New Plymouth: there and back again

2 Dec

New Plymouth in a weekend

This past weekend it was the annual Tattoo Festival and you know what? My adorable girlfriend drove us all the way up and back again.

New Plymouth in a weekendHad this sweet dagger added to my arm by @brooketattooer yesterday (the tip is straight when my arm is) at the @nztattoofestival

Arriving just minutes before my appointment to get stabbed, I had a dagger added to my other arm by Brooke. We wandered the festival, bought a few presents, and watched a daredevil couple perform.

New Plymouth in a weekend

That Saturday night in New Plymouth the options for entertainment were: the Tattoo Festival, the Seekers at the Bowl of Brooklands, or the annual local Christmas parade.

We found a pub two blocks back from the street and sat in the sun drinking beers and watched the children watch the parade.

(at a distance: really the only way I like children)

New Plymouth in a weekend

Overnight, we stayed at a fancy hotel called the King and Queen Suites and I don’t think I’ll ever stay anywhere else in New Plymouth ever again – the bed was a gigantic white cloud.

(I felt terrible leaving my colourful-plasma mark on the sheets.)

New Plymouth in a weekend

The Govett-Brewster gallery is currently closed for renovations so another trip to New Plymouth passes without me visiting. One day I’ll get there.

Instead we drove back down the Island stopping at all the places with signs which had piqued our interest on the drive up.

New Plymouth in a weekend

Near Hawera we stopped at the Tawhiti Museum and almost balked at the $12 entry fee. But, you know what? For a small museum in small-town New Zealand, with a lot of displays including mannequins, it was an excellent excellent place to visit.

New Plymouth in a weekend

New Plymouth in a weekendNew Plymouth in a weekend

New Plymouth in a weekend

On the drive up the country we flew (at the speed limit) past a man, parked near the entrance to “William Birch Pond”, surrounded by chickens. Yes, chickens. And roosters.
I couldn’t work out if the man in the car had brought his chickens to the park or if, perhaps, the chickens lived at William Birch Pond. I had to find out.

New Plymouth in a weekend

It turns out the chickens and the roosters live at William Birch Pond. The more you know.

New Plymouth in a weekend

New Plymouth in a weekend

We’d also seen a sign on the road shouting “HISTORIC PLACE. 800m” and 800 metres later, a sign shouting “HISTORIC PLACE. CAMERON BLOCKHOUSE” and an arrow pointing down what appeared to be a private driveway.

Of course we stopped.

New Plymouth in a weekend

I’m not sure what we were expecting, but the “enter at your own risk” sign seemed ominous.

New Plymouth in a weekend

THE Cameron Blockhouse (not a memorial for a man called Cameron Blockhouse) is a small red shed at the beginning of a farm. It’s pretty empty inside.

New Plymouth in a weekend

It’s the kind of place you walk inside, read the sign, look around and say “… huh.” before departing again. But if I’d never visited, I would have always wondered about HISTORIC PLACE, CAMERON BLOCKHOUSE.

New Plymouth in a weekend

Our final stop was Ratana. It was open and empty and quiet.


You know, I like New Plymouth more and more each time I visit. Perhaps I’ll move there after London.
(I’m kidding. Maybe.)

Potentially dead

11 Nov


One girl, two passports, four houses, six jobs, and seven countries, in five years.

And this website.

You know, the longer it goes without hitting publish, the harder it gets. I’ve been sitting on hundreds of photos, from every day this year, and now all of a sudden we’re halfway through November and what am I going to do? Swamp you? Give up?
These seem like my only options.

I’m still not sure what I’m doing here. I miss posting photos. But also I’ve become reticent about sharing so much of my life online.

(That being said, my girlfriend & I are moving to London next April and I couldn’t be more excited)

So in essence, I’m on a break. I’ll be back from time to time.
When it feels a pleasure, not a chore.

You can still follow me on twitter or instagram.

In the meantime, I hope you’re well.


Months ago in Mataikona

10 Oct

Mataikona Escape

Months and months ago my girlfriend and I headed up the coast for a weekend by the sea.

