Recently I attended a Yelp event: Yelp Pairs Cider & Cheese at The Dairy, Ponsonby Central. Hosted by the cool crew from Yelp Auckland namely Alex the Community Manager and Tara, Owner of The Dairy & Foxtrot Parlour. A good crowd attended (as always) and we were educated about the hip ‘Zeffer’ Cider brand established in 2009 and has been successfully winning awards internationally. All the cider was partnered with heavenly cheese from The Dairy: St Benedict Buffalo Brie with Zeffer Crisp Apple, Mahoe Blue with Zeffer Pear, Wangapeka with Zeffer Hopped Up Pippin and lastly Earth Sheep Cheddar with Zeffer Mahana Red Apple. It was indulgent, superbly overwhelming and undoubtably enjoyable – with all the tastings and information buzzing in my head. I loved all the cheese and craved more. My favourite cider was the Crisp Apple that is honest, simple and deliciously dry. Cider is slowly taking preference in the supermarket aisles and as for the cheese – you need to shop at Ponsonby Central, and be wowed at The Dairy.
After not attending a #smakl event for a while – I was really looking forward to engaging with the ‘specialist’ panel of speakers: Ricardo Simich (Editor Spy HoS), Bradley Ambrose (award-winning photographer), Arran Birchenough (Getty Images ANZ) & Mark Sagar (Lab for Animate Technologies) who all shared their valuable dogma, about the selfie-obsessed society we live in today. Some are the question raised were concerning intellectual property and copyright – in reference to celebrity. Apparently, if you snap pictures in a public place – it’s your image. People (generally) create a lot of content imagery that is uploaded onto Facebook, SnapChat & Instagram. Nothing is private or protected anymore. Everything is transparent and available on Google. What about facial recognition? Have you had the experience before on Facebook when you are tagging people, and they are already recognised? One thing I did learn, is if you want to be published in social pages, newspaper or magazine – refrain from Instagramming and Snapchatting for the event. #SMCAKL always spoils it’s guests with flavoursome pizza, craft beer, wine & cider. Brilliant sponsors. I fell in love with the ‘Playground People’ Instagram Printer – that prints images (similar to a Polaroid, but bigger) that you upload with a hashtag. I know why I love social – it just keeps evolving and being disruptive; without predictability.
Recently, I went to this intriguing art exhibition called ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ at Bridge Gallery Studio, off Karangahape Road. When I arrived after 10am (opening time), there was no one there, and was alerted to a note in the window to call a mobile – in this instance. I went away and returned 30 minutes later to find a welcoming young French woman who offered me tea. I declined, after just having coffee. There was a collection of eclectic objects on tin shelves, that all had a hand-written (personal) story attached, ranging from a thimble, painting, nail set, dried flower, postcard, book and so forth.
“Attendees can choose an existing object from the gallery to take home with them, in a sort of trade-like marketplace. Participants are also given the opportunity to write a small note to accompany their object, sharing its past, or its significance for its former owner. It’s all very sentimental.”
I wrote my note and left my object after discussing the content on the shelves (and their previous owners) with the curator. I always speak to strangers, including today when I asked a complete stranger to jump over my fence, as I had accidentally locked myself out of my house. Sometimes gifts are warranted, other times a kind exchange of words is ample for an ever-lasting memory.
Strangers can shape our world and alter our mood – for the better.
All week I have been anticipating ‘sleeping rough’ for Lifewise #bigsleepout in Central Auckland. Loaded up with my essentials: (loaned) sleeping bag, beanie, merino gloves, IPhone (to tweet), house keys, ATM card, lipstick and WHORE flyers for potential audience. After registering for the event, we all received personalised cardboard mats and a goodie bag: beanie, Idealog, Special K bar and Merge Cafe voucher. The Whore team scouted an ideal location to settle down, then dinner was on the agenda. Over 100 people lined up for meatballs and spaghetti with a slice of buttered bread: hearty meal. Icecream quickly followed, sponsored by Nice Blocks. We heard great speeches by Lifewise, poetry and an interview with Chanelle who told her story about homelessness, sex work, foster care, mental health admissions and her new job. I was invited into the makeshift cardboard house, shared conversation with many new friends/rough sleepers and was photographed/filmed by random people. Yes – I did sign a media release. The night is chilly, however it’s not raining. There are sleeping bags all over the AUT campus filled with human life. At the time of writing the fundraising figure to (fund) frontline services for homelessness 2014 is $153,357.39! Whore team raised $3,165.00 for Lifewise Big Sleep Out 2014. I am humble. I am grateful. I am cold and slightly hungry, however this is a temporary measure. This experience keeps me real and makes me feel lucky to be alive, with people who care.
