Adventure, America, Countries, Deals

Holidos and don’ts – Rollercoasters

Every holiday has its ups and downs and rollercoaster holidays have more than most.

Of course you’re probably a big fan of the corkscrews otherwise you wouldn’t have booked this type of holiday.

Well, maybe, but then it could be a family holiday and Himself or Junior are the rollercoaster junkies.

Me, I’m a nervous rollercoaster but I will put myself forward.

Well, someone has to make a dent in it

But as tempting as it is may be you ought to miss out on the bacons, sausages, eggs, omelettes, pancakes and muffins.

Particularly if you’ve been down at the Irish duelling piano bar Pat O’Brien’s in Orlando

And CityWalk’s Rising Star karaoke club. Doing giant Hurricane cocktails and shots.

Been there, done that

In my unforgettable trips Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital and Why I love The Donald with and

Don’t overdo the Duff at Moe’s

Motion sickness tablets: Right you get to the rollercoasters and your tummy starts doing somersaults.

You want to go on but you worry that you’ll bring up your breakfast over that cute excited little girl in front of you.

And that’s where motion sickness tablets come in handy.

Choose your rollercoaster: Don’t be a hero.

My old pal Colin is as tough a bloke as you’ll meet and will run through brick walls on a football field.

But he doesn’t like big dippers. That’s fine, there are plenty of attractions, funky characters and food… on the ground!

While some of us love a corkscrew or a loop the loop while others (me) like a vertical drop.

Harry’s game

And then there are those 4D carts like you get in Harry Potter which tilt and play with your senses.

To give the illusion that you are riding on your broomstick around Hogwarts Castle.

And playing quidditch with Ron Weasley.

The feeling of disorientation will pass, the memories never will.


All that was left were the glasses

For many of us (me) we feel safer if we have water to cushion the fall.

And so for me it was Wet ‘n Wild Orlando which alas closed in 2016.

Dropping down through a trap door down the chute and round some loops

Before thundering into the final splash was one of the most exhilarating rides of my life.

So, Wet ‘n Wild has gone, you’ve still got Aquatica.

And in California

Disneyland Park, Anaheim has it all.

And now something else again which for you Star Wars fans is something else again… Stair Wars

The way to do any of these theme parks, of course, is priority booking.

And the people to do it with are Attraction Tickets


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

Forget the Fairytale… my Christmas song

Now this qualifies as treason here in Ireland, and it’s probably because I’m a contrarian but…

The Fairytale of New York is not the best Christmas song of all time.

In fact it doesn’t represent New York City and

There is no NYPD choir, for example.

And the ‘Irish’ pipe band didn’t know Galway Bay (obviously) so did the ‘Mickey Mouse Club March’ instead.

Now I love Da Mouse and Da Minnie Why I love The Donald and Stair Wars. And and and .

Enough Fairytale already… here’s what I call a Christmas song.

Yes, Johnny Mathis’s When A Child Is Born.

Talk the talk

Too scmaltzy for you, the lyics, particularly Johnny’s spoken lyics?

But I love it and I love a talky interjection.

So hit it

And all this happens because the world is waiting,

Waiting for one child

Black, white, yellow, no one knows,

But a child that will grow up and turn tears to laughter,

Hate to love, war to peace and everyone to everyone’s neighbour

And misery and suffering will be words to be forgotten for ever

The Christmas Office Party Bore

Now you’ve probably met the office bore at your Christmas party who gives out about Jesus being wrongly portrayed as white.

When he was born in the Middle East.

And how the whole Christmas story is wrong.

But what really matters is not what Jesus was: white, black, yellow, red, but that he WAS.

Bah, humbug, white liberal intellectuals should just see how the Christmas story is celebrated in the Caribbean….

The ‘other’ Jesus

I should cocoa – Christmas in Tobago and

And in Mississippi… and The Promised LandThe story of the Blues and http://the king of kings

Though I’d be flabbergasted to think Jesus was an earlier incarnation of Phil Collins.

The West Indians have their own slant on the Christmas songs and put a calypso or Soca rhythm to it.

Put the two together with just the right amount of sauce and you get parang, an example of which is….

Scrunter’s ‘Want ah piece ah pork’

Now Christmas can be a challenging time for many.

