My Caribbean Adventure: 2 Weeks in Jamaica

Jamaica seems like a very distant memory right now, and all I keep thinking about is how much I was enjoying life 😒💚❤️️💛.

My two week adventure in Kingston was definitely one to remember. Split into two parts, I was able to see the real Jamaica and experience its unforgettable people and culture, as well the perfectly-packaged tourist ready version of the island.

Week 1

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Soaking up the sun, and drinking WATA!

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As mentioned in my previous blog, this was my first trip to Jamaica. Kingston is where my grandma grew up, where my dad visited when he was younger, so I was more than excited to experience what they had always talked about.

‘Uppa country’ as locals like to say, is where I called home for the first seven days. (Funnily enough when I got back to the UK I learned that my grandma actually grew up on the same road as where I was staying. Coincedence much?!) Beautiful views, windy country roads, fresh food, is all what consumed my time.

No internet, no TV, just living simply. To some this may sound like hell, but in all honesty it was a relief. Detoxifying even. This is what going away is all about (for me anyway) and it was lovely not to have any distractions and to simply chat, listen, learn and enjoy life.

The week now seems like a blur, I guess the saying ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ is true. The cool late nights playing dominoes or dancing merged into the days where I sat in the sun drinking bag juice. I felt like this is what life is meant to be like 100% of the time – no time keeping, just taking the time to have fun and be.

Week 2

After enjoying a week with family, it was time to move to our airbnb.

Now, can I just take a moment to praise how convenient and affordable airbnb is in Jamaica. We found some beautiful gems to rent, but, settled for an apartment opposite the Bob Marley museum. Super convenient, modern and it even had a pool which we never actually used, but it was nice to have the option, especially as we were hours away from any natural beach.

Being in Jamaica was a gave me nothing short of a whirlwind of emotions, but ultimately it taught me to be confident… unapologetically, inside and out. It’s a mantra that many of us talk about and try to omit, but honestly speaking I didn’t feel conscious about myself, about my weight, about my race and it was lovely to just live life. Maybe this was down I to me being in my natural habitat, being comfortable in my surroundings, and in my skin, it was a feeling that I surely will never forget.

 

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Frenchman cove
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Frenchman Cove
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Frenchman Cove
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Frenchman Cove

We most definitely caught the beach bug and headed even further to Ocho Rios – Turtle Tower beach the day after too.

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Turtle Tower Beach
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Watching Dolphins
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Turtle Tower Beach
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What does this look like to you? #PumPum Rock
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Views from Portland

 

 

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Hope you enjoyed… I know I did!

Are you off anywhere special in the coming months?

Why Kingston, Jamaica Should Be Your Next Holiday Destination

Hey all,

I’ve been back in the UK for just over a week and I am wanderlusting HARD!

From the title of this blog, you’ve probably guessed where I’ve just come back from.

Yes… I’ve been living carefree, soaking up all the vitamin D the caribbean has to offer, sipping on Red Stripe Lemon, and exploring the bustling capital city of Jamaica, Kingston.

The Caribbean is somewhere that I’ve always gravitated towards when looking for my next holiday destination. It’s hot, it’s instagrammable, and there’s so much culture to explore.

Having travelled to Barbados on multiple occasions, I thought it was about time I explored my Jamaican heritage. And seeing as both mine and my boyfriends families are from Kingston, it was only right that this would be our home for 2 weeks.

My heart fell for Kingston instantly. The vibrancy of the city set against the mountain views were absolutely superb, so, if you’re planning a trip to the caribbean or more specifically Jamaica, it’s only right I put Kingston on your radar.

1. The Food

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Locals use wood oven like these to cook jerk chicken and pork
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Pictured: Lobster, Bammi, Plantain, Fried Dumplings

Jamaicans know how to throw down… anywhere! Whether you’re strolling through Kingston passing local food businesses with home made wood ovens, or sat down in a nice restaurant you’re always seconds aways from tasty, fresh food. There’s something for everyone. If you’re after something traditional like ackee & saltfish, lobster and bammi, callaloo and breadfruit or even something more western, like a burger, Kingston has got an array of eateries. Plus, Vegan options are standard!

