To Brighton and Back

For reasons unknown to even myself, I quite like a bit of Olly Murs and he was on in Brighton recently, so we thought we’d head down to Brighton to see him and make a bit of a weekend of it. I haven’t been to Brighton since I was a kid – all I was really expecting, was people wearing interesting clothes and the opportunity to buy vegan shoes. Well, I can tell you, Brighton did not disappoint on either of those fronts.

On our way down we stopped off at Westmeston, which is on the northern slopes of the South Downs (according to Google maps). We had a short wander up the downs (harhar) dodging a number of cow pats along the way. It’s a nice view here and I can see why people would like walking along here, but I don’t like walking along here, or anywhere, because I just don’t really see the point in it unless you are going somewhere… like to the shop to get food, or to a restaurant to get food…

On our way back from our short walk I managed to offend some dog walkers by loudly proclaiming that “poo is definitely a fetish thing”, having reached this topic after having avoided said cow pats and dodging a couple of dog ‘presents’. It must have sounded like it was my fetish thing (which it most definitely is not), so I can understand why they looked at me so, but we’d merely slipped into this convo after I narrowly avoided slipping in the aforementioned cow pat, so you can see how we got there. They did look truly horrified, and I don’t blame them.

 

You have to pay for parking everywhere here, which we categorically refused to do, so we dropped our stuff off at the AirBnb, drove out of the centre and plonked the car in a residential area and started the trek back into Brighton centre. Trek is not an over-exaggeration btw – it took FOREVER. The road just seemed to go on and on and on and on. It didn’t seem to matter how fast or powerfully I put one foot in front of the other, I just didn’t appear to be getting anywhere. People have climbed Mount Everest in a shorter time than it took us to walk back into Brighton, and that’s not even a lie.

To stave off the impending tantrum, we stopped at the Tinto Taperia, for some tapas (if you hadn’t already guessed). Tapas can be a bit hit and miss, but this got a decent rating online, so we thought we’d give it a go and we weren’t disappointed. I’m a big fan of padron peppers, so we weren’t leaving this place without trying some of those, and their patatas bravas and chopitos (deep fried baby squid) were on point, meaning I left one very happy customer. My experience marred only by having to listen to the man on the table next to us talk about marathons, but you can’t have everything.

 

Not to break from tradition, the following evening it was tapas for dinner again or ‘small plates’ according to the restaurant, 64 Degrees in Brighton Lanes. Unfortunately it was tipping it down with rain when we left and en route to the restaurant, I took a shortcut across the front of a hotel as it was under cover. Needless to say I lost my footing in the rain and I went down hard, into a massive puddle of water. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, I then couldn’t get up because the bastard tiles were so slippery I actually needed help to get up off the floor.  Rising from the puddle, I found myself completely sodden and dragging myself to dinner, the evening topped off by me getting my coat pocket stuck on the door knob in the restaurant. Excellent.

The food was epic here and we sat up by the kitchen, so we could see everything being made. If you are ever doubting how hard people work in a kitchen, take any opportunity to sit and watch your food being made, because they do not stop! The food was beyond yummy and I’d recommend you book, as the place is tiny.

The following day we’d arranged to have lunch at the Gingerman restaurant. This place popped up on loads of different lists of ‘best places to eat in Brighton’ and the menu looked good, so we were game to give it a try. The food was great, I can’t deny that, but the service was utter crap. Our starters came without too much trouble, but the second lot of drinks we ordered got completely forgotten about, as did our mains. You’d think this would be pretty difficult in a restaurant this small It’s a tiny restaurant, so you can see every table in there with a casting glance) but you didn’t have a hope in hell catching either of the waitresses’ eyes.

Usually you can feel it when someone is staring at you, but it seemed that no matter how long or how hard my eyes bored into the back of their heads, it didn’t make an ounce of difference. In a matter of moments there would have been smoke coming off the back of their heads (that was the level of laser stare I was giving them) when eventually one of them came over with our long forgotten drinks and the main courses we had waited 45 minutes for.

The couple next to us even got served their mains before their starters, so I don’t think we were alone in our experience. We wanted dessert – we’d had our eyes on the apple crumble soufflé from the off – but we’d waited so long now, that we were too hacked off to sit there and wait for another course. It’s a shame, because the food was really good there, but not good enough to make up for the fact that it took about thrice as long as it needed to take, as well as being ignored by the staff for the entire meal… it’s not like I was up for a deep and meaningful conversation with them or anything, but it would have been nice to get the bill before the turn of the century.

 

To cheer ourselves up after this, we went for a wander around the streets of Brighton, taking the opportunity to dive into all the retro, vintage and second-hand shops (and there are a lot of them) we could find. In one of the shops, we came face to face with what I think you would term a ‘complete nutter’. In an antique shop, we were standing looking at some furniture when an old Gollywog toy fell down in front of me. I’d just picked it up to pop it back on the shelf, when I heard some incredibly deep and raspy breathing. I turned round to find an overweight and sweating man, loudly exclaiming (at the same time as loudly mouth breathing) that Gollywog toys “couldn’t possibly be racist”. He had a wild look in his eye and we dodged around him pretty sharpish.

We decided that seeing as we were in Brighton, beside the seaside, we ought to have an ice cream. Earlier on in the day we’d wandered past an ice cream shop with a massive queue in front of it, so, thinking that queue = good, we headed to Gelato Gusto. I lucked out here, because they do dairy free ice cream and it was AMAZING!! You never get good dairy free ice cream, it’s always really melty and icy and it’s always super obvious that it’s dairy free. But not this one – this was hands down the best dairy free ice cream I have had and I’d go as far as saying it was just as good (if not better) than the dairy options there. AND they had sprinkle cones, which made my life.

 

The evening brought with it the Olly Murs concert we had come to Brighton for. Upon entering the concert venue, we came to realise there were two distinctive age groups and we fit neither of them. There were the very young, say, 12 or 13 and there were the quite-a-lot-older, say, 55. Out Olly came, and boy, was he appealing to the latter. There was much more grinding up against the mic stand and gyrating than I had bargained for and at one point someone even shouted “get your cock out Olly”. Ick.

Despite the oddly sexual nature of the show, I did very much enjoy it. I’d forgotten how many absolute bangers Olly Murs had released and he did a few covers of some well-known songs. It was more like a party than it was a concert. He did seem to only play the first 16 bars of each of his songs though, which left me wondering whether he had somehow lost the rights to his own music… but I had a genuinely great time, so you’ll receive no complaints from me, Olly.

Bonnie

Madrid Part 2: dining conceptually

Today we head to DSTAgE for lunch. DSTAgE is a ‘concept’, which essentially means they do interesting things with food and a lot of the things on the menu you won’t have seen before. It has 2 Michelin stars, so we’re expecting good things from the 14-course tasting menu. The first thing I’ll tell you, is that it isn’t easy to find. There’s no sign above the door and no name printed on the window, so we end up wandering up and down the street for a few minutes, with no idea where it is. Eventually, we hedge our bets and tried the only door without a sign above it, and it turned out to be the right place – perhaps you need to locate them conceptually or something?

