Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa – The Rooms

Ocean View Properties - Jakes Hotel

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.

After reviewing the Coral – Garden View Room in the previous post, we can testify that the Jakes experience really is all that and more. But with so much to look at, one post about our experience of staying at Jakes would never be enough to document all that this special resort has to offer.  There is a whole portfolio of properties at Jakes, where you are sure to find a quirky, laid back cool place to rest your head…

 

The Accommodation at Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa

This post in the mini-series takes you on a whirlwind tour of some of the other accommodation available on and off the main Jakes property. So if you are looking for something a bit more uptempo than what we reviewed with the basic garden view room – keep reading, because Jakes has a property to suit all types of occasions and situations.

 

 

Map of Jakes Hotel

 

The main Jakes property is nestled along a strip of the rocky honeycomb coastline, with a panoramic view of the turquoise sea and the reassuring Santa Cruz mountains in the background. Accommodation at Jakes is made up of a collection of brightly coloured and uniquely designed cottages, bungalows and villas each with their own unique sense of style designed with love and flair by Sally Henzell.

Although there are over 30 places to stay, it wasn’t always that way. Sally took her time, cherry picking locations on the site and constructing them over a period of years, not months. The whole resort has been thoughtfully designed around the mature trees, which are under planted with lush green tropical foliage, such as banana palms, ferns and cactus, softening the hard landscaping. The pathways leading you through the property are winding and whimsical, offering glimpses of the sea and the jewel coloured cottages and villas that are half hidden and studded through the tropical gardens.

Jakes Hotel Rooms

Although classed as ‘Hotel Rooms’ by Jakes, don’t be fooled into thinking you will be crammed together in a mega complex. The Jakes version of a hotel room is a small, free-standing building with a beautifully quirky design. Each of the rooms is unique, but all boast a Caribbean boho-chic boudoir, an en suite bathroom, plus inside and outside private space. None of the buildings are more than one storey high and they are all plotted among the tropical garden or overlooking the turquoise sea. Take your pick from regular or deluxe garden and ocean view rooms.

All Jakes Hotel Rooms are supplied with: A/C, Wi-Fi, mini fridge, coffee maker, Bluetooth speaker, digital safe, rainfall showerhead (we also had a hairdryer).

 

Deluxe Ocean View Rooms

Abalone One and Up, Cockles Up and Down, and Hammerhead One, Two and Three. (Hammerhead Two and Three, if booked together, include an adjoining kitchen.)

 

Starfish and Jellyfish - Jakes Hotel
Starfish and Jellyfish – Jakes Hotel

 

Ocean View Rooms

Starfish, Jellyfish, and Abalone Two.

 

Seahorse Up and Down - Jakes Hotel
Seahorse Up and Down – Jakes Hotel

 

Deluxe Garden View Rooms

Seahorse Up and Down, Cowrie One, Two, Three and Four.

 

Conch and Coral - Jakes Hotel
Conch and Coral – Jakes Hotel

Garden View Rooms

Coral and Conch.

For an in-depth Review of the Coral Room head over to the last post!

 

Ocean Front Bungalows

If you want more than a ‘hotel room’, you can get unadulterated ocean views and a little more space and privacy to spread out by choosing one of these beautiful bungalows for your stay. Not surprisingly these ocean front bungalows are the most popular choice for couples wanting a relaxing and romantic get away.

 

Seapuss Three and Octopussy One - Jakes Hotel
Seapuss Three and Octopussy One – Jakes Hotel

Ocean Front Bungalows 

Octopussy 1, 2 and 3; all with a private deck and roof  terrace,  outdoor shower and tub, A/C, Wi-Fi, mini fridge, coffeemaker, Bluetooth speaker, digital safe

Seapuss 1, 2 and 3; all with a private  deck, outdoor shower, A/C, Wi-Fi, mini fridge, coffeemaker, Bluetooth speaker, digital safe

 

 

Seapuss One - Jakes Hotel
Seapuss One – Jakes Hotel

Cottages

If you are looking for a real home from home to accommodate large groups or families, the Jakes cottages have it all. Offering multi room living, sea views and the convenience of having your own kitchen facilities, a Jakes cottage will be sure to fit the bill for those that like to have more space.

Sweet Lip Cottage - Jakes Hotel
Sweet Lip – Jakes Hotel

 

Cottages on the Jakes Property

Mussels – Three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms (2 king-size bedrooms, 1 twin-size bedroom), outdoor shower, full kitchen, spacious veranda, A/C & ceiling fans, Wi-Fi, Laundry services available (at a cost), Nanny service (at cost).

Snapper – Two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, master bedroom with queen-size bed, second bedroom with two twin-size beds, dining and sitting area with full kitchen, private outdoor shower, A/C and ceiling fan, Wi-Fi, Laundry services available (at a cost), Nanny service (at cost).

Sweet Lip – Two bedrooms – master bedroom with queen-size bed, Second bedroom with two twin-size beds, Bathroom with bathtub, private outdoor shower, full kitchen, loads of closet space, indoor sitting area, private veranda with outdoor daybed, A/C, Wi-Fi, Laundry services available (at a cost), Nanny service (at cost).

 

Mussels Villa - Jakes Hotel
Mussels Villa – Jakes Hotel

 

Nearby Properties Owned by Jakes

If you really want to get away from it all, Jakes has a portfolio of cottages and villas dotted around Treasure Beach, away from the main centre of the action on the main Jakes property. Giving you total peace and privacy, they still have access to the amenities of the main Jakes property, such as the saltwater pool, Driftwood Spa, Dougies Bar and Jakes Restaurant.

Seaweed Cottage

Seaweed Cottage and Seaweed Villa are located on the same property, overlooking a sandy beach. Situated around a 10 minute drive from the main Jakes property, the cottage is made up of two buildings in a grassy area of the garden.

Three bedrooms split between two separate buildings, all bedrooms with king-sized beds and en suite bathrooms, plunge Pool, A/C and ceiling fans, private beach access, Wi-Fi, satellite TV, daily chef, cottage manager, laundry services available (at a cost), nanny service (at a cost), kayak, bicycles.

Calabash Bay Cottage

If you are looking for a private self-contained get away, this could be the one for you! Perfect for a couple with children this beach front cottage is a five minute walk away from the main Jakes property.

Master bedroom with queen-size bed and en suite bathroom, second bedroom with two twin-size beds, kitchen, indoor & al fresco dining spaces, extra-large outdoor deck, access to salt water pool at Jakes, artisan-designed outdoor shower, A/C and ceiling fans, private beach access, Wi-Fi, cottage manager, laundry services available (at a cost), nanny service (at cost).

Treasure Cot

The holiday home of a young Sally Densham (later Henzell) that started the love affair with Treasure Beach. Nestled on top of a small hill and right on the beach, this private cottage is a short walk from the main Jakes property.

Three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, master bedroom with king-size bed, second bedroom with queen-size bed, third bedroom with two twin-size beds, outdoor shower, full kitchen, veranda, oceanfront, A/C and fans, private beach access, Wi-Fi, housekeeper/cook, cottage manager, laundry services available (at a cost), nanny service (at cost).

Sea Dragon

Situated a five minute walk away from the swimming spot of Old Wharf, this property is situated in a large plot of garden. You can easily bike, hike or drive to the main Jakes property which is about a 5 minute drive away.

Three bedrooms with luxurious rainfall shower heads in en suite bathrooms, family-friendly configurable sleeping arrangements with options of one king-size bed or two twin beds in the bedrooms, full kitchen, outdoor shower on roof balcony, outdoor dining area, two-level roof deck with stunning views of Santa Cruz mountain, Great Pond and the Caribbean Sea, A/C in bedrooms and fans throughout cottage, Wi-Fi, Netflix access on smart TV & DVD player, Solar water heater, daily cook/housekeeper, cottage manager, laundry services available (at a cost), nanny service (at cost).

Villas Nearby

Seaweed Villa

Located on the same property as Seaweed Cottage, this Villa is huge and stunningly designed with a luxurious finish.

Four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, outdoor showers and private verandas, two-edge infinity pool, hot tub, barbecue grill, outdoor bar and dining area, fire pit and seating area, A/C and fans, private beach access, Wi-Fi, sound system for music throughout, satellite TV, boogie boards, pool table, daily chef and staff, villa manager, laundry services available (at a cost), nanny service (at cost), kayaks, bicycles.

Hope House

A beautiful Ibiza-esque white beach front villa with an amazing roof deck, right on Old Harbour Beach. With four bedrooms, with en suite bathrooms, this villa is perfect for a larger group of family and friends.

