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Australian cast of ‘The Lion King’ performs ‘Circle of Life’ on flight

- April 2nd, 2014
DisneyOnBroadway YouTube

DisneyOnBroadway YouTube

Depending on how much you enjoy A) flying and B) musicals, you’ll either love or hate this viral video of the Australian cast of The Lion King singing ‘The Circle of Life’ before takeoff.

The eight cast members were flying from Brisbane to Sydney aboard a Virgin Australia flight after the launch of their musical run and the excited group burst out in an a cappella version of the hit Elton John-composed song from Disney’s 1994 animated film.

“After an amazing day at The Lion King Brisbane season launch announcement, members of our Australian cast felt so elated they decided to sing the ‘Circle of Life’ prior to take off on their flight back to Sydney!” the DisneyOnBroadway YouTube page says.

Most of the fellow passengers appear to smile politely and focus on their various reading materials, likely just thankful the noise isn’t coming from a screaming baby, but one kid near the back of the plane looks like he’s itching to join in. Eventually mom nudges her little Simba up the aisle closer to the spirited performance.

Since it’s been 20 years (!!) since The Lion King debuted in theatres, here’s a refresher of the original ‘Circle of Life’ scene from the movie.

Airport to city: How much travellers can expect to pay for a taxi

- March 25th, 2014
(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Even if you’re visiting a city where your legs or public transit are all you need to get around, that taxi ride from the airport to the hotel is often an inevitable cost to budget for and the first experience many travellers have in their destination. And though some airports are closer to the city centre than others, the price of the final fare on the metre can still be a shocking start to any trip.

It’s always best to know before you go and thanks to a new infographic from the editors at Cheapflights.ca, it’s easy to see what a taxi ride from the airport to the downtown core of major cities may cost you.

Prices per kilometre vary by city (New York isn’t the most expensive in North America! Cabs cost $2/km in New York City compared to $2.60/km in Vancouver and $2.90/km in Cancun) and the cab culture in each city is different as well (did you know it’s best to negotiate a fare with the driver first in Cancun and that it’s cheaper to take a taxi than rent a car in Alaska?)

Click on the image below to see the full chart from Cheapflights.ca, complete with info on taxi rates and helpful tips for taking a cab in North America, Europe, Asia and beyond.

taxifares

I also like the handy Canadian-created TaxiMe app for cab fare estimates on the go anywhere in Canada or the U.S.

TaxiMe app. (iTunes)

TaxiMe app. (iTunes)

The app costs 99 cents and is only available for iPhone, but fare calculations can also be made on the TaxiMe website. I’ve embedded their tool below so you can give it a try now!

From To

 

Spring brings bountiful flowers to Las Vegas’ Bellagio casino resort

- March 14th, 2014
The North Garden boasts an explosion of color as five aluminum watering cans stream into a pond below as 14-foot-tall multicolored tulips and 22-foot-tall yellow daffodils bloom nearby. (Courtesy Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens)

The North Garden boasts an explosion of color as five aluminum watering cans stream into a pond below as 14-foot-tall multicolored tulips and 22-foot-tall yellow daffodils bloom nearby. (Courtesy Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens)

The Bellagio casino resort’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas has come alive in a burst of colour for spring, with 8,200 flowers and floral creations on display now through May 11.

Walk along pathways above koi fish ponds, see fresh blooms like tulips, daffodils and lilies in the many gardens, and stand among 800 free-flying butterflies in the East Garden’s greenhouse.The Conservatory & Botanical gardens are always a lovely 20 degrees Celsius and the springtime theme is enhanced by oversized showerheads that sprinkle raindrops onto the greenery below.

Tourists are also invited to stop by in the evening for nightly concerts on a wooden stage under a nearly 14-metre tall cherry blossom tree.

The spring display is free to visit and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. See bellagio.com for more information.

Guests will be entranced by the sight of more than 800 live butterflies fluttering inside the 36-foot-long greenhouse located in the East Garden. (Courtesy Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens)

Guests will be entranced by the sight of more than 800 live butterflies fluttering inside the 36-foot-long greenhouse located in the East Garden. (Courtesy Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens)

Flowers in the South Garden peer up at a 22-foot-tall neon green gardening shovel and oversized hand-painted flower pots. (Courtesy Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens)

Flowers in the South Garden peer up at a 22-foot-tall neon green gardening shovel and oversized hand-painted flower pots. (Courtesy Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens)

Festive St. Patrick’s Day food from Tourism Ireland

- March 11th, 2014
(Courtesy Tourism Ireland)

(Courtesy Tourism Ireland)

If you’re hoping to bring a little luck of the Irish into your home this March 17, why not host a festive St. Patrick’s Day-inspired feast? Tourism Ireland has teamed up with celebrity chef Paul Rankin to create the ultimate Irish-inspired menu direct from the Emerald Isle.

