Friday, 30 November 2012

My new ride

I popped out for a coffee today - and ended up buying a car!

As many of you know, I couldn't be less enamoured of the Fiat if I tried (link to story here).

It constantly chides me with its irrational beeping and is sucky on hills. The Animator, of course, adores it but we will never be friends.

Today I finally stopped my whingeing and purchased this cute Rav 4. My bank account is now emptier than Kim Kardashian but at least I've got something to sleep in if the economic Grim Reaper ever comes a-calling.

I pick it up tomorrow and am excited, with a very large side of happiness.

Ironically, my ownership papers tell me the paint colour is 'champagne' which is fitting since I plan on consuming quite a lot of bubbles over the next few weeks (and walking home afterwards, of course!)


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Places in the Heart writing competition

Apologies. Several overseas readers have emailed to ask if I could post the story for which I won the North & South Magazine's Places in the Heart competition this year. I have no excuse for not doing so until now, so here's the link.  

As I may have mentioned, I've written for this national monthly for years, but in a journalistic capacity, never in the first-person, essay style that this competition requires. For some reason I gave it a whirl this year and, lo and behold, someone further up the food chain thought it was okay.

I may not, however, win many fans with this somewhat blunt account of life in Wainuiomata, the small town where I grew up. The Animator jokes I may have to buy a flak jacket. But it's my story and I aimed to tell it as honestly as possible...

(For Kiwi readers, the story and the accompanying photo competition are in the Dec issue of North & South, pictured below) 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


So The Hobbit circus has rolled into town.

And even though the Animator worked on it and gets a credit, I have zero interest in seeing it. Or in partaking of this Middle Earth silliness that is currently gripping my hometown (and, annoyingly, obstructing the route of my usual Wednesday run!)

And yes, I get that it's good for my husband's industry and the local cash registers and so on, but it's just not my kind of thing.

Does that mean I have to give back my New Zealand passport?!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Another reason to spurn meat

Allow me to lower the tone, if I may, but I came across this story on the Daily Mail website today (yeah, I know).

A new study has found that people who eat tofu and other plant-based food may enjoy a better sex life than those who persist in scoffing things with a face and a soul. Link to story here.

In your eye, carnivores!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Food story

One of my stories is in the December issue of Taste Magazine (out today).

Click here to read.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Day 2

Another day, another chef, another pair of aching feet.

But we ended the day with these gorgeous traditional French Charlotte aux Fraises (strawberry Charlotte, to you and me) and vanilla Anglaise that had FOUR different steps including one involving a piping bag, several swear words and a level of competence that refused to be attained.

When I got home, the Animator was at work (yet again) and the Mt Vic Vixens were busy so I invited the neighbours around to help me slay this calorific beast. Spent a lovely few hours with them, scoffing cake and catching up on neighbourhood gossip.

Now, of course, the hard work starts because I need to write the bloody magazine story but, to wrap, this is what I learned this weekend:

1) I DO NOT want to be a chef or work in a commercial kitchen. Ever.

2) It hurts standing all day

3) Chef's aprons are made for Amazons

4) I cannot work a piping bag for shit, and

5) I now have an extra layer of fat around my middle that should carry the label: 'Made by Le Cordon Bleu'.

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Who'd have thought dicing, sauteing and baking an assortment of foodstuffs could be so exhausting?

The first day of Le Cordon Bleu Wellington's 'Boot Camp Weekend' is done and all I want to do is dive into a large G+T and have a long swim. And then sleep the sleep of the dead.

Until 8.45am tomorrow when I do it all again. At least tomorrow is patisserie day. And apparently the French chef is hot.

Some of today's creations


Friday, 23 November 2012


Began badly when the doorbell rang at 8.00am (Friday is my working from home aka sleep in day). It was a friend from the hood and her gorgy wee doggie Poppy, who we've long joked is Bristol's girlfriend.

She brought Poppy over to say goodbye because, due to a relationship breakup, today she has to relinquish her wee dog to her ex partner. She, and we, were in tears.


Thankfully, the day got a little better: there was work, a visit to my clothes woman, the library and a dog walk with Bristol's new GF, Dobbie, and her mum Laura.

Am spending the next two days cloistered in NZ's first outpost of the renowned French cuisine school, Le Cordon Bleu, on a foodie "boot camp" for a story for a magazine. So no weekend for this wee girl...

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Floral goodness

First, buy a vastly overpriced bunch of  flowers for a photo shoot.

Snip the ends off the way your florist friend Gina showed you, add some equally overpriced floral food and hope for the best.

Be surprised that almost a week later, they still look good.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Stevie is indeed a Wonder

Just went for a run along the waterfront and, stupidly, decided to tackle some hills.

But as I was about to admit defeat, my iPod shuffled onto this tune and bam, I got my running mojo back.

If this song doesn't make you want to dance, you literally have no soul...

