My Labour Case

At the bottom of my bed currently lies a huge black suitcase which would have you thinking I was about to head off on a month-long cruise of the Mediterranean. Sadly no, this is my labour case. Thanks to the NHS’ extensive packing list it’ll now need two people to haul it downstairs.

My labour case has been a work in progress. I started it at about 28 weeks and I’ve been slowly adding to it ever since. I’ve packed most things which were suggested on the NHS website and had a few ideas of my own. Snacks took top priority for my husband and I, as we’re both a nightmare if we’re hungry! Most things are now packed and ready to go, some things I’ll add just before heading to the hospital.

dsc_0549Gorgeous warm baby clothes from John Lewis Baby.

Here’s my full list (Be warned, it’s lengthy):

Towels

Dressing gown

Slippers

Comb

Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear book by Elizabeth Gilbert

Waterbottle

SNACKS! ūüćęūüėč

Extra pillows – apparently the ones in the hospital don’t provide much comfort!

Mobile phone and charger

Hypnobirthing music

Meditation music

SLR camera and lenses

Make up

Wallet

My beloved SLR – for capturing those first special moments

Keys

Lip balm – apparently your lips can become chapped and irritated during labour.

Maternity notes

Car seat

Pen – Kingston hospital get you to fill out a feeding chart after birth and have already warned me that they are possessive over their pens!

Medela breastfeeding bottles – Unlike ordinary bottles, Medela bottles require babies to mimic the sucking action they’d use for the breast. Nevertheless, I’ve been strongly advised by the feeding team at Kingston not to use any type of bottle of dummy until I’ve established breastfeeding. This usually takes about six weeks. I packed them as a precaution, should in case I struggle to breastfeed.

Hipp Organic 1 formula milk – Also packed as a precaution, should in case I struggle to breastfeed.

Cotton wool pads – The midwife told me baby wipes should go no where near a newborn’s skin.

Maternity underwear

Maternity pads

Breast pads

Eye mask

Face wipes

Ear plugs

dsc_0556My phone which contains all my hypnobirthing and meditation music

Mouthwash

Nail scissors

Toothpaste

Shower gel

Dental floss

Toothbrush

Nipple cream

Hair products

Moisturiser

Shampoo

Conditioner

Deodorant

Handheld fan

Warm babygrows

dsc_0547I’ve bought most of my toiletries in minature size for convenience

Winter bodysuits

Baby cardigan

Baby socks

Baby hats

Muslin squares

Baby blanket

Swaddles

Nappies

Pyjamas

Socks

TENS machine

Nursing bras

Cardigan

Boots

Warm and comfortable nursing dresses from JoJo Maman Bebe – I’ve lived in skinny jeans for the past couple of months but imagine these would be fairly uncomfortable after giving birth, so I’ve packed three nursing dresses specifically designed for breastfeeding which I’ll pair with black soft tights.

dsc_0534Comfortable nursing clothes from high street retailer JoJo Maman Bebe

What has everyone else got on their list? Is there anything mamas with more experience can advise me on? Is there a ‘must have’ item which I’ve forgotten?

For all the mummies-to-be who are reading this, have fun packing your case and the very best of luck! 

xxx

Full Term

In the UK, full term of pregnancy is officially classified as 37 weeks. Yesterday I reached this all-important milestone and it’s a wonderful achievement. 

I’ve really loved being pregnant and think I’ll miss my bump, but can’t wait to meet our little one, who is due in just under three weeks on the 26th of January! 

I found the pregnancy questionnaire below online and thought it would be a fun way to update you all on these final weeks of my pregnancy. 

How Far Along? 37 weeks and 1 day 

How big is baby? I’m not sure as this generally isn’t measured past 20 weeks, unless your midwife or doctor think your fundal height (bump size) is too big or too small for your due date. What I will say is that baby definitely feels cramped now, and his movements can be quite painful! On average babies are about six and a half pounds by 37 weeks.

