Category Archives: Life

Lately I’ve been…

There’s a definite chill in the air in Auckland at the moment. You can almost feel the days physically getting shorter. I thought it would be nice to keep a little update of things that I’m…. at the moment. I’ll probably update it every so often. Maybe once or twice a month.


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I’m eating… A lot of home made food. Ben and I have working hard at saving money, and since we’ve been living together (coming up to a year, shortly!) we’ve always made a weekly list of meals, and made a shopping list from that. Then we head to the shops on our weekly grocery dash, and it honestly saves us a ton of money. My mantra for grocery shopping is “She who shops with no list, spends too much money (and buys unnecessary crap)”. Pretty sure it’s a Chinese proverb.

I’m drinking… Rekorderlig cider. A LOT. I’m very into the Raspberry and lemon flavour, as well as the passionfruit flavour.

I’m thinking about… Cutting my hair. Can’t even elaborate on that because I’m too afraid.

I’m exploring… My new neighborhood, Westmere. It’s kind of awesome living so near to the city now! I’m looking forward to going out on a nice long run in the next few days. There is something so lovely about running in a new neighborhood – everything is unexpected and distracts you from huffing and puffing.

I’m dreaming of… Summer. Already! And Autumn has only just begun. I’m hopeless in cold weather.

I’m listening to… The Lively Show as . much . as . possible . Follow the link, you’ll love it.

I’m looking forward to… Getting my final pieces of (large) furniture for my lovely new home – I still need a coffee table, side tables, outdoor furniture and a bed/sleeper couch for the spare room. Ben thinks a TV is important too. I’m scouring Trade Me like MAD for bargains.

I’m working on… My own brand, as well as a CV for my amazingly talented friend Pelin.

I’m lusting after… Every item of clothing at Supré. Luckily there’s a ba-jillion stores near to me.

I’m trying to… Stay positive – there’s a fine line between home-based freelancer and unemployed all day PJ-wearing, binge series watcher.

I’m trying not to… Allow failure to get me down. The quote below rings true to me right now.

I’m enjoying… Living with Ben on our own for a change – it’s the first time we haven’t had flat mates/family living with us. And we’re loving it.

I’m missing… My mom, dad, dog and extended family. Oh my gossssssh I miss them so damn much.

I’m grateful for… Ben (oh so soppy, I know. Sue me!). He really has been an absolute rock for the last year of me quitting my job and moving to London with no working visa on a whim (oh how long ago that feels now!).


image via Hello Brio Studio (And it can be downloaded as a free Wallpaper!

Fuel Your Creative Fire


The more I think it about this, the more it makes sense to me.

You never ever ever feel inspired, or motivated, or excited, or creative, when you’re doing nothing. The more creative you are, the more creative you’ll become, because creativity is not something that can be used up. As you work, you inspire yourself, you over come challenges, you cause your brain to burn creative fuel, but it’s not like wood. It’s like a bottomless tank of gasoline – the more you add, the brighter the fire becomes.

So immerse yourself – dive headfirst into your creative work, and you’ll find that you no longer need to hold your breath – you’re breathing just fine under water. And you’re loving it.

Herby Happiness Flower Arrangement


My parents-in-law is busy selling their house. So every weekend at the moment we’re having an open home which means that every Sunday morning we’re sprucing up, dusting down, shaking out and preparing for visitors. On the first weekend, I decided I wanted something beautiful to pop in the vase on my desk. With no time to head to the shops to buy flowers, I ventured into my mother-in-law’s garden (which is basically just a floral haven – butterflies flitting from bud to flower, bees buzzing about, birds tweeting, and lots of bright colours). I wanted something that was going to smell as gorgeous as it looked. There’s a large assortment of herbs, so I ended up cutting a couple of stalks, bunching them together and popping them into the glass jar I had available. It looked incredible, and smelt so delicious!


All you need is access to (yours or your neighbor’s or someone who’s not home’s):
• Mint
• Rosemary
• Fennel bush

Aside from the shrubbery, you’ll need:
• Scissors
• Glass jar with water

Pop (or if you’re taking from someone else’s garden, sneak) outside and cut each of the herbs and flowers shown in the image below. Arrange them in your jar, and see which need to be trimmed down and shortened. It’s important to create texture, through the different kinds of leaves used, but also size – you don’t want everything the same length, but rather varying heights that create an aesthetically pleasing arrangement.

Once your cuttings and flowers are at the correct lengths, take them all out and begin arranging them. Place the longer, taller sprigs of rosemary towards the back. Your fennel should go in next, as it acts as a filler and is quite soft, so placing it in later could bend and damage the cuttings. Position the fennel flowers in a way that allows them to be seen from all angles. The mint can go in last, as it can be curved, or may need the other flowers to hold it up.

