All posts by Jules

Things to Do at Jakes Hotel, Treasure Beach

Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa is a Caribbean boho-chic resort on Jamaica’s low key south coast. Despite it’s laid back appeal there is plenty to keep you occupied on the main Jakes property, all presented in Jakes signature style. Everything on site, from the pool, to the bar, to the spa has been designed in a non-intrusive, artsy cool way. If you are looking for an authentic place to stay in Jamaica, with first class dining and plenty of things to do Jakes may just have it all?

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Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa – The Rooms

It is easy see why people fall in love with Jakes Hotel, where the vibes are easy-going and there is a room to suit your every need. During our three night stay we fell for the charms of the ‘Caribbean Boho-Chic’ south coast resort and I would definitely go back given the chance.

Continue reading Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa – The Rooms

Jakes Hotel Review – Arrival and Coral Room

 

Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa is probably the most talked about place to stay in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. The quintessential bohemian hang-out on the untouched south coast that has grown organically over the last two plus decades as an antithesis to the all-inclusive hotels huddled on the north coast. With a  three night mini break on the very near horizon I seized the opportunity to make a reservation at the hip Treasure Beach hotel to see what all the fuss was about and explore the area.

Continue reading Jakes Hotel Review – Arrival and Coral Room

Breakfast at Smurfs Café in Treasure Beach

If you are in the vicinity of Treasure Beach you need to find your way to Smurfs Café & Sports Bar. A Treasure Beach institution, this unassuming ‘Café’ has a roomy shaded seating area at the back and the host Miss Dawn serves the BEST BREAKFAST EVER!

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Welcome to Treasure Beach and the South Coast – Saint Elizabeth

Welcome to Treasure Beach – Saint Elizabeth

As a long time north coast dweller I have always wanted to visit the south coast of Jamaica, or more specifically the area around Treasure Beach and Black River. So I recently took the opportunity to drive down to the parish of St. Elizabeth, fondly known St. Bess, the ‘Bread Basket of Jamaica’,  to explore the area and celebrate a special occasion in the progress. Follow me on this adventure in the next few posts as we start to explore Saint Elizabeth!

Continue reading Welcome to Treasure Beach and the South Coast – Saint Elizabeth

Club MoBay VIP Airport Lounge Review

Sangster International Airport – Montego Bay, Jamaica

I have travelled through Sangster International Airport, or Montego Bay Airport as it is more widely known, more times than I can remember. In the process I have learnt some tips and tricks for making the experience that little bit more relaxed and enjoyable. However there is one thing about Montego Bay Airport that I have been missing out on as I wasn’t even aware I could take advantage of it…

Continue reading Club MoBay VIP Airport Lounge Review

Stacks of Jamaican Pretty Little Tings

Stacks of Jamaican Pretty Little Tings

You may recall from my recent feature on ‘Anya Goes to Jamaica’, that there was a beautiful collectable bracelet and anklet made by ‘Pretty Little Tings’, that went with the book. The jewellery was specially commissioned by the author from a Jamaican creative, so that the ‘souvenir’ was authentic and supported a small business in the country that the book was written about. I thought this was such a brilliant idea and another reason I just love the concept of the Anya World Traveller Series. It demonstrates a simple way that we can go about supporting each other in our business endeavours, by collaborating with other small businesses.

I have to admit I couldn’t resist looking up ‘Pretty Little Tings’ to see the rest of the range that Tena, the designer behind the brand has on offer. But now I have a problem… Tena has soooo many designs that are drop dead gorgeous, I would be clad from wrist to shoulder and ankle to hip in them if I wore them all at once!

The rest of the collection goes far beyond the designs used for the children’s book commission. There are some really unique pieces that can be infused with aromatherapy oils, a selection with metallic patterned vegan friendly leather and a large part of the collection is unisex, so the men can get in on the action too. I caught up with the multi-talented Tena, whose line of products she designs and hand makes herself, to learn more about how she is going from strength to strength with her jewellery line that is so beautiful it is hard to choose just one.

Please Introduce Yourself

“My name is Tena Harrison. I recently turned 25 years old and I’m a chef by profession. I am currently living in the United States, temporarily for work purposes, but I’m originally from the Kingston 13 area. I attended Holy Childhood High School for Girls and University of Technology, where I studied Hospitality and Tourism with a major in Culinary Arts. I have three older sisters on my mom’s side, three nieces and two nephews.”

When and Why did you launch Pretty Little Tings JA

“I started Pretty Little Ting Ja (PLT) in November 2015 after graduating from UTECH. I was unable to find a job after months of sending out resumes and sitting at home doing nothing. PLT should have started off from 2011, but you know what they say nothing happens before its time.

It started out of my love of beads, bracelets and working with my hands. Nothing makes me happier than something I created myself. I used to make them for myself and would get asked about them, so one day while sitting at home a friend of mine asked why don’t I start making bracelets and selling them online. So we put our heads together that day and came up with the name, created the Instagram page, I ordered beads and the rest is history.

My relaunch took place because I relocated to the U.S. because of a recent job opportunity, so I’ll be working and living here for a year. I had to put PLT on hold in order to get myself sorted.

The business is getting better with time as I’m constantly learning about what my clients and potential clients like and I do a lot of research on the materials that I use for each of my pieces. Like my tagline says, Made with a Purpose. I want to give the wearer something they can put on and know that it holds a significant meaning and most of the pieces that I make are made with stones or charms that have healing properties and acts as a reminder. For example Tiger’s eye stone has long been used to aid in protection and strength.

PLT is still young but I definitely see it getting better with time. The jewellery making community is very large, but I think you can still stand out once you know what you’re doing. Although I am a chef by profession, I dabble in a little bit of everything. Making jewellery is not just my hobby turned business, but a passion of mine.”

 

I noticed your Motto is ‘Made with a Purpose, Made to Inspire’ Tell us About That

“As mentioned above my motto means that no matter what I make, there is a meaning behind it based on the materials that I use. For example, Onyx for protection, wooden beads to bring the wearer closer to nature, vinyl beads for the purpose of recycling, rudraksha seeds for enlightenment, Amazonite the stone of hope and courage, Hematite stone, for the mind. The lists goes on, but a lot of thought goes in each piece I make.

As a person who can be very forgetful at times I make pieces for myself and for others that will be a reminder to us. So we wear our intentions, affirmations and goals as a constant reminder so that we can become a better version of ourselves. It’s kind of like self-help if you wish to put it like that.

I do research because I want to make sure that I know what I’m talking about and through research I come up with even more ideas and concepts that I can apply to PLT. In addition to that I can make better decisions.”

 

Pretty Little Tings River Beads

 

What Motivated you to become an Entrepreneur

“Just before I started PLT I had just graduated from UTECH, so I was a student. What drove me to become an entrepreneur was the realisation that nothing will be handed to me, I had to work for what I want. I learnt that very early as I grew up in the garrison and coming from a lower middle class family, that was my daily reality. I always knew I wanted to be my own boss as the benefits of being one out weighed that of an employee.”

 

Have you had any Formal Training

“I have no formal training in jewelry making. Everything is self taught through trial and error, watching videos, deconstructing store bought jewellery to see how they were made, online research and a lot of reading. I studied some business subjects in high school and business studies was apart of the course at UTECH, so I have knowledge of the business aspect of PLT which I’m very grateful for.”

 

What Inspired you to use your Hands Creatively

“I’ve always loved working with my hands. I’m drawn to things of that nature which is why I chose my career of becoming a chef. I was always creative and that can be credited to my upbringing. As we Jamaicans say, ‘we tun wi han and mek fashion’. Meaning if you didn’t have what you needed, you have to find creative ways to make it happen so I always did that and it stuck with me throughout the years. Like food I was drawn to jewellery making because it involved my hands and being creative. It’s like art and I love that. I love to draw, I can do hair, I love carving & fashion designing.”

Describe your Product Range

“My products fall under the categories of bracelets, anklets and recently rings and necklaces. My customers are mainly persons on a spiritual journey and lovers of gemstones and crystals like myself. What is unique about my product range is that they are unisex, they appeal to a large age group and there is something for everyone and if I don’t have it I can make it. Custom work is always welcomed.

The most memorable person who has bought from me is Nikko FungChung, who recently released her book Anya Goes to Jamaica. She purchased anklets and bracelets from me as souvenirs for her young readers. In the book Anya goes to Jamaica and on her travels takes back souvenirs as reminders of her travels and Nikko brought that to life with my bracelets and anklets. I was blown out of the water because she chose me and my business out of the pool of Jamaican handmade businesses. I am humbled and greatly appreciative for the opportunity I was given.”

Learn More: Nikko FungChung – Anya World Traveller Book Series Interview

 

 

What Materials do you use in your Designs

“The materials that I use in my pieces range from gemstones, crystals, glass, metals, seeds, wood and even recycled materials. I choose materials based on the piece I’m making and what would be best suited to do the job. I often try to find unique materials, things I’ve never seen before, then I search for them online. Most of my materials are sourced internationally, however there are a few Jamaican based crafters I have contacted in hope that they can be future suppliers to my business. I want to use more local based suppliers.”

Where do you get your Inspiration From

“I get my inspiration from nature, especially with the colours and the wooden materials I use. I’m always searching for new ideas on the web too, but only for ideas never to replicate. I even get inspiration from my customers. Sometimes they come to me with ideas and we feed off each other and come up with ideas together.

The use of vegan friendly materials because I’m not for the use of animal skin or materials that involve cruelty to animals. Although I was not formally trained I’ve come a long way, looking back at my earlier pieces to my more recent ones the difference is clear that I’ve come a long way.”

 What are your Favourite Pieces from the Collection

“If it was left up to me I would wear them up to my elbows and knees. Many times I have to remind myself that they are for the customers and I always create something for myself in every batch I create. My favourite pieces to date are the vinyl bracelets as they are made from recycled old records and I love to reuse and repurposed materials. I wear my bracelets based on mood and based on the properties they have. I can always be caught with at least one bracelet on and I’m ALWAYS in my anklets, I never take them off, not even to shower.”

 

Tell us about your Collaboration with Nikko FungChung, author of the Anya World Traveller Book Series  

“What I gained from this experience is that nothing is impossible. Nikko came to me at a time when I was unsure about PLT’s future. It made me more confident in my business and the places I could take it and vice versa. We worked together, she told me what she was looking for and I designed them. Nikko approved the design and we went forward with the deal. Things were very smooth and I would work with her again in a heartbeat.”

 

 

Have you been involved in other Collaborations

“Apart from my collaboration with Nikko, myself and some other small businesses did a collaboration for a mother’s day giveaway last year. We all put together our products and made gift baskets and we ran the promotion on our pages and selected the winners via votes. All the contestants had to do was to tell us what makes their mom so great and why she should receive the basket filled with goodies that ranged from footwear to skincare.

The other businesses involved were Button It Ja (@buttonitja), Bella Scents (@bellscentsja), Madison Accessories and More, House of Deva Bandeau (@houseofdevabandeau), Kreamy Kurls (@kreamykurls), Fitzgerald’s Boutique (@fitzgeraldsboutique) and Dwayne K Smith (@dksmithphotoz).

The experience was great as I got to make new friends and possible business partners. We cross promoted our businesses and found new customer, snot to mention we made three moms very happy.”

What can we look forward to from Pretty Little Tings in the Future

“I see Pretty Little Tings Ja in stores as well as being sold online on a full feature website. I see us taking off as I continue to learn more about my customers wants as well as this market. I see PLT using local materials and I would love to create my own beads from clay, sea glass etc… I can’t give away too much yet. I would love to have a small staff at some point to help with the workload to contribute to the economy and to provide employment for others.

There’s still a long way to go, but I see endless possibilities. I hope to be commissioned to do awareness pieces for example Autism, Breast Cancer etc and if not commissioned, I will definitely be including pieces of this nature.

I get tired of things easily and I don’t really like a rigid routine. So I make new pieces when I feel it’s time for a breath of fresh air, or whenever I experiment and I like the outcome I build on this and create new things (no pun intended).”

 Pretty Little Tings Grid

 

Tena’s Insider Guide to Jamaica

It wouldn’t be a Sweet Jamaica exclusive interview, if I didn’t get some insider tips for getting the most out of Jamaica! So in the words of the fabulous Tena, check out how you can get round to hitting all the hot spots in Jamaica…

Favourite Jamaican Childhood Memories and Pastimes

“Growing up on Chisholm Avenue I would always look forward to coming home from school and buying boiled crab whenever they were in season from an old lady down the road. She did it the best and her boiled corn are my second favourite. I used to chew even the cob!”

 

Tena on Why Jamaica is an Ideal Vacation Destination

“People who are looking to get closer to nature, to be minimalist because when you come to Jamaica it’s not very extravagant. There’s also the herbalist and the hedonist, not the people necessarily looking for sand sun and sea. They’re looking to immerse themselves in a rich and diverse culture that is unique and welcoming. It’s a creative space where you can find a smooth balance of freedom and free thought.

I love Jamaica because I feel free and at ease, there’s no place like home and I don’t think could feel this good existing in another country. We are just different in every sense of the word. It’s hard to explain, you have to live it to know.

Even though our economy is constantly changing we as Jamaicans still maintain what makes us Jamaican, even though many people try to duplicate what we have. The authentic Jamaica will always be in Jamaica. Even though we face hardships we can still tun bad tings mek joke, we constantly find a reason to smile. Visitors should come to Jamaica because it’s beautiful, there is always something to do, they’ll experience something different, it’s a little bit of paradise. It will be money well spent and an experience to remember.

I’m in the States now but whenever people hear that I’m Jamaican they take immediate interest.  Some ask questions or tell me of a time they visited, or of a time a friend or relative did and would recall their experiences from the time they got their hair braided for the first time, climbed Dunn’s River Falls, taking a robot taxi and the list goes on.”

 

Pretty Little Tings Turquoise Bracelets

 

Tena’s – Favourite Island Hide-Aways for a Weekend in Jamaica

“I’ve only visited twice, but Portland is just a different kind of beauty. It was breathtaking. The journey was long from Kingston, but I didn’t get an ounce of sleep because I was so taken by the beauty of the landscape. I was in awe. I love nature and I felt at peace during that drive, the fresh air, the green landscape, the vibrant corner shops, the blue sea and waves washing the shores. I’ve never been to all the parishes, but Portland is definitely at the top of my list of parishes to stay. I could even be staying in a hut, I know I would be enjoying myself.”

 

Tena’s Highlights about Living in Jamaica

“I love being in Half Way Tree, the people are like characters. I can always get a laugh from the loader men shouting, “dung a town” or “3 Mile, 3 Mile”. I love the hustle and bustle. You can get anything there and I feel the same about Down Town as well. Yes both places have a bad reputation, but I do love to go to these places.”

 

Tena’s Top Five Places to Visit in Jamaica

  1. Down Town / Coronation Market – Kingston
  2. Half Way Tree – Kingston
  3. Cross Roads – Kingston
  4. St. Ann (the Parish)
  5. Portmore/ Hellshire

 

Tena’s Favourite Businesses – My Shout Outs!

“I love handmade businesses and since starting PLT my eyes have been opened to so many and I cheer them on and show my support to them all the time whether through buying their products, reposting, commenting and liking their pictures and they always return the love.”

My favourite businesses that I’d like to shout out are:

Ngozi’s Sweet Blessing (@ngozisweetblessings)

Button it Ja (@buttonitja)

Chrissy’s Coils (@chrissy_coils)

Siwatu Jewelry (@siwatujewelry)

Madison’s Accessories & More (@madisons.accessories)

By Monique Jones (@momopenellidesigns).

“The list goes on, big up to everyone who are #brandjamaica #handmade and #jamaicanbased.”

“We affi dance a yard before we dance abroad.”

 

Pretty Little Tings Rings

 

Tena’s Most Loved Jamaican Culture, Food and Customs

“There is nothing better than Jamaican food. As a “bellias” by nature I love food and with the spices and seasonings Jamaicans use, everything we make is finger licking good. My favourites include but are not limited to : Breadfruit (roast or fry), Curry Goat, Red Peas Soup, Stewed Peas, Jerk Chicken, Run Dung with boiled food, Ackee and Saltfish or with Red Herring; with fried dumplings, boiled food, rice… You name it.

My favourite traditions are Easter time for bun and cheese… Yum! Christmas time for the extravagant meals we have and of course Independence Day. Our culture is surrounded by food and liveliness, there is never a dull moment in our culture.

Emancipation Park and Devon House are also landmarks in Jamaica; some of my favourite places to unwind, relax and just chill at my on pace.”

 

Pretty Little Tings – Stockists

“My products can be purchased directly on my Instagram page @prettylittletingsja or on my Etsy shop Pretty Little Tings Ja. It is currently closed, but it should be up and running by the end of February (2017), once I put together the listings. Delivery is offered, but because I am currently in the US the logistics is a bit different here. I can send my pieces to my Jamaican customers through the mail or even better, if they have a US mailing address shipping is faster and cheaper.

When I’m in Jamaica I offer delivery through Jamaica Post via regular mail, or the oh so convenient Zip Mail. So no matter where you are I will get my pieces to you. Customers are welcomed to contact me directly, via WhatsApp, Instagram and Etsy message. Contact me and we will work something out.

Custom work is welcomed, because I love making specific pieces and sometimes a customer might want particular colors, charms, stones, arrangements etc and I have no problem fulfilling their requests. I get inspiration from this.

I try to make my pieces as affordable as possible so the price range of my pieces are from $1,000- $4,500 (Jamaican Dollars). Price is dependent on materials, time it takes for me to complete the piece and the design.”

 

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

“Pretty Little Tings is run by a human, so don’t be afraid to contact me.”

 

Pretty Little Tings Followers

 

Please leave your thoughts on the ‘Support Jamaica! Buy Jamaican!’ campaign on the Sweet Jamaica website?

“I wholeheartedly support the ‘Support Jamaica! Buy Jamaican’ campaign. As a customer myself I try to seek out products I use everyday in Jamaica, which are made by Jamaicans. Rather than looking abroad first because we have a lot of talented persons here, whether certified or self-taught. They make wonderful products and offer great service, but because some of us have ‘red eye’ we tend to think anything made here is not good enough.

I try to change that mindset of persons who hold this view by telling them about all the wonderful companies I’ve come across in my search, the numbers are astounding. And what makes them so good is that you know the source.

I’m a lover of skincare and haircare products and a lot of companies here in Jamaica make better versions of their international counterparts with ingredients that are better for you and can be pronounced. I buy Jamaican and support Jamaicans, our brands need the money just as much as any other brand.

More persons need to get on board and be proud to wear, use and eat Jamaican products because we are supporting each other, creating jobs, providing for a family and building OUR economy.”

 

Pretty Little Tings – Contact Details

WhatsApp –   (+1) 876-542-9122

Instagram – @prettylittletingsja

Etsy  Shop – Pretty Little Tings Ja.

 

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FaceBook Page

Twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul 

Instagram

 

Keep the Conversation Going….

What is your favourite piece from the Pretty Little Tings Collection?

Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

Want to Read more Jamaican Interviews? Head Over Here…

Want to learn more about my Support Jamaica Buy Jamaican! Campaign? Head over here…

 




Surviving Jamaica as a Solo Female Traveller – Guest Post

Introducing Zoe

I stumbled upon the Instagram feed of a young English woman who is a languages graduate, a volunteer, an English as a foreign language teacher, a Carnival lover, a Vegan AND a successful serial solo traveller, to name a few of her talents and interests! I admire the way she is forging her own path by travelling around the world experiencing different cultures, by working, volunteering and generally having a good time – mostly on her own.

This got me thinking about all the travelling I have done in my life and how after moving to Jamaica, I have kind of stopped ticking places off my bucket list (I really must get back to that…). It also brought home how much I love that feeling of ‘wonderment’ when you travel somewhere new and made me realise that I have become accustomed to the way of life in Jamaica with each passing year of living here.

I decided to reach out to the multi-faceted Zoe to ask her to write a guest post on Sweet Jamaica. As I thought it would be fun to share her take on the Jamaican experience. Plus I also asked Zoe to share some tips for visiting Jamaica as a solo female traveller and how to go about finding volunteering work in Jamaica. Zoe graciously agreed and I am excited to share her Guest Post with you!…

 

Surviving Jamaica as a Solo Female Traveller

I’m probably not the only girl who was told that planning to go travelling in Jamaica alone was a stupid idea. A lot of my friends and family seemed to think I was going to get kidnapped (or worse), when most of them had never actually been there, so they were probably just basing their opinions from some out-dated films, videos, rumours or news articles. Anyway, I’ve now travelled to Jamaica twice by myself, for a total of almost four months, and I’m still here to tell the tale! I think about Jamaica almost every day and would absolutely love to be able to go back again some time.

Every culture has some great aspects and some not-so-great aspects, and Jamaica is no exception, so there were definitely some times when I felt annoyed and some times when I felt scared, but overall it was an amazing and unforgettable experience. I thought I’d share a few things that I think could be helpful for anyone planning to travel to Jamaica, especially as a solo female traveller.

 

 

Volunteering in Jamaica

The first thing is volunteering. There are a few backpacker hostels that offer ‘work exchanges’, meaning you can volunteer at the hostel bar or reception part-time in exchange for a free bed and sometimes food. If you’re interested in this, check out websites such as Workaway or Worldpackers.

I volunteered for a few months in a hostel in Kingston, and it was really helpful for getting to know people because I ended up becoming friends with some of the staff and their families, so I had local people to hang out with who I knew I could trust. It also gave me an insight into parts of the island I hadn’t visited, because guests who’d travelled around the island would often share their stories with me.

As well as hostel volunteering, there are a few local charitable organisations in Jamaica that welcome volunteers. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find information about these online, but luckily I managed to find out about the Trench Town Reading Centre through a blog post.

I emailed them after having found their contact details on their website, and they told me they’re always open to volunteers, even if it’s only for a one-off visit, so I went along a few days later. If you’re in Kingston and you like children, I would definitely recommend that you contact them and arrange a time to volunteer. The kids are cute and friendly and it’s something worthwhile to do on your trip. Again, this could help you learn more ‘inside’ information about the area and it could lead to some new friendships.

 

 

Using Google Maps in Jamaica

Aside from volunteering, something I found incredibly helpful in Jamaica was Google Maps! Surprising, right? In Kingston, if you want to get from A to B but you’re not sure how the public transport works, if you ask Google Maps for directions, it tells you which bus to take and where to take it from. (This only applies for the official government buses, not the coaster buses).

There’s nothing wrong with asking people for directions and transport advice on the street, but personally I felt a bit better having some background knowledge even if I ended up asking people too.

I also used Google Maps for learning some road names before going to new areas, so I would know I have to pass X, Y and Z road on the left or right before reaching the restaurant/museum/bar I was looking for. This helped me to feel more confident as I was walking along by myself, and I could ask a stranger “X Road is just along here, right?” rather than seeming completely lost and asking “excuse me, can you tell me how to get to the museum?”.

 

 

Dealing with Sexual Advances as a Single Female Traveller

When you’re walking along by yourself, don’t be surprised if you’re bombarded with more compliments and nicknames than you’ve ever had before in your life! Guys on the street normally called me things like “whitey”, “pretty girl” and “sexy girl”, but sometimes it would just be something like “blue blouse” if I was wearing a blue top.

In my culture it’s not normal to speak to people like that, and it can be a bit surprising at first when you’re in Jamaica, but just remember they give nicknames to everyone and it’s completely normal.  I ended up having some very funny and interesting conversations with people who came to speak to me on the street, and sometimes it led to me eating at a nice restaurant I didn’t know about before, or hearing about a concert that I didn’t know was going to happen.

