#nomakeupselfies in The Nation

March 29, 2014
The local #nomakeupselfie campaign was featured in today's Saturday Sun! We have until April 4th to spread the word & raise as much as possible for the Barbados Cancer Society, so keep snapping those selfies!

Let's talk about Boobs.

March 27, 2014
Selfies aint her thing, so when my friend Marta of Bombshell Health was nominated to take one for the #nomakeupselfie campaign, she decided to share some breast cancer facts instead, alongside a handy breast self-examination card to help ladies get acquainted with their ladies. 

According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization. Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. The damaged cells can invade surrounding tissue, but with early detection and treatment, most people continue a normal life. Cancer remains the second leading cause of death among women, however, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part to better due to screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.

In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part to better due to screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.

Selfies, Breast Cancer Awareness & LIME Barbados

March 25, 2014
It's time to snap your best selfie!

We need your help with a breast cancer awareness campaign that's kicking off in Barbados this week, in aid of the Barbados Cancer Society. 

What is this all about?
The #nomakeupselfie started trending throughout social media in the UK on Tuesday as women posted pictures of themselves without make-up on Twitter and Facebook, and urged their friends to do the same.
Cancer awareness became the theme, selfie posters pledged donations to cancer charities and Cancer Research UK set up a text number to make donating even easier.
But the cancer charity did not kick-start the trend - it grew organically, making a huge impact on social media and getting attention in national newspapers and on radio and TV news. To date, the campaign has raised over 2 million pounds for Cancer Research UK!
How can Bajans get involved?
We're bringing #nomakeupselfie to Barbados! LIME has come on board and is offering a $5 shortcode (8690) for all LIME customers. Each text donates the entire $5 to the Barbados Cancer Society. This offer is only available to LIME customers between now and April 4th, but that doesn't mean we can't all do our part to get others involved! Don't forget, guys love a good selfie as much as the ladies do, so be sure to get them to join in the fun!
What do I need to do?
1. Text "Bare Beauty" to 8690. Your LIME account will be charged $5.00 - whether postpaid or pre paid. Here's a step by step guide on how to send this text. No LIME? No problem. Just ask a friend with a LIME account to send a text on your behalf! 
2. Take a photo of yourself (a 'selfie') with no make up, anywhere, anyhow. You can be as silly, serious and creative as you'd like! Share this on any platform you'd like: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, E-mail, using the #nomakeupselfie and #barebeauty. Here are some tips on taking a good selfie.
3. Nominate and tag 5 friends to do the same on social media and spread the word!
4. Remember to include the shortcode in your message on social media, so that everyone knows how they can get involved in the fun!
5. Send this email to any person, organisation or company who you think would like to get involved in the cause. The possibilities are endless, so let's try our best to raise as much money as possible before April 4th!
You can get in touch with me via my Facebook Page if you have any questions.
More Info:

Practise what you preach: An exciting #nomakeupselfie follow up

March 24, 2014

Friday morning started out quite strangely for me. I did a post about the #nomakeupselfie campaign on Facebook and my post prompted quite a lot of discussion amongst my friends throughout different social media platforms, both positive and negative. Some people messaged me privately saying that they agreed with what I was getting at, whilst others told me I came across as quite dismissive of those who were trying to do something good by posting selfies. Feedback and criticism comes with the blogging territory, and I'm always grateful for it because it's an ongoing process for me. 

Tropicana Sunday

March 23, 2014


March 22, 2014

The blog got a much needed makeover today, thanks to a pre made template I found on Etsy. I've been putting off the 'construction' of this space for too long now and I just couldn't stand the sight of my blog anymore, so something had to be done quickly.  It still took quite a bit of HTML tweaking and tinkering though, and it's still not quite what I wanted, but it's always going to be a work in progress! What do you think of the new look?

I can't believe I spent my Saturday afternoon blogging when my girlfriends were outside tanning....my nerdyness has sunk to a new level.

I take comfort in knowing I'll make up for it by spending the entire day on the beach tomorrow instead #paradiseproblems