I find that this will generally live for about a week – a week and a half. You’ll find that the Rosemary will live the longest, but I wouldn’t suggest throwing  the remnants in with your Sunday roast – cut some new herbs for that!

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Brand yourself, baby!


As a designer, I’ve always learnt to sell myself as a brand – a fully formed, stylish brand that a company can buy into. It might not seem as important to you if you’re a lawyer, baker or candy floss maker. However, with the rise in competition in all fields of business, I can’t stress enough the importance of marketing yourself as a brand to potential employers.

Put yourself in the HR department’s shoes – they sift through potentially 200 CVs and applications for 1 particular job, and see the same old dreary, lengthy, Microsoft word documents time and time again. It’s boring. In pops yours, with a spark of colour, a personal little logo and a clean, well designed layout – their mouths will be watering before they’ve even finished reading the first line.

Below is an example of my own personal branding that I use on my CV, Cover Letter and Mini Portfolio that I send out when I apply for jobs. I really believe that the more impeccable and stylish your own personal stationery, the better impression you’ll give potential employers.


I always suggest putting in the time and money to hire someone who actually knows what they’re doing design-wise to create something for you. You can write it off to tax, it will benefit you in the long run and it’s going to potentially help to get you a great job! But hire someone great – not your neighbor’s cousin’s son, who takes art lessons and has access to Microsoft paint. If you’re paying peanuts, you’ll get monkeys after all. You wouldn’t hire a baker to do you accounting. Don’t hire any old person with Photoshop to design the brand that’s going to represent who you are.

If you can’t afford to hire someone, and have to design your CV and branding yourself, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when doing it yourself:


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Below, I’ve drafted a Cover Letter to explain what you should be talking about in each paragraph. Remember, not more than a page and short sentences. Also, not more than one thought per paragraph. Keep it concise, slightly humorous if your job description allows for it, and very specific to the needs/key description in the job ad. I’d suggest using a point size between 10 – 12 for your body copy – nothing bigger or smaller than that. (And yes, this is my real information – don’t phone me in the middle of the night and make scary voices please! We’re all friends here.)


Five Friday Faves: Quirky

There are so many things I keep pinning (especially now I’m engaged it’s all overboard wedding pintresting!) so I thought it would be a brilliant idea to pick a theme, and share a couple of my pins with you each week.

This weeks theme is ‘Quirky’… That odd little bit extra that changes an otherwise usual scene to something exciting, and gives it that “za-za-zoo” in Carrie Bradshaw’s words.


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Sex and the City

I’m a huge advocate for Sex and the City. It’s hands down the very best Series I have ever had the pleasure of watching. It’s witty, hilarious, cringe-worthy and fabulous. (My favourite ever fictional female character, Sam Jones, is in it!) You can watch each and every episode of every single season right here… it’s my pleasure!


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Keeping it inside the box for a change

I’m a runner. That’s been my thing for a few years now. I love running 10km races, and throw in the odd half marathon to remind me just how much I really do love those 10km races (Honestly, I limp around for days after a half). But I’ve recently – and by recently I mean I’ve only done 2 lessons – started boxing. And my oh my, I LOVE it! My boyfriend has been trying to convince me to do it for a month or two, and I finally took the plunge. I started taking classes with him and some other guys at The Locker Room, a brilliant boxing gym out here in Southend.


I was super nervous at first, especially being the only girl. And I kept asking Ben “Do you think anyone minds that I’m here?” as if I needed everyone else’s approval to be there, just to try it out. But I’ve done 2 lessons now and I feel like I’m improving a bit. It’s a great way to exercise. I never manage to work up a sweat by running, or doing sit-ups. But when I walk out of boxing, I’m literally soaked. Or at least glowing. I love the fast pace, and the way that I feel while I’m hitting the punching bag. In my mind, I think that I look like Erin Heatherton from one of the past Victoria’s Secret shows.


Images via Victoria’s Secret

Anyone interested in boxing should really check out this seriously cool Victoria’s Secret workout video on Youtube. Adriana Lima and her way cool trainer, Michael Olajide, Jr. (How awesome is his eye patch??!) go through a couple of moves.

I also came across this awesome infograph (below) on Pintrest. It’s all about how a boxing workout can tone your body. I especially feel it in my back, shoulders, bum and ( as expected) arms. Boxing is a breath of fresh air in my otherwise usual routine of running. I love it, and I’m sure you might too. There’s nothing better than learning how to punch like a girl.



Have you seen the new Always advert? It is simply brilliant – a fantastic look at the way society has been indoctrinated into thinking that girls do things in a very silly manner.
Here – take a look before I go any further.

