What is bullying?

I was asked to tell my experience by Jo an very lovely and active community person. We had talked about it one lunchtime (not realising she had truly listened to my contribution to a conversation we were having with other mates ). I agreed, and am so happy now that she asked me, it was more therapeutic then I thought! I thought I had got over it years ago, but it brought up some buried emotions again. Here’s the link to the article that featured in The Ensign our local little paper in Gore.


TOP SHOP awards an accolade after 10 years in business August/October 2014

I am now in my 10th year in Retail. Since forming Carvin Ltd and starting from scratch, researching the Market, population and the brands I wanted to get in my new store. Carvin Streetwear opened the doors September 29th 2005 (my husbands birthday which as the time was to piss him off because he was not happy about it at all, wanted me to stay working on the farm along side him and wanted not a thing to do with it) . Anyway alot of water has washed under the bridge since then (tidal waves sometimes) 10 years later and alot learnt about retail, Carvin Streetwear a individually owned store from Gore was judged a top 3 finalist in the Southland and Otago region for The Fashion Footwear category, we were beaten by Barkers of Dunedin and Zierra Footwear of Dunedin (both which are national brands). We were also a top 3 Finalist in the Peoples Choice which was over all sections of the Awards and WON!!! Not only was it an awesome accolade and achievement , but I am so proud of my staff for their achievements also. One of the things I set out to do from the very beginning was to maintain constant good customer service and to always help the customer not just serve them. Making customers look good and feel great was my original Motto and it is still on the front of every bodies Job description.
I am also very proud of Jess my now Manager she has not only won the Regional (as did Sheree Freer my store Manager prior to Jess starting 2.5 years ago) for the Service IQ Professional of the year(through doing a retail apprenticeship) but she came very close to taking out the National title as well!


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My first ever Toastmasters Speech ‘Ice breaker speech’ June 2015

The time given for this speech was 4-6 minutes:

My Time on the very first read was 4.38.34 and after practising, my time on the presentation night was 5 min 15 seconds. My feed back was very positive although I did start with an um before I started my speech! My hair was over my eye which my evaluator felt was distracting and my hands were clenched together at the start before I used gestures. All and all I was pretty stoked, the nervous adrenalin was amazing and the nice comments from fellow toastmasters felt very heart warming.

Below is my Ice breaker speech is supposed to be about yourself.

My ice breaker speech, a little about me, but more about my name…….

What is in a name?

I have always believed there’s a lot in a name, it determines who you are, how people perceive you, it defines who you are as I’m about to share with you, or does it?

My name is Chanelle now, but it has been Nicola, Christine, Chanel spelt C-H-A-N-E-L and now Chanelle with an extra L and E on the end.

I was born in a hospital in Epsom Auckland for unwed mothers. My birth mother named me Nicola, the nuns changed it a few days later to Christine (so they knew which girl I belonged to, yes! Christine is my birth mothers name. And my first birth certificate states Christine Nicola, not Nicola as my birth mother desired.

I was picked up by an amazing family of 5 from Taranaki who choose the name, as the story goes, on the long car trip up to Auckland and called me Chanel…… spelt as I said earlier C-H-A-N-E-L, this wasn’t my last name change..

Now I was named Chanel after my Aunty back in 1973, she was 45 at the time, my grandmother wasn’t a  fashionista but must of loved the name for other reasons because Chanel back in 1928 was not a very known name, nor in 1973 in NZ. It was more Mary, Dorothy or Margaret in 1928! or in 1973, Michelle, Lisa or Julie!  I still get called Shantel and Michelle constantly! I will remind you my name is Chanelle.

By the time I was ready to learn to spell my name before I went to school my adopted mother decided to listen to a nun,,,, with her wisdom had suggested adding L-E  on the end to make it more feminine because Chanel reminded her of St Peter Chanel a man.  He was gentle, kind and encouraging not unlike my namesake Aunty Chanel actually, he was also the patron Saint of Oceania…..but he was a man!

Is it coincidence that nuns have had such part in my names?

What is in a name?

So I did what we all do now days! I googled it!

Google tells me it’s actually a French surname which meant pipe.

It has been used as a American given name since the 1970s, influenced by the Chanel brand (a line of woman’s clothing and perfume), which was named by French Fashion designer Coco Chanel ( born 1883) .

Are any of you familiar with William Shakespeare?

His famous words

“a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

Implies that the name of things, does not affect what they really are.

I disagree!

