Your world in pictures

"Positano" by Brandon B.

“Positano” by Brandon B.

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Top parks and gardens around the world

This time next year, the National Parks Service in the US turns 100 and there’s lots planned to mark the occasion. But we thought we’d start the celebrations early! The US isn’t the only place with some truly stunning scenery. Here are some of our favourite parks, gardens and generally green spaces from all over the world:

Kent – Sissinghurst Castle Gardens

Being one of the UK’s most visited gardens, it’s hard not to fall in love with this place. It’s everything you’d want from an English country garden, with essence of Virginia Woolf who used to visit the house and the quirks and eccentricities of the English upper class. Take a wander around on this trip.

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The Thing About the Pavlova

For something so delicious, the Pavlova has been causing rivalry for nearly an entire century. Australians and Kiwis have been arguing over who invented the fruity dessert for years.  Both countries agree on where the name comes from; it was named after Anna Pavlova, who visited both countries in the 1920s. But the answer as to who created the first one, was only settled a few years ago.

For years Australian and New Zealand Pavlova experts tried to prove who made it first, by researching last century’s cookbooks finding many recipes dating as far back as the 20s and 30s.

Photo by Cathrine Nyberg under Creative Commons Licence

Photo by Cathrine Nyberg under Creative Commons Licence

A recent listing in the Oxford English Dictionary however,  states that the meringue-based dessert was invented in New Zealand and not in Australia. Apparently a hotel chef in Wellington made the cake for the prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, when she stayed at his hotel. Although many an Australian might claim the contrary. In fact relatives of Herbert Sachse who worked at the Hotel Esplanade in Perth, claim that he was the one who invented the dessert and that the name came about because he said of his creation that “It is as light as Pavlova”.

So what is this thing anyway?

Well, it’s a meringue which is crispy from the outside and and soft, light on the inside, usually topped with fruit and whipped cream.  It’s kind of like an Eton Mess, but less messy.

Does it matter who made it first?

Not really. What matters is how can you make one yourself. Here’s a Pavlova recipe from one of Trafalgar’s Be My Guest hosts, Angie, who welcomes guests on our Contrasts of Australia and New Zealand in her and her husband’s working sheep farm, giving her guests an in-depth experience of rural life.

Angie and her pavlovas

Angie’s Kiwi Pavlova (serves 8)


4 eggs

225g Sugar

4tbsps Water

1 tbsp Cornflour

1tsp Vanilla essence

1tsp Malt vinegar

250ml Whipping cream

2 to 3 kiwi fruit


Crack the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. Beat the whites and water together, and slowly add teh sugar to the mixture, beating until it forms peaks. Fold in the cornflour, vanilla essence and malt vinegar and put the mixture on a baking tray.

Place the tray in a very hot oven pre-heated at 220 celsius. Turn the oven off and leave the mixture in overnight.

In the morning, remove the baked meringue. Top with whipped cream and kiwi fruit and enjoy.



After two decades as a make-up artist and beauty editor, globetrotting Patricia Corentijn is now a consultant for an international Paris-based skincare and cosmetics manufacturer. She shares some of her tips on keeping your skin in shape while travelling.  

Most of us know that the skin is the body’s largest organ. But unlike our other vital organs, a fair bit of it is on view for most of our lives. Taking care of our skin isn’t just about health. It’s also about how we are perceived and how we feel about ourselves.

Travelling is invigorating and inspiring. But nonetheless, travel does put our skin through its paces. Abrupt change can place our skin under pressure. And we haven’t even got onto the risks of the sun yet.

I’m a great believer in routine. Nothing beats the confidence our own private ritual creates and keeping to your skins has one less shock to the system.


Photo by Petras Gagilas under Creative Commons Licence.

Photo by Petras Gagilas under Creative Commons Licence.

At the risk of contradicting myself, there are some slight adjustments anyone – man or woman, young or old – might want to make to their routine that can really help. Cleanliness is at the heart of skin health. And that’s science.

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World of Shopping

You don’t have to choose between shopping and sightseeing. Our Roundup of the world’s most historic department stores gives you the perfect excuse to hit the shops – after all, it’s all about the history.

Selfridges, London

It wasn’t the first department store in the UK, there are many which wrangle for that claim to fame (like Austins in Derry which opened its doors in 18030, or Bennetts in Derby which started as an ironmongers in 1734), but Selfridges is probably London’s flagship shopping outlet, even though it only opened in 1909. And its fame has rocketed with the hit TV drama about its american founder, Harry Selfridge.

Make your first stop at the Denim Studio which is stacked with 60 brands. If you struggle finding the perfect fit, there is even a ‘within the hours’ tailoring service.


Photo by Xuemin Guan under Creative Commons Licence

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8 things to discover in Myanmar

Sitting inbetween the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea coast lies the vast ancient beauty of Myanmar. This Asian treasure is more historically known as Burma, and in recent years, has seen a great amount of change. Areas of ancient charm that were  previously closed off to the outside world  are now being opened up to discovery, and in turn, are becoming more freely available to explore. Whether you’re planning a trip to Myanmar in the near future, or fancy learning more about its breathtaking culture, below are 8 things you can discover in this area of Asia.

1. Learn the skill behind Kalaga tapestries

These beautifully handcrafted keepsakes are created by the local people of Myanmar, and will often depict from the Buddha’s journey towards enlightenment – the Jataka. Luxurious materials such as silk or velvet are used as a base, and are then embellished with beads or glass stones and intricate metallic thread.

artisan_mandalay_1300x1300 (1)

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5 great language apps

Do you struggle to speak the local language on your holidays? You’re not the only one. Of course, with Trafalgar, your Travel Director is always around to assist, but if you’re feeling brave, one of the most effective ways of understanding the locals is to download a language app. Here are some of our top suggestions:

  1. Google Translate (free, Android and iPhone)

The ‘Old Faithful’ of travel apps, Google Translate converts 90 different languages into English from voice, text or photos, with no internet required. You can even save your translations to refer back to at a later date.

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