Why the random posts dissecting life’s happiest moments? Gratitude’s in our DNA. Merci encore = thank you again.
With the Aromatherapie Atelier being the greatest time-suck over weekends (in the best way… we were just in Her World!), it’s such a luxury to sit in a coffee shop and catch up on all the TED talks I’ve missed in the past several months.
Played Amazing Race KL with this parcel last Saturday. Hopped on a flight at 655am only to return on a 250pm flight the same day to run errands and have lunch with my dear genius friends, Kimm & Derek.
Returned home to read in the park until dusk, eating the most gorgeous apple crumble ever. The light was amazing and there were so many funny kids in the park learning how to ride their bikes, playing with bubbles and catching guppies in the stream. It was almost as if I were back home in Australia. My brother and I used to feed horses and catch tadpoles in the creek as kids.
After a glorious sleep-in on Sunday, Cecilie and I had brunch and before meeting the guys for The Dark Knight, I started work on a new custom parfum (four hundred limited edition pieces, to be precise). And after a stint in Barcelona, Melbourne and Bangkok while I was in Paris, ATC met me for pizza, chicken wings and beer. It was divine. Us in a total dive bar, catching up on our four lost weeks. The conversation went like this:
“Wanna freelance? There’s an ed who needs a story about rolfing.”
“You mean rolling-on-the-floor-and-laughing?”
It’s back to work after church this arvo. The best weekends are a mix of good company and solitude, don’t you think? Grateful for all these things.
Images via Adieu-Tristesse, FFFound & Mmerci Encore Aromatherapie Atelier
Back from a few weeks in Paris. Woke up at 1pm to a barrage of messages about tonight’s festivities and felt the need to announce to everyone in the Whatsapp group that this is the first time since my wild party days that I slept in til 1pm. Ever.
While my body clock slowly adjusts itself, thought I’d share some shots of the trip. It’s always a blessing to travel and discover new things, to be inspired and let the eye graze take in new colours and textures.
GOT MY sourcing done on the weekend, and schlepped home kilos of karité (shea) and cocoa butter home. Found beeswax in some little stores, lavender in a certain herboristorie I often go to and had a lovely discussion about Tonka with one of an old French lady. “It’s better grated and put in animal fat.”
Tahitian and Bourbon vanilla beans set me off in a trance and they were the first things I shoved into the fridge when I came home. Then there’s hard-to-find essences and resins, including Benzoin and Labdanum (you can never find this in Asia).
GRATEFUL FOR Sitting and praying in the Tuileries, metres above a lavender patch. The fragrance came in waves and it was divine. Being stuck in the rain and meeting the two little dogs, Staccato and Soprano who live in a cafe off L’Opera. The Babar exposition at the Arts & Decoratifs. And of course, being completely overwhelmed by the craftsmanship and love that goes into making precious objets at the Saint-Louis crystallerie at Strasbourg. A few days a later at the market, I recognised some Saint-Louis crystal and milky crystal wear for sale.
“Luxury has changed a lot. In the past it was eating in a three-star restaurant. Now it’s eating home-grown vegetables in a garden or somewhere on a mountain, or going to a small cottage where you find handmade cheese, and just having a taste of that in open air, that’s luxury now. In fashion it’s a bit the same. In the past, haute couture was luxury. And now finding a sweater in a hand-spun cashmere somewhere on the hills of Nepal is far more exciting and luxurious.”
— Dries Van Noten (my main man, besides Stefano Pilati)
When I had a spare 30 minutes in Hong Kong a few days ago, I hopped in a cab for a harrowing journey ride to visit HK Honey‘s HQ in Ngau Tau Kok in Kowloon.
It was one of those scenes from a movie where the heroine realises how much she loves the man, gets in a cab downtown, climbs five flights of stairs, realises she’s a chubba who needs to go on the Zone then but bursts onto the rooftop and there he is. Only in this case, the object of my affection were the bees.
HK Honey was featured in Nowness a week or so prior to my visit, but as I’ve been a fan for the longest time so I consider this a little dream come true.
At the rooftop garden I found founder Michael and intern Sky, shovelling dirt from Mapopo Community Farm from Fanling, HK that’s as hard as bricks and mixing it with other kinds of soil to make it plantable*.
In truth, I had come because my supply of beeswax is running low and I needed to stock up, but it was such a wonderful escape to be able to burst into this little world and see a section of beehives surrounded by shrubs and plants of all kinds.
“This sounds chicken of me but I’m kinda afraid of bees, Sky. I have dinner at Lupa in 20 minutes. Can’t really get stung today,” I said.
“Michael’s crazy. He doesn’t wear a beekeeping suit when he opens the hives. He just… runs,” came the reply. “But the bees are generally gentle.
