Monday 29 September 2014

That clever Animator

So I was doing the usual rant on Saturday about the house being a pigsty and trying to wave the magic cleaning wand before our new house-sitter came to check it/Bristol out. Mid-whinge, I tripped on the assorted shoes and detritus left on the front doorstep and seriously lost my shit.

Yesterday the Animator disappeared into his man-cave to produce this boot/shoe rack thingy which he presented to me with a flourish. It's a simple but terribly effective thing. Try being mean to the man after that.

His next trick, he claims, is to produce a similarly spiffing receptacle from a hunk of wood and six vintage test-tubes found on TradeMe a while back. My breath is suitably bated...


Sunday 28 September 2014

Rewind to 32 degree heat

We fiddled with the clocks and lost an hour today but that didn't seem to bother the God of Shite Weather who had us switching on the central heating. This afternoon the internet called to say it has no room left for me to whinge about the rain and cold.

Just looking at these images below makes my shoulders drop a few centimetres; they were taken by the Animator during our last few days on O'ahu a couple of weeks back. The first few are from a glorious pool-side event at the swanky Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, which I was covering for a food magazine. The last couple of images are from a guided hike up to Makapu'u Point Lighthouse, built in 1909. 

If it was possible to step through a tardis and transport myself back to Hawaii, I would do so in a nano-second.


Saturday 27 September 2014

Martinborough in an Ozzie Magazine

My story on the Martinborough Olive Harvest Festival is published in the October edition of Australia's Get Up and Go Magazine, edited by my cool mate Bev Malzard.

Click here to read.

Pix, of course, by the Animator.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Smiling - and a magazine store profile

It was a Very Good Day (caps warranted) in Shazzyland today - three new commissions from glossy magazines for stories, including two that are notoriously tough 'gets'. And I got them, so yay for me.

Now I just have to knuckle down and write them all - arghhhh.

For today's viewing pleasure here's a store profile I did for this month's Your Home & Garden Magazine. Behome is owned by the lovely Emily Davidow, who traded in NYC for a homewares store in Wellington. Click here to read.


Wednesday 24 September 2014

What a difference 48 hours makes

Today the sun was out, the air was electric with fresh smells and, for the first time in ages, it actually felt as though summer was nearing the runway.

A very different picture from Monday when a cold snap had me reaching for an extra duvet and  hustling to find the gloves I had neatly packed away. I was hoping against hope that the Wonderdog would take one look at the dreich and refuse to go for his walk. Sadly, he is not that kind of boy but as we trudged into the hills after work, it started to hail. Big, hard chunks that scared him witless and led me to say very bad words.

I'm not sure Bristol has ever experienced hail and he's so fragile, the shower probably hurt him. So he did what any Mama's boy would do - he ran behind my legs and lifted his front paws so I could pick him up and envelop him in my coat as we both sheltered under a big oak tree and waited for the storm to pass.

It was soooo very cute - Bristol needed his Mama to protect him and so I did. In my doggie-centric world, that is the sweetest thing that's happened in a while.

It's also been a while since I've featured a roll-call of some of the cuties found during many rabbit-hole hours spent on Tumblr. Prepare for your heart to melt (if not, then why are we even friends?!)

      (Pic Credit: Tumblr)

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Smile, you're in ukulele country

The first story from our recent Hawaiian media trip is featured in the Christchurch Press and the Dominion Post.

Click here to read.

Pix by the supremely talented Animator.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Sunday morning interview

A late night but up with the lark to interview the supremely talented owner of  The Action Station, a graphic novel bookshop/art studio for a magazine.

The rest of the day was swallowed by work and dog duties. And yes, this irritating cough is still sharing my post-code. Go home, I want to yell at it, I am more than done with you. Except it can't understand me and people will think I am even more insane than they already do...

Saturday 20 September 2014


One of the privileges of a democratic society is you get to have your say every three (or in some countries, four) years.

Today, the Animator and I (and the Wonderdog) walked a few hundred metres up the road to St Joe's Church to cast our vote in NZ's general election.

