Bali Blog: Where to stay

Villa Desa Roro
Villa Desa Roro

Last July we took off to Bali with friends: 7 nights at a fancy villa, then another week, just hubby and I:  No kid. Just us… Bali bliss.  We enjoyed our holiday so much we are going back to Bali in August, this time with our boy, for a week.  Since that holiday I’ve had so many people reach out asking for tips and recommendations. Questions include ‘where to stay?’ Or, ‘do we choose a villa or a hotel?’ are key FAQs. There’s an abundance of accommodation options in Bali and trying to decide where to stay can be mind boggling – I know, I’ve been there! So, here’s a post that I hope might help if you are trying to navigate how to holiday in Bali.   

Where to stay?  What location?

Firstly, a disclaimer, I don’t have all the answers. We were in Bali for just under two weeks and we stayed in four different locations, three different places in Seminyak and at a resort in Ubud.  There are a whole heap more locations in Bali that you could stay – but I can’t tell you about these: I haven’t been there yet. 

With that out of the way, knowing what I know now about Bali, if this is your first trip I’d recommend staying half of your time in Seminyak or Canguu, then heading north east into the cooler climes of the mountain town of Ubud. 

What’s the deal with each location? Here’s a breakdown – of the only four locations I know! (more…)

Gooey Chocolate Torte

Gooey Chocolate torteI whipped up this Gooey Chocolate Torte last night ahead of The Neighbours coming over for dinner (and ahead of a quick trip to the pub for pre-dinner drinks).

Now, when some food bloggers say “they whipped X up” I do a slight eye roll. Rarely, IMHO, do foodie bloggers whip something up. However, I promise, this WAS whipped up.  It took 7 mins to prep then 35 mins to bake.  Now, I’m sharing the recipe as I posted the steps as I made it on my Instagram story – and never have I had as many messages as since I had Botox in Bali.  I personally find reading recipes on Insta a pain in the bum… So because I’m occasionally thoughtful, here’s the recipe here too!

So here’s the recipe for my Gooey Chocolate Torte which takes extra brownie points for being made in ONE POT = Sod all dishes my friends. You are welcome.

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Pulled Pork Hawker Rolls

pulled pork hawker rollsPulled Pork Hawker Rolls: My new favourite food.

When we went to Queenstown on holiday in January a number of blog followers told me we had to go to Josh Emmett’s Madam Woo. We listened. Unfortunately, we didn’t have Hawker Rolls and I got told off. Apparently, these are “the schizz”. 

Back up the bus. What’s a hawker roll? Malaysian street food, in the form of a deliciously decadent fried roti filled with the freshest, tastiest meats, veggies and sauces.  Think humble wrap, or a burrito, on steriods, that’s what a hawker roll is.

So, as I can follow rules sometimes, we went back the next day and had Hawker Rolls for lunch. I died and went to culinary heaven.  Yes, I wholeheartedly concur, these were ‘The Schizz’.  

On our return home,  with me still happily reminiscing my first Hawker Roll mouthful, I played around in the kitchen. Eventually, thanks in part to my Aussie friend Tam who sent me this amazeballs pulled pork recipe (which I slightly adapted), I came up with this tasty dish: Pulled Pork Hawker Rolls.  The last three dinners I’ve cooked for friends has been this: It is both a showstopper and crowd pleaser!   

Now, I know the recipe might look complicated, but it’s not: It’s one of those ‘whack it in the slow cooker and forget about it for a while’ type dishes. In fact, when I made this on Sunday, I got everything prepped, popped it in the slow cooker and sent Hubby a text asking him to turn it on at 12 noon. Off I went to the beach, returning four hours later to delicious cooking smells wafting through my house. This is my kind of dinner party dish. (more…)

My Mini Sephora USA Haul

Sephora mini haulWalking into Sephora at Houston’s at Galleria Mall a few weeks back took me back to being a Kiwi Kid in the late 1970s.  Remember when you scored $2 and you got to go to the dairy? All those lollies that were one and two cents? Remember the excitement? Well that’s the same feeling as I had at Sephora in Houston. Only now I’m an adult and am in ownership of a credit card. 

Back to Sephora: Where to look first? Here’s my thought process “Holy crap, they’ve got Anastasia Beverly Hills makeup. I can see Charlotte Tilbury. Is that Tarte? Is that a Dyson Hairdryer? Where’s the basket? Do they have Pillow Talk? Shit a brick. I’m going to need to prioritise”. I kid you not: My heart rate quickened.  But that’s OK: I was always going to do a mini haul. I’d SAVED for this.

So, after a lot of anticipation (and hours of research), I bought some goodies – arguably, not as many as you’d expect! I was adamant: I was only buying product we can’t get easily here in NZ. Besides, saving some dimes was mission critical so my savings would stretch to my new Madewell Medium Transport Tote and Michael Kors watch.

So, what did my mini Sephora haul look like? More importantly, after three solid weeks of research product usage, how am I feeling about the products? Stand by caller, keep reading. (more…)

Maybelline Burgundy Bar Palette Review

I caved in… I got a new eyeshadow palette.   This Burgundy Bar Palette from Maybelline is an exceptionally pretty looking eyeshadow palette. What can I say in defense? I’m an eyeshadow palette magpie and the autumnal hues spoke to me.

I hasten to add I certainly didn’t need Burgundy Bar, but you know, it passed the 72 hour test.

Side note: I got home and realised the palette has similar hues to my Urban Decay Naked Heat palette and I have several MAC and Makeup Geek eyeshadows that, on balance, are near enough dupes. Sigh.

Maybelline the burgundy bar review

Anyhoo, I now own Maybelline’s Burgundy Bar palette so, best I play around with it and share my thinking in an unbiased, non-sponsored review. Side rant, there aren’t enough of these unsponsored beauty posts doing the rounds at the moment. For clarity – I paid for this palette myself. It cost me NZ$33. (more…)

Top Things to Do in Rotorua

Seeing as I’m a (proud) local, I’m frequently contacted and asked about the top things to do in Rotorua. Ahead of an influx of visitors over the upcoming holidays, here’s my personal list of Top Things to Do in Rotorua.  There’s a mix of freebie activities here as well as paid favourites: I’m mindful a visit to this gorgeous town could require a second mortgage, but that doesn’t need to be the case – so I’ve mixed it up!

Lastly, a disclaimer, I haven’t visited all of the local attractions and activities we have on our doorstep so apologies if there’s a Must Do I’ve inadvertently missed off… Isn’t that often the case, we can be a bit ‘rats’ at exploring our own backyard?!  Feel free to leave a comment with your Top Tips though, help a visitor out.

Redwoods Tree walk 

I’ve written a whole blog post on the Redwoods Tree Walk, the elevated walkway through Rotorua’s iconic Redwood Forest.  Since I wrote the post, I’ve been back and visited this attraction four times – and I’ll go again, happily: It’s that good.

Our local forest was already stunning and somewhat magical before some clever buggers put in an elevated walkway. Now, in the form of a suspended 30 minute ecological walk, you get a stunning birds eye perspective of this gorgeous forest.  Geez, talk about take the forest to the Next Level! When’s the best time to do the walk? Day or night? Tricky one: Both are good for their own reasons.   That said, a walk at night-time is uniquely spectacular as there’s lit up David Trubridge lanterns scattered throughout the forest, as well as a magical light display. My tip is:  Go before sunset, kid bedtime allowing, to get the best of both worlds. 

Visit Redwoods Treewalk website here. (more…)