17th July 2014
As I mentioned a few days ago, the whole ‘fingers crossed it doesn’t rain’ business didn’t even slightly work this year at Glastonbury – it’s the first time in my five festivals that it’s rained so hard that your skin actually hurts through your raincoat. Needless to say wellies were a must – oh how I alternately loved, and then hated, my little red hunters. Oh and did I mention there was thunderstorm and they had to close the stages for a couple of hours on the Friday afternoon? Luckily my attitude was that it allowed more time for hitting the organic felafel stand! Another upside of the mayhem was that stage times were a bit out of wack and we ended up seeing Polica in a tent with about 20 other people. THE moment of the festival. Oh and I didn’t let the mud stop me wearing my new DIY kimono (in action here and here)! The lovely team over at Free People asked me to share my favourite bits of the festival, so feel free to head over to their blog here to hear more (including my favourite acts) and see the rest of my pics.
There were times when the weather, and weight of the mud on my boots, got so bad that it had me thinking I may have to end my annual pilgrimage to the somerset countryside (a big commitment when you live in Hong Kong), but on looking back, I can only remember the good bits and am already planning next year!
14th July 2014
Often memories of places I’ve been are dominated by colours – pinks when I think of my last trip to Sri Lanka (the half open water lily flowers and sari fabric shops) and oranges when Chiang Mai comes to mind (the temple marigolds and gorgeous sunsets). However, I have to say that my recent trip to Sardinia – wisely tacked onto the back of our Glastonbury adventures – was more diffused with colour than anywhere I’ve ever been. The colour blue to be precise.With photo editing apps being what they are these days it’s sometimes hard to know whether the place you’re going will look the same as the pictures you’ve seen, but for once the scenery didn’t underwhelm even for one second. The blues in Sardinia are like nowhere else, at least nowhere else I’ve ever been. The photos you see, and take, can’t even do justice to the vivid sea and crystal clearness.
Speaking of the colour blue, while I was away I was so sad to miss what looked like the most fun event of the year (see some pics here) with Club Monaco, a pop-up cinema at Sheko Beach to celebrate the new beach and Coqui Coqui collections – designs largely dominated by gorgeous blues and white patterns. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, I took a few pieces on my trip and enjoyed every minute of photographing them amongst the gorgeous surrounds of Sardinia. I took a whopping 1200 pics in only a few days (how could I not?), and thought that while I ummm and ahhh over which ones make the travel guide cut, I would share with you some of those shades of blue – from azure all the way to ultramarine (ahem: cobalt, cyan, powder, royal, sapphire, sky, teal, turquoise… got any others?!).
Wearing: clothing from the Club Monaco Beach & Coqui Coqui Collection
And yes, in case you’re wondering, I currently have a severe case of Sardinian blues, believe me – real life and work pales in comparison!
As one of Club Monaco’s Global Travellers, I’ve chosen some of my all time favourite travel photos which are currently being showcased in their flagship store as part of their Pop Up Travel Gallery, so if you’re in Hong Kong make sure to stop by and check them out before July 16th at Club Monaco G/f New World Tower, 16 – 18 Queens Road Central. Cheers to more inspiring travels!
Stay tuned for my Sardinia Travel Guide coming soon (including how to get to untouched beaches by boat!).
9th July 2014
Shanghai is definitely one of my favourite Asian cities – an always intriguing mix of old and new, east and west, crazy steel skylines and quiet Frenchy style streets. As a destination it not only meets but exceeds the needs of pretty much any traveller, particularly one obsessed with culture, wanderings and food. With so many layers of history and such interesting people, it’s no wonder I just keep going back for more! Once again, thank you so so much for your helpful tips (particularly Arlyna who gave a great two day itinerary which was very useful!), they really helped me make the most of my second visit!
Looking out over the Pudong Skyline from The Bund.
To start, always make sure you have the street address of where you want to go written down in mandarin so you can show this to taxi drivers or people on the street when you ask for directions, things can get a bit hard otherwise!
