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February 2015 Issue 1590 tntmagazine.com

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EDITORIAL Editor Caroline Garnar Contributors Michael Gadd l Andrew Westbrook l Neesha Gill l Benedict Cooper l Danny Hilton EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES 0203 011 1066 SALES/MARKETING/EVENTS Sales Executive Matt Syder PHONE 0207 9890491 EMAIL matt.syder@tntmagazine.com For all general enquiries please call 0207 989 0567 or email sales@tntmagazine.com DESIGN / PRODUCTION Head of design and production Lisa Ferron PHONE 01225 284107 EMAIL lisa.ferron@tntmagazine.com SUBSCRIPTIONS / DISTRIBUTION Manager Caroline Penn PHONE 01603 559004 EMAIL caroline.penn@tntmagazine.com ACCOUNTS Emma Overton EMAIL emma.overton@tntmagazine.com STARTRACK MEDIA LTD Directors Kevin Ellis, Ken Hurst Stuart Bidgood PUBLISHER Startrack Media Limited DISTRIBUTION Emblem Direct Ltd PRINTED BY Polestar NEWS AAP PICTURES Getty Images, TNT Images, Thinkstock and iStock TNT Magazine Star Track Media Ltd 3rd Floor St. Vedast House St. Vedast Street Norwich NR1 1BT tntmagazine.com

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FROM THE EDITOR There’s no denying it, dating in London is fun. Why get to know someone over a sticky pub table when you can tear around the city in a Mini Cooper, take a painting class together or be transported back to the romance of the 1930s? For more original dating ideas to make this Valentine’s Day less predictable than an ‘I love you’ teddybear – *stifles yawn/gag combination* – turn to page 28. We haven’t forgotten about you singles either, with one event for those who want to meet someone, one for those who want to spend time with their mates, and one for those who want loved-up couples to choke on each other’s tongues. Whether you fancy the above or not, one event you 100 million per cent must go to is the TNT/STA Travel Show on Sunday March 1. If you haven’t thought, “God I need a holiday” in the last month, then there’s something wrong with you – you should get that checked out. The rest of you normal types, get yourself to the Business Design Centre in Islington from 10am-4.30pm to book your next trip. Sod it, book your next 10 trips, as the special offers and discounts of up to 60% off from top tour companies are exclusive to this one-day event. Plus, you can book some tours with just a £10 deposit, so even if you’re still broke from Christmas, you can afford to book on the day. Alongside the exclusive discounts you can also win prizes, listen to tips and stories from the travel pros, get destination advice from the tour experts, and wash it all down with a Mojito from the Elk Bar and a steak and cheese pie from the New Zealand Pie Company stand. For more details on who and what will be at the show and how to register for your free ticket, turn to page 16.

COVER PRICE: £1.95 where sold SEE tntmagazine.com/findtnt for pick-up points or tntmagazine.com/emag to read TNT online

All thieves of TNT bins will be prosecuted. Editor’s image by photsolutions.me Cover image, top right, courtesy of Samoan Tourism

To get your travel juices flowing (I have them, don’t you?), turn to our travel section where you will find a warm welcome from Belfast (p52), a guide to Anzac Day for centenary ticket holders (p56), the top European festivals to party at – and all with tickets still available – (p58), a weekender in magical Jerusalem (p62), a whistle-stop tour of the sailing stop offs in Croatia, Turkey and Greece (p66) and a cocktailfuelled adventure around Cuba (p74). Get planning that next trip and I’ll see you at the show!

caroline.garnar@tntmagazine.com

Have a weird summer

New York, New York

Vibrant Mexico

TNT Magazine is printed on paper from sustainable forests. There is no business connection between the proprietors of this magazine and TNT Ltd, the worldwide transportation group. Copyright here and abroad of all original materials is held by TNT Magazine. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden, except with permission of the publishers. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office.

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THIS MONTH LONDON DIARY 8 TNT NEWS

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LONDON INSIDER

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DRINK 15 TNT TRAVEL SHOW 16 HESTON BLUMENTHAL 24 TOP DATE IDEAS 28 CHATROOM

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CRICKET WORLD CUP

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Dimensions Festival by Dan Medhurst

FOOD 14

TRAVEL TRAVEL BITES 40 TRAVEL TIPS

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Outlook Festival by Dan Medhurst

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Alisa Connan

TOP 5: THEME PARKS 50 UK TRIP: BELFAST 52 ANZAC DAY: 100 YEARS 56 EURO TRIP: FESTIVALS 58 WEEKENDER: JERUSALEM 62 A GUIDE TO: SAILING

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BIG TRIP: CUBA

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LATE DEALS 80 HOTSHOTS 81

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London’s biggest free travel show is back

TOP DATE IDEAS

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Be original this Valentine’s Day!

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What to expect for the centenary

CAREERS: REP WORK

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LIVING: WEIRD FITNESS

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DESPERATELY SEEKING 90 CLASSIFIEDS 88 TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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ANZAC DAY

LIFESTYLE

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ON THE COVER

EUROPEAN FESTIVALS

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Where to see the best acts – with no rain!

SAILING TRIPS Croatia, Turkey and Greece fight it out

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Other images: iStock MedSailors Croatia

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THIS MONTH’S TOP PICKS VAULT FESTIVAL

RHYTHM & BREWS

Until Mar 8

Feb 5-8

More than 500 events, comprising theatre, gigs and club nights make up this atmospheric six-week festival of the arts set in the vaults beneath Waterloo station. With up to 20 shows a day, late-night themed parties and some free music, you’re unlikely to be bored.

Three days of great beer and great music are held at the award-winning Canonbury pub, Snooty Fox (it should also win an award for its name). Top ales from the best microbreweries are accompanied by classic rhythm ‘n’ blues from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Perfect combo.

Times vary The Vaults, 10 Leake St, SE1 7NN Waterloo vaultsfestival.com

Times vary Snooty Fox, 75 Grosvenor Ave, N5 2NN Highbury snootyfoxlondon.co.uk

£5+

FREE

THIS MONTH’S MUST-DO WAITANGI DAY PUB CRAWL Feb 7 Waitangi Day commemorates February 6, 1840, when a treaty was signed making New Zealand part of the British Empire. On the closest Saturday (so Feb 7 this year), expat Kiwis in London have a great big Circle Line-crawl piss up. Kicking off at 10am at The Pride of Paddington, the finale is at 4pm to watch the Haka at Westminster, and then it’s on to the after parties...

FREE

See

BACKCHAT WITH JACK WHITEHALL AND HIS DAD Feb 6 £30 You’ve seen the BBC

TV show, but now man-of-the-moment Jack is taking it (and his Dad) to the stage for a one-off gig in aid of Street Child’s Ebola Orphan Appeal. There will be celebrity guests on the night. 7.30pm Cadogan Hall, SW1X 9DQ Sloane Square cadoganhall.com

8

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LONDON REMIXED FESTIVAL Feb 6-7

facebook.com/waitangidaypubcrawl for details and updates

TRADER VIC’S TIKI CINEMA Feb 9

EALING MUSIC & FILM VALENTINE FESTIVAL Feb 10-15

Showcasing Latin music, plus Afrobeats, electro-blues, acoustic soundclash and brass band remix, this festival is all about celebrating the powerhouse that is global London. It’s got 25 bands and DJs playing over four stages and two days, all in the heart of Shoreditch.

Polynesian restaurant, Trader Vic’s, for a monthly showcase of tropical cinema classics. Point Break, Cocktail, Jaws, Dr No and The Rum Diary will all feature, after getting started with Casablanca. Ticket price includes a cocktail.

on Poland, the festival features heaps of musical and cinema events at venues around the borough, such as the historic Ealing Studios, where screenings will include The Piano.

From 7pm Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA Liverpool St londonremixedfestival.com

Times vary London Hilton, 22 Park Lane, W1K 1BE Hyde Park Corner tradervicslondon.com

Times vary Various venues, W5 Ealing Broadway ealingmusicandfilmfestival.org

£7+

£13 Head to London’s first

£5+ This year with a focus


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CHINESE NEW YEAR Feb 22

Who says New Year’s Eve comes but once a year, eh? Get your party hat out and join London’s Chinese community as they welcome in the Year of the Sheep. Taking place in the heart of Chinatown, near Leicester Square, there will be a small ceremonial event on Saturday Feb 21, before the full-blown celebrations, with a parade and dragon dancers, takes place the next day. FREE

Chinatown

Leicester Square

LONDON BIKE SHOW

lccauk.com

SHROVE TUESDAY Feb 17

Feb 12-15 £5+ Home to more than 200 exhibitors crazy about all things pedalpowered. From fixies to mountain bikes, you’ll find clothing experts, coaches offering up tips and even a pop-up velodrome and test track, as well as stunt displays from pro riders.

Yes, it’s Pancake Day. If you’re religious, then get repenting. If not, start heating up the frying pan! You can alternatively combine the two, well sort of, by joining one of the charity pancake races taking part across the capital, such as the one in Spitalfields, in aid of London’s Air Ambulance.

Times vary ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL Canning Town thelondonbikeshow.co.uk

12.30pm Dray Walk, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL Liverpool St alternativearts.co.uk

Photos: iStock, supplied

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David O’Doherty would like you to meet his penguin

Check out Phil Blake’s take on decadence at The Graffiti Life Gallery

COMEDY NIGHTS

EXHIBITIONS

THEATRE

JO BRAND AND FRIENDS FEB 3 / 7.30PM / £21 The master of deadpan is joined by Stewart Lee, Robin Ince and James Alderson to raise money for the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association.

WILLIAM S BURROUGHS: CAN YOU ALL HEAR ME? UNTIL FEB 7 / FREE Celebrating the centenary of the birth of the godfather of the Beat Generation, soak up some of the art inspired by the influential writer.

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE ENDS APR 11 / £19.50-62.50 Another chance to catch Mark Strong and Nicola Walker in Ivo van Hove’s intense, atmospheric interpretation of an Arthur Miler classic.

Bloomsbury Theatre 15 Gordon St, WC1H 0AH

Euston

thebloomsbury.com

October Gallery

Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DA

24 Old Gloucester Street, WC1N 3AL Holborn

BILL BAILEY: WORK-IN-PROGRESS FEB 9 & 24 / 7PM / £13 The hairy, oddball surrealist tries out some new material ahead of his upcoming Limboland tour. 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX Leicester Sq

The Graffiti Life Gallery

leicestersquaretheatre.com

Square

Leicester

aviewfromthebridgewestend.com

octobergallery.co.uk

NEW WORKS BY PHIL BLAKE FEB 6-MAR 1 / FREE Catch the debut solo show of one of the up-andcoming names in the British street art scene at this gallery with a difference.

Leicester Square Theatre

Wyndhams

26 Cheshire Street, E2 6EH

THE NETHER ENDS APR 25 / £10-52.50 Stunningly designed production of Jennifer Haley’s disturbing new play, which adds a futuristic dimension to headline-hitting issues. Duke of York’s St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4BG

Shoreditch

Square

Leicester

thenethertheplay.co.uk

DAVID O’DOHERTY HAS CHECKED EVERYTHING FEB 14 / 8PM / £19 Expect songs, cracking comedy and general whimsy from the Irish standup, who’s on tour armed with his plastic keyboard.

High Street

CONFLICT, TIME, PHOTOGRAPHY UNTIL MAR 15 / £13.10 A poignant exhibition following 150 years of conflict since the invention of photography.

BEAUTIFUL ENDS JUN 13 / £15-69.50 Hit Broadway musical charting the life story of award-winning singer-songwriter Carole King from teenager to superstar.

Hackney Empire

Tate Modern

Aldwych

291 Mare St, E8 1EJ Hackney Central

10

hackneyempire.co.uk

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thegraffitilifegallery.co.uk

Bankside, SE1 9TG

Aldwych WC2B 4DF

Southwark

beautifulinlondon.co.uk

tate.org.uk

Charing Cross

Photos: Supplied, Uli Weber, iStock

Katie Braben tickles the ivories as Carole King in Beautiful


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CLUB NIGHTS

GIGS

RIO CARNIVAL AT GUANABARA FEB 11-17 / FREE+ London’s top Brazilian club will be going Carnival crazy with seven days of bands, Samba dancers, circus acts and masked parties. There’s even Brazilian street food. Don’t miss Feb 12’s opening party, complete with carnival parade.

JASON MRAZ FEB 8 / 7PM / £55 The fedora, sadly, no longer seems a guarantee, but fans of the “I’m Yours” singer-songwriter will probably be too busy swooning to care. Expect plenty of heartfelt warblings, chilled-out strumming and probably some laidback chat from the double Grammy winner.

Guanabara Parker Street, WC2B 5PW

Eventim Apollo Hammersmith

Holborn

45 Queen Caroline Street, W6 9QH

guanabara.co.uk

Hammersmith

eventimapollo.com

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

St Vincent: aka It’s Carnival O’Clock at singer/songwriter Guanabara Annie Clark this month HIP HOP VS R&B FEB 20 / 10.30PM / £5+ Now settling into a monthly residency, The Doctor’s Orders’ parties are getting into the swing of offering up plenty of rough with the smooth. Prepare for a night of bump ‘n’ grind. Jazz Cafe

THE CRIBS FEB 12 / 7PM / £20 Part of the NME Awards Shows 2015 series, catch the brotherly three-piece indie kids as they mix up some new material and old favourites. Electric Ballroom 184 Camden High Street, NW1 8QP

5 Parkway, NW1 7PG

Camden Town

Camden Town

electricballroom.co.uk

mamacolive/thejazzcafe

THE CANDLELIGHT CLUB: 1920S VALENTINE’S DAY BALL FEB 14 / 7PM / £30 Get your glamour on for this top secret, prohibition era-themed Valentine’s ball, set in a 1920s ballroom and complete with cabaret, burlesque and vintage DJing. Secret location TBA

TBA

WATCH THIS

MACY GRAY FEB 15 / 7PM / £36+ The big-haired croaky-voiced pop princess who’s gambled away much of her fortune is back in the capital to relive her “I Try” glory days. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT Shepherd’s Bush o2shepherd’sbushempire.co.uk

thecandlelightclub.com

JAMES LAVELLE PRESENTS: UNKLE SOUNDS FEB 28 / 10PM / £10+ A rare audio-visual show from the legendary trip hop DJ and head of Mo’Wax James Lavelle. Koko

TAKE THAT FEB 23 / 7PM / TBA No introduction needed, except to say they’re the UK’s most successful live act ever. Oh, and now there’s just three of ‘em.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, didn’t see anybody reading a book on the Tube between roughly 2011 and 2013, or, well, have been back under that rock again, get ready to hear about nothing but the Red Room of Pain for a while. British author E. L. James’ saucy Fifty Shades trilogy has been given the Hollywood treatment and will be hitting screens everywhere, probably with a riding crop, in time for Valentine’s Day. Starring Northern Irish hottie Jamie Dornan as billionaire bondage man Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson as the Inner Goddessdoubting Anastasia Steele, it’s as good as guaranteed to make more cash than its mysterious leading man. Whether it’s actually worth watching (or at least not as dire as the books) is yet to be seen. But one thing’s for sure, it might well lead to a few more experimental nights around the capital come Valentine’s – and a baby boom in November...

O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT

In cinemas Feb 13

1a Camden High Street, NW1 7JE

Shepherd’s Bush

fiftyshades-movie.co.uk

Mornington Crescent

o2shepherd’sbushempire.co.uk

koko.uk.com

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IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Admittedly, going to a burlesque show may not be the best idea for a first date. Watching gorgeous women strip sultrily down to nothing but a thong and nipple tassels should perhaps be reserved for when you’re in a secure enough place to not feel threatened-ish (or, if you’re a guy, you should be at the stage when you only have eyes for your woman, or at least can be bothered to pretend that’s the case). There are male dancers who get half-naked, but we’re pretty sure they were there for the men too... But whether you go with a date, your husband or wife, or a bunch of mates, the important thing is to go. This is one of the best nights out I’ve had in a long time. Wam Bam Club rose above other burlesque nights I have been to thanks to the sheer entertainment level. The girls weren’t just sexy, their strip acts told a story (the ‘angry bitch’ theme was a favourite); the dance numbers were seriously impressive – a tango to ‘Roxanne’ was goosebumpinducing – and the boisterous MC was brilliant; and that’s saying something as technically I should be giving her evileye after she stole my date away, spanked him on stage and auctioned him off to another woman... But I got him back, and just in time for the end of the show, when an awesome beat-boxer got us dancing, which

image: bencarpenterphotography.com

Wam Bam Club

carried on into the night with a DJ playing an eclectic mix of tracks that you couldn’t help but try out your own moves to (I was just as sexy as the burlesque girls... in my head). You can opt to have a set (pre-chosen) three-course meal, which in these kinds of places usually suffers from massproduction, but in this case each dish from the menu was truly tasty and generously portioned. So that’s dinner, a show, and dancing – which, in my opinion, is a great date – and you can even take some nipple tassels home as a memento. By Caroline Garnar £45 general entry, £85 with dinner, £120 with premium dinner. Check website for dates and location (varies). wambamclub.com

MYLONDON When I want to chill out I... either go the park in Clapham (home) or London Fields (where our offices are) and do some yoga and then meditate. However, if it’s raining, I do a little meditation (using my favourite app Headspace) and then I go and catch a movie at the cinema. The most interesting person I’ve met in London is... my girlfriend Zarah. We met through our teacher training school Yogahaven and instantly fell in love. She inspires me to always better myself on and off the yoga mat. My favourite spot in London is... the top of Netil House, where the new Hotpod Roofpod is situated. My favourite place for dinner is... Raw Duck in London Fields. My favourite spot to take visitors is... Brixton Village.

When you’re hungover in London you can’t beat... sweating it out in a Hotpod Yoga studio. My perfect weekend in London would be... wake up around 8am and plug in to the meditation app Headspace for 30 mins. After that head to teach at the Brixton Hotpod class at 10am. It’s the best class as it’s nice and calm and it sets everybody and myself up for the weekend ahead. After class I head to Brixton Village for a fresh juice and brunch then cycle to meet up with my girlfriend and friends. In the late afternoon/evening I’d go and listen/dance to some music (London has endless to offer). Sunday, I’d have a little lie in, get up around 9am, meditate for 20 minutes and have a slow morning read of the papers. I’ll grab a green tea with my girlfriend and go for a nice bike ride exploring London. In the afternoon I’d find a yoga class/workshop to inspire me for teaching the week ahead. Then catch a movie in the evening at the Brixton Ritzy Cinema. What I love most about London is... there is always something new popping up and going on, and a great range of yoga or studios to try or practice at. Five words that sum up London are... Fast, engulfing, relentless, creative and a-lot-of-fun. hotpodyoga.com

NICK HIGGINS CO-FOUNDER OF HOTPOD YOGA, HOTPODYOGA.COM 12

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BONKING THE BOSS: SEXUAL FANTASIES OF BRITISH WOMEN REVEALED Steamy sex fantasies add saucy spice to the lives of 81% of British women – with one in five preoccupied with bedding the boss or a work colleague. That’s according to dating website Victoria Milan, which conducted the revealing survey among more than 4,300 of its female members. Of course, the agency caters mainly for married and attached people who are looking to discreetly cheat – so you’d hardly expect its members to extol the virtues of doing it thrice-yearly with their long-term partners with the lights off and their pyjamas on. Of those questioned, a lusty 81% claimed to have a fanciful imagination about sex – those love swings look interesting, don’t they? - but a puritanical 19% preferred a more mundane approach. A naughty 20% of those surveyed fantasised about getting it on with people in positions of power at work, such as colleagues or superiors. An even naughtier 14% fancy tasting the forbidden fruit of a liaison with one of their partner’s friends. And, believe it or not, 13% dream of getting into some unusual positions with their yoga teacher. A wistful 10% still fantasise about their ex, while 10% also favour nooky with a neighbour and 9% are hooked by the idea of hot action with another woman. Another 9% favour giving their local pub barman some pump action, while 7% are keen to dabble with their doctor and 4% ponder being probed by their physiotherapist. Just 3% dally with the notion of bonking their brother-in-law – which is probably just as well. Victora Milan boss Sigurd Vedal said: “We see the naughty side to the British ladies, fantasising about colleagues and superiors, untouchables such as their partner’s friends, or with someone more mystical such as their yoga teacher. “It’s healthy and normal to explore these thoughts, so long as you also consider the consequences should you decide to act on them,” he added. Wise words, Vedal, wise words.

