Tuesday 30 June 2015

A frantic day

Today was spent running from meeting to meeting. But now I have lots of lovely stuff to write the shizzle out of. Plus there were two more juicy commissions from publications I've never scribbled for before, so that was much appreciated. Now I just need to lash myself to my desk and focus.

Late this afternoon there was an interview and photo-shoot with the lovely Miranda Harcourt for a woman's mag. Today's visuals are of the make-up artist and photographer hard at work. And the view from Miranda's house is outstanding. This is the fourth time I've interviewed Miranda at her whare and I never stop marvelling at the outlook, where you could almost reach out and touch a plane if you were so inclined.

A fun afternoon and a reminder, as if I needed one, why I've chosen to freelance instead of spending all my waking hours locked in a turgid corporate office.

Monday 29 June 2015

Most over-rated job in the world?

My story on travel writing was published in the NZ Herald last week (click here to read).

Today's visual is, what else, but the Hound. Because everyone needs something beautiful to rest their eyes upon.


Sunday 28 June 2015

A light at the end of the renovation tunnel

Another weekend at the bach, another room under the hammer.

Thankfully, it's the last room - our bedroom, where we spent the weekend bashing out a wardrobe (which gives us more space) and then trying to cobble together enough gib to put it back together.

When I say we, of course I mean the Animator. I spent the weekend writing the story I went to the Wairarapa for Friday afternoon, as well as starting the second story from our India media trip (which is due in a week - eek!)

Today's visuals are of the bedroom sans wardrobe.


Thursday 25 June 2015

The NZ International Film Festival .

Is officially launched tonight. At least the programme is.

And the Animator and I have been invited to the launch, to see the documentary, Best of Enemies.

Here's to sitting in a darkened cinema and letting someone's vision and creativity wash over us.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Be still my beating heart

Today's post coughed up TEN new review books from the lovely peeps at North & South Magazine.
And no, that's not a typo. There were indeed 10 brand new novels. I've never received that many at one time before.

In my ideal world, I would do nothing but read books all day.Well that and a few dog walks.

It's been a long and, at times, ugly struggle, but thankfully I seem to be edging closer to that parallel universe every day...


Tuesday 23 June 2015

A taste of the exotic

The second story from my recent Oman/Dubai famil is published - this time the story of a food walking tour I did around 'Old' Dubai, which is published in this week's New Zealand Woman's Weekly
(click here to read).

Monday 22 June 2015

Amazing Amsterdam

My story on this remarkable city is published in the July issue of NEXT Magazine (click here to read).

Amsterdam was, you may recall, the jumping off point for our media cruise with Uniworld last November.

The equally astounding photos are, of course, by the Animator. Even the author photo which was, I seem to recall, taken in a hotel in Seville during a heatwave (which we could do with some of now - the weather has turned polar in Welli!)


Sunday 21 June 2015

Rain, rain go away

Our weekend at the bach turned into a thoroughly soggy one, with some of the worst flooding in the lower North Island for years.

Our neighbour told us this morning that they closed SH1 about 11.00pm Friday night - a couple of hours after we drove through. Thankfully, it was open when we drove home today.

Although the temptation to spend the weekend in front of the fire was strong, there was work to be done. The Animator finished painting the second to last room and I wrote two freelance stories.

We also spent large chunks of time working out how to build an Ark. Did I mention we now have a large water feature in our back garden, where there was none before?

I forgot to take any pics of the watery Armageddon so for your viewing pleasure here are visuals of the Hound on Waiterere Beach in much warmer times.

Oh summer, how I miss you...

Friday 19 June 2015

A Very Good Day

Despite weather that was determined to wring every drop of water out of the sky, today was a pretty bloody good one.

This morning there was an interview for a national magazine with three amazing women - which ended with the make-up artist and myself holding umbrellas over them as the photographer shot it.

Then it was back to my desk to attempt an assault on work mountain - with a couple of welcome interruptions, both from peeps requesting my services. My current three-day-a-week contract is coming to an end and I have been casting about for something a little more, well, me. The two offers today look as they might fit the bill perfectly. Thank you, universe.

Today's visual is of this cute wee poppet, because a day without a dog in it is a day very much wasted (incidentally, this woofer looks as though I feel, in need of a cashmere-soft rug to ward off the elements).

Happy weekend, y'all....


Thursday 18 June 2015

How cool are these?

As a travel writer, I travel to, duh, write.

I also travel to shop, considering it a crime if, while I'm in some exotic locale, I don't help prop up the local economy with as much retail therapy as possible.

Tonight the Animator finally pulled finger and hung a few cherished items we bought in India. The anatomical poster, which features a cross section of an ear and is in both Hindi and English, now hangs in our living room. It was found in the COOLEST ever shop in Hauz Kaus, a chi chi enclave of shops in one of Delhi's most affluent suburbs. Now I am kicking myself for not bringing back more, as a friend who runs a vintage shop in Welli said he could have sold them 10 times over.

After much agitation, we also finally found a home for two Indian puppets we bought in a dusty scrap of a shop down a forlorn alleyway in Jaipur. I ADORE these puppets (which seem to be largely constructed from old saris) and although we spent an age trying to find the best spot for them, I am super pleased with their final resting place.

