Nifty Nooks: Wellington…

So sorry for my little absence. Life has lacked inspiration lately so I escaped to the city to seek out the energy I was craving. Mix the gritty, character filled, streets of Wellington with old friends whom have so many new tales to tell and adventure driven spirits to help raise you from the ashes and you definitely gain a fresh perspective.

It was strange to be back in the city after seven months to find that not all that much had changed. People had of course moved on and the nostalgia was haunting in every familiar place with no recognisable face but it was wonderful none the less.

On Sunday I celebrated my twenty fourth birthday (which was bloody terrifying let me tell ya) and we all used that as an excuse to drink, dance and eat all we could. I spent a bunch of money but I laughed so much and just felt the light lift me again.

Obviously, seeing as coffee is the key to my existence, I spent a load of time sipping some of my favourite city brews. I forgot how good Wellington does it. I know I spent a bunch of time reviewing places when I lived there last year but I definitely missed out on some hot spots and I even tried some new places this time around. So here we have a wee nifty nooks round up. Do enjoy sweet little coffee beans.

Beach Babylon

Where? 232 Oriental Parade, Mount Victoria, Wellington 6011

Beans? Peoples Coffee

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These guys do everything from a classic cup of joe to vegan milkshakes to cocktails. They have main meals and cabinet food galore and the vibe is very retro and carefully cluttered like a lot of digs in it’s loudly alternative mother city. They’re on the beach front and despite the winter tempts we made the most of the delightfully rare no wind of the morning by brunching outside. A classic avocado smash on toast with some yummo vegan pesto was my hangover choice and just writing about it has me craving it again. The soy flat white was top notch too, good smooth coffee and skilled milk work. They use peoples coffee which is quite a standard choice up north but rather less so in Wellington, home of the havana roasters. Still doesn’t beat Flight or Kakako for me but still a yummy one.

Enigma

Where? 6011, 128 Courtenay Pl, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

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This cafe is the heart of my memories in Wellington. From plant pots of chai on a winter morning with my favourite people to late night munchies, mid night out. It’s one of those hubs for the people. I used to escape there back when I lived in the hostel at night to do some writing and grab some alone time. It’s dingy in an underground, hipster, way. Very Wellington. The coffee is pretty standard really but they do a nice coconut milk and they have vegan food both on the menu and in the cabinet. The sweet muffins are real nice and the courtyard out back is a niche little retreat. I really missed that electric no sleep mantra of the city. Everywhere in the Mount closes super early.

Beat Ugly Bagel

Where? 5 Swan Lane, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

Beans? Havana

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This was a new discovery, despite having been opposite my place of work back when I inhabited Cuba Street. I get the hype now, though I didn’t actually try a bagel (my mates were real satisfied). They use Havana which I’ve never been a cheerleader for but it was a good flat white none the less and I dug the energy of the place. The staff seem to genuinely have fun, shouting the orders to each other and repeating them back, dancing around behind the counter and having a top laugh with one another.

Milk Crate

Where? 35 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

Beans? Rich Coffee

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This spot is where you’ll find my ultimate favourite brew in the whole city. I found it about two weeks before I left back in November and made a huge effort to visit everyday because it was just that good. They’re just off Cuba Street, fronting a clean store that sells pottery and luxury clothing items. It’s one of them clean spaces, industrial looking and home to the less roguish and more pretentious city hipsters. But the coffee is fucking yum. It’s one of those rare spaces where I’ll more than happily nab a long black and enjoy every sip of it. They use Rich coffee, which is a roasters in Newtown, Wellington I do believe. And  it’s a beauty for sure. I hear wondrous things about their food too and I did spot some vegan bits flouncing around in the counter but I’ve not ventured into that territory so I can’t say. Just make sure this tops your list for city centre coffee fixes.

N x

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Pieces of: Lake Tekapo…

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Lake Tekapo was always just a stopover place when I was planning the South Island, a moment to gather myself between the lively scene of Queenstown and the end of the route in Christchurch. In fact, it ended up being, like many of the smaller stops on the way, one of the most memorable. I suppose it has to do with limiting your expectations. As a daydreamer and a romanticist I tend to put too much hype in the way of future plans. Lake Tekapo didn’t strike me as spectacular so all it could really do was surpass that and surpass it indeed it did.

I make friends with another solo female traveller on the bus between Queenstown and Tekapo. An intimidating look sets on her face and I’m apprehensive to start up conversation on the drive. She speaks first though and she’s bloody hilarious, a girl from Finland roaming around a couple countries before she devotes herself to the army back home. We clamber up Mount John, a small forty five minute hike, and chat like we’ve known each other for years. We even scout out vegan food in the village together and are reluctant in our farewells in Christchurch, just the next day.