Total Weight Gain/Loss? I’m not sure, as neither the doctor or midwife weigh me at my antenatal appointments. I often ask to use their scales as I don’t have any at home. My estimate would be that I’ve gained about 30 pounds by now. 

Maternity Clothes? I was living in St Lucia until I was 28 weeks pregnant. There I just wore loose summer trousers and linen tops to keep cool. I bought some new stuff but luckily a few items in my wardrobe still fit me. When I got to London in November I bought two stretchy long-sleeve maternity tops and two pairs of maternity jeans – one in black and one in traditional denim from JoJo Maman Bebe. I also bought a winter maternity coat from JoJo and a few maternity bras from Marks and Spencer. The rest of my wardrobe is made up of items I wore before pregnancy. 

Sleep: I don’t think I’ve slept properly since about 32 weeks. There are a number of reasons for this: Weird dreams, pelvic girdle pain and a compressed bladder are the main ones, but let’s not talk about changing sides, and in fact getting out of bed. No one warned me this can be likened to a mini workout! ūüėā Like morning sickness, disrupted sleep is definitely a downside to pregnancy. It is as if the body is preparing the new mother for all the sleepless nights that are to come! 

Best Moment this Week: Reaching full term

Movement: I’m carrying a baby who loves to punch and prod the organs around him! ūüėĪ His movements have been quite uncomfortable since about 24 weeks, now they can be downright agony. The silver lining is that lots of movement is usually a healthy sign. ūüėä

Food Cravings: None

Food Aversions: Aubergine. Thai food seems to set off my indigestion so I’m avoiding it for now. I loved it before!

Gender: We are team blue! ūüĎ™

Labour signs: According to the midwife I’m about 2/5 engaged. I feel some pelvic pressure from time to time. 

Pregnancy symptoms: I’ve had just about every symptom in the book: non-stop nausea and vomiting at the start, indigestion, pelvic girdle pain and the urge to nest! The only symptom I seem to have escaped is cravings. My main symptom this week is sore hips and disrupted sleep. 

Belly button: Out since about 34 weeks.

What I miss: I don’t really miss anything about my pre-pregnancy life and would do it all again in a heartbeat. I’m sure once the baby is here I’ll miss elements of my old life from time to time. 

What I am looking forward to: Meeting our little one and having a large Baileys! 

Stretch marks: I think I have a few faint ones, but I’m not sure. Generally they don’t show up on my skin until they’ve faded to silver – I have a few on my hips which look like this and have no idea when I acquired them – probably during a growth spurt in my teens! 

Wedding rings: No longer fit!

Weekly wisdom: “Enjoy your me time whilst you still have it, life is about to change drastically.”

32 Weeks

Today marks exactly thirty-two weeks of my pregnancy…

I had originally planned to give birth to our baby in St Lucia, but my husband and I decided that returning to the UK would¬†be a¬†better¬†option, and I flew to London at the start of November.¬†Time moved quite slowly whilst I was in St Lucia – the Zika virus and intense heat had me largely housebound, and as a result I didn’t have many activities to fill my time.¬†Since arriving in London I’ve been busy meeting friends and catching up on all the things¬†I missed whilst I was living abroad. When I moved abroad it was¬†the small things I missed the most: Shopping for all my favourite foods at my local supermarket, taking walks in my local park, and the changing of the seasons. The cool UK weather has certainly made pregnancy much more comfortable – taking long walks in nature is such a simple pleasure.