Mataikona Escape

Mataikona Escape

We found an isolated cottage. It was like a single hotel room but all on its own. A bed, a couch, a table and chairs, a sink and oven, a tiny bathroom. An amazing view of the sea and the sky.

Mataikona Escape

Most of the entries in the guest book talked about how cheery the owners (who lived next door) were. So friendly, popping around with paua fritters and inviting the guests to tea.

Mataikona Escape

We were heartened to see there were some gay couples in the guest book. It’s a new thing, for me, this double checking of strangers’ prejudices.

Mataikona Escape

We met the neighbours. We weren’t invited in. We didn’t get paua fritters. Maybe they were having a bad weekend. Maybe they will rent their room to a gay couple but they’re not wanting to make friends.

Mataikona Escape

But my girlfriend and I, we read and walked and napped. We cooked good food and drank beer and wine. We got away from it all. It was everything we were looking for.

We have enough friends.

Mataikona Escape

What I learned from my [first] year as a lesbian

15 Sep

I read an article today, 11 months & 1 day since I came out online, titled “what I learned from my year as a lesbian” and oh how it left a sour taste in my mouth.

I was actually kind of offended, as someone who struggled with my sexuality over the past few years, by the thought ones sexuality can be something so flippantly chosen.

It included lines like “the events that became what I affectionately call my “lesbian year” was the result of one too many glasses of wine, as many unplanned adventures are.” and “Waking up the next morning, I was surprised to discover her beside me in my bed. So surprised, I couldn’t get her out of the house fast enough.”
Delightful. Disgusting.

I’ve been out for almost a year now. So. To cleanse my palate, here’s what I’ve learned in my [first] year as a lesbian:

Coming out is difficult
I was 29, nearly 30, when I realised I wasn’t just bisexual, as I’d always believed, but gay, actually really rather gay. I was 29 and married and I knew that to stay married, to keep lying to myself, was going to hurt more than the alternative. So I didn’t. It was rough.

The first ten, twenty, thirty times I said “We split up. Because I’m gay” my head would spin, I could hear blood rushing in my ears, and I’d stop breathing for what felt like minutes. It was probably just seconds. At least until the other person responded.
“What?? Oh. I’m sorry” or, “… congratulations?” or, sometimes, “Huh. You know, I’m not surprised.”

Even in minorities there are minorities.
My story doesn’t match the narrative other people have for coming out.
If I was really gay, I would’ve known when I was younger. If I was really gay, I wouldn’t have spent years in a hetero relationship. Maybe this was just a phase, maybe I was just tired. Maybe it was the birth control I was on. I wasn’t on any birth control. I didn’t need to be.

Then again, I didn’t have the struggle of being a gay teen. I didn’t have the struggle of being non-gender-conforming. I didn’t have the struggle of an unsupportive family. I’ve had it, relatively, extremely easy. I know this.

But I’ve learned to accept my story. I accept the messiness, the nuances, and I’ve learned to know myself.

Visibility is important
I pretty much felt like all this change was written on my face. But it wasn’t. It isn’t.
So I went through a phase of mentioning it whenever I could. I was obnoxious. I was just excited and happy; I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
I like to think I’m a bit less obnoxious now (she says, writing screeds).

I’ve only had one person ask if I was going to cut off all my hair … because that’s what lesbians do. Cute as I’m sure I’d look; my head is just too big for super short hair.

Sometimes do I wish I looked more outwardly (pun intended) gay. There’s so often the casual assumption I’m straight. It’s something which bothered me when I identified as bisexual, and it bothers me more now. I spent so long stuck between what I knew of myself and what others assumed. I don’t like being stuck in that box (pun very much UN-intended) anymore.

Then there’s the “but you don’t look gay!” how am I supposed to respond to that? Certainly not with thanks, though I suspect that’s what those who say it are expecting. I’ve settled for a slightly confused, chilly look and “… well, I am.”
(Related: if you have anything wittier I can file away for next time, let me know!)

I’ve found myself googling “*female celebrity* + gay” a lot more than ever before. When Ellen Page came out, I grinned. When Ruby Rose was on the cover of a magazine with her fiancée, Phoebe Dahl, I grinned. When Angel Haze hit back at articles which call Ireland Baldwin her ‘friend’, I grinned.

