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Author: Liesl Johnstone

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Now’s the time to give your hair a little consideration. We’re often told gorgeous hair is a matter of health and good diet, which makes sense.

Hair today, gone tomorrow


So foods high in good fats and proteins are the way forward. Salmon, chicken, cheeses, olive oil, avocados, nuts… all feed hair volume and gloss from within. Add at least one egg a day, plus one brazil nut, to be selenium-safe.
Then there’s the question of how to style your healthy hair for the fun days ahead, for Cup Day, and all the other seasonal dress-ups. Elaborate up-do, or a certain cut and stylised treatment?

As with dressing, retro looks are still conquering all, such as ‘80s rock-star perms, conferring luscious heads of curls, or the dead-straight and glossy, with the middle-part. Then there’s the kinked, balayaged ombre long-bob, fringed or not.
Two things are worth considering. The first is to make a hair appointment for the ideal time, so that you’ll look beautiful, no matter which style you choose.

The second is to play devil’s advocate with your tresses. Essentially this is the law of opposites. Be contrary. If your dress is very tailored or fitted, go loose, flowing and more natural on the hair front. Conversely, if you’re in a sharp-looking yet oversized double-breasted jacket (left swinging open), a close-groomed-cut and architectural sunglasses could look fab.


If a hat or fascinator is in the mix, take it to the hairdresser and, a tad of back-combing later, your best look will materialise.



Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Change is afoot in the zeitgeist. People used to be afraid of dressing-up too much and err on the side of caution. When in doubt of the dress-code, they’d default-dress in black.


Maxed Out


But, for Cup and Show week, plus spring in general, it’s a case of new city, new attitude! A great dress for this mantra is the maxi. Roll out the red carpet. This is the dress that commits. It’s a show of strength and says you’re not afraid to be elegant. Wearing a maxi, particularly one that colourfully sports a large-scale print, is a fab brand of fearlessness.


The maxi dress is a freedom-fighter; a spirit-lifter. In a hue-rich incarnation, the maxi doesn’t require much else. Wearing one shows that you were probably born since the ‘70s. Or, if you remember the maxi the first time around, that the memories are good. It’s a flattering silhouette that’s circumnavigated the globe, outlasting trends. And right now it seems perfect.

Fashion these days abounds in options. You can either rock the almost-maxi and flash some ankle and gorgeous shoes, or wear stilts and cover the evidence in fabric. You can opt for tier-or-ruffle dressing (for instance, see Trelise Cooper’s, Kate Sylvester’s or Maggie Marilyn’s new season dresses for inspiration) or go sleek and body-con. The maxi might have sheer panels of skirting, or a low back, or have one shoulder down. All are beautiful, indie ways of living in a more glamorous universe.



Geometric Vibes

Geometric Vibes

This is a recipe for cool vibes at home: a blast of geometric wallpaper. ‘Blast’ is a technical term for one wall, but don’t hold back if you don’t want to. Go ahead and wallpaper the whole room.


Geometric Vibes



It may sound scary, but the reality of wallpaper these days is exciting and energising. If you’re timid about giving pattern a go, ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? Maybe a badly applied paper, but you can engineer-out that possibility by hiring a pro.

Don’t hold back if you don’t want to


Interior design shops are a great place to start. How big a pattern do you want to live with? Check out papers and room schemes online, and notice something? Geometric papers are actually easy on the eye, particularly in pale incarnations. Papering one wall can define a part of the room in a vertical way that nothing else can. Rugs do the same horizontally, delineating floor spaces.
Pattern can work for you in unexpected ways. It’s helpful to drop all of your stylistic preconceptions, and let your eye be the judge. You see, large (and therefore sparse) geometric prints can work wonders in small rooms. It might feel safer to use a small repeating print, but the sum total is actually a busier, more cluttered feel.

But even clutter can sometimes be wonderful. There really are no rules. For instance, a tiny-print wall can be ‘decluttered’ visually by the addition of a large mirror. If at first you’re not content, add



Vive la contrast

Vive la contrast: Successful dressing formula

Dramatic and chic are two words for the black and white aesthetic. If you want an easy yet successful dressing formula, this is it.


Vive la contrast


However, colour theorists and stylists might add a note of caution. First, make sure your colouring suits black and white. You might look ideal alongside soft off-whites or cream, but become very wan in the presence of whiter-than-white. Or you might once have suited black, but not these days, at least not near your face. Grey, silver and creamier-whites might be the flattering version. Trust the mirror’s take on it.

Street style fashion shots plus current window displays are featuring black and white combos plus a single bright or a single pastel. If you want to wear your bright red and white patterned pants and white sneakers with a black-and-white striped shirt, go for it. Pattern clash equals sass – in a good way.


Black and white are the basis for a whole heap of great outcomes


Large prints (largely floral this season) featuring black and dusky pink, or black and turmeric are another current piece of sartorial goodness. There are exceedingly pretty options in the shops right now. If sticking to just black and white, why not do it in style with extravagant detailing like ruffle sleeves, a sequinned scene, or broderie anglaise milk-maid styling?

