Off to India… back here in February 2012

Well, it has been a massive few months for me and I thought I should explain my absence on this blog. A few months ago, my partner and I decided to move to Brisbane, Australia. We’d been thinking about it for a while and the opportunity arose so we jumped at it. Now, 11 weeks later, our house and most of our belongings are sold, the rest of our life is in 21 boxes, my partner and I have gotten engaged, said teary goodbyes to friends and family, and we’re now living out of 6 bags and sharing a room with family in Brisbane. And that’s only the start of it!

We’re here in Australia, but only for a week – I’m working and my partner has been left in charge to find a great suburb to live in when we get back next year. Being here for only a week makes it seem like a holiday rather than the reality of upping sticks and moving for good. Next week we’re off on our long awaited (and feared, to some degree) trip to India. Seven weeks of tripping around the North and the South, two Intrepid tours and some spare time (thankfully) to sit and do nothing. Glorious! If I’m really honest, I think I’m mostly looking forward to that – sitting and taking it all in. I’m sure it’ll be a sensory overload.

Anywho, we’ve created a blog for our Indian adventure (check it out here) and so it will be a bit quiet on Hippopaloola until I return in February next year. No doubt I’ll have heaps of stories to share with you then. Till next year…


Fireworks hunting: allow yourself to get excited

Landscape picture of fireworks

I have always loved fireworks, and have great memories as a kid, letting them off in a sandpit at home. I love the colour, the sounds, the light, the smiles on people’s faces as they watch, and I can never get enough.

Last night was Guy Fawkes night in New Zealand. Having never seen any fireworks for sale or advertising during the week I almost managed to miss Guy Fawkes altogether! Lucky for me, fireworks aren’t something one can miss. There were a few organised displays at a few places in the city, but as the public are still allowed to buy their own fireworks, there were mini displays going on left, right and centre all over the place. The three of us were wondering where we would go to see them and then the idea came to us. We’ll go fireworks hunting!! Jumped in the limited edition lavender Daihatsu Mira and we cruised around on the lookout for fireworks and chasing them when spotted. It was fantastic!

We ended up at big park where families and groups were letting off their fireworks and we had an awesome night surrounded by sparklers, sky rockets, fizzers, colour bursts and just sweet, magical, coloured sparks. Watched families with young kids enjoying their first sparklers, cheers erupt from groups when large fireworks exploded and just loved being a part of it all. I was leaping around, racing from one spot to the next, trying to get the best view of the latest bursts, squealing with delight and clapping for the really impressive fireworks. It was totally addictive and it felt great. The boys meanwhile, stood there and simply, quietly, watched. They later commented that they wished they could get as exited about something like I could.

It got me thinking, just because we get older are we no longer allowed to get excited? My advice – don’t let go of your inner child. Allow yourself to get excited. Allow yourself to jump around, let out tears of joy, squeal, clap and whoop with delight. You won’t believe how great it feels.

Image from DAVID HALLETT/Fairfax NZ

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I wish I could watch the duckling waddle year-round

Ducks are great. Love their side-to-side waddle and low-toned quack chitter-chatter. Ducklings are even better. Cuter and skittish and their little legs working it to keep up with mum. Love it.

Over the past few weeks at work, an almost daily highlight has been watching this mama duck and her tribe of ducklings (tribe – I’m sure that’s not right) waddling around in a line. They are gorgeous! From wee babies which were like little balls of fluff waddling in circles, getting distracted then racing to get back in line with the others, to bigger teenage ducklings with attitude (you can almost hear “are we there yet?”), these guys are just delightful 🙂

It’s funny watching the effect they have on people too – we’re all very protective like they were our own babies. I’ve seen two ladies stop traffic to let them cross the road safely, cars slowing down with hazard lights on warning other oncoming traffic,  and everyone’s facial expressions are just great. These wee spring fluffballs have the ability to melt even el Groucho’s heart! You can’t help but smile.  Which makes me a little sad at the same time, I know that we could all use this kind of cute delight every season.

The duckling waddle - love it!

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Favourite Adverts: Cadbury

I wish I knew those creative people who continue to come up with the crazy, fun ideas for Cadbury. How neat to work for a brand that no longer needs to really talk about the product? We know what they sell, but we are really buying into is what they’re selling – fun. Unadulterated fun. To be a kid, have a laugh and just enjoy.

