Annapurna Mellor

We chat to Lodestars Anthology cover photographer Annapurna Mellor about the joys of photography and travel – to see more of her work be sure to check out our India magazine here

What drew you to photography?

I never studied photography and initially I fell into it. After I graduated from university, I felt quite lost in my life and decided to travel solo around Asia for a year. I first went to Nepal to hike the mountain I was named after, and then continued through India, South East Asia and Mongolia. I started with a small camera which I didn’t know how to use outside of Auto mode, and throughout that year got more and more into shooting. I learnt techniques from other travellers and the photos I was taking got better and better. I had a blog at the time and family and friends back home started telling me I should do it as a career. My dad is actually a travel photographer too, so I think I have a natural eye from him which is perhaps how my images developed very quickly at the beginning. I loved the idea of being able to have a job where I could travel and tell stories of people and places around the world. Finding the incredible work of photographers like Steve McCurry and Alison Wright just inspired me even more. Of course, over the few years since then I have found out that this is a very hard career to make money from, and it isn’t just all about travelling and taking photos, but my love and passion for image making has always carried me through.

How would you describe your style?

I describe myself as a travel photographer because while I shoot a mixture of portraits, street photography and landscapes, I am always trying to portray a sense of place through my images. I want people to look at my photographs and feel like they are in a place; meeting the people,
walking the streets. My work definitely has a documentary angle, as I’ve always been drawn to cultures when I travel and I love capturing people and telling their stories.

Has your style changed over time?

Yes, to a degree. I only started taking photographs around four years ago and I found very quickly that I mostly connected to photographing people and that is also what my audience responded to. Quickly my portraits have become what I am known for, and they are still my favourite thing to shoot. Overtime, my style has definitely become more refined and I think my skills as a storyteller have improved. In the beginning, I was just shooting things which I thought were beautiful, without much regard for how the images fitted together and how they might make a story. Now it’s one of the main things I think about when I’m shooting.

Has there been a particularly memorable shoot?

I’ve had some amazing opportunities to shoot beautiful places and people all over the world, and different shoots stand out for different reasons. My first big magazine assignment (for National Geographic Traveller) was along the English/Scottish Borders. It was a location totally different for me, and after having spent a few years living in Asia building my portfolio, I was nervous if I could capture the UK in a way which still felt like my style. I took my sister with me as my driver/model and we spent four days driving along the border. It rained constantly, we had to sleep in an unheated barn one night (in early February) due to a lack of any budget, and we ended up in a lot of locations I was supposed to shoot thinking ‘is this it?’. It was a really tough shoot but in the end I think I captured some images which really celebrated the beauty of the place, and it made me realise that sometimes challenging shoots end up being the most rewarding.

You’ve travelled the world taking photographs, do you have a favourite location or subject?

India is my favourite place both to travel and to take photographs. I feel a very strong connection with the country and when I’m there I feel very at home. As a photographer, it’s a paradise. The colours, the faces, the festivals and spirituality. I feel like I could spend a lifetime photographing India and there would still be more to see, more to capture.

Can you tell us about capturing the Lodestars Anthology India cover image?

That photograph was taken at the Pushkar Lake in Pushkar, Rajasthan a few years ago during my second trip to the country. Pushkar is a gorgeous little town between Jaipur and Jodhpur, and I spent almost a month there over the annual Camel Fair, capturing local herders and families on the dunes.

Some days, I would take time off and sit around the lake where it was very peaceful and quiet. Most of the lake is for pilgrims, who bathe in the holy waters, which are said to be tears of Lord Shiva. I was sat on the opposite side one day when all these women in vibrant dress walked past. I loved the contrast of their bright clothes with the white background of Pushkar town and the lake. Little unexpected moments of magic like this often happen in India.

You also run ROAM magazine, can you tell us about this project?

I started ROAM two years ago with my sister Athena. I felt like there was a lack of a platform which focused on storytelling and cultures, and too much travel media was becoming about the traveller not about the place. I wanted to change the conversation about travel, and create a platform to celebrate the work of travellers who seek out deeper cultural connections and off the beaten track places.

