Guest Photographer – inspirational aerials.

GUEST Photographer Tony Hewitt –

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Tony Hewitt has taken several photos recently that inspire me and I want to share his work with you. Tony took these images recently at Broome or in Western Australia.  They really capture the ethereal side of the vast western coastal region.

Tony is a ‘Grand Master of Photography’ of the prestigious Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP). He is an Honorary Fellow of the AIPP and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography, which really just means he is a fantastically talented photographer whose work is unequalled. Photography is about seeing and using the light, Tony is a master of these skills and his aerial angles are spectacular.

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Buy yourself a unique piece of art, photography makes great wedding and 21st gifts that are totally unique, far more exciting than a couple of Egyptian cotton towels! Think about choosing fine art limited edition photos as gifts…I think the recipient will love you for it. tony@tonyhewitt.com for all inquiries.

All this work is copyrighted to Tony Hewitt so permission is required to use them.:)

  

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THEWITT (c) Shark Bay Blue Lagoon 1350pxTHEWITT (c) Shark Bay Ebb n Flow 1350pxTHEWITT (c) Shark Bay Red Coast 1350px1911846_10152349259935841_4741509439613289978_nPlenty more of Tony’s work on his website. (Click on word website!)

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Sydney Food fad

Sydney Flavours
Smashed Avocado is served for breakfast brunch and lunch in many Sydney restaurants/cafes. Eugenes in Bronte http://www.eugenes.com.au/ make their Avo smash with Bulgarian Feta and mint…delicious.
Top Hat Cafe in Clovelly also does a great Avocado smash.. and their coffee is pretty dam good too!
FullSizeRender avocado
In Auckland The Foundation have a variation of this dish but it’s not as good! http://www.thefoundationespressoroom.co.nz/
Please tell me if you know anyone who serves this delicious food somewhere near you-
Avocados cost almost $5-00 each in Sydney, so we are lucky in NZ as I can buy a bagful for $5.00 here.
Avocado smash is simple to do at home..

RECIPE

Mash soft avocado with feta and a squish of lime serve on five grain or sourdough toast. Optional serve a quail egg poached on top or a fresh farm egg… Alternatively chop in a little crispy bacon.
Salt and pepper of course if you usually use these seasonings my favourite is a salt I buy at the Takapuna flea market on a Sunday morning. The range of BBQ seasonings is extensive , my fave is a mixture of “coriander seeds, black pepper, salt, fennel, mustard, cumin onion capsicum turmeric and sugar” …so it is easier to buy it ready made from the supplier, Shadie Stables Pukekohe ph 092388275, you won’t be disappointed.😀
Happy eating..

Martu – a must see Sydney Exhibition.

Mukurtu 2013

I’ve always enjoyed Aboriginal Art, I don’t understand most of it but for some reason it speaks to me.
Currently showing at the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Circular Quay Sydney until Nov 30th is one of the most exciting Aboriginal Exhibitions I have seen. MARTU named after the the people from an area called Destination in Western Australia. Some works are immense and very powerful, some are of a delicate palette not always associated with Aboriginal works. Often the work is created by more than one person and these canvas’s are painted outdoors where they draw their inspiration from their surroundings and their handed down stories from genertaions past. My favourite perhaps is Mukurtu 2013 ( see above) showing a natural spring near their camp, a vivid blue surrounded by tiny desert flowers. Three sisters created this work on linen.153 x183cm You can see more of their work on YouTube .

Sydney observations.

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Flying into Sydney

Flying into Sydney

SYDNEY – a regular destination these days, now that I have family living there I venture across the Tasman at any opportunity. Shopping is great and the airport have an efficient refund system if you buy anything worth more than $300.00. You can check out the details about the tourist refund scheme here!

The price of avocados and bananas are steep in their shops.. $4.95 for avocados in the Eastern suburbs! Even bread is dearer than NZ. Although it seems costs are more expensive across the Tasman it possibly all works out the same as in NZ. At the rate Miss 2 year old eats avocado and ‘nanas’ her parents better keep working!!

