Monday 30 June 2014

The weekend

There was wine, food, newly pressed olive oil and a sky so blue it should be X rated.

There were walks through olive groves and tastings with the passionate growers/artisans, as well as a night market where we ran into friends but my feet froze from the cold and we had to forgo dinner with them in order to return to the toasty warm Aylstone Boutique Retreat that the fabulous Destination Wairarapa PRs had put us in (think the Hamptons but with fewer people).

The weekend started with this long lunch at Coney vineyard  where 28 of us scoffed a four course degustation menu matched with Lot Eight olive oils under a blazing sun and agreed that life should always be this good.

A blissful weekend and now I have to condense it into two 600 word stories (one for the NZ market and one for the Australian). Well there's no such thing as a free lunch, right?


Friday 27 June 2014

This is where we'll be all weekend

Eating and drinking and paying our respects to Martinborough's second ever Olive Harvest Festival for a story for the NZ Herald. At least the Animator gets to come with me on this media junket.

Have a great weekend y'all and see you next week....


Thursday 26 June 2014

Launch of the NZ International Film Festival

Last week, when I was barely compos mentis, I got an invite to the launch of the NZ International 
Film Festival's Programme. I said yes, without paying much attention to either the date or the opening film. But tonight I'm going along to this fabulous Swedish film. Even better, this year I get to take the Animator.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Another Hong Kong story

Apols, this is getting to be like Groundhog Day. But stories are a little like the no 24 bus....nothing will come along for ages, then three will arrive at the same time.

This feature is on foodie HK and is published in July's NEXT Magazine (click here to read).

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Spain? Thanks but no thanks....

Because I truly believe I am Superwoman. Because I suffer from an inability to say no. Because FOMO is a real thing in my world.

For those reasons, I seem unable to turn down every opportunity that comes my way. It's why I often end up working into the wee smalls, or waking at 3.00am worrying how I'm going to get everything I've committed to done. Or wondering why it's so very hard to utter that simple, one-syllable word.

Today, however, I managed to do it - the ultimate No - by turning down a media trip of a week's cycling and walking in Spain! It would basically have meant jumping on another flight to Europe in a few weeks and I've barely gotten over the last one. Plus asking for more time off would probably have stretched the patience of my employers at my part-time contract a little too far; and I have other work commitments, including six pieces from the recent famil and, horror of horrors, one from the Hong Kong trip in March I still haven't gotten around to. And then there's my two boys...

And so I said no. Did it hurt? Did it heck. But I have to realise that I can't do everything and it was good to set some boundaries and stick to them.

Still, I can't pretend five days in Spain wouldn't have been bliss. Sigh...  

Sunday 22 June 2014

Hong Kong

Remember back in March, I spent a week running around Honkers interviewing amazing architects, photographers and creatives for Urbis Mag?

Well the June/July issue is out - and my 17 page spread (that is not a typo, it is indeed 17 pages long) on the magical Special Administrative Region of China looks fabulous, if I do say so myself. Click here to read. 

Thanks to the amazing creatives for being involved and to the ever fabulous Hong Kong Tourism Board and Cathay Pacific for helping to make it happen.


Saturday 21 June 2014

Canine heaven

It's been a long time between drinks, but today we rugged up and joined the dog walking group for the regular Saturday stroll through the Botanic Gardens and coffee at Picnic Cafe. Baby Bristol was in heaven.

Thursday 19 June 2014


In the last day or so, I crossed eight time zones, ate six meals, chatted to a famous chef and a member of the Paris Orchestra, broke my rule about not drinking in the air with several glasses of bubbly and flirted with insomnia and its first cousins, madness and irritability.

But I am home, and it was unbelievably good to be greeted by a lovely clean house, fresh flowers (the Animator did well) and this adorable face. I have been fortunate enough to travel to lots and lots of places, and even live in some, but none are as good as this joint.

