Thursday 31 October 2013

A visitor from Auckland

Yesterday arvo our friend Lil arrived to stay for a few nights. Bristol was thrilled to be reunited with Aunty Lil who looked after him when we were in Seoul for work earlier this year.

There was wine, Thai takeout and so much chatting and laughing, my throat thinks I've been gargling with razor blades. Good times.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Baking with my Mother

This month's North & South Magazine runs one of my more personal pieces of writing, about years of identical Sunday afternoons spent baking with my mother (click here to read).

Monday 28 October 2013


On Friday it was my hands (!) and today it was the Brizzmeister's turn in front of the camera.

My friend Catherine owns a fantastic canine clothing and accessories company called Sparkles the Dog; I've previously done stories on her and she's gifted my various woofers all sorts of fantabulous swag over the years.

The other day two items arrived in the post - would The Hound be willing to model a couple of items from Sparkles' new Spring/Summer range? And could the Animator take the pics? It was a resounding yes to both. Bristol was a natural, turning his head this way and that and holding a pose for ages. I think I may have to register him with an agency...


Sunday 27 October 2013

Busy Sunday

The day started with another Your Home & Garden interview - this time with an architect and stylist and their cute beach-side cottage in Lyall Bay.

Later we crossed the city for a doggie meet up in Brooklyn and, as Sunday wore itself out, we walked down to the waterfront for Diwali, the Festival of Lights, with our good friend Faramund where we gobbled the best onion bhajis in the world. The Animator is still banging on about them.

Best of all, it's Labour Day tomorrow which means the usual Sunday night melancholy about having to haul arse into the gulag for another week (or three days, in my case) is wonderfully absent.  

Here's visual evidence of today:

(Pic Credits: Mereana Beconcini (house pics), Tania S from Doggie Meet Ups and Newstalk ZB)

Saturday 26 October 2013


I am probably the last person on planet earth to see Gravity, but Holy Toledo, this film packs more of a punch than debris from a Russian satellite.

Like Sandra Bullock's character, I spent much of the movie in a blind panic, wondering how the hell they were going to get out alive. As the woman next to me commented to her mate at the end, "That is the most tense I have been for ages".

The presence of Gorgeous George did, of course, help. And the normally annoying-beyond-belief 3D somehow didn't even register. But it still took a Pad Thai and a velvety red to decompress.

Go and see Gravity now. And if you've already seen it, see it again.


Friday 25 October 2013

Hand model

Yes, dear reader, that is as random as it sounds.

This afternoon, PJ, one of the video boys from work, arrived to shoot my hands for a product shot. I'd managed to rustle up a cake which we ate while we gossiped - when my hands weren't assuming their starring role, that is.

Earlier there was a blustery walk around the waterfront and caffeine with a fellow freelancer, Sarah, where we hoped for a special hell for those editors who treat freelancers as though they're something stuck to the bottom of their shoes, and shared triumphs and horrors from the writing trenches.

I also met two deadlines (yay for me) and successfully pitched another feature. The Animator is spending his Friday night at the launch of a digital game he worked on so I am settling in with the Hound, a bottle of wine and the superb, could-this-fill-the Breaking-Bad-hole-in-my-life contender, Orange is the New Black. Sometimes life really is this simple.

Today's visuals are of PJ setting up for the shoot.


Thursday 24 October 2013

Shoe porn

The latest Urbis Magazine features my story on five of the world's most stylish shoe-stores (click here to read). And no, I didn't get to visit in person and yes, my envy levels are off the charts.


Wednesday 23 October 2013


Some difficulty in waking today, mainly the result of two for one cocktails last night with the Mt Vix Vixens at this excellent neighbourhood bar (I can highly recommend the Breakfast at Tiffanys).

A race to a story deadline was interrupted by having to schlep out to Newtown to have my breasts squashed between two sheets of perspex. After finding a lump a few years ago, am vigilant about having the girls seen to. Crossing everything I'll get the all clear again.