Now, I’m not going to lie to you, there were a few properly weird things on this menu, and they weren’t things that I would necessarily be keen on eating again. But, it’s a 14-course tasting menu and it’s a ‘concept’ so there are bound to be some odd things on there. Despite some strange textures, tastes and combinations, it’s interesting to see what these conceptual chefs manage to do with food. How they come up with these ideas and make these things edible, I’ll never know.

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We start off with a squid something or other (as I recall, it was squid, coated in squid, covered in squid) served at the bar on a bed of ocean paraphernalia, with plenty of wafty dry ice. This was followed by a prawn dish, which was made on a block of Himalayan salt (very on trend) in front of us and was topped with the ‘legs and moustaches of the prawn’. This sounds super weird and it was served on some kind of leaf at the kitchen, but it was surprisingly nice, considering we were eating moustaches.

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I disagree on all levels, however, with what I think was either our 6thor 7thcourse. They brought it to the table but refused to tell us what we were going to be eating, encouraging us to guess after tasting it, which would have been fine, if all the other courses hadn’t been described in minute detail. So, needless to say, we were incredibly suspicious of course 6 or 7 (whichever it was). It looked dubious, to say the least. It was brown and layered and had a suspect sheen to it. I was pretty sure I knew what it was at this point, but I was trying to convince myself that I couldn’t possibly be right, so I cut a piece off (it provided much resistance) and popped it in to my mouth.

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As soon as it was in there, I knew my guess had been correct. I chewed, experiencing feelings of both intense pleasure (because my guess was right) and incredible revulsion (because what I had guessed was not something pleasurable to consume). It did not go down easily, let me tell you that for free. It kept trying to resurface and I had to concentrate exceedingly hard so as not to gob it back out on to my plate. My gullet was putting up a fair fight against this going further down, and I don’t blame it for a moment. I’ll put you out of your misery if I must – IT WAS FISH SKIN. And not just one piece of fish skin, it was layers and layers of fish skin; it was akin to a fish skin lasagne and it was about as good as it sounds, which is disgusting, let’s be frank.

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The fish skin course over, it moved along much more pleasantly for the rest of the meal, meaning there was nothing I wanted to spit out. Even if I didn’t like every single course, I can appreciate the amount of effort that had gone into it. I had my meal with the wine pairing, which I think is worth it, but do be prepared for a bit of a bank breaker with this one, it was not cheap.

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Someone looks pleased with their candy floss…

We head back over to watch some more tennis. It’s obscenely hot sitting in the sun today and I’m concerned that I’m going to sweat myself down to 0% water content. We meet up with one of the tennis players’ father’s and spent a good chunk of the day with him and end up heading back to the hotel the players are staying at for a drink or two. I must admit, that when I say ‘we’, it is the royal ‘we’ in every sense, because I absolutely do not know a single tennis player and I’m 100% riding the wave of other people’s successes in life here.

We have another terrifying journey back to the apartment we are staying in. One of the cars put on to ferry the players about is arranged to take us back and we hop in. The guy has pretty limited English and we pull away and nearly smash into the back of a parked car. Close shave. It turns out that he has no real idea where he’s going and is jabbering at us in Spanish we aren’t really getting the gist of, until the hand signals come clear to me and I realise he wants us to put the directions on Google maps for him. This would have been fine, but he drove the whole way one handed with the phone in his hand, constantly turning around to try and speak to us, which is less than conducive to a smooth and un-hair-raising journey. We manage to make it back in one piece, but it was another journey resulting in some fairly jellied legs.

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The following day and it’s time to go home. We’ve got some time to kill in the morning, so we go for a wander around the shops in the area. We’ve been staying in Plaza de las Salesas; a square right in the middle of what I guess you would refer to of the ‘hipster’ quarter of Madrid. There are loads of vintage shops around there (I’m a big fan of second hand things) so cases in tow, we browse the retro clothes shops of Madrid. This area is well worth a visit – there’s SO much stuff in these shops and there are so many of them – you’d be hard pressed to come away without buying something (obvs I bought something). We took the opportunity to have an ice cream and make use of the instant camera I carted all the way here with me (an Instax Mini 90 if you’re interested), which returned a pretty cute result I feel, despite my hand looking completely weird.

Bonnie

Madrid Part 1: Rafael Nadal gets the (ruck) sack

We’re in Madrid to see the Mutua Madrid Open (that’s tennis, for those of you who don’t know); we know someone who’s a doubles player and she’s sorted us out with some tickets so we can go and watch her, under the guise of coaches. I’m entirely dubious that anyone would ever believe that I’m a tennis coach of any sort. Perhaps the only type of tennis coach I could possibly pass as would be the under 10’s and even then, I’m not too sure if anyone’s going to believe it. This is highly amusing to everyone at work and I’m taking a constant ribbing, with everyone referring to me as ‘coach’ each time they ask me a question.

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We have a mooch about in the morning after we arrive and treat ourselves to a hot sandwich filled with Serrano ham, cheese and tomato, which we consume sat on a set of steps in a square – the only way to consume a takeaway hot sandwich, really. We head to the ground to register ourselves, which was the most lengthy registration process I have ever experienced in the world – there was this online form to fill out and they wanted every single piece of personal information (including the name of your mother’s first cat).

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Basic bitchin’ it with my Aperol Spritz

Eventually we’re registered and we meet the player who sorted us out with the tickets, head to the player’s lounge with her and grab something to eat. As we’re heading in, I’m having to smoosh my way through a bit of a crowd. I’ve got my rucksack on and as I’m squishing my way through the throng, I swing round and manage to whack someone with my bag. I turn around to profusely apologise (cos British and I can’t just walk away with a clear conscience having thwacked someone with my rucksack) and realise that I’ve smacked someone rather famous with my bag… RAFAEL NADAL. Christ! I did think it felt rather solid when my bag made contact with this individual. I apologise for my luggage related faux pas; he says it’s okay. Phew. I’m just hoping I’m not affecting his game with my clumsiness… I’d hate to be responsible for a loss on his part because I’m not sure how I’d live that one down (fortunately, it turns out I wasn’t).

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We sit and watch a couple of matches. You can get up and move around from match to match whenever there’s a break, so you can watch as many or as few as you want. Or, if a match isn’t turning out to be super interesting, you can head off and find another one which is more to your taste.

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Not my most flattering angle…

What was interesting, however, was the Uber ride back from the ground. It started as it meant to go on, with our driver pulling up on the wrong side of the road and then proceeding to attempt to reverse back to us (whilst still on the wrong side of the road) with cars behind him beeping furiously. He seemed unperturbed. Our level of embarrassment reached its peak and we leapt in before he could finish this manoeuvre and we headed away. We were travelling at speed (‘home James and don’t spare the horses’ style) bombing it down the main road and up to the roundabout, narrowly avoiding a cyclist. He’s hurtling along, before he realises he’s missed the exit. We screech to a halt on the roundabout and before we know it, he’s attempting to reverse back around the roundabout so he can come off at the right exit, in full view of the police, no less! The police aren’t having any of that and start on the whistle (accompanied by some wild gesticulations) until he gives up and flies forth towards the next exit.

