How I went plastic-free for a month (it’s not as hard as you think – promise)
Nicole Barratt shares easy everyday swaps you can make to ditch plastic.
DIY project: Turn soft plastic wrappers into a tote bag
Grab the iron and a bundle of soft plastic bags then make a tote with sustainable style.
This couple have sent no rubbish to landfill for three years
Yes, you can cut down on plastic waste. All it takes is a little planning to change to more eco-friendly habits says the experts.
Frodo's chainmail used for architectural solar screens
A Wellington entrepreneur who created chainmail worn by Frodo and others in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy is making sturdy armour for buildings.
Bags not: Retailers are ditching plastic bags – are you ready?
It’s finally happening. After lots of talk, greener bagging options are set for a checkout near you.
Such sweet sorrel – how to grow the perennial lemony herb
Sorrel is a robust and persistent sort that grows like a weed (which it’s not) and can be used to tart up your tastebuds in a variety of dishes.
Knit these cute booties for NZ babies in need
Here's a free pattern to knit some cute cotton wool booties for babies in need World Knit in Public Day.
How to build a house from firewood
Rather than burning your seasoned firewood, with a tight budget and some time, you can use it to build a home.
Two important things you can learn from a smoking chimney
Heating your home using a wood burner is cheaper than ever in New Zealand, if you know how to get the best out of it.
WOW: At home with the creator of WearableArt
Vision, grit and a good shot of gumption propelled the World of WearableArt from a small-town show to a global spectacle.
Heart and soul found in Timber Design Awards
A teardrop-shaped caravan and a triangular apartment, both built using wood, are in the running for a design award that celebrates this living material.
West coast jewellery family's silver linings play book
When a Texan belle arrived in New Zealand for a three-month holiday, she didn’t plan on meeting a rugged West-Coaster. Thirteen years, two kids and a thriving jewellery business later, there’s nowhere else she’d rather be.
Giant jar of peanut butter auctioned for charity
An enormous jar of peanut butter is being auctioned for a good cause.
7 ways to celebrate mum's special day
Mother’s Day is almost here (it’s this Sunday, May 13th) so get sorted with these fresh ideas for activities, gestures and gifts to show you care.
How to tell if your chicken has caught a cold
Chickens with breathing problems can wreak havoc with your flock and are difficult to identify, but here are some signs to look out for.
DIY wedding decorations
When self-sufficiency enthusiast Julie Legg tied the knot on her Waikato lifestyle block, she created her own finishing touches for a wedding with flower confetti, bunting and other themed decorations.
Five minutes with US author Karen Joy Fowler
We caught up with Karen Joy Fowler, author of the bestseller The Jane Austen Book Club, ahead of her Auckland visit in May.
Lisa Scott wings butterfly yoga
Social butterfly Lisa Scott is bent out of shape and all in a flutter doing hot yoga in the butterfly enclosure at the Otago Museum.
Words of remembrance for ANZAC Day
Rosemarie White reviews four very different New Zealand accounts of wartime campaigns.
Screen Sirens podcast: A Wrinkle in Time
The Screen Sirens didn't enjoy watching A Wrinkle in Time, starring Oprah Winfrey, although they have a lot of fun discussing the Disney fantasy film in their latest podcast.
How to fight the office slump
Looking down at iPhones and computers is damaging our spines. To relieve back pain, try out physio Steve August's quick-fixes.
Part-time vet, full-time romance novelist
An Otorohanga vet has won an international following writing romance novels with a country twist.
Sweet Country Western is anything but
A new Western starring Sam Neill makes beautiful but confronting viewing.
Sustainable packaging firm driving change
A company formed by two childhood friends is helping New Zealand businesses reduce their waste.
How to build a Norwegian Round Stack
Norwegian rounds are a space-saving wood stacking technique that will keep your wood dry
Make this cute crochet possum bookmark
Mark our words, there’s nothing better than a squished possum. This cute, comical bookmark is just the fun craft project to remind you of that.
