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Impress at your next work morning tea with this paleo vegan slice from Buffy Ellen at Be Good Organics
Makes 16

Takes 15 minutes + overnight to set

INGREDIENTS

For the base
1 1/2c rolled oats
1c desiccated coconut
1/2c almonds
1c dates
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 + 1/8 tsp sea salt

For the topping
2 1/2c cashews (soaked 2 hours, rinsed & drained)
3/4c filtered water
1/2c medjoul dates (5-6)
1/4c tahini (hulled)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut nectar
1/2 + 1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4c cacao butter (melted)

To sprinkle: 3/4c halved macadamias + freshlycracked sea salt

METHOD
1. Add all base ingredients (oats, coconut, almonds, dates, vanilla and salt) to a food processor or blender (I personally love my Vitamix) and blend until well combined and the mixture sticks together easily when pressed together between your thumb and forefinger.

2. Line a baking tray with baking paper (wet the inside of the baking tray to help it stick down). Pour the base in and press down firmly with the palm of your hand until a nice even flat surface is achieved – place in the fridge while you prepare the topping.

3. Place the cashews, water, medjoul dates, tahini, vanilla, coconut nectar and sea salt in a highspeed blender, until super smooth and creamy. There should be no lumps remaining. Scrape down the sides and blend again to ensure a super smooth finish.

4. Finally add the melted cacao butter and blend again until fully combined, then pour onto the base and spread down flat with a spatula.

5. Sprinkle over macadamias and press in lightly to the filling so they stick. Place in the freezer overnight to set.

6. The next day move the slice to the fridge for at least half an hour to soften slightly before slicing (the fridge allows it to soften evenly, as opposed to bench top where it will soften too much around the edges and not enough in the middle). After slicing into squares top with freshly cracked sea salt, then place back in the freezer in a sealed container for an hour to re-firm. Just before serving, add a little more freshly cracked sea salt for texture and visual deliciousness.

Stores happily in the freezer (if hidden) for up to 3 months.

NOTES

• This slice is naturally wheat free with the use of organic oats (which I love), but if you’d like to make it fully gluten free, simply replace the rolled oats with buckwheat, almonds or sunflower seeds (which will also incidentally make it paleo). Remember oats do contain a type of gluten called avenin, but most people are fine with this and don’t have any gastrointestinal reactions.
• This slice is just perfect on its own (straight from the freezer – yum!), but it also goes deliciously with some simple sliced banana as a dessert. Enjoy!

The post Recipe: Salted caramel macadamia slice appeared first on thisNZlife.

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A guide to everything that happens in the digestive system after a hen gobbles up its meal. 

Words: Sue Clarke

A chicken’s appetite is driven by its requirement for energy (calories) and protein. If its diet is high in fibre and low in fat and protein, it will eat more to try and reach its daily target for these nutrients.

When a hen gobbles up every scrap of your home-made porridge, left-over rice, surplus spaghetti or milk-soaked bread, it is not thinking about taste or texture. It’s packing away as much of this food as possible because it is low quality (in terms of fat and protein) and it knows it will need much more to fulfil its daily nutritional needs.

The poultry digestive system is very different to other mammals. Before you get to the workhorse intestines, there are three chambers which each carry out a different function to enable the intestines to extract the best value from what it eats.

The first chamber is the crop. This is a sac at the front of the bird’s chest which can expand to about the size of an orange in a big bird when filled with feed. It is merely a storage organ where some digestive enzymes in the saliva start breaking the food down. It allows the bird to rapidly eat a quantity of feed at one time so it doesn’t have to stay in an at-risk area for too long.

In a healthy bird, the crop will be full in the evening when it goes to roost, slowly reducing in size overnight as food is processed. By morning it will not be noticeable.

The next chamber is the ‘true stomach’, the proventriculus. This is where most of the enzymes are added and churned amongst the material coming in from the crop.

A chicken’s gizzard is a complex muscle. Small stones (grit) sit in folds inside it, helping to grind food as it passes through.

Food then moves into the gizzard, a muscular organ that squeezes and grinds the food particles to a fine mush. The gizzard contains small stones (insoluble grit) which the bird swallows to aid the grinding process.

Once thoroughly ground up, the material passes along into the intestines where the various nutrients in simple form pass through the intestinal walls and into the blood stream to be further processed or stored.

The remaining fibre and husks are excreted as pooh, along with the ‘urine’, the watery white urates that are released at the same time.

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An idea spun from a university project is making an explosive impression on the wine industry.

Words: Emma Rawson

The use of oak barrels is one of the oldest traditions in winemaking. Wine — particularly chardonnay and red varietals such as cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir — aged in oak becomes softer and takes on delicious flavours.

The porous nature of the oak also allows slow oxygenation of the wine without spoiling. However, investing in oak barrels is costly, especially for smaller wineries. Managing the barrels is also labour-intensive.