“St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to celebrate all that is wonderful about Irish produce and cooking,” Rankin, who hails from Northern Ireland, said in a press release. “I have selected one of my favourite St. Patrick’s inspired recipes for you to try at home.”

Make this St. Patrick’s one to remember with Rankin’s dark and sumptuous Irish Coffee Tart and Brown Bread Parfait. Recipes can be found below.

Irish Coffee Tart – Courtesy Paul Rankin and Tourism Ireland

INGREDIENTS:
For the base:
125 g. unsalted butter, diced
25 g. soft golden brown sugar
45 g. sugar
125 g. plain flour
1 ½ Tbsp. cornflour
pinch of salt
175 g. toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

For the tart filling:
300 ml. double cream
100 ml. single cream
100 ml. Bushmill’s Irish whiskey
300 g. dark chocolate, finely chopped
100 g. milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. coffee extract ( or very strong coffee )
2 eggs

For the topping:
½ leaf or 1 tsp. powdered gelatine
250 ml. whipping cream
150 g. icing sugar
4 Tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 170’C / 325’F

Process the butter, sugars, flour, corn flour, salt and half of the prepared hazelnuts to a crumbly texture and pat into the base of a 23 cm. springform tin in an even layer.  Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160’C / 310’F

For the filling, bring the double and single creams to the boil together, remove from heat and add the Bushmill’s and coffee extract.  Cool slightly before stirring in the chopped chocolates.  Stir and when they have melted, stir in the eggs.  Pour the filling over the cooked base, and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for about 20 minutes until just set, but still slightly wobbly at the centre.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To make the topping, soften the gelatine in 2 tbsp. cold water for a few minutes, heat gently to dissolve, then set aside to cool slightly.  Beat the whipping cream until it forms soft peaks, sift in the icing sugar, and mix in the gelatine and Bailey’s.  Spread in an even layer over the chocolate filling and leave to set.

Serve in slices with a chocolate sauce and lightly whipped cream with the remaining hazelnuts scattered over and around the cake.

 

Brown Bread Parfait – Courtesy Paul Rankin and Tourism Ireland

INGREDIENTS:
For the parfait:
70 g. white chocolate, chopped
175 ml. Double cream
2 Tbsp. milk
¼ vanilla pod, split
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey
175 g. Irwin’s stoneground brown soda bread, crusts removed, and broken up to pea  size crumbs

For the prunes:
200 ml. Water
50 ml. Orange juice
175 g. sugar
½ lemon1/2 orange
120 g. pitted prunes
4 – 6  Tbsp. Bushmills whiskey

METHOD:

To make the parfait, melt the white chocolate. Place half the cream, the milk and the
vanilla on to boil in a small pan.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved.  When the cream mix has come to the boil, slowly pour it on to the yolk/sugar mixture, whisking continuously.  Return to a medium heat and cook out over a low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  When it is ready, strain through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.

Add the custard to the melted chocolate and fold in the bread crumbs.  Place in the fridge to chill for about ½ hour.

Whip the remaining cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold it and the Bushmills together with the custard mix.

Pour into individual ramekins and place in the freezer, for at least 2 to 3 hours or even overnight.   (If it is too hard, take from freezer to fridge for about an hour or two before serving. )

Place the water, orange juice, sugar, orange and lemon in a medium pan and bring to the boil.  Add the prunes, cover and summer gently until soft, about 20 minutes.  Take off the heat, remove the lemon half and orange half and add the Bushmills.  Set to one side.

To serve, demold by dipping each ramekin into hot water for a couple seconds, just to loosen, and then run a sharp knife around the edge.  Carefully tip out the parfait into the centre of each plate and surround with the Bushmill laced prunes and a little of the prune juice.  Garnish with mint and icing sugar as desired.

Prince William, Kate Middleton on Maldives second honeymoon

- March 7th, 2014
Britain's Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, smile as they watch a shark ceremony during their arrival at Marapa Island, Solomon Islands, September 17, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Rycroft/Pool

Britain’s Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, smile as they watch a shark ceremony during their arrival at Marapa Island, Solomon Islands, September 17, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Rycroft/Pool

Kate Middleton is really racking up those frequent flyer points.

The Duchess of Cambridge and her husband, Prince William, arrived in the Maldives on Thursday aboard a British Airways flight for a second honeymoon. It’s being reported that they are staying at a private resort on the northern Noonu atoll in the Maldives.

The Duchess spent 10 days with baby Prince George and her family in Mustique in January, and is just weeks away from joining Prince William on a three week tour of New Zealand and Australia.

The Daily Mail reports the royal pair are staying at the five-star Cheval Blanc Randheli Hotel. The resort has 45 villas, a spa, gourmet restaurants and plenty of opportunity for water sports and diving. The property just opened in November 2013.

While Prince George will join Prince William and Kate on their tour Down Under, he was left behind in England with Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, for this trip.

The Duke and Duchess previously vacationed in the Indian Ocean in 2011 for their first honeymoon, when they stayed at a resort in the Seychelles.