Novelist Tanya Moir's double life
Our heroine casts a dashing figure as she marches across the Banks Peninsula. And like all good dramatic characters, her past holds a compelling secret.
Dunedin to Queenstown: A road trip to remember
A road trip through iconic southern scenery spins the wheels and the twangs the heart-strings.
Andrea Bosshard on filming her father for new doco
Kobi – a Life Work documents the story of film-maker Andrea Bosshard’s father – an unassuming goldsmith and mountaineer who became known as New Zealand’s grandfather of contemporary jewellery.
The tiny guide to building tiny
While she wasn’t immediately sold on the tiny house movement, 20-something Amanda Chapman has now jumped on board, boots and all, building her own.
Free downloadable seed saving envelope
Make your own seed saving envelopes using our downloadable pdf.
Relocation, relocation: Two portable homes make a perfect Point Wells retreat
With roots too deep to easily move, the Hart family found a temporary fix - two transportable cabins beside the estuary at Point Wells.
The Off-Topic Book Club: Lincoln in the Bardo
The Off-Topic Book Club can't agree about whether George Saunders' Man Booker winning novel lives up to the hype.
Dr Libby: What your gut is telling you
You’ll know when your digestive system is working the way it should.
Take a tour of Jools Topp's cute-as-a-button caboose
When everybody knows your name, a private space becomes a treasure and Jools Topp has found hers in a country caboose.
Taking camping to the next level
Multi-roomed tents with real furniture make communing with nature a very smooth operation at Wainamu.
A caravan suffering from a mid-life crisis
Hula girls, grass skirts and a pineapple ice bucket... the only thing missing from this Hawaiian homage is a coconut palm swaying in the warm Waiheke breeze.
Think global, act local - and hurry up!
Unwanted waste might disappear from the immediate environment, but it has to go somewhere.
Orongorongo Valley's 50 private huts
Fifty private huts, hidden in native bush in the Orongorongo Valley near Wellington, have played an important role for generations of families.
Water Cooler: homemade drip irrigation and the best cheese roll
This week in the water cooler, we bask in the deliciousness of the cheese that Nadene brought to the Christmas party, put some garden watering hacks to the test and try to avoid bun fights.
How to do-up your vintage or retro caravan
Doing up a vintage or retro caravan is a bit like doing up a vintage car. Not only is it addictive, but you are also faced with a number of very similar decisions to make.
Dr Libby on the benefits of eating organic
The more we demand organic foods and reject pesticides, the more available organics will become.
Top organic skincare picks
Organic, biodynamic and natural skin care products were once on the fringe. Now they are all the rage.
Turtles All the Way Down review and podcast
The Off-Topic Book Club has a lively discussion about John Green's latest novel Turtles All the Way Down. The club discuss the depiction of mental illness, tuatara and the Young Adult genre.
Water Cooler: Justice League review and cooking with pomegranate
This week in the water cooler: we're saving the world in the latest superhero ensemble, Justice League and baking with pomegranate.
Book review: Life on Muzzle
A tale of pioneering in the 1980’s in one of NZ’s most remote high-country stations captures book reviewer Peter White’s imagination.
How to build a house of hemp
When you take the magic ingredient out of marijuana, you get a building product to keep you warm, cosy and very happy.
Maori and Pacific health researcher recognised
L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellow Dr Matire Harwood has long been a dedicated spokesperson and advocate for the health of Maori and Pacific Islanders.
We try riding an electric bike through Auckland
Electric bikes are popular in Asia and Europe, but will they catch on in Auckland? We see what the buzz is about.
Self-taught knitter turns heads at Vogue
Nicole Leybourne’s designer jumpers are so sought after, she’s had to hire a team of knitters across the country.
The Off-Topic Book Club review The Break by Marian Keyes
The Off-Topic Book Club give the low down on The Break, the latest book from Irish author Marian Keyes.