I see purple and I think Cadbury. And for a minute and a half (or so) when the Cadbury ads come on, I simply enjoy them. They make me smile and are 100% joy. Well done to their creative teams, well done. (I thought I saw the name Fallon attached to some of these ads which would not surprise me… they were, after all, the masterminds behind the Sony Bravia ads).

Anywho, I’m big on sharing, so here are my favourite Cadbury adverts.

I love it. I love everything about it. The nostril flares, the shoulder ‘shrugs’ (00:32) and the gorilla. Love that gorilla. How could you not?

While this ad had a slightly cooler response from the public (was the bar raised too high by the Phil Collins Gorilla?) I can’t help but smile at the thought of the airport crews on the late shift… man it must get boring and I can totally imagine on a long, slow, uneventful night that they’d get up to mischief. 🙂

When I first saw this, I was not expecting the eyebrows to go all crazy like. Spent ages looking at them, wondering if it was real or not, and concluded that it just couldn’t be. This didn’t have the longevity appeal of the gorilla ad, but still super clever.

Great concept: record a squillion different sounds of things that you love and mix ’em all together to create a song of Joy. Slightly more dear to my heart seeing as this is the sounds of New Zealanders experiencing joy. Thanks Bobby McFerrin for your sounds, I love it!

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Motivating blog post from Seth Godin

I know I too often use the excuse, “It’s too hard, I just don’t seem to get any better!”

I want to re-learn the guitar (after learning for a year when I was 18), but tend to give up way too quickly and easily when I try. “My fingers hurt, my hands are too small”… really, I think I’m just a little lazy. Seth Godin has a great blog post today: “Stupid and Lazy”.

(Is it that you can’t do it or perhaps you don’t want to do the work?)

It’s worth a read, and if nothing else, could be the motivation you need to finish whatever it is you’ve started. Now where is my guitar…

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Favourite Adverts: Sony BRAVIA

Every so often, there comes along a TV ad that you actually look forward to watching. Instead of turning the volume down, I turn it up, and ‘shush’ those who think they can talk during them. These kind of advertisements capture my imagination through a single (and simple) great idea coupled with fantastic music.

One of my all time favourite TV advert series are from Sony Bravia: Colour Like No Other. These are some super talented and clever people. If you haven’t seen them before, consider this a gift from me to you, go on, take a peek!

What? 250,000 rubber balls (real, not computer-generated)
Where? Bouncing down a San Francisco street, USA.
Director? Nicolai Fuglsig
Music? Jose Gonzalez – “Heartbeats” (by the way, this song is off of a fantastic album and he is amazing live in concert if you ever get the chance to hear him).
See the making of this advert


What? 70,000 litres of (environmentally friendly) paint in over 1,400 separate explosions.
Where? Toryglen, Glasgow, Scotland.
Director?  Jonathan Glazer
Music? Gioachino Rossini – “The Thieving Magpie”
See the making of this advert 


What? 200 bunnies made from 2.5 Tonnes of plasticine, uniting to form a 30-ft giant rabbit!
Where? New York City.
Director? Frank Budgen
Music? The Rolling Stones – “She’s a Rainbow”
See the making of this advert


What? Thousands of coloured cotton reels tumbling down a pyramid!
Where? Cairo, Egypt.
Director? Keith Rose
Music? Robert Schroder/Lorraine Shannon (Members of SAMRO)


What? 100 dominos
Where? Rajastan and Uttar Pradesh, India
Director? Nic Finlayson
Music? Composed by Song Zu, and recorded by Rob Barbato
See the making of this advert

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Pinterest: I love my virtual pin board

First there was Ringo, then Bebo… then I resisted Facebook for as long as I could (thinking “this won’t last”) until I finally gave in and left the others to slowly fade away. Since then I’ve been hesitant to hook into new “on-trend” sites that I’ll spend hours on but is then quickly replaced… until I met Pinterest. I’d seen it a week or so ago on a blog I was reading, and didn’t think too much of it until a friend of mine recommended it to me. “You’ll love it Kate… people have ‘button’ boards!” And she was right. It is AWESOME.  Even as a kid I was always decorating my room, and refreshing my pin board regularly. And now, some years later I can start it all over again! Hurrah!

I’ve only just started, so forgive the empty boards, but if you haven’t heard of it, check it out and have a nosy. It’s a great way to visually show the things you love (and super easy to use).

Now excuse me… I need to pin some things.

