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Also known as St Kitts and Nevis in English, this is a place where I have enjoyed a number of holidays. The first being roughly 3 months so I got to know it pretty well.
It is actually two islands which make one principality. They are both reasonably unknown, compared with some of their neighbours, Antigua for example. They are part of the Leeward Island chain and on both you can enjoy the tropical climate. There appears to only be one type of weather, hot and humid! I have always visited during the summer months, between June and September and although this is their hurricane season I have always been very lucky with the weather. Having said that, it is also very windy all of the time but this is brilliant for keeping the temperature down during the day. The island of St Kitts is the largest and most populated of the two and is where I have spent the majority of the time when I have visited.
There are flights which go direct from the UK. There is only one direct flight each week and this is a BA flight from London Gatwick. I shall be visiting this summer with my husband and the flights cost around £750 each for a return, although this is in the summer holidays so out of peak season it would be slightly less.
Where to stay
I have always stayed down in Frigate Bay, which is where most tourists stay. Although in essence it is a resort, there is only one large hotel there, the Marriott, the rest are smaller complexes, mainly consisting of self catering apartments. I stay at Sealofts on the Beach which is a complex of around 30 apartments, with a pool and backing onto the Atlantic beach. It is located within well kept, beautiful gardens and reasonably priced at around $1000 per month for a two bedroom condo.
Places to visit
Basseterre is the capital and really the only place to go if you want to do any shopping. The ferry port is currently being developed for when cruise ships arrive so contains numerous tourist shops but is also a great place to find jewellery and also a great place to barter as there are lots offering similar sort of things. Basseterre also has a number of restaurants and bars. I particularly like Ballahoos which is situated within the main square and within one of the collonial buildings.
Beaches - there are numerous different beaches around the island and this is probably the reason for most people's visit. The beaches on the Atlantic side of the island are less busy due to the sea being very wavy most of the time so they are not very good for swimming. On the Caribbean side, there are lovely sandy beaches and the sea is incredibly calm and warm and great for swimming and snorkelling. There are so many beautiful tropical fish which you can see only a few metres in to the sea.
Brimstone Hill is a fort which was erected by the British when they took control of the island around 1700. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and definitely worth a look round. Much of it is still standing and from the top it offers excellent views of St Kitts and other nearby islands.
I think it is impossible to leave the island without sampling the local rum. The local produce is called Brinley Gold and is Vanilla flavoured. It is quite sweet and easy to drink, especially with a mixer but BEWARE... the hangovers are not pretty.
It takes around 1 hour on the slow boat from St Kitts to get there but is well worth a trip. It is the smaller of the two islands and less populated and there are apparently more donkeys here than people. The beaches are beautiful and the Botanical Gardens are well worth a visit. It is more exclusive than St Kitts and lots of the accomodation consists of old plantation inns, which can be very pricey.
I think St Kitts is a wonderful place to visit. It is beautiful and the people are incredibly welcoming. It is very relaxed and laid back I can't really think of any negative things to say except don't tell everyone....!
Last summer, my husband and I decided to visit Seville for a few days. We chose it for it's proximity to the south coast of Spain so we were able to combine a city break with a week in the Sun. We spent 2 night in Seville, 6 night in Gibraltar and a further 2 nights in Seville. We flew from Liverpool to Seville airport and caught a taxi from the airport which took around 20 mins each way and cost around 20 euros.
It turned out to be a fantastic place, and the 4 days we spent there was enough to appreciate the sights and get a real feel for the town, without overdoing it.
It was August when we went so and it was incredibly hot, peaking about 38 degrees during the day. This meant that a lot of people had left the city for the more temperate weather on the coast and meant that prices were less than at other times of year.
The hotel we chose was called the Petit Palace Canalejas and was situated in the heart of the city. From here we could walk to most places we wanted to visit. The cathedral was a 15 minute walk and we visited it on our first day. It was a beautiful building although when we were there it was covered in scaffolding. From the top of the tower it offers stunning views across the city and is a good place for getting your bearings.
Not far from here was the Azcabar, a Moorish palace, surrounded by amazing gardens. The gardens seem to stretch for miles and are incredibly well kept with pools and fountains and were a great place to get a bit of shade in the heat of the day.
The other monument which I particularly liked was the Plaza d'Espana. The building was absolutely stunning and very intricately decorated with crests of all of the different departments in Spain around the side created by tiles. There should have been a canal in the grounds too, but unfortunately this was empty at the time we visited.
For eating and drinking, there were a multitude of fantastic restaurants located throughout the city. We particularly liked the area around the Almaeda de Hercules. It was a vast plaza with bars and cafes lining the sides. Here there were numerous different places to eat or drink and it was the place where we found the latest bars.
To get between Seville and Gibraltar we hired a car. The driving within the city was difficult and the drivers were a little erratic, however, once we got on the motorway, the roads were mainly clear and it took around 2 hours to reach the South coast.
In summary, I would highly reccomend Seville for a city break. It was a truly Spanish city, which was vibrant and exciting with fantastic sights, food and just enough nightlife without being rowdy.