Four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms; master bedroom with king-size bed, second bedroom with queen-size bed, third bedroom with two twin-size beds that can be put together, fourth bedroom with two twin-size beds that can be put together, full kitchen, infinity plunge pool, outdoor dining/barbecue area and stargazing deck, A/C, Wi-Fi, satellite TV, staff of two (includes daily chef), villa Manager, laundry services available (at a cost), nanny service (at cost)

Pelican Villa

A beautiful three bedroom ocean front villa, with a scandi-chic feel to the design. Situated on Billy’s Bay, a sleepy fishing village it is a 30 minute walk from the main Jakes property, this is a wheelchair accessible property.

 Three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, master bedroom with king-size bed, second bedroom with queen-size bed, third bedroom with two queen-size beds, outdoor shower and private verandas, swimming pool, outdoor dining area, grill pan, A/C and ceiling fans, private beach access, Wi-Fi, smart TV with Netflix account, daily chef and staff, villa manager, laundry services available (at a cost), nanny service (at cost), wheelchair accessible.

 

Calabash Bay Villa

Just a five minute walk from the main Jakes property, the Calabash Bay Villa sits in a large 2 acre plot, with the Calabash Bay Cottage. The large open design lends itself to celebrating special occasions and entertaining with large groups of friends.

Four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, multiple indoor and al fresco living/dining spaces, freshwater pool, outdoor shower & sunken tub, A/C & ceiling fans, private beach access, kayaks, Wi-Fi, satellite TV, bluetooth-enabled stereo, staff of three (includes daily chef), villa Manager, laundry services available (at a cost), nanny service (at cost).

 

Jakes has a website where you can book any of these beautiful properties.

 


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Jakes Hotel Review – Arrival and Coral Room

Coral Room - Jakes Hotel

 

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.

 

Our three night stay at Jakes lent itself to a fair bit of reporting and photography. So I have broken the trip down into mini-series to cover as much detail as possible! This post will cover a review of our first night and the Coral Room at Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa.

 

 

 


Jakes Here We Come!

With just four days until our proposed arrival date, I called Jakes to check if they had availability for the following week. I was cheerfully advised that there were three unoccupied rooms and with two of them way out of our budget, we opted for the Garden View Room – Coral. After paying online we received a confirmation email and counted down the days until our arrival…

 

In case you missed it – Check out this post about our Journey to Jakes, Treasure Beach!

 

With the official check in time at 3.00pm and it now being around 8.30pm, we received a call from Jakes reception to check we were ok and if we needed anything special arranged for our arrival. We explained that we were on our way, but likely to arrive late. We were assured that was no problem and that although the reception closes at 9.00pm, the security would be made aware of our arrival and would show us to our room if we arrived any later than that….

 

Jakes Ford Prefect

 

Arriving at Jakes Hotel, Treasure Beach

After following the signposts for Jack Sprat all the way from the town of ‘Gutters’, we knew we had found Jakes Hotel when we saw the old Ford Prefect parked up right out front. We pulled into the last vacant parking spot and for the first time noticed it was really quiet and there wasn’t anyone else around. It felt quite strange to be in Jamaica and not hear music playing, not even in the distance. Just total SILENCE.

We pushed open the gate and followed the pathway through the lush garden. After passing the locked gift shop, we came across an open sided building that housed the reception and a covered eating area. The security guard was camped out here and despite the late arrival was very friendly and welcoming. We gave him our name and he went inside the office and came back with the keys. After walking us the short distance through the garden to our room, he came inside and checked all was in order, before handing over the keys.

After we put our things in the room we couldn’t resist having a little look around the grounds. At just past midnight on a Tuesday evening, we literally had the place to ourselves as everyone else seemed to be tucked up in bed. Quietly walking around by the light of the twinkling calabash lights in the trees and with the moon glistening on the surface of the water, we felt really excited to explore more in the daylight and headed back to our room.

 

 

Jakes Restaurant at Night

 

The Garden View Rooms – Coral and Conch

Coral and Conch make up the two ‘Garden View’ rooms that are housed in one building, situated directly opposite the outside dining patio of Jakes Restaurant. The story goes that this was the first building that Sally Henzell designed after tipsy diners requested a place to stay overnight. There is no doubt that these two rooms are full of charm, but they only begin to show the full extent of Sally’s bold and unashamed creative design flair that is evident across the rest of the Jakes properties.

Despite being housed in the same building the two rooms have a separate identity, with private entrances and patios in an area of the garden away from the restaurant.  The Coral side of the building is painted in a rustic terracotta colour and had the more private of the two patios, whilst the Conch side is painted in light blue, with a patio that overlooks the saltwater swimming pool.

The building is traditionally Jamaican in design with a high ceiling, corrugated zinc roof and a rendered exterior with open fretwork blocks in the bathrooms. The dark wooden shuttered windows fully open to pour in light and the cool sea breeze to reveal polished concrete floors, with a mosaic tile border and a cheerfully painted wooden door. On stepping inside the interior has touches of Moroccan and Spanish design features, which combined to make a warm and cosy space.

 

 

Review of the Garden View Room – ‘Coral’

The interior of the ‘Coral’ room is rough rendered, with an Ibiza-esque fabricated structure that snakes across two sides of the room. Painted in a beautiful burnt orange colour, it forms a curvy and flowing inbuilt bench seating area, the base for the bed, a shelf and the bedside cabinet. The bench seating was a great spot to relax and there was also a desk that had been fashioned out of the base of an old singer sewing machine, which was interesting!

The bed was deceptively comfortable, with a deep mattress, a cute ‘towel art’ centre piece and a mosquito net. There was a super quiet and insanely powerful overhead fan, plus an AC unit on the wall opposite the bed. But I am not a fan (no pun intended) of using AC and found there was no need for it.

The wooden windows have slats on them to let in air and light and can also be fully opened. As the room looks directly over the dining area, we only ever opened the slats at the front of the room, but mostly kept them closed for reasons of privacy.

Point of Note! At meal times and especially in the morning, the dining area fills up with guests and the noise levels can be a bit intrusive if you are trying to sleep – Looking for something further away from the action? Check out the rest of the accommodation at Jakes.

 

Coral and Conch Garden Rooms

 

The Bathroom

The en-suite bathroom has a cute punched tin door and was a decent size. There is white sanitary ware and a huge walk-in shower, which is powerful and had a pretty consistent hot water supply. Plenty of clean and fluffy white towels, small bottles of Driftwood Spa (Jakes Spa) toiletries and a good hairdryer where all supplied.

The shower has open fretwork blocks across the entire wall, that overlooks the outside dining area at Jakes restaurant.  There is an extra shower curtain covering the blocks to protect your modesty and there is an insect screen attached to the outside; no worries about peeping toms there!

Jakes have an eco-friendly policy, which enables them to cut down on unnecessary energy usage and water waste. I think this is a great initiative where you as a visitor, can easily take part and do your bit.

 

Coral Room Amenities

Hidden behind another punched tin door was a small closet with a hanging rail fashioned from a piece of bamboo, complete with a few clothes hangers. There were also some shelves with a comforter (blanket) for the bed, a digital safe (that you could set yourself), a coffee maker with complimentary sachets of filter coffee, creamer and sugar, two cups, two glasses, a spoon, two small bottles of ‘Wata’ water and a mini fridge! A couple of peg hook boards on the wall in the bedroom area also provided somewhere to hang things.

Point of note! There wasn’t masses of space to ‘unpack’ everything from our bags, as many people like to do when they go away. But as we were only there for three nights, we didn’t find this to be an issue – There are plenty of other properties at Jakes that have more storage!

A simple, but appreciated touch was a personally addressed and hand-written postcard, welcoming us to Jakes. Along with the postcard, there was an informational folder in the room with a map and details of the resort and spa that included opening hours, local area information, activities and excursions.

 

 

Private Patio Area

One of our favourite parts of our room was the private patio, directly off the bedroom. We literally opened the double wooden doors and stepped out into our own little oasis. There were a couple of wooden sun loungers with padded cushion covers at our disposal, where we could lay and chat and relax. Much to our amusement, a resident family of Mongoose kept appearing in the garden and we had lots of fun watching their activities whilst drinking our tea.

The garden was simple in design and apart from the tropical backdrop of flowers and foliage, there is a huge and majestic tree naturally dividing the area from the Conch Room garden. The tree is strewn with beautiful calabash lanterns that softly illuminated the area in the night time and gave the area a romantic, magical air about it. Due to the clever use of planting and fencing in our garden, we felt sheltered from the next nearest buildings and the other guests who were walking to and from their rooms.

