Monday, October 31, 2011

Will you marry me, Biba?

I’ve had one really bad hair experience in my life. Really bad. Can’t leave the house without a headband, can’t look at myself in the mirror without cringeing, throw a mini tantrum each morning and curse the day I agreed to be the hair model for a friend, bad. ‘Just trust me’ he insisted ‘I’m the hairdresser in this relationship’. It was so bad, that the one person always guaranteed to tell me the truth gasped and demanded to know ‘who did that to you?!’

Why do we do it? Why do we cheat on our hairdresser? For two years I had been faithful to my gorgeous stylist and colourist at the Urban Retreat in London and was in hair nirvana. 'It was a moment of weakness' I told them, 'It's not you, it's me.' It took 2.5 years and dozens of intense reconstructing treatments (thank God I worked for a salon group) to restore my platinum-fried Beatles bowl-cut to it's former elbow-length sun-kissed glory. 

Fast-forward three years and you can understand why I was a little edgy looking for a new hair salon in New Zealand. For the first year I was a commitment-phobe, hair-whoring myself to stylists all over town, then suddenly I found Biba. Ahhh, Biba. 

Ever since my first appointment, I have heard the theme song to 'Cheers' whenever I think of Bindy and her Bindybots at Biba in Birkenhead. Pretty, stylish and so welcoming, the whole team makes you feel like you're their favourite client.

I start dreaming about Biba's signature lemon ginger tea a week out from my appointment. It comes in a pretty vintage teapot, with banana chips, almonds, delicious balls of coconutty goodness, and a sweet little inspirational quote card that changes each time.

The wireless is free, there's a roaming iPad if you need to google a celebrity for hair inspiration, and there are all the Vogues, Elles, Grazias and Fashion Quarterlys a girl could wish for. It goes without saying that the massage is dreamy and the products are the best you can get. 

But it's all irrelevant if the end result has you reaching for a paperbag. When I left Biba on the weekend, I checked myself out in every shop window on the way home and knew I had found my hair soulmate. I'm ready to make it official. 

Biba, I'm yours, till death do us part.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Sounds : Kid Sam

I have to listen to this song without concentrating too hard. His voice and the tone are gorgeous but the lyrics are so sinister. They make me think of the brutal, horrific Wolf Creek, to this day the only film I have ever walked out of. 

'I said, darling you can never leave, or I'll bury your body in the desert sands...'

Regardless, it is musically beautiful. Enjoy.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Scrapbook: my favourite things this week

Hundreds and Thousands stool from Nature Baby at The Department Store.

This beautiful Spring dress by Jill Stuart.

Love Studs by Zoe & Morgan. They are currently sold out but Zoe is making more and says they will be available from mid-November.

'Girl About Town' by MAC, vibrant fuchsia pink that makes green eyes really pop.

Superette's latest Look Book is full of comfy, cool clothes as always, and this is just how I want to look all summer.

Blossoms at Cornwall Park. Come on, summer, you can do it!


Friday, October 28, 2011

A shared sorrow is half a sorrow

Ocean massage at Spa Hayman, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

This is torture. I am hunched over my desk writing a feature on International Spa Inspiration for the magazine I edit. My shoulders need a good sorting out, my brow is furrowed and my feet are throbbing because I chose to wear super-high heels (the sun was out and my toes were newly polished with OPI Wocka Wocka). Then what do I see? THIS.

Put yourself in her...well, I can't say shoes can I? In fact, she appears to be wearing nothing at all, so I'll say...put yourself in her (perfectly sunkissed) skin for a moment. What do you hear? Waves. Birds. Your therapist moving around in the water. Your breath. Probably even your own heartbeat. Salt and frangipani tickle your nose. The sun is another set of warm hands, massaging your soul as well as your skin. The only thing on your mind is which cocktail to order come dinner time...okay, lunch time.

I don't usually want to be someone else, but right now I want to be her. It would be my new wish in the Land of Birthdays.

I'm sure you appreciate me sharing this with you, after all, they say 'A shared sorrow is half a sorrow'. Thanks for sharing my sorrow, Beaunz belles.

