Jonny the Pilot

Commercial Airline Pilot. Vlogging Europe. Loving life. Ironman. Feminist.

7 Days in Cape Town 🇿🇦

I’ve heard a lot about South Africa – it’s beaches, it’s stunning nature, the great food and local wine and some of the most exciting wildlife in the world. 👌🦈 🐳  Checking on I had three options – Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban (the latter a new BA route for 2018). After some quick research, decision was made – Cape Town here I come.

So here’s a quick run down of my adventure over the week in pictures; a 7 day itinerary for Cape Town.

This November I had a week off and wanted to make the most of it – time to head somewhere new, somewhere I could switch the cold for some warmth, sunshine and adventure.

I’ve heard a lot about South Africa – it’s beaches, it’s stunning nature, the great food and local wine and some of the most exciting wildlife in the world. 👌🦈 🐳  Checking on I had three options – Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban (the latter a new BA route for 2018). After some quick research, decision was made – Cape Town here I come.

Despite the last minute booking (and planning!) and it being my first ever time in the Southern Hemisphere (!), I packed a lot into a short visit, all made possible by limited time difference and an overnight flight – I boarded from London on Saturday evening and arrived in South Africa at 9.45am Sunday morning.

So here’s a quick run down of my adventure over the week in pictures; a 7 day itinerary for Cape Town.


📸|@IADSPOTTER Instagram


Day 1

  • Camps Bay for a wonder/ freezing toe dip in the sea
  • Lunch at a beach front restaurant called UMI
  • Grand cafe (beach club & restaurant (good for sun downers and dinner )

Booked car hire using the free airport wifi as I waited for the luggage at the baggage carousel. Since being given the tip years ago from a rental company employee, I now always book the cheapest car possible online before upgrading at the desk in order to get a great deal on a decent car. This works for me 99% of the time. Cape Town was the 1% as Thrifty apparently couldn’t take payment to upgrade as I booked through RentalCars.Com (a favourite) But hey the Rolls Royce badged up as a Datsun gave us a few laughs as we started to drive into the city (about 25 min drive) and it only cost about £100 for the week. #win

Where to stay – The first 2 nights accommodation was in Camps Bay.

This area came recommended by a friend and is beautiful. White sand, natural rock swimming pool and the Twelve Apostles mountains just behind you gives you the feel of a cross between the Jurassic coast of Devon and Malibu. Behind the beach, seafood restaurants, cafes and cocktail bars which all overlook the boardwalk and crashing Atlantic waves. there are lots of places to stay some pretty pricey. my approach is generally go for something more personal, authentic and less extortionate than the 5* hotels on offer unless my plan is to sit by the pool and make the most of what that offer. There is so much to do in South Africa so I booked into a guest house. If you want the former have a look at the Belmond Mount Nelson, the later took us the the ‘Ocean View House’. (£160/night on


Getting around –  in the evening was easy and safe and cheap using Über. ideal if you want to sample some of the amazing wines on offer.

Dinner – We headed to a beach club about a 20 min drive from Camps Bay called ‘Grand Café’. Not a typically authentic South African experience but somewhere we enjoyed a few cocktails as the sun set and relaxed candlelight dinner at their restaurant. Great food, great wine and a pretty cool vibe (£25/pp).  👌

Tipping – I generally tipped between 10 and 20%. 

Day 2

  • Chapmans peak drive
  • Misty cliffs beach 👌
  • Noordhoek Farm Village (lunch at the deli)
  • Cape of Good Hope 🌊
  • Boulders beach for penguins 🐧 (late afternoon wasn’t too busy)
  • Llandudno beach on the way home 🏖
  • Hussar grill dinner 🥩 🍴

A busy day but great way to cover a few of the must do things whilst there.

Breakfast looking out over the ocean before hopping into the car. The Chapman’s Peak Drive known as one of the worlds most scenic drives is a fantastic coastal route along Chappie’s Toll road (have a few coins ready) with the most majestic scenery. 🚙  ⛰

Keep your eyes peeled for whales on the right and baboons on the left. The most amazing deserted white sandy beaches  with mist blowing off the sea gives the feel your on a film set. Absolutely fantastic!

Lunch – Pop into the Noordhoek Farm Village and enjoy the ranch style setting. Eat in the deli. The cafe looks fab and the food looks delicious. we had a look around grabbed a drink and the chef made us a coupe of fresh sandwiches to go. The only thing this place was missing was a few courses tied up at the door. Highly recommended for a pit stop.

The plan then was to continue the drive straight down to the Cape of Good Hope National Park and walk up the hill (take trainers) to the lighthouse before driving  back up to swing by Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach to see the Penguins.

This was good advice we were given as the penguins can be off doing there thing in the day and there are coach loads of tourists to battle. We arrived around 5pm which was perfect. They’re just as cute and funny as you might expect! 🐧

We opted to do the same drive in reverse as opposed to taking the motorway back to Cape Town dropping into a coupe places on route.

Llandudno Beach – This is a hidden gem.

Almost out of sight from coastal road, light blues melt to deep darks where many ships have wrecked themselves in stormy waters. Take a picnic blanket, a bottle of South African wine and throw all your worries away. Watch the surfers do their thing whilst you find a sheltered spot behind one of the boulders and take an ankle-deep Atlantic dip.

This was one of my favourite spots. No restaurants, not many if any tourists, easy parking and an idyllic setting.


