l: the cotswolds
l: the cotswolds
l: the cotswolds
Moments from five glorious days spent teaching photography to a group of 12 incredible women from around the world at Flore Vallery-Radot’s ‘Greece With The Flo Show' photography retreat on the Cycladic island of Paros.
We were hosted at Sandra Choremi’s idyllic beach side home and filled our days enjoying (and photographing!) all the glorious Greek things - beaches, bbq’s, Cycladic architecture, narrow village streets, boat rides, bougainvillea, local seafood and that golden dusk and dawn light…
l: polignano a mare | pulglia
Go everywhere, explore everything!
The Dores Inn (Loch Ness)
Mallaig to Armidale ferry
Man of Storr
One Track Lane Cafe
Niest Point Lighthouse
The Three Chimneys
l: tjörn | klädesholmen | åstol
My Summer in Stockholm Guide
Rosendals Trädgård Djurgården
Cafés / Fika
Café Pom & Flora
il caffè söder
Surfers i Stockholm
Hermans Vegetarian Restaurant and Garden Café
Urban Deli Nytorget
Oaxen Krog & Slip
Delikatessen Bistro Bar
Sixten & Frans
Delikatessen Bistro Bar
Judit & Bertil
The Hallwyl Museum
Acne Studios Norrmalmstorg
APLACE - Norrlandsgatan
Le Labo Stockholm - Södermalm
Herr Judit Brandstationen Dunke Design
Svenska Armaturer Vintagefabriken
Mimmi Staaf Möbelmakeri
2 little spoons
Grandpa Södermannagatan Granit
It’s about time I shared with you moments from five dreamy days spent teaching photography at the 2017 ‘France with the Flo Show’; a photography, videography and styling retreat hosted by Flore Vallery-Radot and held at her family’s country chateau in Burgundy.
Flore, along with her gracious hospitality, curated the perfect retreat program from which we could all draw inspiration and learn from. I was lucky enough to teach along side three wildly talented ladies - Annabelle Hickson on flower arranging, Xanthe Berkley on filmmaking and Megan Faulkner on chiaroscuro photography and styling. Between all the learning, we indulged in picnics in the apple orchard, trips to local markets, dinners in the barn, foggy morning walks on the estate, produce picked straight from Flore’s Dads perfectly manicured vegetable and flower garden, allll the fromage and local wine, and plenty of creative chit chat. There was also meal after incredible meal cooked by Sophie Bellard and Gillian Bell - absolute wizards in french cuisine (and cake!).
It was a true honour to have been here - to teach, learn, be inspired and to create, and to pretend but for a moment that I was part of Flore’s beautiful French family and their beautiful French life…
I’m thrilled to share that ‘France with the Flo Show’ is having an encore this August, and a couple of last minute spaces have become available! If you have any interest in photography, flower styling, videography or simply indulging in, creating, and living out a beautiful French dream in Burgundy, head on over to Flore's website for the details!
I'd love so much to be there, however I'll be saving my teaching time for Flore's Greece retreat in September (a couple of spaces remain there, also!)
This is a humble, itinerant project born out of a simple love of Canberra. As locals, Lean and I are privy to a mounting feeling of excitement that’s currently pervading the city; a sense of being on the cusp of something. It’s only very recently that Canberra has been pinpointed as a ‘destination;’ as a point of call, as a desirable place to be. It’s our privilege to already be aware of the richness of this city’s offerings, to share in a community pride and to have investment in what this unfolding moment means. We want to partake of Canberra’s new imaginative disclosure by sharing our perspective of it. The stories, guides, observations and images to follow are offered as self-consciously curated pieces of a patchwork; a collection of different experiences and perspectives woven together to create something which is simultaneously personal and transmissible. To curate means to take care. I’m taken with the softness of this meaning, the way it implies not ownership but consideration; a tender tending to, or treatment of. This then, is our treatment of Canberra. We offer it out in the spirit in which it’s been created, with thought and with love.
My memories of growing up in south suburban Canberra are wrapped in a starched and ironed quiet. They’re part of a nowhere place, at a nowhere time and the only roads in and out are lined with roadkill.
I grew up between colourbond and Greeks, two sets of bogans and a family from the Middle East. My brother and I would pretend desert islands in the front yard when it rained. We would make magic potions of mud and rub them into our shoulder blades, believing it would help us sprout wings. We would walk down to the local shop, just us and pocket change, for sherbet and maybe some milk for Mum. We ate arrowroot biscuits and watched afternoon television, or played handball or wrestled. Mount Taylor went up in flames one dark dusty night and Mum packed the photo albums while Dad fought off embers with the hose.
The stillness of my childhood gave way to the rattle of my late teens. I envied school friends who had moved away. They would be living glamorous velvet lives in Melbourne, Sydney - some in New York - while I was still kicking around in the Can. This place was strange; it’s design and internal quirks arranged in a weird series of non-sequiturs. An anti-poem. The city and town centres, separated by expanses of bushland cut with road. The Action buses that roamed the Avenues and Parkways like tin-can dinosaurs. Crusted pastural vistas. Telstra Tower. The man-made lakes. The Brutalist architecture. The suburbs. The light. All the intensity of late adolescence seemed to echo constantly off surfaces; the feedback left me feeling often as in a dream.
