Friday, December 23, 2011

And so this is Christmas

As a child, I remember this one beautiful, glass Christmas tree ornament. It was at least two generations old and was so delicate it creaked when you held it. Every so often I would be trusted to hang it on the tree, and would hold my breath until such an honour was complete. Alas, that decoration is no longer, it eventually crumbled into thousands of shards (I remember my Mum shed a tear too) but what remains is this overwhelming desire to share heirlooms and traditions with my own daughter. 

In the last couple of years, our family has exploded with kids on both sides, and as a result Christmas is not as we once knew it. Long, leisurely lunches and dinners have given way to noisy chaos. Although every now and then I find myself collapsing into a chair and wishing for a moment's peace, that feeling is soon replaced by laughter and gratitude to be surrounded by such joy. 

This is my last post for the year, Beaunz belles, so I wish you and your families a peaceful holiday season. I would love to hear about your traditions and childhood Christmas memories! And I look forward to being back online in early January, with lots of beautiful finds from our trip to Australia.

Merry Christmas xx

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

There are four things that make me feel really, truly Christmasy and turn me from knackered holiday grinch to femme festive.

The first is choosing the perfect Christmas tree and wrestling it into the car (which then also smells wonderful all month) spending an hour untangling the fairy lights then decorating the tree and sitting back to admire it, with a glass of bubbles and a box of Scorched Almonds.  

The second is making the trip to Franklin Road to wander in wonder at the twinkling villas. There is something about competitive fairy-lighting that makes my heart tingle.

Third, eating my first (then second, third and fourth) Christmas mince pie. Thank god these aren’t available all year around or I would be the size of a Franklin Road villa.

Last of all; the assembly and decoration of my gingerbread house. I adore the simple act of gluing walls and roof together with sugar cement, then going crazy with marshmallows, gummy sweets, candy canes and glitter. As my last ‘chore’ before Christmas, I can literally feel childhood returning to my bones with each wield of the piping bag.

What about you, Beaunz belles? What turns you into a femme festive?


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bare Beaunz : Susan

There are some people in life that just bring a smile to your face, the minute you see them. My friend and often other-creative-half Susan is a pocket-sized ball of energy and laughter. In London we spent many long days trying to work miracles, and though we’ve been living on opposite sides of the world, a recent drink together at Euro erased the miles and years in moments.

Susan is incredibly talented and such a professional, we used to call her the steam-roller, because once she had her creative brief and a vision in mind, pity the fool that tried to slow her down.

I’m excited that Susan is contemplating a move back to New Zealand, although given our mutual appreciation for tarte citron – aka ‘happiness cake’ - my top button could be in trouble! Over to you, Susan:

I just bought…?
A rose-gold Michael Kors watch. It’s a chronograph and I love it, sooo much.

I’m about to buy…?
A new home. Which country that will be in, I don’t know yet! Watch this space.

I wish I could buy…?
A never ending round the world trip, so I could travel more and go where my heart leads me. I would spend each season in a different country.

When I was a kid I wanted to be…?
A graphic artist. I made my first magazine when I was 12, called Babe. It was a women’s fashion magazine, and I even designed all the adverts.

I never leave the house without…?
Double and then triple checking for my keys, and a squirt of Michael Kors perfume.

At home I’m usually…?
Redecorating. My home is my oasis, with lots of candles and white lilies.

My fashion sense at school was…?
Terrible! It was the eighties, and I wanted to be Madonna. I even had the fingerless lace gloves.

My one magic power would be…?
To be able to see into the future so I wouldn’t make wrong decisions.

The last time I (really) laughed was…?
Five minutes ago with you, reminiscing about the crazy people we have met. If it’s more than five minutes between laughs, you’re taking yourself too seriously.

My secret pleasure is…?
Eastenders. I’ve been watching it for decades and I’m completely addicted.

I’m happiest when…?
Looking at the ocean. It makes me feel centred and peaceful.

If I died tomorrow I’d be remembered for…?
Being kind to my friends and for loving dogs!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Edible Art : Industry Zen

Tuna Sashimi from Industry Zen

Wow. It's not often I'm lost for words, but when it comes to describing the food at Industry Zen, where I dined last weekend, even my thesaurus brain comes up short.

