Peace School

Peace School-6299Peace School 9-6345Peace School Peace School 11-6352Peace School 3-6316Peace School 10-6346Peace School c1-6330Style File: Karen Walker Peace Dress in headcase print/ White leather shoes (old)/Orange satchel (similar) / Finders Keepers Jacket from here / vintage bracelet.

I’ve always had a fondness for A-Line dresses and this one ticked all the boxes in terms of length and cut. Each season Karen Walker does a sweat-shirting range and I immediately fell in love with this print (which meant that I also bought this dress too!) The second dress is a beautiful soft viscose with a cute collar and paper bag waist. It’s ‘work’ worthy and I’m finding that anything with sleeves is useful as the weather gets colder. Having two dresses in the same print means that I never feel like wearing both in one week so I  alternate between them. I’ve worn this A-line dress with these boots and my red chunky heeled Kobe Husk ankle/boot sandals (which I’ve been meaning to include in a post sometime). As for these old-skool leather shoes, I bought them in London years back and held onto them. I’ve been desperate to find some casual white trainers or Oxfords but have had no luck so far. I can’t seem to find trainers small enough to fit me, so on this particular weekend I resorted  to these, having pulled them out from under the house. And the jacket–I love the detail with the contrasting sleeves, although it’s a bit snug if I try to wear a jumper underneath, and it’s proving not quite long enough to wear on our horizontal rain-ridden Wellington days.

And lastly, I’ve also been assessing my wardrobe lately and realise it is completely remiss of ‘staples’ like T-shirts, (and as many of you know, not all T-shirts are created equal). The ones I’ve tried on are too long-line and almost look like a tunic on me, while others are just too ‘fitted’ but ill-fitting on my proportions, but I think I might have found a solution and I’ll give Commoners a go.

Photography©Howard Sly

Have a great Easter!

Sonia x

A World of Shapeshifters




Nick Cav's Sound suits 2011, image Jack Shainman Gallery

Nick Cave Sound SuitsAbove: Art that comes to life through movement. Sound suits by guest artist: Nick Cave. Images sourced.

We may only be a country of  4.5 million people, but where fashion is concerned cool things are happening in New Zealand. I recently spoke to Andreas Mikellis who is the head of the Fashion and Textile Department at AUT and Co-Director of Shapeshifting: A Conference on the Transformative Paradigms in Fashion and Textile Design. The conference is the first of its kind in the world, and the intent behind it is about providing an alternative way to think about fashion, the future and innovation. He’s invited international artists, industry practitioners, thinkers and innovators to speak on the theme of ‘Shapeshifting.’ I had the pleasure of interviewing Andreas about the conference where he also shares his thoughts on New Zealand fashion and the bigger picture, along with guest speaker Christina Cie who has an interesting take on how fashion and clothing helps to regenerate a community on the brink (she relates this directly to the Christchurch earthquake), plus US performance artist and sound suit designer–Nick Cave whose incredible mixed media work embodies the  Shapeshifting theme. You can listen to their thoughts on fashion and ‘shapeshifting’ here.


Textile (above) by guest speaker: Elaine Ng Yan Ling.   Image sourced.

Below: Architectural sleeve by Couture Designer and guest speaker Shingo Sato

Ssulptural sleeve by Shingo Sato 3chap2-8


Have a great week!

Fishing for Memories- Lyttelton

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My first ever experience of Christchurch’s port town of Lyttelton, was sitting on the wharf in the cold, holding a brand new fishing rod.  It became something of a ritual to head out fishing with my Dad. He’d choose the coldest days because that was when the fish were biting (or so he said). Regardless, I’d go along and keep him company. Hook, line and sinker at the ready Dad showed me how to thread the bait and cast the line. Dad isn’t much of a talker so we’d sit for hours in silence, but for the gentle lapping of waves against the rotting legs of the wharf.  The air was cold and smelled of smoke and industrial waste from the anchored ships nearby.  I  wondered how long we’d be out in the freezing cold, as I’d count the rusty bolts on the wharf with the floor creaking beneath us. If I went too close to the edge, I’d surely fall in and never find my way out. Were there monsters living down there in the deep green ocean? If I didn’t pay attention, I might fall in and get eaten by a Taniwha!

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I haven’t been fishing for years, but I do love Lyttelton and  a visit to Christchurch always warrants an obligatory visit. Things have definitely changed there since the 2011 quake of course. But with the resilience of the community the area was quickly brought back to life with fun public events and a renewed energy. A vacant lot was reworked as a kind of contemporary interactive sculpture garden, complete with a mosaic seat and playing area for kids.

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Fortunately there are still some cool shops along the main strip of the township, and it’s certainly a reason to visit. Here you’re likely to find curios, antiques, retro home ware and an organic produce store along with a small handful of cafes.

