17 Jul // A week in the life

It’s been a big week, and one I'm not sad to see the back of. It was a classic week-in-the-life of this food-freelancer, so I thought I'd toy with the idea of a new weekly instalment. Two of my good friends told me on the weekend that when I started my first blog Heartbreak Pie, people reading were interested not just in food, but also in what I was up to. And that since I quit a legal career for a food and freelance one, that was probably still the case. And because I'm single and in my 30s and full of entertaining stories, I should be writing about it (I'm saving the one about the tumble out of the uber after a goodnight kiss for the book though). It makes sense to start with this Sunday in particular, because my week effectively began last Sunday night, "rotting in the depths of hungover despair on my friend’s couch" (which you can read about here) after I thought I had been maybe getting somewhere with an eligible bachelor at a house party, before having it comprehensively confirmed that I most definitely was not. Yolo?


From there, I decided to tackle Monday head on the best way I knew how: with clean hair and red lipstick. I’ve been growing my hair out this year: two years of a reasonably agressive but thoroughly enjoyable undercut was enough. Comparisons could probably be drawn between the Felicity season two haircut ratings drop and my love life, but I digress. As much as I had hardly the energy for getting up and dressing, let alone using my hairdryer, starting the day with clean hair was a great idea: it's a proven theory that when in doubt, always wash your hair and you'll have a better day for it. I got a good morning of work in, before abandoning emails to have fresh blueberry muffins and cups of tea with my Mum and my aunty, a visit which included bonus hugs and snapchat selfies with the dog filter with my cousin's kids. There is something incredibly comforting about hanging out with children who love you unreservedly and tell you so. Even if the 7 year old pokes your belly and asks why you're so squishy. Kids. Always saying the darndest things.  

On Monday night I cooked my flatmates venison for dinner. A PR company who represents the NZ deer industry had sent me a recipe by Tom Hishon of Orphans Kitchen (one of my favourite restaurants), of braised venison with kumara mash, tamarillo, and silverbeet. God I love tamarillos. Not usually one to rigourously follow a recipe, it was an entertaining process, documented of course on snapchat, and the venison-tamarillo combo was especially delicious. I re-watched Brene Brown's Ted talks on vulnerability and shame and felt weirdly empowered and that everything was going to be ok. 


Red lipstick got me through Tuesday too, as I slowly progressed through my WIP list. That currently reads along the lines of: recipe writing and a travel story for the Herald; Metro cheap eats judging; more cocktail writing for Toast; a copywriting job; a dinner party menu plan; blog blog blog blog blog posts (Singapore! Cheese scones! Beach weekend! Chipotle tofu!); grow my wedding business; planning and sorting my upcoming trips to Hong Kong and Wellington and the Wairarapa; finalise details for my Auckland Restaurant Month dessert degustation walking tour; and write my damn book.

As well as the red lipstick, I took to wearing ugg boots in the office, which was the best decision I'd made in a while. I share an office space with my mate Tom who runs a wine company called Onvine, and because it’s the middle of winter and wine doesn't like the heat, the office has been a little cold. I disctracted myself by reading this excellent Spinoff interview with poet Hera Lindsay Bird and I listened to a lot of Rihanna's new album. I cranked the same album walking to an after work meeting with a bride and her Mum at her Mum’s beautiful apartment in Ponsonby, and we talked through the wedding while drinking delicious red wine and eating cheese, and after walking home I arrived to my flatmate serving up spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. It was a dream scenario. I had a cup of relaxing tea and went to sleep listening to Radiohead’s True Love Waits.


On Wednesday morning I perservered with the theme of red lipstick and Rihanna and a generally positive attitude. I had my regular fortnightly Herald food shoot booked in and I may or may not have decided what I was going to cook while I was at the veggie shop, about an hour before the photographer was due at my house. When he arrived he asked what I'd been up to, and I replied "just trying to hold my life together!" and he kind of laughed but also looked a bit awkward. I made three winter salads in about half an hour, and they were great. I took a selfie in my kitchen eating salad for breakfast. I listened to power ballads while doing a mountain of dishes, before flitting into the office to send some emails and to retrieve my oyster delivery. Kiwa oysters released their first of the season flat farmed oysters from Marlborough, and I was very lucky to receive a delivery of them. I'd learned to shuck down in Wellington at the Oyster Saloon pop up a few years ago (wahine shuckers for life) and so immediately put the beautiful knife included in the parcel to good use. I refreshed my skills with this video , before promptly shucking one at my desk and downing in on snapchat. On Wednesday night I went to my mates place and we shucked and ate the rest of the oysters, alongside chardonnay, salmon and slaw, and then these chocolate mug cakes. Let’s just say it may have been a bit too much rich food and I may have lost part of my dinner on the way home. Yolo? 


