Ayodya Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali

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So – let’s talk about Bali. I once swore I’d never go to Bali.. even when we were researching for this holiday, Bali was at the very bottom of the list. It is just one of those places that we Australians seemed to have ruined with our tourism and bogan attitudes. In the end, though we decided to push aside our prejudices and give it a try as the week we wanted to book flights, Bali had some great flight deals and I found a Scoopon deal that suited us perfectly. So, we booked the flights and got ready for whatever Bali could throw our way.

The area’s of Bali we looked at staying at were: Nusa Dua which is a gated resort area but is a bit isolated from the atmosphere of Bali, Seminyak which is closer to hustle of the city and features a lot of private villas to rent and Ubud which is up in the hills and again a bit isolated from the city with no beach.

We chose a resort in Nusa Dua, as we decided it would be best to tackle Bali first time around with the comfort of Resort where we didn’t have to leave if we didn’t want to. We were travelling with our 2 young girls – aged 2 & 5. This was their first overseas holiday and the first time for them to experience another culture. Plus, as this was our first holiday in a long time – I really just wanted to lay by a pool and drink some cocktails! Bliss.

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  • Ayodya Resort is perfect for non-fussy young families
  • The rooms while a bit dated are big and comfortable
  • Wine & Spirits are super expensive. Beer is cheap.
  • The food is GOOD!!
  • It was HOT and very humid, so you don’t roam far from the pools
  • Ayodya resort had the best stretch of beach that we could see
  • The Beach bar & lounging area is excellent, especially for kids.

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There are quite a few restaurants and food choices while at Ayodya… I think we ate at most – except for the Japanese restaurant which we didn’t have time to get to! And at every single place we ate the food was amazing. Fresh, delicious, authentic – even the Italian and pizza restaurant was great!

There were some nights however that we just didn’t feel like going to a sit-down restaurant – which is where Ayodya really does this well. They have a big grassed area down near the beach bar with low tables and cushions where you can lounge and relax while the kids run around and you can order food either from the restaurant or the Beach carts. The beach carts are cheaper alternatives to the restaurant – but by no means are they less quality! The Laksa is soo good! And it will set you back about $4 – #bargain.

Seriously, I’d go back to Ayodya just for the food! And we found it to be quite reasonable in price at all the restaurants. It’s not super cheap, you’re not going to get a full meal each time for $5 – but it’s also not expensive.

Also, for anyone concerned about “Bali Belly” – we ate all the salads and fruit at the resort and none of us got sick! Which is a bit unheard of in Bali I believe…

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I had to film our walk home from Breakfast as it was a trek we did every day and just I loved it (even though it was quite a walk from our room, this resort is BIG!). But the open areas with the greenery and statues were so pretty.

Hot tip: If you have young kids who are going to be at the pool every day – ask for a room close by the pool/beach as this will save you this trek back and forth multiple times a day!

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  • The pool tiles are incredibly slippery.. my youngest came off second best a few times
  • We tried the Kids Club for one afternoon – but didn’t get the feeling that it was particularly good. We had to stick around as our youngest one was too little to be left alone. But to be honest, I don’t think we would have left our kids there anyway. Maybe if there were a few kids together it would be good. But ours were solo.
  • Decor is dated and a few things in the room were pretty old and rusted eg: Shower head!
  • I wouldn’t call it a 5 star resort – but its comfortable and easy and good for families

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  • The staff are lovely and kind and happy to help
  • The breakfasts are SOOO good
  • The resort is beautiful
  • The resort is big enough that you never feel like you are cramped
  • 2 big general pools + 2 private pools if you stay at Ayodya Palace
  • The beach right out the front is lovely
  • Great atmosphere at the Beach bar
  • Close to Bali Collection shopping centre + a quick walk down the road gets you to a regular street market where you can buy cheap groceries if needed
  • The Beach bar food is cheap and gives you a break from restaurant-type food
  • Wifi is excellent (we had both kids on iPads watching Youtube at night and there was no lag). Plus it’s available all through the resort.

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We had a great time at Ayodya Resort and I’d recommend it for people/families looking for a comfortable, easy get-away.

Would I go back? Yes, I would.

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If I should take a notion, to jump right into the ocean.. ain’t nobody’s business if I do

– Billie Holliday ―

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Highly recommend Nyoman for a day tour while you’re in Bali!

