All posts filed under: travel

5 reasons to go on a yoga retreat

Even if you have never stepped foot onto a yoga mat before, there are lots of reasons to pack a bag and immerse yourself in the ancient practice of poses, breathing and meditation for a few days with no other distractions. I did just that at the end of last year – I packed a weekend bag filled with stretchy sweat pants (thanks LuluLemon!), a re-usable water bottle, some body-fitting comfy tops, a yoga mat, a swimsuit for good measure and headed for Chiang Mai in Thailand. This particular yoga retreat was organised by The Yoga Room, an intimate yoga studio in Hong Kong, and taught by the gorgeous, stretchy yogini Nora Lim. It was a four day retreat held at  The Pavana Resort  – a holistic resort with great vegetarian food and spa (very important!) Here are my top five reasons why everyone should find a retreat, make the time to go and indulge in yoga, meditation, pranayama and yourself : You practice yoga every single day – sometimes a few times a day. If …

When Nature takes over – Tours de Merles

I’m not going to pretend that I’m a nature kinda girl. It’s not that I have anything against Mother Nature but I’m more of a city beast and so activities such as hiking, nature walking and rock climbing are not on the top of my to-do-list. However, it’s hard not to be impressed by the force of nature when one comes across a tourist sight such as Les Tours de Merle in France. Donning my sneakers we climbed the rocky paths and stone staircases of this ancient citadel and castle dating back to the 12th century, which was later classified as an Historical monument in 1927. My boys were in their element imagining how the Medieval knights lived, put ‘badies’ in the stocks and stood guard over seven castles, two chapels, a citadel and a whole village, which is pretty hard to imagine when you see the tangled ruin that has been left. What is completely fascinating to me is this picture-perfect example of how Mother Nature will eventually win over what we as human build. Author of …

Crazy Cool Hong Kong

Unlike Paris, the city of Hong Kong is completely organic. Like a Lego City built by a 4-Year-old. Block upon block creating high towers, small kiosks with loads of mismatched colour and tons of small moveable accessories that all have their purpose and story – this is crazy, cool Hong Kong. There is no grid, no meticulous planning, no unanimity, no organization – what you get is organic and visually energizing. I have walked down this same street dozens of times and I notice something different, my eyes are drawn simultaneously all over the place trying to take in all the detail. The washing that hangs on the skyscrapers reaching 50 stories, small neon signs begging for you to try the foot massages, road works with their vivid yellow and black cautionary boards, unguarded street-food stalls spewing steam and the strong smell of cuisine cooking, bamboo poles ascending up the sides of weakened structures. The juxtaposition of colour, the disorganization of the shops overlapping each other and the typography of the millions of signs attracting …

We’ll always have Paris

It’s been 6 weeks since my husband, two boys and I left Paris and made a new home in Hong Kong. This weekend I saw a Facebook post from an ex-colleague who was visiting Paris and she’d attached a funny image of a quintessentially French moment – a baguette neatly tucked into a briefcase after the ‘statutory’ visit to the local boulangerie. This photo, and its Parisian symbolism made me nostalgic for the city we’ve called ‘home’ for the last three years, flooding my head with many fun, amazing, colourful and romantic memories and knowing that we’ll always have Paris. The thing about this life is that nothing is permanent and change is inevitable in one form or another, the Buddhist notion of impermanence reminds me that, without exception, everything we know in this world is transient and all we can do to make it last longer is to stay as present, in this moment, as possible to soak up each and every minute – and that includes eating as much baguette and pastries when …

5 things to do in Palma, Mallorca

Last month my 2 boys and husband spent a few days in Mallorca enjoying the sun, beaches and Spanish way of life. We stayed on the beachy, resort-filled side of the Island but drove south to Palma de Mallorca for one day to see what the capital has to offer. I was pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful, sophisticated and stylish coastal city bustling with tourists and locals alike. The city sits on the edge of the Mediterranean and overlooks its sparkling azure waters with palm trees dotted all over and is as picture-perfect as what I’d seen in internet photos before arriving. It reminded me a little of Barcelona with it’s dusty coloured walls, colossal Cathedral (although this one is actually finished!) and narrow intimate lanes of the old city and there is the exciting fusion of relaxed beach life mixed with energetic city life as in Barcelona. An assortment of Havaianas and heels, a hustle and bustle of the employed alongside cafes brimming with holiday-makers wiling away the time sipping on cocktails in …

84 hours in Hong Kong

My trip to Hong Kong was very brief but it was awesome being back in this crazy city. I love the fine balance between Hong Kong’s super-high-end bling, her beautiful ocean views and beaches and her gritty neon streets – I think it’s a megalapolitan that everyone should visit. Her energy is contagious and her food delicious, it’s worth adding HK to your bucket list for sure!

