December 6, 2017


“Ibu Robin Lim” – Ubud’s CNN hero, best known for setting up birthing clinics here in Bali, and post disaster in Aceh, Haiti and the Philippines, says “middle age” is NOW our sixties. And Ibu Robin is using her new middle age marker to go world wide in her pleas for “a birthday gift” of a Bumi Sehat donation, to support women and children caught up in the Mount Agung eruption. Robin says on her recent 61st birthday she finally accepted the loss of some things, such as a waistline and clear eyesight, but she’s also happy she’s lost any bashfulness and embarrassment. “All that is out the window, and so without reservation that I can ask everyone to support us as they help women and babies caught up in the evacuation of Mount Agung”. Robin says pregnant women and new mothers have to give birth and look after their precious children in the midst of all the chaos and fear of being forced from their homes.

Bumi Sehat is one of Bali’s internationally recognised humanitarian response organisations, set up in the hastily organised evacuation centres and teaching women and children how to use a mask effectively, to protect from the ash in the air. Visit for more information on the Mt Agung disaster response, and to donate a “birthday present” to help Ibu Robin’s amazing team continue their good work.



With clouds of Mt Agung’s ash hanging over the island at time of writing, it’s important to look forward with hope for safer, calmer futures on this precious island. The 11th annual BaliSpirit Festival – unlimited yoga, dance, meditation and breathwork workshops and night time music – will return to Bali Purnati, 20 minutes south of Ubud from April 2 – 8, 2018. Purnati is the gorgeous spot where the BSF began in 2007, but now over a vastly expanded area that still reflects the festival founders’ commitment to the environment and creative engagement with this island. Having played a part at the very beginning of this festival, I’m still blown away by the magic they create every year. It’s a week of transformation for all involved – whether you come as one of the festival’s many volunteers, drop in for a day of fun and laughter or take advantage of the Early Bird specials (before January 15), with special discounts for Indonesian locals and ex-pats on KTP or other similar visa.



An old Chinese Proverb tells us that women hold up half the sky, and yet major media suggests women play mostly minor, insignificant roles in our lives. Nadine McNeill plays strong roles wherever she goes, from yoga teacher to festival management to UN disaster logistics, to friend. Nadine says her one-day Women’s Wisdom Thru Writing program is for “women who are creative, spiritual, passionate, successful, vulnerable, sexy and strong” – that’s all of us – and combines “the intelligence of asana, the joy of writing, the art of visualization and the medicine of a women’s conversation circle”. Participants will experience a renewed sense of personal wholeness and a deeply authentic connection to a global community of brave, bold, courageous and dynamic women.Women only, no prior experience required. December 9 / 9am-5pm. 1.3 million rp (early bird tickets available).



Playing golf on a beautiful tropical island, and having your cappuccino delivered to you after a successful putt, may not be on your bucket list. And yet, perhaps it should be? Bali’s newest golf course, Bukit Pandawa Golf and Country Club, is certainly worth a visit, sitting high above the famous surf breaks of the Bukit Peninsula, less than two hours south from Ubud. For the skilled golfer, there are many challenges, including waterfalls, lakes and architectural ruins, with the ocean visible from almost every hole. There’s a relaxing clubhouse with sauna, spa and more spectacular views of the ocean, and the Kul-Kul Restaurant and outdoor Spike Bar attract both thirsty golfers and savvy event organisers.



A stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet, and what better way to meet a new friend than to share one of Casa Luna’s renowned Long Table Dinners, this December? Janet DeNeefe’s new 2017 Festive menu is inspired by her recent cruise to the legendary Spice Islands. Her recipes, including delicious vegan options, feature fresh fish in turmeric-lime broth, braised papaya flowers, cassava leaves, kenari hummus, roasted eggplant, slow-cooked jackfruit, sambals and luscious desserts. Janet’s knowledge and wisdom – on the healing properties of spices for example – will start the long table conversations. Join her for a lavish, languorous, candle-lit island feast at this one-of-a-kind lavish gathering. Saturday 9, 16, 23 December. Bookings essential.



Presents are important for friends and family, but I don’t want to spend glorious Bali days in hot, or even air conditioned, shops when I can find a simpler alternative. “Janet’s Emporium” is the perfect place for lazy me; I can find a treasure trove of extraordinary gifts, hand-crafted by Balinese and Indonesian artisans, and free gift-wrapping is included until Christmas.Prices are very reasonable; a Rangrang cushion for example, hand-woven, 100% cotton made in Bali (30cm x 50cm), is only 325,000rp. Contact for a pdf with pages and pages of photos and prices.



As I write, airports are closed, but they may be open again by the time you read this. If you are not able to leave and your visa has expired, you need a letter from your airlines, that your flight was cancelled because of the volcanic eruptions. The government may change the details of the allowable extension time, depending on the status of Mount Agung. The airlines and the immigration office (there is one right next to the airport) have the latest information. Take the airline letter to immigration when you go.