Wednesday 30 November 2011

A thing of beauty

HUGE project to deliver at work, so late nights and no lunch hours makes Shazzy a tired girl.

Too shattered to write much tonight, so these adorable pics will have to do. Readers should expect to see lots of this beautiful face over the coming months; you may wish to ask for your money back if that's not why you swing by this blog.

But seriously, take a good look at that adorable face and into those melty brown eyes and you too will find yourself stranded on canine love island without a ferry home.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Like friendship crack

To say I've missed my UK mates since I've been home is to baste in the sour juices of understatement.

But tonight I was reminded of what friendship looks like when I shared plates of tapas and glasses of rose with Mary and Susan, former colleagues and two of the dearest women on the planet.

Susan has now decamped to the far north to grow veggies and live out her Good Life fantasies, while Mary and I don't catch up nearly enough. But when the three of us manage to align our diaries, we end up having the best time in the world. Tonight Mary let slip that her new photography book, which is published in June, features a dedication to myself and Susan, which must surely be up there as one of the nicest things anyone has ever said/done.

Call me a sentimental old fool but do you ever get the feeling that sometimes, just sometimes, you're in the right place at exactly the right time?

Monday 28 November 2011


Two parcels from the UK's Carboot Queen = a stunning dress and black top, colourful Ted Baker number, a tailored grey coat and these vintage wooden shoe lasts = gorgeousness = made my day.

The fact that Bristol wanted to pose alongside them - priceless.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Sundays in the kitchen

Having been starved of a decent kitchen for so long, I am now making up for it, tearing through bags of flour and sugar faster than should be allowed by state law.

Today's count included a tray of chocolate brownies, which will be shared with the boys at work, and this raspberry coconut cake which was made in honour of my in-laws, Joyce and Pat, who came over today to admire their son's handiwork and to fall under Bristol's spell.

Later, a coriander and lime udon noodle dish successfully made the transition from the gorgeous Cranks cookbook to our dinner plates.

Welcome back Sundays in the kitchen, you've been gone far too long...

(Photo credit: ODT and Google Images)

Saturday 26 November 2011

Relaxing Saturday

New house, new dog, new job: no wonder I am marinating in tiredness. Today, however, was like being handed a ticket to an amusement park ride known as 'relax and enjoy'. There was some big ticket item shopping (DVD player, TV for the kitchen), a bit of socialising (introducing Bristol to our tenants), some picture hanging and painting. We cast our vote in the national elections and salivated over recipes in my ever-growing collection of cook books.

And then there were these beauties straight out of the garden: anyone who knows me knows I favour white flowers above all else, and these delicate roses make me smile every time I see them. They seem particularly taken with the vintage Dundee Marmalade pot I paid two quid for at a carboot sale in Cheddar in the UK (yes, as in the birthplace of the cheese) which now has pride of place in the upstairs bathroom.

Friday 25 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

To our "American" dog Molly. And her parents, Doug and Suzi.

Hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving...

Thursday 24 November 2011


Dear nice man on the checkout at Moore Wilsons,

Thank you for your infinite patience when I ended up in your lane tonight. I imagine you’ve done something terrible to have earned such a karmic arse kicking.

First there was the bottle of Thai fish sauce I managed to spill all over the place. The answer to how long it will take to get the nasty smell out of your shirt is, I fear, never. You also tried not to look angry when a lengthy rummage in my handbag produced several used tissues, pens, receipts, brochures for film festivals long past and hair ties; everything, in fact, but my wallet.

You seem like a terribly nice chap and I promise never to darken your checkout again.


Shazzy the Clumsy

Wednesday 23 November 2011


Have I mentioned how good it is to finally have a decent kitchen and to have liberated my cooking paraphernalia from the rental property/storage?

Tonight I whipped up this strawberry shortcake – ostensibly to use up a surplus of berries whose best days were some time ago, but also to see if my Martha Stewart hat still fits (it does).

The healthy eating plan and I are about to fall out. Big time.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Making himself at home

Second day at the new contract and I am EXHAUSTED. So doggie pics will have to suffice.

He's only been with us four days but already Bristol has made himself comfortable and found a number of favoured sleeping spots (most involving large windows and sunshine).

