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A Day Exploring St Lucia & Eating (Cocoa Plantation, Orlando’s & Rainforest Hideaway Lionfish)

Sitting here in Soho looking out at the rain and surrounded by buzzy media types on their phones, tablets and what not, it is hard to believe that this time last week I was in the Caribbean and my biggest problem was being stalked by mosquitos. I love going away, but I also love coming home, and I don’t mind the rain. An Irish person with an issue with the rain, might as well have an issue with the sky, blades of grass, cows that moo, and anything else everyday and not extreme.

It rained in St Lucia too. Quite a bit. Lush misty rain that waters the cocoa trees, the giant rainforest, towering palms, gorgeous eclectic flowers, the vivid greenery, and the occasional boa constrictor (true). We drove along the coast and into the rainforest along windy steep roads dotted with small villages, seashores, luxury resorts and finally, our destination, a cocoa plantation. Rabot Estate is owned and run by Hotel Chocolat in the UK, but it is run entirely by St Lucian staff, and supports St Lucian cocoa farmers, producing a single estate cocoa for production in the UK (they are building a factory in St Lucia now too).

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The Atlantic Here & There: Ireland, Antigua & St Lucia

Caribbean sunset from St James, Morgan Bay (St Lucia)

Caribbean sunset from St James, Morgan Bay (St Lucia)

When we last spoke I was procrastinating, as I often do. Making homemade peanut butter for a supposed quick dish (it was still quick), but you know, what I really should have been doing was my laundry. I was set to fly to the Caribbean the next day and I had nothing clean to pack. At least very little that would be suitable for the heat.

Now, cooking is my jam. Any other domestic things, not so much. I would drive to Edinburgh to buy a packet of crisps to avoid a stint of spring cleaning (I can’t even drive, and I still would). To cut quickly to the end, I put my suitcase on the British Airways scales at Gatwick and the hostess, surprised, commented, only 12kg? You must be hoping for warm weather! I thought: RUBBISH, I completely forgot that extra load of washing that I had hung up to dry.

So here I am in a mish mash of razzle dazzle pinks, greys and yellows, writing to you from my balcony at dusk on the charming island of Antigua. In very funny clothes. A chill is descending as the sun sets, and I quite like that. The Caribbean winter is my perfect temperature range, rarely climbing over 30 degrees, and mostly in the mid 20s, almost always with a gentle breeze.

If you were to ask what my favourite ocean was – and a bizarre question it is, so I wouldn’t encourage it – [Read more]