The Queenstown & Lakes District in the South Island of New Zealand is beautiful beyond measure. I visited at the beginning of summer (it is pretty popular as a winter destination) with three of my favourite people and discovered that it is just as beautiful, especially with the stark contrast of lush gardens and parks with the geology of the area. Recommendations would be the Queenstown Botanic Gardens, fine dining at Rata, (where we celebrated my grandmother's 75th birthday) and tripping around the historic settlements in Arrowtown and Cromwell.
The Hawkes Bay is my current favourite place to holiday in New Zealand. As well as the obvious (weather, wine country, art deco) there is a concentration of creative talent in the art, design and hospitality industries there. My friend and collaborator Unna Burch and I took a trip to the Hawkes Bay last year for one of her workshops and managed to pack in the ultimate HB tour over a couple of days. Unna is originally from the Hawkes Bay and she introduced me to some of her favourite places, I was able to revisit some of mine and discover some new favourites for both of us. This included Aroha + Friends, F.G Smith, Picnic, the Donut Robot and its legendary operator Stevo, Blackbird Goods, Te Mata Peak and Redwoods, Pipi (reason enough to relocate to the HB), cocktails at Monica Loves, the greatest lunch of my life (and Unna's, massive compliment!) at Black Barn Bistro. I look forward to sharing the workshop Unna held at Opera Kitchen soon. A big thank you to Unna's parents-in-law Judy and John who hosted us at their beautiful, self sustainable home and garden in Kereru.
An unexpected engagement before a recent expected holiday to Rarotonga turned our escape into a celebration, and we spent some time at the beautiful botanic gardens making some portraits for ourselves. Being my own client meant crab legs and botanical studies made the cut...as well as many, many gratuitous photos of the black diamond Kyle surprised me with on our tenth anniversary.
Hello 2016! I'm bringing in the New Year with a look back at some of my favourite people, places and things from 2015 and seeing as it's still the holiday season I'll start with beautiful Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. This was my second visit to this small (32kms around) and incredibly vibrant place. Coupled with the slow pace of island life, it is both exciting and relaxing. On this trip the highlights were the textures in the vernacular architecture, incredible fresh seafood, friendly hospitality and the lush tropical gardens, the latter of which I will share in another post soon. The Mooring Fish Cafe, Charlie's, Palace Takeaway and Vili's Takeaway were the best places for the classic Raro fish burger. The island hospitality was personified through a trip to Vili's; when we discovered that the bus had finished the continuous loop round the island for the day, the owners cooked our food and drove us home! There are two main roads in Rarotonga, the difference between the coastal and inland roads was incredible and something I overlooked on my first visit. Always a pleasure and can't wait to go back.
This winter I spent a couple of weeks working in Auckland, New Zealand. In between projects I was able to visit some of my favourite Auckland institutions, especially Federal Delicatessen, the Wintergardens and Auckland Art Gallery; whatever you do don't miss Lisa Reihana's In Persuit of Venus (Infected). I visited favourite friends, made some new ones, attended the inaugural Homestyle workshop with Gem Adams and took some snaps along the way. I've been looking forward to sharing these images of this fabulous city, enjoy!
Chinatown, Arab Street and the world famous Botanic Gardens in Singapore all present combinations of my two great loves: colonial architecture and lush, tropical, hyper-controlled gardens. While exploring I took the opportunity to create work for an ongoing personal project about botany which I hope to share with you soon. I also captured these images, so that a year later I can offer you a brief respite from your winter chills! Enjoy.
I don't like to fly, so ordinarily I consider it a necessary trauma that must be endured in order to explore the world. Flying into Hong Kong as the sun rose over the city was one of the most magical experiences of my life. Sunlight hit the low cloud that obscured the bases of the buildings, creating the illusion of a golden city in the sky. This place stole my heart in the early hours of that morning and continued to surprise me through the myriad contrasts present in contemporary Hong Kong life.
During our time there in mid 2014, the people of Hong Kong began protesting in defence of their autonomy from mainland China. The physical presence of hundreds of thousands of people in the streets around our hotel during the marches materialised how the city had felt to me on the day we arrived. Temperatures were in the mid 30s and humidity was above 80 percent. This, in combination with the expanse of concrete in every horizontal and vertical direction, made the life of the city feel incredibly close.