I’m in love. It’s official.
I went to Bali this January, and this place swept me off my feet and stole my heart all at once. Swoon.
I’m going to write a few posts about my trip to Philippines, Bali and Gili Air – that are travel guides, mixed with interior-inspired places to visit, and tips on where to eat and shop. Basically, my fav type of post to write!
They’re picture heavy as I took A LOT of photos. But by the end of this post, I guarantee you’ll have booked your flight for winter, 2017.
Take in the pure natural beauty of it all
As I freelancer – both as an interior stylist and as a blogger – I work 10 months of the year solid, and then take all my holiday at once. Usually a month. This year, I went a bit off grid and two whole delicious months off to explore the Philippines, Gili Air and Bali. I wanted to escape to somewhere beautiful and exotic that would relax and revive me. And Bali was just the tonic. In fact I loved my trip so much, I’m already planning to go back.
What took my breath away first and foremost was the rolling hills, rice fields and the lush greenery of it all. Colour overload!
You know all the lush tropical plants we see all over Instagram all the time? Bali has got that covered. Looking out my bedroom window in the morning, I could gaze over palms, leafy greens, banana trees, rubber plants in the gardens and in the temples.
Stay in unbelievable budget accommodation
The hotels (or guest houses that they are sometimes called) I stayed in in Ubud had it’s own temple, yoga studio, spa treatment room, lush tropical garden and terraces dotted around. And it was £20 a night. It was called The Honeymoon Guest House complete with a French bakery so there were fresh croissants every morning.
This was my bedroom **gasps**
Four-poster beds with a canopy is typical of Bali – the nets keep the bugs at bay – and look beautiful too.
Balinese culture is very artistic, and there are so many stone and wooden carvings that are part of their heritage. The ornate furniture in my bedroom was just part of the every day. I took 100 photos in this place of all the little details – and me and my friend, Kate did a little photo shoot there.
Enjoy the coconut pancakes (well, the coconut everything)
Most places include as freshly cooked breakfast every morning. I would always choose these green pancakes made from rice flour which were green-y coloured, then sprinkled with roasted coconut, and a side order of watermelon juice.
Coconut is everywhere and in everything. My idea of heaven. I use coconut oil on my skin, as well as cook. It’s full of healthy goodness. It’s also amazing for rehydrating too.
That’s me hanging out on the own terrace – which we only discovered by accident as, like Narnia, it was hidden behind a secret door. I wish I could grown hanging plants like the ones pouring down the roof. I’d order breakfast to our room and over look our guest’s houses temple.
Discover the insanely good shopping
Ubud is the creative capital of Bali, where the best of local arts and crafts are made and sold. There is a large central market, and lots of beautiful boutique shops in the centre. Every day I would come home with yet more beautiful buys that I had to squeeze into my backpack.
On Jl. Raya Andong, in Ubud sold everything in town but AT A FRACTION OF THE PRICE. Because you are buying direct from the people, you don’t feel that you are ripping anyone off either. To get there – turn left by the archer statue at the end of the main road – and it went on for miles.
You could buy hand woven dream catchers, metal offering boxes, shell hangings, paintings, wooden carvings, brass statues, fabrics and throws. The clothes shopping was even better than that.
I picked up a feather and shell necklace to hang on my wall for £12, incense sticks, £1, pressed metal hangings, £3, a jumpsuit, kaftan, bmaboo sunglasses….shopping, shopping, shopping.
Be prepared to become addicted to Bali coffee
Unlike most places abroad, Bali makes a decent coffee. They have their own Bali coffee which is lovely with coconut milk.
Ubud’s top 3 design cafes
Folk – Creative decorated with scrolling white hand-drawn prints. Salads served with fresh flowers in the mix.
Kebun Bistro – Like sitting in Paris but in Bali. Beautiful ironwork, sweet tables and served wine.
Fair Future Foundation Cafe – Seriously, the best food. The venue above the street and your shared big wooden tables with strangers. And it’s a charity, so each meal you buy pays for health care for the local community.
Discover how to bring the outdoors in
Don’t know about you but I’d love to bring summer into my home all year round. I’ve not really managed to get the art of bringing the outside in, just right. This is where Bali get it right every time.
Indoor bunting, white washed wooden furniture, bamboo – everywhere – fabric awnings, plants, cactus, trees, wicker, baskets, rough cement walls. Organic cafe, Pachamama in Gili Air (one hour by boat from Bali) had all the best bits of living outdoors, and food that was dreamy too. They also had a gift shop downstairs.
Be inspired by the creative interiors
I can’t tell you how many times I’d head out to do some sight-seeing or yoga class – and ‘pop in’ to a cafe, shop or temple – and then 3 hours later, emerge, my mind buzzing with new ideas for my latest interior projects.
Take the Lazy Cats Kafe as a case in point. I was heading to the rice fields for a walk, and then stumbled across this place. That was my afternoon gone. Photo! Photo! Photo! We met the owner who talked us through her ideas for this ramshackle place which is so obviously inspired by Berlin. I was smitten by the pastel armchairs and the pebble-dash walls.
Interior Stylist’s Guide to Bali
Okay – so this post was a blatant excuse for me to post a ton of holiday photos on here. But I hope you love the interiors slant I’ve twisted into this feature. But that’s what love does to you! Makes you all crazy.
Can you see now why I’m counting down the sleeps until I’m back there?
Hope you’ve enjoyed this little adventure with me.
If you like this post pop back over the coming weeks for more holiday inspired ideas.
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** Disclaimer, this was a collaborative post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.