Water Cooler: Celebrating National Poetry Day, Daily Yoga App, designer Lucinda Barrett and how NOT to make marshmallow

Today in the water cooler: we get experimental with marshmallow, talk to jewellery artist Lucinda Barrett, test our Downward-Facing Dog pose on a yoga app and celebrate Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day.


Raewyn Alexander does Poetry While You Wait at Garnet Station Cafe in Auckland. And Nelson poetry lovers can explore the region’s hot spots using the Nelson Poetry Map.

“Today is National Poetry Day so it’s time to get lyrical and do some word play
There are events all around the country today and tonight
Live readings and performances that are sure to delight
If you can’t make it out and you’ve run out of time
You can order a poem on the poetry line.”

Right, we’ll leave the poetry for the proper poets! Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day is New Zealand’s chance to celebrate our many creative wordsmiths.

Join one of the many events:

If you’re on a bus or ferry or train today (August 25) in Auckland keep your eyes peeled for Books on the Bus – where you’ll find poetry books by New Zealand and international poets. The books are free to take and enjoy.

Selina Tusitala Marsh launches her new poetry collection, TIGHTROPE  at Auckland Univeristy this evening.

Interislander ferry passengers (between the North and South Island) also catch a little transit poetry with, Ahoy! Poetry Afloat, an installation and poetry reading from poet David Merritt.

Gisbornites can enter the Gisborne Haiku Competition at the Gisborne Library and walk the Haiku Trail.

Nelson readers can explore the region through poetry following Volume Bookstore’s Nelson Poetry Map

Wanaka audiences can be wowed at the Speak Up/Poetry Power event where Ian Loughran and The Letterman Poetry Collective will give exhilarating performances.

Cantabrians can visit the Great Wall of Poetry at UBS Canterbury where poets of all ages and experience levels will share their work. All submissions will be featured on the wall and go into the draw to win a poetry prize pack.

Can’t make it to a poetry event? – why not phone a friend use the Poetry Phone service to send a poem to someone important in your life.

Emma Rawson
Editor thisNZlife


The plan was to make a lemon slice but Google has so many delicious options… and not wanting to miss any deliciousness our first mistake was the decision to combine three recipes: the uncooked base from this one, the filling from this one and marshmallow topping from yet another one.
The base turned out well. The filling was lovely. Then came the marshmallow. I was pretty gung-ho about it, which, in hindsight is not the way to approach something that requires effective science. Making marshmallow successfully requires a knowledge of chemistry, and that’s bad because I didn’t take chemistry at high school (knowing I’d probably fail).
Compounding the previous errors came yet-another: I didn’t read the recipe properly. There were two lots of sugar, one to be carefully boiled, one to add at the end. But I added them both at the start. The 13-year-old I was baking with quickly figured this out. She’s going to do better at chemistry than I ever did.
Oops. What to do now. The next step required a mere eight minutes of boiling and what’s eight minutes? It might still work so let’s do this.
Things looked promising despite the sugar stuff-up. It looked pretty marshmallowy and, for about the first 10 seconds of pouring it over our slice it was fluffy, white and sticky.
But then the fluff subsided, the mallow disappeared and what was left was a clear, oozing liquid dribbling over our slice. Not marshmallowy at all.
Later, reading a blog by an expert marshmallow maker, I realized that due to the special chemistry there are so many ways to get it wrong.
When the clear ‘ooze’ cooled down, it turned into a coating of tasteless, sticky jelly stuff. Heaven knows what happened to the fluffy whiteness. I peeled it off and froze the slice (the only way to really solidify it) because there’s no need to completely throw out one’s sticky mistakes.
In future, I’ll obey the rules of Home Economics: read the recipe. And don’t mess with the chemistry of the marshmallow.
PS there’s a fantastic fancy marshmallow recipe by pastry chef Clinton Davies in our special edition In Your Backyard: Food and Fire – it’s designed to be toasted on the campfire, but it’s almost too good for that.

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Nadene Hall
Editor, NZ Lifestyle Block


I turned to digitaltrends.com list of their 100 best iphone apps for 2017 to help navigate my way through the 1000s of available apps. The little gem, Daily Yoga, made their list and is perfect for those with all the best intentions of making a Les Mills Body Balance class or City Fitness Centergy session. But, of course, life gets in the way. All that is needed is a bit of floor space so that the Downward-Facing Dog doesn’t put your head through the TV screen, a yoga mat if cold winter floorboards are a bit chilly on the tummy and something stretchy to wear and – of course – your smart phone. But best of all, unlike a gym subscription, this is free.

