48 Hours in Palma, Mallorca, Spain | Thing to See and Do

Friend of the blog and contributor Peter Brooker, editor of Human Research, has just landed back from a long weekend in Palma. Lucky so-and-so, dodging the English rain as per usual. 

In this article Peter will give you the skinny on where to stay in Palma, restaurants to visit and some tips on things to see and do. 

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Palma, Mallorca, or Majorca for the English-phonetic, is a drop below the luxury of Saint Tropez, but a class above Ibiza. (So I'm told, have been to neither). 

All I can say is that Bilbao was a right-off. I've been in the dog-house ever since for taking my girlfriend to Bilbao, the place with one decent looking building, one inaccessible James Bond location and beyond average unadventurous cuisine. 

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The missus has since revoked my rights to book anything accept short stay car parking at Gatwick. Which was actually harder than it sounded given the immediacy after the BA debacle at Heathrow and reported fire at Victoria. Trains were out. Flights got cancelled/delayed. We really had to walk between the raindrops just to catch this flight. 

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Where to stay in Mallorca

Hotel Tres has it all. It’s a twenty minute cab ride from the airport that will cost you 20 Euros. We stayed for four nights at roughly just over 200 GBP a night. This came with breakfast included, which was decent enough. Though they charged for the coffee which didn't sit well with me. Sure you can get a regular black coffee, but we asked for soya cappuccino and got given a bill. I mean sonofabitch. Is it really that much of a calorie burner? 

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Ok I'm angry, but I would still recommend this hotel. I asked them to recommend restaurants ahead of our arrival and they did so. They also helped me try and get some movie location spots locked down, which was real sweet of them. 

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The room has one of these rolling tables that stretches the entire length of the bed. Genius. Someone is finally listening to me. I'll once again lay out the essentials of what I look for in a hotel room. 

1.   Room to dump stuff. 

2.   A bidet. 

3.   Soft pillows. Medium to soft mattress, queen size minimum. Not to single mattresses wedged together. 

4.   Decent shower pressure. 

5.   Air con that won't give you the lergie. 

6.   A telephone that you don't need a degree in astro-physics to use. (The phone did not work). 

7.   Decent WiFi. 

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The rooftop had something close to an infinity pool. You had a view of the Cathedral opposite. (Shut on a Sunday). Every now and then we saw the waiter, Thomas. We liked Thomas, he was an enterprising young man. 

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Where to eat in Mallorca

The good people at Hotel Tres were able to offer the following recommendations. The hotel is within walking distance of all three restaurants we frequented. Less than 5 minute walk. 

OMBU - Rating: 8/10 decent food, good service. We got a seat outside both times. Best dish? The Corvina ceviche with avocado, kumquat in syrup and kilos. 

KOA - This was our favourite. No outside seating but very tranquil and classical interiors. Best dish? The 
Golden ceviche, ginger sweet potato, seasonal fruits and fried plantain.

Caballito del Mar we tried on the first night and had the black paella. In fairness that paella lasted us for days, but generally this was the most touristy of all restaurants. 

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Just bear in mind that all restaurants will bring out white bread and olives. Which you won't have asked for, and isn't free. But this covers a service charge that most restaurants in London will charge you for regardless. 

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Shops to visit in Mallorca

The Puzzle shop is the most famous. The lady in charge is a lot of fun. She invites you to solve puzzles and there's nothing more satisfying than proving your manliness than cracking the puzzle in under 30 seconds. 

That only happened once. 

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Opposite you'll find the Vilebrequin store. Of course lots of overpriced swim shorts but it's handy to go in and try some on. I now know what size I am should I find some crop up on eBay. Yes I'm sorry, but I'm not spending 250 Euros on a pair of swim shorts. Do you know how much travel writers get paid? 

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Favourite store has to be Typographia. Now here I did a mini splurge and bought 3 t-shirts. The fit and quality is immense and the designs are quirky. They currently stock in Tate Modern, no international shipping which is nuts. So if you see it, you buy it ok? 