Visiting the Great Barrier Reef was on my five year plan, but it's now on my 2012 plan and I'll be going to Spa Hayman.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

I love a good twist

Therese Rawsthorne Twist Smock from The Department Store

A friend once asked me how I would describe my style, and although it wasn't something I had thought about before, it was easy to answer. 'Classic with a twist.'

I love a quality basic but it has to have something beautiful or unusual about it that makes it stand out: a classic leather boot with white soles (I still have my 1997 Zambesi boots - anyone else?), a simple tube maxi dress with hidden pockets, or a flash of plum silk lining on a winter coat. 

I have been searching for a summer shirt to wear to work, BBQs, dinners...basically a go-to when I want to look more dressed up than jeans and a button-down but not go the full hog and put on a dress.

This beautiful smock shirt from Australian designer Therese Rawsthorne  fits the bill perfectly. Light and airy with dainty bell sleeves, it has little slices at the shoulders that, when worn, give it such a feminine charm. I have been dreaming about this shirt since I tried it on last week and think I'm finally ready to take the plunge. Classic, with a twist...literally!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gratitude is the memory of the heart

The first I heard of a Gratitude Journal was when Oprah Winfrey interviewed Gwyneth Paltrow, not long after she had split from Monsieur Pitt (I'm team Chris all the way, by the way).

The thing that stuck in my mind was that she was thankful for her friend's freckles. Her freckles? I thought. I wonder if anyone is thankful for my freckles? (Turns out they are)

A few years later I was surviving on £20 a week in London, newly split from my partner of 5 years, and had just been turned down for a job I really, really wanted. As I sat on the bus home to rain-drenched Fulham Broadway, I cried for a few minutes then opened up a scrappy old notebook and wrote my first gratitude journal entry: I am grateful for...warm feet. My mother had just posted me the thickest, warmest merino bed socks from New Zealand. I was secretly wearing them under my work shoes and for the first time in months my feet weren't ice cold. Such a simple pleasure, and that's the point of the gratitude journal. Once you start looking for things to be thankful for, beauty appears from all corners of your day.

I have had several gratitude journals since, and love to read through them from time to time. I have always just used a standard notebook, so when I discovered Sarah Laurie's new Lifestyle Couture stationery line I was instantly smitten with her Gratitude Journal. With its delicate butter-yellow linen cover and thick paper stock, it is a thing of beauty itself.

Last night as I sat and contemplated what my first entry would be, I spotted a tiny freckle on my daughter's squidgey, peaches and cream thigh. Turns out, I'm grateful for freckles too.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who needs a house when you can have diamonds?

A while back, I told the boy he didn't need to worry about buying me diamonds until he could afford this ring from Tiffany. How considerate and charitable of me, right? Of course, I could be waiting awhile (or forever) but the truth is, 
I'm not a big earring wearer, and necklaces these days are wrenched off in seconds by little hands.

This week, I visited The Department Store and was introduced to the delights of Jessica McCormack, a New Zealander making clutch-your-heart beautiful precious jewelry out of London.

I have been obsessively trawling Jessica's website since, and I am retracting my former statement and replacing it with the ring above, the New New York ring, with 4.03 carats cut to resemble the silhouette of the New York skyline. 

The only problem is, can I wait that long? House deposit...diamond deposit...diamond ring...


Monday, October 24, 2011

Bare Beaunz : Sherna

I've talked a bit about time travel lately, after seeing Midnight in Paris and watching Pete Murray live, and today's Bare Beaunz is the epitome of beauty from another time.

Sherna is the design & production manager for Saben, and she is one of the prettiest and loveliest people I have met. Her style is modern vintage, and her signature cat-eye flick always inspires me to dig out my liquid eyeliner (usually with disastrous results - we already know I can't draw).

Anyway, there are certain people you meet and you just know they are destined for great things. So, without further (girl crush) ado, I present to you...Sherna.

I just bought...
the most beautiful silver bow heels from Topshop. They were sold out online, so my sister-in-law traipsed around London until she found them for me.

I'm about to buy...
MAC Neon orange lipstick and the new Lana del Ray album.

