slow down on gili air...

we have been avoiding the gili islands like the plague these past six years as the tales we hear from fellow travellers about the infamous gili-t and the shenanigans that go on have well and truely spooked us.

that being the case, we have had a few long weekends the past few weeks and i wanted to get away. laze on beautiful turquoise beaches and well and truely relax. and well and behold, the gili islands seemed a good choice. close. cheap. relatively easy to get to. but how to avoid gili-t...?

i did some research and gili air seemed the natural choice. a spilt between the mayhem and party vibe of gili-t but with the quaintness and chilled out vibe of gili meno. so i booked us a place to stay and off we went, to gili air. 

after a few hiccups and delays with our fast boat (tossing up between flying from bali to lombok or fast boast is always a cause for concern) and we were in island paradise. where the turquoise water beckoned and the dramatic rainforest covered wild mountains of senggigi continually threatened rain just over the small body of water dividing the islands and lombok. 

we stayed at the divine slow villas on gili air and julie and her team made our long weekend just perfect. the villas were idyllic. every little detail was though of and we really couldnt have chosen a better spot. we hended up most days at a divine beach club on the south eastern corner and drank cold bintangs, swam and ate delicious organic salads (kurt opted for the burgers).

there is certainly somthing to be said for taking some time out to simply just slow down. the main method of transport on the island is either horse and cart or bicycle. we opted for the latter and ended up riding the circumference of the island while we were there. we headed back to bali a little sad as our three days left us feeling like we had had a week off. so where to next? with a visa run on the cards in the coming months, perhaps we venture further afield to somewhere new, or somewhere old. vietnam. thailand. laos. who knows...

if you are heading to gili air, i can recommend the following spots from our personal experience - accommodation: slow villas (who can also arrange private transfers from your villa or hotel in bali right to their door on gili air), food: the mexican kitchen, scallywags beach club for their evening beach bbq, mowies for food and drinks, sunset drinks: scratch beach club and mirage sunset bar, coffee: coffee and thyme, beach club: scallywags beach club.

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bali eats... dinner

well here is my last food post for a little bit, to wrap up the three part series of great bali eateries for breakfast, lunch and dinner. i hope you have enjoyed these suggestions and that they assist you on where to eat on your holiday/ weekend trip or even if your an expat looking for new spots to frequent.

dinner would absolutely have to be my favourite meal of the day, period. i love spending time choosing a cuisine, a restaurant and am usually able to pop in somewhere for drinks either before or after. by doing this, i am usually able to tick a few different spots off my list as well as have a cocktail (or two) before dinner. 

dinner

petitenget - one of my new favourite spots for b,l or dinner however dinner at this place is a real treat. the wine menu is just as extensive as the food menu, which is rare in bali. wine is a commodity (seriously a $4 bottle of wine in australia runs for around $25 here) so its a real treat. the homemade pasta will blow your mind and the great thing about petitenget is that they will often send small tasters free of charge in between courses. (pic 1 below)

la baracca - this is one of my go to spots for a cracking pizza. the simple pizzas are very similar to what you will find in europe. minimal toppings but great quality. my go-to is certainly their proscuitto pizza with rocket. i will admit, i do even go-jek this place if i'm swimming in the pool and cant be bothered leaving the villa. 

motel mexicola - a firm fav for tourists and expats alike however its certainly over rated but is a go-to if on your first trip to bali and want to get into the mix. the vibe here is great. the staff and the music are both fantastic. the mexican is good but over priced for what it is. book in advance. 

hanks pizza -  a real expat spot, this place is great on a thursday night for drinks, pizza and some good live local talent. this place is known for its mean cocktails and also gets a bit crazy later in the evening. its a great spot to get a little loose before a night out. 

watercress - the food here is always colourful, fresh, healthy, seasonal and fresh. its worth booking in here if you are staying in north seminyak or petitenget for a consistent, well priced dinner spot. 

saigon street - vietnamese that will blow your mind. this is a great spot if you are either at the w hotel or potato head for sunset cocktails. all you have to do is walk across the road and you'll think you are in a groovy little spot in ho chi minh city. everything on the menu is good. strike that. fantastic. another plus here is that they serve champagne by the glass, another rarity in bali. (pic 2 below).

the butchers club - oh em gee. i heard about this place from a few of the girls at the gym. go figure given that you would have to work out for seven hours to work off these cheese burgers, duck fat chips and blue cheese salad. this place is the bomb. a real treat but worth every bloody mouthful. 

