ‘Isn’t it a shame to be just an observer of such history and elegance, when what one really wants is to experience the history from the inside.’ Turning from the beautiful Hagley park into the private garden of the five star, Weston House, you find your chance has arrived. 

As a category One NZ Historic Places Trust building, Weston House is Christchurch’s most significant historic homestead. Former guest Douglas Rouse describes the moment: “As soon as we saw the property from the outside we were really impressed ... but when the door opened Wow! The interior is exquisitely furnished ... the hosts: Len and Stephanie, charming. We felt at home immediately.” And so your experience begins. If your timing is right you will have arrived for an early evening aperitif ‘Wine o’clock’, or 6pm for the uninitiated. Here Len’s pride in service begins to reveal itself. He has made no small effort to have searched for only the very best of New Zealand’s fine wines, which he enjoys sharing generously with his guests – be prepared to enjoy yourself. Feeling all aglow with your warm welcome you may then delight in exploring this magnificent Georgian Mansion. There is an exacting attention to detail in the whole property, which serves to take you in time to an era of elegance and civility, and for your own private accommodation Weston House offers the choice of two luxury suites – each tastefully redecorated in keeping with the Georgian style and appointed with its own modern bathrooms. 

As will be obvious by now, your hosts’ aim is to meet your needs and exceed your expectations. The accolades reflect they have achieved this and more. Shona Stilwell (journalist and travel writer) said: “ ... an outstanding stay – thank you! Thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the meticulous attention to details and all the wonderful additional touches.” And Tomomi Shimamura (travel writer, Air New Zealand) said: “I cannot forget the wonderful breakfast of warm apricot crumble and egges benedict ... Stephanie is a great chef and knows everything about restaurants in CHC. Also the conversation with Len and Stephanie with fine NZ wine was so enjoyable. Thank you so much for everything that you did to make my stay there so special.”  Beyond the doors of Weston House is a short, level stroll to central city restaurants, cafes, galleries and attractions, and only 15 minutes’ drive from the airport. On top of all the activities and experience Christchurch has to offer, the ski-fields and scenery of the Southern Alps, whale-watching in Kaikoura, and a plethora of vineyards are all easy day trips by car. Enjoy a night for a romantic treat; or stay a week or more to truly unwind and experience all Canterbury has to offer. Many guests return again and again.

How would you sum this all up? The Weston House offers stunning food and wine, relaxed luxury, vibrant conversation and truly personal service – all wrapped in history, grace and charm. With endorsements from Frommers, Fodors and Greenwood Guide among others, Weston House has been rated “among the best in New Zealand”. Visit them here to find out more: www.westonhouse.co.nz

Visit: The New Zealand Week here

Saturday, 26 December 2009


Pohutakawa - The New Zealand Christmas Tree

Well I would have to say that 2009 goes down as the year that got away on us.
Great plans etc - but are you like me this year - just how come there seemed to be fewer days - or am I getting older and forgetting most of them? Both of the latter methinks, but we are both fit and well and waking up in the morning - so that is always a bonus.
Because of the economic woes of the last 12 months I haven't had time to think of Global warming. In fact Global warming seemed pretty promising in August with gorgeous weather and an early spring- but then the climate changed as it does, and seems to have been lacking in promise since - until last week that is, when everything has been back to normal.Well summer has arrived and what a fabulous day yesterday was - can you imagine Christmas in the sun? It really is to be recommended - cold beer , a barbecue , bare feet, parks and beaches. Still we have some of the northern hemisphere tradition though- fake snow on the wreath on the door and Santa and his sleigh from the North Pole! It causes a lot of laughter for our guests from that part of the world.

This is the first real Christmas for our lovely grandson Calix - at nearly two - he has realized that Christmas means presents - not just his - he will open them all. Although he was a bit disappointed with his present from his French Nanna - he thought cadeau was actually gateau - and is still searching for the cake!

Calix loves his Mum and his Yogurt ( and Chocolate cake too!)

