The Art of Simple

Easing you into the working week with a new book devoted to something I wholeheartedly embrace – consciously choosing a simpler, calmer way of life.

A few years ago, New Zealand author, photographer and mum Eleanor Ozich moved – with husband Valentin (founder of international lifestyle brand I Love Ugly) and their young family – to the outskirts of Auckland. Eleanor was determined, despite their demanding creative careers, to choose a stress-free, present lifestyle. Since then, by adopting new routines and rhythms, she’s discovered for herself an entirely new way to live – one filled with balance, happiness and more time and energy to appreciate not just family, friends but even the not-at-all-ordinary ordinary moments in life. All whilst still running her loved lifestyle blog and business.

Photography by Jonny Scott

All photography (except where noted) by Eleanor Ozich

In The Art of Simple, Eleanor’s third published book (her cookbooks My Petite Kitchen and My Family Table are bestsellers), she shares her ideas for living a slower, simpler life. Along with loads of (simple) recipes for delicious and nourishing meals, there are practical ideas for decluttering your home, bringing order and presence to your day, calming night-time rituals, methods for making natural beauty products and household cleaners, and lots more. The chapters are Change / Wake / Simplify / Cleanse / Cherish / Explore / Share / Rest. Dunno about you, but just reading those verbs in that order lowers my blood pressure.

P.S, Pen-pals: I love the smaller hardcover style – it feels like a book you’ll keep and refer to for years to come, but in a size that’s perfect for your bedside table.

You can buy The Art of Simple at Eleanor’s website – or where good books are sold.




The Forest Cantina – Home

We first featured Wellington cook Unna Burch in March 2014, when she was relatively unknown. We could tell back then – spotting her recipes and food styling on Instagram under the name The Forest Cantina – that she was someone very special, someone whose raw creative talent, down to earth authenticity, and passion for her life and work is both undeniable and magnetic.

Since then, Unna has grown and grown her following. As The Forest Cantina, she has run styling workshops up and down the country, created unforgettable dining events, worked with some of this country’s best new-gen food producers and other artisans, and become a published author. Last year, Unna set out to create a second cookbook, but this time to self-publish so she could have complete creative control over the project. She launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund it, which I find courageous in and of itself. What if people don’t want to give you their money? What if no-one gets what you’re trying to do? Well they did and they do, and they backed her, along with photographer Bonny Beattie, to create The Forest Cantina – HOME, which has just launched.

The Forest Cantina – HOME

Unna Burch in her Wellington home (fringe game strong)

Backyard bees, a family flock, and homegrown health foods

The new book includes ideas for grazing tables and events

The Project

How long did the book take to create? 
It took around 13 months of planning and production and two months plus of post book organising – things like media and press, the big send-out, all that kinda of stuff. I was working on the book 6-7 days a week when it was in full swing. Now I tend to just work on the post production stuff when the kids are at school. Back to a balanced life now – its great! Noooo mooooore books – haha!

How did you decide which recipes would make the book?
I had recipes that I really wanted to add, recipes that I have been cooking for years and loved and then also recipes from family and friends that were special to me and I wanted to share too. I then balanced out these core recipes with brand new recipes. For example, it was important to me to include my Nanny’s beetroot relish recipe, but it couldn’t be the only preserve, so I added a Cranberry and Jalapeno jelly (perfect to eat with cheese and crackers or glazing a Christmas ham) and Mango chutney (which can be eaten on its on added into other recipes in the book like the Meatloaf or Chicken meatball sushi bowl recipe). I looked for a balance of red meat, vegetarian, chocolate desserts, fruit desserts etc; and a balance in terms of how long things took to make – some quick and easy – some that took a little longer; and a balance with healthy vs ‘cheat day’ meals. It took a lot of planning and consideration but at the end of the day I created a book of food that I love – I wanted to be true to that.

From the Breakfast section. Unna’s uses ceramics from Wellington maker Wundaire.

Image from the edible flowers guide

Sweet styling (sorry about that, had to be done)

How about recipe testing?
For the testing, I had put a post out on my social media asking for people to be a recipe tester. I had over 60 replies in 30mins, so had to take the post down. It was so cool that so many people wanted to be apart of this book – I felt really chuffed! I chose the first 10 people who emailed me. When a recipe was ready, I emailed the group of recipe testers a description, a photo of the completed dish and any special equipment they might need. The first 3 people to reply with a ‘yes’ tested that particular recipe. And the process was repeated until they were all done. They helped me eliminate a few recipes, tweak the good ones (if needed) and get a realistic time frame for how long it took to make. Invaluable help! It really was amazing to have their help and feedback!

