Friday 31 May 2013

Welly bar on Forbes site

My second blog post for May - on a fabulous new Welly bar - features on the Forbes travel site, Startle.

Click here to read 

(Pic Credit: C.G.R Merchants & Co)

Thursday 30 May 2013

Your Home & Garden Magazine

The June issue runs one of my stories, of a cute wee cottage in a hilly fold of Khandallah.

Click here to read.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

What happens when you're a sticky beak

This morning, while waiting to meet a client in a cafe, I almost spat my coffee across the room when I heard the following conversation between two blokes at a neighbouring table. They were probably in their mid 30s, good looking and wearing clothes that, even from a distance, you could tell were good quality.

Bloke one: "Laura was fine about me having a wife, but she went ballistic when she found out about Kim."
(Presumably Kim are Laura are his mistresses).

Bloke two: "That's nothing. When my last girlfriend found out I was seeing three other women, she grabbed my iPhone and threw it out the car window. I was not impressed with that..."

In between dating most of the greater Wellington metropolitan region, and swanning about in cafes for large chunks of the day, I'm surprised these blokes have any time to sustain the elevated tax bracket they so obviously occupy.

I know how this dog feels: this is exactly what I wanted to do after hearing their conversation. And yes it makes me sound like my mother, but sometimes I despair for the human race...    

(Pic credit: Tumblr) 

Monday 27 May 2013

House guests

The Wonder Dog cosies up to Syd, our visitor from the UK.

Syd's step-sister Anita is the woman behind my Parcels of Goodness (aka clothing packages from the car boot) and one of the lovely friends I made during my 14 months in Bristol. Syd is travelling the world before starting Uni in Sept and although her timing is a little off (as in, NZ is about to put on its winter coat. And boots. And gloves), it's been fun having a piece of South West England - and, by extension, Anita - with us.


Saturday 25 May 2013

Playing Mum

Today, in-between wrangling work, grocery shopping and a trip to the vege market, I was required to play Mum to little Humphrey while his parents had some much needed time-out.

Saying Bristol and Hump adore each other is like saying the Royal Family is a little elitist; but, holy mother of God, they are exhausting. From the moment Humphrey arrived, the pair of them have been jumping over each other, using the downstairs rooms as a circuit and trying to break the land/speed record for climbing stairs.

There was a short nap and then Round II kicked off. It is currently in full flight and, as I type, various bundles of fur are tumbling over my feet and dive-bombing off the bed.

Tomorrow we have a friend from the UK arriving for a few days; the house looks like a tip and after supervising these canine hi-jinks all day, I no longer have the will or the energy to put it to rights. Wine O' Clock cannot come too quickly today.

Some images of the terrors:

Sadly, this was only too fleeting:


Friday 24 May 2013


I know there are worse things in the world - war, famine, Justin Bieber - but when I don't get out for a run, my whole being is thrown out of whack.

My recent workload - and the fact that the day has its PJs on by 5.30pm - means it's now too cold and dark to run after work. No run for a few weeks = Shazzy close to a slaying rampage.

Today, one of my working from home days, the sun came out and I was determined to run until my legs burned and my heart felt ready to pop out of my ribcage. And, later, to embrace the runner's high that, I swear, gets better with age.

Alas, the time management gods conspired against me: there was waiting around for the phone guy, two deadlines to meet and about eight million emails to send and respond to. The day slipped through a crack in the floorboards.

I finally got out around four, as the shadows started to lengthen and there was no longer a need for sunglasses. Bristol and I ran up the hill, feeling the familiar but good burn (me, not him) and about 10 minutes we met a friend and her dog, so we stopped to chat. Five minutes on and we ran into another of the Mt Vic Dog Walking Crew we hadn't seen for weeks; she had injured her foot so couldn't run so we ended up walking. It was lovely to catch up, but it meant saying goodbye to the runner's high and the calories I'd hoped to burn.

Oh well, there's always tomorrow...

Today's visuals are of the Wonder Dog who is surely better for the soul than all forms of exercise combined.  


Thursday 23 May 2013

A moment's violence

After a long, hard day at the adjective coalface, and still more when I got home, I was badly in need of a laugh. This item from the Guardian made me roll around the floor until my eyes leaked.

If you've the time, and also need a giggle, check out the comments underneath the story. Some of the subtitling clangers are priceless, such as the late Kim Jong-Il who was said to be "masturbating in public" or someone who was described as "lacks a daisy call", And then there was the subtitle that had Kofi Abbey National (a British bank) instead of Kofi Annan attending an event.  

Click here to read 

(Pic Credit: The Guardian)

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Cry the Beloved Country

Remember back in March I interviewed one of NZ's pre-eminent photographers, a woman who's been called a "living Kiwi icon"?

The June issue of North & South Magazine, out last week, published the piece. Am quietly chuffed about getting four whole pages in N&S.

Click here to read.

(Pic credit: Ans Westra and Stuff) 

Monday 20 May 2013

No words

First day at new contract. Writing to do for old contract. Interviews to set up for corporate newsletter I've just been commissioned. Two deadlines about to crash over me.

