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Sunset #805 Pink Bldg. Dubai – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant

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Sunset beers. 803 Pink Building, Dubai.

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

Sunset #805 Pink Bldg. Dubai. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Sunset. My happy place. Ingrained in my daily ritual. It’s my down-time, recharge, meditation & relaxation all in one.

For me, this ritual began in Dubai days when I lived on Sheikh Zayed Road in “Emirates White Building”, an apartment building next door to the Shangri La Dubai, that can quite clearly in the spectacular ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ footage shot from the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa.

Fortunately my 2nd Dubai apartment faced away from Dubai’s busiest strip of road – a 4 lane freeway on each side. My balcony faced west towards the Persian Gulf overlooking a medium-sized mosque and part of the ritual I had with 2 best mates that I shared our “Club #203” bachelor pad with (yes, I’m serious – there was carved plaque and everything! 🙂 shakes head.. ) and friends in the Pink Palace next door (Emirates Pink Building), was watching the sun go down over long chats out on one of our multiple balconies or to smash a few ice-cold pints at the start of big nights out. Our kitchen had a 2nd full-sized fridge dedicated to the slabs/cartons of beer piled next to it and chock-full of ice-cold bottles of vodka, chilled pint glasses and a vast array of spirit mixers. One serious life of excess.

This shot was captured at one such Pink Building sunset session. We got up to all sorts of mischief in Pink and White buildings. Water-bombing unsuspecting Starbucks patrons from 8 floors up, tequila & Jenga drinking games, Up the River/Down The River, scantily-clad cabin crew packing out themed apartment parties, end of night drinks ’til dawn & beyond after the Dubai bars and clubs closed at 3am.. and let’s not talk about the time the tool-bag in the pic decided to drop an empty Corona off the building straight into one of our mate’s JEEPs from 8 floors up! Damage control in more than one sense of the word!

True story. In case you haven’t been up on my Hot & Delicious Instagram yet and been bombarded with sunset magic, one of THE major factors in me choosing my current Melbourne CBD apartment is it’s stunning views of Melbourne’s Docklands, breathtaking skyporn sunsets and nightscapes.

It is truly my happy place these days and some days I float away to the Middle East. 🙂

DW

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Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Minibike Madness. Paris, France. Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant #travel #photography

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It doesn't have to be big to be cool. Paris, France. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).
It doesn’t have to be big to be cool. Paris, France. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

 

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

It doesn’t have to be big to be cool. Paris, France. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

I seriously lost my shit when I stumbled across this pimped-out dude lazing, arms draped on the tiniest of mini-bikes at the traffic lights like it was an old school chopper.

A few years back on a work trip to France, I caught up with 2 of my close friends over a few cheeky wheat beers at a cafe on Paris’ backstreets on a balmy, summer’s eve.

Next morning we woke up with dusty heads and wandered down to the local boulangerie to pick-up a clichéd bag of croissants for breakfast to be enjoyed with a kick-ass bowl of café au lait.

Upon leaving my friend’s apartment en route back to the airport I came across this guy chillin’, waiting for the lights to change and chuckled as I raised the SLR to my face. I wear a cheeky smile on my face every time I flash back to this scene and it just makes me happy 🙂

This 24 hours in Paris still brings tingles of joy and these kinds of trips were truly one of the perks of being able to travel to all my favourite destinations around the world for a living.

If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring exciting, faraway places with disposable income, staying in 5-star hotels and you’re not a model, rockstar or travel blogger.. then I can highly recommend working as cabin crew for an international airline.

The world is your oyster. Go do it!

DW

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

Little girl’s curiosity. Jaipur, India. ‪#‎wanderlust‬

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LittleGirlsCuriosityJaipurIndia. Photo credit: D.Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Welcome to the new series of Hot & Delicious travel short-pieces where I share my photos from around the world and the moments behind them in short form. I’ve traveled the globe and yes, it’s long past time I started sharing some of the wonderful moments I’ve been blessed enough to experience.