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We’re careering down narrow cobbled streets, thundering along at an exceptional pace considering the circumstances and red lights seem to mean nothing to him. Through we go, without even a mild consideration for the highway code until we meet something we definitely need to stop for: a pedestrian. The brakes are slammed on, we screech to a halt. My organs continue to move forward inside my body. My nerves are shot. Praise Jesus, it isn’t too long until we’re at our destination and I stumble out of the Uber with legs like jelly, unable to stand unaided. Good God. Of course, I still give him a 5-star rating.

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If there be tapas, I be smilin’
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BEAUT

The next day is Sunday and there aren’t any matches on, so we head out for a mooch around Madrid. We have a look in some interesting shops and have a browse around the Museo Nacional del Prado, which is well worth a visit, as there’s a lot in there to look at (plus, some saucy old nudes, which I’m a big fan of). After that we headed over to Parque del Buen Retiro. We had a bit of a chill on the grass there as it was pretty warm at this point. The park was rammed as there was a holiday in Spain, so even finding a space to lay down my jacket to have a snooze on was a bit of a mission, but of course, we managed.

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There’s a lake in the park and you can hire out a rowing boat and pootle around in that for an hour (which I did last time I came to Madrid), but the queue for the boats was so long that it just wasn’t going to be worth waiting for it. But it’s a good laugh if you get to have a go – they’re basically like bathtubs with oars, which are notoriously tricky to control, if you’ve ever tried to row a bathtub.

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Hot stuff

On our way out of the park we stopped for a drink at one of the cafés and I treated myself to a horchata, which is a milk made from sweetened tiger nuts which have been soaked and ground. It usually comes with a load of crushed ice and is such a good drink in the heat – yum. We went out for tapas for dinner at a place called Entre Santos. The food here was great – it has a pretty small menu (but that’s a good sign when it comes to a tapas menu) and the drinks were good too! I had a basil cocktail which I’ve never seen on a menu before, and it came in a little wooden box in a little clear bag, which was super cute and super tasty. It’s better than it sounds, I promise – I’ve made it sound like it was served in an old Tesco’s carrier bag. Definitely would recommend this place.

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On our way back, we somehow managed to get locked out of the apartment… we were stuck on the outside of the main door and try as we might we couldn’t get the key to work in the lock. We were trying every which way to unlock the door, but the key was categorically refusing to turn. Forlorn, and fully against spending the night cuddled up on the doorstep (as it was getting pretty chilly at this point), we ended up having to call the host of our AirBnb and ask for help to get in. As soon as we’d done that, we thought we’d give it one more try, and with a jiggle of the key we were in. So, it turns out, we weren’t stuck out there after all; we’d simply failed to employ any common sense or outside-the-box thinking. Our AirBnb host was most pleased to not have to come and help the idiot English access the building, and I don’t blame her, to be quite frank.

Bonnie

St. Lucia Day 9: the finale

Having been told Soufriere market was worth a look around, we thought we’d head out and spend our last morning in St. Lucia having a mooch about. You’ll remember that we went to Castries on the basis that it was ‘worth a look around’? We should have been much more cynical about this than we were, but we weren’t. So, we went to Soufriere market to have a browse, and low and behold – there was nothing to browse. Sigh. It was really just a tiny market for people in the town and it wasn’t even a market in the recognisable sense of the word. It was mainly just people selling things from the doorsteps of their homes, be it second hand clothes or mysterious bric-a-brac, but ‘people selling stuff they no longer want from the doorstep’ is a bit of a mouthful in comparison to ‘market’, so I can see why they went with it.

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Soufriere from above

Other than that, there was a slightly more bustling area of market, where fish were being sold out of a wheel barrow and you took home your decapitated fish in a bin liner… each to their own, I guess. Perhaps you’d call that character? Personally, I’d just call it horrifying, but it depends on your opinion on wheelbarrow/ bin liner fish. Perhaps our opinions on those differ?

We began our drive back to the airport and with a bit of time to kill, stopped off at the Choiseul Art Gallery on our way. They have loads of different things there, from baskets woven by local people, to earrings made out of sea plastic, pots and ceramics made there on the island, to paintings and drawings done by the owner herself. They are a husband and wife team – he spends his time turning interesting materials in to jewellery-worthy states and she crafts, creates and paints, ending up with some completely different pieces of art that are quite unlike other bits and pieces I’ve seen.

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Final view from the hotel

She took us on a tour of the place when we arrived (once we had been greeted by their friendly dog Rock, and a couple of not so friendly dogs) and she took time explaining how everything was made, about the people who were making it and the materials they were using. One of the materials she’s using is the hard shell of the calabash, which is a big, round gourd type thing. Everyone we had spoken to who had mentioned the calabash, had been quite vociferous about how horrible it was to eat, and how they did their best to avoid it at all costs. She asked us what we knew about the calabash, clearly knowing that this would be the only thing we knew about it. In full knowledge that I was being set up, but with very little I could do about it, I told her that we know it isn’t very nice to eat.

A gleeful look in her eye told me she was primed and ready to inform me otherwise (I can only assume this is how she gets her kicks). Looking very pleased with herself, she told me that it was in fact, edible (not that I’d said that it wasn’t, being well aware of the game that was afoot). According to her, you could live off of it on a desert island, which is hardly a ringing endorsement, considering that you would literally eat anything half-edible if you were stranded on a desert island, would you not? With an awkward smile and a nod from me, she took this as further encouragement to sing the praises of the calabash. I’m wondering where we are about to go with this. Is she about to tell me that the Queen ate a slice of calabash and deemed it edible? Is she about to tell me that Prince Charles at a slice of calabash and deemed it edible, because that certainly would not hint toward edibility in my eyes. No, no, it wasn’t the Royal Family she used as advocacy for the calabash, oh no. it was none other than her dogs. Her dogs had been eating the calabash for years and they were still alive… this is how she tried to sell this idea to us! Well, this certainly explains why those dogs looked so angry…

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Not my calabash pic

Nearing the airport, we need to fill up the car, following the directions to the nearest fuel station, we promptly take a wrong turning and end up on the business side of the airport in front of a police officer. We stop to ask her the way to the fuel station (turns out you can literally see it from where we were) and she very kindly gives us directions – such a nice lady! We turn the car around to leave and my companion here, attempting to indicate to pull back out onto the road, instead turns on all of the windscreen wipers, starts spraying the windscreen, causing the windscreen wiper to emit an almighty squeal against the window, as it was so dry. The poor police officer is standing behind us having been spritzed with the windscreen wash, looking rather quizzical and I’m now laughing hysterically, practically in the footwell having lost all control of myself. I still cannot think about this without laughing, it just sets me off, the look on that poor woman’s face as we drove away.

