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Ringing in autumn


For better or worse, we’re waving goodbye to summer. But don’t fret, we’re ringing in autumn with a look at what we can expect to see adorning fingers in 2021. Yes, we’ve got clarity on all the latest ring trends.

 

 

GOOD AS GOLD
We might have been looking at gold through rose coloured glasses, as rose gold had its moment, but nothing will ever replace the illustrious sheen of yellow gold. It has claimed back the spotlight with its rich, warm and timeless appeal.

THREE STONE SETTINGS
Popularised by Meghan Markle, the three stones symbolise a couple’s past, present and future. Experts are seeing a rise in unique shapes for these trios, along with contrasting cuts or diamond sizes, to create something completely unique.

BANDING TOGETHER
Dainty and slim ring bands are becoming a thing of the past as wider bands are poised to have their moment in the spotlight. If you want a ring that stands out in a crowd, a wide band is definitely one to consider.

GOING GREEN
Engagement rings are going green – and we’re not just talking about sustainability. Yes, emeralds are having a serious moment right now, with many experts labelling it the “it” stone of 2021. With the colour closely associated with new beginnings, it’s no surprise why!

CUTTING SHAPES
There are the classic cuts you know and love — round, princess, cushion, emerald. And they’re not going anywhere. But have you heard of hexagon, shield or trillion cuts? When it comes to your centre stones, you can expect to see these cuts and more.


 

Bedside manner


The ultimate organiser ensuring everything you need is at arm’s reach, bedside tables combine both form and function.

 

OZ FURNITURE

 

Whether you like to let it all hang out with an open design or tuck it all away with a drawer, there’s an option for everyone and choosing the right design can play an important role when it comes to your comfort and wellbeing.

First things first, bedside tables have traditionally been purchased in pairs. But that’s no longer the case. Choosing two different designs or simply just having one bedside table is a great way to express your creativity and mix things up.

As with all your furniture, it’s important for your bedside tables to vibe with your overall theme, whether it’s ultra-modern, rustic or somewhere in between.

The laws of feng shui dictates a preference for soft or rounded corners and these curved options are becoming increasingly popular, creating a softer vibe in this space.

Timber tables, with their natural vibes, are a strong antidote to our tech-heavy lifestyles, creating a calming effect that we’re craving right now, while whites and greens offer another option to satisfy the senses.

Meanwhile, designers are expecting bedside tables devoid of legs and bases to have a serious moment in 2021, attached instead directly to the wall to create a floating effect.


 

Festive feasting


Christmas; it’s almost inextricably connected to food. And, while there will no doubt be the traditional ham, fruitcake and mini mince pies on the table this year, the festive season is also an opportunity to mix things up. We’ve pulled together our favourite ways to do just that.

 

 

When it comes to Christmas feasting, not everything has to be elaborate.

Why not make simple pleasures just a little bit more special?

Roasted carrots – boring! Lemon-maple roasted carrots, on the other hand – divine!

Roast chicken and vegetables too can get a flavourful twist by adding a simple mustard-tarragon sauce and garnishing with summery pomegranite.

Hasselback potatoes look fantastic, right?

They’re also incredibly simple. Why not try your hand at mini hasselback potatoes with chive butter for a clever looking appetiser that is so tasty it isn’t likely to just be relegated to festive feasting!

When you’re done with that, give hasselback butternut squash with maple-brown butter sauce a go. It’s a unique spin on a classic vege, but the addition of mustard, sweet maple and aromatic brown butter transforms an otherwise boring side dish into something exquisite.

Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by loading them up! Crispy smashed potatoes with cheese and bacon crumb is a great way to level up a plain vegetable.

And why not roast your kumara with coriander this year and drizzle it with a mix of yoghurt and lemon juice to give it a tangy finish?

It will feel like all your Christmases have come at once.


 

A Major success


She’s the self-professed “small woman with a big voice”, who went from a three-year-old country crooner to one of the highest accoladed performers this country has seen. But the high note of Dame Malvina Major’s 50-year operatic career is the foundation set up in her name that celebrates its 30th anniversary next year. Metropol catches up with Dame Malvina about her life’s work.

The seventh of eight children, Dame Malvina has been entertaining crowds since first clambering onto the stage to join her siblings at two.

Country music was the family remit. But recognising the big voice coming from the small Malvina, it wasn’t long before her mother was pushing her into opera, despite a personal penchant for Broadway.

“It was a career that happened because I had the voice to do it in the first place, not because I wanted to be an opera singer,” says Dame Malvina.

“I was kind of led along by the success of it and ended up in a place where I didn’t know I wanted to be, but I kept getting contracts and it became my life.

“And in the finish, I loved it; the satisfaction of singing at that incredibly high-powered level, learning the required precision – that’s what stimulated me and I enjoyed that. Then after every mountain you climb you feel the rewards of reaching the top.”

Just before she reached the very top, with the world at her feet, Dame Malvina Major walked away.

A young Taranaki farmer, Winston Fleming, had won her heart and the couple married in 1964, before moving to England where their son Andrew was born.

Dame Malvina was poised for an exceptional international career, but it was home soil and family life that she craved, and, by the turn of the century, she was home.

