Recently I attended the much anticipated second event for #Aucklandmade – in conjunction with Yelp Auckland, ‘Auckland In A Box’ and Bonnie Oatcakes. This startup began a few years ago – founded by Morgan Claire Maw. These wheat & dairy-free oatcakes have no added sugar and taste wholesome & delectable. The Yelpers sipped complimentary Huia Brut & Huia Chardonnay from Marlborough which I’d never had the pleasure of tasting until now: sumptuous. ‘The Cheese Room’ is truely an orgasmic experience for all cheese-lovers & enthusiasts alike. I indulged in heavenly Smoked Paprika, Canterbury Linseed & Orginal Oatcakes with lashings of goat, cheddar or blue cheese. Morgan shared her entrepreneurial, engaging story about the small beginnings of ‘Bonnie’ making oatcakes in her own kitchen to now stocking into 60 NZ select supermarkets, delicatessens, Artisan markets & specialised foodie stores nationwide. Now ‘Bonnie’ is in my pantry instead of buying my weekly ciabatta. Sold: hook, line & sinker.
What social media channels do you use? How do you monetise your platforms? At what stage can you measure conversions? These questions were put to the panel of social media savvy entrepreneurs & start-up founders last night at Social Media Club, Auckland. The panel of speakers: Makaia Carr (Motivate Me), Ken Brickley (BuddyBid), Wendy Thompson (Socialites) & Alex Mackrill (GrabOne) voiced their opinions on what has worked for them on brand strategy, business growth, customer engagement & innovative marketing on social. I learnt that New Zealander’s love and engage with Facebook more than any other social media platform & is the most successful for monetisation. What about Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat & Pinterest? Apparently, these platforms are still in there infancy in NZ and most of us now have a smartphone, which has revolutionised the way we communicate. Jam Mayer was the MC for the evening: articulate & erudite on social. Sarah Evans (Semble) was the shiny new thing (brand) in the room – I agree. What is Semble? “It’s NZ’s mobile wallet where you can pay for things using your phone.” Presently only available on Android. Amazing concept – who needs a purse or wallet (anymore) when you can pay with Semble? Impressed. This event was attended by up to 300 people – monetisation on social is a ‘hot’ subject – the present, our future.
As luck is on my side – I was recently invited to attend the first series of ‘Artisan’ talks hosted by Yelp Auckland at Lot 23. First up (of these talks) was Otis & Sarah Frizzell who founded, own & presently operate “The Lucky Taco”, since May 2013. I was intrigued to hear all about their entrepreneurial journey and their ‘go to’ product; so far they have collaborated with the likes of Nice Blocks, The Collective NZ (no bull yoghurt), BMW and endless others. Like all start-ups – Otis & Sarah – have had an action-packed ride on the path to success. I was delighted to try some of the ‘hot’ sauces on offer including Halanero, Jalapeño & Chipotle. Now stocked in 60 ‘New World’ supermarkets across New Zealand, so you can now have this on tap in your pantry! I purchased some (not on the market yet) ‘Chilli Salt’ which I can’t wait to try on poached eggs! ‘Auckland in a box’ were showcasing too – with a giveaway of local artisan products. Lot 23 is an exceptional space for events, executed to a high standard. The crowd finished off all the sample tacos in record time. Impressed. Nice one Yelp: Gold. That’s all.
Yelp Auckland – you did good. Thievery studio is an understated, urban, artist’s ‘dream space’ for photographers (namely Garth Badger), filmmakers, event producers, fashion designers and anyone wanting a creative hideaway on the infamous Karangahape Road. Attending ‘So Fresh & So Clean’ last night was an outstanding event showcasing ‘Honey Trap’ (Hummingbird Cake & Mini chicken club sandwiches), ‘Cocoloco’ (Pure coconut water & Spiced Stolen Rum with coconut water) – truely orgasmic. ‘Room by Room’ (affordable & accessible) interior design consultation, who gave away gorgeous cacti wrapped in recycled brown paper. ‘Invivo’ sampling delicious red wine, ‘Garage Project’ with their array of craft beer from Te Aro, ‘Antipodes’ sparkling & flat water that I can never drink enough of. ‘Bird on a Wire’ with paleo-style fare. The dip was heaven. ‘Little Eats’ was sampling a deconstructed creme brûlée-like sweet & a bite size spicy pastrami treats, ‘Bluebells Cakery’ offered ginger crunch, chocolate brownie, mini jammy donuts & more gastronomy! I drunk the Clasico & Rose Cava and nibbled on most of the above. The highlight was the Spiced Stolen Rum Cocoloco, the carefully positioned life-size zebra mounted on the wall, ‘Honey Trap’ clubs and Yelp for always exceeding my expectations – Yelp me!
What a great venue for a ‘Yelp Elite’ event! I always wondered what would become of the rundown commercial laundry in Mackelvie Street – newly transformed ‘The Shelter’ is resident to Blend cafe & fashion brands: Children of Vision, Taylor, Mobi, Otsu & Tokyo Bikes to name a few temptations. Drew & Sarah Duff-Dobson told us their story behind Blend Cafe: lovers of great coffee selling Smith blend which is Fair-Trade or Rainforest Alliance sold in compostable cups! On our arrival, all Yelpers were offered cocktails either Smith coffee, bourbon & orange and/or Smith coffee, Cointreau, orange & egg white. Whoa! The gorgeous fare was supplied by ‘Bird on a Wire’: selection of Asian salad with a peanut sauce, raw vegetables with Dahl and I missed out on the chicken, unfortunately! Incredible ambiance in the courtyard which was chic, urban & wholesome. Inspirational event – which is the first Yelp event showcasing local startup (entrepreneurial) business’s in the Auckland Central community. Yelp!
