A Sneak Peek Inside My… Hurricane Kit

No sooner have I returned from my holidays and already a hurricane is on our doorstep. Never are you more aware of the beauty and power of Mother Nature than when you live in a hurricane belt.

Living in the Caribbean for as long as I have, I am no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms but, by and large, (barring TS Otto that sent mudslides into my house in 2010) Mother Nature has been pretty kind to us in the BVI for the last decade. This year though, the gloves are off and we already suffered a huge storm in early August that caused widespread flooding and extensive damage to homes and businesses across the islands. Now Hurricane Irma is headed our way and looking increasingly like she’ll be at Cat 3 or 4 strength when she lands on Wednesday/Thursday.


‘M’ stands for Major Hurricane… ūüôĀ

We only have to look at the damage done in Texas recently to know that these storms are not to be messed with and my heart goes out to all those suffering in Harvey’s wake, especially as I make my own preparations for Irma’s arrival.

Thankfully we have the weather reports to keep us updated (I’ve also downloaded a really helpful app – Hurricane Tracker for $3.99) and we watch anxiously as she creeps ever closer… Still, forewarned is forearmed and these next couple of days will be spent stocking up on all the necessities and readying the house as best we can (read:¬†putting up the hurricane shutters, setting out the sandbags and hoping for the best…).

Obviously, we are keeping all of our fingers and toes firmly crossed that Irma causes no trouble for anyone, but the motto that I’ve always adhered to is ‘Prepare for the worst and hope for the best’.

Want to see which supplies I will be packing to see me through the storm?

:: Water – the general rule of thumb is that you should pack one gallon of drinking water per person/per day (this should include animals) so for our little family we ideally need 4 gallons of water per day and we should aim to have enough to cover 3-7 days at least (More water will be needed for cleaning and washing.)

:: Canned food, non-perishable items and pet food – tinned soup, protein/granola bars, nuts (anything you can eat right out of the packet), crackers, cans of Beefaroni (don’t judge me…) and Pringles have always featured in my hurricane supplies since they can be eaten hot or cold, if absolutely necessary. I also like to ensure that I have an adequate supply of teabags (I might live in the Caribbean but I’m still British after all!)

A tiny selection of what I have squirreled away…

:: Passport, cash and important family documents – in a ziplock bag or waterproof box you need to ensure that you have your passport or travel documents, as much cash as you’re comfortable withdrawing (ATMs could be down for a while) and any insurance policy documents or other Id and banking docs.

:: Torches, batteries, candles and matches – no two ways about it, you’re going to be without power for some period of time, the question is, just for how long? Having an adequate supply of candles and torches will make life a lot easier. Then just grab a good book and hunker down. Be sure to fully power up your phone, kindle, laptop, tablet etc to keep them going for as long as possible.

:: Portable chargers – I mentioned these in a previous post here, they are great for travel and an island essential to see you through the regular power cuts. But, never are they more useful than during hurricane season. I have two (one large and one small) and will be fully charging them both. This will hopefully mean that I can keep my phone powered – then I just have to keep my fingers crossed that the phone signal holds out.

:: Books, playing cards and board games – not withstanding the fact that you have fully charged all your electronic devices, they are still unlikely to see you all the way through the power cuts. August’s storm saw some houses without power for 3-4 days and that’s nothing in the grand scheme of potential issues post-hurricane. My new favourite game is Monopoly Deal¬†but you should also make sure you have a good book to read and maybe use this time as an opportunity to brush up on your poker skills with friends.

:: Wine, rum, gin etc – two words… hurricane party! It’s not big and it’s certainly not clever but, having a few cocktails sure does make being cooped up inside in the dark a little easier to cope with. (Whatever gets you through… right?)¬†Get together with some friends, it’s going to be a long night!

:: First Aid Kit and Prescription Meds – for all the obvious reasons you’ll want to make sure that you have a small first aid kit¬†(our one (linked) is fab and reasonably priced)¬†along with at least a 2 week supply of your usual prescription meds.

:: Wet wipes, dry shampoo, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and other personal hygiene supplies – as unpalatable as it is to think about, you may be without running water for a while… a pack of wet wipes, hand sanitizer and some dry shampoo will help you freshen up, since you’ll be wanting to save the bulk of your fresh water for drinking. I’m packing up all my mini travel supplies as we will be de-camping to a friend’s house to ride out the storm.

:: Change of clothes and spare underwear Рyou never know if, or when, you might have to evacuate at short notice. Have a grab-bag packed and ready to go, just in case.