Dinner – The Hussar Grill. Great if you like steak and wine. Whatever happens, order the Chocolate Vodka Martini for Dessert! 👌 Again approx £25/pp

Day 3

  • Stellenbosch – visiting wine country
  • Boschendal vinyard (awesome picnic lunch ) tour and tasting session. Didn’t book but recommend booking a picnic hamper.
  • Stayed in Stelenbosch seems safe to walk about at night and some great restaurants for dinner

About an hours drive up into the mountainous wine region we arrived in Stellenbosch, surrounded by vineyards. The town has a real colonial style to it known as Cape Dutch. The streets are lined with oak trees, cafes and art galleries and again was a safe place to walk about even at night and sample the restaurants.

Accommodation – Our home for the night was a lovely little guest house in the centre of town. 2 nights would have been great but so much to see and so little time.

Stellenbosch is wine country and you may well have treated yourself to a bottle of wine with a Boschendal label in Waitrose. Well thats exactly where we ended up.


A wine tasting in their rose garden (the biggest in the southern hemisphere), all imported from Kew Gardens. I highly recommend booking a picnic for lunch before meeting Francois, who’s family used to own the vinyard. He told us all about how its made and what to actually look for when the waiter asks if you’d like to taste the wine at dinner… 😆 We obviously then ended up buying lots to take home.


Day 4

  • Whale watching with Ivanhoe Sea Safari’s in Gansbaai (although not that many left…best time is from June-early November)
  • La Perla for dinner in Sea Point.
  • Nice for a run along the Sea Point waterfront in the evening.

Lots of driving, a couple of whales and a fun day out. Not really prime season for whale spotting but an enjoyable couple of hours on the boat in the sunshine and the excitement of seeing a whale up close.


Would be nice to stay in Hermanus for a night perhaps and do a shark dive but again there weren’t many sharks about either due to the Orcas being in town and apparently they don’t get on too well. Whale watching £70/pp 🐋


Accommodation – A new guest house in Cape Point. ‘Maartens Guesthouse’ £60/night Bargain! Great location for getting about, friendly, comfortable and cheap.

Dinner – Relaxed dinner at La Perla near the waterfront and a short walk from the guesthouse.

Day 5

  • Robben Island (Dutch for Seal Island), Boat departs from from Victoria & Alfred waterfront at 9am. Prison tour was excellent!
  • Explore of the Victoria & Alfred dock
  • Dinner in Sea Point at Mojo, a food hall with central seating a great bar and live music every night 👍

Robben Island – This is an absolute must. Our guide of the island prison was a former prisoner which in its self was mind-blowing that he would want to be anywhere near the place. He was imprisoned alongside Mandela and tells his story with passion. See my Instagram TV 🎥 (IGTV)

This was Mandela’s cell. He spent 18 years imprisoned on Robben Island in solitary confinement 

The earliest boat leaves the dock at 0900 and returns for 1300 giving you the afternoon to explore the V&A (Victoria and Alfred) waterfront restaurants and shops. Touristy but a relaxing way to spend the afternoon listening to the various musicians and taking a stroll.


Dinner – We ate at a fantastic foodhhall, ‘Mojo Market‘. It is an eclectic mix of daily fresh goods section and over 30 food stalls. The undercover market unites the bustling roadside and passing pavement footfall with floor-to-ceiling views of the sea and palm-lined Promenade, the Market is new and is proving a huge success with live music every night. A buzzing atmosphere and nice change to a more formal restaurant dinner.

Day 6

  • One hour hike up Lion’s Head, a mountain forming part of the dramatic backdrop to the city
  • Two hour hike up the infamous Table Mountain (one of the oldest in the world)
  • Hussar grill again for dinner.

A day of Hiking. Naturally we picked the hottest day of the week to do it… The original plan was to go paragliding from Signal Hill but the wind conditions weren’t right so we ended up doing the nearby Lions head (more intimate that Table Mountain) and then the Platteklip Gorge route (shortest 1hr 30min) up to the top of Table Mountain. Parked at the bottom of the hike which begins a short drive past the cable car which you could also take up (we took it down). An enjoyable hike. You’ll probably see a few Hyrax on your way up. These are small furry mammals. They look like robust, oversized guinea pigs. 😆


1 hour in… 😅


The top of Table Mountain. Sweaty work.

It was a challenging hike after having done 1 already that day in the heat but enjoyable. I preferred the view from Lions head personally as you could see 360 degrees but recommend doing both.


Clambering my up Lions Head



The view our first conquest, Lions head. Taken from the top of Table Mountain 📸

The earlier the better if you want to be the only ones up there. A friend decided to propose whist up there, to make sure they were alone they dd the sunrise hike. 0430 start! 🌄

Day 7

  • Paragliding off Signal Hill (finally after delays due to windy weather!) – great fun, about £70/pp
  • Afternoon tea to finish the trip at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. 👌

Paragliding is fantastic but very weather dependent. I recommend booking knowing that you may have to come back and try another day if the conditions aren’t quite right. this happened to us but thankfully managed to launch off a hill on the final day. It was worth the persistence.


To top of an utterly spectacular week we headed to the prestigious Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel for afternoon tea. Lots of cakes and lots of tea. you get a 2 hour slot with passed quickly so worth arriving a few mins early to make the most of it.

Then it was the to head for the airport, board the Queen of the Skies and depart for London.

Don’t forget to use seat guru to find the best seat available in your cabin on the aircraft. For those that worry when it comes to turbulence have a read of my ‘where to sit’ blog.

Epic week!

Things we didn’t do but wanted to
  1. Hop on hop off bus
  2. Botanical gardens
  3. Shark diving (not many around due orcas apparently)
  4. Walking tour in city centre
  5. Delaire Graff Estate (vinyard)
  6. Grande Provence Estate – The Restaurant, Franschhoek
  7. the kitchen (cafe/restaurant), Woodstock

I hope you enjoyed the read and that you find what I managed to fit into a week useful for planning your trip.