Images: iStock

BODY OF MISSING ACTRESS FOUND IN WATER TANK AFTER RESIDENTS NOTICE BAD TASTE The rotting corpse of a missing actress was found in a water tank after residents complained about the taste of drinking water at their block of flats. Wannabe actress Carmen Yarira Noriega Esparza, 27, disappeared in Mexico City almost a year ago – amid fears that she had been kidnapped and sold as a sex slave. But her body – said by police to be in a “high state of putrefaction” – was discovered in the water tank at the apartment block where she had lived prior to her sudden disappearance following a trip to the gym last February. Police are now reported to be focusing their inquiries on her relationship with a wealthy

businessman who was paying the rent on her flat, and whom she had dumped after starting a new relationship with a local lawyer. Carmen’s worried friends and family launched a social media campaign to find her after initial police inquiries failed to detect any trace of the psychology graduate. One friend, Javier Paz, 30, quoted in The Daily Mirror, said: “She was a talented and beautiful woman who dreamed of being an actress. When she failed to show up at the clinic where she worked we all thought that she might have been kidnapped and sold off into the sex trafficking industry, but it seems that her body was back in her apartment block the whole time.” The gruesome discovery of Carmen’s body has also stunned residents whose domestic water from the tank had acquired a strange taste from the young woman’s slowly decaying remains. Yuck.

TNTNEWS WOW! DRUNK TRIED TO HAVE SEX WITH POSTBOX IN SHOPPING ARCADE

A drunk man was caught with his trousers down when he tried to have sex with a traditional red postbox in a Greater Manchester shopping arcade. Now magistrates have ordered Paul Bennett to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register after a horrified female onlooker saw him make his special delivery at Scholes Precinct, in Wigan. Bennett, 45, was spotted walking towards the postbox with his trousers down and making “sexual advances towards it”, a court heard. He then rubbed himself against the postbox while holding his hands in the air in a star position, and shouting “wow”. After this he pulled his trousers up and swung on a lamppost before looking at a reflection of himself in a window. Katie Beattie, prosecuting, told Wigan and Leigh magistrates: “The victim rang the police. She was disgusted by his behaviour.” When police arrived they found Bennett exposing himself again. He was arrested, and launched into a foul-mouthed tirade as he was led away. Martin Jones, defending, said: “Clearly there are issues that need to be addressed.” Bennett, of Holborn Avenue, Wigan, admitted two counts of indecent exposure and using threatening and abusive words with abusive behaviour. In addition to being told to sign the Sex Offenders’ register, Bennett was handed a 12-month community order with an alcohol treatment and supervision requirement. He was also ordered to pay £50 compensation to the victim, £150 costs and a £60 victim surcharge. Didn’t let(ter) him off then...

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BITE SIZE ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS

DIAMOND DINNER If XXXXX you are looking for somewhere with aXxxxxxxx delicious aphrodisiac-style Valentine’s menu to get you in the mood, check out[web] Camden’s pan-Asian restaurant Gilgamesh, with a menu complete with oysters, asparagus and cheeky popping XXXXX candy. Also by simply ordering their Xxxxxxxx ‘Diamonds are Forever’ cocktail you will be in with the chance of winning a [web] diamond ring from Tresor Paris worth £600. Hint hint, lads. XXXXX Xxxxxxxx gilgameshbar.com

ADD [web]SOME t SIZZLE You will be set for a sizzling night if you book a table at London’s legendary Michelin-star Indian restaurant, Benares. Turn things up a notch by treating your loved one to their specially designed Valentine’s Day menu packed with plenty of scorching and flavoursome dishes – your night is guaranteed to have some spice added to it.

VOC Grill and punch house, King’s Cross

benaresrestaurant.com

Tucked away in a cobbled courtyard five minutes from King’s Cross train station is a handful of buzzy restaurants and bars, particularly bustling with the after-work crowd looking to unwind. Stepping inside VOC is like walking into an old gentleman’s study complete with a trove of traveller’s treasures. Exposed brickwork, dark mahogany furnishings and black leather sofas are backed up with globes, stone chess set pieces and ornate candlesticks. The restaurant up the stairs is a bit more plain to make room for the practical tables and chairs, but a good effort is still made to keep things interesting. THE GRUB While the bar and restaurant may be crammed with knick-knacks, the menu is far from it, with just six burgers and three steaks to choose from for your main. Starters are ideal for sharing, with choices including nachos, olives, slices of grilled halloumi and spicy chicken wings -– the latter with meat so tender it falls off the bone. The king of the steaks has to be the fillet. Perfectly cooked to order – and I mean perfectly – the meat is high quality and tasty. This is lucky, as my gripe with VOC is that for a place that only serves two kinds of food, it should offer much more in the way of sides. Only served with a mix of oily sautéed vegetables, my request for some off-the-menu mashed potato was met with a ‘no can do’, so instead I ordered some chips for an extra £3, which were delicious on their own, but too greasy to have with the steak as well as the veg. If they had upped the sides and sauce options, you’d have a winner of a dinner. BEHIND THE BAR: The cocktail menu is inspired by punch – basically a mixed drink of five ingredients, usually including fruit or fruit juice. They are delightfully retro and rich – the kind of drink the old man traveller I imagine living here would enjoy. The Butterfly – spiced rum, ginger liqueur and coconut topped with ginger beer and served with dried lime – was a particular favourite. Craft beers and a selection of wines are also available. BILL PLEASE: Burgers from £7, steaks from £16, cocktails from £8. VERDICT: Great decor, meat and cocktails. Shame about the grease and lack of sides.

Photos: supplied. Words: Caroline Garnar and Neesha Gill

THE SCENE

COOK SOMETHING UP Forget hearts and flowers; Valentine’s Day should just be about spending time together doing something you enjoy. If cooking is such a thing, head to Billingsgate Seafood School. You and your partner will enjoy a glass of bubbly and pastry breakfast, before donning your aprons and learning how to prepare and cook a gourmet meal together. Oh, and you can take it home and eat it. Perfect. seafoodtraining.org

2 Varnisher’s Road, N1 9AW

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King’s Cross

voc-london.co.uk


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BEAVER LODGE Hoedown bar and club, Chelsea

The minute we found out there was a hoedown bar called Beaver Lodge, we signed up to the guest list, like eager beavers, if you will. As did the rest of London, it would seem, as on a Saturday night just two months after opening, the crowds were chomping at the bit to get in. Once inside, we were greeted with a neon cartoon beaver, wood-clad walls, a big stuffed grizzly bear and ‘Wanted’ posters. Yep, London’s west just got wild. Making our way to the dance floor, we were welcomed by a crazy crowd of grape-vining party goers and staff members in cowboy hats, checked shirts and cowboy boots breaking out the rodeo moves on the sofas. Opening the floor at 11pm with a staff square dance, the crowds soon joined in, dancing to country and rock classics such as ‘Working 9 to 5’, ‘All Right Now’ and more recent hits like ‘Sex is on Fire’. It’s all about dancing like Dolly Parton’s watching here. Enjoy. BEHIND THE BAR The huge cocktail list is broken down into ‘For the Huckleberrys’ and ‘For the Daisy Dukes’ (yep, they’ve even got in some good-old Southern sexism) as well as old timers, shots and shooters, beers and boilermakers, and two special cocktails served in a beaver mug. Strong, long and with group jug options, there’s enough booze here to get even Wyatt Earp grooving. BILL PLEASE Here’s the catch: cocktails average at £12. Lager’s your best bet at £6+. VERDICT A bar with a great sense humour – a rarity, particularly in well-to-do Chelsea. Grab your cowboy hat, buck those hips and dance the night away. THE SCENE

Earl’s Court

3 OF THE BEST DISHES TO SHARE

beaverlodge-london.com

FONDUE DATE

TAPAS FOR TWO

SWEET-HEART

Indulge in a caquelon of rich melted chocolate with a side of fresh fruit or pastries, feeding each other sexily, or comically, depending on your skills. Snowflake Gelato serves a delicious fondue fit for a Valentine’s Day treat.

Order numerous dishes and learn each other’s tastes by tucking into a variety of authentic and mouthwatering tapas. We reckon the bustling Tapas Kitchen Brindisa serves some of the best dishes in London.

Poffertjes are traditional small, light and fluffy Dutch pancakes. Eat with strawberries and cream, chocolate or berries, and share a stack with your beloved. Try them at the quaint My Old Dutch Pancake House. myolddutch.com

snowflakegelato.co.uk

INAL ORIG

brindisa.com

Using grass fed british beef and real South African spices, we pride ourselves in producing some of the best biltong North of the equator. Biltong exactly as you remember it … just how you like it, made only like a true South African can.

£3 DELIVERY ON ALL ORDERS. 10% discount on website orders during February, just enter TNT at checkout. biltong and lots of other SA goodies, check out Barefoot Biltong For www.barefootbiltong.co.uk

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Words: Caroline Garnar and Neesha Gill. Images: supllied

266 Fulham Road, Chelsea


Are you registered for London’s largest FREE Travel Show? It may be cold outside, but TNT and STA Travel are about to make you feel all warm inside with exclusive travel deals and more...

NEED-TO-KNOW INFO What: TNT/STA Travel Show March 2015 When: Sunday March 1, 2015 10am-4.30pm Where: Business Design Centre 52 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0QH Register for your free ticket at tnttravelshow.com

tnttravelshow.com


London’s biggest FREE travel show is back on Sunday March 1 with more exclusive travel deals, top travel companies and inspirational travel seminars. Get registered now at tnttravelshow.com to secure your FREE tickets for our one-day TNT/STA Travel Show held at The Business Design Centre, Islington. And don’t forget it’s on Sunday this year, not the usual Saturday. We know what you lot are like! It’s worth ignoring your hangover as you’ll find all you need to get the most out of your next adventure – from expert advice on tap, to hundreds of cheap travel deals. You will find exclusive offers at the show, with well-known exhibitors offering up to 60% off holidays, trips, treks and tours – discounts you won’t find anywhere else! With a line-up of fantastic travel seminars offering insider information and top tips on the latest must-visit destinations, plus the travel company pros on hand to answer any questions, the TNT/STA Travel Show is the best place to get inspiration for where to go next, and then to book it all at an incredible price. At the TNT/STA Travel Show, there’s everything you need to sort out your next adventure. Take advantage of amazing deals on travel in the UK and Europe as well as on group trips, overland routes and off-the-beaten-track adventure destinations in Eastern Europe, Africa, America, South America, Asia and Australasia. The line-up of renowned exhibitors includes everything needed to book a full travel itinerary no matter what your budget or desire – from tour operators and hostels, to shipping providers, services and recruitment. TNT is offering 5,000 FREE tickets to the TNT/STA Travel Show on March 1 as well as unlimited fast track places for £2.50. All visitors to purchase a fast track ticket will go into a draw to WIN a myTNT VIP membership worth £50. For £15, you will receive the VIP show experience. Sign up to our travel e-newsletter at tntmagazine.com for updates on the show and follow us on Twitter @tntstatravelshow, and on Facebook at TNT Magazine In partnership with


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TRAVELSHOW What’s happening? Exclusive travel deals Many of our exhibitors will be offering exclusive deals and limited special offers throughout the one-day Travel Show, stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter for deals to be announced. TNT Travel Auction Bag yourself a bargain at the TNT Travel Auction. Our auctioneer is a bit of a soft touch and has been known to give away sevenday tours, UK trips, theatre and hotel weekends in London and more for a fraction of the price. Even better, the money raised goes to Australian-based charities as chosen by the winners. TNT Tuck Shop Been craving Tim Tam’s, Arnott’s Pizza Shapes and Freddo choccies? Stop by the TNT Tuck Shop where you can say things like, “Oh my Gawd, I haven’t had a Tim Tam in, like, forever” and then buy the whole place up. TNT Lucky Dip Stand Whatever you do at the show, be sure to complete a form at the TNT Lucky Dip stand. This year’s lucky dip will be bigger and better than ever, with one lucky traveller winning a bundle of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Travel seminars Whether you want expert information on your next destination, need tips on how to survive on a shoestring or fancy yourself as the next big travel photographer, we have an exciting programme of speakers who are sure to inspire you. A new talk will begin every half hour in the seminars section near the main entrance, so be sure not to miss out! TNT Tour Search If you miss out on a bargain on the day, don’t worry as TNT Tour Search offers great tours and offers year round. Visit the Tour Search stand to find out more about one of the easiest ways to book your travel at any time of year. You can also find companies here that won’t be exhibiting at the show including, G Adventures, Bamba Experience, Tucan Travel and more. tnttoursearch.com Ski Village Have you missed out on hitting the slopes this season? There’s still time! And, even better, because it’s nearing the end of the season, you can be sure to bag some bargains. Simply visit TNT’s Ski Village where all the snowy destinations will be in once place. Grub and grog With its delicious smoke pit BBQ menu, weekend party atmosphere, and one of Fulham’s only bars boasting a garden, Elk Bar (elkbar.com) is a favourite with the party-loving locals, and its coming to the TNT/STA Travel Show. Elk Bar brings the Mojito fun to Fulham every Thursday, serving up delicious £2.95 Mojitos all night long from 5pm, and Elk’s mobile Mojito bar is returning to the Travel Show this March to spread the Mojito love. The UK’s finest and only producer of gourmet New Zealand pies, NZ Gourmet Pie Co (gourmetpie.co.uk) are back too, ready to fill your bellies with tasty, hot pies handmade from the finest local ingredients. Steak and cheese for us please!

Who will you see there? Here is a mere sample of the exhibitors appearing at the TNT/STA Travel Show. Keep an eye on tnttravelshow.com/exhibitor-list for updates. Exhibitors will have exclusive offers of up to 60% off

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tours, brochures, giveaways and loads of staff on hand to answer any questions, help you out with any information and, more often than not, encourage you to do a shot or 10... OUR SPONSORS, STA TRAVEL STA Travel is the world’s largest student and youth travel company. It specialises in market-leading travel offers, whether it’s exclusive flight fares, a complex round-the-world itinerary, a series of overland adventure tour options or a snap-gap trip of a month or two. However STA Travel is not only for students: its great-value airfares, hotels and tours are open to all. Now celebrating 35 years of business, its expertise means STA Travel Experts are the very best people to advise on any aspect of travel. STA Travel has joined forces with TNT again this year for its travel show so expect some seriously amazing deals and offers. The STA Travel stand will also cover many partner companies including Contiki, G Adventures, Busabout, Vodkatrain and Eurolines. statravel.co.uk ABSOLUTE AFRICA Absolute Africa is committed to offering affordable prices for your Africa trip. Its team has more than 30 years of experience, having travelled solely in Africa since the late ’70s arranging overland tours, safaris, beach breaks, volunteering projects and Kilimanjaro treks. The company visits all the big game parks, witnesses migrations, covers gorilla trekking, rhino trekking, travel to Zanzibar Island, Victoria Falls, Lake Malawi, the big dunes of Namibia and Cape Town. Talk with Absolute Africa now to book in your journey of a lifetime. absoluteafrica.com AEGEAN PARTY LIFE Thinking of Greece makes you think of summer. And when you think of summer in Greece, there is only one way to explore it: go sailing. Aegean Party Life transforms this exploration into the most exciting experience of your life by adding in, you guessed it, the party! As Aegean puts it: ‘Love the sea, love the party, love the experience!’ aegeanpartylife.com BUSABOUT A hop-on hop-off coach travel network designed exclusively for the independent and budget-conscience traveller, covering 34 destinations in nine countries with flexible itineraries. Busabout covers top spots across Europe, be it Italy and Spain, sailing along the Croatian or Turkish coast, exploring Eastern Europe and North Africa or partying at Europe’s most famous festivals such as Pamplona and Oktoberfest. busabout.com CONTIKI Contiki has been the world leader in youth travel experiences for 18-35s since it began in 1962. It’s a brand that is all about discovery, epic moments and making every second count. The journeys unlock the local way of life in each and every destination they visit, and with over 300 trips in more than 50 countries, Contiki sees every day as the start of a new adventure. You only get one life and one shot to make it count – #NOREGRETS. contiki.com ENCOUNTERS TRAVEL Encounters Travel offers good-value, exciting small-group adventure tours, giving you the ability to travel, have fun, and take in the culture and sights of some of the world’s most exotic and exciting destinations. Whether you are a solo traveller, a group of friends or a couple and whether you are looking for action, trekking, adventure or just a bit of culture and a getaway,


TRAVELSHOW Encounters Travel has it all. Committed to designing itineraries that work well for you and don’t cut corners, Encounters includes as much as possible in the upfront tour price, while keeping them at great value. encounterstravel.com EUROPE’S FAMOUS HOSTELS Europe’s Famous Hostels is an association of individually owned, independent hostels. The association was founded in 1995 and today includes 49 hostels, both in Europe and beyond. Europe’s Famous Hostels’ purpose is to provide a recognisable stamp of quality in the hostelling business. Choosing a Europe’s Famous Hostel is choosing quality and great customer service. famoushostels.com

something to get your engine running. During the winter they run skiing and snowboarding holidays. During the summer they get up to all kinds of things from downhill mountain biking in the French Alps to surfing in Cornwall, from power boating in Sussex to canoeing on the Thames. The trips are perfect whether you are single, travelling solo, with a partner or with a group of friends. These trips are aimed at people in their twenties and thirties – a real sociable, laid-back fun holiday with no kids! They specialise in holidays and adventures for independent travellers – it’s a great way to meet awesome new people and try something different. Why not join in? hofnar.com

