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

Every night, I brush my teeth, wash my face and get into bed with Lottie. As I lay there, completely relaxed, she whispers in my ears, strokes my face and brushes my hair. And I wait. For a warm wave to crash down my neck and spine, the whitewash creeping its way under the follicles of the hair on my head. The feeling is brief, and I drag my finger across my phone, rewinding the ASMR makeup roleplay video I’ve watched at least 20 times to feel that tingling sensation over and over again until I’m asleep.

This has been my routine, on and off, for the past four years, ever since I discovered ASMR or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. The term was coined by cybersecurity professional Jennifer Allen in 2010, who spent hours scrolling the Internet to find out whether anyone else experienced random sensations from, often, the most mundane of tasks. The sound of someone gently tapping on an object or the way a book was being read aloud, and sometimes it would happen for no reason at all. Allen was part of a small online forum that hosted discussions between people who ‘got the feeling’, which then grew into a Facebook page, and eventually resulted in the sharing of links to accidental trigger (the term given to the sound causing the ASMR sensation) videos. But back then, I can’t imagine trying to explain to someone in person that the way they were brushing their hair gave me a pleasant tingling sensation without receiving a rather disturbed look. Fast-forward over 10 years and you’ll find ASMR is one of the fastest-growing wellbeing phenomenons, but it’s one that’s unbelievably hard to explain. And one that most people have no idea exists.

As I was writing this, I was trying to figure out how I would possibly talk about the intriguing world of ASMR in a thousand words and decided upon the five W’s and the H, in no particular order. You’ve got the What: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. But let’s break down the meaning. ‘Autonomous’ because it’s a feeling from within. ‘Sensory’ is self-explanatory. ‘Meridian’ suggests peak and orgasm, but also refers to traditional Chinese medicine and its energy pathways. And ‘Response’ refers to the way that ASMR elicits a trigger reaction. You’ve also got my When; ASMR really kicked off approximately four years ago. Although thinking back, I remember getting a satisfying, shivers-down-my-spine feeling when a teacher would draw on the whiteboard at primary school.

Moving on to the Where. YouTube has become the feeding ground for the weird and wonderful world of ASMR. Type the acronym into the search function and you’ll have millions of videos to choose from. From lo-fi whispering into the camera to high-tech cranial nerve exam role-plays (yes, in full surgical dress-up), to people eating raw honeycomb to fast and aggressive, albeit gentle tapping. Content creators, the Who, are known as ASMRtists and produce videos that can range from a few minutes to a few hours long — with some of the most popular receiving hundreds of millions of views. To become an ASMRtist requires nothing more than a YouTube account and a camera, which is why there has been such a broad range of content created from such a diverse pool of people. Over the last few years, I have come across videos made by adults as old as 80 and children as young as five. Which, as you can imagine, brought a lot of creepy behaviour to the fore (until YouTube introduced the ability to disable comments for young account holders).

ASMR goes mainstream with a Super Bowl commercial featuring Zoe Kravitz

The Why is a little harder to explain. The sounds or triggers that appeal to me (makeup role-plays, whispering, scratching) are euphoric. The metaphor I used earlier about the wave is exactly how it feels. It’s just like the game I used to play as a child, ‘dot, dot, line, line, spider crawling up your spine’. The exact same shivers come from random people on YouTube pretending to wash my hair. ASMR is about as crazy as all of this sounds, but I’m just one in well over one million people who participate. And while it all seems a bit outlandish, and maybe a bit weird, it’s starting to capture the attention of the scientific community in a big way.

Craig Richard is a professor of biopharmaceutical sciences at Shenandoah University in Virginia, the author of Brain Tingles and founder of ASMR University. After hearing about ASMR on a podcast in 2013, he wanted to know “why millions of people were watching someone fold a napkin.” He carried out a study (here’s the How) — ‘an fMRI investigation of the neural correlates underlying the autonomous meridian response’ — on the brain with results that suggested that the reason why ASMR videos generated tingling and relaxing sensations was because they were activating brain regions previously observed during experiences like social bonding and musical frisson. Richard went on to say that he believed triggers were akin to the way humans soothe infants — whispering, grooming and gazing — as well as behaviours similar to intimacy between mates in adulthood. Everyone likes to feel loved and nurtured, which could explain people’s desire to get involved.

There was also another study carried out by the Department of Psychology at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom that showed ASMR as a reliable and physiologically-rooted experience that may have therapeutic benefits for mental and physical health. So it makes sense that the millions of people tuning in to somewhat tune out (it’s an ASMRtists biggest compliment if you fall asleep during their videos) have described the blissful feeling as having helped with stress, anxiety and in some cases, depression. 

For me, ASMR aids with sleep, but it also just feels really nice. I’ve played videos to a plethora of people to see if anyone I knew understood ASMR and could appreciate its effects. Two people confirmed my query, others were intrigued, but the majority were completely freaked out. I think that unless you ‘get’ the feeling, it’s probably quite bizarre, which is exactly why the scientists are continuing their search for more answers. Is it possible for everyone to have the effects of ASMR without actually getting the tingles? Who knows. In the meantime, you can sign up to the ASMR University to learn more, or read one of the many books on the subject, or tune into a dedicated ASMR playlist on Spotify. W Magazine even has an ASMR series where they get different celebrities in to try their hand at it (I highly recommend Cardi B’s video), and you can even stay at an ASMR Hotel in New York. But for me, YouTube will always be my go-to. 

