Listen: Weird Little Birthday

This beautifully constructed and produced album is bound to put a smile on the face of anyone prepared to give it a listen.

The press release describes ‘Weird Little Birthday’ as a debut record that is “not quite a concept album about a boy who shares his birthday with Jesus Christ and eventually is driven insane with jealousy”. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but fortunately South London trio Happyness has the talent match their ideas, and the result is low-key joy. With a generous nod to late nineties US college radio darlings Sparklehorse, Yo La Tengo & Grandaddy, influences are acknowledged but also given a healthy dose of British charm and wit to create the perfect accompaniment to a long sunny Sunday afternoon hanging around doing very little.

Half-whispered vocals blend with the fattest of bass lines and shimmering guitars, to create a blissed-out sense of wide-eyed innocence and optimism that belies the album’s dark themes and is simply infectious. From the more classic pop structured lullabies of ‘Naked Patients’ (“there’s something so funny about a sick body and the things it shouldn’t do, there’s something so funny about you when you’re bloody, there’s something so funny about you”) and ‘It’s On You’ (“remember when we broke into the park and you got laid and I watched and you said that was fine”) to the more considered eight and half minute centre piece ‘Weird Little Birthday’ (“it’s a weird little song, she’s a weird little girlfriend, we don’t really get along” there is a lyrical playfulness that immediately cuts through any potential pretentiousness.

‘Refrigerate Her’ tells how our the protagonist would like to keep his girlfriend in a fridge, so that he could have her whenever he liked without her going off, while ‘Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same’ takes a different approach, suggesting that the more he talks to her, the more he likes his dog.

Culture


What’s the deal with ASMR? We shed some light on this fascinating sensory trend

Need a new series? Add these addictive TV shows to your watchlist this weekend

What should you read next? These 5 engrossing novels deserve a place on your bookshelf

Cassia

Modern Indian dining has finally arrived in Auckland.

While the global trend of contemporary Asian cuisine has gained much traction here, Auckland has been conspicuously void of variations when it comes to modern Indian eateries. Set to change the scene however is crisp new establishment Cassia, having opened its doors in the CBD’s Imperial Lane precinct just last week.

It’s no secret that proprietor and head chef Sid Sahrawat of Ponsonby’s well-known SidArt, has set out to alter our stereotypical perceptions of Indian dining. With an impressive interior fit-out transforming the space formerly occupied by Mandarin Dumpling, Cassia succeeds in feeling industrial yet cosy. The concrete floors and pillars of the bunker-like space are softened thanks to marble and wood details, though these elements only form a backdrop to the main feature of striking glass pendants sourced by designer Paul Izzard.

Equally as admirable is the menu of shared plates that draw inspiration from various regions of Sahrawat’s native India. Upon arrival we were swiftly served a warm naan-like Onion Kulcha and coriander dipping sauce, incredibly soft and moreish, this was enough to whet our appetites and have us peering at other patrons’ dishes as they emerged from the kitchen. Following on from this, the burger-like fennel brioche with caramelized chicken, and seared scallops with apple and curry emulsion, though entrée sized, would have been enough to satisfy diners looking for a light but filling dinner. After our ‘Delhi Duck’ main, a hearty northern-style curry, we were pleased we took heed of the wait staff’s advice and ordered from the dessert menu. Outshining all preceding morsels, the delicate Cardamom pannacotta is enough to make Cassia a destination in its own right.

With refreshingly impeccable service led by maître d’ Matt Aitchinson (ex Masu and French Café) along with an excellent wine list befitting of a top establishment, Cassia is a superb new addition to our city.

Cassia

5 Fort Lane
Auckland CBD

(09) 379 9702

www.cassiarestaurant.co.nz

Gastronomy


From perfect pasta to mouthwatering mezze, these are the best comfort food takeaways to order right now

This new Miann opening is bringing the sweet life to Ponsonby Central

Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward

The sandwich club

This Eden Terrace eatery is sparking a lunch bar revival.

