Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FASHION, KARLYA SMITH - Pho­tos: Chris Skel­ton

One of my worst qual­i­ties is that I hate things I’m not al­ready good at. I’m usu­ally pretty ca­pa­ble and sure of my­self, so learn­ing a new skill – while ob­vi­ously a good thing – throws me. Sure, even­tu­ally you’re even more com­pe­tent, but be­fore that, there’s the pe­riod of awk­ward­ness and un­cer­tainty where you don’t know what you’re do­ing. It’s hell to me. Of course, I push through that dis­com­fort, be­cause the al­ter­na­tive is never learn­ing any­thing new. That’s worse than feel­ing frus­trated and em­bar­rassed for a short pe­riod of time.

For ex­am­ple – and here’s how you can tell I’m a very se­ri­ous in­tel­lec­tual – I’ve re­cently taught my­self to curl my hair with straight­en­ing irons. Yes,

I know many peo­ple fig­ured this out 10 years ago, but ev­ery time I’ve tried be­fore now it’s been too hard and I’ve ended up swear­ing at the mir­ror. Not the dream.

Armed with a re­newed sense of de­ter­mi­na­tion and a cou­ple of YouTube videos, though, I’ve given it an­other crack. The trick is to watch tu­to­ri­als where some­one is styling their own hair, so you can copy their move­ments. Fig­ur­ing out which way you’re ro­tat­ing the irons is half the bat­tle.

On about my third at­tempt with the new ghd Plat­inum+ Styler, $380, some­thing clicked, and now I can give my­self the curls of my dreams in about 15 min­utes (I’ve got a lot of hair, so it’s a bit of a mir­a­cle). Those irons are eye-wa­ter­ingly ex­pen­sive, but with a rounded bar­rel and self-mon­i­tor­ing plates that make sure you’re not burn­ing your hair, they do give a sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter re­sult than cheaper al­ter­na­tives.

Once you’ve got the ba­sic move­ment down, you can mix it up a bit. Shak­ing your curls out with your hands and adding a bit of tex­tur­is­ing spray (Sch­warzkopf Ex­tra Care Hair Spray Body & Tex­ture, $8, is a good su­per­mar­ket op­tion) will give a more laid back, re­laxed look.

To take things to a sleek, glam sort of a place, gen­tly brush your styled hair so the curls form smooth, shiny waves. A pad­dle brush like the Mae Es­sen­tials one, $17, and a spot of Sam McKnight Mod­ern Hair­spray Mist, $48, are your al­lies here. This hair­spray is an­other item in the “pricey but worth it” col­umn – I have no idea how they en­gi­neered this level of hold with­out stiff­ness, but I’m so glad they did. Gamechanger.

never go­ing to open a fine-din­ing restau­rant. I wouldn’t do that to my fam­ily.

I haven’t come to the coun­try to re­tire or take it easy. When I do some­thing and I’m con­nected, I need to do it to the best of my abil­ity. If I’m not push­ing my­self then what’s the point?

We’re still in growth mode. We want a real gar­den-to-plate fo­cus, but to do it for real. I’m work­ing re­ally closely with a per­ma­cul­tur­al­ist to lay the foun­da­tions for some­thing mean­ing­ful and sus­tain­able.

I’ve got a motto: what grows to­gether goes to­gether. We’ve been putting so much ef­fort into our gar­dens at work that I’ve ne­glected my beds at home. Last year when it came time for din­ner we were pick­ing zuc­chini, cape goose­ber­ries, basil, toma­toes. Ev­ery­thing you pull out of the earth and it’s fresh and you wash it and it’s raw, it just tastes sur­real. It tastes like the sun.

I can see my­self be­ing here for a very long time. Within this enor­mous prop­erty we’ve still got so much land to tap into. There’s re­sources and time on our side to do it prop­erly. That’s some­thing you don’t nec­es­sar­ily get in the city be­cause it’s com­pet­i­tive and cut throat.

I think even­tu­ally peo­ple will re­alise there are op­tions other than Wai­heke. You don’t have to queue for the ferry or worry about trans­port. The set­ting out here on a nice day is quite in­cred­i­ble.

My fam­ily are re­ally set­tled in school and we’ve got such a nice house in Birken­head.

