Hangovers. How to avoid them and God forbid, how to treat them.

OK so most of us have had at least one and regretted it. Hangovers are mostly unintentional byproducts of a big night and sometimes day out but with a bit of forward planning you can make a big difference to how you feel the next day. It is the party end of the year and some of you have asked if I would resend the summer newsletter which I first wrote 4 summers ago that included tips about hangovers and how to avoid them. I have expanded on it and hope it helps you get through the holiday season with a clear head and smiling liver. Happy party season!

“A hangover is when you open your eyes in the morning and wish you hadn’t.”

How to avoid them.

Some of you may say that the answer is obvious. Don’t drink. In fact there is a bit more to it than that.

Eat something substantial before you drink or drink only with a main meal.  A full stomach slows down the absorption of alcohol, giving the body more time to process the toxins.  The meal should include some fat and carbohydrates. When your mum suggested you line your stomach with a glass of milk before you went out, it was actually good advice. Fats slow the absorption of alcohol Having food in the stomach decreases stomach irritation, reducing the likelihood that a drinker will , how can I put this delicately, ….vomit.

Drink a glass of water to quench your thirst before you accept that first alcoholic drink and then have a glass after each alcoholic drink. Alcohol is a diuretic so by drinking water you are helping replace the fluid loss. You are also slowing down your alcohol intake allowing your body to process the alcohol.

Watch your drink choice.

Drinkers generally fare better when they stick with one type of drink. Each new type of alcohol  makes the body work that much harder and potentially puts more toxins in the body, leading to a more severe hangover. Here’s a rundown of the major types of alcohol and their effects:

Beer has the lowest percentage of alcohol (4 to 6 percent), but it’s also carbonated, which speeds up the absorption and can lead to toxin buildup.

Wine has a higher percentage of alcohol (7 to 15 percent) than beer but is often not carbonated which means it is absorbed less quickly. Sparkling wine like champagne is carbonated which speeds up its absorption. You may have noticed you feel the effects faster. A glass of red wine has healthy antioxidants however more than a standard glass (100 – 150 mls) and the health benefits are lost. In terms of hangovers white wine is safer than red or rose because it has fewer congeners. In general, the cheaper the wine, the higher the congener content and the worse the hangover.

Spirits have the highest alcohol content (40 to 95 percent) which therefore increases the likelihood of a hangover. Clear liquors like vodka and gin are better bets than dark or sweet liquors like bourbon, scotch or tequila because they have fewer congeners. Generally, cheaper liquor will result in a worse hangover than more expensive liquor.

Despite the above you still managed to have  a big night. Now what?

Before you go to bed.

This is critical. Do not just collapse into bed. In fact it is probably wise to sort out the steps below and have them sorted BEFORE you go out just in case!

Drink two large glasses of water or better still 2 large glasses of rehydration formula:

(a glass of water with a pinch of salt, a good dash of fruit juice and a slurp of honey/maple syrup or sugar).

Supplements. Might be an idea to set these up BEFORE you go out and take them BEFORE you go to bed. It would be wise to take them the following day as well.

Evening primrose oil or fish oil 3,000 mg. To reduce the inflammation. Take another 3,000 mg the next day.

B complex and Vitamin C . These two help alcohol metabolize faster. Again take more the next day as these vitamins are depleted by alcohol.

Mutivitamin. One before bed and another the next day.

The herb of choice is Silybum marianum( St Mary’s Thistle) which helps protect the liver from damage and helps the liver recover. Take 5 mls before bed and then 5 mls/day for the next few days.

The next day.

Fancy some fried bacon and eggs with fried sausages? Some of you may want to throw up at the thought and others will say “yes please”. Breakfast, even if you don’t think you can really face any food, is definitely a good idea but not a greasy fry up. Your liver is already screaming so start by having a little lemon juice in a large glass of water and some more rehydration formula. It is important to eat something and some foods contain substances that can actually help.

A boiled or poached egg is a good choice. Eggs contain large amounts of cysteine which  breaks down the hangover-causing toxin acetaldehyde in the liver’s easily depleted glutathione. Therefore, eggs can potentially help mop up the left-over toxins.

Fruit salad or a fruit smoothie would be an excellent choice.

Include high potassium fruit such as bananas or kiwi fruit. Fruit juice is high in fructose  which increases the rate at which the body gets rid of toxins such as those left over from alcohol metabolism. Fruit juice is also a good idea the morning after because it’s high in vitamins and nutrients that were depleted the night before because of alcohol’s diuretic effect.

Fruit Smoothie Recipe

This is just an example. Really you can play around or use any fruits you have at hand.

In a blender add 1 banana, 2 cups of coconut water or fruit juice, 1 teaspoon LSA, 1 teaspoon chia seeds 1 teaspoon of spirulena or chlorella powder, 2 tablespoons natural yogurt.

Chia seeds and LSA ( linseed, sunflower, almond meal)  reduce inflammation.

Coconut water is very rehydrating and contains vitamins and minerals.

Fruit juice is high in fructose which provides energy and vitamins.

Natural yogurt has beneficial probiotics which can help restore your gut flora.

Chlorella and spirulena are marine algae that are choc full of antioxidants and help remove toxins. You can also take these in tablet form if you are too queasy to add them to your smoothie. I am a big fan of both of these nutrient dense foods.

Continue to drink water and juices throughout the day.

For lunch and dinner eat light foods such as salads, rice and fish which are easy to digest.

“Hair of the dog’ only delays the hangover and causes the liver even more damage. Don’t be tempted. You will pay a bigger price later.

Best of health and enjoy all your parties!




Spring Newsletter : Allergies begone and lets get healthy.



Sunny spring.

Hi Everyone.

Well we are in the midst of spring – hooray. There is always a sense of excitement when spring arrives. It is a time of new beginnings.  In this spring edition I have included some healthy ideas to put a bit more “spring” in your step. (Sorry couldn’t resist the pun).


Sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, eczema, asthma. Welcome to spring for some of us! Here are a few tips to help you reduce those symptoms.

1/ Reduce your liver load.  Alcohol, caffeine and processed food all put an extra load on the liver which exacerbates allergies. Give your poor liver a bit of a break and make spring a time to kick start your health.

2/ Reduce your exposure to allergens. If you are sensitive, make sure your washing and especially your bed linen is not on the clothes line when it is windy or the grass is being mowed.  Pollen and grass seeds can blow onto your sheets and clothes.