Ice creams are consistently good everywhere. Fill your boots. 

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Train Ride to De Soller and Boat Trip to Magaluf

Sadly I can't recommend the company we booked with as they gave us mis-information which nearly led to us missing our boat. However, you'll find plenty of companies online that you can book through. 

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The train ride through the mountains is a very famous feature of the island and you shouldn't pay more than 50 Euros a ticket. There are no toilets on the train, so don't get caught out. The train ride will take you an hour but it's open-window, cool and feels antiquated in a good way. 

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The full day boat ride is also a very popular touristy thing to do. Both beaches you'll reach on the tours are saturated. No space to build a sandcastle. But you can jump off the boat and cool down in the sea. The food is thrown in and is actually quite tasty. 

It's a good way to spend a day if you're running a tight budget. 

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Hop on Hop Off

These run fairly regular outside of the Cathedral. It will cost you 18 euros a ticket. Nice way to kill an hour but you'll learn very little about the city from the commentary. 

I actually dozed off. But don't let that deter you. It's important to take bus tours I think to get a feel for the city. 

Budapest: Things to See and Do | The Ultimate Travel Guide

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Today I'm going to let guest editor Peter Brooker talk more about his recent travels. His last article 48 hours in Bilbao will prove to be a very useful tool for me as I weigh up options for future weekends away. Today he's going to talk about his recent weekend break in Budapest. With some tips, hints, how to budget etc.

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I'd been once before to Budapest. Like most men subjected to a long week working on a production line, rueing missed opportunities and poor life choices,  a weekend reprieve in Budapest was just the antidote.

That was me ten years ago, embarking on a friends stag do that would prove to be one of the most blistering, relentless anarchic weekends of my life. Much like the Kennedy case file, most of the information of what happened that weekend can't be revealed until all parties have effectively, well, died. Let’s just say we lost the hotel deposit before we even got to our room.

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This recent trip as a sober man in his forties with a respectable girlfriend, featured none of that debauchery. Although I did get to see packs of disaffected men on the fringes of being thrown off planes, marauding through the Hungarian capital with lecherous dog-hungry eyes.

I don't think it's an exclusively British thing, but we have a fetishistic nature about us that makes us easier to spot when on holiday.

Where to stay in Budapest?

The Baron Residence Hotel is acutely central in Budapest. Relatively cheap, 3 nights for 282 GBP with breakfast thrown in. Breakfast is bare-bones; hardly the flagship for Budapest cuisine but can tie you over for a few hours.

It's not an Instagram-type hotel. I didn't get one shot inside. But not all hotels were designed for the purpose of showing off. This is classic eastern-European utilitarian style.

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Where to Eat in Budapest?

There are many great Hungarian restaurants on a street called Raday Utca. This is mainly populated by locals and we were recommended this street by the concierge at the hotel.

The ONYX is probably one of the most expensive restaurants, we didn't go there but looked inside and it looked very swish.

The Kacsa Restaurant is quiet and out of the way. Little old school in terms of decor but I want to give them a mention because the gentleman who served us was genuine and well put together.

Anna Cafes are dotted around and is the best place for lemonades and people watching.

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Things to see in Budapest

I'd definitely take a walk up to Liberty Statue. It’s incredibly scenic with plenty of lofty views of the Danube. You don't really get those views in London. Primrose Hill maybe, unless you do the Shard or certain public high rises.

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The National Gallery has some great photography exhibitions. Especially the Fortepan exhibition Every past is my Past. This gallery has pictures mined from clearance sales, discarded photos, most handed down through generations. The owners and subjects are sometimes unidentified. There are currently 111,000 photos in the collection.

Up in the dome you'll also get some awe inspiring shots of the city.

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The Labirintus

So who knew that Dracula was a real person? Vlad the Impaler was a nasty piece of work. He tortured people by shaving the skin of his victims feet, coating the open wounds in salt and had goats lick them.

Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned here in these endless labyrinthian tunnels which is worth a visit, but you'll be pleased to leave.