He was so engaging and took us off the beaten track a bit when we wanted to visit a traditional market instead of the more public places. He also provided car seats for our girls which is a bit unheard of in Bali! I felt much safer driving around distances with them in the proper restraints. The roads are crazy.

Nyoman also provides surfing lessons (for the kids too) and can show you some of the best surf breaks in Bali.

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We had an early dinner after our day tour with Nyoman at Jimbaran Bay. As we were early we were the only ones there! The setting was beautiful and the seafood was fresh! We watched a big old storm roll into the north while we ate our seafood feast. It was a lovely way to wind down the day.

Jimbaran Bay is about 20 minutes from Nusa Dua by taxi.

*Tip: I’ve heard Sanur beach is also good for seafood. So if you want to avoid the crowds of Jimbaran Bay. Head to Sanur instead.

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All views and recommendations are my own. My site does use affiliate links on some links though.


Marie Antoinette by Madam Le Brun

Off with her fabulous head...

Marie Antoinette and Her Children by Madam Louise Le Brun
French // Rococo
Painted with oil paints on a 2.15 x 2.75 m canvas.

Well it seems that Madam Louise Le Brun was one bad-assed determined painter lady… Coming from humble beginnings she made such a name for herself that she became the offical portraiture artist of the French royal family and a favourite of Marie-Antoinette’s.

Self-Portrait in a Straw Hat - Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Madam Le Brun came to Royal Court after her art-dealer husband had gambled away her earnings and it was rumoured that she used every avenue possible to get ahead even possibly carrying on a long-standing affair with the Finance Minister of France. I guess if you’re going to have an affair, it may as well be with the person who has the keys to the Royal Treasury!

It was about this time, however, that Lebrun was given the almighty task of trying to humanise the promiscuous Marie-Antoinette and portray to the French people that she was actually a devoted wife and mother. It was widely rumoured that none of the children were actually fathered by the King, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette was the epitome of excess; she loved the high life and as we know it was this extravagance and mindset that would eventually be her undoing. Le Brun would paint a total of 30 portraits for Marie-Antoinette and the royal family.. so it seems she definitely earned her keep!

In this painting; Marie-Antoinette is pictured with her 3 children. The prince, Louis-Joseph, brings our attention to an empty cradle and to the child that Marie-Antoinette had lost in infancy… this was hopefully to garner sympathy and respect for the Queen that she too – like so many mothers at the time – knew the sorrow of losing a child. The princess, Marie Therese Charlotte, looks adoringly at her mother and the two boys are adorned with the colours of the French Royal family. It was a great PR stunt by all involved – although we all know that the public didn’t really buy into the story and the rest, as they say, is history.

Some of the portraits Vigee LeBrun painted of Marie Antoinette. Its reported she painting approx 30 offical portraits of the young Queen.

When the Revolution broke out in 1789 – Lebrun, with her daughter Julie, fled France disguised as a working woman and exiled herself in Italy & Russia where she gained popularity by painting a number of important portraitures and immersing herself into the society of each country. She was vigorously condemned in France though and hailed a “Royal Sympathiser” for her association with Marie Antoinette & Versailles before the Revolution. It was finally in 1802 that she regained her citizenship and was allowed to return to her homeland.

I don’t know about you – but I think she’s a fascinating woman – she supported herself and her daughter (and most of the men in her life) financially and lived with such vigour that she definitely deserves the attention she received as a painter and as a bad-ass modern woman. She’s also a pretty damned fine artist.


Madam LeBrun - Self Portrait with daughter Julie

“I will not attempt to describe my feelings at setting foot on the soil of France, from which I had been absent twelve years. I was stirred by terror, grief and joy in turn. I mourned the friends who had died on the scaffold; but I was to see those again who still lived.”

― Elizabeth Vigee le Brun, Quote from her Diary

The Son of Man by Rene Magritte

Everything we see hides another thing..

The Son of Man by René Magritte
Belgium //  Surrealism
Painted with oil paints on a 89 x 116 cm canvas
Currently in a private collection

The Son of Man is a 1964 oil painting by Rene Magritte who was well known for his witty and thought-provoking surrealist art. This particular piece is said to be an self-portrait and perhaps the most famous of all Magritte’s art.