And although it was never written as a Christmas song, it has entered the pantheon for its lines:

Wish I was at home for Christmas

No more war

Jona Lewie’s anthem was, of course, an anti-war song.

And as we move further away from the centennial of the end of the First World War In Flanders fields and

Lest we forget amid the commercial gluttony of a 2019 Christmas those for whom an extra mince pie and some grog.

A peaceful Christmas

And some respite from being bombed and shot at.

And the chance to have a kick-about with the opposition on a muddy battlefield was Christmas gift enough.

Let me know what your favourite Christmas song is… mmmm mmmm mmmm!



Cruiseday Tuesday – Disney on water

What’s the difference between Walt Disney and Bing Crosby? Bing sings but Walt Disney.

That’s just one of the jokes you’ll hopefully not hear on this Disney cruise.

Forgive me for trotting out a Dad Joke but it’s just that Daddy’s Little Girl gave me a box of them for my birthday… and some of them aren’t even mine.

Being the big kid I am I’m one of those who still believes that Disney is the Happiest Place on Earth….,,

Both when I visited Disneyworld and Disneyland and

So what better match-up than my favourite holiday hosts and my favourite form of travel… a Disney cruise?

Cassidy Travel is offering a seven-night cruise on Disney Fantasy from €7661 for a family of four of the Western Caribbean.

Visiting Mexico, Grand Cayman and Jamaica from Cape Canaveral.

There will be daily shows and activities, dress-up themed nights, fireworks display and kids’ clubs.

There is even a private island, Castaway Cay, with water sports and sandy beaches. 

And, of course, you’ll be sharing the ship with these guys…


That water looks so still you could walk on it… the Aegean Sea that is.

So I tried, in Corfu, and ended up swallowing half of it, adding water skiing to a list of water sport calamities.

Which can only grow next week out in Tobago.

But I won’t have the Scary One to burp me like a new-born baby or like Jerry does to Tom.

Corfu is best admired from aboard a cruise ship with a stop-off.

And luckily enough TUI http://www.tuiie has just the thing.

They have a seven-night Marella all-inclusive cruise from €1339pps on June 26.

You’ll be staying in an inside cabin on the Marella Explorer as part of an Idyllic Italy tour. Buon Vacanza. Visit

And for more couples’ frolics on the high seas here’s when I stopped the Scary One from ‘falling overboard!!! http://The Call of the fjords.



A picture of Diana

It was another layer of poignancy to the death of Princess Diana that she should have lost her life in another country.

Because the Princess of Wales was an avid traveller, obviously in her official capacity, but as a wide-eyed adventurer.

The images of the royal on Dodi Fayed’s yacht off the French Riviera are reminders of that late summer of 1997, her last.

Our own summer holidays with The Son and Heir had been planned for Bulgaria for that first week in September.

A Diana fan: Photo by Matheus Ferrero on

In truth, I was glad to get away from the mass hysteria and national meltdown following her death.

I, of course, never knew the woman or met her. But the Irrepressible Miss F did have cause to take her picture and that of the other royals.

It was part of her job as a photo-journalist and with us working in the Royal County of Berkshire they were on our doorstep.

Winning smile: The Queen

And so it wasn’t an atypical day for Sarah to find herself photographing the Queen or Prince Philip while I might be covering the courts, council or a fete opening.

But she always approached these jobs with respect, the ways of the paparazzi were not then nor ever have been her modus operandi.

And she proved that she could capture the royals at their most relaxed and respect distances at the same time.

A different side: To Prince Philip

Of course these pictures taken from our scrapbook can never do justice to the real prints, but then that’s a hard screen and a blog for you.

Just a big kid

The pictures, of course that Diana most enjoyed were when she was with her beloved boys, Prince William and Harry.

Disney was a particular favourite and I dare say she would have loved what they are doing with Star Wars now

While she was a big kid at heart and shared that with William, Harry, Mickey and Donald. Everybody should be, I certainly am http://Why I love the Donald. and

The Mouse. Photo by Skitterphoto on

Diana was pure Hollywood and they loved her and were she alive today I could imagine that she might have had a second home out there.

And perhaps a second husband.

Rest in peace

Often compared with Marilyn, not least through Elton John’s Candle in the Wind I’m thinking now of their similarities too.