:: Other useful items Рbattery-powered radio, paper plates/cups, cooler with ice, can-opener/bottle opener, duct tape, tool kit, fire extinguisher and car charger.

Apologies, all these supplies don’t exactly make for the prettiest pictures, but they are very useful ūüôā

Anyone got any tips to see me through this storm and the rest of hurricane season??

Wish us luck!!

Charlie x

Residents of Houston still need our support Рfind out more about how you can donate here. 

This post contains links to products that I use and love Рthey are not affiliate links, I just like to share. 

Anniversary

Yesterday was my two year wedding anniversary and I am celebrating this event with some (uncharacteristically) soppy reflections and a quick look back at some of our beautiful wedding pictures. 

Two years have gone by so fast, but we’ve had a lot of fun. 

We’re working hard, but we live in paradise. 

We’re saving for the future, but we’re making some beautiful memories. 

We have no idea where we’re going, but we have a shared idea of how we’ll get there. 

One of the things we’ve been focusing on since we got married is prioritizing travel. 

We no longer give physical gifts for significant occasions, but instead we have been trying to give travel and experiences which has meant that we’ve (almost) traveled more in the last 2 years than we had in the previous 5… (disclaimer: a significant part of our vacation time is always dedicated to our family and friends in the UK). 

I’m hoping to document some of our upcoming travels here – but in the two years we’ve been married we have managed Puerto Rico, NYC (and my first UFC fight), a whole LOT of California (on our RV honeymoon road trip – plus some bonus Nevada and Arizona time), Kansas City, St. John (USVI) and St. Maarten. 

There is no one that I would rather share these adventures with – he’s my best friend, my team, my big spoon and my partner in crime! 

I hope that he will keep coaxing me out of my comfort zone, while I continue to challenge him on practically every point. 

We’re the perfect combination of opposites attracting, while being oddly similar – both brutally honest and stubborn. 

He loves me despite my moods and messiness and I live with his inner (outer) petrol-head and his huge collection of wheels (and I wouldn’t have it any other way).

Here’s to celebrating two wonderful years and looking forward to many more.

Charlie x
All photos by Peach & Jo Photography

Minimalism

This week the husband and I watched a pretty thought-provoking documentary on Netflix, which I wanted to share with you.
Left to my own devices I will happily binge-watch old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (sorry, not sorry) but he prefers something a little more educational – so it’s off to the documentary section we go! We finally – after careful consideration of the different sci-fi options and gritty prison stories – settled on ‘Minimalism

Minimalism follows ‘The Minimalists’, Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus as they embark on a book tour around the US spreading their message and collecting more and more followers en route. Previously wealthy (one was a successful retail manager and the other in finance) both have eschewed the consumerist lifestyle in favour of minimalism and drastically scaled back.

While I’m sure that their message is worthwhile (I haven’t read the book yet) it was the interviews with psychologists and experts on the issues of consumerism and why we are buying the way we are, that I found to be particularly powerful.

As someone with a larger than average wardrobe and handbag collection this obviously resonated with me – but as a fledgling blogger even more so.

Every day we are surrounded by thousands of adverts and images driving our desire to purchase more and more. Social media is undoubtedly one of the biggest culprits. Beautifully curated Instagram accounts depicting luxe unobtainable lifestyles, glossy blog posts with designer handbags and inspirational style, adverts popping up in our newsfeed with everything from start-up tech gadgets to the latest beauty find. Consumerism is reaching stratospheric, unprecedented levels.

It would be easy to assume, since I live on a tiny island with zero physical access to department stores, high street stores, malls, designer stores (or many clothing stores at all) that I could keep a handle on my shopping addiction, but sadly that isn’t the case and I am a prodigious (read: rabid) online shopper.

I’m not going to stop sharing these pretty purchases with you – I do so in much the same way that I would a good friend ‘look what I found – isn’t it beautiful?’ There may also be a new (second-hand) handbag winging it’s way to me as I type (just wait, I’ll show you, she’s a beauty!) but it is a concern to me since the majority of successful lifestyle blogs are monetized by your purchases and that’s part of the ‘brand’ we’re supposed to be building.

I’m not. I’m not even remotely there yet – but I’m sure it’s a path that I’ll explore at some point and I know that if, or when, I do it is something that I would do genuinely and hopefully judiciously.

The documentary covered the tiny housing movement – something we’ve long been interested in as, like many others in our generation, we struggle to get a foothold on even the bottom rung of the housing ladder. We’re not too daunted by tiny housing – our apartment is already pretty small (what we sacrificed in square footage we made up for by living on the beach.) We had briefly considered living on a boat – but with two dogs (one of whom is fairly elderly) it just wouldn’t be practical.

