So FINALLY I have gotten around to sorting through the nearly 900 photos I took on our summer holiday in Sperlonga, Italia in July this year! Only took me all of 5 months. :/ I managed to pick just over 200 photos (believe me it took a long time!) to upload to facebook.
However I decided that my readers/followers on the interwebs also deserved to share in these wonderful memories so I’ve brushed the cobwebs off my old photo gallery on Kazzart.Net, given it a bit of a revamp/design tweak, and have uploaded the photos there too. Below are a select number of photos (45 to be precise!) that I’ve chosen to highlight in this (rather long) blog. You can view the whole album too.
(Note: My gallery was getting inundated with comments spam so I have made comments for logged in users only – I also turned on auto registration so now you can easily register yourself if you wish to make comments – don’t worry I won’t be using your email address).
So let us begin. We stayed for 2 weeks at a wonderful residence called Residence Florenza half way up the town (and cliff side) of Sperlonga. We were only meant to stay for 1 week and then move on to another part of Italy but due to disorganisation we hadn’t booked the 2nd week. In the end we loved it so much here that we stayed the 2nd week also (and luckily they had 1 last apartment available!)
As you can see Sperlonga is just beautiful.. full of bright pink flowers, cobble stones & old faded white/beige buildings.
Every day and night was baking hot. I spent the first few days either soaking up some much needed sun on the beach or exploring this quaint Italian town which was beautiful both in the day and the night.
Of course I spent LOTS of time on the beach, every day, lounging on the beach beds, soaking up that sun, swimming in the clear waters of the Mediterranean sea. Was sooooo relaxing. I absolutely ADORE the feeling of the sun baking my skin. 🙂
I also quickly discovered my favourite cafe in town (which unfortunately happened to be furthest in the old town from our residence). But they served amazing coffee and granita. Yummmm… There was also a fairly decent pizzeria in town with a traditional woodfired oven. Margherita con mozzarella di bufala per favore!
We didn’t spend the whole time in Sperlonga. One afternoon took a half day trip to the nearby Suio Terme in Campania – natural hot sulfuric springs. Yes with the smell too.
Sometimes we explored the town next to Sperlonga, which is called Gaeta. Its a bigger town so it was nice to have a change of scene. We even found some salsa there one night and had a bit of a dance which was cool. There actually was a salsa party on Friday night at this outdoor restaurant/club on the beach between the two towns. We went there twice – one time with a live band. Its great dancing outdoors in summer! Back in Sperlonga, we took a boat trip one afternoon to explore the surrounding coastline and caves and even swam into one of the caves which had a beach inside! Like from a James Bond film. So cool!
Back in town, sometimes I would take walks to explore the tiny streets of this old picturesque town and take photos of random things. 🙂
I really wish I could have stayed there forever! But alas the holiday was over all too soon. On our last morning, I just had to go for one last dip in the sea. And of course get myself some purely awesome gelato!more » Posted on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 | 4 Comments »
Hm.. I really need to update this blog more often than the once-every-one-or-two-months that’s currently happening! I mean seriously, you know you’re a lazy blogger when your blogging software gets updated more frequently than your blog posts.
So.. enough about work/tech talk. It’s been taking over more and more of my life ever since my recent-ish move in the past few months onto this current client account (which will remain nameless). I am enjoying the work though, which is interesting, creative and challenging (all must-have’s for me to not get bored at work), so I guess I can’t complain too much.
In other news.. got back recently from an amazing week in Sardegna, Italia. It is so amazingly beautiful there and the weather was perfect every single day – blue skies, sunshine and a perfect low 30’s deg C. I am made for the heat. Every day was spent in the sun, either relaxing in the Mediterranean sea or by the enormous pool of our apartment residence. I really wish I were back there right now. Le sigh.
More pics and a holiday vlog to come soon!
What else.. well, I’m still dancing both cuban salsa and zouk lambada. I love both. I’m more experienced with salsa – now I can dance that quite confidently with any partner in the club now, or participate in a rueda de casino. Gone are the days of nervous anxiety, fear of screwing up the steps or worrying about not being able to “follow his lead”. I still screw up sometimes of course, but I recover much better as my sense of the clave “timing” is much more instinctive and natural. I even get son timing. (This is where being a musician becomes an advantage 😉 ) Lambada however is not quite at the stage of being able to confidently follow the lead of a partner. However I don’t have the “hang ups” I used to have when I first started salsa. I also have yet to try a proper night out dancing in a lambada club. Not just “have a couple dances after class”. I’m going to try this tomorrow at the London Dance Congress! Going to do the workshops and then go to the party night afterwards. Should be fun!