Canberra’s contrived beginnings and its conflation with politics and government has worked to solidify a sterile image of an ugly, lifeless city. I have no doubt this was something I’d internalised growing up as a Canberran. My coming to love this place has been the result of an evolution of feeling, gained through the inestimable benefits of travel and a still modest experience.
Canberra has none of the viscosity of bigger cities. There is a clean linear undercurrent to the air, whatever the season. Growing up, this felt like a lack of stickiness; the atmosphere itself a form of isolation that had a way of confirming me to myself in a strange, resonant way; as if it were a chasm and I an echo. I realise now that this effect of the air is one of its most tremendous qualities; the way it makes life so brazen, so unavoidably real.
Being in Canberra means being enfolded in the dynamism of natural cycles; something that involves submission as equally as celebration, and both as cause for joy. The crescendos and attenuations of four distinct seasons subject the people who live and visit here to their individual exigencies. The winter nights bite, but they urge repose. The birch trees snow and tulips grow in spring. Summer thaws the air before it burns it up, and autumn brings an antithetical relief on its other side in a cool and flush of colour.
Through and amongst all this gathers the increasing thunder of a roaring creative community; a fierce design and hospitality scene thickly tangle to form its beating heart. It passes a life blood through the veins of a city coming of age; a pride and delight, a strengthening community identity and spirit. There is playfulness and deferential located-ness that undergirds so much good practice here. A sense of history, an awareness of the surrounding bush, farmland, and the seasons, provide inspiration for many of those who are coming to structure a new Canberra imaginary; one that is based on cultivating a unique sense of localism. The best bagels will always be in New York, but if you want to experience what it means to feel like a local, somewhere else, Canberra is where you should come.
The Canberra I know is beautiful: a beauty that is not a need, not something I yearn for or aspire toward out of an absence, but rather something that exists - hotly, flagrantly - here, right now. The beauty of Canberra does not preclude its imperfections or its strangeness, but corresponds to its ability to generate a rapture of immediate feeling; a hounding sense of being, exactly,
Barrio Collective Coffee:
The place you go if you really love coffee and want to feel like a local. Stocks a variety of signature coffee roasts, a curated selection of quality condiments, and a range of droll Barrio brand T-shirts.
28 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, ACT 2612
If you like unpretentious seasonal food, leftie wines, classic cocktails, vinyl, quality design features and irony you should just come here and never leave. We are unashamedly biased. It’s our favourite place in town. Go fall in love:
1/65 London Circuit, Civic, ACT 2601
Brand-new wholefoods café/supermarket. With a menu that is quite literally Rock 'n' Roll
Unit G17, Palko Building, 27 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, 2612
A once upon a food truck, now brick and mortar. Best burgers in town.
11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston, Canberra Australian Capital Territory 2604
Old world style French fare makes for a fancy feast.
18 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600
Capital Brewing Co.:
Quality brews from quality bros.
1 Dairy Road, Fyshwick, ACT, 2609
If a restaurant was the popular guy at school. Banoffee Pie dessert rocks worlds.
Crr. Elouera and Lonsdale Streets, Braddon ACT, 2612
Frugii Dessert Laboratory:
Off the chain ice-cream and sorbets for palates both conventional and adventurous.
30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT 261
A dank pub turned contemporary all day cafe/restaurant. By Ona Coffee.
Cnr Cape & Woolley St. Dickson ACT 2602
Temporary cafe by the guys at Redbrick Espresso. Knockout space.
2 Phillip Law St, Canberra ACT 2601
Contributing to the emerging city laneway culture, Meadow is currently delivering a soft opening menu full of lip-smacking, simple fare. Seven seeds coffee. Brightside produce. “Come eat, drink and be merry”.
51/55/57 Odgers Lane, Civic, ACT 2601
Mocan and Green Grout:
The O.G of New Acton’s food and design scene. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
1/19 Marcus Clarke Street, New Acton, ACT 2601
Monster Kitchen and Bar:
Curiously situated within the lobby of Hotel Hotel -one of Canberra’s most boundary pushing, award winning interiors- Monster has a consistently delicious menu, with an emphasis on all things seasonal and local. A great place just to chill or debate the aesthetics of polarising art pieces.
25 Edinburgh Avenue, New Acton, ACT, 2601.
Cool colonial vibe. Tapas. Wine. Cocktails. They also do an oyster / gin and tonic special in the warmer months that goes down a treat, especially when enjoyed on the patio.
16 Kendall Lane, New Acton, ACT, 2601
A longstanding Canberra restaurant, reconceived by the guys who brought us EightSix. Well executed homestyle fare.
1 Wakefield Gardens, Ainslie ACT, 2601
Red Brick Espresso:
Relaxed vibes, quality coffo.
Shop 4/35, Curtin Place, Curtin ACT, 2605
Scandy feel café. 5 Senses Coffee. Copenhagen street dogs. Fire place in winter.