In 2014, five University of Auckland students studying towards a Masters of Commercialization and Entrepreneurship came up with an idea now shaking up wine-industry traditions.

In collaboration with the government’s Plant & Food Research Institute, they adapted technology initially used in protecting food in transit. The first use of the technology was for the acceleration of fruit ripening by the release of minute amounts of ethylene at a slow and consistent rate.

Their adaption of that technology is represented in a new product known as Wine Grenade. This nano-oxygenation device slowly releases oxygen into wine stored in stainless steel tanks, with the results mimicking the oak ageing process. The technology is more affordable than oak maturation for small wineries without the economies of scale.

Jonathan Boswell.

Oak barrel maturation can add $2 to $5 to the cost of a bottle of wine whereas Wine Grenade adds only four to eight cents a bottle.

“Consumers are demanding quality wines for less than $20 or $30 a bottle. It’s hard for the smaller wineries to compete in that market,” says co-founder and managing director of Wine Grenade Jonathan Boswell.

Wine Grenade won the University of Auckland Dragon’s Den-style entrepreneurial competition, the Velocity $100K Challenge, in 2014. This allowed them to work within the Icehouse business incubator and prepare to run commercial trials in New Zealand and the United States, which they did in 2015 and 2016.

“None of us has come from winemaking backgrounds,” says Jonathan who worked in law and banking before Wine Grenade. “This has meant we have a customer-centric approach to design.

“We’ve spent time talking to winemakers about what they need. We don’t assume anything. These conversations have shaped our understanding of the pain points and how our product acts as the solution.”

The company exports to Australia, the United States, Mexico, France, Spain, Belgium and South Africa. Chief product officer and co-founder Hamish Elmslie moved to California to work with United States distributor Enartis USA on expanding there.

“The US is currently our largest market, and it became clear we needed to have someone on the ground to focus on building relationships. It’s an adventure, and we’ve found the American market really receptive to a small New Zealand business,” says Hamish.

Elevator pitch: Wine Grenade helps winemakers achieve what happens naturally in an oak barrel but with more control. Wine Grenade gives winemakers ageing process data via smartphone.

Headwinds: New Zealand produces mostly sauvignon blanc — a varietal that doesn’t benefit from oak maturation. For the business to grow, it needs to be available in countries in which red varieties are grown. Another challenge is that the sales cycle of the wine industry is slow due to the long ageing time for wines.

Tailwinds: Following successful trials with big names in the wine industry such as Tony Bish of Sacred Hill, the company then found early adopters in key offshore markets in 2017 and 2018. Australian client Chapel Hill Wines recently won Best Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2018 Royal Sydney Wine Show with a Wine Grenade-aged bottle of wine that retails for about $20.

What next?: As Wine Grenade continues to expand into the United States, it is also exploring alternative applications for the technology. It is being trialed with whiskey in the United States and tequila in Mexico.

“It’s an exciting time for us. We’re focusing on the States at the moment because there are a lot of wineries of the right size there making the right varietals,” says Jonathan.

ADVICE:

“Entrepreneurship is as much about finding an opportunity to solve a market need as it is about being an expert on a market or in the technical area.

“Collaboration is critical to success. We have worked closely with world-class scientists, engineers and winemakers to develop our system. Through the process, we have benefited from the support of the New Zealand entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

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Jim reflects on his accident-prone past as his two daughters head to the operating theatre in the same week.

Words: Jim Kayes

“Dad,” the youngest began, “where are you going after work?”

After my morning radio show, I was heading to lunch with the Burns Support Group, an organisation that helps those who have suffered serious burns.

I’m their ambassador. As an eight-month-old toddler, racing around the kitchen in a walker I had burnt myself when I toppled a jug of boiling water over myself.

“What do you have to do?” she asked. When I admitted I was basically there to tell my story, she offered two bits of advice.

“Please don’t tell any dad jokes, and don’t tell the shark story.”

Sadly for the youngest, she has inherited my trait for being accident-prone and so she formed a big part of the tale I told at the lunch.

She was due back in the hospital for a tidy up of scarring left from surgery to repair her Achilles just over a year earlier. Her older sister was heading to the hospital two days after that to tighten a shoulder that dislocated twice over summer.

I’m fairly sure the school raised a skeptical eyebrow when I emailed them this information. They perhaps suspected that the Kayes were off to Fiji.

We’re not and this is just the result of bad genes – all mine. Dodgy shoulders are rife on my side of the family. I’ve had one done, two sisters have had a similar operation and my brother should’ve had his done.

And the accident-prone gene is purely mine. I’d broken my leg at four, scalped myself at five, run through a glass ranch slider at six and had about 300 stitches by the time I was eight.

Some of those were from surgery to help ease the pressure caused by scarring across my chest to my right arm. Imagine wearing a tee-shirt that’s too tight – that’s what the surgeon was fixing with his series of Z incisions.

The first of the two surgeries occurred when I was seven and Mum was told I would have my arm out horizontal in a cast for four weeks.