If you find that certain boys are too persistent, or you don’t have time to stop and talk, or you just don’t feel like having a conversation, don’t be afraid to tell them. I often just said “I’m going to be late for work so I can’t stop now” (which wasn’t even a lie really because I was often on my way to volunteer at the hostel). I know some girls who made up stories about their Jamaican boyfriend (who didn’t actually exist), and once they told the boys that their boyfriend was supposed to be meeting them in five minutes, that was often enough to end the conversation.

Weekend in Portland
Weekend in Portland

 

In Conclusion

Jamaica is a beautiful place and I feel lucky to have experienced it, but as a solo female traveller, always remember the general tips for travelling, including not carrying much money, carrying money in two separate places (e.g. pocket and bra), not telling absolutely everyone where you’re staying, not walking around alone after dark if you can avoid it and listening to your instincts.

All the travellers I met in Jamaica were having a great time, so don’t let the rumours stop you. Book that flight, pack your backpack and get out there! Take a coaster bus where music plays loud enough for a 1000 person venue, buy local fruits at the market, eat Jamaican food from a little wooden cook-shop with no name, learn some patois, swim under a waterfall, drink a Red Stripe, go to a live dancehall/reggae show, laugh and smile with Jamaican children, talk to an old Rasta man about the meaning of life, and so much more.

 

 

Walking in the Blue Mountains
Walking in the Blue Mountains

 

Contact Details and Links

If you would like to learn more about Zoe’s experiences of world travel you can check out her website Travel With Zoe and her social media channels.

I have also included the links for the Volunteering Websites that Zoe mentioned in the post.

 

Zoe’s Website Travel With Zoe

Zoe’s InstagramZoeReeve93

Zoe’s FacebookTravelWithZoe.org

Volunteering Websites

Workaway

WorldPackers

Trench Town Reading Centre 

 

Thinking of moving to Jamaica

 

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Sweet Jamaica Instagram

 

Keep the Conversation Going….

What is your experience of solo travel or volunteering?

Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

Want to Read more Jamaican Interviews? Head Over Here…

Want to learn more about my Support Jamaica Buy Jamaican! Campaign? Head over here…

 




There’s a New Bag Crush in Town…

There’s a New Bag Crush in Town…

After eyeing up some bags online, I was struck by the non-stop comments from customers asking about ‘bulk orders’ – as they were unable to choose just one bag from the collection. So I tracked down the in-demand designer behind the brand, GGoC by Nicole to find out more. And now I have, I am totally smitten!

Not one to keep this kind of information to myself, I would like to introduce you to another fabulous Jamaican company. And this one will make accessories fans speculate on how they can justify multiple bag purchases at once. You have been warned, you better start creating some space in your suitcase and wardrobe, because you are going to want to give new homes to a few of these beauties.

GGoC by Nicole

God’s Gift of Creativity, is an aptly named accessory line, as there is definitely something of the ‘divine’ nature to the pieces on offer. The collection is Made in Jamaica and features local and international printed fabrics mixed and matched with embossed and smooth Vegan friendly leatherette or 100% real leather. Some of which are made extra special with embellishments made from repurposed pieces of semi-precious and costume jewellery. Drawing inspiration from her personal style and taste, Nicole is well on her way to ensuring there is a catwalk worthy piece for every occasion and personality in her collection.

One of the reasons I am smitten with GGoC by Nicole, apart from the beautiful bags, is Nicole herself. Nicole is one of those people who you can’t help but immediately warm to. From our first correspondence, I was drawn in by her genuine, warm and affable character. Which lead her to not only to be happy to share her story on the website, but also extended to her offering her assistance and support to my own endeavours, despite her being a busy mother and serial entrepreneur herself.

 

Sweet Jamaica – Support Jamaica Buy Jamaican!

Meeting women like Nicole, reaffirms why I love writing these features to highlight Jamaica’s up and coming entrepreneurs and businesses. It affords me the opportunity to collaborate and share the stories of some of the most inspirational, strong, ambitious, resilient, driven, creative and beautiful souls in Jamaica. Who are down to earth, real, spirited and willing to offer support and share their experience, scrapes and all.

It brings it home that there are ‘real people’ behind the products and brands that we buy. People like you and me. People who have had the courage to step outside of their comfort zone and put everything on the line to carve out their own niche and destiny.

Supporting these Jamaican companies means supporting a household, because behind these SMME’s (small, medium and micro enterprises) there are parents trying to send their children to school, young adults trying to make a foundation on which to build and the experienced in life, turning their time and skills into sugar money. Amen.

On that note, I would like to introduce you to Nicole Clarke the brainchild of the GGoC brand, who is a perfect embodiment of this, as she shares her story and divulges her favourite things about the beautiful island of Jamaica…

 

 

 GGoC by Nicole

Please Introduce Yourself

“I am Nicole, the middle child of three for Clarence and Norma Clarke. I started my early education at Mona Prep, but I didn’t spend more than a year there as we migrated to Calgary Canada, where we would spend 6 years. During that time we received our Canadian citizenship.

We returned to Jamaica in January 1984 leaving little time to prepare for the Common Entrance exam on the “second try” at Immaculate Prep. Passed for Immaculate High and spent six wonderful years which shaped the individual I am today. I met many lifelong friends and value the discipline that was instilled by St. Maureen Claire; I was AFRAID of her.”

 

What lead you to launch GGoC by Nicole

“After I left 6th form I went straight into the family business, Windows Limited, which taught me so many lessons and shaped my work ethic and passion for customer service. I started with answering phones and moved up to dads right hand.

But the desire to chart my own path kept at me and I decided to move away from the family business when a friend who’s father had recently died needed a General Manager for that company. It was a great opportunity and more lessons were learnt, but this is not where I was meant to be.

In November 2015 while searching for something for the company I came across a red fabric that I fell in love with and intended to make a clutch for my sister for Christmas. But, I made it and it sold, them I made another and it too sold. The rest is history.

When I lost that job due to restructuring, I went head on into GGoC by Nicole. The first clutches were made by my shoemaker, but he lacked the eye for the finishing detail so I went in search of someone who could. A couple seamstresses later, I found my secret weapon who has been making them for me since. I can make them myself if needs be but due to time constraints, he does most of the work.

I also run another company GGoC Screens, so my time has to be divided between the two.”

Tell Us About – GGoC by Nicole

“So GGoC means Gods Gift of Creativity. I guess I always had this creative gene because I remember while at the family business, designing and making glass tables from the scrap glass and selling them in furniture stores downtown. GGoC by Nicole started in December 2014 and has been growing slowly but steadily since.

We are exploring the Caribbean market and are working on some new products that should be out in about a month. Currently, we ship to the United States and Canada and I am always besides myself when I see someone pictured with one of my bags.”

 

GGoC by Nicole

What inspired you to use your hands ‘creatively’?

“I think I was born with the ability to make something out of nothing. ‘Turn my hand mek fashion’ sort of thing, so I’ve been able to do much with little.

I am the go to for art projects and musical projects with nieces and nephew and daughter. And, once upon a time I was a part of a singing group. I’ve written and produced music so I suppose the creative passion has always been burning.”

Describe the Pieces that you Create

“We recently started a leather line (to complement the leatherette line), as we have customers asking for genuine leather products. That has been exciting and we look forward to the growth of that line.

My daughter has (12 years) and loves them and my mother has and loves hers too (over 70 years). My wish / dream is to have at least one product for every person – clutch, crossbody, purse, phone cases. I am not placing a limit on what we can design, create and appeal to.”

 

Where do you get your Original Creative Inspiration from?

“A friend of mine worked in Nairobi and used to bring me the most beautiful fabrics from the market. I still have quite a few pieces which I use, but I also use local fabrics to mix and match and come up with new designs.

A high school friend Cared a who sells jewellery in Philadelphia, sent me a bag of mismatched or broken pieces of jewellery that I have affixed to some of the clutches. They’re always a hit. So if there that pair of earrings that you’ve lost one, and wish to keep the other, we can design a clutch around it.

We love to do custom work as ultimately we want each client to feel their money is well spent and feel like their outfit is complete with our piece. In turn stepping out with poise and confidence.”

 

What can we look forward to in the Future From GGoC

“In 3-5 years we hope to be a household name, synonymous with fashion.  We have new products coming out in a few weeks and we add something to the GGoC line annually. As well as tweaking our current products, we listen to our customers and try to design around their needs and desires.”

 

GGoC by Nicole

 

GGoC by Nicole Insider Guide to Jamaica

Always on the look out for the best spots in Jamaica and some insider tips to share with my readers, I have asked Nicole for her expert opinion on these matters…

 

What are your favourite childhood pastimes and memories

“In Jamaica I would spend many summers with my grandmother and cousins in Westmoreland and my uncle had an ice cream store called Road Runner. That was a highlight for sure. She had a big yard and sold eggs so we would go in the coop and help collect eggs. I have fond memories of this.

We didn’t spend summers in Canada, but during the year I have great memories of riding my bicycle around the neighbourhood and pulling my brother around in our red wagon.”

 

GGoC by Nicole – Favourite Jamaican Hangouts

“Now, I spend a lot of time at home, but I visit Centre Stage now and then to see a local play – aren’t they the best? Jamaicans are soo talented!

I love sushi and eat at Roe, now and then and visit Uncorked for wine; both at Sovereign North. Norma’s on Whitehall avenue is a MUST, especially the Oxtail!”

 

GGoC by Nicole

 

GGoC by Nicole – Tell us what you love about Jamaica

“Jamaican people are warm, extremely friendly and we love to entertain. Our falls, our beaches and food are to die for and the weather is warm and sunny. Sounds so clichéd but its true.

There’s something for everyone. Nightlife is busy and bustling, our Dancehall culture appeals to so many. Our reggae music, our athletes. Our musicians. We really do have it all.

As Jamaicans we sometimes take this for granted. It’s when our visitors come and we take them around that we really appreciate what we have. For me anyway.”

 

GGoC by Nicole – Favourite Island Hide-Aways for a Weekend in Jamaica

“There’s always someone to stay with when exploring the island but when I want to relax and veg out, Grand Bahia Principe is great to visit, as are the Riu chains.

Deep rural or in the bush is always great for exploring and seeing the island’s vegetation. Chances are you’ll discover one of our many waterfalls. Country people are especially friendly and accommodating.

If you want to do nothing but read a book or sleep under the warm rays of the sun, the beach is the place to be. Negril and Ocho Rios are my faves. Robins Bay in St. Mary also has beautiful beaches.”

 

GGoC by Nicole – Highlights about Living in Jamaica

“Jamaica is unique. We try to make light of bad experiences to help us get through them. You can hardly go a day without a deep belly laugh. Our comedy, our music, our scenery, our talents on a whole are exceptional”

 

Places Fixed on GGoC by Nicole Jamaican Speed Dial

“I’m adventurous and spontaneous so am always trying somewhere new, I haven’t been ATV riding but dying to! Nothing on speed dial except my bank and the office. I travel with the telephone directory, LOL.”

 

GGoC by Nicole – Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

“I love your website. I’m extremely proud of the fruits of our Jamaican talents. I don’t think we get enough support locally, but we have to keep at it.”

 

GGoC by Nicole – Your thoughts on the ‘Support Jamaica! Buy Jamaican!’ Campaign

“Absolutely fabulous and inspiring. Thank you so much for your support! Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”

 

Where can we find your Collection

I’ve showcased the items and bazaars and trunk shows and friend’s houses and the bags are available in Jamaica at Gaychel Boutique On Windsor Avenue, Heather LAINE on Lancaster Avenue and Endless Summer in Lower Manor Park Plaza.

 

GGoC by Nicole

 

 

GGoC by Nicole Contact Details and Purchasing

If you would like to learn more about GGoC by Nicole, or if you want to purchase an item please check out the links below:

Website www.ggocbynicole.com

Facebook www.facebook.com/GGoC-by-Nicole

Instagram @ggocbynicole

 

 

 

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What is your favourite piece from the GGoC by Nicole Collection?

Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

Want to Read more Jamaican Interviews? Head Over Here…

Want to learn more about my Support Jamaica Buy Jamaican! Campaign? Head over here…

 




Bringing Values back to Jamaica through Children’s Literature

Bringing Values back to Jamaica through Children’s Literature

There is no denying that raising children comes with a fresh set of challenges in the modern age. Brought on by the fall of values, morals and manners in society, with a hearty side order of information overload, care of the Internet and social media. You can end up feeling that no matter how much ‘broughtupsy’ (good manners) you impress on your child in the home, outside influences are impinging on your child every time they leave your side.

What if there was a way to imprint values on your child that they carried with them into adulthood, so that the shift was in society instead?…

Introducing the ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ Book Series

There is a new author that is making a splash on the children’s literary scene who is doing just that with her eye-catching titled  ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ book series. Fresh from launching the first three books in the series at the end of 2016, I reached out to the author Catherine Alexander-McDaniel to learn more about the books and to help raise awareness for this great Jamaican book series, which strikes the perfect balance between enlightening and engaging a child.

How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney Book SeriesJamaican Author

Catherine never yearned to be an author and wasn’t involved in the publishing or literary industries in any way. But she was a hard-working entrepreneur and a wife and a mother of two boys, who had a revelation one day. This idea manifested itself into a book series with a strong message of values and restoring awareness of our actions.

Unlike most authors Catherine has a higher mission for the book series, as she wants to share the messages not only among fellow parents, but also with other social groups and educational facilities. After finding the time to dedicate herself to this new chapter in her life on leaving her earlier business behind her, Catherine collaborated with some fellow Jamaican creatives and so the thoroughly Jamaican ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ book series was born.

I caught up with Catherine to discover how her revelation gave her new purpose and she stepped into the world of children’s literature with a series of books. Plus for good measure I also share her insider tips on how to do Jamaica like a pro!

Introduce Yourself

“I was born in Montreal, Quebec to two Jamaican parents, we moved back to Jamaica when I was 7 years old and have never wanted to leave. I met my husband at my first job as a sales rep for his family owned company. We will be married 12 years this year and have 2 boys, aged 11 and 7 years. It was never an aspiration to be an author, in fact I don’t think I even speak well. ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ is a message in the form of books that God impressed upon me to write.”

 

What Inspired you to write the ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ Book Series

“As I indicated above, this was not a dream of mine that I was pursuing. I hurt very much for Jamaica. I love this country, I love the people yet I see how we make excuses for our actions or we don’t even recognise what we are doing because we are too busy and/or consumed with our own lives.

These three scenarios came quite easily to me. In January 2016 the thought came to me, but it wasn’t until after I left my job that I had the time, motivation and dedication to do it. It was almost as if everything fell into place. I had a past client of mine who created baby books on Amazon – Zunammie Keren, I went to her for direction and she ended up putting the entire series together! She also was the one who pushed me and set goals so we could have it completed by Dec 2016. So said, so done.”

 

With a Grateful Heart

 

Describe Your Creative Journey

“The creatives ones are Krystal Ball the Illustrator and Zunammie Keren the Editor and publisher. I had an idea of what the end result should be, but they are the ones who made it happen. It was a struggle to find an illustrator locally. I almost gave up. Most ‘illustrators’ turn out to be graphic designers, or local artist who are quite pricey. I found Krystal on Instagram and reached out to her as I thought her art was beautiful. She also believed in my vision and trusted that I would be a positive representation of the books that bear her name. For that I am grateful.”

 

Tell us About the ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ Book Series

“I started off doing all three books at the same time.  My target audience being ages 6 and up. I wanted them to reflect our culture, so the books don’t necessarily depict the ideal family and each book also has a theme value.

The names used in the books are my closest friends children and my own two boys to which the books are dedicated. While Liar, Liar Pants on Fire is the book that came out the best, in terms of looks, my favorite is the book dedicated to my boys, Practice What Yuh Preach. It is also a constant reminder to myself :).”

 

Brief Synopsis of the Storyline – Book 1, 2 and 3

 

Book 1 – With A Grateful Heart – reflects compassion and selflessness

Zachary is from a modest home. His Mom has to work hard to make ends meet. This particular day he is promised a treat for his birthday but Zachary soon forgets there is a limit to what he can spend. As with any young child, his mother has to remind him about the value of money. His greed quickly turns to compassion as he stops and considers another child’s need.

 

Book 2 – Liar, Liar Pants on Fire – reflects honesty and humility

Savannah is a well-behaved little girl who is raised by her Uncle and Grandma. She knows that lying is wrong but she is told to do it by her uncle who is her father figure. Luckily her Grandma walks in at the right time to explain that even adults can make mistakes and mislead those who look up to them.

 

Book 3 – Practise What Yuh Preach – reflects respect and manners

Jacob is the youngest in his family and a bit sheltered from the outside world. He gets to go on the road with his older brother and gets confused when he sees how people interact in the store. After he ‘passes his place’ with the cashier, an elderly lady has to explain to him that he is not to blame as everyone is setting a bad example for him to follow.

 

Liar Liar Pants on Fire Book

 

How have you Determined the Content for the ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ Book Series

“In my walk as a Christian, I struggle daily with self-improvement and being a good example. Some days you really want to run away from the kids of just go off on them when you are tired, stressed or just having a bad day. I realised I have to make a conscious decision to curb what I may feel and focus on doing the right thing. Children learn by example and watch our every move. Children are a reflection of what they see and hear.

Even though we all know this, we seem to have forgotten or we justify our actions somehow to ourselves. Parenting is a tough job and an endless job. They need guidelines and discipline and they need it delivered in the right way.

My books may be a drop in the bucket but this is my contribution to improving our little island.”

 

Future Goals for the ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ Book Series

“I plan to keep adding to the series as there are so many scenarios I can bring to life in a book. I am currently asking for support from private companies and foundations to sponsor the local printing of books to distribute to communities. I would love to be involved in engaging the children and guardians in these communities on values and morals if the sponsors see fit. I hope to see this series to be as popular as Anansi stories were in past generations.”

 

Where can we Purchase the ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ Book Series

Hard copies have not yet been printed in Jamaica, but are forthcoming.

All three books are on Amazon – hard and soft copy for Kindle / eReaders

Ebooks available on bookfusion.com – a new platform created by Jamaicans in Washington DC

 

Why You and the Children in your life will love the ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ Book Series

The books teach children the importance of values by creating modern day Jamaican tales, with a good old fashioned message interwoven into the pages. With colourful illustrations and engaging storyline, both boys and girls will be clamouring to read the books and the ‘hidden’ messages will soak in.

The ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ book series is another great advocate for literature featuring a host of main characters that are black and from other mixed ethnicities. With the illustrations depicting scenes and examples of life in a Caribbean home they are full of appeal and I cannot wait to see how the series progresses.

I really feel these books will make a great addition to any child’s book case and are a fun way to teach children values and humility and how to be a better person. With three books already available this Jamaican author shows no sign of slowing down and has big plans for her future publications to create a shift in the dynamics of society.

 

What is Nature Versus Nuture

The debate of ‘nature versus nuture’ has one that has long been fought among psychologists, physicians and philosophers. Where they consider whether personality traits are inherited and carried down through the generations, or gathered through life experiences both in and out of the home.

Why is this important? Learning about values and morals works as a code of conduct, or a guide as to how to live your life among others in respect, peace, harmony and compassion. By instilling values in the younger generation we can hope that they will grow into the men and women of tomorrow who will share the message with their own children. And so the message gets passed on and on…

 

Practice What You Preach

 

Insider Guide to Jamaica – ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’

 

If you are looking to visit Jamaica, I have tapped Catherine for her insider knowledge on ‘how to do Jamaica like a PRO’!

My Highlights of Living in Jamaica

“Jamaica will always be the place I call home. I realise how much of a 3rd world girl I am when I visit the US and Canada. I love not having too many choices at the supermarket, I love not being consumed by shopping. I have the same friends today that I met in Grade 5.  Some live oceans away but we are still as close as 30 years ago. I love our language and how colourful we are and how colourful our island is. I enjoy the friendly familiar faces around every corner and cheering up the miserable ones.”

 

Places Fixed on My Jamaican Speed Dial

  1. My life consists of coffee – Café Blue all the way!
  2. Football (for the kids) – Big up to Ballaz Academy who not only trains but teaches discipline and values to the children.
  3. Beaches – BoardWalk for a quick trip, Bamboo Blu of recent (I don’t get out half of much as I would like)
  4. Church – Swallowfield Chapel– been going there since I was around 11 years old
  5. Women’s Study groups – Beauty For Ashes – non-denominational care groups

 

My Favourite Jamaican Foods and Traditions

I do love food of all kinds! I especially love my Wednesday Girls night.

We love to go to: Uncorked and Cellar8 – great food and wine!

  

Contact ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’

Instagram: howfigrowyuhpickney

Disclaimer: All images used with kind permission of ‘How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’, copyright Catherine Alexander-McDaniel

Illustration Credit: Krystal Ball

 

 

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

What is your favourite book or message, from the’How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney’ Book Series?

Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

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How to Pack a Barrel for Shipping to Jamaica

A Guide to Packing Barrels and Drums for Shipping

So you have decided to ship a barrel to Jamaica, but don’t know where to start with the packing? Buying up goods and packing your first barrel is like going through a rite of passage and not necessarily an enlightened one if not done right.

It takes time, patience and cunning packing skills to ensure you start on the right foot. Cutting corners could mean the end result puts you off from doing it again.  To end your barrel packing dilemmas and nightmares, I have put together my top tips and tricks on how to pack a barrel for shipping to Jamaica the easy breezy way….

More Information: Missed the brief on what to buy, Read What to Pack in a Barrel for Shipping to Jamaica

 

 How to Pack a Barrel

Packing a barrel effectively can take some time, patience and experience. But once you get the hang of it you will be able to make the best use of space and keep the contents safe and secure in transit.

I would highly recommend tackling the packing when you have a couple of hours (at the very least) to spare and when you aren’t tired, hungry or generally in a bad mood. Packing a barrel can be tedious to say the least and it’s best to get into it when the timing is right. Instead of leaving it to the last minute, resulting in bags of breakfast cereal being popped and thrown around the room in frustration!