I wish I could buy...
A round the world ticket, via New York then onto somewhere I know nothing about, like India.

I never leave the house without...
My iPhone.

The last time I laughed was...
on the weekend, watching my husband watch the rugby. He is a total rugby lover, and his commentary and passion made me laugh out loud.

My secret pleasure is...
watching a whole TV series in one go. I just watched The Hour, it's a thriller set in the 1950s and it was really good.

If I died tomorrow I would be remembered for...
My kindness and my style. I hope!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Sounds : Elbow

In a rare break from downpours on day two of the wettest Glastonbury festival on record, we were lucky enough to see Elbow play live, just as the sun went down.

To their cult following, Elbow are known for gorgeous instrumentals and lyrics that weave visual poetry from unexpected inspiration. This song is from one of my favourite ever albums, ‘Seldom Seen Kid’, a subtle, slowburner which uncurls a little more with each listen. Nostalgic, minimal and often balladic, it is best enjoyed from start to finish, although I can’t help but hit repeat on One Day Like This.

'Throw those curtains wide, one day like this a year will see me right.'


Saturday, October 22, 2011

The cocktail you won't put down until March

Buying a bottle of Spumante is not without its conflicts. On one hand, I know the delights in store when fancied up with my cocktail recipe. On the other, raised eyebrows (and ID request!) from the patronising checkout operator takes me back to my university days when it was all I could afford, and to be honest, all I could stomach.

I was first introduced to the delights of Spumante in Italy, sitting in the sun, feet throbbing after a day pounding the cobblestones. In London, we gulped this delicious cocktail on hot days when the sun stretched until 10pm, lime and mint were mere pence and Spumante cost no more than a bottle of coke. Last night, I pressed the icy cold glass against my newly sun-bitten cheeks in between sips and reveled in the promise of summer. 

The recipe is simple. A glass of Spumante, a few slices of lime smashed and left to infuse (the wine-pickled pulp is the best bit), fresh mint leaves and a handful of ice. I channel Nigella and run a slice of lime around the glass rim then dip it in raw sugar, and it gives a heavenly crunch.

On a hot, sunshiney evening there is nothing I would rather drink. Give it a try and let me know what you think!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Bare Beaunz : Yours truly

So...I've had some requests for more information on me (hey - this blog is all about me!) but I thought it would be fun way to start a new little feature called Bare Beaunz - just a few questions and an image of someone that inspires me. So here we go, the first Bare Beaunz...Me!

I just bought...
my first chip of strawberries for the summer.

I'm about to buy...
Huffer Frill Shorts.

I wish I could buy...
a Steinway Louis XV Grand Piano.

I never leave the house without...
blush, and a tiny fishbone skull I got in Thailand.

The last time I laughed was...
this morning when my daughter farted then giggled with delight.

My secret pleasure is...
writing poetry, and watching Survivor (generally not on the same night)

If I died tomorrow I would be remembered for...
my oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies. In the words of my nephew Samuel, they fill your mouth with joy.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cinemust : Midnight in Paris

I don't often get to the movies these days, so when I had the chance to catch a film by myself last weekend I wanted more than just a little escapism. I wanted bare-faced, fairytale movie magic.

Woody Allen has had a rocky run of it lately, but I loved Vicky Cristina Barcelona and I'm a huge francophile, so Midnight in Paris was an easy choice. It was an absolute delight!

The thing I love about Woody Allen films is that the most likeable character is always the location. He falls madly in love with a city, woos us with its beauty and charm, throws in a few believably flawed characters for the purpose of story, and gives it all some room for magic to happen.

Midnight in Paris follows Owen Wilson's self-absorbed character Gil Bender back to the golden age of 1920s Paris, where he meets just about every creative genius of the time. Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and (played brilliantly by Adrian Brody) Salvador Dali, among others, are brought back to life. Marion Cotillard plays the artists' muse beautifully and, despite deciding early on that I didn't like him at all, I found myself hoping for a happy resolution to Gil's adventure.