Five-year-old Jim after his accident with a jug of boiling water.

She could only imagine the nightmare a hyperactive boy with his arm in a horizontal cast was going to cause in a busy household.

I reckon I was far from impressed too.

Thankfully, a visiting surgeon from Pakistan performed the operation in an updated way and I was in a sling instead of the cast.

But I was still an accident waiting to happen as I explained at the lunch to my audience of burns survivors. There are many experiences we all have that put our lives into perspective. Burns survivors top my list.

There is something deeply humbling about being with them. It reminds me how lucky I am that as that toddler my aim was typically off and I missed my face, splashing instead my chest, arms and legs. It could’ve been so much worse.

So too for the eldest who dislocated her shoulder the first time in a swimming pool in a seemingly innocuous way. It almost defies belief however, she literally threw hers out doing butterfly. Last week I saw a cricketer dislocate hers with a celebratory air punch. It can happen easily.

The second time could have been much worse as it came out in the surf at Mount Maunganui during the surf life-saving nationals. As the waves pounded her, the IRB driver thought she was faking and told her to swim in – with one arm.

Ironically, it is that scenario (being in the surf, not being ignored by a bloke who should have been helpful) the surgeon detailed when he explained why she had to get the joint tightened up.

So we have two daughters heading to the operating theatre in the same week.

My audience of burns survivors, many of whom have endured multiple surgeries, chuckled along as I explained what was happening at home.

Then I told them about the shark.

As a lad, I’d explained away the scars from my burns and the surgeon’s scalpel as a shark attack. It was a story I told with great detail, imagination and vigour. My scars have never really bothered me – they’re all I’ve ever known and my mates growing up didn’t give two hoots – but the shark story was still fun to tell.

The trick was to see how long before politeness was put to one side and I called on my BS story.

My wife gave me a week then she said, “Mate, we need to talk about this shark story”.

Seeing past my scars was nothing compared to dealing with my jokes. The youngest will tell you that.

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Alpaca fan Britt Coker is sure the llamas have led the alpacas astray.

Words: Britt Coker

When people discover we have alpacas, the first thing they want to know is if they spit. No, I joke (joke!), that is the behaviour of their ill-mannered llama cousins.

You can divide alpaca spit into two categories: good and bad. The best spit is none at all, but sooner or later something grassy will hit you in the face. If it is good spit, it’s mildly inconvenient. If it is bad spit, it involves simultaneously swearing, gagging and running for the shower. If you have ever brewed comfrey tea you will know the smell of bad spit.

The difference between the two types of spit lies in the stomach. Literally. Bad spit is fermented, sloshing stomach contents, whereas good spit has only got as far as the alpaca’s mouth. Alpacas tend to start with the good – it’s closer to the exit – then reach for the bad if necessary. It’s so bad they’ll then stand around with their mouth open, green froth dripping.

Alpacas appear just as genuinely revolted by it as you are, but they can’t resist doing it again. However, it’s hard to stay angry when you can’t bear to purse your lips together.

How does this happen? The scenario goes like this. A kind human decides to feed her alpacas some nuts. She divides the food so there is one portion for each alpaca in its own container.

She then begins a strange-looking, unfashionable dance, some darting back and forth, a few elementary hokey-tokey manoeuvres (you put your left arm in and out and so on) as she tries to space the containers evenly without getting spat on.

But no. At least one alpaca doesn’t notice they have their own container and picks a fight with a second alpaca. They both raise their heads and make the noise of spit coming up their neck (alpaca speak: “I’m warning you”), usually followed by a quick shot of ‘good’ spit to silence their opponent.

If there is still no surrender, the ‘bad’ spit flies.

This is traditionally followed by the self-inflicted Drool of Disgust. Because their mouths are open, dribbling green evil, they can’t eat the pellets they were fighting over.

The good news is there’s usually a third alpaca standing not too far away who has quickly hoovered up their share and is now willing to take up the pellet slack. That is, unless a teeny tiny dollop of green spit has fallen onto the food. Then no camelid with any self-respect will touch the nuts with a barge pole.

A person usually gets spat on because they are standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is because, confusingly, alpacas do not tend to face each other when they first get into an argument (they may if things escalate). Typically, one faces straight ahead over the food source (eg, in front of the kind human) while the challenger stands at right angles to their opponent, arches their head high and spits.

In retaliation, their adversary then arches their head and also spits but sadly is not facing their opponent when they do this. They spit straight ahead, at the human, who quickly feels less kind.

The reason they don’t turn their head to face their adversary is partly due to the retaliatory spit being a reflex action, but also because it’s less confrontational.

The truth is, a low-ranked alpaca is unlikely to challenge for food in the first place. They’re usually focused on trying to eat as many of their pellets as they can before someone more bolshy butts in. They are brave enough to spit but not brave enough to turn their head.

Sometimes alpacas spit at people on purpose, but in my experience this is far less common.

