Friday, 26 September 2014

Tobago

I returned home from Tobago two weeks ago and it still feels like a distant memory. It was my first time going to the Caribbean and I LOVED it.

I have never been to a place with blue waters and white sands. It was just idyllic to relax in. Tobago itself is such a lush country. It is green everywhere, not at all built up and the people are so kind. 

One of my favourite days was going snorkelling in the waters at Crowne Point. They have the Caribbean's largest coral reef there so it was so good to see it.

So pretty!

Our hotel was pretty basic. When choosing holidays I don't really feel the need to splash out on a hotel room since I hardly spend any time there. However, the hotel did the most amazing cocktails!

This was Pigeon Point beach. It was so picturesque! We were so lucky with the weather. It reached 35 degrees most days.

This was Nylon pool in the Caribbean sea. It is a place where 4 different currents meet in the middle. It forms like a little whirlpool at night and during the day it becomes 'No Mans Land'. This is where it forms a big sandy mound in the middle of the sea. It was so neat (and bizarre!) to just stand in the middle of the ocean!

I found the locals to be really friendly. We went to an event called The Sunday School Trip - it is a party in Buccoo and the locals invite the tourists to come along. They play steel drums, dance and have bbq's on the street. It was nice to take part in something local! We were only there for a week so we tried to do as much as we can but the main aim of the holiday was to relax, read and have some me time. If I was to return to Tobago I would try and visit the Atlantic side as we heard it is very different and it also has the rain forests that side too. Since going to the Caribbean I now have a huge desire to see more of the islands. It was such a nice way to spend the week!


signature

Monday, 22 September 2014

Virgin vs British Airways

Each year I go away I tend to fly to another country. I try to use budget airlines where possible but for long haul flights the companies I use to travel with use big budget airlines. Earlier this year I flew with Air Canada and found the service and comfort mediocre. However, I have flown with Virgin and British Airways a fair bit! These are the two big airlines that are based here in the UK. Whilst I was on the plane to Tobago I was trying to decide which I prefer and the decision was so hard.

N.B I had 9 hours to kill on a flight so there is always lots of thinking time! I would like to add that these opinions are solely my own and based on economy flights only.

Virgin

Comfort:

Each time I flew with Virgin I always felt kind of sandwiched. The seats were quite cramped and narrow. All three of the flights I have flown on there were two seats by the window, four in the middle and two seats the other side. Even the aisles were really narrow too. The leg room was sparse but enough room to cross your legs and fit your bag underneath. I did feel quite cramped on the journeys especially if I was seated in the middle of the row of 4 seats. The headrests were quite slimline, probably due to the narrow seats. So I often felt my head slip off when dozing! We were offered a pillow, toothbrush/paste, eye mask, socks and a blanket which was really nice to have! Especially on the overnight flights. The seats did flip back but not very far but for economy that's to be expected. 

One thing that did really bother me was how dry my mouth/throat was. I do not know if it was their air conditioning but on all my Virgin flights my mouth felt so dry. So I would begin the cycle of mouth being dry, drink something, try to sleep, need to pee and get up virtually every hour. Great for preventing DVT but not when I just wanted to close my eyes!

Entertainment:

I thought the entertainment was brilliant! The choice of films, shows, games and documentaries were so varied. I was never bored! I also loved that they had music and you could create your own playlist of songs. I never got round to watching all I wanted to watch because there was so much! I also really like the remote control it came with. It was dead easy to use and it was right in front of you. The screen was a really good size too and you could adjust the screen to a position that suited you - big bonus there!

Price:

I paid a fixed price as part of a package but I remember looking at the prices of the flights separately and they were very reasonable. I remember looking at my NYC flights with Virgin and the price for a return was around the £350-£400 mark. I think that's SO good! 

Customer service:

The staff were very attentive and very professional. They all had smiles on their faces, looked smart and nothing was too much trouble. On the overnight flights they came round with extra drinks for the people still awake which was a nice touch.

Inflight service:

I really liked that they came round with a menu to choose from. And it was really varied too! The food was hot, edible and a good portion size. I really remember the puddings being SO nice! The drinks were varied and they had a special in flight cocktail which was yummy. For economy I thought that was a nice touch and who doesn't love a cocktail?! On my Australia trip we were fed every 4 hours which was a good gap and they understood if we didn't want anything.

Aesthetics 

The cabin looked clean, no foul smells and I liked the Virgin colours of red. It made the cabin look smart and regal!


