All aboard the Orient Express!


Liveried staff greeting us in CalaisHello!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. I worked most of it, which was great fun, and I was lucky enough to get away for a few days the previous week. And, oh my goodness, what a wonderful few days.

It was my friend Amanda's 40th birthday and she and her husband asked me and my hubby to join them to celebrate – by travelling from London to Venice on the Orient Express!

Our lovely cabinIt only took a day and a half but was, quite simply, one of the most incredible things I've ever done. From getting on a beautiful British Pullman at Victoria station, to arriving at the Orient Express itself in Calais where all the staff was lined up in their liveried finery to greet us (click on the pics to enlarge), right up to arriving in Venice itself, every moment was sheer joy.

The train was so beautiful, harking back to the old romantic days of early train travel – all highly polished wood, plush upholstery, white tablecloths and gleaming silverware – and food so exquisite it was hard to believe it was being prepared in a railway carriage!


Dressed for dinnerOur cabin was wonderfully designed (above left), with a tiny wash basin hidden in a cupboard, and a comfortable bench seat for daytime use. Hubby and I had a few giggles trying to get changed into our evening dress in the confined space – with me at 5 foot 10 and him closer to 6 foot 7, it was a little tight!

The end result was satisfactory though – he looked fab, still fitting into the waistcoat he wore for our wedding nearly 20 years ago. Meanwhile, I was pleased to have an occasion to use my recently purchased Lulu Guinness lips clutch bag for the first time (pictured left)! 

After dinner and drinks in the piano bar (yes, a GRAND piano, on a train!) as we travelled through France, we returned to find our cabin converted into a bedroom with two surprisingly comfortable bunks (pictured below left), and slept soundly, lulled by the rocking of the train.

Our cabin, now our sleeping quartersWe woke up to find ourselves in the Swiss Alps (pictured below left), and had breakfast watching the most stunning views. I'd been browsing in a book shop before I left and came across the perfect novel to accompany the trip – "A Night on the Orient Express" by Devon-based Veronica Henry. (Recommended!) But I half-expected to hear a blood-curdling scream and see Poirot or Miss Marple rushing past to investigate a murder – such is my over-active imagination…

By lunchtime we were in Italy, and then all too soon the journey was over. One night in Venice – one of my favourite cities in the world – and then a flight home and the trip of a lifetime was complete. Wonderful, fabulous, incredible!

The view of the Swiss AlpsI'd love to hear what you've done with your Easter holidays if you've been lucky enough to have one. As always, get in touch by leaving a comment below this blog or by following me on Twitter @jackiekabler.

And don't miss my blog next week – it's my birthday during the week and I'm celebrating by giving YOU a chance to win a load of QVC goodies!

Have a lovely week.

Love Jackie x


  1. Jean Pugh April 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie,
    Wow what a fantastic time you had, you must have felt special when you saw all the staff lined up. The cabin looks very romantic. What a wonderful experience, something you will remember for a long time. And the photographs are lovely, especially the Swiss Alps.
    You both look really elegant, love your husband’s waistcoat, and yes spotted the Lulu Guinness handbag. Wow is he tall.
    Well my Easter, I will not even mention it as it was terribly boring compared with your’s, so glad you had a super time, and it is nice to have the photographs of it all. Lucky Lucky you.
    I guess you have come back down to earth now, you will have to celebrate a birthday or anniversary of your’s the same way now you know what it is like.
    Take care.
    Love Jean xx

  2. Jackie Kabler April 25, 2014 at 1:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jean,
    Yes it was absolutely lovely, loved every minute. Hope all is well with you. Don’t miss my blog next week, great competition to enter!
    Love Jackie x

  3. Gail Giles April 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm -  Reply

    Am so glad you enjoyed yourselves it looks absolutely fabulous so much so my husband and I are going to do this same trip, with his love of trains and mine of Venice it seems perfect. Thank you for pictures this persuaded my husband to go.

  4. Susanne Fitzpatrick April 25, 2014 at 8:02 pm -  Reply

    I am GREEN with envy, Jackie!!! I’ve been on an Agatha Christie pilgrimage since I was 15 years old and visited all the places mentioned in her books and where they were written, and the only thing my cousins and I have left to do is go on the Orient Express (or Venice-Simplon Orient Express, as it used to be called).
    I saw the OE at the railway station in Naples a few years ago but it was pulling out of the station, so I was too late to take a photo. Gutted!!
    So glad you had a lovely time (gnash, gnash) – I’m not at all jealous ……
    You must do something fabulous on YOUR birthday – something thrilling that you’ll remember for a long time.