2. The People

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Locals you’ll find in Kingston

No Problem is Jamaica’s national slogan, and it’s perfectly fitting. The people are loud, confident, outgoing, funny, charismatic and will help you out with no problem. Oh, and somehow, everyone seems to be able to sing.

3. The Culture

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Beautiful paintings inside the Bob Marley museum grounds

With Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley and Usain Bolt national heroes, there is plenty to be explored when it comes to the history and culture of Jamaica.

A Jamaican folktale I came across was that the first Jamaican Bobsledding team actually got the idea to compete as bobsledders in the Olympics after racing around on carts used to transport food in downtown Kingston fresh food market. True or not, it’s quite interesting.

4. The Music (…and the parties!)

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Amazing artist: IndieMeName

As I said before, everyone on the island seems to have a record label worthy voice. Is it any wonder, Jamaica was home to the musical legend that was Bob Marley. The island thrives off of good music and good vibes. From the parties, to concerts, it’s evident that Jamaicans have music flowing through their veins.

At one point during our stay we were at a street party that started at about 5pm and ended at 7am the next morning. Music blasted all night with No Problem. can you imagine the ruckus from neighbours if that happened in the UK?!

5. The Views

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Compared to Barbados, Jamaica is a very mountainous island, so much so, that anywhere  you find yourself in Kingston, there’ll be a beautiful backdrop of a mountains and palm trees to admire. I mean do you need anything else?

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I have so many unforgettable memories from Jamaica that there are so many more beautiful reasons on why you should visit Kingston. Keep your eyes peeled on my next post all about the places you should visit (beaches included)!

Have you/ would you ever visit Kingston?

How to Travel the World While Working Full Time

If you follow me on any other social media platforms you’ll know that I’ve been suffering with some serious wanderlust. Like why can’t my full time job not be blogging, travelling and blogging about my travels?

I just know that I’m not meant to work (don’t we all lol) which is why I thought it’s about time I do a post on how to travel when you work full time, because somehow, I manage to.

I consider myself pretty lucky to have been able to travel to two beautiful destinations (Thailand & Dubai)  already this year and hopefully (god-willing) I’ll have another trip sorted before Christmas, but, I have to say, I haven’t spent my work holiday allowance wisely this year, and I know I’m not alone.

What I do know is that wanting to travel while holding down a full time job is definitely possible, although very inconvenient.

So, although I haven’t followed these rules as strictly as I’d have liked to this year due to my personal life, here’s a few tips for those of you who want to make the most out of your holiday and travel the world, one destination at a time, while also keeping a full time job…

Use Bank Holidays & Weekends to your advantage. This has to be the golden rule. If you haven’t tried this trick, where have you been?! To get more days off for less, it’s smart to plan your travels around major UK holidays, Bank Holidays and weekends. For example a great month to try this is May as we get two bank holidays plus weekends!

Prioritise, Prioritise, Prioritise. Once you’ve booked your holiday, it’s easy to get carried with how many days you need after to ‘recover’ from jet lag. I am so guilty of this, but it’s really so unnecessary, especially if you’ve only taken a trip Barcelona where there’s only like 1 hour time difference. To save days it may be worth taking a half day. This really comes in handy when your days start to run low. Plus, it means of you have a weekend getaway planned with an evening flight, you can leave a little earlier on a Friday, just bring your suitcase to the office! If you’re lucky enough to have an amazing manager, they may even let you off officially taking a half day which means you can save it for another time!

Weekend Getaways. Never under estimate the power of the weekend getaway. For the longest time I’ve slept on trips around the UK, and I really don’t know why as there are plenty of beautiful places that you would never believe are a couple hours away from your doorstep. Brighton, Cornwall, Devon, Scotland… and of course the Lake District are now on my ‘to-do’ list. Meaning I can travel more without having to spend ‘holiday’ on well needed weekend breaks – a great way to becoming well-travelled.