I went to the beach almost every day, well why not, it is a great way to entertain a 2 year old! LMC-1053-Edit
I notice different beaches have different cultures, Bondi is all about flesh and tattoos, Coogee too really, whereas Clovelly is push chairs, plastic buckets and spades, snorkelling and small people. I tried to buy an ice cream at Coogee Beach on a Thursday afternoon – ha ha, no way, but on Saturday there is an ice cream truck parked up enjoying queues of prospective ice cream lickers. Sadly the corner dairy has been replaced by very expensive ‘convenience’ stores, totally misnamed- they sell absolute rubbish!


I also noticed there are now salons to remove tattoos popping up in these beach suburbs. What does this say about the very popular fashion trend sweeping through our young beach goers? Regret obviously…and they go through repeated pain😳 initially and then more pain to remove the boyfriends name when they break up. Pain in the wallet and the flesh. All rather sad really. Ink is permanent and many teens seem to forget this. Is this a subject discussed at college these days? Perhaps it should be. LMC-1025-Edit
Anyway, I did like seeing young people greet each other often with a hug or small fist pump…good to see them showing their feelings. Generally behaviour was good and everyone was having a great and happy time, me included.

Delhi Belli is not essential when travelling in India.

Dispelling the Myth of Delhi Beli

Western folk are a minority on the planet, and New Zealanders are an infinitesimal percentage of those. Usually we bat above our average and compete internationally at the highest level with surprising success. We are gypsies at heart, perhaps it is because our families immigrated here from the other side of the world, whatever the reason we are globe trotters travelling to many corners of the globe; North Pole, South Pole, the Equator, the Pacific Islands, anywhere at all – they are our entire playground…except perhaps India.

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A few months ago I announced I wanted to visit India, what a different response met me. Why? Why? The most common comment I received was I’d love to go but I might get sick. Really!! Of course you might get sick; you might get sick if you stay in NZ. Eden Park had an outbreak of food poisoning a year or two ago…remember? I’ve had food poisoning in Hong Kong and Australia, a friend recently succumbed in Toronto, so why is India so scary? Read on and I say to you the chances are minimal if you take care! Men especially said they had no desire to visit India, but women were more enthusiastic. Consequently four of us, all women, set off to experience Rajasthan province and Agra, Orchha, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Delhi.14 frenetic fun days cramming in every opportunity available to us.

Firstly I am going to presume you are not back packing through India. Would you back pack anywhere? Not my age or friends. This is a guide for the people in their prime of life!

The nuts and bolts to having a great time in India are your preparation and the dollars spent. Firstly don’t blindly accept the word of your GP and or Travel Doctor, speak to people who have been to India, research the areas and the season, and use Google. The results and choices will play a major part in your good health. Our doctors gave us all conflicting advice so one needs to shop about and do your research. December through March is winter in India so very much cooler, a little like our summer; 28 degrees might be your maximum temp. Some mornings were 14 degrees but the days warmed up quickly. There are few mosquitos in winter and certainly not malaria carrying ones in December and January. Hence you can be spared the dreaded and expensive anti malaria drugs. Secondly there is a relatively new oral vaccine called Ducelor that combats water born nasties, certainly worth the money to dose up on this the week before you leave. Pro-biotic’s seem to help too, so ask about these tablets. Hand washing with anti-bacteria products and only drinking water from a reliable source is essential. No salads, no ice, brush your teeth in bottled water! It is so easy to get good quality water if you are travelling with a reliable company. Dynamic Tours were our local Indian company selected by WORLD Journeys in NZ, we couldn’t fault their service. We were met and greeted at every airport and station and they always had plenty of bottled water in our vehicles. http://www.worldjourneys.co.nz/

Of course take out good travel insurance. And pack a medical kit. Antibiotics, antiseptic such as Betadine, blister_plasters,electrolyte_sachets_to_rehydrate,Imodium http://www.patient.co.uk/medicine/Loperamide.htm and have it with you, not in your toilet bag back at the hotel!

Money… we were told that we needed to pay a departure tax of 200 INR or Indian Rupees, so we carefully ensured we had the correct amount and we were not asked for it.so we had a last minute spend up in the Duty Free area of Delhi Airport!

