Tuesday 28 May 2019


A Scots company has had to put on extra tours to meet demand after offering Harry Potter style bus experiences in Edinburgh.
The  Red Bus Bistro company began offering its Wonderful Wizarding Tours to fans of the magic franchise in December last year.
Their vintage double decker bus visits places of interest that inspired the book and film franchise including the Balmoral hotel where JK Rowling finished her last book, the Elephant House cafe where the ideas and books began, Victoria Street, the inspiration for Diagon Alley and other spell binding sights.
Owner Alison Simpson and her team also have included a themed afternoon tea including delights like chocolate frogs, jelly beans, I Can’t Believe Its Not Butterbeer cocktails and Sorcerers Sandwiches.
The tour which lasts ninety minutes was originally trialled last year on Thursdays and Fridays but now Alison has added a Saturday to the schedule and will run the services at 6pm.
She said: “Our wizarding tours have been very popular amongst tourists and families alike. When we began at the tail end of last year we were testing the water and now realise everyone loves a bit of magic in their lives. We can take up to forty people per bus.”
“We have employed an actor turned wizard to deliver our unique tour content and we offer quality bespoke food and drink for our customers.
We’ve even got an offer on just now where every child (under the age of 15) eats free with two adults. We charge £37 per adult and we are constantly evolving how we deliver our experience.”
She added: “We can’t wait to tie in with any upcoming conventions and school holidays. Our Red Bus Bistro offers different experiences for a whole range of customers, including afternoon tea and gin tours, hen nights, party evenings and more sedate sightseeing trips.”
Excerpts of this article have since appeared in the Scotsman 

Thursday 23 May 2019


Scots Indian restaurant The Dhabba is offering customers more thrills with their grills as they celebrate National Barbecue Week with some strange fruits.
The North Indian restaurant which boasts an outside pavement area for the sunnier months often uses a tandoor for its food. The bell shaped oven traditionally made of clay fires with wood or charcoal can reach temperatures of 480 degrees Celsius (900 Fahrenheit).
For National BBQ Week which takes place from May 27 until June 2 diners will be able to enjoy a platter of tandoori fruits alongside favourites like tandoori lamb, chicken, monkfish and vegetables.
Phaldari Seekh combines unusual fruits like lychee, pink guava, mango, loquat, papaya, jackfruits and gooseberries with a hint of spicy marinade. It’s healthy and substantial dish that gives you a real taste of Asia.
Dhabba owner Navdeep Basi said of the dish: “We always strive to offer something a little different here at Dhabba. Our customers have always enjoyed our tandoori dishes and this is definitely the season for them. The marinade of our Phaldari Seekh is a hint spicy but the fruits are mostly sweet which is quite contrasting. Each bite is a different taste because of the number of fruits in them.”
The £11.95 dessert platter will be available during National BBQ week only.

Monday 20 May 2019


Beverley Lyons
STRICTLY star Katya Jones was on a high as she celebrated her thirtieth birthday with dancer husband Neil Jones, Karen Clifton and her boyfriend David Webb, and fellow pro dancers  Diane Buswell, and Oti Mabuse  on the tour bus as they travelled from Edinburgh to Aberdeen.
Katya who earlier performed at the Playhouse in Edinburgh with the Strictly Professional Tour joked ‘I expected a proper singer to sing for me’ and was then serenaded by opera singer David as she and the rest of the performers drank and played games on their private bus.
Beer and fizzy drinks were aplenty and the poker chips were out as the dancers laughed while David, who cosied up at the back of the coach alongside Karen, sang an operatic version of Happy Birthday to a delighted Katya who stood up to hear him.
Neil told Katya that thirty was the new twenty as he and the team sat around the bus amidst whistles and cheers.
Oti commented online: “And the bus explodes in joy”
Gorka Marquez who had earlier posted a picture of himself on social media exploring Edinburgh’s sites enjoyed the evening while AJ Pritchard opted to try and get some sleep by wearing an eye mask.
When the crew reached Aberdeen they even had a laugh by trying out a new Snapchat filter which transforms your face into the opposite sex - and Katya and Karen Clifton both looked amused as they checked themselves out as men.
Diane Buswell had celebrated her thirtieth birthday with boyfriend Joe Sugg, 27, just last week on May 6 a day ahead of the Nottingham leg of the tour.
The two even put up a YouTube video of themselves in bed as they joked that Diane, who taught Joe to dance on the telly show before they fell for one another, was a cougar.
Joe didn’t manage to catch up with Diane while she was in Scotland because he was so busy attending the BAFTA TV awards last night.
Strictly’s Shirley Ballas causes blushes all round as she flirted with the blogger.
Joe did however visit Scotland earlier in the week as a guest at Dumfries House where he met up with Prince Charles. Looking smooth in his suit, Joe mingled with the Prince and guests as he learned all about the craft courses on offer with the Prince's Foundation  - and as Joe used to be a thatcher himself, he also went back to his roots by taking part in a thatching workshop.
As he posed with some pipers, he said of his experience: “Pleased to announce that I’ve joined a new band. I’m at Dumfries House finding out about the traditional craft skills run by the  Princes  Foundation.