The Water House: This trip we stayed at the Waterhouse and thought (for Chinese standards) it was very cool and with a great design. Breakfast was meh but I guess as an Aussie I am be pretty tough on my most important meal of the day! The location is a bit away from the actual bund so if you want to be in the centre of it I wouldn’t stay here – there’s a few others that overlook the bund I think if that’s what you’re after.
Guesthouses in the French Concession: Last time we were in Shanghai we stayed at Magnolia guesthouse which was cute and would suit well if you wanted to be in the centre of the French Concession, and I know there are quite a few others around that area too.
See & Do
Former French Concession: My favourite part about being in Shanghai is wandering the French Concession area, taking a full day to walk all the tree lined streets and small alleyways starting at Xiantiandi and working my way over to Tian Zi Fang. For me this is the best way to get a feel of what Shanghai used to be like.
The Bund: Wandering the Bund (the walkway along the river) is pretty much a prerequisite of being in Shanghai, giving you both an aspect of the Puxi side of the city and a view onto the intergalactic skyline on the Pudong side of the river.
Yuyuan Gardens: One of the few patches of green in central Shangai, I really liked these gardens as they’re a great place to people watch. However they do have a tendency to get seriously overcrowded. Drop in early after breakfast to see everyone waking up.
Pudong: In my opinion there wasn’t a lot happening in Pudong, but it’s amazing to go to the top of the Grand Hyatt (aka World Financial Centre) and check out the view of the tops of the buildings and the other side of the river – but make sure you go on a clear day because from what I can see most of the time your head will be in the clouds (smog).
Xintiandi: A redeveloped area of the French Concession which houses lots of little shops and restaurants – great place for hanging out and grabbing a bite to eat.
Tian Zi Fang: A network of small lanes full of cafes, galleries and boutiques with a relaxed feel, great place to have lunch or wander. However, the area gets absolutely hectic on the weekends and when it rains so best to go any other time. Trust me.
Ye Shanghai: One of my favourite spots to eat in the Xiantiandi area, this is on your higher end price wise when it comes to dim sum but a great relaxed lunch spot – the perfect treat after a png morning or pavement stomping.
Din Tai Fung: An old favourite also in Xiantiandi (with plenty of other locations too) great for a quick bite to eat.
Hakasan: A new edition to The Bund, we dropped in for dinner and thought the food and moody atmosphere was great.
The Bund: There are lots of restaurants that overlook the Bund, giving you a view of the Pudong side – there’s M on the Bund, Mr and Mrs Bund, Bar Rouge, 3 on the Bund and plenty more. Although most are fun, I personally like to go and have a drink in the Peace Hotel (there’s a rooftop) because of the history and design.
Yongkang Road: Lots of small bars and restaurants around this area – mainly of the western persuasion but good if you feel dim summed out after a few days.
Nanchang Road: This is a lovely street to wander in the French Concession, with lots of different shops that combine a mix of East and West.
Lost & Found: Gorgeous cafe/furniture store on Nanchang Road – a great place to stop when you’re wandering the area.
Dongtai Market: If you’re looking for some trinkets or antiques, head to this street market for myriad of old things, from genuine art deco to not so genuine Mao statues.
Old Shanghai: Just around the corner from the Yu Gardens is the Yuyuan area – Old Shanghai. Although parts of it have given way to shopping centres (and there is also a slightly odd recreation of an old town which is really just another mall) if you wander the backstreets you’ll still get a feel for what the city used to be like.
Tea shops: You’ll find tea shops all over Shanghai, but there are quite a few in a small area within the Tian Zi Fang lanes, including Tea House (pictured below) and many others.
Tea boxes at Tea House.
Shopping in the Old Town
View from Lost & Found cafe in the former French Concession.
Ye Shanghai in Xiantiandi
Wandering the Old Town.
On the Bund
A quiet corner of the Yu Gardens
The Skyline from The Waterhouse
More teas! Never enough.
Outside the Waterhouse
Wandering behind the old town.
The former French Concession
Dumplings at Din Tai Fung
Neighbourhood hangs in the Former French Concession
Sad to go home!