Tuesday, December 24, 2013

merry christmas:

I just want to wish you all a really wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy new year, and thank you for reading line x shape x colour! It's been a great year full of adventure and some amazing travel, and no doubt 2014 will hopefully be the same!

I really, really appreciate all the lovely comments, emails and friendships that have sparked from all this. THANK YOU!

Andrew and I are off to New Zealand for a couple of weeks and are so very excited for 2014. See you in the new year!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

melbourne, australia:

To wrap up the year, I'm going to share some photos from a quick trip a Melbourne a few weeks back. I had to go down for a work function, so Andy met up with me afterwards and we spent the next day exploring Fitzroy and Brunswick. 
We spent the day perusing shops and eating some very good food. Some of my top picks being Ganim's Store, Galerie Montmartre, Mr Kitly and the most delicious lunch at Hellenic Republic.
We love Melbourne and will have make it a habit to get down there more often!

galerie monmartre

mr kitly

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I have got to say, the past few weeks have been terribly exciting, and I just have to share! I've been so incredibly honoured to be featured in some of my favourite publications and part of an exciting new project. Talk about an excellent end to the year! 

real living:
You will find a little interview with me about the blog, my work and other things in the crazy beautiful December issue of Australian interiors and lifestyle magazine, Real Living. This is actually one of my favourite reads each month, so to be published in amongst these pages is crazy!

extra curricular:
Extra Curricular is a gorgeous New Zealand publication printed in a limited edition run of a thousand copies, a few times a year. I am so stoked to not only feature in their latest issue - the Adventure Issue - but to have also contributed a couple of stories including a DIY project. It's a seriously stunning issue which you can buy online here and in selected stores in New Zealand and Australia.

the wanderlove collective:
This project is super exciting and has just been launched by my super clever friend Emma Tamoaki. Bringing together travel-loving creatives, the Wanderlove Colletive is all about connecting like-minded people. I'm so very honoured to be a part of this stunning project, especially as I am amongst many other inspiring people. You can check out what I have contributed so far here and here (with more coming in the future). The Wanderlove Collective will be continually updated, so do check back and watch this incredible project bloom!

next: my final post of the year - a weekend in Melbourne.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

south east asia wrap-up:

Oh my, I just love South-East Asia. Love it! It's such a thrill to go back and this trip was no exception. It was particularly great to share some of my favourite spots with my mum and sister, and it is a trip we will always never forget.
Here is my wrap-up with some highlights and tips.

kuala lumpur:
We were in KL for a really short amount of time, so my information will be very, very limited, but I'll share as much as I can. Due to our time constraints, we took part in a walking tour and saw the majority of the city by foot. When we needed to get to other areas we simply hailed a cab, which are plentiful, friendly and cheap.

luang prabang:

Luang Prabang is a geographically small town, so getting around is pretty straight forward. We mostly walked and cycled around town, with cycling being our favourite mode of transport. The roads are easy to cycle on, being very quiet for an Asian city. When travelling further afield, tuks tuks (or songtaws) are a great way of getting around and seeing the country side.  They're basically a truck with seats in the back and are an authentic way of getting around.

Hanoi is quite a large and intricate city to navigate. We stayed and spent most of our time in the Old Quarter, where we walked and walked, exploring the incredible streets. There are taxis and plenty of motorbikes where you can hitch a ride. We each hitched a ride on the back of  a bike in one instance (mum's first time on the back of a bike!) and it was pretty thrilling! The Vietnamese are pretty skilful bike riders, so we at no time did it feel unsafe, however it definitely isn't for the faint hearted.


kuala lumpur:
I'm going to keep on going about this walking tour we did, but it was pretty darn good! We were able to sample a vast array of food including roti, fish laksa and Indian curries.
Another top option is Jalan Alor, in Bukit Bintang, where in the evening the street is turned into a night food market, with many delicious and affordable options to try.

luang prabang:

As we spent much more time in Laos, we definiteel found some favourite spots.
 l'Elephant: For something a little French try this place. A great spot for a relaxing lunch after exploring the town in the heat.
le banneton: If you find yourself craving some baguettes or croissants, try Le Banneton. A great snack stop. 
coconut garden: This became a favourite stop for casual dining and a drink in the late afternoon. 
3 nagas: If you are after something a little bit special, treat yourself to a meal at 3 Nagas. It's located in the gorgeous 3 Nagas hotel and is very atmospheric.

There are also plenty of places where you can grab a smoothie or snack along both the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Great spots to chill and watch the world go by. 

First thing's first,  you must have a bowl of hot pho bo (beef noodle soup), sitting on a tiny plastic stool watching Hanoi wake up in the morning. It's perfection. If you are wary of eating street food, ask your hotel for a recommendation, otherwise go somewhere where it is busy and full of locals.  
rainbow cafe: It's not flashy, but the food is delicious and the service super friendly.
quan an ngon: If you want to be able to sample street style dishes from all over the country, be sure to visit Quan An Ngon. Set in a very large courtyard, it's extremely busy, but the food and menu are great. 


kuala lumpur:
We stayed the Anggun boutique hotel in the Bukit Bintang area, which is pretty central, and close to interesting areas such as Chinatown and Little India. It's also one block away from eat street, Jalan Alhor, which is super handy.

luang prabang:

Five blissful nights were spent at the Le Sen boutique hotel, which only opened 12 months ago. The hotel is small and about a 15-20minute walk from the centre of town. If you don't feel like walking there is a complimentary shuttle service and bicycles you can use whenever you like. I highly, highly rate and recommend this place. The service in particular is top notch.


