Monday, April 25, 2011

anzac day

lest we forget. april 25 is always a sombre day in nz. happy anzac day to everyone. thank you stacy for this beautiful image.

love you Pop.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

happy easter

happy Easter!

is anyone doing anything exciting? its saturday evening and we have already done the gardening,eaten our eggs and been out on an adventure. i woke up at 6 this morning - there must be a God - and so i woke up mark. we decided to drive up to the matakana markets. we got there as it began and i am so excited - i saw rhys darby! whoop whoop! love his stuff. and we still have two whole days left. happy.

as for the cute tiger above, he lives at the auckland zoo. we went along this week and they happened to be giving this amazing puss an Easter egg as part of an awareness-raising campaign. they were encouraging people to avoid products, including Easter eggs, that contain palm oil because the collection of it destroys the tigers habitats. i knew it wasn't a great product - i had no idea that some of it was so destructive. poor tigers! if you want more info, check out auckland zoo.

anyway, on this amazing holy weekend i hope you get to demolish some chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and enjoy a lovely holiday. if you go to church this weekend, say hi to the Big Guy for me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

retail therapy

i've been hitting the local vintage stores lately. well, i always am actually. i haven't stopped as much as paused recently. op-shopping has not been great of late - does anyone else feel like the op-shopping heyday is well and truly over?
so disappointing!
i've been avoiding op-shops (charity stores) and just going straight to the vintage stores. particularly on k rd. my faves are those in st kevins arcade - fast and loose, search and destroy, vixen and of course, aunty mavis!! love love love.
here are a few of the cute numbers i've picked up recently...
my new very practical winter shoes! whoop whoop!
actually, lovely stacy brought this back from oz for me. i have a weakness for vintage souvenirs. 
i couldn't resist this pretty little 'wishing well' number by the meakins.

but this mouse, maisie, is my new best friend! how could anyone resist this face?!
don't you love the apron???!! 

hope you are having a good week. i'm looking forward to the Easter long weekend personally. i'm counting on maisie to get me through this week! and my pretty shoes. oh, sigh, so pretty.

au revoir!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Emma W.

this post has been a long time coming. its not kiwiana, but it is about an outstanding kiwi.
we have this friend who never fails to blow our minds. she inspires me to be a much better friend. she has a 'don't take no for an answer' attitude when asking if there is anything she can do to help. she celebrates people. she is sincerely the most encouraging person i have ever met. seriously.
you know who you are, Emma!
in fact, my special friend mari and i would have a little competition before going to an event that Emma would be at - how many steps can we get into the room before Emma announces 'beautiful ladies!!'. we love it!
i tease mark about the fact that Emma has sent me more bunches of flowers than he has. and last week, when were having a really hard week, she dropped off a series of meals and organised another lovely friend to also drop dinner around for us. when times are tough, meals say love. we felt LOVED up.
usually, due to my cynical nature, i am suspicious of naturally up-beat and encouraging people. ha. but Emma is so sincere and consistent, there is no way you can spend any time in her presence and not feel like you're the shiz.
so, Emma, THANK YOU!!!
it's official - the sun shines out of your ass!
love you.

who else has an Emma story?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

crown lynn. love, pure love.

i have to show off my new favourite! my new dinner set - isn't it glorious?! well, new to me at least - i believe it is actually from half a century ago.

my love for crown lynn only began about 18 months ago. tut tut. don't make my mistake - it will be gone by the time you realise you cant exist without it. my kids will be raised to love it, whether they want to or not. though, i doubt something born from this body could not love crown lynn unconditionally.

there is an incredible book, written by local collector, valerie monk, that i consider to be pure womens porn on the subject of crown i wont go into detail. this amazing company was started in NZ in the 1800's. it was the depression that led to it expanding into crockery for armed services. some vases, some egg-cups, sigh. a silver lining to the period of the depression in God's own.. 