Easy to watch and easy to love, Midnight in Paris has also inspired me to revisit all the old masters, starting with 'Tender is the Night'. The only thing I'm missing is a Cole Porter record, so I'm off to the local Salvation Army shop. Get thee to a cinema and indulge in some movie magic yourself.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

For the love of Kate Sylvester

Of course, Kate Sylvester makes some of the most beautiful clothes available to buy in New Zealand, but what gets me every time are her gorgeous campaigns. Cool and effortlessly styled, they always have an air of sadness about them too, like slipping into your ex-boyfriend's snuggly jumper on a rainy day. 

Previous favourites include Black Swan and the recent Lost & Found campaign, but I actually swooned when the latest Lookbook popped into my inbox last week. Called 'Into the Light' it recreates my favourite time of day, just as the sun hits the horizon (going either way) and the world wears a giant halo for a few minutes. 

I want almost every item in every shot, and don't get me started on the gorgeous yellow Phedra dress. I've even dug out my velcro rollers to recreate her candyfloss hair. 

If only Kate sold sunshine in a bottle to go with her clothes.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Aussies lament with a Lamington cupcake

Raspberry Lamington Cupcake from Icing on the Cake

After popping into Peppin Boutique in Herne Bay, it would have been a travesty not to visit Icing on the Cake too. This tiny little shop is home to one of my favourite sugar fixes in Auckland (and you know there are many!)

This time I had my heart set on a Lamington cupcake for my (Australian) boy. Apparently, like all good things we believe to be our own, the Lamington belongs to our friends across the Tasman. The story goes that it was named for Lord Lamington, Governor of Queensland. He hated waste and when his maid dropped his beloved sponge cake into a bowl of chocolate, he suggested she cover it in coconut (to prevent messy fingers) and they ate it anyway. 110 years later, it is making somewhat of a culinary comeback. Have you tried the chocolate version from Little & Friday? Divine!

Back to the present day. Who ever thought to turn Lamington into a cupcake was a genius: berry cake with a layer of jam and coconut, finished with a dollop of vanilla bean buttercream. Mmmmmm...

Hey, we'll let them have the Lamington, it's the least we can do after that thing that happened on Sunday night, that which cannot be mentioned in our house.


Monday, October 17, 2011

My little corner of the world

God damn, I love Auckland in Spring. 

The sweet tang of mowed grass fermenting in the sun, ice cold Spumante and mint cocktails (more on those later), walking on the beach in bare virgin feet...

Summer is a coming and I can't wait.

I would love to see photos of your little corners of the world this summer. Email them to me here so I can post them on Beaunz.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Sounds: Alexander Ebert

It's a sunshiney Sunday, time to open the windows and sing along with the breeze on your face.

I love you like grave danger
Like moon shining disguise
Mmm hmm
When I wake up with your makeup
And spread blush cross the sky
Like a meteor crush
I'm gonna tell the world
Been a million years full of tears
But I found my girl.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

At last : a resolution to my resolution

On December 31st 2009 I made the (Champagne-fuelled) resolution that 2010 would be the year I mastered the Bombe Alaska. I didn't know at the time that I was 5 weeks pregnant, and the sight of raw eggs would send me running to the bathroom for months to come. That was followed by a newborn and a year of barely managing to boil an egg, let alone whip one.

I was at the supermarket this week buying (coincidentally) eggs to make my husband's birthday Pavlova, and spotted the prettiest foodie magazine cover ever, courtesy of FQ Entertaining. As we waited in line at the checkout I flicked through it, and instantly started folding over corners. 

I've already voiced my feelings about the macaron, which editor Fiona Hawtin tackles with ardor verging on OCD. I think I'll leave that one to the professionals, but here is a little sample of the recipes I have tagged to try...Popcorn Scampi with chili salt, Black Forest trifle, Snapper with lemon, fennel and green harissa, Trelise Cooper's gorgeous Violet ice cream (no machine required) and of course, the incredible Bombe Alaska from the front cover. Packed with edible delights from cover to cover, this is a keeper for the kitchen shelf. 


Friday, October 14, 2011

Put a Peppin your baby step

I have driven past Peppin Boutique on Jervois Road countless times and thought how cute it looked, but it wasn't until this week that I actually parked and went in (via Icing on the Cake for cupcakes of course - more on that next week). Quelle surprise! This tiny shop punches well about its weight in browsing pleasure.