Earlier in the year, we went to Megeve for a weeks skiing. The reason we went to Megeve was that my father was going there for his birthday so my husband and I went to make up the numbers (and make the most of a free chalet)!
We got flights to Geneva and then hired a car to take us up the mountain. One fantastic thing about the resort is its locality to Geneva so shouldn't take more than 1 hour to get there (providing you don't get lost, which we did).
On our arrival at the resort it was absolutely stunning. There had been recently snowfall and the sun was out... perfect. The chalet we were staying in was part of a complex called Les Loges Blanches. Ours was about 1/2 mile outside the main village but was easily walking distance.
The resort itself has been protected so there are no high rise buildings and so it is very beautiful and traditional. The main type of building is small traditional, wooden chalets, however this makes it rather exclusive and pricey. One drawback to the area is that the resort is at quite a low altitude, so it is usually impossible to ski to the village. There is 2 different base stations to take you up the main mountain (the Mont d'Arbois). For both there is a free ski bus which will take you there from the village, it provides a good service but can get quite packed at peak times. The lift pass cost a whopping 170 Euros for 6 days and this allows skiing in the 3 main skiing areas - Arbois, Jaillet and the Rochebrune.
The skiing for the week was great, the snow was almost perfect, with 100cms at the bottom of the slopes and around 2m at the tops. Almost all of the lifts were open and there are enough challenging slopes for better skiers, while still having a number of nice wide pistes for the more nervous skiers.
The village itself is quite lively during the day. There are some beautiful shops, most too pricey for me to even set foot into though! There are some nice bars too but again rather pricey. We went to the Cocoon a number of times where it was around 10 Euros for a pint (or 50mls) of lager. We went self-catering so didn't eat out much. One night though we went to a lovely restaurant (I think it was called the Priory) and the food was exceptional. |t cost around 80 Euros each for the meal, with wine.
In summary, this is a lovely resort and great for families. It is not the best skiing or nightlife but is good all round with some beautiful vistas. Good option if you have a lot of cash!
I have had my straighteners for a while and use them almost every day. My hair is rather curly / frizzy and without them it tends to be a little bit crazy most days.
However, my life changed when I discovered GHDs and now I have sleek soft hair. I paid around £100 for them, however, I didn't shop around and it has been worth it.
The straighteners quickly heat up to the required temperature and they will straighten the hair usually with just one go, however, it is straightened better if done in small sections.
The main problem with the straighteners is that they can be a little damaging to the hair if used very regularly so it is necessary to always use a heat protecting spray with them. This isn't only true about these straighteners though so I wouldn't be able to mark them down for that.
They are sturdy and well made and so far I have had no problems with my straighteners. I also know people who have had them for years and they are still going strong.
Overall, an excellent product - no more bad hair days!!!
I have now had this fridge - freezer for around a year and I have been very impressed with it. I paid around £330 but it was reduced from around £500 as it was an ex-display model.
The fridge has a number of functions which make it more exciting than a normal fridge. Inside the fridge, there are 3 shelves and a bottle rack in the main part of the fridge, there is plenty of room on the shelves to fit in lots of food! There is enough room to fit 5 bottles of wine and also 2 large salad trays in the bottom of the fridge. The main drawback in terms of space is the water cooler and dispenser within the fridge, which takes up most of the room in the door. This means that you can really only fit 2 open bottles standing in the door.
The water cooler is great, especially as it contains a Brita filter and so is fantastic on warm days. The only problem is that the jug containing water is not removable from the fridge so is difficult to clean.
As for the freezer, this is locted at the bottom of the fridge. It contains 3 seperate areas with the top one being the smallest and the bottom 2 much larger. The top one is a bit too small and can only really fit one pizza in it, so a bit of a waste of space. The bottom 2 drawers are very large though and fit in plenty of food. There is also a function on the freezer to give fast freezing when you have just returned from the supermarket and also an alarm so you can put your beer in the freezer without forgetting about it! Furthermore, there is a choice of temperature for both the fridge and freezer but I have just left it at the default settings and everything seems to remain a good temperature. There is also a childlock on the fridge.
The fridge and freezer are frost free and so far this has remained the case. I have not seen as much as one flake of frost within it!
Overall, I think the fridge is solid and well built and definately worth the money I paid for it.
I bought this phone as I had broken my last phone and at the time of purchase, it cost me £50. I have now had it for around 4 months and so far I think it is great.
I am quite an old-fashioned person, who really only uses it for talking or texting but I am on it quite a lot. The battery life on it is great, I charge it about 2 or 3 times a week and even when I am talking on it and it is beeping to say the battery is running low it still lasts for a long time.
At first, it took a little getting used to and I found texting a little difficult with the roller wheel, rather than buttons, but now I like it and find that it makes texting easier.
Sometimes, the reception on it isn't very good but I don't tend to be in areas without good signal very often, so it hasn't affected me too much. The screen is usually clear and I don't find that the shininess of it is much of a problem.
One thing is that the camera isn't very good, however, as I have a good camera, I would only use it occasionally and not for important photos. Also, the alarm doesn't turn off if you press snooze, the display remains on until you press stop.