Tell us a little more about self-publishing…
So self-publishing meant I had to organise the entire book. The funding for it (I crowd-funded via a Kickstarter campaign), who my team was going to be (lifestyle photographer, graphic designer, copy editors, recipe testers), who was going to print the book, and then all the important stuff like cover, paper stock – all that stuff, right down to all the little things that people might not even think of like who was going to distribute the book for me and sell it on my behalf right down to getting a bar code! (I think my next book should be about how to write a book! haha)

I don’t know if I should, but I judge people by their picnics

The Book

To start with, it’s delicious to look at and to touch, with its de-bossed hard cover (and de-bossed spine too, because #itsthelittledetails). She’s pretty chunky at 288 pages, and has not one but two ribbon markers, sexy 140gsm matte paper stock (we care about these things, guys) and beautiful lifestyle photography thanks to Unna’s creative collaborator, Bonny Beattie.

There are 80 recipes, every one with a styled photograph alongside. The recipes range from healthy weekday ideas, tapas, homemade condiments to add that 5% of magic to your meals, not-your-av-salads, dinner party showstoppers, treats for cheat days and (loads) more. All the recipes are inspired either by Unna’s family favourites growing up, by her travels, or from restaurants in Wellington city.

Perfect pie crust

Nanny Kui’s beetroot chutney

Angus beef, blue cheese, pear and pancetta burgers

Chicken meatball sushi bowl

Bao buns

She’s also included a Guide to Suburban Self-sufficiency in the back, sharing her knowledge on the basics of urban bee-keeping and honey harvesting, raising your own chickens, growing an organic edible garden, and more.

Vegos – there’s a full list of recipes that work for you in the index, and every recipe includes a timeframe. Unna’s thought of everything!


You can buy The Forest Cantina – HOME online here (free international shipping!)
or if you want to touch and leaf-through and smell the new-book-pages first,
you can find a NZ stockist near you here.


More Than a Pretty Face

Come for the pretty pictures, stay for the story. Allow me to introduce you to the all style, all substance Girl Undiscovered. Yet another new New Zealand business that’s beautiful inside and out – from the contemporary-feminine packaging and photography, to the proven-powerful ingredients inside, to the socially conscious business practises.

Behind the brand are three lifelong girlfriends, Auckland’s Charlotte Devereux, Philly Gebbie and Sara Orme. The trio are working with small communities to source the best of what nature can make for your skin, grown in the purest environments. Beyond organic – the ingredients are wild and raw.

The girls say it best, actually: “For us, it’s about supporting pure and natural foraged ingredients with no pesticides, chemicals or herbicides and these come to us via small communities and villages that could never afford the prohibitive costs of organic certification… Many organic products are plantation farmed. Our products are handpicked from the backyards of local villages and family dwellings and we know everyone in our production chain intimately, so we feel really passionate about how honest it is.”

One of the hero ingredients in Girl Undiscovered products is thanaka, a tree bark that’s been used by the women of Myanmar for over 2000 years. Antibacterial, antifungal, anti-ageing and an antioxidant, it also enables the skin to actively produce collagen and elastin. Joining thanaka in the roster of key ingredients is virgin organic coconut oil, sourced from the foothills of rural Bali. Philly adopted four of her six children in Bali, and wanted to create a business that could be a true partnership with the local village families and communities, developing sustainable income from free-range farming. A third hero ingredient is Kanuka honey, sourced from 5000 acres of native kanuka bush on New Zealand’s Kawau Island. The honey produced in this pocket of land is unfiltered, raw and never heated, so the delicate nature of the enzymes are preserved and the potent medicinal properties are maximised.

The boutique range features three products – a face mask, cleansing water and a face elixir – all made in New Zealand (developed  alongside a NZ laboratory with over 30 years’ experience) and all with nothing but wild natural ingredients. New products will also join the range soon…

Design studio Inhouse are responsible for the overall brand identity, packaging etc and all imagery has been styled and shot by Sara, who is actually a noted NZ fashion photographer in her own right.


You can buy Girl Undiscovered products online at the Girl Undiscovered website, here.




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