this set is called 'sonata'. i bought it off a friend of mine recently, who incidentally sold his house to Sir Tom Clark, the brains behind crown lynn. Sir TC bought it because he loved how they had displayed their g-i-g-a-n-t-i-c collection of his beloved babies in there.

say hello to my new baby, sonata.

p.s. the other day, whilst out on a serious charity-store binge, i came across this design. i had never seen it before, it was well priced, so obviously i had to make it mine. no choice. i have since discovered it was made by crown lynn for english pottery legend, alfred meakin. it is from the set called (i believe) 'parisian cafe' or 'parisian cafe scene'. interestingly, the bottom of the cup is stamped with the alfred meakin post war mark. that was 1945 onwards. yet, the saucer has the very standard 'made in new zealand' crown lynn stamp.

i have a special place in my heart for this little ensemble after my recent romp around paris with my bosom-buddy. love you mari day.
live long and prosper.
melissa-jade xxx

Friday, February 25, 2011

thank God for dave dobbyn

what a shocker of a week. an unexpected 6.3 quake in christchurch not 6 months after the last one. but so much more tragic. nearly all of marks family live in christchurch, nz. that's where he was raised. he still supports the crusader rugby team for goodness sake. did anyone see this quake coming? i mean seriously, it did not even enter my mind that there may be another big quake on its way. talking to marks family over the last 6 months, i just assumed that the aftershocks would die out and then life could go back to not being so wobbly.

thank God all his family are safe. we are lucky. so lucky.

really, nz is a small place! i shit you not - when i lived in hong kong 3 hongkongese people said to me, 'oh, nz, do you know this person...?' i did know them all. i really did. i even knew where they worked. so something so catastrophic  happening in such a small place - we all know someone down there or have relatives there, went to school there, had good holidays there, bad holidays there, have been skiing down there.

it got me thinking about what it means to be a kiwi. i am so incredibly proud to be a kiwi. smug, even. i believe i have grown up in the best country in the world, that as much as i LOVE hong kong, paris, vietnam, bristol, i really want my kids to have the 'best' upbringing. and for me, that's here. sure, it rains a lot (in auckland), but as my gran used to say, 'it's good for the ducks'. i cant think of anything that the rest of the world can think down on me for when i say that i am from new zealand. other than sports related shit. nothing. we haven't ripped anyone off, we don't have nukes, we let nearly anyone in for life, we have great original music and people say what they think.

in this shit week for new zealand, our first ever state of national emergency, i want to pay tribute to a true kiwi icon. for the life of me, i cant think of anyone more truly iconic (though mayor tim shadbolt is a very close second) than kiwi musician, Dave Dobbyn. what a freaking legend. in fact, i am going to go so far as to bestow my greatest honor on him - the sun shines out of that mans arse! prove me wrong, i dare you. when we see him perform live i have two strong  reactions. 1. i think this is considered normal - i sing along as loud as i bloody can. 2. i blub my way through his songs. i genuinely 'snot down my face' blubber. this is for another 2 reasons. 1. he is so transparent when he preforms and his songs are effing awesome - i goddam love it! 2.prepare yourself...  he actually looks like my dad! REALLY!! what makes that even funnier is that my dad has dark curly hair, and dave dobbyn has ginger curly hair - and i am a true drapes and rug matching ginga. too much information? chill out. but i have a photo of dave and i have a photos of dad (jock) to show you...what do you think?

dead ringer, right??!!can you see what i mean? so i automatically love dave because he reminds me of my dad. we (dad and i, not dave and i - i am still estranged from dave!) had been estranged for years, and now i just love hearing his way of things. so anyway. to check out more of our lovely icon, head to

who is the first person you think of when you think 'kiwi icon'......let me know!!

summing up, if you are the praying type, please pray for those in christchurh; for those still trapped and alive to be kept alive and for the search and rescue teams to be able to reach them, for the s&r teams and their dogs to be kept safe also. and for christchurch generally, especially that people are kept safe through the aftershocks. we send you our love chch - in money form! 