Prior to leaving we googled and read that you cannot take money into India. However this seems untrue and the ANZ Bank gave us all NZ$400-00 in Indian rupees to see us through the first week. Why the internet said this is a mystery.

 Electric plugs – take a European plug, – this has two rounded points also take a double adaptor to recharge phones and cameras simultaneously.

Going vegetarian is definitely an option and we chose this 95% of the time, but when we did eat chicken it was delicious. Watch the cottage cheese dishes, some of the dairy is not pasteurised, some is. We ate in our hotels at night and had lunch at recommended restaurants. We ate no street food – well why would you take the risk? You can see the flies hovering! My biggest problem was dehydration so ensure you drink plenty of clean bottled water…some are more prone than others.

 LMC-0338We were away for 17 days and although we had a few little stomach gripes none of us succumbed to Delhi Belly, so seriously put India on your bucket list, but near the top of the list, it takes energy and stamina. India has vast distances to travel so if anything I would change the length of time we had so our pace was less frenetic. I might cut out a couple of temples or forts but then again they are all so very different. A few half days where we could relax in our hotel/ palace grounds would have been rather enjoyable; we didn’t even have time to take a swim in the beautiful hotel pools!

Another important factor to enjoying India and staying well is to choose your hotels carefully. Nothing less than 4 star and preferably 5 star hotels is my suggestion. They are catering to western tourists; breakfasts are familiar to you with ‘live’ eggs cooked any way you desire. However the Dosa with Masala was a real hit with all of us. Dosa is a very thin pancake filled with delicious spiced but not hot potatoes.

Meals are not necessarily spicy, many dishes were aromatic and sweet…rice is always available. Naan and Roti are excellent and we had no problems finding wine and or spirits to cap of our long days. Indian Whiskey is very good as was the Indian white wine. Coffee and tea was always pretty good even if ‘flat whites’ were scarce. Some places ran to cappuccino. The local Kingfisher Beer became a favourite at lunch times and I see it is sold in Auckland supermarkets.

I booked our trip for four people with Fortis Travel in Ponsonby but I am sure your favourite agent can assist you. http://www.fortistravel.co.nz/ Ask if Dynamic will handle your Indian travel as they really are an amazing company, and I would use them again. Avoid visiting India during their summer, unless you love the heat and flies, the mossies and the crowds.

LMC-6686-Edit   LMC-6624-Edit-Edit-EditTipping was a constant – annoying at times as small change was not always easy to locate. Every toilet was 10 rupees. Although there are squat toilets we fortunately only had to deal with them on one occasion, often a male attendant but they seem innocuous enough. Then there is the guide and driver tips to fathom out constantly.

Our hotels varied from stunning modern hotels with all facilities (free Wi-Fi sometimes) to old palaces with three foot thick sandstone walls and park like settings. Beautiful ceiling decorations and murals, elegant chaise lounges, brocade drapes, four posters, bidets and very cheap and quick laundry service. In Agra security was tight and we received the famous ‘ pat down ‘ every time we entered the hotel but at least we felt quite secure.

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Airlines internally were efficient, Spice Jet waived our excess baggage once we explained we were on an International ticket; however Jet Airways charged us despite the fact the plane was 90% empty!

I haven’t even touched on what we actually saw, the sights, the shopping, the hotels, that is another story and I am happy to forward my itinerary if you want it. Let me just say The Taj Mahal is far more impressive than any photograph can do justice too.

Riding camels at sunset is fun as is the elephant ride up to the Amber Fort. Then there is the shopping, acres of stunning silk and pashmina scarves (did I mention the Shatoosh*), jewellery from a few rupees to thousands of dollars and the carpets, Durries to silk masterpieces. *These shawls were originally very few and it took very skilled artisans to weave the delicate hair (which measured between 9 and 11 micrometres). These factors made shahtoosh shawls very precious. Chin hair from the Chiru antelope found high in Tibet and Nepal.

Inlaid lapizlali flowers, silver mirror tiles, fields of mustard, camels and goats, progress as in hundreds of miles of motorways and stunning new airport buildings all interspersed with ancient and impressive architecture, century old customs as seen in Varanasi and humble self-effacing people who seemed to like the fact we came from the same place as Stephen Fleming!! Everyday bought new experiences, sights, smells and delights. India has it all – just go!!