 

Getting Prepared:

  • Grab a drink and maybe a snack and leave it to hand, packing a barrel can be hungry and thirsty work – I recommend a nice cup of tea or coffee, or alcohol… it’s one of those tasks that demands it!
  • Move away of all items that you do NOT want to pack in the barrel, so they don’t get accidentally shipped to Jamaica (goodbye remote control!)
  • Wait until you have all (or most) of the items you want to ship, before attempting to pack your barrel
  • Have plenty of tape, newspaper, bubble wrap, containers, plastic bags, food bags and a black permanent marker to hand
  • Sort the items into type; dried foods, tinned foods, detergents / cleaning products, toiletries, clothing and fabric based items, delicate and breakable items and so on
  • Apply strong parcel (brown tape) or gaffer tape around all the covers and caps of items, especially if the bottles contain liquids / sauces
  • Double wrap items in plastic packaging, such as rice, couscous, dried beans, legumes, breakfast cereal – if the bag gets snagged and sends the whole contents plummeting to the bottom of the barrel
  • Wrap any glass jars, crockery, china and breakable containers in newspaper or bubble wrap; for extra security you can put the wrapped jars inside a plastic storage container to keep them contained and protected
  • See if there is any additional packaging that can be removed, such as, the boxes toothpaste tubes are packaged in, or breakfast cereal boxes
  • Remove ‘air’ from packaging; make a small hole in plastic packaging and squeeze the additional air out of the package, seal back the hole with packing or gaffer tape – such as bags of rice and pasta

Loading the Barrel:

  • If you are shipping two or more barrels, put the chemicals, detergents, toiletries and the tinned foods in one barrel, and put the other foodstuffs and delicate stuff in another barrel, to prevent transfer of scent and to protect food from accidental contamination
  • Pack your barrel in layers to prevent damage to the contents and the transfer of smell / taste; which is why it is important to sort the items into type
  • Put heavy and bulky items to the bottom of the barrel to make a strong foundation for the rest of the contents to sit on
  • Any chemicals, should be packed to the bottom of the barrel so that they cannot spill over the other items
  • Stack tins, in tall turrets, one on top of the other to conserve space
  • Pack small items, such as tubes of toothpaste and sachets of food, in empty plastic containers or plastic bags and push them into any gaps
  • You can restrict the transfer of scented items, such as soap and perfumes, by sealing them inside air-tight containers – do not pack them near to dried goods which have a habit of ‘sucking up’ the scent (soap flavoured rice and pasta does not taste good!)
  • Delicate food items, such as dried goods, snacks and breakfast cereals should be packed at the top of the barrel and double wrapped where they cannot be squashed or burst
  • Use soft items, such as, towels or clothes to form a barrier between the heavy items at the bottom of the barrel and the soft and food items near the top, this also helps prevent the spread of scent
  • Place any receipts for proof of the cost and age (non-food items) of the contents in an envelope and put it on the top of the contents in case you want to show it to customs officials at the wharf to prove the value of goods; new non-food items will attract more import taxes, so if you can prove that dish set or electrical item is used it will lessen the blow
  • This may seem ridiculous, but… don’t clean, shine and spruce up used household items – the wear and tear ensures it is obvious it is a used item (see above point) – this is probably not appropriate if sending items to others, but if it is for your own use just scour that old dutch pot to within an inch of its life when you get to Jamaica
  • Leave a few empty plastic bags at the top of the barrel in case you need to put anything in them that wont fit back in the barrel after customs have gone through it

 

How to Pack a Barrel in Layers

 

Making the Best use of Space in the Barrel

Before you put a single item in the barrel consider this. Your barrel will be squeezed and stacked among enough barrels to fill a 20ft or 40ft container. The containers will be stacked sky-high on a cargo ship, which will transport your heaving barrel across the ocean waves to Jamaica. Where it will be unpacked unceremoniously on a table in the wharf for clearing through Customs. After all of that it will be repacked and covered for the last leg of the journey, to your home in Jamaica… Quite an adventure for a humble barrel.

Five Things that went wrong

Whilst I do highly recommend using up all the available space and nooks and crannies in your barrel, don’t go overboard. I have noticed if I pack too zealously things go wrong. I have a few incidents that spring to mind…

  1. The time a can of soda was pierced with an unidentified sharp object, which left strange brown stains over everything below it – Result: I am more aware of what is nestled beside each other
  2. The time a pack of dried chickpeas popped, spilling to the bottom of the barrel – Result: I double / triple wrap flimsy packaging now in plastic carrier bags
  3. The time my brand new large plastic container cracked so badly at one end a piece fell off – Result: I don’t over stuff the inside and I leave a bit of breathing (or should I say heaving) room around the outside, to be extra cautious you can wrap soft and cushioning fabric items around it
  4. The time two champagne glasses had their stems broken – Result: I drank it out of sanitary cups… just joking! I now wrap every breakable item in bubble wrap
  5. The time my Mum secretly packed some Christmas goodies at the top of a barrel, but left scented items with chocolate coins – Result: I put anything porous or scented inside an airtight container to stop the transfer of smell, as the chocolate tasted of perfume

 

How to pack a barrel

In Conclusion – Highlights of my Packing Tips!

I find that by having everything you want to pack in the barrel in front of you, you tend to plan the packing more efficiently which lessens the chances of mishaps.

Heavy items and hazardous chemicals should always be put in the bottom of the barrel first and the caps and covers should be taped. It is not uncommon for the contents of bottles to be squeezed and compressed so much that they force their way around the cap spilling into the bottom of the barrel. Not good if it is bleach or shampoo. Top Tip! Tape the caps really securely with strong brown tape of gaffer tape, ensuring any items with a pump cannot be dispensed.

Soaps and clothes detergents have very strong scents which can penetrate through a plastic bag and soak into dried goods and even chocolate bars!  Make sure you separate these types of items and preferably put either the offending items, or the food stuffs into airtight containers to control the transfer of perfumed goods. Better still, use both if possible. I like to use mason jars and empty ice-cream tubs to stuff small items inside, as they come in handy for storing foodstuffs when I get to Jamaica. Top Tip! Put dried foods and scented products in reusable airtight containers.

If I am bringing any breakables or delicate items I buy a big plastic box with a cover, and pack the items inside after wrapping them individually in bubble wrap; this container can be used to store your supplies of dry goods afterwards to keep them away from insects and vermin. Make sure the container can pass through the mouth of the barrel! It will usually have to be stored on its end in the barrel, so pack the heavier items to one side of the box and place that end into the barrel first; I would also recommend taping the cover to the box, so that it cannot come open when being removed from the barrel. Top Tip! Many warehouse stores and Ikea sell large plastic storage boxes – don’t forget to tape the cover on!

Look for ‘hidden’ space lurking in the barrel, or create it. Any empty vessels can be stuffed with something, such as pots and pans; remove the handles where possible, then tape the handle and screw together before placing it inside if it will fit, along with some stuff that will fit inside (breakables or easily squashed foods are ideal as the temporary metal vessel it travels in is highly protective). Release excess air from items that will not spoil by doing so. Put something else in the ‘dead space’ in packaging, such as the top of a bulk pack of clothes washing detergent – I recommend using a bottle of fabric softener, or something that won’t be affected by the strong scent. Remove unnecessary extra packaging, if it will not be in detriment to the items arriving safely. Top Tip! Look carefully for extra space you can find or save to maximise the contents

If you are packing dishes or glassware which are sold in a cardboard box, I would recommend opening it and placing a sheet of bubble wrap between each item before replacing them back in the cardboard box. This may make it hard to fit everything into the box, so a good old piece of tape might be needed to secure a box bursting at the seams! Top Tip! Use Bubble wrap, or the very least newspaper to wrap breakable items and tape boxes at the seams!

Use soft items, such as towels, curtains and clothes to form a ‘barrier’ between the items in the bottom of the barrel and the delicate items at the top; it creates a great scent catcher too! Top Tip! You may prefer to place these types of items in a plastic bag to keep them clean.

 

Further Information About Shipping

We have plenty of guides about shipping a barrel or crate, or anything else for that matter. Check out our other posts to read the whole series on Shipping to Jamaica:

Sweet Jamaica Guides to Shipping

Want to know what a barrel is all about and where to get one? Read A Guide to Barrels and Drums – Shipping Basics

Want to learn the best contents for packing in a Barrel? Read How to Pack a Barrel for Shipping to Jamaica

Want to learn the process involved in shipping in the senders country? Read The Art of Shipping a Barrel – Part One

Want to learn the process involved in collecting a shipment in Jamaica? Read The Art of Shipping a Barrel – Part Two

Want some additional information on Shipping to Jamaica? Read Sending a Barrel or Crate to Jamaica

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Bless up, Jules

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Paint and Sip in Jamaica – Art Parties for all Levels

Painting and colouring for adults is having a bit of a moment of late. Hailed as the next ‘best thing’ for relaxation and freeing the mind from the weariness of life, even the most uninitiated are turning into wannabe art fiends.

You too may have felt a Picasso moment coming on whilst carefully shading in your colouring book with your new pastel coloured pencils. Which may of whet your appetite for something a little less ‘colour between the lines’ and a little more paint brush, easel and watercolours.

Before you start doubting yourself, I know that painting, or should I say, creating a masterpiece, isn’t going to be easy for beginners. But I have an almost guaranteed way of indulging your creative side and making your first foray into painting a successful and more importantly a relaxed and fun one.

Let me introduce you to Stephanie Lue Yen, a published artist and entrepreneur, who has set up her own company ARTify! catering to budding artists in Jamaica.

Exclusive Interview with Stephanie Lue Yen

I caught up with Stephanie to the get the lowdown on ARTify, her fantastic Art Camps, Paint and Sip parties and all her other exciting business offerings. Whilst tapping her for all the things she loves to do in Jamaica and a quick flick through her ‘little black book’ for good measure.

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, or already live here and fancy dabbling in some art, Stephanie will be sure to engage and entertain groups of children and adults alike with her warm and personable attitude and professional work….

 INTRODUCING artify

All About SLY – a brief introduction

Stephanie Lue Yen was born in St. Andrew to a large and diverse family and was raised mainly by her mother after her father sadly passed away when she was young. Proud of the dynamics of her mixed ethnicity Stephanie absorbed Chinese, Jamaican and European cultures, forging a love of Art, languages and travelling.

Stephanie muses that her artistic streak was inherited from her mother, who was always sewing. Her natural talent was strong and she remembers being the most creative out of her friends and siblings. In her early years at High School, buoyed by her inspirational first art teacher Miss Lynch, the foundation was set for Stephanie’s love of Art in all its many facets.

 

 

Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts

After graduating from High School, Stephanie prepared her portfolio studying Graphic Design and Painting at the prestigious Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, on a part-time basis. But despite being accepted into their Bachelor of Fine Arts program, she put her true love to one side and shrewdly opted to study business, completing a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.

Most of Stephanie’s adult life was spent pursuing a regular 9 to 5 office job, working for Technology and Tourism Companies, whilst pushing her Art to the lexicons of a hobby, or plan B. But there was always a nagging feeling that this wasn’t her true calling and Stephanie took a philosophical approach to her future “with age comes wisdom and the appreciation of how important it is to nurture your talents and feed your soul with the things you are passionate about” and so Stephanie turned to her Art again.

“To me, my creativity is my strongest characteristic. At the core I am an artist and my goal is to build a career around my passion.”     

                                                                             

‘SLY’ The Professional Artist

With little formal instruction from her early days, Stephanie honed her skills with enthusiasm, raw talent and practice. The dedication paid off.

With seven years of professional success under her belt showing and selling her work privately and through galleries such as ‘Island Art and Framing’ in Orchard Village Plaza, the artist known as ‘SLY’ is well and truly on the map. Ever the art chameleon, Stephanie Lue Yen (SLY) art is very different from what you will see at an ARTify party where the crowd participation calls for an easy to follow piece.

Not one to sit on her artistic laurels, Stephanie dreams of hosting a public exhibition after the recent successful release of her first complete collection “More Than Words”.

 

IMAGINATION CAMP Art Camp Jamaica
IMAGINATION CAMP

 

Launching ARTify!

Imagination Camp – Arts and Crafts Summer Camp for Kids

In summer 2016, Stephanie launched ARTify in Jamaica, with an Arts and Crafts Summer Camp for kids “Imagination Camp”. The camp run by Stephanie and her dear friend was a success, where they spent two weeks teaching twenty children aged between 5 and 10 years old, about the elements of art and foundation techniques. The basis behind the camp was to make art fun and accessible for children so that they too would have an appreciation of the Arts…

Our camps are small and intimate so each child gets special attention and it really is like a family for the 1-2 weeks. We pride ourselves on making quality art. In our first summer camp, kids learnt the elements of art so much that they could apply them on their own and even talk the talk. They painted on canvas and made mixed media crafts. I know it sounds serious but if you follow us on Instagram (@imaginationcamp_ja) you will see it was all fun.”

The first camp was a hit with the parents, but it was the enthusiasm of the children enjoying the art so much that filled Stephanie’s heart until she was spurned on to share her with others.

 

Paint and Sip! Artify Jamaica
Paint and Sip! Artify Jamaica

 

Paint and Sip

Bolstered by the success of the kids parties, the entrepreneur ventured into paint parties, or Paint and Sips. This was a natural progression for Stephanie as she had instructed some Paint and Sips as a guest artist in the past and had realised that people were opening up to the creative world. The special thing about an ARTify! Paint and Sip, is that you get the opportunity to get up close and personal with Stephanie herself, as she hosts all her own events.

Stephanie specialises in catering for private groups as she had noted there is already a certain chemistry when everyone knows each other and they “let it go” a bit more than a public group.  If you are interested in booking an ARTify party they can host an event at your own home or in one of their preferred venues in Kingston, such as Cannon Ball Cafe or The Haven.

 

“What separates us from the others offering paint parties is that you really have a lot of                                                          input into your event. You know who the artist is ( i.e. Me 🙂 ) and the host or group                                                              chooses what we paint, so it’s always something that fits the tastes of the guests. As an                                                          artist I know it isn’t fun to paint something that doesn’t inspire you. When it is at one of                                                      our venues, we assist with organising catering and decorations and so on, if requested.”

 

Stephanie has simplified the process of choosing a piece to paint, with a gallery of paintings on the ARTify website that clients can select from. There is a wide selection to choose from, but if you don’t see something to suit your taste or occasion, you can let them know what you have in mind and they will create a unique piece based for you.

What ARTify can do for You

ARTify’s main services include paint and craft parties for private groups, adults and kids. They are a great way to celebrate birthdays, bachelorette and showers, but it can be any occasion; such as, over the Christmas a couple asked them to host a Paint and Sip because they had a friend visiting. They are also fun team experiences for companies, associations and other groups. Or, just because! Art (and drinking) is always fun.

 

The Future of ARTify! in Stephanie’s Own Words

As is the way with artistic people, Stephanie has the urge to continually keep evolving and creating…

“I didn’t want to be limited. Art has no limits! I wanted to create a brand that represents the creative life, the go-to for creative experiences, creative products and services. To ARTify is to improve the environment and life through art, expand experience and enrich the world through artistic actions. We host arts and crafts camps and workshops, paint and sip and paint parties, plus we create custom pieces for events and we make Jamaican crafts. We are just getting started!

Then, there are our Jamaican crafts. The first one to launch is our UN-WINED Candle which is made using repurposed wine bottles. Repurposing or “upcycling” is very important to me. I’m always thinking of how something can be made into something else or better. I call it “future eyes”. I see potential where people see junk.  We currently offer 3 Jamaican fragrances –  ortanique, coffee and pimento, we have also added citronella to the lot because mosquitoes can be a problem on the island. They are made in Jamaica by Jamaicans. We have other Jamaican-made crafts on the way.

We are open to any creative request. We’ve been commissioned to make backdrops and handmade signs for events. Crafting is so much fun. If you don’t enjoy it, let us do it!”

 

UN-WINED Scented Candles Artify! Jamaica
UN-WINED Scented Candles

 

 ARTify! Insider Guide to Jamaica

If you want to do Jamaica like one of it’s most fabulous home-grown artists,  check this insiders guide from the gorgeous and talented Stephanie Lue Yen…

“Growing up in Kingston and St. Andrew, Jamaica, my fondest childhood memories include going to all the Craft Fairs at Christmas and seeing all the local crafts, especially pottery and jewelry. Another favourite is going to Hellshire Beach with my family for a good fried fish. I still do both things 🙂 ”

 

ARTify! on Why Jamaica is an Ideal Vacation Destination

“One great thing about Jamaica is the diverse landscape. Foreigners just think of the beach but we are blessed with stunning beaches, and mountains, rivers and waterfalls. The landscape offers such varied experiences. It’s hard for me to choose a favourite.

There are a lot of organised attractions for tourists and luxury all-inclusive hotels where you want for nothing. But there are also the real authentic Jamaican experiences, when you mingle with local people and enjoy the island the way we do. Like adventuring off the beaten path to beautiful swimming spots and trails that aren’t on google maps, eating Jamaican street food and maybe stopping impromptu at a street dance. Whether you’re looking to just relax in comfort or to get out there on an adventure, Jamaica has it.”

Places Fixed on ARTify’s Jamaican Speed Dial

  • The Haven on Hillcrest Avenue: a quaint outdoor bar with a friendly vibe
  • Cannon Ball Cafe in Barbican: when I’m not hosting a paint party there, I stop in for a cup of tea or their super yummy Power Salad.
  • Cellar 8 in Manor Park: great cocktails and food with a lovely ambience
  • Island Art and Framing: not just because my art is displayed there 🙂 It’s a great gallery of local paintings and locally made wooden furniture. Your eyes will be happy. It’s both a gallery and framing store so typically the persons in there are artists themselves or they appreciate art. I absorb all the positive energy!
  • Azans Supercenter in Regal Plaza: they sell everything there for the home and I get a lot of inspiration for decor projects

ARTify! Favourite Island Hide-aways for a Weekend in Jamaica

“In St. Ann I stay in the district called Bamboo at ‘Chippenham Park’ a lovely Georgian style house with neighboring egg farm. The house is over 200 years old and is really high up so it gets very cold (for a Jamaican). It’s a great place to snuggle by the fire-place or gaze at the stars and leave the city stress behind. The 3 bedroom house is available for vacation rentals.

In Portland, Kanopi House is a beautiful property with several villas built mostly from wood. Kind of a tree-house, jungle vibe and its right on the Blue Lagoon.

I can’t leave out Eits Cafe in the Blue Mountains! Let me just say “rustic relaxation”. Rustic wooden rooms, breathtaking views, a great restaurant, and the sound of the river always in the background. Look it up!”

Artify on the ‘Support Jamaica! Buy Jamaican!’ campaign on the Sweet Jamaica website…

I would like to commend Jules for the “Support Jamaica! Buy Jamaican!” Campaign. I especially admire that as a foreigner she has recognized all that is positive about Jamaica and has made it her mission to help showcase that internationally. I’m a firm believer in buying local as much as we can, especially when it comes to supporting our local farming and food manufacturing industry. As a local business or artisan it is often difficult to compete with imported goods which are usually priced cheaper. But it is important not just to support our economy but to nurture the talent and morale of our people. Every time that we support a local business or artisan, that is what we are doing. We are saying, “I appreciate what you are doing, Don’t stop!” – Stephanie Lue Yen

Contact and Bookings for ARTify!

If you want to get in touch with Stephanie at Artify, the best place to start is their website. All their products and services are listed and you can contact them using the contact page.

Email at steph@artifyja.com.

We are also on:

Artify! Website

Facebook as Artify Ja

Instagram @artify_ja 

Instagram @imaginationcamp_ja

 

 

 

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you been to a Paint and Sip or art party? Tell us all about it!

Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

Want to Read more Jamaican Interviews? Head Over Here…

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Match Resort – Port Antonio, Jamaica

Match Resort Review – Port Antonio, Jamaica

The austere front aspect of Match Resort in Port Antonio belies the welcoming interior and friendly staff tucked away inside. After thumping our small wheely suitcases up the steps from the parking lot we were greeted by a cheery reception area with a leather settee and bar stools up by the counter. After settling into the settee I noticed there was a locked fridge stocked with soda, water and beer and a few snacks for sale, along side a small selection of souvenirs.

After a short wait a member of staff briskly appeared from the stairwell at the other end of the room and warmly greeted us.   We were asked if we had a reservation and after going through the formalities we were handed a form to fill in with our details. The receptionist asked if we needed any help with anything and recommended the on-site bar and Scotch Bonnet Restaurant if we wanted a bite to eat. We agreed that we would drop off our bags in the room and then come back down for a swim and to order food.

 

Match Resort Port Antonio
Match Resort Port Antonio

Second Floor Room with a View at Match Resort

Once we had been given our keys we were warned with a smile that whilst the room was on the second floor and there wasn’t a lift (elevator), it would be worth the climb as it was a nice room with an ocean view from the balcony.

We left the reception area and walked up the first flight of stairs which gave access to bar and restaurant which overlooked the outdoor patio area and swimming pool. Continuing up the stairs we noted that the building was actually an L-shape and had a lot more rooms than we anticipated.

When we finally reached our room we unlocked the door into a freshly renovated room with twin beds, an en-suite bathroom, and a balcony with the most beautiful view of the ocean in the distance. There was also a small fridge, TV and cable, free Wi-Fi, built-in wardrobe, chest of drawers and a mirror. The en-suite bathroom had a bathtub and overhead shower, with complimentary mini bars of soap and a shampoo dispenser over the bathtub.  The balcony had a table and 2 chairs and directly overlooked the terrace area and swimming pool area.

Overall my review of Match Resort accommodation is that the room was very clean and pleasantly decorated throughout. The A.C. and Cable worked and the beds were comfortable. There were complimentary toiletries and fluffy towels.

 

 

Match Resort Swimming Pool Terrace

After refreshing ourselves we changed and went down to the terrace area and ordered our meal before heading to the pool area. The pool was on a lower terrace to the restaurant and bar area and was reached by walking down a stone clad walkway flanked with beautiful flowers.

There were a few sun loungers and the area was pleasant enough, but the pool had leaves floating on the top and my friend complained that it the water looked a bit murky. But we had the pool to ourselves so we made use of this by doing laps up and down until our legs and arms turned to jelly, whilst chatting and keeping our heads well above the water!

One other person came down to the pool whilst we were there. After we had swam and chilled out around the pool for around 45 minutes we decided to go back to the room and bathe as the food wasn’t ready.

When we passed the bar we told the barman that we were going upstairs and pointing to our balcony overlooking the terrace we thanked him when he said he would call us when the food was ready.

We went back upstairs to the room with quivering legs and showered and got dressed. After about 40 minutes we were ready and hungry, so we decided to go back downstairs and sit on the terrace as we hadn’t been called for our meal. The barman hurried over and apologised for the wait and took our order for drinks. The terrace was pretty in the evening festooned with lights and well stocked bar area. Our food arrived after about 15 minutes of sitting downstairs on the terrace.

Scotch Bonnet Restaurant

So after a long drive, a pre-meal swim and about a 1 hour and 45 minutes wait, I was ravenous when the plate was placed in front of me…. But what a plate of food! It was presented with spiralized raw cucumber, carrot and beetroot on the side, with the fish and garlic potatoes elegantly stacked and centered in the middle of the plate with a salsa style topping.

I have to say that after quickly snapping the photograph I dove into the food, I ate literally everything on the plate. The potatoes were just the right texture with a delicious and full garlic flavour which complimented the fish and garnish perfectly, the spiralized vegetables were fresh and light and put the crunch on the plate.

Overall I would highly recommend the food. I don’t know whether it was because the food was so good, or that I was so hungry coupled with the cordon bleu sized proportions, but I could have eaten this twice over!  Needless to say, I sent my compliments to the Chef and gave them top marks for this unexpected meal.

After dinner we sat and enjoyed a drink on the terrace before returning to our room to relax, ready for the next day’s events. A short while later we heard a knock at the door and my friend returned smiling with two plates of cheesecake that the management had thoughtfully sent up, as a gesture for waiting so patiently for our meal.

We gratefully ate the cheesecake and after flicking through the cable and mainly chatting we settled down to rest.

 

SCOTCH BONNET RESTAURANT - Port Antonio
SCOTCH BONNET RESTAURANT – Port Antonio

Match Resort – Breakfast Included

When we arrived at the Hotel we were informed that breakfast was included and we had a choice of a traditional Jamaican, English or American style breakfast which would need to be pre-ordered. I went for the Jamaican breakfast that came with Ackee and Saltfish and boiled hard food, whilst my friend went for bacon and eggs.

The next morning we went down for breakfast and sat inside the restaurant where you could help yourself to tea and coffee. When our plates were served they were huge portions and my plate was far too much for me to consume in one early morning sitting! I love Jamaican breakfast, but cannot manage the standard (fill you up until lunch) portion size you get served! Non-withstanding my food was good (the hard food was a tad salty) and my friend cleared her plate of eggs and bacon.