When I travel, like everyone else I do love ticking off boxes by seeing the sites like the Eiffel Tower, Vatican City, the Kremlin and more, but my purest travel joy is derived by venturing off the beaten track and being aware enough to capture those moments of inspiration in every day life that just seem to appear at the most unexpected times. This is one of those.

Little girl’s curiosity. Jaipur, India. ‪#‎wanderlust‬ Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

I was on a 5-day trip to India with 2 friends to visit renowned tourist circuit, The Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle is so called because of the triangular shape formed by 3 cities in Northern India which each has it’s own wealth of beauty, culture and history – Delhi, Agra (the city of the Taj Mahal) and Jaipur. Whilst driving into Jaipur, also known as The Pink City, we pulled over by the side of the road to determine our bearings and these 3 beautiful little girls wandered out.

…and for just a moment …it was almost as if time stopped. 

DW

The Golden Triangle - India

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.
Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

 

Facebook Mentions – Lighting cigars with wads of brand Benjamins.

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Facebook MentionsWell, hai Faceook.. nice shiny news toys.. Facebook Messenger, Slingshot, Paper, Native Video being optimized and now Facebook Mentions… 

In case you haven’t heard of it, Facebook Creative Labs recently dropped their latest tool, the Facebook Mentions app “makes it easy for public figures to talk with their fans and each other on the go.” Hang on, I hear you say.. that’s what Twitter and Reddit are for.. yes, this is the latest in moves designed to keep social media users within the Facebook family.. buy Instagram, Facebook Paper for news, Slingshot to combat Snapchat, optimizing Native Video to draw advertising $$$ away from YouTube. It all makes sense right? I’m not convinced.

Celebrities, market need and the need for Facebook to have their fingers in every pie.

Now I’m not a celebrity (yet 😉 ), but I’ve been around the music industry for years and for me there’s two types of celebrities.. those who like to be seen schmoozing with other celebrities and sharing it with the world and those that like to be left alone or if connecting with other celebs, are not trapped up in making a big deal about it, so to me Facebook Mentions in it’s current format doesn’t make sense.

And what about Facebook’s perceived need for “world-domination” of all social media tools in the broader social media market?

We live in an ever-evolving technological age where consumers are spoilt for choice and each of us have our own little suite of social platforms that we use in varying frequencies depending on what drives and inspires us as an individual. Like my food and travel destinations I crave choice and variety in my social media; I enjoy Twitter for one-on-one connections with influencers, meeting every-day people I come across in the digital world whom I’ve never met who love similar things to me, friends and making new business contacts, Instagram as a photographer for daily inspiration/sharing and yes, even Pinterest has it’s place to occasionally inspire me and make me laugh when I’m struggling to get the day started and coffee just isn’t cutting the mustard. Like most of us. I want to at least “feel” like I have this choice and while Facebook Creative Labs is a cool initiative in theory, some of those smarts would surely be better utilised in improving Facebook’s user experience, as what Mark Zuckerberg & Co seem to fail to realise is you don’t need to own own every single human connection on social media. Sure, it’d be nice ($$$) and social innovation is certainly key, but you can’t be everything to everyone and when spread yourself thin over a 100 different opportunities invariably you open yourself up to falling flat on your face.

Last year I spoke with one of our top guys in Singapore about his philosophy on innovation and for his own personal development he endeavours to focus on 3 big projects a year and to do them well, nay, absolutely nail them. I come from a similar school of thought. In 2010, I burnt myself out working 12-14 hours a day 6 – 7 days a week managing 3 bands/singer-songwriters, working on a snowboard show on TV, building a business and flying around the country running various events, whilst trying to make ends meet. Now translate this to Facebook. For them it’s burning resource. It’s all very well to want to build creations designed to combat competitors and blow them out of the water with innovation, but creation’s just the first step. Once you’ve spent millions of dollars building a viable platform, to stay current and to continue to evolve, it’s necessary to continue pouring money into projects just to keep them relevant and competitive, which leaves two considerations – (a) The aforementioned market need and (b) Where’s this money coming from for development?

So my Advertising Dollars are funding this?

Yes, now comes the “fun” part. “Where’s the money coming from for your shiny new toys Facebook?” – mutter agencies, brand and marketing teams around the world. And yes, pure and simple. Brands are paying for it.

