Africa, America, Asia, Countries, Deals, Europe, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – It’s Baltic

Quite why people from Chilly Jockoland (or Scotland to you or me) should tease Baltics people about the cold is anyone’s guess.

But tease them we do with every cold day referred to as ‘Baltic’.

I guess we’ll just have to find out for ourselves, particularly as Air Baltic have a fantastic sale on.

St Petersburg

How about Tallinn from €59 and Riga from €69?

Those cities will be familiar to us as being part of the Baltic States.


But that also applies, of course, to Scandinavia, and Stockholm and Helsinki are also pitched at the same price.

And to St Petersburg. From €85. And Moscow which is nowhere near the sea (but we’re not going to tell) from €89.


The sale finishes at 23:59 on Thursday. For travel until December 17. Visit


Now it’s where you kick off your Baltic cruises The call of the fjords.

And from where you’ll jump off en route to Hamburg Hamburgers and ships.

Camel ye to Abu Dhabi

And they’re off

Right, I’ve done the goat racing in Tobago. Now for the camel racing.

So that means Abu Dhabi although I might leave that to the experts as you can see.

I’m a bit shoogly on Humpy here in the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time.

Etihad has Abu Dhabi as your sole destination or as a stop-off.

Anyone betting on me?

Return tickets from €947.

And if you go further afield as part of a multi-city flight deal then Etihad will put you up in an Abu Fab premium hotel for free.

Sentimental journey

Hey, Lady

Aer Lingus has been going on a sentimental journey of its own with its first new uniforms in 22 years.

So I guess that was what was behind the musical background for their January Sales deal.

It has 30% off Europe and North America from €188 as part of a return deal.

Planes or trains

I may be away for some time

I can’t, and won’t, as a Travel writer preach on flygskam ‘flying shame’.

But I will say that as a cruise fan that FlyBe has always provided an invaluable route from Ireland to Southampton.

Amid the navel-gazing over FlyBe’s problems one thought: make trains cheaper!

America, Countries, Cruising, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – funny food

Food should be fun and taken out of the hands of foodies… and chefs.

I’m writing this while eating my Swedish ‘vacuum cleaners’ or dammsugare for fika. These are named after the tube-shaped vacuum cleaners of the Fifties.

I had been given them in my godispase, or goody bag.

Clean sweep

The godispase had come courtesy of the Stena Estrid, Swedish ferry cruise company‘s and maiden journey between Holyhead and Dublin.

It is, in truth, the closest I will get to a vacuum cleaner but it shows the Swedes’ sense of fun.

The Swedish dammsugare

To name this sweet after a common household gadget.

And it’s good to see that the world has been watching because it’s not for nothing that Jim Henson looked to Scandinavia for his madcap Swedish Chef.

You like your marzipan?

Music is the food of life

Now if that gives you a taste for Swedish food why not visit

The dammsugare got me thinking about other funny food you can pick up around the world.

Every city with a well-known red light district obvs like Amsterdam Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Where they also have Middle Eastern food skewered on an actual scimitar in Bazaar, a remodelled old mosque in fashionable De Pijp And

Get a grip

But also unexpectedly in Portugal Centro Secret Portugal and where I found a shop selling chocolate penises.

While this mug gives a new spin on your hot chocolate.

Get a handle on this

What else is out there I hear you ask.

And where are the sweetie cigarette, cigars and pipes we used to have as children?

Probably replaced with chocolate joints.

And, of course, any excuse to plug this fun for food fixture from my trip on Celebrity Edge around the Bahamas…

With I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out To Here.

The Germans are funny… full stop. Which gives a lie to the myth that they have no sense of humour.

And there is no elegant way to eat a hamburger… ich bin ein Hamurger Hamburgers and ships and

While the Norwegians have a playful relationship with their trolls… The call of the fjords and


Fjord fiesta

With my very own Scary One… and MSC Cruises

While I love the taste of the sea too and few do it better than my own wee country Scotland and my adopted one Ireland, north and south…


Slurp it up

That’s, and

With a tasting menu of the best of Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.


With Catherine Fulvio at Ballyknocken

America and and is the country who put fun and funk into dysfunction and my safari food out with Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in Florida brought me this nature feast below… it’s all natural.


And seeing we’re talking food then let’s finish on the country that leads the way on food… Italy.

With Italy specialists Top Flight and Catherine Fulvio at her cookery school in Ballyknocken, Co. Wicklow

And some amateur cuoco…


Pasta master

OK, OK… mes amis in France will disagree. And I don’t know what I was eating here but I was smokin’…


Send in your Fun With Food, what’s amusing to eat and where.


Safari in Florida
The big smoke: In the French Embassy in Dublin
America, Canada, Countries, Europe, Ireland

The model uniform… Aer Lingus and kiltie me

Somebody dropped a pen in front of us… had it been Victoria it would have been no trouble because she’s wearing Aer Lingus’s new rip-resistant, extra comfy cabin crew slacks.

Victoria tells me that she had a split when she bent down (it’s a regular part of the job on the cabin crew) when she was wearing the trousers of a previous airline.

Louise’s special touch

Aer Lingus showcased their new uniforms yesterday at a glitzy event in Dublin.

It is the first uniform change in 22 years, but again it is designed by the Petra Pan of Irish fashion Louise Kennedy,

Behind the Madonna soundtrack and the crew putting on their vogue on the runway the most important thing is…

How comfortable the uniforms are for the staff.

And let’s be honest here lads, it’s really about how the lasses feel.

On the bridge: We’ll look after you

Of course the look is important – no self-respecting woman wants to go to work in something they don’t feel a million dollars in.