It’s very late, I’m on deadline, and I need to sleep. I’m getting into bed with ASMR April tonight, to drift off while she whispers me sweet nothings. 

Where to start with ASMR:
Cardi B on W Magazine’s ASMR Video Series
Anything from this series is a great introductory point, but start off with Cardi B. The American rapper listens to it in her own time, so knows exactly what she’s doing.

Gentle Whispering ASMR
It’s widely known in the ASMR community that accents foreign to our own have a way of eliciting the best tingles. Maria is an American-based Russian ASMRtist who has amassed a subscriber following of over 2 million since 2009 thanks to living up to her account name. 

RaffyTaphy ASMR
He’s amassed 843,000-strong following for his videos that focus mostly on various tapping patterns. People love his rhythmic videos for helping them relax as they’re a little bit different from the usual whispering and role-play videos frequently viewed on YouTube.

Latte ASMR
Appealing again for the fact that her accent is foreign to English-speakers, Latte is a Korean ASMRtist known for her particularly gentle and comforting sounds.

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Christian Dior D-Club slide

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

Step into the new season with a pair of versatile, easy-to-wear slides. Whether sculptural or simple, this sandal style will see you well into summer and beyond. From Gucci to Birkenstock, here are the most stylish slides to shop now.

Clockwise from top left: Birkenstock x Toogood The Forager Felt from Workshop, Box Mule from Balenciaga, Chloé Woody Shearling Slide from Workshop, Dway Slide from Dior.
Clockwise from top left: Double G Sandal from Gucci, Isabel Marant Lennyo Eyelet Studded Slide from Workshop, Bianca Flats from Saint Laurent, Gia Borghini Perni 11 Platform Sandal from Muse.

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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

win

Prepare to step out in supreme style thanks to our $3000 giveaway to be spent online at new luxury concept boutique Faradays

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

Before you get too carried away, this story comes with a small caveat. While luxury powerhouse Moncler is ready to show Aucklanders its stunning new boutique, the current lockdown restrictions are hampering their exciting official opening.

To satiate our curiosity and enthusiasm, Westfield Newmarket’s Moncler boutique is offering a unique insight into the brand via a Click and Collect service that launches on Friday the 22nd of October. Embracing the local enthusiasm for the brand, customers can have the opportunity to get their hands on Moncler pieces via a specialised consultant who will be on hand to create a personalised, curated selection depending on your desires. Simply email [email protected] or call 09 892 6526, and an associate will send you an edit of options to consider.

The history of one of the world’s fastest-growing luxury brands extends further than its iconic down jacket, which was initially manufactured and designed to keep factory workers warm in the mountainous village of Monestier-de-Clermont — known as Moncler for short. Good design travels fast, and before long French mountaineer Lionel Terray wore the outdoors brand for his extreme expeditions to the far reaches of the globe. Then, Jacqueline Kennedy was spotted wearing the label on the resort ski slopes.

At the peak of practical design and polished style, the heritage label is seeking new horizons under CEO Remo Ruffini. After a year of significant change for all, Moncler’s new collections are designed for those with a new sense of purpose.

The womenswear collection is designed for a range of altitudes and attitudes, taking the wearer from ski fields to fashion weeks. Feminine trench coats are statuesque in proportion and sweeping woollen capes are updated with tech-savvy hoods.

Left: Robin Wright Penn and daughter Dylan Penn for Moncler’s Winter 2021 campaign.

With a newfound appreciation for the elements after indoor lockdowns, Moncler is reinvigorating its technical down and nylon materials. In particular, sporty leather trousers and nylon skirts create a modern edge of elegance.

The menswear collection welcomes an elevated cabin-core aesthetic — think onion-quilted zip-up jackets and vintage-faded parkas in earthy hues. With a focus on multiplicity, the new parkas and bomber jackets are reversible and their sleeves can be removed.

Left: ANASTASIOS MONOGRAM JACKET FROM MONCLER FW21 ENFANT COLLECTION.

Moncler has been at the summit of streetwear-cool since Milanese teenagers started to don its parkers off-piste at the piazza in the 70s, then the Parisian creative Chantal Thomass reworked the classic look in the 80s. It was a natural expansion then to see high-top sneakers and all-weather bucket hats added to the 2021 collections.

With an already dedicated local following, the arrival of Moncler’s flagship boutique in Auckland will further expand the appeal of this globally revered luxury brand.

Coveted


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

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

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Prepare to step out in supreme style thanks to our $3000 giveaway to be spent online at new luxury concept boutique Faradays
Succession.

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

At times like these, it’s comforting to know we have 30-minutes or more of escapism ready and waiting to load when we need it. Look no further than our round-up of the latest and greatest offerings from various streaming services. From mysterious miniseries to comedic crime dramas, these shows will fill the void.

Succession
The third instalment of the Emmy-winning drama series Succession finds the head of the Roy family scrambling to secure familial, political, and financial alliances for his global media empire. The addictive nine-episode season promises plenty of tension and plot twists as the family members try to outplay each other, and the TV season outdoes itself.

