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Author: Tracey Edwardes

Peruvian Perfection

Peruvian Perfection

You’re likely familiar with Brazilian cuisine and, by year’s end, many foodies will be hooked on the fare of Brazil’s culinary neighbour – Peru, as Peruvian cuisine hits the consumer consciousness.


Peruvian Perfection


Neither overtly spicy nor safely bland, feasting Peruvian style uses a diverse menu of common ingredients transformed by rich flavours from rich soils and culture.

A typical Peruvian dish is Pollo a la Brasa, a flavoursome seasoned rotisserie chicken in a charcoal-fired oven. A traditional Chinese-Peruvian fusion is Lomo Saltado – sautéed onions, tomatoes and beef, enhanced with a splash of wine. Papas a la Huancaina laces potatoes in a spicy cheese sauce, and Rocoto Relleno presents stuffed peppers. Aji de Galina is spicy creamy chicken – Aji being the native chilli pepper – around 50 are used in Peruvian cuisine.

While Peru is synonymous with rainforests and mountains, the coastal areas are responsible for perhaps its most famous dish – ceviche, a decadent seafood morsel often an appetiser on our menus. This traditional treat is a fusion of cubed fresh fish which ‘cooks’ in its acidic piquant marinade of lime, onions, chilli peppers and cilantro (coriander). Also, raw fish, sashimi style, as in Tiradito Chifa, hails from Peru’s historical Japanese influence. And Chupe de Camarones is a succulent shrimp chowder.

Tomatoes, corn and surprisingly the humble potato – Peru has around 4,000 varieties – originated from this part of the world’s fertile land. Peru introduced us to the protein-packed grain staple, quinoa and the superfood powdered-root vegetable, maca, now revving up our smoothies.

Devour these South American delights.



The Italian Job

The Italian Job

The herbs, veges and flavours of Italy are having a big impact on our culinary cravings this year, but we’re not complaining! In fact, buon appetito! Italian food marries Mediterranean cuisine, creating traditional combinations of quintessential flavour.


The Italian Job


Sun-ripened Roma tomatoes lie naked with torn basil leaves or oregano and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. And our local artisan olive oils are just ‘perfecto’. Moreish white cheeses, such as goats cheese, plumps the typical Italian salad into mouth-filling proportions.

The likes of artichokes, eggplants, cannelloni beans, peppers, chillies and olives are all nourishing flavour bombs for salads, soups and pastas. Italian herbs will Latinise any dish, from pizzas to casseroles – use flat-leafed Italian parsley, oregano, rosemary and sage.

Pasta’s duty is to enrobe and soak up the sauce. Cook it ‘al dente’ – slightly firm to the bite – otherwise it’s a soggy rendition. Wild mushrooms, such as porcini, beguile fungi fans in a decadent autumnal feast. It’s very Italian to include ground walnuts, olive oil, garlic, wine, cream, parmesan with this pasta or risotto dish.


Our locally made Limoncello liqueur is a zingy winner borrowed from Southern Italy and gelaterias are popping up on street corners for icy creaminess. Try an affogato – vanilla ice-cream in a glass, with steamy espresso poured over.
Italians just have that way of making comfort food exciting.



In full swing

In full swing

They’re swinging back into fashion; indoor swings, outdoor swings – swings are everywhere!


In full swing


The mid-century, egg-shaped cane swinging chair hung on balconies in the swinging 60s. Recently new renditions swung back into vogue – then they really took off. Something so fun, cool and comfortable won’t just be a passing trend.

Hanging securely from ceilings and stands in our bay windows, sunrooms, courtyards and lounges, swings come in rattan, cane, black, white, retro, bohemian, futuristic, couches or chairs, simple or oversized bubbles.

Our innate love of a gentle motion to relax is no longer reserved for tropical-holiday hammocks, as homes become havens. Swing chairs are glorious in the garden. A place to catch the afternoon sun and nod off.

Swing chairs are great for kids’ rooms. Reading a book in their own swaying cocoon can’t be a chore.



Gold Rush

Gold Rush

Gold is adding its illustrious touch to our homewares this season. This magical metallic in its purest golden form will now out-shine recent trends of copper and bronze.