South Africa is an incredible country with so much to offer. I only touched the surface but absolutely can’t wait to return!

Please do leave your comments and questions. Have an awesome day.


4 Comments on 7 Days in Cape Town 🇿🇦

6 days in Los Angeles 🇺🇸 ☀️ 🌴 🏄🏽‍♂️

Cue packing, taxi, airport lounge,  the almighty British Airways Airbus 380, and a seat that transformed into a bed on the upper deck of this contravercial (when it comes to looks) aircraft bound for California. I was fortunate enough to have a week’s holiday in LA – the city of stars, surfers and sunshine!

Cue packing, taxi, airport lounge,  the almighty British Airways Airbus 380, and a seat that transformed into a bed on the upper deck of this controversial (when it comes to looks) aircraft bound for California. I was fortunate enough to have a week’s holiday in LA – the city of stars, surfers and sunshine!

Picking up the rental, I couldn’t help bargaining for an upgrade (if you’ve read some of my previous posts you’ll know I’m not adverse to the odd sports car!). Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a Corvette – that was it. Papers sorted, over to the Corvette we went…to discover the boot (AKA trunk if you’re American!) isn’t really designed for two  bulky suitcases plus hand luggage 🙈

After masterfully rejigging the luggage, we were off in the tightly packed Corvette, the ride that got us around LA and the surrounding area for the next 6 days – what a holiday!


3, 2, 1… GO!

From strolling along the beautiful Crystal Cove beach in the south to a luxurious stay in the West London Hollywood Hotel in Beverly Hills to a rather eventful mountain biking session in nearby national park, Big Bear Mountain resort, it really is the city with it all.

Some of our adventure was caught on film by British Airways – check it out on YouTube.

Otherwise read on for some of the best places we came across during our adventure. In no particular order…

Huntington Beach – get that quintessential California lifeguard pic 🏄‍♀️🏄‍♂️

It’s not necessarily beautiful but it was the first beach we visited and, given it’s pretty iconic life guard huts and live video feed in every Holister store, the huge expanse of soft sand under our feet got us off on the right foot of our adventure; this beach is quintessential California.

A shamelessly big, long beach, you’ll find a long concrete pavement winding along the coastline (otherwise known as the Ocean Strand) with people of all ages cycling, jogging, walking and occasionally rollerblading along. On the beach itself groups of people of all ages congregate around big fire pits while in the sea you get a view of surfers ripping up the waves around the Huntington Beach pier.


Crystal Cove – 🌊 

A beautiful beach in an upmarket part of the city. If you head there you might be sat next to the odd BA pilot or cabin crew – it’s a firm favourite!


Head here for a more peaceful and beautiful beach experience compared to Huntington – it feels less like mankind has intruded although there are a few buildings along the beach edge including The Beachcomber café at Crystal Cove which is worth a visit. This place serves its food with a view! We visited during the week and even then this little café was busy serving brunchtime food to tourists and locals. Apparently it’s also a beautiful place to visit in the evening for dinner whilst listening to the ocean.


The Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove 👌

Big Bear – exploring the great outdoors!
 🐻⛰ 🚲 

On our first full day in LA we awoke to a cloudy sky – not the weather we’d expected in California! (June gloom) Subsequently we decided to jump in the Corvette (did I really need an excuse?!) and head two hours north winding up through forest-covered hills to break through the clouds surrounding Big Bear mountain.

2000m above sea level, we weren’t disappointed – the valley views were SPECTACULAR as we broke through the clouds and the sun beamed down on us.

We grabbed some food before considering how to make the most of our afternoon in this year-round holiday (I should say ‘vacation’) resort.

IMG_1290 2

If you like the outdoors then you’ll love Big Bear. In the winter you can hit the slopes on your skis or snowboard. We were there in spring and had so much choice – kayaking or boating on Big Bear lake, horse riding, hiking…


In the end we plumped for a couple of hours of adrenaline-fuelled downhill mountain biking. Gear sorted, we headed up in a chair lift to then wind down the wooded mountain trails on two wheels, hanging on for dear life.


Claire got a bit over-excited on the final run and ended up displaying her acrobatics before coming to rest on the far side of a bend, splayed across the bike trail…! 🤦‍♀️ But after a quick dusting off, we both agreed it was such an awesome place! We only wished that we could’ve stayed for a few more days of fresh mountain air to get our adventure on!



El Matador State Beach – hidden gem 🏖 

This Malibu beach was a gem of a find and topped our list as the favourite sandy strip we visited!


Beautiful El Matador State Beach

We came across it by chance, parking on a busy highway and following a trickle of people down some steep steps to a beautiful, sandy and quiet beach dotted with huge rocks.


It felt personal, exclusive and like a well-kept secret! There were also some modest waves to play about in if you fancy a dip.

Venice Beach – California on steroids 💪

If you love people watching then this is the beach for you. It’s such an eclectic mix of people and just stuff going on – from people working out at Muscle Beach to people blasting out music as they rollerblade to music Mr Motivator used to play to quirky shops selling merchandise along the edge of the beach.


The long stretches of concrete pavements make it an ideal place to skateboard. After all, this is where it all began… We were also lucky enough to see Sky Brown hitting the main skate park – there’s a reason why she drew the crowds, she’s incredible and only 10!!