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Strolling towards the harbour we came across Samo’s–a favourite of the local’s, there was a queue snaking its way out the door on a busy weekday lunch hour. With its relaxed, bohemian atmosphere there are tables located inside and out, and all of the cooking is done from a caravan situated just outside in the courtyard.  The cafe has the types of dishes you’d expect and hope for on its blackboard menu with cooked breakfasts, salads and open sandwiches, and there was also a a good selection of cabinet food. The staff were super friendly too, so if we visit again it’s the one place we’ll make an effort to stop by.

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A Tour of K Road Graffiti

K Road graffiti 2-5560K Road graffiti full wall -5560K Road graffiti 3a-5560Works in situ 2-5545Misha takes me on a tour of K-Road -5558Misha takes me on a tour of K-Road 3-5562Misha takes me on a tour of K-Road -stencil work by Ha Ha-5563Misha's artwork down Samoa House Lane Auckland-5568Misha in front of his artwork down Samoa House Lane-5569Misha Uteev (above) in front of his graffiti down Samoa House Lane. All photography by Howard Sly.

Last month we took a trip up to Auckland for a catch-up with friends and family, and I couldn’t help but take the opportunity to record some stories in preparation for my return to work this March.  As I’ve always loved street and graffiti art, I had the chance to meet the lovely Misha Uteev aka Wert 159. Misha’s a talented graffiti artist (born in Russia and based in Auckland), and his colourful portraiture-style graffiti can be found around New Zealand, Europe (and now Doha too!). He also has an architecture degree which contributes to his unique perspective on graffiti and its function and place in society. I found him to be extremely knowledgeable and passionate about both art forms. And as he took me on a bit of a tour around Auckland’s Karangahape Road he chatted about his background as a graffiti writer, Russia, the difference between street art and graffiti, and his views on graffiti as a medium which benefits society, and enhances our urban landscapes.

You can listen to the audio story (an edited 10-minute story as we’re wandering around) that I recorded and produced for radio here. Plus you can also read more about the broader graffiti/street art scene which also features the perspective of Erin Forsyth aka Eyesore in an article that I wrote here.

Misha told me that his inspiration comes through electronic music rather than hip-hop (where graffiti has it’s origins) and referred to Pendulm as one of his favourite artists…so here’s an excuse to post up a Pendulum track (where my sister– Jasmine Yee also happens to be the guest vocalist!).

Thanks for dropping by Sly on the Wall!

Sonia x

Tunnel Vision

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Wet, cold mud squishing between my toes. I tip-toe around shells,  the occasional pebble, a dead crab, three blue bottles, and bits of leathery seaweed. I love the beach. My blue knee-high  gumboots sit amongst the tussock as I leave a trail of  footprints in the sand. Squelch, squelching the air suctions against my feet as I tread.

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With my yellow bucket in-hand, I’m on the hunt for pipi. There are a few already at the bottom of my plastic vessel, but I want to find more.  Dad shows me a pipi with its shell slightly open and I can see it breathing.   I go back on the hunt, and I’m drawn to what looks like a prize…a special shell. I’ve never seen one like this before. I’m giddy with excitement and  can’t wait to show Dad.

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“Dad! Dad! Look what I found!” I shout across the beach. I run to him and put out my hand–my bucket left on its side with pipi trailing out onto the mud.

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I’m breathless. I uncurl my palm to reveal my precious and unusual find.

“Look, it’s an amazing shell.” I say proudly.

Dad inspects it without touching. He shakes his head and pauses, looks out to the ocean then across the sand to my bucket of pipi. His eyes come back to rest on my palm.

“Throw it on the ground,” he says.

I’m confused. Why would I want to do that?

“It’s dried up dog poo,” he says, as he continues along the beach.

These days I don’t go hunting for pipi.

Tunnel Vision-01265Style File: Orange frill dress (old) similar here and here/ Asos denim jacket/ Karen Walker Neon Cuff/Karen Walker Number One Sunglasses (in tortoiseshell)/ Kobe Husk Sandals. Photography: Howard Sly

I’ve had this dress for a couple of years and to be honest, it hasn’t had many outings. I have an identical version in black and found that it was easier to wear (especially with stockings in winter). But this dress happened to be an easy throw-on for a trip to the beach on what happened to be a rather windy day. With a few ‘Marilyn’ moments thrown in, I was struggling at times to control the fly-away frill!  Of course the weather had been much warmer earlier on in the day, but as we arrived, clouds were gathering with rain following soon after as we made our way along the pier. Far too cold and exposed to be out…

*The story was a childhood memory, inspired by one of my visits to this very same beach.