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desert wanderings in dubai...

a quick work trip to the middle east last week saw us battle a few different obstacles. not only were we contending with a the horrible strain of the flu, working like busy bees and watching a sand storm roll in, but given that duabi only receives rain five days per year and we saw three days of it, this whirl wind trip was a bit, strike that, a lot - chaotic. we did however get a chance to head out on a luxury dinner safari with heritage tours one night to snap the below pics. enjoy. 

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bali eats... lunch

in continuing on with my island discoveries, i can say that i am thinking about what i want for lunch, whilst eating breakfast. since first coming to bali in 2010, i whole heartedly think that the food movement here has grown in leaps and bounds. if you want organic, raw, vegan - its not a problem. there are now internationally recognised chefs starting up shop all over the place as they can see the potential food bubble bali is currently going through. nevertheless here are some of my personal favourite haunts at midday.

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susheria - this place has quickly become one of my favourite spots as it literally combines two of my favourite cuisines, mexican and sushi. its genius. serious. the fresh sushi at this place has a mexican vibe, with black beans, gucamole and a fiery sauce or you can have sushi inspired burritos. anyways, you will find me here at least two days per week perched amongst the rice fields and munching on something delicious. (pic 1 below)

jungle - this is such a newby that its not on the internet yet, you can however drool over there instagram feed. the breakfast and lunch are both equally as yummy, i often pop in on the weekend and treat myself to the croque monsieur but if i really want to go all out, ill go in for lunch and munch on their homemade mushroom and parmasean tortellini with burnt sage butter. omg! (pic 2 below)

lantern - yum, yum and yummy. this vietnemese/thai fusion spot is to die for when wanting something distinctly asian. i stumbled upon this place whilst out on a scooter adventure and am so glad i did. its got a great vibe at night as well with local hipsters and expats alike vying for a table. (pic 3 below)

sea circus - an oldie but a goodie. we have been coming here for years. its consistently good which is why i think peeps coming back. you really can get a variety of things however again, their mexican offerings are usually my go-to. 

nook - this is a great spot in our area to make the most of the glorious bali surrounds and the idyllic ricefields. you cant not love nook. its open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is always busy with local indonesians, tourists and expats alike. i love the tuna sashimi for lunch with a nice cold bintang, but it does a cracking nasi goreng as well.

bo and bun - a great choice in seminyak is this fusion cafe. it is like a boutique hole in the wall that can easily be missed along the main drag. the soups and fresh salads at bo and bun are amazing. if you are on a mommouth shopping trip and walking from legian to seminyak, along the strip, stop in for a cold drink, a young coconut or a bowl of traditional pho. 

naughty nuri's - a little further afield, actually alot further afield is this iconic and rustic institution postitioned a little out of ubud. this warung is one of my must see spots when one visits ubud. it is expensive, its not a cheap ol' warung that you stop at on the side of the road. expect to pay $50AUD for two orders of rib, two sides of the creamy mashed potatoes and four bintangs (two is simply not enough) so in that regard it can be pricey but its worth it. 

