Sunday, 30 June 2013


Tired of having to schlep His Highness across town to the groomer every few months, we decided to employ a little of that famed Kiwi DIY and have a go ourselves.

Earlier this week, the Animator bought a men's electric razor and, after a couple of practice runs, this morning we did the deed. Bristol was, as ever, a model client, sitting still while his overgrown locks were tidied up. He may even have have whispered a quiet thanks to us for saving him from a visit to the groomer which is, after the vet, possibly his least favourite place in the world.

Check him out - he's what I believe is known in the trade as 'a looker'.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Interior Magazine

My first ever piece in Interior Magazine, from the Urbis stable, is out today (click here to read).


Friday, 28 June 2013

Today in bullets

An exceedingly good Friday, notable for helping to restore my faith in humanity which, for reasons far too tedious to go into here, has received somewhat of a battering lately. It was made of:

  •  A two-hour catchup with a woman I went to high-school with who I ran into the other day. She's in marketing and we've been on each others' professional radars over the years but it was sooooo good to sit down, drink coffee and catch up. And toss around possible work projects that we can collaborate on.
  • My second free lunch of the week - this time with a travel editor I've worked with for years. The  kedgeree at Nikau NEVER fails to disappoint. And a glass of shiraz at lunchtime is a vastly under-rated pleasure. 
  • Finishing a story that's been plaguing me for weeks. Good to finally get that off to the editor.
  • Being commissioned two more features for a glossy weekly mag. Both are on subjects I'm interested in, so that always helps.
  • The sniff of another travel famil. A couple have fallen over lately (shakes fist at the recession) so am determined to nail this one.
  • An afternoon walk with Lorna and Dobbie (her dog) - and the discovery of this fabulous table on the side of the road. Lorna and her partner have just bought their first home so are in the market for some furniture - and this fits the bill nicely. Two girls, two dogs and one table - somehow we all managed to make it back to her place.


Thursday, 27 June 2013

New Zealand International Film Festival

Sometimes I love my job.

Like tonight when I get to drink wine, eat nibbles and check out the fabulous Sarah Polley movie, Stories We Tell  at the launch of the 2103 festival programme.

And yes, the Animator gets to come along too. Just the thing for a grim June night.

NZIFF 2013 signature BOOSTED

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


About a year ago, I was invited to be part of a media panel for the suppliers and producers behind Visa Wellington on a Plate, walking them through issues such as how to gain publicity for their event/brand, the best time to ring a journo, etc.

Payment was a nice bottle of wine and lunch. It has taken 12 whole months for me and the lovely Ange from Positively Wellington Tourism to align our respective diaries for that lunch but today we finally did it.

There was delectable smoked fish (me) and a haloumi burger for her at the always fabulous Ti Kouka cafe.
There was also a year's gossip to get through and the identification of Welly stories for me to cover.

In other news, the sun shone, there was a dog walk in the town belt and I finally spent a book voucher I was given as a leaving gift from a long-forgotten contract that I discovered burrowed in a corner of my wallet this morning.

All of which qualifies as a good day in Shazzyland...  

(Pic credit: Ti Kouka)

Monday, 24 June 2013

Bad Mummy

I wondered why the little man was looking so sad and mooching around the dining room cabinet.

And then I remembered that when friends came over the other day, I tidied away his manky, spittle-encrusted toys. And, like the emotionally abusive madre that I am, I forgot to return them.

This is what a happy dog looks like.


Sunday, 23 June 2013

We all scream for ice cream

A wise woman I once interviewed said, 'Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?'

Which is kind of why I get a kick out of swimming against the tide: keeping my maiden name  (tick), refusing to bring any kids into this overpopulated, resource-hungry planet (tick) and living life on my own terms (big, fat tick).

It's also why I signed to up an ice cream testing panel in the middle of winter. My good friend Donna of Feast and Vine, who I've collaborated with on a couple of stories, is launching a range of artisanal ice-creams and needed some 'expert' opinions. Being an ice-cream lover was, apparently, the only qualification required.

Fortunately days of rain were followed by bright winter sunshine, so 12 of us schlepped out to the beautiful Ohariu Farm to rate 24 flavours on their taste, texture and composition. I can't reveal the flavours (a state secret until the launch) or the packaging that the Animator took pics of but I can say they were the tastiest morsels to pass these lips in a long time.

