Posted by & filed under Travel Country: New Zealand.


Two and a half years ago, when I was last in Paihia, I saw a fabulous designer dress in a shop in Russell. God it was gorgeous. It was the colour of fire, with reds, amber and yellows. To me, it screamed passion, fiery, hot! It was a strapless dress, nearly, which flowed out from the waist and had swirls like a flamenco dancer’s dress.

It also had a shawl and a head piece and was made from felt, merino wool and silk. It was something I’d wear, but it was too expensive for me. The woman in the shop gave me the designer’s card, with her details on it. It was only last year, when I got around to emailing the designer, Sandra Thompson, about what I thought of the dress and how much I loved it. She told me that I had a chance to buy it now, if I wanted to, as it was cut to half price: 250 Euros.

I had a wedding to go to in July last year and I needed a dress. So I thought, feck it, I’ll buy it. So a few weeks later, the dress arrived and I tried it on. The risk was buying a dress that I didn’t know would fit me, because I hadn’t tried it on in the shop. I asked Sandra what size it was and she said it would fit a size 8 to 10, which would suit fine. I was hoping it was going to fit. But the fact that I had seen the dress two and a half years ago on a mannequin in New Zealand and would now be wearing it a wedding in Ireland, was something I was proud of. More importantly, it fit. It was beautiful and the colours and materials were as vivid as I’d seen them in the shop.