Thursday 16 May 2019


A Scots restaurant now boasts six different types of gluten free bread for its customers to celebrate Coeliac Awareness Week.
South Indian restaurant Dakhin in Glasgow’s Candleriggs has been certified by Coeliac U.K. and every single dish in the restaurant from starters to desserts is gluten free.
To celebrate Coeliac Awareness until May 19 the restaurant have created a brand new bread for customers to try.
The special creation is called Vattayappam and it is made of rice and coconut sugar, cardamom, cumin and a bit of salt.
Priced at £3.95 it joins other breads on the menu including Sada Dosa, a crepe from rice and lentils, Chilla, a thin and savoury bread made from gram flower with fenugreek, Siru Uttapam, a soft pancake from ground rice and lentil and a three feet long Paper Dosa.
Owner Navdeep Basi said: “We have served up a full Gluten Free menu at Dakhin since we opened in 2004. Last year we were thrilled to be officially approved by the Coeliac U.K. and we can’t wait to show customers new and old some of the exciting dishes we have on offer. It’s important that people with Coeliac disease can feel safe when they are eating out and we take pride in the fact that we can give them an extensive range of dishes from vegetarians to chicken, lamb and fish that they will enjoy.

Sunday 12 May 2019


I'LL never forget the time I limed with the locals in Tobago.
Before you think of us all squeezing the citrus fruit in unison, let me explain that liming is the local patois for enjoying the scene and chilling with friends in a public place.
And it's refreshingly zesty to see a group of people making a point of pressing the pause button in an ever-busier world.
Despite the availability of wifi in my beautiful hotels mobile phones seemed to lose their relevance during my trip.
When you visit the West Indies, it would be a crime not to enjoy the natural beauty of the rainforests, mountain ranges, coral reefs and warm seas on offer.
However, whether you choose to lime, or get jiggy and wine with the locals (wining means to dance) the island promises a memorable holiday for all the family.
As I discovered during an all too short visit, Tobago is picture postcard perfect, with white beaches, sparkling blue sea, and palm tree-lined paths.

A look round its oldest protected rainforests and local plantations is an education as you are introduced to natural resources such as coffee beans and cashew nuts growing on trees, alongside local staples plantain, breadfruit and pomerac.
On a road safari at Courland, I encountered all the delights of nature's supermarket and even enjoyed a taste of it all thanks to our knowledgeable tour guide.
A trip to the Tobago Cocoa Estate gave me a new perspective on my chocolate habit - as I was shown the whole process of stripping the cocoa bean from its huge pod before drying it out and making it ready for chocolate manufacture.
To think it is eaten in seconds after months, of preparation.
Plants like mother-in-law's tongue, with spike-like flowers, which improve air quality, the trumpet tree with fruits to make health-improving tea and cigarette filters, and the flower of the silk cotton tree, which is used for stuffing pillows, made me appreciate how self-sufficient the island is.