The painting features a man in an overcoat with a bowler hat standing in front of a low wall that overlooks the ocean. The mans face is hiding behind a large green apple – however, if you look closely you can just make out the man’s eyes peeking over the edge of the apple. Another bizarre feature is the fact that the mans left arm appears to bend backwards at the elbow creating an unnatural and slightly off-kilter body position.

According to Magritte himself, the painting represents the conflict between the hidden and the visible. He states

“Everything we see hides another thing….. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.”

Breaking this down – I love the statement that “Everything we see hides another thing” so while we’re busy focusing on what is in front of us – there is a whole other reality of things going on behind that we can never see because we’re occupied with what is directly in front of us. While we may try and peek out around the object(s) in front of us and maybe catch a glimpse of the broader picture – we are still tainted by the objects that obscure our view.

Or…. (as has also been suggested) Magritte just really wasn’t good at painting faces… so he stuck an apple in front of the man’s face to make life easier for himself!

This is one of many pictures that Magritte painted with the face obscured. Some have meaningfully traced this back to the fact that his mother drowned herself in the river close by their house while he was still a child and as they pulled her from the water, her face was covered with her dress and it was this image that made such an indelible mark in Magritte’s mind that he used it in his later work.

“If the dream is a translation of waking life, waking life is also a translation of the dream.”

- Rene Magritte

Andromeda by Gustave Dore

Who doesn't love a bit of Greek Mythology?

Andromeda by Gustave Doré 
(1832 – 1883)
French //  Romanticism
Painted with oil paints on a 2.56 x 1.72m canvas
Currently in a private collection

Andromeda was the daughter of the King of the North African kingdom of Aethiopia and her mother Cassiopeia was quite a vain little thing. In a fit of arrogance Cassiopeia boasted that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than Juno and all the sea nymphs. This pissed off Poseidon so much that he sent a sea monster called Cetus to ravage the Aethiopia coast as revenge. This caused the region a lot of heartache and in the end the desperate King consulted the Oracle of Apollo who told him that nothing could be done until the King appeased Poseidon by sacrificing his daughter to the monster. So the King & Queen stripped Andromeda naked and chained her up to a rock on the coast to await the sea beast.

As it happened Perseus (the hero who had just come from beheading Medusa) happened to pass by Andromeda chained to the rock and killed the sea monster before it could hurt Andromeda. He set Andromeda free and later married her.

When Perseus saw the princess, her arms chained to the hard rock, he would have taken her for a marble statue, had not the light breeze stirred her hair, and warm tears streamed from her eyes. Without realizing it, he fell in love. Amazed at the sight of such rare beauty, he stood still in wonder, and almost forgot to keep his wings moving in the air. As he came to a halt, he called out: “You should not be wearing such chains as these–the proper bonds for you are those which bind the hearts of fond lovers! Tell me your name, I pray, and the name of your country, and why you are in chains.”

When Andromeda died she was placed among the constellations in the northern sky – she is represented as a figure of a woman with her arms outstretched and chained at the wrists.

Gustav Doré was a prolific artist and is probably best remembered for his illustration work for books such as Danté’s Divine Comedy. He produced over 100,000 sketches in his lifetime which averaged out to be about 6 sketches per day for every day he lived. He was self-taught and reportedly never used live models. He lived with his mother his whole life and when she passed away, its said he lost the will to live and died at the early age of 50.

He painted this beautiful picture in 1869.

“Nights through dreams tell the myths forgotten by the day.”

― C.G. Jung

Week 41, 2017

Week 41
October 2017

This edition: The funk just got un-invited. Family weekend on the South Coast of NSW and some sweet vibes for summer.

Big Funk.

So. I’ve been dealing with a funk. Basically, I can’t make myself do anything creative. I feel trapped and blocked. It is overwhelming and all-encompassing.

I stopped everything, Instagram was first, then this blog, next my photography – everything. Not only did I not want to do anything but I also didn’t want to get myself out of it. It took time and a lot of frustration… But now, I’m fed up with being in the funk. So I’m trying to shock myself out of it by pure willpower and forcing myself to be creative.

I hope it works. Don’t ever bring back the funk. Be gone funk.

The week
that was..