Match Resort Amenities

  • Air-Conditioned Rooms
  • TV and Cable
  • Private Balconies
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • En-suite bathrooms with hot water shower
  • Outdoor pool and terrace
  • On-site Scotch Bonnet Restaurant
  • Bar with Terrace
  • Tour Desk
  • Free Parking
  • Ocean and Mountain Views
  • 5 Minutes from Port Antonio Town Centre and San San Beach
  • Toiletries, soap, shampoo, towels, linens
  • Closets and Room Safe
  • Transportation, tours and airport shuttle can be arranged

Conclusion – Match Resort

I would recommend the Match Resort if you are looking for budget priced accommodation in Port Antonio.

The twin room cost in the region of  US$80.00 for bed and breakfast, which is very reasonable for the overall experience. The room was clean and comfortable and the staff were really friendly and very accommodating.

The Scotch Bonnet Restaurant was a hidden gem and the terrace was inviting and would be ideal for an intimate setting in the evening. The menu has a selection of fine Jamaican, International and fusion dishes; average price of JA$1,200 – $1,500 per main meal. Rum and Coke was around JA$600.00 per glass.

Match Resort Address

Match Resort
Dolphin Bay 
Port Antonio
Portland
Jamaica

 




Most Coveted Jamaican Made Travel Accessories

After falling in love with Janz Creations images on Instagram, I tracked down the brains behind the brand to get the inside scoop about Jamaica’s most talked about travel accessories. Where I was excited to learn that Janz Creations is a thoroughly modern, Jamaican family affair.

Join me as I catch up with the trailblazing trio to find out what they are up to this year, plus I have gleaned some of their ‘in the know’ insider tips for the best that Jamaica has to offer.

Flying the Flag for Jamaican Made Products

Janz Creations is one of the new breed of fearless Jamaican creative companies that has been launched to much acclaim. Filling a niche in the market with a product line that wouldn’t look out of place on the pages of a glossy magazine. Janz Creations are putting the stylish edge into ‘Jamaican Made’ with their line of Travel and Tea Accessories.

Following a hectic couple of months being featured at the most stylish events on the Kingston shopping scene on the run up to Christmas, Janz Designs have hit the ground running in 2017, with new fabric designs being launched, along with a limited edition romantic Valentines Day campaign.

Coveted by all the most stylish people in Jamaica, those in the know are stocking up on pieces from Janz Creations to carry back overseas, smug in the knowledge that they have brought back something from their vacation that everyone else wishes they thought of.

If you are visiting Jamaica and are looking for an authentic memento that you will still love and use when you reach back home, seek out  a stockist of Janz Creations. You heard it here first…

More Information: Support Jamaica Buy Jamaican!

In the Beginning – A Kingston Born Entrepreneur

No stranger to business, Janet Ferguson had designed and created products long before Janz Creations was formally launched. As Janet’s artistic background and passion for practical designs meant that every time she created something for herself, her friends and family would insist that she made another to sell to them. This support and encouragement spurned Janet on to team up with her daughters, Kerri-Ann and Keisha to launch their family owned business in September 2015…

“I was motivated to make products that are useful and necessary, but often forgotten or unavailable. High end shoes come in bags, but the majority of people cannot afford such shoes, but the bags are so useful for travel and everyday use. Who wants to have their underwear on display when their bags are being checked at customs? The lingerie bags provide privacy for these personal items.”

Priding themselves on creating high quality tea and travel collection products, their company philosophy is to provide ‘products that are useful and which offer good value for the price charged’. This vision is effortlessly executed with the beautifully shot marketing images shot by, Toni-Ann Photography.

 

Shoe and Lingerie Bag Janz Creations
Shoe and Lingerie Bag Janz Creations

 

Hand-Made Products Hitting the Fabric Trends

Scouring through the images on Janz Creations Instagram feed, there is no denying that Janz Creations is on the pulse of the latest colour and fabric trends. Taking inspiration from nature, culture and magazines, the Team selects fabrics and prints based on current trends in the fashion industry.

These fabrics are then hand-cut and meticulously sewn by Janz Creations Founder, Janet Ferguson, assisted by a local seamstress in her atelier. The choice of fabrics cover the full spectrum, so you can find modern heritage floral patterns, colour blocking, polka dots, denim, prints and stripes. There is literally something for everyone, including men and children.

The pieces are priced in the range of $600 – $4,500 JMD, which is super affordable if you want to start collecting their range.

I will be stocking up on the products with the the iKat, batik, geometric and blue anchor fabrics, which I absolutely LOVE!

Why it is a Good Idea to Invest in Travel Accessories

Whether you are zipping around town or visiting an overseas destination, travelling can be stressful. One of the best ways to make travelling less stressful is to be organised. It’s the little things that help, like having a place for everything and putting everything back in its place. By investing in some travel accessories you can make sure that you stay on top of your game, whilst dazzling everyone you meet with your practical and stylish hero products.

Purposefully designed travel accessories can also help protect the lining of your favorite bag, whilst fun prints make things easier to find when scrabbling in the depths of your handbag for something small. And who doesn’t want a pretty little teabag wallet to toss into their handbag for Green Tea on the go?

 

Janz Creations Product Line

Janz Creations currently carry two products lines, Travel and Tea Collections.

Travel Collection:

  • Card Holders
  • Cell Phone Charging Pockets
  • Diaper Bags
  • eReader Cases
  • Laundry Bags
  • Lingerie Bags
  • Luggage Handle Covers
  • Passport Holders
  • Shoe Bags
  • Swimsuit (wet) Bags
  • Children’s wet bags and lunch bags

Tea Collection:

  • Tea Cozies
  • Tea Wallets

 

Tea Cozy Janz Creations
Tea Cozy Janz Creations

What’s next from Janz Designs…

You heard it here first!

“In the next 3 -5 years we would have added more products to our collection and a few more vendors, some of whom would be in other Caribbean islands. We continue to listen to our customers as we have gotten very good product ideas from them. We will also be exploring the bridal market through partners, where we will offer our products as customizable bridal party gifts”.

 

Card Holders Janz Creations
Card Holders Janz Creations

 

Janz Creations Insider Guide to Jamaica

If you are looking to visit Jamaica like a local, there is more than one way of doing it. So in the interest of public service I have quizzed the stylish trio for their insider knowledge on ‘how to do Jamaica like a Kingstonian PRO’!

 

Janet Ferguson raised her daughters in her childhood stomping ground of St. Andrew, where they all have fond memories of the area…

“We all grew up in St. Andrew. Our favourite memories were playing with friends in the stream at the front of our house and mini adventures into the hills. Road trips to the rural areas, picnics at Hollywell and attending Easter morning performances by NDTC (National Dance Theatre Company) are some of our family faves”.

 

Janz Creations on Why Jamaica is an Ideal Vacation Destination

“Jamaica would appeal to a visitor that is looking for a change in pace, with friendly and welcoming people, fantastic food, beaches, rich history and vibrant art scape. Many people would be enlightened by a visit to the Synagogue which is one of the oldest in this hemisphere”.

 

What Janz Creations love about Living in Jamaica

“We love the lifestyle, weather and overall energy of the country, having all lived at some time in the United States and the Jamaican example of ‘Out or Many, One People’”

 

Places Fixed on Janz Creations Jamaican Speed Dial

Retail Shops: Kerry Man Woman Home, Kutriments, Tea Pot, Taylor’d 4 Babies, Courtney Washington

Restaurants: Triple Tz on Annette Crescent has the best Sunday Morning breakfast.

Hang Outs: There are so many, but San San beach in Portland is a must. Can’t forget Devon House Ice Cream…ooh that rum and raisin.

 

Janz Creations Favourite Island Hide-aways for a Weekend in Jamaica

“We love to stay in Ocho Rios (Old Forte Bay). Ochi is now very close with the new high way and we loved the staff at Old Forte Bay. It is very relaxing and great spot for a small group or family get away.

We also enjoy Ibero Star in Montego Bay. This has been one of the best hotels we have stayed at, from the staff to the food and accommodations”.

 

Janz Creations Highlights about Living in Jamaica

Living in Jamaica is truly a wonderful experience. Nothing beats living in a warm climate on an island year round. When we have free time we enjoy trips to Hellshire Beach to eat fish and festival, the taste cannot be replicated anywhere else we have visited so it is a must go for all visitors. Also the simple things: the ability to laugh at ourselves, relax and the congeniality of our people. With all its problems there is no place like Jamaica”.

 

Janz Creations Top 5 Spots to Visit in Jamaica

1. Devon House – ice cream
2. Hellshire Beach
3. Triple Tz
4. San San Beach
5. Tastee Patties

 

Janz Creations Favourite Authenic Jamaican Foods and Pastimes

Jamaican Food: “Ackee & Saltfish, Patties, Fried dumplings, Escoviche Fish and Festival”

Jamaican Pastimes: “Carnival, Track Meets, NDTC Performances, Live Concerts, especially Sumfest & Rebel Salute”

 

Shop Janz Creations

Janz Creations website offers delivery within Kingston & St. Andrew. Wholesale items can be personalised.

 

Retail Locations Carrying Janz Designs

Kerry Man Woman Home
18 South Avenue
Kingston, Jamaica

 

Kutriments
Shop #18
Mall Plaza
Kingston, Jamaica

 

Taylor’d 4 Babies
27 Lady Musgrave Rd
Unit 3
Kingston, Jamaica

 

The Teapot
106 Hope Rd.
Sovereign Centre
Shop 27a
Kingston, Jamaica

 

Island Florals
Devon House
Shop #25
26 Hope Road
Kingston 10, Jamaica

 

Contact Janz Creations

Janz Creations Website: www.janzcreations.com
Email: janzcreation@gmail.com
Instagram: Janz_Creation
FaceBook:  Janz Creations

Disclaimer: All images used with kind permission of Janz Creations, copyright Janz Creations.

Photography Credit: Toni-Ann Photography.

 

 

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join us…

FaceBook Page

Twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul 

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

What is your favourite piece from the Janz Creations Travel and Tea Collections?

Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

Want to Read more Jamaican Interviews? Head Over Here…

Want to learn more about my Support Jamaica Buy Jamaican! Campaign? Head over here…

 




Boardwalk Bistro at Island Village, Ocho Rios

If you are looking for a stylish beachfront eatery with a finger-licking menu and authentic Blue Mountain Coffee, I have found the spot in the coolest corner of Ochi!

If you live or work in the surrounds of Ochi, the Boardwalk Bistro is ideal for when you to get away from it all and avoid the crush of the town. Visitors to Ocho Rios and passengers from the nearby cruise ship pier, will love the warm Jamaican hospitality and beautiful settings without having to hike for hours to get there.

Boardwalk Bistro – Island Village, Ocho Rios

If you haven’t been to Island Village before you are in for a treat! The Boardwalk Bistro is set among the wooden buildings and lush surroundings that make up the beautiful settings of the Island Village complex.

There is a selection of stores, cafe’s, restaurants and entertainment facilities set around a boardwalk that incorporates picturesque natural spring lagoons (seek them out to see the fish), tropical flowers and fruiting trees.

If you look around you, will see that this complex is dreamy and creates the ambiance of an authentic Jamaican village, I love it!

Boardwalk Bistro
Boardwalk Bistro

The Boardwalk Bistro, Ocho Rios

The Boardwalk Bistro is nestled at the far end of the shops and a mere 10 steps away from the private sandy beach at Island Village, in Ocho Rios. You can relax and people watch in the shaded alfresco eating area directly on the boardwalk whilst enjoying your meal, or take in some intimate Jamaican ambience by sitting inside the Bistro.

The interior of the Boardwalk Bistro has a warm and inviting, carefully thought out decor. The main feature being a stunningly fluid Jamaican Guango wood counter that wraps around one wall.

The Bistro’s open kitchen is situated in full view of the dining area, so you can watch the chefs in action and take in the sights and smells of the cooking before you get to sample the food. The sea breeze along with the huge extractor and ceiling fans helps to keep this area cool.

Take a moment between mouthfuls of food to admire the sweeping Guango wood counter and the tables and chairs which are smooth and weighty and handcrafted from locally produced Guango and Cedar wood.

Then take in the masks and pictures adorning the walls depicting early Jamaican and African scenes, which are gently lit by the stained glass wall sconces in the evenings.

The beach front location is ideal if you want to leave your older children nearby on the beach, whilst you take in a Blue Mountain Coffee or a Jamaican Red Stripe Beer on the cool and shady boardwalk!

 

Inside the Boardwalk Bistro Island Village Ocho Rios

 

The Menu at the Boardwalk Bistro

The Bistro is a champion of getting the right mix of local and international foods on the menu. So whether you are in the mood for something new, or an old favourite, you are sure to find something to tempt you.

Although you can get plated foods, the Boardwalk Bistro is an advocate of eating with your fingers. They serve many of the foods in paper stuffed into decorative wire racks forming cones, with ramekins for dips on the side. Ideal for finger dipping!

Jamaican Flavours on the Menu

  • Breakfast: Jamaican style, served with boiled yam, banana and dumpling
  • Jerk Chicken or Pork
  • Curried Mutton
  • Brown Stew Oxtail
  • Snapper (fish)
  • Coconut Curried Shrimp
  • Salt-Fish Balls
  • Soup
  • Rasta Pasta
  • Chefs Salad
  • Chicken Bites
  • Stuffed Chicken Breast
  • Bammy, Rice and Peas, Sweet Potato Fries, Plantain Chips, Johnny Cakes, Festival

 

International Flavours on the Menu

  • Breakfast: English, Continental, Eggs Your Way, Waffles
  • Cheese Burger
  • Cheese wonton
  • Pita Pizzas
  • Boardwalk Pitas (filled pita bread)
  • Wraps
  • White Rice, Potato Wedges

 

Soda Float Boardwalk Bistro
Soda Float Boardwalk Bistro

Drinks and Desserts

The Boardwalk Bistro serves a their own brand of  100% Blue Mountain Coffee, the much celebrated ‘Strawberry Hill’ coffee brand, alongside teas and iced coffees. Plus they have a range of smoothies, shakes, juices, soda floats, sodas and water.

If you want something alcoholic they have wine, beers, cocktails and many ways of serving the Jamaican staple Rum! If you have any room left, they also have a small selection of desserts on offer.

 

My Experience of Eating at the Boardwalk Bistro

I visited the Boardwalk Bistro for a lunch date with a friend and we took residence on one of the much coveted teak tables on the boardwalk overlooking the beach. We were served  in good time by a smiling waitress who handed us menus with botanical illustrations of Jamaican fruits and trees on the front, which I absolutely adore (I know I have weird Art crushes!).

We decided to go for finger foods to share, so we selected some Jamaican and International side order options from the menu.

We went for Salt-Fish Balls, Cheese Wontons, Bammy and some Plantain Chips.

As soon as I saw it on the menu I couldn’t resist ordering a Cream Soda Float, which reminded me of my Dad, who used to make them for us as children. It didn’t disappoint and the ice-cream was nice and creamy.

The food was served in paper covered baskets and wire racks, so we took a basket each and filled it with a few of the fried delights and started tasting! Overall the food was really good.

I especially loved the Salt-Fish Balls, which were a perfect mixture of juicy, salty, bouncy, frittery crispy deliciousness and the Plantain Chips, which tasted as though they had dropped straight off the tree to the chopping board. The Cheesy Wontons were suitably crispy and cheesy and gave a little international edge to the other Jamaican side orders.

Despite ordering fried foods which were presented in unforgiving paper packaging, I noted there was a distinct lack of oil on the paper. Which I always use as a good measure of whether the food will be overly greasy and dripping in fat. So full marks to the Chef for achieving the crunch without the grease!

If I had to find one little fault about the whole experience, it would unfortunately be the bammy. Which is one of my all time favourite Jamaican side orders. It was a bit tough, like it hadn’t quite been soaked long enough before it was fried. But non-withstanding we ate most of it anyway!

We were full after eating the food, so I slipped the paper out of the rack with the remaining Plantain Chips (too good to waste!) and took them with me to nibble on whilst wandering around the Island Village shops afterwards… Delicious!

Our meal including drinks, came in at around $1,800 (Jamaican), not including the tip we added. We thought the cost was very reasonable for the ambiance, service and what we ordered. Highly recommended!

 

NYAM Boardwalk Bistro
NYAM Boardwalk Bistro

 Want to Visit the Boardwalk Bistro?

The Boardwalk Bistro can be found in Island Village Plaza, at the far west end of Ocho Rios Town Centre.

There is ample Parking and clean Washrooms located in Island Village Plaza. The Car park, Washrooms and The Boardwalk Bistro are fully accessible by wheel chair users. 

If entering the plaza through the car park entrance, you will pass the washrooms (stop first if you want to refresh yourself before finding a table) as you walk through the archway. Immediately turn right and follow the boardwalk towards the sea. The Boardwalk Bistro is the last shop on the right-hand side.

If you are coming from the Cruise Ship Pier, head straight down the street passing Oceans 11 and take the first right across a small bridge to the boardwalk, which leads to the sandy beach. The Boardwalk Bistro is the first shop you pass on the corner, conveniently located directly opposite the beach.

If you are coming through the main entrance, walk past the cinema and down the steps, continue past the water feature, lawn and washrooms and follow the boardwalk towards the sea. The Boardwalk Bistro is the last shop on the right-hand side.

Boardwalk Bistro Address

Shop 1/2 Island Village Plaza, Turtle Towers Road, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Phone

(876) 398-2582 / (876) 384-9578

 

Maybe I will see you there when I come back! 

 

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Want to Read more Jamaican Reviews Head Over Here…

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Top Tips for Visitors to Jamaica

Top Tips for Visitors to Jamaica

Every country has a different way of doing things and what some consider to be normal everyday behaviour is perceived as disrespectful or distasteful to someone from another country. When travelling it helps massively if you get at least a little introduction to the country you are visiting prior to your arrival, so you are aware of the culture, customs and traditions. It isn’t nice to be scorned for your bad or socially inept behaviour, so I always take time out to look and learn (or read a good article on it) before I talk and walk into trouble!

When in Jamaica, do as the Jamaicans do…

When in Jamaica DO…

  • Chill Out and Relax. You are working on Jamaican time from now on. When a Jamaican replies ‘soon come’ they do not mean it in the literal sense, it invariably means it will happen, when it happens. So be patient, it is usually work the wait, especially if it is for fooood!
  • When addressing a stranger it is always best to be formal, especially to those that are mature, or of child-bearing age. Using Sir, Mr, Miss or Mam when referring to someone is considered to be a polite way of conversing when you do not know them. It is also used alongside the more informal aunty and uncle and is good to use before the first name of anyone who is older or wiser, but more familiar to you (probably not advised in a formal environment though!)
  • The same goes if  you are being served by someone at a store or restaurant, it doesn’t hurt to be polite and cordially greet people
  • When addressing a Police Officer, I highly recommend flagrant use of Sir, Mam, or Officer when conversing with them. It shows them respect and that you do not consider them to be inferior to you, which often means they give you less hassle
  • Try Jamaican food. It is delicious and there are dishes to suit every type of palate, including amazing Ital Vegan and Vegetarian foods
  • Treat Jamaican people with respect, remember you are not better than them just because you have a foreign passport, or because you are visiting where they are working
  • Be sensitive to the plight of the working class Jamaicans and do not try to take advantage of them. Many of the people seen vending in public places are just trying to make a living for basic necessities and to make money to send their children to school
  • Be firm and direct as most Jamaicans are. You will probably only confuse, or get taken advantage of by beating around the bush
  • Trust your instincts. If you don’t have a good feeling about a situation – remove yourself from it. Better to seem abrupt or rude than to regret staying around longer to see how it pans out
  • Conserve energy as it is expensive and water because it is scarce. Do not leave the water, AC, TV and so on running for inordinate periods of time especially when you have left your room…
  • Consider the environment, don’t haul off bundles of coral and shells, remove wildlife or ‘dutty up Jamaica’ by leaving your garbage lying around
  • Expect the unexpected! You will find more churches per square mile in Jamaica than anywhere else in the world (except the Vatican City itself), but they have a thriving music scene where they love to dance provocatively and wear very scanty clothing. Jamaica is a country of extremes!
  • Support Jamaica and Buy Jamaican! There are many ways you can do this on your trip, such as purchasing products that are MADE in Jamaica, patronising locally owned accommodation, attractions, tours, stores and eateries and supporting the street and beach vendors

More Information: When in Jamaica be Conscientious 

More Information: Support Jamaica Buy Jamaican!

Top Tips For Travel To JAMAICA

 

When in Jamaica DON’T…

  • Forget that whilst it is nice to be important, it is more IMPORTANT to be NICE – smile!
  • Stereotype Jamaicans because of what the media portrays, or because of one rude person you come across
  • Take photographs of people, or other people’s property without their permission, as they may not always be happy about it. Use common sense and Respect The Privacy of Others. Many Jamaicans love to pose for a picture and will be more than happy to do so if asked, whilst some may ask for a small fee if in a tourist area.
  • Refer to Jamaicans as ‘natives’. It has too many racial connotations that could be considered as a derogatory slur. Calling a black person ‘coloured’ is also laughable and ironic, when you consider that a white person goes blue in the cold and red in the sun! Using the terminology ‘Jamaican’ is the most appropriate way of addressing the wonderful people of Jamaica
  • Get drunk and run around half naked, or put yourself in other types of risky circumstances. Drink is not your friend, when you get into a tricky or dangerous situation
  • Forget that controlled drugs are illegal in Jamaica. Weed, Ganga, marijuana, green, grass, hash, gum, or whatever else you want to call it has been decriminalised (as of February 2015), if you are found to have less than 2oz in your possession, so is now a ticketable offence rather than a prisonable offence. See Below for more information
  • Flaunt flashy jewellery, expensive mobile phones, i-pods and so on. If you feel the need to show off, do it in the hotel or back at home where they are more readily available
  • Rent a car and leave it parked on a beach or near a water course where the tide may rise and take it away
  • Leave your car keys or valuables with a random person because you want to go swimming, or some other task that will remove you from the eye sight of the items
  • Get a false sense of security because you are on holiday / vacation. If you wouldn’t walk around alone late at night, or visit the local shops in beach attire when at home then don’t do it when you are in Jamaica. Use your Common Sense, or ‘screw your loaf’ as my Dad would say!

More Information: Setting the record straight on the Ganga Law, by the Jamaican Observer.

 

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What to Pack in a Barrel being Shipped to Jamaica

What to Pack in a Barrel being Shipped to Jamaica

So you read the ‘Guide to Barrels And Drums – Shipping Basics’ and are fully versed on what barrels and drums are all about. Now you are ready to try shipping a barrel for yourself.

If you are feeling confused and hot under the collar about what to put in the barrel and where to buy it, you have come to the right place.

This post gives you a guide as to what to pack in a barrel being shipped to Jamaica so you get the most out of the experience and cost involved in shipping.

More Information: Missed the memo on barrels and drums? A Guide to Barrels and Drums – Shipping Basics

What to Pack for Jamaica

Before you go ahead and buy your barrel you will need to think about filling it up. A standard sized barrel holds 210 – 220 litres (about 55 Gallons) and is surprisingly roomy inside, consuming innumerable items to fill it up.

Depending on what you buy,  it can be costly to fill up a barrel due to the internal capacity. So either take your time buying up items over a period of months, or get yourself prepared for the onslaught if buying it all in one go.

If you are stuck as to what to put in the barrel, think about who the recipient will be. Are you sending the barrel to yourself, or to a loved one?

For example, is the barrel going to a child, an adult with a young family, or are you sending it to granny? This will help you determine the type of things you are going to want to initially include as the essential or basic items.