Run by the lovely Kathleen, of the Skylark label, Peppin is a perfectly curated selection of locally made, organic clothes (in fact Kathleen makes them all herself on location), French label Petit Bateau, sweetly off-beat children's books and a few wooden Janod toys thrown in for good measure.

Best of all, a well stocked play corner kept my inquisitive toddler enthralled while I indulged my magpie-mother tendencies. 

On my Christmas shopping list...the wooden cheese lacing toy,  Petit Bateau's wild animals t-shirt and the black and white cuffed organic leggings. I'm no longer eating for two, but at least I can shop for two!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh yes, Champagne before lunch

Strawberries & Champagne Tea from the Tea Lady

Where has Spring gone? Just last week it was sunny enough to splash about in a paddling pool with my daughter, but today I'm in socks and scarf once again. 

When it's cold and wet outside, nothing lifts your spirits like a strong, hot cup of tea. I'm a Dilmah girl at heart, give me gumboot with a splash of milk over herbal infusions any day...except when it comes to the gorgeous Strawberries & Champagne green tea from The Tea Lady in Birkenhead. It's not sickly syrupy sweet like so many herbal teas, and it somehow tastes like Champagne...and strawberries! Funny that.

If you can get to Birkenhead, check out the teeny tiny Tea Lady in person, or buy online from their website, and while you're there check out their tips for brewing the best pot of tea.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sorry Leon, but we can no longer be friends

Leon Baking and Puddings from

Oh, Leon. Until now, your recipe books have been so good for my waistline. Your grilled chicken superfood salad tastes like heaven on a plate and it's so healthy I feel positively angelic when I eat it. 

I'm almost convinced we can still be healthy eating friends, your new book has dozens of recipes that are 
sugar, dairy, wheat or gluten free and I'm over the moon to finally have your granola recipe. BUT...

It's that pesky not-so-little section called Celebration with its recipes for toffee apples, ice cream, triple chocolate cake and, wait for it, salted caramel banana splits. How could you do this to me? I just bought my summer bikini...


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Time travel with Pete Murray

An audience with Pete Murray thanks to MoreFM

In 2004, I had butterflies in my stomach as my new boyfriend took me to see Pete Murray live at Shepherd's Bush in London. Feeler had just been released, and Pete's husky voice quickly became the soundtrack to the summer I fell in love. 

Last night we watched Pete again in a tiny venue off Newton Rd. Although none of his subsequent albums have touched my soul like that first one, his voice alone was enough to re-ignite the butterflies. This time we stood on plush carpet instead of congealed-beer floorboards, and drank wine instead of Snake Bite, but when I closed my eyes I was once again in London, my heart thumping each time his skin brushed mine. 

Music, like smell, has the most magical ability to take us outside our skin and the present moment. Who says we can't travel back in time?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The haka makes me feel ten feet tall

People can say what they like about the haka, it is such a raw outpouring of passion and intent, and when I see the All Blacks perform it I feel ten feet tall. 

Last night I was lucky enough to watch the All Blacks play Argentina live at Eden Park, and as we roared along to the haka my chest was filled with fireworks.

Next weekend when Richie and the boys lay down their challenge for the semi-final, there won't be a bum on a seat in New Zealand. My husband, being Australian, has chosen to watch the game elsewhere so we don't come to emotional fisticuffs. Like many non-kiwis, he is unimpressed by the haka although I suspect he secretly wishes they too had a pre-game ritual that literally sets the team on fire.

What about you, lovely readers? What do you think of the haka?


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Sounds: Feist & Little Wings

Cosy, intimate, cool...what more could you want from a little Sunday morning listening? Can't wait to hear Feist's new album, out this week.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Food that sings to your soul

Handmade gingerbread from Kuna's Pure Food

Several years ago, we spent a magical white Christmas with my friend Klara and her family in Klatovy, a storybook town a couple of hours out of Prague. 

