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. Friday, 13 April 2018 .

I honestly cannot believe that not only is it already April, but also Autumn! I can't even begin to tell you how many miserable Summer days I had wishing for the change in season to come around faster but now that it's happened... has it always been cold?! Several people at work have started wearing winter coats! In fact, I'm writing about the hottest winter coats coming our way soon for one of my favourite shopping malls so I'll be sure to link that once it's done. 

Is it just me or does it feel like we've been running around in circles, like headless chickens, just going around and around with no clear direction in mind? That's certainly how it feels like here. The past few months have been chaotic, especially March! I had a big event where I was key note speaking and travelled all the way to Hamilton for it. Then promptly realised I left ALL my notes in Auckland! Amateur hour, but also queen procrastinator just winged it! And it was the most fun I've ever had in my public speaking career so far. Anyway, the point is, is that life has been crazy busy and the next few weeks feel like they will be even more. What I need is a clearer plan of what I want to do this month. None of this aimless wanderings anymore.

I've set some big goals for myself earlier this year and to be quite honest feel like I've barely made a dent on achieving them! So thought today I'd talk about my monthly goals, purely for me to keep myself accountable. The procrastinator in me said I'd get serious about the things I want to do after Easter and the time has come!

But can we quickly talk about Easter and how absolutely nice it was to have family around (the Wellington fam and Brisbane fam flew over for 4 days of hanging out and eating. BLISS)!? Also this:

(can we just take a moment to appreciate these Easter-themed cocktails?! Dane and I went up to my fave Attica Bar after work before the break especially for these and they were delicious!)

Now back to goals... April feels like a reset and fresh start so I think I'm going to ease myself into it and start with just a few:

01. Stick to a writing schedule and write everyday - especially when I'm feeling uninspired or tired! Especially then. I've picked up a few more writing articles to do alongside my monthly columns for various places but I'd actually love to do more work on the web series and my novel.
02. Storyboard and develop pilot for the webseries - this includes casting, forming the rest of the crew, location scout, and timelines!
03. Get rid of stuff - my flat has so much stuff still, despite me getting rid of half of them already! So I want to do an audit of everything in my little flat - room, bathroom, studio - assess and give away things no longer serving me.

04. Routines. Routines. Routines - do them, especially my morning and evening ones!

05. Eat better - as in make my own meals, actually have breakfast in the morning, and keep drinking water!

Let's see how we go, shall we? I'll report back, don't worry. Wish me luck. I most definitely do need it x 

. Sunday, 8 April 2018 .

Currently in bed feeling like I'm on cloud nine. Literally. I'm sipping on some (well, three to be exact) Ginger Beer gifted to me by the wonderful people at Monsoon . They generously sent through a box filled with 4 packs of ginger beer that I shared at the office and at home since my family loves ginger beer! I've had the original one, but only trying the ones with lemongrass and cardamom today. Fave would have to be the latter which is surprising because I didn't think I was a cardamom gal but here we are. Thank you, Monsoon Ginger! You've made my lazy day a bit more exciting!

Steph and I went for brunch today and tried to do some work. I have 2 articles due today and shot a bunch of photos for it too so brunch was literally fuel for me to get through the day. To say that things have been busy around here is an understatement! So much has been going on that I don't know where to start. There was my talk at Seed Waikato that literally felt like a turning point for me. There's the #feelings reflection I've been doing lately but will save that for another day. I did have a bit of a moment while I was walking along a crowded Sylvia Park yesterday afternoon so I guess I'll start with that.
I was at Sylvia Park yesterday afternoon when it happened. I was holding my phone trying to call my mum, both arms carrying shopping bags. One of them was a mattress topper I picked up from Adairs, the one I've been lusting over for a good year or so now. A mattress topper has always been one of the things I wanted but never got around to actually getting. I swear one of the main reasons why I love staying in hotels is because of their comfy beds, and I think mattress toppers help get that cloud-like feel to them. So yes, it's been on my wish list for a while. It felt very adult-y too, investing in things for your bed. I always ended up spending my money elsewhere - clothes, make-up, food (majority of it food tbh), my dreams of my own soft bed put in the backburner.

