metropol » Archives for Celine Gibson

Author: Celine Gibson

Dealing to dyslexia


The Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand estimates 70,000 schoolchildren in Aotearoa are affected by dyslexia; that equates to one in 10 of us. Beth Beamish is the mother of one such child, and recently she published a book on the subject, Dyslexia: Wrestling with an Octopus.

 

 

Q. Beth, when you began your research on how to help your son, Harry, you had an epiphany. What was that?
A. When I researched dyslexia, I saw similar traits in myself. Dyslexia exists on a continuum: one person may have a mild spelling difficulty, whereas someone else can’t recognise one syllable words. My dyslexia is mild. Many adults only discover they have dyslexia when their child or grandchild gets a diagnosis.

Q. Dyslexia is too often associated with a lack of intelligence or poor parenting. How does your book address this misconception?
A. Most people with dyslexia are highly intelligent. Poor parenting isn’t helpful for any child’s learning, but it does not cause dyslexia.

Q. Primary schools focus on teaching the child to read and write, but how should the dyslexic child be taught?
A. Children with dyslexia require a multisensory structured language approach, such as the Orton-Gillingham method. Dyslexics need small group or individual instruction with lots of repetition.

Q. What hope does Dyslexia: Wrestling with an Octopus offer to parents of dyslexic children?
A. My book is easy to read and humorous. It takes the form of a conversation between parents at a school gate. I offer 10 tips backed up by research and over a decade of personal experience. I discuss how to tackle learning challenges, the social effects of dyslexia, the importance of finding your child’s strengths and how to nurture their talents.

Q. Can you explain the significance behind your wonderful book title?
A. Dyslexia is more than a problem with reading and writing. I list eight areas of difficulty which I have likened to the arms on an octopus. For more on this, see
www.dyslexiaoctopus.com/welcome.

The book can be purchased via the website. The book launch is Tuesday May 11 at Canterbury University, with guest speaker Professor Gail Gillon.


 

Just boot it!


Ask any self-proclaimed fashion follower to name their most cherished wardrobe item and it’s highly likely the answer will be “boots”, followed by a detailed description of the cut, colour and style of the favourite pair and why they’re so revered.

 

Camilla & Marc Jane Combat Boot

 

If this year’s autumn through winter trends are anything to go by, 2021 is shaping up to be the Year of the Boot, and no matter your preference – on-the-knee, below-the-knee, mid-calf or Chelsea style – there’s a boot with your name on it.

With the rule book thrown out the window, boots this year are all about attitude, yet there’s no compromising on comfort.

Grunge is back, and it’s drop-dead cool in colours such as bone, butter, chocolate and black, and in styles such as the pull-on ankle or below-the-knee lace-up with inside zips. Lug soles are ideal for serious striding.

White is white-hot this winter, for boots both long and short, and it’s coming corset-laced, buckled, gem-studded, patented and socked. Boots in off-cream, neutral, sepia and birch provide off-white alternatives that marry the sensational with the subtle.

Cowboy, or western, boots never go out of style and they’re everywhere this year, in both knee and ankle versions; name any colour and you’ll find it.

Animal print fetishists can flaunt the look in crocodile, snake, leopard, tiger and zebra, and with heels ranging from lugs, flats and Cubans through to kittens, stacks and stilettos, it’s promising to be fun times out and aboot in the concrete jungle this winter.


 

Poetry Knights


It truly was a gathering of literary luminaries when literature and art magazine takahē celebrated 31 years of circulation with the recent launch of its 100th issue at, most fittingly, the Sign of the Takahē.

 

 

Current takahē chair, Jeni Curtis, introduced guest speaker and takahē founder, Sandra Arnold, whose anecdotes on the birth of the magazine were both historically intriguing and entertaining.

Aotearoa Poet Laureate, David Eggleton, then read three poems: ‘A Week in the Valley’, ‘Dear Reader’, and ‘The Burning Cathedral’ – a moving poem about the fire of Notre Dame.

Next to take the stage was local poets James Norcliffe and Bernadette Hall, followed by takahē essay editor, Andrew Woods.

Cindy Botham, from Tauranga, read her poignant poem ‘From the Settlers’ Cemetery, Akaroa’, which won the takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Competition Award, 2020.

‘Strike the Pounamu’, a 100-line poem on voices of Aotearoa, was read by takahē poetry editors Gail Ingram, and Jeni.

With 84 of our country’s finest poets having contributed lines to the work – such as Vaughan Rapatahana, Sue Wootton, Karen Zelas, Michael Harlow, Siobhan Harvey, Fleur Adcock, Albert Wendt and former poet laureate Elizabeth Smither – it was, indeed, the perfect ending to a poetic night.