Although we couldn't communicate with words, Klara's mother spoke straight to my heart with her intricate, handmade gingerbread decorations. The recipes and designs have been used to decorate trees in Czech for centuries, and they capture the magic of Christmas in a way that $5 a dozen baubles from the Warehouse just can't. On the day we left she presented us with a gingerbread house complete with a tea light candle inside that lit up the windows and blew smoke out the chimney. If it hadn't been so warm, cinnamony and delicious I would have kept it forever. 

Klara recently followed her husband across the world to Australia, and I was so delighted when I learnt that she has started a little business selling handmade gingerbread treats for Christmas. Every item is baked, decorated and wrapped by Klara herself, and the detail is incredible. In a world of fast, furious, cheap and cheerful, her gingerbread is infused with centuries of tradition and love. For those of you based in or around Melbourne, Klara will be at the Geelong Artifact Market (18th November), Piccadilly Market in Geelong (20th November) and at Magnolia Square in Melbourne (1-3rd December). For everyone else, if I get enough comments I will beg Klara for her recipe and post a how-to on Beaunz (bribery, yes, but I want to hear your voice too!) 

Tell me about your beautiful Christmas traditions, Beaunz belles?


Friday, October 7, 2011

Charlotte Penman starts my wishlist...

Bow Peep ring $125 (sterling silver) by Charlotte Penman

I'm a typical Gemini when it comes to jewelry. On the one hand I love anything sparkly and will happily gaze at rings and necklaces and bangles for hours, but when it comes to actually buying something, I just won't. Why?

I'm a traditionalist and to me, jewelry is sentimental. When I wear it, I think of who gave it to me, where we were and when, and why. It doesn't have to be expensive, in fact some of my favourite items are costume jewelry I inherited when my Nanna died last year. I have one of her old RSA pins and wear it tucked inside my collar most days. No one else can even see it, but I like to know it's there.

At Tessuti recently I spied this sweet little ring by New Zealand jeweler Charlotte Penman. It is a complete about-face for me, because the last two items of jewelry I acquired were of the dark and moody kind (read: skull and bones obsession). I love the dangly little bead, and the fact that the bow sits flush with your finger. I'm secretly hoping that come January I will be looking at this ring, on my finger, thinking of my lovely husband and Christmas Day. 

What have you put on your Christmas wishlist lovely readers?


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pretty pretty pretty at Tessuti

Primrose singlet by Ingrid Starnes

I have a new guilty pleasure: Tessuti in Herne Bay.

I say guilty because I spent the money I was saving for a sensible pair of new running shoes on something much more delicate and, shall we say...wanton. The exact details will remain a mystery so that I can slide said new purchase into my wardrobe on the quiet (and hopefully escape the wrath of my beloved).

Tessuti never fails to woo me with something unashamedly girly and gorgeous. Today I may have found at least part of my summer wedding wardrobe, in the form of the beautiful Primrose singlet (above) by Ingrid Starnes. It comes in cream and 'ink' (navy) and is the prettiest top I have seen in ages. I also fell in love with a ring by kiwi jeweler Charlotte Penman, stay tuned for tomorrow's post.

Regardless of whether I have money to spend, browsing there always leaves me inspired and plotting how to make my own home look more 'Tessuti-like'.

How about you, lovely readers? Where do you go for guaranteed girly inspiration? 


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Embrace the lace trend

Image courtesy of CND nails

If you're like me and love the idea of lace but not the reality (I somehow look like a giant granny-kerchief no matter HOW expensive or chic the design) here's a way to embrace the trend without looking like a doily disaster.

This beautiful nail extension was created for the Joy Cioci show by CND nails (I promise I don't have shares in CND, I'm just loving all their Fashion Week coverage). You could easily recreate it at home by first painting your nails with base coat and laying a (carefully shaped) piece of fine lace over the nail and finishing with top coat, but if you want the exact look below are the professional instructions. Print this page off and take it to your local CND nail salon.

1. Sculpt clear tips with crystal clear Retention+ Liquid and Powder
2. Lay a piece of fine weaved lace over the nail
3. Apply a light layer of Shellac in Cream Puff, creating a random, deconstructed lacey pattern.
4. Cure and seal.

Email me photos when you do!