If you were to conceive what a perfect kiwi bakery might be, The Sandwich Club is what we would consider very nearly bang-on. Named after the concept of a lunch-bar meets café, this new Eden Terrace eatery is something in between – serving up a buffet of homely deliciousness at its finest.

With warmers stacked full of house made pies (depending on how early you stop by), and an antique counter aglow with baked goods; there’s no doubting you’ve entered into some kind of home-cooking nirvana. It’s quite possible that in doing so, you’ll experience an overwhelming desire to be transported back to your own mother’s kitchen in pursuit of some of the same heart-warming fare. For now though, owner Cheryle Thomas’ homely space will have to do.

The food here has a wholesome, old-school quality to it, prepared and presented in a relaxed and unpretentious way. With mammoth cheese scones that are the café’s biggest sellers, to the crunchy, gluten-free Afghans that come in at a close second, The Sandwich Club harbours a plethora of yummy lunch offerings. Many a punter will be pleased to see the presence of spicy lamb sausage rolls and the ever-popular ham and cheese toasties that feature alongside the formidable, melt-in-your-mouth meat pies, with the mince and cheddar variety being a notable stand out. Paleo and non-glutenites may be satiated by the daily soup and salad of the day or tasty frittata cups, while those in need of caffeine can pop-in to pick up their Allpress brew.

Visiting this new-age lunch bar is a reminder of the stuff we’ve come to know and love; pies and slice and all things nice, with a welcome sprinkling of health-conscious offerings to boot.  There’s a sense of comfort derived from stopping into The Sandwich Club, where hearty, nostalgic food is delivering on our modern day needs. So for those with access to this thoroughly delicious pit-stop, we suggest you pop in for a taste of the good stuff.

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday – 7am to 4pm

The Sandwich Club

53 New North Rd
Eden Terrace

(09) 377 4937

Gastronomy


From perfect pasta to mouthwatering mezze, these are the best comfort food takeaways to order right now

This new Miann opening is bringing the sweet life to Ponsonby Central

Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward

Camera candour

Unleash your inner photographer with the intuitive new Leica.

With a dedication to innovation, the new Leica T-system camera has been created with the direct objective of pursuing the fundamental joys of photography. ‘Reduced to the essence’ is an apt way of describing this pared back apparatus, presenting a camera of true craftsmanship and simple handling.

Say goodbye to the innumerable buttons and superfluous functions found on other state-of-the-art cameras, this ground breaking creation combines the latest advances in photographic technology with an utmost user-friendly exterior. This minimalist approach to photography means that taking pictures has never been so easy, placing importance on what’s in the frame rather than how to best capture it.

Lacklands

48 George St
Mt Eden
Auckland

(09) 630 0753

www.lacklands.co.nz

Coveted


Step into spring with these stylish, easy-to-wear slides

The world’s most desirable luxury activewear brand, Moncler opens its Auckland boutique

The new sleepwear collaboration between Papinelle and Karen Walker is in bloom

5 winter driving tips

Five tips to improve your winter driving and avoid embarrassment.

Attention avid motorists and self-declared professionals not all of us are Lewis Hamilton when it comes to driving in the snow. Heed these tips for safe seasonal driving to avoid roadside chagrin this winter.

1. It’s all about traction: follow the lines and stay in the tracks forged by those ahead of you. Get dedicated snow tires or chains and put something heavy in the boot – dead bodies are ideal.

2. Though passengers normally can’t get enough of your fervent demonstrations of professional cornering, such vigorous movements are not encouraged in more perilous conditions. Use small movements when breaking, turning and accelerating.

3. Remember that Four Wheel Drive  won’t save you. 4WD and AWD are great for helping you accelerate in through the snow, but they really do absolutely nothing to help you stop.

4. Check your traction on new surfaces. Spinning wheels aren’t like spinning rims; they won’t give you street cred, so test your upper rev limit on each new surface to avoid embarrassment.

5. Don’t drive in a snowstorm. No matter how bad the cabin fever is, it’ll be worse when you’re stuck in a ditch with no cellphone coverage.

