Wish I was: on South Beach, Miami

Miami Beach, South Beach, Florida

Miami Beach, South Beach, Florida

 

This is not just any beach, this is South Beach aka SoBe.

Found on the southern tip of the island this display of wonderful Art Deco architecture, mixed with beautiful people from all corners of the world, is one of my favourite places to visit.

Natalie O’Neill of the Miami New Times once said in 2009 “Until the 1980s, Miami Beach was a peculiar mix of criminals, Cubans, and little old ladies. Then the beautiful people moved in.” And they are still there. 

But its the boutique hotels, cool cafes, restaurants and the beach that really bring it together.

Tap your heels together….

 

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5 tips: when travelling as a family

suitcases pic

We are a well-travelled family with quite a bit of experience between us. So you’d think we would have everything planned and organised down to the last toothpick for our recent trip to Sri Lanka, oh no. For some strange reason, before this particular trip my husband and I were overcome with an unusual laid-back almost zen-like approach to catching our flight. I have to admit I’m generally the drill master in this situation but not this time. This was different. We (I mean ‘he’) agreed on the set time we would leave the house without allowing for the holiday mayhem that was about to unfold.

We arrived at the airport with just over an hour to boarding to be told to join the crowd after giving our meager reasons for being ‘a bit late’. After a few minutes a lady with a clipboard meekly called  for any remaining Colombo passengers. We made our way, chest-first through the bulging queue, to the desk to be told boarding had closed. After a few heated arguments, we finally listened to the helpful chap behind the desk  who explained that we must simply convert our big case into two newly-bought all cases (this seemed impossible at the time), if we want to get on the flight. We had gone from a relatively normal 2.2 family to a rampaged group of savages scurrying around on the airport floor flinging knickers around. The madness continued to the gate with my husband and I sprinting off through duty free like it was every man for themselves leaving the two kids to struggle with their luggage. We finally made it on board huffing and puffing, head down in shame, only to be sitting on the tarmac waiting for late passengers to arrive from shopping. Tut, tut.

Coincidentally, I’ve decided to review our family travel rules and here are 5 of the more important ones:

1. Leave 2 hours earlier than usual especially when it is school holiday time – it may seem obvious but no one wants to start their trip with the slow painful shuffle in the misleading queue from hell.

2. Use hand-luggage sized suitcases only – when they’re old enough, give each child a bit of responsibility by allocating them their own piece of luggage.

3. Check and double check the kids packing – my daughter felt that having two swimsuits and pj’s were far more important than any underwear or clothes!

4. Discuss the travel plans more than once – and not on the day of the flight so you avoid pre-holiday airhead mode

5. Appoint a person in charge– this not only gives someone responsibility i.e. they think about the finer details, it also gives you the chance to blame the other person if that person isn’t you!

As expected, we arrived in Sri Lanka four or so hours later, $70 lighter (visa cost) where we were greeted by our smiley driver ‘Udaya’ with a perfectly incorrect sign ‘Mr Z Looper’.  

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Travel with ‘Summer Style’

Summer Style

It doesn’t have to be all bikinis, slouchy tops and sarongs on your travels this summer, does it? When I was set a challenge to create a mood board as part of the #BySymphonyChallenge with a ‘summer style’ theme, I guess I was feeling floral.

I used this fantastic website,  Polyvore.com to select and place my choice of outfit pieces. It has an incredible database of images and added text and background options to help create that magazine page look plus a ‘clip to’ option to add your own. I have to admit I am addicted.

It is not easy, hats off to all the designers out there. I started with one main piece that took my eye, The Temperley Tula jacquard dress and paired it with a pale pink ‘The Clutch’ chain shoulder bag by Linda Farrow. A natural plaited floppy hat from Debenhams, Casadei blade pumps and some TOMS crystal nude shades and voila!

http://bysymphony.com/blogger-vs-stylist

#BySymphonyChallenge

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What the volunteers say

volunteer video

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a volunteer? In June, my daughter Sadie and I are heading off for two weeks of volunteer work in Cusco conservation zoo, Peru. Here’s a short volunteer expectations video from people who have been there and done exactly that.

Hear what they think about their experience, advice on how to make the most of your time and dealing with culture shocks as well as what you can expect to gain personally.

 

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Wish I was: on Socotra Island

I wish 1

It’s like a scene from the film Alice in Wonderland, you expect the blue caterpillar smoking a hookah to pop out from behind the tree any minute.

Imagine waking up on Socotra Island – what a feast for the eyes. You’d think you had time-travelled to another era. Well, it’s not far off the truth for this island. It has been geographically isolated from mainland Africa for the last 6 million years. And like the Galapagos Islands, this island is teeming with hundreds of rare species that are found nowhere else on earth.

 

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Dubai Eye 103.8 – The Travel Show

Travel Show

Lucy Taylor and Mark Lloyd present The road less travelled show on The Travel Show, Dubai Eye 103.8.

We were very excited to be invited into the studios for the Tuesday show – exploring the more adventurous side of vacationing, where we donned some headphones, sat close to the mic and talked about our volunteer trip to Peru.

Here’s the audio:

https://audioboo.fm/boos/2012094-the-road-less-travelled-5-18-03-2014#t=1m36s

New_DubaiEyeLogo

http://www.dubaieye1038.com/thetravelshow/

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These shoes are made for walking

hiking boots look

I’m gonna come straight out and say it. Why are hiking boots so damn ugly? Do you really need them? Surely a semi-stylish pair of well- worn trainers can do the job. I’m not suggesting Isabel Marants but come on.

For our volunteer trip to Peru, my daughter and I have been given a list of suggested items to bring and one of them is the dreaded pair of hiking boots. While we are there, the plan is to go to Machu Picchu and possibly on a jungle tour, so its 50/50 if we are going to need them.

I began researching the damn boots and came across some interesting findings.

First of all, one problem is that is seems the hiking boot suppliers are anti-style. I found one site that confidently names itself  ‘Best hiking boots pro’ and recommends NO STYLE to be considered at all. It says:

“The point when looking for your climbing boots, it’s extremely recommended that you don’t go for the stylish one rather than a durable and waterproof hiking boot.”

Did you know that women’s hiking boots are very different to the male boot de la hike?

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