Mexico | Christchurch

I was so excited when I learnt that Mexico (the uber cool and delicious restaurant chain) was finally going to have their first restaurant in the South Island in Christchurch!

We have been a number of times to the Britomart restaurant when visiting Auckland and have never been disappointed – delicious food in a funky environment that is very well priced, washed down with tasty margaritas.

Eli and I were lucky enough to attend the opening of Mexico Christchurch last night and were suitably impressed with the decor. They have turned a low lying building into a riot of colour and Mexican paraphernalia as you would expect if you have been to any of the other restaurants. It’s a huge restaurant compared with the Britomart one which is great as the only downside to these restaurants is that you can’t book.

We enjoyed a number of margaritas (I was very surprised by my lack of a headache this morning!) along with the amazing food – Mexican fried chicken, pork crackling with guacamole (this may be the best combo ever!!), pulled pork tacos to name but a few of the dishes that were being generously handed around. Word on the street is a new menu rolls out to all the restaurants over the next couple of months so we are looking forward to getting amongst that!

I highly recommend Christchurch punters head on down to Mexico – you won’t be disappointed… Andale andale arriba arriba!!!

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All the staff had amazing Mexican themed face paint!

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I love how that in Christchurch you look out the doors and see an empty lot with porta-loos and a number of road cones!

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Pretty impressive walls in the ladies loos!

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Bloody Mary’s

Hubby and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary last week – time definitely flies by when you’re having fun and throw a baby into the mix!

Eli had wanted to go to Bloody Mary’s to celebrate his birthday (which is the week before Christmas) but we came down with that awful stomach bug literally that morning so I had to cancel the booking.

A month later and we were ready to give it another try!

Bloody Mary’s is a steakhouse and a mighty fine one at that. It is definitely a decadent experience; service is impeccable, the menu and wine list is extensive, and the decor is moody and luxurious, befitting the restaurants name.

For an entree I had the venison liver parfait, bread and butter pickles. The parfait was smooth and creamy, the bread was crispy (I could have done with a couple more slices as the parfait itself was a very generous serving) and the pickles added a bit of zing. Overall it was delicious.

Eli had the seafood chowder. The waitress poured the chowder over the seafood at the table which seems to be a popular way of serving this dish at higher end restaurants at the moment. The seafood was cooked perfectly and the chowder was lovely but we both thought it could have had a little more depth to the flavour, it was a little too creamy.

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For our mains I ordered fillet steak with garlic gratin and port wine and thyme sauce. Eli ordered the NY strip loin (but received the sirloin, the only real disappointment of the evening!) with goose fat roasted potatoes and mushroom & garlic sauce. We shared sides of asparagus and cauliflower cheese which we thought were very generous servings for the price. We both like our steak medium rare and it was cooked beautifully. The sauces were full of flavour and there was plenty to go around. I think my potato gratin won over Eli’s roasted potatoes as they weren’t as crispy on the outside as I would have liked.

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For desert we shared the chocolate tart with salted caramel and pistachio ice cream which was the perfect end to our beautiful dinner. The base carried most of the saltiness which was surprising but in a good way, and the pistachio toffee was so good it resulted in a little haggling between the two of us for who deserved the last piece!

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For a Monday night the restaurant was busy, it is attached to popular hotel Rydges so many diners were definitely tourists, but I can see why it is popular with Christchurch locals as well. If you like a well cooked steak meal where you get a little freedom of choice, then Bloody Mary’s definitely delivers.

All photos taken (quickly!) on my iPhone hence not the best quality!

All wrapped up in luxury

That I most certainly was when I finally booked an appointment at Beauty at the Tannery to use the very generous voucher my brother and sister in-law gave me for my birthday.

As soon as you walk in you immediately feel like an A-Lister; the modern, fresh interior oozes style and sophistication and the staff are genuinely kind and very professional. After being checked in I was led through to the lounge area before being shown to the changing area where I was given a locker and changed into a lush white robe and spa slippers. There is a shower for clients to use before or after a treatment which is a great idea, especially if you have somewhere to be after a massage that leaves you a little oily.

While waiting for my treatment (after filling in the obligatory new client paperwork) I enjoyed a glass of water infused with mint, orange and raspberries while catching up on the latest and best fashion and lifestyle mags in the lounge area – you’d be forgiven for thinking you were actually in someones plush living room. After a short wait – I could have quite happily sat there for longer! – I was introduced to the lovely Sarah who would be completing my treatment. I was lucky enough to be enjoying Beauty at the Tannery’s signature treatment, Grace Yourself. This was 90 minutes of pure bliss! A full body massage with exfoliation as well as a facial where I was wrapped up a little like a mummy.

Once my treatment was complete I enjoyed a delicious herbal tea (you can choose from a variety of flavours) and special fortune telling chocolate! My skin felt AMAZING and I was incredibly relaxed and rejuvenated. So much so that I am now cheating on my regular beautician and going to Beauty at the Tannery for facials every two months!!

I have been lucky enough to experience some beautiful spas in the UK and Beauty at the Tannery is right up there with the best of them. It is by far the most impressive in Christchurch and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Images borrowed from Beauty at the Tannery website.

Merry Christmas!

Thank you to all of you for following along with my little creative corner of the web, it is so gratifying to receive such lovely comments and to continue to grow my readership!

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and super New Year. I hope Santa brings a little bit of magic to your homes and that you enjoy this special time of year with family and friends.

