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Showing posts from September, 2014

London to Paris with Rail Europe

I’ve never been a ‘the journey is part of the experience’ sort of person. For me it’s been more about arriving rather than how you get there. Why take a train when you can fly?
Rail Europe has changed that with the ultra convenient and ultra comfortable Eurostar London to Paris train.
Granted, the actual air journey may be quicker  when you fly but add in the time travelling to and from the airport, and the extra time required to transit the terminal, and you’ll see a different picture.
Another bonus is that instead of travelling miles to the outskirts, the train leaves and departs from the heart of each city offering a memorable arrival into a bustling centre. You also see the countryside changing rapidly through the window as you speed through.
The Eurostar from London to Paris departs from St Pancras International in Kings Cross, London and arrives in Paris Gare Du Nord.

In Standard Premier the seats are wide and comfortable and it’s easy to move around if you like.Aeroplane seat design…

A day in Claude Monet’s garden, Giverny, France

Oh what a beautiful world Claude Monet created around his home in the small village of Giverny, just about an hour out of Paris.
The plantings are casual – drifts of nasturtiums, bold beds of geraniums, and blocks of other brightly coloured flowers dance around the garden but the effect is soothing.
It provided inspiration for this famous painter for more than 20 years and it’s not hard to see why.

I visited the garden with a Trafalgar Insider tour and Travel Director Sarah told us that Monet actually thought he was a better cook than painter.From the size of his dining table, meals must have been a popular event and the large kitchen was well equipped to handle a crowd.
The dining table is long and set with a white cloth and 14 yellow chairs that often featured in his paintings. A long row of shiny copper pans hang on the blue tiled kitchen walls but the now the wood stove is cold. You can’t take photographs in the house but I managed to capture a glimpse through the kitchen door.

The ho…

How to do afternoon tea at the palace

Can I crook my pinkie without dropping the cup? Milk first or after the tea? Start with the sandwiches or the cakes?
Forget about the bank balance, these are the important questions in life when one dines at a palace.
Located next to the historic town of Woodstock in Oxfordshire, England, Blenheim Palace oozes wealth, age, and history.There are life-size portraits, antique furniture, and precious china at every turn.Even the ceilings are decorated with glorious art.

Drop a couple of Aussies into this setting, and there’s sure to be a few faux pas, but I didn’t see any grimaces. Instead, everyone was unfailingly polite and welcoming.
We sat down for afternoon tea in the Indian Room under watchful eyes in the vibrant fresco-covered walls.The table view looked over a stunning formal garden filled with large ponds, fountains, and statuary. It’s a slice of the good life.

Afternoon tea started with a flute of Pol Roger champagne and finished with an exquisite cup of tea with all manner of sweet…

Lords of the Manor, Gloucestershire, England

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be ‘born with a silver spoon in your mouth’, Lords of the Manor, in the sleepy little town of Upper Slaughter, will give you the answer.

The walls of this luxury country house whisper relax, enjoy, take the time to smell the roses in the eight acres of manicured gardens.  It’s the life of the manor born, to do as little or as much as you like.

This is the sort of place where they not only take your bags to your room but they also park your car.

A converted rectory, the hotel’s rooms all have names rather than numbers. Ours was Cornelius, reached via one of the small staircases that seem standard in these old houses. Tucked in under the rafters, it’s spacious and filled with cosy wing chairs for relaxing, a dressing table and extremely comfortable queen-sized bed. The pillows are feather, of course. and there’s no lack of luxury in the bathroom.

Dinner and breakfast are served in the elegant dining room where the cuisine deserves its…

Gordon Ramsay's Bread Kitchen opens in Hong Kong

Walk into the new Bread Kitchen and you might be confused - are you in Hong Kong or London?

The bustling brasserie decked out with vintage and modern warehouse style decor has a menu crammed with Gordon Ramsay's signature British European fare. But although Gordon is rumoured to be attending the official opening on September 18, with 25 restaurants in the global group you shouldn't expect to see him here too often.

The kitchen at Bread Kitchen Hong Kong is firmly in the hands of Michelin stared Head Chef Gilles Bosquet, who has welcomed the move from Doha, Qatar where he was overseeing Gordon Ramsay, Doha and Opal by Gordon Ramaay at the St Regis Hotel.

It's positioned on the base of the Lan Kwai Fong Hotel, just a short stroll from Hong Kong's iconic nightlife precinct.  The streets buzz in this area with bars and restaurants a plenty but Bread Kitchen has the ability to stand out with its menu of British favourites, all given the Ramsay touch.

Head Chef Gilles Bosqu…

Chur - burger heaven hits Brisbane's Fortitude Valley

The juice started dripping through my fingers and I was hooked on Chur burger.

Tender pulled pork, crunchy red slaw, creamy mayonnaise with a touch of fennel and Chur's own barbecue sauce. It was good, but even better when I looked at the price of $10 - now that's going to make a few of the other local burger joints think about their prices.

Chur is the brain child of Sydney chef Warren Turnbull. His Sydney Chur burgers have been rated as amongst the city's best cheap eats.

Why has he opened in Brisbane?  Well we can thank Warren's sisters and family who all live here and  have converted this Sydney-sider to the joys of a more relaxed Brisbane life.

Sides include chilli salted chips, sweet potato fries with lime and garlic salt and iceberg lettuce with buttermilk dressing - all $5.

There are only two desserts on the menu. I'd suggest the smashed pavlova with strawberries and cream. Desserts are a little more pricey at $12.  I don't really get why desserts are…