Ski Trip – The Courmayeur Guide

My recent ski trip to Courmayeur was my first time skiing in Italy. And it will definitely not be the last.

Previous ski trips have taken me to France, Switzerland and Austria. So I have enjoyed all that those countries have to offer by way of ski resort, from fondues on the slopes to vigorous Austrian folk music in apres ski bars. What Italy brings to the ski trip party is so much more.

First up, there’s the Italianness of the people there. The attitude and style of the Italians is something that I am obsessed with every time I visit their fabulous country. And Courmayeur is ideal for people watching, both on and off the slopes. In Courmayeur I saw one guy skiing straight down a black run while smoking a cigarette, as nonchalant as you please. And then there was the guy getting on the ski lift wearing ski jeans and a bomber jacket as his ski outfit. Yes, really, ski jeans. The label on the jeans said ‘ski’ and they were of a special design that fit over his ski boots.

Second, and more importantly, the Italian ski resorts excel when it comes to food. And in Courmayeur all the food bases were covered, from refined Michelin starred delights through to hearty mountain feasts ending in a Euro-style disco atop a mountain.

Continue reading “Ski Trip – The Courmayeur Guide”

Ski Trip Packing 1

Packing for a Ski Trip for First Timers

I only started skiing a few years ago, which explains why I will forever be an intermediate skier. Starting skiing as an adult is hard. I’m constantly thinking about whether my travel insurance will cover me if I have some kind of accident. The result is I ski far too cautiously to ever make any seriously good progress.

Nevertheless, I have progressed to a point when I can pretty much tackle most ski runs (with varying degrees of style and technique). And I now love my ski trip holidays more than anything. Apres ski has a lot to do with it.

Looking back, I can see the seriously steep learning curve I went through to get to this stage, and it wasn’t all on the slopes. Knowing what to pack for a ski trip the first few times was a bit of a dilemma and I had to ask around to find out what I needed to take to wear on the slopes. Continue reading “Packing for a Ski Trip for First Timers”

Melbourne Dining 6

My Melbourne Dining Diary

I love nothing more than heading back to my hometown of Melbourne in the Australian summer time. Not only do I get to escape the northern hemisphere winter, but I get to experience the best of Melbourne when its beautiful locals are chilled, suntanned and glowing.

Better than that, I get to experience Melbourne’s food and drink scene, preferably al fresco. Melbourne is famous for its world-class dining scene, award-winning chefs and leading edge cuisine. On my last trip my time was limited to only a week, during which I tried to fit in meeting with family and friends, shopping at my favourite Aussie designer boutiques, stocking up on Bonds undies, getting up to Sydney for a flying visit mid-week and getting in my morning walk around Melbourne’s Tan track each day. So my Melbourne dining was limited but outstanding.

Here’s a shortlist from my Melbourne dining extravaganza, where I went and what I highly recommend: Continue reading “My Melbourne Dining Diary”

Byron Bay Diary-10

My Byron Bay Diary

Ask anyone who went to Byron Bay 15 to 20 years ago, and they’ll all tell you how much Byron has changed in the intervening years. Byron Bay is the original Australian bohemian, spiritual beachside siren town that draws hippies, creative types and free-thinkers to its palm-tree lined streets, lush hinterland and white sandy beaches.

With that has come the backpackers and the tourists. But the authentic free spirit of Byron remains, and can still be tapped into and enjoyed today.

On my recent trip back to Byron Bay, I set out to re-discover exactly what made me fall in love with this sun-soaked haven all those years ago when I first visited. What I found was a   down-to-earth and forward thinking community of people who are passionate about food, fashion and a lifestyle that is unique to this part of the world. Here’s my diary of places I ate, drank, slept, lazed, unwound, shopped and discovered… Continue reading “My Byron Bay Diary”

Dublin Weekend Guide 2

Dublin Weekend Guide

I lived in Dublin in the early noughties at the height of the “Celtic Tiger”. Real estate prices were through the roof, Sex and the City was a TV revelation and I was wearing the most hideous gold and brown pleather trousers with abandon. And while there were plenty of great restaurants and bars around at the time, many of which I frequented on a regular basis, they don’t compare to what Dublin has to offer nowadays. Yes, thanks to the invention of hipsters, Dublin is awash with artisanal cafes, vegan restaurants, beard grooming parlours and design store pop ups. And I for one am a fan of all of the above.

On a recent trip back to Dublin, I did a bit of research and exploring to come up with my guide for a weekend in Dublin. Continue reading “Dublin Weekend Guide”

Tokyo: Nine Things to Know Before You Go

Tokyo has to be up there in the top 3 cities that I’ve visited and fallen for big time. I first went to Tokyo a few years ago for a writing project I was working on. Nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of everything that is Tokyo. The culture, the high-tech toilets, the anxiety-inducing interchange at Shinjuku subway station, the human wall coming straight towards you while you attempt to cross at the scramble crossing, the mind-blowing cuisine you can get everywhere. Everywhere. And of course, the people. They are the best feature of Tokyo. Polite, considerate, quirky, ridiculously cool, creative.

Yes. Everyone has to go to Tokyo at least once in their lives. Before you start booking, here are eight things to know to help you plan, and prepare you for the awesomeness of a visit to Tokyo. Continue reading “Tokyo: Nine Things to Know Before You Go”

West Hollywood Cocktail & Hangover Cure 6

A Guide to the Best Cocktails and Hangover Cures in West Hollywood

On my recent trip to Los Angeles I based myself in West Hollywood, home to some the most fabulous cocktail bars in the city. I planned to write up my ultimate guide to the best cocktails in this very cool neighbourhood. However, I soon learned that I was going to have to find some pretty effective hangover cures if I was going to be able to get out there night after night and sample the best that West Hollywood has to offer by way of cocktail refreshment (all in the name of research). And what better place than L.A. to find the most celeb-endorsed hangover cures? Urban sweat lodges, IV drips, comfort brunches and so much more…

After much trial, and some error, I present to you my ultimate guide and ratings (out of 5) of West Hollywood’s best cocktail bars and hangover cures. Continue reading “A Guide to the Best Cocktails and Hangover Cures in West Hollywood”

Soho Cocktails 3

Soho Cocktails

In the third of my Soho trilogy (see also Soho Dining and Soho Shopping) I have put in hours and hours of research to bring you the ultimate guide to the best cocktails in London’s Soho (you’re welcome).

The louche and slightly seedy Soho of the 1970s is still alive, despite the gentrification that has been taking hold over the last three or four years. And it’s this debaucherous hangover from the past combined with the style that has moved in since then that make Soho the perfect spot for an alcohol-fuelled evening with your loosest friends. Continue reading “Soho Cocktails”

Venice Wellness Spirituality

Wellness, Spirituality and Mindfulness in Venice, L.A.

Los Angeles has long been a magnet for the spiritual, mystic and new age. Whether it’s because of the laidback vibe, the proximity to awe-inspiring nature or some vortex of positive universal energy, I can’t quite find the answer, and it might be all of the above. But it’s that magic energy that makes it so beautifully unique. And there is no better place to experience it all than the boho beach side suburb of Venice.

It’s here where people are open and friendly, they look healthier, they talk about their chakras and when they hug, they literally and emotionally hold each other in energy-exchanging embraces that last just that little bit longer than most people would be comfortable with.

On my recent trip to Los Angeles, I set out to experience the New Age side of Venice, realign my chakras, get in touch with my inner child and experience a bit of mindfulness. Here’s what I got up to and where I went. Continue reading “Wellness, Spirituality and Mindfulness in Venice, L.A.”