Saturday, 30 April 2016

Currently girding my loins

For the one hour flight to Auckland, and then the 13 hour slog to Vancouver.

Will miss this little chap so much but looking forward to a fun time and our amazeballs Adventure World Western Explorer Rocky Mountaineer trip (and lots of great things I can write about for the many, many stories I need to file on my return).

See you on the other side....


Friday, 29 April 2016

A new kitchen in six weeks

My story on an Auckland kitchen reno is published on the Refresh Renovations website (click here to read).

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Mother for a weekend

My story of moving completely outside my comfort zone and looking after two people smaller than myself is published in the May issue of NEXT Magazine (click here to read).

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Our new apartment

Today around 11, the lawyers finished doing whatever mysterious and expensive things it is lawyers do and we became the proud owners of this Wellington apartment. Doing the happy dance right now. And bloody thankful I can stop scouring websites and visiting open homes.

Apologies for the rubbish pics - I took them on a quick pre-purchase property inspection and, as usual, was running behind schedule.  


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My reading cup runneth over

Last week a courier delivered these books fresh from the publisher for me to review for North and South Magazine.

And then today I got home from work to find these on the doorstep. Another gift from the review gods.
To be clear, I only have to read ONE book each month, not all of them. I usually pick the one with the fewest pages as that's all I have time for!

One day, hopefully in the not too distant future, I will have the luxury of time to read every book that comes my way and then decide which one to review. Oh what bliss that will be.

Monday, 25 April 2016


We didn't make it to any of the dawn services, mainly because the Animator had to be at work at 7.30am today (the film industry is no respecter of public holidays).

We did, however, manage to catch WWI Remembered, the light and sound show at Pukeahu Park on Thursday night, which highlighted NZ's contribution to the war during 1916 and 1917. I'm not sure Bristol appreciated it but we loved it.

I have also been working today - edging closer to delivering the many stories I need to before I fly on Saturday.  I did manage to sneak in a bit of baking - ANZAC biscuits, of course (fortunately they taste better than they look).

And tonight we are having dinner with the Mt Vic Vixens and partners at our local, the always excellent Hop Garden. A nice way to finish a long weekend.     

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Petbus

Back in late February, you'll recall I criss-crossed the North Island on a road trip with Karyn and the excellent Petbus. It was a commission made in heaven, given my love for cute critters.

That story is published in this month's North & South Magazine (click here to read).

It was certainly one of the most fun gigs I've had in a while.


Saturday, 23 April 2016

Minus one

"Dearly Beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called Life."

- Prince. 

Grieving for someone you don't know is an odd thing.

But then I kind of feel as though I did know Prince Rogers Nelson, aka the Purple one. He formed the soundtrack to my youth and to my early years in London. He was there for breakups and makeups, he filled my ears as I rode the Tube and helped drag me through work days. And he was the aural wallpaper at the down-at-heel pubs I seemed to have a thing for back then.

I can vividly remember being at a West London gym once, about to start an aerobics class, when Prince's new video for Cream came on the telly. I was so gobsmacked, I ran straight out after class to buy it. It was on high rotation that summer and the next.

As someone far more eloquent than me put it, we are losing all the freaks. The musical icons who told us it was okay to be different, to value our oddball status and hold our freaks high. First Bowie and now Prince.

Today, like so many around the globe, I have Diamonds and Pearls blasting out of my laptop as I work. Prince was unique and amazing and oh so talented. He will be missed.


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Spain's Frying Pan

My story on Seville is published in the Flight Centre blog (click here to read).

Pics below courtesy of the Animator.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Canada - and New York City, baby!

It's been a bit of a slow start to the year, travel wise, which is fine by me, given that I spent so much of last year climbing on and off planes, filling out stupid immigration forms and trying to remember it all sufficiently to write innumerable stories.

Besides, having multiple contracts means I haven't actually been able to leave town. But later next week that changes when we fly to Vancouver for the glorious nine day Adventure World Western Explorer trip from Vancouver to Calgary on the Rocky Mountaineer train, which has been called one of the world's best train trips. Then we fly to Toronto for more adventures, including dinner with a cousin I've never met.

Thanks to the lovely folk at Adventure World for this media trip - and for letting the Animator come too. We are super excited.

But that's not all. As I have an, um, milestone birthday hovering on the horizon, and I spent the last milestone birthday in New York, it seemed rude not to do the same. So after we're done with Toronto we fly to my favourite city in the world for four nights of eating, drinking, shopping and trying to forget how old I am. What's more, I am determined that NO work will be done on this leg; this is strictly a holiday (even as I type those words, I know I will end up writing something about it).

But yeah, how exciting is that? Now I just have to get a ridiculous amount of deadlines out of the way before I can get my head into travel mode...    

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The Wizard of Oz

I spent this morning in the bowels of the Royal New Zealand Ballet's changing/make-up room, interviewing the three young dancers who play Dorothy in the upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz.

And, dammit, I had to turn down freebie tix as I will be out of the country.

But if you are lucky enough to be in Aotearoa in May/June, do check out this production. It looks simply gorgeous.