 

Walking on the (re)wild side


As spring gives way to summer, green-fingered folk itch to get out there and start marshalling their gardens into a manicured precision. But wait! A new gardening trend, rewilding, is encouraging gardeners to let nature take its course on kept landscapes.

 

 

Technically a form of large-scale conservation dedicated to returning land to a degree of natural habitats, rewilding is taking on new meaning in home gardens.

Now, trendsetters are allowing plants to lose manicured neatness in favour of a more relaxed aesthetic.

Touted as the newest gardening trend by The Guardian, Living Etc, and The Telegraph, rewilding on a domestic scale is about embracing principals of stepping back and allowing natural processes to occur.

SIMPLE STEPS TO REWILDING:

Swap chemicals for organic methods – swap fertilisers for an organic seaweed feed.

Choose flowering plants that are ace pollinators – open shapes rather than densely petalled blooms.

If wilding grassy areas, choose plants that cope with competition – such as wild roses, meadow geraniums and poppies.

Plant native hedging rather than fencing to provide bird shelter – flower and berry hedges are even better.

Feed your soil – healthy soil creates a biodiverse garden from the ground up. Top borders and bare earth with a mulch of organic matter to increase soil health.


 

A sound summer slumber


We all know there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to make us feel that much better to face the new day ahead, but as our weather starts to warm, we need to cool down our beds, both layer wise and appearance wise.

 

A winterweight duvet in the shade of hot chilli does not soothe a tired soul on a sweltering night. So, here’s the lowdown on keeping your bed stylish and your body temp down low this summer.

LIGHTEN THE LAYERS
If you haven’t already, think about investing in a lighter duvet or comforter of cotton, linen, silk, or any other lightweight fabric. A lightweight bedspread in fresh colours brings an instant breezy summer feel to rooms. Try a classic white, or mix it up with summery sorbets in pale pinks, purples and cornflour blues.

FAVOURITE FIBRES
Keep sheets and blankets in lighter colours too; remember, less heat is absorbed during the day with lighter colours. Layer thinner sheets and blankets to stay cooler or warmer as the temperature changes. The fabric in your sheets makes all the difference and natural options, like linen, cotton, bamboo and silk breathe and both look and feel luxurious.

THROWING SHADE
Matelassé (pronounced “mat-le-SAY”) blankets, coverlets, bedspreads, and pillow shams are the perfect layer of lightweight warmth. Matelassé is made from luxurious fabrics intricately woven on jacquard looms in Portugal and Italy. To avoid waking with cold feet, (we all know what that’s like) drape a lightweight wool throw over the end of your bed to keep them warm.


 

The power of positivity


Sometimes all it takes is a friendly prod to get those projects started that, for some reason, we haven’t quite got around to. Christchurch author and, now, podcaster Rebecca Simons had just such a friend, and thanks to her, Rebecca stopped procrastinating.

 

“My friend kept reminding me I had the knowledge, expertise and skills and it was time I shared my life experiences to a wider audience. After some research on podcasting, I jumped right in and recorded my first show.”

Blind Girl Drunk first aired on January 8 last year, and since then Rebecca has recorded over 70 shows with over 1500 people downloading the programme to date.

Rebecca has Stargardt Macular Dystrophy, an eye disease which causes progressive damage — or degeneration — of the macula, a small area in the centre of the retina that is responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision. Experts estimate that one in 8-10 thousand people have Stargardt disease.

Stargardt manifested towards the end of Rebecca’s primary school years. Her sight had deteriorated to the point that she could no longer read the blackboard and she had developed night blindness.

Coming to terms with what would be her new normal was no easy thing for a teenager, but never one to be defined by her condition, Rebecca used what good sight remained and embarked on her OE.

On her return, she worked for a government department; she gained her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities, majoring in German; and she studied French and Spanish, the latter of which she speaks fluently.

Rebecca says the major driving factor in making Blind Girl Drunk was her desire to be not just a contemporary voice but also an alternative voice for the blind and low vision community.

“I wanted to share how the onset of low vision impacted me from my teen years right through to my experiences today, as a forty-something woman.”

Rebecca says her show is to help educate sighted people on how best to deal with family or friends with blind or low vision, and to keep fellow blind and low vision people on top of things.

“We must keep up with the ever changing technological and practical things happening, so we don’t get lost in it.”

January 2021 sees Rebecca celebrating the first birthday of Blind Girl Drunk, as well as her other podcast The Kiwi English Down Under. Of BGD, she says that in voicing her experiences and validating them, it’s made her more mindful in dealing with everyday life.