Also, don't let anyone tell you that travelling in the pointy end of the plane makes you immune from jetlag. I am shattered and tempted to curl up in the patch of sunshine coming through the French windows and go to sleep. But there are two loads of washing to be done, a mountain of ironing, invoices and emails to be sent and big-ass lists to be complied detailing which stories from this trip need to be written and by when. A few other commissions have come in whilst I've been away so they also need to find a home in the work schedule.

Tomorrow it is back to the part-time contract and a few big projects there. Sometimes it's easier to keep going rather than thinking about what's ahead....

Tuesday 17 June 2014

The seven circles of hell....

Otherwise known as Heathrow.

NZ has truly spoiled me - I am no longer able, or willing, to deal with wave upon wave of humanity. Thank sweet baby Jesus for the Cathay Lounge - it is serene and air-conditioned and full of all sorts of nice food and drink.

In two and a bit hours I will unpeel myself from this haven of tranquility and go find my gate. And then there is a 12 hour schlep to another Cathay lounge in Honkers.

I want to kiss the man/woman who invented airport lounges.

In the meantime, here are some visuals of my last days in Bristol. Good times.

See you on the other side...

Friday 13 June 2014

Beautiful Bristol

The place, that is, not my dog (although he is equally as adorable).

The weather gods have truly shone on me and it has been a week of sunshine, wine, shopping and catching up with mates. I keep forgetting to whip out my phone but here are a few pics of a barbie with Frenchie, Martin and the lovely Yoma.

There was lunch with my old mate Jamie and with a former colleague Marie (pictured below)

A stroll past the horrid flat we rented for 18 months

And the beautiful old building where I worked for 10 months (shame it was such a shit company!)

And some random shots of England's eight-most populous city.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Our last day in London

was filled with sunshine, shopping, a pub lunch and the most divine hand massages at the Jo Malone counter in Selfridges.

Am now in Bristol and it's lovely to be staying with my old mates Frenchie and Martin. Need to start scaling work mountain but once that's done I am off to reacquaint myself with my old stomping ground.


Monday 9 June 2014

The best surprise EVER

Imagine the best sight that could ever greet anyone at Heathrow (apart from no queues at immigration).

Now triple that and you'll know how I felt last night when I stumbled off the flight from Budapest and my bestie Anita was there to meet me. We hugged and laughed and cried and it was all kinds of lovely.

The same of which sadly can't be said for London's transport network. Maintenance on several tube lines meant we spent hours trying to get to our destination. And lugging stupidly heavy suitcases up and down stairs (how do the disabled get on in this city?)

We ended up eating pizza, drinking wine and, if you can believe it, in a dodgy karaoke bar with extremely drunk, extremely tone deaf Spaniards (don't ask).

Today we spent, count them, eight hours walking, shopping, car booting (oh the joy after so long), eating and drinking. The sun tagged along for the ride - it was around 25 degrees and Anita got badly sunburned - and we ended up having a picnic in the park. It was a perfect day and although my love affair with London is well and truly over, it's still a pretty cool city.

Getting in a bit of culture at the Saatchi Gallery.

Pimms in a Chelsea pub.

In Harrods' shoe department.

Saturday 7 June 2014

Hot in the city

Apologies to y'all in the Southern Hemisphere but when Budapest puts on her sun-dress you'd better break out the SPF40.

On my way back from the world-famous Gellert Spa for a story, I passed a temperature sign which read 34 degrees. I am in heaven, albeit one where the air-con in my room is complaining about being cranked so high.

I have yet to upload pix from the ludicrously photogenic Bratislava (one of next week's jobs) or of yesterday's arrival in Budapest but here are today's. I also lucked out with my hotel room - check out this view of the Castle district from my window.

Minutes after photographing the delightful sculpture above, I introduced myself to this gorgy four-month old Schnauzer puppy, Rosie (and her owner, of course). Am missing my wee Bristol terribly.

And one more random pic - of last night's farewell dinner (in a castle, no less). It has been a fabulous media trip and I am sad to say goodbye to these new friends.

Below is the castle. Doesn't everyone get piped into dinner (note the musos on the balcony)?!


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