Jan 31, 2012

Amanda Evans – Kensington Hairdressing

Amanda’s grandfather was a barber and her mother worked in a hair salon, so it was natural that she cut and coloured her friends’ hair at school. But she was determined not to become a hairdresser. That was only for flaky girls.

After leaving school, she did chef work for six months but became disillusioned with her choice of job and one day she walked out, strode up the road to the hairdressing academy and destiny took over.
Since her training, she has been an educator for L’Oreal and technical manager for Sebastian Professional. She joined the team at Kensington Hairdressing as the manager just four months ago and loves working there. She is amazed at the sheer talent of the staff. They are 100% committed to every client looking their best, every time.
Amanda is particularly proud of the artwork in the shop – spectacular photographs of the work of the team. (See images.) She is also proud of her input into identifying ways to grow the salon. She is excited to see these being implemented.
On asking what Amanda likes about working in Remuera, she said, without too much hesitation, “the fish and chips from Remuera Fisheries”. It doesn’t help that she has to look at them all day as they are directly opposite. Browns, up the road, is definitely her regular fashion boost as she gets to check out the latest stock every morning when she grabs her coffee. And she enjoys Sanders Jewellers because everyone there is always smiling.
Although Amanda doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions, she does like to have a goal each year. This year she would like to complete the crossword on ‘Stuff.co.nz’ without using any of the hints!
Her philosophy on life is to treat others as you would like to be treated and to eat with your mouth closed. Wise words on both accounts.
To find out more about their salon, go to:  www.khb.co.nz

Jan 26, 2012

How to Decorate your Bathroom

I have owned various bathrooms in my time and know what I like and what I don’t like. That may not match your personal aesthetic but there are however some fundamentals which are worth looking at.

10 Do’s and Do not’s
1)    Don’t line your shower with travertine or any other similar pitted tile. Mould will grow rampantly in the small pit holes and, try as you may, it soon becomes irremovable because of the porous nature of the material. Maybe a dentist’s drilling tool might work but most of us don’t have access to one of those.
2)    Heated towel rails mean you don’t have to wash your towels every time you use them because the quick drying of your towel means it stays relatively bacteria free. If you are worried about the cost of having a towel rail heated 24/7, you can install a small gadget which turns it off every four hours for four hours and that saves half the bill.
3)    A good extraction fan is worth its weight in gold. It keeps the moisture levels low so less slimy growths can take hold and so you can see yourself in the mirror when applying makeup. It’s better to notice you have a mascara smudge on your nose while still in the bathroom. 
4)    Shiny floor tiles are a death-wish. Add even a teaspoon of water and you might as well put your skates on and do pirouettes - they may save you from falling flat on your back and cracking something on the way. Not a good look, especially if you have just stepped out of the shower.
5)    A good sized mirror is great when you are young and firm but the mirror should get smaller and smaller as you get older until you can see just your face. And do steer away from magnifying mirrors if you want to keep your self-esteem intact. Just saying. And on the note of mirrors, heated wiring behind it will stop it getting fogged up, which will prevent you seeing yourself altogether.
6)    Avoid at all costs those bathrooms with the shower as part of the main area – in other words no curtain, shower door or restraint of any kind. Only an architect can love those and he doesn’t have to use it. Keep the water where it should be – behind a well-sealed door or at the very least a full-length shower curtain. There’s nothing like sitting on a wet toilet seat to spoil your day.
7)    Adequate and convenient storage is a must. Free-standing designer basins are all very well but where do all your bits and bobs get put. They have to be close at hand and that means under the basin or right next door. A cupboard which slides out of the wall next to the basin or vanity works very well and can hold everything you need and more. Drawer organisers come in handy so that the tweezers you need urgently don’t slide to the back among the clips and cotton buds that inhabit the dark corners of bathroom storage. If you want to keep a clean-looking environment, then keep only your most-used creams etc. on view. Perhaps keep them on a silver tray or other beautiful dish, which is easy to lift so that the surface below can be cleaned.
8)    Good, flattering lighting is essential. Ban all of those down-lights which cast shadows onto the face and age you by a decade or more. Who could have dreamed up a worse soul-destroyer? Lighting beside the mirror is ideal and make sure it is bright enough to find an irritating lash in your eye, if necessary.
9)    Underfloor heating, while not obligatory, is certainly a bonus. Cold tiles underfoot on a cold morning start the day off on the wrong foot – so to speak. Together with a heated towel rail, this may be enough heating for the bathroom even if you don’t have central heating.
10) Make sure your windows are not see-through. Even if frosted or textured, most glass becomes at least partially see-through when the lights are on at night. Even if only a shadow can be seen, it is fairly easy to interpret what it is doing and that’s not really what you want in a bathroom. If your bathroom is overlooked by other houses, install an easily-cleanable blind of some sort which can be closed at night. Curtains are probably not a great idea because of the moisture which swirls about a bathroom – they will become mouldy in no time. And while we are speaking of what you are doing in a bathroom, it’s best to place the toilet out of sight of an opening door, just in case someone barges in. And it’s not a good look anyway to have a toilet the first thing you see when you enter – that’s just bad design.
Other than that, your imagination is your only limitation in creating your dream bathroom.