Is it coincidence that I love fashion? And married a fitter welder of Pipe!

I grew up confused!   I had many name changes!  😉 but also had a great family and lots of worldly experiences.

A colourful child hood and adolescence, perhaps in part because of my confusing name changes.

I was asked to leave school at 15 managed to hang in till I was 16, leaving unqualified but looking forward to the big wide world.

I left my little town for the big city and started my career as a hairdresser, first training in Palmerston North then getting an apprenticeship in New Plymouth. By the time I was 20 I was fully qualified, married to my Pipe man the fitter welder and managing a hair salon before we decided to go farming and have our 1st child at 22.

A big decision deciding to ditch the 8-5 townie day to (and I still agree) very ghastly early starts!

2 more babies later, a few shifts including the biggest one, to leave our family and friends and travel South (gypsy day known  by you Southlanders) .

A farm bought and a farm sold we made our family life down here. We’ve travelled the Pacific and the world in between.

I am now a fashion retailer of an awesome independent store right here in Gore and still manage to put my gumboots on too!

Is it coincidence that St Peter Chanel travelled the seven seas and became Patron St of Oceania (the Pacific)? I might not be saintly but I do absolutely

Love the pacific, my favourite place is Tahiti! Moorea to be exact!

What’s in a name? A lot I say, do all my name changes go with all my interests, careers and changes?  Or is it just coincidence? I ask you?


Time 4.38.34 on the first read after practicing, my time on the presentation night was 5min 15 seconds. The time given was 4-6 minute speech.

the warhol: Chanelle’s Screen Test

the warhol: Chanelle’s Screen Test.


A few months back I got a a very special ph call from my little sister ( from my birth mothers side) to attend our mothers birthday.

Another rushed trip but able to fit so much in.


Chris like many of us woman had had one of those weeks when she felt under appreciated and forgotten un-be-known to her that this had all been planned for her. I got to spend lots of time with her, her sisters and brothers, my Sister and brother inlaw, my 2 darling nephews and my brother and his partner too!

Great times! I got to hang with and get to know a little more about this side of the family, including my siblings, not growing up together doesn’t matter now as we all get older. My little brother taking me along to Andy Wahol at Te Papa was definitely a highlight.

Below  is a link of of me doing the Andy Wahol screen test that Troy and Carlos took me along to, I wanted to see it and so did they, inspirational I think is the best way to describe it, as I went on to create his ‘Factory’ theme  (covered everything we could in tin foil) in my store as a Sale promo and Troy my brother a photographer studied and enjoys all Andys work.

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 ….. They sat me down and explained to me about ‘the screen test’ as well as many other aspects of Andy Wahol ( I’m a little oblivious to the finer things, I just went cause I liked some of his art) Opened my world up though 😀 .

So I sat in front of this camera, supposedly after 2 mins peoples true personalities start to appear (as Andy Wahol saw it)  I did, and I can see my personality peek through 😉  I wonder if you can too?


Leave a comment if you do, let me know if you can see my personality pop through or if viewing me for 2 mins is 2 mins to long haha.

the warhol: Chanelle’s Screen Test.

Samsung GALAXY S4

Samsung GALAXY S4.

I really need to write this down…..

Its amazing the emotions, that going after something brings.

It all started about 8 weeks ago when my beloved companion (Samsung Galaxy 2 ) started shitting itself at the most inconvenient times. I took it in to get fixed but the symptoms weren’t familiar to the agents. So I decided not to pay the $ to get it looked at and possibly not fixed, rather wait it out for the new Samsung Galaxy 4. Instead carrying around a charger with me at all times ( nuts I know) .

So my fascination began with the new phone, seeing a clip of the release of it to media, viral on FB  (I shared that and got a bit of attention as I don’t usually share products/games on FB- more known for my 6 million photos)and then a fellow tweeter teased me with how wonderful it is. He has (proberly one of the very few in NZ) been trialling it. He was also ‘THE ONE” who introduced me to this competetion :D.

So my fascination almost has become a passion….almost! But I am sooo excited to be getting one! Either way!

It goes on sale this weekend and I’m UBER excited to say the least, Turned down a ticket to a sell out concert (Aerosmith ) so I can get my Samsung Galaxy 4….that is if I haven’t worked hard enough sharing the word about it to every person and them inturn sharing it as well, via social media.

It’s a fantastic promo Samsung have created to launch this new phone!

