July 25, 2014

Crop Over Chronicles: Fave Kadooment songs for 2014

Here's a list of some of my fave songs from the Crop Over season this year (Not in any particular order)! Picture yourself listening to these as you're chipping down the road, drink in hand, wukking up with thousands of people around you...
(I'd love to hear what some of my international friends & followers think of these tunes!)

To my local friends & followers, have I left any of your favourites?

July 21, 2014

Monochrome Mermaids

Now that I have a phone with a pretty cool camera, I've become a bit lazy when it comes to taking photos. I don't use my DSLR as often, and my waterproof Olympus was collecting dust *shame* 
I have no excuses really, so I decided to challenge myself to some new underwater concept shots yesterday. I wanted something a bit different to our usual bright, Caribbean style photos and was inspired by award winning photographer, Morgan Massen, who I recently started following on Instagram.
Sheens and her friend Candace (who was visiting from the US) were my muses as we jumped, dove and fooled around in the water. Poor Candace didn't know what she was in for when I first said I was feeling inspired and wanted them to 'get their mermaid on'...

Thanks to their efforts, we got some surreal, moody looking images, despite the water being bright blue. When I first saw them, they reminded me of prayer positions, as if Sheena was in some sort of trance but every time I look at them I sense something different. What do you think?
Here are some of my favourites:

The last two photos were taken by Sheena

I have a few more quirky concept shoots in mind, so if anyone reading this is interesting in taking part, please get in touch!

July 18, 2014

Life lately: July update

It's been pretty quiet here on this blog for a number of reasons, and I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed about to where to begin 
...but instead of complaining, I'm going to list the reasons and give a mini update for those who care to read it:

1.) I started a new job 2 months ago and it's sucked up most of my time (funny that) I'm now officially a digital strategist for a advertising and marketing company, and I'm pretty much getting paid to do something I love - tinkering with online campaigns, brand strategy and development whilst tracking media trends. I even got a cheeky feature in the local business papers:

2.) Aside from my full time job, Sheena and I are still running Island Sitters after hours and on the weekends. We've finally taken on some extra hands to help us out and I can't wait to see where this little company is going in the coming months! It's not all work though - Island Sitters is about being young and fun, and last weekend we went on a little adventure with Sheena's cousin Mike and his friend James. Ain't nothing cooler than being told your adventure was 'epic' by two 12 year old boys - these ol' girls still have it!

3.) I'm part of a group called Global Shapers (You can read more about us here) and I was recently given the responsibility of running the Communications for this Hub. I'm a sucker for youth development and I think the youth in Barbados are in dire need of some more guidance and direction, especially since our unemployment rate is dangerously high and the general morale is dangerously low.  We're working on some projects aimed at confronting these issues though, so I'm still hopeful, especially being surrounded by such a strong group of extraordinary young people. I'm going to be talking about this some more in future posts.

4.) J and I are going to Europe in a month! We've been busy booking & reviewing every part of our trip across 4 countries and it's been so exciting and stressful at the same time. haven't planned a trip this meticulously since my trip to Asia in 2010, and even then, Christina and I winged it most days. When you're trying to squeeze as much as you can into 3 weeks of travel though, things get a lot more serious.  (Maybe it's the adult thing to do and I just haven't figured that out yet) I can't believe it's been 2 years since I left Amsterdam and I CAN'T WAIT to share more about this trip in the coming month. I've been tweeting like a mad woman too, trying to get the best travel tips & tricks from the online travel bugs. Be prepared for a very annoying countdown and lots and lots of photos following that.

5.) Living on a little rock can drive you crazy very quickly - 'Island Fever' is no joke and I've been trying very hard not to catch that fever by distracting myself with the things mentioned above (and then some, which I'll mention in another post!) Blogging has always been another distraction for me, as well as a creative outlet, but it's recently felt like a chore. I've never been a consistent blogger, and I'm sure that I never will be, but I do love it just as much (if not more) as I did when I started over 4 years ago, I just haven't made the time for it. I have a backlog of about 400 posts on here, waiting to be edited and shared with the world. It's a constant battle between priorities, and lately blogging hasn't been one of them. I apologize for that, but the coming month should be a good kick start to get my butt into blog gear again. On that note, I'll leave you with some snaps of life lately, according to my camera roll:

//From the top, left to right: After work work for Island Sitters, sundowners at Port St.Charles//
Bosco being such a ham // dinner with these beauties & discovering a cove on our Island Sitters Adventure//

July 7, 2014

Aerial Video of Barbados

Stumbled across this incredible footage by Above Barbados offering some fresh perspectives of our little dot  Happy Monday! 