Dust mites love warm, moist dark places. and feed on shed human skin. Your bed ticks all those boxes and provides the perfect home. Yuk!  Wash your  bed linen in hot water (60 degrees) or add eucalyptus and tea tree oil to the rinse. Instead of making your bed, pull down the sheets and blankets each day to let your sheets air and expose them to the light. Yes no more making of beds!!! Don’t expect to see “made” beds in my house as I pull down all the covers each day. Dust mites also hate sunlight so open the blinds and let the sun shine in.

3/ Some wonderful herbs can reduce those symptoms – Perilla, Baical Skullcap and Albizzia  are some of my favourite anti-allergy herbs. Horseradish, ginger and garlic are also everyday herbs that we can incorporate in our diet to help reduce those pesky allergic symptoms


Winter can leave us feeling a little sluggish. When the nights are long and dark and the days are cold, it is easy to overindulge in comfort food. Spring is the time we need to shed those extra kilos and lift our energy levels. It is a fantastic time to spring clean not only our homes but also our body. Skin brushing and a skin scrub can help slough away all those dead cells from our exterior and help our skin glow and at the same time stimulate our circulation.

Eliminating all processed foods and focusing on all the wonderful spring vegetables helps us spring clean on the inside and raise our energy levels. Some herbal bitters and digestive tonics can speed the elimination process. Vegetable juices are an excellent way to get a hefty dose of antioxidants. Beetroot, celery, cucumber and carrot with a dash of ginger or even garlic if you are game, are a great combination. Remember to add some of the pulp back into your juice. Green juices are also a wonderful cleanse and I can’t wait to talk about them soon.

Now is a great time to go on a detox program. Stay tuned for more on this.

In Season

Healthy eating means eating what is in season.

Vegetables: Asparagus, beans (broad, round, green, borlotti), fennel, globe artichoke, beetroot, mushrooms, asian greens, peas, spinach, silver beet, cauliflower, leeks, zucchini, broccoli, sweet corn, spanish onions, pumpkin, kipflers, sweet potatoes, celeriac, capsicum, eggplant.

Fruit: Apples, (granny smith, pink lady), navel and blood oranges, lemons, bananas, passsionfruit, rhubarb, avocados, strawberries, mulberries, raspberries, blueberries, pears, rock melon, kiwifruit, fuyu fruit.


For me, breakfast has to be healthy, fast and delicious. Now the weather is warmer, I have switched to  a super fast, really yummy yogurt based concoction that literally takes a minute and is oh so healthy.

This mornings breakfast

This mornings breakfast.

In a bowl I add

about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of natural yogurt depending on how hungry I am,

a handful of blueberries and or raspberries  and often a banana,

about 2 tablespoons LSA ( linseed, sunflower and almond ground),

1 tablespoons of organic chia seeds ( ground),

1 teaspoon organic maca powder,

1 teaspoon bee pollen

Super easy. Super tasty. Super healthy.


Enjoy your spring!

Best of health



Will I Ever Look 30 Again?

Ok I am going to fess up. I want to look young and gorgeous. Yeah I know beauty is on the inside yadda yadda but I look in the mirror and see my 50 year old outside self and not the young, gorgeous creature that is hiding on the inside!

I read with anticipation, articles about the new wonder creams. Have I bought them? Yep. Do I buy them now? Nope.

No longer am I seduced by pseudo science and photos of airbrushed, photo-shopped goddesses. I no longer believe the men or women in white lab coats touting the latest discovery. I realise it is BS. There are no miracle creams, no turning back the clock. No cream is really going to make me look 30 again. Damn.

The day I turned 30.

The day I turned 30.

So have I given up the fight? Of course not. I am never going to look 30 again but I want to look the best I can. Now instead of putting artificially derived chemicals on my skin combined with fillers and “stuff “, I use what nature provided. No manufactured chemicals, no preservatives, less packaging and without a doubt much less cost. Win friggin win!

The cosmetic industry mines nature for its next miracle ingredient so why not go straight to the source? Looking for alpha hydroxy acids to slough away those dead cells? Tick. How about some vitamin A to help prevent wrinkles? Sure thing. Reduce photo ageing and sun damage? You betcha.

So what may you ask am I using? Well  instead of going to the beauty counter, I now buy the food for my skin at the same time as  I buy the food for my family. Now I am not saying I am a walking advertisement for perfect skin. Far from it. But I am no longer  seeking the fountain of youth in a tube.


I love coconuts! Now I totally baste myself in organic unrefined, virgin coconut oil. Sometimes I add some essential oils. At the moment my fave is cempaka oil but I quite like the mild, natural coconut smell the oil has on its own. Sometimes I mix it with other oils and creams like sweet almond or lush macadamia nut oil.  For a body scrub I mix coconut oil with sugar and some essential oils in a little bowl and rub away all those dead cells. As I get older my skin is getting dryer and sloughing away all those dead cells definitely makes my skin look and feel smooth and healthy. In the warm weather the coconut oil is liquid and in cooler weather it is a solid. I spoon enough for a week or two into a jar. Then I can easily scoop out a small pat of oil and rub it into my skin. My body heat melts the oil and allows it to be easily absorbed.

So why coconut oil?  It is hydrating, healing and softening. It keeps connective tissues strong which help prevents sagging and wrinkling. Gotta love that. It contains three fatty acids: capric acid, caprylic acid and lauric acid, that have strong anti microbial and antifungal properties. It can be used on psoriasis and eczema. It speeds up the healing of cuts and bruises. 100g of coconut oil has about 0.1mg of vitamin E a powerful antioxidant, so it is great for scars and damaged skin. It makes a great hair tonic and helps banish dandruff and flaky scalps.


I use pure organic rosehip oil on my face instead of a serum. It helps protect my skin from sun damage. I like being outside and live right on the beach. I walk the dog. I garden. I am not giving up my love of nature and the outdoors. Anything that will help my skin cope with the sun is a necessity. There is evidence that rosehip oil does this so besides sunscreen it is hopefully helping to protect me from sun damage. To back up I also use a rosehip oil cleanser.

Rosehips help the appearance of wrinkles, scars and stretch marks. It can be used to help heal dermatitis, acne, and eczema.  Rosehips are high in

–       essential fatty acids that are hydrating and help repair tissue damage,

–       Vitamin A that helps prevents sun-damage and therefore wrinkles. It is a healing agent and antioxidant.

–       Lycopene which is antioxidant

–       Betacarotene, which is the precursor to Vitamin A and again is antioxidant. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals caused by the sun, pollution and life.