If you’re thinking of adding alpacas to your menagerie, expect to be spat on, but consider it your fault for standing in range. If you’re visiting friends with alpacas, be suspicious if asked if you’d like to hold their food.

Either way, never ever walk into a paddock full of alpacas with only one container of food. The stampede toward you will be exhilarating, but they’ll have you surrounded and caught in the crossfire before you know what’s hit you.

Except you’ll know what’s hit you.

TELL YOUR STORY AND WIN

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We’d love to hear about your property and its animals, your projects, your life’s moments. Email editor@nzlifestyleblock.co.nz, and if you wish to include images, please send high resolution jpegs.

READ MORE

Learn the basics: alpaca farming in New Zealand

Six myths about alpaca

7 things you may not know about alpacas and meet Rosebud the premature baby alpaca (cria)

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A delivery business with a twist boosts returns for a Gisborne orchard.

Words Anna Tait-Jamieson, photographs Tessa Chrisp

First published in NZ Life & Leisure, September/October 2015, issue 63

Gisborne citrus entrepreneurs Sandy and Bron Kemp have no trouble remembering their first online sale. They were on holiday with their children, riding the roller coasters at Rainbow’s End, when Bron’s phone started beeping, alerting her to the biggest thrill of the day. Their website Twisted Citrus had just gone live and already there was an order for one box of oranges. “It was very exciting. I was like, oh my god, it works!”

That was two years ago. Since then the Kemps have sold hundreds of boxes of oranges and, with the addition of lemons, limes, mandarins, grapefruit and avocados (sourced from other local growers), they’re now dispatching about 80 boxes of seasonal fruit a week to households and businesses across the country.

Online sales are projected to more than double this year and, while it remains a small part of their orcharding business, Twisted Citrus provides a much better return than sending their fruit through the pack house.

They’ve been orchardists for 12 years, ever since they bought an overgrown property outside Gisborne on the Poverty Bay flats. It came with an established kiwifruit orchard and a charming villa in which they now live with their three children, Joe, Hattie and Stella.

They knew very little about fruit growing when they took on the orchard – Bron was a nurse and Sandy had been working for a wool buyer – but they pulled it around, signed a contract with Zespri and made use of a spare two hectares by planting 1600 navel orange trees. With the benefit of hindsight they could have made more money out of mandarins but oranges seemed like a good bet at the time and, as Sandy says, “it’s always a bit speculative when you plant fruit trees”.

In the early days he supplemented his pack-house income by hawking bags of oranges on the side of the road and selling directly to fruit shops in Hawke’s Bay.

As volumes increased that mode of selling was no longer viable but it had been a valuable experience. Not only was it more lucrative but it had put him in touch with the end consumer and it made him and Bron realize how much people outside their region loved Gisborne oranges.

As time passed, they also saw how growers in other parts of the country were benefitting from the regional cachet of their produce. “There were apricots and cherries coming out of Otago and apples out of Blenheim and we thought, we’re in the orange capital of New Zealand here and no one’s doing online selling of citrus.”

The website was the obvious place to start but it was months before they were ready to take their first order. “When we thought of the idea it was like, oh yeah, let’s sell oranges online,” recalls Bron. “I would never have realized how much work it was to set up.”

With Sandy running the orchard, much of the work fell to Bron. She enlisted a designer and photographer for the website, set up the social media platforms, organized couriers and helped design the attractive black box packaging that fits their premium brand. She says the first year was full-on as she took charge of the logistics, ensuring the fruit was picked, packed and despatched for optimal freshness, while continuing to run the home, the kids and her existing garden design work.

The Kemps, it has to be said, are extremely well organized. And tidy. Their office and packing shed are neat as a pin, the trees are well tended, the hedges clipped and there’s not a single leaf in the swimming pool. They are perfectionists, which makes it all the harder when things don’t go according to plan. S

quashed boxes, damaged fruit and missing orders had Bron tearing out her hair in the first year of business. “I’d get a complaint and I would just die. I was really stroppy with the couriers. It took a lot of work, making them realize we wanted our boxes turning up on time and looking good.”

That problem’s all sorted but the cost of transport in and out of Gisborne remains a challenge. “We’re remote. It’s expensive, and we have to incorporate that price into our boxes.” So yes, it costs more but Bron says there’s no comparison when it comes to quality. Their customers are getting the best fruit off the tree and they’re willing to pay for the service.

It’s early days but the future looks bright. Sandy has plans to introduce more citrus varieties into the orchard and Bron is working on the potentially lucrative gift market.

She says starting a business from scratch has been a huge amount of work but they’re both loving the challenge of doing something that’s completely different. And they’re loving the customer feedback, which these days is almost entirely positive.

“A lady emailed me just the other day,” says Bron. “She said: ‘I’ve got one gripe. My six-year-old will now eat only your oranges. I had to buy some from the supermarket the other day and she said, I’m not eating those. I want the nice ones in the black box’.”