The food at this Japanese Tapas Bar and Robata Grill is seriously good. So good, I immediately rebooked for tonight so I could eat the soft shell crab again. 

The night I spent at Industry Zen was full of theatre, great wine, rollicking girly fun and the best Japanese food I have eaten in a long time. I came away with change from a fifty and a belly full of gorgeous seafood. It's not often you can say that these days! If you haven't been to Industry Zen, put it on your to-do list, and tell me what you think when you go.


Monday, December 19, 2011

For the love of...knee patches

There is something so delicious about wearing patches on your knees. 

I don't know if it's the klutz in me preparing for all the usual knocks and scrapes (clumsy is an adjective I've very familiar with), or a symptom of my permanent obsession with all things hearts, stars or skulls, but these sweet little pants from Wildfox are really doing it for me right now!

I have had the same pair of trackpants for over a decade now, and they are so saggy bummed they're breezy (and not in a good way) so I'm pretty comfortable justifying why I must order these, today. In fact, I better do it now, before one of you Beaunz belles beat me to it...


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Sounds : Birdy

What is going on with the weather right now? Rain after rain after rain after rain. Thank goodness for tea, Scorched Almonds and Christmas mince pies.

This cover of 'Skinny Love' by Bon Iver is by a 15year old from the UK, known as Birdy. 15! It has been doing the rounds all year, and is so beautiful. On a cool, rainy Sunday morning, just one listen of this song and I feel a little better equipped to face the Christmas madness.

Happy Sunday Beaunz belles.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday Scrapbook : Smell Belles

You can't go wrong giving something beautiful and smelly for Christmas. Actual perfume...not so much, unless you know, without a doubt, exactly which one to buy.

Instead, go for genuine perfumed candles that have had fragrance oil worked right through the wax, not the cheap ones that are just dipped in scent. Good candles cost more, for a reason! They smell divine, they usually have a longer burn time (look for something with 40hours plus), if properly cared for they don’t smoke, and they look beautiful too. Once you’ve burned a candle from Jo Malone, or Diptyque, or Cire Trudon, you can't go back to $2 vanilla pillars from Spotlight*. Trust me on this; I’m a candle maniac from way back.

So, today’s Scrapbook is a carefully curated collection of candles (that alliteration came naturally – like it?) that would be a delight to find under the Christmas tree next weekend. Just make sure that whoever the lucky recipient is actually burns it. An unburned candle is…to quote my favourite character from Princess Bride…Inconceeeeevable!

Jo Malone candle (more on Jo Malone next week)

Cire Trudon candle from World Beauty Store

Happy weekend Beaunz belles.


*Although Spotlight pillar candles are perfect for burning outside when no one can smell them anyway!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Green eyed, but no monster

When it comes to mascara, I’ll all about function. I don’t care what the packaging looks like. I don’t care if it was made at twilight by naked Italian men off the coast of Napoli. I don’t even care if it comes with cult status and a list of awards as long as your arm. I want the longest, most fluttery gorgeous lashes possible, with no smudges or flakes, at a reasonable price. Since becoming a mum, I am also much more aware of my impact on the environment but a ‘green’ label alone isn’t enough to make me switch. Picky? Heck yes! And with so many options out there, why shouldn’t we be?

Over the past month I have been trialling three different mascaras, all of them given to me either for PR purposes or in a goody bag. The first, Lancôme Hypnôse Drama is gorgeous, of course. When I wear it, my lashes look really long and thick all day, and the colour stays put. The only downside is the $50 plus price tag, which I’m not sure is justified for a mascara.

The second was the ubiquitous green and pink Maybelline Great Lash, and though it was easy to use and comes at a great price, it didn’t give me a ‘wow factor’. If you like yours natural and understated, this is the mascara for you. Me, I’m more tarantula than daddy long legs.

Lastly is Living Nature Thickening Mascara in Jet Black. At $39 it is at the top end of what I would normally spend, but if you are comfortable in that price bracket then I say go for it! Made with rich, nourishing Manuka honey and pure Holloysite clay, which naturally adds texture and thickness, after two coats (I put one on before brushing my teeth then another afterwards so it had time to dry) this mascara made my lashes fat and fluttery all day. I also love that it smells of lavender, and that I’m not only supporting a kiwi company, I’m choosing a company that is positively impacting the environment. Visit the Living Nature website to find out more.