ITALY ON A BUDGET Italy on a Budget is a tour operator based in Florence for students, EXPAT EXPLORE backpackers and travellers aged 18-39 who want to visit Italy Expat Explore Travel will have some amazing deals available without breaking the bank. They offer day tours, short breaks exclusively at the TNT/STA Travel Show. All tours will be marked and adventure holidays to the major Italian destinations including down between 20% to 60% discount on web and brochure rates! Florence, Tuscany, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Rome, Venice, Amalfi coast Get great deals on Europe, Egypt and Turkey as well as discounts on and lots more. All tours are escorted by local, professional and Earlybird 2015 rates. expatexplore.com trained English-speaking guides – their sole purpose is to ensure you have the time of your life. They know the people, the traditions FANATICS and the customs so that they can provide you with unrivalled Fanatics are Australia’s largest supporter group and licensed tour insights and a real taste of the culture while having fun. If you operator to worldwide sporting events including cricket, football, are looking for the real Italian experience, Italy on a Budget is the Davis Cup tennis, US Masters & British Open golf, rugby league, perfect choice for you. italyonabudgettours.com/en rugby union and much more. Fanatics also operates a huge range of quality tours to all the big European festivals, events and must-see MEDSAILORS locations including Paddy’s Day, Anzac Day, Royal Ascot, Croatia Make your way across the picturesque and idyllic landscapes of Sailing, Running of the Bulls, Greek Islands, La Tomatina, Oktoberfest Croatia, Greece or Turkey with MedSailors, the leading sailing and Skifest. thefanatics.com holiday provider for 20-35 year olds. Offering you the perfect balance to a perfect holiday, you will spend seven days sailing the FESTIVALS ALL AROUND breathtaking islands of the Mediterranean on-board your very own Guess what these guys do. Yep festivals. The founders, Pepe and yacht. Whether you are travelling with a friend, embarking on a Ashley, both live in Valencia, Spain – Pepe is local, and Ashley is solo adventure or getting together a whole group of friends, you an Aussie expat – and they started by taking a bunch of people are guaranteed an unforgettable holiday and the time of your life. to La Tomatina. They have since expanded their tours to take in medsailors.com Oktoberfest and the Running of the Bulls. These guys get involved and enjoy the party as much as you do, so prepare to have a great MYSTERY BREAK time whatever festival you choose. festivalsallaround.com Mystery Break is designed to be the easiest and fastest way to escape London for a short break in Europe. Just fill in the form GO SAIL TURKEY online stating when you want to travel and the type of trip you’d If you are going to Turkey in 2015, then you have to do a Go Sail like and Mystery Break will create a custom package for you. Then Turkey cruise! The list of reasons why is endless: sleeping under 1-2 days before you travel it’ll tell you where you’re going. Sounds the stars on deck, swimming with sea turtles, en-suite cabins as awesome – we love surprises! standard, great shipmates, plenty of sunbathing space, three mysterybreak.co.uk amazing meals every day, a fridge full of cold beers, secluded bays and a party at the Smugglers Inn. As the only exhibitor offering OASIS OVERLAND four-day and seven-day Turkish gulet cruises, you’ll be sure to find Oasis Overland specialises in overland tours and expeditions in the right route at the right price that fits into your travel plans for South America, Africa and Central Asia, ranging from 15 days in Turkey 2015. Ask about their TNT special offers and ANZAC-friendly Kyrgyzstan to 39 weeks across the African continent, plus small dates. gosailturkey.com group adventures in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Europe including Anzac Tours. oasisoverland.co.uk HAGGIS ADVENTURES Haggis has been running legendary trips for backpackers and PADDYWAGON independent travellers since 1993 that get you off the beaten The “most fun tour company in the world”, as voted by 900,000 track, exploring Scotland, England and Wales. Its reputation has Hostelworld travellers in their annual Hoscars! Paddywagon was been built on ‘word of mouth’ recommendation and its mission is also 2011’s “best UK & Ireland tour operator” at the TNT Golden to make each trip the best one yet. Trips range from day tours to Backpack Awards. Paddywagon is well-known worldwide as the 10-day adventures plus Easter, Christmas and Hogmanay specials. 100% true Irish experience. We guarantee the most fun, flexible, The guides are proud locals who are passionate about showing you informative and friendly Irish extravaganza. around and who want you to love their country as much as they do. The only 100 per cent Irish-owned backpack tour company, they haggisadventures.com promise the best travel experience in their beloved motherland. Choose from relaxing day-trips in a sexy Green Mercedes H.O.F.N.A.R Paddywagons or full-on six or nine-day tours of the country If you are looking for an action-packed week away, a weekend in the company of Ireland’s top tour guides. As seen on TV. escape, or you just want to try something different, h.o.f.n.a.r has paddywagontours.com

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In partnership with

TRAVELSHOW PP TRAVEL PP Travel is all about joining the party. Whether it’s donning a fancy hat for Royal Ascot, getting pelted with tomatoes at La Tomatina, or drinking more beer than you ever have before at Oktoberfest, PP Travel will make sure you are there and having a great time. PP Travel are your party professionals. pptravel.com SCANBALT EXPERIENCE Scanbalt is a tour operator focusing on Scandinavia and the Eastern Europe region. Its tours are designed for adventurous people who appreciate independence, flexibility and time both on and off the beaten track. As well as more traditional tours to the Mediterranean and Ireland, travellers can also explore Lapland by dog-sled or snowmobile. scanbaltexperience.com SHAMROCKER ADVENTURES Since 1999, it’s been Shamrocker’s mission to give independent budget travellers the chance to really discover Ireland and remember it as one of the best times of their life. The team will make sure you get a tremendous insight into the country, meet real local characters, and discover what it means to be Irish. All the guides are 100% Irish born and bred, full legends in their own right who have more stories and knowledge of history than you would think was possible. Fan-feckin-tastic! shamrockeradventures.com SPACESHIPS RENTALS Spaceships’ custom-designed vehicles have won customers over. The Swiss army knife of campers, the vehicles are versatile, compact, fun and fuel efficient. Renting a camper is the perfect way to explore the UK, plus they have pick-up points in Barcelona, Dublin, Edinburgh and Rome. spaceshipsrentals.co.uk STOKE TRAVEL Get 50% off the Stoke Passport at March’s travel show, plus unlimited free booze. The Stoke Passport, in the words of the Stoke guys themselves, “doesn’t care who you are, what you’ve done or why you look like that”. The Passport is an unforgettable pass to international times. You choose from any of 25 destinations or festivals and receive an all-inclusive three nights at any of your chosen festivals, camps or event trips. The passport gives you a hefty discount on the normal price, plus free unlimited beer and sangria at all of the festivals! It´s the flexiest, messiest, goddamn sexiest pass in the cosmos. stoketravel.com TOPDECK Topdeck does epic Eurotrips, big game safaris, American road trips, sailing trips, pyramid expeditions, and other awesomeness around the world for travellers aged between 18-39. The team realises that everyone’s different, which is why all their trips include heaps of free time to play and explore. It’s your trip, your way. Your trip includes all the must-see, must-do activities and top-notch local fare to recharge those batteries between stops, which means you can spend your money where it matters and they’ll take care of the rest. You will hit the road on modern, WiFi-equipped coaches, stay in handpicked accommodation ranging from castles to yachts and hang out with other young explorers bent on seeing the world. Ready to pack your bags? Let’s talk. Topdeck.travel TRAVEL TALK Travel Talk tours are designed for fun-spirited and motivated 18-39-year-olds. Popular destinations include Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Russia. It also offers summer sailing tours in Greece and Croatia, Greek Island hopping tours and winter skiing and snowboarding tours in the French Alps. Travel Talk also takes

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you to the biggest festivals in Europe including La Tomatina, Oktoberfest and to Gallipoli for Anzac Day tours. New and exciting tours to unique locations include: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, India, Nepal, Balkans, Italy, Spain and Portugal. It has also introduced a Best of Great Britain tour, showcasing the best the UK has to offer in a seven-day tour. Make sure you stop by the stall to visit the friendly team and check out the exciting new tours at great prices, plus you only need a £10 cash deposit to secure your spot! traveltalktours.com VISIT NAVARRA Navarra is most famous for its capital, Pamplona, where San Fermin and the running of the bulls has drawn tourists from across the world every year. But after the fiesta comes the calm, and the chance to discover the rest of the region. Navarra is a real paradise for lovers of nature ecotourism and bird watching. Nearly 50% of its territory has some kind of nature classification, making it a benchmark in terms of the conservation of nature. In each area of Navarra there are specialist companies that organise guided visits and sporting activities so that visitors can enjoy, for example, the superb landscapes of the Pyrenees or the Bardenas Reales, deep gorges, dense oak forests or breathtaking caves. Visit this stand to find out more about what to do outside of San Fermin. visitnavarra.es WICKED CAMPERS Wicked Campers is the original budget campervan rental company with heaps of experience, awesome vans and plenty of traveller-friendly deals. If you’re an independent, adventurous traveller then visit the stand at the TNT show to bag yourself an epic deal, pick up some freebies and meet some legends! wickedcampers.co.uk

Other services Just arrived and need help setting up, getting a job, and shipping your stuff over? These companies are here to help... 1ST CONTACT Whether you’re opening a bank account, transferring money, applying for a visa, claiming a tax refund or shipping goods overseas, 1st Contact has got you covered! 1st Contact takes care of all your admin, letting you focus on the fun stuff. 1stcontact.com ANGLO PACIFIC The UK’s largest international removals and shipping company, Anglo Pacific handles everything from cars to cutlery, ensuring belongings arrive safely at their destinations across the globe. The company sure has a lot of practice, with more than 30 years’ experience to its name. anglopacific.co.uk BACKPAX A familiar sight in hostels across the UK, Backpax magazine is a pocket-sized free publication giving information about budget travel in Great Britain. New for 2015, Backpax has produced a fold out map of the UK and Europe with hostel listings, tours, sights and fun facts. Travel articles, hostel reviews, jobs and special offers can be found online. backpaxmag.com CAPITA EDUCATION RESOURCING With more than 150 staff employed in offices nationwide, Capita Education Resourcing has become one of the most successful education recruitment businesses in the UK. Over the past 19 years, Capita Education Resourcing has developed a reputation for high-quality service to its nurseries, schools, academies, free schools and colleges. capitaresourcing.co.uk/education


TRAVELSHOW PROSPERO TEACHING Prospero Teaching is a well-established education recruitment company which has, since 2000, provided teachers with day-today, long-term and permanent work in schools across London and the UK. With branches across the world, it also offers opportunities to travel. prosperoteaching.com

What would you rather spend a few pounds on?

PSS INTERNATIONAL REMOVALS PSS International Removals has specialised in shipping excess baggage to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most worldwide destinations for more than 33 years. Handling thousands of baggage consignments every year, PSS takes away all the stress so you can enjoy your last moments here in the UK. pssremovals.co.uk

A coffee

A flight to somewhere exotic

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WE STARTED WITH NORTHERN EUROPE BUT THE NETWORK GROWS WITH THE POPULARITY!

Baltic Easter Bunny Trip 10% off at TNT Show Including Visa Free St Petersburg, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm Days: 8. Price: €385

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All Lapland winter tours 2015-2016 Magic Lapland including Christmas 10% off at TNT show We are the experts on Lapland and Northern Light trips (and we have the best prices)!!!

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The fat duck flies south Famous for his mad scientist foodie creations, chef Heston Blumenthal has taken his culinary circus Down Under. We caught him on a brief visit back in London to find out why... WORDS: NICK HARMAN

You can’t miss Heston. The last time I saw him we were both on the same EasyJet plane to Spain and every Brit, young and old, clocked the glasses, the bone dome and the face that launched a thousand crazy food concoctions. He’s as famous as Jamie or Gordon and everyone seems to love him and his story – going from a nobody in the kitchen to one of the world’s most respected chefs, with a galaxy of Michelin stars to his name. And it was all achieved on his own – he’s a man who plays by his own rules. The Fat Duck, the legendary restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, is his home, but like any top chef he has many other strings to his business bow. And now, with the Fat Duck undergoing a serious refurbishment, he’s done something remarkable (even for him) and moved the whole shebang to Australia for a short time. He’s back in the UK to take care of business for a while and we caught him flitting about London in order to put him under a gentle grill. He’s enjoying the Australian project – he believes Oz is currently experiencing “the greatest food explosion on the planet” – but setting up in Melbourne has been a challenge. “It’s a big job,” he explains, “and while we’ve been planning it a few years now there was a lot of building work involved. We moved out to Australia in January and open this month. Bray is now closed for six months to redo the kitchen, knock it down and build a new one. Then when that’s done everyone will fly back to Bray to open the new Fat Duck. But for now, the focus is on Melbourne. “I absolutely love Australia,” he adds, “and will never fall out of love with it.” What with being on TV all the time and putting in appearances all over the world, this new venture means Heston is clocking up the air miles. I wondered what his diary was looking like at the moment; Heston pauses and then ticks off his to do list with a bit of help from his PR who’s standing protectively by. “Now that we’ve opened, I’m back to the UK for a month and a half and then go back to Melbourne then back to UK and back to Melbourne for the closing of the Duck…” he pauses for breath, “then back to Bray with the team to get TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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ready for the reopening of the UK Fat Duck in September then back to Australia to open Dinner in October.” Dinner, for those that don’t know, is the ‘historical British dish’ Heston restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge, but as Heston is always keen to point out, it is very much the restaurant of chef Ashley Palmer Watts – a former head chef at the Duck. What the Australian eating public will make of having marrowbone, savoury porridge and ‘meat fruit’ on the menu is anyone’s guess… Of course like most chefs, Heston takes the supplier side of his food very seriously and there are ingredients unavailable to him in Australia, as well as new things to try, so I ask him if he been personally involved in sourcing, or at least doing as much as his schedule allows. “Yes I have been visiting places myself,” he says firmly, “and some of my guys have been out there checking out suppliers and another is going out very soon to spend six weeks checking out some more.” Although he is yet to make an appearance, I question whether he’ll be personally cooking in Melbourne. “I will be in the kitchen,” he says slowly; but then he elaborates, explaining that while he won’t personally be slinging pans about, he will be there to oversee. “You know, it will be 20 years that I’ve been cooking by next year, so I’ve certainly done my time. And I’m still working in the development kitchen, of course, I’m just not doing service; but any idea that I’d never cook again is unimaginable.” At least on his multiple travels to Australia Heston has had a chance to sample a bit of what’s going on foodwise there. For the best café or coffee and breakfast spot 26

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in Australia he can only say that there’s a classic one in Bondi Beach looking out over the sea that he’s fond of, but the name escapes him. When it comes to late-night dining he’s quicker off the mark; “Golden Century in Sydney, a great Chinese restaurant and they’re open until something like 2am,” he enthuses. “Australia is where it’s all happening.” He has very good things to say about Neil Perry’s Rockport in Sydney, Attica in Melbourne, and Udon in Melbourne. “There are quite a few great special occasion restaurants like that actually,” he adds cheerfully, “and I really think Neil Perry should open in the UK. His food should be better known over here.” And with that he’s off, no doubt already planning some new mad scheme to surprise us all anew.


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Hot

TOP 5

DATES

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HOTDATES

Show your hot bit of stuff you’re different by sorting a unique Valentine’s Day date. You will thank us later (that night) WORDS CAROLINE GARNAR

We can all book a romantic restaurant and write a soppy card, but you’re in London, one of the most exciting cities in the world, so make the most of it! Over the past year, TNT has been going on dates organised by dating website DoingSomething.com, which encourages those looking for love to avoid the awkward dinners, and instead use dating as an opportunity to do something fun and different. We think this is good advice whether it’s the first date or your first anniversary (and beyond). So here, we have compiled the top five dates we have tried over the last 12 months – take your pick and enjoy! Tear around London in a Mini It’s not often people stop and take photos of me on the streets of London (hard to believe, I know), but when I’m sat in a classic Mini Cooper with The Beatles pumping out of its open-top roof on a sunny winter’s day, it seems my face will appear on a number of people’s Facebook pages over the next few days. It is a unique sight, and awesome to be a part of. Having never been in an old Mini Cooper before, let alone bombing around the streets of London in one, it’s a great way to see the capital city. Riding alongside boisterous taxis and mammoth double-decker buses, my date and I wind our way through the traffic and listen to the confident driver’s fascinating facts (for example, Waterloo Bridge is also known as the Ladies’ Bridge as it was re-built by women in WWII – they used self-cleaning bricks. How resourceful). We’re also taken to hidden-away spots such as the location of the one door outside of an official government building that accesses London’s underground system, which, among other places, leads to Buckingham Palace. We’ll see you on your next mission, Bond. Picking you up from any central spot in London, the tours last from 30 minutes right up to a full-day’s rental. You can pick from a number of tours including Royal London, The Italian Job, The Great Escape and more. Or you can just go bespoke – we saw Big Ben, Nelson’s Column, Pall Mall, Buckingham Palace, Saville Row, The London Eye, The House of the Guards and many more of London’s iconic and aweinspiring buildings. Infinitely cooler than an open-top bus and as quintessentially British as you can get, taking a ride with Small Car, Big City is a great way for lovers new to London to get to know the city – and each other. From £54 per Mini for a 30-minute tour (seats three ›› + driver). smallcarbigcity.com TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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HOTDATES Take a cooking class together They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but this is the 21st century, so why not take a cooking class together so you can win each other’s hearts? Founder of The Urban Kitchen, Toral Shah hosts cooking classes in her own apartment, which has a ridiculously mod-conned kitchen and cupboards so full they would rival any restaurant’s. My date and I went along to spice things up with an Indian menu (she also teaches Spanish, Italian, dim sum and more). Pouring our small group a glass of wine each (which she kept fully topped up throughout), Toral talked us through each recipe step by step, getting us involved with kneading bread, crushing cloves, chopping chillies and stirring the bubbling pans of curry. Toral is a firm believer in the 80:20 rule – 80% good food, 20% naughty. And these recipes followed that, with ghee substituted for small amounts of olive oil and dishes that included lots of fresh veg, garlic – which is good for your immune system and cholesterol levels – and chili, which is good for your metabolism. But there’s a little bit of cream and butter in there to balance things out and, quite frankly, make it taste damn delicious. I can testify to that as we finished the class by sitting down to eat our three curries, freshly baked naan and rich bowl of daahl. Even better, you can take the recipes home with you and re-create them in your own kitchen. Set him to work, ladies… £65. 7pm-9.45pm. Class on Feb 17 is ‘Delicious dim sum’. The Urban Kitchen, Unit 2 The Flag House, 47 Brunswick Court, SE1 3LH. theurbankitchen.co.uk Dance and drink in 1930’s Shanghai You finish your look with a slick of red lipstick just as the doorbell goes. You open the door to see your date in a dapper suit standing with the door open to a shiny black convertible Buick Y Job. You speed off into the night, arriving at Cecil’s, a basement cocktail bar tucked away in the back-streets of London Bridge. Arm in arm, you follow the hostess down the candlelit steps into a den of music, dancing and laughter. Cecil himself is on the stage with a live band and he steps down to welcome you and dance with one or two of the lucky ladies. You take a seat at your table and order a heady cocktail from the waitress, before taking to the dance floor with your date, who twists and turns you before holding you close and gazing into your eyes... Good date right? Sure as hell beats a warm beer in a stickyfloored pub. While I can’t guarantee the Buick pick-up – or the hot date – I can tell you that the latter part can come true if you head for a date at Cecil’s on a Saturday night (i.e. Valentine’s Day), when the basement bar transforms itself into 1930’s Shanghai. Chinese lanterns emanate a warm red glow, waitresses are dressed in cheongsams and piping hot noodles are served from the kitchen. Everyone makes a real effort with their outfits: bow ties, top hats and Spats mingle with lace, feathers, high waistlines and low hemlines. The lovely Cecil and his band get everyone dancing with ‘New York, New York’ and ‘Can’t Take my Eyes off of You’. Not 1930s, admittedly, but still undeniable classics. The cocktails are potent and delicious, the staff above-and-beyond friendly and the atmosphere seriously special. And come 30

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11.30pm, you’ll be glad it’s 2014 as Cecil retires for the night but is replaced by a DJ until 2am. The 1930’s were great, but this way we get the best of both worlds. Recommended. £15 for entry tickets, book in advance. Cecil’s, 8 Holyrood St, SE1 2EL cecilslondon.com Climb the walls… If you’re active types, a session at the Mile End Climbing Wall is a great date idea. One word of warning: do this date down the line – the harnesses aren’t particularly flattering and also don’t leave much to the imagination… Also, you’ve got to be able to trust them if you are doing the beginner’s course as your life, or at least faith, is in their hands – literally. Part of the course is to learn the belay system, and so you can take turns climbing the wall attached to each other – the one at the bottom ensuring the rope is tight so if the one at the top falls, they won’t fall far. Of course something I hadn’t considered is looking like a pussy in front of my date. As I gawped up at the eight metre-high wall, it looked like a kilometer to me. But, with encouragement from my date and our instructor, I take a deep breath and place my hands on the coloured grips. They seem fairly secure. Before I know it I’m scrambling upwards, and suddenly I’m eight years old again, scaling the craggy rocks of my beach-side home town, fearless and full of adventure. I’m unleashing my inner monkey, trusting the power in my arms and legs, and converting adrenaline into determined concentration. That is, until I reach the top and look down... that’s definitely more than eight metres. “Now you’re up there,” says Gordon, “the only guarantee is that you come down. You just have to do it well.” So I trust my date, put all my weight in his hands and the harness, and abseil back down again. Safe and sound, I hit the ground, but I’m definitely still on a high. Taster session £20, beginners’ courses £55. Haverfield Road, Mile End, E3 5BE. mileendwall.org.uk