On the music front.. it’s been a bit quiet, other than jamming with the trumpet player in the London street piano’s festival. However this morning I just managed to arrange a date The Sheridan Trio’s first gig for summer 09 – on Saturday 15 August! I’m really looking forward to it – I really enjoy playing with our trio and it’s been too long…
Another new thing is that I’ve recently completed a 10 week italian language course! (Beginner Plus level). I’ve signed on for the next level (elementary) and classes start next week. It’s tough learning italian, and I don’t practice nearly enough. But I am learning loads, and hopefully will get to a stage where I can start having conversations with the boyf in italian. Not quite there yet!
Well, that’s the latest on the Kazzart news front. Ciao e ci vediamo presto. 🙂more » Posted on Friday, July 17th, 2009 | 5 Comments »
Photos from a romantic weekend mini-break in Paris, 17 – 19 Oct 2008. The weather was absolutely perfect both days with clear blue skies and sunshine, though the temps were still chilly. We managed to explore quite a lot of sweet Pah-ree and enjoyed a relaxing and romantic weekend together. 🙂more » Posted on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 | 1 Comment »
Wow. Has it really been two months? How time flies.
So what’s new in the life of Kazzart. Gosh.. where to start!? Well things have improved a bit since my last, rather down-hearted post. My wrists seem to be in better shape for one, haven’t had a case of RSI for a while now. Using an ergonomic joystick mouse and keyboard at work has definitely helped. I’m also very careful now when I practice piano.. I always warm up, I’m careful not to tense my muscles or push myself too far. Oh, and Ibuprofen gel is my friend. 😉 What else.. my time is a bit easier to manage now that music college term is over and we’re on summer holidays. I think I might make things easier for myself in the coming year and only do one module instead of two! Two nights a week is just too much for me, with my current job going the way it is. On that note, work has definitely gotten busier with more and more responsibility piling on. I’m now getting involved as Technical Manager/Technical Lead on a number of projects. As well as still doing some web dev work. I’m not sure if I enjoy the TM stuff, but I think it is good experience to have so I will give it a go and see how I feel at the end of the year.
Last month I went away on an awesome summer holiday. I organised a two week holiday for my parents and brother in Barcelona, Spain and Portugal (Lisbon & Algarve). It was great to get away and get some SUMMER. Seriously.. the weather here in UK has been SOOOOOO sh*t it would be blasphemy to call it a “summer”. Strangely, everywhere else in the EU seems to be scorching hot.. it’s like there is some invisible weather barrier between us and continental europe (maybe its the english channel). Anyway.. enough whining about the weather.. I’m becoming more and more british every day.. wait I am already “technically” british lol. So yeh, the holiday was great fun. I *loved* Barcelona.. great food, friendly locals, beautiful city and great weather! Also really loved just chillin out by the beach at the Algarve. The weather there really is just PERFECT.. that perfect mix of warm south european and dry hot north african climate. Blue skies and sunshine pretty much every day! And the sun is actually HOT. Got myself a lovely tan there.. and stocked up on my Vitamin D dosage for the year. 🙂 Here are some photos from the trip.
Anyway.. since coming back from holidays.. I’ve been getting back into regular yoga and dancing again. I’ve been gone so long from hiphop even my teacher noticed and welcomed me back! I’m also still going to cuban salsa and getting better each week – which is good coz I really enjoy dancing salsa with my bf.. he’s still heaps better than me though! So fingers crossed I’ll be able to keep that all going coz I seriously need to get fit again! Not to mention, I just feel so good afterwards.
The Sheridan Trio (my jazz trio) also played our FIRST public gig last Saturday! W00t w00t! It went pretty well. Loads of people came, they seemed to enjoy it, the owner was really impressed and we just had fun performing. More about that later… might post some videos too!