We’re in a do-up phase. We scored a 1950s-style bun­ga­low that has been added onto about four times over the years. We’re do­ing the whole thing up. We love our prop­erty, the out­look and the space. It’s an enor­mous home, so I’m very happy.

When we have din­ner at home it’s al­ways to­gether. That’s very im­por­tant to us. We al­ways eat fam­ily-style around the ta­ble and talk. We do that ev­ery day, but on Sun­day

I might cook a joint of meat or do some­thing a bit nicer.

The con­nec­tion with my kids has al­ways been re­ally strong. Even through the hard times I al­ways got out of bed in the morn­ing and got them to school. Now we’ve got time to do ac­tiv­i­ties.

For a date, Jo and I might have a cof­fee and pick up some bits and bobs. You can get lost in Mitre 10 Mega for hours. We might do that, we might dis­ap­pear and have a cof­fee. I’m not

We’ve had all the #MeToo pub­lic­ity – where it was fan­tas­tic to see pow­er­ful creeps get what they de­serve – and for a lit­tle while I was breath­ing eas­ier, think­ing women’s lives were go­ing to be more straight­for­ward. It’s only a month or two later and al­ready I’ve be­gun to doubt that.

In the past few weeks I’ve had my boss stand­ing way too close to me in the cof­fee room, pre­tend­ing he’s des­per­ate for his cof­fee but he was des­per­ate for a feel. And a guy I was danc­ing with at a pub grabbed my bum re­ally hard. When I protested he called me a cock­tease. Then I saw sev­eral me­dia re­runs of an In­vic­tus Games com­peti­tor pulling Meghan Markle in for a forced kiss. The com­men­tary said noth­ing what­so­ever about this be­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate, it was just pre­sented as a “boys will be boys” sce­nario. And ear­lier in her tour of Aus­tralia, some old guy gave a sick­en­ing gig­gle as he de­scribed tak­ing two cud­dles with her. I feel for her be­ing so much in the glare and hav­ing so many de­mands on her.

Can’t some­one, prefer­ably a man, stand up and state clearly that this is not on? For her and for the rest of us, PLEASE.

I com­pletely un­der­stand where you’re com­ing from. I, too, would not be im­pressed to have a big, sweaty stranger hold­ing onto my arm and plant­ing a slob­bery kiss on me as I tried to back away. Nor would I en­joy some­one plac­ing their body around mine for their own grat­i­fi­ca­tion. I love hug­ging my friends and will at times of­fer a heart­felt hug from com­pas­sion or to share a joy­ous oc­ca­sion, but I seek per­mis­sion to do so.

While I’m very happy to hear men chal­leng­ing other men when they be­have in­ap­pro­pri­ately and women chal­leng­ing women on sim­i­lar oc­ca­sions, I don’t think there will ever be a way to give an over­all clear state­ment that fits for all, beyond the ob­vi­ous “do not pro­ceed with­out con­sent”.

I re­mem­ber be­gin­ning work at a shared prac­tice and, when I told a sex-re­lated joke, the re­cep­tion­ist said: “We don’t want that here, thank you.” I was em­bar­rassed of course, as is any­one who steps for­ward to find their ad­vance is not wel­come, but I also re­spected her wishes and did not share my jokes at that work­place again.

Sim­i­larly, I be­lieve for any­one be­ing sex­u­ally ha­rassed, your re­spon­si­bil­ity is to state clearly with­out apol­ogy that you do not want what is hap­pen­ing. Re­peat once if the be­hav­iour re­curs. If that is not suf­fi­cient, take ac­tion in­volv­ing some­one with re­spon­si­bil­ity to es­ca­late your ob­jec­tion.

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: zilch Serves: 4-6 as a nib­bly thing

Half a tele­graph cu­cum­ber, peeled and de­seeded

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

Zest and juice of 2 limes

2-3 tsp Chi­nese chilli paste

Us­ing a sharp knife, care­fully slice the snap­per as thinly as pos­si­ble, and lay flat on a plat­ter. Us­ing a peeler, peel long, thin rib­bons of cu­cum­ber and scat­ter over the top. In a small bowl, com­bine the sesame oil, soy, palm sugar and the zest and juice from the limes. Spoon this over the top of the fish and cu­cum­ber, and then dot over a lit­tle chilli paste to suit your taste. Serve im­me­di­ately.