DOING THE BUSINESS

  • What has been your biggest challenge?
    Couriers and the cost of transport.
  • And your biggest advantage?
    The internet and the rising popularity of online buying have made the business possible. Facebook has been great for spreading the word and for promotional giveaways.
  • Was there a breakthrough moment?
    Selling mandarins. We started with oranges and then realized we could sell other citrus as well. Mandarins were the first and they really took off.
  • What help have you had?
    Initially, business mentoring through the Gisborne Chamber of Commerce. (We had some really awesome mentors who helped with marketing.) Ongoing, we have local growers who supply us with their best fruit and make the mixed boxes possible. And our parents and friends look after the kids when we’re picking on Sundays.
  • Who are your customers?
    Households and businesses. More than half our customers are from the lower South Island where they generally can’t grow citrus. We sell lots of lemons and limes to restaurants and bars and many people send fruit as gifts – we get parents with kids at varsity who send boxes to their flats.

ORANGE & COCONUT SMOOTHIE
The Kemp family gets through two litres of freshly squeezed orange juice a day, neat or in smoothies like this one.
4 fresh oranges, peeled
¼ cup coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar, to taste
2 cups ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serves 4

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Ask anyone who’s had a Brazilian, Botox or felt the repeated sting of IPL, beauty treatments can hurt. But some are so transforming, it’s better to embrace than avoid.

Words: Tracey Strange Watts

ZOOM WHITENING

The road to beauty is paved with petty hurts and humiliations — waxing, laser zaps, disposable G-strings. But few experts offer quite the same menu of indignities as dentists.

Dentists employ a class of professionals to deal with drool. They ask you questions when your mouth is open like a car door. I can usually evaluate the success of a session with my dentist by how many times I sigh involuntarily.

The more sighs, the more nervous I am.

Fronting up at Auckland’s Cameron and Field to get my teeth professionally whitened took fortification in the form of a couple of strong, teeth-staining coffees. I felt anxious. My pearlers were already jumpy. I was forewarned the treatment took more than an hour. It had all the makings of a multi-sigh morning.

Enter Robyn Cameron. Looking for thoroughness in a dentist? Seek no more. “Hmm,” she said sunnily, examining my teeth to ascertain if I were a suitable candidate. “Spinach for breakfast?”

Zoom Whitening is non-invasive and tailored to provide the level of “lightness” you want (dentists here aren’t fans of the pure-white smiles favoured in the United States).

While the mouth is held open by a plastic mouthpiece, light shines on a gel that’s applied to the teeth. The beam activates the gel, made from pH-balanced hydrogen peroxide, and teeth are whitened, sometimes by as many as eight shades.

Some find their teeth get a little sensitive during and after the process, a normal reaction that diminishes in a day or so and the result of teeth becoming dehydrated. Any discomfort is alleviated by over-the-counter painkillers.

The results? Nearly two hours of mute grimacing felt like the best two hours I’d spent when I looked at my new teeth. Perfectly natural but a few shades lighter, they looked brighter, cleaner and fresher. I wanted to smile which, frankly, is the point.

Unless you are going to avoid coffee, red wine and highly coloured foods, your new white teeth will eventually discolour.

If you are relatively careful, however, the results can last for years. The urge to grin blindingly at everyone also wears off, but for a while, the procedure made me hugely happy.

I guess that’s the power of a smile.

Zoom Whitening is $960 at Cameron & Field. The cost includes a clean and consult, done a week or so before.

PHOTO FINISH

One of the benefits of appearance medicine treatments is that they usually offer almost immediate results. But the cost relative to daily skin care and the fact that they are often performed in doctors’ surgeries causes understandable wariness.

Sometimes they hurt. And, sometimes, treatments designed to prevent you from ageing prematurely pose a particular problem for practitioners: how do they prove they can repair something that hasn’t yet happened?

The best approach is to trust the experts. When I ask Dr Ellen Selkon of Auckland’s Clinic 42 for a list of cosmetic therapies she most favours, the Photo Finish treatment (also known as the V2 Beauty Booster) is right up there.

The process combines ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid with botulinum toxin delivered via micro injections. Simply put, hyaluronic acid, which the body produces naturally, gives the skin a smooth, juicy quality.

The botulinum toxin (Botox or Dysport, for example) reduces the output of sweat and sebaceous glands, helping to minimize the appearance of pores. The use of needles — in the case of Photo Finish via a multi-needle gun called the V2 — stimulates collagen production leading to less fine lines, increased elasticity and a long-lasting healthy glow.

A Photo Finish treatment isn’t for the faint of heart.

Two-thirds of the way through — perhaps as the topical anaesthetic started to wear off — I found myself whining.

Full disclosure: this isn’t unusual. I am a wimp. I wince at Botox and find IPL painful. Ping, ping, ping, and on it goes, like an army of ants, all wearing sprigged boots, tap-dancing on your face. In my view — and I am aware that few others think the same — the V2 gun feels like dancing insects on steroids.

