off we go! – Auckland edition

hi gals and pals, welcome to the new series on blooming anna, in which i document the time i travel somewhere cool (a rare occurrence, so i thought i’d better make the most of it ;)

la raison d’être of my trip to the mighty AKL was to go to the rolling stones concert with my brother. he got tickets for his birthday last year, and after exhausting about 5 different options, finally got down the list to me…first choice, i was not ;)

but in all seriousness, it was truly so kind of him to take me, and we had a marvellous time. they’re not my favourite band, but i think you would have to be a. deaf b. blind or c. both not to enjoy them – they were truly incredible, absolute showmen. and since they are quite old now it is so clear that they aren’t touring and continuing to make this amazing music for money or fame or whatever, it’s for the love of it and each other. and holy moly does mick jagger ooze charisma, i fell a little bit in love with him with each song.

i especially enjoyed ronnie’s ciggy he held between his fingers while strumming, we counted about five of them throughout the concert! as i said to will, i can’t play the guitar let alone play in front of over 30,000 people while holding a burning object between my fingers, it surely takes a LOT of skill. mad respect over here ;)
ps – did i mention we were almost the youngest people there? sea of grey, kids ;)

as for the rest of the weekend in auckland-


we breakfasted at Domain & Ayr in Parnell on saturday, and just loved it. it was the product of a cheeky iPhone google “best cafes auckland” and came up fifth on one list. it had a very cool vibe, beautiful food and coffee, and i think was quite fair trade/organic friendly. they also offered rice milk along with soy for coffee, which is quite rare in NZ.
i had granola with vanilla bean buffalo yogurt and a rhubarb lavender compote – to die for! and a yummy flat white of course:


will had huevos rancheros, which he highly recommended.

we then walked to newmarket and i had a look in a few designer shops. we also went into smith and caugheys (the big department store) and i was so unimpressed with the size- very puny compared to ballantynes in christchurch!! only later walking down queen st did i realise it wasn’t the main branch haha. smooth anna.

the weather wasn’t all that nice on saturday – cloudy and rainy but still quite warm (which i’m told is typical auckland weather). so we decided to give the art gallery a visit, and had the loveliest time! i especially enjoyed the chartwell collection which is contemporary art – i know a lot of people regard that stuff as a bit of a yarn (hey, here’s a splodge of paint on a canvas, one hundred k please) but i really enjoy a lot of it – when it’s good, it’s really really good! ugh, take me to MoMA in nyc already!!


another really cool thing was the cubic structural evolution project, by the artist olafur eliasson. it’s quite simple but such a cool concept. thousands of ivory white lego bricks are heaped on a long table, and the visitors to the gallery are invited to build towers with it. what emerges is a cityscape of all these different towers, growing from the rubble. no two projects will be alike, due to the different people who make it. it made me think of chch and all the new growth and building after the earthquake, which was probably why it resonated with me so much. we sat and built our own wee constructions for about half an hour – here’s hoping more people will come along and build on them and make them as tall as the others :)

^^my masterpiece – i felt like it has temple run vibes, no?
on sunday we had stunning sunny weather so we took the bus to mission bay. what a gorgeous beach! there was this guy just starting up a beach tennis business and he invited us to play for free since he wanted to attract paying customers! it was so fun, i just wore my bikini with a singlet top over it and we had a lot of fun jumping and diving trying to get the ball over the net!


we had a scrummy breakfast in mission bay cafe – i neglected to get a photo but it was great! and clearly a popular spot.

besides that just sat and sunbathed and had the odd swim, and read my book – cloud atlas by david mitchell. not 100% sure how i feel about it at this stage … watch this space!

upon getting back to the central city in the afternoon, we had an early dinner/late lunch of gourmet hot dogs from dogmatic. omg they were so good! i’m a total sucker for a good hot dog (or even an average one, not fussy haha), and these were supreme! i particularly enjoyed the BBB which was a beef sausage, bacon, caramelised onions and bbq sauce, but the classic american and chilli dog (not pictured) were beaut too (will had two, i’m not that greedy!!)


i got to practise my chinese with the server too, and he was very kind about it – how intelligible i was, i suspect, is another story..

the last thing we did, before hopping back on the plane, was to visit the cloud on the waterfront. this was controversially built for the 2011 rugby world cup. the name comes from the Maori name for new zealand, Aotearoa, meaning land of the long white cloud.
we thought it was pretty groovy in the flesh, and so had to take a good photo for insta ;)


hope you managed to get to the end of my rambles without dropping off! i’ll have a recipe for you next time – a gluten and dairy free dessert (i know, who even am i ;)

ps – this is zoomed in from the panorama – perfect timing right!!



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