Water Cooler: DIY seed-raising pots and vote kākā
This week in the water cooler, we're making our own seed-raising pots, supporting the kākā for Bird of the Year, learning about the Thinkladder app and visiting the On the Street exhibition.
Water Cooler: Deco decadence and anti-plastic fantastic
This week in the water cooler: we're exploring Napier's Art Deco architecture in style, reducing our use of plastic bags and taking part in an important study.
Why Chelsea Winter feels at home in the country
The cookbook queen is happiest when she's following the lead of her nature-loving mother.
How to make natural fabric dyes
Your garden is full of opportunities for you to make and use natural dyes.
Water Cooler: watermelon slings and finding Dog Zen
This week in the water cooler we're planting golden midgets, learning some dog behaviour basics, and face a cuteness overload from a blind dog puppy.
Great Dixter gardener heading to NZ
When a legendary gardener dies, what becomes of his or her garden? Ask Fergus Garrett, the guest speaker at November's Nelmac Garden Marlborough.
Mother and son racing team rally on
Brenda Williamson is as competent managing a private hospital as she is navigating tight corners.
Water Cooler: We cook like Chelsea
As a nod to NZ Life & Leisure’s cover star Chelsea Winter, the team put some recipes from the MasterChef winner’s new cookbook Eat to the taste test. It wasn't really a bake-odd just a really good week in the office.
Alice Englert talks about her mum Jane Campion
Actress Alice Englert wasn’t fazed baring her soul on camera for her mother Jane Campion’s latest series.
Make this cute garden tool belt
Jane Wrigglesworth’s spring craft project is an easy fabric tool belt for storing trowels, secateurs and other garden tools.
10 things you may not know about building a log home
You might think hunting lodge, you might think it’s too much wood for one home, but the modern log house is a strong statement in clean, green, renewable, hand-crafted building work.
Water Cooler: Poetry Day
Today in the water cooler: We get experimental with marshmallow, test our Downward-Facing Dog pose on a yoga app, and celebrate National Poetry Day.
Screen Sirens: Keeping up with Keaton
The Screen Sirens weigh up how the new film Hampstead compares to Diane Keaton's other movies.
Dr Libby talks weight loss and low energy availability
The weight-loss equation of calories in/calories out is not only dated, it can also be harmful
The Burt Munro of the skies
A New Zealand pilot is channeling Burt Munro racing a Soviet World War II era fighter plane in Reno next month.
10 timeless makeup and beauty secrets
You can’t actually age backwards, but you can look like it. Take these few make-up tips for keeping your face as ageless as your spirit.
Podcast: The Off-Topic Book Club
The Off-Topic Book Club review Into the Water, the latest thriller from Paula Hawkins, author of the bestseller, The Girl on the Train.
'Lessons we learned building a cob house'
Buying a bush block, building a cob house, and starting a natural soap business takes huge amounts of energy, enthusiasm and commitment, but this family are thriving on the challenge of being as clean and green as possible in everything they do.
Knit this cute fox scarf
Fur coats are frowned upon, but what about a fox scarf – a knitted one that is? Jane Wrigglesworth’s winter knitting project is a scarf shaped like a fox.
Water Cooler: Celebrating science, dry July & French spirit
This week in the water cooler we: celebrate clever New Zealand scientists at the KiwiNet awards and take our horses to the dentist (yikes).
Video: Hitching a ride on a rubbish truck
thisNZlife’s Emma Rawson and Sarah van Boheemen from Love Food Hate Waste hitch a ride on an Auckland Council food waste collection truck and see, firsthand, how much food New Zealanders throw away.
Water Cooler: A rising country star and first aid for dummies
This week in the water cooler: we're exploring a great body of work at the Auckland Art Gallery, learning the CPR basics on a St John first aid course and listening to some sweet country sounds from rising star Cam Luxton.
