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postcards - kate mcleod's wellington

It's been a while now since Kate McLeod set up her cosy home in New Zealand's capital city of Wellington. While you might be imagining a Lord of the Rings style landscape with sheep-lined hills and a sky full of bungee jumping daredevils, for the next instalment of our Postcards series the blogger behind Pocket Witch takes us on a far more realistic tour of her hometown.

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Firstly, please tell us a little bit about the neighbourhood that you live in.

I live in Mt Victoria, a suburb made up of cute two-storey villas, cottages and art deco apartment buildings, all built on the hill of Mt Vic rising above the central city. It's the best as it's a real suburban neighbourhood with afternoon sun and walkways through the foresty town belt, but only minutes down the hill to Oriental Bay and city life.

What kind of house/apartment do you live in? Is it typical of the architecture in that area?
I live with my husband and two flatmates on the top floor of an old boarding house, which has been divided into flats. It's fairly typical of the area, though it's kind of the worst house on the street - which is how we can afford to live amongst the million dollar Victorian homes! We also have an in-ground pool that's been empty for 60 years and grows all kinds of pretty weeds in summer, before the landlord pulls them all out. We're also pretty lucky to get as much sun as anyone in Wellington can hope for.

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What kind of stereotype has Wellington earned, and how is it different to what people expect?
The weather has a bad reputation, but we do actually get really beautiful days, even in the middle of winter. When it's bad it's oh-so-bad, but when it's good it's crisp, cool, bright and such an inspiring place to be.

How is your city changing?
New places to eat and drink are opening constantly, there's a wider range of cuisine and heaps of places to drink good beer. I'm excited that No Lights No Lycra has just started up. On the other hand it's sad to see so many chain-store eateries opening up on Cuba St.

What album do you think would be the best soundtrack for walking around?
Hounds of Love - Kate Bush

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If you had a day to take an Australian around your town on a Sunday afternoon, what would you do?
We'd start with a late brunch, maybe at Duke Carvell's or Floriditas, do some shopping on Cuba Street, perhaps stop for some fancy coffee at Customs Brew Bar, check out what's happening at the City Gallery and go for a walk around the waterfront. My latest thing to do with visitors is to drive out to Red Rocks and walk around the bays until we reach the seal colony. We'd have dinner at Little Penang, Tatsushi or Hummingbird, depending on the budget. Then a drink at Goldings or CGR Merchants and Co.

What is the local creative community like? Are there predominant local crafts?
It might just be my personal (and very hungry) bias, but it's very food-related. Craft beer, people experimenting with food. Of course there are many other talented artists and makers working in all kinds of mediums, but I'm not sure I could pick a unifying craft or focus for that.

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How does your city change with the seasons? How has this influenced your work?
Winter can be fairly bleak. It doesn't get terribly cold but the wind picks up and many houses here aren't insulated so it can be a bit rough. Fortunately in the late winter we have the NZ International Film Festival and Wellington on a Plate festivals to see us through to spring. I'm making things just for myself at the moment, and I'm gravitating towards warmth in these personal projects. For instance, I'm trying to teach myself to weave, a nice cosy pastime.

Tell us about the spaces and places you have photographed for us.
My husband Jason and I visited some of our favourite places over the weekend and the photos we took (we're always working as a team) cover our neighborhood in Mount Vic, my other favourite suburb Aro Valley and the central city around the Cuba Quarter.

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Where is the best place to have a picnic?
In your living room so your lunch doesn't blow away! On a still day take your fish and chips (from the excellent Mt Vic Chippery) over to Oriental Bay.

Where is the best place to see a gig?
I'm always happy if a show I'm going to is at the beautiful Town Hall. Otherwise, Mighty Mighty and Puppies.

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Where is the best place to get a drink?
It's so hard to choose just a few to recommend! I love Goldings for beer, Hummingbird for something fancy and Havana for hanging out. Six Barrel Soda Co. is by far the best place for something non-alcoholic (though they have that too). They make small-batch soda syrup by hand, and you can get a cold coffee with kola nut soda that's the best thing ever for a hangover.

Where is the best place to buy a vintage dress?
Cuba Street. I like Ziggurat, Emporium, and Rag Mama Rag.

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