Jerusalem, Israel

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Located in the hills of Jerusalem, in the shadow of history, is a thoroughly modern boutique hotel. After a day touring some of the world’s most revered religious sites, the weary traveller can escape to an oasis of pampering in this burgeoning vineyard region. First time visitors to Jerusalem may want to add an extra day to the itinerary to enjoy the Cramin Hotel’s spa and fitness treatments or tour one of the neighbouring boutique wineries.

Dabble Savvy: To preserve the tranquil, relaxing atmosphere, only guests over 10 years of age are welcome.

Dome of the Rock and Western Wall - goisrael

ABOVE: Jerusalem—the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity and a sacred city for Muslims—attracts thousands of visitors each year. The devout come to worship, the curious to learn and the adventuresome to explore.

Child putting a note inside the Wailing Wall - Noam Chen

ABOVE: A young man touches the ancient stones in the sacred wailing wall.

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Top 5 Maltese Crafts

1- A craft that flourished under the Knights of Malta was gold and silver smithing. Today, Maltese goldsmiths continue to thrive, with the graphic Maltese cross being the most often requested item for purchase.

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2- The unmistakeable and universal scent of wood shavings appeals to nearly every traditionalist. Wood carving is a thriving industry in Malta with traditional pieces often receiving a layer of gilding before they make their way to the shop floor.

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3- Tole painting, the art of adding elaborate designs to tin and metal serving pieces, is another thriving artform.

Dabble Savvy: Items that lay flat and are non-breakable qualify as ideal suitcase splurges. Save room when you pack.

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4- Traditional weaving crafts such as lacemaking, basketry and wicker furniture production are widely visible on the islands.

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5- A relatively new craft in Malta, glass blowing was introduced in the 1960s. Shops typically sport hand and mouth blown vases and bowls in bright Mediterranean colours.

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Top 5 Vineyards in Niagara’s Wine Country

Spoiled for choice, it’s difficult to choose just five wineries, however, these were a 10-out-of-10 with team Dabble.

1- Fans of contemporary architecture will fall in love with Stratus Vineyards. The sleek interiors are wrapped in glass, providing visitors with stunning views of the vineyards and grapes. The wine is artfully displayed, the labelling is clean and sophisticated and the experience is superb.


Photography by Simon Burn

2- Another contemporary setting awaits the thirsty traveller at Jackson-Triggs Winery. “It’s likely you’ll want to anchor your Niagara visit with an event at Jackson-Triggs,” says Dabble E-I-C Kimberley Seldon. The Summer Concert series is a must, take a look at for all the details. Purchase tickets early to avoid disappointment.

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Photography by Simon Burn

3- Glass in hand, gather near the outdoor pizza oven and wait for the basil drenched Margherita to emerge and you too will love a visit to the Good Earth Food and Wine Co.

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Photography by Simon Burn

4- Before you book your visit, make sure Jason Parsons is in the kitchen. His mad culinary gifts, paired perfectly with the offerings at Peller Estates Winery are sheer genius.

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Photography by Simon Burn

5- Though diminutive in scale Lailey Vineyard delivers substantially when it comes to wine tasting.


Kimberley’s Fave Design Store in Calgary



On a recent visit to one of the friendliest cities in Canada, I had the chance to spend a day with designer, Nyla Free. The agenda? Great design shops, of course. Here are six of our faves.

1. Kit Interior Objects: Eames, Jacobsen, Bertoia—they’re all here. If mid-century modern is your vibe you’ve found the shop in Calgary to whet your appetite.


2. Maria Tomas: “The selection here is well curated,” says Nyla. She loves that you can shop here knowing you won’t risk coming home with a matched set of anything. The Maria Tomas team also travel extensively, so they manage to stay just ahead of the trends curve.


3. Cherry Four Junior Home: Have kids? Need to decorate? Then Cherry Four Junior Home is likely already on your list of must visit Calgary shops. The selection of bedding is youthful without being dull. We’re big fans of Robyn Millar’s Circle Art minimalist style paintings. The The lively circles introduce colour and style into the wee one’s room.


