When I travel I love to experience another culture. I prefer boutique hotels and if there’s great local food as well then I’m one happy bunny. So Vegas with its crass fakery, giant accommodation and all-you-can-eat buffets should be my idea of holiday hell… yet somehow it isn’t.
I’ve been there a couple of times and found it’s so over-the-top in its vulgarity (a bright blue Grand Canal with motorised gondalas through a shopping mall – classy!
Toronto might not be top of the list for North American city breaks but if you’re lucky enough to be heading to Canada anytime soon for some skiing or wildlife viewing (one day I see those polar bears at Churchill – sigh) and you’re stopping over, then check out this insider’s guide. It’s written by Pippa up at Muddy Herts who has friends and family out there so knows all the best places to hang out.
Fancy staying in the castle where Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn honeymooned? Thornbury Castle is a stonking 500 year old Tudor beauty on the edge of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire (reviewed by Hero at Muddy HQ a few months back – see here) and Luxury Family Hotels is offering Muddy readers the chance to win a luxe two night stay here!
The prize, worth £1000, includes breakfast and a three course dinner for two adults!
Remember that dramatic scene from the end of The Graduate when Dustin Hoffman bangs on the glass at the top of the church? I had to fight the urge not to recreate it when I stayed over at The Barn at Roundhurst recently.
Just look at this epic lounge/restaurant space with a glass-fronted snug on the mezzanine. It looks like the sort of conversion that gets featured on Grand Designs.
I once had a chat with a taxi driver that totally changed my mind about something. No, he wasn’t ranting about politics; he was waxing lyrical about beach huts.
Up to that point I’d felt brightly coloured rows of huts were cute for a photo but otherwise the preserve of elderly people with tartan blankets over their laps. He, however, described a halcyon scene with his family gathered round, cooking fry-ups as the sun went down.
My childhood car journeys were punctuated by emergency stops as I gave a three second vomit warning and was hauled from the child-locked back seats to the front and out of the door in a parental game of Russian roulette. Unlike most people, as an adult I somehow never grew out of the sickness, yet managed to become an avid traveller, and of all things a travel journalist!
Yes, I’ve thrown up in some top places: the Eurostar to Paris… a helicopter over the Athens Olympic site… on a snorkel boat mid-way through swimming with whale sharks… on a boat trip to Capri (my embarrassed now-husband hosed my half digested spaghetti and clams off the deck).
What are your must-have accessories this festival season? No, not wet wipes and a shewee, we’re talking a bit more glamping, Kate Moss at Glastonbury here. Muddy Kent’s Charlotte Harkness has come up with 15 things she reckons should be on every festival goer’s packing list, because even wellies can look chic.
1. Coastal Wool Picnic Rug, John Lewis, £55
2. Aviators, Ray-Bans, Sunglasses Hut, £143
‘Debbie’s Work of Obsession’ – that’s how my husband rudely labelled the top of my DIY Edinburgh Fringe timetable last year. Still, I didn’t hear him complaining when we got to see 15 shows in three days without even getting up early. (It would have been 17 if it hadn’t been for a couple of pesky venue changes – not that I’m still bitter).
I’m a huge Fringe fan and go every year so I thought I’d share with you my tips for getting the best out of the Fest.
Scenic social media snaps of celebrities hiking in Ibiza and doing treetop yoga in St Lucia certainly evoke some worldwide workout wanderlust here at Muddy Towers. If you want to follow them (in the kind of way that won’t earn you a restraining order) and really holiday like the fit and famous, check out these retreats and packages offered by healthandfitnesstravel.com and frequented by the likes of the Beckhams, Kylie Minogue and Demi Moore.
When I first glimpsed these luscious holiday homes over on Hero’s blog for Muddy Oxon and Herts, I thought they were in New Zealand, but no, these super-stylish properties with knockout views are right here in Blighty and they’re not even as expensive as you’d think if you can rustle up some mates or extended family. There are a few dates left for this year or you can get smugly organised for next.