British Airways
Comfort

The cabin did not look cramped and had a lot more of a spacious feel to it. On both the flights the seats were wider (or felt it!) and I didn't feel like a squashed sardine compared to Virgin. The aisles were wider and the set up was two seats by the window, three in the middle and two on the other side. The seats flipped back but not very far. We were given a pillow and a blanket but nothing else. So compared to Virgin we weren't given many comfort items. I really liked the head supports, you could move them out to lie your head on. So when I dozed my head felt quite comfortable. I felt there was more leg room too. I could cross my legs and still have room.

On another note my mouth was never dry. I think I had half the amount of drinks compared to Virgin!

Entertainment

I will not lie. I was a little disappointed with the selection. There were some movies I liked the look of but there were only three movies that I actually watched. The music choice was very limited and some of the TV programmes I had never heard of. I think considering British Airways are meant to the flagship UK airline, their entertainment choices were quite rubbish compared to Virgin. Furthermore, the screen was so much smaller! I thought considering the seats were wider/bigger the screens would be a bit bigger. I did like that the screens were touch screen but sometimes they froze or if you pressed a second too long it would skip a page, which annoyed me.

Price

If I had to be honest I think the seats are way too pricey! I did a comparison on flights to Australia between the two and BA was so much more expensive! I still can't decide if they're worth the extra money.

Customer service

I thought the staff were really friendly! They dressed well and always had smiles on their faces. I felt like they tried to engage in more conversation with you. I can understand that some people don't want to chit-chat all the time. But it was nice to be asked if I had a nice holiday and what sweets I was sucking on. 

Inflight service

On the whole I thought the food was better and fresher. It was hot, a good portion size and just tasted a lot nicer. However, what did bug me was that we were only told the menu choices when the food trolley got to us. The cabin crew didn't even describe the food they just said 'chicken with potatoes' or 'tomato pasta'. I have a few food intolerances so a little bit more of a description (and time to choose!) would have been better so I could have made a more informed choice. The drink choices were varied too.

Aesthetics

I think the cabin looked a lot smarter and the navy blue seating looked really nice. It just felt more roomy.

So overall?

Argh! This is so hard but I think British Airways have a better overall service. I think that is only because comfort on a flight is paramount to me! I found BA a lot more comfortable so for long haul flights I would choose them. In saying that I think Virgin has a lot more attention to detail. Although the comfort level was not all that I found everything else to be a lot better. If Virgin improved their comfort levels then they would be my choice hands down!!! 

signature

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Sugar and spice, and everything nice...

...That's what little GIRLS are made of!

Whilst I was in the Caribbean I received the awesome news that I became an auntie again - to a niece!

Honor Rose

05/09/2014 at 22:11, weighing 9lb 5oz.

She is just so delicious and so beautiful. I like that her name is so different and I especially love her middle name Rose. This is because the Rose flower was my Gran and Granddad's favourite flower. So it feels so fitting that since they won't meet her they are apart of her name.


I have a feeling this niece of mine is going to be a diva. She barely cries but she'll do this shouty cry that barely lasts 5 seconds. Then once she knows she has your attention on her, she'll be quiet. She also makes the best facial expressions, like this pout above. Cohen is adjusting to being a big brother, he hasn't really shown much of an interest in her yet. I cannot wait to see Honor grow up. It's the best role being an auntie and I am so blessed to have them as my niece and nephew. 

Welcome to world beautiful girl!

signature

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Sun, Sea & TOBAGO!

I cannot believe that I am off to the Caribbean today! It feels like it has sprung up so quickly but also been so long awaited for too.


I need a break.

Well I always feel I need a break but I do just want to get away for a bit and do NOTHING. I think during my week stay in Tobago we have organised one trip out of the resort. Otherwise it's reading, beaching, swimming and sleeping. This is just the cocktail I need.

I have found work particularly stressful of late, to the point I am in tears after many shifts. I know I want to move on in my nursing career but not sure where the next step is. I am a planner and an organiser. So I hate that I don't have a plan for what is next for me in nursing - I want to leave but where to?

So I think a break away is just what I need in order to have some thinking time and spend time with my friends.

Oh and for those asking...


This little nephew of mine is still not a big brother yet. Nicola was due on the 27th August and it sucks that she is overdue. It's also sad that I won't be in the country for when he/she arrives but I just know it will be the best thing to come home to! I took Cohen painting the other day and he painted his own train money box. I adore him at this age!

See you in a week! Has anyone been to Tobago before? Any recommendations of where to visit?

signature

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Soundtracks to my life?

