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The best...

...cafe: Addington Coffee Co-Op. (Eggs benedict!)

...hairdresser: Kirsty from Clipjoint and Co. Consistently good!

...library: New Brighton. Large, well-stocked, next to a great children's playground and the pier, and there's several fish and chips shops across the street.

...dog park: The Groynes. There's many fenced areas plus waterways for dogs to play in (labradors love this!).

...bakery: Michael's at Hillmorton. Berliner and chicken & brie pie for me, chocolate fudge and smoked pork pie for my husband, monkey faces for my children. Yum!

...cakes: Just Desserts at 33 Wordsworth st. Finally someone that makes a decent tiramisu in New Zealand! And, I'm yet to find a person who doesn't think that their chocolate cakes are fantastic.

...ethnic food shop: Bin Inn. Variety of grains, spices, flours, preserves, nuts etc.

...Saturday morning activity: stroll through Hagley park and its botanic gardens, followed by an hour of fun in Canterbury museum (it's free), followed by playtime in Hagley park playground (there's also a shallow pool for summertime!) and, bang!, kids are guaranteed to have a long afternoon nap.

...Sunday afternoon activity: Halswell miniature trains.

...swimming pool: Pioneer. It's got both a large shallow pool (with a wavemachine!) AND a lane pool, so people who are there to play don't get in the way of people who want to swim. Plus, there's a sauna and a hot tub.

...op-shop for finding clothes: Tasman Traders on Montreal street and Recycled Clothing Warehouse in Ferrymead. Both are large, warehouse-style shops that are especially handy for getting kids dressed without spending a fortune.

...op-shop for school uniforms: Savemart Hornby.

...op-shop for furniture: Salvation Army at 62 Poulson st and Ecoshop at 191 Blenheim rd. Both have a ton of garbage, but there are also gems, sometimes for an absolute steal! (Hardwood furniture, carpets, washing machines etc.)

...preschool: Tai Tapu Monkeys and Munchkins. High staff retention rates, dedicated and talented teachers, excellent playground, good variety of toys, warm and comfortable rooms.

...gym class: circuit at Pioneer, by Nic. She finds a helluva way to make getting sweaty fun!

So these are my favorites. What are yours?
 
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