March 21, 2014

I've been nominated to take part in the viral #nomakeupselfie campaign to raise breast cancer awareness but I'm not sure how I feel about it. The hashtag wasn't started by a cancer charity, and nobody can quite pintpoint the link between a #nomakeupselfie and cancer. It's a very organic, grassroots campaign that started on Tuesday and charities in the field have been quick to jump on board the trend. A Cancer Research UK staff member posted a makup-free photo with the message "the campaign isn't ours but every £ helps", holding up instructions on how to donate, and other charities followed suit. The hashtag #nomakeupselfie has now been used 51,000 times on Twitter and raised over £1 million for Cancer Research UK. This is how it works: You take a photo of yourself (a.k.a a 'selfie') and you post it on your social media platform of choice. You 'nominate' friends to do the same by tagging them in your post, and they then take a photo and tag their friends in it. This 'chain letter' structure has aided the campaign in spreading its net so widely. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are blowing up with these images of women who have taken the plunge to expose their naked faces on the internet. A lot of people, including a host of celebrities, are posting links to their favourite cancer charities along with their photos. As a woman, I find it worrying that daring to go 'bare' is such a big deal. If women not wearing make up is deemed as brave, what does that say about society today? Don't get me wrong, it’s great to see so many people getting involved to help raise cancer awareness amongst their friends and family, but I feel like a lot of us are missing the point if we don't donate to a charity as well as post the selfie. So for those of us in Barbados who can't text Cancer Research UK, I suggest you check out the Barbados Cancer Society & related pages Champions In Pink,The Little Pink Gift Foundation, The Gift Foundation &BCS-Movember to see how you can donate locally.

Carnival Chronicles: {Day 3} DDI & Project W

March 13, 2014

'DDI' was hands down, one of the best days of our trip.  

Note: 'DDI' - Down Di Islands (pronounced “dong di islands”) refers to islands off the North West coast of Trinidad. Many of these islands have beach houses on them and Trinis usually go DDI on their own boats on weekends and vacations. 

We got up pretty early on Saturday morning, in a bid to beat the traffic leaving Port of Spain that day. (Notice I said 'in a bid', because the reality was that 4 girls getting ready with one bathroom meant we weren't ever leaving the house on time) 2.5 hours later, and we were inching our way around the Savannah, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. We were trying to make our way to meet the boat that would take us DDI.

Unbeknownst to me, Kiddies Carnival was taking place that day and was the main reason for the traffic around the Savannah. Some of the cutest little munchkins walked by wearing extravagant costumes that were almost twice their size, and others were being dragged by their mothers who seemed more excited about it than the kids.  In hindsight, I wish I had known about this so that we could have ventured to the stadium a bit earlier than morning to take photos of this spectacle.

We finally raced out of town and made it just in time to meet Christina's family on their beautiful boat 'Trous d'Or' at the boat yard.  In my mind, there's nothing more relaxing than being on a  boat, and the stresses of traffic & rushing to get there melted away as we sped off out of the careenage. The water isn't as clear as it is in Barbados, but the coastal scenery was beautiful.

Not going to lie, I realllyyyyyyy wish we had this kind of boating culture in Barbados. We have a different kind of boating culture of course, but I love the fact that you can island hop in Trinidad, moore off in a bay somewhere and park up next to other boats. That's exactly what we did 15 mins later as we made our way to the fete spot and tried to figure out the most strategic spot to drop anchor. The concept for the DDI fete is simple: First boat to arrive picks a spot in the middle, drops anchor and every other boat simply ties off next to it, forming a long line. Everyone is free to roam the boats, hopping from one to the other and its a huge lime. If you're the first boat though, you're going to be in a pickle later on when you want to leave because you're going to be attached to so many boats. We waited a little while until a line had formed, and cleverly plonked ourselves 'across' from everyone else, with a dinghy inbetween to connect us. There was no way I was swimming in that water though; it was wayyyyyyy too 'dark' for my liking. I'm spoilt, I know. #Paradiseproblems

What followed as a day of drinking, liming and dancing across the various boats. Trinis love a party and this was no exception. You know the inter island rivalry I mentioned in my previous posts? There wasn't any hint of that here. Even as a large group of 'foreign' girls, people were so incredibly welcoming and warm, and I was introduced to a whole new bunch of friendly people who I had never even seen before. Everyone was in high spirits about the coming days, shots were flowing, music blaring.  It was a unique 'Trini" experience and I loved every second of it. 

The chaos and energy of the evening disappeared suddenly as the sun set over the hills though, and the boats were gone as quickly as a flash mob. I couldn't wrap my head around the speed at which everything happened; it was over too soon! Christina, J and I were on another boat when we saw Trous d'Or backing away, so we had no choice but to jump into the 'dark', gross water and swim. I nearly threw a fit (I HATE dark water!) and J was laughing his head off at me. We hopped back on to our boat, only to continue drinking and dancing on our way back to the mainland. It was a sloppy, soggy end to an awesome day.

We had to get the boat back to the dockyard before it got too late and we were reminded to take a nap before Project W later that night. We sat in traffic for about 2 hours on our way back, grabbed some food and our alarms were set before we passed out in bed.

Waking up at 2am for a party isn't fun, but luckily we got a second wind as we were packing our coolers for the wet fete. We thought we knew where we were going, but we got lost in downtown Port of Spain and realised the errors of our ways. We bumped into a seedy looking character at the gas station who offered to show us where the fete was. We were apprehensive of course, but our cloudy brains weren't functioning properly at this time in the morning, so we agreed to follow him to the party. Luckily, he turned out to be another friendly Trini (and not a psychopath) and lead us straight to the party. 

