Author Archive

Flashback Friday: Guilty Pleasures Of Backpcking In Bali

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Asia, Bali, Continents

Candikuning-Market-Bedugul-Bali-Indonesia

Photo courtesy of kathmanduandbeyond.com

The Indonesian island of Bali was the first ‘exotic’ place to which I ever travelled, so it will always occupy a pretty special place in my memory – and it’s probably the only time I can truly say I’ve backpacked.

But when you’re in a destination for a while, the desire to explore every day and indulge in constant cultural pursuits can wane just slightly leaving you doing a few things that might raise the eyebrow of a serious traveller.

So, just for a bit of Friday fun, here are 5 things I enjoyed on holiday in Bali that the real traveller in me knows I probably shouldn’t have…

In Photos: Queen Of Fallas For A Day

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Art & Culture, Continents, Europe, Photo Journeys, Spain, Valencia, Women of the world

Queen of Fallas for a day

That time I was the Queen of Fallas for a day – complete with traditional Valencian costume

This isn’t exactly a news flash, but we girls like getting dressed up.

And from the moment I arrived in Valencia I was determined to do one thing (besides eat paella): dress up in the famous Fallas festival costume, and become a Spanish Queen for the day.

And here’s another thing about girls; we already think we’re royalty, and we usually get what we want

The Rice Is Right: Why Everything You Know About Paella Is Probably Wrong

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Continents, Europe, Food, Opinion, Spain, Valencia, Worldwide Vacation

paella in valencia

A pretty sign for paella in Valencia 

It shouldn’t be bright yellow, or fluffy, it isn’t intended for dinner and it’s not supposed to be synonymous with seafood. In fact, technically it’s not even a Spanish dish

Even though the first food that springs to mind when you think of Spanish cuisine is probably paella, the dish has been bastardised beyond all recognition to a point where it’s about as authentic to the original as a McFlurry is to a gelato. 

So here are 5 fast facts you didn’t know about real Valencian paella – so you can call yourself a true paella perfectionist…

Hide Your face With Spanish Lace: The Story Of The Valencia Fan

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Art & Culture, Continents, Europe, Photo Journeys, Spain, Valencia, Worldwide Vacation

Valencia fan

Valencia fan: There are some colourful fans on display in the city’s shop windows

Despite the Brits’ well-documented love affair with the Spanish coast, I never went on a family holiday to Spain as a child.

Yet one of my most treasured possessions as a little girl was a delicate handheld Spanish lace fan. 

So when I was given the opportunity to meet a traditional Valencia fan maker in the city which is packed with these ornate hand-made and hand-painted souvenirs, I was filled with a childhood sense of wonderment – and couldn’t wait to learn about the process of producing these gorgeous – and girlie – wearable works of art.

Hidden Artisans of Rome: The Restoration Game

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Continents, Europe, Italy, Roman Artisans, Shopping

Art restoration Rome

An art restorer at Pavia Restauro Studio at work

Imagine trying to get job satisfaction when the best testament to the skill of your work is no-one having a clue you’ve done anything at all.

This bizarre ideal is, I learn while meeting a husband and wife art restoration team in Rome, the ultimate goal within the intense world of fine art conservation

Diamond *Experts* Are A Girl’s Best Friend: A 7 Step Guide To Diamond Buying

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Art & Culture, Continents, Europe, Italy, Roman Artisans, Shopping, Worldwide Vacation

The perfect engagement ring

The perfect engagement ring?

It’s like a dream come true for a girl to visit not just one but 12 Italian jewellery stores and learn about gem stones, design and precious metals from classically trained Roman jewellers.

It’s even more perfect when these happen to be Rome’s best hand-crafted jewellery boutiques, all on the official list of the 28 best shops in Rome.

So when this recently engaged girl went shopping for a ring in Rome she asked a lot of questions about diamonds: such as what to look out for and what to avoid.

If you’re thinking of buying a diamond or gem stone ring, necklace or any other form of precious jewellery, don’t even think about making a purchase until you’ve read this Italian guide to diamond buying and soaked up the wisdom of one of Rome’s premier jewellers…

It’s Official: These Are The 28 Best Shops In Rome

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Continents, Europe, Italy, Roman Artisans, Shopping

Roman Artisans

Rome

Italy is of course famous for food, but its cities are also celebrated for iconic fashion, classic style and luxurious shopping.

So when I was asked to spend a weekend in Italy, meet the 28 best artisans in the Eternal City, and visit the best shops in Rome, it was an invitation I was unlikely to turn down.

Here’s what you need to know if your travels take you to Rome and you’d like to indulge in some serious shopping in some secret and special spots…

Hidden Artisans Of Rome: Dante’s Celebrity Inferno

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Art & Culture, Continents, Europe, Italy, Roman Artisans, Shopping, Worldwide Vacation

Dante Mortet

Dante fires up yet another celebrity hand

He’s shaken the hands of every celebrity you can think of from Quentin Tarantino, Robert De Niro and Angelica Houston to Kirk Douglas, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Samuel L. Jackson – the list goes on.

But unlike the average fan, Dante Mortet has gone on to make bronze sculptures of those very hands, becoming one of the Hollywood elite’s favourite artists in the process. 

This Roman craftsman is a sixth generation Italian sculptor whose family began making chalices for the Pope 120 years ago.

So from the old gods of Christianity to the new saints of celebrity, when it comes to making something precious out of molten metal, this Dante’s Inferno is the real deal.

Step inside for an access all areas pass to a truly hidden part of Rome