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Diamonds are forever 🦌❤️🦌

Hello again from us at A Deer Cottage, I would like to tell you all about our lovely month of June and the adventures we all started off with a wee trip planned to the South Island of New Zealand, to stay with our friends in Diamond Harbour, we absolutely loved their beautiful home and little bed & breakfast nestled on the southern shores of Lyttelton Harbour, a picturesque getaway that combines breathtaking landscapes with nostalgic walks in this idyllic destination. Diamond Harbour offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, tranquility, mesmerising landscapes and unforgettable experiences, living up to its name. Diamond Harbour: the resemblance of sunlight on the water to the shining of diamonds.

Check out the slideshow of some pretty gorgeous photos below

On our return, things have not stood still, and we are back into the swing of life in Kaukapakapa, I have been busy doing an online marketing course having to get up before 5am as the time and day difference is not as compatible as I wish. On the flip side, I have been learning some valuable skills and meeting some pretty amazing people very willing to help each other - the course confirms the way I feel about the advantages of direct booking through social media channels such as Instagram and my website. Inbetween all this busyness I had a pretty memorable birthday and some happy celebrations. Join me as I chat about Diamond Harbour, the South Island, my birthday and the advantages of Direct Booking for my guests.

Exploring Diamond Harbour: A Scenic Retreat

Diamond Harbour is a hidden gem that showcases the pristine beauty of New Zealand's South Island. The stunning panoramic views of the harbour looking out towards Lyttelton. The surrounding hills make it an ideal destination for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts alike. The tranquil atmosphere and charming villages of both Diamond Harbour and Lyttelton have a wonderful vibe and created a sense of serenity that instantly captivated my soul. Te Kani and I had an absolutely fabulous time staying with dear friends Richard, Akiko and their young daughter Emma. Richard built Akiko a fantastic little cottage that she has beautifully personalised and has set up as a bed & breakfast, her little touches include a yummy homemade cereal, even better, I was able to pinch her recipe! Te Kani and I could not believe our eyes when we woke up the next morning to the amazing vista in front of us! Richard stated that sometimes they get the world's rarest and smallest little hector dolphin, frolicking in the harbour, (the hector dolphin is only found in New Zealand), unfortunately at this time we did not have the opportunity to witness them.

Immersing in Nature's Splendour

During our visit, we couldn't resist indulging in the breathtaking walking tracks that surround Diamond Harbour, Richard our friend does some pretty important work, restoring the landscape back to planting native trees, and removing invasive plants and climbers, the volcanic rock face must provide a challenge, but I loved seeing Richard's enthusiasm to do what he does with such love for our Country. Their home as well as their bed & breakfast sits perched upon these volcanic hills of Diamond Harbour, the landscape is majestic, and lends its way to narrow walkways running along the foreshore to the jetty, where the ferry will pick you up and drop you over to Lyttelton, a thriving port, full of so much character, we loved the 10 minute ferry trip to enjoy the Saturday market. This ferry runs a regular passenger service making Lyttelton such an easily accessible place to visit, and I hear many locals take the ferry to Lyttelton and then the bus to Christchurch for work....I say what a great way to enjoy your working day.

Check out the slideshow below....

Te Kani and I had a wonderful break away, we were able to restore our souls and just sit back and relax, our memories that we made included being treated to Japanese massages; soaking sometimes twice a day in an outdoor Japanese bath; yummy cuisine; playing lots of card games; learning to play Sakura on a Koto, and being able to share with our wee grand daughter Luna in Japan who turned one while we were away.

We made the most of the incredible Winter weather and enjoyed some pretty picturesque walks and visits to some gorgeous towns such as Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. This little mini holiday totally had me reflecting on how important it is, to relax, restore, and spend happy moments with people you love, and in our wonderful New Zealand nature is a huge bonus. Nurturing our friendships are something that will remain dear in Te Kani and my hearts for a very long time.