Guess that’s all from me for now.. it’s home time!more » Posted on Monday, August 18th, 2008 | 4 Comments »
Dayamn. It’s been over a month since my last blog. Hmm.. sometimes I wonder if it is worth keeping this up seeing as social sites such as Facebook appear to be taking over the (virtual) world and even the blogosphere. But on the other hand… it makes for a quieter blogscape. Which means a little more freedom to express. I think I likey.
Anyhoo. Lots of things have been happening in the life of Kazzart. The biggest would be my break up with Kwai (as of about a month and a half ago). There were many reasons and as always, these things are complicated. But I can definitely say that it had been a long time coming. It may have seemed a sudden thing to many people, but outsiders can never see what is truly going on under the surface. (I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty details.)
Ok so what else has been happening. Life has been up and down, and as always busy as ever. Sometimes I almost feel like I’m drowning in all the things on my plate. Let’s list em out shall we:
- Work – this in itself would be enough to keep me busy as I’ve taken on a technical lead role part time (getting into scoping, estimates and functional requirements) as well as still a senior web developer the rest of the time!
- Music college (3rd and final term of my first year in Certificate of Music Studies) – for my Monday night class, the final musicianship assignment is due this coming Monday… I am SO not gonna have time to do this by Monday – I haven’t even started it yet!!! And we have to compose, arrange and score out an entire song of 3-4 mins length.
- Also my other module (the jazz performance ensemble class on Tuesday night) needs a lot of work. I’ve decided to do an arrangement of the old jazz standard “The Nearness Of You”. So far I only have a basic idea of the head arrangement – as half ballad and half gentle bossa (think Joao Gilberto). We had our first run through last Tues which went fairly well, and my teacher kindly suggested some reharmonisation of the chords for the ballad section – he even came up with some chords to use which was extremely useful! I am also imagining an intro of only 4-part horns harmony, based on the reharmonised chords, which I started last nite and am kinda halfway through writing. Then I will also need to write some simple harmonising/counterpoint horn lines for the bossa section of the song. Ack. I suck at writing horn lines. But I really want this arrangement and performance to be good because it’s gonna be a concert which we can invite people to – and I’ll be inviting my parents and friends along this time!
- Speaking of parents – my parents are also in London! They arrived last Saturday and will be here until end of August, travelling back and forth between London and various European destinations. It’s been nice having them here, staying with me, and they have even been cooking and cleaning! My flat sure is a lot cleaner now lol. But for some reason I’ve been getting less sleep and have been really tired this whole week. Guess it’s just affecting my regular schedule and sleep patterns.
- More with music – I’m playing in a jazz trio now (with people I know from college – and we actually have a name.. we’re gonna be called “The Sheridan Trio”). We have our first gig next Saturday 24th.. and so this weekend we’ll be rehearsing on Saturday AND Sunday to get the two sets down solid. If you’re interested the set list is:
- Cantaloupe Island
- But Not For Me
- Freddie Freeloader
- The Nearness of You
- Blue Bossa
- Autumn Leaves
- Cry Me A River
- Straight No Chaser
- It Could Happen
- Ain’t Misbehavin
- Blue Room
- Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
- Since I Fell For You
- All Of Me
- So What
This gig is just at a private party, but we have a possibility of a public gig at an italian cafe in Soho called Piada, just a couple doors down from Ronnie Scotts! (I know the owner of this cafe because there is a Piada near my office too and I’m quite a regular there).
- I’m also still attempting to keep myself active, fit and healthy – though I haven’t even been to dance class in probably a month 🙁 and have only barely been able to make my weekly yoga class at the gym. I have, however, been trying a few new things – last week I tried an adult gymnastics class for the first time in like 20 years! I was able to do a front hand spring, but failed miserably when attempting the back hand spring (still have a bruise on my knee a week later for my efforts). I’m also intending on getting more into salsa.. particularly cuban salsa. I’ve had an on-off affair with salsa for the past 2 or so years and I keep meaning to get myself going regularly to a class, but I’ve just not found time in my ever-busy and ever-growing schedule. Hm.. and I’m trying to find the time now? LOL. One can only try eh.