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Recreate ‘The Kiss’ (on paper) I used to love art at school, but it’s something I’ve completely lost touch with as an adult. Not since I was in uniform have I donned a paint-splattered apron, with a palette of acrylic paints, an easel and a clean, white piece of canvas in front of me. But that’s exactly the situation my date and I are in on a Wednesday night in the heart of London. Although, thankfully, this time I’m not at school, dreading the bell signalling that maths is next. This time I am in The Hilton Trafalgar Hotel bar, with a paint brush in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. We’re at a pop-up painting session, held monthly at the Hilton Trafalgar and regularly at other spots, each time with a different theme – indeed, PopUp are holding a special session on Saturday February 14 where painters will recreate Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’. On our visit, though, we painted a pop-art print of the Queen. Painters are told they are welcome to just do their own thing, so some paint portraits of their partners – which would be a fun idea for V-day – just try not to offend them. Others paint whatever comes to mind, and many paint the Queen, but make her more abstract, with vibrant colours and re-arranged eyes, noses, and mouths. Clearly we had some wannabe Picassos in the room. Most, though, including myself and my date, followed the step-by-step instructions from the artist on how to go about recreating the painting. As we were in a bar, we had to strain above the noise to hear her, but helpers came around to us individually, telling us what colours to mix and what parts of the painting to do at each stage. None of us were pros but we all gave it a good go... with varying results. My date’s Queen was going well until she got a bit of a black eye, and my Queen looked like she was the one who had given it to her. Luckily my date and I got along better than our Queens did, and we proudly took our paintings home to remember the night by. Although I haven’t quite brought myself to hang it yet, but I’m sure the back of my cupboard is appreciating it. Valentine’s Special, The Kiss, at Hilton Trafalgar Feb 14; £35 includes a glass of wine, painting materials and you can take your artwork home. popuppainting.com; thetrafalgar.com

Singles AND FOR

SWINGER’S DATING

Leave your car keys at home (well, unless you’re driving – in that case just keep them in your pocket) – this isn’t an event for curious couples. It’s for singles, and it’s being held at Swinger’s, the pop-up crazy golf club in Shoreditch. Arranged by DoingSomething.co.uk, the night tees off with singletons being paired off into mixed groups to tackle the nine-hole crazy golf course. After that, it’s back to the clubhouse to celebrate, commiserate, exchange tips and get your dance on through until 1am. Feb 10, £18 for pairs, £11 for singles. Royal Shoreditch Clubhouse, 13 Hearn Street, EC2A 3LS doingsomething.co.uk/swingersdating GET AFTERNOON TEA WITH THE GIRLS If you and your mates are all flying solo on Valentine’s Day, why not celebrate the fact you don’t have to watch your weight for anyone by stuffing your face with tea and cake? Pop-up eatery Hoopla is taking over a quaint cafe in Hammersmith for afternoon tea on Valentine’s Day. Sat on a group table, you will share sweet and savoury tartlets, sandwiches, scones, macaroons, Battenberg, brownies and shortbreads. Wash it down with a glass of pink fizz and a tea or coffee. Feb 14, 12.30pm-2pm, £25pp. Address is sent to you once you’ve booked your tickets. grubclub.com/hoopla-avalentines-afternoon-tea LOVE TO HATE AT ANTI-VALENTINE’S NIGHT Down with Dating is organising not one, but two antiV-day nights this year; the first is for straight singles, and the second for gay singles. All bitter souls can get involved with Speed Hating, where you use your minutes to vent about everything you hate to the person opposite you. You can also use the chance to ask anyone you like the look of questions a lot more interesting than “So what do you do for a living?” Try this one, for example: “If I were to cheat on you, which star of Eastenders would you prefer it to be with and are they one of the dead ones?” These things are worth asking you know. Straight night, Feb 11, 7.30pm-10.15pm. The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Sq, London, W1. Gay night, Feb 12, 7.30pm10.15pm. The Vauxhall Griffin, 8 Wyvil Road, London, SW8 2TH; £10+ feelinggloomy.com/Down_With_ Dating.html

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Chris Large

This Australian chef went from landing in London with £200 in his pocket to creating the world’s most expensive burger. We talk to him about his super-sized success... INTERVIEW CAROLINE GARNAR

somewhere like London where success is gauged in Michelin stars was daunting. That being said I have been exceedingly fortunate to work in some great restaurants with some amazing people. I worked with Jamie Oliver and Chris Bianco, opening a new brand of restaurants with them. I’ve cooked for Marco Pierre White and Peter Gordon and countless other personalities. London is the city for opportunity. If you want it, this is the city to do it. What are the differences between cooking in a kitchen in Australia, and one in London? The heat. I Love London because the weather is very mild. It gets warm and it gets cool, never really hot or cold. In the colder weather you just turn on the stove and the oven and the kitchen is warm. Cooking in an Australian summer is a form of torture. 40° outside translates to 50° plus in the kitchen. It’s horrible.

[Caption]

What is your favourite work memory? There are many. Pirate nights in the first kitchen I worked in, to kitchen sing-alongs. My fondest memories are from my time at Supperclub, London. Complete creative control over the menu and crazy themes changed the game. Incredible food and an altogether amazing experience.

You left school at 15 – any regrets? While I wouldn’t suggest that school is useless, I felt it was for me. I didn’t like school at all. My teachers didn’t like me and I was bored so I was disruptive in class. I learned and retained more information once I left school as I was interested in what I was learning. Starting in my trade so young has also allowed me to rise to the level where I am extremely well paid at a relatively young age. So no regrets at all really.

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What success have you experienced since? And do you think moving to London made that happen? When I arrived here I had been in my trade for 12 years. I had worked in some decent restaurants in Perth with some great chefs, but coming to

How much is it? Is it available to buy at Honky Tonk? It was £1,100. Crazy right? It was available for a time but no longer as I have now left the company and am onto my next challenge.

Photo: Supplied

You arrived in London in 1999 with just £200. How did you survive? Like most Australians that arrive here to these

wonderful shores, I had a good friend living here that was willing to let me sleep on his sofa. I was extremely fortunate that the first job I applied for I got – and I got paid the following week. It was scary coming to a foreign country, but I feel like it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

You have created the world’s most expensive burger for Honky Tonk – go on, make our mouth’s water... Close your eyes and imagine a perfectly toasted brioche bun smothered with Japanese matcha mayo, a wagyu beef and New Zealand venison burger filled with black truffle brie – that melts when the burger cooks to create a liquid pocket of loveliness – nestled on crisp baby gem lettuce and heritage tomato. This is topped with maple coated bacon and Canadian Lobster cooked in Iranian saffron cream and brandy. Top that with beluga caviar and a hickory smoked duck egg, coated with 24 carat edible gold leaf. This, my friends, is perfection in every mouthful.


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Six of the best Who to watch and why in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup WORDS MICHEAL GADD

The first of two World Cups, contested mostly by remnants of the British Empire, fires off its first delivery white missile on February 14. The ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand should be a beauty with it being played in countries that reward both the bat and the ball, whether it be pace or even spin – no bias at all, it’s the truth. The sport’s motherland, England, were seeded first for the pool stage in the tournament because they were ranked top on New Year’s Eve in 2012 – not a misprint, 2012 – of the 10 full ICC members. But they go into the four-yearly showdown anything but favourites and even after ditching their weakest link – captain Alastair Cook – are looking all sorts of shaky. Here are the top six teams for the Cup and how they’re shaping up:

ENGLAND A hot mess but on the right track after replacing Cook with Eoin Morgan, who grows an extra few limbs when he’s in charge. Ian Bell is a cool head and Moeen Ali is a true talent, also Joe Root is hugely underrated in this format. But along 34

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with a skitty bowling attack they don’t seem able to pull it together, especially at big 50-over tournaments. X-FACTOR: Captain fantastic Morgan and fighter Stuart Broad BEST EFFORT: Final in 1979, 1987, 1992

NEW ZEALAND If the bookies have their way the Black Caps will be the fourth semi-finalist, and it’s a position they’ve become accustomed to. In 10 World Cups they’ve been a win from decider no less than six times. Unfortunately, the other co-hosts rely heavily on captain Brendan McCullum. On the flipside, they have Brendan McCullum... and a host of others who can produce a big performance. Kiwi legend Martin Crowe reckons they might have the best chance ever to win it. Why not? They’re a dead-set dark horse with most games on home turf. X-FACTOR: McCullum’s experience and Tim Southee’s control BEST EFFORT: Semi-finals 1975, 1979, 1992, 1999, 2007, 2011

AUSTRALIA The co-hosts are wearing favouritism well if their opening triseries performance against England was an indicator. A bonus


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New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hits past Eoin Morgan of England during 3rd NatWest Series ODI match between England and New Zealand

e 2015Jack Cuthbert (Exeter n u J 5/6/7 t our 2015 Ambaassspadso),rsRyan Cauld) wanedllWorld th

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SRI LANKA

Photo credit: TONY ASHBY/AFP/Getty Images

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, outstanding ambassadors for Sri Lanka cricket over many years, retire after the World Cup, so the plucky side from the sub-continent have plenty to play for. Fifth favouritism probably doesn’t do them justice with such experience in their batting line-up, however their bowling lets them down at times and can be a bit too pedestrian on potentially lively Aussie wickets especially. But not to be discounted at all. X-FACTOR: Ever-green Sangakarra. BEST EFFORT: Champions 1996

Mitchell Johnson (L) runs in to celebrate during the first one day international (ODI) cricket match of the series between Australia and South Africa. point smashing of England with Mitchell Starc the star in the absence of that other left-arm quick who scares the bejesus out of everyone, especially the Poms. Along with a brilliant pace arsenal (when fit) there is batting firepower in spades for the four-time champions, but as with every side they’re conducive to a collapse and pressure will be intense in Oz. X-FACTOR: Pants wetter Mitchell Johnson and firecracker David Warner. BEST EFFORT: Champions 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007

INDIA The third favourites will give a good idea of how they’ll handle Aussie conditions in the tri-series, but have shown plenty with the bat in the Test series with guys who will be continuing in the ODIs. A lack of world-class bowlers cost them the Test series against the Aussies and they have the same worries in ODIs, especially with an inconsistent pace attack with very little bite. X-FACTOR: Voracious Virat Kohli. BEST EFFORT: Champions 1983, 2011

SOUTH AFRICA When it comes to match winners, the Proteas have a bundle of them, and they quite like the Aussie conditions. AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla are the first and third-ranked batsmen in the world for starters. Although the third-ranked ODI side in the world, they’re only behind India due to the boys in blues’ lop-sided home and away form. South Africa have far greater depth and diversity, with a potentially lethal pace attack led by Dale Steyn. X-FACTOR: Explosive and tricky De Villiers. BEST EFFORT: Semi-final in 1992, 1999, 2007

THE REST Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe round out the 10 ‘big’ nations at the World Cup, though the latter two are lucky to be there and the Windies are a shambles. Pakistan can giant kill, but not away from the dead UAE wickets they’re used to playing on now. But it’s the other four that should be interesting. After the 2011 cup the ICC, in its non-existent wisdom, decided only the top 10 countries would qualify. This was obviously revealed as stupid and a qualification series was set-up. A tied match with the Netherlands, who you’ll recall beat England at the T20 World Cup, saw Ireland go through as the first qualifier. Then in 2013 Afghanistan qualified for their first major tournament after beating Kenya. Scotland and the United Arab Emirates took the other two spots in great opportunities for emerging nations.

POOLS A: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Scotland B: South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland, United Arab Emirates How it works from there: The top four teams in each pool go through to the quarter finals, with the top team in one pool playing the fourth-placed team in the other group in a straight knock out from this point. The semis will be played in Auckland and Sydney, with the final on March 29 at the MCG.

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The Garden Festival, by Ruth Braidwood

LATE DEALS | HOTSHOTS | TRAVEL TIPS | TOP FIVE | TOURS | BIG TRIP

FEEL TRANSCENDENT No, the photographer hasn’t captured a supernatural experience here, but she has captured a super-awesome experience as a Garden Festival reveler launches himself into the Adriatic sea off the Croatian town of Tisno. This is just one of many awesome festivals happening across Croatia and Europe. For a full list – all with tickets still available at time of press – turn to page 58


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REV UP FOR A RICKSHAW RUN ACROSS INDIA STA Travel Group has teamed up with extreme travel experts The Adventurists to take adventure travel up a gear.

The Rickshaw Run is a noholds-barred road trip on a glorified lawnmower in India, run three times a year. Teams land in India, get to know their rickshaw and learn some basic mechanical skills, test drive it, decorate it and then set off. Each team has to get from the start line to the finish line however they choose. “There’s no on-the-road support, no accommodation booked for participants on the way, no set route. This isn’t a rally, it’s an adventure – and one that

our customers are just going to love,” said Tim Fryer, STA Travel’s UK product and marketing director. Dan Wedgwood, managing director of The Adventurists, said: “Teaming up with STA Travel is excellent news for our fight to make the world less boring. Their customers are made of the right stuff for proper, old-school adventuring. “Now that every corner of the planet has been mapped and piped into your smartphone and guidebooks

can tell you everything before you leave home, driving yourself across India in a tiny rickshaw is the antidote. It’s impossible to predict and planning is futile – it’s about pointing your comically unsuitable rickshaw towards a finish line thousands of miles away and bracing yourself for a healthy slice of chaos and everything else India chucks at you along the way.” STA Travel and The Adventurists believe that giving back as you travel is the responsible thing to do, so each team taking part in the Rickshaw Run is encouraged to raise a minimum of £1,000 for charity. A minimum of £500 must be donated to the official charity, Cool Earth, which works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction, and the rest is to be donated to

the STA Travel Foundation or a charity of the team’s choice. There are three Rickshaw Runs to choose from in 2015/16: The Everything-IndiaCan-Throw-At-You One: Jaisalmer to Shillong, it covers 2,700km in two weeks; April 3-18 The Long Run: Shillong to Cochin, it covers 3,500km in three weeks; August 2-20 The Party One: Cochin to Jaisalmer, it covers 2,500km in just over two weeks; December 29-January 14 2016 Prices start from £1,595 per team, with a maximum of three people in a team. Price includes insurance, rickshaw driving lessons, and of course the famous pre- and post-adventure parties. The price does not include flights. Return flights from London to India start from £399 per person.

HOW TO SCORE FLIGHTS FOR JUST A FEW POUNDS

The new bidding system from the Get Away Anywhere app has seen winners secure flights such as London-Mallorca return for £2.80 or even two flights to Rome for only 93p! It may sound too good to be true, but it’s all for real. Get Away Anywhere

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is able to make such offers by charging a small fee of 50 cents for each bid. David and Priscille, the founders of GetAwayAnywhere. com, and passionate travellers themselves, say they wanted to make travel accessible to anyone. The website has sold

more than 10 flights to date, which have been mainly concentrated on destinations within Europe. As the website gains popularity, the team will be offering flights to international destinations all around the world. The flights are from London and are all with premium-quality airlines such as British Airways. Travellers can pick their dates or even gift their flight to a loved one if they want to. How does it work? The website is free to join and users receive five free bidding credits upon joining. Users will need credits in their account in order to place a bid. Once they have used

their five free bids, additional credits can be purchased via Paypal. Each time a user bids, one credit is deducted from their account and the price goes up by 1 pence. If a bid is placed in the final 10 seconds of the auction, the countdown will be reset to 10 seconds allowing participants to make a final bid. The highest bidder at the end wins, but it doesn’t stop there. Users are able to purchase the flight outright for its full value less any money they spent on bidding credits on that auction. This is only available to the first 20 users of each auction who decide to take it up. Visit getawayanywhere.com to get bidding!

Photos: supplied and iStock.

Make your bid: book your flight for a fraction of the usual cost with new travel auction app, Get Away Anywhere.


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GO SKI-SEEING IN PRAGUE AND KRAKOW It’s the annual dilemma: do we spend our holiday exploring the wintry cities of Europe or should we try our hand at a skiing/snowboarding instead? It’s a difficult enough decision at the best of times, but for non-Europeans with a limited amount of time in the UK, there’s added obligation of squeezing in as much European culture as humanly possible as well. While you probably think that skiing holidays are less likely to bring you into contact with Europe’s cultural highlights, and more likely to demolish your bank balance at the same time, you might be pleasantly surprised by the fact that two of eastern Europe’s most picturesque cities have ski resorts that are possible to visit in a relatively simple day trip. What’s more, with lift passes costing as little as £10 per day, a beer costing just 80p, and the slopes being ideal for beginners and intermediates, then there’s every reason to mark one of the following cities in your must see for your diary this winter.

Photo: iStock. Words: Paul Wojnicki

PRAGUE Prague is beautiful at any time of year but in winter it is particularly charming, and crowd free. Charles Bridge, which is often akin to a massive rugby scrum in the height of summer, is delightfully free of tourists in January and February. With a dusting of snow the city’s romance is a pictureperfect destination for Valentine’s Day. Cosy up under the castle with a mug of mulled wine, ice skate in Old Town Square with Orloj – the astronomical clock – behind you, or take in a concert at one of the historic churches and theatres that put on nightly performances. WHAT ABOUT THE SKIING? Herlíkovice is the largest resort with more than eight

miles of runs and modern snow-making facilities in case mother nature fails to provide the real thing. A bus makes the 80-mile trip from Prague daily at 06:35 and costs around £20 return, while a lift pass costs around £15 for the day. Smaller resorts can be found closer to the city and with cheaper prices – Kamenec for instance is just 50 miles away and has lift passes costing just £10 – but buses only run here on Saturdays. MORE INFORMATION For details of how to get to all the ski resorts close to Prague, including lift prices and bus timetables/booking, go to snowhill.cz, which has an English-language option on its website. For more details of what to see and do in Prague go to prague. eu/en

KRAKOW Winter in Krakow can be very cold, but the frost and

snow on the soaring spires only add to the beauty of the old town. There’s a fairytale feel to the place, with horsedrawn carriages crossing cobbled roads and snowy squares. On Market Square elaborate churches compete with baroque buildings for your gaze, while courtyard cafes bath in the glow of candlelight at night time. For something more poignant visit the nearby former concentration camp at Auschwitz or Oscar Schindler’s Factory, which is now a museum. If you’ve enough time left after that, head to the 700-year-old Wieliczka salt mine, a massive complex of caverns and lakes and even an underground chapel carved from the salt. WHAT ABOUT THE SKIING? Zakopane in the Tatras Mountains is easily reached in a day trip, with buses making the two-hour journey

regularly in both directions until late in the evening. A return journey costs around £6 while a lift pass at Kasprowy Wierch – the closest resort to the centre (3km) – costs around £18. Kasprowy Wierch has high-altitude skiing in a treeless bowl, which is ideal for intermediates and advanced skiers, though there’s no artificial snow should the real stuff not prove forthcoming. Beginners are better off using Zakopane’s Nosal ski centre which – though much smaller – has gentle slopes, lessons for novices and cheaper lift passes at around £10 for the day. MORE INFORMATION For more details of all the ski slopes around Zakopane, including lessons and ski hire, visit discoverzakopane.com. For information about what to do in Krakow visit krakow. pl/english

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TOP FIVE CONSERVATION TRIPS Is one of your resolutions to make a difference? And another to have an adventure? Try going on a conservation holiday to combine the two... Conservation holidays provide hands-on experiences for wildlife enthusiasts and novices alike. With unrivalled access to wildlife and experts, travellers make a direct contribution to the on-going studies of a threatened species and gain a greater scientific understanding of the challenges faced. They also gain valuable skills and increase practical knowledge of working in-the-field, while boosting knowledge with lectures and workshops. With that in mind, here are some conservation trips you can try...

SAVE THE RHINOS AND TRACK LEOPARDS IN SOUTH AFRICA Get involved alongside the Zulu community in the conservation of two of the most charismatic African mammals: the critically endangered black rhino and the elusive leopard. While staying at a comfortable lodge in peaceful Kwazulu Natal, take part in a worthwhile expansion project in Somkhanda Game Reserve and uncover the challenges faced by the leopard. With poaching issues and a high rate of calf mortality, the project is essential if the recently introduced founder population of black rhino are to survive and the leopard are to thrive.

Photos: iStock

STUDY THE SPERM WHALE AND BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN IN THE AZORES From the comfort of a catamaran by day and a four-star hotel by night, uncover the mysteries of the deepest diving whales that have the largest brains on earth. During the summer, when the Azores host the

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Help save the black rhino in South Africa greatest concentration of sperm whales, join experts in whales and dolphins and learn about their ecology, population, habitat and behaviour under the guidance of cetacean biologist, Dr Lisa Steiner. Highlights include exhilarating dives with elusive blue sharks, acoustic recordings, and an on-board whale and dolphin survey.

