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Issue # 3 December 2013

OUT AND ABOUT WITH FRATELLI FRESH DESTINATION MEXICO GUEST BLOGGER SURF STITCH // THIS & THAT MEET MULGA THE ARTIST

Architect Spotlight


hello Summer is here and this month at Idh Magazine we are all about colour! Inspired by Mexico we plunge into refreshing deep turquoise oceans, spice things up with some red hot chilli's and cool things down with bright lemons and tangerines. We take a sneak peak behind the doors at Dinosaur Designs head quarters, dive into the fresh water of Jason Ierace's stunning photography, shake hands with Mulga the Artist and indulge in a slice of banoffee pie. Come join us.

Jamee Huntington, Founder & Deb Morgan, Designer & Editor


contents M e e t t h e D e si g n e r s

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Stephen & Louise of Dinosaur Designs . Industry Interview

Architect - Joel Sampson . Store spotlight

Own World

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Photographer

Jason Ierace .

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M EET THE A RT I S T

Mulga .

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Things we love

Christmas Wish List .

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B LOG W A T C H

Surf Stitch's This & That .

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OUT & A B OUT

Cafe Sopra's Fratelli Fresh .

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A D VENTURE

Introducing Writer Kirsten Cunningham . 056 Travel

Mexico by Sally Rhys-Jones .

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S T A Y

Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels .

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I N S P I R A T I ON

Mexican Hacienda .

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// M E E T T H E D E S I G N E R S

Louise Olsen & Stephen Ormandy of Dinosaur Designs Why and how did you begin working with resin? What challenges did you face in commercialising your designs in this material? We started while we were at art school in our final postgrad year. We experimented with different materials and learnt lessons along the way. We had a very kind neighbour at the markets, Geoffrey Rose who made sculptures in resin, it was he who first suggested we start working with resin. From that initial suggestion Steve was amazing and started experimenting and invented a lot of the manufacturing techniques we still use today.


MEET THE DESIGNERS // Louise Olsen & Stephen Ormandy of Dinosaur Designs


Dinosaur Designs has recently expanded into Rugs and Furniture which is really exciting, what's next for you? We’ve recently completed a collaboration with Queen Bee candles to produce 100% pure beeswax candles featuring some of our designs and another collaboration with Jac+ Jack where we designed beach towels. The beach towels are hand loomed, hand dyed and are made from organic cotton at a small village in West Bengal. We have quite a few exciting developments on the horizon but for now we’ll have to keep that a secret!

YOU LAUNCHED in 1985, for our readers evolving their creative businesses, what advice from your journey would you like to share? Being passionate about what you do is imperative. We both share a love for creating both at home and at work. Dinosaur Designs never feels like work, it’s a way of life. We also started small and tested the market, learning lessons along the way and adapting what we did to what sells – but always finding a balance between staying true to our core aesthetic and challenging the market.

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What encouraged you to evolve from jewellery into homewares? As designers we are always curious and have the urge to continuously enquire and explore possibilities. So it was curiosity and the desire to design beautiful objects for our own homes as well as accessories for the body.

You have opened a store in America, how long has this store been open and what made you take this leap? We’ve had the store in New York for 12 years now. Over the years we’ve built a presence in New York through stocking our pieces in selected boutique stores. Word of mouth started to spread; enquiries started to increase and we thought it was timely to open our own store in one of the world’s leading cities. We also identified an opportunity- we felt that our brand held a very strong point of difference, and there was no other designed object like ours, particularly in the way we work with resin.

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It was time to take the company to the next level and focus on building it internationally. New York has a lot to offer as a global power city; it is central to the design and fashion world, which are categories Dinosaur Designs fits into. It is also a city that is full of an incredible energy and such diverse cultures which is what we wanted to be a part of.


MEET THE DESIGNERS // Louise Olsen & Stephen Ormandy of Dinosaur Designs


MEET THE DESIGNERS // Louise Olsen & Stephen Ormandy of Dinosaur Designs


Can you describe your Strawberry Hills office and warehouse space for our readers? We have a great, light filled studio that is a creative hub for us and our team. Each piece we design is hand made by the team in this space. It is filled with creativity and colour. It’s incredible to able to see a piece you design go through the process of being made.

What is your ideal holiday location to escape to? I don’t feel we have to escape but it’s always fun to have a change of scenery. We love New York and also continue to love discovering parts of Australia. It really is such a wonderfully beautiful country.