- Travel – I still LOVE to and intend on travelling as much as finances will permit, which unfortunately atm, is not much at all. 🙁 I did take a recent mini-break to Madrid, Spain over the May long weekend (4-6th). It was a wonderful trip, and Madrid is a beautiful city, esp at that time of year. Not too hot, but pleasantly warm and sunny. We were quite lucky too with the weekend averaging a pleasant 28 degrees and plenty of sunshine! Took lots of photos too. Below are a sample of photos taken on a friend’s camera. I still have to upload the photos from my camera, but these will do for now. Enjoy. 🙂
Well I think I’ve pretty much listed most of things keeping me busy at the moment. Obviously there are the usual household matters like grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, looking after bills and finances, look after Ella etc etc.
Anyway… I was kinda feeling a bit depressed today for some reason (which is what prompted me to blog). I think I get this way when I think too much about my life.. and the decisions and mistakes I’ve made. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever learn from my mistakes. And even though I’m doing a lot, “achieving” a lot and keeping myself mega-busy all the time.. I feel quite alone a lot of the time. Perhaps thats why I keep myself so busy.. so that I don’t notice it. I still don’t have many friends here in London, and no real, close friends. Sometimes when I really feel the need to talk to a good friend, to share the burdens on my mind, it just strikes me that I actually have nobody here I could do that with. All the people I would turn to and talk to are in Sydney – and even then, I’ve been away for so long (it’s been 3 years now!) that, well, people just forget about you. You lose touch, you’re on the other side of the world, you’re not a part of their lives anymore, and I think people just stop caring as much. It’s understandable for sure.. but it’s just.. a bit depressing when they are the only people you consider real friends and they’re just not available (or perhaps not interested) for the short time you catch them on msn. I’m really not sure what I can do about this. Of course I want to make friends here and I know I need to do this – but I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me. Maybe I just shouldn’t expect the same level of friendship that I have with those I spent many years growing up with. But even so.. I met people there that had quickly become close friends in only a matter of weeks. Why don’t I meet the same sort of people here? I still believe that it’s a cultural thing – that there is something about the culture and people’s mindset in London (and I hear this from other expats about British people in general too) that makes them more difficult to get to know, to form a close friendship with and have meaningful conversations with.
Meh. I dunno. I am possibly going to be staying in London a lot longer than I originally planned, so I think I really need to sort this issue of loneliness out. *sigh* Anyway.. well thats the latest (minus a few details ;)) from the life and mind of Kazzart. Bit of a mammoth post I know.. sorry!more » Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2008 | 12 Comments »
Took an impromptu long weekend mini-break to Malaga, Spain for my 29th birthday. Booked it extremely last minute at about midnight Friday night, plane departing 7:30am the next morning, got 2 hours sleep and nearly missed our flight! But it was so worth it… we arrived to beautiful blue skies, sunshine and the Mediterranean sea. We had a really chilled out weekend in a new exciting place. And this is what I love about living in London and probably one of the reasons I’m still here after 2.5 years.
And a travel vlog too – this is part 1 of 3.more » Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2008 | 3 Comments »
So I’m here at Cologne airport in Germany waiting for my delayed flight back to London. It was supposed to depart at 9:30pm and is delayed to midnight which is only half hour away but no sign of the plane yet. Methinks we will be here past midnight. *sigh* I decided to buy some wifi time on t-mobile to surf the net using my iPod Touch and am now blogging using my Touch. Ahhh technology..
The holiday was really nice.. Very very relaxing. Just what we needed. We spent HEAPS of time at the Taunus Therme saunas and thermal pools, soaking up the healthy minerals and salts and sweating it out nekkid with the germans in tge saunas. A very healthy week in all. Also enjoyed brunch with friends at the fine Steigenberger hotel in frankfurt and again at the Hyatt Regency in Cologne today. Damn I love german brunch buffets.. they sure know how to put on a fine feast. I also got my hair cut and coloured (semi permanent red violet) at my regular hairdressers Obscura in frankfurt.
