Yes that is the Auckland Museum… I think it would make an awesome home.

Real Groovy, originally uploaded by Annalise Davidson.

So the buzz going around this week… Real Groovy has gone into receivership and could eventually be shutting its doors. The sad thing is, I was just thinking to myself the other day… “I can’t believe Real Groovy is still going, thats amazing, I can’t even remember the last time I went there.” Which is a shame considering how much time I used to spend in there… hours & hours, sometimes it felt like days. In fact, if they had a café in there I probably would have spent days in there hanging out.

What is more sad is that this isn’t just the loss of an awesome music (and books, dvds, games, clothes) store, this is the loss of an Auckland institution. This is our Empire Records. A place where you met people, made friends, went on dates and fell in love.

Not only that, but this is the end of music as we know it. Sure I love my iPod and I really love iTunes but does anyone else feel like music just isn’t the same anymore? Now we live in a fast food world with fast food music. Manufactured pop downloaded in seconds, instantaneous and disposable. Does anyone remember the last time you bought an album, sat down listened to it and appreciated the whole thing as a piece of art, a piece of the artist, of the musician, just as they intended it to be? Remember the first album you bought as a kid, remember what it meant to you? The memories and the moment in time when it represented who you were. Do you feel that way about most of the music these days?

That is what we’ll be losing when Real Groovy finally shuts its doors and its a whole lot worse than just losing a music store.

So, finally it feels like spring has arrived. I’ve been seeing more sun than rain clouds for the last few days and everything just starts to feel different. I’ve been noticing the magnolia blooms throwing their petals to the ground and the green buds of the plane trees in our street. I love this time of year because the air feels full of anticipation, a feeling that around the corner something exciting is waiting for you.There are exciting things coming up though, and not the figurative kind.

Queen of the Nile Costume - Women's Sexy Roman Costume

NOT the outfit I'm going to wear

The Auckland Warriors surprised everyone on Sunday night (including themselves I think) with a win over the Melbourne Storm. This means a play-off home game between the Warriors and Sydney Roosters this Friday night. I was hoping to get some tickets but they sold out so quickly… I think I used up all my Ticketek luck when I managed to score the Chris Rock tickets.

Also, next month I have an Egyptian Party to go to which I’m very much looking forward to. As for the costume, well I’m still working on ideas and I don’t know whether I should buy one or try my hand at making my own.

It has been fun researching it though and I’ve found a couple of good sites but I don’t know if its really going to get to the point where I want to papier-mâché anything! Maybe I should just stick to buying a costume.

Ah, another weekend done, another week begun.

Friday Night: Dinner at Prego of course! Pizza bread with Aioli to start, entrée of Roast Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart and for my main I had the Steak.. yum! The kids just love going there, and finding a restaurant that gives them crayons is always a bonus (although surely they must be getting too old for this soon?). I love how they always need to take a trip to the bathroom (even though they probably don’t need to go) just like I did when I was a kid… I guess some things never change? I think it is probably a rare thing that a restaurant that my parents took me too when I was 10 years old (and I went to every year on my birthday) I can now take my son too. Thats kind of special when you think about it!Wallet

Saturday: Ben and I headed off to the city to purchase Mr Fletcher’s Fathers Day present. I had already decided that I was going to buy him a new wallet as the one we had purchased together in Thailand was starting to look a bit worse for wear (no surprises there). We headed to Smith & Caughey first, even though I had pretty much made up my mind about where I was going to buy the present. Of course Ben dragged me to the childrens section up stairs but they seemed to have stopped selling toys (thank goodness for that) but they do now have Burberry for Children! Not sure I can justify spending $300 on a dress for one of the girls however! But S&C still had a lot of clothes left over from their sale so I bought a skirt for each of the girls (Elle & Trelise Cooper Kids) and Ben got this great jacket that he just loved… (I have no idea what his obsession with suits is about). So $200 later we headed down Queen Street… down to Mont Blanc. I don’t know why Mr Fletcher and I love Mont Blanc so much but between us we now have… 1 wallet, 1 watch, 2 bracelets and 1 necklace. Talk about loyal clientele! So after the purchase of the beautiful leather wallet there was nothing left but head to the Warehouse so Ben could get his crappy toy fix. OoOo Tamagotchi Version 5!! He was spending his own birthday money and it made him happy.

Sunday was Fathers Day and Mr Fletcher celebrated it in style. This means: feigning appreciation of the children’s homemade cards and breakfast, going for a walk, having a long bath, reading the newspaper, laying around playing video games, watching TV, having a long nap, and going out for teppanyaki. Not a bad day huh? The kids had never had teppanyaki before though so they thought it was great when the chef almost light himself on fire… brilliant! In fact Ben must have been inspired because he turned to me and told me he might decide to become a chef when he grows up (so long as he doesn’t become a pyromaniac).