LAND OF THE LEMURS: CONSERVATION IN ACTION, MADAGASCAR While staying in simple rainforest accommodation alongside the research team in Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park, learn about threats to the lemur population such as the decline in bamboo vegetation – the main diet of this species. Interaction with the local community and close encounters with the lemurs are on the menu of this exotic ecological and cultural journey.

BLUE WHALE RESEARCH IN MINGAN ISLANDS The blue whale, the most imposing animal on Earth, lives in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world’s largest estuary and the outlet of the Great Lakes of North America. Join the scientific team as a research assistant to study these mysterious marine mammals, helping to collect critical information for a better understanding, while experiencing the authentic life of scientists in the field. One of the challenges they face comes from the oil and gas industries willing to drill for oil in the Gulf. Stay in a simple, traditional guesthouse.

of Etosha National Park, mapping their habitat and movements and setting up camera traps. While staying in lodge and bushcamp accommodation, visitors also get their hands dirty as they help farmers to build a kraal (enclosure) to protect their livestock from the wild cat predators. For more information, date and prices, visit wildlifeworldwide.com

CARNIVORES OF NAMIBIA The Namibian lion is the most threatened of the carnivores, and this physical adventure in the Namibia wilderness focuses on a lion survey on the boundary

Look after lemurs in Madagascar


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TAKE A BEHIND-THE-SCENES UK TOUR Love film? Love travel? Then you’ll love visiting these UK locations featuring in some of 2015’s big blockbusters...

Lulworth Cove, Dorset

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Cliveden House, Bucks From Far from the Madding Crowd in Dorset to Frankenstein in Manchester, England will be one big, beautiful movie set in 2015, and crowds are sure to flock to see where their favourite films were shot. VisitEngland has teamed up with Creative England to select some of the biggest films to grace our screens in 2015, revealing to film buffs exactly where the action was shot.

INTO THE WOODS Out now The film adaptation of the eponymous Broadway musical Into the Woods features an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp. Showing off a number of quintessentially English locations, the Disney hit was shot at Dover Castle in Kent, Waverley Abbey and Virginia Water in Surrey, the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire, Hambleden

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Village and Hambleden Barn in Buckinghamshire.

CINDERELLA March 27 This live-action feature is inspired by the classic fairy tale Cinderella and brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece. English locations including the grand bridge at Blenheim Palace, Black Park in Iver Heath and the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, which all help to set the scene for this childhood favourite. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the film stars Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden and Helena Bonham-Carter and will be released as the clock strikes midnight on March 27.

A LITTLE CHAOS April Starring Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci and Alan Rickman, A Little Chaos is set to grace our screens in

April. The story centres on a female landscapegardener who is awarded the esteemed assignment to construct the grand gardens at Versailles, a gilt-edged position which thrusts her to the very centre of the court of King Louis XIV. But the 18th-century French palace and grand houses were actually shot in England at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire and Cliveden House in Berkshire. Some of the cast stayed at the Grade I listed, luxury hotel and grand stately home, Cliveden House, during filming. With a garden central to the story, the production also needed some versatile outdoor space and found most of what they were looking for in Black Park, a country park next door to Pinewood Studios in Bucks, which covers more than 500 acres of woodland, heathland and grassland.

May A new adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, Far from the Madding Crowd, will be released in May. The film stars Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen, with screen play by David Nicholls. Filmed predominantly in and around Hardy Country in Dorset; Mapperton House, Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Sherborne, Eype, Purse Caundle, West Bay, Beaminster and National Trust property Cogden Beach all play a part. Few authors have such strong associations with their local area as Thomas Hardy, and today you can explore two of the writer’s houses – his childhood home and Max Gate, the property Hardy designed himself and moved into after the death of his muse and exwife Emma. National Trust property, Claydon House in Buckinghamshire, also features in the film, doubling up as Boldwood. FRANKENSTEIN October 2 Based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel of the same name, this latest adaptation is set to be released in October. Daniel Radcliffe will star as hunchback Igor, whilst James McAvoy will portray Victor von Frankenstein. Filming locations include Manchester Town Hall, Chatham Historic Dockyard, the Old Royal Naval College, including King Charles Court, and the bank of the river Thames in Greenwich.


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TOP FIVE WALKING TOURS You can’t beat exploring a country on foot – and you’ll burn off a few Christmas-induced calories while you’re at it. Here are top five walking holidays to try in 2015.

Costa Vicentina, Portugal

COSTA VICENTINA, PORTUGAL The Rota Vicentina is a longdistance footpath in Alentejo (south-west Portugal). En route, expect charming small villages and towns showcasing the essence of this deeply rural region and its unique connection with the sea. Guests walk from one welcoming hotel to another – six in all – while their luggage is transported on ahead by road. Described as a region like the Algarve but far ‘slower’, the beaches are largely deserted, attracting egrets and turtles, and sleepy whitewashed fishing villages that offer a glimpse of a way of life that has remained unchanged for decades. inntravel.co.uk

KNOYDART PENINSULA, SCOTLAND The remote and beautiful Knoydart Peninsula is often described as ‘Britain’s last wilderness’, accessible

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only by boat or via a long mountain trail. Wilderness Scotland’s unique winter walking itinerary combines learning essential winter skills, exploring the mountains and experiencing one of Scotland’s most isolated communities during its quietest period. Adventurers ascend the great mountains of Ladhar Bheinn and Sgurr Coire Choinnichean to enjoy the fine views from the summit –and reward themselves with a drink at the Old Forge, the remotest pub on the UK mainland, or with a glass of whisky by the fire back at base, a traditional Highland lodge. wildernessscotland.com

BINSAR TO JAGESHWAR, INDIA Experience the fascination of rural India and enjoy the natural hospitality of its people. With a private guide, the days are spent walking

the magnificent footpaths through terraced fields and wooded hillsides from Binsar to Jageshwar. At a gentle walking pace, enjoy views of the high peaks and encounter a wealth of wildlife. Experience a hive of activity in the villages and embrace the opportunity to join in and learn about the work of the communities. villageways.com

CLASSIC LUANGWA, ZAMBIA Enjoy a classic, small group trip with Wildlife Worldwide walking along the Mupamadzi river in Zambia, the home of the walking safari. Walkers can expect to spot a variety of wildlife including elephants, giraffes, wildebeest, zebra and the world’s highest naturally occurring population of leopard. Staying at three campsites along the way, walk-in tents with beds and linen, bush showers

and toilets are all set up for you. Walking distances are short, the pace relaxed, the stops frequent, and the wildlife simply unforgettable. wildlifeworldwide.com

BASQUE RIOJA, SPAIN New from Pura Aventura for 2015 is a Basque Rioja Inn to Inn self-guided walking route. Walk quiet paths leading you through ever-changing and colourful landscapes, from the rolling fields and Mediterranean forests of Navarre to the mountains and vineyards of La Rioja. Soak up centuries of history as you pass the churches of the Camino de Santiago and the hilltop villages of La Rioja’s Basque heartland. The beautiful surroundings are complemented by premium, small hotels and unique gastronomic experiences giving you a taste of a genuinely unspoiled part of Spain. pura-aventura.com

Basque Rioja, Spain


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LONELY PLANET’S TRAVEL TIPS WHERE TO GO IN 2015

Explore Serbia Somewhere over the last four weeks, fancy parties and sweet treats have been cruelly replaced with sober weekends and gruelling fitness regimes. It’s a difficult transition – particularly when the British weather seems to have only two objectives: to batter you with icy wind, or pelt you with rain. If you’re suffering from those pesky New Year blues, there’s no remedy quite like planning an adventure or two. Here are some of the best destinations to visit this year, according to Emma Sparks from Lonely Planet.

IRELAND Who can resist the charm of the Emerald Isle? Soak up the feel-good atmosphere and enjoy the hedonistic nightlife in Dublin, but make sure you venture beyond the capital to experience all this country has to offer. 2015 is the year of the Wild Atlantic Way, a 2,500km scenic route that will take you from Cork to Donegal – perfect for wannabe road trippers.

MILAN, ITALY No one does style and elegance quite like this fashion powerhouse. While often seen as a playground for the social elite, this year Milan will open its doors to an expected 20 million visitors from around the globe as it holds the latest world fair, Expo 2015. Visit between May and October to sample cuisine from around the globe and learn about the future of food.

VALLETTA, MALTA They say good things come in small packages, and at 600m by 100m, Malta’s tiny capital certainly proves the theory. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and now its historic buildings, such as the baroque St John’s Co-Cathedral and the National Museum of Archaeology, are complemented by modern architecture designed by Renzo Piano. Culture vultures will love this seaside gem.

MOROCCO If you fancy venturing a little further afield, head to Morocco. Lose yourself in the warren-like medinas of Marrakesh and spend an evening simply observing the frenetic energy of Djemma el Fna, the city’s captivating main square; explore Chefchaouen’s Berber culture and powder blue streets; escape to the nearby Rif mountains; or find yourself a boutique riad in Fez, the rising star of Moroccan tourism.

Emma Sparks SERBIA Award-winning Exit festival may have put Serbia on the map for travellers in Europe, but there is plenty to discover besides all-night raves and techno beats. The laid-back atmosphere extends to Belgrade’s bohemian bars, while top-notch skiing, medieval monasteries, hot springs and untouched forests provide the outdoor adventure. Oh, and did we mention it’s cheap? 48

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 LEARN LINGO

The official source of advice for New Zealanders travelling or living overseas

safetravel.govt.nz SAFETRAVEL – LOG ON BEFORE YOU TAKE-OFF

Last month’s attacks in Paris and Belgium are sobering reminders to Kiwis to register your travel with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. New Zealanders who register at www.safetravel.govt.nz receive up-to-date Travel Advice and are contacted first to confirm well-being if there is a major incident involving foreign nationals. If you don’t register, we have no way of locating or contacting you. Travellers are also strongly encouraged to purchase comprehensive travel insurance.

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TOP 5

Words: Neesha Gill and Caroline Garnar. Photos: Supplied and

THEME PARKS

1 No matter where we are in the world, we make it our mission to seek out the local theme park. It may not seem very cultured of us (with the exception of the rickety fairground rides randomly found alongside the temples of China), but nothing quite beats an adrenalin fix. Plus, short of spending a small fortune for the privilege of jumping out of a plane or off a bridge (parachute or bungee attached, of course), it’s the most reasonably priced way to get said fix. It’s also a great way to leave your troubles at the door and be a kid again. From posing with your favourite fictional childhood characters, feeling invincible and screaming at the top of your lungs on death-defying roller coasters, to getting soaked on flume rides and finding this unnecessarily hilarious. So, with this in mind, we have listed the top five big theme parks where we think you can lose your adult self for the day and experience enough adrenalin to keep you going until your next trip... 50 00

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UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD, LA The only thing that can make a ride better, in our opinion, is for it to be themed around one of our favourite Blockbuster hits. Enter Universal Studios. Doubling up as a theme park and film studio, USH is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood film studios still in use – indeed, it’s celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. There’s no sign of it slowing down either, as in 2012 it kicked off a five-year line-up of new attractions set to join classics including King Kong, Revenge of the Mummy and Jurassic Park. First came Transformer’s: The Ride – 3D, then the park was taken over by little yellow dudes in Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. More yellow paint is being used this spring as Springfield is built around The Simpsons ride, then in the summer, Fast & Furious – Supercharged will become the grand finale to the celebrated Studio Tour. Finally, 2016 welcomes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Now please excuse us while we pass out from excitement. trekamerica.co.uk/urban/#losangeles


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FUJI-Q HIGHLAND, JAPAN

ALTON TOWERS, UK

Located at the foot of Mount Fuji near Lake Kawaguchi, Fuji-Q Highland offers awesome thrill-seeker rides with a sprinkling of Japanese quirkiness. Alongside coasters with the highest total number of spins in the world, accelerations of 172km/h in 1.8 seconds, and the steepest drop in the world at 121°, you will also find a Labyrinth of Fear and the Ultimate Fort. Only enter the labyrinth if you dare, as you won’t resurface for an hour – if ever, mwah-ha-ha. While the fort maze will have you solving puzzles and cracking codes to (hopefully) escape. fujiq.jp/en/

Yep, the UK can compete with the big dogs when it comes to cool theme parks. Thorpe Park is closer to London (it’s in Surrey), and it’s G-force acceleration ride, Stealth, and The Swarm, which you can now ride backwards, made it a serious contender for this list, but it was just pipped to the (UK part of the) post by Alton Towers. Why? The adventure park in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, offers a ‘flying’ coaster, Air, where you are strapped up facing down. Cool. Along with other massive spine-tinglers, AT also has a waterpark and hotel, so it’s perfect for a weekend getaway. altontowers.com

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THE MAGIC KINGDOM, FLORIDA

DISNEYLAND, PARIS

Home to Cinderella’s castle – made globally famous by the Disney logo – The Magic Kingdom was the first park built as part of the world-renowned Walt Disney World Resort, and is often regarded as the home of Disney. Cue girly squeal. Admittedly, the rides are a little more tame to cater for all the actual real-life children who come here, but the fact you can have your picture taken with Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Cinderella more than makes up for it. Make sure you check out the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, the Jungle Cruise and Stitch’s Great Escape.

If you can’t afford to travel to the US for your Disney fix, you can simply jump on the Eurostar and get a taster in Paris. This ‘branch’ of Disney is arguably better for adults, too, as it has eight adrenalin rides, including the dropping lift in Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a coaster in the dark in Space Mountain, and Rock and Rollercoaster with Aerosmith, which takes you on a loud journey of G-force. Admittedly, though, there’s something not quite right about going to Disney in France. We’re sure Mickey loves the cheese, but we just can’t handle his squeaky voice with a French accent... us.parks.disneylandparis.com/disneyland-park

disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/magic-kingdom/

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Queens University

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Photos: Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Getty, iStock and Kris Samson.

Belfast City Hall


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UKTRIP

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Winter warmer Roaring fires, soothing pints, crisp sandwiches and warming up in the pub with a bit of a fiddle. Welcome to Belfast. WORDS: BENEDICT COOPER

It had been a very long, cold January week. By the time I arrived at my hotel in the centre of Belfast, after a hurried Friday-evening dash to Gatwick and a tired post-flight cab journey into the city, every ounce of me wanted to just sleep and leave the travel-writer bit until tomorrow. But as I’d been unloading my stuff outside the Europa’s grand lobby (hastingshotels.com/europa-belfast), I had felt a warm, inviting buzz from a mini strip of pubs over the road and now, perched on my bed, it was calling me over. And I’m glad it did, because the second I set foot in the first of them, The Crown (nicholsonspubs.co.uk/ thecrownliquorsaloonbelfast), and spied the exquisite, ornate feast that is its mosaic tiled floor, shining brass fixtures and carved wooden booths, I felt the cold and tired drifting away. I’d arrived.

Ship happens Confession time: As a kid I had what can only be described as a borderline obsession with the Titanic – should I admit that I even had a sailor’s hat? Billy kindly informs me that that makes me a ‘Titanorack’. But even if I hadn’t once been this fixated, Titanic Belfast (titanicbelfast.com), where we headed later, would still have blown me away. The museum is down in the Harland & Wolff yard where all three Olympic-class ships were created, just on the edge of the city centre. It’s set in an extraordinary metallic building shaped like the bows of four mighty ships, heading off from Belfast to all four corners of the globe. Which is fitting, because the museum is as much about Belfast’s proud history as a world-renowned shipbuilding hub and powerhouse ››

Billy of Belfast The next morning I was met first thing by my fast-talking wisecracking cab-driving tour guide for the day (niblacktaxitours. com). A true character and utterly infectious company, Belfast would not have been the same without Billy. If there’s anything he doesn’t know about his city, it’s probably not worth knowing. Just watch out for the occasional red-herring of a ‘fact’ wryly thrown in there for his own amusement (salami wasn’t invented in Belfast, for example). We covered most of the city centre, me sat in the front of the cab furiously trying to scribble down fact after fact, story after story reeled off by the man next to me. A lot of the centre’s best features – like City Hall, the excellent Metropolitan Arts Centre (themaclive.com), the worldfamous music centre Oh Yeah (ohyeahbelfast.com) and the lively St George’s Market – could and should be done on foot, and I’d say you need at least two days to fit it all in. But a cab tour will let you seek out some of the really quirky, scattered parts as well. Like No Alibis (noalibis.com) bookshop on Botanic Avenue near Queen’s University. We got there to find the owner, David Torrans, packing away the seats and speakers from a jazz show the night before – the cult store regularly hosts music and literary events. One of the very few indie bookshop owners in Northern Ireland, David’s a bright, magnetic character well worth having a chat with – indeed, he’s well-known here and even further afield for his warm welcome and love of talking crime fiction.

Ship building at H&W Yard

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UKTRIP of Ireland, as it is the illustrious and fated Titanic itself. I was in Titanorack heaven picturing the scene more than a hundred years ago. Staring at the slipway and the cavernous dry dock where the ships were fitted out, with the right type of eyes you can see this spot alive again with activity, as mighty ships take shape before a proud city. Equally trippy and well worth stopping into is the SS Nomadic (nomadicbelfast.com), Titanic’s tender ship, which ferried passengers from Cherbourg to their fate on board the liner in 1912. It’s been beautifully restored and you’re free to just walk around, which in many ways brings the tragic story to life as much as the museum itself. The next stop might have only been a few miles away, but it was in a different world. As we drove into West Belfast, along the Shankill Road and the neighbourhoods and streets still separated by insurmountable walls and gates closed at night, Belfast’s dreadful history didn’t seem nearly as distant as it had elsewhere in the city. It’s a sad reminder of a very raw and painful period that’s only ever a swift point-switch away from the conversation in these parts.

WHERE TO STAY, EAT AND PARTY

Simply crispy!

Kelly’s Cellars

The craic Later that evening I found myself with Billy and one of his mates standing beside the roaring fire and vivacious crowds of Kelly’s Cellars – Belfast’s oldest pub that feels like its life and soul. From there the details of the rest of the evening are a little vague. But I know we stopped into The Spaniard (thespaniardbar.com), a hot feisty joint where we sat on stools at the bar and sipped cocktails, before swinging round to another Belfast icon, The Duke of York (dukeofyorkbelfast.com). It’s an extraordinary place; a kaleidoscope of colours and lights and mirrors and the same warm cheer you find all over the city. After a few hours of this sort of behaviour, and a quick sharpener in the utterly exquisite cocktail bar of Merchant Hotel (themerchanthotel.com) – which no words can do justice to – a late dinner in Hadski’s (hadskis.co.uk) was a wonderful treat. A slick, modern place right in the heart of the hip Cathedral Quarter, Hadksi’s has some surprisingly rustic highlights on the menu – the pheasant was delicious. Sitting there chatting with Billy, who sums up his city in so many ways, was a perfect end to a long day, and a fittingly decadent evening in Belfast. 54

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There are plenty of good hostels – Vagabonds, Lagan Backpackers, Global Village – and in terms of hotels the Europa is arguably the city’s most iconic and a gorgeous experience. You could also check out Benedicts (benedictshotel.co.uk) if you feel like a hipper boutique. You’ve got to check out the world’s only crisp sandwich cafe, Simply Crispy, on Bedford Street in the centre – if you don’t mind a bit of a queue and a few crisp crumbs down your top. There are plenty of great options for lunch and dinner, but one of the absolute tops is Coppi (coppi.co.uk) in the Cathedral Quarter: a fine selection of modern dishes set in a sharp but cosy candlelit space. You can’t go wrong in the Cathedral Quarter, particularly Donegal Street, but don’t just stick around there. Check out the famous Robinson’s bar (robinsonsbar.co.uk), a lively place where punters cram into the back room to dance the night away to traditional and modern live music, or another famous old joint, Garrick’s (thegarrickbar.com) on Chichester Street.