“I was 15 years off the international scene and walked back in like it hadn’t happened. By then I had three children,” she says.

“When I look back at my career, I think of the words of Frank Sinatra – I did it my way.”

There have been plenty of highs throughout her career; she sang an outdoor concert at the pyramids in Egypt with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, she collaborated with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, she gave concerts to open and close the 2007 Rotary International Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah and she performed at the Covent Garden where she replaced Dame Joan Sutherland in Die Fledermaus. She has sung for kings, queens, princes, princesses and even an empress!

But perhaps her proudest achievement is the foundation which bears her name. “Like a lot of things in my life, it happened by chance,” she laughs.

Dame Malvina had been talking with the New Plymouth West Rotary Club about how lonely she was heading overseas to establish herself at 22.

“I felt like I was in a distant far off place. I wanted to do something to make sure New Zealand students going abroad had a connection and didn’t feel the loneliness I had felt.”

The Dame Malvina Major Foundation was launched in 1991 at Premier House in Wellington, an event hosted by then Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, and his wife, Joan. Almost three decades on, the foundation continues to provide support for talented young performing artists to achieve their potential, through financial assistance, performance opportunities and professional guidance, helping them to prepare for professional careers.

Dame Malvina – who has been a Senior Fellow in Music at the University of Waikato since 2012 – isn’t resting on her laurels. “I’m supposed to be retired,” she laughs.

“I keep saying they have to rename ‘retirement’. I’m certainly not sitting at home knitting or playing golf, though I do that, too! I’m very involved with youth; their future and progress, masterclasses and helping young people, attending performances, helping with the foundation.”

She’s also busy working on plans to create a training school within the foundation that has been in the back of her mind for 20 years.

“The idea is to enable the foundation to become a steppingstone to the world, so rather than sending young people to other parts of the world to train, doing it right here in New Zealand.”

She’s also got 10 grandchildren and three great grandchildren that play a big part in her life. “They’ve become hugely important to me and, as I get older, it’s even more important that I
see them and show them my love.”


 

Salad Season


‘tis the season of backyard barbecues and beachside picnics. We’ve pulled together summer’s hottest selection of seasonal salads to make eating well, easy!

 

 

RAW BROCCOLI & SMOKED SALMON
Packed with all the goodies – including fibre, protein, iron and a bunch of B vitamins – raw broccoli makes the perfect salad. Pair it with smoked salmon, black olives, toasted seeds, a creamy avocado dressing and plenty of garlic and lemon for a serious flavour kick.

GRILLED SPRING ONIONS WITH CAPERS & PARMESAN
Grilled to perfection, spring onions make the perfect partnership with ripe slices of avocado. Toss in a dash of lemon juice and a sprinkling of salty parmesan, some lightly roasted pumpkin kernels, a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper. It’s the stuff summer dreams are made of.

TRADITIONAL GREEK SALAD
Mix this Mediterranean beauty up with what you have to hand. As a base, throw together cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, red onion, creamy feta cheese, olives, diced capsicum and capers. Dress it with salt, pepper, oregano and a drizzle of olive oil – perfection on a plate.

STRAWBERRY SALAD & ROAST STRAWBERRY DRESSING
Add fresh strawberries, fresh basil and mint leaves, crunchy walnuts, red onion and crumbled feta to a bed of cos lettuce. To dress, blitz roast strawberries with a teaspoon of dijon mustard, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and half a cup of olive oil – divine!

ROAST CHICKEN SALAD
Toss shredded roast chicken with fresh thyme, a dash of lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, garlic, cooked streaky bacon, green beans, croutons, parsley, mint and spring onions. Dress with extra virgin olive oil, the wholegrain mustard and a few good swigs of apple cider vinegar.


 

Healthy habits


We’re not here to talk about total body transformations, swearing off carbs or overhauling your fitness routine. We’ve got far better news! In fact, we’re here to fill you in on some simple ways to improve your health and wellbeing.

Walk it off

The process of digestion actually ramps up our metabolisms temporarily; a brief walk does the same. Together, a short walk within 20 minutes of eating is believed to increase the metabolism by 20 percent, leading to an increase in caloric burn. What better motivation do you need to get off the couch?

 

Just breathe

Ever noticed when you’re stressed, you tend to take shorter, sharper breaths? Diaphragmatic or belly breathing comes with a raft of benefits, like alleviating stress and even lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. Research shows deep breathing through the nose, as opposed to the mouth enhances cognitive function, such as memory!

 

Something fishy

With its ability to prevent heart disease and stroke, we all need more omega-3 fats in our lives – but humans can’t produce them ourselves. Thankfully there’s a tasty way to get the benefits – eat more fish! Seafood is packed with high-quality protein, vitamin D and calcium, but low in total and saturated fat.


 

Small changes for your big day


White may be the colour traditionally reserved for weddings, but it seems we’re increasingly looking to harness green in life, as in love. So, what does it mean to have a more sustainable wedding and how do you pull one off? Turns out there a plenty of small changes that can be made for your big day. We’ve pulled together our favourites.