After gliding across the runway, Victoria shared with us her delight with the new uniform.

Particularly with the trousers which she said she could see herself wearing in both hot and colder climates.

There are 25 redesigned garments including those new trouser options for female with Kenmare Green.

Girl power: And there’s style and comfort

The turquoise/blue ‘Kenmare’ shade captures our national colour.

And ‘Midnight’ navy blue skirts and trousers a good choice if you’re handling food and all the other things you have to do on a flight.

The new uniforms will be rolled out by the 4,000 cabin and ground crew around the world from February 10.

They used to be brown!

It would be safe to say that the Aer Lingus uniforms have come a long way…

Since those Sybil Connolly military-style rich brown suits from 1945 – the green came in in 1948

So as they say it’s Kenmare Green for go.

Victoria, Oisin and me.. and that glass didn’t take my leg off but if it had they’d have helped out!

I’ve always found that Aer Lingus flies the flag with distinction.

And I’ve seen first-hand how the ground staff and cabin crew go about their business.

With a friendly smile while also solving any amount of problems in an unfussy and efficient manner…

Here’s and

And here’s a shout-out too to those who sometimes get overlooked… the guys and gals back in the office. Take a bow!


Cruising, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Cruiseday Tuesday – Stena Estrid, what a maiden!

This birdie shows you the way: In Dublin

I love a beautiful ass… and nobody has a more beautiful ass than Estrid!

Now at the risk of being grounded by the Scary One let me try and wriggle out of this one.

Smokin’: On board the Estrid

The maiden voyage of Stena’s spanking new ferry, Estrid, set sail yesterday from Holyhead to Dublin.

And no, I don’t have a weird fascination for a ship’s hull…

That’s where the Estrid sails to…

It’s because ‘ass’ is the Swedish for goddess and Fridr means ‘beautiful’.

Phew… I think I got away with that!

Big kid: in the playzone on the Estrid

The Estrid is special and not at all like the ferries I first started on 50 years ago from Scotland to Northern Ireland.

I see shore: Well, I am at the bar

For one you won’t have to lug a pram or stroller up the steps from the car deck which, of course, my Dear Old Mum had to do with me.

The car deck on Estrid is on the same level!

Walk right through

And where my childhood memories of the ferry were of the time hanging heavy on me…

Here on Estrid there are two movie docks.

When does the movie start?
While for stresses parents there are fancy lounges and cool bars.
And a Stena Plus exclusive lounge for just an extra £18.
The Stena Plus

That’s not to mention Swedish meatballs, well it is Stena, and a smorgasbord of tasty dishes.

See, I told you so

You feel like relaxing after all that… try the Hygge reclining area. I think it’s Swedish for craic

Or if you want to go for the full lie-down… then Estrid has 175 cabins.

Things are getting blurry

And the crew are super friendly… I got a big Jungfruresa which I think means failte or welcome.

A big welcome

And a prize for anyone (well my respect) who can identify these Irish icons in the picture.

Something for everyone

Visit And also check out the best of Ireland and Wales www.tourismireland.cim and

And remember for the best in what’s on water read Cruiseday Tuesday every week Cruiseday Tuesday – Cruise year resolutions on the day between Monday and Wednesday.

Adventure, Ireland, UK

Puppy New Year… Northern Ireland for your doggies

Now this is animal magic… dog-friendly destinations, with Northern Ireland leading the way.

Our friends in the North have given us a nudge about their pet-friendly hotels, bars, restaurants and walking (or should that be walkies) locations.

So here is the pick of the pooch-friendly places to go:

Lusty Beg Island Hotel, County Fermanagh: Lusty Beg boasts Northern Ireland’s fist GOLD Paw Grading from Dog Friendly NI’s PAW Grading Programme. Woof, woof!

There are two areas where owners and dogs can dine together, they offer solo traveller assistance for people visiting on their own with their pets.

What are you waiting for? At Lusty Beg Island Hotel

And there’s even a dog wash for muckie mutts. Visit

The Inn on the Coast, Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route: Between the harbour towns of Portrush and Portstewart in County Antrim.

You’ll find dedicated pet-friendly rooms on the ground floor for up to two dogs.

Back home late: At the Inn on the Coast

And your best friend is welcome at the seating area of the foyer and in the reception where you can relax and enjoy a drink or meal.

The Inn even awards a Good Behaviour Certificate and a treat for your furry friend to check out. Visit

Red carpet treatment

The Dirty Onion, Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter: Your doggie’s favourite pub in the capital. With a Doggie Dock which serves complimentary water and doggie treats.

And there is a huge beer garden to stretch the legs and a peat fire to slumber in front of… that’s for the dogs obvs. Visit


Slievenaslat Walk Trail, Castlewellan, Co. Down: Climb through the frost to the summit of Silevenaslat (272m) where you’ll have fantastic views of the Mourne Mountains. Visit

The Divis Ridge Trail: Now the Son and Heir is all over Belfast, though whisper it he’s more of a cat fan than a dog fan.

But he does like a walk and often needs walkies… even though he’s 24.

The Divis Ridge Trail is a 4.2 circular route located in the scenic Belfast Hills.

With spectacular views over the great old city and the Mourne Mountains, my own Bonnie Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Your dog will be ahead of you, of course, and get to the 478m high point first.Visit

And tell me where you’ve gone with your dog and liked.

Here are some doggie-related thoughts on the subject… and and

I must confess that the Americans strike me as the doggie-daftest people on Dog’s (sorry, God’s) Earth but you might think differently.

And, of course, you know how much I love Northern Ireland so make sure you go…,

And check out their website…