Friday, 31 August 2012

Three years ago

we sent our cancer-ravaged poppet to doggy heaven.

It's been three years too many; I am still waiting for the skin that was removed during bereavement to grow back.

My darling Brompton, although our memories of you are starting to fade like the colour in an old photograph, you'll always be a part of our family. In fact, the Animator and I often slip up and call Bristol 'Brommie'. I'd like to think a little of you lives on in the brother you'll never meet.

Tonight, we fly to China for a week but you will be in our thoughts. Sleep well with the angels, little one.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


In two days we will be basking in 30 degree heat. It cannot get here soon enough...

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Flirting and eating in Rome

The DominionPost ran a travel piece of mine today (link).

Which means, of course, more moolah to spend in Shanghai. We fly Friday night and I CANNOT wait.

 (Pic Credit: DomPost)

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


As a dear old friend used to say, there are three parts to anyone's life - home, relationship and work - and it's unusual for all three to be in sync at any one time.

Thankfully, my relationship is mostly smooth sailing: when it comes to life's big questions, the Animator and I are pretty much in the same boat. And while the home sector has sailed some choppy waters in its time - come in horrid, slum-like flat in Bristol - we now live in a beautiful house that's soon to be featured in a glossy magazine.

The work part of this trilogy is, however, where I most frequently come unstuck: like many journos, I 'fell' into PR, a career that I'm pretty good at, that has paid off two mortgages and filled my home and life with lovely things - but that gnaws away at my soul. For the last wee while it's been hard to shake the feeling that I'm not doing what I was meant to.

Today, I had coffee with a woman who helped me crystalise my thinking; she may also hold the key to what I'm looking for. If it comes off, it will require some adjustment, but I'm more than ready for that.

I ended the day on an even higher note: as the sun set, this wee chap and I walked into the bush, stopping to chat to other dog owners and play fetch. It was a salient reminder that, no matter what happens, I'm lucky to have my two favourite boys and, really, that's all I need...

Monday, 27 August 2012

More lovely friends

For about the thousandth time, I find myself wishing that the sciency blokes would focus their collective energies on inventing a tardis so that I could spend my weekends visiting these glorious folk in Bristol and still be back in time for work on Monday.

Anita, Frenchie, Yoma and Gina....line the drinks up, GFs, because I'm hoping to see you all sometime in the new year.


Saturday, 25 August 2012


One of the great pleasures of journalism is the backstage pass it gives you to other people's lives, hopes and back stories.

Today I spent a couple of hours interviewing a very nice chap who, 12 years ago, translated his dreams into an award winning cheese, yoghurt and ice cream business. He was friendly, interesting and entertaining company and the fact that his close Greek family remains an integral part of the business made him even more endearing.

Here he is pictured with his sister and some of their scrumptious offerings. And yes, I did wolf down their grilled haloumi, chilli feta, organic ice cream (love, love, love the peanut butter and jelly variety) and smoked yoghurt as though I was in the shadow of a famine. I even left with some ice cream for my two favourite boys.

(Pic credit: Stuff)

Friday, 24 August 2012


I was raised a Catholic, so guilt is the fuel I run on (leaving the church doesn't, sadly, expunge the guilt).

One thing I've been feeling terribly guilty about lately is what a rubbish friend I am: working two jobs and trying to hold it together isn't the easiest thing in the world and one of the early casualties is friendships.

I've been back from the UK for just over a year and I'm terribly ashamed to admit that I've only seen my lovely friend Janice once in that time. Today, we finally aligned our diaries and met for lunch; it was so nice to see her and fill in the gaps of the past year. And to laugh in the way you can only do with old, true friends. We made a solemn promise not to wait so long between drinks next time and I am planning to stick to that.


Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Feeling summer edging closer, I'm conscious of the need to up my fitness regime which seems to have gone into hibernation the last few months. Tonight, after my run with Bristol, I unfurled my yoga mat because it's been far too long between sun salutes and downward dogs.

All well and good, except Bristol insisted on joining in. Doga, or yoga doggie style, was created in New  York 11 years ago and tonight Bristol and I devised our own version. Except I was laughing so much, I'm not sure how many asanas I actually managed to do.