Gold Rush


Gold pairs beautifully with silver – a perfect balancing act that is easy on the eye. It doesn’t have to be all matching chrome in kitchens or bathrooms. The two opposing metals work really well, as does gold and black. Antiqued-gold and black furniture is now contemporary glamour.

The minimalism trend of Scandinavian style and neutral colour schemes are making way for décor of the dramatic kind. Think large gold-framed prints, glamorous gold mirrors or lamps, and adding gleam from table cloths and trinkets to ottomans and cushions. Gold is a winning combination when paired with the latest jewelled fabrics and interesting textures.

The secret is to sprinkle the Midas touch sparingly throughout the house – rather than grouping the whole stash – unless it is a cabinet of gilded wine glasses. This especially goes for brass pieces – think classy, not brassy.


Position away from the glaring sunlight however, you can afford to be a little more brazen if there is a dark space to brighten. Paint with a gold shimmer can be used creatively for walls and cornices to cupboards and knobs.



Amanda King

Taking life by horns: Amanda King

A Canterbury photographer with a unique niche loves telling the stories of the animals she meets.


Amanda King


Amanda King talks to her majestic models in a calming voice, while she takes their photograph for her company ‘By the Horns’. The result is striking framed and canvas portraits of intriguing farmyard animals with personality. Originally from Brisbane, she started life swimming professionally and loving dance, before training as a primary school teacher. Then, while on her OE, in the UK 14 years ago, she met her husband Fraser on a sailing trip in Croatia.

The naive city girl, now 40, fell in love with the Kiwi countryside when living on Fraser’s Windwhistle family farm. The couple then lived in Wairarapa, where Fraser was a rural banker. Amanda taught at an intermediate school there, and learnt photography in order to teach the subject.

“I just loved it and started a hobby business doing family photography.” After having her children Greta, now 5, and Dudley 3, they moved back to run the family farm two years ago. Photography became her career, and it was then that a photo of Lacey, a friend’s Highland cow, launched ‘By The Horns’. A curious expression on a large canvas, peeping out from a hairy mop, captured the public’s eye.

“It really took off on Facebook and was quite overwhelming. It’s now taken over my life – but in good way.” Amanda doesn’t need to travel far for photo opportunities – Kiwi farmers with exotic creatures were all nearby. A Bison in Mt Somers, she says wouldn’t be classed as beautiful, but its majesty is stunning. Water Buffalos live five minutes away, and Fergus and Morag, the Highland bulls, are just down the road. Whereas, Woopie the Angus cow “with the llama eyes” is a beloved family pet.


Amanda King


“The Black-nosed Valais from Sweden, are in Greta Valley and must be the cutest lambs in the world.”  Bully, the Angus bull, was a commissioned work, but was so popular he became a limited edition.

The animals appear very striking on plain backgrounds. “The colours, and even the oak frames really suit our earthly interiors,” she says. Amanda also gathers bouquets from her garden for her Botanical floral prints. She recently sold three large prints to a brewery in Texas – ironically, called By the Horns. “They’re getting lots of attention. Selling in the US and UK is a goal.”

Selling around 150 prints a month mainly in Australia and New Zealand, they are printed on museum-quality paper, and put on handmade stretched canvas or framed. Prices start from $75 to up to $900 for a larger limited-edition print. An average being $200 for an A1 size. They can be printed up to 1.5 metres “Working from home, I can be a full-time mum. I would love to have my own studio one day.”

Amanda is keen to expand her menagerie – donkeys, llamas and wild Brumby horses. “I’m open to anything,” she says, meanwhile an African safari is also in the dream plans.


By The Horns Fine Art at or Facebook.


A fling with bling

A fling with bling

It’s an exciting decision that can be made in a heartbeat, or after months of pondering. After all, it’s a forever investment, a future heirloom – the token of true love. While still mainly classic in design and elegance, there are a few fabulous points of difference when it taking a fling with bling in 2019.


A fling with bling


We look at the latest trends in engagement rings that you can expect to see this year.

