Sunday 31 August 2014

A carnival of calories/early morning flight

Yesterday we ate and drank our bodyweight on a fabulous Aloha Food Tour through Honolulu's Chinatown.

There was delicious vegetarian pho and mung-bean felafal, an authentic New York pizza from a Jersey expat who could have been Tony Soprano's younger, better looking brother, Korean BBQ (tofu, in our case), crispy Thai garlic shrimp the size of my fist and, to finish, a slab of mint chocolate cheesecake that is going to take a month of running group to work off. Sadly all the pics are on the Animator's flash camera (and he is shooting raw files for my stories, so none of those are available yet).

Later, as if we needed any more calories, the PR organised for us to visit Eat the Street, Oahu's monthly collection of food trucks. The sun shone, people were in high spirits - in part because it's a long weekend in the US - and we drank mimosas and pale ale, rocked out to Bob Marley and enjoyed the cool island vibe.

This morning featured another stupidly early start - for the schlep out to the airport and the 45 minute flight to Hilo. We picked up the rental car (the Animator insisted on a look-at-me bright red convertible Mustang - you can take the boy out of the Hutt, etc) and, remembering to drive on the 'other' side of the road, we headed to the Hilo farmers market (pix below) and then onto the Volcanic National Park which is home for the next two nights. Apparently one of the volcanoes is having a bit of a moment so we shall go investigate. Stand by for a full report tomorrow.

Friday 29 August 2014

Someone has ripped apart the time/space continuum

How do you get another day in the week?

Leave Auckland at 11.00am Thursday morning, fly eight hours across the Pacific, and you'll arrive in Honolulu on Wednesday night.

Today we had our second Thursday of the week - in temperatures nudging 32 degrees. I am in meteorological heaven.

Only two pics today as we were busy checking out Waikiki Beach and a nearby outlet centre; it's the only day of our trip we have free so we squeezed in as much as we could. Tomorrow the PR activities start with a food walking tour so our time is pretty much other people's from now on.

Two quick pix - the view from our room on the seventh floor of the charming Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach.

Wednesday 27 August 2014


Here's the temperature where we're going tomorrow...

Or around 31 degrees in our currency. I cannot wait to get to Hawaii. It's been particularly cold the last few months and it's high time winter packed her bags and got the hell out of Dodge. Here's hoping by the time we get back, Spring will be busting a move.

At least the Animator is coming with me on this media trip, so between eating and drinking (for a food story), visiting volcanoes and playing ukuleles (for two more stories), we will get some down time to chill.

See ya'll on the other side...        

Tuesday 26 August 2014

A love letter to my suburb

The September issue of North & South Magazine runs my piece on how I was won over by possibly the best suburb ever, Mt Victoria.

Thanks to the Animator, who took the pix and who gets a big, fat credit under my name. Click here to read.

And the cover of the September issue.


Sunday 24 August 2014

Vintage Melbourne

As promised, here are some pix of the fabulous A Vintage Outing tour I did on Thursday morning.

With the sun licking the back of my neck, and feeling a little seedy from the Emporium opening the night before, I was driven around various vintage clothing, lingerie and home-wares stores in Bianca, the 1950s Fiat (first pic) by the adorable Danielle and our chauffeur Shetlo (second and third pics, respectively). These people really know how to rock the vintage look.

Regular readers will know of my enduring love affair with vintage home-wares and I even managed to sneak a couple of small items in my carry-on. Perhaps it's a good thing I don't live in Melbourne....

Saturday 23 August 2014

Marvellous Melbourne

Apologies for the radio silence - the Wi-Fi in my hotel room wouldn't come to the party. Slightly frustrating, but why paddle in the negative end of the pool?

Melbourne was all kinds of wonderful - particularly the 21 degrees she trotted out yesterday. Here's me on the roof of our fabulous accommodation, the Adelphi Hotel  where myself and Vanessa, the other Kiwi journo, were confused and disoriented by the strange golden orb in the sky, but decided to enjoy it anyway.

However, I'm getting ahead of myself. First there was this sweet welcome to my room, scribbled in lipstick on the mirror:

 Apologies for the bad photography (note to self, must not drop phone so many times) but it reads: "Dear Sharon, welcome to the Adelphi and have a wonderful time in Melbourne". Cute.

Of course the big night was Wednesday, and the lavish opening of the Emporium Melbourne. The Age tells it better than I can (although I will have to attempt to do so for the 1500 word story). Basically, director Baz Luhrmann created a series of vignettes to tell the story of Melbourne's history - from oversized polystyrene horses and jockeys, representing the Melbourne Cup, to a swathe of gladioli (a tribute to, who else, but Dame Edna Everage).

The cocktails and bubbly flowed freely and Vanessa and I had a lovely time.

And here's a shot of Baz himself (well the back of his head). He personally popped over for a chat, asked how our cocktails were and suggested we drink of five of them. Which we dutifully did.

Yesterday I caught up with my adorable friend Nickely, who I worked with at the BBC about 150 years ago. She is now the mother of three (!) and still a dancer and beautiful chick. I last saw her a couple of years ago when we were living in Bristol and she was in Oxford. She returned to Melbourne three years ago and we spent a fabulous few hours catching up on the last few years.

Almost forget to mention a vintage tour I did with an amazeballs woman on Thursday (her beehive is probably visible from space) but those pics are yet to come.

