It’s Time to Spend Spend Spend

It’s that time of year when people start spending money like it’s going out of fashion. What with Black Friday tomorrow and 31 days to Christmas, anything and everything you can think of has being reduced and it is almost impossible not to spend, spend spend. If I am honest, I actually hate all the…

Let’s go where we’re happy and I’ll meet you at the cemetery gates

Sombre, scary and creepy are the feelings usually associated with visiting graveyards  but for me walking around a cemetery is a truly uplifting experience. Eerie sometimes, yes, but there is always an overwhelming feeling of peacefulness, contemplation and curiosity. From as far back I can remember, I have enjoyed wandering through graveyards… now I guess…

Anchor Chains, Plane Motors and Train Whistles

Do you know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles. These are not my words, but those of one of my favourite film characters of all time, George Bailey (James Stewart) from the classic 1946 movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life‘.  When I embark on pretty…

The World Was Suddenly Rich with Possibility

Some books you read at exactly the right age and time in your life. For me “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac was one of those books. As I read it I remember thinking that travel would be THE escape route from my humdrum home countries Hertfordshire existence and I remember scribbling down so many inspirational quotes…

A Botanical Paradise

After nearly three years of living in Tanzania, I am still amazed at the botanical paradise which surrounds me everyday, all year round. From the hibiscus flowers and bird of paradise plants in private gardens, public municipal areas and hotels, to hedgerows at bus-stops heavy with bougainvillea and frangipani petals lying on the floor, the…

Feed your Head – An Alice Inspired Afternoon Tea

If you ever feel like disappearing down a rabbit hole on a busy Saturday afternoon in central London, then I know the place to escape to – where waiting for you, you’ll find afternoon tea, a glass of champagne and a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. The Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea, held at the…

“How do you avoid the tourists in Stone Town?” said the tourist.

In the blistering heat of the sub-Saharan sun lies a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with tall once whitewashed, now crumbling buildings. A walk through Stone Town’s higgledy piggledy streets, most of which are too narrow for cars, is like stepping back in time, providing you can ignore the high-tech gadget carrying tourists. The town,…

Regressing to my teenage gothic self at Whitby Abbey

One hundred and ninety nine steps up from a harbour town stands the imposing Gothic remains of a 13th Century abbey. On a clear day you can see for miles around, out to the North Sea on one side and across the Yorkshire moors on the other. And on days when the weather is rainy…

Matemwe Beach – Far Away in Time

At 31 degrees centigrade and with a hotch potch of people who frequent it, Matemwe Beach is a melting-pot in every sense of the word. Between sunrise and sunset the beach, situated on the northeast coastline of Zanzibar, becomes a hive of activity with scores of Zanzibari women wearing bright coloured kangas wading into shallow…

The dead cities of Syria

Scattered across the northwest of Syria, between Aleppo and Hama, are more than 700 abandoned settlements known as the Dead Cities. I visited these curious Roman and Byzantium ruins fourteen years ago, while I was living and working in Damascus. Little did I know at the time that Aleppo, the stylish and classical city where I was…

Hope over the Horizon – Sunrise on the edge of the Ngorogoro Crater

While camping on the edge of the Ngorogoro Crater in Tanzania I decided to wake up early to watch the sunrise. What I witnessed was nothing short of breathtaking. Snuggled up inside my hoodie and scarf, I sat alone, mesmerized by the changing horizon before me and watched as the African sky changed from an…