If you want to pack a barrel with provisions, just think about what you, or the recipient normally eat and use inside the home.  After that, buy some things that will be useful. For good measure add some of your favourite treats and a few bits to give away, plus anything else that is expensive and hard to come by in Jamaica.

That might be easier said than done, especially if you haven’t been to Jamaica for a while (or ever before), as it can be hard to know ‘what is expensive and hard to come by in Jamaica’ if you have no experience of living there! So keep reading and I will cover that for you too.

More Information: If you are ready to start packing your barrel, read How to Pack a Barrel for Shipping to Jamaica

10 Tips when Buying Contents for a Barrel

  1. If you are on a budget try buying goods over a period of time, especially when they are on offer
  2. Check the sell-by-date and reach for the products with the longest remaining date printed on the label
  3. Look out for deals, sales, promotions, coupons, buy-one-get-one-free, 3 for 2 deals and special offers
  4. Check out bargain basement stores, such as £1 – One pound, and $1 – One dollar stores
  5. Join warehouse stores, such as Costco or Makro, and buy bulk sized portion packs
  6. Compare the prices of products online before going out and buying everything from one store
  7. Make use of supermarket home delivery, you are less likely to deviate from your list if you buy online
  8. Look for products packaged in plastic containers, rather than glass, as they travel better and require less padding
  9. Second-hand clothing attracts less tax, eCommerce sites, such as eBay has sellers offering ‘bulk loads or bundles’ of clothing, many barely worn, for next to nothing
  10. Remember the climate is different, unstable goods rot and melt, man-made materials have a tendency to suffer from dry rot and un-coated metal products are soon affected by rust

tinned cans

Barrel Content Ideas and Tips

The most important thing to remember is to only pack ‘shelf stable’ products, so don’t pack anything that requires refrigeration.

Think of it as the contents of a pantry, so buy up stocks of kitchen and home basics that have a long sell-by-date and which form part of a meal. Household items, school supplies and hurricane preparation goods are well received, as well as clothes and accessories.

 

Pack a Barrel – Content Ideas 

  • Dried foodstuffs; rice, dried pasta, dried beans / legumes, noodles, couscous, tea bags, hot and cold drink powders (with milk and sugar inside!), biscuits, snacks, breakfast cereal, cornmeal, popping corn, dried seasoning, protein powders and health foods
  • Tinned foodstuffs; fish, meat, baked beans, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit / desserts, milk, (Jamaican’s aren’t usually fans of tinned soup)
  • Jarred / bottled foodstuffs; cooking oil, peanut butter, spreads, sauces, condiments, jams (jelly), coffee, olives, pickles
  • Detergents and Cleaning materials; washing detergent for clothes, washing up liquid, bleach, cloths, sponges, pot scrubbers and other cleaning materials.
  • Kitchen essentials; foil, plastic wrap, food bags, food clips
  • Toiletries; soap, liquid soap / shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, body lotion, face cream, deoderant, razors, face scrub / wash, suntan lotion, cotton wool / Earbuds (Q-tips)
  • First Aid; antiseptic cream, plasters (band-aid) bandages, tape, pain pills, allergy relief, muscle rub, vitamins, flu / cold remedies, insect repellent, bite relief, rehydration salts, diarrhoea and sickness relief
  • Kitchen wares; pots / pans, dishes, cups, cutlery, utensils,  mason jars and similar, tupperware /plastic airtight containers
  • Soft Furnishings; bed sheets, blankets and covers, shower curtains, towels and bath mats, tea towels
  • Household Items; washing line, clothes peg (pin)
  • School Supplies; backpack, pencil case, pens and pencils, geometry set, dictionary, coloured pencils, notebooks, sketch pad, craft supplies, embroidery supplies, reading books, educational aids, snacks
  • Hurricane Supplies; tarpaulin, rope, flash light, candles, rainmac / poncho, umbrella, water boots (wellington boots), batteries, counter-top gas plate (DO NOT inlcude the GAS cylinder!!), vessels to hold water

What NOT to Pack in a Barrel

  • Do not pack any items that usually need to be refrigerated, such as meat, cheese, fish or other dairy products
  • Do not pack any fresh fruits or vegetables, plants or flowers, any forms of live animals; including birds (including eggs) / insects / sea life / reptiles or other organisms!
  • Do not pack any freshly prepared products, or part cooked foods, such as breads and baked goods, microwave and oven meals, pizza and pastry items, fast food of any kind (although most fast food could survive a nuclear holocaust the amount of preservatives they contain!)
  • Do not pack anything that is flammable, explosive, corrosive or dangerous in any way!
  • Do not pack matches, lighters, gas cylinders of any kind, fireworks, wet batteries (vehicle batteries)

Items that are Expensive and hard to come by in Jamaica

I would like to say that most things are available in Jamaica, but certain items are really over priced or hard to find, especially if you live in rural areas.

International Foods: If you are into eating international foods and like to whip up your own meals, it would be prudent to include a few grocery items that make this possible.

I enjoy cooking Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Italian Foods, among other things. So I always pack basmati rice, authentic Thai Curry pastes, fish sauce, dry seasonings and herbs, tins of bamboo shoots, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, packet mixes, condiments, stock cubes, dried beans and legumes, olive oil, super-food powders, protein powders / supplements, clean living foods and other similar products.

Point of Note: Cooking Oil of any kind is expensive in Jamaica.

Pharmacuetical and First-Aid Supplies: Pharmacists in Jamaica must get paid great commission from the manufacturers, because they invariably recommend and prescribe the most expensive brands, instead of showing you the generic non-branded options. The cost of the simplest items will make you consider if you really need it.

I would highly recommend packing yourself a box of first-aid items, as outlined in the list above so you aren’t caught out when in a mini-crisis.

Homewares and Soft Furnishings: The majority of items made from fabric are either cheap imported Chinese goods, or expensive international versions. One towel can cost almost the same as a ‘bale of towels’ overseas, you could buy two or more bed-sets or blankets for the same price as one, curtains and nets are in a similar position.

Pots, pans, cutlery and utensils, in fact all kitchen supplies, one word to describe… Expensive.

Hurricane Supplies: All and sundry on the list above is expensive in Jamaica.

School Supplies: You can get cheap pens and pencils in Jamaica, in stores like Bashco, but the rest of the items are pricey.

Toiletries: When you can buy nearly everything on the list above in a pound or dollar store, it seems rude not to bring them with you! Or you can expect to pay 2 to 4 times that price in Jamaica for the same item, if they stock your usual brand.

Clothes et all: Whilst a barrel full of clothes and accessories is going to cost you more tax, a few choice items will make someone’s day. Despite Jamaica’s tropical location the weather is changeable throughout the year, hot and overbearing,  rainy and humid, chilly and wet. So don’t just pack shorts, flip flops and swimsuits!

Anything different, or from overseas is revered in Jamaica and that includes random things like snow boots, which I have seen a couple of people wearing since the ‘winter’ kicked in over here!… I would recommend something a bit more practical though!

 

First Aid Kit

 

What Items are Prohibited or Restricted by Jamaican Customs for Personal Shipping?

Some items are prohibited and restricted from entering Jamaica, so don’t assume because you own it, or it is legal in your own country that it will be allowable in Jamaica. There are laws, rules and guidance about what items are prohibited from entering Jamaica.

The Jamaican Customs website states that Prohibited Items include:

  • Prohibited items are absolutely forbidden from entering Jamaica, some of which include:
  • Indecent and obscene prints
  • Indecent and obscene prints, paintings, photographs, cinematograph films, lithographs, engravings, books, cards or written communications or any indecent or obscene articles whether similar to the above or not and any    parcels, packages or packets having thereon, or on the cover thereof, any  words, marks or designs which are grossly offensive or of an indecent or obscene character.
  • Coin-base or counterfeit coin of any country.

The following and similar publications:

1. All publications of de Laurence Scott and Company of Chicago in the United States of America relating to divination, magic, cultism or supernatural arts.

2. All publications of the Red Star Publishing Company of    Chicago in the United States of America relating to divination, magic, cultism or supernatural arts.

Some meats, fish, dairy produce, seeds, sugar and other items are also restricted.

More Information: Jamaican Customs website has designed a supporting PDF outlining the goods it applies to if in doubt.

______________________________________________________________

Further Information About Shipping

We have plenty of guides about shipping a barrel or crate, or anything else for that matter. Check out our other posts to read the whole series on Shipping to Jamaica:

Sweet Jamaica Guides to Shipping

Want to know what a barrel is all about and where to get one? Read A Guide to Barrels and Drums – Shipping Basics

Want to learn how to effectively pack a Barrel? Read How to Pack a Barrel for Shipping to Jamaica COMING SOON!

Want to learn the process involved in shipping in the senders country? Read The Art of Shipping a Barrel – Part One

Want to learn the process involved in collecting a shipment in Jamaica? Read The Art of Shipping a Barrel – Part Two

Want some additional information on Shipping to Jamaica? Read Sending a Barrel or Crate to Jamaica

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A Guide to Barrels and Drums – Shipping Basics

A Guide to Barrels and Drums – Shipping Basics

Have you ever noticed a big blue plastic barrel sitting incongruously by the roadside in Jamaica, or displayed in a shipping companies window overseas and wondered what it was used for?

Maybe you have thought about sending some items to loved ones in Jamaica and want to find out more about barrels and drums first?

This post will give you a Guide to Barrels and Drums, the shipping basics. So you know what barrels and drums are all about, prior to getting into the nitty-gritty of arranging shipping to Jamaica and traversing through customs.

 

Brief History of Shipping Barrels to Loved Ones in Jamaica

If you have ever visited Jamaica you may have noticed the amount of recycled drums and plastic shipping barrels that are harboured by residents across the island. These barrels and drums arrived in Jamaica aboard a cargo ship at one time or another. After being filled by a ‘pack a barrel’ genie overseas, who invariably knows all the tricks of stocking up on bargains and stuffing every piece of available space inside the barrel until it is ‘cork’ (full to the brim).

Shipping barrels back home ‘to yard’ is a long-standing Jamaican tradition, especially at Easter, Back to School and Christmas time. When a barrel full of love from overseas is carefully packed and sent over to loved ones, or dependents still living in Jamaica. These barrels are highly anticipated and the recipient is full of excitement when fishing into the depths to see what is packed inside. It is a way to keep in touch, reach out and support loved ones living in Jamaica, when they are apart.

 

Shipping a Barrel to Jamaica for an Extended Visit

The lure of shipping a barrel is one that might start to cross your mind when you are travelling to Jamaica for an extended stay, or when planning a trip to visit friends and family on the island. It’s the kind of thought that appears in your mind as a light-bulb moment, when the headache starts and the panic sets in over your luggage allowance and whether you can fit all the things you want to take with you in your suitcase.

I would highly recommend shipping a barrel to Jamaica, as it is a great way of contributing to the people you are staying with, or lowering your grocery bill if you are living independently over here for a while.

I will warn you know though, once you do succumb to shipping a barrel it is easy to get carried away, when you find the one intended barrel, becomes two, and two becomes three… I could go on, but I think you get the idea of what has happened to me before!

More information: Sending a Crate or Barrel to Jamaica

Where to Buy a Shipping Barrel

Barrels are usually sold by shipping companies and shipping agents, where they may offer free, or low-cost delivery in the local area. I have also seen barrels sold at international Money Transfer shops and e-commerce websites, such as eBay and Gumtree.  Shipping companies and international money transfer shops are popular in areas where there is a high population of migrant workers, such as London, Miami and Toronto and in areas where there is a shipping port or transport hub. It may be trickier to find barrels and drums in rural areas, but you can search online if in doubt, to locate the nearest supplier.

More Information: Looking for assistance with Shipping?  Recommended External Shipping Partners

 

What does a Shipping Barrel look like?

The most popular type of barrels used for shipping are made of plastic and are often recycled, after being used to transport raw materials of some kind in their earlier life. The plastic barrels aren’t always blue, but it is a very popular colour! Check the inside of the barrel for cleanliness and aroma, as some have an over-powering smell that may affect the taste of any food items you may wish to pack inside afterwards. If in doubt just leave the cover off for a day or two prior to packing, so that it can air out a bit.

Plastic Barrels are widely available in two sizes and are supplied with a plastic or metal cover, which has a separate ‘belt like’ levered locking fastener to secure the cover firmly in place. The barrels with the metal covers have the larger diameter, but the covers have a tendency to get bent at the edges making them harder to open and close after a time. Whereas the plastic covers are generally smaller in diameter, but they are sturdier are easier to fit creating an air tight seal on the barrel. Make sure you check the barrel opens and closes effectively before taking it home.

You can also buy metal drums or cardboard barrels, if you prefer. Just remember, whilst slightly cheaper, the cardboard barrels will be lighter, not as sturdy and will eventually be affected by the ingress of water. Conversely, the metal barrels will be heavier before you have put a single item inside and will be harder to manoeuvre around – but will be great for cutting in two when emptied to make a jerk pan when it reaches Jamaica!

Dimensions of a Shipping Barrel

  • The largest and most popular plastic barrel is about 36″ high and has a diameter of about 22-23″
  • The wider the mouth of the barrel, the easier it is to pack and unpack the contents
  • Large Barrels hold about 205 litres / 55 Gallons
  • Plastic barrels cost in the region of £32.00 in the UK, or $25.00 – $40.00 in the US
  • As far as I am aware there isn’t a weight limit to the contents (don’t go above 450 lbs!), as long as it can be moved by two men and the bottom does not fall out when it is moved!
  • You can ship almost anything in a barrel from food, household goods, clothes and toiletries to car parts, paddling pools and light tools (More information: The Art of Packing a Barrel – Part One)
  • Do NOT overly stress the barrel when packing it, as it will be stacked like for like in a 20 or 40ft container, and transported on a cargo ship which will be tossed around in the high seas potentially for weeks on end

 

Dimensions of a Shipping Barrel

Barrel Security

Once you have packed your barrel the shipping agent generally collects it from you and a small tamper proof seal is added to the lever.  The seal should not be removed until the person authorised to clear the barrel is present to witness the customs officials strip the barrel at the wharf to work out the tax payable in Jamaica.

There is no key for the seal as the sender may not be travelling to Jamaica to receive the barrel, so it just needs strong pliers to cut it off. If you are concerned ask the shippers to write the unique ID number on the security seal on your paperwork. Then the person that goes to collect the barrel at the wharf would have a record to check the barrels have not been tampered with.

Labelling your Barrel Correctly

Be sure to use a thick black permanent marker pen to write your name (or the receivers details) and address clearly on the barrel and the cover, so it is easily identifiable at the wharf. Do not forget to include the local post office in the address, (despite the barrel being delivered to the wharf) as this is the address they will use to contact the receiver if need be. The shipping agent will generally add their own label as well, but it is best not to rely on it.

In short, YOU are responsible as the sender to make sure the barrel is clearly marked and is easily identifiable at the wharf. Misspelt, incorrect and illegible names and addresses will not aid you in a speedy and stress free shipping process the other side.

Benefits of Shipping a Barrel to Jamaica

  • The large barrels hold about 205 litres / 55 Gallons (some hold more), with a mouth of up-to 23cm making it easy to load bulky, heavy or fragile items
  • You can send grocery items to cut down on weekly shopping bills in Jamaica, such as, detergent for clothes, washing up liquid, bleach and other cleaning materials. Tinned foodstuffs, rice, oil, foil, teabags, coffee, breakfast cereal, snacks and so on
  • You can pack some home comforts alongside gifts for friends and relatives, without compromising on your luggage allowance on the flight
  • Some items such as fixtures and fittings, housewares, soft furnishings and kitchen ware are very expensive or hard to get in Jamaica compared to the deals and choice you get overseas
  • You are able to send down specific and much needed items for loved ones and dependents in Jamaica when you are living overseas
  • The total cost of shipping a barrel, compared to the amount / weight of goods shipped is very economical when compared to sending by air mail, or a courier service

What Can you pack in a Barrel?

I would recommend packing your barrel with what you love, need and want for yourself or the recipient, alongside things that are hard to find or expensive in Jamaica. When choosing the contents be aware of the other costs involved, as the fees to be paid in Jamaica are related to the type and value of the contents.

You also need to sort your items and pack your barrel in a certain way to ensure that the contents reach the destination without spillage or breakages.

More information: The Art of Packing a Barrel – Part One

Do you have to pay Tax when Shipping a Barrel?

The short answer is YES! Regardless of the fact that you have bought all the contents and the barrel itself, and paid for shipping to Jamaica. Anything imported into Jamaica is liable for shipping costs, customs fees and taxes.

Barrels containing a mixture of food, (used) household and kitchen items, cleaning materials, toiletries, used clothes and other sundry items have the lowest tax bracket as they are considered to be items for personal use. When I asked the shipping agent in London how much customs tax I was likely to pay for one barrel containing these types of items they said it would be from $6,500 and would be payable at the wharf in Jamaica. Please Note, there are other fees to pay on top of the customs fee.

More information: The Art of Packing a Barrel – Part Two

 

What Happens to the Barrels after they are Emptied?

The plastic and metal barrels that once carried the goods, gifts and belongings of someone ‘dere a farrin’ to the hands of someone ‘back a yard’ are seen all over Jamaica in their retirement phase. Recycled drums and barrels are used as water storage containers, clothes storage facilities, containers for personal belongings, jerk bar-b-q’s (metal barrels only!), garbage bins and other types of storage vessels.

In Conclusion

A shipping barrel is an ideal way to transport goods to Jamaica from overseas locations. They are sturdy, water-resistant, secure and surprisingly roomy. The cost of a barrel is reasonable and the charges levied by shipping companies and shipping agents is very affordable compared with other methods of international delivery.

 

 

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Sending a Crate or Barrel to Jamaica

Sending a Crate or Barrel to Jamaica

Whether you intend on sending a crate or barrel to Jamaica for yourself, or a loved one,  there are a few things to consider before you start buying up goods to fill it. After successfully shipping down enough barrels to start my own barrel shop in Jamaica, I have garnered some great tips and tricks up my sleeve in the process. Plus, I have squeezed in some of your FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) about sending a crate or barrel to Jamaica in the same post for a bit of added insight!…

Why Should you consider Shipping a Barrel to Jamaica

You may be wondering what all the fuss is about, but I can assure you there is nothing more exciting than the prospect of receiving a barrel from ‘foreign’ when living in Jamaica. When you get the call from the Shipping Agent that the barrel is ‘ready for collection’ at the wharf, a little leap of happiness and anticipation crosses the receivers very being. You too can send some love wrapped up in a plastic barrel to someone (or even yourself) when you fill it to the brim with useful and preferably edible, or wearable items from overseas…

What should you put in your Barrel

First and foremost: It may sound obvious, but I have been asked this question so many times before…  You need to decide what you are going to send to Jamaica in the barrel! Electrical items, alcohol and bundles of new name brand shoes and clothes will attract the interest of the customs officials and invariably high taxes. Whereas dry and canned food items, basic household goods, second-hand clothes and personal belongings, do not. If you are sending the barrel to yourself, pack things you love and miss from home, so if that means a barrel half filled with tins of Fray Bentos pies and Ambrosia Custard (as my friend did) go for it!

 

How to Find a reputable Shipping Agent to send Items to Jamaica

Before you start buying and packing up your items you will need to find a reputable local Shipping Company / Agent that offers a service to Jamaica.  If you don’t know of any agents, ask your friends if they can recommend anyone, as the best recommendation is usually a referral.

You can also try searching online, and consider a browse through your local Yellow Pages for some leads. The best thing is to compare the shipping prices, then search for reviews from previous customers to check the Shipping Agents service record.

Each Shipping company have a schedule of upcoming dates they will be shipping to Jamaica and will be able to tell you how long it should take for your goods to arrive at the wharf. Make sure their shipping schedule suits your plans and travel itinerary, as the last thing you want is for your items to arrive at an inconvenient date for collection.

I would highly recommend checking these things prior to arranging shipping to avoid disappointment caused by a hasty decision. If you don’t feel confident about doing it yourself, you can always try a company called ‘Living in Jamaica’ who offer a free shipping quotation to Jamaica, alongside many other Jamaican Relocation Services. 

What Determines the Cost of Shipping a Crate or Barrel to Jamaica

The cost of shipping a crate or barrel to Jamaica varies from agent to agent and is dependent on a few different factors such as:

  1. The individual shipping agent fees
  2. The price they charge for the barrel or crate itself
  3. They may charge a collection fee, to collect the barrel from your home address
  4. Whether you plan to collect and clear the barrel at the Jamaican wharf in person (you or the recipient), or if you opt for home delivery from the shipping agent (if offered) which will impose additional costs
  5. Please remember to take into consideration that there will be fees to pay in Jamaica too, there is a landing fee from the shipping agent, a handling fee for the wharf and not forgetting the customs tax on the contents of the barrel. These fees are payable whether you collect the barrel yourself, or if you opt and arrange for home delivery
  6. You may also be charged storage fees by the wharf, if you don’t collect the barrel in good time once it has arrived…

Don’t let this you put you off though, as it isn’t as complex or expensive as it sounds.

How can I save money Shipping a Barrel to Jamaica?

TOP TIP! –  It works out much cheaper if you ship the barrel to yourself, i.e. you can save money shipping a barrel to Jamaica, if you are both the sender and receiver listed on the ‘Bill of Lading’.

Simply ship the barrel from your home country, fly to Jamaica yourself and collect and fill out the C27 or Yellow Form at the airport. Get it stamped by Customs, then carry this form with you to the wharf to get up to a US$500.00 tax free allowance. 

Kingston wharves
Kingston Wharves

Frequently asked Questions about Shipping to Jamaica

Q) Do Shipping Agents offer Home Delivery in Jamaica and what is the cost?

A)  Home delivery is offered by many Shipping Agents, but you would have to check with the individual agent for full details of the service they offer. The price of home delivery will depend on what you want delivered and to which part of the island.

There are two ports in Jamaica, Kingston Wharf and Montego Bay Wharf; arrange for your items to be shipped to the nearest wharf to where you want the home delivery, to save on inland delivery costs. Please Remember, you will also be responsible for the customs fees and taxes upon delivery to the home address in Jamaica.

Q) Are there any ‘hidden costs’ when using a Shipping Company for Home Delivery?

A) When a Shipping Company offers home delivery, they are responsible for clearing the items at the wharf and pre-paying all fees on your behalf. These fees may be considered ‘hidden costs’ as they governed and determined by the Jamaican Customs Official who searches your items in Jamaica, and as such the Shipping Agent is unable to pre-determine these costs prior to the goods landing in Jamaica.

Please note: You will be not be notified of the final price payable until the goods are delivered to the home address provided in Jamaica. The paperwork for the taxes and customs fees associated with clearing the items will be handed over for immediate payment. If you are sending a barrel to someone else and are arranging home delivery for them in Jamaica, please ensure they have enough money to pay the final fees, as the items will not be released without full payment.

Barrel Contents
Contents of a Barrel Sent to Jamaica

Q) How much does it cost to ship a barrel to Jamaica from where I live?

A) There is no exact answer to this question, as the price to ship a barrel depends on many factors. However, I can tell you that finding a reputable local agent should be your first port of call, if you will excuse the pun! I would initially suggest checking out the Yellow Pages, which lists Shipping Companies based in your local area.

Browse through the list and check out the services offered by each shipping agent, including the cost of the empty barrel, the shipping companies fees (both in the home country and Jamaica) and the shipping time. I would then highly recommend that you ‘Google’ the company to find reviews about them before you agree to send off your possessions with them.