“By carrying a cane, I’m representing blind and low vision people, and I’m doing my best to bring a wider understanding to everyone in the community. It’s really all about spreading my truth with a positive mindset!”

Listen to Blind Girl Drunk podcast on Podbean, Apple podcasts and Spotify.


 

Raising the toddlers of the plant world


Also known as “vegetable confetti”, microgreens are the quickest food crop urban gardeners can grow – often as simply as in a container on your kitchen windowsill.

 

Not to be confused with sprouts – germinated seeds that are eaten root, seed and shoot – microgreens are the seedlings of leafy herbs and plants that are harvested less than a month after germination.

The stem, seed leaves and first set of true leaves are all edible.

Common microgreen varieties include amaranth, basil, beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, chard, chervil, coriander, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, parsley, peas, radish, rocket, spinach, and sorrel.

Growing microgreens only requires good light – a well-lit kitchen bench, sunny windowsill or balcony – a suitable shallow container, water and a growing medium.

MIGHTY MICROGREENS:

• Microgreens are a nutrient- dense food that contain digestible vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and are packed with flavour, colour, texture and living enzymes
• Some studies have shown microgreens contain considerably higher concentrations of vitamins and carotenoids than their mature plant counterparts
• Many varieties will regrow and produce several harvests

HOW TO GROW:

  1. Line seed tray with moistened paper. Fill tray with moist growing medium, e.g soil or burlap, about 2 to 3cm deep
  2. Sprinkle seeds over mix, press in lightly
  3. Water by misting with a spray bottle
  4. Place on a drainage tray in warm spot
  5. Water every day as needed, but avoid overwatering!
  6. Cover seeds with clear lid or plastic bag with holes snipped for airflow to encourage germination
  7. Harvest after the first two true leaves emerge from the cotyledon by snipping off at soil level

A gripping affair


Described as a rip-roaring wartime romance with chilling danger unknown to most, The Rigel Affair is the true story of Mattie Blanc and her love for US Navy Diver Charlie Kincaid. Metropol talks to local author L M Hedrick about this epic novel.

 


When did you first become aware of Charlie Kincaid?
When I was a child. The war bought Charlie Kincaid to my mother’s doorstep and the war sent him away. No one understands how situations outside of their control changes peoples’ lives. My mother (Mattie) could never find an answer. She married my father, Syd, and I was their only child. Mattie would pull the box of Charlie’s 30 letters down from the top of a bedroom cabinet and tell me their story like she was crying out to be heard.


What was it about their relationship that moved you to write their story?
Mattie pined for her fiancé, Charlie. It was like two lost souls who had the same story in different worlds and a love that would never die.


Is Mattie still alive?
Sadly, both Mattie and Charlie were long-since deceased when we decided to write The Rigel Affair. It’s a work of fiction, based upon true events. When my husband, Bud, read Charlie’s 30 letters, he said, ‘You must write this story’. So, the project began. This is a story of dedication of one woman and one man whose love transcended the war. It was heartache not only for her but for Charlie – a heartache that spurred his endurance to stay alive and fight the most horrific war in history.


In reading Charlie’s letters, did you begin to see your mother differently?
My mother would show me Charlie’s letters, but never read them to me. Only when Bud saw the letters did we read them. I now have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of my mother’s love for Charlie Kincaid.


What do you hope readers will take from this novel?
Beginning our research, we discovered interesting, exciting events that had never really been properly told. It became a historical feeding frenzy! We hope readers will enjoy the Mattie and Charlie story, but equally important is their historical journey through exciting and true wartime events.


What’s next up for L M Hedrick?
We’re about 50,000 words into The Rigel Affair sequel and I have a crime novel ready for the final edit and formatting.


When did your love affair with writing begin?
From an early age. Being an only child, the world of make-believe filled my senses. When Bud and I decided to write The Rigel Affair, we both attended numerous creative writing classes at Auckland University in order to learn the craft. Bud’s five years in the US Coast Guard after university saw him working three years as Operations Officer on a buoy tender. This tender was 1940’s vintage, so Bud has intimate knowledge and experience to portray life aboard the USS Rigel.


The Rigel Affair is available and in hot demand at Piccadilly Books.


 

Celebrating Couture in Canterbury


Young emerging designer Natasha Senior was 14 when she won the top prize at the 2018 YMCA Walk the Line catwalk, part of New Zealand Fashion Week. Her winning entry of linen top and neoprene trousers is now being showcased alongside garments from established designers, such as Trelise Cooper and Adrienne Whitewood, at Canterbury Museum in its Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now exhibition, which opened Saturday, 22 February and runs to 14 June 2020.

 

Photography: Mara Sommer

 

Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now was developed by the New Zealand Fashion Museum.

