Harbouring Intentions

Sydney Harbour Bridge Landscape

Sydney Harbour Bridge Bloggers

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Strangers of all levels are friends you’ve never met. At the idea of meeting new people I used to panic and worry about letting them come into my life, and for the past year, despite abundances of travel buddies, there are times I’d choose to explore new places alone. However I’ve come to be a bit less anal and picky of friendships. Fleeting memories with anybody are accumulative. I hold true to viewing life as much too short to make enemies, or to foul up your heart with plotting to manipulate or deceive. Be it in the workplace or out in the streets, surrendering your truest intents clears your path toward disarming the most guarded strangers. In short, hold up those white flags and declare yourself harmless. Lately, I’ve been surprised by amazing things that have happened to me.

Sydney Harbour on a Monday morning: the paths boomed with street artists, food vendors, school-kids on excursions, friendly Australians and camera-bearing, furiously-snapping tourists. City-hopping – the nomad meets metropolitan – has come to be my favourite past-time. We caught a bus from our hotel at Hilton George Street to Opera Quays, and enjoyed a long walk to Opera House, the bridge, and back. From the Circular Quays we boarded a ferry to Dahling Harbour, where the Maritime Museum was booming with people climbing aboard a war-time naval ship. Despite the really short stay in Sydney, we caught the city bug. I love the vibrance, the pulsating energy, the drive that makes people wanna come back.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Sydney Harbour Bridge So Blue

[THAILAND] oo2.Island Lovin’

Headed for Thailand’s Koh Samui with my favourite travel pals in exactly 3 days’!! ❤
So stoked about scuba-diving, and living the island life in my friends’ resort. Also can’t wait to start partying at the local hotspots on Chaweng Beach.

Koh Samet Thailand

On our last trip to Koh Samet, another offshore party island in the Gulf of Thailand, we spent our afternoons snorkelling, swimming, speed-boating, tanning, scuba-diving, Thai-massaging, getting our asses bruised from bumpy rides on the island lorry and eating the freshest seafood the island has to offer.

Though we won’t be in time for Koh Samui’s famous full-moon parties, my local Thai friends insist that the island’s year round nightlife is insane. I’ll believe when I see it!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

London Lovin’: St Christopher’s Place

The plethora of alfresco dining choices had me drawn in. The colourful interior beyond its ‘landmark purple clock’ delivered its promise of an eclectic shopping mix, right up the alley where London’s best bars and restaurants laid in wait. St Christopher’s Place sits at the heart of the West End and can be found between Selfridges and Bond Street station. I’m still a big fan of Pret A Manger’s latte, salad and sandwiches.

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Sunset at Swan River

Swan River Waterfront

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Swan RIver Sunset

Slow and romantically lone walk along the Swan River waterfront overlooking South Perth.  Sea breeze and its accompanying calm did wonders for the incessant noise in my head, as did the pull of my heart in various messy directions. Loving the bright blue skies, crystal seas and its zen. This is nature at its best; beauty speaking the loudest as it is silent.

At Least You’re in Tuscany: A Somewhat Disastrous Quest for the Sweet Life

I received this book in exchange for a review, and here it is!
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    By Jennifer Criswell

Published September 28th 2012 by Gemelli Press LLC

MY REVIEW:
“It was this trip, during which I learned to say “yes” to every adventure, during which I’d felt romance and trusted my instincts, that convinced me that if I could muster up a little courage, I could chuck my legal briefs and follow my heart. To write. And to write in Italy.”

Taking the first step in solo travel takes a hell lot of guts…especially so if you’re starting over in an entirely new place, with no friends, bad grasp of the native tongue and just your gut instincts to trust.

Jennifer Criswell earns my respect – when she finally leaves New York and moves to Montepulciano, Tuscany, with her dog Cinder, she throws herself into the thick of it all, tries it all, makes many memorable mistakes while living it up in Tuscany.

In reality, life never comes in pretty packages. Cultural difference and language barriers aside, she meets roadblocks such as terrible landlords, monetary shortages, food crises and many more. Finding new friends and strengths in unexpected places is what makes her experiences worth reading about.

Despite being a ‘somewhat disastrous quest’, the spirit of finding yourself isn’t about being in the most glamorous places, but about discovering your inner will to make it anywhere, no matter how terrible the circumstances. I thoroughly enjoyed her tales of Tuscany, a truly beautiful Italian destination of many dreams!

SYNOPSIS:
At Least You’re in Tuscany: A Somewhat Diastrous Quest for the Sweet Life is Jennifer Criswell’s memoir about her first year in Montepulciano during which her dream of expat life meets the reality of everyday challenges and results in sometimes funny, often frustrating, always lesson-filled situations.

Jennifer Criswell’s move from New York City to Tuscany was not supposed to go like this. She had envisioned lazy mornings sipping espresso while penning a best-selling novel and jovial Sunday group dinners, just like in the movies and books about expatriate life in Italy. But then she met the reality: no work, constant struggles with Italian bureaucracy to claim citizenship through her ancestors, and, perhaps worst of all, becoming the talk of the town after her torrid affair with a local fruit vendor.

At Least You’re in Tuscany is the intimate, honest, and often hilarious tale of Jennifer’s first year in Montepulciano. During that time, her internal optimist was forced to work overtime, reminding her that if she were going to be homeless, lonely, and broke, at least she would be all those things—in Tuscany. Jennifer’s mantra, along with a healthy dose of enthusiasm, her willingness to embrace Italian culture, and lessons gleaned from small-town bumblings, help her not only build a new, rewarding life in Italy but also find herself along the way.