We publish photo essays, stories, interviews, guides and features from all over the world. We aim to delve into places a little more off the beaten track, or to highlight cultures you may never have come across. Imagery is a huge focus for us, and we love finding beautiful photography to illustrate the magazine with. We are contributor based, and have published stories from amazing photographers, writers and creatives from around the world. Our aim is eventually to make ROAM into a physical magazine, full of stories and beautiful photography.

What advise do you have for someone looking to begin a photography career?

Firstly, this is a really hard and unpredictable profession and you really need to love it with all your heart to want to pursue it as a career. If you do, then I think it’s really important to develop your own style and unique way of telling stories. This is what will make you stand out from everyone else.

To find out more, take a look at ROAM magazine.

Back To The California Coast

Below is an extract from our new book with New Heroes & Pioneers, to be released just in time for Christmas. You can learn more about the project and order a copy by clicking here.

Enamoured with foreign landscapes and the promise of escape, it is difficult to resist the romance of distant shores. Some of these yearnings may remain idle, little more than wanderlust-infused daydreams, while others are enough to see us journey into the unknown. Yet, as glorious as the new and undiscovered may be, once we have explored a destination (living like a local and venturing beyond the tourist trail), it’s not uncommon to find that there are certain spots we can’t help but return to. While first encounters are marvellous, following a pathway back to the familiar can be just as inspiring.

Photographer Virginia Woods-Jack has visited the Californian coast on many occasions, enthralled by its natural wonders and soulful inhabitants. Seeing her depictions of Venice Beach, with its laid-back surfing vibes, and the mellow scenes of the Encinitas area, it’s not difficult to imagine why.

From her first visit to these glowing shores, Virginia felt like she was coming home; somewhere she hadn’t been for a while that was familiar nonetheless. With the beauty of the scenes and the calm of the people observed remaining constant, each visit was a reminder of that first encounter – a chance to once again capture smiles, soft light and rolling waves. However, Virginia’s lens was also drawn to the subtle changes in the landscape, the shifts in mood and colour that arose with the turning seasons. Over time these changes helped bring the setting to life, elevating it from mere ‘holiday destination’ into something alive and ever-evolving. And so, with each return Virginia asked herself the same question – what would life be like if this was truly home?

It is by revisiting certain destinations that we are able to reflect on the pathways we have chosen: where we find ourselves, where we have been and who we wish to be. From here, far from the constraints of the everyday, we can do more than recall fond memories or sate our inner vagabond. We can instead focus on the minute, appreciate the altering patterns and perfection of nature and plot future journeys surrounded by a setting that remains strangely familiar. We know the scenes before us will transform before we return, and we might too – the sense of possibility forever promising.

Words by Yvette Edwards and photographs by Virginia Woods-Jack.




The Art of Travel

Liz on the Tea & Tattle Podcast

People are drawn to beautiful images and writing because they’re a mode of escape and inspiration.

Lodestars Editor and founder Liz Schaffer talks to Miranda Mills on the Tea & Tattle ‘podcast for discerning women’.

Notes on Japan

Words and photographs by Kate McAuley

A friend asked me recently, after reading my wabi-sabi essay in our latest issue, if there’s anything else about Japanese culture that I’ve applied to my daily life – an intriguing question that got the cogs turning.

Japan was the first of the many countries I’ve lived in since leaving Australia. Arriving after a massive false start (the first plane I caught to Osaka fell out of the sky), I had never felt so foreign in my life. It was the mid-90s and there I was: 19-years old, 6-feet tall with blonde wavy hair to my waist and blue eyes. To say I stood out is an understatement.

Perhaps if I’d been living in Tokyo or one of the other mega-cities the differences wouldn’t have been as acute, but I spent most of my time in Kanazawa, a picturesque university town, and on Kikai-Jiima, a tiny sliver of an island in the Ryukyu archipelago so remote that most Japanese people have never heard of it.

For the most part, the attention I received was well-intentioned curiosity, but it took me a while to come to terms with feeling so different as well as being the open topic of public conversation – a fact I was all too aware of as I learned to speak the language.

