Why Tanjung Aru Beach in Malaysia has the most phenomenal sunset in the world

Tanjung Aru Beach in Kota Kinabalu, the most phenomenal sunset in the world (or at least SE Asia)? Here me out. I have good reason for this gushing statement that puts this humble location on a pedestal.

One must think of Tanjung Aru Beach in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, as a backdrop to your own fabulous photo shoot. This is where people go to embody Tyra Banks and strike a pose.

Every evening hundreds of tourists gather on the shores of this city beach in north Borneo, not just simply to take photographs of the fabulous sunset, no. The women here take it to a whole other level.

Beach shorts  and flip flops? Bah! The unofficial dresscode here is flowing maxi dresses in bright colours, statement jewelery and cute sandals.

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I was at Tanjung Aru Beach in November during a two month trip around SE Asia. I had been there all day and hadn’t seen a single soul until about 4pm when the area started coming to life. It began with kite, fruit and toy sellers setting up stalls, the cooks at the market firing up their barbecues and then the people trickled in.

I noticed some women pass by me wearing high wedges and glamorous dresses and I thought, that’s a bit much for the beach – I mean it’s Malaysia not the Cote d’Azur. Next thing I knew a whole flock of women had strutted onto the sands and were posing like peacocks. I had never seen anything like it. Suddenly the people became more awe-inspiring than the sunset! lol!

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By the time the sky turned yellow the whole beach was packed with hundreds of women contorted into all kinds of positions determined to get that perfect shot to show all their friends back home, so I had to get in amongst it! I took pictures of them and they took pictures of me. We smized, gave blue steel and worked it for the cameras – Tyra Banks would have been proud of us all 😉

I literally vogued my way through the crowds all the way along the beach.

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The sunset beach photo was obviously not something these girls did spontaneously. Evidence that this was a well thought-out operation included groups of girls wearing matching dresses, the well-rehearsed poses they did and yes, some even brought along professional photographers!

So you see. It’s not just the sunset that makes for an amazing view. It’s how the people react to it that takes it from something beautiful to something extraordinary. I swear. Never again will I take a beach sunset lightly.

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I decided to try out a few of the popular poses myself!

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One must finger frame the sun.

 

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One must do a yoga-style pose.

 

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And by the time the best moment of the sunset had arrived the posers disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.

I’m all excited about the Luminale 2016 light exhibition all over Frankfurt this week

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I only heard about this light/art at night event while I was scrolling through Meetup.com checking out who and what was happening in Frankfurt. I saw a photography group were meeting up at Luminale 2016 and as always were ready to welcome newbies so I signed up and charged my cam.

When I checked out the website (click here) for the event I was pretty overwhelmed with the sheer amount of exhibits around the city. The programme was over 100 pages!

The event kicked off on march 14 and, as is happens I had to send my apologies to the photography lot because (Lord only knows how this happened) the train was late and then cancelled! For those of you who know Germans and Germany, lateness is just not an option so I was totally baffled while standing, freezing me bits off at the station.

I was also meeting some new buddies, who were very understanding. One was also running late… Obviously this friend was not German 😉

I digress! ..The light show.

Luminale 2016 is a city-wide light exhibition, on until March 18, when as soon as it gets dark the whole city comes alive with light and sound art installations, projections and interactive art at various different venues.

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I made another video! I think this is a slight improvement on the last one but still, I have a long way to go….. 😉

We wondered into the Trianon Light Show near Taunusanlage S-bahn.

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In the S-bahn station we found a hologram of grafitti and artistic lighting.

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After a while I was mesmorized by all of the city lights. There was something magical in the air.

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Even the red light district became art.

Germany: Heidelberg in pictures (and 5 chic happenings for 2016)

 

I wanted to go somewhere new so we had a look at the map and decided on Heidelberg this week. Why? We didn’t want to drive far and it is just an hour away from Frankfurt 😉

This small city has a lot going for it and has some awesome events throughout the year so check out the pictures of our stroll and read on for my favourite things to do here.

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The old town area just over the bridge is where you’ll find lots of gift shops and places to eat.

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Right now until January there are two Christmas Markets on. There is one at the castle and one in the old town square (Corn Square). There’s also an openair iceskating rink in the same area.

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The star boutique hotel of the area Heidelberg Suites has its own boat for dining events. There are also sightseeing boats available.

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The Carl Theodor Old Bridge goes over the River Neckar and is an iconic sight in this area.