London Lovin’: Ladurée

London Lovin’ – Parisian sweet treats in the heart of Britain!
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In 2011, The French patisserie’s first stand alone London tea salon opened at Covent Garden
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Where? The Market Covent Garden
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Did you know…Ladurée was the first pâtisserie to color the macaroons, and sandwich them together with ganache or buttercream filling!!
How can anyone resist these pastel wheels of happiness?
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Beside macaroons, Ladurée’s extensive dessert menu offers a dizzying myriad of treats that will make you go wild.
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At Ladurée, Covent Garden, you get to bask in the sun and soak in some heat as the winter months gradual move in.
Can you believe it was 6 °C when we touched down in London yesterday morning?
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Embedded in the Covent Garden shopping district, surrounded by a tourists’ market, chain of food joints and restaurants as well as pubs and bars, it’s really convenient to pop by for a sugared quickie.

And a quick look at its interior:
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More cushy couches upstairs…
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This is why, Ladurée is the epitome of sweet treats to go with your afternoon tea.
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3 Obvious Reasons to Visit Maldives

1. Sun, Sand, Sea
As we approach winter months, basking on the beach has never been more appealing.
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2. Maldives is Instagram-Worthy
P.S. Do not judge my failed jumpshots please.
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3. Snorkeling and other water activities are practically free on most island resorts.
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Some resorts even provide the equipment and instructors to guide newbies along.

Having extremely fair skin makes me prone to sunburns.
Nothing can stop me from enjoying the outdoors on Kurumba Island, though.
I slapped on more sunblock and chugged skin vitamins.
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Fun Fact: Maldives consists of 1,192 coral islands spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres, making this one of the world’s most dispersed countries.
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Also, inhaling salty sea breeze and getting sand stuck in your Havaianas is the best way to clear your head of a lot of things.
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Fun fact: Maldives is the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. Also the planet’s lowest country, with an average ground level of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, forecasts of inundation is a great concern.
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Waking up to nature’s beauty is enough reasons to make your way here for a golden getaway, don’t you think?
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New Century of Perfume Snobbery

Attended an event for Silver Lining by Atkinsons London at the Bacchanalia this afternoon.

My mom adores their emblematic fragrance, the 24 Old Bond Street; I’m pretty glad she will keep it because it’s a little too smoky (oak-casked whisky, as described) for my daily use.
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However I do like their tagline:
Drawing on 200 years of English eccentricity, style and impeccable manners, Atkinsons is now ushering in a new century of perfume snobbery

I was more taken by Fashion Decree, a lighter fragrance of silk tree blossom and patchouli.
Image and video hosting by TinyPicThere was this intriguing book in the gift bag which capture my attention for an hour on the ride home…
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From asparagus to zebra crossings, via email, formal dinners, political correctness and sneezing – a complete guide to behaving.
What a book! I salute the British pride in upholding fine mannerisms.

Photo-diary: I’m in love…with Kurumba Maldives!

Unbolt your main door and this is what you see
This world is all kinds of amazing20131003-022815.jpgIt’s positively exhilarating to know that the beauty of Maldives is right at your doorstep
Complete with sea breeze and utter, remote peace.
20131003-022832.jpgI’ll always be in love with the skies and the sea.
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One of my favourite spots:
The patio to lounge around, to watch the sea from a safe distance
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Only at Kurumba, the pool comes crazily close to being as inviting as the open Maldivean sea20131003-023617.jpg

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Even the visitor lodge is so tastefully built with an air of zen.
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My room was closest to the lodge! Super safe and all, I didn’t feel scared to stay in that hugeass room at all.
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Can’t stop reiterating how much I love the Maldives.
How could anyone not fall to her charms?
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Definitely gonna be back for more.
Does anyone wanna come scuba-dive here with me?

Writing Prompt: Mint

Describe the taste of mint, without using the words blue, green, cool or fresh.
No, you can’t use “minty” either. — Sarah Selecky

You place it gently at the tip of your tongue, slowly wrapping it in a fold, delivering it into the moist cave between your lips as you clench your teeth shut. You close your eyes to savor the first burst of sharp flavor and here comes your first thought – it tastes like the sea on the cusp of summer’s noon.
Its circular body is flipped through and through, crashing against the banks of your teeth like a pebble in restless tides, chipping away each time it hits the shores. Alongside the summer heat, it glows with a force. It is a piece of invitation – come to the sea where it is cold, and I will melt the heat away.

At its peak, it throbs with torridity, fighting with a fervor to be scorchingly cold.

At the close of the day it is chipped to its core, releasing feeble spurt of tangy tremor as the setting sun retreats.
Its purpose dutifully served, it fades to nothingness.

xoxo viktoriajean

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Photo-diary: Island Life, Maldives

The beauty of Maldives never fails to take my breath away
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Honestly would love to stay on this island and work for peanuts,
if it means that I get to see this every day of my life.
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Also, Kurumba Maldives is a crazy good place for getaways! It has 2 outdoor freshwater pools, 3 tennis courts, a yoga pavillion, spa and a fitness centre. Snorkeling was insanely fun, because you don’t even need to be a good swimmer – the crystal clear water in the lagoon sort of buoys you up naturally.
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Kurumba Island
Vihamanafushi
08340, Maldives