Birthday Bliss and Sisterly Bonding

As luck would have it, within a week of Te Kani and I returning from Christchurch and the South Island, it was my birthday, a perfect opportunity for Te Kani and I to have another lovely Japanese meal out, and I also planned to get my three sisters together to help me celebrate, we embarked on a nostalgic walk from Milford Beach along the foreshore to Takapuna Beach and back.

Our picturesque walk offered stunning vistas of the coastline, combined with heartfelt conversations and laughter, we created memories that will last a lifetime. The gentle sea breeze and the rhythmic sound of waves provided a soothing backdrop for our nostalgic stroll. It was the perfect opportunity to reflect, recharge, and appreciate the beauty of the world around me once again. It was especially poignant having a photo of the four of us on the "Giants Chair" which we all sat on as teenagers, and as little kids, we played and swam in the rock pools and built sandcastles at the beautiful little beach cove called "Thorne Bay" - priceless memories being made.

To add to the celebrations, we enjoyed a delightful Japanese lunch at The Don in Milford, where we indulged in a fusion of flavours that tantalised our taste buds. A perfect day!

Enriching Myself with Online Courses

In the last six months or so, I have taken up the opportunity to partake in some online courses to help me with my marketing for A Deer Cottage, these courses have been invaluable, sometimes I feel a little "old school" with social media advancements, especially now that all our kids are living away from home, and are not on hand to help me out. However, I am so glad I have dedicated time to expand my knowledge through these online courses. These courses provided valuable insights into various subjects, allowing me to enhance my skills and broaden my horizons. The convenience of online learning and the contacts I have made empowers me, along with the support to progress not only my professional abilities but my personal growth as well - a win/win!

I have taken advantage of online courses from Australia and the United Kingdom, a long way from Kaukapakapa, Auckland, New Zealand, however the only thing stopping it from being my next door neighbours is the time difference! This latest course run by Mark Simpson from BoostlyUk , as I mentioned is five early mornings including my Saturday starting at 5am! however, time well invested, without a doubt!

If you wish to find out more about BoostlyUK and what they offer check them out here.

Unlocking the Benefits of Direct Booking

During this latest course, I have been learning about the benefits of AI - Artificial Intelligence, in fact when asked a month or two ago if I had ever used AI, I had no idea what they were talking about, and I had to google "what is AI?"

I have also been learning about the benefits of direct booking, as I have never used any of the booking services, and have only ever relied on my own marketing of A Deer Cottage, I am reassured that managing A Deer Cottage without any of these outside services, I am actually doing the right thing for me. I totally enjoy providing a personalised experience for my guests, and try to make the service as seamless as possible, I love knowing all the in's and out's of what I am doing, and I feel I can offer a closer communication if I am the primary contact. Direct booking not only offers better rates, it also enables me to establish direct communication with visitors to A Deer Cottage, allowing a more personalised and tailored stay. My reviews have always indicated that guests are happy with what we provide and this makes me very proud, every visitor suggestion I always take into consideration and do my best to please.

If you wish to book or find out more about A Deer Cottage please do so here

In Conclusion to this June Blog

Te Kani and I had a fabulous time visiting Diamond Harbour, spending time with our friends, a fabulous destination that effortlessly blends natural beauty, tranquility, and unforgettable experiences. From awe-inspiring landscapes to nostalgic walks and delightful adventures, this charming haven has it all, and we left with smiles on our faces.

It was lovely to return to the magic of Kaukapakapa, our Kaipara Harbour also offers a gorgeous and enchanting backdrop to A Deer Cottage, and if you wish to book for a personalised and rewarding getaway, as well as embracing the opportunity to explore our own hidden gem, you can do so through here.

Whether you seek solace in nature, cherish quality time with loved ones, or embark on a journey of self-improvement, the last few weeks of June has exceeded my expectations, it has been wonderful to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Until next time, take care and enjoy whatever life throws at you. With aroha Angela & Te Kani 🦌❤️🦌

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