Category: Life

How To Look Victorious at the Races!


There are two types of events that highlight my year; weddings and the races. Why? Because over the years I have subconsciously built a wardrobe full of dazzling outfits, alongside a collection of statement accessories that are not exactly your everyday Ponsonby night attire. So, they patiently hang in the darkness of my closet waiting for their season to flourish – the season of weddings and race days! Two occasions where New Zealand women can dress to the nines, celebrate fashion and boast the creative and extravagant side of their personality.

Ellerslie Racecourse is home to some of New Zealand’s most attended racing events; The Melbourne Cup, Karaka Million, Twilight Races and this March the highly anticipated Auckland Cup Week with the  Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day coming up on 10th March.

Over the last few years I have attended a number of these events, eagerly keeping my eyes peeled as I stroll through the clinking of champagne glasses and mingle my way through the hosted areas, taking a mental note and visual inspiration from the diverse range of women and their individual interpretation of race day fashion – all the while feeling relaxed, excited and daring! It’s not just a day for the wealthy and fashion fierce, it’s a day that brings together fun, anticipation, that outdoor feeling and friendship.

It’s not only what you are wearing that makes the races such an attractive outing!

Let’s be honest. There is nothing more sexy than a man or woman waving that winning ticket in the air. There is an immediate happy reaction we all have viewing the smiles of a victory for someone, whether it’s $5 or $500 ! So don’t be too concerned with dollar amounts, celebrate looking victorious with whatever you might win and for the wins of those around you.

Here are a few of my tips:

The Boxed Trifecta Percentage Bet:  I would normally choose 6 horses at a 20% bet. This means that if three of your chosen six horses place in first, second and third in any order, you win 20% of what the horses are paying, I generally bet $20.

Place your bet early and be organised: Know your bets and place them as you arrive. This way you can relax, cheer with a few champagnes and find yourself a prime spot amongst the crowd. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute trying to figure out what bets to place, especially after a few champagnes!

Spread your bets out: Rather than betting on the final race, place smaller bets across a number of races. More chances to wave those tickets!

Take Cash: I learnt this the hard way. I waited eagerly before the final and only race I was betting on that day, only to find that they didn’t accept credit card or eftpos. With the race having already started I dashed back to join the rest of my friends hoping to celebrate their wins and …. the bet I was going to make won!

I arrived early to the Karaka Million a few weeks ago, before the crowds of fashionistas and race day fanatics arrived, to shoot a few different race day inspired looks from Trelise Cooper (first two looks) and H&M (second two looks).

If you’d like an excuse to dress up, drink champagne and party in the sunshine, then you can get your tickets here –

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The 101 on Urban Polo


Just lately I’ve enjoyed colouring in my calendar weekends with new experiences and opportunities to meet people beyond my own circle. I still enjoy a Saturday night getting ready at 10pm to enjoy a cocktail on Ponsonby Rd but switching to a 10am ‘get ready’ time is taking on a new appeal. Particularly getting ready for fashion, music and sporting events like rugby, cricket or the Karaka Million.

New to the calendar this year, is the highly anticipated Heineken Urban Polo. I attended the NZ Open for the first time out in Clevedon last year and until then, my only experience with the game was watching Vivian Ward turn heads in her wide brimmed hat on Pretty Woman. This month I’m excited to be a part of the Urban Polo, an urban take on the traditional game and an opportunity to open the sport up to a wider audience, bringing it into the inner city. Played on a significantly smaller field, Urban Polo brings its spectators closer to the game, ponies and action.

With its mix of sunshine, social mingling, music and some of Auckland’s finest hospitality, the Heineken Urban Polo has established itself as one of summer’s most talked about events. The first event is popping up on Shore Road Reserve in Parnell, carrying on to Christchurch, Hamilton and Wellington in the following weeks.

For those of you who are new to this sporting summer highlight like me, the guys at Urban Polo have shared a few tips to help get you through as if you are an event regular:

  • Two teams, 3 players on each side.
  • Players are designated ‘attack’ or ’defence’. Each has the job of furthering their own goal tally while preventing the other team scoring.
  • The game begins with a throw-in, ball is rolled between the teams.
  • The line of the ball is a ‘right of way’ established by the path of the ball – player who struck the ball last has right of way.
  • Teams change after each goal is scored.