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International Success

Rajasthani Woman image
‘Rajasthani Woman’ taken in India and the ‘Parnell Pools’ taken in Auckland.
Both these images received nominations announced last week in the International Black and White Spider Awards.Over 8000 entries from 73 countries.
The Rajasthani Woman was also selected for an exhibition in Italy in October representing Women Photographers. This was the only image shown from New Zealand.
Both works available as editioned fine art prints.

Link

Whimsical, creative, wordy, No ADVERTISING, that’s right NO ADVERTISING.

WOMANKIND  edition 2

This issue was released today, sure you pay more, but you don’t read a page

and recycle it, you keep it to enjoy for weeks. They say ‘a new era for Australian

women’ I’d say a new era for all women….it is sold in NZ I’m assured. The

graphics are sensuous, the fonts are charming and the photography is

mouth watering. Ok I’ll stop raving!

There is a photo competition , try shooting Dignity… And win $500.00

an article on ‘Meaningful Things’ “How often do you surprise yourself” another

thought provoking quirky little article..

I’m off to read more , I hope you do too. womankind.mag.com
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What the tour books don’t tell you – San Francisco

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San Francisco – What the tour books don’t tell you – by Lynn Clayton
Four days in this city doesn’t make me an authority, although forty years ago I lived in this beautiful city. Time is a great thing, one forgets so much! I was totally lost yet I recognised many street names. Stockton, Fillmore, Geary, Divisadero, Haight and of course Market Street. I didn’t remember up from down in this hilly city…or East from West! But it still held memories galore. The sun didn’t rise once in four mornings, so that didn’t help with my directional skills either, every morning there was fog, not thick fog but gray skies and blah lighting! And this was midsummer, July in fact. By 2 or 3 pm the sun managed to find a way through the haze and warm us up. No wonder cafes have names like Fog City Cafe.LMC-9675

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Someone is making a killing from selling polar fleeces to half frozen tourists on summer vacation, $12.00 a pop, or two for $21.00 and they were walking out the doors of many shops as we all shivered in our summer clothing. The best twelve dollars I’ve ever spent!
Once over the fact that it was chilly and the two day bus ticket I purchased was for an open air vehicle I set of in my new polar fleece to Union Square to explore the city. I wondered why so many were gathered at the bus area, I soon discovered that there are many bus companies offering many choices , our hotel concierge only mentioned one option; kick backs perhaps?? Anyway I had a two day pass for $50.00. I also used 3-4 taxis at twenty dollars a pop and caught a bus one day to the Golden Gate Park at $2.00 a ride, which lasted 30 minutes so a good deal! We visited the Japanese Tea Gardens but really not worth the entry fee, maybe in the spring when the cherry blossoms are out, but certainly not in July.
The tram cars cost $5.00 for one stop or ten stops and the queues are extremely long on the weekends, so be warned. Even our tour bus turned passengers away on the weekend and the folk then had to wait 30 minutes for the next bus. I think public buses and taxis are better value really, so be weary what you pre buy and try and do some investigations. I spied a bus one morning called Urban Discoveries all decked out with jungle graphics and the passengers wore ‘pith’ helmets and had zebra and tiger print rugs over their knees!

Food…. So many places to choose from… And the locals eat everywhere else!
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Tadich Grill, Johns Grill both have great write ups but really are resting on their laurels. Lori’s diners look cute and have a charm from the fifties era but the food is pretty bad… Canned tuna and lettuce is hardly a meal to remember!
Sears Cafe on Powell Street on the other hand is worthy of its reputation. We didn’t need to queue but often there were queues up the street for breakfast. Short stack pancakes, omelettes (Swedish pancakes very much like our pikelets) were all great value and delicious.
In Union Square is Ruli Cafe…such a good spot to people watch… Great coffee, vino, pastries etc… And no tipping unless you ask for table service. Their Afogato is like our iced coffee and despite being 6 bucks it was soooo good.
Day trips – In summer you need to book at least 3-4 days in advance to get a tour to Alcatraz, so be warned…it is the most popular tour.
Sausalito was fabulous, after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in misty fog we arrived in sunshine and at least 8 degrees warmer. We ate lunch over the water and had the best lobster… And a rose wine.
A gray spotted seal swam past and a super yacht anchored close by. We watched a few ferries come and go and then wandered through many cute boutiques and galleries before catching a ferry back to the city, a short 30 minutes away.
Two Characters I met in Powell Street wearing these outfits. Quote from the internet ”Ask anyone, the twins are just, They walk alike. They talk alike. But most of all, they look and dress exactly alike, and would not have it any other way. Vivian and Marian Brown are always ready to stop and chat, always ready with a pair of matching smiles and wrist-up hand-waves worthy of a pair of queens … whether you find them cute or creepy, they are among the most photographed icons in all of San Francisco, and have developed an almost cult-like following.”