Co-curated by Doris de Pont, New Zealand Fashion Museum Director and Fashion Journalist Dan Ahwa, the exhibition looks at how Aotearoa New Zealand’s identity is shaped by our place in the Pacific Ocean (Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa), and celebrates contemporary expression in jewellery, clothing, textile, and body adornment in New Zealand.

Both emerging and established designers are included in the exhibition to explore a range of connecting themes, such as; the adaptation and application of technology, mastery and invention in the use of heritage craft techniques, including stitching and weaving; the applications and evolution of cultural motifs, and the ongoing dialogue between wrapping and structured dressing.

Some of the garments and adornments showcased in the exhibition are streetwear from Bill Urale’s (aka King Kapisi) Overstayer label, a missionary-style dress by Trelise Cooper, a Neil Adcock hei tiki that can dance, Steve Hall’s androgynous dress, and a merino wool wrap that’s reminiscent of a muka kaitaka (flax fibre cloak), created by London-based New Zealand designer Emilia Wickstead, in collaboration with Woolmark in 2019.

Canterbury Museum is the first South Island venue to exhibit Moana Currents. Canterbury Museum Director Anthony Wright says the exhibition is a terrific showcase for the extraordinary work of Aotearoa New Zealand’s fashion designers and the pride we have in the way Pacific cultures have influenced our Kiwi sense of style.

“What we wear really does reflect who we are as individuals and as a nation. We think this exhibition will be very popular with both our local and international visitors.”

Doris de Pont says she’s thrilled to be bringing the exhibition to Canterbury.

“Moana Currents shows how our history of migration and cultural exchange is visible in what we wear and how we adorn ourselves. Aotearoa New Zealand’s identity has evolved over time as generations of people migrated here. Who we are and how we dress is a reflection of those journeys, both past and present, and an expression of our aspirations and how we want to be seen.”

This three-part project includes the exhibition at Canterbury Museum, as well as an accompanying book and online exhibition found online.


 

Trek in a Trillian


Trillian Trek has been fundraising for New Zealand children for more than a quarter of a century and raised more than $11 million.

 

Known for 26 years as Variety Bash, the charity raises money for disadvantaged children to provide them with the means to secure a better life – be it liberty swings, bikes, mobility projects, insulin pumps, or mentors to encourage them in their life goals.

This year marks Trillian Trek’s 30th anniversary.

The fun begins with its annual non-competitive car rally beginning 15 March at Timaru and continuing on to Dunedin, Invercargill, Wanaka, Hokitika, Picton, Wanganui, ending 21 March at Waireka Resort.

Throughout the journey, Kiwi kids get to meet the trekkers and get up to all kinds of fun, games and madcap mayhem.

In 2017, some Canterbury trekkers formed a team (currently the only Trillian Trek in the South Island) and got their own fire truck, Wai Wakanui, which roughly translates into the ‘Big Water Truck’.

Wai Wakanui will be joined in the 2020 rally by Te Waka Haumi, a stretch Cadillac.

The Canterbury trekkers have been thrilled with the support received from huge-hearted local businesses.

Christchurch policeman, Dougall Struthers, first became involved with Trillian Trek in 2000. “It was sold to me as a week-long party – I lasted three days!”

Dougall said of his first rally that although he returned home feeling exhausted, he also knew that he had found something he wanted to do.

“Sure, we’d have great fun along the way at night functions, but it was the special moments during school visits when you experience the smile from a kid struggling with life, knowing that you’ve helped them, that pulls you back.”

They are kids like Mark Wilson, now 25-years-old, who was born with cerebral palsy and whose parents were told he would never walk or talk.

At 13 months, Mark began an intense therapy programme and, by six years of age, was walking and talking.

It was a Trillian Trek scholarship that saw Mark not only representing New Zealand in the Paralympics Development Squad in athletics and table tennis, but also receiving a mentor who provided ongoing support and encouragement.

“The Trillian Trek family passed no judgement and encouraged me to be myself. I gained more confidence, helping me to overcome the bullying I was experiencing at school.”

Mark graduated from Waikato University with a degree in business management in 2017 and now works for a leading finance company. He loves being an ambassador for Trillian Trek and will be taking part in this year’s rally – his tenth – with his own team and fire truck.

Trillion Trek Event Director, Murray O’Donnell, says the strong partnerships forged with sponsors, such as the New Zealand Air Force, AA, and Bluebridge Ferries, to name but a few, is what keeps Trillian Trek trekking.

Alongside these altruistic sponsors are the amazing 134 volunteers, like Dougall and Mark, who donate one week of their lives every year to help bring joy and hope to our kids.