From drinking delicious cucumber and mint cocktails to relaxing in Karekare, busy fashion designer Juliette Hogan shares her favourite weekend escapes.

Drinking ... at Golden Dawn for a gin and soda, anywhere that has Amisfield Rose, and Fukuko for their cucumber and mint cocktail.
Golden Dawn,34 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, ph (09) 376 9929.
• Fukuko, 43 Tyler St, Britomart, ph (09) 300 5275.

Dining ... at Ortolana for their beautiful presentation. Their food is so fresh and delicious. Vinyl, just down the road from our workroom, for their curly fries, and Fukuko for their quick and easy snacks.
Ortolana, 31 Tyler St, Britomart, ph (09) 368 9487.
Vinyl, 218 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden, ph (09) 623 3821.

Trying ...

I want to learn to shuck oysters in Mahurangi. You just phone them and organise a tutorial for up to six people. I want to try Eden Noodle Cafe just down the road from my workroom. We've been too shy to try it out but queues always stretch out on to the sidewalk. Also, I'm desperate to find where to buy Nori chips. I have scoured Asian supermarkets and have no idea where to get them from. If anyone has a recommendation on where to buy them, let me know!


Mahurangi Oysters, 180 Ridge Rd, Mahurangi East, ph (09) 425 5652.
• Eden Noodles Cafe, 105 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden, ph (09) 630 1899.

Going ...

to Karekare for beers and Twisties on the beach.

Relaxing ...

at home with the sun streaming in while rereading

The Quiet American

by Graham Greene as I'm heading back to Vietnam this year, or staying down at The Spire in Queenstown spending the day walking around Lake Hayes.

The Spire, 3/5 Church St, Queenstown, ph (03) 441 000.

Loving ...

swimming at Minnehaha Beach on a weekday when no one else is around.

Eating ...

eggs and roasted tomatoes at Queenies.Their apple juice is amazing, too.

Queenies, 24 Spring St, Freemans Bay, ph (09) 378 8977.

Discovering ...

Zamora sausages in Queenstown. Their pork and blue cheese sausages are like nothing I've ever eaten before. You've got to try their smoked cheese, too. I brought back a huge cooler box on the plane from Queenstown last week as my carry-on. Also, the steak sandwich at the Queenstown Farmers' Market.

Queenstown Farmers' Market, Anglican Church, cnr Church & Camp Sts.