I'm a familiar face to many as I have always lived in Alfreton.
I have worked in travel since I was 17 years old starting as a YTS for an independent agency moving to Bolsover Cruise and then the Co-op before finding my dream job and becoming a Travel Counsellor in September 2000.
I'm a firm believer in giving back and getting involved in your community, this is how I became a member of the Rotary Club of Alfreton a few years ago and then in July 2018 I took on the very exciting role of President which is a two year post. My son Connor is now 18 years old, so he has never known a time when I haven’t been a Travel Counsellor. He thinks everyone should have a mum that takes them on exotic holidays, weekends away and cruises every year.
We have been lucky to visit some beautiful places and I have to say that Alaska is one I would really like to revisit. I have been on over 30 cruises to both Europe and the Caribbean with virtually every cruise line, so have a great knowledge of ships. Therefore I can share inside tips and make suggestions on which one is best for you. I’ve also been on holiday to New York, Boston, Cape Cod, DisneyWorld in Orlando a lot , Disneyland Paris, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Singapore, Cyprus, many parts of Spain, France and the UK.
I love assisting new and existing clients with their holiday plans, offering honest and impartial advice. I treat every enquiry as if it was for my own holiday. My priority is to make sure you have the best holiday possible.
Although I'm based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, I have clients all over the UK which have been referred to me by existing clients, so thank you to all that have passed my details on.
Many people don’t have time to talk or even think about their holiday during the working week. There is no need to spend your weekends at the travel agents or countless hours online researching. If you use me, you’ll have an experienced, fully qualified travel consultant who gets to know you so you have your dream holiday at no extra cost.
Working from home allows me much more flexibility so that I can be available at a time to suit you.
I look forward to hearing from you
Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact details on and I can get things started for you:-
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.
18 June 2018
If you follow me on Facebook it’s likely you will know that Connor wants to be a zoo keeper. It’s great that he knows what he wants to do, and it also means we get to visit lots of places, so he can gain as much experience as possible. This week we were in Edinburgh in the sunshine. We have East Midlands on our doorstep and as we can fly to Edinburgh in only 55 minutes it was the obvious way to get there. I think I was one of the only people to check in a big case, none of...
14 June 2018
Today I made the journey from Alfreton along the beautiful Derbyshire roads to Glossop to visit Reubens Retreat. Reubens Retreat is not just a building, it’s an amazing charity that came out of tragedy and is close to the hearts of myself and all my fellow Travel Counsellors. I have been wanting to visit for a long time, but you know how it is, life sometimes gets in the way. This time nothing was going to stop me. On arrival I was greeted by the always smiling ‘Mummy’ Nicola Graham as well as Sally Anne and Nicky, I was so happy to...
29 January 2018
For Christmas my brother bought me a coffee machine, one of those with the pods you pop in. A lovely present you say, well yes, it is, but until then I didn’t drink coffee. I have now got a collection of different coffees that I have been trying out and after buzzing and a few late nights due to caffeine overload, I have worked out my favourite is the ‘skinny latte macchiato’ So, why am I telling you about my Christmas present when there are so many places in the world I could be telling you about. Well the fact...
19 November 2017
Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s flagship is a fabulous cruise liner, like nothing else at sea, she isn’t just a cruise ship. I was lucky enough to sail transatlantic from Southampton to New York when QM2 was a very new ship. I was so excited, and I have to say the trip was everything I hoped it would be. Room service hot chocolate every morning on my balcony before eggs benedict for breakfast in the restaurant. Long lazy days at sea and afternoon tea in the Queen’s Room while people danced. It was like stepping back in time to a bygone era...
28 July 2017
Well it’s only 12 months since the last time I visited Caribbean Princess in Liverpool and I’m back here again, but this time it’s different for two reasons. 1. Caribbean Princess has had a refit 2. I’ve brought Connor with me. This is Princess Cruises first Family ship visit, so how could we not come along? The format of a normal agent visit it to see the cabins to show us the difference from inside through to suites, to see the different public areas, speciality restaurants and pool areas and then have lunch in the main dining room and chat about what we’ve seen...
21 July 2017
It’s no secret that I’m not into self-catering, I’m not a fan of cooking at home, so why would I do it on my holidays. This summer though we have been on not one cottage break, but two. The first one was a prize via a Cunard Cruise Line competition. It said win a luxury family break, so the last thing I was expecting was a cottage, well would you? I was asked when and where in the UK I wanted to stay and what was really important. I told them we quite fancied somewhere around Scarborough and that WIFI was a...