twins
All the large & famous New York stores are in San Francisco but do check out Gumps founded in 1862, a distinctly San Francisco gift and home ware store, elegant and unique.The Apple store is large and crowded, that tells you something about their popularity. Macys offer visitors 10% off most items if you register at their office and show your passport… Valid for a month. Pier 39 has a shop for left handed people and the best sock shop I’ve ever encountered… unreal. Sephora stocks many cosmetic lines at much better prices than NZ stores so stock up on your mascara etc. Paul Smith is fabulous – men and women’s wear…. Some crazy stuff in there but quite unique. And Nieman Marcus has the beautiful dome ceiling so do poke your head in the door there.
I stayed at the Sir Francis Drake on Powell Street, 20 metres from Saks 5th avenue on the corner of Union Square. The staff were fabulous. The rooms were fabulous with free wi-fi, however don’t plan to jump around in the bathroom. They are tiny! The hotel has been there 100 years so I figured it was earthquake proof…. But there are many hotels nearby and it is such a good location. The restaurant was great and Starbucks were right next door. If you get desperate for coffee! I expected more of the boutique coffee culture one finds in East Village NY but it wasn’t to be.
Overall meals are still very large and I doubt the restaurants generally have ever heard of Jamie Oliver, but at least you don’t go hungry. You may put on a few pounds though!

All the large & famous New York stores are in San Francisco but do check out Gumps founded in 1862, a distinctly San Francisco gift and home ware store, elegant and unique.The Apple store is large and crowded, that tells you something about their popularity. Macys offer visitors 10% off most items if you register at their office and show your passport… Valid for a month. Pier 39 has a shop for left handed people and the best sock shop I’ve ever encountered… unreal. Sephora stocks many cosmetic lines at much better prices than NZ stores so stock up on your mascara etc. Paul Smith is fabulous – men and women’s wear…. Some crazy stuff in there but quite unique. And Nieman Marcus has the beautiful dome ceiling so do poke your head in the door there.
I stayed at the Sir Francis Drake on Powell Street, 20 metres from Saks 5th avenue on the corner of Union Square. The staff were fabulous. The rooms were fabulous with free wi-fi, however don’t plan to jump around in the bathroom. They are tiny! The hotel has been there 100 years so I figured it was earthquake proof…. But there are many hotels nearby and it is such a good location. The restaurant was great and Starbucks were right next door. If you get desperate for coffee! I expected more of the boutique coffee culture one finds in East Village NY but it wasn’t to be.
Overall meals are still very large and I doubt the restaurants generally have ever heard of Jamie Oliver, but at least you don’t go hungry. You may put on a few pounds though!

So in a nutshell try San Fran as your port of entry next time you head stateside and stop off a few days! And as a bonus airport queues are shorter than LAX and the lounge is not so crowded! How nice to sit down with a NZ newspaper and a Cloudy Bay vino after several weeks away from ‘godz-own’

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Ian McEwan’s’ new book is pure magic.

Ian McEwan’s new book is compulsive reading! ‘The Children Act’  “she looked up and saw her husband on the other side of the room pouring another drink. a big one,three fingers perhaps four. And barefoot now, as the Bohemian academic often was indoors in summer. Hence the quiet entrance… the story of a  Court of Appeal Judge whose marriage is in crisis.” 

How does a male writer understand how a woman thinks?? This aspect of his writing fascinates me.