World Blood Donor Day 2018

May 22, 2018

June 14th is World Blood Donor Day! 

The World Health Organisation designated this day to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

Blood donation is a serious issue in Barbados that I've written about before, but unfortunately, this is still a major problem. I'm teaming up with Drops of Love to host World Blood Donor Day in Barbados on June 14th, to feature active donors in Barbados and to encourage first time donors to participate.

The theme of this year’s World Blood Donor Day is “Blood connects us all”

It focuses on thanking blood donors and highlights the dimension of “sharing” and “connection” between blood donors and patients. In addition, the slogan “Share life, give blood”, draws attention to the roles that voluntary donation systems play in encouraging people to care for one another and promote community cohesion.

We are running a couple of small campaigns aimed at highlighting stories of people whose lives have been saved through blood donation and the stories of regular donors, to motivate regular blood donors to continue giving blood, and motivate people in good health who have never given blood to begin doing so, particularly young people.

So Bajans, please listen up and participate if you can! If you're an active blood donor in Barbados and would like to be featured, please share 1-2 sentences on why you donate/what inspires you to donate blood in this Google Form.

If you're visiting Barbados in June, or any time for that matter, you can also donate! This is a small act of kindness and compassion that will have an incredible impact on our local community. You can read more about donating blood in Barbados and a list of FAQs here.

10th Annual European Film Festival

May 21, 2018

I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the 10th annual European Film Festival last week, which opened with a Dutch film called "Blitz". 

Over the past 9 years, the festival has showcased about 145 movies from 22 European countries. 
The 10th European Film Festival runs until May 29th. All movies are FREE and will be screened at Olympus Theatres VIP at Sheraton Mall

It's so great to see such a quality event being offered for free, so that everyone can experience a great selection of European films. I fell in love with world cinema when I took a course during my undergrad and I've had a thing for quirky European films (especially French) since then.

Here's the full schedule, including a tribute to Stephen Hawkings with "The Theory of Everything." You can also check out their Facebook event for further details.

Behind the scenes with #GivingTuesday

April 17, 2018

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fuelled by the power of social media and collaboration.

I've been following the international #GivingTuesday campaign for a few years now, and I was really excited to be welcome to the Giving Tuesday family last year. It was a nice fit with some of the other work I was doing with local nonprofits, and it felt like a great opportunity to apply a global initiative for social good to our local context. Not only has this been one of the friendliest communities that I've ever been a part of, but the impact of GivingTuesday is incredible and so inspiring. 

The Giving Tuesday Community Manager, Britney, and I sat down (virtually) to chat about a few fun things close to my heart, including why I joined the community and what I learned from our first #BajanGiving events last November. You can read the full interview here.

I'm really looking forward to bigger and better things for our #BajanGiving campaigns in 2018. If you're interested in joining the team, or you have a charity or NGO that could benefit from collaborating on a #BajanGiving campaign in November, please get in touch!

Island Diaries: A little rant about travelling in the Caribbean

April 13, 2018

Why oh why must Caribbean travel be so difficult?

Though I'm based in Barbados, I don't travel to neighbouring Caribbean countries very often. There are a number of reasons for this, the main ones being that regional travel is often unreasonably complicated and expensive, especially compared to international travel. Here's an example of what we're dealing with:

Island Diaries: Freediving and a Lionfish Hunt

March 24, 2018

There's no better way to end a busy work week than to go free diving, lionfish hunting and capping it all off with a lime on the beach, so when my friend Hannah invited me to join her on one of her "Freedive Fun Fridays", I had to say yes.

Johanna is a childhood friend who recently moved back to Barbados from Australia and started a free diving school, Trident Freedivers, through which she teaches free diving and also hosts spearfishing tours. You've seen her in some of my underwater photos on here and Hanna herself has a kickass social media following thanks to her incredible underwater shots. It's so awesome having someone like Hannah here, not only because she's an old friend, but because she is a great example of someone who offering sustainable, environmentally concious travel experiences in Barbados. 

Every week or so, Hannah hosts a "Friday Fun Free dive" session with friends, who are invited to join in on a free dive (usually in various locations around the island), which has more recently been coupled with a lionfish hunt, fresh ceviche and cold beers.

Sidenote on lionfish: these pesky buggers are an invasive species in the Caribbean and they reek havoc on our marine ecosystems. In a nutshell, hunting them is one way to keep their populations in check. Because of this, they are listed as one of the most sustainable fish choices in Barbados on the Barbados Sustainable Seafood Guide.

We explored a wreck off of Batts Rock and the 'hunters' in the group managed to shoot a number of lionfish on our way to and from the wreck. Once we were back on shore, Hannah filleted the fish and mixed the meat together with some chopped onions, sweet pepper and lime juice that she had prepared beforehand. Filleting lionfish takes practice, patience and skill, as lionfish have a set of poisonous spikes along their backs and tummy. Although not fatal, the sting of a lionfish is extremely painful.

Unfortunately I didn't get a shot of the ceviche because it was dark by the time it was ready, but believe me when I say it was delicious! The fact that it was sustainable and healthy was a huge plus.

This image was taken by Trident Freedivers

Best Places to Work Remotely in Barbados

March 6, 2018

While I was researching and putting together my post on the best Coffee and WiFi Spots in Barbados, I stumbled across some great spots in Barbados where you’re welcome to sit and work. From tropical beach settings to corporate co working spaces, this list might just change your remote working experience all together.

