Sunday 30 September 2012

10 questions I asked myself today

1) How long can I put off doing my GST before the tax man hunts me down and bludgeons me with the nightstick of compliance?

2) If it's spring, why does the southerly feel like it's coming straight off the Arctic Shelf? (Answer: because it probably bloody is).

3) On how many levels is it wrong to eat last night's dinner party cake for breakfast?

4) Where the feck has September gone?

5) Can I get through another week of doing three jobs without completely losing my shit?

6) Why is the tops to trousers/skirts ratio in my wardrobe so out of whack?

7) Who or what will lead me to contemplate homicide this week?

8) Is it acceptable to leave the house without a skerrick of makeup? Even if I'm just walking the dog?

9) How can my entire collection of teapots have disappeared? Actually, collection is too strong a word, but before I went to the UK I recall having two or three simple white teapots. Now there are none except my flash Ikea one, which is more decorative than functional.

10) Whose idea was it to fiddle with time? Yes, yes, yes, it's all very well to have oodles of light at the rump end of the day but is an hour's less sleep compensation enough?

(Pic Credit: Google Images)

Saturday 29 September 2012

Dinner with friends

My first job when I arrived in London more years ago than I care to remember was as Girl Friday for a funky film studio in Soho. One of my daily tasks was to fetch lunch for the producers and screenwriters and, at that time, the place du jour was Cranks, a mind-blowingly good veggie restaurant (and this was  before I had given up consuming flesh).

Having just arrived in the English capital, every street looked the same to me (long before the advent of GPS or Google Maps) and every day I would get hopelessly lost, arriving back with the lunch orders long after noon.

I was reminded of those few months today when I dusted off my copy of the Cranks cookbook; we have  friends coming for dinner whom I haven't seen since their wedding in March and, unlike me, Tab is a 'proper' veggie (ie she doesn't eat fish or non-vegetarian cheese) so I am about to turn this pile of root vegetables into this udon noodle dish.

 For afters, there will be raspberry and coconut cake. Wish me luck...

Thursday 27 September 2012

Five things that happened today

1. An uber crap start to the day when a brand new bottle of MAC foundation slipped out of my hand and smashed all over the bathroom floor. Thank God for the Animator who managed to salvage some of it  (and ensure furry little feet weren't cut).

2. I presented a web strategy to 20 people - and managed to bluff my way though their technical questions.

2. Saw some kind of evil bird (a crow, perhaps?) in the town belt pecking the bejesus out of a small, green, very dead parrot.

3. Dealt with a fractious colleague. Is it wrong to visualise pushing someone out the window?

4. I was asked to write an obituary for a very dear and gentle man who was responsible for  employing/mentoring a young Animator. I am honoured yet concerned that I will do his memory justice. I haven't written an obit since I was at journo school so the concern is not merely imagined.

5. Because having two jobs isn't enough, I have just accepted a part-time contract that I plan to fit in between the hours of 11.00pm and midnight.


Wednesday 26 September 2012


Yes I did when my friend Vhari told me about this sign she spotted in the foyer of Wellington Public Library.

Turns out it's not so anonymous afterall...

Tuesday 25 September 2012

A break in the traffic

I won't lie to you, the last few weeks have felt a little, how should I put it, arsey.

Blame the change in seasons or the tides or the fact that PMS has attached itself like a permanent limb to my body, but whatever the reason, since we got back from Shanghai, my happy account hasn't exactly been bulging.

But then I spent a weekend with one of my besties, Lil, on the magical island that is Waiheke. For non NZ readers, the Heke is one of the small islands that spreads across the Waitemata Harbour like a nautical necklace. I've only been there once - a few years ago when I was in Auckland for work and a journo buddy and I had a day to kill - but have never stayed there before. As luck would have it, Lil owns a couple of holiday rentals on the island, so it seemed rude not to get her some publicity by including them in the story I was commissioned to write.    

The fabulous Auckland tourism PR had set us up with all kinds of wonderful, including a six course degustation dinner at a winery, wine and olive oil tasting, lunch at another winery (with views that only a fistful of places on this planet could compete with) and archery. We also had an hilarious tarot/psychic reading at the island's Saturday market where I discovered that I am apparently going to work for CNN in New York!

Lil is one of life's special people, she's generous, successful, driven and laughs like a drain. She's just started another business which deserves to be as successful as the others and, somewhere in amongst the supping of wine and hours of gossiping, we managed to devise a few initiatives which I know will work brilliantly for her.

I only need to look at the pics below and my stress-knotted shoulders immediately drop a few centimetres. Thanks to Lil, and the island, the rough edges of my life have once again been rubbed smooth.


Monday 24 September 2012

What I'd do for a story...

Yesterday Sunday Magazine ran my piece on the slightly surreal experience of being a mother for a weekend. Click here to read.

Speaking of weekends, the one I just spent on Waiheke Island was fabulous. Thanks for asking. Visual evidence to follow.

Thursday 20 September 2012

No blog for a few days

It's been a stupidly busy week with deadlines in both the day gig and freelancing.

But tomorrow I fly to Auckland to meet my lovely friend Lil and we will catch the ferry over to Waiheke Island where I have managed to blag a media trip.

We will be staying at Lil's gorgeous holiday accommodation (so I can give her some publicity) and, thank god, the PR's itinerary features the words 'wine tasting', 'eating' and 'having fun' several times. Lil and I will also be gossiping and laughing until our tongues fall out of our heads.

There's nothing like a girly weekend to give the blues a good kicking.

Am loving today's visual from Tumblr; I only have to look at this adorable dog's face and it makes the events of the past week melt like butter into hot toast.      

See you on Monday and here's to a great weekend...

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Me old China...

A few more pics from our recent media trip to Shanghai.

One story has been written - three to go.

