• My Own Back Yard

    The Ivy: An Icon

    Sitting under a bar centrepiece which is gold and glitters, with champagne and fresh flavoured cocktails, I felt like an elegant lady about town surrounded by glamour. And that is just it, the Art Deco decor at The Ivy In The Lanes reels guests back to the time of palm trees, fans and cut crystal chandeliers. It is a picture F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby characters would not look out of place in.  Despite the dance of the waiters busy at work, there is something unrushed about the dining experience here. The airy, lit dining area with beautiful botanical designs, muted windows and luscious greenery give the impression of a vintage…

  • Travel Guides

    In love with lovely Lucca

    Lucca is a city sprung up from Italy’s earth. This fascinating Tuscan city encapsulates some of the most influential periods in history while maintaining the quiet, off the beaten track appearance that is a well-known trait of the region. As the birthplace of Puccini, this is a city famed for its inhabitants as much as its setting and I couldn’t wait to get exploring. Once inside the Renaissance walls that circle the city centre, it feels as if you have stepped upon a great secret. Sandy coloured buildings rise up ahead mixed with deep reddish brown ones and narrow streets invite you to wander further into the maze. In spite…

  • Castle in the care of the Scots guard
    My Own Back Yard

    Edinburgh – A royal guide

    Many monarchs have had a fondness for Scotland throughout the centuries and in Edinburgh, there are symbols of these royal relationships everywhere. Among the city’s elegant street of towns both old and young, sit memorials and monuments to the Kings and Queens of the past. Edinburgh Castle has been a royal home for over 1000 years set upon Castle Rock. It is not yet known how far back the first inhabitants settled here with estimates currently dating back to the 1st century AD. St Margaret’s Chapel sits in grace within the citadel walls as the oldest known building in Edinburgh and the birthplace of King James VI and I of…

  • Edinburgh skyscape
    My Own Back Yard

    Edinburgh – A historical guide

    If there is anywhere that could rival Oxford as the City of spires, it would be Edinburgh. The Scottish Capital has a history spanning centuries, with layer upon layer of streets that guide you through the city’s lifeline. It would be impossible for me to cover every facet of this sensational location. However I will try to pinpoint the aspects that stood out to me in four different Edinburgh guides and here..is the first one. Enjoy! Edinburgh’s old and modern town exist side by side, reminiscent of many continental cities.  With a station valley in the middle, the Georgian new town rises up on one side blending into the elder…

  • Out of the blue orb image
    Explore

    Out of the blue – Musings from Faraway

    We have all come across travel threads with questions that seem a little strange. It might have been about the oddball hot topic of the moment or something that seems completely off the wall. What were your thoughts? While roaming about online recently, I came across one such thread on one of my regular travel groups. The question was from a traveller asking about the safety of a location following reports of attacks on tourists in the last few months. It seemed like a case of some simple reassurance and I was surprised to see the negative comments from other members directed at the enquirer. As a long-time traveller, I…