Ortolana. Go. Now.

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Ortolana is a restaurant nestled in Auckand CBD. It has been right at the very top of my “places that I really, really, really want to eat at” list for forever! And hey presto, I managed to answer my foodie dreams and popped in for an amazing lunch with the boy and my folks on Saturday.

If you haven’t seen it, you must visit (or at least google it), not only does it have an outstanding menu, it is simply beautiful. Think exposed brick, billowing plant pots, contemporary chandeliers and a kitchen on full view. The brilliant bistro prides itself on “food fresh from the garden” and regularly updates its menu with the season.

But you know what excited me most? I ordered Paleo. Let me repeat that… I went out and ordered an amazing, fresh, colourful and immensely satisfying dish that fit completely into my strange lady eating plan. I don’t know I have ever been so excited (that may or may not be a complete exaggeration).

So, what did you order Miss Paleo (I hear you cry)? I grabbed soft folded egg with house-smoked mackerel, capers and greens. It usually comes on toast, but I asked the waiter to skip that for me and he was more than happy to help.

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Soft folded egg with house smoked mackerel, capers and greens

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Hereford carpaccio with celeriac and truffle

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Dry cured pork with almonds, olives and ciabatta

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The special of fish of the day (John Dory) on a bed of couscous, swede puree and radishes

Everyone loved the food. It was a great setting, a great menu and I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed it.

Seriously, go. Like right now.

What are you still doing here?

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Mondayitis?

This week is a cheeky must have, because I totally already have this! But how could I resist? One of my all time favourite high street stores, Glassons, has started to stock some chic and delicate charm necklaces.

MondayNecklce

What you should do? Buy each and every one (no, Glassons is not paying me for this post, this is my genuine opinion) and layer them all at once. Bang. Monday blues gone.

 

 

A twisted take on celeb worship.

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Last night, some friends and I headed to the NZ Film Festival showing of Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring. It was first shown at Cannes earlier this year, but now it’s hit the big screen in little old New Zealand.

For those of you who haven’t heard of this film, or its inspiration (a Vanity Fair article, The Suspect Wore Louboutins) or in fact the news headlines in 2009; The Bling Ring is a strange but true story of six American teens who, in a twisted take on celebrity worship, burgled various Hollywood stars.

I had some seriously high expectations for this flick, but I came away really confused. Did I love it or hate it? Quite frankly, almost 24 hours later, I’m still not sure. I found almost every actor in the burglar bunch incredibly wooden. But then I thought – maybe this was purposeful? Was it a comment on the fact that these kids (I don’t care that they were all in their late teens, they had the maturity of five year olds, so I am calling them kids) where so shallow? Sofia tickled with the idea of her audience sympathizing with the gang, but never followed through. She also touched at one point on the thought that her main character Marc (representing Nick Prugo) was in love, or at least infatuated, with the robbery ringleader Rebecca (or real life Rachel Lee), yet never brought it up again. It left me with so many questions unanswered that despite me thoroughly enjoying my 90 minutes enthralled in the lives of these messed up kids, I felt disappointed.

Emma Watson however, was brilliant. I think it’s a credit to her acting ability that I was not once transported to her Harry Potter days. Having said that, I thought, perhaps because she is the most well known cast member, or maybe because she did recreate the troubled Alexis so well, she got a lot of air time. Like a lot. When the accounts of the real life story don’t actually put Alexis in many of the robberies.

Alexis

The kicker of this teen tale was the ironic way that becoming known as criminals enabled the group to become the very thing they most admired, celebrities. Sofia totally captured the over sharing, celebrity obsessed society that teenagers, hell even adults, are currently living in. She perfectly highlights the deep seeded need within these people to put themselves in this world of perceived glamour.

What was astounding to me was how much this strange little story captured me. I went home and watched every Youtube video on this gang of burglars, and read any article I could find. Honestly, I’m still going. Having said that. I’m not convinced it was Academy Award wining director, Sofia, who grabbed my interest. But more the true story itself.

