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Annabel Langbein

The free range cook: one on one with Annabel Langbein

She’s one of the country’s most beloved cooks, with a cooking style that is as down to earth as her personality. Metropol talks to Annabel Langbein as she tours the country lending her talented hand to a range of worthy causes such as Life Education Trust Canterbury.

Annabel Langbein

How did your love of cooking and baking begin?

When I was very little I used to love hanging out with my mother in the kitchen. She was an amazing baker and there were always delicious beaters and bowls to lick! But before long, I was in there helping to stir and roll, mixing cakes and biscuits. I just loved it. I discovered a magical sense of making people happy when I appeared with a batch of fresh-made biscuits or a cake. As a young kid it was wonderful to get that feeling of success and usefulness. I was hooked for life.

Why do you think your recipes and therefore your cook books have struck such a strong chord in New Zealand?

I’m a very busy person but I like to eat well and I love making food that brings people together around the table. When I started cooking, often things didn’t work out, or I would get lost trying to follow a complicated recipe – and whenever this happened I would lose confidence.
I think a large part of my own success as a writer of recipes comes down to practicality – the recipes use everyday ingredients, they don’t take forever for make, they work and most importantly they taste yummy (you’d think that would be a given, but trust me, it isn’t). When I’m cooking for myself I spend a lot of time working out how to streamline the process and make it failsafe, and I figure if it works for me in my busy life then hopefully it will be useful for other people.

Your new book ESSENTIAL Volume Two: Sweet Treats for Every Occasion is all about the sweet side of life. Are you a bit of a sweet tooth yourself and what are some of your favourite recipes?

I actually don’t have a very sweet tooth, but I love to bake and when I make something sweet I want it to be fabulous. Baking and dessert making is an area of cooking where a good recipe is absolutely crucial, as it’s all about chemistry and ratios.
I love making biscuits to have in the tins when people come over or to take to someone as a little gift. My legendary chocolate chippie biscuits have evolved out of my mother’s recipe, and I love that wonderful idea of carrying on the torch. And I love to make cakes, as they deliver such a sense of celebration that makes any occasion a special occasion.
When I’ve got friends coming over for dinner I’ll always make a dessert as it’s such an easy way to make people feel treated. I love desserts that you can make in advance, from my tart tatin with its gorgeous, rich caramelised apples and crisp pillowy crust, to the silkiest chilled spiced orange crème caramels, my vegan frozen caramel cheesecake, my incredible ice-cream cassata with mandarin and pistachios and my rolled pavlova with apricot cream

How does it feel as a beloved New Zealand personality, to be in a position to support and raise awareness of incredibly worthy causes such as the Life Education Trust Canterbury?

That’s a very nice thing of you to say. I do feel very beloved and it’s something very special for me that I never take for granted. I just love it when people come up to me excitedly to tell me what they’ve been cooking, or that I have helped them to feel confidence and success in the kitchen. I love being part of people’s lives like this, it’s an honour. And being in this trusted position does mean that I can help to make change and put my weight behind important initiatives like Life Education Trust Canterbury. The work they do to help kids build a sense of self-esteem and make healthy choices is so important. If the next generation can grow to be strong and healthy and happy then our New Zealand society will be strong and healthy and happy.

What is the most enjoyable or fulfilling aspect of what you do?

I think it’s about helping people to feel empowered. In my own life I have found cooking to be a rich, strong thread that weaves all the bits of my life together and I feel there is so much merit in the idea of building a good life and a strong family around the table. Food and cooking connects us to nature and the environment, to our friends and family, to our own culture and community, and when we cook with a new and unfamiliar ingredient from some foreign shore it connects us to other cultures. Best of all it connects us to our own creativity.

Check out our competition to win a copy of Annabel’s latest book here  Win with Metropol: Annabel Langbein cookbook Essential Volume Two: Sweet Treats for Every Occasion

Mike King

Mike King’s mission: this funny family man has tasked himself with making a serious difference to New Zealand’s youth

Popular New Zealand personality Mike King may have made his name as a comedian, but these day’s you’ll find him delivering a much more serious message. He’s been heading up and down the country – a 4000km journey – on a 50cc scooter for the past five years, addressing youth suicide. We talk to the mental health advocate about his personal mission for this very worthy cause.