Last night he tucked himself between the pillows on the spare bed. Could he get any cuter?

Monday 21 November 2011

Bad photographer

The Animator was outraged at the poor quality of my photos yesterday, so decided to take some more. Whatevs...

Must admit (but not to him) that a bit of lighting does make a difference...

Sunday 20 November 2011

The kitchen

The renovation monster still has its jaws firmly clamped around our evenings and weekends, but the house is slowly coming together.

Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that tiles still need to be grouted, walls need to be painted, pictures hung and the building detritus that seems to have taken root in one corner of the room needs to be removed. But today we finally got to hang the lovely herb container I brought from Bristol Ikea and filled it with bunches of fragrant coriander and mint from the farmer's market. When I go downstairs shortly to make a Thai seafood curry, I will snip off chunks to throw into the wok. Isn't it nice when a plan comes together?

Saturday 19 November 2011

Welcome to Bristol

Yesterday we stopped being an old married couple with an almost completed house and two crazy busy lives and started being a trio.

This scruffy little bundle of grey fluff joined the Stephenson/Haughey whanau at around 5.00pm when we picked him up from the vet where he'd had his manhood removed. As I type this, he's sleeping next to me in his soft new bed, making the cutest snoring/snorting noises.

After 18 months of being doggy free, it feels good to open our home and our hearts to a four-legged bubs.

Following much deliberation, we settled on the name of Bristol, in homage to our last place of residence and one of our favourite cities...

Friday 18 November 2011

Long distance whanau

Yesterday we got to spend the evening with some of our favourite people - the Animator's sister Brenda and her partner Tom, who were down from Auckland.

We don't see nearly enough of these guys and once the dust settles on the year, we are most certainly going to dip into our overflowing cup of airmiles and fly north for a weekend.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Leaving drinks

As a PR contractor, I enter an organisation for three-six months (I NEVER take longer contracts), learn a few new skills, hopefully add some value and make a few friends.

Today I finished my first contract back in NZ and after work last night we sat in the glorious sunshine and said our goodbyes. Ironically, my new contract, which starts on Monday, is in the same building as this last gig, so I'm sure I'll see many of these shiny happy faces in the lift. Maybe it's not goodbye afterall...

Tuesday 15 November 2011

My Tuesday night TV crush

Even though I was living in the UK when the first series of Downton Abbey screened, that particular train somehow, and carelessly, missed my stop.

But I have been riveted to the second series – quality writing and acting, deliciously dipped in a broth of Upstairs Downstairs. If I can ever escape the renovation, I will buy the DVD of the first series and play catch up.

Dame Maggie Smith, of course, gets all the best lines; I want to be her when I grow up.

Monday 14 November 2011

A room with a view

The house is slowly coming together and, without blowing our trumpet too loudly, it's starting to look as though it's got more than it's fair share of pretty.

I promise visuals over the next wee while but this was all I was able to manage today - it was my last 'working from home Monday' (sob) and with tiredness stitched into every muscle, I was barely able to leave my desk. But it isn't a bad view, as it goes, and these glorious roses are from our garden (yes, I'm more a white than a pink/red rose chick, but they smell divine, so leave me alone).

And, as you can see, the sun came out and made everything look bloody fantastic.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Moving coma

I have no idea what is happening in Italy or what the new Greek Prime Minister's name is. Not a clue as to what's making headlines in US politics or the Middle East, letalone little ole Aotearoa (they tell me there are national elections here two weeks - please don't ask me who my local candidates are).

Firmly embedded in the moving bubble, my life currently consists of moving, packing, unpacking and cleaning. I have no idea where certain items are and there are still boxes to be unpacked, pictures to be hung and, critically, stuff to be sanded, tiled, painted and carpeted. But we are in the house, and for that I am stupidly grateful.

Now, because I agreed to take on extra work for the new contract, I am about to chain myself to the laptop and edit/re-nose a 36 page document. I should be unpacking. I should be trying out the new oven/washing machine/gas hob, etc. Oh well, there's always the window between 10.00pm and midnight...

Hopefully normal transmission will resume shortly...