4. Domaine Fine Furnishings: I did some damage at Domaine. Who can blame me? The inventory is robust and the owner, Emily Sissons has a good eye. These oil barrel drums are just the kind of big industrial statement I wanted to make in my country house. I’ve since purchased them for a couple of clients who insisted they did not mind copying me!

5. Salvage: Owners Alykhan Velji (better known as Aly) and Kelly Kask are passionate about old, beautiful, well-loved items. They launched Salvage to bring reclaimed, reused and repurposed to home enthusiasts with a conscious. Saving solid building materials, salvaging cedar from doomed buildings or collecting antiques means more materials diverted from landfill. A noble cause indeed. We wish them well.

6. Cushy Life: Another shop with wide appeal, Nyla loves the setting at Cushy Life. Owners Michelle and Jonathan are nearly always on hand to provide insights into shoppers’ needs.

3 Days in Malta


MORNING: There is plenty to see in and around the pedestrian town of Valletta. Take in St. John’s Cathedral and the Upper Gardens at Barrakka with views over the bay and front seats to the daily cannon firing. Home enthusiasts will appreciate Casa Rocca Piccola, a living museum and Valletta’s only privately owned palace.

12 NOON: Spot some celebs in St. Julian’s, just a short 45 minute walk away. Or, take the ferry and enjoy some ocean time.

EVENING: Book ahead to ensure you’ll get a table at either Guze Bistro or Michael’s. Either one will make an occasion out of the moment.

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Lower Barrakka Gardens – Photography by Simon Burn


MORNING: After a carb-dense breakfast (it’s ok, you’ll be walking today) head south to Marsaxlokk (on Sundays, don’t miss the Marsaxlokk Market). Explore the coastal area on foot and work up an appetite for fresh seafood at lunch.

AFTERNOON: Save some energy for the medieval cities of Mdina and Rabat. Take in the 360 degree views from the top of the hill in Mdina, and just try to put your camera down.

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Mdina – Photography by Simon Burn


AFTERNOON: Make sure to visit the 350-year-old Gozo Salt Pans. Sign up for a Jeep safari and you can make a day of touring the tiny island’s many sights.

EVENING: When the sun sets, casting its pink glow on everything in sight, everyone (and we mean everyone) is thinking about where to eat. If you meet a friendly local (and you will) ask for a recommendation.

Dabble Does Malta

Gozo Salt Pans – Photography by Simon Burn

Where to Eat in Havana

Here are 5 great places to dine when you’re in Havana:

1- Paladar Doña Eutimia: A great little gem in Old Havana. Be sure to start off with a mojito frappe, it’s their specialty.

2- Rio Mar Restaurant: Amazing setting and superb seafood.  The restaurant is located in the  neighbourhood of Mirama and there are wonderful views of the river and the Malecón seawall.

Rio Mar

3- Ivan & Justo: Not only will you enjoy the freshness of the food but you’ll love the décor. Try the ceviche de pescado or the tacos de la casa, our two faves.

Ivan and Justo

4- 304 O’Reilly: This restaurant isn’t hard to find as the name is the address in Old Havana. Owner José Carlos learned how to cook from his grandmother and has a passion for food and art which is evident when you step inside. Have a Caesar, it’s made from scratch.

304 O'reilly

5- El Litoral: Enjoy a healthy buffet or their à la carte menu. Not hungry? Have a cappuccino outside and enjoy a view of the water.

El Litoral


Issue 22 – February 2015

Discovering Toulouse

Discover the pink city’s heritage on foot with a “Discovering Toulouse” tour guide (Saturdays, 2:00 pm). The tour offers an overview of the main sites and monuments including: Capitole, the Saint-sernin basilica and wonderful views along the river Garonne.