 

SOMETHING BORROWED:
When it comes to the big day, many of your requirements will never be used again. So put some very real emphasis on the “something borrowed” and enlist your local hire company for whatever you can. It’s also a great way to support local.

LUXE LOCALS:
The closer your destination, the greener your big day! Cut back on those CO2 emissions by looking at some of your luxe locals. Canterbury is rich with stunning options for wedding destinations and your wedding day will be kinder on local guests – and
the planet!

CLEVER WITH CATERING:
Whether your venue is providing catering, or you’re hiring a catering company, look for someone who is environmentally conscious and uses local produce where possible. Perhaps it’s time to give a vegetarian or vegan menu a whirl? Not feeling brave? Perhaps just incorporate elements – it all helps.

TAKES THE CAKE
Does your cake really need to be shipped around the country? Why not order locally – makes sense when it comes to taste testing, right? Sourcing alcohol locally is another step towards slashing carbon emissions and, with Waipara’s exceptional tipples at our doorstep, why wouldn’t you?

GREEN OPTIONS
We’re taking green more literally with this suggestion, but potted herbs, plants and foliage make a beautiful, sustainable option. If you’re sticking to flowers, ask your florist to source locally. Make your flowers the new wedding favour or donate them, à la Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

SAYONARA TO SINGLE-USE
It’s time to ditch single-use decorations, such as confetti. There are plenty of green alternatives, such as biodegradable confetti or even dried flower petals. Send digital invitations and use chalk boards for menus and signage – getting the green tick never looked so good!


 

On reflection


We’ve been courting a boho aesthetic in our abodes for a while now, and with the effortless chic that a large format mirror leaning casually against a wall affords us – they are poised to play a starring role in this style narrative.

 

 

A stand-out style in any abode, the boho or Bohemian look is a welcome digression away from the conservative. Relaxed, carefree and impossibly chic, its aesthetic flies in the face of convention.

Rugs, curtains, duvets and lighting can all play their part in the ultimate boho style story, but it’s the full-length or large format freestanding mirror that we’ve been reflecting on and we think it captures the beauty in any space.

With warm, earthy tones playing a popular role in the boho story, mirrors with natural timber frames are a stylish addition au naturel for a more coastal feel, or in a crisp white if it’s a cleaner, pared back palette that features in your décor dreams. Gilded frames bring a château mood, and black metal frames feel clean and contemporary.

If wall space is limited, corners can be the ideal spot for a freestanding mirror, which can soften the overall effect of your space. Bring the outside in by angling the mirror to reflect a
window or internal greenery, making the room feel larger.

Draping a climbing plant around the mirror will provide some visual interest and some serious styling brownie points, while hanging a rustic straw hat or purse from it will further spruce up your space.


 

All wrapped up


From tex-mex chicken to colourful rainbow veg – we’ve got healthy dinners all wrapped up. It’s time to liven up your dinner plate and lunchbox with some inspired wrap fillings.

 

 

SPICY VEGETABLE AND PANEER WRAPS: Master Chef Gordon Ramsay turned his talented hand to creating this tasty Indian street food inspired wrap, packed with creamy paneer cheese and chopped vegetables cooked with Indian herbs and spices.


GREEK FETA CHEESE SANDWICH WRAP: It might just be time to say “Opa!” to this yummy and nutritious vegetarian wrap, which takes its delicious inspiration from Greece, with tangy feta, juicy black olives and saucy marinated veges.


RAW FOOD BURRITOS: Want a guilt-free option? Why not give lettuce wraps the burrito treatment with coriander, lime juice, and jalapeño peppers. Avocado, tomato and corn round out these super healthy, gluten-free and vegan raw foods.


TEX-MEX CHICKEN QUINOA SALAD WRAPS: Quinoa, beans and chicken make for the perfect protein trifecta. Remember, protein is filling – so you won’t be reaching for the
potato chips a few hours later.


PEANUT CHICKEN WRAPS: These easy, peanut chicken wraps are a simple and healthy lunch recipe. Use soft flour tortillas and fill with seasoned chicken, crunchy coleslaw and peanuts topped with a slightly spicy, homemade sauce.


 

Thyme to plant


We can all benefit from a little more “thyme” in the garden. So we’ve pulled together our top tips for thyme; a kitchen staple that’s easy to grow, low maintenance, and adds a serious touch of taste to stuffings, slow-cooked meals, soups, sauces, pesto and herb breads.

 

 

Ahardy, drought-tolerant herb which can be planted in gardens or pots, thyme comes in a number of varieties, the classic being Thymus vulgaris, with its full, rich flavour making it the popular choice for casseroles and roasts.

Growing thyme from seed can take work, so it’s best to go with seedlings planted in free-draining soil or gravel in spring or autumn.

The popular perennial does best in well-drained soil in full sun, thriving with some protection from cold winds and wet winters.

It loves a good trim post-flowering to encourage new growth, and to help your plants last. Once established, thyme won’t need watering and it’s winter hardy, so you can pick leaves year round.

Use thyme fresh, dried or preserved in butter, vinegar or oil.

Pro tip: it can be used to make cough medicine, a hair rinse or a skin cleanser!