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Saint Stephens Basilica

The Americans will have you believe the stairs leading up to the dome go on forever. Don't believe a word of it. A modest schlepp will get you to one of the best views overlooking the city.

The exhibitions inside are not modernised or curated in a way that is the least bit interesting. However, the Cathedral is beautiful inside and well worth a look.

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Where to go in Budapest for movie lovers

Budapest is a city utilised my filmmakers for its post-apocalyptic brutalism that is littered within the capital and its surrounding districts. The Stock Exchange Palace for example was used as Harrison Ford's home in Bladerunner 2049.

The Whale Building on the river was used in The Martian and Heroes Square was partly used for opening sequence in Red Heat.

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If you’re a lover of movie memorabilia you can check out Ernst Gallery for eclectic rare movie posters. There is the Pinball Museum which houses the Rocky Pinball machine and you can also have fun spotting 007 number plates on the cars around town. We only saw one but there are plenty of 00's or 'other agents' as I amusingly coined. (Yes the girlfriend rolled her eyes).

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Some last tips

The local currency is HUF and a lot of places only take cash. There are plenty of ATM's dotted around the capital so you shouldn't worry.

The airport is about a 30 GBP Uber ride into the centre of Budapest. It's a very walkable city and we didn't get any transportation when we were there. We covered 50 km in the 3 days we were there by foot, so make sure you bring comfy shoes.

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The Gellert Hotel is an infamous place for thermal spas. We went inside the hotel to look around but we didn't frequent the spas, despite it being highly recommended. The Szabadsag Bridge is opposite and great for INSTA photos as you can climb up a small section.

The city is very chewed up currently as a lot of construction work is going on in a lot of the squares. This could fizzle a romantic weekend away if you're hoping to see Budapest this year.

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Bali Destination Guide: Seminyak - Gili Islands - Canngu - Ubud - Uluwatu

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Today I'm going to give you a brief destination guide and things to do in Bali. On my trip so far I've managed to cover Seminyak, Gili Islands, Canngu, Ubud and Uluwatu.

My thoughts on SEMINYAK

This is the most touristy part of Bali. I flew into the Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar Airport, which is roughly 10k outside of Seminyak.

If you're wondering where to stay in Bali, I spent a couple of nights in the Legian which you can read about on my blog here.

There are plenty of options, mainly a lot of swanky beach clubs on the beach front and they have been done up nice. Clearly there's been a lot of money invested here in Seminyak over the past decade.

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My only reservations about Seminyak is that it feels very disjointed. It's too hot to walk anywhere and the place is very dispersed with bars and beaches sprawled out. Taxi's to and from is the only way to fly in this place. Like most touristy places I find it lacks a certain character, or soul. 

That said, if you like your creature comforts then find the right spot and drop anchor. Albeit in a hotel or bar along the beach. The beaches are long, white and the waves look like something you'd see from the final act of Point Break.

Next stop I ventured 20 minutes up the coast to Canngu. 

What's it like in Canngu?

The vibe is better in Canngu. My kind of place really. You know when you're feeling right at home when you start searching for prices of local real estate. 

I had the privilege of staying in one of the most amazing hostels. It was owned by a Turkish gentleman, a very kind and gentle soul. There were beers in the fridge and you paid it like an honesty box. 

Even on check in I asked does he want me to pay now? He insisted I pay when I was ready and already a bond was formed. I had a private room which cost me no more than £10-£15 a night. 

The hostel was populated by an assortment of wildlife. Cats, dogs, goats and what not. All seemingly sunning themselves on barker loungers like they owned the place. 

As a bonus I found a great barber nearby a decent cross-fit gym and a tattoo parlour. 

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By means of getting around you'll need a moped. Remember to go slow around corners. Ideally you need to be getting used to a moped before you head out here. It's actually easier to go fast than it is to go slow. Going fast on the straights no problem. Slowly negotiating bends in the rain takes more due diligence

Canngu is filled with creative people, artisans. They have the right kind of crowds in this place. And there's more to Canngu than just the beach bars. The food is great, it's very wellness-focused. You'll find plant food restaurants, smoothie bars etc. Also the bars sell all kind of milk for those that are lactose intolerant. 