As a Body Balance class follower at the gym, I found the app workouts (which come with music) simple to follow and their zen and minimalist videos easy on the eye. Not only is are there goal-focused workout options (such as relieving stress, getting toned or improving yoga skills) but there is a guided mindful meditation, also set to restful music, to finish the routine.
So how do the designers of this useful app recoup their development investment? Well, I’m guessing all the peaceful radiance created by the app gets a little sullied by the pop-up google ads that start blinking by the end of Corpse Pose. Still at around $8 a month to upgrade to ‘Go Pro’ you can avoid the ads and access significantly more programmes. The question is would I ditch my gym membership to solely use this app? Well no, I enjoy the energy created by a group class, moving in unison and the collective sigh as we make it together through the tougher poses. But as a backup plan, or for travelling, this app is a winner.

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Milla Novak
Designer NZ Life & Leisure


Lucinda Barrett

The only certainties in life are death and taxes – so it been said for generations. But today’s world is all about change. There’s nothing more certain in life than change. Children under the age of 10 never need worry about driving a car, so say the soothsayers. And, so say another lot of soothsayers, most of our young children will be involved in careers that haven’t even been invented yet. Even now, many people are choosing to retrain for careers.
Lucinda Barrett, of Auckland, has made a career change later in life. Here’s her story as told to her friend (and NZ Life & Leisure creative director) Yolanta Woldendorp:

Lucinda’s jewellery pieces.

Q: I initially knew you as being a successful paint and paint-finish specialist on private and commercial properties and filmsets, how long did you do that career for?
A: I was a specialist painter for interiors for about 20 years before deciding to change directions and retrain in jewellery.

Q: What are you training in and why?
A: I’m in my 3rd year of a jewellery design diploma. I began making jewellery again, after years of painting, but I was frustrated that I didn’t have the silversmithing skills I wanted for the work I wanted to make. I’ve since expanded my knowledge way beyond what I initially thought to.

Q: Where did you go to retrain?
A: I study at Hungry Creek Art and Craft School (in the Wairau Valley north of Auckland). It’s a fantastic place to learn jewellery design. The teachers are experienced and the atmosphere is informal and creative. The school also offers ceramics, painting and sculpture courses. I love the opportunity to be part of a community of makers.

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Q: You’ve set up a new business with your jewellery, yet new business is risky from a financial and physiological aspect. What made you take the leap of faith?
A: I suppose it didn’t feel completely new, there are still the same design decisions to make – it’s just another set of materials. I’ve always loved jewellery and I had a lot of encouragement from friends and family who were wearing the work I was making.

Q: Was there a pivotal moment that made you want to change direction of your life?
A: There were several events over the previous few years that had changed my life completely. I had tried not making art but nothing else I tried worked for me, I just needed a new medium.

Q: Your first collection inspired by the tarot and consciousness, can you tell me a bit about that, what materials you use, your design process?
A: I have been a devotee of tarot for many years and I love how it has enriched my life. I wanted to create a range of jewellery that helped people feel beautiful and empowered, so I made a collection of charms in silver and bronze. Each charm has a meaning so people can choose what works for them. I also give tarot readings and put together the right jewellery for you.The range has expanded to include hoops and bangles and even headbands and hairclips.
My design process is synchronistic, I’m always looking for little hints and messages in daily life that inspire, I also draw and gather bits and pieces, my studio is cluttered with objects and ideas.

Q: Where are you selling your work?
A: I work with my daughter Isabella, who is my secret weapon and is full of ideas for connecting with people. We love Instagram and she is responsible for the beautiful website and keeps all communication happening with our online customers. Miss Crabb stocks my work in Ponsonby in Auckland which is a magical relationship and we’re working on some new outlets for summer.

Q: What’s the response been like to your pieces?
A: I’m really happy with how my work has been received. I’ve had some great comments from people saying that the jewellery has helped them on their path, and made things a bit easier, which is really all I wanted.

Q: What’s next?
There’s so much to make! I’m working on new pieces for summer and working in some new materials, stay tuned.

Yolanta Woldendorp
Art Director, NZ Life & Leisure


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