Fragrant and flavourful, herbs are a secret weapon in any cook’s culinary arsenal. If you’re tempted to pass on these aromatic, tasty stalks because they require some TLC to grow, or can seem superfluous to requirements when browsing the supermarket shelves, we urge you to reconsider. Here are Metropol’s tips for adding these pint-sized powerhouses to your next meal.
Bring any salad to life with some mint leaves, or add a refreshing zing to dressings, drinks and sauces. Add to a pitcher of water with a quill of cinnamon and lemon slice for instant refreshment.
Aromatic and warming, rosemary is a superstar of roast anything. Add to a tray of roast vege, leg of lamb or the stuffing of your chicken or turkey. Or, pop a sprig in your G&T.
The defining feature of pesto and many a pasta, most are familiar with Italian basil. But what about purple basil, which is a fragrant and colourful addition to salads?
Thyme straddles the sweet-savoury divide like a champ; making sauces on both sides of the flavour profiles that much punchier. Try it in a cream and wine sauce, or in a sugary orange syrup.
The fast-moving field of interior design is always awash with new ideas and inspiration to pluck from for your own homely spaces. And for all the irregularities of recent times – this fact remains unchanged, so Metropol has scoured the mood boards of the world’s most style-minded to discover what’s trending in interior design for 2021.
A collective obsession with houseplants looks set to keep skyrocketing as fans of biophilic design continue to embrace bringing the natural environment indoors. Being in nature is scientifically-proven to boost our mental health, and when combined with the visual appeal of greenery and flowers – it’s an interior win-win.
If you’ve noticed architectural and artistic vases around the place, it’s probably because these furnishings are among the most covetable furnishings of modern aesthetics. Not just perfect for holding fresh and dried (also trending) blooms, these receptacles are sculptural artworks on their own.
A hit on the home circuit last year, appeal is not waning for furniture that makes you feel as if you should be in a bungalow overlooking the Hollywood Hills. Argued by some as timeless, there is little doubt these low slung lines, natural woods and retro vibes are everywhere right now. And don’t pair too badly with a houseplant (or seven) either.
It can be a daunting feat producing a magazine every fortnight. Our hardworking team puts a lot into finding stories, getting in touch with all the required parties, organising imagery – and then designing it all into what you hold in your hands.
And before the finished copies are even delivered to letterboxes, cafes and stands – the next one is already underway!
One thing never lacking is the number of interesting and valuable local stories vying for position on Metropol’s pages.
And this issue is no different.
A few weeks ago we heard a whisper that Cantab and Hollywood bigwig, Phil Keoghan, was in town.
We reached out to The Amazing Race host, and were over the moon when he was keen to be interviewed and grace the cover of this issue.
So, I do hope you enjoy reading about his new reality competition which was inspired by none other than his hardworking West Coast grandparents.
The series has another local tie, too – it was edited, in part, from he and his wife and producing partner, Louise’s, MIQ hotel room in Christchurch during their recent trip home.
Bringing even more magic to our pages is the touching tale of New Zealand’s assistance dogs, chronicled in a new book by local author, Sue Allison.
Add to that our round up of the Canterbury Earthquakes commemorations, art show Van Gogh Alive, an Italian classic car show, commentary on seasonal fashion, health, beauty, home, and design trends – and you have something wonderfully, uniquely local to read this February.
The remote and rugged West Coast couldn’t be further from Hollywood. But it was Phil Keoghan’s hard-working grandparents from Westport who inspired his latest Tinseltown reality competition, Tough as Nails. Metropol catches up with the Cantabrian about his recent trip home, making TV in a pandemic – and how we could be in for a Kiwi version.
Television audiences – and reality competition contestants – the world over owe a lot to Phil Keoghan’s upbringing.
His father’s work as a plant scientist and mother’s teaching skills saw the family live around the world, contributing to the adventurous spirit Keoghan has harnessed as host for all 32 seasons of The Amazing Race.
Now, it is the practical skills of his West Coast grandparents which inspired Tough as Nails, a celebration of the physical and mental strength of tradespeople.
Born in Lincoln, Keoghan moved around a lot as a child – spending time in Canada, Australia and the Caribbean before returning to Christchurch as a teen to board at St Andrew’s College.
He spent his school holidays on the coast with his grandparents and extended family – mechanics, carpenters and farmers – where he learnt how to use tools and tackle practical tasks.
“I got an appreciation for people who work in the trades, and the idea that people had these skills they could use to fix things and make the world work,” says Keoghan, who not only hosts the show, but co-created and produced it with his wife and producing partner, Louise.
The second season – in which tradies compete in a series of challenges to win $276,000NZD and a Ford F-150 Truck – was filmed in Los Angeles during the Covid-19 pandemic and edited, in part, from the Keoghan’s MIQ hotel room in Christchurch.
His paternal grandfather, Jack Keoghan, was a particularly strong influence. He passed on an education scholarship to start working as a mechanic at just 13, and went on to become an aero mechanic in World War II, as well as representing New Zealand in target shooting.
“It always irked me hearing people talk down about people like my grandfather,” says Keoghan.
“That somehow intelligence is measured by where you went to school, or in order to be well read or to be smart you have to have a tertiary education.
“My grandfather was very well read, he was very smart, top of his class, and one of the brightest people I have ever met.
“Sometimes circumstances restrict a person’s ability to follow a certain path but that is not a reflection of their intelligence or contribution to society.
