Tuesday 31 July 2012

In which I try and snap out of being a grump

Time to get out the big ass carving knife and slice through my bad mood.

Tomorrow is the first day of the last month of winter, I have some time off coming up and, hopefully, a trip to organise. I have NOTHING to whinge about and everything to live for. I must, I must, I must get better at paying heed to these wise words:


Monday 30 July 2012

Parcels of goodness

I'm not sure how I managed to tip the karmic scales so spectacularly in my favour, but meeting Anita was the one of the higher points of my time in the UK.

This woman has the soul of an angel, reincarnated in cotton, lace and frills. And today she outdid herself with the four parcels that plopped through my letterbox.

The Animator is threatening a fatwa against our clothing exchange but then this is a man who thinks happiness comes in a t-shirt and jeans. Don't worry, I can manage him....

Sunday 29 July 2012

Today was made of....

  • Sunshine. After days of cold and rain, to have the golden orb smile upon us not one but TWO days in a row was a welcome change.
  • A much needed sleep in
  • Showing our rental property to prospective tenants as the lovely incumbents move on in a few weeks 
  • A long overdue cull of my three wardrobes into keep, sell and donate piles, and
  • The butt-sniffing Olympics, aka a gathering of the cutest little dogs you have ever seen in your life on Worser Bay Beach, organised by Digby's humans (check out Digby's cool blog here). Bristol was BESIDE himself with joy. As I type this, he is crashed out at my feet. I don't believe he will be surfacing for at least three days.

Saturday 28 July 2012

Canine love

For the second Saturday in a row, Bristol got to hang with his new girlfriend, a tiny Yorkshire Terrier named Ollie.

They make such a cute pair that the Animator couldn't resist supplying my favourite song as the soundtrack for today's playdate (apologies to Etta James).


Friday 27 July 2012

Last supper

Last night, some of my colleagues from the last contract invited me to an end of project dinner at this lovely Welly restaurant.

I sooo miss these guys, but that's one of the few downsides of being a contractor, always having to move on. Most of the time I welcome it but sometimes, when you strike that rarest of one-two combos - great people and a meaty project, the moving on can be draining.

But last night we ate, drank and caught up on five weeks worth of gossip. Good times.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

How freaking cool is this?

While waiting for the clock to tick over to the most delicious time of the day - 5.00pm - I stumbled upon this well cool blog.

New York photographer Ourit Ben-Haim snaps folk reading on the subway and records what they're engrossed in - everything from Star Wars to the Bible. Check out her blog here. 

You may be able to hear the clattering hooves of a hobby horse about now, but can I just say how HAPPY I am to see folk reading old school books? I cannot tell you on how many levels those hand-held reading devices get on my tits.

Ourit's blog makes me want to fly immediately to New York, probably my favourite city on the entire planet.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Small steps

Today loitered somewhere on the pointy end of the restless spectrum; things are afoot, some welcome, some not, and nothing seems to be happening as quickly I'd like.

Needing to burn off energy after work, instead of taking Bristol for his usual walk I chucked on my running shoes and we hit the streets. And he was magnificent. His previous owners may well have taken him running  because he knew exactly how to keep pace without dragging me or lagging behind. And, for once, he didn't feel it was his duty to pee on every single blade of grass in Mt Victoria. After we got home, he looked at me as if to say 'Why didn't you take me running with you months ago?'

I may not be solving the Euro crisis, or changing ridiculous gun laws or finding the cure for cancer but, by God, that 20 minutes I spent trotting next to my sweet little dog tonight made pretty much everything in my universe okay.


Monday 23 July 2012

Film Festival

The other day this invite plopped into my letterbox.

I would LOVE to go to the gala opening this Thursday but, dammit, it clashes with an end-of-project dinner at my previous contract which I've already committed to.

Sometimes it sucks to be me....


Sunday 22 July 2012

A year...

A year ago today, there was rain.

We packed our suitcases, dropped off a duvet and a kettle at our friend Gina's house, and clambered aboard a National Express bus for the two-hour ride to Heathrow and the 28 hour flight home.

Everything felt a bit odd: exciting but with the kind of slight stomach-churning you get when you're on the cusp of a big, scary adventure.

It's only been a year since we left Bristol but it feels like a lifetime ago. So much has happened and I feel swept away, grinning and willing, by the rhythm of our new lives.

I think back to the post I wrote this time last year, about Bristol, and how restrained I tried to be in not bagging the terrible economy, the horrid flat we lived in and how miserable I was. How my life has changed, how I have changed! When I got home, New Zealand poured me a big glass of perspective and I now realise how very fortunate I am to live in a country with few people to ruin the view, with a strong(ish) economy and better wages, where I can be a big fish in a small pond and own a house I could never afford anywhere else.

