A Charmed Life


this kiwi girl muses about… race

There was a moment in time when I didn’t know that race existed. I’ve been thinking back to that time recently with this talk of the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominees this year and people using the incorrect terminology when referring to other races. Of course talk about race is nothing new, when has there ever not been talk about race. As long as inequality exists the talking will (and must) continue.

Still I had this moment and it lasted for approximately thirteen years. The first thirteen years of my life actually. To illustrate just how unaware I was I have this one embarrassing memory to share. It takes place at primary school but before I go on, you need to remember my love for Madonna and that it started young. On this particular day my friends and I were sitting on the bleachers in what was known as the Birdcage, I think it must have been lunchtime because I remember I was munching on crisps (Discos, remember them?) So there we are, my friends and I talking away, possibly eating, when in an effort to be cool (you remember when it was all about being cool in front of your friends right?) I exclaim out loud that Madonna is related to me. I go on to elaborate by saying our grandmothers are sisters (yip that overactive imagination started real early). My friends, bless them didn’t walk away and de friend me instead they laughed at me and gave me reasons like ‘she lives in America’ as to why this couldn’t be true. The whole exchange lasted a mere seconds and was soon forgotten by all save me; it is a memory that has always stuck with me not least because it proves I have never been able to lie well but that it reaffirms I never knew race. I didn’t see that Madonna and I are different. Hell I didn’t even see that my friends and I were different – to me we were all just kiwis.

Fast forward a few years to when my father decided it would be a good idea for me to have a South African education (on account of my mother being South African); we relocated temporarily to Johannesburg to live with my grandparents. This was in the 80s towards the end of apartheid. Here’s where the wheels started churning for me in regards to race, how could it not. We lived in a predominantly Indian only area and we had a maid and gardener (not Indian) who were not permitted to sleep in the house or eat with us. I still remember the stern look of disapproval and tap of the walking stick my grandmother would give whenever my brother or I spoke to either of them. This was a country that has known much cruelty as such we lived in a house with bars on the outer windows even the pet giant tortoise wasn’t just left to roam, he too lived in enclosed quarters. And every time my brother – always a hothead – took off down the street after an angry outburst, the adults would be on tenterhooks until he was found should something ‘bad’ befall him. All because of perceptions of race.

It wouldn’t be till years later when I studied the history of South Africa that I would understand the firsthand experience I got when I was living there; but a light had been switched on during this time and I would never see the world through those innocent eyes again more’s the pity. It might be naive of me to say but the socialist in me can’t help thinking it is not necessary for race to be important if people don’t want it to be. In any case whether it is down to the fact that I grew up in Wellington (which although technically a city is really a village) or that I grew up in a time before the world wide web; I am happy that for a short window I lived in a world in which race didn’t matter.

Sat Nam

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darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand…

A bit like marmite you either like horror movies or you don’t. I definitely don’t, in fact you could say I am a big scaredy cat. My first foray into the horror genre was Jaws – and yes I know not technically a horror, but it (and the sequels) scared the bejeezus out of me (and gave me a lifelong phobia of sharks). Then came Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, not something a ten year old with an overactive imagination should ever have been exposed to. Next up were the Sunday night horrors which would air late on – funnily enough – Sunday nights in New Zealand, I was never allowed to watch them, but every now and then I would sneak out of bed when everyone was asleep and watch: this is how I came to know the likes of Freddy Krueger, Dracula, Jason Voorhees, Chucky, Carrie, Jack Torrance, Michael Myers and Damien. As you can imagine, many a sleepless night was had! As I got older I stopped watching the slasher type horror movies, instead they got replaced by what I like to call the mindfuck horror movie – the non gore psychological ones – and while I would never go out of my way to watch these movies, they continue to intrigue me, so if I’m flicking channels and one happens to be on tele I will watch – more fool me.

