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


Wintergarden_Auckland-32 Well, not my garden—which currently consists of more mud than plants—but the Auckland Domain Wintergardens.

Don't worry! This hasn't suddenly become a gardening blog, I just wanted to share this amazing oasis with you. While winter in Auckland hasn't been as bitter as I suspected it might, it is still a relief to escape the chilly air and rain. And this is the perfect place to do just that. Consisting of two glasshouses—one temperate and one tropical—a fountained courtyard  and a quarried fernery, the Wintergardens are a world away from the concrete and chaos of city life. I found the tropical garden especially tranquil... and warm! So warm, compared to the cold air outside, that I had to wait for my camera to 'acclimatise' before I could take any photos! The Wintergardens have definitely made my list of favourite places in Auckland and I will certainly be visiting again.

P.S. Who else thinks purple and green were made for each other?

















Pattern Play Foliage - by Mahani Del Borrello for Picturette Did you know that the temporary images Google sometimes places on it's home page are called Google Doodles? I didn't until now. And the only reason I found out is because one of these google doodles caught my eye and inspired this pattern. Anna Atkins was a British botanist and photographer. Using the sun, Atkins created beautiful cyanotypes of algae and ferns, they are thought to be the first photographic images printed in a book! Google celebreated her 216th birthday with this image.


Pattern Play Tulips - by Mahani Del Borrello for Picturette Playing around with watercolours today. Why does it look so easy when you watch someone else paint? This took me ages, I really need to practice with this medium.

Tip: don't keep your brush water near your drinking water unless you want to drink it!

Happy Friday :)