I give myself yogurt masks. I used to do this each day but lately it has become more of a treat than a daily ritual. I just smear natural yogurt over my face and go about my daily routine.  My skin definitely feels softer and looks more “alive” after a treatment. Yogurt has lactic acid that is an alpha hydroxy acid. This works on the skin by sloughing away all those dead cells. As we age the process of skin renewal slows down so by using anything that helps us remove the old cells the new skin looks more vibrant and youthful. It helps minimize pores. Yogurt is antibacterial and antifungal so great for acne. It contains zinc that has a healing action. Great for scars, great for acne, great for damaged skin. Perfect. Over time, used regularly, yogurt can apparently bleach age spots. Can’t vouch for this one but maybe I would look even more spotty if I hadn’t used it.

And now I’m 50!

So will I ever look 30 again? Not in this life. Damn!

Three weeks in Bali. Week 2. Adventures deep in the Bali jungle.

Day 7. Dad learns to cook. Mum learns to relax.

I love waking in Ubud and listening to the ducks, chickens and birds. There is something very comforting about a ducks quack! As I mentioned in my previous blog, the petite farm beside the room we stay in is no longer. I miss the cow and the coming and going of the farmer and his dog. Our room and verandah directly overlook the rice paddies. The farmers are hard at work from dawn till dusk. I can spend hours watching the changing light and the ducks with their ducklings marching in single file along the narrow edges of the rice paddies. You can see an occasional monkey scamper across the rice paddies too.

This visit the rice paddies are not as green but still have me mesmerised.

This is what the rice paddies at Greenfields looked like last year.

Today we are off to do the Paon cooking class. I have wanted to do this for years and now my sister is here I have my chance. Handsome decides he will come too. What? He has resisted for years and now I have someone to go with he doesn’t want to miss out. The boys are going to Monkey Forest to hang out with their cousin ( or should I say cousins ha ha) and our friend from Byron Bay. He has volunteered to be Mr Mum for the day. Good luck! They are already missing their surfing and are a little frisky. We have breakfast by the pool and meet sis at reception. Sis, her son and our mutual friend are staying about a hundred metres down the road.

The driver drops us at the fruit and vegetable market where we meet the rest of the group and the lovely lady who is our guide. We follow her through the markets stopping at stalls where she identifies the various fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices and explains how they are used. We taste bits and pieces along the way. I love the implements used in prepping the food including the knives and the Balinese mortar and pestle. I think the Balinese mortar and pestle is a better design than the one I use at home. The mortar has a flat base and the pestle has a flat end making grinding spices easy. We used it yesterday at Nadis herbal to grind the boreh. I decide to return later to buy one. The pace of the market visit was just right and we are then off again in the vans to the rice terraces just outside Ubud in the village where Wayan and Puspa who own Paon live. The scenery is pretty and the group happily get to know each other along the way.

Our gracious guide.

Wayan is a real character. He is a good looking, elegant style of man with a beautiful cheeky smile and a razor sharp wit. I don’t want to spoil his stories in case anyone who reads this does the course but needless to say he is hilarious and I loved all his anecdotes. The village where they live is beautiful and it is obviously prosperous. They are converting to organic rice and in a few years time will be exporting. The organic rice is a faster, more efficient crop and it is much kinder to the land. Win Win! Back in the vans and after a short drive Puspa welcomes us to their family compound. It is absolutely spotless and obviously well loved and cared for. After a welcome drink Puspa, Wayan’s wife, turns out to be the perfect match for her charming husband and we are entertained by her stories as well. They give a very personal insight into Balinese customs and traditions not to mention their love life. Oops, I said I wasn’t going to spoil it! We are offered tea, coffee and more drinks and then we are ready to cook. The group we are with are lovely and the time passes very quickly as we chop, grind, fry, and sizzle our way to, if I do say so myself, a most delicious lunch at a beautifully set table. This day has really exceeded my expectations and I am sad to leave. The Cost is Rp 350,000 ( about A$35) each. The lunch is worth more than this so really its a steal!

Back at sis’s hotel we can hear the kids in the pool before we can see them. Our poor friend is a little exhausted. Apparently he took them to Monkey Forest where they invited the the monkeys onto their backs and their heads. What! On their heads! Don’t monkeys carry rabies? I’m sure I read that on TA. After visiting their cousins at Monkey Forest the boys played pool in an American owned pool hall called Melting Pot. Who knew that in Ubud, the center of all that is herbal, yogic and artistic, you could find a pool hall. A pretty cool one I might add. Not that I’ve been to many or maybe that should read any! We end up going back to this place a few times. We spend the rest of the afternoon hanging at sis’s hotel and watching our little monkeys play in the pool. I am too full from lunch to even think about dinner. Of course the boys are starving so Handsome and our friend take the boys. Great. I get to spend some time with my beautiful sister.

We decide to walk up Jalan Hanoman and do some shopping. We find exactly what we both want. I had bought some yoga pants at Byron Bay which I love. They cost $150 which I know is a bit crazy but they are a bit special. Sis also has a pair. We find the shop that makes them. Same label, same fabric, same pants but guess what? Only $45. We can even choose the colour and size and they will custom make them by tomorrow. Can’t argue with that. We continue browsing and chatting our way up Jalan Hanoman. Sis can’t get the hang of bargaining. She is worried she will rip someone off. Now I know that this is a very noble sentiment but very unlikely to happen. We walk back down Jalan Sugriwa in the dark, which is a pretty, quieter, more residential street with a few vegan cafes. Again a magic Bali moment. Here I am in Bali with my sis walking along this tree lined street feeling so contented. It is so relaxing watching the domestic comings and goings of the locals. Bliss

Day 8. Are you in the market for a little romance?

Today my sis and friend have offered to take the boys white-water rafting. Who am I to say no? The boys have been before and loved it and I wouldn’t mind spending a bit of time with Handsome on our own. After breakfast, again by the pool, we drop the boys at sis’s and head off to the markets. I know this isn’t the most romantic of destinations but it is far more relaxing than going to the markets with the boys and I want to buy my Balinese mortar and pestle. Along the way I also manage to buy some beautiful cotton traditional sarongs , two pashminas, vanilla beans, cempaka essential oil and some some timber salad servers. Not bad in less than an hour! When we are in Ubud we always go to the cafe “Casa Luna” and as it is close to the markets we decide to make our pilgrimage. I love “Janet’s favourite jamu” and Handsome loves a good espresso. Yum. The paintings in this landmark cafe are always worth a look and there is often an interesting crowd so its good for people watching. What a lovely morning.

Romance in the market.

A painting at Casa Luna

We are back at Greenfields by 11.45 and our lift to Sang spa is already waiting. Mark has 1 ½ hour healing massage which includes reflexology and I have a facial and pedicure. The facial is good but the sponges smell stale. The spa is a traditional style of building but a bit rough around the edges. I haven’t been here before and think there are are other spas that are better.