Or introduce wow-factor with fancy footwear like a see-through or crystal-encrusted heel. Try the outfit with a belt. Experiment with narrow and wide cinching, and vary your shoe height and style to alter the look comprehensively.
More might be more, one day; less might be more, the next. Ring the changes, because black and white are the basis for a whole heap of great outcomes!



Fashionably Sustainable

Fashionably Sustainable

These days, all socially and environmentally responsible citizens find themselves in a battle to reduce personal impacts on the earth. For many, it’s been this way for decades. But levels of urgency, worldwide, are ramping up with every passing month.

Fashionably Sustainable

It’s become increasingly shameful to carry your bread and butter home in plastic bags, or even to drink coffee from a takeaway cup.
The idea of investing in great-quality, natural-fibre clothing which lasts season after season is certainly not at odds with sustainable intentions. It’s fast, throw-away-next-season fashion that’s the new immorality.

So here’s a novel idea, or maybe just a good one to revisit: Before giving away clothes you no longer like (because bin-waste is so last-decade), consider whether some tailoring would render them fabulous.
The truth is inherently foolish; many of us are tipped into buying primarily because of the adrenalin rush of a deal at a 70 percent off sale. Once home and in the harsh light of day reflected from your own candid mirror, that cinch of a bargain isn’t so flash.

How about a nip and a tuck, or a re-hemming? It’s amazing what can happen when a piece of clothing stops at a flattering level on your body, rather than the opposite. Tailoring is an investment in sartorial longevity plus extra personal flair. It’s environmental up-cycling.

The long & long of it

The long & long of it

Sashaying around in something long – floaty or woolly – is in. Wearing your blankey is perfectly acceptable. Toddlers inherently appreciate this fashion fact.

The long & long of it

Some call it a scarf. Or take a blanket; cut two arm-holes into it and voila – a jacket. As long as it’s long. Depending on the fabric, this is good news for an elongated look from now right through spring and summer.

There are undoubtedly mini-skirts out there waiting to be bought, or diminutive jump-suits, and the long coat-ish layer over top helps with being seemly; maybe even elegant and age-appropriate!
Long lengths are nothing short of transformative. The other great thing about having a few languid long things in your wardrobe, sleeved or unsleeved, is that these can introduce colour in game-changing ways.

If your shorter clothes underneath are black or navy, a neutral or pastel long-layer over-top has a cool, casual, balancing effect. The converse is also true.
What’s more, the looseness of a long top layer just works with modern life. It’s easy to remove when hot. It can cover your skin when you’re caught short on sunscreen during lunch. It’s equally good for coverage when you overdid the fake tan, or for when your tan’s not yet developed. In fact a long pastel layer looks superlative with deliberately white skin. It emboldens us to embrace being pale and interesting.

What’s not to like?

Artistic Attraction

North Canterbury’s Artistic attraction

As an escape from any urban existence, North Canterbury is perfect. Not only spectacularly beautiful, it boasts pure mountain air and hot pools; forest or alpine walks and mountain-biking. That high-adrenaline sports happen here is obvious when driving the last stretch over the precipitous Hanmer bridge.
Artistic Attraction


Home to a great gourmet and shopping scene, the alpine village of Hanmer Springs has long been foodie and fashion heaven, plus an outdoor adventure base.
Long-standing resident Grum Frith was “cycling solo around the world” in recent years when an idea emerged. Hanmer Springs had potential not only as a sporting playground-cum-holiday rest cure. It was also an ideal getaway-venue for cultural pursuits. Accordingly, a music and arts trust was formed.
Over the past 18 months things have gained momentum. Musicians and artists have begun to visit and perform here. Workshops in song-writing, singing, drama, photography, upholstery, sculpture, dance and film have been planned.

Music and Arts Hanmer Springs Trust community facilitator, Grum, says parts of the old Queen Mary Hospital have been sanctioned for use for specific events. For instance, last Labour weekend local artists held an exhibition in the hospital’s Soldier’s Block.
On 11 August, an internationally acclaimed violinist will offer a performance and masterclass in the village. Next, a pre-Christmas play is proposed by local thespians. See details of upcoming events at

Ganda's Cooking

Too delicious to forget: Jayshri Ganda’s culinary journey + Win with Metropol

Family meals so good that she needed to know how to replicate them is where Jayshri Ganda’s culinary journey began.

Metropol has a copy of ‘A little bit of this, A little bit of that’ to give away to a very lucky reader. To enter, visit, enter your details and click the competition you wish to enter. Entries close Monday 13 August and winners will be notified on Tuesday 14 August. See Below


Jayshri is the first to admit she didn’t really know how to cook. Growing up in New Zealand with Indian parents, Jayshri and her siblings never needed to learn kitchen skills. Cooking for everyone was their mum, Laxmi’s way of bestowing love.
So Laxmi cooked, completely recipe-free; which her children deemed amazing, but confounding if you wanted to reproduce something later. “It was a running joke in our family that if we asked how something was made, there were no measures mentioned,” Jayshri says.
“Everything was concocted with ‘a little bit of this and a little bit of that’.”