I'm not going to get all political on yo asses - it's not why you come here. But I hold out great hopes that NZ will do the right thing. Thanks to this rubbish cold, I have had to turn down an invite to an election night party but I will be glued to TV3's coverage from my sick bed. Fingers and toes crossed...


Friday 19 September 2014

Europe twice in one year? Yes please!

The God of good fortune hasn't buggered off yet  - he/she paid me a visit today to confirm another media trip to Europe in November!

And yes, it's another river cruise (what is it about me that says I love cruising?!), this time with Uniworld, from Amsterdam to Basel in Switzerland, along the mighty Rhine. Best of all, the Animator is coming too. I am one very happy (and grateful) girl.

Btw, if you were in the vicinity of Wellington's Gryphon Theatre last night, that hollering you heard was me. Neil's play is the bomb and if you are in Welli, I would certainly recommend it.

Off to scull cough syrup now and dream of castles along the Rhine...

(Pic credit: Uniworld)


Thursday 18 September 2014


Emotionally stunted young Scottish lads, a heat-wave and a rubbish strike: these are the key elements of the play Boys by Ella Hickson, which our lovely neighbour and friend Neil is currently starring in and which we're going to see tonight.

Cultural philistine that I am, I haven't been to the theatre for ages; shame on me.

My only hope is that I can keep the hacking cough under control; this damned lurgy refuses to break up with me and I have been barking like a seal all morning. Wish me luck.

Today's visual is of Neil as his character Timp in the play.

(Photo credit: Gryphon Theatre) 

Tuesday 16 September 2014


The virus that was lurking in the shadows last week is back to have another go.

Am in need of a scaldingly hot shower, an early night and gallons of hot lemon and honey (with a nip of whisky). Instead of words you shall have this visual which someone sent me today; it made the corners of my mouth turn up.

Hope your Tuesday is going better than mine...

Monday 15 September 2014

Eco House

The October issue of Your Home & Garden Magazine, out today, features my story on a new build up the line in Waikanae, one of two stories I have in this month's issue (the other one is a store profile which I'll share later in the month).

Click here to read.

Sunday 14 September 2014

The one where Bristol is head-butted by a lamb

Is it to the far reaches of the Wairarapa that you must go to find Te Parae, a 100-year-old homestead where history lurks in every shadow and where the current custodians, the fourth generation of the founding family, have turned it into a wedding and event venue to ensure it earns its keep.

While I interviewed Angela, the great granddaughter of the founder, for NZ Life & Leisure Magazine, the Animator and Bristol wandered at will around the lake and paddocks of the 100 acre block. The best bit was the menagerie that the former vet nurse has gathered around her - including the race horses she breeds, five dogs (a rescue greyhound, three black labs and a grumpy retired farm dog), the giant pig that turned up the back door, startling me, a rooster and, joy of joys, a month-old lamb found in a ditch with his mother nowhere in sight.

For reasons known only to herself, Angela has given this tiny bundle of joy the extraordinarily extravagant name Hector Rodriguez and he ADORED Bristol, following him around and gently head-butting him when he wanted to play. I'm not sure what the Wonderdog thought of Hector - or the other animals - but it's probably the most excitement he has ever had.

(Warning: excessive lamb photos follow. But I make no apologies. Hector Rodriguez was the cutest thing I have seen for a long time and it took every fibre of my being not to chuck him in the car when we left).

After a fabulous lunch whipped up by the former Leiths Cooking School graduate, we reluctantly said goodbye to Hector and drove half an hour or so down the road to Greytown where I interviewed the owner of this lovely villa for another house and garden magazine.

We were all pretty shattered on the drive home over the winding Rimutakas, especially Bristol who, I think, is still in shock after his encounter with Hector Rodriguez. Happy Days. 

Friday 12 September 2014

Well oiled

The NZ Herald ran my piece about the Martinborough Olive Harvest Festival we attended back in July when we were looked after so well by the kind folk at Destination Wairarapa.  

Loving the pix from the Animator (and yes, that is me, down the far end of the table on the left, talking up a storm).

Click here to read.

Thursday 11 September 2014

The one where I'm pleased to see the postie

For he came bearing three more books to review today. My reading cup currently runneth over.

Now if only I can figure out how to wring another few hours from the day, all will be well.


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