Here's a shot of the wee darling refusing to get off my mat; look how well stretched he is! And please don't tell me there's a device on my iPhone that will sort out his demonic eyes, I know there is but am not sure where and can't be arsed finding out. Answers on a postcard, please...


Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Today I had, quite randomly, two conversations with people about mindfulness, about living in the moment, about finding the thing that makes our heart sing. I'm also, as it happens, researching for an article a book written by a friend whose search led her from being a full-on corporate warrior to a island-dwelling hippy. Spooky.  

But it stirs in me, yet again, a yearning to break away from the herd and find - and claim - my bliss. Things are afoot and plans are starting to take shape so hopefully before long, I too shall be doing what I love. As befits the Oprah groove I'm in today, I found this image on the ever superb Pinterest.  I think the universe is trying to tell me something...

Monday, 20 August 2012

Scenes from a sunny Saturday

As I type this, the rain is flinging itself against the windows as though God/Allah/Krishna was hurling rocks from the skies.

But on Saturday, it was sunny and calm and Wellington put on her best face. Please Weather Gods, can we have more of this?

I know the temptation will be great to mock my hideous gumboots/wellies but it was muddy as hell in the town belt and I didn't want to get my Hunters dirty! But note that I am outdoors without a jacket,  the first time in months this has happened.     

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Weekend numbers...

  • Number of new tenants settled in rental property: two
  • Number of forms for said rental property signed: three
  • Number of new dog/house-sitters inducted: one
  • Number of dog walks taken: four
  • Number of glasses of red wine drunk: five
  • Number of freelance articles completed: two
  • Number of invoices emailed to magazine finance departments: three
  • Number of curries made and consumed: one
  • Number of emails sent to potential magazine interviewees: three
  • Number of lemon slices made: one
  • Number of Sunday Magazine articles published: this one below

Friday, 17 August 2012


I have written so many words for both my day job and the freelance gig this week that I have very few left. I just tried rattling my brain and nothing fell out.

So instead you shall have a photo of the Animator's nephew, Caleb, wearing a t-shirt we brought back from San Francisco which his mother says has barely left his back. As you know, Shazzy would rather stroke her face with a cheese grater than spend time with rug-rats but Caleb is one of the very, very few I make an exception for. And even I have to admit he looks pretty cute in his t-shirt...


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A welcome commission....

Shattered from the first day at the new contract and now after a rushed dinner have to head to the rental to clean and paint.

But the joyous news of the day was a commission from NEXT Mag. I once used to try and get a feature in this glossy every month but the last wee while, apart from some travel pieces, I've been a NEXT Mag free zone.

So yay for surprise commissions and for trying to find three women to interview who fit the brief!


Tuesday, 14 August 2012


a few months back I jumped on the crazy I have-to-visit-15-boutique-museums-in-a-week-of-lunchtimes treadmill for a magazine feature?

Well a copy of Eclipse Magazine finally plopped into letterbox today, so long after I'd written the bloody thing (and spent one Friday lunchtime racing across town to pose for these heinous  pics in front of the Tattoo Museum) that I had clean forgotten about it.


Monday, 13 August 2012


Because of fuck-upedness with contracts, I am not required to put on my 9-5 face until Wednesday.

Two whole days of freedom from the corporate gulag; Bristol is beside himself with joy that he has someone to share the long days with.

Today after I walked to the Chinese Embassy and emptied our bank accounts to pay for our visas, I popped into our rental property to ensure the departing tenants had removed all their possessions and cleaned up (they had, to the standard of 25-year-old males). It was strange being there on my own and I was blind-sided by memories of 2-1/2 years ago, when the Animator had already moved to the UK for work, and Molly and I lived there companionably for seven weeks. I will always associate her with that house.

Very, very few days go by that I don't think of Ms Molly; fortunately, her new dad sends weekly videos of the old girl cavorting on golden Californian sand, defying both her age and her incapacity to behave like a puppy. As we saw for ourselves in June, Ms Molly continues to enchant and engage everyone she meets. She is, it appears, the Benjamin Button of the canine world.