Working in social media I accept that part of my role is explaining to clients that the natural evolution of successful digital technologies into paid channels is nothing new (e.g. Google) and another reason why each brand’s social strategy should remain platform neutral and be tied to business objectives, rather than specific social platforms. But this? Uh uh.. in it’s current format and in an already saturated social media market I fail to see the necessity of Facebook Mentions and sure if it took off there may well be financial benefits in influencer/brand cross-promotions in the future, but they will be affordable for the few and when life’s already been made more challenging with the “death of Facebook Organic Reach” conversations, this is not helping.

I’ve been sitting here thinking you’ve been making some shrewd moves of late, Facebook, with your finger on the pulse and as always I’m happy to be proved wrong, but I’m concerned that this just smacks of an itchy trigger finger and you’re shooting blanks.

DW

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.
Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Exploring North Melbourne café secrets – Delicious!

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Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse
Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse, North Melbourne

Coffee: ★★★★☆ (4.5 stars) coffee
Staff: ★★★★★ big grin
Food: ★★★★★ cook
Puppy friendly puppy dog eyes

Bam! Shook off last night’s craft beers with a delicious Colombian dark roast and hit Queen Vic Market for my Saturday AM happy place!

Freshly ground Colombian coffee beans, caviar dip, fresh farm eggs, fruit & veg. Check! North Melbourne brunch. Check! Speaking of check, next time you’re looking for somewhere new for Saturday AM breakfast/brunch, check out Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse.

One of the most exciting parts about living in Melbourne CBD is the plethora of choices to eat, drink & be merry! Decided to explore North Melbourne this morning and the folks suggested Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse. Amazing!

Probably the friendliest staff I’ve seen since my last trip to Johannesburg (South Africans nail customer service), great coffee and the most delectaballs (smile emoticon) fruit platter with strawberries, melons, passionfruit, vanilla yoghurt, chia seed syrup & Vietnamese mint.

10/10 Di Bella!

Dan Wilkinson

Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse
19-21 Leveson Street North Melbourne
Melbourne 3051 Ph: (03) 9329 2973


sFood_eating_100-100
Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community
Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group

 

 

Beauty Is Everywhere – using everyday moments in daily life as an opportunity to recharge.

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For any entrepreneur or those with entrepreneurial mindsets, the double-edged sword of always being switched-on, every waking hour of the day, means that having tools at the ready to enable you to take time out from your lifestyle/busy mind to reset & recharge are crucial.

Even as we speak, it’s Sunday for me & I promised myself I’d stay away from the laptop and yet here I am chasing the weekly biz blog I promised myself I’d write every week in 2014.. justified it to myself in that it’s both a personal and biz blog that helps feed my creative thirst, plus the lines between both elements of my life (by design) are so close that they’re heavily blurred 😉

What’s not blurred though is that I’ve known for quite some time that to stay healthy in body & mind there are both planned and impromptu moments in everyday life that I can employ to stay fresh & clear. For me these days, aside from the obvious relatively healthy diet and exercise, are meditation and a little thing I like to call #BeautyIsEverywhere.

#BeautyIsEverywhere:

While I didn’t invent #BeautyIsEverywhere, for Hot & Delicious the #BeautyIsEverywhere hashtag is dedicated to those everyday moments of beauty in nature (or man-made) that I utilize to reset, recharge & inspire myself at a time in my life when I’m super driven, living on the edge of my seat and at the wheel driving a 1000 miles per hour.

Daily on my way to work, heading down to the shops or out for a night on the town, I’m constantly taking snapshots with my eyes. Some images are captured on my smartphone and make their to the internet through the various Hot & Delicious social channels and others I just soak up with a deep breath, a smile and savour as mine alone.

Whether it be #skyporn, a beautiful beach setting, street-art, flowers, architecture or whatever it is that floats you away, it’s important to keep your busy mind aware and open to the surroundings around you. These little hits of endorphins can make your day, help keep a clear mind & ideas flowing that can change the world! 