And a couple of general shots of Melbourne. It's been a while between drinks but this city remains a favourite.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

A wedding

So I didn't make it to the actual wedding ceremony - at the top of Mt Vic - yesterday arvo as I had to work but I did get to the reception of my running group buddies, Brent and Ewa.

Sadly, because it was a school night, I had to be boring and leave before the dancing and general naughtiness began. And although it was odd to see my running mates wearing something other than lycra and sweat, we had a lovely time.

Tomorrow, at stupidly-early-o-clock, I fly to Melbourne for two nights; see you on the other side.

And here's the happy couple...when you run as much as they do, you can afford to have a wedding cake made entirely out of miniature pavlovas.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Where I'll be on Wednesday night

Attending the launch party of the Emporium Melbourne, where Aussie director and producer Baz Luhrmann will be turning the centre into one of his movie sets for a three-hour extravaganza.

Although I loathed the Great Gatsby with the fire of a thousand suns, and thought Moulin Rouge one of the most over-rated pieces of crap ever committed to celluloid, I did swoon over Luhrmann's take on Romeo & Juliet. I look forward to seeing what Bazza will serve up on Wednesday night.


Saturday 16 August 2014

In search of a bach

Or, in the words of the Urban Dictionary, a small and modest holiday home/weekender.

We've been on the hunt for one since we stayed at my friend Jo's bach in Waiterere Beach a few months back. Today, we made the 1-1/2 hour drive up the coast to view five possibilities. The estate agent couldn't have been nicer but we're keen on only one - basically a glorified garage plonked on almost an acre of land and surrounded by native bush. Best of all, the only sound to break the silence is that of the crashing waves two streets away.

We now have to do the boring stuff like number crunching, cost-benefit analysis, blah, blah and see how it stacks up. As a learned friend, a former finance journo now resident overseas, pointed out to me this week, we are way over-represented in the bricks and mortar stakes. Is it sensible to add a bach to the mix? And how often will we use it? And will we get sick of schleping up the coast every second weekend, etc? All questions that are currently giving me a head-ache. Thankfully we are going to think on it and make a decision after we return from Hawaii.

Today's visuals are of a walk we did on the gloriously deserted Waiterere Beach after house-hunting. You can't see it very well but the white bits at the top of the mountains in the first few pics are snow. Thankfully it was slightly warmer at the beach.

Thursday 14 August 2014

Spring is in the air

Apparently. Although it didn't feel like it today. But a work lunch at this place and after work leaving drinks for a colleague at this place  took the chill off the day.

As did these glorious daffs. Summer, I have you in my sights...

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Check out the photographic by-line

You may remember back in May I was handed the keys to a brand new Mitsubishi Outlander and told to drive it around Welli homeware stores.

The story is published in a range of Bauer magazines this month, including Your Home & Garden. Click here to read.

Thanks to the clever Animator who took the pix (he got paid, don't worry! There's no exploitation to see here).

Monday 11 August 2014

There's the next few months gone...

Another courier parcel to brighten my day...six more books to review for North & South Magazine.

The comfortable chair has been booked, the heating turned on and a pot of green tea made; let the reading commence.


Sunday 10 August 2014

It's the little things

This weekend's delights included an interview with a fabulous woman associated with WOW, the World of WearableArt for a national magazine and email interviews with folk from New York, Manila and Fiji. Go me...

There was also the winning of an auction on TradeMe (think eBay but with loads less good stuff) of these cool old vintage boxes for the princely sum of three bucks fifty. I do believe they began life in a scientific laboratory of some sort. My vintage cup now runeth over and the Animator is threatening a fatwa on any further purchases.

For R&R there was this fabulous teevee series. Love, love, love.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Melbourne for two nights? Oh go on then...

Another day, another media famil...this time to Melbourne for the opening of a fashion emporium.

I could, said the PR, stay on for the weekend at my own expense if I wanted. Under normal circumstances I most certainly would have - there's a friend from my London days who moved back there last year that I'd love to see - but I fly to Hawaii the week after for a 10-day media trip, so this Melbourne one will have to be shoe-horned into two nights.

The downside is that I have to re-jig my hours at the part-time day gig - and won't be able to attend the wedding of my two friends from the running group. Which isn't really making the corners of my mouth turn up. But when life hands you something on a plate, etc etc...


(Pic credit: Google Images) 

Thursday 7 August 2014


I am not referring to last night's mid-week running group meet - which I attended but couldn't partake of the pub sess afterwards as I had a deadline to meet (how sad am I?) - but rather today's state of play.

There was the usual six-monthly treatment/straightening marathon at the hairdressers, a visit to my clothing woman, an appointment at the bank and a meeting with my accountant. The latter though was fun - we drank whiskey and gossiped (this is the woman who always signs off her phone calls and emails to me with 'love you'. How many people get that from their accountants?!)

There was a quick dog walk and tonight we are going to see this photographic presso with National Geographic underwater photographer David Doubilet, courtesy of the kind folks at Adventure World, who I am currently organising an exciting media trip with later this year. And some work when I get home.

Can someone please tell me how to find another hour in the day?

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Second Viennese cab off the rank

Today's DomPost (and Monday's Christchurch Press) ran my feature on Vienna, the second of six from the recent European media famil (three written so far, three to go...)

Click here to read.


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