In Japanese the common word for foreigner is gaijin, which literally translates as ‘outside person,’ a fact that’s unsurprising given the countries unique relationship with the rest of the world. They did, after all, deny entry to most foreigners for over 200 years as part of the Sakoku policy that held fast from 1639 to 1853. And it’s this sense of the other – along with with fact that I can fold a mean origami crane and make the best okonomiyaki this side of Cape Irizaki – that I’ve carried with me ever since.

Growing up in Australia, I always felt uncomfortably out of place, but spending two years in Japan taught me to embrace my differences – and eventually use them to my advantage. There is something very powerful in being an ‘outside person.’ You become more daring. You can disarm. And failure seems to mean less. It’s an attitude I’ve tried to embrace everywhere I’ve either lived or travelled to since – and it hasn’t let me down yet.

This post was inspired by Kate’s essay, extracted below, on wabi-sabi in the Japan issue of Lodestars Anthology.

I’m kneeling at a low table, legs folded politely but painfully beneath me. My host, the wife of a university professor tasked with welcoming me to Japan, has invited me to tea. I rest my cup, which is more of a bowl as it has no handle, in the palm of my hand. I run my thumb over its mottled earthy surface, tracing with my fingernail the gold-flecked cracks that highlight rather than hide its so-called flaws. I notice that the rim is not quite symmetrical as I raise it to my lips. 

At the time – it was the first week of the two years I would spend living in the country – I didn’t realise that the aesthetic I was admiring was actually a small example of something far more philosophically relevant – a notion so deeply rooted in Japan’s culture and identity that it even had its own name: wabi sabi.

To read the rest of the essay, as well as immerse yourself in 160-pages of Japanese art, culture and travel,
pick up a copy of our latest issue, available for purchase here.

Lodestars Anthology Japan

Introducing the latest addition to the Lodestars Anthology travelling family … Japan!

You can order your copy by clicking here.

For now, here is a sneak peak of the gems that lie within.

Journey to Japan and discover a land of tea and tropics, wabi-sabi and wonder. A place where symbolism abounds and nothing is without purpose. For here you’ll find an ancient and powerful landscape that has shaped history yet still dictates the rhythms of modern life. There are illuminated capitals and pockets of untouched wilderness, both marked by a deep sense of spirituality. Art flourishes, design inspires and others come first. May the light never dim on the Land of the Rising Sun.

None is travelling

Here along this way but I

This autumn evening

Matsuo Bashō


Words and Photography by Diana Pappas

Northumberland, in North East England, is where my husband, and fellow Lodestars Anthology contributor, Tom Bland is from – and without our paths crossing, I doubt I would have known this place existed. You may have heard of Newcastle upon Tyne, Lindisfarne, Hadrian’s Wall or maybe Bamburgh Castle, but if you don’t call Great Britain home, odds are that Northumberland and its adjacent counties are not known to you. We like it this way, of course, and coming here is a welcome respite from our day-to-day life a stone’s throw from New York City.

Detail of Anglo-Saxon stone cross at Bewcastle, Cumbria
Northumberland woods

A vast and sparsely populated county of moorland, farmland, and forests bound by stone walls and rugged coastline, Northumberland was easy to appreciate from my first visit seven years ago. I have traveled here often in the years since, fortunate to enjoy repeated visits in different seasons that reveal new viewpoints and greater understanding. This winter in particular has been a chance to see this part of England anew, with unusually calm days full of low-hanging sunshine made for leisurely walks in Hexhamshire or venturing further afield into County Durham, Cumbria, Teesdale and even into the ‘debatable lands’ in the Scottish borders – all of which are part of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria. These lands are home to complex layers of history and today are a spectacular setting for natural beauty. This landscape can be extreme and wild, bleak and isolated, lush and bucolic in turn, changing by the season and sometimes by the hour.