We’re on the plane, getting seated and it comes to light that I’m seated next to the longest man in the world. He’s more legs and arms than I have ever seen. It feels like all of his limbs are on my side, I no longer have any armrest because his stupidly lengthy arm has commandeered the entire thing and his knee is protruding half way across my seating area. Fortunately, I’m not that tall, but I’m still not appreciating having half the space I am supposed to be provided with. I give him secret evils through the back of my head. I’m after a sip of water, so I take a glug of water before my companion promptly makes me laugh, causing water to come pouring out of my mouth, only to be sprayed all over him. The longest man in the world was not amused, watching from his vantage point of my seat.

The flight was generally uneventful, apart from the member of cabin crew who looked incredibly uncomfortable for the entire flight – I can only assume he was terribly constipated, based on the face he was making. On one hand, I’m happy to be going home because I like being at home, but on the other hand, I’m sad to be leaving, because I’ve had such an epic time, it’s been so eventful and I’m going to miss it when I get back, but I think that has a lot to do with the company and much less to do with the place, coupled with the fact that I do seem to be quite eventful.

Bonnie

Fave pics from the holiday:

St. Lucia Day 7: low-flying bananas

Today we check out of Sugar Beach resort, leaving behind any chance of meeting and befriending The Cloon. We didn’t make much use of our 24-hour butler service, but I’m going to miss Dwight The Butler very much. It was nice to have the option of not having to do anything yourself, ya know? If I’d wanted to, I could have called “Dwight Dwight Dwight” and had him come and run me a bath, had I been so inclined, or called him to come and rescue me from that wall I got stuck on the other day, or even to climb the wall for me. But I didn’t, mainly just because I feel awkward about getting people to do things for me that I can defs do myself… where do you look when they’re doing these things for you? If someone’s running a bath for you, do you just sit there on your phone, not making eye contact? Because that seems rude? Or do you engage them in conversation whilst they’re running your bath for you? Will they get annoyed because you’re interrupting their work? Who knows?

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A couple of evenings ago I got myself in to a situation with the other butler (not Dwight). She’d come to do something inside – no idea what it was, I think it may have been to turn down the bed. Anyway, she was inside, we were outside on the balcony, and I was discussing with my companion how awful it must be if you get people staying here who are madly racist and make racist comments. She let us know she was leaving and I, still making my point about the fictitious wild racists, continue proving my point, by verbalising racist comments that a racist may make, just as she was exiting our place downstairs. Great timing! Now, it has been recently drawn to my attention that I can be quite a loud person (this came as a huge shock to me as I’ve never identified as a loud person) and I’m still not 100% convinced of the truth of this, but everyone else I’ve subsequently spoken to has agreed that I can, on the odd occasion, be a tad on the loud side. So, that means she definitely heard me. And that means she definitely thinks I’m wildly racist.

We’re going to the capital city of St. Lucia today – Castries. Apparently, there is a market there and a few bits to do, so we hop in the car. We’re in a Suzuki Jimny which doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of the steep and winding roads of St. Lucia (either that or its the driver who isn’t a big fan). Either way, there were some points where I think we could’ve been easily out-paced by a tortoise, as we were juddering up the hill, violently jerking between first and second gear, the engine whining constantly in protest (which I don’t blame it for at all, as I’d have been exactly the same, in fact I probably was).

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We’ve noticed that if you know someone in St. Lucia, when you pass them in the car, you give them a little toot of the horn and a wave, so we decide to do a little experiment. Our aim is to find out whether people just wave when they hear the horn toot, assuming they know the tooter and the tooter knows the tootee, or, whether they actually recognise who is tooting and will only wave if the tootee knows the tooter. You get me?

We give it a try and the first attempt falls flat on its face – we drive past someone, realise we have our first opportunity, scrabble for a toot on the horn and make precisely no sound. There is no toot. Okay, we’ll put that one down to experience. Our next opportunity arises; we pass a woman walking up the hill and give her what we think is going to be a toot. It is, in fact, a loud blast of the horn. I think we over-compensated on account of our last failed attempt and instead managed to give the poor woman a heart attack. Attempt two ends in failure. It’s time for round three. Attempt three is the one for us, we can feel it. We pass a guy on the side of the road, execute what can only be referred to as the ‘perfect St. Lucian toot’, we wait, expectant of the turn and wave from the man. We get nothing. NOTHING. Wow. Well, it seems as if the tooter and tootee do need to know one another. Interesting.

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We eventually make it to Castries after what seems like an absolute eternity. It takes an oddly long time to get there, I will say that much. I’ll be honest with you, because I’m clearly not here to rose-tint my holidays; Castries was not worth the drive. As much as I would have loved it to be, it really wasn’t. There wasn’t much there, the market was full of souvenirs (and a particularly amusing set of ‘Bob Marly’ merch), there wasn’t much to look at and there seemed to be a lot of homeless people. We tried our best, but there just wasn’t anything going on there, unless we missed the great attractions of Castries… but I don’t think we did.

On the way back we stopped at Marigot Bay – supposedly one of the beauty spots of St. Lucia. Again, I felt it left something to be desired. It was essentially a bay populated by stonkingly rich people with yachts. Yachts so posh, that the fenders had little jackets on to keep them looking smart. Yes, it was pretty, but it wasn’t THAT pretty, and I fail to understand why it is rated quite so highly. We are on our way out of the Marigot Bay area when we come across a man selling fruit – we are getting peckish at this point, so we think we will grab some bananas. A couple of bunches of fairly battered looking bananas greet us – suspiciously battered bananas. But what have we got to lose? I’m convinced that they’ve been stolen from the neighbouring banana plantation, but you have to do something to make a living and I’m happy to reward resourcefulness.

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Marigot Bay

These are HANDS DOWN THE BEST BANANAS I HAVE EVER EATEN. They were SO good. So sweet, so ripe, so yummy. YASSS! There’s nothing worse than the smell of sweating banana skin in the car, so as we pass a bit of rainforest, I chuck my banana skins out of the window and in to the greenery. The driver thinks this is an excellent game to play and insists on me winding up the window most of the way, as he’s 100% sure he can get his out of this small crack of window. I on the other hand, am 100% sure he will not be able to get his out of this small crack of window. He winds up for the throw, keeping one eye and one hand on the wheel. I see the banana skin come sailing by, almost as if in slow motion. I turn to watch it as it hits the inside of the window, rebounds and promptly smacks me in the face. This was quickly responded to with booming laughter from the driver’s seat, as the banana skin slides off my face and into my lap. I just took a banana skin to the face. A BANANA SKIN TO THE FACE. Am I actually a character in a cartoon and I just don’t know about it?????

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We arrive at our final hotel – Ladera resort. Ladera is situated between the two pitons, with a great view between the two. Our room is open to the elements, so we’re never without the amazing view. We have our very own pool, complete with a very Instagrammable swing chair and we’re greeted with a bottle of bubbles on arrival. It didn’t take me long to polish this off and start swimming tipsy circuits around the pool. I had to do something to help me recover from the banana skin to the face.

