Saturday, 31 March 2012

 Day 3 - Perth, Western Australia

Not a tough day thankfully ...

We filmed around Perth - taking in the beach, the city and surroundings.

Loads of people spent the day (lovely weather by the way) running, cycling, swimming, sailing ... sports, sports and more sports. I ate Maltesers and slept a lot ...

Lots of filming coming up tomorrow.
 The Indian Ocean ...
 Boys at work
Cottesloe Beach ... one of 19 in the city limits ... fine, white sand ... I kept my clothes on ... 

Yes ... I agree!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Day 2 - Perth, Western Australia

Today I met a quokka! A quokka? Read on ...

Up early and we headed to the river to catch the Rottnest Express - a ferry that took us to the nearby Rottnest Island -on a journey that lasted around 90 minutes ... via the Swan River, Freemantle and Indian Ocean.

The island is a favourite escape for the people of Perth and is a huge tourist attraction. It once housed the Governor's summer house but now - run by local government - is a sanctuary for flora & fauna ... but allows visitors stay on the island as a holiday escape. The island is just 11 x 4 kms in dimension and boasts 63 lovely white, fine sandy beaches!
No cars are allowed ... so most people cycle or take a cute little mini-train around the island.

The first Europeans to discover the island were Dutch and they saw this small tailed cuddly brown rodent-looking creature bouncing around and decided it was a large rat ... and the name "Rottnest" was given to the island! A quokka is a marsupial ... and is NOT rat-like ... they are cute ... and very, very sweet!

Anyway - we met up with our delightful guide Adene Tinetti - who took us on an Eco-tour of the island's coast where we did see some lovely New Zealand Fur Seals and Osprey Eagle nests ... we had to cut short the tour as the Ocean was rather choppy ... not great for filming! Jack was feeling rather ill ... poor chap ...

Lunch at the Hotel Rottnest was fabulous! Amazing fresh seafood ... amazing! This is where I met the quokka by the way!

After lunch - with tummies bulging - Tim & I headed off into the skies above in a Cessna to film the island and Perth ...

We are back at The Richardson hotel now ... and off to explore the city! Yay!

Quokka! I want one ... !
A quokka
New Zealand Fur Seal
My fashionable splash suit ...
With lovely Adene
A fabulous place to visit 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Day 1 - Perth, Western Australia

Greetings from the "penthouse" of The Richardson Hotel ...

We arrived in Perth at 0200 ... and I finally got into bed at 0430. Immigration was of US-nightmare-queue-for-hours-proportions ... whereas Customs was strangely fun & efficient!

This morning was like a drunken haze ... lurching from exhaustion to perkiness ... from bed to high-carb food.

At lunchtime we were picked up by the lovely folks from the Tourist Board who drove us the ten minutes to the Royal Perth Yacht Club ... located next to the Swan River. Here I met with Skip Lissiman and the fabulous John Longley - who was part of the America's Cup racing team in 1983. He is (possibly) the only Britain to have "won" the America's Cup ... due to his passport being British.

Anyway - we all spent a fabulous afternoon on the Swan tacking ... and such like ... Perth is ideal for sailing ... the weather is mostly perfect and the wind is legendary ... it's a must for any sailor. We didn't get to the Ocean ... that's for tomorrow!

I got a bit hot in the sun ... there's very little ozone down here protecting us from the suns rays and when it shone ... it burnt! Thank goodness for sunblock!

After sailing ... with more added sailing ... and a bit more sailing AND watching the sun set, we headed back to the Yacht Club for a bar-b-cue ... where I cooked/burnt my own food ... I loved it ... but the boys were less impressed with my chargrilled efforts.

I got bitten by a mozzie. Ugh ...

A lovely Day 1 ... 

Captain Sharma of the Sail Boat Foundation 36
A rest at the bow
Tim loves his boats ...
With Tom (tourism) and Skip ... 
John teaches me how to tack ... 
The Crew
Burn ... baby ... Burn

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Greetings from Singapore ... stop-over ...

The flight from London was long! We now have two hours to kill.

We are all a wee tired ... but not tired enough to skip a spot of shopping!

Anyone for Duty Free?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

We are off to Australia ... Western Australia to be precise ...

First stop - Perth - The Richardson hotel ... then Cape Lodge on the Margaret River ... which I am particularly excited about!

My itinerary includes swimming with dolphins and being pecked by penguins! Great!

Back here in ... um ... a few hours!

Monday, 26 March 2012

On the last train home ... Had a strangely lovely day in London ... meetings and more meetings ... with a smattering of cigars and fine friends too ...

The weather was fabulous.