Not the best hotel I have ever stayed in (especially after staying at Le Sen!), but it did the job! The Hanoi Old Centre Hotel is simple, but perfectly located amongst the Old Quarter and near Lake Hoan Kiem. Where the rooms might lack, is made up in bucket loads of wonderful service, and it's very well priced.

kuala lumpur:
The walking tour! Do it. We completed the 'Eat, Pray, Love' tour and loved every second of it. It's the perfect introduction KL and Malaysia. The amount you see and eat (!) is incredible, and we all felt we not only got to see but also experince a really great slice of Kuala Lumpur. It's not that cheap, but it's all inclusive, and includes so much food you won't need to eat for ages! If you are having a short stop-over, do the tour. Unfortunately we didn't get to visit the Petronas towers, hopefully next time!

luang prabang:

elephant mahout course: we did the one day course and it quickly became a highlight of our trip. Amazing! The bathing in particular was a favourite, and has to be a must-do when in Laos (or anywhere is South-East Asia where you can do this). All Laos Elephant Camp were great and I'd highly recommend booking through them. They have a couple of offices in town where you can book the trip.
kuang si falls: So, so beautiful! And worth the 40minute trip out of town. Grab a tuk tuk and enjoy the ride through villages and rice paddies to the stunning  falls. You can also stop off at some Hmong villages along the way and buy some amazing textiles.
tamarind cooking class: one thing I LOVE to do when travelling is take a cooking class, where I can learn (and eat) some of the local dishes. We were all keen to take class at Tamarind Cooking School and learnt to cook so many delicious Lao dishes! You will make A LOT of food, so I suggest skipping breakfast! 
morning alms: Even if you're not a morning person, do try and get up early one morning and quietly watch the morning alms. At sunrise, the many monks who inhabit Luang Prabang from lines and collect their food for the day from locals. It's a very traditional and scared event, so even though its very tempting, try and keep your distance when taking photos (one must be lower than the monks), and stay on the other side of the road.
royal palace: home to the last king of Lunag Prabang, it is a very beautiful and interesting space to explore. 
wat xieng tong: Luang Prabang is full of many beautiful temples, but Wat Xieng Tong is my favourite. Built in 1560, it's incredibly gorgeous inside and out, and is set in a very quiet and beautiful part of Luang Prabang.


halong bay: while not exactly in Hanoi, I'll include it here. It's just one of those places you HAVE to visit if you find yourself in Vietnam. It is busy as you board your boat, but once you are out on the water you start to feel teh serenity and beauty of the place.  The karsts are gorgeous and always changing as you weave your way through the bay. If you have the time, do complete a 2-day or 3-day tour.
old quarter: it just oozes character! Walk around and get lost in the intricate streets, shop and sample the incredible food on offer. This place is one of my favourite spots ever. I just love it.
lake hoan kiem: a bit of an oasis in the centre of Hanoi, it's a great place to catch your breath and take it all in. It's particularly beautiful at sunrise and sunset.
temple of literature: a Confusious temple, the Temple of Literature is home to some stunning architecture and gardens. Great for a walk around.
vietnam fine arts museum: near the Temple of Literature, the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum is worth a visit, with a really impressive collection of ancient and modern Vietnamese art (and everything between). Particularly notable are the works that depict Vietnam's history and the Vietnam War.

kuala lumpur:
We didn't really get to shop in KL as our time was very limited. But we had a quick walk through Petaling in Chinatown which looked like the place to go if you are after knock-off branded items. Other than that we visited one of the ginormous malls and did a bit of clothes shopping. Nothing really standout though.

luang prabang:

night markets - one of my favourite markets in the whole world, hand down. Set up in Luang Prabang's main street in the evening, there are many gorgeous items for sale by lovely, lovely people. We went every night, and found something every visit! Not all that is for sale is hand made, but these are easy to spot, and there are plenty of women in particular who come from surrounding towns to sell their wares. If you are into textiles, this is the place to go.
orange tree - a cute little shop near the Mekong, with a mix of locally made pieces and vintage pieces.
nouan - just around the corner from L'Elephant is Nouan, a little shop full of antique and ethnic wares. I was after a particular type of woven bag and found it here. Definitely worth a visit.
ockpoptok - If you're looking for home textiles this is the place to go. Think throws, napkins, placemats, scarves. All hand and locally made where money goes back to the communities. It isn't the cheapest place to buy textiles, but the collection is stunning and unique.


54 traditions - no words, no words - this place is incredible! It is FULL of genuine Vietnamese ethnic artefacts and antiques, with a specialising in textiles, jewellery and art from the ethnic minority groups. It is a seriously impressive shop, and we all spent a good few hours trawling through and talking with co-owner Mark about his collection,  receiving such incredible and passionate information. I was in heaven. Do allocate at least an hour for this place, as there are a few levels to explore, and the amount you learn about Vietnams history and the pieces is incredibly fascinating. And yes, I came home with some stunning new pieces for our home. 
old quarter - a labyrinth of streets selling  specialist items like shoes, cookware, cane, toys... whatever you want there will be street dedicated to selling it! It's great place to explore by foot and the shopping here is fun. Bring your bargaining skills and enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed the posts and photos from Kuala Lumpur, Luang Prabang and Hanoi! Where will we be heading next year? You will have to wait and see!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

christmas 2013:

So my next post was supposed to be the trip wrap-up, however I just realised today, that Christmas is only two weeks away! I swear it comes around faster each year. So I'll do a bit of a post swap and show you a little something I've created for Christmas this year. 

We will be in Sydney on Christmas day, flying out boxing day to New Zealand to spend time with Andy's family and recharging after a hectic end to the year.
I really wanted to have a big Christmas tree, however we're a little cramped at the moment and will not really be home enough to enjoy it. So early last Friday I headed to the Sydney Flower Markets and bought bunches of spruce, fern, holly and native Christmas bush, and created what I like to call a 'Christmas cluster' - my little take on a Christmas tree! 

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