Sent by E McKenzie
Based in Westhill
Hello and thank you for taking the time to look at my website.
I'm Heather and have over 30 years experience in the travel industry. I am very privileged to be part of the leading travel team in the business. Travel Counsellors are an independent, award wining travel company which means I have access to hundreds of suppliers. This, combined with my knowledge and expertise, enables me to find the very best holiday to suit your individual requirements.
I pride myself in giving a friendly, unbiased, professional service. Whether it's a long weekend in London you require, or a trip of a lifetime around the world, I guarantee to deliver the same comprehensive service. Whatever your dream is, be it a wedding in Mauritius, cruising the Caribbean, exploring the Far East, a family holiday to Majorca, shopping in New York, the list is endless, I specialise in making your dream a reality.
I have personal experience of many destinations and cruise liners. I have travelled extensively in Europe, both cities, beach resorts, often combining the two. For example Bilbao and San Sebastian, Florence and a cruise from Venice, Pisa and the Cinque Terre. I have also skied in France, Austria and Norway. I have been fortunate enough to visit many worldwide destinations, such as Barbados, Goa, Kenya, New York, New Orleans, Florida, California, Egypt and Mauritius. have also set sail aboard the QE2, , Oriana, several ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet and also onboard Azamara.
Let me take the stress out of organising your next trip, just give me a call or send me an email, then sit back and relax, I'll do the rest.
"Faraway is only faraway if you don't go" - O Povo.
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
06 May 2022
While booking a walking holiday to Northern Spain, I was reminded of my fantastic trip to Bilbao and San Sebastian. I'm a bit of a foodie and it had been on my list of places to visit for so long. Such an amazing destination, it surpassed my expectations. If you are looking for some of the best food in the world, old towns to explore, museums and art galleries, fantastic beaches and great walking routes, look no further. This part of Northern Spain has a lot to offer. Bilbao is a melting pot of old and new. The art district is home to the Guggenheim Museum and is filled with sculptures, Jeff Koons “Puppy” is the world’s largest flower sculpture. The museum of fine arts is also in this area. Whereas the Casco Viejo (old town) is a maze of cobbled streets dotted with bars and restaurants. Most of the bars serve the Basque equivalent of tapas, known as Pintxos. Bite size snacks ranging from traditional tortilla to mini gourmet tasters. I highly recommend a Pintxos crawl, as every bar has a different offering, allowing for a mobile feast as you explore this wonderful city. Top tip – head to the Plaza Nuevo at the weekend – a square in the old town surrounded by many bars and restaurants. There is a variety of Pintxos to try and a lovely atmosphere where local families meet up. Order a Kalimotxo (red wine and coke) and watch the world go by. San Sebastian surrounded by hills and three beaches and has no less than 11 Michelin starred restaurants. Gastronomy is taken very seriously here and the Pintxos is another level. If you can drag yourself away from all the amazing feasting, this city has a lot to offer. A small compact old town to wander, a choice of beaches to laze on and some fabulous shopping. There is a network of walking routes to suit all abilities. We walked along the coast from San Sebastian to Pasaia, a small fishing village, stunning vistas, and a beautiful spot for lunch. Top tips – Try the Txakoli wine, local to the Basque region, it is light and refreshing, a great accompaniment to Pintxos. Head to Atari for Pulpo and Vergara for an amazing selection of Pinxtos, both in the old town.