Etiquette


Say what? It’s time we all had a lesson in correct pronunciation

A beginner’s guide to picking a winning horse at the Melbourne Cup

Still confused about the ‘black tie’ dress code? We answer your questions

Road trip pit-stop: The Storehouse

Venture through Taupo and you'll discover a surprisingly delicious local eatery.

No drive through the central plateau should be complete without a stop at Taupo’s Storehouse Café. Owners Brad Dellar and Sam King have worked their creative magic on an old warehouse, transforming the space into an airy, light filled tribute to delicious coffee and food. Shelves of design curiosities line the walls, fresh flowers are available for purchase daily, and the coffee, available in espresso, Chemex and cold brew form, is courtesy of Kokako. Fill up on freshly baked bagels and sliders, keep the children content with a steady stream of bliss balls, and if the sun comes out, secure a streetfront spot. It’s far too easy to let the hours slip by at this inviting local.

The Storehouse

14 Runanga Street,
Taupo

(07) 378 8820

Gastronomy


From perfect pasta to mouthwatering mezze, these are the best comfort food takeaways to order right now

This new Miann opening is bringing the sweet life to Ponsonby Central

Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward

Bad habits that actually do good

We uncover five bad habits that do a body good.

The following habits commonly get given a bad rap. Upon further investigation however, we discover several good reasons for why you should indulge in these less-than-becoming practices.

1. Drinking Beer Daily
Red wine always comes out on top when it comes to mixology moral high ground, but the humble pint also deserves praise. Researchers have found that regular, moderate consumption of quality beer can in fact raise levels of good cholesterol, as well giving your body a B vitamin boost. Bottoms up.

2. Biting Your Nails
As difficult as it may be to unlearn what many a mother has preached about this perpetually bad habit, nibbling on your nails isn’t all bad. If your hands are clean then those horror stories about consuming a week’s worth of street grime are greatly exaggerated – some of the bugs encountered will actually help to boost your immune system.

3. Anger
Getting livid gets a bad rep, however new studies are suggesting that a little anger can actually help you make better decisions and resolve problems quicker. Unlike anxiety, anger can prompt one’s brain to release less cortisol, the powerful stress hormone linked to obesity and heart disease.

4. Gossiping
Most of us love a good gossip on the sly, and the good news is that passing an opinion can actually be good for you. This supposedly naughty pastime encourages camaraderie, releases feel-good hormones, and forges connections.

5. Skipping a shower
By no means are we condoning you to lounge around in filth for days on end; we’re simply letting you know that excessive showering can actually do your skin, immune system and the environment a grave disservice. Every time we shower we dehydrate our skin and strip back the natural oils that keep it supple and fight off disease, so you may well be doing yourself a favour by skipping a shower or two.

Etiquette


Say what? It’s time we all had a lesson in correct pronunciation

A beginner’s guide to picking a winning horse at the Melbourne Cup

Still confused about the ‘black tie’ dress code? We answer your questions

The Katrin efffect

Winter's perfect cocoon comes in the form of the Artflex Katrin chair.

Conceptualised by designer Carlo Colombo as a body to be worn with an elegant and luxurious dress, the Katrin chair from Arflex can be ordered in a Winter Coat version all prepared for chilly conditions. With a frame that comes in chrome or painted steel, the seat can be ordered in leather or soft fluffy fur – the latter is naturally our preference for winter time cocooning.

Setting the tone for our seasonal habits, we are yearning for a Katrin to call our own for making the ultimate statement in winter living room luxe.

Studio Italia

96 Carlton Gore Rd
Newmarket

(09) 523 2105

www.studioitalia.co.nz

Coveted


Step into spring with these stylish, easy-to-wear slides

The world’s most desirable luxury activewear brand, Moncler opens its Auckland boutique

The new sleepwear collaboration between Papinelle and Karen Walker is in bloom

A guide to the best arthouse cinemas

Enjoy a cinematic outing that will see you avoid the movie-going masses.

