Cookie Night: 8 Divine Easy-Bake Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies to Share


Although here in New Zealand we are swinging towards summer, things will be cooling down in the more northern climes so over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you recipes to warm your house, body, and spirit.

Today, I plan to tempt you to stay indoors and fill your house with the aroma of warm, sweet cookies. 

Toasted s’more choc chip from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Browned butter pecan sandies by Julia

Do you prefer fancy cookies like afghans or melting moments or are you a traditionalist who can’t wait to tuck into a meltingly good chocolate chip or chewy oatmeal coconut cookie?

Chocolate chunk cookies

Chewy coconut cookie from Mikeys in my Kitchen

I myself prefer the old fashioned melty-gooey sugary-butter-dissolving-on-the-tongue and crumbling in the mouth type of cookie. Chocolate chip, peanut butter dark chocolate chunk (mine and my co-workers’ favourite!), soft sweet shortbread, and oatmeal raisin spice. Down here in the antipodes, their idea of a cookie is hard and dry enough to use as a home renovation tool. Probably a throw over from British colonial times (tea-dunking and all that), but are slowly warming to the idea of gooey goodness and all that entails. 

Lemon gooey butter cookies from Small Town Woman

Why not bake up a batch for you and your loved ones today!
(all images c/o indicated blogger/owner, otherwise from pinterest)

#cookies #love #foodporn #home #sweet #dessert


Colour Therapy


I’m not sure if it’s summer’s approach here in New Zealand, but my love of all things colour is on the upswing and I can’t stop looking at images on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that are bold with punchy blues, pinks, reds, yellows, and more. Does this happen to you guys, too? This drive led me to wonder what it is about colour that influences our emotions so.

Goethe_Schiller_Die_TemperamentenroseThe psychology of colour has long been studied with Goethe and Schiller in the late 18th century creating the “Rose of Temperaments”, a diagram that matches twelve colours to human occupations or their character traits, grouped in the four temperaments:

  • choleric (red/orange/yellow): tyrants, heroes, adventurers;
  • sanguine (yellow/green/cyan) hedonists, lovers, poets;
  • phlegmatic (cyan/blue/violet): public speakers, historians, teachers;
  • melancholic (violet/magenta/red): philosophers, pedants, rulers.

In recent times, colour has been heavily used to market brands and consumer choices. Of course gender, age, and culture are a heavy influence on the colour choices an individual makes. As do the climactic zones cultures live in. It is noticeable that the tropics tend to favour bold and bright primary colours whereas the temperate regions are often teasingly accused of wearing and using too much white, grey, and black.

Colours can brighten a dull and dreary day and bring a smile to our face when we glance at bright towels, cushions, an article of clothing, buildings. The ancient and beautiful doors of Northern Africa, Middle East and India, draw so many people in. These colours evoke the spicy senses of sight, smell, sound of the souks, markets, and ancient cities of these countries:


Blue Door 2

Green Door 1Jodhpur door

Mellow colours influence me greatly, too. These summery popsicles in washed out greens and peach, cocktails in soft pinky rose, fresh-cut fruits in grapefruit, orange, and lime make me thirst for a gin and tonic on a perfect deck surrounded by home and interior design magazines:

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Mixed colour 1

Then there are the neutrals. These provide a stable yet still energizing shot of colour which may be a backdrop to punchier hues or can stand in their own glory:

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Natural tones 2


Can’t wait for summer to be here so I can get out on my deck in my teak daybed with colourful throws and cushions and plenty of coffee or summery drinks and foods!

(*images not mine – source: Pinterest and Wikipedia)

Warby Parker – The Ultimate Eye Candy!


Warby Parker, America’s premier eye and sunglass design and sale house, has recently launched their Fall 2014 collection of eyewear for women and men. Made from titanium and acetate, and for both men and women, this new collection is fun, fearless, and definitely trend-setting!

I love this company’s design, culture, history, and give-back philosophies. The more I learned about them, the more intrigued and entranced I was. Here was a set of four young men, in university, low on dosh, and losing their glasses when out on adventures. They still needed eyewear for lectures (and let’s face it, unique eyewear has a cool factor hard to ignore, especially with the university ladies), yet were faced with only the high priced options few consumers could easily afford. So, necessity and invention marrying as they usually do, off they went and founded a company that fused design and affordability principles by eschewing traditional channels, designing in-house, and engaging with customers directly.


Warby Parker’s designers source trends and inspiration from around the globe and the entire design process, from initial sketch and prototype testing to final design, is done in-house. Not one to rest on their laurels, the company constantly strives for innovation like their triple-gradient lenses, which are impact-resistant, UV 400 protected, and include super hydrophobic anti-reflective and anti-scratch coatings. The acetate used in their frames is sourced from a single-family Italian producer and the best Japanese titanium is brought into the mix, too.

If that weren’t enough, the company’s founders recognised a strong need for eyeglasses around the world, the lack of which impacts people’s ability to learn and earn livelihoods. Currently, 703 million people live without access to eyewear but Warby Parker has partnered with non-profit organisations to train men and women in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell glasses to their communities at affordable prices. Called “buy a pair, give a pair”, this initiative has enabled one million pairs of eye glasses to be distributed to needy communities worldwide.