Mike King

How big is the youth suicide issue in New Zealand?

How long is a piece of string? The issue of suicide across the board is big and how we’re dealing with it needs addressing. Currently those in crisis have to ring ‘this number’ or see ‘this person’. Everything is aimed at the person in crisis; nothing is aimed at the 65/70 percent of the population who have no problems.
People hold onto problems for so long and they’re only being referred when they’re at critical point. We’re trying to promote the fact that it’s ok to talk about small problems before they become big ones and someone becomes suicidal.

You’ve been making your way around the country on 50cc Suzukis to raise awareness, why is it such an important issue for you to tackle?

In February 2013 I spoke at a small rural school in Northland which had lost five children to suicide. I have discovered through this experience that our young people don’t feel like us old people are listening to them.
So we went around schools listening, listening, listening. We discovered that all kids, regardless of religion or colour, have the same problems and they’re not talking about them; they’re holding onto them until they become overwhelming.
Their inner critics, the little voice second guessing all their decisions, are huge. From there we worked out a strategy – help the inner critic; he’s the cornerstone of 9 out of 10 of the mental health problems. We need to normalise the inner critics by changing society’s attitudes.
Last year we discovered that of those who will have a major mental health problem, 80 percent won’t ask for help. They don’t feel safe. The simplest thing we could do is come up with a signifier of someone safe. We created a simple wristband with ‘I am hope’ on it. This says: I won’t judge, shame, gossip, ask stupid questions, try and fix everything for you; all you’ll get from me is unconditional love and hope, but most importantly, if you want to talk to someone, I am here.

What are some of the key ways New Zealand can start to make some ground in this area?

Parents need to know that all kids are born perfect. The only thing that can screw them up is us. We apply all these rules and only give conditional love – if you do this or that, pass this test, then I’ll love you. We can understand the logic of that, because we’re adults, but kids are thinking there must be something wrong with them if they’re not getting unconditional love.
If there’s five things they do, four are good and one is bad, we focus on the bad, what we think we’re saying is ‘we love you, but you can do better’, but what our kids are getting is ‘no matter what I do I can never be good enough’. How we’re speaking to our children becomes an inner voice.
These become little criticisms that mean nothing in isolation, ‘yes you’re an idiot I asked for a screwdriver you bought be a spoon’. But that’s one hell of an inner critic we’re planting in our kids’ heads.

How does it feel to be in a position where you can play such a positive role in raising awareness of issues such as this?

It’s a privileged position. We have to be very responsible; people are placing a lot of trust on our shoulders. We don’t take or accept government funding; we’re funded by the public of New Zealand. A lot of organisations out there take government money and public money. That’s like having a wife and girlfriend; you have to lie to please both. We only take public donations and apply for grants, so the public will let us know when we’re out of a job; it keeps you honest. It’s a cool position to be in.

Untouched World founder Peri Drysdale

The untouchable Peri Drysdale: our Q&A with the seriously clever and savvy Untouched World founder

A less is more approach isn’t one traditionally taken by a successful fashion label, but then Untouched World founder Peri Drysdale isn’t one to play by the rules. Doing things differently is, after all, what has cemented her place in the upper echelons of entrepreneurial royalty.

Untouched World founder Peri Drysdale
New Zealand Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs inductees, Untouched World founder, Peri Drysdale MBE (left), entrepreneur and prolific director, Mavis Mullins MNZM (centre) and Fashion Week founder, Dame Pieter Stewart (right).

Metropol talks to Peri about her recent achievements and striking a sartorial chord.

How does it feel to have been recognised at such a high level, as one of the 2018 Company of Women Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame Inductees?
It was humbling to be recognised amongst such a group of enormously courageous and successful NZ women. However, I am only the face of our company and our success is the result of incredible input from amazing people I have had working alongside me now and in the past, and with fantastic family input and support.

