Monday 31 August 2015

All good things come to those who wait

This time last year we were in Hawaii, doing stories, taking photos and celebrating the Animator's birthday.

One of my pieces from that media trip was published in the current MAS Magazine (don't laugh, another one is still trapped in purgatory with an editor who is particularly bad at holding onto stories). Anyway, better late than never (click here to read). 


Friday 28 August 2015

Born in the USA

The  travel gods have awoken from their slumber and awarded me a media trip to the US - a 10 day famil from Tennessee to New Orleans at the end of next month with those wonderful folks at Trafalgar.

Have never been this far south, so I'm really excited about the chance to visit lots of fabulous places I can write the shizzle out of. I'm especially amped to visit Graceland - I'm no Elvis fan, but having been married by a particularly impressive one, I'm keen to check out the real Elvis' whare.  

On the way home, I'll be spending a couple of nights in LA with a mate from journalism school, so that should be fun.

Woohoo, what a fantabulous way to end a busy week!

Thursday 27 August 2015

Orange ISN'T the new black

Last weekend, the beach house's nasty 70s orange bench-top was finally laid to rest.

Or rather, covered with a couple of layers of sticky, smelly gunk that eventually turned it black. Thank the sweet Baby Jesus for that.

Now all we have to do is paint the horrid cupboards below and hello, we have nudged the kitchen slightly closer to the 21st Century.



We also finally got around to doing something creative with the chalk-board wall. Well, the Animator did, I merely persuaded him to get up on the ladder and scribble my favourite Oscar Wilde quote onto the wall.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

NZ International Arts Festival

Excited to be invited to the launch of this tonight - for the 30th festival that kicks off in February next year.

Another inducement to brave the cold are the canapes which, from memory, are always pretty good at this event #bonuspoints

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Three out of three

Three stories published in three days - today was my review of the glorious Alila Jabal Akhdar Resort in Oman in the NZ Herald. I was lucky enough to be able to stay here for a couple of nights back in April and haven't been able to look at a hotel room the same since (click here to read).


Monday 24 August 2015

The Sultan and me

The third story from my recent Oman media trip is published in today's Christchurch Press, and repeated in Wednesday's Dominion Post in Wellington (click here to read).

Sunday 23 August 2015

Monkey business at the Taj

Another of my stories from the recent India media trip is published in today's Sunday Star Times (click here to read).

Pictures in the article courtesy of the Animator (the ones below are mine, including the second shot of the Animator fulling his photographic duty).


Friday 21 August 2015


I knew the dumpster trolley would have profound consequences on my ability to get through the tonne of work I had to do today.

It took a good hour to hose and scrape off years of mud and paint. After drying her off, I spent far too long doing what the magazines I write for call 'curating' - ie p*ssing about moving stuff around. I'm sure this configuration will change many, many times in the future.

But a nice way to bookend what's been a pretty frantic week. And there's always tomorrow to work, right?

Am thrilled I get to properly display this super cool bowl I bought in Copenhagen a few years back and then had to fight the Easy Jet hostie to let me keep in the overhead locker instead of putting in the hold. Some fights are worth having.  

These vintage pool balls came from eBay in the UK and the cutlery box from an antiques shop in Bristol I used to haunt every Saturday. How goddam cute are those birds nests?

   And so endeth the portion of our service devoted to interior design. Happy weekend y'all.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Dumpster diving

I once flatted with an Irish guy in West London whose hobby was to neck as many pints as he could afford and then indulge in a spot of dumpster diving on the way home.

We would often wake on a Saturday morning to all manner of flotsam and jetsam in the hallway - including, one particularly memorable time, a stuffed (fake) elephant head that was as almost as big as our living room. We figured it must have been a prop from the BBC TV studios down the road.

That memory reached across the years to me last night when I was walking Bristol and spotted this very cool old hospital trolley in the dumpster across the road. Of course I asked the owners if I could have it and then roped the Animator into trying to drag it out in the dark and rain. He wasn't impressed, especially when it turned out to be too wedged in by other crap to be easily retrieved. It was with a heavy heart that I admitted defeat and went home.

Today, the owner texted me to say her father would fish it out for me. Which he kindly did. So when I got home there it was. All it needs is a bit of a clean and the top shelf popped back in and I have myself a fabulous vintage trolley.

Now I just need to decide whether to keep it here or truck it up to the bach. First world dilemmas.

And I must take the owner a good bottle of red too.

Doing the happy dance today. Speaking of dance, we are off the the opening night of the Royal NZ Ballet's performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream tonight. Gotta love those media tix.


Wednesday 19 August 2015

Because it's Wednesday

When I lived in London about 100 years ago, I had a boyfriend who arrived at my flat with a bunch of flowers.

When I asked why he'd bought them, he replied, "Because it's Wednesday".

Tonight, the Animator presented me with this gorgeous bunch of white flowers (my favourite). He said he'd seen them and thought I'd like them. Which of course I do.

