Amanda Giorgis

Shop local


I’m quite proud of myself. This year I have done every bit of my Christmas shopping locally. No trips to malls, no online purchases. It has been a pleasure to hunt for suitable items in the smaller shops where the person behind the counter has time to chat, time to help me choose, and in some cases has beautifully gift wrapped my purchases as well.

I could mention a few shops in Rangiora and Oxford, but I’m going to give a special plug to my new favourite shop, Emma’s at Oxford– and not only because you will find The Wideawake Hat and Shepherd’s Delight on the bookshelves, alongside a temptingly gorgeous array of other books, clothes and gifts.

If you ever get the chance, go to Oxford. Get a coffee at Cafe51 and then walk just next door to meet Emma and her team in the happy place that is her shop.


NZ Bird of the Year


Things are hotting up in this year’s NZ Bird of the Year competition. We even got a mention in the UK Guardian yesterday. And, as usual, controversy rages over intervention from the Aussies (no surprises there, mate) and rigged voting.

At this stage it is nip and tuck between the Hoiho (Yellow Eyed Penguin) and the Kakapo at the top. Believe me, there is something very special about seeing a yellow eyed penguin coming out of the surf and climbing up into the dunes to feed his family. But then who can fail to adore our one and only smelly, sex-driven ground dwelling parrot?

Due to popular demand that ‘choosing only one bird is too hard’, this year we have gone to the Single Transferable Votes system and can select our top 5 birds. But even that is too hard. How can you leave out the Lightly Mantled Sooty Albatross or the Spotless Crake or the Otago Shag or the Chatham Island Mollymawk?

Me? Oh my top vote was for a bird that most people think is extinct, the South Island Kokako. But only yesterday there was another report of his song being heard in the bush. Sometime soon someone will snap a photograph of this beauty!

Go vote Рdo it now!!!

Voting closes at 5pm on Sunday 10th November.

Going global

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Here at Applecross Headquarters we have been busy lately putting pins in our world map. Because of a promotion on Kobo the ebook version of The Wideawake Hat has been downloaded in 18 countries in the last week.

So we say ‘welcome’ to our new readers in Canada, USA, Mexico, UK, Ireland, Spain, France, Sweden, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Nigeria, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

Please do get in touch, and don’t forget that the 2nd book in the Applecross series, Shepherd’s Delight, is available from Kobo too.

Looking good together


Book 2, Shepherd’s Delight, looking pretty good next to The Wideawake Hat on the bookshelf.

Plenty of room for the rest of the series to fit!

Kate Sheppard


On 19 September 1893, 126 years ago today, ¬†women in New Zealand gained the right to vote, thanks to the efforts of Kate Sheppard and her friends. The Christchurch house in which she lived has been bought by the government to be ‘a public educational space focusing on New Zealand women and social change.’

Kate Sheppard’s House

It was in this house that a petition signed by 25,520 women was pasted together to form a roll of paper more than 270m long which was presented to parliament by the suffragists.

Heather, Adey Rose and Caroline will be in their 30s by 1893. Hmm, maybe these feisty girls from Applecross and Combe will be out there with their placards in, shall we say book 5…..?