Tuesday, 29 March 2016


This, dear reader, is how the Animator and I filled the four days of Easter: with sanding, undercoating, more sanding, applying the first coat, more sodding sanding and then the final coat of paint.

I am sore, tired and have a blister the size of a 20 cent piece on the third finger of my right hand (paintbrush placement). But we're both happy with the final result so guess it was worth it (to be fair, we also found time for other pursuits like writing work (me), dog walks, chocolate guzzling and the ever wonderful House of Cards).

Here's the before pics - a tired, old school wooden bannister:

Carpet covered, check. Undercoat on, check.

And here we have the finished product. Not looking too shabby at all (the bannister also goes around the corner and onto the landing so this is only half of what we had to paint).

Saturday, 26 March 2016

We bought an apartment!

After much toing and froing and angsting, we finally bought an investment apartment.

The details are far, far too tedious to go into here but suffice to say, we are thrilled. And a little exhausted.

Bubbles have been consumed and people (lawyers, estate agents, hangers on) have been consulted. We settle at the end of April so for now, there's time to breathe.

And enjoy Easter. Well, not so much enjoy as use the four days off to paint the bannister in our Mt Vic house. The Animator, as you can imagine, is as far from overjoyed as it's possible to be. But he is sanding and prepping and grumbling and I am working (situation normal in our house, then).

Taking the edge off are some Hot Cross Buns (which seem to taste more like cardboard each year) and oodles of chocolate (don't worry, the running has resumed with a vengeance).

Last night, I unwrapped this egg, thinking it contained chocolate buttons (a not unreasonable assumption, given the wording on the box). As it turns out, the manufacturers couldn't be arsed putting said chocolate buttons INSIDE the egg, but instead, sealed them in a separate plastic baggie. Seriously? This is what it has come to.


Thursday, 24 March 2016

Hello Indonesia

Today I will brave the rain to walk down to the Wonderful Indonesia Forum.There will be other travel journos and tour operators and travel agents and hopefully a yummy lunch.

And maybe the chance to visit Indonesia, where I haven't been for a very long time.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Clothes Encounters

My story on four Kiwi women who are judged by what they wear is one of two stories I have in the April issue of NEXT Magazine (click here to read).

Monday, 21 March 2016


I come from a family of teachers. My mother, grandmother, two brothers and various other branches of the family tree brush up against the teaching profession.

Not surprisingly, given my opinion of people shorter than me, I've never been drawn to teaching.

It seems, though, that I can run as fast as I like but I can't get away from the family business. Because I've become a tutor at the NZ Writers College.

I'll be teaching an online magazine writing course to students from all over the country a few hours a week. Magazine writing I know, teaching I don't but when a journo mate asked if I was interested, it seemed like a good idea. We shall see. But check out my profile.

You might well scoff but anything that keeps me away from govt comms isn't a bad thing.

Today's visual is, what else, but these adorable woofers, because it's been an age since I featured any.

(Pic credit: Tumblr) 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Pina Bausch

I have been too busy to see many things at this year's NZ Festival but I'm really, really looking forward to tonight when we are going to see Cafe Muller/The Rite of Spring by Pina Bausch, the legendary German "high Priestess of dance theatre", as the Guardian called her.

Thank you, God of Media Tickets.  

Friday, 18 March 2016

Working from Home

My story on the joys of working from home is published in the April issue of North & South Magazine (click here to read).

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Getting my book geek on

The day each month when the courier arrives with another lot of review books for North & South Magazine is a happy day in Shazzy-land.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Akaroa and Naenae

If you thought these two places had nothing in common, that they probably don't even belong in the same sentence, you'd be right.

But they're the location of two very different stories I have in this week's NZWW - the first a travel foodie piece on Akaroa, the second an interview with a woman making a difference in the lives of kids in Naenae.


Monday, 14 March 2016

St Paddy's Day

Okay so I'm a few days early but my story on a Paddy's Day I had in Dublin is published in the Flight Centre blog today (click here to read). 

I can't remember who I'm interviewing below but I do recall it was just before the parade started. At least it proves that there is some work involved in media famils!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Southern Comfort

My story on Southern food is published in the March/April issue of Taste Magazine (click here to read).

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Lava and coffee

My story on Hawaii's Big Island is published in the Flight Centre blog (click here to read). 

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Special gift

My story on a brave woman who lost her child to CHARGE Syndrome last year is published in this week's NZ Woman's Weekly (click here to read). There wasn't a dry eye in the house at this interview, I can tell you.


Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Heavenly home

I was lucky enough to spend this morning nosing around this fabulous Welli house for a story for an interiors magazine.

Be assured that my out-of-focus, surreptitious snaps are in no way indicative of how gorgy this reno is ...you'll have to wait for the story to see.

But in my 15 or so years of scribbling about houses, this is one of the loveliest I've had occasion to visit. No surprises too that the owner was a doll. All  in all, a good day.

Monday, 7 March 2016

More fruit and vegetable related goodness

This post should really be sponsored by the sort of organic produce chain that charges outrageous sums for knobbly, misshapen fruit and veggies (the kind our mothers would have turned their noses up at).

But the deep-pocketed, Prius-driving customers who frequent such shops would no doubt be salivating at this bounty the Animator harvested at the beach house on Saturday. After this photo was taken, we picked yet another bowl of white-fleshed peaches, whose delicate perfume is now filling the Mt Vic house.

Having exhausted my culinary repertoire of pumpkin, cherry tomato and peach dishes (not together, you understand) I have now started to plunder my vast collection of cookbooks whose main purpose seems to be attracting dust mites (bonus: this morning I discovered two cookbooks I have absolutely no recollection of ever buying).

Despite my best efforts, these photos are hardly Instragrammable, but you get the idea.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Hawaiian food

My story on a food walking tour of Honolulu is published in the Flight Centre blog (click here to read).

(Pic credit: iStock.com)

Tuesday, 1 March 2016


It has come to this, I am now blogging about gourds.

But seeing as it's the first day of autumn, perhaps my vegetable-related rant isn't so inappropriate afterall?

Anyway, this magnificent specimen was grown by the Animator's fair hands at the beach house. It's the first of many, so there will be lots of pumpkin-based dishes in our house in the coming months.

In fact, if you're in the vicinity of Mt Victoria and fancy a three-course pumpkin supper, please make yourself known. We would be overjoyed to divest ourselves of some of our squash-related goodness.    



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