Saturday 31 August 2013

The last day of winter

was spent wallowing in 30 degree heat.

There was a trip to the Southport shops, lunch, some work (me) and home maintenance (the Animator, as the Parentals prepare to put their house on the market). Later, there was a walk along the river, glorious except for the bit where we were dive-bombed by tetchy magpies.

Have I mentioned how good it was to feel to sun on my skin after so long?


Thursday 29 August 2013

It's almost time to

climb out of the writing salt mine for four days.

Tomorrow at the stupidly early hour of 6.00am we will board the big silver bird for the three hour flight to Brisbane. And then the train to the Gold Coast.

Today has been a frantic blur of day job, meeting freelance deadlines and coralling the last items on my to-do list. The Hound's sitter has been briefed and friends roped in to walk him while our sitter is at work. The bags have been packed, along with the SPF (hello 28 degrees).  

I haven't seen the Parentals for a year and a bit so it will be good to catch up, although I will miss Bristol terribly. Someone else we still miss is this wee chap; yesterday marked four years since he set off for Doggie Heaven. My voice still catches in my throat whenever I say his name.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Get down in Gangnam

The Herald on Sunday ran my piece on Gangnam on Sunday. And yes, that is the Animator and me pretending to ride horses in the pic (click here to read).

Monday 26 August 2013

SPCA Cupcake Day

Yesterday we opened our wallets for one of the best causes in town, to get the Welly SPCA out of its manky old premises and into the former Fever Hospital, which they're hoping to do by the rump end of this year.

An added attraction at the City Market was the presence of several shelter puppies; they were incredibly excited about the Brizz but His Highness remained disinterested throughout. Watching him trying to maintain his air of indifference while a puppy licked his ears was priceless.

Tonight on my walk home from work, I saw two burly blokes come out of their flat carrying a tray of cupcakes. They were off to a local pub to continue the good work; I immediately bought a couple and while they weren't nearly as attractive, or tasty, as the SPCA ones (which were, in fact, donated by the scrum-a-licious Fidels Cafe) they were made with love. One of the chaps actually works for the SPCA and said he was happy to do his bit to help the homeless animals. Maybe if we were all a bit like that, the world would be a less miserable place.

Sunday 25 August 2013

Colour me Quick

Today's Sunday Star Times' Sunday Magazine runs my piece on why men who go grey are labelled 'silver foxes' and called distinguished, sexy and sophisticated (the so-called 'Clooney Effect') while women who do the same are accused of 'letting themselves go'. And my failed attempts to overcome my irresponsible relationship with the dye bottle (click here to read).


(Pic Credit: Sunday Magazine/Getty Images)

Saturday 24 August 2013

Death, despair and pain

About a month ago, I was given media tix to the World Press Photo Exhibition. Every weekend since we've intended going, and every weekend since work has nudged it down the list of priorities.

I realised with a start that it closes tomorrow so this afternoon we ran down to see it. Amazeballs subjects and composition and lighting and all those other nouns that are the holy grail of photography. Me, I'm a words rather than a visual person, so I'm not looking for the technical aspects but rather for images that move me in some way. Conclusion? Without the bloody and vicious conflicts everywhere from Syria to Afghanistan, this exhibition would be about a quarter of its size. More proof, as if it were needed, of humankind's capacity for cruelty, arrogance, violence and manipulation. As the Animator said, it might be stunning but it's not the happiest exhibition in the world. Is it any wonder I prefer animals to humans?

Fortunately, the human race redeemed itself slightly this morning in an interview with one of the country's leading costume designers I did for a national magazine. She was intelligent, creative and wise - and after some gentle prodding, shared stories about dressing everyone from Sigourney Weaver and Orlando Bloom to Tom Selleck.

There was a late curry for lunch (all the nicer when you don't have to cook it yourself) and a desperate race to finish a feature I've fallen behind on. Tonight we're going to a house-warming at one of the neighbours (the nice ones, not the noisy ones). All of which qualifies as a Very Good Day.