From there I ventured down to Uluwatu

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I had a press discount stay at the Six Senses in Uluwatu. An incredibly picturesque and romantic cliff face resort. I have written all about my stay in the resort here

Uluwatu is really a surfers paradise. It's quiet not much to do. It's littered with taxis. Like Seminyak its equally dispersed, but less intense. Lets move on to Ubud. 

The jungle with 1000 temples

You heard me. Ubud can only be described as the jungle with 1000 temples. It is one of the most beautiful, serene and quaint places you'll ever visit.

You'll have an orgy of wellness hotels to choose from. You may have heard of this place through the yoga retreats that are rife here. 

Ubud really is one of the best places to visit in Bali. 

The Gili Islands 

Lastly I just want to touch on the Gili Islands. Made up of three islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. If you want to know where the best place to stay on Gili T is then check out my review of Gilifit hostel on the blog

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In Gili Trawangan the nightlife isn't the best for my money. Still there is plenty of fun to be had, fellow travellers converge and it's a chilled atmosphere. One of the most enjoyable must do things in Gili is the snorkeling. You can scuba dive, hang around and do some work if you have to in the sunset bars. Once you're in the sea you're never more than 10 metres away from a turtle. one even photobombed my photo. 

For cafes check out the Banyan cafe, they do the best smoothies and breakfast bowls in Gili T. To get around you'll have to cycle as there are no cars on the island. 

 

Oman | The Places to Stay and Things to See

I spent ten days in Oman and I'll probably chalk this up as one of the bets experiences I've had in my life. I'm dating a classic heliotrope, meaning each year on Boxing Day we migrate somewhere where's sun, leave blighty and it's endearing yet terminally awful weather behind. 

We've had 2 fruitless excursions in the past couple of years. Last year was Cuba, modest sun and a beach rife with semi-dead man of war jelly fish. The year before that was Cyprus, equally mediocre.

This year there was no messing. We went to Oman where the temperatures never dropped below 22 degrees. We had a fully guided tour with Explore Muscat (not affiliated, just wanted to give them a shout) and in this article I want to share some tips and places worth visiting.

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GET A VISA

Yep, we didn't bother. They introduced Visa requirements early last year and now you have to pay a small sum of £30-ish to get in. Only because we only got these last minute we had to pay double to fast track them. Very annoying.

DECENT SUNGLASSES A MUST

The streets are so shiny and reflective out there, that your eyes get no respite from the sun. I brought my Lacoste glasses but they weren't designed for this level of intensity. Of course plenty of tanning lotion and aftercare lotion will be required.

FLIP FLOPS & HIKING SHOES

You'll need to take your flip flops when traversing through the Wadi's. But be sure to pack both because you'll be doing a lot of walking, hiking and trudging through desert dunes. 

MUST SEE's 

THE LOST FOOTBALL PITCH

The Football pitch in the mountains. Firstly the 4x4 ride through the mountains is white knuckle enough. Then out of nowhere a football pitch appears over the crest of a hill. It looks entirely misplaced and abandoned, but the design is quite deliberate. The villages come and play of a late afternoon/evening when the air is cooler and it's beautifully maintained. Again, no tourists! 

THE BIMAR SINKHOLE 

This is where it's good to have a tour guide. We saw a dozen or so drivers making wrong turns, U-Turns; you'd think they were looking for the Holy Grail. The Sat Nav is not exact science out here and it's sometimes best to rely on local knowledge. 

When the Bimah Sinkhole comes into view it's quite jaw dropping. Especially as it's so close from the coast. There will be a few people there but not too many to enjoy your swim should you choose. 

WAHIBA SANDS

You can sleep out in the desert. We stayed in a campsite called the Desert Wonders Camp for just under £90. It was very basic (I don't think we even had access to charge points) but it was perfect for our needs. 

