I was reading an interview a few weeks ago with a young British folk singer transplanted to LA and living the kind of bohemian life you can if you’ve got aristocratic parents and Kew passes for ‘slumming it’. But it wasn’t the weekly delivery of Time’s Crosswords or her glamorous artisan cottage or even the nauseatingly winsome photography that stuck with me. It was a brief description of a Sunday morning spent at a favourite local LA bookshop where, ‘the books are arranged by colour.’ I’m a committed bibliophile and I’ll pretty much give any bookseller a go, but books arranged by colour? Stop me if I’m wrong here but that doesn’t say enthusiasm for the printed word, that says ‘Interior Design Decision’.
This got me thinking about what I love best about bookshops. Which naturally led me to muse on some tried and tested favourites and quite a few on my ‘to do’ list. Strangely LA didn’t come out tops for great places to browse and buy. New York on the other hand, now that’s a totally different shelf of well-thumbed paperbacks. Continue reading
In 2013, Amsterdam spent an entire year celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the historic Canal Ring, the reign of Queen Beatrix, her abdication and then the inauguration of her son, King Willem-Alexander. Any city would be forgiven for patting themselves on the back, hanging up their dancing shoes and taking it easy for the next 12 months at least. But no one ever accused Amsterdam of being just ‘any city’.
Far from resting on last year’s laurels, Amsterdam’s planning to throw a 2014 party of all parties to celebrate its first ever King’s Day on April 26th. Although King’s Day is generally on April 27th. But since that’s a Sunday, this year it’s on the 26th and it’s really only the name ‘King’s Day’ that’s a first, because there’s been a traditional Queen’s Day in the Netherlands since 1885, normally on the 27th.
Confused? Don’t be. King’s Day is an immense celebration on April 26th 2014 all over the Netherlands, and Amsterdam is partying harder than anywhere – all day and all night – and everyone’s invited. Continue reading
Already popular with solo travellers and couples who crave an inexpensive city break, Barcelona also has much to offer parents looking for some springtime sun and a rich variety of things to do for children of all ages. Here’s ten of my top picks for things to do in Barcelona a la família, in no particular order. Continue reading
Last year we brought you colourful scenes from the Ferias de Andalucia in the south of Spain. Now that the weather’s finally turning and the sun’s been switched back on, we’re taking a look at perhaps the region’s most famous festival: the Feria de Abril de Sevilla, when reining in the syllables also called Feria de Abril or Feria de Sevilla. Continue reading
When Scotland introduced the smoking ban there was a bit of an attempt to make smokers feel less pariah-like. City businesses set up little outdoor booths for their unrepentant staff, sandboxes appeared on streets and Glasgow Airport planted a hedge. I mention this, not to alert you to the kindly ways of Airport Authorities, but because that hedge was also home to one of the most feeble warning signs I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing – ‘Don’t Pick The Hedge’. Sadly I don’t have a pick, but it was there and it was printed and laminated and mounted on a small stick. And although I have never in my life, ever, wanted to pick a hedge, when I saw that sign there was nothing I wanted to do more. Continue reading