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So. Feeling good about this company yet? How about their uber cool designer-fitout shops which include photo booths and books to read? What if we told you they offer a free try-at-home service, sending 5 pairs of frames of your choice for you to model and get feedback on? Warby Parker is also carbon-neutral and a B Corporation (a company that has been independently evaluated by B Lab (a pioneering non-profit) and found to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency).

Parker Warby consistently push design boundaries and their Fall 2014 collection is no exception. Targeted to those who own their style, exercise their wit and add life to the party (check out the video they made to see what I mean XXX), they believe that personality is what makes a good pair of glasses great and strive to allow trend-setting people a chance to allow their personality to shine. They even have a monocle for sale!


My personal favourites are the Nash and Crane Ti for the men, although Wilkie and Mitchell are hard to beat. For the ladies, there is Oliver, Eli, Walker, and many more.

Do visit their great website and especially check out their fabulous new Fall 2014 eyewear line. Their blog is worth a visit, too.



Oracle Fox: Fashion Editorial



Beautiful and sexy summer fashion editorials abound the blogosphere and Oracle Fox by Amanda Shadforth is no exception. This blogger has 500,000+ followers across various social media, and with good reason – she pulls together the latest fashion and interiors editorials from magazine shoots all over the world. Sophistication, simplicity, and raw sexuality are the hallmarks of her choices – things that will never go out of style.





Some of the images she chooses are in hues of washed out and wintery blacks, greys, and whites:







Join me next time when I bring you a hand-picked selection of Oracle Fox’s Interiors Looks. If you can’t wait, check her out on her blog or various social media sites:

Wild Child



Although it’s only weeks until the first day of spring, our cold snap continues, driving people to bundle up in their homes, snuggling under duvets while watching movies, thick socks on and the fireplace crackling, or perhaps a fin heater nearby.

I’m currently under an old down duvet given to me by my mother when she could ill afford it, and hence it is very special to me. The dogs are under a furry throw – I decided to tough it out and not get the heater going. And the thing that really helps me while away these dark winter nights is thoughts of summer days soon arriving, and beautiful images from new blogs and instagram accounts I have found.

I’m really excited about a new trend, called ‘flash tattoos’ – generally jewellery inspired temporary tattoos that you can add to your arms, feet, between your shoulderblades. They are fun, flirty, sexy, and go well with current boho summer trends flashing their way through the northern hemisphere.


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Pretty bohemian jewellery abounds the blogosphere, too – silver rings with chunky semi-precious stones stacked upon multiple fingers, tiny beaded bracelets and chains. They go well with the ripped and faded denim skinny jeans, white cotton shirts, halters, and maxis, and my current fave trend right now, the open-weave chunky knit cardigan.

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The photos above are from my current favourite blog and instagram feed, gypsylovinlight. That is in fact her in the photos. Here is a woman who, according to her ‘about me’ description, has battled depression and other trials but now finds solace and great fulfilment in gathering and styling beautiful collections of jewellery, summer boho clothing, hair, and often, flash tattoos. She has tens of thousands of followers on instagram but still takes the time to answer and talk to people chatting with her on her posts. I love it when people get ‘big’ but don’t forget the little people!

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Fleeting Flowers


Have been a little bit obsessed with flowers lately – especially pastel, softly-lit ones. If they’re styled with a softly-painted and shabby chic footstool, or next to a silky sheer curtain and country window, so much the better. But bright, colour-popping bouquets, perhaps held against a bride’s waist, catch my eye, too.


There’s a lot you can do with flowers – they have a natural elegance that lends them to being styled with just about anything – mason jars, empty olive tins, ceramic jugs, even gumboots! I guess they’re like an international model that way – the ability to dress up even a paper bag comes effortlessly.

Some types of flowers, associated with a particular season, would make wonderful wallpapers. Like cherry blossoms – the people of Japan know well their charms. The impermanence of the blooms just makes them more fragile and fleeting and therefore, ultimately, unattainable and valuable.


Food for the Soul…


Waiting in a long lineup at the supermarket the other day, I picked up a Donna Hay magazine and began desultorily turning the pages. I’d heard of Donna before but nothing prepared me for the impact those photos and recipes had on my soul! I chanced upon the desserts page first, and nearly began drooling over her chocolate meringue cake.

Food Soul 1

Of course, I’m a sweets addict! And love to bake, too. Especially in the winter, when the warming oven helps heat our cold, uninsulated Kiwi homes…

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The few times I’ve made apple pie, I am reminded of the Victoria Museum in British Columbia, where a set of rickety stairs leads you up to a row of rooms done up the way early settlers would have lived in them. The rooms included windows with real curtains blowing in the breeze, the clippity-clop sound of hansome cabs and horses ‘outside’, and best of all, the kitchen managed to waft out the smell of freshly-baked apple pie!

Food Soul 4

But it’s not all sweets and indulgence in the household here; we roast free range chook in Moroccan spices, check recipes on pinterest for curries and za’atared eggplant, and dabble at homemade breads from time to time (true secret – us and instant yeast do not usually get along! I can never get it to rise…)

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