9 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT 2612, ACT, Canberra
Another O.G. Arguably the best sourdough loaf in town…
36 Giles Street, Kingston ACT, 2604
Awesome hearty brekkies. Grab some pickles or a smoothie on your way out.
Unit 53, 65 Constitution Avenue, Campbell ACT, 2612
Spanish themed restaurant with a rotating seasonal menu. Quality, local produce. Good wine. Also open for brekky and lunch.
15 Moore Street, Civic, ACT 2601
The Knox Made in Watson:
Easy going café with an alternative vibe. Great for a hefty and healthy Saturday after-market brekky.
1/13 Watson Place, Watson ACT, 2601
Three Mills Bakery:
Artisan bakery and café. These guys supply most of Canberra’s quality venues with their sourdough breads and pastries.
5 Lancaster Place, Majura Park ACT, 2609
Tilley’s Divine Café:
Tilley’s is a Canberra institution like no other. Nothing beats it for ambience. Come here if you’ve got a good book, if you like the Andrews Sisters, and if you don’t mind shit coffee.
Crr Brigalow and Wattle Streets, Lyneham ACT, 2602
Dark, brooding, film noir interior matches a sleek food and wine list.
Shop 3/48 Macquarie Street, Barton ACT, 2600
Asian fusion restaurant with an amazing bathroom soundtrack.
16 Iluka Street, Narrabundah ACT, 2604
Danish designed picnic boats. They’ve only just landed in Canberra in the past month or so, and just in time for summer. Amazingly, alcohol and pets are also permitted on board. No boat licence needed. Toot toot.
Trevillian Quay, Kingston ACT, 2604
Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain Nature Reserves:
The calm and quiet of the bush on either doorstep of the inner north. Perfect for walking or running. Views for days.
For the tree lovers. Take a picnic to the cork forest.
Forest Drive, off Tuggeranong Parkway, Weston Creek, ACT, 2601
National Gallery of Australia:
An iconic piece of Brutalist architecture and a world class institution with consistently brilliant featured exhibitions. Past highlights include exhibitions from James Turell and the world first ‘Versailles: Treasures from the Palace’. The gallery also has an outstanding collection of Australian, Asia/Pacific and European art that is worth the trip in itself, as well as a ripper giftshop which is one of the few places you can go to purchase one of Robert Foster’s iconic ‘F!NK’ jugs, as well as other local wares. While you’re here, take a walk through the sculpture garden and spend a bit of time in the James Turell ‘Sky Space’ outside.
Parkes Place E, Parkes ACT, 2600
National Library of Australia:
The National Library is only another short walk from the Portrait Gallery. The bookshop is of particular interest and has a rad collection of Judy Horacek cards and all those quality literary magazines that nobody else seems to source.
Parkes Place W, Parkes ACT, 2600
National Portrait Gallery:
Just a hop skip and a jump away from the National Gallery, the Portrait Gallery has a similarly wonderful standing collection and giftshop. Home to the National Portrait Prize.
King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT, 2600
An edgy gallery space in the heart of New Acton. A great place to continue any art debates initiated at Monster.
17 Kendall Lane, New Acton ACT, 2601
Just under an hour’s drive south from the city. Tidbinbilla offers a range of scenic nature walks and education programs. Start early and bring a picnic. If it’s hot, have a dunk in the river at Point Hut Crossing on your way back into town.
Paddy’s River Road, Paddy’s River ACT 2620
Red Hill Lookout:
A southern lookout with sweeping northern views.
1 Red Hill Dr, Red Hill ACT 2603
Alison Jackson Jewellery:
Locally designed and handcrafted gold and silverwares from local ANU School of Art graduate. Ali also runs a series of short courses.
Ainslie IGA, Ainslie Cellars:
The power couple of the Ainslie shops. Take a pilgrimage and get yourself a piece off of IGA’s fabled wall of cheese before popping in to the cellars next door for a local pet-nat.
7 and 9/11 Edgar Street, Ainslie ACT, 2602
Capital Region Farmers Market:
Stock up for the week here or just go for the awesome community vibes. Also, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried one of the lamb sausage rolls from the Cuppacumbalong guys. 6-11:30 am every Saturday.
Exhibition Park, Flemington Road, Mitchell ACT, 2911
Endeavour Tea Co. :
Those searching for the perfect brew need look no further.
Girl Nomad Ceramics:
Wheel thrown ceramics from the inimitable Rachilde Flavel, annother ANU School of Art graduate.
Goodspeed Bicycle Co.:
Locally designed and manufactured steel bicycle frames and custom builds from Myles Chandler. You don’t need to buy a bike, just go and see the shop: You won’t believe it used to be a shipping container.
19 Kendall Lane, New Acton ACT, 2601
If you eat meat and care.
10 Barker Street, Griffith ACT, 2603
Hunter The Label:
Established by Sara Wucker, Hunter is a quality, independent Canberra based clothing brand that’s been straddling the line between elegance and playfulness since 2014.
Jasper and Myrtle:
Small scale, locally produced, international prize winning choccy. Great for prezzies.