We chased our ice-cream coma with lunch - including a delicious kumera and coconut soup - and, just in case we hadn't filled our bellies with enough dairy products, made our own sundaes. Three hours of calorific heaven.


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Winter storm

If this rain doesn't let up soon, we'll have to start building an Ark and figuring out how many cans of baked beans to pack.

Some Wellingtonians are still without power and parts of the South Coast have been crushed like a bug under a giant's foot. Three houses away, a car had its back window smashed by a flying chunk of tree.

This afternoon we swaddled ourselves in layers and walked up to the Town Belt - after my friend Lorna and I were warned off yesterday by workmen clearing trees who told us the forest cover was "too unstable" - to find the path littered with broken branches and streams where before there were none.

The Hound, of course, enjoyed the carnival of mud and, despite a thorough wiping down, continues to leave deposits of dirt and grass all over the house.

We are now safe and warm at home with lashings of tea, red wine and fruit crumble. There are stories to be written, scenes to be animated, movies to be watched and books to be read. If we didn't have to go out in it, I would almost say I'm enjoying this detachment from humanity.

Visuals are from the last few days...

(Pic credit: Stuff and 3 News) 

Friday, 21 June 2013

New Italian in town

My second June blog post for the Forbes site covers the lovely Ombra (click here to read).

(Pics courtesy of Ombra) 

Thursday, 20 June 2013


How do you know you're in love?

You walk home in hail that gouges chunks of flesh from your face, in wind that threatens to carry you to the South Island to find this face staring at you, wanting to go for a walk.

He's been alone all day, so he's amped and ready to go. So you sigh, drape your wet garments over radiators and wrap up warmly to go back out into the storm. And once he's emptied his bladder, he looks at you as if to say "Are we nuts?" and we rush back to worship at the altar of central heating.

Tomorrow we will do the same. But there is little I wouldn't do for this precious pup who makes my heart expand  every time I set eyes on him. And that includes playing chicken with hyperthermia.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Wrong on so many levels

Y'all know my view on animals as entertainment: racing, zoos and circuses all have Shazzy hitting the 'No Like' button.

So, just to be clear, I DO NOT endorse the palaver below at all (and Christ only knows what the spraypaint is doing to their poor skin) but after the kind of day I've had, this dog grooming competition in the Guardian kind of made the corners of my mouth turn up. Kind of.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


The last few days seem to have fallen down the back of the sofa.

All I can recall of them are: work, rain, work, friends over for cake, more rain, more work.

The aftermath of the recent deluge was in evidence today when Bristol and his doggie mate Simba enjoyed a mud bath in the Town Belt. They had a grand old time, sliding around it and sloshing about in puddles. When we got home, I realised there were clumps of mud and grass clinging to his undercarriage. So into the shower he went.

Discovery of the day: the Hound likes the hair dryer. All those sessions at the groomer have obvs taught him to lie back and enjoy. Given his predilection for growling at noisy appliances, this was a revelation. So today wasn't a total waste of make-up after all.



Saturday, 15 June 2013

Getting artsy in Welly

One of my Forbes posts on Wellington galleries is published (click here to read).

Pics courtesy of my mate Nic Edmonds.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Suffering for my art

It's 7.15pm on a Friday, an hour when most people are onto their third beer/wine/insert alcoholic beverage of choice. 

I, however, am stuck in my office, waiting to ring a home-owner about the renovation of her Auckland home for a magazine story. I dragged myself out of bed early to interview the architect who was lovely, but enamoured of phrases such as 'reflect the classicism of the build', 'abstract reinterpretation' and 'surety of balance expressed through strong lines of symmetry'. All of which now have to be put through the plain English filter.

Also achieved today:
  • Frantic bashing at the keyboard to meet the deadline for a corporate newsletter that has to be out next week
  • A visit to my clothes woman and the collection of a nice fat cheque. Thank you, Wellington women, for buying my offcasts
  • The baking of an orange cake for arvo tea tomorrow with a couple of colleagues from a few contracts ago (was supposed to be the best beloved lemon cake of last weekend but discovered too late we only had one lemon, the tree was bare and I couldn't be arsed going out to buy another one)
  • A run in the sunshine with the Hound, and the making of a new doggie friend
  • A compliment from the editor of a glossy monthly mag for a Korea travel story I filed earlier this week
  • A visit from a woman I met with her lovely dog in the Town Belt the other day; turns out she owns an advertising/graphic design agency and is looking for a copywriter. The universe was obviously smiling down on me today.   
Visuals are of cute woofers, because I can't think of a nicer way to end the working week...
All images from Tumblr


Thursday, 13 June 2013

We interrupt today to bring you

a moment of silliness.