You often welcome other artists into your space for exhibitions, what events have you got planned for the rest of the year? We have nothing planned for this year as it’s all about Christmas but we’re looking forward to having photographer Martyn Thompson launch his new book here in February.

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// A R C H I T EC T S P OT L I G H T

Joel Sampson


ARCHITECT SPOTLIGHT // JOEL SAMPSON

How did your journey begin in design? I came into design in a very roundabout way. As I was finishing school, I was encouraged to do something creative and visual by my teachers. Of course, I paid no attention to what they said and started a BA at QUT in Brisbane, majoring in archaeology and religious studies. I’m probably the only interior designer that knows the alphabet in biblical Hebrew! After studying this for a short time, I realised that one of my favourite parts of archaeology were the buildings that were left behind (have you seen the ruins of Petra?!). The transition to studying Interior Design/Architecture from that point was easy.

We have noticed the use of ARTIST, Dion Horstmans within your projects, do YOU have a particular artists you have enjoyed meeting and developing pieces with? Yes, Dion Horstmans is quite a popular artist that HASSELL has been collaborating with over the past few years. There is some really thrilling work that is created when architects and artists collaborate together (watch out Melbourne, there are a couple on the way!). I was recently involved in a project in which HASSELL worked with Robert Owen. Watching the design process that an artist goes through has been fascinating, as they tend to approach their work differently. The curiosity they employ to create something that is only there for personal enjoyment rather than function is fascinating, and a really different way to create.

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ARCHITECT SPOTLIGHT // JOEL SAMPSON


ARCHITECT SPOTLIGHT // JOEL SAMPSON

Why did you chose to work for a large firm such as Hassell as opposed to working for yourself in a boutique agency? After graduating Interior Design, I moved to London. Here I got my first taste of design - a small architecture/interior design firm of about 20 people. I moved to Sydney after my token two years in London and studied architecture at UTS while working for an architect. This whet my appetite for design, but residential and smaller projects weren't really thrilling me. I then had the opportunity to work for Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW) on large cultural public space projects – the Art Gallery of NSW, National Portrait Gallery and the Audi Lighthouse are a couple that I remember fondly. These sorts of projects really got my blood pumping as I’m really fascinated by spaces that change people and have a physical affect on the way people live. Unfortunately, JPW didn't have an interiors department, so I made the move to HASSELL where I found exactly what I was looking for. There is a certain energy within the practice – lots of creative minds and a huge variety of work. I’ve been at HASSELL for five years now and still can’t get enough.

What is a highlight in your career? Is there a particular project that stands out for you and signifies success? Trying to select a highlight for me is quite difficult. Every project I work on teaches me something new and challenges me, this is exactly the type of career/lifestyle I wanted. As we all know, design is a way of living and not just a job. To answer your question though, I think that a particularly successful project is one that lets a designer grow and learn.

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ARCHITECT SPOTLIGHT // JOEL SAMPSON

In the past few years we have seen a significant shift within the design community which is rapidly growing in many directions, where do you see you future of design? One of the biggest changes I have noticed in the past year is how educated clients and people outside the industry are about design. They seem to know about furniture, famous designers and tend to have strong opinions about how a space should function and how it should look.

Is there something you are willing to share with our readers that they would be surprised to find out? I have been lucky to work on amazing projects over the past few years including residential, commercial, hospitality and more installations that I can count. The biggest challenge I have had so far in my career was actually designing my own apartment! I recently purchased a warehouse apartment in the Melbourne CBD that basically needs to be gutted. The amount of ideas that go through my head every day is incredible - trying to design something for yourself is the hardest thing to do!

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HASSELL has studios around the world, if you could have the choice of a location, where would you be based? I have been lucky to work in a couple of different HASSELL studios - Sydney, Singapore and now Melbourne. If HASSELL was to open another studio and I could chose its location, the criteria would be that it wasn’t an English speaking country, the weather was hot (and preferably humid - this Melbourne winter has killed me!) and lastly, a place that had amazing culture and food. Rio de Janeiro, Tel Avi, Hanoi or Mexico City would be thrilling places to work!