Ori Building Boutiques:
Housing a number of independent retailers including eclectic homewares, fresh fashion labels & flowers. We love them all, but don't miss itrip iskip, timber & tailor, Moxom and Whitney and Hive.
Canberra’s best independent bookshop which probably has what you’re looking for.
34 Franklin Street, Griffith ACT 2603
Industrial design studio established by Tom Skeehan. Tom’s commitment to an intimate, holistic design philosophy is articulated in pieces which are beautifully minimal, elegant and functional.
16 Lonsdale Street Braddon ACT, 2612
Shop Girl Flower Girl:
Beautifully curated selection of quality clothing, homewares, gifts and flowers.
1/13 Edgar Street, Ainslie ACT, 2602
A local small batch distillery. Their website will tell you that they use a submicron, subzero filtration technique. We have no idea what that means, we just know their gin tastes really good.
2/66 Primmer Court, Kambah ACT, 2902
Yarralumla Heritage Nursery:
Heaps of plants. Beautiful part of town.
Weston Park Road, Yarralumla ACT 2600
Ovolo Nishi (Previously Hotel Hotel):
Boutique design hotel with individually curated rooms. For a stay that will inspire and edify.
25 Edinburgh Avenue, New Acton, ACT, 2601.
Little National Hotel:
Quality mid-range hotel with relaxed and functional common areas and surely the comfiest beds ever manufactured. Ask them about the moths…
21 National Circuit, Barton ACT, 2600
*This list isn't by any means comprehensive. It is indicative merely of the places and businesses we love and frequent regularly. Go explore. There's so much more.
I've not long arrived back from a culinary trip to Tasmania with the James Boag's team. We spent five days venturing around the state with Chef James Viles of Biota, visiting farms and small batch producers, gathering wild food and harnessing the rugged to refined environment that this part of Australia does so well. We spent early mornings in the rain on the open sea collecting baskets full of oysters, afternoons harvesting offshore wakame, urchins and abalone and evenings grilling wagu beef over coals with ocean sunset views for days. We learned how wasabi is grown, how cultured butter is churned and the depth of flavour from the purest, raw honey. I don't need to tell you that throughout the trip James and his sidekick Riley Aitken whipped up meal after mind blowing meal inspired by all of the above. All washed down with a seemingly endless supply of Boag's beer, of course.
There are few things I love documenting more than the genuine story and process of food - beginning with the environment from which it grows, to chats with mindful farmers who grow it, to appreciative chef's teeming with inspired recipes to cook it and then, eventually, the delicious moments that follow filling the belly. From Launceston to Stanely, Freycinet to Bruny, Mornington to Copping, this Tassie trip allowed just that. What a deliciously wild and welcoming place to feast on.
Mid winter fog in Canberra. Intermittently between the crisp and frosty mornings, the city becomes blanketed in a calming layer of white. I jump out of bed for this sort of beauty. It's one of the (many) special things about living in this city in the cooler months.
Wellington. The city that just keeps on giving. As a first time visitor, I could’ve spent days and days exploring the cities urban nooks. Not because it is a huge place, but because around every corner there is another cafe, another piece of street art, or another chatty local keen to share tips on their favourite shoe factory or carpark come restaurant to try. Despite the urban fun, it didn’t take too long before those recommendations were sending me beyond the city skyline. The tips became all about ferries, bays, nearby villages in valleys and the hobbit like hilly landscape that rolls out to the sea.
One afternoon, I headed north west to the coast past those hobbit like hills. I ended up at Boomrock Lodge, an eight kilometre stretch of untouched coastline at the top of a 250 metre cliff. I can’t say I expected any of the afternoons activities to come, but I can say that I’m not sure the last time that I had that much packed in action and fun. I somehow ended up 4WD-ing on an all terrain track alongside many a wooly sheep, shooting claybirds over the Cook Straight (I surprised myself here!) followed by a cosy wine by the fire with the friendly staff and with sunset views over the ocean and out across to the South Island. Heaven.
Another day was spent exploring around Petone in the Hutt Valley, only 20 minutes drive from the city. My new Wellington friend Alex was kind enough to take the day off work to show me around. First, I was introduced to the character filled and incredibly fun cafe Seashore Caberet, then on to the Dowse Art Museum where I fell in love with the Museum staff and became enthralled (read obsessed) in learning about the protective measures to prevent earthquakes smashing the museums ceramic collection. Lunch was a blow me away bowl of bibimbap and not your average peanut butter on toast at Comes&Goes cafe on Jackson St, followed by a trip to the artisan textiles mill, Stansborough, to see where woollen fabric for The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and Narnia is made. We ended the afternoon in Days Bay with a bit of drift wood scouting on the beach followed by a sunset ferry ride back to the city.
