Thursday, 20 August 2015

What to do in the Seychelles when you've tired of your lover

When I went to the Seychelles, I expected to be surrounded by couples gazing adoringly into each other's eyes. I predicted that the only other people there would be part of a pair, and that I would spend the majority of my time rolling my eyes at their displays of affection.

In reality, I saw a lot of couples who had been in the company of only each other for a fortnight. And boy, could you tell.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Bologna in Pictures

Oh, Bologna. A town so pretty you just want to eat it all up. So you do - tagliatelle with rich Bolognese ragĂș, thin slices of pizza scattered with torn mozzarella, salty bread dipped into olive oil... and a chilled glass of sparkling wine. That'll do quite nicely.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Avoiding snakes in the St Vincent rainforest (with video)

I don't know why I bother asking. Whenever I'm in a tropical country (or any non-Irish country, really) and about to venture outside a city, I ask someone about the snake situation. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

A Night Hike up Benbulben (in the rain)

A few weeks ago, I was driving into Sligo with a friend. The sun was inexplicably shining, and Benbulben, our very own table mountain, was standing over Sligo town, glowing in the dwindling light of day. We both admired it. 

"You can easily forget it's there, can't you?"

It's true. It dips in and out of view, depending on where you are and how clear the day is, but this imposing monster of a mountain is an incredibly cool landmark to call our own. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Video Room Review for The Delano hotel, Las Vegas

If you're a fan of tiny boutique hotels, you're going to be out of luck in Vegas. This is the land of mega-hotels - towering beasts filled with thousands of rooms, sprawling casinos and gigantic pools. Most of the world's biggest hotels are located in the city, with The Venetian and The Palazzo taking top place with 7,117 rooms and suites. In fact, out of the top 15 largest hotels on the planet, 10 are in Vegas.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Iced Ginger Green Tea

Golly, it's hot, isn't it? What a heatwave we're having! The sun is splitting the sky, we're all walking around looking lovely in our sundresses and...

I can't, I can't. It's FREEZING here. It's boiling in Dublin, sweltering in London and I'm sitting here jealous as sin. In a cardigan.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Street art in Downtown Las Vegas

Sometimes it's a little difficult to avoid cliches in travel writing. I don't mean the obvious ones, like "hidden gem" (which is just the worst) or "breathtaking views". I mean the other ones, like "There's so much more to Las Vegas than gambling and showgirls"

But guys - there's so much more to Las Vegas than gambling and showgirls. 

Pure Results: What to expect at bootcamp

I'm a tricky person to motivate. Scream in my face, and I'll likely giggle (or scream back, depending on my mood). Encourage me gently and nicely, and there's a high chance I'll take advantage of your lack of authority and overthrow whatever organisation you belong to. Leave me to my own devices, and I'll get distracted by a weirdly shaped cloud or do a google image search on Jeff Goldblum. 

So, when it comes to exercise, and bootcamps, I may be a difficult customer. There are a few things that will get me going, though - jealousy and a fear of embarrassment. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Hotel Room Video Review: The Scarlet, Cornwall

I really hate the phrase ‘Bucket List’. Almost as much as I hated the film, The Bucket List. And I actually switched that mess off after about half an hour, something I rarely do that with a movie. Trust me – I’ve stuck with some really terrible films right through to the end (Jurassic Park III, I’m looking at you)

But much as I hate the phrase, I have to borrow it briefly to talk about the hotels that I have on a long-standing wish list. I may have read a review of it somewhere, heard someone gushing about a place, or just happened upon a picture somewhere online. I’ll catch a glimpse and then pop it onto the list, in the hopes that one day I’ll get there.

The Scarlet is one that has been on the list for a while.

An adults-only, cliff top resort with wood fired hot tubs overlooking a Cornish bay, a swish spa and top restaurant. Surely the stuff that hotel dreams are made of.

I visited back in March, and it honestly exceeded all of my expectations. It really is steps away from the beach – a small, winding path leads you from the resort to either the cliffs or the sands. I’ll write more about it soon, but in the meantime, here’s a video review I shot of my room.

You can see more about The Scarlet here -

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Tomatini - the summer cocktail you need in your repertoire

There's something pretty badass about a signature drink, isn't there? And I don't mean something run of the mill, like a glass of Pinot Grigio (I do not seem like a badass when I order this. I seem like a Real Housewife)

No, I mean something like an Old Fashioned, or a shot of bourbon on the rocks. Or even better, this jazzy new cocktail, the Tomatini, which has become my new favourite drink.

I was recently in Amsterdam on a vodka-tasting trip with Ketel One. One evening, we had dinner with one of the Nolet Distillery's head honchos, Bob Nolet (11th generation of the family business) When I asked Bob about his favourite way to drink Ketel One, he told me of the Tomatini, which was created by Jimmy Barrett de Cecco in Dubai.

Bob's trick is to leave his drink in the hands of a capable barman (or mixologist, if you're that way inclined). Instead of asking for a specific drink, ask them how they would best prepare a certain spirit, or simply for their speciality. 

Or just order this, because once you've tasted it, you won't want anything else. And just by ordering it, you'll be almost as cool as Bob himself. 

It has similar notes to a Bloody Mary, but without the thick spiciness. The finished cocktail is a translucent pale pink, speckled with pepper, with a taste that is pure summer. It's like a fresh consommĂ©, or caprese salad (without the mozzarella) with a hefty kick of vodka. If you don't like your cocktails super strong, then top it off with some sparkling water.  

The real zinger in this is the white balsamic vinegar. I'd never even heard of this before the tomatini came into my life, but it's a zesty, punchy little number. At a push, you could use regular balsamic... but it muddies up the colour and is just a little too rich. The white version is lighter and gives the cocktail plenty of pep, without overpowering the delicate balance of flavours. If you didn't know it was in there, you'd just be wondering what that vaguely familiar tang was.

The Ketel One Tomatini


1 fresh tomato (or 2-3 cherry tomatoes)
50 ml Ketel One Vodka
15 ml White balsamic vinegar (this is easy to pick up in any deli/fancy food shop)
15 ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 ml Sugar syrup (you can skip this if you don't need the sweetness - I personally don't use it)
1 pinch Salt
1 pinch Black pepper

Cut the tomato into 8-10 chunks and muddle in a cocktail shaker. 

Add the remaining ingredients with lots of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with black pepper.


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