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bali eats... breakfast

well i have been in bali for just over a month now and can officially say that i have successfully eaten my way from legian right up to canggu and everywhere in between. when people say bali is cheap, it really can be as cheap or as expensive as you want. you can eat at a local warung for literally $2.50 or you can eat a buffet breakfast at a five star resort and it'll set you back $25. so - really your taste buds and your budget will guide you through your balinese culinary adventure.

with kurt being away one week on and one week off, i am often left to my own devices at meal times. this means that i am left with a conundrum on a daily basis, should i cook (which of course you all know i love to do) or do i venture out and see where the balmy bali air (and my motorbike) will take me?

when we first moved into our villa, which had to have a fully equipped western style kitchen, i envisaged cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner during the week days only to leave the eating out to weekends and when we occasionally have visitors. that was my plan and i was... sticking to it. however after attempting to do that for a full week, and on a new health kick and all, i went to the local market for fruit and vegetables, to the western supermarket for my meats and cheeses, essentially eating the way i would at home. 

so i took it upon myself to do a little experiment. based on what my weekly food budget, i would add that up and divide it between meals and essentially eat out for three meals a day, for a week. and the findings my friends were that it was pretty much the same to eat out than to stay in and cook. i am talking for one that is. so that being the case and given that kurt on a new roster, i am able to take my food explorations to new and exciting places and i hope you will enjoy coming on this journey with me.

so needless to say, i will start with breakfast, the most important meal of the day, which also happens to be my dads favourite meal of the day. i usually start my days off with a 730am high intensity cardio class which then sees me dragging my sweaty ass out of gym, onto the bike with laptop and mobile office in-toe and searching for a quick caffeine hit and some eggs. ill stop carrying on and let you in on some of my favourite am spots for breakfast or simply coffee, in and around my neighbourhood. 

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revolver espresso - this spot not only has amazing baristas that know how to make a good latte, but also have great breakfasts. right from fruit salads and home made coconut granola to eggs on toast. two coffees and breakfast will set you back around $8.50-$10. (pic 3 below)

grain espresso - a little more expensive, but this australian owned and operated cafe is a safe bet if you are wanting a spread similar to what you have at home. kurt votes this place the best coffee in bali, which is saying alot!

betelnut cafe - a real locals spot in canngu, the coffee here is not amazing but the organic breakfast bowls and breakfast burritos are worth the wait for a table. 

grocer and grind - both the seminyak and canggu grocer and grinds are fantastic if you are wanting to escape the heat. both cafe's have an indoor and outdoor area but their breakfast menu is varied and great if you are going with a group of people all wanting different things. 

livingstone cafe and bakery - one of our fav places. this industrial bakery is great if you are wanting a good coffee and some fresh pastries. (pic 1 below)

pison coffee - the friendly staff are a big tick here. this is my favourite spot to escape when its raining and im looking for a spot to chill out, surf the internet and listen to a bit of jazz. note. the eggs benedict here are to die for. (pic 2 below)

cafe organic - this spot has all day breakfast and is a must visit for those on a health kick. i often find myself driving to this place during the week without really thinking. its usually filled with 50/50 expats and tourists however it always makes for an interesting mix. 

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nyepi in bali...

well here we are celebrating our second nyepi in bali. nyepi is unique to bali and is six days of spiritual rituals which essentially engulf the island in celebrations of all kinds. on nyepi eve or “new years eve” as we would call it, the island comes to life in a mass of paradises, ogha ogha’s, fires and music all in the bid to attract the bad spirits to bali and burn them off for the year to come. 

the next morning, commencing at approximately 6am the entire island falls into a state of silence for 24 hours and needs to be completely invisible to aircrafts and more importantly, any bad spirits that were enticed the evening before. so by silence, i mean no lights, no music, no cars, no motorbikes. 

nyepi is 24 hours where the island of bali comes to a complete standstill. no one is allowed to leave their houses, hotels or compounds. there is no honking of horns, no cars or motorbikes on the road. the only sounds that can be heard are faint barks of street dogs or chirping birds in the trees. 

this holiday is so unique that there has been a push for it to be adopted worldwide, although when experiencing this wondrous day, one can only think that it would be far to hard to get the modern first world to turn off the electricity for an entire 24 hour period. stay at home for a whole day and night and actually sit in in silence and think about life. about how fortunate you are and to ponder about those less fortunate than you and how they are spending their nyepi. 

the balinese take this holiday very seriously and fast for the 24 hours of silence day as they use this time to reflect, give thanks and to connect with their spiritual being. if you ever get the opportunity to spend some time in bali during march/april, i would encourage you to look at what date nyepi falls and get amongst the celebrations. its truely something that everyone should experience once in their life. 