I have booked dinner at Putu’s Wild Ginger and have pre-ordered a feast which includes duck that is smoked for 24 hours. What a find. This place is small but very cute in a quiet little street ( Jl. Jero Gadung) on the Palace side of Ubud. Sis has bailed at the last minute as she is desperate to see some dancing so its just me and the 4 guys. Story of my life really. Even our dog at home is a male.Can’t complain. Some girls would love to be surrounded by this many males.The duck meat literally falls off the bone and our friend declares this the best food in Bali. Putu’s Wild Ginger is owned by a very charismatic couple, Nyoman (the husband) and of course Putu (the wife).Nyoman sits at our table most of the night and Putu the chef, comes over for chats every now and then. Now normally this would be odd. Intrusive even, but tonight it seems like the most natural thing in the world. It feels more like a dinner party at a friends that a restaurant owned by people we have never met before. The kids are having a ball. The bill is too cheap so Handsome being handsome,leaves a handsome tip. We will definitely be back to this little gem. Apparently they also have accommodation but no pool which counts us out.

Day 9. Boys fly, temples float and snow falls.

Picked up at 8.15 am by Reg Chillout in Bali in an elf mini bus so we can all fit including luggage and boards. Sis is pretty stressed. She has lost her mastercard. Once she has made some calls and cancelled her card we are off to Bedugal. It has stared to rain but by the time we arrive at the Botanic Gardens and Treetops Adventure Park it has cleared. The temperature is quite cool. I think this is the first time in Bali that I have worn jeans and a jumper in the middle of the day. It is beautiful here. The vegetation is quite alpine and very manicured. The park is immaculate and the ropes course is both well run and safe. The boys swing and jump and fly through the air. They are having a ball. Told you they felt at home in Monkey Forest. After about two hours the younger two boys have had enough. Their hands are sore and they are hungry. We will definitely return another trip and the boys can do the black ( hardest) level. Reg our driver says he knows a great place for lunch and we are all hungry . Big mistake . The wonderful place is a ‘full on’ tourist trap. One word- dreadful. Oh well we are here now. It’s a buffet. Surely there will be a few dishes that will be ok. Maybe I’m fussy. Ok I admit it – I am. The boys and others find something. Me ” not so much”. Oh well it’s not going to spoil my day.

Next stop 2 minutes away is the temple Pura Ulun Danu on Lake Bratan. The temple appears to float on the lake and has a mystical quality. Luckily the Prime Minister’s wife is on an official visit so we get to sit in on the festivities. First a temple ceremony. The priest and entourage row across the lake. He looks over 100 years old and is wearing the most elaborate robes with a huge bejewelled top hat. At the back of the neck are 3 large crystals which stick out pencil like and appear as if they could light up. Kind of like a religious Balinese rhinestone cowboy. The hat looks too big for his emaciated frame and makes him appear even smaller. After the ceremony it is time for the traditional dancing and music. The girls are bewitching in their fabulous makeup and outfits and the boys are having a ball with the drumming and gamelan. There are very few westerners but many Indonesian tourists. Our three boys are wandering around and appear to have an entourage of young girls following them. One of the mothers approaches the boys and asks for their Facebook details so her girls can be friends.The boys seem to have attained celebrity status and are lined up for various photos with an assortment of beauties. Our boys look slightly alarmed!.

The priest and his party arrive by boat

His hat looks very regal but a little heavy

The drive to Munduk is very pretty but the road is narrow and winding. It is a little scary at times but I usually find the local drivers to be patient and cautious. The lakes are surrounded by national park and the views are beautiful. There are monkeys on the side of the road at various spots.

We have two nights booked at Melanting Cottages. The cottages are made from a dark timber in the style of traditional rice barns. They cling to the side of the valley and have magnificent views to the sea. Spectacular. The rooms are basic but clean and have a charm about them. It is very peaceful and the only sound is the gurgle of a water way which runs down through the hotel forming little pools which are filled with goldfish. During the night Handsome mistakes the sound for rain and sis dreams there is a flood. We have done quite a bit today so I have a bit of a nanna nap. When I wake it is freezing! It feels almost snowy. The state of origin rugby league is on in Oz so Handsome and our friend sit on the balcony of our cottage in the cold and watch the game on a laptop in the fading light. The most majestic sunset is unfolding if only they would look up. I don’t think they even notice. The laptop lags and freezes but they are totally absorbed in the game. I have a massage in a nearby room and the girls hands are like ice cubes. She keeps her heavy jacket on and her hands finally warm up. I have to smile, in the background I can hear “go, go, go”. “What, you have to be kidding”,”tackle him”. Ahhh the comforting sounds of home!. That night we ask for extra blankets. I pull out all my sarongs and cover the bed for even more warmth. It looks quite pretty! You mightn’t believe me but during the night I feel so cold that I get up and put a woollen jumper over my nightie. In a way it makes a nice change and we are very cosy.

Day 10. Will we survive?

We wake to a magnificent, clear sunny morning. The air is crisp. Can this be Bali? The view all the way to Lovina on the coast is sparkling. We decide to drive to Lovina to swim via the sacred hot springs. My children and husband are definitely amphibians. They dehydrate if out of the water for more than a few days. Our lovely driver, Ninga is a local who owns a small hotel and restaurant. His English is quite good and he charmingly relates his personal story and how he feels about the development of Bali and local politics. Interestingly on this trip to Bali I have heard the Balinese repeatedly despairing at the over-development of their beautiful island. I am feeling a little guilty that I am part of the problem.

Munduk is a very cute town. This area is especially renowned for its cloves which are left to dry by the side of the road. The air is filled with their fragrance which is both pleasant and disturbing as it reminds me of dental surgeries. The hot springs are not what I expected. Years ago I went to hot springs at the base of Kintamani and they were literally hot rock pools with no tourists. I think that was 1985 so things have changed a wee bit. The area surrounding the springs is quite pretty. There are a number of stalls selling sarongs and bibs and bobs along the path. We pay a small fee to enter. The springs consist of a concrete pool on two levels with aquifers spurting the healing waters. It actually looks quite dirty but I decide to go in anyway. I figure that the water is sacred and healing so as I am in a healing profession it is my duty to go in. I’m just not going to put my head under. The water smells of sulphur. So far so good. Sulphur is healing and antibiotic. Still I tell the boys not to go fully in. No heads under please. Of course no 1 son ( 15years and bullet proof) continually ducks his head completely under the water just to prove how invincible he is and also obviously to irritate me. The other two think this is hilarious which only spurs him on. Later that night when his bravado has worn off and he realises that an ear infection means time out of the water he sheepishly asks for my legendary herbal ear drops so he can prevent any potential infections. While we were floating around the pool being healed, my sister was watching some of the springs guests clearing their sinuses and spitting in the water. God knows what else they are doing! Ew yuk.