What a find! Bunker cafe is hidden away – just off Great North Road – not the easiest place to find, however when you do: bliss. I personally love ‘hard to find’ quirky, urban cafes that don’t do conventional. ‘Bunker Cafe’ is just that; a converted container surrounded by designer bean bags, wooden benches, pews and a concrete garden. Atomic coffee is on offer, along with oversized sweet & savoury brioche, gourmet pies, sweet fare and gastronomic European sandwiches filled with a multitude of choices. I decided on the bacon & egg ciabatta that was winking at me. Everything is takeaway: served on disposable plates. Service is fabulous and personable. Parking is scarce. Ambience is a writer’s dream. You better go now before everyone knows about it!
BIG fan – not sure why I have not been here before as its in my neighbourhood! Located on the corner of Great North Rd & Williamson Ave, it’s central Grey Lynn. The space is modern, bright and inviting. As I approached the counter, the barista was beaming as she asked “how are you?” Fantastic: personable, engaging and gives’ a sh*t. Some cafes are just too busy to care – “Kokako” does care. The cabinet food looked fresh, appetising and healthy with all the usual options available: berry muffins, scummy sandwiches & other mouth-watering treats. Reasonably priced from $4.50. I was looking forward to the coffee, of course. It didn’t disappoint – my triple shot flat white. The cafe was extremely busy for a morning weekday; that explains a lot. Very impressed with this flagship cafe: “Kokako”!
Lot 23 is a place that you may read about in ‘Viva’; then make the (conscious) decision to visit, before it’s everyone’s hang-out.
Located in Minnie Street, Eden Terrace which happens to be where TVNZ ‘Step Dave’s’ (blue) house is situated!
As you enter the space: walls are filled with the latest art curated by Natalie Tozer, concrete floor, wooden old-school chairs, complimented with a super-slick white interior that acts as a great canvas for everything art!
The menu is delectable: ‘Ugly bagels’ topped with lashings of cream cheese, capers and fresh salmon, daily soup choice/s, croissant filled with Camembert, tomato and ham off the bone, ‘Baghdad eggs’ and coconut ice!
Every mouthful is ‘gastronomy’ and flavoursome. I particularly love the ‘Brazilian coffee’ that stimulates the senses – like coffee should. I can’t get enough of Lot 23.
Laura has worked as a Sports Therapist & Personal Trainer for 15 years; specialising in Plyometric Training, Pilates, Functional Training & Injury Rehabilitation. In 2014 Laura worked with 3 NRL teams for the Auckland NRL 9’s tournament, New Zealand Warriors League team, New Zealand Kiwis Junior, Seniors Rugby League 4 Nations; England Rugby team while in NZ.
1. When did you discover your love of fitness?
Fitness has always been a big part of my life, even as a child. I come from a very active family: very outdoorsy doing water sports and other activities. Both my brother and I were extremely competitive in sports – as children.
I learnt to push my body very young.
Selected for Scottish junior squad: competitive sprinter and also trained to represent the UK in Heptathlon. Former Sprint Champion.
2. Is being a PT your dream job? If so, why?
I love my job. It’s so unique to have the privilege to transform people’s lives. That could be by something small, like a change in someone’s mind-set. The fact that I work in a multi-disciplinary way with my clients varying from being a sports injury therapist or alternatively functional training to strengthening and conditioning work. Most of my clients (around 60-70%) are professional athletes; I have many other incredible clients that are transforming their lives along with mine.
3. What are your challenges as a personal trainer?
My biggest challenge is to be a great trainer; while also working as an injury rehabilitation therapist, in turn juggling my ‘family life’ which is the ultimate challenge.
4. What sort of people do you train? Athletes? Normal people?
My work involves many different people however I work a lot with teams, sporting organisations and individual athletes both for sports injury therapy and conditioning training. I particularly love working with up-and-coming athletes. The difference I can make to impact their careers is extensive. I love that challenge to work with athletes under crazy time constraints. I also train with corporates and regular people who all have personal goals to get fit, while developing a healthier self; transforming mind and body.
5. Is diet just as important as exercise to reach fitness goals, do you think?
Nutrition impacts on every aspect of our being. Be that physical, spiritual, emotional or otherwise. Everything starts with feeding our body that is the basic fundamental of life. Crack that formula and you’re onto a winner. Nutrition affects everything, not just our physical state but our emotional and cognitive ability.
6. Who would you really like to work with – name anyone?
There is not one individual I think I must work with. People always intrigue me. We all have special talents; it’s about empowering people to have the strength to be their best.
7. Are all your clients victorious?
Victory is in the ‘eye’ of the beholder – always.
8. What is your favourite brand of shoes and sports attire?
I have a few favourites: Nike for general training; Asics for running and NBand Adidas
for cross-training. As for clothing: Lululemon, Nike, Adidas and Reebok.
9. In your opinion – does exercise give you ‘quality of life’?
Yes – without question fitness gives you ‘quality of life’. Our bodies were designed to move. Without movement there can be no life on a microscopic level, or on a global level.
10. What makes you smile?
First and foremost my 3 children. However people in general – I admire people. I love the sound of people’s voices.
When I need to decompress and recharge – nothing bets water. I find it very cleansing. Fresh running water: the ocean or a stream. It brings calmness to my fast paced life.
It’s about balance. When we are happy (inside and out) – we smile without thinking.