Split-shank settings
Two open bands, often of fine diamantes, spread out to join the centre piece. This gives the illusion of wearing two rings, creating a delicate, open design.

Oval cuts
Model Hailey Baldwin’s engagement ring from her beau Justin Beiber – an opulent oval diamond solitaire – stunned the media and cinched the trend. Oval shapes can also go to extremes, narrowing to elongated points; a nod to art deco.

Oh so royal in blue, as seen on the elegant fingers of Lady Diana and Kate Middleton – sapphires are stars in the latest ring choices. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga and Princess Eugenie were pretty in pink, with feminine rosy-hued sapphires.

Stackable and nested diamonds
Paris Hilton doubled up with this trend of more is more. Rings that nest in together or create a row on the ring finger is all the go. Three otherwise delicate bands are a dramatic eye-catching ensemble. And then there’s the flexibility to wear just one or two.

Halo settings
A cushioned solitaire gem encircled by a cluster of diamantes is a graceful classic that makes a standout statement. We will also see unique takes on classic spheres, with intricate and unique shaping.

Coloured gems
Coloured precious gems are personalising brides to be. Emeralds, aquamarine, topaz, ruby, morganite, and other dazzlers, create a perfect marriage combined with the scintillating sparkle of diamonds.

Yellow gold bands
After years of whiter metals taking the limelight, yellow gold is finally warming and brightening the tone. Gold is encircling ring fingers in hardwearing 14k and 18k luxury.

Three stones
We are still in love with Megan Markle’s three-stones-in-a-row tradition. However, a modern twist upon a classic is incorporating different shapes and coloured gemstones.

Interesting shapes
Gems are also going tear drop, diamond, rectangular or pear-shaped. And some sparkly clusters are more organically formed, as opposed to manufactured.

East-west settings
With the gem set horizontally across the width of the band, the ring then appears more fluid in design – and interestingly, imparts a different kind of sparkle.



Getting Trolleyed

Getting Trolleyed

The glamourous but practical vintage drinks trolley is reliving its heyday.


Getting Trolleyed


The first trolleys were wheeled into Victorian dining rooms for ‘tea total’ refreshments. Then along came the prohibition era, and out came the art deco bar-on-wheels with circular chrome sides and shiny Formica tops. Lightweight drinks trollies were all the rage by the ’50s.

Traditionally dramatic in design, they were of shiny brass, glass and beautiful-grained woods upon wheels. Now with a surge in popularity, both circular and rectangular two-tiered drink trolleys are the latest thing – being replicated with functional splashbacks and in an array of designs.

With the rise in artisan spirits and liquors, it’s a shame to tuck away the bespoke bottle of gin. Bring out the crystal decanters and martini glasses, add swizzle sticks, serviettes, a silver champagne bucket and a bowl of lemons – and you have an eclectic showpiece for the next party. Cheers!



Utility pulls a Practical Punch

Utility pulls a Practical Punch

World War II Britain first gave us utility clothing and it’s now a cool, calm and very collected way to dress. Having a recent resurgence, it has returned for 2019 in bold and brave designs.


Utility pulls a Practical Punch


Fabrics and tailors back then were in short supply, so it was all practicality in boxy-shaped canvas. Clothing stayed safe in natural colourways from neutrals to navys, tans to uniform whites – we still keep this purposeful austerity, a nod to more sombre times.

Manufacturers were encouraged in the ‘40s to forgo flair and create for utility value. Shoes were chunky and sturdy. Garments became a swiss-army-knife of the wardrobe – functional not impressionable. However, this season it’s totally turning heads – with designer pieces from Fendi to Hermes marching down the catwalks.

New rules say playfully contrast – a silky shirt under a khaki jacket, a feminine ‘40s pencil skirt with a miltary shirt. Even bulky boots look swish, polished to the nines and boiler suits, worn just with nonchalant attitude and hands in pockets, just rocks. Combat trousers are thankfully a more flattering looser cut than the solider version. Fabrics are from cotton drill and denim to luxe leather and canvas – it’s sturdy on the streets.