Ilove me a tart, I do. And I’m glad the cour­gettes are back; I’ve been tir­ing of peo­ple com­plain­ing about the price of them as it’s been all I can do to bite my tongue and re­tort “…they’re not in bloody sea­son yet!” This is fairly sim­ple, as I love, but you may want to add a bit of sautéed gar­lic, some red onion, a bit of beaten egg and cream, or even a bit of sumac over the top be­fore you pop it in to bake. I know I say this a lot, but in­vest in a juli­enne peeler if you haven’t got one al­ready. You can just as eas­ily grate the cour­gettes and then salt them as be­low, but what I like about them be­ing juli­enned is that you get a bit of tex­ture. Take the time to salt your cour­gettes – this will pre­vent them from go­ing all soggy when you cook them.


Prep time: 20 mins + 10-15 mins rest­ing time Cook time: 25-30 mins Serves: 4

1 lemon

Yes­ter­day I drove down to Port Waikato to join the judg­ing panel for the beach­side set­tle­ment’s an­nual white­bait frit­ter com­pe­ti­tion. A quick aside here for me to note that I’m well aware the ma­jor­ity of white­bait species are un­der threat. At this small com­mu­nity event there was a very lim­ited amount of white­bait for sale for the cooks to use, while some cooks had caught their own in the es­tu­ary there. The con­ver­sa­tion around white­bait­ing needs to go right up the chain, to talk to the loss and degra­da­tion of habi­tat. Any­how, the frit­ters were, as ex­pected, de­li­cious, and a timely re­minder of the beauty of frit­ters in gen­eral.

Lit­er­ally, a frit­ter is any­thing fried – from tem­pura to dough­nuts. But here I’m re­fer­ring to frit­ters of an all-in bat­ter, shal­low fried in a pan (no, I don’t think an oven-baked ver­sion can be called a frit­ter). They’re a way to make in­gre­di­ents go far – whether it’s be­cause they’re some­thing spendy like white­bait or paua, or be­cause you’ve failed to make it to the shops and all that’s in the fridge is half a head of broc­coli, a knob of cheese and some eggs. Or you’re clean out of fresh pro­duce, but you have a can of sweet­corn, or a pack of baby peas or edamame beans in the freezer. Frit­ters are built on the sim­plest of for­mu­las: eggs, a lit­tle flour to bind, fill­ings and sea­son­ings of your choice. They’re un­de­mand­ing on specifics: sea­son with what­ever you fancy – a bit of gar­lic, spices like cumin and pa­prika, fresh herbs – the only must is a lib­eral amount of salt and pep­per; turn­ing out a bland batch of frit­ters en­tirely un­does the won­der.

Un­like fussy bak­ing, frit­ters are nondis­crim­i­na­tory on the flour front. Rice flour, corn­flour, chick­pea flour, nut flours, even LSA do just as well as plain wheat flour in a frit­ter. This is great news if you or some­one you’re host­ing is al­ler­gic to gluten. Which leads me to sug­gest that frit­ters are the per­fect thing to whip up (or pull from the freezer, where they store well) when you have un­ex­pected guests, or ex­pected guests who stay on longer than your cheese plat­ter was pre­pared for. It’s al­ways nice to add a dip on the side which guests can spoon on top as they go – sea­soned and herb-flecked Greek yo­ghurt, or an aioli, amped with chipo­tle or harissa, per­haps.

Here are some of my go-to frit­ter com­bos – bear­ing in mind that it’s never a panic if you drop one or sev­eral in­gre­di­ents in favour of what you have to hand: pea (or zuc­chini or broc­coli), mint or dill, al­mond slices, feta, lemon zest, cumin; mus­sels (steamed and roughly chopped), shal­lots, pars­ley, lots of finely ground pep­per; blitzed cau­li­flower with a heavy hand of ba­harat spices and hal­loumi; Korean-style kim­chi and car­rot; and prawns with garam masala in a chick­pea flour bat­ter.

Liam Black Tie dress, $399

Alexan­dra Dodds ex­tra large hoops, $406 from

Rol­las Dancer wrap dress, $170

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