If you’ve been following me on my social media channels over the last week, you’ll know that I’ve got a secret to share: an island so rich in history, so naturally lush and beautiful, so authentically old Floridian that everyone should visit. Situated just off the coast of the north eastern edge of Florida near the border with Georgia, what this quirky little barrier island lacks in size, it makes up for in character; with a chequered history and a beauty that will steal your heart. Say hello to Amelia Island.
And so, after my big 2016 roundup, let’s move swiftly on to 2017, shall we? What does this year have in store? Lots of happy times and adventures I hope. As you know, I’m a huge Disney fan: I adore everything from the theme parks to the beautiful cruise ships. It’s such an exciting year for Disney magic, with so many new Disney travel adventures to choose from. I thought you might like a sneaky peek at a few of the things I’m really looking forward to in 2017. So if you’re planning adventures for next year now, I hope this helps give you a few ideas too:
What. A. Year. I’ve got plenty more to say about the joy and sadness that was 2016 in my first piece of 2017 (for us, as well as everyone else, it seems, it was a year of huge highs and massive lows), and my plans for 2017. But for now, I want to stay with the joy and take a look back at the highlights of a year of travel and adventure. Here’s my 2016 roundup.
From Boston, we drove south, through some utterly beautiful countryside, to get to our next destination, Plymouth. Plymouth, Massachusetts is a hugely famous and historically important town, well known for being America’s Hometown – the place where the Pilgrim passengers of the Mayflower first settled. It’s a gorgeous place, full of pretty, colourful houses, wide, tree-lined residential roads and beautiful beaches. Our destination, The Mirbeau Inn & Spa, took us by surprise, though, as we drove up the windy road, and came face to face with a pretty French style Chateau. The glowing, ochre manor house, inspired by the soft colours of the paintings of Claude Monet, even has elegant gardens and water features inspired by Monet’s own garden in Giverny. It’s a breathtaking sight, and the experience only gets better as you’re greeted by a polite doorman, who won’t let you carry a thing.
So I told you recently about visiting Boston with Norwegian. Oh, we completely fell in love with Boston. My friend Erica visited a while back and I was surprised when she said she liked it more than New York. Having visited, I can totally see why. It has a small town vibe and everything is really accessible by foot. We walked and walked for hours, shopping, sightseeing and photographing, and really could have done with staying a few more days.
Recently we were lucky enough to spend a heavenly weekend at The Grove, the beautiful luxury hotel just 18 miles from central London and a stone’s throw away from the Warner Bros Studio Tour London – the making of Harry Potter. It’s really not far for us, just a quick 20 minute drive, and I often visit to walk around the lovely gardens with my friend David, the Head Gardener. The estate gardens are utterly beautiful at this time of year, and we were lucky enough to arrive just as the most incredible sunset was lighting up the sky with a display of pinks and oranges.
I joined the beautiful Royal Princess in Rome recently to try cruising a different way. With most cruise passengers choosing the cruise line’s own shore excursions, we struck out to find some personalised, hands on shore adventures with a difference! But first, though, a little about the ship… Read more
Last time I visited Disney Springs was back in February 2016 when Amy and I were experiencing a fabulous Disney stay and cruise holiday, combining a few days of fun at the parks before heading off on a relaxing cruise on board the Disney Dream. Disney Springs was very much a work in progress, with lots of building work going on and most of the new shops, bars and restaurants still hidden behind hoardings. During our latest visit, we were delighted to find that most of this brand new shopping, dining and entertainment venue is now open and the whole area is looking absolutely gorgeous. Here’s all you need to know about Disney Springs.
…and some old favourites. So last time, I told you a little about Walt Disney World Resort, Florida’s fabulous free dining offer. This time, I thought I’d bring you an update on some fabulous new experiences at Walt Disney World, including stunning new dining options and new attractions. I’ve also added in a few things that aren’t new, but that I experienced for the first time too. So sit back, grab a cuppa, and I’ll begin… Read more
Last week I was lucky enough to spend a few days at my favourite place in the world, Walt Disney World, with my friend Erica, who writes the splendiferous Edinburgh food blog, Foodinburgh. Virgin Holidays whizzed us over in style, challenging us to ‘seize the holiday’ and we certainly did that! I’ll have loads and loads of new content coming up, including a look at gorgeous new Disney Springs and masses of new dining features, but I wanted to give you the heads up about a great, limited time offer: FREE dining at Walt Disney World Florida, that’s going to save you a fortune if you’re planning a Walt Disney World adventure next year.
This weekend, I travelled up to Leeds to meet up with two of my original Disney friends, Laura and Erica, for #eatLeeds2016 (we love a hashtag) – a weekend discovering the best food and drink the city has to offer. After a bit of a false start – I got on the wrong train – I was ambushed at Leeds station with bear hugs and squeezes, and we caught up over lunch at one of Laura’s favourite tapas restaurants, La Rambla (more of this later).
Last month, Sam and I were lucky enough to take a trip on Carnival Vista, Carnival’s brand new cruise ship, taking only its second sailing. We boarded on a beautiful sunny day in Barcelona and travelled down the coast to Marseilles, then Livorno, Civitavecchia and Naples, with a fun day at sea before disembarking in Heraklion, Greece. So come with me for a tour around bella Vista – I’ve got everything you need to know!
In the last part of our P & O Britannia foodie cruise diary (see part one and part two here), it’s all about the gorgeous Eric Lanlard. Erica and I specifically chose the cruise because Eric was due to be on board. All the Food Heroes spend some time on the ship on various cruises, and it’s a chance for guests to book different masterclasses and hosted dinners with them.
So, catching up with part one of our foodie cruise on board P & O Britannia, then, having eaten ourselves silly, discovered La Rochelle and L’Il de Ré, done a bit more eating, a bit of dancing and had a busy day in Bilbao, we decided to have a chilled out evening in The Glass House, the brainchild of Food Hero and frankly adorable wine expert, Olly Smith.
It doesn’t seem possible that it was over a year ago now that I watched Her Majesty the Queen, looking glorious in peach (or was it apricot?) smashing a bottle over the bow of P & O’s glorious new Britannia. Well, I’m pleased to report that she’s still as beautiful, as I found out when my friend Erica (editor of Edinburgh food website, Foodinburgh) and I took a little foodie cruise around the med last week, from Southampton to La Rochelle, Bilbao, La Coruña, St Peter Port in Guernsey and back to Southampton.
If you follow me on social media, you’ll be well aware that Charlie and I spent a wonderful week last week at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. We were out there for the Awaken Summer press event and I have SO MUCH news to share about all the new and incredible things that are now open or coming up at Walt Disney World, including a sneaky peek at the gorgeous new evening shows and activities at Animal Kingdom, the new Frozen Ever After attraction coming to Epcot, lovely Disney Springs, and lots of fab new Star Wars stuff too. First things first, though, I thought I’d tell you about the delicious BoardWalk area.
- Vanilla breakfast muffins January 19, 2017
- Landmarks and lessons: my top ten blog photography tips January 16, 2017
- Amelia Island: the coolest place you’ve never heard of January 13, 2017
- The hush sale is here! January 7, 2017
- Revive and relax: a new night time beauty outlook for 2017 January 5, 2017