Was it worth it? Yes. My skin since has been plumper, better hydrated and smoother. The result is similar to how the skin on the body feels after it’s been soaked in oil and massaged — firmer and less fragile. Would I do it again? Tick.

A Photo Finish treatment at Clinic 42 costs $1100 and results last approximately six months.

MICROBLADING

There’s no getting around it: good brows make all the difference. They frame the eyes, balance the features and provide a more polished look.

But if over-plucking has left you with the type of mean arches favoured by the evil stepmother in a Disney movie, microblading may be your saviour.

A form of tattooing that involves “drawing” on individual strokes with a special microblading pen that implants pigment under the skin, it’s like trompe l’oeil for the face. Naturally, its success is hugely dependant on the talents of the practitioner, so choose yours wisely.

As I did. “I hear good brows can take five kilos off you,” I say hopefully, sitting in a chair at Auckland’s Off & On.

“Absolutely,” says brow technician Nichola Tingle. Then, (sotto voce) “… if it were true, I’d be very rich.”

The truth is well-shaped brows won’t necessarily make you look leaner (although many makeup artists claim they can slim down the face) but they can add balance, diverting attention from strong jaws, optically elongating round faces and horizontally balancing long ones.

Beauty editors spend their working lives testing and writing about the latest treatments. We’re regularly pampered, petted and painted. We are among the first to know about the ingredients in the latest miracle creams and the products that will make hair smooth, skin glow and cheeks flush.

Interfering with our brows makes us twitchy. It took me years — and 20 rounds of chemotherapy — to even consider allowing someone to etch on my brows semi-permanently. Nichola, however, was unfazed, confident enough to be hugely reassuring, sensitive enough to listen.

Thanks to numbing cream, the process — over two sessions — was painless. The results are perfect — natural-looking, effortless and flattering. My 76-year-old mum wants hers done.

“Browography”, Off & On’s signature semi-permanent brow microblading tattoo, costs $895. Touch-ups (about every 18 months) are $250.

IPL/VPL

Age spots have a way of reminding one of sunny days gone by, days when sunblock should have been applied and was not, days when hands, face legs, back and legs glowed a little too warm after a day of sunshine.

Unlike smile lines, hands covered in liverish blemishes don’t speak of jokes enjoyed and laugh-out-loud moments. They speak plainly of the years that have passed. And if that view isn’t the desired one, it is possible to reverse time by treating the age spots with IPL (Intense Pulsed Light).

At Dr Teresa Cattin’s FaceWorks clinic on Auckland’s North Shore, pigment-spotted hands are routinely returned to a smoother younger look after three or four IPL treatments.

While these treatments are not harsh, they aren’t without discomfort, as they specifically target the excess melanin in the sun-damaged skin.

This feeling — a bit like being repeatedly pinged with an elastic band — is most noticeable when IPL is being applied to the bony backs of the hands. The brown spots turn much darker for up to six or seven days before brushing off, leaving the new skin fresher and more evenly toned.

And it’s well worth slathering on sunblock to keep it so. Regular use of FaceWorks Skin Lightening Crème is also recommended to help keep those brown spots away.

IPL for pigmentation on the hands costs $175 a session at FaceWorks. A similar treatment, using VPL (variable pulsed light) is also offered at Caci Clinics nationwide. VPL safely pulses high-energy light beams through the skin’s surface, targeting pigmentation in the underlying tissue and minor surface blood vessels.

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If you love summer fruit, or fruit all year round, now is the time to go wild and plant your dream orchard.

Words: Nadene Hall

1. You can choose the tree that best suits your block

Commercial apple trees – and there are only a handful of varieties available in supermarkets – travel and store well and can require a lot of spraying. Their desired features are also often at the expense of things like disease-resistance or hardiness.

In contrast, there are thousands of heirloom fruit trees and out of them there will be ones that suit your particular climate issues and soils, and when you choose the right one, you’re not going to require pesticides to keep it healthy and productive.

2. They are significantly more nutritious

Probably the most famous heritage fruit tree in NZ is an apple called Monty’s Surprise, a lone tree found on a remote farm near Whanganui.

When its fruit was tested, along with more than 250 other apple varieties, it was found to have the highest levels of procyanidins of any tested worldwide so far, and far, far greater than commercial types.

This, and substantial levels of other compounds, gives them the potential to be far superior varieties for human health, preventing disease, including cancer.

3. You can grow your own alcohol supply

If you’re old enough to remember trying apples from gnarly old trees that were sour enough to make your eyes water, you’ll know cider apples and perry pears aren’t for eating.

But put them under pressure and let them bubble away and you’ll have your own brewery.

4. You can grow fruit to last you year-round

A traditional orchard would have had something fruiting in it all year.

There would be plums and peaches from November, and apples right into May, citrus throughout winter and then all the fruits that were grown specifically because they stored well, especially apples which – if you get the right heritage varieties and store them properly – will naturally last from picking in May until early summer.

