Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Come on in Spring

This evening during a post-work run along the waterfront I had an unexpected companion – daylight.

Yes, my Northern Hemisphere friends, Spring is in the air. The days are getting warmer, the flora and fauna are finalising their seasonal prep and daylight seems inclined to insert herself into proceedings.

I know I’ve been spoiled – a mere six weeks ago I was enjoying the UK’s 20 degree temperatures. But the rump end of Wellington's winter, with its snow and wind, has really ground me down. So allow me my celebration.

Spring, you are welcomed with open arms…

(Pic: Google Images)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A song to put a smile on your face

This song provided the backdrop to much of my time in the UK.

I ADORE it and would defy anyone not to want to dance around the room to it.

I once saw some buskers in Galway have a stab at it (and do a bloody great job, even if they did need a good wash).

Now I've finally made peace with the evil empire of Apple, this song accompanies me on my daily journey to work and on solitary runs around the bays.

Jessie J rocks. Fact.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Manic Monday

Good morning Monday.

I know you and I haven't always seen eye to eye - but if you treat me gently, surely we can turn that situation around?

(Picc credit:

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Two years

Today makes two years since Brompton left us.

Two years down the track and I still feel the stitches on my heart pulling. As I gaze upon that beautiful face above, I feel an aching in my throat, a yearning that is not yet done with me. I wonder if it ever will be?

My sweet puppy, I hope doggy heaven is all you want it to be, that your bed is warm, there's lots of treats and someone to scratch you gently between the ears.

Brommie, wherever you are, I hope you know that we love you and miss you and can't wait until the day we meet again..

Friday, 26 August 2011


Today I had one of those days where I wanted to be voted off the island.

But then I got back to the hotel and found THREE parcels from my shopping guardian angel, Anita. Which, even with my rudimentary grasp of math, means I am now the proud owner of NINE new tops/dresses/scarves. The fact that they come attached to such labels as Armani, Karen Millen and Topshop made me do such a loud and energetic happy dance I feared hotel security would knock at my door.

I laid all the items out on the bed to photograph them (apologies, I am no Annie Leibovitz) and immediately felt the urge to roll around in them. I now understand how my doggies used to feel when they would roll, with unbridled delight, in all manner of unspeakable things.

Today I had a moment when I thought, this is what happiness feels like.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

I shouldn't moan, but....

History is being made in Libya, Hurricane Irene is about to change lives in the Caribbean and people are, tragically and needlessly, dying in the Horn of Africa.

I, however, have my health, a great marriage, work I enjoy, somewhere to live and more than enough to eat. I have NOT A THING to whinge about.

And yet…

It’s such a first world moan but today I popped out to buy a slip to go under a fantabulous lace dress that Anita, my UK shopping guardian angel, sent to me. All I was after was a simple piece of material that would protect my modesty under the full length lace panels. I’d expected to pay around $10-$15.

Could I find anything in that price range? Could I bollocks. There was nothing under $45 and even that was ugly rubbish. Bear in mind that the actual dress only cost about three quid (about $6).

Seriously people, why is clothing so goddam expensive in NZ? It’s not like the quality is so fantastic it justifies such ridiculously large price tags. I am glad to be home but this reminds me why, even before I moved to the UK, I bought all my clothes in Asia.

(Pic: Google Images)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The WTF? festival continues...

Random conversation with taxi driver yesterday following work trip to Christchurch:

Him: “Women who don't take their husband's surnames disrepect their men. It's not natural.”

Sorry dude, I didn't realise that when I stepped into your cab, I entered a time machine that teleported me back to 1923.

I know it was late, but could you please keep your archaic, sexist, anti-feminist rant to yourself? I'd be ever so grateful.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Is it wrong

That I love the Glee Project so much?

Slight angst that I'm about to wade into the Sea of Embarrassment, but I adore this reality show. Yes, I know I'm not exactly the demographic, but my Monday nights are ALMOST back to the extreme levels of awesomeness they reached when the actual Glee was on.

Apologies if I don't respond to your call, text or email on a Monday night; I'm too busy making out with a TV screen and a bunch of talented but whacko kids.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

It's the little things...

Every Sunday should begin like this: with oodles of sunshine, strong takeout coffee and a visit to the Chaffer's Street Farmers Market where we bought enough fruit and veg to satisfy the 5+ a day police for some time.

Including, drum roll please, good old Kiwi kumera (sweet potato, for the rest of the planet). In the UK, my local branch of Sainsbury's only stocked the orange variety so today at the market I fell upon a bunch of the white puppies as though they were the last helicopter out of Saigon. Back at the hotel, I microwaved them, drowned them in oceans of tahini and blissed out. Oh kumera, you have been gone from my life for far too long.

Tonight there will be delicious Japanese food with my friend Donna. I like a Sunday that ends with good food and wine. As someone once said, it's the end of the weekend and it deserves a proper send off.

(Pic: Google Images)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Down Mexico way

Wellington isn’t on her best behaviour this week.

