Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Hurricanes V Chiefs

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I went to see my first rugby match.

Not just my first in New Zealand. My first EVER. It was so awesome.

My friend Sam (see Sam’s Manor) booked the tickets, and after a bit of googling to figure out which team was which etc, I was ready to go.

This isn’t me, but… y’know.

I know the bare minimum about rugby. I know that there are different types, that there are five points to a try, and that Richie McCaw has fantastic thighs. I was worried I was going to be a little lost.

I wasn’t, though. It was surprisingly easy to follow.

You cheer when your team are pushing the right way, you boo when the opposing team scores. When a bad decision is made by the ref, you swear along with everyone else even though you wouldn’t know what a ‘bad decision’ was if it trod on your ankle.

My only trouble came with deciding which team to support. Obviously, my instinct was to go with the Hurricanes, me being Wellington based ‘n all. However, one of my work friends sitting next to me descends from Hamilton, and her screams of “YES”, “NO” and “GAY!” were infectious. I could not decide.

She made a bet with Sam that the losing fan would have to make an announcement over the intercom the next day at work, congratulating the winning team on their success. Needless to say, the Chiefs missed out, and Saturday in the department store was a little bit funnier because of it.

Triumph.

After the game, we went to see our friend Hayley at her birthday party. Hayley has just escaped from the department store because she’s found herself a real job. A job that is actually relevant to her degree. None of us are bitter.

The party was held upstairs in the function room of the General Practioner on Willis Street. We had a lot of fun, drank a lot of booze and ate a lot of cake.

Also, there was a stuffed deer in the bathroom. Made me poo my pants. Luckily, I was in the right place.

5 bullshit travel myths that you should just shut up about

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1. You are going to ‘find’ yourself on your travels.

Seriously, you are much more likely to get lost. Probably as soon as you arrive at the airport. Anyway, you really should know who you are before you embark on an international flight. Otherwise, you may find yourself having problems at customs.

For example:

Customs Officer: ‘Name?’

You: ‘I don’t know. I’m hoping to find that out on my travels.’

You’ll have a sniffer dog poking your anus in no time.

Sure, if you do enough stuff, then you’re certainly going to broaden your mind through experience, but don’t just fly away because you think you’re going to fall into some kind of Eat Pray Love scenario. More likely is that you’re going to get drunk a lot, do some things that you regret, maybe build an orphanage or two, but then fly home with the sinking knowledge that, actually, you knew who you were all along.

 

2. You are going to get thin from being constantly on the move and being too poor to eat properly.

Not in my experience, matey. Not having much money for food/having no kitchen to cook in equalled one thing for me: junk food. Sweet, DELICIOUS junk food. I put on, like, 6kg. I have since moved into a proper flat and have lost the weight once more (praise baby Jesus) but, still, definitely busted that myth by putting it to the test.

Also, even if you are poor, not having a job while you travel results in more time spent lounging around/thinking about food. Some days I’d go and get a burger just because it was the cheapest activity. Enter chubby Emma stage left. Gross.

 

3. It’s brave to travel

Shut up. It’s not. You get on a plane and then have a lot of fun not really doing much. It’s brave to save a baby from a burning building, not to go on an extended holiday.

 

4. It’s even braver to travel solo.

Nope. Sure, you have to sort out all the tickets, visas, how to get to your hostel from the airport etc when you’re going it alone, but you also don’t have to worry about catering to other people’s (inferior) wants and needs. If you’re travelling alone, you meet a hot guy and want to stay in town a few extra days? Stay. No one’s forcing you to move on. You think it’s a great idea to get as drunk as is physically possible without dying and then wake up naked on the beach with vomit all over your tits? Do it, you’re never going to see anyone who was there ever again. You just better hope they don’t find you on facebook and post all those photos they inevitable took. Nope, travelling solo isn’t brave; it’s selfish. That’s why I like it so much.

 

5. You’ll keep in touch with everyone back home.

No, a lot of them will quickly forget you. And what the hell is that making you angry about? YOU left THEM, remember? Most of the important people will stay in touch, of course (it’s unlikely that your mum is going to forget your name) and most fair-weather friends will simply evaporate. However, there are usually a few surprises either way. There are a couple of people I considered to be really close friends before I left, who I haven’t heard a peep from even though I sent them emails. I also a have few random not-so-close acquaintances that I still chat to at least once a week. Some people are just better at keeping in touch than others. Some people like you a lot more than they let on and, hell, some people like you less. Don’t be offended. Life goes on.

Anyone have any more to add to this? I can’t be bothered to think of any, right now, and five is a nice round number.

 

 

Sam’s Manor

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How good are house parties?

Don’t answer that question, dickface. It was rhetorical.

House parties are obviously the best thing ever.

When I lived in London, I used to have enough friends to be able to throw the odd house party.