07 July 2017
After 5 nights chilling at the JA Palm Tree Court it was time to move on and see more of Dubai. JA Ocean View is modern sleek 4 star hotel on the The Walk at JBR minutes from the beach, shops and many restaurants. I did look at the hotel on the website before we travelled and I honestly can’t believe it looks exactly like the pictures in real life. The bright white reception is just immaculate and the air conditioning is so welcoming when you step through the front doors. Our room was 1507 Connors birthday, so we never forgot it. We...
02 July 2017
Who in their right mind goes to Dubai in July? I heard that a lot leading up to our trip. I was even saying it myself as we sat on the plane at Birmingham before take-off. I soon forgot about it as we sat in our row of two seats on the Emirates flight watching movies and chilling out. The flight was great and the staff attentive, and we were in Dubai in no time or so it seemed. We were met at the aircraft door by a man with a wheelchair for Connor, I had been told Dubai airport was vast,...
11 April 2017
The first time I saw Oriana she was brand new, that was back in 1994, so it was great to visit after her latest refit. I make no secret that I love a traditional cruise ship, so although I can’t travel on Oriana on my holidays asConnor isn’t old enough yet, I really do think she is a beautiful ship. It’s good to see that tradition hasn’t been lost in the refit, she has just been enhanced for the benefit of her many repeat loyal passengers. The Tiffany glass still looks fabulous and the Lords Tavern is a modern take on its...
02 April 2017
Kotor is a place I have seen on many cruise itineraries I have booked for clients, but that is really all I knew about, so I was eager to explore on my recent visit. We set our alarm, ordered room service for breakfast and made sure we were on the first tender of the day. The tender was actually local boats rather then lifeboats, so it meant that everyone had a great view of the ship. I must have taken 50 pictures on the short journey. The first plan of the day was the hop on-hop off bus that left from the...
31 March 2017
When I was asked if I would like to be one of the first passengers to sail onboard Princess Cruises' brand new flag ship Majestic Princess, I didn’t hesitate - I was already mentally picking out my evening dress and shoes. On Friday 31st March Captain Dino Sagani took the helm of his brand new ship and we sailed out of his home town of Trieste with what looked like the whole of the town coming to wave us off. It was truly a majestic sight with the daytime fireworks and the ships horn playing the theme from Love Boat,...
09 March 2017
When I usually go to visit a ship it’s somewhere in the UK, so I was very happy to get the chance to visit Holland America Lines flagship MS Amsterdam in Singapore while she was visiting as part of her 2017 World cruise. MS Amsterdam is a mid-sized ship carrying 1380 passengers, but while we were on-board most of them were enjoying the sights of Singapore. We had a tour of the ship, visiting all the public rooms and enjoying a glass of bubbly and canapes in the Ocean Bar while the piano played in the background. After our tour of the ship,...
02 March 2017
Whether for business or for pleasure a round of golf brings a smile to the faces of many people young or old. It’s a game I’ve never tried, but always thought I should. The weather in the UK doesn’t make me want to rush out onto the fairway, but maybe somewhere with a little bit more sunshine could tempt me. The Algarve, Portugal has long been a golfer's favourite destination, especially the resort of Vilamoura. A beautiful harbour town that has a comprehensive golf complex as well as great hotels, restaurants and beach. The Costa del Sol again is a popular choice...
06 December 2016
Yes, as the title suggests I am a terrible theatre snob, not about the show itself as I'm open to seeing anything and everything, but for me it's all about the seat I'm sitting in. Our local theatre is Nottingham Theatre Royal and I have my favourite seats. I'm not going to tell you the exact numbers as they are mine, but they are front or second row, centre dress circle. It's not just my local theatre though I have the same rules in the West End or my other favourite theatre the Birmingham Hippodrome. Musicals are my favourite. This year I...
21 September 2016
I have waited a long time to see an Oceania ship, I’m glad to say it was worth the wait. When I got my joining instructions I did smile to myself, this is what it said. The day will consist of a tour of Oceania Nautica, followed by a six-course gourmet lunch comprising of dishes from our various dining venues. What’s not to love? Now, you have to note at this point that Oceania Cruises are not to be confused with P&O’s ship Oceana. Nautica was built in 2000 and underwent a multimillion dollar refurbishment in 2014 and it really does show in...