July 4, 2014

Friday's Faux Pas & and my bestie's bachelorette

I was on my way out of the National ID building yesterday, having just renewed my ID card, when I saw a little old lady being walked down the road with her son. She was using a walker, and since we were miles away from the nearest bus stop, I offered them a lift into town. She climbed into the backseat after I shoved all of my bags and stuff to one side to make room for her.

Fast forward 20 mins, and her son and I are chatting away about the World Cup, local politics and everything in between. David, Jean and I felt like old friends by the time I dropped them off at the bus terminal in town and wished them a pleasant day.

It was only when I got to work that I realised that I had forgotten about my bag of "Bachelorette goodies" from Zoe's bachelorette in the backseat and poor Jean had been sitting next to this the entire car ride:

.....Annnnndddddddd on to the actual bachelorette, albeit a very condensed, edited version of it, for the sake of all the parents who read this blog:

Throwing pearls, feathers, lots of alchohol, naughty games & good music into the mix with girls from California, Barbados, Spain, Canada and France! We had such a great time and I suffered the worst hangover in a long time today. Can't wait for the wedding tomorrow!

June 27, 2014

#Residenttourist: Farm to Chef Slow Food Market Day

I posted this beautiful flyer about the cook off event by Slow Food Barbados on my Facebook page a few weeks ago and the event was the first of it's kind in Barbados. 

Local chefs battled it out to see who's got what it takes to be a true Farm To Table chef. Slow Food Barbados is part of a global, grassroots non-profit association, linking the pleasure of good food to a commitment to the environment & community. I think Barbadian consumers are slowly starting to question where their food comes from; not only because of the rising cost of importing an insane amount of food, but feeling more connected to what you're putting in to your body. They're working to improve the food system in Barbados in a number of ways, such as promoting clean food production and consumption that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; fresh and flavoursome seasonal diet that satisfies the senses and is part of our local culture and fair, accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for small-scale producers. 

We were amazed at the turn out and the variety of foods and produce on display. We sampled an embarrassing amount of food in under 2 hours - Our favourite was the 8 hour smoked jerked black belly sheep with corn bread, texan beans and slaw prepared by local chef Scott Aimes; it was so good that I had two servings :)

Here's hoping the next Slow Foods event rolls around quickly, we really need more initiatives on this small island. And let's be honest, I'll support any excuse to eat this amount of locally sourced goodies.

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi, not flipper) cutter
Organic, homemade dog treats by Munchy Muncharoonies
Oh, and I forgot to add that we ended our weekend with a beach lime at Gibbs. 

I'm co-hosting my first link up with my friend Setarra for her monthly #ResidentTourist feature this month! I've done a couple of #resident tourists post before, and I absolutely love the concept of taking the time to appreciate what your local area as to offer. As she said 'travel is not just about going away to see beautiful places, it's about seeing the beauty in EVERY place... And trust me, there is so much beauty in your backyard just waiting for you to untap its potential.' Check out Setarra's adventures in Arlington.

June 12, 2014

New York Video

Throwing it back to my first bite of the Big Apple in December with this cheesy video :)

You can check out my #NYC blog posts here

June 10, 2014

Giving Credit where Credit is due to Relish Epicurea

Bajans love a good rant. There's a sense of camaraderie to be found in complaining about the terrible service experienced every day in the government, tourism and service industries on this island.  Whether it's a 5 star hotel restaurant or a local rum shop, I find good service to be as unpredictable as the weather in England. That said, I do think it's only fair to highlight the amazing service and experiences that local restaurants, hotels and other companies offer on occasion.