We’re into the fifth day of a Polar Blast (if another newscaster tells me it’s a ‘once in 50 year event’ I shall eat my own forehead) and I have come perilously close to losing the feeling in my extremities (along with the will to live).

My natural inclination is to spend out of work hours curled up under the duvet with a good book, a bottle of red and the TV remote. Particularly as the Animator is always working (he clocked up an astonishing 83 hours last week).

However, last night he managed to escape the animation gulag so we put on all the clothes we own and ventured out in search of food.

Ever since our friends Doug and Suzi introduced us to outrageously good Mexican food in San Francisco’s Mission District at Christmas (and again in March) I have craved enchiladas, gorditas and spicy rice and beans.

Aside from Bristol’s Mission Buritto, I’ve yet to find anything that comes close. But then a friend told me about a cute hole-in-the-wall place that had recently opened in Wellington’s Left Bank, Taqueria Viva Mexico. So last night we found a table in the crowded, postage stamp-sized café where we scoffed down plates of vegetarian quesadilla and delicious chilli beer (which had a kick like an extremely pissed off mule). And finished it off with a Mexican chocolate brownie that was like a New Year’s Eve party in the mouth.

Okay so it might not be the Mission District but it’s all I have so I'm holding it close. And it was cheap as chips and featured the loud, laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere that I adore. It also gets extra points for the so-tacky-its-cool décor and obligatory statue of the Virgin Mary. And for the Mexican owner thinking I was Spanish and trying to engage me in conversation. I LOVE everything about this place and will be back. Lots.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Have just heard from the useless shipping company.

Apparently our goods have "been consolidated" (ie they have actually left the Bristol warehouse and are now stitting lonely and forlorn in a London warehouse). But they have yet to see the inside of a ship. And are only due to arrive in New Zealand in mid October. WTF??? I could have walked them home in that time.

My dearest wish now is to be face down in a puddle of Pinot Noir...

(Pic: van Gogh, Depression)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Malta story

The Dominion Post uses my Malta piece

Great to see the Animator getting credited (and paid!) for the pics.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Parts of my body are about to drop off

I wish to make an official complaint: it is farking cold.

So cold, in fact, that tonight when I tried to pay for groceries, my fingers were so frozen they refused to punch out my PIN number. And I'd been wearing gloves. And a scarf, a coat and various layers.

I was once a fashion writer; now I pray that vagabond chic – ie wearing all the clothes you own at once – is the height of fashion.


Monday, 15 August 2011

A four letter word

After three weeks of crisp but sunny days, today Mother Nature decided she would wave her arms to get our attention.

The worst snowstorm in decades blanketed Welly and parts southern today. Yes, snow in Welly. We NEVER get snow that settles. It even snowed in Auckland – the first flurry of note there since 1939.

Froze my butt off walking back to the hotel from work and, for possibly the thousandth time, wished my lovely thick English coats were here instead of sitting on a dock somewhere 12,000 sodding miles away.

As I type this, thunder and lightening are slugging it out, making the lights flicker on and off and, horror of horrors, turning my TV screen blank while John Campbell was trying to tell me something important.

(Pic Credit: Stuff)

Sunday, 14 August 2011


If you find yourself in a hotel gym and an American guest engages you in conversation about the merits – or not – of wearing makeup during a workout, you know you're in for an interesting, if somewhat random, conversation.

Still, nice to have some companionship during my ongoing war on cellulite.

Later, there was coffee with the inlaws and the Animator's sister and her hubbie. Nice to catch up.

And, joy of joys, the discovery that I can read The Guardian online the way it appears in print. Check out this wee beauty which is set to become my new best friend. I predict the loss of many, many hours.

(Pic: Salvation Army UK)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Happiness is...

  • Friday night dinner with our dear friend Andy at our favourite Japanese place, Kazu. Their teriyaki salmon is the yummiest thing to pass my lips in a long, long time. Much of the conversation revolved around Andy, a builder, trying to convince us of the merits of building our dream home. The Animator was sold but I have the idea firmly on lockdown. Do I look like I need more stress in my life?

  • A relaxing facial from my former beauty therapist Marie turned into a possible work opportunity when she sounded me out about developing a social media strategy for the salon. I feel a contra deal coming on.

  • Another clothing package from the UK. This time my goodie bag featured a pleated cream dress from H&M, a brand new black dress from River Island and a stunning blue top (snapped below). Anita, I have fallen even more in love with your taste and breathtaking bargaining skills.

  • The discovery of a cheapish vintage store. Okay, so it has nothing on the UK's charity shops but amongst the dross I managed to find a handbag for a fiver and a $3 paperback.

  • The hotel gym. Often I am the only one using it. Allows me to indulge my 'this is the home gym I'd have if my surname was Rockefeller' type fantasies.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Sadness this week

It's been a tough old week watching the city I called home for more than four years burn to the ground.

And even harder to see the deep well of hatred and anger that bubbles beneath the surface of so many lives. The desperation and absolute disregard for anyone but self, the brushing aside of any notion of right and wrong, the distancing from basic concepts of respect and humanity. Sometimes I don't understand my species at all.