Tired and a teensy bit over it. No time for words so these gorgeous photos from the lovely Animator will have to do.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Adult eating disorders

Today's Sunday Star Times Magazine ran my feature on disorded eating in adult women. It was the cover story (insert happy dance here).

Click here to read.

(Pic credit: Sunday Magazine) 

Saturday 18 May 2013

Strange but beautiful

Today I drove out to Wellington's blustery south coast to talk to a man who makes art from the corpses of animals. As I sat amongst boxes of bones, a fossilised cat and rat on the wall behind me, and this chap explained how his socio-political leanings inform his artistic endeavours, I was reminded how honoured I am to do a job that allows me to pull back the covers of people's lives and peek underneath.

In between wrangling three interviews into coherent copy, there was just enough time to take the Hound into the Town Belt. This view of Welly never, ever fails to take my breath away.

Friday 17 May 2013

Herein lies madness

A day of interviewing architects - the first about their work rebuilding an iconic Wellington bar after it was razed by fire not one but three times, the second with a brilliant chap responsible for the fit-outs of almost every bar, restaurant and cafe worth visiting in the Capital, Auckland, Melbourne, Tokyo and Dubai.

I now have to transcribe hours of tape and write the pieces. There was also the setting up of another interview tomorrow for a different magazine and the signing of a contract for a part-time marketing role I start on Monday. Did I mention I am still writing for the place I contracted to for the past six weeks? And I have six pieces from the Seoul media trip still to write.

As a freelancer, it's great to have an excess of work, rather than too little, but my sanity window is fast closing and I fear making it through the next few months.

On the upside, today I scored a media trip to Melbourne for a long weekend which hopefully my lovely mate Doriette - from my London days who now lives in Sydney - will join me on. I haven't seen D for about four years and can only imagine how tired our jaws are going to be after three days of non-stop catching up. Now I just have to organise the bluddy thing....

If anyone needs me, I'll be face down in a vat of red wine.

(Pic credit: Melbourne Tourism)

Thursday 16 May 2013

Floral goodness

This is what 100 bucks looks like.

Remnants from last week's photo-shoot, thankfully paid for by the magazine. The brief was for green and white, with a pop of something from the coral whanau to go with the top I was wearing.  

The more observant among you will notice that the water should have been changed days ago; probably why they're starting to turn. Yet they still dominate the room, demanding to be adored as much as the day I brought them home from the shop.

And yes, I guess that answers the question about the kind of woman I am - one who has the time and inclination to photograph flowers but not to change the water.    

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Eeek, that's me in the paper!

Apologies to those reading the travel section of this morning's Dominion Post newspaper; hope you didn't spit out your cornflakes when you got to page 12.

I knew they were going to mention my win in the Cathay Pacific Travel Writer of the Year Awards but I had no idea it would be so, well, big.

Click here to read 

Tuesday 14 May 2013

A love letter to DO

I'm always slightly wary of passing on those feel-good, hippy sayings that plop into my inbox with increasing regularity. Not because I think my cold, cynical heart is too good for them - even though, let's be honest, they often fall on the wrong side of twee - but because of the contrary tendencies that lurk in the dark crevices of my mind. Thanks to them, I often find myself breaking the onward electronic chain, unable and unwilling to hit the forward button.  

But today a friend sent me this and, with my defences battered by the remnants of last week's flu and a workload that threatens to pull me under, it felt right to share. You're welcome.  

Imagine on your deathbed you were able to see two films of your life: One showed highlights of what you actually achieved. And then the other showed highlights of what you could have achieved with your ability, your talent, the opportunities that came your way etc.
It would probably bring you to tears to know what else you could have done. The heights you could have climbed. The people you could have met. The races you could have run. The ideas you could have made happen. The change you could have made.
If only when you had come to the edge, you hadn’t taken that step back to safety. If you had just kept going after failing that one time. If only you had believed in that crazy dumb idea enough to tell the world about it.
Yes, if only you hadn’t, well, played so damn small.
- David Hieatt. Co-founder of the DO lectures and Hiut Denim

(Pic credit: Tumblr)

Monday 13 May 2013

Auckland weekend

Last month, you may recall, we spent a weekend oop north on Auckland Tourism's dime. And, as usual, had a lovely time.

On Wednesday, the DomPost ran the piece; in the excitement/illness of  last week, I forgot to share.
Pushing the "like" button on the Animator's pics. Click here to read. 

Sunday 12 May 2013


In an ideal world, my birthday would go something like this:
  • A long, lovely sleep in 
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Sunshine
  • Bubbles
  • Lunch with friends
  • A book 
  • A walk in the bush with the dog
  • No chores
  • Dinner cooked by someone else.

Some of the above did happen today, and later there will be a meal at a favourite Mexican restaurant. However, my birthday was also spent doing two loads of laundry, making museli, catching up with invoices and writing two freelance pieces that are overdue. 

On the plus side, the Animator made me breakfast and lunch and gave me a badly-needed voucher at a day spa. And of course there was this little angel who makes every day special. These fabulous pics are c/o the Animator who shot them yesterday at the beach.



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