  5. Gwen Tugwell April 26, 2014 at 8:57 am -  Reply

    Hello Jackie,
    I took my lovely Mum on the Orient Express as it was one of her dearest wishes, it wasn’t as grand a trip as yours in fact we went through the Kent Hopfields and surrounding countryside as it was wintertime and her 80th Birthday, sadly I’ve lost her now but it will always stay as a very special memory, and as you say the elegance and the feel of times gone by are really quite extraordinary.
    Take care,

  6. susan April 27, 2014 at 11:23 am -  Reply

    Hi Jackie, lovely story. Thank you for sharing! I don’t know if I could do that as it’s the constant motion that would get me. You’re a real adventure bunny though aren’t you!? Stunning photo of you and hubby. Again my Easter quite normal like jean but glad you had a lovely time!x

  7. Beth Morton April 27, 2014 at 3:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie,
    Your photos are wonderful and your description of the trip is so detailed and enthusiastic, I felt I was there! What a wonderful experience for you both and great to have spent it with friends too. You both look great in your smart outfits and yes, Lulu’s bag just finishes it all off!
    Good for you to have embraced the trip with such enthusiasm – sometimes I think it’s easy to not to just savour the moment.
    Our weekend was at home but very enjoyable and I had my first experience of Skype with my lovely nieces. They currently live in England but will eventually be emigrating hence me needing to be “au fait” with Skype. As it was Easter Sunday they were talking to me through eating their Easter Eggs – very endearing!
    You take care and keep having fun – PS hope you won’t be too tired from today’s Beauty Day, I saw you at 9am looking very fresh-faced,
    Beth XXX

  8. Jackie Kabler April 28, 2014 at 8:50 am -  Reply

    Hi Gail,
    Oh you MUST do it! Honestly, just the best experience ever. You will love it. Only trouble is, I want to do it again now!
    Love Jackie x

  9. Jackie Kabler April 28, 2014 at 8:52 am -  Reply

    Hi Susanne,
    Love the sound of your Agatha Christie pilgrimage – and yes, it is still called the Venice-Simplon, I just shortened it! I hope you get the chance to go on it one day, it’s so wonderful.
    Love Jackie x

  10. Jackie Kabler April 28, 2014 at 9:44 am -  Reply

    Hi Gwen,
    Oh what a lovely memory to have of your dear Mum, I’m sure it was just as wonderful travelling around in the UK. Such a beautiful train. Thanks for getting in touch.
    Love Jackie x

  11. Jackie Kabler April 28, 2014 at 9:50 am -  Reply

    Hi Beth,
    Yes the train really was fantastic, loved every moment! Skype is great isn’t it, most of my family live in Ireland but I have nieces in Spain and the USA and a sister in Japan so I use it all the time, brilliant! It was my first Beauty Day yesterday, great to have so many top brands under one roof, loved it.
    Love Jackie x

  12. Jackie Kabler April 28, 2014 at 9:53 am -  Reply

    Hi Susan,
    Yes I do like travelling and doing unusual things – we don’t have kids so it’s easier for us to get away regularly. The motion of the train was quite hard to to get used to – I was glad I didn’t bring very high heels as that would have been quite difficult! Good to hear from you, keep in touch!
    Love Jackie x

  13. Myfanwy Brown May 2, 2014 at 8:30 pm -  Reply

    I don’t come on the presenter blogs much, but have just read about your trip. As you know, I knew you were going.. and wow! it sounds awesome Jackie! Many years ago as a child, when I lived in Zimbabwe, we went on a train trip, I so loved falling asleep with the train rocking..of course it was nothing as grand as your train trip, but I can still smell the green leather of the seats! I remember the stainless steel sink, and the white crockery.. the coffee and tea. We were four in a cabin, mom, dad and my sister and myself. We also lived not too far from the train tracks, so I would hear the trains at night, and it was a comforting sound. These memories are so precious.

  14. Myfanwy Brown May 2, 2014 at 8:33 pm -  Reply

    Oh, never signed so lotsa love, Myfanwy.. (Truthful Conversation on twitter) Your hubby is sooo tall! Just as well since you are tall too : )

  15. Jackie Kabler May 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Myfanwy,
    Your train journey sounds lovely too….and nice to know your real name!
    Love Jackie x

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