The Flight Attendant
Harking back to the golden age of travel (pre-2020), The Flight Attendant is a genre-defying show that is taking off. Kaley Cuoco (Big Bang Theory) is finally given a lead role with the range she deserves, as an alcoholic flight attendant who wakes up next to her first class dream date, discovers he has been murdered, and must piece together what’s happened before she is caught by the FBI, or more sinister forces. With Zosia Mamet (Girls) as her best friend and hard-case lawyer, it’s a terrifically turbulent crime drama, pieced together with well-timed humour. Watch on Neon

Nine Perfect Strangers
Another miniseries starring Nicole Kidman (fast becoming the genre’s most prolific practitioner), Nine Perfect Strangers is adapted from a novel of the same name and follows a wellness retreat that goes horribly wrong. Promising a similarly captivating and dark drama to Big Little Lies (the novel was penned by the same author, after all) this series has us eagerly awaiting its weekly episodes. Watch on Amazon Prime

The Chair
Set in the scrambling English Department of the historic Pembroke University, The Chair is a six-part series that sees Sandra Oh (Killing Eve, All-Round-Amazing-Actor) become the first female Chair. Charismatic chaos ensues as she tries to lead her colleagues into the 21st century, without them being cancelled. A special mention goes to the legendary Holland Taylor (Legally Blonde, Hollywood), whose love of Chaucer and casual flirting could carry the show alone. Watch on Netflix

Only Murders in the Building
Taking the mickey out of true crime lovers, Only Murderers in the Building sees an unlikely trio — Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez’s characters — come together to record a podcast, and solve a crime, when someone is murdered in their Upper East Side New York apartment building. The ten-part black comedy series borrows from a wide-ranging whodunnit genre — from Agatha Christie to Nancy Drew and Serial — to keep us guessing, and smirking, until the bitter, brilliant end. Watch on Disney+ 

Gossip Girl
Listen up, Upper East Siders, Gossip Girl is back with a new season that is sure to make style stars of its fresh-faced new cast. This time, we now know who GG is from the outset — Tavi Gevinson, who first came to our attention with her real life blog Style Rookie. While it still follows a group of ridiculously rich kids, alumni of Serena, Chuck and Blair, the reboot has been updated for our current cultural climate with the same over-the-top outfits and storylines we know and love. Watch on Neon

The Panthers
The Panthers is a six-part series based on the true story of The Polynesian Panthers. It stars newcomer Dimitrius Schuster-Koloamatangi as Polynesian Panther Party co-founder Will ‘Ilolahia, as well as a plethora of local talent — both established and up-and-coming. The highly-anticipated drama was announced as the first New Zealand television series to show at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is now available to stream online. Watch on TVNZ OnDemand

Barry 
Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, Superbad) stars in this HBO dark comedy, which has largely flown under the mainstream radar despite rave reviews and hefty wins on the Hollywood awards circuit. Barry, a low-rent hitman, ends up getting bitten by the acting bug while visiting Los Angeles on a criminal sojourn. What ensues is an addictive, highly-entertaining examination of the dark side of human nature, complete with a brilliant cast. The best part? There are two seasons available to binge. Watch on Neon

War & Peace 
New to Neon, the BBC’s 2016 adaptation of War & Peace takes on the daunting task of translating one of the world’s most famous literary works into a six-part mini-series. Whether you’re a fan of Tolstoy’s epic or you just want to get acquainted with the story without having to commit to 1200 pages, this period piece is sure to do the trick. Watch on Neon

Dr. Death
Off the back of the hit podcast of the same name, crime drama Dr. Death brings to life the terrifying true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch — a charismatic, problematic, and ultimately criminal neurosurgeon. With excellent performances from Joshua Jackson, Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater, this eight-episode mini-series will have you hooked. Watch on TVNZ OnDemand

The Pursuit of Love 
Nancy Mitford’s most famous novel has been a bestseller since it was published in 1945 and this year’s screen adaptation is absolutely delightful in its own right. In the bombastically colourful three-part miniseries, we are introduced to the upper class English Radlett family through the eyes of their cousin Fanny, with a particular focus on Linda Radlett — played with gusto by Lily James. Eccentric, comedic and tragic in equal measure, The Pursuit of Love is about “growing up and falling in love among the privileged and eccentric”, and is a feast for the eyes. Watch on Amazon Prime

My Unorthodox Life 
Just over 10 years ago, Julia Haart fled a “fundamentalist” orthodox Jewish community in Monsey to become a self-made New York woman. Ushering in a new era for reality TV, My Unorthodox Life is as much about Haart’s fabulous new life as the CEO of the Elite World Group modelling agency, as it is about her family coming to terms with their new views on religion and values. Watch on Netflix

The White Lotus 
Following a group of high-flying holidaymakers at a luxurious Hawaiian island resort, The White Lotus is a social satire that finds what lies beneath on a picture-perfect vacation. With nuanced character development over the six episodes and a stellar cast including Jennifer Coolidge, Alexandra Daddario, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon and Sydney Sweeney — it’s an entrancing watch. Watch on Neon

Cooking with Paris 
The first stop on Paris Hilton’s captivating comeback tour is her new cooking show on Netflix. Don’t expect to pick up any expert cooking tips, but you may get some ideas on how to swan through the supermarket in a gown, or make small talk with celebrity guests (including Hilton’s former assistant Kim Kardashian). Watch on Netflix