Pink’s hotdogs – you’d better like big sausages 🥪 🐶

Watch the British Airways ‘Inside Los Angeles’ YouTube video and you’ll spot Claire and I stuffing our faces with some enormous hotdogs…seriously tasty! We even met the owners – what an awesome family! We were plied with every merchandise imaginable…


This place has been around since 1939 and always in the same family. There’s always a queue – if you’re hungry this is the place for you!

Santa Monica 🎣 🎡 

This place is probably most famous for its pier and being officially the last stop on the famous Route 66 – aka the metaphor for the American Dream! If you’re road tripping then this beach is a must visit – gaze out at the beach views from the pier, chat to the locals doing their best to catch some fish and jump on a fairground ride for some old-fashioned fun.

Runyon Canyon – get your sweat on with the stars

Your in the foothills over LA alongside the infamous Hollywood sign. If you’re looking to get your sweat on with a jog/walk then get yourself over to Runyon Canyon.


We were in LA in June and it was HOT. Don’t go around lunchtime when we did – the hottest part of the day.


Downtown LA in the distance. Exploring the canyons in the hot summer haze

Clearly the weather doesn’t deter locals from pelting up and down these canyons – sturdy trainers needed!

I like to think I’d be as fit as the locals if I lived in LA…truth is I think I’d be splashing around in the sea and cooling off!

Still, definitely worth a visit for that view over LA – awesome!


So this was pretty much a long list of some of the things we got up to. But in short LA was FANTASTIC. If you’ve got bundles of energy then there’s just so much to do here and we barely scratched the surface!

Let me know what you think and if you’ve been to LA. I genuinely can’t wait to go back!

@TheKevinGreene – Epic capture

I also recently came across a handy blog I wish we’d looked at before we went – a genuine abundance of tips and ideas for your visit from a Californian local: California through my lens. Check it out and let me know how you get on!

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24 hours in New York, New York! 🍎 🚕

A couple of days off…what to do?? Where to go that’s not too far, somewhere I’ve never been and I can jam-pack full of adventure?

Flight booked at 5.55pm. Uber arrived at 6.05pm. Horrendous traffic at peak commuter time (move out the way!!). Check in online en route. Heathrow Terminal 5 at 7.10pm. Flight departs at 7.50pm….it was close!

A couple of days off…what to do?? Where to go that’s not too far, somewhere I’ve never been and I can jam-pack full of adventure?

Flight booked at 5.55pm. Uber arrived at 6.05pm. Horrendous traffic at peak commuter time (move out the way!!). Check in online en route. Heathrow Terminal 5 at 7.10pm. Flight departs at 7.50pm….it was close!


Hello First Class!

So off I went. Ushered into my seat, 5G, on a BA Boeing 747 where I was plied with champagne, water and delicious food for the next 7 hours.

Before I knew it I was disembarking and getting very confused about which immigration queue I needed to be in. Third time lucky – there I was stationed at the end of the longest queue! 🙄

Collected my bag and walked out of JFK airport to miles of yellow cabs. I’d arrived – I was in NEW YORK CITY!

An hour later I was in Mid Town Manhattan, a stone’s throw from Central Park and Times Square. This place is nuts!

I literally couldn’t stop saying WOW. Everything is so big – the cars, the buildings, the lights, the food portions – just WOW. People everywhere, sirens on steroids, sights, smells…

Even though it was 12.30am EST the place was buzzing. And those lights – it could be daytime! ☀️ 😎 I headed out for a couple of Long Island Ice Teas – why not?!


I was wandering around in awe. And it felt so different to London! The people are so friendly. They actually want to chat and say hi which is pretty nice (…unless you’re in a hurry 😉)


My plan for a fresh morning jog around Central Park quickly went out the window. Instead I found myself waking up and heading towards a local diner – The Morning Star Cafe – to get the real authentic American breakfast experience 😜  Waffling down some huge portions, we were told by a local on the next table that our accents “were like music”. Ok, thanks I guess!

We jumped on some bikes and went for a cycle. Great way to see the city. Don’t even think about driving. The place is gridlocked!

We headed south on second avenue towards East Village and Lower Manhattan – cool area. A cross between London’s Soho and Brixton. Loads of old school bars, cocktail lounges, alternative restaurants. At all times I genuinely felt I was on the set of Friends – in fact for some reason I felt like I was on a film set the whole time. It was all so surreal.

Food’s never far from my mind and we were near the infamous Katz’s Delicatessen – the number one Deli in NYC. This place was founded in 1888 and each week it serves 6800kg of pastrami – that’s CRAZY. Upon entry were given a ticket and chose our meal.

The place was rammed – so many people, so busy, staff everywhere behind the counter carving and carving that pastrami and corn beef. A healthy helping of grub in our stomachs, we paid with our tickets on the way out. Nice.

Then hello Central Park – an oasis in the city and even bigger than some countries (apparently it’s 6x larger than Monaco!). And everywhere you look in the distance there are these huge, towering sky scrappers rising above the trees. We’ve all seen it in the movies but it’s something else in real life.

At this point I headed to Uptown to meet some friends. Made a new acquaintance too, hey Melinda (apparently her and Bill are big fans of The Crown!) – and then off I went up one of the tallest buildings in NYC…the Empire State building.


Again WOW! What a view from the top. You literally have a 360 degree view of the city. Top tip – pay a bit extra for the fast track otherwise you queue forever for the lifts!

First lift takes you to 80th floor where you get an amazing view. Then it’s another up to 86th floor where you can go outside – awesome.