Sustainable sewing in a solar-powered campervan
Sarah Lancaster is a maker on a mission to encourage sustainability - one hand-made tote at a time. Through her business, Sew Love, she’s teaching basic tailoring skills such as hemming, mending and patchwork.
Make your own willow bird feeder
Learn the art of basic willow weaving and give your local birds a tasty treat with our beginner's project.
An illustrated life
Native birds and high fashion might be odd bedfellows but not in the hillside home of a German expat and A New Zealand designer.
Water cooler: In praise of persimmons
This week in the water cooler: We wage a fruit war with Lynda Hallinan over persimmons explore a handy travel photo app, and mow our support for Emirates Team New Zealand.
Jim Kayes' Great Barrier Island fishy tale
Twenty-five years a journalist, Jim Kayes knows how to hook a story but when he ventures out on his rookie fishing trip he realises hooking a fish is completely different.
Slavko Martinov talks brain tumours and Pecking Order
The director of the new film Pecking Order talks about the bizarre world of poultry showing, and how a brain tumour has shaped his outlook on life.
Screen Sirens podcast: Wonder Woman review
Screen Sirens reviewers Emma and Yolanta say Wonder Woman is the action movie women have been waiting for.
How Bird on a Wire became one of NZ's fastest-growing firms
An Auckland chicken-restaurant chain founded on a wing and a prayer is now one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing businesses thanks to the adaptability of its owners.
Bird brains and Anne with an E
This week in the water cooler: We have birds on the brain reviewing Pecking Order, get caught in a web of spidey powers, and revisit a classic with Anne with an E.
12 easy ways to add radiance to your skin
Look younger, fresher and brighter with these radiance boosting tips.
Water cooler: Lazy granola and models on horseback
This week in the water cooler, we explore the Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival, are on the lookout for the harlequin ladybird and make lazy granola.
The Off-Topic Book Club review Gastrophysics
The Off-Topic Book Club has plenty of food for thought when exploring the science of eating in the non-fiction book Gastrophysics by Oxford University's Charles Spence.
For crying out loud! NZ's town crier shortage
New Zealand towns and cities are crying out for more town criers. Two sisters are ringing the bell for a proud (and loud) institution.
The secrets to stacking wood like a Norwegian
During the week Jason Price is a management consultant and efficiency expert. At the weekend he becomes a chainsaw-wielding, firewood-stacking ninja who also likes efficiency.
Building a human nest
Creating your own human nest? Landscape architect Sara Gerard has some tips on how to survive the renovation process, plus some tree house inspiration
Architect Graeme North on the benefits of natural homes
Renowned architect Graeme North discusses the benefits of natural homes with Nadene Hall.
Water cooler: Chicken Screams and divine TV
This week in the water cooler: we scream like a chook, watch divine TV and gaze in awe at mighty Mt Ruapehu.
Dr Libby's guide to eating 'flexitarian'
Force yourself to eat a certain way and you will likely fail. try giving yourself a little wiggle room instead.
How to get an official 'natural' product
Launching a natural product comes with unique compliance and marketing challenges. The women behind Dove River Peonies share their tips for starting a natural product business in New Zealand.
How your kitchen can go pro
If you think selling food you’ve made in your home kitchen can’t be done legally, you could be in for a delicious surprise. We meet some small-time home-based business people with a passion for food who show how they work within the rules.
6 inspiring man caves and she sheds
We’ve all heard of ‘man caves’, but there are so many inspiring garden buildings, including the ‘she shed’. Check out these beautiful projects from NZ and around the world, most made on a small budget and out of recycled materials.
Water cooler: lettuce soup and pumpkin growing tips
It's a garden harvest special in this week's water cooler as we share tips for growing pumpkins, harvesting fruit and transforming mature lettuce into a delicious soup.
Water cooler: Going green and a poor little paw paw
In the water cooler this week: Emma has a double take at Twin Peaks, Nadene isn't peachy about the weather and Kate and Tracey go green.