To celebrate Halloween here are the movies that still give me the heebie-jeebies:

Psycho (1960) Hitchcock, that shower scene, Norman/Norma Bates – sheer brilliance. When you think of all the technology that is available in the films made today, that this movie can still make you feel an underlining sense of terror attests to why it still regularly rates in top ten lists for best horror films.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)I didn’t know anything about this film before I saw it, which I think helped build the suspense. I thought Mia Farrow was brilliant as Rosemary who is unaware her husband has made a deal with Satan to further his career; and even though I, as the viewer knew what was going on throughout the film, I still felt this sense of uneasiness, it’s like I could feel Rosemary’s paranoia to the point I didn’t know if the weird happenings were real or not.

The Wicker Man (1973) There is something about cults that creeps me out (think about it – when have you ever heard anything good about one) – throw in a naive Christian protagonist and you’ve pretty much got a lamb to the slaughter. Another reason to love this movie is for Christopher Lee (who plays Lord Summerisle), this guy does evil so well, he’s got form – he has been Dracula, Scaramanga, Count Dooku and Saruman.

The Blair Witch Project (1999) It was a genius move to film this with a handheld camera – the shakiness of the filming and the first person narrative made the story scarily authentic and as such I was sucked in. It felt real. It could be, couldn’t it…

Happy Halloween

Sat Nam


Friends, 20 years on…

friends.jpgUnless you live under a rock, it can’t have escaped your attention that the behemoth that is Friends turned 20 this week and that’s got me feeling all nostalgic. So why is this show that aired its last episode ten years ago still so beloved:

Because it is laugh out loud funny There are so many shows that come under the banner of comedy, and sometimes I have to wonder if I missed the ‘get humour’ gene because I seem to miss the funniness in so many of these shows case in point Seinfeld and Flight of the Conchords (someone please explain to me how these are funny!) Friends was different, it had me in stitches from the moment Rachel aka runaway bride ran into Central Perk and interrupted a group of friends (Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross). Such was the genius in the writing that each episode was a laugh out loud funny gem.

Because of the language use Just like how ‘lovely jubbly’ (made famous by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses) and ‘what’chu you talkin’ ’bout Willis?’ (first said by Arnold from Diff’rent Strokes) entered into our lexicon without us even knowing it; so too have many phrases from Friends especially the emphasis of words like ‘Could you BE any funnier?’ or ‘SO not’ or ‘How you doin?’ I’ve even been known to give my name as Regina Falange on occasion when I haven’t wanted my personal details known.

Because it is all relative The premise of Friends is that of a group of six twenty-somethings finding their way through the ups and downs of career, relationship and life issues; well it just so happened when Friends debut in 1994 I was a twenty-something finding my way through the ups and downs of career, relationship and life issues, so in that sense you could say the show spoke to me.
The characters themselves are also relatable. From a one dimension point of view you have Monica who is the motherly borderline OCD one, Joey who is the stud and a little slow on the uptake, Rachel the attractive one, Phoebe the kooky one, Ross the smart one, Chandler the funny one. Somewhere in that mix you can relate yourself and/or someone you know.

Because of the ties that bind As the show went on (it went on for ten seasons), I came to care about the characters. Yes this was a comedy but at its root it was a show about friends and how those friendships progressed. I was invested in knowing what happened next – if Ross and Rachel would end up together AND just how conventional the very unconventional Phoebe would end up being AND how far the Monica and Chandler romance would go AND Joey being, well Joey.

Because of the amazing guest stars Too many to name but off the top off my head here are some: Sean Penn, Julia Roberts, Elliot Gould, Marlo Thomas, Kathleen Turner, Giovanni Ribisi, Hugh Laurie, Elle Macpherson, John Stamos, Reese Witherspoon, Christina Applegate, Brad Pitt, Susan Saradon, Jennifer Saunders, George Clooney, Bruce Willis, Jon Farveau, Paul Rudd, Ralph Lauren and Adam Goldberg (who rocked it as Chandler’s crazy flatmate).