#getinline  you join the virtual line and are ranked, I’ve been as close as 26 out to 360 , today I sit at 196.

I realise I might piss a few off and loose a few followers and fb friends (acquaintances ) along the way, but now I’ve started I can’t stop! Can I?

My husband says shut up and just buy it, but I’m enjoying the social media use and learning many things as I go. One being that my friends roll their eyes at the thought of me winning something……I really don’t need to win anything in their eyes.

Though all my life I have been a giver and a generous one ( if you’ve been on the receiving end you will know that) so maybe, just maybe its Karma paying me back by giving me some neat things?

HA I will look back on this and proberly roll my eyes too, but at least I’m doing it and not just talking about it.

“giving it a go”  “if ya not in, ya can’t win” blah, blah, blah 😉



Las Vegas and back to Los Angeles

4 am start OMG! I got back to the room at 2am!

I quietly shower and pack up and kiss Phil goodbye-he doesn’t even stir-just a mumble.

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Head to the airport, a 10 min drive by taxi.

The security over here is rigid, but I still wonder how good it is really, while I’m standing in long queues observing. The security appears to be robotic and slow, if someone did really want to get some weapon or fluid for a bomb on board; I think it would be easily enough done.

For such a large airport the queues can be 40-50 mins long, you don’t want to be running late for a flight.

In Vegas just when you think you’re there….you have a train to catch, to get to your departure lounge. That said, I made it! Though now the lack of sleep and a slight hangover are starting to become obvious to me, I even have the shakes.

The plane ride couldn’t come quick enough; I just needed to close my eyes and sleep.

Quick flight to LAX 45mins. Now the 2.5 hours to wait for the kids to arrive, I’m looking forward to seeing them even though it’s only been a few days, its feels ages. Rhys Darby walked past, I said Hi! He ignored me. Oh well 😉

The arrival gate was shared with Air China and Canada it seemed to take forever for the kids to appear, but when they did it was a sigh of relief to see their happy faces, they looked as happy to to see me as I was to see them. Found our organised transport “Prime shuttle”, perfect! Straight outside our terminal and dropped us off via Venice Beach, then to our Hotel in Santa Monica.

A quaint little hotel, one of the first I’d say. 1 block from the Santa Monica Pier and next to the famous “Ivy” restaurant where all the celebs dine.

The weather was sunny and mild-though not hot. Season is moving from Winter to Spring.

This is kinda where the ‘best laid plans kinda started going astray’.

The concierge at Hotel Carmel kindly offered to phone through and confirm a tour I had prebooked and paid for the kids (Great idea at the time!!)

The guy wouldn’t accept saying ‘no’ so I got on the phone and said “yes” he said “no” ,I said yes and then stated in my DON’T PISS ME OFF voice…..polite but stern, my displeasure in they treatment of me as a customer. They said OK and confirmed a 4.45 pick up,finally!! After a 10 min phone call!

Off we went to the pier, Santa Monica is gorgeous!

The kids pass a comment “how American every thing looks” I had to laugh.

Just like on TV I guess? Baywatch comes to mind, although its not warm enough to swim there are a few people sun bathing. Its nice as its not to crowded, I think on a hot summers day this place would be madness!

We wandered, taking photos, stopping taking photos for others

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Soaking up the light sea breeze and atmosphere on the pier, it has a fun park feel to it.

The kids got a charactchur done of themselves

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We had a ride on the Ferris wheel that features in so many movies and tv show landscapes.

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A few hours spent and we head past Ivy restaurant , trying to peer in to see if we can spot someone rich and famous, and then look at the numerous shops for some of the things the kids want.

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The Ivy restaurant

Tali gets a ltd edition Kobe hood and Luc gets his Purple ‘beats’ from the apple store. This was a whole new experience in its self! With a new modern approach, a huge warehouse looking room with teams around large dining room sized polished concrete tables, helping customers for support or to purchase. No cash registers in sight. They put Luc’s sale through on the sales girls’ cell phone as she was with us, whipped a cool Apple bag out of her pocket, and emailed the receipt to me! WOW!

I can’t quite describe it, we were very intrigued by it all. Not a shopping fan, even I have to agree the shops in Santa Monica have a wow factor, maybe because its where the celebs like to hang out. Great displays, great products an open mall like the old Hawera one…which I find so much nicer then the indoor ones we are used to now. It was so clean and pristine too.

In hindsight we wish we had stayed looking around instead of heading back to hotel for our 4.45pm pick up.