For those lucky enough to find themselves exploring this cool little capital, I hope you also get to explore the villages, nature and fun beyond the city. The list is endless (I'm still working through it)
but here are some of my favourites so far:
Boomrock Lodge | 292 Boom Rock Rd, Ohariu Valley, Wellington
Seashore Cabaret | 160 The Esplanade, Petone, Lower Hutt
The Dowse Art Museum | 45 Laings Road, Lower Hutt
Comes & Goes | 259 Jackson Street, Petone
Stansborough | 68 Fitzherbert Street, Petone
Petone Settlers Museum | The Esplanade, Petone, New Zealand
I recently I spent three days in Wellington, New Zealand, to experience and shoot the streets as a local. I flew from one cool little capital to another and landed among creative precincts, chatty denizen's, smells of coffee that made me want to drink coffee and food the best I’ve tasted this side of Copenhagen.
Imagine if San Francisco, Hobart and Hawaii had a baby. They would have a Wellington. SF for the hills and houses, Hobart for the weather, harbour and walkability and Hawaii for the vegetation and reminders of earthquakes. I suppose when a place is new on your travel map you search for similarities & comfort by comparing trips elsewhere. Wellington really does stand strong alone though, and its architecture, food scene, friendly people and daily grind impressed the pants off me. Three days wasn’t enough. I could easily (actually) become a real local here.
Welly like a local would:
Egmont Street Eatery | 11 Egmont Street, Wellington | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
In an old carpark in an alleyway. Seasonal, simple, local produce. A hidden gem. Small space - book or arrive early.
Matterhorn | 106 Cuba Street, Wellington | Dinner
Originally a Swiss coffee house opened in 1963 and now a Welly institution. An all in one restaurant, cafe, cocktail bar and supper club. A favourite of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit stars during filming.
Charley Noble | Ground Floor, Huddart Parker Building, No 1 Post Office Square | Dinner
Wood-fired cooking, local ingredients, natural wine and craft beers. A haven for lovers of both seafood and meat.
Shepherd | 1/5 Eva Street, Wellington | Dinner
One of the newest kids on the laneway, Shepherd is brought to you by Shepherd Elliot from Leed Street Bakery and Ti Kouka cafe, and Sean Golding from Golding's Free Dive. Vibrant vibe. Fresh, seasonal, local and big on offal.
Prefab | 14 Jessie Street, Wellington | Breakfast & Lunch
An all in one eatery, coffee roastery, community hub, events facility and showcase for New Zealand design. The ACME & CO breads and bakery items are baked and served warm from the Prefab oven throughout the day.
Leed St Bakery | 6g/14 Leeds street Wellington NZ 6011 | Snacks
An institution since 2013. Go for baked goods including sourdough & salted caramel cookies. Watch the bakers bake next door as you munch on a handmade sandwich.
Lorettas | 181 Cuba Street, Wellington | Breakfast Through Dinner
The place I didn't get to eat at but everyone told me to go! Apparently everything is good here and isn't to be missed. Boo. Next time...
Customs Coffee | 39 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington
The coolest coffee kids in town. 'Roasting delicious coffee and creating meaningful coffee experiences for folks who simply love coffee'.
Havana | 32 Wigan Street, Wellington
A Cuban themed bar and haven for lovers of world music. A wide range of beer, wines and spirits, both Cuban and otherwise.
Hawthorn Lounge | Upstairs 82 Tory St, Wellington
Based on a gentlemen’s retreat/public living room. Hawthorn has all the grace one would expect from the 1920s - big band music, nattily attired staff and killer cocktails.
Husk | 62 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro
Wellingtons latest brewery, bar, coffee roastery & eatery. Expect to see a wide range of experiments pouring across 12 taps, including nitro and 2 handpulls, as well as barrel aged cocktails poured from cask.
Noble Rot Wine Bar | 6 Swan Lane, Wellington City
Non pretentious, ripper wine menu, cosy candlelit space. Delicious oysters, too.
Vessel | 87 Victoria St Wellington
Handmade domestic ware from some of New Zealand’s best ceramicists.
Precinct 35 | 35 Ghuznee St Wellington
Design store. Minimalism and quality, practical and beautiful.
Fix & Fogg | 5 Eva Street, central Wellington
Best peanut butter ever. Go.
Cuba Street is widely considered to be the coolest street in New Zealand with upmarket designers, diverse restaurants and craft beer bars coexisting happily. A haven for coffee addicts, buskers, emerging designers, artists and eclectics.
A former industrial quarter, now home to bakers, roasters, grinders, brewers, chocolatiers, pizza slingers and soda crafters.
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa | 55 Cable Street, Wellington
Wellington Writers Walk
Eleven text sculptures located along Wellington’s harbour from Chaffers Marina, Frank Kitts Park and along Oriental Bay. Each sculpture contains a quotation about the city from a poem or piece of prose by one of the many talented writers who have made Wellington their home at some point in their lives including Katherine Mansfield, James K. Baxter, and Maurice Gee.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre, this golden sand beach and swanky realestate area is a top spot for a bit of walking, cycling, people watching or dining.
Thanks so much to @wellington_newzealand for welcoming me and showing me around.