Tonight there is the launch of the NZ Festival of the Arts programme at the Opera House; the invite says 'glam' so not sure what the hell to wear.

(Pic Credit: Google Images) 

Monday 21 October 2013

Thunderbirds are Go - again!

Am not sure where the weekend went; it seemed to have slipped down the back of the sofa.

There was oodles of sunshine and a visit to a gorgeous old villa in Whitemans Valley for Your Home & Garden Mag (I was so busy chatting, I clean forgot to take pics to show you). While I did the interview the boys wandered around the farm, checking out working dogs (am uncertain as to what they made of the poncy 'town' dog) and Bristol also had the pleasure of meeting other members of the animal kingdom. The Animator says Briz's eyes were as wide as saucers when he came across the cows.

Back home, our very dear mates Deb and Joe visited - we haven't seen them for the longest time - and we sat in the garden in the almost too-hot sun and as the surprisingly delicious vegan chocolate cake shrank and wine bottles were drained, afternoon turned into evening. More wine was drunk, pizzas were ordered and, in the end, they left about 1.00am. A fabulous night, which made for a slightly fuzzy Sunday.

In other news, the Animator started work today on Weta Workshop's remake of the classic telly series, Thunderbirds are Go! I loved this show when I was a kid, especially the classy Lady Penelope, and am ever so pleased they are breathing life into it 50 years after it originally aired.

Friday 18 October 2013

Good Friday

There was the setting up of a couple of interviews, a walk and caffeine along O Bay with another of the Vixens and a visit to a neighbour to meet her three-day old son (and yes, my maternal compass may flicker only for infants of the four-legged and furry kind but baby Nicholas was quite the cutie).

Best of all, there was a long and protracted conversation with a government agency and the discovery that they have been extracting far too much dosh from me. The good news is that the cheque should be in the mail in the next few weeks. The bad news is that next week I will pay three times that to another agency in provisional tax and GST. Oy vey...

I am now about to bake a vegan chocolate cake for friends who are visiting tomorrow and, after that, crack a bottle of red because it has been that kind of week.

Images are, what else, but adorable canines. These pictures soothe my soul in a way that very little else does...    

(Pic credit: Tumblr)

Thursday 17 October 2013

Cover story

The November issue of Your Home & Garden Magazine is out and features two of my stories. This one is the cover story (click here to read).

This makes the next few weeks worth living (doesn't take much to please me, eh?!)

Wednesday 16 October 2013


There were 643 semi-polished words of a Singapore travel piece that's due next week, pleading emails to far-flung corners of the globe for a piece for an architectural/design mag and two walks in the glorious sunshine - one with one of the Mt Vic Vixens, just back from Tasmania, the other with a neighbour, Andy.

That's not why I'm celebrating, though. I'm toasting (or I would be if I had any bubbly in the house) Kiwi author Ellie Catton (below) who today won the literary equivalent of the World Cup, the Man Booker Prize, for her doorstop novel, The Luminaries. And, in true Kiwi style, she did it whilst also breaking records - being the youngest ever Booker winner and having the longest winning book (832 pages). I haven't yet had the physical or head space to tackle her novel, but am currently reading one of the other nominees - The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri - which I truly heart.

Today was a VERY GOOD DAY for NZ literature.

(Pic credit: Stuff)

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Another of my Family Time articles

This time it's the lovely Cecilia Robinson from Auckland, who was a dream to interview (click here to read and watch the video).

 (Pic credit: Stuff)

Monday 14 October 2013


I am banging the 'too busy' drum once again; and yes, talking about it is getting as tedious as living it.

Last night we had dinner with our animator friend from Aardman, Martin, and his lovely wife Gosia (they've been in Welly a couple of months now) and another British Aardman alumni, also currently at Weta. It was all kinds of fun, and lovely veggie food, and before we realised it, the big hand was way past our bedtime.