Again the thrill of running down those dunes in that 4X4 was just something else. Imagine your best Alton Towers ride, this experience squashes that like broken biscuits. Be warned the temperature drops massively at night and you'll need a few layers to sleep in. I actually got no sleep that night due to the cold. 

SNAKE GORGE / WADI BANI 

For this you'll need to have some dexterity, some balls, and a guide that can traverse all the slopes and hazards. Our guide Muhammed I coined Wadiman. He even gave me his flip flops halfway through as I had abandoned my gripless Kurt Geigers. 

You can have accidents down in the gorge. In fact, if you Google Snake Gorge you'll come up with 'Snake Gorge Oman' followed by 'Snake Gorge Oman Deaths'. Luckily I only learnt about the horror stories after we had successfully negotiated this beautiful canyon. 

My advice is leave your belongings, get a Go-Pro or a waterproof case for your mobile. It's not Mission Impossible, but not for snowflakes neither. 

FAZAYAH BEACH

As part of our trip to Oman we caught a flight down to Salalah. This is where you'll find the better beaches. We were warned that there is not much else to do in Salalah.

However, I encourage you to make the trip. Either a 12 hour car ride or a short flight. It's the best way to decompress after what could be a vigorous few days in and around Oman. 

But there are many things to see in Salalah. The Frankincense trees are UNESCO protected and only grow in this part of the world. There is a waterfall and some beautiful coastal views. 

Lastly, you can drive down to the Fazayah Beach where you'll find the Raysut II wreck grounded during a cyclone in May 2018. 

I have posted a full guide on my own YouTube site for people wanting to know more. If you have any questions on your upcoming tour of Oman then please get in touch by leaving a comment in one of the videos. 

Blog Post Written by Peter Brooker from Human Research.

How to Pack for a Weekend Getaway or Short Break Away?

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Here we go folks, a couple of tips and hints on how to travel light for that weekend getaway. Whether it's by sea or by futuristic only for secret agent’s teleportation devices, in this article you'll learn how to pack, what to pack, and I'll even put a video tutorial to this article at the bottom of the page.

How much walking will you be doing on this trip?

You have to factor in whether you'll be doing a lot of walking, from the station to the hotel, through the airport etc. My tip - if I think I'm going to be covering some ground I'll need to take something with wheels on. If I'm not burning calories getting from place to place I'll probably opt for a weekender bag.

 

Ok got it, but should I be wearing on this trip? Can I get away with my tracksuit?

Don't be daft, I've taught you better than that. Dress smart and you might get upgraded. Sounds daft but we live in a materialistic world where you get judged on appearances all the time.

For suits I'd avoid linen if you're travelling. I like linen, but it's notorious for getting wrinkles. If I 'm traveling with a suit I'd like to go for something that doesn't wrinkle easily. Mohair is good for that, it has a good elasticity as a fabric it bounces back.

Yes, roll everything, dress shirt, key is to fold the arms in diagonally, cuff the bottom inside out 2-3 inches then roll. Elastic bands aren't always desirable as they can stress the fabric, but I unpack everything as soon as I get to the hotel or wherever so they don't have to suffer too long.

 

What’s the most important thing to remember when packing?

A full hipflask. Haha, only joking. Chargers. I'm always dismayed to discover I've forgotten chargers. I have a little virtual animal farm that needs constant feeding. Cameras, phones, laptops, iPods, headphones, ughh

Remember the gift also. I never like to show up empty handed if I'm visiting or even if I'm going to a meeting etc. A little gift goes a long way so don't forget to think ahead.

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Colours are important... how do you incorporate colour? Socks? Ties? Pocket squares?

I'll normally pack around three shirts, neutral colours and make sure everything is interchangeable. Keep the colours neutral so you can turn 2-3 garments into 9-12 different looks. Not sure the exact numbers, you can tell I'd be no good at Countdown right?

Socks I'm not one to over think the socks, but always pack a few extras if I'm working out.

I like to carry the knitted ties nothing too bilious and maybe one or two pockets squares, I have these here I got in Florence with different designs front and back, sort of a reversible so you'll get more mileage out of these.