Im completely madly deeply in love with Hermes Spring / Summer 2018 collection.
Louis Theroux has a new show out! Cant wait to watch ..
Teeny tiny things are being photographed… and winning awards.
This animation is strangely satisfying… #peaceout
#MeToo – my heart breaks for women everywhere. As a society, we can do better.

Listening to...

Summer. V I B E S.
Its a sweet song and I think ive been in this funk for 83 days. Pertinent.

This month's photos

Weekend escape to Sussex Inlet, a small town on NSW South Coast. Fishing and family time.

Check it out!

I’ve decided to add a section onto my site called Summer Crush(ing).. much like a Summer crush, it features all the items that I’m currently having a moment with.

I’ve added a section for Fashion, one for Books and also one small one for Homewares. I’ll keep it updated as things get sold out or when I buy them! haha. Or when I stop having a fling with them… (end of Summer goodbyes!) Plus I’ll be sure to add new things as I scroll past them on the net.

Hope you enjoy seeing whats on my radar each week and feel free to share any items you’re loving as well.

Take a Peek!

Embrace the glorious mess that you are.

- Elizabeth Gilbert

Flaming June

Sleeping beauty ... or femme fatale?

Flaming June by Lord Frederick Leighton
English // Academic Art (Classicism)
Painted with oil paints on a 1.2m × 1.2 m square canvas.

Flaming June has a fabulous back-story and also just one of my personal favourite works of art. I have a huge reproduction of it that I bought as a very young girl when I first moved out of home. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason why I decided on this one and not one of my other favourite pieces at the time – the only real clue I can get is that it subconsciously reminds me of my older sister.. her favourite colour was apricot and she is a natural brunette beauty and loves her sleep (which we used to tease her about constantly)… so in my young impressionable pre-teen years when I was growing up – this picture cemented itself as being a representation of her. I also thought that my mum was Julie Andrews, but that’s a story for another day.

Back to Flaming June – the specs will tell you that it is an oil painting by Lord Frederick Leighton completed in 1895 just 10 months before his death. Its arguably one of the most famous Pre-Raphaelite paintings. It depicts a slumbering woman in a translucent orange dress. Looking closer and you notice a poisonous Oleander branch in the top right – this has been the subject of many speculations – three of my favourite include:

  • It symbolises how fragile the link is between sleep and death.
  • Leighton was acutely aware of his imminent death, and
  • Definitely the most badass explanation, the presence of Oleander could represent the imminent doom of a man’s infatuation with an unattainable woman.

The Dene Sisters

The model for the artwork is largely credited to Dorothy Dene (aka Ada Pullen) a British actress who quite possibly was having a romantic relationship with Leighton just before he died. She was his principal model for the last decade of his life and he ended up leaving the equivalent of £1 million (in today’s money) in a trust for Dorothy and her 3 sisters. (Sidenote: the 4 sisters names were: Ada, Hetty, Edith & Lena – their parents were genius… all-time favourite collection of sisters names ever!)

Dorothy is said to be tall, have large violet eyes and a flawless complexion. Leighton was supportive of her acting career – even paying for her to have elocution and drama lessons. In fact, its rumoured that George Bernard Shaw used Leighton and Dorothy’s relationship as the basis for the characters of Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion (Aka: My Fair Lady)

Dorothy Dene

All of this put together makes Flaming June an interesting piece – however there’s even more to this story! After the painting was finished it became part of a private collection and then somehow ended up at a shop on Fulham Road in the early 1960’s with a $50 price tag on it (!!) – a young Andrew Lloyd Webber happened to be in the shop one day and spotted the artwork and wanted to buy it – he went back to his grandmother to ask to borrow the £50 and she promptly refused quoting:

“I will not have Victorian junk in my flat”

It was later bought by an art dealer and confirmed as an original and now resides in the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico. Webber has since offered £6m to buy it off the museum but has been very politely refused.

As recently as last year – another piece of the Flaming June puzzle was put together, with the discovery of a pencil and chalk head study of Flaming June uncovered in a closed up room of a recently deceased Duchess. The piece was sold for an estimated $135,000 pounds after being ‘heart-stoppingly’ discovered hanging behind a door in a small antechamber room used by servants just off the Duchess’ bedroom.

Image by Daily Telegraph

“I sold flowers. I didn't sell myself. Now you've made a lady of me I'm not fit to sell anything else.”