We spent an inordinate amount of time on that patio, all things considered. But we loved opening the door when we woke up and having tea and a light breakfast together away from the milieu of the noisy breakfast crowd at Jakes restaurant. In the afternoon, we would come back to the room and lounge around for a while in the garden before showering for dinner. And, in the evening we would push open the doors and have a nightcap out there looking up at the stars! It was just perfect.

 

Conclusion

The whole booking process at Jakes was very smooth and straight forward and we were able to pay online through their website using an overseas debit card. On our day of arrival we felt that Jakes went the extra mile with small personal touches, such as calling twice to check we were successfully making our way there and leaving a hand-written welcome note on the back of postcard in our room.

Our room was spotlessly clean and room service cleaned inside and swept the patio during our stay. Overall, we were very comfortable and content in the space and the secluded private patio more than made up for the noise made during busy meal times at the nearby restaurant.

Our midweek stay in the Coral Garden View Room was approx. US$120 per night.

 

 

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Breakfast at Smurfs Café in Treasure Beach

Smurfs Cafe 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!

Once we had decided to go to Treasure Beach for our mini-break, I did a little research into the local area on the Internet. We knew that we wanted to get out and about to explore Saint Elizabeth and therefore we needed some places to visit and places to eat! Smurfs Café was on my radar as it had brilliant online reviews…

 

 

Making Our Way to Smurfs Café

After our first lazy morning lounging and chatting on our little private garden patio at Jake’s Hotel, we decided to hit the road and get something to eat and do some exploring. We were feeling kinda hungry as it was more like lunch time by the time we were ready to leave, so we decided to go to Smurfs Café as it was nearby and had great feedback from customers.

A few of the online reviews mentioned that Smurfs Café was an ‘all day breakfast place’, but much to our disappointment we discovered that it wasn’t! We arrived with our hungry bellies and high expectations at around 2.30pm and although the Café was still open, it wasn’t serving food and the owner Miss Dawn explained that she had already packed everything away and was only there as she was prepping food for the next day.

We got back in the car feeling hungry and deflated, but determined that we would make it back there before the trip was over. Then and there we agreed that we would go back to Smurfs Café after we checked out on the last day to get a good refueling before the long drive back to the north coast.

 

 

Eating Breakfast at Smurfs Café!

After missing out on eating at Smurfs Café on the previous visit, we called the Café before we headed out to check it was still serving food. We got through to Miss Dawn who said she was closing soon and if we were coming did we want her to cook a fresh batch of fried dumplings because she had sold out. We replied ‘YES please! We will be there in 10 minutes!’ We hurriedly jumped into the car and followed the Google Maps App, for the short drive to Smurfs Café arriving around 12.15pm.

When we arrived the place was empty apart from a local couple eating food in the shaded area at the back of the Café. We walked through the eating area and found Miss Dawn inside the kitchen. There is a huge breakfast menu at Smurfs Café. Which offers traditional Jamaican dishes, alongside International favourites such as:

  • Ackee and Saltfish
  • Callaloo and Saltfish
  • Mackerel Run Down
  • Saltfish Fritters
  • Porridge
  • Omelette
  • Home-made hash browns,
  • Eggs
  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Pancakes
  • Toast
  • Freshly squeezed Orange Juice
  • Smoothies
  • Home ground freshly brewed Coffee

With relief that we had made in time we ordered two portions of Ackee and Saltfish with Fried Dumplings, which were $550 each (most breakfasts are the same price). There didn’t seem to be any cold sodas available in the Café, so we bought them from the Sports Bar at the front of the building and sat down in the shaded eating area to await the arrival of our food.

 

Inside Smurfs Cafe Treasure Beach

 

 

Ackee and Saltfish – The National Dish of Jamaica

After around 20 minutes Miss Dawn gestured that the food was ready. So we collected our boxes from her and excitedly sat down to reveal the meal inside! OMGOSH! What a sight to behold!

Check out that box of delicious crispy on the outside and soft on the inside Fried Dumplings, the National Dish of Jamaica ‘Ackee and Saltfish’ in all its glory and the little bit of brawta (extra helpings) that everyone loves on the side, Fried Plantains and a slice of Pear (Avocado)!

It tasted as good as it looks…

 

Ackee and Saltfish at Smurfs Cafe

 

Introducing Miss Dawn – Smurf’s Café

After a short while Miss Dawn appeared with a big bowl of peas and sat down on one of the benches to start shelling, chatting and laughing with a couple of other people who were there. Miss Dawn is the owner and resident chef extraordinaire at Smurf’s Café. A beautiful spirit with a unforgetable smile, Miss Dawn has a warm and friendly aura that I was instantly drawn to. The proof was in the pudding that she is a special woman when we were getting ready to leave out…

Once we had filled our bellies we carefully closed up our half full boxes of food to take with us and thanked Miss Dawn for the delicious food. Feeling happy and refueled for the journey, we made our way to the car for the long drive back to Ocho Rios. However, the rental car was playing up again and wouldn’t start… We soon realised we had another unexpected flat battery!

We sat there for several minutes fiddling around with the ignition, before opening the bonnet (hood) to check the engine and knock the battery connectors and so on. Miss Dawn who was still sitting outside was watching with interest and after seeing we were having no luck, suggested that we try a mechanic who was down the street to see if we could get a jump-start. After checking out the local mechanic and flagging down a couple of passing cars, we still had no jump leads (jump cables) and were running out of ideas.

Meanwhile whilst we were flapping about, Miss Dawn had called her son to ask him to pass by the Café and come to our aid. The next thing we knew a pick-up truck pulled up and out piled her son and couple of others who gave us a jump-start and got us back on the road in no time. We again whole heartedly thanked Miss Dawn and her son and gingerly drove off for the journey home vowing to come back the next time we were in Treasure Beach!

Smurfs Café has a facebook page – If You Want to Give Miss Dawn a Shout Out!

How to Find Smurf’s Café

You can’t really miss Smurf’s Café & Sports Bar as it’s painted (unsurprisingly) in a bright blue colour with Smurfs painted on the walls. Located on Ocean Hill View Drive, at the junction with Lewis Town Road. The building houses the Sports Bar at the front and the Café at the back.

The entrance to the Café (where you order your food) is reached by walking around the back of the building.  Look out for the Smurfette painted on the side wall and walk through the outside eating area. You will see the doorway between the two Jamaican flags that are painted on the building.

 

 

 

 

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Stacks of Jamaican Pretty Little Tings

Pretty Little Tings Ankle Bracelets

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.

 

Thinking of moving to Jamaica

 

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join us…

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

 

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join us…

Sweet Jamaica FaceBook Page

Sweet Jamaica Twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul 

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…

 




Bringing Values back to Jamaica through Children’s Literature

How Fi Grow Yuh Pickney Book Series

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

 

Thinking of moving to Jamaica?
Thinking of moving to Jamaica?

 

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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.

 

Looking for a shipping quotation to Jamaica

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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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

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Paint and Sip in Jamaica – Art Parties for all Levels

Paint and Sip

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

 

Thinking of moving to Jamaica

 

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

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FaceBook Page

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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…

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

 

 




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

Swimsuit Bag Janz Creations

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.

Thinking of moving to Jamaica

 

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

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Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

Want to Read more Jamaican Interviews? Head Over Here…

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Boardwalk Bistro at Island Village, Ocho Rios

Boardwalk Bistro Ocho Rios Review

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! 

 

Thinking of moving to Jamaica?
Thinking of moving to Jamaica?

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join us…

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you ever visited the Boardwalk Bistro in Ocho Rios, Jamaica? Who did you go with and what did you eat?

Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

Want to Read more Jamaican Reviews Head Over Here…

Visiting Ocho Rios and want to learn more about what is has to offer? Head over here…




Top Tips for Visitors to Jamaica

White River Beach Boats Sand

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.

 

Thinking of moving to Jamaica?
Thinking of moving to Jamaica?

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….

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What to Pack in a Barrel being Shipped to Jamaica

Shopping Cart

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 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 (incuding 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 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 commission, because invariably they 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. There are

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

 

Looking for a shipping quotation to Jamaica

 

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Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

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#PrayforMia Mia-Skye Baldoue Appeal – Support Jamaica

Pray for Mia Skye Baldoue Appeal

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.