But yesterday I picked up a voucher for a collaboration I did with one of their sister malls and your gal went HAM on the homeware! I got the tray from Redcurrent (again, a purchase I've been thinking about for 3 weeks now!) and my mattress topper along with a few bits and bob like my favourite sleep spray. Anyway, back to the moment... I was standing there sweaty AF lugging all these things to literally the other end of the mall when I stopped and realised that my work paid for this. A few Sundays ago I was sitting on my bed, writing about one of my faovurite topics - Autumn fashion - and now I'm getting items I've only ever dreamed of owning FROM DOING WHAT I LOVE! I didn't need to quit my day job and give it all up to live the dream. I fit it into my schedule and just did it despite having 3 articles due that day.  I don't know what the point to this story is, but it sure did feel like a ~moment~. 

So I guess that kind of sums up how life is going lately. It feels like I'm just coming out of muddy waters and things are looking up. The long weekend/Easter break helped too! I spent lots of time with family as the Wellington and Aussie fam came over for it too. It's been years since we were all together and even though all we did was eat and talk, it was so nice to just enjoy each other's company.
Thursday evening was spent hanging out with my dad (#instadad) at the premiere of Killing Eve, coming to NZ exclusively via TVNZ On Demand tomorrow night! I know it was a short week, but it felt like a long one and by the time Thursday rolled around I was so looking forward to relaxing and being a bit of a blob. This premiere was quite a godsend, really. We went to Event Cinemas on Queen St where one of the Gold Class theatres were reserved for the screening. After settling in to one of the comfy reclining seats, one of the friendly team from Hoyts grabbed our orders (I had the yum cha and dad had the lamb burger), and gave us popcorn and drinks and some choc tops. Basically everything I love about going to the cinemas (apart from seeing the film itself lol)!

We watched a few trailers of the shows coming to TVNZ soon and when the first scene of Killing Eve appeared on screen, dad and I actually thought it was a trailer for something else! I admit when I first heard about the show, I wasn't sure if it was something I'd be into. A spy thriller? Historically I wouldn't be into it, but when I found out it was starring (and produced) by Sandra Oh, I got really excited to see her on screen again as she was my Grey's Anatomy fave!

I'm so glad I gave it a chance though because the pilot was not at all what I was expecting! It was quirky and funny and dreamy (Seriously. A spy thriller and I'm calling it dreamy?!) because of Villanelle's (Jodie Comer) apartment and outfits. The fashion in this series is so fun! The storyline even betteIt premieres at 6 pm tomorrow on TVNZ On Demand (watch it here) and it's already been renewed for Season 2.

Watching Sandra Oh take the lead on this show felt like the representation I've been waiting so long for in mainstream media and I'm excited to see where they take this show. Only thing I don't like is that we have to wait weekly for episodes because after seeing the pilot, I wanted more right then and there. But alas, Monday nights just got a bit more exciting. Watch the trailer here and don't forget to tune in to TVNZ On Demand at 6 pm tomorrow here. I know I'll be tuning in!

Hope you had a great weekend! I'm off to go plan my family's meals for the week and do a bit of a supermarket shop after I finish my drinks. How is it Sunday night already?!

. Tuesday, 20 March 2018 .

Every once in a while, a movie comes along and leaves a profound impact on you. That’s what The Greatest Showman is for me.

Sam Humphrey is The Greatest Showman. Just as Hugh Jackman is The Greatest Showman. Zac Efron is The Greatest Showman. The Greatest Showman is Keala Settle and Zendaya. In many ways I feel like, I too, am The Greatest Showman. At its core, it's a story about hope and dreamers. Of acceptance instead of just tolerance. It’s a film for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, for anyone who has pushed through adversity and took great risks for the sake of pursuing our passions. And let’s be honest – we have all been there before, all have felt this to some degree in the past. It’s a universal story that we need to see now more than ever.

I still can’t get through hearing ‘A Million Dreams’ without crying – I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song that really captured how I felt so beautifully as that. I still can’t hear ‘This Is Me’ without feeling empowered. These songs have made such an impact because not only is it an essential part of the movie, but it’s the heart and soul of it. I went to a sing-a-long screening (2 of them even!) and it was like a concert in the cinema! We were dancing and singing and I haven’t felt that connected in a long time. All because of the power of film.

