Whilst on our recent tour of Africa I wrote a little creative auto-reply for my email out of office which, everybody LOVED. After a few requests to put it up online for everyone to see, I’ve caved and posted it below… Enjoy!
SUBJECT: Well, this is hawkward
For the next couple of weeks I’ve dugong on annual leave.
Where I’ve gone is irrelephant, but toucan figure it out if you read between the lions.
I’ll check my emails sparrowatically, but mostly owl be giraffing through the wilderness.
Now, rhino this is unlike me but leopard me assure ewe I’ll get back to you af-ri-can and if time and internet connections permit.
I’ll be back on the 5th of may.
See you in a while, crocodile.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with different processes within my iPhone, and the myriad of photography apps I have downloaded over the past few years.
I’ve found some great processes and colours (usually completely by accident) and have really enjoyed the results thus far. In case you missed it, last month I gave my top ten tips on how to take unforgettable photos with your phone camera – you can read the article on Harpers Bazaar.
In preparation for our next trip to the magical lands of Africa, I’m reminded today of some of the amazing sights and sounds from our last trip in 2012.
Below is a very small selection of some of my favourite shots from that trip. All shot and edited in my iPhone – for lots more go follow @wearehandsome on Instagram!
We’re delighted today to release our brand new Summer Party Mixtape! It’s been a while since releases but this marks the 13th mixtape we’ve produced just for you and available for free download from today. I’ve been working on this one for a while and am sure you;re going to love it.
It includes tracks from C2C, Daft Punk, Phoenix, Younc MC, The Doors, Run DMC and much more. It clocks in at just over an hour and s sure to get your feet moving. Enjoy!
The words “only accessible by boat” can mean only two things for holiday goers; 1. A tropical island paradise the likes of which you’ll not soon forget or 2. A nightmarish freezing cold, sickening, rickety boat ride where you come to believe your last piña colada was truly your last. Fortunately for us, the first destination on our Asian tour was the former -though that’s not to say we haven’t (a few times) experienced the latter…
Just off the coast of Sabah in Malaysia lies a group of tiny islands at the foot of Borneo, one being Gaya Island and home to the brand spanking new resort of the same name. As soon as we landed in Malaysia, we knew this was not only a spectacular place but a very special people as well.
Gaya Island resort had been open around 6 months – enough time for the staff, grounds, monitor lizards and cheeky monkeys to settle in, whilst still feeling new in every sense of the word. Accessible only by a short boat ride from Sabah, and of course – greeted with fresh aloe face towels and guava juice – the first time you see the resort is from the long pier that leads you from your boat to the reception building. And it’s spectacular.
The resort is backed up into the lush jungles of Borneo and fronts a beautiful white sand beach – palm trees, blue-green water and all. A setting unlike any we’ve experienced. Straight away, the one thing that hits you is silence. No cars, no noise of any kind. Awesome.
Getting to our room upon arrival (even at 11pm) was a trek, but the good kind – I mean, we ARE in the jungle. After a warm reception in the building appropriately named ‘Reception’ we we’re shown through the long pavilion which fronts onto the massive daybeds IN the pool that’s right – in! The swim up bar (Katinka’s favourite), the queen size cabanas with proper beds, fans and curtains – WHAT!! From there, past the library, fitness centre all with water views of course and through the main restaurant, across a lantern-lit bridge and boardwalk and finally up a winding path to our digs – 4 stories up in the jungle and facing out to what became a spectacular sunrise over the water and Mount Kinabalu – Malaysia’s biggest mountain.
Our days at Gaya were spent lazily. Swims & naps, snorkelling right off the resort’s beach on a fantastic reef, a Malaysian cooking class, a picnic on a private beach – and this is a good place for a handy travel tip: Don’t kick sand in a monkey’s face. EVEN if he’s advancing slowly toward your picnic basket. EVEN if he bares his rabies ridden fangs and beady little death eyes – as it turns out, sand in the death eyes only makes him stronger!! At some point someone – I really hope it was Tinka – yelped like a girl and two of the resort staff came running, brandishing rocks and yelling something in monkey which saved our lunch and our lives. Phew.
Of course, on an island such as Gaya activities abound, but what about relaaaaaxing? What about a day spa so grand, so lush in surroundings and so luxurious it’s called Spa Village? Well that’s there too, and through our signature 80 min treatment (tea, foot scrub, massage, relaxation and more tea) as well as our private yoga session, we experienced the full gamut of what Gaya Island Resort is all about – serenity.
Serenity, however, means something different to everyone. As evidenced by a young English twosome who we affectionately named ‘Adventure Couple’ who, in between 30 second bouts of relaxing by the pool, peppered their serenity with runs on the beach, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, guided treks through the jungle, snorkelling, running, weights and push ups in the gym, and even seeing who can eat breakfast the quickest – it was always him. We didn’t quite think it was all that relaxing – but each to their own, right?
What really stood out about Gaya though, was the staff. On a vacation that you don’t leave the resort – at all – the people you interact with are paramount to the quality of your stay, and Gaya’s staff made our stay absolutely fantastic. Familiar faces in the restaurant and the swim up bar made an effort to call us by name “Welcome back, Miss Katinka, another piña colada?”