 

View this post on Instagram

Sept 11th… 1:29pm… I got the worst call a mother could ever get… I have never cried so much or so hard in my entire life… I heard the news and felt the life literally leaving my body. This has been the hardest 24hrs of my life. But I just wanted to pause and take the time to tell everyone thanks for all the prayers. I am so grateful for the love and support being shown for Mia. It's overwhelming how loved she is. I post this pic right now so everyone can see the need for the continuous prayers… Anyone who knows me personally knows what this is doing to me right now and it's taking every courage and every ounce of strength in me to hold on and trust God that He will pull her thru… I try to think of the future of how she's back to her usual self and I'll have to explain why she has a shaved head 😊 My heart is breaking and I can't stop crying and I need all of u… For everyone who I didn't answer ur call or respond to ur msg… Just gimme some time… I'm not my usual self yet… #prayForMeme❤ not just pray… But BELIEVE…. Thnx

A post shared by Sasha Sepaul (@badgyalbam) on

 

 

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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Bless up, Jules

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Join the Comments Below….

 

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

 




Sweet Jamaica and The Bus Stop Mission ‘Sunchimes’

The Bus Stop Mission

Whilst browsing online recently I came across an advertisement for an enterprise called ‘The Bus Stop Mission’, based in Salem, Runaway Bay, Jamaica. Intrigued by the accompanying images I clicked the link to see what it was all about. I was so inspired by what I was reading that I reached out to them to see how I could get involved and help spread the word. So here it is! I am really pleased to introduce them to you all and to tell the story of Sweet Jamaica and The Bus Stop Mission ‘Sunchimes’.

What is The Bus Stop Mission all About?

The Bus Stop Mission is a charitable organisation that provides a time exchange service for Jamaicans who have no employment, and as an alternative to begging. They have a variety of tasks that can be carried out in exchange for vouchers,  which are redeemable in the discount shop, or which can be used for inclusion into the various programs that they run. Adults and children can earn food, clothing, toiletries and school supplies to fulfill an immediate need, by creating the most beautiful hand-made crafts from recycled materials. These hand-made creations are then offered to local gift shops for sale, so that the profits can be used to buy more craft materials and to (re)stock the Discount Shop. I really think this is such a wonderful idea, creating employment opportunities where there are none and using recycled materials is good for the environment too – double bubble!… and Totally Genius!

Mission Statement of ‘The Bus Stop Mission’

The Bus Stop Mission will provide training and opportunities for people to learn that they are greatly blessed and their time, talents, and resources are a blessing, which can benefit themselves and others.

Most people who don’t have food to eat or clothes to wear, do have time to share. The Bus Stop Mission offers an alternative to begging. We offer low-cost food, school supplies, necessities, and classes to help you stretch your dollar as far as it will go. Those who don’t have the money to afford what we offer can trade their time and/or talents for store and program vouchers.

Our classes and activities are offered to teach new skills and help each student recognize the value of their own time and talents.

We are located at the Stop Light/Bus Stop in Salem, Runaway Bay p.o. St. Ann, Jamaica

– Each Day is a Gift from God, how we use it should honor Him!
 
Bus Stop Mission Making Crafts
Bus Stop Mission Making Crafts

How Does The Time Exchange Program Work?

The best part is that everyone is welcome to come to the Mission to exchange their time for goods or educational courses. Adults are invited to stop by the Mission to work and be involved in learning a new skill in a social and happy environment where they can earn items they need from the Discount Shop. Mothers are welcome to bring their young children with them to the Mission and can work for diapers, baby clothes and food, while their children play in a fun and safe haven. School age children can turn up before or after school and on Saturdays, before joining the Saturday Camp activities after 11:00am, where they can work towards a voucher to be redeemed for items from the shop, or a weeks worth of school lunches.

What ‘Tasks’ can be Carried Out on the Time Exchange Program?

The main activity and the one I am most excited by is the making of beautiful and original ‘Sunchimes’. These glistening, twinkling beauties are crafted using recycled tumbled (sea) glass, craft wire and beads artfully strung from a piece of wood. They are designed to not only look beautiful but also to sound beautiful. As the breeze hits them they make the most soothing and mood enhancing sounds that add to the eye catching and decorative looks. The beauty is that everyone who makes these ‘Sunchimes’ is known as an ‘Artisan’ and deservedly so. They provide a creative outlet for the artisan making the Sunchime and they are welcomed to include their name and age (if they are under 18) on the tag, so that they can get recognition for their work.

If you or anyone you know would benefit from this scheme, just turn up at The Bus Stop Mission and join the Time Exchange Program to earn vouchers too! Please pass on this information to others if you feel they would benefit from the scheme too.

There is a variety of tasks you can perform if you don’t want to make the Sunchimes, which include:

  • Sweeping, raking or picking up trash
  • Working in the vegetable garden
  • Collecting and cracking almonds from trees on their property
  • Sorting, washing, mending, ironing or folding clothes for the Discount Shop
  • Collecting glass bottles that can be recycled and used for crafts
  • Assisting with the making of meals for our kids lunch program and our wobye meal program  wobye = work for the bread you eat
  • Mentoring or tutoring a child in the homework help program
  • Making crafts that will be sold in their shop or to craft vendors around the island
  • Teaching or assisting with a Saturday or evening class
  • Assisting with their Saturday youth program or movie night

Please Note: Each task will be assigned a voucher amount.  No cash is offered.  Voucher amounts for each task will be determined based on a reasonable time expectation for completion of that task.

Making Sunchimes at The Bus Stop Mission
Making Sunchimes at The Bus Stop Mission

The Bus Stop Missions’s Discount Shop

The discount shop provides low-cost necessities to the community, including food, clothing, toiletries, shoes, school supplies and basic work tools.  Used clothing and shoes will be the main items available in the Discount Shop. This shop is the primary income source to support all other aspects of the Bus Stop Mission.  The major operating expense is the cost of inventory and shipping for items sent from the United States, as well as the salary of their employees.  (100% of all money remaining after expenses are paid is used to support the other projects of the Mission).

Available Courses at The Bus Stop Mission

The Bus Stop Mission also offers a range of low-cost, fun, hands-on, night and weekend classes that can be exchanged for vouchers. The courses include:

  • Sellable crafts
  • Sewing
  • Child care
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Basic accounting and money management
  • Swimming lessons
  • Kayaking for beginners
  • Snorkeling for beginners
  • Basic reading
  • Basic maths
  • Cooking

Giving a Donation to The Bus Stop Mission

If you wish to make a donation to The Bus Stop Mission, they have this list of items that they would be happy to receive and that would assist in the daily running of the Mission. These items can be brought directly to The Bus Stop Mission, in Jamaica,  or sent to Mission Control at: 16795 State Route E, Rolla, MO  65401,USA; where it will be shipped to Jamaica in their next shipping container.

This list of needs has been copied directly from The Bus Stop Mission website:

“For The Bus Stop Mission to achieve its goals we ask, (we need) your prayers, your time, your talents and your unwanted or unneeded items.”

  • Glass Bottles – These will be used to make a variety of crafts.  Even broken glass of unusual color or pattern is welcome
  • Plastic shopping bags – We crochet these into mats
  • Newspapers – To cover our tables when making crafts
  • Outgrown or unwanted clothing – These will be sold in our discount shop.  (and yes we need belts, clean underwear, bras and socks)
  • Shoes – While school is free in Jamaica, every child is required to wear a school uniform including black or brown shoes (not tennis shoes) There are no cheap school shoes available in Jamaica and one pair can cost a weeks wages.
  • Books – We have the greatest need for children and teen reading books.  (It is hard to develop a love of reading if you don’t have a single book.)
  • Home & Kitchen necessities including sheets, blankets, pots, pans, utensils, etc.
  • Folding chairs
  • Beach towels
  • Masks, fins and snorkels
  • clothes washer
  • clothes drier
  • 2 burner gas stove
  • refrigerator
  • Solar panels
  • sewing machine

The Bus Stop Mission on the beach
The Bus Stop Mission on the beach

Volunteering with The Bus Stop Mission

If you would like to contribute some of your free time and skills to others, then why not think about volunteering? The Bus Stop Mission is seeking volunteers, and values the hands-on assistance.  Their mantra is that ‘ Your time is a blessing and we would be blessed to have your assistance in any of the following areas ‘:

  • Sort, wash, iron, or mend clothing
  • Help at out Saturday Kids Camp
  • Help keep the grounds clean
  • Help at our Movie Night
  • Assist a child with his/ her homework

Assist with or teach one of our classes.  Can you teach others to:

  • Sew
  • Crochet
  • Count money
  • Weave a basket
  • Make a craft
  • Be patient with children
  • Use a computer
  • Perform basic math
  • Recognise basic words

Sweet Jamaica and The Bus Stop Mission Join Forces…

I am really pleased to announce that I am joining forces with The Bus Stop Mission through my sister company LonJam Trading. We wanted to get involved a help the Mission with their on-going fund raising and employment opportunity scheme by becoming a stockist of the ‘Sunchimes’ and the other craft items that they make. The sale of these items serves two important roles, firstly it enables the Mission to continue offering work opportunities to unemployed Jamaican’s and secondly the money raised through the sale of these items pumps back into the Mission to keep the Discount Shop stocked and to buy more craft materials…. And so the circle continues.

