Darcy Clay – Jesus I Was Evil

I’m hitting all my Kiwi music favourites up on  Youtube today. In less than two weeks I’m making my regular February pilgrimage to the sweet shores of Aotearoa. I always get really nervous before a trip home – what if everything has changed? What if I’ve changed too much? What if none of my friends love me anymore? What if I decide I can’t leave again? I just become a stressed out knot of feelings. I’m not ready to leave London yet, but New Zealand in the summer is just so damn amazing…

Daily photo: Kokako

Kokako

I’ve been sticking pretty close to home on this trip to Auckland, and there’s no coffee shop closer than Federal & Wolfe. This cute cafe is just downstairs from my apartment, and I’m pleased to say they make a fine flat white and a cracking breakfast. Two poached eggs on sourdough with a side of creamy, ripe avocado… Yes, thank you.

Federal & Wolfe
10 Federal St, Auckland 1010, NZ

Headland – Waiheke Island

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One breathtakingly beautiful Sunday; Mon, Hank (her adorable Brussels Griffon) and I took a ferry to Waiheke Island.Only 35 minutes away from the city, Waiheke is a micro-paradise with a climate all of its own – making it perfect for vineyards and other grape related pursuits. That day, however, we were there to walk the Headland for Sculpture on the Gulf, a 2.5km walk over rolling hills and some of the most gorgeous scenery on the planet. Here are some photos I took:

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Temporary; a work by Delicia Sampero.

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Wildfire, by Sarah Brill.

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Sheep Track, by Gina Ferguson. I loved the physical experience of this one; walking over a raw,  knitted pathway, carefully considering the shape (and smell) of the new terrain.

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Christian Nicolson’s Look Darling it’s Tom and Nancy – this was one of my favourites, and one of the most humorous. Nothing says sculpture has to be serious!

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Sometimes I wonder why I’m going back to film (particularly while trudging up the hill to Angel in the bitter cold to get my rolls developed) . It doesn’t seem to enhance my photography skills at all. I suppose I like it for a different reason, the fact it lets me slow down, and luxuriate in the moment rather than snap-snap-snapping. Being forced to stop and think about what I’m looking at is definitely a pleasure, and I’m starting to savour the surprise of getting my photos back – all the control is long out of my hands.

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It’s Sal Valentine & the Babyshakes

While I was in New Zealand I was introduced to Sal Valentine & the Babyshakes, by my dear friend Graham (Hi G!) who happens to be a Babyshake himself. The story, as I understand it, is that Sal composed some swinging tunes for a university assignment and assembled a bunch of talented musicians to bring them to life, and at the end of it all, everyone was having such a good time they decided to commit to regular rehearsals and performances. How lucky for the music-loving public! I went to a show of theirs and I can confirm it was highly danceable, a rollicking time.

This is SV&tBS performing Everybody Get Loose in Rodney Fisher’s gorgeous backyard in Te Atatu. An EP is on the way, so keep an ear out.

Everything is beautiful

I’ve been back in New Zealand for the last week and a half, and quite simply, it is stunning. The streets are absurdly wide and clean, the tarseal pavements are melting in the heat, and the sound of cicadas constantly throbs in the air.

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I went to Omaha, and dug my toes in the white sandy beach. I visited the village market too, stocking up on my favourite olive oil soap from the Matakana Valley. Then I headed north, to the Hokianga, with my sister and my mum, to spend a few nights with my beloved Gran. This is the view from her front yard, and her astounding spoon collection:

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Other than that I’ve been cruising around Auckland, catching up with dear friends and basking in the sun. There is slight change in the current cast, with a few new faces and a couple missing. But for the most part everything is the same. This is a sweet relief.

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2 for the price of 2
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Op shop find
Cold sheets
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Other than catching up, it’s been a whirl of op shops, art galleries, ferry rides, cold drinks at old haunts, and double lunches. A lot of 35mm has been shot too. 6 sleeps left, don’t make me leave the sunshine (Thom, please teleport here).

Devonport ferry

J is for Jelly Tip

NZ stamps A-Z

A 2008 New Zealand 50 cent stamp set, featuring various kiwi icons (not so sure about Quake, however). In other news, I’ve just remembered about the existence of Jelly Tips*, Giant Jelly Tips and Jelly Tip Trumpets. Emotional.

*A Popsicle style ice-cream on a stick, featuring a wodge of frozen raspberry jelly on the tip, surrounded by a thin chocolate shell.

10 things I miss about New Zealand

Pineapple Lumps

  • Pineapple Lumps and hokey pokey ice cream and feijoas and Fruit Bursts and Cookie Times…
  • People saying thank-you to the bus driver when they get off the bus
  • My bestest friends and whanau
  • Flat whites and people watching on K Road
  • Food courts
  • The sea, the sea! I miss the smell of the ocean and listening to the waves crash at Omaha
  • Dollars and cents – pennies are so finicky
  • Amazing Japanese (I’ve had one plate of good sushi in London and it almost made me weep with joy)
  • Op shops filled with row upon row of perfect jumpers
  • Endless summers, mild winters