Jan 23, 2012

Millie Sampson - Maxwell Drycleaning

This week I have found out two remarkable things about Millie Sampson.

1)    She has worked at the drycleaners shop in Remuera for 25 years. For 18 of those it was NZ Drycleaners and for the last seven it has been Maxwells Drycleaning.

2)    Millie was a world class athlete, running the fastest marathon time in the world for women in 1964 and competing in several world championships in cross country running.
Millie came late to running and ran her first race on her 28th birthday, which she won and then she kept winning.
She was the NZ cross country women’s champion in 1963, 1964 and 1965 before it was officially recognised as a race even though the women raced alongside the men at the same venue. But that was to change and she was officially the champion in 1966, 1968 and 1972. In 1967 she went off to the English Championships in England and came in third despite having fractured her foot during training. However, the injury was too severe for her to continue running and she missed out on the World Championships. But, at the 1969 World Championships (they were biannual) in Scotland, she won all the lead up races but fell sick with bronchitis and still managed to come in fifth. She also competed in the 1971 and 1973 World Championships in Spain and Belgium respectively but her foot was still troubling her and she decided after that to retire from running.
Millie was always passionate about sport. In fact, one of her school reports said that if Millie dedicated herself to her schoolwork with the same energy she gave to sports she would have excelled academically.

She didn’t only run. Through the 1950’s she played for the Auckland softball team and was in the Auckland basketball team for ten years during the 1960’s.
Millie has always loved working in Remuera and being in the middle of it all and has watched her customer’s children grow up and become clients themselves.

She is unmarried and has no children but enjoys her extended family and has heaps of friends so she is never bored or in need of company. She gave up on making New Year’s resolutions years ago and her philosophy on life is to live for today. Great advice indeed from a superb athlete and wonderful lady.

Jan 19, 2012

Strong Finish for Real Estate Sales in December 2011

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand has just released the statistics for December and it is looking positive for Auckland. We had 5,316 unconditional sales for the month, up 919 sales (+20.1%) compared to December last year. That is the best December result since 2007. Auckland also recorded its strongest December sales volumes since 2006.

The national median ‘days to sell’ remained steady at 35 days in December, and is a four day improvement on the 39 days recorded in December 2010. In Auckland it took an average of 31 days to sell.
REINZ Chief Executive Helen O’Sullivan said, “December has been a strong month for real estate sales in New Zealand, with this being the strongest level of transaction figures in December since 2007, and Auckland having its strongest December since 2006.”

The graph below makes interesting viewing and shows our slow climb back with a few bumps along the way.
Source REINZ News Release: www.reinz.co.nz

Jan 16, 2012

Blue Illusion – Pamela Landers

Blue Illusion opened in Remuera last April and what a wonderful addition it is to the great array of shops along the main road. This was the first of the chain to open with Botany, Milford and Riccarton following not far behind. The next one will be in Ponsonby.

Pamela Landers has been the manager in Remuera since it first opened and has helped establish the brand here in New Zealand. She is a soft beauty with a gentle manner but, I suspect, a strong core. Her husband died when her children were young and she brought up her three boys alone, moving them to New Zealand from South Africa four years ago. The eldest of her sons, Garth, is a barrister and solicitor in Kensington Swan's commercial department, the middle one is an economist while the youngest studies psychology at University. She was determined to bring them up as gentlemen and they still open car doors for women and stand up when a woman comes into the room. It’s heart warming to find such manners have not completely died out with the present generation.

Pamela was attracted to working for Blue Illusion because she loves to be surrounded by beautiful objects and knew she would find like-minded people in such a shop. In fact she says she has amazing customers and thoroughly enjoys meeting them. As much as she loves everything she sells, her favourite object at the moment is a lamp with a blown glass base (see photos).
Pamela lives up to her image and chooses to read romances in her spare time but enjoys the occasional suspense as well. Her favourite movie of all time is Blind Side with Sandra Bullock because her sons bought it for her, telling her that the Sandra Bullock character reminded them of her – tough but fair.
Pamela’s New Year’s resolution is to be careful with money because she needs it for travelling. Last year she went on holiday to Fiji and next on the agenda is Bali with Thailand after that.
Her philosophy on life is to do unto others as she would have them do unto her and to always give a smile. A smile has a ripple effect which can brighten the day of many people.
If you wish to see unique clothes with a French flavour or need to buy a special gift for someone, then do pop into Blue Illusion – it is a truly lovely shop and you will get great service.