I would really appreciate if you could help me to support the Mission by browsing through the selection of the most beautiful and unusual ‘Sunchimes’  that I have on offer. These beauties are a real talking point and make an ideal decoration to hang where the breeze and  sun will catch them, as they sound as good as they look. They also look beautiful hanging on a wall, tree, outdoor garden structures, veranda’s, decking, ceilings and more. Why not get creative and share you pictures of places you have hung them in your home? These items come directly from the Jamaican artisan’s hands and each piece is individual and original, so no two pieces are the same. Act fast to get the piece that you love the best, as once it’s gone, it’s gone! You can help to raise funds for this amazing enterprise by getting in touch with me if you wish to buy one of the pieces I have on offer and by spreading the word to others who may be interested.

Thank you! Bless Up Yourself!

Sunchimes For Sale!

If you would like to help support The Bus Stop Mission you can buy a Sunchime from me! Click the link to my Facebook Page, or check out the next post, to view the images. The retail prices are:

  • 9 Strand Sunchimes –  Priced at:  JA$6,000 Or, £33.50 Or, US$50.00
  • 7 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at: JA$4,800 Or, £27.00 Or, US$40.00
  • 5 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at JA$3,600 Or, £20.00 Or, US$30.00
  • 3 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at JA$2,400 Or, £13.50 Or, US$20.00
  • 1 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at JA$1,200 Or, £7.00 Or, US$10.00

Please Note: These prices are NOT including postage. Please send me an email with the #Number that you like and I will give you a price for postage and packaging to your worldwide address.

Beautiful Sunchimes
LonJam Trading Beautiful B.S.M. Sunchimes

 

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Send me your inquiries below, I look forward to hearing from you to support this worthy cause. Have you bought a ‘Sunchime’ and want to share a photograph of how you have displayed it? Get in touch below we look forward to hearing from you…




Plant Sup’n with ‘Farm Up Jamaica’!

Farm Up Jamaica Logo

Farm Up Jamaica is the vision of Neil Curtis, an inspirational Jamaican living in New York. Like many Jamaicans living abroad, Neil keeps a keen eye on the goings-on back home. Frustrated by the continuing depreciation of the Jamaican Dollar,  high unemployment rates and the decline in home-grown produce, Neil hatched an ambitious plan to help heal Jamaica. The result is ‘Farm Up Jamaica’, a visionary project that is a  many faceted and utterly brilliant master plan to make a quantifiable difference in Jamaica.

What Makes Farm Up Jamaica Special?

Farm Up Jamaica gets its funding from donations, gifts in-kind and through volunteering work, much of which is through the Jamaican diaspora. The Non-Profit Organisation works with the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture to find gaps in the market contributing to the excessive food importations into Jamaica. It uses this information to channel the donations to offer help, employment, education and empowerment to farmers who had all but given up. The revolutionary concept is breathing new life into Jamaican farming with Organic and Sustainable Farming practices. These Organic crops are then available to buy locally in Jamaica and will also enable greater exportation possibilities, helping to stabilise the gap between imports and exports. Plus, the implementation of Organic and Sustainable farming practices is better for us when we consume the pesticide free food and it’s also really good for the Environment too.  An all-round Win, Win situation!

Sweet Jamaica Interview with Farm Up Jamaica

I am pleased to announce that the CEO of Farm Up Jamaica, Neil Curtis, took some time out of his busy schedule to take part in Sweet Jamaica Jules’ ‘SUPPORT JAMAICA, BUY JAMAICAN!’ interview series. Neil shares his story and views about his organisation with us in this fascinating read!

 

1. Introduce yourself and your role in the company?

Hello, my name is Neil Curtis and I am the founder and CEO of Farm Up Jamaica Limited.

 

2. When was your company established and why did you choose this career path?

Our organisation was founded in July 2013. The reason we chose this path was to create a trustworthy way for diaspora to give back that would have a direct and measurable effect on Jamaica.

3. Tell me about your typical working day?

 A work day in New York consists of:

  • Communicating by phone and email with farmers who want to participate in the program.
  • Diaspora meetings in person, by phone, email and Skype etc
  • Interaction with other organizations who want to partner or help the cause
  • Working with our fundraising co-ordinator to identify or improve ways to raise funds
  • Creating Memorandum of Understanding for organisations that we are partnering with
  • Researching new seeds and best practises for Organic Farming
  • Live television and radio interviews into U.S., U.K. and Canada
  • Consistent communication with our staff and board members

A work day in Jamaica consists of:

  • Visits to our current farmers to make sure they are functioning optimally
  • Meetings with prospective farmers and their families
  • Distribution of Organic seeds and fertilisers to our member farmers
  • Interacting with companies who want to partner or sponsor the cause
  • Meetings with government agencies for agricultural technical advice or administration
  • Negotiating with our vendors to ensure we are receiving the best possible pricing, discounts and incentives
  • Creating work forces in areas of interest and ensuring that it includes the best possible pricing, discounts and incentives
  • Creating work forces in areas of interest and ensuring that it includes local farmers, students, inner city youth and volunteers

 

Young and Old Farmers Getting Involved
Farmers Getting Involved

4. What is your company philosophy?

 Our company philosophy is to reduce the importation of foreign food by planting our own healthy organic food to save a nation in more ways than one.

5. Where is your Head Office based and do you manufacture / produce your products in Jamaica?

Our Head Office is based in New York. We don’t currently manufacture but all crops that are grown in Jamaica.

6. Do you use Jamaican raw materials in your products?

We use as much Jamaican raw material that is available and only go outside if necessary.

7. Are you Jamaican?

I am Jamaican, from St. Catherine.

8. Tell me your top 3 likes and dislikes about Jamaica?

 Likes about Jamaica:

  1. Nature
  2. Music
  3. Food

Dislikes about Jamaica:

  1. 1. Resources taken for granted
  2. 2. Economy
  3. 3. Crime

9. What new company plans and visions are you working on?

Organic onion production to replace the 90 percent of onions being imported into Jamaica. Non-GMO organic corn production for local and export markets. Students growing organic food for a lunch program.

Plant Sup'n Jamaica!
Plant Sup’n Jamaica!

10. What is your personal favourite project you are working on and why?

My favourite project is the organic onion cultivation, because it is a serious Jamaican concern and will have a measurable impact on the importation of onions which is a basic staple in every kitchen.

11. Who or what, is your inspiration or role model?

A true love for Jamaica and wanting to see it recover has inspired me to start this organisation.

12. Where can we buy your products in Jamaica and overseas?

Our products will be available under the Farm Up Jamaica label in your local supermarkets in Jamaica. Overseas supermarkets will also have our products where other Jamaican food products are sold.

13. How do you love to spend your free time in Jamaica?

I spend my free time enjoying nature in Jamaica and visiting places that I’ve never been to.

14. If you could be Prime Minister of Jamaica for a day, what would you do?

If I were Prime Minister for a day I would write a policy to effectively address and reduce crime. This would help to motivate lots of returning residents and tourists and create more income for the Jamaican economy!

15. Which Jamaican, dead or alive, do you feel made the biggest contribution to Jamaica and why?

I believe that Marcus Garvey made the biggest contribution to Jamaica. He believed that anything is possible and proved it. Many Jamaicans wait to travel to other countries to evolve into greatness. I believe we need to evolve at home and make Jamaica a greater country!

16. If you could impart one piece of advice to inspire young Jamaicans to start their own businesses or succeed in their chosen career, what would it be?

 My advice to young Jamaican’s is to firstly learn money management skills and then start their own businesses and grow their companies to become internationally recognised.

17. If you could change jobs, what would you do?

If I could change jobs, I wouldn’t! I love what I do…

18. Apart from your own company, what is your favourite Jamaican company and why?

My favourite company is Grace. I love the way they have been able to show how a Jamaican company can diversify and grow to become an international brand!