Ok the plane has just landed w00t! Gotta go.. Will have lotsa pics and vids to upload when I get back.more » Posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2007 | No Comments »
I can’t believe our trip to Germany is coming up so soon now. We leave REALLY early this Saturday morning – flight is at 6:30am, which means getting to the airport at 4:30am. And this will be right after my work christmas party which finishes at 2am! So.. I guess I’m not getting much sleep that night! But no matter coz this holiday is all about relaxing, de-stressing and pampering. On Saturday night (after a nice long nap upon check-in at the hotel), we’ve booked in a hot stone massage to kick off the week at the nearby Taunus Therme (huge sauna and thermal springs – our sole reason for staying in this hotel on the outskirts of Frankfurt). On Sunday we’re meeting with some friends for FrÃ¼hstÃ¼ck (traditional german brunch on a Sunday – its amazing) and visiting the Christmas Markets around Frankfurt. On Monday we have a few necessary errands to do, like seeing a podiatrist for Kwai, our dermatologist, and some shopping.
Tuesday and Wednesday will again be all about relaxation – with massages booked in on both days. Firstly a two person synchronised massage (yes two people massaging you at the same time – I’ve had this before there and it is AWESOME), and secondly a honey oil massage (really nice and great for the skin too!) We’ll spend heaps of time in the thermal pools and saunas too (yep getting nekkid with the germans). I love it there.. it is so relaxing, de-stressing, peaceful and really re-energising. I always feel so much healthier afterwards.
On Thursday I’m gonna get my hair cut at my usual hairdresser in Frankfurt called Obscura – they’re great and sooooo much cheaper than London. And finally to finish off our holiday, the last two nights will be spent in Cologne, visiting the christmas markets, the huge dom (cathedral – image above) and beautiful Rhine river.. and of course FrÃ¼hstÃ¼ck at the luxurious Hyatt Regency (image below) where we’ll be staying. :). Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up with AericWinter too as he’ll be at his home town which is nearby that weekend. Should be really nice.
*sigh* I can’t wait! I totally don’t feel like working now… just counting the days.. hours.. minutes..
Whenever I start feeling too fed up, depressed, frustrated, stressed and downright annoyed with living in shitty London… it is these moments that I get to spend on the european continent that remind me why I’m here.more » Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2007 | 3 Comments »
Wow it has been a while since my last blog entry. Where to begin? So much has happened in the past month or so. Most recently, I’ve just started my new job – it’s my 2nd week here now. It’s been pretty exciting so far and I’m based in Farringdon in central London (great location with heaps of good food around). The company itself is a leading international interactive agency, and has been described as “a recognised pioneer and innovator, their work is amongst the most influential in the world” and having “paved the way for many agencies and is considered to have “written the book” on digital marketing and e-commerce, without ever having actually written a book”. They have won heaps of awards for the work they’ve done, as well as general awards like “Creative Agency of the Year” or “Interactive Agency of the Year” and most recently awarded “Digital Agency of the Decade” by Revolution magazine. So… erm yeh.. that gives you an idea of how stoked I was to have been headhunted and hired by them!!! 😀
Ok work aside, I’ve also been away on holidays. I spent a wonderful 2 weeks with Kwai and my bro driving through Italy and Germany (as well as passing through Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and France). We started by flying to Cologne, hiring our car there and driving through Germany and Austria to arrive at Venice VERY late in the night. After 2 nights there, we drove to Florence (me and Kwai’s 3rd visit here!), and also took advantage of the Barberino Designer Outlet shopping village for some discount designer clothes, before driving into some proper tuscan countryside. We spent most of the holiday in Tuscany (oh how I LOVE that place) exploring the Chianti and Siena regions (stopping for lunch at the BEST restaurant of the trip in a tiny town called Lamole which is on top of a huge hill with amazing views over the whole chianti region as far as San Gimignano), then stayed overnight in a farmhouse overlooking the beautiful San Gimignano. After a brief visit there we drove down to the southern tuscan town of Saturnia (my favourite destination of the whole trip) for some absolutely amazing food (what is it about Saturnia and great food – incidentally they also produce my favourite olive oil) and much needed relaxation at the local thermal springs (at the Terme di Saturnia. Then we headed to the meditterranean coastal town of San Vincenzo and explored the nearby Baratti gulf (simply indescribably gorgeous – the clearest, bluest waters to swim in) and natural park of Rimigliano, and stopped off at a small town called Suvereto to pick up a WHOLE proscuitto at the local market (yes a whole one, bone and all, yes it was heavy – I think 5 kgs?).