Luxe Listing Sydney 
With its breathtaking coastal properties, Sydney is one of the most ruthless multi-million dollar real estate markets in the world. A trio of Australia’s top agents let us in on their demanding days at work, and personal life, as they overcome fierce competition and ergo egos. Watch on Amazon Prime

How to Become a Tyrant
How to Become a Tyrant takes a page out of the playbook for absolute power to decode how some of the most ‘successful’ dictators managed to change the course of history. The sardonic docuseries follows the likes of Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Idi Amin to show how their tactics, including fear-mongering and manipulating the media, fooled millions. Watch on Netflix

Mr. Corman 
If you were wondering what Joseph Gordon-Levitt was doing dialling into The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon from New Zealand last year, you can now see what he’s been up to. The Inception and 10 Things I Hate About You actor has written, directed and starred in Mr. Corman — a dramedy following a fifth-grade school teacher as he looks to find happiness and meaning in the world around him. Watch on Apple TV+

Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union 
This three-part docuseries guided by leading political experts looks at how Barack Obama became the 44th President — and the first African American President — of the United States. From being brought up by a single mother and navigating his biracial identity while working in the community to becoming Illinois State Senator and winning the seat in the oval office, it looks at the intertwining nature of race and politics, and how a ‘more perfect union’ was reached. Watch on Neon

Culture


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

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

The beautiful order and chaos of Zara Dolan’s new exhibition at Sanderson Contemporary
Ada.

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

Times like these call for all the comfort we can get — and that includes of the culinary kind. If it’s gloomy outside and morale is generally gloomy, too, then warming the belly and the soul with a comforting meal is more appreciated than ever. Luckily, while restrictions are stopping them from opening for dine-in, our favourite restaurants are offering takeaways for us to tuck into — from perfect pasta to moreish meat dishes and more, here are the most comforting takeaways in town.

Left to right: Cotto’s spinach and goats cheese dumplings; Andiamo’s macaroni and cheese.

Craving pasta?

Pasta e Cuore
Mount Eden’s fresh pasta masters are open again for contactless pick-up during the alert level 3. They have irresistible ready-to-eat mains for you to whisk home, such as tagliatelle al ragu, tortelloni with butter and sage, and gnocchi al Pomodoro. You can also pick-up fresh pasta and sauces to make yourself at home, plus pre-cooked meals to warm up, such as meatballs, lasagna and focaccia, and desserts. Pick-up is between 11 am and 7.30 pm and the online ordering system is available 24/7. Order online here.

Pici
The pasta heroes at Pici have pasta kits that you simply heat at home, a welcome addition to any household craving the comforting taste of handmade pasta. On the menu, you can expect the likes of rigatoni with pork and fennel rags or bucatini, butternut, sage and salted ricotta. There’s also ready-to-eat focaccia, olives and other sides, plus wine, dessert (that beloved cheesecake!), fresh pasta and a selection of deli items including their Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Available for pick-up and delivery within central Auckland. Order online here.

Ada
Ada is open Friday, Saturday and Sundays during level 3, 4pm — 8pm for piping-hot, contactless pick-ups. We’re making sure we have room for both pastas — currently ricotta cavatelli with zucchini, mascarpone, pinenuts and razzoletti with beef cheek, fennel, chives, the flavours of which are likely to change. A side of its signature pizza frittas wouldn’t go amiss either, topped with the likes of Ortiz anchovies with whipped ricotta or Nduja with taleggio and more. Order via text on 021 766 621, payment taken on pick-up and follow @ada_akl for updates.

Amano
As well as having its incredible sourdough and ciabatta, pastries, cakes, and tarts on offer, Amano has just launched hot, ready-to-eat takeaways straight from its kitchen including crowd favourite pasta dishes like Scampi Chitarra and Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. These are available for pick-up on Friday and Saturday between 5 — 8pm. Order hot takeaways online here, and pastries and breads here.

Cotto
Praise the pasta gods, Cotto has brought back its takeaway offering, with the K’Road eatery open from Monday to Saturday, 5pm — 10pm. Pick-up a meal of its famous spinach and goats cheese dumplings, plus a pasta or two — we’ve got our eye on the Maltagliati lamb shoulder rags with chilli and fennel, and the tortellini with smoked mozzarella, spinach and pine nuts. Order online here.

Prego
In news that could not come pronto enough, Prego is open for takeaways during level 3 from 4:30pm — 8.30pm Thursday to Sunday. The team is working on a refined menu of its classics hits, including several pastas like spaghetti agioli, eggplant rigatoni, fettuccine alfredo and more. All orders can be made by phone (09 3763 095), with pre-orders welcome from midday. For more information, keep an eye on Prego’s Instagram page, where updates will be posted and see the menu here.

Andiamo
Andiamo To Go is back, offering a tasty takeaway menu with contactless pick-up plus a dedicated picnic box menu. If it’s pasta you crave, look no further than Andiamo’s spaghetti with beef meatballs, or the macaroni and cheese with truffle and bacon. Orders can be placed between 4pm — 8pm, with contactless pick-up available from 5pm. ⁠Contactless delivery is also now available, serving Herne Bay, Saint Mary’s Bay, Ponsonby, Westmere, Grey Lynn and Freemans Bay. Phone 09 378 7811 between 4pm — 8pm to place your order and make payment. Find the full menus here.