And of course there is the fashion! But what exactly is the fashion brief for an Urban Polo? Simply put a garden party/urban lens over what you would expect to wear to a day at the races. Fascinators and hats are not an expected element to an outfit, however most welcome. The urban polo is an opportunity to integrate pops of colour, a tailored pant or a flowy dress or skirt. Have fun with accessories, statement jewellery, bright bags and with this dodgy weather I’d add a blazer draped over your shoulders just in case. I don’t think I need to state the obvious, but don’t try your luck with a pair of stiletto heels – wedges, block heels or sandals.

I recently spent a morning out at Ainsley Polo, the breeding and training ground for some of the worlds best polo ponies. Living and working in the city, I rarely get to see the countryside at this time of the day, it was incredibly idyllic. I watched the players during a practice game. It’s such a peaceful sport, so graceful. The sound of the ponies as they galloped by made me re-think my inner city lifestyle! Ainsley Polo also offer Polo lessons, whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned polo player – they will have you covered with the best teachers in the game. I’m excited to try one myself next month. Head over to their site for more info:


















The Heineken Urban Polo is happening across the country:

Auckland Feb 24th

Christchurch 3rd March

Hamilton 17th March

Wellington 24th March


Outfits from Witchery and Ketz-ke

Photos by Tori Hayley 



Escape To This Inner City Dream

Grand Mercure Holly Estelle Blog

It’s been a big year, professionally, emotionally and physically. I’ve ticked off some significant boxes on my ’30 Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 35′ bucket list; I’ve achieved a lot professionally, I’ve travelled, dated, spoke in front of over 200 people and made a few more best friends who I now simply couldn’t do life without. I couldn’t feel more accomplished as I say goodbye to the beast that was 2017, but it certainly has taken it’s toll. I haven’t given my body a minute to rest and it’s something I know I am often guilty of.

We often escape the city in search of a relaxing weekend, but it’s never really a full switch off. We either wander the streets, explore the beach or go for long walks and make the most of every minute. But that’s not a real rest. A few weekends ago Tori and I locked ourselves inside the walls of the luxurious Grand Mercure Hotel, situated right in the heart of the city. We shut off. Sipping our champagne while perched on our north facing windows, we peered down onto the bustling city street. We didn’t feel guilty for being inside on such a beautiful day. Closed off from the distraction of a computer, chores and life admin, we wrapped ourselves up in our plush white robes and lazed about enjoying all the amenities, the crisp white sheets, the deep tub and the deliciously prepared food brought right to our bed. It was just what I needed and I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience. From every smile that greeted us in the hallway, to the judgement free look we received when ordering our french fries and Brussels Sprouts (its our thing) the personal touch on our experience was felt during each and every minute.

As you will see, the place is an absolute dream. From the fitness and yoga studio where you can select and follow hundreds of interactive fitness classes to their intimate library and sky high Attic Bar which celebrates the sparkling city and harbour views, the Grand Mercure is a holiday in itself and I cannot wait to go back in a few months and refuel within their walls again!

Of course we threw in a few outfits from Designer Wardrobe and H&M and shot our way through our home away from home!


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Follow them on Instagram for more from this blissful inner city escape


Lush in Ketz-ke

Ketz-ke is the fashion child of local New Zealand designer Jenny Drury. As a lover of bold colours, unique prints and statement pieces, I was immediately drawn to her gorgeous collections. My personal style is a mix of local and international brands and designers, high end pieces and cheap finds, so I took a few of her pieces over to Singapore, the city of colour, and styled them against its beautiful backdrops with a few of my local market finds.








The Wonder Shirt with my yellow pants from Tiong Bahru Markets





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Bubbles Top with my yellow pants from Tiong Bahru Markets

For more from the streets of Singapore … click here




Everything You Need To See In Singapore In Two Days (the spots you wont always find on google)


Singapore is one the most popular stop over destinations for New Zealanders. Whether we are on our way to Europe or off to the islands of Indonesia, we have all spent our fair share of time window-shopping Changi airport. I often hear that this is as far as many of us go and Singapore isn’t given the chance to be stamped in our passports. It’s just another big city, it’s too much hassle or too expensive to stay a few days or we just want to get the 30 odd hour flight to London over and done with.