A jungle trek, like I'm a celebrity without the unpleasant stuff, takes you through local flora and fauna, streams and pools, giving you the opportunity to shower under the Argyll waterfalls along the way.
Of course, the beaches are a big attraction, along with the coral-filled Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool.
The Nylon Pool, an offshore sandbar, which forms a natural, metre-deep swimming pool in the middle of the sea, was a particular favourite of Princess Margaret, who gave it its name in 1962.
Snorkelling, even for the amateur, is a must and a trip to Pigeon Point, with its famous thatch-roofed jetty, give you the perfect vantage point for holiday photos.
Holidays provide an opportunity to try something different and perhaps a little daring. I was out of my comfort zone when I was offered the chance to go bridle-less and barefoot horse riding along the beach.
Being With Horses owner Veronica La Fortune made me and my horse feel right at ease.
I felt confident by the time we rode along - and didn't panic when we were told we were going into the sea on horseback. Riding my seahorse was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life and I felt I'd really accomplished something.
We celebrated our evenings with trips to the Tobago Jazz Experience, which is held each April and offers a real mix of music from local choirs to international artists such as Emeli Sande and Elton John.
Like many places in Tobago, it has plenty of street food stalls and as you watch, you can tuck into specialities including crab 'n' dumpling, pigeon peas and roti.
Fresh fish, lobster and other delicacies can be enjoyed at the Seahorse Inn in Scarborough while street grub and late night entertainment can also be found at the Sunday School - a loud, vibrant street party, which only gets into gear at 11pm.
We stayed at Turtle Beach, where the lucky traveller can discover the turtles laying eggs on the beach in the wee small hours of the morning, and the smaller, more boutique-style Bacolet Beach Club, with sea views and an infinity pool. There are also large hotels like the Magdalena Grand, complete with hammocks.
Despite its offering of modern hotels and facilities, there is something about Tobago that is very simple and a trip there is like something quaint and charming from a bygone age.
Travel facts ¦ Our flights were provided by British Airways. ¦ Flights to Tobago with BA start from £610. ¦ The first two nights, we stayed at: Turtle Beach by Rex Resorts, Courland Bay, Scarborough, Trinidad & Tobago. www.turtlebeachresorttobago.com
The second two nights, we stayed at: Bacolet Beach Club, 73 Bacolet Street, Scarborough, Tobago.


The accommodation was provided courtesy of both hotels.

All ground arrangements were provided by Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

For more information on Tobago, visit: www.gotrinidadandtobago.com

Tobago's simplicity and beauty make it a place to reconnect with nature

- Posted with love from Scotland by theShowbizLion.com


FORMER chat show king Craig Ferguson is using his new found Scots solitude to write a book - but hope it goes better than last time he put pen to paper.
The former Late Late Show host has revealed Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger previously asked him to pen a movie script.
But the snake-hipped front man sacked Fergie when the doc failed to come up to scratch.
Craig who will be doing his Hobo Fabulous comedy gig at The Gilded Balloon for the Edinburgh Festival this August 11 now lives in a two million pond mansion in rural Ayrshire with his wife Megan Wallace Cunningham and two children Milo, 18 and Liam, 8.
He revealed he’s in the midst of writing another book, a follow up to his just published memoir Riding The Elephant - and he’ll be hoping that it has bigger success than his work  for Mick.
He said: ”I worked for a little while with Mick Jagger.  I was on tour with him for a couple of months. We talked a lot about the screenplay he wanted me to write for him. It was an idea he had about a rockstar and roadie and they swap places. Basically it was the Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. They exchange places. It was Mick Jagger. What was I going to go - ‘F off mate’?
Mick was introduced to Craig in 1998 during the Bridges to Babylon Tour before one of his other screenplays Saving Grace won at Sundance  festival.
He said: ”They fly me to Istanbul and I go and see Mick Jagger and I was so excited to meet him and they open the door of my suite and the first time I see him he’s a tiny little guy. I don’t know why I said it but I said oh you’re adorable. I was like, ‘Why did I say that?”
He added: “He’s a very smart guy, he’s self aware and an intelligent human being. I was nervous. I couldn’t get out my head about the  story of the candy bar and Marianne Faithful’s vagina. I didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask. I think it’s made up by editors of Rockstar biographies. She was very beautiful. Firstly it’s Marianne Faithful and then a candy bar - it’s a waste of both things.”
Unfortunately Craig’s time with the star failed to make the grade when he was firedz
He recalled: “I wrote the screen play, wrote two drafts of it and he was like ‘No, I don’t like it’ and then I got fired. He fired me but he was nice about it. He got his assistant to do it so it was cool. There was no awkward moment between us. You can’t get angry. It’s Mick Jagger.”
Craig has been settling into life back in Scotland by building a fish pond and he saga he’s happy to be away from the corporate suits of The Late Late Show.
He said of the job: “I think being a late night host was like becoming a  realtor - I didn’t aspire to it. I liked it and was proud of the show and changed the game a bit but they put you on a park bench. There is a certain amount of corporate hypocrisy that comes with it. It’s very male. You pretend to be Johnny Carson or David Letterman. I don’t know why you’d pretend to be it unless someone is paying you. It’s an acting job. I guess I pretended a bit. I really wanted the gig and I was excited by the idea it was so lifechanging.
“For the first couple of years it was great and very slowly  and like Chinese water torture it starts to make you crazy.”