Utility has morphed into a clean-cut, functional edgy style that milks all the practicalities such as big belts with purses and attachments, cargo pants and patch pockets, detachable hoods, rows of chucky zips, and oversized pockets to hold our XL phones. Symmetry has flown out of the window too. The aim is to have fun playing combat while dressing to code.



Vintage florals are blooming

Vintage florals are blooming

Vintage florals are adding life and colour to our spaces – and we can’t get enough of their blooming beauty.


Vintage florals are blooming


Nature doesn’t get it wrong. The colour-consulting design work has already been done, in a bunch of flowers.  For a dash of yesteryear culture, perhaps include famous vintage floral patterns and materials, such as timeless Liberties or William Morris prints. Chic French Aubusson florals are elegant in a floor rug. Look for fabric detail too, such as floral-art in reversible silk damask or wool-woven crewel embroidery.


Vintage florals are blooming


Hang old-style artwork of both structural and whimsical bouquets. Perhaps fill a plain wall with vintage prints, to create an art garden. The secret is to group these bunches of beauties. Tablecloths, placemats and dinner plates adorned with granny florals, sets the dinner table for feasting.


Vintage florals are blooming


If the lounge is overtaken with an oversized couch and TV, soften with feminine florals. Re-cover an antique ottoman or chair in a new-but-old floral fabric, to bring it back to life whilst keeping it authentic. Vintage-floral cushions, in tapestry, linens or velvets characterise a plain lounge suite.


Vintage florals are blooming


Classic vintage floral is often muted – a sublime match with earthy naturals and stoneware. Or add brighter blooms if your décor palette is clean and crisp. Choose a particular floral species, or colour group that you just can’t get enough of. Say, pale-pink roses, or the deep purple hues of irises, violets, delphiniums and pansies.


Vintage florals are blooming



Then ‘plant’ renditions of them throughout – from tea-towels and teacups to the duvet and curtains. Or just deliciously clash and crowd, in an old-fashioned floral fest.



Frock Stars

We’re all about the frocks this season, but they’re not the saccharine sweet styles we’re used to. Why not add some edge to your wardrobe with some of our favourite Frock Stars?


Frock Stars


Sizzling on the international fashion scene, dresses are getting eclectically edgy – the designers are jazzing things up big time, as 2019’s dazzling knockouts are set to surprise the sartorial world – and even shock a little. Add flare to your wardrobe in fire-singed colours from burnished yellows to rusted tangerines. And on a brighter side, neon-coloured dresses are standing out like beautiful beacons. Blocks of vivid colour, as seen by Christian Cowen, are in bold geometrically spaced blocking – the polar opposite from former fussy florals.


Frock Stars

Oscar de la Renta introduces black and white checks, on an off-the-shoulder dress. And just to balance out the colour wheel, pale powder blue has also made the high-fashion stakes. Tie-dyed has jived straight from hippy to high-brow as Prada showcased a pretty pink mini-dress sporting those unmistakable spider webs and Jasper Coran created a tie-dye-over-floral technique and flared-sleeved crocheted frocks are futuristic versions of their former ’60s selves. This year’s neo boho is behaving more floaty, fluid and sensuous – and a real showcase of exotic travel adventures. Fringing has now gone to the frocks too.


Frock Stars

Sequin-smothered dresses are also still very much super stars of the frock fraternity. Pleating is still in, but it’s finer, slinkier pleats and the new metallic plaid is a juxtaposition of effects. Daring dress shapes are ballooning out in all proportions in tulip to bubble skirting, from a frilly tulle frock by Valentino, to mounds of tussled taffeta. Clashing patterns all the better. Puffed shoulders and sleeves are now even puffier – as puffy as you can possibly get – with feminine necklines to make this look work.

Animal prints, which are roaring on the runways yet again, are less cheetah cub and more raging tiger – just to add more bite. Meanwhile, big oversized butterflies are the new bows, according to designers like Zang Toi. Feathers also feature on bright downy dresses.


Frock Stars

More neutral tones, there’s everything from creams to khakis – for those with a pared-back preference. All in all, this year the fashion frontier is certainly proving it does not have to run with repeats.