Sunday, 31 July 2016

At the Art of Things

You may recall that back in June we snuck up the coast for a mini media trip.

That story, my sneak preview of the Kapiti Arts Trail and the gorgeous Atahuri boutique lodge in Peka Peka, was published in yesterday's Your Weekend magazine (click here to read).

Friday, 29 July 2016

My first time

A few months ago, we bought an apartment in a boutique downtown Wellington hotel (as a rental, not to live in). On Wednesday night we attended our first ever Body Corp meeting.

There was a large crowd, shoe-horned into one of the hotel's conference rooms. Afterwards, there was wine and delicious nibbles, care of the hotel's acclaimed chef, as well as some very nice people to chat to, including a woman who owns an olive-oil grove in the Wairarapa that I interviewed for a food magazine a few years back.

There was some argy bargy with a few owners who'd held apartments for years who were unhappy about their returns, but in general it was an interesting evening and I discovered all sorts of fascinating behind-the-scenes tid-bits about how a hotel is run.

The best thing of all though is that I don't have to do squat until the next meeting rolls around next year. Nice.

Here's some visuals of our apartment. It's not too bad, as it goes...


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The One That Got Away

My story on former Aucklander Amine Ramer and her fabulous gig as a music supervisor in LA is published in this month's North & South magazine (click here to read).

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

What I did last week

Yes I know I've been back almost a week but it's been a little frantic. I finally managed to download some of the photos of our three night Singapore Airlines famil to Canberra.

Overseas readers may be scratching their heads about this point, wondering why Singapore Airlines would fly three journos from Welli to Canberra on a media trip. And you'd be right but, as of September 20, Singapore Airlines will be flying from Welli to Canberra (the first international flight to land in Australia's capital) and then onto Singapore and points beyond. So no more doing the tiresome conga to Auckland or Christchurch from now on. Thank you, God of Travel.

But back to the script. Canberra was a lot of fun; dispel any notions of it being a boring, public servant town because while we weren't looking, this perfectly planned city morphed into a cool wee town full of fabulous restaurants and bars and more museums than you can poke a stick at. We also spent a night at the wonderful Jamala Wildlife Lodge where Hummer the resident giraffe was right outside my window (we got to feed him carrots from our balcony and my word, he's got an enormous tongue!)

We even spent a few hours at the excellent Truffle Farm, hunting for black gold with owner Jayson and his gorgeous dogs. Sadly, the only thing we didn't manage was an early morning balloon flight (thank you, fog and wind) but at least that allowed us a sleep-in one morning.

And what a sleep-in it was: I'm lucky to have stayed in some amazing hotels during my career but Hotel Hotel in the heart of Canberra's trendy New Acton district was outstanding. I dare you to click on that link and not start counting your pennies.

A brief but very cool visit, and now I just need to write the stories.


Monday, 25 July 2016

Wellington SPCA Puppy Squad

Before we moved to the UK, the Animator and I were pretty religious about volunteering at the Wellington SPCA, spending every second Sunday walking the adult dogs. And then we moved to the UK. And even though we've been back almost five years, we've never got our shizzle together sufficiently to do anything more for our favourite charity than write out a few cheques.

Until a couple of weeks ago when, feeling sorry for myself during a cold, dark run around the waterfront, I came across the puppy walking crew who exercise a few of the SPCA pups every Monday night. I promptly signed up and tonight Bristol and I headed down to the wharf for our fill of gorgeous puppy dogs.

It was freezing and dark but for around 10 volunteers and 15 canines, it was a lot of fun. #Mondaynightssorted

Here's one of the adorable pups we walked. And yes, I did want to take him home.

            (Photo credit: Wellington SPCA)

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Two NZ Woman's Weekly stories

Still playing catch up but two of my stories are in this week's NZWW - the first a travel piece on Seville (click here to read) and the second a story on a farmer who started a pure wool blanket business from her 1700ha farm.

Cue location envy at the farm's location - 50km from the nearest city. Oh to be able to live somewhere so remote and beautiful.


Saturday, 23 July 2016

Second Canada story

Playing catch-up after being away but my Rocky Mountaineer story from May's Adventure World famil was published in last week's Sunday Star Times (click here to read).

Thanks to the Animator for the glorious pix.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Opening night of the NZ International Film Festival

I'm shattered after the 2.00am bedtime (late flight from Canberra via Sydney) and having to show up to the part-time contract at 8.00am today, but nothing will keep me from tonight's opening event which I was lucky enough to get a media tix to again this year.