Note, the first pic is the view from the window of our hotel. Not too shabby, eh...

Tuesday 18 September 2012


Baby Bristol tries - and fails - to conquer his fear of tiny waves at the beach last Sunday, bless him....He never fails to make us smile.

Monday 17 September 2012

There are still no words

Two years ago, when I was editing dreary documents for a horrible financial services company in Bristol, a bloke at my work flung himself off the third floor of our enormous building. I wrote about the shock of it here. 

Yesterday, a 20-something employee at my current contract did a similar thing, jumping from the top of our building onto the street.

The cloak of sadness has wrapped itself around my colleagues today, as we struggle to contemplate why and how such a thing could have happened.


Sunday 16 September 2012

One year

A year ago today we went unconditional on the fourth house we've ever bought.

This time last year, I wrote with excitement about the challenge of renovating the four-bedroom, two bathroom Mt Vic villa (post here).

Twelve months down the track, we have done all we need to and this place is now truly our home.

Do I love it? Do I heck. But then there are many things to gush about:
  • how light, airy and bright it is, even on the grimmest winter day
  • how all our furniture and UK collectables blended in seamlessly
  • the distinct vision we had for this house that we never wavered from
  • how close it is to the city, so I can walk everywhere; sometimes whole weeks go by where I don't set foot in our car
  • how, even thought it's only been a year, it feels as comfy as a beloved old cardigan.
This house is, in fact, in danger of turning us into hermits. Come the weekend and all we want to do is pull the drawbridge up behind us (metaphorically speaking, we don't actually have a drawbridge although how cool would that be?) and relax in our wee haven. 

Which isn't that good for a lifestyle journalist (numerous Welly bars and cafes may have come and gone without me noticing) but I'd rather be tucked up cosily at home with my two favourite boys than out on the lash. Still, as a very wise women I interviewed this week for a NEXT Magazine article said to me, "Everything happens for a reason and when you're ready to accept it". Having moved several rungs down the slum ladder with our last place in Bristol, I was more than ready to live somewhere beautiful. 

Regular readers will know that the last year has, at times, been pretty tough; but we made it and for that I remain ever grateful. Of course, the biggest shout-out has to go to the Animator for his dedication and skill in making this a reality. Am pleased we get to showcase his hard work in Your Home & Garden Magazine soon (photoshoot in November). 

Some during/after reno pics below: 


Saturday 15 September 2012

New season's smells

By now, halfway through the first month of Spring, I would have expected the cold and wind to be a mere blimp in the rear vision mirror.

Not so. Spring's equinoctial gales are upon us and yes, they are doing my head (and my hairdo) in. But tonight on our evening trot around the neighbourhood, my nostrils were tanged by the  smell of the season's first barbecue. Summer cannot get here quickly enough for this girl.

Later, there was this quirky DVD we picked up in Shanghai, which was worth it just to hear the ever wonderful Kristin Scott Thomas say 'arse' in a cut-glass English accent. Recommended.

Friday 14 September 2012


You know that horrible feeling when your heart and throat become intimately acquainted?

It's happened to me on various roller coasters, when I was 13 and involved a car accident and in a dark London street one night. It happened again today when I was walking Bristol in the town belt and an ENORMOUS dog (more of a horse, really), came barrelling out of the undergrowth and launched himself at my gorgeous baby.        

Being the over-protective dog mama that I am, I tried to grab the beast but he was too fast and swerved past me. I think the 'F' word may have made one or two appearances as I ran to insert myself between the two dogs. Fortunately the black dog only wanted to play and despite being about a gazillion times smaller than him, Bristol gamely joined in the canine romp. I also played nicely with the owner, chatting about how much her genetically-modified pet eats but have to admit to cringing when Bristol was 'rolled' by his playmate a few times.

But he was fine and once again, he made me so proud of the way in which he interacts with all manner of people and dogs. My love for my dog has officially reached the idiot stage, where I just stand and smile at him like a loon.      


Thursday 13 September 2012

Two Your Home & Garden Magazine stories

The Sept issue of YH&G Magazine features two of my stories.

And, thanks to the magic of Dropbox, you can read them here without having to stump up $7.60.

Kapiti Coast house

and the second story, Brooklyn house

You're welcome.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Puppy love

Today my finger hovers over the 'nothing to report' button.

Work was done, coffee with good friends was had, the woofer was walked and I was ever grateful that there are only 16 working days till the end of my current contract.

So instead, you shall have photos of adorable puppies from the Guardian. My heart swells at these tiny bundles of fluff. Others of my gender go weak at the knees for small children; they, as you know, leave me cold. But show me a puppy, any puppy, and I'm reduced to a gooey mess.

(Pic credit: Tumblr) 

Tuesday 11 September 2012


Today I spent two hours in a draughty old hall in Kilbirnie, saying goodbye to a former colleague who died suddenly last Thursday.

I sat next to David for 7-1/2 months at the last PR contract. He was sweet, gentle and the most generous person I've ever met. Almost every time I left my desk, I'd return to find chocolates or lollies on my keyboard. In the end, I had to ask him to refrain because I was putting on so much weight. Several of the speakers at today's service mentioned how the GDP of Belgium would dip now that David wasn't buying their chocolate.    

An intensely private person, David hated crowds and fuss: today he got both. I just hope he could see how much light he brought to so many people's lives.

Rest in peace, lovely man....  

Monday 10 September 2012

San Francisco food story

The September Taste Magazine is out now and features my six page spread on the food walking tour we did in the Mission District back in June.

And, hark at me being all technical, I've just figured out how to use DropBox to upload a pdf onto the blog so you, dear reader, get to read the actual piece, not just see snaps of it.

Click here for San Fran food story

Saturday 8 September 2012

What we did last week

As promised, here is visual proof of how we spent the last seven days.


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