But back to Sam Humphrey, the breakout star of this movie. The scene-stealer, whose performance for this movie is sincere and truly made him standout from the pack. So imagine my surprise when I found out that Sam Humphrey is a Kiwi Aussie actor who is so proud of his roots!

There's this particular scene that really stood out to me in the film and without spoiling it too much for those who still haven't seen it (seriously what are you doing if you're not seeing this yet?!), Hugh Jackman's P.T. Barnum says to Sam's General Tom Thumb: "And when they see you, they won't laugh. They will salute". The scene was so moving that I had to choke back tears the first time I watched it. That moment was so human, so relatable and it's a credit to these incredible actors for making it so.

So today's feature is one that is so special to me. A few weeks ago I was sat inside one of Grand Mercure Auckland's incredible hotel suites (basically took me back to this) nervous as heck, about to chat to one of my favourite actors from my favourite movie. As it turns out, Sam Humphrey is just as amazing as his on-screen movie character and just such a good chap to chat with.

We talked about the film, what it was like working with Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, favourite Kiwi lolly, and an unexpected (but oh so welcomed) pep talk from the man himself! Below is the transcript from our chat:

Hey Sam! How's it going? How's LA today? Is it quite sunny out there? I'm in Auckland and it's bloody hot.

Funnily enough it's actually quite cold. It's been cold the past few days too.

I'd honestly rather be cold than sweaty! Anyway, so I saw on your Instagram that you were in New Zealand last year for the Attitude awards.

Yeah, yeah. That's right!

So you're from New Zealand, right? I always see you say that you're proud to be a kiwi and I love that!

Yeah so I was born and raised in New Zealand and when I was about 13 years old we moved to Australia.

Oh okay, so you went over the ditch then! Whereabouts in New Zealand are you from?

So I was born in Auckland but we've moved around the country a lot and I've lived in Wellington and New Plymouth.

That's cool! So you've done a bit of exploring around New Zealand. What's your favourite Kiwi lolly?

Pink Smokers! It's got to be Pink Smokers.

I've never had them before.

You've never had Pink Smokers?!

No! I need to try it now. Pop down to the dairy and grab me some. Anyway... I'm very excited to be chatting with you! The Greatest Showman is such a great film and truly is a celebration of humanity in all forms.

Thank you. I'm really happy and proud to be part of the film.

What was your favourite scene that you've done in the movie?

Umm... honestly there are so many good scenes like the very first scene that I did with Hugh (Jackman) when he comes to my house. That’s probably one of my favourites! That was the first time I actually got up close and personal with Hugh, you know face to face.And it's a really good moment for my character and his as well. I feel like that was when Hugh and I truly bonded, not just our characters but him and I in that particular scene.

I actually found that scene quiet the emotional when he says to you that they won't be laughing they will salute... I just found myself choking back tears. It was such a great scene! How did you prepare for the role?

So to prepared for the role I basically kept looking at the script and really learning it. From that I kept on going over my script and the working through what was the emotions behind that and with my character too. I read a little bit about the back story and did some research on Tom Thumb. And on set, I really worked closely with the director Michael Gracey and really understanding his vision helped me in portraying this character.

What was it like to work with Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, and the other incredible cast members of The Greatest Showman?

The cast is amazing. I’ve never worked with so many talented people. There's a certain appreciation of everyone around you when you’re working on a film like this. All working together working to create an artform.

Personally I didn’t get to be in a scene with some of the cast like Rebecca Ferguson who plays Jenny Lind. I mainly worked with Hugh and it's been amazing cos he's one of the people I really look up to.

What’s been the ultimate ‘pinch me’ moment so far? What’s been the highlight for you?

Wow, that’s a big one. Well honestly, literally everyday. Eeveryday I wake up I never know what’s gonna happen to me, what auditions are gonna happen to me.

Name three people living or dead that you love to have at a dinner party and why?

I've actually been thinking about that question a lot lately. It's a hard one there so many people they would love to sit down and have a nice dinner where I can only pick 3 of them? Argh! honestly what I said would be Hugh. you know I got to work with him everyday on set so I'd love to sit down and have dinner with him. As for the rest.. oooh, I really don’t know. There are so many people I'd love to have with me at a dinner party!