24 August 2016
It’s 24th August at 7:45am and we have just boarded the train from Alfreton to London. I’m looking forward to these three days because it’s not just me and Connor, we are bringing along my mum and my niece Danielle. This will be Danielle’s first visit, so Connor is eager to show her all his favourite places. It’s a non-stop first day. We went straight to our hotel. Thistle Royal Trafalgar is a hotel we have stayed at before and everything about it is great. The staff are so helpful and the position is perfect. I tell everyone that you walk...
20 August 2016
After a very long drive and an overnight stay in Dover, I opened my curtains this morning and saw what I have waited years to see. Today was the day I was visiting a Seabourn ship. I have to admit to being a little excited. Seabourn Quest was built in 2011, but she could be a brand new ship, as soon as you step on board you feel the stresses of everyday life just melt away. The beauty of this ship visit is that in effect I have seen three ships as Quest, Odyssey (2009) and Sojourn (2010) are the same...
16 August 2016
My first visit to the Port of Tyne was, I’m happy to say, in glorious sunshine. To make sure I made it on time I decided on an overnight stay at the Premier Inn, which was so close to the port I could almost walk to the ship, but I didn’t. Holland America’s newest ship MS Koningsdam was the reason to my trip up north. I have seen other HAL ships old and new, but was especially looking forward to this one following all the launch hype that had come with it. I was not disappointed. MS Koningsdam is classed as...
07 August 2016
Who would have thought a week in Blackpool wouldn't be long enough? Whatever the weather it’s a great place to be, with so many things to see and do for all the family. The whole point of the trip was for Connor to spend the day at Blackpool Zoo being a sea lion trainer (yes, really) but we wanted to see the sights. I decided to go the whole hog and get the big ticket giving us access to the Sea Life Centre, Madame Tussauds, Tower Dungeons, Blackpool Eye, Tower Ballroom and the Tower Circus. The first two days were great...
23 July 2016
Liverpool Cruise Terminal is maybe not what I expected, but the welcome was superb. The terminal is really just a big tent and it’s within walking distance to everything the city has to offer. No expensive excursions for those lucky passengers arriving on board Caribbean Princess today. Over the years I have seen and sailed on many Princess ships, but it has been a while, so I thought it would be good to go for a visit. Caribbean Princess is a fairly big ship at 112,894 tons carrying 3,142 passengers and not new as she was built in 2004 with a refurbishment...
16 July 2016
It’s hard not to love everything Disney, so when I heard on the radio they were bringing Aladdin the Musical from Broadway to the West End, I knew we had to see it. I got our tickets booked within an hour of them going on sale and was very excited to get a forward facing box in the dress circle. Connor has always wanted to sit in a box. We set off early from our hotel in Elstree on a mission to collect Pokemon from around London. Pokemon Go had been released two days earlier and it was all everyone was...
05 July 2016
Another day another cruise terminal, this time Tilbury or to give its full title ‘The London International Cruise Terminal’. A beautiful building somewhere in Essex. I was here to visit Cruise and Maritimes latest addition to the fleet, Magellan. This was my first time on board a C&M ship and I came with an open mind. I had no idea what to expect as the cruise fares are sometimes so cheap, it does make you wonder. Let’s set the record straight right now. I loved the ship, the staff and the whole experience. Yes, it’s not for everyone, the ship isn’t...
23 May 2016
Harmony of the Seas is the largest and most expensive cruise liner in the world and I was lucky enough to be invited on-board for the weekend by Royal Caribbean, WOW. I hope you enjoy reading my notes and seeing my photos. It has been described as the ‘ultimate ship’ and at 227,000 gross tones carrying up to 5,497 guests with 2,300 international crew members it has 18 decks and 24 elevators, 20 restaurants and bars it is very impressive! As our time was limited I was on a mission to explore as much as possible. My favourite experience was the...
17 May 2016
I have just spent a great few days at the 10th annual Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) conference in Southampton. CLIA is an independent organisation that bring together cruise lines, travel agents and associated travel partners and are dedicated to the expansion of ocean and river cruise holidays. My first cruise was on board a school cruise trip around Greece and Egypt when I was 12 years old. I’m not sure if that’s when I got a taste and love for luxury cruising, but it sure is when I decided how much I liked being at sea. The good thing about...