I’ve also spoken to Louise at Living Nature, and she’s working on the naked Italian men for 2012. I’ll bet…


Thursday, December 15, 2011

A man in a million

Happy Birthday Dad

My dad's the giant in the crowd,
head and boulder shoulders proud.
Behind two craggy brows he hides
those vintage February eyes.
Ever present as the sea
his grin, just to the right of me.

He gave my heart the hands to reach
and legs to dance and soul belief.
Salty walks with windswept nose
and barefoot scuffing sandy toes.
Feijoa flesh from cold teaspoons
and mornings filled with soggy tunes.

God built him tall so all could know
that bearded laugh and baritone.
He made his home a steaming bath
shone rainbows through his bursting heart
to which we, spidermonkeys, clung
a rooted tree bathed gold in sun.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Don't forget about your laptop this Christmas

'Falling' Laptop skin by Cassia from Society6

I have this crazy love affair with my MacBook. On the one hand, I have heart palpitations whenever I find myself more than 5metres away from it. This 2kg sliver of gleaming white plastic has my life on it - music, photos, videos, portfolio, scripts...the lot. 

On the other, I frequently drip coffee on it, toss it in my handbag without a second thought, and laugh as my toddler bangs away at the keys 'sending emails'. To be blunt, I'm married to my laptop - I love it to bits and can't imagine life without it, but I'm usually taking it for granted.

So, this Christmas there will be a little present under the tree for Mackie...a beautiful book print laptop skin from Society6. If you haven't seen this website before, prepare to spend money the moment you do. Independent artists upload their works, and Society6 turns them into anything from laptop or iPad or iPhone skins to framed prints to hoodies and t-shirts. Genius! And a great last minute gift option if you still haven't started your Christmas shopping. drip...gotta dash.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bare Beaunz : Colin

Colin Mathura-Jeffree

I have only been starstruck twice in my life, amazing considering the celebs I met while working in London; Priscilla Presley, Liz Hurley, Kate Beckinsale, Renee Zellweger and Katie Holmes among others. (Funny story: the day I met Katie, we looked down to realise we were wearing the exact same outfit, even our shoes). All lovely women, and so much more beautiful in person than you imagine. Priscilla was teeny-tiny and magnetic.

The first 'gobsmack-celeb' moment was courtesy of David Beckham, and I didn't actually get to talk to him. We sat two tables away from each other at a cafe, and he was close enough that I could smell him. For the record...yum.

The second was in New Zealand, at the seasonal launch of twentysevennames. When the lights came back on, I realised I was standing behind Colin Mathura-Jeffree. He turned and gave me a really friendly smile, and what did I do? Blushed and ran away without a word. Shame on me. I have regretted it ever since, because Colin is my favourite local personality.

My daughter and I had coffee with Colin yesterday, and I left an even bigger fan than before. I'm so excited to have him on Bare Beaunz today, my very first male! So without any further gushing, over to you, Colin.

I just bought...? 

An amazing vintage recording film camera for my brother in law....It's Russian, comes in its leather case with instructions...wicked.

I'm about to buy...? 
I'm always about to buy on ebay...say no more.

I wish I could buy...? 
A luxury yacht. My friends are luxurious snobs so it would be wonderful to just enjoy breathtaking New Zealand.

When I was a kid I wanted to be...? 
A super hero, I wanted to have secret super powers - isn't that funny? I never knew I'd grow up to be a super villain instead.

I never leave the house without...? 
Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger lily...intense.

If it wasn't so naughty I would...? 
I hate people that are boring and straight....if I wasn't so naughty I wouldn't be me.

At home I am usually...? 
Moving in a dream like pace...BUT my brain works so much more powerfully...less distraction and the love of familiarity...Home is my sanctuary....It's where my brain works so acutely it's frightening.

My fashion sense at school was...? 
Insane...I was already developing my own sense of style, and I admired those that did the same...

If I had one magic power it would be....? 
I never tell....though I can throw some pretty nasty curses when needed.

The last time I (really) laughed was…? 
I laugh all the time...The worst is when I laugh inappropriately...which is often.

My secret pleasure is...? 
Going to remain a secret...a few people know.