I saw the impact such iconoclastic figures have when I visited Marilyn’s last resting place http://My Weekend With Marilyn.

Of course Diana’s is on her family’s estate which gives her in death the peace she latterly could not find in life.


Star Wars – Far, Far and Away the best rooms

Didn’t I Star Wars get… and I almost killed a friendship just before it started.

A friend of mine back in the day was nicknamed Yoda which I inadvertently called them to their face.

My excuse that I didn’t know who Yoda was didn’t sail with my pals. Thankfully it wasn’t held against me and I have gone on to enjoy a lasting friendship with them.

I still haven’t watched a single Star Wars film so it hardly seems fair that I was chosen to attend the opening weekend launch of Galaxy’s Edge Smugglers’ Run in Disneyland Resort, Anaheim in May. Still, I wasn’t complaining.

The next big thing in Star Wars is the opening of Star Wars Rise of the Resistance on December 5 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. It will then go onto open in Disneyland in Anaheim on January 17.

So you want to bunk down in a Star Wars themed apartment so that you can stay in part for all the time you’re there?

Of course you do. Which is what Elegant Resorts and Kisssimmee, Florida, have in mind for you too.

Sleep on a TIE fighter, play video games in Tatooine and watch a movie on the Death Star as well as a number of other Star Wars related activities.

There are 11 rooms and it sleeps up to 22 guests.

Elegant Resorts has seven nights’ accommodation in the 11-room villa (W263) and return economy flights with British Airways from London Gatwick departing on September 1. Based on eight passengers. From £1,480pp..

Vist Kissimmee is known as the Holiday Home Capital of the World. Visit

And, of course, Walt Disney World…


Cruiseday Tuesday: Bahamian Rhapsody

It’s not every day you get a call from Serena Williams.

My mid-afternoon slumber was disturbed when Serena phoned me from the Bahamas a couple of years ago.

Such is the life of an international globetrotting Travel Editor!

This Serena though was not the tennis superstar as she acknowledges in her emails after her name (no, not her) but a very impressive Serena all the same. She runs a very successful media firm in Nassau http://www.bahamas.local,com.

I was teased with a view of the Bahamas in the distance when I cruised the seas last December but have yet to set foot on land.

I mean to change that.

Bahama Mamma. Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

There are a plethora of cruises around the Bahamas and in the Caribbean. I was taken by this one particularly when they slipped in the two most important words in cruising… ‘party ship’.

Jetline Cruise Ireland is offering 15 nights’ Orlando Fun & Bahamian Sun for four people for a fortnight sharing with inclusive car hire for ten days and then four days’ cruising.

You will stay at the Rosen Inn International or the International Palms Resort on International Drive, Orlando – so make sure you link up with Mickey and Disney and Harry and Universal and

And then the four of you will share the cabin on the Carnival Cruise Line ship.

Sale date November 1, price from €1299.

Jetline Cruise has a number of other sailings. Visit or call (01) 2469576.

The other Tenerife

We’re out there: Tenerife. Photo by Luis Quintero on

I’ve got nothing against people who go to Tenerife to sit beside the pool or on the beach and hit the nightclubs.

You can have that if you like, it leaves the rest of the island and its activities such as hiking and carnival to me.

I’ll be hiking in September and also sitting under the stars with a couple of stars of the Travel industry whom I’ll tell you about nearer the time.

And I dare say I’ll get a taste for Tenerife then and want to go back for the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in February…. it’s the second biggest in the world as I was informed when the Canadians visited last year.

In the meantime you can, of course, get there by cruise ship with TUI’s Canarian Flavours package. TUI offers seven nights’ all-inclusive on January 3 on Marella Explorer inside cabin from €969pps.

Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Channeling good vibes

I reckon I know what’s in store for Boris Johnson who is about to go around in circles between the UK and Europe… I did it in a cruise ship in the English Channel a couple of years ago.

The difference though is that I loved it.

Of course if you want to get off you can too. Royal Caribbean has a six-night cruise on Allure of the Seas on May 23 (Brexit should be over by then, maybe). It leaves Southampton and checks in to Paris/Normandy (Le Havre) , Bilbao and Spain.

From €1051 per person based on two sharing, €2102. Flight required.

Call 1800 932 662 or visit