It’s exactly 4 weeks since we set off to Barbados.
WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!
So, you’d basically have to be living underneath a rock that has been compressed by 12 heavier rocks to have escaped the absolute smugness that was my trip to the caribbean.
But what’s that? You didn’t hear about it? (Ha ha ha, who am I kidding but thank you for getting this far, kind reader).
It all began with a simple e-letter. You know the kind. It pings into your inbox at around 2:13PM. You’re at work, your eyes a-flutter. You’re desperately trying to avoid the post cheese based lunch slump, willing your mind to engage with the task at hand and you see it as a lifeline. This 2 minute newsletter break will revive you. It will inspire you to pioneer on. It will fix everything!
And there, nestled between a story about Coca Cola and native marketing, is your salvation. Well. Mine, at least.
Carling were doing a promotion. A promotion that, quite frankly, felt far too good to be true. On Wednesday 16th April, Carling were releasing 1000 tickets into the wily, unknown depths of the internet. These tickets cost £49 each. You could buy them in 2s or 4s and with them, you would get a holiday. A holiday for £49? I was expecting a jaunt to Rhyl, Skeggy, or perhaps even Ipswich but no. You would get a holiday to Brighton. Or Barbados.
I re-read the blurb. I could get a holiday to Barbados for £49?
Brow furrowed, I quickly scoured for the terms & conditions and set to dissecting this dubious piece of propaganda (the 2 minute break stretching into ten).
But no. It was right. For £49 you would either get 3 nights at a 3*+ hotel in Brighton, no travel included, or you would get 4 nights in a 3*+ hotel in Barbados. With flights included.
Having never been to Brighton, I quickly realised it was a win-win situation. The bank holiday both trips were set across was empty and I’ve always enjoyed a good punt. What’s more, the terms & conditions revealed that the odds were more than genial. 1 in 3 would go to Barbados. 1 IN 3! I was sold.
When the morning came, I was sat in work ready (dear ITV, I came in EARLY to allow for this – HONEST). At 10AM, I logged in – passport details for the housemate and I at the ready – and within 2 minutes I had 2 tickets. That was easy?! Initially I thought that the campaign couldn’t have been that well publicised until I logged onto Twitter and realised that everyone else was experiencing HELL ON EARTH with the purchase page. THANK YOU ITV WIFI.
Now, the waiting game began. 2 days later, we would receive the email that revealed our (pleasing either way) fate…
They say a picture speaks a thousand words so I’m going save on a FUCKLOAD of characters by posting this informative video of what happened.
(It was filmed for Periscope, Twitter’s live broadcasting arm, so I didn’t get the orientation wrong – honest!!)
If you can’t be arsed watching that, or you’re on a bus or using ME as your 2 minute refresh at work then here, in the shortest way possible, is what happened:
WE GOT BARBADOS!
So less than 2 weeks after, we scurried to London Gatwick like the most eager of all nocturnal, large, semi-acquatic rodents (thanks Wiki) and boarded the charted flight FULL of Carling winners. We were initially expecting carnage but due to the strict rules on alcohol (only 2 allowed per flight), it was actually quite alright. I mean, there were no screaming children so who were we to complain? (And also it was £49. £49!!!)
We arrived Thursday afternoon to 30 degrees, a cool flannel and an air conditioned bus to take us to our hotel, The Crane. Now, we’d already googled the shit out of our hotel (we’d definitely done the best out of everyone staying in Barbs – 4/5*, on a cliff with it’s own private ‘top 10 in the world’ beach) but we were not quite ready for the sheer luck betrothed to us in our room allocation.
HELLO PRIVATE ROOF TERRACE POOL THING.
Do you hate me yet? What do you mean, you already did?
The hotel was amazing. Like, I’m normally an airbnb person but wow. It was just incredible.
We spent the next 4 days lounging on our roof terrace, pretending we were Elton John and David Furnish (oh – they used to stay there. That’s what I meant, obviously). Activities included beach hopping, bbqing and drinking a SHIT-TON of rum.
Special shout out to the incredible catamaran cruise we did on the last day. We got to swim with turtles, a huge stingray and even go snorkelling in the coral. It was bloody beaut.
WARNING. RARE PHOTO OF THE HOUSEMATE AND I TOGETHER APPROACHING:
A not so special shout out to the day we tried to sneak into Sandy Lane (where all the celebs live) and on being asked what we were up to by a security guard, I totally wimped out and said we were looking for the beach. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO SAY YOU’RE HERE TO SEE SIMON COWELL. STICK TO THE SCRIPT, CHELSEA. The housemate was NOT happy with me.
We also ended up at the cricket one day. I wasn’t happy about this until I realised that there was incredible fried chicken and rice served there and along with a few Banks beers, it served as lunch with a view. That’ll do.
My absolute favourite thing about the trip had to be the local bus service. You heard me. For $2, you could get anywhere on the island and once you were on – well, what an experience. Akin to how cars are shown in Wes Anderson films, they’d hurl along the dusty roads, screeching to an abrupt halt. I’ve never held on to a bus rail so tight. The best was when you got picked up by a van (totally legit guys, don’t worry) where they’d blare out 50’s rock’n’roll and everyone knew the words and sang along. I was sat by the cutest old man at one point who was crooning to Elvis whilst cradling his laundry in his arms. Moving.
My 2nd favourite moment was sitting on my balcony with these Pringles and this app thinking I was only 22. Deffo better than Oistins Fish Fry.
So yes. I was pretty happy with the holiday. I mean, how could I not be? For £49, I would have been happy with a shack. But when asked if would I go again if I was paying, I found the answer far too easy to answer. Yes. Yes, yes, yes.
So now I’m back and aching to go again- the past bank holiday trying to avoid sugarcoated children on scooters in Heaton Park wasn’t quite cutting it. I’ve tried bringing a bit of the Bajan lifestyle to Manchester (playing Taylor Swift aloud on the tram, applying gradual tan, putting rum in all my beverages at work…) but it’s looking like I’m just going to have to start saving. That or perhaps someone else can do a similar promotion…
Hey White Lightning! I’ve got a brilliant promo idea for you…