It made for a rough start this morning, which wasn't helped by a day spent chasing my tail (and other people's). It was a relief to fall into the arms of 5.30pm.

Having fed and watered all the members of this household, it is now time to start work on an 800 word piece that's due later this week.

Today's visuals are of Gosia's delicious vegan berry cake and banana bread that we gorged ourselves on last night.

Saturday 12 October 2013

In love with

the adorable restaurateur Valentina Dias and her stunning Seatoun home (pictured below), where I spent an enjoyable hour this morning for a national magazine article. If I hadn't been so preoccupied with chatting and taking notes, I would have remembered to snap pics of the amazeballs views from every room of her house.

Saturday errands included a visit to my favourite shoe and handbag repair guys (they always greet me like a long lost daughter) and the usual Samba around the farmers market. Later there was an extended walk with the Hound and his favourite big dogs, Riley and Simba, who could easily chomp him but are ever so gentle with my wee darling. We are now about to sit down to this movie which, the boys at work tell me, is as quirky and cute as the trailer would suggest.

And, good news just to hand, the wonderful Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown has held onto her position for another term (and yes, I was one of the few who bothered to vote).  

(Pic credit: Stuff)

Friday 11 October 2013

My ideal Friday

There was the arranging and re-arranging of 583 words of a travel piece; it is due next week so am pleased to have made a start.

There was an hour spent peeking through the dustier corners of the internet to find the world's best luxury beach resorts for a glossy mag piece; the sighing and cursing that my surname isn't Zuckerberg was probably audible from your place.

There was a dog walk with Lorna and Dobbie and, my treat after a trying week, a facial with Marie, the glorious skin whisperer.

And then I got home to this - a package of Antipodes goodies from the amazing Elizabeth Barbalich who I recently interviewed for Stuff's Family Time series (see a couple of posts back). Doing a HUGE happy dance right now.

May your weekends be as lovely as my Friday...


Thursday 10 October 2013

Begging for a waistband amnesty

This morning at work, someone had the inspired idea of doing a cronut run. You know cronuts, the 'new' cupcake that foodies everywhere have clasped to their increasingly ample bosoms?

They're basically the love-child of a donut and a croissant but with custard injected into them. A calorific cuddle and heart attack in equal measure. Last month in Singapore I consumed my first - a salted caramel number that was nice but, frankly, a little faddish and more than a little fattening. I was happy never to walk in the valley of the cronut again.

But today the boys decided to check out a new bakery's deep fried offerings, so off they trotted and came back with these chocolate, vanilla and lemon delights. As I'm trying to claw back my running fitness, I opted to share one with a pod buddy. Which turned out to be the right choice when I saw these monsters - probably double the size of their Singaporean cousins. And the resulting chocolate/carb coma wasn't nearly as bad, either.

Tonight, before the rain set in, the Hound and I legged it up a series of hills to try and work it off. I'm hoping some kind of balance has been achieved...


Tuesday 8 October 2013

One of those days

Winter has forgotten to go home. This morning on my walk to work - and again on the return journey - heavy rain sloshed from above.

The bits in-between weren't so crash hot, either: a busy day at work was made more difficult by the fact I had to figure out code for a direct mail thing I was writing. Do I look like an IT geek? It made me want to eat my own head. But, thankfully, I cajoled one of the front-end dev guys (am too scared and distinterested to ask what those rows and rows of shiny young lads actually do) to assist. And within five minutes he had it sorted. Play to your strengths, as I always say...

After work there was a walk with one of the Mt Vic Vixens and her woofer, and dinner for one (the Animator is out drinking). I wish I could say I was settling in for a night with the central heating, my beloved Uggs and a book; instead I am writing a Q&A document for a corporate client.

Cutting through today's dreich are these gorgeous blooms I got at the veggie market on Sunday. Not being in possession of the Maggie Barry gene, I have no idea what they are and lack the arsedness to find out. But they are beautiful and make me smile every time I enter the kitchen.



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