04 June 2019
A visit to Florence has been on my bucket list for a while. As I was celebrating a special birthday, I decided a special holiday was required. I travelled to Florence for 4 nights before setting off to Venice to join a cruise (more about that in my next blog). My birthday is in September, the weather was pleasantly warm. We stayed at the Palazzo Gaddi, around a five-minute walk from the Duomo. Rooms were compact but had all the facilities needed for a short stay. Staff were helpful and breakfast was great, with plenty of choice. The rooftop bar had fantastic views of the city and was a nice place to start the evening with a cocktail. The train station is also within walking distance. if you were visiting other parts of Italy or wanted to take a day trip to Pisa or Siena. The hotel was surrounded by reasonably priced small bars and trattoria for an authentic taste of Tuscany. I can recommend the Trattoria Antellesi on Via Faenza. Hearty Italian food with a family atmosphere, frequented by locals and tourists alike. As it was my birthday, I was also treated to a tasting menu at Borgo San Jacopo which was fabulous, highly recommended if you're celebrating a special occasion or just fancy something a bit different. I had to find a way to burn off all the delicious pizza, pasta and ice cream. Fortunately, Florence is a very walkable city, distances between sights are not too demanding. The most challenging walk was crossing the Arno and climbing the hundreds of steps of Via di San Salvatore al Monte. The viewpoint at the top of the hill is worth it, looking back over the city of Florence and the hills beyond. The Duomo was spectacular, I didn't realise quite how vast it was. Visit early if you want to visit, it gets very busy. Worth buying tickets for the Cathedral Dome, the Cathedral Campanile and the Baptistery, in advance to save time. The opening times vary with the Cathedral being the latest to open. Alternatively, just a walk around the Piazza del Duomo might be enough, there is plenty to see outside. Ponte Vecchio Bridge is flanked on either side by old buildings which are mainly jewellery shops. A definite photo opportunity. Like all things in Florence it gets very busy, the earlier you visit the better. Uffizi - There is so much to see in this museum. Botticelli, Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael they're all on display. I spent a whole afternoon wandering around. I suggest you have an idea of what you want to see before you go and there is a rooftop café if you need a break from it all. Academia - The main attraction here is Michelangelo's David, although there is plenty more to see in the gallery. David is an impressive statue. I would say it's a must see and was one of the highlights of my trip. I only scratched the surface in the 4 days I was there. It is a fantastic city to wander around, there are statues on nearly every corner and magnificent architecture. It's nice to slow down a bit and just take in your surroundings. Suited to couples and older families, there is so much art, history and culture to enjoy. My top tips: A walking tour on the first day will help to get your bearings and some background on the city. There are also some great food and wine tours, it doesn't have to be all about art and history. Plan what you want to visit and book the tickets in advance. I can help with this. Better to choose a couple of things you really want to experience and take your time. There are lengthy queues at the main galleries and museums for those without bookings. Try a Negroni Cocktail - it was invented in Florence. The actual café where it was reputedly invented is no longer open, but it's on offer in a lot of the pavement cafes. If you have more time take a day trip to Siena or Pisa by train. Train travel in Italy is very easy and reasonably priced.
07 January 2018
I had a lovely week away for some sunshine at the beginning of December. Having visited Playa Blanca on a day trip on a previous holiday I was keen to give it a try for longer. I’m planning to try all the fantastic restaurants at the Marina, so we opted for a villa close by. ACCOMMODATION We booked the Villas Puerto Rubicon. Lovely villas, well equipped with everything you need, and the private pool was an added bonus. A real home from home, with lots of room to relax. Coffee and croissants, fresh from the bakery every morning. The occasional al fresco lunch by the pool with a glass of something nice. A relaxed evening, visiting one of the many restaurants at the Marina for dinner. This was exactly what we were looking for and we were not disappointed. THE RESORT Playa Blanca is quite a large resort. As I’ve mentioned, we stayed in the Marina area. A beautiful spot, with lots of yachts and boats, some fabulous restaurants and designer shops. It really is a lovely spot to stroll around and explore. There is a market held every Wednesday and Saturday which gets very busy. A great place to sit with a coffee and watch the world go by. The whole resort is linked by a promenade. It’s 10 minutes to the best beach in the resort and then a further 10 minutes’ walk takes you to more bars and restaurants of the older part of the resort. The opposite direction was linked by promenade all the way along to the hotels at Papagayo. If, like me, you like a nice walk by the sea, then this is for you. EATING OUT There are endless possibilities when it comes to choosing where to eat. My favourites were: CASA ROJA – excellent service, outstanding cuisine, great place for a special occasion. A great dining experience. CAFÉ DEL PUERTO – fantastic for an ice cream sundae and a cocktail or two. Relax and watch the world go by. LANI’S STEAK HOUSE- quite an extensive menu. Great for burgers, steak and seafood. RISTORANTE PIZZAREIA COMMENDATORE - not just a pizzeria although I assume they do pizza. Think classic Italian food, done very well. Great atmosphere. Very busy. SPICE FUSION– last minute decision to give this Indian restaurant a try. I nearly didn’t as it’s in a shopping centre. Glad I did, great restaurant. DAY TRIPS CESAR MANRIQUE FOUNDATION – This local born artist created his house in volcanic bubbles on returning to the island in the 60’s. If you like art, architecture, design or are just interested in the unusual, visit. It’s an amazing place. TIMANFAYA NATIONAL PARK – A must for any budding volcanologists. Unique landscape, quite breath taking. See geothermal demonstrations and have your food cooked from the geothermal heat. An interesting day out for all ages. FUERTEVENTURA – My favourite trip. I had done the others before. Two Canary Islands for the price of one. I caught the ferry mid-morning for the 30-minute crossing to Fuerteventura. Disembark in Corralejo, a pretty tourist town with a nice beach not far from the port. After a stroll around the streets we chose a spot for lunch and sat back and, you guessed it, watched the world go by.
12 January 2017
Just 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, St Lucia has a lot to offer for an island so small. From palm-fringed beaches to lush rainforest and the Piton mountains. It’s easy to see why my sister chose to get married there, having visited the year before with her partner. Even better, my family and I were invited. A week of sun, sea, and sand and a wedding to look forward to. Flying out of Gatwick, all 14 in our party were looking forward to a memorable week in November. On arrival in St Lucia, there was a short transfer to the Coconut Bay Beach Resort. Welcome cocktail in hand, the check in at the hotel was friendly and efficient. We were staying on the Harmony side of the hotel, which is adults only, my “kids” being 18 and 20. I felt relaxed and welcomed straight away, the room was large and comfortable, right across from the pool and the sea beyond. In the days that followed, I had a wonderful time. The hotel is all inclusive with 3 specialty restaurants, (Asian, Italian, Caribbean), has a buffet restaurant and beach grill. There is also a smaller more intimate option for breakfast if you are staying on the Harmony side of the hotel, with waitress service and beautiful views out to sea. Having tried them all, the food at this hotel was consistent, very good. The beach had plenty of water sports on offer, kayaks, snorkelling, windsurfing and a kite surf school were all available, along with horse riding along the beach. There were also some brilliant facilities for families, including a lazy river and water slides, which of course, I tried out too. A couple of days before the wedding all the girls arranged a trip to Hotel Chocolat’s , Rabot Estate, where we made our own chocolate bars, had a tour of the plantation and a beautiful lunch with a stunning view of the Pitons. The boys did a catamaran trip to Sugar Beach, where they did some snorkelling. The opportunities to get out and about to explore are endless. Treks in the rainforest, zip lining, quad biking, and deep sea fishing to name a few. For me, an important part of travelling is meeting the locals and exploring the less touristy spots. One evening we had a night out in Laborie, a small fishing village about 20 minutes by car from the hotel. Everyone we met was very friendly, having sampled some local rum at one of the bars we then carried on to Mama Tilly’s for dinner. A really authentic experience, Mama does great chicken and fish on the grill, all served to you on the terrace of her quirky eatery. The food was fabulous and Mama is a lot of fun. The day of the wedding arrived and it was the most beautiful ceremony on the beach. Away from the main part of the hotel, it was very private. After the ceremony we had a sit-down dinner in the beach pagoda, complete with bar and DJ. We all danced the night away under the stars – perfect! All too soon our week in the sun was over and we were heading home, with some very, happy memories. It was a wonderful experience and it was really great to spend quality time with all the family and celebrate such a special occasion in a unique way. Whether you’re visiting to celebrate something special or not, St Lucia is a vibrant, welcoming and varied destination for a fantastic holiday. It has so much to offer and I can’t wait to return some day.