What is next for Joel Sampson? I have just started a ceramics class because I’ve been so inspired by these artists and as a reaction to a push from within my studio at HASSELL for beautiful ‘crafted’ elements of our work. I think that looking at a single piece in detail is really going to challenge me. Spending hours on something that I can pick up, rather than spending hours visualising and creating a five-storey public space will be another way to test out and explore ideas. Last semester I taught design at RMIT, and this inspired me to start thinking about further study. Behavioural psychology is something I find really interesting and exciting. As a designer, there is no real end to learning – hopefully I will still be challenging myself in 30 years’ time to keep doing great work.


ARCHITECT SPOTLIGHT // JOEL SAMPSON

FOR MORE ON HASSELL VISIT: www.hassellstudio.com


// F E AT U R E D S TO R E

Own World


Own World is Australia’s newcomer to the designer furniture market, representing manufacturers from Italy, the USA and Eastern Europe. Own World has pulled together an eclectic range of products from technology leaders in the USA to family workshops in the former Eastern Bloc. Selected local stock is available to reduce wait times which include our featured wire seating collections designed by Gaurav Nanda from Bend Seating in Los Angeles, that compliment indoor and outdoor spaces with a quirky ethnicity and colour. IDH also feature new outdoor collections by LOLL Designs from Minnesota who have reinvented traditional styles along with modern designs made from recycled milk bottles and require absolutely no maintenance.

VISIT OWN WORLD AT In a designer home

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JASON IERACE // PHOTOGRAPHER


PHOTOGRAPHER // JASON IERACE

How did you begin in photography? What passions led you here? I went to university and did a Bachelor of Arts in Design. I studied all aspects of design but it was the photography and video component that grabbed me. I spent many hours in the darkroom developing my own film and printing prints‌ I just loved it. I always had an interest in art but I think I loved photography because it was both creative and technical. I'm a bit of an equipment nerd at heart, I just love gear and anything to do with it.

Was there a pivotal moment that saw which direction within photography you wanted to take? There wasn't really any pivotal moment and I don't really follow any one direction. I love all different sorts of photography and subject matter, I guess because I have many varied interests. I love shooting anything from fashion, to portraits, to interiors and architecture.

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PHOTOGRAPHER // JASON IERACE

Aside from photography what are your other passions? I guess its mainly surfing and spending time with my family‌. I love what I do for a job so I guess I'm one of the lucky few that gets to enjoy my passion everyday as a career. I do like to put the cameras away and just take the world in with my eyes and leave those moments just as they are; moments.

Can you describe your home/ studio to our readers? There wasn't really any pivotal moment and I don't really follow any one direction. I love all different sorts of photography and subject matter, I guess because I have many varied interests. I love shooting anything from fashion, to portraits, to interiors and architecture. I just love the challenge of producing an appealing picture in any sort of genre.

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PHOTOGRAPHER // JASON IERACE

What is something our readers will be surprised to learn about you? I became a dad at 40 and didn't think I was ready even then‌ but when I had my daughter it was really life changing (for the better). I don't know why I didn't do it earlier.

Do you have a favourite subject matter to shoot? I love to shoot anything that is well styled and has an edge or an appeal. From and amazingly renovated 60's house to a model with an incredible mouth and gap in her tooth, anything that is visually appealing.

How do you wind down after a day of shooting? How do I wind down, that's easy I either go for a surf or just go straight home and give my 2 year old daughter a cuggle (cuddle). She is the best stress relief I've ever had and she has me wrapped around her little finger, I love it.


PHOTOGRAPHER // JASON IERACE

Photography leads you around the world, where is your ideal holiday destination? My ideal holiday destination is probably in the remote islands off Sumatra or anywhere that is remote actually, like the dessert in Morocco or the fjords in Norway. I just love to get away and experience something different. I live on the northern beaches in Sydney which is a pretty special place to spend your time. But like anything it gets familiar and you sometimes loose the beauty when you see it all the time. It's nice to go away, recharge your visuals and come home and appreciate it again.

VISIT JASON'S WEBSITE: www. jasonierace.com/ LIMITED EDITION PRINTS ON SALE: WWW. jasonierace.bigcartel.com/

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inter v ie w

Mulga The Artist


INTERVIEW // MULGA THE ARTIST

"My art attempts to capture the wonder and mystery of the beard."