But we did…..:(

We were there waiting at 4.40pm in our lobby, waited till 5, then I decided to call and check on their status (I understand they can run late) or if infact they were even intending on picking us up??

No they weren’t running late we were and boy oh boy did the guy give it to me on the phone.

Told me they waited from 4.25 till 4.35 WTF!! Noway!

Anyway they came back to pick us up.

5.20pm by this time. The grumpy old Hispanic man, yelled at me and told me off in his big bus, in front of the kids. Thankful we were the only passengers. I told him in no uncertain terms back what time they had confirmed and also tried to show him the booking itinerary.

He told me “to shut up! And sit down! “(Exactly his words!)

WTF I had steam coming out my ears!!!!!!

The kids and I were knackered, my 2 o’clocker and early start was getting the better of me. The kids hadn’t slept much on their flight either. So they slept as I fought my weariness off to keep my eyes on what the hell was going on.

This little old man had the devil in him and us in his 30 seater bus. He had us going down some of LA’s back streets, good and bad. I now know he was trying to rendezvous with the rest of the tour before it left the main depot.

But at the time I had no idea what the hell was going on, all I could hear over the c.b radio was all Spanish!  The kids waking at different times as we lurched to fast tops and starts, over curbs and got to see a lot more of LA then they bargained for.

We arrived at their terminal, which made me feel better, it was at least legit ( I was having my suspicions ), we got transferred to another van.

After 7 by this time! We were still to head into Hollywood (we had missed the tour) the van was to take us to meet them.

It was Valentines night and every bastard was out it seemed! Roses and Balloon’s everywhere, but so was all the traffic!

A few roads closed due to the Oscars being held next week as well didn’t help.

The Oscars are huge over here, they close roads a few weeks before for building of structures and bridges for the paparazzi, its also a security reasons and decorative stuff.

We finally made it to Hollywood Boulevard only to be told “ you have a look around and meet outside Shellys at 8.30” by our none Engliese speaking Espananic man (we couldn’t catch up with the other bus , so missed Universal Studios. No loss, now we’ve done the tour ,I know we proberly didn’t miss a thing!).



So the kids and I lost in Hollywood…..at night!! Far Out!!!!

Hollywood at night is completely different during the day. There are weirdos and fruitloops everywhere!! Though talking to a couple I sat next to on a later flight, they said its bad enough in daylight –he is a delivery guy and sees lots!)

We were starving and tired but managed to walk the stars and take some pics to say “we been there” and then went to find Shellys diner , we did NOT want to miss this bus!!

It was while we were there standing waitng that was worse then walking around. I’ve been to some places and seen some shit, but even I was a little weary-perhaps because I had the kids with me and could sense their fear. We had all sorts stop and talk and solicit. Some quite intimidating.

The bus finally there, we jumped on for our lives, Well that’s what it felt like at the time.

The driver an old black American with a heart of gold but man he talked some shit! Lol

It was only 5 mins into our tour and bus trip with him and I realised this guy was as nutty as some of them on the boulevard – In a nice way though.

Definitely a character! He has 8 kids and while we were driving around we heard about them, he also would take calls and talk in a loud enough voice the whole bus could over hear. If I was describing a business mogul in the film industry yelling down the ph wanting contracts done yesterday! That was what our driver sounded like lol…please! He’s an effing tour bus driver haha, but it made him feel important I guess.

We went to Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, saw where the rich and famous dine, party and shop-all awesome!

When celebs pulled up next to us we had to pull back at lights etc or the tour buses can get fines , it’s a new by law to protect their privacy.WTF!

Fair enough but they didn’t tell us that in the selling brochure! What a have! I had been ripped off ! We had, had several chances of seeing them because they were everywhere, it was Valentines night! In hindsight again..Sant Monica was whre most of them were anyway!

Rodeo drive was amazing though J I loved the window displays….indescribable (a pic of one of my fav ones below)


love these shoes!!!


That done it was time to head back into LA, only driving past the Big Staples stadium where they hold sports and concerts and then onto some pretty lit fountains.

On the way and not part of the tour but almost a highlight we were in a movie , being filmed  just behind the Police escorts-helicopter flying overhead. Dunno the budget or who was in it , but it was real and we weren’t allowed to be seen taking pictures –guttz!

We’d had enough of this tour, we were well and truly over it! It was late we were exhausted and it was the most boring thing I’ve done in a long time .We just wanted to be back at the hotel and in our beds (2 doubles-not queen, for the 4 of us)

Of course, just cause that was how the evening had gone, we were the last to be dropped off at our hotel! At least we did get dropped off I guess lol.