And then you can go up even further to the 102nd floor (not for those with a fear for heights!). From there it’s like there’s nothing in New York you can’t see. Except where I parked my bike 😉

The Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler building, the Flat Iron building, the Rocefella building, the Hudson River (where good old Sully landed), Central Park, the list goes on….

Then it was time for me to leave the city that never sleeps. Boarded a Boeing 777 bound for Gatwick, wheels up, lights out – I slept all the way to London. (The White Company duvet made it especially comfy – good partnership BA).

Gorgeous morning in London – what a nutty 24 hours adventuring over the other side of the Atlantic.

Am literally still BUZZING from the whole experience and can’t wait to go back – just definitely go with deep pockets because the place has a steep price tag!….but it’s worth it. Just WOW!

Any tips on where to go and what to do when I next visit let me know.


3 Comments on 24 hours in New York, New York! 🍎 🚕

Top 5 perks to being an Airline Pilot👩‍✈️ 👨‍✈️

Ever wondered what makes a pilot tick? There are many great things about a career in commercial aviation. I’ve picked out my top 5. Here we go… TRAVEL What’s not…

Ever wondered what makes a pilot tick? There are many great things about a career in commercial aviation. I’ve picked out my top 5. Here we go…


What’s not to love about a job that takes you all over the world?

Whether you’re short haul (like me flying around Europe) or long haul (flying to Hong Kong one week and Miami the next), the opportunity for adventure, to explore new cities, countries and meet new people is undoubtedly the biggest draw of the job.

While it does mean you’re often away from loved ones, it’s even more of a reason to make the most of the opportunity this career affords.  Wherever I’m staying I always try to make the most of getting out there and soaking up the sense of the new and the unknown.

Plus I always love a quick chat meeting local restaurant owners or hoteliers with local knowledge and advice – a smile and a laugh always goes a long way and I always feel incredibly warmly welcomed.


I’d be lying if I said flying a multimillion pound jet wasn’t one of the key reasons I became an airline pilot.


📷 | @berlin_planespotter[[

With great power (and these really do have a lot of power!) comes great responsibility. Every time I walk up to our aircraft I feel proud not only of myself, to have worked so hard to reach the position I’m in, but to know I’ll be pulling back on the sidestick at 160 mph taking to the skies in such an incredible machine. 🛫

Even after a year and a half of training and nearly 10 years flying commercial jets, the sense of being in control of something so powerful always gets my heart pumping – ask any pilot I know and they’ll only agree!



Freedom in the skies! Undoubtedly what attracted me to becoming an airline pilot is the chance to be above the clouds.

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I’m an island boy at heart and the ability to experience that sense of wonderment and freedom comes with this job whilst still operating in such a regulated and safety conscious industry.


Guess which mountain range?

Living in the UK in the winter there’s really nothing better than when you break through the clouds, gaze out at that vast open expanse of the skies and feel the heat of the sun on my skin. No seasonal affective disorder (SAD) here!



It varies airline to airline but pilots generally receive a good number of days off – not necessarily over the weekends but it’s still generous compared to most jobs.

That’s not to say we don’t work hard! If you’re on short haul like me then it’s often 2, 3, or 4 sectors (flights) in a day, while long haul pilots will be away for potentially a week or more. But the opportunity to recouperate, explore or take up other hobbies is fantastic.

Check out my blog on Canada vs France if you’re a keen snowboarder or skiermg class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-3022″ src=”” alt=”IMG_4518″ width=”2736″ height=”1824″ /> In the winter I can’t keep away from the slopes!! ()[/captio

I’ve flown with many an interesting Captain all able to lead diverse lifestyles due to work patterns (not your typical 9-5 job) – e.g. part-time dentists, on-the-side property developers, semi-professional athletes, etc…


As you know, I’m pretty keen on jumping on board another plane to continue exploring new places or getting my adventure on whether at home or abroad (or back on the island of dreams…AKA where I grew up on the Isle of Wight!).


Ok, so being a pilot today isn’t always as glamorous as in the movie ‘Catch Me If You Can’ but putting on my uniform certainly makes me feel great!


A year and a half of solid study and examination led to me getting my Air Transport Pilot License (ATPL) so it undoubtedly feels satisfying! And on the plus side it means not having to worry every day I go to work if I have clothes to wear – just whether I have clean ironed shirts lined up in the wardrobe and that I’ve remembered to pick up my uniform from the dry cleaners. Oh and the hat, I’m always loosing that. Thankfully it’s like a homing pigeon.

Being a Pilot has been my dream since childhood and I feel very fortunate to be living it! Any thoughts on the perks let me know!

Of course there are some downsides as with any job. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll share my view.

2 Comments on Top 5 perks to being an Airline Pilot👩‍✈️ 👨‍✈️

I’m off to Love Island…

It’s got it all – Sun, Sand and Sangria. Its aquamarine water and raw adventure is simply second to none (and of course it’s home to the set of popular tv show Love Island).
You won’t get bored here! Welcome to Mallorca. Or is it Majorca…

It’s got it all – Sun, Sand and Sangria. Its aquamarine water and raw adventure is simply second to none (and of course it’s home to the set of popular TV show Love Island).

You won’t get bored here! Welcome to Mallorca. Or is it Majorca…


Welcome to Love Island (Aka Mallorca!)

Last week I hung up my cap and epaulettes for 6 days of escapism. Some of you will know I’ve been a few times in the past couple of years – once to go windsurfing after missing a flight to Greece (note to self Mallorca isn’t actually a surfer’s paradise due to the general lack of wind!) and another time to go road cycling with a friend who lives half the year on the island, getting our sweat on winding up and down the incredible Tramuntana mountains.