Some moments from a recent trip to the spiritual heart of Australia - the land of the Ananou people and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
I spent three majestic days here, during which the harsh May light constantly bounced up from the burnt orange ochre, casting heavy shadows over the dunes and finding its way into my eyes - reminding me that I'm not a fan of deserts. But there was something about being here that dug right in and captivated me. Perhaps it was the magnitude of the space and land. Maybe it had something to do with the overwhelming presence of 'the rock' or the dimming of the harsh sun in the evenings that then opened up the vast night sky. Or perhaps, there was something about the silence.
It was a special time to be here. An unusual amount of autumn rain saw plains of lush spinifex grow. Trees were filled with ili (wild figs) and arnguli (bush plums). Warm welcomes came in the form of a 'Palya' and a full dessert moon.
Dawn and dusk were go times here. Dawn drew in the sunrise seekers, to experience the transformation of pre-dawn silence and crisp morning air into first morning light on Uluru's eastern face. And dusk saw the big sky fill up with the most golden sunsets, celebrated with sparkling wine and views of a the distant rocks, Uluru & Kata Tjuta. For the times in between, we stayed at Sails in the Desert - an oasis of comfy rooms, ghost gum lined lawns and a delicious breakfast buffet.
The evenings, unexpectedly, was when the place really lit up.
One of the nights, post sunset bubbles, we were led on a bush tucker journey. We followed a secret path to find a hidden grove of tables set up among the dunes and under the stars between Uluru & The Olgas. We dined here on a bush tucker inspired menu designed and cooked by the effervescent Chef, Mark Olive. Our plates were loaded up with the likes of barramundi, kangaroo, salt bush, quandongs & bush tomatoes. The flavours were sublime.
The night ended with a guided tour of the night sky. It was mostly lit up by the moon, but still, it was incredibly beautiful to sit under and soak up. It became extra special to look out across the glowing terracotta coloured sand to see the soft outline of the rocks in the distance.
Another evening, after watching the full moon rise, we followed paths and patterns through Bruce Munro's field of light. It's the second time this art installation has forged a mass of colourful intertwined glass spheres and webs across the dune valley in front of Uluru. I lost myself to the glow of the lights and the time to reflect here, and then soon realised that I had become physically lost, too. I even missed my bus ride home. But I didn't mind one bit. The monumental scale of the installation and surrounding scape was truly a humbling experience. It had all soaked in.
It turned out that I am a fan of this desert.
The views were vast. The land was captivating. And, the sounds were silent.
Accommodation: Ayres Rock Resort | Sails in the Desert
Voyages Experiences: Desert Awakenings |Field of Light | Bush Tucker Journeys
It is with absolute joy that I am finally able to announce the release of 'Saints of Old Florida', a coastal lifestyle book curated and written by my dear Floridian friends - Melissa Farrel, Christina McDermot and Emily Raffled.
I am so proud to say that I photographed this book. And after an impatient year and a half wait, this hard backed, linen bound, gold embossed beauty has finally arrived. All 252 pages worth. Inside the book you'll find five unique chapters, each sharing timeless stories, recipes and pictures from five small coastal towns on the Gulf Coast - St Joseph, St Vincent, St George, St Theresa and St Marks.
Because I am so excited for the books release, I wanted to give you a little preview as to what the book entails. As you scroll through below, you can see a collection of my favourite photos from our time shooting the book. Some you'll find inside the covers, others are outtakes from the four wonderful weeks we spent on location. Along with the photos, I also wanted to share a couple of personal stories with you, too. Firstly of how this Australian girl, temporarily living in Jacksonville Florida, came to get this incredible gig (I think it's an unlikely and fun story to tell) and secondly, a little excerpt from a story that I was asked to write for the book.
Oh, I do hope you enjoy!
Happy release birthday Saints of Old Florida!
A stroke of luck story - How I got the gig.
I received an email from a lady who had recently seen my work and weekly article in Jacksonville Magazine. 'I would love to meet you Lean', it read. 'Would you like to meet up for coffee?’. It was the first time I had ever received an email from someone who liked my work and wanted to meet. Of course I said yes.
Suzannah and I spoke photographs and florida over cups of coffee and tea. ‘You have to come and visit my family home’, Suzannah said. ‘It is a converted lighthouse on Port St Joe bay and in just a couple of weeks it is the annual scallop festival. My dad is a fisherman and can take us all out on his boat to go scalloping on the bay. It’s a really special part of Florida. You and your family would be so welcome’.
Two weeks later, my mum and step dad were visiting from Australia. We packed up the Jeep and headed west. We drove for four short hours, first on the I10 and then along rural back roads of the Panhandle to end up in Port St Joe, at the Raffields house, the one with the lighthouse on top.
Just before we arrived, we received a phone call from Suzannah. ‘I’m so sorry Lean. But my car has broken down and I'm stuck on the I10. I’ve organised someone to come and pick me up, but it means that I will miss out on going scalloping with you. Don’t worry though, dad is there and waiting and would still love to take you out’.
This could go either way, I thought. We are rocking up at a complete strangers house in an unfamiliar town about to commit to an afternoon on the bay in a fishing boat. Who were these people that we so willing to host us for the afternoon? Wasn't this a strange situation to be putting ourselves and them in?