4 beautiful NZ barn houses
Converting a barn into a home can create a distinctive living space, but it involves a unique set of building challenges.
Bespoke handwoven textiles on a World War One loom
A creative couple has spun a niche business by fusing old-world hand-weaving and modern design.
George Clarke on Kiwi DIY and the power of tiny houses
Amazing Spaces host George Clarke is in New Zealand to build a tiny house with Mitre 10. He weighs in on two innovative tiny homes recently featured on thisNZlife.
Yes, this cow is made of cake
Kim Donker has turned a baking hobby into a thriving home business. She shares tips for getting started without breaking the bank.
How to host a country wedding
If you’re a romantic at heart, turning your land into a wedding venue might be an opportunity to earn some extra cash.
Growing creative minds in a converted boatshed
Friends told Peter and Ellen Jarratt they were reckless, crazy and throwing it all away when they upped sticks to follow their hearts. But they did it anyway.
10 great ideas from a top New Zealand barn
A small obsession with old barns played a big part in the design of this award-winning home. Follow Tane's tips to get the look.
Incredible images of whales stranded on Farewell Spit
At Farewell Spit NZ Life & Leisure staff Cheree Morrison and Jane Ussher saw nature at its most beautiful and most cruel.
4 great ways to frame a country view
Getting the best windows to frame farm views is a crucial part of the design of a country home.
Pining for Norfolk chutney
This week in the water cooler: The office reaps the rewards of Lynley's chutney, Nadene's geese are all grown up, and Rebecca is steps ahead of the rest of us.
Water cooler: cheese and quokkas
This week in the water cooler: we make our own cheese, share our award-season movie picks and try out icing therapy.
Martinborough firm riding Mexican wave
Surf-loving foodies Jason and Melissa Philips downsized and relocated to the Wairarapa to give their hand-rolled burrito business the best chance of catching a big break.
Kohu Road founder's career path to the sweet life
It’s been a flavourful career for Kohu Road founder Greg Hall. There’s a pinch of everything in his recipe for success – and the outcome is simply delicious.
Entrepreneur finds success testing the waters
A Christchurch paddleboard entrepreneur is riding a steady wave of growth.
15 tips for designing a great country home
Today’s needs, tomorrow’s changes and even resale appeal need to be taken into account when designing the rooms in your home.
Make your own 'Chick Inn' coop sign
Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a Chick Inn Coop Sign, as seen on the cover the Summer bumper issue of NZ Lifestyle Block.
Podcast: Screen Sirens review La La Land
La La Land is nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards. The Screen Sirens find out what all the fuss is about.
Water cooler: how to cook shellfish
In the final water cooler of 2016: Anna Tait-Jamieson shares her shellfish secrets, Cheree has her eye on the prize and Kate is all tied up in knots.
Incredibly practical Christmas gift ideas
Running out of present ideas for the practical person in your life? NZ Lifestyle Block editor Nadene Hall's gift list might provide inspiration.
Off-Topic Book Club: Mount!
The Off-Topic Book Club share a laugh while reviewing Jilly Cooper's saucy new novel Mount!
6 books for Christmas reading
Find a sunny spot and curl up with one of our picks for great Christmas reads this season.
Splashing beauties and buzzing bees
Splashing beauties, buzzing bumbles and sleeping dogs and a Pinnacles performance - what we are talking about in the water cooler this week.
Make your own natural cleaning products
These tips will help you to reduce the amount of packaging you use, and get you into DIY cleaning products.
Podcast: Off-Topic Book Club
This month the Off-Topic Book Club do a podcast about a case made famous by a podcast when they review Adnan's Story by Rabia Chaudry.
Make your own pizza oven this summer, and learn to cook in it
Step away from your screens and eat under the stars with NZ Life & Leisure’s new outdoor cooking and DIY book: In Your Backyard: FOOD & FIRE, on sale now.