I’ll be taking a wee break from the blog to have some family time but look forward to posting again in 2015 – keep up with me on Instagram until then…

Xxx

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Weekend Round-Up

I actually did a very poor job of taking photos to document the great time we had at the Christchurch Wine and Food Festival on Saturday!

This year we had tickets in the VIP area which meant we enjoyed a delicious lunch put together by celebrated Christchurch chef Jonny Schwass and his team, and we had the luxury of a bar area rather than having to queue for tastings… This culminated in far too much frivolity and pathetic photo taking – I had demolished half my lunch before I even thought of taking a snap with my iPhone!

The weather wasn’t fantastic (overcast and a little chilly) but we had a fab day anyway and then I even managed to soldier on into the city to try out one of the latest offerings on the restaurant / club scene, Engineers.

Engineers has brought the first roof top bar to Christchurch and it is pretty fly. I liked the industrial feel of the interior, the outdoors area was lit up with pretty lights and the DJ was spinning some good tunes. The food coming from the kitchen looked and smelt delicious so I would definitely head back to give that a try too.

Sunday saw us take Axel to Ballantynes for his first photo with Santa – he HATED it!! The look on his face when he was sat on Santa’s knee was priceless – pure shock, turning to horror – check out the ‘get me out of here!’ look below!!

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Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed some festive fun along the way x

 

Highs and Lows

I was a little bit excited for my Wednesday night. I was heading out midweek to enjoy dinner and a fashion event with great girlfriends, what could be better?!

I even got out the Louboutin’s (mine are the patent version which nobody seems to have in stock at the mo)! This was going to be a fashion savvy night!!!

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So I was disappointed when our night didn’t quite live up to our expectations. Dinner was good (the high) but the fashion event was a let down. Don’t you hate it when something you have great hopes for doesn’t work out quite the way you had imagined?! Perhaps I didn’t read the event description properly, or didn’t get the event description, but talking amongst our friends we were all disappointed so it wasn’t just me feeling a little confused. $40 for a ticket to what was essentially a shopping evening (4 retailers were selling a small selection of their products and one online retailer had most of their stock), where I had one glass of wine (driving) and enjoyed a few canapés (that were delicious – thanks to the folk at Stranges Lane) seems a little pricey to me. So for the first time in my life I am going to, as the saying goes, put my money where my mouth is (I would have rather have put that $40 towards another restaurant dinner, that would literally go in my mouth!) and send some feedback to the evenings coordinators. Eeeekkk! I need to follow through on this one as Christchurch needs more events like this but it could have been so much better – I didn’t even take any photos as I didn’t think it was blog worthy!

Right, rant over! Question: have you ever had an underwhelming experience that you have then provided feedback on? How was it received!?? Please share and wish me luck!

BUT to finish on a good note here are some foodie pics from the high of the evening, a lovely dinner at Brick Farm, a wee gem that stands alone on High Street amongst the rubble. They grow much of their own produce and have an ever evolving menu, meaning each time you go expect to see something a little different on offer. Pressed tin, exposed brickwork and terrariums make for a rustic and homely feel, and the service was excellent. With a bar upstairs due to open soon and a large courtyard, Brick Farm is another great hospitality venture in post-earthquake Christchurch.

 

pork with asparagus and new potatoes / cauliflower risotto / parcel with tarakihi, roasted vegetables and olives

Request Line: Up-Cycling for Vic x

Up-cycling seems to be everywhere I turn at the moment, whether it be on the pages of a home decor magazine or in the flesh in a new cafe or restaurant.

Taking a pre-loved piece of furniture and giving it a brand new lease on life is such a wonderful way of adding a little bit of character and history to a space. It’s no surprise that there are many stores and businesses regularly  popping up to help fill people’s desire to get a little up-cycling going on in their home.

There is a wide range of options in terms of the era / style of furniture and antiques, as well as the price tag attached! In some cases the hard work has already been done for you, but there are still many stores where you may find the perfect piece of furniture to have a go yourself with.

I have rounded up a number of stores from Christchurch and the wider Canterbury area that may or may not have the type of thing you are looking for Vic, but having visited many of these stores myself, I know that there is always something quirky or gorgeous that could easily find a place in our home!

Ferry Road:

Ferry Road seems to be the go-to location for antique / second-hand stores in Christchurch making it easy to peruse a number of stores in one trip.

– Vintage Warehouse

– Chaos & Collections

Vintage Wonderland Boutique

Ferry Antique Centre

Foragers

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Glitz and Glamour:

These options are more the kind of place where you may find what you’re looking for already up-cycled. Along with antique furniture, industrial pieces, English China, chandeliers and modern pieces thrown in to the mix as well. Unfortunately the price tag is often a little on the up rather than recycled side!

Haunt

The Painted Room

Reincarnation

Rekindle

I particularly love The Painted Room, Rekindle and Reincarnation and highly recommend anyone in Christchurch check them out (Rekindle is in Auckland now too).

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Hit the Road:

These stores are a little further afield but deserve the scenic drive (and could be worked in with a delicious lunch along the way somewhere!)

Last Chintz & Co.  in Tai Tapu

–  The Barn on Giles in Kaiapoi

The White Cat Emporium in Cheviot

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All images via respective stores websites

Further Links To Love:

I also came across these on my internet travels that look fantastic…

– kiki

– Hibiscus NZ

Recycled Interiors

Industrial Design NZ

Draw’n In

and one of my favourite Blogs is Little Green Notebook where interior designer and DIY whizz Jenny Komenda lets us see her amazing transformations! Check out the DIY section here.