We fuck and friends don’t fuck. – Angel Haze

Most importantly, perhaps, I met this wonderful girl. She doesn’t live her life online. I respect that.
We’ve been seeing each other for quite a while now and moved in together in April.

A few months ago I kissed her, my girlfriend, in a crowded concert and someone stroked my arm and congratulated us. Dancing, in a now-closed hipster bar, we kissed and a drunk dude in a snapback nudged his friend and said “woah” as they moved to watch us.
At moments like that I would much rather just be invisible. Being affectionate isn’t a political statement.

It’s less of a big deal than you think. It’s more of a big deal than you think
My family has been pretty incredible. They absorbed the news and carried on, making fun of me just like they always have. My mother ties herself in knots sometimes in her efforts to be supportive. Which I appreciate more than I think she knows or I can articulate.

Some old friends have fallen away; some new friends have become closer.

There are moments when you remind your family you’re not going to have kids. Which I’ve always said but now I think perhaps now they believe me. In the split second silence between the statement and carrying on on I can feel it.

Overall, overwhelmingly, the response has been supportive.

And, you know, if reading about the stories of an interior designer in Louisiana, or a writer from Orange is the New Black made me feel less alone, then perhaps reading about my story will help someone.
Or maybe writing it is part of helping me.

Lauren Morelli wrote “I encourage you to embrace your own narrative, whatever that may be. It will be worth the effort. I promise.”

I’m 30, nearly 31 and I’m coming to the end of this year feeling lighter and happier. I I’ve embraced my narrative and the freedom is electrifying.

I’m not entirely happy with this whole turning thirty-one thing though.

I’m not dead. I’m just busy

27 Aug

Early morning #blackcatselfie Gf drew us (& the feesh) in a farewell card & it's the cutest thing but also gah my look is too velma.

So. Life. It’s amazing and crazy and busy as all hell.

I have seriously seriously forgotten about this wee little website recently and, well, forgotten is definitely not the right word. I’ve just not prioritised it very highly.

I’ve been busy at work, and somehow all my non-work time is getting filled up with … I’m not even sure what. The sum of it all is? May to August #dead

Don’t think I’ve been forgetting to take photos! Because I haven’t. I’m almost certain I haven’t even missed a day. But I spend my weekends hanging with this cute girl, learning to drive, various alcoholic beverages, and not a lot of time in front of my laptop screen.

I’m going to do better though, I swear. I’ve been taking a photo every since day since 2009 and I think I want to round out the full half-decade at least.


And you know, I suspect next year might be even more eventful than this one. I mean, there are plans and possibly they involve a whole bunch more travel. They certainly involve the wedding of one of my dearest ever pals.

Life is good.

Nature! Nature! Everywhere! Lord how I love the packaging of @lonelyheartslabel #sabel #lingerie #redordead

Hmm. Perhaps, in October, I’ll write about what a year as an out lesbian has been like. That might be interesting.
Coming out at 30 has been … I’ve found it super comforting to read about the experiences of other people who have come out later in life. Perhaps I can be a comfort to someone else.
But then, maybe it’s all been too easy for me. Maybe there’s nothing for me to add.

Like a black cat on a dark street …

22 May


Like a black cat on a dark street I visited Auckland for the briefest of trips nigh-on a month ago.

Tattoo – Flash by Simon Erl, tattooed by Richard Warnock at Two Hands
Al’s Deli – possibly the best bagel of my life
Federal Deli – a three hour dinner with two delightful pals
Federal and Wolf – brunch eaten amongst suits with just coffee




Oh and, as always, the Auckland Art Gallery

Red Words on a Grey Background – Mary-Louise Browne 2009

Thursday: visiting the Art Gallery

Molly – William Wight 1930 in front of Otira Gorge – Petrus van der Velden 1912

Meditation – Christopher Perkins 1931

Nature Morte – Megan Jenkinson 1987

Ian (Ossian) – Jacob Epstein 1942

Minerva, Apollo, & Juno Ludovisi – William Theed 1847/1848

365 in 2014

19 May


Sunday: packing books into boxes
I started packing books in boxes. It’s the worst.