INTERVIEW // MULGA THE ARTIST

Why "Mulga?" When I was 11 years old I fronted my class in school and recited a poem by the legendary poet Banjo Patterson (he is on the ten dollar note), that poem was called Mulga Bill's bicycle. One of my classmates called me Mulga after that and the name stuck.

When did you start drawing? From whence I was a little boy I enjoyed to doodle. Mostly a lot of Bart Simpson characters and muscle men. I found it hard to focus in school as I was too busy doodling, if there is a pen in my hand I had/have no choice but to doodle. I think it is some kind of addiction, a doodling addiction, plus the word doodle is funny.

Do you have a favourite subject matter to draw? At the moment I have a slight obsession with drawing big gorilla heads. They are just so fun to draw and their whole head is like a big hairy beard which is just awesome. I like humanising them by giving them accessories like hats and sunnies. I like to paint them super duper colourful. Gorillas are such rad powerful creatures.

When do you feel most inspired to draw? Often a fun brief from a client is great inspiration. If they want me to paint a gorilla head I am really inspired.

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INTERVIEW // MULGA THE ARTIST

You draw a lot of beards in your illustrations, tell us about that! Beards are a magical thing and throughout the history of Earth they have achieved extraordinary exploits that a non-beard could never have achieved. There is some magical power that gets unlocked when a beard chooses to adorn the face of a mere man. It is like the mystery of synergy that cannot be explained. Beards are also a mysterious thing as they are a like a mask and a blanket for the face at the same time. Sometimes you wonder, what is under that beard, man or creature? Beards are great to draw because they are great place to make interesting patterns and because I don’t like drawing chins that much, chins are ordinary. I find it interesting that at this moment in history beards are such a celebrated facial feature. You could either be a full on hipster or a homeless gentleman and no-one can even tell. Zoolander predicted it with the derelique' fashion trend.

What are the materials you use to create your characters? I use a lot of Posca paint pens. They are acrylic paint in a pen and are really easy and fast to use and have lovely bright colours.

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What is something our readers will be surprised to learn about you I currently work in a finance job and a lot of people I talk to find this surprising as it is so different from my wacky art.

Aside from drawing what are your other passions? I like to hang out with my family, surf, write music, play some gigs with my band Mulgas Room (http://mulgasroom.bandcamp. com/), play beach volley ball, build cubby houses and stroke my beard.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided that you wanted to make drawing into your career? Around the time of my daughters birth approximately 4 years ago I started questioning my career choices and aspirations. I was and still am in an office type job in finance which I finally realised I don’t want to be doing for the rest of my days. From about 4 years ago I started drawing and developing a style and putting these drawings on a blog for the world to see. In February 2012 I had my first art show and I have been drawing like a crazy man ever since.

FOR MORE ON MULGA VISIT: mulgatheartist.com. au


A few of our favourite things //

Pigeon & Weasel

Pigeon loves beer. Weasel loves candles. They both love living a low impact urban lifestyle. The result - Triple Scented Soy Wax Candles. Hand poured into recycled glass bottles, using paraffin lead free wicks, with unique scents and a distinctive style.

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www.pigeonandweasel.com


LOVE IT? // Get it!: Shoes & watch by The Horse, BaG by Status anxiety


Blog Watch // THIS & THAT//


BLOG WATCH // THIS&THAT

"THIS&THAT BLOG IS A FORUM TO SHARE, EXPERIMENT & INSPIRE"

This&That Blog, managed by SurfStitch.com is a forum to share, experiment and inspire. From features on the latest fashion trends, travel and even sports, active living and healthy recipes, This&That is a creative outlet that showcases the creative expression of Australia’s leading online surf and fashion store. This&That likes to push the boundaries of an ordinary fashion blog, with new and exciting topics published daily. Whether it’s inspiration for your home, your wardrobe or your lifestyle that you’re looking for, This&That is likely to have… a bit of This and a bit of That, with something just for you to read.


Note: All images are sourced from the This&This Blog and are inspiration only, This&That do not claim to own the images.