SOS! 🚵🏻‍♂️

This time it was just me and Claire enjoying a mix of relaxation and exploration of the west of the island. Here’s some of the best places we found during our stay.

Sa Calobra

Two things to know about this small but beautifully formed beach: (1) get there early, it gets packed pretty swiftly; (2) bring goggles/snorkel.

The drive down to the car park seems like an endless pattern of twists and turns but it’s worth it. Get ready to stroll through some pedestrian cave walkways as the view of the bay you’re heading for emerges. 


First you’ll likely spot some super yachts already moored in the bay – there will be more as the day progresses. Eventually you’ll spot the small pebble beach poking out between two cliff faces that you’re heading for – probably a ten min walk from the car park.


Yep, that’s me. I’ve floated further from my super yacht than intended. 😜

We arrived at about 10am and we’re glad we did. After soaking up the scene we hobbled across the pebbles down to the lapping Mediterranean Sea. Goggles on we plunged in – amazing! Water’s so clear and just an awe inspiring place to swim.


We found a couple of rocks to jump off if you’re feeling adventurous.

After a good long swim we headed back to the beach – this is when we realised this place gets busy! After sticking it out for 20 mins we retreated with our beach towels in land and eventually left for some food and a drink back at the nearest cafe.

Definitely worth a visit but I’d recommend getting there around 10am if you can to fully enjoy and appreciate the natural surroundings. And if you’ve got a yacht definitely a spot worth mooring up at (and if you invite me to join I’ll accept).


A stunning town 30 min drive from Palma into the Tramuntana mountains. It’s promoted internationally as a place of outstanding beauty and makes for a great two-three hour visit in either the morning or afternoon if you’re in the area. 


The beautiful Valldemossa. I took this photo in April when I came cycling.

We stopped for a late lunch in a cafe called ‘Cappuccino’. There are lots of shops to pop into and cafes/restaurants to eat at. It’s renowned for its ice cream so worth sampling as 1 of your 5 a day 😉

Beyond that soak up the traditional architecture and wander up and down the cobbled streets. There are a couple of beautiful churches worth exploring and an art museum for the more cultured among you.

Sa Foradada, Deia

WOW! This place is something special…but you’ve got to be prepared to feel the heat (i.e. sweat A LOT!) to reach this secluded bay.


Thinking about the walk back up already… it’s worth it though, trust me! 🌡 ☀️

The views you get on the 30 min walk down give you a taster of what’s to come – beautiful secluded bay, a load of rocks you’ve got to try and make yourself comfy on (it’s worth it), crystal blue waters and some pretty spectacular super yachts and sailing boats ⛵️ who all seem to have been tipped off about this idyllic spot.


All the essentials. Rubber ring, goggles, towel ✅



On the walk down. You’ll struggle not to stop and take pics. It’s stunning.

The other attraction of this place – beyond it feeling like a bit of a local secret – is the restaurant ’Sa Foradada’ perched overlooking the bay. Amazing location and apparently good food but if you don’t book they’re not interested in your custom – not a huge fan of that attitude but I will say that the food looked. 👌🏻🦐 


Sa Foradada restaurant. The food looked delish – remember to book!! 📷 |Tom Exwood

We had a fantastic day here so if you’re up for the challenge, check this spot out.


Just a quick mention on this town as we didn’t really explore it but we did go for a sea kayak here with a company called Mon d’Adventura. A great 3 hour afternoon trip including gliding through a natural arch, a quick view of some local mountain goats in precarious places and a refreshing stop halfway through including a dip in an empty bay again only accessible by boat, kayak or mountain goat.

Good for the arms 💪🏻 And beware as the default is you share a twin kayak if you book as a 2…doesn’t always make for plane sailing 😬😜  (45 Euros/pp)


If you enjoy snorkelling and exploring rocky enclaves then this is the place to go. Overall I think this was my favourite place to swim, dive, jump off rocks into the sea and swosh past plenty of sea life 🐟🐠🦀. 


Negotiating the rocks!

As with most of the other beaches I’ve mentioned it’s not sandy (try Mallorca’s East coast for sandy beaches). But there are plenty of rocks to accommodate you, other tourists and the many locals! Crystal blue waters, fish in abundance, I loved it! 


Right above the rocks there’s also the Mhares Sea Club where you can base yourself if you’re looking to enjoy the day with the comfort of a padded lounger.


Evening view of the Mhares Beach Club 😎 

This was a fantastic way to spend the afternoon. Dinner there was great (try the salt baked sea bass!) It was also refreshing to come back up to a mojito after hitting the waves. 


This place is only 10 minutes from the airport so we made a second and final dash to the sea here before jumping on our British Airways flight back to London that afternoon.

Sóller & Port de Sóller

Finally, the place where we started our trip – Soller is another beautiful town centred around a lively square bustling with cafes and restaurants with a mix of locals and tourists soaking up the atmosphere. 


Port de Sóller

Sóller has some great restaurants (try Restaurant Ca’n Boqueta if you’re feeling romantic – 55 EUR pp for 5 courses with wine paring!) and benefits from being well connected thanks to its unique tramline. 

We spent a while figuring out where it stopped but once we did, jumped aboard heading for Port de Sóller – a 20 min trip (€7 one way) and worth doing to get a different view of the surrounding area. 


Tram from Sóller down to the Port

The tram also goes all the way to Palma if you’re thinking of a day trip – sounds awesome. 

Port de Sóller is pretty beautiful despite being fairly commercialised. The beach doesn’t get as crowded as you’d expect and there are plenty of shops and activities to keep you entertained.

