Treasure Beach, Saint Elizabeth

There is a little corner of Jamaica which is stuck in an era before the crime, high-end tourism and commercialization. That little corner is known as Treasure Beach. Treasure Beach is a small coastal town which prides itself on community tourism where foreigners co-exist with the locals in harmony. Mom-and-pop shops reign supreme and there are no large all-inclusive resorts. The accommodations are only small boutique hotels, Airbnbs and villas. Crime is almost non-existent in this side of Jamaica. Sounds utopian, doesn’t it? Well, it’s true.

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Decorate Your Home With PhotoWall Wall Prints

A home ought to tell a story of the people who live there, their passions and their history. A home should also inspire its occupants and fuel their creativity. Photowall is an international wall-art company headquartered in Sweden which does just that. Passionate about creating inspiring living spaces with their canvases, posters, framed prints and wallpapers, Photowall was founded in 2006  when brothers Niklas and Charlie Johansson realized that the selection of personalized wall art on the market was relatively limited. With their technical background and a strong interest in design, they decided to try something new by printing wallpaper digitally. Without any previous printing experience, the brothers bought their first digital printing press in 2006, and the rest is history.

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Mayfield Falls, Westmoreland

Mayfield Falls is a delightful series of 21 widely-spaced mini cascades along the Mayfield River, a tributary of the Cabarita River in rural Westmoreland, bordering on the parish of Hanover. In fact, most of the attraction lies in Hanover, but you know how Westmoreland is always stealing Hanover’s attractions, or we pass everywhere off as Negril for the travel brochures. Anyway, I knew about this waterfall long before I ever heard of Benta River Falls, but somehow ended up visiting there first– likely because it was more accessible. Both attractions are located on the same road, but are 20 minutes apart in terms of driving time give or take. I went to Mayfield Falls as a staff trip one month ago. One of my colleagues was recounting a previous staff trip to the falls which they held several years ago and I encouraged her to plan a second trip. The date ended up even clashing with work but.. errr, here’s how the trip went. 🙂

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Is Blogging Still Relevant in 2021?

I often get curious looks and quizzical expressions whenever it comes up in conversation that I run a local travel blog, but the braver of the lot will sometimes ask “Isn’t blogging dead?” or some variation of this question. People watch more than they read these days, and a common saying exists in Jamaica that if you want to hide something from a Jamaican, you should put it in writing. The vlogging world has picked up a lot of traction thanks to the YouTube platform, and it’s actually quite lucrative with many vloggers and YouTubers making six figure incomes and giving up traditional jobs, due to advertisements, sponsored posts and affiliate marketing. A popular YouTuber will easily garner 10,000 views within 24 hours of releasing a new video, while it may take months for a blog article to gain the same kind of response. Thus, the question is valid. Is blogging still relevant in 2021?

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2020 Year In Review

What a year! 2020 was not what we were expecting, and I still find it hard to wrap my mind around the one million deaths and counting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Thankfully, my relatives and friends all ended 2020 alive and healthy, and the few who were infected recovered nicely. For me, 2020 was a year filled with many disappointments and challenges, but it was also a year of immense personal growth and a modest amount of blog growth too. Today I take a look back on the year that was in terms of personal life, adventures, blog growth, milestones and 2020’s top posts.

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Little Ochie, Manchester

Jamaica is blessed with a tropical maritime climate, so we enjoy easy year-round access to freshly caught seafood. Several mom-and-pop stalls and restaurants will prepare this seafood to order, but a few stops have become cultural landmarks cemented in the homes and hearts of most Jamaican households and are even marketed to foreigners as must-see stops. Like most Kingstonians, my usual seafood stops are Port Royal, Hellshire or Port Henderson Road due to their closer proximity, but I’ve always heard of Little Ochie Seafood Restaurant in Alligator Pond, South Manchester. Why? Well, they are said to be one of the best and the oldest so Little Ochie has become somewhat of a household name. Thus, I was more than excited to turn what was originally intended to be a Treasure Beach stop into dining at this seafood stalwart and quintessential Jamaican restaurant.

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How I Pulled Off A Successful Blogmas

If you haven’t already figured it out, Blogmas is blog + Christmas fused to form one word which will hopefully get added to the Thesaurus one day. Blogmas is how bloggers celebrate the festive season, dedicating to be more consistent to our craft for the month of December. Posts may be festive-themed or not, daily or on alternate days, but basically there’s just a whole lot more content on our blogs than usual for Blogmas. Blogmas is meant to be enjoyable for both blogger and reader alike, however, the stress of having to create content on a rigid schedule and more frequently than many of us usually post can be stressful, and people often either give up halfway during the challenge or choose not to take it on despite daydreaming about how awesome it would be. Read on for three easy ways to pull off your own Blogmas next year successfully if you’re a content creator, and if you’re not? Well, this post may still be an interesting read for you to understand how I managed to put out relatively consistent content despite my busy work schedule.

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What Christmas Looks Like in Jamaica

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Hopefully you sang that line. I absolutely adore Christmas: the carols, the food, the festive cheer and the religious significance. Without the birth of Christ, there would be no Christianity. Of course, no one knows exactly when on the Gregorian calendar Christ was born, and the date chosen to commemorate His birth may have been to replace a pagan winter solstice feast centuries ago when Rome was trying to Christianize its populace, but nonetheless, the date has taken on a very special meaning for most Christians across the world. How Christmas is celebrated varies from country to country. A few posts ago I’d shared what several bloggers across the world had to say about their favourite part of the holidays here; now I’m sharing what’s unique to Christmas in Jamaica and my favourite parts about how we celebrate the holidays.

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Exploring Jamaica’s Cocoa Industry & Artisan Chocolates

When you think of luxury chocolate, think Jamaica! Jamaica is a tiny dot on the map yet most people around the world have heard of this island nation. This may be due to our reggae and dancehall music, athletic prowess, infectious culture and accent, our food, rum and Blue Mountain coffee, but a lesser known attribute for which Jamaica is renowned is its premium cocoa. Fine or flavoured cocoa beans are produced from Criollo or hybrid Trinitario cocoa tree varieties, which are the main species of cocoa grown on the island. Jamaica is one of 17 countries recognized as producers of fine or flavoured cocoa by the International Cocoa Organization, and only one of 8 countries to do so exclusively. The international cocoa market distinguishes between fine or flavour cocoa beans, and bulk or ordinary cocoa beans. The difference between the two lies in the flavour of the bean. Fine flavours range from fruity, obtained from the fresh and browned, mature fruits, to floral, herbal, woody, nut and caramel notes. The cocoa tree yields approximately 20-30 pods per year. Each of the pods only contains 30-40 beans. It takes 400 beans to make one pound of chocolate, which explains why luxury chocolate commands such high prices.

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10 Bloggers Share Their Favourite Part of the Holidays

Christmas is easily my favourite time of year. The weather is cooler, everyone seems cheerier and the pace of life and work slows down. Good luck trying to do business in Jamaica during December. Friends and families get together, decorations and ‘pepper lights’ go up, and my favourite foods and drinks like Christmas cake and sorrel are abundant. I love that Christianity isn’t the only religious festival at this time of year too, as Jews celebrate Hanukkah a few days before Christmas, and Kwanzaa is also a special time of year for African-Americans.

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