Sunday, December 27, 2009

From Russia, With Love

So, here I am back home in Russia.

After winning at the Her Business Awards, to top the night off, I got told I was going home.


This was fabulously perfect - this year I have spent many months of talking to schools, a parenting group, two businesses interested in the new ways a teenager can improve business service within their company to appeal to youth, and Magazine Snob in Moscow (who have been waiting a few months for me to visit them!), and finally I have come back to my home land. I'm very happy to say, that with a few days before the new year (THE biggest celebration here), I have talked to and presented to everyone who invited me, and am awaiting my next trip to Moscow, from Kazan (where I am now) to visit my friends at Snob.

Can't wait!

I thought I'd add a bit to this blog, seeing as I haven't written for a few weeks with some insights and photos of my 'White Christmas'.

Firstly, it's very beautiful. It's my favourite country in the world. I love New Zealand as if she's my sister, but I love Russia as if she's my Mum. This country is everything to me, and if I ever criticize, it's out of love (honest).

The first few days in Kazan, the weather got to over -30 degrees (i.e. very cold), and half the time here, we've spent looking for a warm coat for me. Almost everyone wears fur coats. Not because we hate animals (Russians are among the world's top nations who own the most pets per person), but because it's so cold, no cotton is going to save you!

Food is cheap. Laptops, cameras, cars from other countries are about the same price as in New Zealand. Although, you can find cheaper stuff, but it's not something you'll find in New Zealand. For example, I think the other day we got recommended a Samsung hair straightener. Same qualities as a GHD (except they've never heard of GHDs), but is something like NZD$30. I guess prices depend on where you look.

Most cars have tinted windows. It looks so shady and cool, I think I'll put some on my car when I get back. NOT.

All Universities are free. Unfortunately, you have to be almost a rocket scientist from New Zealand to get in. University Entrance exams are VERY extreme, and only the very thin top percentage of entrants get in. AND every few months, they check up on all students, and if you're lagging with less than average marks in assignments, they get kicked out. But I guess free education must have rules. Beggars can't be choosers.

Shop keepers will pretend you're interrupting their exciting day of calling up all their friends off the store phone, by walking into their store. If only they knew that their paycheck comes out of the pieces of paper we'll give them in exchange for something useless from their shop...

Russian's love to talk. In fact, they love to talk so much, they will start arguments with strangers on buses, in malls, in cafes, in restaurants, in stores...everywhere. And they never think they're wrong. Even if they ruin someone's day, or swear at them, their day has become brighter, just because they got to give a piece of their mind to someone they don't know.

You can barter at a store. Not at a market - like at an actual store in an actual mall. WHAAAT is up with THAT??!

And lastly, why I love my country on a distance....all the women look like models from a magazine. No matter how old they are, their hair, make up, neat clothes and high heels make up a woman here. If you lack in at least one of these, you're either foreign, or a man.

I love my country.
It's the most beautiful, and I hope you come here one day! :)

Hope you enjoy a few of my photos with my brother of our adventures around the big country this month...

Paris Airport - I LOVED it!

Moscow, outside our Hotel

St Petersburg - can you guess the landmarks?? P.S. They actually do hold large historic value....

Hint: A church...

Hint: Ship starting with 'A'

Hint: The square in front of the biggest museum in the world...which used to be winter palace of the Russian Tsars, and Parliament Members...

Hint: They hold the whole world on their shoulders (they're my favourite men!!)

Church: 'Spasa na Krovi'

And my favourite photo...just to show that a foreigner could never go hungry in this country!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wellington Her Business Awards 2009

Well, well, the Wellington Her Business Awards at Hotel Intercontinental proved to be exciting as can be!

Out of seven categories, I went home as winner of The Most Inspirational Role Model Award, sponsored by City Life.

Also, keep an eye out on Snap Star - photos from the night are sure to hit their website soon!

Check out the photos from the night...

MC Mark Blumsky, Clare Menzies from City Life, Eva-Maria, Annah Stretton and Sally Connell:

Table 16 was the coolest:

At the VERY start of the night:

Women in Business - Eva-Maria and Annah:

Annah and Eva-Maria getting media-ized:

Lisa Martin from Go Fi8ure and Eva-Maria

Eva-Maria and Lynell Tuffery from YWCA Wellington Board & AJ Parks:

Lisa Martin from Go Fi8ure, Mandy Smale from Style Sense and Eva-Maria:

Whatta Night!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Da 1: Surviving Xmas With Teens

The 25 Day Countdown of 'Surviving Xmas with Teens' has officially started!

Day 1 is all about:


Sign Up Now 2 get your daily Xmas tip at

Happy Holidays!