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Bonnie

St. Lucia Day 6: wet Wednesday

Last night we attended the manager’s cocktails on the veranda at the hotel. You essentially meet the main members of staff at the hotel, from the manager (obvs) to the head of hospitality etc etc. The one who particularly caught our eye, was the sommelier. Reason being, was that we were attempting to figure out his nationality based entirely on the way he looked and miserably failing, that and the fact he was clearly trying to breathe in so he looked thinner, but kept letting his tummy go when he thought no one was watching. It was impossible – he definitely didn’t look French and that would be WAY too obvious, considering his job, but where could he be from? There are so many other wine nations. In the end, we reduced ourselves to checking the hotel website for his name and then stalking him on LinkedIn (low, I know).

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Double parked hun?

We eventually settled on him being either South African or Argentinian. Our research informed us that he’d attended multiple wine schools in France, but we simply put this down to the best wine schools being there, so he probably travelled to learn, right? We also found out that he went to Uni in Lyon, but again, he was probably an expat kid (on account of him either being Argentinian or South African) so that made sense. He just can’t be French, because he doesn’t look French. The French have a certain look about them, don’t they? You know what I mean – you always know when someone is French before you speak to them. He came over to speak to us. It was time to find out whether it was South Africa or Argentina. Well, turns out he was French. Who saw that coming?!

There’s another waterfall just down the road from the Sugar Beach resort, called the Piton Falls. It has hot baths where you can relax, listening to the sound of the waterfall and it’s quiet and peaceful. It took us about six attempts to get there, which was less relaxing and peaceful – each time we left the hotel, we realised we’d forgotten something else. The guy manning the gate clearly thought we were a pair of complete loons. It got so awkward as well, because each time you go back through the gate you feel like you have to justify why you’re going back in and make some kind of amusing light-hearted joke about having forgotten your wallet, or your swimsuit, or your towel… it got to the point where we no longer had anything to say to the man on the gate, and just resorted to hanging our heads in shame and avoiding eye contact – this is the appropriately British thing to do, once all banter has been exhausted.

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It’s fashion, look it up

Back at the resort, it’s beach time. We’ve kind of had enough of chilling on the beach, so we opt for an activity – namely, the banana boat. Now, I haven’t been on one of these in years and this is essentially an inflatable sofa being towed around at high speed, attached by a piece of string, to the back of a speed boat. We get on without too much trouble (this is usually where I literally and figuratively fall down) and we are away, only after having signed a form saying the resort isn’t liable if we drown or get our heads cut by the propeller. It’s all good at first, we’re merrily bobbing along, making our way to open water and nothing too dramatic is happening – I’m feeling a bit nervy, but I think anyone would be in this situation, don’t you?

So chill

We’re speeding up. We’re whizzing across the waves at high speed, and then I see the turn coming – the boat has turned right but the inflatable sofa hasn’t caught on to that yet, so we are swinging wildly out to the left, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH – the scream has come out and I can’t stop it now, I’ve broken the seal. Each time we swing out to the side and get whipped back in, I am screaming, SCREAMING at the top of my lungs like nothing you’ve ever heard before – like a banshee on steroids. Apparently this is all too funny and my companion is falling about laughing (as much as you can fall about on an inflatable sofa). I can’t even hear his guffaws over my screaming, but I can see the belly laughs happening. I want to say something to him, tell him to shut up, but each time I open my mouth to speak, a shriek just comes out. The guy driving the boat is looking back at us, clearly concerned there is something wrong with me (which there is) and attempting to decipher whether he should be stopping or continuing.

By now, the laughter has infected me and I’m exhibiting an impressive combination of laughing uproariously until we swing out, then seamlessly slipping into a long, drawn out scream as we head off in the opposite direction to the boat. We’re now at the point where I’ve been laughing, screaming and bumping over waves for such a long time, that I’m desperate for a wee. Each time I scream it makes me laugh and each time I laugh it’s making me need to wee – we’re hurtling over waves, getting splashed left right and centre. I’m laughing so much that I can no longer see and I can’t say for sure whether the water on the inflatable sofa is sea spray or wee. I have no control over myself. None. After 10 whole minutes of screaming, laughing and (maybe) weeing, we are back on dry land. My tummy hurts from laughing so much and I can barely walk in a straight line. I am drunk on laughter.

The rest of the day seems to continue in a similar fashion. We’re chilling in our plunge pool with some music on and I’ve treated myself to a Piton beer (super lady-like). I’m looking at the wall next to the plunge pool and I’m pretty sure that it’s possible to climb on to the wall, run along it and scoot up the incline, onto the railings and over on to our balcony (I’ve had a few drinks at this point). I decide that we simply must try, so I set about scrambling on to the wall from the pool. I can’t imagine what this looked like from behind, other than a giant sausage with arms and legs, trying to heave itself up an on to what was a surprisingly high wall, with absolutely no grace whatsoever. I eventually flop on to the wall, where I realise how high up the balcony is, how steep the incline is on this bit of wall and how smooth it is.

Such a lady

Try as I might, this is not happening – there is no way I’m managing to clamber up this bit of wall and leap over on to our balcony – the wall is soaking wet from the pool water, it’s too slippery and I can’t get any purchase… someone else seems to manage this with complete ease, however and I’m left, crouched on the wall. It’s at this point I realise that I can’t get down either. It’s too far to jump and I can’t climb down either, as my feet are nowhere near the floor if I hang over the edge. HELP! Because I’ve had a few drinks, I start to find this pretty amusing, and soon enough I’m laughing to myself, crouched on the wall alone, soaking wet from the pool. I’ve laughed so much now, that I need a wee again and I’m very much struggling to hold it in, in my current position – crouched on a high wall, in fits of laughter, whilst feeling nervous about never being able to get down and dying on top of this wall.

My companion offers to lift me down, which I abjectly refuse to go along with because A) I don’t want him to have any idea how heavy I am, B) I’m not actually sure if he’s going to be able to lift me down, and I really don’t want to hear him grunt as he takes me weight (because that would be terribly upsetting would most definitely ruin my day) and C) I’m a bit tipsy and I don’t want to fall on him and squash him. After refusing for what was probably around 30 minutes, I’m eventually persuaded that I won’t flatten him into a pancake and I awkwardly half fall/ half jump on to him, clinging to him like one of those little koalas you used to get attached to the pull-cords of lights back in the day. Always glamorous.

Bonnie  

St. Lucia Day 5: the high-light of the holiday

Today we leave Anse Chastanet resort and move on. I’ve enjoyed staying here a lot – it’s fun, it’s vibrant and it’s lively. There’s been music each night to entertain the guests (some of it particularly entertaining – renditions of the Bee Gees with a St. Lucian accent are certainly interesting). The beach is great, and you can walk over to another beach as well, if you get tired of the main one. It has a really chilled and relaxed vibe to it, it’s got a traditional feel to it, which is something I really like, and it has plenty of character. I would defs recommend staying here.

