The Bernina Express – the closest thing you’ll ever get to riding on the Hogwarts Express. If you know me in real life, you may know that I have a little thing for trains…I’m a total train geek. I just find them so magical and such a romantic way to travel, and maybe because I have a fear of flying, I am able to experience that travel excitement without feeling the need to pop 50 Calm pills (I don’t do this, by the way!).
A couple of years ago I heard about the Bernina Express train and it’s been on my travel bucket list ever since. I planned a whole family trip to Italy, starting in Zurich, Switzerland, all around my need to experience this scenic train, which I’m glad to say not only met my expectations but it truly exceeded them.
The Bernina Express is a 4-hour long train journey from a small town in Switzerland, Chur, through the Swiss Alps and to Tirano, in Italy. You see all types of things on the journey, small villages with the mountains as the backdrop, tiny old churches, people skiing (if you’re lucky), lakes and my favourite, viaducts. Although you might think 4 hours is a long time to sit on a train, and I too initially thought this, so armed myself with a book, music and Netflix shows downloaded, but honestly I didn’t even read the blurb of my new book. I spent the journey just admiring the nature that I was in (when did I become such an old lady!) and taking pictures…of course!
Bernina Express Tips:
- If you can, I would recommend booking the panoramic coaches, just to get the full experience of being on a train journey through the Swiss Alps.
- Book early, as it gets booked up very quickly!
- Get your camera ready for shots of the mountains & viaducts etc and listen to the Bernina staff members as they tell you what’s coming up.
- If you’re a keen photo-taker, you can open the small windows in between each carriage to get a shot without the annoying window glare.
If you know me IRL or have just been reading my rambles on this blog for a while, you may know that I am a huge Disney fan and have been ever since proposing to the man himself, Mickey at Disneyworld at just 4 years old. Even though I got rejected (sad times), my love for Disney has only ever gone UP (get it!), even in my 20s….after all ‘adults are only kids grown up anyway’ – Walt Disney.
Therefore you can imagine my excitement when I received an email from Disney UK inviting me to their Hawaiian cooking class to celebrate the release of Moana on DVD (out now). The event was at Island Poké in Carnaby Street which is a subway style healthy, fast food restaurant that serves poké.
Poké is a traditional Hawaiian dish made of raw fish (or beetroot for the veggies like me), rice and other toppings, such as pineapple salsa and avocado. The founder of Island Poké taught us how to make it and it was surprising fairly easy and tasted great! I was a bit apprehensive about the dish, as I’m not the biggest fan of beetroot and pineapple but surprising I loved it, and will definitely add the dish to my weekly menu, as it’s super healthy!
How to make it:
For the Bowl:
Seasoned sushi rice
90 grams sashimi grade yellow ﬁn tuna or beetroot
3g grated ginger,
Half a teaspoon of togarashi
Sliced spring onion to taste
25ml light soy
25ml pure sesame oil
A dash of Mirin
50g fresh pineapple
20g fresh pineapple juice
5g grated ginger
Juice of half a lime
Red chilli to taste
40g Wakame seaweed
Finish with crispy onion and mixed sesame seeds
- Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, chopped spring onions, ginger & togarashi to the beetroot (or tuna), and let it rest.
- Meanwhile prepare the pineapple salsa, by cutting up the pineapple into small chunks and adding the chilli, ginger, lime and pineapple juice.
- Add the beetroot & pineapple on top of the rice and garnish with sesame seeds and crispy onion.
Thank you to Disney & Island Poke for inviting me to a lovely, summery event, which was a great way to kick start the warmer months!
You may have seen pictures from this winter wonderland all over Instagram this Christmas and with good reason…this place will seriously give you all the festive feels and is the perfect place to escape the shoppers and warm up with a hot chocolate.
On top of being the cutest festive spot this year, the food is delicious. I went for a burrata to start, then the aubergine sandwich and a side of chips. And of course I couldn’t leave without having a hot chocolate with a gingerbread man for dunking.
Just outside of the restaurant you can find a charming floral pop-up shop, Orchidya. It took all of my will power not to buy 3 wreaths, 2 mini Christmas trees and a partridge in a pear tree!