Pav is still working in St Lucia and plans to fly to London for the birth in January. He’s only allowed to take three weeks off, so we’ve decided to hire a Doula to help me through my labour and the birth in the event he isn’t there. I decided early in my pregnancy that I wanted to use hypnobirthing techniques during labour. My Doula is a trained hypnotherapist and fully supports this. When I tell people I plan to hypnobirth they often ask me if I intend to spend labour in some sort of trance. I imagine this highly amusing misconception has been brought about by that dodgy Paul Mckenna show in the nineties! Others associate hypnobirthing with the sole purpose of achieving a natural birth. Whilst hypnobirthing advocates certainly promote and encourage the idea of a natural birth, this isn’t the ultimate goal of hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing is a state of deep relaxation, achieved through controlled breathing and meditation. It encourages parents to educate themselves on the process of labour and birth,¬†facilitating greater awareness, and as a consequence, helps to alleviate fear and panic. It treats the birthing process as a natural and spiritual one, rather than the highly medicalised event it has become today. It asks women to believe¬†that their bodies are fully capable of birthing their babies and that birth is something which women do, rather than something which happens to them. Some¬†women will practice hypnobirthing techniques from the start of their pregnancies but still ask their doctor or midwife for an epidural in labour. Others plan to have a natural birth, but their labours do not progress as intended, and as a result their babies are delivered by emergency cesarean section. Hypnobirthing does not deem these women failures. Hypnobirthing aims to empower women in all circumstances, so they may approach their situation from a position of calm confidence.

My hospital offers women two options; a birthing centre led by midwives, and a delivery ward offering consultant-led care. I have chosen the midwife-led centre which offers a more holistic approach and minimal intervention. I would also like to have a water birth and this isn’t available on the consultant-led unit. I’m preparing myself with three sessions of meditation a day. I do a mindfulness meditation at the start of the day which focuses solely on the breath and calming the mind. At lunchtime I complete an analytical meditation where I examine any areas of tension in my life that I need to let go of. I finish the day with a long guided hypnobirthing meditation that relaxes the mind in preparation for labour and birth. I am also practising the breathing techniques which my Doula gave me for the different stages of labour. More than anything, I think a positive mindset is the most important tool in overcoming life’s challenges and I express gratitude every day that my body is healthy and doing such a wonderful job of growing and nourishing my unborn baby.

I’m interested to hear from other mums on how they prepared for labour and birth, and other mums-to-be on how they’re getting ready for the big day – but positive stories only please! ūüôā

A New Chapter…

It’s been more than four months since my last blog post. I’m a Newbie in blogging terms, having only written a handful of posts since moving to the Caribbean last February, but despite this, I’ve been struggling to find content. After some self-reflection, the reasons for this are clear: When I first started my blog back in March, my life looked significantly different to what it does now. Whilst I think I’ll always have the soul of a free-spirited traveller, one can’t deny that I’m now embarking on a new chapter, one where everything I’ve known changes exponentially, and the new life growing in my belly takes top priority. Unsurprisingly, planning for birth and parenthood have taken centre stage, leaving little time to consider travel or adventure, at least for the time being.

Writing in any medium is a form of self-expression and I’d like this blog to be authentic to my interests. Therefore, I’ve decided to change direction slightly: In future I’ll be blogging more about pregnancy, and expat life as a parent; topics which I love to read about on other people’s blogs! I think this will give me more to write about, but most importantly, more motivation to continue writing.

Another issue which I must address is my perfectionism! I’ve confused blogging with high-brow journalism, agonising over every adjective and sentence. This inevitably sucks all joy out of my hobby, as a short post which should take no longer than a couple of hours takes days or even weeks of tweaking. From now on I’m going to try and write in a more concise and down-to-earth narrative. Not least because I won’t have time for great elaboration once my arms are full with a newborn! I’m searching for a new name for my site too – please get in touch if you’ve got any ideas for suitable names.

