Toni Street has a goal, to have smoother hands than her new co-host by the end of the year.
But the who-has-softer-hands challenge is less about friendly competition among her new teammates in the Coast breakfast show, but more about a sign of how well she is managing the new job.
"Part of my autoimmune disease is that when I get a bit run down, I get really bad eczema on my hands," says Street, who was diagnosed with rare autoimmune condition Churg-Strauss syndrome in 2015. "And Jason Reeves revealed to me last week that he has softer hands than his mother because he uses so much hand cream. So this is a terrible revelation for someone who has below-average hands and I'm going to be working with a guy that has these silky smooths."
From Monday morning, Street joins Reeves on the Coast breakfast host, as well as bringing her current co-host Sam Wallace from The Hits, to form an all-new morning radio line-up on the station. It's part of a refreshed format for Coast as it looks to expand its audience.
But launching a new show during a global pandemic and off the back of New Zealand's lockdown, has come with a few extra challenges, such as working from a home studio that's not soundproof.
Street's husband, Matt France, looks after their three children Juliette, 7, Mackenzie, 5, and Lachie, 20 months, in the mornings while she does her radio job from 4.30am, before she turns into school teacher for her daughters after 9am.
"A couple of times I've left the door open and I've just heard this 'Mama!' in the middle of the show and I've had to quickly run and close the door. But a few times we've just let them come down and they know to be quiet."
Her home studio is a simple set-up in the family rumpus room, downstairs and away from the main living areas. Her desk sits in front of a small play nook under the stairs, which is marked with "Juliette & Mackenzie's Palace" written on the wall. All she needs is her desk, laptop, headset and a piece of equipment known as the "brick", which allows hosts to broadcast from anywhere in the world.
"It's literally the size of a brick and is a black device with lots of buttons."
The home studio is set up for her and Sam Wallace, who was already part of Street's bubble from just before the lockdown. Reeves is based in the studio at NZME's Auckland office and has control over the more technical side of things, which makes Street's job easier at home as she doesn't need the same equipment and mixing desks that let hosts control audio output levels.
Remote broadcasting isn't a new concept and although listeners tend not to notice the difference, Street misses the energy that comes from working in the office environment.
"I want to hug, I'm quite tactile and when I talk to people I touch them and it's quite hard being in lockdown because I feel really deprived of that.
"I reckon that's the thing I miss the most, that real human interaction."
Lessons as a working mum in lockdown
And what about the side issue of interrupting children, who want their Mum?
"We've been quite relaxed on radio with that because I think the reality is that everyone is working at home at the moment with kids around, and pets and flatmates, and people understand that. It's real life so we've just rolled with that.
"For most of the show no one is down here but when it gets between the 8 and 9 o'clock hour and the kids are up and they're starting to go 'Where's Mum? We know she's downstairs' and they try and fight their way down."
But her trip downstairs to her studio each morning provides important structure to Street's days at home. She's learnt a few things about herself in the process too, for example, her patience, specifically a lack thereof when it comes to homeschooling her children after a morning on the radio. "My daughter told me I need to practise mindfulness."
The energy required to be so hands-on with her children at home took her by surprise, and she realised early on it was important she had her own outlet and time to herself. She makes sure she exercises every day using online gym classes, and gets outside for a walk or bike ride.
"I've also learnt that I crave and I need routine as a mum. All those little things you do with your kids that can sometimes be a drag in normal life - like going straight to dancing and then going to netball practice and then the next day is tennis - you realise in lockdown that they're all there for a reason.
"They are things that burn off the energy that make us happy, that when we get home we're tired and relaxed, whereas without them you have to create them yourself."
Post lockdown: Five things to look forward to
Dream travel destination: I would love to go to Hawaii with my husband and kids. I went once, years ago and fell in love with the vibe, heat and food. Also Noosa. It's my favourite place for relaxing.
Dining out:I've been craving my favourite local Japanese restaurant, Kyoya in Takapuna. Laura McGoldrick and I have also vowed to go to Josh Emett's new Oyster Inn on Waiheke together when we can.
Party, party: It will be a big weekend, probably across two nights. Friday would be celebrating with my bestie Sophie, who had her 37th birthday in lockdown, and our university mates. Saturday would be making up for the "friends getaway" we never got to have. A group of my 10 good mates was meant to travel to Taranaki in March.
Getting out: My roots need the most urgent attention so the hair salon will be a priority. I'll head straight back to the gym (exercising on my own is tough and nowhere near as fun), and because I'm immune compromised going to do my own supermarket shop will be a treat.
New tricks: I'm pretty keen to keep up the regular biking as a family, we've done so much in lockdown and it's an awesome thing to do together. Also during lockdown I bought a new computer with a great editing programme. I learnt to edit at TVNZ as a reporter so I'm keen to brush up on my skills for the videos that Jase, Sam and I will be doing for Coast.
Favourite Isolation recipe:
500g pork mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1. Heat a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and brown onion and crushed garlic.
2. Add onion and garlic to mince.
3. Add lightly beaten egg, spices and sauces and mix well with hands.
4. Roll mixture into meatballs approximately the size of a golf ball.
5. Refrigerate for at least two hours for balls to keep their shape.
6. Brown meatballs in pan with olive oil.
7. Heat oven to 180C and continue baking meatballs on oven tray for 10 to 15 minutes.
8. Serve with spaghetti and lots of cheese or a homemade tomato sauce.