JOURNALIST AUTHOR CRITIC TRAVELLER
I have been a freelance author and journalist for more than 20 years and my work has appeared in the Financial Times, the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily and Sunday Express, Business Traveller, Conde Naste Traveller and many other magazines. My books have mostly focused on health, food and fitness - I wrote the first book published in the UK on Pilates. I have also written on music - I have a particular interest in opera and dance - as well as social history.
My journalism has recently focused mostly on travel and I've written on places as varied as Botswana, Namibia, Ethiopia, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, the Gulf States, Oman, India, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Russia, Iceland, the Baltic states, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, much of the Caribbean including Cuba, Mexico, the USA and Canada and most of Western Europe. I have left little parts of my heart in many of these places but the biggest is almost certainly in the Pacific Islands. I lived in Polynesia, starting in the Cook Islands (where I stayed for six months) and moving on through French Polynesia, to Fiji, Western Samoa and Tonga, as well as a short break in New Zealand before I returned "home" to island life. I have revisited many times and it is always as wonderful as the first.
As well as travel journalism, I have written many more general features on everything from the love lives of race horses in Kentucky to Amish farming techniques, interviewing everyone from the world's oldest tandem paraglider (104) to the Bishop of Jerusalem, and investigating cross-dressing from the point of view of Samoan fa'fafines. I do love eclecticism.
This is my first version of the new website - more to be uploaded soon!
Making a new friend in Walvis Bay off the coast of Namibia
What I do most (and love best) these days is travel writing.
River cruising to Venice on board La Bella Vita
From Venice to Mantua is a short drive. On board La Bella Vita it takes a whole glorious week.
Bella Italia delivers the Dolce Vita
Cruising around the gorgeous Italian coast - a few suggestions for top trips.
1000 miles in seven days from the desert to forests 7000ft high - and the world's lowest motel room.
The Quin, NYC
A couple of blocks from Central Park, across the road from Carnegie Hall, the Quin is an arts hotel - Chagall and George O'Keeffe stayed here and nowadays there are artists' salons and tickets to the ballet.
Scotland’s Paradise: Isle of Eriska
Eriska is an island to yourself. Unless you count the otters, seals and that golden eagle with its 2m wing span.
Andalusia's Moorish Cities
Filled with the scent of orange blossom, spring comes early to the cities of Andalusia. And they have everything - the most beautiful Islamic architecture, flamenco and Carmen's cigarette factory.
Cruising the Norwegian Fjords
Forget the argument between the beautiful and the sublime - here you'll find both. With fjords, trolls and a guide called Odd.
Marrakech’s Masterpiece: La Mamounia
La Mamounia is the grandaddy of them all when it comes to Marrakech hotels. Churchill used to paint here and since De Gaulle came they've made the beds extra long.
Waltzing with the Viennese
I did go to the ball! Here's how to do it from hiring the gown to learning the steps (not so easy) to navigating round the palace and breakfasting on wurst at 2am.
Possibilities in Porto
J K Rowling's staircase, pasties de nata, how the Brits invented port and where to meet the world's oldest film maker.
It's a classically (as in ancient Greece) cool atmosphere at the Anassa. Perfect if you're looking for privacy, gourmet cooking and edible gold leaf.
My 'Spa of the Month' column in the Arbuturian has been going for nearly three years!
Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s ‘T Spa’
Overlooking Lake Como is a spa with the most gorgeous views, and plenty of those little luxuries - handmade chocolates, massage rituals and lots of gold leaf.
AMA Resort, Andalusia
An affordable spa on the Costa de la Luz, AMA is blessed with an adventurous director who also does a remarkably intuitive "facial."
Terma Smarjeske Toplice, Slovenia
A spa that really delivers! Lose weight, gain energy, bathe in thermal waters, go Nordic walking and learn to juice fast.
A subterranean London day spa, enlivened by Roman murals,jasmine-scented air, bronze statuary and a beach of Himalayan salt.
Asia Gardens, Alicante
This is a ver upmarket spa surrounded with - as its name suggests - quite beautiful oriental gardens. A stone's throw from Benidorm!
How many boxes can one spa tick? How about families, skiing and a huge spa programme? Also the first time I've ridden a bicycle in a sauna...
Lefay, Lake Garda
This beautiful Italian spa rather surprisingly specialises in Classical Chinese Medicine. Boost your Qi and experience CCM-inspired health and beauty treatments.
A day spa in deepest Chelsea with a Malaysian ethos in the grand Victorian buildings of the Cadogan Estate. Lush products with Malaysian ingredients –- hibiscus, coconut, candlenut and papaya.
The Royal Mansour, Marrakech
Royal Mansour is an idealised version of Marrakech, within the city's own walls. Enjoy a riad of your own, a sap like a giant white birdcage and the real hammam experience.
The Uniquely Organic EcoSpa
Fancy a day at the seaside? Try out Brighton's jewel box of a spa. Don't expect your usual massage - these are based on chakras and there's a lot of intuitive healing.
Grand Kempinski, Slovakia
A ski resort close enough for an easy long weekend, the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia are also home to the Grand Kempinski Hotel.The spa is super-luxe (everything's marble) with a bar - veggie juice or Louis Roederer - your choice.
Ynyshir Hall, Powys
Celtic glamour with a Michelin-starred restaurant and a holistic wellness centre that left my head spinning.
