We have access to most of the airline lounges as I have my British Airways Gold Card (One World) and hubby has a Senator status with Swiss (Star Alliance). Access to these lounges make a HUGE difference to the whole travel experience, especially long haul.
On my recent trip I flew from Zurich to Melbourne with changes in Sydney and Singapore. On Arrival in Singapore after spending 13 hours in my pyjamas to be able to have a hot shower in the lounge at Changi Airport made a world of difference to how I felt. I changed into sweat pants and t-shirt for the leg to Sydney, grabbed a couple of more hours sleep and didn't feel too bad at all when I landed.
I went to the Quantas lounge on arrival, changed into normal clothes, did my cleanse, tone and moisturise routine and almost felt like a normal person again. I had a scrummy breakfast, charged up all my devices, updated my newspapers and checked my emails and Facebook before the short commuter flight to Melbourne.
On the return trip from Singapore my flight was an overnight one. I'd managed to sleep for most of the flight to London and just got off the plane in my pyjamas (the guys in the airport have seen much worse sights I'm sure). I headed straight for the lounge, had a long hot shower (lovely Elemis products in Heathrow T5 as an extra bonus) ordered a bacon and egg sandwich and curled up with a pot of tea until my short flight to Zurich was boarding.
The peace and quiet (usually there are no announcements) in the lounge is so much more relaxing for a few hours wait in the airport compared to the chaos in the main terminal building too.
On top of the showers and the food, most lounges have champagne too, and lots of it. In some lounges you have to ask for it, Manchester springs to mind, but is there a better way to start a trip ??
I love Airline Lounges. My Facebook friends know that most of my trips start and end with a photo of a glass of champagne in an airline lounge around the world. Some friends have now started tagging me in their FB posts in airline lounges too....
I'm going to post a review of some of the airline lounges as a separate blog post. My favourites being Heathrow T5, Qantas lounge in Sydney's International Terminal and the JAL Lounge at Tokyo.
If you are a lounge lover, where are your favourites ?
The downside of the great price was that I was that all my flights were separate and I was flying,
Zurich - London - Singapore- Sydney - Melbourne - Sydney - Auckland - Sydney - Singapore - London - Zurich....
whereas my husband flew....
Zurich - Singapore - Melbourne - Auckland - Singapore - Zurich.
As most of you know, I am not phased by unknown airports or travelling alone so I loaded up my iBooks, grabbed my bag and off I went.
It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I got to walk around the airports in-between flights, and after arriving in Sydney I had a nice shower in the lounge and changed clothes before the short hop to Melbourne. That made a huge difference to how I felt when I arrived.
I got my return to Sydney organised with a stopover in Singapore on the way home. It was a great price and the leg out was business class, so I knew I would arrive at least having had a good sleep on the BA flat bed. The ticket was only 300 Swiss Francs more than Prem Ecc so I jumped on that fare.
As things worked out I was also lucky enough to get a nice upgrade to business class on the return, proving that loyalty really does pay.
So again my husband had to travel for his job and if there is something most people know about me its that I'm not the type of person to sit at home alone for 3 weeks, so I jumped quickly on www.BA.com and got myself some flights. My husband flies direct and in Business Class and the cost of his tickets is way more than I am prepared to spend on myself so I've become pretty good at working out the best flight combinations for the price.
I'm in the process of writing a few blog posts about the cities, restaurants, hotels and various airline lounges I have come across, so if you are interested, watch this space this space.
I've been to Sydney and Melbourne several times before so this trip was all about catching up with friends. I met up with an old college friend, a friend I used to work with, a friend from expat days in Singapore and also some new friends from Zurich who were there by coincidence. We tried out lots of great restaurants, and of course the Sydney Fish Market. I had such an amazing time.
The weather was perfect for being in the city and I got to take some lovely long walks and indulge in some retail therapy too.
New Zealand was a new adventure for me as I have never been before. We stayed in Auckland and at the weekend hired a car to drive along the coast and visit Hobbiton, where The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were filmed. I also took advantage of my husband's busy work scheduled and took a quick flight to Wellington for an overnight visit to another college friend.
Singapore was a nice 3 night stopover on the return home. For me the hi-light was catching up with friends from when we used to live here, and of course the food. Staying in a great hotel in the CBD with a lovely pool didn't hurt either.
More of the Melbourne 'no reservations' thing going on here, so we were a little cheeky and arrived at 11.30 and ordered a couple of pots of tea, thus holding the table until they started serving lunch at 12pm.