Australia-bound tomorrow!
With Eddie at Davidoff! Cigar time ...

The Shard ... nearly ready!
The BT Tower

Sunday, 25 March 2012

I am sitting at my desk as the last of the Sunday sun streams through the window.

I wish every day could be like today ... although missing dear friends, family & the ones I love ... I have had such a perfect day.

Back to work tomorrow ... meetings ... then Perth, Western Australia beckons.
I had great success lighting my cigar ... I managed to break the machine!
Moo - December 2005 at The Four Seasons, London
Moo - March 2012 at Home - still looking gorgeous ...

Saturday, 24 March 2012

I feel like I have been on holiday today! It's been stunning and I have been sunning!

Glasses of chilled moscato ... a couple of cigars that I picked up last week in Abu Dhabi ... ahhhhh!

More of the same tomorrow ...

Friday, 23 March 2012

Another glorious day!

I would have loved to be walking the streets of London today - munching on ice-cream & pizza, smoking good cigars and enjoying wee drams of whisky at all my favourite bars!

Instead I have been stuck in my office writing articles ... and preparing for Australia - next week.

Some people think my job is glamorous ... how wrong they are!

Two weeks ago ... (!)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Home again ... and it's been a beautiful day! In fact, the weather here in the UK is strangely better than it was in Abu Dhabi. The sun has been shining, the sky has been blue ... and although not as warm ... it's just been a terrific Spring day! Glorious in fact ...

The flight home was painless - I slept for 6 out of the 6.5 hours on the plane! Not bad ...

 have tied myself to my desk today - so much to do ... so little time ...

Home only for a couple of days as Western Australia beckons early next week. Perth and the Margaret River ... the first episode of Inside Luxury Travel for 2012! Exciting!

I am very much looking forward to another year with Tim ... and the "new James" ... Jack!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I am in and have been in ... Abu Dhabi ... the capital of the United Arab Emirates!

Although today, I did venture to the nearby Dubai. It has been much warmer today but just as dusty which made my visit to the Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest building) somewhat disappointing.

I did poke my head into the Raffles in Dubai ... it looks like an Egyptian pyramid ... very cool indeed.

Off home tonight after a successful trip to the UAE.

A few people did guess where I have been ... and some have got it so wrong!!
At the foot of the Burj Khalifa
The tallest building in the world!
Inside the "pleasuredome" ... well, pleasurepyramid ....  
So - this is when you know you are leaving Dubai and re-entering Abu Dhabi. New road lights, trees and a certain sense of increased affluence!
Emirates Palace ... and behind the new Jumeirah Hotel ... Abu Dhabi!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Usually when I am "here", I switch on the weather forecast and the weather caster says "it's hot, baby, hot!" ... well, they don't but you get my drift.

Once again today it was "hot, baby, hot ..." but this time it was followed by " ... you won't see the sun because there are sandstorms in the area making the air rather ... dusty..." Shame! Shame!

Tomorrow is my last day "here" ... I have had a couple of correct answers to where I am ... on Friday I will chose a name who will win something rather nice! 

Great saying I read today ... "the only way to rid yourself to temptation ... is to yield to it ... "

Clue 3 is VERY confusing!
Clue 4 is almost a giveaway!

Monday, 19 March 2012

I saw the sun for mere moments today ... so disappointing!

I did get to ride on a camel though ... undoubtedly, the cleanest, well-looked-after camel I have seen anywhere in the world.
Clue 2

Sunday, 18 March 2012

MOTHERING SUNDAY in the United Kingdom.

Unexpectedly chilly.

Yesterday - HERE - it was 40 odd degrees and HOT ... today, it has barely crept above 18! I didn't bring a sweater so I could be in trouble.

An easy flight here ... I slept. I was contacted three times by the airline in the last 36 hours trying to up sell me from Business to First ... once would have done ... I didn't go for it by the way.

Have just been informed that the current series of "House" is the last ... first Frasier ... now House ... what next ... no Bart?

All good here.
Clue 1: Sand ... and plenty of it!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

So - senility has started to set in. I thought my flight today was 0830 am .... erm .... it's 830 pm! Thankfully the nice people from the limo service called to confirm my car and then I found out ...

Oh dear ...

The weather is terrible here today ... depressing ... - cold, cloudy & rainy - I believe at my destination it is hot, cloudless and dry!


Erm - who am I? where am I? 

Oh no ...

Still dreaming of golf ...

Friday, 16 March 2012

Well, tonight is a bittersweet one. It's the final night of new episodes of Inside Luxury Travel on Travel Channel (UK only) ... until later in the year ... in fact, tonight it's Culinary Travels ... which I hosted from Denis Island in the Seychelles ... there's a few cooking segments ... from Istanbul and Mumbai ... cocktails, wine and a dessert I believe.