Left to right: Gemmayze St chicken shish; Fatimas Chawarma.

Moreish Middle Eastern flavours…

Gemmayze St
Those craving Gemmayze Street’s ever-popular hummus will be pleased to know the Lebanese eatery is back for level 3, offering mezze boxes (with a variety of dips, sauces, homemade bread and the aforementioned hummus) and make-your-own wrap kits (including lamb shoulder or falafel) during the week, alongside a new weekend menu of lachmajun (Middle Eastern pizza) and kebab shop-style wraps. An at-home version of its jeeb menu includes three irresistible courses with mezze, mains and dessert. For something sweet, dark chocolate and halva (tahini nougat) brownie and pistachio baklava is not to be missed. Available for pick-up only, Tuesday — Sunday. Order online here.

Williams Eatery
This Wynyard Quarter cafe has us sorted for lunch with mouth-watering sweet and savoury goods, plus Flight Coffee for a much-needed caffeine fix. Offering up Lebanese pitas, stuffed with either falafel or chicken shawarma, pickles, hummus and salad, plus mezze bowls, indulgent extras like shawarma fries and more, we recommend paying these guys a visit between 9am and 1:30pm, Monday to Friday. Orders can be made via DM on the Williams Instagram; email — [email protected]; or at the front door.

Fatimas
For those in need of their Fatimas feed, online ordering will be available for contactless takeaways from its Ponsonby and Takapuna stores. Fatimas full, fresh menu is ready-to-go, as well as Make Me Chawarma Kits and gift vouchers. Order and shop online here.

Left to right: Jervois Steak House; Ostro’s Beef Wellington.

Mouthwatering meat dishes…

Ostro
Ostro’s selection of take-home comfort food is just what we need to get through these times. There’s the famous Beef Wellington, designed to serve two, it comes with all the delicious trimmings — confit garlic and onion, potato gratin, horseradish creme fraiche, mustard and jus. We also wouldn’t turn our noses up at the delectable Ostro Harmony pork belly roast, the free range chicken pie or the lobster, prawn and snapper pie. Order online here.

Jervois Steak House
Our favourite steak house is offering contactless pick-up. With a curated takeaway menu of all your favourites, including crispy calamari, duck liver parfait, forest mushroom pappardelle, salads and dessert, the range of signature meat cuts also available means you won’t find a better steak anywhere else. Available from 5pm for dinner, and orders can be placed between 4pm – 8pm. Phone 09 376 2049 to place your order and payment.⁠

Homeland
As well as a range of pantry staples like granola, kawakawa pesto and snacks, Homeland has meals to go — some of which are ready to eat and others can be heated at home. Its large cuts of meat to share are catching our eye currently — we’re talking half or whole boneless Hawke’s Bay lamb shoulder, gently spiced and slow roasted for reheating at home. It comes served with a greek-style salad. There’s also a slow-braised, whole Greenlea beef cheek on offer, with celeriac and chimichurri sauce, or Hāngi pork belly, served with tamarillo relish. See Homeland’s full menu and ordering details here.

Cazador
Order online for pick-up hampers of Cazador’s famous housemade charcuterie and cheeses, and prepare-at-home, multi-course feasts including dishes like spatchcocked, roasted quail, saffron and chorizo rice, organic greens with sherry and raisins, and dessert. For take-out on the 23rd of October, Cazador has a hot, ready-to-devour meal of roasted, marinated lamb served with dill rice and tzatziki, with the option to add Greek salad, coal-fired pita bread and pistachio baklava for dessert. Find the full selection here.

Brothers Beer & Juke Joint BBQ
For ribs, wings, beef brisket and more, look to the citywide southern style BBQ slingers at Juke Joint. They deliver vacuum-packed meals, sides and craft beer every Friday afternoon and are also doing click & collect and UberEats deliveries of hot, ready-to-eat bites from five sites (Birkenhead, City Works Depot, Mt Eden, Ōrākei and Onehunga) throughout the week. This includes almost the full menu, such as moreish meats, sides and sharing plates, plus you can find craft beer on the website to wash it down (and at all good liquor stores and supermarkets). Order online here.

The Engine Room
North Shore neighbourhood bistro The Engine Room is serving up click and collect takeaways of delectable heat and eat meals. Order at least 24 hours in advance and you too could enjoy the likes of duck confit, beef cheek bourguignon or five-spiced pork belly. There are also additional items for order like a bake-at-home version of the iconic cheese soufflé, and a daily dessert. Find menu and ordering details here.

Gastronomy


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

Enjoy the most sumptuous cocktails to suit every taste this long weekend

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

For those in need of a well-timed sweet treat, Miann has opened its shiny new doors in Ponsonby Central. The beloved dessert shop by Brian and Roselle Campbell will offer all of Miann’s artful favourites, including specialty cakes, macarons, gelato and sorbet, bean to bar chocolate and single origin hot chocolate.

While you’ll likely already be acquainted with Miann’s morsels from their Morningside chocolate factory and Britomart and Fort Street eateries — allow us to provide an indulgent reminder.

Firstly, the celebration cakes are unsurpassable, the hazelnut and caramelised white chocolate mousse cake, known as the ‘ Dulce de Leche’, is a sophisticated crowd pleaser — while the Miann version of a tiramisu cake is so delectable, you may have to fight for the final piece.