As it turned out, Danny Raffled was waiting and ready for us when we arrived at his light house home. In a thick southern accent, he warmly welcomed us, joked with us about being Australian and before we knew it we were carrying coolers and nets onto his sweet little fishing boat, JoAnne. With him was his daughter and Suzannah’s sister, Emily. We headed out on the water with Danny pointing out skipping mullet and Emily sharing stories with us about the bay. These people, I rethought, are the epitome of that southern hospitality that I had been hearing so much about.
‘Lean’, Emily said above the hum off the boat motor and through the whipping bay wind, ‘Suzannah told me about your photography.’ ‘Yes’ I replied back, ‘I’m fairly new to it, but I love documenting and everything about taking photos so far’. ‘Well', Emily replied, 'my two friends and I have decided to make a book on the lifestyle of the local area and surrounding coastal towns. We are looking for a photographer to photograph our book. Would you be interested?’.
I didn’t know the right thing to say, this was again the first time I had been asked this sort of question. I very quickly spoke up and said ‘Yes! Of course I would be interested! I will do it! For free!!’.
Despite my wild enthusiasm, I thankfully didn't scare Emily or the other ladies off. And, as was insisted, I didn't do it for free. The next year and half became the most exhilarating, educational and creatively fulfilling career journey that I had ever experienced. I came back to Port St Joe four more times to photograph Emily, Melissa and Christina’s book. Three times that winter and once again the following summer.
BOOK EXCERPT - LAST WORD
Special Place by Lean Timms
It takes a special place to make foreign blood feel instantly at home. To turn you swiftly from feeling like a stranger, to feeling welcomed, connected and relaxed. Often a place like this is unexpected, incomparable and full of endless treasure. Most times, overflowing with a rare type of generous people.
...Oyster months. Citrus months. Grapefruit for breakfast and oyster roasts for supper. Crab legs, tupelo honey and smoked mullet dip served somewhere in-between. So much that was new and strange to me. Prawns were shrimp, frypans were skillets, scones were biscuits and gah-lee replaced all curse words. There were beach bonfires with their flying stoked embers and a pot of pompano stew bubbling a top. There were days of foggy beaches, pouring sporadic rain, boat rides on springs, alligators, palmetto palms and porch swings. I learned the beauty and hospitality of many an Old Florida home, how to clean snapper, eat fried oysters for lunch, drive a Jeep on the beach, and what it means to cook buttermilk pancakes on the griddle. And then there were the people. I had never met more generous, kind and genuine people.
This hidden pocket of Florida and this way of life had opened my eyes to a whole new world - a world full of honest, admirable culture and real, endless treasure. It is a place of a slower, more considered lifestyle. Where traditions are valued, food is often foraged, meal times are shared, strangers are welcomed, and long summer evenings spent shucking oysters on porches hugged by palm trees are normal. Each visit was always so nourishing and never quite long enough.
...I’ll always feel indebted to the kind people of this area for inviting me into their bighearted community and letting me photograph their Old Florida stories. From my first boat ride on the bay to my last time shucking oysters on the porch, I’ll always think back and feel a piece of home here. No matter how foreign my blood or how many kilometres, oceans or time zones away.
Although I have tried with the above stories, there really are not enough words for how thankful I am for the small part I was able to play during the creation of the Saints of Old Florida book. I stumble to share my experience with anyone who asks. Every visit, every moment was so good that when trying to explain my experience, the words just get stuck in my heart and all I do is feel a great sense of warmth, adoration and gratitude. Exactly the feels you get when you open and read through this book.
My stories are but a drop in the ocean when it comes to the incredible vision, journey and creation of this book. There is just so much more to be read and felt among the pages of each chapter. I can only urge that if you are interested in coastal lifestyle, southern recipes and getting to know the cultural, historical and community vibe of a truly special area, do pick yourself up a copy of this book. You can do so here.
We also have one copy to GIVEAWAY!
Melissa, Christina and Emily have kindly gifted one Saints of Old Florida book to send to one lucky duck. If you would like to enter and live State side, please leave a comment below telling us why you would like to get your hands on a copy of this book. Winners will be announced next Saturday, 18th June. Good luck!
EDIT - We have a winner! CONGRATULATIONS to Loran Polder! Thank you all for your entires and comments. Your stories were all so appreciated - we loved reading every one of them. We hope that you all get to enjoy the pages of the Saints of Old Florida book soon.
Thank you so much, ya'll. Happy reading.
Fig, fromage frais, canberra honey
lamb tartare, kocho, wasabi root
smoked duck, thyme, viola
lamb, wild plum, pistachio, rose
tomato water, lovage, nasturtium
poachers lamb, wild fennel, figs
grass carrot, labneh, black barley
beets, black walnuts, burnt orange
hay pannacotta, milk crumb, pear
Paired Local Wine: Mallaluka Wines
We channeled the produce, views and lazy Sunday vibes of a Yass Valley country farm to host an Autumn long table lunch here on the outskirts of Canberra. The afternoon featured welcome drinks and canapés on the hilltop, a guided walk through the farms organic orchard, a long table set in amongst the trees of the orchard, a menu that showed off the verdant bounty of Gollion farm and the local region including dorper lamb and black Genoa figs, a selection of Mallauka Wines to pair with the dishes and bread baked by energizer bunny and French pastry chef/friend, Coco. Not to mention an impossibly wonderful table full of guests who patiently sat through a wood fired lamb delay and a brief but rather damp rain shower. It was an incredible afternoon full of so much goodness and exceptional work by the team.