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Salle des Illustres, Capitole – Photo by Angela Auclair


The current city hall and Theatre National du Capitole orchestra and opera house, this building is remarkable with its 8 columns of pink marble on façade, Henry IV courtyard, the place where the Duke of Montmorency was killed, and the “Salle des Illustres” inspired by the Farnese Gallery in Rome where the golden mouldings compete with the beauty of the paintings in the cartouches.

Basilique Saint-Sernin

Basilique Saint-Sernin – Photo by Angela Auclair


Basilique Saint-Sernin
A splendid Romanesque church considered to be the biggest in the western world. This brick masterpiece is an essential stage on the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle pilgrimage. The Basilique dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries, holds a treasure trove of reliquaries including that of Saint Saturnin, the martyred bishop of the city, to whom the building is devoted.

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Canal du Midi – Photo by Angela Auclair


Canal du Midi
Toulouse boasts a strategic geographical location in the South West of France, halfway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. While the Garonne links Toulouse directly to Bordeaux, facilitating trade by waterway, between Toulouse and Sète, there was only the long, tortuous road across the Lauragais plain.

There had therefore long been a real need to connect Toulouse to the Mediterranean but it was not until the 17th century that this dream became a reality thanks to a certain Pierre-Paul Riquet. His passion for his project to dig a canal linking both seas convinced the king of France, Louis XIV, to allow him to proceed with the venture. Faced with this colossal engineering challenge, Riquet’s solution was to supply the double slope canal from a water divide point (the Seuil de Naurouze) and a huge reservoir (the Bassin de Saint-Ferréol).
In 1681, after 15 years, the gigantic-scale construction was completed and the Canal du Midi was inaugurated, linking the town of Sète to Toulouse. In 1996 the Canal du Midi was included on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites.

For more information about Toulouse, visit:

5 Best Things To Do in Niagara Wine Country

1- Wine Tastings. Plan your route and visit as many as you can.

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Photography by Simon Burn

2- Who can resist an evening under the stars, listening to great music with a fine glass of wine in hand? Jackson-Triggs’ Summer Concert series is a season highlight.
3- If historical interiors intrigue then a visit to Willowbank National Historic Site will thrill. Rather than fully restore the 19th century Greek Revival mansion, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Parks Canada is preserving layers of decay to reveal the past and educate the public and provide hands on training for its School of Restoration Arts.

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4- Ready for some farm to table shopping? Then stop by Kurtz Orchards on your way back to the city. Purchase a box lunch and enjoy an outdoor picnic or sign up for one of the cooking classes they host.

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5- Niagara boasts some lovely, unspoiled bike trails and there are a variety of ways to enjoy them. Book a bike tour with one of the cycling companies in Niagara (Grape Escape) or set your GPS to carve out your own route.


Mitzpe Ramon, Israel


Beresheet Hotel

As I contemplate a description of the Mitzpe Ramon Crater and adjacent Beresheet Hotel, dear reader, I fear you’ll roll your eyes. After all, isn’t it just a tad clichéd to describe a destination or a hotel as breathtaking? Or, out of this world? If I say the setting is an unparalleled phenomenon (I stole this from the website) would you believe me? How about this? We drove for hours through the Israeli desert and found ourselves at the mouth of a mirage!

Neither words nor pictures do it justice. I can only say I know (and can’t wait) to return one day soon.

Qumran Cave​ - Alberto Peral

Shop Israel

Words by Shai DeLuca-Tamasi

Featured Recycled_paper_journals

I am a dying breed. I admit it. My generation of Israelis is global-minded, well travelled and sadly, in the last decade or so, often looking outside our borders for design trends.

Not me.

Though an ex-pat, I am also a proudly patriotic citizen of Israel and I am astounded by the homegrown art and design scene that’s flourishing today. Local artisans are pulling inspiration from 5,700+ years of history, leaving international companies desperate to break into the booming scene.

Israel’s textile industry used to be a vast one with fabrics produced by hand. As the world turned to mass production, manufacturers looked East for less expensive alternatives and, until recently, the industry was nearly abolished.

