Kila’s Style by Nora Swann

When I first met Nora Swann, I was taken aback by her timeless beauty.  Reminiscent of enduring icons that are photographed by the likes of Nina Leen, Steven Klein or David LaChapelle, Nora was dressed in a deep fuchsia dress, pink draped scarf and fluorescent heels.  Elegance and passion are at the core of Nora Swann’s fashion sense.

As a Personal Stylist of Kila’s Style, Nora has emerged into the fashion industry with the desire to bring out the individual’s personal best.  Nora’s distinctive sense of style was strongly identified in her Kila’s Style Fashion Show that I had the pleasure of attending last month in Manukau.

Swann’s line introduced pieces from Op Shops, creating a chic and unique look.  A retro vibe is evident in her use of bold and bright colours mixed with an eccentric shimmer and glow in pure tones of gold, blue and grey.

Kila’s Style Fashion Show

As a stylist, Nora knows how to accentuate the beauty of all body types and most importantly her ability to keep costs to a minimum makes her services attainable.  Kila’s Style debunks the notion that one needs to be a celebrity to have a Personal Stylist.  People can feel confident in achieving a personal and unique look through Kila’s Style’s services.  The runway revealed leather, although not an easy material to work with, Nora heightened the sleek look with pink hues.  Each outfit was paired with killer heels, the definitive accessory.  Men are also styled by Nora.  I was surprised by a male model who wore a yellow palette with white.  Indeed, yellow could be quite daring for men to consider, however Kila’s Style succeeded with ingenious layering and use of colour to produce a comfortable and stylish outfit.

Beautiful ladies styled by Kila’s Style in Op Shop clothing.

The show concluded with a reveal of Nora’s Pasifika inspired creation.  A white off the shoulder dress with pink lace lining.  I was impressed with Nora’s spin on the Ie Faitaga, a traditional dress of men in the Pacific.  Nora lined the Ie Faitaga with a gorgeous pattern and shortened the front which maintains the traditional sense of the clothing with a touch of modern design.

Pasifika Inspired Creation by Nora Swann

The integration of styling and designing her own pieces is a natural step for Nora.  In only eleven months of being in business she has conducted over 150 Colour Consultations, 20+ Makeovers, styling for a music video and 3 Fashion Shows.

A pastel pink and white gown was the show stealer for me.  The dress flowed in all the right places with a corset bodice and sweetheart neckline.  A beautiful piece that epitomises the elegance of Nora Swann and Kila’s Style.

My favourite of the Fashion Show


How did Kila’s Style evolve?

Last year in May I entered Cleo Magazine’s competition ‘Who wants to be a Fashion Stylist?’ The condition of the entry was I had to explain in 100 words why I thought I’d be a great stylist.

So I entered and won from over 3,000 entries nationally. I was so surprised when I received a phone call from Angela Stone herself saying that I had won her competition. The winner was to go on a fashion styling course with Angela Stone to the value of $4,000. The course was for three days and there were only two students (myself and Rachel Hunter’s buyer for her clothes line in The Warehouse). It was the most exciting and informative thing ever and with only two students we were able to get the most out of Angela Stone.

I went on this course in October and then Angela helped me start up my own business which was formed in December [2011].

What are three items that every girl needs in her wardrobe?

1) Cowboy Boots:  They’re versatile, can be worn all year round and will never go out of fashion.

2) Quality Jeans: It was so hard to find a pair that suited my body shape and I had to spend a bit to find them but I love my Calvin Klein Slim Fits.

3) A Stylish Blazer. I have a cool black and checkered 80’s Blazer which makes me feel so good when I wear it. I can dress it up or down and still feel great!

What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe?

The most treasured item in my wardrobe is my wedding dress. A really good friend  made it for me when I got married in Australia. I opted for a simple style and focused on my accessories. I remember putting it on.  It was close to 40 degrees celsius and it had 10+ layers of lining!

Beautiful Nora on her Wedding Day

Who is your favourite designer or fashion icon?

I idolise Daphne Guiness. She likes to make her own accessories and garments when she can’t find what she is after. She reminds me a lot of myself. I love her fashion sense, her creativity and just how she isn’t afraid of taking risks. She is the epitome of a fashionista to me.

How would you describe your sense of style?

I’m a cross between a creative and dramatic dresser. I’m a ‘Winter’ (in terms of what colours suit me) and I love wearing the big and bold [colours] as I know it accentuates my natural features. I love taking chances, mixing fabrics and textures that the ‘manual’ says I shouldnt. I love statement accessories and will always experiment with fashion until the very end.