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The view from the bridge is pretty awesome. It’s a romantic place to be…

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Just because Heidelberg Castle is in ruins doesn’t mean nothing goes on here. It has a lot of cool events. Read on to find out more.

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The castle is famous for having the world’s largest wine barrel called the Heidelberg Tun. Let’s go wine tasting!

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So Heidelberg. It’s cute right?

It has a lot going for it for a small city . What’s also great is if you pop into Tourist Information at the Main Station or Town Hall you can get a Heidelberg Card, which gives you discounts at shops, attractions and activities as well as free travel on essential buses, trams and trains.

Here’s a list of my favourite things coming up in Heidelberg next year.

Ball Der Vampire on February 6 is a vampire masked ball in the town hall featuring bands and lots of people looking very scary.

The Castle Illuminations on June 4, July 9 and September 3, 2016 are the perfect time for a picnic along the river because there are impressive fireworks and light shows.

Artort 2016 from July 20 to 24, is one for the diary. The art festival, in its 10th year, will feature light, sound, installations and dance.

Love a bit of openair theatre? What better back drop than the castle! There will be musicals, theatre productions and music concerts at the Castle Festival from June 6 to July 31, 2016.

Heidelberger Herbst from September 24 to 25 is your chance to sample the region’s food and local life. The two-day festival, complete with parade, has craft and flea markets, music and dance.

 

 

 

 

8 amazing sights to see in Gran Canaria this winter

 

When the temperatures dropped and the nights got shorter I thought, ‘I’m out of here, I need some sun!’

I did a little research on the cheapest, sunniest and warmest destination to get to from Europe and that place was Gran Canaria. I managed to book five weeks in a two bed apartment for four adults and get return flights all for just under 400 euros a head.

You might wonder isn’t Gran Canaria just package holiday hell? Nope, check out these gorgeous sights.

  1. This is Bufadero de la Garita. It’s a water vortex in the Telde area next to El Hombre Beach and quite the geological spectre.

2. Believe it or not these are volcanic vineyards. They are actually in the La Geria region of Lanzarote but I have included them because I found return flights from Gran Canaria to Lanzarote for about 83 euros. So a short trip is possible.

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3. These amazing dunes are in Maspalomas and make the area look like a desert. Look hot enough?

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4. Roque Nublo is a famous landmark so it’s an ideal goal to reach when off on a hike.

5. The small village of Tejeda looks so quaint. It is on the highest point of the island and well worth exploring.

6. This quaint little fishing village is in Puerto de Mogan. It has canals linking the marina to the fishing harbour so people call it Little Venice.

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7. These colourful buildings are in the old town of Las Palmas, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

 

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8. What a dog? Isn’t he cute! This pup in fancy dress was part of the annual carnival that takes place in January and February each year.

10 things for a perfect day in Merano

Ever since my first visit last summer, I’ve had a massive crush on Merano. This town in northern Italy has everything I love: stylish boutiques, chic street cafes, thermal baths, a beautiful town theatre and a super elegant promenade where musicians play live music. It has a movie set feel. Men in moustaches chill out with immaculately turned out ladies. I always put a little extra thought into my holiday wardrobe when Merano is in the mix.

So here’s the list.

1o things for a perfect day in Merano.

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  1. Hang out at one of the many cafes and do some people watching. The world here is a catwalk, especially on Passer Promenade.

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2. Listen to some of the best muscians in the world perform on the streets as well in various locations including Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle (below), Merano Theatre and Tyrol Castle.

 

 

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3. Take an Aperol spritz before going for a walk along the Gilf Promenade. This walk is gorgeous. The promenade overlooks the Passirio River, which is very pretty, and there are cute cafes along the way.

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4. Seek out art and gorgeous architechture everywhere. Merano is home to Asfaltart, the International Street Art Festival, which takes place in October 2016.

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5. Go for a walk and discover intresting sights down narrow streets. Merano has a network of walks throughout the city so get a map and explore.

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6. Cycle around town and up past St Nicholas Church to the Roman Bridge. Meran has tons of cycle routes for relaxed and mountain biking. Hire a bike from Sud Tirol Rad and be on your way.

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7. Be like a local and stop at the water fountain for refreshment because Merano is famous for its super high quality drinking water that comes directly from the springs. There are 69 fountain points to choose from.

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8. Buy local ham, cheese and vegetables at the Friday market.

 

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9. …And then have a picnic by the river Pessirio before heading to the Thermal Spa Centre opposite.

 

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Splurge at the Portici Arcade. It is one of the most beautiful places for a bit of boutique and designer shopping.

