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8 hacks for a last-minute trip to Berlin

I went through a period recently — after travelling a lot for work — when I didn’t want to plot out my personal trips at all. I turned up on a few holidays completely footloose and fancy free, without the slightest idea of how I would fill my days. Onwards, Lady Luck! Hello, serendipity! Let the gods decide! I exclaimed as I wandered with neither schedule nor plan. It sounds good. But when...

15 pictures to make you want to visit Berlin #ad

We had air miles, we had a companion ticket that needed using and we had children who were away with friends for the weekend: It was the perfect opportunity for my husband and me to get away on a child-free weekend. But where to go? The list of places I want to go is long indeed. In this case we were guided by availability and someplace where both of us had never been. Amazingly, Berlin made the list. Having just...

Review: Fujifilm X-A3 for travel & family pics #ad

I few years ago I started keeping an old-fashioned scrapbook of my travels, the kind with paper pages and photo corners. Inside are ticket stubs, bits of menus and loads of pictures, beside which I write descriptions of the day, anecdotes and memories. I’ve become more and more devoted to actual printing and keeping photos. I love to look through my albums, and the moments captured in my scrapbooks are the ones I...

Afternoon tea in London: Harvey Nichols 5th Floor

Harvey Nichols 5th Floor Restaurant 109-125 Knightsbridge, Belgravia, London SW1X 7RJ     The menu for afternoon tea at Harvey Nicks features a woman’s perfectly manicured hand: “Pinkies up” it entreats. Tea here though is less a prim and proper affair and more about being in the midst of the fun and buzzy environment of a temple of fashion and commerce. Sitting amid the unadorned wooden...

Best bars in London: Swans Bar, Maison Assouline

I love, perhaps a little too much, discovering great places to drink. My latest discovery came to light via my friend Mark. After months of trying, we finally got together for a sneaky afternoon drink — girding ourselves for our separate, taxing evenings to come. He suggested Swans Bar, right smack on Piccadilly. I’d never heard of it and was intrigued — I walk down this street several times a...

7 free beauty treatments at the airport

Here’s a twist: Wouldn’t it be great to arrive at the airport and be happy to lose your bags? You can if that means your under-eye bags, along with dull skin, lackluster makeup and scaly hands.     I recently discovered fantastic shortie beauty treatment that you can get at the airport and best of all, they are all complimentary. When you arrive at the airport a little flustered, having packed...

Cool, insider places to shop in Reims

This city of 200,000 – the capital of the Champagne Ardenne region – is a great place to visit. It has beautiful, harmonious but varied 18th century architecture, a cathedral that rivals Paris’s Notre Dame, and easy access to the Champagne houses of the region. On my recent weekend in Reims I also learned there are some great little shops where you find special souvenirs too (particularly the kind you eat and...

Review: Jumping in the trees with Windermere Treetop Nets

Kids can sometime drive us up a tree. I discovered on a recent trip to Cumbria that Treetop Nets at Lake Windermere is a great chance to return the favour. This activity centre features actual nets strung up in the trees with walkways, tunnels and slides to play in. When fellow family traveller Kirstie from Family Adventure Project heard I was making the trek up to the area from London with two girls, Treetop Nets...

7 places to go with kids in 2017

  Nevermind the new-year resolutions. January is the perfect time to make your 2017 wish list of where to go with the family (or as a couple…or with your girlfriends for a weekend away). I’ve been mentally preparing my list for a while, now I’m making it official. Here are my top picks for 2017. Where are you going? 1. Lisbon I’ve been mooning over Lisbon for ages, since I heard about...

Lake District: The Swan Hotel & Lake Windermere

  I drove through sleet and rain, roaring traffic and endless dark roads to make it to the Swan Hotel one weekend with two tween girls in tow. “That’s a long way,” London friends said when I told them about this weekend trip, and it was a good amount of driving. I would make out like I’m some kind of martyr (I can be like that), but oh what a payoff! Gorgeous Lake District vistas, a superbly crisp day on the...

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