Of course, I miss my beautiful friends Anita, Frenchie and Yoma – I have yet to find such cool chicks here. And I will always yearn for the nearness of exciting European travel destinations. But as I get older, things like decent housing, a lack of crowds and the state of the economy get higher up the totem pole of importance.

As I type this, I am anticipating a return visit to the UK, which fills me with joy. But a year after I left, I can't believe my luck in landing in a place that fits me so snugly. I am very happy, and proud, to call Wellington home.

Saturday 21 July 2012

A pleasant way to end the week

Last night we ate pizza, drank wine and scoffed the Animator's chocolate and raspberry cheesecake with some of his lovely work colleagues.

And spent an inordinate amount of time marvelling at their two dogs - Buzz and Woody - the latter who kindly agreed to model his Toy Story outfit for us.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Inspirational Thursday

Which is really another way of saying I am on deadline for a freelance piece (for an English magazine, no less) which has clamped its jaws around blog time. And meal times. And bed time.

So today this is the best I can do..

((Pic credit: Source)

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Beautiful house

This month's Your Home & Garden Magazine uses my story on an amazing woman whose former home was razed to the ground. She was in hospital for four months, lost her beloved dog Gus and a lifetime's worth of possessions. Yet she was one of the happiest people I've ever met. And the house she rebuilt on the same spot was stunning.

Tuesday 17 July 2012


No words today because I am shattered but managed to squeeze in date night tonight and saw the movie Ted,  about the exploits of a potty-mouthed, stoned teddy bear. I laughed my arse off.

I guarantee you'll never look at cuddly toys the same again...

Monday 16 July 2012

Maybe my life ain't so bad afterall...

Today things were coming together nicely to launch me into fully-fledged depression.

I got soaked walking to work (as in wring-yourself-out wet), I had issues with my timesheet and computer, couldn't find the right words for a media release and forgot my carefully made lunch which meant I had to shell out gazillions for a falafel that tasted like soggy cardboard. The cherry on this rubbish day was a migrane that began squatting just behind my left eye.

When I went to use the bathroom, there was an old chap fixing the door. He told me he'd wait but I said I'd use a toilet on another floor. He, however, took that as a sign to start talking and within a few minutes, he'd told me he had come out of retirement because he was saving for his oldest son's rehab in Sydney for a heroin addiction. A few more minutes and I'd heard all about his other kids who seemed to attract trouble as easily as they breathed. And now this poor old dude, who should have been sat at home with his feet up in front of the fire, was having to haul arse around town fixing dodgy locks, just so his ungrateful spawn could carry on living their shitty lives.

I had to leave then, not because I may have inadvertently given him some advice along the lines of 'stop bailing them out and kick their sorry butts to the kerb', but because my bladder was bursting.

Please don't block my inbox with your hate mail but, yet again, I was reminded of why I am soooo lucky I don't have children. And from that point forward, my day got better...

(Pic credit: Google Images) 


Sunday 15 July 2012


It has been raining cats and dogs all day, but we have been snug at home with central heating, lashings of tea and red wine and, thanks to the Animator, a raspberry and apple crumble.

Further taking the edge off the miserable meteorological conditions is the Sunday Magazine which today ran  my cleaners feature. Now I just need the cheque to find its way into my bank account and all will be right with the world...


Saturday 14 July 2012


Every day is a series of small moments. Some whiz by so fast they barely register, while others remain forever fused to one's brain stem, to be taken out and polished at random times.

Today's moments included a dog walk in the rain, a visit from our accountant with unexpected good news (in your eye, tax man!), the drafting of a pitch for a travel junket (fingers crossed), a random conversation with a chap in the drycleaners, the writing of a couple of troublesome freelance pieces and the reassuring warmth of comfort food.

All pretty unspectacular things but sometimes it's good to stop and reflect on these small, seemingly insignificant moments that stitch together a whole day.

If you thought I would offer visuals of the day, you made the incorrect assumption that I would remember to cart my phone around with me. What I can show is the beloved canine, fluffy after getting soaked, working a mohawk Sid Vicious would be proud of.

Thursday 12 July 2012


When it comes to being a wuss, I am in the heavyweight division.

This evening, walking home from work, it was so cold, I was tempted to swaddle myself in a duvet and refuse to (ever) leave the house.

But tonight there is a meeting of the Mt Vic Vixens and there is red wine to be drunk and gossip to be caught up on. So I am off down the hill to our local. I may be some time...and may well return as an ice-block (or ice lolly for my British readers).

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Soooo over this winter

Tonight when I walked home from work it was light.

Later, when I hauled my butt out to exercise, it was still light.

Which means, drum roll, that Sping must be bouncing her way across the ether on her way Down Under.

I just wish she'd damn well hurry up and get here because I cannot tell you on how many levels this winter is getting on my tits.  