Tomorrow I am off on an overseas trip ... so it's packing and preparing today ...

I am there for business so I won't be filming or sending postcards ... and actually I am not telling you where I am except for one clue a day! The first person to email me ( with my destination will get a prize sent to them in the post ...

Where I would like to be - Skibo Castle - on the 1st tee ... 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

"Beware the Ides of March" ... March 15th, 44 BC - Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times ...

"Beware the prawn cocktail at ye local pub" ... March 15th, 2012 AD - Varun Sharma with stabbing pains (23 times ... & counting ... )

(not sure why this is the photo of the day - I am quite delirious)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

I am getting old - it's official.

Last year, I was coping with jet-lag quite well ... this year I am not!

OK - so I am only back from Thailand for two days (7 hours time difference) ... and it takes 1 day recovery for every hour change ... so technically I should be alright by next Monday BUT by then I will already be in ... and then the week after I will be in Australia and I will be a few more hours ahead ... yes ... I am confusing myself ... and my body now! Oh Lord!

Still young at heart!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


... and as it happens, I have yet ANOTHER photo of me on Yuki taken just last week! Ha! Any excuse really ...

Home just long enough to do my wash my smalls AND prepare for my next adventure ... which starts on Friday.

Later in the month we head off to Australia where we start filming the new series of Inside Luxury Travel ... can't wait ... 

Yuki ...

Monday, 12 March 2012


We left Koh Samui yesterday evening at 4.45 pm and arrived (via Bangkok) in London at 5.15 am ... I am sure there was a 7-hour time change involved ... so many hours in planes and in lounges. Thank goodness for airline lounges!

Yes - the Thai adventure is finally and quite sadly over.

Our last night was spent in Chaweng where I watched a rather - erm - interesting - erm - show in which "Tina Turner", "Celine Dion" (!) and "Britney Spears" all performed ... it was the famous Starz lady-boy show. OK - it was truly, truly awful but none-the-less, one of the 1001 "must see experiences before you die". It was funny ... actually hilarious ... bizarre ... but strangely entertaining in a Muppet Show meets Club Tropicana (Havana) ... 
"Tina Turner" was ... brilliant!

Our last day was spent filming another food piece with Alex - the Executive Chef at the Resort - and some general filming before the inevitable ... the sad farewells ... to dear Nicola - who spent TWELVE whole days with us ... and did not have any kind of breakdown ... and to Thailand ... 

Bangkok - the bustling city. My favourite memory - the tuktuk tour of the city.
Chiang Mai - the moated city. Loved the water buffalo (Tong & Tone) & Sumittra the Therapist at the Resort and the foot massage spa run by ex-convicts in town.
Koh Samui - beach paradise. Will always remember the Talay Suite, Alex's "Spanish bread and jamon", the beach ... the stars & Moon
Chiang Rai - Brigitte & Yoni (wife & Camp Manager) ... and my sweet, sweet friend - Yuki the Elephant ...

It's good to remember ... it's even better to be remembered!

Farewell Thailand
Farewell Nicola
Hello "Celine" ... Hello "Christine"
Jack and his new friends ... 
Tim ... and ... "Celine" ... 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Day 13 - Thailand - Koh Samui

Our last day in Thailand.

I will fill you in on today & yesterday when I am back in London tomorrow but today's entry is about Japan.

You cannot have missed the way that all the media has been looking back to exactly one year ago when the massive earthquakes and tsunamis hit Japan - killing at least 20,000 people and destroying many, many communities.

Nicola Chilton (the Public Relations Director for Four Seasons Thailand ... and dear old friend) lived for many years in Japan. With her partner, Shin-san, she has spent large parts of the last year in the communities that got hit the hardest. The photographs they took of the fishing town of Ishinomaki - for instance - are as spectacular as they are depressing.

While there are many, many horrific stories .... there is one that makes me smile. It revolves around Jason the Beagle.

His owner felt the earthquake ... and knew that a tsunami would follow. He cycled home as quick as he could to rescue his beloved pooch. By the time he arrived home, the first wave had struck ... and he held onto a pillar in the house with one hand and Jason with the other. Over the next few hours, the house was washed out to sea and back to land THREE times ...

Jason's owner NEVER let go of him.

The next morning, the house finally settled on a hill and Jason & Master trotted off to find shelter in the hills. We always hear stories about dogs that save their owners ... but it does happen the other way round too!

The love of a dog is second only to the love of a mother ... 
Jason the Beagle
The local Temple is virtually all that remained of Ishinomaki
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