I’m excited to say I’m now almost thirty-two weeks pregnant. I’m currently back in the UK and loving the cooler weather, which has made pregnancy much more comfortable. Generally I feel fine in myself but have some mild pelvic girdle pain. My midwife told me to slow down all activity and be careful not to overstretch in yoga. I’m also struggling to complete some basic tasks such as taking off my shoes. Bending over strains my back so I have to squat or sit down to reach things at a low level. My hips are also sore at night and turning over is a nightmare, I often get stuck on my back whilst trying to change sides! However, I must say all of this is a small price to pay for the joy of feeling our baby squirming and kicking every day. ūüėä

Spice of India Restaurant, St Lucia

We stumbled upon Spice of India¬†one lunchtime a couple of weekends ago, drawn inside by the notable TripAdvisor certificates displayed at the front of the restaurant. Spice of India is an¬†authentic Indian restaurant situated in the heart of Rodney Bay. Yesterday we visited for the third time and met it’s owner, Adil Pervez Sherwani. Since opening it’s doors in 2010, Spice of India has become one of St Lucia’s most revered spots, winning TripAdvisor’s prestigious Travellers’ Choice Award in 2015 and rave reviews from visitors. “Never, ever let’s you down” praises one, “Wow wow wow” gushes another.

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Stepping inside this ethnic space, one is at once transported to the mystic paradise of Asia, all while relaxing in the modern comfort of a western-style eatery. The interior of the restaurant strikes an unusual contrast between contemporary warehouse chic and Indian boudoir glamour, without any air of gaudiness. Beautiful bangles in every colour adorn the bar area, rich fabrics in vivid pink and blue drape from the ceiling and the soft sound of Eastern meditation music helps diners to unwind.

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Shortly after sitting down, Mr Sherwani¬†comes over to greet us, introducing himself and briefly explaining what there is to eat on the menu. As once stated by Maya¬†Angelou,¬†people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.¬†Mr Sherwani’s leads the restaurant with meticulous¬†attention to detail and service. This has filtered down through his wonderful staff who go out of their way to help us feel comfortable and welcome.¬†

The restaurant’s most popular option is the Chef Tasting Menu. At just $53 East Caribbean Dollars the menu offers a set selection of dishes that include vegetarian, meat and fish options, Indian bread and dessert. As my husband had sampled the Chef Tasting Menu on his previous two visits, he decided to order Lamb Korma and Basmati rice from the A La Carte Menu. I ordered a simple starter of potato and vegetable samosas with¬†poppadoms. Since becoming pregnant, food has lost much of it’s pizzazz. I generally eat through necessity rather than desire, and eating¬†six to eight small meals (as opposed to three large ones) has helped to control my nausea and heartburn.

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Before the food arrived we were treated to five complimentary fresh juice shots; Mango, Tamarind, Guava, Passion Fruit and Orange, which were all delicious. My husband ordered a fresh mango lassi and I had fresh coconut water.

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The food arrived promptly and beautifully presented. My samosas were cooked to perfection; soft spicy potato and peas encased in a warm, sublime pastry that melted in the mouth, accompanied with stylish streaks of tangy chutney. The poppadoms were perfectly crisp and coated in the thinnest layer of oil that prevented¬†them from being too dry. Sprinkled generously with seasoning, they were the perfect accompaniment to both our meals. I sampled my husband’s basmati rice, each¬†grain supple, separate and fragrant.¬†Another satisfying visit, the only minor complaint my husband had was that there wasn’t enough lamb in the korma!

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It is the combination of service, ambiance and culinary excellence that has established Spice of India as one of St Lucia’s most celebrated restaurants. Mr Sherwani has expanded on his success here to open a second¬†restaurant, Masala Bay in Marigot Bay, about half an hour south of Castries City. His new venture has surpassed the success of Spice of India and is now rated the number one restaurant on the island.¬†We’ll definitely be¬†heading down to Marigot Bay to experience what all the fuss is about, we just need to drag ourselves away from the attachment we have to Spice of India first…

Information:

Location: Spice of India is situated at Baywalk Mall in Rodney Bay, Gros Islet, St Lucia.

Telephone:  1 (758) 458-4243

Opening times: Closed on Mondays. Open from 12pm-4pm for lunch and from 6pm onward for dinner from Tuesday to Sunday. Booking may be necessary during peak times. The restaurant is also available for private functions.

