Just before the CRAP weather and snow hit us, El Hubs and I had a Big Day Out in Christchurch. We dropped Zeph and Zsa Zsa off at puppy day care (despite them no longer being puppies) and off we headed. It was raining but that didn’t deter us. First stop was Ballantynes – the well-loved department store that survived the 2011 quake.

El Hubs was off to a business meeting so that left me with a couple of hours to enjoy my fav carrot cake and have a good old browse. I bought a cute little coin purse from Briarwood, an NZ brand, which I’ll show you in my next post. I was also this close to buying an ice-cream scoop server with a brightly coloured handle.

I checked out the Re:START mall as it’s known. There are over 50 retailers set up in brightly-coloured shipping containers with Ballantynes serving as the focal point. What I really like is the coffee shops set up in funky containers and also the landscaping in the mall.

Driving towards Ballantynes, we both had a hard time recalling what building used to stand on a particular street corner or where we were actually located. The cityscape has changed so much because quake-ravaged buildings have been raised to the ground, rubble has been cleared and new buildings have popped up. El Hubs attended a meeting in an entirely new building – the EPIC Centre, which is a centre for innovation-based companies in Canterbury. It opened in October 2012 and we have been busy trying to remember what on earth stood on this spot before the quake.

There’s a flurry of building activity going on and 58 international entries were received to design a new city space for Christchurch. The City Council has also been busy repairing or restoring around 30 community facilities. After not having been in Christchurch for quite some time, it was amazing to see how the city has changed. Sadly, many of the historic buildings didn’t survive and I wonder how the new buildings, which are more contemporary, will alter the city that I chose to live in. Well, I live about 40 minutes out of Christchurch but we both adored the pre-quake Garden City with its quaint, historic appeal.

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First stop – Ballantynes’ JB’s cafe and my fav carrot cake. Yummo!

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Cute penguin display outside in the Re:START mall.

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Some of the retailers in colourful shipping containers.

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Part of the Re:START mall.

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Really wanted the ice-cream scoop server on the right.

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Saw this book on display in Ballantynes – loved the title!

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