I love jozi

I love coming back to the city I grew up in. There are the obvious things, like spending time with family and friends and having the familiarity of everything I know, but what I enjoy most is discovering Johannesburg through a different lens from the one I had when I left. Everything changes so fast around this megalopolitan and it’s a very different place to the one I grew up in. Two of the biggest things I’ve noticed is how the fashion and food scene has exploded. They’re a huge part of how the people of Jozi (the local term for Johannesburg) communicate and socialise. Not only have more international high street brands entered this emerging market in the last few years, such as Zara, Topshop, Cotton On, Countryroad and Witchery to name a few, but websites such as spree.co.za are pushing local designers more and more (check out Adam & Eve, Klûk CGDT, Ruff Tung – to name a few). I also popped into jewellery designer Kirsten Goss and handbag designer Missibaba‘s new store, showcasing gorgeous adornments (including Ms Goss’s new Diamond …

Diving into art deco splendour

Built in 1929 and situated in the prestigious 16th arrondisement of Paris, this Olympic-sized swimming pool was THE place to be seen and had its fair share of glamour up until the 80’s. A place where the who’s who could dip their feet in one of two pools and cool off while watching fashion shows and theatrical performances. It was used for film shoots and it was here that Louis Réard, the automobile engineer turned fashion designer, unveiled the soon-to-be famous bikini in 1946. It is also after this Parisian icon that the hero of the 2001 novel “Life of Pi” was named. Abandoned in 1989 this symbol of glamour became a dilapidated canvas for graffiti artists and was even the host of a rave in which 5 000 people attended. Now, in it’s new rebirth, the Piscine Molitor has been restored to much of it’s original splendor and now a 124-room MGallery hotel – excellent for a weekend stay-cation. Much of the original design, by Lucian Pollet, who’s vision was to create a ocean-liner …

Crocking it in Thailand

I didn’t take much convincing for me to try almost every bag in this chaotic little store, The Bangkok Bootery, in Bangtao Beach in Phuket, lucky for me i’m not intimidated by giant crocodiles with fierce teeth! Almost every inch of the floor was covered in shoe boxes with shoes on top, the wall shelves filled with clutch handbags, hangers with croc skin and Python skin jackets and loads of crocodile skins – head and all – hung upside down on the ceiling. Farming crocodiles is a pretty big thing in Thailand, in fact according one story in the Bangkok Post, “Thailand has the largest crocodile farming industry in the world and famous international fashion brands source their exotic skins from the kingdom”. The manager of The Bangkok Bootery store told me that they buy the skins from registered farms and then you can have anything made on site. Any shape and in pretty much any colour! A fashionistas dream right there! Bangkok Bootery, Canal Shopping Village, Laguna Hotel, Cherntalay, Phuket. http://www.bangkokbootery.com

Who said Lugano was just for old rich people?

Given the nickname “the Monte-Carlo of Switzerland” it’s not hard to see why. This perfectly picturesque city bordering Italy to the North has it all. A Lake surrounded by mountains, law-abiding and friendly citizens, luxury shopping (dozens of second-hand luxury watch stores), beautiful parks to keep the kids happy and serene walks. Before visiting, I was under the impression that we’d only be seeing a lot of understated and extremely wealthy people with Hermés handbags and shoulder-draped jerseys – that Lugano was very pretty but a little boring. The understated wealthy people are there, but in fact there is tons to do and the pure beauty of this place allows you to while away the time taking in its natural beauty. A short drive and quick ferry ride will also take you to the town of Bellagio on Lake Como, made famous by some actor called George Clooney – perhaps you’ve heard of him? We took a day trip to the town, but apparently George was busy with wedding plans or something! Bellagio is postcard pretty, …