Saturday 31 May 2014


Or arrival, as they say in these parts.

It took Scott less time to reach the Pole than it did for me to cross the globe. But I am here and it's lovely to be back in Europe.

This is the view from my room at the Intercontinental Vienna.

Not too shabby, right?

Even though sleep is scratching at my eyes, I am trying to reframe my body clock and not crash until tonight. So I went for a wee stroll and came across this amazing church, a random brass band  that appeared out of nowhere and a gi-normous Zara (cue the Animator quaking at the potential damage to the credit card).

This beautiful park is across the road from my hotel and I am hoping to go for a run there tomorrow.

Negatives? In my sleep-deprived and over-caffeinated state, I keep looking the wrong way when crossing the road. Plus, I had forgotten how many peeps still smoke in Europe. Also, can we discuss the weather: seriously, it's supposed to be warmer than this. Which is a good excuse as any for buying a lovely new sweater.

Friday 30 May 2014


Thank sweet baby jesus for the Cathay Lounge. I have just had the best shower in the history of the planet.

Two flights down, two to go. Two more hours in Hong Kong and then the 12 hour schlep to Frankfurt for a three hour wait and an hour long skip to Vienna. By then I will be ready to eat my own head.

No visuals because I am typing on the new tablet and it is, frankly, doing my scone in. I don't hold out much hope that we will end this trip as friends.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Almost time

Colleague to me today: "Are you getting excited? You're so lucky to have an all-expenses paid trip to Europe."

Me to colleague: "Yes, I'm really grateful and can't wait to leave winter behind but holy mother of god, I'm going to miss the Hound."

Colleague to me: "Oh don't worry, he won't miss you. As long as dogs are fed and warm and in their own environment, they don't really care whether you're there or not."

Needless to say, my colleague is a moron (and if she's reading this, I mean that in the nicest possible way!)

In other news, the Vienna/cruise/Budapest/UK itineraries are being finalised. As I am one of the first of our group of 12 journos to arrive in Vienna and have a day or so to kill until the rest get there, I asked the PRs to help sort me with a visit to the Sigmund Freud Museum. I'm not sure if they're trying to mess with my head or if Astrid is just a really common name in Austria, but THREE of the women I'm currently dealing with are called Astrid. Which isn't confusing in the slightest.

And finally, as I gird my loins for the stupidly long and painful 30+ hour flight tomorrow, here's my two favourite boys who I shall miss like crazy (whether they miss me or not).

See you on the other side...


Monday 26 May 2014


Someone has sat on the remote and fast-forwarded to winter.

Today on my walk to work I was swaddled like the Michelin Man (although I do love any opportunity to whip out the softest leather gloves I bought in Seoul last year).

Yesterday, when the weather gods hadn't totally lost their marbles, I arranged a post-work Monday run with a friend from my running group, Jeanne-Marie (French, been in NZ a couple of months, adorable). I spent most of this afternoon hoping against hope she would cancel and I could chain myself to the radiator and drink hot tea until it scaled my lips. But she didn't and so tonight we ran like mad women into the teeth of a southerly gale and tried in vain to keep our extremities warm. But it was good to catch up on the gossip and now it is done.

I cannot insert myself into the European summer quickly enough.

This little guy has buggar all to do with being cold but thought I should share, given it's the cutest wee thing I've seen in a long time (Bristol the Wonder Dog excepted, of course).

(Pic credit: Tumblr) 

Sunday 25 May 2014

Glasgow gets its Commonwealth Games groove on

To commemorate the upcoming Games in a couple of months, one of the corporate publications I scribble for commissioned this travel piece on the magical Scottish city (click here to read).

Shame I won't have time to make it back there on this upcoming visit.

(Pic credit: 

Saturday 24 May 2014


After days of jiggery pokery with the courier company I finally received my media tix/vouchers for the maiden voyage of the Avalon Waterways Illumination Cruise from Vienna to Budapest. No love to the horrid courier driver who told me he "hates dogs shorter than his knee who bark all the time". Swings and roundabouts mate, because I  hate skinny white guys with bad acne who look like they dress in the dark.

I am, apparently, the last of the 12 journos (three Kiwis, three Americans and six Aussies) to receive their documentation so am very pleased it's finally here.

The morning was spent interviewing an amazing foodie who once ran a catering company with the late Clarissa Dickson Wright, from TV's Two Fat Ladies show. We laughed like drains and ate large chunks of the delectable lemon polenta cake she kindly brought over. It's just one of several stories I need to write on the painful 28 hour journey to Vienna on Thursday. #can'tsomeoneinventatardisalready?


Thursday 22 May 2014

My last ever Travel Talk

What's the twee saying about everything eventually coming to an end? Sadly, yesterday the DomPost ran my last ever Travel Talk column, featuring my former  boss at one of my favourite ever PR contracts, Airways NZ. Click here to read.

It was fun doing these columns, but now it's time to move on...

Wednesday 21 May 2014

The amazing Shaqaila

My story of this amazing Kiwi woman - and her even more amazing musical ability - features in the current issue of North & South Magazine (click here to read).

In other news, I spent an hour in the dental hygenist's chair this morning, which was worth it simply to hear the magical words, "We don't need to see you until November". Bliss.

There was also a dog walk with Lorna and Dobbie, the completion of a couple of stories that have been annoyingly difficult to put to bed and, later, there will be the Wednesday running group.