Looks inviting?

It is a gorgeous sunny day but Lovina is pretty well deserted. Sis befriends the local hawkers and buys necklaces and bracelets from each of them. While we swim, the boys hire surf skis. No 2 son accidentally drops his paddle and being homemade instead of floating it immediately sinks. Oops. The water visibility is probably about 10cm so we have to feel around for it. Time for lunch. Handsome and I share a pizza fungi and salad. Excellent. Very crispy base. We drive back and arrive around 4.30pm.

After a quick change Handsome and I head off for the waterfall walks. I am determined to go and persuade Handsome to come with me. The path to the first waterfall is easy and flat but narrow. Surprisingly along the path, in the midst of the bush is a picture book cute little warung selling spices and drinks. Now I better explain something. Handsome isn’t much of a walker. As I mentioned he is an amphibian and very at home in the water. Handsome also has an injury called “shoppers knee” which means that although he can effortlessly ski black runs and can surf day in day out, after 1/2 an hour of shopping his knee literally gives out and he can’t go on. Ring any bells ladies? His shoppers knee can at times mutate into “gallery knee” ” museum knee” and ” trekking knee”. Anyway after seeing the first waterfall which I might add is quite pretty, I talk Handsome into going a bit further with the promise of “come on just around that corner” and the intriguing” I wonder what you can see from just up there?”. You know pushing him along until we have gone too far to turn back.

The scenery truly is beautiful. The farms are all so neat and well tended. They are mostly cloves, coffee and bananas. We encounter a number of dogs who bark ferociously and initially we are quite apprehensive but when confronted the dogs are actually quite scared. The walk isn’t signposted and we take a wrong turn We continually ask the way and the locals are very obliging although many don’t speak English. From a narrowish lane the path then steeply descends with a million stairs (well that what it felt like anyway) leading to Bali’s largest waterfall. Stunning. I am torn between the majesty of this place and the vertigo I feel looking at it. There is not a soul in sight and since leaving the first waterfall we haven’t encountered any other walkers. Handsome agrees the walk was worth it and his knee, despite the steps, is holding up well.

We cross over on a little bridge. The path is a bit slippery and I fall once. Now this is where we may have made a few mistakes. The path splits a number of times. Mmm. No signposts. Perhaps we needed a guide after all. The light is golden leaning into pink. In other words it’s fading. We don’t see any other walkers. I’m not freaking, well maybe a tiny, tiny bit. This is Bali. No one is ever too far away. We ask directions from an ancient toothless woman sweeping a dirt path to her little house. She doesn’t speak English but points her bony fingers up the mountain and shouts Munduk, Munduk. Ok, I am starting to feel like I’m in a child’s story book and have lost my way in the woods. We meet a young mother with a new baby and she points up also. The path or what we thought was a path has disappeared. We are now literally climbing up a steep, stony water course in fading light. This is really hard going but exhilarating. Sweat is dripping off me. Handsome with his shoppers knee is actually climbing like a Sherpa, yanking me up the extra difficult bits. I might add he is having a bit of a laugh and is clearly enjoying his physical superiority. Me Tarzan, you Jane. Eventually we reach a path and it gets easier. My confidence returns. We are still heading up but the walk is easy. Eventually we reach the road and see anther couple walking with poles and a guide. Sensible yes but maybe not as exciting. The path continues parallel to the road. We pass a solitary man practising gamelan. A small woman with a huge bundle of timber effortlessly passes us. Eventually we make it back to Melanting just as darkness completely surrounds us. I have loved every minute of it.

A well earned drink and then shower. We decide to go out for dinner. On the way out I meet a very eloquent driver who advises me that the restaurant I want to go to is only opened for lunch. He explains that around Munduk guests eat where they are staying and that all the restaurants are pretty similar. He is here with a French family as their guide and driver. He speaks 8 languages fluently and his English is perfect. We happily chat and he fills me in on the local scene. According to him it is mostly French who visit Munduk as they like nature and culture. Unlike Aussies, the French are not interested in “artificial Bali” that the tourists have created in Kuta and Seminyak. I sense his distain for us Aussies and find myself getting a little defensive. Despite this he is extremely interesting and knowledgeable not only about Bali but about the world. Handsome arrives and we head back to Melanting for dinner. I see the guide and his friend at dinner. All the other diners are , you guessed it, French!

Magical Munduk on our walk.

I have adored Munduk and will definitely return. There are a number of organic farms and interestingly places to explore. Munduk you have stolen my heart.

Three weeks in Bali 2012. Week 1. Magic Bali Moments

Hi I’m salty dog. Well I do have a dog and I live on the beach and my dog likes to swim. Enough said. We have been coming to Bali for many years. My husband first came in 1978 and then we came together  in 1985. We now bring our kids. I think we counted this was their 4th time, my 12th and husbands lucky 13th. No 1 son is 14 and turned 15 on our last day in Bali. No 2 son is 12.


Got through the airport in record time. This is the first time we haven’t used VIP for years and there really was no need to. As soon as we rounded the corner to the money changes the scent of Bali enveloped me. My heart sighed.

I can’t believe how much the area outside the airport has changed in a year. It is quite a walk now to the parking area but it is easy and allows us time to take in a little of Bali. Very quickly we are in the car and on our way. Our driver Made is a mad surfer as are my two boys and husband. The  talk is of tides and swell and wind and Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning. I just look out the window  and their talking washes over me. No 1 son who is 14 leans against me and says ‘I love Bali mum”.Now he doesn’t say much normally. He is 14 and usually just talks “surf”. ‘Do you darling – why’? ‘It’s just really interesting and different. Dunno, I just love everything about it’.Now this is why I love holidays. To share something you love with your kids just melts my heart.

Because there is little traffic we arrive at the villa in record time. We are staying in Canggu and it is one of those Bali wow moments when we enter. The villa, Pantai Indah is 18 months old, simple and beautiful.

