Friday, May 4, 2018

I've been to Bali, too.

If I'd written a places to see before I die when I was 21, Bali would have been very low on the list, maybe not even there at all.

But some requests just can't be declined. It was time my travel partner, Miss Meg,  and I set off on another adventure.

It's been 17 years since we last boarded a plane, landed in Ireland and explored the rest of Europe. Back then we spent our cash on youth hostels, bread and cheese at every meal and whatever cheap drinks we could get our hands on.

A lot has happened since then.

We travelled more. We found husbands. We've had five kids between us. There have been fearful tumours and smashed up ankles. There's been funerals and many celebrations.

It was time we teamed up and took another trip.

With time limits and commitments restraining us, we needed somewhere close by. We needed good weather. We needed something new and exciting for both of us.

There needed to be good food, because we are no longer on a bread only diet.

And that's how we ended up in Bali, a first for us both.

First stop - Kayon Resort in Ubud.

It was a little bit beautiful. Set in the mountains at a waterfall, wherever you roam the calming sounds of the waterfall surround you. When you eat, you benefit from the relaxing views of the natural area around you. The service is constantly impressive. There are no children at the Kayon Resort, we decided this was a very good thing. It's designed for grown ups to sit down, refocus, rewind, relax.

And so we did.

There's plenty to explore if you want to leave the spa facilities, but personally, it's so good at the resort, you might not need much more.

Miss Meg went running. She ran and ran in that crazy humidity, she overheated so much that I've never seen a fit healthy lady sweat so many buckets while sitting in a massage waiting room. She borrowed a towel. And another. And a cold face washer. I laughed my butt off. The staff pretended nothing was happening.

On a walk through the local village you can see a wood carver creating intricate wood work. Of course it's all for sale. Some of it may not meet the rules of political correctness, but it's all tapped out by the one person.

After Ubud.

Is Seminyak.

And Hotel Indigo.

This place is LOVE at first site. LOVE at the welcome drink. LOVE at the architecture.

and at the pools

and the rooms

the food that's served up

the beach front

the service

the drivers who are available as you need them

and for the runners you can take a guided neighbourhood run, for the non-runners, ask to do a morning stretching/meditation class, it's probably the best way to start your day.

There is a lot to explore in Seminyak. But we based our decisions on one vital thing.


On your next trip to Seminyak, you won't regret a trip to Teatro. It's another spot that is not for kids.

Teatro is what happens when the most creative and artistic minds mix food and tastes together, pop in a glamorous dining room and well-informed staff then deliver a special night. Book in before you go if you want to confirm your table.

Everyone told us to add Potato Head and Ku De Ta and The W to our list of must-see. But every time we drove past we just didn't feel the vibe was ours. We kept deciding to try something else. When we did land at Potato Head it confirmed what we expected. It's a great looking place. It's fun. It's filled with very very beautiful people. It's kind of boring.

So, hello La Laguna.

It's a little out of the way. Your driver is best to confirm directions before you take off.

But it's lovely. If you're seeking pretentious, this is not the place for you. If you want linen table clothes, go somewhere else. But it you want to walk on the beach without hundreds of other people or you want to sit down and laze about, you'll love this place. Enter along the road filled with real gypsy vintage caravans and soak up a relaxed night. Kids will enjoy the space, parents will enjoy the excellent food offering and a cocktail or three.

Next, we took a chance on Nook. Highly recommended it was.

Miss Meg really loved it. I ordered for us and went for the traditional Balinese food banquet. I can't really tell you what we ate as the waiter was pretty abrupt when we asked. That's soup. Eat it with rice. What kind of soup, we'll never actually know.

Miss Meg is a lover of dogs. I am not. I did not like the large number of dogs walking around my table, under my table, under my chair and so close to my food. It might be a Bali thing, but homeless dogs at my dinner table just made me uncomfortable. Nook wasn't a favourite of mine becuase of this, but Miss Meg really liked it. The food was ok, possibly better than ok, but as I didn't really know what I was eating, it again took me that extra step too far from my comfort zone. There are many dishes to choose from that are more westernised which I could have chosen, but both of us chose local dishes when we could.

We swapped shopping time for reading by the pool time. It was too addictive and we couldn't get out of our bathers when the pool was beckoning.

We listened to Spotify songs about drinking pina coladas and we drank champagne on the beach.

We've told our kids enough times that they must eat breakfast so we knew it was beneficial to eat everything possible from the breakfast buffet.

And then we packed up.

Ordered our cars.

Returned to real life.

To lunch boxes and uniform washing. To early alarms and homework battles. To hundreds of work emails and ideas of new things to do, to build, to create and be.

You can't travel the world with just anyone. You need a very special person to do this with.

Miss Meg and I live over 2000 kms apart. We go months before she replies to a message. MONTHS. But when we travel, it's always good.

Now, we've both been to Bali too.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Remember Summer 2018

Some years, the weeks fly by and they are just good weeks even though the days are not significant.

The moments are fleeting, yet they are jigsaw pieced together to form a picture that represents an image of good times.

In future years we might not remember exactly what happened this past summer that made it something so remarkable for being so casual.

But the magic of internet sites and the oft considered a gift from the devil - the digital footprint - allows us to place the things we did, right here, right now. A catalogue to refer to and remember, when we need it.

It was a long summer, that started when school finished in the first week of December. It was also the first time since they were born that I spent a full 6 weeks away from the office and with the girls, which is something to treasure just by itself. Removing the need to find a solution for summer holiday care provided space for so much.

We had a 9th birthday to kick us off and spent it sliding around and down the most massive slides in all the lands at Funfields. There was ice cream and cake and singing and smiles.

We had Christmas on the farm, which included horse riding - well kind of horse riding, there was also the 'hang on tight to the runaway horse moment' that we will all remember for a long time.

When you have no NYE plans and the mister is working there is only one thing to do. Get on the internet and find the last minute deals. Which is how us girls found ourselves in a vintage caravan on the coast. It was perfect and even better when we realised how many people we knew down there at the time.

And then we celebrated turning 12 with a day at the nail salon and a night at the drive-in and having a turn in the virtual reality egg!

With the weather still fabulous, we headed north for a week to Yarrawonga. We had blue skies and a billion degrees so it was straight to the water of the lake or the pool in your backyard.
Hiring out boats for barbecues and ski biscuits, climbing through the water park and enjoying Australia Day fireworks. We had the best of company with good friends the whole time we were away and ate delicious local foods as we went.

Throughout the summer, our theme songs played,  each and every one a tune from the movie The Greatest Showman.

We made the decision to give this acting/modelling/photography thing a go too and Immy now has her very own agent. The first photo shoot was a bit nervy, but she was totally calm by the end.

Then school went back, the office beckoned and some minor surgery was required to keep Mr H intip-topp form.

Each weekend we squeezed in more trips to the ocean, which was splendid - until that one time when we had 'attack of the jelly fish' occur at Williamstown beach.

This photo was about 30 seconds before we raced home to the bottle of vinegar - which we will never leave home without again.

We've played games of Speak Out, taken lots of family walks, swam every week, started a new school year and had lovely friends to hang out with.

Thanks summer 2018, you've been a gem.