One of the most shocking incidents was the woman who blogged about an anniversary dinner that turned to horror as looters smashed windows of the Notting Hill restaurant before stealing wallets, watches and wedding rings from diners. The kitchen staff, who bravely chased them off with knives and rolling pins, deserve a medal from the Queen. As do those who turned up with brooms and rubbish bags all over Britain to clean up the mess.

This telling observation of looters' preferences appeared on Twitter: Currys (electrial appliance store) was ransacked while Waterstones (book store) was left completely unscathed. Maybe if these a*seholes read a few books they might feel less inclined to behave in such an appalling way.

I'm so glad friends all over the UK are okay...the thoughts of the world are with you.

(Pics: BBC, Telegraph and Getty)

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Christchurch - and smoko

On Wednesday, as part of the new gig, I flew to the embattled city of Christchurch to attend a couple of meetings and work with my southern colleagues.

As part of my visit, one of my colleagues gave me a tour of the damaged parts of the city. Apparently a lot of the buildings felled by the September 2010 and February 2011 quakes have been torn down/repaired. However, the devastation that still exists, particularly in the city's 'red zone' literally took my breath away. Even taking photos felt wrong (hence the accompanying Google images). My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch.

Sidebar: My flight ended up leaving Wellington 25 minutes late, thanks to fog in Christchurch. And, hilariously, because of the ground crew's morning smoko! The captain calmly announced to the packed flight that one of the reasons for our extended runway stay was because of the ground crew's coffee break.

We need to wait a few minutes for them to return and push us back and then we'll be on our way,” he told the bemused passengers.

Only in New Zealand....

Monday, 8 August 2011

A Monday laugh

“There was a time, once, on a grey, dull Sunday afternoon when I glanced out the window and thought about having children but it turned out I was confusing the feeling of broodiness with terrible indigestion.”

The quote comes from The Guardian’s Emma Kennedy who fires this hilarious salvo in the childfree debate….

It won’t be everyone’s cup of green tea but oh my days, it made me laugh...

(Pic credit:

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Old friends

Our two week anniversary in Aotearoa – and my first week back in the corporate comms saddle – couldn’t pass without being marked. And who better to raise a glass with than four of my favourite Welly peeps, Brownie, Steve, Sarah and Glenn?

There was, initially, some debate about where we should eat: having become accustomed to the UK’s more casual pint/curry combo, I vigorously waved the flag for a cheap and cheerful ethnic eatery. Besides, some of the best cuisine-related nights of my life have involved charmingly unprententious back-street trattorias, cafes and holes-in-the-wall.

In the end, we settled on the good old Asian fusion place, Chow on Tory, where I was pleased to note the jungle curry and delicious rosebud cocktails are still on-menu. If I wasn't already flirting with low-level alcoholism, those cocktails would certainly nudge me closer to it..

Friday, 5 August 2011

There is a God #4

Nothing makes a girl feel more prone to public gloating than a parcel from afar.

Tonight, after getting familiar with a few post-work reds, I meandered back to the hotel to find this parcel waiting for me.

It was from my UK shopping buddy Anita who, knowing how much I would miss our carboot outings, has made it her personal mission to shop for me. Today's offering was three tops/dresses from UK high street store, NEXT.

Maybe its the effect of my first week back at work, or perhaps it's because I'm still cursing the fact that we left summer to return to winter. Or maybe it's because it takes time to adjust. Or all of the above. All I know is that the rump end of the week has found me feeling more than a little fatigued. So to unlock the door and discover a parcel of gorgeous clothing is the best mood enhancer ever.

Nothing can change the fact that I'm missing the UK shops terribly, particularly the circuit of four fantabulous charity shops that became a critical part of my Saturday morning (that, a lie in and the Saturday Guardian was as near to bliss as it's possible to get). I'm also keenly feeling the absence of early Sunday morning car boot sales, so much so that I now, somewhat disturbingly, find myself dreaming about them.

I LOVE how Anita, my sartorial guardian angel, totally gets that a woman cannot live on two suitcases alone.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Wish I had been there....

Fess up time: yes, I will admit to shedding a few tears when I saw the pics of my gorgeous friend Anita's riotous hen party (below).

Held in Gloucester last Saturday I SHOULD have been there. I even had a game all planned. Damn you fate.

I would give my right arm (and my left) to have a tardis that could ship me all over the globe in mere minutes. Sciencey-type folk, are you listening? Would be ever so grateful if you could invent one...

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


(Pic credit : Dagsson)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

First Copenhagen piece

Yahoo!NZ uses one of my Copenhagen pieces

Payment to follow, hopefully...

Monday, 1 August 2011

New beginnings

Today I started a six-month PR contract. After a 15 month absence from corporate communications, it was an exercise in shaking up the stale neurons floating around in my brain.

But the team seems pleasant, the work interesting and, best of all, there's oodles of it. Which means this little girl will be so busy over the next few months she won't have time to stop and think about where her life is going.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...