Nora Swann

Kila’s Style is now nearing its 1 Year Anniversary.   Be sure to stay updated via Kila’s Style Facebook page.  Stop by, have a browse and grab a few style tips from the gorgeous Nora Swann.


Nora & I after her Fashion Show. Loved how everyone received a pretty Lei upon entrance.

Love & Laughter,
Curly Miri

Thursday Treats


September is the official start to Spring, my favourite season of the year with the most beautiful flowers in bloom.  While on a coffee date with my sister we spotted a Daffodil sale at a florist and grabbed a few bunches to arrange in my glass vases.  A great start to Spring!


Mister celebrated his “21st” birthday.  I think this is the 10th time he has celebrated his 21st birthday, ha!  Mister’s birthday lunch was at the lovely Atico Cocina.  In the evening we celebrated Mister’s birthday with a great group of friends.  We danced the night away and I had to mend his hangover the next day.  I am so glad Mister enjoyed his birthday, he brings so much joy to my life and it was good to see him having a great time.  Happy birthday, my love.

Mister enjoyed Dominican Seafood with Prawn, mussels, white fish, squid in a rich crayfish okra rice.
I had the Yucatan Tuna Pan Seared Citrus Infused Yucatan Style Tuna with rice pilaf and spicy salsa, a delicious treat. I also made club sandwiches and cheese and fruit platters for the evening celebrations.

An enjoyable night celebrating Mister’s birthday.


Delectable treats of the week.

Coffee date with my beautiful sister.

Dinner at Mexicali in Newmarket with a few of my favourite people. The Taco Salad-yum!

Spinach with hollaindaise sauce on a bed of sauteed mushrooms and hash browns at Coronation Restaurant & Cafe. The hollaindaise sauce just took me to another level-delightful.

Mister had creamy mushroom and bacon with ciabatta bread. I had a few bites too of course. A lovely balanced creaminess with crispy bits of bacon. At Coronation Restaurant & Cafe.

Caramel Brownie-moist and rich. The best brownie ever! You see how the lower part is missing? Mister decided to take a bite before I could snap a photo, lol.


Emerald Green Clutch with Gold detail.  A great buy as the Clutch was on sale and green is my favourite colour.  The gold detail reminds me of my Italian puzzle ring that my brother and his partner bought for me from Florence last year.


The most beautiful treat. My nephew Elijah. I love being an aunt. Just being in Elijah’s presence, giving him cuddles and seeing him smile makes me so happy. I am in the process of writing a children’s book in honour of Elijah.

My handsome nephew, Elijah. Our latest photo together, taken last night.  After reading the first two chapters of The Hunchback of Notre Dame he drifted off to sleep.

Love & laughter,
Curly Miri

The D Word

Image: Source

Anthea is a Journalism major at university.  Her love of nature, animals and travelling is evident in her home full of fresh flowers, foreign artefacts and her two Labrador’s roaming free in the beautiful garden of her humble abode.

Anthea has a bright and bubbly demeanour, a caring nature and an unspoken sense of intelligence.  However, look closely and you will see sadness in her eyes.  A sense of melancholy that she effortlessly disguises.  She will hug you and make you feel so welcome and loved and yet everyday she struggles to feel the love that she permeates within others.  Each day she battles demons within her mind that tell her she is not good enough, that spark anger and anxiety.  In essence, these difficulties have hindered her ability to thrive in her studies, and have also damaged the core of her relationships with her spouse, family and friends.

The following is an interview with Anthea, offering an undeviating and direct perspective of what it is to live a life that has been overshadowed by depression.
*Names have been changed.

Depression.  What does this mean to you?  When did it all begin for you?

I have had two miscarriages and I believe this is where I began to change emotionally and mentally.  Prior to being diagnosed with depression, I wasn’t entirely aware of what depression as a mental illness entailed.  Depression is to have the desire to live a normal life, striving to be happy but not having the mental or physical capability to do so because the lack of personal strength and overwhelming sadness that suppresses your being.  It is an endless battle of self-doubt and wanting to feel loved so completely but always questioning the motives of those around you.  Depression to me is feeling emotionally crippled.  It is like running a marathon and never reaching the end because of pure and utter exhaustion, and because you’re crying, yelling frantically, tripping over, and being pushed down.  You’re trying to finish the marathon and you’re trying to make it but you’re constantly struggling and asking yourself, “What is the point?”

What has been most difficult for you as you battle your demons?