Thankfully a new generation of fashion and design artisans is embracing craftsmanship and the textile industry is recovering.

Mika Barr is a textile designer who stumbled on a process for manipulating and reshaping fabrics into striking new geometric shapes. Mika’s textiles now cover lampshades, furniture and hand bags.

Shai’s Buy: I couldn’t resist purchasing a new floor lamp (adapted to North American voltage) from Mika’s line of textile enhanced goods.

FAP throw B&W

As a designer, I’m forever looking for functional items that have a new and interesting twist. In my experience, bar/counter stools can be somewhat utilitarian. But not at the hand of Ushki Design Studio.

Shai’s Buy: I love these birch veneered, coloured paper, steel framed works of art…or, seating. I’ll be placing my order tomorrow morning!

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Importing goods to Israel was traditionally very expensive, so it was rare to spot North American staples like Coca-Cola and Pepsi on store shelves. Not to be left out, Israel invented the Soda Stream. Years ago it allowed the locals to fit simple soda gas canisters into standard bottles and infuse the beverage with bubbles. Today, of course, you’ll find every type of soda imagined on local shelves and Soda Stream has rebranded itself to a worldwide audience.

Shai’s Buy: My fave is the new design line in blue. It’s fully automated—one press of a button and voilà, custom carbonation.

Israel - Source Black side drop bottle

Some refer to this traditional relic as the hand of Fatima. In Arabic, Hamsa means five. Everyone agrees the elegant icon is a symbol of good luck and, in some cultures, a protector from the evil eye.

Shai’s Buy: Travellers to Israel will be spoiled for choice as most shops carry at least a few versions of this favourite memento. I picked up two at Irit Goldberg Ceramics.

Israel - Hamsa Irit Goldberg copy


From Issue 15 – May 2014 

Modern History

Designed by Pitsou Kedem, Raz Melamed & Irene Goldberg

Photographed by Amit Geron

Photography by Amit Geron


Set above the harbor, facing the majestic Mediterranean Sea in Old Jaffa, is an ancient structure given new life by the thoughtful architects hired to restore its integrity.

Photography by Amit Geron

A series of glass paneled doors greets the entry and closes to offer privacy (when combined with blackout shades) in the master bedroom. Photography by Amit Geron


Though it’s difficult to determine the structure’s exact age, it is clear that it is hundreds of years old. Over time, changes and additions had damaged the original integrity of the dwelling. The central ideal, therefore, was to restore the original characteristics—the stone walls, the segmented ceilings and the arches—to peel back and expose the original state.

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Photography by Amit Geron


The building’s shell is composed of a combination of pottery and beach sand. The bisque and terracotta colours create natural warmth in the coved dining room.

Photography by Amit Geron

Photography by Amit Geron


The architects created distinct viewpoints in each of the rooms, often providing a glimpse into adjacent spaces. The organic shaped coffee tables and rustic woven rug support a mandate to use natural, raw materials.

Photography by Amit Geron

Photography by Amit Geron


The Mediterranean Sea is reflected in a mirror that brings light into the spare living space. The cable strung staircase rises gracefully to the master bedroom above.

“Surprisingly modern, minimalistic construction styles (especially ancient ones) allow us to create new spaces that blend periods together—even intensify them because of the contrast and tension between the ages”.

Photography by Amit Geron

Photography by Amit Geron


The galley kitchen efficiently carves utilitarian space into the home and provides those in residence with an expansive view of the Mediterranean Sea.

Photography by Amit Geron

Sleeping quarters are stacked above the living room, where they enjoy full ocean views. Photography by Amit Geron


The historical is expressed by preserving the textures and materials of the building’s outer shell and by respecting the engineering accordingly. The modern is expressed by opening spaces and altering the internal flow, and by incorporating natural materials such as stainless steel, iron and wood. Pistou’s project succeeds in both honoring and preserving the historical and romantic values of the structure while creating a contemporary project suited to today’s lifestyle.

From Issue 15 – May 2014