11.30ish now, to our small and stinky chemically smelly room ( but still nice looking and cosy).

It had been a big day. Dying for a shower, only not to be able to get it to work!!

Ph downstairs and they kindly and quickly came up to help. Ive stayed in many hotels, everyone a different shower, but this is the 1st I haven’t been able to work out, I must have been tired.

Showered and no hair dryer! What the hell! this was almost the needle that broke the camels back, although as small as it sounds, I was mortified haha . Kids in Bed a bit of catch up on FB and twitter and check out what the crew is doing in Vegas……..Nekkminnit!!!!!


Honestly, ya had to be there, I couldn’t effing believe it! Zane and Tali asleep, Luc and I on the computer.

And the f**ken fire alarm goes off!!!???

So I jump up undies and top only, manage to pull on my jeans while waking zane ,the kids didn’t no what was going on in their sleepy state. They managed to pop on enough although the boys were almost about to go with just there undies on. We ran out, people amaze me, that they didn’t know the piercing sound was an alarm and how some of them weren’t even in a hurry. The building we were in is very old ( although been done up with a lick of paint etc) I was very conscious of the exits and where they were on the way up to our 4th floor room, as I always am after staying on the 20th story with my mate Emma Hutton in Auckland and having to run down 20 flights of stairs with the sprinklers going and no bras on in the deep of night!

We were evacuated down stairs, it was a false alarm, although we could definitely smell a burnt smell of smoke. Very unsettled we went back upstairs, the poor kids were like the walking dead, infact if I asked Zane now, I don’t even know if he’d remember it, because he was completely out for the count when I had to wake him.

1.30am by now OMG!

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A wanna pretend the alarm is not going off this morning! 6am already this ain’t no relaxing holiday so far! Not complaining though, I’m having a blast!

We get organised, all 4 of us in a small room ya can hardly swing a cat in –it was a bit like faulty towers the 4 of us trying to get ready on top of each other lol.

Down stairs for our 6.50 am pick up , at least with all this driving, we can say we have been all over LA. I can honestly say I think we managed to fit 4 days into 24 hours!!! And like my mate Trin wrote to me…only I would think I could do Santa Monica and Hollywood in between flights lol but to be fair, it didn’t look to far on the map!!! I just didn’t factor in all the traffic, people and incompetence hahaha 😉

LAX again….its such a big airport but nothing to do, so limited with food, no shopping ,nothing to look at, one of the most boring airports in the world, I’d have to say.

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We check into Virgin America. I hadn’t really thought much about it till now, but it truly makes you realise what a superb national carrier our Air New Zealand is.

Virgin, while organised and comfortable had only 2 toilets for the whole plane ( including business). It was a full flight of about 190 people.They couldn’t manage to get us seated together even though most the people around us were separated as well, we all shaking our heads when we talked, seeing how easy the seating configuration could have been.

I do like the capabilities of the internet use, and that you can chat on screen between seats in the flight. I bet there’s a few pick ups happen like that…no notes with phone numbers required to change hands through the air stewardess hahaha.

And a huge food selection but you have to pay as you go. Also if I wanted to book a movie, I have no headphones as I was sposed to purchase them prior to boarding, but as a 1 st timer with Virgin, no one told me.

All good though, Ive spent the last 5.5 hours sleeping for 2 and blogging the rest.

In between talking to my lovely seating neighbours (as the kids and I were seated through out the plane, not seated together ) They were a couple from California, they were going on a cruise too, heading to Aruba. The same couple, that sympathised with our Hollywood at night excursion from earlier in the blog).

Virgin all and all is a good carrier and I prefer it over Delta….on par with American Airlines (the 2 other airlines I have encountered so far this trip apart from Air NZ).

Next stop Fort Lauderdale, I wonder how all the crew is doing? are they still partying? I’m hoping they will be all settled in and so when we arrive we’ll just be able to catch up and go with the flow.

We have tonight and tomorrow morning to have a look around Hollywood beach.

Sooooo looking forward to the cruise! J

Stoked to hear Matty McKee did so well, thinking of my GF as she waves farewell to her daughter on her big OE. Loving my shalack nails Philipa, they are amazing!

Love that I have received a good news report from Jess (my store manager)saying all is well and shes handling things well….the best kinda email to get.