Well, Singapore is one of my favourite cities, I go every year and fall more in love each time. So I want to share some of my favourite experiences then that next time you book your flights, you will go beyond the walls of Changi, stamp your passport for the first time, take the $25 – $40 cab into the city and fall in love just as I have.

But where on earth do you start when trying to plan two days in such a bustling, diverse city of must dos? Well, are celebrating their latest campaign ‘First Times’ and have asked me to partner with them to share my love and inspiration for those first time travellers to Singapore (and every booking made via this link over $80 will receive $40 back!) Yes, you can hop on Google and tick off the token attractions but in my experience it’s not the attractions that pull on my heart strings, it’s the little less frequented spots, unique to Singapore that in most cases only the locals and expats (and now me) know about.

I’ve pulled together the best bits to squeeze into a two-day stop over that I guarantee will have you booking a full ten-day holiday back!

Day One


Grab a coffee and an almond croissant while you gather your thoughts in one of Singapore’s oldest heritage sites. I think we can all agree that the biggest struggle for travelling kiwis is trying to find a café that can serve a decent coffee, but nestled amongst the local eateries is Tiong Bahru Bakery. Where east meets west, it’s become a tourist attraction in itself with the smell of their freshly baked pastries and ground espresso drifting down the streets each morning luring in crowds of addicted expats and locals. Sit outside and watch groups of friends chattering away or grab your coffee takeaway and …

Wander through the streets! Dubbed as the Ponsonby of Singapore, Tiong Bahru offers a more relaxed, boutique, local experience than the bustle of Orchard Road or the arctic temperatures of the shopping malls. Keep an eye out for these spots:

  • Tiong Bahru Market – full of fresh fruit, flower stalls with Orchids for $15, little clothing stalls and local food like the famous chicken rice guy who is up for a Michelin Star this year! It’s here that I bought the blue dress above everyone asking me about!
  • The street murals by Yip Yew Chong that pop up in the alley ways. There are four so see if you can find them all!
  • The art deco architecture along Eng Watt St
  • Plain Vanilla Café for a delicate sweet treat (has an air-conditioned work space if you need to email or cool down!)
  • Tiong Bahru Club for a beer on the street while listening to some smooth southern jazz
  • Books Actually. I always like to visit a new bookstore. B A has a gorgeous selection of locally published books capturing the Singapore charm plus the literary classics and out the back shelves of second hand books.


Walk to Bakalaki Greek Taverna for an early lunch – 5 mins walk

The quality of the eateries in Singapore is setting a very high standard for international gastronomy. Beautifully decored spaces preparing equally beautiful dishes are what I have come to expect from this city, and Bakalaki is one of my latest additions. Whisked away to the heart of Greece, we sat outside in the balmy breeze enjoying THE BEST Greek salad served with a big slab of decadent feta and a lamb Moussaka. The darling men running the restaurant treat you like family, a genuine welcome as if it were their home. We were treated to fresh Baklava to take home and a shot of their delicious Lemoncello.

Cab to Blair Rd – approx. 5 mins from Tiong Bahru

The Shop Houses of Singapore paint the city with their vibrant colours, striking tiles and cute shutters. You can’t miss them and like me will find yourself hanging out of the cab window trying to snap a picture. But the residents of Blair Road have taken the ‘pretty colourful shop house’ to an entire new level. Their homes are pieces of art with detailed trimmings, delicately painted tiles and mix of bright, bold colours. Unlike some of the other neighbourhoods, Blair Rd is relatively quiet making it the best area to take pictures without cars parked outside and the distraction of the shops and cafes on the street level.


Cab to Chinatown – approx. 10 mins/$10

Now time to experience the hustle and bustle! The jam-packed lanes of Chinatown are filled with little knick knacky shops, but thankfully no knock offs or overpowering vendors hassling you. Wander through the fashion stalls; especially the little Indian ones as the women have an eye for beautiful unique fabrics and I have picked up a few of my favourite pieces here.



Walk down Smith St, across South Bridge Rd and up Ann Siang Hill Rd a bit to Club Street

A popular Friday night drink spot where crowds of expats and locals spill out onto the streets as they hop from wine bar to boutique beer cafes. But during the day Club Street takes on a calmer vibe as it shows off its rows of charming, quaint shop houses dressed in leafy vines and hanging birdcages. Catch some shade and cool off over a beer or lemon iced tea at Jerry’s.