Hearing loved ones call me crazy.  Having the people I love give up on me.  Seeing other women with babies.  Feeling useless for not being able to have a child.  Losing my friends because I can’t stand to be around them.  Getting out of bed every morning.  Trying to be happy around the people I love so they don’t get hurt or feel sorry for me.  Not graduating with the rest of my university class because I have not been successful with my studies despite previously being an A student.  Sometimes I fall asleep and hope that I won’t wake up.  I even have my funeral planned out because I feel that I will die young.  I have my life insurance set up, this was a difficult process because I realised that I do not have what I truly desired before depression hit me.  I don’t have children to give anything to.  I haven’t been a mother.  What is the point in living to not have what truly matters?  A loving home, a family, a career, and a purpose.  This is what I struggle with every single day within my mind.

Regarding my emotions, when I know I can’t handle or contain my anxiety I do try my best to contain my anger and overwhelming emotions but it is like I’m aware that I’m getting myself worked up but I can’t stop.  I’ll cry endlessly in the middle of a mall, in front of anyone, yell and have an anxiety attack without fully knowing what is happening until much later as I have to also suffer the consequence of my actions.  It is difficult because this is not the person I am and this is not the person I want to be. 

How has depression affected your relationship with your spouse?

The effects of my depression on our relationship have been detrimental.  *Jacob was the one who took me in to see my doctor as my condition worsened.   I couldn’t get out of bed, just unable to move, crushed by sadness in a foetal position crying and wanting to end my life.  Prior to being diagnosed with depression my relationship with *Jacob had suffered due to my episodes of anger, sadness and inability to live in a normal and happy state of mind.

I constantly fought with *Jacob and felt my self-worth was diminishing and our relationship was on an unpleasant plateau.  He told me constantly that he loved me, that together we would work towards a happy and successful life.  My desire to have children has been so strong but I truly feel this will never happen after being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and now having to overcome depression. 

*Jacob is the love of my life but my mind has been so clouded, unable to see or feel his love the way I want to.  Initially, I always craved for him to love me with everything he had, to not ever give up on me no matter how difficult the situation became.  I just wanted *Jacob to love me and not ever make me feel alone.  I have felt so alone.  It is like being in a room full of people, so boisterous and pleasant but still feeling so empty inside.

My mind kept telling me that he could never love me the way I loved him.  Our relationship has suffered because of the way I have been thinking.  My mind constantly switches to thoughts of no matter how much I try to explain my emotions I always feel like no other can understand what is happening to me or what I am thinking and feeling.  This is a constant battle because I feel judged instead of heard and that what I say doesn’t matter. 

After being assessed by my doctor and being on anti-depressants, *Jacob said he saw a change in my character, that I was back to my usual happy self.  I did feel a change in my thought processes.  I started to notice and enjoy a lot of what I had taken for granted; flowers, reading, smiling, laughing, making love, spending time with loved ones.  *Jacob’s patience and unconditional love has been important in my journey of recovery.

What support systems have been helpful towards your recovery?

I grew up in the Pacific Islands with a culture that has not gathered a concrete sense of mental illness.  A culture that is reserved and deals with issues with the mentality of “Get over it” or “Forget and move on”.   The lack of knowledge within the Pacific Island community is worrying and has not been helpful towards my recovery.  My parents migrated to New Zealand from a Pasifika community that places much pressure on children to perform and provide for the family.  Essentially, my success is my parents success, however taking into account my mental illness I have reached a breaking point.   My parents actually said I’ll get better once I stop caring about the insignificant, and one relative even told me to “Harden up”.

Counselling has been helpful as opening up and talking about issues have been integral in my attempt to overcome my struggles.

My partner, *Jacob has been supportive.  He has been with me to see my doctor and has encouraged me to do what I love and to not give up on my studies or goals in life.  I do my best to do simple things that make me smile.  I love flowers so I’ll arrange them in vases.  I take a lot of photographs of nature and do my best to love, just love.

Where to from now, Anthea?

I feel the road to recovery is an on-going process.  I am grateful for all the support that I have and my only desire right now is to get better and to accept the love and support of those around me.  I must let go of my pride.  I do understand that my mental illness is not easy for *Jacob or my family.  I have been off anti-depressants for two weeks and I feel the need to see my doctor to go back on the medication.  The meds make me extremely tired, however I do feel the meds have helped in the sense of allowing me to have a clearer state of mind.  I just want to be happy and I want those around me to be happy, too.

What would you say to others who are going through depression?

There is support out there for you. is a website that features a New Zealand sporting legend, John Kirwan who has been through depression.  I have known about his programme for over two years, however it was not until two months ago that I checked out the website, a great help.

Do not give up.  Love yourself and you will be loved.

Thank you, Anthea.

Love & laughter,
Curly Miri

To Be Loved

Five years of age.  You watched me from the balcony as I played in the backyard picking daisies and chasing butterflies.  You gazed at me lovingly with a beaming smile upon your face.  Your elegant features, serene and striking, and your greying hair tied up in a bun.  Your sun kissed chocolate skin glowing in the afternoon sun.  I smiled back at you, feeling so free as your presence filled me with the most beautiful essence of joy.