The scene of it all is something magical all on its own and you’d think that by this stage I’d be over the remarkable natural treasures of the South but nope, each stop has something that sets it apart from the others. Here it’s the sprays of Russell Lupine’s, a wildflower that has quick become my favourite and one I’ve only spotted here in New Zealand, blooming around the still glassy surface of the Lake. Up on Mount John’s peak we take in the full view of Tekapo, tones of purple, pink and turquoise, accented in that lush evergreen that trademarks these lands for me. There’s an observatory up top which we both skipped out on. As with most activities here, it’s pretty pricey and we fancy a free, mellow, star show by the lake later anyways.

On the drive in, our tour guide gets us all stoked for clear skies filled with constellations. For most of the night we aren’t at all fortunate and everything is instead blotted out by thick clouds. Luckily after a restless couple hours trying to sleep on a squeaky bunk, I get up and go for a walk in the early morning hours, I’ve never been so grateful for a sleepless night. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me and it’s not like it would have captured the site all to well anyways. But the sky was filled with stars. I grew up in a city and other than a couple camping trips where the light pollution was left behind, I’ve not had such an opportunity to really see them. It frustrates me some, that such a simple sight, should be so rare but simultaneously renders me speechless that such a small moment could leave such an imprint on me.

Light and love, N x

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Noceur…

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“Go where you feel most alive” You advise? Well, that’s a bar with broken souls housed in sodden bodies. Sticky floors and dense air. Watered down liquor, keen hands on bared skin. Cigarette smoke and clustered curses in packed out courtyards. Young, old, ageless for a night. Heady on the promise of losing our minds. Distorted beats and stuttered memories of a careless night. And it sounds like tales of useless debauchery, immature and reckless. But these are the nights when the voices cease and there is room for being. When our tongues loosen and twine with others. Quick quips, thoughts run, common in the need for companionship, just for tonight we revel in the lunacy.

N x

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Mount Moments 05…

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22.03.18

Three days off. One day too long. A brazen walk into a tattoo shop. It’s raining, I’m bored, and I’m careless, reckless, desperate for any sort of feeling. So now I welcome a new addition to my arm, a quote that reminds me of dismal days I conquered, that stretch of time when I was both most and least myself. It’s a kind of courage for the days that spiral down that same road, a memento of a project I committed to, resonated with and completed but mostly a little thank you to a musician who taught me a lot about the transitions of being human and making it in this world.

‘It’s Life and Life Only.’ – Bob Dylan.

31.03.18

The moon looks her most threatening tonight, ruthless confidence, beaming magnanimity. But I still find her allure in all of her phases. Great goddess of femininity, the truest most courageous representative of me and all of my sisters.

06.04.18

Independant. Stubborn. Restless. Impossible. What a collection of negative descriptives.

All of those terms have been used to describe me more than once. And I have to admit, regrettably, that they’re true. I used to take pride in my independence but…I’m lonely. And I guess I always have been a little bit, growing up too introverted and unseen. Somewhere I lost the ability to feel the bad in it and just embraced loneliness as my norm. Being alone never really solidified a relationship with myself but rather started this blooming of self disgust. After years of sharing my space, both at work and home it hit hard to be so isolated these past four months. But I think I might of made a break through with her, the me that defied self love for so long. That’s something, right? But in that I’ve found a new hunger for companionship that never really reared it’s head before.

 

Light and Love, N x

 

Pieces of: Wairere falls….

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When I’m ‘Settled’ into routine and have to put travelling on hold, it’s little adventures and road trips that keep my spirits up. A friend took me to Wairere Falls the other week and it was a right test for my lungs and my poor little legs. Despite the pain once we reached the summit the trek up seemed like nothing. We weren’t expecting the waterfall to be so impressive anyways so even the road leading to it took my breath away a little. The first view point is about half way up and gives you a stunning view of the waterfall itself set into the rocks and lush greenery, you might very well feel like that’s enough and want to retreat but you have to troop on because waiting at the top is the real treasure. The day we chose was a windy one so the waterfall was actually floating up to shower us,  water droplets catching in the sun rays and pure views of green rolling hills. It took about an hour and half, round trip, if I remember rightly, with options for longer more advanced routes. Here in New Zealand there’s always something waiting to stun you around every corner, this place is in a league of its own. I’m keen to check out more of the trails around and about Tauranga and if you ever find yourself in the area be sure to give this one a go.

Love and Light, N x

Moods, Rhythms, Prose…

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If you had of told her at eight, all chubby cheeked and wide eyed, that she would trace the lines of that bubblegum pink globe, she was fascinated so much by, in a self renovated van, I wonder what she’d of said? Actually, I wager she’d have been a little more forthcoming than her weary sixteen year old self, listening to playlists that tore at the angst in her heart and left her fragile, curled up on a single bed in a purposefully darkened room. That teenager would have laughed with all of the menace of an aged sinner and turned back to the lyrics where such impossibilities were painted with pretty plausibility. And then again at nineteen when just stepping out of her dorm room terrified her, I bet she would have cried at the impossibility of such bravery.