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ANZACDAY

CENTENARY

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WHEN? APRIL 25, 2015

YOUR GUIDE TO

ANZAC DAY April 25, 2015 marks 100 years since the fateful day that lead to the deaths of 8,709 soldiers from Australia and 2,721 from New Zealand during World War I in Gallipoli, Turkey. Known as Anzac Day, which stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, every year three services are held at Anzac Cove to commemorate the tragic loss of these men. If you don’t really know what Anzac Day is all about 1. Hang your head in shame, and 2. Get ready for a history lesson... Anzac Day commemorates April 25, 1915; the day when soldiers from Australia and New Zealand were boated in across the Dardanelles to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey on orders from England. As in many other WWI conflicts, a major botch up at Allied High Command meant that, instead of being sent in via the fairly easy slope 00 56

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of Brighton beach, the Anzacs were landed in a cove where they had to scale a steep and rugged hillside at dawn, surrounded by what one soldier reportedly described as “shrapnel bullets striking the water with a noise like the popping of corks when drawn from Champagne bottles”. Amazingly, the Anzacs conquered the cove and clung to that scrubby two-kilometre-long plot of land for more than eight months, but more than 10 thousand Australian and New Zealander soldiers lost their lives during these events, which were later known as The Gallipoli Campaign. Afterwards the word Anzac became so popular in Australia and New Zealand that people used it to name everything from their new company to their cute kitten, until 1916 when the Commonwealth government stepped in and voted a law that would control the use of the legendary acronym.


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ANZACDAY TOP FIVE

Words: Heidi Fuller-Love and Caroline Garnar. Photos: Thinkstock and istock.

ANZAC DAY TOURS

CAN YOU ATTEND?

WHAT TO EXPECT

Every year, Aussies and Kiwis travel from all over the globe to Gallipoli in Turkey to pay their respects at the commemorative services held at Anzac Cove. Due to limited capacity and increased demand for the centenary services, the Australian and New Zealand governments held a random ballot for service tickets. If you received one (the ballots closed and winners were announced on March 31), you’ll want to start making your travel plans as the tickets don’t include transport or accommodation arrangements. If you didn’t get a ticket, you won’t be able to attend the services, although you can still feel like part of the memorial by visiting the area and absorbing the atmosphere – or there’s always next year.

You will arrive at Anzac Cove late evening to prepare for the night’s vigil when bands play periodic music and historical videos are shown on a big screen. Everyone’s crammed together like sardines, but that’s all part of the fun. Be sure to bring a sleeping bag and plenty of warm clothes because it gets cold up in them there hills. Wake up at dawn for the three minutes’ silence, which will make the hair on the back of your neck prickle. After the joint dawn service, you’ll slog up a very steep dirt track (marvelling how the Anzacs managed to do it under fire) until you reach Lone Pine Memorial where another service is held for Aussies, then onto Chunuk Bair where the Kiwi service is held.

SHORT TOURS

Two-day tours simply take you to Gallipoli and back for the sleepover and services, or opt for a three to five-day tour, which includes a day or two exploring Istanbul and/or Gallipoli. Travel Talk: 2 days from £169, 3 days from £219, 4 days from £309, five days from £359. Intrepid Travel: 2 days from £175. Contiki: 4 days from £315, five days from £359. MID-LENGTH TOURS

Explore at leisure and take in the sights of Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, the hot springs of Pamukkale and more with a six to nine-day trip. Travel Talk: 6 days from £499, 8 days from £579, 9 days from £599. Oasis Overland: 8 days from £425. LONGER TOURS

EXPLORING GALLIPOLI

WHAT ELSE?

If you’re a real battle beaver you can visit all the other WWI sites dotted around the peninsula, but its worth checking out other attractions of this lovely sea-view spot. Right at the tip of the peninsula you’ll find Kilitbahir Castle, a sturdy 15thcentury fortress with amazing views over the Dardanelles to Canakkale. Eceabat has a handful of waterfront taverns where you can enjoy a snack before crossing to Canakkale. Take the hour’s bus ride to Ancient Troy where you can see the reconstructed ruins of the legendary city. Have your photo taken next to a model of the Trojan horse that starred in the film alongside Brad Pitt (although his acting was a little wooden – boom boom tish).

You can co-ordinate your trip with a visit to Turkey’s capital, Istanbul, as most operators offer one- or two-day tours with pick-ups from the city. Stock up on evil eye charms and meerschaum pipes in the famous bazaars, take a ferry across the Bosphorus and wear out your index finger taking pictures of the beautiful Blue Mosque. On April 24, hop on the bus that will take you to Eceabat. Here you have lunch – and get what might be your first experience of those hole-in-the-floor Turkish toilets – before crossing the Dardanelles to the Gallipoli peninsula. To join a tour group, see our box out on the right for who’s travelling where and doing what.

Take in other parts of Turkey including the surreal and magical landscape of Cappadocia and the sunny beaches of Antalya with a longer 10-12-day tour. Travel Talk: 10 days, £679, 11 days £749, 12 days £799. TURKEY AND BEYOND

As Egypt is just next door, why not kill two birds with one stone? In 13 days you can see Turkey’s Cappadocia, Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy and more, and then go on to explore the pyramids, bazaars and unspoiled beaches of Egypt. In 17 days you can also take in Luxor, Cairo, sail the River Nile, and see the ‘city of the dead’. Travel Talk: 13 days £1,139, 15 days £1,239, 17 days £1,339

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Top 20 Eurofests Partying on a beach, boat, medieval fort, or mountain is surely more appealing than a muddy field? Here are 20 top European festivals to hit up on your hols, all with tickets still available at time of press

The Garden Festival, Croatia

Bilbao BBK Live, Spain

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Dimensions, Croatia

Photos: Tom Hagen, Dan Medhurst and www.timertl.com

Outlook, Croatia


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BULGARIA MEADOWS IN THE MOUNTAINS FESTIVAL When JUNE 12-14 Where Polkovnik Serafimovo, Bulgaria The vibe Said to combine the spirits of Glastonbury and Burning Man, Meadows in the Mountains brings some of the best unsigned, underground artists to one of the most stunning settings in Europe. The emphasis is on making friends, painting faces and braiding hair: embrace your inner hippy and enjoy. Line-up TBA. You likely won’t have heard of many of them anyway, but big names are not the point of this festival. Tickets: £150, including camping meadowsinthemountains.com

CROATIA INMUSIC When JUNE 22-24 Where Lake Jarun, Zagreb The vibe Croatia’s biggest open-air festival focuses on renowned indie rock and electronica – all in an ideal island setting. Yes please. Line-up Placebo, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Eagles of Death Metal and We Are Shining have been announced so far. Tickets: 3-day ticket £34, or £51 including camping inmusicfestival.com/en

Photos: Tom Hagen, Dan Medhurst and www.timertl.com

EUROFESTIVALS

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THE GARDEN FESTIVAL When JULY 1-8 Where Tisno, Croatia The vibe It’s your final chance to go to The Garden Festival, as it celebrates its tenth and final season in Croatia this summer. Originally founding and since inspiring the now thriving Croatian festival scene, The Garden Festival unites adventure seekers from all over the world in its slice of paradise on the Adriatic coastline. Get set for a spectacular finale. Line-up Ben UFO, Bonobo, Craig Richards, Crazy P (live), Darshan Jesrani, DJ Harvey, Eats Everything, Gerd Janson, Greg Wilson, Jackmaster, Joy Orbison, Midland, Nightmares On Wax (live), Optimo, Paranoid London (live), Psychemagik, Seth Troxler, Talaboman, Tim Sweeney and many more. Tickets: £120 (boat and club parties are extra). Onsite apartments, boutique camping and Podpads are available for extra, but will get you £20 off your festival ticket thegardenfestival.eu

ULTRA EUROPE When JULY 10-12 Where Split, Croatia The vibe Started in Miami, America’s foremost electronica event is coming to Europe for the third year running after a hugely successful 2014, with more than 150,000 revellers partying across the three days. Topped off by a pool-side set from a leading DJ, this is a mammoth dance party to end all others. Line-up Last year saw Above & Beyond, Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Example, Tiësto and more take to the decks, so expect more of the same this year. Tickets: From £105 for three-day pass. Camping and hostel accommodation options are available ultraeurope.com

NEW FOR 2015 CROATIA ROCKS When JULY 19-23 Where Zrce beach, Pag Island The vibe Ibiza Rocks, which hosts weekly club nights on the Balearic island, is condensing its mega programme of electronic music into five nights of live music, DJs, producers and emerging talent playing under the stars in Croatia. There will be a main festival stage, beach raves and boat parties galore. Tickets: £99 early bird (£119 thereafter), or £218 for ticket and accommodation STOP MAKING SENSE When JULY 30-AUGUST 2 Where Tisno, Croatia The vibe You’ll dance all day and all night under the stars and on the beach in this magical private bay with tiki bars, beach sports and boat parties. Line-up TBC, but Nick Hoppner, Gerd Janson, T.Williams and Severino made appearances last year. Tickets: Super early bird tickets are £80. Regular price £120. On-site apartments and cool little ‘Podpads’ are available, see accommodation section of the website for details. If you book through Podpads you will receive £20 off your festival ticket stopmakingsense.eu DIMENSIONS FESTIVAL When OPENING CONCERT AUGUST 26; FESTIVAL AUGUST 27-30 Where Fort Punta Christo, Pula The vibe Dimensions showcases the world’s best underground electronic

music in the beautiful location of an abandoned 19th-century fort right by the stunning Adriatic coastline, with the opening concert in a 2000-year-old amphitheatre. Boat and beach parties day and night offer a fantastic experience sound-tracked by brilliant live and DJ talent. N.B. If you can’t make these dates, check out Outlook below, which is the same location a few days later. Line-up Set to be announced early Feb. Tickets: £140 (boat parties extra), available from Feb 6. Options to include camping/ accommodation dimensionsfestival.com OUTLOOK FESTIVAL When OPENING CONCERT SEPTEMBER 2; FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 3-6 Where Fort Punta Christo, Pula The vibe It’s all about that bass at Outlook, which joins the dots between musical legends right through to the next generation of up-and-coming talent. Reaching its 8th year in 2015, some of the finest live acts and DJs in the world descend upon a 19th-century fort for five days and nights of amazing bass music in Croatia. Line-up Set to be announced early February Tickets: £140 (boat parties extra), or £190 with camping outlookfestival.com

GERMANY ROCK AM RING & ROCK IM PARK When JUNE 5-7 & 6-9 RESPECTIVELY Where Flugplatz Mendig/Vulkaneifel & Zeppelinfeld Nürnberg, Germany The vibe The Reading and Leeds of Germany, these festivals have the same line-up, same vibe, same dates, different locations. No matter which one you’re at, prepare to rock. Line-up Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Slipknot and Sie Toten Hosen headline, with Marilyn Manson also making an appearance. Tickets: £180 for Rock am Ring; £170 for Rock am Park rock-am-ring.com/rock-im-park.com MELT! When JULY 17-19 Where Ferropolis, Germany The vibe The big draw at this electronicmeets-rock fest is its unique location in an open-air museum of huge industrial machines from the 20th century. At least doing ‘the robot’ will be welcome. ›› Line-up Norwegian folkster Erlend TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Tickets: 7-day pass £175*, including camping; 5-day pass £90* including camping. You can upgrade your 5-day pass to 7 days at the festival for another £23*. Day tickets available sziget.hu

Photo: Tom Hagen.

THE NETHERLANDS

EDITOR’S PICK BILBAO BBK LIVE When JULY 9-11 Where Bilbao, Spain The vibe We’re even more excited about one of our favourite festivals this year, as not only is it celebrating its 10th anniversary, but Aussie band The Cat Empire are performing. Always amazing at getting a crowd going, Muse, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Ben Harper will also be singing as the sun sinks behind the city and you watch from a blissful spot atop a mountain. With acts only playing in the evenings, you’ve got the days free to explore Bilbao and its beaches. Perfect. Line-up MUSE, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Future Islands, Counting Crows, The Cat Empire, Kodaline, ShakaPonk, The Ting Tings, Capital Cities, Delorean, Zoot Woman, Arizona Baby, Zea Mays, Novedades Carminha and more. Tickets: 3-day ticket £91, or £98 including camping bilbaobbklive.com/2015/en

Øye is the only act announced so far, with the rest to be released soon. Tickets: Three-day pass £103, including camping meltfestival.de HUNGARY SZIGET When AUGUST 10-17 Where Obudai Island, Budapest, Hungary The vibe Voted Best Major European Festival at the 2014 European Festival Awards, Sziget deserves all the hype as it continues to attract the big names as well as the crowds. Line-up Florence and the Machine, alt-J, Blasterjaxx, AWOLNATION, Jamie Woon, Fauve José González, The Subways, Babylon Circus and Kadebostany have been announced so far. 60

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DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE When JUNE 26-28 Where De Groene Heuvels (The Green Hills) park, Beuningen, Holland The vibe This surreal and psychedelic Alice in Wonderland-inspired festival won Best New Festival at 2014’s European Festival Awards. Billing itself as the festival where you can ‘be who you are when no one can see you’, it encourages free-spirited fun. Line-up Damien Rice, The War on Drugs, Alabama Shakes, The Gaslamp Killer Experience, Patti Smith and her Band Perform Horses, Fat Freddy’s Drop and more. Tickets: Weekend £119, including camping downtherabbithole.nl ADE When OCT 14-18 Where Across Amsterdam The vibe If you were wondering when might be a good time to visit the ’dam, this is it. The Amsterdam Dance Event, or ADE, is the biggest clubbing festival in the world with performances by more than 2,200 artists in 85 locations around Amsterdam last year. For the 350,000 festival visitors in 2014, ADE was the ideal place to check out everything from the latest musical trends and emerging talent to the latest work by the scene’s pioneers and superstars, so we should think you can expect the same again, but even bigger as this year marks its 20th anniversary. Line-up It’s early days, so it’s all TBC, but you can register for updates at the website. Tickets: As above a-d-e.nl

POLAND BARGAIN! OFF FESTIVAL When AUGUST 7-9 Where Katowice, Poland The vibe This dirt-cheap festival feels anything but that with a well thoughtout, extremely eclectic list of performers. Line-up Run the Jewels, Sunn O))), The Julie Ruin, Jacek Sienkiewiz, Girl Band and Kristen have been announced so far. Tickets: Three-day pass £35* + £10 for camping offsklep.pl PORTUGAL SUPER BOCK SUPER ROCK When JULY 17-19 Where Parque das Nações, Lisbon.

The vibe As one of the longest-running festivals in Europe, this regularly attracts big names – one of which is the legendary Sting this year. The beach-side back drop is an added bonus. Line-up Florence and the Machine and Sting will be joined by Little Dragon, Kindness, Modernos and more. Tickets: 3-day pass £77*, including camping Superbocksuperrock.pt

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO EXIT ADVENTURE When JULY 9-12 & JULY 16-18 Where Novi Sad, Serbia & Budva, Montenegro The vibe EXIT is celebrating its 15th birthday this year and it is doing so by combining its usual festival of echoing dance music and hip-hop in an ancient fortress in Serbia with a big party four days later on a beach in neighbouring Montenegro. The Sea Dance Festival is a newbie, but it has already won the award for Best European Medium-sized Festival. Package prices are available if you want to attend both festivals, see info below. Line-up Motorhead is headling, with Adam Beyer, B2B, Joseph Capriati, Chris Liebing, Eagles of Death Metal and more announced so far for EXIT. Tickets: £105 for EXIT, £45 for Sea Dance; £115 package price for EXIT and Sea Dance. £25 each for camping exitfest.org

SPAIN SONAR When JUNE 18-20 Where Barcelona, Spain The vibe Sonar prides itself on its selection of ‘advanced’ new music and hosts the most cutting-edge and forwardthinking artists out there, irrespective of their musical genre. Line-up The Chemical Brothers, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Evian Christ are among the acts to be announced so far. Tickets: 3-night pass £125*; 2-night pass £95* sonar.es/en FIB When JULY 16-19 Where Benicàssim, Spain The vibe English festival-goers love Beni, with its hot weather and even hotter tunes. Its line-up offers a nice mix of cool rock and quirky pop for those who prefer their music a bit more mainstream. Line-up TBC, but last year saw Kasabian, Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding, Manic Street Preachers and Lily Allen take to the stage. Tickets: 4-day pass £99*, includes basic camping; + £65* for camping village with amenities fiberfib.com


48HOURS

JERUSALEM

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YOUR WEEKEND IN

Words: Danny Hilton. Photos: iStock

JERUSALEM

Prayer at the Western Wall

DAY ONE MORNING Jerusalem is packed full of history, so starting your trip at the fantastic Israel Museum makes sense. It holds the largest collection of Bible lands archaeology in the world, with regular tours in English, depending on what you want to see. This is a truly impressive museum with a varied collection, from international art and architecture to Jewish life and cultural exhibits from ancient to modern times.

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It’s also here that you’ll find the unmissable Dead Sea Scrolls, housed beautifully in their own custom-built building. There are pleasant gardens to take a stroll in, and a rather cool model of Jerusalem from Jesus’s time. This area is on a hill looking down towards the city, so it’s a good place to see the sites of the Old City alongside those of the New City, such as the ancient Dome of the Rock and the modern Jewish Parliament (the Knesset). AFTERNOON Before heading to the Old City, take lunch at the museum’s restaurant, Modern Restaurant Jerusalem. With big portions and tons of healthy options, you’ll find something to keep you happy whatever your taste. The sweet potato chips and mezze are especially scrumptious, with good coffee too. The friendly staff at the museum will be able to advise you on how best to get to the old town – either by taxi (pretty cheap, especially compared to a London cab) or by bus. Head for the historic Jaffa Gate, one of the best places to access the Old City. It’s probably best to cover up a bit if you’re

keen to go into the religious sites here – so ladies, short skirts are a no-go. You may immediately be drawn to the impressive Tower of David, but skirt around it to the Armenian Patriarchate Street to explore the Armenian Quarter, home of the black-robed Armenian Orthodox community. The Church of St James is exceptionally beautiful, filled with frescoes, candles and other Orthodox paraphernalia that will take you to another world. If you’re lucky enough to encounter the choir singing you’ll be in for an experience that will stick with you forever. Join the main street again, following it until it becomes Habad Street – turn onto MishmarotHaKehuna Street and you’ll soon be in the heart of the Jewish Quarter with its many synagogues and vibrant shopping area, The Cardo, great for picking up art and artisan produce. The Hurva Synagogue is one of the finest sites here, with a unique, ephemeral beauty – well worth a look. Head down the sloped decent to the Western Wall, taking in the view of The Dome of the Rock (closed to tourists),


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the Al Aqsa mosque, the West Bank and beyond it, Jordan. A great spot for photos. Be ready for the airport-style security check before the Western Wall, and spend some time absorbing the atmosphere of this ancient, holy place. Around dusk is just perfect – with evening prayers about to commence, there’s a real buzz in the air. EVENING If you want a quick, easy and tasty dinner with free wi-fi (time to upload some of those pics), Jacob’s Pizza back by the Jaffa Gate cannot be beaten. Grab a slice and continue exploring, or sit down to have a whole pizza. The Tower of David light show may sound naff, but it’s surprisingly quirky, creative and stirring. You’ll see the many stages of history that Jerusalem has been part of come dramatically to life on the walls of the citadel.