Fortunately, grief and I aren't terribly intimate but even in my brief liaisons I know it's an odd beast, coming out of nowhere to strike at the most inconvenient of times. Today grief reminded me how very much I miss Molly and wish she could be with us. But I know she is happy with her American whanau and that is that, and this shitty thing called life must go on. Perhaps I'm feeling a little maudlin because it's coming up to the third anniversary of the death of my other great love, Brompton. Grief seems to be giving me a good old shakedown this week.

The afternoon did get better: the sun came out, I finished a magazine commission and Bristol and I took a long walk up into the town belt. It was muddy as hell and thankfully I was wearing gumboots (Wellingtons for my British readers) but Bristol adored it; he ran and jumped in the long grass and after 10 minutes was covered in mud. With the sun-bathed city set out before me, I sat on a park bench and threw pine-cone after pine-cone time to the Boy Wonder who raced all over the field looking as though he had won the canine lottery. Tomorrow, on my last day of freedom, we will do the same.

Here for your viewing pleasure is the delightful Miss Molly, because everyone's retinas deserve a treat...


Sunday, 12 August 2012


The Sunday Star Times 'Sunday' magazine today ran my feature on the Suits Vs Hoodies debate, which was sparked by the widely derided Mark Zuckerberg dressing-down incident a few months ago.

The layout looked great and it should put a stop to those "When is it being used?" emails from the interviewees. Hope they like it.

Later, there was an inspection of our rental property as the tenants move out today. They have been pretty good, if a little lacking with the duster/Hoover action. A lovely Irish couple move in next Saturday and I sense there will be a few after work sessions this week doing such exciting things as cleaning properly, touching up paint spots, changing light bulbs, etc. Somewhere in there I also need to churn out a few freelance pieces and get my head around a couple of corporate commissions. Oh, and do a day job.

Jesus, bet you're wishing you were me about now...

Saturday, 11 August 2012


Was mostly spent in the hairdressers chair, having my stubbornly curly tresses tamed into straight submission, a twice-yearly process that takes far too much time and disposable income.

Having forgotten to take my book, I had to endure hours of crappy women's magazines, or 'road porn' as a former colleague scathingly called them. To think, I once wrote for these magazines. Makes me squirm with embarrassment just thinking about it.

There was also sunshine, good news from my favourite clothes women who'd managed to sell some of the garments I no longer need nor want and this gorgeous bunch of daffs. Last night after work, it was light enough for Bristol and me to have our first PM walk in the town belt since Summer left. And now these pretty daffs. Both signs that Spring is almost here....


Friday, 10 August 2012

I may have spoken too soon...

Here's a pop quiz for you, because who doesn't like random questions on a Friday?

If Shazzy goes to work and the furry Boy Wonder feels abandoned and decides to show his displeasure by running mud all through the house is Shazzy:

a) an idiot for singing his praises yesterday?
b) crazy to whinge? When you have a dog, you should expect a certain amount of collateral damage.
c) impossible to please and needs to get over it?
d) all of the above?


Thursday, 9 August 2012

My dog is a genius

Everyone thinks their dog is brilliant but today Bristol proved that he is.

I was drying my hair when my mobile went but of course because of the noise of the dyer, I couldn't hear it. Who should come running into the bathroom, barking like crazy and insisting I follow him? I turned off the dryer and voila, followed him all the way to my ringing phone.

Now we need to decide - Stamford or Oxford?

And because you can never have enough beauty, here's a shot of the Boy Wonder...

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The end of a relationship

I'm sad to announce that working from home and I have broken up.

Just as I was getting used to sleeping in, breakfasting with my favourite blogs, doing a bit of scribbling, lunching with Dr Phil and taking Bristol for an afternoon run, my old contract called and asked me to come back. This Friday! So in the end, the romance only lasted four days (admittedly longer than some of my other 'relationships' but there you go...)

I get the bit about cloud/silver lining, etc but jeez I will miss spending time with my baby and wearing trackies and slippers all day. Hopefully after this next contract, I will learn how to say the word 'No'. And mean it...

