Natural light and patience. Sometimes, getting the shot you want can take time. I look for my favorite colors, details on buildings, beautiful architecture, botanicals and interesting people. All my pics are taken on an iPhone, and I use VSCO and Snapseed for editing.
Slowing It Down
Take time to breathe, think your own thoughts and enjoy nature. London is a fast-paced city, and it can be hard to find a quiet space. Like many people, I confess to finding it really difficult to switch off from technology, but I try to take time to look after the plants on my balcony, and photography has led me to taking long walks and exploring different parts of our amazing city. I do miss my beautiful native New Zealand, particularly the beaches and the more chill pace of life, but we’re really lucky in London to have lots of green spaces, parks and gardens to lose yourself in.
If everyone has already nabbed all the peonies, ranunculus and wisteria, these are my favorites:
• Anemones – I love the lighter colors with the dark centers. The name “anemone” comes from the Greek word for “windflower.” In Greek mythology, the anemone sprang from Aphrodite's tears as she mourned the death of Adonis.
• Chocolate Cosmos – These little beauties were in my wedding bouquet, and their dark chocolate color was the perfect contrast to the pretty pale pink garden roses and white wax flowers in my bouquet.
• Lavender – The scent of lavender is known for its calming effect. I grow it in pots on my balcony, and as well as looking and smelling amazing in the summer, the bees love it. Bee numbers are declining, so growing plants that encourage them is one way to help.
My London Favs
• Greenwich Park. A blossom camouflage, London has many wonderful parks and looks incredible in the springtime.
• The Creaky Shed. Beautiful old London shopfronts are a favorite of mine to photograph. This is a fruit and vegetable store selling fresh seasonal produce.
• Warren Street. My niece from New Zealand masters the classic Instagram stride-by in front of one of London’s pretty Mews houses.
• Bar Douro. I loved traveling to Portugal, and with its stunning blue tiles, Bar Douro is like a little slice of Porto in London. You can enjoy the delicious food or just a coffee and tarts.
• Canela. Another beautiful Portuguese café, this was one of my local spots for coffee when I worked in Covent Garden.
• Frida. London street art by Zabou celebrating Belgravia in Bloom, which runs alongside the Chelsea Flower Show.
I love Southeast Asia. It holds a special place in my heart, and whenever I return to New Zealand to visit family, I try to combine this with visiting places in the region. At the beginning of the year, I traveled to Malaysia.
• Botak Liquor. A bar with beautiful botanicals.
• Mr Chew’s Chino Latino. Cocktails with a retro speakeasy decor.
You can do a day trip by train from KL to the wonderful town of Malacca, which is full of history, beautiful architecture and wonderful cafés.
• Abandoned Shop House Malacca. A nature takeover.
• The Baboon House. A spectacular café with jungle vibes.
• The Daily Fix. Stellar café with vintage style and planty decor.
• Malacca Chinatown. Local gentleman hanging outside an old shophouse.
• Ming Xiang Tai Pastry. Famous bakery in Penang with wonderful old-style painted screens and traditional Chinese music playing. Locals grab their delicious cakes for takeout breakfast, and their coconut cakes were delicious!
My Milan Pick
• LùBar. Conservatory-style café located inside the Pavilion of Contemporary Art. Amsterdam A beautiful city where you can enjoy canal walks while dodging the crazy cyclists and admiring the prettiest cookie-cutter houses. It also has awesome cafés.
• BounceSpace. Grab a coffee, get your hair cut and get your bike fixed all in one space. Amsterdam in a nutshell!
• Dignita. Lovely brunch spot with dairy- and gluten-free food choices. I had delicious carrot cake and coffee.
• Dim Sum Now. As the sign says, “baskets of steamy goodness.” I loved the dumplings, and there are lots of veggie choices.