ELEUTHERA

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We left for Eleuthera on the ferry from Potter’s Cay, a gritty market dock on Nassau featuring sun-bleached conch shacks, shipping containers and a distinctly rough but authentic vibe. The ferry only takes about 2.5 hours, which is more than worth it not just to avoid airport hassles (and tiny prop planes) but for the view of stunning Eleuthera rising up from the ocean.

The ferry docks on an island at the Northern tip of Eleuthera, at a small harbour town called Spanish Wells. Surrounded by blindingly emerald-green waters, Spanish Wells is made up rows of pastel-coloured clapboard houses and picket fences that look as if they’ve been transported directly from a New England fishing village. It’s like Maine on prozac. Stephen King would have a hard time setting one of his brooding novels here.

We stayed in a tiny rental cottage in Palmetto point with its very own beach, picnic table and fire pit, which we used one night to make foil-wrapped one-eyed-jack that we bought straight off the pier in one of the neighbouring fishing towns.

The best thing to do on island is to rent a car, turn up the music and drive. Eleuthera is a long, narrow strip of land that stretches 110 miles. The only highway – the Queen’s Highway – will take you past casuarina pines and coco plum bushes with flashes of brilliantly turquoise sea-views in between. Palmetto lies pretty much right in the middle so one day we would drive North, and the other South, stopping at whatever spectacular view we happened to come across. At the very southern tip of the island, down a long, dusty, dirt track, is Lighthouse Beach. Though I’ve lived in the Caribbean for the last five years, this is without doubt the most spectacular beach I’ve ever seen. The sand is pristinely white and powdery, and the water is studded by endless miles of reef, creating a kaleidoscope of brilliant blues. The best view of both the beach and reef is from a rocky limestone promontory, at the end of a short trail to a beautiful, disused lighthouse. It’s hard to imagine that a place so beautiful could be so sleepy, but we saw about a handful of tourists the entire time we were there. This is all soon set to change though, as the Bahamian government has just finalized a deal with Disney cruise lines to add Lighthouse Beach to their list of destinations. Disney will be ‘developing’ 700 acres of land.

The ‘capital’ of Eleuthera is Gregory Town, a tiny settlement with a few sleepy restaurants, a couple of bars, and a grocery store, where imported goods are so expensive that the onions are individually priced at about a dollar. About a five minute walk from the grocery store is one of the prettiest public libraries I’ve ever seen – a pastel pink-and-white colonial building surrounded by swaying palm-trees and dreamily peaceful views out to the sparkling ocean. The most action Gregory Town sees is at the popular Friday fish-frys, and every evening at dusk when the sharks come out to hunt in the shallows.

On the Northern tip of Eleuthera it’s a short ferry trip to the perennially popular Harbour Island. The two neighbouring islands could not be more different. While Eleuthera is dusty, sleepy, and fairly ramshackle, harbour Island is a buzzing, pristine tourist hub. Tourists in golf-carts zip past postcard-perfect, pastel-coloured Caribbean cottages, making their way to the eye-wateringly expensive restaurants and cafes on pretty Dunmore Street. Harbour Island is famous for its pink beach, but I can say without hesitation that it does not hold a tiny birthday-cake candle to any of the beaches on Eleuthera. What’s more it’s a lot more crowded.

The drive from Gregory Town to the Harbour Island ferry dock will take you past Eleuthera’s most famous photo-op spot, the Glass Window Bridge. From the bridge you can at once see the angry dark blues of the churning Atlantic on one side and the calm and turquoise waters of the Caribbean on the other. One day when we were swimming at some beautiful, unnamed beach where the bath-still water was perfectly silent, we noticed a dull roaring sound coming from somewhere in the distance, and we realised that it was the crashing of the waves coming from the other side of the narrow island. We walked over (about 15 mins to Surfer’s beach) to views of enormous waves, rugged coastline, and sand dunes. Apart from some sea-sprayed surfers, we hardly saw a tourist all day in one of the most beautiful locations we’d ever seen. 

passing ships

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Bikini – Missoni very similar here. I also love this one-piece and this bikini on sale. Necklace worn as bracelet – Givenchy vintage; Hat – lying around the house; Sunglasses – Gucci. 

Location: Long Bay, Tortola

I hope this seventies revival never ends. I keep panicking that its inevitable demise is just around the corner. I’ve had this vintage Givenchy necklace forever and I feel like I can wear it with anything I buy at the moment. I thought it would go perfectly with this Missoni bikini that I managed to extort from my family as a Christmas gift. I won’t get started on Missoni or I’ll start gushing uncontrollably so suffice to say that I think their use of texture and and tactile design is the best in the industry.

This is one of my ultimate beach-crushes in the BVI. I love the hill in the background, it reminds me of a teeny-tiny St. Lucia. Amazingly, the beach is never crowded – it always looks pretty much like it is here in the pics. When I’m there I always try to get a fresh coconut at “nature boy’s” tiny beach bar that you can just about see in a couple of the shots. It occasionally collapses with the breeze and is quickly repaired with some deft palm-leaf rearrangement. So much better than bars that don’t fall over.

