Sunday, 19 December 2010

visits, visitors and hot hot heat

The weather here has been so hot and humid it's hard to believe it's Christmas in a matter of days. This will be the second festive season I've spent in warm climates (the first being in Australia when I did my post University stint of travelling), and I don't think it will ever feel quite right to me. Christmas trees and big images of Santa everywhere just feel a bit wrong when it's 30 degrees outside, but we have been embracing the sunshine nonetheless.

My parents have been here on a two week visit and it has been so great to see them after 5 months of only skype contact. We have been on numerous days out and shown them all the delights of the Auckland region and needless to say Lila has been spoiled to bits. They flew back to the UK on Friday evening and we are now getting sorted ready to fly out to Melbourne in the early hours of Tuesday to spend Christmas with my sister and her fiancee. Woop! I love Melbourne and it will be Curt and Lila's very first visit to Australia so I'm so excited for them to experience a few weeks in and around this amazing city.

Today it has rained solidy all day and it has been a welcome change from the humidity. I can almost pretend I'm back in the UK! It is now 4pm and despite the fact we've done a major clean of the house we are still in pyjamas. Awesome. Haven't had a day like this for ages and on the agenda for later is wrapping Christmas gifts whilst watching a festive film.

Beautiful water gardens

My parents enjoying a ride on a vintage steam train (after close inspection of all the pictures my Dad has his eyes closed on every single one!)

Lila and her friend Isabella playing fairies

A keen scholar practising her best listening pose at the school of a historic village!

A tired girl after a busy day out.

Monday, 29 November 2010

three plus one

I know my blogging/ general social presence has been sporadic lately to say the least, however I promise that I do have a very good reason for this. A large proportion of the past three months has been spent hovering over the toilet or pathetically clinging to the sofa whilst simultaneously trying to operate normally on a daily basis- getting to work, entertaining a two year old, putting together an edible meal and so on. My attempts have been a bit shoddy to say the least, so massive thanks must go out to my long suffering husband- sorry for the amount of beans on toast you have had to consume for dinner and for doing all the housework. I think it's all definitely worth it though as we are thrilled that our little family will be welcoming a new arrival in May next year. Woohoo!

P.S Big thanks must also go out to the manufacturers of Coca Cola, raisin toast and salt and vinegar crisps as they have been the only things that have seemed to wish to remain in my stomach. Sadly not at all healthy but absolutely necessary to enable semi normal functioning.

Thursday, 25 November 2010


These wall decals by Shanna Murray are so beautiful. A definite addition to my Christmas list.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

glorious colour

I mesmerised with these paintings by Australian artist Dale Frank. I could just stare at them all day long. They have my fingers itching to pick up a paintbrush, to surround myself with tins of paint and and hurl colour onto a huge canvas.

Discovered via Oh Joy.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

life lately

So sorry for the silence, I promise normal blogging will resume soon. Lots has been going on lately, and I seem have been on a non-intended hiatus from the computer. I've been on something of a book reading binge which may go some way to explaining it, as when I've got my head stuck in a good book I can concentrate on very little else (I actually walk around the house reading it while I'm doing other stuff and cooking the dinner etc.). Geeky, I know. I always forget just how much I love reading until I go through one of these phases, and literally devour one book after another. It feels good to disconnect from the online world sometimes.

One book I particularly enjoyed was Her Fearful Symmetry, the latest by Audrey Niffeneger, author of The Time Travellers Wife. I also re-read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, which is one of my favourite ever books (not forgetting the Chronicles of Narnia). I actually can't recommend it enough, the story telling is phenomenal and it includes all of my favourite literary ingredients- a compelling mystery, grand old country house, family, love, secrets and history.

In other news I spent Sunday on a major shopping binge. One of the best things about being a stylist is that I get given a clothing allowance by my boss each season to spend on new clothes as looking the part is obviously fairly crucial. It felt so amazing to actually walk in to clothes shops and be able to pick things out that I genuinely loved instead of hovering over the sales rack and worrying about how much they cost and if we can really afford it (erm, usually not). I still haven't got over how expensive clothes over here in New Zealand are compared to the UK!

I'll leave you with this exceptionally tasty, quick and easy recipe that I made for dinner the other night. Thanks for sharing Kate!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

wise words...

Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.

Mary Anne Radmacher.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

the big chop

I just took the plunge and got all my hair chopped off at the hairdressers this morning. I've been planning to do it for so long (I promised myself I'd do it after the wedding, but that was over a year ago now!) Life in general and the fear of not having a long hair safety net meant it kept getting put on the back burner, but I'm so glad I finally did. Feels very liberating and should take a heck of a lot less time to dry of a morning.

I took the image above, of Keira Knightley's new bob with me as inspiration, though on the advice of the hairdresser, mine is a bit longer (below the chin) due to it sadly being not so thick as Keira's. When Curt gets home I'll get him take a picture of it so I can share it on here :)

Monday, 11 October 2010


We enjoyed a good couple of days this weekend. The sun shone again and on Saturday afternoon we had our first New Zealand BBQ of the season, hosted by our friends Andy and Zara. On Sunday we took a road trip up to some amazing beaches on the east coast north of Auckland. The boys went for a surf whilst Lila and I built some sandcastles and ran races along the beach. Lila also had her first surfing experience, being pulled along on Daddy's surfboard in a pool of shallow water on the beach, which she absolutely loved. She is now asking for her own 'pink' wetsuit!

We have decided it is time to start potty training (have been putting it off long enough!) and while I will be very glad to see the back of nappies for a while, I am a little bit daunted by the task ahead of us. I especially fear for the condition of the carpets. Today we went out and Lila chose a potty - which plays songs, no less- and she has been very keen to sit on it and also use it as a high chair for her teddy. So fingers crossed it will not be too much of an arduous task.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

hello spring

I'm happy to report that Spring has definitely sprung in Auckland. Today we took full advantage of the sunshine and a rare Saturday off work for me, and went to check out a wonderful French market in the pretty Parnell district. There we sampled a whole range of delicious Gallic food and had some tasty lunch.

Then it was onto The Domain- a huge park with some beautiful gardens and walks and a huge museum set in the middle of it on top of a hill. We decided to save the museum for a rainy afternoon, but instead discovered a beautiful Winter Garden inside an old building with the tallest glass roof, filled to the brim with amazing flowers in every colour of the rainbow. We also loved the fern garden with it's tropical atmosphere and Lila's highlight of the day was definitely the ice cream and the chance to ride her little scooter along all the pathways in the park at breakneck speed.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


I thought it would be fun to share a few things that are floating my boat at the moment...

These images of the home of interior designer/writer Rita Konig.

I discovered that these pictures were originally published in Domino magazine and actually date back to 2008. You can see pictures of her newest apartment here, but I personally actually prefer the style of this older one one.

The awesome retro style of British shoe designer Charlotte Dellal. I love that she references the 1940's so much within her look- her signature red lipstick, flicked out hair and sky high heels are nearly always complemented with some leopard print. Nice touch. Her Charlotte Olympia line of shoes are pretty gorgeous too, though a touch on the high side for someone so generally as hopeless in heels as me!

The stunning wedding in the French countryside of the super stylish Alix from The Cherry Blossom Girl. It got me at the balloons but there are so many gorgeous touches, not to mention the beautiful outfits of the bride and groom and their fashionable guests. See more pictures on her blog.

Monday, 27 September 2010

checking in

Sorry for my absence from the blog. It's been another crazy work week which involved racing between shows at New Zealand Fashion week and spending the past four days in a shopping mall doing a Walk in Wardrobe event- giving 15 minute style consultations to members of the public. I have such a hoarse voice from talking almost solidly for 10 hours a day!

Seeing as my head has been full of fashion, I thought I'd share some of my favourite looks of the moment. As much as I admire the work of the top designers, I'm still most inspired by style on the street and the looks put together by real people. The image above is from The Sartorialist. Loving the tailored shorts paired with a loose top, the whole effect is relaxed but polished thanks to the addition of the shoes and the necklace.

Great combination of a hoody thrown on over a pretty white dress. Cute ankle boots too.
Image from Ascot Friday.

What an awesome 70's vibe, so simple yet well put together. The hat just makes it.
Image from The Sartorialist.

I'm glad to have the next three days off work, to spend some quality time with little Lila and the hubby who I have barely seen at all over the past couple of weeks. We have been like ships passing in the night as I've just been collapsing onthe sofa from exhaustion when I've made it home and crawled into bed shortly afterwards.