Out & About FRATELLI FRESH alexandria , Sydney You may know about the Fratelli Fresh family or have even been lucky enough to visit one of their locations such as Waterloo or Potts Point, the newest member is on Mitchell Road in Alexandria and this is something you should not miss. Whether you are in the mood for an espresso and bite to eat, a lazy long lunch filled with pizza, pasta and salads or an indulgent afternoon of wine, cheese and if you can - banoffee pie. Fratelli Alexandria cater to your needs; sitting outside on a share table basking in the sun while sipping your wine or for a more intimate dining experience you can move inside. One item that should not be looked past are the arancini balls, a nice little starter before you dive into your main. The staff who exude Italian lux are helpful and knowledgeable to make the ordering a breeze. Now to the best part of our visit which has not been a once off occurrence (apologies to my waist line)‌ The Banoffee Pie (see recipe over page), this is freshly made to order with melt in your mouth caramel that tastes like a dream, we hope you enjoy your slice as much as we did! - jamee huntington


Banoffee Pie //


RECIPE // BANOFFEE PIE by CafĂŠ Sopra Serves 12 Ingredients 2 x 395g cans of sweetened condensed milk 180g unsalted butter, chopped 375g digestive biscuits, halved 600ml thickened cream 2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped out 75g icing sugar, sifted 4 bananas 30g dark chocolate, finely grated Method Place cans of condensed milk in a large saucepan of water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours adding water if necessary to ensure cans remain covered, remove cans and cool in the fridge for a couple of hours. Meanwhile melt butter in a small saucepan, and then cool slightly. Using a food processor crush biscuits to fine crumbs add the butter and process briefly to combine. Press crumb mixture over the base of a greased 28cm loose based tin then refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm the base. Open cooled cans of condensed milk and spoon caramel evenly over the biscuit base and refrigerate overnight to firm. To assemble pie: Using an electric mixer whisk cream, vanilla bean seeds and sugar to stiff peaks. Cut bananas into thin slices. Remove pie from tin and loosen base and place on a plate. Spoon or pipe half the whipped cream over the caramel filling, then place bananas in an overlapping circle working from the outside in. Top with the remaining cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate. Cut into slices with a hot dry knife and serve immediately. Tip: To stop noise of cans rattling in the saucepan, place a folded tea towel in the base before adding the water. for more VISIT: www.fratellifresh.com.


Travel Guide: Mexico i n t r o d u c i n g // kirsten cunningham


ADVENTURE WRITER // KIRSTEN CUNNINGHAM

What path in your life lead you to photography? I always had a camera when I was a kid. I’d save money to buy and develop 35mm film, take photos of my friends and mostly, give the photos away. I really wish I had the negatives now! I’ve always loved the idea of being an artist but I’m really bad at painting and drawing. Photography thankfully made sense to me, and became a way to create something interesting and avoid painting classes!

Your features will be based around travel writing of your adventures in the world, which destination resonates with you the most? Wow, this is really hard to answer. I am totally into Central America and California at the moment. But Egypt is where I really fell in love with travel many years ago. I’ll never forget the wonder I felt getting lost in Khan el Khalili bazaar in Cairo for the first time. It was built in 1382, and still operates as a market selling carpets, lamps, and incense.

What do you like to shoot on (Camera, Film or Digital)? I love shooting on film. For work I do have to use digital, unfortunately it’s not always possible to use film. I have a few 120mm medium format cameras, two 4x5 large format cameras and a collection of random 35mm cameras. There is something about the texture and quality of film that seems magical to me. It’s like Christmas putting in film to be developed or developing the black and white myself. You never know exactly what you are going to get and there is always something incredible that you didn't expect.

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Do you have a favourite subject matter to shoot? I find people fascinating, although I really struggle with approaching strangers to take their portrait. I suddenly become this shy little kid. If there is anyone out there who would be happy to sit for portrait for me let me know! I’m always looking for interesting faces.

Have you had any embarrassing moments while trying to learn languages of the world you would like to share? Yes! All the time. Think about how many words in English that are similar but have totally different meanings. Like shirt and shit. That works in basically every language. In Laos the word for penis and buffalo is really similar. I think only one of the accents on a vowel changes. I had a very awkward time in the Laotian countryside a few years ago! I’m living in Mexico at the moment and am working to be fluent in Spanish in the next few months. For some reason I can’t get my head around mierda (shit) and miedo (fear). I keep saying ‘they have to shit’ rather than saying ‘they are scared’! You can't be too precious. I make mistakes every day.