We’re leaving the resort and we have a car to take us back to the car park, the guy taking us back greets us with a “hi guys” and helps us put our stuff in the back. Now, I’ll admit I’ve played that description mad cool, because his “hi guys” was squeaked in literally the highest voice I have ever heard in my entire life. So high, in fact, that I’m surprised it hasn’t resulted in the dogs of St. Lucia following him around like he was the Pied Piper, because it was THAT high. What made this even more shocking/ unexpected/ hilarious/ incredible, was that the voice categorically did not match the owner of said voice. This guy was so tall and plenty broad making the amusingly high voice even more amusing. He’s now affectionately known to us as Long Marv and he’s quite impossible to forget – it just seemed to defy all logic and biology.

As we are heading along in the car, he’s diving deeper and deeper in to conversation with us and it’s becoming quite impossible for me not to giggle. A couple of sideways glances at one another, a stifled smirk and me furiously pressing my lips together in a bid not to allow my laughter to escape (resulting only in me emitting a Mutley-esque noise) and I cannot cope. Yes, I know you shouldn’t laugh. But I cannot cope in these situations – there is no way on earth (without quite exhausting human effort) that I can keep my lols inside me – and you all know that as soon as you try to stop laughing, it becomes progressively more impossible until you actually explode. I was trying my absolute best not to laugh but that all went to pot when we went over a bumpy bit and his voice cracked, sending it EVEN HIGHER. I was weak by the end of it. I was hysterical for the next hour. It made my life, no word of a lie.

The Cloon’s room? Maybe?

We make our way over to the next place we are staying: Sugar Beach resort (which I insisted on calling ‘Palm Beach’ or ‘Palm Springs’ for the entirety of our stay). Sugar Beach is supposedly The Cloon’s resort of preference in St. Lucia, so I am expecting a Nespresso machine at least. We arrive and are greeted with a cooling lavender towel – a cooling lavender towel is actually cooling, whereas a cooling mint towel is really not cooling and actually burns your sinuses out – so that made for a change. It felt very calm here and we had our very own butler (Dwight) to show us to our room, taking us past some cool art, through the door to our very own plunge pool and into what I would definitely call a villa, not even close to being a hotel room. By the way, there was a Nespresso machine, of course – called it.

Room with a view… and a plunge pool

We decided we would head to the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens for a mooch around as they looked pretty and there’s a waterfall there. As we arrived we were accosted by a man selling beaded necklaces in the car park; he was clearly very keen on us making a purchase right there and then, because he wanted to get home, so he could go and watch the cricket… so a couple of minutes later, armed with a necklace made from beads that we really didn’t need, we head in to the gardens, fairly sure that the car wasn’t going to get broken into or stolen.

Werk it gurl

There were lots of cool flowers and plants there, but to be honest, plant pics make me feel a bit uncomfortable when I look at them – they feel way to specific and detailed to make for comfortable viewing. The waterfall left something to be desired considering we’d been able to go under the waterfall the other day, but it’s still worth a look.

There’s also a sweet little Japanese bridge which is perfect for a pic or two and there are lots of hummingbirds buzzing around – which are nigh on impossible to get a good picture of because they are literally the fastest things in the world and they NEVER STOP MOVING. I did, however, manage to get a pretty epic pic of one chilling on a stalk, and when I say ‘epic’ I just mean in focus and not ridiculously blurry.

As you may, or may not know (and if not, then I don’t blame you) St. Lucia has a volcano – the Sulphur Springs volcano and it’s the ‘world’s only drive in volcano’… apparently. I’m not too sure why it’s known as this, seeing as all you can actually do is drive up to a parking spot on the volcano, you don’t actually get to drive inside an actual bit of volcano, so I feel this is somewhat misleading.

Let me tell you something, it’s known as ‘Sulphur Springs’ for a very good reason, on account of it smelling like rotten eggs, very strongly. Despite the strong smell of an egg sandwich, one you’ve had it sitting in your lunch box all day, ya know? Before finally opening it (having been getting progressively warmer throughout the day) and you get that strong whiff of pungent egg. Despite that, it’s a pretty neat place. You used to be able to walk on the crust of the volcano, until a tour guide named Gabriel (ironically) jumped up and down on the crust to prove its strength, and swiftly disproved his point by falling through a hole and burning himself up to his waist. Now, understandably, you have to view the volcano from a viewing platform, which is a shame, but I would much rather not have a singed bottom half. They did name the hole after him though, so silver linings and all that.

Once we had our fill of the eggy smell, we thought we would take advantage of the mud baths, which supposedly have medicinal properties (I’ll be honest and tell you that our main attraction was painting one another in mud and swimming around in the baths like muddy ducks). We don our cozzies and head to the mud. We set about daubing one another in the good stuff, going straight for the face, so we look like we are part of some kind of racist comedy.

I’m a child, and I can’t help myself, so I draw a penis on my companions back (because why wouldn’t you? It would genuinely almost be rude not to). He has no idea, so he’s merrily going about his mud bath experience with a phallus on his back. A few dirty looks get thrown his way, as do some amused glances. I can barely contain myself and I have to expend a huge amount of effort holding in my laughs along with my intense desire to blurt it out. I manage to hold it in until the last moment, when I can no longer contain my amusement and I tell him about his back penis amid gales of laughter.

Remember when I said we got sunburnt? So, it turns out, if you apply mud to a sunburnt back, it becomes pretty adherent. To the point where we had been through 4 separate baths and it was still standing firm, as it were. The only way to rid oneself of a back penis in this situation, is to give it a good scrub. However, given the fact that one is exceptionally sunburnt, as you can imagine, scrubbing is a tad on the painful side. I did my best to rid him of the back penis, but my scrubbing was only tolerated for so long. It really did stick there. For ages. Days in fact.

Bonnie

St Lucia Day 4: it’s alright once you’re in

Today is the day we go whale watching (we went with Mystic Man Ocean Adventures) – I’m now no longer allowed to set the alarm, so we get up and away without any hassle whatsoever, which is fine, but distinctly less fun, don’t you think? We head down to the boat and wait around for the guy to come and pick us up, forgetting that everything is on Caribbean time here, in the Caribbean, meaning that 9.30 doesn’t really mean 9.30, it actually means “when I get there, somewhere in the realms of 9.30, because there’s no rush”. We eventually leave, having had to make awkward conversation with some Canadian people in hats, and when I say ‘hat’, I don’t mean like a cap to keep the sun off of your face, I mean like a proper brimmed hat; the kind you would use if you were a horse rancher, which I don’t think either of them were… but Canadians.

We pop on to the boat and head around to the next bit of cove, where we jump on a catamaran with a bunch of other people (I think we are the only culture who pops and jumps anywhere). There’s quite a few of us on there, so we opt to go and sit on the nets at the front of the boat. We think this will make an excellent vantage point (which it did, and I could tell everyone wanted to be sitting where we were sitting, but “you snooze, you lose” in my opinion) but we fail to consider the fact that: A) there is nothing to lean against, so we had to engage the abs the entire boat ride (or in my case, just roll around each time we hit a big wave and then struggle back up) and B) nets have holes in them, holes let things through, boats go on water, meaning bottoms get wet.

