Berlin -Part 1

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Berlin is a gentle giant with a dark past. It is remarkably quiet (i.e. in decibels) compared to the likes of London or Paris and vast - very vast. It is edgy yet mature and I was amazed by how polite Berliners were (even if one of them tried to con me!).


Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

We've been hoping to visit Lindisfarne (of Lindisfarne Gospels fame and an important place for Celtic Christianity) for a long while but the weather, tides and our diaries just didn't seem to work in sync. The glorious weather (by Northern standards anyway) over the Easter bank holiday weekend gave us the perfect opportunity to explore the Holy Island. We studied the tide tables which provided us with a good window to explore the island - this is very important unless you don't mind being stranded for hours.


Gozo and Comino

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Gozo means 'joy' in castilian and I can think of many reasons why the island's Spanish invaders thought it was a joyful place. A short sail from the Maltese mainland, Gozo is the second largest island within the archipelago. It is smaller and sleepier - both of which adds to its charm. Comino is a tiny island near Gozo and is surrounded by stunningly turquoise waters and worth visiting en-route to or on the way back from Gozo.


Arashiyama Bamboo Groves

Sunday, 27 March 2016

A short bus/taxi/train ride from Kyoto, the Arashiyama bamboo groves are a world apart. They possess the same zen like character of many Japanese places but just a bit more amplified. The forest has been around for centuries but its origins and purpose (when planted) are not very clear.


Seville Orange Marmalade

Monday, 14 March 2016

It's been a while since I've a) blogged  b) shared a recipe and I'm about to rectify both these matters. Back in the days when we kept an allotment, I fancied growing oranges in our polytunnel and making marmalade with them. That didn't quite work out. When Mr. Tesco's offered Seville oranges earlier in the year, I decided it was time I finally made my favourite conserve.


Martin Miller's Gin Masterclass X The Last Word Saloon

Sunday, 14 February 2016

When an email from the PR folk at Martin Miller's popped into my inbox inviting me to a gin masterclass at my favourite cocktail bar in Edinburgh, I could not refuse. The event was not advertised anywhere and I did not know who was attending but as it was The Last Word Saloon this did not bother me at all. I have spent many a Saturday night sampling their fabulous cocktails (sat at my favourite cushioned window seat) and I was delighted to be going back - even if it was only a Tuesday!


The Scran & Scallie

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


I must be some kind of foodie Jedi and I'll tell you why. I *really* wanted to win our christmas raffle prize which was a three course meal with wine at The Scran & Scallie - the fabulous gastropub in my hood. I said as much a few times but it was a raffle and there were over a hundred bods at our christmas do so my chances weren't particularly high. But I won it! And I rarely win anything (without working very hard for it) so I reckon I must have willed it through sheer mind-force. The raffle was in aid of SANDS Lothian - a charity close to my heart and so I thought it was only right that I thank the pub and the 'force' with a review.


Exploring Melbourne

Friday, 8 January 2016

If I were to draw parallels between British cities and the Australian ones, Sydney felt like a cross between Birmingham and London whilst Melbourne felt a lot more like a bigger (i.e. denser) and more modern version of Edinburgh with its relatively more cultural going-ons, its food markets, the weather (wet and cold) and its refinement. Fair to say, I really liked Melbourne.


Cool Things to do in Edinburgh

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Despite being so much further north compared to many of our friends, family and previous lives, we've continued to see a lot of them. That has less to do with our wonderfulness and more to do with Edinburgh. Many of the folk that visit assume that Edinburgh is all about the castle, wandering Old Town and Princess Street. I've been on a mission to show our visitors more of the city as there is so much more to it than the aforementioned places. This is my attempt to highlight what I consider 'cool' in Edinburgh. I have excluded most of the Old Town, the Castle, the Zoo as most of you will do these anyway and they can be easily explored in a day. I have also excluded places that are outside Edinburgh City limits (Roslyn, South Queensferry etc.) as I will write about these separately.


Aizle, Edinburgh

Friday, 1 January 2016

Edinburgh is home to some the finest restaurants in the UK. I am constantly amazed by the quality of the food served here and the calibre of the chefs. This also means that after a point, you are not easily impressed. Aizle was highly recommended by a number of my foodie friends and so I'd already set the bar very high. 


The Great Barrier Reef

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

I believe that self-growth is all about pushing out of your comfort zone, experiencing new things and  exploring new places. It was this belief that made me sky-dive many years ago despite no real interest in jumping out of a plane. I can't say I particularly enjoyed it but at least I know what it feels like to be hurtling down to earth from over 10,000 feet. It was the same with paragliding although that was much more pleasant (as it was Switzerland rather than A1/fenland with my skydive). My feelings about scuba diving were not dissimilar to that of skydiving but I really wanted to do it and could not think of a better place to do so than the Great Barrier Reef.


Exploring Sydney

I must start this post with a apology of sorts - this is written from the perspective of someone who had an incredible 10 days in Tokyo and Japan before landing in Sydney. We were prepared to be underwhelmed - few places in world are as 'out of the ordinary' as Japan. But, that does not mean they are not just as special in their own unique way. So forgive me if I do not ooze with the kind of enthusiasm  I've displayed in the past whilst writing about Japan, The Outer Hebrides and East Africa. Sydney is a very cool place too - big and gutsy -  it is just that bit more familiar than the others mentioned despite being so far away.


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