(Pic credit: Wei Seng Chan, World Press Photo Exhibition)

Thursday 22 August 2013

Spring has sprung

We might still be licking our wounds after last week's jolt, but there is much to be pleased about.

Like these spring blossoms I snapped on our walk after work tonight. Yes, it's a terrible photo but these miniature white blooms are a sign that it's almost time for winter to fill out his departure card. I am tired of using the central heating and wearing thick tights. And god knows I couldn't be more ready to sacrifice my coats and gloves on the altar of over-use. Hurry up Spring, and get your glorious butt over here..


Wednesday 21 August 2013

Spotlight on Singapore

In the AM there was a workshop for a client. Although pretty much a sausage-fest, the room was filled with all sorts of clever and wise folk and I learned bucketloads. Which is just as well, as I need to deliver some of the marketing collateral for that project toot suite.

The PM was filled in with work, a dog walk with Lorna and Dobbie and Spotlight on Singapore, a PR event with the lovely folk from Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board, both of whom are hosting my media trip to Singers next month. It was mainly for travel agents but as it showcased new things to see and do in the tiny island state, the PR chick thought it would be useful for me to attend. The fact that it was at one of my favourite ever restaurants, Ancestral, was the cherry on top of this rather splendid day.

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Your Home and Garden Mag

Runs my piece this month on the amazing Trish Jenkins, whose previous house I also got to snoop around and write about. Trish and Dave run the seriously cool shop Zinc + on Tinakori Road - where I'd buy everything if my surname was Zuckerberg (click here to read).  

Monday 19 August 2013

Love is in the Air

Today New Zealand made history when same sex couples were legally allowed to marry. Congratulations to all 31 couples from across the land who said "I Do".

One of the best weddings took place thousands of feet in the air on an Air NZ flight from Queenstown to Auckland. And the special guest was actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, from telly's Modern Family, who must surely be the world's funniest ginger.

A momentous day for human rights and a poke in the eye for the stuffy old bigots...

(Pic credit: Air NZ)

Sunday 18 August 2013

"I was scary"

On Friday morning, before the 6.6 quake hit, my lovely hairdresser and I were discussing the previous month's jolt.

Although Raymond, who has been putting up with me and my chemically tortured follicles for years, emigrated to NZ from Hong Kong about 28 years ago, he still has the odd issue with the English language. He was telling me how, on that Sunday afternoon back in July, his two kids and Japanese wife ducked under their dining room table and refused to come out for an hour afterwards.

"I was scary," he repeatedly told me.

This weekend, Raymond, we've all felt a bit scary.

The aftershocks continue apace, including a 5.0 jolt at 4am today which awoke us and prompted Bristol to do the run-up-and-down-the-stairs-barking-like-a-lunatic trick. I do believe he is as over it as we are.

Here's to a rumble free week....

(Pic credit: Google Images) 

Saturday 17 August 2013

Holy S*&t!!!

The day started with the final inspection of our rental property and the signing of hundreds of pieces of paper with our departing tenants; there was some cleaning while I waited for the carpet guy to turn up. Then a few hours in the hairdressers chair with gunk on my head.

And the creeping dread that I had left the oven on in the rental. The carpet cleaner was, of course, long gone so I high-tailed it home and hurriedly drove up to Thorndon. At 2.31pm I was sat at the lights outside the Supreme Court in downtown Wellington when the car started to move. Thinking I had my foot down on the brake too hard I eased it off and moved forward a bit. But still the car shook. Bristol, sitting patiently in the passenger seat, started to bark and then the road turned into a wave and I honestly thought the car was going to flip over. Some screaming may have been involved, there was certainly some swearing and my hands didn't stop shaking for some time afterwards.

Later, there was much texting and visiting of friends and neighbours to ensure everyone was okay, especially those who live alone. It's true that a crisis brings everyone together but holy mother of God I could have done without that jolt, and the continual parade of aftershocks.    

Would someone please give Welly a jumbo packet of Tums to calm her down...