It would definitely involve some scaling back – the husband currently has 5 bikes (it’s just best we don’t ask) so it’s not just my shoe collection that would require culling! But container housing and the many other tiny house options still excites us as a possibility.

Project 333 was also featured – started by Courtney Carver – the basic concept is that you live for 3 months wearing only 33 items – this includes clothing, outerwear, jewelry, accessories and shoes – an extreme capsule wardrobe, I guess. It got me thinking about whether I could do it (I may have already started compiling a list…) you may well hear more about this later.

The Minimalists does not always make for comfortable watching – since we know deep down that we are buying far more than we need (I can’t be the only one!) but it does get you thinking, examining your behaviour and I really feel that it’s worth talking about.

If you watch it please tell me what you think. Have any of you considered Project 333 or would you be interested in hearing about it if I tried to tackle it?
Charlie x

Random Acts of Kindness…

The most extraordinary thing happened to me last Saturday evening. I had met up with four girlfriends at my favourite Virgin Gorda restaurant for a much needed catch up and we had shared a couple of bottles of wine and some of their delicious tapas-style dishes. It was the perfect evening of girly chatter and the odd cheeky cocktail.

 

At the end of the meal, when we asked for our bill, we were told by our waitress that it had ‘already been taken care of’ by a diner on a nearby table. We were absolutely astounded, completely staggered – such a generous gesture – for most people I know eating out is a treat, a special occasion, I can’t imagine nonchalantly paying for five strangers’ dinners.¬†

 

When we, eventually, winkled out of our waitress the identity of our mysterious benefactor – we sent him over a drink as a small and entirely insufficient gesture of our gratitude, and I asked him why he had done it. He just shrugged ‘a random act of kindness’ he said. And this is something that has been going round and around in my head all week.¬†

 

It really got me thinking about what I do (or could do) for others. I like to think that I’m a nice person, that I’d do anything for my friends and family, that I always try to make myself available to help out with favours. But I suddenly realized that this is almost exclusively limited to my direct circle, those close to me or friends of friends. I’m not unpleasant or rude to strangers (I hope!), but equally I don’t seem to go out of my way to be especially helpful (short of opening doors for people or offering to carry heavy items) or generous.

This was an appalling revelation. Something has to change and I’m now actively thinking about how I can make small changes and contemplating random acts of kindness that I can start incorporating into my life. Sadly, I don’t think that lavishly treating whole tables of people to dinner at upmarket restaurants will be financially viable for me, at this time. But I’d love to surprise someone with their coffee or sandwich order paid for.¬†

 

Does anyone have any good suggestions as to thoughtful and genuine random acts? Wouldn’t it be nice to try and make a stranger smile every now and again! This whole experience also came at a time when I had just watched this video – so it’s all been at the forefront of my mind.¬†

 

How will you help someone today?

Charlie x

PS. If you’re reading this then it means that my foray into scheduling blog posts was successful! We’re currently in NYC, exploring, watching UFC and eating all the food we can find…

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Weekends On The Water With Celtic Powerboats

While weekdays in the islands often blur into the same mundane cycle of sleep, work, dinner, laundry, sleep, as the rest of the world Рon the weekends we really try to make up for it! Year-round sunshine and 50+ islands and cays to explore makes for some epic weekend adventures. 

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 Photo by the Barefoot Angel

This weekend we were fortunate enough to be invited out by Celtic Powerboats for a Holy Trinity tour; hitting three of the BVIs top island attractions in one day – Sandy Spit, White Bay and the Willy-T. All of which are an absolute must if you plan to come and visit.

 

We met our friendly Captain, Patrick, at his dock in West End and, after a thorough safety brief, we were on our way. Patrick’s boat is immaculate and there was plenty of storage to keep all our belongings dry. The weather conditions were perfect, beautifully flat calm and it made for a super comfortable ride over.¬†

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We stopped awhile at Sandy Spit, the picture perfect island idyll, so small that it would only take you 10 minutes to walk the whole way around, (less probably) before moving onto White Bay – home of the Soggy Dollar and the Painkiller cocktail. (Trust me, you don’t want to be getting your Painkiller anywhere else).

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We rounded out our day with a visit to the infamous Willy-T, a floating bar and restaurant where clothing is optional and the cocktails are potent! Also great venue for a spot of lunch. 

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We love any excuse to get out on the water, sailing or powerboat, but you can’t beat a powerboat for getting to visit as many of our islands as possible.

Charlie x

This is not a sponsored post.
All photographs (unless otherwise specified) belong to alookingglass

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