Sandro

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Bikini – Sandro Paris; Sunglasses – Moni & Coli Puerto Rico similar here; Bracelet – H&M

Location – Tortola, BVI

Every time a past decade comes back into fashion, like the seventies revival at the moment, I wonder what on earth they’re going to do when they want to drag 2015 fashion back around. What’s defining about fashion at the moment? It’s probably a consequence of being within the aesthetic paradigm right now but equally I can’t imagine having asked that question in eighties – fashion then just seemed so..obvious. What’s our equivalent of the triangle/weird neon sprinkles-like shape obsession? I’ll probably know in a couple of years. Sorry about the last gratuitous catalogue picture but I wanted to show how cute and unashamedly eighties the print on this bikini is.

Blacktop

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Swimsuit – Tezenis; Bracelets – Forever 21; Rings – Forever 21 / Forever 21; Orange ring – Souvenir from Florence San Lorenzo market. 

Location – Little Dix Resort, Virgin Gorda, BVI.

I’ve found it easier to shop online and get stuff delivered to this pretty hinterland than I thought I would – though a lot of it’s also been dependant on shaky Skype shopping sessions to London and Italy and exciting post office visits for my mum. Which is incidentally how I got above swimsuit/leotard (I’m loving this ‘swimtimates‘ trend) by Italian lingerie brand Tezenis that doesn’t have an online shop. It’s a bit of a hassle if you’re not in Europe but if you’re travelling or have friends pretty much anywhere in Europe it can be done. Luckily Tezenis has some awesome pieces and is really quite cheap, so the extra delivery costs aren’t as much of an issue.

All that said, I miss browsing in actual stores, and by that I mean walking around aimlessly for hours with an enormous semi-tepid Starbucks (or better) until something catches your eye. Also known as the boyfriend’s nightmare. I especially miss doing this in those slightly damp-smelling, labyrinthian vintage stores that you get in London or New York – the ones that give you an enormous sense of achievement when you actually find something beautiful that isn’t just last season’s ‘vintage’ Zara. (For the record I have nothing against Zara – me and my best friends frequently wear Zara, in fact.) That’s why I’m actually ridiculously excited to be leaving for NYC this Weekend. I’ve just realised it’s the first time I’ll have been in a big city for any length of time for a year and a half. I lived in London all my life, so this feels pretty major. There will be an inappropriately constant slew of pictures.

PARADE

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Bikini – Agua Bendita: Topbottoms; Earrings – Accessorize; Bracelet – Souvenir from Navajo, Arizona.

I’m so happy that this bikini got delivered the day before I left for the Anguilla August carnival as the beading and colours fitted the atmosphere perfectly – a few more feathers and sequins and I could have tried to blend into the parade! Choosing which one to order was difficult as Agua Bendita suits are all so crazy colourful and beautiful – I ended up mixing and matching two different styles as I loved the beaded tassels on this one. I should have taken a close-up of the top as you can’t see it but that’s also beautifully beaded. It feels so well-made too. And OK it’s pretty hard to compete with Irina Shayk (current model for the brand) but the bikini designs are quite flattering – especially the back of the bottoms. I’ll be posting the full Anguilla travel post soon.

Sono cosi contenta che questo bikini mi e’ arrivato il giorno prima che partissi per il carnevale estivo di Anguilla perche’ mi e’ sembrato perfetto considerando l’atmosfera – qualche paillette e potevo quasi infiltrarmi nella sfilata! E’ stato difficile scegliere quale bikini prendere perche’ tutti i costumi di Agua Bendita sono favolosamente belli e divertenti – adoro le perline sulle nappe di questo. Avrei dovuto fare una foto da vicino del top che non si vede bene ma anche quello e’ coperto di perline. Ammetto – e’ difficile competere con Irina Shayk (modella per Agua Bendita al momento) ma i bikini vestono molto bene! Venitemi a trovare per il travel post di Anguilla  🙂

South of Zabriskie

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Bikini – Yamamay; Sunglasses – vintage Ray Ban; Cuff – souvenir from Anegada.

Location – Anegada, BVI

One way to get rid of island fever is, naturally, to go and visit another island. Welcome to Anegada, one of the weirdest and most beautiful places I have ever been. Half swamp, half milky-blue Caribbean paradise, it is an eerily deserted and ridiculously cool place. We got there on the tiniest propeller plane ever, which for someone with a morbid fear of flying, (yes I realise this is also a travel blog!) was pretty intense. I even got to fly the plane for a terrifying 10 seconds! The pics were taken on Cow Wreck beach, where a ship carrying cow bones sank last century. Told you it was eerie!

I love the sleekness of this bikini from Yamamay. It’s sporty yet stylish as well as being a really unique design. I also love the pale blue and gold as a colour combination. Very Seventies. The material is slightly shimmery which looks lovely in the sun and looks great against a tan. I matched it with some seventies-looking gold vintage Ray Bans and a mother-of-pearl cuff I found on Anegada.

Dolce Salsedine

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One-piece – American Apparel; Sunglasses – Dolce & Gabbana; Bracelet – Sodini 

Location: Tortola – BVI

Who said one-pieces couldn’t be sexy? Hmm probably no-one ever, but a solid black one-piece doesn’t exactly sound earth-shatteringly exciting and seeing this on a rack/online really doesn’t do this swimsuit justice. The ultra-high cut at the ‘waist??’ makes a seemingly ordinary one-piece really sexy. The in-built underwire bra gives support and acts as push-up too! The straps adjust too making it all in all a really well-made swimsuit. I’m so in love with it I’m really tempted to order it in pink too but..must..resist. The look reminded me of Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita so I accesorized with some tortoise-shell Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and a chunky solid white bracelet.