A great travel tip

July 31, 2014

I realised yesterday morning that I had a great travel trip I hadn’t shared, which is this…

When you travel buy a perfume that you’ve never worn before. When you come home every time you wear your perfume it will remind you of your trip. In Japan I bought a bottle of Guerlain Vetiver from a huge department store in Osaka. I tried it on and wandered around the store to give it some time to settle in before deciding it was right for me.

Now every morning when it’s cold and dark and I smell like Vetiver I return to Japan.

Just like Brownies, but better

June 19, 2014

A friend recently called me from a vintage sale to say she’d found some blankets and did I want her to buy them. This isn’t unusual – yesterday one of the librarians at work did the same.

The first blankets included a grey one with a handful of Brownie badges on them, which was instant nostalgia of the highest order.

The brooch below is kind of like a Brownie badge but you need no special skills to earn it.

The Friends of the Dowse (which I recently joined) have commissioned artist Lynn Kelly to create a limited run of 100 brooches that are only for sale to friends.

You can see a larger version of the brooch and read details here. It’s $100 for the brooch and if you’re not already a Friend then an extra $30 to join. I love that you can only buy this by being in the club – I kind of feel I might be one more step closer to Freemasonary without the hassle of finding an apron.

Join the Friends of The Dowse.

Read more about artist Lynn Kelly.


Wellington’s newest destination boutique

May 8, 2014

One of the things I most loved about Tokyo was finding tiny independent stores in out of the way places. Now Wellington has another such place in Indie Design.

If you’ve ever been to a craft market with owner Nini Mulyani you’ll know how popular her jewellery range is by the three-deep crowd that’s usually around her stall.

That craftsmanship and eye for olde-world aesthetic has been brought over into her store too with a huge range of one-off pieces arranged on wooden furniture, vintage suitcases and other great pieces.


Magpies like me will be instantly drawn to Nini’s printers drawers filled with glass and ceramic beads and metal findings – both vintage and new.

You can rummage the drawers then have Nini create a bespoke piece for you. Nini’s jewellery is all handmade and wired and soldered, which means no cheap, tacky glue.



She seems to be open a lot but the best idea would be to follow her Facebook page to keep up to date with her hours.

Oh, and she stocks a small range of Emma Makes notebooks and pencils too (hooray!)


The gift wrapping is right on theme too. (I appropriated this image from the Indie Design Facebook page).

Getting there
Indie Design is in the Lychgate Centre, 100 Riddiford Street, Newtown.
>>Follow their Facebook page for opening hours and beautiful images.

On learning French

March 20, 2014

This week I’ve downloaded the free app Duolingo and have started learning French. Tom is learning French and Spanish.

The app is cute – it uses gamification (in a not dorky way) to spur you on and asks you to translate, write, listen and speak from the get-go. It’s hard but worthwhile and much better than the humiliation of not knowing your French verbs the day the sadistic reliever teacher took our class.

So far I have learnt:

* I am great at working out the sentence if there’s a choice of words to put in the correct order, and

* I have NO idea what French people are saying most of the time even if I listen to the track five times in a row.

Still, this week I saw someone’s five year old’s writing and it was rubbish, which reminded me that learning takes time and it’s OK to be completely useless at the start.

Au revoir!

P.S. I wanted to learn Japanese but it wasn’t an option.

A handy tip for Converse sneakers

January 7, 2014

I really love Converse sneakers but find that sometimes their soles are just too flat for me so after a while my feet start to hurt.

Recently someone at work told me that she gets an old pair of walking or running shoes (big white sneaker styles), takes out the fitted insole and puts it into her Converse.

Genius idea. I did just that this morning and can report that my shoes now have the comfort of big ugly sneakers with the good looks of Converse.