5. You get to choose the best-named fruit

Marketers choose names for modern fruit: Pacific Rose, Fuji, Jazz. But why go for boring when you can grow trees with names like Slap Ma Girdle (cider apple), Jelly King (crabapple, used in preserves), Belle du Jumet (a sweet sugar pear), Elephant Heart (dessert/bottling plum), and Pudge (small golden peach).

There are nurseries all over NZ that specialise in heritage fruit trees, and don’t let location hold you back. Fruit trees travel well and it can be well worth a small investment in travel to get trees that will be feeding you and the families that come after you.

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Never again pick up a pre-made supermarket loaf.

Recipe: Ruth Pretty

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

6 small rolls/baps, or 1 baguette
100g butter, diced
8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely
chopped
¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
small grind of black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped parsley and/or chives

METHOD

Cut rolls, baps or baguette three-quarters through (as if for a hot-dog roll).

Melt about 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy frying pan and cook garlic until soft and aromatic (don’t let it brown). Cool.

Whiz the remaining butter in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add melted butter, garlic, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Tip into a small bowl, add chopped herbs and spread on the cut surfaces of the bread.

Wrap rolls or baps individually in foil (the baguette as one piece). The bread can be refrigerated or frozen beforehand but bring to room temperature before baking.

Heat the oven to 180°C. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until bread is crisp on the outside and the butter has melted.

Serve immediately.

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Exploring the Chatham Islands in the new Holden SUV range - Vimeo

 Friendly people, wild landscapes and ancient treasures are to be found exploring the remote Chatham Islands in the new Holden SUV range.

Words and photos: Kelly Gillbanks. Additional photos and video by Simon Watts.

Chatham Islanders are a hardy bunch. The 600 residents of the island archipelago, 862 kilometres east of Christchurch, form one of New Zealand’s most remote communities. There’s no cellphone coverage, and a freighter brings supplies from Timaru a couple of times a month.

When there’s nothing but the wide blue yonder between home and the mainland, improvising and ingenuity become a way of life. Number eight wire isn’t just an expression – it’s used to fix a wonky appliance or broken car. Thankfully, there’s no need for amateur mechanics as we explore the Chathams’ rugged terrain from the comfort of the new Holden SUV range, testing the vehicles’ abilities to adapt to all conditions including gravel roads, hilly paddocks and sand as the weather flits between sunshine and blustery rain.


According to NIWA, it rains 200 days of the year here, and the wildlife has acclimatized to the environment. There are 18 bird species unique to the islands, The Chatham Island tūī and Chatham Island pigeon/parea, both sub-species of the mainland varieties, are larger and heavier than their mainland counterparts, perhaps an indication that in these parts, only the strong survive.

Chatham Island pigeon/parea.

But there was a time when the Chathams and the mainland were not separate. The Chathams originally formed the eastern tip of the 4.9-million-square-kilometre continent, Zealandia (Te Riu-a-Māui). The areas were separated by seismic activity 65 million years ago, and parts of the land sank into the ocean, leaving the Chathams on its lonesome.


The wild beauty of the islands makes it an ideal destination for a road trip to celebrate Holden’s 65th anniversary in New Zealand. Our road trip through Chatham Island, the largest island in the archipelago, is the ultimate New Zealand driving experience, ideal for testing the premium range of Holden SUVs including the Acadia, Equinox, Commodore Tourer, Trax and the island favourite, Trailblazer, popular because it has a diesel engine.

MORNING HAS BROKEN
Our drive begins at sunrise outside the Hotel Chatham in Waitangi, the unofficial “capital” of the islands. The Chathams are 45 minutes ahead of the rest of New Zealand and are the first place in the world to see the sun. Waitangi Wharf is known as “State Highway One” as the weekly supply boat is the connection to the mainland.

Toni Croon, the publican at the Hotel Chatham, is our tour guide for the day. We drive east of Waitangi to Manukau Farm near Ōwenga village and Cape Fournier.

Tame Horomona Rehe (commonly known as Tommy Solomon).

Toni’s dog Pipi is as fit as a fiddle and runs along next to the car for part of the journey but, when inside, enjoys the heated seats of the Holden. The land is owned by the Solomon family, descendants of Tame Horomona Rehe (commonly known as Tommy Solomon), a prominent Moriori leader of whom there is a statue.

Thomas Mohi Tuuta (Rangaika) Scenic Reserve.

On the side of the Cape on the south-east coast is Thomas Mohi Tuuta (Rangaika) Scenic Reserve. It’s usually a six-hour walk to see the dramatic cliffs and their 200-metre drop to the ocean but, thankfully, a local allows us to drive through his farm to see the views, so we don’t have to put on our tramping boots.

MOAS AND OTHER TALL TALES

Chatham Islanders are incredibly friendly and wave as we drive past on our way back to the main road. Even the farm animals seem freer here – sheep, cows and emus run alongside the Holden during our journey.