Overall, however, I think it is a great phone and definately worth the £50 I paid for it.
I have worn contact lenses for a number of years and started out with the monthly lenses which I found very good until I tried Daily disposable lenses. The first time I tried Daily disposable lenses I tried the focus dailies and at first I thought they were fantastic.
With the monthly ones, they become uncomfortable very quickly. On a number of occasions I have taken chunks out of the side from not putting them back in the canister correctly or with my finger nails when cleaning them. To replace a lense it was also rather costly.
As it was a number of years ago, it cost around £1.00 per day to get the focus dailies and as previously stated, at first I thought they were great. No more cleaning and no more problems if I nick them or lose them. However, they are very thin and they get dry very quickly so after a while it feels like they are stuck to your eyeballs, particulary when there is airconditioning.
The worst thing I have found about them though, is that on more than one occasion they have split in 2 in my eye. When this has happened in the past, they are jagged and very sharp and it is incredibly uncomfortable and difficult to remove the pieces. On one occasion, one of the pieces was stuck in my eye for several hours and made my eye very red and watery.
I have since stopped using them and have started using Johnson and Johnson One day contact lenses. They have never split and have always remained more comfortable than the focus dailies. I wouldn't go back to the focus dailies, even though the Johnson and Johnson ones are a lot more expensive.
In February my husband and I used Jet2 for our skiing holiday. As we already had accomodation booked, we wanted a cheap no frills flight and this was perfect as it was £60 each, bargain! We flew from Blackpool to Geneva. The airport was further for us than Manchester but the price of the flight swung it for us.
The parking at the airport was free, again very impressive for an airport, although we were required to pay £10 as a departure charge (I guess this is just a parking charge in disguise). The best part about flying from Blackpool rather than Manchester was that it took about 30 seconds getting through customs, rather than the massive queues which we have known before.
As we arrived early, my husband and I got upgraded seats to give us a little more room but not an awful lot more, there still wasn't much legroom, although that is usually to be expected from budget airlines. The flight was on time both ways so there was no waiting around and on the way there it landed earlier than expected. The plane was clean and tidy and the staff were friendly.
One thing that I did appreciate about Jet2 is that the luggage allowance was 20kg rather than 15kg, which I have had on other budget airlines. This was especially good for skiing holidays when you need lots of warm clothes.
The one thing I disliked about the flights is that as the flights were both very early in the morning we had ordered some food. The outward flight was 6.00am and the return flight was 8.00am (approx) and with the travel we wanted some breakfast. On both flights we were most disgruntled to see that the 'breakfast' was spicy chicken! Even the hostess informed us to complain about it and they weren't very apologetic. As it cost us £8.00 each for the meal, I will never book another if I fly with them. I was also rather annoyed by the fact that with the meal, there was no cold drinks, so as I don't drink coffee or tea I got no drink. When we wrote a letter of complaint to the airline, they wouldn't give us our money back and didn't really offer any apology either.
In summary, it was a reasonable experience if you forget about the food...
One of my friends is getting married soon so for her Hen Do she opted to go to York. She knew which weekend she wanted to go but booking the accomodation proved to be a little difficult. Due to York being such a tourist trap it was either very expensive, or they wouldn't take a large party, we were 16 people.
We managed to secure a booking at the Ibis York and it turned out to be very good value. It was £75 for one night for 2 people sharing a double room (would have prefered a twin but was ok). We also managed to get breakfast and their internet package included so was a good offer.
The hotel is situated in a good location, it is a short walk (1/2 mile) from the town centre and about 10 minutes walk to the river. It also has its own carpark, which is invaluable in York as the parking is so expensive. The carpark isn't large but it is free and all of us who wanted to managed to get a space.
The hotel seems to have been recently decorated and had a nice contemporary bar. The rooms were clean, if a little small as was the bathroom, the only quirk being that the hot water in the shower was the opposite way to what it was labelled.
The staff were quite friendly, they didn't go out of their way but there were certainly no problems.
The breakfast was accetable, I wouldn't suggest it was the best I have had, although it is served for a long time, from 9.00 - 12.00 and we rocked up about 11.00 so the best was probably gone!
Overall, it was clean, comfortable option near to the centre, I would recommend it.
I have owned the Nikon Coolpix S550 for around 6 months and so far it has been a good camera. I have used it in a number of different occasions and it has always taken good pictures.
On holiday, I used it in a number oif different conditions, including in bright sunshine and at night and in both situations the quality was very good. It has an excellent panoramic mode, which joins together the pictures and is very effective. It is also a great size to fit in your pocket and is very light to carry round, being available whenever photo opportunities present themselves. The zoom is a definite bonus; on full optical and digital zoom, the photos look unclear on the screen before they are taken but sharpen up as the image is saved.
In addition, it has some excellent functions, including the smile sensor (although I think this is more of a gimmick) and face detector.
Overall, I think this is a good camera. Previous to this I owned a Canon Powershot which was much bigger and was only 3.2 Mpix, although took excellent photographs. The Nikon is better for less technical pictures and is more of a point and shoot, although I don't think the quality is quite as good as it was with the Canon.