Pinterest logo

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Inspiring Speech #2: Think different, Apple

I first heard this advert back in 1997 and it made a strong impression on me at the time… but I had since forgotten it. Until this week. I re-discovered the advert and it loved it all over again.

I am inspired by those who dare to take risks and actually make a difference. I tend to think…”what could I do that would make a difference?”…and then go back to life and business as usual. I need to take action and I need to do something in my lifetime that has meaning. I don’t want to leave, never having made an impact… so I’m thinking that 2012 will be my year. While I probably won’t change the world, I want to do something good, I will act and think differently. Watch this space…

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

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Nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award – Choice.

Versatile: adj. able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities

There are three simple rules to the Versatile Blogger Award. They are as follows:
1. Thank the person(s) who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post.
2. Pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know that you included them in your blog post.
3. List 7 things about yourself.

Thanks Ariel Price for nominating me as a Versatile Blogger for Hippopaloola. Wooh, yeah! I didn’t even know such things existed! Haha. When I started out, I really just wanted to create a space which would brighten my day and I’m getting a real kick out of the idea that others are enjoying it too 🙂 Choice! I’ll do my best to keep the good stuff coming.

Sharing the love
Here are 15 blogs which I’ve recently discovered – thanks all for the great posts:

  1. vsbjorge
  2. chicquero
  3. abrownbearaffair
  4. whatidoisme
  5. iambmac
  6. therealsasha
  7. leslielaughs
  8. yourpantsareonfire
  9. lilyandrose1126
  10. throughagreenlens
  11. gridandgutter
  12. heyraerae
  13. kerrieanne
  14. designingnostalgia
  15. laitetmiel

What didn’t you know about moi?
Seven things about me:

  1. I can speak Flemish (Dutch).
  2. I love playing football (soccer) and basketball.
  3. I am a Kiwi (New Zealander), born and bred in quakey-shakey Christchurch.
  4. I am scared of heights.
  5. I am the youngest of three kids, and the only one blessed (hmm!) with both freckles and red-ish hair (thanks Grandma!).
  6. I was nanny to three kids (aged 5, 9, 11yrs) in England for 11 months.
  7. I hate almonds – ground, essence… everything. Yuk.

Make photo blocks and relive your travels

The best thing about coming back from holiday, is reliving it through my photos.

I take a squillion of photos on every holiday, but then they often just sit on the computer in a folder just waiting to be looked at once or twice a few months down the track.  This is one of the down sides of digital photography – you take thousands of pics, a lot are rubbish and you print barely any of ’em. Not like in the days of film where you’re super selective about each shot and you process every picture.

While it is too easy to put it into the ‘too hard’ basket, it is totally worth going through and editing your pics straight after you return home. Do it while it’s fresh in your memory and you know why you took each picture. Keep only the meaningful. Be ruthless.

Anywho, I wanted to look at and remember my travels every day and thought about buying some photo blocks from the shops… my wallet winced when I saw the prices – super expensive. I figured, “hey, I’m crafty, I can make them myself!”

I had a little help from my friends to make some photo blocks, was super selective and picked my favourite 12 photos (that is the hardest part of any of this) and voila! I had my own photo blocks. And now I have an art feature of my favourite snaps which I just adore.

Twelve landscape photo blocks from Europe hanging on a wall

Happy snaps from my European holiday

If you’re keen on making your own photo blocks, here’s how I did it:

  1. Cut some MDF (wood) to match the size of your photos (mine were 5×7″, standard photos are 6×4″)
  2. Drill a hole in the back of the photo block if you want to hang it up on the wall.
  3. Seal the photo block faces you want to spray paint, by brushing on ‘(Fortec 439) Pink spray putty’. Leave one face untouched – this is where your photo will go. Simply paint the pink ‘sealant’ on and leave to dry.
    **If you don’t do this step, the spray paint won’t stick**
  4. Spray paint the sealed faces of the photo block and leave to dry. (I used black semi-gloss spray paint)
  5. Clean/wipe the untouched face of the photo block. Place some double-sided sellotape around the edges and centre of the untouched face.
    **If you have bubbles in your tape you will be able to see them in your photo – so ensure that face is clean**
  6. Remove the sellotape backing and line up your photo with two edges of the block and slowly smooth the photo onto the block.
  7. With the photo face down on a cutting mat, trim any excess photo using a scalpel.
  8. Hang/stand and enjoy looking at your pretty pics!
Good luck and happy reminiscing! x
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