Life is a Beach But Not With Calzedonia

Life is a Beach But Not With Calzedonia

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I love going to the beach and swimming in the pool and there is nothing better than doing this with a large group of friends. However, wherever there is hot weather, there is also the dreaded need to expose oneself – not completely (of course not!), but the need to strip down to a bathing suit, which lets face it, after being wrapped up all year long in long coats and jumpers feels pretty much the same as doing the Full Monty in front of your coolest of friends.

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So the group arrives at the sea shore, and I’ve now spent 10 minutes arranging, re-arranging, laying out and crumpling up my towel and I fear that I can no longer put the moment off. The button comes undone, I take one long last look around and try to pull my shorts off without pulling everything else down with it and before anyone else can see that I have done so. The pre-season diet didn’t really work out, so removing the shorts, despite my best efforts at subtlety and elegance, is proving difficult and I try to ignore the looks as I drop to the floor and writhe around like a snake trying to shed its second skin.

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So the group has got over my drop and has resumed normal conversation, but I now face removing the top. Its like pulling off a plaster, I do it with one quick tug and then, faster than you can say Bob’s Your Uncle, I hit the deck again and calmly assume my back to the sun sunbathing position. I am safe, until I have to venture down to the sea to do a wee (STOP JUDGING ME! You know you all do it too!!…) I really need to buy a new swimming costume I mused and the thought of this simply filled me with dread…

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A decent swimming costume is hard to find. I feel that bikini fashions tend to focus more on the esthetic look of the garment instead of what they look like when worn and fitted to the body of normal people.  My predicament is always the following: if I’m thin then so is the rest of me, so really too little pieces of fabric aren’t going to cut it, and if I’m a bit chub then non alterable straps feel less like viscose and more like cable ties. For this reason I tend to focus on the style that suits me rather than following the latest trends and what looks good on the fashionistas.

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Having set off on a bikini shopping mission with a heavy heart and little expectations, it was really a breath of fresh air to walk into Calzedonia and actually be spoilt for choice (I am not being paid to say this, this really happened). They had a real variety of models, for all shapes and sizes, with lots of the straps and ties which were alterable. After trying a few on, I opted for lovely frilly number with adjustable back and neck ties.  So hard is finding a decent bikini that I returned and bought the same model in a different color. I think that warm countries are a great place to buy swim wear as women wear them more often and are therefore the stores are more realistic with women’s needs – they will need to wear them often in front of friends, family friends etc. so it is no good if they don’t fit properly. Swimwear over here is held to the same standards as every day clothing.

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Having bought a decent bikini my beach experience altered completely. The shorts now came off quicker than a ball off Rodger Federer’s racquet and I wore the bikini as comfortable as a pair of sweats. I had a wonderful time and really felt care free, especially at the beach club. I went out on a jet ski for the first time in my life and absolutely loved it! Here are some of my pictures of my wonderful time in Motril (Granada’s closest beach). I hope you like them!:)

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I really like the look of bright bikinis and I wore these ones with a variety of sarongs and my Primark Kimono which proved great for when I wanted to cover up a bit more. I would also recommend open shawls and draped sarongs as these are a great way to feel comfortable and to hide any wobbly love handles and side bits…

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Lilac Bikini – CALZEDONIA

Pastel Serong – Tanzania Africa Market

Black and silver studded earrings  – BVGALRI

Turquoise Bracelet – Marrakesh souks

White slip ons – PRIMARK

Yellow Neon  Bikini – CALZEDONI

Kimono – Primark

Blue Mirrored Lense Sunglasses – RAY BAN

White shorts – BAY

Homies T-shirt – ALI EXPRESS

A trip to Playas del Este

A trip to Playas del Este

IMG_6695Culture, culture, culture, museums and buildings. If you want to go to the Caribbean though you will want at least a few days at the beach! Perhaps Havana isn’t the right place for us to go? Perhaps an all inclusive resort would be better to get the sun and enjoy the sea!? Don’t be fooled, Havana really does have the best of both worlds!