My understanding of a 'wet fete' is more like a foam party than someone standing over you spraying water out of a fire hose, but that's exactly what it was. The party was set in a school yard, with two water trucks parked on either side of the allocated dance floor area. We got there around 3am, so it was pitch dark when we first arrived. Once the sun started rising, they turned on the water and soaked everyone to bone. It was FREEZING and the only solution was to dance your ass off to keep warm. Not ideal, but the concept was pretty cool and the music was good too. The highlight of this fete was my introduction to shark & bake....
Having said that, Bunji Garlan was supposed to perform at this party and he never showed up. He had some of the best songs this year, so it was a hard blow to all of us when we realised he wasn't coming by 8am. At that point we were all exhausted, frozen and resembling drowned rats, so we rounded the troops and headed home. 

When we got home, we realized that one of us had unlatched the bolt on the door, which had locked automatically when we shut the door behind us. This would have been OK if we had a key for this lock, but it was hardly ever used, so the key had gone missing ages ago so we were told to use the main lock. At 8am this didn't seem like a big deal though, as Christina climbed across the balcony (on the 3rd floor!) to see if she could squeeze through the bars. Her head was too big (surprise!) and so we decided to try the next best option:

"Just kick down the door Justin!"

As the lone male amongst 4 drunken girls, it was only obvious that J would be responsible for kicking down the door in our time of need. A look of sheer determination crossed his drunken face, as he steadied himself to give the door his best judo kick.

"Maybe we should just call Nichola actually, she has a spare key."

Our eureka moment came just in time too, as we realised J may have hurt himself trying to kick down the door and wouldn't be able to play Carnival. We applauded our sensible decision and all sat down outside of the door as Christina called her Aunt Nichola.

This post is dedicated to Nichola, who left her cosy bed, drove half an hour and arrived to find 5 drunken fools passed out on the floor (Apparently J woke to let her know that he was 'protecting' the girls) She did all of this with a smile too, and gave us lots of stick about abandoning our brilliant idea to break down the door. Thank you Nichola, for putting up with us and saving the day with your spare key.

You can catch up on my previous Carnival Chronicles posts here:

Passports, Port of Spain & a Pan yard | Trinidad

March 12, 2014

Part 2 of my Carnival Chronicles series.

I'm not going to bore you with all of the details of my day Friday because it started with a passport renewal appointment at the Dutch Embassy. I don't know why I thought it was a brilliant idea to squeeze this in during my trip, but I did and I regretted it the moment I woke up with a killer hangover and spent an hour navigating the one way streets down town Port of Spain. It also didn't help that my passport photos weren't accepted and I had to get back in the car and find my way to a studio to have new photos done, sans make up and feeling like death. It was quite the adventure, especially since I had no working phone and traffic was crazy thanks to everyone starting their weekends early...

The plus side to this early morning chaos was that I could explore a bit of the city by myself. Port of Spain is an eclectic mix of old and new; colonial buildings standing next to high rise office buildings, hustle and bustle everywhere. It's a unique 'urban Caribbean' atmosphere that I've never experienced before. My favourite area is definitely the Queen's Park Savannah, it's a beautiful, open green space that acts as a perfect point of reference for a clueless tourist like me. It reminded me of a good book I read a while ago called 'The white woman on the green bicycle', where the author recalls Trinidad in the 1950's in vivid detail and talks about the political rallies at the Savannah.

Still no news about my suitcase at this point, even though I spent hours frantically trying to reach someone at LIAT. Late that afternoon, I finally got through to a human being and was put on hold, only to be told that my bag was not one of the selected 8 that were brought over from St.Vincent that day (8 out of 50+ forgotten bags!) I didn't see the point of complaining, but I can imagine they got an earful from the female passengers who weren't as lucky as I was with great housemates whose clothes I could borrow. Depriving a girl of a suitcase on Carnival weekend is just plain mean.They told me it wasn't looking hopeful either, as every flight was fully booked until Sunday.

The highlight of the day was going to a 'pan yard' after dinner with a group of friends. We walked down to the end of a narrow street and followed the sound of 60+ steel pans playing in unison. 

Anyone who's ever heard a steelpan orchestra knows how amazing it is! We sipped on beers, limed and I had my first taste of Trini corn soup :) We were told that this was one of the smaller yards, so next time I'd like to check out the others as well.

As Christina's aunt joined the group, she casually mentioned that she had my suitcase from LIAT. I thought she was joking (especially after the fiasco that afternoon) but it turns out they contacted her when they were delivering the suitcase that evening. I had written down about 5 contacts in Trinidad whom they could call when delivering my suitcase, and she was lucky number 5! As you can imagine, I was both relieved and saddened by the prospect of wearing my own clothes again. I was starting to get used to being styled and dressed for every outing....