Can you take us back to the start of Untouched World, what sparked the idea for the business?
As I travelled around the world selling our knitwear I had become extremely concerned about the trajectory the planet was on. I could see environmental degradation going on from visit to visit. Government and business talk the world over was all about GDP and financial bottom line. I worried about what could one person, one company could do. The problem was so big, but I came to the conclusion that we had to do something about it. So, long story short, we decided to create a sustainable lifestyle fashion brand.
I wanted a brand that would model a new way of doing business, that would highlight that style and quality could be achieved without pollution to water and air, filling landfills or treating workers poorly. Back in those days sustainable clothing had a hemp sack reputation, but I wanted to reach people who were in a position of influence to really make a change. So we had to create luxurious, high quality products that would appeal to that market. I also wanted a brand that would give back, put its money where its mouth is and wanted a project to coalesce the stakeholders and get them thinking about what was happening to the planet. So, Untouched World was born – with the bold vision to use fashion as a vehicle to champion what is possible for our planet and its people.

Why do you think the business story of Untouched World struck such a chord and, as a result, has become such an incredible success?
Untouched World is a brand of enormous depth, the kite logo and brand story has an incredible resonance with people all over the world. It is creative, different and has a great energy. People talk about finding Untouched World inspiring. The fact that we built the brand on a sustainable model, though ahead of its time from a commercial point of view, meant that we have been global leaders in this space, so have always had highly engaged followers. Strangely after nearly two decades, Untouched World still feels fresh and ‘new’ to me.

You are one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs, what has been the winning formula for you – hard work, dedication, passion, a great product?
Ha ha! All of the above! I think stickability; an utter belief in what you are doing and being prepared to do things differently are key.

What has been some of the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Early on, it was to not go into partnership with someone else. We looked at partnerships a few times. I was given the sound advice that a partner who shared the same motivation and goals during a start-up phase, wouldn’t necessarily share the same vision in years to come, which could ultimately result in more effort going into running the partnership than the business. Early on it is tempting to take partners on as you don’t know what you are doing. Keeping control has meant we have been able to stick to the values that underpin the business, the raison d’etre that gets me up in the morning.

What’s the best part about what you do?
Pretty much everything! I love it all. I love the people – our team, our customers, our suppliers, our foundation team. I love the design and creative process as well as production. I wake up and look forward to another day.

Kendra Jeffery of Stolen Inspiration

From birkenstocks to balenciaga: Q&A with Kendra Jeffery of fashion blog Stolen Inspiration

New Zealand harvests the cream of the crop when it comes to fashion, but it’s also got a down-to-earth vibe that gives style the freedom to roam without rules or conventions. It’s a liberating juxtaposition that plays out oh-so-beautifully on one of NZ’s most recognised and celebrated fashion blogs, Stolen Inspiration, narrated by Kendra Jeffery. Metropol talks to Kendra about her blue-chip blog status and a wild ride.

Kendra Jeffery of Stolen Inspiration

You’ve commanded a significant following with your fashion blog, how do you curate content that appeals to a diverse audience?

I try to make content that I’d like to see and read myself. I think this appeals to a variety of different people because it’s authentic and people appreciate that – especially now that blogging has become so lucrative. Being open and honest with my readers is always my number one policy.

Tell us about the launch of your YouTube channel. How did you decide on this as an additional platform?

Diving into YouTube has been a natural progression from my blog and the content I create for it. I’ve really enjoyed being able to show my readers another side of my life and personality through videos – something I feel static blog posts can lack. It’s also a lot of fun creatively to challenge myself in a different way.

What do you think is original about NZ fashion compared with the rest of the world?

There’s a lot more experimentation rather than sticking to a particular style in NZ. If you want to dress fancy one day but in Birkenstocks and jeans the next, no one would give it a second thought. We get the best of both worlds, because we are loyal to our laid-back nature but aren’t afraid to try new trends and make them our own.

What have been some of your most breathtaking moments on this creative journey?

There have been so many, but most memorable was my trip to NYC. Being recognised for your creativity and flown there to explore it was unreal. Never in a million years would I have thought such an unbelievable opportunity could come from my 15-year-old self making a little internet blog when she was bored.

Lynn Woods

A style maven: Q&A with the irrepressible Lynn Woods

Lynn Woods is a name and a business that Christchurch respects. Synonymous with timeless fashion and informed sartorial advice, Lynn and her eponymous business are an asset to the business landscape. Metropol talks to the style maven about what makes her tick.

Lynn Woods

After having been in fashion for so long, what still inspires you?