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Proof

Okay, so, often I had to get my blonde, Aussie flatmate to stand up in the middle of the nightbus and declare a bus-wide invitation to our place on the way back from the pub. Generally, however, we always ended up with a full house. Plus, Izzy’s way of doing things was a great way to make new friends (and get robbed).

Since I’ve moved to New Zealand, however… let’s just say I’m not rolling in friendships.

orangelic.org

It can be pretty lonely, moving to a new country. At my age, everybody has already more or less fulfilled their quota of friends, and it can be pretty tough to break into a pre-formed friendship group.

Now, I like to think that I’m a pretty easy person to get along with, but, I have to admit that there have been times in the past few months that I have felt WOE. Yes, I said it. WOE.

Loneliness is shit. I hate loneliness.

Being ALONE is great sometimes. Hell, almost every day at work I find myself wishing that customers would just back the eff off and leave me be in my reclusive cave that is the department store changing rooms. However, there really is nothing worse than wanting to go out for a drink at the weekend, and having nobody to go with. WOE.

Luckily for me, I work with awesome people. They’re all completely mad, which helps, but they’re also actually likeable. In fact, during the last few months, I have grown friendly enough with some of them that I actually find myself (dare I say it) enjoying coming to work. Sometimes.

Sometimes, lately, we even socialise outside of work. That’s fun.

Last night one of my work buddies, Sam, invited Callum and I to a party at his house. Win. I love house parties. I may have already mentioned something about that.

I got home from work, internetted for a while, then popped on a pair of jeans and headed into town (stopping to pick up wine along the way, obviously).

The party was already nearing full swing when we arrived.

Sam’s house is awesome for parties. It’s this rickety old thing with lots of little rooms and cubby holes, and one billion photographs of cats randomly dotted around the walls.

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Plus groudon in cabinet. Win.
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Oh, nothing much. Just a casual rabbit made out of post-it notes.

I love it.

The best thing about Sam’s house, though, is Sam and his flatmates. As a whole, I don’t really like the human race, but these people are genuinely cool. They play music, drink heavily, and are friendly to everyone they meet (even random near-strangers turning up on their doorstep with a bottle of cheap red wine). What I am trying to say, is, they are the perfect party hosts.

And it was a perfect party, due to an array of different factors:

1. There was a cardboard box fort in the hallway.

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Defending the fort

2. They have a mad cat named Sushi, and I love cats. (Especially mad ones.)

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Sushi, also defending the fort.

3. There were chips and hummus.

4. The playlist was awesome, and included a brief live performance by one of the flatties on his fiddle.

5. One of the other flatties performed a full length version of the rap part of Nikki Minaj’s ‘Super Bass’ (for the second time since I’ve known her). This is my new favourite thing in the world to listen to.

6. There were some absolutely stellar outfits. Guy wearing blue suit, girl wearing PVC corset, and girl wearing gold runners were particular highlights. Everyone looked awesome.

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The shoes at this party were particularly wonderful.
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Particularly Sam’s slippers

7. Everyone was just having a good time, and getting blind drunk in the process.

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Sadly, Callum and I couldn’t stay too long due to us both having work in the morning, but we stuck around long enough to sink a bottle of wine, hang out in the box fort (poking unsuspecting passers by with a broom) and admire the Japanese porn in the bathroom.

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Sam, Clem, Eleanor, and Oscar; Thanks for an awesome party.

Newtown Love

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It may be an unsurprising confession, but I spend more than the average amount of time a day internetting.

Some of that time, I’ve spent perusing Wellington based threads on sites like Reddit. It seems like people’s reactions to Newtown are a bit like Marmite. You either love it, or it makes you vomit like a lactose-intolerant baby.

Riddiford Street. Whenever I go past Newtown Shoes I always sing the name of the shop to the tune of ‘Uptown Girl’. I don’t know why.

I’m in camp Love Newtown. It’s probably because I live here (most people in my camp do). But the thing is, I chose to live here. I specifically hunted out a flat in this area because I wanted to live in Newtown. I think it’s wicked.

Newtown tends to get some bad press for being a bit dodge. Whenever I hear someone say that, I can’t help but let a wee smile appear accross the old cheeks. I always want to tell said-Newtown haters that, excuse me sir, but I have lived in a half-falling-down block of council flats in the wrong part of North London for the last three years. Newtown is a kiddie’s playpark, comparatively (and one without syringes in the bushes, at that).

Sure, it’s a bit rough around the edges. Occasionally an old man will scream in your face on the street. But I love the pace and variety of this place, and after a couple of months walking home from work in the dark, I’ve never once felt threatened or unsafe. Sure, I’m not going to recommend you go and hang out here down an alleyway with your rolex on, but where would you encourage that? (Don’t wear a rolex, they cost an obscene amount of money).

