Friday, 30 September 2016

Dance like no-one is watching

Because they aren't!

On Wednesday night, my friend Alison and I finally got our act together to schlep down to a nondescript school hall in Newtown for No Lights, No Lycra (also called Dancing in the Dark in some cities).

It sounds odd but bear with me: basically, it's about dancing your butt off in the dark, without judgement, alcohol or anyone watching you.

Dreamed up by two Melbourne dance students in 2009 (and now with chapters all over the planet) it involves getting togged up in workout gear (in this case, lycra is allowed) and busting a move or three in total darkness.

Initially, when the lights went out and the hall was pitch black, it did feel a little strange. But then Stevie Wonder came crashing out of the speakers, and it was on! We got hot and sweated buckets and had the best time ever. Bonus: you get an hour's workout for the princely sum of five bucks.

As a woman next to me said afterwards, as a female, the only place you can really go for a good boogie is at clubs (usually peopled by drunk, lecherous men and bitchy women) or in your living room, where armchair collisions are a real possibility. But being able to rock out to a fantastic soundtrack for an hour with other like-minded folk (about 40 or so on Wednesday night) in a safe environment was priceless.

Sadly, the Welli chapter of No Lights, No Lycra is only held every fortnight. But I will definitely be back.


Wednesday, 28 September 2016


It took us almost a year to renovate but, in the end, only nine days to sell.

Late last month, we reluctantly put our beloved bach (beach house) on the market. Some arse had bought the empty section next to us (that had been vacant for 30 years!) and plonked an ugly house on there. Which effectively stripped us of our privacy, views and morning sun.

It was time to go. So in late August we put the house on the market and it went under offer nine days later (in a flurry of emails and forms to sign in triplicate the night before we flew to Vietnam).

Yesterday, after the requisite 15 working days, the sale went unconditional. Even better? The buyer bought most of our furniture and big ticket items such as the fridge and beds. Which means we don't have to faff around selling online etc. So it was a big fat win for everyone.

Although I will miss the beach and some of our lovely neighbours (not the ones who've ruined our views, you understand), it feels like the right thing to do. I'll also miss the way my shoulders drop several centimetres every time I see the Welcome to Waitarere Beach sign. For 22 months, that bach was our haven, a quiet little bubble where we got to shuck the worries of the week and recharge for the next. I loved that bach so much I even wrote a story about it in North & South Magazine earlier this year (click here to read).

But, as my mother likes to say, nothing lasts forever. And, just quietly, we made a little bit of cash on it, so that frees us up to look for another rental (and frees me up from having to do some of the horrid bum-on-seat comms roles I was doing). Again, a major win.

So another chapter over. But it was a helluva ride while it lasted

Here for your viewing pleasure for the final time are photos of our former bach...


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

First Canberra cab off the rank

Back in July, you may recall, Singapore Airlines sent three journos to Canberra to publicise the new Wellington-Canberra-Singapore route.

My first story from that famil was published in last week's NZ Woman's Weekly Magazine (click here and here to read).

Monday, 26 September 2016

Life of Pie

No, that is not a typo but the name of my story in the latest Food Magazine (click here to read).

Friday, 23 September 2016


Literally. I managed to score a media ticket to the opening night of the annual World of Wearable Arts Awards Show tonight and am now doing the happy dance...

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Coming up for air

I have just spent the past two days head down, bum up editing a cookbook for a well-known restaurant.

It was fun but exhausting and now I feel as though I could sleep for a week. Or at least until the second lot of proofs come back.

In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, here is one of two stories I have in the current (October) issue of NEXT Magazine (click here to read).

Monday, 19 September 2016

Thunderbirds Are Go - again!

In between working on the Scarlett Johansson flick, this is what the Animator has spent the past wee while doing.

Just quietly, it looks even more fabulous than the first series...


Sunday, 18 September 2016


My story on pint-sized foodies is published in today's Sunday Magazine (click here to read).

Friday, 16 September 2016


It makes me want to cry but I have just had to turn down a media trip to another Asian city, somewhere I haven't been for a good many years - leaving next Wednesday!

But, as an old boss was inclined to say, you can't do it all. I have barely gotten back from Vietnam and have a plateful of stories that need to be crafted before I go to Europe late October (more about that later). So I had to be sensible and say no. But it was bloody hard to do.

Before I retire to a darkened room to lick my wounds, here is one of two stories I have in the current issue of North & South Magazine (click here to read).


Thursday, 15 September 2016

What I did last week/earlier this week

We started early Saturday with a visit to lively Ben Thanh Market, to check out the produce and wet market. Seeing crabs tightly packed into too small a space and frogs bundled into a bag, ready to be someone's dinner, always makes me feel sad. Luckily there was enough in the what-the-f**k-is-that category in the adjacent produce section to take my mind off it.  

As did the cooking class at the excellent Saigon Culinary Arts Centre. I've been fortunate enough to take cooking courses in various parts of the globe for stories, but this was probably the most fun. It was certainly the hottest: when it's 32 degrees out and you're cooking crispy Vietnamese pancakes over a gas burner, your hair tends to stick to your head in unusual formations and sweat pools in unimaginable places. But we drank gallons of iced tea, jostled for space under the ceiling fans and stuffed ourselves stupid.

There was also a Vespa night tour of the city (not much fun when it's raining and the city's five million Kamakize scooters have you in their sights), a trip to the Mekong Delta and an hilarious cyclo ride around the city. There were various museums, including the excellent War Remnants Museum which charts the American War (as they refer to it in Vietnam) and where the graphic exhibits and photos drove many to tears.

I also got to dust off my bargaining skills at the market and several items I probably don't need or want found their way into my suitcase.

Now I just have to write the stories....

The Animator, hard at work, taking pics for my stories



Wednesday, 14 September 2016


Apologies for being such a bad blogger. But I was having way too much fun in Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City, as almost none of the locals calls it) to post.

The Animator has lots of lovely photos that I'll share with you soon but in the meantime, here's a few from our first day at the ITE HCMC 2016 (ie trade travel show). It was hotter than Satan's sauna but we met lots of lovely folk (including Miss Myanmar 2016 who the Animator charmed) and made oodles of contacts. Apologies for the poor quality pix - my phone is not behaving as well as it might.

It was a whirlwind six days but I have lots and lots of lovely content to write the shizzle out of. Which is the best you can ask of a media trip, right? Well that and eating, drinking and talking too much on someone else's dime.

Thank you ITE, Saigon Tourism and Air NZ for a magical trip...


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Girding my loins

For the 12 hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow for our Air NZ media trip.

Will miss this wee scamp but know he will be happy with his dog-sitter.

See you on the other side...


Friday, 2 September 2016

Happy Birthday to the Animator!

We were supposed to be in Vietnam today for his birthday but the way the planets aligned, we are there next week. Oh well.

We don't even get to celebrate his birthday tonight - he is off at the 40th anniversary of his old squash club and I am going to the opening of a friend's PR/events agency.

Celebrating will have to be deferred until next week.



Thursday, 1 September 2016

Like manna from heaven

For a words geek such as myself, a courier bearing new review books is like all my birthdays, Christmases and New Years arriving in one delicious parcel.

Oh that I had the time to read them all...



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