Instagram: @dianapappasphoto

Belted Galloway cows at Askerton Castle Estate, Cumbria
Upper Teeside
Tynemouth Priory, Northumberland
Sunday lunch at the Black Bull Inn, Frosterley, County Durham
Hawthorne berries, Northumberland
Rainbow over the woods, Northumberland
Fields, Northumberland
The sky above, Northumberland
Hexhamshire, Northumberland


Plum + Spilt Milk

Words by Sarah Kelleher

Located on the first floor of the Great Northern Hotel at Kings Cross St. Pancras, Plum + Spilt Milk is bringing the glamour back to railway dining.  The décor in the dining area feels like a modern twist on railway carriage interiors typical of the twenties and thirties, with wood panelled walls, luxurious cream and brown booths, shining tables and a fantastical light feature of glass-encased bulbs hanging from copper rods in a shimmering arrangement.  A feast for the senses before you even try the food.

We were welcomed to our table in style with several cocktails – a delicious berry concoction for me and a Lady Violet for my dining companion (trainspotters will be enthused by the presence of the Oriental Express cocktail on the menu).  An appreciative pause gave us the opportunity to examine the a la carte menu at our leisure, which showcased a mix of core favourites and seasonal specialties.  As the weather outside was frosty, I gave in to the urge to inject some colour into my evening and plumped for the Atlantic prawn, shaved fennel and orange salad followed by the Orkney scallops, while my companion went for the creamed smoked haddock, poached hen’s egg and hollandaise, along with the loin of venison and sloe gin main.  The seafood was fresh as could be, and beautifully presented, as was the venison, which had a rich, warming flavour.  Neither of us chose from the vegetarian menu, but rest assured, there is one, as tempting as the meat and fish menus with its selection of dishes such as Sharpham Estate spelt, squash and chanterelles.

The restaurant’s name refers to the livery worn by the dining cars that the Flying Scotsman pulled out of Kings Cross, and also features on the dessert menu.  A mouth-wateringly sweet construction of tangy plums on top of deep-fried milk custard, this signature dish was matched only by my companion’s choice of dark chocolate mousse, praline and pecans.  I would recommend ordering, as we did, the accompanying dessert wines; my glass of Tokaji slid down my throat like liquid gold.

If you’re in the Kings Cross area, or if you’re on the opposite side of London, there’s simply no reason not to visit this jewel of a restaurant.  Stylish interiors, good food, good wine and good opportunities for people watching, this is lovely place to begin, or end your journey from.  And with spring in the air, the menu promises to deliver yet more delicious dishes to help you on your way.

The Weekend – Cornwall

Here at Lodestars Anthology we love a beautiful travel journal as much as the next person (a lot more so, probably).  So imagine how happy we were when we chanced across Cornwall by Weekend Journals, a definitive guide to exploring the fairest English county which features unique and special venues, from verdant gardens to visionary galleries, independent shops and exceptional restaurants.

The book is written by Milly Kenny-Ryder and produced by Simon Lovell, who both have strong links to Cornwall, and have been visiting with their families since they were young.  Using these connections they have gone off the beaten track to discover the venues that the locals love, while also showcasing some of Cornwall’s most iconic sites and stories.  For a hint of what this edition of The Weekend is all about, read on, and be inspired by all that Cornwall has to offer (or click here to order a copy).

The dining area at the St. Tudy Inn

St. Tudy Inn

Emily Scott is an ambitious and optimistic chef who took over the St. Tudy Inn, determined to offer locals and visitors great food in a delightful setting. This charming Cornish pub is situated in St. Tudy, a quaint village in North Cornwall. After extensive redecoration the pub feels cosy and welcoming, with Nicole Heidaripour prints on the walls and vintage furniture.

All Emily’s cheffing experience has been put to good use in the kitchen, where seasonality and local produce reign. The menu is full of comforting classics with a twist, such as the fish and chips, upgraded to the irresistibly tasty Monkfish tails in rosemary focaccia crumb with fries and citrus mayo. The St. Tudy Inn also runs regular events, including Pig and Cider nights with a hog roast and regional ales, so there’s many an enticing reason to visit.

St. Tudy Inn, St. Tudy, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 3NN

01208 850 656

A spin on the classic fish and chips – monkfish tails in rosemary crumb
Beautifully Cornish floral arrangement at the St. Tudy Inn


Surfside is an exciting venture from London-based mixologist Tristan Stephenson, author of The Curious Bartender and part of the drinks company Fluid Movement who founded Purl and The Whistling Shop bars in London. Surfside has become a local hit, serving fresh food and cocktails at the water’s edge in Polzeath. Located on a corner of the beach, the restaurant is only accessible via the sand which adds to the experience.