We did a spot of paddle boarding in the bay. Always good for a laugh.

Overall, a big thumbs up for Majorca/Mallorca. It’s not somewhere I get to stay when I’m working but it’s a fantastic and easily accessible destination (2 hrs from London) for a week’s summer holiday.

The locals are incredibly welcoming of tourists and we also enjoyed being surrounded by such a great mix of nationalities – Brits, Germans, French, Norwegians, Belgians, Dutch, etc, etc… an island that offers so much adventure and fun times – that’s what it’s all about! 


This was an absolute steal! Booked through the travel supermarket – 35 Euros for 6 days 💰

To get a great Instagram pic as you come into land sit on the right hand side of the plane. This will give you a great view of the Tramuntana mountain range that lines the north of the island as you descend towards this summer paradise. 

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Cheers 🥂

Hopefully I’ve inspired you to give Mallorca a go? I simply can’t wait to come back! Totally fell in love 😉

Hope you’re having a great weekend,


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A very swanky 4th July Party 🇺🇸

If you’ve ever been to America you’ll know that Americans don’t do things by halves! It’s that time of year and what better excuse to party than to celebrate the…

If you’ve ever been to America you’ll know that Americans don’t do things by halves!

It’s that time of year and what better excuse to party than to celebrate the country’s  independence in serious style.

It was time to sharpen up


Taken by the amazing Mark Harrison 📷

I was lucky enough to receive an invite to the swankiest party in town. The US ambassadors annual 4th of July celebration at Winfield House set in 12.5 acres of Regent’s Park…

I approached the 15ft high iron gates around which there is a serious level of security (lots of black suits and sunglasses). After an ID check I was ushered through to the Ambassador’s garden where there is absolutely everything I love about America. We’re talking a Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Gin cocktails, a Jim Bean whiskey tent and a Craft Beer Motel!

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People danced the night away to a fantastic live soul band (The Soul Jets) on a centre stage fit for a music festival with a mix of familiar faces from TV, Radio and politics, all dressed to impress.


The garden was lined with Marines in uniform who entered the party in true military fashion providing quite the show. Check out my Instagram TV for the video.

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The incredible Laura Wright sang the National anthem and the party began…

Mr Ambassador, Robert Wood Johnson (Woody) then gave a fantastic speech joined on stage by his wife and 2 sons in suave matching Ralph Lauren outfits.

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Thank you Mr Ambassador for putting on such a great party.

A spectacular firework show drew the evening to a close.

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Happy 4th July! 🎉

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S – Magazine Photoshoot

Hi everyone, Remember a month or so ago when I shared with you some behind the scenes images from a photoshoot for the Times Magazine? Anyway, this weekend, I’ve been…

Hi everyone,

Remember a month or so ago when I shared with you some behind the scenes images from a photoshoot for the Times Magazine?

Anyway, this weekend, I’ve been at it again.  This time for S Magazine in the Sunday Express with my ‘big sis’ Kay B

We were raising awareness for the British Heart Foundation.  If you of your family have had heart problems in the past, you’ll know just how important their work is.

Check out a couple of our photos here and for more information on how you can help BHF check out their link here.

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BA means business with the new Dreamliner

  Ever wondered what it’s like to travel in business class? Well, cue Kay. Just back from a trip on one of our new 787 Dreamliner to Nashville, Tennessee! As…


Ever wondered what it’s like to travel in business class? Well, cue Kay. Just back from a trip on one of our new 787 Dreamliner to Nashville, Tennessee!

As usual, she means business!

Reclining in a rather plush business class seat, I was holding on tight to my comfort blanket and concentrating on one of my distraction techniques: naming an A to Z of fruit.  I’d only reached ‘elderberries’ when the British airways captain came to say hello.

My fear of flying is well documented and he wanted to make sure I was as comfortable as I could be aboard his Dreamliner from Nashville back to London Heathrow. Captain Hand was armed with his IPad, programmed with the planned route back across the Atlantic avoiding any pockets of turbulence. His calm, gentle reassurance was suitably soothing.


As Captain Hand, shook my hand… and headed for the cockpit, I lessened the grip on my comfort blanket and began to tentatively explore the contents of the rather impressive sleep bag.

British Airways has recently joined forces with upmarket retailer, the White Company, to provide luxury bedding and amenity kits onboard.  There were lots of fun things that I hadn’t seen before including a padded mattress topper for the seat, a soft day blanket and a duvet that was big enough for me to get lost under.


 I had several interviews scheduled for the moment I arrived back in Blighty so the second the seatbelt signs were switched off the attentive crew furnished me with a bottle of water and made sure I was ready for bed.  If I wanted to wake up for breakfast then I should let them know. If I’d rather be nil by mouth til we’d landed, that was absolutely fine too.  The award- winning menu did look tempting but sleep time was at a premium.

The newly configured club world Dreamliner cabin means all the seats are suitably secluded, but for added exclusivity I’d recommend seat 3E.  It’s a little cocoon sheltered from other passengers by the concertina screens the moment the safety briefing has finished.  If that’s already taken 3A and 3K are also winners, window seats and you don’t have to clamber over sleeping fellow passengers when you need to visit the loo!


Ready to settle into my luxurious cocoon… 📺 😴

BA has had its fair share of criticism of late.  Sometimes, rightly so.  But with industrial action now firmly in its contrails, the airline has invested £400m focusing on the lucrative, premium cabin customer.

New routes have been added and the flag carrier is the only European airline to fly direct to Nashville, one of the fastest growing cities Stateside.

