Water cooler: Wee little lambs, strange fruit and hares in the garden

This week in the thisNZlife office: We’re feeling inspired by a wee spring lamb, try some strange fruit and find hares in the garden.



My friend Cass sent me a story of a tiny little Suffolk ewe-lamb born this week just in time for spring’s official kick-off. It’s a fight for life for this little dot, only slightly larger than the 330ml bottle she’s feeding from.


So it’s lucky she has a good friend on her side. Skye, the dilute chocolate labrador, is an attentive nurse helping out this little fighter who was born the smallest of three triplets.
Cass knew the mother had delivered two lambs but what she didn’t expect was a third. When she walked over to see them, there was a ‘flat as a pancake’ tiny lamb nearby. Despite the odds, the little lamb made it through the first 24 hours.


Initially the wee creature couldn’t walk or even stand for longer than 20 seconds. But thanks to perseverance, regular feeds and lots of Skye love she’s improving. Cass has called her Serita, which means beautiful princess. We won’t know if we get a happy ending… but we’re staying hopeful.
Nadene Hall
NZ Lifestyle Block editor



On a recent trip to the Cook Islands, I set myself a mission to try as much tropical fruit as possible. Sweet and delicious paw paw, sour mangoes, a juicy tropical mandarin grown in the highlands were among the delights I sampled in my seven days in paradise. Locally-grown pineapples are delicious but are in short supply on Rarotonga – savvy local farmers charge $12 per pineapple to the hotels which enthusiastically serve them at their continental breakfasts. One fruit I brought back to the office isn’t quite such a sweet treat – noni juice. The juice of the noni fruit (a green, bumpy-skinned fruit that looks a bit like a custard apple) is alleged to have many health benefits. There are claims it prevents the onset of cancer and diabetes and has antimicrobial qualities. None of these health benefits have been proven (although scientists are testing) but many of the Cook Island locals swear by it. The juice is fermented, and to be taken in a small daily dose as a tonic.

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Kate Coughlan reviews noni juice from This NZ Life on Vimeo.

We were warned about the nasty flavour, and further discouraged by the warning on the bottle: ‘Chill to reduce the strong natural taste and flavour’. So what was the thisNZlife verdict? “It has a fermented cheesy flavour – not the greatest top note,” said NZ Life & Leisure editor Kate, before asking, “Do I have to finish this?”

Lynley Belton puts noni juice to the test from This NZ Life on Vimeo.

Commercial Director Lynley Belton was no noni fan either: “Ugh, no, I won’t be going back for more. You would probably think you were doing something very healthy drinking this, whether you were or not I’m not so sure,” she said, grasping for a glass of water to wash away the taste. Watch the videos to hear their response.
Emma Rawson
thisNZlife editor


Hare sculptures by British sculptor Rupert Till.

Hare sculptures by British sculptor Rupert Till.

I’m thinking of introducing a pair of hares to my Lombardy Cottage garden in the Manuherikia Valley – but don’t tell my neighbouring farmers who detest the pests.t I have fallen completely head-over-heels with these majestic beasts, created by British sculptor Rupert Till. (We’re discussing shipping costs at this stage – though this purchase is not likely to get past the Chancellor of Exchequer.)
Rupert, who is to be the keynote speaker at Garden Marlborough (November 3-6 gardenmarlborough.co.nz) says recycled materials were the fad when he was at art school.
“Recycled wire was cheap and easy to source. It’s been my medium and passion ever since. I use wire to draw, sketching out in 3D.”

Of all the many animals he sculpts, his take on a goose is his favourite but his most renowned are his horses. They’re famous for their beauty and strength and are forever suspended in the moment of a glorious leap over a hurdle or an elegant stance. Each piece can take him several months to complete, especially if they are larger than lifesize.

Rupert, who has not been to NZ before, says he is looking forward to Garden Marlborough.“I hear amazing stories about how stunning it is and I love your wine! People say NZ has all the best bits of the UK 20 years ago; space, friendly people and stunning landscape.”

Another majestic creation by Rupert Till.

Another majestic creation by Rupert Till.

He’s also meeting up with a recent client who commissioned him to sculpt the head of a horse belonging to her father. “I want to see that in situ as I normally install all my own sculptures. I take my commissions from the sketchbook to the garden. I still love to study horses and larger pieces work better in wire. I mostly do animals but this year, at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show, I will break from tradition and exhibit figures.” Why animals? “People fall in love with them and they sell.”
Just like me. I’m wondering how to persuade to Rupert to tuck a pair of galvanised steel hares in his suitcase for me….

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-Kate Coughlan
NZ Life & Leisure
Rupert is presenting at Nelmac Garden Marlborough in Blenheim on November 3,4. Book at gardenmarlborough.co.nz



I have been a bit of a bore this week and telling everyone the same story again and again. I saw a documentary called Embrace which I haven’t been able to stop thinking about and I’m encouraging everyone I see to go and see it. The doco follows Australian Taryn Brumfitt, a former competitive bodybuilder who set social media on fire with a reverse “before and after” photo. Instead of posting a traditional trim, toned smiling “after” shot on her facebook page, a curvier Taryn, now a mother-of-three beamed at the camera. She received a phenomenal response (both positive and negative) which encouraged her to crowdfund a doco in which a diverse range of women talk about body image. Inspiring and thought-provoking, it’s a must-watch for both mums with daughters and men with sons. Or everybody, actually. Watch the trailer here.

Tracey Yearbury
Advertising Manager
NZ Life & Leisure


Smokey the greyhound in slow-motion from This NZ Life on Vimeo.

Art director Yolanta is off enjoying Greece, but before she left, we talked about tricks for traveling with your iPhone, including how to get the best travel photos and video – and without clocking up an ENORMOUS phone bill.

Here are our best tips

1) Always make sure data roaming is turned OFF – unless you have purchased a package with your provider. Take this from someone who has experienced a tooth-pulling phone bill – always double check. To be sure, go to settings>cellular then turn the cellular data off. Also click on cellular data options and turn roaming off. Your credit card will thank you. Exploring NZ and find yourself in need of internet on your laptop? You can use your phone’s 3G data by turning on portable hotspot (settings>personal hotspot) then connecting to it, as you would a Wi-Fi network. Perfect should you find yourself stuck somewhere without Wi-Fi.

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2) Do you have a big day ahead? Save battery by selecting settings>battery>low power mode. This will help save power by altering screen brightness, apps in the background and downloads. If your battery seems to run out quickly, make sure you don’t have lots of apps running in the background. Check by pushing the home button quickly twice, this will show the apps running. Swipe upwards to close them down.

3) Always shot video landscape, not portrait. This is a cardinal sin (as once discovered by editor Kate. Oh, do you have to keep telling on me! Ed).

4) Not really into selfies or selfie sticks? My sister who travels a lot on her own taught me this great trick. Balance your phone on something a couple of metres back with the camera facing you, then start recording, jump in front and pose away. When you watch the video, hit pause and scroll through – this way you can see still images. Take a screenshot by holding down the home button (main button) and the side power button at the same time. Ta-da – you can choose your favourite shot – no selfie stick needed.

5) Have a play with slow-motion video – just open the camera and swipe to change across to slow-motion mode. This is great for action shots, or capturing terrible facials. I love this video of my greyhound shaking in slow-motion. Panorama is perfect for gorgeous landscapes; hold your phone portrait, and keep it straight (there’s a yellow line to guide you) as you slowly move the camera from left to right.

Happy shooting!
Cheree Morrison
Staff Writer,
NZ Life & Leisure


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