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Justine and her husband Chris love travelling the world together, and have been members with us since 2014. In that time, they have done an amazing 10 swaps and have travelled to some incredible places, including Australia, Switzerland and Greece. Their beautiful home is set in the heart of Gisborne's finest grape-growing area, renowned for producing “New Zealand's best chardonnay wine”.

Justine is a professional journalist and award-winning travel writer, having worked on both national and international news for The Gisborne Herald, the Saturday publication, the Weekender and many others. Much to our delight, she has written a fantastic piece all about her latest trip to London staying in Marion’s home. You can read her latest travel blog post below:

Stepping into this quintessentially London house felt like arriving home after a long journey. The owners were in Wales so their friendly neighbours helped me up the steps with my bags and unlocked the sturdy front door. After 35 hours of travelling from New Zealand, it was such a relief to finally be able to unpack and have a home base for a week . . .

I set out to explore the many storeys. On the ground level there's a splendid dining room; a spacious kitchen with a magnificent gas range, dishwasher and every imaginable appliance and utensil, and a sun-filled garden room opening onto a lush garden with outside seating and even a goldfish pond. I loved the wide weathered floorboards in the kitchen dating back to the early 1840s. 

Up one flight of stairs, the luxurious master bedroom has a large ensuite and dressing room with generous storage space which was thoughtfully cleared for our belongings.  Further up, exquisite stained-glass double doors open onto a beautiful lounge, sumptuously furnished with comfy couches and antique armchairs. Few homes in New Zealand  have such formal rooms these days so we made a point of sitting there and enjoying the refined atmosphere with its original plaster mouldings – plus the largest collection of CDs I’ve ever seen. 

 

Climbing higher, I came upon the sunny family bathroom with a bath and glass-walled shower. And then, a large bedroom belonging to the son in the family. On the very top floor, there’s a pretty pastel guest bedroom with a queen-sized bed and adjoining shower-room.  

 

While exploring the house, I became aware that we were living in the home of intrepid travellers. Their eclectic collection of treasures from all parts of the globe are dotted around the house. 

 

En route to the summit I also discovered a veritable library of maps and travel books which made my mouth water. Being a student of geography in a past life, I could have happily pored over these shelves for hours. 

Husband Chris is a keen cook, so he appreciated the fact there are spices, herbs and sauces that can be dipped into rather than having to start from scratch and buy everything. My daughter Bridget, who is London-based, loved the spaciousness, homeliness and access to a lovely garden after apartment living.  I relished the warmth and personality of the place, a much-loved home full of treasures. And the fact we saved an extraordinary amount of money by doing a Love Home Swap points swap.

 

The convenience of the location appealed to us all. A direct train link to Heathrow, just a few tube stops from everywhere we wanted to visit in London and easy walking distance to restaurants and pubs galore. 

 

Thank-you Love Home Swap for our eighth outstanding home swap experience. And thank-you Marion and John for entrusting us with your exceptional home.


If you’d like to visit Justine and Chris’s home in New Zealand, check out her place here

If you'd like to visit Marion's home in London, check yout her place here

For more information about Justine's work and articles, you can visit her website to read more. 

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