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Posts tagged ‘travel’

The beauty of simplicity

I have been in Singapore this week to attend Maison & Objet Asia. Given the reputation of the Paris fair I had high expectations,  in hindsight far too high. So, in all honesty it has been a bit of mixed week. There were certainly some highlights which I am excited to share with you in upcoming posts, but mainly my Singapore sojorn became an opportunity for some much needed solo time.

With all the busyness of my life I have become unaccustomed to being with myself and by that I don’t mean being alone, but  existing without distractions. Raising a child, growing a business and the myriad of other domestic and social responsibilities are all things I love dearly, but my life is filled to the brim.

In Singapore staying in a conveniently located but soulless hotel was a constant reminder how vital interiors are to our mental health and happiness. Instead of checking-out I decided to seek my inspiration elsewhere and last night I took myself to Waku Ghin, Tetsuya Wakuda’s Singapore restaurant.


When this dish was presented to me it took my breath away. A combination of sea urchin, shrimp and caviar, it was possibly the most beautiful thing I had seen all week.

I vividly recall the first time I ate Tetsuya‘s food: the favours and combinations were unlike anything I had ever tasted. It was a transformative. My husband and I even bought his cookbook and prepared many of the recipes. Surprisingly, they were incredibly easy to make and depended on simplicity: the freshest of ingredients prepared with great care and delicacy.

Last night, I decided to set myself the challenge of enjoying a 10 course degustation menu without any distractions: no book or  magazine, no iPhone, pen nor paper or company. Instead, I was to do nothing except the task at hand of eating. Sounds simple, but I had my doubts about my comfort doing this.

You see, like most of us, I have become a master at multi-tasking. I listen to podcasts while I drive, I unpack the dishwasher as my husband and I talk about our day, I brush my teeth and remove my make-up while my son is in the bath, I am on the phone while I prepare dinner, I am reading emails on my phone as I walk to work, lunch is eaten while I answer emails. It is efficient, or at least I kid myself it is. But is it a pleasurable  or gratifying way of living?

What struck me last night was this. My sensory experience was heightened. I could tell you about the texture of certain dishes, the coolness of the marble counter, the finely textured paper of the wine list, the warm hue of the lights, the sound of sizzling olive oil,  the concentration of the chef as he placed the lobster tails in the shiny copper pan and exactly how he gracefully cleaned the hot plate . . .

It made me reflect upon how much of my life I am not fully savouring, because I am distracted, because I am kidding myself that life is too busy to just to be doing one thing at a time.

Is this just me or is this a modern affliction?

London Calling: Day 1

This week I am coming to you from London.

The main reason I am here is to go to a Masterclass with the wonderful Abigail Ahern. For those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that I am a big fan and I have posted about her here and here. Between wandering the streets in search of amazing places to photograph, I plan to see the British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist at the Queen’s Gallery and for old time’s stake, the Sir John Soane Museum.

It is a trip that I am both excited and reluctant about as it is really the first time I will be away from Jasper for such a long time.  I know that this will be a wonderful thing for me to do for myself and that Jasper will be absolutely fine without me, nevertheless I feel quite conflicted.

Would you be?

Image: Pearly Queens by British artist Ann Carrington

Dreaming about travelling to these places

One of my favourite bloggers, Danielle de Lange of The Style Files fame, has recently started another blog, The Travel Files. It very quickly has become one of my favourites to read.

I love to travel and discovering small beautiful places to stay. And if you are stuck at home, then The Travel Files gives you the fodder to dream.

Here are some images from recent posts.

Perivolas, Santorini

Perivolas, Santorini

Hotel Azucar, Mexico 

Riad P’tit Habibi, Marrakech

Hotel Masseria Cimino, Italy 

Castles in the Sand, Morocco

Masseria Alchimia, Italy

Moke & Vanille, Belgium

Getting it out of your system

Just married and one of my closest friends was leaving for an extended honeymoon in Europe. As she had rarely travelled, I was excited for her and the adventure on which she was about to embark.

Travel for most of my adult life travel has taken priority over being sensible. And when I hit my 30s I had hardly any conventional things to my name: no career, no savings, superannuation, pots and pans, let alone house and definitely no diamond ring on any of my fingers. Most of my effort, time and all the money I could scrape together was spent in foreign countries eating mysterious foods, sleeping in sometimes less than ideal places, meeting interesting people and long haul flights.

So, when my friend’s colleague at the wedding said: “It’s good she’s getting that out of her system now, so then she can settle down”, I was stumped. The idea that travel can be ticked off a list as done was . . . well a totally foreign concept to me.

photo credit: Patrick Cline for M.A. Belle