Water cooler: Pokemon, lip gloss and the best marmalade ever

This week in the thisNZlife office: we survive a zubat Pokemon attack, make some marvellous marmalade and discover the best lip gloss ever.



Zubats in the thisNZlife office.

Zubats in the thisNZlife office.

The office is infested. A colony of ‘zubats’, flapping their purple wings, is attacking staff members Cheree, Nadene and Yolanta. Kate, the boss, thinks I’m batty but she is lucky I am here to defend us.

What am I on about? I’m one of the 15 million people who have downloaded the Pokemon Go game in the past week. The headline-grabbing augmented reality game sees little Pokemon (pocket monsters) pop up in real geographic spaces when you walk around with your smartphone. In the past seven days, some really weird words have entered my vocabulary: My partner Andrew fell into a fit of giggles when I yelled: “There’s a Squirtle in the bed” after a coveted Pokemon turtle-thing materialised, out of thin air, in Onehunga.

To play the game,a little ball is thrown to capture them and the creatures are then given special potions to make them powerful. Later, when at a more advanced stage, there’s attendance at gyms and fighting on a team. As in real life, I haven’t quite made it to the virtual gym yet, but I have good intentions…

Pokemon around Auckland.

Pokemon around Auckland.

The game has come under fire as some users have been so absorbed in the virtual world they have walked onto roads and put themselves in other dangerous situations. So what’s my verdict? The game does encourage you to walk about (little Pokemon eggs hatch when you clock up the kms) but I wouldn’t call it effective exercise as there’s no way to raise your heart rate when you have to stop constantly and kill monsters.
What I do like is that Auckland’s parks have been packed this week with people playing this game. If Pokemon is what it takes to get people to visit our public spaces, then I’m all for it. There’s also Pokemon comradery. The same way dog owners talk to each other about their pooches in the park; Pokemon players converse about the ‘Pidgeotto’ they caught down by the beach. Happy gaming.
-Emma Rawson
thisNZlife editor



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I love grapefruit season, the beautiful yellow globes cheer up the winter gloom. Marmalade is easy to make if you get organised in advance.
This is a great recipe which produces a wonderful, bright yellow marmalade that keeps well – it if has the chance. My friend Anna’s grandmother reluctantly gave me this recipe- she assured me it wouldn’t work in anything but a recently polished copper preserving pan. Sorry, Granny Hamilton, that information wasn’t right, it works perfectly in a stainless steel pan, but you were right about a jug of Pimms always being a good option to serve at 4pm on a hot summer’s day.



1.5 kg -1.75 kg of slightly greenish grapefruit
2 lemons
4.5 kg sugar
12 cups of water

1. Cut up the fruit including the peel and remove the pips. You can use a mandolin but it’s a fiddle flicking out the pips and a really good sharp knife is just as quick).

2. Add the water and stand for 24 hours.

3. Boil the fruit for 20 minutes and stand for another 24 hours.

4. Bring to the boil once again, add sugar (warming the sugar in the oven speeds things up if you can be bothered) and keep at a rolling boil for about 45 minutes. Test to see if the marmalade is setting with a cold saucer. You can add a knob of butter at the end to get rid of any froth, but I suspect that might impair its shelf life.

5. Pour into warm sterilised jars, will keep for about a year.

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-Rosemarie White
Office extraordinaire



I’ve been reluctant to share this information because it’s so good I’ve wanted to keep it a secret for as long as possible! Readers with a minor make-up addiction, like me, be warned ColourPop cosmetics is going to be an issue for your credit card. These are the best eye-shadows and lipsticks that I’ve ever come across; long-lasting, cruelty-free, vegan… and all less than $5 – $8USD each. My first purchase of three lippies came with a free eye-shadow (how could I say no?), and I’ve just been delivered another box of seven lipsticks and another eye-shadow… Hi, my name is Cheree, and I have a problem.

ColourPop hit the news recently when a blogger discovered the online-only brand was a near-identical formula to the over-hyped Kylie Jenner lip-kits (forgive me for tarnishing this site with a Kardashian/Jenner reference) but ColourPop comes at a quarter of the cost. Don’t be surprised if the site is overloaded thanks to this publicity but keep at it. It’s worth the wait.

-Cheree Morrison
Staff Writer


Nadene’s shed.

You can never have too many sheds. That said, I visited a friend’s new block near Pirongia at the weekend, and they have three sheds, two nearly empty. Envy dripped from every pore. There was the double bay garage, a special shed just for the pigs they don’t own yet, an old woolshed complete with workshop, mechanic’s pit and all it contained was four hay bales and an old lathe. You could have literally driven a truck through the empty space.
Then there’s my shed situation. Pitiful. I have two sheds, both 9.99m² (because once we go over 10m², we need a building permit).

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Shed one is built from sheets of roofing I found discarded on a roadside, now painted in a fancy Resene steel grey colour thanks to the generosity of my boss Kate, who gifted me leftover tins from her own shed renovations after I threatened to paint mine turquoise. She has good taste; mine is questionable.

Shed two is built out of old garage doors. Before there were roller doors, there were solid garage doors, and my Dad has been collecting them over the years – storing them in one of his three enormous 400m² sheds – as people upgraded to roller doors because you never know when you might need something like that. As it happens, I needed something like that and solid doors, with framing for reinforcement, make perfect walls. Better yet, the price was outstanding: free.
But now there are motorbikes and another half – already showing signs of hoarding. So sheds three and four are on the horizon, another precious 19.98m², and I already know it won’t be enough.
-Nadene Hall
Editor NZ Lifestyle Block



Punnet cafe

Punnet cafe

I just love, love, love this place..  nearly every time I visit family in Hamilton, we make the short trip out to Punnet, one of our favourite cafes nestled beside a Strawberry Farm and The Country Providore store. The food and coffee are delicious, the indoor and outdoor areas beautifully designed and the playground provides never-ending fun for my kids. I could spend hours in the shop oohing and aahing over the gorgeous homewares and gifts as well as the fresh fruit and veggies, gourmet meats, fancy preserves and local cheeses. A must visit if you are out that way…and you could also tag on a visit to the Tamahere Country Market, on every third Saturday of the month.

The playground at Punnet cafe

The playground at Punnet.

Rebecca Needham
-Art Director, NZ Lifestyle Block


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