Recently I was invited to attend an artist event at ‘Blikfang Art & Antiques’ which is a hybrid gallery, shop and museum located in Northcote. The space is brimming with ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mirrors, captivating pieces of art by Rita Angus, June Black, Sheridan Keith, Gretl Barzotto and beautiful objects displayed in an intoxicating fashion.
The talented speakers included William Dart (Editor, Art New Zealand), Shonagh Koea (Author, ‘Landscape With Solitary Figure), Evan Woodruffe (Artist currently showing at OrexArt), Eve de Castro-Robinson (Composer of the Len Lye Opera) and Nina Seja (Art Historian, Author of Photoforum: Counterculture, Clusters and Debate in New Zealand). The MC was Michael Smythe: engaging and erudite. The standout for me was Shonagh Koea, who spoke off the cuff and read from her book with ease: enthralling the audience with her (human) storytelling. All the speakers were stimulating and informative with their content, leaving us all with a wealth of knowledge and delight. There was supper on hand afterwards, a glass of wine or sparkling water, colourful conversation and a room with a (majestic) view.
1. When/how did you discover your ‘love’ of jewellery?
When I was a little girl, I loved going through jewellery boxes of my mother’s and my grandmother’s – really anyone who would let me look and play. Each box contained different types and styles of jewels, that expressed who they were at the time. I would love to play dress ups with them, but the best thing (of all) was each one had a story, and a memory to go with it. I like to remember this when I am designing a collection. I hope that my creations have stories told about them, and create amazing memories for the person wearing “Roccabella”.
2. Where do you get your inspiration?
The world around me. If you take the time to look around, you can find the most amazing and fascinating things, you just have to open your eyes. For example my latest collection INK: a tattoo/jewellery collaboration. I was going to see this guy (I had my eye on) who was getting a tattoo, done by Brock Fidow. I was looking around his studio and was blown away by his talent. We started talking about relocating from Christchurch after the earthquakes, and our design process. It just came to me that a tattoo/jewellery collaboration needs to happen and Brock agreed. Now we have worked together in creating this seamless collection.
3. Do you have a ‘special’ piece of jewellery that you wear or gifted?
My diamond circle pendant my mum gave to me – I wear it everyday.
4. How did you come by the name “Roccabella”?
We inherited it when we purchased our Christchurch store in 1999 which we lost in the earthquakes. I love the name – it means beautiful rocks!
5. Tell me about your last exhibition?
It was amazing! Held at Lot23, for my collaborate collection ‘INK’. I collaborated with Brock Fidow who is a talented tattoo artist. The collection was a seamless combination of ‘Western traditional tattoo’ and ‘artisan jewellery’, all proudly made here in NZ. We hung the jewellery on a (majestic) stand, hung from the roof. I wanted it to be a discovery, so we used Fresnel lenses which magnified the jewellery in a trippy-kind of way. Sam E was our DJ who created an amazing vibe.
6. Who would you like to (really) ‘wear and/or endorse’ your work?
Russell Brand – love his style.
Lorde – she is amazing.
Banks, she is also amazing.
I think that’s all for now!
7. Any influences?
Oh yes, I love the creative talents of Solange Azagury-Partridge, she blows me away with her designs
8. What is your favourite colour?
I don’t have one, I love all the colours of the rainbow.
9. Do you eat breakfast?
It’s the most important meal of the day! Can’t beat Rye bread toasted with avocado. Tomato, lemon juice, and a sprinkling of Basil, finished off with a grind of salt and pepper. Oh, and a cup of coffee.
10. What makes you smile?
My daughter Lilly, she amazes me and makes me smile everyday. Love – out of the blue, and music which can instantly transform your mood.
After receiving an intriguing email, from ‘Farro Fresh’ about their up-and-coming “NZ Artisan Producers Festival” being held today – my foodie curiousness kicked-in.
I had previously purchased some Farro money, to the value of $20 in-store, as banknotes were unacceptable at the festival. This touch of fun, added to the community-feel and vibrance of the event.
Firstly, after securing a prime-positioned car park (within a stones-throw from the festival), I proceeded to the first welcoming artisan supplier. I tasted some delicious gratifying “Proper Hand-Cooked Crisps” in sea-salt that are made in Nelson. They are 100% natural, gluten-free, GMO-free and don’t leave you feeling guilty.