And it just happens to be Wednesday. So, happy days.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Marching to their own beat

When I was about eight, a friend convinced me it would be a laugh to join a marching team (fun fact: NZ and Oz are the only countries in the world that practise this sport).

I was rubbish at it but remember it being a lot of fun and, surprisingly, quite technically difficult. So I was in awe of New Zealand's first family of marching who are gearing up for Welli's Royal Edinburgh Military  Tattoo in February. 

I interviewed the lovely ladies a few weeks back for a story for the NZ Woman's Weekly which was published in this week's issue (click here to read).


Monday 17 August 2015

Carterton house

My story on this lovely new build in the Wairarapa is published in this month's Your Home & Garden Magazine, one of two stories I have in the September issue (click here to read).

Sunday 16 August 2015

Getting my Martha Stewart on

A few years ago, I read an interview with one of my favourite authors, Zadie Smith, who admitted she employed special software that blocked internet access, allowing her to write without distractions.

I should probably do the same, given how much time I spend tootling around cyberspace - especially when I'm supposed to be working.

But all that time sucked by interior design blogs (I justify it because I write for four interior magazines, so surely I should be up with the play on design trends, etc?) does sometimes prove useful.

Last night, while watching the rugby at the bach,  I spent hours rolling the pages of an old book into cones in preparation for the making of a cool paper wreath. Those who know me know that I've never been into the craft scene; home made stuff brings me out in hives and reminds me too much of a relative who spends her life producing ill advised stuff with a hot glue gun and far too many sparkles.        
But when I spotted this wreath on an American design blog I was smitten. And, having inherited several yellowing books when we bought the beach house nine months ago, it seemed like a good way to use them.

It took two hours this morning to throw this puppy together and I am loving it. Not so enamoured by the hot glue gun bizzo (I swear, the first and last time I shall ever use one) so rest assured you won't have to endure any more tedious crafting posts. But overall, it was pretty easy to put this wreath together and I found the perfect spot for it in the living room wall, so go me.

The paper cones from last night's marathon rolling session, ready to be transformed (note the Animator's cute sketch of Bristol on the chalkboard cupboard):

The final product - apologies for the dodgy photo quality but the sun was streaming in and it seemed criminal to close the curtains.


Friday 14 August 2015

Visa Wellington on a Plate

Back in June, you might recall, I was invited to the launch of Visa Wellington on a Plate (or WOAP as we prefer to call it).

Today I got home to find the courier had delivered my media accreditation for the month-long scoff-fest that starts today. My elastic-waisted trousers have been ironed.

In other news, I just finished a gut-wrenching interview with a young chap who has lost track of the number times he tried to commit suicide. But he is now planning an epic journey around NZ to raise awareness of mental health issues, especially among teenagers. Can't say too much but will link to the story once it's published. But jeez, talk about an intense interview. Fascinating stuff though and I was truly humbled by his honesty and integrity. As he said to me, "I spent every day of the last 10 years wishing I was dead. Today, I'm happy to be alive."

As we all should be. Happy weekend, y'all...


Thursday 13 August 2015


Today was all about giving praise to the God of Media Tickets - in particular, for a ticket to opening night of the Royal NZ Ballet's season of A Midsummer Night's Dream next Thursday night.

It's one of my favourite Shakespearean works and I'm dying to see how those clever clogs down the road have adapted it for the boys and girls of the ballet.

And yes, the Animator gets to come along too.


Tuesday 11 August 2015


I am now working for so many people, I seriously worry that I will turn up at the wrong premises on the wrong day at the wrong time.

God only knows where I am going to find the time to read some of the latest batch of review books which arrived today. Sorry for the rubbish photo but there is no time to fuss over lighting or composition or even try and get my dodgy camera phone to cough up a reasonable image, All you need to know is that this pile contains the latest Isabel Allende. Win.


Sunday 9 August 2015

A poor showing this month

Apologies, no time to blog at the moment. Perhaps I should have asked "one of my team" to write this instead.

As in, the other day an email plopped into my inbox from a PR firm inviting me to a launch. When I RSVPed to say I couldn't  make it,  they replied that I was welcome to send "one of my team". I wonder if the furry, four-legged one would like to attend in my place?

Also, here's the second of two stories I have in this week's NZ Woman's Weekly, an interview with an amazing woman who defied the odds to overcome an injury and run the Round the Bays run earlier this year (click here to read).


Thursday 6 August 2015

Dubai Urbis Magazine story

Back in April, I spent three nights in Dubai (after my Oman famil) for Urbis Magazine.

The Aug/Sept issue is out today and features my 15 page article (click here to read). 

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Arabian Tales

Apologies for the radio silence, I am now doing three contracts and can literally feel chunks of my sanity dropping off.

But in happier news, my story on Oman is published in this week's New Zealand Woman's Weekly (click here to read), one of two stories I have in the current issue.

I'm thrilled they used this photo - probably my favourite from the whole trip - as the main image.



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