Wild emus.

It’s a local tradition to play tricks on mainland visitors. Toni tries to convince us the wild emus – escapees from a failed farming venture – are moas. Nice try, but we’re almost caught out again as we drive further north when she tells us that Red Bluff beach is called Contemplation Bay and the three islands in the distance called The Sisters are called Toni, Simone and Monique. (I later learn these are the names of her and her sisters.)

LOCAL CELEBRITY
We travel up the gravel roads – Port Hutt Road and Waitangi West Road – and put the Holden to the test further when we go off-road up hilly terrain to meet local celebrity Helen Bint.

Helen lives in a Category One-listed historic stone cottage by Maunganui hill – an area that’s quite isolated, even by Chatham Island standards (Meet Helen in NZ Life & Leisure, issue 63). Her basalt stone home was built in approximately 1868 by two missionaries.

Helen lives a simple existence with few creature comforts. There is a coal range stove, and she washes her clothes and linen in a bucket. She has a basic solar energy set up and her radio is powered through a car battery. Helen moved to the cottage from Nelson 10 years ago, putting everything she owned on the back of a truck aboard the freighter from Timaru – “a bit like in the Beverly Hillbillies”.

She discovered fossilized sea sponges from the Palaeocene era (66 to 56 million years ago) on a northwest beach, and last year she was awarded the Harold Wellman prize by the Geoscience Society of New Zealand. “I have more adventures here than I ever had living on the main road of Nelson,” she says.

CATCH OF THE DAY
Fishing is the largest industry in the Chathams, and crayfish pots are dotted along the coastline. It’s fitting that while we’re here, we catch our dinner. We pull up the Holdens at the beach at Waitangi West and quickly gather a bucket of pāua from shallow rocks at low tide.

We use a special pāua knife, which has a measuring attachment to make sure we don’t take under-sized molluscs. But there’s no chance of that; these are huge.

SHARK ENCOUNTERS
At Te Whanga lagoon, we stop to look for sharks. Not live ones, but the fossilized teeth of a shark ancestor called Eugomphodus macrotus. The fossils can be found in limestone near the water’s edge. Due to its unique geological history, the Chathams is one of only three places in New Zealand where dinosaur bones have been discovered.

Theropods (the family of dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex belongs to), as well as herbivorous dinosaurs and marine reptiles such as mosasaurs and elasmosaurs, lived in this area before dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago.

The shark teeth in the lagoon are a little younger than that, a mere 30 million years old. Finding a shark tooth on the shelly shore is like finding a needle in a haystack – but I count myself lucky when I manage to find three little teeth.

DINNER OF CHAMPIONS
Toni takes us to the Admiral Cottage, boutique accommodation owned by her parents, Val and Lois. We learn how to shuck pāua with a quick flick of the wrist, and then tenderize the molluscs with a mallet before Lois transforms them into a pāua curry.

We eat like royalty, dining on blue cod bites, crayfish and the pāua curry, the perfect end to an incredible day.

NOTEBOOK

Getting there: Air Chathams flies daily from several different New Zealand centres including Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The fleet includes a Convair CV-580, a propeller-driven 1950s aircraft.
Where to stay: The Hotel Chatham is a one-stop shop for accommodation, casual dining and private tours.

We drove the Holden SUV range while exploring the Chathams, and my favourite was the luxurious and spacious Acadia. More on the Holden SUV range below:

HOLDEN ACADIA
The all-new Holden Acadia is the ideal family-orientated SUV as it is incredibly spacious and is loaded with technology and safety features. It is capable of off-road adventuring onto less accessible parts of the countryside. This dynamically capable vehicle features a powerful V6 engine paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and features a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

HOLDEN TRAILBLAZER
Based on the hugely popular Holden Colorado, the Trailblazer delivers unparalleled levels of off-road capability, seven-seats or an extended luggage carrying capacity when seats are folded down. The Trailblazer LTZ features a 2.8-litre Duramax diesel engine, delivering 147kW of power combined with 500Nm of torque in the automatic model. The 6-speed automatic transmission with Shift-on-the-Fly 4WD offers the greatest towing ability of all the Holden SUV range.

HOLDEN EQUINOX
Equinox is the most popular Sport Utility Vehicle in the General Motors new-vehicle portfolio and is sold in 116 markets internationally. Its 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, delivering 188kW of power and 353Nm of torque. Equinox is a true enthusiast’s SUV as it offers all-wheel drive capability as well as being an outstanding driving experience.

HOLDEN TRAX
The Trax offers interior flexibility and cargo hauling capability, which belies its size. There are 387 litres of storage space with the back seats in place and more than twice that with them folded flat. Additionally, with the front passenger seat folded flat, one can transport objects nearly two-and-half meters long, such as a surfboard.
The Trax has a five-star ANCAP rating and features six standard airbags with side curtain airbags that extend to the back row as well as driver assist..

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