Right next door was “Catherine’s Block” wines from the Wairapa. Each (generous) serving was $5, poured by gregarious, smiley-faced staff that looked at me strangely, when I asked them if they have a twitter-handle. No they don’t – only Facebook and a website. No mentions or tweets on this occasion then!
From the $5 menu on offer; I decided to go with the pan-seared salmon fillet with kasundi & sheep yoghurt. Explosive flavours, great service, NZ salmon: sold, naturally. I also sampled a ‘kiwiana’ BBQ sirloin steak and rocket pride. The horseradish cream left my sinuses clear – that is for sure.
My pick of the “NZ Artisan Producers Festival” was the “Paleta” mini-ice blocks in Raspberries & cream. Served by Hayden, who spoke passionately and genuinely about their hand-crafted product: made from Fresh cream, Raspberries, Fresh milk, Organic cane sugar, Carob gum Natural flavour on a sustainable hoop-wood stick! So all-in-all: deliciousness and ice-block perfection.
After yelping, tweeting and instagramming – I left the festival with a tummy-full of contentedness.
I have to say, “Floral Design At Vida Flores” is up there with the top “Yelp Elite” events in Auckland, to date.
As I entered this unfamiliar shop jam-packed with luscious flowers, I walked to the pop-up bar, and was greeted by our hosts: Davina, Gretchen from Vida Flores and the lovely Alex.
“Are you our tweeter?” was the first comment.
“Yes – Yelper and tweeter!” I said.
I was offered a beverage of either “Doris Day” (Slipsmith damson plum vodka, violet liqueur, damson plum purée, fresh lemon juice and soda. Or “Elderflower and Gin Lemonade” (Tanqueray gin, elderflower syrup, passion fruit, fresh lemon and soda) both designed by Ponsonby Road Bistro.
Pure indulgence as I sipped away on my “Doris Day” admiring the French (creamy) cheeses from “Maison Vauron”. My favourite was the Reblochon.
Gretchen demonstrated the art of flower design, in small to large fish-bowls. Impress she did – the whole room of women took photos in wonderment.
Davina did a mini Masterclass on “spiralling” and the “tricks of the trade” when creating a flower bouquet.
Now the fun begins!
All the yelpers were given an assortment of flowers to spiral individually and create our own art. Looks easier than it is! I had to spiral twice, to perfect my bouquet!
Yelping. A lot of yelping to be had.
After attending the “Masterclass in Rockstar Rieslings” facilitated by the erudite John Belsham: winemaker, businessman, consultant and critic, hosted at Foxes Island City Cellar, I was (truly) wowed.
The wine enthusiasts (including myself) listened carefully to the technical and creative storytelling of each handcrafted Riesling: 2013 Foxes Island Icon Riesling, 2009 Foxes Island Riesling, 2012 Pewsey Vale, 2008 Foxes Island Riesling and lastly the 2012 Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten.
The wine was beautifully complimented with extraordinary “Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese” stocked at Bread and Butter Bakery, who make artisan bread that is out-of-this-world.
Did you know Riesling can age up to 20 years?
Also, my perception of Riesling has now turned on its head. I used to think all Riesling was sweet, acidic and ghastly. To my relief, this viewpoint had been (refreshingly) overturned.
I am now in love with 2008 Foxes Island Riesling: low acidity 7.8G/L, residual sugar only 5.8G/L and PH 3.11. Did you understand that?
I do, marginally. Still learning!
This Masterclass left me intrigued and hungry to know more about the process of viticulture and winemaking, in all it’s glory.
Another sterling and stupendous ‘Yelp Elite Event’ held at Jetset Bohemian, in the hip spot of Grey Lynn.
A team of awe-inspired yelpers each donated a pair of second-hand sneakers or $10 for #GivingShoesDay #GivingTuesday to send some relief to the victims of the Philippines Typhoon #TyphoonHaiyan
Bird on a Wire was present with their offerings of ‘Korean BBQ Chicken Roll’ and the classic ‘Bird On A Wire Chicken Roll’. What can I say: Scrumptious!!!! Thanks Sophie!
Also Rochfort Rees wine, that I will admit I had not heard of, until now! Sampling the super premium Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris was a delight! The virtual winery whose philosophy “is to make wine that is simple in its complexity.”
Simple yet perfect.
Jetset Bohemian opened late for the yelpers’ pleasure: beautiful vintage pieces, scarfs, hats, you name it! I adored their newsprint-like carrybags, very cool.
What a night of yelping!