Few native Nashvilleans remain in the Music City making room for more than 100 people a day moving to the capital of Tennessee.  There are plenty of Brits among them including the son of a Yorkshire rag and bone man, Andrew Clancey.  His edgy boutique – Any Old Iron – has caught the eye of superstars including Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.


Me and the fabulous Andrew


Andrew says he’s delighted with the introduction of the new direct route.  Nine hours out from London Heathrow and only around seven back to the capital.  Not only does it make the return journey easier to Yorkshire, the five days a week route also brings plenty of curious travellers right to the heart of the city.



High spirits in the Concorde Lounge

The transatlantic flights I took were absolutely rammed. Come soon and bring your dancing shoes.

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Fancy Lisbon?

Why Lisbon? I hear you ask For staters you can indulge in fine wine, Superlative seafood, sun-ripened fruit, listen to Fado – a genre of 18th century Portuguese music whilst…

Why Lisbon? I hear you ask

For staters you can indulge in fine wine, Superlative seafood, sun-ripened fruit, listen to Fado – a genre of 18th century Portuguese music whilst you soak up the Iberian spring wether on offer.


Lisbon was also the first city in the world to import Guinness and has the worlds only public tie mirror… at least that I know of, there’s no other city in the world with a public mirror like this oneYou’ll find it in Rossio, close to door number 115 on D. Pedro IV square.

It reads something like: “tidy your tie’s knot” (componha o nó da sua gravata).

There are few well know places around Europe where you can park yourself on a sunny terrace of a trendy cafe surrounded by such historic beauty and not get stung for an over priced beer or coffee. Welcome to the exception – Lisbon.


This is one of the best value major Cities you can visit and I can fly you there in just 2hr 45min from London. This enchanting city feels anything but cheap.


Food and drink

It’s all about Presunto (dried ham), port, seafood, and the original Nando’s Piri Piri Chicken. 🐔 🍤 🍷 It’s all absolutely delicious and reasonably priced.


I’d lost count as to how many Pastel de Nata I’d eaten by this point… 🙊  #SoGood


’13 sardines per second’ 🎣 

The timeout food hall is a must visit for any foodie. Whilst the dishes on offer aren’t all strictly Portuguese, it is a pretty cool place with so much to choose from. You’ll find stalls run by some of the best chefs in Portugal, selling some of the best food you from around the world. The choice is almost overwhelming so make sure you have plenty of time.


Desert leaves you with other option other than one created by the catholic monks of the 18th century- the Pastel de Nata or Portuguese custard tart. Made using layer upon layer of puff pastry and dollops of set custard. Im salivating at at the thought of one… or 3. In fact if you want to bring some back they come in sleeves of 6. I frequent the airport terminal if we don’t have the luxury of staying in Lisbon. But be warned they don’t always make it back to London (irresistible when warm).



Visit in June ☀️ 

June is the perfect time of year to visit Lisbon. The flowers are in bloom and street festivals create a friendly buzz around the city. The feast of St Anthony being one of the festivals in June and its all about sardines! 🐟 In fact its reported that on average 13 sardines are consumed per second!

Getting around

Take tram 28 for a tour of the city – touristy but marvellous

Be sure to hop on tram 15 to see Torre de Belém and Jeronimos Monastery and make sure you try the Pastel de Nata at the top. They’re devine and its a rite of passage!

The Metro system runs from the airport to the city centre easy to navigate and use on arrival with your bags at the airport as an alternative to a taxi/Uber.

Uber is widely used in Lisbon and its cheap. I took a ride to the top of the hill and started my day with a walk around the castle and magnificent views over the city. It was then pleasant to meander through the streets down towards the port and the food hall rather than the other way round.


Where to stay

If you want convenience and character Pick accommodation in the Alfama, Baixa or Bairro Alto districts. There are plenty of options from Air BnB’s, to hotels to hostels.


Jonny’s Top tips

  • Tram 28 is a favourite for pickpockets. Absolutely no need to be paranoid just be aware of your belongings and take sensible precautions
  • Other months: Apr-Sept – Warm Oct-March – Cooler, more rain.


Travelling further…

  • Cascais is only 26km on the train – Beaches, great surf, buzzing nightlife
  • Sintra is only 27km on the train – Fairytale palaces, subtropical gardens, lush forests
  • Mafra is 40km by car – extravagant monastery-palace, beautiful parkland






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Lights, camera, action…

Hi everyone, Thought I would take a bank holiday break from travel blogs and share with you a behind the scenes photoshoot I did for the Times Saturday magazine. What…

Hi everyone,

Thought I would take a bank holiday break from travel blogs and share with you a behind the scenes photoshoot I did for the Times Saturday magazine.

What an awesome experience!  The photographer, his assistant, a stylist, make-up, journalists all gathered together in a white-walled studio.  Music playing, images flashing up on a computer screen.

The finished product is slick, polished and ready for a Saturday morning breakfast readership.


A shot from Mark Harrison’s portfolio.  Recognise the subject?

Below is how the process begins with low res shots captured on an iPhone from the photographer’s computer.  I was sent a whole host of shots to choose from.  Compare these to what appeared in the magazine and let me know what you think…


The article was about fear of flying so of course I wore my BA uniform





This is my ‘take me seriously I know what I’m doing’ pose







The fabulous make-up artist said I looked like superman!  At least I can fly



Let’s try John Wayne in my fabulous Richard James suit


Look natural, look natural, look natural!


Don’t forget, you can see the finished photographs in the Saturday Times Magazine…and there’s also a couple of bonus shots in today’s Sun too…

Normal service resumes with my blog about Barcelona next time.

Happy flying

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