It took me a week to get used to the environment, as even though I liked the food, I struggled to eat much, though I soon got my appetite back to its usual size once I had adjusted to the climate and my malaria pills. Anyway despite my lack of energy I still enjoyed the quick intro into PADI (I found that I was at a slight advantage as I had already started working through the book).
In England two cities define its historical intellect and culture like no other: Oxford and Cambridge. The latter, home to the University of Cambridge ordained in 1209, has received scientists, literary figures, politicians and royalty for centuries (including Charles Darwin, Lord Byron, William Pitt and the current Prince of Wales).
Experience the thrill of zip-lining through gorgeous, untouched rainforest terrain on the hidden away Wingfield Estate. Lush vegetation, beautiful flowers, mango trees and mischievous moneys await in this lively, tropical paradise.
When you leave the mainland and begin your journey down the Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys, it is as if you have entered another country, another time. The Keys have a bit of the Wild, Wild West about them and everyone seems ready to party. It is the 'come as you are' relaxed vibe that draws visitors here.
London property prices are now rising at such a speedy rate, people are taking on longer commutes and buying houses in towns such as Colchester and Wellingborough. On paper, commuting can seem completely doable. But the reality? A total nightmare.
A two hour drive from London brought us to the New Forest, an area which I have always associated with tiny ponies, perhaps with some justification as there have been 3,000 wild ponies roaming this national forest for the past 2,000 years. They still roam free, along with deer and cattle and all are looked after by local landowners, or commoners as they're called, under an ancient system put in place in 1079 by William the Conqueror.
From war-torn to holiday hotspot in a very short space of time, Croatia's popularity with tourists is all the more remarkable given its very unsettled, very recent past. The wars only ended in 1995; walls pock-marked with bullet holes are still visible and when speaking with local people you are speaking to those for whom the conflict is a very fresh memory.
Set in a magical ancient walled town of Massa Martana in sunny Umbria, the inaugural Umbria Rock festival is set to be a weekend to remember, and I am thrilled to have been asked to work with them to help make the first year a big success.
Whilst I appreciate better than anyone the role food plays in the cultural experience, I also know that overdoing it can leave a bitter taste of the holiday in ones mouth. On the back of a two year 'food pilgrimage' of the UK and 17 European countries, I've put together my top tips to ensure you remember this summer break for the relaxation...
A hour and half train ride from London, then a quick hop, skip and a jump from the train station, and you're there. Careys Manor is a 19th century hunting lodge in the middle of the New Forest. With its cosy sofas, log fires and quintessentially English gardens it's got all the ingredients for a perfect country weekend away from it all.
Botecos are about good food, good beer and good company. We drink in pubs in the UK, they hang out in Botecos in Brazil. Here's BarChick's pick of the best of 'em... And for all things Rio, there's a whole boozy city guide.
The vitalidad of Barcelona (or BarTHelona, as they say) is largely down to the Spanish people themselves. They are my kind of people; relaxed, work-hard play-hard types, and advocates of wine and tapas, at any hour of the day.
An unassuming seaside village on the Roseland peninsula in Cornwall, St Mawes reminds me of my childhood. I go there regularly to pick up shells and sea glass from the pebbly beaches, paddle in the sea, walk along the coastal path, have picnics and stare for hours at the changing colours of the ocean.
Looking to take your other half on a romantic summer break to rekindle the flames? Or do you just want some well-deserved time out with your partner? Whether they love the arts or the tourist classics, here are the top spots with perfect backdrops for a bit of romance - day or night.
I'll tell you what's not normal, though: Slovenia as a place. Not in a bad way. In fact, quite the opposite. It's not normal in the sense that it is amazing, and I'm assuming here that you don't see amazing every day.
The Third of May, 2007 was the day that my husband Mark died. The Third of May, 2007 was the day that I, for the first time in my otherwise rather charmed life, wished death upon myself. I was only 29 years old. Almost everything in my life has changed since then.