These are the things that made Shazzy happy today.


Wednesday 17 June 2015

Amazing store

If you find yourself in Matakana, north of Auckland, anytime soon you MUST check out Old School Inc, Haidee Dowling's cool vintage store.

My piece on her is in this month's Your Home & Garden Magazine (click here to read).

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Global High Tea Challenge

This invite plopped into my in-box today, to a high tea from one of two Kiwi teams taking on the world in the Dilmah Global High Tea Challenge in Sr Lanka next month. Incidentally, it's at the Museum Hotel, where we lived for six weeks when we first got back from the UK in 2011.

Alas, commitments at the day gig mean I may not be able to make it; but I am loathe to pass up the opportunity to scoff scones and drink tea, so I shall certainly try.

Sunday 14 June 2015

Out of Italy

My profile on the charming creative director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet is published in today's Sunday Star Times' Sunday Magazine (click here to read).

Pics by my old buddy, the fantabulous photographer Steven A'Court.

Thursday 11 June 2015

Soul soother

My story on the amazing Te Horo bach of Martin Brown is published in this month's issue of NZ House & Garden Magazine (click here to read).

This is the same Martin Brown whose Welli apartment I profiled for Urbis Magazine back in April. 

Wednesday 10 June 2015


Today I had to do the unthinkable and turn down a media trip to Europe.

I would have meant being in Rome by August 8 but, for reasons far too tedious to go into here, it would have stretched the patience of too many people.

And so I said no. And then I had to talk myself down from the ledge (Whittaker's Kaitaia Fire chocolate helped).

But everything happens for a reason, right? I have enough work to be going on with, and a couple of other famils before the end of the year to sort, so enough with the self flagellation.

Onwards and upwards....

Today's visuals are of the last time I was in Rome, a few years ago now.


Tuesday 9 June 2015

The gift that keeps on giving

It's pretty much a year to the day that I was in Vienna with a group with other Kiwi, Australian and American journos and travel agents, at the start of our Avalon Waterways Christening cruise down the Danube.

The last of my eight million stories from that media famil, about Vienna, is published in Hong Kong's Horizon Magazine's June issue (click here to read).

Monday 8 June 2015


Today I had the privilege of spending several hours in the company of the amazing Nicole Doriguzzi.

Nicole, who I met a few years ago while we were both walking our dogs in the Town Belt, is a vet nurse who has long agitated for the rights of animals, having volunteered with vet clinics and at the SPCA since she was 12. She recently returned from three months in Chile where she worked with the street dogs and to change attitudes to animals and issues such as sterilisation, etc. What makes this chick even more remarkable is that she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was three days old and has spent large chunks of her life staring at hospital walls.

Nicole is one of the most courageous, determined, open-hearted folk I know, and her grace in the face of horrific abuse and neglect is something to see. During our interview today for a national magazine, I had to fight back tears several times. I am truly in awe of her and the selfless work that she does.#Totalfan

(Pic credit" Nicole Doriguzzi)

Friday 5 June 2015


As I type this, the internet tells me its nine degrees outside. Nine degrees? That's not a temperature, that's a shoe size! My poor body doesn't know what's hit it, going from last week's 44 degree heatwave in Delhi to this.

Thankfully I am tucked up inside with lashings of green tea, good music and so many layers of clothing I could be a ring-in for the Michelin Man.

This morning, I caught up with a couple of friends and aside from a chilly dog walk, have spent a good wedge of the day writing the shizzle out of a story for NEXT Magazine.

Today's visual is this gorgeous pic from Tumblr - I love the way the dog is posing, as if to say "You may brush me, but only on this side".    

Have a good weekend y'all and keep warm and dry.

Thursday 4 June 2015

Visa Wellington on a Plate

Last year I was overseas for the launch of Wellington's annual scoff-fest, so it's been a long time between drinks. But tonight after work I braved the chilly southerly and walked up to Old St Pauls, an oddly amazing venue, for the launch of the 2015 Visa Wellington on a Plate programme.

It was lovely to catch up with other journo mates and this year the goodie bag surpassed itself.

If you're in the vicinity of the world's southern most capital in August, I'd urge you to check out as many events as possible (just don't forget to pack the elastic-waisted pants!)

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Adventures in Netherland

My travel feature on Amsterdam is published in the May issue of MAS Magazine (click here to read). The stupendous pics are, of course, by the Animator.

Monday 1 June 2015


Oh I had such grand plans for today - a public holiday in NZ (thanks, Queenie!) I would rise early, finish unpacking, put on another load of washing and then lash myself to my desk to sort out overdue invoicing, send emails and finish a couple of stories. Oh and of course take the Baby Doggy for a walk or two.

Instead, squeezed by the vicious fist of jet-lag, we awoke at 3.00am, ready to go. And then subsequently slept in until 1.00pm! But it is good to be home and to see the furry one who was ably looked after by his grandparents. Now I just have to sort out the millions of stories from the trip and we should be fine....

Back to work tomorrow, oy vey...

Today's visual is, what else, but this wee cutie.



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