Lotuses+Lanehouses is a personal blog written by me, Nicky Henderson (formerly Barber), mainly about my life living abroad (currently Shanghai) and the things that interest me. I’m a Director of Content, Recipe Developer, Food Stylist & Photographer.
I grew up in the beautiful city of Cape Town, where in my last couple of years at high school I decided that I wanted to follow in my mom’s footsteps and become a chef. I attended the Institute of Culinary Arts for a year in 2003, and realised that I actually knew very little about my career choice and decided that it wasn’t for me. Thankfully I still managed to learn a ton from my time there, which only improved the skills that I’d been working on since before I could actually read recipe books (probably why I detest ones with no photos) – so all was not lost.
My dad threatened to cut me off if I didn’t find a job after my spectacular departure from culinary school, so I started working at a new restaurant in Hout Bay Cape Town, and haven’t stopped since. I’ve been in sales, publishing, digital advertising, social media, part-time catering and even au paired, but I’ve always ended up being drawn back to food. My first love, something I’ve always been good at.
I also discovered photography at a young age, saving pocket money to purchase my first second-hand analog camera, doing photography as an art subject at school, and learning how to develop my own prints. It’s something I will always appreciate, my second love, always wanting to learn more about and improve on.
So fast forward a few years to mid-2014. My fiancé (now husband), Jonathan, had been doing his full-time MBA for a few months and was deciding on whether or not he wanted to go on exchange for a few months after he’d finished the year. I’d been to Beijing on a work conference for 5 days the year before, and absolutely loved it, so I think my enthusiasm must’ve planted the seed for wanting to explore China further. I can’t really remember the exact conversation, but we must’ve been talking about his options, and Shanghai came up. So we decided that he’d go on a 5 month exchange to the Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, and we’d take it from there.
In early August of 2015 I got on a plane and left South Africa to join Jonathan in Shanghai, where we’ve been living and working ever since.
When I’m not planning content, cooking or photographing food in my work hours, I’m usually tinkering in the kitchen at home or thinking about what I’m going to cook next. I’m incredibly passionate about creating content, which is where my love for food, design & photography come together perfectly. I also have big plans for Lotuses+Lanehouses in 2017 and beyond, which I hope to be able to work on and share over the next few months.