I have this thing at the moment where I am wanting to listen to my whole iTunes library when in the car. I have switched off the car radio and just listen to my iPod on shuffle. It's amazing the songs I forget I had on there. I was breaking out into Fame yesterday! I have not listened to it for years. When I was in the car yesterday I got thinking about what music I listen to at certain moments in my life. Some people have soundtracks to their lives. I'd say I have more albums to match events. As I was recollecting I kept thinking out loud saying 'I listened to that on repeat in Aussie' or 'I think I listened to that song so many times I'm not surprised I am sick of it but love it again now.'

So I am going to share some music that reminds me of some fun times in my life and I would love it if you could do the same.


Taylor Swift - Red

I downloaded Taylor's new album just before I went to Australia. I must have played the album a bazillion times whilst I was out there. So now when a song comes on from that album I always think fondly of Australia. My favourite song on the album is 'Everything has changed' and there was a moment when I was listening to her album on the war back from visiting the Home and Away set. We were crossing the harbour bridge and Sydney Opera house was to my left. I was sat on the bus just thinking how everything had changed! I was in my dream destination and I just wanted to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.


Ed Sheeran - + (plus) and X (multiply)

Apart from the fact that I think Ed Sheeran is pretty cute I also ADORE his music. I also find it quite funny that his albums crop up in my love life too ha! I remember when I first started seeing my ex Simon. I had gotten + for Christmas that year. It took about 45 minutes to drive to Simon's house and the album was 45 minutes long too. So I loved it because I knew that when I came to the end of the album I was near his house. This album reminds me of the butterflies I had of being in a new relationship. Ed Sheeran also released X in June this year. I LOVE every single song on it and I cannot wait to go see his show in October. I have listened to this album the most when I go and see Jack since half an album lasts one journey and the other half lasts the journey home. It just reminds me of how much I look forward to seeing him and the giddiness I feel. My favourite songs are 'Tenerife Sea' and 'Afire Love.' - download stat!


Colbie Caillat  - Coco

Anyone remember myspace? Yeah I had a myspace account and one of the funky things you could do was have music playing on your page. I remember one page playing 'The Little Things' by Colbie and I just had to have her music. She has this real sultry/indie/romantic vibe about her. I started listening to her album the day I passed my driving test, so it was the first album I listened to to and from my weekend/summer job in 2007 in my car. I have all her albums now and I am so thankful I came across her music by chance. 


The Band Perry - The Band Perry

I remember when I watched the Glee episode 'The Quatreback' this spring and Santana sung 'If I die young'. It was such a beautiful song and it is one of very few songs that really hit me in the gut. I listened to this album in Canada/USA this May and it was a lovely album to listen to. My favourite song is 'If I die young' though because I remember through my mental health journey the amount of times I questioned the point of existing if I was just going to be miserable. I was never suicidal I'd like to add but there have been points where life was no fun in feeling low all the time. But this song really hit home that if I am to go at any given time I want to know I have made the most of my life. It's so poetic and I cannot help but turn it up when it comes on.


Brad Paisley - Wheelhouse

I was told by my work colleague to get this album and when I said no he downloaded it for me and gave me the CD. Boy was I glad he did! The CD stayed in my bag for a few weeks but in April I went to see my friend Laurie in Edinburgh. I had a 4 hour train journey ahead of me and I wanted to listen to something new to fill the time. So I uploaded this album and was HOOKED! I listened to nothing but this album on the way up to Scotland and the way down from Scotland. Paisley is what I describe as pure country. I find his voice magical and some of the songs just have me singing from the rooftops. My favourite songs are 'Southern comfort zone' and 'Beat this summer.' This album just reminds me about the blog friends I have made and how lucky I am that some of them are now IRL friends too.


Kids in glass houses - Smart Casual

I heard some of these songs from the album when I went to Reading festival in 2008. I was with an ex boyfriend at the time and I thought he was being a jerk to me. So I walked off and came across this band and just loved them. I remember dancing to 'Saturday' and water was being flung everywhere so I was getting soaked! But I just loved it and felt so independent. 


The 1975 - The 1975
Jack has introduced me to this band and they are my favourite singer/songwriters by far this year. Their songs for some weird reason remind me of summer days, bbq's and most importantly my new home. I first listened to this album after Jack had taken me to the beach for the day. On our way back Jack asked me in the car where we wanted to go next and I said 'Home - my new home'. Up until this point I still called my new house just 'the house', and it struck me that now I class this as my new sanctuary and that my old house is just that - my old house. I couldn't help but make a realisation then and there things really have changed this year.


It's amazing how powerful music can be at times.


signature
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...