Lobster crackers at Surfside Restaurant

Although the venue appears casual from the exterior, inside the offerings are for serious foodies with surf and turf platters and inventive cocktails. Thanks to the isolated location Surfside feels intimate and exclusive, with panoramic sea views adding something special to the meal.

Surfside Restaurant, On the Beach, Polzeath, Cornwall, PL27 6TB

01208 862 931

The choice is yours: drinks at Surfside Restaurant

Trevibban Mill & Appleton’s at the Vineyard

Situated on the slopes of the Issey brook near Padstow, Trevibban Mill is one of the newer Cornish wineries but is already producing award-winning wines. Liz and Engin began planting in 2008 with an ambition to produce top quality Cornish wines and ciders. Native sheep graze on the land and their wool is for sale in the vineyard shop. Tours and tastings can be arranged to sample a range of the different wine and cider varieties.

Trevibban Mill and Appleton’s at the Vineyard

Also on site is Appleton’s at the Vineyard, where ex-Fifteen head chef Andy Appleton is managing the kitchen, feeding hungry visitors with fine Italian dishes showcasing the local produce. Choose from a beautiful piece of sustainable fish, or a bowl of comforting pasta. The dishes provide the ideal accompaniment to a glass of Trevibban Mill wine.

Trevibban Mill & Appleton’s at the Vineyard, Dark Lane, near Padstow, PL27 7SE

01841 541 413

Pasta and Wine at Trevibban Mill & Appleton’s at the Vineyard
Trevibban Mill’s Wine and Yarn

Hidden Kitchen

Hidden Kitchen is a supper club and culinary concierge serving unique food to its St Ives clientele. Located on the corner of St. Andrews Street, in the centre of the historic town, it is easy to miss this understated dining room. Chef James Watson and his wife Georgina worked together in the catering business before opening their first venue. The intimate dining experience in the boutique restaurant makes it feel like a dinner party at a friend’s house.

Hidden Kitchen
Reading material at the Hidden Kitchen

James regularly plays host to visiting chefs who provide diners with constantly changing, exciting international cuisines. Guest chefs have included Gordon Ramsay student Lee Skeet and Japanese cook Naoko Kashiwagi. After the meal leave a message to show your appreciation on the blackboard tables.

Hidden Kitchen, The Masonic Lodge, St. Andrews Street, St Ives, TR26 1AH

07792 639 755

Hidden Kitchen – a feast for the senses
Drinks at the Hidden Kitchen


There are more and more promising independent coffee shops in Cornwall; Espressini on Killigrew Street in Falmouth is one of the best. This characterful venue serves a bespoke blend of beans sourced and roasted by Yallah Coffee, selected specially for them from growers around the world. Inside, the café is cosy and familiar with mismatched antique furniture, and the chatter accompanied by a thoughtful playlist. The coffee is bold in flavour and served to your preference. Brunch is particularly popular with a menu of tempting and indulgent dishes displaying a wide range of influences from world cuisines.

Coffee at Espressini

Nearby, on Falmouth harbour, is Dulce, the smaller sibling of Espressini which, as well as offering freshly brewed coffee, sells equipment to help you make the perfect cup at home.

39 Killigrew St, Falmouth, TR11 3PW

Sweet treats at Espressini
Fabulous interior design at Espressini

Sarah King

We talk to British Columbia-based illustrator and artist, Sarah King, about the importance of words in her work and the fascinating new techniques she’s using. You can find more of her art at and @sarahkingart.

Could you tell us a little bit about your background – where you trained, how you learned and what inspired you to become an artist and an illustrator when you were younger?

I have always loved to draw and make things. I was part of a book-making group with friends when I was five where we wrote, illustrated, printed and bound small books. That was probably the start of me wanting to be an illustrator.