Kia Kaha from Me xxxxxxxx

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

small town nz

until recently, i actually thought that we kiwis had made up the word 'kiwiana'. then i was looking around on e-bay and discovered close to a billion 'americana' stores and i came across the term 'australiana'. not a native term after all. according to the oxford dictionary it means 'denoting things associated with a person, place, or field of interest'. as in americana, victoriana, and yes, kiwiana.
new zealand is a new country, as far as countries go.  our iconography is quite new as well, mid-20th century items mostly, according to wikipedia. tonight though, as i write this blog, i have a particular image in mind. small town new zealand. from my own country-bumpkin perspective.
my ma's family are from a region in the mid-west north island called the king country. in particular, a tiny, and i do mean TINY, town called ohura.  it used to be a pumping town, until the local coal mines shut due to political and environmental pressure. now it is part of forgotten highway 43.
mark and i went back there for christmas just gone. my great aunt hazel is an 81 year old wonder and will have my head for telling you her age. what a woman!! she runs the local church, rides around town on a push-bike, bakes up a storm and recently won a Queens Service Award for her work in the community. she was the chaplain at the ohura prison for many years, until that too shut down five years ago.  she is phenomenal. i hadn't been back to ohura since mark and i've been together and i wanted him to know where i'm from and get to know this amazing octogenarian.
thanks, auntie hazel, for a great time. love you.
so i hope you enjoy these photos - this town is an extreme example of small town nz. about 200 people. maximum. it is very very peaceful. and incredibly kiwiana.

a sight for sore eyes after hours of driving
i kid you not. be prepared.

only 10 minutes before ohura, this is the main street of matiere  - where my grandad was born.

finally. ohura.  main street - side one.

and - side two.  my whole life i have managed to miss out on getting into it, and i still daydream about the treasures i will dig out of it!
home sweet home. this is the home hazel has lived in since she was married. while we settle in at auntie hazels...
she heads off on her bike. she even wears her helmet so the local kids learn its important!
i took mark for a walk through these stunning pastures to the local cemetery where all my maternal ancestors are buried.
and this is the view that my grandparents (etc) have from their final resting place. 'how's the serenity'.
ohura's version of the inorganic rubbish collection?
hazels stunning church where my gran played the organ for a million years and where i have spent many a hilarious midnight-mass event, including this christmas gone. the bells are rung to wake up all residents at midnight.
and finally after hazels outrageous midnight mass, back home to her place for amazing afghan biscuits, baked in the original coal range.  we stayed up into the wee earlies drinking tea and icing them. how kiwiana is this christmas biscuit?

i hope you enjoyed this little tour through my own forgotten small town. tomorrow i'm taking american blogging legend, marian schembari, to kingsland and grey lynn in the hunt for kiwiana. i plan to get some good fodder for the next post. until then, kia kaha!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

for the love of kiwiana

merry christmas!! and since i am SO freaking behind in blogging, really truly, happy 2011. i hope you and yours had a safe and happy holiday period.

i've been thinking about my lack of blogging and realised that its become exaggerated since i stopped my 'making a major success out of my small business' theme. i need a new theme. i'm a projects and guidelines kind of Sheila. i need a regular shove of motivation. and i need something to write about. don't you love how self-aware i am? please tell me i am not the only one who struggles with being self-motivated.

that's what i love about the new year actually. i really like resolutions! my big resolution for the past couple years has been to wear heels more often, and it worked. i do wear them 'more often'.

anyway, new years resolution no. 483 (or thereabouts): create new blog theme.
new years resolution no. 484: post new blog weekly.

for the record, one is supposed to blog about something they are passionate about and know a bit about. other than being passionately anti-red-light-runners and the lotteries commission, i'm obsessed with kiwiana and spreading the aroha. that means love, and is pronounced with a rolled 'r' just by the way. yup, i'm a natural at this.

so...i pledge to write a weekly email about kiwiana. in search of kiwiana. all things kiwiana. wish me luck! p.s. i know its freaking late, but here is a wee taste of kiwiana christmas - cinema styles!