Some Stats: If the show had continued – Monica & Chandler’s twins would be nine this year, Emma eleven, Phoebe’s triplets fourteen and Ben eighteen.

Favourite Episode: My hands down favourite episode was The One Where No One’s Ready. It is the perfect showcase for each character’s strengths and even though I must have watched it like a hundred times already it still makes laugh (a ‘can feel it in my belly’ kind of laugh).

Reunion: Do I want a reunion? I go back and forth on this. Firstly I do think the show finished on exactly the right note. The idea of seeing these six back together is something a fan can’t help but want; but as there is too much scope for disappointment in a reunion, I’m think okay with not knowing how Chandler handles being a father of twins or if Ross and Rachel managed to make it work together.

Speaking of reunions, this recent mini one was completely nuts but just seeing the girls back together hit the right nostalgic note. 

Enough from me, I’d rather hear from you: Were you a fan? Do you have a favourite episode? How do you feel about a reunion? Favourite guest star?

Sat Nam


she will need her sisterhood

I think Chelsea Handler and I would make very good friends – she is my kind of gal. Absolutely love her putting Piers Morgan in his place (he really is a horrible man isn’t he?) and I enjoy her self-deprecating manner (‘Uganda be kidding me’ makes for compelling reading in a completely ‘are you for real’ way) but what has totally endeared her to me is her belief in the sisterhood. I belong to the sisterhood and I bang on about it all the time. I’m lucky I have really really great girlfriends around me, friends I have collected since preschool. As I have got older, my relationships with these girls have become sacrosanct for it is through them I have learnt the true meaning of friendship. They support me, they share my memories, they validate me, they are my secret keepers, they love me no matter what. Anyway I digress this is not meant to be a love letter to my girlfriends.

What was I saying? Ah yes the sisterhood. For me there are two types of woman; those that believe in the sisterhood and those that don’t. To put it bluntly ladies – you are either a Jennifer or an Angelina. Brad really went from one extreme to the other didn’t he? From a gal who is surrounded by other women (coincidentally a BF of Chelsea) to someone who by her own admission doesn’t have girlfriends. To me and this is only my opinion, if you are a girl, and you don’t have close girlfriends something doesn’t gel. Intuitively I can always spot what type a woman is within seconds of meeting her and I have never been wrong.  I find that I have a general mistrust of those that fall into the Angelina mould and I automatically distance myself from them. As Chelsea says ‘Girls hang out with other girls, girls hang out with guys but you hang out with girls first that’s what happens on the playground.’

Without girlfriends who else do you talk to about PMT, orgasms or lack thereof or your latest one night stand. Whose shoulder do you cry on when a relationship goes pants? Who do you rehash the latest episode of Revenge with? Who else calls you up on your bull shit? Apart from perhaps your significant other who else can you truly be yourself with? There is so much you miss out on when you don’t have a girlfriend, it’s kind of sad actually. There is so much to be gained through the sisterhood in all stages of one’s life. I will leave the last word to Gloria Steinem ‘Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That’s their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood.’



not even if you hold a gun to my head

MY ANTI-BUCKET LIST: I always feel a bit wary when I use the word ‘never’ because if life has taught me one thing for certain – it’s that you just don’t know what is around the corner BUT I know for certain (well 99.9% certain) I will never:

Go shark diving, swimming with sharks, down in a shark cage or anything to do with sharks. This is a girl who still gets scared when she watches Jaws, yes I know it’s not real but what can I say I have an over active imagination (ps totally anti shark culling though – hopefully that will keep the bro happy)

Partake in a bungee jump. I know it’s a kiwi thing and yay for that but it just doesn’t feel right. 

Wear a crop top in public. My days of acting like a young Madonna are over unfortunately, yet another sign I’m getting older.

Drink kombucha. Just the smell of it freaks me out.

