Finding that elusive calm… & clothes for Alaska

by Friday, August 10, 2018

How’s your week going? Madness? Same, same? A centre of calm?

I’m kinda mental as I prepare for my biggest “Getaway” trip of the year: Three weeks venturing to The Arctic Circle. I’m assured it’s summer there, but I feel cold just chatting to you about it. I promise to provide lots of travel tales, if you promise to mentally send me that elusive sense of calm.

For weeks now, I’ve been tracking my weather app of where I’m going, doing my research into the locations, and I’ve now started to use Instagram to get an idea of what locals are wearing in the areas I’m travelling to. I love doing this. I first did this for Jordan last year and followed Queen Rania. Brilliant guide as to what to wear; even better as a source of inspiration.

I also had the pleasure earlier this week of working with the brand Blue Illusion. They celebrate 20 years in business this year, a brand that started in fashion with a passion for Paris and now have over 100 worldwide stores and are a true lifestyle concept success story. I love the VO-creator, Donna Guest, who with her extensive husband Danny, who has sadly now passed away, followed their instincts to build this company. They had full faith that other people may also be inspired by all things French, fab clothes and great gifts.

My involvement always connects to our shared love of travel and, in particular, Paris. I offered a few tips on budget-saving ways to enjoy the city: Going to the museums on the first Sunday of the month, when they are free; Metro Passes; and taking the stairs at The Eiffel Tower, which is half the price of the lifts. Would you like to share any tips? We’ll put a ‘Top 10 Tips’ together…

I wrapped the week on a high, seeing Celine Dion and I’m mildly embarrassed that you may have heard my singing from where you are right now. It’s cool. I love to sing and ‘in my brain’ I sing as well as our girl, Celine. Gosh, I love her. Such a legend!

Finally, I also helped to this week launch Travel Card travel insurance. I like the concept and dare I say it, the compassion of this company.  Your insurance is all paid in real time. It takes minutes to set up. You can call for help, free of charge, 24/7, and they just make it super easy for you, no matter where you are. I should know: I had my laptop stolen this year and they soothed me through an incredibly frustrating and really embarrassing situation. I felt embarrassed to admit to taking my eye off the ball, so to speak.

Dear Traveller, do trust me on the travel insurance. I’m saying that as someone who’s learned that the hard way. Be safe my love.

Enjoy your week and let’s make a date to chat from somewhere near the Arctic next week.?


GUEST TRAVELLER: Back to Bali, south side, with kids: Part II

Until she revisited Bali with her husband and two kids, Guest Traveller Andrea Swain loved it as a place for getting away for a parents’ retreat to warm up during the winter months. In Part II of her story about this year’s trip, this Melbourne-based model and mum shares what she came across on the south side of the island. READ MORE

ASK THE CONCIERGE: Putting on the Ritz, Madrid style

“Madrid offers many night-time attractions, such as cocktail-bars located in roofs (Jardines de Sabatini, The Roof or Ginkgo Sky Bar- recently open), centenary restaurants (Botín, Posada de la Villa or Lhardy), trendy restaurants (Amazónico, BIBO or TATEL), but don’t miss a flamenco show (Corral de la Morería or Café de Chinitas).” READ MORE

“There is great value in leaving room for the unexpected when travelling.  One of my most memorable travel experiences was completely unplanned.  My husband Julian and I were on an extended trip in Europe and while in Spain we stumbled upon these abandoned sites leftover from the 1992 Seville Expo.” READ MORE

Q&A: What’s the best way to take money to Russia? 

We received this question from a reader this week: “My mum is leaving next week for two months in the UK, Europe and then doing a Scenic Russian river cruise at the end. Do you have any tips for what travel card to take?”. READ MORE

PODCAST: Being a luxury concierge in Spain and Portugal
In this revisited podcast, Catriona uncovers the best places to visit in Spain and Portugal. Her guest is Virginia Irurita, the owner of Made for Spain & Portugal. Catriona asks Virginia about her journey from a banker to a luxury concierge. She says: “When we travel we want to take something back with us”. LISTEN HERE

Bon Voyage,


P.S. Catriona’s Scoopon Deal o’ the Week – Grand Opening: Beachfront Fun at VinOasis Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Includes unlimited access to Vinpearl Land amusement park next door! Bring the kids: Two kids aged 11 and under stay for free! Six nights from $999.