Monday: I love the green and grey
I do love the contrast – the classical building and the spiky green leaves.

Tuesday: pouring rain & a sick gf
Sheltering under an umbrella.

Wednesday: love the light in this trophy shop
I just love the light in this trophy shop.
I also wonder how much it would cost to make myself a trophy for something completely ridiculous.

Thursday: leaving work late
Working late.

Friday: usually there are hills back there ...
Heading towards Thorndon. There are usually hills back there.

Saturday: Bucket Fountain and the rain
Small child and the Bucket Fountain.

Sunday: Peaches
Peaches looking disgruntled. That’s her regular face.

Monday: dental work
I spent hundreds at the dentist but they gave me a mold of my teeth so I guess it’s not all bad??

Tuesday: heading to the waterfront
Pretty mesh and brake lights bokeh.

Wednesday: pouring rain, a jacket like diamonds.
Pouring rain and my jacket looks like diamonds.

Thursday: starting my day as I intend to continue
Starting my day as I mean to continue. No but really, it’s quite nice but has amazing graphic design. I’m easily won over.

Friday: decorated egg at the Railway station
Decorated egg in the railway station. I think this was my favourite one.

Saturday: Peony at the SPCA
Peony at the SPCA before she came home to my parents’ place.

Sunday: baked a tart for a potluck lunch
I made a caramelised onion tart for a friend’s potluck lunch.

Monday: Peony at her new home. Entranced by the bird.
Peony at her forever home, entranced by their bird.

Tuesday: lights at Federal Deli
Lights at Federal Deli in Auckland.

Wednesday: home of excellent bagels
Al’s Deli in Auckland – my trip was … very food-centric.

Thursday: visiting the Art Gallery
Visiting the Auckland Art Gallery.

Friday: ANZAC Day Service
ANZAC Day service at Parliament.

Saturday: dinosaur filled with booze
Dinosaur filled with booze.

Sunday: headed to Petone for brunch with Kat
Vintage whisky bottle in a store in Petone.

Monday: the evenings seem so much darker now. Lights everywhere.
Evenings growing darker – lights all over the city.

Tuesday: this is a well-lit building
Parliament is a very well-lit building.

Wednesday: puffy pigeon, relaxing in the sun
Puffy pigeon relaxing in the sun.

Thursday: v sweet note in the cafe window
Sweet sign in a coffee shop on The Terrace.

New sign on the Quay. Keep Wellington Beered!

Saturday: picking up tickets
Hanging out at work to print out gig tickets.

Sunday: scone baking
I can’t drive to buy cheese scones, but I can make them and I think that’s pretty okay too.
(I’m looking forward to being able to drive to get them)

Monday: I kickstarted this a long long time ago. I don't really want it anymore.
I kickstarted this gadget a long long time ago. Now I don’t think I even really want it. Whomp whomp.

Tuesday: have I mentioned how lucky I am?
This card, I was given it after my first professional driving lesson. Too lovely.

Tuesday: have I mentioned how lucky I am?
Night along the waterfront, a rushed photo and it shows.

Thursday: this is where the hundredth luft ballon got to!
Ah! That’s where the 100th luftballon got to!
(such a contemporary reference)

Friday: Karaoke with Kat
Karaoke with Kat.

Saturday: afternoon movie
Pretty light at the Paramount, a Saturday afternoon movie.

Sunday: bright blue, bright red
Bright blue, bright red. Sunday on the waterfront.

Monday: one final drink with Kat
Bruce at the Rogue and Vagabond. There for one final drink with Kat before she headed home to Edinburgh.

Tuesday: Jayne graduated. We celebrated.
My baby sister Jayne graduated. We celebrated.

Wednesday: Back Benches
Back Benches is back.

Thursday: I smell like a campfire
I managed to acquire one of the final vials of Victory Wolf from Olo Fragrances.
I smell like a campfire.

Friday: so close!
So close, so far.

Saturday: decoration
Wee boat in my wee place.