Food preferences/Allergies: The restaurant has a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian options. It also offers gluten-free dishes. The food is mild but can be made spicier upon request! Halal chicken and lamb are available subject to availability. Let your server know your food requests or any allergies before ordering.

Cost of Food: $53 East Caribbean Dollars per head ($19.57 US, £14.36) for the Chef Tasting Menu at lunch. About $114 East Caribbean Dollars per head for three courses ($42.09 US, £30.89).

Cost of Alcohol: Wine from $14 East Caribbean Dollars per glass ($5.17 US, £3.79), Champagne or sparkling wine from $99 East Caribbean Dollars per bottle ($36.55 US, £9.90).

Currency conversion can vary and reflects the rates at the time this article was published. 

 

 

 

 

 

Having a Baby in St Lucia

I’ve looked after children as part of my professional life for the past four years. Those four years brought about some of the biggest challenges I’d ever faced at work but I’m exceedingly grateful for that time. Armed with ideas for educational activities, the knowledge of developmental milestones and how to establish routines, I’ve a better grounding in early childhood development than most parents to be. However, I’ve no idea if this knowledge will translate to real life when I’m severely sleep deprived and suffering chapped nipples. What’s more, having a baby abroad is uncharted territory. Who will handle my antenatal care? How do I meet other mums in my community? How will I feel when my husband returns to work and I’m at home on my own with a¬†screaming newborn? I’ve been told that parenting is one of life’s toughest gigs.¬†I’d imagine that parenting in a foreign country doesn’t make things any easier.

I had my first antenatal appointment in St Lucia at¬†approximately eleven weeks and two days into my pregnancy. We’d had a disappointing experience at SAMS hospital in Grenada and were desperately hoping that the medical care in St Lucia was on a different par. From what I understand, British women initially make an appointment with their GP¬†who refers them to a midwife at a hospital or birthing centre and most give birth at the same establishment. In St Lucia, women tend to seek the services of a public health clinic which offers antenatal care led by midwives, or the services of a private obstetrician. Some opt for a combination of both, then refer themselves to the public health hospital once in labour. Others opt only to receive private care, either using just the private hospital or a combination of the hospital and private health clinics. Antenatal counselling such as breastfeeding advice and breathing techniques for labour are only available at public health clinics. Depending on your outlook, you could say that antenatal services in the¬†UK are more streamlined, or that the care in St Lucia is more flexible.

We’ve chosen the services of Dr Nadia Samuel at the private Tapion hospital in Castries. She’s a St Lucian obstetrician and gynecologist who has worked in the UK for twelve years and has vast¬†experience of dealing with obstetrical deliveries and emergencies.

After being weighed, Dr Samuel asked me a series of questions about my medical history. She took my blood pressure then asked me to lie down on the bed for my first ultrasound scan. For numerous reasons, I’d been unable to bridge many emotions¬†to my pregnancy until that point. Being pregnant is a lot like partaking in your own wedding – it feels oddly surreal. I’d also spent a month concentrating all my efforts on the exhausting task of morning sickness boot camp. This had left me little time to ponder life’s changing course and if I’m being honest, had¬†me feeling partially¬†unresponsive.

As Dr Samuel slid the ultrasound Doppler across the jelly on my stomach, a¬†beautiful¬†image came into view on the screen. For the first time, we laid eyes on our unborn baby. My husband mentioned something about being surprised the baby was moving so much and I fell silent in a rare moment of speechlessness. What I felt in that moment was a surge of pure love that was both primal and all consuming in it’s nature. Any suffering from previous weeks was suddenly eclipsed in the miracle of maternal biology.¬†Mummy and Daddy already love you more than you could ever imagine and we will do all we can to protect and guide you in the years to come.¬†

We left Dr Samuel’s office on cloud nine, heading downstairs to the laboratory in quiet contentment. She’d been professional, thorough and sensitive to our questions, and seeing our baby was the icing on the cake to our first successful appointment.¬†I’ll have an ultrasound scan and appointment every month. These will get more frequent¬†as I approach¬†labour.

