It’s not every day that you get to dine inside Gringott’s Bank – but that’s exactly what happened when I was invited into the Australian High Commission in London (one of the Harry Potter film sets) for an evening of gourmet food and wine inspired by the Aussie state of New South Wales.
A holiday to South Africa is usually all about safari. It’s an experience that most people want to have at least once in their life, and for good reason. There’s something both thrilling and calming about waking up early for dawn drives followed by a heavy dose of relaxation until sunset, when you venture out once more in the hope that you’ll spot the Big Five. Lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and leopards all feature on this list, and a safari without seeing at least a few of these magnificent creatures is a disappointing safari indeed.
Table Mountain is the icon of Cape Town. It looms above the South African city as if to protect it, and from everywhere in and around the city you’ll find it peeking out from behind a building here or majestically rising above the skyline there; ever present, ever spectacular. From the top of the mountain the views across the city and over the ocean to Robben Island and beyond are breathtaking. Hundreds of thousands of visitors take the cable car to the top each year, and although it’s definitely an experience to add to your bucket list, the most rewarding way to get to the top of Table Mountain is to climb.
When I was in Cape Town recently I finally mustered the courage, after taking the cable car on countless occasions, to embark on the daunting climb up Platteklip Gorge…and then went on to hike up neighbouring Lion’s Head a couple of days later. I filmed both climbs, which you can see here – and below I’ve written in more detail how you can climb Table Mountain and Lion’s Head on your visit to Cape Town.
Hello November! The cold weather hasn’t quite hit us here in London yet (which, trust me, I am not complaining about) but the wintery festivities are almost upon us – the Oxford Street lights get switched on this week, which signals the unofficial start of the Christmas season and this week also marks Guy Fawkes Night, sometimes called Bonfire Night. It’s a chance to drink mulled wine, watch fireworks and hang out with friends.
What to wear on Bonfire Night
Even though it’s warm for this time of year, the nights are still chilly so it’s best to be a little snug. Gloves, a hat and a woolly jumper are just what you’ll need…for Bonfire Night and pretty much the rest of the season!
Venice. It’s a city for lovers. The perfect place to stroll around with far too much time on your hands. So what do you do when you only have a day and you’re exploring the city solo? The answer is: discover the hidden gems of Venice!
I filmed a video while I was there which you can watch below, and then read on to learn more about each of these discoveries (as well as a couple of extras)!
It’s started. Winter, that is. The clocks have now gone back and darkness is descending earlier than I consider to be fair. Today, as I watched the sun set at about 4:30pm, I witnessed thousands and thousands of birds flying south for the winter. I envied them.
Although sunshine is not in my immediate future, the dropping temperatures and lengthened nights do mean one thing: socially acceptable hibernation. If, like me, you love settling under a blanket in front of a good movie, these films are just what you need to get through winter (and get a taste of some of the best destinations around the world at the same time)…
My favourite wanderlust-inducing films:
I’ve now been to Istanbul three times, but never for more than 48 hours at a time. It’s not enough. The first time I visited I had just 6 hours and, although I saw a whole load of amazing things then, I was left wanting more of this enchanting, exotic and frenetic city. The following two visits allowed me to experience some of the things I’d missed the first time, which also happen to be the main attractions of Istanbul. Follow my Istanbul day trip itinerary for a guide to seeing the main attractions of the city in one day – and check out my video at the end! I’m delving into the world of vlogging and I’d love for you to subscribe to my YouTube channel.
I knew I liked Cape Town before my recent visit – I’ve been a number of times before and it’s the kind of city that’s impossible not to like. But I didn’t expect to fall deeply, madly in love with the place. In just 6 days (4 really, as two were knocked off my time due to a nasty stomach bug) I was smitten, and am trying to plot how I can get back there ASAP. I’ll be posting more about my time in South Africa soon, but here’s a taste of what Cape Town has to offer:
What to wear for a day in Cape Town:
Cape Town can be beautifully sunny one moment, and incredibly windy the next, so it’s important to layer up (especially if you’re heading up Table Mountain). Its also a trendy city with pockets of hipster cool – so it’s not a destination for khaki shorts and t-shirts. This cute little outfit is comfortable, trendy and works for hot or cooler weather. Don’t forget your lipstick!
As I’ve mentioned before, destinations are one of my favourite parts of a cruise. Having just a day (or a few hours) in a new place means you need to make the most of your time to see and do what you can without exhausting yourself. Instead of trying to tick off loads of sights, I try to stick to one or two attractions and I spend the rest of my time walking, absorbing the atmosphere and, of course, sampling local food. If you’re not sure how to maximise your time on shore, here are a few resources to help you explore a new destination with confidence!
What to pack for a cruise shore day:
Aside from the obvious items you’d take (camera, money and your SeaPass), here are a few things to pack in your day bag: water is a must, as sometimes it’s hard to find while you’re walking around and you’ll dehydrate quickly in a hot destination. It’s always a good idea to pack swimming gear too, because you never know when the opportunity to jump into a beautiful pool or ocean will present itself. Pack a pair of comfy, flat shoes (these FlopZ come in their own bag so you won’t get your other stuff dirty) for beach walks or in case you end up with blisters. And finally, stay sun smart, stylish travellers! Sunglasses, hat and sunscreen should always be in your bag.
If you’ve never been on a cruise before this whole way of travelling may seem like a bit of a mystery to you. Cruises certainly seemed mysterious to me before I tried one for myself. Beforehand, I wasn’t quite convinced that a cruise was for me but now, having been lucky enough travel on three, I’m hooked. If you have cruised before I’m sure you’ll agree with all of the below but in case you’re still unsure, here are 10 reasons to love travelling on a cruise: Continue reading