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happy belated 2016

to my dear fans, follwers and fly-the-coopers, i am sincerely sorry that it has taken me so long to get my butt into gear and update this ol’ thing. happy 2016, i hope you can forgive my absence!

the last few months have been manic to say the least and since november a lot has changed. one fact being that i am updating this blog poolside in bali, our new home. how the hell did we go from hawaii and living on a boat in spain, to now calling bali home you ask? i will elaborate below.

after a year and a bit of calling ourselves “yachties” which it took us far and wide, was something we decided was not for us, at least for now and the foreseeable future. at the end of last season, most of the crew on the yacht we were on decided to move on and after taking some time out to decided what we really wanted and yachting at this point is not something we want to persue.

so that leads us to now and how the hell we ended up in indonesia. well family and friends and long term followers of the blog will know that bali is somewhere kurt and i hold close to our hearts, back since our first trip here in 2010 at the beginning on our epic six month backpacking trip throughout asia.

it has always been on our list of things to do before we die, live in bali for at least six months so hopefully we are able to tick that off our list, however now we are here and are establishing a lifestyle that we are already enjoying (yes even after 1.5weeks) who knows how long we will be here for…

the next thing is that both kurt and i worked hard to establish ourselves professionally before our yachting adventure and have been sublimely fortunate that we have jobs that allow us to be based in bali, for now at least.

with that being the case and my little rant over and done with, i hope im forgiven for my tardiness and will now ask you to follow our wanderings on social media because there are bound to be more adventures in the coming days, weeks and months, here are a few snaps from the past week... (instagram @jameedohery and @live.love.luxe.bali) 

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hawaii - health, happiness and hiking...

hawaii is the ideal travel destination for those wanting a certain type of holiday. if you're after relaxation, surfing, hiking, diving or adventure. hawaii and its islands has something for everyone. this trip we spent a lot of time relaxing but also managed to fit in a lot of eating at some of waikiki's iconic establishments and hit the hiking trail of diamond head for an early morning hike. this being the case, i wanted to outline some great spots off you're planning a holiday anytime soon;

breakfast | bills sydney for corn fritters with avocado relish and cafe lattes, island vintage coffee with its amazing acai bowls and il lupino for its egg white omelettes

lunch | if your in the sand donning you swimmers and are wanting a bite to eat shorebird cafe is a good option, the pau hana market is good for a quick bite of local cuisine or head on up to cheeseburger beachwalk for a good ol' american burger and fries

dinner and drinks | without doubt the moana surfrider is a must visit for dinner, drinks or both, the modern honolulu is a great young hipster hangout with good food, great cocktails and a chilled poolside vibe and lastly, the house without a key at the halekulani hotel; my vote for cocktails whilst listening to ukuleles, the wind in the palm trees and the sunset over waikiki beach, it cannot be beaten

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to the north shore we go...

yes we got a jeep. and drove it on over to the north shore. the past six days have been amazing and i have been a little lazy in updating my blog (apologies) however we have been so busy soaking up the sun, surfing and catching up on a years worth of rest and relaxation. but i am now ready to update you all on our great hawaiian holiday, thats not yet over (cue. fist pump in the air).

we headed to the infamous north shore (saw pipeline) and enjoyed getting out of the hustle and bustle of honolulu to see a little more of the "real hawaii". once we passed through the pineapple fields, the coffee plantations and got off the highway, we were met with a much slower way of life. the pace was chilled and cruisey - which i suppose makes sense when you meet the friendly and welcoming hawaiian people.

we dined at the iconic food vans that line the north shore peddling garlic shrimp, fish tacos or in our case, something a little more traditional (purple sweet potato, island coleslaw and local ribs) and followed the coast road right around the top of the island to see the dramatic scenery that is literally straight from the scenes of jurassic park. its raw, rugged and beautiful and i hope to be able to see more of these islands and there jaw-dropping magnificence in the very near future. 