Hit me up on Instagram: @hotndelicious, on Tumblr or Twitter @hotndelicious

Feel free to tag @hotndelicious and in your #BeautyIsEverywhere hashtags as I’d love your recharge moments to be mine also.

Dan Wilkinson drives social media strategy, community management & works as music industry advisor at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group

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2 days ago I woke up to a beach sunrise over the ocean, sand & the waves at my feet.. 2014.. I’m ready..

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Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson

2 days ago I woke up to a beach sunrise over the ocean, sand & the waves at my feet..

This year I went from 80% self-employed in my own music industry business, Hot & Delicious Group to coming out the other side of winter working full-time for America’s #1 Digital Agency, SapientNitro, driving social strategy for one of Australia’s largest brewers.

A year of contrasts & definitely not a quiet one, but coming through my 3rd brain tumour operation in 15 years just a year & a half ago, looking back on previous years and knowing all the cool shit I’ve nailed over the past 3 years, it definitely feels like one where I’ve treaded water a little more than usual [to put it in perspective I’ve still created sponsorship partnerships for The Aussie BBQ series of international music showcases with Virgin Australia and Studios 301 in the USA, travelled to LA and Austin (Texas), captured images of Australia’s top musicians/providing social media services for The Aussie BBQ/Sounds Australia at the world’s largest music conference SXSW, project-managed Federation Square’s Helix Tree – Light In Winter installation and starting working with a range of beer/cider brands (incl. Miller Genuine DraftPeroni Nastro AzzurroCarlton Dry, Sweden’s #1 cider KopparbergBulmers and Strongbow cider)] to name but a few projects. Treading water’s not the right phrasing.. a better one would be working in the thick of projects, rather than keeping the eagle eye view from above..

The new job’s been hell-for-leather since Day 1, but I am excited about the team we’ve built, working with people who inspire me, the prospect of being in a position now to present wicked new ideas & game-changing concepts in the new year, access to global resources/networks to achieve our goals and a regular salary (vs working contract-to-contract), which will help allow me to focus on an as of yet unfulfilled music career and a bunch of new Hot & Delicious Group projects in my “downtime”.

The craziness of the past 5 months in particular means I reached the Xmas/New Years holiday period completely exhausted and ready for a solid mental break. As a result, I took the measure of banning myself from all forms of social media for a week from Xmas Day – New Year’s Day. That rest from social channels, family holiday at Portarlington, camping/fishing/skindiving with a bunch of mates on a beach down the Great Ocean Road and today’s trip down to Republica Cafe (St Kilda Beach) to soak up the 25°C blue skies, led to clarity and this explosion of thoughts on paper, which may or may not make it to my Hot & Delicious blog (I’m leaning to yes.. Ha ha.. :D). 

That insight is that during the ups & downs on the roller-coaster of life this year, I’ve managed to have amazing experiences, but these “Good Times” have been accompanied with “Capture this, Update that, Tweet this person, read this article, write that article, watch that TV series…”. It’s true that Sundays have pretty much been kept for me and generally-speaking I’m broadcasting/checking social less on Sundays, but in reality there’s been very few times outside of work or on days off where I’ve made an effort to go out, do something fun & just soak up that particular moment in time for what it is, without feeling the need to update one of my social channels. Connected, Connected, Connected.

I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve created for myself through hard work & the ability to see opportunity in the gaps of the patterns & differences of the world around me, but my #1 goal for 2014 is to soak up the joy of this life by taking more time out for me including chilling & focusing on projects that I love. More passion, energy & happiness will no doubt ensue. Sure.. Capture this, share that is a big part of who I am and what I do.. the reality being that social media is a big part of my life at play/work and an extension of my personality, but it doesn’t define me. 

Living in the moment is what I want to see more of from myself this year and not a concept that’s new to me, but taking time out to reflect & enjoy is where we get fresh energy, a sense of calm and it’s in this headspace where the fresh ideas & magic flow.. 2014.. I’m ready..

Dan Wilkinson.
16:04pm, Tuesday December 31st, 2013.
Republica Cafe, St Kilda Beach
Melbourne Australia.

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