Work overtime. If you’re unfortunate enough to work full time with very limited holiday, maybe having a word with your manager or HR officer will allow you to get a few extra days holiday, by working overtime. It’s a great way to accumulate extra days and you’ll be getting paid that little bit extra which can only mean one think = more holidays!

Be Kind to your colleagues. This doesn’t happen in every company, but it’s common that department members who are not allowed to go on holiday at the same time as each other.  If you’re lucky enough to have a cool relationship with your fellow colleague who wants to take the same time off as you do, it wouldn’t harm asking if they could maybe rearrange their time off, it’s all about negotiation. After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

So, these are a few tips that have helped me travel when I desire, do you have any tips/tricks?

 

 

5 Things You Absolutely Must Do In Dubai

This post is as late as ever, but as promised from my last post – Living the Dubai Life, I’m filling you in on the top 5 things you absolutely HAVE to do, when you holiday in Dubai.

I’m going to do this in order of how much I enjoyed each activity, which is kinda hard as everything was just so good, but yeah…without further ado…

1.The Burj Khalifa

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When I found out I was going to Dubai, I didn’t really know what touristy things they had to offer, apart from the world’s highest skyscraper – Burj Khalifa.

And after doing some research about it, it took top spot on my ‘things to do’ list.

I’ve never been to the Shard or anything like that, so I really wanted to experience something on that calibre, and why not do it from the best place in the world – the highest manmade structure?

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Obviously we had to do it big, so we went to the top – you can go half way, but what’s the point?

Each tour has about 30 people so, it’s quite intimate and a more personal experience. We were first taken into a sitting room and given arabian coffee (an interesting and acquired taste) as well as some dates which is a delicacy, before being taken up.

After a short walk we all got into a lift, which had moving graphics, explaining the pivotal moments in the making of the Burj Khalifa and after shooting to the top in just over one minute we reached the 148th level!

Once out the lift, we were greeted with refreshments and the amazing view.

Seeing the view yourself and viewing pictures are two completely different things.

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It actually doesn’t look that high but if you think we were hundred of metres above the Dubai’s already mesmerising skyscrapers – Trippy!

Honestly the Burj Khalifa was an experience I’ll never forget and was definitely the perfect end to the perfect trip.

2. Aquaventure Waterpark

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I didn’t want to go to this as I hate any form of rides – theme parks, waterparks, the lot.

I was coerced into going by the rest of my family as I was prepared to stay at the hotel to sunbathe the day away with a cocktail in hand, but how wrong I was.

This waterpark is SICK!

Connected to Dubai’s Atlantis Palm resort (this resort is amazing btw) Aquaventure has something for everyone, I loved the River Ride, where you grab a float and start a journey through the park, while going through torrents, slide and experiencing crazy waves – not something I anticipated before getting on but it was fun… until I didn’t know where to get off and ended up on it for 2 hours lol

But, you’d be proud of me! I went on Zoomerango – the scariest 10 seconds of my life.

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I didn’t catch many pictures but it was the funnies day. After losing my cousin, trying to find my family without any sandals in 50 degree heat (just picture me hot stepping please) and nearly passing out on Zoomerango it was definitely a day I’ll never forget.

3. Sand Dunes

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When someone says sand dunes, what do you think of?

I literally think of sand in a desert. Nothing else. So, I really dint understand how this could be a day trip out.

So, we were driven out to the desert (obvs) and left there for about 30 minutes – so, so dodgy.

We got into these 4×4’s and off we went. At this point I had no idea where we were going as nothing could be seen in the distance.

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The driver turned up his tunes and started speeding over these dunes like a mad man. I literally thought I was going to die it was crazy, but fun.

After about 10 minutes of feeling like I was an inch away from death, we got to a camp, where there were camels to ride on, quad biking, and a moroccan seating area.

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Later on, once more guests arrive, a belly dancing a fire show is put on and we sat down for a meal – great for experiencing the emirate culture and food!

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4. Al Karama

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If you love big brands, but don’t wana pay big prices, taking a trip to Al Karama is what you need to do!