For petit gateaux, the lifelike toffee apple, with caramel apple compote and sticky toffee sponge, is so striking, it gives us sympathy for Snow White. The individual-sized lemon meringue tart, in the other hand, is a sweet sculpture to devour in one sitting. 

Fancy something cool? The baked Alaska gelato with raspberry sorbet is layered with toasted meringue for one memorable mouthful. Meanwhile, a dark scoop of charcoal coconut sorbet will create some dessert drama.

As one of Auckland’s best pâtisserie chefs, Brian brings a welcome saccharine statement to Ponsonby’s most vibrant micro-hospitality scene. “We are delighted to be in Ponsonby Central surrounded by fantastic restaurants,” he says. “We bring the sweet. Perfect for after a meal, an afternoon treat or even a morning coffee.”

With Silky Otter Cinemas opening in Ponsonby Central soon, the team are also working on some epic cinema packages, so you can munch in style at the movies. 

Ready for level 2, the playful Miann space has colourful neon lights and decals of its chocolate-making process to invite passers-by to try their latest creations. At level 3, we can pick-up click and collect orders from the front of the store, which will satiate our curiosity and cravings before we can see all the treats up close.

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 10am — 10pm
Sunday: 10am — 8pm

Miann 
Ponsonby Central
136-146 Ponsonby Road

Gastronomy


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

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

Enjoy the most sumptuous cocktails to suit every taste this long weekend

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

Right now, we could all do with a little retail therapy, and shopping Powersurge’s beautiful range of brass decor will not only lift our spirits and our home’s aesthetic — but benefit local eateries within its sphere of influence. 

Having worked on bespoke fit-outs for some of Auckland’s leading eateries, Powersurge is in-tune with how to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in a dining room. To show its support for the local hospitality scene we all so dearly miss, Powersurge will be giving away a $50 restaurant voucher for all online store purchases over $500, and a $100 restaurant voucher for all orders over $1000.

Left to right: Fall Coffee Table; Etch Sun Candleholder Set.

Whether you have been mesmerised by the resplendent yet minimalist Fall Coffee Table, or are eyeing up the Etch Sun Candleholder Set, which flickers in the light of the flames, now is the time to add to cart — knowing that you are playing your part.

See more stunning accent pieces to shop from Powersurge’s latest collections here.

Customers can choose to redeem their vouchers at one of the team’s four favourite family-run restaurants — Mount Eden institution Cazador, Karangahape Road’s cosy food and wine bar Apéro, local Lebanese eatery Gemmayze St, and Northcote Point’s beloved The Engine Room.

This tantalising promotion will be running until the end of the month — precisely ’til midnight on October the 31st. It applies to all online product sales, including custom (but not bespoke) orders made direct.

Restaurant vouchers will be sent out at the end of October, and can be used for online takeaway orders or for a patiently awaited in-person meal, once the above restaurants are able to welcome us back safely with open arms.

Design


This transparent furniture trend is a stylish exercise in creative contradiction

Melding modern lines with a romantic garden outlook, this home is the epitome of quietly confident luxury

win

Win an iconic Leblon Delienne Mickey Mouse for your home worth $895, to celebrate this newly-launched homeware haven
The Wisdom of Sage.

Enjoy the most sumptuous cocktails to suit every taste this long weekend

As we look forward to a long weekend, albeit still in lockdown, we’re mixing things up with a cocktail menu that will oblige all of our drinking-age bubble members. Each recipe serves one, but can be amplified for more fun.

For the Eternal Optimist: Champagne Cocktail
With refreshingly zesty citrus top notes and sweet undertones, this effortless cocktail is effervescent from start to finish — much like those who will be sipping it.

Ingredients:
60mL Mumm Grand Cordon, or Champagne of your choice
30mL Lillet Blanc
10mL Sugar syrup
Raspberries

Method:
Simply add the ingredients into a balloon glass and fill with ice.

Recipe note: Try and stick to fresh berries instead of frozen, so the nectar mashes into the beverage. Also, refrain from overloading the balloon glass with ice.

For the Old Soul: Coley & Punch’s The Wisdom of Sage
For those who like to pass on sage advice, pass them this refreshing cocktail — it’s wise beyond its years with a botanical bite.

Ingredients:
20ml fresh grapefruit juice
20ml fresh lime juice
15ml blackberry liqueur
1 heaped bar spoon of blackberry jam
15 fresh sage leaves
1 egg white
5ml Laphroaig 10, or single malt Scotch whiskey of your choice
60ml Lighthouse gin, or another botanical bottle of your choice

Method:
1. Add all ingredients to shaker and dry shake to emulsify the egg. Add ice and shake vigorously.
2. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
3. Finish with grapefruit zest, 2 fresh sage leaves and freeze-dried blackberries.

For the Long Lost Traveller: Soul Bar & Bistro’s Spritz 36
If one, or some, of your drinking bubble buddies has itchy feet, satiate their desire to wander the world with a limoncello spritz that will transport their tastebuds to the Italian coast.

Ingredients:
45ml limoncello
60ml San Pellegrino Limonata
90ml Deutz Prestige, or cuvée of your choice
4 lemon wheels to line the interior of wine glass

Method:
1. Line the interior of wine glass with four thinly sliced lemons.
2. Fill the glass with ice and add 45ml limoncello, 60ml San Pellegrino Limonata, and 90ml Deutz Prestige.
3. Mix through with straw and enjoy.