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Best buys at Wiesbaden Xmas Market

Of all the Christmas Markets in Germany, I would say that Wiesbaden is the most elegant. It’s called The Twinkling Star Market, which is such a cute name! I went a bit crazy for all the stylish homewares and decorations.

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Eastern-inspired lights and bowls add the perfect colour for the season.

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Sustainable and cute – Rudolphs made from hay.

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Hang these against a white backdrop for a dramtic light show effect.

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Scented wooded balls. They smelt so good I hung around for a while.

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If I had one, I’d definitely drink more tea.

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I went iceskating at the nearby rink and just for that reason, I wanted one of these.

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These little smoking incense men are a classic in every German home.

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I totally love that raw wood look in the home.

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I feel like I want to cover my tree with lots of little fairies and a pink star on top.

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Have you seen the Kostas Murkudis exhibition?

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It was a freezing cold day in Frankfurt so I headed out in the snow with my camera to the Museum of Modern Art 2 (MMK2) partly because I had to get out of the house and partly because it was the last Saturday of the month and most museums in Frankfurt, including this one, are free to visit. I had no idea what I would find. Now I love fashion. I love designers. To me they are the best artists in the world. I can gaze at creations by McQueen, Westwood and Lagerfeld all day long. This day, I was in for a treat. MMK2 is showing At Close Range, a Kostas Murkudis exhibition, until Valentine’s Day next year.

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I felt like I was looking at a modern art exhibition. Murkudis is one of the most important designers in Germany. He’s not what one would call ‘commercial’. You won’t hear some glamour puss talking loudly about how she can’t wait to get her hands on his signature blah blah blah. Murkudis has been experimenting with fashion independent of the industry’s obsession with shopping and shows for a long time. He donated two fashion lines to MMK2 in 2013.

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At Close Range is an exhibition of many different mediums and artists. Video installations, sound curtains, photography, mood boards, curiosities, paintings and installations all in a minimalist setting. The list of artists on show read like a who’s who in contemporary art; Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Arakisuch, French painter Yves Klein, German painter and photographer Sigmar Polke, experimental filmmaker and musician Tony Conrad, Italian painter Piero Manzoni, Americn painter Morris Louis, German painter Blinky Palermo, US artist and musician Steven Parrino, US artist Robert Longo, German photographer Juergen Teller and German artist Franz Erhard Walther.

I snapped Jack Goldstein’s Suite of Nine 7-Inch Records.

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And then I got arty with me piccies!

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The pieces from Murkudis’ spring summer 2009 -11 collection looked as if they were being worn by ghosts.

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I walked in between and got up real close to examine the fabrics and the way they were manipulated to create the pieces in the 2012-14 autumn/winter collections.

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Snapshots from Murkudis’ picture archive on the wall reflected in the glass case where more of the pictures were displayed.

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Murkudis is a modern artist come fashion designer or the other way around…He produces objects like glass baseball bats and collects keepsakes on shelves. Yet still he has worked with Pringle of Scotland and Closed.

I popped my head around a walled-off corner and found flourescent tubes and purple hues coming from a creation by New York artist Dan Flavin.

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The sun came out in the city so I went for a walk around towards the bridge.

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Hey 🙂 Did you like this post? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box or share it or follow this blog for more inspiration for stuff to do and places to check out or, whatever…

Adventure at home: photography

Getting up in the morning is an ordinary part of my day and my routine. I don’t even think about it after I’ve done it but today, as I crawled out from under my duvet at 6.30am, I was thinking about Vivian Maier’s street photography and Tracey Emin’s bed. I unthinkingly picked up my camera and went on a mini adventure in the one place I thought adventures impossible. Home.

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Annie the cat finds me as soon as I leave the bedroom. She usually wants me to watch her eat her food. I used to think she wanted feeding but would always find her bowl full. She’d look at me, meow and then start eating and I would stand there wondering ‘why did you bring me here when you have food?’

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Every morning Annie follows me around the apartment while I tidy up.

She’s very naughty when Mario isn’t home. This is when she relishes getting up on the furniture.

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Annie loves my work station and we have a constant battle over who gets to drink my water.

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Everything is still at 6.45am. Inside, the lights are on because it’s dark outside. It’s the best time to write, research, photograph and think. I feel like the first person in the office because the neighbourhood streets are deserted.

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The lake by the house is so sad looking on this autumn morning.

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A woman walked her dog with a glow stick around its neck so it didn’t get lost in the dim dawn light.

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Fin.