Word of Mouth - Kimberley Fridd

Kimberley Fridd Head of Drama & Film, John McGlashan College

Curriculum Fellow - Secondary Drama Programme MTchgL, University of OtagoDrama New Zealand Executive

What are the main ways you create balance in your life, especially with a demanding career?

Finding balance in life is something I think about a lot. As a very busy arts practitioner, partner to another secondary teacher, mother of two teenage girls, and someone who is also involved in an Arts & Wellbeing Collective with other drama kaiako, I know the importance of finding balance in life. I try to prioritise family time, knowing that my children will only be under our roof for so long, before heading out into the big wide world. I am a total hygge convert, a word which has been around a lot in the past few years. Hygge (a Danish word) is about taking time away from the daily rush to focus on togetherness with people you care about - or by yourself - so you can relax and enjoy life’s quieter pleasures. Some designers and merchandisers quickly cashed-in on the hygge phenomenon with scented candles, warm cosy jumpers and rugs, but I believe this is at odds with what hygge is really about. Hygge can’t be bought; it is about the feeling which is evoked and it ultimately reflects the values of Danish society: equality and the wellbeing of everybody. It is about savouring the little moments; making crepes for breakfast in bed on the weekend, listening to your favourite music, playing board games with family in front of a roaring fire, or dinner parties with friends. It’s really important for me to make time for creativity and connection with others, in between my work-life as a drama educator.

How do you manage your health and fitness alongside your creativity and life generally?

As someone who has a chronic illness (fibromyalgia) I need to prioritise hauora. I teach drama from Years 7 to 13, as well as teaching trainee secondary drama teachers from the University of Otago. My work week is hectic; however, I always try to slot in wee “wellbeing walks” during the workday for some connection to the outdoors, or even to just get out of the classroom and walk up to No7 Balmac for a coffee. On the weekend, I try to go for a longer walk and enjoy popping my headphones on and moving to music and blasting whatever Spotify playlist is on my radar that week. I also practise gentle yoga and love to dance.

I’ve been vegetarian since I was seven (blame a class trip to the chicken abattoir), and I love to cook and make RAW baking. We eat a lot of Mediterranean meals in our household which are laden with vegetables, pulses, homemade Greek yogurt, and hummus. I especially like making Greek and Italian food. We’ve been focusing on gut health and my daughters and I drink a lot of sugar-free kombucha, as well as eating sourdough and fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles. As an educator, I swear by Blis Throat Guard Pro with Blis K12. Blis are an amazing, Dunedin probiotics company. Blis probiotics are great for boosting my immune system as well as keeping scratchy throats away, something important as a drama teacher. I also recommend them to my acting students, especially during rehearsals and show runs.

Where are your favourite places in Otago to unwind?

Hygge for me is about savouring moments and spending quality time with whānau, like going for a walk in the beautiful Dunedin Botanic Gardens. I love the idea of Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing (a Japanese word for walking in any natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you). Our Botanic Gardens or Bethune’s Gully in North East Valley are perfect for that. Having lived in both Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook areas in the past, I am happiest when surrounded by mountains and snow, which is why I gravitate towards places like Lake Hāwea in the school holidays, instead of heading to the beach!

As a family, we have several restaurant and cafe spots we love to unwind in on the weekends. This could mean heading to Ebb cafe for Alison Lambert’s amazing date scones and coffee, a green breakfast at Buster Greens on George Street, almond croissants from SideOn, or RAW Hemp slice and coffee from Catalyst and absorbing the chilled atmosphere and Scandi lighting upstairs or in the courtyard. My other favourite family rituals include a meat-free Impossible Burger at Patti’s’n’Cream diner and gelato at Gelato Junkie in the Octagon. It’s nice to treat yourself on the weekend and find some balance. We love to go out and support our favourite local establishments.

Do you have a beauty regime and are there any products you swear by?

I’ve always had sensitive skin and suffered from eczema since I was a baby. Post-lockdown, I’ve been wearing far less makeup to work than I used to, and this has simplified my morning routine for the better. I usually only do full makeup if heading out for an event or special occasion. I swear by Garnier’s BB cream, a good mineral powder foundation, and Garnier Skin Active Vitamin C Brightening Eye Cream. I also love Avène skincare products and Natio brand lipsticks. In the small makeup bag in my handbag, you'll always find Ashley & Co Lip Punch (lip balm), Weleda Skin Food Light, a Natio lipstick, and wee tubes of Ecoya moisturiser and Ecoya hand-sanitiser.

Are there any Dunedin designers you like?

We are spoiled for choice here in Dunedin for quality designers, especially with the Godmothers of Dunedin fashion. I love Tayna Carlson’s designs as well as Margi Robertson’s work from NOM*d. I have several iconic, stencilled t-shirts from NOM*d and they are absolute staples of my capsule wardrobe. I love the way NOM*d seamlessly blends masculinity with femininity. Both are black, very NOM*d, and very Dunedin.