DAY  1 Repeat after me  “Surf Eat Surf Eat Surf Eat”

God, husband ( I shall call him Handsome for this blog) forgot to turn off his alarm. 4am. Great. Only got to sleep about 3 hours ago. Next alarm 4.30.am. It is the reminder alarm for no.2 son’s guitar lesson.Note to self. Erase all alarms etc of previous life before the holiday starts. The boys hit the surf as dawn is breaking. I attempt to go back to sleep. Am starving. No dinner last night so eat some yogurt out of the fridge. Am pleased I ordered food for the villa before we arrived. Hang out and wait for their return. Meet the staff and chat as they prepare breakfast.  I walk down the beach but don’t go too far. Apparently the surf was fantastic and we leisurely eat fruit, eggs, yogurt, wholemeal toast. Everyone is starving. Then they are charged up for another surf. My sister arrives tonight so I will have someone to hang out with while the boys feed their surf addiction.

If only it was!

Lunch.We head off to Desa Seni. A divine little village type resort that reminds me of the shire in the hobbit.  Story book cute with pretty gardens and meandering paths. At lunch I order the Desa Seni salad which has herbs and salad veges out of their garden with crunchy tempe. Right up my alley. Handsome orders Mahi mahi and the boys pizza. No 2 son hates his . UUUrg This always happens. The tomatoes are too fresh!!! No 2 son loves his. I have a hot Jamu of turmeric, ginger, lemongrass and some leaf I don’t recognize but tastes a little like eucalyptus.  I really like it. Handsome has, you guessed it , his first Bintang. He doesn’t drink much beer at home but in Bali in loves a Bintang. The boys have a chocolate milk shake. I can predict and I hope I am wrong but they will invariably order the following all holiday– pizza, spaghetti, ribs, chocolate milk shakes and lemon juice. Maybe you could throw a sate and a salad in there too. Wish they would be more adventurous.At home they have to eat much healthier fare but on holidays I relax the rules and they  can pretty much order what they want within reason.We wander around and take photos of the vegetable gardens. I look in the gift shop and then we order a cab and go back to the villa.

How sweet is this vegetable patch at Desa Seni

The boys head out for another surf and I catch a cab to the tailors with some clothes I want copied. I bought the fabric with me. This takes ages because the traffic is so bad.For dinner I have booked “om”  at Canggu from TA recommendations. We arrive and it’s quite beautiful , simple and elegant. Bamboo and white curtains. It is fully staffed but not a guest in site! I check my watch. It’s nearly 8. We get the giggles as the staff nearly fall over themselves to serve us. The menu looks great, drinks menu fine. Where is everyone? Oh well the boys are ravenous and suggest they won’t have to wait long for the meals to come.  Haha no spaghetti or pizza on the menu! They both decide to have duck with noodles. No 2 son only changes it slightly. No cashews and no spice. I order duck salad Thai style and H orders chicken bamboo and sure enough it arrives in a chunk of bamboo. The boys meals come in little cane baskets that sit upright facing them. This looks gorgeous but proves fatal for spills.  All meals are delicious. Mine is quite spicy so I’m pleased I ordered a young coconut. We have a wander around after dinner. It’s quiet with a few local kids scooting around on their push bikes.

No 2 sons dinner at om ,some of which ended up on his lap.

Day 2  “Teenager saved in Legian. Sharks seen circling”.

My sister  arrived late last night with her son( he is also 14).  I am really looking forward to seeing them. They haven’t been to Bali before.  I live in Sydney and they live in Byron so we see each other but not as often as I would like.The boys surf at dawn again. Breakfast at 8 and then we walk to Echo beach to meet them at 9.30.  We have booked massages back at the villa at 12 .30 so we hang around till then and my nephew and the boys surf. I have reflexology and sis and Handsome have  a massage. God it hurts but I know it is doing me good..

The boys are desperate for a shop so we arrange with the driver Made to take us to Legain and then to Mataharis . The traffic is horrendous. Nephew is having a conniption in the back of the van as we pass all the shops on Jalan Legian . He has no idea how long this street goes for and how many shops there are along it. He is almost jumping out the window to get at them. By the time we get to Legian he is so pumped  we don’t even leave the car park before he has bought a bb gun. Made had to interject and help because if you can picture this, nephew is standing there, wallet opened surrounded by Balinese hawkers offering all sorts of delights appealing to a teenage boy and he is prepared to pay the first price offered. This is despite our coaching on how to bargain all the drive here. The boys are off with Handsome and my sister  and I look in a few shops. To be honest I don’t feel well. I wonder if I should have stayed home. I buy a beautiful silk scarf for Rp 185000.  I feel a little better. Funny how  that works. I laugh at my nephew who seems be in a shopping frenzy but lucky for him Handsome has him in hand. The boys end up buying a few bits and pieces but really I think its best to come back when nephew  is a bit more seasoned. In Mataharis the boys find the Nixon watches which are cheaper than at home. Sis buys a beautiful batik dress and t-shirt. Handsome takes the boys to the fish spa. No 1 son has cuts on one foot so Handsome asks for a  1 leg discount. Laughs all round. We go into the DVD shop in Kuta square which we always go to. They tell you which DVDs are good and which aren’t. I might add this isn’t necessarily fool-proof. We buy enough to keep the boys happy and then make the drive back to Deus at Canggu for dinner. The traffic is dreadful but the traffic going in the opposite direction is worse. Far worse. It is the cars, buses and vans returning from watching the sunset at Tanah Lot .In all my trips I have never been to Tanah Lot and  thought I would go this time but seeing this traffic I decide against it.

Deus is really cool. Great art, funky bikes and boards. My tummy feels really fizzy so I just order chicken soup. The boys all order ribs and sis has 2 courses veges and chicken. Can’t remember what Handsome orders but he enjoyed whatever it was . All good. The boys order chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice-cream and we call taxis. Handsome tries to pay but the credit cards don’t work. They try and try and eventually he pays on Visa at the shop. So much for only using the MasterCard. This end up being a problem for the rest of the trip. Our master card doesn’t work on the portable devices.Bye the way there is a 3% charge to use a credit card at Deus. I take some herbs and go to bed.

Deus – food, boards, bikes,art, pool table = fun

Day 3  “Boy undergoes emergency surgery while uncle almost burnt alive”.

Its raining this morning. Soft gentle rain. It doesn’t last long but it is a lovely way to start the day. We booked massages at 10 am  for sis and I . The boys surf at dawn, breakfast at 8. We have a routine. The massages are wonderful but man my calves hurt. Nephew then returns to the villa with a bit of reef stuck in his big toe. Ketut , our housekeeper or Dr Ketut as she is to be known, excises it but it takes many goes and N is screaming in pain. I mean really screaming. Ketut declares that he will indeed live and it is time for lunch.

