– a must-stop shop in Wellington

July 30, 2014 in Wellington is a great shop stocking New Zealand handmade products – and on Friday they’re getting bigger. They’re building out into the shop next door and are having a grand opening party this Friday.

You’ve probably seen them on Victoria Street looking something like this:


They’ve stocked Emma Makes for about the last 2.5 years and are super popular. Seeing them grow is really exciting.

This Friday will be regular trading hours with a twist – if you take in the voucher below they’ll give $10 off when you spend $50. A good time for a winter treat or a chance to fill your present drawer.

A public service announcement about whiskey

July 3, 2014

Tom’s workmate sent this to him – it seems rude not to share. Click the image to head to the (larger) original.

New movies in old theatres

May 13, 2014

On Sunday afternoon Helen and I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel. Have you seen it? It’s so great and I immediately wanted to come home and add a whole lot of mustard velvet and lolly pink paint to our house. (Tom: if you’re reading this in Paris you’ll be pleased to know I didn’t).

Every part of the film is perfectly beautiful but it’s also a great 1930s-esque murder mystery with brilliant characters who are really funny.

Owing to an apparent inability to learn, we turned up to Martinborough’s Circus Cinema on Saturday night to find it booked out. This is the exact same thing that happened last time so who knows why I didn’t book. (Bit thick).

Instead we went to Masterton on Sunday, which has a beautiful old theatre resplendent in Deco details, plaster ceilings and garish red carpet, which is just perfect.






Regent Theatre building, Masterton, circa 1931. From Alexander Turnbull Library.

Whip round

May 12, 2014

I left work early Friday to take the first train home. Thank God for Helen because if she wasn’t visiting then I might have just taken to my bed for the weekend. As it was, on Saturday morning I slept to 11.30, which I haven’t done in about 15 years; thank goodness for friends who like to read by themselves on Saturday mornings.

I’m not always so neglectful but just had a tiring week. This weekend felt restful and restorative and also full of the kind of tonic that boosts your spirit.

As well as eating at Cuckoo, visits (yes, plural) to the Greytown lolly shop, strolling Martinborough, reading magazines by the fire, eating cheese from Featherston’s cheese shop, buying local honey at Almo’s Books in Carterton, we did this…


A visit to The Village Art Shop in Greytown – always full of treasure.


Both Helen and I like to walk slowly and seriously around shops to make sure we don’t miss any treasure.


Helen’s very excellent Sunday vintage dress.


I love an old pie dish and this one was filled with old stamps.


Vintage buttons.


Mural outside the Masterton Cinema – I like Mrs Tuatara and her handbag.


Mr Owl is pretty good too.


Pretty walls at Cafe Trocadero. Go for the coffee.


Me taking a photo of Helen taking a photo of this beautiful old painted sign.

My life advice – get a friend that it’s easy to mooch around your neighbourhood with.

In other exciting old lady news – we bought cider at the Featherston bottle store (a whole four bottles) and I got IDed. Not only am I over 18, I am two times 18. I told the woman behind the counter she was very kind.

Hey you, buy this t-shirt

April 16, 2014

Last week I saw a link to this t-shirt on Twitter – it’s designed by someone in Wellington and you can buy it online. Do that here.

It’s from one of those sites where you need x number of people to sign up to buy before the shirt gets printed. It’s past that point now (so will definitely be printed) but I thought I’d mention it here because there’s only a couple of days left to get in on the action.

Buy the Make Things t-shirt.

A love letter to Kathmandu hiking boots

March 24, 2014

When we were traipsing around Japan there were times when I thought, “Man, when I get home I’m writing Kathmandu a letter about how much I love my boots.”

But I’m lazy so am using this blog post instead.

Just before Christmas I decided I should buy some proper boots for walking around on snow. So I went to Kathmandu and bought these ones below, with the help of one of the girls in the Petone store. These boots are SO good that I’d recommend them to anyone wanting some really great hiking boots. Here’s what I love about them:

  • They are leather
  • They are incredibly comfortable – none of this ‘breaking in’ business. Actually, I meant to break them in but it was too hot over summer so I didn’t and never once had sore feet in these.
  • My feet were always dry and always warm – even at negative 17.
  • They were quick-ish to get on and off.
  • They originally cost about $500 so I felt like I was buying quality.
  • They are quite stylish.
  • They have grippy soles so I didn’t fall over on snow.


How to make a hot towel station in your house

March 17, 2014

Tom and I loved hot towels in Japan – the better restaurants would hand them out when you sat down (others had cold, disposable ones) and they were so welcome.

My best hot towel was probably in Sapporo – one night after the snow festival I was absolutely frozen and we stopped at a whiskey bar for a few drinks. The hot towel was so warming and refreshing.

We decided we couldn’t carry on life without them so now we have a station in our house – here’s how you can get one too.

Dedicate an area and prepare the towels
We’ve set aside a part of our recipe book cupboard for hot towels – it’s an area right above the microwave so super easy to access.

We bought 12 white facecloths (about $1.20 each) and I rolled them all up and stacked them on a tray so they’re easy to grab and make before dinner.


Timing and getting them wet
When dinner is being plated, whoever hasn’t cooked makes the hot towels. I wet the towel right through while it’s rolled up, then wring it out a bit (still rolled up) then put it on a plate we’ve dedicated to microwaving hot towels.

Microwave the hot  towels together for a minute – you might like to experiment on this – you want hot and steamy but not to be burnt.

Using the hot towels
What you’re supposed to do in Japan is neatly clean your face and hands with the hot towel. But the hot towel is *so* good that I usually throw my head back, unroll it, cover my whole face and groan in satisfaction.Then I wash my face and hands.

White towels are best because if they get stained you can bleach them out again.

Hot towels are SO SO good so you really need to try making them at least once.