The laboratory took a blood test and urine sample. I was given a total of twelve tests which included:

  • Diabetes
  • A test to establish which blood group I belong to
  • A complete blood count
  • A few tests for sexually¬†transmitted diseases, including Hepatitis B, HIV and Syphilis
  • A hemoglobin test which can identify serious illnesses¬†such as sickle cell and leukemia
  • A test that establishes the likelihood of a series of serious illnesses, including a rare type of cancer called adult T-Cell lymphoma
  • Rubella
  • Thyroid
  • Urine infections

A week later Dr Samuel emailed me to state that all my tests were clear.

Before planning our family, Pawel and I sat down and discussed the sort of parents we’d like to be. We believe children should be shown the same love, respect and understanding as adults. We believe children need¬†gentle boundaries, but that these should always be given¬†from a point of love rather than fear or threat. We are strongly against the idea of corporal punishment. We’ll strive to put our child’s needs before our own but try to avoid the pitfall of¬†becoming¬†martyrs to them.¬†We’ve agreed not to read a single book but to parent entirely on our gut instincts.¬†The problem with books is they facilitate the idea that there is one way and only one way¬†to¬†parent.¬†Children are actually fairly individual in terms of the communication, boundaries and affection they require and parents are just as unique as their offspring. Some parents work. Some parents stay at home. Some parents roll around with their children in the mud. Others prefer to cheer them on from the sidelines. All possess the¬†universal¬†goal of wanting what is best for their kids. None of us really have any idea of the type of parent we’ll be until that becomes a daily reality. One thing I know for sure is that life will never be the same again.

DSC_059313 weeks and 3 days. Our baby is approximately the size of a lemon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grenada on a Budget

Since starting my blog I’ve received a few questions from family and friends asking about how much it costs to take a holiday in Grenada, and if this is achievable on a budget. I’ve conducted some research and I’m pleased to report that with a little creativity it¬†certainly appears to be achievable!¬†Below are the details you need to enjoy a Grenada getaway that doesn’t cost the earth.¬†For the purpose of simplicity, prices quoted here are based on costs during the high season (January to April), as this is when the majority of people choose to travel to the island. Travelling during the shoulder or low seasons may reduce the cost of your holiday significantly.

Flights

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly¬†to Grenada from¬†London Gatwick. If you book in advance you can find a flight for as little as ¬£570 but expect to pay more than double this at short notice. The total length of the journey is about eleven and a half hours, including a short stop in St Lucia. My favourite website for booking flights is Skyscanner. The cheapest prices on this website are offered through third-party travel agents but sometimes there are benefits to paying slightly more and booking a flight directly through the airline’s website. I¬†was relieved I’d booked through Virgin directly when¬†I had to change a flight to London recently. Having full access to their customer service team ensured I was able to amend my details smoothly.

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Accommodation

The Grenadian¬†tourist industry is generally geared towards the luxury all-inclusive market. Despite this you can find a wide range of self-catering options and home stays.¬†Airbnb features self-contained¬†apartments for as little as ¬£30 a night.¬†If you’re the type of traveller who loves venturing¬†from their comfort zone, nearly all parts of the island are fairly safe, but staying outside of the main tourist areas will require renting your own transport. If you prefer to stay on the beaten track,¬†opt to stay in St George’s parish. Lance Aux Epines, Grand Anse, True Blue and Point Saline offer close proximity to the beach. The capital of St George is worth exploring for the day,¬†but considerably more hectic than other parts of the island and probably isn’t somewhere you’d want to stay.

Activities

Apart from visiting the beach, there aren’t many free activities to do on the island. Grenada has some lovely reefs which can be explored with a snorkel. I can’t remember seeing snorkels for sale so bring one with you. The capital of St George is a pleasant city to explore by foot. The most economical way to see the island is usually¬†with a day tour. This way you’ll get to visit several landmarks such as the Nutmeg museum, Concord Falls and the Etang Lake for a¬†set¬†fee.

