Luggage check, carry-on check, money check, passport check, vaccination check, travel insurance….ummm check? I have been a frequent flyer on long haul flights (from London to Hong Kong, vice versa) for nearly 2 years and have picked up some mistakes and tips along the way. What is the best way to endure long haul flights as pleasant as possible? There is no secret formula that works for anyone but preparation. I’ve only experienced 3 unfortunate events on long haul flights a few years ago, altitude sickness from dehydration, not paid attention to food intolerance and ended up being sick (I have to remind myself that I’m lactose intolerant to cold dairy desserts, come on a small spoonful of goodness won’t hurt my tummy. Yes it will), and sexual harassment with a fellow passenger seated next to me. It was a l-o-n-g story.
It is essential to enjoy your long haul experience in anyway you can, whether it’s cattle class (I don’t mind) to upper class, long haul or short haul, preparation is key to hassle-free smooth, and comfortable flight.
I love visiting countries or cities I’ve never been and people I’ve never met, even if it’s not on my bucket list I love exploring. But this trip to Costa Navarino in Greece was particularly special to me, one of my favourite films of all time, Before Midnight (2013) directed by Richard Linklater, has a close connection with Costa Navarino, it was partly filmed in one of the two hotels and much of the filming took place in the Peloponnesian region of Messinia including Kardamili, Gulf of Messenia, Pylos, the ruins of Mycenaean Palace of Nestor and many more. Those who have not heard of the film, it’s an American romantic drama film, the third in a trilogy, following Before Sunrise (1995) filmed in Vienna, and Before Sunset (2004) filmed in Paris, and third one in southern Peloponnese. It’s the film’s longest love story and centres around a couple (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) engage in a long, discursive conversations. When a PR emailed me an invitation to this trip, read the subject line, I immediately said yes without hesitation! You wouldn’t believe I already planned a perfect quote from the film’s famous scene to end the post.
From the moment I arrived at The Romanos, after a four hour car journey from the airport, my thoughts were ‘My gosh this place is huge!’, ‘I’m dyslexic I’m going to get lost.’ Costa Navarino is home to two luxury hotels, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino and The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, as well as the award winning Anazoe Spa, alluring natural sceneries – extensive grounds with olive groves, indigenous trees and plants as well as golf course, recreation centre, restaurants and shops, even a tiny chapel. Perfect for a romantic getaway or a holiday wedding, perhaps?
Oh Paris, you do bore me to death sometimes. What can you offer me in return besides great luxury hotels, mouthwatering hot chocolate and sugar-high macarons, Colette, nitty-gritty street corners and the oh mighty Sephora?
An annual trip to Paris feels like taking a trip to the enclosed estate with the same sort of common scenery. B-o-r-i-n-g. I do admire its traditional, romanticism architecture in Paris but having been spending more time in fast paced city in Hong Kong, I was used to seeing its incredible skyline’s contemporary and innovative buildings, you barely see fluffy white clouds between the gaps of neighbouring buildings, shapes and forms that tells a story of its own and the inspiration behind it all. My recent visits to Singapore and Doha were incredibly breathtaking, if you’re a fan of contemporary architecture I highly recommend visit all three cities.
A brief trip to Fondation Louis Vuitton with The Peninsula & co somewhere in Paris, started in 2006, an art museum and cultural centre designed by Frank Gehry. In awe of it’s in-depth construction from wall to wall, floor to ceiling, it’s like a giant ship shaped almost like a mutant bug with beautiful intricate scales. To see the structure from afar, it could easily be an exquisite bejewelled pendant. Or an ark from outer space.
Imagine you’re staying at a 5 star luxury hotel in Paris and you’ve been treated like a one of a kind smoked salmon canapé topped with premium caviar and 24 carat edible gold leaf, paired with Russian Bellini. Sounds ravishing, a bit snooty but rarely experienced in London. I’m not the type of person who require special treatment, I prefer the ‘treat me like a friend’ vibe. After all I’m after the first class experience.
Back in early spring this year, us, friendly press-ladies* arrived in style at The Peninsula Paris via Eurostar from London, shame that I was dressed in the certain style (unprepared for the hotel arrival outfit) that did not bode well with the exquisite entrance, ripped boyfriends jeans, chunky boots, loose shirt and thick leather jacket. Totes Brit’n’grunge style, yo! The grand entrance in the lobby speaks for itself, understated, the epic centre of activity, designed for arrival in style. The stunning belle epoque restaurant The Lobby located next to the hotel reception reminds me closer to home. The Peninsula Hong Kong. It’s the oldest luxury hotel in Hong Kong (and the founding hotel group which operates ten hotels across Asia, Europe and the United States), it’s well worth a visit.
A spot of afternoon lunch at the aviation-theme restaurant L’Oiseau Blanc on top floor of the hotel, (see image slide above) with spectacular views looking across Paris from the roof top terrace and restaurant. How are you doing, Paris?
I’ve been involved in making and eating eclairs in the past year, from baking everything from scratch (the dough, filling and topping) with Le Meridien in Monaco last winter, I pretty much ate every single flavours of eclairs at Angelina cafe in Hong Kong, to customising eclairs toppings with Le Meridien in London Piccadilly last week. I have sweet tooth. I’m allowed.
One late morning I was invited to sample a new Savoy‘s signature; eclairs, at the newly opened Melba at The Savoy in Strand. Formerly a currency exchange premise now it was transformed into a gourmet take-away counter, incorporating quintessentially British design with hand-carved espresso-black woodwork interiors, rich black and white marble flooring, grey Italian marble counter tops and chrome accessories, with accents of the Art Deco era and Edwardian period. Melba offer a selection of pastries, British classic sandwiches and hot and cold beverages to take away, all menu is created by executive pastry chef, Ludwig Hely.
What a treat it was to travel in a convoy by 4×4 along with 200 European journalists, bloggers, travel agencies, guides and Moroccan security officials across the dry lifeless planet Mars. It was like watching a live action 3D movie from one of the iconic scenes in Lawrence of Arabia or Black Hawk Down, I mean what a treat, but we did not drive to the dunes just bumps.
My previous trips to Morocco has brought me new-found experiences and insights of Berbers and Moroccan cultures. It’s not all about the hustle and bustle, and maze-like souks in Marrakech, the quiet seaside resort town in Essaouira, nor the beautiful decorative riads. It’s about the cultural experience, explore the unexplored you’d be amazed to find something unique and take the memorable experience with you back home. Having visited Marrakech, Essaouira, Rabat and Casablanca with Morocco Tourist Board in the previous year and before, I was thirsty for more and hungry for more. And there you ago again my third trip to Morocco! This time in Dakhla.
A quickie note.
I just wanted to share with you this little Instagram project I did with Pärla for their #LOVEparla campaign on Valentine’s Day this year, it sort of got lost in the IG feed and I wanted to revive it on the blog. If you haven’t heard of Pärla, it’s about time you do. Pärla is an independent jewellery boutique founded and curated by Erin O’Connor (not the 6 foot tall super model of course), it stocks contemporary designer jewellery, British and Scandinavian design from Bjorg, Smith/Grey, Clarice Price Thomas, Jessie Harris, COOEE, and my favourite designer V Jewellery. I’ve been a fan of V Jewellery for a year, thanks to the email introduction from my sister Isabella (Rockin’ That Gem) who has just moved to Perth with her future hubby last year. For the #LOVEparla project, obviously I was going to pick a piece by V Jewellery that reflects my personality and my love for Art Deco and modern design, I chose a Simplicity Cut Ring. I’m sorry to say the ring is out of stock, but please don’t fret, the ring is available on V Jewellery’s very own e-shop!
Happy June the 1st!