My neighbour complained about his life though-  he wanted to go to Australia to make a lot of money and I laughed- he lived in a 300 year old house by the sea that he owned outright, ate yummy seafood all day long, only worked hard for 4 months of tourist season and spent the winter playing video games while his kids attended a free school on the island - his life for so many around the world would’ve been a complete dream and yet he couldn’t see how lucky he was because he didn’t own all the material goods he had always wanted. It really brought home how our perspectives influence the scope of our gratitude, how disconnected we all became when it came to what money was really for and how full life could be in simplicity :  doing breathwork in the sun like a rock lizard charging up, the swooshing whisper of evergreen trees carrying the scent of pine on the breeze, a nightly talk to fishermen about their catch. Peace was here and it was simple - it didn’t require gurus or workshops - just a whole lot more Nature. Being alone wasn’t lonely when the starry heavens opened up like fireworks at night, unhindered by smog and light pollution, when cute, little fish nibbled on my toes as my feet dangled off the pier, when the bluest blue of the sea penetrated so deeply into my anxiety that it engulfed it in comfort.  Then my teenage daughter arrived and nixed the whole idea of moving here, so outraged was she that I would take her from her exciting life in Sydney to a little outpost in the middle of the Adriatic Sea “where literally nothing was going on” and I could see her perspective saw something else here and laughed at the different versions of the whole we were all experiencing. 

This recipe was born out of my adoration for the loquat - a chronically underused and undervalued fruit in my personal opinion - a small, tangy, seeded nugget bursting with flavour that only ripens for a short time in early spring. Not sure how to describe the taste of loquat for those that have never had it - I suppose it’s something like apricot, pineapple, citrus and apple having a baby, the thin skin bursting to uncover intense flavour inside. At this time I was trying to eat a lot more blue fish for health reasons ( omega 3 is so calming to the nervous system ), so I’d hit up fishermen for nourishing goodies nightly. Not entirely sure what this fish is called - endemic to the Adriatic it is very similar in taste to mackerel, but not well known or cultivated commercially. This recipe is a burst of fresh citrus - fruity but salty and oily, great for skin and hair. If you can't find loquats, you can substitute with apricots or cut up oranges. This salad would also be great with some chopped avocado and chopped chilli but I couldn't find those things at the produce market that day - great as a salsa for fish tacos also!

INGREDIENTS ( serves one generously or two as an entree ) 

  • 1 bulb of fennel, cored and chopped up finely or sliced ( reserve the fronds for stuffing fish)
  • 1 small purple onion or half a larger onion
  • A handful or two of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A handful or two of loquats, halved, seeded and chopped up 
  • Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon and one orange
  • Mint leaves to preference 
  • Chopped up pistachio
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste 
  • 2 x blue fish, gutted and de-scaled
  • Salt and pepper 

METHOD:

Stuff the fish with thin orange slices, salt and pepper and the reserved fennel fronds, turn the oven on to 220 fan forced and grill to high. Cook depending on the strength of your oven and grill, these fish only needed about 8 minutes on each side before they developed crispy skin and cooked through in my oven but bigger fish or weaker ovens will need a little longer. Assemble all the other ingredients into a bowl in the meantime , season and serve! Bon apetit 

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Editing these pictures has taken me nearly a month to do- there were so many visceral moments to remember while looking through the files that I would find myself procrastinating and daydreaming; memories of eating ice cream in wet bathers, running barefoot around little cobblestone streets of "my" little island, the intense heatwave, bargaining for cold watermelon with a stoic grandma clad in black, the anticipation of arriving somewhere on a ferry you've never been to before or that serenely exhilarating feeling after an evening shower, sun kissed oiled skin cooled by an evening breeze,getting dressed in evening attire to run out into a dusk befallen night promising fun.

When I started this blog, it was as a hobby that I never thought would grow into work ; simply, I wanted to chronicle my life as it unfolded and preserve all the feelings and memories of my travels and experiences. I never knew my little blog would amount to anything except an online diary- especially since I used to post only a few times per year!