At the end of the day this movie is that of almost every teen flick. The losers (aka the none famous) want to make it in with the cool crowd (aka celebrities) and find that they will do anything it takes to get them there. The difference? I’m not sure (despite a prison sentence) that any of the bling ring actually realised the extent of what they did, or what they were reduced to – and that’s the part that makes it such a depressingly dark true story.

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All images from IMBD.

Bel vs Mazda.

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Last week I ran 13k. Fuck yeah. But about half way through I came face to face with a group of teenage girls, and being teenage girls, they were walking arm in arm. The closer I got, the less they cared. When I was almost nose-to-nose with them, I figured that they were in fact not going to move for me, so I had to run around them (on to the road). As the sleeve of my 7 kilometre sweated top brushed against one of them, she leapt back and looked at me like I had licked her eyeballs. It took every piece of me to not scream at them. What did they expect me to do? Face the oncoming Mazda or cartwheel over their five people strong pavement wall?

I am not sure if it just me, but do other runners have a set of road (or rather pavement) rules in their heads and then get irrationally angry when other people don’t follow them? Well I do.

One of my rules is, if the person coming towards you is exerting more energy that you, you move. It sounds weird, I know. But you wouldn’t believe the number of people who just stare aimlessly at me, and just walk (at a glacial pace) towards me as I run. It’s infuriating. Other runners however, are falling over themselves to get out of the way of anything and everything in their path. I am pretty sure the number of times that I dodge people on my regular weekend runs would add at least a kilometre to my over all distance. It is frankly just rude. The only exceptions I have to this rule are small children and animals. Tiny tots (I am talking under ten) are sweetly oblivious to their surroundings and quite frankly, how can you get mad at something so adorbs? Same goes for pets. To be frank, I’m so swayed by cute things that the same would probably apply if Zac Efron wouldn’t move out of my way.

So, if you see me out and about in my lycra this weekend, please realise that (unless you too are running), it will probably take a lot less energy for you to move a little to avoid being either bowled over (not that I am much of a force to be reckoned with) or touched by my gross, vomit educing sweaty sleeve.

And don’t expect cartwheels, although my eight-year-old self was DAMN good at them.

Sweet-fuelled agony.

My friends and I have a book club. Now before you ask me what we are reading, it’s not a reading book club (duh). It was an idea a friend of mine had years ago, and for about three meet ups we had books in mind. But it quickly became apart that our focus was never on the literature, it was on treats. So a ritual was formed. And even though we still call in book club, it should be called “a gathering in which we eat the amazing treats our friends have lovingly made until we feel sick”. Unfortunately that’s a bit long winded, but very accurate. Every book club at least half of us end up lying down, unbuttoning our trousers or clutching our stomachs in pain. The other half simply grunts in sweet-fuelled agony.

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This month, between six of my lovely friends, there was a feast of…

Chocolate Nest Cake – This is basically a brownie like cake that sinks in the middle (on purpose), filled with chocolate cream and cover in whatever you like, my friend used Smarties! Seriously good. Also, a great option if you screw up cake… “Screw up? What do you mean? This heavily sunken cake is a NEST CAKE, don’t you know anything? FFS”

Savoury Biscotti – Think biscotti. Now think parmesan. Now think yum.

Scones, Whipped Cream & Mango Curd – By mango curd I mean amazing homemade, twice strained, mango curd. Aren’t my friends amazing AND dedicated?

Mini Pavlova, Cream & Passion fruit sauce Also amazing with the adding of the above curd. Yes, whenever possible we try to merge desserts. More is always better right?

Smoked Pumpkin & Paprika Dip (with sliced veggies for dipping) – We often have this kind of dish, a token healthy thing at the table to ease our sugar laden conscious. This was my contribution, so it was all paleo, even though I was giving myself a night off.

Bread, Cheese & Dip – Needles to say the cheese wedges tend to get bigger and bigger as the night progresses and usually ends with one person shoving the last triangle in their mouths bread-less (we don’t want to miss out on good cheese now do we).