Water Cooler: Goats, glass and salmoriglio
This week in the water cooler: we sing the praises of stained glass, wax lyrical about goats and make delicious yet unpronounceable sauces.
Water Cooler: Billy Elliot,and "the best biscuits ever"
This week in the water cooler we dance up a storm, battle over cheese and bake the "best biscuits ever”
The Girl on the Train and a girl's crafty secret
This week in the water cooler: we review The Girl on the Train, discover a girl's crafty secret store and have birds on the brain.
Water cooler: a flying fox, fashion film and Onggojip
In this weeks water cooler, we dream of flying through the jungle and high-fashion couture, make coconut yoghurt and test restaurants with unpronounceable names.
Water cooler gadget special... and chocolate
In the water cooler this week: Miranda discovers a super product, Nadene gets worms, Cheree becomes hot and steamy and Anna cracks the mystery gadget.
Cool walks with the kids and lamb update
This week in the water cooler: Rebecca discovers a cool walk for the kids - and we check in on Serita the lamb.
What makes a leader?
What does it take to captain a rugby team through to win two successive World Cups? A new documentary tries to capture the man behind the hype
Business bubbling along in the Catlins
A bubbly soapmaker has turned her favourite hobby into a cottage industry on her Otago small block.
Paws for thought on poetry day
When was the last time you read a poem? Try something new for poetry day Friday (26 August). You might get to pat a puppy...
Watercooler: going crackers, wayward fruit & kids apps
This week in the water cooler, we savour the new season grapefruit, say hello to Talking Tom and make the best crackers EVER
Thinking inside the box
This shipping container uses every square inch to nurture the future of country kids, and the adults too.
Refugee Olympians and Whanganui wonders
This week in the water cooler: we sing the praises of the refugee Olympic team, discover a historic gem in Whanganui and have a light bulb moment.
Our reviewer found this book life-changing
Book reviewer Miranda Spary sees the world differently after reading The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent.
Podcast: The Couple Next Door
In this episode the book club lives up to its name - talking about everything from 50 Shades of Grey to sleeping in the same bed as James Bond while reviewing The Couple Next Door.
Make a NZ neck gecko scarf
This neck gecko scarf is made from reflective wool and is a good project for beginner knitters.
'How I quit plastic'
Urban eco warrior Jessica Rose suggests some easy lifestyle changes to make for Plastic-Free July.
Podcast: Love & Friendship
The Screen Sirens enter the ring for a Jane Austen rumble when reviewing this adaptation of the Austen novella Lady Susan.
We try... racing a WRX
Cheree Morrison puts pedal to the metal on the Highlands Motorsport Park course in Cromwell.
Trend spotting: the future of skincare
From weird face masks to smart skin patches, there are plenty of beauty trends to help you face the future.
Water Cooler: How to cut into a pumpkin
Busy bees, balls of bliss and a country bumpkin and her pumpkins - things that got us talking this week.
How to ride an ATV on hilly ground
Riding an ATV is a learned skill and if you don’t do it properly you can easily be badly hurt.
Curious cows and squishy persimmons
A jet-setter's secret weapon and why Morrinsville is the place to be - things that got the thisNZlife office talking this week.
The best in tech
Cultural wonders, spectacular solar footage and a pawsome way to hook up - Frances Jones premieres what's hot in tech at the moment.
Inside the world of rugby romance literature
A romance writer adds rugby to the traditional plot mix and finds an avid and growing audience - who are currently exploring New Zealand.
DIY: Make your own soap
Making your own soap is easy, affordable, doesn’t require any special equipment and is quite addictive.
Listen: The Girl on the Train book club podcast
The NZ Life & Leisure team had a lively chat about the twists and turns of this best-selling thriller over wine and cheese in our new podcast The Off-topic Book Club.
Soul searching with Hollie Smith
A number one album isn't enough to make a living in the music industry. Soul and jazz singer Hollie Smith's new album has topped the charts but she's still cleaning houses to make ends meet.
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