Big thank you's go to Coco, Jenni & Dmytriy for their relentless and generous help behind the scenes, Liss, the Blood & Bones boys and Anisa for the lend of their plates and platters and family Vincent's for letting us completely take over their farm.
A summary of the lunch, as seen in the Autumn issue of the Flower Seekers.
Words by Sophie Mico.
Simultaneously playful and deferential, Another Long Table at Gollion Farm was a testament to the richness of the Autumn season, and the ability of the long table lunch to promote friendship and good feeling. Half an hour north west of Canberra, Gollion is a second- generation farm run according to the principles of holistic management. The lunch menu, devised by Louis and Iwona of Boy and Spoon, incorporated Gollion's Dorper-cross lamb and organic Black Genoa figs, as well as produce grown and foraged from the Yass Valley, Canberra region and bush. Upon arrival, guests were greeted in a top paddock with views over the valley and a glass of local pet nat from MADA Wines. Future “lord of the manor” Sam Vincent offered a warm welcome before leading guests down past the makeshift kitchen; a Southern barbeque-esque set up featuring four legs of hanging lamb over a coal filled trailer. The table itself was nestled in the adjacent mixed fruit orchard, flanking a profuse 30 year old Genoa Fig. On the table, styled by Lean Timms, the soft pinks and purples of the figs were complemented by foraged blush pink gum and burgundy reeds. Variously textured golden dried grasses, wild fennel, cherry and peach woods, bronze and black tableware, balanced the overall effect of the styling with a subdued masculinity. The lunch which ensued featured figs with fromage frais and Canberra honey, lamb tartare with kocho and wasabi root, tomato water with nasturtium and lovage, poachers lamb with wild fennel and figs, beets with black walnuts and burnt orange. Three select wines from Mallaluka, another local producer, were served as compliments to these dishes and others. Dessert, a hay infused panna cotta with milk crumb and chamomile pears, was served with a nip of walnut wine; the perfect way to end a lazy Autumn lunch.
Sweden has my heart. It always will. I may call Australia home, but Sweden is my soul country. When I am there, I feel more like me. When I am not, I miss it terribly.
Stockholm is a place that I like to visit often - all be it only in my mind. It's a holder of some insanely wild memories. Good memories. Some difficult ones too.
Gamla Stan in particular is a dear friend of mine, despite the occasional touristy hum. I can't wait to be back to hang out with it's corroded copper steeples, it's bold facades, those narrow, cobblestone old town streets and windows full of flickering candles and fika invites, soon. My next visit this June can't come quickly enough. I'll be there to spend a few summer days either side of a very special trip to Gotland, where I am so thrilled to be teaching at and co-hosting a slow living retreat along side my other dear friend - and the brilliantly illustrious - Beth Kirby. The snow will have made way for lush green summer and the archipelago will be all sorts of alive. To be back will be silly exciting. As will the chance to once again properly nourish the soul.
Stockholm - vi ses snart.
Some moments from a recent staycation at The Little National Hotel in Canberra. We were treated to a welcome dessert platter and mini moet on arrival, the comfiest bed (almost took one home), tickets to the Versailles exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia (amazing, go!) and breakfast at the very stylish french restaurant, Buvette. We even squeezed in an afternoon pizza on the lawn at The Commons street food festival, a spot of work in the hotel library, a play in the NGA sculpture garden and a late night dance party at Bar Rochford. A killer 24 hours. Love this little hotel. Love this city. Come stay.
Photos from a very special week spent on the Swedish island of Gotland back in June.
I found myself there teaching photography alongside / spending time with dear friends at one of Beth Kirby's famed Local Milk Retreats. An absolute honour on its own, let alone the sweet and raw feeling of celebrating a Swedish midsummer here - in utter heaven. Think picnics and horse riding on the beach, wild flower midsummer crowns, cobble stone wanders around the medieval town of Visby, stopping for lunches full of fish and fresh pressed cider, morning yoga, afternoon fika, dinners in the forest and inside tall, white greenhouses, farm tours of endless asparagus and strawberries, flickering candles in windowsills, grey fleeced Gotlandic sheep, a group of incredibly talented women, and evening sleeps and day time relaxation at the breathtaking restored 1700's farmhouse, Hotel Stelor. Possibly the best summer ever.
One million thank you's to two of the most generous people I know - Beth, who held such grace and energy being 7 months pregnant at the time and Matt who successfully got me into drinking both coffee and beer - for an unforgettable and soul nourishing time spent together in one of my favourite places on this earth.
Interested in joining in on a retreat?
Beth has multiple beauties a year, here.
I'll be teaching alongside an all star lineup at a workshop/retreat in Burgundy, France this August. Information and tickets, here.