I started my career selling Auckland label Trish Gregory from a studio attached to my home. My mother inspired my love of fashion and my father educated me about business. While a lot has changed in fashion since then, what inspires me has remained the same – beautiful fabrics, great New Zealand design and of course our customers.

Lynn Woods is an iconic brand, how have you evolved the business, so it moves with the ever-changing times?

The business is continually evolving with social media, digital marketing and online shopping. Last year the online laybuy service for our customers launched – this enables them the ease and convenience of taking garments straight away and they can pay them off in monthly installments, a great service that is becoming increasingly popular.

Who is your style icon?

Iris Apfel. Iris is an American businesswoman, interior design and fashion icon. At 96 years old, Iris Apfel has a captive audience all over the world who celebrate and adore her memorable and quirky style.

What advice would you offer around personal style?

‘Wear everything with confidence’ is my style philosophy. Most importantly, remember tailoring, the measurement. Proportions make all the difference.

Monisha Sharma

Beautiful vegetarian victories: Q&A with the very Instagramable Monisha Sharma

Monisha (Mon) Sharma hails from exotic India where food is full of soul – no superlatives will do these dishes justice. Mon has brought her heritage and her creative convictions to New Zealand and is wooing a captive Instagram audience with her culinary charm. A little bit Kiwi, a little bit Indian, a little bit hard-to-put-your-finger on, Mon’s creations are charming to mind, body and soul. Metropol talks to the fabulous foodie about her claim to social media fame.

Monisha Sharma

How did ‘Mon’s Flavours’ start on Instagram?

I’m actually not a food blogger. My background was working full-time in a restaurant and when I moved to New Zealand, this all just happened. I actually wasn’t very well for a while and I started playing around with recipes at home. It was my son who said, ‘Why don’t you start Instagramming?’ and he set me up with the account. At the time, I didn’t even know what a hashtag was or how to use a camera! I started putting up my smoothies and recipes and I think this started to resonate with people. I just kept being original. I love making people laugh and smile.

Monisha Sharma

Where does your inspiration for your colourful and unique recipes come from?

I do every single thing from scratch. Being Indian, I love different ingredients from my culture and also from others and like to mix and match. A lot of recipes I have created are not necessarily made from anything fancy – it could just be everyday ingredients from your cupboard – for example, my avocado smoothie. I might add in peanuts, or cacao powder, or add some magical pear. I like to create what is delicious, healthy and filling.

Monisha Sharma

You are a vegetarian, how does this influence what you create?

When people ask me how I have survived being a vegetarian until now – 43 years old – I say, ‘Well, I can run with more energy than a meat eater!’ I like to prove them wrong and when I tell them I have a 21-year-old son they say, ‘Wow, you must be doing something right!’” I love to work with vegetarian ingredients. When it comes to cooking or baking you just have to love what you do and be confident in your decisions.”

Paula Ryan

Synonymous with style: Q&A with New Zealand fashion mogul Paula Ryan

The year 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Paula Ryan clothing brand, a label which is synonymous with New Zealand and Australian women. Magpie Style Wardrobe Director Bridget Hope talks to Paula about her successful career and secrets to style confidence.

Paula Ryan

After 20 years with Paula Ryan clothing, what is the most important thing you have learnt about women and clothing?

Most women enjoy shopping, trying on clothes and creating a look. On the whole, they like valued advice and prefer to shop where this is available. They do not always understand the mantra of ‘cost per wear’ so bargains can be a magnet only to later discover they have ‘mistake’ purchases in their wardrobe.
What was the first garment you ever designed?
In 1998, working with the original Lane Walker family company in Christchurch, I designed the high polo neck slim fit top in New Zealand Merino, because I wanted to hide my own neck.
A prime example of how necessity can be the mother of invention – this style is still in our Essentials collection today.
What is special about the Paula Ryan brand?
The Paula Ryan brand centres around ‘stretch’, even in our footwear. Fabrics are key and the main four fabrics are all jersey knits, developed through a collaboration of science working alongside nature. Our two main fabrics are developed using natural fibers.

Paula Ryan
Paula Ryan is available at Magpie Style, Ballantynes, Fredrick Ashley and Sassy’s.

What inspires you now?