Wednesday 8 May 2019


Beverley Lyons
 WOLVERINE might possess enhanced physical capabilities,  and a powerful regenerative ability known as a healing factor but Hugh Jackman admitted yesterday that his stomach was still reeling after trying out a deep fried Mars Bar in Scotland. 
The Australian X Men, Greatest Showman  and Les Miserables A Lister, who is  appearing at the SSE Hydro for a three night run from tonight (Tuesday), told the Daily Record of his encounter with the famed snack in Clydebank as he made his way into the SSE Hydro for two intensive rehearsals yesterday. 
And as he walked all the way from his stylish city centre  hotel at the top of town to the venue, almost unrecognisable in a green anorak carrying his red umbrella in case he got soaked in the downpour, he talked about his visit to a local chippy in Clydebank. 
He told us: “I liked my deep fried Mars Bar but unfortunately I don’t think my guts appreciated it.”
He added: “We loved the boat trip though. It was awesome.”
Hugh and his crew of dancers and musicians, who have been working out and staying at Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel, have wasted no time in getting to know the area since he arrived here on Saturday and to fans excitement online he kicked off his visit with a drive by The Hydro to check it out ahead of his opening night. 
He also put up a video of himself online listening to his tour being announced on Radio 2 as he travelled along the M8. 
Hugh decided to surprise locals at a nearby city gym early in the morning by going for a work out ahead of his packed schedule. 
In a picture believed to be taken in Glasgow’s Pure Gym he smiled as he worked out alongside some stunned fans and posed for a selfie.On Sunday afternoon, Hugh also chartered a boat on Loch Lomond to tour the sights including Inchcailloch cemetery in Balmaha and, after shucking oysters  on board, went into Spar in Clydebank to get the chocolate for his deep fried Mars Bar and Reece’s cups treats in a Scots chippy. 

When the heartthrob initially showed up at Bennies Chip Shop in Kilbowie Road, staff initially told his coach party that they didn’t have deep fried chocolate on the menu.
So Hugh and his gang offered to buy the chocolate themselves from the supermarket next door in order to try the special treat. 
Clydebank’s Stephen Boag was in the chip shop on Kilbowie Road when Hugh appeared. 
He said: “A coach pulled up outside and about thirty people came into the shop and they were all looking for deep fried chocolate. It was English and American accents and the shop wasn’t doing it but they offered to buy their own chocolate from the Spar next door.
“The shop agreed to do it but it wasn’t until someone else came back in that they recognised it was Hugh Jackman and The Greatest Showman cast. At first it was quite funny because they were just going mental in the shop and looking at everything they could get. There were about three cans of Irn Bru getting passed about everybody and they were ordering deep fried pizza and trying battered sausages. It was pretty funny just watching it all happening but when I finally clicked that it was Hugh I felt I needed to get a selfie. To be fair he didn’t really stand out at first. He just came in with the crowd and they were all pretty excited about trying out the deep fried chocolate. And he did selfies for me and a couple of people behind us.”
Yesterday Hugh said he couldn’t wait to hit the stage in Glasgow for the sell out gigs.
His costars were also delighted to be in Scotland including Keala  Settle, the bearded lady from The Greatest Showman Film who will be making a ‘surprise’ appearance to sing her now famous hit This  Is Me. 
She told followers on Instagram that she ‘made it’ to Glasgow from Heathrow following some rehearsals there. 


