How to buy fresh oysters directly from the producer in Bouzigues

I’m all about fresh local ingredients so when we were in the south of France, I absolutely had to visit Bouzigues to buy the town’s famous oysters and have a picnic on the beach.

We didn’t have a plan of action of how we were going to do this. We just thought we would drive into Bouzigues and cycle around until we found some oysters! Luckily it worked.

Where to find the oysters

Etang de Thau (or Bassin de Thau) are lagoons that stretch along the southern French coast.

These waters are home to the region’s oysters farms and Bouzigues is renowned for its quality producers.

We hopped on our bikes and pedalled towards the sea until finally, on the coastal road D158, we found a number of sellers.

We went to Earl Le Mas d’Argent https://www.facebook.com/earl.lemasdargent/

They were still open at 7pm.

The choices

I discovered that there was no difference in the quality of the oysters, just the sizes. Small, medium and large, ranging from 4.60 Euros to 6.60 Euros per dozen.

Bouzigues oysters

What to buy

It’s a good idea to buy a shucking knife, some ice and wine. I found buying wine from the oyster seller guaruntees that the wine will go well with your oysters, which is handy if you are not sure how to pair food and wine.

When to buy

The best time to buy fresh oysters is when the waters are cooler from September to April.

Get to know your oysters

You can arrange an oyster producer visit and tasting with Earl Huitres Bouzigues http://www.huitres-bouzigues.com/visite.html

 

Bouzigues oysters come from a salty lagoon next to the sea. They are fat, juicy and incredibly tasty.

Check out the video to find out more!

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.

Top tips for shopping heaven: Chatuchak Market, Bangkok!

I have been dying to write this “top tips” post about Chatuchak Market for the longest time. Not weeks or months, but years.

From the very first time I hit the stalls shopping at Chatuchak Market, in Bangkok, Thailand, I have never been the same.

I literally find it painful spending money anywhere else.

When I say cheap, bargains, budget, chic, cool, fun fashion I mean piles of it. You are going to feel like you died and woke up in fashion heaven where you can afford EVERYTHING.

Affectionately called JJ Market, the area is stuffed to the rafters with more than 8,000 stalls, which are open from 9am to about 6pm (indoor stalls) and 9pm (outdoor stalls).

Watch my video below and keep reading for a few tips on how to master the art of shopping at JJ.

You are going to feel overwhelmed, you are going to feel tired and you are going to spend too much. So listen up.

 

Don’t ever go looking for something specific. This place is just too massive for that. One must go with the attitude of thinking ‘it would be lovely if I found a …….. but if I don’t see one it’s cool.’

Do go with a budget – 20 GBP or 1000 THB is plenty for small treats.

Do go with a suitcase – you may just want to stock a shop or a walk-in wardrobe or buy enough Christmas and birthday presents for the next five years. And you won’t be the only one filling a case. I’ve seen the smart ones at it before.

Send stuff home from the market using the parcel services a the entrance near MRT Chatuchak.

Haggle. Start with the words. “Can I have a discount?” I used to think this was a bit too forward but having observed other people haggle this way, I have tried it and had great results.

Take small notes. When you want to pay 200 THB for a 300 THB dress the seller is much more likely to say yes to your price if they can see, smell and touch the money!

Never open your wallet first and then ask how much. You have just gone and put yourself at the mercy of the seller. Be cool.

Take a friend who is also shopping because when you buy more than one thing from a stall you can always bargain the price down even lower! Wholesale!

Wear flip flops for when you want to stop for a foot massage. Chatuchak Market is the biggest market you are likely to ever come across. You will be doing so much walking your feet will thank you at the end of the day.

Use the MRT underground station or BTS Skytrain to get there and back. The taxis and tuk tuks in these areas bump up their prices so much, paying for a ride will eat into the savings you made while shopping…think about it…

Get off the train at MRT Kamphaengphet rather than MRT Chatuchak. Why? Well the stores are way more fashiony in my opinion. Yes I said fashiony. This is MY BLOG! Lol!

 

 

Day out: Wiesbaden Museum

I decided to beat the rain and go for a day out at Wiesbaden Museum, which I found out exhibits some super cool pieces by popular contemporary artists.

They had works by Thomas Bayrle, Eva Hesse, Winston Roeth, Mark Rothko and Christian Boltanski and the museum is beautiful too.

Check out the video above and don’t forget to like, comment and share it with your friends!

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Eva Hesse

art wies

Thomas Bayrle

inside wiesbaden museum

The museum’s private event room. Very posh!

inside wies museum

To find out more about Wiesbaden Museum. Click here

 

Cycling Bavaria with the boyfriend

Cycling Bavaria, in Germany with the boyfriend. The lowest point went something like this:

“I’m tired!”

“No don’t stop!