Run for a political position. I am a very opinionated person and have a view of how I would run the world but I’m not sure I have the thick skin or the cunning required for any type of public role and in any case the idea of old photos of me being dug up and put out there for all to ridicule makes me cringe.

Ride a hot air balloon – seems romantic but looks boring. What if you need to go to the loo up there?

Finish 50 Shades of Grey. I read the first 166 pages but couldn’t make myself read anymore. To those who stayed away from it, I concur it really is a lesson in banality… still if you are interested I know of this new author who has her first book coming out soon 😉

I can think of a load more that I could add; like how I will never go to North Korea (well Kim whatshisface doesn’t sell it very well does he?) or that I will never wear crocs (one word yuck) or that I will never get plastic surgery (fingers crossed I continue to look like I’m under thirty for many years to come) but I can’t know for certain if North Korea, crocs or plastic surgery will pop up in my life or not. Anyway enough about me – what’s on your anti-bucket list? Come on spill…



do – Ho Ho Ha Ha

I first heard about Laughter yoga when Fearne Cotton talked about it on her radio show. Thought it sounded interesting but I didn’t give it another thought. Fast forward a few months later and today I find myself at a Laughter yoga class. What can I say? I saw a sign for the class and it had to be done.

Here I am, it’s a small class, five people including me and six others all wearing the same purple t-shirts so I’m assuming they are making up the numbers (turns out I’m right, apparently this type of yoga is done best with a crowd). Once our instructor welcomes us in prayer, we begin with clapping – palm to palm clapping – to which chants are added HO HO HA HA (reminds me of the scene in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ when Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio are at lunch and Matthew starts beating his chest and chanting Hmmm). This warm up is done to increase energy levels.

Next to follow are deep breathing exercises and then for the next fifty minutes we continue to do the breathing with stretching and different types of Laughter exercises including one that had me fake milking a cow. The instructor keeps repeating that we want to attain a child like playfulness. We are encouraged to make eye contact with each other as this encourages laughter.  Anyone want to pretend to be a lion with me (yet another exercise we did).

SOME FACTS: Laughter yoga was created by Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria. The concept of Laughter yoga is based on the scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter. One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits. Clinical research show that Laughter lowers the level of stress hormones (epinephrine, cortisol, etc) in the blood and it helps to change your mood within minutes by releasing endorphins. Yes its true people laughter really is the best medicine.

MY VERDICT: Before I went to this class, someone said to me ‘Laughter yoga? Come on yoga is yoga – don’t bastardise it with all kinds of weird variations.’ And he is right, that is exactly why I was intrigued in the first place and having done the class I’m still not sure what the ‘yoga’ component was meant to be and I did feel a sense of the ridiculous at first, but eventually fake awkward laughter gave way to real laughter and it felt good.

And although I have never had a problem laughing or laughing in public for that matter, as this is a physical rather than a mental laughter you are left feeling uninhabited. If I had to describe how I felt after the class I would say energized and open – kind of loose if that makes sense.

I’m not sure I’m going to convince the skeptic in you to give it go except I will say when does it not feel good to laugh? I would say give it go if you are up for anything, in need of a laugh or just plain curious. Laughter clubs are popping up everywhere and my class was free so you are not left out of pocket (well I did make a donation).

I will leave you with this fact: In the 1950s people laughed for an average of 18 minutes per day, but now the average is just six minutes. I think we all could do with a little bit more laughter in our lives – wouldn’t you agree?



it’s a high vibe day

Things making me happy today


 ♥ Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) – the pic says it all, don’t you agree?

 Getting a load of free samples when I stocked up on my SK-II essentials. Who doesn’t love freebies!

♥ The Oscars being days away – glam frocks, awkward moments, nostalgia  and Ellen… oh PizzaExpress.jpgand some of the year’s best cinema honoured too.

♥ Australians calling others racist – okay maybe not ha ha funny but you get me right?

♥ Eating at Pizza Express for the first time in two months.