Tomorrow and looking at social media along with the changing habits and needs of women. How women live totally consumes me in creating the shapes. Art and nature inspires me for colour.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever taken in business?
Look at the four P’s: Plan, People (hire the best), Perseverance and Passion (truly believe in your project).

What’s the best piece of advice that you have given?

Read Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grown Rich. It outlines how we create our own successes and failures and as we grow successful, there is a point when we receive more pleasure from – giving back. The Gates with Warren Buffet are extreme versions of this.

What’s your number one tip for women?

Enjoy dressing with style as it should be a reflection of your personality. Dress your body, not your age. Age is just a number.

Does size matter when it comes to clothes?

Your size has no connection to style however, the best quality fabrics create the best clothes. There are no short cuts. When women size 14 or over wear fast fashion (ie. clothing in cheap fabrics) the look will never be stylish. For us, with our jersey knits, our mantra is ‘the magic is in the fabric’. It’s all about the fabric quality for us.

What makes Canterbury women unique in their dressing?

Twenty years ago, February 1998, when we sold our first collection, which consisted of just four black merino tops, it was Quinns in Merivale who was the first to buy, followed by Ballantynes. Both companies said, ”these are perfect for Canterbury women, because women here appreciate quality”. Now, twenty years on, we still have a strong following in Canterbury and Christchurch city because of this, which makes me proud to be a sheep farmer’s daughter from Canterbury.

Who are your favorite women and why?

I admire women who inspire others. Donna Karan, her big personality and understanding of how jersey knits can flatter all women, Jane Fonda and her own stunning body at 80 through daily exercise, Coco Chanel and her pioneering fashion skills. She made stunning clothes that were comfortable in an era of laced up corsetry.

The Terrace

King of the rebuild: we talk to Antony Gough about The Terraces and his take on post-quake Christchurch

The recent opening of The Terraces represents a formative moment in our long rebuild process. Replacing our late-lamented ‘Strip’, not only literally and physically, but viscerally in both hearts and minds, it symbolises the awakening of the city from its developmental coma.

The Terrace
Antony Gough

One of so many wonderful new builds in the city, the very public yet very personally passionate, process of bringing The Terrace to life gives it a talismanic feel, symbolising the strength and confidence, leadership and faith it has taken to get to this point.
Forged in the fire of Antony Gough’s vision, The Terrace, a glamourous and aesthetically pleasing precinct featuring innovative, thoughtful design, has brought this city section to life again, with twenty different hospitality environments open with minimum hours of 11am – 11 pm seven days, plus commercial space.
It wouldn’t be out of line to describe Antony Gough as the King of the rebuild. We talk to Antony about his milestone.

The Terrace has been a labour of love for you, how does it feel to have all that hard work and dedication now coming to fruition with the new bars now starting to open?

A huge relief and very exciting seeing it all come together.

How do you think the overall rebuild is going?

The private sector is going very well, though it has taken longer than any of us would have expected. The Anchor Projects however need to get a hurry along.

What are some of your favourite buildings or developments – both old and new?

The Terraces – particularly the wooden building – The Arts Centre, Deloitte House, The Crossing with its variety, Stranges Lane and the Bus Exchange.

What do you see as some of the challenges facing the city as we move forward?

I worry that all the cycle lanes may make travel by cars, trucks and buses too difficult. The Anchor Projects and the CBD housing are progressing too slowly.

What do you think we’ve done well at as a city throughout the rebuild process?

The Avon River precinct and Earthquake Memorial are excellent! Getting our sewerage and water systems back to normal as well.

What do you love about Christchurch and, as a developer, what makes you choose to stay here?

Christchurch is a city of huge opportunities. A brand new CBD surrounded by an exciting housing population, it is now getting a real sense of vibrancy.

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for you?

I have a car parking building to build and then I need to bed down The Terrace Precinct. This won’t happen by accident, it needs lots of planning and hard work behind the scenes.

Emma Foley

Food for thought: Q&A with Uber Eats NZ Country Manager Emma Foley

Uber hit the global market some time ago, revolutionising the transport industry overnight. Now we’re being spoon fed generous amounts of its culinary innovation via Uber Eats. Shattering glass ceilings in the tech industry, the Country Manager Emma Foley talks with Metropol about what it’s like to run one of the most iconic brands in the world.