Relish Epicurea handled a tricky situation really well the other day, that I feel like I owe it to them to offer credit where it is due. Relish is a local gourmet cafe based in Limegrove Lifestyle Centre that offers everything from freshly brewed coffee to salads drizzled in truffle sauce. Though they're quite pricey, I'm a huge fan of this place; their food is delicious and their staff is always really friendly. 

I hurriedly bought two of my favourite ham & cheese pastries from Relish in Limegrove, and gobbled down my first one before I even left the mall. I started chowing down on the second one, only to realise it was below their standard. I won't go into details about what was wrong with the pastry, but let's just say I was left feeling pretty disappointed and hungry. As soon as I got home I did what most Gen-Y media nerds would do: I wrote them a private message through their Facebook Page, filling them in on the situation for future reference. As someone who worked as a waitress for many years, I like to assume feedback is generally appreciated, whether positive or negative. I forgot about the message as soon as sent it, and I didn't expect to hear back from them anytime soon. 

Not only did they quickly respond to me with a really nice, apologetic message that acknowledged their mistake, but they gave me a voucher for a free Ham & Cheese pastry and a coffee the next time I visited. Though I don't fail to see the irony in this, I was also thoroughly impressed by their professionalism.

For those of you reading this post from overseas, you're probably scratching your heads thinking "Seriously, she's getting excited about something that's a GIVEN in the service industry here!", but in this island (and in my experience) service like this is hard to come by and I think it needs to be brought to people's attention that every little detail makes a difference. 

Their message was personable and friendly, and I really appreciated them making the extra effort to make sure that I come back to them again in the future (which I will). If Barbados is going to continue to compete as one of the top holiday destinations in the world, we really need to step up our game. In fact, we should have started stepping it up years ago! Anyway, I digress. The point of this post was not to rant (See how easy it is?) but to end on a positive note.

 Baby steps: Though this was just a tiny example of good service, I hope other establishments can take a page out of their (Face)book and deal with customers in the same way.

June 4, 2014

Best Bajan Food Stops

I have some foodie friends visiting the island and I'd like to introduce them to some local delicacies without taking them to the usual places like Oistins & Cuz. As great as they are, I'm looking for somewhere a bit different, perhaps off the beaten track or somewhere new...any suggestions?

White Caps, Cattlewash

Little recap (no pun intended) of our Cattlewash getaway weekend.

You can find the High-Res version of this video on my YouTube Channel.

Happy Hump Day!

May 30, 2014

#Residenttourist: Cattlewash weekend

The Atlantic coast of Barbados has a unique charm that's hard to describe to anyone who's never been. It's beautiful; rugged, fertile hills are dotted with cows and palm trees that are constantly blasted by the salty tradewinds. This is where Barbadians have escaped to during the late summer and Easter holidays for generations and the rusty, wooden beach houses are reminiscent of what the rest of the island would have looked like 50 years ago. Even on a tiny island like this, you somehow feel totally disconnected from the chaotic reality when you are 'staying down' Cattlewash, Bath or Bathsheba.

A few months ago, our local community was raising money in aid of a young boy who had emergency surgery. One of the fundraising initiatives was renting a beach house in Cattlewash; a large portion of the rental of this house within a certain time period would go towards his medical fund. A group of us jumped at the opportunity to help out and to escape for a relaxing weekend on the East, so we booked our weekend immediately and started planning dinner menus and games nights.

When we finally arrived at the house, we were blown away to find a very luxurious MANSION; hardly the simple wooden 'cottage-esque' beach house we were expecting. This place was amazing! The house was nestled on the hill across the street from the beach, so the view was incredible. We woke up to this every morning as we sipped our coffee:

What followed was 3 days of lazy fun, filled with daytime drinking, yummy dinners, board games & long walks on the beach. Ain't nothing like a mini staycation to make you appreciate everything this little dot has to offer.

I didn't take as many photos as I would normally because I was focussed on taking video footage over the weekend, so stay tuned for a cheeky/cheesy video of Cattlewash coming soon :)

I'm linking up with my friend Setarra this week for her #ResidentTourist blog feature, which you can check out here:

Check out my first #ResidentTourist link up post here.

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