The best thing about Newtown is its variety, mostly of cultures and coffeehouses. it’s like a well-stocked fruit and veg stand (of which there are plenty non-metaphorical versions on Riddford Street). Sure, there’s always going to be the odd rotten banana that nobody wants to give change to, but there are also so many wonderful, colourful things to see and try as well.

As a place, it kind of reminds me of Camden Town in London. Both have a hipster-meets-ethnic-meets-oddball vibe, and now neither of them contain Amy Winehouse. Sure, the hipster vibe can be a bit annoying, but it’s not as ‘intolerable’ as most people make out. At least you get to laugh at all the silly moustaches.

I went out for an afternoon walk around the neighbourhood earlier today. The sun was miraculously shining, which helped, but I couldn’t help but just feel happy when I walked out onto the street. A couple of busker dudes were playing away quite merrily outside New World, and, a bit further down the road, a collection of women in amazing vibrant saris chattered away outside the Skin and Body Clinic.

There was also a ridiculous amount of gulls and pidgeons massacreing a bread roll on this street corner. They seemed more keen to have their photo taken.

As well as that, Newtown also has everything you could possibly need, pretty much all on one street.

Coffee can never be boring, here. There are at least a bajilllion different cafes to try within walking distance of each other (stay tuned for my review of one in particular. It was delish).

Foodtruck

There are also some cool bars…

Monterey’s

Bar Edward

…and an awesome amount of restaurants, particularly Indian food. The Curry Pot and Planet Spice are the only ones I’ve sampled so far, but both were great value and generally awesome. The Curry Pot also serves the most orgasmic red wine I’ve ever tasted, fyi. It’s called Chantilli Shiraz.

Newtown also has all the amenities you need, such as a supermarket, library, and MacDonalds…(some are potentially more essential than others here…)

It has great little Op shops, in which I’ve often tracked down bargains. Sadly today was Sunday, so they were closed, but I did notice that the Red Cross had a Louis Vuitton blazer in stock. What a win!

There’s also this great little second-hand bookstore called Book Haven. A helluva load of oh-so-beautifully musty smelling volumes, at teeny tiny prices.

Book Haven

Most of all, Newtown has awesome people. Here is one of them.

Okay, so that’s just me. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

Red Rocks

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Okay, so I cheated a bit on this one.

Callum and I actually went to Red Rocks a few months ago (you can tell by the fact that the sun is out in the photos, and I’m not wrapped up in six layers of sheep’s wool).

The walk to Red Rocks

It was one of the few things I did bother to go out and see soon after I first arrived here, and I wish I’d done more stuff like it while the weather was still nice(ish).

Red Rocks is a little Marine Reserve out around Owhiro Bay. We got the 1 bus out to the last stop at Island Bay, and walked along the coastline from there. I guess it took around 30-40 minutes to get there (walking at my speed; Callum’s casual walking speed can be compared to Usain Bolt on crack. If it had been up to him, we probably would have completed the whole thing in five minutes straight).

Callum striding on ahead

Me, toddling on behind

Anyway, it was really pretty, and if you go in the right season (we didn’t, best time is May-October apparently) there is a seal colony at nearby Sinclair Head.

Seeing as I don’t have any seals to show you, here is a picture of me just before I got hit by a wave

This website says the rocks were formed 200 million years ago by undersea volcanic eruptions, so that’s pretty cool. Mainly I just wanted to go crabbing.

Rock Pools! Hell yeah!

We spent HOURS poking around in the little rock pools, finding blue crabs and tiny fish and weird-looking sea caterpillars. I fucking love nature, I do.

Callum also loves nature

Anyway, it’s definitely worth the trek out there and, in my opinion, it’s one of the things that makes Wellington so unique as a capital city. Very few people are lucky enough to say they live in a city where they can jump 20 minutes out of town and land smack bang in the middle of rugged, natural paradise.

Word of advice: take a picnic. There’s not much to eat unless you like raw crab.

Furry Little Frames

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If eyes are the windows to our souls, then it must be fair to say that eyebrows are the furry little frames that go around them.

My frames, as of late, have been somewhat patchy.

I don’t generally mind the shape of my eyebrows, but, when I try to pluck them myself, I always seem to end up with little bald patches where there shouldn’t be bald patches, and too many stray hairs everywhere else. I took some pretty embarrassing photos to attempt to document this fact.

Note the tiny bald patch.

 I will clearly never be a beauty therapist.

A freshly-out-the-shower headshot, for your enjoyment.

 

 

I’d better also note that I’ve been colouring these bad boys in for the last few months with the stub of an old brown eyeliner. Probably not the recommended approach.

I recently thought that I should seek some professional help. True, I probably need it for a lot more than just my eyebrows, but they seemed like a good place to start.