Emma Foley

The Uber Eats concept is revolutionary – what does it mean for the culinary industry in Christchurch?

Uber Eats offers Christchurch locals unprecedented convenience, selection and reliability to get the food they love, delivered to where they happen to be. There are currently more than 100 restaurants and more than 5,000 freshly prepared menu items available on the Uber Eats app.
Since we launched in October 2017 we’ve expanded the Uber Eats Christchurch service area by more than 55 percent. We covered 100 square kms at launch, and we now deliver to an area spanning 155 square kms.

How is Uber Eats harnessing the best of technological innovation?

Uber Eats is an on-demand food delivery app and website that helps bring millions of people around the world the food they want, at the tap of a button.
If you compare our platform to retailers who embraced the move to online and to customers wanting to use multiple channels, they are doing the best today. We are passionate about helping restaurants thrive. We do this by offering 24/7 support, access to innovative marketing campaigns, data about the meals they sell, and reliable access to delivery services.

Women in tech remains a hot topic given the gender imbalance across the industry – how does it feel to be the Country Manager for one of the world’s most recognisable tech companies?

I absolutely love my job and feel lucky to be surrounded by passionate people. Currently my manager and her manager are both female, so I feel lucky to have some great role models to look up to.
I would love to see even more women going into careers in technology. While the obvious path is continuing to study STEM subjects through school and university, it’s also great to realise that it’s never too late to give it a go. I’m a passionate member of our ‘WomANZ’ committee (our Australia and NZ women’s employee group). One of the projects is determining how we can use our skills and experience to encourage more young women into tech careers.

What does a day in your life look like?

There’s no typical day leading the Uber Eats NZ business, and it’s one of the things I love most about my role. I’d say my role is a 50/50 mix of people management and business strategy – but every day looks different!
I might start the day with a check-in meeting with my team, discussing our key business metrics and diving into any issues or project details. In the afternoon, you might find me on a call with a colleague in Brisbane talking about our virtual restaurant initiatives (where restaurants can run new brands out of one kitchen), a meeting with one of our large restaurant partners, then in a call with one of our product team in Singapore discussing the rollout of one of our new app features.
And of course, finding some time for emails! It takes a lot to stay on top of all the exciting things happening with Uber, so connecting with my colleagues around the world is a must.

Juliette Hogan

A stylish statement: fashion Q&A with designer Juliette Hogan

Leonardo da Vinci once described simplicity as “the ultimate sophistication”. It’s an apt description of Juliette Hogan’s style statement.

Juliette Hogan
Designer Juliette Hogan (L) with Ballantynes head buyer Megan McKee and footware designer Katheryn Wilson (R)

A label which is characterised by strong, pared-back, minimalist design, her pieces are a powerful combination of unfussy femininity. This is a designer who is all about timeless quality.
Metropol talks to Juliette about her sartorial inspirations and her latest collection.

Can you tell us how your career began?

Mum taught me to sew from a very early age, but I never had aspirations to be a fashion designer. I studied Textiles at Massey University in Wellington and went on to win the Dare to Be competition to study at Parson’s School of Design in New York. This time really shaped who I was as a designer and it was only then that I decided I was going to come back to New Zealand to start my own label.

The fashion industry has been said to not take any prisoners, why do you think you’ve been such a success?

Perseverance and clarity. I have had always had a very clear idea of my design sense and clarity about where I’ve wanted to go.

How do you create designs which resonate so strongly with New Zealand women?

Opening stores has given me amazing insight into what women want to wear. I have always been a selfish designer however, having direct contact with the wonderful people who engage with my brand gives me invaluable insight. I am in business to make women feel good about themselves.

Who are some of your biggest fashion inspirations?

I can never succinctly answer this question as I don’t look to celebrities or other designers for inspiration. Inspiration comes from more abstract places for me such as beautiful open landscapes, subtle movement in a silk or dappled shadow formations.

What’s the most fulfilling part of what you do?

Seeing women in my designs, working with my amazing team and getting to do what I love every day.

What are some of the new looks and styles which we can expect to see coming through in the coming seasons?

AW18 Undertone is such a beautiful rich collection and my stand out piece is the Surround Coat in Talc; it completely envelopes without overwhelming you. I also love the rich merlot and deep reds that run through the collection.