27 April 2015
I was lucky enough to be accepted on an agents trip with Crystal Ski Holidays to the home of skiing - Norway. It was a wonderful experience which I have shared below. We arrived into Oslo on a Norwegian Airlines flight from Gatwick and had a 3 hour transfer to our first resort Geilo. Crystal have a charter flight to Fagernes which is much closer during the winter season but this ended the week before we flew out. Not that I minded the 3 hour journey as the scenery is jaw dropping. GEILO I stayed at the Vestlia Resort which was very handy for the ski slopes, practically on the doorstep. The resort is split into 2 areas for skiing and there is a regular ski bus service to the other side of the resort for some more skiing. The skiing itself was fantastic, big wide slopes which were very quiet. A snow sure resort which I would recommend to beginners and improvers. Advanced skiers might struggle to fill a week with challenging runs but there are other activities which would pass the time. I tried my hand at tobogganing while I was there, which was a lot of fun. Other activities include ice hole fishing, ice driving, snow mobiling, husky sled rides, so there's plenty for an active family to experience. The resort is fairly small and compact with everything you would need. I would recommend staying on half board, especially if it was a family group as eating out can be expensive. We were lucky enough to have dinner at the award-winning Hallingstuene Restaurant. I would highly recommend it, beautiful traditional Nordic building serving beautifully presented local cuisine. We were also treated to lunch at the Dr Holms Hotel, a pleasant place to enjoy an après ski drink or two. HEMSEDAL I stayed at the Alpin Lodge, which is made up of apartments that accommodate small to very large groups, we had an apartment on 2 floors large enough to accommodate 10 people. Again it was at the foot of the slopes very handy for ski school and ski rental was within the building. The ski area is the best one for advanced skiers out of the 3 I visited. It is also brilliant for beginners and intermediates. Nice long green runs from the top of the mountain and slightly more challenging blue runs. Out of all the ski areas this was my favourite. The resort has a small village feel to it and having been here at the weekend and experienced the lively après ski first hand I would recommend it to groups of friends. However, I also wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to families and couples too. BEITOSTOLEN What a wonderful, welcoming place Beitostolen is. The resort is family owned and run. We stayed at the Radisson Blu and again it was across the road from the slopes. This is very much a beginners resort, there's not that many slopes to choose from but there are so many other activities on offer and is more of an winter experience. It would be fantastic for first time skiers who wanted to try other things. I tried airboarding, which was good but it's really just like sledging but with a blow up sledge. We also were treated to snow rafting which was so much fun. The resort has tepees up the mountain where you can go and take part in various activities have a meal etc. Other activities on offer are cross country skiing, ice climbing, ice hole fishing, snow mobiling and husky safaris. The resort is small and very quiet, but again everything you would need, bars, supermarkets are right on your doorstep. To sum up I would recommend Norway to anyone looking to try skiing for the first time or improve on what they have already learnt. The slopes are not crowded and it's snow sure the whole season. Definitely a good choice for families. It can be expensive but if you book a hotel that provides meals this will help with budgeting. I would definitely return for another skiing holiday.
Westhill, Aberdeenshire. 04/06/2018
Tasmania Australia 04/06/2018
Alicante, Spain. 04/06/2018
Bognor Regis 04/06/2018
Alford, Aberdeenshire 04/06/2018
Westhill, Aberdeenshire 04/06/2018
Kinellar, Aberdeenshire 04/06/2018
Westhill, Aberdeenshire 31/01/2008
Chichester, West Sussex 16/01/2008