― George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion

Automat by Edward Hopper

Are you OK?

Automat by Edward Hopper
American // New Realism
Painted with oil paints on a 71.4 x 91.4 cm canvas
On display at Des Moines Art Center, Iowa USA

In Australia we just had RU OK? day. Which is a day to ask people around you if they are ok – the mission is to inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life. In the spirit of this day, I thought id post a painting that embodies the feeling of being surrounded by society but still being very much alone. Urban alienation.

Self Portrait by Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper was a prominent American realist painter and printmaker. It was well known that he was a quiet introverted man who painted “ short isolated moments, saturated with suggestion” and this painting, The Automat, is dripping with suggestion.

We have a girl – a fashionable and well-dressed girl – who sits quietly with her hat pulled low and seems tired and pensive. And even though there are presumably other people in the restaurant (automat’s were generally a busy place to be) she is totally alone from the perspective we are viewing it from. The window behind her shows nothing but darkness and the reflective lights give a tunnel effect of leading to nowhere. This lonely solitary moment is caught in time. Hopper has challenged us to make up our own story about this girl – what is happening in her life that has drawn her to this moment – to be so alone yet almost distracted (note that she has removed one glove only).

Though the painting is a solitary painting, its not a sad painting. The colour scheme is comforting, there is a certain warmth to it, and while there are parts that make you feel uncomfortable, (eg: the too bright legs intentionally making the viewer into a voyeur) I think its a painting that you can view over and over and get something new from it every time depending on how you are feeling.

“If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint-– Edward Hopper.”

What do you think of this painting and more importantly, RU OK? Its OK not to be, but please make sure you tell someone and start the conversation. Its not the load that breaks you down, its how you carry it.

“More of me comes out when I improvise.”

― Edward Hopper

Week 26, 2017

Week 26
July 2017

This edition: Robert Frost, classic 80’s rock, a visit to Abu Simbel and why we should sometimes do things we dont want to.

Friday night curse…
This week was a pretty crazy busy week with work and when Friday rolled around I was absolutely exhausted. I’d made plans during the week to go out to dinner with some girlfriends and by the time Friday came around I was so not keen on heading out. Plus it was -20 degrees* and the fancy place we were going would not be too keen on me wearing my ugg boots out. Ugh.

It would have been so easy to cancel on my friends and just stay in and watch a movie curled up on the lounge in my PJ’s. But I didnt. I put on a nice outfit, did my hair (for once!) and even put makeup on. And you know what….  the absolute best part of my week was sipping on a crisp Pinot Gris and connecting with my friends over dinner. While I didn’t think I needed it, I really really did. It centered me and gave me focus and a renewed energy for the weekend.

My point being… Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies – the very thing that we don’t want to do is the one thing that has the power to heal us.

*Ever so slight exaggeration there.

The week

that was..

Born between 1977-1983? turns out we’re our own little Micro-generation. I always knew I was special! And we’ve even got a sci-fi sounding name.
The world has chosen its favourite colour.
Today i’m making an Apple Tea Cake, Potato & Leek Soup and a Zucchini slice.
Definitely NSFW!… but who doesnt love a dramatic reading of a ridiculous, over-the-top romance novel. ( … “he entered her like a lottery”. Seriously.. literary gold! haha)
Have you ever wondered what a French Textile book from 1863 would contain? Well wonder no more..
I just absolutely adore these

Listening to...

Guns n' Roses // Sweet Child of Mine
Taking it back to the glory days of 80’s rock for this muscial number.
– Also happens to be my favourite song for karaoke (Purely so I can channel Axel Rose and his glorious rock moves) –

This month's photos

That time we went to Abu Simbel in Egypt and there was nobody else there.

Style File Muse

Katherine Hepburn

Loafers, pants, blazers….
I just can’t get enough of this edgy masculine style for this winter.


The Road Not Taken // Robert Frost

This is one of those poems that I’m sure you would know… If you didnt study it at school then movies such as Dead Poets Society have made it fairly mainstream as well. Most people will know the famous line “I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”.

Pop over to this little side post of mine – where you can read the full poem (Its a pretty short one) plus there’s an interesting bit of trivia about WHY Frost wrote the poem that you might find interesting. I bet you didnt know it.

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.

- Robert Frost