PS LOVING the 70s getups in this SoulTrain video.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Parcel of Goodness

Today wasn't the best day ever in Shazzyland.

Lunch in the park with a friend was rained on, I had to deal with a colleague who'd ODed on grumpy pills and I didn't get as far as I wanted on a work project. Am guessing, however, that the dude I saw tonight scraping chewing gum off a Cambridge Terrace bus-stop and eating it was probably having a worse day than me.

The plus side of the ledger was balanced out by this wee bundle of goodness that was awaiting me when I got home. The clothing fairy has waved her wand and these two gorgy dresses and cool grey top are now mine. Apparently there are still THREE more parcels floating around the ether (touching every piece of wood I can find that they're not lost) that will hopefully find their way to me in the next few days.


Monday, 19 November 2012

Feliz primer aniversario

One year.

Four soft toys, three grooming sessions, one vet visit, 78 trillion kilometres walked and so many cuddles and kisses he should be sopping wet.

A year ago today, this adorable bundle of grey, black and white fur moved into our home and our hearts. To say he has become the most important thing in our lives would be to take a massive swig from the cup of understatement.

I can't imagine life without Bristol; he has made this cynical old journo deliriously happy. This tiny Schnauzer-terrier mix is the reason I quicken my pace up vertiginous Pirie Street each night, the cause of our anti-socialism (we'd rather be with him than out on the lash) and why I willingly leave my warm bed early each morning so he can water lamp-posts.

Here's to many, many, many more years with our wee fur bubs...


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Today was spent

  • Drinking green tea and eating cake with an old work buddy, Farahmand. Very touched that he remembered my favourite flowers (Christmas lillies, since you ask) and bought me a bunch. The house now overfloweth with floral decorations.  
  • Dog walking, doing laundry and trying to ignore the fact that I have not done any work this weekend 
  • Watching the last Bond movie in preparation for the new one (and No is the answer to the question: can a girl ever have enough of Daniel Craig?)   
  • In the company of a woman with the strongest Aussie accent and the worst hairstyle in Christendom  as she demonstrated how to use the KitchenAid. Yeah, I am one of those saddos who watches the DVDs that come with over-priced appliances. What's even worse is that I'm so loathe to tarnish my new stand mixer that I have yet to use it. Nor am I likely to have the time to do so this week. But I'm not bothered; when something looks this good, who cares if it works or not?        
Here is a repeat screening of the Red Baron (as it has since been christened). If sexy kitchen appliances don't push your buttons, then you may wish to move quietly towards the exits, because I guarantee there will be more KitchenAid porn before the year is out.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The master at work

After a frantic bout of cleaning and flower arranging, we had the shoot for Your Home & Garden Magazine at our place today. Here's my buddy Nic, who shoots all my house stories, and a good number of my 'lifestyle' mag pieces, hard at work trying to make our house look beautiful.

And guess who put on their best 'posing' face?


Friday, 16 November 2012

Happy girl

It's such a First World concern but I have spent the last few weeks oscillating between 'I can't afford this' and 'I work hard, I deserve this'.

Thankfully, the latter won and after years and years of lusting after a fire-engine red KitchenAid Stand Mixer, today this wee girl finally got her grubby hands on one.  And I LOVE it more than any sane person should.

The great irony is, however, that it cost so much I am unable to afford ingredients with which to create cakes, bread and other carb-related items.

But, as the checkout chick at Moore Wilsons said, at least I can always look at it. Which I plan to do. A LOT.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


This is the sight that greeted me on my return home from work the other night.

One of my fairy shopping godmother's Parcels of Goodness, as they have now come to be known.

And inside there were tops from Zara and Topshop, a divine green silk dress and the cutest wee scarf ever. It's been a while between drinks, but I CANNOT tell you how much Anita's Parcels of Goodness gladden this wee girl's heart.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Women drinking beer

The Sunday Magazine ran my piece on this earth-shatteringly important topic this past Sunday (to read click here). You're welcome.

Meanwhile, the Boy Wonder is feeling not so wonderful. Someone obvs needs to locate their sense of humour.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

No time

for words today, so pictures will have to do.

A crazy busy weekend which began yesterday with an interview for Your Home & Garden Mag (much nicer than my rubbish photos would suggest).

Then there was some work, and getting of flowers for our lovely neighbour whose 70th birthday we went to last night (on a boat-cum restaurant they own).

This morning's trip to the waterfront market yielded the season's first strawberries, which got along so well with  pawpaw on the the Animator's usual Sunday pancakes.

Later, there was the buying of stuff for next Saturday's photoshoot, doing our three monthly inspection of the rental property, dog walking in the rain, more writing and, to come, the watching of US hit series Girls. 

Why are weekends never long enough?

Friday, 9 November 2012


If you were in the vicinity of the NZ Portrait Galley on Wellington's waterfront last night, that whoop of joy you heard came from me.