Various freelancey things over the past week have left me searching for the off button. I am badly in need of a hot date with the sofa, a bad movie and oodles of crushed grapes. Sadly, that won't be happening any time soon, as the work mountain continues to grow.  

This afternoon, the boys at work thought it would be fun for Shazzy to look like a plonker and, needing some light relief, I was happy to oblige them.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Urbis Magazine

The latest issue is out and features one of my stories, on Welly interior architect Charlotte Minty (click here to read).

And a book review from the May issue (click here).

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Work lunch

The sun shone, work got done and at noon, the marketing team trotted across the road for lunch to welcome someone from our San Francisco office.

I'm sure other stuff happened but that's about all we have time for, folks, because I need to spend yet another night persuading nouns and adjectives to play nicely together.


Monday, 10 June 2013

Welly on a Plate pics

Just got home from work: after the day job, I had to go visit a new client to be briefed on a corporate newsletter.

Dinner has been inhaled and now it's time to start job number three: completing a magazine freelance piece and a couple of bits of copywriting for another client. Been slapped about a bit by time management skills today, so nothing for it but to put in a few more hours.

No time for words so pics of last Thursday night's WOAP media launch will have to do. Ta to the luminous Ange from Positively Wellington Tourism for the snaps.


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Best cake ever?

A friend at work gave me the recipe for this delicious lemon yoghurt cake. My fire-engine red KitchenAid, which cost the same as a small car and has been used exactly three times in the last six months, turned it into the work of a few minutes.

I made it yesterday for a friend who popped over and then unsuccessfully tried to hide it from the Animator, who has decided it is his new best friend. Every time I go downstairs, another slither has been carved off. But his enthusiasm is understandable because, and please excuse the shameless self promotion, this cake is the bomb. It is light and moist and moreish, a scrumptious dance with lemons and yoghurt and calories. I do believe it is one of the best cakes to ever emerge from my oven, and I don't say that lightly. Should you find yourself in the vicinity of my house in the next wee while, expect to be served this.

P.S As part of the whole self sufficient, Good Life vibe, the lemons came from the Animator's tree, the first fruit to do so.


Saturday, 8 June 2013

The dark stuff

On a ridiculously warm afternoon in May, I interviewed British writer Neil Cross.

Today the NZ Herald weekend magazine, Canvas, ran the feature (click here to read). Joy of joy, it was the the cover story (if I wasn't currently sporting a patchwork of bruises from yesterday's epic fall, I would be doing a happy dance about now).

Friday, 7 June 2013

Sore and a random celebrity sighting

Today the sky was a ridiculous shade of blue and the golden orb was having a moment.

As is usual for one of my working from home days, I took the Hound into the Town Belt for a run. We met several doggie/human friends and our usual half hour jaunt turned into an hour. On the way home, however, it all went a bit pear shaped: I tripped over an exposed root on the path and literally flew into the air. Two scraped palms, a cut leg and bruised chest later, we limped home.

Feeling sorry for myself, the rest of the day was spent head down, butt up, working. Later, there was a bracing walk on the south coast with my two favourite boys. And who should we run into but Sir Ian McKellen, back in Welly to do pickups for the Hobbit. Not only was Gandalf pleasant, his companion patted Bristol and called him "a real cutie". As much as I wanted to scream "I am a journalist and I'd love to interview you", I managed to keep it in check.

On reflection, not a bad Friday at all...

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Wellington on a Plate

Hard to believe the Capital's premier food and wine festival has been going for five years; back then, I was keeping the Marketing Comms Manager seat at Grow Wellington warm and was part of the original launch team. Holy crap, where have the last five years gone?

Tonight was the media launch of the 2013 event; as always it was good to catch up with fellow journos (mostly there for the free food and wine and the goody bags) and some of this city's amazing restaurateurs/food and beverage producers and event folk. I even ran into a chap I worked with at the BBC in London more than 20 years ago; he is now editor at large of MindFood Magazine. As we sipped bubbly and ate our body weight in nibbles, we laughed at the crazy trajectory our lives had taken.  

I'll be writing about the event for the Forbes blog when the festival kicks off in August, but if you're going to be in the world's most southern capital then, I'd suggest you check out the programme and book your tickets NOW.


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