February 28, 2018


Who doesn’t want clarity in their lives? Our zany musician, singer and all round creative friend Norma Jean Belenky is inviting all of us women to an Ubud summer camp for grown ups. And it’s not just a fun vacation she’s offering – we’ll come home with clarity! Norma Jean wants each participant to return to her life excited, with intent, new tools, resources and skills to take the leap between the life she has, and the one she truly wants.Camp Clarity will run from April 29-May 5 – 7 days, all-inclusive, at a private luxury villa, with daily yoga and meditation, workshops, cleansing and healing ceremonies, and authentic Balinese experiences.It will be a gathering point for extraordinary women from around the world. Find out more at www.joincampclarity.com. Spaces from $US1750 per person, and there’s a $50 discount for anyone who uses the code UBUDNEWS, so pass on the info to a friend.



It’s been fabulous to be a part of the growth of the various festivals here in Ubud over the past decade. In other parts of the world, even people who’ve never been to Indonesia will say; “Bali; isn’t that where that amazing writers festival is held?” or “The ‘spirit festival’ concept was invented in Ubud, right?” And I’ve met many jazz musicians and lovers – from as far apart as Africa and Australia – who are keen to come to Ubud for the jazz.So as we move past the worry of a possible volcanic eruption, doing our best to help the locals recover their lives and livelihoods, let’s invite all our friends to join us for an Ubud festival this year. Besides being fun, well-managed festivals offer a load of economic and social benefits to a community. Google   to learn more: Bali Spirit Festival, April 2-8; Ubud Food Festival, April 13-15; Ubud Village Jazz Festival, August 10-11; Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, October 24-28.



How extraordinary! An Ubud restaurant that’s so popular that a team of chefs shoots over to Jakarta for a two week “pop-up”.Early this year, Ubud’s amazing Locavore chefs found a Jakarta restaurant owner willing to ‘lend’ his beautiful restaurant – the lovely Emilie French Restaurant. So they quickly sent two sous chefs over to find out what ingredients were good, available and in season in Ibu Kota, and then created a stunner 7-course Locavore tasting menu around it. Already rave reviews, with the last service on Sunday March 3. I doubt me there’ll be an empty seat, but call Locavore on +62 361 977 733 – at worst, you can make an advance booking for next trip!



“Have some madeira, m’dear!” Nope, not an old-fashioned drink but an absolutely brilliant dance teacher, Pak Sugeng Madeira, who is the perfect person to help you ignite those Latin rhythms! Many of my Ubud visitors have learnt with Madeira over the years, and now he’s running a group class at Yoga Barn every Monday evening, from 5:30-7pm. Salsa is a social, energetic partner and solo dance, so participants get a chance to meet new people and learn the fundamentals, while exploring rhythm, connection and musicality. Learning a partner dance is always a confidence booster – and believe it or not, the quiet, methodical guys end up in front, because they know about turning up, class after class, until they get it right and they can dance professionally with absolutely anyone! Lots of dynamic movements and positive emotions to help you connect with yourself and others, get rid of stress and have fun socializing. Book a class at www.yogabarn.com, or at YB reception.



Alternatively – if learning a Cuban dance in Ubud seems a little weird (it’s not, but I get it) – here’s an opportunity to pursue a distinctive Indonesian martial art. White Crane Silat (Silat Bangau Putih) is the signature self-defence art of the Persatuan Gerak Badan (PG) School in Bogor, Java. A mix of classic northern Shaolin-style kung fu with Indonesian pencak silat, WCS is uses low, wide, flowing movements, acrobatic jumps, rolls, and falls, and free-form sparring.

The aim is to combine these into choreograph long movements that train balance, timing, and grace, each movement associated with an animal, plant or legendary figure. Silat White Crane involves partner work of a different kind, including self-defence and sparring, which enhances sensitivity and spatial awareness.Also at Yoga Barn, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9.30-10.30am. Book online or walk in.



This is how many a great Ubud business begins. In 2005, Bridges Bali restaurant co-founder Claude Chouinard asked the owners of the old, fairly dilapidated Bridge Café, to partner with him on a new concept for the place. At first they declined, so he forgot it and focused on other projects.Four years later – on his birthday in 2009 – they rang him, to see if he was still interested. It took a while, but by December 2010, they reopened on that perfect site, as Bridges Bali.Claude heads a thriving professional team, now employing more than 80 people including a full-time sommelier. And most importantly, Bridges Bali is a “giving back” place, hosting events and exhibitions to raise funds for many charities, most recently the huge fundraising dinner for post-eruption recovery, where 100% of every 500,000rp dinner ticket was donated.

What’s next? An event room on the lower level, completely secluded and overlooking both garden and the river below! It will be a perfect space for weddings, receptions and private parties of about 40-50 people. Yup, so many Ubud successes start something like that.



Goddess on the Go, that haven of comfortable stylish clothing for women travellers, now has a Goddess on the Go Club membership. There’s all sorts of perks and online specials, for those times when you are living in some other part of the world, but still want ethically made bamboo clothing and authentic, top quality silver jewellery.

For more info, go to www.goddessonthego.com.au. On Facebook too, but beware various other GOG pages that have pinched the name for a different product or service.