Sunday, 17 April 2016


No, not me. Lonely is the name of a Kiwi lingerie label (yeah, I don't know why either) and I wrote about their swanky new Wellington branch for Interior Magazine (click here to read).

Actually, today was anything but lonely. I spent several hours with my friend Susan, drinking various hot beverages and catching up on the last two years. I worked with Susan about nine years ago; two years after that she and her hubbie moved up near Whangarei, to live out their Good Life fantasies. I last ran into her in the departure lounge at Auckland Airport - she on her way home from a visit to her daughter in Welli, me on the last leg of a 24-hour schlep from Europe. I don't think I was making much sense.

Anyway, Susan was in Welli this weekend before flying to Portugal for three weeks so I managed to wedge myself into her busy schedule and we chatted and gossiped and laughed.

As we are thinking of following Susan's lead in the next few years- ie upping sticks to live off the land - it was great to get her take on it.

Not a lonely Sunday by any stretch of the imagination...


Saturday, 16 April 2016


Filming on Ghost in the Shell continues apace, with the cast and crew 'weekends' shifted to Thursday and Friday.

So we managed to sneak away to the bach on Wed night after the Animator finished work; again, it was glorious to have the beach mostly to ourselves.

We spent most of Thursday putting together the cover for this raggedy old chair which we inherited with the beach house. A very talented seamstress friend in Welli sewed the new cover and we fitted it, which was no easy task.

But we are thrilled with the end result and it was well worth the effort.

Here's a before pic:

And part-way through the makeover:

The end:

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Paper Boy

My story on the lovely Eastonian paper artist Eiko Ojala, who spends four months of every year in Welli, is published in this month's North & South Magazine (click here to read).

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


Because I seem destined to spend my life lashed to a laptop, today I started yet another part-time contract (to be somehow shoehorned between my freelance work and an existing contract at the lovely Antipodes Nature).

My agency sent me this cake to share with my new colleagues, which was nice of them. However, the gift of more hours in a day would have been infinitely better.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Thanks to those extraordinarily generous (and lovely) folk at The Roxy, last night we scooted over to Miramar to see Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

Taika Waititi's comedy/adventure is visually stunning, funny and warm-hearted. It has all the makings of a NZ classic.

Get thee to a cinema immediately.


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Eight years ago today

I was in Las Vegas, hitching my wagon to the Animator's for a story for NEXT Magazine (click here to read). 

The last eight years have been as wild a ride as the city where we made it legal. Thanks to my lovely, lovely boy for the fun, the adventures, the laughs, the tears and everything in between.

Here's to many more years just like them.


Friday, 8 April 2016

More beauty

Last year for my birthday the Animator kindly got me a voucher for the excellent East Day Spa.

Realising it was about to expire, I booked in for this morning. As luck would have it, my friend and neighbour Jo also had a voucher nearing its expiry date so we organised our treatments together.

I had a blissful facial, pedicure and eyebrow threading; Jo had a massage and eyebrow/eyelash tint. It was gorgeous and decadent and the way every Friday morning should be.

The only photographic evidence I have is this ridic shot of my toenails drying after my lovely pedi. Not being partial to nail-polish, I thought I'd push the boat out with this colour. Don't be misled by the poor quality of this photo, my toenails really are visible from space.

Thursday, 7 April 2016


A day of interviews and meetings and lunches and more coffee than should be allowed by state law.

But at my last meeting of the day, with the gorgeous Tania Siladi from Dragonfly Restaurant and Orient: Modern Asian Homestore, she handed me this pressie to say thanks for the two stories I've done on her lately (only one has run so far).

Lovely woman, lovely manners, happy Shazzy.


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Resene colour winner

My story on the Lower Hutt woman who won the Resene Colour Award is published in the current Your Home & Garden Magazine (click here to read).

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A long soak in Bath

My story on this historic British city, which I lived just down the road from a few years back, is published on the Flight Centre blog (click here to read).

Monday, 4 April 2016

Community Gardens

Last night I was invited to the annual barbie at the Mt Vic Innermost Gardens, a wee gem of a space that the Wonderdog and I stroll through most days on the way home from our walk.

But I wasn't just there for the veggie sausages and a chance to meet other Mt Victorians....I'm interviewing the sculptor who created this rammed earth living wall/seat for a national magazine and the Mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown, unveiled it last night.

It was all kinds of lovely. Have I mentioned lately how much I love living where I do?


Sunday, 3 April 2016

Fashionable mothers

My story on four Kiwi fashion designers showing at iD Dunedin Fashion Week is the second of two features I have in this month's NEXT Magazine (click here to read).

Saturday, 2 April 2016


A line from one of the quirkiest movies ever, The Castle, runs something like, 'How's the serenity?'

It's asked by the father of a loveable Aussie suburban/bogan family at their holiday home, which abuts a huge power pylon.

"How's the serenity," he asks, as the pylon hisses and spits.

If that chap had been at our beach house this week, he wouldn't have had to ask that question.

Somehow the planets aligned and we managed to sneak away to the bach for two days. And it was glorious.

On Thursday and Friday mornings, there was absolutely no-one around. Which is just how we like it.

Here's Bristol the Wonderdog, having the mid-week beach all to himself.


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