I also had a long chat to a lovely PR about my next media trip (to Hawaii in August/September). Yeah I know, I have to make it through the European one first. But emails and plans have been zipping across the globe and I think I am almost sorted for the week in Vienna/Budapest and the following week in London/Bristol. Now I need to go lie down in a darkened room for an extended period...

Monday 19 May 2014

Boardroom Magazine

You know how I said I was leaning in to corporate magazines and away from news-stand publications - mainly because they pay a heap more and the editors aren't such arses? Well here's the first of two pieces I have in the current issue of Boardroom, the magazine of the NZ Institute of Directors (click here to read).

Oh and corporate publications also pay when they say they will...

Sunday 18 May 2014

Dog arse hooks

One of the many spoils from our recent trip to Ikea in Australia were these funky coat hooks.

They now have pride of place next to our front door (and yes, you can tell me that my house could do with a good clean, but I'll pretend not to hear you...)


Saturday 17 May 2014

Peaks and troughs

The weekend started well with a Friday night sess with the Mt Vic Vixens. Instead of our local, we opted for one of the Vixens' houses, which meant I got to channel my inner bogan by wandering down the street in my Uggs (in my defence, it was bloody freezing).

There was an early start today with a walk in the Town Belt with a mate and his two dogs and then a visit to the dreaded dentist. It's been a long time between drinks and it seemed sensible to get some stuff seen to before I leave for Europe. There was much pain, a few tears (mine) and the emptying of my bank account. There will also be a couple of encores. But it's probably best to throw a veil over the whole sorry experience and move on.

In more positive news, this parcel of goodness was waiting for me when I got home - from the luminous Elizabeth Barbalich of Antipodes as a thank you for featuring her in my DomPost Travel Talk column a few weeks back. My love for this woman knows no bounds.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Yesterday's Travel Talk

Featured my mate Donna who I've known since she moved to Welli from San Francisco about six years ago. And who just happens to be in possession of a dog, Billie, who the Hound ADORES.
Click here to read.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Channelling my inner Pollyanna

I haven't looked yet, but the dictionary definition of depressing must surely be returning from 26 degree/I-want-to-marry-my-SPF40 to a rainy, cold southerly.

I just took the Hound for his daily constitutional and was forced to pull out the gloves, FFS.

Of course, I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be back under the same roof as this wee angel, who was so excited to see us when we got home just after midnight he did victory laps of the living room.

I'd also place this stack of mail on the positive side of the ledger. By some small miracle, it contained no bills but two cheques, a couple of magazines and a wodge of info from the Austrian Tourist Board ahead of my media trip there early next month.

And, oy vey, these three review books from North & South Magazine were also tucked into the pile. I am still trying to work my way through the last lot but gosh, free books do make my heart swell with joy...


Monday 12 May 2014

A great birthday

I had the great good fortune to spend my birthday with these fabulous peeps. Along for the ride were oodles of sunshine, good food and even a second trip to Ikea (it's on the way to my favourite brother's place in Brisbane, so it would have been rude not to drop in).

Not a bad way to start the day

This is the view we have at breakfast each morning. It is "supposed" to be winter in this part of the world but someone forgot to tell the Queensland weather gods.

Saturday 10 May 2014

Welcome to Australia

Five minutes after flying into Brisbane,  I was officially welcomed by a mozzie. #mustremembertowearinsectrepellant

But it has been lovely seeing the Parentals in their new home, basking in 23 degree temperatures and chatting until our tongues are ready to fall out of our heads.

Have been too busy to take many pics but here's one by the parents' pool

Today we spent a few blissful hours at Ikea buying stuff we don't need (laugh all you like, my overseas readers, but Ikea hasn't made it to NZ shores yet).

And then we met the Animator's sister Kath and her husband Mark for lunch. They and their twin sons live in Brisbane and somehow, we've managed to miss each other for about five years. So it was an afternoon of gossiping and laughing.  

:Later, we drove deep into the bush to visit our house/dog sitter's parents and drop off Mother's Day gifts - I'm too afraid of snakes (!) to venture into their garden, but we sat outside and drank wine with them and their lovely neighbours. Although I am missing HRH terribly, so far, it has been a fantastic break.


Wednesday 7 May 2014

Travel Talk Wednesday

Today's interviewee was the larger than life celebrity chef, Peta Mathias, in town for the Food Show this weekend. Click here to read.

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Happy - Mk II

Despite being on high rotation on my iPod I still haven't grown weary of this ear-worm.

But these dogs - and a random cat - frolicking on an Australian beach to Pharrell Williams must be one of the best versions yet.

Monday 5 May 2014

Those crazy Bristolians

Over the weekend, Park Street in Bristol was turned into this giant water slide (click here to read).
I can attest to Park Street's calf-crunching  incline, having walked up it every day for about 14 months a few years back.

It looks like a lot of fun, though, and here's hoping the sun continues to make its presence felt when I get there in June.

Sunday 4 May 2014

What we did this weekend

Apologies for the radio silence - we have spent all weekend driving around in this brand new, plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi beastie for a story. Also involved were four homeware stores but their link to this amazing piece of mechanical engineering shall be explained in due course. Hark at me being all mysterious....

In other news, there are only four more sleeps till we jump on a big silver bird to see the Parentals in Oz. Our lovely house/dog sitter Tanya popped over for a drink tonight and although HRH adores her, hopefully he can keep his teeth to himself this time!


Thursday 1 May 2014

Yesterday's Travel Talk

Was with the luminous Elizabeth Barbalich, founder of Antipodes skincare and cosmetics. Click here to read.

This is sixth or seventh time I have interviewed Elizabeth and my girl crush grows deeper each time.



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