In other family news, my Grandmother sadly passed away last week. It's very sad news, especially as my sister and I are both on the other side of the world so unable to be there at her funeral. She was an amazing lady who will be very greatly missed, and I have the best childhood memories of dancing around her lounge to the Jungle Book album on vinyl which she would play for us on her record player. She was also the person who instilled in me my love of baking as we spent many happy hours making cakes (scraping the cake mixture out of the sides of the empty bowl was always the best bit). It makes it easier to be able to take comfort in the fact she had a long, full and happy life with a big family she was very proud of and passed peacefully, content that her time had come.

I thought I'd end on a happy note, with a book Lila and I discovered on our weekly library excursion. It's called 'Lost and Found' by Oliver Jeffers and is beautifully illustrated with a sweet, uplifting story about loneliness and the power of friendship, depicting an encounter between a penguin and a little boy. The illustrations are so expressive and have an almost dreamlike quality to them. It's a firm favourite our ours already.

Monday, 20 September 2010


How stunning are these images by photographer Vanessa Paxton, one of my current favourites discovered over on Flickr. See more of her work here.

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week. I've been on a work trip to Christchurch and only flew back into Auckland last night. Although I spent most of it in a shopping mall styling outfits for a fashion show, which in itself felt quite bizzare and almost unseemly under the circumstances, it was humbling to witness the evidence of destruction and devastation caused by the recent earthquake and speak to people about their experiences.

After an exhausting five days, I was so happy to be reunited with Curt and Lila and spent an awesome day today hanging out with Lila at the park and we made biscuits together this afternoon. New Zealand Fashion Week begins tomorrow so looking forward to catching a few of the shows over the next few days. We finally hung up all of our pictures and put the finishing touches to our apartment this evening so it really does feel like home now. Happy days.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

belle and boo wall art

We're still putting the finishing touches to our place and deciding where to hang all our pictures clocks and photos on the walls. When I saw these awesome wall decals by one of my long time favourite designers, Mandy of Belle and Boo, I immediately fell in love and decided Lila had to have one in her little bedroom. I am a huge fan of the whimsical, nostalgic illustrations and characters that Mandy creates and it has been awesome and inspirational to follow her on her journey via her blog as she has grown the business in to such a huge success story.

I haven't yet decided which one to get for Lila- I could take all of them. The dinosaur set would be so cool for a little boy! The fact that you can just peel them off and reuse and re-position them without leaving any residue on the walls is such a bonus if you're renting.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

making a home

So a few months after we last saw them, all of our belongings have finally arrived via a ship from the UK. We spent the better part of last week unpacking nearly 60 boxes and trying to find a home in our fairly compact apartment for all of the contents. Not too easy a task! Thank goodness we have a garage to house all the surfboards, bikes and other random bits and pieces we can't fit anywhere else. My favourite part of setting up house is deciding where to hang all the pictures and photographs on the wall and displaying all our treasures and decorative things.

I sorted the books on our bookcase in to colour blocks which I've wanted to do for ages- I'm not under any illusuions it will stay this way for very long but I do love it. More laborious tasks such as actually putting furniture together aren't my strong point but thankfully my better half is very hands on and has an awesome talent for DIY (case in point- he spent the last two evenings building us both shoe racks to go in the bottom of our wardrobe using wooden slats from a chest we shipped over which didn't quite make in intact and arrived in pieces!)

I'll take some more photos to share when we've got it all sorted but here are couple of shots of some of my favourite bits. It's very much a mish mash of various styles of furniture that we've accumulated from various sources and definitely a work in progress.

Cushions which will live on our sofa...

These stools for our breakfast bar were a great find from a wonderful vintage furniture store here in Auckland- as you can see they are really old but we love that the seats are so marked and worn with use and age. We (ahem...Curt!) jut varnished the seat and painted the rather rusty legs with metallic blue paint.

This lamp shade below (one of a set of two) was amongst my wedding anniversary presents from Curt. The shade is made out of a special sort of plastic/velum and actually sits on top of a wine glass- we used really long stem tea light holders instead- and you put a tea light inside and it casts a really soft glow.

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