It is the most suspect looking area, because there’s nothing there apart from a few dead end shops. However, once you go inside and ask to see their high end bags etc, suddenly a wall opens up and there’s another shop beyond the shop.

If anything, the experience alone was just funny because you just wouldn’t imagine, but according to some close sources of mine (I’ve got sources honey!), apparently Serena Williams has beens potted shopping here, so if it’s good enough for this babe, it’s good enough for me.

5.Aquarium

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I’m sure everyone has been to an aquarium in their life but there’s something about Dubai’s aquarium that makes everything look amazing and as if you’re experiencing seeing a fish for the first time.

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There are a few aquariums dotted around, and our plan was to go to the Aquarium in Atlantis Palm Resort, however, on our first trip to Dubai Mall, we thought we’d just go to the one there.

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I ended up taking my little cousin in and we had a great time. Spread across 3 floors, you really get to experience new species and humungous sharks etc and it ends with a aqua zoo, which was quite cool.

 

Have you been to Dubai? What other attractions would you recommend? 

 

Living the Dubai Life

I’ve been procrastinating on this post for the last two weeks, for two reasons.
1. I cannot believe I’m back to reality.
2. It was the most surreal holiday experiences I’ve ever had.

So let me start from the beginning.

As a birthday treat my parents paid for my holiday to Dubai – I know right, so lucky!

My family and I went for 5 days (which in my opinion, is a great amount of time to do everything) and stayed at the Movenpick JLT hotel – a beautiful hotel with an infinity pool and around 30 mins from Dubai Mall.

I really don’t know where to start, so I thought I’d dedicate this post to answering some the most common questions I’ve had from friends:

How hot was it?

Let me start by telling you it was HOT! I don’t know why I was so surprised as we did actually go in August – one of the hottest months in Dubai with temperatures reaching over 50 degrees – so yes, it was very hot.

However, it wasn’t unbearable. On the day we landed, I didn’t think I’d be able to survive. As soon as you go outside from the air conditioned airport the heat hits you right in the face. It’s a very dry, thick heat but you do acclimatise to it pretty quickly, plus everywhere has air con 😖

After 2 days feeling the heat was glorious, had me feeling like some melanin goddess all day every day… just call me the bronzed goddess!

What was it like?

Dubai is undeniably beautiful. Everything is so big and futuristic. The technology is so ahead of the ‘western world’ that its skyline looks like something out of a sci-fi movie… an urban metropolis.

The traditional food is tha bomb and the people are so friendly. I cannot wait to plan another trip to be honest!

Was it expensive?

Hell yes! I wouldn’t advise anyone going to Dubai, especially for 5 days without money, not that you would go away without any funds, but you get what I mean, it was expensive, and while we were over there, we learned that the Brexit results had made currency exchange worse.

In saying that, Dubai has such an allure and charm, that you don’t even mind spending and splurging that little bit extra, because everything is so magnificent. The Emerati people know how to do it BIG.

What’s there to do apart from shop?

First of all the malls are insane, and I wouldn’t blame anyone who just goes there to shop, because it’s LIT.

The malls over there are 1000x better than UK’s Westfields, during our time there, we visited twice and we didn’t even cover half of the mall.

Other than shopping though, there’s so much else to do, like visiting one the world’s biggest water theme parks, driving through the crazy sand dunes and exploring the views from the highest point in the world -The Burj Khalifa.

BUT, I’ll go into that on my next post, so stay tuned!

Is the culture strict?

I was so nervous to go to Dubai, because of what I had heard about it’s strict rules on how females should dress etc, but honestly I had nothing to worry about.

I would say as long as you are in the city and in areas where there are other tourists, you can dress very laid back, and could to the mall in shorts and a cami. But, I think it just comes down to showing respect and not showing too much skin.

If you decide to go out of the tourist areas, carrying a light scarf to throw around your shoulders is fine too. It’s all about being respectful.

Would I go back?

Errrrrm. YES! Visiting Dubai has been nothing but a dream.

I’m sure I’ve left loads out, so check out a few of my pics from this vacay and stay tuned for my next post all about the top 5 things you should do in Dubai!

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