Later I learned from Michael that a whole bunch flew away after a recent rooftop barbie the other day.
Sky shows me the cucumbers, strawberries and mangoes. While my nose dives into every bud, bush and semblance of a fruit, Michael rubs the leaves with the pads of his fingertips and brings them to his nose. “This is basil,” he says. “We’re going to make pesto soon.”
Ya-HUM! In another planter a few boxes down, rosemary and basil.
A few levels down, I was shown their office and massively wicked driftwood wall. I want a driftwood wall! And a rooftop garden and bees! Classic grass is greener moment. In the midst of this completely industrial part of town, I found something incredibly hopeful and renewing about the space.
An inspiring afternoon. Thank you to HK Honey, Michael and team xxx
* May or may not be a real word. I am an aromatherapist, not an agriculturalist.
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou
A few days ago, I boarded a flight from Bali to Singapore heavy-hearted. 48 hours spent laughing with friends, after-dark swims in the villa, styling our hair in top-knots, and unadulterated spa-ing and eating surrendered once again for life in the city.
We missed a sunset over The Rocks at Ayana because we were swimming in bathtubs full of bougainvillea (later, we’d sip our drinks in darkness and imagine how breathtaking the black seascape before us was). We missed Cinco de Mayo by a day, but made it up by gorging on the best Tex Mex on the island. We hopped out of the W to walk along the beach at night and have the most delicious drinks at Potatohead.
It was lavish, spontaneous. But importantly, full-hearted. There were frangipani in our villa which I’d collect every morning either off the ground or by gently shaking the tree (after asking for its permission). The tree’s branches hung precariously over the swimming pool.
The first thing I got home from the airport was sterilise a jar, wash the flowers, and start work on a new perfume with the very flowers I collected and carried by hand from Bali. It’s more of a gunky experiment than anything right now.
The staff at my local nursery refused to sell me more flowers to add to the perfume (“We sell trees, not flowers”), which I need to intensify the scent. Completely bummed, I began worrying and resorted to collecting some flowers that had fallen to the ground until while on the bus, I spotted… a frangipani tree. #thankyoujesus! Pink, not yellow flowers, but nonetheless beautiful. And on public property. You can tell where this is headed…
The rest of the arvo was spent in Little India, buying fresh Jasmine for another weekend project. I love the scent of jasmine, and theirs, freshly air-flown from India, carpeted the studio last night in this deliciously creamy, white flower scent. Similarly captivated by the nectar-like smell of mangoes ripening in the heat, I bought one for dessert.
After a wedding reception last night, I burst through the place, and there was a moment. Before switching on the light, you could tell there was an intoxicating scent snaking its way up from the drying table. A cloud of scent.
Jasmine flowers, including the tuberose purchased earlier in the day, were bottled then and there. Yes. Woman possessed.
My ears took delight in the mush sound as the flowers were muddled and bruised with the mortar & pestle. Sigh your last sigh, exhale your last breath.
So basically, the past week has seen me freebase my way through every flower that crossed my nose. Can’t say I don’t stop to smell the roses.
“You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.”
― Ernest Hemingway
I was here last spring and eventually the -9 degree days wore me down, but I was renewed by daily discoveries and lessons.
In Paris, we spoke of seasons. The concept of seasons has been on my mind for… awhile. It’s how I attempt to add some chronology to my life. Some people say, “It’s just not my year”, I say it’s just not my season. Or rather, it’s not my season to love but to learn. It’s not my season to go but to build.
Last January, I wrote of my early winter. What happens when things get plunged into an early winter? Things go into some premature cold snap, hearts freeze and you’re caught by surprise. We laugh at Bridget Jones’ mum: “I’m like the grasshopper who sung all bloody summer.” We all know the little grasshopper is suffering but does he regret singing in the sunshine? I’d like to think not.
I’ve woken up every morning since thinking, perhaps Today’s the Day. Perhaps today the seasons change. Perhaps today a heart will thaw, perhaps a soul will choke and sputter—revived by something new. 400 days and counting.
Instead in Paris, I woke up to snow. Still in winter, I’m afraid. That said, there’s nothing more inspiring than a change in scenery.
GRATEFUL FOR Paris! Foie gras for lunchanddinner, organic beauty brands, health supermarkets round the corner, old apothecaries, the cultural appreciation for scent and beauty, quality and craftsmanship, things made with love, Babar, snow, the archives and museums of old fashion houses—I love that everything has value and meaning—that they aren’t forgotten but revered, monolithic architectural structures, history and a past, walking on streets that are hundreds of years old, new comedies like Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl and 2 Broke Girls—I absolutely cry with laughter when I watch the former, seeing flowers in winter, the low Euro (lol), for time and a chance.