19. What do you believe contributes most to your company’s on-going success?

What contributes to my organizations on-going success is being able to teach people that the glass is half full and not half empty. Bringing inspiration to farmers that thought their lives were over and converting them into patriotic food security soldiers keeps Farm Up Jamaica alive.

20. What do you feel your company has to offer the international and home markets, over and above your competitors?

Our company offers a unique product which is organic Jamaican food. It’s what sets us apart.

21. How do you believe as a nation we can help to build Jamaica?

We can help build Jamaica by becoming a part of the solution. Agriculture only represents 6% of the Jamaican GDP. If the whole country would focus on increasing this number we can build a self-sufficient Jamaica. “Plant Sup’n”.

All Organic
All Organic

 22. What are your aspirations for Jamaica?

My aspirations for Jamaica is to see the country live up to its popularity, by not only becoming a great place to visit, but a great place to do business.

23. How can people contribute or get involved with Farm Up Jamaica?

People can contribute funds, time, equipment, training, materials, etc.

Farmers can get involved by calling us at: (USA) 516-376-1626 or (JAMAICA) 876-592-5992.

Check out our website: WWW.FARMUPJAMAICA.ORG

We can also be reached by email at: INFO@FARMUPJAMAICA.ORG

Volunteers can email: VOLUNTEERS@FARMUPJAMAICA.ORG

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What are you doing to celebrate Earth Hour? What do you think about climate change? Get in touch below we look forward to hearing from you…

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‘Recycle Now Jamaica’

Recycle Now Jamaica

‘Recycle Now Jamaica’

I was so happy to find about the ‘Recycle Now Jamaica’ project that was launched on the 12th February 2014, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston. The team behind the recycling initiative aim to tackle the problem of the plastic bottles that are clogging up drains or being burnt in Jamaica. The organisation will be managed by a Board of Directors made up of the Government, through the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) and private sector representatives. I really respect the fact that a lot of the big players in Jamaica are being responsible and are getting involved in this project, which will help to tackle the problem caused by how to manage their empty and discarded vessels. This group include, the Wisynco Group, Pepsi- Cola Jamaica, GraceKennedy Foods and Services, Jamaica Beverages, Lasco, Trade Winds Citrus, and Seprod.

The three year plan will see more than $300 million being invested in the project and is expected to create a minimum of 300 jobs for local Jamaicans. This investment means that for the next three years the Government is investing $50 million (per annum) and the private sector is investing $23.75 million (per annum) into the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle recycling project. This may seem a lot of money, but there is a growing demand for the sale of recycled PET bottles worldwide. What was once considered ‘waste’ and if often an eyesore across the island, can be utilised as a valuable commodity with economic benefits for Jamaica and help save the environment at the same time.

How Will the ‘Recycle Now Jamaica’ Project Work?

The Government investment will also extend to the construction of four satellite depots placed in strategic locations across the island which will facilitate the collection of the PET bottles.  A team of certified JEEP collectors will be paid on a weight basis (of the plastic bottles) to take the reclaimed PET waste to the depots.

These bottles will be transported to the Consolidation and Logistics Hub which will be paid for by the private investors involved in the project. The Hub will be include a baling line, storage facility for finished products as well as office space and will primarily be used to super compact and consolidate the recycled PET bottles.

What is the Aim of the ‘Recycle Now Jamaica’ Project?

The primary objective of Recycle Now Jamaica is to reclaim 35 per cent of PET bottles placed on the market over the first three years of operation. In the first year it is expected that 15% of the bottles will be processed, which will mean around 4 million bottles will be collected and processed between the four depots each day. To reach this aim there will be a national public awareness campaign to introduce Jamaicans to the idea of recycling and generate interest in the project. A special campaign intended for school children will be rolled out to get the message across the next generation, who will be benefitting from this responsible project in the future.

Why ‘Recycle Now Jamaica’?

Recycling is good for the environment. By taking care of the environment we can ensure that Jamaica remains beautiful and be-fitting of the moniker ‘The land of Wood and Water’ for generations to come. The development of the country and the increasing population creates greater demands on Jamaica’s natural resources and if not managed properly it will continue to damage the delicate eco-system.

By recycling waste that takes years to decompose in landfill, we can help to conserve energy, natural resources and raw materials in Jamaica. To simply throw valuable materials into the ground, or burn it in open heaps, is not only careless and wasteful it also helps to emit dangerous greenhouse gases, like Methane into the atmosphere. Plastic bottles block drains and gulley’s and cause flooding, are a threat to wildlife and cannot decompose at the bottom of the sea bed. It is significantly cheaper to process recycling then sending waste to landfill (the dump) and in most cases can generate an income as it is resold to be used in a secondary life.

Join in and do your bit. Because we All Love Jamaica.

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Walk Good, Jules

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Jamaican Steamed Cabbage Recipe

Steam Cabbage and Fried Dumplings

Learning to Love Cabbage Again!

Cabbage is a humble vegetable with a bad reputation, but it’s only because it was boiled into a stinky oblivion in the kitchens of our childhoods! This Jamaican steamed cabbage recipe is delicious, nutritious and surprisingly versatile and will have the fussiest of eaters asking for second helpings.

Widely available, Cabbage is a cheap and hardy vegetable that fills up the family for next to nothing. Enjoy this Jamaican Steamed Cabbage Recipe accompanied with fried dumplings, or bread for breakfast or lunch. When served with rice, or ‘hard food’ it becomes an excellent Vegan / Vegetarian main meal, or it can be served as a side dish and accompaniment with meat and fish.

Fall in love with cabbage again with this delicious, healthy and widely used Jamaican Steamed Cabbage Recipe!

 

Thinly slice the cabbage into ribbons
Thinly slice cabbage into ribbons

 

How to make Jamaican Steamed Cabbage

First things first, thoroughly wash your hands and scrub underneath your nails if you can. Then gather all your ingredients and cooking implements together and put them on the counter top, so you have everything within reach and you will also save time and make it easier for yourself…

 

You Will Need:

  • a large pot (saucepan) or Dutch Pot for the Cabbage
  • a sharp knife and chopping board
  • a sieve / strainer

 

Ingredients:

  • Cooking Oil
  • 1 Cabbage
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1-2 garlic pegs
  • 1/2 Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • 1 sprig of Thyme
  • 1 Tomato
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp of Butter / Margarine (can be omitted, or substituted  if preferred)

 

Method:

  • Pour enough cooking oil to lightly cover the bottom of the Dutch Pot and set on a medium heat
  • Thoroughly wash the vegetables
  • Slice the Onion, Tomato, Garlic and Scotch Bonnet Pepper, add sliced seasoning and Thyme to the oil and gently fry
  • Meanwhile peel off the outer layers of the cabbage, cut in half, then slice the cabbage halves into thin ribbons, discarding the stalk
  • Submerge shredded cabbage in salted water to thoroughly wash (salt water encourages any attached bugs to float to the top of the water!)
  • Scrape or peel the skin from the carrot, wash and slice into Julienne (matchstick)
  • Add the drained cabbage and carrot slices to the pot, once the seasoning has softened
  • Add the butter, salt and black pepper and turn down the heat slightly, be sure to place the cover on the pot so it will steam (the cabbage should produce its own water)
  • Allow to steam for about 10-15 minutes until the cabbage has softened, stir the steamed vegetables to mix, before serving (if necessary a little splash of water can be added to the pot to encourage the cabbage to cook)

 

Jamaican Steamed Cabbage
Jamaican Steamed Cabbage

 

The World’s Healthiest Foods

If you need more convincing, consider this advice from ‘The World’s Healthiest Foods’ website, which states:

 

“The glucosinolates found in cabbage can be converted into isothiocyanate

compounds that are cancer preventive for a variety of different cancers,

including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer”.

 

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Walk Good, Jules

 

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Michael Lynch – Jamaican Film Maker Interview

Michael Lynch

Michael Lynch is a modern-day story teller whose name is becoming synonymous with real life Jamaica tales. If you want unbiased, insider information about Jamaica, then the ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary could well be the answer to some of your questions about this diverse and often misunderstood Caribbean island. Far from the usual negative media uptake about Jamaica, Michael manages to uncover the truth about Jamaica, without using clichés or being sentimental.

If you want to learn more about Michael’s documentary, I wrote a post entitled ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary which not only introduces the film, but also includes the means to rent the film (for your viewing pleasure!) On the back of this I invited Michael to take part in a ‘Support Jamaica, Buy Jamaican’ interview, so we can get a behind the scenes insight to this creative and intriguing Film Maker. Michael has great plans to showcase the Documentary in the UK and Part Two is expected to be out in 2014 to continue the coverage of the island and it’s people. Can’t wait to watch it? You can download the documentary here!

