Happy New Year everyone! I'm guessing most of you are back at work after the festive season and wishing you were still on holiday. So here is a little distraction for you, or possibly some inspiration for your next holiday.

Towards the end of last year, after our first winter in NZ, we decided to take a short break to see us through to the end of the year. With Auckland being so close to the Pacific Islands we were spoilt for choice when it came to destinations— in the end we found a good deal on flights and accomodation in Rarotonga, so the decision was made.

Let me tell you, this place is paradise! It was exactly what we were after, five days of sun, sea, sand and relaxation. It didn't take us long to settle in to 'island time' and forget about the timetables and stresses associated with everyday life. Not wanting to fill every second of the day with things to do and see, we arrived with no plans and let the weather or our mood decide the days itinerary, which usually consisted of eating, kayaking, snorkelling and snoozing on repeat!


Sunrise at Muri Beach.

Taakoka Island.

Cruising the lagoon.

Exploring Koromiri Island.

Koromiri Island from above.

Captain Awesome, king of the coconut trees!

One of the best ways to view the island, from the sea.

The pool at Little Polynesian Resort. It was extremely hard to leave this place.

Charlie's Cafe and Beach Hire. 

No crowded beaches here.

A colourful section of the Punanga Nui Market.

Chilled Nu.

I was mesmerised by the beautiful flora on Rarotonga. The flowers above would fall to ground and looked like little discarded hula skirts! 

The end of another day in paradise.

There is so much to see and do on Rarotonga, wanting a relaxing trip we skipped a lot of the more adventurous activities such as diving, hiking to the Needle, or laser tag amongst the ruins of an abandoned hotel! But we enjoyed every minute of our time on Raro, here are some of our recommendations:

Take an entertaining and educational snorkelling trip with Koka Lagoon Cruises Get a birds eye view of Rarotonga with Air Raro Marvel at the skill of the cultural dancers (and possibly join in) at Higland Paradise Shop for food, sarongs, ukuleles and pearls at Punanga Nui Markets Devour delicious waffles at The Waffle Shack Fill up on fish burgers while gazing over the aqua lagoon at Charlie's Cafe Have trouble deciding what to eat at the Muri Night Market Sip on chilled Nu (coconut water), available almost everywhere... even the side of the road! Enjoy the peace and tranquility at Little Polynesian Resort

100 days — what next?

100 Days Project. © Mahani Del Borrello 2016. It has almost been two weeks since my 100 Day Project finished, so here they are... all 100 days, along with a before and after to show how each day began. 100 days of adding colour to everyday scenes and my working hours. On the last day I felt a great sense of accomplishment, along with a huge wave of relief that it was over!  After I signed up for the project I received a couple of big illustration commissions and time became scarce, I also managed to tear a tendon in my drawing arm, so for a while there I felt like I was running a marathon with no sign of the finish line. But I made it! And even though my husband has asked me never to do this again (it really did take over my life for a while!), I have had brief thoughts of other projects I could attempt next... maybe not for 100 days though!

Looking at this collection of tiny thumbnails now, it is hard for me to see the hundreds of hours of work they took to create. After a little thought, I've decided to publish them in a book, so I have a tangible record of the whole project. It is easier to appreciate something solid that you can physically see and touch rather than just look at on a screen. And while not all of the images are in New Zealand, a lot of them are, so it will be like an album of places I have explored in my first year of living in Auckland. I am also going to print some of my favourites and get them framed—I just have to decide which days I like best!

And I'm really looking forward to February 2017, when there will be an exhibition in Auckland showing the work of fellow hundred dayers. I can't wait to see the projects en masse and talk to other participants about their creative journeys. I will share the exhibition details a bit closer to the opening.

In the meantime, I have some photos that have been sitting around waiting for me to edit and share, so keep an eye out :)


100 Days Project. © Mahani Del Borrello 2016.

100 Days Project. © Mahani Del Borrello 2016.

Before and after.


Picturette on instagram I have been a bit quiet on Instagram this past year, so I'm trying to get back in the habit. This is what I have been up to lately: makin' maps, frolicking on the Te Ara I Whiti (Lightpath), taking in the view at the top  Mt Victoria, looking for fairies at the bottom of these  Falls, printing scarves and trying to ignore the cold weather in the Wintergardens.


PM_Photo Usually I only post photos that I have taken on this blog, but today I am making an exception.

The two (not so) tough pooches standing guard in this picture are Yoshi and Kaze, they were photographed by My Dogs Territory. To raise funds for the Animal Welfare League, My Dog's Territory have been out and about photographing dogs of the inner west for a series of coffee table books. With Drummoyne, Annandale and Glebe completed, photographer Pierre Mardaga is now searching for dogs in the Marrickville municipality. Canines in Camperdown, Dulwich Hill, Enmore, Lewisham, Marrickville, Newtown, Petersham and St Peters are next on the list. We decided to register our two pooches because we loved the idea of having a lasting memento of the inner west, it was also an opportunity to get some great photos of our four-legged best friends whilst supporting an organisation that cares for animals less fortunate than our pampered pets. We love how Pierre captured our pugaliers in their territory. If you live in the Marrickville area and would like to register your dog, you can do so here. To see more pooch pics or find out more about My Dog's Territory you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


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Hey Sydneysiders! This is your last chance to see the wonderfully serene, Sydney Buddha. Zhang Huan's 5 metre tall, 20 tonne installation is at Carriageworks for a few more days, the exhibition closes this Sunday, March 22nd. Installed in January as part of the Sydney Festival, I had hoped to return and photograph the giant incense sculpture and it's aluminium cast in the evening, when the shadows would be less harsh and also to see how the delicate ash figure had degraded over time but once again the days have gotten away from me.

“The piece conveys the collective memory, soul, thoughts and prayers, and collapse of mankind. It implies a collective ineffectiveness, arising from taking action when none should be taken, upsetting the natural order of things. As time passes, and humidity in the air changes, the ash crumbles to the ground naturally, I believe that in the moment that the Buddha collapses, innumerable groups of souls will be flying back to the east.” Zhang Huan

If you haven't seen the Sydney Buddha yet it really is worth a look and better yet, entry is free!