I booked an appointment at the closest place to my house as I could find. That place happened to be Skin and Body Care Beauty Therapy Clinic, based in glorious (genuinely no sarcasm) Newtown.

It was going to cost $30 for a tint and shape. I’ve done a little bit of googling in order to compare prices, and it seems like this comes out at just below average. Sweet.

I walked in to the clinic from the bloody typical pouring rain, and entered a little haven of loveliness.

The first thing I noticed was that it smelled fucking fantastic. I don’t know what it was that was wafting through the hallways, but I wanted to roll in it like a dog.

I was warmly greeted by a lady named Asha, who explained to me that she runs the place herself as a one woman band. After I’d filled out a few details, she led me into a nice little room and instructed me to lie on the couch.

Oh mama, she noticed the bald spots. I was kind of hoping she’d just brush past them. She was very nice about it, though, and in kinder tones just pretty much told me to leave them the hell alone.

I went for a nice natural shape and tint, not being a fan of the startled-drag-queen look.

After a few minutes of smoothing, plucking and pleasant small talk, we were done. The whole thing only took about ten minutes, and that was including her instructing me to start using some kind of cream before I have more crows feet than actual eyes (my words, not hers).

She held up a mirror, and I was actually very pleased with the results.

Some pretty well disguised baldy spots.

She’d done exactly what I’d wanted; kept it nice and natural, but with a bit of added shape and darker colour. I don’t think I’ve previously mentioned that I have one random white hair that grows right in the middle of my right eyebrow. That bitch is now taken care of.

Brows are no longer as furry as my jacket.

Address, phone number etc for Asha’s clinic can be found on the picture of the business card I posted just up the page, and details of opening hours and specials can be found by clicking here. She also does a lot of other treatments such as facials (lovely) and waxing (less lovely, but necessary) so I really recommend giving her a call if you’re in the area.

Just me enjoying my new eyebrows, being all squinty and alluring.

 

Bread of Death

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Holy Mother. I have died and gone to heaven, and heaven is in Mexico.

I didn’t actually go to Mexico. That would have been foolish. My aim at the moment is to discover great places on my own doorstep, so travelling thousands of miles away would probably defeat its object. I am also very poor.

I’m actually talking about this nifty little Mexican bar/restaurant on the end of Kent Terrace. Callum and I went there after our trip to the theatre, which you can read about here. I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone by trying two new places in a night. It was also really cold outside, and it was the first place we came across that served food on our way back to the bus stop.

Interior of the bar

The name of the restaurant is Pan de Muerto. At the time, I used my brilliantly shocking foreign language skills to determine that this definitely translated to mean ‘bread of death’. After since perusing their website, I’ve come to learn that what it actually means is ‘bread of the dead’. Slightly less ridiculous, but I still like my version better.

The waiter sat us down at a nice table in the corner by the window, where I jumped straight into the cocktail menu. I’ve been hankering after a nice little cocktail for a while now, and there was a surprising amount to choose from.

I know I should have gone down the margarita road, it being a Mexican restaurant and all, but something inside of me (probably not my liver) screamed for the Blueberry Mule. I can’t remember exactly what was in it (I was too busy concentrating on pouring it down my throat) but I think it was a mixture of crushed blueberries, berri acai, and sweet, delicious gin. Get one.

Callum went for the manlier, more traditional Sol.

Next it was time for the food. Here is the menu, for those interested. Callum and I decided to share the Ofrenda Platter. Now, it’s important to say I’ve been dieting recently, so any combination of carbs, meat and cheese is going to look like sex on a plate to me. However, even Callum agreed that this stuff was pretty awesome. A big, juicy plate arrived brimming with Quesadillas, Albondigas (meatballs in sauce), Jalapenos Rellenos (Jalapenos wrapped in cheese and breadcrumbs), Rollitos de Camaron (shrimp rolls- my fave) with a hearty dollop of quacamole and chips to go with it. It was a truly emotional experience.

Knee-weakening sharing platter.

The only thing I didn’t understand is why there was three of everything. (We’d already inhaled a meatball each before I had the time to snap this photo.) Perhaps my boy and I are simply pigs, and the platter was actually meant for three people instead of two. I think it’s more likely to be a way of testing a couple’s sharing skills. I’m pretty sure Cal and I passed the test; I even cut the last meatball in half.

Right, so, we’ve established that the food was delicious. After we’d finished eating, we noticed a sign that had been sitting directly opposite us for the entire evening, but which we had both (until now) failed to notice.

Here it is…

Five dollars, you say?

The night very quickly turned from an enriching, cultural theatre experience, to, well, this.

Eventually we paid the bill and headed home. I played the Tequila song full-blast once, and then promptly fell asleep. What an absolute stunner of an evening.

For bookings, menus, and general info, Pan De Muerto’s website can be found here.

Happiness comes in a shot glass.