For the Sharp Conversationalist: Lilian’s Orange & Chilli Margarita Recipe
Spicing up a classic margarita with fresh red chilli will keep tongues wagging. Pour freely for an especially entertaining catch-up with another bubble outdoors.

Ingredients: 
Small amount of fresh red chilli to taste, chopped
5ml agave syrup 
45ml tequila (Lilian recommends using El Jimador Reposado) 
15ml Cointreau
20ml fresh orange juice 
25ml fresh lime juice 
Orange slice to garnish

Method:
1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the red chilli in the bottom with the agave syrup.
2. Add the tequila, Cointreau, orange juice and lime juice to the shaker.
3. Shake vigorously and double strain over ice (preferably a large cube or sphere) into a short rocks glass with a salt rim.
4. Garnish with a slice of orange. 

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

Denizen Everyday Heroes 2021: Auckland’s favourite celebration cakes, as voted by you

Helping us ring in special occasions in the most delicious way possible, cakes often play a crucial part in any celebration. Their exterior beauty is matched only by their exquisite taste, and many professional cake bakers spend years perfecting their own individual aesthetic that sets them apart from the rest. With the number of lockdown birthdays experienced lately, there’s no better time to sweeten someone’s day and support your favourite cakery at the same time. Most local cake maestros are currently accepting orders for contactless pick-ups and deliveries.

The 2021 Denizen Everyday Heroes survey saw over 12,000 votes cast in support of local businesses during these challenging times, with the aim of shining a light on the people and places that make every day a little bit better. Lending their immense talents to their sweet creations, here are Auckland’s favourite boutique cakeries, as voted by you.

MOST VOTED: Bluebells Cakery, Commercial Bay, Kingsland & Hillsborough
As it celebrates 10 years in business this year, Bluebells Cakery also takes out the top honour as Auckland’s number one go-to for celebration cakes. Founded by Karla Goodwin, Bluebells started life as a stall at Parnell’s La Cigale Markets and now has a team of 45 across three locations, plus two cookbooks. While its offering encompasses single-layer cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes and macarons that anyone would be happy to receive, Bluebells’ specialty and wedding cakes are on another level — almost (but not quite) too good looking to eat.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Amy’s Secret Kitchen, Ponsonby
From simply chic to fantastic optical illusions, Amy’s Secret Kitchen has a creative confection to suit any occasion. Founded by sisters Amy Fitzjames and Charlotte Gould, the business was born out of a passion for baking and an undeniable sweet tooth. The team creates all manner of bespoke cakes alongside a regular and varied menu, and judging by its high place on this list, the secret’s out about Amy’s Secret Kitchen.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Catroux, Westmere
Not only a humming café (in non-lockdown times), Catroux is renowned for its event catering — and cakes. Whether you’re a fan of citrus flavours or decadent banana and caramel; classic carrot, chocolate or red velvet, Catroux’s cakes are special without being over the top and are available in a variety of crowd-pleasing sizes.

The rest of the best…

The Caker, Karangahape Road

Icing On The Cake, Herne Bay

Cake & Co, Ponsonby

Miann, Auckland CBD, Morningside & Fort Street

Little Bird Organics, Ponsonby

Vaniyé, Parnell

Huckleberry Hill Cakes, North Auckland

Mint Cakery, Ellerslie

Melie’s Kitchen, Online

Rocket Kitchen, Mt Eden

Jenna-Maree Cakery, Hobsonville

Hello Bliss Cheesecakes, Mt Wellington

Crafted by Smooch, Online

Wildflours, Te Atatū Peninsula

Sweet Talk, Eden Terrace

K Cake Dessert, Ellerslie

Sweet Cheeks, Online

Noughts and Crosses Cake Boutique, Online

2021 Everyday Heroes


Denizen Everyday Heroes 2021: Auckland’s favourite pilates studio, as voted by you

Denizen Everyday Heroes 2021: Auckland’s favourite butchers, as voted by you

Denizen Everyday Heroes 2021: Auckland’s favourite bakery, as voted by you

Smile bright with this expert guide to the most effective and safe teeth whitening tools

As we prepare for a renewed social calendar full of smiles, we’re investigating the best teeth whitening processes to make a start on. To help us, Dental Hygienist Kate Rotella unpacks the latest teeth whitening innovations. After all, a smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

Whitening toothpaste
Toothpastes advertising a whitening effect often use abrasive ingredients to remove extrinsic staining, so your teeth feel shiny and polished. But be warned — over time they can wear down enamel and worsen colour. “The effects of using the wrong whitening agent or a really abrasive toothpaste will be long-term,” says Rotella. “Initially, you won’t see it but over a long period of time with micro wear and tear you will roughen those surfaces, then you get more staining anyway, so you’ve got to scrub harder. Then you’re going through the enamel and you’re going to start to see the yellow dentine underneath.” — If you’re still set on whitening toothpaste, Rotella recommends alternating with a standard, more gentle tube.
Whitening success rate: 1/10

Whitening toothpaste with a bleaching agent
Some whitening toothpastes have the benefit of the same bleach used in professional whitening — hydrogen peroxide — limited to a maximum of 3 percent. This can lighten the enamel underneath before you brush too much. But for whitening to work well, a peroxide has to be left on for a certain amount of time undisturbed — not a quick swish. “It’s a little bit debatable as to how effective it can be,” says Rotella.
Whitening success rate: 3/10