DAY 2 MORNING Jerusalem isn’t just one big museum – there are hipster hotspots too, especially around Shatz Street. Have a relaxed morning and grab a big, wholesome, al-fresco breakfast at Café Betzalel, opposite the art college. There’s a fun, relaxed vibe around this part of town, with vintage stores and an epic bookstore on neighbouring streets. But there’s still plenty to see in the Old City, so head back to Jaffa Gate and follow the signs for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the holiest sites in Christianity. You could spend anything from 20 minutes to four hours here, especially if you’re keen to queue up to see Jesus’s place of death (Calvary) or the (alleged) site of his tomb. This is a major Christian pilgrimage site, with people from all over the world making the journey – so sometimes it can get pretty crowded. Different parts of the church are controlled by the different Christian denominations – you’ll be overawed with the clash of cultures, moments of serenity, and at the same time buzz and vibrancy of the atmosphere. It’s an epic, magical setting. On the way out, be sure to check out the covered bazaar area, with tons of gift shops to suit all tastes and budgets. AFTERNOON It’s time to leave the city and experience the ‘beach’ of Jerusalem – the Dead Sea. There are a ton of tour options available here, with lots of central pick-ups. Shop around to find one that’s right for your budget and timescale. Some of them include the historic fortress of Masada that’s close by, well worth including if you have time (just don’t eat at the overpriced, Disney-fied canteen). Take a swimsuit, but not your best one, as it might stain from all the salts. Floating in the Dead Sea is an otherworldly experience – as are the surrounding views. If you’re in Jerusalem, you’ve just got to try it. It’s not really a place you’d want to stay at all day though, so book a tour with a fairly quick return time. EVENING The First Station area is full of quirky bars and restaurants – try one of the best, Adom, which mixes French, Italian and traditional Jewish flavours. There are plenty of cheaper options available too. If you’re still in the mood to party, try Bar Uganda off the central Yafo Street (6 Aristobulus St). Open until 3am every night (apart from Fridays, the Jewish Sabbath), there are DJs and a regular programme of live music and bands. L’chaim!

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We are sailing The question for many is not why to go on a sailing trip, but where. We take a look at the big three sailing spots to confuse you even more, probably. WORDS CAROLINE GARNAR

We don’t think we have to spout superlatives about why you should go on a sailing trip. A few nouns should do it: Sun. Sea. Boat. Bikini. Islands. Booze. We won you over yet? Thought so. Hot spot Croatia, classic Turkey and enjoying-a-renaissance Greece are the current top spots for a sailing trip, so we look at the islands and stop offs you will make for each one to help you figure out what you might fancy. In all honesty, though, we’re still torn... ››

Photo: MedSailors

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CROATIA The Dalmatian coast off Croatia has more than 1,000 islands. Funnily enough, we won’t be covering them all here; just the main jump offs for sailing trips in the area. Most itineraries depart from Split and sail down through the islands, finishing up in Dubrovnik. You should dedicate at least a week to travelling the islands, with the shortest trip we know of being a five-dayer. Top five islands

Croatia with Medsailors Photo: Topdeck Travel

Photo: MedSailors

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Rock tombs in Dalyan 68

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BRAC: Here’s a pub quiz-esque factoid for you: Brac is home to the quarry from which the pristine white stone was mined for The White House itself in Washington DC, USA. Impress your mates with that baby. You can visit the stonemason school here to watch the unique stone be chiselled, now into fountains and such usually used to adorn the streets of Split. Other than that, it’s the not-particularly appealing-sounding Zlatni Rat you want to aim for. The long pebbly beach that reaches out into the Adriatic Sea encourages swimmers and windsurfers to spend their days in the water. A tree-lined pedestrian promenade connects the strip to the old town, where you can explore the shops and stop off for a cooling drink at a cafe. HVAR: Hvar draws in the crowds because it offers a little bit of everything – oh, and it’s the sunniest spot in the whole country. Hvar Town is home to swanky hotels, bars and restaurants, where a night out is as much about seeing and being seen as it is sampling the local produce. Stari Grad and Jelsa are the sleepier and arguably more charming older towns, while the inland offers heady fields of lavender, rosemary and heather, rocky mountain paths and ancient abandoned hamlets. The nearby Pakleni Islands supply the crystal clear lagoons for snorkelling and optionally nudey beaches for all-over sunbathing. VIS: The residents of Vis are still adjusting to the boatloads of tourists off-loading into their previously quiet harbour; the island was cut off from foreign visitors for nearly 40 years, right up until 1989, as it served as the military base for the Yugoslav National Army (you will see a Bond villain-esque ‘lair’ built into the mountains, which served as an exit and entry point for submarines). This, of course, means it remains delightfully underdeveloped, and so retains its charm and stress-free way of life, which seeps into you through osmosis as soon as you step ashore. Go inland to sample Croatia’s vugava wine among its stretching vineyards; take a stroll to see a mishmash of cultures past: a Greek cemetery, Roman ruins and crumbling English fortress; enjoy fresh seafood at a harbour-side restaurant and, if you’re feeling brave, seek out a nudist beach, tucked away in numerous pebbly coves, or simply lie back on arguably the most beautiful stretch, Komiza Bay. KORCULA: The skinny streets of Dubrovnik are now teaming with tourists, and so to meander with ease through a fortified town of Renaissance and Gothic architecture, you can head to Korcula. See the impressive St Mark’s Cathedral, St Peter’s Church and Marco Polo’s alleged place of birth; regardless of whether it really is or not, the tall house’s windows offer an impressive vista. Gather in the town square for religious ceremonies and folk dancing, or explore outside the stone walls to find vineyards, olive groves, small villages, dense ››

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Spend seven days sailing the most breathtaking islands the Mediterranean has to offer. Explore historic towns, relax on board your own yacht and have the time of your life at the best night spots. The perfect balance for the perfect holiday.

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woodland and sandy coves on the south, or pebbly beaches to the north. PAG: There’s not too much to explore on this island, with the rocky, sand-coloured moonscape home to only a small, shabby town. Of interest to you here is the area of Novalja and the nearby Zcre Beach. At the beach, you can Jet Ski by day and party by night, particularly when Croatia Rocks hits its shores (July 19-23). Aside from open-air raves, there are a number of bars and three big clubs to keep the party going.

TURKEY You can explore the beautiful south-west coastline of Turkey by car, but who would choose to sit inside a stuffy motor when you can feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face on a majestic Turkish gulet? Wind your way around the curved coast from Fethiye, stopping off at party port Smuggler’s Cove, and ending up in Bodrum or Olympos. You can do an east to west (or west to east) cruise in four days, or a return in a week. Top five stop offs

Relax with Go Sail Turkey

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Photos:Rock MedSailors and Go Turkey tombs in Sail Dalyan

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FETHIYE: The majority of the gulets sail off from Fethiye harbour. Flattened by an earthquake in 1958, the low-rise buildings that have since risen mean this tourist resort feels blissfully suburban and relaxed. Explore the tombs and ruins of Telmessos before heading off on your gulet cruise. OLUDENIZ: Chill out in the beautiful bay of Oludeniz where you can bob about in the water carefree due to the lack of waves or current as it’s secluded by green-sprinkled cliffs. You can even paraglide in if you wish, which we do. Nearby is Butterfly Valley, named due to its sporadic visit from groups of colourful butterflies, which also has great snorkelling and offers the chance to hike up a waterfall. KALKAN: This harbour-side town is along the postcard lines of pretty shutter-windowed houses stacked up on the hillsides sloping down to a bay of bobbing boats. The restaurants here are a step above, with fresh, perfectly seasoned seafood – you will pay a premium for the privilege though. KAS: Kas is great for an adventure on sea or land. Kayak through caves, dive through wrecks or hike up craggy hillsides. At night, the tombs in the mountain wall light up, supplying a pretty if slightly eerie glow as you moor up for the night. KEKOVA: Kekova is known for its ‘sunken city’. You can’t snorkel or dive here, but you can jump in a kayak to explore the remains of the second-century city, which was partly submerged by an earthquake. The mainland part of Simena is still on dry land, with a castle watching over and warning the waters away, while the island part of the village has been partly submerged, with crumbling remains of houses and staircases descending into the sea.

Larger islands such as Santorini, Zante and Mykonos might be stealing the headlines, but a sailing trip hopping between Greece’s smaller spots dotted along the crescent between Athens and Epidavros is also a great way to spend your time. You’ll want to reserve seven days as you will likely need to ›› loop back to Athens to catch your flight back home.

Photos o


A GUIDE TO SAILING The insider's guide to sailing Everybody, meet Clare. Hailing from Belfast, she joined Topdeck at the beginning of 2012 as one of our awesome Trip Leaders. Clare has been cruising the roads and waters of Europe for the past few years. Now one of our resident sailing experts, she gives you her top five tips:. ›› Pack light - Sailing around the Mediterranean is a dream come true, but isn’t when you pack everything including your kitchen sink. You don’t need much for life on board! Lounge around on deck, take a dip in the ocean or check out treasures like the sunken city of Kekova – this will only require a few essentials, so leave the rest on-shore!

Fetihye, Belcekiz Beach

For the culture vulture ›› Wear sunscreen - Take Baz Luhrmann’s advice and For those who like to wear your sunscreen. It doesn’t get much better than immerse themselves in relaxing after a late morning dip, but with the reflection cultural experiences while of the dazzling white deck and those crystal clear waters travelling, the Hammam de of the Mediterranean, nobody wants to sport sunburn in la Mosquee du Paris is an Kings Landing (aka Dubrovnik). Be sun smart! ideal destination. Visitors can respectfully spend time ›› Plan ahead - After a morning of relaxation and in the mosque and book a frolicking in the water you will be ready to explore. Have massage in the hammam a chat with your Trip Leader or Sailing Rep to see what is for after. Enjoy the in store for the evening. Whether you want some culture, a wonderful architecture of bit of a walk or to chill in a waterside restaurant/ bar – time the mosque, and the Salon goes quickly with life on the sea. For example, Croatia has de Thè, which serves honey it all, so don’t miss out on a boat trip around the stunning pastries and North African Mljet National park (included in the entrance fee). tea. la-mosquee.com/ htmlfr/hammamfr.htm ›› Try all the cuisine – Eat everything! Mediterranean cuisines are arguably the best in the world. From the freshest salads in Greece to a proper kebab in Turkey and everything in between, don’t say no to anything that is put on your plate. Your taste buds will be just as satisfied as you will be with your new tan. ›› Explore the less-beaten track – Don’t forget to go exploring to places where you haven’t necessarily heard of. The Aegean side of Greece has all the famous islands, but don’t forget to check out the Ionian side. Clear, blue waters, dolphins and the island of Corfu – that’s my idea of the best sailing trip ever.

To go on one of Topdeck’s trips in Europe, visit

Photos on this page: Topdeck Travel

Warm up your girls’ weekend topdeck.travel in Paris at HammaPacha

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Top five islands

Aegina, Greece

AEGINA: A common spot for weekending Athenians, you can stroll among fellow vacationers, buzzing motorbikes and diners spilling onto the pavements along the waterfront for a taste of a true Greek holiday. For day-to-day life, head behind the bustling harbour to see chatting teens and washing lines strung between town houses, or for history, spot the Temple of Apollo just north of the harbour. Beyond that stands lush land sprinkled with wildflowers, making for a pretty backdrop for this slice of Grecian life. PERDIKA: Perdika is a quiet fishing village by day, with a surprising scene of late-night music bars by night. For a swim, catch a caique (small boat) to the island of Moni (if your boat doesn’t stop there already), which has a tree-lined beach and relaxed cafe. Otherwise, sink a few cold ones in a taverna, waiting for the sun set, before enjoying the live bands. POROS: Separated from the mainland by a small channel, Poros Town feels more as if it’s perched on a lake, with icecream coloured houses dotting the shores and rising up to greet a clock tower. The other side of the island is dominated by forest and sandy coves. Russian Bay is a good option for chilling out, while Neorian Beach offers classic watersports including banana boating and water skiing. HYDRA: Hydra is unique because it is vehicle free; the only mode of transport are the ambling donkeys which clip-clop across the cobbled lanes. That’s not to say it’s not bustling, though, as the port sees sailboats, ferries and water taxis sweeping in and out, with cafes and restaurants lining the waterside to welcome hungry and thirsty travellers. Walk into the winding streets to get a taste of traditional Mediterranean life; peeking into dark windows that keep the heat out, and smiling at old women chattering on their doorsteps. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, head into the mountains to find peaceful monasteries and sweeping vistas. SPETSES: For a taste of true carefree island life, Spetses is a great port of call. The lively old town lines the waterfront, offering sleek restaurants and nightlife, also found at its buzzing clock tower square. Rent a moped for the day and ride the Tarmac roads that line the pebble beaches and weave between the rolling hills. Head for Agii Anargyri and Agia Paraskevi to grab some food at a tavern, have a go at some watersports and swim out to Bekiris Cave. Bliss.

READY TO BOOK YOUR SAILING TRIP? Try one of these TNT-recommended companies... Topdeck (topdeck.travel) offers sailing trips at all three destinations, costing from £319 for eight days. Med Sailors (medsailors.com) offers sailing trips at all three destinations, costing from £414 for seven days. Busabout (busabout.com) offers sailing trips at all three destinations, costing from £325 for eight days. Aegean Party Life (aegeanpartylife.com) offers sailing trips in Greece costing from £539 for eight days. Go Sail Turkey (gosailturkey.com) offers sailing trips in Turkey costing from £155 for four days.

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Rock tombs in Dalyan Hyrda, Greece 72

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Rum diary With crumbling buildings and classic cars, it may seem as if time has stopped in Cuba, but it’s always cocktail o’clock WORDS ANDREW WESTBROOK

“What country are you from?” comes the first question without fail, together with the flitting eyes, constant babbling and references to “my friend” that reveal the international mark of the hustler. The immediate follow-up is to guess “Italian?”. I’m bemused – Cuba is not overflowing with Italians and I’ve never been mistaken for one in the past. “England,” I reply dismissively, having learnt this oft-repeated conversation is only a question or two from a sales pitch for bootleg cigars, a woman, a taxi, or often all three. “Ah, England!” the hustler adds excitedly, then adds, “Ali G! Booyakasha!” and flicks his fingers together in the air before returning to his corner. In Cuba it seems, even the cultural references are stuck in a time warp. There is nowhere else like it in the world, though. It’s where Latin America meets the Caribbean, a place where the sounds of rumba, jazz and reggaeton are always within earshot and where rum is not just a drink, but a way of life. And yet, what really sets this largest of the Caribbean islands apart is its politics. One of the last real bastions of communism, Cuba is both the oh-so-close thorn in America’s side and the land responsible for creating the icon that is Che Guevara. It’s also a place where, in many ways, the clock simply ground to a halt when Fidel Castro’s rebels swept to power in 1959. But communism and clocks aside, my plan is to live as the Cubans live, to follow in the footsteps of the pirates and the planters by letting the rum dictate my days – I’ll be working my way around the cocktail list as much as the country. After all, considering Cuba once led the world in sugar production, it’s unsurprising the country is also the birthplace of the world’s best rum, not to mention most rum-based cocktails. The trailblazer was the Bacardi family, but they’re based in the Bahamas nowadays, having not fancied Fidel Castro’s business plan. Now, the one brand in town is Havana Club. Luckily enough, it’s no poor substitute. ›› TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Joining the club My first day in Havana is an onslaught on the senses. Boys strum guitars in doorways, the sound of a solitary clarinet drifts across an empty stadium and an old man blows soulfully into a French horn towards the watery horizon. I walk through the searing heat, towards the postcardperfect streets of the World Heritage-listed old town, sweating my way along the Malecon, the majestic surfbattered boulevard that sweeps along Havana’s brow, its ocean wall dotted with couples and drinkers, all looking out to Miami, all dreaming. The roads are a cacophony of cultures, with just about every passing vehicle feeling as though it began life elsewhere. There’s the bicitaxis and tuk-tuks so reminiscent of Asia. Around them scoot the masses of Russian-made Ladas. And, of course, representing Cuba’s BC, as in Before Communism, are the classic American cars. Chevrolets, Fords, Dodges, Buicks, Cadillacs and more, each dating from the 1950s or earlier. God knows how many times they’ve been rebuilt from the inside out, but these hulking American giants chug past continually, belching out fumes while effortlessly creating an old-world glamour I’ve not experienced outside of a cinema. And then there are the buildings. Crumbling grandeur personified, a reminder of a different age, a time when Cuba was a Spanish colony and the powers-that-be took great pleasure in frittering away their vast slave-driven sugar riches on architecture of the highest standard. The city is like a broken honeycomb, with brightly coloured facades giving way to grey ruins, whole floors exposed to the elements where neighbouring buildings have collapsed. In places it feels as though Havana has endured 76

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some terrible bombing, but time and a lack of money have been the only enemies here. It’s a city with museums and monuments and castles as good as any other, but Havana itself is the ultimate living museum.

Signs of Che worship abound


The heat is oppressive and inescapable, but I discover a cure. Perhaps Cuba’s most famous creation, the remedy is a mix of lime juice, sugar, sparkling water, mint and white rum – it’s the Mojito. Dating back to the 19th century, some believe the drink evolved from a previous cocktail known as El Draque, named after English seaman Francis Drake, forever the curse of Spanish defences. Others believe African slaves working in the sugar cane fields came up with the drink. Whoever it was, with my head light and body refreshed, I owe them a debt. Days pass as I wander the streets, taking refuge only to refuel on Mojitos, returning home only to recharge my camera; before I know it, I’ve lost a week to Havana’s sweltering streets. It’s time to explore the country. And the cocktail menu.

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Che, Communism & Coca-Cola

Smoking hot Now overflowing with revolutionary spirit, it’s time to head onwards, towards the south coast and the World Heritagelisted town of Trinidad, which is that rarest of things – a much-hyped destination that delivers what it promises. The main square is straight out of a period drama, bursting with colonial buildings and cigar-smoking characters. It’s a town so charming it feels like the setting of a fairy tale. Mornings are filled with horse riding trips

Following the more experienced divers as they plop off the back of the boat, Martin, our guide and my dive buddy, leads our select group of four round the front. We follow the anchor line down 13m into the depths, and gradually El Jardin de la Gorgonia (The Gorgonian Garden) reveals itself. Hollow, lime green flutes straight from the vase section of Habitat jut from mounds of black coral, jostling for space with sponges and gently wafted by Gorgonian fans, some as delicate as cobwebs, others sturdier like bright red cacti. Over this dazzling reef dart skinny barracuda, striped khaki and white Nassau groupers and iridescent yellowtail snappers. Sometimes it’s possible to spot the odd turtle here and, in winter, whale sharks, but our biggest find is a huge black crab shyly crouching under a rock shelf. “I’ve seen better marine life, but the coral’s amazing,” announces a veteran diver back on board. With gangs of fish and neon coral still flitting past my eyes, I’m more than happy. While María la Gorda might be busy underwater, on dry land it’s anything but. The sleepy resort has only two restaurants; one for casual lunches of pizza and sandwiches, and the other for a generous buffet of salads, seafood and freshly barbecued fish. The only hotel is the Hotel María la Gorda, where rooms are a series of wooden huts connected by walkways raised off the ground. Often the only sound as we walk between our rooms is the many red and black crabs scuttling below. There’s no need for a bustling town centre, though, when you have a beach dotted with stripy palm trees that act as sunshades for the deckchairs, and the sand is met by a minty blue sea turning darker as it stretches out to the reef. Bliss. All the diving at María la Gorda is done from the International Dive Center at the Marina Gaviota, which is attached to the Hotel María la Gorda. There are three scheduled dives a day as well as night diving. A 45-minute dive is CUC$33.60 including tanks, weights and transport; flippers, snorkels and wetsuits can be hired separately. There is one qualified instructor for every six divers and diving courses for all levels. Non-divers can fish, snorkel or take boat rides. For more information see villamarialagorda.com

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Words: Janine Jorgensen

I’ve got a fortnight, ample days for a loop of the country’s west, and so board a bus for Santa Clara, the epicentre of Cuba’s Che worship and the promised land for beret-wearing students the world over. Out on the open road, like in the city, there is no advertising. Except for the ideas of the state. “Fatherland or death”, “Until victory, always” or simply “Socialism!” scream the slogans printed across buildings and billboards, looking more like youthful graffiti than the propaganda of a 50-year-old regime. After a few hours of lush countryside and political education, we arrive in Santa Clara, where it’s soon clear that life outside Havana moves at a slower pace. For starters, horses and carts are almost as common as cars. Santa Clara was the scene of the revolution’s decisive battle, and it was won in large part by the daredevil leadership of Comandante Guevara himself. Here, with just 18 men and an armoured tractor the A-Team would’ve been proud of, he managed to derail a military train, defeat the 350 troops on board and subsequently inspire the government soldiers to surrender the whole region. President Batistuta duly fled the country 12 hours later. The remains of the train, reminiscent of a Bond set, now form an interesting museum, while a giant monument to Cuba’s favourite Argentine (that’s Che) has been built on the outskirts of town. As such, a change of refreshment in favour of something more revolutionary seems imperative, and so I leave my beloved Mojitos in favour of a Cuba Libre. Actually nothing to do with Guevara’s liberation of his adopted homeland, this cocktail, essentially a rum and coke with lime, earned its name 60 years earlier, when Cuba gained its independence from Spain. The liberation party was clearly a long one, as Coca-Cola didn’t arrive in Cuba until 1900, two years after the US had helped chuck the Spanish out. But more than a century later, it’s still an apt label, as it’s the easiest DIY cocktail, thanks to my $3 bottle of Havana Club, even if I must make do with cans of communism-friendly TuKola, rather than Coke.