As I ran happily through the grass, a bee stung my foot and I yelled out in pain.  You came to my rescue, lifting me into your loving home.  I cried in your warm embrace as you sang a sweet Samoan lullaby and rubbed ointment on my aching foot.

Eight years of age.  Your smile turned into an expression of defeat and sorrow as you battled illness.  As I read one of my favourite stories to you-Jack and The Beanstalk, I yearned for you to smile.  You only looked at me with tired and helpless eyes, unable to speak.  I touched your hands, no longer full of warmth but hard with an unfamiliar coldness.  Your face still the epitome of love.  As you slept I sang for you, your lullaby.  I miss you, grandma.

What am I most grateful for?  To be loved.

Curly Miri © 2012

My grandmother dancing the traditional Samoan siva with me.

Need A Baby Name

My brother and his Miss are due to have their baby in the month of August and are struggling to find a name for their baby boy.  Many have offered name suggestions such as Micah, Declan, Joshua-none of which they like.

Maybe you can help?

My brother’s name is Anthony, a Sagittarius with a caring, selfless and very bold nature. He has a passion for history and classics, especially regarding the culture of ancient Greece and Rome.  Anthony is loveable has a laugh that can be heard a mile away.

Rebecca is a Gemini and is of a strong, independent, protective and loving nature. She is a perfectionist and is one of the best cooks I know.  Rebecca has a passion for people and she is a lover of the finer things in life.

Hopefully this will somehow allow you to conjure up a few name suggestions.  I am all ears!

Thursday Treats


The beauty of nature in Winter.


An Adventure Box I made for a 7 year old girl’s birthday gift.  Includes Adventure Jars, Adventure Photo Album, Adventure Storybooks and an Adventure Tea Cup.


Delectable treats of the week.

Mister and I dined at Gina’s Italian Kitchen, a lovely restaurant, friendly wait staff and a lively atmosphere. Entrée Bruschette Rustici Tomato & Garlic. Mains: I had the Papardelle Ragu di Agnello e Pecorino: Fresh pasta served with slow-cooked lamb, red wine, garlic & rosemary topped with shaved parmigiano. Mister had the Maiale da Favola: Pork belly slow cooked with fresh sage, black pepper and apple cider served on cannellini bean and garlic puree. Dessert: We enjoyed Tiramisu-absolute bliss!

Mocha and Afghan at Columbus

Mister had the Big Breakfast and I had the Salmon and Spinach Quiche, at Lucky Cafe

Brunch with my sister. Chicken Sandwich at Columbus.


Last week I purchased this treat.  I wore the skirt out to dinner this week and snapped a quick photo while in the restaurant bathroom.

Vintage Skirt purchased last week as seen here


I have been thinking a lot about my desire to have children of my own.  I came across this quote that made me smile:
“In the happiest of our childhood memories, our parents were happy, too.”  ~Robert Brault


Love & laughter,
Curly Miri

I Envy Your Pregnant Belly

I found out I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome five years ago at age 22.  As I work towards establishing myself in other areas of life such as university and career options, I have neglected what I desire the most; a family of my own.  I had a miscarriage last year due to an ectopic pregnancy; an experience that I continuously reflect upon that not only upsets me but makes me angry.

I remember staying up late at night talking about plans for our child with Mister and the night we got the phone call with ultrasound results that changed our world of content into an indescribable ache.  I didn’t want to leave the house as I couldn’t contain the envy I felt towards every mother I saw walking around with a pregnant belly.  I constantly felt a sense of nostalgia as I envisioned holding my baby; the vision so numbing as every time I opened my eyes I realized my hands were empty.

Anger creeps in when I see so many people who have been gifted children but do not give a damn.  I know people who deliberately choose to have children and yet put in little effort to make sure their children grow with the utmost love and support.

Despite an unfortunate miscarriage, Mister and I still desire to have children.  Everything we have done in our relationship has been a foundation for having a family of our own.  We have spent so much time trying to grow our business and we have come to the agreement that financial stability is required in order to provide for our family.  However, we also agree that financial security is not the most important aspect of raising children.

Interesting Note:  Prior to meeting Mister I did not have a period for over four years (due to PCOS and general unhappiness with body and self).  As soon as our relationship started my periods came around every month like clock work; happiness and love really do make a difference to your physical well-being.

I am now left to wonder if PCOS will deprive me of my desire to have children of my own.  I’m grateful to have the support of Mister who has comforted me to know that once we are ready we’ll do everything we can to have a family of our own.


Love & laughter,
Curly Miri