IMG_6726Havana’s sea is rocky and there is no way you will be able to swim off the Malecon. Instead, take an air-conditioned public coach from Plaza Central to Playas del Este. The  coach comes every half an hour and the journey last approximately 15 minutes. There are different stops at numerous different beaches. Some are more lively with musicians and bars, others very secluded. IMG_6739

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We opted for the more picturesque beach called Playa Santa Maria del Mar. Don’t forget to keep your ticket that cost 3 CUC because it is also a valid return. Once you have had enough tanning, just go to the other side of the road and the coach will come passed and take you back to the centre of Havana. See! I told you, no need for a resort! IMG_6802  IMG_6753

Playa Santa Maria del Mar was beautiful. The fine granules of sand were white and made up of tiny little shells. Coconuts lay washed ashore. A little hut served fresh fish and food in front of the sea. We were allowed to take the tables and chairs and place them wherever we wanted to eat, closer to the water or further away. The meal cost next to nothing and was delicious. I had a mojito which I had to chuck into the sand because it was throat burningly strong and it was here that I had my first fresh water coconut.

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It started to cloud over, so around 4pm we walked 5 minutes back to the road where the coach had dropped us off and waited with the others. Soon enough the coach arrived and there we were back in the heart of old Havana. We walked down to the Malecon and watched a magical sunset. Paradise beach, a stones throw from a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

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Next stop…Punta Cana

Next stop…Punta Cana

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The airport is built in the traditional style, thatched buildings with no glass or windows. When it rains, an elaborate system or points and overhangs channel the water down to the ground.The palm trees swayed and the sun warmed us. Welcome to the Caribbean! Our journey had been long, more than 24 hours, with three stop overs, delays, compensation vouchers and finally although we had arrived, our bags had not. Somehow however, this was all forgotten as the warm sun kissed our faces and we disembarked from the plane.

The hotel was magnificent. After driving through tropical gardens, we pulled up in front of the hotel. Don’t forget to book your taxi from and to the airport through a local company like we did. Email and talk prices with jennymelob@hotmail.com  for a local service, at more than two thirds off the hotel price.The staff were awaiting our arrival. The dark black wood sparkled, inner fountains trickled away relaxingly. We were whisked into the VIP lounge, where our coconut bracelets were sealed around our wrists. This gave us access to all the seven restaurants, the pool, the spa, all the on site bars, sports facilities…Our week would clearly be very busy.

The campus was huge. I personally loved the walk through the tropical gardens, passed the white buildings housing. Our suite was on the sea front, it was paradise and everything felt very safe.

The perks of jet lag – after room service breakfast, I popped onto the beach to capture the sunrise.

The hotel at night turned into a fairy wonderland, with lights, music and performances.

If you are not planning on spending most of your time in an all inclusive resort, then Punta Cana isn’t the place to go. The activities offered, although enjoyable are very much for tourists. We chose to do the tour of the surrounding countryside in a motorized quad-bike/buggy. The fun part was driving through muddy, pot holed roads, and watching others and ourselves get soaked in mud! Yes, it was that sort of trip! If you don’t like dirt, avoid this one, or else opt for the VIP Buggy like we did, and come out relatively clean – i.e. you won’t have to throw your clothes away on return to the hotel.

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The trip to the plantation, although interesting, was fairly staged, and had clearly been built for the purpose of the tour. I was disappointed, as I had done a similar tour in Cuba which had been far more authentic, interesting and where we had visited an actual working farm. The stop off for the swim in the cave was short and lots of time was spent waiting and on sales.  The surrounding towns and countryside very poor. I hope that some of the money that was spent on the coffee, hot chocolate and flavored cigars managed to make its way to the children and local school as promised. The Dominicans had tried their best to show us the region, and what we had seen was very beautiful, but it just seemed that there just wasn’t a lot for them to work with. Needless to say the final stop, Macau Beach, was my favorite part, and very beautiful. The whole trip was really made 100% better by the great Dominican guides humor, fun, laughter and interesting information about the island and its people.