And when Jayshri prodded her mum for more information about why her own culinary experiments weren’t turning out identical flavours and textures, the answers lay with where ingredients had been sourced. Oh, and exact quantities.
“It turns out you can’t get your chilli or your garlic from a jar of the minced stuff. You actually have to grow your own, or go to an Indian store and buy the original ingredients – especially lentils, in the raw,” Jayshri says. “Any extra processing like fumigation affects things like cooking times.”
Jayshri researched to see if a classic, basic Indian recipe book existed. Only two came close to her vision. So she decided to commit all her mother’s cooking method secrets to paper for Kiwi-born generations. In a nutshell, it’s the art of Gujarati cooking and it looks gorgeous in a professionally produced, globally-awarded cookbook, ‘A little bit of this, A little bit of that’.
The initial print sold out quickly. The first re-print has just finished, and more will likely follow suit, as the self-published book has garnered two Gourmand World Cookbook awards in Yantai, China. It was awarded ‘best in the world’ under the ‘Indian’ and ‘Spices’ categories.

Jayshri’s own favourites are her mum’s lamb curry, masala chops and Sunday chicken curry. “It’s exactly like the Sunday family roast… every time we all get together, we enjoy eating the same meal.”
As Laxmi, now living in Christchurch, comes from a still-developing seaside village called Avda Falia in north-west India, Jayshri is donating all profit from the re-print of the book to projects there. Initially the cash is going toward library books for the local school. Another cookbook might soon follow. Watch this space.


Win With Metropol

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Spring fashion

Anything but Boring: Fashionable mix-ups

This coming spring and summer, if your clothes are a bit rad, you’re instantly in fashion. Think out-there shapes and cool mix-ups of items worn together. For instance, who said that scruffy and loose frayed jeans shouldn’t be donned with a gorgeous tailored-waist, satin jacket?

Spring fashion

Herein lies the glory of getting dressed. Designers are trying to shake us free of our introversion or apathy. For the timid, out-there looks still beckon. It could be just wearing a tactile texture or incorporating a mad ruffle effect to an ensemble. As with comedy, it’s the unexpected gag which makes everything work.
This means that the less you try to put things together properly, the better! It’s all about interesting shapes, colours and patterns. And if you want your look simple, there’s nothing wrong with one long dress in an interesting shape.

Have a look at Paris Fashion Week for Spring-Summer of 2018 for inspiration. It seems the key is to possess one or two items that fit beautifully. Such as the paradoxical fitted cropped top paired with a capacious shaggy number.
Ok, for those photographed in most city street-style shots, looking good might be a business. But even for the rest of us, life should be vibrant.
Visiting op-shops for radical pieces is a fabulous, sustainable way of walking on the wild side. Or maybe just the verge.

Ronald McDonald House South Island

A mysterious event: A magical auction and dinning experience to remember

The excitement was palpable. What can one do, in the depths of winter in the south, on a weary Friday night? Get dressed to the nines and go mystery-dining and auction-donating, that’s what!

Ronald McDonald House


It’s proven itself as a fabulous way to pass a great evening with an essential purpose underpinning proceedings: to accommodate and support families in vulnerable times when their children are sick and receiving hospital treatment.
Ronald McDonald House South Island’s ‘Christchurch Supper Club’ was a night of sweet generosity, sumptuous dining and mingling. Restaurant and other venue owners, chefs, stylists, sponsors and guests all contributed to something mysterious, not to mention delicious, that inclement weather couldn’t dampen.

Guests arrived at the ‘Harry-Potterish’ Christchurch Boys’ High auditorium’s old-world grandeur, not knowing where they’d end up. It was one of those Supper Club experiences, where 42 creative scenes had been set around the city, with degustation-or-feast menus designed to be savoured at these as-yet unknown warm, magical destinations, somewhere out there beyond the cold dark. Taxis waited to whisk guests away, once the live random draw was done.

Ronald McDonald House South Island
First choice of venue was actually an auction-itemised-privilege, but mostly guests were equally excited by all of the destinations and styles of dining on offer.
An outstanding sum totalling more than $130,000 was raised. Mandy Kennedy, CEO of Ronald McDonald House remains “overwhelmed” by the effort and love shared on the night.
“These donated funds will stay in the South Island, directly supporting families who must travel for their child’s medical treatment. It costs $140 per night to care for one family and our charity helps over 700 families annually.
“Supper Club 2018 provides funding towards our operational costs so that no family is ever charged for staying with us at our Ronald McDonald House South Island,” she adds, with gratitude.

An outstanding sum totalling more than $130,000 was raised