What plate of food from your adventures has been etched into your memory, whether it be for the right or wrong reason? One of the best parts of travelling is spending your whole day looking for interesting and tasty food. One night in Santiago I had the best meal of my life. Chilenos can make some seriously good gnocchi and red wine. It was unbelievably good, and cost about $10 including the bottle of wine. I would love to live in Chile. I’ve been vegetarian for over 17 years so unfortunately haven’t tried all the tasty bugs on offer in Asia. The fried tarantulas in Cambodia are pretty interesting. Everyone on the bus was chomping on these greasy, chewy, black hairy spiders served cold in a plastic bag. I’ll take the gnocchi any day!


ADVENTURE WRITER // KIRSTEN CUNNINGHAM


By Sally Rhys-Jones


Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Isla Mujeres & Tulum Think swaying palm trees, iguana’s sunning themselves on rocks, Mayan ruins & margaritas on the beach. The Yucutan peninsula in southeastern Mexico sits just north of Belize and separates the gulf of Mexico & the Caribbean Sea. It boasts fine white sand beaches & the most turquoise blue water you have ever seen. Think swaying palm trees, iguana’s sunning themselves on rocks, Mayan ruins & margaritas on the beach. We spent 2 weeks in 2 locations; Isla Mujeres, an island just off the coast from Cancun & Tulum, further south. If the glitz & scale of Cancun isn’t your style – these two spots are my pick! We flew from New York to Cancun & then got a shuttle bus to the Gran Puerto dock & caught the UltraMar ferry to Isla Mujeres. The ferry costs a mere $5 each way! After our week there, we rented a car in Cancun to drive about 2hrs south to Tulum. Driving out of Cancun was an experience in itself, but having the car was a great way to see more of the countryside.


TULUM About a 2hr drive south of Cancun you will find Tulum. Rated as one of the best beach spots in Mexico. Accommodation ranges from rustic style cabanas, where you may find you won't have power all day {or at all!} and that your shower water is salty on occasion, to chic boutique hotels. There is a focus on ‘eco’ in Tulum – if getting back to nature, great food and yoga on the beach is your thing this is the place for you!

Getting around We hired a car to drive to Tulum and were pleased we kept it for the week. While you can stroll up & down the beach to most places it was handy for day trips & at night to drive to places out of walking distance for dinner. To Do You could very easily spend a whole week swinging from the palm trees in a hammock in Tulum! To break up the ‘beach time’ I would recommend the following; Visiting the famous beach side Mayan ruins of Tulum is a must. Arrive early to avoid the tour busses coming from Cancun. Take a day trip to world heritage site, Chichen Itza. The most visited archaeological site in Mexico and what was once one of the largest Mayan cities. It is home to one of the 7 wonders of the world, Mayan pyramid El Castillo. It’s a full day trip there & back but you will discover some wonderful little towns on your way if you drive rather than joining a tour bus. Swim in a Cenote, which translates in Mayan to ‘sacred well’ a natural sinkhole formed by the limestone in the area. The Yacutan peninsula is said to have up to 7000 cenotes. Ik-Kil, the sacred blue cenote, is located around 3km from Chichen Itza or closer to Tulum are Dos Ojos & Gran Cenote. Eat La Zebra – Linas Mexican cantina at La Zebra specializes in local seafood. Start with one of their famous cucumber margaritas & don’t miss the fish soup cooked at the table using a stone bowl & hot rocks. If you feel like a break from Mexican food ‘Mezzanine’ has a great Thai restaurant & beach party every Friday night with DJ’s from all over the world. Try Posada Margherita for Italian using local seafood.


Isla Mujeres Isla Mujeres, Spanish for ‘island of women’ is a small island 13km north east of Cancun. It is a mere 7km long & only 650m wide! Once a tiny fishing village, now a holiday destination for people that prefer a more ‘quaint’ atmosphere with great beaches & Getting around Once you are there it’s a matter of walking or hiring one of the golf carts {seriously!} There are also taxis on the island but you will find yourself walking everywhere in town. One of the best things I did was purchase an illustrated map from Map Chick of the island highlighting all the best places to check out.

