Friday, 24 November 2017

Destination Arrowtown and Fox glacier, South Island, New Zealand

Today Arrowtown is charming and quaint, yet once it was buzzing with the excitement of hundreds of miners desperate to make their fortune in the local gold fields. The miners have long gone but their legacy lives on.

Less than a half-an-hour drive from Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island, this pretty place, hugging the banks of the Arrow River, is a delight to visit. Historical wooden buildings dot the main street that is now filled with cute boutiques, art studios and caf├ęs, plus a pub or two. Even the new builds pay homage to those of the town’s past golden days.

Today Arrowtown is charming and quaint

On a flying visit, a museum would not usually be on my agenda but I am glad I made an exception for the Lakes District Museum. It was a treat. The museum paints a picture through working displays and artefacts of early Maori life and what the European settlers and miners had to endure during the gold rush of the 1800s. 

Unfortunately, there was not time to hire a gold pan to see if there was any treasure left in the Arrow River but I did feel somewhat richer for visiting Arrowtown.

Thunder Creek Falls

I was about to get even wealthier as my tour continued along the Haast Pass to the West Coast. Unbelievable scenery, rainforests, glaciers, and waterfalls littered the route which was once the pathway for the Maori explorers looking for pounamu (jade). Thunder Creek Falls, one of the country’s finest tumbling into the Haast River, was stunning.

When it comes to beauty no picture could ever capture the magnificence of the grandeur of the West Coast of New Zealand. Wild, rugged, raw and remote, this region sandwiched by the tempestuous Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps, is unequalled in New Zealand. It is a potent cocktail of lush wilderness and untamed coastline laced with a story to tell of settlers on the prowl for gold and coal.

The tempestuousTasman Sea

In Lake Matheson you could see the reflections of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman in the crystal clear waters. But my standout moment was getting up close and personal, or as near as I could, with the nearby Fox Glacier. 

Fox Glacier

Named after Sir William Fox, a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, the steep walk up to see the face was worth it. Unfortunately, the Fox and its twin the Franz Josef Glacier which I also saw in the distance, have melted incredibly quickly in recent years making hiking up the mountains too dangerous. Getting a glimpse was reward enough. 

As I sat savouring a glass of pinot gris that night over dinner, I reflected on a very special day that will be imprinted on my memory forever.

By Daralyn Danns

Getting there

Which city you fly into in New Zealand will depend on where your tour starts from and therefore, which airline you choose. Highly recommended are Cathay Pacific and The service and inflight experience is spot on. Ensure that the flight you book is operated by the company and not just code-sharing.

The tour was part of the Grand Pacific Ultimate Small Group Tours which I booked through Trailfinders ( as I did the flights

The advantage of travelling aboard the Ultimate Coach is that instead of carrying the normal 48 passengers, it only carries 20. You sit in comfort in leather fully-reclining seats so no neck ache at the end of a long day. (Distances are vast in New Zealand.) There is plenty of personal storage. It is much easier being in a small group, no hanging around waiting for people, no long queues for the loos, overall much cosier

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Spotlight on Fornasetti Profumi Nuvola

Lovers of Fornasetti candles adore the combination of stunning home fragrances and designs of the Italian artist. 

Long after you have burnt your candle you have your lovely ceramic container to use as you please. 

This recent “Nuvola” design features the face of Lina Cavalieri, the stunning Italian opera singer whom Piero Fornasetti was obsessed by, surrounded by clouds and embellished with golden jewels.

The scent of the candle is “Mistero”, an aromatic combination of spice and wood. (Prices start from £150, available from stores including Selfridges, Harrods and Liberty London.)

Beguiling and hypnotic, each design is a piece of art work on its own. The scent lingers round your home enveloping you in luxury. What is not to like?

By Daralyn Danns

Monday, 20 November 2017

Get your Christmas hair sorted at Nyumba by Michael Charalambous

Having styled the hair of brides and guests at over 400 weddings around the globe as well as creating chic tresses for guests of high society parties and major events, there is no look that Michael Charalambous cannot design.

From arranging bespoke hair pieces to advising on jewellery, having pieces custom made and accessories to match your outfit, the master will ensure you stand out from the crowd this Christmas.

“Sanita Martinkena is available if you want to have false eyelashes or extensions,” says Michael. He has top make-up artists on hand, who regularly work on fashion shoots and shows, to ensure that you look your best. The salon also has expert manicurists to give you stunning party nails. 

“If you want to wear your hair up, I suggest you wash your hair the day before as it will be easier to manage,” says Michael. “For those wanting to have a customised hair piece, please come in for a consultation a couple of weeks prior to your event.”

To jazz up a simple hair style, Michael suggests Jennifer Behr. Her luxurious unique accessories are sought out by many celebrities including Amy Adams. Natalie Portman and Alexa Chung.

Another tip from Michael to ensure you are prepared for the party season is to keep your skin looking good. Pietro Simone, at his clinic at Nyumba, offers a range of treatments including oxygen facials to give you a radiant complexion.  

Simply take into the salon a picture of what you are wearing and your shoes, bag and the trinkets that you intend to wear and Michael and the team will create for you that red carpet glamour. 

By Daralyn Danns

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