Sunday, August 15, 2010

Next New Zealand Woman of the year awards

I want to start this post by thanking all of you that emailed me with congratulations, messages of support and kinds words. The level of support and kindness has been overwhelming. I write this post in response to everyone that wanted to know what happened, how I got on, what I wore, who was there..... etc.


We received these beautiful invitations, in a lovely cream envelope with the wax seal of Next magazine.


The cocktail party & awards ceremony was held at Fables in Parnell, a gorgeous venue with a unique atmosphere. (more about that later)


The 25 finalists were lucky to be offered free hair styles from Vada an awesomely awesome salon on the corner of Beresford and Pitt Sts in Auckland. I had the fabulous Leonie, who did a great job. I must say Vada's wash basins are the most comfortable I have ever had the pleasure to rest my head on. I spent a pleasurable hour, with a glass of wine in hand having my hair done and just resting, after a busy week.

I parked in Beresford St and took a short stroll along K-Rd, as I was a little early. I had brought my camera with me, as I'd intended to take photos for you all.


I wandered past a store that sells Indian sweets. I often stop to buy them here. I really like the Milk Barfi.


When I married my darling hubby in 2000, we had a reception here on K Road at Alleluya cafe - that's it at the back, by the big picture window. I just love the stained glass "To Myers Park" sign (we were married in Myers Park). That stairway (park side) to Myers Park has been used for so many television commercials I've lost count (including one airing at the moment for TSB bank - with the "Stroller Helper")

After I had my hair done, we made our way to our motel for the night. The lovely Parnell Inn on Parnell Road. I must have been in the right place. Look what shop was directly across the road.


We arrived at Fables just a couple of minutes after 7pm. We ascended the stairs, which were lit the entire way with tea light candles in small glass vessels. We were greeted at the top of the stairs by Next magazine staff members and a glass of bubbly. Our names were checked against a guest list. As a finalist, I was given a Camellia corsage to wear. For which Christina Sayers-Wickstead, Next's editor explained the significance, for those who were unaware (during the campaign for Women’s Suffrage, those who supported the 1893 Electoral Bill were presented with a white camellia to wear in their buttonhole. The white camellia has since become a symbol of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand). These stylish corsages were a great way of recognising the other finalists, and acted a great way to start a conversation with another finalist.
On a giant screen the head shots of the 25 finalists slowly faded in and out. I must say it seemed perfectly natural for the other 24 to be there, but I found it odd, looking at a giant photo of myself.


The canapes circulating were divine. It is here with my foodie readers in mind, that  I know you will take great delight in reading about them. Each was a sheer delight. There were lightly battered prawns on a knotted skewer with a lime aioli. Italian Sushi - which consisted of what seemed to be arborio rice mixed with parmesan, wrapped in prosciutto with a sliver of parmesan and a half cherry tomato on top. One of my favourites was a tiny waffle cone filled with Asian watercress creme, topped with a viola, the contrast of the slightly sweet cone with the watercress creme was lovely. Lastly a lovely rare slice of beef served on top of a purple cabbage slaw. I'd love to know where those mini cones come from. Oh the uses I could think of for them..

Here is where I have to apologise for the lack of photos. The time simply whizzed by, there were speeches, of which all were highly entertaining - from Dr Gareth Morgan & Dame Cath Tizard (judges), as well as Christina the editor. I was humbled to learn, the sheer volume of applications, for every category and am still stunned to think I was awarded as a finalist.
We were all called to the stage one at a time, to receive a certificate, and at the end of each group, a winner was awarded for each category. And THEN the final announcement for the WINNER! of the title of "Next Woman of the year!"

The winner of the Next Woman of the year was Dr Emma Parry. Click here to watch Emma on the "Breakfast" TV show, the following morning.
Dr Emma Parry specialises in high risk pregnancies at Auckland Hospital and helped develop the first service in New Zealand to treat twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, amongst other amazing achievements.

We were all called to the stage for a group photo by Next's photographer. My hubby snapped one on his phone. It's not the best, but it's all I have. (18 of the 25 finalists were present)


As we were leaving, I had ringing in my ears, all the requests from Kiwicakers for a photo of me in my cocktail dress (which I had to go out and buy, as I simply don't own one). One of the lovely Next staff members Chrystal obliged. The lighting was awfully dim and I had only taken my small point & shoot camera. So apologies for the quality.


It's virtually impossible to tell what the dress looks like in these photos (sorry to the ladies that asked). It was a wrap dress by Annah S.

As we were leaving, we were given a goody bag of products from the sponsor Aveeno, which included some awesome de-stressing shower gel & moisturiser (that could come in handy close to Christmas). As well as an advance copy of the September issue of Next magazine, where we could read the true extent of all Emma's amazing achievements.


Not ready to call it a night hubby & I strolled back towards Parnell's centre (yes I was the woman in a cocktail dress walking in stockings down the street on Thursday night, with high heels in hand, it's been too long since I spent an entire evening in heels and my feet weren't up to it) we popped in to the Blue Elephant, a lovely Thai restaurant. Here's a quick shot of me waiting for my supper. (the hair is a bit dishevelled by this stage of the evening).


We crossed back to our motel just before 11pm. I can admit it was absolute bliss to wake in the morning to peace & quiet (instead of being jumped on by a dog or small children). However there was no time to waste, it was straight back up to Whangarei to collect our wee man from Kindy and to dispatch the Kiwicakes orders.


I can say whole heartedly, I had a fabulous time, and am so pleased I went.


In today's Sunday paper, in the "About Town" section was some lovely photos from the evening.
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