Further information Shipping to Jamaica, can be found the  checking out my other posts: The Art of Shipping a Barrel Part One and  The Art of Shipping a Barrel Part Two, which cover my own experience of visiting Kingston Wharf.

Q) How do I go about shipping a Charitable Donation to Jamaica, do I have to Pay Tax?

A) The receiver of the charitable donation are able to get a concession on the tax payable in Jamaica to clear the goods if you / they follow a certain procedure. You must inform the school / institution of the intended donation and make sure that they have obtained the Charitable Organisations status. The following information has been copied from the Jamaican Customs website:

Kingston, Jamaica: – Effective July 15, 2013, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) will administer the tax relief for approved charitable organizations. No longer will charitable organizations, including Faith Based and Sporting Institutions be required to apply to the Minister of Finance and Planning to be granted a relief of customs duties and taxes for their charitable imports.

Approved charitable organizations are now required to apply directly to the Commissioner of Customs PRIOR to any shipment of goods, whether by donations or otherwise, to receive the requisite approval before the goods arrive at the Port of entry. Charitable Organizations that have not gained their “Charitable Organizations” approval will need to apply to the Commissioner General of the TAJ in order to gain that status.

The Ministry of Finance and Planning will continue to process applications that are currently in its possession until the enactment of the legislation; thereafter all applicants for duty/tax waiver will be referred to the Jamaica Customs Agency.

Jamaica Customs and Tax Administration Jamaica will be executing post audit operations with regards to goods being imported by Charitable Organizations. If any such organizations are deemed to have been in contravention of their approved status, the appropriate penalties will be applied.

The new arrangement for the treatment of approved charitable organizations is being done in accordance with the Houses of Parliament recently approved Bill entitled Charitable Organizations (Tax Harmonization) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2013.

You can also check out these links from the Ministry of Education for further information:

Making donations of gift in kind

Adopting a Jamaican School 

Barrels shipping to Jamaica
Shipping Barrels to Jamaica

Q) Who can use the C27 or ‘ Yellow Form’ when shipping to Jamaica?

A) Anyone who travels to Jamaica, no matter where they are from, are entitled to ship ‘unaccompanied items’ (i.e. a barrel or crate) to Jamaica to a value of US$500.00. To get this entitlement you have to follow a few easy steps:

  1. If you are travelling on a Jamaican passport you can omit this step and move to Step 2. If you travel to Jamaica on a foreign national passport (i.e. NOT a Jamaican passport) you will be given an ‘Immigration Form’ to fill in, remember to fill in the back of the form where it asks you to declare dutiable items as you will need this later when you get the C27 Form, which is known as the ‘Yellow Form’. I would NOT recommend getting too ‘creative’ with the figures as the customs officers have seen it all before and won’t be smiling along with you, as you try to deceive them!
  2. Approach the ‘to declare’ line at the arrival airport and show them the Immigration Form (if you have one) and ask for a C27 or yellow form. Mark down any dutiable items that you have in your luggage which are clearly listed on the forms; be warned if you grossly underestimate the value the customs officer won’t be very sympathetic with you and you may end up having to pay tax at the airport! The customs officer will look through your accompanied luggage, i.e. your suitcases and hand luggage to check the value of any items deemed not to be of a personal nature and will judge the value of duty-free items purchased. If you feel the value marked down is too high and you have receipts for any of the items you can show them to the Customs Officer and they may give a further concession. Therefore, if the customs officer marks down a value of US$150.00 on the C27 form, that means you have a tax-free allowance of US$350.00 to use against the unaccompanied luggage you are clearing at the wharf.
  3. Take the C27 Form to the wharf and any remaining tax-free allowance you have will be set against the tax payable on unaccompanied items that you have shipped to Jamaica. If you have shipped anything else that is arriving within a reasonable time (3 months) you can ask for any remaining allowance to be transferred to a new C27 form.

Q) Allowances for Returning Residents who are Shipping items to Jamaica?

A) There is a difference between a ‘returning resident’ bringing back personal belongings and a visitor to Jamaica bringing back ‘unaccompanied baggage’. A returning resident, which includes deportees,  are permitted to bring back a set amount of household and personal items tax-free. A returning resident is defined as:
1. Be a Jamaican national who has attained the age of eighteen (18) years; Has been resident overseas for not less than three 3 consecutive years and Returning to Jamaica to reside permanently.
2. Non-Jamaican whose spouse is a Jamaican Returning Resident
3. Jamaican student who has attained the age of eighteen (18) years and who has studied abroad for more than one year but less than three consecutive years.
4. Jamaican who gave up his/her citizenship (and can provide proof of that previous status) and wishes to return home.

The full list of entitlements given to a Returning Resident can be found on the Jamaican Government Customs Website.

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‘Anya Goes to Jamaica’ Book Review – Introducing Children to World Travel

‘Anya Goes to Jamaica’ Book Review and Interview – Introducing Children to World Travel

Whilst searching online for children’s books I was drawn to an illustrated image of a beautiful girl with a big pink bow in her hair, standing with her arms outstretched underneath a banner that read ‘Anya goes to Jamaica’. Intrigued I clicked through to the website and discovered that the little girl was the main character in an adventure book based on world travel.

The first book in the series is all about Anya’s trip to Jamaica, which is perfect timing for me as… I live in Jamaica!

Introducing ‘Anya the World Traveler’ Book Series

Thinking this was a great way of introducing my nieces and nephews to where I had moved to, I poured through the mesmerizing illustrations and content on the AWA book series website. I really connected with the book and wanted to share the launch of these interactive, magical and educational journey books with you, so that you are able to share them with the young readers in your life.

Being a blogger I had to get the ‘inside scoop’, so I got in touch with the author Nikko FungChung to ask her in her own words all about ‘Anya goes to Jamaica’ and how she is going about introducing young readers to world travel and different cultures.  After corresponding with Nikko I am even more in love with the books, the principles behind them and how she is taking on the publishing world with a brilliant, beautiful, bright, brown-skinned main character who is known as ‘Anya’, the World Traveler.

 

Why the Children in your life will love the ‘Anya World Traveler’ Book Series …

Introducing children to literature at a young age will enliven their minds to a world of possibilities, and Nikko FungChung captures the essence of childhood discovery in her books. Readers are taken on an adventure through the book discovering the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of each destination, subtly introducing children to different cultures and customs.

I feel that by reading the books, children will be more tolerant and learned about other parts of the world and people who may not necessarily look the same as they do. The main character ‘Anya’ is bright as a button and full of adventure and interacts with both boys and girls in the books, so she will be sure to appeal to both young male and female readers.

Children’s Literature Featuring a Black Main Character

I especially love that our international jet setter ‘Anya’ has brown skin and is of mixed heritage, as she will engage a whole generation of young readers who can identify with a main character that looks more like them. The majority of the children’s picture books feature main characters that are white, which can give a lot of young, aspirational readers a feeling that they are less important, or that what their life experience is secondary and doesn’t matter as much.

 

“I believe that every child no matter what colour their skin is,

deserves to be depicted in literature as the super hero, the achiever,

the adventurer, or anything else their imagination conjures up. “

 

On the flip side having a main character that isn’t white helps to redress the balance for white children too, they get to learn and understand about other ethnicities, becoming more rounded and hopefully becoming more enlightened world citizens too!

In Conclusion, this book is simply beautiful and is a perfect addition to any child’s bookshelf. It’s also ideal if you are planning a trip to Jamaica with young children, why not pack a copy in your hand luggage and read it on the flight to introduce your child to all the wonderful things they will get to experience on their trip to Jamaica!

 

Anya goes to Jamaica souvenir
Anya goes to Jamaica souvenir

Interview with Nikko FungChung Author of Anya’s World Adventures Book Series

Without further notice I would like to introduce you to Nikko FungChung, an amazing mother who was so frustrated at not finding good children’s literature, she started making her own!

Not only a fantastic business woman, Nikko is a social advocate who includes other entrepeneurs on her own personal journey, through collaborations forged and featured in the book series.

The interview includes behind the scenes stuff about Nikko and her family, an introduction to the book series, tips and advice for travelling to Jamaica with young children and an exclusive about which destination Anya will visit in the next book!…..

 

1. Please introduce yourself and your beautiful family….

My name is Nikko FungChung, I am the author and creator of Anya’s World Adventures Children’s Travel Book Series. I am a wife and a mother to three wonderful children; my 4-year-old daughter Anya, 10-year-old son Kenneth and my 5-year-old step-daughter Daijha. My husband Daymean was born and raised in Jamaica, this is where we met. My family is also of Caribbean descent, but my heart has always and will always belong to Jamaica.

This is why it made sense that Jamaica be the first stop in the Anya’s World Adventures Book Series.

 

2. When did you start Anya’s World Adventures and who are the creative forces behind it?

I started writing the stories in 2014, to date I’ve written about 46 countries. With very little knowledge of the publishing world, I spent a year researching different options for distribution, self-publishing, trying to sign with a big publishing house. I decided self-publishing was the route for me, but I needed time to figure out the funding because it is VERY expensive to create, publish and distribute your own book. It’s funny actually because I have a few other businesses that in essence seem more complex than this, but being a self-published author has been the most demanding venture of them all.

In 2016, an investment company, Demography is Not Destiny, took a chance on me and gave me the money I needed to get started. This was the same year that I found my illustrator, Fuuji Takashi, who has been a blessing from day one! She resides in the Philippines and we have never met in person, yet we are so in sync. Fuuji really understands my vision and brings it to life better than I could’ve ever imagined.

 

3. Tell us more about your Company Philosophy, what makes you tick?

Anya’s World Adventures is a complete and fully interactive learning experience for young readers. Each book in the series will introduce them to a new country and culture through the eyes of a child. When I’m writing it’s important to me that everything is factual and accurate while maintaining that story-book feel.

At the end of each book, Anya purchases a souvenir to keep as a reminder of the adventure. Readers can purchase these souvenirs and collect them as they read each book in the series. I’m really big on giving back and supporting other entrepreneurs, so I source these souvenirs from small business owners, craftsman and/or artisans in the subject country.

The learning and adventure continues on the website where readers can join the AWA Club. Membership is free! With the AWA Club, members can practice new languages, try new recipes, access printable activities and much more!

4. What inspired you to create children’s books and the supplementary content on the website?

I wanted to give my children a more accurate and less biased view of the world in comparison to what they are shown on television and movies. I also wanted to give them a way to connect with their roots so they can understand all the different cultures and ethnicities that make them who they are.

I went to the library to get some books for my son so that he could learn about other countries and I realised the only books on the shelves were all facts, no fun! These books certainly weren’t going to keep the interest of my 8-year-old, never mind anyone younger. While it is important to learn about the imports, exports and government structure of foreign lands, I think it’s even more important to learn about the people, culture and lifestyle.

Every book in the Anya’s World Adventures Series is filled with facts, presented in a way that children will understand, allowing them to retain the information while enjoying a fun adventure!

 

Bamboo Bobby and his Brother
The real life Bamboo Bobby and his Brother depicted in the book

 

5. What sort of readers does your book series appeal to and what do you hope they will gain from reading the series?

The language and content of the Anya’s World Adventures Book Series will appeal to children as young as 3 years old and as old 9 years old. It’s been a big hit so far with preschool all the way up to some fifth and sixth grade students. The reach of this book is very broad because the information is interesting and useful and the images capture the attention of early and proficient readers alike.

 

“I hope to make the world a little smaller with this book series.

When you learn about other countries, it broadens your horizons.

Living, learning, working or volunteering abroad all become options.

If we don’t allow our children to weigh out all the possible options,

we are doing them a great disservice and limiting their potential”

I also want the children who read my books to gain a better understanding of how similar we all are regardless of our race or cultural differences. It’s my belief that most of the world’s conflicts are caused by a lack of this type of understanding.

We get so consumed with our own existence and our personal way of life that it’s easy for us to turn a blind eye to something that is happening to a stranger across the globe and sometimes even in our country, because we don’t feel a connection with them.

Distance creates such a huge mental gap that instead of empathising, sympathising and offering assistance to others, we watch the news like it’s just a bad movie and continue with our day. I want to close that gap. I want our children to be a better, more caring generation and that begins with understanding and acceptance of other cultures and people.

 

6. How have you chosen the different destinations for the ‘Anya World Traveler Book Series?

When I first starting writing, I was focusing more on countries that I feel are most misrepresented in mainstream media. It was very important for me to provide a different and well-rounded view of these places.

In regards to release dates I want to do one country from each continent/region and then go back around the globe again and again. I don’t really see a finish line in sight because there is so much to learn and so much more to see and I am really enjoying the process. I think I’m most excited to complete the books about Africa and the Middle East.

7. Do you plan to travel to all the different places featured in the book series and will your children be accompanying you?

Yes, of course! I would love to visit most, if not all with my children – maybe one country a year because we still have to travel home to Jamaica yearly as well. If I can just introduce them to the idea of being citizens of the world and not being afraid to go to new places, then when they get older they can visit anywhere that I could not take them.

In the meantime, I do a lot of reading and research on each country before I write the book. People are also a big resource from me. I love to sit and listen to stories about their childhoods and upbringing so that I can make my stories more accurate and authentic.

Anya at the beach
Visiting the beach illustration from ‘Anya goes to Jamaica’

 

8. Please introduce the main character ‘Anya’ and some of her sidekicks who will be featured in the Anya’s World Adventures book series. How do you hope your readers will relate to them?

Anya is a world traveller! If you meet my daughter, that’s the first thing she will say to you and she has only been to Jamaica, lol (laugh out loud). In the book Anya has a magic globe that takes her on magical adventures all around the world.

The great thing about children is they have great imaginations, so I was able to focus more on Anya and her experience without having to add parents, passports and TSA (Transport Security Administration; they search luggage and passengers) agents into the mix.

In in each country she meets up with a friend – sometimes a boy, sometimes a girl who she will visit. This adds an element of relatability for children because they get to see how another child who looks a lot like them, lives and plays. The friend she visits also has a parent or guardian there which I use to introduce foods, dress, hobbies, crafts or trades and so on.

9. You recently travelled to Jamaica with your young family. What are your top tips for getting to an overseas destination with children in tow?

  • Take a practice trip to somewhere more local. This will get them used to the airport process and plane travel.
  • Pack lots of snacks! Remember that water and juices cannot be carried on, but you can pack as many cookies, fruits and crackers as you’d like. These make for great bargaining tools and distractions.
  • Check EVERYTHING! I tried to be frugal on our first trip to NY (New York) and only checked two bags. It is impossible to get from point A to point B with a toddler and rolling suitcases and your smaller carry-ons.
  • Make sure to pack two extra outfits for children in your carry-on just in case you need to change them or your bags are delayed.
  • If your child has the tendency to get lazy after a two second walk, bring an umbrella stroller (push chair).
  • For international travel, having another adult or even an older child is helpful especially when navigating security and immigration.
  • Explain the trip to them before you go: will there be connecting flights, show them on the calendar what day you will leave/return.
  • Vacation rentals are great because they feel like home, being able to do laundry and cook for yourself is such a luxury when on vacation.

 

Anya loved the beach in Jamaica
Anya loved the beach in Jamaica

 

10. Would you recommend Jamaica as a family friendly destination and why?

Jamaica is an absolute paradise and it has something for everyone! We were travelling “back home” so we spent a lot of time visiting family and hanging out around the house, but we did make a few stops at some tourist destinations. Turtle Rivers and Gardens in Ochi (Ocho Rios) is a must see for all ages! Doctor’s Cave Beach is a great day trip in Montego Bay.

 

11. Which part of the island did you stay in during your family vacation to Jamaica? Where else did you visit?

Portmore is home, but since this was the kids first trip to Jamaica we decided to use a vacation rental in Draxx Hall, St. Ann, right next to Ochi (Ocho Rios). The location was ideal because to our right we had all the tourist attractions and to the left some more homey necessities. We visited family all over – Portmore, Spanish Town, Kingston, New Kingston, Negril, Mobay (Montego Bay), St. Mary etc.

12. Share some of your family highlights of the trip with your children to Jamaica?

Spending time with family was really the best part. I fell in love with Doctors Cave Beach and Turtle Rivers and Gardens (big up our tour guide Odane, he is the best). We actually already booked our next trip to Jamaica for Spring 2017!

13. What were Anya’s and her siblings favourite thing about the trip to Jamaica and why?

I was surprised that they enjoyed the regular, every day stuff much more than the more ‘exciting’ outings. I think they would both live on the beach forever if they could. They didn’t want to leave, I think it was nice for them to see their family and have a better understanding of where they come from. We raise them in a very Jamaican home, but actually going to Jamaica allowed them to connect the dots.

 

Anya enjoying Mango in Jamaica
Anya enjoying Mango in Jamaica

 

14. How about the Jamaican food and culture, what new things did you and the children enjoy trying?

Our children our very well versed in Jamaican cuisine and culture so there were no surprises for them there.

However, both of them spent a lot more time outdoors (versus staring at a computer or tablet as they would in America) and they were so brave – holding birds, climbing waterfalls and chasing lizards, lol (laugh out loud).

 

Anya goes to Jamaica souvenir bracelet and anklet
Anya goes to Jamaica souvenir bracelet and anklet

15. There is the option of collecting souvenirs with the Anya’s World Adventure Book Series, tell us more about that?

This is one of my favorite things about the series. It’s an opportunity for me to make an economic contribution to the country I’m writing about and support and promote entrepreneurship. I research and connect with local craftsman and artisans and I purchase items from them to be sold on AWABookSeries.com

I also feature the business owner on the AWA Club pages and all of my social media platforms. For the Anya Goes to Jamaica book, I was blessed with the opportunity to work with Tena Harrison, owner of Pretty Little Things JA. She handmade about 400 anklets and bracelets for this project and I look forward to working with her again in the near future.

 

16. Where will Anya travel to in the next book and what can we look forward to?

I haven’t revealed this yet so I guess it will be an exclusive for you!

In the next book Anya will be going to India!

The book is due out in March 2017.

 

17. How often do you plan to publish a new adventure book for your readers to enjoy?

I plan to publish a new book in the series once every four months, God willing.

 

18. Where can the ‘Anya’s World Adventure’ book series be purchased and in what formats is it available?

Anya’s World Adventures has been distributed to all major online book retailers in both softcover and hardcover formats. Amazon is probably the most accessible internationally. Barnes & Noble also carries the books as well as a number of smaller bookstores. The books and souvenirs are available at AWABookSeries.com as well.

 

19. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

No, I feel like I may have said too much already! I tend to be pretty long-winded.

20. Please leave your thoughts on the ‘Support Jamaica! Buy Jamaican!’ campaign on the Sweet Jamaica website?

I think this is a great campaign and one that should be more widely supported. Jamaica is an amazingly diverse country with tons of resources and talents. I can’t wait to see what it becomes once it’s full potential is realised.

Bright Parrots in Jamaica

PLEASE NOTE: This post (and website) is written in (UK) English, however any references to the book title, and specifically the word ‘Traveller’ have been written using American English, as is the spelling in the ‘Anya goes to Jamaica’ book and the AWA website. Therefore, you will see the word spelt ‘Traveler’ in some places throughout this post. Rather than being a spelling mistake, it is more out of respect to the author who has written her book in American English.

Join the Anya World Adventure Club!

The fun doesn’t stop here, log on to the website and join the AWA Club! Where your child can get additional free content including downloads, you can share travel stories, watch videos, learn languages, listen to music, receive early access to book releases, discounts and VIP event invites.

Where to purchase Anya World Adventure Book Series Online

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you read this book, share your experience? What is your favourite book to read when travelling to Jamaica? Join the Comments Below….

‘SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN!’

#PrayforMia Mia-Skye Baldoue Appeal – Support Jamaica

Pray for Mia-Skye Baldoue – Support Jamaica

Have you ever seen a video clip of someone suffering and it made tears drop from your eyes? Well that was what happened to me after I discovered the story of Mia-Skye Baldoue, a four-year Jamaican girl who met in a car accident in September 2016 resulting in complications with her brain. The strength and fear in this little girl since her accident was inspiring and made my blood run cold at the same time.

Mia’s story has really touched my heart so I am sharing it with you my readers. So that maybe some of you will be touched enough to help reach the Funding goal. Please help share this around the world and there will be enough people banded together to help Mia in her arduous recovery.

 

New Instagram Account

I recently set up a Sweet Jamaica Instagram account (okay, okay I know I’m slow) and was looking around on the site when I came across a feed of a Jamaican mother who was in distress about her child who had been hospitalised. The raw emotion of the mother asking for prayers and the image of the child lying unconscious in the hospital bed, started a lump in my throat as I read on.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BKRICS7hCMd/?taken-by=badgyalbam

 

 

Mia was Involved in a Car Accident

As I clicked on the feed and starting read earlier posts,  I discovered that Mia had been travelling in a vehicle that was involved in a collision in Linstead, Saint Catherine resulting in head injuries to the child. Mia was rushed to the Bustamante Hospital in Kingston where a piece of her skull was removed to try and reduce the swelling to her brain. The delicate piece of skull was placed in Mia’s abdomen to try and give it a chance of survival, so that it could be replaced when the time was right.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BJ-nhvmhG6d/?taken-by=badgyalbam

 

A Mothers Worst Fears

As I scrolled down the feed I noticed a recent image of Mia all dressed up and pretty, ready for her first day back at school. Days later her mother received a phone call that was to change her life forever. After being advised that Mia may be brain-dead, or unable to walk or talk again, Mia’s mother took to Instagram to ask for your prayers for her daughters recovery. As I scrolled down the page I started praying for Mia too, as I anxiously read on.

Before Mia’s injury she was bright as a button, her mothers joy and blessing. Mia was constantly putting smiles on everyone’s face with her cheeky humour and adorable comebacks, many of which have been captured by family members on home videos and posted to social media sites.

 

Little Miss Mia-Skye

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCTqoPqLex9/?taken-by=badgyalbam

Bustamante Hospital – Mia’s Surgery

Since Mia’s first surgery she has made a miraculous recovery and has been able to walk and talk again. Her strength, courage and determination has been tested and proven after the accident. Mia is a strong, bright and voracious child, but she isn’t out of the woods yet. In some of the posts you can tell she is really scared and in pain, it is heart-breaking.

Mia-Skye Baldoue Go Fund Me Page.

Engineering a Piece of Custom Fit Prosthetic Skull

The piece of skull that was uncomfortable and sore in little Mia’s tummy for so long, was unfortunately found to be unusable when it was removed from her abdomen. This has left a void in Mia’s skull leaving her traumatised and recovering brain unprotected. Mia’s family have no choice but to seek medical expertise to create a prosthetic piece of skull, which will need to be fitted in another life threatening operation.

As Mia grows the prosthetic will need to be replaced regularly. So that it still fits correctly, requiring her to go through several operations throughout her childhood.

Courageous Mia was unable to immerse herself in water for 89 days as she had to keep her stomach dry, to protect the stitches securing the piece of skull internally. The only joy to come out of the futile exercise was from an excited and joyous Mia as she took her first full bath again…

Mia-Skye Baldoue Go Fund Me Page.

 

 

How You can Help Mia-Skye

 

GO FUND ME CAMPAIGN

If this story has touched you and you would like more information or to help, I would like to direct you to Mia-Skye Baldoue Go Fund Me Page. Mia’s family is trying to raise $30,000 (US dollars) for her surgeries, rehabilitation and on-going medical costs through the online campaign.

All donations will be gratefully received as every little helps to achieve the target amount.