03 September 2015
Have you ever written down or even told anyone else what is on your holiday bucket list? I haven’t, but since Connors leg surgery I have had lots of sleepless nights, so I decided to write my top 5 down and share them. 1. New York. I’ve been a couple of times before, I’ve sailed in on-board Queen Mary 2, which was amazing, I’ve stood on top of the twin towers and I’ve done the helicopter trip. What I really want to do is take Connor to experience this great city, so we have decided to go...
04 September 2013
Planning a holiday with a child can seem a little daunting when you’re a single parent. I understand this as I am a single working mum to Connor who’s 12. I plan and book all our escapes but also offer lots of insights and advice to other parents in a similar position to me. It’s a case of getting creative and after many years in the travel industry I have loads of ideas and little tips which can make all the difference. As a working mum, the summer school holidays can seem a little scary, as you...
22 August 2013
Well it’s August again and time for our now annual trip to London for a West End show. It’s the third year that my son Connor and I have headed to the capital for a few days of fun. I know it’s not a relaxing trip and it makes your feet ache, but there is nothing better than taking in the sights and sounds of London. We stayed at our favourite hotel, The Cumberland at Marble Arch. You just can’t beat it, he likes the free wifi for his Ipad and the art work that he seeks out around the...
09 April 2011
Well what can I say about Legoland? My son Connor thinks it's the best place on Earth and that’s why this was our eighth visit. This year it was different as we went on the Star Wars weekend. These are his two favourite things in the world and for them to be happening together meant he was a very happy child and he wasn't the only one. Legoland is a great family theme park for the young children; it's a big site, so you have to be prepared to walk. It has a couple of big rides, but is not by any...
Sent in by Charlotte Marshall-Clarke
Derbyshire, 07 July 2019
Mandy always listens to my needs and finds the perfect holiday
Sent in by Steve Nutt
Derbyshire, 21 May 2019
Hi Mandy , just want to say we had an amazing time in Krakow and thank you for organising all our excursions before we went and your continued support whilst out in Krakow. We received our ‘travel counsellors’ folder with everything labelled and organised hotel transfers, flight tickets , excursion tickets etc this took a lot of stress out of our holiday , even our luggage labels were filled out . Everything ran to clock work from start to finish . Mandy you even supported us whilst out in Krakow on booking a further trip , so professional and helpful at all times . Thank you again for your patience in organising this surprise trip , you went the extra mile to ensure everything ran smoothly . A truly professional and knowledgeable lady who offers a first class personal service tailored to individual needs . Will definitely use your services again Mandy
Sent in by Carolyn Gledhill
Derbyshire, 21 May 2019
Very impressed with prompt service. Good choice of options available. Very helpful and knowledgable. Would thoroughly reccommend Mandy.
Sent in by Trevor Dent
Buckinghamshire, 02 September 2018
I always recommend Mandy. She is amazing
Sent in by Angy Jackman
Buckinghamshire, 02 September 2018
Thank you Mandy for all your help
Sent in by George Brydon
Ripley, 09 July 2018
Mandy was informative and helpful, willing to meet with our group in one of our houses. Her response has been prompt and we are very happy with the service provided. 10/10
Sent in by William Purcell
Lanarkshire, 09 July 2018
She never lets you down. 10/10
Sent in by Roy Walker
Hampshire, 09 July 2018
Very good, efficient and personal service. Would highly recommend. 10/10
Sent in by Anne Black
Lanarkshire, 09 July 2018
Mandy is always very helpful and makes me feel like she cares about what she arranges for me. 10/10
Sent in by Mike Stephens
Uttoxeter, 16 April 2018
We would never have come up with such a super trip even if we had spent weeks surfing the net
Sent in by Lynn Purcell
Lanarkshire, 27 February 2018
Mandy helped us decide on the right shape of holiday and full of suggestions for things to do and see
Sent in by Michael Bratley
Peterborough, 27 February 2018
Mandy was as helpful as ever.
Sent in by Rachel Jones
Derbyshire, 27 February 2018
Mandy provided travel options and a range of hotels to choose from. Advice on flying options particularly welcomed and organising transfers gave a huge peace of mind. Cannot believe I've waited so long to use this service, should have done so years ago - such a personal touch and a totally different experience from using the usual high street travel agents. Would absolutely recommend to family and friends and will definitely use them again for future holidays.
Sent in by John Kitchin
Wigan, 27 February 2018
Mandy is always there for any help you may need and a chat.