 

How much should you bring?

Only bring the essentials. Remember the key is not to try and fill the suitcase. Many people see it as some kind of cryptic puzzle where they have to figure out how to get as much in as possible.

Pack a bag within the bag if you can, I like to in case I see anything I have to get whilst I'm abroad and I'll check it in on the flight home.

 

Can I wear comfy shoes?

Yes, no one will berate you for wearing comfy shoes on a long journey. I like to wear some smart trainers and change into a pair of loafers if I'm driving or flying. These Base London Keel Suede Casual shoes are just the ticket for something like this. 

 

What should you not do - when packing for a weekend getaway?

Don't take the weather with you. When packing don't take the dress watch, the expensive jewellery, just go the everyday elements from your wardrobe.

Things get pinched, luggage gets lost, etc. Also don't take your mental luggage. (Long sniff for profound reverential effect). Haha, be conscious of your mood, your woes, your negativity. There's no need to pack that crap, no one wants that on their doorstep.

My Dream Holiday | Finolhu Maldives

When walking my dog in the mornings is a time that I use to reflect on my life, how are things going? What could I do to improve? When am I going to meet 'the one'? etc. Well, my life at the moment is amazing and I'm the happiest I have been in years - everything is going great with the business Hawkins & Shepherd and my blog carlthompson.co.uk whilst my Instagram is better than I could have ever imagined. Saying that. During these walks my one favourite thought is 'What would I do if I won the lottery'! I mean, some morning walks I've 'won' £3million, £10million, £1million, £100million or 'just' £5,000...every single scenario has been thought through at some point! 

Regardless of how much I win, the first thing I would do is go on an epic holiday and this place, Finolhu is just that - a fantasy, luxurious and in many cases unobtainable; but we can dream, right? And for me that is a magic of not only Finolhu but the Maldives in general.

FORGET ARTISTS AND POETS: NEW MALDIVES HOTSPOT FINOLHU HAS ITS OWN RESIDENT ACROBATS! Glamorous new retro-chic resort delights guests with acrobats, stilt walkers and ‘mermaids’ from Area 51.

Continuing its shake-up of the Maldives travel scene, new luxury resort disruptor Finolhu has teamed up with pioneering performance creatives Area 51 for unique residency of acrobats, mermaids and stilt walkers - rebooting the increasingly stale artists-in-residence concept for a new generation of Maldives luxplorers and gypset travellers.

One of the world’s most creative entertainment companies, Area 51 is renowned for its spectacular shows, dazzling revelers with its jaw-dropping performances at many of the biggest festivals and clubs on the planet, from Glastonbury and Bestival to Hed Kandi in Ibiza. After sprinkling its inimitable stardust over Finolhu’s sensational three-day launch extravaganza in June, Area 51 dispatched a trio of its premier performance artists to establish a permanent base at Finolhu. Replete with a unique wardrobe of custom costumes, the Area 51 performers have been wowing guests in a carousel of guises ever since, from stilt walkers and acrobats to fire dancers and even a mermaid!

Opened in June 2016, Finolhu is a refreshing, retro-inspired new retreat in Baa Atoll, bringing a buzzy burst of fun, world-class entertainment and toes-in-the-sand relaxation to fun-loving beach-erati. Taking an unexpected cue from the halcyon days of the classic glamorous getaway, Finolhu recalls the heady allure of vintage beach vacations with its classic design, retro touches and laid-back ambiance.  Set in a UNESCO Biosphere reserve, and easily accessible via the domestic Baa Atoll airport or a 30-minutes seaplane ride from Malé, Finolhu has all the hallmarks of paradise. Translucent waters, 1.8km long white-sand bank and perma-clear skies aside, what really sets it apart from its Maldivian competitors is its effortlessly stylish surrounds and beach clubby-ness.