On Thursday morning, I had tickets to Popped Culture, Coffee Supreme’s semi-regular breakfast pop ups. They team up with a chef and a baker and take over a cool space and serve breakfast. To top off the rich food the night before, we were treated to mutton on toast with mustard butter and smoked yoghurt and smashed wasabi peas, and a cherry cheesecake number (a career hazard, I tell you) care of Hayden Scott, Al Brown’s very talented chef off-sider. We had filter coffees, sparkling water, and then perfect flat whites. It was great.

I then caught up with a fellow freelance friend for a waterside walk with her dog Willow, before leaving for a meeting in the city. My car broke down on the motorway.

Three kind men who were working on the new motorway on-ramp came to my aid after delighting in asking ‘What have we here? A maiden in distress!’ which I could only answer affirmatively, much to my embarrassment. They refilled my radiator and coolant tank with water, before setting me and my mighty pulsar off on our merry way. I was half an hour late to my meeting in the city, which was with my gelato-genius friend Giapo and his wife Annarosa. I parked in a 15 minute park for over an hour without getting a ticket, and I ate ice cream for lunch.

One of my best friends who lives overseas sent me this quote. I told myself I was a motherfucking volcano. 

I rushed to the office for another meeting, this time about a moderately exciting potential business opportunity, before realising that I am an idiot and that I’d all of a sudden run out of meals for all my remaining Metro cheap eats judging. My Dad investigated my car and confirmed it needed work, and thus began my stint without a car, and I got thai takeaways (cheap eats meal #1) before convincing two of my flatmates to join me for a noodle judging mission (cheap eats meal #2). We went to GoGo music cafe, one of the more underrated gems serving Chinese food on Dominion Road, and ate spicy Xinjiang chicken with giant noodles, downed with a couple of beers. I missed out on attending the opening of True Food & Yoga because of my car issues and because I suddenly had mountains of work to do before the weekend, and I was sorry because it looks beautiful and they were serving champagne. More about that here.  


On Friday morning I rounded off my week of red lipstick and goal kicking with a pre-7am walk to Countdown. I bought ingredients for a photoshoot, which I then proceeded to cook and photograph, before walking to K Rd for a meeting. No car thus far has actually been really good, because I'm just behaving like I used to in Wellington, which is simply integrating the time it takes to walk everywhere into my day. I haven’t yet mastered integrating the time it takes to constantly yank up my stockings whilst walking, but I’m working on it. That meeting was with a friend about a charity dinner she’s organising, and we drank excellent long blacks in the sun at Bestie.

I then had coffee with a friend (although can you ever be friends with people that you used to be more than friends with? My girl Dear Coquette would say no, but I reckon the jury's out) and we had flat whites up in the little mezzanine attic part of Fort Greene, also in St Kevins Arcade. It wasn't so much a catch up as a general chat about life and careers and great articles we'd recently read, and I was suprised at how the conversation went, and how nice it was. I also left having explained to him my career over the years since I've left law, and all the insecurities that go with that, and it was this weirdly cathartic experience. Unexpectedly delightful. Go figure.  

I walked along K Rd in the sun listening to Rihanna again, before meeting my friend Ricko for the final hurdle of Metro judging. We went to Wang Wang Spring Pancake on Dominion Road (cheap eats meal #3) and ate pancakes with pork, which were excellent, before schlepping out to Howick for mediocre roast duck on rice (cheap eats meal #4). We got stuck in traffic because this is Auckland, and we yarned about kombucha and rice paper rolls and long distance relationships.

We called into the office to eat the Lewis Road x Uber strawberry ice cream which had been delivered, and I also collected a parcel of cheese that had arrived thanks to Morgan at Bonnie Goods. She'd made oat cakes with spent whisky grain, and sent them in a bundle alongside some Kapiti cheese. Lord knows I love a good platter (I’m totally claiming the invention of the #plattergram hashtag on instagram). 

It was then home for a few emails, before getting picked up for a weekend away (more about that shortly). After the week I’d had: emotional highs, financial lows, and every bloody thing in between, meant that a weekend away, and then Sunday night writing a blog post, planning my week, and listening to my flatmate’s tinder date adventures, was the perfect ending. It feels good to be back on the blogging buzz, and goodness knows what this week will bring.