A week ago … in Chinatown …

About a week ago, after days of non-stop rain, I finally managed to step foot (and camera) in Chinatown to photograph the final preparations for the Chinese New Year (“CNY”) Celebrations, a not-to-be missed festive season, right here in Singapore.

As usual, I arrived at Pagoda street “early” in the morning to enjoy the still almost empty streets, and the setting up of the first stalls, witnessing the calm before the storm.

Just an hour later, a mix of tourists and locals – and their cameras and grocery carts – started to fill up this very colourful part of the Red Dot, the former group looking for new experiences (discovering and sometimes tasting exotic food or enjoying a rich cultural experience) and the latter doing some last-minute shopping for CNY celebrations.

 

Suddenly, I saw it … a rooster was getting ready to crow!! 🙂

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CNY2017 © Catherine Houston
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CNY2017 © Catherine Houston

Happy Chinese New Year!!

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Express Road Trip – Bali

Bali…

This short name alone brings dreams to a lot of people.

One may think island, exotic, Asia, flowers, colours, beach, diving, volcanoes, rice fields, yummy food …

The best way to discover this Indonesian island would probably involve staying at least a couple of weeks with a good pair of hiking shoes. Meeting people, discovering villages, hiking in the middle of rice fields away from the tourists’ paths, climbing a volcano, going all the way to the adjacent island of Lombok, scuba diving, …

But what if you had only a handful number of days to spend there? (and/or if like me you were traveling there with 3 little ones!!). Then your best bet is probably to hire a taxi-driver for a day on the road…

Well welcome to my express road-trip to Bali!!

There is a few things that you can expect to see in Bali even on a very short trip:

1- Temples

You are going to see lots of temples and sculptures. Big ones, small ones. You will see some even on the side of the road on your way from the airport to your hotel.

 

2- Offerings and Flowers

Offerings are everywhere: on the side walk, in your hotel, on the beach, and of course in the temples.

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

3- Small markets and yummy looking fruits

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

4- Rice fields (within a short driving distance from Ubud)

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

5- Hard working people

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

6- Awesome gas stations

7- Dancers (in Ubud)

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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston
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Road Trip in Bali Ⓒ Catherine Houston

8- You may even come across a village’s celebration

9- And make sure to relax a little on the beach (a massage?) before catching you plane!

Enjoy!!!

Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day Ⓒ Catherine Houston

When I first decided to write a blog for Valentine’s Day (I know….how original!!) my plan was to found out some great “historical” facts about the origins of Valentine’s Day. I started “googling” and reading about the legends/history starting in the ancient Roman Empire and as I was naively expecting to read one story/legend about love and romance (although true to some extent) I was overwhelmed by the number of stories/mythologies starting with the imprisonment and execution of poor Saint Valentine in the ancient Roman Empire… So to make it very very short: Valentine’s Day became a symbol of love for different reasons in the Middle Ages (celebration of spring, of love, ..). (you can read more about it here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine%27s_Day).

As you most probably all noticed, it’s now a very over-commercialised day. It can represent something different for all of us: the declaration of a new love for some, a competition of romance for others, a dreadful day for the singles, …. (and for me really just the day before my birthday ;-)).

In any case I wanted to share with you pictures of Love.

“Un petit peu de douceur dans un monde de brutes”.

– Mothers’ Love –

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Valentine’s Day Ⓒ Catherine Houston

– Siblings’ Love –

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Valentine’s Day Ⓒ Catherine Houston

 

– Young Love –

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Valentine’s Day Ⓒ Catherine Houston

– and more Love (in Paris…of course) –

– and I will finish with one of my favorite quotes from my favorite author:

“Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction.”(“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.)

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry –

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Valentine’s Day Ⓒ Catherine Houston

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

(and if you don’t know what to do on Valentine’s Day, read the “Petit Prince”- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, best book ever about Love).

Happy Chinese New Lunar Year 2016!!

Are you a Monkey?? 🙂

(I’m a Dragon, but not to worry, a nice one…).

2016 is the Year of the Monkey (and a fire monkey with that!)!!!

As many of you probably already know in Chinese astrology, each year is associated with a Chinese zodiac animal sign but also (a less known fact) one of the five elements: Gold (Metal), Water, Wood, Fire, or Earth. Both the sign and element of your birth year are said to affect your personality and destiny.

– Fire Monkey : Character would be “ambitious and adventurous, but irritable” –

For more info, check out this site: http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/monkey.htm

This year was my first time witnessing a Chinese New Year Celebration in Singapore (and in Asia in general) and I really enjoyed it. I was expecting maybe more traditional lanterns (at least in my romantic mind) but was impressed nevertheless.

 

First Birthday Party / Photo session

Last week we celebrated our youngest little princess first birthday party!!! And as a “Mammarazzi” (see previous post….) 😉 my job during all our family celebrations/outings is to take lots of pictures for our family books.

And I love to photograph birthday sessions in general. As a photographer you can make a list of “to not miss” shots (almost like a wedding photographer…. rings exchange, the Kiss, family groups, …). Well for a birthday you have the obvious: the Cake, blowing of the candles, opening of the gifts, …

And when it’s a first birthday it’s even more cute because the baby is discovering all of this for the first time. I’m not exactly a big fan of the “cake smashing” photo sessions myself but I liked the idea of a tiny cake that our baby could actually eat.

So here it is..Happy Birthday Miss R.!!!

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Birthday Cakes
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What’s going on here?
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Okay, let’s run with it…
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Wait!!!!
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Too late….
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Is that edible??
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Let’s try…
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That’s pretty good!!
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Let’s have more!!!
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Gift time…

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Play time…

!!