Cumulus opened in 2008 and is in a trendy past of central Melbourne. It is in a modern building and the restaurant is lovely, spacious and airy. It has made its way into several lists of recommended restaurants in Melbourne. In my opinion, rightly so.
There were three of us eating lunch so we ordered a selection and shared. All the plates were much larger than we expected and so sadly we didn’t get to order a second round. The dishes were modern, but simple. Not too many ingredients in the same dish you don't get a confusion of flavours.
The Pigs Head Croquettes were delicious. The meat was moist and full of flavour. We also had the Wagyu Beef Bresaola and the kitchen charcuterie selection. The dried meats and bread accompaniments were far too much food but we forced ourselves to eat them because they were so good.
Lastly we had the Stracciatella with fig and fennel pollen and Butternut pumpkin, pine nut, sheep’s milk curd and chilli. The Pumpkin took us all by surprise. It was an amazing mix of flavours and textures. simply wonderful.
Once we stopped complaining about the ‘no reservations’ thing, we had a thoroughly enjoyable lunch. Service was excellent. The restaurant gets VERY busy so I would suggest either arriving early or after the lunch crowd have disappeared. The staff were very fast to turn the tables around.
Several people recommended Cumulus to me, it has a very god reputation among the Melbourne foodies. I would definitely go back again for dinner.
Cumulus - 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000 +61 3 9650 1445
Apparently it's a 'Melbourne thing' to not take reservations.... I came here for dinner with a girlfriend and were greeted by a cute maître d with a good sense of humour... He asked if we minded sharing a table so we explained we hadn't seen each other for a few years and our conversation may not be PG ! He laughed and suggested we wait at the bar. We had a short conversation with him and then we were given a table for two with enough privacy for a long giggly girly chat.
We were given a great table with lots of privacy. Service was excellent. We ordered plates to share - as suggested, and the food was amazing.
Great flavours produced by using excellent products.
We started with a recommended dish Betel Leaf, alongside Caramelised Pork and sour Pineapple, and followed it with Twice Cooked Pork Belly and Beef Penang curry. We also had a side of Chinese broccoli with chilli and oyster sauce.
The Penang Curry and twice cooked Pork...... were both outstanding. The beef was melt in the mouth and the flavour was amazing…. well to be fair all the food was amazing.
We opted for ‘liquid desserts’ and moved to the bar where we also enjoyed friendly banter with the bar server, with our red wine.
If I was in Melbourne again I would definitely return….. or maybe their branch in Sydney.
This is a great restaurant for any type of dinner. Informal business dinners could happily sit alongside romantic dinners. Whatever the reason, if you live in Melbourne and haven't been to Longrain then I have no idea what you are waiting for...
Longrain - 40-44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000 +61 3 9671 3151
This is a recipe I use regularly for fruit scones as it never fails for me.
150 g dried fruit soaked in tea/orange juice/booze
450g self raising flour
(2tsp baking powder per 150g plain flour)
150 g cold butter
2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
4 tsp milk
2 tsp sugar Pre heat the oven to 200 C
Mix together flour, butter, baking powder and salt in the food processor until it resembles crumbles.
Beat the eggs and milk together and add to a well in the middle of the flour.
Mix well until it resembles a dough adding a little flour if its too sticky.
Then roll out thick and using a cutter (or an upside down glass as I have done in the past) cut out your scones and place on a baking sheet.
Bruch the top with a little milk and sprinkle the sugar on the top, this gives a nice golden crispness to the top that I quite lie. You can drop this last bit - Its entirely up to you !!.
Bake for about 12-15 mins depending on your oven
This is our favourite Sushi Restaurant in NYC. We've been here often for lunch - at least once a week when we are in NYC, and its always busy, you definitely need a reservation.
They have a weird policy of not allowing you to sit at the table until everyone has arrived, which means the entrance if always packed with people waiting for their friends.
No idea why they do this as I'm pretty sure they could sell a drink to at least half of the people whilst they are waiting, but hey, its not my restaurant.
If you can avoid the peak 12-1.30 lunch time getting a table shouldn't be a problem.
The service is very good, once seated. The quality of the sushi is excellent. We usually order the same deluxe platter as it gives a good assortment and comes with miso soup or salad. Its not a fancy tablecloths type place. It is more authentic Sushi like any you would fine in Tokyo.
Give this a try if you are in NYC, you won't be disappointed.
Hatsuhana 17E 48th New York 10017 Tel 212 355 3345
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