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Colorful houses in Trinidad, Cuba

to waterfalls in the surrounding mountains, the afternoons spent driving to the beach in classic cars. Evenings are for the next on my cocktail list – the Daiquiri. Like both the Mojito and Cuba Libre, the central ingredients are still rum and lime juice, yet the Daiquiri has just one extra flavour, a dash of sugar syrup. Delivered in a cocktail glass, it’s the epitome of old-fashioned elegance, making Trinidad the perfect place to sample one. With little to dilute the rum, they also leave my head spinning, causing me to stumble home through the cobbled streets. The next morning, my eyes still blurry with Daiquiries, I start heading west again, venturing beyond Havana to the tobacco country of Viñales for my final stop. Steep-sided dolomite hills rise sharply out of the lush plains surrounding the town, offering welcome shade to the sombrero-clad farmers who take a break from their toils to suck on the region’s world-famous produce. After all, from Cohibas to Montecristos, this is where many of Cuba’s cigars begin life. If Trinidad is the pin-up of Cuba’s preserved architecture, then Viñales gets the tiara for natural beauty. As such, I’ve got one heavyweight cocktail left to try and this place seems as good as any. The drink is known simply as the Hemingway and it takes its name from the cigar-loving writer who called Cuba his home for decades. Based on the Daiquiri, The Old Man And The Sea author added grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur, plus doubled up the rum. It certainly doesn’t take many of them to appreciate its creator’s infamous self-destructive qualities. Fortunately, the size of Viñales makes the now customary stagger home mercilessly quick. And so, another hangover, another bus, another call of “what country?” and I’m back in Havana, my tour of the time warp complete. Well, not quite. Maybe there’s time for one more Mojito... 78

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MI CASA ES TU CASA The tightly controlled nature of the Cuban economy means that basically all hotels are at least partly state-owned. More often than not, they’re run-down and overpriced. Backpacker hostels don’t really exist in Cuba so your best bet is a casa particular. These are small guesthouses where families have secured a licence to rent out one of their spare rooms. The rooms, which normally sleep two to four, are about $25. Most casas also offer huge, tasty home-cooked dinners, which are reasonably priced (expect to pay $8 for meat, $10 for fish or $12 for lobster). Bear in mind you might find yourself going cold turkey from the internet while in Cuba. It is available, but generally involves long queues, painfully slow speeds and high prices. As such, if you like to plan your accommodation, do it before you arrive. Otherwise, guidebooks like Lonely Planet list their favourite casas or simply knock on a door bearing the blue anchor symbol that means they take tourists (an orange anchor means they’re a casa, but for Cubans). Your best bet is often to get your current host to recommend and book somewhere at your next destination. #casaparticularcuba.org


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TOUR SEARCH For the last 30 years TNT Magazine has brought travel advice and news to a growing audience of travellers. 18 to 35 year olds from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have been using TNT as their guide to living and working in the UK. With a growing audience comes growing demand and over quarter of a million users are now demanding travel offers and information for tours across the globe from their base in the UK. Here at TNT we have listened to the demands of our readers and we’re excited to launch TNT Tours. Whether you’re looking for a weekend in Dublin, a group tour across North Africa, or a ten day epic adventure in South America, the TNT Tour Search facility is here to meet your travel wishes. With tours being added on a daily basis and reviews to give you peace of mind, TNT Tours will become your primary destination when looking to travel anywhere around the globe and you know the process will be as good as you can get anywhere else, if not better. Oh! and you don’t have to be Australian.

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< £250 GIARDINI NAXOS, SICILY Three nights at the 4-star Sporting Baia hotel in Giardini Naxos from £110pp. Located near many places of interest such as the Giardini Naxos Beach, Lido Mazzarò and the Recanati Beach, the Greek Theatre, the Palazzo of the Dukes of Santo Stefano and the Church of San Domenico. Includes return flights from London Luton departing February 22nd. icelolly.com COPENHAGEN, DENMARK Three nights’ B&B at the 4-star Bella Sky Comwell Hotel from £199pp. A modern hotel situated in the city centre, close to bars and restaurants – an ideal base from which to explore the city. Includes return flights from London Gatwick or London Luton departing on various dates from February 1st to April 17th. travelinteraction.co.uk 3 COUNTRIES ESCAPE TOUR Three nights’ B&B (twin room) visiting three countries in just four days from £219pp. See Amsterdam, Bruges, Brussels and Paris on this whistle-stop tour of some of Europe’s best loved cities. Includes air-conditioned coach travel and one dinner. Departs London April 6th. expatexplore.com

£250-500 BANJUL, GAMBIA Seven nights’ B&B at the 3-star Djeliba Hotel in Banjul from £308pp. Djeliba offers it’s guests a unique environment with comfort and class, just a few metres from the beach and situated close to local markets, restaurants, clubs and bars. Includes return flights from London Gatwick, departs February 26th. icelolly.com BALTIC EASTER BUNNY TOUR Six nights’ B&B in 3-star and 4-star hotels visiting Amman, Jerash, Wadi Rum, Petra, Kerak, the Dead Sea and returning to Amman again from £399pp. Does not include external flights but does include transfer from the airport to hotel on day 1, departs Amman March 1st. traveltalktours.com ESSENTIAL JORDAN Seven nights’ hostel accommodation across Nothern Europe from €380pp. Discover the Medieval Tallinn, have a crazy party in Riga and explore the two Scandinavian capitals – Helsinki and Stockholm, plus three fantastic days in St Petersburg with no visa necessary! Does not include external flights, departs Riga April 3rd. scanbaltexperience.com

> £500 NILE CRUISE & STAY Fourteen nights split between seven nights’ full-board accommodation on board the 5-star MS Moon River and seven nights all-inclusive accommodation at the 5-star Old Palace Resort in Hurghada from £549pp. Includes return flights from London Gatwick, departing various dates between February 1st and April 24th. travelinteraction.co.uk PAS DE LA CASA, ANDORRA Seven-night ski-holiday staying at the Hotel Cal Ruiz on a half-board basis in Pas de la Casa from £589pp. Includes a six-day ski pass, return flights from London Gatwick and transfers, departing on various dates throughout February. andorratraveller.com

EASTERN ROCKER (WINTER) Seven nights bed & breakfast accommodation in hostels and hotels travelling from London to Vienna via Amsterdam, Berlin & Prague from £536pp. Includes three dinners, sightseeing tours, air-conditioned coach and all ferry crossings, departing February 21st. contiki.com

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DAILY TRAVEL DEALS GO TO tntmagazine.com/travel/latedeals for more new travel deals. Also sign up for TNT’s weekly Tour Search and Travel newsletters, which will be emailed to you every Monday and Wednesday with deals, prizes, news and destinations. Sign up at tntmagazine.com. To see hundreds of package tours in one place, visit and book through TNT’s Tour Search at tnttoursearch.com

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WINNER A THREE-DAY TOUR OF SCOTLAND OR A PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE VOUCHER! To be in with a chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes, simply upload your images to tntmagazine.com/hotshots to be put into a regular prize draw. First prize is a three-day tour of Scotland for two worth £258 from Haggis Adventures (does not include accommodation, haggisadventures.com). The runner-up wins a £60 photography course voucher from Nigel Wilson Photography (photographycourses.org.uk).

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WINNER NEW YORK SKYLINE David Thornell, Sweden I took this photo from the balcony of our hotel in Long Island City. I sat for quite a while waiting on the sunset. Just that night the sky was perfect, so I thought it was worth staying a while at the hotel to wait for that perfect shot. And when the sun went down behind the skyline this beautiful silhouette came through, so it was worth it.

RUNNER-UP EVEREST William Counsell, 25, Australia Is it possible to take a bad picture of the Himalayas? I don’t believe so. At every angle the mountains are undeniably picturesque, especially when coupled with tattered Tibetan prayer flags for a bit of colour and to also show the underlying roughness of the environment. I took this photo while on my gap year in Asia and I clearly remember thinking of Everest (the black peak), “Oh, it’s not too far from here”. So, so naive!

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LIFESTYLE CAREERS | LIVING | CLASSIFIEDS | DESPERATELY SEEKING

DETOX VS RETOX, THE CHALLENGE A new pop-up at Old Street Station is making commuters face their resolution head on by offering up a red menu of naughty treats and a green menu of healthy goodies. Choose between banana bread, detox juices, egg muffins, salads and cereals, or pies, bacon rolls, doughnuts and coffee. Hmm, we think weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re seeing red... Find the Sourced Market Pop-up by Exit 3 of Old Street Tube


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Hands up if you want to get paid for this kinda life

Get paid to party Fancy a holiday of booze, sunshine and half-naked hotties? Why not make it last the whole summer... and get paid for the privilege If the best things in life are free, then they must be even better if you’re getting paid for them. Indeed, a summer in the sun on a party island in Spain or Greece, with big nights out, hot holidaymakers rarely wearing more than swimwear (and often wearing less), boat parties and days lazing in the sun – it hardly sounds like hard work. But if you sign up as a holiday rep this season, that’s exactly what you’ll get. The catch? Early mornings (airport pick-ups), little down time (you’ll often be organising something or looking after a group), and you have to clean up the mess – often literally – when things go wrong. But if you’ve got fishbowl-loads of energy, get applying now. The repping season lasts from April to October and 84

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most resorts require that you apply a few months in advance. Before signing up, though, read on to find out more.

What you have to do A holiday rep’s job is to ensure that everything runs smoothly for vacationers who have paid for a packaged trip in a resort. The first port of call will be meeting groups at the airport and showing them around the hotel. From there you will help organise and lead activities – think foam parties, pub crawls and boat trips. It will also be your job to deal with any problems such as conflicts between vacationers, passport issues and hospital trips. Sadly, there is a small amount of paperwork, but this consists mainly of logging activities or reporting any issues among your merry band of lobsters (you know

what Brits abroad are like – they’ll be burnt to a crisp within minutes). Most of your time, however, will be spent drumming up enthusiasm (and money) for big nights out and beach trips and then joining your group when the wet and wild antics begin.

Pay and benefits Let’s get down to the nitty gritty: yes, you will be paid for this work. No, it isn’t a huge amount. Most first-time holiday reps can expect to make about £450-500 per month. But the perks abound. Benefits vary between employees but they typically include free flights, accommodation and a food allowance as well as a bar discount. Some resorts let you use company cars on your days off and, of course, all


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ON THE JOB If you loved your seasonal farm job, why not make a career in cultivation? Laurence Dawson tells us about the diversity he enjoys in his role as stock seed manager.

Holiday repping is one of the only ways you can drink on the job – enjoy!

activities with your group and use of all hotel facilities are free.

Photos: supplied. Words: Rachael Getzels and Caroline Garnar

How much you have to work Most holiday rep jobs last from a month to the whole season, and we’ll be honest, hours can be tough. Spending the day with your group really does mean just that – you might be working for 12 hours at a time, six days a week. But that still leaves 100 hours for partying, sleeping it off and sunbathing in your own time.

Who are ya? You need to have a butt-load of energy, as well as be outgoing, friendly, and also responsible. You have to have great people skills and a lot of patience. Drunk holidaymakers and flight delays can get ugly.

You got the skills? You don’t need special qualifications

to be a holiday rep but a degree in tourism or hospitality does help you stand out. However, you will mainly be judged on that sparkling personality of yours. If you want to work as a kid’s holiday rep you will need an NNEB or NVQ or equivalent.

Where to go Resort towns in Spain and Greece see the most amount of packaged holiday action. Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Benidorm, Lanzarote, Marbella, Magaluf, Ayia Napa, Malia and Zante all party hard and have lots of repping jobs on offer each year. Ibiza may sound like a good option but actually less people go to the island on packaged holidays so it can be harder to get a job. Spainmadesimple.com gives you a run down of different areas and also has some info about repping in general. Visitgreece.gr will also help you get oriented.

My day-to-day work includes... I work within the seed production department at Tozer seeds, looking after stock seed already in our warehouse, monitoring crops while they are growing and planning new crops for the coming season. I’m also responsible for checking that stock levels are accurate and I inspect the crops for any agronomic issues and check for purity. I got my job by… spending many summer seasons working for Tozer seeds while I was studying. Many of our employees started out as temps or as seasonal workers. The most rewarding part of my job is... To get a product from R&D, through product development, and to the stage of being launched into the commercial market takes years of coordination and teamwork across several departments. The reward comes when all those years of effort pay off with a product that is successfully grown by farmers around the world. The most challenging part of my job is... Dealing with nature is humbling; it is never the same between years and is often unpredictable with thousands of different factors potentially affecting your crop. tozerseeds.com

REPPING JOB WEBSITES – Careerintravel.co.uk handily lists holiday rep openings in all the major tour companies. – For a fee, middle-man companies such as Air-pro.co.uk and Playawayabroad.com will set you up with accommodation at resort towns in Spain and Greece for a month while they help you look for a repping job. – You can also go through recruiters such as totaljobs.com, or try club18-30.com, Thomas Cook’s programme that caters to the young party crowd.

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LIFESTYLELIVING

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50

£3.

Spell it out to them... With this scrabble letter cushion. george.com

99

£6.

Underwater rugby

Burn an “eternal” flame... With these love heart tea-lights. gettingpersonal.co.uk

Weird ways to get fit in 2015 How can you make exercise interesting? By making it a little bit mental of course!

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£10

Frame your love forever... With this collage photo heart. gettingpersonal.co.uk

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For us, reflecting back on January looks something like a Rocky montage. Except in our montage, we’re squashed under some too-heavy weights at the gym, dancing like a crazed lunatic with zero rhythm at zumba, passed out on the floor in a sweaty mess in bikram yoga, and running through dog shit in our new ‘surely these will make us better at running’ trainers. So, with the usual fitness suspects not fitting the bill, we’re looking for a new challenge. And we think this lot might just do it...

Underwater rugby

Put your stamp on them... With this ‘Love it’ rubber stamp. bubblegumstuff.com

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Not many sport kits involve snorkels and flippers, but this one does. Much like rugbyon-land, underwater rugby is a contact sport where you can attack the opponent and fight for the ball – no drowning allowed though, people.

You can travel in any direction, and the aim is to get the ball (filled with water to weigh it down) in the basket at the bottom of your end of the pool. You obviously need to be a strong swimmer and pretty nifty at holding your breath, but if you prefer the idea of keeping it clean in water rather than muddying up in a field, this could be your team sport. There’s only one team in London – Pure Underwater Rugby based in Putney (pureunderwaterrugby.com) – and they have a strong team of international players, including Kiwis, but they’re always looking for new recruits. Get in touch via the website. Teams are mixed, so ladies can get involved too.

Boxing yoga This might sound like an oxymoron, but if all that ‘namaste’ malarkey doesn’t do it for you,

Words: Marianne Keen and Caroline Garnar. Photos: supplied and PRshots.com

HOUSE OF LOVE


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GRUESOME LONDON

Ski-ram yoga you’ll be happy to hear that boxing yoga strips that stuff out, and instead directly targets improving sporting performance. After all, what could make boxing more challenging than doing it on one leg? Although you can’t quite imagine a room of burly boxers doing the downward dog (or maybe you imagine that regularly?), boxing yoga is designed to directly and efficiently target the areas of the body that boxers and fighters need to train. It brings together the physical elements of traditional hatha yoga and the technicalities of boxing. Whether you’re a boxer or not, this is a great controlled core work out, and you can release a hell of a lot of tension too. See boxingyoga.com for class locations.

Rollersoccer Continuing the theme of combining two activities that are as odd a match as Sophie Dahl and Jamie Callum, Rollersoccer is, as you can probably guess, five-a-side football on rollerskates. Believe it or not, this sport was first played 80 years ago in London. Nowadays, however, it’s a struggling sport. Rollersoccer team London Skaters celebrated their 10year anniversary last month, but it is trying to recruit more skaters. One of the organisers, Andreas, tells us their aim is to beat the ‘walking on the moon’ record. “As our total number of

Rollersoccer players currently stands at below 12 it is less than the number of people who have walked on the moon. We would like to make it a little less exclusive in 2015!” he jokes. Open to both men and women over 13, grab your skates and have a go. To join the team, visit rollersoccer.co.uk.

Ski-ram yoga This sounds painful, but it’s simply a play on ‘bikram yoga’. Although it’s the opposite: instead of bending about in a heated room, you do it in a walk-in fridge. Well, an inflatable fridge-temperature room. ‘Ski-ram’ yoga is the first ever cold yoga workout designed to get you mountain ready (hence the ‘ski’) – you even do it wearing your ski gear (minus the actual skis, we presume). Ski and snowboarding specialists Crystal Ski Holidays introduced the new workout, and expert yoga instructor, Gaby Flemming, says that doing yoga at 2°C acclimatises sport lovers for a cold winter and gets skiers and boarders limbered up for the snowy season ahead. Even if you’re not planning on any arduous expeditions, ski-ram yoga can be an invigorating way to keep you toned. Limited classes were held late last year, but they are looking to roll them out regularly this year. Keep an eye on crystalski.co.uk for updates.

Jack the Ripper haunts If you’re seeking knowledge about the East End’s most documented serial killer, a Jack the Ripper walking tour (jack-the-ripper-tours.com) will certainly feed your fascination. There are plenty of gruesome tales and sights to be pointed out around Whitechapel. Just watch out in the dark alleyways... The Grenadier pub Situated in Wilton Mews, Belgravia, a chilling event is said to have taken place at this pub (london-ghost-tour. com/grenadier.htm). Apparently, a young subaltern caught cheating whilst playing cards was punished so brutally he died from his injuries. It’s suspected it happened in September, as at this time of year, the pub experiences an onslaught of paranormal activity: unseen hands rattle tables and chairs, pacing footsteps have been heard in empty rooms and moaning has been heard from the cellar. Ooooh... The Bleeding Heart Yard The Bleeding Heart Yard in Farringdon (bleedingheart.co.uk) is home to the presence of one Lady Elizabeth Hatton. Mrs Hatton’s body was apparently found in 1626, her limbs scattered across the ground and her heart still pumping blood. The story goes that she sold her soul to the devil and one night he came to collect it; the next morning Mrs Hatton’s body was found torn limb from limb. Well that works up an appetite for a pub dinner... TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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If you enjoy being out and about, meeting people, and providing excellent customer service this job could be for you! One of London’s largest corporate serviced apartment providers is seeking an enthusiastic go getter, for a challenging but varied Arrival Coordinator Role. Responsibilities range from welcoming guests & minor maintenance to general concierge duties.

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number of times in various holes and it just doesn’t do it for me. Will post and pack it for free... Die for emmental cause? I am looking for a human who is willing to be sacrificed to the God of Cheese. She came to me in my dreams last night and said if I do this I will have cheese delivered directly to my door every day of

THINGS THE QUEEN SHOULD DO BEFORE SHE DIES i’m so tired i think my vagina has fallen asleep. Listen, she’s snoring... (makes squeaky snore noise)

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my life. I love cheese. I need the sacrifice to be voluntary, otherwise it would just be wrong. Any takers? Sofa so good: I’m selling my sofa for £200. It only has a few dodgy-looking stains. It’s from chocolate, orange juice and red wine... honest. Simon towel: After I’ve had a

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