Beverley Lyons 
Hollywood star Hugh Jackman spent tens of thousands on a pre tour party before ending up  in a Glasgow chippy yesterday .
The Aussie film star treated his 70-strong entourage to the bash, ahead of the tour on May 7, which began with a party at a 5-star hotel on Saturday night and included a private boat tour along the Clyde the following day.
The Wolverine star who was being driven around in a chauffeur driven Audi popped into the suburbs of Clydebank with his party posse who were on a coach to local chippy Bennies Fast Food for some deep fried Mars Bars and Deep Fried Pizza after spending thousands of pounds chartering his own boat on the water with his entourage just days ahead of the first night of his opening solo tour. 

Hugh, had spent the day sailing with his party on the waters of Loch Lomond with Sweeney’s Cruise crew aboard flagship vessel the Silver Dolphin. 
The vessel which claims to be the most luxurious passenger boat operating in Scotland boasts warm teak panelling, thick-pile carpeting, and nautical brass fittings akin to a bespoke private members club. The dining area on the lower deck offers panoramic views of the Loch and flexible seating while the upper deck with has its own teak dance floor, retractable sun roof, bar and entrance to the forward viewing deck. 
Described as ‘the perfect party venue’ prices start around £2,000 for hire of the boat which used to sail on the Thames. 
Hugh, who arrived in Glasgow on Saturday wanted to treat his cast and crew of the show after an intensive six weeks of rehearsals and also held a lavish party costing tens of thousands of pounds at his Scots hotel the night before to welcome them to the first leg of the tour. 
Hugh, who had been rehearsing in New York and London ahead of the show, is due to appear at Glasgow’s Hydro on May 7,8 and 9. 
Around seven pm on Saturday night staff at Glasgow’s prestigious Blythswood hotel opened the doors of their new Bo and Birdy restaurant venue for the first time. 
The lavish bar and brasserie restaurant which has just had a million pound makeover is due to open to the public later this week after an official party but Hugh and his fifty plus entourage got exclusive use of the facilities before anyone. 

Hugh who is believed to have been staying in the £2,500 penthouse of the hotel since he arrived on Saturday morning treated each of his crew to free drink and canapés all night as well as  gifting them each with a hoodie from Hugh himself. The black and white hoodie promoted his own ethical coffee brand Laughing Man.  
One of the guests commented: “Hugh has been really generous and put on a free bar for everyone all night. Preparations have been intense over the last six weeks so this is a chance for everyone to get a bit of chill before the tour begins.
Guests who were merry after knocking back the booze and partying till midnight were treated to songs from musicals as well as the latest charts while Hugh did a tour of the room. 
At midday on Sunday, a relaxed looking Hugh treated around twenty of his more senior entourage to a private boat trip round the Loch. 
He took in the surrounding islands on the route to Balloch. 

He was met by fans including Ailie, 17, and Lewis Carroll, 9, along the way. 
Lewis said: “Hugh signed my Greatest Showman CD and I told him I couldn’t get tickets to his show because it was sold out.  My dad asked if he could put us on the guest but he told us he couldn’t even get his own mother  on the guest list.”
Back at the hotel Hugh who says he will be featuring his own dogs Dali and Allegra in his musical extravaganza petted our very own basset hound Bertie on his way into the hotel and told a couple of fans outside that he’d absolutely ‘loved’ the boat trip. 
He said he couldn’t wait to hit the stage in Glasgow. 

We’ve been following Hugh’s every move this week- read more on theshowbizlion.com 

Excerpts of this article have since appeared in The Sun and Daily Mail online. 

From Scotland with Love