Pineapple Lumps – That says it all really!

Needless to say, I gorged. And I think, after a week of eating well and pounding the pavement pretty hard, I totally deserved it.

Mondayitis?

Currently I am seriously counting my pennies for some Meadowlark bling. Meadowlark is a New Zealand designed and made jewelry brand that is “sometimes playful, sometimes dark” (according to them). I love the more playful pieces myself, but any and everything they create has a beautiful and edgy feel.

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Personally, I would hit up the ring section of their website. I am a self proclaimed ring-aholic. (I have a rotation of about twelve and if I could I would wear them all at once, but I can usually only hand about five to six at a time.) The below are my all time faves. But check out the website here, because if you are more of an earring, necklace, bracelet or hell even cufflink kinda person, they have you cover too.

Rings

The month that was.

Month

From Milse trips to tulips, the last month has been a furry of fabulous food and fashion finds. Follow me on Instagram here for all of these shots (and oh so many more)!

JHo got me feelin’ feminine.

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I’ve always had a soft spot for Miss Juliette. She was one of the first designers I watched in an actual (real life) fashion show, way back when she was in the up and coming selection of peeps in New Zealand fashion week many years ago. She always has a strikingly feminine touch to her designs that really works for me (I’m sure that’s her biggest concern). Her last few collections have also masterfully mixed in some masculine boxy cuts and bold colours to contrast the floaty fabrics and floral prints. But I really feel that her latest collection, Kalidoscope, Juliette is going back to her routes (yay). This fabulously aloof and feminine style to her clothes is captivating. I love the mostly muted tones (with a gorgeous “wow” print in navy and teal), I love the floral fabrics and more than anything I love the front split skirt.

I’m so glad that she has bought back some of the origins of her design because this side of Juliette is (in my opinion) what got her to where she is, and is her best asset as a New Zealand designer. I am not so glad that she doesn’t want to be featured in my weekly rag (New Idea) – because boy if she did, I would make sure every piece in these pictures made it into my pages.

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JHo3All images from Juliette Hogan’s Faebook page.

WARNING: This post contains excess use if the word hottie.

Peter Alexander Calendar 2

Do you know a hottie? If so, maybe you should suggest that hottie for the new Peter Alexander 2014 calander. Who doesn’t love a perv at a dashing young guy holding a dog? Crazy people, that’s who. Now imagine perving at a dashing young guy holding a dog whilst helping out animals. That’s pretty much the best ever.

For a while now our all time favourite onesie maker*, Peter Alexander, has produced a calendar featuring Aussie boys and dogs, with all of the proceeds going to the RSPCA in Australia. Lucky for us Kiwi’s, in 2014 Peter will be jumping the ditch and producing a NZ one, with profits going to Paw Justice (insert applause here).

So, as of today all you hotties (or the knowers of hotties) can submit themselves, boyfriend, brother, friend and dogs, for the chance to be in the New Zealand 2014 Peter Alexander calendar. Register your interest (here) and head to the casting on Saturday 3rd of August 2013 in Auckland. Peter and his team will then pick out the super hotties for the calendar to be shoot on Sunday, 4th August 2013 (so make sure whoever is going to be a hottie if free both days).

*I know that Peter Alexander make more than onesies (like pjs, slippers and my favourite invention ever – lounge wear) but I dare you to go into that shop and not come out with a onesie. Go on, I dare you.

Mondayitis?

This is not a new obsession, in fact I’ve had for a while. I’ve been trying to suppress it because I feel like a bit of a sheep for wanting it. Oh to hell with it, baah.

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I think I (and any of you) would look smokin’ hot and oh so chic in an over sized Celine tee, super chunky chains and a classic (well tailored) blazer. And if you are on my side of the world (aka New Zealand) I would throw in a knitted beanie, because the weather on this Monday morning is not looking as smokin’ as you and I in our imaginary t-shirts.

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