I'm happiest when...? 
I'm in the middle of a joke...eating fine food with great company...putting an idiot in their place....feeling like a million the throes of orgasm.

If I died tomorrow I would be remembered for...? 
Who cares...I've gone...It's not about me anymore it's about what's new and exciting...bring it on.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The most magical music video, ever

Every now and then, I discover something wondrous and magical that makes me excited about all the creative possibilities still out there. 

Made from hundreds of thousands of jelly beans and taking almost 2 years to complete, this music video for Kina Grannis' song 'In your Arms' is incredible. Enjoy.


Discovered via Creature Comforts blog.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Sounds : Anni B Sweet

My life feels more complete since I discovered this gorgeous cover of AHA's Take on Me. 



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Scrapbook : Please feed the book worms

One of my favourite gifts to give (and receive) is a beautiful book. The best ones are a work of art; tactile, heavy tomes that make your book shelf a prettier place as well as expanding the mind. is a dangerous place for me, it always ends with a mad dash to the letterbox each morning to intercept incoming parcels before they are discovered by the husband, who boringly (and rightfully) reminds me that we are in fact trying to save money, not spend it. 

So, I am going to live vicariously through you, Beaunz Belles, and share with you a few of the bookwormy treats I have found lately. Click on the book titles if you want to know more, and if you buy any of them, tell me what you think.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Virtual Valentino - Bellissimo!

I recently watched the Valentino documentary ‘Last Emperor’ for the second time, and was inspired all over again. Valentino is the quintessential, gently mad genius and the scenes with him and his lifelong lover, Giancarlo, are touching and hilarious at the same time. If you are female and have a single fashion bone in your body, you will swoon over the orgy of dresses. Oh, to even touch them, let alone wear one…

I was moved to tears watching the breathtaking aerial ballet scenes, and turned off the television wanting more, more, more! Now, with the launch of the Valentino virtual museum, each and every Valentino dress, image and story is available at the touch of a finger, any time of the day or night.



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crafty, Happy People

I'm really excited for this weekend, in fact I've been looking forward to it for weeks!

The Auckland Craft Fair is taking place again, at the Aotea Centre. We ventured out of the house for one of the first times with our new baby to attend last year's fair, and it was so worth it I can't wait to go again.

The number of talented crafties in New Zealand is staggering, and the ACF gives them well-deserved exposure. I'm on the hunt for some cute pictures for our walls, some new pottery, a dress for my daughter to wear to an upcoming wedding and something that blows my mind so much I can't go home without it. Read the ACF blog to find out about some of the designers and get all the details you need.

Hope to see you there! Please come up and say hello.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A candle rainbow, candle rainbow!

I love the coloured candles at Design Denmark. Like, crazy love them. I want them in every colour.

I never understand people that own beautiful candles but never burn them! My favourite thing after a long day is turn off all the lights and burn candles instead, there is no more relaxing (and flattering) light. Even better, at this time of year I get to turn on my fairy lights too.

Which are your favourite candles to burn, Beaunz belles?


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bare Beaunz : Zoe

It's funny how you create an image of someone in your head before you meet them, and how completely opposite the reality often turns out to be. 

I have been coveting Zoe & Morgan jewelry since I spotted them in London a few years ago, and recently had the opportunity to meet one third of the sibling team, Zoe Williams. I immediately said yes, then freaked out that she would be so cool, hip and chic that I would make a complete nonce of myself. Well, in this case it was half true. Zoe is cool, hip and chic but she is also so welcoming and lovely that I immediately felt like an old friend. 

True to form, Zoe's Bare Beaunz is like a beam of sunshine on cloudy day (okay - that was a little noncey...sorry). Over to you, Zoe.

I just bought...?
A huge amount of stationery from a Japanese shop on Queen St.

I'm about to buy...?
A yellow bicycle! Can't wait to get the wind in my hair and sing a little 'good morning coffee here I come' sing-a-long song.

I wish I could buy...?
An Olympic sized swimming pool for my garden.

When I was a kid I wanted to be...?
A stress free adult that ate peaches all day!

I never leave the house without...?
Jewellery on of course!

If it wasn't so naughty I would...?
Take a 4month holiday every year.

At home I am usually...?
Cooking for my children, working in my office, and planning fun and games.