“I see so many people who are being honoured for being able to sing or dance well…but this show is really about acknowledging the people who make sure we can turn our lights on, that the toilets flush, that the roads are smooth, that we have food on our table and the world keeps working!”
The show’s first episode aired earlier this month, making it one of the only pieces of fresh television created during the pandemic – a tough challenge in itself.
Beyond the physical challenges of filming while observing social distancing and increased hygiene practices, the Keoghans were also responsible for the health and safety of hundreds of people working on the show.
The reality of which didn’t sink in until they landed in New Zealand in early December.
“Once we got into a quiet spot the weight of responsibility hit me. I was hugely relieved we were able to get through Covid-19-free, but I couldn’t shut my brain down from thinking what could have gone wrong.
“It was this horrible feeling of relief and also anxiety – it’s very hard to explain.”
Keoghan acknowledges such challenges are “first world problems” compared to those endured by healthcare workers and millions of people around the world who have faced health issues, or lost family members of livelihoods during the pandemic.
He says the idea of filming a future season of the US series in New Zealand away from the stress of shooting in Los Angeles while there is a pandemic, would be incredible.
“If I had my way I would love to make a Kiwi version of Tough as Nails as well, after all, it’s where the idea came from.”
Creating homes which are sanctuaries from the uncertainties of current life is top of mind for many, and the driving force behind a movement named, “wellbeing design”. Which is, as the name suggests, curating spaces to promote wellbeing. Metropol looks at ways you can incorporate some well-designed wellbeing in your own spaces.
Home habitats should be a full sensory experience. And while attention has long focused on colour and shape (sight), delicious aromatic candles and diffusers (scent) with atmospheric music playing (sound) – incorporating touch into lived spaces is trending. Textured wall papers, plush upholstery and raw woods are being celebrated for invoking the comfort of touch.
LIGHT IT UP
Make the most of the healing powers of vitamin D by boosting the natural light in your home, especially ahead of winter. If you have a remodel or new build on the cards, consider installing additional windows or a skylight to maximise those health-boosting rays. Or, if such a dramatic change is not on the horizon, use a clever mirror system to reflect the natural light and make the sunlight, quite literally, go further.
WORK VS HOME
The non-negotiable working from home enforced by lockdown resulted in many employers more than happy for staff to continue working away from the office. With less distractions, many are seeing a rise in productivity and wellbeing. However, it’s important to ensure work and home zones are kept separate – if you can’t close a door to keep the home office hidden, use plants and furniture to zone it off.
We touch on biophilic design on page 49 as an interior trend to watch in 2021. This act of incorporating elements of the outdoors, in, is so popular in part because of the positive effect nature has on our wellbeing. Plants help calm and relax us, as well as reduce anxiety and increase focus – so incorporating stunning greenery into interior design is a wellbeing no-brainer.
If health and wellbeing is on your mind this year – and it’s hard for it not to be – why not embrace technology to help you stay on the wagon? Outsource the monitoring of your holistic health with any number of handy phone and computer apps which do the thinking for you. Here are Metropol’s picks of some tech-savvy sidekicks.
A free meditation app, users can search by topic, person or time length to find a guided meditation or simply some relaxing music and sounds. In-app purchases allow you to take your meditation game up a notch.
Track your workouts on this handy app which can sync with your smartwatch to not only GPS your activities, but give you rather precise breakdowns of your heart rate and other health stats. Follow your friends to tap into some healthy competition, or keep it private for your own personal know-how.
“Period hacking” is a buzzword attracting serious hype as women are becoming more aware – or society is becoming more accepting – of how their fluctuating hormones impact their holistic health. Apps like Flo track your periods, ovulation and teach you about the symptoms of the different hormones which accompany each part of your cycle.
TEN PERCENT HAPPIER MEDITATION
A work-based meditation app, Ten Percent Happier offers meditations that help listeners focus in the office (wherever that may be these days). This paid app purports to improve team work and happiness if you get your colleagues (or staff) on board.
Just because the holidays have come to an end, doesn’t mean getting dressed should be any less fun. Here are Metropol’s picks of pieces to help build a work wardrobe you’ll be excited to get out of bed for – and that will take you from season to season.
Vibrant separates to brighten up the office, worn together or apart. S/W/F Boutique Restore Skirt and Top
Creating new dishes from last night’s (or the night before’s) leftovers is nothing new. But creating whole new products from the remnants of meals past? Welcome to the world of edible upcycling.
Food upcycling – where new edible products are created from leftovers, by-products and surplus food waste – is tipped to become big this year as conscious consumers and food makers alike look for delicious solutions to reducing food waste.
In New Zealand, it’s estimated about a third of our food goes to waste. So it’s little surprise foodie heavyweights like Kiwi chefs Nadia Lim and Ben Bayly are fans of the practice.
Food upcyclism takes foods which have imperfections – such as unusually shaped or minorly damaged produce, or items close to its sell-by date – and create whole new edible delights.
Upcycled products can include beer brewed from leftover bread – and leftover grain from beer brewing made into bread; damaged or funny looking fruit and veges can be transformed into nutrient-dense powders and sauces, and meat trimmings can become pet food.
Kiwis can keep an eye out for local brands like Citizen Collective beer and bread, Deja dog food, and Upcycled Grain Project’s range of upcycled crackers. Let the guilt-free snacking begin!
A day at the beach, picnic in the garden or weekend at the bach can be made ever more enjoyable with some simple comforts. Here are Metropol’s picks of portable outdoor furniture to help you chase the last of the summer days.