The ultimate island experience for chic couples, fun-loving families and groups of friends alike, Finolhu’s 125 villas come on the ocean, the lagoon or by the beach, with or without pool, and are outfitted with Instagram-worthy interiors and vintage-style Marshall speakers, while bathrooms and spa facilities are stocked with all-natural, organic products from Neal’s Yard Remedies.

With the chilled-out Baa Baa Beach Club at its heart, Finolhu offers laid-back yet elegant dining options, from lazy afternoon grazing at the poolside Baa Baa; a trip across the lagoon to the Fish & Crab Shack, halfway along Finolhu’s stunning 1.8km sandbar; or the theatrical Kanusan, where an open kitchen puts modern Cantonese favourites such as Mandarin roasted duck and Larb Gai at centre stage. Milk Bar is a tempting old-school ‘tuck shop’ brimming with guilt-free treats, while the boutique-style Baahaa Grill restaurant celebrates the legendary spice blends of pre-Moorish North Africa, where a town’s finest spice sellers were as famous as its rulers.

As night falls, playtime begins, with the magnetic two-storey Baa Baa Beach Club Bar inviting guests to step back in time and discover new fun and games. Nightly foodie showcases are matched with world-class wines; Cinema Retro screens classic movies and live international sports action; and gamers can hit the bar’s old school arcade for classic Pinball or PacMan action. Baa Baa Beach Club keeps things fresh with a nightly, weekly and monthly entertainment programme, including the weekly Retro Pool Party, the monthly Full Moon Tribal sandbar party… and, just four times per year, vibe-defining “Finolhu Blhu” events – exclusive one-off extravaganzas featuring appearances from the world’s coolest performers and hottest DJs.

Virgin Holidays (www.virginholidays.co.uk, 0344 557 3859) offers seven nights at Finolhu, Maldives from £2,997 per person, including scheduled Qatar Airways flights from London Heathrow, ‘Full Board Plus’ accommodation and seaplane transfers, as well as US€1000 resort credit per room per stay.

Price based on two adults sharing a Lagoon Villa, including taxes, based on 28 November 2016 departure. ‘Full Board Plus’ includes breakfast in Baa Baa Beach Club, and lunch and dinner in any of the resort dining outlets (including a selection of soft drinks, beer and wine by the glass; some menu items may carry a supplement and some outlets may require reservations in the evenings).

               Web: www.finolhu.mv      Twitter: @finolhumv      Instagram: finolhumaldives

 

 

Sunday Somewhere = My Sunglasses Everywhere

Head over to Sunday Somewhere on Instagram and you'll find a plethora of celebrities wearing their frames or beautiful people wearing beautiful sunglasses in beautiful locations around the world. Going against this trend, I decided to take their awesome 'Valentine-Tea' round sunglasses around the grey colours of London.

I do feel like our country is a bit of a joke for the majority of the international community right now, firstly due to BREXIT but secondly after last night's defeat to Iceland in the European Football Championships. without going into too much detail, its a gloomy time especially in our capital city who overwhelmingly voted remain. So today I'm going to take my Sunday Somewhere sunglasses and book a holiday somewhere hot.

As well as some other amazing influencers, we won this FEELSxSUNDAYSOMEWHERE brand ambassador collaboration with Sunday Somewhere on the FEELS app, you can download it yourselves and enter into competitions to work with some of the largest fashion brands globally. 

The above shoot was taken by Ella H as we took a wonder around the Embankment/Westminster area. Here I'm wearing a redish, pinkish, creamish...kind of like a rhubarb custard sweet coloured knitted jumper by M.Studio - a brand designed in Paris by menlook.com. The jeans are a summer light-wash style, by ASOS. My rose-gold slimline watch is from Paul Smith. Finally I'm wearing a pair of Happy Socks with Jim Rickey trainers. You can shop all the items at the bottom of this post.

The above shot was from one of my previous shoots around London with Rebecca Spencer which I wanted to repost because it shoes the sunglasses frames in such an amazing angle.

The above image by Kylie Eyra was taken as part of my festival essentials post.