(Pic credit: GNS)

Thursday 15 August 2013

Happy days

Six fifty am isn't a time I see often. But today I was up and out early to rescue the final Parcel of Goodness, which was being held hostage by the postal bods.

A hurried walk to work and I ripped it open. Oh the joy - two lovely dresses and one top. Been doing the happy dance all morning.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Life & Seoul

The Sept issue of NEXT Magazine features one of my Seoul travel pieces (click here to read).


Tuesday 13 August 2013

Breaking Bad

The wait is over. The psychotic Walter White is about to take his last stand - and Hank is finally going to get off the toilet.

Possibly the world's greatest writing and acting since the cathode ray was invented is about to come to an end in the final ever series of Breaking Bad. My good jammies have been ironed and the popcorn is ready. I need this the way a junkie needs his (blue) meth.

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Monday 12 August 2013

Parcels of Goodness

Tonight when I got home from work I was greeted with the BEST sight in the world - three parcels from my UK shopping guardian angel.

Anita, you have outdone yourself this time. Love, love, love the goodies from ASOS, Topshop, River Island and Ted Baker. What would I do without the Car Boot Queen?

Best of all, there's still one more to come. Am looking at you, NZ Post...


Sunday 11 August 2013


It started badly: some knobhead decided the whole neighbourhood was aching to hear his shit music at 2.00am. And that a full two hours was needed for complete appreciation (shakes her fist at offenders).

It's amazing, though, the revenge fantasies one can indulge in while lying awake and tussling with ear-plugs: a bolt of lightning striking their house and burning them to a crisp, his no doubt stupidly big stereo falling onto him and removing his lone brain cell, being beaten to death with a CD cover. Universe, if you're listening, it's time....

Thankfully, the day improved: there was the usual Sunday pancakes, a walk in the rain with His Highness to this cafe and a few hours spent playing catchup with some marketing collateral I need to deliver this week. While I worked, the boys and the camera went to the beach. How adorbs are these pics?

Saturday 10 August 2013

It's official - smarter women have fewer (or no) kids!

Too busy to blog today - on deadline for a story plus some of the Animator's mates that he worked with in Bristol are now in Welly and coming over this arvo, so the cleaning/baking marathon has commenced.

Just time to enjoy this piece from today's NZ Herald - why the smartest women are usually kid-free zones. Go, my peeps! Click here to read.

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Friday 9 August 2013

Wellington's Beervana Festival

Not being a lover of hops - craft or otherwise - I won't be at NZ's premier craft beer festival, Beervana, this weekend.

I did, however, write about it for the Forbes travel site (click here to read).

(Pic Credit: Robert Catto)

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Look Ma, I made the cover!

My story on this gorgeous Auckland house is on the cover of the latest Urbis Magazine.Click here to read the online version.

I've also got another piece in this issue but that's for another time....

Monday 5 August 2013

Go home winter, you're drunk

I'm feeling delicate.

Tiredness is scratching the inside of my eyelids and the familiar hand of the flu is trying to wrap itself around my throat. I am over the cold and the dark and cannot wait for this month to be over so that Spring can come bounding out of the barn doors.

I've got too much work to fall prey to this virus and the race against the clock has started - to break the world-record for deadline beating before we visit the parentals in Oz in three weeks.

No time for visuals today except this one of His Highness which the Animator snapped this weekend. Hark at him (the dog, not the husband) lolling around on my new duvet cover. Seriously, I want his life...

Saturday 3 August 2013

The Fear Factor

Today's NZ Herald Canvas Magazine runs my essay on overcoming a driving phobia (click here to read).

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Friday 2 August 2013

Friday fun

A busy day, spent meeting a new client for a meaty project (goodbye the next four-six weeks) and a frantic lassoing of the alphabet to get a couple of features done by deadline.

I have to admit, though, to spending large chunks of the past two days watching this. The sound the penguin makes when it's being tickled gets me everytime. The fact that it freaks Bristol out? Priceless.

Happy weekend, y'all...

Thursday 1 August 2013

The Treehouse

Homestyle Magazine runs my feature on this beautiful Eastbourne house (click here to read).


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