Finally we drove up to our last destination in Italy to spend a few days in the Sestri Levante and Cinque Terre region, staying in a small town called Riva Trigoso. The first day in Cinque Terre, me and Kwai did almost the whole hike across the 5 towns (skipped only Vernazza to Corniglia but we did the hardest bit by far which was Monterosso to Vernazza – lots of steps and narrow dirt paths along the cliffside with AMAZING views!). We then spent the next day on hired scooters exploring the Sestri Levante to Portofino stretch… unforunately we only got as far as lunch in Zoagli before my bro had a scary accident where his scooter met a wall on a blind hair-pin turn along the windy, hilly coastal roads.. fortunately it wasn’t too serious as no cars were around and so no bones were broken – we did however get a ride in the ambulance to the local hospital in Lavagna where we spent the next 5 hours waiting before he was released with some painful looking scrapes) – it was dinner time by then so we decided to stay in Lavagna where me and Kwai took the opportunity to have one last swim in the mediterranean sea as the sun set behind the distant mountains, and then got some yummy takeaway pizza from the local piazza where there happened to be a music festival on and an awesome band played some really nice contemporary jazz mixed with tango/classical featuring a violin and piano accordion. Finally we bade a sad farewell to Italy and with heavy hearts drove that loooong journey up to Frankfurt, Germany (via some SPECTACULAR scenery in Switzerland – in fact we stopped in Switzerland for lunch in a town by a huge lake) where me and Kwai stayed 4 nights spending lots of time at the wonderful saunas and thermal pools of the Taunus Therme and also catching up with old friends of Kwai’s. Finally our wonderful holiday almsot over, we drove off towards London, our car loaded with olive oils from various regions throughout Tuscany and Liguria, some pasta, and that proscuitto ham.. only stopping one night in Brussels on the way.
And that was our wonderful summer holiday, planned 3 months in advanced, over. *sigh* It was wonderful and amazing and we had gorgeous HOT weather the whole time. And I can’t wait to do it again!!! I’ve noted places I wanna revisit, and learned things to do and not do the next time round. In fact I just wish I could move to Italy! I love the culture and life and land and food and everything there. I loved how we were able to avoid a lot of the main touristy things and go a bit “off the beaten track” into places visited only by local Italians, where we were the often the only foreigners (we got a few stares lol), where we were able to get a glimpse into the local culture and life… towns where families were born, raised, worked and lived for generations. What an experience it was.
(Lots of photos and videos to come).more » Posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2007 | 4 Comments »
Um.. yeh.. been a while since my last blog entry. Life has been a whirlwind of activities. Many of which can be found on various web 2.0 community web sites. Biggest news of the moment is that I got a new job offer from one of London’s top digital agencies. I’m pretty excited about this as I’ve been wanting to work for them since I contracted with them for a few weeks in 2005. They have some really big name clients and the work they produce is always of the highest quality and cutting edge in technology and design.
Ok enough about work. I’m going on holidays soon! Yay! In July, myself, my boyfriend and my brother will be heading off on a big self-drive holiday round Italy. Starting off with flying out to Cologne, Germany then driving down to Venice, then to Florence, then into the Chianti region staying at the World Heritage listed San Gimignano, down into south Tuscany to the hot springs and fine restaurants of Saturnia, then up the Mediterranean coast to the summer holiday town of San Vincenzo, then further north to the Liguria and Cinque Terre region staying a few days at Riva Trigoso, and finally back up to stay in Frankfurt, Germany and visit some old friends. I can’t wait! Italy is my absolute favourite european destination (and not just because of the awesome food). And I really need a holiday!!!
I’ve also been really getting into my piano playing. We had our final performance for the year for my jazz improvisation class last week. I thought this was my best performance and solo out of three we had. I recorded it again and made another video which you can watch below.
I’m also going to be (most likely) starting part time studies at Goldsmith college next academic year. I’m going to be doing the Certificate in Music Studies, which is a modular, part time course equivalent of the first year of a degree in Music. I figured, I would do the modules anyway as I continue to do courses here, so why not get a cert out of it whilst I’m at it? Gonna have to ship my keyboard over here though first.. bit hard learning without a piano or keyboard at home to practice on.more » Posted on Monday, June 11th, 2007 | 7 Comments »