AJB ‘Memorable Posts’ Holiday Reading

A big HELLO from both of us! Today we are closing our Jakarta blog season with some memorable posts from over the last four fantastic years.The following posts will include some reminiscing; first experiences with new ingredients, garden discoveries, new places, memorable Jakarta moments and some very special people.

Join us below for our last post for 2018, and keep an eye on your inbox for our end of year holiday message and news of our first post landing in 2019.

Liz & Jo

PEOPLE and HOME & DESIGN : The Jakarta home and design shop that influenced my decision to move to Jakarta …

Little did Mira Noodhoek founder of Le Souq know it … but way back in 2012 my husband was about to launch into a conversation with me about an opportunity to move ourselves and our then 9 year old and 12 year old daughters to Jakarta, Indonesia. On the top of his list of reasons why Jakarta was a great idea, was a certain home and design store that he knew I would love! The rest is history! 🙂



Mira hidden in accessories – photography Le Souq

PEOPLE : The power of the image – How I came to know Jakarta-based visual artist Ruth Marbun

My introduction to Jakarta-based visual artist Ruth Marbun dates back some years. I recall scrolling through our AJB instagram feed and was stopped in my tracks by a photograph of a painting. I don’t think I could have clicked the ‘like’ button any more. I felt totally moved by the image: a woman, wearing a head scarf represented by vibrant colours. The face was somewhat obscured but even still, I felt a connection with that piece and an overwhelming need to know more. I wrote to the artist seeking the backstory of the portrait and inquired as to whether the piece had been sold. The reply to my message was friendly and humble.

“Why not come and visit my studio, and yes, the piece is still available”.

To cut a long story short, Liz and I both visited Ruth’s studio, and that event marked the beginning of not only an immense admiration for the talent of this young lady, but the start of our friendship too.

To celebrate our dear Ruth (and to find out the fate of the portrait that led us to her), be sure to read Ruth’s Story below.


PS: Right now in my home city of Melbourne, Ruth is celebrating the opening of the exhibition, #PEREMPUAN. Showcasing works by ten emerging Indonesian artists (including Ruth of course!), the exhibition explores issues surrounding women’s existence, visibility, role and participation in Indonesian society.

#PEREMPUAN Exhibition
On now until 14 December 2018
Space 28, VCA Performing Arts Southbank, Melbourne.


Ruth Marbun – A talented visual artist and all-round awesome gal
Ruth Marbun Utay Utay
The painting which lead me to artist Ruth Marbun

FOOD : More than a recipe … The time I made ‘klepon’

This was such a fun post to write and research for a number of reasons. First of all, I was really excited to discover the local plant ‘daun suji’ or ‘suji leaf’ an essential ingredient used to make natural green food colouring for this cake recipe was growing in my garden! Over the last couple of years I have come to appreciate that my small Jakarta garden has some significant Indonesian plants growing in it (established by the owner) which are used regularly in Indonesian cooking and for medicinal purposes. A wonderful discovery!

Secondly …. I had some great support making the klepon from my house staff! Pointing me to the daun suji in the garden, sending me to the pasar with the freshest young coconuts ‘kelapa’ and sharing their own views on how klepon should look and taste. I believe it is such a privilege to learn from the wealth of knowledge my staff have about their country and traditions. I will forever be grateful for their willingness to share their Indonesia with me.

So …. I would like you to read this post keeping in mind the supportive people who helped me make this post happen, the conversations that took place and the lessons I learned.




LIFESTYLE: The Humble Bajaj – More than just a mode of transport around the streets of Jakarta

In November 2013 my husband and I visited Jakarta for our ‘Look- See’. Before embarking on this fascinating expat journey, I had never encountered the phrase, ‘Look-See’ but soon learned the importance of this event where you visit your prospective new home city and make the decision as to whether you can ‘make a go of it’ there.

One of my earliest memories of Jakarta was the bright orange bajajs (3 wheel motor taxis – pronounced, ‘bud-jay’) which dotted the congested streets. Although plumes of exhaust spilled from them, their bright colour and cute dimensions brought a smile to my face. So a few months later upon moving to Jakarta, we found ourselves regularly taking rides in the cheerful bajaj. Then about 2 years ago the bright orange bajaj was removed from the roads and replaced with the blue version which runs on natural gas (much better for the environment but not quite as cute!)

So to celebrate this iconic form of Jakarta transport, we compiled a story about the humble bajaj – it’s history, it’s influence on Jakarta traffic; and profiled a local bajaj driver who shared an insight into his daily routine. To celebrate this wonderful mode of transport we invite you to read our post.



Bajaj can be used for transporting more than just people… 🙂

PS …To receive our email updates and to hear what’s going on in A Journey Bespoke in 2019  …. subscribe to our ‘Newsletter’ by entering your NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS  into the red pop up box, or scrolling to the bottom of this post to SUBSCRIBE!

Words: Liz McClean and Jo Stevens  Photography:  a journey bespoke, Le Souq, Ruth Marbun, Anita Roberts and Nita Strudwick Photography

Let’s stay in touch on Instagram : @ajourneybespoke

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