To Do Isla Mujeres Rent a golf cart and circumnavigate the island; Check out the turtle sanctuary and stop at Garrafon de Castilla, don’t be put off by the rather old motel at the front. For a few dollars you can pull up a beach lounge on a secluded beach and do some great snorkelling out the front. A nice spot to relax and have a few Coronas! Buy some bananas and feed the iguanas and stop for a look at the conch shell shaped house. Spend the day at Playa del Norte {North beach} and sip a cocktail from one of the beach bars where a margarita will set you back only a few dollars. If you are there between June & September don’t miss a boat trip to swim with the whale sharks that are around the island. Last but not least, be sure to take home a colourful painted ceramic cross or bowl! Eat The islands Main Street & beaches are dotted with great casual places to eat where seafood and of course margaritas abound! We had some fantastic Cuban style meals while on the island and try the local speciality tix-n-chix – marinated fish grilled over coals.


Stay // MEXICO WITH MR & MRS SMITH HOTELS


// Coqui Coqui Tuluiera Riviera Maya, Mexico Style: Riffing on Mayan ruins Setting: Beach front Boca Paila Surrounded by jungle and sea, Coqui Coqui Tulum hotel combines rusticity with relaxation: a formula that keeps A-listers and in-the-know civilians coming back for more. With a design as emblematic as the nearby ruins of Tulum, this creamcoloured beachfront stay has an ocean-inspired spa, breezy bedrooms and views of the shimmering Caribbean. Need to know Rooms: Seven, including three suites. Rates: Double rooms from AU$217.38 ($210), excluding tax at 14 per cent. More details Rates exclude à la carte breakfast (US$12–US$20). Facilities: Spa, mini boutique selling the owners’ range of perfumes and accessories, free WiFi in communal areas. In rooms: beach bag and Coqui Coqui Perfumes bath products. Children: This relaxed resort is better suited to adults. However, cots and beds can be added to rooms for a charge of US$60. Baby-sitting can be organised with a days’ notice for US$20 an hour. Baby-listening devices and batteries are available at reception. Food and drink at Coqui Coqui Tulum Hotel restaurant: Casual and cosy, Coqui Coqui Caféteria's diminutive kitchen serves up simple breakfasts and Mexican fare such as ceviche and fish tacos. The restaurant has four small indoor tables and two tables outside on the verandah; four daybeds are also available for horizontal coffee sipping and snacking. Dress code: Pair white linen and ethnic prints with floppy straw hats. Mrs Smith: let bikini strings peek out of colourful halter dresses. Flip-flops and sandals will get the most wear here; accessorize with a sun-blocking parasol provided by the hotel. Top table If you're looking to relax over a mid-day bite, grab one of the tables on the verandah. The morning sun is usually too strong to enjoy breakfast outdoors. Last orders Breakfast is served from 8am to 11am; lunch is from 11am to 7pm; dinner is available on request. Order cocktails from 7pm-11pm. Hotel bar: There’s no designated bar but you can toast happy hour with a fresh-fruit margarita at sunset on the patio.


In the know Our favourite rooms: We fell for the romantic Master Beach Suite, perched above the lobby. It’s possibly the breeziest of the bunch, with windows at both ends of the room. The white linen-clad four-poster surveys the sea, and there’s a cosy balcony with two chairs. Room Three, a Partial Sea View Room on the second floor of the back building, is also a winner: open-plan layout, ocean vistas, and a lower price tag than rooms in the main building. Both the hand-molded bathtubs are big enough for two; keep your mouth clamped shut when showering or you’ll get a glug of seawater. A note for the modest, only curtains separate the bathroom from the rest of the room. Packing tips: Forget your bulky straw tote and use the beach bag left in each room. Keen to catch some waves? Bring along your boogie board. Also: Visit the spa and try one of the aromatic treatments. We like the three-hour Ocean Bath Ritual: a tranquil treatment that starts with an aromatherapy foot soak followed by a Mayan clay wrap, massage, and candle-lit coconut- and bath-saltinfused bath. Don’t fret about sourcing bottled water during your stay; the hotel has an in-house filtration system. For more boutique hotels visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the Expert Travel Team on 1300 896 627


MR & MRS SMITH HOTELS // MEXICO


Interior Inspirations //

mexico is calling


a m e x i c a n h e at wav e HA S F I L L E D O U R PAG E S AN D H O ME S w i t h b lu e S , or a n g e S , R E D S AN D y e llow S F LOWIN G TH R O U G H THI S I S S U E . E n j oy t h e h ac i e n da e x p e r i e n c e w i t h t h e fl avours AN D C O LO U R S of S U MME R i n sp i r i n g your n e x t A DVENT U R E .

Photographer // kirsten cunningham


9.

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