the seigneur-terraces

When I first moved to Wellington, I spent a few weeks dipping into freelancing while remaining untethered to the working world. Aimless and far from home in a place that felt so familiar with its weather, humour, and fauna, it took some getting used to.

Seigneur-Terraces: (French) Coffee shop dwellers who sit at tables a long time but spend little money.

I love that this word has no English equivalent. During those weeks, I sat for hours in different coffee shops soaking in the city and sipping flat whites that had long gone lukewarm. Nestled into a nook of a cafe, procrastinating by people-watching, feeling ensconced in those around me's lives. Seeing the residents to-ing and fro-ing from the comfort of an armchair. 

Often the best way to independently immerse yourself into a new city is to become a seigneur-terrace. It's especially apt in a country that has coffee flowing through its veins. It's a way to explore, a way to see different sights, a way to fill your time, a way to give yourself some sort of purpose (albeit a wanky Millennial one). And when you're done, you'll find that there's probably a place you always come back to - your local, if you will. Somewhere that makes you feel right at home as you drink tea with a friend, sit reading your book at the weekend, or finally do the work you've been putting off. Somewhere you can absorb the city's buzz, life, and conversation. Somewhere that warmly and tastily anchors you to the here-and-now.


up in the clouds at mount victoria

Wherever you look in Wellington, there's hills, hills, hills as far as the eye can see. It's funny, I remember growing up in Brighton and thinking the incline on my streets was intense back then, back in the day when I would drag my little scooter around with me while out playing with friends. The banks seemed impossibly steep. But now after experiencing the heights of New Zealand's hills, I know that was nothing.

The hills here are occasionally a little overwhelming, but they're where you'll find the best, most rewarding views. Looking for something to do on a weekend, we headed up Mount Victoria to enjoy being on higher ground. The weather was as fluctuating as usual, swinging from sunshine into a dull, grey glaze, which if anything added to the romance of the visual treat. We watched as the clouds rolled over the hills, as planes landed into the airport, as the sun glittered on the water, and as others arrived out of breath to where we stood, on top of the city.


a sunday kind of love #16

This week I started a new job! I'm super happy with it - everything's swell. The days are getting lighter, the sun is getting stronger; New Zealand's heading into Spring and it's larvely. 

This weekend I went to see the beautifully brutal God's Own Country. My interest was piqued when  I heard it referred to as the 'Yorkshire Brokeback Mountain,' and while it definitely has similarities with the wildness of Wuthering Heights, it's very much a piece of cinema that must be celebrated in its own right. Smartly and sensually unpicking the frailties of masculinity, God's Own navigates love, intimacy, vulnerability and growing up in a way that sincerely tugs at the heartstrings.

In one scene Gheorghe (the Romanian farm-hand) is followed closely by Johnny (the Yorkshire lad) as he bounds over a dry-stone wall to gaze upon the woolly horizon. Johnny looks at this old familiar view, looks back at Gheorghe who stands mouth agape transfixed by the otherworldly nature of the scenery, then looks back at the view, and in that moment everything changes. Their relationship is both tender and brutish, flawed and beautiful.

Hearing the Yorkshire lingo brought joy to my soul - I miss it so, but apparently at Sundance Film Festival they were asked to supply subtitles for bewildered watchers. Turns out Utah folk aren't so clued up on what a bap is.

I finished Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked which was pretty sombre I have to say. Definitely worth a read if you're interested in gamification, behavioural addiction and/ or what sitting scrolling on your iPhone for hours is doing to you...
Ta-Nehisi Coates weighs in on Trump: The First White president
David Hockney at 80


The Girlfriend Experience has been an interesting view so far! Sexy, sultry and suspenseful 
Nick Broomfield's Whitney, Can I Be Me 



a trip to makara beach

A few weeks ago we took a trip to Makara Beach, a cove roughly a 45 minute drive from Wellington through the hills, the depths of Karori, and past gorges gorging with trees. It was a bright blue, gorgeously warm day (the first one in a while) on which we could discard our coats and walk along the shore clad simply in high spirits & jumpers. 

We sat for a while catching up, shielding our eyes from the blazing sun, and watching as children threw rocks into the sea and dogs swam alongside divers. 

After our wander, we headed back along the coastline to the Makara Beach Cafe where we treated ourselves to ice creams before getting back in the car. I couldn't help but think that if we were at a place like this back in the U.K., on one of the warmest days of Winter, it would be uncomfortably bustling with bodies. A joyful thing about New Zealand is the sweeping sense of calm, of peace, of quiet wherever you go.

If you fancy more of a walk you can follow a track from Makara Beach up past an ancient Ngāti Ira pā site to the Fort Opau gun emplacements, and see all the way to the South Island. 


a sunday kind of love #15

This week I've been thinking about my old beloved city of Houston, where I lived from 2008-2010, and the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. I've watched as old friends and their families have shared photos and videos of the ever-growing flood, and called out for help to leave behind their homes. My heart royally and totally goes out to Houston. 

(📸  @MattCrump)

Other things I've been reading:

The Princess Myth by Hilary Mantel - an extraordinary read
I'd like to live in this tiny house in California