With more people remote working, co-working, freelancing and becoming self-employed than ever, I'm highlighting some of the best restaurants, cafes and hotspots in Barbados where the wifi is free and your laptop will always be welcome. 

I don't think many remote workers need reminding, but please make sure to support all of these businesses when using their space, especially the restaurants. Make sure to visit during the quieter periods if you're not buying a meal, and always, always buy at least a drink if you're there for an hour or two. Don't just take up space!

Check out the live Google map at the bottom of this post to see exactly where everything is located and let me know if you get a chance to visit! 

To dog sled or not to dog sled? | Colorado

February 18, 2018
While visiting Colorado, some friends suggested that I check out dog sledding. The idea of spending a day in the snow with 10 cuddly, beautiful dogs seemed amazing, so I did a bit of research. Though I, like most people, believed that “these dogs are built for this” and "sledding is in their genes," I didn't consider or know anything about the cruelty in the sled-dog races and sled-dog tourism industry.

Though the dogs truly seem to love to pull the sleds, this this is only a tiny part of what actually makes up the industry. Based on 10 minutes of research, dog sledding gets a firm 'no' from me.

I recommend this post by The Compassionate Road for further reading on dog sledding.
There are so many animal related activities/tours/photo ops that have been considered the 'norm' for so many years around the world; from taking photos with monkeys on the beach, to swimming with dolphins, visiting circuses with animal acts, riding elephants and visiting tiger 'sanctuaries.' I myself was guilty of partaking in many of these activities on my travels throughout the years, but now I know what to look for in ethical animal experiences.

I believe that the billion dollar travel industry can become a force for good, and it's up to us as conscious travellers to do a bit of research, ask the right questions and decide what we will support from not.

A few favourites | 2

February 2, 2018

I love discovering new profiles/websites/blogs/books so I'm starting a fun little bi weekly (or randomly, you know how I roll) feature where I share a little shot of inspiration of a few things that I love.

Happy New Year to me

February 1, 2018

Disclaimer: Very personal and quite sombre post coming up, but I'm just trying to keep it real...

Barbados Independent Film Festival 2018

January 7, 2018

I can't believe the second annual BIFF is kicking off next week from January 9th -14th!

I've been involved with this incredible event since inception in 2017 and the festival has grown in leaps and bounds in just one year. The team has been working tirelessly to execute a really diverse, multi sensory experience, with something for everyone at a number of beautiful venues across the island.

A few favourites

January 5, 2018

I love discovering new profiles/websites/blogs/books so I'm starting a fun little bi weekly (or randomly, you know how I roll) feature where I share a little shot of inspiration of a few things that I love.
Some are beautiful, some are inspiring, some are silly, some are thought provoking and they all inspire or excite me in one way or another. 

12 Book Reading Challenge

January 2, 2018

The amazing Adventurous Kate just shared this fantastic 12-Book Reading Challenge for the New Year.

Barbados Local Gift Guide 2017

November 19, 2017

Here's my second instalment of my Barbados Local Gift Guide!

#GivingTuesday Barbados

November 7, 2017

I'm so excited to share a project that I've been working on the last few weeks: GivingTuesday Barbados!

I've been following the international #GivingTuesday campaign for a few years now, and as you may realise, community development and volunteerism are kind of my jam, so joining the GivingTuesday family seemed like a perfect fit. Not only has this been one of the friendliest communities that I've ever been a part of, but the impact of GivingTuesday is incredible and so inspiring. I can't wait to introduce it in Barbados in exactly 3 weeks.

30 until 3-0

November 3, 2017

I'm 30 days away from turning 30 years old, yikes!

Best Beaches in Barbados

October 24, 2017

Fun Fact: Every beach on the island of Barbados, including those that are part of the top resorts, is open to the public!

The beaches on the Western side of the island front the tranquil turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and are favoured for swimming and water sports, while the wild but beautiful eastern side churns with the more turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Although scenic to explore by horseback or jeep, the Eastern beaches are not preferred for swimming, so do be careful! Here are some of my favourite beaches in Barbados: 

Sunshine Blogger Award

October 10, 2017

The adorable Claire Bear nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award a little while back, and it's a really fun way to get to know a little bit more about the person and the motivation behind a blog. The Sunshine Blogger Award highlights bloggers who are 'creative, positive and inspiring' and the idea is that you pass the 'Award' on by nominating another list of bloggers, who in turn answer your questions in a post and then pass it along. Thanks for the nomination Claire! My list of bloggers who I would like to pass this on to is listed below my answers.

Sugar Bay Staycation | Barbados

September 12, 2017

“People say you have to travel the world. Sometimes I think that if you just stay in one place and keep your eyes open, you’re going to see just about all that you can handle.” - Paul Aster. 

Friends of ours convinced us to try out a 'staycation' at Sugar Bay Barbados, a family run, boutique hotel, and we loved it! We came away from the experience totally relaxed and excited to do it again one day.

How You Can Help the Islands You Love by Women Who Live on Rocks

September 11, 2017
Image by Women Who Live on Rocks

Women Who Live On Rocks compiled a great list of ways you can help each of the Caribbean islands effected by Hurricane Irma. You can view her post here.

If you have additional organizations that you think need to be shared, please add them to the original Facebook post that was share (Which you can access here.)

Thank you for putting this together Chrissann, I hope we can continue to assist our neighbours wherever possible!

New newsletter layout!

September 6, 2017

I finally figured out how to customise and tinker with a blog newsletter! For many years this blog used Google Feedburner to send out email updates and let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. I've now updated it to Mailchimp, which is much more user friendly and easy to navigate!