metropol » Archives for Erin Muir

Author: Erin Muir

The Influencers: Marian Johnson

 


 

Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer

I recently took part in a discussion with NZ innovation community leaders where everyone shared their thoughts on what made New Zealand a uniquely innovative country poised to thrive and lead in a post-COVID world.

I came to New Zealand 12 years ago having married a young Kiwi on his OE in London.

Like so many Kiwis, as soon as it was time for family, Mr. J was ready to come home.

When I first got here, I knew that NZ was beautiful but I had no idea at all that it was a political and social innovator.

Establishing the women’s right to vote, an eight-hour work day and state-funded pensions are all early symbols of this progressive nature.

Another superpower is our size. If NYC and London have six-degrees of separation, New Zealand has one.

The ease of collaborating and doing business here allows us to work nimbly and adaptively. This is a huge advantage.

In terms of values, Kiwis seem to prize equality above all social values.

Our startups aren’t aiming to be the newest Silicon Valley either.

I believe that our equality edge will guide our startups to create innovation that is good for the world not just good for shareholders.

And there’s no better time than the present when our geographical isolation – in a world of Zoom calls and online investment pitches – is almost negligible.

NZ based high growth startups and innovators, your time is now.


 

Savvy storage: here’s how


Stuff; we all have it and it’s great – until it gets in your way and becomes unwieldy, annoying clutter.

 

HANDKRAFTED

 

We need clear space to think; to feel; to be; a space that allows us to gather ourselves while we rest from the stimulation of the outside world.

With smaller dwellings becoming ever more popular, savvy storage solutions are on the rise. It’s all very well to put all your stuff away in the laundry, or that spare bedroom – but if you can’t find what you need when you need it, tempers will fray and homes will unravel.

So, carefully assess your home, its nooks and crannies, with an eye to maximising all the space it holds. With a measuring tape in hand, check out unused spaces and consider putting in appropriate shelving or shelved cupboards. Extra shelf storage above the kitchen bench is handy and if you use clear look-alike containers, they can be stacked one on top of another, or one behind another for clever organisation.

 

FREEDOM FURNITURE

Don’t waste cupboard space, make sure the cupboards are the right height for what you’re putting in them. Make objects clearly visible. Pot handles can be hung on cupboard doors, pots placed on a multi-tier shelf and recessed shelves can add extra storage to a kitchen island. Drawer organisers compartmentalise electricals, jewellery, make-up, keys and more.

In the bathroom, a recessed shower shelf or shelves will take care of all the shower paraphernalia, while in the laundry cupboard, consider using boxes or hampers for separate items, such as towels, sheets, duvet covers, blankets and pillow cases, and make sure your cupboards all fit floor to ceiling for extra storage. The hot water cylinder can be moved to the laundry to create extra space, and a hanging shoe organiser is a great option for holding towels – and toilet rolls too.

 

OZ DESIGN FURNITURE

If you have a staircase, you can maximise the storage underneath and beside it. In the bedroom, a folding bed with space under the bed and bookshelves on the side will give marvellous extra storage. A wall of empty cylinders can be great storage for lots of little things, including shoes, and, in a loft room, pull out wardrobes of varying heights maximise the space beautifully.

The possibilities are endless; be clever, be savvy – a clear, well organised home is a treasure of great price.

 

 


 

Trends that take the cake


The cake; it continues to occupy that all-important role of wedding centrepiece and this year, wedding cake options are unfolding like blossoms in spring – they are eye-catching, gorgeous, joyous and more wildly diverse than ever! From naked cakes to extravagant drifts of multi-coloured art, from royal lemon and elderflower iced beauties to tiers of actual cheese wheels – the variety is stunning.

 

 

History has it that the Romans broke a simple wheat or barley cake over the bride’s head after the ceremony for good luck and guests shared the crumbs, starting a long tradition of sharing the cake with friends. In the Middle Ages couples kissed over a tall tower of small spicy buns for a long and happy marriage, hoping the stack would not fall over! The 17th century brought in sweet fruit cakes and, at Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840, a hard bright icing was created and called ‘royal icing’. But it wasn’t until 1882 that the first iced tiered cake was presented – with every tier edible. From then on the cake became the marvellous wedding icon it is today.

In 2019 we have seen numerous trends emerging. Meghan and Harry cakes – lemon and elderflower concoctions on three separate stands – have been popular. But other trends are rising too.

Multi-tier cakes – as high as 10, 12 or even 14 tiers – are hot property. Some prefer the rounded look with a large base leading up to a small top, while others are going for the stark beauty of geometric squares and rectangles – with an occasional triangle or hexagon thrown in. Some use copper or black colouring for elegant effect. And, to add even more interest, it has become popular to ice some of the tiers with geometric designs – gorgeous Moroccan and Middle Eastern motifs are becoming extremely popular. A geometric tablecloth is sometimes added to create yet another layer.

For the nature lovers, ferns have replaced eucalyptus leaves. Crisp, elegant green leaves add a new dimension with the soft beauty of green against white, while trailing greenery incorporated expertly with icing is another style proving popular.

Also on-trend are ‘naked’ cakes, where the fillings between the ‘fault lines’ have been extended for added interest, with the outside iced only minimally or not at all. And the 100 percent plant-based vegan cake is another popular must-have.

For the lovers of artistic abandon, there is a rising trend of cakes showcasing palette knife-painted buttercream, sometimes with poetry inscribed or the names of the married couple, and sometimes a creation of lavish multicoloured modern art, almost too beautiful to cut – let alone eat!

It seems that 2020 will be the year where creativity will run riot – so let’s enjoy the tasting and the unfolding evolution of the cake!