Jan 13, 2012

How to Decorate your Bedroom

Your bedroom is your sanctuary from an increasingly crazy world and it should be decorated just the way you want it and not according to any fads.

Here are a few suggestions for personalising it and making it a true retreat.
1)    A clean, fresh environment is important to a restful mind and one of the best ways to create this appearance is by keeping the floor space as clear as possible. One way of doing this is by having bedside tables which attach to the walls and then make sure you keep that clear by attaching bedside lamps to the wall as well. 

2)    Artwork above the bed or even as a header is a great way to personalise the space. If you can’t afford to spend money on a painting, take some of your favourite family photos, get them blown up and put them in simple frames all the same size and place them in an orderly way above the bed.

3)    If you have a patterned bedspread and love it, then remove pattern from the rest of the room, except for a few small touches perhaps. Otherwise, use a plain bedspread in a sumptuous fabric and go to town with accessories, which could be a lovely pile of cushions, patterned lampshades or favourite objects etc. If you don’t like patterns at all, then choose a neutral colour for your floor and bedding and introduce pops of colour like turquoise or hot pink.

4)    If you have no carpet on the floor, do warm up the room with a good-sized, fairly neutral rug. It’s best to keep the floor neutral or the effect will be too busy and will close in the room.

5)    Most rooms benefit from having a focal point so choose your most beautiful piece of furniture which could be the bed or an antique dresser and make sure it is placed so the eye is drawn there first. Don’t confuse the eye with lots of focal points.

6)    To give an instant uplift to your room, either change the bedding or the window treatments. Luscious, rich curtains for winter will warm the body and soul while filmy, soft drapes over neutral blinds will give you privacy while letting in the summer days and evenings.

Make your bedroom all about you and it will draw you to it at the end of a hard  day fighting the crazies out there.

Jan 9, 2012

Annette Moore from Jems of Remuera

If you’ve wandered into Jems of Remuera attracted by all the glitter and shine of estate jewellery, vintage silver, glorious mirrors and the lustre of antique furniture, then you have met Annette. She is the delightful lady behind the counter whose unobtrusive help will ensure you find what you are looking for.

Annette and John Lee, the owner of Jems of Remuera

Annette gazing at her favourite area of the shop - the jewellery
Annette’s favourite area of the shop is the jewellery section and I don’t blame her! Behind sparkling glass cases are an incredible array of antique rings, necklaces, broaches, earrings and bracelets. If you have someone who is hard to buy for, this shop is a good place to start. I bought both my son’s and his girlfriend’s 21st birthday presents here not long ago and they were a huge success.
Over the Christmas period, Annette was left in sole charge by her boss, John, who took a well-earned rest in Hawaii, and she is proud to say that she single-handedly made a very important sale.

More beautiful objects for sale in Jems of Remuera
She loves working in Remuera because of the community feeling and has come to know her customers well. She shops here and most days pops across to the Robert Harris Cafe for lunch.
Annette has an air of quiet gentleness and I wasn’t surprised to hear that her favourite movie is Shakespeare in Love – a historical romance. In fact the last book she read was Philippa Gregory’s The Lady of the Rivers – again a historical romance. How perfect that she works surrounded by the beautiful antiques that would be found in the eras she enjoys so much.
Annette is a woman who always has a quick and easy smile for everyone. Her New Year’s resolution this year is to enjoy every day and not take life for granted. We should all take a page from her book.

If you wish to learn a little more about Jems of Remuera, please click here for their website. But even better, drop in at 346 Remuera Road while you are passing and meet Annette.

Jan 5, 2012

Weird and Wonderful Hotels

If you have a love of travel but are tired of the same old, same old, try out some of these wacky hotels around the world. And these are only a sampling - see budgettravel.com for more.
Airplane Suite in the Netherlands - (Courtesy Hotel Ilyushin)
The Bedroom (Courtesy of Hotel Ilyushin)
The Lounge (Courtesy of Hotel Ilyushin)
Birds Nest Hotel - Outside (Peter Lundstrom, WDO - www.treehotel.se)
Birds Nest Hotel - Inside (Peter Lundstrom, WDO - www.treehotel.se)
Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland near the North Pole (Courtesy Hotel Kakslauttanen)
Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland near the North Pole (Courtesy Hotel Kakslauttanen)
Palacio de Sal in Bolivia - completely made of salt - Bedroom (Courtesy Palacio de Sal )
Palacio de Sal in Bolivia - Lounge (Courtesy Palacio de Sal )
Palacio de Sal in Bolivia - completely made of salt - Pool (Courtesy Palacio de Sal )
Seaventures Rig Resort - a converted oil rig in Malaysia over a reef (Courtesy Seaventures Rig Resort)
Seaventures Rig Resort - Bedroom (Courtesy Seaventures Rig Resort)
Seaventures Rig Resort - Guests are lowered by lift into the sea to view the sea life (Courtesy Seaventures Rig Resort)