1. Introduce yourself and your role in the company?

My name is Michael Lynch I am the Producer and Director of the company.

 2. When was your company established and why did you choose this career path?

The company was established in Jamaica in January 2001 and Uk in November 2012.

3. Tell me about your typical working day?

After checking, sending and reading emails, text and other social networks. I start work on organising music and video projects along with other technical consultant work for the company.

Michael Lynch (org. band 920)
Michael Lynch (org. band 920)

 4. What is your company philosophy?

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance.

 5. How much of your work takes place in Jamaica?

At present very little but later in 2014 we plan to do a lot more filming and music production.

 6. Are you Jamaican?

I consider myself Jamaican but I was born in the UK to Jamaican parents.

7. Tell me your top 3 likes and dislikes about living and working in Jamaica?

Likes: Sunshine, people and food. Dislikes: roads, crime, mosquitos.

8. What new company plans and visions are you working on?

Working on setting up a training school for media and technology.

9. What is your personal favourite production that you have made and why?

“This is Jamaica documentary”, traveling and discovering Jamaica was very exciting for me, meeting and talking with the Jamaican people has learnt me a lot.

This is Jamaica Documentary Cover
This is Jamaica Documentary Cover

10. Who or what, is your inspiration or role model?

My inspiration and role model would have to be my mother who instilled in me great life lessons, love for all people and pride.

11. Where can we buy your productions in Jamaica and overseas?

At present rental through the website http://computamax/thisisjamaica and Amazon video on demand for rental, sale and download.

12. How do you love to spend your free time in Jamaica?

Chillin out at any of the many beautiful locations.

13. If you could be Prime Minister of Jamaica for a day, what would you do?

Set up a mass education and training program for all Jamaicans especially those in poor areas and the challenged.

Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey

14. Which Jamaican, dead or alive, do you feel made the biggest contribution to Jamaica and why?

Marcus Garvey for his strength leadership and commitment to his people.

15. If you could impart one piece of advice to inspire young Jamaicans to start their own businesses or succeed in their chosen career, what would it be?

Believe in what you do, think positive at all times have faith and never give up! Prayer, Practise, Patience and Persistence.

16. Apart from your own company, what is your favourite Jamaican company and why?

I would have to say Digicel for opening up new markets for providing an alternative mobile solution for the Jamaican people.

17. What do you feel you and your company has to offer viewers and listeners in international and home markets, over and above your competitors?

We are proud to be a company producing positive awareness of Jamaica and its people we aim to provide more discovery of our identity, history and culture to all people with any connections or interest in Jamaica.

18. How do you believe we as a nation can help to build Jamaica?

By coming together as one people, to put aside trivial matters, I believe education is one of the key factors, to look at the many great things the island has to offer and decide to work together with a common aim and strengthen the motto (out of many one people).

19. What are your aspirations for Jamaica?

To see Jamaica become completely independent, for crime to diminish.

20. What are your thoughts on the ‘SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN!’ post on Sweet Jamaica’s blog?

I believe whole heartedly in that our home grown food is the best. Eat what we grow, grow what we eat every time!

Read the SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN! post here…

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Want to find out more?

Read Sweet Jamaica’s review of the ‘This is Jamaica Documentary’ in this post…

Check out the official website for Computamax Productions here.

On 24th November 2013 Michael Lynch created column inches in The Gleaner, a national newspaper in Jamaica when staff reporter Sadeke Brooks produced a article based on an interview with Michael, which can be read here.

If you would like to hear more about Michael Lynch and his documentary, he has also been featured on a BBC Radio Derby Interview here with Devon Daley .

If you would like to rent a copy of Michael Lynch’s  ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary for 7 days it costs US$1.99, click here.

Check out the Facebook page and click like here!

Inspirational Love Songs back
Inspirational Love Songs back

‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary

This is Jamaica Documentary Cover

Jamaica Land We Love

There is something about Jamaica that steals a little piece of your heart the first time you visit. If you are truly afflicted the feeling will seep into your very existence and nag at your sub-conscience to return again, such is the draw of this Caribbean island. With its beguiling qualities and beautiful looks this could well lead to a full-on love affair that will have you telling all who will listen of ‘your Jamaica’ (sounds like me!).  It is therefore  no surprise that Jamaica has inspired some of the most talented and creative people to flourish with its natural backdrop of uplifting people, lush greenery, fruitful lands, cool rivers, picture perfect beaches and rich history.

One such person is Michael Lynch, who was born and raised in the Midlands, England to Jamaican parents. Michael decided to move to Jamaica in 2000 after his parents passed away, where he got married to a local woman and lived there happily for the next 12 years.  This coming home struck a chord with Michael who had spent his formative years in the UK absorbing the media’s perception of Jamaica which wasn’t always the most complimentary, or honest. Inspired to tell others about what he had experienced he decided to produce an independent documentary about ‘his Jamaica’, with the aim of enlightening people to what Jamaica is really all about outside of the scaremongering and shiny hotels.

The documentary champions the everyday person in Jamaica through whistle stop tours over much of the island and interviews with  members of the local communities and settlers, such as the Maroons, Indians and Germans. Michael is able to skilfully unravel the meaning behind the Jamaican motto ‘Out of Many, One People’, which is a testament to the multi-cultural inhabitants of the island, who lives are peacefully intertwined. Hear about Jamaica in the words of its people and revel in some of the sights and sites that are covered in this documentary, so that you too can transported into the very heartbeat of Jamaica.

By watching this documentary Michael hopes to inspire creative, educated entrepeneurs to give Jamaica a chance and consider moving here. By encouraging this talent pool to Jamaica to set up businesses, they will bring their wealth of knowledge and employment opportunities to further the country as a whole. The sentiment is one I believe in too, and therefore I wholeheartedly support Michael and his teams endeavours with this informative and engaging documentary that helps to demystify Jamaica.

You can view the trailer below and when that whets your appetite for more, you can rent the 53 minute long documentary for  just US$2.99 through Jamaican Movies. This way you are paying the film maker directly and supporting their craft. Sweet Jamaica has not been endorsed for writing this post or supplying links, but we appreciate you supporting this independent British / Jamaican film maker.

Who is Behind ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary

Michael Lynch is creative by nature and has been a published artist since the mid eighties where he started his career working as a session musician and producer with London based Orbitone Records. This lead to work with US based Jamdung Media, where he worked on many music videos and short film projects. No stranger to film producing, Michael produced his first short film in Jamaica in 2002 with Jesoco Productions which was distributed throughout the island by ‘Novelty Traders’. Fast forward to 2010 where he teamed up with local Montego Bay photographer Lenworth Brown and in 2011 set out to film this documentary assisted also by a young talented presenter Taneisha Ingram. He returned to the UK in 2012 to edit the film which was released on 3rd November 2013 and is currently available for rent through selected online outlets.

  • Producer/Director – Michael Lynch
  • Director of photography – Lenworth Brown
  • Presenter/narrator – Taneisha Ingram

Media Coverage

Don’t just take it from us, Michael has been featured in some other media channels too…

Check out the official website for Computamax Productions here.

On 24th November 2013 Michael Lynch created column inches in The Gleaner, a national newspaper in Jamaica when staff reporter Sadeke Brooks produced a article based on an interview with Michael, which can be read here.

If you would like to hear more about Michael Lynch and his documentary, he has also been featured on a BBC Radio Derby Interview here with Devon Daley .

If you would like to rent a digital copy of Michael Lynch’s  ‘This is Jamaica’ Documentary it costs US$2.99 from Jamaican Movies, click here.

Check out the Facebook page and click like here!

What you should know before you go…. Airports

Donald Sangster Airport

(Please Note: This post has been revised and updated in February 2017)

 

What you should know before you go…. Airports

If you are travelling to Jamaica you will probably be arriving by air on a charter, or long haul flight. Jamaica has two International Airports, Norman Manley Airport in Kingston and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. The majority of holiday makers will arrive at Montego Bay airport, whilst Kingston airport is more popular for business travellers. This post will give you the lowdown on travelling to Jamaica and will guide you as to what you should know before you go! 

 

Choice of Airline flying to Jamaica from the UK

Long gone are the days when you had a choice of long haul airlines to choose from and were allowed 2 bags in the hold, as was standard when travelling from London to Jamaica. Nowadays Virgin Atlantic is the ONLY provider operating the route to Montego Bay Airport (as of summer 2012) from the UK, with a one bag policy.

