The long weekend
Labour weekend is never the relaxing holiday everyone tells me it should be. While most people go away, we see it as the weekend for wiping away the tell-tale signs of winter and planting the seeds for summer living. And that means gardening, spring cleaning and new homeware shopping. Fortunately, the Albany Lifestyle Centre has everything we need in one place, making “doing things around the home” a breeze.
Saturday morning starts in the garden, completing final prep for planting later today. Sabrina and I drive down to the Mitre 10 MEGA garden centre at the Albany Lifestyle Centre. It’s continued to expand over recent times and, in my opinion, has become the best garden centre on the North Shore.
We pack our trolley with three varieties of tomato plants (Cocktail, Roma and Steak), two of cucumbers (Lebanese and Telegraph), a mix of red, yellow and green pepper plants, spring onions and a mix of lettuce types. This should see us through summer for fresh salads. We grab a bag of premium garden mix, a liquid fertiliser, an all-purpose weed killer and a number of garden stakes of various sizes. We are all set and load the car.
It’s a beautiful day – and after all you shouldn’t plant in full sunlight – so we stop into Columbus Coffee for lunch. It’s a brand we’ve both known and loved for many years, having always enjoyed their food and coffee. This time is no exception, with my Cajun chicken burger being particularly good. There’s something nice about sitting outside amongst the plants watching people go about their shopping.
After a successful first day of planting, weedkilling and mowing, the garden is starting to take shape. Day two is focused on outdoor cleaning. Once again we kick the day off down at Albany Lifestyle Centre and Mitre 10 MEGA. Only this time we are in the hardware section. I start with pool ‘chemicals’ and salt – who knows we may have the first swim of the season this weekend. With some good advice from one of the service people, I buy a big pack of Spray and Walk Away to deal with the green paths around the house and the mould growing on parts of the roof. This stuff is amazing.
While I was outside dealing with the pool, paths, windows and roof, Sabrina has made good progress inside, cleaning walls, ceiling and hard-to-reach places. We go to bed that evening exhausted but feeling very satisfied with how much we’ve achieved.
The extra day – Monday – starts at the Albany Lifestyle Centre again. This time upstairs, strolling around the many furniture and homewares stores. It’s a tradition that we buy something new for the house to mark the start of summer. This year we’ve focused on setting up a little reading (or Netflix watching) corner in the lounge where the sun hits in the afternoons. We find a big and very comfy armchair at The Importer. It’s a sand colour which gives it that modern, relaxed sense of luxury. Just a few stores down, at The Design Store, we find an amazing coffee table and a reading lamp with a shade that matches the chair.
We grab a take-out coffee from Columbus and head home.
It’s been a long and tiring weekend but ultimately very satisfying. I collapse into the new reading chair, feeling ready for summer thanks to everything we achieved this weekend. And I think about how convenient it is having everything in one place at the Lifestyle Centre, as I drift off to a peaceful sleep.