Charcoal toothpaste
A new generation of activated charcoal toothpastes is preferable as it is a lower abrasive in a pre-mixed solution. While it’s black when it goes on, there is another, unlikely benefit of using such a dark toothpaste. “A little bit of residue on the teeth creates a blue filter, which gives the illusion of whiter teeth,” explains Rotella.
Whitening success rate: 3/10

Blue light kits
One of the newest offerings is whitening kits that include the pre-requisite gel and teeth moulds with a built-in LED. The latter is supposed to speed up the process, but because these are not from a dental authority they will only have up to 6 percent hydrogen peroxide — which is New Zealand’s legal limit for off-the-shelf products. In theory, the blue light activates the molecules of the hydrogen peroxide so it works quicker — or it could be a marketing gimmick. “When you look at the research it’s negligible how much it actually makes a difference,” says Rotella. The most important thing in an at-home kit is the formula, which needs an aforementioned bleaching agent and plenty of water. Don’t buy whatever brand you find online, as they likely won’t have the right formula. “A lot of them will work well, but it’s because they’re dehydrating,” says Rotella. “It will create really bright white teeth in the first instance, but you may have extreme sensitivity and you won’t have any good long-term results with it.” The effects of such formulas will fade, and you’ll have to go through more discomfort to get back to the same shade of white. Instead, Rotella recommends sticking to reputable brands, such as Pola, White Blanc, Smile Pro and Zoom, which will ensure your teeth get the hydration and minerals they need.
Whitening success rate: 6/10

Whitening strips
Also bought off-the-shelf, whitening strips are stuck on the visible smile line of your teeth for a quick touch-up. After your teeth have been washed and dried, which can be done with cotton wool or tissues, they are left on from 30 to 45 minutes. The strips will still have up to 6 percent of active bleaching ingredients, but they are less messy. If you have never whitened before, you can do the full set for consecutive days — but don’t expect drastic results. For those who have had professional whitening, they can be useful for top-ups instead.
Whitening success rate: 5/10

Whitening pen
To help with long-term maintenance, there is also the option of a whitening pen which paints peroxide onto your teeth. The solution in the pen is sticky to stay on, but it can still come off without a shield over it. “It’s a bit like whitening toothpaste, it may have a tiny effect,” says Rotella. “It’s good for maintenance but I would never recommend something like that for someone who hasn’t done any [professional whitening].”
Whitening success rate: 5/10

Dental-grade, ready-to-go trays
Dental-grade, take-home trays offer higher levels of hydrogen peroxide, such as 10 or 15 percent, so they only need to be worn for 15-30 minutes. As you will be using these at your place, you see how your teeth are responding, and make an educated guess on how white you’d like to go. Quick and effortless, pre-done trays often come with desensitising agents within their formula. However, you still need to be careful when using a standard sized tray as the gel can spill over, which not only loses product but can have harmful consequences. “If you do it wrong, you can have chemical burn on the gums and cheeks. It’s only temporary but it’s very painful,” says Rotella.
Whitening success rate: 8/10

Custom whitening trays
A more tailored approach is having professional impressions taken for comfortable fitted trays. “The trays are custom-made perfectly so that you avoid contact with the gel,” says Rotella. Hydrogen or carbamide peroxide is carefully inserted at home with tailored syringe solutions — the strength of which will depend on the patient’s sensitivity, and personal preferences. “When you’re using the higher percentage, that’s when you need the guidance of a professional that you’re delivering it in the correct way for the right amount of time,” says Rotella. (Depending on the type and strength of the bleach, some will wear trays for 40-minutes a day, others will wear them overnight.) All teeth have an end whitening point, but most can be whitened several shades, to the natural colour before the enamel stained.
Whitening success rate: 9/10

In-house teeth whitening
If you have your teeth whitened in the dental chair, a much higher percentage of hydrogen peroxide — 25-35 percent — can be used at once in the controlled environment. After the teeth are isolated, and the rest of the mouth protected, the gel is applied and refreshed three times, and enhanced with a professional-strength blue light. If certain teeth need more whitening than others, then special attention can be given to these areas. Afterwards, there may be some sensitivity, and it’s recommended to stay away from hot and cold drinks for the next 24 hours. As you continue to live your life, and enjoy tannin-rich coffee, tea or red wine, staining will come back. Most professionals will also take impressions for maintenance trays as part of a complete package. “What you want to do is get yourself into a routine,” says Rotella. “I use my trays once a month for 15 minutes.” While your teeth will look wonderful for three to five years after a professional whitening, taking a shine to self-improvement will keep you smiling for many years to come.
Whitening success rate: 9.5/10

A note on sensitivity:
A whitening agent works by entering the enamel tubules of a tooth to break down the carbon molecules that have bunched together and created a darker appearance. Right in the middle of the tooth, where all this activity is happening, is the nerve — so it’s no wonder it can feel sore. “The reality is, I don’t think you can whiten your teeth without some sensitive reaction,” says Rotella. To help protect the nerve, most companies provide their own soothing relief gel from the outset. “There’s always ways to manage that sensitivity,” she reassures. “It should never be something that you worry about.”

Wellbeing


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