I know I'm not in Syria, or Afghanistan, or Greece; I do not spend my waking hours avoiding bullets or searching for food and shelter. Whinging about the weather is such a first world luxury. But I have never known a Welly winter as cold as this one.

If it doesn't get warmer soon, I fear I will seriously lose my shit.

(Pic: Google Images) 

Monday 9 July 2012

The Oscar for cool goes to...

It was only a month ago, but it feels like ages, that we were strolling the streets of San Francisco.

One day, while mooching around the eternally funky Castro district the Animator was drawn into a menswear shop by his usual obsession, sneakers.

Expecting the usual scenario of him drooling for 20 minutes and me losing the will to live, I was instead knocked out by the store's artwork. The chap behind the counter kindly wrote down the photographer's name and I have just spent 20 minutes doing my own drooling.

Audrey Heller takes miniature figurines and transposes them onto everyday objects. Below are some of her works and a link to her website.

The Animator, in his role as Minister of Finance, has us on somewhat of an austerity budget, given that we soon want to reduce our hours in the daily trenches to focus on other things. But I am very, very, very, very, very tempted to splash out on one of these. The problem is, I can't settle on one because I love them all....


(Audrey Heller photos)

Sunday 8 July 2012

Soup and tennis

When life hands you a cold, grey Sunday, and a heap of fat, red tomatoes from the farmers' market, there's only one thing to do: bust out the soup pan and have your way with them.

A pleasant distraction from the fact that I am spending yet another weekend chained to the laptop is the Wimbledon finals. It's about this time of year that I remember I actually quite like tennis. And Roger Federer.  His hair, however, is another matter.

As an aside, I just had to check the correct spelling of Wimbledon. Given that I once spent nine months sleeping on a friend's fold out couch in SW19 (the dodgy part) for the princely sum of 10 quid a week, you'd think I'd remember. I blame the cold....

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Saturday 7 July 2012

Strange golden orb in the sky

Today, for the first time in ages, the sun shone. We stood outside and looked at it quizzically, in much the same way those hidden Amazonian tribes do when they first see a mobile phone.

There was a sleep-in, a long, leisurely dog walk and breakfast with the Animator. Later, I spent a couple of hours interviewing a lovely family in Hataitai for Your Home & Garden Magazine, which I need to write this weekend. Although sometimes I want to climb off this crazy freelance treadmill, I am also stupidly grateful for the work and the window it gives me into other people's lives. Which is, I guess, one of the reasons I became a journalist in the first place....


Thursday 5 July 2012

Today was

1) Work
2) Rain
3) More work
4) Home
5) Run
6) More rain
7) Dinner
8) Freelance work
9) Bed

That is possibly the most the most boring thing I have ever written on this blog (and by God I've got some competition). But on a cold Thursday in July, it's the best I can do.

The one bright spot was this furry fellow who I love so much, I fear my heart might explode.


Wednesday 4 July 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

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

May your Independence Day celebrations be suitably festive...

(Pic Credit: Google Images)

Tuesday 3 July 2012


"You are the butter to my bread, you are the breath to my life." - Paul Child (Stanley Tucci) to Julia (Meryl Streep), Julie & Julia

Yes I know I am terribly, terribly late with this one but it doesn't mean it hasn't been hovering at the edge of my  thoughts.

Last week, the world lost writer and film-maker Nora Ephron, a woman who gifted us movies such as When Harry Met Sally, Heartburn, Sleepless in Seattle and, probably my favourite, Julie & Julia.    

Thanks to her New York wit and ascerbic observations, she nailed the human condition, making me laugh and cry and look at the world through something other than weary eyes.  If I had even half of Ephron's writing talent, I'd be a joyous woman.

Just as soon as I scale freelance mountain, I plan to reward myself with an Ephron marathon: just me, the couch, copious amounts of red wine and as many of her movies and books as I can get my hands on.  

Missed, but never forgotten...

(Pic credit: The Guardian) 

Monday 2 July 2012


The first day of a new contract is always the other side of exhausting; learning the rhythms and nuances of the workplace, figuring out where the loos are and what is expected of me.

Am all out of words, so instead you shall have these wise ones from the late Steve Jobs:  

Sunday 1 July 2012

And ode to the Car Boot Queen

Not an ode in the poetic sense, obvs, because I'm not that way inclined.

More a 'my beautiful, gifted, bargain hunting magpie friend' strikes again, with the arrival of three more parcels of goodness from the UK.

I'm afraid this glorious receiving of surprise packages may need to end soon because, and here's a phrase I never thought I'd type, I have too many clothes. Even after taking stuff to a local consignment store, my three wardrobes are still overflowing. And when I do snag the three-day a week gig, I won't need so many clothes.

But in the meantime, the Car Boot Queen has triumphed yet again. I am sooo in love with that blue Topshop coat and its sweet little peplum, I want to frame it, rather than wear it.


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