I managed to avoid the worst of the splash, probably only because I was rolling around like an empty Coke can in the breeze each time we went over a wave, in comparison to my companion who has distinctly better core than I do, who managed to stay in place, getting decidedly soaked.

We were on the lookout the entire time for whales (we both love whales and any chance to see them we will be taking it) unfortunately we didn’t see any whales (wah) but we did see dolphins! All the dolphins in fact; we saw spinner dolphins and common dolphins and there were absolutely loads of them – the whole family had come out to play. The guy doing the tour estimated that there were about 100 dolphins around us!

They were leaping out of the water, circling around the boat and swimming right underneath us. They were splashing around and playing, doing somersaults and all sorts – it was like the dolphin gymnastics! Some of the height these guys got was incredible, if you’d spun around at the right moment you would have sworn you’d just seen a flying dolphin. The spinner dolphins are the ones doing all the acrobatics and the pan-tropical dolphins are the ones who are mooching along more sensibly.

The rare hover dolphin

Once we were back on dry land again, it was time to head up to Jade Mountain hotel, which is just behind the one we were staying in (Anse Chastanet) and owned by the same guy (I’ll come on to him later – not physically of course – perhaps in a later post, as I don’t feel that a few sentences about this will do him and the situation any justice). We went for lunch in their restaurant which has a view over the pitons across the water. It would have been lovely up there if it wasn’t a complete wind trap. Each time you put something down on the table, it slowly started making its way across, before catching a gust and plunging to the floor. My sunglasses, napkin and menu all suffered the same fate. The loo was also really nice here, if you are interested (which I am), because nothing beats a good loo and it’s not at all weird that I’ve included a photo of it.

The food was good, but I have to say, the service felt a little uncomfortable. It was all very quiet and I felt as if I had to be on my best behaviour, which soon slipped, but nonetheless… we got asked about 8 times whether our food was okay, and it got to the point where we were replying to questions more than we were eating.

After that, we asked if there was a room available for us to look at – the architecture here is supposed to be really cool (it looked a bit communist for my liking… so many pillars… but each to their own). The rooms at the front are open to the elements and we were shown a room which had two out of the usual four walls. We asked what you would do if there was a hurricane, seeing as you are missing half your walls and there is no way to block said hurricane, and were told that you should hide in the bath… there weren’t two baths, so I only assume that one of you had to sacrifice yourself to the wind.

Excuse the terrible hair

I’m on board with interesting architecture (despite the hotel looking a tad like a fit-flop if you go for the aerial view) and making the most of the view you have and all that jazz, but I do feel somewhat as if missing half of your room is a bit much, especially seeing as you have paid an extortionate amount of money for this room, only to be provided with a mere fraction of it. But maybe that’s just me.

What else is there to do in the afternoon in St. Lucia than spend it on the beach? So, down we head. We are sitting there chilling, managing not to steal anyone’s water,  chatting our usual rubbish and making an extra-ordinary amount of noise laughing, when a guy spots us and comes over on his way down to the water. He asks us if we have been for a swim yet and we tell him that we’ve been snorkelling a couple of times and where the best spots we’ve found are. He asks if we are going to come in to the water, “we might in a bit” we reply, and away he goes, donning his inflatable life jacket on his way – this was entirely amusing, but 100% expected if you’d have met this guy – he was super cute and super, super camp.

Anyway, he’s plunging into the water and messing about with his other half (also super cute) and they are yelping and shouting and having an all-round great time, before looking back at us where we are sat on our sun-loungers and exclaiming “it’s alright once you’re in”. I mean, have you even been on holiday if someone doesn’t say that? I think not. This phrase is literally the most ridiculous thing you can say to anyone about the water, but we still all insist on saying it to everyone when we are in the water and they are thinking about it. I swear to God that someone would plunge into the icy waters of the Arctic, be in the throes of contracting hypothermia and still proclaim that it’s “alright once you’re in”, simply because we, as British people, cannot help ourselves.

Bonnie

St. Lucia Day 2: source of the mysterious rustling noise

So, day 2 is the first proper day that we have in St. Lucia and needless to say we achieved literally zero. I woke up annoyingly early, so I sat in bed and read my book for a bit – I had planned to rinse through it on the plane, but I got distracted, got to talking and read approximately one sentence of it during the 9-hour flight. So, I finally get to reading my book (something about something political in Nigeria… Maybe?) and I’m ploughing through the paragraphs quite merrily until I hear a rustling nearby. I think it might be my roomie stirring, so I dive back into the political hemispheres of maybe-Nigeria and get back to my read.

And then there’s that rustling again… I’ve got my meerkat on and I’m searching around the room for the source of the mysterious rustling noise, but I can’t see anything that looks even remotely like it might be making a sound. So, back to what I think is possibly politics in I’m-not-too-sure-if-it-was-Nigeria. AND THEN THERE’S THE RUSTLING SOUND AGAIN! I’m up and out of bed now, having wrestled with the mosquito net, getting my foot stuck in it and nearly hanging myself in the swathes of fabric, I’m scouring the room for the source of the mysterious rustling noise.

Needless to say, I find absolutely zilch and come to the conclusion that whatever it was, probably got frightened away as I was doing 10 rounds with the mosquito net. Back in bed, reading about what may no longer be about politics in perhaps-but-I-don’t-remember-now-anyway-but-might-be-Nigeria. Rustle-rustle, rustle-rustle. What the heck is this?! I’m just going to ignore it. I don’t even care anyway. It can’t be anything sinister. Rustle-rustle, rustle-rustle. Oh my life, this is so annoying, what on earth can it… CHRIST – BIRD!!!!! Not going to lie, I nearly shat myself in bed. My heart was SLAMMING and I got a proper jitter on. A little bird had made its way into the room and was mooching about looking for something to eat – the source of the mysterious rustling noise! Who knew a miniature bird could cause SUCH drama.

Little shite…

We officially decided we would have a lazy day (not that it was ever really in question) and we headed down to the beach. Many steps later we arrive on the burning hot sand and find ourselves a couple of sun loungers. We are soon greeted by an attendant who says ‘can I set you up’. I have literally no idea what this means, because as far as I am aware, getting ‘set up’ means either you are getting the blame for some sort of criminal enterprise or you are being forced to go on a horrendous blind date with one of your friend’s colleagues who they assure you ‘isn’t that bad looking’. Anyway, it turns out that ‘set you up’ actually meant sort you out with towels and the like, which was of course, fine, but somewhat less interesting than being blamed for a crime you didn’t commit.

Bird for breakfast anyone?

We’re lounging on the beach chatting our general shit and probably annoying everyone around us with our general loudness, when we decide that it would be remiss of us not to go snorkelling on such a nice day. The sun is shining, the sea is shimmering and the snorkel awaits. Equipped with our snorkels and flippers, we head to the water to see some under-sea scenery. I’d forgotten how impossibly hard it is to put flippers on when you are tasked with doing so on the sand, getting sloshed by waves and generally have pretty limited balance.

