Who am I? At this stage in my life sometimes I’m not entirely sure!  There have been several incarnations —  Frances, Frankie, Frank, Frankincense, The Grand Shrew — to name but a few. But I would have that in common with anyone who’s lived for any length of time.


I believe you can’t let life happen to you — if your ship doesn’t come in, you need to swim out to it. I also believe, like Sophia Loren, mistakes are one of the dues one pays for a full life. Diamonds are, after all, only coals that stuck to the job!

I’m vintage not old. I choose style over fashion, I’m an explorer not a follower and I revel in my own individuality.

I called this blog Never Succumb to Beige because this has  become a personal metaphor for always being who you are, despite the pressure to conform to all manner of often uncomfortable societal norms . To thine own self be true I say, even if thy true self is more bling than Ming. Quite apart from anything else, imagine the epitaph it would make, ‘she never succumbed to beige!’

At leisure

I love writing, singing, playing my violin, bush walking, animals and birds, reading, history, satire, summer … and good wine. The latter preferably at the same time and shared with close friends!

As a writer 

I guess I’m an essayist at heart. An explorer of ideas. An extrapolator of themes. I love entertaining people through my eclectic observations. Probably something to do with my life-long love of history which manifested in a Master of Arts with Honours in Medieval History.

I’ve tried most forms of writing; a column for a magazine Sects in the City, media stories for widely different organisations, copywriting, creating the exhibition Food Future’s: The Face of Tomorrow, ghosting an autobiography, a series of short stories one of which was published in Finding Mr Right— The Real Woman’s Guide to Landing that Man, conceptualising and launching Shrew Magazine with my sister Shrew was a full colour monthly which sent up the crap pedalled by the ‘glossies’. My novella, The Anger of Princes is Death, about the tense last last hours of Anne Boleyn’s life is available on Amazon here.


I describe myself as a Comms Impressario. A conventional impresario is someone who brings people together and finances or finds financing for public entertainments and events. A comms impressario is a variation on this theme. Our mission in life is to bring the right people and stuff together to help great ideas reach the world. We don’t wait for opportunities to make magic happen, we create them.

Frances Manwaring

In summary

Originally from Scotland, I was London-based for 14 years before moving to New Zealand in the mid-nineties and I now live in NZ’s wild and windy capital, Wellington. Apart from the earthquakes … and the interminable wind … it’s a great place to live. I’m currently Managing Director of creative agency Moxie.