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Cab to Haji Lane and Kampong Glam  – approx.15mins /$10+

Haji Lane and around, is the heart of the colour of Singapore! I could shoot in these streets all day, in fact we nearly did! From the blue and white tiles that frame the Turkish restaurant to the black and white smiling faces painted on the walls – as if they are photographs! Haji lane has compacted a burst of colourful, culture and ambience into its surrounding neighbourhood. It is also where you can find the up and coming local fashion designers. Reasonably priced yet influenced by the trends coming off the catwalks, I found my mustard high wasted pants here for $20 and my red stilettos for $60. I’m often asked about both of those purchases and I love how I can say that my style is truly influenced from my experiences abroad.




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Cab to Atlas, Park View Square – or take the 5min walk from Haji Lane.

Anyone with a taste for art deco decadence will be left speechless walking into this grandiose establishment. Inspired by the glamorous architecture of Europe and New York, Atlas has created an experience like no other. Take a seat at the bar and peruse one of Asia’s finest collections of gin, spirits and champagne or settle into one of their booths for an afternoon tea.


Cab to PS Café Tiong Bahru – approx. 10mins/$10

Enjoy a glass of wine from their vast collection and one of their famous hand made pizzas. The decor and ambience of the eatery contrasts with the takeaway-dining concept, but that’s what I like about it. With walls of wine against the black tile and brass fit out, you would expect a full fine-dining experience. But at PS Café the pizzas come out in takeaway boxes with plastic cutlery, all made to share over a glass of wine or G+T. Feeling like you might be in the streets of New York, each pizza is served with their home made hot sauce, just a little Singaporean twist so you don’t forget where you are!



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Day Two

Yes, Chijmes is featured on all the Trip Advisory sites however it is still one of the most picturesque landmarks I’ve explored in my travels and something anyone new to Singapore must experience. What was once a Catholic convent, providing a school for girls, and an orphanage and housing for nuns, is now home to a range of charming restaurants covered in lush hanging greenery and European inspired verandas. Take a walk through the old archways, white spiral staircases and tiled corridors of this magical slice of serenity.



Cab to The Fullerton Bay Hotel 10mins / $10

Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea at Clifford Pier. Another grand establishment Clifford Pier, part of The Fullerton Bay Hotel, is a fresh, white, elegant dining room set under a curved sky-high ceiling. It is positioned looking out over Marina Bay. A grand piano plays to its elegantly dressed guests as they sit to enjoy an afternoon high tea. I find myself fascinated by the tables of wealthy looking people and families, wondering if this is their version of a Sunday roast? Even without the high tea experience, stroll the boardwalk around the pier, which is completely open to the public even though it is part of the hotel. Some of Singapore’s magnificent modern architecture can be seen from the boardwalk surrounding Marina Bay.


From the lobby area, take the lift to…

The Lantern Bar, on the rooftop of Fullerton Bay Hotel. Curving around the infinity pool are lounging whicker chairs and pool cabanas perfect for an afternoon cocktail served with crispy-coated peanuts. The Lantern Bar in my opinion provides the best view across to Marina Bay Sands, elevated above the busy Collyer Quay you can sit back and enjoy the view in a relaxed atmosphere.

Cab to Duxton Hill and Tanjong Paga Road 10mins / $10


Duxton Hill will have you holding your phone out at each step. A series of larger shop houses, Duxton Hill is another popular dining destination for expats. Here you will find one of my favourite shops houses – the canary yellow double shop house complete with its fanned white shutters tucked amongst the trees. Enjoy an afternoon stroll up the hill peeking into the mix of fine dining and casual beer gardens. Plan out a few additions to the next trip like I did!