My fashion sense at school was...?
Understated cool. I used to get asked to help strangers do their shopping. I guess I was quite particular from a young age, and only wore what I felt really comfortable in.

If I had one magic power it would be...?
To create happiness.

The last time I (really) laughed was…?
With my son Ace on the weekend.

My secret pleasure is...?
Facials and massage therapy.

I'm happiest when...?
I'm traveling the world

If I died tomorrow I would be remembered for...?
The smile on my face.


Monday, December 5, 2011

My happy place : Bridgeway Cinema

When I have a spare couple of hours to myself, there are few places I would rather be than tucked up inside the Bridgeway Cinema in Northcote Point, with an ice cream and a glass of wine. I'm quite happy going on my own too, which is such a different experience to seeing a film with a friend or loved one. 

I love the tiny cinema, the carefully chosen films and the proximity to one of my favourite Auckland restaurants, the Engine Room (now open for lunch a couple of days a week too). 

The only downside is the grumpy woman I assume is the owner, but I'll coax a smile out of her one of these days.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Sounds : John Lennon

Every year on the 8th of December I have a quiet moment and think of John Lennon. Strange as it sounds for someone not of the Beatles era, I have always felt a real sense of sadness and loss. His songs fill little holes in my heart, and are as ingrained in my childhood memories as nursery rhymes. 

I'm a huge Beatles fan (Rubber Sole is my desert island album), but it's Imagine that I sing to my daughter in the bath, and that I hope she grows up knowing. The lyrics are 40 years old yet they still find relevance today, and although I can't watch this video clip without cringing, I love its gentle optimism. I can think of a few politicians who should listen to a little more John Lennon.

Wishing you a sweet and sunny Sunday.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday Scrapbook : Dreaming of a white Christmas

Miss Marc Headphones from

One of the things I feel nostalgic about is the cold, sometimes snowy Christmas you get in Europe. Wrapping your hands around a steaming cup of mulled wine and perusing the Christmas markets is so traditional it feels like you're in a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale.

The last Christmas I spent in London, it was so cold and snowy we finished a packet of toffee pops and a bottle of Champagne before even getting out of bed, and that was just to stumble up to our local pub for a 7 course Christmas lunch. Needless to say, we were in bed again by 4pm (it was dark anyway, and Santa Claus the Movie was on - the real one, with Dudley Moore). So, although my photos of the day are beautiful (it was the only snowy Christmas Day I spent in London), I actually found myself wishing for strawberries and cold chicken salad in the sun. 

So, today's Saturday Scrapbook celebrates a different kind of white Christmas. One that can be enjoyed wherever you are in the world; the white Christmas wishlist.  


Friday, December 2, 2011

It's a swing swing thing

I have been spending a lot of time swinging lately, thanks to my daughter who never stops moving, except to sleep and swing. For a few peaceful minutes a day, she snuggles into me and we just swoosh through the air, back and forward, back and forward. 

I forget I'm an adult with bills to pay and deadlines to meet, and almost convince myself that there's a lime k-bar and some Garbage Pail Kids cards in my pocket.

Sometimes it's good to be a kid again. 


Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm naked in front of a crowd

Film still from 'Hope's War' courtesy of Gainsborough Films

Okay, so that post header is a little dramatic, but it's how I feel at the moment, as I wait to see the finished result of a short film I wrote (the above image is a still from the shoot). 

The last I saw of the script was a couple of months ago, before it went into production in the safe hands of Craig, from Gainsborough Films. Craig approached me with the initial concept for the story, which was to highlight the 'enemy alien' camps used in New Zealand during both World Wars. My first reaction was that it couldn't possibly be true, but after just a minute of research it became clear that he was right. You can read about one of the camps here, and there is plenty of credible information all over the internet, not to mention a whole book written about it by David McGill. It's fascinating, and unbelievable that it's not more openly spoken about.

The reason I'm suddenly feeling vulnerable is that it's almost time to view the finished short film, called 'Hope's War', and I already have butterflies. Putting yourself out there creatively is terrifying! The film budget is more than some people make in a year, and  when it's your name on something, there's nowhere to hide. Even though it's only a short film, if it is well received, it's hopefully a stepping stone towards having my feature films produced too. 

You might see my name in lights yet...but then I'll feel even more naked than I already do. What's more naked than naked?