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sailing in st tropez...

bonsoir fly-the-coop-ers. i am sincerely sorry for the lack of updates. we have been uber busy with work and have a serious lack of internet, which makes for a frustrating and somewhat liberating experience. we have been in the south of france for the past two weeks and are loving the slower way of life here. people head to the park in the afternoons to play ball and drink rose, shop assistants smoke cigarettes out front of their boutiques while gossiping about their day and whats in the latest vogue and the cafes are full of locals laughing and drinking. its as heavenly as the truffled brie and perfect pastries that we are indulging in, almost on the daily. i can only really use words to describe the charm of this place, so here goes. enchanting. quaint. idyllic. anyways - i will let the pictures do the talking... i hope you enjoy. 

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our little black book of london...

last weekend we were able to sneak back to london for an entire weekend. thats right from friday night right through till monday morning. what dream for those of us who don't get weekends regularly. we dined, walked, wined and chatted all weekend long. right from chelsea to notting hill and back again.

our itinerary roughly went a little something like this: saturday morning, 9.5km walk around chelsea and earls court before a quick stop at sloane square and the botanist for a coffee before breakfast at tom's kitchen in chelsea. we then headed to the farmers markets to pick up some supplies before a gorgeous afternoon picnic along the thames at battersea park. sunday was again filled with some gorgeous restaurants, a stroll through the portebello markets and notting hill before ending it all with a divine meal at gordon ramsay's maze grill.

here are some snaps and below you will find some info on some of our favourite spots when in london. 

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accommodation | airbnb, one fine stay, mr and mrs smith 

food | the botanist, toms kitchen, maze grille, mojito, the surprise, cote, bluebird cafe, gails, rabbit, the food hall on level five at harvey nicols, the breakfast club, pho and princi

other | borough markets, shopping along oxford street, fat tire bike tours, hop on hop off bus tour, get an oyster card and ride the tube like the locals

paris is calling...

a few weekends ago paris was beckoning so kurt and i took a few days off worked, whisked mum and dad from there wee spot in chelsea and caught the eurostar to the city of love. after finding a charming apartment in st germain des pres on airbnb we set about our weekend. 

the task i had at hand was not only to change my parents mind set on paris (they had a few bad experiences in the past) as well as showing kurt a grand first time. we arrived in the stifling hot and went to pick up our gorgeous and gourmet lunch, a paris picnic, and chose a spot in the shade of the eiffle tower. we read, slept and drank wine all the while eating baguettes and the most amazing cheeses. 

while the tone of the weekend was very much cruisey, we still managed to fit in a bit of sightseeing, in the form of a fat tire bike tour, as well as meandering the streets and seeing where we ended up. we eat, drank and had a wonderful weekend. it was a welcome reprieve from the cold and busy life we are currently leading in busy ol' southampton. 

note. more photos to come - i don't have great internet here so bear with me...

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those lazy london weekends...

the weekend before last we were able to get away from southampton and spend a weekend in london. being kurt first time in big ol' london town, we wanted to make this special. mum and dad were in toe and provided the perfect stomping pad as a base; a fab little one fine stay apartment in chelsea. yep - right in the thick of it. within walking distance to harrods, slone square and the pub. 

as you can imagine i wanted to show kurt all the amazing things that london had to offer seeing i am an expert (not. i've been there twice before). we sipped pimms in the sun overlooking the lake at hyde park, we rode the tube in the middle of the stinky day, we wandered through harrods and enjoyed some oysters and champagne, we enjoyed breakfast in soho before shopping on oxford street and of course, enjoyed a meal and drinks with some good friends at the pub.

while not a jam packed weekend full of sightseeing, we did get in some much needed rest and caught up on some cafe time. here are a few pic's from the weekend - i hope you enjoy!

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