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Getting Around

Buses are the most simple way to get around the island if you’re on limited funds, but be warned, Grenadian buses ought to come¬†with a health warning. Pulling out into oncoming traffic without indicating, and using full beam headlights on busy roads, avoiding the buses¬†has become something of an in joke among Grenadian road users. If this doesn’t¬†put you off, you can find a bus¬†almost anywhere in the parish of St George, but they’re difficult for newcomers to spot. They tend to be Toyota minibuses with a conductor hanging out one window,¬†but are privately owned and lack any identifiable markings. There are bus stops but it isn’t necessary to wait at one.¬†Walk along the street for half a minute and¬†a bus driver is likely to pull over asking where you’re going and if you want a ride. Otherwise you can simply flag one¬†down on the street. There are no strict routes or fares, most drivers will drop you where you like, as long as the location is convenient and on a main road. If you’re female you may receive some advances from the men on board! These are usually harmless and non threatening, if a little awkward.¬†Make sure you negotiate¬†the fare before getting in the vehicle. A one way journey should only cost a few pounds.

Food

Trying to keep this cost from spiraling out of control¬†may be the most challenging obstacle you’ll face as a budget traveller. The majority of the island’s food is imported and restaurants targeted towards westerners are priced similarly to that of the UK. The¬†simplest way to keep costs down is to eat local. You can buy local produce such as plantain, yam, breadfruit and watermelon from the supermarkets, or street stalls in St George. Restaurants and cafes frequented by locals are also cheap.

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Other Considerations:

Currency

Grenada uses the East Caribbean Dollar. US dollars are widely accepted but it is better to pay in the local currency. Prices are usually quoted in the local currency and in this way you avoid being fiddled by the exchange rate.

Solo Travellers/Female Travellers

Grenada is perfectly safe for solo travellers, including women on their own, but it goes without saying that one must exercise some common sense when travelling without the security of a companion or group. You may be able to meet other travellers by organising a group tour through a reputable operator, but these opportunities aren’t guaranteed, so you’ll need to enjoy your own company if you choose to travel solo here.

If you’re female you’ll also need a high tolerance threshold for catcalls and advances from the locals. Grenadians have no qualms about asking for your number, or if they can join your sunbathing session at the beach. None of this is usually aggressive and a firm ‘no thank you’ is usually enough to send them on the way to their next conquest.

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Health

Book an appointment with a doctor or travel clinic at least six to eight weeks before you travel. They’ll¬†ensure all your vaccinations and boosters are up to date as is recommended for life in Britain. You may also be offered the Hepatitis B vaccine.

Mosquitoes are likely to present the biggest health nuisance to travellers. There are sporadic outbreaks of the Dengue and Chikunguna viruses, and the island is in the midst of a Zika outbreak, which poses a threat to pregnant women. None of these illnesses are likely to present serious problems in otherwise healthy people but could ruin a few days of your holiday if you’re unlucky. If you have any health conditions you should consult your doctor before visiting any country where mosquito borne illnesses are present. DEET is the most effective weapon against tropical mosquitos. Sleep under air conditioning or nets during the night, and try to stay in a property that has mosquito screens over the windows.

Tap water is generally safe to drink and instances of food poisoning are uncommon.

When to go

The island has a tropical climate with temperatures that rarely fluctuate. Year-round, daytime temperatures hoover about the 30C mark. In the night this drops to about 27C. Staying high in the hills or on an elevation facing the sea provides some respite from the heat. Air con or fans are essential for a comfortable night’s sleep.

The best time to visit Grenada is from January to April. This is the dry season and there are cool trade winds that placate the humidity. Another good time to go is August, which is when Grenada has it’s annual carnival. Avoid the hurricane season which runs from September to October.

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Visas

Brits can travel visa-free for up to three months.

If anyone has any suggestions for how I may improve this post please feel free to contact me, I’d love to hear from you.