In my line of work we have deadlines we have to work to which can find you very busy, but at the other end of the spectrum there can also be alot of downtime, which leaves me empty hours to fill. So, how do I fill those hours? By doing alot of web surfing (and writing my blog, and uploading photos on flickr etc.)

One of my favourite places to while away the time and feel like you’re doing something creative at the same time is at Ze Frank. There are lots of things to find inspiration from and lots of interactive toys to play with. My favourite is the Scribbler because I can mess around with it for hours always achieving something artistic and different. Here is a picture I made using the Scribbler.

You must also check what Ze Frank is up to on ColorWars – the YoungMe/NowMe submissions are absolutely classic. I think I might be inspired to join in, just need to find the perfect Baby Photo first.

Want a beautifully designed book, filled with gorgeously reproduced photos and written about an obscure subject you didn’t know you were interested in until you picked this book? Welcome to Taschen.

Anyone who knows me probably knows that I have an addiction to books that borders on the unhealthy. I look at them, I read them and I buy them (then I usually stack them). I’ve always been drawn to Taschen books, the subject range usually overlaps with my ever-changing interests… from Alchemy to Pop Art. There are probably very few Taschen books I wouldn’t read or appreciate. They do a fantastic range of design books including illustration & art.

My most desired book would have to be the limited edition title about the Japanese photographer Araki.

Everything about this book drips with beauty and seduction, just like the photos of Araki himself. If you are not familiar with his work you will soon want to be, although certainly his photography is not for everyone and some of it is definitely not safe for work.

This is an extremely high production volume limited to just 2500 copies and each individually numbered and signed by Araki himself. What a shame they cost £2000 each… I guess I will just have to make do with the Abridged Budget Version for £40 instead.

I’m loving this great new site I found… PhotoFunia – obviously its somthing you can do in photoshop pretty easily if you have the time but using this site is so quick and simple and some of the images you can select from are pretty cool. Check out this one I did using a (slightly photoshopped) image of Mr Fletcher.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to join Mr Fletcher in Sydney for the weekend as he was already over there for work. We had grand plans: hit the shops, wander through the art galleries, make fun of the bats in the botanical gardens and chow down in Three Hat restaurants.

It started well, I was flying Emirates and was lucky enough to get upgraded so I spent 3 hours lying back, relaxing and sipping Moet but when I arrived, Mr Fletcher’s plane from Melbourne had been delayed… for an hour and a half! As you can imagine, my champagne buzz wore off pretty quick.

But even better than that was the fact that Mr Fletcher had come down with a very nasty flu [man flu] leading us to spend 75% of the weekend in the hotel room while Mr Fletcher moaned, groaned, coughed and sneezed. Perhaps this was some kind of karmic revenge for the time I went to Melbourne for the weekend and got the flu BUT at least I dragged myself out of bed to go out to dinner 3 nights in a row, this time I had to suffer the indignity of 2 nights of mediocre, hotel room service.

Mr Fletcher did manage to redeem himself on the Sunday night with cocktails at the Opera House and dinner at Aria Restaurant. Yes, it IS one of the most expensive restaurants we’ve dined at and probably not one you would choose for a random, sunday, early evening but the food WAS amazing & the wine outstanding. Lovely warm, inviting dining room with a fantastic harbour view and looking right at the Opera House. Starting with an amuse bouche of Sweet Potato Soup topped with Parmesan foam which was divine, followed by my entrèe which was an amazing variation of the traditional Caprese Salad but with Buffalo Ricotta, Jamòn & toasted Focaccia… this dish was just incredible.. with its use of tomatoes and herbs it managed to transport me to a sunny summer afternoon. For my main I had the Lamb Loin which because of its tender, juicy texture I will venture to say was probably sous-vide cooked, and was accompanied with deconstructed ratatouille, this dish was great but after the mind-blowing entrèe it had too much expectation to live up to and suffered just a little because of that. We had asked the sommelier to recommend an Australian chardonnay for us, as our knowledge of Australian wines is still only limited to an (excellent) handful. Instead he actually pointed us in the direction of a Montrachet which was beautiful but sadly I can’t remember the name of. My only regret that we were too full for dessert, what a shame.

So yes, it was a rather disappointing holiday and probably a fairly large waste of money but at least I had one very memorable meal and that is definitely, always, worth something.

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