Sunday: muddy shoes
Muddy shoes after a spontaneous bush walk.

Cats of the SPCA

15 May





Radio Silence

29 Apr

My leg, @simonerl flash, stabbed by @richardwarnocktattoo at @twohandstattoo (photo by Richard as well) #witchlife #feeshlifeStabbed by the fab @richardwarnocktattoo today

Oh hi there
I know I’ve been tremendously lax with updating with much of anything of any substance (last weekend my own mother told me she doesn’t bother checking this site anymore – the outrage!) but believe me when I say I have every single excuse under the sun.

I took the loophole days of leave (3 days holiday pay for 10 days off in a row, thanks Jesus, thanks ANZACs) and despite having ten whole days off work I really don’t feel like I’ve had any kind of holiday. I spent the first three days packing my things in the slowest manner possible, the next day in a flurry of shifting and unpacking, then immediately flew to Auckland for two nights and a lot of wandering the city, and then back for a grey and rainy weekend in Wellington.
I mean, really. What does it take for me to relax? Longer than three days it seems.

But yes, I’ve moved house. I now live in a wee flat, still in Wellington, with flatmates and a wonky eared cat. It’s pretty excellent. I’m quite pleased.
I get to live with one of my favourite people.

I have also managed to lose the cable for my camera. I am still taking a photo each and every day, but I can’t share them just quite yet. Infuriating. I’m sure I packed it somewhere sensible in the move and then unpacked it somewhere equally sensible but can I find it? Of course I bloody can’t.

One of the absolute worst things? I took a million photos of cats at the SPCA a couple of weeks ago and all those photos are trapped on my camera too. I was going to show you cat faces!

Next time. If I find that damned cord.

First scarf day of 2014 #winterNew name necklace #sarahrose #cultofpersonality
We went adventuringThis girl though  #latergram

365 in 2014

8 Apr


Sunday: inadvertent lesbian graphic novel collection
Somehow I seem to have started a lesbian graphic novel collection. Accidentally.

Monday: St Patrick's Day
Watching my cousin (on the left, playing the bodhrán) on St Patrick’s Day.

Tuesday: Portraits on the way to knitting
I adore these portraits, pasted up advertising a photography exhibition. I was on my way to knitting.

Wednesday: sinks at Fork and Brewer
Blurry. Sinks at the Fork and Brewer after drinks with pals.

Thursday: yea! Be unique. Like everyone else.
Preach, Dr Seuss, preach.

Friday: egg and lion and lunchers
Eggs decorated by New Zealand artists popped up around Wellington. They were, I believe, to be auctioned off for charity. But some wonderful soul decided to destroy them instead. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Saturday: gay girls at the garden centre
Gay girls at the garden centre on a Saturday afternoon. Such a cliché.

Sunday: Big Day Dowse
Out to the Hutt for food at the Big Day Dowse and then to the drive in for Pulp Fiction.

Monday: brownies. That's all.
A Monday which called for brownies.

Tuesday: heading to drinks, downpour by the time we left
Heading to drinks under a cloudless sky. By the time we left (not late!) it was pouring with rain. Oh, Wellington.

Wednesday: working on that baby blanket
Working on that baby blanket!
(Jackson blanket by Holland Road)

Thursday: killer sun
It’s getting darker in the evenings. Winter is setting in.

Friday: all of the flags at work
Flags at work to celebrate … something. I wasn’t sure.

Saturday: errands with a pal
Running errands with a pal took us to storage in Thorndon and all the way out to Porirua.

Sunday: biscuit baking
A Sunday which called for biscuits.

Monday: love that vintage bottle
Love that vintage bottle.

Tuesday: Havana bar
Birthday drinks for a pal at Havana bar.

Wednesday: Molesworth Street. My hood
I’m spending more time down this end of town than ever before in my life.
I’m not mad about it.

Thursday: pretty pink box
Pretty Meadowlark box on my desk. Waiting to go home and hold my collection.

Friday: happy birthday Charlotte
A daisy and jaffas and treats – Charlotte’s (2)8th birthday party.

Saturday: photos for a pal
Hanging out in the Hutt taking photos.


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