Opening the festival tonight is the gorgeous flick The First Monday in May which I have been wanting to see for a very, very long time.

Ohh and the Singapore Airlines media famil to Canberra was a blast - pics to come.

Saturday, 16 July 2016


Tomorrow I have to wake at 4.30am, a time I very rarely see, for my flight to Sydney and then another to Canberra for a three-night Singapore Airlines media trip.

As ever, I will miss my two boys, especially this furry bundle of joy.

See you on the other side.


Friday, 15 July 2016

A Passage to India

My story on our Adventure World media trip to India is published in this month's North & South Magazine. Note the glorious pics from the Animator (click here to read).


Thursday, 14 July 2016

Landscape design

My story on the second stage of this Silverstream landscape design is published on the Zones website today (click here to read).

(Pic credit: Zones)

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The nicest man in Wellington

A couple of weeks back, the photographer, make-up artist and I schlepped up to Hataitai to interview a couple who had set up a foundation to test kids eyes and provide glasses where needed.

They were the loveliest people ever, plus they baked for us! As Neil the photographer said, in 25 years of snapping for women's mags, no interview subject has ever baked for him.

The story is in this week's NZ Woman's Weekly (click here to read).


Monday, 11 July 2016


Hand on heart, the Australian capital has never been top of my bucket list. But when I was offered a three-night media trip starting this Sunday, I'll admit I was more than a little curious. Would Canberra be the staid government centre people make it out to be? Or is it actually the Southern Hemisphere's best kept secret?

To promote Singapore Airlines' new Capital Express flight - linking Wellington with Canberra and beyond to Asia - I'll be one of three journos heading across the pond to check out this man-made city.

I've had sneak peak at the itinerary and there will be lots of eating and drinking and even a hot air balloon flight. I won't deny that this pleases me so. Canberra, here we come....  

 (Pic credit: Google Images)

Saturday, 9 July 2016

This blog needs more cake

So I made this lemon cake which has filled the house with all manner of delicious smells.

It's for afternoon tea with a lovely colleague from a previous contract; she's Latvian and her partner is Italian so it should be interesting hearing their views on the Brexit debacle.

Happy weekend, y'all.

Friday, 8 July 2016

The world's longest flight

My story about flying Business Class for 17 hours on the Emirates flight from Auckland to Dubai, the longest in the world, is published in the Flight Centre blog today (click here to read).

(Pic Credit: Emirates)

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Orient homewares

My story on the lovely Tania and her store, Orient Modern Asian Homestore, is featured in this month's issue of Your Home & Garden Magazine (click here to read).

Monday, 4 July 2016


My story on this gorgy homewares store is published in the Homes to Love website (click here to read).

(Photo credit: Homes to Love)

Sunday, 3 July 2016


A friend in England sent me this today with this note: "We all need a laugh after the Brexit vote. This picture did it for me today.Nothing says English Summer better than this..."

(Pic credit: Unknown)

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The need for speed

My story on the Ferrari and Ducati museums in Bologna is one of two stories I have in this week's NZ Woman's Weekly (click here to read).

Friday, 1 July 2016

Shiny new stuff

Years ago, when I was a callow youth in London, a flatmate and I visited a fortune teller in Covent Garden.

It was the perfect storm: a wet Sunday, a hangover, boredom. It was also a lark and, predictably, most of what this faux gypsy predicted was a load of old cobblers; a waste of a tenner but an entertaining waste.

Actually, the only thing I can remember her telling me was that I was a magpie, a collector of shiny baubles and pretty things: "Your surroundings are important to you and you're always seeking to surround yourself with beauty," the charlatan said.  

She was right on that count: it's not for nothing my nickname is Martha Stewart (minus the jail-time and dubious political leanings, of course). Wherever I live, I love to 'nest', as the glossy interior magazines I write for like to call it.

Sadly life and work have conspired to rob me of my nesting instincts this year but I've managed to redeem that over the past few weeks. The Animator finally finished painting the banister at the rear of the house black (begone, wood!) to match our efforts with the main staircase over Easter. I also had a gorgeous linen cover made for the leather-is-so-last-year sofa and we finally collected these two pics from New York from the framer (check out the vintage map of Manhattan - I'm so in love with it which is just as well, given we miscalculated the exchange rate and got a monster of a fright when the credit card bill rolled in!) But whaddya gonna do, right?   


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