M-E-L has morphed into a business and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with brands in a multi dimensional way whilst creating beautiful pictures with talented people and carving out my aesthetic. Still, it is important to me to take time out and really see the world; document and devour it, be a traveller, a tourist; an open mouthed, awed and enthralled piece of this Universe.
Since I've been back, I have shot so many stories that I cannot wait to share with you ; life has been a blur of activity. This is why the moments on this page are so golden to me - they encapsulate a fantasy; a bubble where clocks don't exist.

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Bower swimwear one piece

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Coco wears a Coach t-shirt

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Lack of Colors boater, Kate Sylvester peasant top, Bianca Spender skirt

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Zimmermann x net-a-porter swimsuit, One Teaspoon shorts

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River swimming in the Rastoke region

With thanks to my little photographer Coco

This year I left the Australian winter early to camp out in the Mediterranean on the other side of the world in support of my boyfriend Stephen Pavlovic's For Festival, now in it's second year on the delicious island of Hvar. Some of my dearest friends came over to join me, effectively preventing me from lifting a finger. Or perhaps it is unfair to blame my work hinderances on laughter, fun, amazing music that kept me up all night dancing and all day lounging on a beach? But what is a girl to do when confronted with paradise, sunshine, sea, cocktails, seafood dinners and bands such as Haim, Klaxons, Neneh Cherry, Darkside, Mark Ronson, Erol Alkan, Erlend Oye, Tensnake etc? I chose the path of surrender.Or maybe it was more like tightly embracing my new found mantra: laugh, swim, dance, eat a lot and enter into tan wars.Repeat !

The most wonderful part of this festival is that it's ridiculously small at only 2000 people full capacity, making it , in truth, not very festivally at all (hallelujah). But what is really special is that it is spread over 3 incredible islands of Hvar, Jerolim and Stipanska with venues ranging from an old monastery to a cute beach and a posh island disco along with happenings such as chill beach parties, open air nighttime concerts and all night pump fist disco dancing extravaganzas in an intimate environment.

Finally... well it's freaking Hvar, the St Tropez of Croatia. It's luxe, it's beautiful and it's the Med- replete with sparkling blue waters, lobsters, pine trees, cobblestones and lavender everything. Bey and Jay felt the energy when they named their daughter Blue Ivy here .And I am but a mere mortal ! Here is the first part of my travel diary ...

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Yacht life with my mate Lindy Klim catching some air in our hair on the first day of the festival

 

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Lindy's hubby Michael Klim dives into the blue

 

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Crazy deep blue waters and the moment I realized I could really get used to this boat lyf

 

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Sun rising over Hvar town on our taxi boat ride from Carpe Diem

 

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Early morning walk home through the flowering medieval town

 

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Movement - trust me , this band will be big

 

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Afternoon cocktails at Hula Hula bar

 

On the mean streets of Hvar : Jonathan Saunders, Justin Padgett and Movement's Sean and Jesse

On the mean streets of Hvar : Jonathan Saunders, Justin Padgett and Movement's Sean and Jesse

 

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Mojito o'clock at Laganini

 

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French connection : Gaspar of Justice, Dimitri and SoMi

 

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Haiming it up with Haim... awesome all sister band who actually rock and roll HARD. Talk about talent.

 

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Lavender fields forever

 

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Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington of Darkside weaving their music magick

 

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Golden sunsets and boat taxis

 

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Getting lost in the old streets of Hvar wearing some holiday leopard (Proenza Schouler top, Helmut Lang skirt, Tory Burch bag, Isabel Marant sneakers and Monica Vinader bracelet)

 

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Look ma'- hardly any splash! Diving competition at Bonj Les Bains 's old swimming pavilion.

 

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"Pirate"Jerolim beach held intimate dj sets by the sea

 

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Erlend Oye playing his epic History of Music session, that culminated with the whole beach following him into the water during the last song .Akin to a religious experience, this man needs to start a love cult asap.

 

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Carob and myrtle liquors at an old vineyard homestead. Zivjeli!

 

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And the award for most laughs solicited goes to the Klaxons band! Come night they played an electric set where people swarmed the pool in front of the stage and girls took their clothes off. James Righton's beautiful wife Kiera Knightley watched the mayhem from the sidelines

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