Ha ha ha, so basically quite a lot of people then? It's gonna be a big dinner party!

Yeah, definitely. I'll have to hire like a massive hall to fit everyone. Jesus would be another one. He was such a, you know, incredible man and he inspired and motivated so many people and founded Christianity so I'd love to have him at my dinner party. And then for the third person... hmm. I don't know I think I'll skip the third one?

Hmm, it could be anyone! Maybe an open invite?

Yeah it might just have to be an open invite. Or actually I'd invite my family to have dinner with us.

What an amazing dinner party that would be though! You, Hugh, Jesus, and the family. Casual Sunday roast?

I know, right? That would be so amazing!

Okay so I think I was pretty hungry when I wrote the question for this interview because my next question is actually food related still. What is your favourite food or dish?

(Laughs) What's my favourite meal? Oooohhhh. I honestly I love a lot of stuff so can I say my favourite type of food?


I do love Chinese. I really love Asian food. I'm half-Asian so the food is my favourite.

Are you really?!


I didn't know that! I'm Asian too!

Oh, well there you go. We have something in common!

Asians in New Zealand.

Kiwi Asians! LA has good Asian places too. But yeah, I love seafood. Salmon, or shrimp, or calamari… anything like that? I’m in heaven.

Do you like Oysters?

Not a huge fan of Oysters but I will eat them.

It’s bluff oyster season in New Zealand at the moment so we’re all very excited. Alright so my next question isn’t food related anymore. I guess by the time I got to this part of the questions I wasn’t hungry anymore! Although my favourite questions is still about food. Anyway moving on… if you were to talk to your 15 year old self what would you say to him? 

Be brave. Do not give up. Things can only go up from there. I can still remember very clearly how I was feeling when I was 15 years old. I was going through a bit of a dark time then, but keep working hard and don’t ever give up. It will definitely get better.

That's great advice. I guess when you've gone through a dark patch and you've come out in the other side, you can kind of look back on the experience and reflect on the journey.

Yeah, yeah. Exactly!

So speaking of advice what would your advice be to budding Kiwi actors dreaming of pursuing an acting career and being movies like you? cos I guess it's quite hard when you live in New Zealand and you've got all these big dreams I just love hearing from someone who is living the dream and do what they love them now it's really inspiring to see people's pursue their passions and it. you are absolutely freaking smashing it!

Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. I think the best advice I can give to someone who wants to pursue a career in acting number one is to make sure it's definitely what you want to do. You've got to have very strong resilience and be able to handle rejection. In this industry there will be days when you’re on top of the world, and then there are days when you just want to give up and cry and scream. It’s definitely an important decision you make. Like ‘you know what, I can’t actually picture myself doing anything else’ decision.

That’s solid advice.

It has to be your passion. You know that there’s nothing else you could be or want to be. You've got to have that thought made up in your mind you can't just be like maybe I'll be an actor I'm going to be an actor I am an actor this is what I'm going to be.

Love it. I feel like you've just given me a pep talk right now and this is exactly what I need to hear so thank you.

As for what's next for Sam? He's currently living in Los Angeles, home to Hollywood and plenty more opportunities. We talked about projects in the pipeline and how there's so much more to come. No doubt we'll be seeing Sam grace our screens more in the near future!

And to his Kiwi fans? What would he say?

"Honestly, just thank you so much for all the support you've shown from watching the film to getting the soundtrack and to supporting us and bring us to where we are now".

And where they are now is a great place to be in. Just last Saturday, my friends and I planned to go see The Greatest Showman again and guess what? The theatre was completely packed! There were only a handful of seats left and they didn’t have 3 seats beside each other available anymore. Considering the film has been in theatres since December, this is just astonishing to see.

The Greatest Showman is exactly that - great. It gave us a powerful anthem that won a Golden Globe for best song. It gave actors like Sam Humphrey a platform to express themselves and bring to life characters that we can all relate to. It gave us something to hope for and celebrate, oddities and all.

Keep an eye out for more from Sam Humphrey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.