Water Cooler: Pining for Norfolk chutney, gorgeous geese and hot poppies

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.



My husband is a very keen maker of (and consumer of) pickles, sauces, relishes and chutneys. Many of our friends have come to rely on his preserves as their pantry staples and now he’s even receiving orders.

Last summer, with NZ Life & Leisure editor Kate’s encouragement, he made her favourite, Norfolk Chutney. Turns out, we also loved it. This weekend we found some very ripe apricots at the market and so he set to chutney making.

Kate has declared it better than last year’s batch and all the office has eaten even more cheese and bread than usual to “try” the chutney. Not useful when we are trying to recover from our Christmas indulgences.

Try making Norfolk Chutney yourself –read the recipe here . Let us know if you have a favourite preserve recipe you’d like to share – email us at info@lifestylemagazinegroup.co.nz

Lynley Belton
Commercial Director
Lifestyle Magazine Group



Growing poppy-filled wildflower meadows is a labour of love for Lorna Wright of Coombes Cottage, near St Bathans. She planted my Lombardy Cottage with this beautiful bed.
“Wild flowers have been a favourite of mine for some years now as they provide a delightful swathe of constant colour throughout the summer. To create a display of homegrown flowers in the lobby of Lombardy Cottage to welcome guests (and especially when Kate is due) I pick a large bunch to mix sweet peas that I grow on the fence around the vegetable beds,” she says.
“Some people think they’re hard to grow but here’s what I do:
This area was in lawn just 10 months ago so we began with an autumn weed spray. The ground was then dug over and left through the winter to allow the frost to break down the soil as it does in this cold climate. Come spring we applied sheep pellets, rotary hoed it, raked it level and sowed the seeds by broadcasting them as evenly as possible. This was followed by a gentle rake over to cover the seeds and hopefully keep them from the birds. We kept the ground moist for about six weeks and when the flowers came up we weeded it. At this point, bare patches were filled by reseeding or planting suitable perennials. In this arid climate we water the garden regularly when there has been no rain. When the flowers are finished in the autumn the garden will be cut back to a height of about 10 cm to hopefully bloom again next spring.”

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Kate Coughlan and Lorna Wright


Looking for a beautiful but challenging bush walk around South Auckland, or keen to get the heart racing and the legs and lungs burning? I’ve been in training, getting ready for the Waitomo Trail run in April, and can recommend the walk/run up Clevedon Hill. This is a popular track through native bush and has an amazing view at the top (even on a cloudy day). It has loads of stairs to climb up and down which is guaranteed to get your heart pumping and a few undulating sections to catch your breath.


An average walker will take around 45mins-1hr to do the loop, or you can challenge yourself and run all the way if you really want a work-out.

Next on the list is to walk part of the Te Araroa Trail. (See here: www.teararoa.org.nz). I hear the views of the Hauraki Gulf are amazing. Can’t wait to give that a go.

Rebecca Needham
Art Director, NZ Lifestyle Block



In late October, three little goslings hatched against quite a few odds. Mother goose wasn’t the greatest nurturer either: one was squished in the nest, one died on Day 2, and that left one little gosling, fiercely protected by her mother, father and uncle.

It was amazing to see how fast a gosling can grow. She reached roasting size (several kilograms) by Week 10 and, as she wasn’t quite feathered up, you could actually see the outline of a roast dinner (if you so wished).

Now she’s resplendent in grey, close to what a fully grown female Pilgrim goose should look like (females are all grey, males are all white) which is a surprise because her mother is half white/half grey and I was expecting her to be similarly coloured. She’s absolutely beautiful and very friendly. She comes running forward to meet me each morning, chattering away with a little baby ‘peep’ in contrast to the rather rough honking of the adults. I suspect there’ll be no more eggs until spring, so the cake baking is on hold.

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Amazing Spaces' George Clarke on Kiwi DIY and the power of tiny houses

Nadene Hall
Editor NZ Lifestyle Block


There are Tommy guns and whiskey aplenty in Ben Affleck’s latest flick, Live By Night. Affleck writes and directs this story following an Boston Irish gangster who sets up a mob wing in the Cuban quarter of Florida during the Prohibition era. The Florida setting is a refreshing take on the classic gangster story, the everglades provide a stunning bootlegging backdrop and the presence of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as Christian evangelists, were unique obstacles for the characters. Ben Affleck acts and directs but it’s not his best work- by a long way. While Argo and The Town were well-crafted and thrilling, Live By Night plods along and the plot is as loose as Affleck’s zoot suit.


A film for a bit of light-hearted fun but not if you’re expecting Affleck at his best. On a side note if the ‘swamp noir’ genre sounds appealing- watch season 1 of True Detective, an eerie contemporary murder mystery set in the wetlands Louisiana. Well-acted with beautiful cinematography.

Emma Rawson
thisNZlife Editor

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