This really ignites my fiery feminist sparkler. I’ve been thinking about this for ages now. “You punch like a man” vs. “you punch like a girl”. A positive vs. a negative. I hate having attributes or characteristics that are seen as being either male or female. Why can’t men be feel sensitive, and why can’t women be tough? And it’s generally things perceived to be feminine attributes that are plagued by being negative (“stop crying like a girl”). I watched a fantastic Ted Talk called ‘A Call to Men‘ by Tony Porter. This is an extract from it:

“I come to also look at this as this fear that we have as men, this fear that just has us paralyzed, holding us hostage to this man box. I can remember speaking to a 12-year-old boy, a football player, and I asked him, I said, “How would you feel if, in front of all the players, your coach told you you were playing like a girl?” Now I expected him to say something like, I’d be sad; I’d be mad; I’d be angry, or something like that. No, the boy said to me — the boy said to me, “It would destroy me.” And I said to myself, “God, if it would destroy him to be called a girl, what are we then teaching him about girls?”

It’s sad to think that the world’s general view of the way girls do things it lesser than that of boys or men. And still, so many people ask why Feminism is necessary. It’s because of this. And because of hundred of other reasons just like this one.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I do nothing like a girl. Because I’m a woman. And so I do things as a woman would, which is generally just my best. But as a girl, I was too embarrassed of the way that I ran to ever play a sport at school, or to ever run a race on Athletics day. I always felt like I was the proverbial awkward skinny girl who looked like a fool when she ran. So I never did it. And that’s sad, because all I was doing was running like a little girl. But I never thought it was good enough.

Fighting fate, keeping faith


I’m busy with something in my life that’s really testing my faith, and I’m not talking religiously.

There’s a constant battle happening in my mind of “You’re awesome, let’s do this” and “Why should it be you?” and it’s tough. Sheryl Cole’s “Don’t believe the things you tell yourself so late at night. You are your own worst enemy, you’ll never win the fight.” comes to mind. As long as the ‘fight’ is me against myself there’s no winning or losing.

So I went out searching for some quotes and enlightening thoughts on maintaing courage and perseverance, and most of all keeping the faith you have in yourself. I sorted through the soppy and the cliché to make a list of quotes that are exactly what I need to hear right now. The most pacifying thing I’ve read so far is “Taking that risk was the best thing I could have ever done,” she said. “Women who can act boldly despite that fear go far in their careers.” from this awesome article about embracing your fears and your flaws.

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* Since writing this, Stylist magazine has released an amazing list of quotes about how to embrace failure. It’s definitely worth a read, and really made me feel at ease. Sometimes we forget how important failure is in order to put our success into perspective. I really had never thought about that before. It’s like sweet and sour sauce isn’t it? Without each other they would be too much on their own.

The Best 100 closing lines from Books

I do love a good book. I love the type of book that stays with you for days, if not weeks once you’ve read it. I love the kind of book that challenges your perceptions of the world, or a book who’s characters are so well defined, that they seem to walk off of the pages and right into your head, and once the book is finished, it feels lie you’ve lost old friends.

Opening and closing lines in books are the two most important parts in a story. If you can grab your reader from the beginning, or linger with them once the final pages have been read, you create a beautiful bond between your words and their imagination.

Stylist UK posted a list of the 100 best closing lines from different books to their website this week, and it is a brilliant read. Some of the lines I had read, some I knew, because they’re well known, and the others inspired me to start a need-to-read book list of all the titles my imagination still needs to meet.
615x330_Best-closing-linesI thought I would share a few of my favourites from their list…

1. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
- The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald

I haven’t read the book, but the movie really moved me, and the closing line feels like it speaks directly to my soul.

2. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
- Animal Farm, George Orwell

Animal Farm was my absolute favourite of all the books I read in class in high school. I’ve always loved the Russian Revolution, and I feel the book is a perfect narration of human beings’ terrible inclination to thirst for control over others.

3. “A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans.”
- The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

For anyone who hasn’t, read the Book Thief! It is a magical journey of innocence and destruction, and is narrated by death itself.

4. “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K.

To be honest, it’s not the most moving closing line I’ve ever read, but after all the time I’ve sent wandering around Hogwarts corridors with Harry, I couldn’t not include it.

5. “But the naming game involves only male names, because if it’s a girl, Laila has already named her.”
- A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

I read A Thousand Splendid Suns in one night. It was the first time a book had entrapped me in it’s pages since the final Harry Potter. I soon read the Kiterunner by the same author, and was not disappointed. Hosseini bridges the gap between western civilization and Islam so well. His words are moving, and I am currently about to start reading “And the Mountains Echoed” – his latest novel.