In a Country Garden

In a Country Garden 3Mrs Beeton's book 2-00623

I’ve always been a sucker for the romance of the past where life seemed simpler, relationships inevitably involved love-triangles (well, at least in novels and films), and life for the most part was unfettered by the demands that we’re presented with today.


Yes, these days our lives are so disparate. We’re often stretched for time as we rush around attempting to cross off items from our ever- expanding  lists of ‘things-to-do.’ I like a fairly tidy house but the  idea of running a household for instance, has been outside of my realm of comprehension until recently, and I don’t think I’d ever live up to the expectations as set out by Mrs Beeton and her book of Household Management.

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You see, I’ve never seen ‘domesticity’ as part of my duty or role as a woman, nor have I ever aspired to the role of Domestic Goddess and all that it might entail…the thought alone makes me shudder!

A room with a country viewMrs Beeton R-00490

When it comes to household chores I’m a girl whose more than likely to vacuum around furniture, and if I was so inclined to pick up a broom, dust and dirt would promptly be swept under the rug. I’m allergic to dusting (or at least have an aversion to it), but if it’s any consolation I don’t mind doing laundry, albeit, you’ll never catch me ironing tea towels, socks, sheets or underwear–who does that anyway, right?

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Are there any unspoken rules these days about how women should behave and what their roles should be whether inside or outside of the home? It’s rather idealistic, but I like to think that women everywhere should enjoy a freedom that permits them to choose how they want to live their lives, and how they fulfill their goals and aspirations.

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Yep, it’s likely that my husband will never see me with a feather duster in-hand. We did however buy a dust-buster recently as one of those things designed to make life easier. The idea was fantastic, but it’s by far one of the most useless contraptions we’ve ever owned; it blows more air than it sucks surrounding dirt and fluff! Sigh. Another reason to avoid domestic duties…

Mrs Beeton with a view5-00558Back to Black Style File: World Tuxedo Jumpsuit (similar here and here)/ Kobe Husk Sandals from here (similar with heel)/ Black straw hat (similar in black and white)/Silver Jewellery/ Porcelain and Wood Art-Deco Drop Earrings/ Chinaware courtesy of Mrs M. Sly (similar teapot). Photography Credit: Howard Sly.

I love this Tuxedo Jumpsuit as it’s one of those timeless pieces in my wardrobe that feels ultimately modern, elegant and it’s something that I pull out when I’m not in the mood for a dress. I’m fond of the detail–the halter-neck and structured waist give me some shape and I’ve yet to find another jumpsuit as flattering, especially given my height. The flat sandals provide an easy day-time look, whereas I’m more inclined to dress it up with heels for evenings out.

Fleur’s Place-Moeraki Bay

I love the idea of destination restaurants where you drive for miles not just to eat, but to enjoy an experience that you won’t find anywhere else. Fleur’s Place is situated on a jetty in the small fishing village of Moeraki, about an hour or so drive from Dunedin. Headed by award-winning restauranteur– Fleur Sullivan, the restaurant specializes in fresh Moeraki seafood and local produce, and like those who had gone before us, we too were prepared to clock up some K’s for the experience. So, with baby in tow, we made our way from Dunedin to Christchurch (as part of our South Island summer odyssey), and made a long-awaited  stop off at Fleur’s Place for lunch.

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As we drove up to Fleur’s, I couldn’t help but be caught off-guard by the beauty of the dock-side setting. And I’m not sure if it’s out of practicality or for the sake of ‘spectacle’, but just to the side of the restaurant a man in gumboots and apron preps the catch-of-the-day, in full view of arriving diners. It doesn’t spoil the view or the experience though, even with  seagulls perched, eagerly waiting for the promise of a tasty scrap to be thrown their way.  What’s more, it reinforces the theme of  ‘freshness,’ and I couldn’t help but think, who might be the lucky diner about to partake in a fresh fish feast!

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Built from demolition materials and gathered collectibles from all over New Zealand, the building has a composed and considered make-shift interior with plenty of natural wood, a stained glass feature skylight/window and impressive collection of  China teacups, which all makes for a cosy, homely and unpretentious atmosphere.

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When it came to choosing something to eat, making our way through the myriad options available we settled on a warm fresh fish platter (one of many available platter options on the menu) which came with 3 different sauces. The fish was delicate and fresh, although it was difficult to discern between the 3 different types of fish on the platter. Surrounding the morsels of fish were vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli and corn. The platter was lovely, with an emphasis on natural flavours, and there was more than enough fish for the two of us.

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On our way out, we were tempted by some of the baked treats on offer at the counter–  Macarons, sticky pecan pie, savoury scones and yummy chocolate brownie. We left with the latter, and shared it on the drive through to Christchurch. It was definitely worth the stop, and I’m pleased that we can finally tick Fleur’s Place off our list of things to do!

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