Third Port of Call: Napier

Known as “the Art Deco capital of the southern hemisphere”, Napier is nestled in Hawke’s Bay on New Zealand’s North Island.

Devastated by an earthquake in 1931, it was decided to rebuild in the original Art Deco style, with covenants limiting modern construction.Occasional buildings survived, such as a little row of single-fronted terrace homes dubbed The Six Sisters.

Napier  (5)

I adore all the fascinating doors and windows. There is something so stylish about this architecture.

Napier Art Deco Doors

The Daily Telegraph

Art Deco ornaments

My souvenir from Napier last year (2013) was a lovely silhouetted lady lamp, which I don’t seem to have a photo of at the moment. On my return home I shall edit this post to add photographic evidence of my purchase.

Charleston Chic shopfront

I found a beautiful silver, marcasite and black onyx ring at Charleston Chic, an early birthday present, which I have to wait for until July, but which I was allowed to wear once on the cruise. Photo later, if I remember!

We enjoyed Napier so much last year that I had the idea to bring some art deco fashion with us, set the camera to black and white, and have ourselves a little photo shoot this time. The wig and feather boa was in my luggage, and then I bought a lovely cotton parasol to complement the outfit. I love time travelling!

My New Parasol

Accosting a passer-by, I asked her to take a photo of the two of us, strategically placed in front of two vintage cars and with an old  building in the background. Dutchy(Quiquinou) was in place, the camera was ready. All she had to do was hold the camera exactly as I had and wait for me to take up my position. This is the resultant portrait.

Napier time travel

Operation Art Deco was successful!


Travel ready

Such sensible advice on travelling light, I am re-blogging frenchfry36’s post on packing.
I personally love taking everything I might ever need, but am getting better at minimising the quantity every time I travel.

A house in France

One thing about travelling overseas every year (as well as packing up to move from house to house when housesitting or houseswapping) is that I’m getting quite adept at packing.
Also, over a period of time, I have been streamlining my clothes, toiletries and luggage to be “travel friendly”. When I need something new I think carefully about comfort, coordination, easy-wear, easy-care, crush-ability and versatility.

It’s not about having lots of things, it’s about having the right things. And I’m really pleased with myself when I stick to my guns and wait until I find just the right thing – sometimes replacing 2 existing items with just one. Less is more as the saying goes, and in this case, having less to choose from makes it easier to decide what to pack.

As part of my “downsizing” I sometimes take older clothing across to our house in France “to die”…

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Suit Yourself

If you are in Thailand for a reasonable length of time, getting a tailor-made suit can be a good idea.

In 2006 and 2008, we had clothes made at Kento Tailors, but this time we decided to try Magnifique, which had good write-ups on Trip Advisor. A cool drink is offered at every visit, and Nick and the team aim to make you happy. They will even bring garments to your hotel for fittings, particularly if time is running out. The  customer service at Magnifique is great.

At the initial fitting our measurements were taken, our needs discussed, and a price agreed upon. Bear in mind, if you do bring your own material, it won’t necessarily be cheaper, as they still need to line it and add facings etc.

inside leg measurement

the first fitting

We wanted bling red sequinned jackets for our karaoke business, the material of which I purchased in Australia and took over there to be made.His would be a normal blazer, while mine would be a bolero, which I sketched.

my bolero sketch

red jacket fitting

Dutchy wanted a suit, comprising a jacket, vest and three pairs of trousers. Multiple fittings later we were happy with the result, tweaking aspects that we weren’t quite satisfied with.

Ladies, if you want a pair of trousers, may I suggest that you take a pair that you love, as they can always cut a pattern from something tangible. This way the result should be good. My theory is that if in Melbourne clothes fit well just off the rack, a tailor-made pair should be almost perfect.

If you think about it, everything in Thailand seems to be a copy. If that’s what they’re best at, doesn’t  it makes sense to take something to copy? If you do go to a tailor, don’t be afraid to speak up if you aren’t happy about any aspect. You’re paying for it, so make sure seams sit flat and neat and fit you properly. Happy tailoring.

if the vest fits...

Dutchy in his new red jacket

Sandi in her new jacket

Time for Laundry

It’s amazing how much washing you amass when you are in  a tropical country. And how fantastic to be able to take 3 kilograms of laundry just around the corner from your hotel in Patong, Thailand, and have it all washed, dried and folded within twenty-four hours, for the price of 50 THB per kilo!

That meant for AUD $5.00 this sea of washing was no problem.

Luckily I remembered to add his shirt and my skirt.

Then when we picked it up it was all ready to pop into the drawers of our room at Thara Patong Beach Resort.

It was lovely not to have to rely on friends with washing machines, or laundromats on this occasion. That’s one of the things I love about Thailand; labour is so cheap. Imagine how much it would cost in Australia or Europe to get that amount of washing done?  Two words: cost prohibitive!

International Fashion Designer

This coat was designed by an International fashion designer.

On our previous trip to Thailand in 2006 my husband had a suit made, which served him well, while I had a skirt suit and a camel coloured microfibre blazer made, both of which I still have. Admittedly, I don’t wear them all that often, but they certainly wash up well. Apparently that’s one of the things to be aware of. If the price is too low, sometimes the facings are just glued shoddily together. It’s best to go with a reputable tailor from a trusted recommendation.

In 2008, we returned to Kento Tailors for some more tailor-made clothes. We had been very happy with their service, and the quality of their work. Prices were reasonable also. This time I already knew what I wanted, and had designed it myself.

I gave them a drawing of what I wanted; and chose a charcoal grey fabric. We duly had measurements taken, and one or two follow up visits, but when we arrived to collect the finished products, there, on a hanger, right next to my grey jacket, was the same design in black.

Apparently someone liked mine so much that they wanted one of their very own, which inadvertently makes me (albeit unpaid), an international fashion designer!