“But I’m tired…”

“You can stop when we get to the top of this hill. You have to deserve your rests.”

“I can’t see the top! That’s it I’m taking a break.”

“Baby! No!”

“Erm, there’s no need to shout. You’re scaring the birds…”

Usually my super fit boyfriend, Mario, goes on these epic cycle tours with his father. The two men love to pump iron on their bikes puffing up steep hills and speeding down again. A 45km ride in one morning is nothing to them. They go by the theory that, you work hard and then you can really enjoy your achievement with a massive German beer in the countryside somehwhere.

So when Mario suggested we head out to one of his favourte spots in Bavaria, he made the typical man mistake of forgetting who he was with.

A cycle ride to me is a slow amble on the straight and exciting descents down hills until I find a pretty spot for a picnic or a bite to eat. I stop to photograph the landscapes, stare at the flowers and sunbathe. I like to pet horses, baa at sheep and investigate abandoned little huts in the woods.

You can see where I’m going with this…

Day one of our cycle tour, we did it his way. I was trussed up in about three pairs of padded underwear as well as all the cycle gear and multiple layers of clothes to keep me warm and thus, I sweating like a sinner in church. The sun was on hiatus leaving behind a greyish landscape, so this was not the romantic wanderlust journey I had imagined. In fact I was pretty pissed off. It wasn’t fun. He was gunning along like he was in a race and he wouldn’t allow us to slow down because that would mean we had failed the war against our inner-selves or some kind of crap like that. The picnic was a baked snack shared on a bench and I was starting to see that the Kindle, I had packed for that moment where he snoozed in the sun and I read Jodi Picoult, was going to remain firmly at the bottom of my rucksac. Fuck.

You see girls this is the point in your relationship where you have to pull away from being his ‘mate’ and remind him that you are a ‘lady’ or a ‘girl’ or whatever. I’m a feminist, as in a belive in equality, but I am no fool. I know there is a difference between men and women and in this case, the way we enjoy things is poles aparts.

This video is what happened on day two when we decided not to go on a cycle tour but to just explore the area on bicycles, but what really happened was we took Bikewald Spessart route 2 around Frammersbach. We did it slowly, we parked up at nice spots to chillout and enjoy the view. We felt warm and fuzzy, rather than out of breath and, yes, we still deserved a beer afterwards.

 

The ulitmate tip in budget dining in Germany

Germany can be an expensive place to eat out in, especially Frankfurt, which is multicultural bussiness city with high-priced restaurants and wine bars.

I love to head off the beaten track into the nearby Rheingau region where local wine producers open their doors to the public to offer their wine and hearty meals for rock bottom prices.

Wine taverns or straußvirtschafts are where it’s at! ……Check out my video where I visit one in Wicker and give you all the details you need to find one when you’re next in the area of Hessen. 🙂 Enjoy! You can also head to my Youtube channel click here to see more travel videos.

 

Must-do in Germany: Buying wine and liqueur at the fruit farm :)

Hey guys.

I have been trying out video productions of my adventures!

I thought you might like to see a German fruit farm. It’s called an obsthof and it’s a really great way to experience German culture and local specialities on your travels because the obsthof sells not only local fruit but also products, such as schnapps, liqueur, sparkling wine, wine, juice and jams.

I went to this one in Hessen. It’s called Osthof Am Berg but if you Google obsthof and your location I am sure you will be able to find the nearest one to you.

Enjoy!

If you think ‘mmm that wasn’t so bad, I’d like to see more’ check out my YouTube channel. Click here

 

 

Songkran water festival in Thailand is just one month away!

 

Check out my feature on how to survive Songkran – one of the world’s craziest parties.

I wrote this one for Jetstar Asia inflight magazine for all those people heading to the festival and in need of travel hacks to make sure they have the most bodacious time ever! 🙂 Go to the feature by clicking below.

Click here

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

Abena at the bar

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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Red light district

Even the red light district became art.

Snow picnics and frolics – embrace the winter in Germany

First of all I feel I must apologise for not having an awesome picture of a snow picnic! 🙁

You see guys, it happened like this. We were on our way to the zoo – we were stuck for something to do and thought, why not – but there was a traffic jam on the highway into Frankfurt so we got off at the B8 to Königstein in search for a place to stop for coffee.

We went towards Große Feldberg, which is the highest of the Taunus Mountains at 878m, and as we drove higher up into the mountain we noticed the snow get thicker on the ground until 15 minutes later we were surrounded by this magical winter wonderland!

Mario in the snow

We took a walk. The snow was the deepest I (who has never done a ski season) had ever experienced. It was up to my shins. Awesome. The animals had to wait. Frolicking in the snow became the flavour of the day. I even made a video. Check it out 🙂

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view from the feldberg

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A snow picnic spot…or what?!