British Airways on the other-hand now presently ONLY fly into Kingston. The wonderful airline Air Jamaica unfortunately gave up the route from the UK to Jamaica, in 2007; but I managed to enjoy one round trip with them!

Charter Flights are offered by a few operators such as First Choice and Thomson’s, but I have always flown direct and long haul for a few reasons…. The luggage allowance on a charter flight is generally around 20 kg, which means 15 kg in the hold and 5 kg hand luggage, this is not enough for me. They tend to only fly in the high season and in school holidays, which does not suit my needs. I find that the price is in the same region as long-haul flights, but with none of the perks….

If you plan to travel to Jamaica as often as I do, it is a good idea to join a frequent fliers club as you will be giving the same airline a lot of custom unless they change their tactics again!

 

Virgin Atlantic Luggage Allowance

The current luggage allowance for Virgin Atlantic Economy to Jamaica is one bag weighing up to 23 kg (50 lbs) in the hold, plus on-board you can carry one piece of hand luggage (must fit in size guide rack at airport), or a Laptop Bag, plus a reasonably sized handbag. Premium Economy two bags, Upper Class three bags (I wish!), both are plus the on-board allowance mentioned.

Checking in a Wedding Dress on a Flight

If you have a wedding dress, smile sweetly and ask politely at the check-in dress if you can carry it on-board, rather than it going in the hold. I have heard of some women recommending looking for hostesses with engagement or wedding rings on as they may be more sympathetic to your dilemma!  Either way it will depend on the room in the lockers made available on-board for the coats of the crew and premium seat holders.  You have more chance of getting the wedding dress into a locker in the summer months, as naturally fewer people wear bulky coats on the flight to Jamaica.

 

When looking for your flight, check the price with the airline (website) but DO NOT automatically book your flight, as there are deals elsewhere for little hassle. Once I have found the ‘base’ price from the airline, I telephone up to four local agents and compare the prices before choosing the best deal. Make sure you tell the agent your preference for Montego Bay or Kingston, as it is easy to book the wrong airport. Living in South London I generally call: Sackville Travel, Norwood Travel, Newmont Travel and Southall Travel for good flight only deals.

 

 

Before you land – Immigration Cards

Immigration Cards

Non-residents will be handed an Immigration Card on the flight, which needs to be completely filled in and kept with your passport, ready to be handed to Immigration before landing. Make sure you fill in both ‘halves’ of the form, which includes the return / leaving part as you will asked to step aside and fill it in before they let you join the line for Passport Control. The boxes on the form and very small so do not forget your reading glasses!

TOP TIP! Bring a Black or Blue Ballpoint Pen (biro type)

 

Once you have landed

Sangster International Airport – Montego Bay

On leaving the flight you will have to walk a considerable way through the air-conditioned airport with your hand luggage and duty-free before you reach immigration and the baggage collection area. To keep you occupied and to enlighten you on the long journey, there are various works of art giving an insight into the history and culture of the country, featuring some outstanding work from Jamaican school children.

If your hand luggage bag is heavy you may something with wheels is easier to manage after a long flight. I whole heartedly recommend wearing flat comfortable shoes…. I can tell you from experience – DO NOT use this as a time to break in and show off new shoes as it is a very long walk and blisters are not a good look on the first day of your trip! Parents may find that ‘trunkie’ type wheeled hand luggage is useful as the children can ‘scoot’ themselves along keeping them occupied and out of your tired arms.

At the end of the long walk from the plane you will turn right and walk down a ramp where immigration officers will visually check that your Immigration Card is fully filled in. As mentioned before, they will ask you to step aside and fill it in before they allow you to join the Passport Control queue, so say yourself some time and do it on the flight. I have never had to wait longer than 30 minutes – 1 hour, to get through Passport Control as there are usually a high number of Officers checking your documents.

 

Visitors to Jamaica are required to present the following documents to the Immigration Officers:

  • Immigration Form
  • Customs Declaration Form
  • Valid Passport
  • Return Tickets (non-residents only).

 

Hand Luggage Recommendation

After many journeys and a multitude of different hand-luggage bags, I have gone full circle and reinvested in a wheeled cabin-sized suitcase. I tried a few different soft bags as they are lighter and generally give you a larger interior compartment to stow away things. But, I have found a massive bruise formed on my hip and shoulder each time I travelled with a soft bag.

I have to say my new wheelie case is a revelation, I could literally weep with joy when I use it. It is light and reasonably roomy and so easy to traverse through the airport with it. Plus I found a way of putting my handbag on top and using the longer shoulder strap to keep it steady, so I don’t have to carry that either! Genius.

 

Baggage Collection

Once you leave Immigration you will come through to the Baggage Collection Area, where you will find trolleys and the usual conveyor belt system. If you do not see your luggage, check the far end of the room before panicking as the Baggage Handlers usually take the cases off of the conveyor belt as they go round and stack them up. This is helpful in some ways, but you may find that if your case is at the back it is time-consuming when trying to retrieve it. If you use a smile and are polite you can persuade the handlers to get it for you!
 

Last Check (before you can leave the airport)….

 

Customs Checkpoint

Now this is the worst part of the journey for me. Wondering if I can successfully wheel my trolley through the last check point, without being called over to one side for the dreaded bag search. This is NOT because I am carrying anything illegal or immoral, but because it is a pain after a long journey to see your belongings pulled out when they have been packed so neatly and potentially having to pay tax on items you have already paid for.

I have found that I am more likely to get pulled to one side as I am travelling alone and I give a residential address as my ‘place of residence’ in Jamaica, plus I  generally have two bags, plus hand luggage.  Therefore, the customs staff (correctly) assume I will be carrying gifts or items for other people.

The Customs Declaration Form is easy to fill in and they will check what you claim to have in your luggage, before opening your bag and looking through it. The search usually only consists of a quick ‘dig and lift’ of the contents to see if you are stashing things you shouldn’t or have things that you haven’t mentioned on the form.

 

Bringing Gifts into Jamaica

If you bring gifts for relatives and friends, or carry large amounts of the same types of items customs may decide to charge you TAX on the items you are bringing into Jamaica.

This also applies if they feel you are over your allowance, and / or, are carrying items which you are intending to sell, or have items that are of any value; such as name brand clothing and shoes, electrical items and so on.

If you obviously try to mis-quote or lie about the amount, value or type of goods on your Customs Declaration Form customs may decide to charge you TAX on the items you are bringing into Jamaica.

Please Note: If you do not accept the tax payable, you will be expected to leave your goods at the airport where they may be destroyed. Alternatively if they are of value, you can arrange for them to kept by customs and you can collect them on your way home (by arrangement ONLY) to avoid paying the tax on them.

 

More Information: Thinking of Shipping Belongings to Jamaica – Check out our Guides to Shipping to Jamaica

 

Jamaican Baggage Handlers

You cannot take the trolleys outside of the airport doors at Montego Bay Airport. Once you go through the last Passport Control and through the doors you will be asked to leave the trolley in the lobby area and will have to carry your own cases the last few feet outside to your transport, or have some change ready to tip a Baggage Handler who will carry them for you.

They will expect a tip of about $400 (Jamaican currency) despite the short journey to the parking lot and (hopefully) your smiling friends and loved ones will be there to greet you on time!

 

Some of the Airlines and Destinations with Direct Flights to Montego Bay

Air Canada

  • Montreal
  • Toronto
  • Winnipeg

Air Transat

  • Montreal
  • Toronto

American Airlines

  • Los Angeles
  • Charlotte
  • Miami
  • Philadelphia
  • Chicago
  • Boston
  • Dallas

Caribbean Airlines

  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Kingston

Condor

  • Frankfurt

Copa Airlines

  • Panama City

Delta

  • Atlanta
  • Detroit
  • New York
  • Boston
  • Minneapolis

DK

  • Stockholm

DY

  • Milwaukee

Inter Caribbean

  • Kingston

Jet Air Fly

  • Brussels

Jet Blue

  • New York
  • Orlando
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Boston

Neos

  • Milan
  • La Romana

Southwest Airlines

  • Baltimore
  • Orlando
  • Houston

Spirit

  • Fort Lauderdale

Sunwing

  • Montreal
  • Saulte Ste Marie
  • Toronto

Sun Country Airlines

  • Minneapolis

Thomson

  • Manchester

United

  • Houston
  • Newark
  • Washington

Virgin Atlantic

  • London Gatwick

West Jet

  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Winnipeg
  • Toronto

XP

  • St. Louis

 

Thinking of moving to Jamaica

 

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

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