In the spirit of the Summer of Yes, I went to the opening of Still Dancing, an exhibition of images by my mate, photographer Stephen A'Court, which featured students of the NZ School of Dance celebrating the school's 45th  anniversary.

The photos are breathtaking and Stephen, who has photographed some of my freelance features for years, is stupidly talented. If you are in Welly before December 1, I would beseech you to get yo arse down to the Portrait Gallery and prepare to be amazed and awed.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thank you

America for Obama, Season Two.

And for letting Big Bird remain on Sesame Street. This yellow dude taught me, and millions of others, how to read.


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Today I have been

  • Finishing a magazine article that I am on deadline for. Sadly, I still have two interviews to do until I can get anywhere near the finish line but that doesn't seem to have stopped the procrastination police from stopping by.
  • Running. Managed to drag my lardy arse out for a jog along the waterfront. Was stopped four times by folk wanting to pat, and chat about, His Highness. I am going to have to start the Bristol Fan Club.
  • Listening to the Black Keys and kicking myself for not going to their Welly gig the other night.
  • Lunching in the sun with a book and Baby Bristol. I do love it when the sun comes out on my working from home days.
  • Feeling guilty about turning down an offer of work from a previous contract. As much as I loved that place (my favourite workplace to date), I treasure the two days I work from home and am not ready to give that up. Plus, my freelance dance card is pretty full and I have no wish to fill every waking hour with work (been there, got the t-shirt, etc).
  • Geeking out over the US elections. I fear the laptop's 'refresh' button may be worn out by tonight. But here's hoping the day brings a win for this courageous and inspiring man.      

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Joy and jubilation

No one likes a show off BUT I have been unable to stop grinning like a loon since I got an email from the editor of North and South Magazine to say that I had won their Places in the Heart writing competition!

Whilst I've freelanced for NZ's best read monthly current affairs and lifestyle magazine* for years, it's always been in a journalism capacity, never in 'creative' non-fiction, which is what the competition requires. I'm not sure why I decided to enter this year, but give it a go I did, scribbling down 600 words about a place that had impacted my life. And blow me down if I didn't win!

The piece is being run in next month's issue (out next week) and the prize money will no doubt be thrown at an airline ticket.

Stoked? Doesn't even come close...

* Nielsen National Readership Survey (Mar 09-Apr 2010)


Monday, 5 November 2012

Bluddy fireworks

Warning: rant alert.

Light years ago, when I was a baby journalist, I interviewed a teenager who had most of his fingers blown off by a stray firework. The next day, I interviewed a kid whose eyeball was turned inside out, his face rippled with scar tissue; both were remnants of Guy Fawkes Night.

Along with badly behaved rug-rats, racists and animal abusers, fireworks are among the first things I'll ban when I'm in charge of the world. They're dangerous, stupid and a huge waste of money: why not just burn a pile of $20 notes in your driveway and be done with it?

And don't even get me started on the insanity of celebrating some dumb-arse Catholic on the other side of the world who, hundreds of years ago, tried to blow up one of the most beautiful buildings in London.  

The Animator supports organised displays and he's right, they are a heap safer. But seriously, haven't people got anything better to do on a grey Monday night (Homeland, anyone?)

Tonight, baby Bristol is agitated and I am trying to keep him calm. We will both be happier when this idiotic "celebration" is over.
  (Pic: Google Images)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

High tea

There was bubbly, delicate little cakes and a chocolate fountain. And floral displays to be judged and Christmassy things to be admired.

My friend Donna's Sparkle and Style event was a lot of fun and although it's not something I'd normally attend, in the spirit of the Summer of Yes it was the perfect way to bid adieu to the weekend.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Today was made of...

  • Skyping the lovely Anita in Gloucestershire. Not sure why it's taken us more than a year to do this but  today we finally conquered technology and enjoyed a good old goss. Shame we couldn't quite get the cameras to work but we covered a lot of ground in an hour and half.
  • A visit from my photographer mate Nic to recce our place for the Your Home & Garden Magazine shoot in a couple of weeks; her tales of a recent work trip to Transylvania had me in stitches.
  • Another couple of magazine commissions to fill my dance card.
  • A wee gift from our estate agent for our first anniversary in this house.  
  • Thai takeout (and a buttery Chardonnay) for dinner
  • This little fullah who played happily with any number of big dogs at the park on our walk this afternoon. He really is "the still point in my turning world"...    

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Fish taco

This week I have been mainly craving fish tacos. I haven't had a decent one since my visit to San Francisco's glorious Mission District for a story in June.

It was high time the fish taco levee was breached (too soon?) so we dropped into the old favourite, Sweet Mother's Kitchen, to hang with the cool kids. And scoff taco and quesadilla, inhale their famous curly fries and drink Mexican beer.

As Thursday is my new Friday, it was time to kick back, catch up with the Animator and think happy thoughts about three days of sleep-ins, writing work and a few of my favourite things.



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