Arna Martin tells Catherine Smith what she loves about living in her neighbourhood.
Arna Martin has lived in Sandringham for seven years with her husband, Jeff Kennedy and daughter Lucy, 3. She runs her graphic design business from home and has recently set up an online children's clothing business, Lula, with fellow Sandringham resident Sheridan Miller.
"I'd lived all around Grey Lynn before this, but we used to drive across to the Spice Invaders on Sandringham Rd - it was such a cool name and it felt real. Now it's called the Khyber Spice Market but it still has the best spices.
"We'd looked at houses in other suburbs, but when we came in and saw this house we knew it would be perfect. This area is so family-friendly and we get a backyard and off-street parking for less than [you would pay in] Grey Lynn. There are nice wide streets with trees. A few streets are lined with feijoa trees, so you can go around the neighbourhood and pick them: the council has an initiative to plant fruit trees along streets so people can pick from them.
"Sandringham is so easy for transport with the trains just up at Kingsland, and Jeff can take a bus at the end of the street to the university where he works, He'd never take a car.
"It's really multi-cultural here - our neighbours are Tongan, the shops are Somalian, Indian, French, Iranian, you just get that lovely mix. We can get the best samosas at Khyber Spices and the chana masala (chickpea curry) is made fresh every day - we fill the freezer, it's dinner for under $10.
"There's a nice mix of young families here. Lucy goes to the Sandringham kindy, and there's the Plunket group and Edendale School within walking distance.
"My neighbour over the road has started a school orchard - she's really green-fingered and answers all my questions. She's got a vege collective where people swap their produce and go to each other's houses. We have a vege garden and my grandparents from Albany tell me things grow so well here because we have volcanic soil which is easy and rich.
"Jeff is a total cricket-head and he just loves walking up to Eden Park in the summer, that's his favourite thing. We walk across to Mt Eden and climb to the summit - you can just cut through the streets and you're at Mt Eden Rd or Balmoral Rd. We're only a 20-minute walk from Kingsland too.
"I like being so close to everything - we go to our favourite wine bar there, it's hidden away. There are great parks for Lucy - Gribblehirst is quite green and lovely and has a flying fox, or there's a little playground at the corner of Sandringham Rd and one by Good Shepherd School."
Arna and Jeff's picks
* Satya South Indian Cafe: 515 Sandringham Rd, ph (09) 845 8451.
The best south Indian food - the dahl puri are divine with potatoes and coriander.
* Voila Cafe: 573 Sandringham Road, ph (09) 846 8393
It's French so does great crepes plus savories, bread and pastries. It's very busy down there because they do good coffee too.
* Cut & Style: 533 Sandringham Rd
Jeff reckons this barber shop is the hub of the community. It's run by Iranians and they are the friendliest people. No appointments and $10 haircuts.
* Khyber Spice Market: 528-530 Sandringham Rd, ph (09) 815 2307
We'd come over from Grey Lynn for their spices and the samosas are only $1.50 and freshly made.
* Urban Flowers: 27 Sandringham Rd, Kingsland, ph (09) 849 4036
The owner does the most fantastic, different things with flowers - she's still worth getting to through all the roadworks around Eden Park.
* Papa's Pizza: 61 Sandringham Rd, Kingsland, ph (09) 849 4501O
pposite Eden Park, it's going to be madness there when the World Cup crowds find out about it. They do wholemeal bases and the most divine toppings. We'll walk up there and sit in the back garden.
* Winehot: 605 New North Road, Morningside, ph (09) 815 946
Not strictly Sandringham, but since we're a dry area this corner of Kingsland is ours. It's French, with a fantastic selection of wines, and you drink from the proper wine glasses without stems. People don't know about it, as it's tucked in a block of shops near the florist and a Thai restaurant.
* Capitol Cinema: 610 Dominion Rd, Balmoral, ph (09) 623 2000.
We can walk through the side streets to get to this and it's just been refurbished. This is how a cinema should be - all grand, with curtains and good films, and you can buy wine or coffee to take into the theatre.