Hotel Metropole, Monte-Carlo
Two restaurants with three Michelin stars between them, a spa with designs by Karl Lagerfeld and Gwyneth's foot specialist.
The Ring, Vienna
You're never going to lose weight in Vienna (all that sacher torte) but you can relax. Therapists a la carte at the rooftop Ring Hotel spa.
An extraordinary spa - a place of fantasy and vision. Be sure to book the Roman spa to yourself - the closest to the original you'll find.
The Headland Hotel
A spa with a surf school attached on one of Cornwall's finest beaches. Go for long walks over the headlands (the hotel will provide a picnic) and take your dog.
A hand-made kind of spa with the emphasis on yoga and meditation and very healthy local, seasonal food, mostly vegetarian. Chilled-out detox.
The architect's spa - and a national monument in Switzerland. Design is all here. The thermal spa has no clocks, no plans - meander through and slow down time.
The perfect winter destination - sun guaranteed. Two spas in the desert lands of arty Scottsdale - with absolutely everything including aerial yoga.
A spa inside a Swiss mountain - all 500 square metres of it. Perfect for spa-skiers, its "private mountain" event in November gives you the slopes to yourself (snow provided!).
A real family spa where you can live in a treehouse in the woods. Thermal waters (for drinking and bathing) ensure a total detox between biking and bird watching.
The Alpina Gstaad
Deluxe detox in glorious surroundings - plus perfect skiing. No sacrifices needed and big results on weight loss, BMI and biological age.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation
The Master Builder
The Queen of Spades
The Force of Destiny
Echoes of Eternity
The Shanghai Ballet
The McOnie Company’s Jekyll & Hyde
Rhapsody & The Two Pigeons
I have written a great deal on different aspects of independent education. A selection of articles are available for downloading here. They range from advice on academic selection, scholarships, new teaching methods and value added to single sex education, teenage angst and unusual school clubs.
A survey of the many clubs and societies, often unusual, in independent schools and the important role that they play in developing character, curiosity and skill as well as providing a great deal of fun.
Rise of the Mixed Sixth Form
Shrewsbury School, that bastion of maleness is at it. So is the academically renowned Perse
School for Girls. A report on the growing trend of mixed sixth forms
The Right Sums
Maths seems able to strike fear into the hearts of otherwise bright, competent children. And the fear often stays into adulthood. How do you know your child is getting the right tuition?
A* All the Way
A* is the new A. Last year, a handful of universities were
asking for an A* in their offers. This year, at least 15 universities want the new grade – and some of them want more than one.
Testing Nursery Times
Many nurseries allocate on a first-come, first-served basis. Some nurseries and pre-preps have a different approach. They wait till nearer the entrance date and then invite the children in.
I've published over 30 books, including several best sellers, on everything from health to opera, from travel to the Victorian lifestyle. Many of them have been published in international editions. Here are some of them.
A children's guide
An intro to the country for children including the geography, the culture and the food.
A Victorian guide to healthy living
Bread is brown
The great Victorian baker, Allinson's, guide to living a long and healthy life.
A month of health
My first health plan book covering 28 days of nutrition, exercise, relaxation and more.
Pilates for pregnancy
A semester by semester guide
A guide for mothers-to-be on how to healthy, reduce back pain and plan for a good birth.
How to take a moment to relax at home, at work, even if you have just a few minutes.
Woman's work out book
The first ever Pilates book
My first book and the first-ever Pilates-based exercise book - the publishers had never heard of him though so didn't want his name on the cover....
The juice and zest book
Juicing for beginners
An intro to juicing, the benefits and how to juice fast.
Pocket guide to opera
Intro to opera
One of my passions is opera. This is a guide to the great operas and great composers and everything you need to know to get you started as an opera buff!
Food through the ages
A history of food
A history of food, both culinary and social from the ancient Egyptians to the present day. Roast swan, anyone?
Chakra energy plan
Chakras and their role in your health
The chakras are linked by energy channels running through the body. How to maximise your energy through exercise and meditation.
TOP 100 DIET SECRETS
Easy diet tips
What to eat, when to eat it, with what and a few things you should simply never touch!
Complete Ayurveda workbook
Ancient Indian art of Health
Ayurveda is the ancient Indian path to health. Are you pitta, vata or kappa? What should you eat, where should you live, how should you exercise?
Pilates for a flat stomach
Nothing is better than Pilates when it comes to working the core. Result? Stomach flat as a pancake!
A children's guide
An introduction for children to four of the main countries in South America - Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay.
China and metal marks
A guide to makers' marks on china, gold, silver and pewter - after a stint on the Antiques Roadshow!
Massage for beginners
A guide to the oils and massage techniques of aromatherapy.
Water is life
Water to drink and what it does for your body, plus water therapies.
Home health sanctuary
Making your home a spa
How to create spa-like therapies in your own home.
Eating for health
25 super foods plus recipes and how to use them for optimum health.
Creating the body you want
A staged programme for developing your strength - especially the core.
A guide to the ancient art
An introduction to Chinese herbalism, how it works and how to use it now.
Feast like Dickens
How the Victorians celebrated Christmas and how to recreate it, including recipes.
A weekend to yourself
Three programmes (relaxing, detoxing, energising) where you can create spa results at home over a weekend.
Banish back pain
A Pilates guide
A guide to overcoming back pain with Pilates techniques.
Ayurveda at home
A guide to recreating ayurvedic techniques, diet and lifestyle in your own home.