It’s all happening now

30 Mar

Just signed up for a storage unit. #LDN15 is getting more & more real.

Today my replacement started at work.
It’s great – she’s a friend and I recommended her for the job and she will be brilliant but also … she’s my REPLACEMENT. I’ve packed all my bits up from my desk and I sat all day at a sad desk in an alcove which sounded like an aeroplane.

At 6:30ish this morning we ticked over to less than three weeks until my girlfriend and I are on a plane on our way out of New Zealand. It feels like only yesterday we were sitting in bed on a Saturday morning booking tickets.
That was September. April seemed so far away. Now April is Wednesday.

We’ve had our big leaving party already and we still have a work party and a family dinner to go.

Our living room has been taken over with boxes and this weekend, thankfully the four-day Easter break, we move boxes into a truck, drive them half an hour away, and unpack them into a storage unit.
A unit where they will sit, undisturbed, for two years.

All of a sudden this feels really really real. I can’t wait.

Meetah Cheetah

31 Jan

It was amazing. Cheetahs are excellent.

I’m a pretty good present giver, I must say. It’s a gift.

(pun unapologetically intended)

I think it stems from enjoying wandering around the internet reading lists of pretty things. Occasionally I buy the pretty things and I give them to the pretty people in my life.

But at Christmas I was torn because pretty things take up space and the one thing you don’t have when you pack your life in a suitcase* and move across the world? Space.
So I decided instead that the main part of the present to my best girl would be an experience – we’d go and hang out with a cheetah.

Wellington Zoo: Cheetah Encounter

Meeting to meet a cheetah

I had thought you would be shuffled into a pen or holding area and the keepers would bring a cheetah in on a leash and perhaps you’d get to pat it and take a photo or two and then that’d be about it and oh I just the most wrong you can be.

Pat pat

You sit on a log and the keepers spread a hessian sack out in front of you, they open a gate and the cheetahs lope on in. They settle themselves right in front of you. They might just choose to sit on your feet.


You’re told to make no sudden movements. You do not make any sudden movements. There’s something instinctive, inherent that happens and when he yawned with his long long teeth ever so close to my tiny defenceless ankle? I was not making any sudden movements.

Back to being a cat

There are three keepers, four other people, and two cheetahs. One keeper for each cheetah and an extra for good luck.

The keepers tell you all about cheetahs** and about conservation and answer questions while you get to pat pat pat at the cheetahs. Their spots are ever-so-slightly softer than the rest of their fur.

The third keeper also takes the camera and takes photos for you. It’s the best thing.

TEETH. Close to my exposed ankle.

At one point the cheetah at our feet stretched and turned over towards us. Just like a cat. Only much much bigger.

Cat again



Oh and my girlfriend? She loved it. Her smile alone was worth it. Worth anything. Priceless.

* 79 days! We leave in 79 days. Good graish.
** Did you know it’s a bone that makes cats purr? The cats who have it can purr but not roar and those that don’t can roar but not purr. Cheetahs have it. They purr so loud.

I like your face. I like selfies

22 Jan

I am unapologetically pro selfie.

Wandering Eastbourne in the rain.

I like my face. I like your face. I like the faces of my friends and family. I want to see more of them.

I wasn't even drunk

I want to see what you do and where you go. I want to see your adventures and your joy.

Yea democracy #etcetc

I want to see you when you think you look beautiful.

These specs, man.

Or when you think you look like a cute alien.

Feeling a bit like a cute alien this morning.

I like selfies.

International Woman of Mystery

Caveat: of course this is not to be at the detriment of an experience. You can do both. I want you to do both. And if you didn’t presume that from the outset then I just don’t know what to do with you.

Priorities. Austerity. Coffee.

5 Jan

In 2013 I bought a coffee every day on my way to work. In 2014 I did not.

Wednesday: Coffee with Tapp

When I announced I was giving up purchasing my daily coffee more than a couple of people doubted my resolve or doubted I would last the week or the month or the quarter.
A few more pointed out that on a stay to day basis, a $3.50 long black was not going to save me all that much money. But I persevered.

I made it an entire year.

I can’t say I put that $3.50 a day into my saving account but taking a daily extra step towards austerity, thinking about saving every morning as I filled up a cafetière in the office, I think that change in my thinking was the most important thing.

Don’t for a second think I’m holding myself up as someone who is excellent at saving or anything like that. I’m not bad at saving, I barely have any debt (about $500), but I still could have saved so much more this year if perhaps I’d not gotten quite so many tattoos, or been more vigilant about bringing lunch from home, or not drunk nearly so much.
I’m just saying: this one little thing, this thing I did manage.

I was thinking about this today as I decided I probably can’t justify spending $400 to travel to Auckland for two and a bit days to go to a concert. Not 3.5 months before I finish my job and leave New Zealand to travel the world.

I’m not happy about it. Not by a long shot. Two of my all-time favourite people live in Auckland I am dying to see them before I go overseas. But perhaps I’ll be able to manage a trip where I don’t have to take time off work and where I don’t spend $150 on a concert ticket. I know I’ve made the right decision for now.

Oh and finally, today was my first day back in the office for 2015 and the first thing I did after logging in? I went to the kitchen and made myself a coffee. It didn’t even occur to me to go and buy one.

RIP 2014

31 Dec

Giant tree

2014 started with the smell of woodsmoke, the sound of guitars, and the word girlfriend sounding new and thrilling in my mouth.

This year I have:
x moved houses,
x seen more live music than ever before,
x had my hand held so tight while I cried in a tiny plane,
x bought one-way tickets to London,
x fallen in love with a girl and a cat,
x gained friends and lost friends,
x worked hard, so hard, and been rewarded in my career,
x re-joined the gym,
x only been tattooed three times, and
x almost completely failed to learn how to drive.

This year I didn’t feel the need to keep a list of “good things” that happened. So much was good and so little was bad. It seemed superfluous.

It’s passed in a blur. this year of 2014. But the happiest blur. I am so looking forward to 2015.

I have been thinking about resolutions and I’m resolved to just a few:
x save money & minimise possessions
x travel as much as possible
x stay active and engaged
x make my hair more like Taylor Swift’s.

Right now I am on my way to the beach where I will see in 2015 with the smell of woodsmoke, the sound of guitars, and my best girl by my side.

Beautiful birthday flowers

A very Selfie (stick) Xmas

30 Dec

2014: Pink table

In a small house populated by three girls we ended up with three selfie sticks. It was a ridiculous and amazing Christmas and while I’m sure they were probably joke gifts? I will be using mine assiduously.

My selfie stick was a big hit

My selfie stick was a big hit

(though, honestly, I’m pretty excited to have it for travelling)

My selfie stick was a big hit

As a side note, I’m thinking perhaps I either need to dye my hair blonde or shave it all off to fit in with my family.

Pavlova with Turkish Delight and Raspberrie and Pistachios

This year I made a pavlova topped with tinged-pink cream, raspberries, pistachios, and turkish delight.

2014: Pink table

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.


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