When it came to university it was between marine biology/zoology illustration, animation or graphic design. I didn’t get great grades for the marine biology/zoology side, but I had a full portfolio of artwork to get in to Brighton for Graphic Design.  Brighton was an amazing experience, with talented and inspiring class mates and tutors who were great designers and illustrators themselves.

When did you make the move from London to Canada?  What drew you to British Columbia?

I moved to Canada in 2010.  Initially the plan was just for 6 months to snowboard and explore but as soon as I arrived I knew I wanted to stay. BC has an incredible landscape – winter is amazing when you have mountains to play in, and summer opens up even more to see. The hiking, surfing, mountain biking and snowboarding made me fall in love with the country.

Sarah King

You’ve travelled to some interesting locations, and produced work relating to travel – have your travels influenced you significantly?  Do you have a favourite country that you’ve visited?

Yes, travelling has influenced a lot of my work. I visited Canada 5 years ago and never left, so I would have to say BC is one of my favourite places. I also worked as a scuba diving instructor in Asia on coral reef conservation projects. Spending time observing the underwater world was an incredibly special experience, and something everyone should try.

What subjects or themes do you feel have been a draw for your work?

Nature, history, literature, travel, music.

You’ve worked across a number of different mediums and techniques – can you explain a little about the mediums/ techniques you use? Do you have a particular favourite?  Do you find that working in one medium/ technique helps, or feeds into working with another? 

Pen and ink is what I use most often – I love incorporating objects into my work, such as the type on fruit. It’s a tricky technical element to get right: the texture of the fruit skin, trying hard not to bruise the fruit, photography and editing.

Pyrography is quite a recent technique I picked up after seeing some beautiful etched leather shoes. Burning wood is very satisfying, you are limited with the tools, and the way the wood burns, so this dictates some of the style of the artwork. I love the permanence and solidity of the pieces.

Sarah King

You’ve worked for an impressive number of publications, and also produced some beautiful personal projects – do you have a favourite piece?

The snowboards for GNU are a personal favourite.  Having the opportunity to work for a great company, on a design for an Olympian, Jamie Anderson, on a product that I get to use and enjoy, and see other people using on the mountain, is pretty special.

Your work frequently combines text with art – how do the text and art work together to form parts of the whole illustration?

I use the words as a texture – you can create different flows and shades with different sizes and styles of text. People viewing the work always try to read and piece together the words, so what is written adds a whole new element to the image.

Do you write all the text for your pictures?  Where does the inspiration for the words come from?

Not always, commissions often provide text. Some personal projects are taken from poems and books. On some pieces I come up with the words myself, relating to the artwork.

A lot of your work features the natural world – how do you feel about the environment and the preservation of the environment?

I love nature and the outdoors, and spend as much time as possible exploring it. Hopefully we humans figure it out, and preserve as much as possible.

Sarah King

The Canada Magazine

This week the Canada issue of Lodestars Anthology – officially released in the UK on October 18 – will be avalible through our online store. So we thought we’d celebrate by sharing some of the wild and wonderful images and illustrations that fill the pages of issue 6. Thank you as always to our truly spectacular contributors – the world is indeed filled with some rather talented beings.

You can order the magazine here.

Lodestars Anthology Canada

About the magazine: Canada is a land where lakes glow, mountains soar and island life prevails. Wild, rugged and unfazed by time, luxury resides in unexpected corners, cities delight and outdoor adventure beckons, for nature is indeed all around. You yearn to explore, to get lost, to reconnect with a pristine beauty so hard to encounter in the modern world. The seasons astound – from frozen winters to summer’s never-setting sun – while waterfalls carve canyons, rivers become frozen highways and people smile, aware of their heritage and all that this land has gifted them. You’ll find snow and maple syrup, art and architecture and a landscape both inspiring and eternal. Greetings from the Great White North.

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Some featured destinations:

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
Fogo Island Inn
The flavours of Canada
Cosman & Webb maple syrup
Left Field Brewery
Canoe North Adventures
The Yukon in winter
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Halifax Lobster Boil
Ontario wines
The Canadian Rockies
Prince Edward Island
The Canadian

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada

Lodestars Anthology Canada