Sis and I have our massages by the pool

There is a restaurant next door. Ombek. A bit of old time Bali where you can watch the surfing on a terrace upstairs. There are some pro surfers out the front with 3 photographers and their tripods. No 1 son and no 2 are still out surfing so we have e few drinks, watch and order lunch. . The food is basic but this place takes me back in time to when Handsome and I were a couple, hanging out in places like this mostly, inhabited by surfers eating nasi goreng and jaffles.  We call the boys in and they order ribs but the sauce is too spicy for no 2 so I wipe of f the sauce with napkins. Handsome suddenly turns bright red and spits out what he is eating. He can’t talk. His bulging eyes look like they are going to pop out of his head. He mistook a chilli for a bean and chewed it up. His mouth is on fire! He drinks his beer, he drinks water, he eats some rice and still it burns. He drinks nephew’s banana smoothie and only then does his face start to remotely return to its normal colour. He is still finding it difficult to talk. Poor love. I eat a chicken curry. It’s OK but pretty bony. Sis’s fish cakes are really tasty so we order more and pick at those. The herbs lasted night worked a treat. My tummy is fine.  We hang out for a while in awe at the amazing manoeuvres these surfers are doing. Free entertainment from the best seats in the house.

Back at the villa we all decide to read for a bit. My eyes can’t stay open and we all have a lovely nanna nap on the lounges. Even the kids. This is unheard of for my kids. God I love a nanna nap. We all wake about the same time. Sis decides to go back to her hotel.  The rest of us  watch ‘The Avengers” on DVD and then walk to Echo Beach to watch the sunset. We sit right on the waterfront at Sate Bali. The food is exceptionally good. I have BBQ fish sates in lemongrass and Handsome orders Chicken. No 1 son orders a pizza from Sticky Fingers next door and no 2 son orders crispy duck. Fantastic food all round. I feel so relaxed. I have a “ God I love Bali” moment and Handsome and I have a little cuddle. A local vendor tries to sell me some jewelry but instead we just end up chatting. He is a lovely man with 3 children and I guiltily wonder how many times I just shoo these people away. He is a similar in age to me and I realise how different but the same our lives are.

Time for a bit of a poke around the shops. No 2 son buys some Hurley board shorts at the Hurley shop. They are a bit cheaper that in Oz but still expensive. My kids live in board shorts year round so I don’t mind paying and he loves them and he needs some. There are a few bikini shops with beach clothes that I wander through but I don’t really need anything. We walk back along the beach lit only by the moon and our  iPhone flash light. Nature and man. The temperature is perfect and I have had a wonderful evening. We arrive back at the villa and Handsome can’t find the villa keys. The security guard lets us in and we have to ring Made to get into our rooms which are locked. The security guard rings Sate Bali but no keys.Handsome must have dropped them on the beach when he took some photos. He doesn’t hold out much hope that the keys will be found because the tide has come in since then and the surf is quite big. I have this funny calm feeling that it will be all ok. If they aren’t found I guess all the locks will have to be changed as the keys have the name of the villa on them. This would be a bit of a hassle and I don’t think the villa owners would be too impressed. I urge Handsome to retrace his steps along the beach. I know its dark and there is a lot of beach to cover but I just have a feeling he will find them. He isn’t so sure but goes anyway . He says he looked and looked and thought this is crazy. He was about to turn back and then looked one last time and there they were. Talk about a needle in a haystack. Meanwhile the kids and I are watching “Tin Tin” but I can’t stay awake. Bed. A wonderful day.

Sunset at Echo Beach. Our keys are somewhere on the sand!

Day 4 New Bali, Old Bali and return of the Zombies.

Woke about 6.30. No 2 son comes in whimpering. They didn’t wake me for a surf. He is devastated and can’t understand how or why this would happen. I offer to go with him but he decides to watch some DVDs they have bought. Big mistake. I don’t know about other kids but watching TV in the morning turns my kids into zombies. We are leaving for Ubud tomorrow and then Munduk so there will be no TV for over a week so I foolishly relent.

After breakfast Handsome and I decide to walk along the beach to the Tugu Hotel. We went for the risstafel there last year with the kids. We had a private room and watched the dancing.It was a magical night and I really wanted to see the place in the daytime. It is old Bali. Dutch Colonial wooden bales, meandering paths, gorgeous antiques, wonderful faded photos of  Bali nobility and important families. I love the genteel  nature of this place and its quirky layout.  The rooms are dark and mysterious and the low light adds a romantic touch. There are bales which appear to float over lily ponds and bales on stilts like tree houses.  There is a shop I would like to see. An Aladdin’s cave of antiques that was closed when we were here last. I had my nose against the shop’s glass front, dying for a look. There is a button to press if you want assistance so we press it and wait. After a while we give up and start walking away when  two women appear and one happily opens the shop for us. There are old paintings and artifacts. Beautiful silk and linen. I point out a few things to Handsome but can tell by his manner that we won’t be buying anything. It’s more like visiting a small museum or gallery. We wander around the gardens and the different rooms dotted about. It really is a magical place. I imagine parties here in the 70s with someone like the Rolling Stones and that elegantly wasted vibe. Opium smoking and a quiet decadence. It all feels very lush here but there is a sense of the hidden or undisclosed which adds to its mystery. Of course this is probably only what I imagine and could be nothing like the reality but I am enjoying my daydream.

An old family photo at the Tugu Hotel

The surf break out the front is more for beginners and there is a buzz of excitement as small children stand up for the first time on a wave. The positivity is infectious and we strike up a conversation with a young girl from Denpasar selling bracelets. I find that at this end of the beaches there is very little pressure to buy and the vendors are often just happy to chat. Maybe they are curious or just want to practise their English. We spend a bit of time and walk back along the beach. The new Sea Sentosa is still under construction and it is massive. I think it looks like a Westfield shopping center with a shingled sloping roof. Honestly I am not anti-progress but I am disgusted. I think it is foreign-owned and  don’t think this is really going to add much to Bali. Handsome is more positive. “ once its landscaped it will look better and it will provide jobs for locals”. I don’t agree. More planning guidelines are needed in my opinion. This just looks like a westerners greedy maximization of space to get the most money without regard for the natural landscape. I think this area is going to change rapidly over the next few years. We call in to Echo beach and buy no 1 son some thongs and walk back along the beach to our villa. We chat to a Aussie guy who Handsome met a few years ago. He lived in Seminyak before but found it too busy so has bought here in the local village of Penerenan. It is such a pretty village. I wouldn’t mind living here. Back at the villa, my zombies, I mean my children, have been watching movies nonstop.  We decide to lunch next door again. The afternoon is spent reading and chilling out around the villa.