Take the two min walk back down the hill to enjoy a …

Cocktail at Tipling Club. If you are a cocktail enthusiast like me, then Tipling Club is where you want to spend your final night in Singapore. Located in a shophouse, on the corner of Duxton Hill and Tanjong Pagar Rd, Tipling Club has been featured as one of the worlds best bars, a statement I can now second. The bar is cocooned under a ceiling of hanging spirits. On the corner of the bar you will find little perfume sticks used to capture the scent of each cocktail allowing their guests to “taste test” each cocktail before ordering. Each cocktail is designed to reignite a memory. I had The Grass while mum stayed in her old ways and ordered a classic dry martini (her staple). The whole place has been restored to retain the Singapore ‘of old’



Cab to Merci Marcel in Tiong Bahru 10mins / $10

I spent my last night dining at Merci Marcel, the newest eatery to join the Tiong Bahru family. A French Bistro so pretty a photo simply cannot recreate. With leafy tropical plants and yellow and gold tones, its sumptuous interior was capturing the attention of all passersby. Sit inside at the bar or couches, or the chic (Instagramable) outdoor courtyard. The menu offers a range of shared plates and larger dishes. We had the Duck Rillettes, Chickpea Crème, Roasted Asparagus and Sautéed Mushrooms. Having spoken to a few other neighbouring diners it sounds like you cannot go wrong with this menu!


That’s it! My ‘how to fall in love with Singapore in two days’ made easy! Print this out and you cannot go wrong AND to make your planning even that much easier, every booking made via this link over $80 will receive $40 back! guarantee the best prices for any type of property from small independents to five star luxury and no booking fees … ever!

Looking for accommodation in Singapore? M Social is centrally located on Roberston Quay. Not only close proximity to the CBD and Marina Bay it also has the most romantic night walk along the river. Perfect date night stroll.

The boutique hotel offers a range of cute, cozy rooms, roof top pool and bright colourful dining spaces, an easy inner city stay for your stop over. Pop over to to check out their rooms and rates.





What experiences have you had in Singapore? I go back every year so would love to hear some of your finds and experiences.

* $40 NZD credited back to your nominated account through once you have successfully completed your stay.  Deal valid for one booking only. 

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How To Leave A Lasting Impression


I was recently introduced to Shiseido’s new Ever Bloom Eau de Toilette. As a devoted collector of fragrances, including aromatic candles, I don’t fall short of words to explain the power of a fragrance. I have heard that scent is the strongest tie to memory and this thought intrigues me.

It got me thinking about all the people we meet over the course of a lifetime, all the connections we make with thousands of people every year, what is it that makes only a portion of these people memorable? So, to help launch Ever Bloom Eau de Toilette I’m going to share my thoughts on impressions and my experience with leaving a memorable one…

Life is about being receptive to those around us, being open to new people and extending our familiar circle into the unfamiliar. That’s what we do. My circle continues to grow as I become more consciously aware of the good in others, learning to absorb their qualities and shape them into my own.

I think about those who have left an impression on me. The local barista who greets me, with a friendly smile in the morning, silently encouraging me to exude a friendly vibe for the rest of the day. Or, a  work colleague who inspired me, just by watching the way she uses her charismatic confidence to get things done. I like the way these impressions influence how I develop my character.

Here are a few ways in which impressions were left on me, some of the things I actively try to weave into my character:

Eye contact. I sparked a conversation with someone at an event recently. They invested in the connection by not taking notice of any other activity or people around us, rather they were completely attentive and held eye contact throughout the chat. I realised how important this is and maybe how forgotten it can be, especially at busy events.

Listen. I love to listen to interesting descriptions or episodes told from someone’s life story. I have a few experiences that have sparked some interesting conversations like living in Japan, managing a snowboard team or that my mum lives in Singapore. I’ve met people with personal ties to Singapore; and loved sharing experiences and local insider tips like the best cocktail bars or vintage stores. I’m hoping one day we will be there at the same time to enjoy these things together.

Wear something different. People who wear a bold print or a statement heel are usually granted a place in my memory. It can be as small as a piece of jewelry, a stacking of interesting rings or how you tie a neck scarf that can communicate a creative or a confident side of your personality.

Choose your words wisely. Pleases and thank you’s! Over use them if you have to. I also try to acknowledge a person as if they were already my friend. I often hug people on the first meeting, sometimes even an air kiss to each check. This is completely by personal preference, but for me I think it can show an approachable, warm side to someone’s personality.

Smile. It’s contagious, attractive and warming.

As they say, scent is the strongest tie to the memory, so once you have made a memorable impression, set it with a scent that represents your unique story, your qualities, experiences and gestures. I’ve always chosen light natural fragrances. The Ever Bloom Eau de Toilette is light, warm, welcoming and fresh. It’s gorgeous to wear and captures the essence of my personality; it compliments me and acts as a silent introduction to who I am.






For all things Shiseido you can follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

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