Pray for Mia

Send Prayers

Supporting Ms Sasha Sepaul. Mia’s mother is going through a lot too and could use your prayers and best wishes. If you would like to follow Ms Sasha Sepaul’s Instagram account for updates on Mia and to send your love and prayers it can be found at @badgyalbam

Follow the hashtag #PrayForMia

 

Sending Love and Respect to Mia and her Family

I would like to personally like to send my prayers, love and respect to Miss Mia-Skye Baldoue and her mother Ms Sasha Sepaul and the rest of the family. May God shower you in blessings Mia today and always.

 

Copyright and Credits: All images and videos credited and copyright of the family of Miss MIA-SKYE BALDOUE; Ms Sasha Sepaul and Ms Toni-Ann Tate

 

View this post on Instagram

Going back to the hospital yesterday was such a reminder of how good God has been to us. Kids that we left there who weren't as critical as Mia, were still there when we went back…sigh… As her tummy was being dressed yesterday her doctor kept saying "mommy I hope u know Mia is a miracle baby… Patients who come in, in her condition rarely make it to this point"..I told her its the prayers… and I know that God worked thru her as she tried to save her life. I remember hearing the doctors telling me that first night what it is they need to do and thinking " dear God a it dis.." But u see faith… It can truly move mountains! And the God we serve… Is a wonderful, merciful, forgiving, healing, miracle working God. I DOA know bout anybody else but I know I'm not deserving of all that He has done for me. I keep looking at all the posts I've made since all this and I keep thinking.. Bam yuh nuh see everything we beg God fi do di Boss just a come all the wayyy thruuu for u!! Mi wuda wicked if mi Neva talk… So we prayed that everything was OK at her evaluation and it was. Surgery date set for the next 2 weeks. GOD IS GOOD!!!! So let's pray that within the next 2 weeks she doesn't get sick and her body doesn't absorb anymore of the bone in her tummy… Thank u Jesus! Thanks #teamMiaSkye mi love unu… All the persons who send me their own personal stories with similar injury.. Unu give me hope. Thanks as always for the prayers and msgs… #prayforMia #justiceforKhajeelMais

A post shared by Sasha Sepaul (@badgyalbam) on

#Prayers4Mia 🙏❤

A video posted by Toni-Ann Tate (@tonitate) on

 

I love her….God loves her even more…..God bless our baby girl Mia-Skye 🙏🙏

A video posted by Toni-Ann Tate (@tonitate) on

Mia-Skye Baldoue Go Fund Me Page.

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Join the Comments Below….

 

More Information: Want to learn other ways you can help SUPPORT JAMAICA?

 




Top 5 Apps For a Vacation – Travel Hacks for Jamaica

Top 5 Apps For a Vacation – Travel Hacks for Jamaica

When you are going on vacation it helps to have some Travel Hacks up your sleeve to make things run smoothly. I use my phone to get through a range of tasks on the go and  have some trusty Travel Apps that I cannot do without. I love to get the most out of my time in Jamaica and there is no better way than to download some apps designed for a Caribbean vacation. Prior to my vacation I ‘spring clean’ my phone to make sure I have enough storage space for new photographs, videos and… of course Travel Apps! These are my favourite Top 5 Apps For a Vacation – Travel Hacks for Jamaica, you won’t get the best of your Jamaican vacation without them….

 

Top 5 Apps For A Vacation

 

Top Travel App – Hack #1: Download your Airline Carrier App

If your airline carrier has a phone app it is a good idea to make space and download it. You can book flights and they usually provide the ability to store an e-ticket (electronic copy of your flight ticket) and boarding pass, the option to check in online and to verify flight details and times and so on. They are also useful in case of emergency as they will have contact numbers listed too. You can even keep track of your air miles if you are registered.

My Favourite:

Virgin Atlantic. It lets you log in, check Air Miles, check -in online, change your seat, check flight details and more. Love, Love, Love!

Download on Google Play Store: VIRGIN ATLANTIC

Download on Apple App Store: VIRGIN ATLANTIC

 

Virgin Atlantic App

 

Hack #2: Download a Currency Converter App

I always use local currency when I come on vacation to Jamaica, as I prefer to get immersed in everything Jamaican! I also mostly frequent places that trade in the Jamaican dollar, however US dollars are widely accepted in all the ‘tourist outlets’. If you would like to give Jamaican dollars a try, but are worried about getting muddled up when converting on the fly, download a currency converter app.

My Favourite:

XE Currency Converter. It is really easy to use and has bundles of currency information on offer. The UI (user interface) is smooth and you can set your top 5 currencies for immediate simultaneous conversion. You can also track the rate over time, which is helpful when trying to get the best rate for your hard earned vacation cash.

Download on Google Play Store: XE CURRENCY CONVERTER 

Download on Apple App Store: XE CURRENCY CONVERTER

 

xe currency converter
xe currency converter

Hack #3: Download the TripAdvisor App

TripAdvisor is the go-to website for independent travel reviews on your Jamaican vacation. Whether you are looking for accommodation, or something to do once you get here, they will cover all the bases for your trip. The TripAdvisor App will give you mobile access to the main site and has a great ‘Near Me’ feature if you are looking for somewhere to go in your local part of the island.

Get more from this Hack:

As a keen TripAdvisor contributor I have reviewed nearly 30 Jamaican businesses and attractions and have two commissioned travel guides for Saint James, Jamaica published on the TripAdvisor website.  

Check out my Travel Guide to ‘3 Days in Saint James Parish’ for ideas on how to spend your time in and around Montego Bay. 

If you are feeling adventurous, or you love the great outdoors, check out my Travel Guide  ‘Saint James Parish Outdoors’ .

Download on Google Play Store: TRIPADVISOR APP

Download on Apple App Store: TRIPADVISOR APP

 

TripAdvisor App
TripAdvisor App

 

Hack #4: Download a Phone Locator App

There is nothing worse than losing or misplacing your phone, but it can be especially upsetting when you are on vacation. In today’s digital age our phone serves many more functions than merely making calls and our whole life can be disrupted if it just left at home accidentally for a few hours, much less being lost on holiday! At the very least I would recommend putting a PIN or password lock on your phone to at least prevent unauthorised persons getting access to your personal information. If you want extra protection and are travelling with someone you trust you can enable GPS tracking Apps on each others phone to help find a misplaced handset. A lot of the apps also have remote setting so that it makes a noise, vibrates or the camera flashes to help you find the device when you say a password out loud; great if you are going on an adventure!

My Favourite:

I have an Android phone and my favourite app for App for Android: Where’s My Droid. I am unfamiliar with the best app for an iPhone, who can recommend their favourite?

Download on Google Play Store: Where’s My Droid App

Download on Apple App Store: Tell me your favourite App for iPhone….

 

Where's My Droid
Where’s My Droid

 

Hack #5: Download Digicel / Flow Phone Top Up App

If you are coming to Jamaica on vacation and are worried about running up a huge bill on your smart phone, there is a simple and cheap way around it. Use a local SIM card. I would highly recommend popping into your local Digicel or Flow Store on arrival and purchasing a SIM card. For a few hundred (Jamaican) dollars you can get a local Jamaican mobile / cell phone number and save a packet on charges. Digicel and Flow both have an online Top-Up App which I highly recommend. Download it for 24 hour easy top-ups charged to your home debit / credit card or PayPal account.

  • Ask about ‘International call plans’ to get minutes to call back home. USA, Canada and UK landlines are included (check website for full details). USA and Canada also get cell phone numbers included in the plan – the UK (unfortunately) does NOT
  • Put on a ‘Data Plan’ to tackle expensive rates on downloading emails, getting updates (on everything!), thumbing through social media accounts and so on
  • If everyone in your group gets a local SIM card you can call and text each other without incurring roaming charges when you are apart.

Hack Success Based On: If you are lucky enough to have an ‘unlocked phone’ you can replace your existing SIM card easily, if not you will have to get your phone unlocked before you leave.

Download on Google Play Store: FLOW TOP UP APP

Download on Apple App Store: FLOW TOP UP APP

Download on Google Play Store: DIGICEL TOP UP APP

Download on Apple App Store: DIGICEL TOP UP APP

 

Digicel App
Digicel App

 

MY FINAL TIP FOR ‘PHONE APP’ TRAVEL HACKS FOR JAMAICA…

There is nothing worse than reaching your destination to realise that the app you wanted to download is not available in that region, so be sure to download your favourite apps before you leave home!

Disclaimer: All Images copyright the respective App creators, Google Play Store, iPhone Store.

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What is your favourite Travel App? Get in touch below we look forward to hearing from you.




Bresheh Enterprises a ‘Jamaican Made’ Success Story

I have a new bag crush. I have wanted to get a backpack for a while as a hands free alternative to my usual luggage, but haven’t seen anything that took my fancy. That is until now. I recently came across a socially aware luggage company that has launched in Jamaica and I am now desperate to get my hands on one (or two) of their gorgeous bags! Bresheh Enterprises is a home-grown company set up by two special twenty-something brothers with one industrial sewing machine on their veranda in Kingston, Jamaica and a bag of drive and tenacity. Bresheh Enterprises a Jamaican Made Success Story in the making has got my attention. Support Jamaica! Buy Jamaican!

Who and What Are Bresheh Enterprises?

Who and What Are Bresheh Enterprises? The story of the Bresheh brothers, Davian and Randy McLaren and how they came to set up Bresheh Enterprises is an inspirational one. The brothers wanted to translate their love of Jamaican culture into a business venture and choose to initially tackle the imported luggage and accessory market with a line of their own. This seems logical when you consider that Randy was a successful social entrepreneur trained at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, whilst Davian had plenty of retail experience and was naturally creative, already successfully remodelling shop bought backpacks whilst at school. ‘Bresheh’ is a Jamaican term for ‘Breadfruit’, (which is one of my favourite foods to eat in Jamaica) and the McLaren brothers celebrate it in all it’s glory and versatility in this range of Jamaican inspired luggage.

Copyright Bresheh Enterprises
Copyright Bresheh Enterprises

Bresheh Enterprises is Launched

Like many young Jamaican’s the brothers had big dreams and on 1st August 2015, they launched Bresheh Enterprises on their home veranda full of hope for the future. The McLaren brothers wanted to bring a high quality alternative to the mass imported luggage market in Jamaica, whilst creating local employment opportunities. And so, by pushing forward and utilising the brother’s respective skills, Bresheh Enterprises was born. The brothers design and produce all of their luggage line right here in Jamaica, for the Jamaican and international market.  Nearly one year later, the Jamaican Made accessory line with the brother’s flair for design and 100% customisation, is quickly knocking spots off the competition. Their initial tenacity has paid off as the Bresheh Brothers sold close to 150 bags in less than 3 months of launching and have completed 500+ orders to date. If you would like more information or would like to order a bag from Bresheh Enterprises you can check out their website here….

Bresheh Enterprises Goals in Their Own Words…

Bresheh’s goal is to capture the good vibes and high energy of Jamaican culture in a range of high-quality, locally manufactured products, beginning with bags. Bresheh bags are locally made and 100% customizable, allowing customers to choose the design, size, colours and materials used. Customers can also add their names, initials, logo or social media handles to further personalize the bags. Bresheh also offers after sales support to guarantee their customers’ ongoing satisfaction. The Bresheh Collection is ideal for students, teachers, corporate professionals, musicians, gym enthusiasts, companies, government agencies and event planners.” Randy McLaren

“Bresheh is an enterprise with a social mission. Apart from providing jobs for young people, our intention is to include tags in each bag that will carry information on how to report child abuse, sexual and intimate partner violence. Additionally, 5% of every bag sold will be donated to wards of the state, juvenile offenders and reintegration programs. Via partnerships with schools, we plan to start a scholarship fund to assist students needing financial and development support.” Randy McLaren

Bresheh Bag A Dreams
Bresheh Bag A Dreams

Bresheh Bag a Dreams – A Crowd Funding Project for Bresheh Enterprises

The McLaren brothers have a crowd funding campaign on isupportjamaica.com, which is governed and organised through Jamaica National Small Loans Division. The ambitious brothers are hoping to raise US$10,000 to grow their business to the next level and to start their social mission objectives. Show some support and get behind the Bresheh Bag a Dreams – A Crowd Funding Project for Bresheh Enterprises.

How will the funds be used?

  1. Industrial sewing machines
  2. Embroidery machine
  3. Fabric cutting machine
  4. Raw material
  5. Product Development

“This means that we will be able to train and employ more people, give back more in scholarships and grants which is part of our social mission. We will also be closer to rolling out an empowerment and training programme for underserved/unattached youth.” Randy McLaren

How You Can Help Bresheh Enterprises Reach Their Crowd Funding Goals

Randy McLaren has this message on how you can help support the Bresheh Enterprises crowd funding project:

“THANK YOU!  This project cannot happen without your help! Thank you for believing in us and encouraging us as artists and manufacturers. With this success, we hope to bring you more products inspired both by the versatility of the breadfruit and the culture of Jamaica, the Caribbean and the world.” Randy McLaren

 

Copyright Bresheh Enterprises
Copyright Bresheh Enterprises

Disclaimer: All images and quoted text, copyright Bresheh Enterprises. 

 ______________________________________

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30 Tips on How to Drive as a Foreigner in Jamaica!

30 Tips on How to Drive as a Foreigner in Jamaica!

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica then you may also be considering renting or borrowing a vehicle to ‘Do Road’ and get out and about. To say that I have had some ‘experiences’ when doing this is an understatement! Some of which have been part of the best fun I have had in Jamaica and others have had me at my wits end. I really love to ‘Do Road’ in Jamaica and drive out somewhere and I recommend you do too, to get the best out of your stay. I have put together 30 Tips on How to Drive as a Foreigner in Jamaica! to make your driving experience memorable for all the right reasons…

Renting a Vehicle in Jamaica

I have rented many different vehicles during my time in Jamaica with varying degrees of success and enjoyment. The majority of which have been from informal private renters. This normally works on a ‘referral’ basis, as in one of your friends introduces you to the person that rents the vehicle and you are both therefore ‘recommended’ to each other.  There have been instances when this goes smoothly and I have had an amazing brand new vehicle to go ‘Do Road’ in. On the reverse I have had instances on agreeing a rental price only for new ‘terms’ to be set half way through the rental, I have rented vehicles that break down, I have rented vehicles that have not had the correct paperwork causing problems during a police check, I have discovered that I rented a vehicle that was barely legal as the rental fee has paid for a cover note…

Most informal car rentals are at a rate of JA$5,000 a day, you may be lucky and get it for JA$4,000 or JA$4,500 a day. Most rentals are for a minimum of 3 days and the majority of the informal renters do not budge on this stipulation! The Insurance document does NOT have to have your name on it for it to be legal for you to drive. A (photo)copy of the vehicle documents is acceptable for showing to the police if asked.

 

Jamaica Hiace Bus
Watch out for Buses and Trucks

30 Tips on How to Drive as a Foreigner in Jamaica!

When Driving in Jamaica – Do…

  1. Drive on the LEFT hand side of the road. This is easy for people from the UK as it is same side as we drive on.
  2. Carry your vehicle documents with you when driving anywhere. Driving Licence, Insurance Certificate, Fitness (MOT) Certificate and Log Book, should be carried with you if the Police stop you – Don’t forget to take the documents out of the vehicle overnight in case it is stolen.
  3. If you rent a vehicle CHECK the documents BEFORE you drive off. It is not uncommon for documents to be out of date and you then have a problem if the police stop you.
  4. Check your vehicle before driving off. Ensure there is oil and water in the radiator and screen wash. Check the tyre’s are firm and you have a spare and the tools to change the tyre. Check the level of gas / petrol / diesel and be aware of where the nearest gas / petrol station is if running low. Check the location of the battery and if you need any tools to get access to it. Check the window wipers, lights and horn work – you will need them!
  5. Ask the person you rent / borrow the vehicle from what type of fuel the vehicle takes, which side the fuel tank is on and where the lever is  to open it. Your fuel will be pumped for you in Jamaica and will not have to leave your vehicle.
  6. Wear your seatbelt. Okay I know it’s hot and uncomfortable, but it could be the difference between life and death in an accident. Plus, you WILL get stopped by the Police if they see you and you could get a mandatory JA$500 fine.
  7. Observe the speed limits. Some roads in Jamaica have deep corners and multiple blind corners, drive with caution! The Police set up ‘speed traps’ and will pull you over if you are exceeding the limit and you could get a fine.
  8. Look out for road signs and do as they say! You will get a ticket if you park in a restricted area and could even be towed away.
  9. Be aware as people overtake at high-speed and drive incredibly close to your vehicle.
  10. Be aware of animals in or near the road, especially in the country areas. If you see a young animal in, or near the road, it is often best to let it run to its mother before proceeding as they are flighty and could run into your path.
  11. BLOW YOUR HORN! Jamaicans expect it if overtaking (on a minor road) or coming round a blind corner. If a vehicle has pulled up right in front of you, BLOW YOUR HORN to let them know you are passing them.
  12. Double check before over taking. The drivers coming in the opposite direction also have plans to use the middle of the road as a new lane.
  13. Visit a gas / petrol station if you are having problems with the vehicle as they not only pump the gas for you, they can also help with other basic problems and will wash the windscreen, they stock oils, fluids and so on.
  14. Lock your vehicle doors and boot (trunk) of the vehicle when leaving it unattended.
  15. Wave traffic past you when safe to do so on country roads. Route taxi’s (look for the distinctive red number plates), illegal taxi’s and local residents drive very fast on the country roads as they know EVERY twist, turn, corner, gully, pot-hole, cliff and tree they pass on the route. They have a tendency to drive right up behind your vehicle, so just let them pass. If you have the nerve and can drive reasonably close behind them they will guide your way through the maze of pot-holes as they know the road better than the back of their hand!
  16. Look out for pot holes… some can swallow your car, whilst others could give you flat tyre.
  17. Address Police Officer with respect and be compliant. I highly recommend flagrant use of Sir, Mam, or Officer when conversing with them. It shows them respect and that you do not consider them inferior to you, which often means they give you less hassle. Police ‘bribes’ or ‘extortion’ are much less frequent in Jamaica than when I first came here 10 years ago.  It does still happen though. Extend caution offering or accepting bribes. If you are a female driver do not be surprised if the officers hit on you and ask for your phone number!
  18. Drive defensively. Always expect the unexpected.

 

Tips for Driving in Jamaica
Tips for Driving in Jamaica

 

30 Tips on How to Drive as a Foreigner in Jamaica!

When Driving in Jamaica – Do Not…

  1. (19) Play ‘chicken’ with the oncoming traffic. Their nerve will invariably be better than yours!
  2.  (20) FORGET TO BLOW YOUR HORN! Jamaicans expect it if overtaking or coming round a blind corner. If a vehicle has pulled up right in front of you, BLOW YOUR HORN to let them know you are passing them. (I have written this in do’s and don’ts because it is very important!)
  3. (21) Drive wide around corners. There are huge trucks on the road and they do not always blow their horn to let you know they are approaching you do not want to meet them on the wrong side of the road. People riding on bicycles and motorbikes are also put at high risk through this practise and many are killed in this way.
  4. (22) Stop in a secluded place late at night. If you are lost try to find a well-lit place, such as a gas / petrol station before stopping.
  5. (23)Drive alone late at night (although I have done this without incident). Always try to travel with a passenger.
  6. (24) Set out late in the day if you have problems driving at night. The roads do not always have street lights or ‘cats eyes’ and the oncoming headlights can be blinding as everyone puts on their high beam.
  7. (25) Set out on a new journey without a map (again, I have done this many times without incident) if you are not confident. Have an idea of where you are going unless you are pretty easy-going and don’t have a destination per se. Most Jamaicans are very helpful if you are lost or having difficulties, but remember to address the person formally and calmly when you pull the vehicle to the side of the road. They will probably know how to reach at least the next town on the route, where you may have to repeat the process until you reach your destination. You will love the way some Jamaicans give directions!
  8. (26) Leave your vehicle engine running or the keys in the vehicle when unattended.
  9. (27) Leave valuables on show in the vehicle when unattended, discreetly lock them in the boot / trunk or glove box.
  10. (28) Pick up strangers or hitch-hikers.
  11. (29) Panic if an oncoming vehicle flashes you twice in quick succession. It is generally to warn you that there is a Police Check Point or Speed Trap up ahead and not necessarily because you have done something wrong.
  12. (30) Park too near to the sea, beach or river, changing tides can come and go before you return to your vehicle.

I hope you enjoy driving in Jamaica. Be safe and get out there and ‘do road’!

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Little Dunn’s River Ocho Rios – Beach in Saint Ann, Jamaica

The pull of a beautiful waterfall with crystal clear water cascading into the ocean is hard to resist. Little Dunn’s River in Ocho Rios, Saint Ann, is a secret (not so secret among locals) alternative to the tourist masses descending on it’s more famous sister, Dunn’s River Falls. When I had a free afternoon after a few days of heavy driving recently, I jumped at the chance to experience Little Dunn’s River for myself. The descent to view the falls is an adventure in itself and if you love the simple things in life a visit to Little Dunn’s River will be sure to please you too.

If you are in the vicinity of Ocho Rios and want to experience a waterfall and beach setting, without all the hands tied together climbing en-mass part, check out Little Dunn’s River Ocho Rios – Beach in Saint Ann, Jamaica. 

How to get to Little Dunn’s River

If you are driving from Ocho Rios, take the highway out-of-town towards Saint Ann’s Bay. As you leave the town you will drive past Reynolds Pier and the helicopter base on your right hand side, keep going. Look out for a lay by on the RIGHT hand side, where there is a couple of small single storey white buildings. Park on right hand side of the road ONLY, out of the soft shoulder and on the grass verge; do not park on the opposite side of the road in the soft shoulder.  If you get to Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Ridge you have gone too far, so go ahead and carefully turn round! You have arrived at Little Dunn’s River.

If you are driving from the direction of Saint Ann’s Bay and beyond, head along the highway towards Ocho Rios. Once you pass Dunn’s River  Falls on your right, Dolphin Cove on your left and Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Ridge on your right hand side… look out just around the next corner you will see the lay by. Park your vehicle! You have arrived at Little Dunn’s River.

Entrance to Little Dunn's River
Entranceway in Layby

Entrance Fee and Access to Little Dunn’s River

Little Dunn’s River is accessed from one of two inconspicuous gateways off the pathway in the verge. The first of which has a double door gateway, the second further along the trail has a single gateway. You will normally see a couple of guys ‘manning’ the single gate and they will probably ask for a donation to keep the beach clean; use your discretion. However, Little Dunn’s River and the beach is officially free to enter and you do not have to pay for parking.

It is quite hard to traverse the descent to the falls and ultimately the beach. Therefore, I would not recommend Little Dunn’s River beach and falls for the infirm or unfit! Once you enter through either of the gateways you go down some concrete steps to a platform area. You can either go the right where is the beach area is hidden behind a tree bowing down into the ocean, or go the left where there is a stepped descent to another platform area where the falls are visible. Either way ends up taking you to the ocean. There are not really any falls to climb per se, but you can climb down a small area into the ocean and sit under one of the lesser waterfalls for an invigorating massage!

Steps leading to Little Dunn's River
Stairway to Beach

You have arrived at Little Dunn’s River.

Little Dunn’s River is open to the public and it’s a little more relaxed than some of the ‘paid for’ beach experiences. Many of the beaches in Jamaica have been bought by investors and commercialised so that there is no access to the public. This is a shame as everyone loves going to the beach and having a cooling and refreshing dip in the ocean and many of the locals are priced out in this way.