About 2.30 we catch a cab to Deus and have some afternoon tea. We wander around the shop and work rooms. It is a pretty interesting place and it is easy to while away an hour or two.The boys play a game of pool and then we catch a cab back to the villa. Dinner at Mama San tonight.  I booked it in Sydney before we left. Am meeting sis here at 7.30.  Mama San is really cool. We order a bottle of Pinot from USA. It’s pretty good and the food is outstanding. Even the boys love it. We order up big – Peking Duck, Pork buns, duck buns, crispy salmon, prawns stir fry, water spinach with garlic,naan. The food just keeps coming. The naan tastes like the most beautiful croissant. Buttery, light and fluffy. Upstairs there is a bar and the bathrooms. They are worth checking out if you are seated downstairs. The service is great despite the constant arrival of diners. Definitely book first. I think quite a few people were turned away. No 1 son has fallen fast asleep on the banquette. He is taller than me but still a boy. He looks so funny and as no 2 son points out has drooled on the cushions. We chat to the table next to ours from Perth. Eventually we have finished. The bill is about $200 which is pretty good for what we just devoured. They call a cab and we waddle off home.

Mama San.

Day 5   Surf discovered in Ubud

No 1 son decides not to surf this morning but to take photos of his brother. He bursts into my bedroom at 7am. “Something terrible has happened”. Instantly I imagine  the worst. Shark attacks, drownings,  lacerations from hitting the reef, eyes gouged out. Actually the last is no joke as a friend lost an eye surfing years ago at Uluwatu. He was stabbed by his own board. Pictures of horrific injuries and worse are swirling around in my head. He sees the terror on my face and continues in a gush “I was walking on the sand and my new haviana thongs got sucked down into a hole and I can only find one.”. Instant relief.! Apparently it is a real sink hole and even Handsome after much digging can’t find the thong. Well those thongs lasted less than a day. Should have bought the cheapies! This incident has inspired my daily headlines for this blog. Really my kids are capable of scaring me witless.

A  friend  from Byron arrives with my nephew on his bike.  He is going to hang out with us for the rest of the trip. Another surfer to add to the lineup. He has just spent a few months in Thailand. I decide to leave the surf talk to the boys ,walk to Sesah beach and say hi to the staff at the villa we stayed in last year. The beach is deserted and I only see one other person walking their dogs. It is a gorgeous day with very little wind and again I have a ‘magic Bali moment’. The staff aren’t there but the owner who I haven’t met in person is and she shows me the renovations she is having done to the villa. Workers cover the house like ants, sanding and painting, and hammering. The grounds as always are beautiful. There is a new sign where the road meets the beach ‘Warning Tsnami area”. What does this mean?

Back to our villa and it’s time to leave so after packing quickly we drive to Ubud. The boys are desperate to eat and plead to go to  Café Wayan for lunch.  Handsome and I have Nasi Campur, No 1 son has spaghetti followed by pancakes and No 2 has duck. For some reason it doesn’t seem as good as in the past.We walk down Monkey Forest road and of course the boys find a surf shop and buy jeans, thongs and  t-shirts. Even when we were in Rome they  manged to find a surf shop. How do they do it.? I think they have a microchip embedded somewhere.Further toward the Monkey Forest I find a beautiful shop down a little passageway and buy a beautiful hand-made batik hanging.I searched for one last year and came home empty-handed. Funny that sometimes you only find what you love when you are not really looking.  I have booked dinner at  Melting Wok and it is delicious but really I can’t do it justice after the Nasi Campur at Cafe Wayan. I must go back when I am hungry. I would again recommend booking ahead as this place is small and very popular.  The food is fresh and has a lightness to it. We attempt to catch a taxi but of course Ubud doesn’t really have taxis like the coast. Eventually we just go with “transport” for about $4. We stop on the way. There is a new supermarket in Ubud not far from our hotel and the boys are desperate to buy some snacks. Feels weird walking the isles of this biggish supermarket in Ubud. Progress? It is convenient though.

Day 6 Musical Chairs

We are staying at Greenfields Hotel where we have stayed many times before. We catch up with the news of our Balinese friends. Babies and much wanted pregnancies. Actually since last year 3 Balinese friends have had babies. Greenfields is expanding again. The staff is wonderful but I feel the specialness of this place is being diluted. This may be our last visit. The rice paddy at the far end that our room overlooks is now idle and the farmer and his animals have moved on. The resort will soon be building more rooms and another pool. I miss watching the his daily rituals so closely. The view out the front is still mesmerizing but not as green as the rice hasn’t grown yet.Instead the reflections of the clouds and trees in the water filled paddies are quite poetic.

Today I am on a mission to visit Nadis Herbal. I am a naturopath and the local medicines used in Bali are something I am really interested in. I have actually incorporated a few things I have learnt on previous visits in my practice. I meet a lovely man,Weca, whose family owns and runs Nadis herbal. His “other job” ia as a dancer and he is incredibly lithe. I end up spending  hours with this interesting healer. I buy a number of products and walk to their other larger shop and buy some more  from his brother. In Nadis I  meet two friendly  Spanish guys who own vegan restaurants. One in Ubud , one in Barcelona and another opening soon in Madrid. They have a house on Majorca in the same area if not neighbouring one we will be staying in next year. They invite us to lunch next year. Another bit of Bali magic. I love the cosmopolitan nature of  Bali. Truly you meet people from all over the world on this little Island. No 2 son finds a wonderful Italian gelato shop opposite the markets. We walk down Jalan Hanoman  and then along Jalan Dewi Sita. We  stop in Soma for a jamu and iced chocolate. Yum. This is a great raw food place. I love it but No 2 son doesn’t like his iced chocolate. Too healthy! We go back to Nadis late in the afternoon and no 1 son  has a treatment – a massage  sort of like acupressure and then herbs are ground into a paste and smeared over no 1 sons back and chest. This is left on for a considerable time.We discuss no 2 sons diet and his constitution. He describes my son pretty accurately including what he was like as a baby.  I have so enjoyed my time with this lovely generous man. Herbal medicine is my passion so this has been a bit of a highlight for me.

The lovely Weca

We meet up with sis, our friend and nephew at Naughty Nuris that night but arrive right on peak time. Jesus people are so ruthless when it comes to scoring a table.We are the first ones to arrive that have to wait but other groups are incredibly pushy. We are far too polite and I feel like I am playing musical chairs at a 5 year olds birthday party and losing badly! Finally we score seats and eat. The food is Ok but I like the atmosphere here despite the table fiasco. The boys love the ribs  but not being a rib devotee I have the chicken which is a bit dry. Sis is a vego and has the vege curry. The boys love the ribs but I think they really enjoy the chaos of this place and always want to return.

Loved this sign at Naughty Nuris.

Says it all really!