No photos today because the weather turned even more feral so instead, here's another of those supposed-to-be-enlightening-but-actually-slightly-depressing 'pearls of wisdom' (which is code for, I can't be arsed finding anything better to illustrate this page).      

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


So this morning I sloshed through puddles on my way to the Chinese Embassy where I applied for our visas for this upcoming media trip.

And there was no queue and it was all very speedy and efficient and the chap was lovely. But as I was waiting for him to count the 754 pieces of paper we had to fill out, I spotted their bookstand which was weighed down with copies of the nattily named 'Human Rights Magazine, China's leading Human Rights Publication'.  


Because you must have a photo of the canine wonder boy, here is he, loving the fact that his mama is currently at home for a good chunk of the day.

Monday, 6 August 2012

A good first day

Having finished my latest PR contract on Friday, I am now taking a few weeks out to complete some corporate writing/long overdue journalism commissions and generally have a breather after what has been a crazy year.

And what better way to celebrate my temporary escape from the corporate gulag than a midday walk in the glorious sunshine with two of the Mt Vic Vixens and their dogs, coffee along Oriental Parade and pretending that I'm familiar with the concept of  ladies who lunch (with not too much persuading, I'm sure I could be).

There was work, of course: the tapping out of an organisation's annual report and, later, finally starting the long overdue Your Home & Garden story on our place. But that was done to the accompaniment of soft jazz, a steady stream of green tea and this little fellow who was deliriously happy that he had someone to play with.

I had forgotten how very much I like to work from home, so for now this will suit me fine....

Sunday, 5 August 2012

My bank account and clipping folder thank you

Today the Sunday Magazine ran my profile of the director of NZ's first Le Cordon Bleu, Cath Hopkin.

And the sun shone and I made some headway with an annual report I've been commissioned to write so, all in all, not a bad day.


Saturday, 4 August 2012

Things to be happy about

The happiness train has finally stopped at my station: I have had confirmation of a freebie media trip to Shanghai. As it coincides with the Animator's milestone birthday, we managed to work it so that my favourite travelling companion can come too.

Later today, there will be the first barbie of the season with some of the Animator's colleagues. Happy days.

(Pic credit: Google Images)

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The little things...

Regular readers will know that I love my house. That I am in awe of how the Animator and his band of merry tradesmen took a tired old girl and moulded her into a pretty spectacular, modern home. And all  within the space of six weeks.

In fact, I love her so much that next week I will finally be tying myself to the laptop to write about our adventures for Your Home and Garden Magazine, a commission that is so far behind it is almost in last year.

The only thing that has bugged me about the house since we moved in last November has been the upstairs shower. It was one of the few rooms the previous owners had dragged into this century so apart from lashings of white paint, we didn't mess about too much with it. However, the shower pressure SUCKED (apologies for the quite unnecessary use of caps but I cannot stress how much a piss poor shower upsets me). I had the choice of either hot water, delivered in a dribble or cold water at a more respectable pressure. But hot water and good pressure were seemingly unable to co-exist. I confined my ablutions to the tiny downstairs bathroom which at least gave good shower.

Today, we finally tackled the sucker and after a plumber spent two hours draining my bank account, we now have the best shower in Welly. It is hot as Hades and as strong as the All Black front row; I have just spent so long in there, my skin is almost flaking off.

A good shower might be a small thing to rejoice about, but sometimes the best things are....    

(pic of the upstairs bathroom - sadly no shot of the shower which is to the left of this shot. But you get the idea)   

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

My least favourite month

Dear August,

You're generally my least favourite month. Here in the Southern Hemisphere you can, let's be honest, be a bit of a douche.

You're like someone's obnoxious drunk uncle at Christmas – you hang around too long, you're irritating and you don't make it easy for people to like you.

If I think back over the past few years, I realise you've never been kind to me. In fact, I generally associate you with change, annoyance and grief. It's obvious you're all that's standing between us and Spring and that fact alone is enough to wish you gone.

So please don't take this personally, but I cannot wait for September to hurry up and get her sweet arse over here....


(Pic: Google Images)


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