Yet, there she goes, turning up another dirt track, in a country wherein she can’t speak the native tongue but communicates with smiles and waves, with a grateful nod of recognition toward the locals in the streets. At the end is another broad leap into another vast unknown. The rigid levels of a raging waterfall, the steady opening of a vivid lagoon, the stirring depths of the vast sea. She’ll do it though, take the leap I mean, the threat of it will curdle her stomach for a second but she’ll do what she does so well now and silence the doubt. See, she conquered the demon, that was herself all along, back when that demon was her only companion. They grew to know each other and she learned to love that careful loathing, she accepted the demon’s chiding, it’s haughtiness toward the safety of innocence and instead let it push her to embrace a life void of that expected purpose.

Now, she charters her own explorations, talks to people with shaky confidence but makes friends for life, she tries new things with a perspective that is uniquely her own and laughs at all those who never thought she’d board that first flight. Her soul ebbs and flows, her ambition the most wayward tide and it’s catching. Her smiling tales wrapped in golden imagery, snaps of coves and foreign faces, words etched in a tattered notebook, all memories to conquer her own doubts when they rear their head once more. She lives for herself and the loud mystery of our world and that is the fiercest action of all.

If there was one daydream I could make a reality right this minute it would be this one. Do you have any idea how much van renovations cost though? It’s mental! One day, when I can actually drive (because that might help things just a wee bit, ay?) and have the funds. 

Light, love and wild courage, N x

Cosmic Vibrations: May…

So this post is most definitely a bit of a cheat because I just ripped off the best bits of the month from my side project, @sonicsprite, over on instagram. But I thought it might be nice to fill a little hole here on the mothership blog anyhow especially for any of you musical lovelies out there. So here we have my most favourite three album discoveries/releases of May…

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7 – Beach House

A pocket of mystery within the music world. At it again with that dream pop ambience, lulling vocals, synth play and world building. I adore this album. I’m not exactly top notch with producers and whatnot but I do know Peter Kember (Sonic Boom) and you can feel his experimentalism at it on this record.
Some highlights:
‘Lemon Glow’ – the melody and lyrics, especially in the chorus, allude to pop but drain any love song innocence away with deep drumbeats and the intoxication of Legrand’s dramatic tone.
‘L’lnconnue’ – simultaneously whimsical and haunting. Is Legrand a woman or a powerful faerie queen pulling on her mysticism to subdue us all? It seems so in the almost cryptic incantation that builds in the opening of the track. ‘Seven girls’ ‘Seven ways’ ‘Seventh girl’ maybe the albums title is an admission of the bands link to some otherworldly power rather than a straightforward count of albums. ‘Dive’ is a…dive. A slow descent at first, floating down gently but picking up momentum as you surge deeper. The guitars pick up mid way, nudging you out of the hypnotic calm of the first couple minutes.
The album feels very much at unity within itself, all of the levels drift into each other, making it impossible not to want to listen from beginning to end.
I could chat about this for hours. What’s everyone thinking about it?

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Daniel Blumberg – Minus (2018)
Was anyone else super into Cajun Dance Party and that one album they released way back in 2008? A decade later and this is the lead singer. What a bloody evolution.
Loved CDP for sure and I was also a fan of Yuck too but this is on a completely new level. It’s incredible.
It’s a little introspective and cynical lyrically, poetic and raw and honest. There is something in the repetitive phrases that stirs you, like Blumberg is tormenting himself in some songs and reassuring himself in others. In ‘Minus’ the opening lines are four rounds of ‘Minus the intent to feel, I’m here’. Throughout the whole song it’s like he’s giving up pieces of himself for ‘this love’. The music itself is hectic, lots of layers and genres and no real flow. For instance, the twanging of bluesy guitar on ‘The Fuse’, the soft lull of piano introing ‘The Bomb’ delicate shifts here and there to peak your interest throughout. Each track synchronises the elements of each instrument to the lyrics, echoing the feeling in words through sound and it’s both awesome and disconcerting. ‘The Bomb’ is simple three verses mostly encompassed by the repetition of lines but it’s backed by the inconsistent low jars of violin play and then a somber piano that provide a melancholy beyond just Blumberg and his careful vocals.
The album is just seven songs, but they are seven songs that exist entirely in their own separate universes as well as a collective. It’s a body of work that really announces itself, timeless and agonising but loud in its triumph.

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Hatchie – Sugar & Spice EP
A little dream pop baby with vibrant shoe gaze elements and catchy lyrics and one of them slinky pop voices that make you feel all nice. She’s ace. Definite Slowdive vibes with those scuzzy sounds and an inkling of Wolf Alice in there too, ‘Sleep’ could slot in on Visions Of A Life, maybe with a few more guitar riffs, and her voice has that familiar haze like Ellie Rowsell. Feisty feminine tones that chase the dominating instruments with a winning delicacy. Sugar and spice rounds up the sound quite fittingly. Just five songs and I’m smitten.

If you’re a music lover then please help me out by taking a look at my little side project over on instagram @sonicsprite. Or take a look at my Spotify for playlists and what not. I’m also always keen to write for other projects, so if you have a music blog and need writers, holla at me!

Light, love & cosmic vibrations, N x