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yesterday once more

‘The decade that style forgot’ that’s what the 70s have been called but I disagree. As new movie American Hustle highlights the seventies were all about style, a distinctive style maybe but a style all the same. We live in a time in which fads are fleeting, but when you think back to days of yore there are some very distinct images they invoke; like for instance the ’20s conjures up a jazz age complete with flappers and gangsters. Same goes with the ’70s where you had fashion influenced from the likes of ABBA, Bruce Lee, Saturday Night Fever, Charlie’s Angels and The Sex Pistols and on and on it goes because it was such a colourful era.

I love 70s fashion, maybe that has something to do with it being the era I was born into whatever it is, if I am dressing up for a night out more often than not I will opt for a retro glam seventies inspired look. In fact whether we gals are conscious of it or not, we borrow from the seventies all the time – think one shoulder,halter necks, hot pants, jumpsuits, crop tops, platforms and curls. The only difference is that now we have more finesse for there no need for polyester and irons, these have been replaced with synthetic material that doesn’t itch and ceramic hair styling products. Its not all cringe worthy free though, to the males reading this the 70s don’t need to make a comeback in your wardrobes; platforms look way hotter on us girls and there is only one man that can rock a moustache and unless your name is Tom Selleck that ain’t you.

oh and American Hustle – great performances, well worth a watch.



forever is forever is forever

“Forever is forever and when we make those choices for our body we have to live with them forever.” Cameron Diaz.

Cameron said this in relation to a female hair issue but I’m borrowing it today to make my point. A tad controversial, I write this knowing I risk the ire of some of my closest friends but as they are more and more in my face I need to get it out. I detest tattoos. There I said it (she says breathing a big sigh of relief).

When I was in Biarritz last summer we had this ritual of going down to the beach to catch some rays straight after breakfast before it got too hot. My first day after about five minutes of settling into my chair, opening my book – I got distracted by this gorgeous (in my opinion) European (in my opinion) Adonis (again in my opinion) who took up occupancy of a chair located near me. From the safety of my sunglasses I continued to look okay perve and it was going really well – until he took off his top to reveal an entirely inked back. Then all thoughts of eye candy totally left me and all I could do was look the other way and think ‘why.’

Fast forward a few weeks later when I was back in London, catching up with a friend for drinks. Seated at the bar we became friendly with the young girl serving us. So friendly that when she placed both her heavily tattooed arms on the counter, a very merry me had to ask ‘why?’ She gave an answer I find most inked people give ‘because I wanted to’ ‘because I love them.’ Fine, I understand that, for what is life about if not for doing what you want and love to do. BUT fads come and go and as Cameron points out forever is forever. What you feel now will not be how you feel in ten, twenty, fifty years from now. So I put it to this girl ‘what happens when you are older and have saggy skin?’ I got what is now the perfunctory answer I get when I ask this question, ‘who cares!’

I care because I see beauty in the human form. My favourite type of art are nudes – paintings, sculpture, photographs – any mode does me. Can you imagine Michaelangelo’s David inked? Who would care to see that? You could argue that clothing is the same type of self expression as tattoos and I agree to a certain extent but I also live in a civilised society that dictates we be clothed. Piercings – yes again agree and I have to admit excessive piercings do tend to evoke in me the same revolting gut reaction that tattoos do.

CCtat.jpgI believe in self expression but when the act itself is a form of self harm I’m not so sure. In the same vein I do not understand why celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Cheryl Cole & David Beckham want to ruin their natural beauty unless they don’t like what they see in the mirror. There is plenty of psycho babble around that attests to this you just have to google tattoos self harm to see the results. Its not for DBtat.jpgme to say – all I know is that we as humans are always evolving… moods change, feelings change, beliefs change. How often have you looked at a photo of yourself and cringed at a hair style or something you were wearing way back when. Hair styles can be changed, clothing can be changed, even piercings will eventually close up but a tattoo!!  I can’t help thinking do in haste repent at leisure.