The actual ‘beach’ at Little Dunn’s River is very small , a sandy slither with a couple of bent over trees to sit on. Don’t bother coming with the whole beach caboodle as there won’t be room to spread out on the sand! There is a wide, shallow and clear area of water directly where the river (falls) enter the ocean which is nice for a dip for non-swimmers and the young. There is a couple of lines with floats directing swimmers away from the rocky areas under foot. If you want to swim and go deeper you can go beyond the bowed over tree to a warm and sandy area of the seabed…. Lovely!

Little Dunn’s River is a chilling spot to marvel at the beauty of nature, enjoy a dip in the ocean and to have an invigorating sit down under the waterfalls. The beach is really small, hence the low score, but the falls are beautiful. The ocean is shallow and calm and there is plenty of space to splash around and swim out. The facilities are limited and the washrooms are right at the very top (although I never checked they were open). There are a few vendors selling drinks and snacks, one of which was perched right on top of the falls! The whole area was very clean and I noticed the beach vendors regularly sweep off the debris on the sand. I arrived around 3.00pm and there were plenty of people around, after about an hour the crowds thinned and we could get a chance to go under the falls. I spent a few hours here to relax and unwind and really enjoyed myself.

Little Dunn's River Waterfall
Little Dunn’s River Waterfall

 

Crystal Clear Waterfalls
Crystal Clear Waterfalls

 

Little Dunn's River Ocho Rios
Little Dunn’s River Ocho Rios

 

Small Sandy Beach
Small Sandy Beach

 

The trail
The trail

 

Waterfall
Waterfall at Little Dunn’s River

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Bass Odyssey presents Jamaica SoundFEST 2016 – Things To Do In Jamaica This Summer!

Keeping up with the music theme of  the last couple of posts, I present to you another big event that you won’t want to miss this summer in Jamaica. Bass Odyssey presents Jamaica SoundFEST 2016, a festival dedicated to the mighty Sound Systems that string up their speakers and blast music and vibes for a crowd of music loving revellers. If you want to experience a Sound Clash where different Sound Systems are pitted against each other song for song, then check out the Bass Odyssey presents SoundFest 2016 – Things To Do In Jamaica This Summer! post featured here on Sweet Jamaica….

Jamaica SoundFest 2016

Bass Odyssey Presents Jamaica SoundFEST 2016

This annual event is a celebration of the Sound System Movement, recognising the important role Sound Systems play in getting contemporary music out in front of the masses. The event is proud of its cultural heritage and all music played throughout the event is in the original style with amplified speaker boxes and selectors, so that patrons can be emerged in the feel of the 1950’s Jamaican Sound Systems that heralded this movement. with 10+ Sound Systems playing at the Bass Odyssey Presents Jamaica SoundFEST 2016, you will experience both home-grown and international Sound Systems at their best.

What Is A Sound System?

Sound Systems came about in 1950’s Jamaica, as a way for music connoisseurs to share music with those in the community that couldn’t afford a radio.  Speakers would be strung up, amplifying the strains of their favourite artists that they spun on record players drawing in a crowd. And so the Selector was born. Recognising the popularity of the events, Selectors soon set about turning these sessions into lucrative events by containing the area and charging an entrance fee. Quickly catching on rival Selectors set up their own Sound Systems and so the popularity of Sound System musical events spread. These type of open-air music events are hugely popular today and Sound Systems have cropped up from all corners of the world. A Sound Clash is when two or more Sound Systems ‘battle’ to draw in and get the approval of the crowd. Each Sound System takes turns to play a killer track to blast the other Sound Systems selectors mixing skills out of the water, with a ‘King’ being crowned at the end.

Bass Odyssey – A Jamaican Sound System Veteran

Bass Odyssey is one of the most highly respected and hotly anticipated Sound Systems in Jamaica. Their Selectors and DJ’s are legendary in the Dancehall Sound Clash circuit for their thumping sound systems, impeccable musical selection and the lyrical skills of their DJ’s. Their speciality is out doing their rivals musical selection with a bigger floor filler, whipping up the crowd into a frenzy of dancing, appreciative noises and upraised arms waving lighters. Bass Odyssey events are synonymous with high walls of powerful speakers strung up around the perimeter of the area, where their Selectors make the most of the pumping sound system by playing floor fillers for an appreciative crowd.

There is no better place to experience a Sound System Sound Clash than the birthplace and home of Reggae Music and Sound Systems, Jamaica. If you are looking for things to keep you occupied in Jamaica this august find your way to The BASS ODYSSEY SoundFEST 2016; formerly known as the BASS ODYSSEY Anniversary & Sound System Festival.

“Original dancehall-lawn style with sound boxes string up from some of the

most recognized sound systems in the world”

Boxed Flyer

 

Bass Odyssey SoundFest 2016 Venue

Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, aka Richmond in Priory, St. Ann – Jamaica

Bass Odyssey SoundFest 2016 Entrance Price

General Entry: JA$1,500 / US$15.00

Special Entry: JA$2,500 / US$25.00

Bass Odyssey SoundFest 2016 Line Up

Jamaican Sound Systems

Bass Odyssey
Stone Love
Fire Links
Bob Clarke; Special Vintage Jamaican music tribute 9-11pm

International Sound Systems

Soul Supreme; hailing from the USA
Magash; hailing from Switzerland
Fujiyama; hailing from Japan
Muamba; hailing from Brazil

Further Sound Systems to be confirmed….

Contact

soundfestjamaica@gmail.com for more info and/or to be a part of the movement.

 

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Looking forward to hearing from you

 



Appleton Special Dream Weekend 2016 – Things to do in Jamaica this Summer!

The summer event season is in full force in Jamaica! The Appleton Special Dream Weekend is another of the big name international music festivals taking place in Jamaica this summer. In it’s 8th year, this hotly anticipated week-long event is held in Negril between July 28th and 1st August 2016. With a whopping 9 separate day and night events being held between 28th July and 1st August this promises to be classy and internationally attended music festival. Tickets are selling like hot patties, so act now if you are travelling to Jamaica and want to attend.  Appleton Special Dream Weekend 2016 – Things to do in Jamaica this Summer!

 

Appleton Special Dream Weekend 2016 Event Schedule

DREAM LIVE Concert @ Negril, Jamaica

Location: Cayenne Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Date and Time: Jul 28 @ 10:00 pm – Jul 29 @ 4:00 am

Admission: $3,000

Food and Drink: On Sale

The Appleton Special Dream Weekend 2016 kicks off with the Magnum Dream Live concert, held at Cayenne Beach in Negril, Jamaica. The first event is hosted by Miss Kitty and boasts performances from Bounty Killer, Popcaan, Spice, Ding Dong, Masicka, Bella Blair, with music by Coppershot and Chromatic.

Dream Live Concert
Dream Live Concert

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Celebrity Playground (Red & White) @ Negril, Jamaica

Location: Wavz Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Date and Time: Jul 29 @ 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Admission: $6,000

Food and Drink: Inclusive

Dress Code: Red and White

The Hennessy Celebrity Playground event is a daytime affair starting at 2.00pm, giving you plenty of time to sleep off last nights hangover before you get out there again! The beach setting will be sure to perk you up anyway, as it is held on Wavz Beach in Negril, Jamaica. Featuring Chromatic, Jazzy T and Kurt Riley the all-inclusive party with the red and white dress code is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Celebrity Playground
Celebrity Playground

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Twisted Spiritz (Glow) @ Negril, Jamaica

Location: Cayenne Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Date and Time: Jul 29 @ 10:00 pm – Jul 30 @ 4:00 am

Admission: $4,500

Food and Drink: Drink Inclusive

Such is the party spirit of Appleton Special Dream Weekend in Jamaica, that as one event ends, another starts! The Twisted Spritz Glow party is also held on Cayenne Beach in Negril, shortly after the daytime event. With Music by Coppershot, Illusion and DJ Tyrone from Canada this Skyy Vodka sponsored event, offers drinks inclusive of the entry price.

Twisted Spiritz Glow Party
Twisted SpiritzTwisted Spiritz Glow Party

 

______________________________________________

Daydreams (All White) @ Negril, Jamaica

Location: Wonderland, Negril, Jamaica

Date and Time: Jul 30 @ 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Admission: $7,000

Food and Drink: Food and Drink Inclusive

Dress Code: All White

The second of the Appleton Special Dream Weekend beach parties is Daydreams White Sands. popular and sophisticated event, with its all white dress code and Moet and Chandon Champagne sponsorship this all-inclusive event will be jam packed with revellers. With music by Coppershot, Chromatic and Crazy Neil.

Daydreams All White
Daydreams All White

_______________________

 

Yush (90s) @ Negril, Jamaica

Location: Cayenne Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Date and Time: Jul 30 @ 10:00 pm – Jul 31 @ 4:00 am

Admission: $5,000

Food and Drink: Drink Inclusive

Saturday evening’s entertainment at Appleton Special Dream Weekend is the Yush Event held on Cayenne Beach in Negril, Jamaica. This Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum sponsored event is sure to get the crowd jumping with a live performance from dancehall star Elephant Man and friends, with the evenings music being taken care of by Kurt Riley and Jazzy T.

Yush
Yush

__________________________________________

 

Wet ‘N’ Wild (Water Party) @ Negril, Jamaica

Location: Cayenne Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Date and Time: Jul 31 @ 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Admission: $9,000

Food and Drink: Food and Drink Inclusive

Are you ready to get Xtreme Wet and Wild at the Sunday funday event at the Appleton Special Dream Weekend?! Take in one of Jamaica’s top waterpark attractions at this daytime, all-inclusive Appleton Special Sponsored event. This promises to be an action packed event water party held at Negril’s, Kool Runnings Adventure Park. There will be a live performance by Cardi B, with music by Chromatic, Code Lank, Coppershot and Redd Heat.

Xtreme Wet n Wild
Xtreme Wet n Wild

 _____________________________________

 

World Vibes (Hardcore Dancehall Juggling) @ Negril, Jamaica

Location: Wonderland, Negril, Jamaica

Date and Time: Jul 31 @ 10:00 pm – Aug 1 @ 4:00 am

Admission: $4,500

Food and Drink: Drink Inclusive

The World Vibes worldwide domination event is being held at Wonderland in Negril, Jamaica. This Sunday night event is hosted by Badda-Bling of D-Unit and features music by Foota Hype, Boom Boom, Redd Heat, dancehall favourite Tony Matterhorn and Rebel Tone, Canada’s World Clash Champion.  This Appleton Special Dream Weekend event is sponsored by Appleton Special and ticket price is inclusive of drinks.

World Vibes
World Vibes

 

___________________________________________________________

Igloo (Cooler Party) @ Negril, Jamaica

Location: Cayenne Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Date and Time: Aug 1 @ 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Admission: $3,500

Food and Drink: On Sale. Or, bring your own igloo with food and drink inside!

The final beach party of Appleton Special Dream Weekend is the Igloo The Global Cooler Party. This beach party is a little different from the others as you are invited to bring your own igloo ( cool box) packed full of drinks and food for you and your friends. Come and celebrate Jamaica’s Emancipation Day at this event, with music by Coppershot, Ricky Platinum, Illusion and Selecta Shane.

Igloo
Igloo

________________________________

 

Dream J’ouvert (Paint, Water & Powder Soca Party) @ Negril, Jamaica

Location: Cayenne Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Date and Time: Aug 1 @ 10:00 pm – Aug 2 @ 4:00 am

Admission: $4,500

Food and Drink: Drink Inclusive

The final event of the Appleton Special Dream Weekend is the Dream Jouvert powder, paint and water Soca event. This event held on Jamaican Emancipation Day, promises to be a spectacle of sight and sound with a carnival atmosphere with a coloured powder throwing frenzy as the show stopper! The VIP area is a powder free zone, otherwise expect to get covered in coloured powder at this lively event in Negril, Jamaica! With a live performance on stage by KES and music by Kamal Bankay and DJ Smoke with Appleton Special sponsored event is one to take part in.

Dream Jouvert
Dream Jouvert

 

_________________________________

 

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Bless up, Jules

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Reggae SumFest 2016 – Things to do in Jamaica this Summer!

If you are travelling to Jamaica next month don’t miss Reggae SumFest 2016, this week-long festival is being held in different locations around Montego Bay, from the 17th to 23rd July. The summer has officially arrived in Jamaica, with the school holidays starting and the weather heating up, so get ready for summer! Summertime in Jamaica is always full of events, shows and beach parties and one of the most famous ‘Reggae SumFest 2016’ is gearing up for 17th to 23rd July. The Reggae SumFest festival celebrates Jamaican music at its best, with concerts, beach parties, shows, events and even a street party parading through the ‘Hip Strip’ in town. Reggae SumFest has provided first class entertainment to locals and visitors to Jamaica for the last 20 years, so don’t make this year pass without taking part! Reggae SumFest 2016 – Things to do in Jamaica this Summer!

 

 

Reggae SumFest 2016 Official Calendar of Events and Locations

Beach Party | JULY 17 | Aquasol Theme Park; Walter Fletcher Beach Complex, Montego Bay

Blitz – All White Edition | JULY 19 | Pier One; Waterfront, Montego Bay

Sound Explosion | JULY 21 | Pier One; Waterfront, Montego Bay

Dancehall Night | JULY 22 | Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex; Freeport, Montego Bay

Reggae Night | JULY 23 | Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex; Freeport, Montego Bay

 

Reggae SumFest 2016 Artist Line Up and Entry Information

If you want to attend Reggae Sumfest 2016, you can attend any or all the events taking place over the week-long festival. Pre-sold tickets are available at the Official Reggae SumFest website and at select tickets outlets located around the island of Jamaica. Check out the official Reggae SumFest 2016 Website for full ticket information. Where you can also buy Weekend and VIP Passes. If you leave it to the last-minute it is possible to pay a little extra at the gate to attend these Reggae SumFest events; please note these tickets may be limited.

BEACH PARTY | Aquasol Theme Park | JUL 17

Presold J$1,800 / US$15

At Gate J$2,000 / US$17

Line Up: Bambino, Chromatic, ZJ Sparks, DJ Crazy Neil, Ikel Marvelus & Team Shella, Powered by SUPER STRONG
Hosts: Miss Kitty and Yanique Barrett

Gates Open: 4 pm

 

BLITZ – ALL WHITE EDITION |Pier 1 | JULY 19

Presold J$2,300 / US$19

At Gate J$2,500 / US$21

Line Up: Kurt ‘The Party Animal’ Riley, DJ Kentucky, DJ Smoke

Gates Open: 8pm

SOUND EXPLOSION |Pier 1 | JULY 21

Presold J$1,800 / US$15

At Gate J$2,000 / US$17

Line Up: Stone Love, Metro Media, Black Kat, Pieces, Firelinks, Tony Matterhorn, Powered by SUPER STRONG

Gates Open: 8pm

DANCEHALL NIGHT | Main Venue | JULY 22

Presold J$3,200 / US$27

At Gate J$3,500 / US$29

VIP J$6,000 / US$49

Line Up: Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Popcaan, I-Octane, Agent Sasco, Dexta Daps, Romain Virgo, Nesbeth, Spice, Ding Dong, Ishawna, Chi Ching Ching, Tanto Blacks, Charly Black, Ryme Minista, Harry Toddler, Masicka, Vershon, Devin Di Dakta, Jahmiel, Don Andre, Teejay, Savage, Ricky Teetz, Dre Zee

Backing band: Ruff Kutt Krew, Warrior Love

MC’s: Ms. Kitty, GT Taylor, DJ Bones

Gates Open: 7 pm
Show Time: 9 pm

REGGAE NIGHT | Main Venue | JULY 23

Presold J$4,700 / US$39

At Gate J$5,000 / US$41

VIP J$7,500 / US$62

Line Up: Super Cat, Barrington Levy, Luciano, Sanchez, Tarrus Riley, Busy Signal, Christopher Martin, Nature, D-Medz, Nicky Silk, DannI

Backing band: Warrior Love

House Music: Ikel Marvelus & Team Shella

MC’s: Barry G, Elise Kelly, Paula-Anne Porter

Gates Open: 7 pm
Show Time: 9 pm

 

 

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

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Good Children’s Books for Travelling – My Review of Tunda on the Rock

Good Children’s Books for Travelling

Everyone likes a good book when they are going on holiday (vacation), so why should children be left out? The flights from the UK to Jamaica are especially long taking 9 – 10 hours depending on which way you are flying and even adults you can get a bit fidgety. A good book can help to while away the hours when confined to an airline cabin seat and will keep them entertained, educated and give you some quiet at the same time. Which is always a bonus! With restrictions on the amount of luggage you can take nowadays, I would recommend taking an electronic device as a form of entertainment as they take up little space and cover many bases. I discovered this fantastic children’s chapter book ‘Tunda on the Rock’ by Sabrina K. Marshall, a Jamaican author which can be downloaded on Amazon for Kindle. If you are looking for a Good Children’s Books for Travelling – My Review of Tunda on the Rock will give a child a light-hearted introduction to their stay in Jamaica.

Introduction to Tunda on the Rock

Tunda on the Rock is the first novel from a Jamaican born author Sabrina K. Marshall, who is a one woman powerhouse and an accomplished writer, among other things. Turning her hand to children’s literature, Tunda on the Rock is an exciting and amusing tale of an energetic puppies adventures around the island. Based in Jamaica, with beautifully described scenery and dogs that speak Jamaican patois (Jamaican Creole) anyone reading this book will be transported right into the land of wood and water. It would be perfect book to read the first chapter of the night before travelling to Jamaica, before continuing with the story on the flight and throughout the trip.

Sweet Jamaica Jules’ Review of Tunda on the Rock

I found Tunda on the Rock to be very captivating and engaging from the start and it didn’t take long to get into the story as the short chapters are jam-packed with quality content on every page. To be honest, I only planned to read a couple of chapters before going to bed, but I got so caught up in the story that I ended up reading the whole thing in one go! Each chapter introduces the reader to different elements of Jamaica which really brought the story to life in a realistic way. There were snippets of Jamaican history and descriptions of national treasures interspersed into the storyline, which give the story a thoroughly Jamaican feel. I laughed out loud in places and especially loved the life lessons hidden in the storyline, which are thought provoking without being patronising. All in all, I really enjoyed this book and feel that children of all ages would love to be introduced to this heartwarming Jamaican puppy ‘tail’.

International Children’s Books for Kindle

Whether you are travelling to Jamaica on holiday or not, this book is definitely one to add to the electronic children’s bookshelf! I am looking forward to sharing Tunda on the Rock with my nieces and nephews when I get back to the UK, as it will bring my new home in Jamaica a little closer to them and their imagination. This book is also ideal to add to your International Children’s Books for Kindle wish list, if you are looking for alternative reading titles for your child that have a Caribbean flavour.

Sabrina K. Marshall
Sabrina K. Marshall

The following information has been copied from the author’s page on Amazon.co.uk / .com. Image copyright Amazon.

Tunda on the Rock – Authors Biography

Tunda on The Rock is the first novel by ‘Jamerican’ author Sabrina K. Marshall. She was the creator, writer, and producer for the hit show, Kingston House, which premiered nationwide on Television Jamaica (TVJ) in February, 2012

When she’s not writing children’s books or teen dramas, she works with an advertising agency in New York City, holding over 10 years of experience developing ad campaigns for Fortune 500 companies. From Temple University, she has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Marketing, from the University of London she has a Master’s of Arts degree in TV and Film Production, and she’s currently studying French at New York University.
She loves to travel, play tennis, and spend time with her family.

Authors Introduction to Tunda on the Rock

While the rest of the Bailey pack is out of the yard taking care of important business, the youngest member, who they call Tunda, with their Jamaican accents, is ordered to stay home on guard duty where it’s safe. But the courageous, day dreaming, golden-brown puppy has plans of her own.

She makes it her mission to prove her worth by partaking in a risky night-time adventure on The Rock—the dogs’ name for the area surrounding the Bailey home, consisting of a golf course, cascading waterfalls, and white sandy beaches. Her adventure is filled with new friends—and enemy by association, Rex—along with a rude awakening to the hard, poverty-stricken life outside of the luxurious Bailey residence where she’s spent her entire puppyhood.

As Tunda’s adventure takes her farther from home, she learns that her pack is in grave danger, more so than she could’ve imagined. With the help of her new friend, Onyx, and the wise Mr. Rasta, Tunda makes every effort possible to save the dogs of The Rock. Will she make it back home? Will she save them?

Publishing Information about Tunda on the Rock

  • Age Level, 9+
  • Grade Level: 4 – 12
  • Length; 98 pages
  • Page Flip Enabled
  • Wordwise Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting Enabled
  • Published on Amazon for Kindle
  • by Sabrina K. Marshall (Author), Marcelo Ferreira (Illustrator), Yuki Osada (Illustrator)

Download Tunda on the Rock on Amazon UK or USA

If you would like to get your hands on this great children’s book Tunda on the Rock you can download it on Amazon UK or USA by clicking the appropriate widget below:

Want to pay in £ UK currency click the first link….

Want to pay in $ USA currency click the second link….

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

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Jamaica Travel Guides and The Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016 on TripAdvisor

Okay, so everyone has heard of the global travel review phenomenon TripAdvisor, right? Well the number one vacation review site has my attention for two reasons this month. Firstly, I have followed the ongoing Travellers’ Choice 2016 award winners with interest and secondly, I have some exciting news to share with all that I have kept quiet about for a while. I’m talking about my Jamaica Travel Guides and The Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016 on TripAdvisor…

TripAdvisor Travel Guides

I am super excited to share this news with you all!  I was commissioned by TripAdvisor to produce a series of Travel Guides for Jamaica, and I am proud to tell you that two of them have been published and are available to view online NOW! My published Travel Guides give information for visitors to Jamaica who are looking to spend time in the beautiful and lively Parish of Saint James. Located on the north coast, towards the west of the island Montego Bay is a tourist haven, with bundles of things to do to wile away the hours. Check out my Travel Guides for Saint James, Jamaica on the TripAdvisor website and give it a ‘Thumbs Up!’ if you found it helpful.

Click the images to be redirected to my Travel Guides featured on TripAdvisor:

3 Days in Saint James Parish

3 Days in Saint James Parish

 

Guide to Saint James Outdoors

Guide to Saint James Outdoors

Travelers’ Choice Awards

I am also excited to share this second piece of TripAdvisor news… ‘Jamaica has hit the top spots again at the Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016 on TripAdvisor’. The reviews have been tallied and the votes have been calculated. Yes, that’s right the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2016 Award winners have been announced! As usual my eyes are always peeled to see how Jamaica has fared in the awards and I am happy to see Jamaica has scooped a fair few so far. Every year TripAdvisor holds the Travelers’ Choice Awards to honour the most popular destinations around the world. These are some of Jamaica’s achievements this year:

Travellers' Choice Trip Advisor

Top 10 Islands in the Caribbean

  • 1st Place – Jamaica

Top 10 Islands in the World

  • 3rd Place – Jamaica

Top 10 Destination’s in the Caribbean

  • 3rd Place – Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • 4th Place – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

 

Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean

  • 5th Place – The Rock House, Negril, Jamaica
  • 12th Place – Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
  • 16th Place – Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Images above of Hotel Winners in Jamaica, copyright TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is the number one online destination for up to the minute travel advice from its online community of review giving travel fiends. If you are thinking of going ANYWHERE you must try TripAdvisor, as chances are someone has already reviewed where you are planning on going, including reviews from me – SweetJamaicaJules! There is plenty of advice and reviews on all the popular destinations, accommodations and places to visit prior to your visit to Jamaica. So check it out!

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you checked out my Travel Guides, or visited any of the Travellers’ Choice Award Winners 2016? Share your experience? Where is your favourite destination in Jamaica? Join the Comments Below….