The real fight, however, begins when you have your flippers on and then have to walk further into the sea. This, it has to be said, is literally an impossible task. This cannot be done effectively and it cannot be done gracefully – there are no two ways about it. Tottering from side to side and spending an extraordinary amount of time with my legs splayed like Bambi, trying to regain control of my flippered feet, I made it in, relatively unscathed (though I couldn’t say the same for anyone watching – I imagine they came of plenty scathed).

We flopped about in the sea for a while, chasing after fish with particularly limited success (it’s almost like they can see you coming) and I’m almost pretty sure I saw the arse end of a turtle! It turns out that after taking on much sea water through the top of my snorkel, we’d been splashing about for more than an hour, so the snork back was pretty arduous and my ankles were feeling the arduousness.

Having worked up quite the thirst, we head to the bar for a bite to eat and something to drink. I forget what we had, but it was definitely nice. Having secured ourselves a bottle of water in preparation for the rest of the afternoon on the beach, I nip to the loo quick. I go about my business and return, water in hand, ready for the beach, only to find that there is already a bottle of water on our table… What? How has that happened? How are there now two bottles of water?????? It turns out that I managed to steal someone else’s bottle of water from the loo after they had left. I stole. Someone else’s. TOILET WATER. Obviously this was uproariously funny, resulting in it being brought up continuously for the rest of the day/ rest of the holiday/ rest of my life, never to be let go. Each time we walked past a table with a drink on it, I was firmly warned not to go stealing other people’s liquid refreshment. HAR HAR HAR.

I maintain that it was an easy mistake to make and that it was quite simple to accidentally exit the loo with a drink which didn’t belong to you, but apparently that isn’t the case.

Photo credit to someone who managed to clear the beach better than I did

After an afternoon spent on the beach, interspersed with laughing attacks related to the water stealing saga, back to the room we go for a sluice off and a change of clothes before dinner, where we both realise we are ridiculously burnt from our snorkelling. Our backs are quite literally bright red – we are human lobsters. Lobsters, in fact, are possibly less red. The front of me was white and the back of me was red; I looked like a Swizzels drumstick. What horror has befallen us! I’m sure we put on practically a whole bottle of sun-cream, but clearly it was not enough – this is skin cancer central. Wah. Dinner was interesting… you soon realise how often your back comes into use when it feels like the top layer of the skin is being scraped off each time you lean on it.

Bonnie

St. Lucia, Day 1: fire towels

There’s nothing like a holiday to get you back on the blog post hype, right? I’ve been silent, I know, and I’m sorry… kind of. Like, I’m going to apologise for it because that’s what you’re supposed to do and all that, but I’m not even really sure why we bother to do it. Life happens or you just don’t feel like writing anything, or you literally just forget that your blog even exists until you get that reminder from WordPress about making a payment to renew your domain. All I’m saying, is that I don’t feel like anyone really cares for the apology, ya know? So, I’ll say soz, but I’m not even sure I mean it, or that you really want me to say it.

Anyway, so I went on holiday and I wanted to tell you about it. I went to St Lucia which isn’t a place I had even remotely considered going, but when the offer came up, I thought ‘why on earth not’, because you might as well go to these places, even if you don’t actually have any idea where they are or what there is to do there, or even why you might want to go there at all. So off I went. Off I went at the crack of dawn.

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View from the hotel

I had to get up before the birds had even started to sing (it was THAT early) and lugging your suitcase down 2 flights of stairs is not the one at any point of the day, let alone at daybreak. After clanging my way down the stairs with a suitcase which was 100% at least twice as heavy as when I had packed it the night before, I was in my Uber away to the airport. I was incredibly pleased to hear the camp-as-you-like voice of Steve Allen wafting towards me from the LBC breakfast show. In case you weren’t aware (which you most definitely won’t be, on account of me never having told you) I am a huge Steve Allen fan and it causes me great pain that his show is on unfortunately early in the morning, meaning I rarely get to listen to him on the radio, unless I want to be rising with the morning sun (which I really do not).

We’re making haste in the Uber when I begin to develop a rather unfortunate-feeling tummy ache, and by ‘unfortunate-feeling’ I mean that I feel as if my bum hole is about to explosively disconnect itself from the rest of my body. I shouldn’t have eaten those 20 chillies with my lunch yesterday, but I did, so there. We’re trotting along the motorway at a fair clip now, which would be fine, if the Uber driver didn’t keep getting perilously close to the van in front of us, then braking hard and swerving to avoid the impending collision. It would literally have been easier to drive inside the back of the van and ponce a lift all the way there. I don’t know if he was trying to slipstream or what, but it would have been much better for my explodey-bum-hole situation if he wasn’t doing whatever he was trying to do.

We landed in St Lucia a while later. Oh, and when I say ‘we’, I don’t mean myself and the Uber driver, in case you were worrying. I went on holiday with someone I actually know, I didn’t just strike up an incredible and intense relationship with my Uber man and whisk him away to a Caribbean island. I do however accept that something like that happening is always a possibility and I would never put it past myself – the feelings between a girl and her 5-star Uber driver are not something to be sniffed at.

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A moodier view from the hotel

We arrive at the airport and set about procuring our hire car, which takes an exceptionally long time and is mainly down to the fact that there were so many people trying to help at the car rental desk, that they actually began to hinder one another’s progress. To the point where I think that there were actually 2 of them working at one computer. But we make it out of the airport unscathed, if a little sweaty, and begin to make our way to the hotel. I’m very excited by this point, not about the fact that I am on holiday as such, but mainly due to the density of goats (hands down best farm animal and I will accept no argument) on the street AND the fact that there are actual real life bananas growing by the side of the road. Did you hear me? REAL LIFE BANANAS!

We make it to the hotel in one piece, but only just. The fancy-ass hotel we are going to is down a road which I can only describe to you as being the most ridiculous (not fancy-ass) road I have ever had the misfortune to travel along in my entire life. This road (if you could even call it that) is the lumpiest and bumpiest thing I have ever experienced. It was so ridiculous that it caused uncontrollable laughter to be expelled from my face. It was so ridiculous that at one point, I think I actually got hit in the face with my own boob, and I’m not even over-exaggerating. There is no lower point in life, than the point where you get pelted in the face by your own chest appendages. I don’t know how the physics of the earth managed it, because this should definitely be a thing which is physically impossible (like licking your own elbow, or doing the splits) but I can only assume that I am some sort of exception to the rule… You might even say I was the 8thwonder of the world, but obviously I will leave that for you to decide.

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Such a cute room

We arrive at the Anse Chastanet hotel in Soufriere (after a complete boob bashing) and we are greeted with a ‘cooling’ peppermint towel. I don’t know if any of you have applied peppermint directly to your face, but it’s not an experience I would describe as particularly ‘cooling’. In fact, it was rather fierce and much like setting fire to a Polo mint and then shoving it up your nose; that’s the kind of experience we are talking about here. My face was burning, my nose was burning, my throat was burning, and I even think my lungs were burning. My very existence was burning. I wouldn’t have been surprised if smoke started billowing out of my arse, resulting in my becoming the muse for the next How to Train Your Dragon film.

Bonnie