The prospect of enduring a dramatisation whose plot line revolves around an inbred pack of rabid vampires, or vehicles that metamorphose into alien fighting machines – all the while bound to a synthetic chaise laced with all sorts of sticky substances – usually isn’t enough to draw us from the comfort of our wintry abodes. An excursion to any of the following boutique cinemas offering a number of welcome amenities and alternative viewing choices however, could be enough to entice you.

ACADEMY CINEMAS AUCKLAND, CBD
This cinema maintains its arthouse atmosphere screening a well-curated selection of international and locally made films and documentaries. In the foyer you’ll find a well stocked bar serving chilled beer and boutique wines, as well as fresh, organic fair-trade coffee. Comfort factor: 4/5

THE LIDO, EPSOM
A well patronised theatre located in the heart of Epsom, the lido is no secret as a popular choice for dedicated movie-goers. Screening a great selection of acclaimed films and documentaries, booking tickets here is a breeze and there’s a licensed bar to complete your social visit. Comfort factor: 4/5

THE BRIDGEWAY, NORTHCOTE
A vibrant cinema showing both arthouse and commercial new releases. As a result of their proximity, The Bridgeway has collaborated with The Engine Room to allow for scheduled meal sittings before or after your film. This ‘dinner and a movie’ combination is the perfect winter date. Comfort factor 4/5

DOROTHY BROWN’S CINEMA & BAR, ARROWTOWN
The perfect après-ski activity, this luxury cinema shows all genres of film. The fully licensed on-site bar also boasts a Gibbston valley cheese platter that can be enjoyed in front of the open fire or on the sunny balcony with views overlooking Arrowtown. Comfort factor: 5/5

CAPITOL CINEMA, BALMORAL
Recently acquired and lovingly restored by the Lido cinema operators, the Capitol is as quaint and curious as movie-going gets. A single screen schedule means you have to be flexible with what you’re prepared see and when, but once inside your compromises are quickly forgotten thanks to the beautifully snug interior. Comfort factor: 4/5

THE VIC, DEVONPORT
This theatre lends a historical aspect to your cinematic outing. With three heritage theatres ranging in size, the plight of The Victoria Theatre is certainly one that makes your spectatorship worthwhile. The theatre screens a range of popular releases from blockbusters to romantic comedies. Comfort factor: 2/5

Culture


What’s the deal with ASMR? We shed some light on this fascinating sensory trend

Need a new series? Add these addictive TV shows to your watchlist this weekend

What should you read next? These 5 engrossing novels deserve a place on your bookshelf

How to: negotiate like a car dealer

When it comes to the art of negotiation, there's one breed of salespeople who've got it down pat.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and who doesn’t admire the persuasive qualities with which a car dealer can handle themselves in the depths of an important financial transaction. Observing the skilled means by which these artful finaglers proceed to seal the deal, we’ve deduced a quick guide on how to emulate their effective business practices in your everyday life.

1. Appear trustworthy
Endear yourself to those you meet by adopting an empathetic stance. Being relatable is the key to building a trusting rapport with those you are dealing with. Overtly displaying your compassion for their three-legged cat will convince them that you are not like other stereotypically heartless salespeople who are really just after their money.

2. Negotiate
This applies to anyone and everyone you encounter. It is advisable to employ confusion tactics when outlining the convoluted terms of the contract. Take the babysitter for example, instead of adhering to the usual $15 hourly rate, suggest starting at $25 with each successive hour resulting in a fifty percent diminution of the hourly rate and a commission scheme of $3 per hour per child who is in bed before 9pm. Heck, you’ll even throw in a ride home and a complimentary pass to Motat.

3. Close the deal
Create an environment in which your offer has tenacity. A good approach might be to wait until closing time at Farro when you will confidently approach the checkout presenting your offer of $10 for three kilos of scotch fillet and a tin of Beluga caviar. Use the sense of urgency being created by the increasingly restless queue behind you to pressure the checkout clerk into accepting your offer thus avoiding the looming riot that is about to ensue.

Etiquette


Say what? It’s time we all had a lesson in correct pronunciation

A beginner’s guide to picking a winning horse at the Melbourne Cup

Still confused about the ‘black tie’ dress code? We answer your questions