It has been a slower season than usual so we decided to do a little maintenance during December - see the earlier Blog - it would have been better to take the time off and relax.
We have only just finished the kitchen floor - well I use that word 'finished' loosely - it looks almost finished - except 'the expert' used
a new roller sleeve on the third final coat and while we no longer have runs and ridges we now have fluff - not a lot - but enough to need re-doing.... again- but not by 'that' expert - if you catch my drift!!!
This last coat was applied Christmas Eve - so today I am making my Christmas cake.

Of course this explains why I am also late with my Christmas News and next week I may just get ahead of myself and do the Christmas cards for 2010 - because they aren't on the horizon at all for 2009!
The City Mission however, was grateful for the donation and the gift of food. Plus the Carbon Credits I have gained for not wasting trees or air miles have saved the planet for another year.

As Kiwis we hope we take our environment seriously but we realize we can enjoy saving the planet if we think laterally.We need to plant lots of grape vines to gobble up the CO2, then we need to drink all the wine to save the jobs of the workers and the investment bankers.This is true sustainability!
We need to travel long haul only and not fly short distances ,walk or cycle when we can, eat locally grown food.
We need to live like we used to when we were younger and the world was a simpler place and the choices were limited. We ate seasonal produce from local farmers and we holidayed at home.
Our lives have changed so much, hard to imagine life without Google or texting -
we have even converted to using GPS instead of maps!
I can , however imagine life without tamper proof packaging and plastic bags!
I can do without a four wheel drive vehicle, out of season flowers and produce.
All our guests now receive a gift of a string bag so they can say 'no' to plastic - so I feel we are making a tiny
but achievable difference. All skepticism aside - when Qualmark took on Sustainability as part of our assessment procedure - like others, I groaned - grumpy old women don't like being told what to do. But then I discovered I was saving money as well as the planet and the 'feel-good' factor kicked in - so I will do what I can.We now have Silver status - which we are happy with - Gold means more paper work ( doing it isn't enough - you must have a paper(or record) trail) - and that means bureaucracy 'rules' - and I don't hold with that at all - me being a grumpy old woman!
We also holidayed at home this year - no virtue or sacrifice I might add - but we thought it was time we revisited our own country. It was magic - and more road trips are on the cards.
I have completed the South Island Journeys ( see archived blogs ) and these may be of help to your family or friends who may be coming to NZ.We took your advice and included some of the places you have stumbled upon as well. With GPS you can't really get lost - just as long as you have the destination added - so you can explore and travel the roads less visited.
Our North Island Journey was also fascinating and here we took some of the routes recommended by Tourism New Zealand - their Themed Highways are well worth planning your trip around - however those blogs are in the pipeline for the New Year.

Finally, before you all drop off to sleep, I would like to thank you all once again , for enriching our lives so much when you stay.You are a fun bunch of people and a joy to share our home with.
It is wonderful to hear from so many of you and to have so many referrals and return guests - we have been 'doing' B&B for nearly 13 years now - so you must be doing something right to keep us here.

Don't forget - we give serious discount to returning guests - and your referrals will get 'mates' rates also - if they are your friends they are welcome at The Weston House.

Do check out our web albums - linked from the blog page. You may just see yourselves - and you can also see our family progress as well - Rebecca's blogs are great to read.Hers are talented , have shorter sentences and are economical in the grammatical sense but great reading - there is so much love in them

Of course, him indoors(aka Len), is a big softy and a smitten Grandad and I love being a Granny - it is so much fun. My parents used to say about my grandparents that the relationship was 'all care- no responsibility' - how right they were and how wonderful it all is - I relish and enjoy every minute I spend with the darling little boy - and if I cause a little mischief - so be it - that's part of the twinkle in my eye.
Our son Andrew is still in Argentiere - still loving the Alps and assures us his French is improving - as it should after 5 years!In between snowboarding and some fairly extreme outdoor activities he fits in enough building to finance it all. We didn't travel to France this year but in 2010 we will - we fancy a short drive from Amsterdam to Venice - via the French Alps and the Italian Lakes.

The Big Boy and the Little Boy

Seasons greetings to you all and the very best for 2010

Len & Stephanie

PS Thank you to all who have added lovely reviews about us on the TripAdvisor website.

If you haven't and would like too then Trip Advisor have made it easy by providing the simple link below