(Pic: Google Images)

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Stop this week, I want to get off

When you are in hell, keep going.”

Winston Churchill

Yes, I know I'm not being forced to go down a mine, or to spend hours in a sweat shop. I'm not in Liberia, or Kabul or even Greece.

My hell this week is being stuck on a goddam hamster wheel that is spinning wayyyy too fast.

I have my day job, a couple of freelance mag pieces to finish and now my manager from the new contract has given me a stack of writing and editing that can't wait for my official start in 10 days. Did I mention these documents are super urgent?

We're also in the midst of finishing the renovation, moving into the house (this Friday), moving our furniture from our rental property into the new place and doing a major clean of said rental property.

Fate has cocked its leg at me and right now, I'm not coping very well.

Blogging may be limited over the next few days as my mental breakdown kicks in. The next time we meet, I'll be in the new house...

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Tuesday 8 November 2011

A red letter day

Today was the first day I haven't had to wear tights or swaddle myself in a coat. Thank Sweet Baby Jesus summer is finally here.

Apologies to my Northern Hemisphere friends, but I am now off to bathe in a pool of smug.

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Monday 7 November 2011

How other people live

So I know my whinge meter is currently set to maximum, but we are both SICK TO DEATH of spending every waking moment renovating that bloody house.

Yesterday I was allowed a few hours off for a friend's milestone birthday (that's Pamela on the far left) where I got to wear a lovely sparkly top, vertiginous heels and sit in a garden bar in glorious sunshine. So that's how normal folk spend their leisure time!

But after my allotted two hours were up, I headed back to the house for more painting. Joy.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Getting there

It's taken forever but, bit by bit, the house is starting to come together.

Which is as it should be, given that we move in Friday. I forsee some very late nights ahead...

Saturday 5 November 2011

You can take the girl out of the 80s

This whole renovation gig is seriously messing with my workout regime. But this morning I whacked on the running shoes and headed for Welly's Basin Reserve which, rather gloriously, I had to myself (unlike the overcrowded waterfront).

The sun came out, I was trotting along at a good pace and then my iPod shuffle found this beauty which had a revival of sorts in the UK last year.

While this song takes me places from my youth I don't necessarily want to revisit (like sneaking into ropey old Lower Hutt nightclub, Candyos, while underage), it also makes me want to dance madly around the room. I'd defy anyone to listen to this and not get a wiggle on...

Friday 4 November 2011

New opportunities and missing old mates

A world without new and exciting opportunities is not a world I’d like to live in.

So when one of my agencies called a few weeks back about a new contract, I jumped at the chance. Two interviews and a certain amount of hoop jumping later, and the six month gig is mine! I start in two weeks and am so glad for the opportunity to not only learn some new tricks but also to replenish the sinking pit that is currently my bank account.

But while the universe gives with one hand, it takes away with the other: as I write this, some of my favourite Bristol drinking buddies will be cracking open their first bottle of red; girls, I miss our legendary Friday night benders so much it physically hurts. Hope you have a wonderful, wonderful night and think of me 12,000 miles away, thinking of you….

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Malmo travel story

I haven't quite decided how actively I want to continue pursuing travel writing, particularly given the six month PR contracts that don't allow me to rush off at the drop of the proverbial, and the fact I need a break from climbing on and off planes.

But I still have a few pieces rattling around; one of them, on Malmo in Sweden, was used by Wellington's Dominion Post today. Here's the link...

Tuesday 1 November 2011

I hate to begin the month with a whinge, but....

Yesterday someone finally turned on the sun and in the space of a few hours I saw FOUR blokes with bare feet – two in the supermarket, one walking down the street and one in the bank (WTF?)

And we're not talking hobos or homeless folk but regular men who were obviously so confused by the appearance of the strange golden orb in the sky that they mistook the city for the beach.

I will admit that Kiwis are starting to dress better, but the can't-be-arsed choice of attire is still very much the default setting. I once went to a wedding where the guests looked as though they had either just rolled out of bed or wandered in from the vege patch. True story.

But not wearing shoes whilst walking around town? Not only is it incredibly unhygienic it's also a whole universe of wrong.

Seriously people, is it too much to ask you to put your frickin shoes on?


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