In the above shoot, I'm actually on the way into the office, so no clue why I'm smiling so much! It's taken by Rebecca Spencer once again and I'm wearing all Hawkins & Shepherd formal menswear.

AND FINALLY MY FAVOURITE SHOT OF THEM ALL....

 

SHOP MY FAVOURITE FRAMES

SHOP THE LOOKS

Photography by Ella H, Kylie Eyra & Rebecca Spencer 

MY TOP TRAVEL DESTINATIONS OF 2016

Every year without fail since I was about 26 after going through relationship drama after relationship drama – I have said to myself that 2006, 2007, 2008 etc up to now 2016 “Is going to be my year”. Forever the optimist hey. Well recently (actually this morning during breakfast!) I have realised that I put way too much pressure on myself to be the one to not only make my life perfect but also those around me and by doing so may be having the opposite effect and pushing people away. So for this year, I’m going to try something new and see where it goes…”2016 isn’t going to be my year” – someone else can have it, as frankly it’s a burden that I’m not willing to carry anymore!

Be more carefree in 2016 and with that comes more holidays, more relaxing times – so here are my top holiday destinations for 2016.

Cuba, Havana

Cuba has been on my to-do-list for a few years now. I’ve been fascinated by the history of Old Havana and the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean coast.

Mexico, Tulum

I can’t remember who first mentioned Tulum as a holiday destination, but I’m glad they did because I’m WAY too old for Cancun and this is its older better looking brother. Beautiful beaches and traditional Mexican food make this a winning destination.

Holland, Amsterdam

I missed out on two trips to Amsterdam last year so I feel I’m owed one this year! No stag do, no booze cruise but instead I want to spend time exploring this beautiful city that I have only ever seen glimpses of through very hungover eyes.

Denmark, Copenhagen

I feel this would be one of those destinations that I’ll book last minute when I’m down and in need of something to look forward to. Not far from London and I have no idea what to expect – I’ll have to go to find out!

Greece, Santorini

Guaranteed good weather, which is a must for us Brits Abroad! Stunning scenery, beautiful white buildings (perfect for any fashion blogger to take photos against!) and halloumi – tick tick tick.

Venezuela, Los Roques

I very much doubt I will manage to go back here this year but would love to. When I think of the best beaches I have ever been to, it’s Los Roques. Secluded, white untouched sand and where the local fisherman would catch your lobster that morning to have for lunch. Just google it and you’ll see why I love this place SO much. I couples dream…its paradise.

BLUEMINT BEACHWEAR

If Bluemint reminds you of an actual blue mint or maybe a blue pill that helps the aged, then you need to get yourselves onto Bluemint.com and check out their luxury beachwear - then and only then will the term Bluemint be synonymous to beachwear.

I have been a customer of Bluemint for around a year now and have three pairs of their print swimming shorts, the ones in the pictures are the latest to my collection. The previous two pairs have been pastel in colour, which is generally what I prefer, as pastel colours go better with my beach tanned body! So this time, I wanted something that would be a bit more out there, a bit garish, a statement piece and what better than pinks, purples and floral prints!

There is so much choice out there when choosing a pair of trunks for your next beach holiday and in fact it is probably the most important thing to pack, much like bikinis for girls. So it is important to get the perfect pair for you.

When shopping around for this summers must have beach shorts, my main objectives were to find a pair of high quality, unique prints, fitted not baggy, did not cost the world, quality inner lining and ones that weren't too long or too short. In Bluemint, I found just this.

Bluemint is inspired from real life experiences, different lifestyles, art, travel and photography.
The Bluemint brand is an indispensable part of life extending from the beach to the city and you'll find this in their collection from shorts to shirts. Bluemint’s expertise in fabric and design its attention to colour and outstanding quality brings together one of the world’s best beachwear brands to be worn in style and comfort for many years to come. Each collection is created to carry your own style from the beach into summer. Thanks to its durability it can be worn for years to come, creating your own fashion each season.

 

MY FAVOURITE BLUEMINT PRODUCTS

SHOP THE LOOK

Thanks for reading, Carl