Sent in by Claire Middleton
Alfreton, 02 February 2018
Extremely helpful and speedy responses, thank you.
Sent in by Gordon Morris
Northumberland, 30 January 2018
Mandy dealt quickly with our rather confused brief and changes of mind about flights and destination, to provide an ideal solution.
Sent in by Roger Holroyd
Belper, 24 January 2018
Excellent service. Thank you.
Sent in by Linda Dent
Buckinghamshire, 24 January 2018
I always recommend Mandy to everybody. She is always so helpful.
Sent in by Liam Carrington-Morris
Alfreton, Derbyshire, 03 January 2018
Mandy is fantastic, she always goes above and beyond and she has been instrumental in creating some wonderful memories for us and I look forward to all our future adventures via Mandy!
Sent in by Paul Wilson
Alfreton, 26 July 2017
We're vey happy with the support we have received from Mandy. I'm sure she does more than what is expected of her. I couldn't have booked this holiday without her, too stressful! She's put up with my moaning, changing dates and places, etc. I would definitely recommend Mandy to family, friends and colleagues
Sent in by Gary Croft
Huddersfield, 31 May 2017
We have used Mandy on many occasions and have always been satisfied. Thank you.
Sent in by Rachel Stevens
Chesterfield, 13 March 2017
Brilliant service and love the personal touch.
Sent in by Warner Cohn
Brighton, 13 March 2017
Great work. Great support. Great service!
Sent in by Helen Curran
Alfreton, 26 January 2017
Mandy is great - known her for years , very helpful and the 2nd time she has organised a holiday for us, would highly recommend!.
Sent in by Sharon Basco
Ilford, 21 January 2017
Mandy is the most helpful travel person, and she came recommended , top marks and when I asked a lot of questions about the cruise ships she was very knowledgeable
Sent in by Emily Carrington-Morris
Alfreton, 13 December 2016
As a person who likes to hunt down great deals by booking their own holidays via the internet, I was curious to try Mandy as a comparison, to see how far out she was in terms of pricing and quality! I have never been so happy to say how wrong and misguided I was! Price is key when booking your hard earned holidays, absolutely but Mandy the Travel Counsellor has so much more to offer. I didn't realise but I gave her a really rubbish brief and turned my nose up at every hotel she came up with. She persevered and managed to extract some more information from me that I didn't even know was important to me. I wanted a hotel that is fairly central but not in the centre, about 2 tube stops to be exact. I always wanted a trendy/quirky hotel but not expensive, along with many other contradictory demands! Mandy came back with the most perfect hotel that we couldn't find on the usual internet search engines, which ticked all boxes and more. She booked the flights, transfers (which were so impeccable from the timing, to the vehicle, to the driver) and even contacted me to say that she had heard about a Vienna Pass that may be of interest to us....it was one of the best purchases for the holiday! I didn't have to do any online check-ins - done, no printing of docs as they all came in a specific travel wallet - done, luggage tags both ways - done....she did everything except pack my bags, which I might work on for next time! Whatever holiday you are booking, Mandy should be your first point of contact. She shouldn't be a hidden gem and I for one am enjoying telling everyone how I have enjoyed the most hassle free, luxurious holiday booking experience of all time! Thanks again Mandy .
Sent in by Ann Shergold
Ringwood, 16 August 2016
Always helpful, very knowledgeable , always friendly.
Sent in by Elise Wilson
Alfreton, 16 August 2016
Always happy with the service and is very helpful in answering any questions.
Sent in by Phil Hubbard
Chesterfield, 03 May 2016
Mandy, was very knowledgeable about the cruise itinerary and sorted us out quickly and efficiently, Just can't wait to go now!
Sent in by Alison Rayner
Selston, 28 April 2016
Hi Mandy just to say thank you very much for organising our holiday - we had a lovely time and yes we did find the bar at EMA!!! Thank you for the welcome home card - a nice touch! It was great to have all the arrangements sorted out for us so that we didn't have to worry about anything. The transfers were great and on time and helpful. The hotel was nice too with great breakfasts! We'll be getting in touch with you when we next go abroad
From the pristine white-sand beaches of Thailand’s idyllic islands to the sprawling wide-open roads of the USA; the historic and breathtakingly beautiful architecture of India to the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Maldives – there’s a world of wonder out there and it’s just waiting to be explored.
Contact me on 01773 318540