Willing to assist with whatever we needed – either in the room “Would you like that piña colada delivered, Miss Katinka?” or even on our private beach picnic “I’m afraid piña coladas aren’t on the picnic menu miss Katinka, but we’ll see what we can do”. The staff truly made us feel welcome, at home and like we were kings on holiday and, in all seriousness, those piña coladas were excellent.
If you’re thinking of going, head over to our friends The Luxe Nomad. It’s a fantastic site if you’re looking at going to Gaya Island or anywhere in Asia!
In May we were invited to take part in Hamilton Island’s Return2Paradise instameet – and it was an absolute perfect escape to one of the most flawlessly beautiful destinations on the planet!
For those who don’t know, Instameet’s bring together a group of Instagrammers together to celebrate the rapamant creativity of mobile photography.
After a successful meetup last year Hamilton invited a slew of new and influential and passionate Instagrammers to take part in this years event. Joining us in the quest (and only naming a few) Ido Simyoni (@ido8all) a PR & Creative Manager joined us from London, Michael Klim @michealklim1) a world swimming champion, Lindy Klim @lindyklim Mother, businesswoman and Balinese princess and Food photographer, Billy Law (@atablefortwo) a Masterchef contestant and cookbook author. Together we shared once in a lifetime experiences and most importantly could share the adventure with our followers on Instagram.
Whilst on the island a documentary of Jem’s story of his never-ending summer was shot – encapsulating the gathering of inspiration on his incredible journey both to the island and as a creatively minded person, designer & photographer.
[youtube_sc url=VVrBaUKMldA width=540]
Over the course of four glorious days we immersed ourselves in all the beautiful offerings of Hamilton Island, and weeks later we’re still in absolute awe. The island is strategically placed on the edge of the Great Barrier reef and nestled right in the heart of the exquisite Whitsundays and it is really everything you could ever need in a tropical dream destination.
Staying at qualia – voted Best Resort in the world by Conde Nast in 2012 it’s not hard to understand why it’s received such an accolade – everything at the resort has to offer is of such a high calibre. The service is outstanding, seamless and carried out with a genuine pride and joy. The food and beverage offering is world class and the location and attention to detail comes together smoothly to turn a stay there into an unforgettable experience.
Spanning the Western side of the island, qualia’s pavilions, houses, dining pavilions and pools are dotted in and amongst lush greenery and each are totally private and have expansive and uninterrupted views of life passing by in the Whitsundays. Stylishly decorated with comfort and function in mind, nature tones compliment and all the while effortlessly catered to every whim and desire.
The island operates on golf buggy power and we took every opportunity to explore every inch in ours and where the buggy didn’t go, we went on foot. The island has a handful of winding trails to walk or run (if that’s takes your fancy) and the reward at the top – the most breathtaking beautiful vista’s across the Coral sea and neighbouring islands. Should you choose to run – make sure you pack your swimsuit for a dip in the sea afterwards!
Exploring the Great Barrier Reef is so incredibly easy from Hamilton Island. We had the pleasure of taking an seaplane chartered by Hamilton Island Air, who really gave us the flight of our lives!
Staring with a cruising over and around some of the other 74 islands we then headed further North and found ourselves flying over the drop off where the sea meets the reef and over the most crystal clear turquoise waters, spotting sharks, turtles, schools of fish and the sheer volume of coral from above. A highlight of the trip and something you can only see by air is the heart shaped reef, a naturally occurring bommie (shallow reef) and quite the spot to find yourself if you ever need a reason for romance.
With Hamilton Island Air we were able to snorkel the reef in a secluded part generally reserved for Marine Study. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is an extraordinary experience, swimming by you find yourself face to mask with one of the oldest living things on the planet and the sealife that call it home. We spotted hundreds of various shimmering and shy fish darting in and around the coral and some more precocious fish who were very interested in our presence. Topping off the experience with champagne and cheese on board a glass bottomed pontoon before we boarded the seaplane again and headed over the reef to go explore Whitehaven beach.
The colours of Whitehaven are unbelievable – the sands and sea are brilliantly shades of blue and pristine white, all seven kilometres of it!
Around every corner the island has treasures to explore and something to suit your taste for adventure. Kickstart your day with a healthy walk up to Resort lookout, from where you can watch the world take on colour in complete stillness, or if you prefer sunsets, for the ultimate kaleidoscope show head over to One Tree Hill and share a drink with the locals.
Catseye beach is the perfect haven to put your feet in the sand, a book in your hand and while away the hours under a bountiful sky. Then there is neighbouring Dent Island, where after a short ferry ride you’ll find yourself on the only island with a golf course in the Southern Hemisphere!
Hamilton island truly captivated us, it’s a place like no other, we felt so relaxed and enriched with the experiences we had. The people of the island are so welcoming and engaging and so eager to show off their spectacular piece of the world. We truly believe we found Paradise.
The best part? Direct flights to Hamilton island are just over 2 hours from Sydney – no passport needed, so we are absolutely looking to return as soon as possible and there really is no reason why you aren’t headed there this weekend…and the next!
From our tour to Hamilton Island last month.. more to come!
Fresh from Hamilton Island.