Back in the blogging saddle…

I know, I know. It’s been a while. And when I say ‘a while’, I mean ‘blooming ages’. But, hey, better late than never, right? So what got me back into blogging mode? 


Well, I was challenged by Thomson Cruises to eat my way around their newest ship, TUI Discovery. And when they told me I could road test the Pan-Asian menu Ian Pengelley designed especially for them, I was there faster than Cheetara hot-footing it back to the Cat’s Lair!

Ian Pengelley-Hô!

You see, I’m something of a Pengelley fan ever since I dined out at The House of Hô in London. He’s the Chef Director there and it’s fair to say I’m now a groupie.

Anyway, here’s the post I penned for Thomson Cruises…

Eating my way around TUI Discovery

Bon appetit!


What’s In My Carry-on Luggage?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll love a good nosey through someone else’s hand luggage to see what they’re taking on holiday. Well, the travel company Thomson turned the tables on me not so long ago and asked me to share the inner secrets of my carry-on with them. Here’s a peek at what I took with me on a recent-ish trip to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean…


For the full lowdown about what I can’t travel without, click here.

A Retrospective: Live On Location – Mauritius Day 15

As the saying goes, all good things come to an end. And my holiday to Mauritius was no exception. From dreamy beaches to candy-coloured temples, by way of colonial houses and botanical gardens, my trip to this Indian Ocean isle had delivered plenty in the way of eye-popping moments. But so too did my flight home, aboard Thomson’s 787 Dreamliner. You can read about what I thought about the Premium Class cabin here.



This cutting-edge jet (that boasts more legroom in economy than BA and Virgin!) had a cool trick up its sleeve to brighten up my flight home in the form of ‘mood lighting’. It was so cool – like something out of Studio 54! Here’s a video I took of the mood lighting in action that I gave to Thomson…

A Retrospective: Live On Location – Mauritius Day 14

My penultimate diary entry for Thomson about my holiday to Mauritius took the form of a highlights guide. You can read ‘My Top 10 Things To See & Do In Mauritius’ here. 


When I got back home, the guys in the Photography & Video Team at Thomson asked me for a few pointers about the island as they were about to send a film crew out to Mauritius. Take a look at the clip below – you’ll notice lots of the places I ticked off during my two-week visit made it into the video…

A Retrospective: Live On Location – Mauritius Day 13

They say that 13 is unlucky for some. Not for me. Well, certainly not on day 13 of my trip to Mauritius. Reason being, this was the day I got to learn how to make a fiery Mauritian curry.




Keep Calm And Curry On

Thanks to a private demo – courtesy of the head chef of the Ambre Resort & Spa where I was staying – I got to see how a traditional Mauritian-style chicken and prawn curry is cooked from scratch. You can read about my culinary experience in full here. Oh, and be sure to check out the video I made so you can have a go at rustling up the curry chez vous.

A Retrospective: Live On Location – Mauritius Day 12

Having been on a boat trip, embarked on an exclusive driver-guide tour, peddled my way around the island on a bike, not to mention a good old fashioned coach excursion, I thought it was high time to be master of my own touring destiny. So, with a map in hand, I got behind the wheel of a hire car and ticked off some of Mauritius’ star sights. You can check out my full itinerary here. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at what I got up to…

Eureka House





Tamil Temples



Sugar Mills




A Retrospective: Live On Location – Mauritius Day 11

Prior to arriving in Mauritius on my hols, I’d been reading up on the island’s must-see sights. Earlier on in my trip, I’d ticked off one of the biggies – the geological wonder that is the 7-Colour Earth at Chamarel. But there was another place I was desperate to visit – the Botanical Gardens. And here’s why…











As well as getting a glimpse of Mother Nature’s finest, I got to squeeze in a few other Mauritius highlights, including…

Cap Malheureux



Port Louis


You can read my full diary entry about my day out exploring here.

A Retrospective: Live On Location – Mauritius Day 10

Having ticked off a fair few sights in Mauritius over the previous few days, I decided I was due a bit of down time. But rather than make my usual beeline for the beach, I decided to check out the spa facilities at the Ambre Resort & Spa where I was styaing. Suffice to say, I left feeling suitably chillaxed. You can read my full review here, on the Thomson travel blog.

IMG_0924  IMG_0930

Waxing Lyrical

Something I didn’t mention in my write-up was who I crossed paths with in the spa. As I was in the relaxation zone, sipping a refreshing infusion, a lady settled herself in the lounger adjacent to me. She asked me, ‘What are you in for?’, to which I replied, ‘A massage’. The lady, who I somehow thought I knew but couldn’t place, said, ‘Lucky you! I’m in for a bikini wax!’.

Buffalo Chance Encounter

It wasn’t until sometime afterwards that the penny dropped. The Ctrl+F function I’d been running in my head suddenly found what it had been looking for. I knew I recognised that woman – it was none other than Neneh Cherry. Yes, of Buffalo Stance fame. Altogether now… Gigolo! Huh? Sucker!

A Retrospective: Live On Location – Mauritius Day 8

Last Christmas, I swapped turkey and tinsel for coves and curries with a two-week tripette to Mauritius. While I was there I kept a travel journal for the holiday company Thomson. Here’s what I got up to on the second leg of my fortnight in paradise…

Day Trippin’

I decided to kick off week two with a guided tour of the island. But banish any thoughts you might have about hoards of holidaymakers being ferried around in coaches. This was an excursion with a difference. I decided to road test one of Thomson’s private driver-guide tours. In a nutshell, you get your very own car, plus a guide who doubles up as your chauffeur for the day. The guide plans out an itinerary with you, so you can tick off the the bits of the island you want to see. For me that included this little lot…

1. Trou aux Cerfs

Trou aux Cerfs

Trou aux Cerfs

2. Grand Bassin

Grand Bassin

Grand Bassin

3. Black River Gorge

Black River Gorge

Black River Gorge

4. 7-Colour Earth

7-Colour Earth

7-Colour Earth

5. Chamarel Waterfall

Chamarel Waterfall

Chamarel Waterfall

Oh, and PS, how could I forget this big fella…

Giant Tortoise

Giant Tortoise

Click here to read my full diary entry on the Thomson blog.